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Gift Mode Challenges FAQ by Squeeealer

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 06/07/08

lufia 2
gift mode challenges FAQ


Version 1.0 - June 6, 2006 - Original submission.
Version 1.1 - May 22, 2008
- corrected some errors and filled in some gaps
- added A Whole New Challenge Section
- added Nefarious Nine to Challenge #1
- added Blue Chests Section
- added The Junkpile Section
- added The Brainstorm Section

                            *****************
                               LEGAL STUFF
                            *****************


Written by Eric A Johnson
This FAQ is copyright 2006 -- Eric A Johnson

This publication is protected by United States copyright law.
Permission to post this FAQ is granted solely to GameFAQs.com.
It may not be placed on any other web site or otherwise distributed publicly
without advance written permission of the author. Use of this guide on any
other website or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a
violation of copyright.  If you wish to post this FAQ or any portion of it to
any other site, please write to me.  My email address is SqueeMLB@aol.com.



                             *************
                                CREDITS
                             *************


- Mega Cyclops-sized thanks to Relnqshd aka Reli who many of you may know from
the Lufia II board.  He helped reveal to me many of the mysteries of the AC
such as his awesome "Protection List" which enhanced my enjoyment of the game.
He provided me lots of support via email coming up with statistics and facts
for this FAQ, as well as the other excellent Lufia FAQs you'll find on
 GameFAQs.  Couldn't have done it without ya, Reli.

- More big thanks to Auron for being the only other person I know on the planet
that shares my enthusiasm for the AC, and for helping me with proofreading and
brainstorming, and teaching me how to submit a FAQ!  If you want to beat the AC
before you die you'll want to check out his AC FAQ.

- Thanks to Heavyarms for those times he said he was looking forward to my FAQ.
Just knowing that this FAQ might be entertaining or helpful for someone else,
ANYone else, helped motivate me.  Also thanks for having a great FAQ putting a
spotlight on some of the subtle parts of the game that make Lufia II so
special.

- Thanks to Iron Knuckle and Beastman for their FAQs.  Iron Knuckle's FAQ is
highly recommended and I used his monster list more times than I can recall for
my Watch Lists.  I even still use his Monster List as a reference when needing
to find statistics on a particular enemy.  I also used Beastman's FAQ
frequently for my Watch Lists and my Solo Run Early Level Walkthrough.  His
floor-by-floor enemies list is highly recommended study material.

- Thanks to me for sticking with this thing.  It was over a year in the making.
If you have any comments, questions, ideas, corrections, revelations, stories, 
or just plain want to talk about the AC feel free to email me at
SqueeMLB@aol.com or check out my AC blog at www.myspace.com/squeeealer.

- THANK YOU to GameFAQs for providing a community where I could meet all these
great people and see all these Lufian efforts.



                             *************
                                 INTRO
                             *************


If I had to choose one game to play for the rest of my days it would be
Lufia II.  But more importantly, and more specifically, I’d want Gift Mode on
Lufia II.

This FAQ is for Ancient Cave (AC) nuts, like me.  To me the AC is like a
different game every time.  Nothing is ever the same.  I think the majority of
gamers dislike the AC for a few reasons.  For one, each run can take an
excruciatingly long time - hours on end in fact.  I never actually do a run in
one sitting.  I just leave my SNES running and turn the TV off.  Breaking it up
like this really makes it less boring.  Also sound is not important at all in
the AC so feel free to turn it all the way down and turn on some music.  
Another way to have quicker battles and ultimately a quicker run is to try a
solo or 2-character run.  You face less enemies and the pace is much more
palatable.  One way I think players could make the AC more interesting is to
play it on a Cart.  If you’re emulating there is just no sense of danger or
urgency IMO.  You can always go back to your save state if you screw up unless
you trust yourself to not cheat.  On a Cart, one false move on floor 95 and
you’ve just wasted the hours you’ve invested.  To me that’s hardcore and I like
it.



                            *******************
                               INTRO - PT II
                            *******************


This FAQ is for those who have unlocked Gift Mode and who have already
completed the AC in the usual fashion as detailed in Auron's FAQ (highly
recommended for those first-timers out there).  If you are like I was, you
thoroughly enjoyed the AC, but after beating it a few times with different
party combinations it started to lose its luster - may I even say it became
boring (gasp!).  It started becoming too easy and it was obvious that it was
because of all the Blue Chest equipment being brought in.  That's when I
started devising challenges for myself that I dare say have given this game
infinite replay value for me.

Possibly the best thing about these challenges is how they uncover more of the
true beauty of this game.  It is amazing how detailed and how much effort went
into the strategy of battles.  It absolutely boggles my mind how they could
waste such a superlative effort by making the normal quest such a low
difficulty level that you barely see the tip of the iceberg in terms of the
intricacy.

Once you start challenging yourself you may never look back.  Auron worked on a
couple challenges, then for contrast tried a 4-man team equipped with Blue
Chest items:

"It's amazing how easy this is now.  You have to know virtually nothing about
your enemies -- you can just hack your way through most of them even if you
have the absolute wrong weapon equipped.  With the enhanced defense of blue
chest items, you suffer almost no damage through much of the run, so you hardly
even have to think about healing.  It is rather disappointingly easy and not
nearly as exciting as one of your challenge runs.  There's none of that fear of
imminent death."



                         ***********************
                            TABLE OF CONTENTS
                         ***********************


I.  GIFT MODE CHALLENGES - PREPARING YOURSELF (001)

     A.  AGILITY
     B.  INSTANT DEATH
     C.  "STARTING FROM SCRATCH"
     D.  CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF
     E.  DROPS, DROPS, AND MORE DROPS
          1.  GEAR DROPS
          2.  AGILITY DROPS
          3.  OTHER IMPORTANT DROPS

II.  CHALLENGE #1 - A Full Party (002)
        A.  THE NOTORIOUS NINE

III.  CHALLENGE #2 - The Three-Character Party (003)
         A.  THREE-CHARACTER PARTY WATCH LIST

IV.  CHALLENGE #3 - The Two-Character Party (004)
        A.  TWO-CHARACTER PARTY WATCH LIST

V.  THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE - A SOLO RUN! (005)
       A.  INSTANT DEATH / INSTANT DEATH PROTECTION
       B.  SOLO RUN WATCH LIST
       C.  SOLO RUN EARLY FLOORS WALKTHROUGH (THROUGH FLOOR 29)

VI.  A WHOLE NEW CHALLENGE - "KEE" RUNS (006)
        A.  "KEENID" RUNS

VII.  MISCELLANEOUS SPELUNKING TIPS (007)

VIII.  CAPSULE MONSTERS (009)
        A.  CHOOSING YOUR CAPSULE MONSTER (CM) IN A SOLO RUN
        B.  CM RUMORS AND THEORIES
        C.  HOW TO MOST EFFICIENTLY EVOLVE YOUR CM
        D.  MISCELLANEOUS INFO ON CMs
        E.  AN EXAMPLE FEEDING SCHEDULE

IX.  BLUE CHESTS (010)

X.  DOORWAYS (011)

XI.  TREASURE ROOMS (012)
       A.  THE TREASURE ROOM SURPRISE
       B.  TREASURE ROOM OBSERVATIONS

XII.  THE JUNK PILE (013)

XIII.  GLITCHES & ODDITIES (014)

XIV.  CONCLUSION (015)

XV.  THE BRAINSTORM (016)

XVI.  FAQ (017)

XVII.  RED CHESTS (018)





I.  GIFT MODE CHALLENGES - PREPARING YOURSELF (001)


A.  AGILITY

IMO the most important stat in the AC is Agility.  Nothing gets you out
of deep trouble like escaping or use of a Smoke Ball by your fastest character.
Never be ashamed to run from a battle where it’s strategically prudent.  I
always feel guilty doing it in the normal quests, but in here you really only
have one shot considering there are no save points.  It’s dog-eat-dog and
everything’s fair.


B.  INSTANT DEATH

Okay, maybe not everything's fair...

Throughout my description of these challenges you may say to yourself, "What an
idiot - this isn't hard at all, just equip a Fatal Pick!"  My challenges assume
that for the most part you will not be using Instant Death weapons and spells.

I actually do recommend them when you are first trying the challenges.  But you
will eventually want to wean yourself off of them if you want to become a Frue
AC Master!  I personally use the spell Destroy on occasion once Archfiends
start appearing, and then regularly on the last 10-15 floors.  Depending on my
mood, I may even use an Instant Death weapon on those last floors in my tougher
challenges as I still view those battles as being extremely deadly.

Overall I frown on use of Instant Death.  I know I am in the minority on this,
so to each their own, but if you want to truly be challenged you will consider
limiting your usage.  I just feel like it's dishonorable.


C.  "STARTING FROM SCRATCH"

All my challenges will be "starting from scratch."  This refers to the idea of
not using any Blue Chest items that you bring in.  Trust me, it's not as bad as
it sounds and you'll get used to it to the point that bringing in Blue Chest
items will feel like cheating.  I do allow myself to use any items found on
each particular trip, even if I find a Dark Mirror on the first floor.  It will
be tempting to not touch the Blue Chest items you already have in inventory and
it's annoying to have to scroll around them while equipping, so I'd suggest
starting a brand new file.


D.  CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF...

because Ammonite Tentacles are bad for your health.

When starting from scratch your stats are no longer saturated from your bevy of
Blue Chest items, so unlike your previous runs where you just strong-armed your
way through every floor obliterating every enemy you laid eyes on, you now have
to actually THINK before you leap into battle.  Here are some questions you
need to ask yourself:

 - What enemy is this?  What enemies might be accompanying it/them?  How many
enemies might I be battling? -

Simple enough - you probably already know from your vast experience.  If you
need a refresher I highly recommend Beastman's FAQ which shows enemies by
floor, plus describes which enemies and how many of each might be hiding behind
that enemy sprite.


 - What will I gain from fighting this enemy? -

If it might take some effort to defeat this enemy or there is risk involved,
then you need to ask yourself is what you will gain from this battle worth the
effort and risk?  Other than being forced to face an enemy due to being trapped
or being blocked from the stairs, the two factors here are drops and
experience.  Personally, I usually will fight any enemy that could possibly
drop an item to me that I truly need no matter the odds of the item being
dropped.  Obviously earning experience is always a factor, but I honestly don't
keep track of what enemies reward me with high doses of experience outside of
Cores and Dragons.  Auron made a good point in saying, "Avoiding a battle where
you stand to gain 1000 EXP or so makes sense when you consider how easy it is
to recover that 1000 EXP 10 - 20 floors later."


 - Can I get a surprise attack, and if so, how? -

One thing you will need to master in the AC is getting your surprise attack as
you will be able to end many battles before your enemy even gets a turn.  For
just about every enemy that CAN be surprise attacked, study their movements and
figure out how to take full advantage.

On the flip side of all this, if it is an enemy you know you will easily defeat
don't waste time trying to get your surprise attack.  Sometimes I have to catch
myself as I could be trying to get a surprise attack on a Wood Gorem while
being equipped with a Burn Sword.  AC runs are long enough!


 - How do I match up agility-wise? -

This question is especially important if you cannot surprise attack your
opponent.  Think ahead of time which enemies will be getting their licks in
before you have a chance to defeat them.  Again, refer to Iron Knuckle's
Monster List.


 - What are this enemy's strengths and weaknesses? -

What a concept!  You have to actually consider this before entering battle?!
Brilliant!  Too bad the main quest doesn't take advantage of this to make the
main quest more challenging.

The downside of this is that you will be doing a LOT more equipment swapping
between battles than you ever have before.  But at least you will be mastering
the use of almost every piece of equipment in the game.

I mentioned Ammonites above because they helped me get over the mental hurdle
of understanding that some enemies that I was used to crushing are now actually
dangerous.  I don't have to fight all the enemies every AC trip I make.  I was
using smaller teams and noticed that I was taking way too much damage or even
getting killed off by Ammonites.  Why?  Part of it was what I just spoke of - I
was so used to being able to crush them without batting an eye.  It's hard to
admit that sometimes a stupid crustacean is superior to you.  I certainly
wasn't fighting them for any other reason.  They only drop the worthless Sleep
Ball and I doubt their experience is something I'd miss much.  Now I only fight
Ammonites if I feel like I can get a surprise attack and I have weapons and/or
spells that are would be effective.  There's no reason to take damage or risk
your current venture on Ammonites.

I'll help you in the upcoming chapters with some "Watch Lists" that will help
you decide for yourself (based on your stats and equipment) which enemies you
should be taking on and which enemies you should be avoiding.


E.  DROPS, DROPS, AND MORE DROPS

Of course when starting from scratch almost everything you equip will be via
Red and Blue Chests you happen to run across.  Keep in mind that if you haven’t
found a red chest Shield, Helmet, Ring, or Rock by floor 10, you aren’t going
to find one!!!  Because of this, drops become extremely important to your
team’s success.

Let me first discuss how drops are decided because it's certainly something you
will want to consider.

Each time DURING battle that an enemy is defeated, it is at that time that it
is decided if the item is dropped to you - NOT the end of the battle.  This
means that if you are facing four Newts, then yes, you have 4x the opportunity
for being dropped a Charred Newt.

Also, once a defeated enemy drops an item in battle, then the remaining enemies
cannot drop theirs.  This means that if you are facing a Lizardman (Big Boomer)
and a Skull Lizard (Mage Shield) I can almost guarantee you will want to defeat
the Skull Lizard first just in case he drops for you.

So then you may ask, what if you kill more than one enemy with a single action
like IP attack Torrent or casting Firebird?  Reli did some tests of his own and
came to the conclusion that enemies are slain from left to right.  In his own
words:

Let's imagine that you slay the following enemy party with a single attack:

  Spider1 Mushroom1 Mushroom2 Spider2

- Spider1 dies first (=> might drop an Antidote)
- then Mushroom1 dies (=> might drop a Potion if Spider1 didn't drop anything)
- then Mushroom2 dies (=> might drop a Potion if Spider1 and Mushroom1 didn't
  drop anything)
- then Spider2 dies (=> might drop an Antidote if Spider1, Mushroom1 and
  Mushroom2 didn't drop anything)

Makes sense to me!  Thanks, Reli!



1.  - GEAR DROPS -

 -------------------------------------------------------
 |     ENEMY      |       DROP       |    DROP RATE    |
 -------------------------------------------------------
 |    Skeleton    |    Wood Shield   |      6.25%      |
 -------------------------------------------------------
 |      Ork       |     Jet Helm     |      2.5%       |
 -------------------------------------------------------
 |     Doben      |    Blue Beret    |      7.5%       |
 -------------------------------------------------------
 |  Skull Lizard  |    Mage Shield   |      2.5%       |
 -------------------------------------------------------
 |     Sphinx     |    Old Helmet    |       1%        |
 -------------------------------------------------------

That’s it!  Not much, is there?  Remember to defeat the enemy you want the drop
from first to have the best chance!

NOTE:  if you don’t have enough shields to go around, try letting Necromancers
linger in battle as they often call Skeleton companions.



2.  - AGILITY DROPS -

I preach agility, so here are some enemies you may want to seek out and fight
in hopes of getting a drop.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Asashin - Mysto Jewel - 1.25% - +20 agility
Ninja - Mysto Jewel - 1%

These guys have ended my run more than any other enemy, yet I am still tempted
to fight them for the chance at an agility boost.  See the Miscellaneous
Spelunking Tips section for more strategy on facing Asashins and Ninjas.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eagle - Eagle Rock - 1% - +15 agility

These guys are easy to defeat and have a valuable drop, if you’re lucky.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lion - Lion Fang - 7.5% - +10 agility

Tread very carefully around Lions so you can get surprise attack and you should
have no problem.  They drop at such a high percentage that it's worth the risk.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Armor Bee - Bee Rock - 7.5% - +20 agility

You are always taking a chance with these super-agile killers.  My advice is
that you avoid these guys unless you are very desperate for an agility upper.
The Bee Rock has the excellent IP attack of Immobilize which is relatively
low-IP cost, hits all enemies, and can paralyze your opponents.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Big Bee - Bee Rock - 5% - +20 agility

On the very rare occasion that you get a Stinger to waste his turn by calling a
Big Bee, you could actually face one of these easy fellas.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brinz Lizard - Twist Jewel - 7.5% - +30 agility

Ahhh, the best agility upper!  You can keep dropped Twist Jewels as if you had
found them in a Blue Chest!  The Twist Jewel is also +35 to your defense, so
this can be a hugely important find for an under-equipped party.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sea Hidora and High Hidora - Hidora Rock - 7.5% - +20 agility

Just put these guys on ice and you’ll have an easy battle.  The +20 Agility and
popular Triple Attack IP makes this one of the best risk/reward ventures going.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Silver Dragon - Silver Eye - 1% - +20 agility

Good luck.  Rare as hell.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


3.  - OTHER IMPORTANT DROPS -

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nosferato/Shadow - Gloom Jewel - 2% / 1% - +50 MGR

This is also considered a Blue Chest item.  I find this to be helpful to equip
on Maxim in a 2-man or solo run due to his weak MGR.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fiend - Evil Jewel - 1% - +120 ATP!

Super Mega Colossal attack power upper!  It’s cursed, but the ridiculous +120
ATP helps you get over it.  Pair this with a Gades Blade for a wicked awesome
Octostrike onslaught!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thunderbeast - Thundo Jewel - 7.5% - +40 ATP

This jewel adds a fat +40 to your attack power plus it’s considered a Blue
Chest item.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mega Cyclops - Old Armor - 1% - IP effect Regenerate

This is the best armor for Guy or Dekar with a wonderful group-healing IP that
regenerates!  Perfect for battles with Archfiends where your holy weapon
wielders need to be attacking, not healing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Armor Goblin - Tough Hide - 10% - IP effect Re-energize

Boring, I know, but the Tough Hide’s healing IP effect can be invaluable in a
solo run until you locate healing magic.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gnome - Silver Armor - 7.5% - IP effect Magic Cure

If you find yourself in a MP pinch, Silver Armor is one of the few items that
can help you replenish.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Big Bat - Bat Rock - 0.25% - IP effect Vampire
Vampire - Bat Rock - 12.5% - IP effect Vampire

Not as big a bargain as the spell Absorb, but Vampire works as a great
substitute.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------



FINALLY, on to the challenges...


II.  CHALLENGE #1 - A Full Party (002)

Start out by taking full parties in that include at least either Guy or Dekar,
if not both, and use Flash as your Capsule Monster (CM) to help cover your
mistakes.  Sound familiar?  That's right, just build your team like you did
when you were trying to beat the AC for the very first time.

* Quick Tip - A great timesaver on the first 5-10 floors is to explore the area
first with the intent of finding weapons for your party before engaging the
enemy.  Nothing will bore you faster than four-round battles with Mushrooms,
Spiders, and Bats.

You might be surprised at how well you do with all the knowledge you’ve gained
about what enemies appear when and how to best defeat or avoid them.  This is
where you really start noticing that Blue Chest items tend to favor the ladies
in terms of quantity if you haven't already.

You have far less room for error now than you did because your party’s
collection of various armors will be inferior or non-existent.  Keep this in
mind when choosing your battles.  Also be ready to heal more often.

Through sheer numbers, properly equipping your team for each battle, and
healing often, you should be able to handle just about anything.  Here is a
list of some of the most dangerous enemies in the AC and strategic information
for each one.


A. - THE NOTORIOUS NINE -

Tips and strategies on the nine most dangerous enemies in the AC (in order of
appearance).


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9.  ASASHINS - 220 HP - 168 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  holy
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  27 - 29

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8.  NINJAS - 340 HP - 132 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  44 - 46

These guys are sometimes impossible to avoid.  Tread VERY carefully on floors
where they appear.  What I do when entering a new room is safely stay in the
doorway and walk against the wall to see if any come flying in on me.  As I’m
sure you’ve already discovered, you can get them caught sideways in a doorway
so that you at least have a chance at a surprise attack.

Another more difficult to describe trick can be turned when you are on the
same horizontal plane with an Asashin or Ninja.  You have to have an obstacle
between the two of you and the enemy must be right up against said obstacle.
You can stand either two or three spaces away from the obstacle.  Take one step
up or down, then take one step back to where you originated.  At this point you
can see that on your next move you will engage the enemy.  If you are three
spaces away from the obstacle just take a step towards the obstacle and you
will ram right into the side of the enemy giving you at least a chance at a
surprise attack.  If you are two spaces away, simply face the obstacle and wave
your sword once.  He will step right in front of you (sideways) giving you a
chance at a surprise attack.  This only works on the horizontal plane because
Asashins and Ninjas always move one step horizontally THEN one step vertically
when you are not on the same horizontal or vertical plane that they are on.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  BLUE MIMICS - 365 HP - 132 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  29 - 31

Beware the Blue Mimics.   They are devastating against a short team as early as
they appear, and with your team likely under-equipped from starting from 
scratch you make excellent prey.  Like Bees, Blue Mimics cannot be surprise
attacked and have a killer attack all ability of Frenzy that they're not afraid
to use.  But unlike Bees, there's not really any reason to face them as they
don't drop anything.  If you cannot find the stairs on a level where Blue
Mimics are, they are likely sitting right on top of it.  What I do on floors
29-31 is scout the area and find the stairs FIRST.  If you can’t find them then
engage in battle with a hopefully simpler enemy, but within sight of a Blue
Mimic.  As the screen spins to your battle scene, you can barely catch a
glimpse as to what is underneath the Blue Mimic.  You’ll have to fight it/them,
but at least you’ll know which Blue Mimic the staircase is under.

Just like your battles with Bees you'll be using pre-emptive healing and
arranging your equipment in an attempt to put your most agile character over
the 132 mark.  If you are lucky enough to find a Red Chest Bee Rock, Immobilize
is the most worthwhile IP attack I can think of, but outside of that just use
the biggest baddest IP attacks you've got.  If you're really lucky use your
Black Eye, Silver Eye, or Gold Eye IP attacks to wipe out the lot of them.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  LEECH - 542 HP - 220 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  holy
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  67 - 72 and 75 - 81 and 83 - 86

Leeches scare me to death and deserve your full attention.  Luckily the most
you ever have to face are two, or else they would be even more dangerous than
Archfiends.  They have a huge amount of agility, they can instantly kill you
with Destroy, they can perform two consecutive physical attacks that invoke all
sorts of status effects (I’ve even seen a single blow afflict a character with
three status effects), or they can chill your team with an Ice Valk spell.
It's pretty scary how quickly your run can go to hell in a handbasket when one
of your more physically powerful characters gets confused.  I am always VERY
careful around these guys and try to get a surprise attack as a strong holy
weapon can defeat them in one blow.  It can be tricky to get your surprise
attack because they are constantly teleporting, but there is a simpler way.
Wait until they teleport near a wall and then move toward their general
vicinity.  As long as you stay near the Leech sprite, they will not teleport
and move just as all the other enemies who move on every third move you make
(Dragons, Hidoras, etc).  So just wait for them to get adjacent to the wall,
then as soon as they face it they are exposed for a surprise attack.  Remember
that Leeches also accompany Ghost Ships, Archfiends, and can be summoned by
Dark Sum’ners.  If you are supremely lucky you can get a Leech to drop an Old
Sword - they drop them about 1% of the time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  ORKY - 2800 HP - 128 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  thunder/dragon
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  70 - 72 and 76 - 78

Fight at your own risk.  Keep a keen eye on your party's agility because if
you accidentally don't get a surprise attack BE SURE you can escape free and
clear without them getting turns in.  Unlike High Hidora, Orky is actually
susceptible to Thunder, so equip your Sky Sword and Boom Swords.  If you have
Guy or Dekar in your party the Thunder Ax's Thunderball can be one of the most
effective ways to damage an Orky.  Somehow Orky is weak against Dragon
elemental so if you happen to have a Lizard Blow get it equipped.  In fact,
this would be a good time to use the Dragon Rush IP attack.  Try your best to
knock one out before they start taking their turns.  Having a spellcaster cast
Trick would not be a waste of a turn.  You actually want Orkys to use Octo-Head
Blast or Triple Attack because their normal physical attack is 8x the
punishment.  Fortunately, Orkys are also susceptible to status effects, so
inflicting paralysis or sleep with the Stun Gun, Coma Hit, Sleep Rod, etc is a
highly recommended course of action.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  ARCHFIEND - 1735 HP - 166 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  holy
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  

Fortunately, most Archfiends don't HAVE to be fought, but there are many
instances where fighting them will be inevitable.  The first tricky part is
that you never know exactly what you're going to get when you encounter an
Archfiend sprite.  It could be just about any combination of Archfiends,
Leeches, and Ice Rogues.  Since all are susceptible to Holy you know what to do
there.  As with many of the toughest enemies, Archfiends can't be surprised
attacked and have huge agility.  This is made even more dangerous by each
Archfiend being able to have two turns per round.  If at all possible try to
get one of your characters more agile than the Archfiends.  This really
improves your chances of success as that character will likely be a spellcaster
and can cast Champion or Valor each round.  If you just can't get anyone over
166 you'll still be healing each round, so be sure to pre-emptively heal.  If
you have any gear with Instant Death Protection, you should seriously consider
equipping it as their casts of Destroy are focused on one character with a 50%
success rate.

Maxim, Selan, Tia, and Arty have a great variety of Holy weapons to choose
from, but you will want to be selecting the weapons that focus a Holy IP attack
on one enemy.  In case the fight ends up being against a pair of Archfiends or
an Archfiend and Leech, you will need to be taking one out ASAP.  Holy IP
attacks are generally far more effective than Arty casting Zap on a single
enemy.  Dekar, Guy, and Lexis can be more tricky with their limited Holy
options.  Don't underestimate the power of the Gladius' 3x Holy IP attack for
these guys, although with Lexis you may just want to make him the spellcaster.
And of course don't forget the Gold Eye's Stardust Blow.  Flash would be the
most useful CM, but she is taken out 95% of the time before even getting a
turn.  The only CM I can see as being useful might be Gusto as he'd at least
get a move off before being killed.

Another strategy is to use Dekar or Guy as your healer with one of their big
group healing IP's - especially ones that revive fallen characters.  If you can
get a spellcaster faster than an Archfiend, but they don't have any big Holy
attacks available, this might be one of those rare times to cast Mirror.  Have
them cast it on themselves as it will have a 100% success rate, and that way
they'll be mostly protected and able to heal the group each round.  What if you
reflected a cast of Destroy back on the Archfiend considering they are not
resistant to Instant Death?  Now that would be awesome.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  COPPER DRAGON - 2400 HP - 140 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:

Copper Dragons are possibly the least dangerous on this list as long as you
remember a few things.  Number one, get the surprise attack.  Number two, don't
put yourself in a position where you might get hit with two casts of Cinder
Blast with less than full HP.  In other words don't be a lazy healer.  And
finally, remember that Copper Dragons are glitched.  Unlike Silver and Gold
Dragons they are not susceptible to Dragon, Flying, and Dark elementals.  They
are essentially neutral.  The best strategy is to just keep wailing away at
them until they die without wasting your valuable IP.  In fact, Copper Dragons
serve an extremely useful role when fighting the Metallic Dragons.  I use their
battles to boost my IP for the tougher battles with Silver and Gold Dragons. If
you are tempted to cast Destroy against them just remember that they often cast
Mirror on themselves.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  SILVER DRAGON - 2800 HP - 140 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  dark, flying, dragon
resist vs:  all other elementals
floors appear:  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  GOLD DRAGON - 2780 HP - 142 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  dark, flying, dragon
resist vs:  all other elementals
floors appear:  

This is where I can't really blame people that want to bust out the Instant
Death weapons and spells - I do it myself on occasion.  There is just too much
EXP to be had with Metallic Dragons, and it really takes experience to fight
them legitimately.  So let me share my experience.

Again Agility is the key and surprise attacks are crucial.  If you engage
Metallic Dragons and try to escape, and ANY of your characters have less
Agility than the Dragons, there is a chance the Dragons could get a turn in
before you are granted your escape - if you live that long.  If you are lucky
enough to have all your party members faster than the Dragons 

There are a few key weapons that you usually have to have at least two of to be
able to pull this off.  The number one dragon killer of them all is Lizard
Blow.  Not only does it do a great amount of normal damage AND have a higher
rate of critical attacks, but it's Dragon Rush IP attack can slaughter a
Metallic Dragon in a single blow.  Dragon Rush is a relative IP bargain, and
the best news of all is that all characters can equip Lizard Blow.

Also equippable by all is Flying Blow.  It also has a powerful normal attack,
and also has a higher rate of critical attack.  It's IP attack is not nearly as
effective as Dragon Rush as it does not focus a multiplied attack on a single
enemy, and your focus is to get one Metallic Dragon out of play before they get
a turn.

Some other weapons of interest are Launcher, the Dark elemental Gades Blade,
and any item that provides you with a Flying elemental IP attack like Spear or
Eagle Rock.  While Gades Blade's Octostrike is effective with its eight
consecutive attacks, be aware that Octostrike is stripped of its Dark elemental
properties and not nearly as effective as one might expect.  If it were not,
Octostrike alone would either demolish a pair of Metallic Dragons or have them
on the ropes.

What should you do with a character that doesn't have one of these weapons?  A
spellcaster should definitely be casting Trick to maximize your attacks.  If
you need to inflict some damage, neutral is the only other option here.
Remember that Cinder Blast, Diamond Dust, and Stardust Blow are considered
physical attacks, so Mirror is not an option.

Short on IP?  What I like to do is rotate battles between Silver/Gold Dragons,
and battles with Copper Dragons.  I use up my IP against Silvers and Golds,
then fight the Coppers to fill my IP back up.  Let them get a Cinder Blast or
two in - just remember to heal.

What CM should you use?  You have a fantastic Dragonslaying secret weapon at
your disposal - Darbi.  Darbi's 4th form performs his special attacks at a very
high rate, and all are extremely effective against Metallic Dragons.  When
focused on a single enemy, Terminate, Sizzle Smash, and Evil Aura do 1,000+,
1,500+, and 2,000+ damage.

The Hit and Run Approach - If you do have plenty of Agility, another option is
to get your surprise attack and just see what your characters do in the first
round.  You are looking for critical attacks from Lizard Blow and Flying Blow,
and you want to see what move Darbi performs.  If at the end of your turns you
feel you are in a good position to knock 'em out you know what to do, but if
you did not get a desired result, just escape and try again.  If you don't have
enough Agility don't try this!  You have to be able to escape free and clear
each time.

What if you are poor in Agility and Dragon-fighting weapons?  You either have
to use Instant Death or just plain avoid them.



III.  CHALLENGE #2 - The Three-Character Party (003)

After you have beaten the Ancient Jelly having brought in no Blue Chests, you
will have really accomplished something!  But, you will also be ready for a new
challenge.

Next we will pare down your team by one character and only take in three.  And
oh yeah, remember that every challenge has you starting from scratch.  At this
point stop worrying about actually beating the Ancient Jelly and just think
about what team gives you the best shot at surviving.  Arty with his killer
agility, light magic, and nice selection of equippable weapons is highly
recommended.

Even more than before you will be picking your battles very carefully and
rotating your weapons to best defeat each enemy.  You should really consider
using your spellcaster(s) as your source of HP now, and get a CM in there that
can help you in battle.

Suddenly some enemies that were easy as pie are becoming a pain or downright
deadly.  You will especially notice this with enemies that have superior
agility, have attacks or spells that hit your entire team, or that perform
multiple attacks.  Here are some enemies you will want to watch out for - don't
forget to heal before engaging!:


A.  THREE-CHARACTER PARTY WATCH LIST

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BEES, BEES, BEES
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARMOR BEE - 150 HP - 120 agility
STINGER - 168 HP - 100 agility
DARK FLY - 160 HP - 94 agility
weak vs:  flying/insect - dark fly weak vs holy
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  23 - 26

You are probably well aware of these guys from your previous runs.  In general,
Bees are so dangerous that I would say just skip them, especially if you
haven't found any healing spells.  If you do choose to fight, make sure
everyone is full of HP going into battle.  Remember that the Bees will likely
have more agility than anyone on your team, so it’s a good idea to have at
least one of your characters heal in the first round.  Take these guys out ASAP
and don’t be cheap on using the IP attacks.  Go all out or you could be
starting over.  Dark Flies actually aren't that bad, but the Armor Bee and
Stinger both frequently perform Immobilize which is a pretty powerful
attack-all ability.

If you were lucky enough to find a Launcher in a red chest, it would be the
weapon of choice here, but you would also have to be fortunate enough to be
using either Lexis or Artea.  The ultimate would be having Artea equipped with
a Launcher and having a superior agility to that of Armor Bees as he would then
have a chance at obliterating the lot of them with the first move of the
battle. Consider transferring your agility-upping equipment to Artea before
these battles if they push him over the 120 agility mark.  Thanks to Auron for
this tip!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EVIL FISH - 208 HP - 58 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  27 - 29

Evil Fish aren't that tough defensively as most any fire weapon or spell kills
them.  But don't take for granted their agility.  If you try for a surprise
attack and don't get it, be aware that if you try to escape that they each 
might get a shot in before you go.  Their attack of choice is Eight-Legger 
which attacks all and is surprisingly effective.  Your better bet if you don't
get the surprise attack may be to take out as many as you can with your more
agile characters.  Of course all of this is irrelevant if you give them a good
dose of Firebird - if you're unsure about your intelligence make sure you don't
spread the damage around so thin than none of them are finished off.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AMMONITE - 198 HP - 90 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:   fire/hard
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  28 - 30

Quite often Ammonites will have more agility than anyone in your party so
carefully try your best to get the surprise attack.  Their Tentacle attack can
be devastating as it wallops everyone in your party.  If you time it wrong and
you are facing two or more Ammonites, I suggest escaping to regroup and try
again at the surprise attack.  Make sure to equip your Fire weapons - this
would be an excellent time to use the Burn Sword's IP attack Firestorm.
Spellcasters don't have a very good variety of fire weapons, but a Pounder Rod
can do some decent damage or casting Fireball on a single Ammonite is enough to
obliterate one.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SEIREIN - 430 HP - 64 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  52 - 54

I remember the very first time I encountered Seireins in the AC I thought I was
in for a laughably easy battle.  I didn't take any out in the first round with
my more agile characters and they sang me four melodies that riddled my
characters with status effects.  Dekar was confused (imagine that) and went
psycho on his comrades.  I have never forgotten that defeat and now give them
tons of respect.  I now am very careful to try to get surprise attack, I equip
my fire weapons, and I do not hold back in going all out to kill them off ASAP.
Also keep in mind that Seireins are often accompanied by Armor Daits who are
often more agile than most of your party.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SLY FOX - 654 HP - 180 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  thunder/flying
resist vs:  light
floors appear:  55 - 57

These guys are a real pain.  Working in your favor is that they do not move
randomly like the Tengu.  They move more like Bats in that you can kind of push
them around with your movements.  I find them to be not worth the hassle with
their casts of Thunder and powerful 2x physical attacks.  You better take one
out in the first round or they'll each get a turn in before you again in round
two.  I suggest avoiding altogether.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SALAMANDER - 692 HP - 198 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice/water/flying
resist vs:  fire
floors appear:  60 - 64

Get ready for this battle.  Salamanders are so fast they almost certainly will
get the first turns.  I like to use my IP attacks and spells that they are weak
against while having one character use Champion.  This battle isn't that big of
a deal when you have a full party because the damage is spread so thin between
your four characters and CM.  But if you have a party of 3 or less, two casts
of Sizzle Breath can be big trouble.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WARM EYE - 510 HP - 82 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  60 - 65

Warm Eyes aren't THAT tough, but if you're not paying attention they can swoop
in on you from behind and get a surprise attack.  Make sure you are paying
attention to what floors they appear on because it's easy to have them climb
right up your back if you don't realize they're in the room with you.  They get
two turns each in which they can Absorb, paralyze you with Hold Gaze, or knock
you around with a heavy-handed physical attack.  If you do get surprise
attacked by four of these uglies, they'll be getting eight turns in on you
before you can do anything.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOLD GOREM - 522 HP - 82 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  hard
resist vs:  all other elemental weapons
floors appear:  64 - 68

You will want to equip your neutral weapons.  These Gorems are resistant to all
other elemental weapons, so it can be tough to outfit your party with the
correct weaponry to have a favorable battle.  The best characters against Gold
Gorems are Guy and Dekar considering they have at least a Heavy Lance by this
point and it's cheap but powerful Bomb Attack IP attack.  Very fortunately,
you'll remember these guys are easy to get surprise attack against as they just
spin in place like Cyclops and Genies.  Their Golden Mist attack is what you
are hoping to avoid, but even their 2x physical attacks do some major damage.
I find it odd that these guys don't drop something cool, so you're only missing
the experience if you need to skip a battle with these dangerous foes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WHITE DRAGON - 550 HP - 190 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire/flying
resist vs:  ice
floors appear:  64 - 68

Yet again, make sure you get your surprise attack.  White Dragons often come in
parties of three and cast Ice Valk and Cold Stream on your entire party quite
often, but it's not necessarily crucial that you take them out in the first
round.  Once they take a certain amount of damage they automatically cast
Stronger on themselves helping to give your team greater control in the battle.
It's difficult, but if you manage to be careless enough to be surprise attacked
yourself, I hope you have Arty with enough agility that he can cast Champion or
use a Smoke Ball at the beginning of round two.  If not, you might be at the
end of your run.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WIND GENIE - 1274 HP - 182 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  water
resist vs:  thunder
floors appear:  74 - 87

Like all Genies, it's easy to get your surprise attack here.  It's a good thing
because Wind Genies are the most agile and most dangerous of them all.  Work on
these guys one at a time making sure that one is dead before moving on.  The
last thing you want is to eat multiple casts of Voltage Bolt.  Water elemental
works great on Wind Genies and I save my Mist Rapiers solely for these battles.
The Mist Rapier IP attack can single-handedly take one of these guys out.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DARK SUM'NER - 540 HP - 300 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  holy
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  87 - 97

Now that's agility!  This is an enemy that you will want to study the movements
of.  They teleport when you get near them, but the trick is that they teleport
within a close proximity of where you are.  You are so close to the end of the
AC at this point that it's easy to get careless.  Walk very carefully - one or
two steps at a time, and you can figure out how to get your surprise attack.
These guys are notorious for jumping right into a doorway just as you think
you're clear of them.  Dark Sum'ners get two turns each per round performing a
number of attacks and skills including casting Perish on your entire party and
calling the dreaded Leeches.  Again, be careful!  If a full party of four Dark
Sum'ners gets the jump on you they will get 16 turns before you can do
anything.

Here's another tip.  Dark Sum'ners can only summon companions that "fit" into
their battle party.  Let's say you are facing four Dark Sum'ners and number
them from left to right as 1, 2, 3, and 4.  If in the first round you kill #1
and #2, then when #3 and #4 get the opportunity they are going to call Hades, 
Hades Chariot, or a Leech to #1 and #2's vacated spot.  You do not want them to
call Leeches unless you are terribly desperate for an Old Sword and its 
fractional IP attack for the battle with the Master Jelly.  So what you want to
do instead is try to kill off Dark Sum'ners that are not adjacent.  This way
they cannot call for the cavalry and you just have to weather their usual array
of relatively wimpy attacks.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In general, this challenge is really not that much different than a full party
except that you’ll probably be choosing to fight less battles.  So at least as
the challenge gets tougher, the amount of time spent playing the AC gets
smaller.

Once you succeed, try using more challenging combinations of characters like
the poor agility team of Maxim, Guy, and Dekar, or the weak defense team of
Maxim, Tia, and Lexis.



IV.  CHALLENGE #3 - The Two-Character Party (004)

Now you really need a challenge, so guess what?  That’s right, 2-character
teams.

This is where choosing your CM gets really important.  If you choose Guy or
Dekar, Flash will really make your life easier.  If you take in a spellcaster
(not counting Maxim), they’ll be doing your healing so try to pick a CM that
best fits your team’s needs.  Darbi is always an excellent choice as his
instant kill abilities work on some of the toughest enemies in the game
including the dreaded Archfiends!

Here’s where another aspect of Lufia II kicks in to really help you out.  The
battle system takes into account the number of characters in your party when
assigning the number of enemies.  You tend to face fewer enemies with fewer
members in your party.  In fact, in a solo run the most enemies you will face
at the beginning of battle are two.

You will be escaping battle a LOT.  I would even suggest studying Iron
Knuckle's Monster List on some of the faster enemies’ agility, and keeping an
eye on your characters’ agility as you choose your battles.  You will want to
end your battles as quickly as possible, so getting a surprise attack when
possible is extremely important.  In general, I would say be very careful with
enemies that are faster than you are, because if something goes terribly wrong
and you desperately need to heal they will still be getting a turn in ahead of
you in the next round.

To me, two of the tougher companions to succeed with on two-character teams are
Tia and Dekar.  Tia has great agility, can use all elemental spells except
light, and it’s always easy to get her equipped with some decent equipment.
But her HP is soooo low that many times an excellent hit or spell will
single-handedly put her down for the count.  With Dekar, he just drags your
team’s agility down so drastically that you cannot run from many battles.
Lexis can be tricky because it’s difficult to outfit him with equipment, but
his intelligence is extremely helpful - especially when matched with an
elemental ring.  Reli sez, "I gave the Fire Ring to Lexis and had a great time
burninating things!  =) "

Let's add a few more enemies to our watch list that you may not have considered
to be dangerous before this point.  Some of the more powerful enemies with lots
of HP just don't make sense to fight anymore like Crows, Great Cocas, Mega
Cyclops, and Minataurus, so just avoid them.


A.  TWO-CHARACTER PARTY WATCH LIST


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WISPY - 82 HP - 160 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice
resist vs:
floors appear:  13 - 15

These annoying little boogers can actually be one of the tougher battles in
the entire AC when using a short party.  160 is a ton of agility considering
how early they appear in the AC, and the fact that they can't be surprise
attacked makes them doubly tough.  They appear so early that most of your team
is still very poorly equipped.  They are weak vs ice, but at this point
elemental weapons are few and far between.  Wispys have a decent physical
attack, but what really puts your party behind the eight ball are the casts of
Flash on the entire party.  Not only that, but they also frequently call more
Wispys, so you can feel like you're getting snowed under in a hurry.  I'd
honestly avoid these pests at all costs, but if forced into fighting remember
to heal before battle.  Try your Ice elemental magic or the icy IP effects of
your Short Swords and Scimitars.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DEADLY SWORD - 108 HP - 60 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  20 - 22

I consider these guys to be far more dangerous than Deadly Armor.  You can't
get a surprise attack on them, they find ways of gravitating to spots where you
can't avoid them, and they too are resistant to neutral attacks.  Other than
Arty and Tia, you might have a hard time getting a turn in before them.  They
perform a repeat attack that hits your whole party, but even more dangerous
might be their normal attack which often is a critical attack.  Characters like
Tia with low HP are especially vulnerable.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DEADLY ARMOR - 142 HP - 52 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice
resist vs:  neutral
floors appear:  21 - 23

These guys can be tough if you don't have elemental weapons (they are resistant
to neutral weapons) or decent spells, but at least you can get a surprise
attack semi-regularly.  Try to take them out quickly because their Iron Kick
can take a huge toll on ill-equipped characters this early in the run.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PUG - 182 HP - 64 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  water/ice
resist vs:  fire
floors appear:  25 - 27

Pugs multiply about as fast as any enemy in the game.  This makes your mouth
water in a three or four-man run as you can rack up the experience, but in a
2-man run it's extremely dangerous.  I usually avoid them, but if I enough
agility to beat them to the first turn or I have particularly effective
water/ice weapons or spells my M.O. is to insist on a surprise attack, then
hopefully take out a Pug per each character's turn.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOUND - 195 HP - 80 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  holy
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  27 - 29

Guy and Dekar can usually take a Hound out with a single attack, but your other
characters will likely have to have a holy weapon equipped to do the same.
Hounds are quick and can call more Hound companions, so you can get outnumbered
in a hurry.  Remember that if you don't get your surprise attack and try to
escape the Hounds will likely each get a shot in on you before you run.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LION - 204 HP - 104 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  28 - 30

As I said in the drops section, just tread very carefully around these guys.
Take one step at a time as you try to get your surprise attack in.  I always
take a chance with Lions as they are one of the more reliable enemies to drop a
helpful agility-boosting item.  The attack you are most hoping to avoid is
Scratch which is a powerful physical attack against your whole party.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARMOR DAIT - 302 HP - 96 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  flying
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  37 - 39 and 52 - 54 (with Seireins)

Armor Daits can't be surprise attacked and will likely have more agility than
your characters do.  Because of this, and the fact that they perform two
powerful physical attacks per turn, I would suggest just avoiding them
altogether.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SAMURAI - 329 HP - 138 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  holy
floors appear:  39 - 41 and 49 - 51 (with Dark Warriors)

Only Arty will likely be able to beat them to the punch, so unless you can
afford possibly not getting the surprise attack I'd suggest passing on these
guys.  They're even tough to avoid as they quickly follow you all over the
place.  If you're worried they might pin you in, it might be a good idea to
hide in a doorway and try to catch them sideways in the opening for a surprise
attack.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MINATAURUS - 624 HP - 94 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  fire
floors appear:  40 - 42

There is no reason to bother with these guys.  Minataurus is supposed to be the
weaker brother of the Gorgons that appear towards the bottom of the cave, but
considering the Minataurus has superior agility, has no weaknesses, and the
relatively early floors they appear on, they are FAR more dangerous.  They are
easy enough to avoid, just don't let one run right into you with a sudden turn.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RED PLANT - 452 HP - 64 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  44 - 46

You can't get a surprise attack, but fortuntely they are slow enough that
pretty much anyone not named Dekar can get their turn in first.  You absolutely
want to take these guys out ASAP and don't be a IP hoarder - this is the time
to use it.  Red Plants pound you with three consecutive physical blows, and
they focus them all on a single character.  Depending on your luck in gathering
gear, this could be certain death for the unlucky target.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COCKATORIS - 365 HP - 132 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  water
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  45 - 47

With a 3-man team these guys aren't much of a threat.  But just paring down to
two changes things.  These guys can't be surprise attacked and likely have more
agility than your characters.  They often like to perform their Picking attack
which induces Paralysis.  You may want to equip something that protects against
Paralysis before these battles.  If I have Dragon I go ahead and have both
characters cast it if possible in case one is paralyzed before getting it off.
So why even fight them?  They drop Life Potions at a pretty good clip.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IRON GOREM - 377 HP - 68 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  hard
resist vs:  all other elementals
floors appear:  46 - 48

This is one fight where you will almost certainly have to change weapons before
your battle.  Iron Gorems are like Gold Gorems in that they are resistant to
elemental weapons, so your best bets are neutral weapons.  A weapon that I
commonly have at this point that is somewhat effective is the Crazy Blade, but
there are many times I have to skip these guys for lack of useful weaponry.  
Iron Gorems are slow enough that you can usually keep escaping and re-engaging
until you get your surprise attack.  If you get careless they can make you pay
with a swift Iron Kick in the pants.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GREEN DRAGON - 680 HP - 126 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire/flying/dragon
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  47 - 49 and 57 - 59 and 64 - 68

Green Dragons appear before the other dragons, yet I find them to be the most
dangerous.  They have slightly more agility than the Blue Dragons and they cast
the powerful Raging Wave spell on your whole party.  Actually I find them
toughest when they are paired with a Brokion.  The game designers were tricky
with this pairing as while Green Dragons are susceptible to fire, Brokions are
resistant to fire - and vice/versa with Brokions being susceptible to water
while Green Dragons are resistant.  Both are weak vs the Lizard Blow, so if you
have one make sure it's equipped!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CYCLOPS - 1252 HP - 70 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  53 - 56

Even with a 2-man team this battle is still somewhat favorable.  I'd suggest
having your spellcaster cast Trick then act as the healer.  You are depending
on your CM to help out Maxim in this battle.  What you need to watch out for is
their Scolding attack which by itself can eliminate some characters even with
full HP.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SERFACO - 440 HP - 154 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  flying
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  54 - 56

I almost always avoid Serfacos in a 2-character run.  They cannot be surprise
attacked and with their agility they always get the first turn.  What makes
them so damaging is their normal physical attack which is somewhat strong, but
since they get three hits in per turn your team will have to absorb six hits
before getting to do anything.  It actually is preferable when they cast their
Twister spell.  When I am using Sully I like to evolve him to Master Class, so
I usually need a Breeze Fruit.  I try to fight other enemies first to get my
IP meter up then unleash IP attacks like Dive or Swoop.  Since you will be
taking damage, you may want to have your spellcaster cast Champion unless you
are absolutely sure you can take them out in one round.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARMOR NAIL - 452 HP - 104 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  55 - 57

With a 3-man team Armor Nails are quite simple.  Things can be a little more
tricky with a 2-man team, though.  Armor Nails are far more agile than their
sluggish kin, the Tartonas.  If you fail to get your surprise attack they might
beat you to the punch with consecutive Nail Splash attacks that rock your
entire party for a heaping helping of damage.  If you have the misfortune of
catching three consecutive Nail Splashes, your run will probably be over.  Just
remember to use your Fire weapons and spells and don't take these guys lightly.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BEHEMOTHS - 1272 HP - 100 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  water
resist vs:  ice
floors appear:  56 - 57

Yet another reason the Mist Rapier is more valuable than you'd imagine.  These
gargantuans are surprisingly agile and cast a powerful Groundshock spell
against your entire party.  You may be seeking them out to find an Earth Fruit
so just remember to blitz 'em with water.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


V.  THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE - A SOLO RUN! (005)


Obviously you cannot beat the Ancient Jelly with just Maxim and a CM, so your
goal here is to make it to floor 99 while giving an honest try at engaging in
most battles.  I only twice have finished the AC out of far more than 300 solo
runs.  My experience level was 40 the first time so you can imagine I did a lot
of running those last 25 floors.


This kind of run is VERY different than any other.

For one, many battles will have you facing only one foe, and as mentioned
earlier, since there is just Maxim, the maximum number of enemies you’ll be
facing at the beginning of battle is two.  This makes for very fast battles.
If you hate how long AC runs last, this might be just the trick for you.  A
solo run to completion takes FAR less time than a 4-character run.

Once again agility is of utmost importance and plays a big part in what battles
you choose and how to approach your opponent.  But now, almost equally as
important, is finding a way to become impervious to instant death.  


A.  INSTANT DEATH / INSTANT DEATH PROTECTION

Once you’re dead, it’s all over.  Nobody will be reviving your sorry butt.  I
didn’t even know I could protect myself against Instant Death until reading
Reli’s protection list in Heavyarms Odds & Ends FAQ.  The only two ways for
Maxim to be protected against Instant Death are to equip him with a Jute Helmet
or an uncursed Dark Mirror.  If you find a Jute Helmet it will be in a red
chest before floor 10.  Consider yourself very lucky if you locate one.  A Dark
Mirror can be a little easier to locate as Blue Chests could be found on any
floor, just remember to uncurse it ASAP.  I know you take a hit to your
defense, but this is almost so important that it’s not an option.  If you
cannot get protection against instant death, pay special attention to which
enemies COULD perform an instant death move on you.  It’s never a good idea to
fight one of these guys where it’s their turn first:

ENEMY - MOVE/SPELL - SUCCESS RATE (vs single target)

Archfiend - Destroy - 50%
Asashin - Terminal Blow - 80%
Black Dragon - Destroy - 50%
Dark Skull - Perish - 25%
Dark Sum’ner - Perish - 25%
Demise - Dark Force - 80%
Fiend - Perish - 25%
Hades Chariot - Evil Lance - 2% (Don't laugh, it's killed me in a solo run)
Hades Skull - Final Shadow - 20%
Ice Rogue - Destroy - 50%
Jurahan - Ninja - 60%
Leech - Destroy - 50%
Necromancer - Perish - 25%
Ninja - Guillotine - 60%
Rogue Shape - Dark Force - 80%
Shadow - Vile Laughter - 50%
Specter - Final Shadow - 20%
Wizard - Perish - 25%


B.  SOLO RUN WATCH LIST

Here are some more enemies that you will now want to pay a little more
attention to than in previous runs.  What makes these guys so dangerous is that
you've never probably had to give them a second thought ever before, and you
could probably defeat them in your sleep in your other AC runs.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BILI JELLY - 62 HP - 16 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  5 - 7

I have actually been defeated by these guys in a solo run because my pride
wouldn't let me avoid these lumps of lime jello.  If you haven't found any
decent equipment yet Bili Jellies can deal more than 25 damage.  If you haven't
found any decent weaponry yet, it can take as many as three turns to defeat
each one and even Sully wants to get the heck outta Dodge.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MIMIC - 60 HP - 40 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  7 - 9

By the time you face Mimics you will have very similar agility.  I always
insist on getting a surprise attack in a solo run because their physical
attacks and Bite are quite powerful against an under-equipped Maxim.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MEGA MOTH - 50 HP - 44 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  insect
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  7 - 11

Mega Moths?!  HAHAHA!  I’m also afraid of dandelions and kittens.  No, really!
In a solo run Mega Moths are like a poor man's Wispy.  Like Wispys, you can't
surprise attack Mega Moths, and they'll multiply to get you outnumbered in a
hurry.  Considering how early they appear you'll need to keep an eye on your
agility to see how difficult your battle will be.  They love to send you off to
dreamland and pick away at you until your death.  If you are poorly equipped,
Mega Moths are surprisingly powerful dealing about 25 HP damage each turn.
Most early-level CMs can't stand more than one hit from them.  If you haven't
found any good weapons yet just equip your Insect Crush - you'll want to be
killing off at least one per turn.  If you can't do that them leave them alone.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ZOMBIE - 146 HP - 48 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire/holy
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  16 - 18

Zombies are pretty easy to get the drop on as they move once for your every
third move.  Zombies like to gravitate towards doorways for some reason and get
lodged in there.  This is where they can be a little tricky because they may
get lodged in a way that you have to face them without a surprise attack.
Their agility isn't spectacular, but at this point they may very well be more
agile than you making for a very tough battle.  There is also a weird
phenomenon where they suddenly start moving once for your every second move,
but I haven't figured out what triggers that yet.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WINGER - 110 HP - 160 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  flying
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  19 - 21

Wingers are tough, especially with their super agility, but you probably
already know how to get the easy surprise attack on them.  Just move around
horizontally until you are on the same vertical plane as they are.  Then just
charge them and they will turn their back to you.  At this point in the AC a
good weapon takes a Winger out with one hit, just make sure that one is
disposed of by the second round if you are attempting to face two in a solo
run.  If you were lucky enough to find a Launcher and have a party member to
equip it to, you won't find a much easier battle.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SKULL LIZARD - 180 HP - 48 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  22 - 24

You absolutely want to face Skull Lizards because of their valuable Mage Shield
drop.  The Lizard sprites move when you move, and if you practice enough you
get to understand how they move so well that you can get a surprise attack
almost every time.  It would be impossible for me to describe with words, just
know that you will be using an obstacle to manipulate his movements.  The
danger in fighting Skull Lizards is twofold: first is that they are often
grouped with Lizards who generally will have more agility than you do.  You
want to kill off the Skull Lizards first to increase your opportunity of
getting dropped a Mage Shield, so be prepared to weather a couple attacks from
the Lizard(s).  Secondly is that Maxim is so weak to magic that a Skull
Lizard's cast of Vortex takes approximately 100 HP out with the tide.  So take
heed, my friend.  If you really want to make a Skull Lizard mad, call him a
Lizard Wizard.  If he answers back you know it is time for a break.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DRAGONIAN - 188 HP - 46 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  flying
resist to:  none
floors appear:  23 - 25 and 29 - 32 (with Medusa)

I sometimes use Dragonians as a benchmark in how my run is going.  If I have
enough agility to beat them to the punch then I am set up decently as far as
agility.  If I can defeat them in one hit or a hit plus a CM attack, then I am
doing decently in attack power or weaponry.  Keep an eye on your agility here
because a fight against two Dragonians who are quicker than you is a really bad
idea.  Remember that Dragonians cast Incendiary and with Maxim's low MGR it's a
bad combination.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPECTER - 161 HP - 100 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  25 - 27

You may recall from the main quest that Dark Spirits are easy, so an obvious
relative of the Dark Spirit that occurs earlier must be even easier, right?
Nope.  Specters are superior to their technicolor brethren in almost every way.
Only fight Specters if you can get a surprise attack.  They will be far more
agile than you at this point and can instantly kill you with Perish.  Even
their normal physical attack packs a pretty powerful punch.  Ice works wonders
against these creeps, and if you want some extra experience go ahead and burn
some MP or IP on a high octane ice attack.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CROW KELP - 405 HP - 50 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  fire
resist vs:  water
floors appear:  33 - 35

If you don't have a good fire weapon or attack of some kind, avoid these guys
like the plague.  They get two powerful physical attacks per turn and they
can't be surprise attacked.  Unlike their more powerful counterpart, Red Plant,
Crow Kelp will sometimes spread the damage around.  The good news is that they
are so slow that you can always escape to make your way around them.  Once you
get near Crow Kelp you "activate" them and they start following you.  If a Crow
Kelp is on your tail and you go through a doorway be advised that they will be
blocking your way back out which may force you to face them.  A wonderful IP
attack against these veggies is Estok's Flame Attack - an IP bargain.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TENGU - 475 HP - 120 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  ice/flying
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  34 - 36

Don't bother with these guys.  They're faster, they can't be surprise attacked,
they have a bunch of HP, they don't drop anything cool, and they randomly fly
around like bees.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WAIBAN - 389 HP - 148 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  flying
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  47 - 49

Tread carefully around Waibans and make sure to get your surprise attack.  In a
solo run you almost certainly would only be able to fight a Waiban that is
alone as two Waibans are just too agile to keep up with and a Waiban paired
with a T-Rex is just asking for trouble.  Remember that as quick as they are
they will get a turn ahead of you in the second round, so be ready to take a
hit.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
T-REX - 888 HP - 84 agility
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
weak vs:  none
resist vs:  none
floors appear:  47 - 50

In a solo run you generally want your battles to end as quickly as possible in
case something bad happens since you don't have any margin for error.  Since
T-Rex has such a high HP and is not particularly weak against any element it
can take 2-3 rounds just to take him out.  A T-Rex is no slouch in the agility
department so also keep an eye on yours to make sure you know where you stand.
This is a battle where you will definitely be counting on your CM to help you.
I'd steer clear from pairs of T-Rex and I'd be even less likely to fight a
T-Rex paired with a Waiban.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


C.  SOLO RUN EARLY FLOORS WALKTHROUGH (THROUGH FLOOR 29)


 - FLOORS 1-9 -

First switch your CM to Zeppy.  Wait, wait!  Don't stop reading!  Zeppy is
easily the most useful at this stage and his Fish Kick defeats every enemy in
the first four floors, even the water elemental Baby Frog.  Don't worry about
your eventual CM missing out on the experience.  They will gain SO FAST once
you switch over.  All you are waiting for before switching is where you get to
a point where Maxim defeats many slightly tougher enemies in a single hit due
to a nice weapon or attack-upping equipment.  I'd define a slightly tougher
enemy as a 62 HP Bili Jelly, for example.

When you start out on these early floors try searching the chests before
engaging enemies.  If you can get equipped with a decent weapon it makes the
battles a lot faster and you don't run the risk of getting touched up for a
little damage, or even more frustrating getting poisoned by a Spider.  It may
be awhile before you're dropped an Antidote.

As you'll hear me say many other times, the first 9 floors are prime territory
for building up your equipment as this is the only place you'll find Red Chest
Shields, Helmets, Rings, and Rocks.  The only interesting drops here are the
very rare Eagle Rock, Horse Rock, and Bat Rock from the Eagle, Mad Horse, and
Big Bat respectively.  Cobalts drop Long Knives - not good for battle, but as
you'll see in the CM Feeding section they make excellent CM fodder.

My hope is to have at least one good defensive equipment find out of the first
9 Floors or the run is going to be a real struggle.


 - FLOORS 10-19 -

On Floors 11-13 you'll start running into Red Cores - hopefully a lot of them!
Since it's still early you may have very few or no attack spells (for those
that don't know, a single attack spell kills any and all cores).  Bite the
bullet and cast a spell even if it's as much as 10 MP.  If you really want the
experience, and you've already found some Magic potions, you might even want to
step up to a more expensive spell if you've got it.  In the long run the
experience from a Red Core is not a big deal, but in the short term it sure
helps with the flow of the game and gives you a boost against tougher enemies
like Mimics.

If you are without a shield or helmet, Skeletons (Wood Shield) and Orks (Jet
Helm) may be just what the doctor ordered.  Make sure to defeat them first in
battle to guarantee you get a chance at their drop.  You don't want to miss out
on a Wood Shield because a Ghoul drops you an Antidote.

Nuborgs and Wood Gorems are usually in great supply, but if you're only doing
40-50 damage per turn, it's just not worth the bother.  Neither drop anything
of much importance.  Zombies are easy to get a surprise attack on, just make
sure you keep an eye on your agility and don't take any risks with them as they
don't drop anything.  And did I mention to avoid Wispys?  It's a good idea.

You will actually start to find some decent weapons here that might even be of
value for the rest of the game.  The Cold Rapier can actually be found starting
on Floor 4, but can be very useful up into the 20's.  The Estok has a neutral
normal attack, but it's IP attack is fire elemental which is extremely useful
as many enemies are susceptible to fire.  It's also an IP bargain - I think
you can perform it 4-5 times with full IP.  The Burn Sword is obviously fire
elemental and useful for the same reasons as the Estok is.  Its Firestorm IP
attack is expensive, but is a great way to dispose of a tough pair of enemies.
And finally the Silvo Rapier.  The Silver Sword is a huge upgrade, but you can
actually make due with a Silvo Rapier for almost every dark elemental enemy in
the AC.  The Silvo Rapier's IP attack is excellent against dark enemies and can
kill some high HP ones, such as a Fiend or Black Dragon, in a single blow.

Somewhere on these floors you'll likely have enough food banked up to raise
your CM to Level 2.  You will want your run to dictate how you handle this.  If
you are having a successful run, wait until around Floor 20 to evolve your CM.
This way you can find more morsels to feed your Level 1 CM that higher-leveled
CM's won't touch.  Or, if you are gaining lots of experience, evolve your CM at
experience level 16.  Level 1 CM's gain stats at a normal rate until experience
level 16.  After that their growth is stunted until you evolve them.  Refer to
the CM feeding section for more info on how to most effectively evolve your CM.

If you are struggling or are looking forward to your CM learning its Level 2
special ability quickly, go ahead and evolve him ASAP.


 - FLOORS 20-29 -

That Cold Rapier that you found 15 Floors ago is suddenly useful.  Depending on
your power stats, a Cold Rapier can kill off Deadly Armor, Deadly Swords, Sand
Gorems, Skull Lizards, Pugs, and Specters with one strike.

These floors are where the good elemental weapons start appearing that you'll
use for the rest of the AC:

Fire - Red Saber
Holy - Silver Sword
Water - Mist Rapier
Ice - Freeze Sword
Thunder - Boom Sword
Neutral - Crazy Blade

And it's a good thing because the enemies start getting really dangerous.  Try
to avoid the Bees unless you've had unbelievable luck on equipment.  Unlike the
first 19 Floors, you are going to start rotating weapons to match your enemies'
weaknesses.  This is what can be a little time consuming in solo runs because
you're going to be doing it a LOT.

There are some decent drops in the 20's although all for different reasons.
Deadly Armor and Deadly Swords drop their namesakes which make awesome CM power
meals.  Evil Fish and Pugs are the only enemies in the AC that will drop Charm
Fruit and Flame Fruit, and Sand Gorems and Green Clays are the easiest and
earliest ways to fetch Earth Fruit or Breeze Fruit.  Skull Lizards drop the
occasional Mage Shield, and this might be your last chance at a shield.  If you
don't have a jewel yet a Pumkin Jewel or Cancer Rock from their respective
owners are a little better than nothing.  If you're feeling a little lucky
maybe a Hound will drop a Flame Jewel or if you're feeling supremely lucky an
Ochi Warrior will drop a Samu Jewel.  Fight all the Spinners you can - those
Life Potions can add up.


VI.  A WHOLE NEW CHALLENGE - "KEE" RUNS (006)

After completing my second solo run from scratch and improving on some of my
2-man team conquests (in terms of final experience level) I was looking for a
new set of challenges.  I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner as it's
so obvious - I thought of it when someone in the Lufia II forum mentioned that
they were having trouble completing the AC because they were trying to defeat
every enemy...

KEE = Kill Every Enemy.  I've started a series of challenges where I take a
3-character team from scratch and make my way through the AC killing every
enemy on my way to the Master.  This task is obviously more difficult than a
4-character run, but I was surprised at just how much more difficult it's been.

Playing these new challenges have really helped me improve my overall game as
not only are you forced to face every enemy, but you are forced to defeat them
using only what you've found to that point.  These runs really educate you on
IP usage as you often are depending on IP effects for your success.  Suddenly
the weapons with 3x elemental attacks such as the Cold Rapier and Thunder Ax
are more valuable to you than ever.

These runs really give you a whole new appreciation for just how insanely
disproportionately powerful Blue Mimics are for the early-ish floors on which
they appear.  Unless you have Agility King Arty in your party healing at the
beginning of each round, you had better hope you've found some way at accessing
some huge attacks.  You could have had a spotless run with almost zero damage
taken to that point only to be completely wiped out by a horde of Blue Mimics
without even having had a turn in the first round of the battle.  Blue Mimic
battles have really given me a whole new appreciation for Dekar.  He can
weather so much damage that I've found him to be the second-most valuable
character in a KEE run next to Artea.

These runs have also got me to lighten up a bit on my Instant Death usage
stance.  Most of the time there's just no way to defeat the Silver and Gold
Dragons without some Instant Death assistance.  If you aren't using Darbi,
don't have a Lizard Blow, and don't have any Flying Blows, you are going to
have to really get creative (and lucky) to have a chance.

 - "KEENID" RUNS

Speaking of Instant Death, I was recently in the middle of a KEE run when I
realized I was doing well enough that I might not need the crutch of Instant
Death.  So, time-consuming as it was, I completed another challenge - the
KEENID run!  That's Kill Every Enemy No Instant Death!  Now I have a whole new
set of challenges after I complete my KEE runs.

So have at it and good luck!  These runs are extremely time-consuming so be
ready to take lots of breaks.


VII.  MISCELLANEOUS SPELUNKING TIPS (007)

Some of these are exclusive to solo runs, but most are helpful in ANY type of
run.

 - Heal, heal, heal -

Don’t get lazy about healing.  You only die once and it’s over.   Drink up your
potions like candy.  Drink Regain and Miracles as though they were potions
because there’s not gonna be anyone around to use them on you when you’re worm
food.  Once you have found Strong you should probably be healing between every
single battle.  Also consider healing before descending the stairs.  Read on to
see why...


 - Heal in battle *BEFORE* taking damage aka *pre-emptive* healing -

In battles where you know you are facing a powerful enemy who is faster than
any of your characters, have one of your party cast Champion or Valor each
round.  That way any damage you take will be erased by the start of the next
round.  If you don't heal in the first round you better make sure you take out
as many enemies as possible if not all of them.  There's nothing worse than
realizing mid-battle that you miscalculated the damage your attack would do.
By the time the round is over you sit there racking your brain trying to invent
some way of making one of your characters magically agile enough to use a Smoke
Ball before the enemies' next turn, when the reality is the only part left in
this AC run is the crying.


 - Escape from battle liberally -

Do not be ashamed!  In fact, don't consider it escaping at all - let's call it
strategically retreating and regrouping.  I escape when trying to get surprise
attack, when the tide turns against me, or when I need my CM to perform a
certain action to defeat the enemy.  Sometimes if I know it will be almost
impossible to defeat an enemy (due to them having more agility and me not
having enough firepower) that I must fight, I will escape hoping they get some
good hits in on me to fill my IP meter before I take off.  Then I just heal
before re-engaging.  This is going to sound like blasphemy to some of you, but
sometimes it's a good idea to take out an enemy, retreat, then engage them
again to face the smaller party.  Yes, this means you are throwing away
experience and possibly a chance at a drop, but sometimes it's necessary.


 - Escaping -

I still have not figured out exactly how escaping is granted.  It’s rumored
that it has something to do with combining the agility of the fastest and
slowest members of your party.  What this could mean is that in a two-character
party where you want to improve your chances of escaping, it doesn't matter who
you give a Speed Potion because the +3 will be factored in either way.  And
keep in mind that just because you were able to escape from a certain enemy
easily one time does not mean that will be the case every time so somehow odds
are worked in.  Beware!


 - Rotate weapons like a madman -

This is what can get excruciating in solo runs.  You need to maximize your
damage done each turn, so you normally will have to swap out your weapons
before each battle depending on your enemies’ weaknesses. My big three are
fire, light/holy, and flying.  Ultimately, you would love to have one of
everything, but it’s a little easier getting by when lacking water, ice,
thunder, neutral, or "effective against hard" weapons.  I know this sounds
irritating to be constantly switching out, but consider that this might be what
makes these challenges so fantastic.  How many RPG's have you played where you
just equip your most powerful weapon and let it ride never having to consider
your opponents' weaknesses and often times being so powerful that your battles
aren't even interesting?


 - Rows and damage dealt -

Remember that enemies in the back row will take and deal less damage than those
in the front row.  So if you need to take out an enemy in the first round try
to pick one from the front row to guarantee that you rid yourself of one enemy.


 - Damage discounts -

You’ll also eventually notice that in some rounds your enemies take far less
damage than you were expecting.  This can be a very dangerous situation in a
solo run.  Such a drastic damage discount makes you wonder if somehow the enemy
was defending.  This has killed me many times and I have a recent example.  I
was cruising through a boatload of Red Plants using my Red Saber.  Whether they
were in the front row or back row I was whipping through them like a hot knife
through butter with near 500 damage each time.  Suddenly I whack one and a 377
pops up.  "Uh oh," I said.  The Red Plant turned me into mulch with three
consecutive poundings.  I've seen some speculate that this is simply within the
normal range of what damage your attack will inflict, but I absolutely
disagree.  There seems to be your "normal damage" and then a huge dropoff to
this "damage discount."  I don’t know why, specifically when, or how it happens
but consider yourself warned. 


 - Maintaining your focus -

Taking breaks is a great way to keep your mind fresh and help you to maintain
your focus.  There's nothing more sickening than a great run ending from
carelessness.  At the same time beware of the Stale Run Syndrome.  Once you
return from a break review each character's stats and how they are equipped,
what weapons you have in inventory, your CM's status, and try to ease your way
back into your run.  When you are playing you really get into a rhythm and are
fully aware of what is available to you.  I've literally died on the first
battle after a break.


 - Spellcasting in a solo run - 

Maxim just isn’t very effective as a spellcaster.  Don’t even bother trying to
Absorb against the higher-level enemies.  If you are lacking a specific
elemental weapon, consider having Maxim cast a spell of that element especially
if he is equipped with intelligence uppers like the Camu Jewel.  Remember that
elemental rings don’t just have a cheap and somewhat effective IP spell, but
also just wearing them increases your intelligence in casting any spell
featuring that element.  *Remember* the Fire Ring gives Maxim the ability to
cast the spell Fireball!


 - Status Effects -

Status Effects can be very bad news, especially in a solo run.  Unless you have
Flash, there won’t be anyone around to cure you.  Study Heavyarms Odds & Ends
FAQ to equip yourself against as many status effects as possible.  Paralysis is
bad, but for some reason this game lets you escape when paralyzed.  Confusion
sucks because you never know when your next attack will be shoving your sword
through your own chest.  Sleep really sucks because you are totally helpless.
You just have to pray your CM hangs in there and finishes the battle or that
you wake up as soon as possible.  Remember that if you have already chosen to
escape battle and you become afflicted with a status effect that it will still
let you escape even if every single person in your party is affected.


 - Fight like there’s no tomorrow -

Don’t be a cheapskate with the items, MP, or IP.  If you live for today you can
usually find a way to survive tomorrow.  I can’t tell you how many times being
cheap and/or lazy has killed me.  


 - Pay attention to those HP pads -

If you find one, safely try to clear as many enemies on that floor as possible
and just go back to the pad between battles.  Consider letting the easier
enemies knock you around a little to get your IP meter revved up.  


 - Purposely get hit -

If you have a HP pad handy (see above), have Strong, or have Absorb in
combination with any healing spell, purposely get hit against enemies you feel
safe against to get your IP meters up for the tough battles.


 - Explore the floor - 

Don’t rush into a rough situation unless you’ve explored the whole floor.  If
you see a Blue Chest that you’re dying to get, but it appears that you will
have to engage Archfiends to get it, make sure that the other rooms and
corridors on that floor don’t wind their way around to another entrance to that
room.


 - Using Confusion -

I have never and still never use the spell Confuse.  And I always prefer to
paralyze or put an enemy to sleep ahead of confusing them, as they are rendered
helpless.  More importantly might be that between rounds you can tell when an
enemy is paralyzed (they vibrate) or asleep (they gently bounce).  But whether
your enemy is confused or not is unknown unless they attack themselves or their
team on their turn.  I’ve found a way that Confusion might be helpful.  When
an enemy is confused they only do a single physical attack against either their
team or yours.  For example, a confused Evil Fish will not perform an
Eight-Legger, nor will they perform Octo Ink.  They will just do a simple
physical attack against one victim.  If you project this strategy on to some of
the more difficult enemies (make sure they aren't resistant to Confusion first)
say an Orky for instance, you could see how effective it could be.  Or just
think if you use Darbi at level 1 - his Trancemaker confuses entire parties at
a time!


 - Using Mirror -

I had never ever used this spell until I was recently trapped.  I was in a
situation where to get to the stairs I was going to have to face a pair of
Salamanders.  My usual advice in a solo run is to end the battle ASAP - but in
this case I couldn’t.  My only option was to let them have their turn (as they
had more agility) then cast Mirror on myself and hope they didn’t physically
attack me.  Unfortunately for me, and one of the drawbacks of this method, I
lost my Mirror and it didn’t tell me, as it wasn’t at the end of a round that
it occurred.  It is rare that this may help you, but when you’re desperate it
might be a ray of hope.  Casting Mirror on one character has a 100% success
rate, but when casting it on more than one character it's more hit and miss.


VIII.  CAPSULE MONSTERS (009)

Choosing your CM has never been more important.  One thing cool about a solo
run is just how fast you can evolve your little buddy.  Almost everything you
find Maxim can’t use, so feel free to gorge your CM.  Also consider how
plentiful the enemies are that drop the fruit that converts your CM to Master
Level.  

Keep in mind that it's never too late to change if you settle on one CM then
later realize another CM best fits your needs.  You will be amazed just how
quickly your CM will gain experience levels and start being productive.  This
is another reason I like to bank up my items I plan on feeding my CM until I
think I have approximately enough to evolve them.  A good example of switching
CM's is my horrible luck at getting Evil Fish to drop a Charm Fruit whenever I
use Blaze.  I'm not a fan of Blaze at Level 4 so I usually switch.  Since Evil
Fish don't occur until floors 27-29 I'm changing CM's 30 floors into the AC,
and it's not that big of a loss.


A.  Choosing your Capsule Monster (CM) In A Solo Run

Foomy - very nice all-around neutral physical attacks, but is not particularly
good against any of the tougher enemies meaning you’ll likely have to avoid
them.  Agility is mediocre and Master form leaves a lot to be desired - the
move Bubble Blow is especially undesirable as that is more helpful in long
battles.  The occasional "Defend" is quite irritating.  Only Wood Gorems drop
Secret Fruit and sometimes you don’t even face one.  It’s for the best as Level
4 Foomy is superior to Master Level.

Flash - not recommended.  You need someone who will be dealing damage each
round.  Again, the occasional "Defend" is quite irritating.  At least in a solo
run Flash will always cast healing spells on the correct character - there’s
only you to choose from!  If you do use Flash, hope you get lots of Magic Fruit
so you can evolve him ASAP to start learning attack spells.  Dark Fruit is
usually easy to find in the AC as you have the opportunity to face many Black
Dragons, but they occur so late that you may already be dead thanks to your
non-attacking CM.  Once you become experienced with solo runs, averaging 40-50
floors per run, then Flash is an option as her higher classes are quite
favorable.

Darbi - my personal favorite for solo runs.  His first form can be frustrating
with his low Guts and unnecessary casts of Shriek, but every form thereafter is
extremely valuable.  The occasional ability to dodge an opponent attack comes
in handy.  Instant kills can be a godsend.  The only drawback is that some of
the tougher opponents in the AC are dark elemental and Darbi’s special
abilities are worthless against them.  Holy Fruit is in abundance in the AC as
you normally can face quite a few White Dragons.

Gusto - also highly recommended.  He gets the jump on almost every single enemy
and always attacks.  With Gusto it’s not even that important to raise him to
Master Level as Level 4 Green Titan is quite powerful and has the wicked spell
of Sonic Blast.  One of the biggest roles your CM plays in a solo run is as a
diversionary target in battle, and Gusto plays it perfectly by dodging many
attacks.  This also keeps him around longer to be a diversion again in the next
round, and helps him gain experience more quickly by being alive at the end of
most battles.  You get two chances at Earth Fruit with Sand Gorems and
Behemoths (much later).

Zeppy - Zeppy is surprisingly effective early in your run.  His Fish Kick is
quite powerful and can help floors 1-20 go flying by.  In fact, I'd recommend
using Zeppy until you get a weapon that's defeating enemies with just one use.
You won't miss the experience once you decide on which CM you really want to
use for the rest of your run.  Zeppy is a big disappointment in the higher
levels, and just like in the normal quests his Master Form is lame.

Blaze - Blaze runs a lot at first, but try to be patient.  As so many enemies
are vulnerable to fire, Blaze can really be an asset.  You are really rolling
the dice with Blaze if you have your heart set on evolving him to Master Level.
Only Evil Fish drop Charm Fruit, and it’s just luck of the draw on how many
chances you get to face them in battle.  It could be ZERO.  In fact, when I use
Blaze in a solo run and don't get a Charm Fruit I switch CM's.

Sully - Sully is the most frustrating CM because his shortcomings are magnified
in a solo run.  He is so slow that he always strikes last.  And who’s to say
he even strikes?  He defends so much you’ll be pulling your hair out if you
haven’t already died thanks to his complacency.  If he had more attacks like
Perish Punch you could almost justify using him, but he doesn’t and you can’t.
Okay, so Sully isn't THAT useless in a solo run, but I only recommend him for
the more advanced AC players out there.  You have to be extremely careful about
what battles you choose to fight and how you approach the enemy.  To make
matters worse, Green Clays are in very low quantity as they only accompany Sand
Gorems (remember to kill off the Green Clays first to improve your chances!).
If you want a Breeze Fruit your best chance is against Serfacos, but 99% of the
time they have more agility than Maxim and are way too powerful to mess with
unless you’re jacked up on defense.  If you do fight them your only chance is
to survive their first round of attacks and then unleash a major IP attack.


B.  CM Rumors, Theories, and Strategies

 - Leave 'em at Class 4 -

On the surface you would think that you'd judge a CM's value by its stats and
abilities.  But as we know from the rest of the game, the surface is merely the
tip of the iceberg.  After using Darbi and Gusto for many, many AC trips I've
started noticing that not only will you want to look at each CM's special moves
and abilities, but you will want to look at HOW OFTEN your CM performs these
moves.

Part of the reason I prefer Darbi so much is that through some of the tougher
floors of the AC he is in his Class 3 and 4 forms.  Class 3's Destruction and
Class 4's Evil Aura are a couple of the best CM moves IMO, and they seem to
perform them quite often.  Once you take Darbi to Master Class you learn one of
the most devastating attacks in the entire game with Eliminator, which has a
90% Instant Death success rate against all your enemies (assuming they aren't
resistant).  The trouble is that Darbi seemingly performs this move far less
than Class 3 performs Destruction or Class 4 performs Evil Aura.  If this is
true, I believe that using Darbi at Class 3 or Class 4 is a far superior
option.

One of the better known Master Classes that people avoid is Foomy's Gold Fox.
The obvious reason is that of the five different things Gold Fox can do, only
two are particularly effective (Fang Attack and Tail Smash).  But it possibly
goes even deeper than that.  Reli was crunching some numbers and possibly
discovered the probabilities of what Gold Fox will do:

Defends 16%
Physical attack 67.1%
Fang Attack 8.1%
Bubble Blow 4.4%
Tail Smash 4.4%

Remember that these numbers are unsubstantiated, but if true, that means that
only 12.5% of the time is Gold Fox performing an effective move (Fang Attack or
Tail Smash).  In fact, it's more likely Gold Fox will DEFEND than perform
EITHER of these attacks!  UGH!


 - Evolving your CM -

How exactly does your CM gain experience and what happens when it evolves?
From the little bit of notes I’ve taken, it appears that a Class 1 CM gains
experience in a specific scripted non-random pattern up until level 16.  At
that point it has "maxed out" and gains experience at a lesser rate.  I do not
have enough information to say that it happens every 16 levels, but that would
make some sense.  Now, let’s say you have Class 1 Darbi at experience level 12
and you evolve him to Class 2.  Darbi will continue to gain experience as
though he were Class 1 until he reaches that level 16.  Then he starts gaining
experience at the "new" Class 2 rate automatically.  I used to wonder if I was
stunting my CM’s growth if I evolved him before he maxed out (as is the case in
a certain strategy RPG when you promote too quickly).  This is NOT the case in
Lufia II.  So feel free to evolve your CM as quickly as you want.


 - When your CM reaches the breaking point -

I honestly can't say exactly how it's determined when CMs choose to run from
battle although we all know it's somehow related to their GUT stat.  It also
appears that it's not a specific set-in-stone number as I've had battles where
my CM has taken damage, then attacked, then on their next turn they'll escape
without having taken any more damage since the first hit.

I am speculating that when your CM takes damage that brings them to the brink
of running away, that they have at least one turn where the probability that
they perform one of their special attacks increases.  To be honest, I have
mostly noticed this with Class 1 Zeppy, although I think I've noticed it with
Class 1 Blaze, Gusto, and Sully.

It is easiest to see this in the early stages of a Class 1 CM because it is so
easy to track how much damage they have accumulated.  If Zeppy is running away
at 5 damage, but sticking around at 4, I am saying that when he does take 4
damage that the probability that he performs Fish Kick are greatly increased
for that turn and possibly any more turns he takes in that battle.

This speculation does not really uncover any new strategy nor does there appear
to be any way of taking advantage of it.  Once you start building experience
levels it's almost impossible to track where this "brink zone" would be.  If
it's true, it's yet another interesting wrinkle in this wonderful game.


C.  HOW TO MOST EFFICIENTLY EVOLVE YOUR CM

All CMs crave a Long Knife as you first start using them.  Do not feed them a
Long Knife right away.  What I like to do is build up an inventory of items so
I’m not constantly going back and trying to feed them stuff.  Also, if you can
get multiples of some items it’s a good idea because once you successfully feed
your CM an item, each subsequent feeding of that item (in a row) will be
successful.

First, feed your CM the following items, if you have any.  They will fill your
meter by one block WITHOUT altering the CM’s craving for a Long Knife:

Battle Knife
Dagger
Whip
Cloth Helmet
Hairband
Frock
Hide Armor
Robe
Hide Shield

Then, feed your CM the following items to attempt to fill more single blocks.
This is more hit and miss:

Headband
Hide Helmet
Coat
Cloth Armor
Tough Hide
Insect Crush
Mace
Short Sword
Buckler
Ear Jewel

Next, go ahead and feed your CM any Long Knives you have.  Assuming your CM’s
craving for one is screwed up, just feed it garbage to make it crave a Long
Knife again.  Garbage refers to items that NEVER fill your CM’s meter, or items
that your CM has long since lost a taste for.  The first Long Knife will fill
the meter by three, and each subsequent one will fill the meter by one.  Or, if
you’d like, try to "buy down" your CM’s tastes to a Long Knife again - it will
probably take three pieces of garbage.

Next there is a large group of items that will fill your meter by two blocks.
The trick is that there seem to be two tiers of these items.  One tier will
fill your meter by two blocks and leave your CM’s craving unchanged.  This is
good, as it will mean your CM will be more likely to again accept the next
item it’s given.  The other tier will fill your meter by two blocks, but your
CM’s taste will change, and you will likely have to feed it a piece of garbage
to get it to accept another 2-block filler.

If your CM starts craving a Buster Sword, you’re on the right track.  Keep
trying to feed it "cheaper" items on this list to keep its cravings on Buster
Sword.  If its tastes change to Deadly Sword, try feeding it one or two pieces
of garbage to make it less picky again.  You may even get it to crave a Buster
Sword again.

Do not feed it anything fancier than what’s listed below.  If you do, it will
take a lot of garbage to revert his cravings, This is far from an exact or
perfect list; this is just to help guide you.


Keeps cravings on Buster Sword:
Baggy
Bracelet
Camu Armor
Glass Cap
Glass Ring
Kukri
Light Armor
Light Dress
Light Knife
Red Beret
Rod
Wire
Wood Helmet
Wood Shield

Changes cravings to Deadly Sword:
Aqua Whip
Blue Beret
Bronze Shield
Chain
Chain Armor
Chainmail
Cloche
Deadly Sword (an ominous-looking sword)
Franshiska
Gladius
Holy Wings
Ironmail
Power Brace
Scimitar
Staff
Stone Plate
SuhrCustom11
Tecto Gloves
Tight Dress
Tough Gloves
Witch Ring


I like to build up enough inventory to evolve my CM to level 2 on just items
that fill the meter by one and two blocks.  Not only do I keep my CM less
picky, but also I then have a nice start on stocking items to evolve it to
level 3.  Once you evolve to level 2 your CM will normally crave a Buster Sword
again.  Just leave it alone because this means you can stock up for awhile
again.  The items in the above list will work again, though only filling your
meter by one bar at a time.

Once you run out of the items in the above list (and patience) then start
feeding them pretty much everything else that you can just tell your CM will
like, but nothing too fancy.  This list would also include most average jewels.
You will have to use garbage more frequently to get your CM to get less picky.
You know for sure they are less picky when their cravings settle on War Rapier.
Speaking of the War Rapier, there are some items your CM often craves.  CM’s
will ALWAYS enjoy eating these when they ask for them specifically.  You will
want to hold on to these until your CM craves them specifically for most
efficient feeding:

Beserk Blade
Broadsword
Crystal Wand
Long Sword
Multi Sword
Rockbreaker
Silver Rod
War Rapier

Once you have evolved to level 3, your CM gets even pickier.  This is usually
where I feed it any and all Magic Fruit I have.  Keep an eye out between
battles to see if your CM starts craving any of the above items that you’ve
been holding onto.


D.  MISCELLANEOUS INFO ON FEEDING CMs

Magic Fruit fills your meter by ¼ whether you are on level 1 or level 3, so
save them up for the most opportune time.  If your CM craves a Magic Fruit, you
still only fill up your meter by ¼.

Don’t feed your CM items that you might need later.  For example, hang on to
your Camu Armor for your battle with the Ancient Jelly as it ups attack power,
hang on to your Gladius if you have no other light elemental weapons, hang on
to your Holy Wings for when one of your ladies needs Instant Death protection,
etc.

Deadly Armor, Deadly Sword (with the long description), Luck Rapier, and Lucky
Blade are excellent food sources, just be careful because they can change your
CM’s cravings to some outrageous items.  Deadly Armor and Deadly Sword are so
useful in feeding that their drop should be considered when you are deciding
whether to face one of the "Deadly" enemies.

Your CM does not always truly want what it is craving.  If it seems odd that
your CM is craving such a "cheap" item, it probably doesn’t really want it.


E.  EXAMPLE FEEDING SCHEDULE

A good time to practice your feeding technique is toward the bottom of the AC
when you are crammed full of unwanted items.  Just select a CM you’re not using
and feed away.   Here is an example of a feeding schedule - notice that my CM
only turned up his nose six times, and only starting on Level 3, using my
strategy. (G = garbage):

----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
|  (craves Long Knife)  |  (craves Buster Sword)  |  (craves War Rapier)    |
|  Frock +1             |  Rod +1                 |  Royal Whip +1          |
|  Dagger +1            |  Staff +1               |  Launcher +1            |
|  Robe +1              |  G x 1                  |  Plate Armor +1 x3      |
|  Hide Armor +1        |  Chain Armor +1         |  Silver Mail +1         |
|  Cloth Armor +1 x2    |  Plated Cloth +2        |  G x 1                  |
|  G x 2                |  Iron Plate +2          |  Rainy Ax +1 x2         |
|  Whip +1 x2           |  Long Robe +2           |  Burn Sword +1          |
|  Short Sword +1       |  Bronze Sword +2        |  Silk Robe +1 x2        |
|  Coat +1              |  Sleep Rod +2           |  G x 1                  |
|  Light Knife +2 x2    |  G x 1                  |  Silver Robe +1 x3      |
|  Wire +2 x2           |  Hand Ax +2             |  Crystal Robe +1 x3     |
|  Light Armor +2       |  Morning Star +2        |  Revive Armor +1        |
|  Toga +2 x2           |  Cutter Whip +2         |  Power Robe +2          |
|  G x 2                |  Estok +2 x2            |  Crystal Mail - Yuk! x2 |
|  Franshiska +2        |  Bronze Ax +2           |  Spear - Yuk!           |
|  G x 1                |  Royal Whip +2 x2       |  Spear +1 x2            |
|  Tight Dress +2 x3    |  EVOLVE                 |  Mist Rapier +2 x2      |
|  EVOLVE               |                         |  G x 2                  |
|                       |                         |  Power Jacket - Yuk!    |
|                       |                         |  Metal Jacket - Yuk!    |
|                       |                         |  Metal Armor +1         |
|                       |                         |  Heal Armor +1          |
|                       |                         |  G x 1                  |
|                       |                         |  Horse Rock - Yuk!      |
|                       |                         |  Crazy Blade +1         |
|                       |                         |  Battledriver +1        |
|                       |                         |  EVOLVE                 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


IX.  BLUE CHESTS (010)

Odds of finding a:

Weapon 11:41 = 27%
Armor 2:41 = 5%
Shield 6:41 = 15%
Helmet 5:41 = 15%
Ring 4:41 = 10%
Jewel 13:41 = 32%

Odds of finding a Blue Chest equippable by:

Maxim 20:41 = 49%
Selan 31:41 = 76%
Tia 28:41 = 68%
Arty 20:41 = 49%
Guy 23:41 = 57%
Dekar 23:41 = 57%
Lexis 17:41 = 41%

Odds of finding a non-Jewel Blue Chest equippable by:

Maxim 8:28 = 29%
Selan 18:28 = 64%
Tia 15:28 = 54%
Arty 8:28 = 29%
Guy 11:28 = 39%
Dekar 11:28 = 39%
Lexis 5:28 = 18%


X.  DOORWAYS (011)

An entire section dedicated to the exciting doorway.

Be careful around doorways.  Obviously you might not know what’s on the other
side, but trickier is that fact that there are two ways to open a door.  If you
press firmly on the controller to go through a door you go right on through and
it counts as one step.  If you just gently press or tap on the controller you
open the door but don’t move and it counts as a step.  This means that if an
enemy is near and you accidentally tap instead of press, they might ram right
into your fully exposed backside.  I’ve been killed this way.

Doorways can also be tricky around enemies that use teleportation.  If the door
is open these enemies can actually teleport to a different room.  This can even
occur when you are in another room, but they are close enough to the doorway
that they pop right into your room!  Another trick of theirs is getting lodged
in a doorway in such a manner that you can't actually see them because they are
visually blocked.  Keep an eye on what position they were in before they
teleported there because that's the position they'll still be in.  If that is
the only doorway out then you might have to engage them in battle.  That can be
a pain when they have more agility than you, and many of these teleporting
enemies have Instant Death abilities.

A doorway can be your friend too.  Including Ninjas and Asashins, other enemies
that move in such a way that they gravitate towards you can get lodged in a
doorway.  This gives you the chance at getting a surprise attack.  If you have
more agility than they do you can just keep engaging and escaping until you get
your surprise attack.  In the case of enemies like Ochi Warrior, Samurai, and
Dark Warriors, just stay one step inside the doorway to where you can't be
touched and wave your sword until their next movement might be to walk sideways
right in front of where you stand.  Walk forward to meet them in this position
to try to get your surprise attack!

Doorways also give you a brief window into the next room.  Enemies that are
within the few closest spaces to the doorway can move even while you are in
another room.  But once they move one space further away their movements
freeze.  This can be especially helpful if you can get them to turn their back
to you.  This is my favorite position to catch a Lion in as it barely gives
them time to turn to meet you.  This is also a guaranteed surprise attack
against enemies that move one space for every three moves you make because they
won't start counting your moves again until you walk completely through that
doorway.  This is VERY helpful against dragons so just wave that sword until
hopefully they turn their tail toward the door and freeze.

One of the most hopeless positions in the AC is to be forced to use a hallway
infested with a Gold Dragon or two knowing that you have neither the agility,
the defense, nor the firepower to take them out.  In this instance a doorway
can save you assuming there is a free one for you to use.

This is tough to explain so hang with me.  Stay in the doorway to where the
Dragon sprite can't touch you.  Continuously run again the wall to force the
Dragon sprite to move around.  What you are wanting is for the Dragon sprite to
get right in front of you and turn his back.  A Dragon sprite is twice as big
as you are (if you are engaging him moving north or south) so when you engage
him you are doing so on either his left shoulder or right shoulder.

You want to be hitting him on the shoulder that is the direction you wish to be
going.  That is, if you need to go left, touch his left shoulder, and vice
versa.  That way, you'll get your surprise attack, escape the battle, and then
you can escape free and clear without any chance of the Dragon sprite touching
you.  If you do it incorrectly and touch his right shoulder when you need to
walk left, then on your second step there is a 50% chance he will engage you in
battle as any step he takes toward you or away from the wall that he's facing
will touch you.

You might say, hey, I thought Dragons move every THIRD step you make, so how
could he move after you've moved only twice?  That is because after you have
engaged in battle the Dragon starts moving on your second move, THEN starts
moving on your every third move.  All (moving) enemies get an opportunity to
move on your second move after you have engaged them in battle, while the other
enemies in the room that you are not engaging "remember" what step you were on
before you engaged that other enemy in battle - that's a good thing to keep in
mind.  In very rare occasions there are some enemies that won't move until your
fourth move after engaging them, but it's something I don't totally understand
yet.  It has to do with timing and may depend on you having already engaged
that enemy.


XI.  TREASURE ROOMS (012)

Due to not having a better place to put information about Treasure Rooms I
figure I'd just give them their own chapter.

For those that have forgotten, Treasure Rooms are those rooms in the AC where
the room has been jam-packed with treasures and enemies.  I tried calling them
Treasure Troves, but everyone else in the world calls them Treasure Rooms, so
I joined the club.

I eventually hope to track more information on these rooms just from my own
experiences.  Maybe a hacker out there can help us out with some Treasure Room
statistics someday.  I don't know how often they occur, but it's enough that
you almost certainly run into more than two just about every time through the
AC.  I also am very interested to figure out what the minimum and maximum
number of chests and enemies are that you can find in a Treasure Room.

I'm sure you've noticed that almost every room of average size or larger has a
chest in it.  And you've started to get a feel for how many treasure chests you
would expect to see depending on the size and shape of the room.  As you start
to explore a floor, you may notice rooms having less chests than usual or just
be completely devoid of any chests.  That's when you know that there is an
extreme possibility that there is a Treasure Room somewhere around.

While Treasure Rooms are filled with possibilities, they aren't always quite as
exciting as they could be for the reason I just stated above.  The rest of that
floor usually has some of its treasures taken away so you just get the illusion
that you have come into a load of riches when you enter a Treasure Room.  I bet
there are even instances where you come out WORSE as far as number of chests
encountered on a floor due to there being a Treasure Room because I have been
in supposed Treasure Rooms that only have three chests in them!  What a joke.
Of course I'd always prefer to find a Treasure Room over not finding one, I'm
just pointing out that they're not always that special.

In case you haven't noticed, one of the reasons that the AC interests me so
much is that I am fascinated by odds and chance.  Just the simple step of
taking a staircase leads you to a floor that is totally randomly generated - so
you have no idea what you are about to see.  Treasure Rooms increase your
chances of seeing something odd or unusual as they are abnormal compared to the
average room.  Only when descending into a Treasure Room can you start a floor
already touching an enemy, for example.  The game is usually trying to squeeze
multiples of treasure chests and enemy sprites into one area.  It really gets
interesting when a smaller-sized room is blessed with being a Treasure Room.


A. THE TREASURE ROOM SURPRISE

On occasion you will descend into a treasure room that’s packed with enemies
that might get to surprise attack you without you having even moved!  It is a
very rare occurrence, but one of my most memorable and stunning defeats came at
the hands of three Gold Gorems in this manner.  I actually had completely
healed before descending the stairs, but they performed three consecutive
Golden Mists in the first round of a surprise attack battle and I was toast.
Just recently this just happened to me near the end of the AC.  I was surprise
attacked in this manner by four Dark Sum'ners while using a 2-character party.
Since their agility is so high, they ended up getting SIXTEEN consecutive
turns before I was able to escape.  Thank goodness Maxim had Instant Death
protection and Tia had a Dark Mirror.  I have also been surprise attacked in
this manner by a pair of Orkys and TWO PAIRS of Black Dragons at the same time!

The solution?  It's a bit ridiculous considering the distant odds that you'll
actually run into this, but make it a practice to always face up when
descending the stairs.  If you in fact do run into the treasure room surprise,
at least you'll be face-to-face with the enemy thus avoiding the surprise
attack.


B.  TREASURE ROOM OBSERVATIONS

- I guesstimate the odds of a floor containing a Treasure Room to be 1:20

- The fewest chests I have seen is three, and the most in a treasure room
grouping appears to be eight.  Keep in mind that some Treasure Rooms are big
enough that not only is there the special grouping of chests, but the chests
that would normally appear in that room can be there too.

- The most enemy sprites I have seen is 15.  I believe that is the max.  There
are generally more enemies in a treasure room than treasures.  Maybe we should
call it an enemy room.  Good for experience, but I'd rather see a jackpot of
treasure chests.

*UPDATE* I have now seen 17 enemies in a Treasure Room, but I think this is
misleading.  I still say the max in a grouping is 15, and the only reason I
found two more were because the room was so large that the enemies that would
have normally appeared in other areas of the room were still there.

- I don't know what my record is for most Treasure Rooms in a single run, but I
have had a Treasure Room on three consecutive floors twice.

- I have yet to see anything trapped by a grouping of chests (chest, enemy,
stairs, etc)

- Odds of getting a Blue Chest are unchanged - most I have seen in a Treasure
Room is two.  So technically you could someday walk into a Treasure Room that
is all Blue Chests.  If that happens please take a picture for me and then go
do yourself a favor and buy a lottery ticket.

- My best haul ever:  Floor 9 - one Blue Chest (Mega Ax) plus SilverHelmet,
Silvo Shield, Bronze Helmet, Hipower Ring, and Eagle Rock.  Unbelievable.

When is it best to find a Treasure Room?  On Floors 3-9 to improve your chances
of finding some of those rare Red Chest Armors and Rocks.  Also on floors where
you could possibly find Cores.  There's nothing more satisfying that slaying a
slew of Cores for mega-experience plus getting a bundle of treasure.


XII.  THE JUNK PILE (013)

A collection of various tips, ideas, musings, etc


 - Elemental Shields vs Elemental Helmets -

Just judging by the name of elemental shields and helmets one might think that
they provide elemental protection.  One would be correct and incorrect.  The
elemental shields DO provide their namesake elemental protection - Flame Shield
vs Fire, Water Gaunt vs Water, Bolt Shield vs Thunder, etc.  But oddly, at
least to me, the elemental helmets DO NOT provide this protection.  In other
words an Aqua Helm does not provide any added protection vs Water, a Boom
Turban does not provide any added protection vs Thunder, etc.  I think what
also originally led me to believe that elemental helmets provided elemental
protection despite their description not claiming to, was that their IP effects
provide elemental protection.  There is an exception in the Brill Helm, but
that has no relevance in the AC.


 - IP attacks of Elemental Weapons - 

This took me a long time to figure out and I still have trouble remembering
sometimes...  Just because a weapon's normal attack is elemental does not mean
its IP effect necessarily does.  The perfect example is the Sky Sword's IP
attack of Skysplitter.  It says "attack all enemies and then hit them with
Thunder spell."  But what it really should say is that you attack all enemies
with a NEUTRAL NON-ELEMENTAL attack and THEN cast Thunder on ALL opponents -
thus spreading around the damage quite thin in many cases.  This makes many of
the Blue Chest weapons' IP attacks disappointingly tame.  To make this even
more difficult, some elemental weapons' IP attacks DO in fact remain elemental,
like the Burn Sword's Firestorm.


 - Hey, Just What IS Considered Flying?! -

The Launcher and Flying Blow, plus many anti-flying IP attacks, are common and
practical in the AC, but just how can you know when to use them to their
potential?

It can be hard sometimes to distinguish what makes an enemy susceptible to the
flying elemental.  There is no simple answer and I think you'll just have to
memorize which are and which are not.  None of the following are an indicator
in an enemy's visual representation that an enemy is susceptible to flying
elemental 100% of the time:  being airborne, having appearance of wings, or
being a bird.

Weak list - these enemies ARE susceptible to the flying elemental:

Armor Bee 
Armour Dait
Bat
Big Bat
Big Bee
Black Dragon
Brinz Lizard
Dark Fly
Dragonian
Eagle
Fiend
Gargoyle
Gold Dragon
Green Dragon
High Hidora
Ice Rogue - ?
Mega Moth
Red Bat
Red Dragon
Rogue Shape
Salamander
Silver Dragon
Sly Fox
Stinger
Tengu
Waiban
White Dragon
Winger

Not weak list - these enemies are NOT susceptible despite their appearance:

Asashin
Cokatoris
Copper Dragon (due to glitch)
Crow
Great Coca
Ninja
Nosferatu
Serfaco
Snow Gas
Sphinx
Vampire
Warm Eye


 - Why no Thunder or Ice elemental CM's, but Earth and Wind? -

After playing with each of the CM's you might realize, hey, why are there no
Thunder or Ice elemental CM's?  I have no idea, but it's interesting that the
game creators did include a Wind and Earth elemental CM.  It's interesting
because there are really no other Wind nor Earth elemental properties to
anything else you'll use in this game.  And since no enemies have a weakness to
Wind and Earth, it's almost like adding two neutral elemental CMs.

I didn't include this in the CM section because this question leads me to my
next section...


 - Creativity Issues, Pt. I -

When I first started to get to know each of the CM's and their IP abilities, I
noticed that many times the title and/or visual representation of that ability
appeared to be of or include another elemental.  When Darbi performs Dark
Thunder, for example, not only is it named DARK THUNDER, but you see a spell
cast that is nearly identical to the Thunder elemental spell Bolt.  So I
assumed that Darbi either just cast a Thunder elemental spell, or more likely
he just cast a spell that had elemental properties of both Dark and Thunder.
We think know that this is possible in the game as the IP spell for the Gorgan
Rock casts Combo Attack which allegedly has the properties of Fire, Water, 
Thunder, and Ice.

Alas, this is not the case as regardless of the name of the ability, and
regardless of the visual representation of the ability, the ability always
carries the elemental property of your CM and nothing else.  Apparently the
game creators did not want a Thunder elemental CM so they could use Thunder
elemental-sounding titles for other CM's IP abilities.  Okay, I'm joking, but
you'll see what I mean:


CM special moves:

Bubble Blow (Foomy) - sounds like Water, but isn't water related.

Thunderbolt (Flash) - obviously Thunder, right?  Wrong.  Light elemental.
Bolt Attack (Flash) - ditto.
Holy Thunder (Flash) - ditto.

Spiral Wave (Gusto) - sounds like Water, but hits like Wind.
Electro Bolt (Gusto) - all Wind.

Dark Flame (Darbi) - Dark only.
Dark Thunder (Darbi) - Dark only.
Sizzle Smash (Darbi) - Sizzle makes me think of Fire elemental like the Sizzle
Sword, but this is Dark.

Hail Attack (Zeppy) - sounds like Ice to me, but Water only.
Thunder Blast (Zeppy) - Water only.
Thunder Fist (Zeppy) - Again with the Thunder, jeez!  It's Water only!

Last but not least they use Terminate for both Darbi and Blaze - they must have
been really running out of ideas.


 - Creativity Issues, Pt II -

Some of these must be due to sloppy translation or lack of imagination...

Wind Genie - Voltage Bolt - the Wind Genie does not attack with Wind elemental
magic.  Voltage Bolt is Thunder as you would imagine.

Well Genie - Frost - you would think the Well Genie would cast a Water
elemental spell, but this is as icy as it sounds.

Air Whip - Sounds Wind elemental, but it's Ice.

Dragon Spear - Water elemental, not Dragon elemental

Flash - Of course Flash is the Light (or Holy) Elemental CM, but the spell
Flash is Thunder elemental.

Freeze Ball - Freeze sounds Ice related, and we even see it with the Freeze
Sword and Freeze Bow, but Freeze in this case refers to Paralysis.  Poor naming
on their part.

Rainy Ax - Is it just me or does that not sound Water related?  Neither the
normal attack nor the IP attack are Water in any way.  I suspect this one may
have been lost in translation.

Blaze Sword - Since Blaze is the Fire elemental CM, Blaze Sword is obviously
Fire elemental, right?  Wrong again.  Light elemental this time.

Misc.

Crazy Blade - I would get this weapon confused with the Beserk Blade constantly
for about the first six months I really got into the AC, but I didn't try to
research it because once I found out the hard way that the Beserk Blade was
cursed I assumed this was too.  Despite the similar names, Beserk is cursed and
Crazy is NOT cursed.

Sea Ring mess - how the Sea Ring functions is an absolute mess, and in fact I
have to reference a FAQ to get my head straight every time I find one.


XIII.  GLITCHES & ODDITIES (014)


 - Phantom Drops -

I do not know if this occurs during the normal quests or not.  Sometimes
enemies will drop you an item and it won’t tell you in the post-battle window!
This does not occur with all drop items.  This will only occur if you already
have one or more of the dropped item in your items list - in other words
unequipped.  This comes into play a lot for me because while I always start
from scratch, I have a full load of Blue Chest items in inventory from previous
conquests.  I won't know if a Brinz Lizard has dropped me a Twist Jewel in my
current run unless I know exactly how many I had when I started my run.  Off
the top of my head, I know that this can happen with Brinz Lizards (Twist
Jewel), Orks (Jet Helm), Tartonas (Earth Jewel), and Vampires (Bat Rock).


 - Battle ending with Poisoning -

If a battle ends with your final opponent dying from Poisoning, the next round
will start even though there are no enemies to fight.  At this point your only
option is to escape.  DO NOT press on the button that takes you to the battle
menu or you will be stuck for eternity.  Of course nobody uses Poison, but
Darbi's Class 2 Werewolf form inflicts Poisoning with his Wolf Fang attack.


 - Dying on the stairs -

Probably the most well-known glitch is that if your party is defeated while you
are on the stairs in the AC, your run is not over.  You start on the successive
floor, but you are stripped of everything you've acquired and your levels are
back down to when you first entered the AC.  I sacrificed my party on the
stairs to Floor 99 once, but nothing cool happened.


 - Unfinished Floors -

About three times I have encountered a floor that the program did not finish.
The first time this happened I went into the unfinished room and explored.  The
room had been started, but beyond that there was just black - no walls.  I
could walk around just about forever in the black without being able to see
myself.  When I was done exploring the nothingness I attempted to go back
through the door I came in through, and I could not.  The door was actually now
just background as if it were the floor and I walked right OVER it - not
through it.  I had to reset.  The next time I encountered this scenario I just
briefly explored staying VERY near the doorway and I was able to leave the room
when I was ready to leave.


 - Floor glitches that result in invisible obstacles -

The weirdest glitch I've seen occurred somewhere in the first 10 floors.  I
opened a Red Chest and received a Baggy.  The chest immediately transformed
into a bush when opened.  I could not cut the bush.  Later on my run I noticed
that rooms in the upper left of the area would have an invisible obstacle that
I would bump into.  This is where the transforming chest would have been
however many floors ago.  I thought that maybe the invisible obstacle was a
chest EVERY time and I attempted to open it with no luck.  I also was unable to
cut it.

This happened to me again later in a different way.  I was on a floor with many
spacious rooms.  In the uppermost left room there was a door that I could not
walk through.  When I walked against the door it was as though I was walking
against a wall.  Fortunately one of the rooms I could access had the stairs so
I wasn't stuck there.  In successive floors there was an invisible obstacle in
upper left hand rooms.


 - Heal your CM -

You can cast healing spells on your CM.  Say what?!  It's true, but not
surprisingly there's a catch.  I was using a 2-man team of Maxim and Lexis.
I had Maxim attack and Lexis was to cast Strong on Maxim.  The enemy went first
as he had greater agility and killed Maxim.  On Lexis' turn he did not cast his
spell on himself, he cast it on Sully!


 - No Stairs? -

I have now seen an otherwise unglitched floor that has no staircase.


 - Misc -

The most Blue Chests I have seen on one floor is three.  I think I have seen
them actually all in one room before - one of the very large rooms that has a
chest in each quadrant of the area.

I have never seen two HP pads or Treasure Rooms on one floor.
I have never seen a MP pad.
I have never found the Safety Hat.
I have four times not been able to access a room because a staircase was
blocking the door.
The smallest room I've seen on a number of occasions is 4 spaces in area.


XIV.  CONCLUSION (015)

I would like to conclude my FAQ with a totally lame metaphor that barely ties
in to my Intro.  The Ancient Cave is like baseball.  Hours on end of it can be
boring.  Fortunately baseball games are usually around three hours, but AC runs
can last more than twice that long.  Don't let the tediousness ruin the AC for
you.  Remember to break up your runs and consider turning down the volume and
listening to some music.

Oh, but the comparisons don't stop there!

No two games are alike.  One of the things I love about baseball is that
something seems to happen every game that I've never seen before or that is
interesting to me.  The same goes for AC runs.  To take advantage of this I've
started logging my successful AC runs in a notebook.  Eventually I'd love to
log ALL my AC ventures - maybe into a blog.  It may not be interesting to
anyone else, but it's fun to look back on all the oddities, trials, and
tribulations that you've experienced and since forgotten.  Here is an example
of one of my AC log entries - I suggest you record your AC runs too:

 ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

MAXIM - Exp Lvl 60   511 HP/320 MP     DEKAR - Exp Lvl 60          659 HP
----------------------------------     ----------------------------------
Silver Sword               ATP 590     Mega Ax                    ATP 806
Bright Armor               DFP 442     Old Armor                  DFP 473
Flame Shield               STR 276     Fayza Shield               STR 406
 ---                       AGL 168      ---                       AGL 105
Ice Ring                   INT 116     Sea Ring                   INT  38
Twist Jewel                GUT 113     Twist Jewel                GUT 113
                           MGR 177                                MGR  93

CM Flash - Class 4 - Lvl 55            Found 20 Blue Chest items - 5 dropped

Only second time ever successful with Dekar - beat previous trip by 18
experience levels.  Found Twist Jewel and Flame Shield early for Maxim.  Found
Strong early too.  Faced no Ninjas nor Fiends.  Only found approximately 10
Black Dragons and went without Dark Fruit.  Beat as many Copper Dragons as
possible.  Closest brush with death came vs one Gold Dragon while in a hallway
trying to get to the stairs.  He cast Fry then Stardust Blow, killing Maxim.
His final move before I got to escape was a physical attack on Flash who had
survived the holy attacks - Now that's lucky.

 ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

The number of Blue Chests I found in that run was one of my highest recorded,
so don't think that's the norm.  Anyway, you get the idea.  I usually record
the equipment I found most useful rather than what I ended up with on Floor 99.

On to more baseball comparisons!

In baseball you can fail 7 out of every 10 times at bat, and still be
considered an All-Star.  Remember that these challenges are CHALLENGING.  Be
mentally prepared to take some defeats.  I also challenge you to find victories
in your defeats.  A lot of what drives a successful AC trip is luck of the
draw on how many chests you find, what you find in the chests, how many of
certain enemies you face, if the Cores run from you, etc., so what makes you a
true AC master is how you overcome these hardships.  Even if your run ends in
death you may not feel like a failure.  Sometimes I'll know in the first 10
floors if I'm going to have an unusually tough trip with almost no hope of
surviving the AC, but I keep playing just to see how well I CAN do.  When you
do this, sometimes you accidentally complete some really tough challenges!

An example of this is the time I was in the mood to unleash some magic spells,
so I took in a team of Maxim and Lexis.  In the entire AC I ended up finding
only 13 spells and using just three of those - Champion, Thunder, and Destroy.
I also struggled in agility with Maxim at 130 and Lexis hovering around 110.
So while I didn't scratch my spellcasting itch, I completed one of my more
challenging runs ever as I made it to Floor 99.  This is also one of my
favorite runs as it prompted Reli to bestow upon me the title of "The MacGyver
of the Ancient Cave," a title I wear with pride ^_~

I claimed that the AC had infinite replay value to me.  Here are some ways to
keep it fresh and fun:

- Beat the AC from scratch with every party combination.  Thanks to Auron for
the following factoid:  There is one possible one-man team, 6 possible 2-man
teams, 15 possible 3-man teams, and 20 possible 4-man teams for a total of 42
different teams that you can send into the AC.  That should keep you busy.

- Keep a Log!  It's fun to have a successful trip and then compare it to your
other successes.  Or even better keep a log of every trip in.  It will help you
remember what you've learned, and it's fun to look back and see your AC skills
progress.  Here are some brief entries to my log that make interesting
challenges:

Team of Maxim, Selan, and Tia - defeated every enemy - experience level 82.

Team of Maxim and Selan - Only 1 Instant Death victory - got to experience
level 55 without killing any metallic dragons and using Zeppy.

Team of Maxim and Artea (then Maxim and Lexis) - experience level 71.

Team of Maxim, Artea, Selan, and Lexis - experience level 85.

That last one should be easy to beat if you catch a bunch of Gold Dragons!

- Continue to sharpen your mastery.  I keep track in my log what experience
level my characters finish with, and I try to improve on that the next time I
use the identical party.  Or maybe keep track of the time it takes you - see
how fast you can get to the Master.

- Come up with your own challenges.  Try handicapping yourself in other ways
like using your least favorite CM, not allowing your team to use attack spells,
no deaths, etc.

- Find the most challenging ways to defeat the Master Jelly - defeat him in two
rounds, defeat him without Dekar or Guy in your party, defeat him with a 3-man
party, etc.


XV.  THE BRAINSTORM (016)

As unendingly entertaining as I've found the AC to be, far too few gamers have
thoroughly enjoyed the AC as I have.  The reason is simple - TOO BORING.
There's just not enough going on to keep interest up.  As wonderful as I think
the AC is, I still say there's plenty of room for improvement.  Just the idea
of a remake incorporating some upgrades is exciting.

So, have YOU ever envisioned something you thought would be FANTASTIC in an AC
remake?  Here's a collection of all my ideas - I think all of these would add
to the interest factor in the AC.  Email me with your ideas!


A.  AESTHETICS

1.  Backgrounds

- Greater variety of tiles, floor designs, and backgrounds

- More visual stimuli like vivid colors, objects moving in background of battle
scenes, etc

- Backgrounds that represent the different elements of the game like water, ice,
fire, etc.

- Since the AC is controlled by the Master, have some dreamlike or fantasy
backgrounds with wild ideas - great opportunity for artistic license.


2.  Representations

- When a character changes gear, have that character's picture change to
display the new wares!  Yes, Magic Bikini comes to mind, but Bright Cloth,
Spike Shield, Boom Turban, etc could be fun.  I actually remember way back when
I first started playing being disappointed that my weapon wouldn't change when
I would equip something new.  At least they do have a different sound effect
for each type of weapon, but how about the visual to match?

- Overall I really enjoy the enemy images, but some of them could be reworked
to be even more detailed and memorable.

- Some of the CM images bother me - it's like I'm looking at the back end of
them.  I'd like them to come up with a way to show off each CM form better.
For example, when you press start you see a front view of each character in
your party.  But when you go to Capsule Monster on the menu, you still get the
rear end view only.

- When my CM performs some attacks I'd like to see the CM literally attack the
enemy.  For example, when Darbi performs Wolf Fang, I'd like to see him leap
at his victim and chomp him!

- Add more spells visuals.  Have three different for each spell so you're not
seeing the same one every time.


3.  AUDIO AESTHETICS - it's all about the music!

- MORE music - tons of variety

- Let us choose our music


B.  CHARACTERS

- Don't force us to use Maxim.  Plus it might be neat to see different
characters leading your team around the AC.

- More useable characters!  I want to see previously unplayable story
characters like Jaffy, Jyad, and even that wimp, Prince Alex.  I want to let
enemies join my party via some method.  I want to play the bad guy and take
entire parties of enemy characters in the AC.  How about some guest stars?  An
older Jeros, characters from the other Lufia games, maybe they can get the
rights to use some other games' characters?, etc.

- Build your own character!


C.  ITEMS

- What good are a bunch of new characters without new lines of gear?  Give the
AC some intelligence in that it considers what your party can use in what you
might find.  That way if new lines of gear are added they won't water down what
you'd normally find, but also keep the variety about the same so that you're
not only finding stuff that will help your current party.


D.  CAPSULE MONSTERS

- Have at least one CM for each element - need a thunder and ice elemental CM

- MORE CM's!  Running out of elements?  Use mixed elemental CMs whose attacks
either combine two elements or whose attacks could be either or.  Another
interesting CM would be one that could attack using ANY elemental.

- Ability to heal CMs and use other spells like Mirror on them.

- Ability to use more than one CM.  For example the ability to take in Maxim
plus three CMs.

- Make the Master Form of a CM obviously superior.  Superior moves, superior
rate of special move performed, etc.

- Ability to "tame" certain animal-type enemies and use them as your CM


E.  RED AND BLUE CHESTS

- Sprinkle in at least some red chest shields, helmets, rings, and rocks
throughout the AC.  Even cheapies like Wood Shield are better than nothing.

- Remove some of the dud Blue Chests like Engage Ring, Tidal Jewel, etc and
replace with more exciting equipment.

- We need a Blue Chest Armor for Lexis

- Give us more items from the main quest like Ghost Ring and S-rings.


F.  IP

- Fix whatever is wrong or help us to understand how IP works and is
accumulated.  Ditto for Braves.

- Ability to pre-emptively use IP in expectation of having enough IP by the
time it is that character's turn in the round.  If you don't have enough IP
by the time it is that character's turn, then the character's move would be
lost and it would simply state "Not Enough IP"

- Double, triple, quadruple?! IP moves!  Like techs in Chrono Trigger, give us
combination IP moves.

- We need more Master-defeating equipment.  Nothing drastic, but something
other than Dekar Blade and Gades Blade to give us a chance!  Add a couple more
1/4-type IP attacks for characters that can't equip the Myth Blade, and some
more multi-hit IPs like the Hidora Rock has.

- Find a couple special ways to increase IP gain rates like in the
characteristics of special gear or by using an IP effect itself.

- This game is just dying for more killer IP effects.  What is so great about
IP effects is that you can't endlessly use them like spells, powerful weapons,
or stat-upping equipment, so they don't tilt the scales too much into your
favor.


G.  WHAT MAKES US PLAY THE AC AT ALL?

Try to think back to when you first discovered the AC.  What about it was
interesting and exciting to you?  If it were just 99 floors of increasingly
difficult enemies until you fight a final boss, then I think even I would be
bored out of my skull.  The answer is likely the rare Blue Chest equipment and
the mystery of the Iris Treasures.  The game kinda sets up the AC as a treasure
hunting ground, and it really is.  There are gamers that collected all 10 Iris
Treasures even knowing that nothing special happened after they completed the
collection!  But this can be taken to all sorts of levels the AC hasn't
yet approached...

The key is MORE SUPER RARE STUFF!  That would do wonders for AC interest!

- GOLD Chests and Mimics

Special equipment that can be taken out of the AC, but only if you use
Providence on Floor 99.  If we want the player to have to earn the chest, make
the chest a set of Gold Mimics.  If you defeat the Gold Mimics you get
guaranteed a Gold Chest drop.

- Iris Chests

Special equipment that cannot be taken out of the AC.  You just get the
pleasure of enjoying it for that one run.

- Iris Treasures

How about you have to EARN the Iris Treasures, and that when you do complete
the collection you get something really cool.  Maybe fight a mini-boss?


H.  REPLAY VALUE:  THE AC VS GOLDENEYE/PERFECT DARK

Think about some of the other games you've played throughout your gaming career
that have almost unlimited replay value.  Goldeneye and Perfect Dark come to
mind for me.  So what about them can the AC emulate?

DIFFICULTY LEVEL

Off the top of my head I recall Perfect Dark having different difficulty levels
for each scenario - Agent, Special Agent, Perfect Agent.  Let's do the same
with the AC, but tie it in to the next idea...

CHEATS AND ALTERNATE ENDINGS

One thing that was awesome about GE/PD was that even when you finished all
three difficulty levels of a scenario, you still could challenge yourself
further by trying to earn a cheat which usually consisted of completing a
challenge in a certain amount of time.  Obviously this wouldn't translate to
the AC, but what if you completed certain challenges to earn cheats in the AC?

Ways to earn cheats (KEE = kill every enemy)

- Getting to floor 99 with a short party (including solo)
- Getting to floor 99 in a certain amount of time
- Getting to floor 99 with no characters having fallen in battle
- Getting to floor 99 with selecting "no instant death" option
- Getting to floor 99 with selecting "bring in no Blue Chests" option
- Getting to floor 99 with selecting "Red Chests only" option
- Getting to floor 99 having used no healing spells
- Getting to floor 99 having used no IP effects
- Getting to floor 99 having defeated every enemy
- Getting to floor 99 having never escaped battle
- Getting to floor 99 having KEE while never escaping battle
- Getting to floor 99 having KEE while averaging less than X turns per battle
- Getting to floor 99 having KEE while averaging less than X rounds per battle
- Defeating the Master
- Defeating the Master with different party combos
- Defeating the Master with a short party
- Defeating the Master with no characters having fallen in battle
- Defeating the Master with selecting "no instant death" option
- Defeating the Master with selecting "bring in no Blue Chests" option
- Defeating the Master with selecting "Red Chests only" option
- Defeating the Master in less than X number of turns

- Defeating super-tough mini-bosses that rarely appear

You get the idea - you can even combine some of these ideas, like defeating
every enemy, for even more difficult challenges.  Perhaps the manner in which
you defeat the Master can also offer alternate endings where what the Master
says changes or you get a little story based on who's in your party.

I don't really expect anyone to complete the challenges I've provided in this
FAQ, but it's like I stated above about Iris Treasures - gamers will lose weeks
off their lives trying to complete challenges a game presents to them.  They
will want to collect everything and complete every challenge.

As you know from just beating the Master and getting to Floor 99 the first
time, it is quite an accomplishment in itself.  Just think what a badge of
gaming accomplishment each of these challenges and earned cheats would provide.


I.  SIDE STORY QUESTS

Okay, okay, so people like a storyline.  One of the strengths of the main quest
that even I recognize is that it tells a great story.  There's got to be a way
to use that, plus ya gotta have some of those memorable puzzles!  Here's a
possible solution...

Once per run, whether randomly or at a warp point at a specific floor (maybe 50
or 99?) have a story-based sidequest.  The quest can be based on your party and
experience level.  How about a quest revolving around one of the characters in
your party?  While the main quest tells a good story, I still think some of the
characters could be better developed.

These challenges would also have no save point, so it's like a pass/fail
situation like the AC itself.


J.  AC SUMMARY

At the end of the main quest we get something I think is really cool - a
summary of your accomplishments throughout the game.  Of course, my FAVORITE is
the AC Summary page.  Why this page is not delivered to us somehow in Gift Mode
I'll never know.

I'm suggesting a revamped and bigger AC summary providing stats for your just
completed run, and also your all-time stats.  Each run, whether successful or
not, could provide you with ratings in different categories and ranking you,
thus providing the player with a way of gauging their AC abilities.  Here are
some ideas:

- total escapes
- total enemy encounters
- total number of enemies defeated plus a collapsable list of all enemies
defeated
- total number of enemies that were summoned in battle
- Red Chest report including list of all finds and categorizes them by commons/
uncommons/rares
- Blue Chest report
- dropped items report
- total HP pads plus shows if you missed any
- total Treasure Rooms and a special Treasure Rooms report
- spells not found
- healing report including how many times each healing spell or healing IP
effect was used
- attack spells report
- IP effects report
- give us a way to save these summaries


K.  GAMEPLAY FIXES

- show status effects for enemies

- show when Mirror expires if it occurs in the middle of battle

- revamp equipping system.  In challenging runs you will be switching out
weapons like crazy - make it easier on us.  Instead of having to scroll through
a giant list of weapons, just show weapons that character COULD equip.  Or even
better come up with an even more user-friendly solution.  Let us rotate through
weapons using the R or L button.  This is where each weapon having its own
picture would be very helpful.


L.  AC OASIS

Give us a bonus for getting to floor 99 - the AC OASIS.

So what can you find in the AC Oasis?

- AC Summary as described above

- Casino games like Texas Hold 'Em with intelligent opponents

- A jukebox where you can buy music you can save and use on later runs using
your previously useless gold coin collection

- Other mini-games

- Jousting arena where you can face "earned" enemies to practice battle
strategies, practice using different spells and IP effects, perform
experiments, etc.

- review of what side story quests you've completed

- review of what cheats are available and what cheats you've earned


M.  POSSIBLE CHEATS

- higher drop %
- more HP pads
- more Treasure Rooms
- CM always performs special move
- more special chests
- new enemies to face in jousting arena in AC Oasis



XVI.  FAQ (017)

Here are some imaginary questions submitted by imaginary people who I like to
pretend actually read this FAQ:


Q:  You are an idiot.  Just equip a Fatal Pick and cast Destroy.  The AC is way
easy.

A:  Actually that's a statement, but please refer to the top of my FAQ where I
discuss instant kill usage.  The whole purpose of this FAQ is for people that
want to purposely challenge themselves.


Q:  Why do you make the AC sound tough?  I beat it in my first time through.

A:  Okay, for one you are lying, and for another I am assuming my audience
would not be using save states.  Also please see answer above about this being
for people that want to make the AC more challenging.


Q:  It looks like the reaction your CM has to what you feed it is related to
the item's value.  Have you looked into that?

A:  Kinda.  My guess is that is how it works.  Reli sent me a list of all the
items in the game and their value, but I've never sat down and worked on it.
That might be a good excuse for an update in the future.


Q:  Do you think you are the best AC player in the world?

A:  No, although I might be the biggest AC geek in the world.  The best AC
player would be someone who has a thorough knowledge of enemies and their
stats, strengths, and weaknesses and is able to maintain their focus.


Q:  Who is the best character to use in the AC?

A:  It's usually Artea.  Like I said, Agility is the most important stat in the
AC and he is the king.  But because he is the best he's probably my least
favorite to use.  Now if you are trying to defeat the Master, the best
character is Dekar because you have a great chance at finding a Dekar Blade on
your run.


Q:  Who is the best CM to use in the AC?

A:  It depends on a couple things.  I usually want my CM to provide for my
party whatever it's lacking.  So it kinda depends on which characters you
choose.  Generally with a big party you just can't go wrong with Flash and with
a small party I like Darbi.  If you are crazy enough to face Silver and Gold
Dragons without using Instant Death attacks, Darbi's Class 4 Form does a
whopping 1,000+, 1,500+, and 2000+ damage with his three different special
attacks.


Q:  What is the best equipment to use in the AC?

A:  My favorite Blue Chest item is the Dark Mirror.  Everyone can use it and
it's a big defensive boost when cursed.  When uncursed it protects vs Dark
attacks and provides possibly the most important feature in the AC - Instant
Death Protection.  But probably the most useful Blue Chest item is the Twist
Jewel for its big Agility and Defense boost.


As far as Red Chests, I love getting a Jute Helmet (also for Instant Death
Protection).  A Bee Rock always comes in handy as its IP attack Immobilize
often paralyzes your opponents, and that comes in VERY handy VERY often.  It's
also not too IP expensive.  Those two are pretty rare, so my favorite non-rare
Red Chest item might be the Magic Scale.  It is also equippable by all except
Guy and Dekar and I love the stat boosts it provides.  There are better armors
for Defense, but I can't tell you how many times that little Agility boost it
gives made me faster than the metallic dragons. 


XVII.  RED CHESTS (018)

First, let me explain why this is stuck at the bottom of my FAQ.  For one, I am
not going to do a comprehensive list of all Red Chest items that are in the AC.
At least not now.  I just don't see a real benefit other than trivial
knowledge.  I also didn't want a group of lists to break up the meat of my FAQ.

What I have collected here is a record of the *earliest floor* that I have
located each item.  I purposely weeded out many common items.  Again, this is
not a comprehensive list of all Red Chest items that are available in the AC.
In fact, I've only been keeping track of this since the summer of 2005 or so.
It is not difficult to find an item that I don't have listed or to find
something I do have listed at an earlier floor that I've recorded.  This is
just to give you a general idea of where most of the important equipment will
start to be available.

I'm not sure how this will benefit you - please let me know if it helps you.  I
know that with what I've learned it helps me to mentally stay in runs where I
am having particularly poor luck in locating weapons.  I know that starting in
the 20's I could possibly start finding some of the important elemental weapons
like Boom Sword, Red Saber, Mist Rapier, etc.  And from what I've seen it
appears that a lot of the highest echelon of items start appearing at around
Floor 50 like the Zirco weapons and important Armors.

Remember when I said in the Drops section that if you want to find any Red
Chest Shields, Helmets, Rings, or Rocks you would have to do so in the first 10
floors?  It's actually more like only floors 3-9.  I don't think I'm being
dramatic when I say that those floors can be some of the most crucial to your
run.  If you don't have luck here you had better pray for some nice drops or
Blue Chests:

SHIELDS

Item          - floor

Anger Brace   - 7
Big Shield    - 4
Block Shield  - 7
Brone Shield  - 5
Buckler       - 1
Circlet       - 9
Fayza Shield  - 8
Gold Band     - 9
Gold Shield   - 8
Mage Shield   - 8
Mini Shield   - 1
Pearl Brace   - 5
Power Brace   - 2
Round Shield  - 6
Silvo Shield  - 7
Slash Shield  - 7
Spike Shield  - 9
Tall Shield   - 7
Tecto Gloves  - 4
Tough Gloves  - 4
Wood Shield   - 5

Notice that the most premium of shields end at gold.  Most of the Plati series
of goods aren't in the AC as well as the Zirco non-weapons.

HELMETS

Blue Beret    - 7
Bronze Helmet - 2
Cloche        - 9
Eron Hat      - 9
Fury Helmet   - 3
Glass Cap     - 9
Glass Cloche  - 7
Golden Helm   - 9
Iron Helmet   - 4
Jet Helm      - 1
Jute Helmet   - 7
Metal Cloche  - 7
Plate Cap     - 5
Plate Helmet  - 5
Red Beret     - 1
Rock Helmet   - 6
Roomy Helmet  - 4
Shady Hat     - 6
Silver Hat    - 8
SilverHelmet  - 9
Stone Helmet  - 2
Tight Helmet  - 3
Tight Turban  - 8
Turban        - 6

** NOTE **  I have seen on other FAQ's that the Safety Hat, equippable by
Lexis only, is available in the AC.  I have NEVER located this item.  I assume
the Safety Hat would be located very late in the AC as some kinda rare throw-in
by the game makers.  As many times as I've been through floors 3-9 I just don't
think it exists there.

RINGS

Fake Ring     - 8
Fire Ring     - 3
Glass Brace   - 3
Glass Ring    - 1
Hipower Ring  - 8
Ice Ring      - 3
Mind Ring     - 3
Mystery Ring  - 7
Power Ring    - 6
Protect Ring  - 3
S-power Ring  - 9
Sonic Ring    - 9
Thunder Ring  - 3
Water Ring    - 3
Witch Ring    - 3

ROCKS

Bee Rock      - 8
Cancer Rock   - 8
Eagle Rock    - 9
Horse Rock    - 5
Lion Fang     - 8

WEAPONS

Aqua Sword    - 25
Aqua Whip     - 4
Battledriver  - 18
Beserk Blade  - 9
Boom Sword    - 30
Broadsword    - 11
Bronze Ax     - 9
Bronze Sword  - 5
Burn Sword    - 18
Buster Sword  - 45
Cold Rapier   - 4
Coma Hit      - 8
Crazy Blade   - 19
Crystal Wand  - 25
Cursed Bow    - 51
Cutter Whip   - 9
Deadly Rod    - 5
Deadly Sword  - 4
Dekar Blade   - 15
Estok         - 11
Fatal Pick    - 6
Figgoru       - 10
Fire Dagger   - 7
Flying Blow   - 31
Freeze Bow    - 37
Freeze Sword  - 28
Gladius       - 2
Great Ax      - 53
Halberd       - 24
Hand Ax       - 10
Heavy Lance   - 32
Holy Staff    - 8
Holy Whip     - 30
Launcher      - 14
Lizard Blow   - 50
Long Staff    - 6
Long Sword    - 8
Luck Rapier   - 20
Lucky Blade   - 26
Mist Rapier   - 25
Morning Star  - 10
Multi Sword   - 9
Myth Blade    - 61
Old Sword     - 50
Pounder Rod   - 15
Rainy Ax      - 18
Red Saber     - 21
Rockbreaker   - 9
Rod           - 1
Royal Whip    - 13
Rune Rapier   - 50
Scimitar      - 4
Silver Rod    - 37
Silver Sword  - 29
Silvo Rapier  - 13
Sleep Rod     - 6
Spear         - 13
Stun Gun      - 14
SuhrCustom11  - 4
Super Sword   - 30
Superdriver   - 20
Thunder Ax    - 8
Trident       - 20
Vice Pliers   - 6
War Rapier    - 7
Zirco Ax      - 52
Zirco Flail   - 52
Zirco Rod     - 49
Zirco Sword   - 53
Zirco Whip    - 53

ARMORS

Baggy         - 1
Bright Armor  - 36
Bright Cloth  - 38
Chain Armor   - 15
Chainmail     - 16
Crystal Mail  - 33
Crystal Robe  - 35
Deadly Armor  - 37
Eron Dress    - 35
Evening Gown  - 31
Frock         - 2
Full Mail     - 54
Ghostclothes  - 50
Heal Armor    - 35
Holy Wings    - 4
Ironmail      - 3
Light Armor   - 2
Long Robe     - 6
Magic Bikini  - 28
Magic Scale   - 42
Metal Coat    - 8
Metal Jacket  - 39
Metal Mail    - 7
Old Armor     - 51
Plate Armor   - 21
Plated Cloth  - 1
Plati Plate   - 31
Power Cape    - 31
Power Jacket  - 9
Power Robe    - 41
Quilted Silk  - 9
Revive Armor  - 34
Royal Dress   - 63
Silk Robe     - 29
Silk Toga     - 6
Silver Armor  - 9
Silver Mail   - 8
Silver Robe   - 28
Tight Dress   - 18
Tough Hide    - 3
Zircon Plate  - 65

Don't forget to hold onto those Holy Wings with a female in your party.  Equip
them with it whenever they'll need Instant Death Protection.

THE END!

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