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Author Topic: The GBA was good to this franchise: Let's Play Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls!  (Read 5820 times)

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R^2

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Looks trying enough. But there's nowhere to land nearby.








Getting to the Citadel is the first trial, since you have to cross marshes, deserts, forests, and rivers to get there.


There's a shortcut of sorts you can take. It doesn't make the journey less long, but it makes the encounters in it easier. Go back to where you parked your ship and sail to the Citadel of Trials. You can make port at the mouth of any river by stepping off the ship directly into the canoe, and from the river to the north it's a short walk to the Citadel. Once you're done, canoe back onto your ship and sail back around the world to your airship.


Citadel guard?: Your fortitude cannot be questioned, indeed not... Very well, I shall grant you the right to undergo the trials. Go now. Sit upon the throne. Your courage will be put to the test. If true courage dwells within you, you will find proof of it here.

And then he vanishes.

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R^2

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The throne teleports us up to the next floor of the Citadel.


On this level are pillars that flicker with yellow light.


Stepping into one of them teleports you...


...elsewhere on the same level.


Before long you're offered a choice of pillars. The correct option is always the bottommost one.




There are new monsters in the Citadel, of course. Golems exist in Dungeons and Dragons to give fighters something to do at high levels, on account of being immune to most magic. The Clay Golems here follow suit, resisting a lot of magic but often dying to one physical hit from Beef or Turkey.

The Rakshasas are similar, resisting magic but being somewhat more vulnerable to physical strikes, but to their credit are capable of casting Slow. Slow is the opposite of Haste, reducing the number of attacks the party gets in a round, drastically reducing their damage output. Well played, Rakshasa.




The next level is straightforward, and offers some treasure chests with nigh-endgame gear inside. The Healing Staff and Gauntlets aren't that useful as equips, but choosing them from the item menu lets you cast a spell through them without consuming MP. The Healing Staff casts Heal, naturally, while the Gauntlets cast Thundara.

Intelligence matters here, so Tofu is going to be the best with spellcasting implements, while Turkey is going to be the worst. Rather than mashing "Fight" to get through every battle, I usually have Pork use the Healing Staff to keep everyone fighting fit and Tofu use the Gauntlets to zap foes into submission.

Yes, the Red Mage is on nigh-exclusive healing duty now. Pork: The Other White Mage.


The rat's tail is the last chest in the dungeon.


The exit is guarded by two Dragon Zombies, but really? Come on, I just got items of infinite partywide healing and targets-all-enemies blasting that consume no resources on my part. The difficulty of this game just took a huge dip... and compared to the NES version, it didn't have that far to go.


Which isn't to say that, as the last battle of the dungeon, I have any reason to hold back and conserve MP. Boom!
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R^2

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Bahamut: Your bravery would seem worthy of consideration.


Bahamut: So be it... I shall honor you with titles befitting your valor.










Hey, all he did was put extra stuff on our clothes and change our last names! Beef Warrior is now Beef Knight. He's stronger and tougher, and hey look at that: Magic Level 3. He'll start getting MP and Intelligence growth as he levels up now, making him a moderate white-magic user. He never gets more than spell level 3, though.


Turkey Monk is now Turkey Master. Maybe it's a misspelling, and he's really Turkey Baster? Anyway, all that happens in the promotion from Monk to Master is that Strength and Stamina start to go up even more. In the first game, there were bigger level-based boosts to attack and defense, so maybe now's he gets more attacks based on accuracy or something.


Pork Redwizard can learn spells that Red Mages can't, including Life and Exit. Their maximum spell level is 7 now.


Like the Monk->Master, Black Mage->Black Wizard doesn't get any new tricks, but they get better at the tricks they already know. A Black Wizard's maximum spell level is now 8, meaning he can get the best black magic the game has to offer, and his Intelligence growth improves as he levels up further.

If I had a Thief, they'd turn into a Ninja. Ninja have better weapons and armor than Thieves (almost as good as Warriors/Knights) and can cast the first few levels of Black Magic like the Knight picked up White Magic. If I had a White Mage, promoting to White Wizard would unlock more powerful magic, like it did for the Black Wizard.
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R^2

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Hey, a unique landscape feature! I bet it's important.


It's near a town, too.


First one, then the other.


New town, new hints to collect!

Daughter: My father's with the caravan. Right now they're over in the desert to the west. They usually pitch camp by the forest near the north of the desert. I hope he comes home soon.

Leggy Dame: Look at my legs! Aren't they wonderful? I love having legs! Look! Look! Did you see that move I just did!

Local Drunk: You ever hear of something called oxyale?

Lonely man: They say that the shrine sank into the sea two hundred years ago. Now there are mermaids living there -- or so the story goes.

Savvy Shopper: That Underhill fella from the caravan had something awful weird for sale.

Fisherman: Out of me way! Son of a *hic*! I haven't been able to catch me a single fish! How'm I supposed to keep food on me plate and *hic* in me belly?

Guy Who Knows Koppe: Koppe's been spreading some nonsense story about how he saw some shining thing fall out of the sky.

Guy in the Graveyard: They say this used to be a beautiful village until about two hundred years ago.

Crone: Are those legs REALLY yours?

Scholar: Long ago, an ancient race known as the Sky People used a language called Lufenian. My brother, Unne, would always talk about it, telling me how he could speak it if he only had a Rosetta Stone.

Treasure Hunter: The Sunken Shrine is said to be filled with riches. Silver, gold, diamonds... even tablets describing lost languages and civilizations, if you believe the legends.

Man dockside: Two hundred years ago, the Shrine of Onrac flourished. It brimmed with the power of water. I ask but one thing of you. Please, restore that power to its former grace.

Dragon: Amazing! Humans have been honored by the Dragon King!

(Naturally if you haven't been promoted yet he directs you to the Cardia islands.)

Koppe: Hi, my name's Koppe. Hm? You want to hear about the shining object I saw? I think it came down somewhere near the waterfall to the north. No one believes me, but I think it was some kind of mechanical creature!


Woman: But when I went underwater, I started running out of air, and I couldn't breathe. It's totally useless. Even worse, it's dangerous. You'd better keep away.

Well, lots of hints are starting to come together. The faerie was caught and sold to Underhill in the Caravan, and I need to go get the faerie so she can get me some Oxyale. There's also a slab -- a Rosetta Stone -- in the Sunken Shrine that Unne can use to understand Lufenian. And there's something (possibly a mechanical creature) that fell into the waterfall up north.
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R^2

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Well obviously.

As far as Final Fantasy dungeons go, this one is about the easiest. It's big, and there's only one destination, but the monsters aren't terribly hard to kill and there's only one floor. The only danger is getting lost, and if you follow a wall, there's no danger of that happening. (If you follow the south wall, you'll go straight to the treasure room.)


I... forget why I took this screenshot, really. I think it was to show off that Beef Knight has started gaining MP when he levels up now.


Door! The only one in the dungeon.




Treasure! The Ribbon is the best helmet in the game, as is typical of a Final Fantasy title. Unlike later games, the Ribbon doesn't prevent status ailments. Instead it cuts damage from special attacks by half. As far as I can tell, "special attacks" means anything other than a physical hit.


The first Knightsword in the game, so named because only promoted Knights can equip it.


Robit: ...take this CUBE... ...TIAmat... flying fortress... ...please...


So for all the people who bitch and moan about how Final Fantasy has MOAR LIKE FINAL SCI-FI AMIRITE its later iterations... did you forget about the robots and the geosynchronous space fortress in the first game?
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R^2

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They could have named this monster better, since I've fought it in plains, forests, and now a marsh, but never ran into one in an actual desert. Perhaps it is deliciously sweet, and they just didn't have the space to call it "Dessert Baretta"?


Anyway, the Caravan is hidden in a desert a short walk west of Onrac. There's no indication that it's there from the world map, so you have to search for it a bit. The only hint is that it's in a patch of desert disconnected from the rest of the desert near Onrac, and as the girl said in Onrac proper, it's sort of near a forest.




I forget what Underhill did after you bought the Faerie from him in the NES version, but since these tinctures are remake-exclusive, that wasn't it. (I looked it up, he starts selling potions and stuff like a regular shop.)


In the NES version, you had to use the BOTTLE item in your inventory to release the faerie. The game would tell you that she immediately flies away, giving you no hint where she might have gone. In this version, the bottle opens automatically when you enter Gaia, and you watch the faerie fly off. (It's hard to see in the screenshot, but Beef is looking at her -- she's the little pink ball of light between him and the townsperson.)


Once you remember that everyone in Gaia is talking about the faerie at the spring, you can go see her there. You'd expect her to restore your life in a spinning display of hearts, but...


Faerie: I'm sorry about running away, but I was just so scared... I'll get you some oxyale from the bottom of the spring to make up for it, okay?






Uh huh. "Water". It's called oxy ale, lady, you ain't foolin' anybody but the Nintendo censors.

Faerie: It'll never run out of air, so you can use it to stay underwater as long as you like!
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R^2

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Woman: You are the ones we've been waiting for. Please save the mermaids!




I am not getting into some rickety little submarine made out of a barrel unless I am extremely drunk and can breathe underwater. Thankfully I have an item that allows both at the same time! Everyone takes a big swig of oxyale and climbs in.







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R^2

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The Sunken Shrine starts you off... in the middle, oddly. You can go up or down from the first floor.


It may not surprise you to learn that the enemies in the underwater area aren't particularly vulnerable to fire. Tofu keeps zapping them with the Gauntlets instead.


On the topmost floor of the Shrine, you find mermaids!

Attina: If the light of the sea is lost, we will turn into sea foam, vanishing forever...

Aquata: One of our friends went to see the world above and hasn't returned. I wonder what she's doing now? I do hope she's alright...

Well, she's really proud of her legs. She hasn't left Onrac, though.

Andrina: Save the sea. Restore light to the Water Crystal.

Arista: Are those the crystals the legends speak of? Just who are you?

Adella: This is the uppermost level of the shrine. The kraken, the Fiend of Water, nests on its lowest level.

Alana: The Mirage Tower stands in the desrt on the continent to the east, right? Well, I saw someone go INTO the tower!

I won't even ask how, given that apparently mermaids can't leave the shrine without making a deal with the sea-witch and growing legs to parade around at people.

Alana: I remember hearing the most lovely chiming sound...

Ariel: While the Fiend of Water lives, the light of the sea grows ever darker. If the light of the sea is not restored, we will vanish as foam on the waves...


You can see the room where the Rosetta Stone is kept from the places where you can talk to the mermaids, but there's a channel of water keeping you from it. You have to do the unintuitive thing and walk in the other direction, realizing the map wraps around. Or just explore every nook and find it by accident. Whatever works.


Rosetta Stone in hand and mermaids comforted, it's time to head down back to the entrance level, stop by Onrac to rest up a bit, and delve into the ocean depths to confront the Kraken.


There he is! Do you have any idea how many water snakes and sea trolls I had to murder to get to you, you bastard?



You know what, Kraken makes a typical Final Fantasy villain speech here, and I'm sick of transcribing that sort of thing. Watch this instead.

The Kraken


While Lich had powerful magic, Kraken has powerful physical attacks. Actually, not even that. Kraken has lots of hits, thanks to his many tentacles. Therefore, Slow is one of the more useful spells to cast on him, as it neuters his attack power quite effectively when it works.


Or you can just blast the guy. w/e man


Kraken's special attack is... Ink. He sprays a cloud of the stuff over your party, occasionally inflicting Blind status. He's even less dangerous in the NES version, when the INK attack targeted a single character instead of the entire party.


Hooray! We're half done!


As happened after defeating Lich, a statue of Kraken somewhere in the world vanishes from its place in front of a dungeon entrance.
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R^2

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And here is a town.




A town where you can't understand anyone, as has been heavily hinted at previously.


Unne: This... this is the Rosetta Stone! This makes it possible to decipher Lufenian! Hmm... Yes, of course! THAT'S what that was! It all makes sense! Here, allow me to express my gratitude by teaching you Lufenian. There, now you can speak Lufenian, too!

That was awfully quick. Not even the Rosetta Stone software company advertises that it can teach you languages that fast.




Aside: being a Red Wizard means Pork can now pick up some of the more useful white magic spells that weren't available before.
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R^2

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Oohga, bunga, munga, meeple
Gonna go talk to the Sky People.

Greg the Lufenian: You use a vessel you call an airship... It was built by one of our ancestors... a man by the name of Cid.

Cid wasn't in this game originally. I expect this reference was added to tie in with the plot of Dissidia, where Cid the Lufenian features prominently in the metaplot.

Alice the Lufenian: The Light Bearers! Then the legend is true!

Phil the Lufenian: We have a legend that has been passed down through many generations. According to this legend, four hundred years after the fall of the civilization in the sky, warriors bearing light will come forth to save our people.

Your legend itself says that your civilization will be saved four hundred years too late? Raw deal.

George the Lufenian: The castle that floats high above the clouds was once the home of our ancestors. The Mirage Tower is the gateway to that castle.

Kelly the Lufenian: We came to believe there was another entity controlling the four fiends. To ascertain its location, we sent out five warriors, but much time has passed since we heard from them. I hope no harm has befallen them...

They've already shown up ingame. Go on back through the LP and guess who they are!

Tracy the Lufenian: We placed our last hope in the five warriors we sent out... It's been said they fell victim to the curse of the Fiends and were turned into bats.

Or don't, since Tracy the Lufenian spoils everything.

Brian the Lufenian: Tiamat blocks the power of wind, the source of the Sky People's strength.

Margaret the Lufenian: We fought a life-and-death struggle with Tiamat, the Fiend of Wind. But our power was not enough... To this day her lair remains in the castle in the sky -- the Flying Fortress.

So Tiamat won, and you're here... it wasn't really a life-and-death struggle then, was it?

Eddie the Lufenian: Four hundred years ago, we had built a civilization of the highest order. Even beyond the skies we reached... But that is naught but history now.

Tom the Lufenian: The Sky People would pass on their memories from one generation to the next through rituals. But four hundred years is a very long time, and those memories have begun to fade.

Anne the Lufenian: The flying castle floats on a blue sea of stars beyond the sky.

Lola the Lufenian: This world is composed of four forces: fire, earth, water, and wind. Of these, we showed the greatest prowess with the power of wind. High in the sky, we set a castle afloat amidst an azure sea of stars.

Jim the Lufenian: Could the mechanical beings our ancestors created still function?

Chadwick Alphonse Oliver Alexander the Lufenian: Before you leave, legendary warriors, take this chime with you. It will grant you passage into the Mirage Tower.




Back in the back of the village, there's this little gap in the wall.


And at the end of this semi-hidden path...


Are shops selling Holy and Flare, the highest orders of white and black magic respectively. Naturally, they are beyond Pork's generalist studies -- but Tofu picks up Flare.
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R^2

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I picked up a couple of Light Axes in the Sunken Shrine. Since Vampires are demoted to common enemies here, I give 'em a whirl -- they cast Diara. Fire from the Mage Staff works better, though.




If you don't have the Warp Cube yet, you get some hints where to find it.


Because in this room, there's a te--


...scripted encounter. DO YOU MIND?


Ahem. In this room, there's a teleporter.


And it doesn't work without the Warp Cube. Thankfully, we got that already.
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R^2

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Somebody wanna tell me why I'm fighting Earth Medusas while in orbit?


Called the Bane Sword in the NES version, this one's another go-to for single character challenges. It casts Scourge, which worked a little more reliably in that version. In this game I can only get Scourge to work on enemies I could have Thundaraed or Firaed to death with the Gauntlets or Mage Staff, so :shrug:


These guys still like to open with deathspells, but they're just as fragile as before, while I'm faster and stronger.




I get this as a random drop from an enemy on the first floor. Pretty nice!


For all its buildup, the Flying Fortress is an extremely short dungeon if you go from start to finish. But the second and third floors have a central hub with a bunch of treasure on each of seven or eight spokes, so it's worth exploring at length.


For instance, here's the only reason to go back to the starting inland sea area.






That's exactly what the robot said.






Well hot damn. Yellow energy from the Cavern of Earth, red energy from Mt. Gulg, blue energy from Onrac, and green energy from the Mirage Tower. And there in the center, yes, is the Chaos Shrine, the first dungeon in the game. Going back to where the entire game began shows up semiregularly in RPGs released since, but this was pretty mindblowing back in the day.


More good equipment: the only shield a Black or White Wizard can equip. With a paltry 33 defense, every little bit helps.


The fourth floor is a perfect grid that wraps around on itself. If you wander in any direction and don't turn, you eventually get back to this warp tile.


The exit is a few rows and columns over. It's another short, easy level once you know the trick, but the uninitiated might wander around for a long time before they stumble on the exit (which looks exactly like the entrance, because ha ha fuck you).
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R^2

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Ah, the Flying Fortress sky bridge.


Tiamat is at the far side.

Tiamat: You have defeated two Fiends and reached my lofty perch.


Tiamat: More the better... May the image of Tiamat, the Fiend of Wind, be the last to burn in your eyes!


Tiamat's schtick seems to center around an unusually high defense. Both physical hits and magic attacks do rather less damage to Tiamat than other monsters up to this point.


But damned if I can remember anything else remarkable about her.




Crystal glows, dungeon opens. You know the drill by now.


I don't remember what dropped these, but damned if they aren't entirely redundant. As in other games, Red Fangs are single-use consumables that hit with a fire attack. In this case, the attack is explicitly Fira. Why these are handed out well after I have the item that casts Fira anytime I want and isn't consumed in the process... well, your guess is as good as mine.


Not pictured: the two or so hours I spent wandering around looking for the first Final Fantasy optional superboss. I didn't find him, because rather than hanging out where he's easily found like later enemies, this guy's just a 1/64 chance random encounter. My number didn't come up.
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R^2

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Sure will, little buddy. Excalibur is another knightsword, the second-best weapon in the game. Or at least, the second-best weapon in the NES version. But more on that later.


For now, there's a dungeon I skipped.


Mt. Gulg is full of lava. Stepping in lava reduces the entire party's HP by... one point. Lava squares have no random encounters to whittle you down. If you do Mt. Gulg second instead of fourth, it's better to walk through lava than get in fights -- you get more progress for your HP loss that way.

Now that I'm extremely overleveled, I stick to the lava anyway, just for expeditiousness's sake.


The second floor is a straight path from entrance to exit, with a large maze room you can go in for some treasure. But the treasure isn't even useful at the point in the game where you're supposed to go here, so why bother?


The rest of the dungeon is just lava-filled mazes.


Random encounters tend to have Beef, Pork, and Tofu use implements to cast Heal on the party while Turkey demolishes monsters. Even the dungeon-long HP sapping effect can't keep up with that.


Turns out bypassing random encounters and ignoring treasures makes a dungeon reeeeally short.
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R^2

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I'm not sure if the NES version had customized text for sequence-breaking.




She's making a :/ face. She knows what she's in for.


In the NES version, Marilith (called KARY at the time) was vulnerable to sleep effects. You could have one caster keep her stunlocked (since SLEEP spells were bugged to immediately wear off once the next turn started) while everyone else smacked her around.

Of course, at this point, I skip the sleep spells.


I ended this battle with more HP than I started.




Man why even bother screencapping the statue disappearance anymore. We out.
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patito

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I forget, is it robot that you're looking for in tiamat's dungeon?
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R^2

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Yes. WarMECH -- or whatever he's called in this version -- can totally partywipe a group otherwise prepared to finish the game. Just spotting him used to be enough to get your name in a Zelda game.
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The developers of Dawn of Souls were surprisingly crafty - it is my understanding that since you can, as you just demonstrated, "Pick and choose" the order you do the last three fiends in, all of those fiends have a small bit of dialogue that changes based on which corpses you left behind you - it's simply stating you who killed

As for Cid in Dissidia, Dissidia came out a good four and a half years after Dawn of Souls. His inclusion in this game is to simply complete the circle, and give every game a Cid - even FF2NES had a Cid. FF1 was the only one out.

WarMECH is called Death Machine in this version, and is considered to be on the same level of the NES version. See, Warmech was sadistically designed - aside from no warning at all to his existence, having innate regen on himself (Bugged in the NES version), he would get a pre-emptive strike, usually casting Nuke/Atomize and either wiping you, or putting you close to it. In the NES version, he has 1000 HP, and nonfunctioning regeneration. In re-releases, his HP is doubled, and his regen is fixed, giving him 100 HP each turn. Nuclear/Atomize is also completely nonelemental, so you can't defend against it via normal means of spells.

This all assumes you are normally leveled, and not obscenely overleveled, something rather easy to accomplish in all remakes.

Marilith's name in the NES was a odd mistranslation of Kali, a Hindu Goddess. The name change came about due to the same reason of the Evil Eye change - fear of D&D copyright infringement.
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Expository infodump!


Secundus: With the forces again flowing freely, the time to go to the Chaos Shrine and strike the root of darkness has come!

Tertius: The four Crystals shine once again! The combined power of that light is the only means of breaking through the wall of time. The architect of this disaster is beyond that wall, two thousand years in the past!

Quartus: You would have no memory of this, but before you wandered into this land, time flowed properly for you. But that flow of time has become warped for you here, in this time.

Quintus: The chain of time has become looped back upon itself... You must travel back in time to the link in that chain that gave birth to this cycle of wrath -- and destroy it!

Sextus: The sequence of disasters that began four hundred years ago... It was triggered by events that happened only a scant few days in our past. But whoever set this in motion has now fled two thousand years into the past.

Septimus: I see time spiraling... Whatever went back two thousand years in the past has brought the world to the brink of destruction. And now, two thousand years later, it travels into the past again... A cycle of wrath without end...

Octavius: An ever-repeating two-thousand-year cycle... The warped destiny that gives birth and rebirth to wrath... But it's no more than an illusion... a fantasy! And only the Warriors of Light can break the cycle!

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

Decimus: Power must be turned toward its proper end.

Primus, Eleventus, and Lukahn all say the same things they did before.
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