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Author Topic: The GBA was good to this franchise: Let's Play Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls!  (Read 5187 times)

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R^2

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Anyway, there's sidequests to do.


Remember all these caves that opened up after each Fiend was defeated? The Earthgift Shrine is the first, opened by defeating Lich.


Inside is... a copy of the Caverns of Earth. Whee.


And a... desert?


And a shadowy forest.


There's no stairway down from the fifth level, but there are...


Four altars, each guarded by a giant blue flame.
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R^2

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Whoa. Uh, hey, giant naked green lady.


Echnidna is the first of the game's added optional bosses. You may recognize her from Final Fantasy 3, if you played any version of that. As I fight them, it may be that my characters aren't shown onscreen, as in this image: I spend my first turn of each boss using the White Robe I found in the Sky Sanctuary, which has the same effect as Invisara. It increases everyone's evasion and makes their graphics flicker rapidly, so sometimes I'll just have a screenshot of everyone flickered off.


For these bosses, my strategy is generally to spend my first turn using the Giant's Gloves (which casts Temper), the Defender (which casts Protect), the White Robe (Invisara, as before), and Haste on Beef. The second turn has Beef and Turkey trade off the Giant's Gloves and Defender, Pork uses Protera, and Tofu casts Haste on Turkey.




Then the beatdowns begin.


I think Echidna managed to kill Beef with Quake, which is an instant-death spell in this game (as it was in early D&D -- you fall into fissures that break open and are killed when they grind shut).


...flat "What."


After beating one of the four bosses, you can't leave the room and must take the exit from the entire dungeon. Want to go through all that dungeon crawl again to see who the other bosses are and what they drop?

I sure don't. I think I can pass on the X-Potion and load my state from before the Echidna fight.


The other bosses are Cerberus, who drops a Kotetsu sword...


The Two-Headed Dragon, who drops the Bard's Tunic...


And Ahriman, who drops a Dry Ether.


Ahriman also blocks a chest with a Megalixir inside. Since the Kotetsu and Bard's Tunic are both well past any time they may have been useful, Ahriman is the one I defeat before leaving the dungeon entirely.

Got the theme from this set of bosses? They're the four terrible creatures that guard the Cloud of Darkness battle in Final Fantasy 3. The Earthgift Shrine somewhat reflects this: the levels that resemble the Cavern of Earth are laid out the same way as two levels of the very first dungeon of that game.
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R^2

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Each level of these optional dungeons has a number of chests in it. These are generally single-use items of varying utility -- Potions and other shop-available items aren't uncommon, Red Fangs and spellcasting items show up from time to time, and every once in a great while you get something nice like an X-Potion or Elixir.


Here's the thing. The game has an internal list of what treasures can show up on what dungeon levels, and most dungeon levels cannot spawn that many chests. If you want actual equipment, or the better items from the chests, you have to run these dungeons several times each. Earthgift Shrine is only five floors, but...


This one, the Lifespring Grotto, is twenty.




The decor here usually takes after the Chaos Shrine or the Sunken Shrine. It's a shriney place to be.


Since you're expected to run these dungeons dozens of times (each...), there are some new monsters to be found. But since they're all optional dungeons and the developers didn't want to guarantee you'd be overleveled from doing them, they give utter shit for experience. These Death Elementals, for instance, give about seven hundred EXP each. Compare this to the monsters in the Sky Fortress, which give two or three thousand each. The rewards from the optional dungeons come in chests and from fighting the bosses, not in levels or gold.


There are non-combat levels here, too. This one is a library where the scholars wander around and get in your way. It's time-consuming and tedious, but not more so than fighting monsters for almost no reward every few steps.


On the fifth level of the Grotto is a mermaid village. All the mermaids talk about is a man with a halberd running around.


You have to track down the correct mermaid to lead you to said man.


????: Now I can finally go home! Hey! Where did YOU come from? Oh, you mean you were looking for the Excalibur, too?

Uh, no. Got one right here.

????: How rude of me. I mean, the four of you came all this way... Of course I'll let you have the sword.
...
I'd say you've been hitting the oxyale a bit hard if you believed THAT!


Surprise, it's Gilgamesh, the recurring villain who wanders from Final Fantasy game to game trying to get back to his own world and collect rare weapons.


If he has any tricks, I've forgotten what they are.


And here's the other problem with the optional dungeons: even once you fight a boss and earn its prize... well, the game already had endgame gear without all this rigmarole. If you find a shiny new helmet, is its tiny stat boosts better than "Half damage from most attacks"? If you get a new gauntlet or ring, is it truly better than "Immune to the death effects so many monsters and bosses are fond of this late in the game"?

No. You keep your Ribbons and Protect Rings on, and the new equippable gear gets thrown in the same pile as your Blue Fangs and Lunar Curtains and Vampire Fangs and stuff.
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R^2

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Well, onward. I did say this dungeon has twenty levels.


This one's a breather, though. You canoe around, collect treasure, and try to find which door is the exit. There's no encounters, thankfully.


Level ten means a new boss.


As you might expect, Atomos uses a Wormhole attack that tries to kill your party members.


Like an idiot I gave Beef the Genji Gloves instead of letting him keep his Protect Ring. :hurr:




So anyway, as I was saying, even the item drops from the bosses are damn near usele--


R... really? I now have an implement that casts Flare anytime I want, with no MP cost? I stand corrected, every once in a while you get something nice.


A few floors later, Dark Bahamut tests your abilities by summoning a lot of dragons and telling you how many of each color you need to kill.


Naturally there is no indication which is which until you fight them, at which point they might be red, blue, green, yellow, black, silver, holy, or zombie.




Navigating dancers.


Then you have to walk on walkways that appear and disappear. If you misstep, you start over. Thankfully there are no encounters on those two theme levels, either.
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R^2

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There are two flames here. The boss fights are on levels 5, 10, and two on 20.




There's really nothing stopping Omega from doing his signature attack -- Wave Cannon? I forget what it was -- every turn. So he uses it a lot. Without a White Mage to cast Healaja...


I can't keep up with that kind of damage output.


Great.


Shinryu casts Flare as much as he likes, in this case chaining two together on consecutive turns. There's no Shell status in this game like there is later, you only have protection spells against fire, ice, and electric attacks. Flare, being nonelemental, is one you just have to suck up.


Or not, in this case.

So you know, I'll take the penalty for getting partywiped here (like in Dragon Quest, you lose half your gold). I really have no desire to fight monsters this stupidly strong.

Got the boss theme for this dungeon? It's Final Fantasy 5, of course, the first game in the series to have optional superbosses -- in Omega and Shinryu (assuming you don't count Death Machine in this game).
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R^2

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Bored of this yet? Me too. This is Hellfire Chasm, which opens after you beat Marilith.


Theme levels this time include one where trying to walk around NPCs in your way will get you into more fights. Because that's really what you need -- a choice between getting held up by slow-moving NPCs, or getting held up by encounters.




That was easy, but please. You're not fooling anybody.




Not that he's any harder the second time. Coming from the bridge, look behind you! Back attack!


He doesn't really get any important scenes.


There's a world map section here. You have to wander around until you find a ship, then sail around until you find a pirate, then find the desert that has an airship.


This level probably took more time than any other.


Going back to lava pits and volcanic caves is refreshing in comparison.


The fifth and tenth levels of the Hellfire Chasm have two bosses each. The fifth has a choice between Scarmilogne and Cagnazzo, this one a choice between Rubicante and Barbariccia. So if you've got a hankering for revisiting the Four Lords from Final Fantasy 4 in a battle engine that can't replicate their signature tricks, there you go.


Did I mention before that you have an anti-fire protection spell? It's so low-level even Beef can cast it.


Firaga bounced a couple of times before this happened, but Rubicante is a bit of a breather after staring down certain death in Omega and Shinryu.




A fourth ribbon! Beef had been without one since the original game only has three, and his defenses don't really need bolstering. Now he's more or less invincible.


Oddly, Kikuichimonji is a Red Wizard weapon, rather than a Ninja weapon. idgi
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François

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Death Elementals

Death... Elementals?

Death Elementals?

Death Elementals?

 :isweird:
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R^2

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Got the gimmick to these levels yet? Regular dungeon levels interspersed with mostly-annoying theme levels, mostly-crap treasure, every once in a while a boss fight that calls out to some other Final Fantasy game and may or may not give you something useful for winning.

Good, because I'm going to be skipping a lot of Whisperwind Cove. It's forty levels, for god's sake.


Except I'm posting this line, which can't be an accident.


You fight Astos again! He's still wearing his party hat, and now you can oneshot him.




Yep. Typhon. And he uses Snort, which can't expel people from the battle, but can instant-kill you.


It's a great helm, but it's not better than a Ribbon.


Tenth floor? That can only be...


...yyyeah.


I think he uses Ink and hits with several strikes. So kind of a superpowered Kraken.


Casts Healara. So that's pretty nice.
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R^2

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:isweird:

It's Final Fantasy, where "elemental" typically includes fire, water, electricity, ice, wind, earth, holy power, darkness, poison, gravity, radiation, vacuum, and cheesecake.
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R^2

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On this level are NPCs who duplicate every magic shop in the game, in case you missed one or can't find the hidden one to learn Holy and Flare. A few will sell you implements, in case you didn't get the Judgement Staff and Rune Staff that make all the ones they sell obsolete. There's also an Inn, which is a little unusual.


Ah, the undead castle. This is the one level in Whisperwind Cove guaranteed to have ten chests, allowing you to get all the items for the level you're on. I got it on level 29, so let's see what good stuff there is...


This. This highlights everything I hate about the optional dungeons. The one level out of seventy-five total that I get everything, and the best item I find is armor for a class I don't even have in my party.


Level 30 accurately reflects how I feel about the game by this point, being a rotted wasteland filled with suffering and agony.


The boss is the Phantom Train, presumably because Final Fantasy 6 didn't really have a lot of iconic boss fights that weren't plot-relevant in it.


The Phantom Train hits like a truc-- er, train, really, and can use Acid Rain as a strong partywide attack. By the time I won, Pork and Tofu were on healing/reviving/protecting duty exclusively while Beef and Turkey dealt what damage they could. Nobody in the party knows how to suplex. ::(:


Late in the dungeon is a proper town, one with an Inn, a church, and a shop that sells nothing particularly useful.


After Phantom Train, new enemies show up, but oh my god I don't even care this has taken way too damn long


FINALLY


Death Gaze hits crazy hard and uses death magic. But mostly, he hits crazy hard. It takes several applications of Protera before his damage output becomes manageable, at which point I start to recover and the battle goes my way.


The reward for beating Deathgaze is the Lightbringer. Again, a Red Wizard sword. Did not see that coming.


You're expected to do the dungeons over and over, so to keep you from getting overloaded with all the cool stuff you can get, they put the best stuff in each dungeon in a guaranteed chest. I might actually consider running Whisperwind more than once if my reward was an Ultima Weapon every time, but for another Rune Staff and a second Lightbringer? Fuggeddaboudit.


Besides, Ultima Weapon is inarguably awesome, but... almost nobody needs it. Knights have Excalibur by now, Masters don't need weapons, and Wizards have better things to do that use the Fight command. In this party I tried giving it to Turkey because it made his attack power go up, but his damage output went down because Monks get more hits per attack when barehanded. I think Tofu ended up carrying it for those times when I get through a battle by holding down the confirm button so everyone attacks, but for serious fights he just uses the Judgement Staff.

So, grand summation of the optional content: meh.
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R^2

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On to the Chaos Shrine, the final dungeon.


Bat: The light of the crystals has enabled us to speak again!

Bat: We are Sky People. We came to this shrine in our attempt to locate the source of the world's ruin. That was four hundred years ago...

Wow. Bats live a long time.

Bat: The power the four Fiends were absorbing from the Crystals was being fed into the past by the Black Crystal. The one distorting the beautiful light of the Crystals it the one we've been looking for all along. The true root of all evil lies just ahead...

Bat: The light... the light of the four we've been seeking all this time! That light will open the time portal! The portal will transport you two thousand years into the past to the beginning of the time loop.

Bat: Shine the light of the four crystals on the Black Crystal in the center of the chamber!  Doing so will open a time portal to this shrine as it existed two thousand years ago.

There aren't a whole lot of real-world structures that remain standing after two thousand years, given all the stuff that can happen to a building in the meantime. But hey, fantasy game. Don't think about it too hard.
















The Chaos Shrine looks a bit less run-down once you open the warp portal. And in a mercy that didn't exist in the NES version, there's a black sigil on the floor that will take you back to the present. In the NES version, if you didn't have someone to cast Exit? You're stuck here, with the only way out being to win the game.
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R^2

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Your goal is in the sub-sub-sub-sub basement, of course, but because of the way the Shrine is laid out you have to go up two floors to find the passages that lead downward.


On the second floor is a slab like the one in the Cavern of Earth. But you don't use the rod to break this one: you play the Lute that Princess Sarah gave you after her rescue. In this version it's done automatically, but in the NES version you had to remember you'd been carrying the damned thing for the whole game, and somehow reach the conclusion that this is where it's used.


Each basement has an elemental theme, the same as the intended sequence you're supposed to take on the Fiends.


Since these are the Fiends at their full power, rather than having slept for 1600+ years, they're a bit tougher. Lich knows Flare now, for instance.






But if you can beat the bosses in any of the optional dungeons, they're a minor speedbump at worst.


In the wind-themed basement, you find the Masamune. It's a proto-Ultima Weapon, very powerful and equippable by everyone.




I give Beef the Ultima Weapon and let Tofu take the Masamune. Not bad, little wizard dude.


Needless to say Tiamat doesn't have a prayer.
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R^2

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This is my party setup going into the final area. Beef has hit the HP cap, and Turkey nearly so. Tofu has hit the MP cap. Everyone's equipped with powerful gear, and I have plenty of spellcasting implements so that half the time I don't even need to cast from MP.




Garland: Oh, you did defeat me then. But the four great forces saved me by sending me back through time! Once here, I sent the four Fiends into the future... ...where they shall once again use the four great forces to send me into the past! In two thousand years, I will remember none of this.






Chaos: So even as you die again and again, I shall return! Born again into this endless circle that I have created!


All right, so we're stuck in a time loop. The only way out is to either die to Garland when we duel over Princess Sarah, or to kill Chaos now. This has happened plenty of times before, but then several thousandth time's a charm, right?
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R^2

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So when the Warriors of Light sort of appear out of nowhere in front of Cornelia, it's not that they journeyed far. They just literally fell out of a time rift, holding crystal shards for some reason they're not even clear on.


Anyway. Chaos has some full-party elemental attacks, which chip my HP down a little while I do my standard buff. Giant's Gloves for Temper, Defender for Protect, White Robe for Invisara, Haste, repeat as necessary before bringing the thunder.




The Final Fantasy games are based around four elements thematically, but three elements in the combat engine. And fire is the only element in common between the two. So while I have magic to protect against ice and lightning attacks, Chaos is smacking me around with water, earth, and wind.


In the NES version, if you take too long fighting Chaos, he'll cast Curaja on himself and restore to full HP. I don't know if he does that in this version, because, well...


This happened first.



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R^2

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The endless struggle that raged over two thousand years had ended, and peace prevailed once more.

The light of the four Crystals restored the forces of wind, water, earth, and fire.

It was a mere trick of fate that had given rise to the chain of Garland's wrath.

But magnified by the four forces meant to guide our world, that trick of fate also gave birth to the Fiends.

Monsters ran rampant and the world sank into darkness...

But all that is now past.

With the four forces flowing as they were meant, the Warriors prepared to cross time and return to the world they knew -- a world where Princess Sarah, Queen Jayne, and even Garland himself await.

When was this fateful day that sent time spiraling into a loop?

None can say.

It seemed the cycle into which time had fallen would last forever.

But the bravery of four young travelers changed that. They took the forces that filled the world with darkness, and used them to bathe the world in light.

None will ever recall the struggle the four endured, for the breaking of the chain means that it never existed.

But within the tales of fantasy that people tell, the memory of their deeds lives on...

Tales of dwarves and elves, of dragons and shining civilizations that reached for the heavens even as they fell.

And now their return is upon us.

With the memory of their struggle buried deep in their hearts, they will quietly watch over our world.

Remember always that the forces of the world must be used as they were intended -- that the power of light must never be used for dark, and that the true Crystals reside in your heart.

For you are the warrior who crossed time.

You are the bringer of light...



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  • Magic Gunner Miss Blue
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Now do Final Fantasy 2.

Without the swap trick.
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R^2

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F... fine! But I'm not doing this just because you said to!


Eh, defaults is fine.




Oh, good. Everything's fine, so there's no need to go on any grand adventures or anything...








...o... oh.
















Okay, so this game opens with the Emperor Palamecia making a pact with the devil to unleash monsters all over the world in his bid for conquest, and the resistance faction already getting their collective heads handed to them for trying to stop him.
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R^2

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Your first battle! As in the first game, your party is on the right and your enemies are on the left. You don't have any magic or items yet, so you fight your best, and...










Okay, so the game opens with a demon pact, the resistance faction rooted out, and your party getting straight-up murdered in a hopeless fight. Yes, this game is significantly darker than the first one, what made you ask?
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R^2

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If this game had a "Game Over" screen, I'd post it here and leave the thread to sit for a day or two. But it doesn't, so I guess I'll go straight for the opening.








Minwu: He should regain consciousness soon.
Hilda: We found them like this on the escape from Fynn, fallen from terrible wounds. By the time we brought them here, I feared it was already too late.
Minwu: His life is not in danger. This sigil will strengthen his life force. We should let him rest for now.
Hilda: Of course. We'd best be off to the meeting. I imagine they're already waiting for us. If the empire is allowed to complete the Dreadnought they're building in Bafsk... their attack will begin in earnest. We cannot sit idly by and watch. We must act.


First, I'm pretty sure Minwu knew all that already. Second, the implication here is that letting monsters from hell run amok all over the world was only step one, and even worse things are coming.

Anyway, after a little while...


Firion leaves the room, calling the names of his companions.


They must have heard him, because they're right outside.
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R^2

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Maria and Leon are biological siblings. Firion and Guy were adopted into the same family. So when the opening says that all the youths' parents were killed, that's really only two people.

Maria has one of the most impractical outfits in a franchise known for impractical outfits. How does that cup even stay on?


Firion: You alright too, Guy? But wait... Where's Leon?

Firion is... kind of a blank-slate character, as is typical for most RPG heroes of the time. I don't know what happened to his parents that led to him getting adopted by Maria's and Leon's.


Guy: But... Leon not here.
Firion: I see... Don't worry, I'm sure he's okay.

Guy talks like the Incredible Hulk because he's a foundling, a wild child somebody found in the woods and brought back to civilization, eventually adopted by Maria and Leon's parents.
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