Part 20: The One With All the Bosses
Returning to the re-sunken continent and the Tree Palace, all of the Resistance seems to have made it out safely. I'd personally have killed one of them off for added pathos, but what are you going to do?
Krissie is here too, but... her relevance to the plot has pretty much ended. She'll restore your HP if you need it, but at this point it's probably a better plan to just find an inn.
The most important thing here is finding Neko. Seriously, not finding him makes the game incredibly difficult. The trick is that you have to walk all the way around the pyramid to get to him.
The reason he's so important is because he's selling the best buyable equipment in the game. The prices are outrageous, so how good is this equipment?
That. Damn. Good. Each piece of equipment nearly doubles the defense of the last set of equipment, and they're pretty necessary for the final dungeons. Making a visit to the next dungeon before coming back here I was seeing all enemies doing triple digit damage with casual attacks. Playing through like that would have been a nightmare. With this equipment we're back in the more reasonable low double-digits area.
I have no explanation for Sergo being here, but I guess it's nice to know that Meria's somehow become less of a gigantic dick. The conversation that led to this must have been interesting: "Hey, whatever happened to that pirate guy on the sandship?" "I dunno. Should we put him at the last palace so that people aren't left wondering?"
Moving inside, Mara has somehow made her way here and is uncharacteristically feeling sympathy for the Emperor. I like to think that she's got a giant smirk on her face the entire time she delivers this line.
If you think about it, this girl is probably the only one looking at the situation realistically. Overall, our characters have failed pretty thoroughly. They might have defeated some of Thanatos henchmen, but he left those henchmen behind while waltzing off with the Mana Fortress. Nothing we've done has more than inconvenienced Thanatos, and he's the one holding the cards at the moment.
The real standout is Phanna, who's recovered enough to want to talk to Kid. Kid tries to brush things off as Phanna not being herself, while not mentioned the whole "I stabbed the hell out of you for telling me how great a time you were having with the guy I want." Sneaky.
In some ways the whole issue of Thanatos using Phanna against Kid falls apart for the simple reason that when we first saw Phanna being taken away, Thanatos had no motivation to create a weapon specifically aimed at Kid and no real way of knowing either of these characters well enough to notice tension between them. I feel like something is missing here to explain Thanatos actions..
"You got taken over by a corrupt megalomaniac and (presumably) slept with my boyfriend, I stabbed you. I think we're even."
Just like that, they're patched up and Phanna's entire story arc has pretty well ended off.
The Mana Seed is still here, but it's inert. No level 8 magic for us yet.
.. I swear that he wasn't here a second ago. Also, what do you mean barely got away? You were at the top of the steps!
The news just keeps getting better and better, as having the Mana Fortress show up indicates that the Mana Beast will come about as a counterbalance. Part of me wonders if the Mana Beast would destroy the world or if it would just destroy human civilization. Considering how humans have treated Mana in this series, I'm starting to wonder if that's not an important question for the planet.
It's been long enough and he talked so much about nothing that I honestly can't remember if he specifically spelled it out to us or if we're hearing this all second hand.
This is pretty much a sign that we have literally run out of places to go. The Pure Land and the Mana Fortress are pretty much all that's left.
... somehow I can't help but think that it would have made a lot more sense to have skipped over the whole dealing with the Empire thing and tried to find a way through this barrier. With all the fighting of monsters and such we've had to do, it might even have been faster.
Naturally, Jema is not going with us nor will anybody else. Jema is done talking at this point as well and will simply repeat himself from here on out.
The Pureland itself is a snowy white patch on a circular island, surrounded by mountains. We could have reached this area before, but wouldn't have been able to land before now. The sky has also changed to sunset, and there are occasional flashes of lightning through the sky.
Pure Land Theme: Still of the Night
Landing results in a mysterious voice beckoning us onward, through the monster filled forest. You can see a Needlion behind the words if you look closely. One thing about this area that's kind of annoying is the overhead canopy that can hide enemies, chests, and other important things from you.
The next screen is a pretty handy one, as it's got three of these enemies called Griffin Hands. You might have noticed that there's been quite a jump in my HP between this shot and the last one..
That's because Griffin Hands are the only enemies who have a chance to drop the Griffin Helm, which is the best possible helm for Boy. It's only a modest improvement as far as defense goes, but comes with a bonus to strength and hit % as well. And I only gained about 8 levels trying to get the damn thing!
Naturally there's a few enemies who are re-colors of things we've dealt with, only a whole lot meaner. There's nothing terribly special about these guys, although if you just kind of wander along you'll probably run into the first (out of so many) boss battle here.
Boss Battle: Dragon Worm
Dragon Worm Battle Video
Our first boss fight is against the Dragon Worm, who looks suspiciously like an albino version of the Grand Viper. Compared to the previous version, however, this one is distinctly less annoying.
Instead of Gem Missile we've got Earth Slide this time, but his damage with it is so pathetic that you kind of hope he'll use it. The most annoying thing is the animation.
The Dragon Worm doesn't cause pygmy with a touch anymore, instead having a couple of spell-like abilities to use against you. Their success rate is abysmal, so the real problem here is when he hangs out in the trees casting them over and over again.
Thunderbolt works just as well against him as it did against the Grand Viper, so a few good strong spells and some pointy things to the face bring him down and net us an axe orb. We're going to be stacking up a lot of orbs in this dungeon.
A few steps down the road proof of this crops up when we're directed to our first and only original boss for this dungeon. At least they're kind enough to warn us that he's coming.
Boss Battle: Snow Dragon
Snow Dragon Battle Video
Our next boss is a bit of a unique encounter, as it's the first time we've dealt with a pure dragon. As you'd expect, he looks pretty intimidating, and it's pretty neat that he's got his own color-appropriate area. He's also the only non-palette swap boss in this dungeon.
I'll go ahead and spoil something here: there's going to be more dragons. All dragons have an elemental breath attack and a wide area wing attack that they use to clear your characters out of their personal space.
He's also got a nasty freeze spell, and enough magic to actually make it do a decent spot of damage although it's really nothing in particular to worry about.
We haven't seen many ice bosses in the game, and there's kind of a reason for that. With both of our characters having offensive fire spells, their life spans tend to be short. The Snow Dragon is no exception, and within a handful of seconds he's gone and coughed up a Bow's Orb for us.
Finishing off the dragon doesn't open up a new route as such. Instead, returning to the old ruin we get a prompt to save and get warped to a fairly non-descript area with a small cave.
There's quite literally nothing of interest in the cave. No unique or new monsters, no treasure, just a straight forward slog until we reach an ominous looking cave entrance.
Boss Battle: Axe Beak
Axe Beak Battle Video
Flaming chicken ahoy! Spring Beak has become Axe Beak, and the new version hasn't become any more dangerous.
Bosses at this point in the game have started to stack on the special abilities and it'll become more and more noticeable. It's possible that I'm over leveled (although Axe Beak here is level 64), but they just don't seem to hit very often.
Axe Beak also has the entire catalog of Salamando's magic, even if it has a hard time breaking 50 damage. If I could do one thing to make the bosses in the game a bit more challenging it would be to increase their magic to the point that they could do some significant damage.
Freeze is probably the best way to deal with Axe Beak since he likes to move around too much for conventional weapons to be an option. Beating him gets us a Javelin's Orb to add to our collection. The way is also clear for us to move forward and...
Oh man, AGAIN? Strap in kids, there's more yet to come.
Boss Continues to View Us As Manual Labor
Reverend Cheddar posted:
Jema "BOY! Are you alright? We barely made it out with our lives.
... In the end we could not prevent the revival of the Mana Fortress. And the Holy Sword is still not ready...
A Godbeast of Mana will surely awaken soon. When the firepower of the Fortress and the Godbeast clash, the world will be destroyed... however, it may be too early to give up hope just yet. Long ago I was told this by Lord Sage Joch, but... somewhere in the world, there is a forbidden isle that is known as the Mana Holyland. Normally it is shrouded in a thick cloud cover, utterly impregnable. However, now things are different.
The necessary fuel for the Fortress is of course, Mana energy. What precious little Mana remains in this world is being continually stolen away into the Fortress! The Mana clouds that protected the Holyland may have also diminished, don't you suppose?!
Mana Seeds are but single parts themselves of the Mana Tree...
And you hold in your hand the Holy Sword, that resonated with the power of those seeds and restored that blade's strength.
Supposing you could let it resonate with the Mana Tree, it should be possible to easily revive the full power of the Holy Sword!"
BOY "Okay, then we've still got a shot, don't we! We'll try going to the Holyland!"
Jema "It is still a forbidden land that none have ever set foot upon. Even I do not know what is beneath the clouds. Be aware!"
guy "I can't believe the Emperor was backstabbed like that...
Who -- no, what the hell is Thanatos?"
Maleect "The Emperor has died, betrayed by his own bodyguards... what goes around comes around, you know..."
girl "Even if we've beat the Empire, there's no point if the world's going to be destroyed..."
Pamela "KID! ... Oh, I've... I said some awful, awful things to you
KID "No, it's fine. Your heart was being controlled, that's all. You can't help that."
Pamela "... I... You looked so happy with Dyluck; maybe I grew so jealous of that happiness you shared...
Somewhere in my heart I hid that jealousy, and Thanatos knew it, I think he was able to use me to... oh, please forgive me!"
KID "... Pamela...
Look at me, okay? Look at me. We're best friends, aren't we?"
Pamela "... KID! Thank you! I'm hoping that you'll be able to bring Dyluck back to us!"
I love the griffin hands for some reason
"... I have been waiting...
Now, you must come quickly to me..."