Oh, the cold is back, comrades. You have no idea how stuffed up I am writing this - my desk is cluttered with Lemsip mugs and scrumpled tissues. I would sigh in despair if I could, but it'd undoubtedly just prompt another coughing fit. Ah well, here we go, Part 5 of Paramina's Final Fantasy XII Walkthrough... coming at you... slow and ... steady...
Like Akon, we have been locked up. Vaan will awaken in our new location: Nalbina Dungeons, the best of the FF series prisons, in my opinion. Vaan will stumble to his feet and swiftly trip over a dead body: "Relax. It’s just a corpse. Jump at every little thing down here and you’ll wear yourself out." Awesome. Check your equipment to find the Imperials have totally plundered our stuff. Not awesome. It appears Fran is out already looking for an exit, so we might as well have a look around.
In the Stockade there are four treasure chests hanging about, containing Knots of Rust. Knots of Rust deal non-elemental damage which appears to be rather paltry, but each time you use one it increases the massive damage counter for Dark Matter so I wouldn't sell them off. Besides, sans equipment they're decent damagers right now. Before heading to the arena I recommend you Save at the Save Crystal - there's a slim, slim chance you might floor it in the next battle, but you don't want to be complacent.
Head towards the Arena to see a bunch of Seeqs beating up a Bangaa. As opposed to just sitting and shaking his head judgementally, Vaan feels the need to interject like the stupid moron he is. Naturally, his big mouth lands him in it and he's forced in some sort of Fight Club scenario completely unarmed. Things are looking bleak until Balthier jumps in: "I say you're the one who stinks, hamshanks. Hear me now?" Ha ha, hamshanks.
|Boss Battle: Daguza, Galeedo and Gwitch|
Level: 8 | 7 | 7
Another easy battle sailing our way. Know that all three of these bacon clumps are weak to Fire. Firstly, focus your attacks on Gwitch since he has an annoying tendency to send Cure his allies way. Don't hesitate to throw out Knots of Rust for some quick damage - I'd recommend then setting after Galeedo and only going for Daguza once the other two are taken out. Daguza might be a little more enduring because piggy has Protect, but keep at it and he'll eventually fall.
The cutting down of these little piggies leads to the appearance of a minor villain of sorts: Ba'Gamnan, that croaky lizardo we saw earlier hanging about whilst our party got paraded through Rabanastre in chains. It appears Ba'Gamnan still has a hankering for our Sky Pirate (who doesn't?), and is after the steep price on his head. A wanted man, 'tis our Balthier. Vaan and Balthier hide by the old classic of pressing themselves against the wall. Ba'Gamnan is too stupid to spot them, so Fran has ample time to appear and tell them she's found an exit. However - there's a catch: she can't open it. Yet hope is not lost - an Archadian Judge arrives on scene, the real villains of this game. It looks like this iron-clad darling is going to be our ticket out of here.
We regain control in the Confiscatory - Save Up and take your equipment back, as well as a handy Map Urn, but whatever you do:
WARNING! Forbidden Treasure #3: If you want the Zodiac Spear, then DO NOT TOUCH the treasure chests in here. You've already got your stuff back - don't be greedy.
Check out your License Board - I know I said you should always be making your way across it, but it's really important you're at the best of your current ability for the next bit of the game. It makes things so much easier, so don't let yourself close that menu down with LP still to spare, okay?
Proceed through to the Black Watch - the door will close behind us, egads! No worries, this Imperial infested corridor is our EXP and LP bounty. I mean, yeah, I suppose you could sneak your way through (pansy), but if you're a competent gamer then you should relish at the chance for some slaughter! Also, killing all these suckers means you'll build up a Battle Chain, meaning better Loot and Droppages. Huzzah! you cry! And quite rightly so, let's get trooping and I'll map out the key points of this area:
- The first Treasure Chest you'll come across on this screen has a 50% chance of containing an Aero Mote. Plunder.
- In the most Southern corner of this screen in a Treasure Chest with a 50% chance of containing Chromed Leathers. Plunder.
- On the lower path before you round the corner into the second... rectangle of this screen, there's a Treasure Chest with a 50% chance of containing the Gambit 'Ally: HP < 60%'. Plunder.
- On the lower path on from the previous Treasure Chest is another with a 50% chance of containing an Ether. Plunder!
- There's also Treasure Chests with the Gambit 'Foe: Targeting Ally' and a Water Mote around here. Plunder plunder plunder.
Head to the Magicked Door North Central of the top screen. The Judge's possé will shuffle in behind us and let us in unwittingly. Do the obvious and follow him in to get an epic scene: 'tis Captain Basch! Long time no see, bro, how's it been? Ahhh, not good? You're looking a little thin and scraggly. I guess that's what being hung from a cage and imprisoned in an Oubliette does to the old physique. Basch denies killing Raminas back in Nalbina, which also means he didn't kill Reks. Of course, Vaan cannot accept this and must turn Monkey-Boy on us by leaping onto the cage and going ape. As he's making an insane amount of noise, he attracts unwanted attention and our only escape is downwards. Look out below! "Pirates without a sky." Peasant without a brain, I think you'll find.
"It’ll give the energy back, if you ask nicely. Sticking it with a sword helps too."Edit
After landing, Vaan tries to take a swing at Basch. Fail, Vaan, fail - spare us your quiddities. I've now come to the conclusion that Bobby Edner is a terrible screamer - so far he's managed to convey Vaan falling from the motorcycle above a warzone and going to beat up the traitor who killed his brother with the fear and anger capable of Keanu Reeves. Of course, Balthier recognizes another awesome when he sees one, and invites Basch to join the team. Basch joins the party as a Guest! flashes across the screen, but I'm too distracted by how much Vaan looks like he could be a member of that Russian girl band Tatu in this still. Because he's only a Guest Character here, I was hesitant about giving him a character box... but the screaming fangirl in me won't allow me to continue without one. Basch Basch Basch!
|Party Member: Basch|
"Let them watch. I know something of cages."
Basch fon Ronsenburg was supposed to be the lead of XII. Officially. But Square remembered the unwritten rule that all their leads must be erring on the feminine side of life whilst having magnificently flippy hair. After the fangirl-isms inspired by brooding Squall's "whatever", and Cloud's Squall-isms in Advent Children, it was far too risky to eschew the masses and go with a cool guy like Basch. I'm genuinely gutted he's not the official lead. Alongside Balthier, our Captain delivers some of the best lines in-game, including the best in FF history (you know, the "cages" one I've already dropped like, twice already?). Sadly, even Basch is not exempt from trippy character design: case in point, the patchwork man-bra he sports under his vest. Even when in his "prison gear", he's got a cod-piece on over Princess Jasmine pants. Still... he works it. Basch is so beyond awesome I don't even know where to begin. A disgraced knight... evil twin... insane dialogue... groovy facial hair. Ahhhhh, he's too much. And you know he works that facial scar better than Squall does. Vaan may be the flippy-haired effeminate lead by title, but Basch is Final Fantasy XII. Fact.
Okay, I'll reel the fangirl-isms in now. Stats wise, Basch is a total powerhouse. You'd be a fool not to use him. Luckily he starts out as a Guest so you can use your full party, but as soon as becomes a perma-addition, he should be in there 24/7. I tend to equip him with Axes or Greatswords, but it's up to you. Just know he's a complete killing machine, and if it makes any difference, you get slightly different cut scenes sometimes when he's part of the team.
ps. Just thought I'd add that to prove Basch's awesomeness, in Revenant Wings, he's a Paladin. Yeah, a Paladin. Awesome. pps. I'll end this with another Basch quote, to cement his epic... epicness.
"If I could protect but one person from war's horror... then I would bear any shame. I would bear it proudly."
We start our break-out in the Lightworks. There's a Save Crystal here and three treasure chests which, combined, hold 1,665 gil. Don't even hesitate to plunder these babies, they're not plagued by the curse of the Zodiac, worry not. Head down the stairs until you reach a Time-Worn Device. Check it out with but nothing will happen, it requires a fuse. Keep heading down to the bottom of the stairs to spot an old Bangaa, Borrogh. Not only does he have the Tube Fuse, but he's also set up shop down here! Convenient: make sure you buy Blizzard if you don't have it already, then grab all the White Magicks you can (Poisona, Blindna etc.) so you're not reliant on Item stocks. With that done, head back up to the Time-Worn Device and insert the Tube Fuse. We have lift-off!
Go down and check out the Gate Switchboard near Borrogh. The gate opens! Huzzah! But power has dropped to 70%! Un-Huzzah! With the lights on, our passage isn't so tricky. When they drop below 30%? Well, "fierce beasts start comin' out in the dark." To be honest, you're erring on danger if it drops below 50%, because that's when the undead start popping up. Technically we have enough power to open all the gates, but sadly these annoying Mimic blighters suck all the energy out. Worry not though, I managed to get through this entire bit without one hint of a blackout, and so can you:
- Head into the Op Sector 29. There are three treasure chests in here - the best contains Onion Arrows for Fran's Bow. Go take out Battery Mimic A, they're particularly weak against Blizzard, so throw that out. Another will scuttle off into the distance, but only go after it once the first is dead. Quickly dispatch the Zombie loitering about here so it doesn't follow you down to the next floor and distract your party. Head down the stairs to find Battery Mimic B. 'Tis slaughtering time.
The power will come back up - you can finish killing any enemies you sprinted past before. Or, alternatively, you can just head to the next section. Your choice.
- Move into the Great Eastern Passage. Mimic A is right in front of you, kill it. Hit flee and head down the passage, taking the dead-end split to your right. Mimic B is here - obliterate. Hit flee then backtrack to the start of the fork and take the straight path this time. At the next fork, take the left path and follow it down to find Mimic C. After taking care of that one, backtrack to follow the main passage downwards - you'll find Mimic D near the end. Now, with our power stabilized, head back up and mop up the undead. Don't forget to go up the side spur with the Map Urn.
- Technically, this is optional - but if it's optional, it gets done in my walkthroughs (unless it's Triple Triad). Where you saw Mimic D is an entrance to a small area called Ops Sector 36. There are only two Mimics in here, A and B - follow them up the stairs and beat them down to make a quick EXP and LP rush.
- Head back to the Great Eastern Passage and this time transition down to Special Op Sector 3. Mimic B is the first you'll come across, but it's hanging about with a possé of Flans. Throw Fire at them to get them out of the way quickly, then kill the Mimic. Head back towards the entrance to see a passage branching off to your left. Take it up, where you'll find Mimic A. Kill it.
- Keep going up the stairs until you screen transition to Op Sector 37. This little area has two mimics: Mimic A is right at the entrance, Mimic B is on the path branching to the left. With that fried, head up the stairs until you see the Gateboard Switch. Hello, button. Also, make sure you nab all the treasure chests in here to possibly walk away with Headgear, a Buckler, a shiny new Gambit and a Mage Masher.
- Return to Special Op Sector 3 and head down. The gate to the south should be open now. Head on through for sweet relief and a Save Crystal. Oh, and a cutscene!
In true Soap Opera fashion, we learn it wasn't Basch that killed Raminas and Reks back in Nalbina... but his evil twin brother! In fact, it was that guy we saw just a second ago, rattling Basch's cage. Apparently he came up with this elaborate assassination plot to not only kill King Raminas but also frame his damned twin brother in the process! Wow, if that's not a case screaming 'child neglect', I don't know what is. Vaan isn't convinced but I'm not entirely sure anyone really cares. Basch is too busy ramsacking a corpse for clothing and weaponry to notice. With his new sword in hand, he hits harder and battles end faster. Win. If you leave this area without Saving, then I hope your entire team gets slaughtered as soon as you step into Great Central. Seriously, I do.
- Enter the Great Central Passage ready to kill some more Mimics. There's only one, and it's hanging out on the path directly South. That's all there is to do here, the gate to the West is locked just now, but we'll come back to it later. Some Mimics have taken to playing on our love for the plunder and hiding as Treasure Chests. You can generally tell which Chest is a Mimic, but keep an eye out.
- Head South to the Zeviah Subterrane. Mimic A is around the corner to your right, behind a bunch of Treasure Chests. Kill it and pick up the treasure on your way. Now head down the path and you'll see Mimic B. Death. Before you round the corner and exit, take the path to the right and follow it round. You have to walk through the water to reach the treasure, an Oaken Pole. Head back up the path and follow it round to meet Mimic C. With that done, head into Terminus No. 4 Adjunct.
Another sweet relief! A Save Crystal. Now, the wonderful thing about XII's ADB system is that you can enter a boss battle totally buffed up to the ready, meaning you have more time for the beat down. Make sure Fran has her Cure Gambits as priority. Quickly cast Protect around your party and any other Buffs you may have by now. Before you exit, really quickly touch the Save Crystal again to replenish your MP, then leg it down to the next screen.
|Boss Battle: Mimic Queen|
Uh-oh, looks like the mother is not pleased with our rampant baby slaughter. In fact, she's really not pleased - she's raging. Hence the dramatic chorus soaring along with the boss music. Like her babies, the Queen is weak to Blizzard, so throw that out when you can. Of course, you'll want to reserve MP for the HP top-ups, but MP replenishes when you run-around, so just go for a jog when you're running low. I'd recommend focusing on the Queen and ignoring the little tykes for just now - they're not as dangerous and will disappear as soon as Mama's taken out. Keep Basch healed up because he's a total tank in this fight. Try and Steal that Rose Corsage if you can, it's a useful Accessory to have around for your mage. Uh... I think that's it. Yeah, Blizzard, Cure and Physicals. The end.
And with her defeat comes the obligatory "caving in" sequence. I guess the Mimic Queen must have been part of the scaffolding or something, because the entire place is just coming down. Our party wisely leg it out of dangers way and manage to escape into sunlight. Yes - we've made it! Jailbreak - complete! Are you taking note, Wentworth Miller? That's how you do it.