The Let's Play Archive

Mystic Quest

by cardinal direction

Part 4: Climate Change

4. Climate Change

Now that Shrug has freed the Earth Crystal, everything’s pretty again.

You’re welcome, pal!

Everyone handled the whole “rapidly age and de-age” thing really well. That’s nice!

Kaeli’s mom is still pretty mad but who can blame her?

In the flesh!

Here’s the Elixir.

Why don’t I go to Aquaria first and look around? Where is it?

It’s through the Focus Tower and to the northeast.

“Get the fuck out of my house

If, for whatever reason, you decide to go back to the Level Forest or haven’t cleared out the Battlefield nearby then everything will be this pleasant shade of green.

Now that we actually have a world map to explore, you should know that there isn’t any real exploration like other world maps in Final Fantasy or other JRPGs. You push a direction and Shrug finds his own way there. It’s sort of like a glorified level select screen now that I think about it.

It’s an interesting option because it doesn’t really account or prepare someone for getting lost on a world map and running into enemies waaaaay beyond your abilities and sort of eschews the whole exploration thing altogether. I think, ultimately, it does a pretty poor job of preparing a player for any other games in this genre because it was pretty unique in this respect but in doing leaves this hypothetical new JRPG player completely confused when they’re thrown out into a big world that doesn’t just get them where they need to go if they play another game in this genre.

On the other hand, I don’t think Mystic Quest was giving people enough credit to figure things out on their own and that could also be the problem right there. The positive is that you can pretty much never get lost but the downside, and I think it’s a pretty big one, is that the world is never very interesting to explore nor fleshed out. I mean, the world is seriously just called the World.

The only thing left to do around here is this Battlefield containing Bone Dungeon enemies—Minotaur Zombies, Basilisks, Sandworms, et cetera. The reward here is 150 GP, which is actually a pretty considerable amount since we’re barely sitting at 400.

As an aside, these guys are weak to earth attacks like Quake. This is only worth mentioning so Shrug can keep killing them in one turn.

I like the Focus Tower as a set piece, as I do most other things in this game. A lot of the art in the North American manual portrays a super cool looking world that, obviously, couldn’t be realized in the game. While I’ll never call Mystic Quest totally innovative, it has some interesting ideas.

I guess. My point is that I think a tower like this could make for an awesome dungeon or something.

The Focus Tower is smack in the middle of everything, which is... I guess you could call it our hub? We’ll be coming back here a lot, in any case.

There’s a secret path here for the true adventurer, or you could take the much longer way around.

Hmm, that’s a familiar looking cloud tucked away in the corner.



But I’m going to Aquaria!

Maybe you’ll find her along the way...

I—okay? Thanks, I think?

This is where the Focus Tower branches out, ergo we’ll be coming here the most. Each coin we pick up lets us access a new area of the tower so let’s head through the Sand Coin door.

If you don’t have the coin, it won’t open. This is more or less the end of the world if you’re a kid and don’t quite realize how short the Bone Dungeon and battles actually are.

The Focus Tower has a whole lot of cool shit in it, as evidenced by all the fancy treasure chests. Fire will come in very handy where we’re going and will have almost totally eclipsed Quake in value soon. You’ll see what I mean in a bit.

I always thought this area was a bit of a slog when I was younger but now I’ve realized that this is where Mystic Quest has basically opened up. We nearly have a full arsenal of weaponry, we’ll be collecting new equipment, and we’re finally going to be able to see what the deal with “Wizard” spells is. There’s basically a lot of cool stuff to see from hereon.

I’d say that it’s considerably longer than the Earth section of the game because compared to one dungeon (Level Forest is not a dungeon by any stretch of the imagination), we’ll have three to tackle. We’re not going to take on that Battlefield solo though, so let’s go find someone to join our party.

Well, the world map stops us here so I guess the game's over now. Might as well look around this anticlimactic final area.

Good effort, Shrug.

Aquaria is frozen, people are sick, Grandpa is trapped...

I smell another fetch quest!

What luck! Let’s go free him.

Shrug’s good people to offer this considering he just met this person a couple of seconds ago and has no idea who she is.

But we can’t! I’m going home...

She tries to leave again but Shrug is nothing if not persistent.

You know, thinking about it, this is a weird point in the conversation for these questions to come up.

YOU are Phoebe? Then I’m going with you!

It’s more like Shrug joined Phoebe, but whatever!

Here is Phoebe much more practically dressed for the part of the world that’s suffering eternal winter. I actually think she looks sort of cool Definitely the best of the European character artwork, if you ask me. She’s apparently an adventurer of sorts herself and her stats definitely reflect that because she’s hella competent.

Pheobe is really good and easily our best party member. She has a huge magical repertoire and she’s no slouch with her physical damage despite Shrug easily being capable of outdamaging her physically soon—but magic is far and away what she should be doing. She’s very clearly intended to be our “mage” archetype and she accomplishes that with flying colors. Look at how many magic charges she has! Much like Tristam, her HP is higher than what it should be at her level—680 rather than 600. Unlike Tristam, her resistances of water, wind, and silence are actually worth a damn because we'll be dealing with water type attacks very soon.

She also gets the first Wizard spell of the game: Thunder.

Artix posted:

((Pow * 6) + (Mag * 9) - (def * 2)) * weakness / number of targets

Curiously, Thunder is actually the weakest spell in the entire game (44 Power), but running it through the wizard formula makes all the difference. Under the black magic numbers, Phoebe's Thunder would have a base power of 353 damage (assuming no defense, no weakness, one target); under wizard numbers, it shoots all the way up to 795.

And that’s not all! Her weapon, the Cat Claw, inflicts poison and paralysis similarly to Tristam’s ninja stars but has the benefit of not having to concern yourself with ammo. She also won't be killing in one hit so the paralysis/poison will actually do something.

Now that we have a party member who is, again, much better than us we can go to the Battlefields with no problems whatsoever. This one nets us 90 EXP, which is a pretty boring reward.

Or is it? Keep a close eye on Shrug’s level.

And, of course, new areas mean new enemies. First up is the Mintmint, a palette-swapped Brownie. He’s learned how to Stare at you long enough to confuse you but otherwise he’s nothing special.

This Battlefield gives us a solid 300 GP and that’s certainly a pretty nice amount.

We’re also introduced to Giant Toads, yet another palette-swap. They can paralyze as well as poison so that’s pretty annoying!

Here they are properly clobbered. Now’s a good time to point out that the amount of ‘injured’ sprites an enemy has determines their... threat level, I guess you could call it. These sorts of mooks have two, while mini-bosses and their palette-swaps get three. Big bosses like Flamerus Rex get four.

Some enemies increase/decrease in size and the targeting reticle changes accordingly. It’s a cute little detail.

This is the first time we’ve run into paralysis and it’s about as fun as it sounds. You can’t act at all which can be really frustrating to watch. Fortunately it wears off with time, doesn’t last outside of battle, and is a non-issue to heal but it can be a huge pain when stacked with poison.

You may have noticed that Shrug jumped from level 8 to level 10 somehow as well. It’s difficult to communicate through screenshots, but as someone reminded me in the thread, Battlefields let us perform the double-level glitch.

I’m not too focused on the technical aspect of the game in this playthrough but I figure this is worth pointing out. If you level up at the end of a battlefield and you are rewarded with EXP, you’ll just level up again because the game thinks you’re already there since it doesn’t reset the EXP counter for your next level until after the fight.

Unfortunately, you can’t use this to just skip a whole bunch of levels since the game just gives you roughly two levels worth of EXP to gain til your next one. I can see the value in the short term but otherwise, eh, I don’t think it’s really worth the set up. To get Shrug's EXP into the area where the trick would work, I had to put a dent into the last shown battlefield before clearing out the other one and, honestly, that’s just sort of a hassle for two quick levels.

This Battlefield has something very cool indeed. If you’re going to do any of them in this area, do this one.

They also have another new enemy. Scorpions can predictably poison you, but they can also blind you. Their Rapier attack can hit for as hard as 120 or so damage, so hope that doesn’t happen too often. They have a weakness to fire that’s easily exploited now.

Fire is a better spell than Quake because it’s not mandatorily attacking all enemies so you can choose your target. Fire is a weaker spell with a power of 85 (compared to Quake at 125) and in fact the weakest Black magic spell we’ll get. Sure, if you get an enemy alone then Quake is definitely superior but when most enemies will still die in one hit from bombs in such a scenario, why waste a Black magic charge? The damage bonus you get from attacking weakness is nothing to scoff at either. I’m still going to give Fire the edge due to its versatility.

Also, there are a whole lot of enemies here that are actually weak to Fire.

Here's the spell in action.

Here they are after being set on fire a few times.

And here’s Phoebe’s Thunder spell for good measure.

This is our reward for clearing this Battlefield and it finally gives Shrug his first piece of equipment that does more than add to his defense total. Shrug will never be silenced again so he can sling spells all day. ...though I guess Shrug never actually got silenced to begin with.

Really, the benefit here is the small defense boost because, well, we haven’t seen Silence yet and we’re never going to. The status ailment exists but regardless of whether or not you actually have a resistance to it, the ailment is never set if an enemy tries to hit you with it. There you go, I guess

I can’t really explain why, but I really like this whole tiered equipment system that Mystic Quest does. Maybe it’s just the appeal of getting cooler, better things and seeing how your basic and boring equipment slowly becomes more impressive. It makes for a nice sense of progression, I feel.

Maybe it’s just because combat feels more visual and exciting, I suppose, in Mystic Quest than other JRPGs of the time so seeing your new weapon plays a part in that. I just really like opening chests and finding the upgraded weapon or armor.

I know I really gave Phoebe the upsell, but Shrug is already catching up to her in several stats. Phoebe is going to take a further lead again soon.

Huh, I just now realized that Foresta and Aquaria’s music have the same melody with different instruments.

We have our first actual inn that we need to pay for. 95 GP is actually almost 1/10th of our money but you’ll probably be using inns to replenish your magic stock more than anything so it's nothing to fret over.

The old man would sell us Cure Potions, but...

Have you considered walking in and out of a room, because that seems to work for me

I guess this is their economy without Cure Potions.

All these years and I’ve just now noticed that this not-at-all important or unique plant is just a big leaf and not a shiny heart

The woman in the northernmost house has a helmet for sale for whatever reason. 200 GP is nothing and you really should just get it.

Very stylish. Like most of the other first level pieces of equipment, it just raises defense. The Steel Helm gives Shrug an extra four points of defense.

But Shrug can’t bum around town forever so it’s off to Phoebe’s house we go.

Phoebe, why would you leave your door open in this weather?

Next time: Dungeons galore

I'm not totally sure why the .gifs are blurry or darker for that matter since they look fine before being uploaded. I'll try to figure out what's up with that and replace them. I'm not using VirtualDub but I appreciate the advice all the same, Yapping Eevee!