Back to normality, or as normal as a dimensional void can get, Apanda went down in textbook fashion (groan). Hastega and Mighty Guard, then Firagas into his elemental weakness, plus Meteors that were also Mimicked.
The Jura Avis minibosses scared me a couple times by Encircling two party members, but Flare+Mimic killed out each time.
Catastrophe also scared me a bit with Earth Shaker for big damage, but everybody survived it. Then later in the battle, he got two Earth Shakers in a row without either of my healers getting a turn (Krile didn't have Time magic for Haste-2 at the moment - had swapped to Black magic for Osmose in the random fights.) Two girls down but the high-HP Mimics survived and won.
Next is Apocalypse, in this version named Azulmagia, literally "Blue Mage". First I had to try this trick I read in a walkthrough:
If you use the Blue Magic spell Self-Destruct (Exploder) on him, he learns it. Then he uses it. Kaboom. Instant win.
But that's silly. I went back with the emulator's Rewind feature to fight him properly. He still went down easily to a hail of mimicked Meteors and Bios using his odd weakness to the poison element. (Yeah, that's a Meteor doing 0 damage, that happened sometimes thanks to his 70 Magic Defense.)
Offense carried the day at Halicarnassus, after a bothersome but harmless trip to Toad status for everybody. Mimicked Flares dealt top damage.
Twin Tania: also down in the usual fashion. Haste-2 & Mighty Guard, then damage from the Holy spell into his elemental weakness. White Wind for healing since the character with white magic was busy dealing damage. He did start charging up for Giga Flare but died before it hit.
And into the last section of the Void. The next Gilgamesh fight was no problem either, uninteresting enough that I didn't get a screenshot. Some random encounters here were noteworthy, though.
First a pair of King Behemoths. These have 18,000 HP each, react to any physical attack with a physical attack, and react to any magical attack with Meteor. This hammered the party HARD! Only Lenna dodged enough Meteors to survive, but she survived just long enough to revive Krile who cast Reset, and suddenly the danger was over. I smartly ran after that; 33 ABP is a nice prize but not worth trying to fight that (and they are worth 0 experience which makes no sense at all.)
Also I lucked into an encounter with Movers (1/16 chance), which are weak to fire and provide a truly ridiculous reward of 150,000 gold and 199 ABP. This maxed out the Ranger job for the bottom two characters, so now everybody became a Mime.
Just in time for Necrophobia's Barriers which I took out with long chains of Mimicked Bahamut summons. Then Holy into his elemental weakness of course.
And it's time for the final boss, Exdeath.
The highest damage action I had available was to Throw a Fuma Shuriken (Pinwheel)... and then Mimic it a billion times! The tree form went down in no time at all, about three rounds of combat! No White Holes here.
I'd neglected to prepare the Magic Lamp at Odin for Neo Exdeath, so tried a straight-up Odin summon. But like Sullla's experience, it just used the damage attack instead of instantly killing part #4. I don't understand either why this happens.
Faris was the only Mime who had an Item command, so it would take quite a while to cycle to Odin via the Lamp. I used it anyway for the Bahamut summon, then decided to see what happens if you Mimic the Magic Lamp...
Ha, it still cycles through the summons! So I nailed the "Odin part" that way. Zantetsuken is True Edge.
6000 per turn with a thrown Pinwheel/Fuma Shuriken, Mimicked constantly, adds up the damage in a hurry. Almagest did hit for 720 damage, not a problem. The sequence of Mimicked Throws got interrupted with that White Wind and with any trigger of the Counter ability (remember they've all mastered Monk), so Butts had to restart it each time by throwing an actual Fuma Shuriken. Eventually I ran out of them, so continued by throwing Excalipoor then Excalibur. Yeah I kind of broke the game here - Pinwheels are supposed to be in very limited supply (I found 5 the whole game) or cost 25,000 per shot, but I got about 30 throws of them in this fight by Mimicking.
Grand Cross never appeared. I didn't synchronize the last two part kills, and Krile died to a hail of Meteors but Summon Phoenix got her back in action. The last item thrown was Masamune, then two mimics of that...
and put it in the books. Amusingly, the characters finished at exactly the same levels as Sullla's Ironcores, everybody at 39 except Lenna at 37. I guess we know exactly where a game without grinding winds up.
This variant turned out considerably easier than I expected. I only suffered three defeats in the third world, to Odin and Leviathan and Omega, all optional fights. The buff combo platter of Mighty Guard and Haste-2 really does everything. These buffs create literally a multiplier of x4 to your total party strength - half damage and double attacks. Physical attacks from enemies are uncommon and weak enough in the later game that not wearing armor really doesn't matter, and Golem can lock out damage anyway. And white magic can make up for anything that does hit, you don't need those elemental-absorbing and status-defending rings.
On the offensive side, I thought that not using weapons or GilToss would take the biggest offensive options off the table (Spellblade, Double Grip, Dual-Wield), plus I didn't grind Red Mage ABP for Dualcast. But the magic spells in Flare and Bahamut and Meteor do just fine. MP usage is not a limiting factor at all, there's so many ways to manage that, in Osmose or Elixirs or Mimicking spells or just running back to a save point. And Ninja throwing weapons are on par with wielded weapon and ability combinations for when you do want physicality. Overall, the offensive capability did fulfill my original vision for the variant: kill before you get killed. The whole game played out with a high degree of similarity to my FF1 Berserkers game (no armor allowed), since it's essentially the same variant except also disallowing weapons. Use just enough defensive buffs to make up for the lack of armor, then go kill.
Turn the page for some more parting thoughts.Index | Next