Okay, this is a fairly image-intensive update. I'm gonna risk exploding the page again; hopefully this will generate enough responses to hit page 3 before we move on to the next update.
I'll fix it if there's an issue. No worries.
: So, somebody think of something!
: Chongara has good idea.
: What is that?
: Uhhh...I no can tell you.
: Hey, Gogen. I tell you. Listen big.
: Uh...wow...that's really quite good!
: How good is "really quite good?"
...I...I'm going to have nightmares the rest of my life.
I've long had a theory that Hemo-Jis came from some amateur spriter fucking around with 32 bit graphics, and they just figured out a way to work those assets into the game.
: Oh, great apologies!
: Call line on ship not work well.
: Big sad mistake, eh? But, it was not fault of mine, no?
Guard: I do not need your life history. Show me your papers!
Chongara strikes some pretty entertaining poses throughout this exchange, actually.
Guard: Your identification paperwork! You know, passports?
: You are rude man with bad respect, eh? You know who he is?
Guard: ? ? ?
: You tell him, tell him.
: This is Don Gava Hemochan, Prince of Clarph!
Guard: Clarph? You're the Prince of...Clarph?
: It is all true, yes.
Guard: But...I've never even heard of the Kingdom of Clarph...
: Simpleton! Just because you are steeped in ignorance, are we all to suffer?
Guard: Hey! There's no need for that! I mighta just forgot...
: You sure to have heard King Nodesked of Clarph! He is biiig famous.
Guard: Nodesked...that sounds more familiar, yes. I think I've heard of that.
Guard: But who are these people with you? Do they have papers?
: Have you never seen official delegation? These attendants of Prince!
...Syrg, hold me.
The grin on... Arc? Second from the left, whoever it is, that one's pretty fucked up.
: Yes. Yes. Official business!
: We hear King of your country died in big problem. We come to give official comfort, eh?
Guard: Oh, then I'm afraid you're too late. The funeral was 3 days past.
: Eh? Come once more?
: Am I to understand that the funeral has already taken place?
: Oh no! It is big problem for us! We come all this way for nothing, eh?
: Well, having come this far, we should at least pay our respects at the grave.
Guard: Very well then. Carry on.
: What did you say, m'boy?
: He say "carry on," I think.
Guard: We would not want to disappoint delegates from Clarph. Please pay your official respects.
: We should hurry, eh?
: Yes. Yes. We're already 3 days late, so there's no time to waste in righting this faux pas. Hurry...hurry!
All: Hemo, Hemo--!!
This transcription might not be perfectly accurate, since neither names nor portraits accompany most of the text. THIS MAY NOT EVEN BE ARC'S PARTY. D: I think the translators got confused as well, since I'm pretty sure one of Gogen's lines was written in Chongara's voice.
Now that we've sat through the longest, most inane conversation in the game, it's time to... do whatever it is we're supposed to do next. I'm not entirely sure it was actually explained. We've got five stones, now what? Do we throw them at each other?
: I never imagined I'd have to sneak into my own village one day.
: I never thought I'd be fighting to save the world with a pair of cymbals, either.
And let's be honest here. Could ANYONE ELSE in this party pull that off? No.
: Yes, but even though our gifts are very different, we have almost achieved our goal.
: Enough talk. I'm nervous. Let's get this over with before I back out...
: It is time to take hold of our collective destiny.
: Yes, yes! Let's get moving, while the cover of night shields us.
"We need some private time, if you catch my drift."
Yeah, you only think I'm joking.
: You wait here while we extinguish the Flame.
: I know it's silly, but I'm worried about you...
: If we don't return within an hour, come for us.
: Good luck.
: Thanks. We'll be back soon.
: ...and once it is extinguished again, we shall have reached the end...right?
Don't ask me, I've been confused as to what the overall purpose of this adventure was since the beginning.
: Oh, Kukuru...
"Well, here we are, mere seconds away from saving the world."
"Wanna make out?"
: If only we could live in this moment forever. I can't imagine what my life would be apart from you...
: We have a duty to fulfill, and the time is now. You know what you must do.
Ark Ghoul: Your foolish course shall soon be apparent to all!
Ark Ghoul: For once I have slain you, the bonds which have held me for 3,000 years shall be broken forever!
Ark Ghoul: I shall wait for you at the Ark, for I know that you will not deny your date with destiny.
...Um... When did the Ark Ghoul become a pussy?
It looked down from the mountain, and saw Poco.
Then it ran.
: Something happened. Let's go!
: We need to hurry, or it'll be too late!
: Wait for Chongara!
: We are right behind you!
: Well, you don't think you're going to leave me behind, do you?
: Perhaps extinguishing the Flame unsealed them, as well?
: Well, regardless of how they got here, we have to fight our way through them to get to the Ark before time runs out!
: Hold on! We'll be up to help you as soon as we can!
Now this is an interesting battle. On the top end we have Arc and Kukuru, and on the bottom side we have everyone else, gradually fighting their way up. Arc and Kukuru have their own share of baddies coming towards them that they have to hold off, and it's something of a challenge just to keep them alive... at least until you realize that it's not just them on the battlefield anymore, and you can go ahead and let them die from neglect while the REAL party takes care of the rest of the enemies. (Of course, if you went by the powerleveled-Arc method, it would be the other way around.)
And it was glorious.
The battle was kind of slow and I'm out of moves to show off, so I didn't take many screenshots of this one. It mostly consisted of Tosh's one-hit K.O.'s, with Poco cleaning up what was left behind. Here's a cool snippet of Tosh's critical hit, though.
He throws his sword in the air, outright socks the enemy in the face, then catches his sword again before it lands. It's a bit hard to see the blade against the snow, but you can see the handle floating above him there.
: We need to get down the mountain as fast as possible. The Ark Ghoul has been unleashed, and is waiting at the Ark in Sabatico Falls!
Another one-on-one, maybe? Let's see what--
Oh what the HELL THEY CAN MULTIPLY.
There's something like seven or eight of these things, in a red variety and a green variety. They all have over 200 HP, and most characters don't really do squat in terms of damage to these things; the Ghouls, however, have dual lasers.
This fight is actually the lone encounter to give me real trouble with the Arc-alone philosophy. These sons of bitches gang up well when it's down to one person.
I was going to make more screenshots of this particular battle since it seemed to be interesting; however, I failed to do so the first time around on the assumption that I wasn't even going to survive. Then, interestingly enough, the Ghouls all gathered in one place and took out party members while Poco used Atrophy Horn on them, and I actually ended up winning that way. So I don't really need screenshots to get that across, just picture exploding gray balls landing on demons over and over. Here's all you need to know from that battle:
Poco is an American hero.
You can't see me, but I'm throwing up a gang sign. DRUM CORPS FOR LIFE, YO, toughest niggas in the 'hood.
It's at this point that Arc asks if we want to continue, or turn back. He said we're running out of time, but of course this is an RPG, which means that we can leave and spend a few days level-building without any worry of things going awry back here. I'd like to get the party to a more reasonable level to make the next battle more interesting than the last one, so we do just that. See you later, world savior; Arc and Kukuru need to tongue-wrestle some more.
[half an hour later]
Oh yeah, there is ONE move I still need to showcase. Remember Rai-jin and Fu-jin?
Like Chongara's other summons, they only have one move each. However, most of the time it's not even available for use. It's kind of confusing. So what do you need to do to unlock it? Well, I can't remember HOW I figured this out (I think through sheer luck), but the move makes itself available whenever those two summons, specifically, are standing on opposite sides of an enemy. This is because it's actually a combo move shared by the two genie-things, much like those badass techs in Chrono Trigger.
Fu-jin blows up a tornado to lift the enemy into the air...
...and Rai-jin uses lightning to slam the enemy back to earth.
This move takes a while to set up, since it requires two different characters to work in coordination without the enemy moving away in between turns. So why would you want to use it?
Granted, no enemy in the game actually has nearly that much HP except maybe one . Usually a single hit from Tosh will do them in. But it feels good when people work together.
This is also how I ended up killing Ark Ghouls. Have them focus on whatever comes their way and occasionally meatshield them so Arc can heal.
[half an hour later]
There's a reason why we're level-building in Zariban Desert. Well, aside from the fact that it contains the highest-level enemies that are easily available. I kind of explained this already, but when you defeat a certain number of monsters in the desert, you can return to the Water Guardian to receive a prize. Each time you get a prize, the next available prize changes, as does the number of enemies you need to defeat to get it.
I never realized this until now (since I never checked a guide before), but apparently the enemy count resets when you return to the Water Guardian, so you need to make sure you defeat a lot before returning to him. With savestates, this becomes easy to check through trial and error, so we finally pick up what has been an elusive prize for me up until now.
Poco's final instrument.
Water Guardian: This trumpet causes astounding damage to the typical monster.
: Thank you. That's very generous. (Ooo... I can't wait to try it!)
Neither can I, so here we go.
...It's... Atrophy Horn... but red... and it only hits one enemy (as of level 2). Oh well, that's disappointing.
It continues to only hit one target at level 3. At least it's cheaper, MP-wise, if memory serves.
Not to worry, we still appreciate this as obsessive-compulsive completionists. And we really needed the level-building. Now everyone's level 40 (except Chongara, because let's be reasonable here), which should provide an easier, more well-rounded fight over at the Ark. Back to Sebatical Falls!
The Power Stones fit snugly into nonexistant wedges on the side of the Ark.
The Ark: I am here to lend my power to those pure of intent.
The Ark: The purity of your hearts must be determined before my blessing is bestowed upon you.
The Ark: You must first battle the manifestation of your inner conflict to purify your souls.
The Ark: Only then shall you be deemed worthy...
...Say what? I thought we were about to go after some more Ark Ghouls.
Pop quiz! Will this battle be more akin to
a) The Secret of Mana mirror image battle, where they were like regular enemies?
b) The Cecil mirror battle of Final Fantasy IV, where you have to avoid attacking yourself to win?
c) The 7th Saga "ally" battles where their level matches yours?
The correct answer is none of these, because none of these battles contained massive boulders in the background that would spiral about at 3,281 MPH in order to distract you.
Also, this is so hilarious that it's infinitely cooler than all of the above. The AI is such shit.
OKAY LET'S DO THIS
The two Toshes trade blows!
The two Arcs trade blows! (Real Arc does 3 damage. I've completely failed at this game)
You kinda did.
I send Tosh over to take out Evil Gogen straight away because I'm afraid of what he'll do to me.
The two Kukurus trade blows! Exotic and thrilling!
The two Pocos trade blows! Oh no wait, Evil Poco uses Slow Bass, because he's apparently retarded.
If the real one's a badass, then his alternate has to suck. It's physics!
Evil Iga's massively muscled eyelids blind him, making him hit Tosh instead of Real Iga, and...
Tosh is down for the count. Sigh.
Real Arc, Kukuru, and Iga try out some of their mad skillz, to minor effects. Also notice Evil Chongara is hiding in the corner. This AI is really sad.
Real Poco comes in with Atrophy Horn, taking out Evil Arc, Kukuru, and Tosh AT THE SAME TIME. (Granted, they were already weakened, but come on.)
That's my boy!
Gogen uses level 3 Window Slasher on Evil Iga. This has less of an effect than I would've liked.
I don't really have anything for Chongara to do so I summon the Mofly for the hell of it.
Evil Poco uses... Speed Ocarina? What the hell?
Evil Iga turns Gogen into... a flower. Awww.
Arc, Kukuru, and Iga whittle down Evil Iga with skills, but once again, it's Poco that deals the finishing move. (With Cheer Trumpet. Why not make use of it once?)
Evil Poco uses... Slow Bass again? Does he even HAVE attack instruments?
That's for being stupid.
I don't know why, but this image/caption have me cracking up.
Real Poco shows Evil Poco how it's done.
After that it's just a matter of finishing off Evil Chongara, who continues to refuse to attack. He just throws items at us, most of which don't seem to actually do anything.
He will ALWAYS DO THIS. I'm not kidding.
And so ends the thrilling inner conflict within us all. End results?
And there's our surprise plot twist: Poco is actually the best character in the game. I really thought it would be Tosh. Oh well, what's done is done, and now I must repent for all the fat jokes I made before he comes and destroys me with his giant gray balls.
I have to admit, Tosh is handy. But Poco is a fucking tank. It just works so well.
I got to the point where, in Arc II/Arc Arena, an Arc/Poco team, or even one or the other, by the end, could kill anything in three turns or less. It's fucking impressive.
Apparently the Ark missed the results screen.
Poco doesn't have a silly enough name to be chosen. I figure if Dad names you after the thing, you get to be chosen by it.
The Ark: This is not the birth of some power new to humanity. That which can save mankind is the same as from time immemorial.
The Ark: The powers of love, trust, and hope, have always been here to protect this land.
The Ark: But the power of these were forgotten as humanity grew apart from nature. Eventually, the way itself was lost.
The Ark: Arc, pure of heart, and full of noble intent, the treasure of The Ark has always been here.
The Ark: The trials you endured to gather the Power Stones were a test designed to prove to yourself the strength of your intent.
Oh, thanks a LOT. I guess climbing a mountain during a blizzard and standing up to a demon that could kill me in one hit wasn't enough.
I'm pretty sure you can't claim to have "stood up to it" when it bitch-slapped you and you almost died in the snow.
The Ark: Now that you have erased the doubt from your heart, you can work to unlock the power of love in all humanity once more.
The Ark: Once that is accomplished, the power of good radiating from humanity will be gathered into the Ark, preventing the return of Darkness.
Um... are our faces about to melt off?
The Ark: Receive now the power to complete your mission, Arc.
He can now glow in the dark.
Kukuru received Divine Power.
The Ark: This world has been sickened by the greed of humanity. The beast realm feeds on this greed and dark desire.
The Ark: But both man and beast will perish without your help, Arc.
The Ark: This is not the end of your journey, Brave Warrior, but rather, the beginning.
The Ark: You must use the power you have gained and the knowledge you have gathered to return humanity to balance with nature.
The Ark: However, now that the Ark is unsealed, the Dark One will intensify efforts to stop you.
The Ark: It would be wise for Kukuru to remain in Seirya to maintain the seal holding the Dark One.
Yaaaaaay, she's out of the party!
The Ark: Arc, lead the people of this land and help them return this land to the place their forefathers knew...
Earth Guardian: At last, you have come to understand the meaning of your destiny, Arc. Do not fail us.
Water Guardian: Your efforts have opened my eyes to the good in humanity again. I await news of your success!
Wind Guardian: You have arrived at a crucial crossroad for our world. Bear the load with dignity and you shall succeed.
Fire Guardian: We shall be watching as you call on the power you have been granted to right the pain of this world.
Light Guardian: Thanks to your efforts and the efforts of your companions, a bright future may finally be possible.
Light Guardian: However that promise is fragile, indeed...you must act quickly to see that is comes to pass.
...To see that is... Wait, what? I believe they've finally cliched themselves into complete grammatical nonsense.
It's at this point we're offered to save the game. There's no adverse effect to this, if you load it'll just drop you off to where you were before the battle. It just lets you keep any experience and items you got in the battle, and confirms that you've finished the game so you can carry the data over to Arc the Lad II.
Oh yeah, that was the final battle. We just beat the game. Thought I was kidding on the last Up Next, didn't you?
: You shall not live to see it, if I have my way!
Andel: Tut, tut. If you wish to live to see another sunrise, I would suggest you reject any... foolish impulses.
The lone thing that pissed me off about this ending is that I kept going "But my party COULD kill all of them! LET ME TRY GODDAMNIT, WHERE'S MY STORY BATTLE".
Andel: Get in there and search the cave! I want that Ark recovered in one piece!
Soldier: Yes, sir!
Andel: Very good. Now, take them!
: You shall not take me alive!
: Tosh, NO! This is not the time...
Andel: That's better. Perhaps Arc knows that we yet hold the villagers of Touvil in our prison.
Andel: His level head may have saved his mother's life...
Andel: Or, perhaps it didn't. Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah.
This isn't going very well.
: Why does the ground shake?
: Waahh! I...don't like this!
: And so, it begins once more...
: The Shrine is rising as the seal weakens...the Dark One comes...
SOLDIER GUYS IN WEIRD CLOTHING NOOOOO
: We have less time than I thought! We must leave...NOW!
: Find the shrine Gogen spoke of and do our best to contain the power of the Dark One!
: I'll do my best here in your absence. Good luck, Arc!
: ...I shall see you soon. Farewell!
Smooth, Arc. Is that how you speak to all girls you've shown absolutely no signs of having an attraction to before up until you suddenly kiss them instead of saving the world and then abandon them like your father did before you?
Father knows best, I suppose.
Ooh. This is some N64-quality shit right here.
Something incredibly blurry bursts out of the ground!!
As our heroes look back on all that's happened, Poco attempts to find his ass with both hands.
Warrior: Unfortunately, Arc and his companions are nowhere to be found, thus far.
Warrior: Once the ground began shaking, all hell broke loose up there.
Warrior: A rock tower just jutted up from the rift in the ground! It's chaos.
Andel: And so, the prophecy's fulfillment begins as the tower reappears...
Andel: Soldier! Cease your search for the present.
Andel: There are precious few places for them to hide. They shall be mine...eventually.
Andel: Heh, heh, heh...
Andel: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!
It's not my fault the shot is this crappy, they decided to take something that could've easily been demonstrated with the game engine and recorded it in what appears to be low-quality MPEG format.
All aboard the crazy train!!
I'm going to pretend Poco's making faces at her.
Bitch, you just got hosed.
So, here's what we accomplished in this game: We ran around the world aimlessly and got yelled at by omniscient beings, we made the main characters into the most wanted men alive, we let the ultimate power get into the villain's hands, we caused some evil tower to pop out of the ground and create an earthquake that probably killed more than a few innocents, and we dropped some girl off somewhere to fend for herself while she keeps Satan at bay. Let's see if we can't improve on this situation!
But c'mon. That's a pretty fucking ballsy way to end it, you must admit. The entire game was you fucking up so hard.
Up next on Arc the Lad: Unnecessary sidequests!