Part 54: Help Me
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we completed the post-game content by freeing the souls of Alexander and his fellow "heroes" from the Gate to Elysium. Now that we've done that, it's finally time for us to go confront Castor. Remember that guy? He's issued us a challenge and has been patiently waiting for us to show up, so we may as well humor him. Let's get to it.
Since this update wouldn't be particularly interesting if I was killing everything in a single hit, for the final dungeon we're going to be reverting to a save that hasn't completed any of the post-game content. We've still got a huge amount of status protection in three Warding Charms and the Brass Icon (berserk/chaos/petrify/instant death) on Hilbert, but not having done any optional stuff means no Fury and no ridiculous armors. I'm sure we'll live though.
Castor is waiting for us on a tiny island in the middle of the world map, only accessible by air. Until we captured the Kingdom, there was nothing here.
Music: (RECOMMENDED LISTENING)
Despite the buildup, however, the final dungeon of Last Scenario is fairly unremarkable. It's appropriately lengthy and the enemies are tough, but the setting is basically just another cave. That said, the music is awesome--it's the same track we heard when Wilhelm rallied his troops way back during the imperial civil war, and we haven't heard it since then.
Well, no sense in standing around I suppose. Let's do this thing.
We don't even make it through the archway before we hit our first enemy of the dungeon, the Gerethog. The Gerethog fills this area's niche of the powerful enemy that only shows up alone. Their regular attack does a respectable 750 damage; they have Engulfing Light, which hits the entire party for about 400 light damage; and they can also use Heavy Thrust to deal 1100 damage to a single character, enough to one-shot Lorenza from full health. Not only that, but their HP is quite high and they're capable of recovering about 2400 of it with Recovery, though we're strong enough to erase that in a single round. They're a bit of a pain, but nowhere near enough to stop us.
The second room of the dungeon contains an ornate chest just out of reach. We'll have to remember this for later.
The next room contains a free copy of X-Shield and a strange crystal. When we interact with it...
... it warps us to a new area. These crystals will be our main way of getting around this area, but fortunately there's no puzzles based around them or anything.
We continue north and run across a few new enemies: a Headhunter and an Abyssal Spawn. Headhunters are basically the same as their earlier recolors: they steal around 50 MP from a character on their first turn with Drain MP, and then spend the rest of their turns blasting the entire party with Retina Ray for 600 damage or so. Thankfully their HP is pretty low. Abyssal Spawns are straight physical attackers, alternately whacking a character for 650 damage or using Tentacle Whip to combo-attack the party. The Headhunters can be quite threatening if we leave them alive, but if we prioritize them they're not too bad.
There's a Spellcard Mod in a small alcove as we continue on. I've never been a particularly big fan of these.
See what I mean about the dungeon being fairly unremarkable? There's really not much for me to say here, sorry.
We find another crystal and warp to a new area, and there we find another new enemy type, the Vorpal Cube. Ridiculous though their name may be, Vorpal Cubes can be rather threatening in the large groups they usually show up in. They're faster than everyone except Hilbert, and can attack normally for 400 damage, hit the entire party for 200 damage with Thunderball, and can blow themselves up with Explode to deal 700 damage to a single character. Like the Gerethog, Vorpal Cubes can be a pain, but we can handle them.
In the next room we find a save point. This is about the halfway point of the dungeon.
There are also a few Capsules in a dead end to the south of the save point...
... and another one to its north. This room also appears to be the same one as the destination of the first warp crystal, though the walls have changed color.
The path continues to a normal-looking narrow bridge.
But when we try to cross it, the screen suddenly darkens, and...
BOSS FIGHT: Pollux
Pollux. Ha ha. I see what you did there.
Much like the dungeon where he appears, Pollux isn't a particularly remarkable boss. To be fair, though, that's kind of par for the course for mid-bosses in JRPG final dungeons.
That said, Pollux isn't exactly a pushover. He kicks off the fight with Black Sword, a three-hit combo that nearly one-shots Hilbert despite having a P-Shield up. It's far more common for him to spread the hits across the party, though.
His regular attack is similarly powerful, though of course it's only one hit.
Pollux also has access to Pummel, which reminds me that Hilbert isn't actually wearing the Brass Icon, he's still wearing the Thief Glove. Fortunately we have several Panaceas kicking around to fix this.
Pollux's most distinguishing characteristic is perhaps that he is a very counter-happy boss. He always has a low chance to automatically respond to all attacks with a powerful Counter (this is with a P-Shield up)...
... and occasionally he will also cast Bright Shield on himself. The game never explicitly states what this does, but it appears to greatly increase the chance that he will activate Counter when hit. Interestingly, it also can't be dispelled with Disenchant.
But we've had to deal with far worse in this game. He falls soon enough.
For our trouble, we land ourselves Trick's little brother:
Aura (130MP): Temporarily raises the caster's STR, INT, SKL, and DEX.
Crisis: Rebirth (100MP): Restores full HP and MP to the caster.
Stat changes: +5% max MP, +5% STR, +5% INT, +5% SPD
Aura's spells are nice in a pinch, but the real reason to equip it is for its stat boosts. Ethan had this card equipped throughout the post-game updates.
Music: (RECOMMENDED LISTENING)
Following the battle, a warp crystal appears right in front of us. However, you might notice that there's still a path behind it.
And if you want to fill out your Hex tile list, you should probably check that path out, as the Hilbert Hex tile is in the ornate chest at the end of it. I mentioned this in the post-game updates, but Hilbert trades for the amazingly useful Spring Hat, which grants a +500 max HP bonus to its wearer.
Now then, let's continue on. The warp crystal in Pollux's room takes us to a very purple area.
And there's a random Diamond Dust lying around in a small alcove near the crystal.
As we're leaving the room we run into the final enemy type for this area, the Pot of Gold. Pots of Gold do absolutely nothing... if you don't attack them. If you do, they will counter all attacks with Arc-En-Ciel, which inflicts about 650 damage as well as berserk, slow, enfeeble, and blindness simultaneously. Not surprisingly, though, they're worth a ton of gold if you kill them--20,000 worth. Too bad they only give 10 experience along with that.
Anyway, there's two paths onward in the first main room of the purple area, but they actually link to each other.
Instead, we need to find a warp crystal in the center of those paths, which takes us to...
... what appears to be a very deep part of the cavern. Not too much further to go now.
The final area of the dungeon is a small maze of narrow pathways.
There are a couple of healing items scattered throughout the maze, and after that...
... we arrive at the final save point of the game.
This was the point at which I engaged in the small amount of grinding to prepare for the final boss and the post-game. We'll be taking on the final battle at level 65, which I'd recommend grinding to if you're playing along. The HP boosts from those few levels will make the difference between surviving with low HP and getting KO'd, and with four Mental Boosters it'll probably take less than 20 minutes to get there.
There's no turning back now. Let's do it.
It's too dark. I can't see a thing.
This is the place where all life began, and where all life will return to. That's all the biorite is. Life, in its purest form.
Where are you!? Castor!
A long, long time ago, a primal consciousness formed in this place. Eventually, after centuries, this consciousness took form, and separated itself from the cluster. It evolved into a group of similar, but separate beings. It began to propagate.
As the cavern brightens, Castor appears above the party and slowly floats to the ground.
Yes, we are all one consciousness. As people, we are fundamentally broken. Incomplete. We continue to work against one another, against ourselves. Tiamat... when she discovered this lost knowledge, it completely changed her view of the world. She saw a single being in its death throes, futilely fighting against its inevitable demise. She wanted to erase all life, and start over from the beginning. But I don't share her view. I don't see total destruction as the solution. I will become one with the cluster. Then finally I'll have the power to lead the people to the light.
You... You think you can control everyone's minds through the cluster?
Can't you see? It's the best solution for everyone. Under my guidance, all wars will end, and everyone will live in harmony. There will no longer be any bloodshed.
I won't let you do that! I'd rather fight for my survival than live as your slave! No matter how powerful you think you've become... I'll stop you!
I expected nothing else from you, Hilbert. This is the final test. If I can defeat you here, I can overcome anything.
BOSS FIGHT: Castor
It's rather interesting, I think, how the tone of the battles against Castor have shifted over the course of the game. The first time we fought him, he was a brick wall that left us desperately fighting for our survival. The second time, he was tough, but not nearly as difficult. Now, he's barely going to pose a challenge.
His stats have gone up, of course, but this fight is essentially the same as the one in Stonewall, just with bigger numbers. He has no new moves, and we are much better equipped to deal with his tricks. By the way, don't bother equipping the Thief Glove for this segment--as you can see, Castor doesn't exactly carry much in the way of valuables.
This shot should give you an idea of how much of a threat Castor poses to us right now. Searing Flash still inflicts amnesia, but only Hilbert is affected.
Or better yet, look at this shot. Remember when Maelstrom was "that fucking move"? Now it's "that move that hits for double-digit damage and nothing else." With our protections, the only status it can inflict is slow on Hilbert--everything else is prevented.
In short, there's not much to cover in this fight, because we've seen all of Castor's techniques already and they all suck now. We still have to make a token effort to keep our HP up, but it's not long before he falls.
Hell, he doesn't even give enough experience for a level up.
Just as I expected. This is the furthest I can take this human body.
The time has come to throw away this useless shell. I'll cut my last ties to humanity.
Ethan, it's no use. Your words haven't reached me in three years. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you and Zawu. I won't deny that. But that time is long gone. I've grown beyond the need to rely on you. I no longer need anyone.
Yes... I can feel it... The thoughts and feelings of a hundred thousand years, rushing into my mind. It's overwhelming. So much knowledge. So many emotions. I'm no longer bound by the limits of physical form. I can become anything, anyone.
BOSS FIGHT: Alpha Castor
Pfffffhahahahahaha, what? This is the next stage of existence? I think I like it where I am, thanks.
Especially with those stats--everything except Castor's STR has actually gone down. Then again, I suppose this is thematically appropriate for him: strength at the expense of everything else. His resistance to all elements is annoying, since it means Lorenza will be struggling to do major damage, but we should be able to manage.
Anyway, I should stop ragging on Castor, because this is where the battle actually starts getting challenging. Alpha Castor kicks off the fight with Carapace, increasing his defenses. This can be safely ignored, though--the increase isn't large enough to change much.
As far as actual attacks go, Alpha Castor is a very poison-focused boss, and that's actually the source of much of his difficulty if you're not prepared. His first attack, Sting, inflicts poison and a fair chunk of damage.
But far worse is his other main attack, Toxic Cloud, which isn't as powerful damage-wise but inflicts poison and enfeeble on the entire party. Like the Black King's Negative Pulse, Alpha Castor spams the shit out of Toxic Cloud, to the point where its poison can easily kill an unprotected party because there's no way to cure it fast enough. The first time I played through this game, Toxic Cloud seriously wrecked my shit and led to a lot of failed attempts at this battle.
In addition to his poison attacks, Alpha Castor also has access to the only drain attack in the game that doesn't do negligible damage. Without an M-Shield he can easily steal over a thousand HP.
Despite his power, Alpha Castor's defenses are basically nil, so you'll be seeing a lot of big damage numbers as this fight goes on. As always, keep your HP high and your shields up, and eventually...
... he will fall. Weirdly, he only fades out after the final damage number disappears. But it doesn't matter, because we're not done yet.
FINAL BOSS: Omega Castor
Because it's not a JRPG until the villain turns into a being beyond human comprehension. Omega Castor backs himself up with two flunkies, the runes above his extra hands. The red one is known as Throne, and the blue one as Dominion.
Amusingly, Castor's evolution appears to have had no effect on his physical characteristics, as Omega Castor's stats are identical to Alpha's. Unfortunately for us, he and his runes have gained a wide variety of new techniques, which are about to be aptly demonstrated.
Throne and Dominion are hanging around in this battle for one reason alone, and that is to annoy the fuck out of the player. Most of their turns are spent using a single, comparatively weak technique, which always somehow seems to inflict that last 200 or so damage needed to KO someone in critical health. Throne's technique is Rapture, a two-hit combo of wind attacks.
Dominion's technique is Eden, a weaker full-party attack. It looks like it should be ice-aligned, but Hilbert's Fur Hat isn't protecting him. Maybe it's earth?
When they're not attacking, Throne and Dominion are casting the Shields of their respective colors on Omega Castor, so bring a Disenchant card. Despite how aggravating they can be, though, it's really not worth it to go after the two runes, as Omega Castor will revive them almost as soon as they die. That does force him to waste a turn, but the runes' 10,000 HP means you've already wasted several more, so don't bother.
As far as Omega Castor himself goes, he's got several attacks, of both the status-inflicting and damage-focused variety. He kicks things off with Eternal Slumber, which doesn't do all that much damage but inflicts sleep.
He also has access to Final Cut, dealing a good chunk of damage and inflicting poison and chaos. This is another technique that's very dangerous if your party isn't prepared.
For damage, Castor uses Luminous Sky, hitting the party for a fair amount of light-aligned damage...
... and his signature move is Dawn of Creation, a non-elemental attack that does big damage to everyone. If you don't have Shields up, this combined with the runes' attacks can easily wipe out the party.
There's not much that can be said about the strategy for this battle that hasn't already been said about most fights in the latter half of the game. Keep your HP high, and keep Shields up as often as you possibly can. Also, since this is the final boss, don't feel shy about burning those Diamond Dusts and Sacred Orbs, since you won't be needing them anymore. Omega Castor has an impressive 75,000 HP, but just keep plugging away, and eventually...
Something's wrong. The cave won't hold much longer like this.
The end of the platform starts crumbling.
Hurry! We have to get out of here!
We've done all we can! It's his own fault! He destroyed himself! He's gone!
No! This isn't what we came here for!!
I-I can't believe it. Massive earthquakes! They're all over the planet!
It's the biorite! It's becoming unstable!
What does that mean? What's going to happen now?
At this rate, anything could happen. The surface of the planet itself may be torn apart!
N-No way. Isn't there anything we can do to stop it?
Have you been outside yet?
No... but I'm aware of what's going on.
Then what are you doing sitting here? Parts of the cave are collapsing! If this keeps going, Entalar will be buried! We have to evacuate everyone to the surface?
... Yes, that would be for the best. Lesalia, please take care of it.
I will, but... what are you going to do?
Fade to white...
Perhaps... the many Havali sleeping within the biorite layers are causing instability. Lorenza... if only you were here...
Suddenly, a ghostly figure appears behind Barasur...
... and then vanishes.
... Yes. I understand.
Fade to black...
Hilbert starts walking for a bit, but doesn't appear to move.
Where is everyone? That's right, I fell! That means, this is...
Why... Why are you here?
You should know that already. I'm here to bring you back.
Bring me back? ... Don't be ridiculous. Why would you risk your life for me, after all I've done?
Because that's how I am. I can't turn my back on you.
Haha... Another act of "heroism"? You try to make yourself look good, but can you honestly say you would care if I lived or died?
No, you're right. I can't say that. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have cared if you destroyed yourself. But I'm not here for myself.
Are they all... still waiting for me?
You are not alone, Castor.
If I had my way, everyone could've been happy. That's what I believed. But that dream was an illusion. This world of perfect safety can't possibly exist. How stupid. Did I already have the life I wanted, all along? Was I too busy fighting to realize it?
What are you talking about? You realize that you were wrong now, don't you? Are you going to give up now?
The cluster is trying to absorb me. I thought I could control it, but it's even stronger than I imagined. It's... it's overwhelming. It's like a vast emptiness that's slowly drawing me in.
I can feel my own identity leaving me. It's pulling at me, and it's getting harder and harder to resist. I'm going to vanish. I'm really going to vanish. I know that if I stop struggling, I'll be gone forever. And I... I... I'm afraid... I don't want to disappear.
I'll save you. Trust me. I won't leave without you. I won't abandon someone who asked for my help.
Music: (RECOMMENDED LISTENING)
The cluster has restabilized. Everything is back to normal.
Fade to black...
You... you really did it, Hilbert.
Ethan... I don't know what to say. No, there's so much to say that I don't know where to start.
Then don't say anything. We'll start over again. As long as we're together again, I don't care about anything else.
As Ethan and Castor are talking, Hilbert slowly walks towards the cliff edge.
Heh, I still have it...
Is that... Alexander's seal?
Everything started when Zawu gave me this. And now, it's over.
Hey! What are you doing!?
I don't need it anymore. Once, I thought that a silly thing like that made all the difference. I thought that holding that seal alone would make me a hero. But none of that matters. We did it on our own strength. If we're going to be called heroes, it will be because of our own accomplishments. And I think we've accomplished more than we could've ever dreamed of.
And as the ending song continues (you did click on that link, right?) we're treated to brief shots of our characters returning to their old lives.
Hilbert returns to Joanna, who is overjoyed to see him safe and sound.
Matilda returns to Valentin, and finally gets around to doing the one thing she's been dying to do all game.
She gets fuckin' hammered.
Thorve becomes an assistant to Wilhelm, advising the young emperor on matters of state.
Lorenza takes her place as Elder of the Havali...
... though not without some reluctance and remembrance of her grandfather.
Randolph returns to the Geo-Science Station, where he's still constantly on the move, doing the one thing he does best...
... berating the shit out of his subordinates.
And at long last, Ethan, Zawu, and Castor return to the Kingdom.
Castor himself steps forward...
... surprised to find Flynn, Earp, and his most loyal men rushing forward to see him, delighted at his return.
And with that, the credits start rolling. As they scroll by, we catch glimpses of some of the characters who died during our journey.
There are Selene and Jord, cruelly cut down in a war started on false pretenses.
There is Felgorn, who realized only too late what it meant to be a true hero.
There is Ortas, reunited with his wife and family in the afterlife for eternity.
There is Alison, who gladly gave her own life to save the lives of the men she commanded.
There is Tiamat, back when she was still known as Esmeralda, as she embarks on the journey that would change her forever.
And lastly, there is Alexander, the legendary hero. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Last Scenario.
Thanks first and foremost go out to SCF, for making the entire game in the first place, contributing art, and generally being a cool dude in the thread. Thanks to Squarely Circle for the awesome doodles, and to Keltena for creating the Livejournal LP I used as a script reference. But most of all, thanks to all of you who have been reading and posting in this Let's Play thread. You guys are the reason I stuck with this LP until the end, and I hope you all had as much fun reading and following this Let's Play as I've had creating it.
We're not quite done yet--there will be one last bonus update where I show off the few things that are unlocked following the credits. But functionally, this LP is complete, and once the bonus update is posted it'll be time to send this baby to the LP Archive.
Thanks for reading!