Part 31, we finally enter the Depths.
You'll notice we can go to the Depths right from the interdimensional elevator. It leads to a small room with a save point, a healing tile, and a Namingway holographic merchant. Ya know, I suspect someday SE will drop the pretenses and retcon the Namingways into a sub-type of Moogle, they're basically the same creatures in function. Namingway has a variety of items for sale including X-Potions, Dry Ethers and Elixirs. Buy all you like, the monsters down here leave a ton of gil so feel free to warp back with the elevator to heal and restock whenever you line. The passage to the Depths on the 13th floor leads to the same place the room exit does, a large room with lots of twists and turns but no treasure. I took some time for tail hunting so my party is leveled nicely, Ceodore leading at Level 59 and Palom and Porom tailing at Level 53. Find the stairs down to the next area.
Open the chest in view to the right for a Crystal Shield, then go down the short flight of stairs. Two long staircases down are in view, go to the top of the lower-right one and walk left and down to an X-Potion, then descend those stairs and go straight down to the next area. Once again we find two chests in view, one has a Dry Ether, the other a Cat-Ear Hood. It gives +5 Speed, not that great in my opinion with other headgear like the Goblin Mask and Black Cowl that boost Speed and other stats. It does however have the best magic defense of any hat-type headgear, so if you're really aching for magic defense then go ahead. Further down we see a three-way split, the left path leads to an X-Potion, the right to a Silver Hourglass, the middle path of course leads forward. This floor looks symmetrical at first but don't be fooled. Take the left path, it'll look down and to the right where an X-Potion waits us. Down the right stairs is a Protect Ring, can never have too many since they rock. Descend the central stairs and we'll eventually come to a teleporter. To the left of it is a Remedy, to the right is an obvious hidden passage in the wall (hint - the notch) leading to a Brave Suit. It's pretty nice, +10 Speed, Stamina and Strength with decent defense. The teleporter takes us to a new-looking floor, rest at the save point for a scene between Golbez and Cecil, assuming you let him live. Now we find ourselves at a four-way slit, one path in each diagonal. Hmm....we'll do this in the proper order, go to the upper-left path, the white tile is a teleporter to a small room with yet another Crystal that shatters and releases a boss, this one accompanied by an ominous description of it materializing.
Yes, Lich, the Fiend of Earth from the original Final Fantasy. Notice this floor has four directional paths, take a wild guess what's down the other three...very good kiddies, have an E-cookie! Square-Enix ran out of bosses from the original game to shove in our path in a desperate half-assed attempt to pad out the game so they decided to rehash bosses from the rest of the series. Anyway, Lich has a decent physical attack and likes to use Quake and Bio spells. However he isn't too impressive an enemy, his weaknesses are easy to hit since the Excalibur and Godhand are both Holy-elemental, and his attacks aren't very strong. If your White Mage is decently levelled she'll know Holy, your Black Mage doesn't need Flare or Meteor, Firaga is plenty good on its own. Combined with a couple good Bands from the people who don't have Holy or Fire attacks and Lich will fall in a couple rounds. He drops the Assassin Dagger, it has good power and a very impressive +15 to Speed. Go back to the save point in the center area, rest if needed and go down the upper-right path.
Marilith is the Fiend of Fire. Her main offenses are a normal attack and Firaga. I also saw her use Blaze, which did just under 1000 damage to everyone. As you've probably noticed from past enemies that use it Blaze decreases in power as the user loses HP. I had already done a number on Marilith when she cut lose Blaze for the first time, so at higher HP it could be pretty nasty. Assuming she's scripted to be able to use it when at higher health, I'm not sure. She drops the Rising Sun, a powerful throwing weapon that gives +10 Speed. Head back to the save again. Take the lower-left path now.
Kraken is obviously, the Fiend of Water. He's the strongest yet in my opinion, even on the Full Moon when physical attacks were weakened he was smacking me for 1000 damage a hit. He also likes to counter magic with Bile and attacks with Constrict. Watch out if he paralyzes your healer. And of course, he likes Blizzaga. For this reason you really need to make your hits count to avoid being overwhelmed with counterattacks, since you can easily get several party members paralyzed including your healer. Slow is particularly helpful in this battle, you can do without with the first two Fiends but Kraken, you'll need the advantage. Thundaga is Kraken's weakness, and my Palom was doing 13,000 damage a hit. Throw in a couple Twin Rush and Delta Evolution Bands and Kraken eventually fell, though the going was slower since I needed to heal more often. Kraken leaves the Triton Dagger, it gives +10 Intelligence so right there we have another weapon for our spellcasters, and it isn't bad for attacking either. It casts Flood when used as an item, which is totally worthless because Flood will probably do 0 damage to most enemies you're encountering now. Only one Fiend to go, in the lower-right.
Surprise, it's Tiamat, didn't see that coming did you? She likes to spam Thermal Rays to do decent damage to the party, and has Lightning for the same, and Maelstrom to drop the party to critical HP. To round out her arsenal she has a strong physical blow and can counter with Venomous Gas to poison the party. Slow her and Haste your White Mage, Maelstrom could spell your doom. She has no elemental weaknesses, but Flare doens't need one and you should know it by now. Pummel her into submission, just keep your White Mage on standby to Curaja if she uses Maelstrom. Tiamat leaves the Dragon Claws, giving our Monk another awesome weapon that also provides +10 Spirit and Strength. Go back to the save point, use it if you need it, then go down to a teleporter.
To Hell And BackEdit
Go straight down to see a doorway between two staircases. The two lower platforms have a X-Potion and Dry Ether, the middle platform contains a Dark Sage, Moonmaiden and Armored Fiend. They leave a Hypnocrown, a decent hat for Black Mages that gives +5 Intelligence. Continue down to see the stairs to the next area, there's two chests on either side of it with Lunar and Light Curtains. Inside the next area go down and down the stairs, there's a save point to the right but it isn't a scene-triggering one. Take the right path below the one to a save and enter the notch in the wall to find a room with a Spider Silk. Go back and take a second staircase down, going right and down at the bottom. When you see a path going left take it and enter a room with a chest containing Crystal Gloves. They're only usable by Cecil, Ceodore, Kain and Golbez, and are recently strong. Continue on the right path down outside to find the door onward, head left to an X-Potion before you go.
In this area, still an interior, go down the left stairs and along the path to a teleporter, it takes us to a small island with a Red Jacket, a decent armor that absorbs Fire and gives +10 Strength and Speed. The Brave Suit we found earlier is better but this one is good too. Go back to the entrance and down the stairs to the right. The right path leads down to Hermes Sandals, the left path to the next area. Now on B9, go right to an X-Potion, then back down from the entrance to a save point. Rest here for a scene with Golbez and Kain that will teach them the Spiral Blow Band. In the morning go left from the save to a Crystal Helm. Now we must track down and elliminate four more bosses. Unlike the fiends there's no particular order I'll enforce, fight them however you wish. These four are taken from Pandaemonium in Final Fantasy II.
To the southwest is another Crystal. King Behemoth is just what his name implies, a beefed-up Behemoth. His physical attacks hurt a lot, and in addition to his normal blows he counters all damage with another attack. This is where having Ceodore in your party helps by allowing you a second White Magic user to buff with Protect while your full White Mage heals. If you don't have Ceodore but have Kain, Kain can offer an alternate form of protection with Blink to absorb two attacks. With Protect cast his damage drops from around 2000 damage a hit to 1000 damage. Slow will also buy time from his normal strikes. When the King Behemoth dies he'll use Meteor, doing around 3000 damage to the entire party. Fortunately it can miss. If your party isn't tough enough to survive normally then buff yourself with Shell. Edward can also use Escape to dodge it. The King Behemoth leaves the Tiger Fangs. They boost Speed and Stamina by 10 and can paralyze. They provide an alternative to the Dragon Claws, which boost Strength and Spirit.
Southeast awaits a Crystal with the Iron Giant. He fights mostly like the King Behemoth but with two differences - no counters, and he only uses Meteor if you cast magic on him, so don't do that. His Meteor is weaker though, 2000 damage or less. Combined with his lack of counters and he's a lot easier to handle than the King Behemoth. His Meteor counter trigger is odd when it comes to Bands - he didn't counter Twin Rush but countered Makeshift Cannon. Take your chances I suppose. He isn't too hard to beat and leaves a Gigant Axe for us, the most powerful axe in the game by far. Heal up and head to the northeast Crystal to meet Astaroth. He counters magic with Embrace to petrify a party member, and likes using elemental magic. His physical attacks pack a whallop and heal him to boot. If you come during the Waxing Moon his spells are weakened and his worst, which still isn't all that bad, is gone. Slow him, Haste yourself if you like, and pummel him into submission. He leaves the Seraphim Mace, which gives a very plump +15 Spirit. Equip it on your healer, save and rest, then head to the northwest.
Beelzebub isn't as straightforward the hardest of the Pandaemonium bosses. He'll use group status attacks like Confuse and buffs himself with Haste and Blink. For actual offense he uses elemental spells and Flare, the latter of which is probably an instant kill. As with Astaroth, it helps to come here during the Waxing Moon to weaken his magic. Slow is very important to buy you time and to negate his Haste if he uses it. Overall he's annoying, but not too tough. He yields to us Loki's Harp, Eddie's strongest weapon that boosts Strength, Stamina and Speed by 10. Go save and rest at the save point, the teleporter to the right is now active with the bosses dead.
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