Final Fantasy VI copyright Square Enix.
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Phoenix Cave

- You’ll get a small hint as to the location of this dungeon by checking the portrait of Emperor Gestahl in Owzer’s Mansion in Jidoor. You’ll find a letter that describes a ‘star-shaped mountain range’. You’ll find this range in the north of the southern-most continent, near Tzen. Attempt to land on the gap in the midst of the range to enter the dungeon.

- Before landing you’ll have to form two parties of four to explore the Phoenix Cave. These two parties have to work in concert to bypass the Cave’s puzzles, and you can swap between them in the same manner as you have in other split-party situations. The enemies in here like to zombify your characters, so equipping them appropriately will protect you against uncontrollable party members. If you decide you want out, you can use the hook at the entrance of the dungeon to return to the Falcon.

- Send one of your parties (we’ll call it Party One) into the Cave. A button here will open a passage further in, though Party One has to remain on the button to keep it open. This is a common trend in the dungeon. Send the second party (Party Two!) through the passage you just opened.

- Ignore the chest on your left, as trying to get it will drop you into the basement. Instead, head right at the top of the stairs and down to find another button. This will open a second passage for Party One to move past the initial antechamber. Move Party One north until you find another button; step on it to lower a set of spikes in Party Two’s path that would otherwise cause damage.

- Move Party Two past the spikes. North and to the right is a path leading to another button which will lower spikes for Party One. Hop back to Party One and guide them east to find stairs; next to the stairs is a partially-hidden passage leading to a Teleport Stone.

- Lead Party One down the stairs to a volcanic area. Up and to your left you’ll find an empty chest (this is explained in a while) and a button that creates stepping stones to the north. That done, take the right path from the stairs and loop north to find another empty chest and a dead end.

- Back to Party Two. Guide them down the stairs back west. Head south in the lava room and you’ll find stairs leading up to the first floor. Hit the button straight ahead and cross the bridge leading to the chest you ignored earlier. Inside is a Wing Edge. Then backtrack to the lava room and go north, across the stepping stones you created earlier, and north. Ignore the chest behind spikes in the north (empty) and take a right. Step on the button beside the lava.

- This will create a northward path for Party One. Swap back, climb the stairs to the north, and loop left and back south to emerge beside another button. Hitting it will change the path below so Party Two can also head north. (Make sure Party Two isn’t still standing on their button or they’ll just change the path again.)

- Guide Party Two north. There’s a save point up here, and so long as Party Two is standing on it Party One will be able to save wherever they like. Fancy. After saving, have Party Two stand on the button across the water to the north to lower a set of spikes in Party One’s path.

- Send Party One north and west, across the lowered spikes and into another lava area. Here you can send Party One hopping across more stones. Once you reach the bottom platform, hop across the left set of stones to find… an empty chest… and the right set of stones to find a room filled with water. Hit the switch near the stairs to lower the water, as well as the lava in the previous area.

- Back to Party Two. Head west and you’ll find a set of stairs to the south and a button to the north. The button will change the path of rocks to your left, allowing Party One to wander south. If you go as far south as you can you’ll find one of the Eight Dragons, the Red Dragon, guarding a chest that contains a Dragon Horn. It’s a bit difficult to get to the Dragon Horn without fighting the Dragon, but if it’s any consolation the Red Dragon isn’t terribly tough.

- Guide Party One onto the bluffs to your left. There are two buttons to the south and one to the north. Step on the north button to create two stepping stones over to the bluffs, then swap back to Party Two and send them west. This path will send them into the room with the cooled lava. Head south through here to find a set of stairs leading to a Ribbon, then go northwest to find stairs back to the previous room. The path here leads to the stepping stones Party One created before.

- Both teams should now be on the same set of bluffs. Send them south and onto the two buttons to open a path south. Beyond is a room…

- … a lengthy cut scene…

- … and a jump to Kohlingen, ultimately culminating in Locke’s return to the party and a treasure trove of stuff: the Phoenix magicite, an X-Potion, a Phoenix Down, an X-Ether, an Elixir, a Flame Shield, and a Valiant Knife. (Stupid empty treasure chests.)


Now that Locke’s back in your party you have an opportunity to snag some extra swag. Put him in your active party and head to Narshe. With Locke on hand you can now unlock the homes of Narshe and poke around inside. Most are empty, but there are two notable exceptions:
  • If you look in the basement of the Weapon Shop you’ll find its owner. He has Ragnarok magicite, and he’ll off you one of two things: the magicite itself or the sword of the same name. The Ragnarok sword is amazingly good, but you can get one elsewhere in the game. The same cannot be said of the Ragnarok magicite.
  • There’s a house in the northwest of Narshe, not far from the northern path to the Narshe Mines, which is similarly populated. Speak to the old man in his bed and he’ll give you a Cursed Shield. This piece of equipment is absolutely horrible, reducing your defences across the board and inflicting a host of status ailments. Equip it on anybody but Gogo and fight with it for 255 battles, however, and the Cursed Shield will change into the Paladin Shield, easily the best shield in the game. It’s recommended to equip a Ribbon and armour that resists elemental attacks to weather this process if you decide you want the Paladin Shield.