Monday, March 4, 2013

Game 12: Final Fantasy (NES) - Where's the Rest of the Rat?

Going from frigate to canoe sounds like a downgrade; got anything that flies?
The next town that follows the Earth Cave offers little more than a stopping point to the Volcano and the Fire Fiend. Given the ease with which I stomped through the Earth Cave and on the Lich, I expect to have little trouble getting the second orb lit.
So, I had a little trouble...
One level deep I encounter red gargoyles who have a penchant for casting fire 2. At my level that quickly means death to the whole party, especially when they attack first. I resign to gaining a few levels before I try that again. I turn my attention to the Ice Cave. Technically my party hasn't heard of it, but I remember its existence and with many fire spells at my disposal I think it'll make the perfect grinding spot.
Tont and Kili go down in this fight; luckily I have the life spell as long as Pipi is alive
Before I start the grind I figure I'll give the cave a proper chance. It doesn't go very well; deep in the cave are clones of Astos. I come away from the first fight fortunate enough that Pipi survives to bring everyone back.
Only one? How hard could that be?
Well, it turns out they're actually much harder than Astos and can also cast lightning 3 in addition to rubbing out one party member at a time. At this point I figure I'm done for; no way can Tont take on enemies alone and I'll eventually meet my doom. So, might as well explore while I await my impending doom. Tont discovers a plethora of treasure while running away from almost all encounters on the first turn narrowly dodging death.
Escaping paralysis, mass damage, stoning, and sleep, Tont reaches the surface
The surface is reached, but I'm still not in the clear. I need to make it back to a town with a healer. I'm fairly sure I'll be safe once I reach my ship since the enemies in that region are much weaker. However, every fight I run into on the river has the enemies striking first.
I'm glad I can fully heal between fights
Somehow, there was only one fight I didn't run on the first chance. That's a success rate of over 90%; can anyone explain that? I've just explored the entire Ice Cave (except one room I later found out had frost dragons) with one party member and lived to tell about it. I return after my reprieve, grind a level or two, and head for the prize in the center.

Just for you Shen Nung; I don't know how you got through this game so quickly
Using my new floater I raised an airship from the desert. This past knowledge, taking things out of turn, has helped me get past the inadequacy I felt after my defeat in the volcano. It's almost as if the game punished me for following the story, yet rewarded a little self exploration.
Ah, Airship, that's more like it...
Offering additional modes of transportation is new for a NES game, but we've seen it before in Phantasy Star. However, this is the first game that allowed the player to fly around the map unhindered by random encounters, and I have to tell you that feels really good.
Ship, Canoe, and Airship; I choose Airship.
Since I've already skipped the volcano, why not take it one step further and get the class change? I remember there being a castle with a tail that I need to bring to a dragon king. My first stop is a town where I find some upgraded armor, and some spells I'll want to get in the future. I also find random plot points that don't quite make sense.
Who is this fairy and why do I care?
You're talking to me like I asked a question...
I guess that's why I should care about the fairy. What's Oxyale; is that some kind of chewing gum?
I realize now that I haven't learned the names of many places
As I fly around, I see some familiar sights: a tower in the desert, a waterfall, sink holes among an archipelago, a couple towns far away from any landing site, and the castle of courage (not really sure what it's named). To my benefit, I still have the crown I stole... I mean acquired, from the Marsh Cave since I dispatched Astos.
Has anyone made it this far without the crown?
At first I thought the castle was a maze of teleporters, but it became apparent the decisions were quite fixed and easy to decipher after entering them. Of course, I hit every path in my search for the correct one. At least the enemies weren't too difficult.
Tont became a bad-ass after rescuing the party single-handed and decided to fight barehanded
Sean clued me in on the fact that the black belt was good enough to fight barehanded from about level 10. I was under the impression this didn't happen until the class change. Fast is used to great effect in the above battle. The ease with which I leisurely stroll through the dungeon is cut short, and I'm once again on edge.
Ah, my arch-nemesis!
Really now, how is anyone supposed to take on 6 red gargoyles at any level? They can cast hold and fire 2. At least I had a chance to run this time. Sorry Kili, maybe next time.
Tont clearly takes MVP this session
I don't care what anyone says about black belts, they quickly become killing machines and a boon to the party. Just ditch the weapons as soon as you can and watch their damage potential sky rocket. Anyway, with rat tail in hand, I'm ready for that promotion. I'll get back to the volcano eventually.

Session Time: 3h00m (Total Time: 11h00m)


  1. Excellent! One of the things I love about FF 1 is the openness of the map fairly early in the game, so you can get into shenanigans like this!

    1. I agree, the openness of the world is helps avoid feeling stuck without any alternative to grinding.

  2. Well, being the manchine has some big advantages, such as x4 Speed Transmorgification or whatever I called it. Any time I can save means more time to write (which seems to take longer than the game sessions these days).

    Also, I had a yawn-inducing Fighter instead of Red Mage which made things a lot easier. I wish I had gone with a more difficult party config but I had some dumb idea about using a more standard config because of the blog. Ah well, maybe I'll replay for the 10-year anniversary. :)

    1. I guess the fighter does have an advantage for tanking damage, but I hadn't considered it'd make that big a difference. Party alternatives make comparing game times difficult. Did you use any of the maps that came with the game? I'm starting to wonder if I should continue to avoid them or not, but at this point, for this game, I'm past the point where the one set of maps I have would help.

    2. You're right in that it doesn't make that huge of difference; our parties were the same except for the fighter/red mage. I should have said "a little easier" instead of "a lot easier". I also thought that the fighter could use some weapons that the red mage couldn't but I checked and their lists are pretty much the same. Damn, why'd I ever go with fighter? What I really should have done is gone with an all red mage party, mainly because I've always had a hard-on for fighter-mage types (but also because of their pimpin' hats).

      I didn't use any maps because the whole game is pretty well ingrained into my brain. I played this a lot as a young'un (along with Dragon Warrior) because they were the only RPGs I had for a couple years. I was actually quite surprised at how many small details jumped out at me while I played (yet I can't remember the exact date of my wedding anniversary).

      Do you ever make your own maps? Lots of times I'll just use a simple line map to vaguely show which directions to go and which paths have yet to be explored. If you don't make maps, keep in mind you'll absolutely have to when you get to something like Wizardry.

    3. I make my own maps most of the time. For Final Fantasy the levels are so simplistic that I haven't bothered... same for Dragon Warrior. I have a feeling I'll be mapping the next few games as I don't have any experience with Super Hydlide, and first-person square based games like Dungeon Magic and Wizardry pretty much require it. I may be able to avoid mapping Crystalis, but I remember some kind of maze.

  3. Those mages can be BRUTAL in the ice cave. My hat is off to Mr. Tont for dragging his three useless friends' carcasses up to the service while dodging lightning bolts and stone gazes, fighting off creatures with his bare hands. He's like the Jack Bauer of the Final Fantasy world.

    1. Yeah, I really didn't expect to make it. There must have been some kind of bug.

  4. I never considered visiting Gaia before the class change; I guess they didn't bother writing dialogue for going there early.
    I found out on a recent playthrough that if you go to Crescent Lake before you beat Lich, the sages say different things, which is a nice touch from such an early console RPG.
    The ruins requiring the Crown seems almost random, like perhaps there was going to be a different item to access it during earlier development, or there would have been a way to open the canal prior to getting the Crown.

    1. It's interesting to see how the dialogue changes, but I spent some time revisiting towns and I don't see it change often enough. I just beat the fire fiend and none of the sages seemed to say anything new. It may be due to already having the airship.

  5. haha, phenomenal, even if poor little Kili is dead more often than not.

    1. Most often when he dies it's to a single critical hit.

  6. I'm relatively new to your blog, so I wanted to ask. Do you play on an actual TV. Your screenshots look like they're from a TV screen, but if that's the case, I also have to ask how you make the angle so even.

    Also, the Rat Tail. I remember it from FF1 and FF9, but not from any of the other games. Does it appear in any other game?

    1. Yes, I play the majority of games on the actual console with a TV. If it's emulated, I'll say so and mark it with a '*'. I'm hoping there won't be many of those.

      I have the A/V routed through a DVD recorder, which connects to my computer for streaming. I use the recorder to keep my session handy in case I want to refer back to it for things like screenshots. The aspect ratio is a little off because my capture card only allows 720p. I could resize the images, but I don't bother.

      I only remember Final Fantasy II (IV JP). It's used in a side quest to get Excalibur.