Final Fantasy IV: The After Years Walkthrough, Part Sixteen: Kain's Challenge Dungeon



Upon completing the Tale you’ll be deposited outside Baron Castle, and you’ll be ready to tackle the Challenge Dungeon for the Tale. You’ll find Challengingway in the inn / pub of Baron. Your situation is abruptly quite different from what it was during the Tale, as your team consists of Ceodore, Kain (now a Holy Dragoon), Cid, and White Mage Rosa. Nice ensemble, that.

Kain’s Challenge Dungeon is quite simple, as it’s just another Dungeon. It’s not that long, either, making it a good area to run through if you want to build levels for your four team members.

Ancient Castle

- The first area is an outdoor castle. Enemies here tend to counterattack, so try to kill them with Kain’s Jump rather than hacking away with your other characters.

- Head northwest until the path splits; to your left you’ll find a monster-in-a-box which contains an Adamantine Golem, the same boss from Ceodore’s Challenge Dungeon. It’s much easier now with a team of four. Killing it will earn you Adamantite.

- Continue northeast until you see a treasure chest in a small space to your right. Ignore it for now and head west. The path splits in several directions here. Up the central path you’ll find a chest with a Light Curtain, and further west you can go north to find a Dry Ether. There’s a path through the trees to your right that lead to a well which you can enter to find another area. Back at the original split, you can go south to find a different exit from this area. You can also find another area by going through a wall just south of this second exit and wandering east until you find another door, though it leads to a Protect Staff and a dead end.

- B1. If you went through the more obvious door you’ll appear in an open-ish area with several smaller rooms. There’s a Golden Apple in the northeast room, an Ice Armor and an Ice Shield in the north (you’ll have to approach these two chests from opposite sides of the area to reach both), and, up the stairs in the middle of the area, you’ll find Angel Arrows. These last will make Rosa a potent physical attacker alongside everyone else in this chapter, particularly when facing rows of attackers.

- B1. If you drop down the well you’ll find an Ogrekiller to the south of another hole that will take you to a new area.

Underground Cavern

You drop into a large chamber filled with walkways. The enemies down here are substantially stronger than above, and should be fought with caution. In particular you should cast Float on your party to counter the Arachnes, as they will pepper your party with Earthquake and prove quite a nuisance. Mini Satanas are probably your worst enemies here, as they will counter with Confuse; try to kill them with Jump over all other options.

- If you dropped through the hole in the open area of B1 you’ll come down on the lower level of the Underground Cavern. There’s a Gold Hairpin in a box to the far south, at the top of some stairs and beside a bridge that leads nowhere.

- If you dropped through the hole in the smaller area, via the well entrance, you’ll come down on the upper level. Loop northeast and, after a fair trek, you’ll find a door. Ignore it for the moment and keep going south to find a Diamond Armlet on your left. Then backtrack to find another area.

Underground Cavern Interior

Both routes will bring you into the same area, though at different points. Loop around the room and descend to the middle to find an exit from the Challenge Dungeon (which you can do with Teleport at any time anyway), a save point, and a boss in the north. You can use this area to reach the other path in the Underground Cavern, if you wish - though it makes more sense to just go through the other route on your next trip. Either way, you can find an Elixir in the south once you reach the middle of this area.

Curse Dragon

Possibly the strongest Challenge Dungeon boss you’ll face, the Curse Dragon consists of two powerful forms. In the first the Curse Dragon will use a combination of physical and fiery attacks to bring you down. Hit him and he’ll counter with either two smacks, fairly strong, or Fira, also fairly strong. He can perform these hits normally, as well, and if you’re unlucky he’ll use Blaze to hit everyone for massive damage. Use Protect and Shell at the beginning of the fight, Spider Silk to slow the bastard, and Curaga as needed for healing. That aside, hit him with strong blows, such as Kain’s Jump or Kain and Ceodore’s Cross Slash Prime Band. 

Do enough damage and the Curse Dragon will shift to a larger, more potent form, which, despite how it looks, is not undead, so don’t bother trying to heal it to death. Though it loses Blaze, which is a blessing, the Curse Dragon gains Firaga to hit everyone - not as bad, but still painful - and gains Doom as a counter to most attacks. This will slowly tick away the life of anyone hit. It can also use Curse on the whole party, which greatly reduces the efficacy of your physical attacks. Limit your attacks to the strongest strikes, as before, and rip the thing apart by degrees. It will take a while, but it’ll happen eventually.

Try to approach this fight during a Waxing Moon. This will increase your healing powers while downplaying the strength of the Curse Dragon’s black magic. It’ll be much easier to survive this way.

After beating the Curse Dragon the way to the Dungeon’s chest will be opened. It may contain any of the following:
  • Adamantite
  • Demon Slayer
  • Diamond Armor
  • Diamond Gloves
  • Diamond Helm
  • Diamond Shield
  • Elfin Bow
  • Flan Ring
  • Luminous Robe
  • Lustful Lali-Ho
  • Obelisk
  • Sledgehammer

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