Combo FAQ by psylense
Tales of Phantasia on SuperCheats.com
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Tales of Phantasia Combo Counter FAQ
by psylense
feel free to comment/contribute/ask questions/etc. at: 
burburburburbur *at* gmail (dot) com


Section 0: Introduction
Section 1: Acquiring the Combo Counter
Section 2: "Rules" of performing a combo
Section 3: Tips to performing a combo
Section 4: Bonuses associated with performing a combo
Section 5: Brief list of combo bonuses
Section 6: Calculating combo bonuses
           I. recursive representation
           II. explicit representation
Section 7: Acknowledgements




>>>>>>Section 0: Introduction>>>>>>

With the Phantasian Productions translation of the PS version of Tales of
Phantasia due sometime in the near future, I figure it was as good a time as
any to begin contributing some much needed FAQs for this version of Tales of
Phantasia.  Even though the (wonderful) Absolute Zero translation has been
around for some time now (which is the version I used to play through the game
to compiles these FAQs), I figure the new translation may bring a new influx of 
gameplayers to scour the GameFAQs repository for help.  While for the most
part, the SNES FAQs (for example, the fantastic one by JPuga) is more than
adequate to get you through the game, there are sufficient differences to merit 
the creation of a PS version to help address issues exclusive to the version on 
this platform.  I hope you enjoy and find this and other FAQs that I will be
posting helpful to you as you explore the game.  Feel free to contact me with
any questions or comments at the email address given at the top, next to the
place where a flashy-splashy banner/title would have been located if I had the
patience to make one.




>>>>>>Section 1: Acquiring the Combo Counter>>>>>>

In the Mines of Moria in the Past, you can find an item called the Combo
Counter in a treasure chest.  This tool allows you to gain bonus EXP after each 
battle based on the maximum combo length (i.e. the number of consecutive hits)
you are able to string together during the battle.




>>>>>>Section 2: "Rules" of performing a Combo>>>>>>

As mentioned above, a combo is a string of consecutive hits.  A combo does not
have to be performed by a single character; the attacks of all four characters
onscreen can (and for higher combos, will be needed to) contribute to a combo.
Stringing together consecutive hits is tougher than it sounds: for two
successive hits to be considered unbroken and consecutive, very little time can 
pass between them.  When the screen pauses (for example during the casting of a 
spell or a summon, such as during the Ifrit summon) no time elapses, therefore
all hits made during the this time counts as consecutive.  For example, if you
summon Ifrit and he attacks a single enemy, all 15 fireballs that land will
count as consecutive hits, and you will achieve a 15-hit combo.  On the other
hand, if Cless hits a stunned enemy, waits awhile, and hits him again, these
will not be considered consecutive hits; it doesn't matter the enemy was unable 
to retaliate during that time, merely that too much time elapsed between hits.
Thus successfully performing a combo requires the careful timing of spells,
attacks and/or summons to provide a seamless chain between one another.





>>>>>>Section 3: Tips to performing a Combo>>>>>>

Several spells/attacks/summons rain down a series of unbroken hits.  Most
notably are

Klarth's Ifrit (15 hits) & Pluto (~35 hits)
Arche's Eruption (extremely variable; ~5-20 hits), Ice Needle (5 hits), Stone
Blast (~5 hits)
Cless's Autumn Sandstorm (8 hits)
Chester (variety of attacks)
Suzu (variety of attacks)

Klarth and Arche should definitely have Mystic Symbols to reduce casting times. 
Stick with one of Klarth's summons or Arche's spells and practice timing
Cless's or Chester's attacks with the spells and/or summons to find out when to 
initiate each so that a seamless transition occurs.  Arche's Ice Needle and
Stone Blast are actually extremely useful because (unlike many other spells and 
all summons) these two spells occur without a pause in the action.  This means
it can be used to bridge the gap that normally occurs when Cless has finished
one set of attacks and is about to begin another while spells that pause the
action cannot do this.

Klarth's Pluto summons is also very valuable not merely because of the sheer
number of hits it performs but because each hit does such little damage.  If
you are trying to performing >100 hit combos, very few enemies actually survive 
being walloped 100 times unless you deliberately have failed to level up your
characters (which makes it very difficult to acquire Pluto in the first place)
or you deliberately give Cless a weak weapon; the low damage that Pluto causes, 
however, makes it more possible.

While Cless' Shining Strike also hits for quite a number of times, it pushes
the enemy away, which makes it hard to re-attack the enemy with Cless after his 
Shining Strike is finished.  Also, it takes too little time to execute; Autumn
Sandstorm takes so long that it can easily bridge the gap between two of
Klarth's Summons (with a Mystic Symbol).  The combined techs from the Ogi texts 
don't work well either; Autumn Sandstorm is always paired with something that
either will break the combo (both Phoenix Storm and Claw Storm have a gap in
their attacks that result in a break in the attack) or it is paired with
something that pushes the enemy away too far to easily attack again (Roaring
Strike, etc.)

Here's a couple examples of ways to string together consecutive hits:

Have Klarth cast Pluto; wait about 3 seconds and initiate Autumn Sandstorm.
(You will know you've done it right if Pluto appears just as or slightly before 
second hit of Autumn Sandstorm hits.)  Immediately after Pluto is finished
casting, recast it.  If done right, Pluto will reappear just after Cless
finishes Autumn Sandstorm and you will easily get an approximately 70 hit
combo.
  
Another very effective combo can be done with Arche and Cless and if done
correctly can be continued indefinitely!  Have Cless attack with Autumn
Sandstorm.  Have Arche wait to cast Ice Needles until between 5th and 6th hit
of Autumn Sandstorm.  If you do it correctly it'll hit right after Cless
finishes and should last the entire duration between attacks.  Have Cless
reattack with Autumn Sandstorm; it should pick up right after Ice Needles
finishes and you should be able to carry this out for as long as you can
maintain it!  Fireball and Stone Blast also work in theory, but I find them
less reliable, especially the timing of Fireball since it depends on Arche's
distance from the enemy.

Part of the fun is coming up with your own ways to chain together large numbers 
of hits consistently, and I will be happy to post (and acknowledge) anyone who
wishes to submit their favorite methods.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the Moria Mines in the Future (levels 10 - 
16, roughly) are a great place to practice and gain lots of experience.
Periodically you encounter just a single enemy, so you don't have to worry
about other enemies breaking your chain.  They also have very high hit points
and can endure quite a lot of abuse.  After you get the hang of it, you should
be able to string together 100-200 hits without too much difficulty.  Good 
luck!




>>>>>>Section 4: Bonuses associated with performing a Combo>>>>>>

Firstly, let me say that you get nothing but experience: there are no titles or 
what not to be had for performing over a 100 hit combo, for example.

In the next section below is a brief table illustrating the bonuses you are
most likely to receive throughout the game: from 1 to 20 hit combos.  Also are
a few notable milestones you may wish to shoot for.




>>>>>>Section 5: Brief list of combo bonuses>>>>>>


   1: 0  EXP       6:   39 EXP       11: 126 EXP       16: 264 EXP
   2: 5  EXP       7:   52 EXP       12: 150 EXP       17: 297 EXP
   3: 10 EXP       8:   68 EXP       13: 175 EXP       18: 333 EXP
   4: 18 EXP       9:   85 EXP       14: 203 EXP       19: 370 EXP
   5: 27 EXP       10: 105 EXP       15: 232 EXP       20: 410 EXP

30:  915 EXP      40: 1620 EXP      50: 2525 EXP      60: 3630 EXP
70: 4935 EXP      80: 6440 EXP      90: 8145 EXP    100: 10050 EXP



>>>>>>Section 6: Calculating combo bonuses (i.e. what, there's *math* in this
FAQ???)>>>>>>

Many people ask what the algorithm is for calculating what experience you'll
receive.  


>>>I. A recursive formula is given below:>>>


a{n+1} = a{n} + 2(n+1) - cos^2(n*pi/2)

Starting from a{2} = 5


where n is the number of hits in your combo and a{n} is the experience you
receive, and a{n} = x means that an n-hit combos gets you x experience points.
For example, a{2} = 5 means that a 2-hit combo gets you 5 EXP.  If your
trignometry is not very good, then cos^2(n*pi/2) is just a fancy way of writing 
"1" when n is an even number and writing "0" when n is an odd number.  So for
example, to calculate how much experience you get from a 3-hit combo


a{3} = a{2} + 2(2 + 1) - cos^2(2*pi/2)

     = 5 + 6 - 1

     = 10


This is a highly tedious way of calculating large values.


>>>II.A much easier way is using the explicit representation:>>>


a{n} = [n^2 + (n-1)/2]*[sin^2(n*pi/2)] + [n^2 + n/2]*[cos^2(n*pi/2)]


While this may look daunting, it isn't that bad.  Again, if your trignometry is
shaky, sin^2(n*pi/2) = 1 if n is an odd number and = 0 if n is an even number.
Conversely, cos^2(n*pi/2) = 0 if n is an odd number and = 1 if n is an even
number.  In other words, you are only dealing with one half of the equation for 
any given value of n, since the other is = 0.  So for example, if you want to
know how much experience you'd rack up for an 80 hit combo, plug in n = 80.

a{80} = [80^2 + (80-1)/2]*sin^2(80*pi/2)] + [80^2 + 80/2]*[cos^2(80*pi/2)]

Remember sin^2(n*pi/2) = 0 when n is an even number, and cos^2(80*pi/2) = 1
when n is an even number.  So the above simplifies to:

a{80} = [0] + [80^2 + 80/2]*1

= 6400 + 40

= 6440


You will notice that since the amount of EXP you get is proportional to the
square of the number of hits, the EXP value rises very rapidly.  Nevertheless,
further in the game, you receive such large amounts of EXP from your enemies
anyway that it hardly seems worth trying to rack up the combos.  Nevertheless
it's a fun little challenge that makes the long string of enemies you'll
encounter less tedious to fight.




>>>>>>Section 7: Acknowledgements>>>>>>

A huge thanks to the folks at Absolute Zero who translated the game into
English so that folks like myself could enjoy the game as well.

The Namco/Tri-Ace team get a major applause as well for creating an incredible
game that has stood the test of time.

It's easy to take for granted, but GameFAQs is really a unique place in the
sense that no other site comes close to compiling such a breadth and depth of
FAQs.  What they've achieved is amazing and we are all deeply indebted to them
for changing the face of strategy guides and gaming as we know it.