Final Fantasy IV Information
Any% No64 (Edge+Excalbur) Guide

Jason Lynch <jason@calindora.com> (Aexoden)

Introduction

These are my notes for the Edge+Excalbur route of the Final Fantasy IV Any% No64 speedrun. While I am very familiar with the game and the speedrun, I am nonetheless nowhere near the world record holder in this category or any other, so there are almost certainly faster ways to do things. That said, I do periodically update this document as new strats are discovered, so if you follow them, you're probably not doomed to be perilously slow.

General Concepts

While these notes are largely my personal notes used when I actually run the game, a number of people have been using them to learn the run, so I will briefly go over some of the more general concepts that apply to the run. However, the notes will almost certainly still assume you are generally familiar with some of the techniques used speedrunning the game (such as item duplication and run buffering). If you are unfamiliar with these, there are other resources you may wish to examine.

Route

As I write this, there are several potential routes you may choose to run this category. These routes mostly only differ in the final third of the game, so the first two-thirds are roughly the same in any case. Here is a brief summary:

Edge+Drain
The standard route for a long time, this route primarily does damage by having Edge throw the Drain spear. This route is reasonably fast, though the Elements and Zeromus fights are moderately difficult and have ended many runs.
Edge+Excalbur
This route (used by this guide) is similar to the Edge+Drain route, differing in choosing to throw the Excalbur sword instead of the Drain spear (among other minor differences). This route is probably slightly slower than the Edge+Drain route (perhaps by 30 seconds to a minute), but the battles are both faster and nearly 100% scripted. (In other words, you can mostly follow a script and expect to win.) This is the route I recommend to new runners because of its reliablity. I also personally find it the most fun route.
Rosa
A newer, more advanced route that eschews Edge and opts to primarily do damage with Rosa. This route is highly technical and not incredibly reliable. If you attempt to follow this route without practicing, you will have a bad time. See Rivers McCown's notes for more information regarding this route. The world record for this category currently follows this route.
Berserk Edge
This route barely gets an entry, but it is in the process of being developed. It may or may not pan out into anything interesting. It is inspired by the glitchless SFC runs.

There are other routes, but they are older and obsolete. Again, my personal recommendation is to begin with Edge+Excalbur to get a few runs under your belt, and then to move on to Rosa once your time is approaching 3:07 or less.

Experience Path

Unfortunately, as it turns out, levels matter a lot in this run. As such, there is a lot of research into the best ways to allocate experience throughout the run. Experience is primarily manipulated using the following facts:

  1. Dead characters do not gain experience. Total experience from the fight is divided among alive party members. Therefore, the fewer characters that are alive, the more experience the living ones collect.
  2. Characters in the so-called shadow party gain the same amount of experience as living party members. These are characters who have left the party and will later return.

The "perfect" path is a matter of personal preference and is always up for debate. I make my recommendations throughout this guide, but there are many ways to skin a cat, and you're welcome to develop your own path that suits your playing style better. However, keep in mind the following points:

Inventory Management

Another important aspect of any No64 run is inventory management. You end up with a very full inventory and optimizing the location of items in the inventory is essential to a good run. This guide makes some recommendations, but ultimately, you will need to come up with an inventory management scheme you're comfortable with.

Mimic Glitch

You have the option of using the Mimic Glitch (AKA Carrot/TrashCan) to defeat Milon and/or Milon Z. Learning these is beyond the scope of this guide, but it may be useful to know that you only need to pick up the carrot or move the TrashCan to the top of the inventory if you intend to utilize these strategies.

Assumptions

These notes make the assumption that you are following along from start to finish. For example, the Change rod is duplicated during the Octomamm fight, equipped on Tellah before Milon, and this assumption is made for later fights. If you attempt to join in the middle, you may miss this or similar points.

Conventions

These notes use the following conventions:

Resources

The following resources should prove invaluable to either help during a run or to help you learn the run in the first place:

Walkthrough

Prologue

Begin the game. During the introduction, you may wish to hold down B+Right+Down immediately before the battle with the Raven, in an attempt to avoid the Raven's attack. This is known as the BRD or BIRD skip. It may or may not work for you, depending on the awesomeness of your mashing. Finish the introduction and gain control.

Menu

  • Set battle speed and battle message to 1.

Step Route

If on seed 92, take at least one extra step before finishing the introduction sequence.

Pick up the Tent (the rightmost chest) on Castle Baron 1F and then head to Cecil's room in the left tower to finish the introduction.

Walk to the chocobo forest, optionally pick up the Carrot, capture a yellow chocobo, and ride to the Misty Cave.

Misty Cave

Walk through the cave until you reach the boss.

D.Mist

HP
465
EXP
700
Party
*Kain (10:2300) / empty / *Cecil (10:3000) / empty / *empty
Kain
Jump
Cecil
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Kain
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Kain
Jump
Cecil
Fight

D.Mist turns to mist.

Cecil
Parry
Kain
Wait until note before long high note
Jump
Cecil
Wait for "Now, get ready to fight!"
Duplicate shield slot
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Kain
Jump
Cecil
Fight

Continue with Fight and Jump until D.Mist falls. There is a small chance of a third cycle, depending on damage rolls.

Mist Clip

After the battle, exit the cave and head toward Mist. When you approach the last tile before the town, hold left, and then hold X. When the menu opens, release the keys, and then use the Tent. During the tent animation, begin to hold right. Once you begin moving, begin to hold X (while continuing to hold right). Once the menu is open, you can release the keys.

Menu

  • Unequip Kain: Iron (arms)
  • Equip Cecil: Shadow (shield)
  • Unequip Cecil: Shadow (shield) in same slot, which will leave an "empty" slot in your inventory
  • Save the game, reset, and reload.

Walk past the village tiles, and then enter Mist from the right side. Head to the weapon shop.

Shopping

  • Sell empty slot where you unequipped Shadow (shield).
  • Buy 10 Dancing (dagger).

Head to the northwest house, enter the fireplace, and pick up Tiara from the first chest and Change (rod) from the chest at the end of the long passage. Exit the house and trigger the cut scene.

Girl

HP
65000
Party
*Kain (10:2650) / empty / *Cecil (11:3350) / empty / *empty
Inventory Goals
Tiara to 1L
Dancing to 1R
Change to 3L
Carrot to 3R
Iron to 7L

Attempt to rearrange your inventory during animations. Change rows for fist-pump strats.

Kaipo

If you are step routing, this is when you need to start watching which steps you get encounters on. Either way, continue to Kaipo in the middle of the desert. Enter the town and trigger the cut scene.

Note

NPC movement may seem random, but it's actually reasonably deterministic during this portion of the game. Assuming you walk perfectly, and don't stand around, the NPCs will always be in the same location from run to run. This will remain true until Fabul. Learn where the NPCs will be and optimize your walking accordingly.

Officer x1, Soldier x3

HP
Officer: 221 / Soldier: 27
EXP
480
Party
empty / empty / *Cecil (11:3350) / empty / empty
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight

After the Soldiers are dead, simply twiddle your thumbs until the Officer retreats.

Menu

  • Equip Rydia: */*/Tiara/*/*
  • Move Rydia down one slot. (Form, A, Down, A)

Visit Rosa in the northeast house. Mash with B to avoid talking to Rosa repeatedly. Afterward, leave the house.

Just before exiting the town (immediately after emerging from the door in the wall), take one step to the right, and then go down.

Head north to the cave and enter the Watery Pass.

Watery Pass

Walk through the first part of the cave, recruit Tellah, and then continue to the end of the cave. In the last room, pick up Darkness (sword) and exit the cave.

Enter the other cave and proceed until you meet Octomamm.

Octomamm

HP
2350
EXP
1200
Party
*Tellah (20:54873) / Rydia (1:0) / *Cecil (11:3830) / empty / *empty
Inventory Goals
Shadow (sword) to bottom
Rod to bottom
Staff to bottom
TrashCan to 4R

The following turn order assumes nothing goes particularly badly. Depending on how the battle actually flows, you may need to have Tellah revive Rydia with Life1 or cure the party with Cure2. Research suggests it is optimal for Tellah to stop himself on his third turn, but you can delay this if you need to cure. If Tellah gets any additional turns after casting Stop, it's easiest to just Parry.

Cecil
Equip Darkness
Fight
Tellah
Equip Change
Cast Lit-1
Rydia
Equip Dancing
Use Dancing
Cecil
Inventory Management
Fight
Tellah
Cast Lit-1
Cecil
Inventory Management
Fight
Rydia
Use Dancing
Tellah
Equip Staff
Cast Stop on Tellah
Cecil
Fight
Rydia
Use Dancing
Run Buffer
Cecil
Inventory Management
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Rydia
Use Dancing

At this point, just continue the pattern until Octomamm dies.

Immediately after the battle, open the menu.

Menu

  • Change rows and swap Tellah and Rydia. (Form, Left, A, Down, A)
  • Move Cecil down one slot. (Form, Down, Down, A, Down, A)

Exit the cave and enter Damcyan. Head to the top of the castle, watch the scene, and then take the hovercraft to the Antlion cave.

Antlion

Follow the path to the second room. You may take either the left or right path, but the right path feels better to me. Your mileage may vary. Once in the second room, pick up the chest on the right side with a Life.

Take the secret passage and make your way to Antlion's Nest and engage Antlion.

Antlion

HP
1000
EXP
1500
Party
Rydia (4:400) / *empty / Edward (5:388) / *Cecil (11:4230) / empty
Inventory Goals
Cap to 4L
Cecil
Use Life on Rydia/Parry
Edward
Equip Dancing
Use Dancing
Rydia
Inventory Management
Use Dancing
Cecil
Parry
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Cecil
Parry (or perhaps Fight)
Rydia
Use Dancing

Depending on damage rolls, Cecil may be able to Fight on his last turn instead of Parrying. He can do anywhere from 0-70 damage, with a median value of 54.

Walk out of the cave, board the hovercraft, and return to Kaipo, making sure to park directly to the left of the town.

Kaipo Revisited

Head to the house in the northeast corner of town and use the SandRuby on Rosa.

During the night, Edward will loudly play his harp and an angry monster will attack.

WaterHag

HP
45672
EXP
800
Party
empty / *empty / Edward (6:888) / *empty / empty
Edward
Fight
Edward
Fight
Edward
Fight

You can simply hold the A button for the duration of the fight.

After waking up, leave the town, making sure to take a step to the left immediately before exiting.

Take the hovercraft to the entrance of Mt.Hobs, parking directly to the left of the entrance.

Mt.Hobs

Climb the mountain and meet Yang at the top.

During Yang's solo battle, you can potentially manipulate yourself out of a longer battle by checking the damage rolls against this chart and pausing for a short while if you get a bad first kick.

MomBomb

HP
MomBomb: 10800 (800) / Bomb: 50 / GrayBomb: 100
EXP
2460
Party
Rydia (6:900) / *Yang (10:2061) / Edward (8:1688) / *Cecil (12:4730) / Rosa (10:2139)
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Cecil
Fight
Rosa
Cast Cure1/Parry
Yang
Fight
Rydia
Use Dancing
Edward
Use Dancing/Parry
Cecil
Fight/Parry
Rosa
Cast Cure1/Parry

Once you have done 800 damage, you can stop attacking. At this point, heal or parry until Yang's turn.

Yang
Wait for "Exploding!"
Wait one second after "Exploding!" disappears
Kick
Rydia
Use Dancing on GreyBomb
Edward
Use Dancing on GreyBomb
Cecil
Fight
Rosa
Use Aim on weakest Bomb
Edward
Use Dancing on GreyBomb
Yang
Fight

After the battle, continue to the other side of the mountain. continue downward, and then head east to Fabul.

Fabul

Head to the King's Room and offer to help. (Do not mash the B button during this dialogue.)

General x1, Fighter x2

HP
General: 320 / Fighter: 65
EXP
820
Party
empty / *Yang (10:2553) / Edward (9:2180) / *Cecil (12:5222) / empty
Inventory Goals
Dreamer to bottom
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing on top Fighter
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Fight

Weeper x1, Imp Cap. x1, WaterHag x1

HP
Weeper: 100 / Imp Cap.: 37 / WaterHag: 48
EXP
490
Party
empty / *Yang (10:2826) / Edward (9:2453) / *Cecil (12:5495) / empty
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Fight WaterHag

General x1, Fighter x2

HP
General: 320 / Fighter: 65
EXP
820
Party
empty / *Yang (11:2989) / Edward (10:2616) / *Cecil (12:5658) / empty
Inventory Goals
Cap to 1L
<empty> to 2L
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing on top Fighter
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Fight

Garogyle x1

HP
160
EXP
320
Party
empty / *Yang (11:3262) / Edward (10:2889) / *Cecil (12:5931) / empty
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Yang
Inventory Management

Weeper x1, Imp Cap. x1, WaterHag x1

HP
Weeper: 100 / Imp Cap.: 37 / WaterHag: 48
EXP
490
Party
empty / *Yang (11:3368) / Edward (10:2995) / *Cecil (13:6037) / empty
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Fight WaterHag

General x1, Fighter x2

HP
General: 320 / Fighter: 65
EXP
820
Party
empty / *Yang (11:3531) / Edward (10:3158) / *Cecil (13:6200) / empty
Edward
Run Buffer
Use Dancing on top Fighter
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Fight

Dragoon

HP
65000
EXP
0
Party
empty / *empty / empty / *Cecil (13:6473) / empty
Cecil
Fight Cecil

Walk to the Inn and watch the scenes.

Menu

  • Equip Rydia: */*/Cap/*/*
  • Equip Cecil: Black/*/*/*/*

Head down the stairs and make your way to the exit. After leaving Fabul, head for the ship to the east.

Mysidia

Walk east into Mysidia and go to the armor shop on the left.

Shopping

  • Buy 10 Gaea (helm), 10 Gaea (armor), 10 Silver (arms), 1 Paladin (shield), 1 Paladin (arms)

Head to the House of Wishes and talk to the elder. After the scene, head to the item shop on the right side of town.

Shopping

  • Buy 70 Cure2, 70 Life, 70 Heal, 70 Ether1

Exit the town and head east to Mt.Ordeals.

Mt.Ordeals

Climb the mountain until you reach the summit.

Once on the summit, continue until you are even with the final bridge.

Menu

  • Equip Porom (for Twin strats only): */*/Tiara/Gaea/Silver
  • Equip Palom: */Change/Gaea/Gaea/Silver
  • Equip Tellah: */*/Gaea/*/Silver
  • Fully heal the party (for Twin strats only).

If you are going to use the Mimic (Carrot) strategy, you should not equip or heal Porom. You can also opt to skip equipping the other characters, as well. I do recommend at least equipping Change to make the backup strategy more effective.

Milon

HP
Milon: 3000 (2300) / Ghast: 170
EXP
3800
Party
Porom (10:1957) / *empty / Palom (10:1957) / *Cecil (13:6473) / Tellah (20:58316)
Inventory Goals
Paladin (shield) to 2R
Cecil
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Palom
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Porom
Twin
Tellah
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Cecil
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Cecil
Inventory Management
Fight
Tellah
Use Cure2 on twin/Parry
Palom
Twin
Cecil
Fight
Tellah
Use Cure2 on twin/Parry
Cecil
Inventory Management
Fight

If the twins cast Comet or if your Flare rolls are horrendous, Cecil should probably give up on attacking, and instead just expect to cast a third Twin. You can still try, though. Sometimes it works out.

Cecil
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Palom
Inventory Management
Cast Fire1 on Porom
Porom
Run Buffer
Twin
Tellah
Use Life on Porom
Cecil
Use Cure2 on Ghast

Milon screeches "Go, my children!"

Cecil
Wait for Palom's Cure2
Parry
Tellah
Wait a second or two
Cast Stop on Cecil
Porom
Run Buffer
Use Cure2 on Ghast
Run Buffer
Cecil
Half-use Cure2 (don't select a target)
Swap Cure2 and Carrot
Close menu and wait

This strategy is incredibly timing-sensitive. There are a number of ways it can go wrong, and the only way to really get good at this strategy is to practice it over and over. Porom's first run buffer has an incredibly short window, and in my experience, you must slightly anticipate it unless you have excellent reaction times.

Menu

  • Fully heal the party (including MP if necessary)
  • Change rows and swap Porom and Tellah (Form, Left, A, Up, A)
  • If using the Cure2 strategy, cast Piggy on all party members

Walk across the bridge and engage Milon Z.

Milon Z.

HP
3000
EXP
4000
Party
*Tellah (20:59266) / empty / *Palom (11:2907) / Cecil (13:7423) / *Porom (11:2907)
Survivors
Cecil, Palom, and Tellah
Inventory Goals
Rod to bottom
Darkness to bottom
Leather to bottom
IronRing to bottom

Cecil should Fight and everyone else should use Cure2 on Milon Z.

The experience path assumes one character (specifically Porom) dies here. If you're close to finishing the battle and everyone is still alive, you may want to kill someone to keep your experience path intact (doesn't matter who). If only two survive, that's even better, as it helps ensure that Rosa will reach level 20 before Rubicant.

Cecil
Use Cure2/Use Heal/Parry

Cecil should execute this action as the damage from Milon Z.'s attack disappears. If he gets another turn, he should Parry immediately. Some people recommend a Run Buffer as well, though I haven't personally needed that.

Palom
Cast Ice-2 on Porom
Tellah
Run Buffer
Cast Stop on Cecil
Porom
Run Buffer
Twin
Cecil
Half-use Cure2
Swap Cure2 and TrashCan
Close menu and wait

Tellah's menu should pop up before Palom uses the TrashCan, leaving you plenty of time to do any necessary inventory management.

The experience path assumes one character dies here (Porom in this case). If you somehow get into a situation where two are dead, that's even better, as it helps ensure that Rosa will reach level 20 before Rubicant.

After the battle, enter the tomb and watch the scene.

D.Knight

HP
1000
EXP
0
Party
*empty / Cecil (1:0) / *empty / empty / *empty
Cecil
Run Buffer
Equip Dancing
Use Dancing
Cecil
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Cecil
Equip Paladin (shield)
Use Dancing
Cecil
Run Buffer
Use Dancing

After the scenes, descend the mountain and head to the chocobo forest. Catch a yellow chocobo and travel back to Mysidia.

Talk to the elder, and then head to Baron via the Serpent Road.

Return to Baron

Go to the back of the Inn and talk to Yang.

Guard x2

HP
200
EXP
0
Party
*Tellah (20:60599) / Cecil (1:0) / *Palom (12:4240) / empty / *Porom (11:2907)
Inventory Goals
<empty> to 1L
Cecil
Run Buffer
Use Dancing
Palom
Equip Dancing
Use Dancing
Tellah
Equip Change
Inventory Management

If either Cecil or Palom are unable to kill their respective Guards, Tellah should cast Virus.

Karate

HP
4000
EXP
0
Party
*Tellah (20:60599) / Cecil (1:0) / *Palom (12:4240) / empty / *Porom (11:2907)
Cecil
Wait for "ACHOOOOO"
Fight

After the scenes, head to the Baron weapon and armor shops.

Shopping

  • Buy 10 Headband, 10 Karate
  • Buy Thunder (rod), IceClaw, Thunder (claw)

Enter the Old Water-way and continue until just before the Baigan battle on Castle Baron 1F.

Menu

  • Underflow Tellah's MP.
  • Fully cure Cecil and Tellah.
  • Equip Porom: */*/Gaea/*/* (only needed to remove Tiara)
  • Equip Cecil: */*/Headband/Karate/Paladin
  • Equip Yang: Thunder/IceClaw/Headband/Karate/Silver

Baigan

HP
Baigan: 3500 / RightArm: 350 / Left Arm: 350
EXP
4820
Party
*Tellah (20:60599) / Cecil (1:0) / *Palom (12:4240) / empty / *Porom (11:2907)
Survivors
Cecil and Tellah
Inventory Goals
Ether1 to 1L
Staff to bottom
Cloth to bottom
Cecil
Run Buffer
Cover Tellah
Yang
Fight Porom/Yang
Palom
Use Dancing on Yang/Porom/Palom
Tellah
Cast Meteo
Porom
Fight
Cecil
Use Dancing on Porom/Yang/Palom
Palom
Use Dancing on Yang/Palom
Cecil
Wait for Meteo
Equip Legend
Inventory Management

Menu

  • Fully cure Cecil, Tellah, and Yang.
  • Change rows.

Head to the throne room to fight Kainazzo.

Kainazzo

HP
4000
EXP
5500
Party
Tellah (20:63009) / *Cecil (10:2410) / Palom (12:4240) / *Yang (13:6087) / Porom (11:2907)
Survivors
Cecil, Tellah, and Yang
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight
Yang
Fight
Tellah
Cast Lit-3
Cecil
Wait for Lit-3
Inventory Management

Do not mash X during the scenes, unless you're looking to mercy kill your run. Afterward, fly to Toroia and enter the castle.

Visit Edward on the left side of the castle, use an Ether1 on Tellah and then cast Exit.

Head north to the Chocobo Village, catch a black chocobo, and fly to Cave Magnes.

Cave Magnes

Head through the cave until you reach the crystal room.

Menu

  • Equip Cid: */*/Headband/*/Iron
  • Change rows and swap Tellah and Cid (Form, Left, A, Down, Down, A)
  • Swap Cecil and Tellah (Form, Down, A, Down, A)
  • Move Yang down a slot (Form, Up, A, Up, Up, A)

Talk to the Dark Elf. After the scene, talk to him again.

Dark Elf

HP
22000 (2000) (pre-change) / 3000 (post-change)
EXP
6000
Party
*Cid (20:26754) / Tellah (21:64842) / *Cecil (12:4243) / empty / *Yang (14:7920)
Survivors
Cecil, Tellah, and Yang
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight
Yang
Fight
Cid
Fight
Tellah
Cast Virus on Cid
Cecil
Fight
Yang
Parry
Cecil
Fight
Tellah
Wait for "ME CHANGE!"
Equip Thunder (rod)
Cast Weak
Yang
Duplicate IceClaw slot
Fight

If three characters survived at Milon Z. and the opportunity for killing Tellah presents itself, take it.

After the battle, get the crystal, leave the room, and cast Exit.

Take the black chocobo back to the Chocobo Village, get a chocobo and return to Toroia.

Talk to the clerics, cast Exit, and board your airship.

Tower of Zot

After Golbez is done taunting you, go up a floor and head to the chest with Fire (sword).

Menu

  • Fully cure Cecil, Tellah, and Yang.

FlameDog

HP
1221
EXP
1720
Party
*Cid (20:26754) / Tellah (21:66842) / *Cecil (13:6243) / empty / *Yang (15:9920)
Survivors
Cecil, Tellah, and Yang
Cecil
Run Buffer
Cover Tellah
Yang
Parry
Tellah
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Wait for Ice-2
Single duplicate weapon slot
Inventory Management

Continue to the top of the tower.

Menu

  • Underflow Tellah's MP.
  • Fully cure Cecil and Tellah.
  • Equip Cecil: Fire/*/*/*/* (finishes duplication)
  • Equip Cecil: Dancing/*/*/*/*

Magus Sisters

HP
Sandy: 2500 / Cindy: 4300 / Mindy: 2200
EXP
9000
Party
*Cid (20:26754) / Tellah (21:67415) / *Cecil (14:6816) / empty / *Yang (15:10493)
Survivors
Cecil and Tellah
Inventory Goals
IceClaw to bottom
Cecil
Run Buffer
Cover Tellah
Yang
Fight Yang
Tellah
Cast Meteo
Cecil
Use Dancing on Yang/Use Cure2/Parry
Yang
Fight Yang
Cecil
Use Dancing on Yang/Wait for Meteo
Inventory management

Killing Yang is essential to ensuring a level 19 Kain with this experience path, but keeping Tellah alive is more important (for hopefully obvious reasons).

Enter the door, watch the scene, talk to Kain and then finally watch the next scene.

Menu

  • Equip Kain: */Fire/Headband/Karate/*
  • Equip Rosa: */*/Gaea/Gaea/Silver
  • Swap Kain and Cecil (Form, Down, A, Down, A)
  • Swap Cecil and Rosa (Form, Down, A, Down, Down, A)
  • Revive all dead party members.

Valvalis

HP
6000
EXP
9500
Party
*Cid (20:26754) / Rosa (18:17481) / *Kain (19:20172) / Cecil (16:11316) / *Yang (15:10493)
Inventory Goals
Wind to bottom
Silver to bottom
Gaea (armor) to bottom
Headband to bottom
Karate to bottom

Kain should be level 19 at this time. If he (for whatever reason) is only level 18, after the first two jumps, have him alternate between Fight and Jump.

The timing on this fight is very sensitive. Don't hold A to fight unless directed to do so.

Kain
Jump
Cecil
Use Cure2 on Cecil
Yang
Wait for Jump to land
Fight
Rosa
Cast Slow
Cid
Fight
Cecil
Use Dancing
Kain
Jump
Yang
Fight (hold A)
Rosa
Wait for Jump
Cast Slow
Cecil
Use Dancing
Cid
Fight
Kain
Jump
Yang
Run Buffer
Kick
Rosa
Wait for Valvalis to transform
Use Cure2 on Cecil/Parry

Valvalis transforms into tornado form.

Cecil
Use Dancing
Cid
Fight
Kain
Jump
Yang
Fight
Rosa
Parry
Cecil
Use Dancing
Cid
Fight
Kain
Jump/Fight
Yang
Fight
Rosa
Parry
Cecil
Use Dancing

If the damage rolls were decent, Kain can Fight on his last turn instead of Jumping. If Valvalis still doesn't die, just continue the normal pattern. She won't have much HP left at this point.

If Cid dies, leave him dead, as it will help Rosa's experience path. Everyone else (except perhaps Cecil) optimally needs to survive.

The Underground

After the scenes, leave the castle and take the airship to Agart.

Use Magma on the well. Afterward, fly to the underground.

Menu

  • Swap Cid and Rosa (Form, A, Down, A)
  • Swap Rosa and Cecil (Form, A, Up, Up, A)

Enter the castle and talk to the king.

Calbrena

HP
Cal: 1000 / Brena: 300
EXP
6000
Party
*Cecil (17:13216) / empty / *Kain (19:22072) / Rosa (18:19381) / *Yang (16:12393)
Kain
Run Buffer
Jump center Blue
Cecil
Use Dancing on center Orange
Yang
Kick
Rosa
Cast Slow on all enemies
Cecil
Use Dancing on top Orange
Rosa
Cast Mute on party
Kain
Jump top Blue
Yang
Kick
Cecil
Use Dancing on bottom Blue
Rosa
Use Cure2 on Cecil/Parry
Yang
Kick

If you have more than one blue and one orange doll remaining at this point, you need to do whatever it takes to eliminate the others. Only do the following once there are two dolls remaining.

Kain
Jump bottom Blue
Cecil
Use Dancing on bottom Orange

If you accidentally trigger the big doll, immediately change rows, have Kain Jump, and have Cecil keep himself healed with Cure2 potions. If you're lucky, you won't trigger the damage range that results in the dolls splitting again.

Golbez

HP
22001 (3000)
EXP
20000
Party
*Cecil (17:14716) / Rydia (17:18391) / *Kain (19:23572) / Rosa (18:20881) / *Yang (17:13893)
Survivors
Cecil, Kain, and Rydia
Inventory Goals
<empty> to 1L
Legend to 1R
Kain
Run Buffer
Jump
Cecil
Equip Fire (sword)
Inventory Management
Wait for "And you, Cecil!"
Fight
Kain
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Rydia
Cast Fire2

After the scenes, open the menu and cast Warp.

Get the crystal, and then walk down out of the crystal room. Leave the throne room, and go east to the shop area.

Head into the east tower and pick up Dwarf (axe) on the first floor and Strength (ring) on the top floor.

Return to the shop area and go to the armor shop.

Shopping

  • Buy 10 Rune

Menu

  • Equip Cecil: Dwarf/*/*/*/*
  • Equip Kain: */*/*/*/Strength
  • Equip Rydia: Change/*/Tiara/Prisoner/Rune
  • Equip Rosa: */*/*/*/Rune
  • Swap Cecil and Rosa (Form, A, Up, Up, A)

Travel through the passage underneath the Castle to the Dwarf Base. Heal at the pot, exit to the Underworld, and then make your way to the Tower of Bab-il.

Tower of Bab-il

Enter the Tower of Bab-il and make your way to the CatClaw on 3F. Collect the chest and continue walking until just before Dr.Lugae.

Menu

  • Equip Yang: */CatClaw/*/*/* (finishes duplication)
  • Fully heal the party.

Approach Dr.Lugae to begin the scene.

Dr.Lugae x1, Balnab x1

HP
Dr.Lugae: 4416 / Balnab: 4000
EXP
0
Party
*Rosa (18:20881) / Rydia (18:25057) / *Kain (21:30238) / Cecil (19:21382) / *Yang (17:13893)
Inventory Goals
Silver to bottom
Whip to bottom
Fire to bottom
Prisoner to bottom
Kain
Jump Dr.Lugae
Yang
Fight
Rydia
Cast Titan
Cecil
Fight Dr.Lugae
Rosa
Cast Mute on Dr.Lugae
Yang
Inventory Management
Fight
Cecil
Fight Dr.Lugae
Kain
Fight
Yang
Fight

After Cecil targets Dr.Lugae the second time, you can basically hold A until the fight is over. Yang may not be sufficient, in which case Rosa or Rydia will most likely finish the job.

In case you were wondering, the Mute cast is for timing purposes only.

Dr.Lugae

HP
6600
EXP
15000
Party
*Rosa (18:20881) / Rydia (18:25057) / *Kain (21:30238) / Cecil (19:21382) / *Yang (17:13893)
Kain
Wait for "Now... the real fight!"
Jump
Yang
Fight
Rydia
Cast Titan
Cecil
Fight (hold A)
Rosa
Parry
Yang
Fight
Cecil
Wait for Laser
Use Life/Parry
Kain
Fight
Rosa
Parry
Yang
Wait for Heal
Fight

Menu

  • Equip Yang: CatClaw/*/*/*/*
  • Heal the party as needed (poison, most likely).
  • Swap Rosa and Cecil (Form, A, Up, Up, A)

If Cecil gained a level during the Dr.Lugae battles (he does if you're following the experience route), it becomes absolutely imperative to equip the second CatClaw on Yang. Otherwise, you're going to have a bad time with random battles.

After the battle, head to the Super Cannon. Enter the room and prepare to battle.

Dark Imp x3

HP
199
EXP
5820
Party
*Cecil (20:24382) / Rydia (19:28057) / *Kain (21:33238) / Rosa (19:23881) / *Yang (17:16893)
Yang
Fight (hold A)
Kain
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Rydia
Inventory Management
Cast Ice-1

Watch the scenes, wipe your tears away, and make your way out of the Tower of Bab-il.

Tower of Bab-il, Part Deux

After the scene, fly to Baron and land next to the castle. Wait a fraction of a second, and then enter the castle. (If you don't wait, you will instead walk onto the castle tile without entering. Don't ask me why, as I have no idea. Sometimes this game is dumb.

Head to the right side of the castle and get Cid's lackeys to install the hook on your airship.

Fly north to Mt.Hobs, pick up the hovercraft, fly northwest to Eblan, and finally take the hovercraft west to the cave.

Make your way through the first room of the cave until you enter the "town". Enter the weapon and armor shop.

Shopping

  • Buy Ice (shield)
  • Buy IceBrand, Blizzard

Continue through the cave until you meet up with Edge.

Menu

  • Equip Edge: CatClaw/CatClaw/*/*/*

Head through the Tower of Bab-il until you reach Edge's parents.

Menu

  • Equip Cecil: IceBrand/Ice/*/*/*

This menu is primarily to remove Dwarf (axe). Future step routes may direct you to remove the axe during the Edge menu, instead. Removing it at some point is important, however, as leaving Dwarf on for the next fight will result in you losing upwards of 10 seconds.

K.Eblan x1, Q.Eblan x1

HP
K.Eblan: 60000 / Q.Eblan: 60000
EXP
0
Party
*Cecil (20:25546) / Rydia (19:29221) / *Kain (21:34402) / Rosa (19:25045) / *Edge (25:64777)
Inventory Goals
CatClaw to bottom
Fire to bottom
Short to bottom
Paladin to bottom
Edge
Parry
Kain
Equip Blizzard
Inventory Management

After this, your only task is to wait the battle out. You can use the animation and text box time for inventory management, but you will lose time by doing so. If necessary, you can also have Edge Dart any extra blades you have lying around, but that obviously wastes even more time.

Rubicant

HP
25200
EXP
25000
Party
*Cecil (20:25546) / Rydia (19:29221) / *Kain (21:34402) / Rosa (19:25045) / *Edge (25:64777)
Edge
Cast Flood
Kain
Run Buffer
Jump
Cecil
Run Buffer
Fight
Rydia
Cast Ice-2
Rosa
Parry
Edge
Cast Flood

At this point, Rubicant will cast Glare, most likely leaving one of your characters dead:

Cecil
Cover Rydia
Kain
Jump
Rosa
Use Cure2 on Cecil
Edge
Wait for Jump
Cast Flood
Rydia
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Fight
Rosa
Parry
Kain
Fight
Kain
Jump
Rosa
Use Life on Cecil
Edge
Wait for Jump
Cast Flood
Rydia
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Wait for Ice-2
Fight
Rosa
Use Life on Rydia/Parry
Kain
Fight
Cecil
Fight
Kain
Jump
Rosa
Use Life on Rydia
Edge
Wait for Jump
Cast Flood
Cecil
Fight
Rydia
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Cover Rydia
Rosa
Use Life on Kain
Rydia
Cast Shiva
Edge
Cast Flood
Kain
Jump
Rosa
Parry
Cecil
Fight
Cecil
Cover Rydia
Kain
Jump
Edge
Wait for Jump
Cast Flood
Rydia
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Use Life on Rosa
Kain
Fight
Cecil
Cover Rydia
Kain
Jump
Rosa
Use Life on Edge
Rydia
Wait for Jump
Cast Ice-2
Cecil
Wait for Ice-2
Fight
Edge
Cast Flood
Kain
Jump

If you have followed the experience path exactly, Rosa needs to survive this battle to reach level 20.

Menu

  • Equip Cecil: Dwarf/*/*/*/*

Your best bet is to figure out a way to put this on toward the end of the Rubicant battle, but failing that, it does help with a few potential back attacks on the walk out. Future step routes may take this into account and suggest accordingly. In either case, you will want it on by the time you reach the Land of Summoned Monsters.

After the scenes, enter the crystal room and then proceed through the last few rooms of the tower.

Airships and Tails and Swords, Oh My!

Fly to the Castle of Dwarves and land to the left of the castle.

Enter the castle and visit Cid in the infirmary.

Menu

  • Unequip Kain: Strength (ring)
  • Cast Exit.

Board your airship and fly to the Land of Monsters. Enter the cave and proceed to the town.

Once in the town, collect Rat (tail) and cast Exit. Afterward, fly to the sealed cave.

Enter the cave and watch the scene.

Fly back to the Castle of Dwarves and go to the throne room.

After the scene, cast Exit and fly to the overworld.

Switch airships, pick up the hovercraft and fly to the Grotto Adamant next to Silvera.

Exchange Rat (tail) for Adamant.

Fly to Mysidia, land directly to the left of the town and watch the scene.

Board your airship, fly to Kokkol and get Excalbur.

Return to the surface, switch to the Big Whale and fly to the moon.

Note

Depending on your step route, you may need to visit the Hummingway Cave either before or after you recruit FuSoYa. Your step route takes precedence over this guide, which will assume you visit the Hummingway Cave first. There is some research into an alternate Excalbur route which does not purchase Elixir at all.

Travel to the Hummingway Cave and head inside.

Shopping

  • Buy 50 Elixir

Exit the cave, board your airship, fly to the Lunar Path, and then follow the path to the Lunar's Lair.

After entering and recruiting FuSoYa, make the trek back to your airship and return to Earth.

Giant of Bab-il

After watching the scenes, make your way through the Giant of Bab-il until you reach the Passage. You generally want to wait until immediately before the grind fight before you do this menu. If you're on a step route, this is easy. If not, you may want to menu immediately just in case you run into the grind fight on the way. However, back attacks from certain enemies will be more annoying in that case.

Menu

  • Underflow FuSoYa's MP
  • Fully heal the party
  • Equip Cecil: Dancing/*/*/*/* (to remove Dwarf)
  • Equip Rydia: Dancing/*/*/*/*
  • Equip FuSoYa: Change/*/Gaea/*/Rune
  • Equip Rosa: Lunar/*/Wizard/*/*
  • Swap Cecil and Rosa (Form, A, Up, Up, A)
  • Swap Rosa and Edge (Form, A, Up, A)
  • Swap Rydia and Rosa (Form, Down, A, Up, Up, A)

Next, move along until you find the grind fight. Use either a step route or this manipulation (image version) to find it.

Searcher (summons D.Machin) x1, Beamer x2

HP
Searcher: 5500 / D.Machin: 15000 / Beamer: 1800
EXP
647200
Party
*Edge (25:69777) / Rosa (20:30045) / *FuSoYa (50:1007865) / Cecil (21:30546) / *Rydia (20:34221)

This fight is somewhat complicated, so instead of a detailed command sequence, we'll instead look at the three phases of the fight.

Setup
Normal
FuSoYa casts Quake, Rydia waits for Quake and then parries, and everyone else parries until it's FuSoYa's turn.
Strike First
FuSoYa casts Lit-3 on a Beamer while Edge parries immediately. Wait on Rydia's turn until Lit-3 is cast, then parry back to FuSoYa.
Back Attack/Surprise
Edge casts Flood. FuSoYa waits for Flood, then casts Quake. Rydia waits for Quake, then parries. Parry back to FuSoYa.
Midfight

The following will need to repeat for five cycles (note that Edge does not get a turn for the first cycle):

Edge
Fight
FuSoYa
Cast Weak on D.Machin
Rydia
Fight (hold A)
Rosa
Use Life on D.Machin
Cecil
Use Life on D.Machin

This fight has very difficult timing, and things may go wrong. The most obvious failure is Rydia going before FuSoYa casts Weak. You can prevent this by delaying Rydia's Fight if the Searcher's text box pops up during her turn, but the exact timing of this is difficult to describe in text. Rivers McCown suggests no longer holding A on Rydia's turn after the second cycle. If Rydia does end up going before Weak, the character after FuSoYa should hold A the rest of the fight.

A detailed strategy for recovery if things go wrong is beyond the scope of this guide.

Ultimately, you need to kill 15 dragons. Each Life use counts as an additional dragon kill.

Victory

After you have killed the requisite number of dragons, complete the following tasks:

  • Cecil should duplicate his weapon slot
  • Cast Weak on Searcher
  • Kill everyone but Edge (using Dancing or if everyone is alive and Edge is fully healed, FuSoYa can cast Virus)
  • Edge uses Dart or Fight to end the battle

Menu

  • Equip Cecil: Excalbur/*/*/*/* (finishes duplication)
  • Ensure Excalbur and Elixir are at the top of the inventory.

Continue on to the Elements battle.

Elements

HP
65000
EXP
40000
Party
*Edge (48:716977) / Rosa (20:30045) / *FuSoYa (50:1007865) / Cecil (21:30546) / *Rydia (20:34221)
Edge
Dart Excalbur
FuSoYa
Cast Fire3
Rydia
Use Dancing on Rydia
Rosa
Use Elixir/Parry
Cecil
Cover Rosa
Edge
Dart Excalbur
FuSoYa
Cast Wall on FuSoYa
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Rosa
Use Elixir
Cecil
Use Elixir
FuSoYa
Cast Ice-3 on FuSoYa
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Cecil
Use Elixir
Edge
Wait for Ice-3
Dart Excalbur

Menu

  • Use Life and Elixir on Edge, FuSoYa, and Cecil (as appropriate)
  • Swap FuSoYa and Cecil (Form, Up, Up, A, Up, A)

If Rosa is not yet level 20, one alternative is to revive her for this next battle. The biggest risk is that she will gain too many levels and throw off the Zeromus fight. It may, however, still be the best option.

Your other option is to look ahead and choose an easy fight to win. A single Warlock appears to be the best option, as a single Excalbur Dart will (presumably) kill it. Eventually, I may list all suitable fights.

CPU

HP
CPU: 20000 / Attacker: 2000 / Defender: 2000
EXP
150000
Party
*Edge (48:699935) / Rosa (20:30045) / *Cecil (23:43879) / FuSoYa (50:1021198) / *Rydia (20:34221)
Edge
Dart Excalbur at CPU
Cecil
Fight CPU
FuSoYa
Cast Quake
Cecil
Fight CPU
Edge
Dart Excalbur at CPU

Final Descent

After the scenes, board the Big Whale. If you are using a step route, it may request you equip the Dwarf axe here. If you aren't using a step route, you may as well equip the Dwarf (axe) as it helps with some random encounters. Make your way back to Lunar's Lair.

Enter the crystal room, and begin your descent into the Lunar Core. Along the way, you want to collect the chest with Protect (ring) in one of the rooms on B5. It's hard to miss, as you literally walk right by it (one tile below).

Menu

  • Unequip Edge: */*/Bandanna/Bl.Belt/*
  • Equip Cecil: */*/Bandanna/Bl.Belt/Strength
  • Equip Kain: */*/Headband/Karate/*
  • Equip Edge: */*/Samurai/Samurai/Protect
  • Swap Edge and Rosa (Form, A, Down, A)
  • Swap Kain and Rydia (Form, Up, A, Up, A)

Your step route may request you delay this menu until immediately before Zeromus. This is probably the best thing to do if you aren't step routing, as well.

Remember to remove the Dwarf (axe) (if equipped) and equip Excalbur again.

Continue the descent until you reach the final battle. You need to approach the Red D. battles differently depending on your current equipment and formation.

Zeromus

HP
110000-120000 (depending on damage rolls)
EXP
0
Party
*Rosa (20:30045) / Edge (49:780310) / *Cecil (28:93879) / Rydia (20:34221) / *Kain (49:749935)

All of Kain's turns in which he fights should be done by holding A.

The below strategy is very timing-sensitive. I recommend that you practice it several times. Be prepared to use a backup strategy (keep Kain and Edge healthy, Edge Darts Excalbur) if you notice Zeromus's actions no longer match the below list.

Cecil
Use Crystal on Zeromus
Rosa
Cast Bersk on Cecil

Zeromus transforms.

Kain
Fight
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Rydia
Use Dancing

Zeromus shakes.

Kain
Fight
Rosa
Wait for Nuke
Use Elixir on Nuke Target

Zeromus casts Nuke.

At this point, the fight branches, depending on who was the target of Nuke.

The timing for this strategy is even more tight than the regular strategy. If it starts to go wrong, don't hesitate to be safe.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Edge

Zeromus casts Big Bang.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Kain

Zeromus shakes.

Edge
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus casts Big Bang.

Kain
Use Elixir on Edge

Zeromus casts Black Hole.

Edge
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus shakes.

Kain
Use Elixir on Kain
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Fight

Zeromus shakes.

Edge
Run Buffer
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus casts Big Bang.

Kain
Use Elixir on Edge
Edge
(Run Buffer) (may not be necessary)
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus casts Black Hole.

Kain
Use Elixir on Kain
Edge
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus casts Nuke.

Kain
Use Elixir on Nuke target
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Fight
Edge
Run Buffer
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus shakes.

Kain
Fight

Zeromus casts Meteo.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Edge

Zeromus casts Meteo.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Fight

Zeromus casts Big Bang.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Edge
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Kain

Zeromus shakes.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Fight
Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Fight

Zeromus shakes.

Edge
Dart Excalbur
Kain
Use Elixir on Edge

Zeromus casts Big Bang.

Edge
Dart Excalbur

Zeromus casts Black Hole.

Kain
Use Elixir on Edge

Zeromus casts Nuke.

Edge
Dart Excalbur

If Edge was the Nuke target, Kain will heal Edge to full. At this point, focus on Kain healing Edge and Edge continuing to Dart Excalbur. Zeromus should fall within two more hits.

If Kain was the Nuke target, Edge will be healthy anyway. If Edge is able to queue another Dart before the first Meteo hits, simply keep Darting. If, on the other hand, Zeromus manages to land a Meteo before you queue another Dart, you will probably want to have Edge use an Elixir on himself, as Zeromus may land up to two more Meteos before you kill him.