Final Fantasy Part 2 – Continuing the journey

When we last left off, our intrepid heroes slayed many a monster, beat a few bosses, got some loot, and even scored a class upgrade. You know, the norm for stalwart adventurers.
The next fiend is Kraken, the fiend of water, except one problem; he is under the sea and the heroes can’t breath underwater! Yet. Thankfully, a helpful NPC says she has a submarine that can travel to the lair of the Kraken, but she runs out of air before she reaches it.

So begins the hunt for a way to breathe underwater. I guess at this point, the player is supposed to just travel around, talk to NPC’s and hope they come across some key information. Well, you find out that a faerie has went missing.  I am not sure if it is ever mentioned, but you have to buy the faerie from a merchant for 50,000 gil. Yeah, 50k. A very large sum of money at this point. Of course, in my haste and forgetfulness, I quickly bought a few items and spells, only to realize I was short the gil to buy the faerie. Thankfully, I wasn’t completely broke, and a quick stop at a dungeon (which you are supposed to go to later, but I needed the money hidden inside), I scraped up the cash to purchase said faerie, who immediately flew off without so much as a thank you after saving her.
11faerie
Anyway, after releasing the faerie, and going back to the town you found out she was missing from, she retrieves the Oxayle from the bottom of a lake, an item that somehow allows you to breathe underwater forever. Handy.
Going back to the woman with the submarine, after seeing you have the Oxayle, she mysteriously floats away and disappears. Looks as if the heroes now are the proud owners of a submarine.

This dungeon has some of the best music in the game in it, for Origins at least. So soothing, but a hint of hostility. The loot you can gather is also a plus. This is another dungeon that requires you to make two or more trips. Well, I suppose it doesn’t force you, like the Terra Cavern, but it would be wise to do so. But the difference here is that the first room of the dungeon splits, one goes to the key item you need, one goes to the boss. Of course, you have to traverse a few more rooms, all the while being accosted by enemies, but I feel at this point in the game, you should be of sufficient power and with how the dungeon layout is, it doesn’t feel like a complete back-track.

Kraken itself, isn’t very difficult. Harder than Marilith, for sure, but still manageable. He can attempt to blind you, or, absolutely wreck you with his physical attacks, which can get pretty high, in the 300’s of damage, but all in all, fairly defeat-able if he doesn’t attack and kill a key party member, like your healer.
12kraken
So, after defeating Kraken and lighting the third crystal, the party now seeks to light the fourth and final crystal, the wind crystal. Using a key item picked up from the last dungeon, and traveling all the way back to Melmond, an NPC translates an ancient language and teaches it to you, allowing you to read and speak it. This allows you to travel to the secluded village of Lufenia. If you came here before being taught the language, none of the NPC’s would be able to talk to you. Here, you come across the bell, an item that allows you into the Tower of Mirage. Also, there is a hidden magic shop which sells some of the strongest magic that only a White Wizard and Black Wizard can use.

But, before all of that, we need to enter a waterfall and retrieve a cube from a robot. Yes a robot. He gives us the Warp Cube, allowing us to travel from the Tower of Mirage to the Flying Fortress, where the final fiend awaits.
The Tower of Mirage isn’t that bad, but it can wear you down. Especially the Chimeras that seem to be coming out of the walls. They are fairly hardy, but what makes them dangerous is their party-wide fire attack and quickly drain your HP. But since they are common random encounter, is it really worth it to use spell slots? Choices and dilemmas.

Reaching the top, if you have the Warp Cube, you are transported to the Flying Fortress, a pretty long but rewarding dungeon. You can find the Adamantite here, which can be used to forge the Excalibur, one of the strongest swords in the game. But only Knights can use it, so don’t bother if your party doesn’t have one. I suppose you could sell it, though. You also find in this dungeon a “window” that lets you see what is happening to the world outside. It shows that the power from the fiends are converging on a single point in the world. The ruined castle outside of the first area! Unable to do anything now, however, the group continues on.
13flyingfortresswindow
Upon reaching the last floor, you are presented with a long bridge to the boss. On this bridge lies one of the hardest enemies in the game. Warmech. Regrettably, or perhaps thankfully, I didn’t get to fight him. He is extremely rare and only shows up on this screen. Those unfortunate enough to stumble upon him, pray, because you will need it. He easily trumps most bosses, probably even the final boss in difficulty. If you aren’t prepared, you will most likely lose. Oh and did I mention he heals every turn? Yeah, good luck with that. I have only ever beat him once. But then again, I only ever went searching for him once as well. Every other time he popped up, I was not ready to fight him and he promptly demolished my party.

But in any case, the wind fiend, Tiamat. She is a bit of a hassle, with powerful magic, especially thunder magic. But, she has one glaring weakness; poison. She can be instant-killed by the Poison spell if you are lucky. In fact, there is a sword that lets you cast the spell for free in the dungeon!
14tiamat
Pictured here is my man Vivi getting the kill with the Venom Sword. No one else did any damage to her. I think maybe three or four turns had passed before she croaked.
After defeating Tiamat, our heroes leave and rest up. This is the final parts of the game, so if you have anything you want to purchase or do, now is the time to do it.
15finaldungeon
The final dungeon is a mega dungeon full of monsters you have fought through-out the game, plus many new ones, ready to tear you a new one. You should definitely take this dungeon slow at first, get all the items you want, but make sure you have an Exit/Warp2 spell on your Red Wizard or White Wizard! Otherwise, there is no going back! Once you enter, you cannot leave. You can also use the inferior Warp1 on the Black Wizard spell list, but you have to cast it multiple times to escape, so it might not work if you don’t have enough spell charges.

But in any case, this dungeon is pretty tough. After going through a couple of floors, you come across a stone tablet. Hope you talked to the princess you saved all the way at the beginning for the Lute she gives you, otherwise you are SOL. Hope you have the spells I just told you about so you can back out, or be forced to reset entirely.
Thankfully, I remembered to grab it at the start of the game, and our heroes continue.

After a while of fighting and exploring you find an odd set of stairs. You walk up to it, and surprise, encounter. Out walks Lich, the earth fiend, who is pissed and more powerful than he was before. Yes, this dungeon requires you to beat all four fiends again, except this time, they are super versions of themselves. But get this, they are encounter squares, meaning if you step off the square they are triggered on and step back on it, they come back at full health.
This dungeon really forces you to conserve your resources to the best of your ability. Five bosses, including the final boss await you, plus hundreds of monsters. It sounds insane, and it is, but it is doable.

But, let’s discuss super Lich. First off, he is relatively the same, more health, attack. But, he learned a thing or two from dying last time. He learned how to cast Flare, and he will gladly show you how to do it, usually on the first round. This is after the first round of him casting Flare.

16lich2
Oh snap.

I got INCREDIBLY lucky, he cast Stop, which didn’t paralyze anyone, and he did a few physical attacks which didn’t do much damage. I had to use way too many resources because of that initial Flare, causing my White Wizard and Red Wizard to go into overtime to keep up with the damage, but in the end, I got him. Oh, also, all the  reincarnated fiends give crap experience and 1 gil for defeating them. I guess they didn’t want players to grind them for cash and levels, but 1 gil? Really? Not that you really need anymore gil at this stage of the game. After lighting the last crystal, you really shouldn’t have money problems unless you go out of your way to buy every spell and tons of items you don’t need, but I digress.

Marilith lurks on the next floor. She is probably the easiest reincarnated fiend. Yeah, she can cast a few more spells and hit slightly harder and has more HP, but nothing special.
Next up, Kraken. Much like Marilith, he doesn’t really get that much harder. He still hits like a ton of bricks, but that can be countered with items you get in the dungeon plus a few spells.

And the last fiend on the block, Tiamat. But before that, there is a little item every player should get before they fight her. That item is the Masamune. The most powerful sword in the game, and get this, every class can equip it! Even the basic classes! Here is another item, much like the items I discussed in the first part, where I don’t think the game would be beatable for certain party combinations without it. For a solo run, especially the mage classes, they need this to beat the game, I don’t see how it would be possible without. Even some four character parties, like four white mages/wizards or four black mages/wizards, would be extremely difficult without it, if not downright impossible.

It was at this point, that I decided to exit the dungeon, fill up on supplies and save. With the Masamune in hand, and a few more levels under their belts, the second trip wasn’t nearly as bad. Even Lich fell extremely easy, not even casting Flare before he died. With my Warrior using the Excalibur and my Red Wizard wielding the Masamune, they tore through enemies and bosses with little effort. Well, some, especially on certain enemies, like Green Dragons. Damn Green Dragons and their Toxin attack…

After traveling all the way back up the dungeon again, Tiamat was next to fall. She fell pretty quickly. She loses her weakness to Poison, so don’t expect that to work. She can still be pretty nasty, but some well timed spells and the Masamune, she crumbled to dust.

One final room, which has a layout like a pentagram for extra creepiness.
There, sits Garland. Yes, that Garland. He explains that he was killed in the future, by the party, but in doing so, he got sent back into the past, sent the fiends back into the future to wreak havoc, which caused the warriors of light to intervene, or something I don’t know, it is a bit convoluted.
He reveals himself to be Chaos, using the power of the fallen fiends to change forms. Then the real fight begins.

Chaos. The final boss. Along with having one of the best boss themes in the game, he is a bit tricky, and can be tough, but actually pretty manageable. He can cast all sorts of nasty spells, of every element, so be prepared. He can also cause instant-death, but that shouldn’t really be a problem if everyone is wearing Protect Rings. One thing to keep in mind, if the fight continues on for too long, he will cast Cure4, healing himself to full HP. Yeah. So the fight is essentially on a timer for when he cast Cure4. In the NES version, he followed a pretty strict pattern if I recall, usually always casting it after so many turns. In Origins, he still kind of follows a pattern, but is more random to when and what he casts. I have never seen him cast Cure4 the first few turns of the fight, but who knows, he could still throw out some surprises.
17chaos
In my fight, he went down quick, not even casting his super damaging spells. He instead opted to physically attack my Warrior, who gladly tanked the hits and I think he cast like a single Ice3 or something. But, he goes down in a fancy light, slowly, letting you relish your triumph.
Then, roll credits!

Final Thoughts:
With Final Fantasy 1 coming to a close, I am left with that nostalgic feeling after completing a game, but also because I hadn’t played the game in a few years. It is one of those games I always come back to after a while, for just a quick playthrough, trying out different parties and classes.
But how does the game hold up after all these years?

Fairly well, I think. I can’t speak for the NES version, of course, but the Origins version is still pretty good all these years later.

Would I recommend this game to any players who are looking to get into the series? Possibly. It all depends on what they are looking for. If they are looking for a story, with character development, with modern day nuances, then no, they shouldn’t play it.
But if they are looking to see how the first game in the series is and are comfortable with just a bit of grinding, I can see this game being a good play.
Origins will always be high on the list for me. I played the GBA version years ago, which added new items, dungeons, added the familiar MP system and tweaked a few things here and there, and it was enjoyable, maybe too easy compared to Origins. I enjoyed my time with Origins more, but the GBA version isn’t bad. I can’t speak for the PSP version, but I assume it would be similar in gameplay to the GBA game.

Overall, this game is definitely a classic, and for hardcore fans of the series, worth a play. If you are looking to get into the Final Fantasy series, I would perhaps play another, unless you are dead set on playing from the first.

Some bits of information for those curious:
I got 9 game overs through the course of the game. See if you can spot a pattern:
-Piscodemons in the Marsh Cave
-Undead in the Marsh Cave(damn paralyze!)
-Mind Flayers in the Ice Cave x3
-White Dragons in the Ice Cave x2
-Dark Wizards in the Ice Cave x2
That should tell you all you need to know about how horrible the Ice Cave is.

Here is the final party screen:
18finalstats
So that ends my FF1 journey. I really enjoyed my time with it, as I usually do. As I have said, it is one those games that I always go back to every few years. The sense of nostalgia and joy I get from playing and completing the game is the same as playing your favorite old school game like Donkey Kong Country, Legend of Zelda, or something similar. Who knows, maybe I will come back to it and post a challenge run one of these days. Perhaps solo Thief? HA! Yeah, right, like I want to torture myself that bad!
19theend
Next time, we are brought from the brink of death after our home is destroyed and fight against a corrupt empire, in…

Final Fantasy 2.
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