LOCATION: Magitek Facility right before the railway
PARTY MEMBERS: Cyan (Lv. 18 HP 568/568 MP 137/137), Gau (Lv. 18 HP 560/560 MP 142/142), Locke (Lv. 19 HP 625/625 MP 150/150)
ELAPSED TIME: 9:28
STEPS TAKEN: 24831
The first thing I did upon exiting Zozo was to check my Esper setup. It was then time to make the long walk to Jidoor, full of enemy encounters that were now granting me Magic Points to build up my spells. Onto Jidoor I went, and after vising the Armor, Weapon, I went up Owzer's house. I talked to the Impresario, who left a letter in his worry, then was treated to the introduction of Setzer. I then went down to the Opera House and triggered the world-famous Opera house scenario.
There's not much to say about this part, as much of this section occurs at its own pace. When I got control of Locke, I decided to wander around in this segment a little, to see how far I could go while the performance was underway. Eventually, I delivered Ultros letter to the Impresario, which triggered the five minutes of doom.
Now this is where things got a little hairier than I would have liked. Normally, I can clear this section with well over a minute, sometimes two, to spare. I had a difficult time with the rats, thanks in part to two very, very stupid battle decisions. One, I had Cyan use Dispatch which seemed to miss the target the Sewer Rats rather than the Vermin. Two, I had Gau use the Were-Rat rage. Not only did this cure the rats, it also ensured I could not clear the rats in the correct order, as a player must kill the Vermin before killing the Sewer Rats, or else the vermin will merely summon more Sewer Rats, prolonging the fight. I also seemed to be incapable of escaping any of the rats except for the one in the corner which you actually have to chase.
So then it was time for the Ultros Battle, and for some reason, this battle was a lot longer than I remember it being. Usually, after a few attacks, he makes his escape, but this time, he decided to pull a lot of tricks and stuck around a lot longer than I would have liked, disappearing and reappearing in different parts of the screen. After that fight, all I got was a lousy 2GP.
After this, Setzer literally descended onto the scene and scooped Celes up, which triggered quite a few story scenes. Before talking to Setzer, I decided to wander around the Blackjack while it was in flight, since I wouldn't get the opportunity to do so for some time. I bought a couple of items, healed my characters, de-equipped those not in my party (even though they had already been stripped).
Once the Blackjack landed, I visited Albrook, then decided to take the long walk over to Maranda, and then from Maranda to Tzen. Along the way, I was able to use Locke's Capture to get some items from the enemies. Of course, half the time I simply selected Capture on enemies I had just targeted, so it may not have been the most efficient use of battle actions. During the walk, I switched Espers when it came time for my characters to gain a level, but I missed a few instances (especially of Celes, whom I forgot had been stripped of all equipment)
It was then to Vector, and wandered around a little. In the midst of my wandering, I encountered a soldier which triggered a battle, and had my characters running to the entrance. I eventually talked to the old man who sympathized with the Returners and let him distract the soldiers so I could sneak in. Once inside the facility, I went around and grabbed as much treasure I could remember. I also encountered a nauseating amount of enemies. When it came time for me to follow the discarded Shiva and Ifrit to the disposal bin, I did something different. In a rare moment of insight, I actually went to the door that was not blocked saved instead of talking to these Espers.
I fought them, fought a few Flans and Trappers, then fought Number024. Once the boss had been beaten, it was time for Celes to make her exit, so I stripped her and watched the scenes that followed. After this, I followed Cid down to the escape route, and saved the game.