Part 53: Part the FivethOh sure, downplay one of the hardest goddamn bosses on a LLG why don't you. Not the hardest, that's coming up. But still pretty hard. Ultros-tier.
Let's Low-Level Run Final Fantasy 6: Part the Fiveth
The Magitek Research Facility
Blastinus has shown everything of value in the Magitek Facility. I just have to go through it too, except I have four characters between level 5 and 7 and I run from everything.
Except Ifrit and Shiva, because you can't run from them. Mercifully this fight is quite easy if you bought four Wall Rings. Focus on one of the two and it'll end without being too painful. Only Ifrit really has moves to worry about (physical attacks and Blaze, which seems to ignore Reflect).
You made sure to buy three more Wall Rings in Albrook to supplement the one you found in Narshe, right? Didn't save beforehand inside the Facility without doing that, did you? Because if you did and you're trying to stay low level, you just screwed yourself, dope. If you're not LLGing, stop whining because Ifrit and Shiva aren't even that hard. You just got elemental swords for fuck's sake.
Past them, Number 024 stands in our way, but he's also not such a big deal. If he Wall Changes into something that absorbs whatever you've got Gau doing, just reset. He can't really pose a significant threat otherwise.
Okay, now we're at one of the two major sequences in the game where you must gain experience. Sorry, you can't avoid fights on the mine cart ride and you can't run away from them.
But you could on the Lete River. So... shut up. The point is you must fight five encounters before Number 128, all of those encounters will give experience points, and there isn't a goddamn thing you can do about that.
That's only the beginning of the problem with the mine cart segment. The actual enemies you encounter also vary. You can encounter one large blue Mag Roader, a blue Mag Roader and a small red one, and two blue ones. So you want, if you're trying to minimize experience, to fight the fewest enemies possible. Oh and it isn't actually random, but it kinda is. If we arrange everyone in the order Locke, Gau, Cyan, Empty, we'll encounter the minimum possible number of enemies. The sticky part is the first group which will either contain a blue and a red, or just one blue. I got a Blue/Red the first time then I had to reload for something and wound up facing just one Blue. So anyway I somehow got 1 Blue, then 2 Blue, then 1 Blue, then 2 blue twice.
I think this is as low as it goes. Of course we still have to figure out how to assign that exp between Locke, Cyan, and Gau.
The first battle, just win. This exp figure is actually higher than what I got because of that red Mag Roader not appearing the second time through.
The second battle, get Locke and Cyan killed. This is a little tough because they have trouble killing themselves. The Mag Roaders' Fire2 won't help since it reflects away, but Wheel can do some damage. Be careful when defeating the Mag Roaders here since if you Rage Templar Gau won't be able to heal himself. You could just tank and let them Fire2 themselves to death.
Gau gains a big ol' chunk of experience all on his lonesome, which...
...levels him up. To 8. He is now our highest-level member. Impressive.
Here's where it gets tricky. The next battle, Locke needs to be alive but Cyan does not. So we have to revive him, have him survive, and win the fight. This is tough because Wall Rings don't kick in unless you started the fight alive. One Fire2 will end Locke.
You get some more mandatory experience, but nobody levels.
Third battle, bring Cyan back up. From here out, just keep everybody up.
More experience we can't prevent.
Which bumps Locke to level 6. That's the second, and only, mandatory level gain you needed to do here. Our party average is sliiiiightly higher, but nothing catastrophic, and Cyan didn't gain a level at all (although he is close, but we don't need to give him a single point of experience again for the rest of the game).
Oh and give Phantom to Gau. I didn't. That made this next part kind of a bitch.
See, Number 128's gimmick is actually kind of nasty when you have three low level guys. There's really no strategy besides being lucky with Gau's Rage selection. I failed, a lot. Then one time, I didn't fail. Go figure. I wanted that Tempest too but I don't have the luxury of stealing with Locke until I get it. There's another one available soon anyway.
Once you're out of the facility, Setzer signs on just in time to fight the fucking cranes, who would be considerably less annoying were it not a low-level pincer with a poorly-equipped Setzer and if the cranes were even remotely predictable. The good news is Aqua Rake hurts 'em, and hurts 'em hard. Unfortunately the right crane hurts Gau hard too. It was a fair trade. Cyan feels like a true hero when he tanks the right crane's dying swing, which is good because I won't ever use him again if I can help it.
Oh and when you go back and hear Terra's little pity party story, she officially rejoins the party, and thus officially is re-averaged from level 3 to level 6. We'll call that a mandatory experience gain; there's no way to actually prevent this. All you can do is keep levels low so she gains as few levels as possible.
Gau went from 7-8. He gained +1 MagPwr from having Stray equipped. Look the fuck out, Kefka! Ironically he has the deepest MP pool of anyone right now, despite not needing it to cast good spells. When it rains...
Locke went from 5-6. He got +2 Vigor from Bismark. It isn't going to do a damn thing and he still sucks.
Terra was reaveraged from 3-6. At least she's not worthless anymore. Which is good because there's 2-3 bosses coming up where Terra needs to be Naked Pink Rambo.
Setzer: Um, well, he exists. Slots are useful (more useful if rigged) in that they can do some decent damage, but it's annoying to rig the harder ones. Setzer is saved late-game with access to a particular weapon that is somewhat less level-dependent than what other characters get, so he can with the proper setup do some pretty damn good damage. At least relatively speaking. He has serious defense problems though, as his equipment selection is kind of bad.