The universe is split up into a number of different worlds. You usually travel between these worlds using "Pillars of Sky" which are weird-looking braided plant things. (Later in the game, you can get the Pegasus Magi, which allows you to travel much more quickly between the towns in different worlds; and you can buy Doors, which do the same thing as the Pegasus.)
Each world has a number of MAGI in it. You can't go further up the Pillar of Sky (i.e. to a later world) until you get all the Magi in the world. You can use your Prism Magi to determine how many Magi are left in the world (and therefore how many more quests are left there).
You can save your game anywhere.
The party you choose isn't all that important -- the game isn't too hard to beat really no matter what you choose (except for if you have three or more monsters). I like females more than males (I'll explain why in a minute).
The leveling system, as TehBesto noted above, is really strange compared to other RPGs. Each character has five statistics -- Str, Agl (agility), Mag, Def, and Max HP. You can raise these statistics in different ways depending on the type of character:
- Humans get random level ups at the end of battles based on what weapons you used during that battle. Females seem to get stat ups (not HP) more often than males, but the males' Max HP goes up more quickly. (You can get 999 HP pretty fast with the males.) HP ups happen randomly no matter what weapons you use. Defense Ups happen very rarely when you use shield-type equipment a lot (including the Aegis Magi). If a character dies during battle, it can't get any level ups.
- Mutants get random level ups like humans, but much less often. They can also randomly acquire Abilities (more on this later). Again, males' HP is quicker and females' other stats are quicker.
- Robots never get random level ups. The way you make your robots better is by equipping things. Every item makes its HP go up, and whatever else you equip can raise Str, Agl, and Def. A robot's mana is permanently zero, I think.
- Monsters never get random level ups. When you beat an enemy, it sometimes drops "meat". You can feed this meat to your monsters and they'll randomly change into another monster (based on the levels of each). There are two boss-type monsters on the way to the Center of the Earth -- TianLung and Fenrir. If you get meat from these monsters and feed it to your own monsters, your guy becomes the highest-level monster type (and the Monster, who was pretty bad throughout the game, can now become one of your best characters). Now, when he eats meat, he can change, but he'll always be the highest-level type. Meat appears after a battle even if you have no monsters -- it has no effect on any other characters.
I should explain a little about Mutants. They can have up to four abilities at one time. At the beginning at the game, you have one (Blizzard or Flame). When you win a battle, you can acquire abilities randomly (and the level of the ability depends on the level of the monster). If you have free space on that character's equip, or if you currently have less than four abilities, the ability will just be "acquired". If you don't have free space or you already have four, you'll lose the bottommost ability and gain whatever the new one is. You should decide at the beginning of the game how many abilities and how much other equipment you'll want the mutant to have, and then fill up the rest of the space so that you don't acquire too many. I recommend three abilities at once.
There is no such thing as MP for characters in FFL2. The spellcasting items in this game simply have charges -- when the charges run out, the item goes away. There is no way to refill charges on spellbooks. Abilities that are spells come with charges, too -- usually half as much as is found on the spellbook of the same name. For example, the Fire book has 30 charges and the Fire ability has 15. (The book and the ability do the same thing in terms of damage.) But the abilities on mutants refill at inns (for free), which is a great advantage. While HP takes money to refill at an inn (1 GP/HP), abilities are free. (A neat thing you can do is use the Cure ability on the mutant for all your guys right before you go to the inn; you end up paying 0GP and you get all your abilities back.)
The best spell in the game (that you can also acquire as an ability) is Flare -- but it only has five charges. It attacks all enemies with a strong attack, and strength against a particular element won't resist Flare. It's cool, and by cool, I mean totally sweet. It's my favorite spell. And you can get it surprisingly early in the game (but you sorta have to abuse the save system to do it). Here's how:
In Apollo's World, in Dunatis's Cave, save right before you fight Dunatis (after Lynn joins). Fight him. See if you acquire Flare. If not, reset (you can do this by pressing select-start-A-B simultaneously) and fight again. It usually takes a lot of tries. Even if you give up on Flare, though, you can get O-All which protects you against most elemental magic that monsters use. P-Blast is also an option -- it is a weaker version of Flare. Dunatis can give you any ability that a mutant can acquire. (He's the only guy that can do that until the last world.)
More about robots -- on Mutants, abilities refill at an inn; I've said that before. On Robots, however, EVERYTHING you equip becomes refillable. The drawback, however, is that the number of charges is halved. So if you equip a 30-charge Gungnir on your robot, it has 15 charges but it is refillable. If you then unequip it, it gets halved again -- so you're down to 7.
The battles are strictly turn-based -- at the beginning of each turn, you choose what each character is planning to do during that turn. Once you choose the last one, then the battle round begins -- the character with the highest agility among your party and the monsters does their thing, and then the next most agile, etc. This is important! This is why I like Agility more than Strength -- you can attack before the enemies attack. Agility is important on every character!
Each character has eight normal equip slots in the equip screen. You can put whatever you want in these slots, in whatever order. Items that you can use during battle will appear in the selection screen during the battle. But there are nine slots in the battle screen -- the ninth is for Magi. Most types of Magi, like Fire, Agility, Defense, etc. just improve that character's performance regarding those aspects passively. But you also get three special Magi that you can select and use during battle: the Aegis, the Masmune, and the Heart. The Aegis protects that character from most physical attacks and, once that character takes their turn, it will tell you that the Aegis is protecting the Party. After that, your entire party is also invulnerable to many magical attacks too. The Masmune does about 500 or 600 damage to one enemy. The Heart revives all the members of your party and fills up their health bars, but it only has one use until you go to an inn.
Here are some tips:
- The Nasty Dungeon looks silly. You go in, and the one Magi in the world is given to you at the beginning of the dungeon. If you look in the Prism Magi, there's no Magi left in the world -- so you can leave, right?
Well, you COULD. But, you see, some of the best items in the game are found in the Nasty Dungeon. I'm not going to walk you through the Dungeon here, but you want to explore each of the nine levels before you go down to the next. After you get past the fifth or so, the real items start flowing (and the enemies get a ton harder). Actually, I almost never fight guys in the Dungeon -- I just run from them all. But seriously, you get a Flare book, the Hyper gun, a Parasuit, a Gungnir, a Dragon helm, a Tank, and a ton of other stuff too. At the end of the dungeon, the little fairy at the beginning meets you again. Agree with whatever she says or she'll send you back to level 5. :-)
- How much do you like cheating? Right before and right after the Nasty Dungeon, you have 67 and 68 MAGI. There's a bug where if you hit start, go to the Item screen, and scroll all the way down to the trashcan, you can "use" the Trash Can on a character. When you have 67 MAGI, it gives the character of your choice a Power Potion (permanent +3 Str); at 68 it gives him a Speed Potion (+3 Agl). But you can only use it a specific number of times. Read the following web page on GameFAQs for more info about that:
Again, this is cheating, but it's a fun way of cheating. :-)
- In my opinion, the Heal Rod is the most important item in the game. Magnate, Odin, and WarMech are very difficult without it, and Apollo and Arsenal are impossible. For Apollo, Dad has a Heal Rod, but for Arsenal you'll have to buy one. The amount of healing each character gets is based on the mana for that character and the mana for the character using the heal rod, so it's extremely useful to level mana up on your humans. I like to put a Heal Rod on my mutant (for major healing) and on my largest-HP human.
- The Center of the World and the stairs down are filled with enemies -- and you can't run from ANY of them. Abuse the save system (again) to make it easier: Walk a few steps, then save. Walk a few more steps, and save again. When you enter a battle, reset. It's dumb, but it works.
- More abusing the save system. In Venus's world, in the sewers, there's a Hermit with a key. Save in front of him, and kill him (with Thunder ideally). Save again after you kill him, and reset. He respawns! Keep doing this until you stop getting level ups or until you run out of Thunders. He gives very good meat and he has a high probability of level-ups; you can get such high-level monsters as Phantom off him.
The best items in the game are:
- "X-Calibr" -- a sword with decent damage and infinite charges that attacks an entire group of enemies. Found in the Final Dungeon.
- Flare -- great spell; I talked about it above. Books are expensive, though -- but after the Nasty Dungeon, you almost never have any trouble with money.
- Mage Rod -- attacks all enemies for moderate fire damage. Not great for bosses, but excellent around the Final Town, for leveling up (because you don't want to kill all the enemies in one shot; you want to let each guy attack). I buy it for my humans to practice magic.
- CatClaw -- the highest level agility weapon that you can buy. Only attacks one target, though.
- PsiGun -- attacks a group with a significant amount of Magic-based damage. Good for a mutant or a practicing human. There are only two in the game -- the Nasty Dungeon and the Final Dungeon.
- Laser Gun -- always hits one guy for 400 damage, no matter the character. Very consistent. Not all that good, but if you have a particularly weak character against some boss, it's better than nothing.
- Gungnir -- a very powerful Strength-based weapon; attacks a group. You can only ever get two -- from the Nasty Dungeon and fighting Odin.
- Samurai Bow -- a very powerful Agility-based weapon that attacks a group. Again, there are only two, I think -- Edo Castle and the Nasty Dungeon.
- Tank -- a shield and a weapon in one; attacks a group. You can buy this in Edo from Echigoya, and I strongly recommend it for a robot. You find one or two in the Nasty Dungeon, too. They are great against Magnate because they block Katana.
- Seven Sword -- attacks a single enemy with massive, massive damage. Sort of a secret item -- it can ONLY be found by beating one of the rare Haniwas in the Center of the World, and they only drop it some of the time. Haniwas are very hard, but if you've equipped a character with the Hyper Cannon (which destroys any non-boss enemy when you use it), you can take out the Haniwa safely. Mutants can learn Explode which does the same thing, at the cost of that mutant's life. The Seven Sword does as much damage as a regular high-level sword (for a 99-str character, that's about 1200). But it can hit up to seven times (based on your agility)! So if you have a 99/99 human, you can be hitting Arsenal for 5000 damage a turn. Unfortunately, Seven Swords only have 7 charges before they die.