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Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES) Ancient Cave Tips
~by tankMage (February 2018)
The Ancient Cave (sometimes referred to as AC) is a bonus dungeon in Lufia II that is nearly a game in and of itself. A total of 99 floors await those who challenge the Ancient Cave and much of it is procedurally generated, so it is impossible to devise a specific strategy to complete this dungeon. The party available to the player also varies depending on his or her progress in the normal game, which has a major impact on their performance in the Ancient Cave. As a result, this guide focuses on general tips that can help those who wish to complete this dungeon and emerge victorious.
Before starting, take a moment to consider the rules of the Ancient Cave and how they differ from the normal game.
Upon entering the Ancient Cave (Which located on Gruberik Island) the player must talk to the guard on the right who will take all of your items, give you ten potions, and reset the level of everyone in your party to 1. You will only find staircases leading down (those leading back up vanish) and will not have items like the arrow, bomb, or hookshot. Items acquired from red chests will be lost once you leave the cave. Total defeat (everyone in your party dying) will return the party to the entrance room of the cave without any blue chest items you discovered in that expedition (you will not lose blue chest items found in previous runs). It is not possible to save your game in the Ancient Cave under normal circumstances.
Powerful items that rival many of the things you will find near the end of the game can be obtained from Blue Chests, which appear rarely in the cave. Aside from being strong, weapons, armors, and accessories found in blue boxes can also be taken into the cave, unlike regular items. Some items that can be acquired in the normal game such as the Gades Blade and Camu Jewel are also considered Blue Chest items by the game and can be taken into the cave.
An item known as Providence becomes available at around floor 20, though in some runs it may not appear until the 25th floor or later. Providence is always found in a red chest and can be used to exit the dungeon without penalty. Dying will also return your party to the cave entrance, but you will lose any items you acquired from blue chests during that run. It is also possible to reset the game and load a save, but that will cause you to lose any progress made after the save was created. Finally, you can exit the Ancient Cave after beating the boss on floor 99, but you’ll need providence.
The following is a set of basic tips that will help you get established in the Ancient Cave. This list is not necessarily comprehensive and you may find strategies of your own that will make this dungeon more manageable, so think of them as beginner’s tips.
Clear Your Schedule: The Ancient Cave can take anywhere between six and ten hours to defeat depending on how you play and the size of the rooms that spawn in the dungeon. It is best to attempt this challenge on a day where you don’t have obligations like work or school unless you’re willing to leave your SNES on for long periods of time or you are playing on an emulator that allows for save states. Personally, I recommend save states, since they allow the player to undertake this quest at his or her leisure.
Choose Your Party: Think of who you want to challenge this dungeon with. When the Ancient Cave first becomes accessible, Maxim, Guy, Dekar, and Selan are in your party (this is also the easiest party to beat the boss with), but other characters like Arty or Lexis will be in your party depending on what point in the game you are at. Gift Mode, which is available after beating the game a second time, allows you to form a party with any character in the game, though Maxim must be present. See Section 3: Party Specific Tips for more.
Gear is very important in Lufia 2 and the AC is no exception to this rule. Upon entering, check your inventory, even if it is your first time in the cave, because items like the Water Jewel and Gades Blade can be brought from the standard game into the AC. Be sure to put anything you have on, since even a small boost will help early on. Open every chest you come across to prevent missing crucial items. Try to give your front line characters the best weapons and armor, since they inflict and receive more damage, and hand outdated stuff down to back row characters. Any useless weapons or armor can be fed to your capsule monster. Watch out for cursed items like the deadly armor, fatal pick, and cursed bow, because they can only be removed by using the rare uncurse item, which can be found in chests.
Many guides advise players to skip battles often in the Ancient Cave, but in my experience, it is best to fight as many battles as possible to gain experience and useful item drops when becoming familiar with the dungeon. There are times when you may have no choice but to fight and few extra levels can make a difference. You may also be forced to avoid certain enemies later in the dungeon, so having extra levels from early on can help. With that said, skipping battles can cut down drastically on the time it takes to clear the dungeon and it is generally safe to skip battles once the party is roughly level 65. In any case, players should always try for surprise attacks by sneaking up on enemies. It is especially important to sneak up on monsters with dragon or hydra sprites, since they are often very dangerous. You can even use sneak attacks to win battles that may be unwinnable otherwise, by getting a surprise attack, taking out one of the enemies with an instant death spell or powerful IP attack, then fleeing and repeating the process until the battle is manageable.
The capsule monster (CM) you take into the dungeon with you can change the outcome of the game. Remember to feed your capsule monster and be willing to switch to another CM in the event you find a fruit that can morph them into master form. The following is a list of capsule monsters that I suggest using, with those appearing at the top of the list being highly recommended. For the sake of clarity, these capsule monsters are identified by default name and element.
Gusto (Wind): Possibly the best CM to take into the dungeon, Gusto is fast, resilient, and unlikely to run away from battle. At higher ranks, he can evade attacks frequently and some of his spells seem to completely cut through elemental resistances despite the fact that he is a wind elemental. It is also relatively easy to obtain the earth fruit needed to transform him into master rank. The only downside to Gusto is his tendency to use his standard melee attack frequently, which is underwhelming.
Jelze (Neutral): As the neutral capsule monster, Jelze functions well in all situations. He also has great HP and almost never runs from battle. The downside is Jelze tends to defend often and his master form can be tricky to obtain in the dungeon.
Sully (Earth): The earth elemental capsule monster is incredibly tough and has some devastating attacks. Unfortunately, he is also tough to get to master form and he likes to defend, often wasting turns.
Flash (Light): Capable of healing the party, striking foes with holy magic, and curing status ailments, Flash is a popular pick among players. Those who elect to bring her along should be aware that she is fragile and will often waste turns healing characters that are healthy, but it isn’t too hard to find the dark fruit needed to get her into master form, which will make Flash into a powerful ally.
Darbi (Dark): Instant death spells and high attack power make Darbi lethal, but he is prone to running away after taking even small amounts of damage. You’ll also need some luck to find the holy fruit needed to upgrade him to his final form. With that said, a fully powered up Darbi is a force to be reckoned with and is even capable to destroying the mighty gold dragon.
Gear is a significant factor in the AC and there are some things you almost certainly need to clear the dungeon unless you are highly experienced with the game. In fact it may be wise to leave the dungeon if you do not acquire the destroy spell or fatal pick, unless you have Dekar in your party, since you may not be able to defeat the boss or deal with Gold Dragons. Blue Chest items have been excluded from this guide for the most part, because of their rarity, in addition to the fact that they are quite well documented by other sources. For more info on blue chest items visit RPG Classics via the link in Section 7.
Dekar Blade: A powerful weapon only usable by Dekar. The Dekar Blade is a must for defeating the final boss since it’s IP attack, Fatal Blow, reduces enemy HP by 50%.
Gades Blade: Can either be obtained by defeating Gades the first time you meet him in Gordovan West Tower or from a Blue Chest. Octo Strike, the blade’s IP ability, works well against the final boss of the Ancient Cave. Being a dark elemental weapon, it also deals a lot of damage to Silver and Gold Dragons.
Lizard Blow: Deals extra damage to Dragons and lizards. The Lizard Blow is particularly effective at later stages where dragons are common.
Fatal Pick: Capable of destroying an enemy in a single hit, the Fatal Pick is an excellent weapon for Selan. Just take time to consider your situation before equipping it, because it is cursed and some enemies, especially undead, are immune to the instant death effects of the Fatal Pick. This weapon can be uncursed with a curse lifter potion, though doing so will alter the way it performs.
Figgoru: A weapon for Lexis that strikes all enemies and can cause confusion.
Flying Blow: High damage vs. flying foes.
Camu/Heal/Revive Armor: These armors have IPs that can heal or revive members of the party, making them useful if you do not have access to a healing spell and/or potions.
Magic is very useful for getting to the final floor of the Ancient Cave. While all spells have there uses, some are extremely important.
Destroy: This spell is almost a necessity (unless you have the Fatal Pick) since it can kill powerful enemies near the end of the AC or be used to win the final battle.
Absorb: Drains MP from enemies, great for refilling a character’s magic pool. This spell can be exploited by surprise attacking an enemy, casting Absorb and running away. Enemies regain their MP after battle, which means they can be used as magic point batteries by the player as long as he or she likes.
Shield: Cast this to increase your magic resistance (MGR), can keep the party alive while fighting Archfiends and other high level magic users.
Valor: Not only does this spell revive fallen allies, but it will also heal them for 2000 HP. Valor can be cast on the entire party to restore 500 HP. The downside is this spell costs a whopping 30 MP.
Champion: Another powerful healing spell, Champion is about half the price of Valor, yet still restores a respectable amount of HP.
Rally: A cheaper alternative to Valor that costs only 10 MP, but restores far less HP.
Zap/Fry: Only Artea (Arty) can cast these spells, which inflict holy damage. Many stronger demonic and undead foes, including Archfiends, are weak against holy.
Fire Bird, Ice Valk, Thunder, Dragon: Powerful elemental spells that are effective against a variety of enemies.
The three variations listed below are those available in the main game, though more are possible through Gift Mode, which is unlocked by beating the game a second time in Retry Mode. In general, players attempting the cave for the first time should try to beat it early on while Dekar is still in the party, because his weapon greatly increases the odds of defeating the AC boss in a brute force battle. It is possible to compete the Ancient Cave successfully with just about any party, however. Below is a list of the three basic parties that appear in the main game, along with an analysis of each one.
As stated before, this is the best party to clear the AC with. Guy and Dekar bring their massive HP pools and powerful weapons to the table, while Maxim and Selan can cast spells like Destroy. In this party, Maxim should be in the back row, acting as a support character who casts healing spells and Destroy along with the occasional melee attack. Selan is best suited to using powerful attack magic or the Fatal Pick, while Guy and Dekar can hammer the enemy with their weapons. The Gades and Dekar blades are key to clearing the AC cave with this party, however, so hold onto them if they pop up.
Lexis is a powerful magic user and his Figgoru weapon can cause havoc in enemy ranks if you find it. Unfortunately, Lexis is no substitute for Dekar and you’ll have to use a different method to defeat the boss. Generally Maxim should be in the front row using his weapon in this party, but Lexis can take his place if you manage to find good armor for him and the Figgoru.
Arty is both a competent fighter and magic user who is even ale able to cast Zap and Fry. How this party functions depends on what kind of gear you find in the dungeon, but it is likely that Arty will outpace Maxim in stats as the game progresses, making him a front row candidate. This party has about the same odds of beating the dungeon as one with Lexis instead of Arty.
Many of the monsters that appear later in the AC are quite deadly, especially those that are not present in the standard game such as Orky, Archfiends, and Silver Dragons. Having a good strategy makes these otherwise indomitable foes manageable. The following list includes descriptions and tactics for each enemy type. Keep in mind, many enemies that appear in the Ancient Cave are not described here, because they are encumbered in the main game and/or are less of a threat than more powerful creatures. It is advisable to always fight the following monsters with full HP and get surprise attacks on them if possible.
You will run into these guys at around floor 70. Their map sprite looks like a large winged demon, but in battle they resemble gigantic caped humanoids. Archfiends get two turns in a round and can cast powerful spells like Thunder as well as a darkness based spell known as Gloomy. Holy elemental weapons and spells are highly effective against these foes. Casting the shield spell a few times at the beginning of the battle can keep your party alive, especially if you lack the tools needed to defeat an Archfiend. You may also want to consider avoiding these guys altogether.
Appearing as many headed lizards on the dungeon screen, Hidora type monsters have high HP and deal a lot of damage, often to the entire party. Orky, the final Hidora variant, has a massive amount of HP and can hit the entire party with a flame attack. Luckily, these guys move around slowly on the map and are easy prey for sneak attacks. Hit this type of monster hard and encounters with them should end in victory, just be ready to heal immediately after taking damage from them. Having high defense also helps since these enemies attack multiple times, plinking away at your heroes with medium damage.
As far as denizens of the AC go, these things are weak, but be careful around them. A group of Sireins can lock your party up with confusion and sleep spells if you are unlucky. Try to always get sneak attacks on these creatures, which look like spear wielding, blue-haired snake women. Sireins begin to pop up on floor 30.
Genies start showing up around the 70th floor and are actually fairly easy to beat, because they tend to use the Absorb spell and defend rather than attack. Genies can quickly sap your MP, however, and they can obliterate your party with powerful spells if you are unlucky enough to have several of them perform magical attacks at once. Use elemental magic and concentrated physical attacks of your own to defeat them. Thunder is effective against earth genies, ice works well on fire genies, and fire deals heavy damage to well genies. Genies are also a good enemy to drain MP from with Absorb.
Metallic Dragons are highly deadly, appearing at around B80 of the dungeon. Copper is the easiest to defeat, since it lacks resistances and can be taken down with normal weapons and Destroy. Silver is far tougher, being immune to holy damage as well as resistant to most elements, but darkness based weapons like the Gades Blade damage them a lot. It is also important to note that Silver Dragons can attack twice per round and use a powerful ice spell on the party. Gold Dragons are devastating foes that attack three times per round and can unleash a spell that can defeat the entire party in a single turn if they cast it or more than once or twice. Destroy and the Fatal Pick are your best bet when fighting these dragons as well as high agility. ALWAYS attack dragons from behind, run if they manage to turn around at the last second, canceling the sneak attack. Metallic Dragons tend to only appear in pairs, so try to kill one by having Maxim and Selan cast Destroy on the first turn. Run away if they do not manage to kill at least one dragon in the first turn and attack them from behind again, then recast Destroy to hopefully kill one. Once one of the dragons is out of the way, it is usually safe to stick around and fight the other.
The boss of the AC is a giant red jelly that will appear when you walk up to the center of the shrine on floor 99. You have three turns to defeat him before he flees, ending the battle in defeat. The Master will heal you on the first and second rounds, then do nothing on the third, and on the fourth he will run away. This boss has nearly 10,000 HP, so you’ll have to dish out some major damage to beat him…or defeat yourself. Below are the two simplest methods for defeating the Master.*
Brute Force: It is possible to inflict enough damage on this boss in three turns to win, but you will likely need Dekar, Guy, the Dekar Blade, and the Gades Blade. You will also need full IP for this fight. Have Dekar use the Dekar Blade’s a Fatal Blow IP, then have Guy use Octo Slash (Gades Blade). This should be enough to heavily damage and defeat the Master, especially if you have the rest of the party use their IP attacks.
Self Destruct: If you have the Fatal Pick and/or Destroy spell, you can use this method, which is basically what you have to resort to without Dekar. Take off all of your armor, rings, and rocks before approaching the Master, but leave your weapons equipped. Initiate battle and have Maxim and Selan cast Destroy on the other two party members on the first turn. Then have them cast it on themselves on the second turn to win the battle. If you have the Fatal Pick, but not Destroy, you can have the party attack Maxim until he dies while Selan uses the pick to kill someone (preferably someone faster than her), then have Selan take out Guy who should still be alive on the second turn. On turn three have selan use the pick on herself. Once everyone is dead, the battle will end and the Master will give you your reward.
*Note: It is possible to win without Dekar or by wiping the party out, but you will need very powerful weapons and a good strategy.
Several resources were used to create this guide in conjunction with my own experience, mainly for the sake of fact checking. Both resources contain excellent advice and focus on different aspects of the Ancient Cave, making them worthwhile to visit.
Blue Chest items: http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/snes/lufia2/ancientcave.shtml
Thanks for reading our Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES) Ancient Cave Tips and good luck!