Let's Play FF1!

Originally posted by: Stiv
I think it's kind of interesting that you chose to do the Air Castle before the Volcano or the (lower half of) the Water Shrine. Is the equipment there really all that necessary to power through the shrine?

Necessary? No. Desireable? Absolutely. Given the option to upgrade your gear or upgrade your level in FF1, always go for the gear.

Originally posted by: Zef

I hope it was the Japanese original you watched, and not the horrid, horrid remake.

If you're talking about Pulse, the horrid, horrid Japanese original soured any chances of me ever watching the remake, although I can't possibly see how it could be worse.

Originally posted by: Sven
Funny quote from a FAQ with all the mockery we've been doing of the classes' general uselessness:

It's not that Wh.MAGEs/Wh.Wizs are useless, really, it's just that they're so situational. To really see the strengths of the class you have to be playing a game with a party full of them.

Originally posted by: DeeMer
This game was programmed by only a single person, Nasir Gebelli, possibly under a severe time constraint.

The game definitely has a "single mind" feel to it that is missing from lots of modern games.

Onward to adventure!

Now that I'm all geared up, I'm ready to go beat the game. Just two niggling loose threads I have to tie up real quick...

This cute tiny dungeon floor is back in the Sea Shrine. This time I'm heading downstairs in search of the FIEND of Water. This particular FIEND is certainlyt he hardest of the four; I've seen it hit well-armored KNIGHTs for over 200 damage. With all the gear I took out of the Mirage Tower and FLOATING CASTLE, though, I'm more than ready to face it.

The most dangerous monsters in the Sea Shrine are GHOSTs, who are sort of like late-game equivalents of ZOIDBERGs. They hit for tons of damage (note ADAM's dirt nap here), you can't run from them, and they always appear in mid-sized groups. GHOSTs are the reason to pick up FIR3 and HRM3 back in Melmond. Fortunately they only appear on a couple floors in the Sea Shrine and don't pose any threat outside their powerful-but-normal attack.

They're worth quite a bit of EXP though! ADAM falls about 1600 EXP behind the rest of the gang, but he'll still manage to make L18 before I arrive at the boss's chamber.

There are two good treasures still left to get in the Sea Shrine, the first of which is the Power Gauntlet. This nifty item casts SABR when you use it. SABR is L7 black magic that raises your attack power. Like RUSE, it only affects the caster, limiting its usefulness (why would you want to increase your Bl.Wiz's attack power, right?), but the Power Gauntlet can be used by anyone. What's better, SABR is a stackable effect, both with itself and with FAST. If you could survive it, you could SABR up a dozen times, FAST yourself, and one-shot practically any monster in the game.

Second is the third Ribbon. I'll give this one to BOSS, leaving SKUB as my only un-Ribboned warrior.

If SKUB levels up enough to get L8 magic, I can teach him WALL, which has about the same effect as a Ribbon. Unfortunately SKUB isn't going to get anywhere near that level without some serious grinding. More likely he'll be given up for dead in some of the later boss fights against foes with super-powerful magic.

I somehow managed to neglect getting a screenshot of KRAKEN, which must mean I'm slipping up as I reach the endgame. Jesus.

Anyway, KRAKEN is theoretically weak to LIT, but LIT2 isn't powerful enough to do any real damage and LIT3 isn't on the menu until my RedWizs reach L20. Starting out I have ADAM, EDIT and BOSS all RUSE themselves (RedWizs with the spell, ADAM with the Defense Sword) and SKUB wave around his White Shirt. Stacking EVADE buffs is the best (and really only) way to survive KRAKEN's unbelievably strong attack. Once his multiple hits are neutralized all he can do to me is INK. The Dark status effect either doesn't work (which wouldn't surprise me) or its effect is so small as to be negligable. Once I'm RUSEd up and everyone important is FASTed I take KRAKEN out with a few rounds of Critical Hits.

Three ORBs lit! I'm on a roll.

Okay, okay, I've avoided it long enough. Time for me to (finally!) go where the game wanted me to go ages ago and brave the depths of the Volcano. As you can see, the Volcano is covered with lava, which is a double-edged sword; you can't get into encounters while walking through it, but it damages you for every step you take in it. This is part of what makes the Volcano so dangerous if you come here right after LICH; whether your keep to the lava or fight your way through the encounters, you're going to need a LOT of healing to see the end.

Why save this dungeon for last? There's really no reason not to. The few half-decent treasures here are well-guarded both by long stretches of monster-infested terrain and spiked squares, and even if I were going to use any of it it would just get upgraded quickly as you move on to the Ice Cave, Castle of Ordeals and Waterfall. The monsters in here are worth decent EXP, but the risk/reward isn't tipped in your favor like the MUMMYs over by Elfland or the ZombieDs in Ordeals. The boss has magical attacks which are trivialized by Ribbons and strong multi-hit attacks which are blocked by all the armor I'm wearing. I'm literally taking nothing out of this dungeon except for changing a gray ORB into a blue one on my status screen.

I think this room has more treasure chests in it than any others. It's just a damn shame there's nothing worth using. There's some armor only FIGHTERs can make use of, a few not-very-good weapons and (seriously) a PURE potion or two. I forget how many of those squares are spiked, but it's enough to make any trip in there less than worthless.

Here's the bottom floor. If I had come here earlier, and had a FIGHTER, I would take the path straight to the west to find a room with some Flame Armor (guarded by a spiked Red D). Instead, I'm going to take the path southwest towards the boss.

When I was a kid I was a little confused as to why KARY mentions you having murdered LICH, but KRAKEN and TIAMAT don't seem to care that you killed KARY. This was my first clue that it was possible to fight the FIENDs out of order. For a long time I used to do the Ice Cave and Ordeals before coming here, but eventually I just stopped altogether, viewing the Volcano as nothing but a tiny speed bump on my way to the final dungeon rather than a chapter of the game in its own right.

This is one of KARY's strongest attacks. Make no mistake, this spell can devistate you without Ribbons or decent HP, so I would have had to buy AFIR to counteract it. KARY is also notable for being the only FIEND who is all but impervious to magic (LICH, KRAKEN and TIAMAT are prone to HARM/FIRE, LIT and BANE respectively), so the only real way to deal with her is FASTed hits. This party especially would have had trouble with that if I'd rolled up in the joint with nothing but the Were/Rune/Dragon Swords, which is what I had when I beat LICH, and coming here after promotion rather than before gives me three FAST-casters rather than two.

Against all odds KARY manages to start pushing my team up onto L19. Weird.

Behold, the four ORBs shine again! But what the heck do I do with them?


Basically the gist is this: 2000 years ago some schlub popped up and met the four FIENDs, who gave him a pretty insane amount of power. This guy sent the four FIENDs into the future to wreak havoc and, eventually, send him back to the past again.

Why? It's never clearly explained. But apparently this Time-Loop is bad juju and I have to put an end to it.

Back at the Temple of the Fiends, we have some talking bats! These guys were the Lefeinish SKY WARRIORs, who got busted down to vermin and had their AIRSHIP buried in a desert. Good for me, not so much for them.

Using the four lit ORBs I can destroy the black ORB in GARLAND's old room and open up the Time Gate that will take me back to the Temple as it was 2000 years ago: the final dungeon in the game.

Here it is!

Note that there's no Time Gate back to the present. Unless you've got WARP or EXIT handy, you've just stepped through the point of no return.

The Temple is incredibly long, full of very difficult monsters and the mother of all boss gauntlets. It's also the location of what is probably the single greatest treasure in all of FF1.

Next: Everything went mad in a day.

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