We started on our way to world five, but turned back before heading too far: we had gathered the cash for a few Giant items back on World 3 and were going to make good on that. We gave at least one of the strength-boosting Giant items to Kyle, and another to KilB. Speaking of in-game Kyle, not long after this point he began to start missing his attacks with regularity. We were trying to boost his Agility to correct this even before it started, but he refused to cooperate. The outlook wasn’t very good: I saw one guide recommend a minimum of 35 AGI by end-game. Kyle had 13. Even Liz, who has been nominally training AGI all game, only had 23, and that’s with some AGI-boosting shoes. Her base AGI was 18!
Returning to the fifth world, we confirmed that it was quite small: the Pillar of Sky opened directly to a town instead of an overworld map. Or rather… a town built on top of overworld tiles, a very ecclectic art decision that I don’t think I agree with. This was a town that was definitely not hiding anything, no sir, and definitely not the headquarters of the Guardians. Nope. While we were speaking to NPCs, the game also started hinting at earthquakes occurring across the Worlds, but that’s for later and would continue happening as we went along even though we never did anything about it, like an elephant in the room wearing a tiny domino mask.
The barista in town was more willing to cooperate on the subject of secret goings-on than the others, but only if we were willing to buy an outrageous 100GP drink instead of the usual 10GP. He hinted that we had to use the jukebox, but if we were going to do so, we were going to do so on our dime because he refused to tell us which song to play. Thankfully (probably by design) the song “Heroic Tune” was near the top of the menu, and opened a secret door for us and we were promptly arrested by some Guardians. We were thrown in prison, but were promptly rescued by none other than Dad, whom the Guardians addressed as “Captain.” Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Talking to the Guardians, we learned that they were monitoring the New Gods to see if any might misuse their MAGI powers, which led to conflicting reports when later a Guardian said that the New Gods were all, without exception, out to get them. Well which one is it? Are they potentially harmful or are they actively hunting you? At the end of the base there was a storeroom, though we didn’t investigate it at the time. My hunt for screenshots confirmed that this is where they kept their MAGI in a plainly marked room, not unlike a box in the real world marked “NUCLEAR WEAPONS, DO NOT STEAL.” Going down another hall instead, we found Dad, who told us to get some sleep, which I can only assume was also his way of dodging the questions you had for him at the time. We had no choice in the matter: the game sent us immediately to bed.
When we woke up, what should happen but an incredibly serendipitous (if unfortunate) attack on the base by “the New Gods.” Apparently all of them? As you’ll recall, Apollo is either an okay guy or really busy trying to look like an okay guy, and Odin is a genuinely good person, so it’s hard to believe they would have attacked the Guardians. I don’t think the writers thought this through. On the subject of Odin, Odin actually shows up when you die, and asks you to fight him some day in the future in return for him resurrecting you to refight the battle that killed you (a mechanic that appears in all the other SaGa games without a catch). Fun Fact: If you make it to Odin without ever dying, he just fights you without conversation. Long story short, Odin doesn’t seem like the kind to attack the Guardians, but they also clearly include him in their list of suspect New Gods when you first come to the headquarters, so I don’t know what to think?
Back to the present. The monsters attacking the base had stolen the Guardians’ store of MAGI, but as we fought our way past a few not-quite-midbosses, we retrieved most of the pile. After the first fight, Dad joined the party. He seemed to be the only other survivor of the attack! Together, we fought our way to the Pillar of Sky, finding the town on the surface burned to the ground. At the Pillar itself, a Commando enemy threatened us, somehow managing to ambush us with a bazooka in the process. I admit: we aren’t exactly controlling the Final Fantasy Legend team that ambushed the Creator, but it’s still kind of embarrassing to not see someone pull a rocket launcher on you at short range.
As the Commando died, he passed on a threat: the New Gods had captured Lynn and were holding her in the next world! …Not that our party would have cared about Lynn any more than any other hostage. We’ve known the kid for all of ten minutes. All I can reason is that Dad cares, but… oh, we’re still trying to widen the gulf between the lead PC and Dad? The whole estrangement angle? The whole estrangement angle you deliberately chose not to fully translate? …Alright then.
The next world was the smallest in the game, essentially just a clearing where Lynn was held by a Ninja. That was trouble: Ninja are monsters from three worlds ahead, which so far ahead that we haven’t even reached them by the end of that session’s play. A monster from three worlds ahead made a far more impressive boss than the P-Frog from FFLI, which was a monster from the very next world. Dad was determined to beat the Ninja without hurting Lin, who had her within arm’s reach if not closer (Game Boy limitations: what can you do?), so he gave us his last Magi before, as best we could tell, straight-up exploding somehow. Yes: kamikaze explosions were the ideal way to resolve this close-range hostage situation. Game Boy limitations: you still could have done better than this.
And yet, it didn’t work! The Ninja returned from thin air. This is obviously an issue with the limited technology but really, what was supposed to have just happened here? Exploding was a terrible idea to begin with, but then the Ninja survived, and somehow the party didn’t realize the Ninja survived? The best guess Kyle could put forward to solve all the problems was that Dad somehow… pulled the Ninja into the Void? We’ve got shit, folks. I actually went out of my way to check a SaGa 2 DS Let’s Play to work out what’s going on here, but you know what? Events play out the exact same way and make just as little sense!
By the way, Dad’s last in-person request was to tell Mom he loves her but this is technically impossible: Mr. S blocks the cave back home for the rest of the game, you can only glitch past him at best. You viscous asshole! Just pass her a letter!
The Ninja was a pain in the ass to fight, nearly able to kill each us at the drop of Dad’s hat (too soon?). Lynn was absolutely useless even with her somewhat upgraded Martial Arts skills, as they were still at 100% durability. We did pull through, but it was close. That’s just how fights go in the first two FFL games: it’s a breeze for you or it’s a breeze for them. We got another MAGI from Ninja, if I’m not mistaken, and another when we returned Lynn home.
Actually, I have to complain about that last MAGI. Lynn’s mom says that the Captain (Dad) dropped off the MAGI for safe-keeping, but when? There is literally no window in which this was possible. Dad was at Lynn’s house at the end of World Four, but Prism told us the world was clear of MAGI. And Guardian’s Town was right after World Four. Dad certainly isn’t immune to Prism, since the MAGI he gives you on Giant’s World was detected properly. Did he pick it up on some other world and then drop it off all while we were asleep in the Guardian’s HQ?
Along with the MAGI, we got the full story about Lynn’s parentage: Lynn’s father was actually Mask, the guest character from World 2, and everyone involved repeated that Dad was just helping the family. Kyle’s character was pretty upset that his Dad died when he was busy hating him for obscure and poorly translated reasons!
The next world was another large one, which was the least the game could do after the room-sized World 6. World 7 was home to a large walled city: the domain of Venus, another of the New Gods. Venus, had built up the city with her power and influence, but it would appear she had also banished everyone not meeting her standard of beauty and perfection. (Apparently Giant items are perfectly beautiful, since a shop stocked them. Yoink!) As a result of this totalitarian policy, a man named Leon had recently been banished after an injury made him less-than-beautiful. Leon’s betrothed, Flora, was now being forced to marry an Imp-type Monster named Nigel. Luckily for us, Venus was in no hurry to toss us out of town, approving of our having eliminated “that ugly Ashura.” Charming, lady. I suppose we probably shouldn’t mention that your perfectly beautiful and clean crystal palace is the only residential or civic building I’ve ever seen in a video game with an entrance to the sewers built into the first floor? No?
With Venus’ permission (permission she never bothered to mention to us and we only heard about second-hand), we were allowed past the Robot guards at the city walls and into the jungle beyond. There, after some searching we found a village of refugees that weren’t perfect enough for Venus, including Leon, who told us that some of this world’s (17!) MAGI could be found in the aforementioned sewer system. Thankfully, though the sewer system was locked on Venus’ side, it did open directly into the jungle, because no video game is complete without your characters’ open wounds coming into contact with exotic jungle diseases mixed with feces.
In keeping with the dungeons from Apollo’s World, the sewers were uncomfortably long, which is becoming something of a theme with these bigger worlds. Halfway through the sewers we fought a giant crab, who was a pain on its own but barely even stood up next to the optional Monsters-in-a-box guarding two treasure troves we found later in the dungeon. Like in Ki’s Body, we were also plagued by monsters that could absorb past our defences, in this case Ghosts. We also had to put up with Nigel’s distant Imp cousins and their ability to cast spells and destroy us in a blink. We finally pulled out of the dungeons with six of the MAGI and three strains of malaria.
Back in the city, the earthquakes were hitting, and this batch somehow kicked up an entire volcano, which emerged as a full mountain popped SimCity-style, straight out of the damn ground northwest of the refugee camp. We headed out and entered the dungeon inside the new mountain, which was a seven-floor hellhole, larger than any dungeon yet. This was only made longer by Leon, who was stalking us. The game showed him following us stalling the game for two seconds every time he appeared. This little visual trick would have been effective if it had happened maybe once or twice, but it happened nearly a dozen times. At one point he stalled and turned around to keep from being spotted, all while standing in a pool of lava!
By the end of the dungeon we were limping, bleeding and burned, and almost ignored a Flame Sword found in a patch of lava because the situation was just that bad. It was clear we were well and overdue for a grind, but I couldn’t say for certain how much it will help. Despite our advancing three worlds from our earliest complaint, Rei was still near-helpless no matter what form we change him to. Things weren’t looking good for Team Killbot.
At the end of the dungeon were three chests, one of them blocking the door. Gee, I wonder which one’s going to trigger the inevitable Leon cutscene? Leon raced in and took the MAGI from the chest, leaving us behind. You can probably guess that he was planning on using the MAGI to disrupt Flora’s forced wedding. We somehow managed to pass him on the way back to Venus’ palace, where she invited us to the ceremony. You bet lady, I wouldn’t miss this debacle for the world. Sure enough, Leon burst in during the ceremony, threatening Venus with a knife and a single MAGI when Prism tells us that she has eight. He was tossed aside, but not killed. Indeed he gave us the MAGI after our team decided they had got their money’s worth of entertainment for the evening, and finally stepped up to take out Venus themselves.
The fight against Venus went pretty well. True, we got lucky, as she kept trying to Charm KilB, which is impossible (KilB is saving himself for marriage). She took several turns to take down, however, far more than Ashura, which I found surprising because… Strength is maybe the one field where we were up to par? Just my personal observation. After becoming Godslayers for the third time (I’m counting Dunatis), Flora and Leon thanked us, and even told Nigel that they knew a girl with a crush on him. Aww. Everyone’s conveniently happy! At least until Nigel has lunch with his date and the meal transforms him into a worm, or a living tree, or a malaria-ridden sewercrab.
Actually maybe the girl is the malaria-ridden supercrab.
Food for thought.
This journal’s screenshots come from me! Me, I say! I will sweep away the world in a wave of monochrome!!!