Shin Megami Tensei 4: How to Beat the Medusa
This hub is going to talk about how to beat the Medusa in Shin Megami Tensei 4. She is the second main boss of the game and is fought at the bottom of Naraku. The Medusa has carved out her own little niche where she turns people into statues for her future viewing pleasure. You have to fight her to get out of Naraku and I consider her a fierce step up from the Minotaur. She can easily wreck your team several times even if you know what you're doing, just based on her attack patterns.
So, read on and see how you can defeat her!
Here's a helpful table listing the Medusa's relevant stats, such as total hit points (HP), weaknesses and strengths, and attack list.
Attack List (not including basic attack)
Resists Gun, Drains Electricity, Nulls Light/Dark, Weak to Force
Resists Poison/Panic/Sick/Bind/Sleep, Nulls Lost
Snake's Fangs, Rapid Needle, Tathlum Shot, Zionga
Let's Talk Strategy - Tips and Tricks
If the Minotaur was the brick wall in the player's path, the Medusa is the defensive turret atop the brick wall. You have proven that you can adapt to the Press Turn system. Now, can you fight a boss that relies on multiple elements? You have to answer yes to win this fight.
- What makes Medusa so dangerous is her heavy use of Gun-type abilities at a time where there is no way for the protagonist to get Gun resistant body armor. The best you can do is wear Mikado Black to gain Electricity resistance, but Zionga is only one out of her five possible attacks.
- You're going to want as many party members as possible with Zan to exploit the Medusa's solitary weakness.
- Do NOT bring any demons along with Gun weakness. It's not worth the grief (been there, done that). You'll spend crucial protagonist turns using Revival Beads/Leaves to bring them back and that's not good. Besides, you're feeding Medusa free Press Turns. I died multiple times before deciding to grind out another protagonist level for better fusion possibilities.
- A detailed analysis of the strategy guide leads me to believe that there are NO demons that you can get or fuse by the time you're 15 (assuming no levels in the appropriate Fusion app to get effective bonus levels for that) that have Gun resistance (I really like Suparna at 15 for having Null Electricity and Bind Resistance though).
- At this point, you pretty much need a demon with Media (all the better if your protagonist has it, but mine didn't get it till a little later). The ability to heal the entire party in one Press Turn is a huge advantage in terms of action economy. This is without mentioning the fact that Rapid Needle will tear your team a new one in a hurry if you're still relying on Dia.
- As mentioned with the Minotaur, the pair of Suku- spells are godly. At this point, your protagonist should have at least one of Sukunda or Sukukaja (I prefer Sukukaja myself as I like to have my protagonist buff rather than debuff, but that's personal taste). You should also have demons with buffing spells such as Rakukaja.
- I never really mentioned this in the Minotaur hub, but you want to keep your party healed up. Your protagonist has no Gun resistance at all (and Elec Resist at best), and you might be running with demons that also have no Gun resistance. You will be taking a lot of punishment (although less so once you've applied the relevant buff and debuff spells) and you want to make sure you don't take a party casualty on a stray attack.
General Battle Flow
The Medusa fight is rather similar to the Minotaur fight in that it can become quickly unwinnable if she gets the upper hand before you have a chance to buff up your party's stats and debuff hers. Also like the Minotaur fight, you'll want to get the first turn. Medusa's three Press Turns are a bit too much if she comes out aggressively out of the gate:
- Turn 1: Zan for bonus Press Turns on party members without buffing/debuffing spells. You'll want to get Sukunda stacks on Medusa and Rakukaja stacks on your party, up to the maximum of three castings each, as soon as possible. This will lower her accuracy and decrease her damage. (On a similar note, you'll want to use Tarunda if one of your demons has it to lower her attack once you have stacked Sukunda).
So, what can we expect from Medusa on her turn? First, let's check out her attack list:
- Snake's Fangs is a Gun-type skill that deals about 40-60 damage per shot and can inflict Bind. Bind-resistant/immune demons will be useful in your retinue, but your protagonist won't have any way to resist the Bind effect himself, so be mindful of that. It shoots a random number of times on random targets, so you can luck out and get hit once or get hit up to three times (not nice).
- Tathlum Shot is another Gun-type skill that deals close to 100 damage per shot, but only hits one target. This is generally survivable, but is still unpleasant, especially if it hits your protagonist.
- Rapid Needle is Medusa's third and last Gun-type skill and the one she'll start using more often as she loses HP. It hits your entire party with a single Gun shot for about 60-80 damage each. This is the main reason you do not want to have demons in your party that are weak to Gun attacks. She has nothing against chaining this with Snake's Fangs once she is substantially weakened and wiping out your entire party in a heartbeat if you let her.
- Zionga is Medusa's outlier skill. She will use it roughly once per two turns. It deals about 80 Electric damage to the target.
- Finally she has her regular attack, but that's really the least of your worries unless you're hauling around a demon who is weak to Physical attacks (why?!).
With all of that said, she usually starts with Snake's Fangs and then follows up with either two regular attacks or a regular attack and one of Zionga or Tathlum Shot. Your course of action will vary depending on whether you lose any demons (or maybe even your protagonist) or not. Your party needs to stay at full strength at least until you can get Medusa fully debuffed. Then, you can start replacing any losses with demons from your stock.
A Samurai's Companion
So, who's the best companion for this boss fight? Definitely Jonathan by a land-slide, for the same reason Isabeau was so awesome in the previous boss fight (he can cast Zan, so he can do more damage on his single turn than either of your other companions can). At least there's no handicap companion (as in a companion that will probably target the Medusa's immunities, possibly giving her a Smirk bonus) this time around.
Like the Minotaur before her, the Medusa will interrupt the fight at three points to talk. Two of the times have choices and the third is a desperation line she will say when at exceedingly low health.
(When Medusa is roughly at around 70% HP) - Medusa will ask you your opinion of her garden of statues.
Answering that you think it is beautiful will cause the Medusa to relax her guard and lower her Attack by one stage, as per a casting of Tarunda.
(When Medusa is roughly at around 40% HP) - Medusa will concede defeat and ask the protagonist to look straight into her eyes to confirm this truth.
Giving her a sideways glance will unnerve her and reduce her Defense by one stage, as per a casting of Rakunda.
When the Medusa is almost dead (about 20% HP left), she will go on a minor rant about the party being more of "Tayama's dogs", and Isabeau will question whether the Medusa is losing her mind due to being unable to defeat the Samurais.
Here are some demons that work well against Medusa:
- Erthys - Has Elec Drain. He's tricky because he's a member of the Element race and requires two Jirae (there are other possibilities, but I'm only certain of this one) to be fused together. That means you'll need to fuse a Knocker with a Dwarf in order to have one by the time you fight Medusa. Erthys starts at level 8 and has pretty much no useful skills, so you'll need to fuse them in from his parent demons.
- Suparna - Awesome Avian race demon. As mentioned previously, Suparna is Bind-resistant and Nulls Electricity. He also has Rakukaja and Media out of the gate, which are both useful and recommended for this fight.
- Shiisaa - The lowest leveled member of the Avatar race at 14 and actually pretty darn useful in this fight...if you know how to fuse him. According to the fusion chart, one way to fuse Avatars is Night x Beast. This essentially means Mokoi x Gryphon. I personally didn't realize this until recently and am still kicking myself for not fusing one of these critters for the Medusa fight. Why? Well, Shiisaa resists Electricity and Force and nulls Fire and Light, while being weak to Dark attacks. He actually has a really nice spread of resistances for such a low-level demon and will serve you well long after most other level-equivalent demons would outlive their own usefulness.
- Strigoii and Gremlin are honorable mentions for their Elec Resist.
Were you (your protagonist character) Under or Over Leveled for this Battle?
The Medusa is your last roadblock before you get out of Naraku and forces you to adapt your demon allies to meet her challenge. While only a level higher than the Minotaur, she is easily much harder thanks to the fact she can target Gun and Elec weaknesses with her attack list. However, a well thought out demon party will carry the day!
Feel free to post your own strategies for beating the Medusa in the comments section, as well as demons you prefer for the task and why. Or, just feel free to talk about the game as well (try to limit spoilers).
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)