Ice Cave, take two! I grabbed a screenshot of this floor for no reason other than I think it is cute.
Unfortunately, take two is as doomed an effort as take one. This is just how the Ice Cave goes, sometimes, and there's nothing you can really do to make it any easier. It's just a matter of saving outside and throwing yourself at it until you get lucky enough to avoid the COCTRICEs and SORCERERs and WRAITHs and MAGEs and huge packs of ZOIDBERGs that roam within.
The Flame Sword is a little weaker than the Ice Sword, but it's still a good weapon. I'll give this one to EDIT, so now (once again) my two RedMAGEs make poor ADAM look like a chump. The treasure box in the middle is the one I need to get, but as you can see I can't get there from here. I have to jump into one of these holes, climb back up from the floor below, and then jump into a second hole to land near it.
Now's as good a time as any to point out that the code that makes magic swords target certain weaknesses (for example, the Flame Sword hitting ice enemies for more damage) is bugged, so the only difference between the various types of weapons are the DAMAGE and HIT stats. Well, and the fact that some cast spells when used; neither the Ice nor Flame Sword does, however.
The Ice Cave is home to huge packs of undead, mainly gangs of IMAGEs, WRAITHs and GEISTs. All of these monsters can Stun you, and the WRAITHs in particular hit pretty hard. RUNning from these fights is a total crapshoot if you don't get the first strike, so my strategy to deal with them is to FIR2/FIR2/HRM2 and mop them up.
This particular pack was on a spiked square right next to where I landed after jumping into the hole on the floor above. It sets me up with L13, but I'm not going to celebrate about that too soon.
ARGH. These ZOIDBERGs apparently hold a grudge against me for having slaughtered dozens of their comrades. My plan of attack would have been to LIT2/LIT2/Zeus Gauntlet, but they surprised me and landed a few choice Criticals. Like I said, the Ice Cave just goes like this sometimes.
In addition to the Flame Sword the Ice Cave has a pretty absurd amount of treasure in it. That room you see in the bottom left corner of the screen contains something like 40000 GOLD. Of course, every step taken in the Ice Cave is another chance to run into LIT3-casting MAGEs or huge teams of SORCERERs, to say nothing of the square spiked with Frost Ds, so I'm going to play the smart hand here and leave it lay. By the time I'm adequately protected from the terrors of this place I won't have any use for it anyway.
Here's my second hole, the FLOATER is just underneath me.
That staircase you see is the exit to the cave. If my luck holds I'll be back on this floor later.
I somehow managed to not get a goddamned screenshot of the EYE, the Ice Cave's boss. It opens with XXXX, which is similar to RUB except for... actually, come to think of it, I don't know how XXXX is different from RUB. Anyway, it goes on to cast BRAK (which stones; i.e. another insta-death), and then just because you can't beat the classics, good ol' RUB itself. EYEs have very little HP, and I manage to land all my hits before this one gets a chance to XXXX me.
Like most of the bosses so far, the EYE sits on a spiked square I can pop over and over. In a solo game, once you have the ability to protect yourself from all the death attacks, the EYE nets you a whopping 3000+ EXP every fight and is almost trivial to kill repeatedly. BERT the Bl.BELT made good use of this square back in the day.
Anyway, here's my FLOATER, but as you've probably guessed the Ice Cave isn't ready to let me go. To get to the exit I have to jump back in one of these holes, fight my way through the spiked undead square again, and get to that staircase without getting pwned by SORCERERs or MAGEs.
Unfortunately, BOSS doesn't make it through the undead fight, putting her about 900 EXP behind everyone else. I technically shouldn't count this as UST #3 since the previous one ended up not counting anyway, but I've got the FLOATER in my hands and I'm in a generous mood.
Precious, wonderful, beautiful daylight! I think this screen right here has a good shot at winning Most Welcome Sight in an FF1 Playthrough. It's time to HOUSE, and then the fun begins!
I CANOE back to my SHIP and sail south of Crescent Lake to a small desert, where I can make some serious magic happen. This screen is probably a close second in the Most Welcome Sight in an FF1 Playthrough contest.
Okay, okay, I've dicked around long enough, it's Volcano time...
...not! Honestly, I wasn't kidding when I said there's nothing worth getting in the Volcano. The treasure is crap, the dungeon is long, and I don't yet have the resources to take on the boss. Getting the AIRSHIP opens up the world for me now similar to how getting the KEY opened up so many things for me a couple of adventures ago. A bounty of treasure awaits me!
This filler screenshot is the notorious PNEOP, which you can reach by walking northeast of Pravoka. The landmass you see to my north is home to the strongest monsters you can face on the FF1 overworld, and some careless programmer managed to drag the encounter area a few tiles too far to the south. What this means is that on the top four squares of this peninsula you can fight powerful monsters like FrWOLFs, GIANTs, ZomBULLs, TYROs and more. The idea is to pack a bunch of TENTs, hike up here and rake in large amounts of EXP relatively early in the game. I don't like the PNEOP because before ASTOS you can level on the ocean and after ASTOS you can level on the MUMMYs, both of which are way easier to farm than desperately trying to get a MUTE spell off before some FrWOLFs take you apart with their magical attacks.
The armor shop in the town of Gaia has some pretty incredible stuff for sale. ProRings count as gloves, and everybody can equip them. They protect against every type of instant death attack you can dream up. Hey! I know a dungeon it would have been handy to have a few of these for! *gunshot*
There are more pressing concerns for my money at the moment, however, so those ProRings will have to wait.
This square is cool because 1) it's the only desert tile in the game you can land the AIRSHIP on and 2) it's the only land-able tile that teleports you to a new map. Namely, the OASIS.
The BOTTLE is the one and only item you are required to buy to finish the game. It's also the only item the OASIS has; once you buy it, it disappears forever... at least in the NES version. In Dawn of Souls the caravan guy sticks around to sell you a variety of Tonics that increase your stats temporarily in battle. Stockpiling those Tonics was how I managed to kill all the optional super-bosses with my magic-less party of four THIEFs.
"Hey Brick, this is an NES playthrough, nobody gives a shit about your Dawn of Souls triumphs!" Right, sorry...
Like most BOTTLEs, this one contains a fairy, and opening it causes her to flitter off to her lovely spring back in Gaia. Hey, the NES-era Nintendo censors and I have this in common: back in the day neither of us knew the OXYALE was actually a booze reference! See, it's beer that gives you air! Pretty clever, huh?
The whole point of the OXYALE is to able to breathe underwater, which will come in handy when it's time to go treasure hunting in the Sea Shrine later.
Our next stop is the Islands of Cardia, a series of caves which holds a decent amount of free, safe treasure.
It's also home to the canniest race of capitalist dragons in the FF1 world. I guess he won't be investing in any dotcoms ha ha amirite?
Next: Are we going to become bubbles?
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