Final Fantasy 3/6j Fewest Steps Challenge by Ilsoap version 1.1 last updated January 14/06 Contents: 0. Version History 1. Introduction to the Fewest Steps Challenge 2. General things you need to know to finish the Fewest Steps Challenge 2.1. Step Cost 3. Walkthrough 3.1. The Lete River Trick 3.2. The World of Balance 3.3. The World of Ruin 4. Places to go, things to do 4.1. Areas where you can move around that won't increase your step count 4.2. Places that do increase your step count even though they shouldn't 4.3. Notable Shops 5. Character Guides 5.1. Individual character strengths and weaknesses 5.2. The last time you're forced to use a character 5.3. How many steps to get each WoR character 5.4. What magic does each character absolutely need, and when? 6. Esper Guides 6.1. What espers will you get? 6.2. Which help the most here? 7. True Fewest Steps Challenge 8. For More Advice ------------------ 0. Version History ------------------ Version 1.0 - Initial version (first complete walkthrough of the challenge) Version 1.1 - Reread it through - Added some helpful notes for later on - Fixed typos and misinformation --------------------------------------------- 1. Introduction to the Fewest Steps Challenge --------------------------------------------- So what's this "Fewest Steps Challenge" all about, anyways? Well, in Final Fantasy VI, it has a very unique counter that seems to serve no discernable purpose. As you play the game, it will keep a record of the exact number of steps you have taken to reach your goal. Now, I have yet to find a use for this in a regular game, but it allows for a very unique challenge. What is the fewest number of steps you can take in Final Fantasy VI to win the game? That is what this challenge is all about. Win Final Fantasy VI in the fewest steps possible. It's a deceptively difficult challenge. If this is the first time (or even second or third time) that you've played this game, I highly suggest to choose some other challenge. This one is purely for those people who have played the game enough times to require a unique challenge for their skills. Now, there are times when I go a little bit out of my way to get some valuable relic or item. If you want to attempt a TRUE Fewest Steps Challenge, where absolutely no extra steps are allowed, you can still use this guide, but you'll miss out on pretty much every weapon, item, relic, and shop, and will likely need to stay on the Lete River until everyone's at least at level 30 to survive Kefka's Tower when you get there. But I'm getting ahead of myself... ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. General things you need to know to finish the Fewest Steps Challenge ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is where I'll list general things you need to know (things that can be applied to many areas of the game). a. This challenge requires a LOT of planning. You need to plan what characters and items you're bringing to Kefka's tower right from the beginning of the game. b. Related to the above statement, you also need to make notes of when you're forced to use characters, particularly when you're forced to use characters you don't intend on using in the World of Ruin. There's no point wasting EXP gained from battles on characters like Strago or Cyan, who you aren't going be using in the second half of the game. c. Cut corners. There are a lot of places where you can save 2 or 4 steps just by cutting a corner very closely. Also, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so don't turn corners unless you know you have to. You'll notice that the corners of certain cave walls can be walked through, which can save you some steps. d. Items will be few and far between. See, you're not going to be going to many item shops, because, of course, going to them adds to your step count. You will also not be visiting all of the treasure chests you want to (or, if you like elixirs, all of the clocks you want to). So, items will be scarce in this game. e. There are certain places of the game when you can move around without increasing your step count. Memorize where these places are, you'll need them. Riding Chocobos alone will cut down at least 1000 steps off of your distance traveled. For a handy guide to these areas, see Section 4. f. Gaining EXP is not easy, especially once you've gone past the Lete River. Every good place to get EXP after that point takes up steps, and in a Fewest Steps Challenge, that's not good. One way to counteract this is to kill off characters that take EXP from your good characters. A single person will earn 4x as much EXP from a battle as four characters would. g. Wait for the battles to come to you. Since you need all the EXP you can get if ever there's an opportunity to have the battles come to you (and you're healthy enough to fight), let them come! Locations include the ghosts on the Phantom Train, the Balloons in the Flaming House in Thamasa, and the fight for the Esper against Kefka and his troops. h. Similar to the last tip, there will be places when people will naturally come to you, rather than you walking up to them. For instance, in Locke's scenario, when he has to change clothes, the green-armored soldier walks around randomly, and if you wait for him to come to you, you'll save a few steps. i. Save Points... should you use them? Well, since this is a fewest steps game, I'm not going to. It's highly likely that most of you doing this challenge are using an emulator, and Save States work just as well, but so long as you don't do anything stupid, save points aren't necessary for saving. However, they are useful in that they're the only places outside the world map where you can use Sleeping Bags and Tents. If you're at really low health, that may be worth a few extra steps. They're also useful for changing what enemies you encounter. If you save on a save point, rather than using a save state, you'll often change your random encounters, which is a very handy trick. j. Just so you know, I use the abbreviations "WoB" and "WoR" a lot. WoB means World of Balance, and WoR means World of Ruin. If that gave away some kind of plot spoiler to you that you didn't know about, you really shouldn't be doing this challenge. k. Last, but not least, if your characters are annihilated, you restart from your last save point, but your step count doesn't go down. So, in order to get the lowest number of steps, you can never die. (Another reason to use Save States instead of Save Points.) 2.1. Step Cost -------------- I'm going to be referring a lot in this challenge to "step cost". What I mean by that is the amount of steps you'll have to take away from the most direct route to a required location. For instance, if you're walking through a dungeon, and a treasure chest is two steps away, that will be a step cost of four - two steps to get there, and two steps to get back to where you were. However, if the treasure chest is along the path where you need to go, you have a step cost of zero. Also, I'm obviously only go to write the minimum number of steps required to get something. If it takes you more steps to acquire something than I have written, you're probably doing it wrong, or you're not waiting until a time when you're naturally closer to something (for instance, acquiring Sraphim from the thief in Tzen that walks back and forth). -------------- 3. Walkthrough -------------- 3.1. The Lete River ------------------- I'm going to write this walkthrough in the order that you are likely going to encounter it in the game, with the exception of this one. The Lete River - the river that you travel on as a party of Terra, Edgar, Sabin, and Banon - is the absolute most important part of the challenge. You see, when you're riding the rapids of the Lete River on your trusty raft, you move forward without increasing your step count at all. And, there's a location in the Lete River where you can go in a complete circle as long as you want to. Combine these two facts, and you have found the only place in the game where you can level up to Level 99 without increasing your step count. To find this circle, ride the Lete River as normally. You will go into an underground area with a Save Point. Get back onto your raft, and continue. You will come upon an area of the river where you have the choice between Up and Left. Choose Up. You will go around in a circle and end up at the same fork in the river. You can ride this circle indefinitely, and it's actually quite easy because Banon has a very helpful and unique "Health" ability. With Banon as the healer, and the other three on your raft attacking, you will not die on the raft! Now, if you go to some other FF6 FAQS, you'll find a way to set your game on auto-pilot through the Lete River, levelling up your team automatically. My rule about this is that you're allowed to level up on the Lete River as much as you want, so long as you personally fight every battle. If you get to level 99 on the Lete River because your game was on autopilot for two days, that's not really fair. So how far should you level in the Lete River? I'd say it's almost essential that you stay in the Lete River at least until Sabin learns Fire Dance. The Phantom Train becomes much harder if you don't have a multi-targetting attack. (I mean fighting creatures on the train... fighting the train itself is wimpy.) Plus, by that time, Banon should be over 250 HP, which makes him able to survive an attack of Ultros' Tentacle even if he's in the front row. An extra tip: During this time, Terra will likely learn Drain. She does this naturally at level 12, and when this happens, Sabin's Fire Dance won't be far behind. Since you have no way of actually seeing what level they're at, it's a nice, easy way to know you're getting close. Now, to begin the walkthrough... 3.2. The World of Balance ------------------------- Before you start, plan on who you want to get in the World of Ruin. Celes, Edgar and Setzer are mandatory. Gau is the easiest optional character to get, and can provide good backup, so he's on board. Sabin and Terra can both be acquired in approximately 300 steps each, which is reasonable. Every other character is either farther to get or less useful, so I'm going to assume that these are the only six characters we use in the World of Ruin. (If you use other characters, your strategies may differ. If you've found a better solution for getting through the World of Ruin, by all means, share it.) 3.2.1. It starts... ------------------- As always, you'll be starting with Terra. Walk straight up, avoiding the battle against Lobo on the right (that battle doesn't give enough EXP to be worth it). Kill of Vicks and Wedge by having Terra cast fire on each of them once, and have the soldiers finish the job, using Heal Force on yourself. Now, since your Magitek armor won't let you go anywhere in the town anyways, keep going up. No big advice here, except to have full HP before the fight with the Vomammoths. Bio Blast is best to use on the Narshe Guards and most creatures, since it's the only one of the Magitek attacks Terra has that's multi-targeting (besides Confuser). By going through the first section by herself, Terra will get to level 6. Whelk is slow, boring, and easy if you use the missiles when his head is there. No real strategy here. ** (My step count so far: 118) ** Go to Tritoch, do the cutscene. After you've named Terra, walk straight along your path avoiding all treasure chests (you don't need them). Fall down the hole. 3.2.2. The Thief and the King ----------------------------- After the cutscene, it's Locke and the Moogles! First, switch to Mog's party, and unequip him. Switch back to Locke, equip the MithrilShld on him, and then run down a few steps. Switch back to Mog's team, and move him one step to the right, guarding Terra. You can fight a few battles with the enemies approaching you, but Vomammoth's Blizzard can hurt, and you have very limited healing supplies, so you don't want to take heavy damage. Put Locke in the back row during your random enemy battles, and have him steal from creatures. Use the other three moogles to fight. Kupop (on Locke's team) can also be in the back row, since his weapon does the same damage from either row. Take the shortest route down (when given a choice between left and right, pick right). Once you get to Marshal, don't fight him quite yet. With Mog guarding Terra, you can let a few of the enemies come to you up there. Fighting a few Vomammoth and Lobo teams may give you a few more Tonics, and Mog will learn Dusk Requiem. It's unlikely that you'll ever fight with Mog again, but if you do, that could be handy. Now, in the Marshal battle, Locke can try stealing from him to get a MithrilKnife. If you do, equip him with it mid-battle. Then, just keep fighting (and occasionally healing your forces with your few Tonics when necessary). ** (My step count after this battle: 291) ** Walk down to Figaro castle. If you get into any battles along the way, have Terra cast Fire on all the enemies, while Locke steals or battles. Enter the castle, and press the Up button until you get to Edgar. Once you're controlling Terra by herself in the castle, here are the only things you should do, in this order: #1. Buy Noiseblaster and Bioblaster from the shopkeeper on the right. #2. Buy supplies like tonics and potions from the shopkeeper on the left. (Important: Buy about 10 Softs here, and save them until Kefka's Tower. Yes, it's WoR planning time already!) #3. Visit the tower on the left to view Sabin's cutscene. #4. Talk to Edgar on his throne. #1 and #2 are both technically optional, but this is the absolute best time to buy any tools for Edgar. There's a good chance that these will be the only tools Edgar ever gets, so make it count. (Oh, and for reference, the treasure chests in the Tool Shop contains Tonic, Antidote, and in the item shop, Soft. You decide if they're worth it. I didn't take them.) To visit the tower on the left, you have to walk outside briefly. When you get outside, walk immediately to the left. If you don't, you might get blocked by the guard on the chocobo, and waste two steps walking around him. Talk to the woman in green, and watch Sabin's story. Then, walk back to talk to Edgar. Follow Locke to your room, but don't follow him exactly... he takes two more steps than he needs around the back side of one of the pillars. (If you haven't guessed yet, this is going to be a very precise game. Now you know why it's such a challenge.) After the conversation between Locke and Terra, you'll be controlling Edgar while his castle's on fire. Walk straight up - you don't need to talk to Kefka - and talk to the Chancellor. Then, watch the castle dive, and get ready to fight the two M-TekArmors! This isn't much of a battle, really. Just AutoCrossbow them twice, Steal with Locke, and fight or Fire with Terra, and they're toast. Take your chocobos to the entrance to the South Figaro cave, and jump off of them. Save outside of the cave entrance, but don't heal. ** (My step count so far: 737) ** 3.2.3. Mt. Kolts and the Returners ---------------------------------- After the Recovery Spring, go through the cave, touching nothing. None of the chests are worth going for, and the value of the treasure in the chests increases later anyways. The cave is a good opportunity to give Edgar the MithrilPike you picked up from Mog, and give Locke the MithrilBlade that Edgar had. Upon reaching South Figaro with Terra, Locke, and Edgar, get a Chocobo from the Chocobo Stable. It'll decrease slightly the amount of steps between South Figaro and the entrance into Mt. Kolts. The only shop you may want to visit in South Figaro is the Relic Shop to buy a pair of Sprint Shoes and some Star Pendants to protect against Poison attacks. If you think you can survive without the Star Pendants, don't go to the Relic shop at all. The Returner Hideout sells Sprint Shoes, and you won't need them before then. (NOTE: One of the barrels outside of the Chocobo Stable has a Tonic in it. Trust me, this early in the game you'll need all the free Tonics and Potions you can get.) Now, to scale Mt. Kolts. The best strategy while fighting your way up the mountain is to start out with Edgar using the NoiseBlaster. Every enemy on Mt. Kolts is vulnerable to that, and making the enemies hurt themselves is much better than letting them hurt you. While muddled, Locke can steal from enemies, and Terra can attack enemies that turn around. I wouldn't recommend using Terra's magic too much until the battle with Vargas, as you probably don't have any tinctures, and Terra will likely only have 40-50 MP. The fight against Vargas isn't too hard. Edgar uses Bioblaster or AutoCrossbow, Terra heals the party or fights occasionally, and Locke fights and supplies Tonics when needed. (Don't bother stealing during the fight.) Once Sabin comes, do Pummel, and the battle's over. (On a side note, how come Sabin doesn't get to learn that Blizzard Fist attack?) ** (My step count so far: 1216) ** Go into the cave, skip the chest (it's a Tent), and walk down the stairs and out. Then, head up to the Returner's Hideout. At this point, my character levels were Terra at 9, Edgar and Locke at 10, and Sabin at 11. NOTE: In most places, when there's a long cutscene, the party is restored to full health. In the Returner Hideout, this is not quite the case. If a party member is in bad health when he/she walked in, that character will go to full health either on the Lete River or, in the case of Locke, at the beginning of his scenario. However, if a character is wounded (0 HP), he/she will stay that way unless revived before going down the Lete River. (Locke is an exception, since he starts his scenario with full health whether he was wounded when he came in or not.) Walk inside. A Returner will guide you much of the way. Walk up to the door, then go inside and down to Banon. (The treasure chest only contains a Potion.) After the conversation, you'll be controlling Terra by herself again. Here, you have several points to cover before you're allowed to continue: 1. Talk to Locke. Talk as normal. The chest near him contains a Fenix Down, which is probably worth getting since it only costs 2 steps. 2. Talk to Sabin. Walk over to him, and after talking to him, walk one step down. This is one of the most conveniently placed shops in the entire game. Here you can buy what is likely your first relic, Sprint Shoes. You can also stock up on much-needed Tonics and Potions. I bought a lot of Tonics, a few Potions, a Sleeping Bag, and the Sprint Shoes. You have to be careful when wearing Sprint Shoes, since it's easier to make unnecessary steps when you have them on, but they're still very helpful. 3. Talk to Edgar. Edgar is walking around, which means that eventually, he'll walk to you. Take a few steps out (you'll probably want to go past the table) and wait for him to come to you. 4. Talk to Banon. When he asks if you're going to be the ray of hope, you can say yes, however this is a great opportunity to get a powerful relic, the Genji Glove. Talk to Banon three times, and each time he asks you his question, say no. It takes 14 extra steps, but an early Genji Glove is very nice to have. If you decide NOT to get the Genji Glove and say yes to Banon instead, he'll give you a Gauntlet. While not as nice of a relic early on, it makes for a great relic if you bet it at the Colosseum much later on for a Thunder Shld. (I took the Genji Glove, but later wished I had taken the Gauntlet instead, as Genji Glove gathered dust most of the time.) After this, the cutscene begins. 3.2.4. Three groups are Better than One --------------------------------------- So, yadda yadda, Locke leaves the party, yadda yadda, it's the Lete River! Lest you've forgotten, I have a special section for this very important place right above. Put shortly, put Banon - and anyone else - in the back row, and go around and around and around some more. You can go around as much as you want. I'm going to stop as soon as Banon's HP hits 250 and Sabin learns Fire Dance, to prove that the challenge can be done even from lower levels. (I recommend you get Sabin to at least level 16, as leaving the river from level 15 led to some close calls later on in my characters' HP.) After the Lete River trick (and believe me, it gets very boring), you get forced onto a Save Point. This is the first Save Point you've ever been forced onto, incidentally. Save. ** (My step count at save point: 1474) ** At the point where you have to choose between three scenarios, I'd recommend leaving Locke until last. Locke will feel quite underleveled when going through his challenge, and if you do the other two challenges first, Celes will start with a higher level. As for the other two challenges, you can choose whatever order you like to do them. 3.2.5. You Have a Train to Catch -------------------------------- I'm going to be different than other challenges and start with Sabin's scenario. Right off the bat, you have a choice. Do you take Shadow along or not? Well, it honestly makes very little difference. The enemies here give very little EXP, and at most, Sabin will only gain a single level. On the Phantom Train, you can bring a ghost along to fight most of the battle, and you have Fire Dance, so that's not a big deal. You can choose either, but I'm going to leave him behind. However, I'm still going to the house. Why? Because there's a merchant riding a Chocobo, that's why! When you get to the house, take one step to the right, and he'll come right to you after a few seconds. Now, you should have earned plenty of GP from fighting for so long on the Lete River, so stock up on Plumed Hats, a pair of Sprint Shoes (if you didn't buy one at the Returner's Hideout), a few Tents, and Tonics. I'd also advise you to get 15-20 Shurikens... you might want them in future battles with Shadow (even if you're not bringing him now). Now, walk down to the Imperial Camp. I'd save frequently walking long distances on the world map, as you might waste a few valuable steps walking into mountains and not cutting corners when you can. Once you get to the camp, watch the cutscene until it's time for Cyan to fight. Go straight towards the Leader and fight him. (Don't bother fighting any of the soldiers around, since they don't give EXP.) Fight the Leader, but if you don't receive a Black Belt at the end of the fight, go back to your last save point and restart. Winning a relic like a Black Belt is too good to miss. Back to Sabin. The tent on the right contains a Star Pendant, and the one on the left contains nothing. Don't bother with either, and walk straight down. Watch the cutscenes, until it comes time to attack Kefka. Fight him, fight him again, then equip the Black Belt. There's a tent with a MithrilGlove and Telstar in it in the upper left at a cost of 28 steps. The Telstar, if defeated, gives a Green Beret. If those items are worth the step cost, go ahead and take them, but either way, fight Kefka's soldiers (use Fire Dance). Kefka poisons the water, and it's Cyan's turn again. Go to the king, then walk to the room on the right of the King's room, so Cyan can see his family. Cyan will go psycho - little in-joke there - and desire immediate revenge. He starts fighting Kefka's troops, and Sabin comes to help. (Word of advice... talk to Cyan from his side here, not his face.) Fight, fight, fight, and then it's time for the Magitek suits once more. Use them to heal up while battling (you'll probably need it). There will be three battles with the Magitek suits, and then you've finished off the Imperial Base. Time to head to the Phantom Forest! ** (My step count on the world map at this point: 1707) ** The Phantom Forest has a recovery spring near the beginning of it, so there's no need to heal up before going in (unless you hadn't been using Heal Beam while in the Magitek Armor suits). Walk through the forest, following the arrows, and go straight on the train. Walk in, then after the conversation, walk back to the door. You won't be able to get out, so go left. Now, you're going to see a lot of ghosts wandering through the train, and if you brought enough potions and tonics with you to heal afterwards, they will give you extra EXP. So, you actually WANT to fight these guys! The ghost to the farthest left in the first car will want to go with you if you ask it. Because the EXP you learn on the train is so minimal, go ahead and let it join you. It's helpful to have another target for Hazer to cast Drain on - Drain works in reverse against undead creatures - and if Whisper's Demi targets them instead, that's better, right? Thought so. Keep walking left. Out the first car, into the second one. The first ghost here will also want to come with you, and if you didn't bring Shadow, you can bring it too. (My party at this point is Sabin, Cyan, and two ghosts. My step count is 1874.) The second ghost on this car acts as a merchant, selling Tonics, Potions, Antidotes, Green Cherries, etc. The last ghost on the train also wants to come with you (but you likely have four party members by now). Out of the second car, into the third. Take two steps in, and then walk back out. A ghost will block your path, so fight it, then watch. Go up the ladder, and watch Sabin pretend to be a kangaroo or something. Into the fifth car (you can't enter the fourth one), you detach the rear cars. Then, go back in, hit the same switch, and move forward. Yay, more ghosts to glean EXP from! Save if necessary at the point, fight some ghosts. One of the ghosts here will want to come with you as well. Out of the fifth car, into the si... WAIT! You don't need to go into the sixth car. It's only the dining car, where you get HP/MP restored. It's a great place normally, but isn't worth it for us here, so go around it. Now, you may want to enter this car from the back, because there's a chest with Earrings in it. It's only 10 steps out of your way, and if you equip it on Sabin right now, it'll make Sabin's magical attacks (Fire Dance, Aurabolt, etc.) even stronger! Now for the seventh car. Don't go in - instead, go up one ladder and down the other, since that's a shorter number of steps. (Inside, there's just that useless treasure chest that Sigfried steals the contents of. Boring.) The eighth car is harder to pass up, as it contains Sniper Sight, two Fenix Downs, and if you fight the Monster-in-a-Box, a Hyper Wrist. Plus, there are several Ghosts to fight for extra EXP, and it's only 28 extra steps to get all of this. I decided it was worth it, and went inside. (Just don't go in the first cabin... there's nothing in there.) NOTE: Any ghosts in your party leave after this eighth car, so you should use them to Possess things before that point. The ninth car only contains a save point, so you can skip it and go straight to the train's engine. Hit the first and third switch inside, and then go on the top of the train. The wimpy boss battle starts, which can be easily won with a Fenix Down. After the sad scene with Cyan, you control Sabin for a short time. Don't move around at all. It's just a waste of steps, and the scene will fade to black no matter what you do, so you might as well stand there and look at the big clock. Ooh... clock. Leave the forest, walk to the waterfall. Unequip Shadow, if you brought him, and jump off the waterfall, using Fire Dance and Quadra Slam all the way down. (The nice thing about Fire Dance is that it's a long attack, giving Cyan a chance to charge up his Quadra Slam.) Wash up at the bottom, and get discovered by Gau. ** (My step count on the world map at this point: 2162) ** 3.2.6. We Meet the Wild Child ----------------------------- Welcome to the Veldt! To continue, Gau must join your party, but for him to do that, you need Dried Meat, so go to the town of Mobliz. This is one of the few times when going to a shop is required as a plot point, so don't waste that fact... while you're in the Item Shop, stock up on anything you need. One thing to mention is that Dried Meat is 50% of the price of a Potion, but gives 60% of the HP that a Potion does, making it slightly better value. I suggest buying quite a few Dried Meats. It's time to get Gau. Start walking down towards Crescent Mountain. Now, I'm a big fan of Gau because of how multi-functional he is, but in this challenge, there's a problem: Gau can't acquire new attacks without increasing the number of steps you've taken. Thus, the nine rages he has by default when you first get him are likely all you're going to get. Of course, if you really want Gau to have more attacks, there is a technique listed in Gau's character guide (Section 5.1.) that gives a strategy of how to get a few more rages without increasing his steps, but for the rest of this challenge, I'm going to assume that you only have his nine basic rages, which are Brawler, Whisper, Were-Rat, Rhinotaur, Lobo, Hornet, Trilobiter, Exocite, and M-TekArmor. So... battle some creatures, feed Gau Dried Meat, and once you've got him, equip him with anything you have left that he can wear. Continue to Crescent Mountain. Go inside the cave. Before going any farther, heal up completely; once you find the diving helmet, you'll have 5-7 battles in a row. Take the shortest route to find the helmet, and then dive into the Serpent's Trench. In the water, there will be two opportunities where you have to choose between left and right. Go left both times... if you go right, you'll have to take extra steps. If you're fighting Anguiforms, have Gau use Exocite, since it absorbs Aqua Rake. Use Sabin's Blitzes (yes, more Fire Dance), and use Cyan for Potions and Dried Meats when necessary. When Aspiks come up, you may want Gau to use Rhinotaur, since it will absorb Giga Volt. The key to surviving the underwater journey is to keep everyone in top health, since Giga Volt has enough power to kill one of your party members. Once you arrive on the docks, unequip everyone of all relics, and remove any armour or weapons that can be equipped on Locke, Terra, Edgar, or Celes. For instance, all of the shields you have so far can be used on those characters, but Sabin's MetalKnuckles and Cyan's Ashura are for one person only, so those characters can keep them. (With so few shields and armour to go around, you're going to need to share.) Go straight to the boat, and sail off. ** (My step count at Mog's save point: 2401) ** 3.2.7. A Very Short Trip ------------------------ With Terra, Edgar and Banon... there's really not much to say. Take the shortest route possible once you get onto dry land. In Narshe, go directly to the hidden tunnel on the left. Walk through the caves, go through the checkpoint EXACTLY. You'll come to a point where you have to choose between two directions... either go through the door that leads to the Moogles, or go around it. The way through the Moogles takes about 70 more steps than the other way, but you get the Rune Edge. If that's worth it to you, go ahead, but I didn't think it was worth it, so I skipped it. (NOTE: Terra was around 800 EXP points from gaining a level on my game, so I killed Edgar while on the raft and fought with only Terra and Banon... that was enough to increase her level. You can decide in your own game if a tactic like that is worth it. It's probably not that valuable for Terra, since her level will be recalculated after the first battle with Kefka, but if Edgar is that close to levelling, you should consider it.) Other than that... yeah. This is the shortest of the three scenarios by far. ** (My step count at Mog's save point: 2749) ** 3.2.8. Rescuing an Imperial Spy ------------------------------- Last, but not least, Locke's scenario. First, walk up several sets of stairs to the Item Shop. Steal clothes from the Merchant (recieving a Plumed Hat as well), then stop at the shop to see if you need to buy anything. Then, down one set of stairs to the old man's house, and walk past the kid. Out the door, walk up, take the right side path. At a step cost of 14, you can visit the armor shop. At a step cost of 32, you can visit the armor shop and weapon shop. The only things these shops have in them you might want are the RegalCutlass, Heavy Shld, Cotton Robe, and Kung Fu Suit. I decided to only visit the armor shop. Go up the steps to the right of the armor shop, then turn left and walk the long path. You need to take the clothes from the green soldier. Walk until you see him, and then stop. He'll eventually come to you. Fight him, and steal. Walk back the way you came. Down the stairs, towards the old man's house. Go left in front of the water wheel, then back up and left. Talk to the soldier standing in front of the two on Magitek Armor... he'll take a break. Take the Green Cherry from one of the boxes (you don't use up any steps to get it, so why not?) and go to the cafe. There's an annoying soldier in the cafe that almost always blocks the shortest path, so be patient and wait for him to get out of your way, then walk down the set of stairs to the basement where the man with cider is. Steal his clothes. Retrace your steps back to the old man's house. Pass by the little boy, talk to the old man. Go back down, say "Courage", and take the secret passage. (The clock in the room you get to has an Elixir with a step cost of 6. I took it, and you'll find out why later.) Walk out the door and around to the front door. There's a Fenix Down in one of the barrels with a step cost of 2, if you want it. Go into the house, up the steps, into the first room, and behind the bookcase. Down the steps, change clothes (or not, it doesn't matter in the least). ** (My step count at the change-clothes point: 3361) ** Now, before going to save Celes, you have a choice. If you keep walking straight forward, there's a hole in the wall. You can go downstairs and get another HyperWrist (in the first cell) and RunningShoes (in the second cell) at a step cost of 52. I got them. The reason I did so is because of the RunningShoes... if you don't get them now, you're going to be buying them later in the game, because they're the absolute best way to fight the Tentacles in the WoR, and they're expensive items. (NOTE: Much later in the WoB, you CAN buy RunningShoes in Narshe at a step cost of only 12. You could probably do that instead and save some steps, but you'll have less money later for Fenix Downs and other valuable items.) So, now save Celes. Once you've got her, take the clock key, and get out of there. Equip her, and go through the third door. Inside, you can get 1500 GP without taking a single step out of your way, and 1500 GP more with a step cost of 4. Wind the clock, then go back to the new door. Inside, you'll finally start to fight some creatures. At the first intersection, go right. At the next intersection, go down (even though it doesn't look like you can). At the next intersection, keep going down. At the next one, turn right, and follow the pathway outside. (Yes, there are treasures down here... but you have enough to sustain you.) Out of South Figaro, over to the cave. Through the cave, don't get any of the treasures... the only one remotely useful is the Thunder Rod, and it's too far away to be worth it in my opinion. You don't really need the Recovery Spring either, you should get more than enough healing through Celes' Cure before you fight TunnelArmr (and she gets MP back from Runic during that battle). The TunnelArmr battle goes as it always has... Celes using Runic, Locke fighting (and trying to Steal its Air Lancet). No problem. Watch the lengthy cutscene. At the end, you'll be controlling Terra on top of the mountain. ** (My step count at this point: 3680) ** 3.2.9. Battle with Kefka and beyond ----------------------------------- It's time for the battle with Kefka, and there are a lot of different options on what party you want heading down to fight Kefka. However, to save steps, don't equip your party members before the battle. Let them keep whatever they have on them. Walk one step up and talk to Banon, then choose your 3 parties. I decided to put Terra, Celes, Locke, and Gau in one party, Edgar and Cyan in the second party, and Sabin by himself in the third. The first party is, obviously, the one I planned to take to fight Kefka. Once the battle started, THAT'S when I equipped the party members with any weapons, armour, or relics that they needed, since switching between parties at that point didn't cost any steps. (Note: I realized later on that putting Terra in the team was pretty much a waste of EXP. Terra leaves right after this battle, and when she returns to your side, her level is recalculated.) However you choose your parties, once the battle starts, take the first party down through the left opening, equip them however you want, then switch to the second party. Take the second party and walk them to the opening, blocking the path you just walked through. Equip them with anything that's left, then take the third party, and block the other path. This is just to be safe... if an enemy is in an adjacent square to one of your parties, a battle will automatically start, and you may need that party there to defend Banon. (Note: Whatever equipment Terra is using after the battle with Kefka's over, that's the equipment she'll fly off with, so make sure you're prepared to part with any equipment she has on when she leaves.) Take the first party down, taking the most direct route to the bottom. I didn't worry about avoiding enemies, since I had plenty of Potions and Tonics, not to mention the fact that both Terra and Celes were in my party, ready to use Cure. The battles all the way down had Terra using Fire a lot, Celes using Ice or Cure, Locke fighting, and Gau using Rhinotaur or Brawler. When fighting Fidor near the bottom, I had Locke steal the Mithril Vest he had. I cured in between battles when I needed it. (In one of the battles, I made the mistake of giving curing the whole party while Gau was using the Whisper Rage. Don't do that.) Then came the fight with Kefka, which was similar to any other battle, just longer. Locke stole Kefka's Elixir (which will come in handy later). Terra used a lot of Fire. Celes (who I gave the Mithril Vest that Locke stole) used Runic to absorb Kefka's magic spells, but timed it so that it didn't catch Terra's Fire instead. Gau used Rhinotaur, but probably would have been safer with Brawler, since it absorbs Poison. If I'd had Edgar, Sabin, or Cyan with me, I'd have mostly used their special skills. After the battle's done, watch Terra go berserk. Then, it's time to choose a party to use to go down to Zozo. Of the six characters you have, who do you choose? Well, Cyan's out... I don't plan on using him for the rest of the entire game... whenever possible, I'm going to try to give EXP to characters I plan on using in the WoR. I DO, however, want to use Celes, Sabin, Edgar, and Gau in the WoR, so those would be good candidates to bring along. But what about Locke, you ask? Well, as you might have noticed, Locke has the lowest level of any character you currently have. This is a fact that I can use to my advantage later in the game. However, if you want to take Locke instead of Gau (who is severely handicapped with only having nine Rages), go ahead. So, Locke gets out of bed, you watch the cutscene, and then it's time to choose characters. First of all, choose the two characters that you DON'T plan on bringing along, which in my case is Locke and Cyan. Unequip them of everything. Now, choose the four characters that you do want to bring. (Oh, and yes, you could also use a party of three or less and get Shadow in Kohlingen in a normal game... but that would be several steps out of your way, and is totally unnecessary for finishing the challenge.) Head to the door. If you've been itching to get the Elixir in that clock, this is as close as you'll ever get to it - a step cost of only 6. I got it, since I need some Elixirs later in the Colosseum (Marvel Shoes = good). Once outside, there's one detour you may want to make before heading down those stairs. On the right hand side, there is a house with many treasures in it, all of them useful to your cause. There's a Sneak Ring, Wall Ring, Earrings, a ThiefKnife, a HyperWrist, and 5000 GP. The step cost is 85 steps, and that's pretty high, but the combined value of those treasures is worth it. The ThiefKnife allows lock to attack and steal at the same time (with the Sneak Ring increasing its effectiveness), the Wall Ring makes Zozo and beyond a lot simpler, and... well, everything in that room rocks. Back out, down the stairs. I didn't stop at any other shops in Narshe. If you wanted, you could visit the Armor shop near Arvis' house before going to that treasure house, but I didn't. ** (My step count on the world map at this point: 3884) ** Go down to Figaro Castle. Walk in the first set of doors, and immediately turn left. Even if you want to stop inside Figaro Castle for whatever reason (buying Tools for Edgar, perhaps), if you have Edgar and Sabin in your party and you walk through the second set of doors, you'll be subjected to a cutscene involving Edgar and Sabin, and while it's charming, you'll waste a lot of steps for no useful purpose. When Figaro Castle comes from the sand the first time, the natural impulse is to immediately go down towards Jidoor, but that's not the shortest route. Instead, go up and left towards the house of the old man that's about to build the Colusseum. If you wish, go inside the house, go to the pot on the left, and pick up the hidden Hero Ring (I did this). Continue up to the forest in the NW. There's a Chocobo Stable in there, and you can take a LOOONG voyage down past Jidoor up to Zozo. ** (My step count before entering Zozo: 4069) ** 3.2.10. In Zozo --------------- Enter Zozo. One strategy here is to get yourself as close as possible to a level up on your characters, without going over. This way, you'll be able to give them immediate Esper bonuses once you start heading towards the Opera House. Zozo Strategy: If you're up against Gabbledegaks, have Edgar use Noiseblaster on them. Hopefully they will cast Vanish on your party, protecting you from all physical attacks. If you have Gau, in your first battle cast Whisper or Hornet on him so that he'll be immune to Magnitude8 from any HadesGigas you encounter Give Celes the Wall Ring as soon as possible (Celes can be Vanished with it on). Give Sabin the Hero Ring, and if you come up against HadesGigas, have him Aurabolt for huge damage. Keep in mind that if Celes uses Cure, it removes the Vanish status. If you come up against SlamDancer, have Celes Runic, and have Gau use Brawler. Go immediately in the door with the Relic Shop sign. If you want to get the Chain Saw for Edgar, it's a step cost of 86. I rarely use Chain Saw, so I didn't go for it. Follow the hallway through the building, then outside again. (Walking through Zozo is pretty straight forward.) Walk into the building with the many people walking down the hall, single file. When you get outside again, you'll come to a place where a door is already open, and you can jump between buildings. Do that, then again, then walk into the other open door. Once inside, do NOT go into your first hallway on the left... go down the second one instead (the entrance is somewhat hidden). Once through, walk down again (the pots on the other side contain nothing). Up the stairs, then jump between buildings again. Inside the building, you will climb a lot of stairs, and then outside, you'll climb even more stairs. Just before fighting Dadaluma, there is a door with a treasure chest inside. The treasure chest contains Fire Knuckles, which I suggest you take, as they'll probably be the first weapon upgrade Sabin's received since you got him, and for me, were the LAST weapon upgrade he got as well. Now for Dadaluma, who really isn't that hard as long as all four of your characters are alive. Use Celes to Imp him (yes, he can be Imped). Then, just use your strongest attacks on him. He's not immune to any elements and the Iron Fists he calls never last very long. ** (My step count before after fighting Dadaluma: 4346) ** Walk in, see Terra. Ramuh will explain his story, and give himself up as an Esper. Now, Ramuh doesn't take any steps to receive, but the other three Espers have a step cost of 8. Obviously, that's a step cost that's totally worth it (if only for Kirin alone). Get your Espers, then go back down and talk to your friends. But, before you do, you have to decide who you're taking with you to the Opera House and Vector. Locke and Celes are forced, Cyan's still useless, so it's either Edgar, Sabin, or Gau who gets the boot. I decided on Edgar and Sabin. Talk to your friends, and then it's time to leave Zozo. I reequipped Locke, and then gave each of them Magicite. Celes was very close to gaining a level, so I was sure not to give her Kirin, which doesn't give an Esper bonus. Then, it was time to walk back down to Jidoor. Now, you're forced to have Locke in your party, but notice that he's also at a low level? This means he'll gain levels faster than everyone else for a while. Use this fact to your advantage when giving him espers in the WoB. When you reach Jidoor, walk up to the big house at the top of the map. Along the way, you'll pass a weapon shop. To shop there is a step cost of 16, and except for a Full Moon, there's nothing useful there. Walk up the most direct route you can, up the stairs, and into the house. Talk to the Impressario, name Setzer, walk back out again. When you're near the stairs, taking two steps left and walking the rest of the way straight down is the shortest path. Don't leave the town, though... when you're close to the bottom, there will be a Chocobo stable. Take a Chocobo down to the Opera house. ** (My step count on the world map outside the Opera House: 4596) ** 3.2.11. Sing, Sing a Song ------------------------- NOTE: Now's the time to start consulting Section 5.4. of this manual so that your characters can start learning magic that they need for later. Enter the Opera House. Go through the whole opera set-up, and control Locke. Now's a good time to give him Sprint Shoes. An interesting thing about the walkway on the right is that it's one of the few flat places where you step diagonally (as though you were walking on stairs). Out, down, and around to Celes' room. Go through the conversation. Check the score one last time, if you want (it doesn't cost any steps), then walk out the door. During the Opera Scene, even though you can't see your step count rise, it still does, so you still want to take as few steps as possible. The only time this is any issue is when you have to follow the lead of Draco. Wait until he stops moving before you start moving, so that you don't use any unnecessary steps. Back to Locke. Read the letter, and go back to the Impressario. Walk through the chairs to the room on the top right, hit the far right switch, then back past the chairs and up to the room on the top left. There's no real trick here, so long as you take the route that looks the shortest, you'll have the shortest number of steps possible. Now, in the room with the rats, unless you're specifically running out of time, don't avoid any of the rats (EXP, remember). Hit the yellow rats first, then the grey ones. Even though the yellow rats can call more grey rats to replace the ones you kill, you don't get any EXP for fighting a larger number of rats each battle. Up to Ultros. Before going into this battle, it's handy to give one of them Kirin, and cast it at the beginning of the battle for extra healing during the battle (if Gau's with you, don't use the Whisper rage). In this battle, Locke's pretty much useless (Ultros has nothing to steal), so use him for any extra healing that Kirin doesn't provide. Aurabolt and AutoCrossbow or BioBlaster should do the trick (unless you don't have any Green Cherries to counter-act Imp Song). Watch the rest of the show. Talk to Setzer, fly to Vector. Once you land, change your Espers around if you wish, and reequip Celes. There's a town nearby, but the item shop is a step cost of 30, and everything else is even farther, so I didn't go. Remove the Sprint Shoes from Locke. Walk up to Vector. Go to your right and up to the old man that distracts the guards. Get up on the box, and past the guards. Now, don't follow the train tracks exactly, but cut the corners instead. Go up when the train tracks end. ** (My step count at the building entrance: 5092) ** 3.2.12. Conveyor Belts Are Better Than Walking, I Guess ------------------------------------------------------- You're inside the building. If you run into Pipsqueaks, have Edgar Noiseblaster them to make them even easier to defeat (I love it when they cast Quartr on themselves). Against ProtoArmors, Aurabolt is best. Go down both sets of stairs. You'll come upon some tubes. The shortest way is to go down, then down the set of stairs to end up at the tube with the ladder that goes to the level below. However, if you take the tube to the left and above you, you'll go down a conveyor belt to an area with a chest that contains a Flame Sabre. Take the swinging hook across and walk to that tube with the ladder going down, and the trip for that Flame Sabre is only 12 extra steps. If you want extra "firepower", it's not a bad way to go. I took it. (FYI, the chest near the ladder you take the bottom level only has a Tincture in it.) Down the ladder, onto the conveyor belt. You end up near another treasure chest that contains an X-Potion. It's only a step cost of 6, but I didn't take it. Across the conveyor belt, and yet another treasure chest with a step cost of 6. It contains a ThunderBlade, which I also took. Without these two blades, I could have saved 18 steps, but it seems worth it. Even if you only take the ThunderBlade, it gives you a great weapon against most mechanical monsters. (The chest below that near the next conveyor belt contains a Remedy.) Down the last conveyor belt to Ifrit and Shiva. Get healed up. If one of your party members has an elemental weapon, DON'T give them the Black Belt relic. Walk over to Ifrit to start the battle. Have one of your party members cast Kirin at the battle's beginning for a little extra healing. Since you start out against a fire-elemental, you want to use ice, right? Well, Celes is the only one with ice powers, so she's the only one who can do real damage to Ifrit. Have her use ice a lot, and everyone else do healing. Ifrit and Shiva both have nothing to Steal, so Locke's special is useless, and he should carry an unelemental weapon. Edgar's biggest damage to Ifrit is AutoCrossbow, and Sabin's is Pummel, since Suplex will miss. Celes should do Runic or Cure when Shiva's onscreen. Once you finish the battle, if you want both Espers (which you should), talk to Shiva first. Then walk back to Ifrit, and take the Esper. Then, walk to the room above and save at the save point. Yes, even if you're using an emulator, it is in your best interest to save at this save point. Walk back out, take Shiva's Esper, and go to the right door. Up the many stairs, cutting corners on the stairs (if you do it once, you'll understand what I mean). If you encounter Trapper, it casts L.4 Flare and L.5 Doom, so beware... if Locke happens to be at Level 13, or any other member at level 17, that would be very good. Edgar's Noiseblaster plus Sabin's AuraBolt works beautifully on them. If you encounter a General, Locke can steal a MithrilShld from them. Once up the stairs, you'll enter another room. Cross it... this is your only chance to run into a Rhinox. If you do, Locke should try stealing from him. If successful, you may receive Flash, one of Edgar's tools (and one that you probably won't get in any other way). If you didn't get the Flash, reset the game, and start from the save you made in the room below. If you only save stated before entering this room, and didn't run into a Rhinox the first time around, you won't run into one this time either, and if you want Flash, you're going to have to just walk around the room wasting steps until you get it. After this room is the room containing Number 024. This guy is very easy because Celes can Imp him! Yep, he becomes almost as easy as Dadaluma. Just make sure everyone's healed up, because his punches still pack a wallop. Locke can steal a Rune Edge from him (or if you're very fortunate, a Drainer), Sabin should AuraBolt, Celes should Cure, and I used Edgar for backup healing. Kirin's Regen helped. When you win, you'll receive Blizzard. ** (My step count after this battle: 5335) ** NOTE: We're already over half of the number of steps required to finish the game. Crazy, huh? Just goes to prove how non-linear the WoR is. Anyways... Into the room with six more Espers. Unequip Celes of everything... since she's going to be leaving the party, feel free to use her Cure magic freely to heal up the party to full strength. Follow the rest of the story down to just before the mine cart sequence. Preparing for this mine cart sequence is important. So, battle strategy: against purple Mag Roaders, use Fire Knuckles, Flame Sabre, and Fire. Against red ones, use the Blizzard you won from Number 024, NoiseBlaster, and Ice. As for Espers, you want to equip Espers that will benefit from large amounts of Magic Points given, but also have value during this battle. I chose Phantom (to make the mine cart ride easier), Maduin, and Kirin (someone needs to have Cure magic). Make sure Edgar's the one with Phantom. At the battle with Number 128, Sabin's Fire Dance works well. Cast Phantom for some added physical protection. Don't use Ice on anything, it'll be absorbed. Edgar's Flash is nice, and Locke will probably be stuck healing and doing minor damage. At the end of the mine cart sequence, you walk down the track to Setzer. Change your Espers around if necessary, and save at the save point. That's right, do not Save State. Your next major battle is against the Cranes. The right crane has a Debilitator, and this is the only good place for Edgar to receive that weapon. You'll be fighting the two cranes next. I don't know the best way to defeat them, but do it quickly so that the cranes don't charge each other up. Also, the right crane has a Debilitator that Locke can steal. This is the fifth and final tool that Edgar can get easily, and this is the only convenient place to get it. If you steal from the right crane and get a Potion, restart from your last save... not your last save point, your last save. You won't be able to get the Debilitator unless you do. Unfortunately, I was well past this point before I realized my mistake, so I don't have the Debilitator. :( AuraBolt against the cranes is devastating as always, Setzer's slots were better than any physical damage he could give. Gau, if you have him, absorbs Bolt with Rhinotaur, but this rage isn't a good idea because it will also charge the cranes. There's not much to say here that hasn't already been said in countless other FAQs. Now, it's back to see Terra and bring her back on the team! But first, you have to go through the backstory of how Terra came to be born. And YES, every step you make during this story counts to your step count as well (I know, it's not fair): Segment 1: Walk out your cave and up to Madonna. Segment 2: Walk up to Madonna in bed. Segment 3: Walk out your cave, through the entrance Madonna came from, and up. Segment 4: Talk to the Elder about the magic barrier. Then, try to walk out the door after him. Get in the argument, Madonna will leave. Walk out the cave, to the left as far as you can go, down, around, and up to where the Elder is, but don't talk to him. Continue into the cave and up the walkway. After a brief sequence in that upper room, you'll be back on the airship. ** (My step count here: 5600) ** Land outside Narshe. Walk straight up, and you'll be escorted to a house. There will be a short conversation, and then it will be decided that Terra should go to the Espers to make them understand. Leave the house. On your way out, you'll pass the entrance to a Relic Shop that is only a step cost of 12. Stop in here and buy some Wall Rings and, if you can afford it, some Black Belts or Earrings. Also, this is a good opportunity to sell Cyan's Ashura. Buy RunningShoes if you don't already have them. There's a weapon shop that's also a step cost of 12. I didn't go in, because the only useful long-term weapon would be Morning Star. Get in the airship, but before flying anywhere, go into the airship to change party members. Remember, you need to change your party to include Terra. When you walk past the man who unequip party members, unequip all of them. Since you're forced to change your party around, you might as well start off fresh. The other characters are walking around, so take three steps forward and wait until they come to you (it'll probably be Gau who gets near you first). So, who to pick for your new party? Well, obviously not Cyan. Locke's Steal has no real use in here, and he's not going to the WoR, so he's out. Terra HAS to go in, so there are three spots left and four characters, all of which you're going to use in the WoR. Which to choose for the Cave of the Sealed Gate: Edgar - BioBlaster doesn't work against most creatures here, but Flash is quite effective in here, and NoiseBlaster isn't losing its effectiveness in avoiding confrontation. Sabin - Fire Dance is virtually useless where we're going, but AuraBolt is wonderful. Isn't as dependent on magic spells as other characters at this point, so doesn't really need the Espers. Gau - Hasn't gotten the opportunity to learn any magic, which would be helpful. You'd think his Whisper Rage would be good against Ing's Lifeshaver, but it's not. Setzer - You haven't gotten to fight with him much, so he could use the opportunity to learn some magic skills. I decided that Sabin had had enough action, and chose Terra, Edgar, Gau, and Setzer. Fly your airship as close as possible to the entrance to the Imperial Base that leads to the Cave of the Sealed Gate (it will soon become the Floating Continent). Save. ** (My step count on the world map outside the Imperial Base: 5736) ** 3.2.13. Sealed Gate ------------------- Walk into the Imperial camp, up the stairs, over, down the stairs, and on. Enter the cave. You will want to do a LOT of healing in this cave, trust me. Wall Rings are good against the Lichs in the first room, but not much else. Setzer's Lagomorph is passable healing (it ignores Reflect Status). Edgar's Flash and Noiseblaster are constant helpers (make the Ings cast Lifeshaver on each other). Terra's Fire magic is pretty useless, so get her learning some other magic quick (Rasp and Osmose, perhaps?). Gau doesn't have any great rages here, but I brought him so he could learn Bismarck for later (and Whisper's pretty good against Zombones). Of course, learn as much magic as you possibly can, and take advantage of Esper bonuses, you'll need them. I especially recommend you give Terra Shiva as much as you can, since the Ice spells will be very valuable later (not to mention learning Rasp and Osmose). The first room's treasure chest contains Assassin, which is a decent knife normally, but you'll get so little use out of it, you might as well skip it. In the next room, a treasure chest has Tempest, but that only helps Cyan, so skip it. The next room has two chests with Coin Toss and X-Potion. I normally don't mind Coin Toss, but here you're fighting so few battles that you don't want to lose any GP, so I skipped both chests. I'm sure you can figure out the shortest route here (it's a path in the general shape of the letter Z). (Note: If you decide to get Coin Toss, it'll become exceedingly useful on Kefka's Tower. Since you have to do the entire tower in one journey, and you'll be earning mountains of GP along the way, there's nothing else to use your money on, and it does decent damage on multiple targets.) Now, this room is long and windy and really annoying to describe accurately in an FAQ. First, go down instead of right (there's only an Ether chest at the end of the path to the right). You'll pass through a short tunnel, and then you have two choices again. Choose the stairs to the bottom. Walk up the stairs, across the walkway - don't pull that switch! - and across toward the second bridge. If it really interests you, see those two switches close together? Well, one of them starts a Ninja battle. You don't get any items for it, but if you're successful, walking one step down, then one step up and hitting the switch again starts another battle, so it's potentially a low-step place to get more EXP (although hardly worth it). If you do decide to do a couple of battles this way, Gau's Rhinotaur is definitely your friend against the Bolt Edges. Anyways, walk across the bridge, pull that switch and walk down the long stairs, then walk over to the tunnel. ** (My step count at tunnel entrance: 5954) ** Once at the other end of the tunnel, skip the chest (Elixir, step cost 8). Walk over to the foot switches, but don't step on any of them. Take the bridge going south. Now, to your left there is a hidden room containing two Magicite, an Ether, and the Atma Weapon. Do you go for it? Well, the step cost is 65, for starters. I very rarely use the Magicite items, so by themselves, they're not worth it, and neither is the Ether. But the Atma Weapon? Could I possibly pass that up? Well, yes, I could. See, the Atma Weapon's power is determined by the level of the person using it, and since we won't be doing any levelling up beyond what happens naturally on our journey, the Atma Weapon will never be that powerful. Someone who knows all the math behind each weapon might prove me wrong, but I don't think it's worth it. Sorry. (And, anyway, if you miss having Magicite, Setzer's slots can do the same thing if you get 3 BARs.) So, across the bridge, up the bridge, hit the switch, across the bridge, up the stairs (avoiding the switch), across the L-shaped bridge. The chest above is Magicite, step cost 10, which I avoided. Into the tunnel. The next room, thankfully, is NOT a maze. Take the obvious route up. ** (My step count at cave entrance: 6069) ** Watch the cutscene, fight the pre-scripted battle, then walk out again. Retrace your steps (a second chance to decide if you want Assassin), and out. Back through the Imperial Camp, then watch the next cutscene until you crash. Upon crashing, you have reached the first time in the game where you actually HAVE to walk through the airship (second if you count the character switch to get Terra on your team). Change party members if you so choose (I kept the ones I had). Before leaving, you have the option of buying more items at a step cost of 10. You also have the option to get your HP/MP restored, but wouldn't you know it, your HP and MP have already been refilled, so no need for that. 3.2.14. A Pointless Banquet --------------------------- Now, you're on the world map, and the long walk to Vector. But wait, there's a hidden Chocobo stable! Take six steps to the right, and then walk straight up, and you'll find it. Ride the Chocobo to Vector. In Vector go up, then left, then up again. When you hit the staircases, take the left one, then go up some more. When you see a grand staircase on your right, go to it, but walk up the left side of it to save steps. Walk up the two sets of steps, and get greeted. Follow the greeter exactly, then continue up. Talk to Gestahl, see Cid come in, and then you have four minutes to talk to as many soldiers as possible. What will you do? Absolutely nothing! Yes, that's right, you're going to have to stand there for four minutes, 'cuz talking to soldiers costs steps, and you waste at least 200 talking to every soldier. No matter what you do, South Figaro will be freed, and the other benefits (raiding the chests in the Imperial Base) will cost even MORE steps to accomplish. Best to just stand there and unequip the three members of your party that aren't Terra (at least that's ONE thing useful you can do). Of course, by standing around, there's no possible way to say enough good things during the banquet to have any other good things happen to you, so feel free to say whatever you want, except at the point where you're asked if you want to take a break. You just stood around for four minutes, why would you need a break? Oh, and you should say "Yes" on the last question, too (although it doesn't really matter). Once the meeting's over, it's Terra and Locke! Equip them, then walk straight down. Outside, take the left stairs, retracing your steps all the way out. ** (My step count on the world map outside Vector: 6548) ** Walk down and right to Albrook. Once inside, walk down to the water's edge and right. There'll be a weapon shop with a step cost of 12 that you can buy Poison Claw for Sabin and an Epee (if you want them). There's also an armor shop with a step cost of 12, and I suggest you go in and buy some armor. I bought three Bard's Hats, two Mithril Vests, and two Ninja Gear, then equipped the optimum items on Terra and Locke. Walk down to the boat. The second you walk to the dock screen, you'll be beside some boxes. Inside one is a Warp Stone at 0 step cost. Then, walk to the boat and talk to Leo. You'll see Celes, and more notably, Shadow! There are four times in the game when you could be introduced to Shadow, and this is the last one. After the meeting, walk back up to the town. Go up the stairs. You'll see a Relic Shop with, again, a step cost of 12 (sounds like a broken record), however, I already had 4 of the 6 relics the shop sells, and Goggles are useless, so I skipped it. Go to the Inn (Potion in barrel at a step cost of 4, if you're interested). There will be a cutscene, then go back directly to the boat. Watch the following cutscene, walk to Leo, watch more, talk to Leo and Locke, and then land on the island. Once landed, don't equip Shadow with anything except for the ThiefKnife. If you get in a battle with him between where you land and the town of Thamasa, that may be the only battle you have with him the whole game, and he might as well try to steal something along the way. If you run into a Baskervor, try to steal Gaia Gear from it. At the town of Thamasa, unequip Shadow of the knife. (Note: Actually, you should save state as soon as you land and make sure you get at least one Gaia Gear here... it's a rather useful armor from here on.) ** (My step count on the world map outside Thamasa: 6855) ** 3.2.15. Great Balls of Fire! ---------------------------- Upon entering Thamasa, you are greeted with shops. To the right is an item shop at a step cost of 16, and to your left is an armor and weapon shop connected to each other. If you visit just the armor shop, it's a step cost of 26, and if you visit both in a big circle, the step cost is 42. Are any of these worth it? Well, if you only want the Item Shop to buy Tonics and Fenix Downs, but you have enough for right now, don't visit the Item Shop. We can shop for items at a smaller step count later. However, if you really want Potions and Tinctures, and you have enough money, this is the place to get them. As for the armor and weapons, I came into town with less than 16,000 GP, and stuff here is EXPENSIVE! However, I did go to the armor shop. I bought two Mystery Veils, because in the WoR, I'll be getting Terra and Celes, and this is their best helmet in the entire game. (Gaia Gears are also quite useful, but like I said, you can steal them from Baskervors. Keep in mind, though, that Baskervors only appear on the world map... you're likely to only run into two or three of them. Ever. Make your steals count.) Now, walk up, and keep walking until you hit the wall. The house to your right contains Strago, which is where we want to go next. Go inside, talk to him, meet Relm, all that jazz. Once outside again, walk straight to the Inn (it's to the left and down a bit). Have a good night's sleep there... for a few hours anyways. You wake up in the middle of the night, and wouldn't you know, there's a fire! Walk to the burning house, talk to Strago, watch the townspeople's attempts to put it out, collect Strago, and walk inside. First things first, unequip Locke of everything, but give him the Phantom Esper. He's virtually useless here, and will only take EXP that should go to Terra. Now, since you won't be getting Strago in the WoR, you may want to kill him too, but only if Terra knows Ice. It'll be hard in there by herself without it. In the house, you control how many battles you get into by how many flames you walk beside. Obviously, the more EXP the better, so fight them all! In your first battle, have Locke summon Phantom, making everyone invisible, then remove Locke (and Strago too, if you so choose). Make sure Terra has the Blizzard sword, the Mystery Veil on, and if she hasn't learned Ice2 yet, Shiva or Maduin. (Shiva learns Ice2 quicker, but Maduin gives a Magic Power bonus if levelling up). Earrings and Hero Ring would be good as well (Wall Ring was surprisingly unhelpful here). Once she has Ice2, Shiva is still a good choice for Rasp and Osmose. If you wait too long when fighting the Balloons, they'll use Exploder, which is devastating to whoever is targetted, so try to take them out quickly. Terra multiple-casting Ice2 works, as does Aqua Rake. Exploder is a Lore, which means Strago will learn it (and gives us an easy way to kill him off whenever we want to). If Terra only has Ice, and she's the only one left, she needs to cast Ice twice for it to work, but if she's fighting a single enemy, her Blizzard can take care of it without the MP loss. (NOTE: I realized later that using Ice twice is better than Ice2 once because it used 10 MP instead of 21 MP... I didn't have any Tinctures, and hadn't learned Osmose yet, so my MP ran very low in the house.) I chose to go in with only Terra alive. The house itself is pretty easy to follow. The first two rooms have no choice what direction to go, so just fight every enemy along the way. In the third room, you have a choice between two doors, and an interesting opportunity for you. The first door is a trap door that starts a pincer attack with four Balloons. If you win it, you receive approx. 1500 EXP points (assuming you go in with only Terra) and 1 Magic Point. Now, this happens EVERY time you walk in this door, and it's only a step cost of 2 each time. This makes it a good place, although not a great place, to gain EXP points. I went in once, just because. Then I went to the good door. In the next room, wait for the Balloons to come to you, then walk through the closer door. The other door just has a Fire Rod in it. In the room after, you have two doors equal distances from you. Wait for the two Balloon teams to come to you. Now, the room on the right contains an Ice Rod. Do you get it? Well, that's an extra 14 steps out of your way, but when you get the Ice Rod and come back into the room, two more Balloon teams are waiting for you to fight them, giving more EXP. Plus, the Ice Rod makes the "boss" monster of the house a snap. I didn't do it, though, just to prove to myself that I could finish without it. Taking Terra only through the house has great advantages. I began the house with Terra at Level 17, but when I left the house, she was at Level 22 (which is when she learns Fire 2 naturally, by the way), and had almost learned Rasp and Osmose from Shiva (she came in to town only knowing them 36%). If I'd gone for the Ice Rod and come back to fight two more Balloon parties, she would have hit Level 23. The next room is a short flight of stairs, and then it's FlameEater! Easy way to beat him? Morph Terra, then throw your Ice Rod at him. Don't have the Ice Rod? Bring Strago and Locke back to life, have Morphed Terra cast Ice2, have Strago cast Aqua Rake, have Locke heal. Terra should wear a Wall Ring. Actually, bringing Strago and Locke back to life no matter what you do doesn't hurt too much... the EXP for the battle is the same as four Bomblets. Once the battle ends, you'll be back in Strago's house. Walk down the stairs and out the door. Shadow will leave (big surprise), and you'll be out in the world again (with full HP/MP, I might add). ** (My step count on the world map outside Thamasa: 7129) ** 3.2.16. Sketchy Situations -------------------------- I kept Locke and Strago alive for awhile this time. Locke, so that I could steal, and Strago, just for some extra support. I kept Phantom on Locke and gave Strago Stray to minimize damage that the party would take (it takes awhile to make a successful steal of Gaia Gear). At the first battle, Locke Phantomed everyone (most attacks here are physical). I gave Terra Ramuh as soon as she learned Rasp and Osmose, since she knew Ice magic, and naturally learned Fire. Along the trip, giving Strago Bismarck isn't a bad idea. This island is the last time I'll see Locke in combat, so I want to make the most of his Steal function. Baskervor gives Gaia Gear, Insecare has Echo Screen, and Cephaler, Slurm, and Mandrake give Potions. Go directly up to the newly opened cave. Once inside, go up a bit. You'll see a chest containing a Heal Rod. If you were acquiring Relm or Strago, I'd say take it since it's great for healing party members, but as it is, avoid. Go up and take the passage to your right (ignoring Relm, who some how found her way to the mountain ahead of you). Once outside, you'll likely run into Mandrakes and/or Insecare. Fire is your best weapon against them. Terra now knows Osmose, so Fire2 isn't nearly as MP-costing as it was before. Walk into the next cave, then turn and walk out the cave exit to your right. You'll see Relm again (how DOES she do that?). In the next room, walk down the bridge and towards the statues. After viewing the conversation, you're going to be battling Ultros. Ultros is weak to Fire and Bolt, so Terra will be Fire2-ing a lot. Strago and Locke also learned Fire by this time, so that's what they used. Actually, Locke stole the White Cape that Ultros had first, then used Fire. Into the battle, Ultros' form changes, and he starts blasting with Fire3 a lot. Terra's HP was high enough to survive the blast, and she just used Drain afterwards to get back to full health. For the other two, Fire3 was powerful enough to kill them, so when one died, the other used a Fenix Down to revive. It won't take long until Relm comes in and draws Ultros' portrait, ending the battle. Once Relm's joined your party, heal up everyone except Relm. Unequip Relm, then in your first battle, let Relm perish. That's the last time you'll fight with her. Don't forget to unequip the Memento Ring. Enter the next cave. Don't bother with the save point, and go to the nearest hole. Fall down it, then walk up the walkway. Outside, across to the other cave entrance, and in to see the Espers, face-to-face. Watch the cutscene, then it's time to control Leo. ** (My step count at this point: 7352) ** Oh, how nice it would be if you could unequip Leo before this battle starts. And just so you know, even when you're walking around with Leo, your steps still count (which is a shame, because interestingly enough, he can buy stuff in all of the shops in town, along with sleeping at the inn). Go directly to Kefka. Fight him however you want, it makes no difference. However, for something you probably haven't seen before, if you wait awhile, Kefka will use Bio on him, and you'll see Leo while poisoned. If you wait long enough, Leo will die, but for this challenge, you don't want to see that (although it is again interesting for novelty's sake). After fighting Kefka (and losing), watch the lengthy cutscene. Then, it's time to board the airship and watch yet another cutscene. After that, Relm will be standing at the controls of the airship - does she have her driver's license yet? - asking if you want to go to the Floating Continent. The only reason you wouldn't want to is if there was somewhere in the World of Balance you haven't been yet that's a valuable place to go with minimal steps. I can only think of a few such places: - The old man's house. Remember how there was a merchant there on a Chocobo? That merchant is the place with the smallest number of steps that sells anything. I suggest taking the money you've earned and going there to buy more Tonics and Fenix Downs. If you're planning on using Shadow during the Floating Continent fights, you should also stock up on Shurikens (30 should be enough, I'd think). A tip: if you go to the house, park your ship on the left side of the house. - Triangle Island. Getting in one battle here with an Intangir MIGHT be worth considering, as it gives 10 Magic Points when you defeat it. However, you have to be prepared if you're going to do that. Only have people on your team that you want to use in the WoR, and you must have someone who knows Doom. Also, there's no guarantee that a battle on Triangle Island will be against Intangir, so that might end up being a waste of steps anyways. - The Veldt. You might want to try to give Gau another Rage or two to increase his usefulness (something Fire-absorbing or something that gives undead status would be really nice to have). But probably not worth it. Everything else is pretty far out of reach. I went to the old man's house to buy Fenix Downs (I was down to 5, and only Terra had learned Life) and some Tonics for a little healing. Then, it came time to decide just who I'm bringing to fight the Floating Continent. IMPORTANT: Before you go to the Floating Continent, unequip Relm, Strago, and Locke of everything, especially any Espers you gave them. Also, give Terra the Ramuh Esper. Trust me on this. First of all, I restricted my choices to people I intend to bring to the WoR, so Locke, Cyan, Relm, and Strago were out. Because of this, I unequipped Locke, Relm, and Strago before choosing the 3 people. Celes is definitely going, since her level in the WoR determines everyone else's. So, I have two spots to fill and five choices: Terra - Due to her recent experience in Thamasa, her level far exceeds everyone else's (she's at 23, no one else's is higher than 20). Plus, she knows the main three elements of magic (Fire, Ice, and Bolt), and the magic points she earns on the Floating Continent would help to charge up her Morph for the battle on Atma Weapon. Edgar - He has four tools that all have their uses on the Floating Continent. I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him along, although he's already had plenty of time to learn magic, and will have even more opportunity early in the WoR. Sabin - His blitzes are quite well-balanced for the terrain. He also hasn't learned much magic yet, and he won't have many chances in the WoR to learn any new spells. Setzer - His slots are pretty random, so unless I want to employ any tricks to make some slots happen more often than others - I hear Echo Screen works well - he'd be relying on weapons and magic (and his weapons aren't that good). Gau - For me, he only has nine rages, none of them particularly well suited for the Floating Continent (except for Rhinotaur, since most of the creatures are weak to Bolt). I decided to have my party consist of Celes, Terra, and Sabin. Edgar was also a very strong candidate, and if I could have taken four, he would have been the fourth one. 3.2.17. Don't Join THIS Air Force --------------------------------- After re-boarding the Blackjack, I took the controls and immediately sent them to the Floating Continent. I chose the three that I wished to bring, and then came the many battles against weapons from the sky. Now, in your first battle, your characters likely aren't going to be equipped. Well, Terra will be, since she was just in Thamasa, but Sabin and Celes won't. During the battle, you'll have to equip them with temporary weapons and shields. I suggest giving Celes a ThunderBlade, Sabin the FireKnuckles, and both a MithrilShld. You should be able to survive the first attack with just those. Sky Armors (the grey ones) are very weak to Bolt. Spit Fires are too, but they are better defended and have a higher HP. The Sky Armors will die much quicker, and it's easier having one target instead of three, so I went for them first. Afterwards I Cure, since Spit Fire's Absolute 0 almost kills Celes and Sabin by itself (thankfully Terra has a higher HP due to that good ol' flaming house). However, if I don't want to go through all of that, having Terra summon Ramuh makes the battle super-easy. My Terra had a Hero Ring and Earrings on, and summoning Ramuh obliterated the Sky Armors, and left the Spit Fire with less than 70 HP, which she could Osmose the MP back from at the next turn. Sweet. After the first battle, heal up, equip, and give Relics and Espers. I have no real order of what to give, but White Capes, Hero Rings and Earrings are great relics, and Maduin and Bismarck should teach the elemental spells to any of the three who don't know them, and Celes should learn Shiva's Rasp and Osmose. Cure between each battle. But whatever you do, don't move from that spot. Battles will come whether you move or not. The only time you should move is when you've been sitting in one place for a long time, and no more battles are happening, because that means that Ultros is sitting on the back of your ship, waiting for a re-re-rematch. Once you realize that it's time for the Ultros battle, walk back towards the stairs. Put your characters in the back row, walk to the square in front of Ultros, and it's octopus-smashing time! (Before you go in, you may want to give one of your characters Kirin for the Regen.) This battle isn't too hard as long as you keep everybody alive. Hit Ultros with the usual attacks (Fire Dance, Aurabolt, Fire2, yadda yadda), but when Chupon comes on the scene, hit Chupon with Ice2 and summon Shiva. You'll know you're successful when you're sneezed away... ...right into a new battle! Fortunately, you've had HP/MP restored, but this guy still packs a huge wallop. I started out by summoning Kirin with Sabin, summoned Ramuh with Terra, and fought with Celes. Basically, in this battle, it's best to aim all your attacks at the main part, avoiding the Laser Gun and Missile Bay. My strategy to defeat it probably wasn't the soundest strategy, but it worked. Sabin and Celes both focused Bolt attacks at the main area until they died. Terra used Drain every turn after that at the main object and simply drained away the rest of the HP. It was defeated before Terra ran out of MP. Land on the Floating Continent, walk over to the save point. You'll probably want to use a Tent there (and I hope you didn't have to fight any battles in the three steps between you and the save point... I've had that before). ** (My step count at the save point: 7377) ** 3.2.18. The Floating Continent Step-by-Step ------------------------------------------- After saving, you have the choice of bringing along Shadow. You actually have three options of how to handle this: 1. Don't save Shadow at all. You fight the entire Floating Continent with only a party of three, but each person will gain a bit more EXP, and you save five steps. 2. Save Shadow. You fight with four members on your team, making the Floating Continent easier, but some of the experience points are given to Shadow, who will have no use for them in the WoR since we're not saving him. 3. Save Shadow, but only use him in battles where he might be of some use, and keep him down the rest of the time. This strategy means that for most of the Floating Continent, Shadow won't assist you in your fights, but against AtmaWeapon and difficult monsters (like Wirey Dragon and Ninja), he can be revived to help you. I believe that Option 2 or 3 are the best ideas. Not only will Shadow make this place much easier, but there's also another bonus... the ThiefKnife. This knife allows Shadow to steal sometimes, and combined with a Black Belt, he could steal if attacked! The enemies on the Floating Continent are carrying some great stuff to steal, too. (More about that later.) So, I brought Shadow along. I equipped him with the Memento Ring I got from Relm, along with the Black Belt and the ThiefKnife. Then I walked down the twisted path. Before I describe the shortest journey, here's some strategies for each monster you might meet: Ninja - Weak against bolt. Hit it fast and hard with everything electrical. If you have the opportunity, you can Steal a Cherub Down. Apokryphos - Hit it with Aurabolt and Bolt2. Try to get Shadow to steal Cure Rings from them. Your best defense against them is to have your character level at 17, 19, 23, or 27 when you fight them, since they use Level-based lores a lot. Dies if MP = 0, so Rasp and Osmose are good. Behemoth - Celes should use Ice2 against it. If you don't have a pair of RunningShoes, they can be stolen from Behemoth. Brainpan - These guys use Blowfish, which take away 1000 HP, and upon arriving on the Floating Continent, no one had that much HP (Terra was around 850 HP). These guys are weak to Muddle, so summoning Stray might help, as would Sabin's Fire Dance (and any of his Blitzes, really). Dragon - Weak to Bolt, so use Bolt whenever possible. These guys sometimes have Genji Gloves to steal, but you'll often get a Potion instead. They have 7000 HP, so it's good you only have to fight one at a time. Misfit - Fire Dance works nicely, Suplex does not. They die if their MP = 0, so Rasp and Osmose could work. They also use Lifeshaver, so I hope you've equipped some Gaia Gears to counteract that (Lifeshaver is earth-elemental). Wirey Drgn - Steal DragoonBoots form it if you can. It's not especially weak to anything, and uses Cyclonic. Summon Stray for an easy victory, and Shoat for an even EASIER victory. As you can see, a basic overall strategy is to equip someone with Ramuh and summon at the beginning of the battle, since most are weak to Bolt. But whenever possible, do not run away from a battle. The Magic Points and EXP earned here are huge, and you want your characters (especially Sabin) to learn as much as possible here. NOTE: I made sure to equip Shiva as much as possible on my characters so that by the end of the continent, they all knew Rasp and Osmose (except Shadow, who I only gave Bismarck, since that's all he'd have time to learn). Now, because the Floating Continent is such a complicated island, I'm going to tell you the shortest way step by step. After getting Shadow, walk up a few steps, then go right as far as you can. Walk up the stairs. Right 2, up 1, right 2, up 1, right 3, down 5, left 1, down 2, left 2. Follow the narrow path, and a passage will open up for you. Up 3, right 3, up 1, right as far as you can walk. Up 2, right 5. (The treasure chest above is useless to you.) Walk up and through the transport. Walk down the stairs, down farther to the next set of stairs, and down them. Walk right 6, and up 3 to hit the switch, then down 6, right 6, down 1. Go right 3, down 5, right 5, down 1, right 1, down 3, right 5, up 1, and right as far as you can until you reach some stairs to go up. Go through the transport. Here, you have a choice of two transports, pick the one on the left. Once through it, walk down the stairs, down and to the left, and hit the switch. Then walk up all the way. 3 steps left, walk up the stairs, hit the switch in the top left, then go down the stairs again. All the way left, all the way down, and down the stairs nearby. Go down the next, longer set of stairs. Walk right whenever possible, only going up or down when you can't walk right anymore. You will hit another set of stairs. Walk down them, walk to the right, and up the three small sets of stairs there. Once up the stairs, take the path to the right and up. Hit the switch in the top left, and go through the transport that it opens up on the top right. Once through, you'll go down stairs and have the option to jump down to the airship, which, since we're saving steps, is a BAD idea. Walk 7 left, 4 up, 1 left, 1 up, 2 left, and 7 up. You are now in front of AtmaWeapon. ** (My step count at this point: 7733) ** Now, for AtmaWeapon. A difficult fight? Well, yes, if you go about it in the conventional way. If you try taking him on with brute force alone, you will fail. However, if you've been following my advice, all three of your characters that aren't named Shadow all have learned Rasp and Osmose from Shiva by now. That is key, for AtmaWeapon can be defeated by dropping his MP to 0! So, here's how to win this fight: - Give Shadow the Esper Kirin. Give the other three Espers with spells you want them to learn from (the Esper bonuses don't apply since you earn no EXP from this battle). Make sure Shadow is in the bottom position, and unequip him of everything else. - Equip the other three characters with Wall Rings. That's all you need. At the beginning of the battle, Shadow's turn will go first, and he summons Kirin. The other three characters Osmose to get their MP to full health, then Rasp every turn after that. Shadow stands by with Potions and Tonics just in case anyone's HP drops below 200. Actually, I didn't really even need Shadow. Sabin hadn't learned Cure yet, so I gave him Kirin and put him in the bottom spot. Shadow sat around and did nothing the whole battle, completely unequipped. The other three Rasped and Osmosed and AtmaWeapon died. It was a boring battle, but the music was cool. :) So, Shadow leaves (good thing he was completely unequipped). Before walking up the stairs, equip someone with Sprint Shoes, and make give Celes the Flame Sabre. You'll get around 20 Magic Points through all the Naughty fights, so change Espers if necessary (you won't get any EXP points from Naughties, by the way). Now, walk 5 steps up and watch the big confrontation. Lots happens, none of it matters until you start having to escape the Floating Continent. Now, in speedy missions like this, there's no point for me to try and give exact directions... all you NEED to know is that the shortest route between where you land and fighting Nerapa is 91 steps. If you did more than that, you didn't take the shortest route. There are only two real pitfalls along the way. First, at the intersection where you have two route choices, take the path that leads to stairs. Second, don't go towards the treasure chest (the one that you'd have to go up stairs to get), but instead go down and around, avoiding the treasure chest direction entirely. When you run into Naughties, Terra uses Fire2, Sabin uses Aurabolt, and for me that took care of them. Once you hit Nerapa, strategy changes drastically. He has auto-reflect status, so regular magic attacks won't work. Sabin still Aurabolts, but equip Celes with ThunderBlade and Terra with Rune Edge (or some non-elemental weapon). The two girls should not use magic. Once he goes down (and he will with time to spare), run to the right as far as you can, then down 1 step, right 1, down 1, then right some more. You'll have the option to jump on the airship. The ONLY reason not to jump would be if you wanted to save Shadow, which is totally unnecessary because I'm not going to use him in the WoR. However, if you want to wait for Shadow, just stand there. Don't move for the rest of the time left on the clock, because at 5 seconds, Shadow will come whether you move or not. You jump, the statues create havoc, the airship splits in two, and the world is changed forever... ** (My step count at the destruction of the world: 7839) ** 3.3. The World of Ruin ---------------------- You've completed the World Of Balance in well under 8,000 steps. You may even have a smaller step count than me at this point. I know I didn't do the absolute minimum step count, but the World of Ruin gets even harder, and I'm going to be very thankful for those extras I picked up along the way. So, the World of Ruin. Before you begin, remind yourself who you're actually getting here. I'm doing this walkthrough assuming that you're only going to get Celes, Edgar, Setzer, Sabin, Gau, and Terra, however if you want to know the number of steps required to get the other 8 characters, that information is available in Section 5.3. 3.3.1. Solitary Travels ----------------------- You begin with Celes only. After watching the conversation, this should probably go without saying, but let Cid die. It's obviously fewer steps that way, with no real gain of letting him live. The quickest way to do that is to walk out the door, stand at the front door for two minutes (possibly less, I don't know the exact time necessary), then walk back in and go to the side of the bed. Try to talk to Cid, he won't answer. Once you get to the cliff, walk up 16 steps, left 1 step. "Talk" to the bird, and the cutscene will continue. Once on the beach and able to walk again, walk 2 steps left and all the way up. Go into the house, read the note, walk left all the way (walking down when you can't go left any more) until you are near the raft. Hit it, and you'll set sail on the raft towards the mainland. After the raft ride, what now? Well, now we equip Celes (who, by the way, is at level 21 in my game right now). I equipped her Optimum - Mystery Veil and Gaia Gear included - gave her the White Cape and Hero Ring relics, and gave her the Phantom Esper. At the first battle, I summoned Phantom, and since almost every attack she gets while on the world map is physical, she was well-protected for a short while. When you encounter enemies, only attack with physical attacks while you're invisible, since some enemies counterattack magic with magic. You may want a Genji Glove in a relic slot to make the job quicker, but I kept the White Cape for imp protection. (If Celes doesn't know Break yet, give Celes Shoat. She'll need Break later.) You've equipped her? Good. Walk one step left, 24 steps up, 9 steps right, and as far up as you can go. You should see a bridge. Walk across it. You'll notice that we skipped Albrook and Tzen. Albrook we'll likely never visit again, but Tzen we'll come back to in order to get Sabin. However, for now, Celes needs to increase levels alone as fast as possible. So, cross the bridge, and follow the path until you reach the choice between going up or going right. Since the next character we'll receive is Edgar, and he's up, the most logical direction is to go right. Huh? Yeah, that's right, keep walking to the right, because in a forest just outside of Mobliz that has a Chocobo Stable, and that's a closer walk than walking up (around 50 steps closer, in case you were wondering). So, go right almost as far as you can, down 4 steps, then right as far as you can again. Go 5 steps up, 5 right, 11 up, 3 left, 1 up, 1 left, and 2 up. You should enter a Chocobo stable near the left edge of the forest. (I took the strange route so that I could avoid the forest, since you're more likely to run into Bloompires in there... you don't have to though). If you run into Delta Bugs, do two multi-castings of Bolt to finish them off. If the Delta Bugs are with a Buffalax, and after you hit the Delta Bugs with Bolt, the Buffalax uses Sun Bath, use Bolt 2 on your next turn to ensure you won't lost Clear status, because on their third turn Delta Bugs use Mega Volt on you. If you encounter a Bloompire/Lizard group, hit the Bloompires first. If you encounter Bloompires only, multi-hit them with Fire2. You don't want to encounter one by itself, because Bio hurts. Walk straight up into the stable, then talk to the man, and ride the Chocobo all the way to Nikeah. (Anyone else find it strange that monsters don't attack Chocobos? I mean, they seem to be fairly meaty animals, you'd think the carnivores would be all over them...) ** (My step count just before entering Nikeah: 8078) ** Walk into Nikeah. 4 steps right, 6 down, all the way right, then follow the wall until you get to stairs. Nikeah is an outdoor market, making it very convenient to buy stuff right now (and I have over 50,000 GP from the Floating Continent and WoR battles... woohoo!). All stores are reasonable distances away from your path. Walk down the stairs. The item shop costs 4 steps and has most standard items, but I wasn't in major need for items, so I skipped it. The weapon shop is next at a step cost of 12. It has Flame Sabres, Blizzards, Thunderblades, and Enhancers. Since you already have one of each kind of sword, the only one truly worth it is likely the Enhancer. It's a great sword, but I'm going to keep conserving my steps and avoid it. (Plus, it's 10,000 GP! Ouch!) (NOTE: I regretted not going to the item shop afterwards, as that was the last conveniently placed Item Shop in the game.) Next is the armor shop, which is a step cost of only 2 and has some great stuff. Diamond Shield is a big step up from your MithrilShld, Green Berets raise HP, and you get another chance to buy Gaia Gear (and I suggest you have at least two in your inventory). I bought two Gaia Gear, two Diamond Shields, and two Green Berets. The little kid's relic shop is next, also a step cost of 2. Cure Rings, Zephyr Capes, Gale Hairpins and Amulets are the only useful things he has that we don't already have. Money's a bit tight after that armor shop, so I avoided the Zephyr Capes and Gale Hairpins (they aren't THAT good). I bought one Cure Ring and one Amulet. Then I walked into the Cafe. Once inside, walk straight up a few steps and talk to the seated thief. Then, wait for the other two to come to you, and talk to them. Finally, walk down and left to the other seated thief. After you've talked to him, he'll leave the cafe. Go out the door. Once outside, walk to the right 5 steps, then up as far as you can, then 1 left and up some more. You'll see Edgar - I mean, Gerad - standing at the marketplace. Talk to him, then walk SLOWLY back the way you came, one step at a time. Around the relic shop, when Edgar stops and starts nodding his head (I assume he's examining something, turn back and talk to him (you shouldn't need to take any extra steps to do so). He'll walk past you. Walk up to him and talk for a third time, then follow him down to the boat and act like a stowaway. The boat will sail towards South Figaro. Once there, get off the boat and into the town. Walk up, right slightly, and up again to walk into the cafe. Once inside, go up the stairs, into the door marked "Inn", and straight forward. Talk to Gerad. After that, walk back exactly the way you came until you're outside. Then, walk towards the Chocobo stable. If you don't have Runningshoes, you want to go to the Relic Shop and get some, but there have been plenty of good opportunities to get some, so shame on you for not having any. :P (NOTE: On my first try at this, I forgot to talk to Gerad in South Figaro... I was all the way to the turtle in the cave before I realized my mistake, but I had already done a recent save state, so I had to go back to a much earlier save state to correct my mistake. Very frustrating.) Walk up and into the Chocobo stables and take a Chocobo ride to the cave (it's a very, VERY short ride). I exchanged my White Cape (you don't need Imp protection any more) for a Cure Ring. (I still have Vanish status, and as long as I keep that, I only need slow healing in the cave, so no need to waste items to heal myself.) ** (My step count outside the cave: 8335) ** 3.3.2 What? I thought only Ultros had Tentacles! ------------------------------------------------ Once inside the cave, heal up your HP if you didn't when you entered Nikeah. For MP, wait until a battle starts and Osmose some from a Neckhunter. (There are a lot of Neckhunters until the battle with the Tentacles, so your MP should be nearly full by the time you are required to fight them. Fire hurts enemies in this cave well, and only Crullers use magic attacks, so your Vanish status is again useful here. I hope you remember your way well enough through this cave... just walk through as though you weren't getting any treasure chests (which I recommend you don't due to step cost). You'll come upon the turtle at the recovery spring, and after watching the demonstration, you hop across. In the new cave, 4 steps forward, 5 left, 1 down, all the way left, go to the cave opening. In the next piece of cave, save state, because it's easy to miss the opening. Always go left unless you hit something, then go 1 step either up or down. One step from the left edge of the cave will be an opening to go down. Hurray, you're in Figaro Castle! Walk out of the cell, go left, and follow Edgar up the stairs. New room, up the stairs, down the stairs. New room, down the stairs where you weren't allowed before. Now, it's Figaro Castle dungeon. (Why they didn't put their jail HERE I'll never understand, but oh well.) Down the stairs, up, down more stairs. In the next room, go down. You'll enter a room with two smaller rooms, and each of these has two treasure chests. In the small right room - at a step cost of 12 - is a Gravity Rod and Crystal Helm. I can't think of any good reason to have a Gravity Rod, and I already have a Crystal Helmet (along with enough other headgear to last be just fine for awhile), so I didn't get it. In the left room - at a step cost of 18 - is X-Potion and Ether, which aren't worth the cost. There's another room too, through the door on your left, and if you follow it, eventually you'll get to a chest with a Regal Crown. It's nice, but it's a step cost of 46. Ouch. So, leaving all the chests intact, I go up through the center door. In the next room, it's all one long hallway, but before entering the next room, change your relics around (this is VERY important). Give Celes RunningShoes and Amulet. Now, it's the fight against Tentacles! Well, RunningShoes will make it a whole lot easier since Tentacles won't snatch up Celes, and Wall Ring defends against the four different magic attacks. Target Fire2 towards the bottom-left Tentacle if her HP isn't below 400, and eventually it will fall. Then, it's best for her to pay most attention to curing herself and Edgar. If she doesn't need to cure herself, attack the top left Tentacle. As for Edgar, start off with BioBlaster. All four Tentacles are hurt by poison, and three can have poison status, so that one casting of BioBlaster will poison them for the rest of the battle. If Celes pays attention to curing herself and Edgar keeps doing attacks of BioBlaster or Flash when he can, this battle will be won. The poison will eventually take over the two tentacles on the right, and the one remaining tentacle is not much of a threat by itself. ** (My step count after this battle: 8558) ** On entering this battle, Celes' level was 24, so that's what Edgar's is too, now that he's part of our party. He's already optimum-equipped, so it's just relics and espers to give him. I gave him the Phantom esper for the first battle, and the Cure Ring and RunningShoes (I believe RunningShoes makes the Cure Ring work faster). After the first battle, I gave Edgar Shiva, since he doesn't have Rasp and Osmose yet. Backtrack up to the room that lets Figaro Castle rise to the surface. After it rises, you're standing in front of that man. Talk to him and get him to send the castle to the other desert near Kohlingen. We need to get Setzer. (Before leaving the castle, this is your best opportunity to buy Debilitator and Drill from the tools shop at Figaro Castle. It's a cost of 70 steps, so I didn't, but if you aren't taking this challenge too rigidly, you could.) Leave the castle, and walk northwest to Kohlingen. There, walk into the Inn and go directly to Setzer. Talk to him and he'll join you. (He was at level 24 for me.) Leave the town the same way you came in. (If you wanted to buy other weapons and armor, it'll cost you about 30 steps. If you decide to do this, leave through the left edge of town, rather than the bridge you came in on.) Equip Setzer with whatever you want (including any esper you think he needs to learn from... he's probably far behind the others in the magic department). Make sure Celes is still wearing the Amulet. Walk down to Daryl's Tomb, and go inside. ** (My step count just inside Darill's Tomb: 8729) ** 3.3.3. This is my sister Darill and my other sister Daryl --------------------------------------------------------- In the tomb, there's four different types of enemies you could randomly encounter, and all are immune to poison, so don't use it! The Osteosaur is only possible in the first room, but should you encounter it, Noiseblaster works well. Against PowerDemon, use Noiseblaster. Against Mad Oscar, use Fire and Noiseblaster. Against Exoray, use anything except Noiseblaster (and poisonous things, obviously). In the first room, walk straight forward. In the next room, it gets a little complicated because of so many choices. The layout of this room looks like this (simplified, of course): 0 | B "A" leads to the lower basement. |---------| "B" leads to a water switch. | | | "C" leads to where you can float across and get to the end / C \ of this place. | | "0" leads to a tombstone. | | "1" leads to a Genji Helmet. | | A 1 You should travel in the order of A-B-C. The tombstone room is pointless, and the room marked "1" only has a Genji Helmet, which is a good helmet, but not vital to completion. Travel to "A" first. In that room there is a treasure chest with Crystal Mail that you should definitely get - step cost of 2, and Edgar's best armor that we'll actually get. Down the stairs is another treasure chest with a Czarina Gown in it. It's right in our path, so obviously take it, but you may think it won't be in any way useful since only Relm can wear it. Wrong... it will become VERY useful. Go up through the door and hit the switch, pausing to laugh at the stranded turtle flailing there (that part's not required). Back down through the door. Now, for a tough decision. Do we take a few steps out of our way to get the secret item? Yes, the Exp. Egg can be received in this room. It's a step cost of 36, but is it worth it? I didn't take it. That may come back to haunt me, but I'm pretty sure I can survive without it. It takes up a relic slot, for starters, and I actually want my levels not to hit a multiple of 5 in here. So, I backtrack. Up the stairs, into the main room, and over to door B. Walk up into it, hit the tombstone, and open the door. Walk into the new room and hit the switch, then back out again the way you came. Save state. Into the main room, and go to door C. Hop on the turtle and across. (I still have my Vanish status on Celes and Edgar since Figaro Castle, so you can see how seldom monsters use magic attacks here.) In the new room, hit the new switch, and jump on THAT turtle. Go into the room it brings you to. In here, walk up until you have a choice between two paths. Now, for a step cost of 24, you could go to the path on your left, fight Presenter, and get Tiger Fangs for Sabin. That might be all right, but Sabin uses Blitzes so often that he probably won't be fighting very much. I suggest that you avoid it entirely and keep walking up. The treasure chest ahead of you contains Man Eater, which is a decent weapon that all three of your current party can equip. After getting this, save state, but not over your previous save state. You may still need that one. Bring everyone to full health. Give Celes two Earrings. Walk through the door, up the stairs, and check the funky purple fabric thing. Now comes the battle with Dullahan! Dullahan is a difficult opponent. He'll begin with L.? Pearl which is based on the last number of how much money you have. It will only hit if your level is a multiple of that number. My GP ends in 9, and I'm at level 24 with all three characters, so THAT'S not a problem, but if I had 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 at the end, it would be. If this attack is going to be a problem for you, I suggest going back to an earlier save state and choosing not to fight an enemy. Dullahan's only weaknesses are that he doesn't like fire and he dies if his MP = 0. Now, at this point, only Celes knew Osmose (Edgar almost learned it), so the goal becomes KEEP CELES ALIVE. Celes, whenever possible, should Rasp. I gave Setzer Kirin and had him use that on his first turn. Edgar and Setzer are both your healing team, keeping everyone alive. Setzer didn't know Cure yet for me, so he healed with either Potions or Lagomorph (yeah, that hurt, but it was better than nothing, except when I accidentally picked an attack instead). You're likely going to have to try this several times before you get it. I did, and used a lot of Fenix Downs in the process. (If you found this battle to be tedious and were too impatient to finish it, I suggest you stop the challenge right now, as Kefka's Tower will be too much for you.) After the battle, take 1 step LEFT (not right), then walk forward. I went right by mistake, and didn't want to refight Dullahan to get it back, so my step count rose by 2 points that it didn't need. :( Walk through the doorway and watch the cutscene. I consider this one of the most beautiful cutscenes in the game (especially the stairs). The Falcon will soar out of the water, and you'll follow a bird. Well, actually, no, you won't follow that bird, because that leads you to Cyan, and we're not getting him at all. Instead, we have three other people to get, and we need to decide what order to do it in. (If you're doing a true Fewest Steps challenge, and not allowing yourself to go one step farther than necessary, fight Doom Gaze if you wish, then go directly to Kefka's Tower. And good luck.) The three left that I'm planning on getting are Sabin, Gau, and Terra. If you have three people and get Sabin, there will be four in your party, and you can't get Gau directly after. If you get Gau first, there will be four in your party, and Sabin will go directly to the airship, meaning that you have to switch party members to get Bum Rush. If you get Terra first, no matter if you enter with three or four members, you'll end up with a party of three (Phunbaba blows two people away, Terra fills one of those spots.) Here's the best plan, as far as I see it: 1. We take the three we currently have (Celes, Edgar, Setzer) to Tzen and get Sabin, adding him as the fourth member of our team. 2. We go to Duncan's house in the north and get Bum Rush. 3. We go to Mobliz and get Terra. 4. Now that there's three people in the party again, those three get Gau. 5. We attack Kefka's Tower for real. There are other sidequests in there as well, but that's the basic plan I'm going to follow. Now, if you don't want to do it that way, there's another workable alternative. With Celes, Edgar, and Setzer, go get Gau first. Then, fight Phunbaba and get Terra. With the three in your party after that, get Sabin and acquire Bum Rush at that point. (Note: A completely alternate plan is to avoid Gau altogether and get Gogo instead. He's not too far away and has more skills. If I try this challenge again, I may go that route, but for this challenge I didn't. If you do, replace "Gogo" for "Gau" in all the future battle instructions, altering them with Gogo's unique skills accordingly.) 3.3.4. Holding up a wall, are ya? --------------------------------- ** (My step count just outside Tzen: 8974) ** Fly over to Tzen. Once you land, immediately give Celes, Edgar, and Setzer any relics you have that protect against petrify or instant death status. Unfortunately, I didn't have any, so the three of them are going in unprotected from Stone. If I had Gau with me, he could use M-TekArmor or Whisper to be completely protected, but oh well, I'll just have to make do with what I have. Give someone Sprint Shoes. For espers, I gave Setzer Bismarck (he hadn't had it yet), Celes Phantom (she'd almost learned these spells), and Edgar Maduin. Enter the town, and everyone will start freaking out. The house is collapsing! Go and talk to Sabin, then enter the house. Pm Stalkers are weak to fire, HermitCrabs are weak to water, and Scorpions aren't weak to anything, but only have 290 HP. The quickest way to get rid of a group of HermitCrabs is for Setzer to summon Bismarck, but it's expensive on the MP, and my Setzer only had enough MP to do that three times. Celes casting Fire2 hurts Pm Stalkers, and all enemies except Scorpions are weak to Noiseblaster. Use AutoCrossbow against the Scorpions. For EXP reasons, I definitely recommend fighting every group of enemies you come across in here. Now, there are a lot of treasure chests in here, and we have to decide which ones we're going to get. All chests are out of your way, so only take the essentials, and there's one item in here that's a definite essential for me: the Drainer. It's in the lower floor in the bottom left room, so it's out of my way by 24 steps, but TOTALLY worth it for actual completion of the game. (If you somehow stole the Drainer from Number 024, hurray for you, and skip the Drainer.) It's difficult for me to say the best way to go through the house without an actual map to guide you, so I recommend doing the house several times. I used 167 steps while inside the house, and did the following: - got the Drainer - opened the chest to the right of the child, giving me Magicite - opened the chest to the left of the child, fighting a Monster-in-a-box battle (this was purely for Exp. reasons, and I didn't waste any steps doing it, since I was going for the Drainer anyways) - did NOT get any other treasure chest (none in the top floor) On the top floor, I didn't open any doors (except the one I had to open) before I walked down the stairs, taking the route near the top of the room. In the bottom floor, I walked up the right side of the stairs, took the Magicite, got the child, walked down the left side (fighting the monster-in-a-box), went into the bottom room to get the Drainer, and went back out the stairs. Back in the top floor, I went out the same way I came in. Once outside, and Sabin had joined the team, I went up and got Sraphim. You may decide against Sraphim, but with such slow rates of learning Cure, Life, and Regen right now, it's tough to resist. The only one of my six who knows Life at all is Terra, and she learned it naturally. Plus, we're not getting Phoenix, so this is the best healing we'll get (it's like a deluxe version of Kirin). The step cost of Sraphim is 24 steps. I then left town. This turned out to be a mistake, as I should have stopped in at the Item Shop before leaving. Right now, it's a step cost of only 12, and no Item Shop that I know of in the WoR is that close to walk into from the world map (the merchant at the old man's house is gone). What YOU should do is stop in at the Item Shop right now and blow ALL of your money on as many Fenix Downs, Potions, and anything else you can think of. Sell all of your useless items (Chocobo Brush, any Ninja items, Rune Edge collects a large amount of money, etc.) This is the last shop of any kind you'll be visiting, unless you come back to this shop later just before hitting Kefka's Tower. ** (My step count just outside Tzen: 9228) ** 3.3.5. Three sidequests ----------------------- Time to head to get Terra, but before that, you have Sabin, so let's get Bum Rush! In the hills near Narshe is an area of trees that are shaped like a cross, and the middle tree has Duncan's house. Unfortunately, you can't park an airship directly above trees, so park in the bottom left corner of the cross. Walk to the middle tree, go towards Duncan's house, and get Duncan's training. Then, walk straight down and to the airship. You just received one of the most powerful attacks in the game for a measly 8 steps! Hurrah! Before entering the airship, equip Sabin optimally, and give him the Hero Ring and some other relic to increase his power (Earrings, HyperWrist, etc.) With that attack in hand, let's now go to the Colosseum. This is the best time to go, since you have all the objects you're likely to ever get, and some of your items will be more useful if traded. It's a step cost of 22. Let's see what items we can get from items we might have: From AtmaWeapon: Graedus From Blizzard: Ogre Nix From Crystal Mail: Ice Shld > Flame Shld From Czarina Gown: Minerva From Elixir: Rename Card > Marvel Shoes > Tintinabar > Exp. Egg From Fenix Down: Magicite From Flame Sabre: Ogre Nix From Gauntlet: Thunder Shld From Genji Glove: Thunder Shld From Hero Ring: Pod Bracelet From ThunderBlade: Ogre Nix From BehemothSuit (if you're saving Shadow): Snow Muffler I do not have all of the starting items listed above (like the Gauntlet), but I tried to include items that you may have picked up in your travels. You have many other items that make you fight Chupon, and thus aren't helpful in the Colosseum. If you happen to have others that I haven't mentioned (and that will actually help for the rest of this game), please let me know. When you get to the door of the Colosseum, SAVE STATE. That way, if you lose, you can just retry. Yes, that sounds cheap, but if you want to do it the "legal" way, save outside the Colosseum, and reset every time something doesn't go your way (although you'll have to fight all the previous battles that went well all over again). I say save state. I definitely want to bet the Czarina Ring for a Minerva, which is the best armor Celes or Terra could have. I'm going to try to get a few Marvel Shoes from my Elixirs (I don't have many, but I have a few). If I had more than one of an elemental sword, I might bet it for an Ogre Nix, and I'd also consider Crystal Mail for Ice Shld, and possibly Flame Shld. Other than that, there's not much good I can do here. Genji Glove to Thunder Shld looks sort of nice, but I have a strategy for Kefka's Tower that requires the Genji Glove. So, how to get my items the most painlessly? I'll start with Czarina Ring to Minerva, which is so easy, it's sad. Give any one of your characters a Wall Ring. That's it. Bet Czarina Ring, use the Wall Ring character, and you'll win against Sky Base no problem. (With Minerva available, that means one less person to hog the Gaia Gears.) Next, Elixir to Rename Card. You'll fight a Cactrot, which isn't that hard to beat. If you have Dice, equip that on Setzer. Otherwise, it's harder, but doable. I gave Edgar the relics Sniper Sight and Genji Glove, then gave him two swords (I suggest making one of them the Blizzard). I also gave him a Green Beret, pushing his HP just above 1000. Cactrot only has 3 HP, and each hit with a sword took away 1 HP, except for the Blizzard, which took 2 HP. All Edgar had to do was hit 3 times without being hit by Blow Fish twice and he won. (I chose Edgar because Edgar's Tools also work decently against Cactrot.) Rename Card to Marvel Shoes. This is why we got Minerva first. Celes with a Minerva on is well-equipped against Doom Drgn. I gave her the Genji Glove and Hero Ring, then equipped her with Flame Sabre, Drainer, Mystery Veil, and Minerva. It's a very useful setup, since the Doom Drgn often uses Fallen One to bring your HP down to 1, and Celes often used the Fight command to bring her HP back up to around 500 with the Drainer. The Minerva nulled S. Cross, and N. Cross rarely hit. Since Celes spent so much time at 1 HP, she had a great chance of using her Desperation Attack, Spin Edge, which shaved 5000-7000 HP points. The only thing that could kill Celes was Doom Drgn's physical attack if it attacked when Celes was still at 1 HP. Not foolproof, but close enough. I had three Elixirs in my inventory, and I turned them all into Marvel Shoes. Of course, with three Marvel Shoes, wouldn't it make sense to turn one into an Exp. Egg for some extra levelling? I'd think so, but to get to the Exp. Egg, you need to get past Tyranosaur. I tried many tactics against him, and I couldn't see a way to defeat him outside of being very fortunate with Setzer's slots. Tyranosaur's Bite attack is simply too powerful for my characters. Tis a shame. I have no other items that I wish to get, but you might want to try betting the Gauntlet/Genji Glove for a Thunder Shld, the only elemental shield you'll have a chance to get. Before leaving the Colosseum, if any of your characters are not at full HP/MP, bet a Tonic and use them against Chupon. They'll likely be Sneezed out of the match immediately, but it restores them to full health. After this, walk straight outside. ** (My step count outside the Colosseum at the airship: 9258) ** Satisfied with a job well done at the Colosseum, now do we head down to Mobliz to get Terra? No, not quite yet. This is the best time to go after Doom Gaze, but it won't be easy. Doom Gaze is a very difficult enemy if you want to get Bahamut out of him (which we do). But we have Sabin, who can strike some huge blows against him. WARNING: Do not try this if more than one of your party members are at a level ending in 5 or 0. I can't stress this enough, if Sabin is at level 25, Doom Gaze becomes nearly impossible. Here's the pattern for defeating him without increasing your step count. Land somewhere and heal up fully. Tent, Sleeping Bags, or just good ol' Cure magic. Make sure Sabin's wearing Hero Ring and some other strengthening Relic (or Marvel Shoes), and that Celes has her Minerva on. Then, fly around, hoping to find Doom Gaze. It takes awhile. Once you've found it, in the first turn, Sabin uses Bum Rush (which, with Hero Ring, should do at least 3000 damage). Anyone who knows Fire2 should use it. If one of your characters is dead, Fenix Down them with your weakest character (probably Setzer). After that, Sabin still uses Bum Rush, but concentrate on healing with your three characters. Doom Gaze uses Aero, which decimates your team, and you need all 4 members alive to distribute the attack. Minerva nulls it out entirely, so Celes will be safe from that (and Ice3, if necessary). If Celes uses Runic, it protects against the Doom spell as well. Honestly, defeating Doom Gaze will take a lot of patience. It has 55,555 HP, and you're only real damage is from Bum Rush, so Sabin will need to Bum Rush 12-18 times for it to be destroyed. It took me about an hour to find him enough times (although it might be less for you... writing a walkthrough at the same time adds to my time spent significantly). These three sidequests, though tedious in some cases, will help a whole lot in this game. With only 30 steps taken, I've acquired Bum Rush, 3 Marvel Shoes, a Minerva, and a powerful Esper. I then went back to the Item Shop in Tzen. As I said before, I forgot to go there while I had the chance with Sabin, and I'm running extremely low on Fenix Downs (with only Terra knowing the Life spell). This item shop costs 27 steps, but is the closest one to the world map. ** (My step count outside Tzen: 9285) ** 3.3.6. Terra and Gau -------------------- Terra, as planned, is the fifth person to enter my team, and after all these sidequests, it's nice to go after a character again. Go to Mobliz, parking at the bottom-left corner of town (blasted trees in the way of a closer entrance). Walk in, the dogs notice you, the kid comes out of a house. Go in the door of that house. Once inside, left 3 steps, then down the stairs. Go directly into the next room, and you'll talk to Terra. After a short exchange, you need to walk a little more, so talk to her again. Once you can control your team again, just leave. (Very straightforward so far, wouldn't you agree?) Phunbaba, of course, comes and crashes the party. Terra fights and does diddly, so it's up to you guys to save the day. He's pretty simple in this round... his weakness is Poison, so Poison and Bio him with all that you have (except for Sabin, who's found a new friend with Bum Rush). Just don't hit him with Bolt. Celes' Runic is kinda nice to have. After the fight, Terra tells you to scram. Walk down the steps, left a few steps, and out the door. You are given Fenrir - yay! - and are now permitted to leave entirely. (Yes, the clock in the next room contains an Elixir... don't bother.) Leave the way you came, and stand on the world map. Save. ** (My step count outside Mobliz: 9428) ** Now, walk back in. Head directly for the house to the left of the one you were in and follow the dog in to the secret room. Watch the soap opera, and then, it's more fighting! Same strategy as before, he hasn't changed much. He'll blow two of your party members away, which in my case was Edgar and Celes. I was left with Setzer and Sabin, which I was happy about, since Sabin's Bum Rush was doing most of the work anyways. When Terra arrives on the scene, she stays in Morph mode the whole time, and you can choose any non-Bolt offensive commands you want, they will all go well. Also, at the halfway point, all of your characters will be brought to full health. The only thing to be concerned about in the second half of this match is Blow Fish (that was the first time I encountered it from him, he might do it before that). Blow Fish takes away 1000 HP, and my characters are hovering right around that point, depending on whether or not they have a Green Beret equipped. All in all, though, you shouldn't lose this. NOTE: If for some reason you got Gau first and brought him into your party, he is well suited for Phunbaba. In most cases, give him the Rhinotaur rage, and then have someone else cast Mute on him. This makes him absorb Lightning attacks without healing up Phunbaba. If, however, Gau's level just happens to be 31, then use Brawler. The Brawler rage has the unique ability of being much stronger if the level of the caster and receiver are the same, so even though Brawler's Stone attack won't cast Confuse, it still packs a huge punch. NOTE #2: Phunbaba gives no reward whatsoever for defeating him, so go in with whatever Espers you want, it won't make a difference. ** (My step count at airship with Terra and two others: 9521-9285) ** Save here. Now, it's off to pick up Gau. Your party conveniently has three people in it, so Gau will be able to join easily, it's just a matter of finding him on the Veldt. Fly your airship to the Veldt, then walk back and forth in front of the airship until a random battle starts. Fight it, and if Gau doesn't show up during this battle, go back to your last save. I received Gau with 30 steps the first time I tried, but I thought I could do less, so I tried a second time, and got Gau with only 16 steps. I probably could have eventually done even less than that, but I figured that was small enough. One thing you should know is that you will get new rages from Gau's appearance this time around... or at least, I did. For me, he came in on Fidor and Trooper, and so I received those rages. However, I'm going to keep writing this challenge as though Gau only has the original nine. (If you have Stray Cat or Ing or General or some other valuable rage, your time on Kefka's Tower will become much easier... kudos to you.) ** (My step count at airship with Gau as part of the team: 9537) ** That's it. There's nothing else to do now except go to Kefka's Tower. 3.3.7. If you thought it was tough before... -------------------------------------------- I'm not going to lie to you. This part is painful. From here on, you will have a lot of hard battles ahead of you. You have to divide your six characters into three teams, and if you've followed my example up to this point, all of your characters are at level 24-25, with HP between 950 and 1050. Oh, and you don't have elemental shields, Economizer, Gem Box, Offering, Moogle Charm, Exp. Egg, Safety Bit, or Ragnorak. Ouch. First of all, if you, for some reason, did not go to the Tzen item shop while you had the chance, go there now, and spend every last coin that you can stocking up on Fenix Downs - and any other item you think you may need - from the item shop there. I bought 60 Fenix Downs, and ran out during the battle with Kefka, so be ye warned. Then, fly to Kefka's Tower, watching the cutscene. It's time to divide your forces. How shall we do that, you ask? Well, there are probably countless reasons to divide your characters any number of ways, but I'm going to divide mine based on the Drainer. Only three of my six characters can equip the Drainer; Edgar, Celes, and Terra. If I give these characters the Black Belt and Drainer, they have a pretty good survival chance through much of Kefka's Tower (not including most boss fights). I then assign my other three characters based on strengths and weaknesses and who would compliment each other the best. I've decided on Edgar and Sabin, Terra and Gau, and Celes and Setzer. Edgar's the weakest of the three Drainer- users, so Sabin's Bum Rush and knowledge of Rasp and Osmose is required. Terra is the strongest, and Gau is lacking in many skills, so they go well together. Now, who goes where? Remember, you're only taking one trip through the tower, so you gotta make your journey count. I'm choosing Edgar and Sabin as Team 1, Terra and Gau as Team 2, and Celes and Setzer as Team 3. Hopefully, you'll figure out why as we walk through... considering the circumstances, they are well suited for their role. Oh, one tip before we start. You can actually use save states to your advantage here in giving one team more EXP. Random encounters are figured out ahead of time so that every time you save state, it will be the same number of steps after that point that the random enemy encounter happens. You can use this knowledge to make one team encounter many enemies while the other two teams encounter none, if you so desire. Of course, that could make two of your teams underdeveloped for the boss battles, but in some cases (especially in the learning of magic) it could be worth it. Let's begin. 3.3.8. Kefka's Monsters ----------------------- There are so many new monsters on Kefka's Tower, I thought it would be best to list them all one by one and describe the best ways to defeat them (if a monster you encounter is missing from the list, it's because I didn't encounter it and didn't have to write up a strategy... my apologies): Brontaur - Wear Gaia Gears, and Lifeshaver will heal YOU. Bio is great for additive damage, and then just outmuscle them. Dark Force - Rasp if you have the time, if not, poisoning is good, along with the Break or Doom spells, Aurabolt. Evil Oscar - Confuse them. They use a lot of attacks while confused, including sneeze, which can help get rid of them (or other stronger enemies). Fire is harmful on them too. Fortis - Confuse is great, since its attacks are stronger on itself than yours are on it. Bolt2's also good. GtBehemoth - Bio is good, but they are strong, and you can't run from them. If an Evil Oscar is in the party, confusing them might make the Oscar use Sneeze to take them out the easy way. Keep HP high, as Meteor will hurt big time, and probably kill you. Innoc - Confuse it before it muddles you. Honestly, you'll likely just want to run away from this thing, since it usually comes in packs of 3, and getting a hit any other way is nigh impossible. A Minerva-wearing character has a fighting chance against them if at least one of them gets confused. IronHitman - Confuse is good, Instant Death is better (if you have it). Landworm - Ice attacks, and wear Gaia Gear. Retainer - Poison's best, and Slow, Stop, and Mute could come in handy. After defeating, it often tries an attack to take you with it, so keep both characters alive at all times before killing these. Scullion - Big, powerful attacks whenever possible. Bolt2 is good, and Slow or Stop should also work for you. Since it uses Launcher so often, reducing your HP to near-zero levels, desperation attacks are actually quite likely. Sky Base - Confuse and Bolt2. Steroidite - Confuse, Slow and Stop. Vectaur - Rasp/Osmose to eliminate Fire Ball. Veteran - Confusing them is the best strategy. If you have Gau, use M-TekArmor, as it can't be killed by instant death, and that's all they do (except physical attacks, but Marvel Shoes or Regen should prevent that if you're in the back row). Bio and most status effects can be used to your advantage against them. 3.3.9. Kefka's Tower -------------------- *** This is the part where I'd describe the exact walkthrough. However, I've only successfully gone through Kefka's Tower once, and wasn't recording the exact journey. I plan to take this journey again, due to the fact that I wasted a lot of steps learning Magic I didn't think I'd need to know until the boss battles proved me otherwise, but until then, I'll at least leave you with the basic outline of Kefka's Tower and the best strategies for the boss battles, which is what you probably really want to know anyways. You should probably note that the boss strategies given will tell you to use magic that you might not know yet. If you don't know it yet (for instance, Edgar and Terra knowing Vanish), I suggest you plan ahead and learn it... when I do a step-by-step walkthrough of this section, I'll cover this, but for now, just plan ahead. *** Before we start, remember... save state after every battle. If you don't believe in save stating, fair enough, but you're going to have a tough time of it. Also, feel free to share equipment between parties. You only move one at a time, so why not? Team 1, Edgar and Sabin, goes as far as the Fixed Dice, then stops. Go left, down, right, up, and into the obvious door (avoid chest, not worth it). Inside, down the conveyor belt, right, and into the door. Team 2, Terra and Gau, goes right, down, and left through obvious door. In the next screen, go up, left, and get the chest in the top left. It contains a second Minerva. You can make it with just one, but this saves you some major headache. Now, go down through the archways. At the choice between up and down, choose down. You'll now be in Vector's prison. Go out the cell and out the bottom door (no need to fight Atma). You'll fall out... go left, up, and up the stairs. Take the tube on the left in the following room. Once outside, get the chest containing the Force Shld, then go back to the conveyor belt and down. Go around into the door containing the switch. Step on the switch. ** (My step count with Team 2 on that switch: 9785) ** Get the chest to the right of the switch, it contains a Ribbon. These last two chests are vital to completion. Walk out and go to the door on the right. (At a step cost of 40 is Force Armor down and to the left... I finished it without, however.) Inside this room, walk straight up (where else would you go?), and then it's the room with the Gold Dragon in it. Now, you can decide not to do the Dragon, but I decided to since Gold Dragon gives 10 Magic Points at the end and is pathetically simple to beat. It uses nothing but lightning attacks. Terra's Minerva blocks it, Gau's muted Rhinotaur absorbs it, you can't possibly die. Period. If Terra doesn't know Vanish yet, give her Phantom for this battle so she can learn it quicker... you need it for the battle against Goddess. Gau should learn Sraphim here. Oh, and go in the front row for an even speedier victory (and cast Bio on it... yes, it can be poisoned). Leave the room. Follow the convenient path in this room, and go through the following door. In the next room, you turn a corner and walk up. There's a staircase, and further on, a switch. Step on the switch, and switch to Team 3. Team 3 is Celes and Setzer. Equip the Fixed Dice on Setzer. Follow the path until you see a chest on the right. I suggest getting it, as it contains a Red Cap, a very useful piece of headgear. Then, ignoring the door, go right, then down again and into the bottom door. In the tiny, tiny room, take the door to your left. You're now in a Vector-like room with a chest containing a Hero Ring, which I took. Go around, and up the conveyor belt. Turn left at the top, past the save point, and get ready for a boss battle! Inferno, Rough, and Striker. This battle SUCKS! Even under the best strategy, which I'm about to tell you, you could become the victim of bad timing and die. So be it. Here's how I defeated it: Celes should have equipped Drainer, Force Shld, Mystery Veil, and Minerva, along with the Black Belt and Ribbon/Jewel Ring relics. If she doesn't know Life yet, give her Sraphim, otherwise the Esper's up to you. Setzer should wear the Red Cap, Hero Ring, and be as defensively strong as possible. Esper doesn't matter in the slightest, because Setzer won't be alive at the end of the battle. Be at full HP upon entering the battle (MP doesn't matter so much), and have both characters in the back row. First, upon entering the battle, if Setzer is first, have him use Fixed Dice on the main body. Celes' first turn is to cast Break on Setzer. Yes, we want Setzer petrified, because Setzer is not very well suited for this battle, and the best use for him here is to make him a target. Once Setzer is a statue, it's all up to Celes. The entire battle looks like this: if Celes' HP is below full, attack Inferno with your Drainer to get back to full health (which was 1231 HP for me). If her HP is below 1000, cast Cure on herself, and if it's below 600, Cure2. If Celes' MP is below 100, cast Osmose on Inferno. If HP and MP are at reasonable levels, cast Bolt2 on Inferno. At NO POINT should you attack either arm... the only time either arm should be touched is if it attacks you first and you counter-attack due to the Black Belt. This should work pretty well for you. Minerva protects against Atomic Ray and the lightning attacks, your relatively high MP Block will protect you over 50% of the time from physical attacks. The only thing you really need to concern yourself with now is Sobat and perhaps Shrapnel. For a slightly easier battle, cast Slow on the body. Continue out. Follow the obvious path until you're outside, then walk down. The chest you see off to the right contains a Megalixir... nice to have, but not necessary. Continue down the down-left path towards the door, but before going there, hit the chest with the glowing purple star on it to unlock Team 1's progress. ** (My step count with Team 3 at that glowing chest: 10018) ** Go back to that door, enter it. Walk forward into the next room, where Skull Drgn awaits. It gives 10 Magic Points and a Muscle Belt upon beating, and like Gold Drgn is only a step cost of 6, so give Celes and Setzer espers with magic they need to learn (Celes most likely still needs Fenrir for Stop and Setzer could probably use some curative spells). Skull Drgn isn't too hard, but not the cakewalk that Gold Drgn was. Give Celes a Ribbon and Setzer a White Cape to minimize damage from Disaster, then give a constant barrage of Fire2 and Fixed Dice attacks, reviving any party member who dies. Shouldn't be a huge problem. Alternatively, you could try Rasping it, as it only has 1999 MP, which means 6-8 castings will take care of it, but physical will probably be quicker. Leave the room. Walk down the path that's a mirror image of what you just did with Team 2. Now, you're in the same room as Terra and Gau. Hi guys! Step on the switch. Switch teams, and equip Edgar and Sabin with some of your newly acquired equipment. I'd advise the Muscle Belt on one of them, as its HP bonus is GREATLY appreciated. Go down. In the next room, down, straight across, then up. Keep following the path outside, past the area that would have been blocked off if Team 3 hadn't helped so kindly. Walk up, and you'll see a chest on the left that you shouldn't go to (it's a Tack Star). Go right, up, and into the door. Inside, walk forward. The door should be open to you. In the following room, choose the left path and down, to push the weight onto Terra and Gau (telling them to get out of the way first, of course). Then, walk back through the door and up to the other switch. Switch to Team 3. Terra and Gau move up onto the open stairs, forward, and choose the right side, dropping the weight down, narrowly missing Celes and Setzer. They go up to the switch. Celes and Setzer walk up the stairs, go to through the door, and step on the third switch. (This last part will go by slowly, because you'll want to change around equipment each time.) ** (My step count with Celes and Setzer on the switch: 10376) ** The path ahead has opened for you, but beforehand, go back down and step on the bottom switch, freeing the other teams. Then it's Celes and Setzer meeting Guardian. This, compared to the three goddess battles, is quite simple. First, Celes casts Slow on him. Setzer, as long as both characters are alive, always uses Fixed Dice, unless Celes is dead, in which case he uses a Fenix Down on her. Celes always uses Bolt 2, unless Setzer is dead or with less than 50% health, in which case she heals him accordingly with Life or Cure2. Setzer has a Black Belt to make better use of his Fixed Dice, and both characters wear Marvel Shoes. It took only a few tries to make it work for me (I had some quite fortunate dice rolls, which were very welcome). Guardian starts off with its normal mode, then Ultros, then normal, then Dadaluma, then normal, then Atma. I don't know what's after Atma, because if it ever got that far, Meteo would pulverize me, so don't let it get that far. Walk forward. Use a Sleeping Bag at a save point if you want (you might as well as the save points are the only places now where they're useful), and continue through the door. Turn directly left in the next room, then down again. Outside you go down, right, then up to meet Poltrgeist. Poltrgeist. This is a perfect tag-team match with Celes and Setzer. Equip them both with Marvel Shoes, and give Setzer a Wall Ring and Celes Earrings. Celes casts Stop on Poltrgeist, and then Setzer fights with Fixed Dice. Celes does Ice2 (or Osmose if she needs it, or Life if Setzer needs it), and Setzer fights. Celes repeats, Setzer repeats, and then on the next turn Celes uses Stop again. If you time it right Poltrgeist will be just getting out of Stop mode when Celes casts it again, and Poltrgeist won't get a turn. If he does get a turn, there's a pretty good chance it won't be a big deal, as Fire3 won't hurt either of them, Aero, Flare Star, and that storm attack (that I forget the name of) won't hurt Celes with a Minerva on, and you should have enough HP to survive Shrapnel if you're in the back row. You still might die, 'tis true, but it's an easier fight than Goddess. Once beaten, walk ahead to the Save State. Give any of your six characters a Sleeping Bag if they need it (or give a team a Tent... if one team is on a save point, every team can benefit from it). Unequip Celes and Setzer, and switch to Sabin and Edgar. Using the newly opened bottom passage, walk to Doom. (Sound ominous, doesn't it?) Sabin and Edgar against Doom. This is a battle of two completely distinct parts, the first half being distinctly more difficult than the second half. Give both brothers Marvel Shoes. Sabin needs Force Shld and Hero Ring. In the first half, just keep yourself alive. Edgar will be on curative support (Potions, Dried Meat, and Tonics, not Cure magic, he needs to save his MP if he doesn't know Osmose, which my Edgar didn't) and the occasional AutoCrossbow, which is slightly more effective than his other tools. Sabin will be holding the fort between Bum Rushes by using Mantra, Cure2, and Osmose when necessary. Doom will try stuff like R. Polarity (which you should correct from), Ice3 (which is much more harmful to Edgar due to Sabin wearing that nifty shield), and N. Cross (you just gotta hope it won't hit you, but even if it does, the Marvel Shoes should help to keep you alive). If one member knows Slow, casting that in the first half helps considerably. After about eight Bum Rushes, that should be enough to make Doom's "aura shake", which sounds like some sort of new fruit smoothie, but oh well. Once this has happened, the battle becomes easier. Edgar now does absolutely nothing until Doom casts Targetting on one of the brothers. Whichever brother is targetted, Edgar casts Vanish. See, the next attack after that is Demon Rage, which you probably don't have the strength to withstand, but it's a physical attack, so Vanish is perfectly suited to protect against that. Sabin goes into full Bum Rush mode. If you keep to that strategy, the second half should be simple. ** (My step count after fighting Doom: 10524) ** Walk through the tunnel that's opened up and step on the switch. Unequip, and switch to Team 3. Terra and Gau walk down and around like Edgar and Sabin did, and up to Goddess, wearing optimum equipment (and Terra with two Hero Rings). Terra and Gau against Goddess. Goddess has three attacks that makes this super- hard: Overcast, Charm, and Quasar. Overcast is an attack that will always happen soon after 8 attacks are landed against her, Charm will make any one of your characters attack their friends and themselves until they're dead, and Quasar gives a single character around 2700 damage (or two characters get 1350-ish). Ouch. So how do you defend against this with such an under-leveled team with limited equipment? Well, the only way I could find to do it is with a semi-cheap move. You know how casting Vanish on a target will make any magical attack hit them? Well, I don't consider Vanish/X-Zone to be legal, but I'm perfectly fine with using Vanish/Demi (at least, in battles as hard as this). Demi will make the target lose half their HP, up to 9999. So here's what you do (and it's pretty much ALL Terra): 1st turn: Gau summons Kirin, then Terra casts Break on Gau (Petrified Gau still divides Quasar's punch). 2nd turn: Casts Vanish on Goddess. 3rd turn: Casts Demi on Goddess. 4th turn: Casts Vanish on Goddess. 5th turn: Casts Demi on Goddess. 6th turn: Casts Vanish on Goddess. 7th turn: Casts Demi on Goddess. 8th turn: Casts Vanish on Goddess. 9th turn: Casts Demi on Goddess. By this time, Terra SHOULD still be alive, because if she's wearing her Minerva, the only things that should hurt her are physical attacks and Quasar. Quasar does 1350 damage on Terra, which she can stand, and if that happens, heal her up fully before continuing the Vanish/Demi strategy. (If Charm hits Terra, restart. You can't win anymore.) After the 4th Demi, Goddess will have exactly 7002 HP left, and has a chance of using Overcast. Now, have Terra Morph, and blast with Ice2. Four castings of Ice2, and Goddess will be history, and you should have just enough time to do so before the timer on Overcast zombifies her. It's a strategy that's pretty dependant on luck and a slightly cheap trick, but it actually works, as opposed to every other strategy I tried, which did not. Terra needed her Minerva, Hero Ring, Earrings, Red Cap and Force Shld on for this to work. NOTE: If Terra happens to know Quartr, using that instead of Demi on the 9th turn should assure even quicker victory. Of course, that meant you went to get Umaro, and you definitely have more than two characters per team. NOTE 2: You might want to try giving Gau the Whisper rage, since he knows Demi automatically. I haven't tried that tactic, but in hindsight, it might work especially if Terra's max MP is lacking for some reason. Once this is done, walk forward and onto the switch. Then, using the equipment that follows, equip all six characters (espers don't matter, since you can't earn Magic Points during the fight with Kefka). Once you've done so, switch back to Celes and Setzer and walk forward onto the middle switch. (My final step count: 10550) Hurray! You've finished the game! Oh, no wait, there's still Kefka. Even though you've walked your last step, the game's not done, is it? *sigh* Here's how I equipped: Terra Excalibur Diamond Shld Mystery Veil Minerva Earrings Ribbon Sabin Fire Knuckle Force Shld Bard's Hat Gaia Gear Marvel Shoes Hero Ring Setzer Fixed Dice Mithril Shld Green Beret Ninja Gear Black Belt Muscle Belt Celes Flame Sabre Mithril Shld Mystery Veil Gaia Gear Earrings White Cape Edgar Drainer Diamond Shld Red Cap Crystal Mail Marvel Shoes Hero Ring Gau Mithril Shld Green Beret Gaia Gear Hyper Wrist Marvel Shoes Watch the long cutscene, and save state at the point where you choose your character order (you don't want to watch all of that over and over). My order was Terra, Sabin, Setzer, Celes, Edgar, Gau. Tier 1. Cast Break on the Long Arm, then focus attacks on the head. Once that's down, go for the Short Arm. Not much to say there, honestly, you're actually fairly well-equipped to handle THAT battle. Tier 2. Mute the one on the left, and then cast Bio on the Tiger. This cuts down on the amount of damage you'll receive, and Bio will drain away Tiger's HP while you focus on other ones. Then, it's just a battle of survival, making sure all four characters stay alive while pelting with your strongest attacks to the other two (the Muted one is nigh useless to fight until the very end). Once it's just the one on the left remaining, use him as a refueling station of sorts, Osmosing and Draining from it to get back to health. One note about this battle. The middle one uses Delta Hit, which petrifies your characters. I had not realized just how few Softs I had until this came around, and it was a good thing I had some Remedies to take over, since I ran out of Softs. I hope you have a few in stock. Tier 3. Kill off Girl, and kill her off quickly. She can only be hurt by non-elemental attacks, so Bum Rush, Fixed Dice, Drain, and Flare are all good. Then the other can be attacked with anything strong that you have. In the end, it uses Calmness to try kill off one member of your team... if you can, Vanish everyone with Phantom before this happens, but it's unlikely you'll be able to do anything about this. Kefka. I hope you weren't expecting a fun battle here, because it's not... it's extremely boring. I went for the Rasp-until-he's-out-of-MP strategy, which worked just fine, but was incredibly dull until the MP was gone. I ended up with Terra, Sabin, Celes, and Gau. Gau, after casting Kirin, was on Fenix Down duty on any of the other three fallen players, and if they were all alive, gave Potions to Sabin. Sabin used Rasp if he could, and Mantra if he was muted. He also started the battle with two Bum Rushes, because he could at least do those safely without worrying about Kefka getting to his Goner stage. Celes and Terra did a lot of Rasping and Osmosing. That pretty much worked, although half the time is spent reviving your fallen comrades. I used Terra's Morph to make her Rasp faster for a while... she was Rasped 600 MP per turn while morphed, which certainly sped up things. When you're down to five or less Fenix Downs, stop using them, and only use Life magic. At this point, Gau will have nothing to do (unless he knows Rasp and Osmose), so if he dies and doesn't know those two MP-draining spells, don't revive him. Concentrate on always keeping your other three alive. Having three characters at 1 HP is better than having 1 character at full health. Rasp and Osmose until he has no MP. Yes, it takes a long time. Once that happens, you're not out of the woods yet, because Kefka still has his physical attack, Havoc Wing (which WILL kill one of your members) and HyperDrive (which ALSO will kill one of your members). And, you can't rely on Kefka's MP to Osmose from, so you have to save your MP and only use it for Life magic. This is where you want powerful, non-MP casting attacks. Sabin's Bum Rush, Setzer's Fixed Dice, Drainer sword, and Gau's Exocite are all good, as is throwing any rods you might still have. If someone dies, use a Fenix Down to save MP. Don't worry about Goner, and don't worry about Meteor, as you've nullified those. In fact, those are perfect times to use your strong non-MP attacks. And, if successful, that's it! You won! ** (My final step count: 10550) ** I suspect that the game can be finished in 10,000 steps or less, with the right planning. If a sufficient strategy involving saving Strago and Relm instead of Terra and Sabin can be created, that alone would save over 300 steps. However, at the levels that I was playing at, this is my lowest step count. Now, if you followed my advice through this whole thing, your step count should be lower, as there were several places where I realized later that I wasted steps and made notes of it afterwards. I doubt it was enough to get below the 5-digit mark, though. In any case, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and then feel guilty for wasting so much time when you could be doing something physically rewarding. Seriously, get outside and play tennis or soccer or go hiking or swimming or something. ----------------------------- 4. Places to go, things to do ----------------------------- To properly complete this challenge, you need to know what the vital areas of the game are. For instance, what shops, if any, are directly in your path? Where can you fight enemies without increasing your step count? This section answers those questions and more. 4.1. Areas where you can move around that won't increase your step count ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The following areas will allow you to move around without increasing your step count: - The Lete River The Lete River trick has already been mentioned in section 3.1. I strongly recommend you read it (assuming you haven't already). - Riding a Chocobo Although you won't get any EXP, you won't use any steps either (which is kinda the point of this challenge). ____________________________________ | | | Locations of some Chocobo stables| |__________________________________| | | | Towns (80 GP, WoB and WoR) | | | | Nikeah | | Jidoor | | South Figaro | |__________________________________| | | | On the World of Balance Map | | | | -A forest SW of Figaro Castle | | -The forest NW of Kohlingen | | -The forest near Miranda | |__________________________________| | | | On the World of Ruin Map | | | | -Forest south of Mobliz | | | |__________________________________| - Falling down the waterfall Sabin and Cyan will drop down a waterfall, fighting Pirahna and Rizopas. Self- explanatory. - Swimming through Serpent's Trench When in Serpent's Trench, you won't use any steps as long as you choose to go Left and Left at the path choices. Both Rights lead to an area where you need to walk a short distance. - Flying in an airship Self-explanatory. Use this knowledge to get as close as you can to your destinations. This won't help much with earning EXP, because the only enemy that you fight in mid-air is Doom Gaze in the World of Ruin, and he doesn't give you EXP (although it does mean you can get the Bahamut Esper, and Flare is nice to have). It should also be noted that the act of landing an airship or getting on an airship does not increase your step count. You can land and board an airship as often as you like. - Being in the minecart at Vector Not much to say here. You'll fight approximately 7-9 enemies along the tracks without increasing your step count. - The "Warp" spell This spell will take you out of a dungeon area and transport you to the world map. Not especially useful in most cases, but for certain optional characters, it cuts down the number of steps to acquire them. - Standing on a conveyor belt/jumping across treasure chests/swinging on hooks Can't encounter enemies, but doesn't increase step count. 'Nuff said. 4.2. Places that do increase your step count even though they shouldn't ----------------------------------------------------------------------- You should probably be aware that when you're walking around as Celes onstage in the Opera, even though it's not during real gameplay, you'll still increase your step count. Same goes for when you control Maduin in the story of Maduin and Madonna. Controlling General Leo for a short time increases step count as well. 4.3. Notable Shops ------------------ The following is a list of shops that are within a few steps of where you need to be: - In the Returner's Hideout, when Terra has to talk to her friends before talking to Banon, Sabin's standing near a Returner item shop. Contains many standard items and Sprint Shoes. - At the beginning of Sabin's scenario, there's an officer on a Chocobo that sells Tonics, Fenix Downs, and many ninja supplies (a handy spot to visit when you have the airship). - The second ghost on the second car of the Phantom Train is a merchant. - When Sabin and Cyan arrive on the Veldt, you are forced to visit the item shop in Mobliz to buy some Dried Meat. Use that opportunity to buy anything else you need (Fenix Downs, Potions, Sleeping Bags, Tents). Also, people seem to forget that Dried Meat, when eaten by any character, gives 150 HP. It's like using three Tonics, but it's much cheaper than a Potion. - Locke's scenario takes you near a few shops. - When walking through Narshe after Terra flies away, you'll naturally walk past a few useful shops. - In Jidoor, before going to the Opera House, you have to walk all the way through town to the big house up top. You might want to stop in a few shops along the way. - In Albrook, you'll naturally walk through most of the town before sailing to Thamasa. A weapon and armor shop are both very close. - Nikeah has many outdoor merchants very close together. This is especially useful in the World of Ruin, when you're forced to walk by them to talk to Edgar... I mean Gerad. - When flying around on the World of Ruin Map, the most convenient shops are: Item Shop - Tzen, 27 steps Armor - Jidoor, 32 steps Weapons - Thamasa, 53 steps All Three - Kohlingen, 63 steps ------------------- 5. Character Guides ------------------- You need to know how useful a character will be in this challenge? This is the place to be. 5.1. Individual character strengths and weaknesses -------------------------------------------------- Terra - Is there any challenge in FFVI where Terra ISN'T useful? Terra, as always, is very helpful here, which is good, because you're forced to have her in your party for over half of the WoB. She also doesn't require many steps to get in the WoR, and combined with the natural magic she learns, will be a welcome member of your team. Locke - Although getting him in the World of Ruin takes too many steps to make it worthwhile, he'll be enormously helpful in the World of Balance due to his "Steal" command. You won't be visiting many shops, so Steal becomes the primary source of things like Potions, Tonics, Antidotes, and Fenix Downs. If you pick up the ThiefKnife in Narshe, he'll be able to attack and steal at the same time. Very, very helpful, especially when combined with a Genji Glove. Mog - Unfortunately, you won't see much of Mog in this challenge. In the World of Balance, the only time you might control him is when he fights with the other moogles to save Terra. You could consider getting him in the World of Ruin if you think the Moogle Charm is worth it, but that journey is over 500 steps out of your way. Edgar - Edgar's actually not as useful in this challenge as normal. You have to go out of your way to get most tools (besides the AutoCrossbow), and while I recommend you get the Noiseblaster and Bio Blaster early on, those might be the only three tools you receive (although it's possible to end up with five). Unless he's trained with some magic, he'll be holding onto his Black Belt & Drainer for dear life in the World of Ruin. Sabin - Sabin is about as useful as he always is. He's a source of strength in the WoB, and the Bum Rush in the WoR is simple to acquire. In Kefka's Tower, Bum Rush becomes invaluable, and if he has Life, Rasp, Osmose, and Cure2, he becomes the perfect fighting machine. Celes - Celes has a pivotal role in this challenge. When the World of Balance is destroyed, everyone else's levels become somewhat linked with hers. If Celes meets Sabin or Edgar in the World of Ruin by herself, no matter how low their level was before, their level will become AT LEAST what Celes' is. This is important, because that means that if you build up Celes' level in the World of Balance much higher than anyone else's, when they meet up with her in the World of Ruin, everyone else's level will have caught up. So, in the World of Balance, whenever you have the option to put Celes in your party, DO SO. Cyan - You're only forced to have Cyan in your party during Sabin's scenario after the Lete River, and that's probably the only time you'll use him. Getting Cyan at Mt. Zozo takes too many steps. The best advice I can give is that once you get back to Narshe, remove all of Cyan's weapons and armor, sell them, and never use his services again. Gau - Can't get many good rages, but is more useful than you might think at first. When you meet him, Gau has a total of nine rages. With those alone, you have: - Brawler, which throws Stone (and can confuse many enemies) - Whisper, which casts Demi, makes Gau float, and makes him immune to many status ailments - Were-Rat, which casts Poison - Rhinotaur, which casts Megavolt (about the strength of Bolt) - Lobo, a very basic rage - Hornet, a basic rage that makes Gau float - Trilobiter, which has a special attack of Poisonbarb - Exocite, which has a special attack called Scissors - M-TekArmor, which choots Tek Laser and is immune to many status ailments - Gau gains the absorption of any creature he rages, so if he rages Brawler, Whisper, or Were-Rat, he absorbs all poison attacks. If he rages Rhinotaur, he absorbs Bolt, and if he rages Exocite, he absorbs water attacks. - Brawler's Stone has a very unique effect... if Stone is cast on an enemy with the exact same Level as the caster, the amount of damage caused is increased over 7 times. (Same goes for Strago's Stone.) - With those nine alone, he isn't entirely useless, but he can actually get a few more rages without adding to the step count at all. - Here's how: After you visit the town of Mobliz, walk towards Crescent Mountain. Hopefully within a few steps, Gau will join you (after you feed him the Dried Meat, of course). Walk a few more, and hopefully a battle will start. Leap Gau, and continue walking towards Crescent Mountain. Hopefully another battle will start before you reach the cave entrance. Fight, and after you win, Gau might return. - It's all based on luck, but if you time it right, it can be done. Gau will gain the rages of all the enemies he used Leap on AND all the characters he appeared with when he came back, and it will all happen during the walk to Crescent Mountain, which you had to do anyways. With this technique, I once acquired Templar, Soldier, 1st Class, and Wild Rat, expanding Gau's abilities (and giving me Fire 2 with Templar, which was exceptionally helpful). If you do it right, you could acquire something as valuable as Over-Mind or Stray Cat, so I recommend giving it a few tries. Even something like Leafer is a valuable rage to get, since Leafer absorbs Ice. - There's also the added bonus that when you retrieve Gau in the WoR, the enemy formation that he came in on will be added to his Rage list. Theoretically, these two rage-getting ways put together could add seven more rages to Gau's repetoire. Setzer - You're required to get Setzer in the World of Ruin, and because of that fact only, he's forced himself to be useful. Fortunately, the Fixed Dice in Kefka's Tower (which aren't very far out of your way) make him very useful indeed in the final stages of the game. In the World of Balance, his best weapon is his slots, both for healing (yes, Lagomorph... don't laugh) and for damage. Shadow - He's here, he's gone, he's here, he's gone... Shadow doesn't stay in one place. It's precisely because of this fact that makes Shadow less useful in this challenge. Plus, equipping Shadow is expensive because he throws everything away that you buy for him. Useful in parts of the World of Balance, but not so much in the World of Ruin. Strago - Oh, Strago... so close, yet so far away. Getting Strago in the World of Ruin is easy and quick, and he'd be a welcome addition to your forces. Unfortunately, to get Strago, you need to get Relm first, and she's much farther away. Now, you can do it... in fact, getting Relm and Strago is at least 160 steps less than getting Sabin and Terra, but in comparison to those two and their abilities, Strago and Relm are both quite weak, in my opinion. Relm - After defeating Ultros with her drawings, I never used Relm again. There was simply no point in my strategy. However, if you believe that you can win the game with Strago and Relm in place of Terra and Sabin, be my guest. Gogo - Gogo's sort of in the same category as Mog in this challenge, except that we don't even meet him/her in the World of Balance. Gogo is an extremely versatile character, but you use at least 171 steps in trying to get him/her. However, you might reason that 171 is not a big number, especially if you decide not to get Gau... Gogo might be a decent choice to replace Gau as your sixth character. Umaro - No character's more useless in this challenge than Umaro. It's POSSIBLE that you'll choose to get Mog in this challenge, but there's absolutely no good reason I know of to get Umaro. He's sitting this one out. 5.2. The last time you're forced to use a character --------------------------------------------------- To plan for the end of the game, it helps to know where the last location is that each character's forced to be used. It's highly likely that you'll use many of these characters later, but it does tell you which characters to level up. Terra - Thamasa, after General Leo dies Locke - Thamasa, after General Leo dies Mog - you're never forced to use him, with the possible exception of the Narshe Mines (choosing between the three scenarios doesn't count) *Edgar - World of Ruin, Daryll's Tomb Sabin - Serpent's Trench (seriously, that's the last time he's forced into your team) *Celes - World of Ruin, Daryll's Tomb Cyan - Serpent's Trench Gau - Serpent's Trench *Setzer - World of Ruin, Daryll's Tomb Shadow - the island Thamasa's on (believe it or not, this is the only time in the whole game where you're forced to use Shadow, and since you walk directly to Thamasa, you only have him for, at most, two battles) Strago - Thamasa, after General Leo dies Relm - Thamasa, after General Leo dies Gogo - you're never forced to use him/her Umaro - you're never forced to use him * = the only three you NEED in the WoR. You should bring them to Kefka's Tower. 5.3. How many steps to get each WoR character --------------------------------------------- There are fourteen characters in the game, but only three of them are technically required to get in the WoR. So, here's a list of how many steps it takes to get the other 11 characters: Terra - Minimum of 246 steps. You have to enter Mobliz twice. Locke - Minimum of 674 steps (the steps both teams take count against your step total). Mog - Minimum 237 steps. Go through Locke's hidden passage, it's slightly shorter. 2 more steps to get Moogle Charm. Warp if you don't want Umaro. If you do, go down to his instructions below. *Edgar - Forced to get him Sabin - Minimum of 206 steps to get Sabin. If you want to get Sraphim in the town, add another 24 steps. If you want the Drainer in the collapsing house, add another 24 steps. 8 more steps to get Bum Rush (I assume that's why you wanted Sabin in the first place?) *Celes - Forced to get her Cyan - Minimum of around 460 steps, depending on where you talk to the man who sells you the Rust-Rid (which, by the way, remember to have at least 1000 GP to buy the Rust-Rid from him). It's 106 to talk to Lola, send off the carrier pigeon, and get back onto the world map (leave on the right hand side of the town). Approx. 111 to get through Rust-Rid and through Zozo. 243 to go up Mt. Zozo and talk to Cyan. Immediately after Cyan joins, use the Warp spell (or a Warp Stone) to go back to the world map. (4 more steps if you want the Thunder Shld) Gau - His number varies, because it's based on finding a random encounter on the Veldt, but it will likely be between 2 and 50. Land on the Veldt, then save (not save state). Walk back and forth in front of the airship until you get a random enemy encounter. If Gau doesn't leap back from that battle, reset and try again. (The enemy formation he leaps from gets added to his Rage list). *Setzer - Forced to get him Shadow - 336 steps to save Shadow (331 for the WoR quest to save him, and 5 steps on the Floating Continent). Go to the Cave of the Veldt, don't pick up any treasure chests along the way except Striker, which you MUST pick up (it's by the rock switch). You have to fight SrBehemoth, which isn't too hard with four people, and you receive BehemothSuit and ThunderBlade. This also gives you an extra chance to walk by some convenient shops and a "free" opportunity to go to the Colosseum (rather than the 22 steps you'd need to spend otherwise if you want the Colosseum's goods). Strago - If Relm is in your party, it's only 4 steps to get Strago, making it a minimum of 284 steps total. Relm - Assuming you saved Shadow (which, if you want Relm and Strago at all, you obviously should have), it is 280 steps to save Relm, more if you want some of the treasures in Owzer's house. It's best if you bring only 3 people so that you can save Strago as well without using more steps. If you want to visit the auction house along the way in hopes of getting one of the espers sold there, it's 42 steps out of your way, assuming you only try to get an Esper once, succeed in doing so, and walk back to where you left. Gogo - Minimum 171 steps, assuming you can get into a random ZoneEater battle in one step. The lowest I could get was 5 steps. Once inside Gogo's "home", you can get many items along the way without taking any extra steps. These are Genji Armor, Magical Brush, Hero Ring, (the Zephyr Cape adds 2 steps), and Tack Star. Jumping across the bridges with the green men takes no extra steps, which is why the Genji Armor is free of steps. Once you received Gogo immediately use a Warp Stone or Warp spell. Umaro - You've got Mog, right? Leave through the left side cave, getting the Ribbon along the way. Leave back through Arvis' house, then up towards Tritoch. It's a long journey, through a few caves, but eventually you'll be on the ice fields. Fight Ice Dragon if you want, then continue up to Tritoch, and fight him. Fall down the cliff, navigate your way through Umaro's cave, fight Umaro, Mog will convince him to join, and then Warp your way out. This is a long journey, more steps than needed to get any other character. 237 steps to get Mog, plus approx. 580 steps to get Umaro. Now, to simplify the above chart, from least to greatest number of steps: Gau ------ 2-50 Relm ----- 142 (including Strago, 284 divided by 2 characters) Strago --- 142 (including Relm, 284 divided by 2 characters) Gogo ----- 171-201 Sabin ---- 206 (without Sraphim, Bum Rush, and Drainer) Mog ------ 237 (2 more with Moogle Charm) Terra ---- 246 Sabin ---- 262 (with Sraphim, Bum Rush, and Drainer) Relm ----- 280 (if you don't get Strago) Shadow --- 336 Cyan ----- 460-ish Locke ---- 674 Umaro ---- 817 If you have to walk into your airship to change party members, it can be as little as 10 steps to do so, depending on who you have onboard the airship to change places with. A handy tip: if you want to reduce the number of members in your party without using up any steps, land on Kefka's Tower, then immediately leave. Your party will consist of Setzer only, and any three members you add to your party after that point will go directly into your team, rather than wait on the airship. Of course, the disadvantage is that you'll have a party of only Setzer, who probably isn't strong enough to take on most enemies on his own. 5.4. What magic does each character absolutely need, and when? -------------------------------------------------------------- Terra - Bio (for Tier 2) - Rasp (for Atma Weapon) - Osmose (for Atma Weapon) - Vanish (for Goddess) - Demi (for Goddess) - Break (for Goddess) - Ice2 (for FlameEater) - Life (for Kefka) Edgar - Rasp (for Kefka, hopefully for Dullahan) - Osmose (for Kefka, hopefully for Dullahan) - Flare (for Tier 3, optional) - Vanish (for Doom) Sabin - Rasp (for Atma Weapon) - Osmose (for Atma Weapon) - Cure2 (for Doom) - Bolt (for IAF) - Mute (for Tier 2) - Life (for Kefka) Celes - Break (for Inferno) - Cure2 (for Inferno) - Rasp (for Atma Weapon) - Osmose (for Atma Weapon) - Stop (for Poltrgeist) - Life (for Poltrgeist) - Slow (for Guardian) - Bolt2 (for Guardian) Gau - Life (for Kefka) - Rasp (for Kefka) - Osmose (for Kefka) Setzer - Rasp (for Kefka) - Osmose (for Kefka) Of course, teach them more than this... this is only a list of those that are strategically necessary. Learn these as soon as you can, as they're very nice to have before the points listed. --------------- 6. Esper Guides --------------- 6.1. What Espers will you get? ------------------------------ Here are the Espers that you'll receive without taking ANY extra steps: Ramuh Ifrit Shiva Unicorn Maduin Bismarck Shoat Carbunkl Phantom Bahamut Fenrir (assuming you get Terra) In addition, here are espers that will be within a VERY reasonable distance: Kirin Stray Siren Based on this, here are all the spells you can learn from Magicite in a Fewest Steps Challenge, and the ways to learn them: Antdot (x4) - Kirin Bolt (x10) - Bismarck, (Ramuh x10) Bolt 2 (x3) - Maduin, (Ramuh x2) Cure (x5) - Kirin, (Unicorn x4, Shiva x3) Cure 2 (x5) - Unicorn, (Kirin x1) Dispel (x2) - Unicorn Drain (x1) - Ifrit Fire (x20) - Bismarck, (Ifrit x10, Siren x6) Fire 2 (x5) - Ifrit, (Maduin x3) Flare (x2) - Bahamut Float (x2) - Stray Ice (x10) - Bismarck, (Shiva x10) Ice 2 (x5) - Shiva, (Maduin x3) Imp (x5) - Stray Life (x2) - Bismarck Muddle (x7) - Stray Mute (x8) - Siren Osmose (x4) - Shiva Poison (x5) - Ramuh Rasp (x4) - Shiva Regen (x4) - Kirin Remedy (x3) - Unicorn Safe (x1) - Unicorn Scan (x5) - Kirin Shell (x1) - Unicorn Sleep (x10) - Siren Slow (x7) - Siren Stop (x3) - Fenrir Warp (x10) - Fenrir X-Zone (x5) - Fenrir Debatably, Palidor (which is found on the beach on Solitary Island in the World of Ruin) is also fairly close. From this, you can get Haste, Haste2, Slow, Slow2, and Float. If anyone can give me a reason why Haste2 and Slow2 would be especially helpful in this challenge, let me know. (Slow and Float are both available with Espers you'll find naturally, and Haste is provided by wearing RunningShoes.) It costs 35 steps to get. The other esper you should consider getting during this challenge that's slightly out of your way is Sraphim, as it teaches a lot of good curative spells. You can find it in Tzen, and the best time to get it (for price and fewer steps) is after getting Sabin from the collapsing house in the World of Ruin. You'll be able to get it from a man hidden in the top right corner of the town, and it costs an extra 24 steps to get. And, for completion's sake, the Espers you'll receive from rescuing the 11 optional characters: Terra - Fenrir Locke - Phoenix Mog & Umaro - Terrato Sabin - Sraphim (24 steps out of the way) Cyan - zero Gau - zilch Shadow - zip Strago - nada Relm - Starlet Gogo - bupkis 6.2. Which help the most here? ------------------------------ Even with all that that you can learn within reasonable step counts, you still are missing a lot of better espers. No Life 3 from Phoenix, no Ultima from Ragnorak. Here are the best espers from what you've got left (in no particular order): Shiva - Learn ice spells quickly, but more importantly, learn Rasp and Osmose in the WoB. Terra and Celes should both get Rasp and Osmose by the end of the WoB, and the four others should at least begin learning it. Most valuable Esper for this challenge. Maduin - Level 2 elemental spells AND MagPwr+1. Bismarck - Learn 3 elemental spells really quickly, and vigor+2 at level up. Plus, it's your only way of learning Life until the WoR. Phantom - Use it for its summon when you can... the early part of the WoR and much of the WoB is easier because of it, not to mention the Goddess battle. Just don't use Cure on yourself while you have Vanish status. Kirin - Summon for Regen, learn Cure. No bonuses, but you'll be hurting for Cure magic without it. Unicorn - Someone who knows Cure, but not much else should learn Cure2 from Unicorn. I'd choose Setzer, because Lagomorph stinks for healing power. Ramuh - The whole Floating Continent sequence usually benefits from summoning Ramuh... and learning Poison ain't to shabby either. Bahamut - It's most convenient use to you will likely end up being the +50% HP bonus, but summoning Bahamut (especially by users who can get the MP back with Osmose) is a wonderful thing too. Oh, and Flare's pretty nice, but takes so long to learn that only one character will likely learn it, if that. Shoat - Learn Bio. It's the strongest poisoning attack you'll get (that I know of), and poison status on a strong monster becomes remarkably valuable. 6.2.1. What magic does each character absolutely need, and when? -------------------------------------------------------------- See Section 5.4. ------------------------------ 7. True Fewest Steps Challenge ------------------------------ Now, this challenge was an accomplishment, but there will be purists out there who will say that it didn't truly do the challenge because I took a few steps out of my way here and there to get various items I couldn't have gotten otherwise. Well, part of the Fewest Steps Challenge is to make sure you actually FINISH the game. Without those extra steps, I would never have been able to make it through Kefka's Tower at the levels I was at. However, if you are an enterprising person who really wants to take as few steps as possible, not going out of your way for anything, here's some tips on how you might do that: - Lete River. Stay on this river for a lot longer... minimum would probably be level 25-30. Terra learns Warp at level 26, and Sabin learns Air Blade at 30, so those should help let you know when you can finally leave that boring river loop. - Sabin's scenario will put two item shops directly in your path (one is the Phantom Train ghost). Those are the only two shops that you will visit, ever. - Edgar will only have Autocrossbow until Vector. Have Locke steal Flash from Rhinox. Steal Noiseblaster from the left Crane and Debilitator from the right Crane. Steal Bio Blaster from Chaser. (Oh, and since no Save Points are directly in your path, if you miss seeing a Rhinox or the right Crane gives you a Potion, you have to start all the way from the beginning of Vector again if you want those items. Sucks, huh?) - You'll only have Celes, Edgar, and Setzer in the WoR. As soon as you get the airship and have fought Doom Gaze to receive the Bahamut esper, you must go straight to Kefka's Tower. My two-man boss strategies won't work for you... you'll have to devise your own. - You probably won't be able to finish the game at the ultimate fewest steps without cheap tricks like Vanish/Doom. Learn Vanish from Phantom and Doom from Shoat. - Save state really often. A single step misplaced, and you gotta start from the last point. - You won't get the Drainer, unless you're fortunate enough to steal it instead of Rune Edge from Number 024. Now, these are only tips. You'll have to figure out a lot of it for yourself. Me, personally, I'd never want to try this challenge with less than six team members, for sanity's sake. ------------------ 8. For More Advice ------------------ If you need more information than this to properly finish this challenge, there are a great number of FAQs on GameFAQs that will help. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions/clarifications of anything seen here. 8.1. Thanks ----------- The following FAQs helped me a great deal in the creation of this guide, and while I did not quote them directly, I'd still like to give them credit for the manpower they put into their stuff that made my life easier: Djibriel - FAQ/Walkthrough Paltheos - CES Challenge FAQ Mnrogar - Colosseum Guide Atom Edge - Item FAQ SharkESP - Low Level FAQ/Walkthrough Master ZED - Monster Statistics Guide Meeple Lard - Single Character Challenge FAQ and Character FAQ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Final Fantasy 3/6j - Fewest Steps Challenge 2006 Chris Hendricks [Ilsoap] - firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Info - Ask me first. I'll probably let you copy portions, but I'd like to know about it first.