One of the sidequests in Final Fantasy X is the Monster Arena. About two-thirds of the way through the game, you get to the arena and the owner offers you a little job: Take special (slightly nerfed) weapons and run around “capturing” the monsters you fight. It works the same as normal combat, except that if you deliver the killing blow with the capture weapon, then the monster becomes part of the Monster Arena menagerie. You can then go back and pay to fight that monster anytime you like, as often as you like.
The immediate advantage of doing this that you can’t get a game over from fighting in the arena. Even if all of your characters are KO’ed, you just end up back at the entrance instead of the “Load Game” screen. The other advantages become more apparent later.
As you collect more of the later monsters in the game (and once you backtrack earlier parts of the game and collect those monsters) you will unlock certain special monsters. These are all unique boss fights, and there are dozens of them. If you’re like me and you enjoy challenging boss fights yet hate the defeat of game over then this is gaming goodness as its best.
Some of these boss monsters are prepoerously tough. Some require you to level up to maximum strength. Some are almost puzzles. Some just take a while to wear down. Some require certain special abilities or immunities to defeat. Some are just humorous. For the clever players, a few monsters offer some nice tricks / exploits that you can use to your advanatge.
Want to level up your hapless hero? First… get you one of these:
Not available in stores. Offer only valid while supplies last. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
The Triple AP is hard to come by, but at this point you don’t need it. Just get any weapon and put Overdrive->AP on it. This means that your overdrive guage won’t charge, but instead those points will go into your AP (for you D&D players – AP is the Final Fantasy version of XP) and level you up. The trick now is to engage in behavior that would quickly or instantly charge up the ‘ol overdrive guage.
Set your overdrive mode to “comrade”. This means that when either of the other two characters in the fight take damage, your OD guage will charge. However, because you have Overdrive->AP, you’ll get AP when terrible things happen to your friends. Now your goal is to get into a battle and arrange for those awful things to happen. The best way way to accomplish this is to fight this guy:
He may be adorable, but he’s nasty. Whenever you do anything in battle: attack, cast spells, steal, cough in his direction, look at him cross-eyed, anything, then he auto-counters with “Karma”. Karma deals damage to the target according to how many monsters they’ve killed. I’m guessing, but I think it’s just the kill count x 100. This means Yuna has nothing to fear, but Auron, Wakka, and Tidus are going to experience some severe retribution.
I hope you’ve been a good boy…
You can probably see where this is going. Have the character with Overdrive->AP stand still (don’t attack!) and revive the other two guys whenever they get KO’ed. (Which should be every stinking round, unless you’re some sort of pacifist.)
You know the old saying, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”? This time it’s really true.
These guys should be taking many times their max health in damage, which is key. (Note that if they have armor with HP bonuses on it, you’ll want to take it off. The bigger the gap between their MAX HP and the Karma damage they take, the more AP you’ll get. It should be, at minimum, three or four times their MAX HP.
This really hurts, ya?
So how well does it work? Take a look:
That… is a lot of AP.
That’s seven hundred thousand AP, or about 100 times what a normal battle would be worth. Note that if you don’t have Triple AP, you’d still get a respectable quarter million. This one battle earned me about fifty sphere levels, which would have taken ages doing things the normal way.
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