Final Fantasy V: The Nudists

Oh hell no I'm not done here.

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There's still another prize to bag and major revenge to take. Against Omega, my party had managed to deal about 10k damage out of his 55k HP, which is just tantalizing enough that I'm certainly coming back later with some more levels and jobs.

As far as I can tell (and thanks to Sullla's Newton the Chemist), the only answer to Circle/Encircle is the Chemist mix Dragon's Kiss to set the Heavy flag on your character. I intend to stick to my rule of no Chemists in the party, meaning the only answer is to win before Encircle happens. This means setting up the party for maximum offense. Maximum offense against Omega usually means Spellblade Bolt-3 X-Fight (Thundaga Rapid-Fire), but the Nudists can't use that of course. Nor can they even use a Thunder Rod to boost a regular casting of Thundaga. GilToss is off the table but Throwing is on; the GBA version saves after the ending credits so I'd already used up my thrown Fuma Shurikens and other big weapons. But a quick flight to Mirage Village and I bought a new stock.

I experimented a number of times to figure out what approach could deal damage to Omega the fastest. Throwing could deal about 2000, which was behind 2400 from a Wall-reflected Bolt-3 (Thundaga). Rapid Fire (X-Fight) with a monk's barehanded ability would deal about 450 x 8 hits = 3600, but its problem was that Omega got two batches of counterattacks in response to all the multiple hits. Flare and Bahamut didn't do any better. Thundaga was still the best I could find; you really must attack his elemental weakness.

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And by a number of times, that's a large number. Lots of the fights simply ended like this with Atomic Ray flattening the party before they got a turn. I now understand why Sullla's Ironcores weren't going to truck anywhere near the scary robot. Slowly I realized that that first try had been quite a fluke - 10k damage was just about the upper end of what could be managed before losing.

So, looking through the AI algorithms... The only unanswerable attack is Circle. And he only does that in response to damage. I need to deal damage in the biggest packets possible, which means bounced Thundagas (Bolt 3) and nothing else. Even bounced Thundaga only deals about 2400 damage against his massive magic defense though. I can't realistically expect to hit him over 20 times without Circle hitting in response.

What I need is a Bard singing the Hero Song for a nice long time to boost everybody's levels. But how can I do that without getting killed?

I looked for hints on Gamefaqs, and found this critical tidbit in ebmid2's faq: Omega is vulnerable to Stop status. His Magic Evade is very high at 90%, so you can't rely on the Time Magic spell. But the song Love Song (Romeo's Ballad in the GBA translation) always works. It lasts for a very short time against Omega, just a couple seconds. But ebmid2 actually says that two Hasted Bards singing the song every turn can stop Omega almost completely. Let's try that.

I hadn't trained any characters as a Bard, but now went and had everybody master the job together with some fights at the end of the Cleft. (I never specified no grinding as a rule for this variant. It was just never necessary.) Going into the fight again, I had three characters packing !Sing. Luck was with me as I got a surprise round, enough time to pack on all the usual buffs of Mighty Guard, Haste-2, and now also Vitality Song (Mighty March) for Regen. Faris started singing the Hero Song as planned.

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And this plan actually worked! With Bartz and Lenna constantly singing Romeo's Ballad (Love Song) on every turn, Omega was locked down! Very occasionally he would get an attack, when my two characters had their action bars synchronized and slightly too much time passed until they got another turn. I had enough healing to deal with it though.

Several minutes into the battle, it dawned on me that Krile should also be singing Romeo's Ballad via !Mimic. She didn't have !Sing itself because I'd given her !Attack in order to stop somebody else from singing. (!Attack was also dumb, should have been !Aim.) Now I had shrunk and virtually eliminated any gaps of time where Omega wasn't stopped. He was completely frozen!

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So my party continually sang Ballads for quite some time, about fifteen minutes. I watched the Regen HP numbers increase to track the increasing level of the characters. If the characters started at level 40, and the in-battle max is 255, shouldn't I be looking for Regen numbers about 6x the starting value? The regenerating seemed to max at only a bit over 2x the original value though. Maybe the level cap via Hero Song is 99, and 255 only via Chemist mixes? I'm not quite sure what happened there.

So then I had Krile attack Faris out of the Hero Song. Faris was the only character with !Black for Thundaga. I carefully kept up the impenetrable wall of Romeo's Ballads. Lenna cast Carbunkle for the reflect walls, and Faris launched a Thundaga into the wall to reflect onto Omega for nearly 5000 damage. Nice.

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Let's see how nasty the counterattacks are. The bad ones like Encircle should be much more likely to miss now, and the damaging ones could just be Regenned away by keeping the fight in stasis with Romeo's Ballad. But now it was Krile's turn - maybe the counters take a split second to trigger? Krill Mimicked the Thundaga for more damage...

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That's a miracle! I now had a lock on the battle! Bartz and Lenna refreshed Romeo's Ballad, and holy crap this is going to work! Just a few more rounds of Thundaga-Mimic and this battle is mine!

We'd now hit Omega with ten 5000 damage Thundagas. Now Lenna mimicked it for the 11th and fatal hit...

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Oh Crap. HE SURVIVED IT. I should have been counting his HP exactly. Now he got a turn. Don't blow this now!

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Well, that's survivable. Now it's Bartz's turn, and he can Mimic Thundaga one last time....

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OH CRAP CRAP CRAP, Carbunkle's walls JUST ran out and THUNDAGA HIT BARTZ!

Fortunately, Faris alertly stopped Omega again with Romeo's Ballad. Lenna refreshed the Carbunkle walls. Bartz stopped him one last time... and Faris bounced one final Thundaga into Omega for the kill.


Of course where there is one super duper mega extreme boss, there is another. Hello Shinryuu.

My trick that beat Omega won't work here: Shinryuu is immune to Stop status. But also Shinryuu doesn't have any unanswerable equivalent trick to Omega's Encircle. This will be a completely different fight.

I spent some time (bored at work and antsy to get home to start playing this smile.gif - 1kb ) peeking at the algorithms guide for Shinryuu. I came up with this plan: Shinryuu can be taken down with the use of just one job skill. Blue Magic.

Shinryuu is level 97. One hit of the Blue Magic spell Dark Shock reduces a target's level by half, and through the magic of rounding down, would leave him at level 48. That leaves him fully vulnerable to a whole raft of Blue Magic spells in L4 Quarter (Graviga), L3 Flare, and L2 Old. This last will be my savior. As we know, it afflicts Aging status on absolutely anything with a level divisible by 2 ignoring immunity. All I need is one hit each with Dark Shock and L2 Old, and then just survive while Shinryuu ages into nothingness - shredding his magic attack multiplier - and I can kill him at leisure with anything. Blue Magic also conveniently provides the tools to survive in Mighty Guard and White Wind. Shinryuu does have 95% Magic Evade, higher than even Omega's at 90%, but at least he doesn't have Wall status to complicate things. It should just be a matter of banging probability into my favor through repetition until Dark Shock does work.

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Of course, there's a big obstacle just to get there. Tidal Wave deals over EIGHT THOUSAND water damage, and Shinryuu always casts it before we get a turn. I can't think of a single Nudist answer to that. There is literally nothing that Nudists can do except level up until somebody exceeds 8000 HP. All the answers are items. Coral Ring is the obvious, but there are others: Aegis Shield to block it, or Masamune to go first and cast Mighty Guard. There is no itemless way to get an action before Shinryuu to buff up first. Leveling does not add to agility in FF5, and a surprise round is not possible against Shinryuu unlike Omega.

So thanks to this one stupid attack, true nudity is just not possible. Well, the best I can do is make the smallest possible exception to the nudity rules. I will equip one item to one character that will allow surviving Tidal Wave but have no effect after the first round of battle. It's a Running Shoes (Hermes Sandals) accessory, allowing just enough time to cast Mighty Guard and reduce Tidal Wave from 8000 to 4000 damage. Then the item won't matter since I'll be casting Haste-2 anyway.

I still had to grind some levels until my characters' HP totals exceeded that 4000. With HP +30% equipped once to each character (you can actually equip it more than once to a Mime or Bare and it's multiplicative), that happened at about level 48, then I went to 49 in order to dodge L2 Old and L3 Flare. The leveling took less than an hour in the Great Sea Trench, singing Requiem to wipe out the undead enemies. (I guess Requiem doesn't need a harp equipped for damage after all.) I set it up to go as fast as possible: after commanding Sing Requiem for the fastest character, I could just hold down the speedup and A buttons and the Mimes would mimic the song. In this way I could fly at about six seconds of real time per 1500 XP fight. (Seriously.)

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Ahh. MUCH better. We live!

And let the battle begin. Mighty Guard was up, and my next actions were Faris using an Elixir on Krile, Krile casting Quick - White Wind - Haste2 all in one turn, and Lenna summoning Golem. That completed the buff menu and brought the party to full strength. Shinryuu made another attack or two that I White Winded away. Now the three Blue Magic casters started trying to Dark Spark the nasty dragon. I often Mimicked Dark Spark to save on magic points, and alternatively sometimes got greedy and burned extra MP on Quick - Dark Spark - Dark Spark.

Dark Spark missed, and missed some more, then continued missing. What are the mechanics again? The magic hit formula is spell accuracy plus your level minus target's level, which here is 66 + 49 - 97 = 18% chance to hit. Then the spell must beat his 95% magic evade, which comes to a total 1 in 111 chance of hitting. Oh, and Shell after Shinryuu casts Mighty Guard on himself... 1 in 222. Long odds, but any hit is close to an auto-win.

But a funny thing happened. Shinryuu couldn't kill me either. We fought to a complete stalemate. His damage spells were not a problem, every one of the four characters could cast either White Wind or Curaga to wipe it out. Snowstorm could hit for 3000, so the answer to that was Quick - White Wind - White Wind to recover everybody from 1500 - 3000 - max. The worst situation was when Maelstrom reduced all four characters to critical HP, nullifying the usefulness of White Wind, but that I handled with an Elixir or Curaga before White Wind. Shinryuu would occasionally hit one warrior with instant-death Roulette or stoning Delta Attack, but my three other characters always had the oomph to fix them and reapply the Mighty Guard and Haste buffs, replenishing magic with Elixirs and occasionally Summon Phoenix. And good old Golem was there to preemptively block physical damage too.

So the fight just went on and on and on. It lasted about thirty minutes of real time. Dark Shock - Dark Shock - White Wind - Elixir - Dark Shock - Mimic Dark Shock - White Wind - Golem - Phoenix Down - Mighty Guard - Haste - White Wind - White Wind - Dark Shock - White Wind. A huge amount of time later, Shinryuu landed several Roulettes and Deltas in a row putting me behind schedule on rebuffing, and finished me off with a Maelstrom + Snowstorm combo. I would have lost soon after anyway by running out of magic, being down to my last Elixir out of about 20.

But during that fight, I cast probably over 100 ineffectual Dark Sparks. If those were damage spells instead, I would have won.

I tweaked the party slightly for another attempt, replacing Time magic with !Sing on Butts. What can I do to give Dark Spark a better chance of hitting? Increase my level. What can I do to reduce the odds of Roulette and Delta Attack hitting? Increase my level. What can I do to boost my damage if I ever go on offense? Increase my level.

So in try #2 at the battle, Butts started singing the Hero Song. I had no way to knock him out of singing status but trusted that Shinryuu would do so eventually.

I kept firing Dark Sparks, every one of which missed, yet again. But Shinryuu had even less chance to kill me than before. I noticed a gradual but drastic difference in the success rate of his death and stone attacks, and even Maelstrom which also goes through the level-based hit chance formula. Butts sang the Hero Song for a long long long while, going over fifteen minutes without getting hit by a physical attack (thanks to repeated Golems) while everybody else kept up an impenetrable wall of White Winds.

Eventually on a turn where Lenna didn't have anything else to do (Golem was active, nobody needed healing, and my last action had been something not useful to mimic), she fired a Bahamut summon just to check on the damage.

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2500? Nice, that's double when I originally checked before the Hero Song. Actually, I think this shouldn't take long at all! His 55,000 HP will take only just over 20 Bahamut summons to chew through.

So I simply gave up on Dark Shock and started damaging him. I carefully kept up all my defenses, healing to full after each of Shinryuu's attacks, and refreshing Mighty Guard and Haste on the occasions that a death or stone attack hit. Importantly, I had two characters capable of repairing either status, Lenna with white magic and Faris with !Items for a gold needle or phoenix down. Sometimes I used the Quick spell to avert an emergency, when I really needed both Mighty Guard and White Wind RIGHT NOW.

Whenever there was an opening to summon or mimic Bahamut, I did so, also throwing in a few Meteors when Bahamut wasn't on the stack to mimic. (I'd gone in with no access to Black magic. It's not versatile enough to occupy an ability slot. Time, Blue, Summon, and White magic all provide options for both buffing and damage. But Black has no buffs.)

This, rather simply and anticlimactically, worked.

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Victory for the Nudists once again, marred only by the tiniest pair of shoes for the speed to buff against that Tidal Wave. I'm counting this as a full victory anyway, since even Shinryuu could have been beaten nude, just by leveling up insanely until the party crested 8000 HP.

Interestingly, my experience with the two superbosses was the opposite of Sullla's Chemist. He says Omega tends towards defense in a grind-it-out battle, while Shinryuu comes in with major offense. I found exactly the reverse: Omega was a frantic exercise of keeping him stopped to avoid counterattacks and the unanswerable Encircle, while Shinryuu packed nothing I could not answer and the outcome was inevitable.

That concludes the tale of the Nudists. Thanks for reading, and perhaps there will be more variants in this space at some point. (I don't really have interest in playing the bonus dungeon in the GBA version. I did once with a nonvariant party and it was unmemorable enough that today I couldn't tell you anything about the final boss battle there.) I did record both superboss battles as emulator movies, so maybe I'll find the capability to follow Sullla's lead to process them and post them as videos.

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