Wait, did I just win...?
I guess I did, seeing as how this is the Mana Tree area and the titular Legend of Mana quest I'm doing here. Maybe it's just my memories of older games talking here, but I was somehow expecting this to be a good deal harder than it actually was.
Of course, part of the reason this seemed as easy as it was might be because I had the good sense to go get a fighting partner before I went in. I went to get Sierra because she's my favorite NPC of the ones I managed to have available to me at the end of the game.
I had actually intended to just goof around a bit in the game when I first sat down, but then decided that what the hell, I may as well try to finish the game. It took me a minute or two to actually work up the balls to just put the Sword of Mana down on the map. Turns out I still had two other artifacts I could have used. One was the Ancient Tablet, which is the Mindas Ruins. I played around with that are a bit way back when I first started this TP and couldn't quite get a handle on it. The other was something called the Frozen Heart. Not quite sure what that one might have done. I was a bit tempted to give it a whirl, but by the time I realized I had it, I'd been talking up just finishing the game for awhile. I think it was something to do with the Jumi Arc, but it's a little late to worry about that now.
So anyway, the Sword of Mana. And no, I don't mean the LP by CLG's Thera and Amiss. Though the parts I've watched have been interesting. In this case, I mean the final AF in the game, that creates the Mana Tree. I put this one a space right of my house, in an area I'd thought had been blocked off by mountains before. What we see upon approaching the Mana Tree is the classic tree covered in vines and leaves that we've seen in most other games that have something like it. When we reach the base of the tree, Pohkheil is there waiting. He says that if I'm strong enough and brave enough I can make it to the top of the tree and have a chat with the Mana Goddess, who's searching for her identity. Something to do with having been the light that created the universe keeps the Goddess from seeing herself clearly.
This is actually a fairly linear dungeon, and quite a bit easier than I'd expected, too. There weren't as many monsters as I'd expected, but what few were there could actually kick my ass for a change. Good thing I brought my favorite NPC along, because as close as they came to killing me, they actually got Sierra a time or two. There were a lot of flying and dragon monsters in this area, which I guess makes sense because this is a tree and it's the last area of the game.
Save for one time when I got turned around towards the very beginning, getting through this was just a matter of following branches until I came to a ruins area at the top of the tree. After killing off four last batches of monsters, it was off to fight the Mana Goddess.
The Mana Goddess tells us that she's developed a serious dark side over the course of the centuries when nobody was really looking for her, and now she needs somebody to beat it out of her so that the rest of the world can feel free to come and bask in her light again, too. I'll gladly deliver said beating, though with a slightly different motivation.
This was one of those final boss fights that was simultaneously ridiculously hard yet astoundingly easy. Like so many boss fights in this game, the trick was hitting the target. Somehow, though, between what I had equipped as a weapon, my high levels, and the fact that I had an NPC with me, staying alive through this fight was easier than some of the normal battles on the way up. Which isn't to say there weren't difficulties, of course. Wound up toasting Sierra again, for instance. But that's because this is one of those final bosses where if you don't have insanely high levels and/or are not good at avoiding the attacks, you're gonna get screwed. At least the Mana Goddess's attacks were worthy of a final boss, even if the rest of the fight was not so much.
Once the Mana Goddess goes down, we're treated to the game's closing scenes, where all the Sproutlings from all over the world come to heal the Mana Tree. As the closing credits roll, we get to see a lot of the other characters going on with their lives in this brave new world we've created. I kind of feel cheated that the Hero was not one of them we got to see after saving the world, but hey, at least the game's over now.
This is one of those games where it's worth it to sit through the end credits. It's not so much because there's a cute stinger or anything, but there is a “new game plus” sort of thing that I can get now that I have a completed game on my memory card. But I'll get into that a bit more when I do the epilog.
For now, though, the game is over, and I'm happy I won. It took a lot longer than I expected, but hey, not so bad for what's been a blind run for 25 issues or so.
Like I said, though, there's more to say, but I'll get into that in the epilog. Until then, stay safe, keep gaming, have fun, and of course, DFTBA!