Part 38: It's Christmastime Every Day!Chapter 38: It's Christmastime Every Day!
For this next part of the journey, we're going to need a party of three, Locke included. Why are we leaving a vacancy? Because I'm lazy and want to get this done with in one shot.
The Valiant Knife and the Atma Weapon are actually rather opposed to one another. The Atma Weapon loses power when Locke loses health, while the Valiant Knife gains power. How do they get along with one another? Not that badly, all things considered, but I think I can do better.
Lone Wolf: There's only one Moogle still around, and only a treasure hunter could pick that lock.
Music: Dark World
Well, what do you know? Apparently a fall off a cliff has, once again, proven to be nonfatal. As the hint suggests, we're going to have to come back here later with Ziegfriend, because all we've got here is a thief.
Never mind, he's good enough, though only two establishments are of any use to us.
Locke's girlfriend is rather helpful in this area, as Phoenix simultaneously revives people and does fire damage to enemies, though unlike certain iterations of Phoenix, it won't activate when the entire party bites it, which is a real shame.
Life 2: x2
Life 3: x1
Cure 3: x2
Fire 3: x3
No Level Up Bonus
Where do I even begin with this one? Life 2 brings a party member back to life with full health, while Life 3 can be applied while a person's still alive to automatically bring them back after they die. Add to that the great growth rates for Cure 3 and Fire 3, and this Esper is one of the best that you can get. We'll be definitely making good use of Fire 3 in Narshe, as everything here hates the heat.
In the back room of the Weapons Shop, we find this man.
This decision is huge. I mean, really huge. The Esper that we're making decisions with is one of the most powerful in the game.
Ragnarok's special power has a chance of morphing enemies into items, some of them very rare. However, it's not as good as it sounds, because not only does it have a very good chance of missing with the more valuable morphs, but even if it does hit, there are four different slots for items to choose from, and the game loves to seed three of those slots with worthless items. Did I mention that Espers can only be used once a fight?
On the plus side...
No Level Up Bonus
Ultima is the biggest, baddest, most devastating spell in the entire game, easily able to hit the 9999 cap on a single enemy even when Celes is only level 40. It's also freakin' expensive MP-wise, but there are a couple ways to get around that. With that in mind, why would we want to lose this Esper in exchange for a sword, no matter how good the sword is?
The answer lies in a different house. The Cursed Shield is absolutely terrible, applying all sorts of status ailments and making its wearer weak to almost every element. The first part can be alleviated mostly with a Ribbon, but those weaknesses and the lack of stat bonuses make the Cursed Shield a considerable pain. And the worst part? In order to uncurse it, you have to survive 256 BATTLES with it equipped! That's a considerable load, that is.
There are a couple ways to alleviate the frustrations slightly. First off, if you equip the Cursed Shield (or any shield or weapon for that matter) in battle, you might notice that it only applies the status ailments at the start of battle, meaning that you can avoid the bad conditions if you just put it on before the end of the battle. Still, that's a tad tedious. Here's a better idea.
On the Solitary Island, as you may recall, the enemies kill themselves. If you've the patience to walk back and forth for what seems like forever but is in fact only somewhere around 15 to 20 minutes, you can rack up those 256 battles in very little time.
And for your troubles, you get the Paladin Shield, which not only gives a bevy of stat bonuses and immunities, but also teaches Ultima at the same x1 bonus as Ragnarok.
As for the sword, you can bet it at the Coliseum to face this mean customer. It's got a load of nasty spells, but with a Wall Ring and the right level, you can avoid them all.
Which is why Shadow decided instead to cast Rasp on the first turn, causing the enemy to waste turns trying to cast spells with MP it didn't have. Whatever works, I guess.
The Illumina is one of those swords that expends MP to get a guaranteed critical hit, and also has a chance of casting a double-power holy spell called Pearl. It is, therefore, quite superior to Ragnarok, which does the same critical thing but only has a chance of casting Flare.
Back to the fun part. The treasures in the Narshe Mines have finally changed, though now that I look at it, the rewards aren't exactly that great.
Pod Bracelet: Gives its wearer Safe and Shell at the start of battle. Better than those ones that only activate when the wearer's at critical, I guess, but there are far better options.
In the Moogle Cave, we find our old friend, staring at a wall.
Music: Mog's Theme
: Say, we could use some Yeti muscle!! Besides, he'd be helpless here without me! He's somewhere in the mines. Once we find him, I'll order him to join us!
Mog's somewhat incorrect in this, actually. Said Yeti is in an area of the mines that's not accessible through these tunnels. Before we leave to go find this Yeti, though, we should see what it was that Mog was staring at.
Moogle Charm: Prevents all random encounters when worn. Every. Single. One. Had I not been incredibly stupid, I would have worn this for my return journey through the Phoenix Caves. Would have spared me a lot of grief. In later translations, it's known as Molulu's Charm, because that's the name of one of Mog's now-deceased friends in later translations. Just another reminder that Mog is now the last of his kind, I guess.
Our search for party members takes us up into the mountains, where we encounter the Ice Dragon. Aside from being able to inflict the Freeze status (kind of like Stop, only you can cure it by setting the afflicted person on fire), the dragon is remarkably uncomplicated and goes down in a few shots of Fire 3.
5 Dragons remain, and we get the Force Shield which, like the Force Armor, provides big defense bonuses and protects against a bunch of stuff. Par for the course at this point.
Hello, you annoying pest. It's high time that somebody set you free.
Tritoch's icy shell makes him nigh-indestructible against physical attacks and he blocks most types of magic as well. At the same time, all he does is Rasp, Ice 3 and Freezing Dust, making him more of a puzzle than an actual boss. The obvious answer is that we have to thaw him, so we need to use Fire.
Tritoch: I sense war and destruction... Could that stupid war possibly have lasted a thousand years? I can tell that you want to put a stop to the madness... Let's see if you are worthy!
And we now have Tritoch as a Magicite. Almost makes all that effort we went through for the guy seem worthwhile. Almost.
Tritoch's power is billed as a "tri-elemental attack," which mostly seems to mean that if the enemy is weak against Fire, Ice, or Bolt, it does bonus damage to them. And boy does it do damage. I haven't checked how the other Espers measure up since I first got them, but Tritoch easily breaks 2000 damage on all enemies.
Fire 3: x1
Ice 3: x1
Bolt 3: x1
Level Up Bonus: Magic Power +2
You need Tritoch. Simple as that. No other Esper teaches Bolt 3 and Ice 3, so you can bear the slow growth rate. It'll all be worth it in the end.
Tritoch's death broke off a piece of the cliff that we can jump down. We've come this far, so there's no point in stopping here.
Music: Umaro's Theme
This dungeon has quite the
Also, the enemies in this place drop a lot of Green Cherries for whatever reason.
By the way, did you know that one of the recurring monsters in the Final Fantasy series is a slow-walking unstoppable creature with absurd amounts of strength that can kill you in one hit if you let it get too close to you? They're normally called Tonberries, but in this game, they're known as Pugs. Moveset-wise, as mentioned, these things will inch slowly over to the party, doing decent physical damage all the way. They counter magic with Pearl, so it's best to just let Locke take them down with his absurdly powerful weapon combination.
There's another single monster variant that'll also use Step Mine quite liberally, but we won't be encountering those, because of how rarely they show up. Besides, all they're carrying is a Tintinabar, and who needs more of those?
By the way, did you know that each one of those Pugs has a chance to drop a Minerva after the battle? I'd say that my older woman-specific armor needs are fully satisfied at this point.
Moving on, we find this room with a pathway connecting two levers. The first one will just drop you back into the dungeon, but the second...
Drops you into this rather Spartan living space. Who could live here?
Sure! Once we do so, we get Terrato, which I'll go into next update.
Of course, the master of the house doesn't look kindly on us taking his stuff.
Music: The Decisive Battle
Being the big tough guy that he is, Umaro only has 17,200 HP, two moves (a physical attack and the Vomammoth's Blizzard attack), and a crippling weakness to Fire. Something makes me think that the game expected us to tackle Narshe earlier than this.
Halfway through the fight, he'll eat a Green Cherry and gain Protect, Shell and Haste. And yes, you can toss him a Green Cherry as well if you want to, but he only gains his "boost" once. Any claims of a gain in power are completely misleading, but he will have a couple new attacks that I failed to see because I dropped a Fire 3 on him and he lost.
Incidentally, you only get 10 GP from this fight. And I thought octopi were poor...
: Ooh... me Umaro... Yes, boss... me join you!
: Umaro! No slouching, now!
: Ooh... me wait for you in big airship!
So in conclusion, we've gained two Espers, an awesome sword, an awesome shield, two good or semi-good characters, and more than enough Minerva Armors to outfit Celes and Terra, with one left over to get us back the Czarina Gown we lost. Ladies and gentlemen, I love Narshe.
As the icing on the cake, there's a convenient shortcut in the back of Umaro's home that drops us close to the exit.
Next Time: We find the most peculiar member of the ensemble and help our founding member regain her lost confidence. Also, something about an Opera House.