Hi-ho, Hi-ho…

Why do they have a Rogue? There aren't any doors to unlock...

Why do they have a Rogue? There aren't any doors to unlock...


I mean, the Fairy kind of makes sense, as there are a number of damaging-floor areas, and the Dwarf makes sense as this is the only area I’ve seen which uses the special ability to break rocks, much like the Hunter and tracking in the Wood of Ruins. The Warrior works everywhere as almost everything can be melee’d to death, but the Rogue? There are no pickable locks!

Guaranteed weapon?

Guaranteed weapon?


I’m not sure how I managed to miss this every single time I visited the area previously, as it’s mentioned on the map and all, but the chest here is a guaranteed weapon; later on, there’s a chest with a guaranteed piece of armour for whoever opens it, too. They’re both similar to those two chests in the Volcano, but they contain pathetic stuff.

The area's puzzle for the bonus multiplayer treasure

The area's puzzle for the bonus multiplayer treasure


The multiplayer puzzle for this area is interesting; it’s the only one I found that actually depends on some semblance of skill. If you take the glinting item at the end of the pier, it collapses, leaving whoever took it floating across the lake towards a waterfall. The other player has to hop across the rocks in the water so the first player doesn’t get pulled off the raft with the camera, and make it to a switch that lowers a bridge in time for the first player – with the key – to jump to that. Falling in the water loses the key.
I’m not sure what’s in the chest. Unlike the one in the Old Palace, there’s no chance of a single player somehow managing to complete this, as there’s nowhere safe to leap without the bridge, and you can’t reach the rocky outcroppings if you’re on the raft.

This makes less sense than the rest of the floor.

This makes less sense than the rest of the floor.


You’ve heard me rant about this floor before; the one with the bottomless pits. This thing, whilst a nice-looking method of transportation over an inexplicably-deep small body of water, makes no sense as something that would be built in a mine. Where the threat of demons or cave-ins is great enough that they don’t need the risk of drowning on top of it.

Looks like its not just available from the Volcano, after all...

Looks like its not just available from the Volcano, after all...

Incidentally: hey, looks like I hadn’t necessarily visited the Volcano before, anyway.
Not that I got anything from finding it there.

So the baby dragon is still a baby...

So the baby dragon is still a baby...


Odd death animation, though. I can’t remember if any other bosses do the same. I know the Troll erupts in a fountain of blood, and that no other boss does that, to my recollection.
Hum. I wonder if all bosses have unique death animations? I suppose I’ll have to go check, now.

Loot

Water Necklace
Water Necklace [Accessory]
[Int.14, Water.24]
[All]
Wearer is protected by the powers of water.

Minotaur Horn
Minotaur Horn [Accessory]
[Str.32]
[All]
Said to give the bearer great strength.

Resist Cloak
Resist Cloak [Accessory]
[Def.12, MDf.24]
[All]
Cloak that protects against magical attacks.

Pandora's Box
Pandora’s Box [Object]
Brings both hope and despair.
(? ? ?)

Misty Pendant
Misty Pendant [Accessory]
[All]
Mysterious locket with misty swirling surface.

Who knows what the Misty Pendant does; no stats, no defense, no elemental affinity… its description fits, at least. It’s probably one of the ‘protects against [status]’ accessories that never mention what they do. Likewise Pandora’s Box; the description is not illuminating and I don’t really want to open it.
The other items I picked up today were, happily, much more obvious in their usage. Mostly. The Water Necklace naturally boosts your defence against water-element attacks, but also has an unmarked boost to Intelligence, making it a fair pick for magic-users when not going to the Volcano, though you should have better things by this point. The Minotaur Horn provides a hefty boost to Strength, and would be great for anyone planning on melee, whilst the Resist Cloak gives a small boost to Defence, and a larger boost to Magic Defence.

Item of the Day

Earth Tiara
Earth Tiara [Accessory]
[All]
One of a pair of tiaras created long ago.

I said I’d get it.
And it only took… how many reloads? Ten? Twenty? At least four passed-up Robes of the Elder, at any rate. I’m very lucky there’s that savepoint sitting nearby. Almost as if they expected people would want at least one item from that chest.
The Earth Tiara is, like the Misty Pendant and the Pandora’s Box, another of those ‘what on earth does this do?’ items. It has no stats, not even any points towards defence. I stumbled over the use of the thing by accident; it, and presumably the other tiara, the one I never found, provide defence against certain elements. Rather than do this conventionally, through elemental affinities, it just… nullifies a sizeable portion of the damage from certain elements. Get both Tiaras and wear them, and… I don’t know. Might make you invincible to any form of elemental damage. Might clash and do nothing. Who knows.
I consider this one to be the more useful of the pair, as it works on a certain optional boss and it’s the only one I ever tracked down, anyway.

The Troll (Beaten)

Well, that was surprising. When you do 200 damage a hit, the Troll goes down surprisingly quickly.
I don’t have much else to add, though. I’ve already run through the Abandoned Mine before, and there’s nothing different this time, aside from being about 25 levels higher and finally beating the Troll.
Oh, yeah. Once you beat the Troll, the standard exit-portal appears in the middle of the room, in the convenient portal-sized non-dip.

Loot

Silent Box [Object]
Odd music box.
(Casts Silence 10% dest.)

Magical Stone [Object]
Soothes the spirit.
(MP to max. 25% Dest.)

Blessed Ring [Accessory]
[At.8, Df.8, Mat.8, Mdf.8, Holy.4]
[All]
Blessed and engraved with holy symbols.

Queen’s Circlet [Accessory]
[Int.8, Df.4, Mdf.4]
[All]
Beautiful circlet from ancient times.

Magical Stone and Silent Box are destructable items, and very good ones at that. Silence – a Fairy spell – shuts down enemy casters. In places like the Old Palace, where casters are quite numerous, this can be lifesaving. Like Sheep Lute, there’s only a 10% chance this item will be destroyed with each use, so barring bad luck it’ll last a while.
Magical Stone, on the other hand, is half a portable, reusable Elixir. Though MP restores itself so long as you’re not casting, it can be very frustrating and perilous running out of MP in the middle of a boss battle. Magical Stone refills your MP entirely, but destroys itself 25% of the time, so you’re not likely to hold on to this one as long as the Silent Box.

I’m seeing a theme in that last chest before the Troll… Queen’s Circlet is an okay accessory, but there are better things out there… unless it also does something unrelated to stats.
Better things, like the Blessed Ring, perhaps. 8 points to all defence and attack stats, and a slight increase in your Holy attribute, make this a decent accessory for general use, if you know you’re not going to head to a place where being Holy is a weakness.

Item of the Day

Elixir [Object]
Legendary medicine.
(Completely restores MP and HP)

Well, Elixir is certainly well-known, since Final Fantasy use it for the exact same purpose. Sometimes they even wake (or kill) the dead, to boot. You all know this one.
One of these days, I’m going to make a game and put Elixir as the status cure-all, rather than the cure-absolutely-everything-including-wounds. Or have it just restore a middling amount of MP. Other games have done it.

I suspect the Elixir is the reason the ‘Elexier’ in the Palace of the Immortals is how it is. But it’s just as confusing; I never found an Elixir the first time I played through this game, so I always assumed ‘Elexier’ was a typo.

Spell of the Day

Thunderbolt
MP: 45
Command: ∆ O ∆ ∆ O (∆O)
Blasts of lightning attack the foes.

Another of the fifth-level 45MP elemental attack spells, Thunderbolt is the upgraded form of Lightningbolt. As such, it deals much more damage than Lightningbolt, and produces three bolts instead of just the one – two at 40~ degrees, and one straight ahead.
Roughly. Again, Thunderbolt is a spell that’s difficult to predict precisely, though you know generally where the bolts will go. Compared to Lightningbolt, the damage it deals is vaguely sickening; I only cast it four or five times against Troll before it died, and its minions fell apart on the second cast.
As with Explosion, this spell should be cast from the commands, rather than assigned to the casting button; it’s a little more awkward to cast that way than Explosion, but the game sometimes reads the command for Lightningbolt if I mess up Thunderbolt, so… it’s not always a total loss, hm?

Aftermath

Ergh…
So, as my current tactics for the Troll boil down to exploiting its tendency to keep walking into the edge of the platform rather than rounding the corner every single time, I’m thinking I’ll come back later. Ten or twenty more levels and I’ll probably stand a chance of success.
Good thing I brought a Rope of Return this time.

Loot

Silver Medal [Accessory]
Increases the wearer’s defense during attacks.
[Prevents extra damage when being attacked whilst attacking, or casting?]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Crystal Earrings [Accessory]
Said to strengthen mind and spirit.
[Wil.20]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Princess Locket [Accessory]
Beautiful locket of an ancient princess.
[Immune to Sleep]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

The medals – Bronze, Silver and Gold – are an odd set of accessories. They don’t increase your stats, they don’t provide immunity to anything, and they all have the same description. ‘Increases the wearer’s defense during attacks.‘ Occasionally, I think I’m taking more damage when casting or attacking; maybe critical hits, maybe not. It IS a shock seeing myself take 87 points of wind damage in a single hit from Griffon, anyway. These medals might do something about it.
You’re guaranteed a Medal of some description pretty early on in the Abandoned Mine, and you’re not likely to have two other Accessories by that point, so it’s worth wearing whatever you get and seeing if it makes a difference.

Twenty points of Willpower isn’t something to sneer at, if you’re having trouble and taking a lot of damage from spells. Probably slightly more useful to a non-spellcasting class, but I’m not sure whether Willpower increases more for a Sorcerer, Priest or Fairy anyway. Generally useful, but it doesn’t boost any attacks.

Princess Locket was the item from just outside the Troll’s room. According to the previously-mentioned Item List by holypriest, Princess Locket bestows immunity to sleep. In the first half of the game, or for any character with low resistance to magic, Sleep is a very nasty spell; the enemy variant both deals damage – the Fairy version doesn’t do that, but I remember the enemies in Old Palace dealing damage with it, for some reason – and has a high chance of sending you to sleep. If you’re somehow standing where enemies can’t hit you, it takes a long time for the status to wear off, and if they can hit you, you’ll probably take extra damage from the attack.

Also, another Feather Pen. I don’t think the effect of the Feather Pen is that noticeable. They may have helped a little, but as MP regenerates in large chunks rather than in one or two points every second like HP does, it’s still a long wait between spells. I should have brought the Perfume instead.
Might have been another translation error, and the Feather Pen instead helps magically recover HP. Or maybe it does something else entirely. I don’t know.

Item of the Day

Life Potion [Object]
Potion of the essence of life.
(Restores HP)

Pretty simple, huh? Life Potions usually restore somewhere between 200 and 300 HP each use. Whilst a Healing Pin (10~ to 20~ HP/use, 25% chance of breaking) can match the output of a Healing Potion (50~ to 70~ HP/use) with a little luck, it takes time to use a Healing Pin that much.
Being able to match a Life Potion with Healing Pins means you’re probably not in combat, and you’re far too lucky for your own good, wasting it on something like that. As with any healing item, Life Potions can be life-saving. The only problem is getting ahold of them in the first place.

Spell of the Day

Magic Ray (Sorcerer/Elf)
MP: 24 + 6/sec
Command: ∆ O X X O ∆ O
Cutting beams of light form arrows to shoot enemy.
(Just like casting Magic Missile times Fire Bullet. The cost works out like that, too.)

For as long as it is maintained, Magic Ray creates a light-coloured orb above your head that fires small Magic Missile-like projectiles at all enemies within at least medium range.
Magic Ray is the first listed fourth-level Sorcerer spell. Like Poison Cloud, this is a spell that needs to be maintained; the casting button has to be held down. Actually, casting this by spellcode is fairly tricky, as though you hold Select to tap in the code, and release that to start the spell itself, X needs to be held down before the effect starts to appear. Failing that nets you a single double-strength Magic Missile.
You really need to start using the codes for fourth-level spells and upwards, at least as a Sorcerer; casting by single-button takes four seconds to even begin, which seems an eternity in the middle of a fight. This spell is also fairly situational; you get the best value for your MP if you cast it in the middle of a mob, exactly the wrong situation to be spending four seconds not dealing damage in. All of the fourth-level spells take eight or more keypresses to complete, and two of the spells require keys pressed  simultaneously; they’re that much more powerful than lesser spells.

The Abandoned Mine (2) – The Ruins Within the Earth

So, what ARE these things supposed to be?


I think that might be a beard…

Heavily-armoured antisocial sword-waving dwarves?

At any rate, back on Underlevel 5…

I never get tired of killing that thing.

So, foolery aside, this is the gate to the further underlevels of the Abandoned Mine. Though the real ‘part two’ of the Abandoned Mine doesn’t really begin until you go down to the next level, as soon as you pass through the gate, you’ll be facing stronger enemies than demonic centipedes, or whatever it is about to jump me in that picture.

Underlevel 6 is more or less a repeat of the action back on Underlevel 4; travelling between disconnected floating rocky paths via magic hovering platforms. There are at least three chests distributed around the area, too, including another chance at a Luck Talisman.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of random monsters here; most of the enemies I encountered were guaranteed, already-there ‘spawns’, so they’re going to be there, whether you like it or not. The upshot is that it’s safe for you to wait between fights, if you’re having problems.

So, whilst the 6th underlevel has water and floating rock paths, and crabs, the 7th has a raised path of ice above a floating path of rock.
And bears. Falling off the ice path – which isn’t slippery, happily – can be troublesome here, as sometimes instead of falling into the abyss, dropping off the ice path will instead deposit you on the lower, rock path, necessitating a walk back to the beginning of the icy route. Icy boulders block portions of the lower route, so you have to switch between the icy and rocky paths to get through. Also, the random spawn is back, so you have to contend with more monsters if you hang around too long.
Pushing a couple of iceblocks around will let you at a chest, if you have the patience for it, but as you also need to do that to access the way to the next area, it’s difficult to miss unless you don’t check past the exit.

I like the second part of the Abandoned Mine, but I really can’t tell what the miners managed to dig into, here. The water is a stretch to accept in the first place, but the ice goes a bit beyond that. The swinging baskets don’t make that much sense, either, though they are a reasonably safe spot to rest on.

If there’s any (non-boss) enemy I hate here, it’s the red ogres; they’re almost entirely immune to Fire, and take low damage from anything else besides. They can deal a lot of (Evil) damage with each attack, and can soak a lot of damage before they go down. Facing these are usually more trouble than they’re worth, and they have a habit of spawning at dead ends from the 8th underlevel onwards.
The other enemies in the area aren’t as bad; blue slimes can do an appreciable amount of damage if four are trying to digest you at the same time, and green wisps can only a little less health than the red ogres, but the bears can’t knock you onto a lower ledge you’ll have to backtrack from, so they’re now just a negligible threat.

Underlevel 9’s path is mostly linear; you do have to switch between different levels of platform, via the somewhat-fun giant springs, but the path you should take to proceed is pretty obvious. All the branches are either very short dead-ends, or lead to treasure and are dead-ends.
You also need to dodge falling icicles at times. They’re smaller than the boulders way back at underlevel 1, so they’re much easier to avoid even if the game doesn’t make it clear where they’re actually falling.

There’s a portal on underlevel 9 that takes you down to the boss zone, ‘The Ruins Within the Earth’. It’s a fair walk to the arena for the boss fight, from where the portal places you, and enemies will spawn on the way there; common spawns include red ogres, green wisps, and the new… green ogres, which have larger axes and a weakness to wind element stuff, but more HP than the red ogres.
Nicely, there’s a chest on the way to the boss. Don’t miss it, as it’s a long walk back. Also, if you turn left, rather than right, on entering the central area, you’ll find a savepoint. I recommend using it.

Fun fact:
This was the boss that lead me to discover the, uh, ‘trick’ under my name (Rebecca) in holypriest’s brilliant Item List at GameFAQs.
You know, the one that blatantly abuses Blaze & Blade’s tendency to let spells, other projectiles, statuses and, most importantly, NATURAL HEALING, continue when a controller removed – or set to Dual Shock mode, too modern for Blaze & Blade to detect – whilst everything else freezes in place.

Yeah, The Troll was one of the worst bosses I fought as an Elf. I got very lucky with a later boss that should have been much worse, somehow managing to pick up the one accessory that nullified most of its attacks.
Enough about that one. For now.

The Troll begins with two green ogres as minions. It has a fairly small arena, fitting in a single screen when the camera is fully zoomed out, and is surrounded by deep water. This is a very hectic fight, as you need to keep an eye on (…and kill) the two green ogre minions, but you really don’t want to get hit by some of the Troll’s attacks, either.

Attacks:

1. Normal attacks from the Troll can deal a lot of damage; he can deal up to 60 points a hit.

2. The Troll can leap forward to attack you, which can stun you for a moderate length of time; usually enough for it or something else to hurt you again. This attack will also knock you back a short distance, and deal a small amount of damage, but both of those are negligible compared to the chance of being stunned.
You can see this one coming, but it’s difficult to get out of range since the Troll moves pretty quickly during it, like most ‘charge’ attacks. Don’t get stunned.

3. The Troll can uppercut you, too; this attack will deal low damage, and throw you back, but I don’t know whether it has the same chance of stunning you as the charge does, as well.

4. The Troll has the usual boss Def./Att. debuff skills, with approximately the same range as the Baby Dragon. These are impossible for me to tell apart, and the effect might just be random anyway, but… getting your defence lowered is very bad, naturally, as it tends to result in hits of 70+ damage.

Many deaths, maaany deaths.
Many-many-one deaths, to be precise. I suspect Troll may be easier for a melee class with better armour, but for a caster it’s pretty bad, and any character should probably bring along a few healing items, just to see you through the minions.
Due to the small size of the arena, and the sheer aggressiveness of the Troll, 90% of the time it’s just not possible to stay out of range and cast from a distance. Any spell that requires you to stay still – anything that takes maintenance, but also anything with a long casting time – is a bad idea. Lightningbolt or anything with wind-element on it would be a good idea, as the green ogres are weak to it, and the Troll isn’t resistant. Spark Bullet isn’t a good idea because even at that short a time spent casting, the Troll is likely to catch up with you, and 15 or so damage isn’t worth it compared to 50 on the Troll and 70 on his minions.
Surprisingly, if you can get the Troll to back off for ten seconds, Magic Ray is good for wiping out the green ogres. With the minions gone, if you need HP or MP, you can run in circles directly away from the Troll; that seems to be just about fast enough to avoid everything the troll does. It’s also usually better to drop off the platform rather than get hit by any of his attacks, as both will give you short-lived invincibility, but falling causes less damage. Just be careful, as it is possible to get stunned whilst jumping off, and stunning persists once you arrive back on the platform.
It’s a little cheap, but once the minions are down, probably the best thing to do as a caster is hang around on the bridge from the entrance and keep the big dumb Troll walking against the edge of the main platform, to the side, and to jump off and away if he works out how to approach you, hopefully geting him caught against the edge of the bridge instead. He tends to beeline straight for your character, so it can give you a much-needed chance to rest.

AUGH. Nine deaths and I still can’t beat it. I’m taking a break for the day.

Item of the Day

Healing Robe
[Df.36, Holy.20]
[Pri,Sor,Fai]
A life-saving robe which heals its wearer.

The description really isn’t kidding; this robe does heal its wearer, and as a result it is life-saving. More times than I can count, it has kept me going in boss fights with only a pair of Healing Pins to go on.
Up to the Troll, anyway. Wearing the Healing Robe restores 1 point of HP each second, approximately, regardless of what you’re doing at the time. Provided you can stay outside your enemy’s reach for long enough, you can survive anything (that doesn’t kill you outright).
Incidentally, Materials do affect armour; the Healing Robe only naturally has 20 points of Holy element to it, yet mine has 3 points of Light and 2 of Earth to it… matching the effect of Materials on my weapon. As soon as I get enough Fate Coins, I’m buying Material Magic for this thing.

Spell of the Day

Blizzard
MP: 16
Command: X ∆ X X
Innumerable ice crystals hail down upon the foes.

A medium range water-element spell that affects a very wide area, but moves slowly, and takes slightly longer to cast than other spells of the same level. Technically piercing. Notable enemies possessing this spell include Dark Elf on your first encounter in Old Palace, and Kraken at the Ruins in the Lake; Kraken’s variant is larger than the one you and the Dark Elf can cast, so watch out for it.
Blizzard is another of the three third-level 16MP elemental attack spells, along with Blaze and Lightning Bolt. I have to say Blizzard is my least favourite of the three; it’s the slowest to cast and start once the animation begins, and seems to be the weakest, dealing the least damage unless used against something with a weakness. However, as it is the slowest-moving spell of the three, it has the highest chance of hitting enemies multiple times with a single casting, and can be especially devastating to water-weak enemies.

The Abandoned Mine (1) – Underlevels 1 to 5

I never posted about this place the first time I visited. That’s probably because I visited before I got into the habit of writing about each region, but it’s also because this place is so utterly hellish for casters, with many sleep-loving magic goblins, other monsters with powerful physical attacks, poisonous snakes and scorpions, and not much room to dodge or run from stuff, that I eventually gave up and went to Old Palace to level there, instead.
…well, I ended up returning here after failing to beat Dark Elf a couple of times. Lightning Bolt is a nasty spell to face. So I eventually beat this place before Old Palace, but only by a little.
THIS time I’m going here first, as I might as well write about the first part of this area sometime.

The Abandoned Mine is the remains of an old mine.
Way to state the obvious, whoo.
From the old man’s comments in the inn, I think it was abandoned relatively recently; that is, not centuries ago, like some of the ruins in Foresia, but within a generation or two. I’m not sure what they were mining FOR; maybe magic crystals, maybe iron, maybe coal.
Being a mine with what are probably gas… braziers, rather than an ancient ruin with magitech lighting, it’s pretty dark in there. Up until solving a certain puzzle that provides a little more illumination, which doesn’t last long, it’s next to impossible to tell when you’re walking up to a ledge and are about to drop off out of sight. With a TV you can just fiddle with the settings; with an old computer monitor, like the one I have here, it’s habitually set bright as possible by default, so I have no salvation there. I don’t even have this problem with the Ancient Ruins, so you can see part of why I dislike this place.

This area, like most others, has favoured classes; I haven’t mentioned it before, but certain areas are just built around the abilities of a certain class or two. They help access extra areas, or solve puzzles. This area likes Fairies, for extra loot at no damage, and Dwarves, for a quicker solution to a puzzle. The Abandoned Mines just brings it to mind as, early on, there’s a chest you can only access by either taking damage, or having the Levitation effect… automatic on a Fairy, bestowed by a Fairy spell, or bestowed by an item that, annoyingly, can be picked up from this chest.
I don’t know how Fairies do on conveyor belts, but there’s definitely more damaging floor later on in.
Other areas… off the top of my head, Valley of White Silver doesn’t really have a class in mind, structure-wise, that I noticed. The Wood of Ruins loves Hunters, and it’s the only place they get any love. I’ll be returning to everywhere else at some point, so I’ll address good classes for the other areas there.

This being a mine, there are the obligatory falling-rock hazards; when you first come here, getting hit by one of these can be a one-hit kill. It was for me, and they still deal more than creatures in the Valley of White Silver or the Wood of Ruins ‘Holy Land’ do. The rocks fall regularly and always in the same spots, marked by shadows, but with the trouble I have seeing in the area, it’s easy to miss those if you haven’t played in a decade or so.
You wouldn’t really expect there to be general falling hazards, but there are more chasms to avoid than boulders. Chasms make more sense than eternal rockfalls, but… why are there either? Tight passages would be even more annoying, and the game has a problem with certain walls and blocking view of the ground.
This being a abandoned mine, you also have to contend with random junk left lying about, such as wheelbarrows, barrels, crates and carts. You can push them about and jump on them, but there isn’t a point where you need to do that, I think. Other than the interactive junk, you can also spot discarded shovels and pickaxes on the ground. Nice touch.

Oh, yeah. I hate bats. When I first arrived at the Abandoned Mines, I didn’t yet have Magic Missile. The one weakness of the Water Bullet spell is that it can’t hit flying enemies. Bats are a more annoying version of the Beetle from Wood of Ruins, as they tend to spawn more in groups, rather than singularly with other enemies. Bats are the reason I gave up and went to Old Palace, instead. Beetles can spawn in groups of four or six, too, but that’s relatively rare. Bats always seem to turn up in large numbers, whenever they appear.
Of course, this time I can tap out the code for Magic Missile and fry the blasted things. Hee, this is fun.

There’s a two-players-or-more puzzle on the third underlevel, in the area with the waterfall and pier. See the sparkle on the pier? That’s a key, but if anyone tries to take it, the pier will collapse, leaving whoever went to get it on a piece of wood floating towards the waterfall. Falling into the water makes you drop the key, even though you reappear miraculously mostly-unharmed by the ordeal a few seconds later.
Whilst you’re (un)happily floating towards watery oblivion, the other player has to get to a switch that lowers a bridge for you to jump onto. There are stone platforms in the water; it might be that the other player has to go across those to stand a chance of getting to the switch in time, or to stay on screen and not pull you off the raft. I don’t usually play multiplayer, but I think that’s how it goes.
Most other main areas also have mulitplayer puzzles. The Wood of Ruins has a barrel-and-knives game. Remember Pop-Up Pirate?
Yeah, that. ‘cept you’re the pirate. Or your unlucky friend. All these puzzles give a decent amount of loot, though I think the Palace of the Immortals puzzle also opens a shortcut.

Another minor touch:

Grand Miner Recruitment!
The Opportunity – wouldn’t you like to become a miner?
A bright workplace, a fulfilling occupation and amazingly high wages – enough reason for you to change your vocation.
Details in personal interview.
We’re waiting for you!

A recruitment poster for miners. In a mine. I don’t know whether that’s supposed to be an old and
redundant poster, or a modern ‘hey, adventurers, you’re down here! You
like mines, don’t you?’ kind of thing. Either way, it’s amusing.
Rebecca says: Nobody’s buying it…

Announcement of lost and found.
The following objects have been found.
Would the owner please report.
Suntan lotion, fishing pole, flower pot for sunflowers, sundial, paintings from the south…

Someone wasn’t cut out to be a miner, hm?
Rebecca says:

Then there’s the area with the huge chasm, floating platforms and quicksand pit on the fourth underlevel. That’s the one area that really doesn’t make sense in a mine. It’s also the one main obstacle to my theory that the actual mine is recent, rather than ancient.
There’s a healing circle over the quicksand pit, if you can negotiate the platforms.

In that area, though, there’s an raised platform over a hole. There are several pieces of pushable mines-junk sitting on the raised area. Pushing each item off, one-by-one, nets you a message, and a guaranteed enemy spawn. One enemy for each item… until the last one, that really pisses off the person below, netting you five enemies to avoid.
Semi-secret… unless you’re like me and love messing around like that. This is a decent source of experience, as snakes, scorpions and spiders give a lot for this point in the game, and otherwise they tend to spawn in an awkward area, normally. They ARE powerful enough to kill in a few hits as a Sorceress, however, so it’s always worth being careful.
Plus, I always like annoying the thing below. Or the mostly-absent narrator. Whatever it is.

The area’s first boss is a Baby Dragon, one of the smaller mid-bosses; larger than Dark Elf and Dullahan, but smaller than the Owlbear and Behemoth. About the same size as the Weretiger and Werewolf bosses from Palace of the Immortals. A mid-size mid-boss?
Anyway, like any self-respecting dragon, it loves using its fire breath on you. It has the standard mid-boss attack and defence debuffs at short range – perhaps one length of its own body. Other than that, it charges at you, and attacks normally.
Unlike Behemoth, this boss is pretty challenging; the Baby Dragon is aggressive about staying in range to attack you, and moves pretty quickly; you tend to get charged and clawed a lot, in this fight, and don’t get much of a chance to rest up, so you’re dependent on whatever healing items you still have hanging around. All of its attacks are fire element, but it’s not likely you have anything that adds resistance against that, right now.
Fighting the thing was always a matter of trying in vain to avoid it, and praying my Healing Pins held out once my potions ran dry. NOW it’s easy, but…
Well, there’s something interesting about this boss, but I’ll go into that later.

Beating the Baby opens the way to an elevator out of the mines, but it doesn’t stay on subsequent visits. I have a lot of new loot, so I’ll take that back to the surface, and take a break for the moment.

Loot

Luck Talisman
Amulet that brings the wearer good luck.
[Lck.32]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Fine Axe
A very fine axe forged by great smiths.
[At.29]
[Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Silver Gauntlets [Accessory?]
Beautiful gauntlets crafted from silver.
[At.10, Df.10]
[War, Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Dragon Scales
Supposedly wards off bad luck and misfortune.
[Df.12, Lck.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Resist Ring
Protects the wearer with mysterious powers.
[Mdf.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

And that’s not counting the discarded or ignored stuff, like the silver medal, boots, shield, and what I think may be a guaranteed piece of armour. The chest containing a medal – Bronze, Silver or Gold – is the one inside the fence that you have to jump to reach, on the way to the water for the flask. The possibly-guaranteed piece of armour can be found by going straight from the first chest on the fifth underlevel, rather than heading left and up to the boss.
All in all, the mines are pretty generous for chests.

Is it just me, or does the Luck Talisman look like a Dragonball Radar?
The medals. I’ve always gotten them in the same order – Bronze first, then Gold if I ever went to the chest again. And now Silver. I somehow didn’t pick it up the first time, but I’ll take it with me when I visit for the deeper trip.
Oh, and… yeah, Earth Jewels, from yesterday, aren’t useful. Using one eats up MP like the spell itself, needs you to hold a button for the effect to continue, and doesn’t do much damage anyway. Even if you weren’t a spell-using class, you wouldn’t want to use it for long, for risk of running out of MP and being stunned.

Item of the Day

Protect Ring
Protects with strange, mysterious powers.
[Df.16]
[All]

Counterpart to the Resist Ring listed above, I picked this up the first time I ran through the mines. 16 points in defence is nothing to laugh at, especially combined with a shiny new robe found nearby. I’ve been using this since the mines the first time, but it’s now being traded for the Dragon Scale, as I have all of 1 point in Luck at the moment, and it’s only a drop of 4 points defence.

Spell of the Day

Water Bullet (Sorcerer/Elf)
MP: 3
Command: X ∆ X
Waves form on the ground and attack the opponent.

A medium-range water-element spell, with both piercing and knock-back effects. I should probably explain what I mean by those; piercing means that the projectile doesn’t die out as soon as it hits a single enemy. That it will go through all enemies until it reaches the limits of its range, or hits a wall. Knock-back means that it will knock an enemy it hits backwards.
Having both of these on a single spell makes that spell very powerful,
as the wave of water first hits something and causes damage, then knocks the enemy
back… then hitting the enemy again, as it’s still in range of the damaging wave. I’ve seen this spell hit a single enemy five or six time in a single casting, causing damage far above what any first- or second-level spell can do. Get lucky and it’ll match Blaze.
The first spell learned by a Sorcerer, costing a whole 1 MP more than
Fire Bullet, Water Bullet will happily serve as primary offensive spell
until you start picking up the third-level spells. Design-wise, this probably wasn’t intended, but as a physically-weak Sorceress, at level 92 it can still make an excellent replacement for the pitiful range of a wand.