If you don’t know what my Diaries are, please go here. Spoilers ahoy!
Otherwise, let’s go!
So, Shinra HQ time. First visit Aerith’s mom (and you can skip her flashback), climb up the ladder, use all the Batteries, moving on. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about the Ether-Battery conundrum. You use the last Battery and get… a Battery!
I did try to get some Speed Drinks from the Vice enemies, but it didn’t work out at all. Just too hard to stall out for Morphs. Lost a Graviball, Deadly Waste, and some Gil.
I always go up the stairs. The dialogue is just too funny to skip.
And then I get to the top and take the elevator to the first floor anyway. Can’t miss that Turtle’s Paradise flyer.
Oh, look who it is guarding the elevator door! It’s our old friend.
Anyway, passwords, treasure, yadda yadda. And Cloud, who can steal anything he wants from his former employer, suddenly decides stealing a megaphone isn’t worth it. But, like, is that Reeve’s locker, or does Shinra have some company cheerleaders? Of course, considering megaphones are sold at weapons shops, are there a bunch of people who train in shouting? Do they concentrate on enhancing stats like a Bard or Songstress, or do they bop people on head with it?
I know a lot of people really like this section of the game, but what I don’t like is how disconnected it feels. Random battles on some floors. Walk around freely on others. Keycards and vending machines that give out gifts. I like it once you get back to the actual story with their capture and the scary pumpkin-man Boss, but until then, it feels even more random than strangers giving you perfume and underwear. I doubt there is going to be as much downtime in Remake, but I hope we don’t get a lot of “you must avoid detection” minigames. (That goes for the whole game.) Blegh! I screwed up one time and got into a vicious pincer battle. Ouch.
Holy crap, is that who I think it is?
Yep, Carry Armor just loitering on the floor. Carry Armor is one of those Bosses where 50% of people say he’s easy as pie and the other 50% say he’s a nightmare. I definitely had to fight him several times in my first runthrough, but it wasn’t until years later that I learned you can make this fight so much easier with one action: attack all his parts at least once. If his arms have been hit once, he pretty much won’t use his Arm Grab. Yeah, so someone who opened with Trine is going to have a much different experience than players like me who thought the arms were a distraction and went straight for the main body. Lapis Laser can also be deadly if you knock down his HP so quickly you suddenly find yourself being spammed with it every turn.
Anyway, Cloud says this guy’s too tough, but hey, I just saved anyway. Let’s see what happens.
As you can see, it’s not a Game Over. You’re supposed to put those Midgar parts in the center, but they’ve all been replaced with normal treasure chests. If you get into a random battle here, the Junon parade music plays and you’ll fight these guys with hammers who hit you for 400 a pop. Got defeated, but it wasn’t a Game Over. Had a party of three KO’d fighters, so quickly revived and moved on. Since neither one was a Game Over, I’ll just count these two as one since a) the game didn’t count them, and b) the hammer guys could probably be defeated as this level but the Curator (Carry Armor) cannot.
Now, one thing people should always do in Shinra HQ is get the Hardedge and Carbon Bangles. I didn’t know if those would still be available (especially since I got a Mythril Saber), but then I did find there is a document with all the Steal/Morph/Drop information. So that makes my like a whole lot simpler. But those Moths are ruthless, and the Soldier 3rd Classes respond to Limit Breaks with a 600+ Duo-Braver. The Carbon Bangles provided a nice Def/Mag Def upgrade and a +15 DEX bonus, so I wanted at least three of them. Did end up going for five so I wouldn’t have to worry about exchanging armor. Stealing can take quite a while since most of the enemies are designed to be 10+ levels above the party, and stalling out for Morph can be dangerous. Few scary near-death moments, but I got my Carbon Bangles.
This entry is already pretty long, so all the fun stuff will be saved for next time. But Barret did learn Grenade Bomb, so that’s nice to have an all-enemies Limit.