Today on Lufia II: Jericho is bad at Ancient Cave.
Gift Mode is what unlocks after you finish the game a second time (In New Game +). It allows you to go right to the Ancient Cave with all characters and capsule monsters unlocked (as opposed to just the ones you have with you when you go there in the normal game). Not sure if it also has 4x exp gain, or if the original game had that in the AC regardless, or what. I'm pretty ignorant about the whole concept.
This is AWESOME. Weird that Maxim can go alone, though. That's a terrible idea, because it's dangerous to go alone.
The gang is all here. That's right, you can choose between anyone for your party. It reminds me of some of the new postgame content in later versions of Final Fantasy IV. Palom and Porom died? No problem! Here they are!
That's right, Tia. You get a new lease on life, since your old one ended so early in the game. Make me proud, Tia. Make me proud.
My next choice is a no-brainer. Of course I'd need to draft The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.
To round out the party, I go with
Guy Selan. Figured another magic-user would be useful. In retrospect I should have gone with Guy, as damage output is more useful and your magic-users will be running OOM most of the time anyway.
As for Selan having anything to say... NO! Selan does not get to speak!
Not sure what the deal is with Iris Treasures. As far as I know, you get one from finishing the dungeon. There is room for a bunch more, though.
The big hook of the AC is this. It's basically a completely separate game, since you're starting from scratch (and so are the enemies). Only problem is, the resources you have to work with are randomized. In other words, you can have a fairly easy go of it, or a nearly impossible go of it.
This sounds like some sort of religious parable on life, or perhaps the passing of time. We're all going forward, and we can't go back.
Every CM shows up, but they're all reset to level 1 just like the characters. Here's the one I never found in the main game, Terrance Trent Darbi. He's dark-element. No idea what he does, but I wouldn't be surprised if, being dark, he just sits around and broods.
Here's Zeppy, the noble fish that I barely mentioned in the main game. He later poke-volves into a profane man-fish who moons the player during battles.
For this dungeon, however, I'll be going with the light-elemental. Shaggy may have been caught buck naked, sleeping with the girl next door, but he's a fairly useful monster here due to his healing ability. Heals are in short supply in the Ancient Cave, at least until you luck out and find a healing spell.
The Ancient Cave begins! Treasure chests are much more exciting here than they are in the main game, since you're reliant on them to survive.
Humble beginnings. Actually, the game starts you out with NOTHING equipped, and a barren inventory aside from ten potions.
Much like all of Lufia III's dungeons, there are lots of randomly-generated dead ends. Again, I suspect this might be a meta-statement on life.
Being an incredible hoss, I manage to level up Selan and Tia at the same time.
Second floor! Only 99 to go!
I'm going to need an actual miracle to get to the end of this place, given the complete lack of healing spells and healing items in chests. Bad luck, it seems, and success here is very dependent on having good luck with what drops for you.
I notice that only the female characters can equip kitchen-implements like the Frying Pan and Chopping Board. That's real progressive, game.
One of the big annoyances in the teen-level floors: Mimics. These bastards pretend to be treasure chests until you get close, then attack. They're also wildly OP for their level.
A more welcome sight are these cube enemies. They give a huge amount of exp if you can defeat them before they flee, which is much-needed in the Ancient Cave. Grinding isn't an option here due to the limited number of enemies. Also, if the game doesn't give you any heals like me, you're going to start having some major exp problems before too long simply from being forced to avoid fights.
Figgoru sounds like a bad translation of Figaro. I'm finding a lot of Lexis weapons that no one can use, and it's somewhat maddening given how much I'm hurting for healing right now.
Seriously, look at all these useless wrenches. Meanwhile, I'm barely getting by on the aformentioned complete lack of heals, which, like I mentioned before, means having to avoid battles, which means falling behind on levels.
Flash evolves to class 2 with all this junk, at least. Right now my only real healing is coming from this guy, the odd Potions/Hi-Potions that I find, and one IP ability that Tia has.
Got this escape item on floor 22, and briefly considered warping out to start the whole dungeon over. The only problem is...
::record scratching:: ...doing so would completely reset all of my progress. I could keep a couple of blue chest items that I've found, but that's about it. And those couple of blue chest items wouldn't give me much of an advantage, so I'm not inclined to do this.
Given the lack of healing spells or MP restoring items, I definitely regret bringing a second caster instead of Guy. Selan and Tia are out of MP half the time anyway since levels increase rapidly here without any way to "restore" your MP as the cap raises. There are definitely some huge issues with this whole thing.
A bit later, I luck out by finding this. It's a huge boon to my survivability, but it still relies on Selan having any IP.
EGAD! A blue chest! Let's get it!
NO NOT MORE MIMICS WHY
Generally, if chests are near doorways...they're mimics.
At some point I find the miracle I've been looking for... an odd bush. These are rare spawns in the dungeon, and chopping them down reveals...
...a restoration point. Thank GOD. I'm finally able to restore everyone to full without doing IP gymnastics or using my meager couple of healing items. I also utilize this to clear the floor of enemies before moving on, since I can restore between fights. Too bad I can't stay on this floor and grind due to the limited number of enemies.
This weapon is kind of a big deal around here. It's crucial for beating the boss of the dungeon, since it has an IP effect that cuts HP in half (yes, even against that boss).
Ninjas were the bane of my existence in the normal game, and they're the bane of my existence here. They're among the few enemies that I consider not worth fighting at all.
Not only am I an incredible hoss, I'm also a total stud, as proven when I get Selan to level up TWICE IN A ROW.
Flash moves up to class 3 now, but I think this was a mistake. Not only am I now forced to look at baby-posterior, he now doesn't really heal effectively any more. Most of the time he uses his revive (status cure?) ability instead of the heal, and it always misses.
On floor FIFTY TWO, I finally obtain a way to restore MP. This steals MP from an enemy and gives it to the caster. I immediately set about restoring everyone's MP and topping it out. Couple this with the Champion spell that I found on floor 30-something (my first heal, mind you), and I might yet be able to get through this. Absorb requires mage-type enemies to work, however, so it isn't entirely foolproof and I still need to use caution.
Finally, on floor FIFTY TWO or so, I get the first healing spell of the game. It's actually still useful due to being very mana-efficient (3 MP for a 150 heal is much better than 16 MP for a full heal when your characters only have 200-400 HP), but still... WHERE WERE YOU ALL THIS TIME?
At one point I have to fight two Ghost Ships at once. I was horrified because I expected them to have upwards of 10,000 HP like they did in the regular game, but they only had about 1,200 each.
Now THIS is an IP ability. Especially for Maxim. His spell-casting ability is pretty awful, so Absorb rarely works for him as an MP-recovering tool.
Flash reaches his highest evolutionary form, digi-volving into Angemon. This one actually has an attack. Still, I'm mainly hoping for heals out of this guy... unfortunately for me, those usually end up targetted on characters who are already at full HP. Yay.
The last twenty or so floors are home to the highest tier of enemies, and the worst are these bastards. They each get two turns per round, and they frequently dish out spells that damage everyone. Since my levels are sub-par my characters never get to go first, and often they're all dead before I can even heal. It sucks.
Let it be known that floor 83 is as far as I got without having to load states. When I finally did, it was thanks to these douchebags. I couldn't seem to win any fights with them, so I had to just avoid them entirely. And like the guy said, I can't backtrack to build up levels. The lack of healing for the first few dozen floors really screwed me over and left me behind the leveling curve. I have, however, gotten six or seven pretty good blue chest items that would give me a significant advantage if I started over. I'll definitely do that in the near future, because despite the issues, this is a lot of fun.
Floor 92! Close to the end now. I notice that most of the post-90 floors tend to have the next stairway very close to your starting point. I usually just go for them post-haste.
The big boss of the dungeon? ...a red slime. Is he ill-tempered, at least?
Wrong, they're actually made of silicone for extra weight, at the cost of quite a bit of softness.
...I've been around.
So...this is like the Methos of the slime kingdom?
The battle begins, and... it's a zoomed-in mega-slime. I like that they didn't even render a new sprite for this boss... they just increased the size of the old one, pixels and all.
After a few rounds of it doing nothing besides healing our characters, it COMMITS SUICIDE.
After the battle, it tells us that we're not worthy. Looks like this isn't a battle so much as a "You must do this much damage in three turns" test. With my characters in the 30's as far as levels go, there's no way I'll "win" this. I'll give the cave another shot in the future and hopefully have a better time with it overall; if I can keep from falling behind the level curve I can definitely get to the end in better shape.
Defeating the blob gets you the key to the treasure room outside, which gets you a bunch of really good equipment. Only problem is... you can't take it elsewhere since this is Gift Mode. Might be able to bring these things back into the AC, not sure. I'm guessing this would be a huge boost in the regular game.
That's the Ancient Cave, a crazy optional dungeon if I've ever seen one. Tune in shortly as I cover what historians have referred to as "a bit of a step down", Lufia III.
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Other Lufia II Posts
Other Lufia Series Games