Part 60: The Emperor Strikes Back
"Once again, I find myself with bad news for you "
The dialogue in Altena has changed, but about 99% of it is these two phrases. There's a couple of people who still have their old dialogue...
And the old lady is actually a bit more accurate at this point.
But anyway, we were going back to Dragon's Hole, partially because a few more weapon and armor seeds wouldn't go amiss and partially because there's something here.
In a hidden little alcove in a straight north-south corridor, you can pass through the wall now that Koren is dead. It's pretty well hidden and out of the way, and there's no indication anywhere in the game that this even exists. I don't know how anybody found it. Inside is SD3's hidden boss, a vicious brute so horrifying and terrible that it's
"Aww! A cute little rabite! Come here, little guy!"
"Maybe there's something behind the rabite?"
"There's something about that rabite "
"Run away! Run away!"
"We'd better not risk another frontal assault, that rabite's dynamite!"
"And let us never speak of this again."
Until the bonus update, anyway. Moving on...
We've got just about nowhere left to go but the Mana Holyland. It doesn't look inviting at any time of day.
This is one of the places that is always going to be the same, with the same Shadow-zero and Shapeshifter enemies from previously. Of particular note, however, is that I saw the Shadow-zeros pulling out some tricks I hadn't seen before.
Revenge voice is a pretty rough across the board staff debuff, and if they're imitating one of your characters can very quickly result in you plinking away for one damage. Divide L49 does exactly what you'd expect and creates a duplicate copy. Luckily I only ran across one of these guys on my way to the end. Speaking of which...
"H how could you!?"
"Well, I won't say it didn't take me a while, but "
"The Faeries are born of the Mana Tree and with the Mana Tree, they shall die."
"Observe, as a new world is born! A world of death, destruction, and chaos.."
"Wow, chatty bastard aren't you?"
"I can't let you do that!!"
"Prince Richard and the Knight of Gold I believe they had a faerie with them as well."
It's King Richard now, actually."
"Really? Well, that's nice for him and all but since I was speaking of the past I think it's still correct to call him a Prince "
"That Knight dealt me painful, crippling injuries but I have recovered, and grown stronger "
"No mortal can possibly stand against me now! Behold my true form!!"
"Okay, I take back everything I said about you not looking like a dragon."
"Too little, too late."
"Hahaha Bow down before me, and die, as a sacrifice to your new God!!"
"I think you started laughing just a bit too early
"That's it! Even if the Mana Tree withers and Mana disappears, we will never give up!"
"Did you think a little thing like that was going to stop us?"
"Not after everything we've been through."
"Was that supposed to be fire breath, or did you just let one rip?"
"Just like we would have with the Sword, only y'know, using other weapons?"
"If my father nearly killed you without the Sword of Mana and we could beat him, you're pretty well screwed at this point."
"As long as our hope is strong, we can accomplish anything!"
"Bring it, you overgrown lizard. I've wanted a new handbag for a while now."
Final Boss Battle: Dragon Emperor
This time our final boss is a giant fuck-off dragon, who's so huge that you can't see all of him at any one time. The concept of having such a big boss is pretty cool, but it would work better if we could somehow see all the different parts of him.
The Dragon Emperor has got a boatload of attacks, but the most basic is probably a wind-like attack that is accompanied by his wings beating furiously. It's probably the most dragon-like animation he has.
He's also got access to just about any spell you can think of, but he seems strangely fond of Saint Beam and Holy Ball. Luckily he's not that strong of a magic user.
His arsenal also includes a lot of the powerful boss-only spells like Spiral Moon and Prisoner. It's pretty much impossible to accurately catalogue every trick he has up his sleeve, since there's a pretty good chance you aren't going to see all of them even in a couple of fights.
At some point during the fight, DE will start flapping and disappear offscreen, evidently deciding that he's had enough of this shit
Only to come back from a different angle and give you a view of his wingtips and the back of his head. This form change is accompanied by a few extra attacks, and tends to go a bit lighter on the spellcasting.
Fang Rush is probably his favorite, and pretty much consists of grabbing somebody in his teeth and then flinging them around the screen like a rubber ball.
He's also got an appropriately awesome Flare attack that actually comes from the right side of the screen crossing over to the left, and that's really about all the unique stuff for this form. Flare, by the way, usually accompanies his transition back to the pose at the start of the fight.
His other dragon-related attack is Gigaburn, which is actually the non-cutscene version of the attack he used to down the entire party at the beginning of the battle. It's much less intimidating in battle.
Oh, and he can also drop Ancient on you. He tends to use his when his HP gets low, and it still packs a wallop just because of the spell's innate power.
Perceptive observers might have noticed that the DE's coloration seemed a bit different from shot to shot. He actually changes colors, weaknesses, and spells but he's color-coded for your convenience. The colors are usually pretty self-explanatory. With a non-elemental spell like RAINBOW! however, it's not a problem.
The end result is a multi-color explosion, followed by the DE disintegrating in a white glow. The explosion looks a bit similar to dragon explosions from Final Fantasy Adventure, and the disintegration reminds me of Chaos from Final Fantasy 1.
"A real god, maybe but who decided you were a god? You should never have underestimated humans."
I'm here for the moment. Not for much longer, though. The mana tree is gone the mana is going and I'll be going along with it. Thanks for everything...
"What does that mean for the rest of the world?"
"You'll be okay I'll be back as the new Goddess, and in the meantime things will just be a bit duller."
"I promise. Faeries are kind of like Mana Tree seeds although maybe that's not the best system. Maybe we'll spread it out in one of the human tribes or something that could work."
"I'll figure it out when I come back. It'll be a while, though. In the meantime, you have some people waiting for you."
"Thanks, Faerie-Goddess, for everything."
I can only imagine that it's a quiet ride back. If you think about it, the Mana Goddess only has a limited role in granting any of the character's wishes. For the most part they're taken care of by the character's own efforts in the course of the story.
As we've seen, Kevin goes home to his father
And everything goes better than expected. One difference at the end is that there's no mention of Gene's mother and the fact that she's actually been dead the whole time. It's all about Karl. The endings are a bit different depending on where you place a character in your party, but generally the only difference is that one is a bit shorter than the other. Angela and Duran's are the real focus here.
"How will our nation sustain without the benefit of my magic?"
"Don't worry, Mother! We'll survive! The fires in our hearts will keep us warm!"
"No, really, this is going to be pretty tough. We don't even have stoves in most of our houses."
"It can't be that hard. There are people by the ocean who seem to do pretty well."
"Angela I hope you're right. Altena has a long struggle ahead of it "
"You should probably start with these wonderful things called coats "
"But I've found something even better than magic!"
"Um Angela ? You look predatory "
"HAHAHAHAhaha you're so trapped, and you don't even know it."
"Uh Forcena! We need to go back to Forcena!"
"Duran, you're home I I was so worried "
"This is your aunt and sister? She's so cute! I always wanted a little sister of my own "
"Wendy Aunt Stella I'm sorry I left you for so long It's all over now all over "
" No, don't apologize. Go talk to King Richard he's waiting for you."
"The soul of Loki, the Knight of Gold, lives within you, Duran."
"I don't even know what to say to that. Thanks?"
"Nobody knows what the future holds now that Mana has left our world...
"Your majesty I accept!"
"Although I don't know how anything I do as a knight is going to top, you know, saving the world."
"Eh, I'm sure we can find something. It's a big world out there, you know."
and with that...