Part 58: Master Summoner
Do you like even longer super long dungeons? I know I do, so let's go spelunking in one! But first there's one thing we need to do.
Okay that's done, let's go do the stuff we're actually interested in.
As you may or may not remember, there's an extra 11 floors added to the Moria Mine once you go to Dhaos' Future Castle at least once. To get what we're interested in, we need to trek down there again.
Anyway, our first order of business is to murder Wyvern again. He said something similar to this the last time we met, but it didn't mean anything of importance then.
Y'know, it felt really weird going from a set of end-game super powered equipment and skills back to the default stuff. Now that Excalibur is back where it belongs, the only thing really missing is Dymlos.
Spoilers: we're not going to see Dymlos. The arena's not got any fancy new content.
The slightly less important reason to come down here, though, is this little thing right here. It was added to this version, and then removed again from the PSP one.
Examining the blue thing on the wall causes a glyph to appear that blocks the exit and railroads us towards the super-super secret bonus dungeon.
Oh boy, the Dwarven Temple...
Well, um, it's not a very big dungeon, but it has an absurd encounter rate, even when dialed back via a permanent Holy Bottle effect (which I don't use because that's silly) and something more important that we'll be seeing once we're done.
It has the same enemies as the extra floors of the Moria Mines, so that's not a big deal. You just fight more of them.
The first two floors of the temple aren't interesting in the slightest, so let's skip to the third. There are giant black squares on the floor everywhere. They're meant to be holes; you touch them at all, even if its just one pixel in the corner, and you fall down it. Instantly. This doesn't act as a shortcut to the fourth floor either; it sends you to it, sure, but it puts you in a section where all you can do is backtrack to the start of this floor.
Also the statues in this place blow wind strong enough to send you flying several paces in a specific direction. This is required to get past holes at a few points, such as here. If we went a bit more south we'd just hit a larger hole. The problem, is, that even on this side there's no doors or anything.
Instead, there's hidden passageways! I'm sure you can see the one in this room now if you couldn't before, since you now know it exists. The very slight colour differentiation isn't easy to spot if you don't know to look for it already, and there's no indication that this is a thing you need to do. Like, at all.
For no adequately explainable reason, the Dwarves held a scroll that teaches ninjas how to summon frogs from the sky. Sure, why not?
In terms of interesting enemies, I ran into this guy. He's just Maxwell but with a brown outfit instead. Nothing exciting there; like everything else you can fight here, he's in the Moria Mine as well.
There's one other enemy of note in this place, but thankfully I didn't run into it. Since it's a remotely interesting encounter, I'd be remiss to not go back and look for it later.
No reason to actually do this, but it shows where the hidden passageway here is better than I could at least. Where it leads to is actually helpful and kind of important.
Going through that door, we get to the Lapis Lazuli pact ring. As far as I'm aware, this ring only exists in this version of the game. You'll see why when we meet the spirit it goes with.
On the fourth floor we get a "puzzle." Said puzzle consists of going to four rooms and flipping the switch in each. That lets us progress to the next floor, but there's something that seperates this from what you'd no doubt expect.
Each room has a sign in it. Said sign is a lying bastard!
This one gives us a forced battle against two weak enemies. Nothing exciting, and the signs being liars ultimately doesn't matter since we still need to flip all the switches regardless.
The other signs. Nothing exciting and nothing that actually warrants thinking about.
Now, on the fifth floor we come to a room here which is supposed to have a chest in it. Due to a mess up on my part (namely forgetting that it even existed), this didn't happen.
The solution, though, was to just run through the entire game again. For this one crappy spell we're never going to use.
It's stupidly expensive (she has an Emerald Ring equipped here, because I'm an idiot) and doesn't work most of the time. It's an instant death spell, so it's got to be shit by RPG Law.
Oh, on the plus side it's an upgraded version of a spell you get in this version in Dhaos' Castle in the past. Distortion is basically this but less likely to succeed and costs less TP. It's where we found Rock Mountain which was forever ago at this point (it was behind an optional mirror).
On the fifth floor we encounter another sign. This one in cryptic bullshit written in that one ancient language that only Arche (and apparently Dhaos) can read and has only turned up like twice before now.
: "Once the sacrifice opens the door, it will remain open but a moment." That's it.
: What does it mean by "sacrificial victim?"
: I don't know, but what I do know is that we're stuck unless we try something.
...Y'know, I'm tired of playing this your way, dungeon. I don't see any reason to bother since there's nothing blocking me. Let's just try and head straight past this thing right away!
Okay, never mind then. Let's go figure out what this thing wants us to do since we have to.
Backtrack a bit, and taking an alternative route leads to these switches. We need to place Arche and Suzu on them, in order to progress.
Once we get past the glyph thing that blocked us, they magically end up running back to us and rejoin the party though. They can't have just used the hole in that floor, since the switches are on the same floor as the glyph, so I don't know how this happened other than plot convenience.
Who cares though? We're nearly done and levels 8 and 9 look halfway decent. Even strangely familiar... eh, it's probably nothing. This sudden change in decor is irrelevant itself too, though, since these floors are super straightforward with no puzzles or anything.
On the 8th floor, we find this. Odd place to find it, but that's not my only reason to point it out. No, the other reason is on the 9th floor.
Hey, it's Pluto!
Wait, hang on I missed the Emerald Ring since it got moved on account of the Cave of Darkness being reverted back to its original 1 room nature. What gives?
: I can see you are a spirit. Frankly, I would like to enter a pact with you.
: Heh heh heh...
And just like that, he attacks.
Now, he's mostly unchanged from the last time we fought him but with one noticable difference: no Cerberus. This might not seem like a massive change, though it is for one simple reason. It drastically changes the strategy you use to fight him with.
As a result of this, he suffers from, what I'm sure just about most people who've fought him would call, "a severe case of being incredibly fucking easy." As in, he's never getting to attack levels of easy. How? Demon Fang. No, really. The weakest arte you get for Cless allows you to wreck the ultimate bonus boss' shit. The only reason Chester and Arche are allowed to even attack here is to speed things up, since even at high levels with Excalibur and an attack boost Demon Fang will only deal ~700 damage tops. He has 45,000 HP on the lowest difficulty so it'd take a while to just spam that ad nauseum.
Oh, and Mint does nothing here because I set her AI to Guard. She'd just be a liability otherwise. Klaus would slow things down too much with his summons (except maybe Aska but I hadn't bothered to pick her up at this point in time) and Suzu would still die in the first 20 seconds.
Anyway, after kicking his teeth in again we can summon him. This is what the Lapis Lazuli ring is for, by the way; the Emerald one is for a spirit that was added back into this version from the SNES one.
Okay, now our real reward for putting up with this place is the ultimate version of Gungnir. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a big deal but let me repeat that in case it didn't quite sink in: the ultimate version of Gungnir. The same ultimate version of Gungnir we'd get for trashing Odin at the Tower of Flames. Now, why is this thing here? The same reason the Statue of Justice was on the previous floor:
The Odin fight was removed! Why? I couldn't even begin to guess. It just flatout doesn't exist here so its rewards got thrown into some random dungeon.
The other reward is some base arte or whatever. Much like Wild Blade Dance, it's an arte Cless picks up from the main character of a different game; in this case, it's from Reid Hershel of Tales of Eternia. It was translated as Omega Demon Chaos there, before its name being changed to Rending Tiger Blade in the Radiant Mythology side games. It's basically a direct upgrade for Tiger Strike, which you probably only remember at this point as being "that second half of Claw Slash."
Oh, and one last little thing that makes this dungeon just a bit worse that you may have noticed already. There's no quick way to leave this place; no emergency exits, and hell not even a fucking save point anywhere in it. You wanna leave, you gotta walk all the way back to the 17th floor of the Moria Mine. You die? You gotta start again from either just before or just after Wyvern.
Now, it's worth remembering that the entirety of the Moria Mine was made by dwarves. The initial 10 floors, the extra 11 floors that comprise the Dwarven Ruins the next 9 that consist of the Dwarven Temple. That's a 30 floor dungeon and 2/3rds of it are made of pure malice and it's all directed towards you. You have to beat the whole thing with just one very limited set of resources and if you get unlucky and have exactly one enemy appear at the wrong time... you are dead and there's shit you can do about it. We haven't seen what Dwarves are capable of to the same extent as Elves on account of being extinct but if this dungeon is any indication there's probably a reason for that. It's easy to think that Elves are kinda dicks since what we've seen from them is mostly reactionary based on how they've been treated (even if it does get very blatantly racist at times) but this entire mine and the temple both predate that by several thousand years. Forget Elves, Dwarves were the real dicks the entire time.
Anyway, let's go get the Emerald and Sapphire Rings and then finish this place off. I also grab Aska while I remember since she's the only spirit I'm missing otherwise. Nothing's changed at Thor (aside from Groovy Arche being removed of course), so let's just skip to the Emerald ring's spirit.
Due to Pluto being relegated to the crap bonus dungeon, Gremlin Lair takes his spot on the 21st floor. This guy here takes the room on the 16th.
: His face doesn't match the seriousness of his words...
: Are you an inhabitant of the Daemonium?
: Indeed. I am called Chameleon.
: Our world is currently threatened by a man named Dhaos. Can you help us?
: If you can pay the price. However, the spell required for summoning inhabitants of the Daemonium was sealed long ago.
: If we use this to form a new pact, the ancient seal will be broken.
: Very well... Bring forth the Emerald Ring.
And with that, we've officially gotten every Spirit there is on Aselia, and most of them twice over. Hurray!
...Unfortunately, Chameleon isn't exactly good either. Much like Extension, it's an instant death attack so it's pretty much useless in just about every fight worth worrying about.
Next time: now, are you sure this isn't actually just fanfiction someone wrote and Namco thought it'd be funny to just throw into the game?