The secret passage appears to come standard with giant spiders and rats. I have a feeling Diana's Poisona spell is going to come in handy. Later levels add giant centipedes, scorpions, and bats to the mix. Someone at Lux Castle really needs to call an exterminator.
Dungeon design isn't half bad - there are alternate paths and dead ends with treasure, as well as times when you have to backtrack a ways, so it isn't just "walk from A to B" that has been favored in most FF titles.
It comes up in a storeroom for empty (darn) barrels and pots in the castle, connected to the main hallway by a IV-style secret passage that is invisible to the player but should be dead obvious to the character. Fortunately, the entrance and exit to the passage are marked by a missing brick in the wall, so at least it's not as annoying to find as those in IV.
From here, we enter the throne room, where the guards once again don't notice three kids sneaking around the castle right in front of them. We "hide" behind some pillars while the King talks to Aigis.
The King exposits on the existance of a Crystal, that apparently makes the Kingdom of Lux equal to the Empire. The Oracles warn there's something wrong at the place the Crystal is kept, however, and the King suspects someone is trying to use the crystal for nefarious purposes. Plot!
Aigis agrees to go investigate. And he seems to know we were hiding all along, despite his back being turned to the door. Apparently, Glaive is also Aigis' apprentice. Aigis then asks permission to take the three of us along to the Crystal Temple. Quoth Sol: "Awesome!"
The king is apparently a fan of The Power of Friendship
, and cites it as why he's sending 3 kids instead of a squad of soldiers. Makes perfect sense, in RPG logic.
Apparently the only path to the Crystal Temple is through a cave, which is of course full of monsters. Yay!
Well, I got Aigis back. I'm honestly surprised. Given that he's still 6 levels higher than Sol, though, I don't feel bad about saddling him with inferior equipment.
First we explore the castle and steal all the goodies. Some White and Black Mages are kind enough to let us know that the Crystal is the source of their magic. The Oracles tell us that the crystal is crying out in fear and that its destruction would be the end of Lux. Gee, I hope the crystal doesn't shatter despite our best efforts, leaving our country defenseless and without magic.
Now back to town for some rest and shopping, and then we're off for the Northern Cave. NPC banter reveals that the Checkpoint we visited earlier exists to keep monsters out of Lux. Up North I find a suspiciously circular forest, which turns out to be (surprise) a Chocobo Forest. Now mounted on a chocobo, I am off to protect the Kingdom of Lux from a nebulous threat.
The Northern Cave is surprisingly spacious. Inside, I run into an enemy named Carbuncle that is not
a cute, green rodent. I'm guessing he will not be a summon this time.
Right after a save point, we run into a Red Mage
(or at least, someone dressed like a red mage) who is being attacked by a monster. Being as heroic as we are, we of course assist him. Our mystery red mage is indeed a Red Mage
, and has better magic than Aigis and Diana, to boot. We have a boss battle with a giant lizard, who pelts us with Fire, Ice, Lightning
while Diana heals and everyone else attacks.
The man introduces himself as Elgo, a wandering prophet. He says he's there to investigate the crystal, too. Aigis invites him to come along, so they can keep an eye on him. And Elgo joins my party!
Interesting, someone without a meaningful name. Could that itself be meaningful?
Oh, hey, there's a moogle in here. And he's running a shop. I wonder how much business he gets in a cave full of monsters?
Shortly outside the cave, we find the Crystal Temple soundly blocking a valley. Inside are a bunch of monsters and treasure (of course), including some gear that seems awfully job specific. Hmmm.
I reach a save point, which the game is kind enough to warn me is the last one in the prologue. I use a tent, save my game, and gird my loins for a boss battle.
They crystal chamber looks a lot like those from Final Fantasy IV
. Almost identical, in fact. Examining the crystal causes a mysterious robed figure to appear. He uses some nasty looking magic on the crystal, prompting us to attack him. Because sitting back and watching crystals shatter isn't what these FF heroes are all about.
Sadly, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight
- several rounds in he incapacitates the party and resumes his assault on the Crystal.
Next, we're treated to a series of cuts to characters that will probably be important later on. The first is a bard playing a harp. The second is an exotic dancer named Matoya
. The third is a mad scientist and his... creation? experiment?... named Arty. Fourth is a man named Jinnai who's been cornered at the top of a cliff. Fifth is a drunk.
Aaand we're finally back to the Crystal, which has finally cracked. Just then, a group of four individuals blow a hole in the wall and crash our party. They say that the Crystal is theirs.
The prologue ends with:
Fate itself brought together those whose lives were filled with hope and those whose duty sent them from the harsh north[sic]. As they locked eyes, the Crystal shed forth an immense light that filled the land, drowning everything in silence.
And then, the world was sundered into light and darkness.
Unfortunately, the chapter shop doesn't work yet. So this is as far as we'll go for now. Sadly, no jobs yet. But I'm enjoying the nostalgic fun, so I'll be back for more as soon as it's available.