Part 39: Training montageWe picked up some dudes last time, so our next task should be to make sure they stop sucking. First off, we're going to visit a certain old man...
Come to think of it, I haven't seen that repairman for a while. Tough fella, looked like a big, lumberin' bear...
This guy somehow survived the end of the world.
I can't believe anyone would be surprised by this. Even before the US SNES censorship, this game was having a hard time killing people off.
We're looking for another old man who should be dead, however. Remember how Duncan's wife said he was training up around Narshe somewhere?
It's time we re-united Matt with his mentor, who, by the way, is a palette swap of Banon because Squaresoft is run by a bunch of lazy doo-doo-heads.
Wah-ha-ha! Why the surprised face? Did you think I'd died or something?
Master Duncan... I'm so glad you're safe...!
Oh, dear... Matt, you aren't... crying, are you?
He's pretty spry for an old guy! I don't remember if this line is the same in the SNES version, but having Duncan repeat Matt's own line right back at him is a nice touch.
The earth tried to swallow me up once or twice, but I just pried its jaws open and climbed back out!
Coming from the guy who trained Matt to suplex trains, I'm prepared to believe every word this old man says.
Matt gets ready.
Then he gets punched in the face.
The two of them bounce back and forth on the roof exchanging blows...
...before jumping high into the sky...
Have to say this is considerably better than "bum rush".
Now go on! Hit Kefka with every blitz I taught you!
Going back to speak to Duncan... is a bit worrying. Don't you dare kick the bucket before you see me save the world again, old man!
Because characters re-join at party average levels in the World of Ruin, Matt has picked up a couple of skills during that year of comatose Meryl.
Chakra is worthless and should never be used. Razor Gale, however, is pretty much an upgrade over Rising Phoenix in every way, save maybe exploiting a fire weakness. It's quite powerful, and one of the few ways to reliably inflict air elemental damage in the game.
Remember: diagonals can be replaced with another press in the previous direction, so UURRDDF works just as well as the listed command.
There is also, of course, the Phantom Rush (LLUURRDDF).
It's a powerful, non-elemental, defence-ignoring magic attack, and it kicks tremendous amounts of behind. It compares to Flare about the same way as Razor Gale compares to Rising Phoenix, except that instead of hitting different weaknesses, Phantom Rush does not let you target it. This isn't usually all that much of a problem, though, especially since all the really tough enemies tend to be alone.
Here's Razor Gale. It looks a bit different than Wind Slash, but it's still the same principle.
Completely by accident, I also learned Rippler, a blue magic spell which trades the caster's status effects with the target's (the frog is stealing my invisibility in this shot). It would be pretty useless if it were free, and at 66 MP, it's definitely useless. It can apparently trade special effect like Dance or Trance as well, which is weird, but probably not very useful.
And here's Tritoch, because why not?
Now for Alfred, and here's probably the only time in the game where you'll really be grateful for Sketch, which allows you to produce some of the effects Alfred needs to see before he can learn them.
Aero is another of those few "reliable wind damage" attacks, and it's just slightly stronger and cheaper than the standard elemental -agas, making it a very nice default attack for Alfred. The downside is that it multi-targets by default, which you don't always want.
Bad Breath "inflicts multiple status ailments" (full disclosure: darkness, poison, imp, silence and confuse) for 32 MP. However, due to a new bug, this attack will miss entirely if the enemy is immune to imp status, even if they are vulnerable to some of the other ailments.
Mighty Guard casts Protect and Shell on the entire party for 80 MP. It's expensive, but it's basically the best defensive spell in the game. If you're ever thinking of casting protect of shell, use this instead.
Tsunami is a water attack, which used to be somewhat interesting but was made completely and utterly obsolete by the new Flood spell.
If you're wondering why this exists when Alfred starts with Aqua Breath, it's because that attack is water and wind elemental, while this just deals water damage.
But most of those are just for show. I may use Aero and Mighty Guard, but the real prize...
...will take cutscene power to unlock.
Robin runs off, leaving Alfred standing at the entrance of Thamasa.
So full of energy! I must be the only one getting old...
Then, from off screen:
Who did this to you?
It was Hidon, that legendary beast you and I used to hunt... Almost had him, too...
Oooh... *cough*, *wheeze*...
Alfred... Please... avenge me...
Oooh... *cough*, *wheeze*...
I grew old and stopped even thinking about pursuing the dreams of my youth...
Gungho, I'm going after him!
He runs downstairs.
...I need to face the thing I ran from all those years ago. I need to get the best of it.
It's a matter of pride, dear.
It's a matter of you being a stubborn old man!
You're my grandpa!
I can't just sit and watch while you make things harder for yourself than they have to be!
Robin is the best character.
I'm sorry, Robin... It means a lot to me that you care so much.
...But Hidon's a tough beast to track. Its name comes from the old word for "hidden," after all!
No one'll ever find him if I don't go.
To Ebot's Rock!
Alfred runs out, and Robin...
...follows a few seconds later.
(She is actually not required for the upcoming section, but why wouldn't you bring her?)
It's pretty hard to miss it if you approach Thamasa by airship.
And, well, how else are you going to approach Thamasa?
Here's Ebot's Rock. It is a stupid place and I hate it.
Hungry hungry hungry hungry hungry hungry hungry hungry hungry!
Gimme somethin' ta eat! Or I won't let ya through!
I love me some coral! You got any on ya?
Skinflint! Get outta here!
And, rather than tell Robin "Godslayer" Arrowny to explode this thing into a million tiny bits, we have to go around the cave collecting coral. In the dark.
It needs something like 21 or 23 pieces, I don't remember the exact amount.
Oh, right, you wanted to get through here, didn't ya?
No matter - by the time I made it back to the chest, I had enough.
The chest... hops away.
Rule 1 of Final Fantasy VI: don't think too hard about it.
So it is.
Hidon comes with four little helpers and apparently I failed to hit the screenshot button hard enough or something, but I don't have a picture of them. They die pretty quickly, anyway, and they're not the interesting thing about this fight. Once they die, Hidon will cast Grand Delta. It's Alfred's "ultimate" lore - an unblockable, defence-ignoring non-elemental attack. It hits the party for 900+ damage, but should be survivable at this point.
Honestly, in a world where shit like Ultima exists, it's hard for other spells to look particularly impressive, but it's still a pretty nice nuke for Alfred, especially since it gives you something new to look at.
And as for Hidon himself...?
Well. "Survived" Hidon might be a better way to put it, but let's not spoil the old man's fun.
I'll have to tell Gungho he's been avenged!
He kicks Gungho out of bed, somewhat more gently than he did Indy way back.
What's all the fuss? Can't an injured man get some rest!?
Gungho, listen to me! I defeated Hidon!
Well, a little monster like Hidon could hardly expect to stand up to the likes of me!
I can't believe it... But it looks like I have to concede defeat! You showed me up, old man!
...By the way, how are your wounds healing, Gungho?
Hmm? Oh, my wounds! Yes, they're fine...
I finally reached the deepest, darkest cavern, and there he is, right in front of me!
I stared the ugly brute straight in the eye, raised my staff, and let him have it!
Oh, I wish you could've been there to see me...
It fades out right in the middle of his ranting.
Hmm? Oh, I think he finally tired himself out from all that jabbering and nodded off.
But... do you think it's okay to leave it like this, with him thinking I was really hurt?
Don't worry about it!
If we hadn't tricked him, he'd have spent the rest of his life doing nothing but talk.
And even if you were faking, that monster wasn't!
The best character.
I don't know how a man like him ever managed to raise a granddaughter as wonderful as you...
I don't know either
Yeah? Well, I don't know how anyone could be as terrible an actor as you!
What did you say!?
This update is getting about as long as I'm comfortable with, but before we wrap it up, let's pay a visit to the place where we started.
And speaking of people never dying...
Final Fantasy VI: The True Story posted:
"get over here you slimy little fuckers"
...12896 trips to the beach later...
Meryl... Thank you for taking care of me like this, day after day...
...976274 trips later...
I can feel my strength returning.
I'm all better now! Thank you, Meryl!
Meryl... I finally finished the little project I've been working on at night.
Go downstairs and take a look!
Meryl... You have to leave this place.
I'm sure your friends are still alive somewhere, waiting for you!
...I know they are. I'll go. But I'll be back! And I'll bring them all back to see you!
You bring that Indy fellow, too, now, you hear?
On the beach where Meryl totally failed to kill herself (in a completely different timeline), there's a chunk of magicite.
Quetzalli teaches some stuff I don't really care about, but the -ga versions of Haste and Slow target the entire group so they're considerably more useful if you're actually going to bother to cast haste or slow on something.
We already have all the Float we want or need, but at least an x5 rate isn't bad.
The most interesting thing about this esper is that it causes the entire party to use the "jump" command, which can be used to survive things like Magic Master's final Ultima. If only we had picked it up a little earlier...