|Originally posted by: you guys|
Labyrinth of Time
Wow, that sounds horrible! I'm glad I don't have a PSP.
Anyway, onwards to adventure!
Soon our heroes arrive in Melmond, which is in pretty bad shape. This is the first time we see the direct result of one of the four FIENDs, in particular the earth FIEND LICH, who is causing the ground to rot. Not to worry though, ol' Jim here is on the scene!
But Jim isn't the only major player in Melmond, oh no. Here we have Dr. Unne, world-class braggart and expert at introducing himself. We'll come back later to visit Dr. Unne, but for now we'll just leave him content to wander around one of Melmond's many beautiful cemetaries.
The Long Sword in this shop is something of a curiosity. The Were/Dragon/Rune Swords are trivially easy to get and put the Long Sword's stats to shame, so who on earth would need it? For the longest time people speculated that some tired programmer accidentially listed the Long Sword and Silver Sword in the wrong shops; the game makes more sense if these two weapons are switched, making the Long Sword the best weapon available in Elfland and putting the godlike Silver Sword out of reach until Melmond.
Of course, the GBA remake came along and stomped everybody's nuts by just taking the Silver Sword (called Mithril now, I think) out of shops altogether. Cue trombones.
I do want to pick up a Silver Bracelet for BOSS while I'm here though. RedMAGEs can inexplicably wear Silver Armor even though they can't wear Iron, but I've only got one suit of it and EDIT's wearing it. Chain Armor isn't going to cut it for much longer, so this upgrade is just in time.
SKUB, of course, lives on the back rank, and isn't worth dropping 5000 GOLD on. Once either ADAM or BOSS upgrades to their next Bracelet, SKUB can make do with their hand-me-downs.
My team has more CURE than most teams do, but unless I want to RUN from every single fight I need a backup plan to keep my HPs in line. I don't have anything else to buy at the moment, so it's time to drop 5940 GOLD on HEAL potions. Actually purchasing these potions, however, is unbelievably tedious. Oldschool RPGs didn't give you the option to buy more than one item at a time, you see. This wasn't a big problem in, say, Dragon Quest where your junk didn't stack and you only had about twelve slots in your inventory, but in Final Fantasy it means purchasing one potion at a time, three button presses per purchase ninety-nine times in a row.
When we were kids we would pass the time by actually acting out the transation: "Welcome!" "Buy." "What do you want?" "HEAL." "60 GOLD OK?" "Yes." "Thank you! What else?" "Buy." "What do you want?" "HEAL." "60 GOLD OK?" "Yes." "Thank you! What else?" "Buy." "What do you want?" "HEAL." "60 GOLD OK?" "Yes." "Thank you! What else?" "Buy." "What do you want?" "HEAL." "60 GOLD OK?" "Yes." "Thank you! What else?" *gunshot*
Our next stop is the Earth Cave. I'm in good enough shape to do what I need to do here, and there are no treasures here worth writing home about, so it's a bee-line straight for the boss and back.
For some reason I've just always really liked how B2F of the Earth Cave is laid out. I don't really know what kind of effect the map designer was going for here, but I'd say he achieved it admirably.
On B3F a group of ZOIDBERGs decided it was time for them to harvest some ADAM (groan...), so I'll have to take on the VAMPIRE sans my THIEF. This isn't much of an accomplishment though since the VAMPIRE is notoriously easy. Half the time you can kill him with a single shot of FIR2 or HRM2, and most players will powerlevel until they have FIR3 or HRM3 from Melmond before coming this far. BOSS manages to destroy the loathsome undead monstrosity with about as much fanfare as when I accidentially leveled off of those IMPs on my way to save earlier.
Raiding the VAMPIRE's jewelry box nets me a RUBY, and that's as far as I can go in the Earth Cave for now. ADAM is two battles behind in EXP, so I'm going to RUN from everything I can on my way out to make sure he doesn't fall too far behind...
...especially these COCSUCKRs, who can petrify you with their attacks. I've got a few SOFT potions in reserve for just such an ocassion, but for now it's time to heroically RUN away!
Naturally I'm TENTed outside the Cave, so this is just a minor setback. Next time through everyone gets through to the VAMPIRE fight unscathed, there are no mishaps with ZOIDBERGs or COCTRICEs, and it's time to figure out what to do with this RUBY.
A few steps away from the stairs leading outside I trip over a couple GrOGREs and land on L10. Now EDIT and BOSS can cast FAST, which may prove to be crucial in the next boss fight.
Next door to the Earth Cave (but clearly in a different geological stratum, judging by the color of the rock here) is Titan's Tunnel. As a matter of fact I do want pass, so I give RUBY, he muncha-cruncha, and I can mosy on through.
There are some treasures here, and pretty decent ones at that, but it's all FIGHTER stuff so it's only worth to me is its resale value.
I went into the cave to get the thing that gets me through the other cave so I can cross through to this cave, home to Sarda the Sage. Sarda apparently is concerned enough about the state of the world to donate his ROD to my cause, but not so much that he'd spring for Next Day Air to Melmond so I didn't have to jump through that silly VAMPIRE hoop to get it.
LICH is considerably harder than the VAMPIRE, so I want to show up on his doorstep with as many L3 spell charges as possible. I have to use a couple to get through these ZOIDBERGs, but at least I get L11 as a consolation prize.
I'm confident I can beat LICH with what I have, but if I weren't I could swing back by the Northwest Castle and farm MUMMYs for a while. At L12 SKUB is able to use HRM3 which can take a huge chunk out of LICH's HP. If I really wanted to over-prepare I could powerlevel until L15, at which point BOSS and EDIT get FIR3, to make the fight a complete cakewalk.
Here's the stone plate Sarda was talking about...
Actually, since the stone plate is a sprite you can reveal the stairway simply by transitioning the map (say, by entering a battle or opening the menu). If this were real life I could just be like "SKUB, you open the menu. Quick, the rest of you jump in while the stairs are showing! Awesome, guys. Okay you three, there is a warp point after the boss, but SKUB is going to have to walk back. Have fun with the COCTRICEs, SKUB!"
Dun dun duuuuuuuun!
LICH is undead, so he's weak to FIRE and HARM magic. Of course, even then, we're talking about a wide range of possible damage. This blast of FIR2 only deals about 40 damage, but EDIT's blast in the next round deals over 100. EDIT spent this round FASTing ADAM so he could get in on the battle, and SKUB opened up with HRM2. LICH's first attack is ICE2, which will about chop everyone's HP in half, and his second one (LIT2) has the potential to finish me off. I could counteract this by using AICE (L4 white magic) to protect myself, but chances are good ICE2 will go off before AICE does, which basically just wastes a round. Besides, if I can't finish the fight by the time LIT2 comes around in the rotation, I probably wasn't going to win anyway.
Before long my FIR2s, HRM2s and FASTed attacks plow through all 400 of LICH's HPs, and he goes down like the bitch he rhymes with. The ORB of Earth is revived!
Ain't it purty?
Next: The Fire FIEND will burn everything up!
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