Monday, September 2, 2019

Adventures of Mana, Part 4 - All Out

Today on Seiken Densetsu 1 Version 3 HD, our heroes battle Dark Lord. Also, other stuff happens. This is a pretty sweet game, and we're almost to Secret of Mana.

Getting into Glaive Castle is a matter of travelling the sewers, fending off all kinds of...mimics and beetles? THE EMPIRE WILL HIRE ANYBODY
The next boss is the Chimera, of FFA fame. The final guard before Dark Lord.
I use the Ball and Chain to win this fight, as is tradition.

The Ball and Chain is a hell of a weapon, and if it didn't get outclassed on damage ranking by later weapons you could use it right up until the end. Not only does it swing around you in a circular motion that's very useful in the grid-based design of this game, it also eliminates the need for buying any more mattocks since it breaks walls.

Here's the fight in FFA in the Switch collection. If sufficiently-leveled, you can get right in his face(s) and swing away with the Ball and Chain.
I'm guessing "Amanda stole it from me while I was asleep" would invite more questions than we have time for.
The mages here are super-obnoxious because they constantly turn you into a moogle. Unfortunately this is a battleground, not a Hot Girl Convention.
Glaive Castle is a long and involved dungeon, but it's fairly straightforward. From here on out the dungeons get more confusing and generally require maps. There are only a few left, at least.
The Blood Sword is found here, and like all weapons in this version, it has a unique graphic. I'll be using this in the fight with Dark Lord, but unfortunately it's otherwise still outclassed by the Ball and Chain.
One particularly annoying puzzle that pops up more and more as the game goes on: Switches that you have to freeze enemies on top of to proceed.
Finally, here's Dark Lord, and it's time for the duel. The hero's Blood Sword versus Dark Lord's shiny gold sword. It feels like those should be reversed, but yeah.
This game manages to be more serious and emotional than the game with the full rewrite, Sword of Mana.
This fight is a slugfest. He moves fast and hits hard, and the key is to try to slash him from the sides. It's pretty much the same fight as the Game Boy version, just a lot cooler-looking.

And speaking of, here's my fight with him in the Game Boy (well, Switch) version. It was a brawl.

We get a look at Dark Lord's face right before he dies, Darth Vader style. Lil' Cactus was right, Dark Lord was mainly misguided if anything. Julius was the one pulling the strings.
Speaking of Julius, here he is cosplaying as Mileena. Of course, he abducts The Girl (AGAIN) and knocks our hero down the river to his death.
...well, not quite. He survives and somehow washes up in the desert. This POV shot is definitely new to this version.
The heroic Boco manages to nab our hero and carry him to safety, though Boco was also somehow injured during the Julius crisis.
I try my new Castlevania-esque Flame Whip by WHIPPING HOUSES. OH MY GOD. Buy this in the weapon shop here and be merry. It's strong enough to be worth using over the Ball and Chain, even, and is probably the best range weapon.

"GET OUT" screeches Bogard. He was also injured when Julius took over. Did Julius nuke the landscape or something and we didn't see it? In any case, The Boy is fed up with all of this and wants to go home, so Bogard gets angry.
With all the talk about the Vandole Empire in this game, it's crazy that said Empire never really figures into it. I mean, it's been gone for 20 years. The people of this world treat it like their evil ex.
Meanwhile, Boco gets equipped with mecha-legs, like Lieutenant Dan. This lets you run on water, which means the entire world map is now explorable. It also means that the last few dungeons are all in super out-of-the-way confusing locations.
That's right! Julius seized the Power of Mana by its hair! And the Power of Mana liked it! Hey Power of Mana, good luck getting through doing the dishes in yoga pants and a midriff-showing, tied-in-front shirt around me. ...I mean, Julius.
Bogard brings tidings of Excalibur, the strongest of all weapons. Our next goal is to take out a few Final Fantasy 1 refugee elemental fiends, climb a tower, and defeat Julius.
The Vandole Empire knew how to build towers and fortresses on sand. Sounds like the Mirage Tower and the Sky Fortress from Final Fantasy 1.
And speaking of the desert, our next trek takes us through the desert and into the frozen north lands. I really like this last, open part of the game after the fall of Dark Lord, as it brings you to some very interesting locations. It's just too bad that the overworld can be confusing and tedious to navigate or figure out where to go next.
Oh My God! It's Aegagropilon! Here it shows up as a random enemy in the desert. Nice reference.
With Boco's mecha-legs, I can now SAIL AWAY, MAN.
The tedious aspect of the exploration comes in with these maze-like waterways. Getting from point A to point B often requires a lot of backtracking and looking for the right river.
As we know by now, the holy city of Wendel isn't much to look at in this version.
Cibba set out for the frozen north lands of Lorimar...but at least he has a normal head now.
The king of Lorimar presides over a frozen kingdom. He references Marilith by its original FF1 mistranslation, Kary.
What follows is my single favorite level-grinding spot in this remake: The snow-fields. Enemies here give a ton of exp so you level every couple screens, and making the rounds of the snow-fields is fun and atmospheric.


These walrus hooligans are satisfying to bowl over for mad EXP.
You can practically hear the bowling pin sound.

Now that I've spent a little while gaining a ton of levels in the snow fields, it's time for...

...the Ice Cave, which has a new dungeon theme. Several lategame dungeons share this theme, and it's awesome.

Despite the great music, this is the first truly irritating dungeon in the game. It's full of ice-floor puzzles.
Look at that level surge. I went from about 37 to 52 in the snow fields.
Marilith is the fiend of fire in FF1, so her residence in this ice cave is pretty weird.
I also use the Flame Whip in this fight. There aren't any elemental properties in this version of the game, really.
This fight is a fun reference for fans of FF1 on the NES, which is the demographic FFA was designed for to begin with. It was an action-oriented FF1 spinoff that ended up starting its own series.

Weird how Marilith attacks with ice spells. Here's the original fight in Final Fantasy Adventure.

After a quick talk with Cibba, it's off to the next dungeon which directly follows the previous dungeon:
The Subterranean River. Another fairly easy dungeon that has some confusing layout and traps. At this point the game is just spamming dungeons and bosses, but we're near the end.
Kraken is the next boss, and it's basically a giant loot piñata because it doesn't present much of a threat when its hitbox takes up most of the screen.

It's worth noting that the fight with Kraken has been different in every version of the game. It might be the only FFA boss fight that has been significantly different in every iteration.

The original version kept a distance and sent a tentacle to fight you.

The Sword of Mana version popped up at various pools around the room where you could attack it directly during the short windows where it was reachable.

And finally, this version just sorta sits there while you blast away, striking the bridge with tentacles that usually miss.
It's a fun battle, loot piñata or not. Next time on Adventures of Mana: Lich, Dime Tower, and the end.


  1. Blood Sword with a unique graphic? Nicccce.

    Marilith's elements always seem to be out of wack.

    The Sword of Mana version of Kraken reminds me of that one boss in Secret of Evermore right before the third area, though in a much brighter area.

    1. That's Aquagoth, and Sword Kraken was indeed pretty much Aquagoth 2.0. Surprised I didn't mention it in the post considering I'm constantly pointing out when things have similarities.

      All of the weapons in AoM have unique graphics, which was a pleasant surprise. Like everything, right down to the lowliest weapons. They used this same engine for the PS4 version of Secret of Mana, which would normally bode well for the remake but from what I understand they botched quite a bit.

      Marilith isn't just in the ice cave here, she attacks with ice spells specifically. So if FFA has its own version of the four fiends, then: Marilith = Ice, Ifrit = Fire, Kraken = Water, Lich = Earth, with Tiamat dropped. Didn't Marilith use ice spells in FF1 as well, despite being in a volcano? Maybe she was the fiend of ice all along and everyone just assumed she was fire. FF9 probably clears this up since Garland and the four fiends return in it.