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Author Topic: The GBA was good to this franchise: Let's Play Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls!  (Read 5188 times)

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R^2

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More for curiosity's sake than anything else...


...I wonder if this... bug? is still here.


Yep. The Peninsula of Power still works. It's not really a bug, more of a map design oversight. See, the world map is divided into zones that determine what monsters you fight. Cornelia is one zone, with goblins and little else. The area north of Cornelia is another, adding goblin guards to the mix. The bridge across from Cornelia is another still, introducing Crazy Horses and Gigas Worms.

Up here, east and north of Pravoka, the very tip of the landmass pokes into one of the lategame zones. Minotaur Zombies and Trolls are enemies that normally show up much later, but thanks to the Peninsula of Power you can fight them early on. If you win, they're worth lategame numbers in EXP and gold.


Fira helps. Diara, should you have a White Mage who can cast it, is also helpful against the zombies.


That's a lot, by the way. Everyone shot from level 12 to level 13 in this one fight.
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R^2

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Exploring west of Elfheim I find another castle, this one in even worse shape than the elves'.


Inside, the place is all wrecked up. Even the music is a discordant, minor-key version of the normal castle theme.


...it's full of bats, too.


Gettin' real sick of your shit, Astos.

King: If I could only retrieve the crown from the Marsh Cave, I would be able to restore my castle. Might you bring me the crown?


This is a marsh, that is a cave, stands to reason it's the Marsh Cave.


Nailed it.




Inside are three levels of branching paths and mazelike tunnels, filled with undead and all sorts of creepy-crawly things that like to poison and paralyze. Back when the NES version was new, anytime you left a town was a quest that may well kill you, and that went double for dungeons. The cave itself is a challenge aside from the boss, and you're expected to enter, explore, have a few characters die, retreat to heal up and buy better equipment, and try again. A couple of times.


For better or worse, that's no longer the case, and no powerleveling is needed to reach this room on the bottom floor.


Piscodemons can also paralyze you, so this was a brutal dungeon that got a nasty boss fight anyway.


Was.


An example of the change in game design: while screwing around in this game's Marsh Cave, I found a whole branch of the dungeon I didn't realize existed. There's a whole section of the second floor that surprised me by simply being there. Apparently a young R^2 looked at a dungeon map, wrote off that entire wing of the Marsh Cave for being too dangerous for the trifling rewards (some gold and weapons available for sale elsewhere), and eventually I just forgot it was there. These days you don't leave a dungeon until you've explored every nook and grabbed every treasure box, because they're just not as dangerous anymore.
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Rico

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I see MP in your screenshots, but did Dawn of Souls have an option to stick to Vancian spellcasting? I don't like it in general but playing through the PSP remake the dungeon balance just wasn't right without it.
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R^2

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Well, at least we can fix one thing Astos did.






Gettin' reeeeeal sick of your shit, Astos.




Astos: With the combined power of the crown you now hold and the crystal eye I already posses... I will become the TRUE elf king! It is useless to resist me! I can take what is mine by sheer force!


He talks threatening, but looks damned goofy. Is he wearing a party hat?

Anyway, Astos always opens the fight with a Death spell, so you usually end up fighting him with a party of three. He's a major roadblock for single-character challenge runs.


Pork manages to avoid the effect.


Usually by this point in the NES version I've fought enough creatures on the Peninsula that I can cast level 4 spells. Here I... can cast level 4 spells. This is Tofu casting Haste on Turkey.


And this is Turkey walloping seven colors of HP damage out of Astos.


Astos opens with Death. He has -ra level magic at his command, and physical hits.

I saw only his opening spell.
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R^2

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I don't think Vancian magic is at all available, no. It does change the balance of the game a little, since there's no reason to conserve your high-level spells for the most part -- 15 MP for Fira is almost always more damage to more monsters than casting 5 MP Fire three times.
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R^2

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Right. Now to run some errands.


Matoya: Don't worry, I have something to give you in exchange. Take this potion. It's the most amazing potion in my entire collection!




Matoya: Hmph! You're not even as attractive as I thought you'd be...


Healer: I will try it at once!
Healer: Your Highness? Your Highness!


Elf Prince: You... you're the legendary warriors! Something tells me I'm not dreaming... I shall follow the legend as it has been told to me and my forefathers. The time for me to pass on the mystic key to its rightful owners has come at last.


All those doors in my quest -- seriously, name a place I've been. Was it anything but Pravoka? Then it has a door sealed by this damn key in it -- I can now revisit to reap their rewards.


First stop, the Elven Castle treasury.


Then Astos' keep.


(These treasures are guarded by some mean undead monsters.)

Not pictured: the doors at the bottom of the Marsh Cave. It's worth the trip, there's a Silver Armlet in there.


Castle Cornelia.


Armlets are good for Monks because they're light enough to stack with rather than nullify their natural defense bonuses.


Meanwhile Beef has turned into a veritable tank. The Mythril Armor is kind of a tough call, raising Evasion at the cost of Defense, but given how Beef's Defense is still almost double anyone else's, I'll use it anyway.
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R^2

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Nerrick: The explosive force in this pouder will hae mah canal open in noo time flat! Ah owe ye, kids!


Nerrick: Nou we can bluiter this rock tae smithereens!
















Well, considering that we've solved every problem we have come across inside this corner of the world, I'd say it's time to sail away to new lands.
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Classic

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I'm stoked stokeless that you're rolling an LP again. F yeah to naming themes. You gotta have themes.
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Managing to do the Marsh Cave legit on an actual NES when I was younger remains one of my most proud video game achievements.
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R^2

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Oh right. Posting this thread reminded me of the Mystic Key door I forgot in the Chaos Shrine.


Onward to new lands!


Lands like this one, just outside the new canal.




Wow. Melmond is kind of a shithole.

Townsfolk: If the Earth Crystal regains its glow, life will return to the earth. The hills and valleys will again be green.

Oldmans: In the cave on the southern tip of this continent lives a man named Sadda. He is a wise man who knows much.

Urist McWatts: Watts is ma name. Ah've gane aw the way here frae Duergar tae find oot the springheid of the earth's decay.

Youth: I've heard that the ancients possessed something with the power to make a ship float in the sky.

ManLong ago, a prosperous civilization thrived in the northland. Now it's fallen into ruin.

Hint-giver: The giant living in the cave eats rocks. He'll eat just about any kind of rock, but I hear he especially likes gems. He can't get enough of them!

Someone else: The earth is decaying, and it's all the doing of the vampire that lives in the Cavern of Earth. Our town is in such rotten shape because he's blocking the flow of the power of earth. Will you stop him for us?

Man I don't even know where to even start looki--

Next guy over: The Cavern of Earth is to the south of Melmond, on a peninsula called the Devil's Tail. It used to be the closer you got to that cave, the more fertile the soil. Now... Now it's a barren waste.

Boy: The vampire attacked, destroying our church and leaving our city in shambles. Is there nothing we can do to stop the ruination of the earth?

That's right, there's no church. If anyone dies before I reach the next town, I have to sail all the way back to Cornelia to revive them.


Dr. Unne: What!? You've never heard of me!? Inconceivable!


Melmond does have one item of note worth buying over all the free stuff I got from Mystic Key treasure rooms. Knight's Armor is a big investment, but well worth the boost to Beef's defense.


Meanwhile, Pork's lack of specialization is starting to show -- he can't learn a revival spell. I really have to sail back to Cornelia to revive anyone who dies.
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R^2

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So I hike southward for a bit.


Nailed it.




The Cavern of Earth is another dungeon slog, one that would take several trips in the NES game. The enemies here aren't particularly dangerous overall, but there are a whole lot of them. Earth Elementals tend to be the biggest and nastiest, but they generally guard treasure chests rather than being encountered randomly.


Piscodemons do show up in random encounters starting in the third dungeon level, though.


I'm glossing over maybe 30 or 40 minutes of play time, but if you've seen one dungeon hallway, you've seen 'em all. This bat doesn't move around, and is a slightly different color than the rest, and is guarding an unusual-looking room. That means...


Yep. He's a vampire. Although he's talking to us in bat form, so I imagine his lines here are kind of squeaky and not at all as threatening as they're supposed to sound.

Vampire: The seal cannot be broken, and so the earth shall rot.


Vampire: Mere mortals cannot kill the undying!




The Vampire opens the fight with Gaze, attempting to paralyze Beef into helplessness.


It doesn't take, and the first round of setting up proceeds as it should.


Note the differences in HP totals between this screenshot and the last one. That's how threatening the vampire actually is.


I know it's a rock, but it looks delicious. I just... lemme have a little lick...


And now for the fun part: walking back out!


Lucky you this is a screenshot LP, going through all of those monotonous hallways in reverse would have been terribly dull in video form.

Oh yeah! Before I leave, there's one thing that makes the Cavern of Earth unique.


One of the hallways on the first level is full of Gigases. Gigae? Whatever. Every step down this hallway sparks a battle with at least one Hill Gigas and usually some Lizards. They're predictable, easy to find, and moderately tough for this stage of the game, so they make decent fodder to grind levels and money. But as much as I've been steamrolling through this version, I skip it.
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R^2

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All right, everybody! Heroes incoming! Who da man?


Aw, bitches.




Hey, you. I just beat up a vampire for no good reason, and if you don't get outta my way, you're next.


What? Oh, whatever.


Giant: Mmmm! Nothing tastier than rubies!




I showed you that cave so I could show you this one.


Huh? I thought sage went in every field.


Sadda: But he was only a servant... The beast corrupting the Earth Crystal lurks deeper within the cavern.

Double bitches.

Sadda: Here. Take this staff with you and use it behind the vampire's chamber!

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R^2

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I couldn't imagine filling all that time spent retreading in a video LP.


There's no cinematics or anything. The screen goes white when you touch the slab, and when the light dims, there's a stairway instead.


Inside: more hallways that look exactly like all the other hallways in this cavern!


Two more floors of them, no less.




Okay, that's new.


Beef Warrior, and his friends! Back me up here, Turkey Monk!






Aw, liches.


I know he's supposed to be directing a spell at us or something but the way he holds his hand up like that just screams faaaabulous.


And he stuns Turkey before he can act, making this Haste useless. I need a new strategy!


Um... yeah, that oughta work. Dead things burn really well in Final Fantasy games, right?


Boom!




Bad news is, Lich can cast Blizzara. Good news is, Turkey isn't paralyzed anymore. Bad news is...


Oh, whatever. Beef finishes off the Lich with a mighty sword slash before anyone can re-jive Turkey.


All told, the boss fight took only two or three rounds.






The Lich statue disappears from the Earthgift Shrine back in Cornelia. Why? Because.


The Earth Crystal is shining again, so we can take this magic circle back outside with a job well done.
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R^2

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Examination of the world map indicates that there are no ports to dock this ship on the entire northern half of the map. I think someone tells you that explicitly in the NES version, but I didn't see them this time around. On the right side of this screen: Melmond (the red square), the Cavern of Earth, both ends of the giant's tunnel, and the Sage's Cave. To the right: Just about the only place left to dock. It's east of Elfland, so I've sailed all the way around the globe.


In the middle of this crescent-shaped lake is a town.


Yep.


The "Silver" sword that used to be sold in Elfland is here now. Mythril gear has higher accuracy (for weapons) or much higher evasion (for armor), so moving it up was an issue of game balance.


Behind the magic shops is a little path leading into the woods...


In the woods are twelve old dudes in a circle. Did we stumble into some druid ritual or something? Well, better start chattin' 'em up.



Secundus: For Great Crystals exist in this world. The light that once shone within them is now lost... The four Fiends of Chaos block the power of the Crystals, claiming it as their own.

Tertius: Fire, earth, water, and wind... These are the four forces that compose our world.

Quartus: The source of the four forces are the altars scattered throughout the world. Defeat the Fiends that have taken root there and lift up the crystal you carry to the altar. The crystal should regain its brilliance.

(To be fair, you can come here before you defeat the Lich.)

Quintus: The four Fiends plot to rule the world both past and present. The Fiend of Wind appeared for hundred years ago, followed two hundred years later by the Fiend of Water. Together they laid waste to the civilization in the north.

Sextus: The Fiend of Earth rots the land...

Septimus: Where the Fiend of Fire passes, all is cast into flame...

Octavius: When all four Crystals shine once more, return here. All will be revealed...

Novus: Bring the light of the four Crystals to us! Warriors of Light, only you can do this!

Decimus: The volcano Mount Gulg rises to the west of this town. The Fiend of Fire long slept within its passages, but she has awoken two hundred years before her time. Vanquish her before the world is consumed in flame!

Eleven...tus: Well done, Warriors of Light.

Well done, Beef!

Eleventus: You have defeated the Fiend of Earth and restored the Crystal's light. Sadly, this has drawn the notice of the Fiend of Fire, who was not to have stirred for another two hundred years. Take this canoe, and go face the Fiend in Mount Gulg!




Good, I was ran out of theme names for you guys two sages ago.




I promise you that no amount of illumination of the background plot makes Lukahn any less cryptic.


The canoe lets the party travel up rivers the ship can't enter. Look at that adorable, tiny world map icon! There's a "little man in the canoe" joke to be made here, if I can just put my finger on it...

...

...hey-o!
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R^2

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The mountain range north of Crescent Lake is a maze of twisty passages, mostly alike.


Naturally, the canoe comes with its own set of encounter monsters.


Good thing pre-Wizards of the Coast TSR-era Dungeons and Dragons had basically no copyright enforcement! Even so, I'm not even sure how they'd go about stopping a Japanese company from lifting a game's enemies wholesale from the Monster Manual.


Mt. Gulg is well-known as "the dungeon nobody ever does in sequence".


Because this ain't it.
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R^2

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You know how the Marsh Cave was supposed to be really hard, and the Cavern of Earth a major project?

The Cavern of Ice is worse than both of them.


Um... well, just trust me. Not every floor is like this.


Hey, what's that thing over the--


Trap floor! Screencapping it is pretty difficult on account of the screen fading to black as the hole opens up beneath your onscreen avatar.






Hazard floors and tough encounters conspire to whittle down your life throughout the dungeon.


For instance, you may find yourself with two petrified party members after a run-in with some cockatrices, with only one Gold Needle to cure it.


Climb back up, fall back down...


In front of the curious octohedron is this bad larry. The Evil Eye was explicitly a Beholder in the Japanese NES version, renamed and with its graphics changed because apparently it is possible to provoke early-nineties TSR into suing for intellectual property.

Anyway, the Evil Eye is a major glass cannon monster. It always opens by killing one of your party members outright, but is itself quite low on HP.


This, for instance?


Is adequate to defeat it.


Hooray! Now to drop back through one of these holes and retread half the dungeon! Remember that this is a dungeon with random encounters that can kill or petrify characters, that the Evil Eye always opens the fight with Death, and that there weren't any Phoenix Downs in the original release. Once someone was dead, you'd have to walk out of the cave and canoe back to Crescent to revive them. More than once I've limped out of this dungeon with two heavily-injured characters hauling their previous friends as cargo.


"Better take out the Beholder. We might get sued." "Boss, what about the Mind Flayers, and the Ankhegs, and all the others?" "Meh, I'm going out to lunch."


Made it. Now to canoe back to the ship and sail back to Elfheim to buy a Gold Needle for Beef...
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R^2

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Oh yeah, speaking of Elfheim...




The seers remembered what it was they wanted to tell me.


"Boss, I'm pretty sure if we put otyughs in this game, somebody will notice. It'll cause trouble, to be sure" "It'll be fine. Look, just color them green and call them... call them... hold on... ugh... I gotta sneeze..."


Here's a big sand pit vaguely south of Crescent Lake...




Originally "Pumice" in Japanese and "Floater" in the original English release, the Levistone has always been named for something implying that it can, well, float.






Ever wonder why a hunk of Pumice is used to learn how to summon Ark in Final Fantasy 9? Ever wonder why Ark was a giant transforming airship robot? It's yet another callback to the franchise legacy. Now you know.






Is it can be Mount Gulg times now plz?
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R^2

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...nope!
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R^2

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The airship can land in grassy fields, but not on mountains, in the water, in forests, or over desert or marshland. This opens up a few new places to explore on the northern continent, such as this peninsula full of holes.


Dragon Caves? Sounds like this'll be a tough dungeon full of powerful monsters!


But it's not, because the dragons are friendly.

Red Dragon: Once, long ago, there was an age when man and dragon lived together.

Green Dragon: It is a rare thing to have humans visit us here. If you are valiant warriors, you should speak with Bahamut, our king.

Blue Dragon: The dragons of the Cardian Islands have no love of senseless killing.

White Dragon: Once, long ago, the northland was filled with beautiful shrines and towering mechanical castles.

Black Dragon: Have you spoken with our king, Bahamut? The Dragon King confers a great honor upon the brave.

Yellow Dragon: It is customary for a dragon to venture northeast to the Citadel of Trials. There, he must test his mettle by claiming a token of courage from within.

Purple Dragon: The form of the token of courages takes changes with the times. Do not let its appearance deceive you.

Silver Dragon: The Dragon King looks within to measure a person's true courage.

No he doesn't, he looks in your pockets, because you have to have a particular item to be considered brave.

Gold Dragon: This is the chamber of Bahamut, the Dragon King. Mind your tongue.


Sure enough, a dragon bigger and more detailed than the rest is right there, looking all the world like the flying drakes from Final Fantasy 5.




As you may have gathered from the rest of the dragons!


Also here is the entrance to the Hellfire Chasm, but the entrance is blocked by another monster statue.
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R^2

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Signpost Man: To our south is an ancient city known as the Wing of the Hawk.

Another new place is this town, on the northernmost point of the world map.

Scholar: Have you visited the Wing of the Hawk? I can't understand a word they say there.

Dancer: I DON'T believe it! You're outsiders, aren't you!? How did you make it this high up in the mountains? What, can you fly or something? Naw, that's impossible... right?

Woman: A faerie was living at our spring, but I haven't seen her lately. I wonder what's happened to her.

Boy: My dad was always telling me how the castle to the west was a place to test your courage.

Lady: I saw a shining light flying to the west in the night sky! I KNOW I saw it!

Man: There's a tower in the Yahnikurm Desert that no one can enter. Some people think it's nothing but a mirage, so it's called the Mirage Tower. No one can say for sure, though.

Learned person: The legends say the Sky People could soar through the sky and build castles above the clouds.

Student: There was a scholar studying the Lufenian language, but I can't seem to recall his name.

Youth: They say a special water called oxyale gushes from the bottom of our spring. But only faeries can draw it out.

Buccaneer: I caught the faerie, so I figure she's mine to do with as I please. What's the big deal? So I sold her to the caravan. So what?

Gaia has some very nice equipment upgrades, such as Protect Rings that protect against death spells. There's also Cat Claws, one of the best daggers in the game, for Tofu, and lots of high-level magic for sale. It's too high-level for Pork or Tofu to learn at this level, alas.
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