Part 35: Tick, tock
With Robin back in the group, let's take a look at that weird thing we picked up.
And what's more, let's do it right here.
Do you notice anything odd about this image...? Sure, there are chocobo suits, cat suits, behemoth suits, but only this one actually turns you into another sprite. It's kind of cute, I guess.
...As long as it's Robin and not Alfred wearing it.
Actually, the moogle suit is pretty damn good - it has +5 to magic, and while it's no Minerva Bustier, it's still pretty solid.
It's just that the behemoth suit outclasses it in just about every way (except poison immunity). This thing has excellent DEF and MDEF - it's not a Minerva Bustier, but it puts Robin just below Meryl in terms of physical, and just above in terms of magical defence, and most importantly, it boosts magic by six points.
That is the highest magic boost available outside weapons, and it is very nice indeed.
But let's return to the desert south of Maranda, or DSOM as it is known in... certain circles.
(goddamn nerds, that's who)
There are two enemies in the desert - well, technically three, but one is... a special case. This is one of the regular two: the Cactuar. If you play Final Fantasy games, you've probably seen one of these, not necessarily just in this game. They have very little HP, but are dodgy as fuck, ridiculously resilient, and will spam 1000 Needles like it's going out of style.
You need to kill them fast, and using something that doesn't miss and won't be resisted.
Pictured: Sketch... not being useless!
Using it here has a good chance of duplicating the cactuar's own 1000 needles, which, incidentally, happens to be an unavoidable and defence-ignoring attack.
Drill also works.
But the interesting thing isn't so much the cactuar itself. It's what happens when you defeat it.
Intangir fuckery is a thing of the past. Cactuars reign supreme.
Then of course there's the matter of the other enemy that shows up here.
Slagworms are... dangerous. Their attacks are more painful, and the rewards are lower; just a meagre 5 AP and 10k gil, though they also give out experience points (which may not be a good thing if you haven't picked up all the characters yet). They are also noticeably more common than cactuars.
Fortunately, they are open to pretty much every status ailment out there, so just cast Stop on them in the first round and you're home free. They also really dislike ice, so something like, say, dual Blizzaras is going to wreck their day pretty thoroughly.
And here's what I came here to do. Well, one of the things.
But before we can accomplish the next, we're going to have to go under ground.
There's a pretty good chance you'll never use the castle to go anywhere again once you have the Falcon. So, unless you know about this beforehand, you'll probably miss this part entirely.
We're under ground, so we can't get to most of the locations in the castle, and have to leave through the prison cells. On the other side is an unfamiliar cave- no, wait, fuck that, outside is a cave that uses the same damn tileset as every other fucking cave in the game. (But at least it's a different layout unlike some games I could mention.)
Due to the moogle charm, it's a relative cakewalk. We waltz in, pick up some stuff, and waltz back out again... at least in theory.
In reality, there's this.
Do you remember me saying that tonberries are scary? Well, how does a master tonberry sound?
Not so dangerous any more, huh...?
Also, he's vulnerable to Sleep. Master Tonberry is a goddamn pushover. The biggest annoyance is that he is worth no AP at all and drops a knife...
...no one gives a shit about.
There's also a Wing Edge, weapon for Indy (hahahahano) and the Death Tarot, a weapon for Gambit and basically an upgrade to the Viper Darts from before.
A deep pit...
...and a castle hidden under the earth for hundreds of years.
The castle fades to the unmistakable piss yellow tint of a flashback scene, and a bunch of dudes get wasted.
A scene... from the War of the Magi!
Though I'm not sure how exactly Tim and the others are seeing the flashback.
Soldier: Has he recovered from his injuries?
Chancellor: Does it matter? We have no other choice... We must leave this final battle in Odin's hands...
We never find out if this guy is evil.
There's a pretty good chance he staged the entire battle. Chancellors do that kind of stuff all the time.
Or, you know. Earlier.
I don't think you can accurately identify esper-inflicted damage after a thousand years.
Anyway, here's a gif of Odin doing what he does best.
And what he does ain't pleasant.
But here's a greater foe...
...who shrugs off Zantetsuken like it ain't no thang because he wasn't dumb enough to fight an esper with an instant death attack without instant death protection and...
...deals with Odin in his own way.
I seem to recall him not taking it quite as gracefully on the SNES, but either way, this is probably a reference to FFV where you could, indeed, petrify Odin rather than kick his face in the way you normally would.
Goddamn JRPGs have no respect for divinity, I tell you.
It took place in the great hall of a castle...
Outside, Tim is still monologuing (though this is generic dialogue, but it makes the most sense that the guy who lives in a castle with an actual library in it knows the most about these things and not the little painter kid, the furry thing or the love-starved twit.
Also, I imagine there have been many castles over the past 1000 years, so why would you assume this is the right one? I don't understand your crazy moon logic.
Anyway, there's treasure. And why would you ever equip such a thing god damn how useless can any one piece of equipment get.
There's also a monster-in-a-box.
He is soon to be very confused.
And kill himself with a single instant death move.
Remember that thing Leo had?
No, not the Guile haircut.
The thing. This thing.
Now I have one too.
The Master's Scroll (TAFKA the Offering) emulates the X-Fight command from FFV. You get four attacks at half power, but you can't target them. It is... probably about as good as any relic related to physical attacks is going to get, and combined with a Genji Glove it gives you eight attacks per round, which is definitely a thing.
Unfortunately, there's nothing in this game that emulates Magic Sword, which was one of the things that made X-Fight really, really good.
Odin is still stoned. Touching him yields...
...the appropriate magicite.
Meteor at x1, eeehhh, I guess it would be nice, but...
In an adjacent room, there is a bookshelf with sparkly things on it.
Clearly, it must be investigated.
"The Queen's Diary"
Apparently this queen was so insignificant that she was never even given a name. Now taking bets on whether she survived this story!
"Every time I think of that noble man, my heart flutters, and fans the flames yet more! And who could rightly fault it?"
"When the fighting ends, I shall tell him... I must..."
There are no further entries. And nothing more to do here. Let's mosey!
The castle re-surfaces...
I found a short passage about the city in an ancient text, but I haven't been able to make much sense of it.
"When the queen stands and takes five steps..."
...and for no apparent reason we're going to talk to this useless NPC who has never had anything useful to say and never will again.
Because Squaresoft demands it.
Also, this useless NPC:
That just seems silly to me. Kefka's Kefka. He's still the same villain, no matter how you spell his name!
"TAKE THAT YOU GODDAMN WAPANESE! TRANSLATOR SMASH!"
One, two, three, four, five. Click!
...this is new.
Hey, it's Meryl!
In a dress!
And painted grey!
Also, a sparkly thing.
"From the stone, is that... a tear?"
Odin's magicite surges with newfound power...
"Odin" becomes "Raiden"!
-the game puts its head between its legs and kisses its arse goodbye.
Well, or rather, it's what it will do ten cactuar battles from now.
Quick costs 99 MP and allows the caster to take two turns in succession. During which, they may use any commands they have.
You know how we can already cast two spells per round with the Soul of Thamasa?
Quick allows two uses of dualcast per round.
In addition to the dualcast command you input in order to cast Quick to begin with, which tacks on a fifth spell as long as you don't cast Quick first. (Firaga-Quick works, Quick-Firaga does not.)
Max output from magic damage in a single character's turn... now 49995.
Damn near nothing has 49995 HP.
Quick is goddamn ridiculous.
Oh, and I suppose it also works on commands like Tools, Blitz and Bushido (which will let you charge two bushido moves without interruptions) but ehh. Though, with Genji Glove, Master's Scroll and Quick - fight - fight, you're suddenly hitting 16 times per round instead of eight, for a potential (but generally unlikely) 159984 points of damage!
Oh, and there's this thing.
He is hilariously weak to electricity.
And worth 10 AP.
He also drops the "Zantetsuken", a sword that may instantly kill targets... when you attack them physically... as we so often do.
(What I'm trying to say is that I'm never going to use it.)
Three dragons down, five to go. Almost half done! And we could go pick off the fourth one right now, but first...
...I'd like to show you the very first instance of quad-nine damage. Blizzaga, Slagworm, BAM.
And in the process, Robin also learns the third-level elementals.
We're now so damn overpowered, I'm not even going to bother to use Quick.
From one thing to the next. When I was heading over to Jidoor, I spotted this strange place in the middle of the map.
As it happens, we can land in the middle of the "star"...
...and we've just recruited enough people to handle this place!
Let me present Team "Moogle and Minion"...
...and Team "god damn it Galuf share the fucking moogle charm already you selfish prick argh".
This is... exactly what it looks like.
Run. Press button. Switch party. Run more. Press more buttons. Switch party.
And yeah, there's only one moogle charm, and only one moogle to put it on.
This fucking dungeon
You could just ignore the spikes and walk on top of them, but it, naturally, damages you.
Oh, and there are dinos... dragons in here.
There was originally some confusion about the "dinosaurs" in the forest north of the V... that place where we picked up Batman. Apparently they were translated as "dragons" in the SNES edition. This caused some confusion what with the "eight legendary dragons" quest line and whatnot.
It's fixed now, but this dragon is still a palette swapped tyrannosaur and nobody is going to convince me otherwise.
Because it's true.
do i even need to fucking say it
Not to say there's nothing interesting in here, though you probably shouldn't think too hard about the logistics. Here's an underground lake. Also, a switch.
Pulling the switch drains the lake-
-into the lava below, cooling it so it's safe to walk on.
Just like in real life!
disclaimer do not try this in real life somethingawful.com takes no responsibility for users' lava-related injuries
Also, an old trick that still works: if you control multiple parties and one stands on a save spot, all parties are able to use tents to fully recover.
Nice, but useless because Galuf does not get into encounters.
Only goddamn chest so far that actually had something useful in it, but at least it's a fairly highly useful item... under certain circumstances.
And finally, here we are at the fourth dragon. Remember how I showed Blizzaga doing 9999 damage earlier?
It's not quite that yet, but damn if it doesn't get close.
Red Dragon has 30k HP and is (quite predictably) weak against ice and water.
He is honestly quite pathetic. But, like the other dragons, he's worth 10 AP, which is pretty nice. Unlike the other dragons, he drops a weapon for MrThou, the Murakumo, which is not so nice.
The game informs us that we are four dragons down, four to go. And the chest up the stairs contains a Dragon Horn, a relic that causes the Jump command to randomly trigger multiple attacks, up to four in rare cases. It's great for anyone who jumps, but of course that means both their relic slots are taken up by jumping-related relics.
With the Holy Lance, it's potentially four hits and four Holies in one round, so this has a lot of potential... it just rarely reaches it.
(It's still a pretty good setup. Just not as good as quick-dualcasting.)
And that's all there is of interest in this cave.
Fuck this shit, I'm going home.