After my first mandatory week of “play it as if it were on console,” I pulled out most of the stops for a game this high on the crappiness scale. I’m using snes9x speedup, following a walkthrough, and I even used a cheat code for max gold. I’m hoping that will cut down some on the grinding time. There’s also a “level 99 in one battle” code but I’m not going that far. I’ll be interested to see that with this unlimited money code, can I beat the game without any actual grinding, just fighting the battles I encounter in the dungeons and on the world map? (Answer: no)
|Recieving the Light of Lazes to open up the blocked town|
After levelling up to 17 or 18 it was time to beat Gorlia, the boss of the overworld. Even at that level he casts an all-hit magic spell that does over half my HP, and the priest’s healing is not enough to keep up with that. So basically we have to guard and heal until he runs out of MP. Even then his attacks do huge damage and the best I can heal is 80 HP (items only 30 HP, so useless). There’s a lot of luck in this fight and boosting up defense and attack stats. Then I used a combination of attack spells and the fighters’ special attacks, even though they can only use them once. Ralph and Liz only gain TP at certain points in the story, not from levelling.
Now that he’s gone, it’s time to head down to the underworld to defeat the 6 generals and Galba, and seal all the Panges. Once you enter the underworld you can’t come back to the surface, and can never buy certain items again (most notably the Sun Shards which avoid encounters). So I stocked up with 99 Sun Shards and as many Life Winds as I could afford. I only ever ended up using about 30 of the sun shards and only 2 Life Winds.
|99 sun shards, 14 life winds|
In the underworld, we meet a resistance movement that wants to overthrow the Masho (generals) and Galba, but it will be up to Ralph to actually do it, of course. This is the point where I used the unlimited money code, so from this point on I was able to keep 99 of the healing items and the best equipment — not that this helped a whole lot.
However, this part of the game was at least reasonable. You get 80 HP healing items at this point, and with 99 of those it’s actually possible to explore a dungeon while fighting the battles along the way. But you never get any better healing items, so after a while it becomes pretty much impossible. When regular grunt enemies have all-attack spells that do 120-150 to each person, or attack for 200, it doesn’t take much math skill to see that 99 items that heal 80 hp aren’t going to last very long with the high encounter rate. In the last third of the game, I used the technique of using Lumies’ “no enemies” spell to get any treasures in the dungeon (most of which are worthless) then if there is a boss, use the Sun Shards to reach him. There’s a good levelling place that works well even to the end of the game, so I would do my levelling there and then take on the bosses.
At this point I was also following a walkthrough step by step, including telling me how to get through the dungeons — some of them are extremely long with multiple confusing passages, so this cut a lot of time off the game.
The first of the Masho is Geeter, who rebelled against Joshua castle and deposed the king. He has the “faithless” Pange; all of the generals have some emotion that matches with their Pange. The first step is to get a mine cart so we can use all the underground railroads to travel between cities. This involves some fetch quests, the worst one being a 17 floor dungeon(!!!). It’s not that hard with a walkthrough, but many of the reviews of this game mention this dungeon as the breaking point for the players. With the mine cart we can now travel to other cities.
|Off we go|
The deposed king of Joshua Castle gives us the secret way into the palace, and Geeter is soon defeated.
Next up is a pair of masho, Badish and Radish. Their town considers them heroes, and supports them. We have to convince the townspeople that we just want to check up on the resistance base, and they finally let us through. Of course Badish and Radish are behind the attack on the base, and defeating them yields the Betrayal Pange. The strategy against these double bosses is often tricky because they can kill anyone in one round. It’s a combination of luck, buff items/spells, and using the fighters’ special moves to at least take out one of them before you get completely annihilated. The healing isn’t really enough to keep up with the damage so it can be pretty tough.
|Badish and Radish|
Next up is Gash, a fake priest that has stolen girls, although it doesn’t say what he’s doing with them. Defeating him releases the Ambition Pange. One of the girls was dead, though, and her mother tries to kill herself when we return to tell her — fortunately someone stops her.
I was so tired of the game at this point that I didn’t really get the story here — it had something to do with two people who wanted to get married but are now dead, and some ceremonial jewels involved in their wedding. But I think I had to talk to more townspeople to get the full story. Anyway, the Masho is Sone Jina, who gives the Jealousy Pange.
The last Masho is Eizel, who has the Vanity Pange. You need all the diamond equipment to fight him; I of course used a walkthrough to find the stuff but it seems hard to find without it. Maybe the townspeople gave some clues, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was yet another case where people have to buy the official guidebook to finish the game.
Now with all the Pange sealed inside Ralph’s orb, Dragon Lazes calls the party to a shrine where he opens the way to the final dungeon, where Galba awaits. I used the previous dungeons to level to 38 and then used Sun Shards to go through the entire dungeon with no encounters. As the game hinted earlier, Galba is Ralph’s father, and apparently also the father of Liz and Teo, although I don’t know where that came from. He believes that he’s been doing the will of Dragon Lazes and Dragon Digbodinon (the dark dragon). At that point, Digbodinon orders him to kill the party.
I think I was overlevelled because he wasn’t very hard. I spent a few turns just increasing attack and healing, and then continued to have Lumies increase attack while the fighters used their special attacks.
Once Galba is defeated, for some reason that removes Digbadinon’s influence although they don’t really explain why. Lazes praises the party, and reveals that Lumies was sent with the party because Lazes didn’t trust humans, since they once betrayed him. But now he sees humans are trustworthy and goes into a long sleep, leaving the world in the care of the humans. He reminds us to not just believe in what we can see. The final scene is Galba joyfully greeting his children. Why? I don’t know, it just ends right there.
|The family reunited|
All you get from this point is the credits, and then an odd “results” screen that shows how many times you pressed each button:
|X, L, R, and select do nothing in the game.|
Then a more typical results screen, showing number of saves, inns, deaths, etc. 1390 is the number of encounters I had, and that’s with my heavy use of “no encounter” items and spells.
|188 treasure chests opened|
To put it simply: this game is horrid. The developers should be ashamed for releasing this and charging money for it. My timer at the end of the game was 30:35, and that was with the unlimited money, step-by-step walkthrough, and basically bypassing a third of the dungeons with a walkthrough and “no encounter” spells/items. I can’t imagine the torture of playing this game on a real console without all this help — and without the speedup key. My timer showed 30 hours, but with snes9x’s speedup I was able to do 90 minutes of levelling in about 15 minutes so the actual time I put in was far less.