Underneath the new graphics and hidden augment abilities Final Fantasy IV DS has surprises to throw veterans off balance. Most of them are contained in boss battles, which are notably more difficult than any other installment of Final Fantasy IV. If you try to coast through Final Fantasy IV without stopping to level up you might (gasp) actually perish in a fight.
While the new graphics are pretty, the change in boss strategies is a less discussed addition. New fights makes Final Fantasy IV feel fresh. Let’s take a look at some of these changes, which will obviously contain some spoilers.
The Antlion is known for countering physical attacks, but in this version he can react to magic attacks too. When his eyes glow red the Antlion will counter Rydia’s Chocobo Kick summon. You won’t be able to rely on just using that to win the fight. This makes Cecil useful because you can switch to Darkness mode and chip away at the Antlion with physical attacks while Edward heals the party with a song.
Not all of the bosses are given new attack patterns. Cagnazzo the fiend of water retains his usual strategy. He summons a puddle of water underneath him before flooding the party with a powerful water attack. The twist is Tsunami has a side effect of instant death. After your party gets drenched some of them might not get up. He also has an annoying habit of casting Sleepel on the entire party and countering physical attacks with hold. By immobilizing your two black magic users Cagnazzo is free to hit the party with Tsunami, his most devastating attack. One helpful hint for this battle is to remove Porom’s weapon. If anyone falls asleep have her hit them to wake them up at the expense of a little HP.
The first bottleneck I faced was against the Dark Elf. I felt familiar enough with Final Fantasy IV that I skipped grinding to acquire the Mythril equipment. Actually, I never really found leveling up a necessity in Final Fantasy IV as long as I didn’t run from fights. There are enough encounters with a sufficient supply of experience points to get through the game, but not past the Dark Elf in Final Fantasy IV DS. The Dark Elf who speaks solely in katakana (kana for foreign words), massacred my party with his magic because he is immune to Tornado when he transforms into the Dark Dragon.
Final Fantasy IV has curve balls, use save points wisely.
Images courtesy of Square Enix. Photos Spencer/Siliconera.