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I'm playing through all of Final Fantasy, and everyone is invited (Playing FF VII now)

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Some time ago, I made a thread where I said that I would play through the whole FF series in order, to get a look at how the series changed from game to game. The thread was there as a heads-up, if anyone wanted to join me.

I'm still not quite sure about the details, but I'm going to start now. If anyone is interested, feel free to join! If not, I'd love additional information or just all kinds of comments. I live in Europe, so I don't have most peoples history with FF I, IV and VI. To reduce confusion, I kindly ask you guys to call FF IV and VI by their original name, and not II and III. But that lies in the future, anyway.

My plan is to play through the first ten games, then X-2, skip XI, play XII, XIII and XV, skipping also XIV. Considering that I will need more than a year to get to XIII means that I might change my mind and play it's sequels too. No idea. I will skip the MMOs, because they still cost a subscription, and they just feel different. I want to include X-2, because it's battle system is clearly the basis for the battle system of XIII.

I have played through all these games at one point or another, so I don't if people talk about later games, but would prefer to stick to the games that I have already played. Also, if anyone wants to join me and hasn't played a specific game, please speak up. Speaking about everything about the game I'm playing at the moment (like with FF I now) is completely fair game, so if anyone wants to avoid spoilers for a specific game, just say so. Elsewise, as soon as a I start playing, say FF VI, everyone can feel free to talk about it's ending, or whatever else there is in the game.

In general, if anyone doesn't want a game to be spoiled, plays say so. We will find a way to work that out.

To be honest, I don't know how much I will actually write about these games. Maybe I don't have much to say at all! We will see how it goes.

This is also not an LP. I will not post screenshots, or at least not many, and I will not give a ton of information and talk about every step. This is just the thread to put my thoughts in.

That's all, for now. I think all the relevant information are in this post. I will come back, when I started my journey through FF I.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
The world is veiled in
darkness. The wind stops,
the sea is wild,
and the earth begins to rot.
The people wait,
their only hope, a prophecy.

'When the world is in darkness,
Four Warriors will come....'

After a long journey, four
young warriors arrive,
each holding an ORB.​

Final Fantasy I is, of all the mainline FFs, one of the last ones I gave a real try, and therefore also one of the last ones I beat. I likely tried it at some point in the early 00's, but gave up. I tried it years later, this time the GBA version. I think I even made it pretty far, but I used a FAQ for everything. Together with the low difficulty, this made it completely unmemorable, and I don't remember much, aside from the fact that I had trouble defeating the final boss.

I can't believe it is already three years, since I finally played through the game. I used a patch, back then, I think Final Fantasy Restored. It adds some QOL stuff, but leaves the core game as it is. Specifically, it changes the translation (no idea how much, but it worked well, when I played through the game), gave you the ability to by 1 or 10 potions at once, debugged a lot (maybe all?) of the well known bugs, and, most importantly, added a dash button for the world map and the dungeons.

This time, I'm playing through the original game, just to experience the original translation. I also took a look into the manual, which included some fun stuff.

It starts, by telling the player how to use the d-pad to move through the menu at the start. Which makes sense, maybe the player has never held a controller before, but is just so surprising now. There are explanations about every basic thing, like how to talk with NPCs. I love how they included two screenshots: One has you facing away from a soldier, with a big NO on top, the other one has you facing the soldier, and shows a big YES. There is also a screenshot of stairs, to show you that they are stairs. Which is very sensible, because they don't necessarily look like stairs. I remember, back when Pokemon was new, a friend needed my help to leave the first screen, because he didn't get that the stairs were stairs.

The manual suggests to just make a random party at first, to try out the game, and to restart after you cross the bridge. Considering that this game must have been very hard to get a grip on, back in the day, this seems like a sensible suggestion. That part can be done very fast. That they also included some party setups with some information was nice, and the parties seem not awful? FI/BB/WM/BM seems like a good, doable party for a beginner, with a taste from everything.

"PURCHASE YOUR IMPLEMENTS OF DESTRUCTION" Just wanted to through this quote from the manual out there.

I love that they call the way to open the World Map a spell. The whole manual is nicely flavorful. Also, my first non-handheld was an N64, so I never had a manual with a walkthrough for half (?) the game. Nothing in-depth, but just showing you where to go seems like a very useful thing.

The start of the game:


My party is pretty standard:
Elna the Fighter
Jidi the Black Belt
Jasn the White Mage
Tani the Black Mage
Whoever guesses right, where the names are based of gets an imaginary cookie.

I probably should have chosen the RM, instead of the BM, but everything in this game can be solved by grinding and throwing yourself against the same thing again and again, so whatever. I like this party, and I think I used the same one three years ago.

This time, I'm doing it as intended, and note down interesting stuff, specifically plot hooks and doors that I will be able to open, as soon as I get the Mystic Key. Here are the notes I have taken for now:

  • Lukahn (the prophet) left for Crescent Lake
  • Mystic Key → Prince of Elfland has it
  • Treasure in Conelia, after getting Mystic Key
  • Treasure in Garlands place, after getting Mystic Key (both chests right)
  • Treasure in Elfland Castle, after getting Mystic Key
  • Treasure at Dwarf Cave, after getting Mystic Key
  • The lute can break the evil gate
  • Crystal to Matoya in Cave, north of Conelia
  • Trouble in Melmond (west)
  • Matoyas HERB will wake the Elf prince
  • Cave of Dwarf is at the west end of the Aldi Sea
  • Astos stole CRYSTAL from Matoya
  • Smith the Dwarf needs Adamant to create a powerful sword
  • A dwarf needs TNT
  • A FLOATER can make everything float (according to a dwarf)
Looks like a lot, but I know that I have to go into the Marsh Cave, get out whatever is in there, kill Astos, give Matoya the CRYSTAL and heal the prince with the HERB. I guess something will open up then. Maybe I'll get the TNT. But for now, I need to grind so I can survive the Marsh Cave.

I actually was surprised, that I already had the four orbs, and that I only needed to power them up. Nothing big, just surprised. I like that little dancer sprite, with the raised leg, and found some fun, little flavor text for the spring and the well.

The structure up to this point is pretty clear and simple. The very beginning, the part until the bridge is completely gated, with just Conelia and the Temple (which hasn't been named yet, inside the game). The island is small enough, so that you can't even go off route, there is just one way. The enemies inside the temple are already a step up, but Garland is a really pathetic boss. I remember being surprised, how easy the very first boss in any FF is.

The whole thing feels like the essential beginner D&D plot (for a good reason). Princess has been kidnapped, party sets out to save princess, party survives the harsh way and makes its way through the dungeon, just to defeat the first, simple boss.

And then, the bridge is built, and a nice, little credit sequence plays out. I always liked that part.

Even with the rest of the continent being bigger, and offering more space to explore, there is only one place to continue. Sure, there is Matoyas cave, but she only offers you a plot hook, plus some treasure. But elsewise, there is nothing to find, but the next town. Which has another super simple quest.

Pirates have conquered the town, and our heroes are the only hope. These pirates are, fortunately, probably even weaker than Garland. Even my White Mage could kill one, with a simple hammer blow. And now, I already have a ship!

I remember that this felt very soon. The game has hardly started, and I can already travel over most of the game world. Except that the body of water that the ship is in is inside a landmass. And, again, there are only a handful new places. One is the part with Elfland, which also contains the Marsh Cave and, I guess, the castle where Astos lives. The other place is Cave of Dwarf, which gives you roughly 1000 gold, and a few more plot hooks. But, on the whole, this game seems open world-y without actually being that. Progress, at least up to now, is heavily gated, though you can get some treasure by exploring.

As I was sure that level 4 was to low, I decided to grind a bit. Everyone is decked out with the newest gear, including the Silver Sword for my Fighter. The only stuff missing are the bracelets. I also got Lit2 for my Black Mage, who used it to good effect, by killing tons of water monsters.

And that's were I'm at. It's fun, even the grinding. Everything is so simple, and the whole thing feels like a big game of D&D (I know, FF is based on that game), where you have this pseudo open world, where you just run around and do unconnected, small quests.

I'm already scared of the Marsh Cave. I'm not sure I even can make it there, without nearly dying, but we will see. That's it, for now.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Marsh Cave is rough - maybe the toughest challenge in the game, barring ol' Warmech. The only way I ever got through it was to grind, make sure I had all my upgrades (and make sure I had LIT2!), and 99 Heal Potions on hand. Even then, you can be subjected to luck of the draw when you go for the Crown. You can fight up to four mindfl... I mean Wizards, and I'm pretty sure there's a chance they can surprise you as well.

Anyway, I always grinded up around Elfland.

Where this got interesting was when I ran parties without access to much magic. I've run four Fighters several times, which are shockingly viable throughout the game, but it can make that Marsh Cave fight a bit more difficult, and of course healing is always more problematic.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Where this got interesting was when I ran parties without access to much magic. I've run four Fighters several times, which are shockingly viable throughout the game, but it can make that Marsh Cave fight a bit more difficult, and of course healing is always more problematic.

While I know that four Fighters are likely a very useable party, I'm very happy to have LIT2, just for traveling around and meeting big groups of enemies (Sahags, I'm looking at you).

I spent the day by making it to the point where a dwarf (in the Cave of Dwarf) blew up a piece of land that looked pretty big, just by using some TNT. It feels so weird to have TNT in an FF game, at least one of the non-Sci-Fi kind. But the whole game is weird, so whatever.

The Marsh Cave was a challenge, but by the time I had made my way to the dwarfs one time, and just trying to even get to the Marsh Cave without success (I made it back to Elfland), I had made it to level 7 and had gotten enough money for all equipment, including the Silver Sword, which seems pretty powerful. The Fighter suddenly started to reliabely hit stuff, instead of missing 2/3 of all hits.

The one thing that drives me mad about this game is the missing. Everyone misses so much, it's ridiculous. But it got better, with the Fighter getting this sword, and the BB reaching level 7 and getting rid of all equipment. He isn't nearly as strong as the Fighter, but hits most of the time, and does actually decent damage.

Anyway, I also bought 30 Potions and 15 Pures, or something like that, and made it to the Marsh Cave. It took three tries. The first time, I actually had only 2 or 3 Pures, and met up with some of this mushroom-looking jerks, who poisened two of my guys. I just made it up from the entrance, got the treasure in that room, got poisened again, with no way of healing it, and made it back to Elfland. That's actually were I stocked up on Potions and Pures.

The second trip went better, and I made it the the third...floor (how do you English people floors below ground?), where my stuff ran out, because I had to check way too many of these same-looking rooms. The second floor didn't help either, with it being somewhat big. But, if you know where to go, the trip is relatively short. The thrid trip worked out, my team was already strong enough to make it to the cave without a sweat, and the three Wizards weren't too bad (no surprise, thankfully).

Alltogether, the Marsh Cave wasn't so bad. Maybe I got lucky, or was just prepared, but with multiple tries, it is pretty managable. But, again, having LIT2 for really bad cases, and a Fighter with the Silver Sword likely helped a lot.

I had completely ignored Astos's castle, so I wasn't immediately sure where to go. Remembered, after getting to Elfland to heal up, and even if not, the castle was the only accessible point where I hadn't been yet. Again, the game seems pretty open, but there is just a lot of empty mass of land. There are not too many new places you can get to, whenever new ways open up. I don't remember if this gets different, after the TNT is used, but for now, the player is pretty effectively led along. And going back seems to be pretty pointless. Aside from the rooms that were closed by the Mystic Key, and just completing the quests you had been given, there isn't anything to do at the old places. Nothing new, anyway. I remember (vaguely, it's pretty long since I actually read that argument) that later FFs get too linear, when this game already seems very linear to me. Up to now, there is only one way forward, and there aren't even sidequests. I vaguely remember it changing a bit, now, but not too much? We will see. For now, it seems that this series has been pretty linear from the very first game.

I think I didn't talk about the battle system? It's nice, if a bit slow. I don't mind the speed. When I get annoyed by it, it's a sign that I have played for too long already. Even the missing re-targeting, after a monster is defeated, is not a big deal. And, after some complications, the battles get easier pretty fast, when you just get one or two more levels. I like how simple the whole battle system is, and just wished the enemy groups weren't so big. Nine monsters, no matter how weak, take forever.

The only two bosses that actually feel like bosses (Garland and Astos) weren't much to talk about, which is fascinating in itself. Sure, Astos is clearly more dangerous than regular monsters (partly because he just straight up kills one of the group), but he also goes down pretty fast (second round for me, I think he didn't even get to his second attack). For now, the normal monsters and the ressource management are way more of a problem than the bosses.

It is actually pretty nice. Instead of being annoying damage sponges, it's more of a damage race, and either you or the enemy is defeated in three or four rounds. A nice change of pace, even though I like regular JRPG bosses, as long as they don't just have a million HP.

It's a shame that the special swords are all bugged. I sold them all, because, as far as I know, they don't actually hit harder against the type of monster that they are supposed to be strong against. But this makes the game simpler, so no big deal for me.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
You're going to love the Black Belt at higher levels. Dude is a beast bare-handed. Of course, the real drawback is that he isn't nearly as tanky as the Fighter, despite having a higher HP growth rate, because he just doesn't get access to great equipment in the NES version. The Dawn of Souls remake, though, gives him access to better tools, though, and makes him that much more powerful. Not that it's necessarily needed, since DoS is also quite a bit easier.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
a Fighter with the Silver Sword likely helped a lot
I think this is another case of a bug / glitch because I believe you weren't supposed to be able to buy the Silver Sword until you get to a different town later in the game but the shop location for the sword got mixed up / messed up.

It's a shame that the special swords are all bugged. I sold them all, because, as far as I know, they don't actually hit harder against the type of monster that they are supposed to be strong against. But this makes the game simpler, so no big deal for me.
Some of the special swords that you can get later in the game do have more powerful raw stats so you can switch to those and not worry about enemy weaknesses or resistances. But you are correct about the swords you have found so far - in bugged versions of the game they mostly are just good as a way to raise cash (especially with the party and equipment you currently have).
 
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Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
The one thing that drives me mad about this game is the missing. Everyone misses so much, it's ridiculous. But it got better, with the Fighter getting this sword, and the BB reaching level 7 and getting rid of all equipment. He isn't nearly as strong as the Fighter, but hits most of the time, and does actually decent damage.

A character's number of hits per attack rises by 1 for every 32 points of HIT% they have, and you only miss an attack if all hits miss individually. So a character has two chances to hit with 32 HIT%, three chances to hit with 64, and so on. Mages only gain 1 HIT% per level and hardly get any bonus from the weapons they can equip, so attacking with them will remain a bad idea for most of the game. But Fighters and Black Belts gain 3 HIT% every level, and Fighters get access to weapons that raise their HIT% a lot on top of that.


I remember (vaguely, it's pretty long since I actually read that argument) that later FFs get too linear, when this game already seems very linear to me. Up to now, there is only one way forward, and there aren't even sidequests. I vaguely remember it changing a bit, now, but not too much? We will see. For now, it seems that this series has been pretty linear from the very first game.

If the very first part of the game, where you're confined to a single town and a single dungeon, can be considered a tutorial, then everything up to using the TNT is arguably an extended tutorial. Once you break out of the inner sea, your options open up a lot, and once you beat Lich and get the canoe, you can basically do the rest of the game in whatever order you want. And if you don't already know how to get through the game, the critical path becomes much more obscure, requiring you to hunt around more in order to progress.


It's a shame that the special swords are all bugged. I sold them all, because, as far as I know, they don't actually hit harder against the type of monster that they are supposed to be strong against. But this makes the game simpler, so no big deal for me.

Those swords are still better than the Silver Sword just because they have higher numbers on the internal weapons index, which (due to a bug) is what the game looks at for determining the probability of critical hits.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I probably just shouldn't post, because I've made this same post in some form or another countless times and it never seems to get any traction, but it's been a while, so why not?

Personally, I find JRPGs are way more fun when you don't grind. There's this very pervasive common wisdom that you need to grind, especially in old RPGs, and it's just simply not the case. I played through all of FF1-3 & DQ1-4 in the last few years, several of them for the first time, without looking anything up, and I just... didn't grind. When I was a kid, that was exactly how I played them. Get to Elfland, walk in circles and kill ogres, grind up some silver swords and Lit-2. Clear the Marsh cave, find a bunch of loot that I don't want because I already bought everything, then sell it to the shopkeepers, because I already have better.

You know what's way more fun? Stopping in Elfland, buying what I can afford, and then moving on. See how far I can get. Turn around when I'm out of resources, heal and stock up in town, and try again. Get further each time. Get to the entrance to the Marsh Cave, and use a Tent. Dive down and see how far I can make it. Maybe find some chests on the way with some new loot that will improve my party. Sometimes I overextend and don't make it back, but the risk adds some fun too (and if it's a DQ game, you still make progress even when you do die). Some people think this is just grinding by another name, but I could not possibly disagree more. It's a complete shift of attitude, and a markedly different experience. Instead of walking in circles and stealing fun from both present and future me, I get a sense of danger, a sense of progression, and variety. Dungeons become a series of successive spelunks, with mystery and danger. And sometimes I beat a boss or a dungeon before I'm expected to! What a rush!

And in the Marsh Cave in particular, grinding largely doesn't address the biggest dangers. Sometimes in that cave you just roll snake eyes and everyone gets stun-locked to death. Just throw yourself at it and eventually it won't happen. I play through FF1 at least annually, and it's been years since I did any grinding.

Stop grinding, start playing, and know peace.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Stop grinding, start playing, and know peace.

Just underlining this because Jbear isn't talking out his ass - I've also played through all of FF1~6 and DQ1~3 within the last three years, and I didn't grind in any of them except a bit at the end of DQ1. All on original hardware with no save states, for the record. The playstyle is totally valid. I say if you like the zen of the grind, go for it, but it's not required and you don't have to do it to enjoy these old games.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I mean, you can do that - you're just grinding in a different way. I used to do what you describe in Dragon Quest a lot, but it's easier to pull off there since the penalty for failure is lower. Especially in the later entries that let you bank your money before you enter a tough dungeon.

I do generally agree that you don't want to sit there and grind all the time. Definitely better to try to take on areas - extensive grinding just isn't fun. But a lot of times, when you hit an area and get absolutely crushed, well, that's a good time to beef up a bit.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
For the record, no matter if I answer directly to a post, I appreciate them all. It's nice to see people reacting to my walls of text, and giving me input. Learning about the bugs is always interesting. I didn't remember, for example, that the index of the weapon in the weapon table is its critical percentage (that's how it works, right?). Well, I'm sure I will find another nice sword sooner or later.

If the very first part of the game, where you're confined to a single town and a single dungeon, can be considered a tutorial, then everything up to using the TNT is arguably an extended tutorial. Once you break out of the inner sea, your options open up a lot, and once you beat Lich and get the canoe, you can basically do the rest of the game in whatever order you want. And if you don't already know how to get through the game, the critical path becomes much more obscure, requiring you to hunt around more in order to progress.
I stand corrected. Looking forward to that part, I'm curious if I will make it through the game without looking at an FAQ. Can't imagine that, but I'll try.

I probably just shouldn't post, because I've made this same post in some form or another countless times and it never seems to get any traction, but it's been a while, so why not?

Personally, I find JRPGs are way more fun when you don't grind. There's this very pervasive common wisdom that you need to grind, especially in old RPGs, and it's just simply not the case. I played through all of FF1-3 & DQ1-4 in the last few years, several of them for the first time, without looking anything up, and I just... didn't grind. When I was a kid, that was exactly how I played them. Get to Elfland, walk in circles and kill ogres, grind up some silver swords and Lit-2. Clear the Marsh cave, find a bunch of loot that I don't want because I already bought everything, then sell it to the shopkeepers, because I already have better.

You know what's way more fun? Stopping in Elfland, buying what I can afford, and then moving on. See how far I can get. Turn around when I'm out of resources, heal and stock up in town, and try again. Get further each time. Get to the entrance to the Marsh Cave, and use a Tent. Dive down and see how far I can make it. Maybe find some chests on the way with some new loot that will improve my party. Sometimes I overextend and don't make it back, but the risk adds some fun too (and if it's a DQ game, you still make progress even when you do die). Some people think this is just grinding by another name, but I could not possibly disagree more. It's a complete shift of attitude, and a markedly different experience. Instead of walking in circles and stealing fun from both present and future me, I get a sense of danger, a sense of progression, and variety. Dungeons become a series of successive spelunks, with mystery and danger. And sometimes I beat a boss or a dungeon before I'm expected to! What a rush!

And in the Marsh Cave in particular, grinding largely doesn't address the biggest dangers. Sometimes in that cave you just roll snake eyes and everyone gets stun-locked to death. Just throw yourself at it and eventually it won't happen. I play through FF1 at least annually, and it's been years since I did any grinding.

Stop grinding, start playing, and know peace.
Please do post, I appreciate all kinds of comments on my quest.

Especially with these early games, that's how I try to approach them. It's also why I don't play the DoS version, the challenge seems to me an essential part of these early games. Even with Elfland, it was less running around the town, and more that I just gained levels and earned money relatively fast, so that I had to get back to town to buy new stuff. I was level 4 when I got there, so it's no surprise that just traveling to Cave of Dwarf (love that name) and back made me possbly level up and get richer. I ignore most spells anyway (elemental spells and Fast for the BM, and healing magic + harm for the WM, everything else seems mainly pointless, at the moment), so I had enough money for the Silver Sword pretty soon. At this point, I already had started my trips to the cave.

It is helpful that just learning about the layout of a dungeon is useful. The Marsh Cave becomes way more managable if you know where to go, so even if you die, you make some sort of progress.

That said, I'm sure that there will be situations where I'm in a dungeon and don't want to lose whatever I got on the way down. I know myself, I will use a savestate then. But I will try not to, as much as I can. But, considering how much stronger you get through single level ups, I can't imagine spending any time grinding, from now on. Except for the last dungeon, I guess. I remember that one being pretty intense, I just abused savestates the last time I played.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
Stop grinding, start playing, and know peace.

I tend to agree (although I don’t mind the zen of gaining a bit of gold to buy that last helmet) but I’m also thinking of the time Brickroad did a FF1 LP as a forum funding event and got stonewalled for like 4 videos because he refused to gain the two levels or whatever he needed to push through. Don’t actively punish yourself either.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Can someone explain why my BM can learn FIR3, but not WARP? They are both for sale in the same shop, both level 5, my BM has one charge, what's up? I never heard of this kind of bug.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Spell exclusivity isn't necessarily tied to level. In the case of WARP, it's only available to Black Wizards and Red Wizards.
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
WARP and EXIT require wizard promotion. If you had a Red Mage LIFE also does, but White Mages can learn it.

There are some others, but nothing else matters (the spell is bad or you'd need to be be ignoring promotion for it to come up).

Where this got interesting was when I ran parties without access to much magic. I've run four Fighters several times, which are shockingly viable throughout the game, but it can make that Marsh Cave fight a bit more difficult, and of course healing is always more problematic.
I mean, yes, the second best party in the game is certainly viable (technically the 4th, but Red Mage/Black Mage/Ninja in that fourth slot are all pretty similar).
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Certainly too late to address now, but while he certainly has the body for it, Jidi fits Red Mage better than Bl Belt. And Json is a better fit for Bl Mage

I’ll accept my Imaginary Cookie now, if it’s no trouble
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
The issue with party comp is more that most magic is bugged in the original versions and to varying degree across the ports than anything else. That, plus the abundance of permanent casting items in the late game is what pushes the best party comps to red-haired swordspeople. In later ports or running bugfixed versions of the original, pretty much any combination will probably work outside four thieves maybe (thieves suck, though ninjas are pretty good).
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I mean, yes, the second best party in the game is certainly viable (technically the 4th, but Red Mage/Black Mage/Ninja in that fourth slot are all pretty similar).
Interesting... I guess it really is a melee-oriented game in that regard. Fighters are super tanky. The only drawback is that you run out of really good weapons to give them toward the end - the third and fourth slots are doing piddly damage compared to those wielding Excalibur or especially the Masamune.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
But BM is the most fashionable, so Tani was the only correct person for that role. Or maybe she should have become the RM, who is most fashionable of them all.

In case anyone is curious: It's the four main characters from The Good Place. Big spoiler for the show: I like to imagine that one of the reboots of the neighborhood is just the world of FF I, and they have to beat it, to realize what's up.

Anyway, here is your Imaginary Cookie:




----------------------------------------

Guys, the Earth Cave is a mean place. The first two floors weren't too bad, but than I got to the third, and Wizards started to appear. Groups of four. The shock didn't stay for long, though, I seem to be already too strong for them to be the terrifying jerks. Still dangerous, but quite managable, as long as I don't forget to keep everyone healthy.

The real monsters are, actually, birds. On floor three I ran into an encounter with three Cockatrices. Considering their name, I assumed that they would be able to turn my guys into stone. Thankfully, they didn't, and for some reason I got through this fight without anyone turned. No idea how that worked out, but it was a good thing. It was before I fought against the Vampire, and I hadn't thought about buying any SOFTs. The Vampire himself wasn't much of a problem, and died in the second round. Another easy boss down. I still knew that I needed something to open the plate from the bag, and the game told me to bring the Ruby to Titan. So I did, and had my first encounter with a summon from the later games! Not a particular exciting encounter, mind you, but something to be noted, I think.

I visited a guy in the middle of nowhere, and got a really heavy rod. It was heavy enough to smash a block of stone into pieces. For that, I had to make it to the end of the third floor of the Earth Cave for a second time, which, in itself, felt pretty mean. I did encounter a set of six horrible birds, and tried to fight them, like I did with the three. Bad idea, after the first round, one horrible bird was down, and three of my guys were turned to stone. I had SOFTs, but this looked dire. Thankfully, my last free guy managed to flee, before another horrible bird could do something.

That was the point were I got nervous. The fourth floor wasn't any better (it was probably worse). A lot of spiked tiles in front of chests. I did get everything, but some of these monsters were pretty dangerous. A special shoutout to the two manticores, who hit like a load of trucks. That one just felt like I got lucky, as no one got killed. But than, I missed more in this one battle than during all the other fights in the cave, FI and BB managed to land no or one hit, rarely two. It was scary.

When I made it to the left-lower part of the fourth floor, I expected the room there to contain Lich. Well, no, just more chests, and after I hit another spiked tile to get the first one, I just ignored the other two and ran. At this point, I wanted to reach Lich and not die from stone poisoning.

The fifth floor seemed less evil then the third and fourth. The main reason is probably, that I never met another group of horrible birds, and instead just encountered some gross funghus and a bunch of lonely trolls. I think there was a group of Wizards, but elsewise, not too horrible.

Lich himself went down in the first round, but in this case, I was very glad that he didn't get a second attack in. I think he threw ICE2 at me, which hurt a lot. Especially my mages didn't seem like they would survive a second round of that. I mean, he also didn't survive my FIR2, so that's only fair, I guess. I was very glad, to be able to just be warped out of the tunnel. That was very nice of the game, considering that "nice" is normally not a word that I would use to describe it.

And that's mainly it, for now. I made my way to the East, where I found circle of Sages and got my boat. Next time, I will probably take on Mt. Gulug (or whatever the spelling is). One of the sages mentioned it, so that one shouldn't be too far off.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
But BM is the most fashionable, so Tani was the only correct person for that role. Or maybe she should have become the RM, who is most fashionable of them all.

In case anyone is curious: It's the four main characters from The Good Place. Big spoiler for the show: I like to imagine that one of the reboots of the neighborhood is just the world of FF I, and they have to beat it, to realize what's up.

Counterpoint; out of all of them, who is most likely to solve problems by setting them on fire?
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
Interesting... I guess it really is a melee-oriented game in that regard. Fighters are super tanky. The only drawback is that you run out of really good weapons to give them toward the end - the third and fourth slots are doing piddly damage compared to those wielding Excalibur or especially the Masamune.
Defense / Masmune / XCalibur is great for chaos, and your 4th stringer will just be casting FAST for bosses; though the Katana is also quite good if it happens to be a ninja.

On paper the Defense is worse than the Sun Sword but bugged crit rate makes it better. Four fighters are going to be using the Sun Sword on your first position, but you'll likely want to RUSE a bit anyway. I'd also volunteer them for the not ribbon, but on a fighter that's not as big a deal with Dragon Armor.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
I still knew that I needed something to open the plate from the bag, and the game told me to bring the Ruby to Titan. So I did, and had my first encounter with a summon from the later games! Not a particular exciting encounter, mind you, but something to be noted, I think.

For the record, the titan in the Japanese version is just called a giant (巨人). "Titan" is a perfectly acceptable synonym for "giant," but it's not Titan, the summon monster who begins appearing in Final Fantasy III.

I like how most bosses in FFI are highly dangerous but also don't stand up to much. It makes every round feel like life or death. Even the good remake saw this as a problem and doubled the Fiends' HP, but I guess there it gives you more time to look at the very good graphics.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I tend to agree (although I don’t mind the zen of gaining a bit of gold to buy that last helmet) but I’m also thinking of the time Brickroad did a FF1 LP as a forum funding event and got stonewalled for like 4 videos because he refused to gain the two levels or whatever he needed to push through.
Brickroad does tend to be a stubborn butthead about that.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
For the record, the titan in the Japanese version is just called a giant (巨人). "Titan" is a perfectly acceptable synonym for "giant," but it's not Titan, the summon monster who begins appearing in Final Fantasy III.

I like how most bosses in FFI are highly dangerous but also don't stand up to much. It makes every round feel like life or death. Even the good remake saw this as a problem and doubled the Fiends' HP, but I guess there it gives you more time to look at the very good graphics.
Thanks for the info. I guess that makes Bahamut the only monster that later gets changed into a summon. I'm actually surprised that there is no Leviathan in this game. Would seem like a good D&D monster, just for the name alone.

Totally agree on the boss fights. They are short and intense, up to the very end. I found them pretty fun.

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So, I used the last few days to play through the rest of the game. Just beat the final dungeon, and enjoyed how Chaos SLOWLY desintegrates into nothingness.

Mt. Gulg was part super easy, part horrifying. There is this big part in the second floor, that is full of treasure chests, but also completely optional. It is also the hardest part of the dungeon, because there are no lava tiles in there. And there are two enemies that are really terrifying, at least with the equipment I had at this point. There were Really Horrible Birds, who could do some awful instant death spell. Thankfully, my White Mage alread had Life (at least I think? I'm already a bit fuzzy on the details), so he could revive whoever got killed. The other horrible monsters were the Red Gargoyles, who know FIR2. I encountered a group of five, got surprised and lost three characters. Got lucky, and was able to flee with the last one. I made it out alive, because I was near the entrance, and then got back to town with whatever stuff I had gotten.

Getting all the loot from this big room took two trips on their own, just because of these two monsters. The rest of the dungeon was easy, just because the lava tiles make sure you don't encounter anything. I had very few encounters through the rest of the volcano, and most other monsters weren't a big deal. Kary, too, was easily beaten.

The Ice Cave was not too bad either, until I was met by two not-Astoses, who decided to instant-kill one of my guys. Thankfully, I could flee from them too, and was lucky enough to be already near the boss that protected the Floater. The other encountes weren't too bad, even though they were annoying. But nothing that my mages couldn't handle. I don't remember the boss posing much of a problem, too. I think, on the whole, I got pretty lucky in there.

I vaguely remembered that the manual showed the place, where you can find the airship. Which is good. After this playthrough, I found the hints from the NPCs to be very useful and fair, and that they provide you with nearly all the directions and hints that you need to play through the game. The position of the airship is, I think, the only part that is too obscure. I think there is someone, who gives a hint, but I don't think I would have thought of actually USING the Floater.

The open-world part of the game was fun. I'm not sure how much it helped, that I had already played through the game once, but it's not like a lot had stuck. I remembered the Fairy, and that she would make it possible for me to breathe underwater, but that's it, I think. Here are the hints, that I wrote down:

Mystic Key → Prince of Elfland has it
Treasure in Conelia, after getting Mystic Key
Treasure in Garlands place, after getting Mystic Key (both chests right)
Treasure in Elfland Castle, after getting Mystic Key
Treasure at Dwarf Cave, after getting Mystic Key
Treasure at Astos Palace, after getting Mystic Key
Treasure in Marsh Cave, after getting Mystic Key (untere Räume)
Crystal to Matoya in Cave, north of Conelia
Matoyas HERB will wake the Elf prince
Astos stole CRYSTAL from Matoya
A dwarf needs TNT
Cave of Dwarf is at the west end of the Aldi Sea
Titan loves RUBIES
Trouble in Melmond (west)
Sarda does not fear the evils of the cave, he lives past Titans Tunnel, than south
Lukahn (the prophet) left for Crescent Lake
Fairy at Spring was kidnapped (Gaia, city inside mountains) → Sold to Caravan → Fairy can get OXYALE from Spring
A FLOATER can make everything float (according to a dwarf)
Proof of Courage for Bahamut is in Castle of Ordeal
Shining object flying east from Gaia → Fell down (robot at waterfall?)
Castle to the west is a place of courage (from Gaia, city inside mountains)
Dr. Unne lives in destroyed town → can teach Lefeinish with SLAB

The lute can break the evil gate
Smith the Dwarf needs ADAMANT to create a powerful sword
Tower in Desert is no mirage → use musical tone (CHIME) to unlock
Cube to get to Castle in the Sky

That was also vaguely the part, where money stopped being a problem at all. Quite a difference, compared to the beginning, and specifically Elfland, where you need money to buy potions and antidots, which are somewhat expensive, at this point. It's also around this time, that my guys started to feel like Shonen heroes. I just couldn't help picture my BB punching every enemy to death, and got Luffy from One Piece into my head. Most monsters died from a single hit, no matter if it was FI or BB who attacked.

Next goal was the Castle of Ordeals, just because I wanted the Exit and Warp spells. Was a bit annoying, but not too bad, and it provided me with the great Zeus gauntlet. I'm not sure anymore, if the Heal Staff was also in there, but I found it soon afterwards. I had completely forgotten about the Heal equipment, and was unsure how I was supposed to even make it through later dungeons, considering how fast you use up the 99 potions you have. The Heal equiptment, of course, helps tremendously with that problem. And the Zeus gauntlet, together with the Black Shirt, Thors Hammer and that stuff that casts FIR2, made it so that my mages finally could actually really contribute in every fight.

Honestly, I like having a WM, just because I like having the ability to instantly get out of a dungeon, and because he is the only source of reviving inside a dungeon. But he seems, on the whole, pretty useless. Healing inside of battles is only rarely relevant, because either you or the enemy dies so fast. And the heal options that there are, before the Heal Staff anyway, aren't that great. Also, Life has a chance of failing inside battles, which makes it just so much more frustrating. On the whole, considering that everyone can use the Heal equipment, I don't find the WM that useful. It's nice to have the Harm spells, for one or two dungeons, though.

The BM is similar. The level two spells are pretty useful for killing groups of enemies, especially around Elfland, but there just aren't enough charges there, and, because of the bug, the spells soon are too weak. An item that has infinite charges of level 2 spells is great, but another class could have used that too. Haste is a great spell (without it, the remaches with the Fiends and the fight with Chaos seem incredibly hard, the damage just wasn't there, for me), but elsewise, it seems like another class would be more useful for most of the game.

The Ocean Shrine was pretty easy. Both the monsters, as the navigation. I liked that the mermaids lived basically inside the dungeon, it was a nice touch to have someone live inside this monser infested area. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up the Ribbon in there, and had to come back, because my BM was way too vulnerable without it, in the last dungeon. Not much else to say here, Kraken wasn't much of a challenge either.

The Caravan seems to be another place that might be too well hidden. But there is a hint, and the place looks like its special, so I don't think it's too unfair. That you need 50k for the bottle was a different thing. Not too bad, you can likely do other stuff, and just a bit of wandering around should give you 50k soon enough. I had just bought some spells, and needed a bit more money. Not a big deal, two fights were enough.

From then on, I just got stronger and stronger, and nothing seemed to be able to stand in my way. The game had become really easy at this point. The Flying Fortress (I think that's the name, Tiamats dungeon) and the Waterfall both were pretty easy. Except for meeting Warmech, who decided to just kill one of my guys. Thankfully, it wasn't the WM, so that was easily fixed, but still. I never liked that this jerk is just a random encounter, who will, if you are unlucky, appear and kill someone, just for fun. Tiamat himself was kind of challenging, because he finally was a boss that took a few rounds, but I was never in any real danger.

And then, I got the Excalibur and went to the final dungeon. I still like that it is at the very start, and that the bats are just the poor warriors who had lost, and were now cursed for way too long.

I still find the decision weird, that you can't get out of this dungeon. The idea behind most of the game seems to be, that you go into a dungeon, learn about it's layout, get some treasure, and just learn the shortest way to the next floor. But here, without magic, you are stuck. Maybe the game expects you to have someone who can get you out. But, considering that FF III does the same thing (I think), being stuck in the final dungeon seems intentional. Can't say that I like this decision, just because it makes grinding harder, which you might still need, but it does give the whole thing an epic feel. You are completely in now, stuck in the past at some horrible place. Either you or the enemy dies.

And here, I cheated a bit. I knew about the rematches, and I knew that Nuke arbitrarily decides to randomly kill characters, or not, because the variance in damage is so absurd. My characters were around level 25, so maybe that was just too low, but the regular monsters died pretty, so it felt correct. For that reason, I made a savestate before the battle, and reloaded, when that stupid spell decided that it had to kill just my WM. The only character who could have revived the others. The second time, my BB died, which was fine. I could revive him, so no big deal. Lich didn't get a second attack in. Kary nearly killed my BM (he had exactly 1 HP left, after her attack), but fell pretty easily, too. With Kraken, it started to get tough. My FI and my BB both did way less damage than I expected, and here, I started to use my six charges of Fast to make them stronger. Just enough for the last three bosses. Kraken hit hard, but was relatively easily beaten. Tiamat was not challenge at all. I mean, he survived a few rounds, but mainly used elemental spells, which didn't do too much damage.

For the record, I didn't use savestates at any other point. The rest of the dungeon worked out fine, and I would have accepted defeat, had I died. It is really just NUKE, which I just find too much of a coin toss.

And then, I was already at the end. I didn't spend time, getting any treasure. I just assumed that the Excalibur was the best weapon, my BB only needed his fists, and my mages weren't supposed to attack anyway. I also had Prorings and three Ribbons, so I just assumed that I was ready. Chaos wasn't too bad, as he, too, just attacked with spells. I was afraid that my damage wasn't enough, and he would heal himself, but I think he died in the fourth round.

And with that, it was done. As I said, his death felt pretty epic. The way he slowly vanishes really makes it feel like the end of an epic journey.

I'll probably write a bit more later, some final thought and stuff. But for now, the post is already long enough.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
This is going to be a heck of a thread, I can already tell. I'm very excited to see later entries.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm excited to talk about all the undocumented ways to make FFII bearable.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
The Ice Cave was not too bad either, until I was met by two not-Astoses, who decided to instant-kill one of my guys. Thankfully, I could flee from them too, and was lucky enough to be already near the boss that protected the Floater. The other encountes weren't too bad, even though they were annoying. But nothing that my mages couldn't handle. I don't remember the boss posing much of a problem, too. I think, on the whole, I got pretty lucky in there.
It sounds like you did get pretty lucky - Ice Cave can be pretty harrowing (but the boss/treasure guardian is usually a chump).

Kary, too, was easily beaten.
So I guess you decided to ignore Brickroad's advice about this part of the game.
 
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