Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Replaying Mystic Quest, Final Part

Welcome to the last part of this log covering my playthrough through the GameBoy classic Mystic Quest, better known as Final Fantasy Adventure. While I've already finished the game last Thursday, I didn't find the time to finish this article, so sorry for the delay. A lot of you people may find the picture to the right very familiar, because it's the very first scene of the game and often shown in commercials or reports about it. The reason, why I've uploaded it in this final part, is, because when the blog started, I've already beaten Davia's Mansion, so I didn't cover the entire beginning of the game. And before I come the end of the game, I want you to tell a little more about the beginning and the story.

You start with giving yourself and your girl a name and being imprisoned in the Dark Castle, I've mentioned in Part 3. The castle belongs to the Dark Lord, who conquests for "Mana" to rule over the world. He killed your parents, imprisoned you at his castle and let you fight for his personal entertainment. While you fight the thing, you can see in the first picture, you can play Michael Scofield by running out of the gate, which opens to release on those beasts. Outside the castle you meet the real antagonist, Julius, and the Dark Lord at a waterfall talking about they need a key to go it up and get caught eavesdropping them. The Dark Lord throws you down the waterfall, where you ironically meet the key, they were searching for. The girl and her pendant. Her boyfriend was killed by monsters and from now on you protect her, or at least try to do so. A guy named Bogard tells you about a Lord called Vandole, who also tried to get the power of Mana, which source lies in the Mana tree at the top of the waterfall. But a woman, who was wearing the pendant and is the girl's mother, enabled the so called Gemma Knights to defeat Vandole. Your journey is to help the girl with the pendant to get to Wendel and to meet Cibba there.

On this path you and the girl will rest at "Kett's", an old, scary mansion where the girl gets kidnapped. An old man helps you to find the mirror in the Marsh Cave, where you fight a two headed dragon called Hydra (actually the monster you can see in the right picture is the Zombie version of this boss, found in the last dungeon). You also get the Sickle in this dungeon, which helps you cutting vines. Back to Kett's, you can fight off the mysterious butler with the help of the mirror, find the girl in a coffin in the deepest cellar and fight against the master of the mansion, who turns out to be a vampire, by using your new Chain Flail. You also get the useful Cure Spell form the girl. Arriving in Wendel, Cibba helps the girl to see a vision of her mother, but Julius arrives and kidnaps the girl taking her to his airship. To get to the airship, you have to pass Gaia, which is only possible in silver equipment, so you and a dwarf enter a silver mine and fight a giant worm to get some silver. This dungeon had some kind of rail system, you could travel on with carts, which reminded me of the Zelda Oracle games. You and Bogard will then go to the airship, where you meet the girl again, but get thrown off again by Julius. You crash in the small village of Menos, where you find the Wind Spear and hear some stories about Jadd and a Chocobo egg. When you finally get your Chocobo, you'll arrive at Jadd and will notice, that the region at the north of Jadd is poisoned. To get rid of the poison, you have to help Lester, a boy who was cursed by Davias, the ruler of Jadd. You and Lester's sister, Amanda, will fight against the Medusa in the Medusa Cave located in the desert to get on of her tears, which have the power to heal Lester. You and Lester then fight against Davias, which is where I started my blog. Whew...

So, in short, you travel through the world of Mystic Quest to get back to the falls with the girl and try to become a Gemma Knight. The journey ends at the top of the falls on the Tower of Mana, where Julius brought the girl to release the power of Mana. The final dungeon was actually pretty cool, very complex with a lot of portals and nonlinear paths. You can fight the enemies here for the best equipment of the game. The Samurai warriors will drop the Samurai armor, the Demon Heads the Samurai Helmet and the Elphants at the Mana Tree will drop the Aegis Shield, which may be the last item in the game, if you already got the Excalibur. Because this happens very rarely, here is a neat trick to get those items. Be sure, your item menu is full, but there's still room for one item in the eqipment menu. When one of the enemies drops a chest, try to open it several times. Actually the content of the chest is not fixed, so every time you try to open a chest the content will be set randomly. If it contains a normal item, the game will tell you, that you can't carry any more items. But continue doing so, until you get one of the rare equipments. With the help of this "bug", you can get those armor parts very easy and quickly.

During the dungeon, you have to fight a Dragon, you can see in the second picture, two times and an incarnation of the Hydra Dragon from the Marsh Cave at the beginning of the game. Always be sure to have the Cure Spell equipped during a boss fight, it helps a lot. Talking about spells, there are eight of them in the game. The most important ones are the first two, the Cure and the Heal Spell. The Cure spell recovers a good part of your HP, while the Heal Spell can heal you from all conditions, like petrified, poisoned or blind. The Sleep Spell puts your enemies to sleep and the Mute Spell silences the magic abilities of your enemies. To be honest, I've never used those ones. The last four spells are made for attacking enemies. Fire, Lit and Nuke spells deal damage to most kinds of enemies in three different levels, while the Ice Spell has the ability to freeze your opponents and turn them into snowmans, which can be used to keep switches pushed. The Fire Spell is actually very useful at the beginning of the game, when you have to face enemies that can't be hurt by any of your weapons. But later, when you have a good variety of different weapons, those attacking spells get unimportant. Only the Ice Spell had to be used from time to time.

After you've beaten the Dragon Zombie, you will meet the mother of the girl in a nice outside area, who transforms your Rusty Sword into the mighty Excalibur. You're finally a Gemma Knight. And then you'll arrive at the Mana Tree, meeting your girl again and fighting against Julius. The fight has three parts, in the first part Julius will split into three and attack you with the Nuke Spell. Nothing special, just wait until your attack meter at the bottom of the screen is fully loaded and release a Zelda-like spin attack with your Excalibur to kill him. In the second phase he will use the power of Mana to turn into something very futuristic looking and attack you with Lit Spells. I kept doing hitting him with the spin attack, while I had to use the Cure Spell a lot. In the last and final fight he will turn into the monster, you can see above, and attack with Nuke Spells again. But this time, your girl joins you for the very last time and can support you with her healing abilities. But even then I had to use the Cure Spell a lot again, but that doesn't matter, when the fight is finally over.

In final scene, the Mana Tree, which is actually the mother of the girl, will die. The destiny of the girl is now to become the new Mana Tree and she transforms into a sprout. Sad ending, however the credits will show you all your companions from the game again, including the Chocobo, who gets a girl. To sum up, it was definitely a nice choice to play this old game from my childhood again. It was fun to play, even in times of all those "Fours" (Call of Duty 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, ...) a simple game like this can keep you playing. What I really liked were the action based battles, this is something you usually don't get in a Final Fantasy game and that makes the Mana series special. I hate turn based battles, so these games are definitely a better choice for me. The story was actually quite cool, felt more epic than the stuff you usually get in Zelda, also I don't play games like Zelda for the story. And the game had A LOT of dungeons, I couldn't even count all of them. On the bad side of the coin, this game had no sidequests or optional stuff besides some items, you can buy but don't have to. Most of the dungeons don't have any unique aspects, so they tend to look all the same. Also, it is possible to create a savegame, which is impossible to finish, because of low health or missing keys, which is actually not good game design. And finally, the place in the item menu seemed to be very limited from time to time. These are the main points of criticism and some of them even kept me from finishing this game as a kid. But this time they didn't outweight the fun I had with game and I hope, you enjoyed reading my log about playing it.

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