The MagiTek Research Facility

The MagiTek Research Facility is for all intents and purposes a continuation of the MagiTek Factory. This section is much more linear than the previous one and involves a number of unavoidable Encounters and boss fights. To start with, though, you'll fight combinations of two new enemies, the Gobbler and the Rhinox. Both have the same high physical resistance as the Monsters in the MagiTek Factory, though neither has an Elemental weakness. Rhinoxes absorb Thunder, though, so make sure not to use that on them. Both Monster types have basic attacks and will sometimes inflict a status ailment: Poison in the case of Rhinoxes and Mute for the Gobblers. Both also change things up when they are the sole remaining Monster. Rhinoxes will sometimes attempt to cast Life 3, which they do not have enough MP for, which is kind of amusing to watch. Gobblers will, on the other hand, use Shimsham exclusively, so you'll probably want to kill them first. They do sometimes appear alone, though, which makes this nearly unavoidable.

There is a well-hidden treasure in the very first room, Specimen Room 2. Follow the path south of the westernmost glass tube into a hidden alcove. Check to your left to find a Break Blade. This is a nice upgrade in terms of Bat.Pwr, and its lack of an Element makes it the sword of choice in the upcoming battle against Number 024. It's ability to randomly cast Break is very powerful as well.

Number 024

You'll see a humanoid waiting in front of the door in the next room. This is Number 024, the first boss Encounter of the MagiTek Research Facility. There are a number of ways to go about fighting this particular Monster. The first thing to note is that Number 024 uses WallChange at a regular interval (approximately 30 seconds) to change its weakness. Prior to the first use of WallChange, it has no weakness. WallChange sets one random Element as a weakness, one to be absorbed, and the rest to be nullified. Any time you hit Number 024's weakness, it triggers an extra WallChange. After three WallChanges, it will go a bit haywire and use some combination of Sun Bath, Ice Rabbit, and Scan. The next WallChange will set it back to its normal routine.

There are two ways to determine Number 024's weakness. You can cast Scan, or you can watch its actions. See the sidebar for details. If Number 024 changes to a weakness you can't exploit, you'll just have to wait for the next WallChange to do so. However, while attacking its weaknesses is effective, it's not your only option. Number 024 resist physical attacks work, but those that ignore Defense will work very well. It's also vulnerable to the Sleep and Imp Spells, which can make this a trivial battle. Number 024 has 4,777 HP, but a well-planned attack should take it down without much of a hassle. Its Mag.Pwr is very low and its attacks, though varied, are not very powerful. It is perhaps most dangerous before the first WallChange, when it will use the Overflow special to inflict Muddled. It will also counter attacks with a basic attack of its own throughout the battle. It's worth the effort to Steal from Number 024 if you get the chance as well.

After defeating Number 024, head through the door and flip the switch in the next room to trigger a cutscene. By the end of it, you will have gained six new Espers (Unicorn, Maduin, Shoat, Phantom, Carbunkl, and Bismark), and lost Celes (whose equipment has been removed). Follow Cid to the elevator to move on to the next part of the dungeon. It's time to get out of here.

The Mine Cart Sequence

The next sequence features some boisterous music and some terrible graphics. It can also be one of the most frustrating parts of the game if you want to learn all of Gau's Rages. You will soon fight a sequence of six battles, the first five of which are random. However, they are not chosen in the way random battles usually are, so if you save and reload the game, you will get the same set. There are two types of enemies to be encountered here, both named "Mag Roader." The large purple Mag Roaders are easy to find, but sometimes you won't see any of the smaller, red Mag Roaders. While the details of exactly how to get the combinations you want are beyond the scope of this guide, a good general rule of thumb is to try re-ordering your party (including the open slot) in various ways.

The fights themselves are rather easy. Unlike all the monsters you've fought so far, Mag Roaders (of both types) are highly vulnerable to physical attacks. The AutoCrossbow in particular will make quick work of them. They like to alternate between physical attacks and weak tier-1 and tier-2 Spells, and shouldn't be a problem to defeat. The real threat is that you will be forced into a boss battle after six of these battles with no chance to heal up or rest. Make sure you keep your HP up in preparation.

With all this in mind, and with six new Espers to use, use the nearby save point to prepare for the battles ahead. You will gain a maximum of 10 AP before the boss fight, so you won't be able to learn any new spells from your new Espers, but some of their summons or level up bonuses may be useful. When you're ready, speak to Cid to start the sequence.

Number 128

Number 128 is one of the most interesting foes you've fought so far. It's divided into three parts. Aside from the main body, there is a RightBlade and a Left Blade. (Note that these refer to Number 128's right and left, so the RightBlade is on the left side of the screen and vice-versa.) Number 128 will not attack directly, though it can counter any given attack with Red Feast, a special that deals moderate damage and absorbs it as HP. Most of the attacks in this fight come from the blades. Both deal similar physical damage, though the Left Blade will also use Shimsham to halve a Character's HP. If you defeat either blade, it will respawn before too long. But be careful: if both blades are defeated at the same time, Number 128 will go berserk, casting Haste on itself and then using attacks like Gale Cut, Atomic Ray, Shock Wave, Net, and Red Feast.

So, what to do? Defeating a single blade will decrease Number 128's offensive potential with no downside except having spent time dealing damage to that blade. The RightBlade has less HP (400) than the Left Blade (700), but also respawns twice as quickly. I recommend taking out the Left Blade, then concentrating on Number 128. However, this strategy means you can't afford to use attacks that hit all enemies or random targets, which can severely limit your options. It may be better to go all out with such attacks until one blade is defeated, then concentrate on Number 128's body until it respawns. All three parts have the same defenses, which is to say they have no particular weaknesses but absorb damage from Ice. Your most non-Ice powerful Spells and targeted abilities should win the day here.