The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy

by ddegenha

Part 2: Transport and Preparation

Chapter 2: Transport and Preparation

When last we left, our intrepid hero had crossed the bridge into adventure and was on his way into the wider world. I was going to say that no destination was ever mentioned, but in fact there are people in Coneria who say things like "Matoya the witch lives to the North" or "Pravoka is a port to the east." I just wasn't paying much attention to them. Still not really worth it to visit Matoya at this point.

On the way there I run into these big bruisers, who are more than a match for me at this point with my rapier and chain armor. So, this is an opportune place to talk about running. The basic running formula for characters in Final Fantasy was supposed to be a comparison between luck and level, basically making it so that character classes with high luck growth (like the thief) would be the best at running. Instead of checking level, however, each character's check is something different depending on their place in line. In the case of this play through, Solo's attempts at running are comparing his luck with a numerical value representing the status of the person two slots below him. It's a pretty simple system where there's a single byte representing their status. The nasty part is that being dead is represented by 64, meaning that in this case in order to have a 100% chance of running you'd have to have a luck of 65. That's not going to happen. It's still possible to run, but the chances aren't good.

So here we are at the port city of Pravoka, which is quite a long walk. Bad luck on the way here can kill a party, as with the two ogres earlier. In a way, it's kind of weird that there's no ship in the harbor. That's what we're here for, but would it necessarily have killed them to have put the ship there and put some kind of message about how you can't get on it yet?

Bikke is the only person in the entire game who talks like this. In a way it's kind of funny, since nobody else has verbal tics. Then again, if you've got a pirate in the game...why not?

I actually killed three of the pirates before I remembered that I was planning on getting a screen shot. Despite their numbers, they're not actually much stronger than imps.

They are capable of getting some good criticals in, however, and with their numbers a few are going to slip through. I survived the fight and gained a level at it, though, so it's not a problem.

For some reason, beating up his crew results in us taking his ship. How that works, exactly, I don't know. Were we fighting for pink slips? Or does he just figure that without a crew it's useless to him? For that matter, how is it that one character or even four are going to be able to sail a full size pirate ship? Anyway, time to go shopping.

Pravoka actually offers full body coverage in equipment, and has a selection of better weapons. The scimitar is objectively useless, unless you have a thief in your party as it's the first upgrade for them. The hand axe has a bit more power than the short sword, but a much lower HIT stat. Since the HIT stat determines whether or not we get multiple attacks, the hand axe is not really useful.

Surprise! Pirate Ship! I mean seriously, where were they keeping that thing hidden? It's got to have two or three masts, so how were 9 pirates actually crewing that thing?

The sea has more powerful monsters, but it's also a dramatic jump in experience and gold. These guys right here are worth 120 gold pieces each, so trying to farm them is a valid method of making money.

A couple more fights gets us a level up, at which point I feel like I can move on with the game and try somewhere else.

Before that, however, I stop and pick up iron armor. This raises absorption at the penalty of lowering evasion, but the fighter dodges about as well as an intoxicated duck anyway. At this point, most enemies are going to do about the same amount of damage: 1. This changes fighting strategy a bit.

Not pictured is me crossing the ocean and going south. These are arachnids, which are the poisonous palette swap of the former black widows. The funny part is that in the Japanese version these were called tarantulas. I'm kind of inclined to think that the monster designers for this were a bit unclear about spiders.

The next stop in our trip is here in Elfland (can't remember what it was called in Japanese) where they have the expensive, game-breaking silver sword. It's about the 11th most powerful weapon in the game. Later versions replaced it with a long sword or something similar that was a bit more powerful than the current short sword but not incredibly so.

I mentioned earlier that the iron armor tends to make all enemies do the same amount of damage. As a result, you're much better off killing weaker enemies that you can kill in a single hit so that they stop chipping away at your health. I'm also poisoned in this shot, but in this game poison won't kill you directly so you can ignore it for a bit. I don't have any pure potions on me at this point, so I keep fighting until my HP Is low and then run into town to grab some.

Right before it's time to go in search of those potions, I get a level up. It doesn't take very long when you're getting 300+ experience per fight.

Another victim of random renaming is the humble asp, who was styled as the cobra in the japanese version. It's actually a pretty good substitution, but it's also utterly pointless since you can still fit cobra into the name plate. It could be because of the color, but I'm not sure what's up with it.

Saving up 4,000 gold plus some money from potions takes a little bit, so...

All the way up to level 11 before it's time to pack it in and buy some stuff. As a note, this is about the last time I'm going to have to grind for money and pretty much the last real grinding period.

That's a good enough supply of potions and such for now. The people of Elfland are kind enough to give direction to the Marsh Cave, the next place to visit. It's worth noting that at this point in the game this has turned into one gigantic fetch quest. You were supposed to visit Matoya so that she could talk about how her Crystal was missing, visit the sleeping Elf King and find out that he needs a magic herb that Matoya has, go up and visit a single elf sitting on a throne in a lonely castle so he could tell you to get his crown back, and then finally go to the Marsh Cave. To hell with that, I'm all for cutting to the chase and just skipping to the cave.

On the way there we run into these guys, who are pretty much an upgraded version of the ghoul. A small group can be deadly since they also paralyze, tend to get a lot of critical hits, and usually hit 2-3 times whenever they attack. This is a foretaste of what's coming up.

Next time, the Marsh Cave, one of the two worst dungeons for this kind of playthrough.