The sprite that appears before the boss battle is a hint of who it is, if you can remember which boss used which sprite in the core game. But so many use "generic hooded monster" that it's impossible to--
"I dunno. I think I saw her die when Kain signed on. Kain?"
Scarmilogne's back-attack is replaced by the troops who normally attack in Kaipo when Rydia is rescued from Cecil destroying Mist.
But then... another encounter! And another! And another!
That's right, I ducked out of the Fabul boss rush and came here... to fight the Fabul boss rush. All five battles happen consecutively, and since they replace Scarmilogne, all of them are back attacks. And I forgot to switch rows before the fight like some kind of moron.
I GRRRRR-BAAAAAAHHHH the monsters off the bridge and head into the mirror chamber.
Where I get... one of the two items I need to finish the game. So this was a handy diversion.
Just then, Rydia's reflection transforms into a sparkle and attacks!
Rydia has never been a Dark Knight, so her evil side is represented by a sea monster from the lakes of Canada the moon.
Or, if you prefer, a big, mean, nasty, possibly evil variation on a powerful summon monster we've already destroyed. Which I guess is thematically appropriate!
Ogopogo always opens with two Deluge, approximately but not exactly halving everyone's HP. It is otherwise not a difficult battle, given, yes, its scaled-down HP.
Oh yeah, to keep FuSoYa from being a complete gamebreaker if you happen to start with him, the mod powers him down significantly. You have to do this to bump him up into the ultra-Sage he normally is. (FuSoYa never got stat boosts at level up in core game. I assume this was changed for Free Enterprise.)
OH COME ON
Yeah, very first chest.
Not gonna lie, this trapped chest was harder than most of the bosses up til now. My reward is a Power Sash, which I slap on Yang. Uh, as soon as Rosa stuffs his soul back into his body.
Oh, and Rydia picked up Bio, which is always a welcome power boost. Non-elemental -ra level magic that causes Sap status? Please and thank you!
Kain finds a Dragoon helm, so now he's up to two pieces of endgame equipment.
If the entire Fabul boss rush is coded as one boss encounter, I suppose I can probably handle this.
Yeah, apparently I took care of it so handily that I never screenshotted the fight. I'm pretty sure it was Zombie Scarmilogne. Anyway, the king gives us a thing a Dark Knight who passed through Fabul left there a while back: the key to the Tower of Babel.
While I'm here, I hop on the hovercraft and cruise into Eblan Cave.
Inside is a nice hat for Rydia and Dragoon gauntlets for Kain. So he's up to, uh, two pieces of endgame equipment, since the first one was also a set of gauntlets.
Edge joins right where he normally would in the core game this randomizer sucks
I don't dislike Porom, but I don't need two white mages. And it's no secret that the endgame party in core FF4 is made of the only members of the cast who get strong enough to survive through endgame -- all other stats being very nearly equal, Rosa gets nearly twice the HP growth that Porom does. So Porom's out.
I don't think I ever knew that Edge could equip the Genji equipment. I mean, it's supposed to be a heavy set of samurai-style splint mail, why would I even try to put that on a ninja?
And I'm short on ninjato, so Edge borrows some of Yang's claws for a little while. His damage output is pretty poor anyway, maybe he can proc a status ailment.
On to the Tower of Babel, dum de dum...
These guys are virtually immune to magic, but I just gave up a white mage. It's not like she had any attack magic anyway.
This is about the time where I went "Huh, it's weird that Rydia never picked up any more summon magic. You'd think something would have come up by now."
I have no shame about exploiting the Sylph bug that makes it free to cast. Not only do I not need two white mages, Rosa's line of Cure magic is nearly obsoleted now, too.
If I ever find Cecil, I got some gloves for him.
Further into the tower, the boss fight with Edge's parents is replaced with... this regal-looking fellow.
hold on, who was that in the core game
I never like the answer to this question...
Edge throws away most of the weaponry that we're carrying but not using, Rosa Hastes the boys, and Rydia uses... uh, I think Virus is still her best black magic. I manage to beat Bahamut right after he said "1". That was close!
This is another part with multiple boss fights back-to-back. Edge picks up Flood and Blitz, we're full-healed like Rubicante normally does, and we're thrown into the boss fight with Generic Hooded Monster Guy.
Which in this case is Living Scarmilogne.
Up til now I've mostly seen endgame bosses scaled down. Now I'm up against an early game boss, scaled up.
But he's still hitting me with Thunder spells. He needs to target Yang's crappy magic defense to even break two digits.
Meanwhile his HP has been so overinflated that the end of the fight needlessly drags on.
There's a return point down here, since like the waterfall in the watery pass, it'd be possible to get yourself stuck beyond a point of no return otherwise.
The only notable thing I find in the bowels of Babel is a set of Genji armor. I put it on Edge since he's so ridiculously fragile.
Thus equipped I'm a little more confident putting him on the front row for full Fight damage. I could probably have bumped Kain back to the back, but eh.
The other thing I found in the bowels of Babel was the Falcon, which comes pre-equipped with the giant drill and can fly over magma.
So the first thing I do is let my spiral power pierce the heavens mountains for free access between overworld and underworld. I dunno where the Magma key is, but I don't need it now.
Maybe the key item behind Urist McKingpants here is one that's helpful.
There are some girls stuck back here. They're cute! They're scary!
They're complete pushovers!
But it's no use, their hideous master already knows of this place, and will be along shortly. Cue the ominous organ music, and in teleports...
Uh, FuSoYa, who shows up out of nowhere and tries to elbow his way into the party. I don't really need another mage, though, so I take his Sorcerer robe and boot him.
This fills out Rydia's summon list with the usual suspects, Mist Dragon through Titan.
Anyway, the terrifying master of the Magus Sisters is a bunch of dolls.
Hey, remember last time I played a modded FF4, and mentioned that Calcobrena is only a remotely difficult boss because you don't have anyone in the group who can multi-target?
One of their little wooden hands remains behind, grabs the Crystal whatever key item that is and leaves.
"She had a sword?! You can't give a little girl a sword! It's not safe!"
"It's a sword. They're not meant to be safe."
"She's a child!"
"What if she cuts herself?"
"That will be an important lesson."
Maybe the key item behind Urist McKingpants here is one that's helpful.
So... something else.
Oh, word. These go on Yang.
It is a baffling detail that Yang cannot Kick while floating. I mean, he never kicks anyway, that command is damn near useless. Why go through the trouble of disabling it, ever?
Yang's robot doppelganger is laid up.
The real Yang grabs whatever item is handy and tries to destroy the impostor!
The group picks up the broken robot chassis, finds it studded with gems, and lets Kain wear it.
That chest in the corner is the monster chest with the Bog Witch and six TinyToads. She drops a Silence Staff.
So having done Sylph, obviously the next step...
"No, I'm right in front of you."
ha ha ha excuse me what
So obviously I go to Adamant Grotto next. I mean... they just threw the Pink Tail at me. There's no way it still gets Adamant armor, right? It's just another randomized key item swap, so
Rydia instantly turns from the most fragile member of the party to the sturdiest.
I don't think I ever realized this secret passage off of Kokkol's staircase is here. It's Black armor for a Dark Knight here, I wonder what it is in the core game.
So... uh, off to do the next thing, I guess. The king of Fabul gave me the key to Babel for some damn reason, so let's see what's in there.
...yeah, coming here was a good idea.
I still have multiple questions about this key.
Anyway, inside is the Dark Elf, who opens with his post-Edward-playing-the-lute salvo of -ra magic. It, uh... doesn't take.
We all leave the room, and the cannon explodes, for no readily apparent reason.
Further up we find the computer core of the Giant Tower of Babel.
Hey remember last time I played a mod of FF4, and actually stopped to refight this guy a couple of times to grind out levels? I'm strong enough that I take out the Attack Node, DS-version-style, instead of the Defense Node like usual.
The computer horks up a piece of flatware before disintegrating.
Golbez, for no readily apparent reason because I don't think he's had any screen time up til now, destroys the bridge out of Babel as I leave.
Cid isn't piloting the airship to catch us, so I still have no idea where Cid is. His crew wordlessly gives me a rat tail after I land on deck.
Why do you have this
Well, uh... Let's go blow up an innocent village and see what happens, I guess.
So I blow up a village and find, sobbing over the corpse of their fallen mother as the town burns around them...
...another of Yang's robot doubles!
Who promptly rends the earth asunder and sends us blasting off agaaaaain
All right, you're coming with me this time. I have some questions I want answered.
Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are there so damn many of you? Talk, dammit!
NOT NOW RUBICANTE I AM TRYING TO HAVE AN INTERROGATION HERE
That tells me nothing.
So I load state so that I don't have the blood of the summoners on my hands and head off.
I can't drop off any of these key items clogging up my inventory space.
It just now occurred to me that the last conversation with Sheila was the "We just found Yang in the underworld and idk what to do about it" where she normally gives you the pan, rather than the "We wonked Yang on the head, now what" conversation where she normally gives you the spoon -- even though I'd already wonked Yang on the head. I could probably have gone back and gotten another key item from her.
But no, I go back to exploring, trying to find the Dark Crystal to get the Lunar Whale. This ain't it.
Asura and Leviathan have been replaced by Golbez and... a sparkle.
Golbez does his normal opening gambit, paralyzing the party and having Shadow Dragon eat them demolish them.
Rydia lives through it, of course, and he left Kain alive because Cecil's not around to gloat over.
Anyway Golbez can barely scratch Rydia in her Adamant armor, and I have Bahamut already. My reward for winning is a Kikuichimonji for Edge.
So how about Asura?
Boy, hope Wyvern isn't set to guarding something important!
*Yang stares at the woman without saying anything*
Edward is in a hospital bed because carrying a heavy chunk of metal ore snapped his waifish spine.
I take a detour to drop off two otherwise useless key items, and then...
Try my hand at Cave Magnes.
Whoops, it's not talking to Edward that makes this fight possible, it's actually having the TwinHarp/Whisperweed. So I guess I'd better go get that.
Wherever that is.
Spoilers: It's not here.
What is here?
This is the Yang fight from Baron, after the Mysidia sidequest. "Karate" is programmed only to attack Cecil, and he ain't here, so he just kind of stands there while we blast him.
son of a
lol no they fuckin didn't
I was hoping for a key item swap but no, Excalibur is Excalibur. Once I find Cecil, though...
Thing is, I'm running out of places to go. I'm pretty sure Troia/Cave Magnes/Zot was the last thing on the overworld, and I've already been through the Dwarf castle, the Feymarch, the Sylph Cave, and Babel. That just leaves...
Look, you all know this dungeon. The Trap Doors kill you, and there are a shitton of them, and random encounters happen every three steps. It's awful.
If Rosa is fast enough, she can cast Reflect on someone targeted by a Trap Door, and Dimension 9 will bounce off the Reflect and kill the door, easy peasy.
Rosa is not fast enough.
Everyone hates this dungeon.
Somehow Edward left his harp lyre down here.
On the way out, Dr. Lugae and Barnabus pop out of the wall. Did you know the folds in your stomach tissue that allow your stomach to expand like an accordion and hold all the food you eat are called "Rugae"? Maybe that's where they got the name for this guy, except that makes no damn sense.
Dr. Lugae, Barnabus, and Barnabus-Z are not threatening in the slightest.
And Lugaeborg is only threatening in the DS remake.
Rosa why do you not have Exit
Porom knew Exit and I booted her out of the party
because you are supposed to know Exit
(I'm pretty sure Exit doesn't work in the Sealed Cave anyway, since you're supposed to get backstabbed by Kain on the way out, but this is where I checked and found Rosa doesn't have it.)
The search for key items continues. Normally you get the Baron key after this fight, so let's fight it.
Now that I'm like 50 levels higher than I was last time the Guards go down like the bitches they are.
Palom jobchanges into a Dark Knight and attacks. I pummel him before he can get off a single Dark Wave, ignoring the usual script for the fight with the knowledge that it only has like 4000 HP. That's damn difficult to get as a Paladin, but quite easy with a full party of level 55 murder-machines.
Palom did in fact have a key item! A useless one.
So I dump it down the well, Rydia shrugs and goes "Well, that's gone." since the passage to the Underworld is already open, and I free up that inventory slot.
Isn't it odd that I did this boss fight normally back at the super cannon in the Tower of Babel, but the Dark Elf is still the gatekeeper to make sure you have the TwinHarp here?
That's because the Dark Elf isn't the Dark Elf here. It's Asura in disguise.
Scaled down to Dark Elf strength, I deplete Asura's HP before Rosa even has a chance to cast Wall on her.
hey guys guess where I get to go next
The shops in Baron had fuck all that I wanted. The waterway is a little more generous, including a Yoichi Bow for Rosa.
Another sparkle! This could be bad. Like, real bad.
(It is not, because I get a chance to cast Megaflare myself this time.)
Another other sparkle! This might be bad. You just don't know.
(It is not.)
I swap Edge out for somebody with his approximate damage output and about an order of magnitude more survivability.
Like the super cannon, the trap on the way out just explodes after everyone's already escaped.
hey guys guess where I get to go next
Cecil starts at level 1, like Paladin Cecil is wont to do, but his equipment choices are a bit better than the "Paladin" gear normally sold in Mysidia.
No cutscene here, Golbez just blasts you and walks away with the Earth Crystal.
Cecil and Cecil's Own Robot Doppelganger rush in and save Porom from Golbez's trap. Normally there's a smooch here but I'm glad that doesn't happen. It'd just be creepy.
I kick Porom to the curb again, even though she has Exit, because I'm pretty sure at this point Cecil already learned it and I figure Rosa's about to.
Just then, a swirling mist envelops the party, and we find ourselves battling...
...a very solid stone wall!
(Objects coalescing out of thin air may be less solid than they appear.)
Well I'd fuckin' hope so I literally don't know where I'd go next if I'd gotten something else
Now that I'm done with literally every dungeon except three, Rosa picks up Exit. Turns out it's the event at the end of Zot that teaches it.
Anyway gimme my airship and let me go to endgame already sheesh
As a small mercy, the mod lets the Lunar Whale land on the moon's surface (rather than the raised cliffs). This means I can skip all the Lunar Path areas. I forget to go back to loot them, but eh. How good could that stuff have been?
Ah, what the hell. It's a lategame dungeon, maybe there's some good equipment inside.
...or maybe not. Frickin' randomizers.
Enemies in the Giant are experience pinatas, though. Yang's to the point where he's robbed of further HP growth. This is a fair experience level to take straight to Zeromus and win the game. It's certainly enough to beat
Gentleman, gentleman, matches are at best dignified and honorable
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