Part 4: Fallen SanctuaryUpdate 4: The Colony of Brotherly Love
... which is two days since you watched that cursed videotape.
MUSIC: From Dusk til Dawn
A man takes a seat in the saloon in Little Twister.
There's something a little bit wrong with this picture.
Other stories in the Filgaia Times include...
SANDSTORMS HIT LAXISLAND
(citizens complain about a corrupt sheriff)
GEM THIEVES DO IT AGAIN
(a mysterious trader is roaming the wastes. His Breath Mints are very good but his fashion sense is debatable)
GOB GANG DRIVEN OFF
(celebrity news and gossip)
DRIFTERS DEFUSE HOSTAGE SITUATION
(pictures of fingerpainting from the Humphrey's Peak schoolhouse)
But Boone is only interested in one story.
The sacred artifact of Baskar, known as the [Ark Scepter], will be delivered via transcontinental train to Baskar Colony. This artifact is said to be capable of communicating with the powers that sustain the world. The transport of such a priceless artifact is sure to generate curiosity, especially among train robbers, as...
MUSIC: Long Days of Rest
Inside a house at the Baskar Colony, Boone finishes his preparations and goes to leave.
Heck, yeah... Those of priestly lineage must enter the priesthood, right? Well, not me. Why the heck do I have to follow some stale, old tradition? I'm gonna live freely. No one's gonna tell me what to do.
Well, you don't have to take the sacred artifact of Baskar with you...
The sacred artifact, Ark Scepter... It enables us to control and communicate with the powers that sustain the world... That's pretty darn amazing. If I could make use of that thing, then I'll have nothing to fear in the wasteland. But even if things don't work out, I can always sell it and live off the money for a while.
What's even greater would be to see Granny's jaw drop!
I do not understand you at all... But I do accept your decision. However, I will neither help you nor intervene in your affair.
By the way, where's that slow-witted granny of ours?
I have not seen her since this morning. Perhaps she's already at the altar, or...
Don't tell me the Southern Sanctuary!? Oh, man... Talk about bad timing... Just when I was about to head off there... That good-for-nothin' granny!
The name Shane is honestly the only reason I have to believe this is a boy. I mean, I've seen anime, I know what a "bishonen" is, but maaaan. I always get the impression there was a typo and none of the developers were sure about Shane's gender until a week before the game went gold.
... Anyway... Your decision still stands?
Shall I augur your future with my dream sight, Brother? You would like to know, wouldn't you?
Great, he's "psychic" too.
It's almost guaranteed that my future will be bright. It'd spoil all the fun if I knew how good it was going to be.
He starts to head for the door.
I'll be back with stories about what I see and experience on Filgaia. So, wipe that frown off your face.
Okay... Please take care...
Baskar Colony is the first town we've encountered. It's not much more than a collection of huts and some wandering NPCs. No shops or other useful services. On the upside, the "inn," Boone's house, is free to stay at.
Just like the real America, illegal immigrant robots do the work citizens won't - in this case saving your game.
There are a few NPCs wandering around too. Lets see what they have to say...
Why, if it isn't the Carradine boy... what pranks are you plotting today?
I find this... woman... scary. She seems to have the exact opposite of whatever it is Shane has.
Boone complains that she's treating him like a kid, and her response is she wouldn't have to if he wouldn't act like one.
You're next in line for the priesthood. You'd be working so much harder without your brother's help. Shane's doing all he can so that you can follow your dreams.
There are three things you'll need when traversing the wasteland: The strength to defend yourself, accurate information on your destination, and the search system.
This guy explains how to search the world map for locations. This is an annoying system first added in WA2 to make exploration more
It's actually vital that you talk to this guy, as without his sage advice Boone is completely incapable of looking around for stuff.
The consciousness known as the guardians protects our way of life in Baskar... No, it protects the entire world.
The Baskar people are pretty in tune with the Guardians it seems, and live to enforce their will. In return the Baskar get items called Mediums, which allow them to tap into the Guardian's powers.
Your medium is a materialization of the power of Schturdark, the Water Guardian. Befitting its watery nature, the medium takes on whatever form its user wishes. We Baskars take great pride in the fact that we are blessed with the guardian's powers. We do not know why you turn your back on their glory, spurring nothing but insults upon Baskar tradition.
Sadly this woman appears to be afflicted with some kind of brain damage. An apparent scripting error will force her to say this little speech right after what she's MEANT to say for the rest of the game, no matter how little sense it makes.
Inside the cave at the back of the colony, we encounter the source of Boone's woes.
So... I see you're back visiting the altar. Wonders will never cease...
I thought you had gone off to the Southern Sanctuary.
Well... Why? Is that where you're headed?
N-No! Not at all! Why would I want to go there? I was looking for you, Granny.
I see... So, what is it?
Uhhh... well... uhhh... O-One look at your bright smile made me forget what I was going to ask. I-I'll come back once I remember...
He flees from the old lady. Time to leave this dump...
MUSIC: Migratory Birds--Wandering Bird-Scoundrels
Ah, the open plain...
Your average world map, except that Baskar Colony is the only place you can go to at the moment. To get to other locations we need to do a few things.
1) Talk to an NPC and find out about the location. They'll typically give you rough directions and you'll hear a "pling!" sound when they mention it. This means the game has internally flagged the location as discoverable. We got this when we talked to Granny Halle.
2) Wander about in the right general direction mashing Square once you think you're near the right spot.
3) Fail to find the place you're looking for, and toddle off in completely the wrong direction pressing Square every few seconds to try and find this dump. This could take ten minutes or so.
4) Return to the spot where you think it should have been in the first place, and move a few steps to the left.
5) Discover an enormous stone tower standing in the middle of a dusty plain that anyone within fifty miles should have been able to see if they just raised their head.
To put it bluntly, the search system sucks. It's a nice idea that could have been salvaged by one thing... some kind of "hot/cold" mechanism to give you some idea of whether you're going in the right direction.
Since we're looking for the Southern Sanctuary, lets head due south and search next to the cliff face.
Hey, we found something!
This game hates me.
* The Southern Sanctuary lies farther south, past the mountains, between the sacred peaks of Zenom.
We need to head though the path that opens a little south-west to get to the sanctuary.
On our way, we find the coast. A melancholic sight - where there should be water, all there is is a sea of liquid sand. Dead, infested with gigantic creatures, and impossible to cross on foot.
No doubt there are endless arguments about where the beach ends and the sea begins.
Speaking of infestations, these things litter the area. While creepy looking, all they seem to do is glare at you and die after one hit.
Heading through the pass and searching in a small indentation in the cliff faces leads to the Fallen Sanctuary.
If you're like me and playing so that you can record or screenshot something, this is the point where you remember that you have to go back to the colony and talk to Cordell because Boone has to be told how to look for stuff.
MUSIC: This Chest, and Echoes of the World's Heartbeat
All right... get ready, Ark Scepter. 'Cause here I come.
I've got the power of Arcana in my medium. As long as I've got that, no ordinary monster here can stand up to me!
Arcana is the game's word for magic spells. Despite any assumptions you might make about him, Boone is actually the primary magic user in this party, and he's extremely effective at it.
Boone immediately follows his usual policy of not looking before he leaps, and leaps off a platform he can't climb up.
Fortunately this switch creates some stairs behind us so we can escape if need be...
The stairs in the middle of the room lead up to this open area, but it's boring up here.
Yeah, nothing of any interest here. Lets head back down.
Downstairs we encounter these little bastards.
Their sole attack is to backflip into your face.
Lets try something a bit more sophisticated, shall we?
OK, time to explain something. Time to explain Force Points. (FP)
At first glance you might think FP is exactly the same as the MP you see in so many other RPGS. It sometimes has a different name (Mana, Psi Points, energy...) but it always functions the same - you start with a full bar of it and spend it on special attacks.
FP is Different. It uses completely different rules.
At the start of battle, your FP is equivalent to your current level. Boone is currently level 3 and starts with 3 FP. The most FP you can ever have is 100 points. FP grows in a number of ways, depending on how you attack and are attacked.
Attack an enemy with your ARM: 6 FP, even if you miss. using Arcana to attack never builds FP.
Be hit by an enemy: 1 FP
Dodge an enemy's attack: 12 FP
Eat a Mini Carrot: 25 FP
You can use FP for a few different things. You've seen two of them already - the Gatling that Pearl used charges a certain number of points per shot fired. Billy's Accelerator uses a flat fee of 25 FP. (exactly the same as a mini carrot...)
All Force Abilities consume FP in this way. However, and this is important, Arcana does not.
The FP requirement for those Arcana is the minimum FP you need, but once you have that much you can spam it every turn from now until doomsday without running out of FP. FP also has other beneficial effects, as it provides scaling damage and defence buffs. At 100FP, your character will deal double damage and take half damage from attacks.
FP is a great system. It's an interesting balancing act - while it may be tempting to blow all your FP on those big hitters like Gatling, you have to take into account that this will stop you casting Arcana, and rob you of damage and defence bonuses, until you can build that FP back up again. It also keeps all your characters active and attacking even if they're low on FP as attacking is the most reliable way to gain FP, and ensures that you can never run low on "mana" and have to limp your way though an area with your spellcaster's effectiveness crippled.
But it's important to bear in mind that FP doesn't carry over between battles, so don't waste those Mini Carrots on nearly-dead enemies.
Anyway, text dump over. here's some Arcana in action...
Blub blub blub.
It would take several shots from Boone's ARM to defeat this thing, but Arcana can one-shot it.
Refrigerate is even more effective. The red numbers indicate that we hit this enemy's elemental weakness. Not every enemy has weaknesses, but using the Analyse arcana to find out if they do and then exploiting it to the hilt is recommended.
Since we defeated the enemies with water and ice arcana, we get water and ice gems.
Gems are fantastic, though the reason why won't really kick in until we have a full party. They are definitely worth the trouble to source though.
Short explanation - using a gem has the same effect as using an arcana, so using a Water gem casts Pressure.
Back to exploring. We head deeper into the Sanctuary.
I won't insult your intelligence by telling you how the door up ahead is opened.
A side room contains Boone's first tool. This snowman-shaped Freezer Doll shoots out a beam of freezing cold air.
Yeah... dolls. I don't quite get it either. I guess maybe they thought "shaman" and then thought "voodoo" and that led them to "dolls." I probably shouldn't think about this too much.
The dolls are more likely based on kachinas.
We get a chance to use the doll pretty soon. Pearl opened doors by lighting flames, Boone progresses by putting them out.
Same story, more flames in the next room. All you have to do is hold Square and rotate the stick - Boone spins on the spot and puts them all out with a shot of concentrated... coldness.
I hope you like block puzzles. This game has quite a lot of them.
The metal pressure pad lowers the raised platform, so drag the block onto it. The blue cross is a switch, which opens the door.
This pad opens the locked door, but it closes again once you step off the pad.
We can't get though here now, we'll need to get the morph ball first.
We've been here before - just stand in the middle, hold down the button for the Freezer doll, and rotate the l-stick.
With that gauntlet of simple puzzles completed, we finally come to the chamber with the scepter.
But as he reaches to take the scepter, Boone hears a strange noise.
Sheesh... This ain't the way to treat a future priest.
BOSS BATTLE: KESARAN PASARAN
MUSIC: Blood, Tears, and the Dried-Up Wasteland
Seems like there's some horrible beast guarding the Ark Scepter. Lets see what we're facing...
This is some kind of hazing ritual, right?
None of these things are difficult at all.
In fact my very first attack is a critical that kills one outright. Meanwhile they'll waste their turns either "Issuing Warning" or using very weak physical attacks called "Mission Accomplished."
The problem is, as soon as two of them are dead a third one will split, creating replacement Kesaran Pasarans. You will never be able to beat these guys with single target attacks.
Split into two!? I knew something was up with those crazy balloons.
Well then, I have a trick up my sleeve, too!
Boone's Force Ability, Extension, is awesome. All Arcana are single target only, but Extension makes them effect entire groups. You can extend a Heal to heal everyone, extend a shield to cover everyone, or attack all enemies in a group with one Refrigerate. The downside is it costs 25 FP to use.
By the way, something I ought to clarify. Characters have their own special force abilities like Accelerator and Extension, but all characters have access to Gatling. That's not specific to Pearl.
These guys are weak to water, so we'll use Pressure on them.
It's super effective.
This is seriously one of the very best abilities, and one that will form the basis of a lot of different tactics.
Well, this can only mean that the Ark Scepter is mine for good. All's well that ends well.
Ark Scepter in hand, Boone heads back to the exit.
MUSIC: From Beyond
Gimme a break! Another trap to repel thieves, huh? Hmm...
I'm an up-and-coming candidate for priesthood! Treat me like this and you'll be sorry! Hey, you listening?
Shh! Your cries for help will be heard outside.
Aw... come on Brother. Who were you crying to?
I knew it! You're a bishonen which probably makes you the bad guy! You're here to kill me and take the scepter for yourself, leading to an epic plot where you sow seeds of chaos all over the land and have a final battle where you turn into some kind of angel, all in the name of some bizarre ancient god who you believe is your real mother!
Shane! I knew I could count on you! You must have seen vile premonitions of your big brother in mortal danger, right?
Of course not. I know you well enough to know that you'd slip up somewhere.
... or maybe you're just here to help.
Hmm... I don't like your attitude, but I'll let it slide.
Golly, Brother... I'm really stumped. We'd better start with what we can do now, and think of a way to get you out.
Oh, that's right... I've heard about a trial where the aspirant must retrieve the Ark Scepter in order to be ordained. Basically, they have to think and act like priests if they want to survive the perils inside.
"Granny went over every step of the entire thing in detail with us, but I think you were busy with your Yu-Gi-Oh cards at the time..."
OK... OK... think and act like a priest? Hm... well, there's always
That doesn't work. OK, maybe we should try this thing out.
* Boone focused his thoughts upon the Ark Scepter. He felt a great presence begin to speak directly into his mind.
"Gather your strength and leap past the barriers before you."
"Walls may tower over you. If you with to penetrate them, you must first push the limits of your mind."
Also, why the hell is Boone carrying around a picture of Pearl's father?
I guess this is here so the candidate can show that he's got what it takes to be ordained.
Easier said than done. Hey, you're not hoping I'll bail you out, are you? I just can't. No matter how bad it gets, nobody can do more than they're capable of.
No, no! I'd never ask you for that.
I'm thinking of something different... An efficient, yet comprehensive escape plan.
Then tell me.
(Dangit! He called my bluff.) You see, uh... We're fortunate because we've still got each other.
Fortunate? In my case that's not a good thing at all.
Just hear me out. We're just lowly apprentices right now. We're only half way to getting ordained. And also... There's two of us, right? The two of us are only half way to being real priests, right?
And even though the two of us are only half way, with both of us together we're all the way there, right?
There you go, trying to talk your way out of things again. But still, putting our power together might be worth a shot. I don't expect much, though.
We ain't got a choice, Shane. Come on, help me out here. We have to overcome this together.
Listen Shane. I'm going to be a Drifter. I want to be free. I want to be a Drifter, wings flapping against the winds of lineage and destiny. I'm sorry. I have to leave you to take care of Granny. So if you'll forgive me for that, I won't ask for your help anymore. Only then, will I...
Brother, hush a moment. Just a little longer... Just a little more and I can help you.
I must grow stronger so that you can wander freely, without worrying whether I'll be okay. Because that's the only way I can help you...
Shane... Thank you!
GUARDIANS: Guys, guys... what part of "leap past the barriers" didn't you understand?
Whatever. It seems the gods actually bought Boone's made up brotherly love bullshit.
MUSIC: From Dusk til Dawn
And now another Ark Scepter is on it's way on a train? It just doesn't make any sense. So is this the real one? Or the one on the train...? Well, I guess I'm gonna have to get both to know for sure.
(the destination was Freedom. It's printed on the ticket)
When I made my test post I called Boone dumb, and was quite rightly called on it. He's not dumb, just reckless and impulsive. He's probably my second-favourite character overall, especially given his prodigious flexibility in battle.
Next time: the last of the prologues.
Bonus Video: Youtube
In this video, we fool about on the world map, count our FP, see some really basic puzzles and fight the boss.
Oh, and I'm still getting those weird e-mails. I don't seem to be able to block them.
FROM: A Day A Day (email@example.com)
SUBJECT: Children's Day
Today is May 5, Children's Day. Children get to go to amusement parks and get lots of gifts today. Maybe that's why Mother told me I'm already a grown-up now...
FROM: A Day A Day (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SUBJECT: Buttercream Day
Today is May 6, Buttercream Day. The venomous color of old buttercream is said to be proof of it taking in radio waves and releasing toxic waves. Maybe that's why I get heartburn when I eat cheap buttercream. I sort of liked that gooey taste, but too bad.
FROM: A Day A Day (email@example.com)
SUBJECT: Gene Day
Today is May 7, Gene Day. Wouldn't it be nice if we can write in all the stuff we learn into our genes and pass it on to the next generation? That way we can continue remembering our holidays over two generations. They say why do today what you can leave for tomorrow, right?
Frankly, I'm starting to get a little worried.