It keeps taking me longer than I'd like to get to these things, and I don't know why. I do, however, feel kind of bad about it.
Now that I am doing it, it's time to get Strago back. All it takes is having Relm in the party when making a return trip to the Tower of Magic. Strago says he was all down because he couldn't stand the idea of Relm biting it before he did, and that's why he was zoning out at the tower. Relm tells him that there was no way she'd cash it in before he did, which is enough to get him to rejoin the party.
Since that turned out to be way easier than I thought, I thought I'd go after Strago's side quest in Thamasa, as well. When we get into town, Relm and Strago are all happy to be back in their home town and decide to take it easy for awhile. Relm goes running home right away, while Strago stays out for awhile.
A moment later, Relm comes running back to tell her grandfather that his friend Gungho had gotten himself all busted up going after the monster he and Strago had been hunting for decades, called Hidon. Since Gungho's pretty much toast, it would seem, it's up to Strago to go in and avenge his buddy. This means that Strago has to be in the party, but since there are some good Lores to be learned here, that only makes sense.
Getting through the cave on Ebot's Rock can take some time. This is another one of the puzzle caves in the game. This time, the party needs to gather 22 pieces of coral for a living treasure chest that says it's hungry and won't move until its appetite is taken care of. What makes it a puzzle is that the chest doesn't say how much coral it wants, and the only way to get it is by making use of the warp tiles around the cave to gather the coral. Since that does make for a challenging dungeon and I don't quite have the endurance for gaming that I used to, I took a break and looked up how much coral I needed.
After the break, I did manage to get the right amount of coral for the chest, and it let me by. Hidon is pretty much right behind the chest. All things considered, this was not a difficult fight. I did, however, run into some trouble. I think I may have mentioned before that there are a lot of games from this era that are well-known for their bugs and glitches, and the US localization of this game, as I understand it, is one of the most notorious examples of that. One that I was aware of even when this game was relatively new is one that causes graphical errors and other programming screw-ups when Relm uses her Sketch ability on certain monsters, one of which may indeed be Hidon. Add to that the issues with the console itself that I mentioned at the end of my Lufia Text Play. I'm not sure if it was one, the other, or both that got the better of me, but when I beat Hidon, the story didn't progress, instead just giving me a black screen, which meant a need to reset and try a third time.
The third time was indeed the charm, as they say, as I did manage to beat Hidon again, this time with no glitches. Strago's all proud of himself and goes running back to Thamasa to tell Gungho the story. Turns out, of course, that Gungho was just messing with Strago, if for no other reason than to get him feeling better about himself again. Relm calls Gungho on his antics after Strago's worn himself out from telling his story of glory, but also thanks him for making her granddad better, too.
When I said that there were “some” good Lores for Strago, I was mistaken. There's only one, from Hidon, but it's one of the best there is for Strago. It's called Grand Train, and it can deal massive damage, which can come in handy in a few places soon. It's also possible to go back and fight Hidon again later, if you want. To do that, you have to talk to Gungho outside Strago's house until he says that Hidon's back. Getting back there requires the same effort it did before. I hear there's some armor or something that can be won or stolen from Hidon, but I've never gotten it and have made it through the game OK, so that's a bit of a tossup.
I think about the only story related thing I've got left to do before the end of the game is Doma Castle, but it's worth it to run around level grinding for awhile before the end of the game. I think I'll do that next time, just so I have it out of the way. After that, I'll do one last issue before getting on with the end of the game. There's some cool stuff to be done after Doma, but I don't think any of it really warrants separate issues. That's subject to change, of course, as I've been wrong before. But until next time, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA!