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Thread: The Mana Series

  1. #16
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Went back to Altena and upgraded my teams equipment. Got completely lost in the castle, but eventually made my way to the Crimson Wizard and Darkshine Knight. They were holding Angela's mother hostage as well as the Fairy. We, being the good guys, hand over the sword and the Crimson Wizard kills Angela's mom for out trouble. I imagine that if Angela had been my lead character, we would have had more of a scene concerning her death, but this is a 90s JRPG, we don't have time to be sad, we've got God-Beasts to slay dammit! Now its time to hunt down some God-Beasts, why am I using the fan translation term for them instead of the official one? Because Benevodons sounds silly.

    Anyway, since I still vaguely remember where the Mana Stones are, and the map is kind enough to leave markers for me, I head back to the Cave of Winds and have a pretty epic battle with the Wind God-Beast Dangaard, which is a pretty snazzy fight where the party chases down the winged beast on Flammie and fight him on top of her. Pretty snazzy, especially when the fight would actually shift the visual focus so sometimes you play the fight in a profile visual setting, and the other time from a top down view. It's going to be really interesting to see how this fight is done in the Remake since they'll have full camera control to make this dynamic style more apparent. I did run into a minor problem where the game kind of froze on me, not exactly sure if its because of the emulator of the actual game itself since it was notoriously buggy. I did take the time to do a little leveling up the second time around.

    With one down, I head to Sultan to tackle the Fire Beast since he's not far from Rolant. The leveling really helped me out because I had more than enough GP to outfit my whole team thanks to the Neko Merchants parked outside the dungeon entrance. I forgot how much of a maze the Pillars of Fire were though, and I will now say that Knights and their variants are my new Kill-On-Sight enemy. This is because certain enemy classes can use the same skill sets as the player characters, and Knights can use Duran's special attacks, including his powerful group hitting one. Since I don't have a dedicated healer and have to rely on items, it has become too easy for me to ignore my party health and then run into one of these assholes and get a total party wipe. Not helped that these guys can use the move whenever they feel like it whereas its Duran's Lv. 2 Limit break. I've noticed they have started showing up everywhere now as well...

    Anyway, after wandering around for ages in the fire cavern, I finally stumble onto the God-Beast Xan Bie who is really weird and very reminiscent of the Son of the Sun boss from Chrono Trigger in terms of visuals. He's a fire bird head, but his body is just disembodies fireballs that circle around him. He likes to dissipate into these balls and wander about the stage. What's weird, and I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but you can still hurt him when his heads not around unless he forms a column shape. Not sure if that was the plan cause the guy spent most of his time just changing his form and hitting my team with single target spells I could easily remedy through. I honestly think it took less time to kill him than the first one. The one thing I did find clever, and I remember a few bosses in SoM did this as well, is that he'll occasionally Flame Blade onto your weapons in order to lover our damage against him. Pretty clever.

    I feel the one real nice treat about these bosses has been how useful support magic is starting to be. It made or break you in SoM but for awhile it didn't seem that important since it took forever for it to appear, and now its proving to be invaluable, though my overall plan is going to screw me over by the end. Since I'm doing a Dark-Dark Class run with this team, I will not obtain a few of the elemental weapon buffs. I do really like the fact you can tackle the bosses in any order, and I especially appreciate the fact that the enemies and the God-Beasts themselves get more powerful after each one is felled. So the challenge is staying consistent.

    Next up will be the Water God-Beast Fiegmund, so its back to Altena which is probably where I should have started...

  2. #17
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Two more God-Beasts down. Fiegmund's lair is a pain in the ass. They have upgraded versions of the Sahagin (Fish Men) enemies that love to cast Power Down on your team to make this place a serious chore to fight through. I gained my two token level while I was here and faced down the Water God Beast. Now thew funny thing here is that I've seen sprite work of all of these bosses and in my imagination, I picked out which ones I thought were which, and it turns out I have switched the Water and Earth God-Beasts in my head. I was expecting the giant Walrus creature, and instead I got the giant dinosaur instead. He was not terribly tough though. The only two annoying things he does is run off screen and hide under the platform, making only a spell caster be able to strike him. The other thing is a move that causes the Snowman status which basically paralyzes whoever gets hit and does some serious damage. Thankfully using any kind of item on them removes the status at least. He went down easily otherwise.

    Next stop was the Forests of Wonder, which brought back some memories of the Faerie forest and Pirate Penguins in Legend of Mana. A real maze of a place but I really loved the visual design of it and I loved the nice touch with the Darth Tamago's who turn neon colored at night time. The Wood God-Beast Musspell was a bit more of a chore than the last three God-Beasts. She likes to cast Wall to reflect all magic back at you, which completely neutered Angela's usefulness for the fight. Other than that, she likes spamming status magic and using moves that remove characters from battle. Despite being Wood Elemental, she's weak to Jinn/Sylphid's magic instead of Salamando. I learned my lesson from the last plant based boss. The one saving grace of this fight besides actually having an elemental weapon buff that is effective, is the boss' low HP. Fight went rather quickly and I haven't had to worry about getting killed since the second God-Beast.

    I'm heading off to Mentos to return the the Charlmoon Tower and deal with the Moon God-Beast. Since my team isn't too far from the level requirement for the next class change, I may sneak over to the Glass Desert to farm the ??? Seeds needed for them. I'd really like to have Dark Sabre for the Lightgazer fight, especially since its the only fight in the game where the move is useful due to the low amount of Light-Based bosses in the game. I'm kind of getting the impression that of all the characters, Duran drew the short straw for his Dark-Dark Class. He looks like he's raw stats and nothing else. Course I really want the Class change for poor Angela since her first Dark Class is pretty crummy.

  3. #18
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    Went to Charlmoon Tower and holy hell has this been the most obnoxious dungeon yet. The place is crawling with the Beastmen in their Werewolf forms. The Lunar Werewolf has access to a group heal spell they love to spam when they're not nailing me with Genbu strike that takes off 2/3rds of a single party members health. The Blood Werewolves are worse since they have access to a group hitting attack that does just as much damage and the werewolves love to travel in packs, so I saw a few game over screens. Dolan, the Lunar God Beast was a hassle too since he has access to Luna's magic including one that will reduce your maximum health for the duration of the fight, and he hits hard. Seriously, it's the stationary bosses in this game who are the biggest threats. I was able to take him down in my first attempt but I blew through my items to do it. I did manage to go from Lv. 34 to Lv. 40 in this dungeon, though I wouldn't recommend it. The biggest hassle here was not having access to any of Dryad's magic since she seems to be connected to Light classes more than Dark ones.

    With him down, I went after Umber in Gaia's Navel. This dungeon was also obnoxious but the enemies were lower level. My real issue was forgetting to stock up on healing items before coming. The enemies don't hit hard but they love to spam poison which will completely deplete your party if you don't watch it. Umber, the Earth God-Beast, was a joke compared to Dolan. Helped that he's weak to Jinn magic which I have. His nastiest attack was one where he grabs a party member and slings him around the stage like a pinball costing them 1/2 their health no matter what. Annoying, but not life threatening compared to Dolan reducing my max health by that same much and being able to one shot me afterwards.

    Learning my lesson, I made sure to head to a town to restock on supplies and headed to the Ancient Ruins of Light to deal with Lightgazer, the God Beast of Light. This place has annoying enemies who have the same Lunar magic I mentioned before and they love to transform me into Moogles as well. The real pain at the moment is that this is the earliest point in the game where I can encounter an enemy that drops the ???? Seeds which give me the Class Marks needed to upgrade to my final class. Unfortunately, it's a crap shoot on which one you get. So I'm stuck farming the seeds. My levels are actually so high at this point I can only raise the level for stats I've been neglecting cause I've hit the cap for others. Man, I'm having flahbacks of the SoM remake trying to get the Platinum trophy by acquiring all the rare armor and weapon orb drops.

  4. #19
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    Okay, the RNG gods gave me a break and I acquired two of the Class change items I needed right off the bat, and I acquired the last one fairly quickly after that. My team got their final class upgrades and Team DARK-DARK is a go. I really like the fact that the color composition of my team matches. Though I wish Kevin had some dark grey in his outfit like his artwork entails, the whole team has a purple theme going on with their new costume colors. I actually really like Duran's color scheme with his armor being a dark grey and his clothing being a deep purple. The fact Angela's outfit almost matches was a nice touch. Makes me wonder if Kevin's outfit would match Charlotte's better. The class changes boost my team's stats and we now have access to new abilities. Duran's Duelist class gave him the Dark Sword buff which is utterly useless in this game except against Lightgazer, since Holy Themed enemies are rare in most RPGs that are not MegaTen. The stat boosts are much appreciated though. Kevin finally gets some magic in the form of Moonsaber, which is a much more useful sword buff since it grants a drain status on our weapons. Angela gets the biggest buff from going full dark in this bunch since she finally gets access to a second tier elemental spells and gets all three tiers of Dark Magic. The issue now is getting all the levels needed to acquire all the spells. Especially since I'm a little overleveled I feel.

    Lightgazer didn't know what hit him. Normally, average players wouldn't even be thinking of class changing until after this fight, but damn it, I wanted Dark Sword to be useful at least once since I went through all the trouble of going full Dark Class with Duran. the fight would have been even shorter if the boss didn't have the power phase out of the screen and be immune to taking hits. His most annoying attack was one that turned m whole team into Moogles.

    With that fight over, my team goes to the Illusion Jungle to find the Lost City of Pedan which was allegedly destroyed ten years before the plot started. It's in a cool Arabian Nights type of scenario where the city is certainly gone, but still exist in the realm of dreams and illusions. We find the ruins, and a broken down inn, sleeping there has the party wake up to the city about ten years ago, before Prince Richard and Duran's father Paladin Loki went off to face the Dragonlord. I give the game props for not dropping the ball with these little events. Bringing Duran to meet them has him try to change history by telling his dad not to go, but unfortunately for Duran, this world is more memory than actual time travel. We stock up on the best gear I can buy and we discover what happened to the final Mana Stone. It's located in the Glass Desert, not far from the ;lair of the Dragonlord. I also like the fact the folks at Pedan reference the conflict between rival Wendel Priests which is a reference to the villain of Kevin and Charlotte's main villain.

    With the info, my team leaves the Jungle and heads back to Duran's hometown so I can stock up on provisions. I'm going to farm a little in the Glass Desert cause it the place where I can acquire Weapon/Armor Seeds which is how I acquire my team's final gear. I also do want to level just a bit more cause after I deal with Zabre Fahr, the God-Beast of Darkness, I know I'm heading for the final dungeon and the inevitable boss gauntlet that entails. My plan is to farm the gear I need, and use the excess money to max out on healing items and Cups of Wishes since my team has no healing magic whatsoever except for Moon Sabre. I've also read that not only is Duran/Angela's boss the most difficult of the three, but they also have access to the game's optional boss, the infamous Black Rabite. So I may check that out as well.

  5. #20
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Game, set, and match!

    This took forever because of the silly final equipment nonsense.

    The Glass Desert isn't too bad except for the Shadow Master's and Death Machines. The DM love to hit my group with a party hitting Defense Down spell and the SM loves to hit me with one of Hawkeye's Lv.3 techs that is pretty devastating. The bad thing is that the SM is the enemy guaranteed to drop the Weapon/Armor seeds I need for my group, and the only way to guarantee he'll be the enemy to drop loot is to kill them last.

    I actually encountered Zabre Fahr before I thought I would. For sheer sadism, the boss is just before the save point. They were a nasty piece of work and a large part of why most people tend to go Light Class with Duran to get Holy Sabre. She hits really hard with two heads spamming magic and the other hitting me melee. Was not a fun battle and I feel I won on the skin of my teeth.

    After that, I farmed the items I needed for my team but as usual, I could not get Kevin's Armor to drop and it took me way longer than I intended to get it. I was about Lv. 58 by the time I finally got it to drop today. From there I entered Dragon Hole and had my final battle with the Darkshine Knight who went all Darth Vader on Duran though it wasn't like the game really kept his identity a secret. He ended up being a real bitch to fight despite having the best gear and high levels just because he loves to spam techs and has way more health than I would care for. With his death he thanks Duran for setting him free and we have an emotional moment before we head into the dungeon proper.

    This place was really twisty and turny with its layout. Real easy to get lost, and like the Mana fortress, it is filled with upgraded former bosses. The one that made me the happiest was the rematch with the first crab boss, who is now Holy elemental and is the second boss that makes Dark Sabre useful. With the bosses down, I run into Koren the Crimson Wizard and finally get to meet the Dragon Lord. The Dragon Lord absorbs the power of the Mana Sword, now filled with the combined powers of the eight God Beasts, but just as he begins to fee;l his ascent to godhood is assured, the Mana Goddess tries to put a stop to him, resulting in the DL leaving to finish her off and my team gets to finally have our rematch with Koren.

    I am not going to lie, he killed me the first time because I let my health go below 300hp and then discovered he has Ancient which is basically the Meteor spell from FF and Angela's best spell in her Magus class. Spell can pretty much shave off half my parties health on its own and since I don't have any real access to buffs or debuffs, it was a party wipe. Second attempt was better because I discovered I had an item in my inventory that casts Mind Down so that nipped his magic a bit. I really wish I had farmed some Tomanga Oil while I was hunting down the Wood God Beast, that item casts a party wide Reflect spell that trivializes this boss fight. Even with the use of the debuff and some buff items I also found, this fight was still a bit too close for my comfort.

    With his defeat Korne laments how he sold his soul to the Dragon Lord to gain magic because he was much like Angela and had no magic talent when he lived in Altia. He uses the last of his magic to end his life and the party is able to rescue Angela's mother who turns out was under Koren's magic influence and doesn't remember trying to sacrifice Angela in her intro. With the dungeon finished, we buy up some supplies and save before heading back to the Mana Holyland.

    The place is now overun with Shadow Zero's that love to copy other creatures. the Dark Blue ones are okay because they just cycle through various monsters, but the gray ones are a pain in the ass because they'll take your party's form and have access to all their skills and stats. Not helped that they love to hit whichever character they copy with a debuff spell that lowers all of their stats. I reach the Dragon Lord who has destroyed the Mana Tree/Goddess which at this point is a series tradition as I can't think of a Mana game that doesn't have the Mana Tree destroyed before the game ends until the World of Mana entries. The Fairy is not happy about this circumstances, especially since her life line is the tree and attack the DL only to be smacked away before revealing his true form as a giant mother smurfing Dragon. He blows the party away but then the Fairy uses the last of her power to restore the team and tells them to believe they can win. From here the fight starts.

    This guy is a pain in the ass. He likes to cycle through the elements and will only take damage from its opposite. He has access to all magic and has some pretty brutal melee options as well. He also has like five times the health of anything I fought in the final dungeon. He also took me down the first attempt when he did what all Dragons do and used his breath attack to incinerate my team that was at half health at the time. I lack any debuff spells or items, but I did discover I also have an item that works like the heal spell and even better, can be multi-targeted. This helped tremendously as well as the fact the boss kept switching to his Holy Form which made Dark Sabre my MVP spell of the fight. Still it was an uphill battle and he was able to cast Ancient a few times to a few close calls. I was actually surprised when I finally took him down.

    The ending was pretty bittersweet, which is typical of the franchise and we got an individual ending for each party member. After that was a cool sequence where we got to watch Flammie travel around the world not too dissimilar to watching the Falcon do the same in VI's ending. I was honestly impressed with the graphics for this sequence. Moving up to 32 Mbits over VI's 24Mbits shows a lot you can do.

    Overall, I really liked this game, it's got some issues that I'm grateful the remake fixed and I can see how this game was kind of passed over due to a lot of bugs it has, but honestly I had a blast overall and I'm happy I finally got to finish a game that has taunted me for years. While I will always have a certain nostalgia for SoM, I can see why a lot of people do prefer this entry. A lot of the technical changes between the two entries are certainly for the better in this game. You can hold more items in your menu ring, better replay value, great cast of characters, three really interesting scenarios, generally better boss fights, music is on par with SoM's, and the game is gorgeous. I still plan on picking up the remake to see all the changes, though I have no idea when that will be. I think for the next scenario, I'll do a team that is Hawkeye, Riesz, and Charlotte.

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