The Evil Forest
You will get to watch a quick Active Time Event as the crew dusts themselves off after the crash. Active Time Events (or ATEs in the game) are optional scenes that you can watch. Nearly all of them have zero impact on the story, but there are one or two that do, and this guide will give you plenty of warning in advance.
You start off in control of Zidane again. Speak to the moogle, Mosco, and save your game and then have a look around just north of Mosco near the empty boxes to find a Phoenix Down. Travel south through the hollow log into the next area.
Evil Forest / Trail
This is the first area of the game where you can be thrown into random battles. Make sure that you have equipped Zidane with all of the best equipment that you have. This will include a Mage Masher if you stole one from Baku (Masked Man) during the first fight, a Silk Shirt which could have been stolen from Steiner or obtained during the sword fight sequence in Alexandria, and finally the Moonstone if you managed to obtain it.
You should also take some time to go through the Ability screen and begin having Zidane learn new abilities from this equipment. New abilities will include Flee-Gil from your pre-equipped Wrist item and potentially the Beast Killer ability if you obtained the Moonstone. Check out the Learning New Abilities page in the Tips and Tricks section for more information.
Follow the pathway into the next area where you will run into Vivi. Run up to Steiner to initiate the next boss battle against Prison Cage.
You will get a quick overview of the Trance system at the start of this battle. Each character has a different type of Trance which is similar to a Limit Break in previous Final Fantasy Games.
The Prison Cage boss will use a move called “Absorb” during the battle which will steal HP away from Princess Garnet. You will lose the battle (and receive a “Game Over” screen) if she loses all of her HP. She can only handle two “Absorb” moves before you have to use a Potion on her. Select the Item command and press Up or Down on the D-Pad until Princess Garnet is targeted.
You can use Zidane’s Trance called Dyne and a move called “Free Energy” to do a ton of damage to Prison Cage. It is recommended that you avoid using his “Tidal Flame” move as this will harm Princess Garnet as well.
The next boss battle begins as soon as the first one ends - the difference is that Vivi will be trapped in the Prison Cage instead of Princess Garnet and that you don’t begin the battle in a Trance state.
Boss Battle: Prison Cage
Make sure you take some time to have Zidane steal both the Broadsword and Leather Wrist items from Prison Cage. Vivi will automatically cast Fire on Prison Cage each turn for approximately 80 damage. Be sure to use a Potion on Vivi after Prison Cage has used Absorb on Vivi twice.
Prima Vista / Bridge
The story continues on the wreckage of the MS Prima Vista in the Bridge. Grab the treasure chest to the right of where Baku is standing once you find yourself back in control of Zidane. The chest contains a pair of Bronze Gloves. Leave this room and you can watch three more Active Time Events (“Time to Escape”, “Girl Who Was Left Behind” and “My Little Baby”). There is another treasure chest on the bottom floor that contains a Wrist. Go through the doorway that Blank steps out of to find Vivi.
There is a treasure chest near the back wall that contains an Ether. You can also climb the ladder to the top bunk bed at the back of the room to find 116 gil hiding in the sheets. Speak to Vivi to continue the story and then exit the room. Select whichever option you prefer when prompted to either “Go and look for her [Princess Garnet]” or “Forget it…”. Travel to the left side of the hallway into the next room.
There is a treasure chest at the bottom of the screen that contains an Ether. Travel down the stairs into the Cargo Room and on the far side of this room is a hidden Rubber Helm. Travel to the south side of the room through the doorway and on the right side of this room is another treasure chest that contains a Leather Hat. Go back into the Cargo Room (where you found the Rubber Helm) and travel to the right side of the room through the doorway to find Baku.
There is a treasure chest on the southern side of the room where you find Baku that contains a Potion. Travel back into the Cargo Room and speak to Baku to initiate the next boss battle against him. Make sure that you equip the Mage Masher to Zidane before you initiate the battle.
This fight involves Zidane in a solo battle against Baku and it is fairly straightforward. Baku’s attacks do not do much damage (around 25-35 damage) and he can potentially miss his attack entirely just like before when you fought him as the Masked Man at the beginning of the game. Make sure you take the opportunity to steal the Hi-Potion and Iron Sword from him and keep Zidane healed up with Potions as necessary.
Steal: Hi-Potion, Iron Sword
Follow Baku up the stairs and go through the doorway on the left side of the room to where Steiner was being held. Go back into that same room after Steiner joins up with Zidane and grab the treasure chest at the bottom of the room that contains another Ether. Travel back to where Vivi was resting in order to continue.
Travel back down into the Cargo Room and head south into the hallway. Blank will stop you before you exit the ship in order to give you some medicine (Blank’s Medicine). He will also give you a reminder about setting and learning new abilities (check out the Learning New Abilities page in the Tips and Tricks section). Speak to Cinna on your way past and he will sell you the following items:
- Potion (50 gil)
- Phoenix Down (150 gil)
- Antidote (50 gil)
- Eye Drops (50 gil)
- Tent (800 gil)
It’s not a bad idea to stock up on a couple of additional Potions if you have used a fair amount at this point. You should also speak to the moogle, Mosco, again to pick up another letter from Ruby.
The pathway through the Evil Forest is linear. Spend a bit of time levelling up in this area until your party members are at least level 3 or 4 as the upcoming boss fight can be fairly painful at lower levels. An Active Time Event will come up when you reach the area where you fought the two Prison Cage bosses (“Orchestra in the Forest” - the orchestra is playing the Marching Tune from Junon in Final Fantasy 7).
Just past the next screen you will reach a spring and will be automatically thrown into an Active Time Event that takes you back to Baku and Blank on the MS Prima Vista. Speak to Monty, the moogle hiding in the tree stump to save your game. Select the Mognet option as well to provide the letter that Kupo gave you to Monty. You can also read the letter from Stiltzkin to Monty. You can also touch the spring to refill your party member’s HP and MP. You can steal Tents from an enemy called a Dendrobium in the areas past the spring which come in incredibly handy later on in the game (and are incredibly expensive now). Steal some if you get the opportunity (there is a 25% that you will be successful). A Dendrobium is shown in the screenshot below.
A small cinematic will take place as you enter the next screen showing you the upcoming boss. Continue forward to initiate the fight.
Make sure to have Zidane steal the Iron Helm from Plant Brain before you defeat it. You can have Vivi standby using his Focus command until Zidane has been successful and have Steiner focus on healing spells.
Vivi’s Fire spell and Steiner’s “Fire Sword” ability (located under the “Swd Mgc” command) are incredibly powerful against this boss. Blank will join the battle part way through - both him and Zidane can focus on regular attacks while Steiner and Vivi focus on fire-based magic abilities. Use Eye Drops on Zidane and Blank if they are blinded but not on Steiner as the Blind status effect has no impact on his “Fire Sword” ability.
Steal: Eye Drops, Iron Helm
Following the boss fight is a chase scene through the forest wherein Zidane, Steiner, Princess Garnet, Vivi and Blank will be chased through the forest by groups of Plant Spiders. Run through the pathways as quickly as you can. There is a mandatory battle against three Plant Spiders (shown in the screenshot below). Once the battle has concluded you should take the time to de-equip Blank of everything he has on him right now.
Continue into the next screen for a short cinematic involving the escape from the Evil Forest, a short cutscene at a camp outside of the forest and then on to some forced Active Time Event scenes involving two moogles by a swamp. You can use this opportunity to learn about different aspects of the game. Monty, the moogle from the forest, will provide you with the Moogle’s Flute which will allow you to call moogles from anywhere on the world map. This will allow you to save your game anywhere and to use Tents as needed to refill your party’s HP and MP by pressing the Square Button.
Mist Continent - Gunitas Basin
Start off by pressing the Square Button to call a moogle (Moguo) and save your game. Spend some time to setup Princess Garnet with any extra items that you have as she has now joined your party. There is one optional area of the game that you can reach at this point - use the maps below to help you find your way. Your final destination is the Ice Cavern is located directly to the south of where you exit the Evil Forest.
North Gate - Melda Arch (Optional)
The North Gate is located on the western-most section of the Gunitas Basin - use the world map picture and the screenshot of the location from the world map below to help you locate it.
There is a bit of quick dialogue about the arch when you arrive - Zidane will describe it to the group and Steiner will complain about them flying the flag of Alexandria. Zidane will suggest leaving but before you do you can grab the treasure chest through the fence to the right of the gate to receive some Eye Drops. Further back from there behind the fence still is another treasure chest that contains a Potion. Lastly you can inspect the large doorway of the gate and choose to “Call out to someone inside” and a woman will answer. She will offer to sell you medicine but the only items she sells is Potions. Exit the area after you’ve finished and head to the Ice Cavern (more information about where to find it is included on the next page).