This part of the game's always a pain in the ass because we're a little short on manpower for it.
The good news, though, is that most of these scripted battles are designed to be won by the heroes in order to advance the plot. Even better is that after pretty much taking a week off, I beat Kefka on the first shot this time. The downside is that I had to essentially sacrifice one of my parties to do it. I'll explain.
See, in order to play out this part of the game, we need to make three parties. Each party can have up to four members. That worked fine when we had the Moogles to help Locke keep the monsters away from Terra. Unfortunately, this time we only have seven characters to fill out a dozen slots. Therefore, it takes a bit of strategy to make this work out decently. In this case, I had Edgar and Terra in one party, Sabin and Celes in another, and Cyan, Locke, and Gau in the third. It worked out reasonably well, but Sabin and Celes did die in the process.
My normal strategy for this part is to find places to put two of my parties to block the routes to Banon, since this takes place in a maze sort of thing, and just use those two parties to kill off all the soldiers before I send in the third party to take out Kefka's guard and then the man himself. In this case, my blockers were the two parties mad up of two characters. I lost one in the process, but it did keep Cyan, Locke, and Gau close enough to full that they could finish off the last couple bands of soldiers and then take on the mini-boss, called the Rider, and Kefka with little trouble.
That being said, I feel compelled to once more share a reminder video I made for my Legend of Mana Text Play a couple years ago, because, like I say, this one can be a killer if you're not careful
Something I'd forgotten about this game since the last time I'd played through this game is that if you enter a battle command for a character, and then they die, they'll still carry it out if they get revived before the end of the fight. This really came in handy this time, because I'd had Cyan set up to do his Busido Retort for the last part of the fight with Kefka, and Cyan died after he'd executed the first part of the move. Since this is the sort of thing where Cyan does a massive retaliation strike when he's hit with a physical attack, once I used a Fenix Down on him, he came back and pretty much shoved his sword directly up Kefka's ass hard and ended the fight.
Another good thing about this fight is that it proves just how good some of Gau's Rages can be. In this case, it would specifically be the Marshall rage. It's a trade-off between Gau being on autopilot and getting some really good moves out of the deal. The Marshall has two of those: Wind Slash and Snare. Wind Slash, especially, really comes in handy for these boss fights, as it was averaging 300 damage every time it got used, and I got lucky enough to have whatever algorithm runs Gau's attacks work out to spam Wind Slash. The downside, of course, is that it's pretty much all chance for it to work out that way. I'm sure there is a mathematical explanation for that, but most people who know me well will probably tell you I'm bragging if I say I suck at math.
When Kefka runs off after the fight in the valley, everybody goes the rest of the way to the Esper. This time, the Esper, Tritoch, reveals Terra's “super” form, which makes her panic and go flying off. The rest of the party goes back to town and discusses what to do. Arvis and Banon say that word on the street is that Terra was last seen flying off to the west, and we need to get to Castle Figaro so it can take us under some mountains near the desert. Once on the far side of them, we can head to the towns of Jidoor and Kholingent, where we can start our search for Terra.
Of course, we're also going to need to leave some people in Narshe to help protect the Esper, which makes still having six playable characters available handy. I'm going to take three and leave three behind because I think we can get Shadow in the party again. I think he's going to want some gold to cover dog food or something, but covering that part should be easy.
Before we head out, it's a good idea to get better armor and weapons. There's a treasure house to the immediate south of the Returner hideout in Narshe. There's some good stuff in there, including 5000 gold, a Thief Knife, which is a good weapon for Locke, and one of those character-specific Relics I mentioned a few issues back. In this case, it's one called the Sneak Ring. It raises Locke's success rate with his Steal command. Between that and the stat bonuses from the Thief Knife, he almost never misses when he steals, which makes stocking up on some items really cheap and easy.
Something else I'd forgotten is a note about the Rune Blade I had equipped on Celes. It's got some good battle power to it, but it drains the MP of whoever has it equipped when they take an action. I'd forgotten that until I'd marched all the way to Castle Figaro with it equipped.
Once I sat down to write this, I realized that I might be able to get Mog at this point in the game. Checking on that's going to require a little backtracking, since I've currently got my game saved at Castle Figaro.
But that's going to have to wait until next time, when we have a look-see at what happened Once Upon A Time In The West. Not sure if this is the best use of a Dire Straits reference, but we'll find out, I guess. See you next time, folks, and DFTBA!