Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Adventures of Mana, Part 3 - Meridian Prance

"Truly, Lester is the dandiest bard in all of the land!"

"Lester prances to and fro with the greatest of pizzaz! Never have I seen a bard romp so gaily!"

Next up, we get a somewhat-decent level-up spot. This area has werewolves bunched up, with plenty of room to hit several of them at once before retreating north to respawn them.

 This was in the original iteration of the game, except you had very little room to avoid them. Pretty much had to one-shot them for it to be worthwhile. If you could one-shot them, though, you could gain like five levels here in a few minutes.

I grind out a level, though at this point I'm ahead of the curve and don't need to worry about levels very much.

Nearby, we find a GIANT YOSHI EGG. Inside is...

...Boco, the infamous and feared leader of Boco Haram. "TURN DOWN FOR WARK?" he yells while firing his AK-47 into the air.

Chocobo-riding in this game makes you impervious to enemies for a little while. It's just nice to have the chocobo again after he was completely omitted from Sword of Mana.

Finally, we arrive in Jadd. This is the domain of the vile desert dictator, Davias.

The most important thing to get here is Gold equipment, a significant upgrade.

"We're gonna build a wall!" he says.

We all know the drill by now. Davias' parrot is actually Lester the Unlikely, the most dainty bard of them all. The only way to cure him is with Medusa tears, which means we get to run figure 8's around these palm trees to make the next dungeon appear.

Amanda joins us here, as is tradition.

Her special ability is being able to un-petrify the hero. It's ironic that she makes things softer, because...

...her official artwork has an Ayla thing going on. You know what.

So, Square character most in need of a 1080p 3D version: Amanda here, or Maria from Final Fantasy II?

The Ice spell is acquired, which still turns enemies into snowmen.

This game is so faithful to the original that there are barely even any complete guides for it on the internet. Nearly every site with walkthroughs for it just reuses Final Fantasy Adventure guides.

After a confusing-unless-you-have-a-map dungeon, we find Medusa. For the most part the dungeons in this game are straightforward, aside from bringing enough keys and mattocks (and knowing where you have to use them, hence the usefulness of maps).

Medusa pops her hip out like a girl posing for an Instagram shot. She has a delightful s-curve to her figure, marred only slightly by her hair being a writhing mass of bloodthirsty serpents.

Kofi impales Medusa with a powered-up spear attack! This is a fairly easy fight even with no MP. It might be the last "fairly easy fight" in the game though, as from here on out the bosses pose a significant challenge due to their damage output. This game can't be rolled like Sword of Mana.

Unfortunately, we know what happens next.

Her eyes turn red as the scene goes on. Amanda, we barely knew ye.

What's worse is, this version of the game makes the player kill her with an attack. You can't leave the room until you do.

Well, I'd love to play as Amanda in a full-3D remake that uses the designs from this version, but I doubt such a thing is ever going to happen.

We return to Jadd. I didn't get a shot of Devias' Mansion before, so here it is. This game sure has a lot of Counts and guys with mansions.

The AoM version of the mansion looks a lot less visually stunning than the one in Sword of Mana, seen here.

"I'm afraid I've got some bad news" says the hero.

I haven't been heaping much praise on Sword of Mana for a variety of reasons, but one thing I did like about it was that it expanded the role of characters like Amanda and Willy and gave them a bit more to do. They're kinda wasted in the original.

More faithful attention to detail, as the weird pyramid-rocks from the original game turn up as obstacles. I like that this game is grid/room-based like FFA rather than having large areas like Sword of Mana. It's easier to keep track of your location and not get lost, which happened quite a bit in Sword.

Here are the pyramids from the original version, for comparison's sake.

Fireball-throwing Black Mages attack here, as is tradition. They even teleport around. The Wizzrobes from the Zelda series should sue!

New weapon alert: It's the Were-Buster, formerly the Were Axe. As this is my first upgrade to an existing weapon, I was expecting it to replace the original Battle Axe. Well, it doesn't, weirdly enough. In this game all of the new weapons you collect pretty much pile up in the inventory. They also all look different on the battlefield, which is awesome.

The next fight is Davias, the Big Bad of the first half of the game more or less. He looks like an evil mirror universe version of the character from Journey.

This fight is a huge step up from everything else up to this point, as he surrounds himself with fireballs.

Since he's so well-protected, the only avenue to victory here is to stay back and use the Whip from a distance. I tried the new Were-Buster and while it does a lot more damage, it was causing me to take a lot of hits. And as you can see from the red part of the HP meter, these hits are HARSH.

Here's the fight in its original Final Fantasy Adventure incarnation from the Switch version that just dropped today.

Turns out the Garuda you fight before Dark Lord is actually his pet. Crooked Boulder is the new name of the mountain pass that leads to Glaive Empire Duchy.

Lester prances about like the fairest of lads, strumming a tune that lifts the poison fog over the north mountains. Time for the trek to Glaive, one of the more interesting parts of the game. Sword of Mana really skimmed over this entire section and omitted several bosses.

Here's a spell that I've never used... in any of the three versions of the game.

The mountain trek takes us over bridges and through caves on the way to...

...GIANT CRAB BOSS. It definitely wasn't in Sword.

It is, however, in the original game. Here's a video of the fight.

It's almost a reference to the giant crab boss in Seiken Densetsu 3. A miniature version of it. The fight itself isn't too difficult.

The terrain gets spiky. The enemies here suddenly use a lot of status effects, most notably...

...Moogle, which reduces your defense to zero temporarily (while also making you an absolute chick-magnet).

The overworld's pretty well filled-in now, still missing the northeast lands though.

The next town has Diamond equipment, which is just in time for MORE BOSSES:

First up is this green robot refugee from Mega Man X. None of my attacks damage it, so the fight is unwinnable. You have to get the Morning Star first from the Cyclops, something FFA forced. In this version you can just stumble into this guy's lair first.

Super-weird puzzle here, as you have to push four opened chests onto switches. That makes sense...except the door doesn't open. You have to do that, then destroy one of the chests, to proceed. Almost seems like a glitch.

The Cyclops is a big, bad dude. He telegraphs his attacks a lot, which is good because they take off about half your health if they land.

Here's his original Game Boy form. I always liked the mythological bosses in those early FF games.

Victory gets you the Morning Star, which is the final weapon type. It's SUPER OP in this version and I might well use it right up until I presumably get the strongest sword.

It's slow-moving and spins around you before striking, but it sure does do a lot of damage.

Now I can actually hit the green robot. This fight is especially gratifying because Morning Star hits knock the robot backwards.

BOOM. That's it for this fight. Easiest boss in a bit now.

Kofi crosses the bridge into Glaive, which collapses behind him. Maybe Glaive needs to work on their infrastructure.

Here we are, back where the game began. Getting deja-vu, not just for the location...

...but also because we've done this before. I've been using all parts of the Seiken Densetsu 1, like Native Americans would.

Next time: Dark Lord! Other stuff!

Leaving off with this. The game has an interesting chocobo theme.

1 comment:

  1. I'll pick the dark horse candidate Refia.

    "Marred only slightly"

    Yeah, I wouldn't expect a fourth version of this game anytime soon. Maybe playing as Angela in Trials of Mana 3D would be the next best thing.

    Mindflayers are no joke.

    Yeah, that looks a lot like the Full Metal Hugger.