Dragon's Den, Continued[edit source]
From where you fought Icy, walk all the way back to the entrance, where that first seal was. Walk through the unobstructed path, and follow it west to a pressure pad. Stepping on it will hold a door open for as long as Party 1 stands there. Switch to either of your other parties, and bring both of them through the left cavern entrance and into the newly opened door. Get one party to step on the switch on the dead end peninsula, then get the other to jump across the stepping stones to a small island with a Rename Card on it. Leap back, then remove both parties from this room.
Now we need to get to the other side of the lava, where the second dragon will be fought. Take Party 1 (or 2, or even 3, it doesn't matter) back to where you slew Ice Dragon, and follow the cave path to some stairs that lead down to the lava chamber. Walk east, then south along the land to find a chest with a Hi-Ether, then fall back to the stairs and take the other path through the middle of the area. When they get to a switch, switch to Party 2/3, which will now be known as Party 2.0. Move them through the rightmost door of the Dragon Den's left entrance, and direct them along the twisting path to a stepping stone in the lava. Jump across, step on the pressure point, and switch to the remaining party, Team 3.0. Go through the left door, the only one we haven't yet been through, and follow the path all the way up to the top of the floor, past the Seal of Water on the left. Once you reach the top, resume following the path south to some rocks floating in the lava. Hop, skip and jump your way across to another land mass, where a switch rests. Here you can do one of two things: either let Party 3.0 jump across the rocks from a different direction to reach the next dragon, or have them hold the switch down, allowing Party 2.0 to jump across some rocks of their own to reach the dragon instead. It all depends on who you're more comfortable battling with. Just remember to fully equip and back-row every character on the fighting team before you go picking fights with monstrously strong, fire-breathing carnivores.
|Boss Fight: Storm Dragon, Second Encounter|
Storm Dragon is slightly more difficult than Ice Dragon, but that's mainly because his personal element, Wind, can't be blocked by our equipment. That means that the battle is less about hiding behind absorbing armour, and more about constantly healing with Curaga and reviving spells. Shell is a must have in this battle, because there's no other way to even slightly mollify the magical attacks of the boss.
Icy had a gimmick in battle, and so does Stormy: He's got very high evade and Mblock stats, meaning that the usual attacks and spells (like Thundaga, for instance) will usually miss their mark. How ever will we be able to overcome this predicament? Why, Ultima, of course! It can't miss, can't be blocked, reflected, or mitigated, and at 1MP per cast, it's not like they're difficult to execute. Stormo's own attacks are the one's you saw from the last battle (Aero, Cyclonic, Wind Slash, Leaf Swirl) plus a robust new attack by the name of Icarus Wing that deals high physical damage to one person. It helps if everyone's in the back row, and also if they have protect, if you feel that it's necessary.
Once it has approx. 25,000 HP remaining, the Storm Dragon will "Cloak itself in Wind", raising it's speed with Haste. It would have been image too, but the stupid reptile is immune to it. The haste can be a bit of a problem, 'specially if the team isn't faring too well, so feel free to cast a little Hastega of your own to even the odds. Apart from that, just Ultima the guy into death. Others can join in if you like, but I think it would be best if they just focused on healing while the mage does all the hard work.
The Storm Dragon has been slain!
and we get the Longinus for winning, Edgar's ultimate weapon. The only path that leads onward through the den is the one that was protected by the Wind Seal 5 minutes prior. Gear up Party 1, then take them northwest to the staircase, which leads back to the Ice Dragon's grave. From there, go south to find the steps that were blocked by the Wind Seal, and take them up to 2F, a place very similar in appearance to Darill's Tomb. Walk forward (the east is shut off by the Gold Dragon's Seal) to find yourself in an area surrounded on three sides by water. Call the turtle on the north side over to you, then use him to ferry the team across to the other side. Walk straight north and hit the switch, then read the semi-cryptic remark about the Red Dragon being let out of his room. Walk up the left or right staircase to find the next dragon in the dungeon.
|Boss Fight: Blue Dragon, Second Encounter|
Blue Dragon is a real let down as far as the dragons eight are concerned. His unique strategy is that he has no new strategy, instead only possessing higher stats than he did back at the Ancient Castle. Well, he does have this new Rippler technique, but if you play the battle right, you won't be seeing it.
Bluey has all the same attacks from before: El Nino, Aqua Breath, Flash Rain, Tsunami, and so on, so forth. The only thing worth taking note of is his new Blue Fang attack (inflicts stop), and the new Rippler strategy, in which BD casts poison, slow, blind and stop, then transfers it onto a party member who has haste, protect or shell. Don't cast status ailments on the guy, and don't casts status buffs on the team, and you'll only have the dragon's watery move set to survive on (which isn't very difficult). Unleash a few Thundagas or Ultimas at the beast, and he dies rather quickly.
The Blue Dragon has been slain!
And what a great dragon he was. The only one who could be considered shit in the first fight, and shit in the second. We get the Save the Queen for winning, Celes's ultimate weapon, and the Blue Seals are broken. Coolness.
Switch to party 3.0, and park their arses on the switch that allows Part 2.0 access to where the Storm Dragon was. Take control of Party 2.0, and have them jump from this isle over some more stones to the north. Run up the stairs to grab the Elixir, then head right and up the stairs. Head right again to find another door way in the wall - this is the first save point room, which you should be glad to see after fighting two tough bosses (and one mediocre one). Also in the cave is a new kind of sparkly phenomenon: a red one. This device will activate when all three teams are in the room, allowing you to rearrange the teams mid-dungeon. It's not of much use, since I can't see why you'd want to change anyone around, (and Party 1 is miles away), but it's the thought that counts I suppose. Save the game, then switch to party 3.0.
Take this team off their switch and through the doorway on your left, which takes them to an area just west of where Team 2.0 emerged not a moment ago. There's nothing to the left for them, so walk straight up through the door to find the fourth dragon perched on top of a mountainous platform of rock. Equip the entire team with the Angel Wings I told you to buy, put 'em all in the back row, then confront the scaled beast.
|Boss Fight: Earth Dragon, Second Encounter|
The Earth Dragon was powerful back at the Opera House, but it's power has risen to ridiculous heights since then. The Angel Wings are obviously here to protect us from Quake, Landslide, and Magnitude 8, all of which were powerful enough to kill the party in one or two shots, and to get Earth Dragon to waste turns casting 50 Gs on a party who's float can't be revoked.
So why then is this still a hard fight? Earthy's attacking strength has become so absurdly overpowered that even one physical attack can reach up to 1500 damage on one person. Honed Tusk is even worse; you may as well consider that an instant death move that can't be warded with a Safety Bit. Vanish and Image may work well to defend against that, but I never used them because the time they stuck on someone was pretty unreliable. The best cure for ED's attacks is Curagas, and lots of them.
Another new trick that Earthy has is that he can now absorb earth damage, meaning that each Quake, Landslide and Magnitude 8 he uses will heal him by several thousand. This can be avoided by casting float on the boss himself, making him rise above his ground-based attacks. After about 25,000 HP remains, Earth Dragon will "become enraged", making him attack four times in a row, each for about 300-1000 damage. From that point on, he'll always attack four times in a row, which can worsen the situation very fast. Kill him quickly with Ultimas and Flood spells to avoid the hurt he causes in his rampage.
The Earth Dragon has been slain!
Bloody oath he was, and a good thing too. I'd classify that bastard as the second most powerful of the dragons eight, which gallingly means that there's another guy out there who's even stronger. Our prize for that, apart from the one Earth Seal being removed, is the Godhand, Sabin's best claw. Take Party 3 east to the save cavern that Party 2 is hiding out in, save the game, and switch to Party 1.
We need these guys to get to 2 & 3's location, so ride the turtle back the way you came, descend the stairs to the first floor, and go north, past where the Ice Dragon used to sit. Instead of going down to the lava room like we did before, go north as far as possible to a wall, above which is the save room. Have party 2/3 quickly run out and step on the switch next to Party 1 to allow them to climb up, then move everyone into the same room. Now that that's all sorted, you can rearrange everyone as you will, but as I said, there's not much point to it.
The real reason that everyone is now here is thus: Only two parties are required from this moment onward. The third party (weakest) is going to sit here for the duration and do everyone's saving whenever you feel like it. It might actually be politic to transfer the weakest characters to this one team (Gau, Cyan, Mog, Strago, Locke, or whatever) so that the other two are more powerful than usual. I don't care, it's your game. For the next stretch, make sure that your more powerful of the two teams have access to Rasp or Osmose.
Okay, first things first - your first party (Party 1) should be your strongest; the one that can handle the most difficulty, because these particular people will be taken through a gauntlet of no less than seven bosses. The other party will be fighting too, but not nearly as much. Even so, it would be better for you if you include Celes in the second grouping for the purposes of a single boss fight that we will get to shortly. Equip Party 2 for departure, then leave for the east down some stairs. Walk west around the block of land you emerge from, then north up some stairs to find the chamber that the Red Dragon was imprisoned in a short while ago. Switch to Party 3 to save, and equip your current adventurers with all the fire-retardant equipment they can bear.
|Boss Fight: Red Dragon, Second Encounter|
Here's the big one, the hardest of all eight elemental dragons in the Dragon's Den, which is kinda how it was the first time around. He might not have the highest HP of the octet, but man is he the strongest.
This is Red Dragon's special ploy: he can't be harmed. As soon as the battle starts, he "sacrifices life force" to power himself up, increasing his strength and making himself impervious to damage. The battle can't be won by ordinary means of slash and burn, but instead by surviving for four turns, after which Big Red explodes in a cheap display of Flare and Ultima. You might think that four turns ain't no thang, but Red Dragon isn't using kid gloves in this fight: He loves to use Flare Star, Flare, Blaze and Firaga at you, along with two new attacks, Red Fang (instant death) and Meltdown. All the fire attacks are of no real danger to you so long as you hold fire absorbing/resisting equipment, but he prefers to use physical attacks four times in a row worth shitloads of damage and that damn Red Fang move more than anything remotely fire related. Unless you have a Safety Bit on everyone (and I know you only have one), you'll have a lot of reviving to do.
As you should be completely focused on surviving, no one ought to be attacking; instead, always reserve your party for healing and buffing techinques, like Curaga, Arise, Protect, Shell, and so on. Red Dragon throws around plenty of Red Fangs, as I've said, so arise is crucial to victory in this conflict. If you manage to survive the four rounds, Red will cast Ultima to wipe out the party, and then follow it up with Flare to eliminate any unlikely survivor. The only way for lower-levelled parties to avoid a Game Over is to have Celes use Runic at exactly the right time to absorb Ultima, or cast Reraise on everyone so that they'll be revived immediately after being Koed. That might not be such a bad option, since casting Reraise during the battle would be a likely decision for you to take anyway.
The Red Dragon has been slain!
And for our victory, we receive Terra's ultimate weapon, the Apocalypse. The Red seals (there's two) are lifted, and we're officially AWESOME. Head inside the room that Red came out of, and search around the right side of the room to find a secret passage that leads to a Megalixir. What did I tell you? We're awesome.