Part 13: Icy Environmentalism
"Over the river and through the woods, to seal the monster's lair "
"I kind of feel sorry for them this time, my Lord. They were relatively well behaved."
"Compared to those skulls, anything would be well behaved."
"It only took them three monster's lairs to figure out that straw huts were a bad idea. Amazing."
Not that only having one monster's lair left is a comfort when there's still more than 100 of the bastards in it. We're not dawdling on this one.
In the meantime, though, we've gotten our penultimate level. Final level up: 4600 population.
This is the message you get when the Bow power up runs out of juice.
"Uh Master? A little help, here?"
"Fine, fine. We'll just clean the entire place out while we're at it."
"Psst Angel don't look behind you "
"Oh? I pity the poor bastard who swam down there to get it. But thanks anyway."
"Master, what was that for? They just gave you a scroll!"
"You know these things usually come in pairs. Time for a divine shakedown!"
"There's no way "
"I found a strange jewel a few days ago, but didn't offer it to you, because I was so fond of it."
"And let that be a lesson to you, lest you be smoten again. See, told ya Angel."
"Truly the human heart holds no mysteries to you, Master."
"Huh, looks like they started on mansions early. Can't blaim'em, I wouldn't want to be out working the fields in this weather."
"Looks like that's the very last of them too bad, we still had a couple of bows to go through and now they'll just be clogging up the store room."
"Don't know how they're going to improve on log cabins up here, but it should be interesting to see what they come up with."
"Of course. You know, it's a tradition at this point."
"The mighty old tree is our symbol of Northwall. Simply gazing upon it stirs the emotions with us. Oh Master, please save our symbol of Northwall. Come down and drive the monsters away!"
"It's because it's a phallic symbol, isn't it? That's what all of this is about."
"It looks like they're doing some kind of choreographed dance outside the shrine to entreat you, my Lord."
"A musical number isn't going to make me move any faster."
"In fact, speaking of traditions it's about time for our regular destruction of all houses who have not obeyed my commandments about building codes."
"Stone houses? I guess that works, although they might want some shutters. Wait, is that ?"
"Yes Master, it's quite literally a bridge to nowhere."
"Either that or someone's going to try to climb that mountain, which should be hilarious."
After some waiting, they decided to stop about one population surge short of a level. At this point, we have no choice but to take action.
Before that, though, we have to pick up our last two offerings. The Source of Life is great the other not so much.
It's our fourth spell, and it actually pretty much sucks. It will never actually be used in combat, but I'll show it off just for the sake of completeness.
Magical Light, in all its glory. It's a great spell for clearing the screen of small annoyances, but less than useful on anything else. It can only really hit each enemy once, which means that for bosses or anything that takes more than three hits you're going to be burning through multiple charges. Aura or Stardust are much more efficient.
Instead, we'll be going with Magical Stardust from here on out. It's between this one and Aura, more or less, so it's just a question of personal preference. As a kid, I always went with this one.
Watch out for that tree!
The Yggdrasil Experiment (sorry about the sync, Youtube is a steaming pile.)
So, when they mentioned a mighty tree, they really meant it. This place is big enough that we can actually walk around on the branches.
The first area has enough eyes to make jumping and getting to the abundant treasures a difficult proposition. There's enough that you'll want to poke around before going into the actual tree itself through the holes in the floor. Just in this region there's a 1 Up, a Scroll, and 1000 points.
Directly to the right we can enter the tree and start exploring. It probably doesn't bode well for the health of the tree that it's mostly hollow on the inside.
With this being the last level, they still found time to introduce a new palette swap. The upgraded gold zombie throws axes in straight lines, and does so fast enough to have several in the air at once. Both types can whip out a shield to temporarily protect themselves, as well.
There's a tricky little loop you can make by going to the right and then dropping down to get treasure from a few branches before climbing back up again.
That includes a 500 point boost and the most welcome apple in the entire game. There's a lot of projectiles and cheap tricks in this one, so you're constantly losing life.
Another one up is a pretty good value too, since it's easy to die here. I didn't care so much when just taking screen shots, so I bit it a couple of times.
The final section of the tree has you riding these bubbles up the trunk. The green ones can continue going up indefinitely as long as you continue to jump up and down on them, while the blue ones will stop and burst as soon as any pressure is put on them. The cloud of greenish mist that you can see is a obstacle that will occasionally shoot out projectiles in four directions.
At the top of the shaft waits the Arctic Wyvern, the strangely beautiful final boss of Northwall. He's..kind of sad, actually. He has two main attacks: a charging swoop from one side of the screen, or shooting ice pellets that explode into shrapnel.
His unfortunate weakness of taking up half the screen while I have Magical Stardust, however, results in this outcome in very short order. Incidentally, the best way to hit him with this one is to let him start swooping in on you and activate the spell. He'll fly right into the shooting stars and take a ton of damage. Before we can properly start the victory march, however..
"What in all 9 hells is that, Angel?" It looks like Satan's asshole!"
"An apt and divine description, my Lord."
"Tanzra is under ground waiting for his final battle with the Master."
"You seem suspiciously well informed about this."
"All right. Let's go, Sir GodJesus to the haunted land, Death Heim!"
"Yeah, yeah, we'll get around to it. Back to Northwall for congratulatory offerings first."
"This better be good, after I went through all that trouble to save a damned tree."
"We can now carry on by ourselves. Thank you for taking care of us."
" That's it? Okay, Angel, we're done here."
Done except for our final level up. We've finally reached max, which is supposedly what we had before this whole sealing thing took place. This finally puts us on equal par with all the bosses we've been fighting for HP.
And with that, we've at max for all six cities. The theoretical maximum you can get for getting everything absolutely right is 4652, so we missed out on four buildings along the way. Fillmore could have gone up to 914 and Bloodpool could have matched Kasandora at 874. For the curious, those three items still on the table are Bombs that I decided not to pick up.
Next update: Final Battles and Epilogue