Chaos had two Units: Future and Hover (the second engine), which we took back to the Talon and then headed to the Future, where the world was flooded beyond recognition. An observant player might realize that the only surviving land had previously been surrounded by mountains, but be honest: do you really remember which parts of the map those were? Including ones that weren’t relevant before now? Without existing knowledge of the topography it becomes nearly impossible to navigate the chain of former-mountains-turned-islands that make up the world, so navigation fell to me this time around. A new player might notice that Dharm was gone and head straight to Elan, but I knew what I was doing and cut most of the corners. I started by going to South Tower, where our Ifram Tree informed us that the Dharmites had moved to an island to the east, and had disguised their hideout as a graveyard. Unfortunately this advice was not really needed, as the backwards-compatible Gameboy Colour portion of the GBA’s hardware colours in all non-background sprites, ergo the grave that could move aside for you was coloured pink instead of transparent like the others, and you don’t need to talk to the tree to open it if you know where it is. Whoops.
Inside the underground shelter, we found Myron, who was running a cell of the Resistance (of course it’s called that) against the Masters. Myron explained that the Masters were responsible for the Water Entity and were using their monsters to actively discourage people from trying to stop the Entity – and since that worked for more than 15 years, I’d say they did a pretty good job! The Masters, we learned if it wasn’t already obvious from the narration, were from a place called Pureland, and they had recently pushed the war back in their favour. Myron gave us the password for access to resistance HQ in the newly constructed town of Viper to the north: “ERAUQS,” aka “Square” backwards, something I never caught on to as a kid but can’t miss now that it’s the name of a major character in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (well, “Eraqus,” which can actually be said out loud).
Buying nothing in town (there was nothing worthwhile) we headed off to Viper, where we learned even more news of the war. Faye, the little girl from the prologue, was now a young adult and had been kidnapped by the Masters as the end result of a long campaign of kidnapping (mentioned as far back as the start of the game), which had been intended to find the girl who could draw the most powerful of the “Mystic Swords,” Xcalibr. Naturally, Faye was the chosen one. Also, a group of resistance fighters had already gone to Pureland: Borgin, someone named Dr. Quacer and someone else named Jupiah had constructed their own copy of the Talon and gone off through the dimensions. We learned all of this from Dion, Faye’s childhood friend/sibling?, who now wanted to follow the “Talon2” crew, with Faye’s kidnapping putting us on a tight timeline. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be easy. We would need the original Talon’s dimension travelling Unit, X-Plane, which was being guarded by the last Water Entity monster, Maitreya, on Floatland. Oh, and we have to finally get the godforsaken thing out of the ground.
Wait, wait, hold on you yappy bastard, roll this back a bit. You just recreated a piece of God-made technology based only on the example you have buried in the basement of a palace – a piece of technology that you can’t even get out the ground, and which I would have assumed wasn’t even there to begin with because we were using it to time travel at the time – and yet you somehow managed to do all of this so well that you duplicated a critical part of the machine that it doesn’t even have yet and made it work with 100% success? And you’re losing this war?
Dion joined us, his level not that much higher than ours, which was somewhat reassuring, and asked us to go visit a “Dr. Pulsar” in his hidden, underwater lab near the Palace. On the way out, we grabbed Unit Berth from the Viper stores: this Unit would install a set of stasis pods in the Talon that could be used as a free, and more importantly portable Inn.
But before we could visit Pulsar there was some work to do. We had to raid some more shipwrecks (one of which I ended up doing at home after the fact) and buy our equipment from the other towns. Most of the good equipment actually wasn’t in the world, so to speak, but in a town on Floatland, which we could only visit later. Still, there were a few exceptions worth grabbing, most of which could be found in Muu. Unfortunately, Muu had been overrun by the enemy and its inhabitants turned entirely to WaterHags. We first had to go to Elan, where they set up clues for the places we had already been, but also informed us that Sol had been kidnapped from Floatland and taken back to Pureland. Well that’s not good. Speaking to Cronus, he asked us to go to Viper (been there) but also to speak one last time to Granny, who was on her deathbed in the inn. We went there (first taking a well-deserved rest next to the dying woman we did not even acknowledge) before talking to her and receiving the Morph spell as one last gift, with instructions to talk to the Muuites and fight out what they know. This proved quite valuable, as our new disguise got us the information that the Water Entity had been created by a Master called Xagor, and that killing him would probably fix things. This is good information: the game will not bring it up again for most of its running time! From Muu we bought the items that would not be outdated on Floatland (some Dragon boots and Iron gloves, and Psi Swords for the Mutants) and headed back out.
En route to all of these stops, we ran into plenty of powerful monsters. The Future isn’t beating around the bush with random encounters and we were still somewhat underlevelled to begin with, and it didn’t help that we had avoided upgrading most of our equipment! Still, one has to remark on how goofy many of them look, as do the monsters in the other game designed by this team: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. As I said to Kyle: “When they said monsters were attacking people day and night in a planetary genocide, did you picture small child-like, winged women in dresses dive bombing people from above, assisted by werepigs in Viking helmets?” At that moment, the game decided to add additional commentary: “Werepigs with boomerangs?” I added.
Somewhere in the midst of this mess, we visited Pulsar’s lab. At the lab, we were filled in on the plan: to use a rocket to land on Floatland, kill Maitreya and retrieve both Unit X-Plane and a Remote that could call the Talon. That done, we would radio Pulsar, who would blow up the Palace and release the Talon. That would be one hell of a controlled explosion if he plans on leaving the Talon unharmed! So to repeat: their plan is to level a major religious site without the monsters seeing them setting up the explosives while their most powerful fighters are elsewhere doing other things. I see no flaws in this!
We started off our second session of Legends III by blasting off into the sky onto the southwest corner of Floatland, right next to a town (what are the odds!) where we upgraded our equipment and spells at last. Someone in town explained that time does not pass on Float or Pureland, but the fact that you can just land on Floatland and kidnap people from it makes this obviously bullshit instead of just generally bullshit. Floatland’s timelessness is probably intended to explain away why you can’t time travel in Pureland once you go there with the Talon. But while you can bring the Talon to Floatland, it immediately leaves and you cannot return, so again: time not passing there makes no sense.
From there, we headed north to a ruin filled with… slime? Slime with currents? I have no idea what this stuff is and yet the dungeon is full of it. You’d think the subject would at least come up if we discovered a building full of slime, harmless lava, spinal fluid… hell, even a building full of plain old water, someone should be bringing it up! Inside, we found the Talon’s Remote, which would call the thing if it weren’t trapped under a building and all, and backtracked to grab a few more chests. Going back for the chests was a little odd, in a manner of speaking. As we discussed at some point of the day, if not specifically here, the Final Fantasy Marathons have had the odd effect of maintaining the “beat at all costs!” attitude of the Mega Man Marathon, while losing the “beat as soon as possible!” impetus that actually founded the MM marathons! Ah well. Taking an X-Fire staff to boost Gloria’s magic, we headed back to town and then off to Maitreya’s fortress on a Floatland mountain.
Navigating the mountain, we got to the tower at its peak and climbed to the top. As we went, Kyle commented on how many damn secret passages there are in this game, just in time for some gargoyle to knock most of the party off a cliff and allow Dion to find a secret passage of his own. This door lead him to Maitreya, two rooms away, as he was clearly too stubborn and stupid to turn back and look for us. Maitreya near killed him. Hey, buddy, that’s what happens when you don’t lead the Godslaying to the professionals. We took our damn time catching up to him, too, because that’s how we roll. Much of this walk went by with the background music off, due to us finding the secret door and then plainly ignoring it, because that is also how we roll! Behind the door, we followed the pass around the outside of the tower (possibly a reference to the ending of FFLI), and found a staircase that rose up from the catwalk, into nowhere.
“What are those stairs attached to?” I asked Kyle.
After a moment’s thought, he answered: “…Sky.”
And that’s still the best answer we’re going to get, folks.
At the end of the we found Maitreya, hanging out in a room far too small and cramped to be practical for fighting or… whatever Water Entity Masters do in their spare time. And one of the cubbies stuffed with some dead guy, ew! Oh, wait, sorry. That’s Dion. Whatever, man, Maitreya wasn’t even a threat to us, what’s your excuse? Just chop down the Lamia bodyguards and go after the boss with X-Plane swords and Curtis’ new Psi gun! After upgrading in Floatland, it really seemed like we were back on par with my earlier playthroughs of the game. The rest should have gone down easy, if it weren’t for one other notable mistake.
Using our newly-found Exit spell to leave, we radioed the surface and had them blow up the Palace, so that we could call the Talon and get out of there. We took Dion back to Viper, where the doctor bragged that he could have restored Dion from even worse condition, even if all he had was just a single cell! That’s not terrifying and completely improbable! Start ‘er up!
Official Deicide Tally: Chaos (FFI), Dark Emperor, Light Emperor, Creator (Legends), Ashura (Legends II), Dunatis, Venus, Magnate, Odin, Apollo, Julius / The Mana Tree, Creator (After Years), Dogra, Ashura (Legends III), Chaos (Legends III), Maitreya.
This journal’s screenshots come from me! I can resurrect them from a single pixel!