Part 12: Galuf vs. Elderly Abuse
Everyone's progressing well in their current jobs, and we'll be changing a couple soon enough.
On the way back, I manage to pick up L2 Red Magic for Bartz. At least L3 magic will be relevant for awhile, but once L4 White hits Red Mage is useless until I have the sheer patience to grind for Doublecast, which is no small feat considering this version's load times and my lack of a fast-forward button.
At any rate, our current objective is to follow Mid to Cid.
In case you forgot that Faris always talks like a pirate. Always.
Ouch! Knock it off, Mid!
What's wrong with you, you silly old fool?! You never gave up! Never!
OK, I sped that last one up. This is a pretty goofy-ass scene, though. Sprites can portray a surprising amount of things thanks to imagination and some clever writing, but they can only do so much. For instance, having a guy look more like he's dancing than beating the shit out of his grandfather.
You can't be afraid of failure... If you fail, then you just have to try again! You told me that!!
Mid... ... try again... ...
There's still the Earth Crystal...
But where is it?
Don't know. But we've got to find it and protect it. And to do that we need...
Yeah, but without the Fire Crystal...
Grandfather, take a look at this!
Mid, you've done it!!
Note that in no version does the game actually bother to tell you just how they fix the Fire Ship to work without the crystal. My guess is palm oil.
Sometimes a game can be most charming in the subtlest of ways, like a bro-nod.
Nothing really to do but to continue the plot at the Fire Ship.
Outta my way, boys!!
Why don't you rest below until we get her started?!
So this is really an excuse to squeeze in another story scene, albeit a rather big one.
Ye do look odd...more 'n' usual even.
Are you all right?
I felt like I could almost remember...
What's wrong with you, you silly old fool?! You never gave up! Never!
Ouch! Hey, knock it off!
Galuf! Snap out of it!
Did you remember something?
Of course, we could've figured that from the fact that he started off in a meteor, and from other meteor people recognizing him. Plus, it's not like this is the first FF game with aliens. But still, goofball Galuf being an alien is a nice curveball and a way to make his role more important in a party with a princess, a princess/pirate hybrid, and the protagonist.
I came by meteorite from another planet... To stop the evil spirit we'd sealed up 30 years earlier... From reviving itself...
Oh my, I forgot they also changed his name, too. In the original translation, this guy was known as Exdeath. Much like Lenna, people preferred the original over the PS1 translation, so he's back to Exdeath in the GBA version. Overall, at least this far anyway, the GBA version takes dialogue more from the PS1 version than the original (except for Faris's, thankfully) but follows the names of the original more, mostly since this version has shit like "Soccer" and "Y-Burn."
Also, in RPGe he's a Dark Mage, and in GBA a Dark Warlock. Calling X-Death a Black Mage in a game where a Black Mage is a job is kind of a rather odd choice, considering he's supposed to be the big bad and all and thus have his own source of power.
Anyway, flashback time.
You may recognize this place. If not, there's an inaccessible area on the map that's now missing three stones. As you may have guessed, these stones correlate to the crystals.
Ideally, we don't want the seal to break and plan to save the earth crystal so he can be sealed. However, since this is an RPG, we're going to fail and have to kill him.
Then X-Death will be free if the four crystals are destroyed?
I still can't remember everything...uhnn...But we...can't let...X-Death free...
Right, so now it's time to see if our new ship's ready yet.
Shut up, Mid.
In the GBA version, Cid (and thus Mid) talks about sleeping "like a top." Gotta say, never heard that one before.
Now we can sail even without any wind!
We'll find the Earth Crystal now!
Good! We're counting on you!! We're going to the Library of Ancients.
There might be some clues, there.
So now we've got a new ship and can explore the seas. It doesn't open that many new areas up, but hey, exploration and all that.
There's enemies on the sea, of course, including Fins and Thunderpits.
Thunderpits, as you may have guessed, absorb Thunder.
And here's Aero 2 in action.
In the southwestern corner, I decide to go to this area. It's optional, but this is one of the better times to come here. You'll see what I mean later.
It has some enemies that are a step up from what we've been fighting. Bombs can use Exploder, as you probably expect by now. Doublizards can swap between heads for...something.
Catching a Bomb does Exploder, doing the Trainer's HP total without actually killing them, so at least there's that.
There's also BioSoldiers.
They can cast Bio. It really hurts.
Barely survived that one!
Anyway, here's the first point of interest, a town in the middle of nowhere.
Jachol isn't really that important a town. That said, there's a couple things to take advantage of here.
There's a cave that I passed by to get here first. I'll show the cave off on the way back.
These guys are descendents of an ancient race, but isn't everybody technically descended from an ancient race?
The cave is kinda gimmicky, though only slightly so. The NPCs here will tell you all the answers.
There's also a dancer who will try to get you to dance. I didn't dance with them, though you can feel free to dance with Bartz and green-haired man.
Probably the best reason to come here is to play the piano. Yes, there is something to all this.
There's no new magic, but there's nice weapon and armor upgrades. Nobody can use half these items yet, though the Coral Sword's nice against water enemies. Cleaver's not worth it since you can now steal a better Berserker weapon. Not sure how well the Mage Slasher slashes mages in this version, but it actually makes more sense than being a Mage Masher, even if the latter sounds more awesome.
We got a Ninja Suit at the library, but most characters can use it and the speed boost is nice. Mages can make good use of that Poet Robe, too. If nothing else, Jachol's got some nice equipment options.
Anyway, here's the cave.
There's only two enemies here. The first are Nut Eaters, which we fought at the beginning of the game. They still give 2AP, so it's usually worth the effort to wipe the floor with their asses.
The trick here is to wait a few seconds for the right switch to appear.
The second enemy is OH SHIT
Now, this guy seems weird. However, he can evade and take 0 damage from the vast majority of your attacks.
OH MY FUCKING GOD
RUN RUN RUN RUN
Another NPC tells you to check open chests. This one opens the door for you.
And this is why SkullEaters are so fucking scary. At least it's easy to run from them, and all they can really do is attack (and summon huge-ass armies of murder squirrels if you piss them off enough).
At any rate, Galuf picks up Control, which is a nice little command that literally lets you take control of an enemy. Doesn't work against bosses, of course, but it can be pretty damn handy taking care of tougher enemies or for stuff like learning Blue Magic.
A monster may have up to four attacks.
Of course, once you hit that enemy, including having it hit itself, you lose control. Still, some monsters have some awesome abilities, and I think it's a rather underrated ability.
This is pretty much the only treasure worth grabbing here. That said, it's a pretty nice piece of treasure that significantly boosts Galuf's damage output.
Faris learns to cast Blue Magic outside the class and is now one ability away from mastering Blue Mage. That said, the final Blue Mage ability is horrible, so I'm done with Blue Mage until I feel like mastering it. I have Faris go back to Thief for the time being.
Anyway, another NPC says you can climb up to reach the outside. This is the end of the dungeon, and ultimately there's really nothing of use besides the Whip and those SkullEaters. This entire dungeon makes no sense, at least for the time being.
On the way back out, I pick up L3 Sword Magic for Reina. That's all I wanted.
Ninjas can equip two weapons. That is very nice with Sword Magic. That said, Reina would probably have that HuntingKnife that Thief Faris has equipped.
Thus I change Faris to a Geomancer instead. It's a quick job to level, and now's as good a time as any to master it.
They also use bells to attack. Yeah, I don't know.
So, Geomancers can use Gaia to cast one of several random effects, the pool of which depends on the terrain of the battle. For instance, this cave results in moves like Stalactite.
Generally, Geomancers are pretty damn powerful to make up for being random. In a way, they're magical Berserkers except you can control them and don't have to use their command.
Will O' Wisp would do decent damage if this wasn't a SkullEater. At least it conflicted Confuse on the thing, though it then attacked itself for 0 damage.
However, it can also be controlled.
That's one way to skin a squirrel, I guess. This is one of the better areas to grind AP in the first part of the game, though you're better off waiting until later.
I guess Bombs don't float. Neat.
Each weapon does its own damage rather than being combined together after the fact. I think the former's the way to go, so it's fine with me.
More Geomancing fun!
And there's that Shock Whip doing some good damage.
In the southeastern corner of the map is this town. Let's see what loot they have.
WE JUST GOT THE DAMN THING FIVE MINUTES AGO, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME
appears. Was your ship swallowed up in a whirlpool? Ha, ha,ha! That's too bad!
Wow, you're kind of a dick, you old shit.
rains, there's never any drought!
Anyway, this town has weird stuff going on so that despite being in the shittiest part of the world where it never rains, the weather's fucked up, and there's constant earthquakes, the town's still nice to live in. They never really delve into that, though.
Gold Hairpins will instantly kill stone monsters. This only applies to a very few enemies, but this can be surprisingly useful in one instance. More about that later, of course.
Black Chocobo, huh?
Anyway, here's a rather important place.
increase your strength!
So now we learn a song that will increase your party's strength in battle. Thing is, none of our jobs can sing, so it's useless.
The minstrel also tells us that playing songs for him will let him teach us new songs. Thus by playing every piano, we'll eventually be able to learn a couple new songs for him. The last one in particular is handy, so it's worth the time to practice.
No new magic, and the armor shop is the same as Jachol except without the Ninja Suit. There's weapons here that nobody can use. So yeah, fuck this place.
The old guy will talk about different stuff depending on which NPC you talked to first. Hey, I though it was neat.
There's nothing to do in the town, and we already lost our transporation, so there's nothing left to do but walk around the island.
There's Crescents around on Crescant Island. You can steal a pretty awesome axe from these guys that has a good chance of causing instant death, so there's that.
Reina learns her first Ninja ability. Dustb is literally Flee. I don't even know if there's any difference between the two.
Anyway, our next stop is this forest.
Tis no chocobo...
Thus a mini-game where you have to try to catch the chocobo. This is harder if you can't dash, but I can, so it's trivial.
It's a Black chocobo!
But I thought they were extinct...
The music starts up, but...
It fades quickly as the chocobo fails to fly.
Hmm... no go...
Wait! What's this?
Must've been blown here from th' explosion in Karnak...
So just like that, we got two new jobs by punching a chocobo in the back of the head.
Now he'll be able to fly!
So everyone hops onto the chocobo, and finally I can link the music proper, which you should probably listen to, because it's pretty good stuff.
And now, five minutes after getting and losing the Fire Ship, we now have a new method of transporation, the Black Chocobo.
Unlike the Dragon, the Black Chocobo can fly over mountains. However, it can only land in forests, but that pretty much excludes only Jachol, which is why I went early. So next time, we'll do a bit more side questing before we go back to the library and bitch at Cid and Mid for not making the ship whirlpool-proof.
But first, JOBS
The Hunter's an interesting class, being the only one to make use of Bows. It also has weird abilities like summoning various animals to attack/heal, or being able to Aim to heighten accuracy for an attack. Of course, nobody really cares about all of that, as they are the class with Sshot/Rapid-fire, the ability that lets the Hunter attack four times a round, albeit randomly and at half damage. This is still a pretty awesome ability, and one you can have a lot of fun with in other jobs. Still, the other stuff's not that bad, and Hunter is still a decent class who can be offensive from the back row. But Rapid-fire, man.
Vigor +16, Speed +12, Stamina +1, Magic -5
This isn't FF4. Bards can be incredibly powerful given enough time in a battle, as their songs can significantly boost your party's stats, plus they later get a song that will devastate undead. Harps suck for the most part, doing a percentage of HP for damage, with one very noteable exception. Bards are tied with Geomancers for quickest job to master, but their abilities besides Sing suck. They may not seem impressive since they won't annihilate most enemies quickly, but they're fantastic in longer battles when they ensure your party gets stronger as the battle goes on.
Vigor -8, Speed +8, Stamina -9, Magic +11