So there we were… back at the start of the game… and we found that Base was now populated by our allies from across the worlds. I still can’t decide if this sequence was meant to be dream-like or real. We said our confused hellos to this surreal assembly, and learned that the new Queen Armor was pregnant! Let’s not think too hard about that. After a few chats, we bought some top-tier equipment before getting ready to face the game’s final challenge. Time to take one last look at the party.
Rei was still a Fire Man, but that would soon change as the final push would give us the meat we needed to advance to the final monster tier, level 14. Some pushing and shoving would soon make him a Hi-Slime, a not particularly strong monster that has one special advantage: it ignores enemy Defence, which is useful against the final boss.
Liz was wearing a suit of Power Armour: a full body suit that takes up all the armour slots (you can’t wear a helmet or boots while wearing Power Armour) but only one inventory slot. This is useful for Mutants considering half of their slots are full of abilities. All of Liz’s abilities were totally useless: one was Power, an attack-boosting mutation that would have been useful if we weren’t using her as a caster with Agility weapons; one was Awareness, which gives you a small chance of ambushing enemies, whoopie; the other two were both ESP! It really spelled out her role in the game, in how her Mutant powers were just as useless now as they were throughout 98% of the game, but she proved useful in spite. Prior to this, we were having her handle our Heal staffs to provide group healing. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of not replacing her Heal staff before beating Ashura, and there was no way to go back to “the normal game” to buy another, leaving us with only a handful of uses. When she needed to attack, she had the Flare tome and a sword that was now in terrible repair: we had meant to get her a Magic-based weapon but that too was now out of our reach. Crap.
Kyle and Sara split the heavy weapons between them, with Kyle getting the Excalibur (a group-attack weapon, believe it or not) and the Nuke when the final boss came, and Sara getting the Masamune (oh, pardon me: “Masmune”) and the Glass Sword. They were both heavily armoured, which would have put them above Liz’s Power Armour if Liz’s natural Defence hadn’t given her the edge. At least one of them was still wearing Dragon armour for that extra immunity, while the other got the Arthur body armour after we found it inside the final dungeon.
The “Final Dungeon” was actually the Tower itself, this time on a series of platforms spiralling about the outside (in spite of us entering a door leading inside?). Whenever we came to the floor on the that corresponded with the four major Worlds inside, we re-fought a souped-up version of the world’s Fiend. “Gen-Bu2” provided us with the meat we used to get Rei to level 14, after which we began using meat to change him into a Hi-Slime. The walk was tedious, and we forgot to restock on Revives when we should have and so had to restart a few times that probably didn’t justify it. Nevertheless, we had soon reached the top, and inside the final door found a strange garden paradise, made even more ethereal by all the empty, white tiles spaces on the ground. At the north end of the garden: a bridge, where we found our friend in the hat and suit waiting for us.
Our associate introduced themselves as no less than the Creator of the worlds, which probably would have seemed more impressive if we hadn’t already killed the creator of six or more larger, entirely distinct worlds in another game in the Marathon (the game in question shows up later on this blog. We played FFLI out of order and the blog was later restructured to put the games back in order). This Creator announced that the entire ascent through the Tower was a game they had arranged for their own amusement, and that we were the first to win, and so they decided to give us a wish. Their mentioning a wish but not mentioning “paradise” was probably meant to increase the ambiguity of the ending but you can bet Kyle and I were ragging on the inconsistency. Our characters were pissed at being used like dolls. What, like when you were dragged around by Byak-Ko and the rebels like marionettes with no will of your own?
The point is, the party began to threaten the Creator, who laughed as they realized we were “trying to pick a fight with [them]”, and they decided, in typical villain fashion, that our “reward” would be to be destroyed by them. So they turned about and opened the final battle!
And then we got the jump on God.
Remember Liz’s Awareness skill? After proving useless this entire game, she suddenly kicked her ability in at the best possible moment possible, and we got a free round of combat against The Almighty Creator of Worlds. And we used it well: Flare from Liz, who would otherwise be preoccupied with healing; Melt from Rei; Nuke from Kyle and the Glass Sword from Sara. The Glass Sword was supposed to break after you use it despite its intentionally misleading durability of 50, but something apparently went wrong and it really does have 50 durability (it was reset to 1 in the Wonderswan remake). We considered switching over to the Masmune to play “fair”, but found the damage gap was only about 100, so if we had used Masmune, we would have only extended the fight by another round at best, considering Liz, Rei and Sara with the Masmune could drop ~900 damage in a single turn alone. Kyle’s Xcalibr, being a group attack weapon, was less-than-remarkable against a single target, only mustering ~100 damage a strike, but Kyle took a few hits that might have killed someone else, so it evened out.
The Creator died, which did not take all that long. While some of the Creator’s attacks did hit us hard, none of the serious attacks landed right after another, so Liz was always able to patch us up. From there, our characters pressed on to find one last door beyond the bridge, but chose not to continue, leaving the truth of the Tower and Paradise ambiguous in the end. Our characters returned home… wherever that is, since they didn’t seem to have homes.
Wish I had more to joke in the end, folks, but that was about it. A thoughtful, tidy ending after an only somewhat muddied game with incredible atmosphere and weird gameplay. I’ll be glad to get to the sequel, where a lot of these issues are ironed out, even if the atmosphere is watered down a bit. But not yet! The next game on the list is Final Fantasy III: the game that almost didn’t get in the Marathon at all.