Romhacks are strange little creatures my little lights! I encountered an amazing rom hack of one of my favourite RPG’s of all time! While it shines in all it’s weirdness it also has the writing style of a 13 year old goth kid that writes fanfiction based on My Chemical Romance songs filled with “my first fantasy” tropes! Add in an increased difficulty and we got a Rom I both love and hate at the same time! As we draw closer to the conclusion of the first “arc” in this game the question remains! Will we continue this journey ? Let’s find out!
Bye Bye Butter..uh Starmie?!
Last episode we left off right before the boss fought against the Skull Train. If you want to read more about if you can find the entire series at the bottom of this post! We need to solve a puzzle and I discover the little Onion Knight works like Celes! He has Runic.. except he has no magic.. which might make him more useless, except for a very situational pair up.. like the party I am in now… minus the Drakkar who can actually cast magic! Regardless the Onion knight looks like he might be great for the fight against the Skull Train…. and he is not going to fight along! Great! Oh that other Reaper they talked about last episode joins in and casts doom on my best party member?! Of course! Go right ahead… Fuuuu , this will be a hard one won’t it?!
I get absolutely destroyed within SECONDS of starting this fight, Mr Grim can burn 350 hp easily and the train can attack as well! I get whooped so fast my doom counter did not even drop below 60! That’s a bit ridiculous… but it turns out I forgot to heal! I was at half health…. heh! Whoops! The next fight goes a bit better, and I actually manage to win though everyone was one blow away from death and I completely drained my supplies of revives and I think potions as well! Turns out however this is a double feature! Another Boss fight appears right after this! Luckily it’s not my main party who gets in the fight here but Arc the Onion Knight and Reaper.. the uhm.. Reaper..WAIT let’s call him Shinigami to avoid double words! That fight is pretty easy though as I can exploit Arc’s Runic to pretty much not be touched while Reaper deals heavy damage to the evolved Mister Grim! The fight is so easy that it is almost a cutscene. After that whole thing the story continues mostly like normal Avalon who takes over the role, but not gameplay of, Cyan sees his wife and son depart to the afterlife with the train like normal. After literally being forced to wait for a while gameplay resumes and we can wrap up this part of the story.
The Waterfall scene! The group hits a dead end and Sabin normally solves this by jumping off a waterfall! If Shadow accompanies you he leaves you here.. but this time his counterpart decides to come along despite refusing the parties friendship! We jump off the waterfall and get YET another bossfight this time against Starmie and Staryu, while the pokemon theme plays! This fight is HARD! Logic dictates to take down the weaker Pokémon instead but that turns out to be the wrong strategy and I am sent to a watery grave! The second time I focus my damage on Starmie and barely scrape by! It was fun to hear The Pokémon Wild Encounter theme rendered in Final Fantasy Style fanfare music though. A nearby town tells me about the ravenous Pokémon! I also discover the Oboro has gone…. *sigh* just when I spend tons of money in shuriken! … Well I guess at least we defeated Starmie!
The Onion that Tracks
The new town is a sleepy little town, I stock up on supplies, buy a new weapon and give him some relics to make him deal more damage by holding a weapon with two hands.. it makes sense since he is a kid and would be small! Lots of references in this town though! There is a Legend of Zelda II , Zelda sleeping in a bed! There is a Miqo’te shopkeeper and some reference I do not understand.. something about being born to be a farmer.. and Luffy.. the Pirate King is a shopkeeper! I don’t know why.. I don’t why the man gave up on his dream but now he sold me a pokey stick! Maybe this is what he will do after he has found One Piece.. but where is the rest of his crew! The other store keeper was “some bald guy” so his Nakama are gone. Either way it is sad to see your heroes fall. So to cheer me up I decide to let Arc play some hide and seek with some local kids! I win the game and they tell me about a diving helmet.. that the three heroes plan to use to cross yet another river to get closer to where they need to be!
This leads to a small treasure hunt on the map to find the right location Luckily I find my location fast and Arc doesn’t take long to find the treasure either! He is such a good little hero! The wild enemies before here I could take on with relative ease, but now that we jump into the river I begin struggling a lot! I barely make it to shore but I already wasted a lot of my recently purchased supplies! If the difficulty keeps up being this tedious I will admit I am going to end this series at the end of the first story arc. I don’t mind difficulty hacks but I have trouble rhyming them with games with such a silly tone! I just wanna see all the strangeness not grind for hours on end or learn movesets by wiping without a hint of a chance! It’s kind of annoying that way! If i wanted to play a difficulty hack I’d download a difficulty hack!
The Onion Knight guides us through yet another cave and I waste a great item that gives more MP on him by accident.. whoops! I really did not mean to do that! Might come in handy after I get some Espers though! If I ever will.. I am kind of curious to see what they did with Espers though. I might have missed an encounter with a Mermaid but after so many pretty tricky boss fights or at least back to back boss fights I am happy that I can take it a bit easy! I follow the dungeon and wash up in another town.. I guess this midway point was made so I could heal a bit and find an item?! I was never really sure! Regardless in the new city we encounter Final Fantasy VII character Cait Sith who tells us we will find a treasure, so I venture into the wild to find enemies too weak to level on and no treasure anywhere! That is a shame. I had back to town and boarded a ship towards our avenger end game reunion thing! The little Onion Knight gets seasick and says I don’t feel so good.. then it seems as if he dies…..but he probably is just very seasick just like I would be on a boat! This finally ends this chapter.. that is a fair bit too long! Time to reunite with our main character!
To Boldly go where we have been before
This story bit was always my least favourite, because it does not involve a whole lot more than backtracking to areas you have previously visited. Not that long ago either! Plenty of enemies are still the weak ones with only a challenge here and there! We go to Fraust which is most definitely not Narshe and go back through the caves where our adventure began, with enemies at the level as if our adventure just began. I almost can not contain my excitement.. I know I asked for easier battles here but this is a bit ridiculous! And then Gilgamesh shows up on a bridge…..not the one from Fate though which I think is a missed opportunity but it’s classic Final Fantasy Gilgamesh.. and traditionally you fight him on a bridge so I guess all is well.. the fight is challenging but fair, if not a tiny bit tedious due to his insanely large health pool. I do manage to slowly chip away all the damage though and I come out on top. Time to walk through an old dungeon again! Strangely this is the entire storyline Aurora gets.. this is it.. nothing more happens except for some plot exposition about the enemy that is coming, after this we jump straight into the arc finale!
After exposition that is almost exactly the same as the original it is time. The Blackthorn empire attacks! We have to make our final stand to protect the Esper and prevent the Magi Wars… all changes here are strictly in name only and for once I am fine with that. This is indeed the moment this arc has been building up to! It’s okay to keep this intact as is it such a pivotal moment. After this battle i have to decide if I will continue playing or not.. but as it turns out the game has made the choice for me. We start the battle with one of those sieges, where you move your troops to block all paths to an npc or the battle will end. Everything goes well but these npcs are quite tough to beat and there are a lot of them. After spending about an hour on these few battles alone there is a boss that wipes the floor with me.. Luckily due to the format here I can try again . After three attempts I succeed… and then I have to beat Kefka still.
Kefka is insanely hard by now you have the ability to make 3 parties and you have 9 people.. so three people per party right? No… if we do it this way I found Kefka completely unbeatable. He cast Confuse, he can petrify , he can silence to avoid you healing from that, he casts regenerate he casts slow.. the only way you even stand a chance it with the Onion Knight hoping to absorb his spells, but my damage output is to low if I don’t put him in the party with Ronan.. and I did not! Kefka regenerates so fast I can not deal damage… or while I can I need to spend every other turn healing.. and that means Kefka goes back up to full again. He has spells that halve your level so if the battle lasts too long you don’t deal damage anyway, the only option I think is Avalon who is actually with Arc.. but I can’t keep him healthy enough to deal enough damage. I spend 20 minutes alone in this boss fight and with no way to swap your party after your initial choice I have to go through another 90 minute slog to reach the boss?! No.. this is where I am done.. already doubted to continue as it’s just worse written Final Fantasy by now.. but with this type of difficulty I can’t have fun in a weird game like this.. The fate of the world refused to change and with my game being saved at an awkward spot.. I can’t go back to fix it either..Too bad the journey ends here.
I do not mind difficulty in games, but I am a bit iffy about it in RPG’s! Playing a 40 minute turn-based battle, just to find out you took the wrong party members and you can not actually beat the final stage of this fight isn’t fun! Let alone if it is preceded by another 40 minute long strategy thing, that was also hard. In the end the Romhack falls into the pitfall of a lot of rom hacks, being to hard to be enjoyable. I am sure I COULD beat this.. but I would not be having any fun anymore it would become homework. The amazing encounters do look amazing later on… but the story is just to rough at other places for me to care. It is a great cross-over.. but a very mediocre game that can be insanely unfair and unfun.. even though it also shines brightly at times. Let’s hope our next adventure will be the best of both worlds.
If you have a weird or fun Rom Hack you want me to play trough let me know in the comments! Due to my health not being that great I am trying to decrease the amount of episodic content I put out, to fit my currently more “when able” upload schedule! So lots of recommendations would be appreciated! Thank you for keeping reading this blog, even while I am not producing as much stuff as normal and struggling a bit!
The Return of the Dark Sorcerer Series