Part 28: End of the WorldI hope you'll forgive the length of this update, but I can assure you that cutting it off midway would just not do this section justice.
Chapter 28: End of the World
Music: New Continent
We've landed not too far from Shadow, who appears to be in rather dire straits.
: We thought you were a goner!
: Is Interceptor all right?
: He's fine. Come on, let's go!
: Forget about me.
: We can't just leave you!
And that's all the convincing he needs to join our party.
If you've been coasting through the game, the Floating Continent is going to come as a bit of a shock. These Brainpan enemies, for instance, can Smirk at a character, stopping him or her in place, and once there's only one left, they use Blowfish, a Lore that inflicts 1000 damage, guaranteed.
Ninjas are back too, and they still throw Skeans. On the bright side, two of them give 5 Magic Points per fight.
And then there's the Behemoth. You'll want to use Phantom for these guys, as their physical attacks are devastating, but only if they can actually hit you.
The dungeon itself has an interesting gimmick. You see, if you approach certain rock walls...
They'll open up and let you through. Not all of them will be so cooperative, of course, but there's usually a button nearby for those ones.
This Gigantos fellow is lurking inside this dungeon's version of a treasure box. Though theoretically a regular enemy, he can attack three or four times a round, and he can use Throat Punch, a ridiculously strong physical attack, twice.
Naturally though, making everyone invisible before the fight begins is a good way to turn what would be a hard fight into a laughable one.
...I miss being young and innocent sometimes.
Other treasure chests on the Continent hold a Murasame and a Beret. The Murasame is just a nice sword for Cyan that provides a useless boost to Evasion, but the Beret, in addition to fairly good stats, also gives Relm a boost to her chance of Sketching something.
The dungeon largely consists of traveling from place to place in this magical version of pneumatic tubes. Though sometimes the camera pans in a way that suggests that the party is passing through thin air.
At one point, a portion of the landmass blocks our path, so we have to take a roundabout route to lower it so we can advance.
It may seem like I'm just whizzing through this dungeon, but it's actually fairly large and expansive, and the enemies require a lot more thought than just spamming attack, so the battles are going to seem like they're longer too.
The bottom line is this save point is going to be a godsend.
Just in case you run low on supplies, the game even gives you the option of jumping down to the Blackjack and trying the dungeon again later, minus the IAF, Ultros, Chupon, and Air Force.
If you choose not to leave though, you've got this guy to deal with.
Music: The Fierce Battle (Special Boss Theme)
Atma Weapon: I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!
Atma Weapon is one of the best bosses in this entire game. Why?
Flare is non-elemental, ignores defense, is quite powerful, and it's also this thing's bread and butter. If it's not hitting you with Flare, it's punching you for up to 700 damage each time or hitting the entire party with fire for about 300 each. And that's just the first phase of the fight. In later phases, Flare will stop being used as a regular attack, because it'll be its counterattack instead.
But wait, it gets better.
Once it reaches 12,800 health, it drops Meteo on you, casts Quake, or hits everyone with Bio. Then it does its own absurdly powerful physical attack, hits everyone with Fire 2...
Does Mind Blast, an ability that randomly gives four random status effects to randomly chosen party members (randomly)...
And then it begins charging up its ultimate attack, Flare Star.
In short, if you're playing this game in the standard matter, this fight is going to be a bitch. It's probably the first time in this entire game that a boss fight will actually feel like you're going toe-to-toe with your enemy.
Naturally, ZoneSeek and Golem are going to be big helps for blocking his magic and physical attacks. Helping matters is that Atma does not absorb or block any elements, even though he's not weak to any either, so you're free to use your most powerful spells at your discretion.
Oh, and don't be shy about reloading the fight if you only steal an Elixir from him. He's got a Ribbon.
After the fight, Shadow does his normal thing. Don't worry about losing Espers though. You won't need them for the upcoming fight.
: Fwa, ha, ha...Then you're just in time to perish. Behold! The Statues!! Ooh! I've got goose bumps! What power...
: Emperor Gestahl! Please, stop this madness!
See, that's why we left Celes on the ship, because she's going to show up anyway.
Suddenly, lights fire out from the statues, immobilizing everyone other than Celes.
: Celes...Come to me, my pretty! You and Kefka were given life to serve me!! It is your birthright to rule the world with me!!
In the original translation, Gestahl suggests that Celes and Kefka should give birth to a new generation of Magitek Knights. And I don't mean metaphorically. Creepy old man...
: Kill the others and we'll overlook your treachery!
: Take this sword! Take care of them. Immediately!!
: Celes...together we can rule an entire world! Think of it...!
Celes looks for a moment like she's about to do what the Emperor wants, but then...
: Power only breeds war...I wish I'd never been born.
And she rams that thing right into Kefka's gut instead.
Oh dear. That is not the sound that a man about to die makes.
: B... Blood!? You...vicious brat! Grrr...Aargh...I hate hate hate hate hate hate...hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU! Grrr...
That's a lot of hate. Somehow, I get the feeling that getting Kefka angry might have been the opposite of a good idea.
: I command you! Give me your power!
: Listen to me, or you'll regret it! Give me...POWER!
: Kefka, stop it! Revive those statues, and you'll destroy the very world we're trying to possess!
: Kefka! Are you nuts!?
: Nuts...!? Emperor! Don't disturb me! I'm showing them the meaning of power!
: I don't think so, friend. Your days are now over. Now relax...I'm simply going to put you to sleep with the very power you unleashed...
: Very well. It is only fitting that you go to sleep laughing! FIRE 3!!
Gestahl does the casting animation but nothing happens.
: Flare!!!! N...noooo!! Why isn't my magic working!? Merton!!!
: K...Kefka!!!!! H...how...!? How are you doing this!?
: How? Simple! I'm standing within the field of the Statues! Their strong field absorbs all magic sent their way! Or didn't you notice!?
: And now, Statues! You've shown me a sign! It is time you show this old man your true power!
: No! Kefka!! Don't do something stupid...
: I command you, Statues!!! Show me your power!!!
: You're way off!!!! Where are you aiming!?
: Run! Run! Or you'll be well done!
: YES!! Poor old...Oh well, what a worthless excuse of an Emperor!!
: There'll be no-one to worship us...
As Kefka demonstrates here, he couldn't care less. Many is the time that the charismatic leader is bumped off in the ninth-inning stretch by losing his charisma at just the wrong moment, but in Kefka's case, it's clear that he wanted to do this from Day One. One would think that the smart thing to have done would have been to have a second-in-command who wasn't likely to snap under pressure, but alas, when one is hurtling towards the ground at a rapidly increasing rate, it's a little late to learn from one's mistakes.
Should have mastered Stray, me thinketh. Would have given him a handy Float spell. Anyway...
Celes' timing couldn't have been worse, as Kefka simply bats her away and...
: Oh, that's really smart, Kefka! Disturb their delicate balance, and they'll go haywire...!
I don't think she's gotten the memo yet. HE. DOESN'T. CARE!
It's Shadow, having finally decided to redeem himself.
Points for use of props, but that's just going to make the unbalance worse.
: Go! There are people counting on you! Don't worry about me! Run!! I can't stop this chain reaction! I'll see you again. Count on it!
: You can't escape me!!
And Kefka fires off a light so that it blocks the only avenue of escape. What a guy.
: Shadow! Get out of here on the double!
I'd be more worried for yourself. The world is ending in six minutes.
On the way out, these things waste our time. Naughty is weak to fire and lightning, but they love to use attacks that take a long time to finish. Good thing they've got nothing to steal, because we're in a hurry.
Wait, why are we in a hurry? The world's ending, so where do you run to? Silly game mechanics...
The Continent is breaking up as we move along, forcing us to take a lengthy path around. There's even a cheap trick coming up where a treasure chest will be cut off from us if we approach it from the wrong end. It just holds an X-Potion anyway, so no big deal if you miss it.
As we're strapped for time as it is, an enemy who reflects magic and opens the battle by casting Condemned on everyone is an especially annoying case.
Now, you might think this choice is just like Beren Falls, and you don't have a choice but to jump, but you're wrong. This is not Beren Falls, and if you jump, you're leaving a man behind. PERMANENTLY!
Shadow sure is taking his time though. At about 3 seconds until world destruction...
All around the world, the land is being reshaped. Landmasses rise and fall seemingly at whim.
Good thing that grassy plain put itself back together so it could get heaved up again though.
The first time I saw the Airship split in half, my heart sank. If there's one thing that you always count on in a JRPG, it's that no matter how bad things get, the heroes will always just regroup and fight back. But not this time.
I thought that I'd done something wrong somewhere, that somehow I'd caused a Bad Ending to occur, but no, that was just the way it was. The heroes had lost, and the world was going to be destroyed no matter what I did.
But this isn't the end.
Next Time: Please insert Disc 2