The Game After the Game
I haven’t started up a new JRPG since beating Digital Devil Saga 2—mainly because of certain real-life obligations that I had been putting off and needed to take care of. That’s not to say I haven’t been gaming. Along with some Planet Puzzle League and DDR, I completed Wario Land, getting all of the treasures (and the best ending) for the first time, and have been slowly progressing through Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament. Also, most recently, I’ve gone back to Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon.
Gameplay spoilers ahead:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much postgame content—which I’m not really a fan of to begin with—in any game as I have in Chocobo’s Dungeon. Roughly a third of the game’s thirty dungeons hadn’t been so much as discovered by the time I beat it, and even the overworld’s own dungeon tally, which is only twenty, was incomplete. When I took it up again last week, I had already beaten one of the postgame “challenge” dungeons and had started to progress through one that is a hundred levels deep. I beat that, the final dungeon for the world map tally, and two other challenge ones (plus got the best weapon and armor, and maxed out some of the jobs), but there were still three blank spots in that thirty dungeon list. On top of that, I was still one job class short.
Not wanting to scour the overworld any more for possible answers, I went to GameFAQs and Google. A couple of FAQs and a handful of browser tabs later, I found out that the means to unlock all three dungeons and the last job, Dancer, was the same: provide a specific “romantic phrase” to Romantic Hero X, a moogle who lives in the silo of Stella’s Farm. For those who haven’t played the game: romantic phrases can be found hidden within letters Chocobo receives, and the rewards from sharing these phrases with Romantic Hero X range from rare Pop-Up Cards to dungeon unlocks.
Ordinarily, this would be all well and good, and I would move on to the task of finding out how to get the letters that contained these phrases (the phrases themselves were readily available on GameFAQs, but I like to do things properly). However, the phrases for the dungeons (and, I suspect, the Dancer job) do not exist within the game at all. I found out why this is from this thread on GameSpot’s forums, where thebobevil posted the following:
In the Japanese version, when you had done everything, there were still 3 ‘?’ left in the mirror …
They were the 3 ‘magazine dungeons’, which had to be unlocked by using 3 codes, each printed in particular issues of those 3 different Japanese magazines … later, the codes were made available on various Japanese websites.
After reading this, out of curiosity, I looked on the North American Chocobo’s Dungeon official site to see if the three phrases were on there. There were three listed in a “Romantic Phrases” section under Gameplay, but not one of them was for the bonus dungeons or Dancer. Can’t say that I’m all that surprised that they weren’t, though, as not including this information within the game itself was a bit of a boneheaded decision to begin with. Hiding the romantic phrases in the manual would still be annoying, but also a little cool, in an old school sort of way. Hiding them in magazines and the internet? Not even taking into account the already limited online gameplay in the form of the Pop-Up Duel minigame, this is an idiotic idea. Guess I should be grateful that the codes weren’t for mandatory dungeons.