Part 23: Fire and Ice
Although it's not exactly obvious, you can pretty well fly right up to the Valley of the Flames. It just doesn't look like it from above.
"How is it that you guys are always here before us?"
"It's because we're cats."
The enemies in this area are exactly the same as the last time we were here, only with their levels jacked up correspondingly. Right now I'm only grinding lightly so we're starting to fall behind the enemies a bit.
This time around the doorways that exploded in our faces are open, allowing us to wander a maze of winding pathways.
It's actually not that complicated, though, as a lot of the dead ends are confined to the screen. It's quite possible to accidentally wander into the boss battle (like I did) by going down this path.
God-Beast Battle: Xan Bie
Xan Bie Battle Video
Xan Bie is one of my favorite boss battles to date, just because it's a lot of fun to watch and there's some neat gimmicks to the fight.
Naturally there's a lot of fire-themed single-target attacks, including a cool laser...
And sometimes Xan Bie will turn into a column of flame that you can't damage with weapons.
The multi-target attacks are even more spectacular, with names like Lava Wave and Gigaburn. They can do some fair damage as well.
He'll use power up on himself as well as blaze wall to heal, and I think he might even be clever enough to put flame saber on your characters.
One of the weirder things that you can see with this boss is that there are two target areas. You can hit the furnace area and cause damage to the boss as well, and occasionally Xan Bie retreats there for a respite.
Pound on him long enough and get a double explosion for your trouble! I'm not sure if that's more spectacular than the previous record holder, but it gets extra points for the secondary explosion.
It's not exactly encouraging when there's so many yet to go. On to the next!
For this one we've got to head back to the Altena area, to the Labyrinth of Ice Walls. Last time we were here it wasn't much of a labyrinth, but that's because we didn't take this back pathway.
The enemies here are very familiar, but at this level they've started to become real threats.
The knights in particular can wreck your party with their multi-target attack. I barely survived this one at full health, and this is the first room in the dungeon.
Petit Poseidons are a new version on an old theme, and are a real pain in the ass because they cast group debuffs on your party. Trying to win a fight after they've nerfed everyone's attack is an exercise in frustration.
There's tons of diverging paths throughout the labyrinth, which isn't a bad thing considering that levels are still a problem and we need experience.
We've also got our first dragon running around in here, although it's not exactly intimidating. In fact, it's something of a relief compared to the armored knights.
There's some very unusual attacks being thrown around in this dungeon. That's a Papa Poto casting Saint Beam, and the dragons can turn you into a snowman.
A Golden Goddess statue is a considerable mercy on the part of the level designers after wandering around in here for a while.
It's also a sign that we're nearing our next boss battle, especially when it's followed by a nice, safe, empty room to lull you into a sense of false security.
God-Beast Battle: Fiegmund
Fiegmund Battle Video
Fiegmund is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand he's got a pretty cool design, but on the other hand he's also very weak and likely to end up being as weak as a kitten by the end of a fight.
His main attack is Cold Blaze, which does a minor amount of damage and turns one character into a snowman. He can sometimes cast it fast enough to turn two people into snowmen at the same time, but it wears off on its own given a few seconds.
His real gimmick is coming around under the ice and casting magic at you from below. You can't hit him with weapons at this stage, which means we have to use magic. This slows things up a bit, but he's weak to fire and Hawk's fire spell also weakens magic effectiveness. A few casts and he's barely into the double digits on damage.
Fiegmund does have a fairly nice selection of group attacks he can use under the ice, which are moderately painful if you don't break his magic stat quickly.
Other than that he's got a single/group target attack and can improve his magic stat, but doesn't do anything else of particular interest.
Eventually, against all odds, he explodes. This has been the longest battle in a while, mainly due to the necessity of plinking away with our weak attack magic while he was under the ice. Angela would probably speed this up considerably.
Before continuing on to the next four I'm definitely going to have to do some leveling, as the enemies are going to be 4 levels ahead of me at this point. The goal is to end up at level 38ish around the end, but we'll see if that happens.
"Well, we appreciate it, but you didn't have to come all this way for us.."
"It's okay, we were here looking for Nikita more than anything else. Unfortunately we couldn't find him no matter how long we looked, so we had to find something to sell to offset the cost of the trip."
"That's too bad. I'm sure he'll turn up somewhere along the way tell you what, if we find him we'll tell him you're looking for him."
"Or tell him to meet us somewhere so you can trap him. Whatever works for you."
The new weapons and armor are a definite improvement, although it's a question of whether or not you think it's worth the money at this point. Right now I can barely afford to replace everything after selling the old equipment. This is particularly relevant, because...
"Pedan is a very strange place. It's in the jungle west of Bucca. You ought to visit it sometime."
"For now, why not buy something from me?"
"You're not very good at this sales thing, are you? Lucky for you we're too lazy to go looking for another merchant."