If you don’t know what my Diaries are, please go here. Spoilers ahoy!
Otherwise, let’s go!
Thank goodness for guides, because my directional sense in games is 0. (In real life as well.)
I was following a path where you could get the treasures in the fewest trips possible, but Cloud collapsed almost immediately. Happened twice he fainted long before the 544 steps, so not sure if that was a glitch.
Touch the hot spring, and it’s time for Alexander!
… or maybe not. What is with this chick? Just plain nasty!
Side note: Evidently, Rudra is, according to Wikipedia “Rigvedic deity, associated with wind or storm and the hunt”. Well, Rudra sure hunted me down. Also really obvious now, but a physical attack will snap the character out of Manipulate, just like a monster. (I give myself the DUH Award.)
However, the no-healing thing took me a couple of tries to figure out. I thought the whole party was banned from healing, and so I was confused when I could at points. Thought maybe they snapped out of it. No, it’s only when a character has been hit with that Hrimfrost attack. Even if the characters get KO’d, can’t revive them because of the cold. Once hit, it seems to be permanent.
There’s a bit of a luck factor involved. If all three are hit by Hrimfrost toward the beginning, then you are stuck with just your currently remaining HP for the rest of the fight. Rudra is weak to Fire and Holy, but she temporarily aborbs all elemental damage (and negates physical attacks) after using Frost Armor. I had two Ice Rings (and Aurora Armlet/Elemental-Ice on Tifa), but she still has a couple of tricks up her sleeve. First is her physical attack, and she can also cause Stop. Since I have no accessories that prevent Stop, the best I could do was Added Effect-Time on one, and that also makes them immune to Haste. So even if you can’t do anything because of Frost Armor, she’ll keep wailing on you.
Basically, cast Cure as much as the start (after snapping a character out of Manipulate and throwing and Antidote), use Barrier to cut down the damage even more just in case, and use Fire magic. I took Elemental-Fire out of my weapons because I didn’t want to accidentally heal her. Don’t want to miss the instant she’s vulnerable again. One of my defeats I tried to Osmose all her MP away, but it didn’t go well. Planet Protector would have worked really well.
I was going to cast Fire on myself just to see if it would cancel the no-healing cold, but forgot to. Probably not though.
On to the Cliffs. Cloud’s body temp doesn’t seem to drop nearly as fast, so the climb was pretty easy. Encountered a Stilva right away, but it didn’t seem to use Trine. Magic Breath is now Wind elemental instead of Tetra elemental. Also picked up Bad Breath from evil Malboros.
Fire-Elemental in weapons just dominate the fights up until the last two Icicles. These Bloodsicles absorb Fire, but Cloud and Yuffie are strong in Magic enough that Tifa (who wrecks things with either a surprisingly accurated Command Counter-Deathblow or Added Cut-Deathblow) was sidelined.
Climb up to the final level. I think I encountered a glitch again. The Couel enemies generally spam a basic non-elemental attack, but they can also cause Death Sentence and use Blaster. I used Death Force on Yuffie when she was afflicted by Death Sentence, and just as the counter hit 0, she was hit by Blaster, which is a KO attack I believe in vanilla. (At least it is in other Final Fantasy games.) Yet Yuffie stood up, and then she froze. Didn’t do anything. I even tossed a Phoenix Down at her just in case, but it missed. Didn’t know what would happen, so hightailed it out of there.
The Gaea Dragons in the area can also be very nasty. Easily 1500+ damage to all with one attack, and plus they can cancel Barrier/MBarrier and some other attacks. They’re weak to Earth and Water (even though they use Magnitude8), so if you keep HP up, they’re not too bad. Leviathan, Elemental-Heal (which is Water elemental) in weapons, Magnitude8, quickly whittle them down. I managed to Morph three of them for Dragon Armlets which don’t have as much of a Def% boost as Diamond Armlets, but they give a nice +20 to both STR/MAG.
So, Schizo. Quite frankly, they could have been changed to cast just about any elements instead of Fire/Ice and their Quake final attacks. So I said it wasn’t worth trying to defend and went with an offensive setup. Added Cut-Deathblow, MP Turbo-Bahamut, etc.
Well, that was pretty easy. One’s physical, one’s magical. Since I mostly used magic and Added Cut-Deathblow to defeat the Dragons, I had all three Limits ready to go. After realizing how low the physically weak side was, I was afraid that maybe the heads would be revived if they’re not defeated together. So Cloud and Yuffie easily took down the other’s HP, buffed up in case of a devastating final attack (although I panicked that I didn’t heal in between), and voila, one duo bird-head down.
And with that, we say goodbye to these frigid lands forever.