Part 19: Update -XVI- Doing Hard TimeUpdate 16 Highlights - World of Final Fantasy
So things kind of spiraled down the crapper real quick in the last update. Lightning showed up to save the twins from a Graboid, then everyone got slipped some poison and Lightning was punched straight into a mountain while the twins somehow had their Keeper powers sealed.
Not a great showing from the heroes. Time to find out where they wound up after getting bonked on the head by Edgar's soldiers.
I think so... Are you okay?
Agh... Also, like... what is this place?
So we've got control again and there seem to be a handful of people in here with us. I wonder what their deal is?
Great, everyone is giving us the silent treatment.
This guy standing near the save point seems in the talking mood, though.
Excuse me. Do you know where we are?
[Man in Rags]: Huh? Jiants, eh? Heh. Now what did you do to get thrown into this sorry place?
[Man in Rags]: This is a prison, situated beneath Figaro Castle.
Dude, prison? For real?
[Man in Rags]: Well, they call it prison, but it's more like a death sentence.
That can't be! There must be a way out of here!
[Man in Rags]: Oh, wouldn't that be nice? But you can forget about it.
[Man in Rags]: Just surviving down here is a small miracle.
Speaking of, how do you guys survive down here? Where do you get food or water from?
They're not Mirages?
[Man in Rags]: How's a lowly prisoner like me to know? But I suppose that they must not be. When the king of Figaro stumbled upon this place some years ago, he decided to enlist help from folks at Shinra. But then, all the machines that Shinra brought in-- they started attacking people, as if they had minds of their own.
Or they had a programming glitch.
[Man in Rags]: Ultimately, the site was abandoned, and now the worst of Figaro's criminals are sent here to rot.
That was an uplifting conversation. When we try to walk away, the Man in Rags stops us.
[Man in Rags]: One more thing. I've managed to stockpile some supplies. Best prices in prison.
Never! You'll never get your hands on my Gil!
So the Man in Rags will be our storefront while we're temporarily trapped in here. He just sells the basics, in case you are in need of topping up. It's good to keep him in mind, because you very well might need him depending on the level you got here at. The reason why is--
Hang on a tic. The screen just shook.
[Man in Rags]: That would be the castle submerging.
Now that I think of it, the castle did seem to appear out of nowhere.
Both of you were awake to witness it rising out of the sands. You should already know that it can submerge.
[Man in Rags]: I heard the first time they poked around here, the castle plowed forward, and they ended up having to redraw all the maps. Least that's the story.
Anyway, back to what I was talking about. The reason why item man may be helpful here is because Lann and Reynn's power loss is not limited to cutscenes.
First of all, we can't access the Prism Case.
We also no longer have any of our party Mirages with us. Or Champion medals. Or Mirajewels. We're kind of boned at the moment.
At the very least we still have the Key of Flames. They didn't root through our pockets and steal it before throwing us in here. All of our items are also untouched.
Well, there's nothing else to do here, so I guess we had better try braving the prison halls.
Leaving the room takes us out to a huge chamber with walkways. There's only one way to go, so head to the right and follow the path to that central platform.
Update 16 Highlights - Powers on the Fritz
Lann decides to give his Mirage arm another shot, but it backfires just like it did before.
Nngh... Aaah! Come on! What the honk is wrong with us? Tama! Can you do anything about this? Huh? Hey. Tama!
Huh? She's not answering? Tama! Tama? Where are you?
No way, dude. You don't think...
Did we lose our powers? As Keepers?
Oh, come on. That's just... crazy.
"Any ideas"? I don't see a Gate. But we do have to get out of here.
That's for sure.
Still, without Tama, we might just... die here.
Riiiight. That is kind of a problem, isn't it? Almost forgot that Tama is our "get out of death free" card.
What? We're not gonna--
I don't know. But we've got to try!
So we're kind of up shit's creek without a paddle, here. We don't have any abilities and our stats are piss poor because we don't have any Mirages.
We do have items, though!
See? That works. We'll be fine, you guys.
Update 16 Highlights - Eldboxes
No... I won't--
I can't believe... this is it...
Bullshit! We just did that and it just brushed it off!
You the Jiants from the Hills?
Squall is voiced by Doug Erholtz in English and Hideo Ishikawa in Japanese.
Squall is from FFVIII. He is a recent graduate of Balamb Garden, which is an academy where students train to become members of a mercenary group called SeeD. Quistis was his teacher while he was a student. She was also a childhood acquaintance from the same orphanage as Squall (along with basically the entire main cast of FFVIII), but they forgot this fact by the time they met in the academy because in FFVIII the use of summons (called Guardian Forces in VIII) have the side-effect of slowly causing a person's memories to fade.
The scar on his forehead is from a sparring match with his rival, Seifer (also from the orphanage). Apparently the academy doesn't particularly care much if their students spar with real-ass swords and come within centimeters of blinding each other. Quistis' reaction is basically just "Oh, you boys and your silly fights to the death."
During the game, Squall meets up with Rinoa (AKA "Girl appearing on the cover of FFVIII but not appearing in this game") who is Seifer's girlfriend, or ex, I don't quite remember if they establish whether those two were still together at that point. Anyway, Rinoa goes on to be Squall's love interest instead for... some reason... of which I'm not entirely sure of. It just kinda happens.
The resistance group that Rinoa is part of hires SeeD for a kidnapping job, which is how Squall and the other orphanage people wind up getting pulled into the main plot of VIII. Said main plot involves time traveling sorceresses, sorceresses that can project other people's conscious back in time like Kitty Pride in Days of Future Past, sorceresses sealed in space stations, sorceresses possessing other sorceresses, monsters coming from the moon, and time compression.
FFVIII was weird.
Other than that, Squall is most notable for using a Gunblade long before Advent Children would turn it into a gun that has a kind of sharp barrel, and before Lightning would bogart it as her signature weapon. Squall's gunblade doesn't actually fire bullets, though. The gun part just causes a vibration in the blade to give it a little more punch (something like a vibro-knife).
Hmm? Are you okay?
Uh, I'm okay too. Talk about close calls.
A little too close. I'm Squall. First...
Sort of. It's an eldbox, a kind of artifact... with some modern improvements. You might say it's kind of like... those things that you keepers use to contain Mirages.
Huh? You mean prismariums?
Aha. Is that what you call 'em? Sure, you can just think of it like a prismarium. The only difference is that eldboxes are for capturing machines, and not Mirages.
Give it a try.
Whoa! Too cool!
Squall, whose side are you on? I don't get why you'd help us.
I'll tell you on the way, but we need to go.
Welcome to the gimmick of this area. We've got to piece together a team on the way to the inevitable boss fight using the random sentry machines patrolling the prison.
This one is a freebie. Magitek Armor is a more recent addition to the FF series, but it pops up occasionally when the setting is appropriate for mech suits. They first appear in the iconic opening of FFVI (the 'epic tale' that the description is referencing), being piloted by Terra, Wedge, and Biggs. After that, they make a big appearance in XIV as part of the antagonist Empire's invasion forces, and also show up in XV in a similar role.
We also obtain a spare eldbox on top of the Magitek Armor. Why did I say "spare"?
Yeah, so unlike Prismariums, eldboxes actually are limited in supply. The same rule applies that one is only consumed if the capture is successful, but you won't be automatically gifted one upon encountering a new Machine. You have to find them or buy them.
I look forward to Chocolatte charging us a fucking arm and a leg for them once she starts to stock them.
If you completed the demo and transferred the data, then you may have noticed one in your inventory already. That's because there is a special variant of the Magitek Armor in the Coliseum. We'll catch it as soon as we get access to Nine Wood again (I think it looks awesome).
Anyway, before we go anywhere, it's time to sit around and wait for Squall to stop spewing his life story. You can run around while the group is talking for this part, but I didn't want to accidentally interrupt the conversation by running into a battle.
Also, the group Squall is talking about is from FFVIII originally. In VIII, SeeD is a mercenary group that Squall graduates into early in the game. For whatever reason, SeeD decided to train a bunch of fucking teenagers to take part in military-for-hire combat operations ranging from assassinations to kidnapping of governement leaders.
Squall's (and friends) final SeeD exam involves a goddamn Normandy-style beach landing. If you have ever been to Normandy and had the opportunity to tour the beaches or bunkers, just imagine standing there and staring down at the shore, picture the hellish fire of explosions and the hail of gunfire that fell across the beach like rain... then imagine what it would be like to see a group of highschoolers jump off a landing ship and bum rush the German defensive line wielding swords with fucked up hilts, a whip, and one dude who just throws wild haymakers the entire way.
I know I'd be shitting my pants.
In actuality, SeeD was created to be an Anti-Sorceress Special Forces group once Cid and his wife Edea discovered that shit was about to hit the fan in regards to that.
Heh. That's right. She's an officer, in fact.
Wow! I didn't know she was a big shot.
So why are you here helping us out like this? I don't suppose it's to... make up for the waterfall.
Hm? Sorry, but I don't think she ever mentioned a waterfall. It was Edgar, the guy who put you in here, that asked me to help you out.
What? That creep? Why?
Big surprise, the character known for allying with the evil empire but secretly supporting the rebel faction fighting against them has turned out to be doing the exact same thing in this game.
You've seen the anchor that's latched on to the desert castle. Edgar's kingdom?
In order to break loose of it, we'll need the mako energy which lies dormant beneath this facility.
Are you sure that this "mako" energy is that strong?
It's the lifeblood of the planet, so I'd imagine it is.
Yeah. Trust me.
So wait, you mean...
Yep. This isn't a coincidence.
Figaro didn't join the Federation willingly. It's under constant watch. Also, Edgar knew the Federation doesn't do nice things to its prisoners. Apparently, the real thorns in their side are kept... somewhere between life and death.
Life and death? Sounds like what that freak in the golden mask said back in Saronia.
So like, what's this job we're supposed to do?
Our target, Mako Reactor 0--it's swarming with all kinds of dangerous Mirages.
Oh. Well, that makes sense, then.
Right. We were hoping that you two would be able to keep the Mirages at bay. Except... it looks like your powers have been suppressed.
Well, um... we don't really know. I mean, they've never been suppressed before... But they're useless now, I'm afraid.
Oops. So does that mean we, like, broke the master plan?
If we have to do this without any Keepers, then yes. The master plan is toast.
But, the operation's in motion. Use the eldboxes. And we'll just have to hope for the best. ...Hm? You know... The League of S has an agent on-site. I think she can remove the suppressors.
It's possible, but I can't promise you. Now, enough talking. Let's press on.
About time. Now, let's get back to talking a bit more.
This place seems to be a mashup of two locations. This portion of the prison looks similar to the D-District Prison from FFVIII. Squall and company are thrown in there after they fail to assassinate Ultimecia. That prison is located in a desert and can burrow underground, similar to the place we're in now. The circular layout is also very similar.
However, the Mako Reactor that Squall talks about is absolutely from FFVII. There is a Desert Prison in FFVII as well, but that's a "natural" prison in the sense that it's smack dab in the middle of a desert and not underground (also it isn't a specially constructed building), so this place can't be a reference to that. Meanwhile, the only Mako Reactor even close to a desert is probably the North Corel Reactor, but that's in a mountainous area and is not underground. A reactor was partially built near Corel, but it was blown up. Mako Reactor 0 is from a specific title and is nowhere near a desert.
So one part of this area appears to be D-District Prison from VIII, while the other portion is a Mako Reactor from VII. We'll talk more about Mako Reactors once we get to the reactor part of this place.
I'm... I'm kind of dreading that talk to be honest... for a horrible horrible reason.
Anyway, just another example of World of Final Fantasy smashing multiple places together to form a single level.
Before we progress through the prison, we need to get that Magitek Armor popped into a stack. Reynn calls dibs on this one. Lann will eventually get his own.
Unfortunately, we can't access the Mirage Boards for our new Mini-Mech, but it already possesses some basic skills that we might need in here. Including--
Continue on the path forward and around the catwalk to reach a stairwell. Chances are that you'll get spotted by something and thrown into a battle.
This area doesn't have random battles. Instead, these little search robots will be roaming the catwalks. A battle will start if you get caught in their scan range.
You can hide from these things, but that's an incredibly stupid thing to do. We need EXP for our temporary friends in order to make sure they are in shape to fight the boss. And since we don't have any of our other Mirages in the party right now, they will get a bigger portion of the EXP. Magitek Armor goes from Level 1 to Level 9 in this one battle.
Searcher will go into a stack with Lann, since he doesn't have anything right now.
When you get to the bottom of the first set of stairs, turn around and head under them to find a chest with 9 potions in it.
Keep trucking along the path and you'll come upon a door requiring a new type of field ability.
Searcher currently has the Zap ability for the purposes of this trip (it loses the ability once we get our Mirage access back. So you'll need to re-buy it using SP if you want to keep using him).
The chests behind the door have 3 electro marbles and 2 hi-potions.
Head down the stairs behind you to the next level. There are some more searchers kicking around in case you want to catch more of them (or the occasional Magitek Armor), but I prefer to hold on to whatever eldboxes we find. This location has a few free ones in treasure chests and given out to you. The boss also isn't particularly hard (at least not for the level Lann and Reynn are currently at), so we don't need any full stacks.
Heading to the right from the bottom of the stairs will lead to another Zap door. There is a chest with 9 potions behind it. Turn around and head back left.
Head past the stairs down to the next area to grab a chest with an eldbox in it. Now go to the stairs just off to the right to change to a new area.
As soon as we get back from the loading screen, we'll see a Zap door straight ahead. This is the quick way to the stairs leading to the next area, which means that we need to run around the entire catwalk because there's obviously some shit hidden that way.
Here's a look at the map, by the way. The lines show where the stairs lead and the darkened parts aren't traverse-able.
You'll also see the boxes that our heroes can hide in if you want to avoid Searchers. Just jump in and wait for them to pass, then jump out and move on.
Once again, I recommend that you not dodge the searchers. You want to be taking advantage of them for EXP purposes.
At about the halfway mark around the catwalk, there are two chests. One of them has 2 hi-potions, and the other contains 2 phoenix downs. Remember kids, whenever the game presents you with two paths (or a shortcut), always go the opposite way it wants you to go. There's good stuff usually laying around down there.
Go down the stairs again and run into another Zap door. The chest behind it has 5 phoenix downs. Then run to the left.
There are two sets of stairs here. One on either side of this box. The stairs to the left will take you straight down to the next area door. The stairs on the right will require you to run around the long way. There is a treasure chest along the way with 3 wobblestoppers in it, as well as one with an eldbox, but both of these chests are close to the "next area stairs". The long way around actually doesn't confer any benefits this time.
When you get to the new area, the lighting changes a little. We must be close to our goal. Swing behind the stairs and you'll find a Zap door to the right.
That's a shortcut Zap door, so I turn around and head left along the catwalk. On the way, I decide to snag a Magitek Armor for Lann, just in case. We've still got a decent supply of eldboxes from this place, so I don't mind picking up an extra Armor.
There's also a chest along the catwalk that contains another eldbox, so we should be in good shape for a while. Chocolatte will get some of them in stock either way, if we really need them. I don't recall exactly how many Machine type Mirages there are in this game.
There's also a chest with a lightning marble right next to the shortcut Zap door, so be sure to grab it before continuing to the next level.
That level is small and has no treasure chests, just a single Searcher with a box nearby for us to hide in.
Moving down to the final level and past the waiting Save Point, we find what appears to be the entrance to a secret area. Unfortunately, nothing we can obtain in this place has Flutter, so we'll have to wait until we get our Mirages back.
Save at the Save point and head to the central platform.
Update 16 Highlights - Boss + Chapter End
That one is a bit more heavily armed than the others. I want it.
Aaah! This one looks a lot nastier than the others!
Lann, be careful!
So without Libra, we're kind of blind in terms of what Death Machine is capable of. As far as I'm aware, this one can't be imprismed. Magitek Armor can Transfig into it, though. I'll probably just take that route instead of hunting one of these down.
Even though Libra is unavailable, it should be fairly obvious that this thing is weak to Lightning damage. The Machines we have don't have any abilities, but we did pick up some Lightning damage items on the way here that should make this battle largely a pushover.
That being said, Death Machine has a special attack which could be worrying. It barely dented Lann and Reynn here, but keep in mind that both of them are kind of overlevelled from my pursuit of optional Mirages with cheesy defeat possibilities.
Death Machine also has a counter attack that will sometimes trigger. A LOT of Mirages in this game have counter attacks. They usually bust it out after you fail an Imprism attempt.
That's kind of all there is to this fight. There are plenty of potions and electric attack items along the way, so you shouldn't be able to easily mess this thing up.
We get some decent experience, as well as more Arma Gems. Also some other crap like more Lightning Marbles and Hi-Potions.
Okay, that's slightly more concerning.
Why are there so many?
Squall is referring to the magic system in FFVIII. VIII had this thing where magic had to be "drawn" (basically absorbed) from enemies or special overworld points. It was not a system I particularly enjoyed, personally. Unfortunately, you didn't have much choice in using it or not. Magic in FFVIII was also used to attach to characters in order to boost their stats. Doing that is something you'd probably want to do since enemies scaled with the party's level, which means traditional level grinding for stat increases would actually make things harder for you.
The other agent is up ahead. I'll hold these clunkers off here. Go on without me.
Hey, you can't take them all on!
No. This is my job. Go!
Are you serious?
We can't help him. We'd only get in the way. Let's just... do what he says.
I disagree with that assessment, but I do agree that we should haul ass out of here. We need to get Mirage/Nine Wood access back. So many optional Mirages have piled up while we've been dicking around in here.
And that's all for Chapter 14. Squall's Champion Medal and Jewel have become available, although we can't get them until we figure out a way back to Nine Wood.