Part 56: Part H8-1
Well, that was a bit sombre... but we have dungeons to run today!
Maybe the Palace of the Dragon offers us some clues this time?
Nope, not really. We do recruit Gandar, however.
Gandar is arguably the best Sorcerer in the game (or at least hotly contested), thanks to his absurdly high starting MAG as well as a 1000 DME advantage over all the other Sorcerers. He can't equip female-only stuff, but that's not a huge loss.
Starting at level 1 on the last chapter of the game kinda hurts him, though.
After the Citadel of Flame and the Tomes of Amenti, getting Dinosaur seems to be much easier than before.
Chapter 8 has not one, but two new dungeons. We'll be running them both today, getting the last Flame Jewels in the process.
These numbers seem to indicate where the transfer is made to. That orb looks like the operating panel...
OST: Black Blinding Nightmare
The Arianrod Labyrinth is possibly the shortest dungeon yet. We're pretty much playing with teleporters and math here. As Lenneth said, the number indicates what room we're going to, and we can use the switch for change the number (each machine has two numbers it can switch between). For now, we're sticking with going to room 10, then from there, room 8.
Cromrea is pretty rubbish. Despite a decent 1800 attack power, it has some interesting properties - normal attacks are weakened by 70%, while PWS damage is increased by 50%. It's got a 50% Dark bonus that would make it stronger than Gram, but I think I'll stick with Gram.
From here, we'll go to room 18.
We have more than one machine here - when that happens, the numbers add up to give us the room we'll teleport to, in this case, 20. That's not what we want though, so we'll turn the switch on the right machine to change it to a -2, giving us 16 instead.
By the way, that Silver Golem here has a whopping 25,800 STR. Luckily he's not difficult to take down.
We've seen Spectators before in the Cave of Oblivion. They have a slight sting to their attacks but are otherwise not too bad.
After going to room 16, we'll head straight through to room 21.
The Wand of Apocalypse is the first real upgrade to the Unicorn Horn. With 1750 MAG and the ability to cast Great Magic without breaking, it also trumps the Ether Scepter easily.
Straight through to room 12, then 13.
The Eternal Fault is a spear with 900 ATK, three attacks and a 90% Poison boost... not a bad weapon considering it's a spear, but the Dinosaur is better in the long run.
Wraith Lords have a lot of health and are fairly hardy. They don't have any killer moves, so it's just a matter of attrition.
From here, it's room 12 again, then 14, 7, 6.
Pick up our 7th Flame Jewel, then rooms 11 and 17.
Save point here, then we're heading to room 25 as shown on the machines.
Perhaps, but... I have a thirst which must be quenched.
What is it you thirst for?
I cannot ever forget... He he he he he. How sweet... how gloriously sweet... is the taste of the human soul!
Not enough!! Still I thirst!! Perhaps the soul of a goddess would be enough to satisfy me!
Right, boss time. We're up against the Dark Lord and two Demons Vallan.
The easiest way to do this fight? Start off by killing one of the Demons.
Celestial Star works nicely (make sure not to kill both!)
Now, here's Dark Lord's problem - he can't attack while he's in the back, just like a Warrior. He stays in the back until both his lackeys are dead.
So, we can just slowly chip away at his huge amounts of health in relative safety till he dies. Make sure Lenneth has a bow, and bring any extra Sorcerers or Atchers that you have.
The Demons can use Last Wish to bring a character down to 1 DME, and they can heal themselves, but otherwise they can pretty much only scratch you for 4k. First Aid on everybody is enough to keep everyone lasting, really.
If you want to fight Dark Lord fairly, he isn't easy - aside from having the most health of any main-game boss, he has a powerful party-wide attack, and at low health he starts abusing powerful single-target hits. Not as bad as Wraith in my opinion, but keep on your toes if you want to do it that way.
Either way, many levels were had by all.
Starting off with the least interesting - the Secrets of Zolon can be sold for 15,000 MP. We get a Unicorn's Horn here if you didn't get one up to this point, like missing the Creation Gem completely. Which would have been nice... if we didn't get the Wand of Apocalypse in the exact same dungeon.
The Shadzard is a broadsword that instantly kills enemies weak to Lightning, and has decent attack power and three attacks... but there aren't many enemies weak to Lightning left, and overall the Bahamut Tear is just better.
On to New Dungeon #2!
OST: Recurrent Shudders
For some people, the Celestial Castle is their least favourite dungeon. I'll admit it's got its terrible, terrible parts, but in my opinion the Tombs of Amneti are worse.
The dungeon's theme seems to be 'recurring enemies from past dungeons'. We've got Inferiors from the Dark Tower of Xervah, Mandragoras from the Forest of Spirits, and Grey Bones and Mage Lords from the Palace of the Dragon. All of which should be laughably trivial enough to kill (even Mandragoras).
The first part of the castle is simple enough, decadent decor aside.
The Forager here is the ultimate Chimaera. It's got more health and is more sturdy, and will throw its regular bevy of status effects at you.
Beast Slayer still works, by the by.
Luckily, the final Flame Jewel is right in the open, before the stupid section.
See this screen? For this screen and the next, the bottom of the screens are empty air. Fall into them, and you get sent out of the dungeon. And you have to spend two periods getting back in, with all the monsters respawning.
And of course there are a total of nine treasures along the way. With all but one of them having explosion traps.
Upgraded Harpy, blah blah blah.
The first chest is easy enough, just carry it to the edge of the platform and open it there to give yourself enough space to run away from the explosion. The other two can't be carried since the platform above them will cause you to drop it, so you'll just have to move away quickly.
We also have chains!
Screen two. Resist the urge to try and see how far you can jump and hope there's a platform there - the platform we want is above our heads. Use a large crystal as a foothold to jump to it.
Incidentally, if you freeze an enemy with crystal, they'll drop off the screen... but then they'll somehow come back when they unfreeze.
To open this chest safely, you have to jump away and onto the chain as soon as you open it.
(It also looks like Lenneth has a third leg in this screen shot. It's just her skirt and her braid on the left!)
This chest (containing an Aqua Vitae) is the worst of the lot. Getting to it isn't too bad - from the top of the platform on the right (you can see it in the screenshot), use a crystal explosion to carry yourself to it. Luckily, no explosion trap here, just a confusion gas one.
It's getting out there's the issue. The platform above it prevents us from jumping up so we can't gain any height to reach further.
Instead, we have to carry the chest to the very right edge of the platform. From the top of the chest, we should be able to jump back to the right platform (use a crystal if necessary).
The worst part's over, thankfully. This screen has lots of butterflies. Slash them all to open the way forward.
The next screen is the same, but now with moving orbs on the top of the screen that periodically stop and shoot lasers. Get hit by one and another butterfly appears. Again, slash them all to move on.
Skipping straight to the save point, then to our boss.
I have been waiting for you.
Unclean thing! Defiler of life! You have escaped your eternal grave...
"Unclean thing", you say! How can you say that about such beauty!
Beauty is meaningless if it is bought at the price of countless innocent lives!
You never change, battle-maiden. You're as stiff as a spear.
Enough talk! Your time is over, narcissistic lover of undead flesh!
No, you don't have to have recruited Jayle to fight Genevieve. And no, as far as I know, you don't get any extra lines for bringing her along here.
Genevieve fights with two Demonic Barons in the front, who are easy enough to dispatch. The main thing flying around here will be spells, as one might expect.
Genevieve's main form of offense is Indiscriminate, which casts four random offensive spells on random targets, possibly hitting the same target twice. Reflect Sorcery or the Mirror of Pleiades will usually handle that pretty well. She also can cast Poison Blow by itself, as well as the Cosmic Spear Great Magic, which can be quite strong.
While it's impossible to cover every element at once, Poison or Dark resisting equipment is helpful. The Bracelet of Basilisk from the Tombs of Amneti and the Pressed Flower by recruiting Belenus shrugs off Poison attacks, and there are quite a few sources of Dark protection available, including the Sylphan Robe and the Niebelungen Ring.
Genevieve can be difficult to wear down because she has very high RST, so don't expect to take out a large amount from Great Magic - save Final Blast or Niebelung Valesti for a fourth PWS.
If you wear her down too low, she'll also cast Heal.
Fortunately, we still kept this around.
It's not a one-hit kill, but it'll take out over 50% of her life, so using it when she's hovering around that level will do.
Why.. why me? I don't want to lose this beautiful body... ohhhh!
We've got some good stuff, but we'll start with the least interesting again - the Harp of Atrasia can be sold for 7500 MP. The other two are significantly better. The Armor of Aleph is the second best chestpiece in the game and can be worn by warriors - 2000 RDM and a 90% resistance to Poison. The Berserker Bow is the bow version of the Dinosaur. 2400 ATK, 50% Poison boost, but it locks the user into their third attack. It's practically custom-made for Janus; his third attack, Restrain Flame, is still adequately strong and it adds +50 to the meter, allowing him to still help the party build up the gauge for PWS while getting a needed damage boost. Lenneth can also make decent use for it, but she has weapons like Gram to lean on if you want a second archer.
And with that, we're done with dungeons (we're running the Cave of Oblivion, but offscreen). Next time... the beginning of the end.