And so begins the third world. By the way, I still love the new translation script that Square gave this version of FF5.
Although the Twelve Legendary Weapons might as well be a dozen eggs for this party.
Antlion actually gave me some trouble; Bartz and Krile had Blue and Time magic available between them but no defense. He killed Bartz in two hits and redlined Krile, so she Reset the battle. Sullla, if you read this before the Ironcore team finishes, I hope you always remember Reset to retry a sticky situation!
Now I looked him up - he's vulnerable to L2 Old. So I moved to the back row and let that spell do its nasty work (ha, revenge for Sol Cannon against Sullla's solos!) and polished him off with 1000 Needles (Blowfish) and Comets.
The random encounters in the Pyramid were surprisingly a bit of a gauntlet. Without armor, the Nudists were taking like 700 damage from most physical attacks. The solution to tough physical attacks is to stay in the back row, but then the party kept running out of juice and had to teleport out to recover magic. That's a difficulty I hadn't foreseen. What the Nudists lack is any ability to deal full damage from the back row without using MP. There are a number of equipment-based ways to do this: Jump with spears, bows, whips, even harps. But none for my team.
Eventually I figured out that the three characters all needed to be Monks, just to have high enough HP at 1400 to survive a couple whacks. They could use magic judiciously in tough spots (Thundaga vs Machine Heads), but could clean up most fights barehanded. While in the pyramid, Bartz mastered Monk (and had mastered Blue Mage)... looking over the jobs list, I made him a Ninja for a while. Throwing is the one way this party can deal full nonmagical damage from the back row, and !Smoke and Preemptiv could be useful.
Merugene/Melusine/Mellusion was nothing. Weak to all elements with a black magic caster in the party, she never even got a single attack.
I ran more errands now, played all the pianos, collected all the songs, grabbed Blue magic Mighty Guard and summon spell Syldra, picked up the black chocobo. I'm noticing that one advantage of all Sullla's solos is to skip a lot of this busywork most times, but my full party is going for everything they can get.
I went for Bahamut as my next challenge.
He's vulnerable to Level 3 Flare at L99, so that and Firaga dealt the damage while the white and time mages dished out buffs. Golem locked out physical attacks, Shell (Barrier) defanged magic. Lenna cast Carbuncle for reflect walls just before the Mega Flare...
In a word, owned. (No, really. Now I own the Bahamut summon.)
Stoker/Stalker/Wendigo. I don't think there's really a secret for this fight, is there? Can you find out which is the real one at any moment? My best approach (after Mighty Guard and Haste 2) was to use Bahamut for damage, to deal damage in the biggest single chunks possible per counterattack. This was somewhat awkward given that Lenna was both my summoner and healer. She needed an Elixir once to refresh on magic. I did discover a loophole that throwing a Shuriken at the wrong image doesn't trigger a counterattack, so slipped in some extra damage that way when it hit the right one. Not a resounding victory, but it got the job done.
Fork Tower magic side was a cinch, with the Tycoon sisters commanding all of white, black, time, and summon magic between them. Omniscient went down easily, though I used one Elixir each to restore MP before remembering to beat him with Walls.
The physical side was a bit tougher, as naked fighters could get pasted in a single blow. They never actually lost a fight, but had to use Phoenix Downs on each other a few times. Then it dawned on me that the right ability to give Faris the Monk was HP +20%! I love the idea of the monk +HP abilities (coming from the world of Diablo 2 hardcore here), but it's never worth an ability slot as compared to something more proactively useful. Butts meanwhile was training himself as a Ninja and enjoying that thrown Shurikens are OK for the physical tower here.
Minotaur was more of the same, in spades with big casino. I had the offense but not the defense. My clumsy but effective answer was to use Elixirs about every round of the fight, about six total. (Yeah, afterwards I realized Butts should have been throwing from the back row!)
I realized I'd neglected to pick up Odin, so went for that now. On the first attempt, I missed winning within the one-minute timer by thatmuch. I'd dealt about 15,000 damage, and Lenna had a Bahamut summon coming for the kill... when Odin launched a Zantetsuken (True Edge) move that shredded the party and killed Lenna. My desperation move was to Reset with the time mage -- but that in fact is a change/fix from the SNES version, Reset does not reset a countdown timer in the GBA version.
So I tried again, this time realigning the jobs. The fastest way to do damage by real time seemed to be throwing Shurikens. No fuss with fancy animations, just 2000 damage. Haste-2 was not to be used here - it doesn't gain speed in real time! Also any Black Mages should be using Thundaga (Bolt 3) rather than the much slower Flare. That got me the win with a solid 15 seconds on the clock.
On to Leviathan, the party navigating the dungeon easily enough. I have been anticipating this battle for pretty much the entire variant. The beginning and end of strategy for him goes "equip Coral Rings" and laugh as the boss's Tidal Wave nuke heals you instead. Not so for these Nudists.
On the first try, I'd neglected to have Blue Magic equipped anywhere (Bartz has Barehanded) for Mighty Guard. Haste-2 was the only buff I applied. With two Black Mages slinging Thundagas at 4000 damage each (Faris has !Black), 40,000 total shouldn't take long. Maybe I can kill him even before Tidal Wave launches?
No, there it is. But that's the terrifying nuke? 800-some damage is easily cured away.
Oh, he does it twice - no, three times - in a row. Party perished. Eek.
Try two, I equipped Blue Magic as planned. Shell (Barrier) status did indeed reduce the damage from Tidal Wave to half. My plan now was to wait on each of Lenna's turns until just after the boss acted, to cure the damage before he could act again. Bartz could also serve as a healer with White Wind.
Yikes - critical miscalculation - he's 1 MP short of casting White Wind! Fortunately, Lenna's turn came around again before Leviathan's. (Go go Haste.) A couple more Thundagas later and he was history indeed. A major victory for nudity. Go stick that in your Coral Ring.
Great Sea Trench. Wow, those Unknown enemies are seriously creepy. But they go down easily to black elemental magic and summons (and the fat type is even weak to Water element which my Ninja abused with Water Scrolls.) They're all undead but I don't really have any class to abuse that? Sullla loved killing them with Spoony the Bard's song Requiem, but that needs a harp equipped for damage. My Lenna could damage them with cure spells, but summons were easier and stronger. They're not weak to fire like classic FF undead.
I didn't remember what boss ruled this dungeon, but recognized the "piggy trio" from Sullla's reports. So the deal here is 13333 HP each and need to kill them at the same time or else they cast Delta Attack to inflict stone status and revive each other. Start with the usual buffs of Mighty Guard and Hastega and Golem. The element to be used is lightning, since one pig absorbs each of fire, ice, and poison. White Wind for healing since Lenna was busy summoning. The execution was textbook, using Bahamut for the finisher.
And Phoenix Tower, who I didn't remember doesn't have a boss. But I had some fun on the way there, getting my first 9999 damage hit by way of Level 4 Graviga (L4 Quarter) on this guy.
One more short trip to see Gogo the Mimic for the last job class (who also pays 50 nice ABP for "winning"), and into the Cleft of Dimension. Here's a look at the party.
The random encounters are pretty juicy here. None particularly hard. I had actually forgotten about Rapid Fire (X-Fight) for a while, being caught up in magely character development. But the first part of the Cleft of Dimension allows a bit of cruise-control to work on some more job classes. And Butts is adding the Geomancer's innates to the party's ledger. In these random fights, I had both Krile and Faris using Black Magic for most of the kills, since they could recharge themselves with the Osmose spell which steals about 96 MP from a target.
Calofisteri went down easily. She tried a Reflect, but as we know, Bahamut and Meteor go right through that.
Butts mastered Geomancer after the fight, pretty much finishing the list of jobs he wanted: Monk, Ninja, Blue Mage, Geomancer. So I made him a Mime now in order to start enjoying how all the jobs piled up together. If there's one flaw in this game's job system, it's that training more jobs is always so tempting, you never really get much time to actually use them all together. Making Butts a Mime now allowed access to all of !Blue, !Throw, and HP +30%, plus the Monk's innate abilities for barehanded fighting and Counter, plus the Ninja's innate First Strike (Preemptiv), plus the Geomancer's passives, and even Blue Mage Learning. Plus good stats from all the jobs including the monk's monster HP total. Finally, the !Mimic ability itself is pretty useful, allowing Butts to cast all sorts of damage spells in random battles at no MP cost. Notice his Agility is not so high - that's intentional, to allow other characters to go before him and give him something good to mimic.
Sullla, this is what the Job System is supposed to do and what all your solos are missing out on. Even the Ironcores never got to play with their combined powers until the very last boss battle.
At this point in the Cleft of Dimension, you reach Omega, an optional super-boss as is common in Final Fantasy games. Oh heck yeah I'm taking on this challenge.
I optimized the characters all into Mimes. The only advantage of Freelancer/Bare over Mime is the ability to equip more weapons and armor, so Mime is strictly superior for the nudists. Lenna got !White, !Summon, and HP +20% (unfortunately she hadn't mastered Monk yet for the biggest HP totals.) Krile/Cara went in with !Time, !Black, and HP +30%. Faris packed !Black, HP +30%, and !Item. That last was to have two characters capable of resurrecting, as I'd inefficiently put the two ways to resurrect (White magic and Summon Phoenix) on the same caster.
Omega led with Delta Attack, stoning Butts. Faris had to Gold Needle him right away, needed his Mighty Guard pronto.
Wave Cannon dealt huge but survivable damage. Krile got Hastega up and Lenna cast Curaga, although it refilled only half of the party's big HP totals.)
But there's a great way to cure the rest of the damage: Mimic Curaga! And Bartz got a turn for Mighty Guard. Omega came with a Rainbow Wind that muted Krile. Lenna cured that with Esuna (Heal).
I had my first opening for offense now. Go Thundaga against his elemental weakness... wait?! Omega has Wall status? I didn't remember that. Butts used a White Wind to cure that. Omega then got in with a Wave Cannon for 1000ish damage, but Krile Mimiced the White Wind to heal again. Wow, it seems that nudists can outpower even Omega's damage with healing. This is going pretty well, I might actually win this!
Ok, if Omega is going to have a wall, then the only way I can damage him is to bounce spells off my own walls. The standard strategy for Omega is Spellblade Thunder which doesn't get reflected, stirred with multipliers like X-Fight and Double Grip, but that's not usable by the Nudists. So enter Carbuncle, and next I bounced a Thundaga off myself.
Omega responds with a bunch of crap: Rocket Punch (50% damage and confusion), Rocket Punch, Earthquake (does nothing against Float status), Mustard Bomb (also did nothing.) Crap. How do I fix Confuse status? My Mimes don't have a Fight command! And can't use Esuna/Heal as it'll reflect off the wall. Hmm...
Well, Barts got unconfused on his own, and Krile died to the responses from my next reflected Thundaga. That doesn't look good, but Phoenix got Krile back in action (with full MP), and White Wind healed up again. I got in a couple more Thundaga hits, but then:
Encircle? "Can't remember"? Where did Butts go? Are you serious? Omega gets to just remove characters from the battle? In Sullla's chronicle of his solo Chemist vs Omega, he listed Circle/Encircle just as an instant death attack. For a full party, it's much worse than simple death, as it can't be answered by resurrection. As his Ironcores learned, the attack means the target is just gone.
And Omega ended this silliness with a Wave Cannon for mondo damage. Okay okay okay, let's move on.