Monday, March 18, 2013

Game 12: Final Fantasy (NES) - Finally Finished!

One of the best NES landscapes I've seen
I didn't think it'd take quite this long, but I'm done with Final Fantasy. I considered an interim post between this and the previous. In the end, I couldn't really come up with anything to say. Even at this point I'm not sure I have enough coherency in me for this post, but I want to get it out tonight because of a plug at the end.
I ended the previous post just before the class change. Taking the rat's tail to Bahamut turns my mages into wizards, and my black belt into a Grand Master. To all who voted for a Black Belt, you have my thanks, he really shined throughout this this last portion of the game.

Before heading back to the Volcano (yes that long ago), I visited the town that leads to the water temple. Here I picked up some level seven spells before stopping by the Oasis for a dip in the pool. Lacking a pool, I took stock of a caravan with all sorts of trinkets, but the merchant would only sell me a bottle.
I feel like you're only here for my benefit
Inside the bottle was a fairy, which I remembered gives Oxyale. This allows me to breath underwater. Now I can enter the water temple. Before we get to that though, it's about time to take care of the Fire Fiend.
Heal everyone all the time!
The only way the Volcano is now manageable is with the help of magic items. These unlimited-use items are invaluable, especially the Heal Staff. Using this every round I still had single digit healing potions by the time I reached the Fire Fiend, Kary.

Kary was much more difficult than the Lich. Even with the extra levels, class advance, and magic items, she nearly killed a single party member. Well, I guess she wasn't all that difficult, but she doesn't seem to have the weakness to ice I thought she would.
Come on Kili, are you sure you're casting that right?
Kary went down and with two orbs filled with light, I felt pretty good. I jet off to the Water Temple and things go swimmingly until I run into some of the hardest hitting regular enemies yet, Ghosts. I came to fear a group larger than four as they could quickly take out one of my party in a single round.
Here I fought five, Tont just took one out before biting the dust
In the fight above, I'm lucky enough to have Harm3 and Fire3 take them out. An earlier battle with six ghosts quickly ended one venture. I came across some good equipment in this place though, including my first Ribbon. This single piece of equipment seems to raise a lot of hidden stats such as magic defense and certain immunities to status changes. It's too bad I never found one for Kili.

The Water Fiend is a giant squid called the Kraken. As fearsome as he sounds, he was quite the pushover when I encountered him. Seriously, he basically just sat there for three rounds as Tont pummeled him into submission. Third orb lit, and we're making great progress.
Know any other tricks?
At this point I knew the rest of the game fairly well by rote. Find the slab with the mermaids, learn an ancient language by giving said slab to a professor, and get the chime from an ancient people. Heading back into the Water Temple, I quickly found them cowering on the top floor. I guess news of the Fiend's demise hadn't reached them yet, as they continued to implore me to act with haste lest they turn into bubbles.
Wait for it... LIGHT WARRIORS! Oh yeah...
I remembered to stop by the waterfall nearby to retrieve a Cube, and another Ribbon to protect Gioz as well as Tont. The Slab is passed to Dr. Unne, language learned, chime gained, and I use the chime to intone a melody that allows entrance to the Mirage Tower in the middle of the desert. I ran into some trouble... seriously, does Tont have to pull the team out of every bind?
How did this happen? Gioz had a Ribbon on!
I learned something from this fight though. Soft, the spell to cure stone status, does not work in battle. Well I won't be relying on that going forward. I'm not sure why Tont was more immune than everyone else, but it seems he's touched by the divine.
Kili on the other hand...
I make good use of that Cube retrieved earlier, and find myself teleporting up floors of the floating Air Temple. Nearing the top I can peer out a window to see the four elemental forces flowing forth to the Temple of Fiends!
Which one was the Temple of Fiends again?
The temple isn't too much trouble. I collected a number of armor pieces that kept filling my inventory, and I found myself offloading what I could. I reached a point though where I had to start making hard decisions. First to go was the Zeus Gauntlet, which let me cast a lightning spell I'm assuming. In its place I managed to get a Black Shirt, which does... some kind of damage.

Combat is still challenging at this point, with many fights that teeter on the edge of uncertainty. My only complaint here is the tides can shift in a single turn and without warning.
No damage... no spells... just death
I didn't quite know that sorcerers could kill in a single hit. I knew they could paralyze, which is bad enough. It's not even a spell that I could block. Pipi steps up in this fight and pulls the party through with her Hammer of Thor. I take this as a sign to exit and save my game before continuing on.

There's a small maze, and I remember something about down two, left two, or was it up two, right two... yes, I think I went right around the exit twice and found the entrance three times before getting it right. No WarMechs to speak of, although I would like to meet one sometime.
Gioz: "Oh my god! They killed Kili!" Tont: "You bastards!"
Tiamat has the ability to cast all the elements plus a poison gas cloud. Not sure what to defend against, I focus on punching the stuffing out of the multi-headed dragon with Tont. Magic seems ineffective once again.

I head back for some advice from the 12 sages, and I'm at a loss to describe this plot twist. I have a vague memory of going to the past, but 2000 years? This time loop is a little confusing...
So, he travels back, and waits, then travels back, then... what's the point?
I prepare for the final confrontation by buying up level eight spells and paring down my inventory. Wait a minute! Where's Life 2 and Nuke? I'm missing two of the most powerful spells in my arsenal. I actually didn't find them. This is as close as I came to them. I checked up and down, but failed to continue to the right.
Hmmm... I have a feeling it's around here somewhere, but I'm not stopping to ask directions
In any case I didn't really need them. I mean, I managed all the other dungeons without them. How hard could the Temple of Fiends be?
That ended badly
The above fight is really the worst of it. I tried to run to save time. Had I stuck it out to fight I may have survived. There were some tough fights, but Tont made quick work of any single enemy while the others constantly healed the party with the Heal Staff and two Heal Helms.

Each floor of the Temple of Fiends has an elemental theme, and at the end of each Earth, Fire, Water, and Air floor is a re-fight with the associated Fiend. They appear in a slightly more powerful form, although that maybe that's just how I perceived them. They seem to have the same amount of HP.
Yes! Nuke! Kili wants... no, not like that
The other three fiends actually go a little smoother. Of course, Kili still dies to Tiamat. I made it through the entire temple, right up to the final level, but chickened out because I exhausted my healing spells. Had I at least Heal 3 I would have pressed on, but another 20 minutes later I was right back in front of Chaos with nearly a full reserve.
Garland? Can't say I remember... oh wait, aren't you the guy we offed at the beginning?
I'm not sure how this constitutes a time loop. I could have stayed in the future with all the orbs full of light, right? I suppose it's explained that if I had stayed in the present, then 2000 years past that point the fiends would have reappeared. Does that make sense? How exactly does Garland survive for 2000, 4000, 6000+ years?
No wait, that doesn't make sense. How is this a Time-Loop?
Gah! Forget this, time for you to die! Then I don't have to worry about this alleged time loop. About the only useful item I picked up in this final temple was the Masamune. An all powerful sword that can be equipped by anyone, including Kili. I ended up giving it to Pipi though; she needs her time to shine, plus I was afraid Kili would die again. Gioz turned out to be useless with the Sun Sword, doing only a single hit point per hit.
Leave some for Tont!
Chaos as a final boss was a bit of a let down. Maybe I got lucky again, but I received no major damaging attacks, no status effects, and one instant death spell that missed everyone. He didn't even kill Kili! I do like how the entire sprite fills the battle area, if only his menacing was as big as his menace.
Tont comes in with the killing blow
And, with that ends the reign of Chaos. As his visage slowly fades, we reflect on the journey we've taken. Peace has returned to this nameless land, and the four warriors of light return to their time and the welcoming arms of the princess. Of course, here's a problem. We have a party of adventurers and only one princess.
I'm crumbling... crumbling... crumbling
I'm happy to be done with this game. There's a nice epilogue that explains how the player is a true warrior of light, but I had a hard time getting into the story when my mind was already jumping to the next plot point without having to consider what I was experiencing. I'm looking forward to a game I've never played, like Super Hydlide, even if the series isn't remembered in a flattering light.

Session Time: 7h00m (Total Time: 18h00m)

For those interested, I ended at level 30. I remember once I played with a party of four fighters and to even stand a chance against Chaos without the Fast spell to double my damage, I had to reach max level. I'd guess this is about average party level.

Since it's Final Fantasy related, there's a charity marathon going on right now called Crystals for Life where they're playing through a number of Final Fantasy games in speedrun fashion. It ends tomorrow, but right now they're playing through Final Fantasy X and the finale is Final Fantasy VI. Please help them reach their goal of $30K to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Speaking of speedrunning, I'm often most amazed at the level of planning that goes into one for an RPG. You'd think such a thing would consist of constant saving and luck manipulation, but some are just crazy enough to get it done in one go. There's such a run of Final Fantasy in under 4 hours. Enjoy, and I hope to get the rating post out tomorrow.


  1. Way to go. Doesn't sound like you had too hard a time at it. Will probrably wait for your next post to comment more.

    1. I look forward to it, and I'll have much more of my opinion expressed.

  2. I'm looking forward to having time to play through Final Fantasy myself, with my patched copy. It's likely that my experience is going to be significantly different, what with spells and items that actually work.

    Right now though, I'm still playing through the Elder Scrolls games.

    1. I can only see the patched copy being easier, but do come back and let me know how it goes.

  3. Congrats on finishing that. I had never seen speedruns on the game before - so I had to click on that link. I spent sooo much time playing this (over and over again when it first came out on the NES) and even when I was really good at it - there's no way I was getting through it in less than 4 hours. Double digits every time, I have no doubt.

    1. I have to say, the most amazing part of the speedrun for this game is it's done without breaks. I actually haven't watched it all yet, but given how easy the bosses are, I can see it going pretty quickly if you can get a good grinding spot.

  4. Was the ribbon on Tont? If so, that's why he didn't get petrified.

  5. Random thoughts:
    I remember Chaos' most angering element being his ability to fully heal. I feel like I damn near killed him several times before finally offing him.. fo' realz.

    Yeah, the Red Mage is great early but kind of crap at the end. He doesn't get any good equipment for the end-game, and he stops getting decent magic. I prefer Fighters over Red Mages if only for this reason. Black Belts are awesome, and I always have at least one. Some time, I should do a run with 3 or 4 of 'em. It'd be a tough start, but when they really get going.... Sucks that Kili kept dying. I always remember my Black Mages being immensely useful the whole game, but I guess that depends on keeping them alive, haha.

    I agree with you that the story makes no sense. I just try not to think about it, haha.

    I'm surprised you had so much trouble with the Volcano. I don't remember really finding it that hard, and I certainly never did a class change before beating it. Maybe part of it is the Fighter vs. Red Mage?

    1. I guess I was lucky he never healed.

      I think a lot of the Volcano can be mitigated by a higher defense Fight in the front lines.

      Sorry about Kili, he was really useful for Lich, but after that no one seemed to have elemental weaknesses. He was good for using magic items like Zeus Gauntlet and Mage Staff at least.

    2. I think the GBA translation of the epilogue explains the story most succinctly: It basically says no one is sure what happened but because of some odd accident somewhere in the timeline Garland appears 2000 years before the present age as Chaos and creates the elemental fiends to begin sending energy from the Crystals to himself in the past to keep the time-loop functioning.

      I do believe that Chaos is probably dead some time before the present age but that the world would continue to decay to eventual destruction shortly after the present age ends (seeing as energy is still being drawn into the past). Anywho, Garland gets to live nearly all-powerfull and worshipped as Chaos for a time before his death and the abondonment of his shrine. He is then reborn as his former self, rising to power and ambition to be eventually resurrected... beginning the cycle again, while the future only ends with his complete revenge on the world that would not subject itself to his glory. Appearantly, he is indeed very nearly immortal as he has a collective memory of killing the time-traveling Light Warriors many times in the past. The end of the game is just the cycle in the loop in which you finally killed him, and now the present age is changed and Garland is reborn once more (with an ambiguous future)without access to the loop this time.

      Yeah, that probably still doesn't make sense to anyone but Garland (a fictional character), but that is what I get out of it (sorry for the run-ons).

    3. That makes a bit more sense. Although, it seems more like Garland is stuck in a time loop, and really the rest of the world could move on without him once the four fiends were dispatched.

    4. Not so. The fiends had already begun the process of drawing energy from the Crystals (in the GBA remake this is a little more clear with the graphic showing your view from the Sky Fortress of energy flowing from all four altars to the Chaos Shrine- despite having defeated the other 3 fiends. However, the original still has that little piece of dialogue in the screen cap above).

      My impression is that the world would eventually erupt in lava and fire starting at Mt. Gulg (seeing as Maralith/Kary was the last fiend). So, we are not sure what started the loop/paradox but we do know that Garland gets to be reborn a countless number of times, has memories of killing your party just as many times in the past from previous cycles in the loop, and the future only ends in his revenge by utter destruction of the world until you finally kill him at the point he is wielding the power that continues his immortality rebirth loop. What the now non-predestined Garland of the new present will be like is left ambiguous.

    5. I meant by 'last fiend' that Kary is the last to be awakened. I remember in the GBA remake that the prophet guys say something about defeating Lich has caused her to awaken 200 years earlier than was foretold... by their future-sight or something.

    6. I guess I didn't pay enough attention. Why are the Light Warriors able to beat Chaos this time around though? What makes it different from other attempts? I suppose the Sky Warriors are additional failed attempts to defeat Chaos.

  6. This brought back memories... memories of my party venturing into the final dungeon, getting ambushed by four dragons, all of whom used breath attacks, and Game Over before I got a turn. Good times.

    I assume you never saw the Warmech (I never saw it either); it's supposed to be absurdly difficult to defeat anyway.

    I didn't really get the ending either, but hey. You saved the world, right? Good enough. (And who says the Princess has to marry any of your party?)

    Beyond the Beyond for the PSX also has an (optional) character named Tont. I really can't recommend that game to any but the most diehard JRPG enthusiasts, though...

    1. Yep, that's where the name came from. I didn't totally hate Beyond the Beyond, but I know it wasn't well received. There was even dig at the game inside Shining Wisdom. I'm not sure where the crossover was, or if it was just a developer who didn't like the game, but there's a book one can read where it says something to the effect of, "no one knows what lies Beyond the Beyond because they're all too bored to find out." I'll have to post a screenshot of it when I get to that point. I played up until the pirate ship, and then got bored...