First up is Antlion. Antlion is tricky and annoying because you are fighting him with only half a party. Thus, most of my tricks were out because I wasn't battling with a full team. He liked to spam Dischord to lower my level and thus the damage I could do, and after that Exdeath fiasco my Hi-Potion stock wasn't looking too good. Still, victory was mine and I got another party member back. But not four yet. That wouldn't be until the next dungeon. After a revisit to the Library, my Page 32 catching grounds that I love oh so much, we got a task: Go to a Pyramid and get an ancient seal so we could get some LEGENDARY WEAPONS. Mmmmmmm don't that sound like a fun time? The Pyramid entrance was guarded by two Gargoyles, and you have to kill both at the same time or else the one revives the other. I had Zeninage so I could deal most of the damage with one of those, and attack for the rest. Done and done. The Pyramid was spooky, but there were lots of Elixirs and some items and crap to get. Mostly annoying fights though. Our team got the Seal and it was time to regain back our other lost party member with a boss fight against a spooky demon named Mellusine. She switches her weak points around a lot, as well as swapping between taking no physical damage and taking a shitload of it. This being a No 750 Run, I had to hit her with physical stuff. There were no more Sand Bears in the desert, sadly. But I could catch Bulettes which do strong physical damage and are even better! The only other thing to worry about was her magic, but hey. Reflect Rings. That ain't no issue. Two Bulettes, plus a Zeninage or two, plus attacking, and down she went. Of course then Exdeath, who wasn't really dead, starting warping more and more places into the Void with his Void powers. Including the Library. YOU SON OF A BITCH IT'S ON NOW. Inside the Sealed Castle, I broke a seal and was able to grab three LEGENDARY WEAPONS. The Fire Lash is a whip that sometimes casts Firaga. The Masamune is a rad katana that lets your Samurai always make the first move in battle AND casts Haste when used as an item. The Assassin's Dagger is a knife that sometimes uses an instant death attack. Yeah. A LEGENDARY WEAPON has the same ability as our dumb Death Sickle from way back. From here you could go on to the final dungeon... but I wanted one more weapon just in case, so it was on to the Island Shrine to get another seal thing.
Yuck. Wendigo is a nasty fella who splits himself into four targets and shuffles between them. You have to hit the real deal and keep finding him. Samurai had some of that Genji gear on to prevent status bullshit, and we kept on finding weak points and hitting the real thing before it switched where it was. Everyone else that wasn't a raging barbarian healed up and helped to find the real one when they could. More weapons could be mine! Neat! The only one I really wanted was the Rune Axe, which can do critical attacks at the cost of MP. I thought my Berserker could get some use out of it. I needed no other tablets and was ready to start fiddling with the final dungeon, but some last minute item gathering was first. In the mysterious Phantom Village, I got three Hermes Sandals. They give you permanent Haste. Dear god this was good. I also picked up the Chicken Knife, a knife that gets stronger the more you run from battles. All my running had already made it max power, and it was ridiculously strong. Only problem: it has a chance of making that character try to run instead of attacking. Solution? Put it on my Thief and have them use Mug. A Mug attempt doesn't count as an attack action so the knife running thing never happens. One last goodie, behind a waterfall. The Magic Lamp is an item that summons... summoned monsters, and goes through them from strongest to weakest, one each. Bahamut, Leviathan, Odin, et cetera. You only get one shot of each, but the lamp can be recharged if you take it back to that waterfall. A helpful tool, indeed! With everything prepared for, it was time to delve into the heart of the void, the final dungeon of the game. A lot of devilish creatures were lurking inside and waiting to tear through me, but I was ready. Mostly.
The final dungeon in this game is so goddamn cool, by the way. It's a bunch of disjointed little areas that are like, pockets of reality. Also it has my favorite music in the game. Listen to this shit. Holy shit. After some exploring, we found our first Void beast in a forest. Calofisteri does some bullshit or something. I don't really recall because by this point I had all that cool shit. Hermes Sandals, LEGENDARY WEAPONS, the Chicken Knife which did massive damage... she really couldn't do anything much to me! It was still a moderately challenging fight, but I beat it. Lurking in the underground caves section was Omega. He's one of the superbosses, and beating him IS a Fiesta achievement. I've never done it and I wasn't going to try this time because you usually need specific extreme shenanigans to deal with him and I didn't think I had any. So, the next boss was Apanda. He's kind of like a harder Byblos. I was getting overconfident and sloppy and I just sort of went into the fight like this, without prepping any captured monsters. I found it quite annoying since it went a lot like the Byblos fight with all the buffing and debuffing, but I had enough Hi-Potions so the hell with it. Next on the list, Azulmagia. He's a Blue Mage! He has all those broken Blue Mage spells! Well, a lot of them anyway. I bothered to look up what you could catch in the Void, and found that Great Dragons do a shitload of damage. I caught three of them to release at Azulmagia's face. 15,000 damage. It was not hard to attack through the rest of that HP, and he unlocks another save point!
Right after that is Catastrophe, but I had to retreat and do some planning. North Mountain, where Magissa and Forza were, still existed. As did the Gaelicat enemy. As did its release of casting Float on someone. My Berserker was the lucky one to get it, and for the Catastrophe fight I gave them a Reflect Ring. Catastrophe's plan of attack is to use Earthquake spells. If you're Floating, he uses an attack called 100 G's to dispel the Float status. 100 G's can be fucking reflected. All the boss would do was keep trying to dispel my Berserker's float so it could quake up the place, but it would forever be bounced back and not do shit. The boss could do NOTHING against me. I released three more dragons and then fucking auto-battled one of the bosses in the final dungeon to death. Holy christ, I love this game sometimes. Up next, Halicarnassus. A scary lady who likes to turn you into frogs. I can deal with Frogs. I have Maiden's Kiss items. Three more Dragons in her face, undo the froggy spells so I can attack, and whack her. Nothin' to it.
The final boss before the "true" Void was Twin Tania, and this guy was tricky. There was a quick trick that could be done to instantly murder him, but you need perfect timing to do it. In the first place, he spams a Tidal Wave attack. That was fine, I had gold enough from my levelling in this Void to buy four Coral Rings. They absorbed that. Not the only attack he does, but that's manageable. Now, the key to this fight is Twin Tania charging up for his Giga Flare move. Giga Flare will do ridiculous damage to you, but he becomes weak to instant death while he is charging it. I could have caught something with instant death, but I figured Iainuki would suffice. The problem with that strategy was that he uses a Mind Blast attack on the team earlier in the fight. It paralyzes you, and by the time my character with Iainuki became free, they didn't have enough time to fire off the attack before Giga Flare killed us all. The solution was more Genji gear to negate paralysis, but this meant that character couldn't absorb Tidal Waves. Hi-Potion usage kept them topped off, and all that was left now was timing Iainuki juuust right to hit the window of opportunity before Giga Flare made us all dead. It took a bit, but I got it. Time for the true Void! Hey, it's Gilgamesh again! After a cutscene/battle more of the True Void is open to you, but you can steal some more Genji crap from him. Also of note are Crystal Dragons, whose common steal is an Elixir. Great! I could use those! Only problem was, in this area you encountered lots of King Behemoths who countered physical attacks with strong ones of their own. I could run, but sometimes it wasn't fast enough to stop the berserking moron from smacking one and hurting me. I didn't want to run all the way back for Hi-Potions because of a silly Berserker. This farming was a bit... unpleasant.
Guarding the final save point before the final boss fight was the final Void boss of Final Fantasy V, it's Necrophobe! His gimmick is having four barriers around him that make him untouchable. So you gotta destroy the barriers but they're spamming reflected high level magic at you. I thought I could Iainuki the barriers and make this simple. I was wrong. I would have to fight them on my own. It was tricky: I had to kill one or two fast because that would mean less magic in my face wrecking my team, thus less healing, thus more time to whack the others and maybe stop another spell from hitting me. All that was left was Necrophobe himself, who... was exactly the same. High level magic and desperately trying to outheal it. Eventually Gilgamesh bails you out! You can steal another Genji thing from him. I didn't get it the first time and had to redo the fight. Ouch. Well, the final save point was open. All that was left was Exdeath himself! I could deal with this! I had a plan!
Shit. It didn't work.
In Exdeath's first form, which we'll lovingly dub Tree Exdeath because he's a giant monster tree, he liked to spam a White Hole attack that instantly kills you AND petrifies you. So you need to use two turns getting that character on their feet again, three if you want them to have health. Below 30,000 health or so he starts using Holy and Flare. These were guaranteed to kill whoever he hit with them. I was barely holding on but then I got one final surprise: below 10,000 health he uses Meteor. It straight up wiped me the first time he used it. So I had to really blitz the shit out of him once he got down that low. Eventually I made it through... but this is the final boss. He has another form, and that other form was Neo Exdeath. Neo Exdeath, fittingly, was the hardest goddamned thing to take down. Let's break it down with this helpful diagram.
Alright. I already had a cheese strategy for the back half. It's not "heavy". This means that instant death stuff can work on it. Iainuki? Too slow. I needed faster, and that Magic Lamp had it. A summon of Odin would do the trick and instantly cut out one of the four targets. That left three, but they were all still nasty business. Almagest straight up did 1600 damage to my team. Not enough to kill them, but a fair chunk of their HP. Grand Cross inflicted all sorts of status bullshit, and it's a dice roll. Once I instantly lost because my two remaining teammates were zombified. It's a really bad attack. Vaccum Wave is high physical damage that basically was guaranteed to kill me. So, I died. I tried some more and kept dying. I had to rethink things. I tried levelling up a bit. That in itself didn't work. I tried a radical strategy of catching an enemy called Crystelle with only 3 HP but high defense. The theoretical way to get it was Controlling it to cast Protect on itself, then having my Thief use the Dancing Dagger, which sometimes does a dance from the Dancer class. I just wanted a regular attack that would hit. But no. I'd get health draining, or strong attacking, or an outright miss. Plus it needed to be a back row Crystelle, which is only in one specific formation. I wasted lots of time at this. Looking at the monster list, I saw that Dragon Aevis unleashed my favorite Breath Wing attack. Three of those would knock Neo Exdeath's parts down by 75% and I could blitz the rest. I was wary, though, because of my Yellow Dragon experience. Still, I gave it a shot. I WAS RIGHT THEY MOSTLY MISSED FUCK FUCK FUCK. I stole a bunch of Elixirs for full healing because I didn't have time to shag around with multiple Hi-Potions. What could I do? It was simple, really. I went back to refill my items and sold off a lot of my shit. All the rare items I'd stolen with Chicken Knife mugging that I didn't need, all my treasure, that sort of stuff. I had 350,000 gold on me, and I was going to throw every last piece into Neo Exdeath's face with Zeninage. By now I knew how to blitz Tree Exdeath, and threw gold at just the right time to get out of Meteor. Now for Neo Exdeath. Odin via the Magic Lamp to get a piece out. Then alternate Zeninage throws with Elixir spamming once Almagest whapped me. Heal up the status effects from Grand Cross (which weren't too bad this time), revive from Vacuum Wave. Hell, my Beastmaster had innate Catch and still had a Dragon Aevis on him. I let it out and it managed to do 9999 damage to the Vacuum Wave form, so that was something! Finally, after what seemed like forever. Crack. He went down. I don't know quite how much hard-earned cash I wasted hucking it into his face, but it worked. By God, it worked. Neo Exdeath was dead, the game was cleared, and I got to watch the credits and reflect on the week I'd spent flying through the game. 36 hours on Steam. Where does the time go?
I have to say, I really liked this party setup. Having a Berserker was a bit annoying, and they're kind of old hat for me at this point as far as Fiestas are concerned. I would have much preferred playing with Mystic Knight, since I've always wanted to try that; they have some broken status tricks for instant kills as well, and are actually controllable. Thief was surprisingly fun to toy with, and stealing shit was fun. You can get some great items from stealing, like the Hi-Potions in world 1. Don't quite know how this run would have went without those. Beastmaster and Samurai are the unexpected MVPs, however. Catching monsters allowed a shitload of fun shenanigans, be they ending fights before they started or just doing massive damage with powerful captures. Samurai was a great physical attacker, and Zeninage and Iainuki are ridiculous good and were key to me beating the game in this instance. I can say I was satisfied with my group this time, even if the Berserker was a Berserker and not really all that "helpful". Well, except for Liquid Flame and some instant kill stuff, but really. There are more fun classes to toy with that I'd love to do in another run. Mystic Knight, for one. Or maybe Ranger/Bard. Hell, Chemist would be great just to bust the game open utterly. The point of all these has been to show just how open ended Final Fantasy V really is. I had a strange mix of jobs this time, but I still managed to be clever enough to find loopholes to get through it. I hope you've enjoyed what must be close to 10,000 words on this silly game, and I leave you with... our valiant heroes.