The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy Ultra: Champion Edition

by 5-Headed Snake God

Part 8: Melmond and the Earth Cave

After leaving via the newly-created channel, we head south and west around the Devil's Tail peninsula.

Eventually, we arrive at the town of Melmond. It's located in a slightly different place than in vanilla, but the signs of devastation around it remain.

Yeah, this town is a wreck.

Level 5 spells. We're quite a ways away from being able to use these, even for Cleric.

In vanilla, this NPC claims it was the Vampire that attacked the town. Here they don't got for a fake-out: the Earth Fiend is placed front and center as the source of the problem.

The Earth Cave is located in its vanilla location, but having directions for a new player is good.

There's no library in vanilla, so some of you may find this intriguing. We'll get to it - eventually.

After buying a new steel sword and mail for Rogue, we head out for the dungeon.

On the way to the Earth Cave, we run into this fight. It can be pretty nasty...

...If you let it. :unsmigghh:

This fight got me to level 8, which gave Cleric access to level 4 spells! But I didn't have the money to buy any. :v:

A quick jaunt east from Melmond takes is to Devil's Tail and the Earth Cave.

Knights are new here. They have passable strength and HP, and high defense. Our team is so heavy on physical power that we can actually kill them with minimal effort using only physical attacks.

There's actually a weaker version of knights (squires), which show up in the Marsh Cave. I never ran into any in this run and forgot to go looking for them.

North of the cave entrance is a treasure room with an armor upgrade.

To the south is a room with a spiked tile - one guaranteed to give you a fight. Earth( elemental)s are about the same as in vanilla: tough physical fighters with no tricks and a weakness to fire damage. A shot of FIRE actually does quite a bit of damage to them, but our party's raw attack power means we don't really need it. Unlike in vanilla, they can be fled from, and they sometimes show up as normal random encounters. Very few enemies in UCE are inescapable, apart from bosses, which helps Rogue shine.

For our trouble, we get... a Cure potion. Wow.

Bulls are similar to their vanilla counterparts: big sacks of HP with high attack power. Unlike in vanilla, their attacks can paralyze, which makes them nastier.

This is actually the perfect sort of fight for WILL. Bull paralysis has a relatively low chance to proc, and WILL takes it down to near zero.

After clearing out the first floor, I decided to depart early to go buy magic for Cleric, adding CLNS to her repertoire.

On the way back I finally had my first encounter with regular sahag(in)s.

Level 2 should look pretty familiar to veterans of vanilla, but it has less need to go out of your way for treasure, making it less annoying to navigate.

One of the really nice things about having Rogue around is the ability to easily escape shitty fights. Cobras aren't dangerous, but they're super annoying for very little reward.

There's some good treasure here. I also hit level 9 while wandering around.

Floor 3 should also look familiar, but again, there are some changes.

Piscos roam the lower floors of the Earth Cave as somewhat rare standard encounters. We can't run from them, but fortunately they're not nearly as dangerous with our higher levels and better gear.

Dark imps are still around. They're manageable now, but still give terrible rewards.

We also run into werewolves for the first time here. Apart from having more HP they're essentially the same as in vanilla, including their poisonous bites. As I mentioned in one of the spell updates, these things are susceptible to HOLY spells, though we don't have any.

Treasure on this floor is mostly gold.

Hmm, what could be in that tiny room?

It's a teleporter! Most dungeons from here on out have a teleporter at about halfway down, which makes treasure hunting less of a chore.

Of course, there's usually a spiked tile right in front of them.

After resting up in Melmond, we return to go deeper. As I implied earlier, the Vampire isn't here, and we don't need the ruby or the rod. We can just head straight down to level 4.

Level 4 is a confusing mix of chamber-like hallways, but the treasures here are considerable. I've always liked that the map palette gets darker here, implying that you're venturing deep underground.

North of the stairs is a room with some nice treasures and another spiked tile.

Golems have high attack power and defense coupled with good HP.

Without much in the way of offensive magic, our best bet here is to flee. Rogue's really showing her worth here.

The sword is definitely a worthwhile prize, though.

In the southwest corner of the floor is this rather important-looking room.

There's a robe, some money, and of course, a chest guarded by a spiked tile.

This one's pretty easy to run from though.

And here's our prize: the BIND Ring! Equipment that can be used to cast spells is rare in this hack, but it does exists, and this is the first piece. As the name implies, the BIND Ring casts BIND when used. This is a big part of why I didn't buy the spell for Ranger: if I had, it would now be obsolete. Cleric gets the ring, since her attacks are by far the weakest in the party.

With the treasure claimed, we head back for the exit, to rest up for our big fight with the Earth Fiend. Since the party is close to leveling up, I decided to use the spiked tile in front of the teleporter to do a little grinding and get to level 11. It was worth it: Cleric hit level 5 spellcasting, and we have so much cash that I was able to fill out all three of her slots for the level.

After that, it's time for a rest, then back to the Earth Cave for one last trip. This time around, we're running from every random encounter. Rogue gives us the ability to do that with relative ease, and it will let us save most of our resources for the big fight at the end.

The stairs to floor 5 are located at the northwest side of floor 4.

Floor 5 looks a lot like its vanilla counterpart as well. Fortunately, with no treasures here, we can walk to the boss pretty quickly.

And in this ominous-looking room...

Is the Fiend himself.

Lich is the game's first real boss. (Garland is pretty piss-easy, and Astos is optional, so I'm not counting them.) He's not the hardest in the game by any stretch, but he has an assortment of spells that can ruin your day if you're not careful.

Amusingly, he spent a good chunk of this fight using physical attacks, which hurt a bit but aren't especially threatening.

Ranger spent all of his first three turns casting TMPR - twice on Viking, once on Rogue. It didn't give a big boost to their damage, but every bit helps.

For Cleric, casting SHEL (which reduces elemental damage) on turn 1 was a no-brainer.

After that, well, Lich is undead, which means he's vulnerable to being damaged by LIFE. I wasn't kidding when I said its damage was considerable. It might actually do more, but there's some kind of bug in the game that can cause an enemy damaged by its weakness to take exactly 600 damage.

ICE can be painful, but with SHEL up it does barely anything.

FIR2, on the other hand, is deadly. Without SHEL this probably would have killed Ranger.

He also casts SLD2, which... is a decision. It might have kept him alive for an extra round, so at best he broke even.

Lich casting BLND is basically a free round for us.

Eventually, Viking gets the kill-shot, and Lich's foul unlife is ended.

Apparently his phylactery is made of solid gold or something because that is a lot of money.

With Lich down, one of the Orbs is shining bright again.

It's good to be back outside.