Vagrant Story [9] – Entering the Grand Cathedral

The Lich that killed me the last time fell quickly on my second try. Vagrant Story really is all about being slow and methodical. The only reason I died was because I was rash and careless.

Your typical lich fight

Here’s how a typical fight against a lich goes:

  • The lich probably starts out of range. I use this time to cast Magic Ward, with Heracles already active on Ashley from the previous room.
  • The lich moves in and I have a chance to hit it once. Hit or miss, that’s all I get.
  • The lich casts a spell. I have Magic Ward, so I’m safe. If I don’t have magic ward and it’s a level 2 multi-hit spell, which is something a lich loves to cast, I’m probably dead.
  • The lich phases away again and I have a chance to cast another magic ward.
  • The whole thing repeats.

The key is to use MP chains while attacking the lich, so I can keep up Magic Ward indefinitely. Anything else is simply too risky.

When you take a steady approach like that, you can breeze through Vagrant Story. The moment you get careless, it’s over, though.

A good example was after I defeated this lich. I realized the room it was guarding was further locked by a Rood Inverse and went back from where I came from. The previous room had a Dullahan before, but there was another lich in there on my way back. I decided I’m good enough to just go full offensive. I thought wrong and I died, again.

I gave up on this set of rooms, since there was nothing important in there, and went in another direction.

Back to the Temple of Kiltia

The temple contained the last silver door, past a puzzle, so I went there and solved after about 15 minutes of figuring it out.

After a series of puzzles, there was a huge scene with Sidney and Rosencrantz, where Ashley suddenly became more important to the central story, and I fought Kali.

Kali was an easy battle, after I cast Prostasia and Heracles. Her AI made her keep recasting Tarnish on Ashley, so keeping Prostasia up kept her busy for most of the fight. I find this type of AI, which is relatively common in Vagrant Story, annoying, but very useful.

Vagrant Story - Leadbones

Leadbones can be useful in some cases and it’s better than nothing when Degenerate doesn’t work.

After fighting her, I got to a save point and a room looping back to the main area of Town Centre East. The room contained an evil type training dummy. I have to be honest here. I also found a beast training dummy recently, but I didn’t take a note, so now I can’t remember where it was.

Instead of solving a puzzle to go back to the main area, I took the long way around and it was worth it. One of the Crimson Blades in the town dropped a Damascus Rondache.

By the way, I find it interesting that a Rondache, which is usually a shield in role-playing games, is a glove in Vagrant Story. Wikipedia and other sources definitely describe it as a small round shield, so I’m not sure what gives.

The First One!

At this point, I ended my session, so over the next few days, I used some spare time to mindlessly grind on the evil dummy and raise the evil affinity of Light’s New Hope to 100. This is the first weapon with a max affinity level I had, so I thought I should mention that. Doing this also rose the Light affinity of the great sword to 99. I’m not really sure that’s a good thing, but hopefully, there are no light-resistant evil enemies.

The Grand Cathedral

Everything about the Grand Cathedral, the next area I got to and the area I’m currently in, smells like the final area of Vagrant Story. The Grand Cathedral is one huge, castle-like structure with blocked passages and disabled platforms which activate as I’m killing many bosses scattered throughout.

Other than the bosses and the puzzles, there isn’t much to write about. A region within the cathedral is focused on platforming and the puzzles are extensive, but relatively simple to figure out. They also seem mostly optional, but the rewards they give me are extremely useful. I’ve basically collected an entire set of Fluted Armor, including some duplicates which I’ll be using to upgrade it to the next level.

Some googling tells me fluted armor also exists in Demon Souls, so I’m more and more beginning to see why some people connect these two games. I can’t remember any other game that had this armor type.

At one point, I had to use Fixate to stop a bunch of platforms form moving to be able to go across. I like how Vagrant Story doesn’t really force you to use these spells, though. It was completely possible to get through the area without the spell, but it was so much easier after I used it. It also felt much more rewarding to know that I’m using the tools at my disposal because I decided it, instead of being forced to do it.

Now to mention the bosses.

Efreet / Ifrit

Ifrit was the first boss I fought in the Cathedral. As a Final Fantasy veteran, I know what an Efreet is. I got my Exorcist axe out, put some fire resistance gems in my shield and some water gems in the axe. I didn’t even have to analyse him.

Vagrant Story - Ifrit

Ifrit was always my favorite Final Fantasy summon.

That being said, even with all these preparations, Efreet was highly resistant to regular attacks, so I used break arts to defeat him faster.

On a side note, I actually knew there was an Efreet in Vagrant Story. How? Well, there was this magazine that I bought in Germany once when I was a kid. It had a special booklet with guides and walkthroughs for a bunch of games, including Vagrant Story. Outside of an issue of a Croatian magazine with a review, this was my only other source of information about the game.

I read through it several times and, even though I never fully understood it, I distinctly remember a battle with Ifrit was mentioned. Since I already knew Ifrit from Final Fantasy VII back then, this part of the guide somehow stuck in my memory, so I kept wondering when I’ll finally reach the fight in this playthrough.

Well, now I know.

Giant Crab, Mark 2

Ifrit was basically an upgraded Fire Elemental. The next boss I fought was an upgraded version of the Giant Crab from the Undercity. The thing is, after the same amount of preparation I had with Ifrit, this monster was so pathetically weak, it died before I even checked what its name was. Its special attack did 1 (ONE) damage to me – that’s how weak it was.

Vagrant Story - View

The graphics in Vagrant Story are amazingly well made. And it’s a PS1 game!

Flame Dragon

The Flame Dragon was a boss I think I actually skipped to after going through a platforming section. It took the same amount of preparation as Ifrit, but it was immune to Degenarate, so I used Leadbones to lower its agility instead.

This was actually a good thing, because even with the lowered agility, it still had an insanely high dodge rate.

Dao and Djinn

I’m sure the first one was called Dao, but I’m not sure if the name of the other boss was actually Djinn. In any case, I fought these two next, in separate rooms, of course. Dao is earth-aligned, while Djinn is its opposite, so it took the same type of preparation I had with the other bosses. Dao was slightly annoying because it kept running away from me, casting Vulcan Lance. Normally, I’d just corner an enemy like that, but there was a bunch of platforms in the corners that I couldn’t get on with Ashley’s weapon drawn, so it was especially annoying.

Vagrant Story - Lich Lord

The lich lord guarded a key, but was otherwise a regular enemy.

After I defeated the Djinn and got the final few pieces of the armor, I was able to go back outside and save at the save point right at the front gate of the Grand Cathedral. This was a great spot to take a break, so that’s what I did.

It’s possible that I’ll be completing my first playthrough of Vagrant Story in my next report.

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