|Originally posted by: dwolfe|
Wait....so both Ribbons and ProRings are useless in the original NES version of Final Fantasy? I followed the maths, but not the situations as much.
No, they definitely work against spells and special attacks, just not against the added effect of regular attacks.
On with the adventure!
The walk to Lefein is a long one; it's located on a densely forested continent populated by tough monsters (the same monsters, in fact, that spill over onto the PNEOP). Murdering a TYRO puts ADAM, EDIT and SKUB up on L16; high enough for SKUB to start casting L6 magic. The only super-useful L6 spell is EXIT, which he already has. Of course, all the dungeons left in the game either end with warp points out or the final boss, so its use is going to be situational at best. Don't worry about BOSS, she catches up to L16 on the next fight.
UST #4! Dressed in white robes, SKUB blends right in with the Lefeinish, allowing me to slip into their compound virtually undetected. As you can see, this strange and reclusivive foreign people are every bit as prudish as your typical fat lazy Conerian. Go figure.
This helpful Lefeinian gives me the CHIME I need to get into the Mirage Tower, the next dungeon I'm looking to loot. He's only so helpful though because I speak the language; if I would have come here before delivering the SLAB to Dr. Unne, the people here would only speak to me using the almost critically unhelpful phrase "Lu....pa....?"
Believe it or not, we're done here already. There are no weapons or armor here, not even an INN, but...
...if you walk through the break in the stone wall at the northeast corner of town, you can meander on over to the hidden magic shop. There's one shop each for black and white magic, and they sell the most powerful spell sin each of the two schools: LIF2 for white magic and NUKE for black. Only Bl.Wizs can cast NUKE, so I won't have a use for it this game. Believe it or not, I won't have a use for LIF2 either; I have enough healing that just regular LIFE is sufficient, and even if I manage to top L25 (when SKUB gets his first L8 charge) this game, I'd rather him cast something useful like FADE or WALL, both for sale over in Gaia.
CHIME in hand, I can now enter this tower in the middle of the desert. Like most locations at this stage of the game I have to land my AIRSHIP some ways away and hike overland to get here.
Some of the best weapons in the game can be found here. Barring the Masmune, this here Sun Sword is the best weapon a RedWiz can use in the game. Found across the way is the Thor Hammer, the Wh.Wiz's best non-Masmune weapon. It casts LIT2 in combat, making the Zeus Gauntlet obsolete. I've also picked up the Vorpal Sword in a chest here, a weapon remarkable for being extremely unremarkable compared to the other weapons in its vicinity.
Also here in the Mirage Tower is the Heal Helmet, which I've passed off to BOSS. Using it has the same effect as the Heal Staff, so now I can have two free HEALs per round if I were so inclined.
At the end of the Mirage Tower is the teleporter to the FLOATING CASTLE, operable only to those who hold the CUBE. The teleporter is guarded by the Blue D, a rather tough sub-boss that weilds powerful LIT magic. This team has an advantage though: it can open with three people casting ALIT, dramatically increasing the chances of me getting my defense off before I take any damage. That's exactly what happens here and, even though I have to sit through two ineffective ALIT castings this round, I win the fight in the next while Blue D's THUNDER attack bounces harmlessly off me.
The FLOATING CASTLE is a weird, alien place. Instead of staircases you move between floors using Triangular Subatomic Locomotion Pads. Instead of treasure boxes the phat loot is found in Climate-controlled Isometric Containment Cubes. If only the Air FIEND were a detached computerized voice telling me lies about cake I think the picture would be complete.
The Bane Sword isn't a great weapon, but it does cast BANE when used in battle. This goes in ADAM's inventory for now.
I feel bad about not getting the EYE screenshot from the Ice Cave, but not bad enough to walk back through the fuggin' place looking for another one. They pop up as random encounters in here, though, so I hope you can accept this late screenshot as an apology. (In case you're wondering, no, the EYE is not related to Super Metroid's Phantoon. I heard they were in the same frat in college, though.)
Since everyone's wearing ProRings, I'm pretty safe from its death attacks, and since it has such low HP it's pretty much just walking-around EXP, free for the taking.
I'm grabbing this for the sake of completion, since it's not actually going to do me any good. If you'll recall, I can take this back to the smithy in the Dwarf Cave to have him forge me Xcalber, the KNIGHT's best non-Masmune weapon.
A GrNAGA helps my first three guys up to L17, and BOSS follows close behind on an EYE soon thereafter.
There is a lot of great armor in the FLOATING CASTLE. The ProCape here is a shield which anyone in my team can equip, but I'm putting it on ADAM to finish up his set and cement his place as my team leader. The Dragon Armor and Aegis Shield are useless to me because I don't have a KNIGHT, but I'll sell them off when I get back to town. You'll also notice I've picked up my second Ribbon, as well as the White and Black Shirts. The White Shirt casts INV2 (the equivalent of half-a-RUSE to everyone in the party) and is SKUB's best armor. The Black Shirt casts ICE2, giving SKUB access to all three second-tier attack spells. That actually makes him more versatile than either of my RedWizs, who haven't used a single ICE spell the entire adventure.
This is an ominous message about the sad state of the world, but it's one of FF1's cooler plot points. If you were to take the world map (included with every copy of the game) and mark the four FIENDS' hideouts, you'd have a mark roughly in the four corners of the world. If you then drew lines connection Mirage Tower with the Earth Cave, and Onrac with Gurgu Volcano, you'd have a large X. At the center of the X is the Temple of the Fiends. Gotta admit, even nowadays that's kind of a neat touch, isn't it? Back in 1990 when the most world-shattering thing we'd seen in video games was when Samus took off her helmet it was positively astounding... and that's not even the best little twist the game has to offer.
The last of the kickass treasures in the FLOATING CASTLE is the Katana, ADAM's best non-Masmune weapon. This happens to be the third-best weapon in the game (just behind Masmune and Xcalber), and since ADAM can FAST himself he becomes a more-or-less self-contained death machine. If only it were realistic to get a solo NINJA to this point you'd be on easy street from here on out.
I do know of one person who managed to get a THIEF past ASTOS and promoted to a NINJA, but soon after finishing the game he fell into a catatonic state. After a few days of languishing in depression he disappeared without a trace, leaving nothing but an oily black stain on the wall like in a Japanese horror film. Just at that moment his discarded cell phone rang, but no voice was heard, only a haunting chiptune rendition of the FF1 end credits music. The person who answered the phone died seven days later.
This floor of the FLOATING CASTLE stretches endlessly in all four directions, leaving you to get lost for hours unless you know the trick. The teleporter to the final floor is two blocks horizontal, two blocks vertical, in any direction you care to go. I learned it as "two up, two left" but whatever works for you is gravy.
Here's the last floor, a long bridge leading from the teleporter to the FIEND's room. If I'm going to find a WarMECH, this is where it'd be. I'm really hoping I don't find one, but just in case I'm going to keep myself in top condition for the duration of my time here.
SON OF A BITCH!!
Not only did I run into the goddamn WarMECH, but it got the drop on me. What you see here are the results of a single use of his NUCLEAR attack; I was at full HP before. (ADAM and EDIT are slightly more alive than the others because they're wearing Ribbons.) You can RUN from WarMECHs, but it's dicey at best. If it gets off even one more NUCLEAR I am toast, and I'll have to reload at the bottom of Mirage Tower.
I don't have a screenshot of my daring escape, but suffice it to say BOSS was up to the task of not getting vaporized. I live to fight another day, but burn through all of my CURE and CUR2 charges plus about 40 HEAL potions to bring myself back up to a healthy condition.
Here's the FIEND of Air, TIAMAT. TIAMAT has 1000 HP and a lot of powerful magic attacks, but...
...as you can see I have the advantage. Unlike most bosses TIAMAT isn't immune to the deadly poison effects of BANE! Each RedWiz has two blasts of BANE and ADAM can cast it using his sword. SKUB opens with ALIT (to counter TIAMAT's THUNDER attack), EDIT and ADAM both miss, and then BOSS ends the fight without having done a single point of damage to the boss.
Of course, BANE isn't guaranteed to work. I get two rounds with three shots each before my RedWizs are tapped. ADAM can use the Bane Sword for a free try every round, though. Most of TIAMAT's attacks will decimate poor BOSS and SKUB (as they're un-Ribboned), but ADAM could have probably gone ten rounds or more with a bit of luck. Aside from magic TIAMAT's damage output is pretty mild, so starting in the second round I'd have SKUB start waving around his shirt to get everyone RUSEd.
After a long journey up the tower and into the stratosphere, the ORB of Air shines again!
Next: My legs are beautiful! It's so nice to have legs.
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