Part 6: Lava Dome
I thought you were on your way to Aquaria.
I mainly went back here to stock up on Phoenix Downs since, again, Fireburg doesn't sell them for reasons.
Anyway, a quick jaunt through Hellmouth Hill to get to the first of three dungeons, the Mine.
The Mine, much like the two upcoming dungeons, are essentially unchanged layout-wise from the original, other than some likely minor tweaks I didn't notice.
The enemies here are all ones we've seen before. Oddly those red slime enemies from the last update only show up on that one battlefield and none of the dungeons here.
Mega-White is the next tier of Benjamin's White spell, and it affects all monsters. It's also very expensive at 60MP. That's 2/5 of a Seed!
Speaking of Seeds, Phoebe has this odd quirk where Seeds recover 300MP for her instead of the 150 for Benjamin. Go figure.
The economy's honestly a lot better for this stage of the game, weird money chests withstanding. I only gain ~350k during the course of this update, which is still a bit high but not "buy out every consumable and buy enough refreshers to max HP" high.
The Charm Claw is really nice, on par with the rest of Benjamin's weaponry but of course with a bunch of lovely status effects. Poison, Paralysis, Blind, Sleep... It'll lock out most enemies with ease, and definitely makes later encounters trivial.
Speaking of trivial, Phoebe's presence makes things a ton easier, and honestly I don't have any major problems with encounters for this run. They're still time consuming since I'm an idiot and going for 100% encounter completion, but having two healers and three bodies makes combat a breeze.
A nice armor upgrade that resists fire.
This thing unlocks some new areas later. We'll check it out after this update.
Jinn is the first boss we'll face.
Hellfire is nasty even with resistance, and Jinn can even use it on himself to heal a bit.
Otherwise, he has regular attacks and status stuff like Sleep.
Not too tough.
Dad! Stand back!
I knew you'd save me, Reuben!
Dad! Please head home to mom!
I didn't get the achievements for all treasures/monsters, oddly enough, but I couldn't find any stragglers.
I even went through again to double-check, though it did lead to this rather amusing glitch where the last cutscene repeats from post-explosion.
Now it's time to check out that Gemini Crest!
You can warp between Fireburg and Aquaria now, saving a trip through the Focus Tower.
Unfortunately, there's only one other place to use it for now.
Quick someone extrapolate the USD-to-Gil conversion rate based on this throwaway line.
All this place does is let us go back to the Wintry Temple to get an Elixir, which...eh.
Two new Battlefields, but only one new enemy between them.
Ghosts can be nasty.
Coldness does some hefty water damage.
They also have strong physicals, and use Power Drain to both drain HP and throw an attack debuff on the target.
Luckily, Reuben learns a counter to that last one in Battle Cry. This ability gives the entire party an attack buff, with the cost of a defense debuff. It'll also cancel out attack debuffs. Not that terrible, though I didn't really bother with it after awhile either.
Mega-White's pretty sweet, too.
At some point, Phoebe learns the three -ja elemental spells (no wind equivalent, sadly).
Even with an open space, I've never seen this clone move work.
Volcano has the same gimmick of Ice Pyramid. Invisible enemies until you find the key item to make them visible, in this case the Gas Mask.
Were Wolves are pretty nasty. They can do three physical attacks at once to random targets for huge damage (one of these landed thrice on Benjamin, which instantly killed him), as well as Quakega, which may do damage but sometimes doesn't? Not sure how it works, but I assume once Kaeli rejoins she might have that spell available to her.
A simple bow upgrade for Phoebe. Fun fact, bows are holy elemental.
These guys can inflict status effects like confusion and sleep, as well as some big physicals.
Curaga's still potent as is, but this will likely be nice later in the game.
Double Attack attacks twice, of course. It hits two random targets and might have less damage? Never really messed with it to check. Picking Reuben's target is a bit more important due to his stun, and this'll be even more true later on this update.
That's one problem solved.
Also plenty of Refreshers in this dungeon. Still giving them all to Benjamin because at least I know he'll stick around.
And now Benjamin has Curaja.
Otherwise, uneventful until the boss, Medusa.
Medusa has some weird stuff. She started off Hasting a werewolf before it died, and has the bog-standard physical attacks. There's also Snake attacks, many of which do a mere 1 damage but inflict a status effect. Take a wild guess what this one inflicts.
There's also a variant that does high damage.
Oh yeah there's no damage cap.
The staircase leads right in to the final and biggest dungeon this update, Lava Dome.
Rather than change up the jumping puzzles like in Falls Basin and Ice Pyramid, the creator instead rigged up a jumping mechanic by having you simply run in that direction. It's all scripted and ends up being a bit wonky, as you'll see in a bit.
Plenty of nasty enemies here. These guys can confuse and silence you, as well as cast Flare.
The Adamant Turtle's main gimmick is Firaga spam.
Fangpires are obnoxious, casting Tornado for huge damage, as well as Pyro (which doesn't drain) and Drain (which does drain).
At this point, it's 50/50 whether an enemy will have a near-death sprite, though IIRC this is the only enemy in this dungeon that has one until the boss.
Hot Wings have a dive attack for decent damage and Cura, which recovers a good bit.
These guys aren't as scary as their previous iteration, or at least I didn't see the scary stuff like Flare from them. Mainly physicals with the odd Thunder spell.
Area-wide blind effect and physicals.
Similar to Medusa, with some more debuffs (or the same debuffs since I never did see all of Medusa's attacks). Biggest one is one that inflicts Instant Death, though it only ever worked on Phoebe.
Cyclops has a weak fire attack and a powerful physical attack. That's pretty much it for enemies until the boss.
Flare is Phoebe's equivalent to White, except it's non-elemental. Same cost, though.
Lava Dome still has its weird layout so that it's confusing to explore but pretty straightforward if you know where you need to go.
Rather than implement a jump button, the creator simply made each tile automatically jump the player a direction, which makes it...wonky when you enter a tile that sends you a direction perpendicular to the one you were headed.
A straightforward upgrade with one key additional feature: rather than the one-turn stun, this one inflicts the three-turn paralysis. This and the Charm Claw pretty much shuts down randoms easily.
A nice defense upgrade with fire resistance for Phoebe. As a bonus, it still has Auto-Regen.
Charge!! is an odd one, as it has a chance of forcing all characters to immediately do physicals. I didn't play with it much, but I had it not work once, so I don't know how useful it is. You can't choose your targets for this, of course, and your other characters still do their turns as normal (though I only tried physicals so who knows if spells/items would still work).
Full-Life is as it says. Handy spell to have now that reviving with ~1000HP is getting risky.
Mega-Flare is Phoebe's answer to Mega-White.
A nice upgrade with a handy element for this dungeon. Of course it lacks the Charm Claw's status effects, but it still inflicts Sleep so it's decent enough that I stick with it the rest of the dungeon.
Straightforward helmet upgrade with fire resistance. It seems like fire resistance stacks too, as Benjamin took even less damage wearing this and Terra's Armor.
Last spell for the day is Osmose, which in Phoebe's hands is scarily potent.
And last treasure is the Ruby Ring, which is just fire resistance. Not that great compared to the other accessories I have.
Dualhead Hydra isn't too terrible, other than a cheap trick it can do. Big thing is it has high speed so will pretty much always go first. Haste/Slow might actually be useful here!
First off, the expected physicals and multi-target fire attack, neither very threatening.
This also has multiple portraits, though they're a bit more awkward-looking here.
Bad Breath deals a bunch of nasty status effects, as you may guess.
The scary thing is Mega-Flare, which does huge damage.
Twice in a row and you'll wipe. And since Hydra goes first, you won't have a chance to really heal. Though, again, Haste would've probably saved my ass here and there's probably other ways to make up for it as well. And, again, you can still immediately restart battles so it's not nearly as big a bullshit move as you'd think.
Second try and I manage alright.
And with that, we've got our third crystal.
Grandpa said that the Crystal of Wind is near Windia!
Windia? Where's that?
It's to the southeast of the Focus Tower.
Oh yeah, Phoebe's now ditching us.
I can take care of myself, although I appreciate your CONCERN. I'll see you later!
Ha! You catch on quick!
Charming as always.
And we're finished in this region!
Next time, we begin exploring the southeastern area to get our final crystal and see what other weird stuff this remake does.