We’ll open with the same screenshot, just like playing the actual dungeon!
So, during my most recent FFVIII post, I was discussing my least favourite dungeon in the entire Final Fantasy Marathon, D-District Prison. For point of reference, I also threw some shade on my previous least-favourite dungeon, the Ronka Ruins from FFV. But as I added in an edit after the fact, I actually replayed FFV not long after FFVIII, and realized I didn’t dislike the Ronka Ruins as much as I remembered. If you want to see my comments on those two dungeons, check out that post. In this post, I’m going to follow up those thoughts by trying to work out my new #2 least-favourite dungeon!
Now, some quick standards. Because not every FF game has “dungeons,” we’re going to be weighing whatever each game considers to be a distinct “unit of play.” That means dungeons in the traditional RPGs, any chapter/stage in the stage-based games, and any battle or fixed series of battles in FFT (spoiler: there are no FFT battles on this list, not even the duel with Wiegraf. But I thought it would be nice to have that rule in case we revisit this list after playing FFTA!). Also, this is only for games we’ve covered in the Final Fantasy Marathon at the time of writing (in the middle of FFVIII), and for Final Fantasy alone. If I had allowed Persona 1 dungeons, there’d be nothing else on the fucking list, so I am happy to dismiss it. No TV episodes or films either, both because they’re so different and because, like Persona 1, LotC and FFU would just dominate the list. With that out of the way, let’s take the the dungeons in Marathon order.
This post is a part of A Crystal Compendium, a collaborative blogging project between multiple writers, reflecting on the Final Fantasy series. Check out the hub article for a full listing of games and posts! (more…)
Wouldn’t want to deprive you of this screenshot.
Suffering from Cloud Strife syndrome, Kyle-the-character was unable to think of any way to revive his father with our collection of curative potions, spells, and a MAGI literally designed to revive people from death. One of the party members, Liz I think, suggested we combine the 78 MAGI and hope that they could do it, so we set to work. In doing so, we restored the statue of Isis… and it promptly came to life. Isis claimed not to be a God but an Ancient, but whatever she was, she was able to save Dad, though he remained unconscious. But by this point, Apollo’s explosion had caused the entire Pillar of Sky to shake, an extension of those earthquakes from before. Isis explained that the world was going to come apart if she couldn’t get to the centre of the world to fix it, and asked for an escort. We provided. She then broke the fourth wall by turning from a two-tile high New God sprite to a one-tiled high NPC sprite and even talked about doing so in the script!
The next world was home to one thing only: the Nasty Dungeon. This dungeon contained piles of super-items, but they weren’t exactly unguarded. The only mandatory item in the dungeon was the Pegasus MAGI right at the entrance, which is found next to a Fairy who tells you to go away with the MAGI if you value your life. This MAGI is required to proceed up the Pillar of Sky, but also has its own powers. It can teleport you to any world at a whim, even allowing a quick exit from dungeons. The power to warp out of dungeons also limited the risk of going into the Nasty Dungeon just to see what you could grab, but I have to emphasize how poorly the dungeon went for us.
In between sessions, I tried to do a little grinding in the game, though sadly, much of my time was spent backtracking to previous worlds just to buy cheap weapons just to start the grinding thanks to the durability system. Also, I accidentally turned Rei into a Big Eye, an eyeball Monster from worlds and worlds ago with the power to paralyze and nothing else, and had to fight weaker monster groups so that he would even survive the fight to get new Meat! He finally survived a fight and gained the form of a Swallow: a giant moth monster that served quite well for several worlds.
Unfortunately, remember how I mentioned a while ago that we would need to train Agility? I wrote that blog entry after my grind session, so I wasn’t training Agility at the time! What a mess. Thankfully, it had occurred to me to grind AGI once we started playing, so we got Kyle a Laser sword (lightsabre) from Venus’ world and set to work fixing that, but the AGI training ended up taking most of the game! Obviously this was something we were not supposed to ignore early on, or were supposed to ignore and suck up, I can’t decide.
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.
After wiping the goblin blood off our MAGI, we returned to Ki to find her unconscious, the MAGI in her body agitated by Ashura’s invasion force or… something. Why didn’t they just take the stuff and leave? Surely there’s some cause for delay, but you never learn it! According to Ki’s assistant healer, we would have to retrieve the MAGI ourselves or Ki would die, so it was time for our party to go full-on Trauma Center on our patient. KillBot 5000! Get the good knife!
Final Fantasy Legend II begins, much like its predecessor, with a legend to get your wheels turning: a statue of the goddess Isis was broken into a series of 77 relics called “MAGI” that are blessed with such innate power, that people have begun to use them to become “New Gods” to fill the void left by the creator gods. This is one of my favourite premises, it really appeals to my inner munchkin.
Full disclosure: this is a game from my childhood, and so, like FFLI, this Journal is being written from an informed position instead of the first-timer position that normally defines the Journals. Like FFLI, I was never able to beat this game, though I did make it all the way to the final boss once. The entire game was new to Kyle.