I love the look of the Temple of Fiends, it looks like an extraordinarily important location rather than the original where it just looked like the Castle of Trials again, a bit underwhelming. The white floor is a bit strange though, it makes it looks a little too much like Ice. I wonder what it would look like in brown to show a wooden floor? Just a thought in any case. As of now I feel it looks a Little too icy, though I imagine it may be because of shared palettes because it is an NES title.
Not to give too much away about the Temple, but the floor was chosen as that color because originally the Temple wasn't made of stone, but over 2000 years the substance would have probably left a very fine white powder as it broke down. I was really trying to make it look like grey sand on the floor, not so much like wood. I agree, the original Temple was a throwaway location until you had to come back at the end of the game. Half of the time I didn't even go back and open the sealed doors once I got the Magic Key during my initial playthroughs. The Present version of the Temple of Fiends I'm still playing with the colors and right now I think that I'm only using either 2 or 3 of the palettes available to me. This is similar to my work on the past Temple, although I still want to change it to alternate dimension or something because the present and past Temples look NOTHING alike. I am REALLY digging how the past version looks though and the final dungeon seems EPIC when you're playing through, not just ANOTHER shrine/castle you plod your way through.
You made Bahamut's Lair into a dungeon ala FFIV? Quite an interesting idea!
I actually didn't do this myself. My hack started out as one of Grond's early rebalance and bugfix roms. I liked how he'd already added some things like the run button, 5 letter names, multiple purchases of items, etc. Well, Grond made Bahamut's room B1 into an homage to some shrine or something from the DS version I think it was (too tired to look right now). Well, like I said, I wanted to do something different with the space's look, but not feel. I really tried to keep Grond's original layout of that room, but without the hedgemaze aspect that I felt was very plain. The location of Bahamut's/Grond's room is also NOT in Cardia a la what Grond had done already. That and I wanted to just go wacky with the color scheme. I initially was going to re-use the tile set from the Marsh cave, but when the Waterfall looked so good I wanted to re-use that one instead. I think it will look really cool if I'm able to make the moving tiles, and provided I get some sleep I'm going looking for Disch tomorrow for sure.
Does this mean that the Cardian Islands is all one large dungeon rather than various "dragon dwellings" as in the original?
Look a few posts above and you'll see images of Cardia. Yes, I decided to do away with the single room aspect and just make them all connected in some way. This allowed me to put treasures at the "poles" of the cave and make basically a home for summoned monsters like the Feymarch. Bahamut's room B2 still has Bahamut in it and is accessed via the original location of the B1 entrance. Again, check above and you'll see the reimagining of that as well. I really feel like the Reconstructed version comes off as more of a home for the friendly monsters rather than just some holes in the ground.
I hated the original Sunken Shrine as well, it has so little personality compared to the other elemental dungeons (Tunnel, Volcano, ...Castle again., Technologically Advanced Fortress) You have done a great job giving it a unique vibe!
I DESPISE THAT DUNGEON (as far as editing it goes). I agree, it was very bland with a LOT of wasted space. How many empty rooms did you originally go through to reach Kraken anyway? I know one of them was REALLLLLLLY long, unnecessarily so IMO. So what I did was I basically ran with the idea that the Sunken Shrine had sunk long enough ago that it had basically started to be absorbed by the ocean floor. I was originally going to make the floor look like sand, but for some reason I really liked the blue, especially in-game. I think that I am going to remove that RIDICULOUSLY long tunnel on B5 as well. I still want it to go back a bit, but not across the entirety of the damned map. Keeping that tunnel and making it bigger I'm sure is wasting all kinds of available data. Anyway, I thought that making the Sunken Shrine more of a maze that had different aspects of a shrine (like the bookcases and food shelves, tables etc) would help to tie it all together. I was really impressed with how good the red/pink coral looked on the walls. Like I said before, it didn't make any sense to me that the stone walls would even still exist as stone walls if the shrine had been on the sea floor for a long period of time. And if nothing else, Kraken probably used his magic to make the coral grow around the Shrine.
I've really tried to give all of the changes that I've made some sort of reason, even if I can only justify it in my head. If anyone wants to collaborate on a custom booklet for a cart version, with the background stories I've come up with illustrated, that would be cool. There is still a LOT that I want to do, but my main priority was pushing the graphics as far as I could, and I think I've at least approached the WonderSwan Color version with all of the color and detail. Honestly, there are times that I'm beta testing and I have to remind myself that I'm playing Final Fantasy NES and not one of the SNES games. I really hope everyone else enjoys playing the game as much as I have because I honestly love it more than the original at this point. The praise means a lot, for real.