Final Fantasy IV: The After Years Walkthrough, Part Twenty-One: The Crystals - Depths



The Depths, aside from being technologically-driven, is pretty much the same as the Subterrane. Lots of battles, lots of bosses, and lots of levels. You’ll be walking for a looooong time down here. the enemies get very tough, so be prepared to grind to survive as you get lower and lower. Unless you really like to grind you’re going to have to pick a dedicated team, and one more battle aside, you shouldn’t have to change your lineup again.

B1

There are no enemies and no bosses on this floor. The only important thing here of note - and this is very important - is a Namingway in the door to the south of the entrance to the Depths. This is the best Namingway you’ll find in the game, as he offers not only Edge’s best Thrown items, but X-Potions, Ethers, Dry Ethers, Remedies, and Elixirs. Good lord, Elixirs. Everything’s ridiculously expensive, but you’ll earn a crazy amount of money during your descent, assuming you don’t run from everything. (And that’s not a good idea, trust me.) The Interdimensional Elevator in here will grant you easy access to the Namingway whenever you need to restock.

B2

The enemies start up down here, and they’re quite strong. Be careful, and spend a bit of time levelling here and getting used to the difficulty jump. To the right of the entrance is a Crystal Shield, there’s an X-Potion to the southwest; the exit is in the far south, on the lower platform. You’ll start running into Dragons of various colours down here; these guys can wipe out your party with their breath attacks. If you plan on fighting one, use your most powerful spells immediately (Flare’s a good choice), and hit everyone with Shell to cut down on the damage.

B3

There’s a Cat Ear Hood to the west of the entrance and a Dry Ether to the east. There are longer paths leading to similar chests in the southwest and southeast; the first contains an X-Potion, the second a Silver Hourglass. Both you need to access via the smaller, middle platform. The central platform in the south leads to the next level.

B4

There are three sets of stairs to the south. The left set leads to an X-Potion; the right goes to a Protect Ring. The middle set leads to a lower level, as well as a teleporter. Left of the teleporter is a Remedy; right leads to a Brave Suit in a side chamber.

B5

There’s a save point straight ahead; step on it for a cut scene. There’s an Interdimensional Elevator nearby, as well. This area contains four teleporters that lead to four crystal boss battles, each from a different era of Final Fantasy lore. You need to defeat all four bosses to activate the southern teleporter. Time for some fun!

As a side note, B5 is oft-touted by After Years fans as one of the best places to grind in the game, as the enemies here are almost universally vulnerable to Break. (Not Blue Dragons, mind. Never worked for me. Run or fight as normal.) Put a black mage in your party, load them down with intelligence-boosting equipment, and fight during a Full Moon to increase the chances of Break sticking to an opponent. Break can be used on multiple opponents at once, so don’t hold back and target one guy at a time. (Discovered that by accident. Dur.)

Lich (Northwest)

The Fiend of Earth, Lich rather predictably uses Earthquake to hit your whole party for a hearty amount of damage. Float nullifies this. Less predictably, however, Lich also possess Black Hole, which will remove Float status. As such you’ll always want your white mage ready to cast Float again. That aside Lich will react to spells cast with either Bio or Sleep, and has a strong physical strike. Nevertheless, this fight isn’t that difficult. bring out somebody with a holy weapon (Cecil’s Excalibur is ideal) and smack Lich around with either that or, if your white mage has it, Holy itself. Firaga is also pretty damned good in this fight if you bring along black mages. Lich doesn’t have the fortitude to last too long against this barrage. Beating Lich will earn you the Assassin’s Dagger.

Marilith (Northeast)

The Fiend of Fire, Marilith provides a short, painful fight. Specializing in fire magic the likes of all-hitting Firaga most of the time, Marilith also enjoys smacking your party members around with her many, many swords. She’ll also Entice your characters occasionally, confusing them until they’re knocked out of it, and she’ll sometimes counter spells with Silence. The answer to Marilith is simple: Blizzaga, Blizzaga Blizzaga. Protect and Shell your team, Slow Marilith, and cast Blizzaga until she dies. It won’t take very long at all, as she’s highly susceptible to the spell. Marilith leaves behind a Rising Sun when killed.

Kraken (Southwest)

The Fiend of Water, Kraken is a pretty simple boss, but also a brutal one. Usually he uses either Blizzaga to hit everybody for close to 1,000 HP of damage or a physical attack against one person for close to 2,000 points. Ouch. Do enough damage and Kraken will use a two-turn attack called Deluge which is really painful for the whole party. Slow Kraken down to start, then batter him with Thundagas. (Don’t bother with physical attacks unless you have some thunder-elemental weapons or he’ll Constrict the user as a counter.) It’s not a long battle, but losing one or two members will really cut down on your ability to revive and fight back. Two black mages to really dish out the Thundagas is advisable, if you can manage it. You’ll get a Triton’s Dagger for besting the Kraken.

Tiamat (Southeast)

The Fiend of Wind, Tiamat is probably the hardest of the four on this level. The big dragon likes lightning-based spells, but also tends towards fire via its all-hitting Thermal Rays and poison via Venomous Gas. If you use magic on Tiamat there’s a good chance it’ll respond with Maelstrom, which reduces everyone to less than ten health. That coupled with another all-hitting attack will wipe out your party in most cases. Avoid magic completely, aside from Slow (and you can use Spider Silk instead), and wail on Tiamat with physical attacks instead. Berserk and Haste will allow you to chew through its health fairly quickly, despite its high HP. Once you do enough damage Tiamat will start using Lightning to one or more targets, though it shouldn’t change your strategy a whole lot. You’ll get Dragon Claws for beating Tiamat.

B6

To the south of the entrance is a room with three treasure chests. The middle contains a Hypnocrown, as well as a monster battle; the right contains a Dry Ether; the left contains an X-Potion. In the far south of the main area you can find Lunar Curtains in chests on both sides of the stairs.

B7

You’re suddenly inside. South to the first set of stairs and to the right is a save point. Go down another level and look to your right to find a door leading to Spider Silk. All the way south and to the west you’ll find an X-Potion. Also down here, on the second left before the end, is a doorway leading to Crystal Gloves.

B8

There are two sets of stairs near the entrance; the left set leads to a teleport pad, and, beyond a Red Jacket. The right takes you south. There are Hermes Sandals in the southeast, and you’ll find the path out of here to the southwest.

B9

There’s a save point and an Interdimensional Elevator south of the teleporter. The save point will trigger a cut scene that will grant Golbez and Kain the Spiral Blow Band. This level features another locked teleporter that you’ll have to unseal by fighting bosses; before you do, look to the west / northwest for a Crystal Helm, and the northeast for an X-Potion.

This floor is patrolled by some damn powerful enemies, including Behemoths. Fight what you wish, but I recommend running from the Behemoths, if nothing else. They take way too long to kill for what they’re worth.

Beelzebub (Northwest)

This fugly bug is more annoying than difficult. Beelzebub starts every fight by casting Blink, and he’ll consistently recast it on himself when the first blast wears off. This means that your physical attacks will seldom stick. Either you can use Reflect on him to keep Blink from hitting him and then bombard him with physical attacks, or you can leave melee fighting out of the equation altogether and just blast Beelzebub with -ga level spells. Firaga seems to work best. (Beelzebub himself likes to use these same spells, so casting Reflect on yourself also works nicely - he only has a strong, but seldom-used, physical attack to fall back on otherwise.) Beelzebub will yield up Loki’s Lute when destroyed.

Astaroth (Northeast)

This battle’s a bit of a joke compared to the stuff you’ve seen. Astarothis unique in that her normal attack will sap your health and add it to her own, but it’s not damaging enough to warrant worry. She uses -ga spells on single characters, of mild worry, and she can - but usually won’t - petrify one of your characters. Whoopee. Maul the fallen angel with your strongest magic and a dose of solid melee strikes. You can use Slow on her if you want to ensure victory, but it’s almost not necessary. You’ll get a Seraphim’s Mace for besting Astaroth.

King Behemoth (Southwest)

Y’know those Behemoths that patrol the hell out of this floor? The King Behemoth is their big brother. It’s more or less exactly the same as the rest, though it hits a bit harder and has a lot more HP. You can’t run this time, though, so you’ll have to put up with the bastard. King Behemoth deals exclusively in physical attacks and counterattacks, so every time you hit it you’re going to get hit back, and hard. Start with Protect to deaden the attacks, then hit it with Slow to stall its cool down time. From that point on you should Blink as many of your characters as you can with one person while the rest either heal or batter the Behemoth with their strongest attacks. I don’t mean strongest for a given character, either - only the absolute strongest stuff should be hitting the King Behemoth, as that will cut down on the number of attacks you need to use to kill it. Flare and Holy jump to mind. Blink will prevent its hits from landing, but the spell wears off so often that strikes slipping through are inevitable. The fight is just that process, over and over…

… until the veeeeery end. When it’s at the final bits of health the King Behemoth will surprise you by using Meteor as its dying attack. Meteor isn’t lethal if at least one hearty character is still up with plenty of health, but you should still cast Shell on everyone just in case. You’ll get Tiger Fangs for beating the King Behemoth.

Iron Giant (Southeast)

The Iron Giant feels like a less dangerous version of the King Behemoth in some ways. It’s almost exclusively physical creature, relying on melee attacks to do all of its damage, though it doesn’t hit near as hard as the Behemoth - nor does it have the lethal counterattack. What it does have is more HP, as well as a rather terrible reaction to magic… namely that it will probably cast Meteor if you use any spells. Ouch. The Iron Giant can also use Crush to instantly kill one character, but this doesn’t come out often enough to be a great threat. 

Use Spider Silk to slow it down without retribution, then go to town on the Giant with melee attacks. Protect will help ward off its hits, as will the usual healing. Since it’s a Giant, Ogrekiller can do lots of damage to the thing. You can use Blink in the process, but I don’t find the Iron Giant dangerous enough to bother. You’ll get a Gigant Axe for beating the Iron Giant.

B10

East of the entrance you’ll find a Remedy and a Phoenix Down. Down the stairs and to your right are three doors; the first and third lead to one another, while the second (middle) leads to Black Garb. Follow the western wall south to find an X-Potion, and the eastern wall south to find the exit.

B11

Down the stairs to the southeast you’ll find Crystal Mail; in the west on the upper platforms is a Cottage and a Silver Hourglass, side by side. The exit’s on the lowest level, in the southwest.

B12

There’s a teleporter to the immediate south that leads to a Ribbon. Snag it, then head back to the first area and go east. To the south at the east end you’ll find a Dry Ether on your left and a teleporter to the south. (There’s an X-Potion to the west, but it’s not really worth getting, given how long it takes to grab.)

You’ll start running into Deathmasks on this level. These irritating creeps have as much HP as many bosses, and their propensity for Reflecting everything makes them a pain in the ass to fight. They’re also not really worth the end results, so don’t bother. From this point on it’s often not worth it to fight any battles; just go to B5 if you’re really looking to level.

B13

Save point to the north; Interdimensional Elevator to its right; crystal bosses galore. There are no chests on this floor, so don’t trouble yourself look around too much. There are, however, plenty of nasty monsters here, and one of the worst is the innocuous-looking Catoblepas. If you’re unlucky it can confuse every one of your party members in a single turn. Not a great place to grind.

Cerberus (Far West)

In theory this should be a tough fight, but it’s not. Cerberus’s shtick is that it attacks three times whenever its turn comes up, either hitting everybody with -ga level magic or hitting one person with a physical attack. This would be dangerous, but Cerberus’s magic sucks and its attack power is on power with a lot of monsters ‘round these parts. Shell and Protect yourself, Slow the beast, and smash it with the usual assortment of powerful attacks. You’ll get a Thor’s Hammer for beating Cerberus.

Twinhead Dragon (Northwest)

Despite possessing roughly the same patterns as Cerberus, the Twinhead Dragon is a decent bit tougher. Rather than utilizing three attacks per turn it hits twice, but each of those attacks count for more - its physical strike is worse, and its magic attack, focused on one person rather than the whole party, is better at killing. The Dragon also seems to be a bit faster, making Slow even more important, and it can paralyze party members with Constrict. Still, you should proceed the same as usual: Slow, Protect, Shell, and beat the shit out of it while healing consistently. By this point Flare, Holy, and strong Band attacks should be staples of your strategy. You’ll get a Holy Lance for trouncing the Twinhead Dragon. Next!

Echidna (Northeast)

Another relatively easy fight, this. Echidna favours earth attacks, and will use Earthquake to badly injure everyone. Easy solution? Use Float before the fight begins. Beyond that Echidna doesn’t do a hell of a lot, favouring weak physical attacks and the occasional bout of magic. Slow it and slag it with whatever hits hardest. Echidna will occasionally counter your hits, but it really doesn’t attack hard enough to be a threat. You’ll earn Perseus’s Bow and Perseus Arrows for besting Echidna.

Ahriman (East)

This battle’s as simple as they get. Ahriman does no damage to your party whatsoever; all it does is cast Doom on your entire party when the battle starts, and then hastens the Doom countdown. That’s it. It’s your job to kill Ahriman before your whole party bites the dust. It may seem like an all-or-nothing proposition, but because Ahriman casts Haste you’re assured to lose some members before you lose others. Smash Ahriman with your absolute strongest attacks from the beginning, then, when somebody dies, quickly revive them. This will cut them out of the Doom sequence until Ahriman casts it again, which it will when no one  is hit by Doom. As the next countdown begins, revive the rest of your party. Ahriman will set about Hasting them even though they’re not currently dying, which will make killing it even easier. Keep this up until it goes down. You’ll get a Masamune for winning this battle.

B13

Head southeast ’til the path branches, go south to find a Remedy, then take the first right. Follow it east and then north to find an X-Potion. The exit is in the southeast.

B14

Head west from the entrance to find a Dry Ether. To the south of the entrance is a split; go west from here to find a side room with Lunar Mail. As you head south you’ll see a side chamber to the right with a wandering NPC. This thing is a superboss, and you shouldn’t attack it ’til you find a closer save point. It’s tough. (There’s one nearby, so don’t worry about that.) There’s a White Fang to the southwest, and an exit in the south.

Omega

This boss is a pain in the ass. Omega is a technological terror of great speed and power, but what’s most annoying about it is the fact that most of its attacks ignore stuff like Shell and Protect. Arm hits someone for half their total health and can confuse; Maelstrom, if you’re unfortunate enough to get hit by it, reduces everybody to single digits; Toxic inflicts status ailments; Electromagnetism stops somebody permanently; and Wave Cannon, probably its worst attack, hits everybody for half of their total health, not current health. Add on the fact that Omega can nullify two physical attacks with Omeguard and dispel any beneficial effects with Black Hole and you’ve got one powerful boss. 

(Also, 160,000+ HP. Ouch.)

Most of the battle for your part will consist of physical strikes, so make them strong enough to count. Use Spider Silk or Slow to reduce Omega’s speed to start, then batter Omega physically, keep your health up as much as you can, and heal status ailments whenever they crop up. Electrical attacks work really well, but Omega will counter any magic attack with Reflect, so you’ll only get to use Thundaga every now and then. You can use Meteor in the meantime, but this will sap your MP quickly, so be sure to have Dry Ethers or Elixirs on hand. Alternatively, you can cast Reflect on one character and bounce Thundagas off of him or her, but you need to time this carefully with Black Hole, else you might accidentally just kill the direct target. Omega will occasionally use Quake, so putting Float status on everybody isn’t a bad idea either.

Given the sheer amount of death and status ailments you’re likely to encounter in this battle, it’s not a bad idea to use Edward as your healer. Your buffs get dispelled so often by Black Hole that a white mage isn’t that useful, and Edward can use Salve to not only X-Potion everybody back to full health, but Remedy and Phoenix Down anyone in dire need.

You’ll get a Hero’s Shield for besting Omega. It’s worth the trouble, but you might need to fight the bastard a few times to win the day. 

Still on this floor. To the left of the entrance and to the south the path splits; keep going east as far as you can to find a Remedy. South of the split is an X-Potion. To the right of the entrance is a crystal boss and an Interdimensional Elevator; beat the boss to unlock the save point.

Gilgamesh

This battle isn’t too bad, but you need to have some decent damage output to survive the second half. Gilgamesh starts out as a fairly so-so creature, with a decent attack, an Earthquake hit you can avoid with Float, and honestly not much else going for him. Smack him around, and cast Protect on yourself. Once he gets low enough, though, Gilgamesh casts Haste, Shell, and Protect on himself, and he’ll start to use much more powerful attacks, including attacking physically four times in a single round. Ouch. You can’t get rid of his buffs, sadly, so focus on mashing his face in with Flare, Holy, and your best Bands. He’s almost dead at this point, so it won’t take a ton of hits to finish the job. You’ll get an Excalipoor for beating Gilgamesh, and it’s juuuuust as shitty as it sounds. 

Step on the save point you’ve uncovered to trigger a cut scene which gives Ceodore and Kain the Double Jump Band, then continue south. Once outside, continue directly south to find an invisible path to a chest containing a Lunar Shield. In the far south is the exit, though you can turn west before getting there, through the buildings. You’ll find a chest at the end, but be warned - it contains another superboss.

Nova Dragon

(Still working on this bastard. His first hit keeps killing me. Sigh…)

B14

This area seems enormous, but in truth it just loops around on itself if you don’t move through it properly. There are no enemies, as well, which makes moving through here easier. Head west from the entrance, then south, then west again. You’ll find a portal that will take you to Depths Twisted Space. Follow the path - it looks complex, but there’s really only one way to go - and it will take you to a crystal boss.

Atomos

Fights don’t get more straightforward than this. Atomos uses one spell: Meteor. It uses it over, and over, and over. Cast Slow to increase the time between Meteors, then mash the thing with your best attacks. Meteor doesn’t hit as hard as you might think, though Shell can’t hurt either.

Beating Atomos will open the path to B15, and you’ll be standing right in front of the stairs. Head south to find a Robe of Lords before descending. If you ever want to go up from here, the entrance is in the north.

B15

There’s an Interdimensional Elevator to the west of the entrance, and a save point to the east. Rest up, then have a look around. South of the eastern and western points in this area you can find crystal bosses. Near the bosses you’ll find a connected hallway that leads to chests; the left contains an Elixir (and a monster) and an X-Potion, the right You can also pass through the right-most wall and head south to reach otherwise-inaccessible chest containing Lunar Gloves. South of the save point are stairs, and you can pass through the wall on your right to reach a monster chest containing another Elixir. In the far south is a teleporter, locked by the bosses.

Orthros (West)

Orthros is one half weird and one half quite dangerous. He starts out the battle as rather a goof-off, not doing much damage while insulting the males in the party and lecherously ‘flirting’ with the females. Cast Float to avoid his Earthquake attacks, then hit him hard with Firaga and your best Bands. Orthros counters just about everything with paralysis, so make your hits count, because it’s a pain to heal paralysis away. Eventually the music will change and Orthros will start absorbing elemental attacks, as well as countering magic with Flare. Ouch. His tentacle attacks also become much more dangerous, as they’ll hit multiple times - and sometimes against the same character - in a single round. Put up Slow and Shell, then mash him with your strongest stuff as quickly as you can, as Orthros has very little health left when he reaches this stage. You’ll get almost jack shit from Orthros, though the Kitchen Knife he drops will provide Edge with a one-time Throw damage of 9,999. Yay?

Ghost Train (East)

Ooo, spoooky. This fight starts out as a back attack, so begin by swapping rows. The rest of the battle is quite strange, as the Ghost Train has a couple of really strong attacks - Wheel being probably the worst overall, as it often comes as a counter, though Holy can be bad too - and a couple of really weak attacks that will leave you scratching your head. Use your usual arrange of powerful spells and Bands to bring it down, particularly stuff that leans towards the Holy element, and heal as necessary. Cecil with Excalibur and Kain with the Holy Lance can clean up during this fight. If you have Edward pumping out X-Potions to heal you can cast Reflect on your team and send Ghost Train’s Holy back at itself, as well, inflicting lots of damage in the process and leaving Wheel as its only real weapon. You’ll get a Mutsunokami for beating the Ghost Train.

The teleporter will take you to another area that’s still on B15. On the left and to the south from the entrance you’ll find a Dry Ether; straight down the middle you’ll find a crystal boss. South and to the left of the crystal boss is the path to B16, while south and to the right leads to a Remedy and a Light Curtain. Also out by the Light Curtain is an invisible path, through the crystals on your right, that leads to an ‘unresponsive’ crystal. We’ll come back to this later.

Ultima Weapon (Red Crystal)

This is a difficult fight. Ultima Weapon enjoys killing in a single stroke, and often uses its Crush attack to do so to a single party member, regardless of their HP. Its physical attack is capable of doing this, too, though you can deaden its effects with Protect. These aside, Ultima Weapon will use Thermal Rays to hit everyone for so-so fire damage, and it can use Flare to hit much harder on a single opponent. When you do enough damage Ultima Weapon will cast Haste, Protect, and Shell, and two turns later it will use Meteor. This spell is often enough to wipe out your party. Ultima Weapon will occasionally use Maelstrom and Quake throughout the fight, though these two attacks are comparatively rare.

You absolutely must have a dedicated white mage in your party for this fight, and preferably one that can use Arise to offset the devastating effects of Crush. (For some reason I find that Ultima Weapon is much more likely to Crush people in the front row than in the back.) Start off with Slow, then Shell and Protect your party while healing every turn. Hit Ultima Weapon with your best Band attacks and spells, and, if possible (it should be by this point) try to use attacks that will break the damage limit of 9,999. Once Meteor is being charged - and you’ll get a warning of this - heal everybody up, and, if possible, try to send characters off-screen in advance, such as with Kain’s Jump attack. It’s a long battle, but it can be won with persistent healing and looooots of damage.

(I don’t know if this will work for everyone, but I found that Ultima Weapon won’t use Meteor if you use Slow immediately after it buffs itself. You should Slow it at this point regardless.)

Beating Ultima Weapon will earn you, uh, the Ultima Weapon. Yay! You don’t need to defeat Ultima Weapon to leave this floor, so come back later if you can’t beat it yet.

Deathgaze (Random Encounter)

While wandering around you may get into a fight with Doomgaze, a flying creature that more or less counts as a boss, albeit one you can flee. Deathgaze enjoys, as the name implies, death attacks, and will often immediately kill your party members. Deathgaze also employs a powerful physical hit, and will use Blizzaga and Thundaga on his targets. The death attacks aside he’s a fairly standard enemy, and can be absolutely thwomped with attacks that deal extra damage to flying enemies, such as Thrown weapons or Jump. Double Jump is fantastic against Deathgaze. Holy magic also works really well in this fight, if you can spare your white mage from healing.

The trick to Deathgaze is that he’s capable of running from fights, just as you can run, and will do so when taking lots of damage - or if a battle is dragging on. Deathgaze will retain his health so long as you don’t leave this floor, though, so you can keep wandering around in order to engage him again. 

Once you beat Deathgaze the unresponsive crystal you found earlier will become active, and it will act as a reward, blessing either Palom, Porom, or Leonora with the Dualcast ability. In other words, that character will now permanently be able to cast two spells per turn. Ultimately who you choose is dependent on who is in your final party, if any of the three, though Porom is probably the best choice, as she’s a) Probably the best white mage in the game and b) More important than the other two in a combat situation, since surviving enemy attacks takes priority over dishing out a lot of damage. You’ll have a much more powerful mage regardless of your choice, however.

B16 - B17

Nothing to see. Meh. Guess they got lazy. The enemies disappear down here. On very rare occasions you’ll run into Full Bodies and Deathguises paired together, which take a long time to kill, and generally aren’t worth the effort.

B18 - B19

Head southeast to find a purple teleporter. It leads to a Lunar Helm. Backtrack and head south to fin the path out. B19 is another straightforward, nothing-to-see area.

B20

Despite the branching path there’s nothing on this floor, except what you’ll find to the north. Here is a save point, an Interdimensional Elevator… and beyond that, a boss battle. Make sure Rydia’s in your party, or you’re about to lose horribly. (Casting Float is a good idea too.)

Mysterious Girl

Hey, it’s been a while since we fought one of these gals. The Mysterious Girl starts this fight off with Bahamut… and, unfortunately, she’ll cast Meteor right off the boot. It’s usually not strong enough to kill in one hit, but it’ll do quite a number on your party. Heal up immediately, then start pummelling Bahamut, and Bahamut alone, with your strongest attacks. Bahamut starts counting down to Mega Flare, and you’ll have five turns to do as much damage as possible before he finishes the attack and blows you away for roughly 3,500ish damage to each party member. Ouch. The Mysterious Girl will use Black Hole to strip away Reflect, Shell, or any other buffing spells you might have cast, so don’t bother.

During this time the Mysterious Girl will try to kill or otherwise annoy your team with her own spells, but so long as you have an active white mage to heal away the woes she shouldn’t have enough time to kill you off. Try to fight during a Waxing Moon so her spells do a minimum amount of damage. She’ll also use Haste on Bahamut if you Slow it, and will use Haste later regardless. Either way, wait on Slow until the Mysterious Girl actually Hastes Bahamut, as it’s still worth slowing the thing down.

Once you do enough damage, assuming you have both Leviathan and Ashura as summons for Rydia, they will appear and turn Bahamut back to your side, ending the battle. Bahamut will then be available as one of Rydia’s summons. If you don’t have one of those summons, you’ll have to kill Bahamut, losing him forever.

B21 - B30

The random battles start up in earnest again down here, and you’ll notice that the Mysterious Girls - now called Maenads - start appearing in packs. These versions are still, but fighting two at once is less dangerous than you might think since they lose most of their spells, so don’t freak out when you see any. There’s nothing on B21, a Dry Ether and an X-Potion on B22, a bunch of harmless Maenads on B23, more in stasis on B24 - speak to the small one in the north to open the exit - and, on B25, a bunch of crystals. Pick up the inner crystals. There’s a save point and an Interdimensional Elevator in here, and an exit in the north. 

Keep descending and you’ll find another save point and Interdimensional Elevator pairing on B29. Be warned! This is the final save point in the game. The final boss of The After Years is on the next floor, and he / she / it is a doozy. Try to keep the layout of these otherwise-ignorable areas in mind, however, as you aren’t actually done running once you beat the final boss.

???

First up is a receptacle for the final boss. This battle is no big deal: at first it will do absolutely nothing, and then, after taking a bunch of damage, it will shift colours and start using Osmose and Drain on your party. These spells are fairly inconsequential aside from the fact that they steal health and MP that you’ll need for the next phase. Use your strongest Bands to murder ??? as quickly as possible.

Creator, Phase One

The first stage of the Creator pits you against a weird looking bunny-thing. (Maybe a Namingway? Hmm.) This battle is quite easy so long as you choose your moves carefully, since the Creator attacks in a reactionary fashion. If you use physical attacks or weak spells, it will slightly damage one of your characters and paralyze them. If, however, you use a powerful magical spell - say, Flare or Holy or the like - the Creator will respond in kind as an immediate counter, likely killing your character. Stick to strong Bands and you can get through this fight almost unscathed. Try to come out at full health on the other end, as the next phase begins rather roughly.

Creator, Phase Two

This version of the Creator is similar to Maenads, using black magic and Holy to batter your party rather harshly. It can also, as before, paralyze a single target, and it can use Bahamut’s Mega Flare attack on everybody for roughly 3,000 points of damage. Ouch. Throw up Slow immediately to stifle its attacks, put on Shell to protect yourself, then start hammering the Creator with your best Band attacks and magic. It doesn’t take long to take this form down, but you should try and get it over with as quickly as possible before it uses Mega Flare more than once. (If at all.)

Creator, Phase Three

First up, use one of the Crystals in your inventory. The battle doesn’t start in earnest until you do this. Flashbacks to Final Fantasy IV, anyone?

This is the final battle, but in all honesty it’s not that difficult so long as you remain on your toes. The Creator drops the majority of his black magic spells (you might see a -ga spell occasionally, but not too often) and adopts some oddball stuff instead, typically in the form of Split, which usually kills one party member, Explosion, which hits everybody for about 2,000 points of damage, and Regeneration, which restores 9,999 HP to the Creator. That last sounds painful, but your damage output by now should make it almost negligible. Once the Creator gets weak enough it will start using all-hitting status attacks that can inflict toad, confuse, mini, and so forth, but these aren’t too dangerous so long as you have Ribbons equipped. 

In short, nothing the Creator can do is likely to wipe out your team in one turn unless you’re already in trouble, and so long as you have a dedicated healer with Curaja ready on most turns (or Edward with Salve) it’s not that difficult to keep your health up. Slow the Creator, heal when healing is needed, revive characters who get knocked out by Split (hopefully via Arise), cast Shell to cut down on magical damage, and wail on the Creator with everything you’ve got. Bands and Flare are ideal, because the Creator will periodically change his weakness and start absorbing other elements, so go with non-elemental stuff to do the majority of your damage. (Don’t try Holy. It will often heal the Creator instead. Sigh.) So long as you have some decent, non-elemental, two-person attack Bands and a good black mage on your side, you will whittle the Creator down within a few minutes of steady combat.

… but that’s not the end. Once the Creator dies he will then begin chasing you as you ascend through the True Moon towards the exit. These battles are basically scripted, but you still need to put some effort into pushing the Creator back each time. Remain healed as you ascend, and, soon enough, you’ll be free of these battles for good. (They get shorter as you go along, so while it’s an annoying process, it’s not that annoying.) 

Congratulations! You’ve beaten Final Fantasy IV: The After Years! Enjoy the credits!

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