Part 18: Deus Ex MagickaChapter 18: Deus Ex Magicka
So here we are on a new continent, with an airship that refuses to take off. We can always duck back into it if we need healing and supplies of course, or we could just visit this nearby town instead.
Not much to say about the towns on this continent. Most of the places with stuff of interest are blocked off by Imperial forces, making exploration kind of a waste of time.
This armor's description is far too modest. What it does is it boosts your MP by one-eighth of its base value. But that's not all!
You see, when the game compares armor, it compares it based on the physical defense it provides. Therefore, some pieces of equipment that give additional stat boosts may appear to be inferior to the stuff you're wearing right now, just because it has one point less of defense.
This is also why you ought not to use Optimize to equip your characters, because it prioritizes attack and defense above other stats, and a lot of weapons and armor we'll see have their uses under special conditions.
Vector is right in the middle of the continent, and already we can tell how much of a happy place it is.
Music: The Empire
If the overuse of gray and the exposed girders weren't any indication, we've also got that pounding anthem to ram the point in.
Do not believe this man's lies. This inn actually costs 1000 GP, which he'll be glad to extract from your hides while you're asleep.
Old Woman: WHAT?!
Yes, the Empire even has its own loyalty police hiding amongst the populace. How could Setzer even imagine that these people are evil? It boggles the mind!
Looks like we've got ourselves a fan. Every time we talk to this woman from now on, she'll heal our party to full.
Rats! A problem that the game won't allow us to solve via liberal applications of murder.
Fortunately, the solution to our problem is standing just a short distance away.
Old Man: Urgh...gonna toss it all...
I'm not sure why we needed a distraction, seeing as we're sneaking above their heads, but whatever makes the old man feel useful.
Music: The Devil's Lab (Magitek Research Facility Theme)
They call this place a research facility, but it's really more like a factory, complete with conveyor belts and hanging cranes.
The main theme of this place is that all the enemies are ridiculously sturdy against physical attacks, thereby forcing us to use our newfound magic to fight them. Or we could just use one of our many magical or armor-piercing special techniques, but they sure are forcing Locke to leave his comfort zone, so...mission accomplished, I suppose.
Treasure collecting is a little harder than usual in this place, due to the many opportunities to drop onto a conveyor belt and be unable to return. For instance, in this arrangement here, we're supposed to use the right tube to reach the chest, and if we use the left one, we can't go back. Did I mention that we can't return to this place once we make it out again?
In the course of our investigation of this facility, we'll also come across a Thunder Blade and a Blizzard Blade. As the names imply, they're swords that randomly cast Fire, Bolt and Ice, respectively, when they're swung. Pretty handy to have around in this dungeon, but they're going to be outclassed shortly.
In addition to your standard recolors of soldiers and dogs, there are also more unique enemies roaming around the place. ProtoArmor is somewhat like M-Tek Armor, and Pipsqueaks are just pathetic.
That belt down there is our way to the end of this facility, but we've got other things to find around here first.
Such as a Gold Shield, Gold Helmet and Gold Armor, hidden in various alcoves around the place. Naturally, Edgar gets the entire gaudy set, which is implausibly more durable than iron.
There's also a Zephyr Cape around here, but...
Zephyr Cape: Gives you +10% to Evasion and Magic Evasion, and gives you a swanky cape swoosh animation when you evade attacks. Of course, evasion is useless, and the White Cape provides Magic Evasion plus some status immunities, but I'm sure that in the GBA version, it's much more useful.
Pretty much the instant we get off on this conveyor belt, we're confronted with a cutscene, as indicated by that telltale laugh.
: And...I'll restore the...Statues!
Maybe I'm just a little spoiled from RPG's these days, but frankly, an RPG villain with a God Complex isn't really that original a thing anymore. Still, these Statue things are obviously supposed to be important, seeing as they got an ellipsis and capitalization when they were mentioned.
Hey, these two ought to be familiar.
: And you! Take a hike!
We barely have time to wax nostalgic about Ifrit and Shiva before they're unceremoniously dumped onto another conveyor.
Only one thing to do under these circumstances...
Looks like they haven't killed themselves yet so that we can acquire more power. Better hurry the process along.
As it turns out, they're not as drained of their power as Kefka suspected.
Though technically bosses, Ifrit and Shiva aren't really that tough. Ifrit uses fire spells and punches you on occasion, and is weak to ice. Once hit enough times, he'll switch to his partner in crime, and vice versa.
Shiva, meanwhile, uses ice spells and is weak to fire. Other than that, they counter with spells if you cast spells at them, and if you aggravate Ifrit or Shiva enough by casting spells at them, they'll either hit with Fire 3 or cast Reflect on themselves, respectively.
Naturally, since this fight is all about magic, having Celes on constant Runic duty turns this whole shebang into a bit of a joke, though I somehow managed to get Locke killed anyway.
"You have Ramuh's power?"
Ifrit: Gestahl has grabbed our friends and is trying to drain them of their power. I, too, suffered my turn in one of the glass tubes...
Shiva: They drained our powers, then threw us away too...We haven't long to live...We will follow Ramuh's lead, and give to you our power...
YES!! Now if only all the Espers we come across kill themselves, we'll be awash in magic in no time.
Shiva's special power hits all the enemies with ice damage. It's decent, but really not worth the cost.
Ice 2: x5
No level up bonus
Rasp and Osmose are spells that affect MP, either destroying it or draining it. We'll be coming across a lot of magic-based enemies in the fights to come, so it's going to be handy to have some way to hit them where it hurts most.
Ifrit is kind of like Shiva, in that his attack hits all enemies with fire damage. It's also probably not worth the cost though.
Fire 2: x5
Level up bonus: +1 to Vigor
Ifrit's kinda decent for this part of the game, and a stat boost to Vigor (that is to say, Strength) is always appreciated. However, we'll swiftly come across Espers that give better stat gains and teach the same things, so he's better off forgotten unless you like the spell Drain. He's the only one who can teach it. Personally, I didn't ever need it, and with that growth rate, it's just not worth the time.
Not much to talk about in this room, unless you like giant glass jars.
Well okay, there's also a hidden sword in this room with the power to instantly kill any enemy that isn't proofed against petrification, but who wants to hear about that?
After the room with the capsules, we come across a genuine boss fight. Hope you've been training up the magic.
I've actually been looking for some remixes of the Decisive Battle. There's quite a lot of good stuff out there, and some rather awful stuff. I kinda liked this version made by some fellow called S.S.H., so I thought I'd share.
Music: The Decisive Battle, S.S.H.
In the opening portion of the battle, Number 024 will just do some rather damaging physical attacks, and you're free to beat on him in whatever way you desire.
After the battle's gone on for a while, he'll use WallChange, which makes him invincible against magic in all forms except one, picked at random. There are two ways to figure out which one that is. The first way is for him to cast a spell of the opposing element (Ice for a Fire weakness, for instance)...
The other way is to use Scan, an ability that displays an enemy's HP, MP and weaknesses. Alternatively, you could just use physical attacks, as he never develops an immunity to those.
His regular steal is a Rune Edge which, although better now that we've got more MP, is now way behind in terms of attack power. This sword is much better, and we'll see just why shortly, but here's a hint: it's also known as the Blood Sword.
Oh, and one more thing...
He can also be turned into an Imp. Not necessarily the best idea though, because he's scripted to always do critical hits in his Imp form, and he's fast enough to strike twice in close succession. Ironically, turning him into an Imp has the potential to make the fight a little harder.
He also has the random chance of dropping a Blizzard Sword or a Flame Sabre after he's killed, but on the take where I got the Drainer, I didn't get so lucky. Pity, that.
After the fight, I get this weird urge to take off all of Celes' gear. It's like I've got knowledge of the future or something.
Music: Another World of Beasts
Look at all these Espers just waiting to be claimed.
Maybe this is the switch for the life support.
Esper: You want to help me...But...I haven't long to live. Just as Ifrit did before me, I'll give to you my power...
Suddenly, a man in a yellow raincoat busts in.
Cid: What are you doing here?
Cid: What's this? So...Esper magical power can only truly be transferred when one of them passes away...
This fellow here is Cid Del Norte Marquez, a scientist and developer of Magitek power. He also likes to dress up like a banana, but don't hold that against him.
At that moment, all the Magicite bursts out of their containers and gives the party a big group hug. We got freakin' magic, baby!
: No...you see...
Cid: Can it be true that you came here as a spy, seeking to cause an uprising!?
: ?! Celes...?!
: General Celes!! The game's over. Bring me those Magicite shards!
: Celes! You...deceived me?!
: Of course not! Have a little faith!
: G'hee, hee, hee! She has tricked you all! Celes, that's so...YOU!
So Kefka's entire spiel there was just a ploy to lower the party's guard. For some reason, the party having the stuffing beaten out of them turns the entire world purple.
: C-Celes? What are you doing? Stop it!
But it's too late! She's turned the world blue!
Which results in her, Kefka and the two soldiers teleporting away...for some reason.
Suddenly, the place starts randomly shaking.
No, I'm pretty sure that they burst open when the Espers violently flew out into my pockets. Ah, but what's one more contrived plot excuse?
So long as these Espers were worth my time...