The Southern Continent[edit source]
Setzer has promised us passage to Vector and use of his airship, but won't join us for the moment. The Blackjack approaches the Imperial City in a cool quasi-3D cinematic, but lands further away to avoid detection. Know from this point on you can visit the landed ship at any time to utilise it's free health care service, so don't be wasting any money on inns. Also know that Celes has been stripped of her weapons and armour, so you have to re-equip her. Once you leave, walk one step right to enter the first of three cities that accompany Vector on this southern landmass.
Albrook is under enemy occupation at the moment, so expect people to be really bitter about everything. There isn't much to do here because of the takeover, but there's still items to be found and things to be learnt, and I'll tell you where to find them all. The right side of the pub (part of the relic shop) has a clock with an elixir inside. The relic shop also has the amulet to buy, which prevents poison, darkness and zombie. It isn't exactly a must-buy. Go east from the Relic shop to the inn and examine the barrel next to it to find a Hi-Potion, then go down to the armour shop next; they sell Priest Mitre's now, an excellent helm that anyone can put on. Last stop is the weapon shop, which has a Sakura for sale (Shadow), and also a Bastard sword (Terra, Celes, Edgar). This is the first place you can buy or even see Venom Claws, but they're weaker than the Burning Fist, so pass over them. Take the Ether from the top left pot, then get the hell out of Albrook.
Maranda and Tzen[edit source]
Head west from Albrook all the way to the left-most edge of the continent, then south long the peninsula to find Maranda. Along the way, you'll be fighting some enemies. Most of them are pretty easy to kill, but look for the dog-like Don enemy: They have Tiger Masks to steal, which are great helms for Gau and Sabin to wear. Also present are Wyverns, which have Dragon Boots for stealing if you haven't got 'em already.
Maranda is the city that Celes oversaw the subjugation of, as well as the home of Lola, girlfriend of the man from Mobliz. As you enter, inspect the left boxes for a vial of Holy Water. Get to the east side of town, where an Imperial Soldier is chasing a woman, asking her to marry him. Check the chest to their right to get a Remedy. The following new items are available for purchase from Maranda: Mythril Mail, Mythril Helms, Tridents and Boomerangs, but be warned that this shit is very very expensive, some of the getup rising to heights of 3500 gil. Buy what you want, get those two items, and leave Maranda.
Up north is the town of Tzen. You can travel up there to look around if curiosity grips you, but there's no treasure to be found, and the shops offer nothing that Maranda and Albrook did not already put forward. That means that only Vector remains unexplored.
Before you run off to the Imperial Capital, you might want to level up a bit, gain some money, and customise your team properly. First, if you want to give Locke the Boomerang you required, you'll also have to give him the Brigand's Glove to make sure he can still mug people for their items. Second, make sure at least one person has Fire learned (from Siren) and that a few have Cure learned (from Kirin) to take the burden off of Celes. Thundara and Cura are also great to have, but they take quite a while for even one person to acquire.
But anyway, here we are, at the heart of the Gestahlian realm. It's a miserable little town, filled with ugly metal structures that have fallen to rust and disrepair, a sickly orange layer of pollution that permeates the atmosphere like an eternal sunset, and worst of all, that pyramid: a blot on the skyline of the Southern Continent. Yuch. As one would suspect, the enemy thrives here, hidden in every corner, every lowly establishment. The inn is one such place: the landlord says that you can stay the night for free, but you'll wake up in the morning with 1000 gil less than when you entered. And this isn't Skyrim, so you can't just kill the prick and take it back. If you want to heal, enter the attenuated shack to your left and speak to the old lady inside. If you tell her that you aren't loyal to the empire, two Narshie Guards attack us (To busy to defend their own city the lazy shits), and they're killed almost instantly. Speaking to that old lady will make her heal you to full health. I suppose she was just testing you to see if you were strong enough to fight the empire. By sacrificing two weak soldiers? That's cold, lady.
Like Tzen, there's nothing to bought nor found in Vector, so we might as well continue the story. Before you jump in, you might be interested to know of the Empire's super defence weapon found at the entrance to the Imperial Palace. At the top of the steps, head north, avoiding every soldier you see, as talking to them will instigate a battle, and winning will have you thrown back to the start of Vector. At the end is the Guardian, a massively-powerful weapon that can't be harmed, but can completely annihilate the team with its shots worth over 7000 damage. You can only run from this beast; don't try to fight it.
To get to the Magitek Research Facility, get to the northeast of town, where an old man is crouched behind some boxes. He'll distract the guards while we sneak past them via the metal scaffolding behind us, so agree to his plan when you're ready. As the old guy drunkenly stumbles out in front of the guards, that's your queue to jump on the left box to loop around the obstacles. You'll wind up on the guards blind side, away from prying eyes. I'm certifiably shocked that the most prized facility of the Empire is guarded by three men. You'll hear many people recount how important the centre is to the technological developments of Gestahl's monarchy, but don't expect to hear about high the security is. Follow the rail tracks into the next level.
Magitek Research Facility[edit source]
This is the best music I've heard in such a long time. It's like Stomp meets House Music except, you know, good. Here you'll see Sergeants, Bezelcues, Proto Armour and Onion Knights, but it's the first and third of those numbers that really should catch you attention: both have Mythril Mail for a rare steal, so set Locke to work acquiring at least two of those - maybe three if you didn't buy that one back in Maranda or Tzen. Most of the enemies here are machines, so know that lightning works best against them (physical attacks, by comparison, are quite weak). Ramuh is an excellent choice but is rather expensive, Thunder's cheap but good, and you may even want to use Thundara for complete decimation for your enemies. Hopefully, Celes or someone like her should have been holding the Ramuh magicite long enough to use it.
Walk left down three flights of stairs to find a hook swinging between two ledges. Inspect it when it comes near to climb on and ride to the other side. Open the chest here for a Flametongue (Excellent sword - flame imbued). Ride the hook back over, walk right, and just past the stairs you'll find two pipes leading downwards. Take the right one to land on a balcony that contains an Ether on the left side, then climb back up and take the left one to be slid down to a point further in the Factory. Pick up the X-Potion that's lying next to you in a box, walk on the right conveyor belt and open the chest here as well for a Thunder Blade, which goes great with the Flametongue we just picked up. Go down to find a Remedy, then walk onto the moving band next to you to be transported to the next section of the Facility.
Move south from the starting point, then west, until you come across a staircase in the bottom left corner and a chest standing next to it, with some Dragoon Boots inside. Ascend those stairs and follow the gantry north to a door leading to the room you were previously in. Take the Golden Shield from the chest, then jump on the elevator to be taken to the ground floor. Run up the stairs to where you were five minutes past, then follow the system of conveyor belts down to the last floor again. Once there, jump on the Magitek Armour assembly line to be whisked away to another part of the floor.
Walk south a bit, and Kefka will suddenly appear, squawking about his grand plan to become a God by siphoning the power of the espers and absorbing them. He also mentions something about waking the 'Warring Triad' before beating up the two esper captives, Shiva and Ifrit, and tossing their lifeless husks down the disposal chute. He cackles a bit more (WOOP-woop-woop-woop-woop-woop!) and then vanishes - What a lovely shithead that clown turned out to be. Before you go dumpster-diving for yesterday's trash, step on the elevator next to the line that Kefka used to remove them. Walk south, collecting the tent, and going down the first stairs you see. Walk left until you get to the corner, then move down into the wall to find a hidden doorway that leads to a Golden Helm on the other side. Go north to return to the room with the production line moving east (you've been here, remember?), but instead of jumping on that belt again, head to the northeast of the area, where there are plenty of boxes, and walk into the pipe in the right wall. Follow it halfway down to a far-flung room that contains a Zephyr Cape (boosts eveasion) and an Icebrand (powered by cold). Get back in the pipe, follow it down to a gap, drop down into the area you just jumped from (because fuck physics) and get on that Magitek Armour line one more time. Now that we have everything offered by Magitek Co., we can finally dive into the rubbish in pursuit of Shiva and Ifrit. It's strange, isn't it, that these guys have been held captive for twenty years, yet the day we arrive to rescue them is the day they get discarded like last night's leftovers?
It's been a while before your last save, so enter the left door before talking to either esper to save the game. Once we've done that, walk back into the garbage area. Look at all those dead bodies - could they have been espers? We'll never know... :'( Speak to Ifrit to help the poor guy out, and in thanks, he blows us away with a burst of energy and challenges us to a fight. Last time I help you, ass.
|Boss Fight: Ifrit & Shiva|
Though it seems like this will be a battle against two foes at once, it quickly turns out to be more of a tag-team match. First, you'll fight Ifrit. After about 1000 damage or so is dealt, Shiva will jump in, then after 1000 damage, Ifrit will come back, then so on and so forth until the HP total of one is reduced to zero.
Like I said, the summon of fire is up first, and he attacks with the flaming arsenal that he's famous for. Fire and physical attacks are his only two weapons to start with, both doing low to mid range damage (never any higher than 150), and fire may be used as a counter at any time. Runic will cancel out the magical attacks for now, leaving you to contend with only the punches that Ifrit throws, but they can always be healed with a few potions. Depend on Raging Fist and Drill to do damage to Ifrit, and keep it up until he pulls out. Shiva is very much similar to him, using Hit and Blizzard to deal damage. Now, however, you can use Fiery Dance with Sabin to deal high damage.
After a while, they start to use Fira and Blizzara, respectively. Very powerful, very dangerous attacks, expect to see someone die if you can't draw it away with Runic. Apparently they can also cast Firaga and Blizzaga as well, but I never saw that happen, thank God. After maiming one esper enough, a scene will begin, and Ifrit/Shiva recognise the presence of Ramuh in the party, calming them.
So this could have been avoided from the start if we just used Ramuh in battle? No, as a matter of fact, it seems that Shiva and Ifrit just wanted to kill something, and pretended to see Ramuh for the first time when the battle wasn't going their way. Pfft - amateur liars, I can see right through their crap. Talk to Ifrit, and the two of them will transform into magicite for you. All right! Shiva can teach Blizzara, Rasp and Osmose to one person, while Ifrit's unique spells are Drain and Fira. Give one of them to Celes, since she's the magic wielder here. Save in that left compartment again, then make for the other door. Oh, and remember to grab ALL the magicite you rotten fool - if you don't pick up Ifrit now, then it's gone forever, and so too your chance of ever learning drain magic.
Over we go!