Hidden Cities - 5
This is it. The final stage. The end of Ogre Battle. The [insert witty yet deep comment]. Before entering Temple Shalina from the map screen, visit an earlier stage and complete the preparations first. You'll need a lot of money....
You may have acquired one or two Merchant (Trade Ticket) items during the course of the game after battles and so forth. Now's the time to use them. Use one and you'll bring up a special shop which sells items that increase one character's LUK, AGI, STR and INT permanently from 1 to 7, as well as one that increases one character's HP from 1 to 20. They are very expensive, but buy about 20 of each. Use them on your best spellcasters. My ultimate unit was a Princess and two Liches with two Paladins in front, and I jacked up the Liches until their AGI, INT and LUK stats were all 255, the maximum. I gave the HP boosters to my Princess (who has low HP by default) and any leftovers to random characters in my army. This is why you needed that million Goth.
Next, you'll need the right Tarot cards. Get some Joker items; actually, get a lot. They are sold in many places; an example is the city of Fillia in the Slums of Zenobia stage. Use them until you have the following 14 cards:
Finally, buy All Heal and Sunshine items until you have 60 of the former and 10 of the latter. Buy 30 Revives as well.
The Stage Itself
With all that done, enter Temple Shalina. Do not liberate every single city. In fact, liberate very few. Make sure you have at least 500,000 Goth left; if not then sell un-needed weaponry. You'll need five strong units to succeed. Use Sunshine items a lot to exploit the low ALI of many of the enemies.
The first strong unit should be kept in the base along with the Lord. The second should stay in Pillary, the city just south of your base (where, if your reputation is high, you can get a delicious Royal Crown, needed to make a Princess). The third should take the western road and liberate the two cities on it, Suffon and Bol'ey, and stay at the latter. The other two should head down the southern road, liberating everything along the way until they reach Novas Ko. By now the enemies should be pouring out. They include Demons, Sorcerers, Giants of all kinds, Masters of many classes, and lovely, lovely Undead.
When your two southbound units arrive at Novas Ko, leave one there and send the other straight to Shalina. Place the destination flag on the enemy base. Do not swerve from this destination. If you find any hidden cities, do not liberate them. If you encounter any enemies, crush them (did I mention that this unit should have all those spellcasters you gave a boost to?). When you're on the southwestern island, you'll fight a good many units before you finally punch through to the enemy base, but with all your curative items this won't be too hard. Finally you will meet Gares, who will rant and attack. He is only the first of three bosses.
With a White-affiliated spellcaster, those Wraiths protecting Gares will easily go down. Without one, use one of your Judgment cards. This will also severely hurt Gares. Your spellcasters should do the rest. He will probably pull off his EvilDead spell. As his HP nears 0, heal with one of your Empress cards.
Congratulations! You have finally killed Gares! But now, without a chance for you to heal out of battle, Rashidi appears. He rants at you and asks you a question. Respond with "YES".
Here he is, the cause of Empress Endora's madness and of the death of King Gran Zenobia. You've been itching to kill this guy since day one, and now you get to do it.
Basically, it's a question of "kill him before he kills you." He casts Acid spells, and they are very, very powerful. Heal after the first with an Empress card. If you have two Liches, they should provide enough magical firepower to bring him down. A Princess really helps. I mean really helps. A Judgment card would help too if you don't have a Princess.
After Rashidi dies, the ground will shake and Rashidi's true intentions shall be revealed. All along, he was resurrecting Diablo, the root of all evil in the universe (not stolen from Blizzard's game of the same name...I think). And now you get to fight him. Joy.
Meet the big man. Not only does he have the most HP of any unit in the game, he comes with two equally strong cohorts, whose class is also "Diablo" and who are nearly invincible.
First of all, if you're not at maximum health, heal at once with an Empress card. One of his cohorts will cast Quake, a spell that takes off, oh, about 150 points from every character in the unit. Diablo himself has the Death spell, which kills everyone in your unit (!!!), but fortunately misses often. Should it connect, bring up the menu, Retreat, use Revives, and attack again.
Now, how do you kill him? His two cohorts are completely invincible to nearly everything. Diablo himself is quite weak to physical attacks, but your melee fighters won't reach him. Use your Star card to increase your lifespan, and then use all the area-attack cards you have left. Heal after spells like Quake with Empress cards. Other than Death, Diablo can use a strong attack on one character (read: 130 points of damage).
Your Liches, boosted up as they are, should have no problem putting an end to the big man. They'll simply cast Acid for 100 points of damage per cast. So as you can see, with the appropriate preparations this becomes pretty easy...just try to prevent those Liches from getting killed first.
After killing Diablo, you'll see an ending. There are twelve endings in all. Whichever one you get depends on how many stages you completed, how many characters you recruited, and your reputation. You will also receive a Chaos Frame score based on this, as well as a corresponding Tarot card and the amount of game days it took you to win. As you can see, I got 100 pts., the World card, and it took me 158 days.
Thus ends the epic struggle known as Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. All is well and the world is once again spinning in greased grooves. Treat yourself to a cold one (soda, that is) and a day off. You have surely earned it by now!