The Return of Talking Time

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  #31  
Old 04-08-2018, 02:47 PM
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(continued from previous page)



We aren't given a choice of destination. We are given the option not to talk to him, so we don't.

I think pretty much every dialog with Mysterious Cloud Jerk elicits a *shrug*. If I weren't skipping as many as possible, I'd keep a running tally.



OH RIGHT. We have access to the menu now, which means we can trade those yellow bars for a numerical health indicator. Let's also take this opportunity to appreciate my restraint in not making Toxic Mint the official window color of this LP.



Instead, please enjoy this milder shade of blue.

Pushing a boulder prompts an old dude to give us a dead tree branch. Th-thanks?



Kaeli has visited the forest recently. She knows the state it's in, but it's apparently this particular branch that convinces her to join us despite her mom's protestations.



Kaeli grabs her axe and tells her mom not to worry. (Right... about that...)

Let's take a look at our new companion.



Kaeli's stats are way better than ours, and she's immune to Paralyze, Sleep, and Silence. Seems familiar somehow. It's probably not important.

Next: SHORTS vs Dragon

Last edited by Mogri; 04-08-2018 at 08:45 PM.
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  #32  
Old 04-08-2018, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Kaeli's stats are way better than ours, and she's immune to Paralyze, Sleep, and Silence. Seems familiar somehow. It's probably not important.
*squints*

are you serious

does the game actually

please tell me that there was at least something more complicated than a soft reset

Last edited by aturtledoesbite; 04-08-2018 at 08:57 PM.
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  #33  
Old 04-08-2018, 03:02 PM
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HA! This LP has only just started, and it's already great.
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  #34  
Old 04-08-2018, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post


As you may or may not have noticed, monsters get visible updates when they take enough damage. Regular monsters have one alternate graphic, and anything that's ever a boss (including our friend here) has two.
This is one of my favorite things about this game.
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  #35  
Old 04-08-2018, 06:11 PM
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I was on my phone during my first post and I wanted to also say I'm pretty excited about this LP.

FFMQ was one of the first five or so games I ever owned on SNES. My mom took me to Kay-Bee Toys and I picked it out from the display rack behind the sales counter. I loved the illustrations in the manual and the world map. The opening cutscene was super exciting, and the jumping and attacking actions gave me a good Legend of Zelda feel (possibly, this was by design, since Zelda effectively slaughtered Dragon Quest's and later Final Fantasy's chances at appealing to a wide western audience in the NES years), and the Behemoth battle always felt like it carried some weight.

Except it turned out I was horrible at playing the game. I was so dumb that I could barely even defeat the Bone Dungeon, not even realizing how to use the magic spells I had (and I'd read the manual!). The furthest I ever got to the game was to Basin, where a simple block-pushing puzzle stopped me dead in my tracks for probably 20 years.

I'd watch that opening demo footage, salivating over the later parts of the game that I'd never see. Even after I gave up with the game, I'd keep the world map enshrined on my wall all the way through high school, well into the years where I certainly would be able to go back and replay it successfully.

But I think by that point I'd traded the cart away. I re-bought it in my 20s and finally played the whole thing to completion back in 2014 or so. I still have the ratty old map from my childhood copy.
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  #36  
Old 04-08-2018, 08:48 PM
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Attention alert readers! I discovered while playing for the next update that the starburst icon on the resistances is Paralysis, not Blind. I have updated the LP to address this grievous error.


That is all.
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  #37  
Old 04-09-2018, 05:11 AM
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She's immune to Paralyze and Sleep, but not Poison? Come on Kaeli poison immunity is the first thing you look for in a status immunity, sheesh.

I mean it probably won't ever come up, and she"ll be fine, but man that seems like a glaring omission
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  #38  
Old 04-09-2018, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Mmmm yeah gimme that Katsuya Terada art

Enjoying the LP so far, and excited for more.
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  #39  
Old 04-09-2018, 09:50 AM
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I'm glad I'm not the only person who fondly remembers this game.
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  #40  
Old 04-09-2018, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
*squints*

are you serious

does the game actually

please tell me that there was at least something more complicated than a soft reset
The Game Does Actually



Let's talk about what happened. Kaeli is not supposed to have these resistances. Here's the explanation given by noted speedrunner eLmaGus:

Code:
There is a glitch that exist in Mystic Quest that you can not avoid. We
call it the Resistance Glitch and use it to our advantage.
Here is how it works:
Once you save your game, reset and reload it your secondary Characters
equipment of the save file you loaded will carry over to your other secondary
Characters you might throughout the journey!

What does that mean? Let's give you an example. If you get Phoebe before the
Doom Castle sequence, she will have the [STEEL HELM],[MYSTIC ROBE],
[ETHER SHIELD] and [MAGIC RING] equipped. Now we save our game, load the file
where we have Phoebe. Reset again and start a new game and play up until the 
point where Kaeli joins you. If you now go to armor you wont see any 
difference, she still has the [RELICA ARMOR] and [MAGIC RING] only.

BUT if you go to the Status option in the Menu, you now can see that she is
resistant against a whole bunch of stuff and her Attack is higher than it 
should be. Why? Well the game thinks that she has the Equipment of Phoebe 
since that was the last save file that you loaded, and all other characters 
will have the same "Equipment" and resistances that will join you throughout 
your journey!
As mentioned, the Resistance Glitch is unavoidable. If you start up a new game on a freshly-minted FFMQ cart and play through the game to the very end without resetting, you will find that none of your partners has any resistances. (This is bad.) The game only checks partner equipment when you load a save.

Conveniently, a soft reset doesn't wipe the equipment data. For our purposes, that means we have Phoebe 2's resistances for the entire game as well as some assorted stat boosts. For the record, here's what Phoebe 2 has:
  • Mystic Robe: Resists Water and Wind.
  • Steel Helm: Attack+2, Evasion+5.
  • Ether Shield: Resist Paralysis and Sleep. Reverses Drain attacks.
  • Magic Ring: Resists Silence. Magic+5, Evasion+3.

So aside from the resistances, our partners get 2 Attack, 8 Evasion, and 5 Magic. In rare cases, those stat boosts are lower than normal -- Tristam's normal Evasion is a bit better, for example. We also miss out on a few resistances that would be really nice, like Kaeli's Petrification resistance. In general, this is as good as it gets, though.

It would be neat if we could tailor our partner resistances to the dungeon we're facing -- and to some extent, the game already does that -- but if we were to reset and load our game, we'd revert to the intended resistances. You get one shot at this.



If the Resistance Bug was mindblowing, you'd better buckle up, because you ain't seen nothing yet. We are going wild places in this LP.
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  #41  
Old 04-09-2018, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
If the Resistance Bug was mindblowing, you'd better buckle up, because you ain't seen nothing yet. We are going wild places in this LP.
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  #42  
Old 04-09-2018, 12:03 PM
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I knew about the Resistance Bug and the rather infamous overflow bug often used against the final boss, but I think that's all the bugs I know. This should be fun.
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  #43  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:02 PM
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Chapter 2: To Use Bomb



If you look around for five seconds in Windia, you'll find the Cure spell. Kaeli comes with Life (as do all partners).

Let's talk about magic for a second. This is pretty important to the rest of our run.

FFMQ uses a variation on the "spell charges" system featured in Final Fantasy. SHORTS has three casts of White magic and one of Black. Since he's stuck at level 1 for this adventure, that's all he'll ever get. That's still slightly better than our current partner, who only gets White magic.

Our first spell, Cure, is pretty straightforward. It restores health to one or both characters -- to be precise, (50 + Magic * 1.5)% of the target's max health. If you cast on both characters, it heals both for half that percentage. In a normal game, you and your partner will eventually have enough Magic to make this a full heal for both heroes.

When you have access to Life, Cure is only useful when you need to heal both heroes. That's because Life completely refills a single hero's health, and unlike Cure, it naturally works on dead heroes. If SHORTS is killed and resurrected before his turn comes around, he'll still get to act, which is going to be super important in a little while.

Every White magic spell can target the enemy, and this usually changes the effect of the spell. Cure is the exception: it still heals the enemy. Of course, this is Final Fantasy, so using Cure against undead enemies will damage them.

On the other hand, targeting an enemy with Life attempts to instantly kill it. In a normal Final Fantasy game, Life kills undead. Mystic Quest swaps this: Life always fails on the undead, and it attempts to kill everyone else. This is a bug that's addressed in the European and Japanese releases (where it correctly kills only undead), but it's a handy bug, especially because SHORTS only really has access to White magic. It says something about the general power level of White magic that Life is only the second-best attack spell in this category.

Black and Wizard magic lack the nuance of White magic. They're all damage spells of various flavors and strengths, and if you ignore their elemental properties, they're obtained in ascending order by strength. Wizard magic is stronger than Black magic, and it uses a slightly different damage formula, but fundamentally, they're both just damage magic.



Foresta is home to this clown. I can't tell if this is a fourth-wall break or if the four crystals are common knowledge.



We make our way back to Level Forest, where Kaeli helps us out by chopping the wrong tree.

FFMQ has no "random encounters" as such. Instead, monsters are visible on the screen. In front of us is a Brownie, while the green noses to the left are Slimes.



The enemy that shows up on the map only indicates one of your opponents. Bumping into the enemy takes you into a random group that includes the pictured enemy. If you don't like it, you can run (which is guaranteed to be successful) and try again. I mentioned the Low Level Challenge in the previous update. To get minimum experience in a normal run of FFMQ, you have to take the right path through every dungeon, and you have to get the right monster group in each battle. You also can't leave any dungeons midway through, since monsters always respawn. Fortunately, until you leave a dungeon, everything you kill stays dead.

Anyway, the Low Level Challenge is an obsessive nightmare, whereas Level 1 is just a normal nightmare.



Because I neglected to heal him, SHORTS eats dirt after the very first round of his second battle. Everything here does 8 damage to him, and he needs two attacks to take them down. Kaeli takes only 1 damage and can kill anything in one hit. FFMQ lets you know your place from the very start. Fortunately, dead heroes return with 1 HP after each battle, and it isn't as though SHORTS is missing out on any experience.



This is the tree Kaeli was talking about.



She chops it down, only to discover that the tree was a Minotaur with a penchant for memorable one-liners. (It's not clear how the Minotaur was disguised as a tree.) Kaeli spins around and falls to the ground.



Poison is a status effect that exists in this game. Kaeli is not poisoned.



Life instantly kills the Minotaur. It's the last time we'll be able to pull this trick on a boss, so let's appreciate it.



Kaeli's mom, who was apparently tailing us under the suspicion that this exact thing would happen, shows up and relieves us of our partner, but not before we get a new weapon and destination.



Between Level Forest and the Sand Temple is our first Battlefield. These are the game's designated grinding spots. You'd be forgiven for thinking there's nothing here for us, but the truth is that fully clearing a Battlefield gives you some important rewards. We'll clear this Battlefield, but not now -- even in a normal run, there's no reason to do any battlefield solo. You never go long between partners.



The Elixir is not in the Sand Temple.



Instead, we find this jerk.



He offers to sell us some Elixir for 9000 GP. SHORTS responds that his allowance is only 2GP a month, because he has not yet internalized that everyone he ever loved is dead.

In lieu of payment, the man accepts our help in clearing out the nearby Bone Dungeon.



He helpfully suggests that we clear out the nearby Battlefields. Sure enough, that's our next step.



The man does not introduce himself, but thanks to this text box, we find out his name is Tristam.



Tristam is basically better across the board than Kaeli. He has one point less of Defense and a bit less Magic, but the latter doesn't matter because his only spell is once again Life, which doesn't check Magic. He gets seven shots of it.

As with Kaeli, Tristam is strong enough to kill regular enemies in one volley. His weapon is Shuriken, which are technically limited: if he runs out of ammo, he will use Bare Hands, which is a considerably weaker attack. In practice, the game throws Shuriken at you at every opportunity, but not literally, because that would hurt. Tristam's Shuriken poison and paralyze anything that survives an attack, which is rarely of any help -- most things strong enough to survive are immune to those statuses.



Most weapons have special properties. Axes are super-effective against trees (who knew?), and missile weapons like Tristam's deal bonus damage against birds.

This was the wrong Battlefield, by the way. This one gives you nothing.
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  #44  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:03 PM
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This is the right one. The Charm is of marginal benefit, offering +5 Magic and +1 Evasion. It will be outclassed almost immediately. Feel free to skip it. Even in a challenge run, it's extremely inessential.



That done, we head to the Bone Dungeon. You might be able to see some mismatched sand at the top -- that's the conveyor belt sand. This patch moves you straight to the top, allowing you to skip a bunch of encounters. You can use a combination of jumps and lateral moves to leave the same way. I thought this was common knowledge, but I saw at least one other LP that didn't know about it.



IT'S A SAD THING THAT YOUR ADVENTURES HAVE ENDED HERE.

Oh, wait, no. This is how FFMQ does partial occlusion. SHORTS's head is in the skull-tunnel.



The next screen sees us jumping across turtle shells to get to an area blocked by bones. We'll be back here in a bit.



As seen here, the engine does support proper layering, but it usually chooses to just chop off half of the sprite because



LATER THAT SCREEN: Tristam plants a bomb. This was years before Cloud and Barret got all edgy about doing the same thing.



Tristam offers to sell us some bombs. We decline.



Tristam halves the price. We can keep declining, but thou must -- this prompt keeps repeating itself.

There's really no reason to haggle, because money is not actually a thing you use in FFMQ.



One way or another, we must learn to use Bomb.

This weapon is the Bomb



Look at that. That, right there. Bomb is so good. (Just like in real life!)

But this doesn't reveal the true value of Bomb. You see, Bomb's damage is unaffected by stats. We will be blasting our way through the rest of the game with nary a thought for any other weapon, with vanishingly few exceptions. The disadvantage of Bomb is that the damage is divided among enemy targets. That hardly matters, since a third of the Bomb damage is still better than our best alternative (except when we can hit a weakness).



We backtrack to the area blocked by bones, where we pick up the Steel Shield. This confers +5 Defense, +2 Attack, +6 Evasion, and +5 Speed. That's real good! Where our sword and axe were given ratings of 12 and 15, respectively, they now show 15 and 19. (I guess there's some rounding involved.) The Bomb is still sitting at 63.

The secret best part about the shield, as far as we're concerned, is the +5 Speed. Sitting at 40 HP, SHORTS isn't going to survive much, and we've already established that the Bomb is the way to go. The bonus Speed will help SHORTS act before he dies, which is always a nice thing to do.



Now we can enter the dungeon proper. SHORTS does his best monster imitation.

Of these enemies, the Land Worms are our best opponents, since they're weak to axes. SHORTS can kill a worm in a single hit with an axe. Of course, Tristam kills anything in one hit.



When a single opponent remains, Bomb is the single most damaging attack in either character's arsenal. Good stuff.



Bombing this ribcage is the highlight of the entire dungeon.



Heading deeper into the skeleton's gullet leads to this secret area. Any chest that contains ammo for your partner will turn into Bomb ammo when you don't have an ammo-consuming partner. Brown chests respawn when you leave an area and are almost uniformly disappointing.



See what I mean? I'm not trying to grow a garden here, Mystic Quest. Seeds are a consumable that you can use on a character with no visible effect.

When I was a kid, my dad told me that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, a watermelon would grow in my stomach. I assume that's what's going on here, too.
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  #45  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:04 PM
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This is a good opportunity to show off our next glitch, though. Have SHORTS use an item, then back up to the first menu and run. The game will refund that item use, giving you an extra copy.



A bit further, we find our first Black magic spell. Like Bomb, Quake targets all enemies, dealing damage split among them. It's basically strictly worse than Bomb.



The next room houses the boss of the dungeon, Flamerus Rex.

Time to talk tactics

Your partner can be set to "Manual" or "Auto." Manual gives you full control over the partner, while Auto lets the partner choose what to do. In a casual run, you set the partner to Manual and never look back. In a challenge run, you lean heavily on Auto.

The enormous advantage to Auto is that it decides on the action as the partner's turn comes up. If SHORTS is killed, the partner will use Life. If the partner is at critical health, he or she will try to heal. Otherwise, the partner will use the best available attack.

I mentioned at the very start of this update that SHORTS gets to take his turn normally if he's revived before his turn. This is where Auto becomes a lifesaver... or it would if Tristam weren't the fastest one in this battle. In this particular case, it doesn't matter. Because Bomb is the best source of damage in this fight, having SHORTS around is a very good thing.



Unfortunately, Flamerus Rex often uses attacks that hit both heroes. This is where things can go awry: you need to strike a balance between automating your healing and keeping Tristam in shape. Because Tristam doesn't know Cure and I don't have any potions, he won't automatically self-heal.

This is the other case for keeping SHORTS alive: with only one hero to target, Rip Earth deals twice the damage.



Other attacks include literally throwing a rib at you and attempting to put you to sleep. Since Tristam is sleep-immune and this is one of the rare attacks SHORTS can survive, it's a reprieve no matter who takes the attack.



In an act of desperation, I end up trying a Seed in this battle. I don't know what I was expecting, but the Seed doesn't kill the bone dragon.



Bosses that guard the crystals get more stages of decay than the rest, and they're all great. Unfortunately, our first attempt ends in failure. In the process, I learn that items consumed in one attempt stay consumed in the next. That's... inconvenient.



Flamerus Rex dies in horrifying fashion, and Tristam makes for the treasure as the Earth Crystal appears.



Tristam doesn't care about the Earth Crystal, because he just got a sweet grappling hook.



Tristam got the better end of this bargain.

The Earth Crystal surreptitiously healed our party, but we can't actually interact with it at all. I guess it's "saved" now, but it'd be nice if that meant something besides the crystal showing up in the dungeon.



Anyway HEY FOR REAL don't forget to open this chest before you go.



Otherwise, you'll be redoing this dungeon solo.



Next: Ice to Meet You
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  #46  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:27 PM
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Those brownies look kind of Lufia-ish in close-up.

That's all I have to contribute at this time!
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  #47  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:32 PM
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Don't seeds restore your magic charges?
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  #48  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:36 PM
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Brown chests are straight outta the game boy SaGa games.

Can you jump over enemies to skip encounters? It's been forever since I played this.
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  #49  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:42 PM
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Seeds? Those are clearly peppers.
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  #50  
Old 04-10-2018, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destil View Post
Brown chests are straight outta the game boy SaGa games.

Can you jump over enemies to skip encounters? It's been forever since I played this.
No, monsters will stop you mid-jump. You can jump over treasure chests though!

EDIT: Also yes, Seeds are a full ether.
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  #51  
Old 04-10-2018, 04:39 PM
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so what you're saying is we've already figured out how to cheese our way to unlimited magic
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  #52  
Old 04-10-2018, 04:43 PM
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Yes.

As a reminder, since the seeds were in a brown chest, all you had to do was leave the dungeon and reenter to have them respawn. The duplicate item glitch isn't even necessary.
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  #53  
Old 04-10-2018, 08:05 PM
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Note that ammo is always in brown chests too
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  #54  
Old 04-11-2018, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
If you don't like it, you can run (which is guaranteed to be successful)
...Is Chrono Cross a sequel to FFMQ??
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  #55  
Old 04-11-2018, 08:21 AM
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I was apparently wrong about that. You can totally fail to run. Worst case, it fails, you die, and you retry the battle and actually run this time around.
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  #56  
Old 04-11-2018, 10:20 AM
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Flamerus Rex was for some reason unbelievably difficult for me, a kid playing FFMQ.

One reason for that is because in those days I hated using any item in a game that had limited usage, because I was always afraid that I'd run out and not have any for when I really needed them. So probably I would have never used bombs against the boss.
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  #57  
Old 04-11-2018, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
Flamerus Rex was for some reason unbelievably difficult for me, a kid playing FFMQ.

One reason for that is because in those days I hated using any item in a game that had limited usage, because I was always afraid that I'd run out and not have any for when I really needed them. So probably I would have never used bombs against the boss.
Same, on both counts!
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  #58  
Old 04-11-2018, 10:40 AM
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I find it really disconcerting that its Flamerus and not Flameosaurus.
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  #59  
Old 04-12-2018, 07:11 PM
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Chapter 3: Magic Water



To reiterate, it is possible to escape Bone Dungeon through the shifting sand in the entrance. Jump down, walk left, repeat. This is really important, because even a regular encounter in the first real dungeon in the game can kill SHORTS in one hit.



You can't proceed to the next area of the game before you give the Elixir to Kaeli. There's no need to get impatient about it, though, geez.

On the bright side, revisiting Foresta gives us an opportunity to see that the trees are back to normal (not pictured).



Either Kaeli is instantly cured, or she takes the Elixir on good faith. SHORTS will have none of it; he offers to go meet Spencer in Kaeli's place.

(We won't actually do that.)



We proceed to the Focus Tower, the game's hub area. For no particular reason, this area has a long, featureless loop that we can bypass by walking through the wall shown above. Mysterious Cloud Jerk is here, but again, we can just walk past him.



This particular brown chest has more Bomb. You can purchase ammo for Bomb in various spots, but you can also find it for free in this spot that you'll pass through at least five times over the course of the game.



Did you remember to pick up the Sand Coin? No? Have fun soloing Bone Dungeon!



On the way to our next destination, we find our second Black spell, Fire. It's a bit more powerful than Quake, it can single-target, and there are more things weak against it. It might be worth casting!



We pass by a Battlefield, but we're stopped at the Libra Temple. Nothing for it but to dive in.



Libra Temple is also a source of Bomb. In general, you can definitely afford to just buy Bomb, but there's still no reason to do so when the game just throws them at you. (Again, not literally.)



Anyway, there's a person here. Riveting dialogue.



This turns out to be Spencer's granddaughter, Phoebe. SHORTS insinuates himself into her party.



This is really not what just happened.



Phoebe is our first (and arguably only) really competent partner. She comes with lots of magic, and she can cast it lots of times.

We've seen Cure and Life (although Phoebe is the first partner with Cure). Phoebe also has Heal, which is new. When you cast it on an ally, it removes all statuses. When you cast it on an enemy, it adds a status, picked randomly from Poison, Confusion, Sleep, Paralyze, and Petrify. You generally have better things to do than to cast Heal on an enemy, but the animation for it is kinda neat.

In the category of elemental attack magic, Phoebe has Fire and Thunder. Thunder is a Wizard spell. Aside from the new flavor and modestly improved power, it's somewhat notable as the only Wizard spell that's able to single-target. This is a really marginal use case, but against a group of three enemies, it's technically stronger when cast against a single target than the next two Wizard spells (but not by much).



The area is littered with Battlefields. We'll work on some of them, but not just yet.



Visiting Phoebe's house gives us our next destination and reveals that Spencer is one of those people.



Also in Aquaria: a new piece of equipment is for sale. We want this, but we've been avoiding combat too much to afford it.



That is literally just a regular mirror.



As previously mentioned, our next destination is Wintry Cave, which both resembles and contains blue hedgehogs. The other enemy shown here is the Scorpion.



Unlike our previous companions, Phoebe isn't able to one-shot the common enemies with her Cat Claw. However, the Cat Claw can paralyze and poison (although these Edgehogs are immune to Paralyze). On the other hand, Phoebe's magic can clear out packs of enemies.
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:13 PM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
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BUT THEN



Phoebe gives us the Cat Claw! No longer is saddled by an inferior weapon, she's now as combat-effective as our previous companions. Her new weapon is the Bow of Grace. Like Tristam's Shuriken, it's super effective against birdlike foes, but Phoebe's attacks blind instead of paralyze/poison.

In our hands, the Cat Claw is a bad weapon but a good way to apply paralysis. This is just as true in a normal run; you don't use claws for damage. The Cat Claw is the first weapon that conveys a stat bonus: +5 to Magic. That means that if we're going to cast a spell, we should switch to the Cat Claw. In practice, it's not a huge bonus, and in this run, we rarely perform actions that depend on our anemic stats.

The Bow of Grace takes ammunition, so Libra Temple is no longer a good spot to farm Bomb. If you didn't stock up, you can still get them from Focus Tower; it's just a bit longer of a walk.



Now that Phoebe has a competent weapon, it's time to head back outside to avail ourselves of the Battlefields. We really didn't need to wait, since Phoebe's magic is more than sufficient to deal with everything here. I suppose that's true in general, too, and Phoebe's magic was a bit stronger before she passed us the claw. OH WELL.

The Magic Ring supersedes the Charm we got from the earlier Battlefield. It gives the same Magic bonus, 2 more Evasion and Defense, and immunity to Silence. This is also not gamechanging, but the next (and final) accessory upgrade is some time off, so there's a stronger case for the Magic Ring than for the Charm.



In the process, we earned enough cash to buy the Steel Helm, which is good for 4 Defense, 2 Attack, and 5 Evasion. The Steel Helm is the worst helmet, and it's the helmet worn by most of our partners. (Kaeli 1 has no helmet, and Tristam has the next helmet in both his incarnations.)



Errands done, it's back to Wintry Cave, which is full of enemies that are just out of reach of a one-round sweep. SHORTS doesn't bring much to the table in these fights, so he's left to die more often than not.



Wintry Cave is a very short dungeon when you know where to go. The boss is Squidite, who comes with two enemies that we fought getting here. Phoebe takes care of those with her regular attack before targeting the boss.



This is the first time we've seen a boss use a stat down move. These technically deal damage, but the damage is so low that even SHORTS shrugs it off. SHORTS contributes in the form of Bomb. Bomb's damage no longer outclasses everything else, but it's a nice addition. For reference, Phoebe deals about 500 damage with Thunder. SHORTS can also pitch in a Cure every now and then provided Squidite has been focusing Phoebe. Because Squidite has no multitarget attacks to be amplified against a lone Phoebe, it's not really necessary to keep SHORTS on his feet, but then it's also much easier to do so.



Squidite can also use Blackness to damage and blind, but the damage would kill SHORTS, and Phoebe is too busy casting Thunder to care about blindness. SHORTS makes it through this battle without ever dying, thanks to some very focused targeting on Squidite's part.



Our reward is the Libra crest. Phoebe makes a point of mentioning that we saw the symbol of the Libra Crest in the Libra Temple, in case you forgot. FFMQ is really good about reminding you where to go.



Once you have the matching Crest, these tiles warp you to another area. Upon arrival, Phoebe becomes distressed about the empty pond. SHORTS somehow senses another presence in the Life Temple.



Oh, it's Mysterious Cloud Jerk. He gives us ye flask and zooms away in what might be the only instance that doesn't leave SHORTS shrugging.



You can leave the Life Temple through the front door, but there's nowhere to go from here. We do get a nice preview of a ship in a not-very-useful location.



We return to Aquaria, where we discover that Mysterious Cloud Jerk gave us a lemon. Instead of thawing the whole town, it just works on a single frond. Not so helpful!

Phoebe somehow knows that the Crystal of Water is to blame. SHORTS somehow knows that A) there is an Ice Pyramid and B) the Crystal of Water is there. I admit that I've been playing fast and loose with the dialogue here, but I strongly suspect that this is the first time the Ice Pyramid is ever mentioned.

Tasked as he is with saving the crystals, SHORTS would need to head to the Ice Pyramid either way, so it's fortunate that Phoebe's stuck with us for a little longer.

Next: Stabbing Statues
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