It was at this point that Kyle and I made a critical mistake. Let’s try to put you in our shoes. We arrived at the moon and found it was much smaller than the world below (as you’d expect), but contained of several dungeons, most of them caves but one of them a massive green-crystal structure (there was also a carved face, probably a reference to the face-like pattern on Mars). Now, that was probably all we should have considered: “Oh, a crystal building, let’s go there.” But there was also another cave, bullseyed by a circle of rock. Where to start? Well, we weighed our evidence and picked the latter. Here’s the list:
- We tried to visit each dungeon first to get a grasp on it, but discovered the crystal dungeon couldn’t be reached directly. By our guess, most of the caves nearby served as a dungeon made up of smaller, micro-dungeons, eventually leading to reach the crystal castle. Ease favoured the bulls-eye cave.
- Tropes are also a factor. On one hand: a giant eye-catching castle demands attention. On the other hand, giant eye-catching castles that can only be reached by tunnel tend to be final dungeons. What were the odds we were going to the final dungeon at this point in the game when there was an easier-to-reach cave right over there?
- The bulls-eyed cave was called “Lair of the Father.” The Elder of Mysidia had just insisted to us that Cecil was being called to the moon, and the last time Cecil was “called,” it was by a mysterious voice that called him “son,” and remember that the game triple underlined the fact that he had been called “son.” If we were on the moon to figure out who was calling to Cecil (the characters certainly seem to have forgotten about Golbez), shouldn’t we be going to “the Father”?
On our way to the Cave (our real attempt, not our scouting attempt), we then ran into a fateful random encounter that would send us into the tailspin we spent the rest of the evening fighting to overcome. A bunch of overworld moon-amoebas did a nasty number on us. I wouldn’t say they kicked our asses, but it was far worse than we had seen for a simple new monster across the entire game. We began to worry that we were under-levelled.