The Let's Play Archive

Mystic Quest

by cardinal direction

Part 6: Ice Pyramid? Snow Problem

6. Ice Pyramid? Snow Problem

Well, let’s get this over with. The Ice Pyramid is considerably tougher than the Bone Dungeon—namely, there are lots of branching paths and it throws a pretty garbage gimmick at you straight out the gate. If you don’t have an idea of where you’re supposed to go, you’re in for a frustrating time.

That being said, I don’t plan on showing off the whole thing because there’s no point. All of these optional paths just lead to consumables. We’re going to see all the cool stuff there is to see on the way to the boss and then get out of this super boring place.

There are “puzzles”, I guess, because you have to push switches. But with what?

Let’s push it with something...

The sword is used for pushing switches, like swords logically should be.

With the door open, take the rightmost path and go as far right as you can.

A nice chest in plain view and easily retrieved? I take it back, I guess this place isn’t all that bad.

If you thought this place looked suspiciously empty, give yourself a round of applause. For whatever reason, the enemies in the Ice Pyramid are invisible and you’ll just bumble into them. This would be absolutely unbearable.

I mean, if we didn’t get an item that makes all the monsters in the area visible almost immediately. The thing is, having played this game countless times, I knew where this was so I could just go here and pick it up with little trouble. If you had no idea this even existed, you’d be stumbling through this area and into encounters constantly. If that happened to you then there’s almost no way you had fond memories of this place.

I forgot to show the Cat Claw in action when we got it because I am an idiot, so here you go.

And before we go on much further, here are the upgraded Jumbo Bombs. They’re really strong when the damage isn’t being split and have slightly deeper sounding explosion when used on the map but that’s about all that’s different from our wimpy old bombs.

Now we’re ready to tackle this place properly. If you look at this map from Gamefaqs, you’ll notice that it’s waaaaaay bigger than Bone Dungeon. I know I give the game a lot of shit for being easy but this is a pretty steep curve in difficulty. It’s complex and, while not totally mazelike, can absolutely be confusing enough to give a younger player pause.

The music is certainly a nice reprieve from the rockin’ battle music and the perkiness of the world map, but it’s boring as hell after awhile, and just sort of starts droning. Ordinarily that wouldn't be such a big deal but you’ll be in the Ice Pyramid for a good amount of time. I think my issue with it is that I’ve already heard it once so getting it a second time is sort of disappointing.

If you didn’t grab the Magic Mirror then this dungeon just became a whole lot more intimidating for this hypothetical young player. Not to mention that at this point of the game you probably won’t be killing enemies in one round anymore so battles are going to be noticeably longer. You could say it’s a perfect storm of boringness.

On the bright side, Shrug’s gonna get some shiny new things to play with. I’m not sure if that makes up for the rest of it, but, well, there it is for better or worse.

We’ll be using the map for directions/reference just so there’s some clarity. We’re headed to Staircase 4 on the first floor because nearly every goddamn brown treasure chest in this place contains 10 arrows, so fuck that. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to keep track of what's going on.

On the way there, Shrug picks up some soda. Refreshers restore your stats if they’ve been decreased by an enemy attack. I’ve never actually used one before, though, and I don’t anticipate using them this time either.

Guarding staircase 4 is our first new enemy of the day, the Mage. They can hit you with Blizzard for water damage and Cure themselves and others. They could also hit you with Silence—if Silence actually worked, that is.

It’s sort of fortunate that it doesn’t because the AI loves to heal status effects above all else. You could be on the brink of death but we’d better cure that sleep first. I can only imagine how awful it’d be if you had to deal with being Silenced (which is a pretty non-threatening ailment) and healed immediately after, forever.

Invenerable in the thread mentioned that fights with floating/flying enemies on their own depicts them bobbing up and down in the air. If there’s a single ground-bound enemy though, the airborne enemies just sort of hang there. I don’t know if that’s or a limitation of the SNES or what but there you go.

Shrug reveals his dark side as he continues to assault these old men

The Ice Pyramid isn’t so bad if you know where you’re going because we’re a good ways through already, battles not withstanding. There’s really only one way to go, but we’re taking staircase 7, for reference. After this, it’s not too hard to lose your way completely since the paths here on out are more forks in the road than anything.

And that’s a pretty big ‘if’, I know.

The pink blob called a... Phanquid is Squidite’s palette-swap. I don’t think there’s anything really different about them. Phanquid might be a little weaker.

Sphinxes are annoying since Phoebe won’t be killing them in one hit and are yet another enemy that can confuse you but that’s about all that’s noteworthy about them.

They look awful once you’ve done enough damage.

Phoebe is kind enough to demonstrate the aftermath of getting hit with an electric or fire attack.

First things first, take the right path to hit a switch for later.

Stoney Roost—which I imagine is supposed to be a cockatrice but whatever—is probably the most annoying enemy here because they can petrify you.

In two different ways: either with Stone Beak or by attacking them. Petri-counter is the worst because you’re essentially dead when you’re petrified so attacking them with anything but bombs or magic is a no-go. If the game decides to hit you with two Stone Beaks then enjoy your game over, I suppose. That’s one reason I seriously appreciate the ability to just give the battle another try immediately.

They can hit somewhat hard with Coldness or Dive, but Stone Beak is the real worry here. Phoebe will kill them in one hit since they’re weak to shooting weapons, so just hope she gets to move first!

Gathers can blind and paralyze you and hit you for a meager amount of damage with Pseudopod. They will also blow themselves up and take out over half of your health in one attack, which can be pretty catastrophic.

On the other hand, they’re weak to bombs and our bombs are pretty powerful. Two Gathers will die in one hit from the Jumbo Bombs. Curiously they reflect all magic despite being weak to like three elements, Thunder being one of them.

I never really paid attention to how many palette swaps there are in this game. Freezer Crab is just a straight-up weaker reskin of the Snow Crab, axe weakness and all. They can counter now, I guess?

The switch is pretty simple to reach but I imagine if you’ve stumbling around the dungeon blind you’d be pretty worn down from the fights. In any case, we can take the left path without issue, other than a couple of enemies, and reach staircase 8 now.

I was bound to run out of bombs sooner or later since I never fill up on them. If your weapon is out of ammunition, you’ll just run up and punch the enemy out.

It doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage but Shrug’s fists are hitting for a few points of damage less than the Cat Claw so that’s great?

The path ahead is hidden so just walk into this wall. That big square in the bottom lefthand corner is Shrug’s eventual destination.

I spy a chest behind a closed door and that’s just terrible. The right path is a dead end, so let’s head left.

I can only imagine how annoying and predictable this sort of thing would have gotten if you didn’t pick up the Magic Mirror.

This is actually a pretty cool floor. There are 20 explosives to the left so pick them up if you need them. Still not gonna get them!

You can actually fall in this room, which makes it somewhat interesting and... I guess it makes you pay attention to where you’re going? Or keeps your jumping around in check?

Walk off the edge around here and you’ll fall into the room with the nice chest from earlier.

I wasn’t joking when I said we were going to get some cool stuff in the Ice Pyramid. Shrug picks up a nice little 6 point boost to his defense and evasion, resistance to water attacks (which is going to be immensely helpful), and immunity to poison.

I just recently found out that armors actually do a little more than what they say on the tin. Helmets boost strength, shields increase speed, and accessories improve magic. All of them add to your evasive ability as well.

E: Forgot to mention that armors don't actually increase a 'secondary' stat, they only add resistances. I'm not complaining though!

I sort of wish Shrug’s sprite would change to reflect his new armor but oh well!

Hit this switch and then return to the 5th floor or kill all the enemies in here for a pretty nice amount of EXP. I’m not doing that because I’m running low on magic charges and you’re insane if you think I’m going back to Aquaria.

Back on the 5th floor, just blow this up. ...if you remembered to have explosives on hand, anyways. Fortunately, you can easily pick up some explosives without having to put up with Sphinx confusion bullshit if you take the path guarded by the Freezer Crab.


I wonder what I do here

Hitting any of those switches eliminates the ice, allowing us to fall into the basement smack in the middle of this awfulness.

But there’s another chest so it’s basically Shrug’s birthday here.

The Knight Sword is excellent and a much needed upgrade to the Steel Sword. Shrug’s a lower level than Phoebe and it’s already stronger than her bow. He’ll one shot nearly every enemy in here now. He also gets a 5 point bonus to speed when he has it equipped so that’s pretty cool.

Back to business. Let’s kill this ugly and unfortunate thing.


Oh, the game’s actually hide and seek? Never mind, I’m not enjoying our little game.

Take these stairs under the ice to reach that Lamia blocking the tunnel.

As an aside, you can blow these shield things up.

I don’t know why you would, but you can.

Two Sphinxes in a row guarding the same door. The Ice Pyramid is Bad.

It looks like you can get these chests, and you can, but afterwards you’d have to fall all the way back down and climb back up. It’s only 20 arrows. It’s not worth it.

Thankfully, Shrug is blind for this... whatever the boss is doing.

Since we’re so low on, well, everything, let’s use some seeds and restore all of our magic and make this fight a joke.

No? I mean, okay, the sword suggests that I am but this is all just sort of circumstantial.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, we’re out of the cool standoffs of Shrug and the bosses. Here’s the Ice Golem, second of the Vile 4.

This is honestly a pretty simple fight if you consider it to be a damage race more than anything. If you don’t have magic, you’re basically screwed. Ice Golem can hit hard, but we can heal up pretty quickly with Cure and Life. Keeping both party members alive is a priority because you’re going to lose that race if someone’s alone.

It’s weak to Fire, obviously, so bust out the Cat Claw and take advantage of the very slight boost it gives your magic.

It’s also susceptible to blind but I’m not sure if trying to get that to stick is worth your time.

Since it’s made of ice, it’ll start melting the more damage it takes.

Ice Block is its signature move, and it hits pretty damn hard. Like, up to 180 damage even with water resistance hard. I don’t even want to know how bad this would be if you neglected to pick up the Noble Armor.

Ice Golem can also put you to sleep which can be annoying. He has a few other attacks that he didn’t have the chance to use that are also pretty devastating. Stomp Stomp hits for almost 300 damage whereas his other physical attacks are doing around 200. Definitely nothing to scoff at.

At this stage of the fight, he’ll start using Snowstorm a bunch. That really sucks because it’s hitting us for 150 damage each and heals him for 200. Shrug is doing 480 with Fire so we’re still hitting him harder than he can heal for, but it still puts a damper on your progress.

At this point, especially, you need to focus on keeping both party members alive because stopping your offense to heal up is going to stonewall your progress.

But if you keep throwing Fire at it and keep an eye on your health, this is honestly isn’t too bad. I’d say that Flamerus Rex is a harder fight.

Uh, we’re both headed there, why are we splitting up?

Don’t forget to see Grandpa!

Right. Bye!

Whatever, I guess. That’s two down, two to go.

Next time: Shrug is challenged for the crown of the world’s biggest doofus