The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy III, part 6
Everything seemed to be going so well for a while there. We had an airship again after we’d wrecked the first one. We had not only just finished one leg of our supposed quest, we had done so immediately after finishing the prior leg of the quest, very efficient-like. (It’s good to have these things on your resume for future world-saving gigs according to Destined Heroes Quarterly.) We failed to save one shrine maiden! And now here we are, stuck inside of a town with a big lock on our airship.
I supposed we’d better walk back into the town and find out what’s going on, huh?
Well, yes, but we should also take the opportunity to examine the new jobs we got from the Water Crystal, because this is when we start getting into the fun stuff. The first crystal gave us the basic lineup, the second one gave us a few nice outliers, but we’ve got some new jobs to play around with! So let’s take a look at the lot of them.
Oddly, the game gives you a class right now that you can’t actually use at all. Evoker is a less-potent version of Summoner, but you’re sort of locked out of using it right now because you don’t actually have access to any summons yet. That’ll change in the near future, but it makes swapping immediately a foolish proposition. Bard is also unattractive, not because you can’t get a weapon for it but because there’s been, like, one game in the franchise where Bards weren’t awful. This is not that game.
Out of the remaining group, Dragoon is useful for one gimmick fight later on, leaving us with Viking and Dark Knight. Viking is an excellent tanking class, arguably the best one in the remake, and Batman is a fine damage dealer, so I know how I’m changing everyone’s clothing. Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to start talking to people around the town, starting by a nice woman who introduces my group to four balding men with horrible moustaches who claim to be the Light Warriors of legend.
No one believes them, apparently. Which is a shame, I would have liked the excuse to go home.
Talking to folks makes it clear that some dude named Goldor locked down my ship for fear that we were going to get to his crystal. Well, yes, by definition we were. He also lives past a bog you can’t pass without Levigrass Shoes, so we need those… and we can get them in the sewers conveniently located inside the town. Isn’t it nice when these things come together? So it’s time for us to finally dive into the first sewer level we’ve seen in three games, which frankly is an astonishingly high time-to-sewer rate for a series of games on the NES.
Of course, “sewer level” is up there with “powerups in crates” when it comes to lazy game design, and this mini-dungeon is no exception. No, it’s not utterly horrible, but it is pretty much an uninteresting hallway filled with monsters. You do wind up rescuing the fake Light Warriors from a bunch of frogs, so I guess that’s the story that gets told if anyone asks about our day. No one has ever asked this group of protagonists about their day, but it would be nice. Said frogs are as close as we get to a boss in this set of encounters, and they do wind up being a fair bit harder than a normal encounter simply because there’s more of them.
It would have been easier if my party’s physical characters weren’t still dealing with job adjustment, but what can you do?
At any rate, the sewer is easily finished with a bit of healing magic, job adjustments end, levels are gained, confusion is inflicted a couple of times and fails to accomplish anything. An old woman at the bottom of the sewer has the shoes, which she parts with after referring to my group as “turnip-squeezing bashi-bazouks,” which I am pretty sure is at least intended to be an insult. It kind of misses its mark. The obviously fake warrior teleport you back out of the sewer, and we’re free to go out and get the clamp taken off of our ride.
Plus, this guy is supposed to have a crystal, right? So we can just finish our jobs up there and be happy.
The Levigrass Shoes allow movement over a bottomless bog in front of the house, which raises the question of how the inhabitant got to our ship in the first place, but whatever. Once inside, we discover that the whole place is gold! With Spandau Ballet in the background, it’s a pretty big sprawling area, but without many points of interest; the biggest part worth checking out is a huge number of gold swords available after you beat your way through gold enemies in this gold mansion.
Look, it’s goofy as heck, but I love the fact that this dungeon comes up with a silly theme and commits to the bit. Heck, it sticks in the memory a lot more than yet another dungeon filled with fire enemies or undead or whatever. Part of what I love about the game as a whole (among many other things I’ve mentioned prior to this installment) is that it’s not afraid to go far afield. The dungeon itself isn’t rough, although my White Mage suffered from the fact that it’s been ages since he was able to get any new equipment. Souleater does nicely for clearing out enemies, though.
Once we reach homeboy, it becomes clear that negotiation shan’t be an option. Goldor is basically immune to magic, but very vulnerable to physical attacks, and Souleater does enormous amounts of damage to him, so an easy cycle is established – my casters throw out heals while Provokes and Souleaters fly fast and furious. He did throw up Protect at one point, but Study strips that away nicely. All in all, it was an easy fight with a couple of close calls mostly based on bad luck.
Goldor breaks the crystal, and as with most boss fights we’re left with a refreshed set of spells and health and a command to get back out to our boat. (He conveniently was keeping the key to our chain right there.) Of course, what does it matter if the Earth Crystal has been destroyed? Well, seeing as the world hasn’t come to an end, I’d go ahead and wager that there’s more going on here that we don’t know about. Ah, well. Might as well dip about around the world for a while, eh?
The town of Duster finally offers an upgrade to my White Mage’s equipment and a couple of items to pilfer, along with a lot of singing geomancers. Meanwhile, a trip over to Replito reveals the long-awaited summon magic. Final Fantasy III uses an interesting variant of the summoning system compared to what it would become; rather than having a single effect, the Evokers and Sages randomly get one of two effects, whilst Summoners can access the full power of each summon (i.e. screen-blasting magic). The original version let Sages and Summoners both get the full version, but this makes Sages a bit less powerful.
To the south of that, there’s another big kingdom, and flying over that… winds up shooting the airship down. Can we not get a single freaking ship in this game that doesn’t get blown to bits within the first five minutes of its existence? We just got this one back! Nothing ever works right. Time to figure out where we are and how everything’s gone wrong again.