Part 67: Part SG-3
The fourth area is pretty special - it deals almost exclusive with upgraded palette swaps of former bosses, complete with their bosss music. Setkhefire is Akhetamen 2.0, with all the same tricks. He's not really too bad though, Seraphic Law aside, especially since you can just use Mighty Checks to neuter his Holy damage.
On the other hand, this is a pain. Carnage Beasts are upgraded Fenrirs, though now with 652,000 health. They can now use Frost Bait even at high health, and they will still resort to spamming it at low life. The Infernas still works on them, but if you didn't remember to swap it in before the fight the extra turn you're giving them is annoying, especially on Normal. If you don't have the Infernas, Calamity Blast and pray on Guts.
Still nice to see big numbers like this once in a while.
Lich is Genevivie's pallete swap. She's very dangerous this time round. While she has all of Gene's tricks (Heal, Cosmic Spear), her worst part this time is her INT score. Lich packs the second highest INT score of the game, at a whopping 40,000.
This means Indiscriminate can mean spells of doom four times. If you're lucky, she'll fish out something like Lightning Bolt, which the Armors of Aleph can take handily. If not, and you don't have on other elemental resisting accessories like Mighty Checks, pray on Guts again before blitzing her down with physicals.
There's one final Flame Jewel door.
Freya finally gets her Seraphic Gate weapon, so she's usable now. The Dainslef is also the second best sword, with 9000 ATK and instantly killing things weak to Holy. You might find the Glance Reviver's enemy-killing effect more useful on the random encounters in the fourth part of the Gate, but swap in the Dainslef for bosses.
As we get closer to the final boss, we run into more dangerous swaps.
Loki's back, though a Shade in but name only. While he has a lot of health (752,000), he's pretty much the same as before but buffed in stats, though quizzically, while he had amazing RST and low RDM in his original fight, here he has low RST and high RDM. This means a Great Magic will do considerable damage. Extension Force and Dragon Orb will still do a lot of damage to anyone not resisting Fire/Ice, but he's probably easier than Lich because he doesn't throw out his killer stuff as often.
In the end, he goes down about the same as last time.
He also drops Ethereal Divides, if you're using both Lawfer and Aelia or are playing on Normal.
Hrist is also back, and this time she actually has the stats to matter, possibly killing one character every round if they're not at full health.
For that added insurance though, she has her own version of a level 3 Nibelung Valesti. However, much like the Freya and Brahms fights, she can only kill one character at a time, and her health isn't a lot compared to Loki or the other palette swaps, so sadly, Hrist isn't much of a threat again.
She does drop Glance Revivers, if you care.
The last part doesn't really have any puzzles, so let's get to the end.
You'll find me very different from Gabriel Celeste! I'll show you what true despair is! Resign yourself to your fate![
OST: Mighty Blow
Like Gabriel Celeste, the Iseria Queen (later known as the Ethereal Queen) is a mainstay superboss of tri-Ace games. She also had Mighty Blow as a track in Star Ocean 2, but later on she also adopted Incarnation of the Devil from Gabriel Celeste, with Mighty Blow being used for bosses such as Roienburg instead.
So what can we expect from her? For starters, she has a lot of health - 2.3 million, to be precise, though her defenses are nothing special. At first she will mainly employ single-target attacks and spells. Her physical hits aren't that bad, but her spells are rather deadly, as she has the best INT in the game, at 65,000, using Mystic Cross, Fire Lance and Fire Storm.
She also comes with a Great Magic; in this case, Cosmic Spear, and unlike Gabriel she isn't afraid to throw it around whenever. It's pretty deadly, but Sorcerers can weather the sting pretty easily with the Sylphan Robe. So she's not really too bad; you can cut down her worst damage by protecting against Darkness and Fire, and optionally Holy, and everything else is single-target.
When you bring her down to half life...
Now I shall end this!
What, you haven't heard of second forms before? The music also kicks in an extra tempo and gets more fast-paced.
She immediately kicks off her second form with Empress Massacre, which will pretty much kill anyone it hits, and she can use it randomly from here on.
Surt's Extension Force also starts appearing. It's very powerful, so any Fire protection at this stage is recommended, though I do like this really nice occurrence of quadruple Guts.
Aside from that however, she's really not that bad. If you come in with adequate Fire and Dark protection, you can weather her only party-all attacks (Extension Force and Cosmic Spear) and the rest are single-target, which you can fix with Guts or Auto Item (or just plain old Union Plumes). It's a long fight, but not an overly hard one. I'd say things like Wraith were tougher considering where you would be at that stage in the game.
What do you desire after you reach the ultimate rank? Heh, it's none of my business. I'm sure we'll be... able to...
Incidentally, Iseria Queen is pretty much the only character who doesn't share her VA with anyone - she's voiced by Kayzie Rogers, who is one of the most prolific VAs for Pokemon, with more than 50 roles for it, though her most familiar ones will likely be Professor Ivy, Wobubffet, or Max.
Our reward? The tri-Emblem, one of the best accessories in the game. It provides +3000 RDM, 200 Avoid, 25 Defend, and reduces Fire damage by 90%, allowing the wearer to laugh off most physical and fire damage.
OST: Nostalgia into Hope
With the chest opened, all the monsters disappear, and we get a more soothing soundtrack as we backtrack all the way to the entrance and save point. We save our game, and we can then leave to the left.
If we load up the save file again, we start back in the Seraphic Gate, though all the enemies have respawned.
So... what happens if we clear it again? Well, first off, none of the enemies, including the bosses, get any harder, so to save yourself a lot of trouble, you can simply equip a Dimension Slip, dropped from Unholy Terrors in the gate or just by transmuting things, which allows you to ignore random encounters and just head to fight Gabriel and the Queen. Anyway, each time you clear the Queen after that, the chest will instead contain a key item called the Book of Secrets. They don't do anything, but just provide a bit of flavour text. You can get eight of them by clearing the Gate nine times:
Book of Secrets 1:
Congratulations on clearing it! I thank you for playing the game so much.
Book of Secrets 2:
Wow, you cleared the Seraphic Gate 3 times... What else are you hoping for?
Book of Secrets 3:
Did you finish the game again? I'm so happy that you like the game this much. But there's really no reward...
Book of Secrets 4:
Do you want to play more?! There's no reward, is there? Why don't you play something else already?
Book of Secrets 5:
Are you getting sick of this yet? Unlike Star Ocean, you can get only to level 99...
Book of Secrets 6:
What game should I play next...
Book of Secrets 7:
]Maybe next will be STAR OCEAN The T???d Story...
Book of Secrets 8:
...I'm back. Can't believe I have to do it 9 times... Anyway, I only have one more to do. If I finish that...
The tenth time you beat the Queen, you get the Angel Slayer. It's the most powerful sword in the game, with an Attack Power of 20,000. However, it does only have an Attack Trust of 1, so sometimes you do laughable damage.
Hey, it's a better prize than most games give you for a long, arduous task with no tangible rewards other than bragging rights.
As for the Gate itself, we've seen most of what has to offer, but there are a few special nuggets. There is one area in the fourth part which normally spawns Disaster Eyes. Occasionally, an encounter with them instead spawns the Giant Lord, a palette swap of Surt. More interestingly, in the room right before the hallway leading to the Iseria Queen, there are two enemies: Dark Valkyrie and Loki Shade. Occasionally however, instead of running into Loki Shade, when you run into him, you instead fight...
Hamsters are a recurring secret boss fight in the Seraphic Gate. But let's focus on what they can do now. For starters, while they don't have a lot of health (400,000, lower than most enemies in the fourth area), and they have very low RDM and RST.
However, they are the smallest enemies in the game, and most characters (including Arngrim) will end up whiffing several of their attacks. At first, they don't do anything seemingly painful - they can plink for 1 damage or try a variant of Last Wish that has very low accuracy. At lower health they start using magic, but it's still pretty survivable. Once they got low on health though...
They start spamming this. You need Guts, no way around it. They can also pull it out at higher health, but not at the same frequency.
So how do we handle this? Well here's the easiest way: three mages. I use Lezard, Lorenta and Mystina because they're my highest levelled, but anyone will do really, as long as they have level 8 Guts. Slap on Fairy Rings on all of them, and your strongest wands, whether or not they have Great Magic. Angel Curios on everyone if possible, Magic Bangles if you don't have enough.
Then spam Poison Blow with all three mages every turn. It's the strongest spell, it hits all of them reliably (unlike Mystic Cross), and with the Magic Bangle the CT is cut down so you can use it every turn. You're relying solely on Guts, Angel Curious, and possibly Auto Item to save you from their attacks here. Lenneth won't be of much help, but she can toss Union Plumes or Poison Crystals around.
Eventually, you'll get them down.
Crappy rewards though. The Hamsters can drop Dainslefs or Mystic Sages, but that means you'd have to hit them enough to cough treasure drops out of them. If you want to go for that, Badrach and Lucian are your best bet, but make sure you juggle them with Poison Blow or Fire Storm first to increase the chance of actually hitting.
And that's pretty much the whole Gate. And with all the enemies down, might as well have these:
Great Magic Collection
One last thing to show off.
The Sound Mode is accessible from the main menu. It has all the tracks from the game, and you can even put them on loops so you can listen to them all day if you so wanted.
From there, you can open up the Voice Collection, which collects all the battle lines and grunts from all your save files. Every playable character is here, and any boss with actual spoken lines - Barbarossa, Wraith, Genevieve, Ahkhetamen, Bloodbane, Surt, Loki, Hrist, Gabriel and Iseria Queen.
Completing the collection for the bosses is a bit more complicated though. You can get some of the lines from the palette swaps, but for Genevieve, Ahkhetamen, and Bloodbane, you'll have to get their most of their lines from the actual boss fights during the game, including when they cast spells. The palette swaps will only have their lines for the Great Magics. The same goes for Barbarossa, but his palette swaps are in the game itself, so even if you're only missing his lines for Calamity Blast you'll have to go into the main game itself to get them.
Incidentally, you have to get Loki's and Surt's lines from Loki Shade and Giant Lord in the Seraphic Gate. This is because there's no save point after you fight them in the A and B Endings. Lenneth and Brahms have lines they'll only use during the A Ending, and Genevieve has a line she'll only use during the fight with her in Jayle's recruitment.
If you unlock all the lines for a character, and press square while over their portrait...
You get a little shot of them like in the PSP wallpapers. You don't get anything for filling up the lines for a non-playable character.
And with that, I think that's pretty much everything for the game, and this LP!