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[Game Journal] gimmegaming - 2022

25,488
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11
Years
Deponia - Part Five
So... didn't do a lot. Rufus fixed some candy machines, made luminescent fairy floss and cleaned up some mosaics (Rufus cleaning, truly a miracle). This was all in an effort to understand a password for a lift... trouble is the mosaic puzzle just explodes at the end. Okay Deponia.
 
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Deponia - Part Six
Luckily, there was a fuse box behind the mosaic Rufus could use to reset the lift with. Upstairs, he collected some random junk before heading back down. That was rather anti-climactic. At least until Cletus and the Organons showeds up, turning out to be working together to some mysterious common goal (ha) that involves blowing Deponia up in the process. After obtaining a memory cartridge from Cletus - who looks weirdly similar to Rufus - through negotiations, Rufus was able to use the random crap from before to impersonate him and slip past the Organons... only to find Goal now missing.

I can't say the Cletus twist surprised me, and I have theories as to why he looks like Rufus that I'm pretty confident in. This has been the most interesting part of the game thus far. Cletus is a terrible person though. Yikes.
 
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Deponia - Part Seven
Goal was missing, but there was a trail to follow! Using the torch I collected earlier, Rufus could follow a trail of phosphorescent goo to her location. This was actually mildly annoying because you can just passively leave the torch on. You have to keep equipping it and clicking where the trail leaves off at least once in every part of the map you pass through. It's not a huge deal, but it was bothersome enough to note. From there, Rufus slipped through the fenceline and found himself in an underwater tunnel. It was blocked but, using some bait, Rufus was able to goad a whale into smacking the tunnel and loosening things up enough to pass. Beyond that, Rufus boarded a boat where he came face to face with a big guy named Bozo... and Doc! Yay! Bozo is pretty cool too, I like his snarky back and forth dialogue with Rufus.

Doc was happy to take a look at Goal's implant, discovering that to fix it, it probably just needed a good dusting. Rufus must clean again! Which he did... he also engraved his name onto Goal's brain implant but I'm sure that's fine. Goal woke up and, with some more accurate input from Doc and Bozo at times, Rufus filled her in on Cletus and the Organon's plan and how Rufus more or less rescued her. Then, together, they (mostly Goal) formulated a plan to disguise Rufus as Cletus again and escape to Elysium to show them Deponia is inhabited and prevent the plan to blow it up (I may have forgot to mention Cletus and the Organon are planning to blow Deponia up).

Rufus actually did something pretty cool! He snuck around the junk around the tower to access a magnetic crane and used it to hoist up some Organons and leave them dangling there. After that, he was able to use his Cletus disguise to get he and Goal past the Bailiff and onto the platform where they got into an argument with the real Cletus. Rufus gives Cletus a flagpole wedgie and thing seem to be fine until Cletus reveals that Rufus has also been a lying shithead the entire time. Goal is reasonably displeased so he removes her memory cartridge in a desperate bid for success... then the Bailiff shows up- and suggests a deal. Rufus can simply go to Elysium as Cletus, assume his identity and marry goal. All he has to do is say Deponia is not inhabited and let it be blown up. It's easy to do that since Goal won't remember clearly.

A miracle occurs though and Rufus has second thoughts on the way to Elysium, he tells Goal the truth and they return to Deponia. Goal was rather pissed about the deception. But it seems like Rufus is on the right track! He just has to get Goal's original memory back and then they can go on to Elysium as planned. Unfortunately, after Rufus collects the cartridge, he is intercepted by Cletus and the Bailiff. Rufus gives Cletus a cartridge and then makes his escape from the Organon's finding himself in the company of Bozo. Deponia is not saved... but there is a hope. Rufus still has the back-up cartridge. That ends the first game.

Over all, the game is solid. The story isn't anything particularly amazing, but the characters are solid and the dialogue is really well written which helps make up some of that lost ground. The art style is also really nice to and, mechanically it functions fine as a point-and-click game even though the puzzles can be quite hard because of how outlandish the solutions usually are. The one major critique I have is that the pacing isn't very good. The early part of the game is painfully slow and not very interesting and the middle part is too short and feels inconsequential other than introducing Doc. The game really hit its stride in the third act, with really good dialogue and character work and solid pacing, but it took too long to get there. I have high hopes for the sequel when I get to it though. It might be a really good experience if it keeps building on the quality jump in that third act.

Story: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10
Soundtrack: 4/10
Gameplay: 6/10
Total Score: 22/40
 
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11
Years
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Eleven
Not a lot to report here. I intended to play more of the main story today but I'm so tired I can't think straight. Instead, I've been focusing on just doing board missions. For today, that meant two really quick and easy missions to kick out some fanboy Gaomon who were crashing a boxing website by being a little too dedicated and one-shotting a Lillymon with Green Flare Breath courtesy of Coredramon to help her take a hint that the owner of the phone she was in really wasn't into her.

The next mission seems more intriguing and is technically a secondary story mission. It earned me a new hacking skill and a new location even. The job was to open a sealed door for the government which is interesting - so was the difficulty I had in jumping into its system. Turns out that was the easy part though, I opened the door with my new skill to discover the tunnel beyond has been partially digitised - as though by an Eater. This will need investigating, but that will have to wait because my brain is too fried to continue.
 
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Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Twelve
My investigation into the tunnel was short lived. Kyoko was quick to halt me and have me turn back when she discovered that I was just about to cross into a government sponsored Kamishiro (the EDEN company) research site. It seems the two are more intertwined than expected and are perhaps even researching digital shifts together. I wonder if Seudo the mysterious scientist I keep running into with Arata is involved. Kyoko decided we needed to learn more before pushing our luck down there, so I was sent to the Metropolitan Office in Roppongi to do some investigating.

I was able to get inside easily enough, the lobby is currently open to the public for tours. It didn't take long to find something interesting either. A computer at the back of the lobby was experiencing a small digital shift. I jumped into it to try and get to the bottom of the matter. There wasn't a lot to explore in there, but I did run into an Eater... which Coredramon one shot. God damn this boy is powerful. It seems like something sneaky is going on under the Metropolitan Office. Kyoko suspects that they are controlling and manipulating digital waves from there... for some reason. Apparently they could even by using them to stockpile energy or something. Seems like there's more digging to be done while we figure out what the hell they're up to there.

Before that though... it was time to take a job from Ryota... helping him find a job. We ended up having to try and get a picture of the cyber ghost that looks suspiciously like Yuuga. Well, I saw the alleged ghost boy but the photo was a bust. Too bad for Ryota he couldn't get money to buy something for that girl. RIP buddy.

Sounds like my next stop will be in Shibuya to investigate strange goings on at a record store. I hope this isn't another padding mission I really want to get to the bottom of the mystery. This game has been pretty fun so far and I like the story, but it feels like they cram a lot of superfluous and dull content in to make it longer.
 
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11
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Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Thirteen
To kick things off, I began my investigation at Shibuya Records. Apparently, someone was breaking in at night and leaving behind weird albums in the shelves. With that in mind, I set up a stakeout and came face to face with an Etamon. After I beat him to a pulp, we chatted a bit ad it turns out he's pretty harmless. He just wants people to listen to his music. We let him be for the most part so long as knocks of the creepy B&E tactics. It was interesting that I had to chase him through a digital shift though. It seems like Eaters might not be the only cause. That, or the Eater activity nearby allowed him to cross over every now and then. Now Chapter 7 begins!

This chapter opened with a request from an awkward and distressed-looking businessman. While he was trying to get his hands on Digimon Capture technology, the hacker he was dealing with ran off with one of his medals. Apparently they took money too, but he was less worried about that. The first stop to investigate this one was easy to figure out, so it was a tad bothersome it took Kyoko a while to send me off lol. It was time to pay the medal collector right there in Nakano a visit. I sold him my own medals and he sent me on my way to Kowloon... again... yay. At least it's a new floor this time though! Kowloon is one of my least favourite locations in the game. It's not that interesting to look at, the music isn't anything special and I'm still annoyed at how long it took for the game to let me progress out of the first floor full of baby mon. Progress is progress though. I broke the lv wall and headed on up.

Kowloon's flour is bigger than the first two by a large margin and a little bit larger than the first too. It also seemed like a solid place to grind levels since my re-evolved team members were climbing level again pretty quick. I even fought a guy with a Flamedramon and got my hands on a Courage Egg. It's going to be fun figuring out how to use that since, as far as I know, most Digimon can't armour evolve. Of course... I actually went the wrong way first and had to backtrack to get a lead on the missing medal. After that, I had to go back the other way again. Fucking Kowloon :')

Returning the way I first went, the thief finally appeared. He was a total pushover and I beat him instantly, but it was interesting to hear his boss is Jimiken. That irritating shit just keeps showing up. There was little time to celebrate the medal's retrieval though, I got an emergency call to get back the agency ASAP. Matayoshi showed up with Sakura's mum - apparently Sakura ran away from home and they want me to track her down. Naturally, Jimiken seems to be involved and given that he's using hacking to take control of people's TV's and computers to stream his music videos - Sakura's included - it seems likely he has some heavier hitters sponsoring him. Matayoshi and Kyoko suspect Kamishiro. This makes sense given they seem to be involved with literally every suspicious event in Tokyo, but what the hell are they working with him for lmao?

Kamishiro talked with a bit further on the situation, dropping the bomb that Kamishiro were probably responsible for the death of his old partner - Kyoko's father. Explains why they're so intent on bringing them down. Interesting. Before I can look into Jimiken and Kamishiro more directly though, I have to track down Sakura. Once again starting with an investigation right there in Nakano.

It feels good to finally be starting to get back into the meat of the plot now! I still feel like the game is longer than it needs to be and that it can be a bit repetitive at points, but I am enjoying the gameplay and the story is solid. The mysteries do have me intrigued. I feel like I should have a more finalised and evolved team than I currently do though given that I'm about half-through the game. My current team is:

Infermon lv 23 (level reset when I evolved him)
Gargomon lv 33
Angemon lv 27
Garurumon (Black) lv 32
Coredramon (Green) lv 25 (level reset when I devolved and re-evolved him to increase his stats)
Ikakumon lv 35
Hippogryphonmon lv 23 (would be higher but I had to move it out my team for a while until I got my most recent memory up)

I also have a few other mon in my island storage but I'm not really using them. Feels like I'm going to have to take some time to do some real grinding in the near future. Oh well.
 
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Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Fourteen
I started investigating around Nakano where I ran into Nokia. It turns out she knows Sakura and described her as being a pretty crazed Jimiken fan. It sounded like she isn't the only one who ran off either going by what Nokia said. I met Ryota soon after he hadn't seen Sakura either, but he suggested she might have been a part of something called an "evil pilgrimage" - a selective Jimiken meet & greet supposedly. I reported back to Kyoko, with Nokia in tow apparently, and we discovered that Jimiken has been encoding his videos with subliminal messages when he hacks broadcasts with them. Evil indeed. Apparently, hypnotised fans are being pulled back towards freaking Kowloon's fourth floor.

Moving through Kowloon once again, Nokia and I eventually found Ryota. He'd gone after Sakura and was getting beaten to a pulp by a group of hackers. The hackers came after us with a pretty imposing team, but I made short work of them before Nokia even really had a chance to do anything. They looked tough, but they weren't even close to a match for Infermon, Gargomon and Angemon. Some trickery and intimidation tactics after that beatdown were more than enough to get us Sakura's location: The Demon's Den.

At the Den, I immediately found Jimiken throwing a concert in a club-like setting to a small group of seemingly entranced fans. His music sucked, but it didn't seem to matter. Even Nokia was starting to get drawn in. Luckily, she snapped out of it and had Gabumon and Agumon break Jimiken's camera to end his hijacked live stream. Naturally, combat ensued. It looked like Jimiken was packing a formidable team again this time too. His battle music is great too, if only his singing was comparable.

This fight wasn't exactly hard, but it was a lot more gruelling than most of the others than came before it. Still, Nokia and I walked away the victors without a single casualty. I got a huge memory up too which will come in handy with powering up and expanding my team. Of course, the drama didn't end there. Jimiken name-dropped "little miss Rie" as his sponsor and then Yuuga and Fei showed up. Fei and Nokia proceeded to immediately get into a fight... but Nokia was not even close to a match with her two rookie Digimon. Lucky for her and her partners that Yuuga stepped in to stop her. He then confirmed that Jimiken was involved with Kamishiro/Rie and that they were the ones who have him the ability to hijack broadcasts. He apologised for Fei while he was at it and told me where to find the hypnotised girls' physical location.

After that, I filled in Matayoshi and Kyoko with Nokia. It seems like Jimiken has been dealt with properly this time, but there's still no real sign of whatever Kamishiro are up to. Nokia declared her intent to help though, so it looks like I'll be seeing her and Arata more often going forward. That's hardly a shock though.

After that, I did some odd jobs around Nakano and then it was time to head to Shinjuku to investigate the labyrinth there. I had some real ominous vibes there, but Kyoko called be back for a new case before I could investigate further. Apparently some invisible slasher was going around cutting shit up. Seemed likely to be related to what I experienced before (given the slashy animations that came with it). That suspicion was pretty quickly confirmed when I appeared on the security footage I was shown lol. After the briefing, it was back to Shinjuku to continue my investigation.

It didn't take long for the culprit to target me again, but seeing as their weapon of choice was refracted digital waves (lol) I was able to connect jump right into it and to their location. Apparently, this was a misunderstanding caused by an ex-military Tankmon looking for new ways to use their skills since they didn't really want to be used as a weapon... but unfortunately a badly timed call from Matayoshi turned into into a fight anyway. I won the fight, but before anything could be cleared up, the Tankmon deleted itself or something. Well damn, that's pretty fucking dark.

And while I was dong odd jobs, Rie Kishibe was making moves. She fired a bunch of Kamishiro staff and announced that big changes were on the way for EDEN. In doing so, she also effectively invalidated the evidence against them I had earlier acquired. Sneaky. It looks like Kyoko has some concern they'll be coming after my comatose physical body soon if they figure out who I am too, yikes.

Before that could go further, I got a call from Nokia who wants to form an anti-hacker Digimon defence group with Arata and I... but that negotiation went poorly. Arata said he wasn't interested and left, telling me to meet him later. Thus begins chapter 8. With Arata storming off, Nokia dragging me into her vigilante group with the intent of recruiting Yuuga and... also Yuuko is following me around. Right. Not sure whether I should follow Arata first or go with Nokia to Kowloon first. Guess I'll figure that out next time.

Feels really good to finally be really diving into the plot and making progress. My team is slowly shaping up at last too.
 
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11
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Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Fifteen
I decided to start with Arata and met him in Shinjuku. There he told me that he'd had another run in with Suedou. Suedou told him that his research had not only confirmed that Eaters were causing EDEN syndrome (no shit) but that someone was controlling/creating the digital shifts (gee... I wonder who). Naturally, Arata asked me to continue looking into EDEN Syndrome and the shifts with him and who am I to say no when the plot beckons? It didn't take long for me to find a bit of shift happening at an EDEN terminal... gave Arata a bit of a shock when I jumped right into it though lmao.

I followed the tunnels and ended up popping out at a shrine or something somewhere. Arata eventually caught up to me and I had to fill him in on my situation. That little chat was interrupted by the sudden occurrence of a digital shift though. We fought our way through to the Eater at the end, but this one went a bit crazy and started consuming people all over the place until it was able to evolve into a more humanoid shape. Arata and I managed to defeat it, but Suedou showed up and suggested the Eaters might have started looking for more complex data to consume - like human consciousnesses floating around in EDEN. Arata thinks the guy is fishy and I'm left wondering why it took him this long to reach that conclusion. Now he wants to break into Kamishiro to investigate. I'm sure nothing could go wrong there.

But first, it was off to Kowloon (sigh) to meet Nokia. She was quick to get the meeting with Yuuga she wanted, and that meeting resulted in him being even quicker to tell her to bugger off and let him do his thing. Of course, Nokia being Nokia, she decided to just go around recruiting instead. The first stop was the Zaxon forum to recruit people right in Yuuga's backyard which... actually seemed to work? That guy was weirdly quick to agree. The attempt over at the Demon forum wasn't quite as easy... in theory. But really it just took thirty seconds of kicking the crap out of a guy to grow the team by three more. Yuuga did show up briefly to tell me to keep an eye on Nokia so she didn't get into any more trouble, but no shit my friend. She's absolutely going to need me to save her ass again :')

I went back to report everything to Kyoko. Looks like we're just waiting on Arata now. Perhaps invading Kamishiro will finally fill out some of the blanks in this mystery.
 
25,488
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11
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Final Fantasy III - Part One
Wow does this game get into it fast. There's a beautiful opening cinematic, then an Earthquake and then suddenly Luneth is falling down a hole and fighting some goblins. I would say his assumption that this is not the safest of places was probably correct. So, not wanting to spend the rest of his life underground, Luneth picked up some new gear and massacred his way through a bunch of really weak monsters until he found himself in some sort of ancient ruin (sidebar: why the fuck are carbuncles so ugly in ff3?). That's where things took a turn for the more dramatic as a gigantic land turtle materialised out of nowhere and attacked. I assume this was the first boss fight of the game but, as is usually the case, it was really more of just a tutorial. So Luneth stabbed it a few times and it died.

After that, a cutscene ensued where a mysterious voice emanating from a crystal (because of course there's a crystal) told Luneth he had been "chosen" and that he must seek out the other chosen to fight off some evil encroaching darkness (because Final Fantasy). Luneth was then teleported back to the surface where he slaughtered his way through a few more weak monsters on his way south and into the village of Ur - seemingly Luneth's home town. Luneth wandered around a bit before coming across his friend, Arc (welcome to the party) who was having an argument about ghosts. He then ran off to prove that he's not a coward or something (maybe not welcome to the party just yet). I assume I'll be saving his ass shortly.

Before that though, it was back to exploring... which for some reason involved collecting potions from the bottom of a well. Thank you strange lady. Along the way Luneth also met this Nina lady who an old guy informed him is actually his adoptive mother. 10/10 delivery of exposition there. Luneth then had a discussion with the town's head elder, Topapa, who also told him he was chosen and said a bunch of other vague stuff that explained nothing. Luneth tried talking to him again after that but all he got was "hey, go to Kazus. That place is cursed or something." So... Luneth decided he might as well go to Kazus. But not before another old guy gave him a Phoenix Down. Woo!

Luneth headed about ten seconds south and found Kazus, where he came across Arc who actually did join the party. Anyway, it didn't take long to see the problem with Kazus. Apparently, some Djinn had put a curse on the place that turned everyone into ghosts. One of the ghosts in the Inn let Luneth know that mythril could fix the problem. This game's Cid was also present, and gave Luneth a bit more information. A ring made of mythril would solve the issue, although the blacksmith is also a ghost so he can't actually work his smithery to make one. Also the blacksmith's daughter has gone missing (I guess that's party member number three lol). Cid very kindly told Luneth to take his airship (because Final Fantasy) and use it to help solve Kazus' curse problem. And who is Luneth to say no to a free airship?

Sure enough, a little bit to the west, Luneth found not only the airship but also Refia, the blacksmith's daughter. She joined the party and told Luneth and Arc where they might be able to get their hands on a mythril ring. She can't make one herself unfortunately since she slacks off on her training, not wanting to actually be a smith herself. Fair enough. Next stop, Castle Sasune.

So far, I don't have too much to say about the game. It uses the job system it seems, which is pretty hype cause I love how customisable that mechanic makes your party. The characters and story seem okay so far, nothing to write home about, but it's early days. So we'll see how that goes. One thing I have noticed that is interesting though, is that this game seems to be a lot more fast paced than other Final Fantasy titles. It could just be because we're still in the formative part of the game, but I'm curious to see how much that changes.

So yeah, first impression: It's nothing special, but it's been fun. It kind of feels like a better FFV.
 
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11
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Final Fantasy III - Part Two
Thanks to their newly acquired airship, it did not take long for the party to get to the castle - where it turns out people have also been cursed. Nonetheless, it was pretty easy for the party to get an audience with the king. Before doing that though, they started exploring... which lead to a very abrupt game over because for some reason there is an enormous difficulty spike here. The second attempt at exploring the castle grounds went much better though (why does only one tower have monsters?). The party picked up some sweet loot, and from there it was on to their meeting.

During the meeting, the king revealed his daughter Sara (a second missing daughter already? Okay.) had gone missing with the ring. The party volunteered to go after the Djinn to rescue her and Ingus, the only knight of Sasune to not have been cursed joined the party to help. The party were quick to board their airship and head to the sealed cave where they were beset upon by hoards of the undead. There it took Luneth (read: me) an embarrassingly long time to remember the king mentioning something about a skull to unlock the secret tunnel that lead to the princess. But eventually, Luneth and the party did meet Sara who joined them as a temporary ancillary member. She can't be controlled but sometimes randomly jumps in to help.

The party continued on their way and finally came face to face with the Djinn, but the ring didn't effect him because he was suffused with the power of darkness or something like that. The party had to do things the old fashioned way... by bating the living shit out of him. He never even got to make an attack. Ingus hit him with an Antarctic Wind, Arc hit him with Blizzard and then all it took was for Refia to stab him and it was all over. Luneth didn't even get to do anything. That may well have been the single easiest boss fight I have ever experienced in a Final Fantasy game.

Defeating the Djinn caused the party, sans the princess, to be transported back to the crystal chamber from before. Luneth and the party were once again told they are the chosen warriors of light (because Final Fantasy) and the first set of jobs were unlocked. Weirdly, despite being reasonably far into the game at this point, this also triggered an unskippable credit sequence which was really bloody annoying. Anyway, I decided to ignore what the intro cinematic set the party as and went with red mage Luneth, white mage Arc, black mage refia and warrior Ingus.

The newly specked warriors of light then went back to Sasune where they used the ring to purify everybody and were rewarded with... a canoe. Right. Not as impressive as the airship Cid gave them, but whatever works. After that, the party headed back over to Kazus... where Refia immediately ran off after her dad. Doesn't seem like he's going to be thrilled by the whole "warrior of light" thing. In the mean time though, the party did some shopping and looted the mythril mine before going to talk to Cid again. Cid was willing to give the airship to the party as a permanent gift, they just had to take him back to Canaan first. The party agreed and headed over to Takka and Refia's house to outfit the ship with a ram so they could break their way through a rocky barrier and get Cid home.

Takka worked fast and the party were soon on board the airship... and so was Refia. She wasn't going to just sit out on the whole "chosen one" thing. This discussion also brought forth the interesting revelation that Refia is actually adopted and that the entirety of the party are actually orphans. They didn't think that could be coincidence and I am inclined to agree. Only time will tell as to why that is important though. Anyway, with the gang back together, the party slammed their newly equipped airship into the big rock blocking the way destroying it... and also their brand new airship. God damn it.

So the party walked the rest of the way to Canaan, seeing Cid home safely. The party also did some shopping, healed the sick and picked up their next quest - dragging a guy down from a scary dragon inhabited mountain so his girlfriend would stop worrying about him. The pace has slowed a little, but so far this is still a much faster pacing than the other FF games I've played. It's been way easier too aside from the random difficulty spike in the tower back in Sasune - which was fine once I was ready for it. I hope this isn't lulling me into a false sense of security that'll cost me later :')
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Three
Petrification sure is annoying. I'm so glad that almost every encounter on this stupid mountain has a chance of turning party members to stone.

Anyway, the party climbed the mountain. While the petrification enemies were annoying, they actually weren't that hard to defeat overall. So it didn't take the party too long to reach the summit, collecting some nice loot on the way in the form of Aero for Arc, a Gold Needle and a Phoenix Down. Upon reaching the top of the mountin though, a dragon who I'm pretty sure is fucking Bahamut showed up and blasted everyone off the edge and into a dragon nest. Conveniently enough though, that Desch guy the party were looking for was also in the nest.

The introductions were short, because the dragon showed up again and attacked. This was clearly not the time to stand and fight though (and the game very unsubtly hinted at this lol) so the party booked it. Once we were home free, Desch explained that he had actually lost his memory and that all he could remember was that he had something to do around the mountain. He gave the party a scroll for Mini for some reason and temporarily joined.

Turns out, that Mini spell was actually needed to access the next location, Tozus, the gnome village. The party wouldn't have been able to enter at their usual size. Anyway, there wasn't much to do in Tozus, so from there the party entered Tozus Tunnel.

That's all I got through today. I hope I can reverse this fucking Mini spell soon lol.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Four
I could not, in fact, reverse the fucking Mini spell soon.

The part reached the Viking cove and, in a moment of irony, looted them. They also talked to them, learning that the seas had become too dangerous to cross because of a rampaging sea dragon. The chief Viking said the party could have their last ship, The Enterprise, if the party dealt with the sea dragon issue. With that in mind, the party visited the Nepto Temple where they found the statue of the dragon was missing one of its crystal eyes. They could enter the tunnels behind the statue to look for it, so they did... having to Mini themselves again to do so god damn it. Anyway, they reached the end of the tunnels and found the missing eye in the possession of a giant rat... which given the size of the party at that moment was probably just a regular rat. It was also a boss fight. That you must be Mini for. Okay. Thankfully magic exists though, so the party trounced the rat and gave the statue its eye back. The statue then came to life and explained that the eye was actually part of its soul and it needed it in place to control its physical body. It also gave the group Fang of the Water (whatever that is) and told them that the waters themselves had "lost their light" because some asshole had triggered that earthquake before and was using it to drag the light into the nether. Whatever any of that means. Anyway, the dragon was quelled, so the party headed back to the Vikings with the good news. Also to collect their sick new ship and finally de-Mini themselves. Interesting thing to note, Desch has not left the party yet. I wonder how much longer he's going to stick around for.

The party's first stop with their new ship was a place called the Tokkul where I spent like five minutes trying to figure out how to get them off the Enterprise. As it turns outs, you just keep ramming the shorleine until the party takes the hint. Why this works differently to the airship, I do not know. Anyway, the party found Tokkul in ruins and most of the locals terrified of them. Apparently, the place was attacked by soldiers from Argus and several of the villages taken. The locals happily supplied the party with some extra gear, then sent them on their way towards a town where people claim to be able to see the future.

Also, at this point in the game, Ingus is insanely powerful. He's a warrior dual wielding a Viking Axe and a Serpent Sword and deals an average of 600-ish off Advance which is like 5-6 times the average of the rest of the party except maybe Refia since her spell damage is usually spread between multiple foes.

Actually finding the Village of the Ancients proved to be the most annoying/challenging task thus far. There was a castle and a tower that the party avoided as those were clearly not going to be the correct place. They also stumbled into the Living Woods where there was literally nothing except some fairies mourning the loss of a giant tree that was cursed, causing it to get up and walk away. I'm pretty sure the big scary thing wandering around the desert I've been avoiding is said tree.

Eventually though, the party did find the village. It is literally the westernmost point on the map. God damn it. Also... are those fucking clouds off the edge of the map? I guess we're actually on one of those classic Final Fantasy floating landmasses then. Sadly, after all that screwing around, there wasn't actually much to do in said Village. There was some excellent shopping and they did confirm the floating landmass theory. Other than that though, there wasn't really anything there. Desch did find the place familiar though, so maybe it'll become more relevant later. Heading out, the party did find a chocobo forest though, that was pretty cool.

With that out the way, the party headed to Argus to investigate the situation with Tokkul... only to find the place devoid of life. It was also the first place that required a character to switch job, so Luneth became a Thief briefly to open some locked doors. Anyway, with nobody home, the party pilfered everything that wasn't tied down.

Some more exploration took the party to a place called Gulgan Gulch. As it turns out, every Gulgan is born blind but in exchange they get the ability to see glimpses of the future. It seems like this is the village of clairvoyants they people of Tokkul were talking about, not the Village of the Ancients. The Gulgans for the most part didn't tell the party anything I didn't already know. The exception is the one guy who told the party that Desch's destiny could be found at the Tower of Owen, the tower that seemingly holds the continent aloft. So, apparently, the reason Desch is still with the party is because they've been escorting the actual protagonist around. Go figure. Anyway, the seer also gave Arc the Toad spell because apparently it will be needed to gain access to the tower. On the one hand, needing to change your form/size to access places is a cool mechanic. On the other... it is mildly annoying that you have to actively nerf yourself to progress the plot since Mini and Toad are status conditions.

At least, unlike with Mini, the party only had to be Toads very briefly and could continue to explore the tower in their true bodies the rest of the way. Which they did. An ominous disembodied voice was displeased with that, but who ever listed to those anyway? The tower was a bit of a slog to climb, it's the longest dungeon yet by a large margin and even though the enemies are weak, it does drain resources - even if some of the loot is really nice. Eventually though, the party did reach the boss at the top - Medusa. She name dropped someone called Xande - probably our bbeg - then attacked.

Medusa proved to be a bit tougher than the previous few bosses. Her attacks did a decent amount more damage and she definitely had more HP. In the end though, she was pretty easy to defeat even with Luneth silenced. Luneth's standard attack was still plenty damaging to her and Ingus' Advance continues to deal absolutely enormous regular damage. Refia's Blizzara drops were keeping pace with Ingus' damage too - so I guess Medusa was weak to Ice. Meanwhile, Arc did solid damage with Aero and could also heal my party faster than Medusa could hurt them. All in all, pretty simple. I was a bit worried going in, expecting Medusa would be a petrification boss given her namesake, but the only status she inflicted was Silence on Luneth so I guess that was more her schtick in the end.

At this point Desch got his memory back - turns out he's an Ancient and also the guardian of the Tower (which I will note is nowhere near where he supposedly needed to be). Just in time too because Medusa basically rigged the tower to explode. Desch warped the party back and to the Enterprise and dove into the inferno to stabilise it, seemingly sacrificing himself in the process. I'm sure his girlfriend will be thrilled with us when we bring her back that news at some point. Anyway, whatever he did must have worked because nothing exploded and the giant whirlpool that had been keeping us trapped in the one body of water vanished.

Next step, according to Desch's supposedly final last words, is the land of the Dwarves where the party can find the Fire Crystal.

At this point, I'm still having fun. That being said, the narrative is still very thin and the personalities of the characters showed early on really don't come through very often. At this point, I'm expecting that will remain the case for the rest of the game which is a little sad. Still a solid game, but it's closer to V is terms of writing than masterclasses in worldbuilding/storytelling like VI, IX and X.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Five
Well, with the whirlpool gone, the party were finally able to explore the map at large. Sadly though, this didn't mean much as most of the newly unlocked area seems to just be empty space. Eventually, the party did find something of a small degree of note, the town of Gyashl (I guess III is where Gyashl greens were introduced then lol). There wasn't much do to there a part from some shopping though. That shopping did include magic keys though, so there won't be any need to switch in and out of the Thief job to open doors now at least.

From there, it was back to randomly sailing around until the party stumbled upon a cave entrance that led to the Dwarven Hollows. There the dwarves were very quick to inform the party that they were in some sort of peril. Apparently some guy named Gustco stole some horns made of ice that are precious to the dwarves. Bad news for Gustco that Luneth and co. are in town... but first shopping. Once procuring supplies was out the way, the party headed down into the subterranean lake in pursuit of Gustco. Naturally, this involved another brief stint as toads. Good thing the party could change back quickly because Manticores would not be fun to fight as frogs.

Gustco was the hardest boss fight thus far. Not that he was exactly difficult either, but he hit hard enough that I did have to consistently heal with Arc given that my party has an otherwise hyper-offensive build with paper-thin defences. Nonetheless, he was quickly defeated and disappeared. Right about this time, Luneth also conspicuously grew what seemed to be a second shadow following him. Nothing suspicious about that right? Sure enough, as soon as the horn was returned and the ward around the altar where the other was located was released, Gustco emerged from Luneth's shadow. He very kindly explained that the horns could be used as a defensive measure against the fire crystal, which he was after.

Looks like the party will soon have access to their second set of job options because they took off in pursuit.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Six
The party gave chase to Gustco, following him into the nearby Molten Cave - a place that has most certainly earned its name seeing as you have to wade through freakin' lava to navigate it. The environment honestly did more damage to the group than any of the regular monster encounters. Eventually though, after much swimming in lava, the party caught up to Gustco at the Fire Crystal where he proceeded to morph into a dragon and attacked. Salamder!Gustco hit like a truck, especially when his HP got low and he started busting out his fire breath attack, but he wasn't too bad to deal with Arc as white mage and Luneth as Red for any emergency healing. With that out the way, the party were blessed by the fire crystal and earned access to some new job classes. Honestly though, I'm not that fussed with any of these options. Knight is theoretically an upgrade to Ingus' Warrior class but it's all about defence and minor healing which I really don't need.

Anyway, the party warped out of the dungeon and made their way back to the dwarves where they were thoroughly rewarded for their efforts. On the way out, a dude from Tokkul appeared claiming they had been attacked again and then died. So I guess it's back to Tokkul for next time. I'm leaving it at this for now though cause I don't really feel up to sitting at my desktop playing games tonight. Yay illness!
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Seven
The party raced back to Tokkul... and were immediately paralyzed, knocked out and dragged off to Castle Hein to be slaves. Best rescue mission ever. Weirder still, Castle Hein is actually that big tree I mentioned before. Okay then. Anyway, the party started exploring their surroundings. It wasn't long before they met King Argus, who tasked them with defeating his old advisor Hein who had been corrupted and turned evil post-earthquake. Naturally, the party was all for that and set about escaping, which once again involved hitting themselves with Mini. Blessedly, this time they did not have to stay tiny.

Whilst I wouldn't call them hard, the enemies in this part of the game weirdly become much tougher very abruptly. Usually one round where most of the party doesn't even attack is enough to win a random encounter, but these guys can actually take quite a few hits. They drop some annoying status conditions too. There also just seems to be a lot more enemies... but that could just feel like that because it's been like a week since I last had the energy to actually sit up and play a game and am therefore out of practice.

Anyway, the party wound through the labyrinthine tree, collecting a fuckload of loot along the way until eventually they came face-to-face with Hein himself. Not gonna lie, I was not expecting him to be a skeleton. Thankfully, despite being underprepared as far as my inventory went, the dungeon leading into this fight made it abundantly clear that I probably shouldn't expect Hein to be as weak as previous bosses. Even still, I expended pretty much everything the party had to take him out including accidentally an Elixir which I am very salty about.

With Hein defeated, the tree took the party back to the Living Woods where they were rewarded with a Fang of Wind and told that they must leave the "safety" of the floating continent to journey to surface world, the World of Darkness. I will be doing a veritable shitload of shopping before that though lol.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Eight
The party stopped off in Argus first, where the king gave them something called the Wheel of Time (no relation). The King told them to seek out Cid with it back in Canaan, with the party deducing it could be used to create a new airship they could take to the surface. Canaan also has shops, so this works out well.

The party stocked up on some status items and then went to see Cid. Cid wasted no time in readying the ship for air travel, but he wasn't done before dropping the bomb on the party that he (and they) were all originally from the surface to begin with. They ended up on the floating continent when a mysterious darkness (because Final Fantasy) engulfed the world ten years prior and they crashed. That would be why the entire party are orphans. A little odd that none of them remembered that, but okay. With that out the way, it was surface bound.

It was rough on them, but the party did reach the surface world.... and found it covered in some sort of chaotic soup. It is also fucking huge despite being mostly empty. Thank god for the map. The party would not be deterred though and set about exploring. Eventually, the party found a wrecked ship on a northern island and, surprisingly, people within. An old guy, and a sick girl named Aria. According to the old guy, the darkness (which I assume is what the chaos soup is) has somehow stopped the surface world's time and Aria fell ill trying to counteract it. Lucky for her, the party stocked up on Antidotes and was able to revive her. Aria then decided to tag along with the party for a while like the Princess and Desch had. With that, a new goal was set, the party would escort Aria to the Temple of Water where she could revive the Water Crystal. Except, that's not entirely accurate. The temple merely housed a shard that could be used to unseal the Water Crystal at the Cave of Tides. Apparently, Aria and others had sealed the crystals to protect them from the darkness and created the shard as a means of breaking that seal at the right time. Well, the party exist so the time was right. It was onwards to the Cave of Tides.

The monsters in the cave continue the trend started by the tree, they're actually something of a threat. Ingus could still one-shot them on a good shot, but the others not so much and they deal 100+ damage with each attack too. I didn't want to spend all my high level healing before even getting to the inevitable boss at the back of this, but thankfully, Arc can cast a veritable fucktonne of standard Cures at this point and, in an emergency, Luneth is carrying Cure and Cura too. Aria also sometimes would jump in with a Cura, but she seems far less inclined to get involved than previous companions. She did, however, open the sealed door the party otherwise would not have been able to get through. I am so glad I found her first or this would have been extremely annoying.

The party did, after what felt like freaking forever, reach the crystal. There, Aria was able to release the seal and ready it for the party to take its power. Before they could though, the obligatory boss encounter - Kraken - made his presence known with a surprise attack. Aria managed to take the attack for Luneth, but she was thoroughly out of commission as a result. That's was a big shame because Kraken hit like a freight train so some extra Protect and Cura would have been nice. That being said, I actually found Kraken easier than Hein. It wasn't hard to guess he was weak to lightning and I had plenty of that to drop on him between Luneth and Refia and Arc was more than capable of keeping everyone healed up enough to tank those nasty hits - that one time Ingus was crit to death excluded. For his part, Ingus was his usual self dealing over 1000 damage with every Advance when he wasn't Eye Dropping himself. So yeah, Kraken hit hard but he wasn't as rough as Hein.

Unfortunately, Aria didn't make it, but she got her job done and made sure that the party was blessed with the power of Water. Then, there was an earthquake (again) and the party was knocked out. With the Water Crystal free though, some of the darkness was dissipated and the party eventually awoke in a city! Amur, the city of Water, specifically. Of course, not before a weird old person told Luneth to seek out someone called Doga to defeat Xande and beat the darkness for good (Xande is our bbeg's name apparently). I have new jobs to access now, but honestly I'm not that interested in most of them. I'm going to try Ingus as a Dark Knight for a while though and see how that compares to Warrior.

Talking to the locals, the party found out that the final crystal was currently in the possession of this guy named Goldor. Unfortunately, he wasn't so keen on parting with it so the asshole locked down the party's ship. This meant that they'd have to cross a bottomless bog to his manor... which they needed a special item for... that they had to liberate from Amur's sewers. So the party set to work. A lot of poisonings and some weirdly placed loot later, the party had acquired the Levigrass Shoes from a strange old lady and were ready to head after Goldor.

That can wait for tomorrow though. Judging by how things are right now, I think I'm going to have to suck it up and do some actual grinding before Goldor. So far FFIII hasn't been very grindy at all, which I have been very pleased with, but the enemies are definitely getting tougher and I really don't want to die and have to replay any segments. Especially with how bloody long some of the more recent dungeons have been. I'm pleased with Dark Knight so far at least. Even before Ingus had fully adjusted, he was mowing down entire enemy mobs on his own and the HP drain for Souleater isn't actually that significant - especially with Arc healing every turn or two.

I'd say I'm about 2/3 of the way through the game at this point, so I should just get through it by the end of the month unless the last part goes on forever like some of the FF games like to pull.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Nine
As I said, I kicked things off by grinding up a few levels. Once that got boring though (I lasted nearly an hour, that's a lot of grinding for me lmao) it was time to head to Goldor's Manor. Naturally, the place was full of enemies and - more annoyingly - dead ends, but the party rushed through and was soon face-to-face with Goldor himself. Goldor was not what I would call a difficult fight, but he was annoying. Specifically, he was annoying because of a tendency to drop a million status ailments on the party - silence, poison and blindness. The poison wasn't a big deal, but the other two were bothersome as hell since I had to keep removing them to allow for healing and attacking to actually work. He also really hated Ingus in particular for some reason which sucked because Ingus was my main damage dealer against him. Nonetheless he was soon defeated... and then broke the god damn crystal out of spite.

The party at least were able to retrieve the chain key so they could free their ship. There were no huge catastrophic changes from the loss of the Earth crystal yet, so the party set about exploring the rest of the surface world, heading towards the north-western continent because I totally overshot the southern one (which is fine because apparently I can't go there yet anyway). First stop along the way was a little town with the quaint name of Duster. There wasn't much there but the people were nice enough. I learned that a place called Saronia apparently has a kickass airship. Also someone mentioned Leviathan which concerned me a little until other people started talking about different summons.

The next place the party ended up was another small village called Replito (cause I skipped over the big fuck off city to leave for last lmao). Seems like this is FFIII's Summoner village. I picked up a bunch of summon spells here for later but, again, there wasn't really anything else to do there. With that done, the party finally headed for the super city - which I assumed to be Saronia. Good thing I waited, because said city immediately shot the party down. Great. Seems like the kingdom of Saronia is in the middle of some sort of civil war.

Well, civil war isn't entirely accurate. The party ran into Alus, the prince of the kingdom who explained that the king actually ordered the army to split into two and start killing each other... and the lunatics actually did it. Some random NPC implied Garuda might be responsible somehow which... yeah that checks out. The party set about exploring the kingdom some more with Alus in tow. The loot here has been begging me to make someone a Dragoon, so I switched Luneth to Dragoon and got him through the adjustment phase and then headed for the castle.

Thanks in part to having Alus present, we were allowed entry into the castle... as basically immediately thrown into a boss fight with Garuda. Holy shit and what a boss fight. Garuda was so much stronger than previous bosses. Ridiculously strong. I just barely made it through with Luneth the last one standing on 198 HP - and Garuda was dealing 400+ a turn. I guess I'll be doing more grinding soon because fuck that. Anyway, I picked up some new spells and gear for the party and sold a bunch of stuff I'm not using. In the process, I also picked up some interesting lore. Turns out that Doga, Xande and some other guy were all students of the same legendary mage - Noah (he got talked about a lot in Duster and Replito). Interesting.

Anyway, the Saronians outfitted the party with a new airship, The Nautilus, that will be able to penetrate the windy defences of Dalg (the southern continent). So, after I do some grinding, the party will be headed that way. That is enough for tonight though.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Ten
I once again started by grinding up about three levels. I also switched Luneth back to Red Mage for the time being because Dragoon wasn't really getting a chance to actually do anything. His regular attacks were about the same damage output as Red Mage and Jump wasn't really getting a chance to actually land against random encounters. I might change him back again later, we'll see.

Anyway, the party boarded the Nautilus and began their southward journey to Dalg. It's much faster than the old one, so the party reached Doga's manor in no time at all. Doga greeted us soon thereafter, explaining that Noah had granted his three pupils gifts. Doga had been granted great magic, Unei the World of Dream and Xande had been given... mortality. Xande felt like he got the short end of the stick in that arrangement and unleashed the darkness to stop time and thus, halt his inevitable death. The party had kick started time again, but obviously Xande wasn't going to just roll over. Doga joined the party and asked them to go to the Cave of the Circle with him.

Rather annoyingly, entering the Cave once again required the party to Mini themselves and this time they were stuck that way for a while. Less annoyingly, Mini does not alter the power of Souleater so... Ingus did what Ingus does and murdered everything that looked at the party funny. It also helped that Doga would sometimes drop Flare on enemies just to flex. The party soon enough reached the Circle, leaving a pile of corpses behind them. There, Doga cast a spell that would allow the Nautilus to travel underwater and told the party where to find Noah's Lute and wake Unei. In the meantime, Doga jumped into an interdimensional rift to look for the key to Eureka, whatever the hell that is. I also took this chance to make Luneth a Dragoon again because Red Mage was proving... eh.

From there, the party stopped off at Doga's village to buy more magic and then set off to their designated location. Or they would have, but I remembered talking to an NPC who mentioned a load of treasure being hidden under a triangular island. So the party went there first and, sure enough, found a cave beneath just begging to be looted. I decided to do a sneaky after that and check a guide to see if there were any other such places and, sure enough, there's another one beneath Saronia. So after a quick stopover there to heal up, the party headed down.

This was a great decision. Not only did it provide excellent XP, so it was inadvertently grinding, but I picked up some cool loot. I also got to fight Odin as an optional boss, getting access to his summon spell, Catastro, as a result. Odin wasn't super hard either, but he had about a billion HP to whittle away at and... was yet another boss that just really fucking hated Ingus. Ingus was downed repeatedly during that fight. I'm starting to wonder if the game is programmed to make him the primary target lmao. I'm glad that I decided to go back to Dragoon with Luneth too - this game just loves giving out good Dragoon gear and he's becoming an absolute beast. Anyway, with that done, I stocked up on some items and then got back to the plot.

The party headed south from Saronia and submerged to enter the Temple of Time. The enemies in the Temple of Time do not fuck around, so it's a good thing that all my exploring before netted me a bunch of extra levels. I was well prepared as a result. Honestly, it still used up a lot of my resources too. The party had to fight through Chimera Mages that dropped lightning storms on you, fire breathing dragons and just so many behemoths amongst other things to eventually reach Noah's Lute. I was not fucking around backtracking through that nightmare, so Arc Teleported the party back out. The party, once again, rested and restocked their supplies in Saronia before tracking Unei down at her shrine - and now I know who the weird old lady Luneth saw in his dream was.

Unei was quick to tell the party what to do. She would go with the party to the Ancient Ruins to get the Invincible - yet another airship (and an even better one still) so that the Fang of Earth could be recovered. She also gave the party the Fang of Fire and explained what they're for at last - they're needed to get past the statues that guard Xande's tower. Nice! It's all coming together.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Eleven
The party reached the Ancient Ruins quickly and Unei cleared away the rocks that would have otherwise blocked their progress. From there, they headed deeper inside. Unei proved very willing to assist in the monster slaying along the way, routinely Hasting the entire party. On rare occasions she would even drop a Holy on an enemy. Eventually, after walking through many winding pathways, the party found themselves aboard the Invincible - and it really is a step above the Nautilus. This ship contains stores, beds and even a Fat Chocobo for extra storage - not to mention it can fly over the top of small mountains. Unei told the party to retrieve the Fang of Earth from the Cave of Shadows and then meet her and Doga back at Doga's manor. The party put their new facilities to good use and then set off.

Before heading to the Cave of Shadows, the first stop was a town called Falgabard. I'd noticed it on the map before, but because of the mountains I couldn't get there, but now I can. This place seems to be the land of Dark Knights - and as I happen to use one - this made it a good place to upgrade Ingus. A little exploring, a little shopping and some brief detours to beat up an old Ninja and explore a dungeon at the north of the town full of multiplying enemies and Ingus was all suited up and ready for the Cave of Shadows.

The Cave of Shadows was basically an upgraded version of the Falgabard dungeon... which is to say it was full off multiplying enemies... which means it was very exploitable for XP. Basically, I'd make sure the enemies multiplied before killing them all at once. Whee. Anyway, the party casually made their way through the honestly very easy dungeon to the end where they defeated what was arguably the easiest boss in the game and claimed the Fang of Earth. Technically, it's now time to go back to Doga and Unei buuuuuuttttt.... that guide I checked last time said I could do an optional Bahamut fight here... so the party was off to fight a dragon.

So, Bahamut's lair was short and easy. Nice. Bahamut was... also super easy. He didn't last more than two rounds and never even got to use his signature Megaflare which I had been worried about. So the party obtained the Bahamut summon. Since that had proved easy enough, the next stop was Lake Dohr to try and scoop up Leviathan too. The Lake Dungeon was longer than Bahamut's but it was honestly more tedious than challenging. Leviathan was also a very easy fight, not a Tsunami to be seen and he was defeated in about two rounds just like Bahamut. I got his summon though, that's always a good time.

With those little pit stops out of the way, the party returned to the surface and headed back to Doga's manor. This was a tad irritating to do, because it meant flying back to the Ancient Ruins and switching back to the Nautilus. For all its benefits, the Invincible isn't amphibious like the Nautilus nor is it fast enough to breach the barrier around Dalg. Nonetheless, with the speed of the Nautilus the party were soon at Doga's manor... and then very qyuickly teleported to Doga's Grotta - a dungeon. What a greeting.

It only got worse from there. After the party made it through Doga's bullshit paralysis/petrification dungeon, they finally reached Doga and Unei. The elderly pair explained that to finish making the Eureka Key, the party would have to draw out the power for it by fighting them. The Eureka Key apparently sealed away a bunch of crazy powerful weapons the party would need to fight Xande. The party didn't get a say in the matter either as Doga immediately turned into a freaky-looking monster and attacked. Doga did some decent damage with a Blizzaga... but that was all he got to do before the party wiped the floor with his ancient ass. That was when Unei immediately attacked. Unei did a hell of a lot better than Doga, but she too was defeated soon enough. As their bodies disappeared (although they assured the party their souls would remain) they handed over the key to Eureka as well as the key to Xande's Syrcus Tower.

Once the party ditched the Nautilus for the slower but ultimately less crappy Invincible again, they headed eastwards towards their next destination - Xande's defensive statues. Those were cleared away easy enough, and then they continued onwards. Soon they were heading into a vast structure surrounding a gigantic tower (and suddenly I feel like FFXIV might have been referencing FFIII at a certain point). The party entered the outer structure: The Ancients' Maze. Here the party found the reformed Earth Crystal and kicked the shit out of Titan to get access to it. They then retreated to the Invincible briefly to recover and also so Arc, Refia and Ingus could change jobs to Devout, Summoner and Ninja respectively. Then, it was back into the Maze.

The party wound their way through the Maze, adjusting to their new jobs as they went (and picking up more of that sweet, sweet loot). At the end, they stepped outside and were at the foot of Syrcus Tower - better known as the Crystal Tower. They'll be heading into the Tower tomorrow though, I've been playing for a few hours and need a break.
 
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Final Fantasy III - Part Twelve
The party dashed inside the Crystal Tower... and right through it to the forbidden land of Eureka. What this amounted to was a few side passages with some nice items stashed inside and then a boss gauntlet to collect this games ultimate weapons (several of which none of my party can use but hey, it's free experience). Since the party were healed up after each one, it was actually pretty easy. If I'd had to do all five without the free healing it would have still been doable, but much harder. At the end of all this, there were two high level magic stores and an item store where I bought nothing but shurikens for Ingus. He is not going into this unprepared. After that, I got healed up for free again by some magic water and then used an ottershroom to teleport back outside of the Crystal Tower to save. Then it was time for the party to head inside and take the Tower on for real.

It was both a slog and a slaughter, but the party climbed the Tower regardless. Along the way, they fought a horde of monsters, many of whom were comparable to recent bosses in strength - and who greatly surpassed them in the cases of the red and green dragons. Eventually though, the party reached the top of the Tower... only to immediately fall pray to a cursed mirror. Thanks to the help of Doga and some previous allies though, the party were able to break through the curse and enter the mirror to face Xande. This was the point of no return.

Xande cast a lot of powerful spells... mostly at Ingus. Unfortunately, this meant he was able to down Ingus and keep him that way. This was, in part though, because he died before Arc could cast Arise. Xande was actually pretty weak and was way easier to defeat than the dragons along the way to him. Two Jumps, one Shuriken throw and two Mega Flares and he was defeated. This is Final Fantasy though, so of course it wasn't over yet. The Darkness itself took a physical form and attacked. The party were swiftly decimated.

All was not lost though! This is Final Fantasy after all. Doga and Unei swept in, sharing their souls with the party to resurrect them. Revived, the party entered the World of Darkness to finish their foe once and for all. Of course, to do that, the party first had to navigate through the World of Darkness' maze-like interior. Along the way they fought several more enemies that were equivalent to bosses of the past - including four Xande clones to grab some Ribbons. They also fought against four more actual bosses in a gauntlet much like Eureka - freeing the Warriors of Darkness in the process to help restore the balance. After that, all that was left was to face down the Cloud of Darkness once more.

The Cloud was an imposing enemy composed of two tentacles and a main body. Thanks to Refia dropping a Mega Flare on all three parts, I pretty quick learned that one tentacle could only be hit by physical attacks and one only by magic. With that knowledge, I had Luneth and Ingus focus on the physical Tentacle with Jump and Throw while Refia kept dropping Mega Flare's on the main body and magic Tentacle with Bahamut. Arc did what healers do best and kept the party healthy with Curaga and Curaja... and Ingus alive with Araise because the Cloud of Darkness also just hated him in particular lmao. Anyway, once the physical tentacle dropped, the Cloud stopped hitting the party with Lightning... and switched to dropping Particle Beams instead. It also tried to use Bad Breath frequently but every party member was equipped with a Ribbon at that point and immune as a result. Eventually, Refia ran out of Bahamut summons and had to switch to Leviathan but soon enough the magic Tentacle also fell - the main body taking Jump and Throw Attacks all the while. Eventually, the party prevailed courtesy of one last Tsunami from Leviathan.

With the world saved, the party left the World of Darkness behind and set about returning the allies Doga had summoned for them home. The Old Man to Amur and Alus to Saronia first. Then, the remaining members of the group returned to the Floating Continent. Cid was re-united with his wife in Canaan again and Desche - who survived by the way and was one of those summoned by Doga - also settled down there with Salina (the girl who was pining for him after he went off to Bahamut's mountain before). The Princess and Ingus got together to the shock of none and set about travelling the world before heading home. Refia went home to become a smith and Luneth and Arc returned to Ur and were welcomed back as heroes - and rightfully so.

In the end, the final party was Dragoon Luneth at Lv 58, Devout Arc at Lv 58, Summoner Refia at Lv 57 and Ninja Ingus at Lv 57 (just, he levelled up after killing the Cloud lmao).

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun with this game. Which is... weird in a way. On paper, objectively speaking, FFIII wasn't much different to FFV (one of my least favourite entries in the series). In some respects it was even better, the job system in FFV was very much an upgrade on the FFIII version. The stories for both games were also very similar and neither did that much to flesh out its characters - and V arguably did more for Galuf and Faris. Despite that though, I think I enjoyed FFIII more. It's really hard to pin down why too. There was technically more jobs to choose from I suppose - but some were really just upgraded versions of old jobs like Magus, Black Belt, Ninja, Summoner, Devout and arguably Sage. Idk, something about FFIII just feels more complete than V. Maybe it's because it was paced a bit better? - Although the end did start to drag on with the maze-like dungeons and multiple boss gauntlets. So yeah... I had a really fun time and enjoyed FFIII a lot - arguably more than I should have.

One thing I do have to say - I think FFIII had really solid music. The Crystal Tower, World of Darkness, Overworld Theme and Cloud of Darkness music were all excellent and will be joining my list of standout FF tracks along with greats from VI, IX, X and XIV.

Story: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10
Soundtrack: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Total Score: 29/40


Interesting point of order: I ended up scoring this one higher than FFIV from last year too. I think this is actually pretty fair because while IV improved on a lot, it also had more gaping flaws.
 
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