Finally ready, we gathered our stuff and began the long climb, working our way through the smaller mountains around Mt. Goht and taking advantage all the healing springs located there. The Masters should have taken those out long ago. At the last of these, the party noticed it was at a dead end, only for the Talon to appear and firebomb the shit out of the mountain, levelling that section of the range. Borgin explained to the flabbergasted party that the Talon’s aforementioned human brain was still hard at work, and explicitly identified the brain as having belonged to Arthur’s father. You can easily fill in the pieces from here but the game sits on that for the time being. For now, we headed east, having conveniently taken shelter at the place that magically became the entrance to the new passageway moments later. Isn’t life great?
At the top of the mountain, we found Xagor’s Palace, and wandered about its odd architecture and swirling floors until we found a button that toggled a series of pits in the room to the south. That’s really cutting the place short but to be honest there’s not much else there worth sticking around for. We hit the button and searched the north end of the room, finding one of what were apparently two Ribbons, as I had mis-remembered the other as being somewhere else in the complex and was too lazy to go fetch it (you can imagine how this turns out but stick with me for the exciting conclusion). Trusting my flawed memory, we headed down the large central “trap hole” in the room to a portal below, which led to the basement. Or thereabouts. The basement was guarded with laser traps that you had to jump, lest you suffer under the yolk of barely any damage whatsoever. I found the emergency exit to the place as I walked about and, for what must have been the first time ever in my playthroughs of the game, I also remembered what it was before walking through and being kicked out of the dungeon. High five for the small victories.
In the corner of the maze, we found the fourth Ribbon (third on-hand), putting all of our leads but Sharon properly equipped. Near to the Ribbon, we found the exit to the maze, guarded by one last Master: though Arthur mistook him for Xagor, he was actually Ballor, who appears to be based on a winged version of Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep, what with the long, tentacle-tongue head. Despite having virtually no plot relevance except to slow you down, Ballor has an infamous reputation as being unfairly hard, and I have no honest idea why. Sure, he has Nuke, which is in most ways just a stronger version of White (I believe a resistance to Damage cancels it, not that we had that), but that’s not worse enough from Agron to justify any complaints. His Beam attack is strong enough to kill the average party member, but that’s once again only a single step up from Agron’s Acid. No, the real reason Ballor is infamous is “Dk-Virus,” a group targeting version of the infamous Malboro technique “Bad Breath,” at least in the sense that it causes a single random status effect to each party member (you can only have one status effect at a time in FFLIII, but that’s still bad). The reason I find this infamy confusing, however, is that the party can easily gather four Ribbons before this fight, rendering the attack harmless to everyone but Borgin or a Monster! I understand the trouble of being here without them, but usually the truly infamous bosses are unavoidable like Garuda, you know?
Now, as it happened, we were short one Ribbon, and Sharon ended up paralyzed by Dk-Virus, but this hardly held long. So in the end, our combat had a happy ending after all, and we were soon on our way to the game’s ending, happy or otherwise. We headed up to the surreal architecture of the final room (fun fact, the strongest monsters in the game live only in these final two or three rooms, including our old buddy, Sei-Ryu. That said: not one of them jumped us!). There at the top, we found Sol.
Now, according to Ballor, Xagor is not actually present in the castle, but is “the very water” outside, implying that he didn’t create the Water Entity so much as is the Water Entity, and perhaps a virus of some sort infecting the whole ocean, perhaps explaining our surreal storms. In the remake, indeed, Xagor has a second form where he merges with the Water Entity, giving the game some stronger bookending. But for the time being, Xagor is still a virus, and he has infected Sol to gain his powers. I’m not sure of the details, but I’m sure that that’s bad, and Sol agreed, ordering us to kill him at once, even though only he could stop the Water Entity. Of course this didn’t work, but I really have to wonder just how the party manages to fuck up killing a man baring his throat to us. I can only imagine them stabbing him as he stands there, unaffected and criticizing their technique. Of course we couldn’t kill him in the end, though the game does progress based on damage caused. Xagor shows up (read “shows up” as “bursts out of Sol’s body”) before your characters can pull off the task.
Xagor has a murky real-life origin: his sprite is clearly inspired by Lovecraft’s Azathoth (especially later on), while his Japanese name is “Laguna.” Considering the L in Laguna to be an R as per the common transliteration issue between Japanese and English, some fans have wondered if “Laguna”‘s name was supposed to be “Raguna,” and so may have been a transliteration of “Ragnarok.” Whatever his name is, he’s an ugly blob of flesh and tentacles and is also the final boss, so it was time to get to work.
Whatever his name, Xagor opens the fight with a Barrier spell that drops the damage done by everything but the Mystic Swords (and it really does add those resistances despite the fact that they might as well have given them to him by default – a high-speed Robot can outpace him to prove it). That said, he’s still weak against Mystic and it’s still the outright best option in the set. Te game even hands you a Nuke bomb on the way into the fight and it’s a complete waste of time no matter who you have in the party! Xagor then mixes things up between LitX, the second-best group attack spell in the game after Flare, and Dk-Force, the strongest monster attack in the game. Dk-Force which will almost assuredly kill its target if that target is not a Monster, Cyborg or Robot, with its damage output in the 8-900s. Also, I am just now realizing that stands for “Dark Force.” Actually never caught on to that! Feel kind of silly now.
Beyond that point the fight isn’t that complicated. Hell, the Talon even shows up under its own control and opens fire with your best weapon! (I have always wondered what would happen if you went in with the Shield equipped…) Part-way through the fight, mouths open up all over Xagor, but nothing seems to change about his attack pattern… unless you count him Defending like he did once or twice. Defending is pretty much a pointless action for a boss if not in general, since all it does is reduce damage taken with no benefit to the contrary, which means, and I can’t believe I have to point this out: he still loses HP. For what it’s worth, Xagor nearly did take the party out at once point thanks to lucky attacks and lethal use of Dk-Force on a healer, but it just didn’t carry through in the end.
With Xagor gone, Sol’s spirit informed us that he was still somehow able to destroy the Water Entity, saying Pureland’s time had passed (and so everyone on it was going to die for no good reason, we can only presume). We hurried out, knowing a collapsing dungeon when we see one, and our characters boarded the Talon spiralled into the hole in the ocean leading to the Water Entity, instead of flying straight in, because I guess they don’t know a collapsing planet when they see one.
Once out the other side, we were somehow ejected from the Talon. Our beloved apocalypsemobile exploded when the Entity was destroyed, presumably killing Masa, Juba, Shar and Buzi, for whom no one shed so much as a single tear. Sharon rejoiced that “monster’s can’t appear now,” making Kyle and I wonder if she meant that literally or if they just couldn’t be reinforced. Whatever the case, Arthur proclaimed that the party had saved every generation ever, which, while true, was still just Square thinking you could invade “all periods of time at once” even here in the end.
Arthur calls in Float and we headed off to Viper, where we reported at once to Dr. Belski. Borgin asked if Belski really could restore dead people from just a tissue sample. Belski confirmed that he could, sidestepping all moral and legitimate scientific concerns involved, and asked if it was Dion who had cacked it a second time. Borgin confirmed, and then pulled out the skin collection he had jammed into his pocket (“He was an evil Superboss in the remake, you say? No, officer, he just seemed like an average everyday guy!”) Off-screen, Dion revived with full memory and loudly asked the doctor to not put a bomb back in him, though he apparently tried. A real professional, Belski.
With Dion back to life, Arthur asked if Jupiah had also been successfully revived, Jupiah being his dad if you hadn’t worked that out. Wait, so Borgin handed over two hunks of flesh from his pocket and even made sure not to hand over, say, two chunks of Dion? You say he labelled each one, officer? What a curious thing to do! Belski showed Arthur over, and he shared an awkward conversation with his Gameboy sprite clone. On Jupiah’s request, Arthur even gave him his name, which Jupiah said would make a great name for… his… son…
No. No, I will not allow this plot hole to interrupt me from finishing this scene. Let’s move on. Arthur then told Dion that he and the others couldn’t stay. They asked Dr. Quacer to make the time machine that sent them back… in the… first place… and said they would leave before it would finish because they were… about to be born and…
Does Square not realize that if the cast is about to be born, and that Arthur sharing his name was the reason Arthur was named “Arthur,” then that means this is a stable time loop and that the future is still going to be destroyed by the Water Entity? Because they’re sure acting like the kids that are about to be born are, in fact, the player characters! How do you miss that? How did I miss that as a kid? Was this game written by my fellow grade schoolers?
To hide away from themselves, the party left Viper in a hurry and went off to live with Myron in New Dharm, who probably couldn’t refuse them after they saved the world (except, I do not hesitate to point out, that they didn’t and everyone is still going to die). He then took them into a back room where they could mess around with “Simulator2,” which sadly does not exist in-game and is just an excuse to show off boss sprites during the credits like they did in FFLII.
And that is the end of the Final Fantasy Legend series, and the last SaGa game we’ll be playing for the marathon! Starting next time, we move on to the last of the original journal entries: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
Official 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, Fenrir, Guha, Dahak, Jorgandr, Agron, Ballor, Sol, Xagor.
This retrospective’s screenshots come from me! My power may fade but the pics will live on!