PART 23 - Nobody calls me chicken!
So Exdeath succeeded in his plot to remerge Bartz and Galuf's worlds, unsealing the power of the Void...which claimed Lenna. Now the Warriors of Light are down one member, but they must press on in search of the tablets to unseal the Twelve Legendary Weapons from Castle Kuza, their only hope of defeating Exdeath.
Four Hearts played on the world map before, but now that the stakes have been fully laid out and the true nature of the world is revealed, the overworld music has changed. It is appropriately titled A New World.
If you head north from the Library of Ancients, you'll come to Castle Surgate, which doesn't really have anything particularly interesting there in this new world (there is actually a Cottage you can get here you couldn't get in world 2, but a Cottage isn't really worth it). Instead you'll want to head west, towards the Desert of Shifting Sands. There is a small forest on the way. The forest is beginning to come back to life...
Grandpa... Why can't Grandpa come back to life?
So many lives have been lost...
We must stop Exdeath. The people around the world need us... No, not only the people, but all life...
Aye...so many sacrifices have been made already... I won't stand by while more lives are lost!
Let's go...so there won't be any more sacrifices.
Continuing onwards takes you to the entrance of the desert, which, if the game had been coded properly, would indicate the decay of the world by the sand no longer moving. But there is at least a scene to show this. I guess now that both sets of crystals have shattered, there's not enough power in the earth for it to move...
Even the ground is getting unstable...
The pyramid is in the middle of the desert, but we're going to go past it, to the town of Moore in the west. And oh yeah, once you leave the Library of Ancients, you can start getting into fights on the world map again.
These are all you'll see in the desert. Bulettes use !Body Blow which ignores defense and paralyzes the target. Desertpedes are Desert creatures which means Aqua Breath deals 8x damage to them, also Level 5 Death works great. They can rarely drop Dark Matter for your Chemist.
Mykales can teach your Blue Mage Aero, 1000 Needles and Lilliputian Lyric if you Control them, but you should have already gotten those. They also can use Moon Flute, and their rare steal is the Death Sickle (common Silk Robe), which is nice if you didn't get them from Harvesters in world 1. The Death Sickle is still fairly decent at this stage (though not in the next dungeon).
Slugs can use Slimer, the Slow/Sap attack, and Gloom Widows can use Needle, which paralyzes. Slugs are weak to fire, Gloom Widows are weak to water, and all three of the monsters in this encounter are vulnerable to Level 3 Flare.
Here we are in Moore. Most of the NPCs just talk about how the forest is gone and now there's a desert. In the lower left of the town, there's that hut that was locked before, but now you can enter it. You'll have to go through an invisible maze in the forest to get where you want to go, but it's simple. Just go down, right, down, left, up, right, down, only changing direction when you're stopped....Or else just very lucky. How's this? I'll let you decide. Think you're brave? Take what's in the crate on the left. If you're a coward, take what's in the one on the right. What's it gonna be?
Finally we come to the decision I mentioned in the very first part of this LP. The left crate contains the Brave Blade, a Knightsword that starts with an attack power of 150 and decreases by 1 every time you flee a battle (including using Teleport, !Flee or !Smoke). It also raises Strength by 5 points. The right crate contains the Chicken Knife, a dagger that starts with an attack power of 0 and increases by 1 every two times you flee a battle (including using Teleport, !Flee or !Smoke), to a maximum of 127 attack. It also raises Agility by 5 points. The counter started the second you started playing the game, and continues after this point.
What's the advantages and disadvantages of each? Well, you can't ever run from battles, ever, if you want to keep your fully powered Brave Blade, and fighting random battles can be tedious and deadly, so that's a disadvantage to Brave Blade right there. But, it does start out fully powered, as opposed to the Chicken Knife. It's pretty unlikely you've fled battles 254 times, meaning you'll need to "grind" out flees to fully power the Chicken Knife, which is also tedious.
On top of that the Chicken Knife has a special effect, each time you use Attack while equipped with it, you have a 25% chance of being forced to flee the battle. This is especially bad in certain special encounters where you are able to run, and in battles where you can't, you'll just get "Can't escape!" which is just a wasted turn.
The Chicken Knife's flee proc can be bypassed however! You see, it is a magical effect produced by the weapon, and there are many abilities that bypass a weapon's magical effects. Monk's !Focus, Thief's !Mug, Ranger's !Rapid Fire and Dancer's Sword Dance all will prevent a weapon from using its magical effects, that's why say, a Death Sickle will never cast Death if you're using it with !Focus or !Rapid Fire. It should be noted that the Ranger's !Aim ability does NOT bypass effects and will not stop a Chicken Knife from forcing you to flee. On top of that, there is one neat trick that I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it does. If you are a Ninja or have equipped Dual Wield, place a Twin Lance in the first slot and the Chicken Knife in the second. For whatever reason, this will prevent Chicken Knife (or any other weapon) from using its magical effects. The down side is, of course, that Twin Lance is starting to get at the point where it's going to be much weaker than other weapon options, so your damage output will be slightly less than optimal.
Now let's talk about attack power, which I touched on briefly in the start of this thread too. The Brave Blade has a higher maximum attack at 150, whereas the Chicken Knife maxes out at 127. At first glance it appears a full power Brave Blade is more powerful than a full power Chicken Knife, but there's one little snag.
See, Chicken Knife is a unique dagger in that its damage formula uses Strength AND Agility fully. The multiplier for the Chicken Knife is as follows:
(Level * Strength)/128 + (Level * Agility)/128 + 2
Whereas the formula for the Brave Blade's multiplier (and almost all swords) is simply:
(Level * Strength)/128 + 2
This means that while the Brave Blade has a higher attack power, the Chicken Knife has a higher multiplier and on classes with high agility like Thief, Ninja, etc., it will deal much more damage.
On a side note, the multiplier formula for all daggers is the same as the Chicken Knife's, but daggers don't deal that much damage. What gives? Well, it's technically classified as a bug, but basically for any dagger except the Chicken Knife, the (Level * Agility) part only uses the first byte. I won't throw the math at you but basically this means that Agiilty doesn't effect the damage that much, giving you a +1 or so to your multiplier under certain conditions.
People have gone into the game's code and changed it so daggers use the full damage formula and found that it basically makes daggers stronger than most other weapons in the game. It's possible that the developers had initially intended for every dagger to use this formula, noticed how overpowered it made daggers, and intentionally nerfed it.
Now one last note and the Chicken Knife vs. Brave Blade argument will be done for good. The one advantage Brave Blade has over Chicken Knife is Two-Handed. A Two-Handed Brave Blade boosts it to an attack power of 300, and that basically blows the Chicken Knife out of the water even taking Agility into account, under normal attack conditions.
So which to take? Brave Blade is a Knightsword. It can only be used by Knights, Gladiators, and Freelancers. Chicken Knife is a dagger. It can be used by anyone except Monks and White Mages. Chicken Knife also does not force you to fight every single battle in the game to keep it powerful, and when used in !Rapid Fire, will always deal more damage than the Brave Blade, period. Personally, I always take Chicken Knife. I've taken Brave Blade once, during a Fiesta run, because I had no way to bypass the flee effect of Chicken Knife and I had a Knight. But it's up to you, pick what you want! And now let's stop talking about these two weapons.
After taking the Chicken Knife the old man turns into a skeleton and clucks. I don't know what he does/says if you take Brave Blade, and I'm too lazy to find out.
Now that we've grabbed a sort of ultimate weapon from Moore, it's time to tackle the pyramid!
I only left this picture in here because...yeah. I think I must have screenshotted right before the battle transition, so nothing is showing up. Anyway the door here to the pyramid has gargoyle statues on either side of it. You've seen them before as decorations on some of the castles. I'll get another shot of them in another dungeon, because all four of the tablet dungeons require you to beat the Gargoyles to enter them.
The Gargoyles are an easy fight, unless you're in certain challenge runs, where they simply become frustrating.
Here's the gimmick! If you defeat one Gargoyle but the other is alive, on its very next turn it will revive the other Gargoyle with full health. Oh and to throw a wrench in most "Bring one down to low HP then kill the other and then quickly take down the remaining one before it gets its turn) strategies, the Gargoyels can use Transfusion. That's the one that sacrifices the user to restore full HP/MP to the target, and then of course the other Gargoyle will just revive the one that used it.
Multi-target attacks are of course the way to go here. The Gargoyles only attack physically, so Golem can stop that. Level 3 Flare is the best option, any summons work great too. They're also vulnerable to Berserk, if you Berserk one then it loses its ability to revive its partner, so that's an option, but if you do that then its physicals become much stronger. It's vulnerable to Blind too though!
Gargoyles however absorb Holy. This may not seem important now, but it will be after this update.
The book recites the passage about the dungeon, then opens the door. Most enemies in the dungeon are undead, this means Bard is a fantastic choice since Requiem will deal a ton of damage to most encounters.
Lamia Queens can drop Lamia's Tiara, which you could have stolen back in the Ronka Ruins in world 1. They have the effect of increasing the odds of Swords Dance for Dancers/Dancing Dagger users, and are really good headgear for mages too. They can use 1000 Needles against you, making this the first time your Blue Mage can learn this if you haven't had a source of Control. They have a rare steal, the Thornlet (common steal Maiden's Kiss).
You'll get a Thornlet in a chest later but I'll go ahead and talk about it now. The Thornlet prevents sleep and inflicts sap on the wearer, it has a defense of 20 and magic defense of 5, and also lowers magic by 5. They're strong defensively but inherent sap really sucks, but Thornlets have a unique property in the SFC/PS1 versions (but not this one!).
A Berserker (that isn't Lenna) equipped with the Thornlet has an interesting quirk, due to an underflow bug, since the Thornlet lowers the already low Berserker's magic by 5, it becomes negative, which the game can't handle and thus it wraps around to being extremely high. Thus, a Berserker (again, that isn't Lenna) wearing a Thornlet and equipped with the Gaia Hammer will deal huge damage to enemies if it procs Quake, like 3500 damage, which is pretty nice. To GBA players though it's just a pretty lousy piece of headgear.
The pyramid has spikes around, which give you the Poison status if you step on one. Having a Geomancer in the party allows you to walk over them freely, as does the Float status. It's not worth making someone a Geomancer here though since you can get around them just fine with proper switch pushing.
There's also sandfalls that push you down to the rooms below. After riding this one, you'll come to a trapped chest.
The Damned can teach you Off-Guard, but more importantly Doom, as long as you use Control and give it an Ether. They only use physical attacks against you though. The chest contains a second Ice Shield.
Certain places in the pyramid will release these white snakes, called Aspis. They go after the party as best they can, and when you get into battle with them, you can't flee from it. They only attack physically and I didn't even get a picture of them but be aware running into one of these guys triggers a battle against a single Aspis.
Ushabti are one of the two non-undead normal enemies here. They're weak to lightning and can use Dark Spark and Off-Guard if you give them an Ether.
At the end of this path is a battle against the Grand Mummy. It uses Dancehall Daze, which sets sleep, and physical attacks. It's weak to fire and holy and isn't very hard. Afterwards you can go into its sarcophagus for a chest with a Cursed Ring. Cursed Rings are decent, they give you 25 Defense and 5 Magic Defense, but it sets the Doom status on the wearer so they'll only live for 60 seconds. However, the character can then be revived normally (as long as they're not wearing the Bone Mail) and won't have Doom anymore, though this could still be a liability in a harder fight. It's great for random encounters though, especially on classes with very low defense/HP like Dancer.
Heading back further into the pyramid after the Cursed Ring detour, you'll come across a group of chests. There's a lot of gil and Dark Matter chests in this dungeon, and one of the chests in the group of 3 you'll come across has this really nifty White Robe. Its only real drawback is the Stamina boost, which as I mentioned is worthless and only increases healing done by Regen.
The pyramid has a few traps, and this is one. This staircase will sometimes turn into a slope, which will drop you onto the spikes that pop up when it does so. Make sure it's safe before you run up it.
Zephyrus is important to note for a couple of reasons, one of which is that it's notoriously difficult to run from this fight. Zephyrus is the other normal non-undead enemy here, and she summons monsters to fight for her. The monsters are all ones you've seen, but are different from earlier enemies so they will not give you bestiary entries if you missed them.
The one useful monster is that if a Zephyrus summons a Tunneler, it can cast Level 3 Flare on the party, which is fantastic to learn if you didn't get it from Exdeath or the Red Dragon.
This floor has Mecha Heads roaming around it, a lot of them, and eventually Aspis are released on top of that. They'll all head straight for you.
Mecha head uses Flame Thrower and Missile, as well as Wave Cannon (does half your max HP plus sets sap), Mustard Bomb (heavy non-elemental damage plus sets sap), and Reverse Polarity. If you try and use the Dragoon's !Jump command against it, it will shoot them out of the air with Interceptor Rocket. It's weak to lightning.
The sarcophagi at the top of the room have Mummies in them. They only use physical attacks if they're in a group. If a Mummy is alone, it uses Danse Macabre, which lnflicts Zombie on its target. This is unpleasant, as Zombie characters basically act as a confused/berserked character. It can ONLY be healed by Holy Water (not even Cottages will restore it) so always have Holy Water!
This guy appears as a chest monster and is pretty rough. It uses Claw (sets poison), Poison Breath and Zombie Breath. It's weak to fire and holy, and is obviously undead. They can teach you Level 3 Flare if Controlled and given Reflect, and they always drop a Dragon Fang on defeat.
A chest on the left side of the Mecha Head room gives you the sweet Black Robe. As you can see, it has the same defensive stats as the White Robe, but boosts Magic by 3 instead of 1. This is basically the best robe in the game not counting the bonus dungeon stuff.
After the save point is when you have a chance to run into this guy. He's not undead, and attacks physically. He's unique in that once you defeat him, you won't run into him again, he's gone for good. He will also mention his brother in a tower who will take revenge on you for killing him.
Sekhmet has a rare Thief's Gloves steal, but also a common Hi-Potion, so get ready to use reset a lot if you want it. Also important to note is he is not immune to !Catch, so you can catch him and then continue to run into him. Release him against himself for fun! It doesn't do anything interesting but it's just funny to see.
There's a chest containing Crystal Armor in room in the upper left of where you meet Sekhmet, which is the best heavy armor you can have at this point. This is where I finally have my physical fighters that can wear armor give up the Power Sash.
There's a chest you can reach through hidden passages here, use a Thief if you don't know where to go. You're supposed to get here by falling down from the floor above, but this one chest can be claimed by heading back through the path. The other chest is behind a locked door, so you'll have to fall from above for that one.
The chest contains Black Garb, decent armor for clothes wearing jobs. The chest can be guarded by either two Bandercoeurls and a Black Warlock, or three Steel Fists. Again, if you missed these enemies before, you can't get a bestiary entry for them here, but otherwise they're identical to the previous enemies. You can still get a Judgment Staff or Power Staff from the Black Warlock fight, but the Steel Fists have a chance to drop Kaiser Knuckles. Kaiser Knuckles are an accessory that will add 50 attack power to barehanded attacks, which actually puts Monks on about the same level as other physical classes at this point. They also boost Strength by 5 points and Defense by 8 which isn't bad.
And as you can see the Black Garb has decent defense (but not Magic Defense) and boosts Agility.
The floor in this room moves, and if you're standing over the black void when it does, you'll fall below. You'll want to fall at least once to get an Elixir, as well as some other chests, including one with a Gaia Hammer which you could've gotten all the way back in world 1.
The chests in this room however contain a Golden Hairpin, which as you recall halves MP use, the second Ribbon, and a Protect Ring. The Protect Ring gives 10 Defense and Magic Defense, adds 5 to Stamina, and sets inherent Regen. It's okay.
At the end of the pyramid, the tablet is just sitting there. No boss or anything. Grab it!
When you do, the center of the platform will rise, taking you to outside the pyramid. Holy moly! What's going on!?
Look, something's written on the tablet. "The Dragon King, Bahamut..." ...Huh?
The penninsula--it's sinking!
"I will await thee at the summit of North Mountain..."
Look! 'Tis the airship!
So yeah, Bahamut is now waiting for us, and the airship is sailing over. Inside the forest between the desert and the library...
A wind drake flies down, setting the body of Lenna on the ground. Lenna!
Lenna! Are you okay? Come on, wake up, say something!
... ... ... This body is mine!!!
There's a loud zap, and the party is knocked back from Lenna's body. What the-
"Beast sealed between dimensions for a millennium... Go forth, Melusine!"
Mwa-ha-ha! All that was once sealed in the Rift is now mine to command!
At this, Lenna rises to her feet, attacking the party. Lenna...stop, please...
Mwa-ha-ha! Face destruction at your friend's hands!
Mwa-ha-ha... Now, watch as I take care of a turtle infestation!
Soon...very soon! The power of the Void will be completely mine, and the entire earth will kneel before me! Mwa-hahahahahaha!!!
Exdeath vanishes, and Lenna continues to attack the party as they plead with her to stop, until...Sacrificing itself, Hiryu attacked! The demon is expelled from Lenna's body!
Melusine's gimmick is her Barrier Change. Melusine has four forms. Three of these forms are weak to one specific element, either fire, ice, or lightning, and will absorb other elements. Her Defense in these three forms is very high, 90 points, making her mostly immune to physical damage. Her fourth form has extremely high Magic Defense, but 0 Defense. In the meantime, she'll cast -aga level spells on the party, as well as use Allure to inflict confuse.
Melusine starts out weak to fire. If you know this, you can set up your party to take her out before she does a single Barrier Change. Bartz... I...
Sister... Krile... The castle... We were...the darkness...it-
We know. Don't try to speak.
Lenna rejoins the party! She is KO'd, however, so revive her quickly.
Oh yeah, on the way to your ship, you might run into monsters.
Elm Gigas can use Aeroga, which you can learn now if you haven't already. It starts the battle out inherently sleeping, which is odd, but hey. Shadows attack physically and can be controlled for Off-Guard and Dark Spark. Pythons can use Vampire and also use Entangle (sets paralyze).
Triffids cast Berserk on themselves, and only attack physically even if they don't.
Sleepy, as its name implies, casts Sleep a lot. Their common steal is a Healing Staff, which isn't much use now but is unique. Hedgehogs can be controlled for 1000 Needles, and respond to physical attacks with Needle, which has a 50/50 chance of setting either dark or silence.
When you step on the ship... Hurry! It won't be much longer before Exdeath gains the power of the Void!
But Ghido said we hadn't the power to fight him and win...
We'll need the twelve legendary weapons. They're in the sealed castle of Kuza... Come on, let's go!
The airship takes off out of the water and flies off, but... Power of the Void! Reveal your true self!!! Go forth and destroy everything! Show how absolute your power really is!!!
The kingdom of Walse is swallowed.
So is Istory.
And although the darkness is obscuring it, this is the Moogle Forest from world 2.
But worst of all..."Bartz! Help!!!"
Even a tiny place like Bartz's hometown, Lix...
That...to go that far is...
Upon seeing this, Bartz rushes to the wheel of the ship and angrily flies at about three times the speed you normally fly around the world map. After circling the world a few times, Faris and Lenna tell Bartz to get ahold of himself, to which Bartz simply lowers his head. When you regain control of the airship, you're over the black hole that once was Bartz's hometown of Lix.
Next time: weapons!