Part 6: Ice Pyramid? Snow Problem6. Ice Pyramid? Snow Problem
Well, lets get this over with. The Ice Pyramid is considerably tougher than the Bone Dungeonnamely, there are lots of branching paths and it throws a pretty garbage gimmick at you straight out the gate. If you dont have an idea of where youre supposed to go, youre in for a frustrating time.
That being said, I dont plan on showing off the whole thing because theres no point. All of these optional paths just lead to consumables. Were 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?
Lets 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 isnt 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 youll just bumble into them. This would be absolutely unbearable.
I mean, if we didnt 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, youd be stumbling through this area and into encounters constantly. If that happened to you then theres 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. Theyre really strong when the damage isnt being split and have slightly deeper sounding explosion when used on the map but thats about all thats different from our wimpy old bombs.
Now were ready to tackle this place properly. If you look at this map from Gamefaqs, youll notice that its 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. Its 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 its boring as hell after awhile, and just sort of starts droning. Ordinarily that wouldn't be such a big deal but youll be in the Ice Pyramid for a good amount of time. I think my issue with it is that Ive already heard it once so getting it a second time is sort of disappointing.
If you didnt 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 wont be killing enemies in one round anymore so battles are going to be noticeably longer. You could say its a perfect storm of boringness.
On the bright side, Shrugs gonna get some shiny new things to play with. Im not sure if that makes up for the rest of it, but, well, there it is for better or worse.
Well be using the map for directions/reference just so theres some clarity. Were 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 theyve been decreased by an enemy attack. Ive never actually used one before, though, and I dont 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 Silenceif Silence actually worked, that is.
Its sort of fortunate that it doesnt because the AI loves to heal status effects above all else. You could be on the brink of death but wed better cure that sleep first. I can only imagine how awful itd 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 theres a single ground-bound enemy though, the airborne enemies just sort of hang there. I dont know if thats 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 isnt so bad if you know where youre going because were a good ways through already, battles not withstanding. Theres really only one way to go, but were taking staircase 7, for reference. After this, its not too hard to lose your way completely since the paths here on out are more forks in the road than anything.
And thats a pretty big if, I know.
The pink blob called a... Phanquid is Squidites palette-swap. I dont think theres anything really different about them. Phanquid might be a little weaker.
Sphinxes are annoying since Phoebe wont be killing them in one hit and are yet another enemy that can confuse you but thats about all thats noteworthy about them.
They look awful once youve 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 Roostwhich I imagine is supposed to be a cockatrice but whateveris 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 youre essentially dead when youre 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. Thats 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 theyre 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, theyre 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 youve stumbling around the dungeon blind youd 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, youll just run up and punch the enemy out.
It doesnt deal a whole lot of damage but Shrugs fists are hitting for a few points of damage less than the Cat Claw so thats great?
The path ahead is hidden so just walk into this wall. That big square in the bottom lefthand corner is Shrugs eventual destination.
I spy a chest behind a closed door and thats just terrible. The right path is a dead end, so lets head left.
I can only imagine how annoying and predictable this sort of thing would have gotten if you didnt 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 youre going? Or keeps your jumping around in check?
Walk off the edge around here and youll fall into the room with the nice chest from earlier.
I wasnt 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 Shrugs 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. Im not doing that because Im running low on magic charges and youre insane if you think Im 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 theres another chest so its basically Shrugs birthday here.
The Knight Sword is excellent and a much needed upgrade to the Steel Sword. Shrugs a lower level than Phoebe and its already stronger than her bow. Hell one shot nearly every enemy in here now. He also gets a 5 point bonus to speed when he has it equipped so thats pretty cool.
Back to business. Lets kill this ugly and unfortunate thing.
Oh, the games actually hide and seek? Never mind, Im 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 dont 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 youd have to fall all the way back down and climb back up. Its only 20 arrows. Its not worth it.
Thankfully, Shrug is blind for this... whatever the boss is doing.
Since were so low on, well, everything, lets 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, were out of the cool standoffs of Shrug and the bosses. Heres 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 dont have magic, youre 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 youre going to lose that race if someones alone.
Its weak to Fire, obviously, so bust out the Cat Claw and take advantage of the very slight boost it gives your magic.
Its also susceptible to blind but Im not sure if trying to get that to stick is worth your time.
Since its made of ice, itll 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 dont 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 didnt 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, hell start using Snowstorm a bunch. That really sucks because its hitting us for 150 damage each and heals him for 200. Shrug is doing 480 with Fire so were 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 isnt too bad. Id say that Flamerus Rex is a harder fight.
Uh, were both headed there, why are we splitting up?
Dont forget to see Grandpa!
Whatever, I guess. Thats two down, two to go.
Next time: Shrug is challenged for the crown of the worlds biggest doofus