Part 20: Esperger'sChapter 20: Esperger's
Music: The Blackjack
So we've got our own airship now. It's probably the fastest in the series, almost disorienting sometimes. The obvious place we're supposed to go to with it would be Narshe, but we've got some things to do.
First, we go to Tzen, on the north side of the southern continent. The place has a few things of note, like a kid that's constantly sliding down a railing, but what's most important is a thief hiding behind the trees in the north end of town.
Apparently, the Magicite Research Facility went kaboom when we weren't looking, and this fellow was lucky enough to scavenge a Magicite shard from it. Certain events later in the story will inspire him to lower the price, but we can afford 3000.
For that tidy sum, we get the Esper Sraphim, but we're not done yet.
Remember how the auction house in Jidoor was closed? Now that we've finished with the Vector sequence, it's open for business.
Music: Spinach Rag
The Auction House only carries one item every time we visit it, picked at random from a very short list.
Generally, this relic is what you can expect to be offered at this point in the game, though you may, very rarely, be offered a Cure Ring instead. Unlike a real auction house, the bids are static, and if you abstain from the first round of bidding, it's still possible to weigh in on the second and get the item instantly.
Cherub Down: Gives its wearer the Float status at the start of battle. Not all too helpful, given that most enemies with earth-based attacks tend to also have an ability that negates Float.
Cure Ring: Gives the Regen status at the start of battle. Kind of useful, but the odds of getting it in the Auction House are kind of slim. We'll be picking up one shortly anyway.
There's a very high probability that this talking Chocobo will come up too, but we can't get it.
That's because this whiny kid in front will always talk his dad into bidding an exorbitant amount for it, and even if we had the money, the game wouldn't allow us to outbid him.
If you can tolerate the endless deluge of naked flying baby feathers and verbose chickens, you might be lucky enough to get the opportunity to bid for Golem and ZoneSeek. The game will expect you to bid 20,000 for Golem and 10,000 for ZoneSeek, so you better be loaded by the time they come up.
Now that we've got so many Espers, it's only natural that our next step is to test them out in battle against random creatures. Let's get started.
First, Phantom. His effect turns everyone in the party invisible, which is pretty handy under the right circumstances.
Bserk (Berserk): x3
Level Up Bonus: MP +10%
Demi is a spell that takes half of an enemy's current health, but has a low chance of actually working, and Berserk makes an enemy or party member attack uncontrollably, but increases his or her physical power. While those have their uses, the most important one of Phantom's spells is Vanish. As mentioned, invisible enemies can't be hit by physical attacks, but magic attacks are guaranteed to hit, including certain ones that aren't supposed to hit at all.
Shoat's power has the potential to petrify all the enemies on the field. While Petrify can be fixed with a Soft when it's done on a party member, monsters just die instantly. Pretty handy.
Level Up Bonus: HP +10%
Shoat and Phantom are sort of an unholy alliance in the SNES version of Final Fantasy VI, due to the funny quirk of Vanish that I just mentioned. You see, one of those abilities that suddenly has a 100% chance of hitting a vanished opponent just happens to be Doom. Break is a single-target version of Shoat's effect, and Bio is a more powerful version of Poison.
Terra's father isn't that bad, really. His ability does non-elemental damage to all foes for quite a decent amount, about equivalent to a shot of Edgar's Flash. Granted, Edgar can use that multiple times for no MP cost whatsoever, but...baby steps.
Fire 2: x3
Ice 2: x3
Bolt 2: x3
Level Up Bonus: Magic Power +1
Maduin is going to be the go-to fellow for second-level elemental spells for quite a while. Sure, he doesn't have the add-ons of Ifrit, Shiva and Ramuh, and he's a little slower teaching their spells, but the big difference is that he teaches them all at once.
Bismarck does water damage to all enemies, but at 50 MP a pop, you're better off just using Ice 2.
Level Up Bonus: Vigor +2
Bismarck, much like Maduin, is going to be handy for teaching new people how to cast basic elemental spells, and that bonus to Vigor is quite good too.
While Unicorn certainly looks badass, all he does is cure everyone's status ailments. We won't be seeing enemies who inflict more than one status effect for a while, and by that point, we'll be ready for them.
Cure 2: x4
No Level Up Bonus
Bleh, those are just terrible numbers, given the Espers that we can pick up around the same time. For instance...
Sraphim heals the entire party for a decent amount, better than what you can do with a normal Cure spell. Fairly straightforward, really.
Cure 2: x8
No Level Up Bonus
What is it with healing-based Espers and giving no level bonuses? Anyway, Sraphim's healing growths are far better than Unicorn's, so there's no reason whatsoever to use him, especially since you have...
Carbuncle gives everyone the Reflect status. Since Reflect is a single-target spell and you probably won't have four Wall Rings unless you're giving yourself some sort of weird challenge, this could be a definite boon.
No Level Up Bonus
Those are some mighty respectable numbers for Safe and Shell, but I'm sure we can do better than that.
Golem is quite the unique Esper. At first, he doesn't appear to do anything other than shoot steam out the back.
But once an enemy attacks one of the party members, his hand rises up and takes the blow for you. This only blocks physical attacks, unfortunately, but the last Esper we have to show today can cover magic no problem.
Cure 2: x5
Level Up Bonus: Stamina +2
Stop is pretty good if it works, which is rarely. The most important thing is that Safe now grows at a sane rate, and that Stamina bonus is fantastic.
ZoneSeek, our last Esper for a while, casts Shell on the entire party. Shell decreases the damage from magic a considerable amount, and it only costs 30 MP to summon. It's a keeper!
Level Up Bonus: Magic Power +2
ZoneSeek is basically a magic user's best friend. I never used him much when I first played the game, but these growths for these abilities are just absolutely fantastic. You'd be amazed at the number of enemies that just outright kill themselves when they run out of MP.
So you might be wondering, "With all these Espers, how does an impatient man like myself get spells quickly?" The answer lies on this triangular island, known appropriately as Triangle Island.
There's a creature here, trust me. Intangir starts the battle asleep and invisible, and he absorbs all kinds of elemental magic and is invincible against most effects, so what you have to do is hit him with a spell that doesn't work just so he can appear, and then wail on him strictly with physical attacks.
Problem is, Intangir knows Meteo, a spell with enough power to kill every member of the party in one shot, and once he casts it, he turns himself invisible again. At this point in the game, killing him the way the game designers intended is almost completely out of the question.
So we're going to cheat a little by casting Doom instead. Normally, you'd have to cast Vanish on a boss before this glitch would work, but Intangir has so graciously performed Step One for us.
Granted, he's programmed to cast Meteo on the person who killed him, no matter how he dies, but three members of the party now have 10 MAGIC POINTS! That's a lot of spell learning, and you can repeat this battle over and over and over again. I won't be using Intangir too much because I like learning magic the normal way, but it's something to look out for.
Next Time: We hire an exotic dancer and set off a WMD. But it's okay, we're the good guys.