“WHEN DOES EMERALDA ‘GROW UP’?” SPOILERS: ENDGAME SIDEQUESTS
Late in the game, you have access to a variety of side quests, and while most of them aren’t worth mention here (there is a very good Secrets FAQ by Mr. Emirzian, although it is no longer on this site - I’ll include a link at the end of this FAQ).
On the southwestern landmass, you will find a Lighthouse. Before, you could never do anything with it, but near the end of the game, it becomes an access point to the Zeboim Ruins. Home to various treasures, Big Joe’s Shop, and a secret scene involving Emeralda. In the “parking lot” past Big Joe’s shop, there is a manhole that can only be entered on foot (Gears are too big). Go in, and follow the tunnel to the area where the scene happens. After this scene, Emeralda “grows up”, which makes her phenomenally better in combat - she gains in every stat at level up after this point!
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“SO, WHAT’S THE BEST EQUIPMENT?”
Well, there are two answers to this. One for the physically-inclined Gears, and one for the magically-inclined ones.
For the fighters, we have the Omega Setup - guaranteed to make anything up to and including the final boss crumble before you, thus removing all challenge from the game. Use only if you’re sure you want a cakewalk.
ENGINE: OMEGA100 (1,000 Output, 1,000 Fuel) - sold at Big Joe’s shop in Zeboim FRAME: Best for each character - most sold at Snowfield Hideout, but the best frames for Stier and Siebzehn aresold at Big Joe’s ARMOR: Pick between Z Alloy 80/30 or Z Gold 100, depending on if you want to prioritize physical or magical defense. Both are sold at Big Joe’s. ACCESSORIES: GNRS50 - sold at Big Joe’s GNRS50 - I’m not repeating myself Deathblower1 - found in various locations, sold nowhere
Also, just in case, get ONE Z Charger accessory - one can be found in a tunnel in Zeboim. Keep it in inventory except when you need to use it.
PILOT EQUIPMENT: Speed Shoes are really the only important one. Causes a hastening effect which carries over into Gear - your Gear is in a permanent Booster state with no fuel cost. Two Speed Shoes can be found in the game - one in the Snowfield Hideout, after you buy the birds on that one lift, while the other is the most expensive prize in the Battling Arena. Beyond that, you have to hunt down a rare monster that looks like a white snail, in the forested areas on the islands along the east of the map. It’s also a VERY rare drop, so without the Trader Card on, it could take hours to get.
The strategy: Turn 1, X attack. Turn 2, TX Deathblow. Repeat. You’ll be doing about 2500 damage every two turns - which, due to the Speed Shoes, takes up only one turn for the enemies. It is entirely possible to win a fight before the enemy even attacks, with three people set up this way. A trio of fighters with the Omega Setup can even reduce the final boss - at its full strength - to nothing, with very little risk.
“But that engine has only 1,000 Fuel! I need my fuel!”
For what? The X attack is 30 Fuel, and the TX Deatblow is 10+10. That’s 50 Fuel every two turns, and you have no other Fuel expenditures. Anyone relying on Special Options will be better off with the Mage Setup (below), and FrameHP healing will be unnecessary - EVERY Gear Dungeon in Disc 2 has a repair-bot in it (the Final Dungeon has three!).
And if you ever DO get low on fuel, and aren’t near the repair-bot, just swap the Deathblower for the Z Charger, and charge one time in the next battle. Boom, 500 Fuel back. Remember to swap back to the Deathblower after - everyone’s sharing that one Z Charger. --- "As the good archmage often admonishes me, I ought not to let my mind wander, as it's too small to go off by itself." -Danilo Thann