Part 13: Mac's Ship & Doom Castle
Mac's Ship & Doom Castle
Well, I did say this game was short. Here we are, at the very end. Yes, already. Now, many games in this era spring the final boss on you out of nowhere. FFMQ is no exception, but the way it does it is so bizarrely nonchalant that it gives credit to the "this game is a parody" theory.
Steve and Reuben arrive on Captain Mac's ship, which is anchored in fog and covered with monsters for some reason. To further marginalize Reuben, I'll be taking the most direct route to the end of the ship.
And that route is climbing the mast. It took me forever as a kid to figure this out, despite it being really, painfully obvious when you think about it. You don't even need a claw equipped to climb it! By climbing this one and working my way north along the riggings, I come to a stairway leading into the center of the ship.
You're basically going in circles if you follow any other route, as they'll go all over Mac's ship but not to where he actually is.
In the bowels of the ship Steve uncovers the Gaia Armor, the final body armor item. It protects from the same things as before, plus Wind and Sleep. Not the handiest protection of all, but very very nice all the same. The only major element he isn't strong against now is Earth, and as we'll see, that's not a major concern.
Oh no, Captain Mac is dying!
Ha ha, Reuben is dying!
This part takes a little reading between the lines to figure out. Spencer and Tristam were out looking for a "legendary suit of armor." They just happen to show up at the ship, where Steve just found a legendary suit of armor. Spencer probably realized the jig was up when Steve walked out of the ship wearing the armor.
Just to emphasize how hurt Reuben is, Steve drops him on the floor in front of Phoebe. Watching this physical abuse gets her excited enough to join the party again. She's about as useful as before, although her bow is somewhat lacking now. But her magic skills are as good as they've ever been and she's got White now, which is all she'll really need.
Look everybody, it's the Scrub Squad!
Anyway, Mac reveals that there's a Final Boss in the Focus Tower, probably in the stairway to the top of the tower Reuben found when he
I love talking to Reuben over and over and over again. You didn't even get hit by anything. I fought like 4 groups of monsters in the time I had you around. You're a bitch like your dad, Reuben.
"As for me, I just don't really feel like getting petrified and confused over and over again, but I hear Phoebe's really into that."
Money is no longer even remotely important, so it's time to load up on Seeds and just blow as much magic as we can in the final dungeon.
Have I mentioned this is the final dungeon? Well it is. All that's left is to fight retread versions of the four elemental bosses and then the Dark King, who is going to do something bad according to the Prophecy.
Actually, I don't think the Prophecy even mentioned that he was going to do anything. Essentially we're just going to his house to kick the shit out of him because he's the Dark King. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, but it's a pretty lousy prophecy.
Anyway, here's Doom Castle. My video making skills are getting more and more amateurish over time, so just ignore the fact that the cursor is in the middle of the screen for the whole video.
The castle is divided into four main areas, one for each element, which you can't get past without beating one of the four Palette Swap All-Stars: Skullrus Rex (Flamerus Rex), Stone Golem (Ice Golem), Twinhead Wyvern (Dualhead Hydra), and Zuh (Pazuzu). The bosses all hit slightly harder than their counterparts, but generally have less HP (or only a little more, in the case of the first two). They're not all that hard to take down, and there's a pretty hilarious gimmick with at least one of them. Also they mostly come with allies, but other than Zuh the allies aren't anything dangerous. I'll spoiler their general traits if you want to watch the video first:
Skullrus Rex (Earth): He uses earth-based attacks, but I have no idea what any of them are, because the programmers accidentally managed to slip in a tremendous, glaring oversight by not making Skullrus Rex immune to Petrify. This means that, yes, the Dragon Claw can instantly kill him. Hell, his ninjas manage to survive longer than him.
Stone Golem (Water): A pretty standard fight, and probably the hardest of them. He's just a big tank with high physical defense and resistance to earth (Meteor) and Fire (Flare). He's not weak to White, but he's not strong against it, so that's Steve and Phoebe's best option. Pretty easy otherwise.
Twinhead Wyvern (Fire): He's not all that hard. He's got a Blizzard weakness that his predecessor didn't for some reason, and uses fewer status effects, which is unfortunate because that was Dualhead Hydra's main advantage over me back at the Lava Dome.
Zuh (Air): I love this guy's name for some reason. Uses Pazuzu's attacks primarily, and also attacks with the Psychshield, which does all of 1 damage for some reason. Unlike Pazuzu, he defends himself only during phase transitions, and he's got so little HP that he barely even reaches his final sprite before he's killed off.
Having beaten the bodyguards, Steve and Phoebe proceed to the top of the tower where the Dark King waits. After revealing that he made the entire Prophecy up, which doesn't even make sense, he attacks (with some absolutely bitchin' music). His attacks change between forms, which include his ordinary appearance, an eight-armed badass wielding every weapon imaginable , a giant spider like IT or something , and finally a giant spider only with tentacles instead of legs . Spooky!
As has been noted in FFMQ lore, the Dark King has some kind of easter egg or bugged weakness to the Cure spell, which can do 12,000-16,000 damage to him in a single shot, but which apparently works only once. He has about 40,000 HP, so it's a big chunk of his life, but what's interesting is that it suggests the damage cap for FFMQ is at least 65535, maybe even higher. I can't imagine why since the best attacks possible by anyone at maximum level do two to three thousand at the absolute most. This leads me to believe the Cure vulnerability is intended, and not some wacky oversight.
The Dark King is vanquished with exactly as much fanfare as announced his arrival, and the game's ending proceeds. Steve decides to give up an almost inevitable Victory Threesome with Kaeli and Phoebe to... go sailing. After doing all that shit, he even has the nerve to say he needs "more adventure" in his life. Oh Steve, you'll never get laid. Or will you? It looks like Tristam's along for the ride!
And so ends FFMQ, with a very much happier and less insulting ending than 7th Saga could ever hope for. The world is saved from its random crystal-related calamities and a guy who was known about for all of an hour is dead, which I guess makes the world safe from his evil plan to... do something. Maybe.
Check the credits for more fun, including art by Picasso and a writing credit for the infamous Ted Woolsey. I suspect that Woolsey was just given the game and a general outline of the plot and asked to write all the dialogue himself. It certainly feels that way.
For a newbie game, it's actually not bad. It's just challenging enough in places that you kind of have to think sometimes, but it's gentle and rewards patience. Plus, it does have a few semi-innovative features, especially for its time. It's hard to think too badly of this game. Sure, it's easy and simplistic, but it's aiming to be, so the plot isn't pretentious or anything. It's like trying to deconstruct Clifford's Day At The Park, or blast Green Eggs & Ham for failing to tackle the tricky subject of modern race relations. It's just not the kind of game that invites that sort of criticism.
However, that's not to say it's free of all criticism. I still say fuck reactive petrification. You suck for that one, Mystic Quest. Not as much as Reuben sucks. But you'd better shape up if you don't want to slide into his territory!
Have I mentioned Reuben sucks?