The past couple updates were pretty dialogue-heavy, so this one will be more combat-oriented. Rejoice!
Hey, Frederic Chopin is our pilot. How cool is that?
Chopin: Know that after entering Millmana, you cannot leave without permission from the military.
Chopin: It's also good to note that monsters in Millmana are stronger than the ones here.
Let's see, that advice one sounds good, how do you go down again? *press*
We're treated to the first in-game movie, which I took some really crappy screenshots of. That's okay, though, since the movie itself isn't very good. We see the airship flying through the sky, as well as a map that uses a red arrow to show the airship's progress. They're blended together like that for the whole thing, so you're not missing much.
The map of Millmana. It looks exactly like Seirya but with a piece that fell off.
That's not a freaky parrot; General Yagun has a monkey on his shoulder. And like every other villian in the game, Yagun's an alarmingly obnoxious bastard. Who's hiring these people?
I like how he has the same eyes as his monkey.
Yagun: And I am General Yagun, commander of Millmana's forces. I understand that you wish to gain entrance to Toyoke Forest.
Yagun: You don't have any idea what you're asking! That place is much too dangerous for children.
Yagun: You've either got guts, or you're just too damned stupid to live. Why don't you just leave the monsters to us?
: Hey, hold on just a minute!
: You can't just dismiss us like that! We may be young, but we're here as representatives of the King...
: ...and, as such, you should treat us with the proper respect.
Yagun: Pardon me, YOUNG lady.
Yagun: I was led to expect a battle-hardened soldier endowed with special fighting skills. I'm quite sure you understand my disappointment.
Yagun: There ARE legions of monsters in the forest now, so the danger is QUITE real.
Yagun: If you were captured or killed by the monsters, I would bear all the blame.
Yagun: I have no desire to shoulder responsibility for the actions of emotional children.
goddammit stop pointing your ass at me
: Laugh as you will, but the soldier you were expecting stands before you.
: I am blessed with the power of the Guardian, and my friends are skilled in battle.
: We are more than a match for even your best soldiers.
: He's right. Our skill cannot be denied. The King has witnessed it personally.
Not to imply anything, but notice that Kukuru, wearer of the harem outfit, is the one saying the king learned of their skills "personally"...
Yagun: Very well, then. I will give you a chance to prove your boast.
Yagun: Recently, monsters have been seen near here, too.
Yagun: Use your SPECIAL gift to rid the area of monsters and report back here.
Yagun: If you can't best THEM, you'll NEVER defeat the monsters in Toyoke Forest.
Man, what a prick.
Yagun: And make sure they stay in one piece. I'm not in the mood for any...messes today.
Yagun: I think Ruvag Woods and Sembara Marsh would be good places to start.
Yagun: Let them warm up with the monsters there, I'm looking forward to some GOOD news for a change.
Yagun: That's all, Sergeant.
Warrior: Yes, sir.
: He believes us to be about as capable as his monkey.
I don't know, that monkey looked pretty capable. He could ass-point on cue. He could also make squeaky monkey noises throughout the ENTIRE CONVERSATION.
: Well, you have to admit, we don't look like warriors. What can we do?
That's no excuse. Shit, Poco's wearing the same thing as the General.
Maybe in this country, rank is conveyed in monkeys.
: We can show the General we're the best warriors around, that's all.
: Are you sure? We don't even know what kind of monsters they have here.
: We don't care. We just...do it. Right, Kukuru?
You can wander around and talk to people if you want. Arc looks like he's ready to spank some motherfucking ass.
As it turns out, nobody has anything interesting to say.
I dunno, kinda implies everyone here is a badass, or the monsters are weak.
I want you to try something. As you look at this next area? Imagine eating everything Arc attacks.
That was level-headed. Particularly in the middle of an army base.
Once more: Kukuru is a stupid bitch.
: Let's go.
: Um...i...is he gonna be okay?
: He'll be fine. He'd just be in the way if he came along.
: She's right. We need to do this ourselves. Let's go.
Yes, let's justify putting someone into a coma with "we need some alone time". Just ask the dude to hang back, I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Now someone get the guy to a hospital, and don't put him in the room with Shinji Ikari.
We've got some things to do. Before we can continue, we have to clear out both Ruvag Woods and Sembara Marsh. However, it's a good idea to take the time to level up in Nicarus Forest first, since the other areas can be pretty rough. If you've just been rushing through, this can be one of the harder portions of the game; even Nicarus Forest, the easy zone, is a big step up from the last battle, and you can't return to Seirya to level up at this point.
See, skeletons and voodoo shamen. And... Hey! This isn't a forest!
Nor do those creatures look edible.
Skeletons are kind of a pain because when they hit zero HP, they don't die, they just fall apart like those Dry Bone things in Mario, to rise again a couple turns later. Unlike the Dry Bones, however, you can kill them permanently by smacking them one more time while they're in that state.
These things (evil bonzes) attack with lightsabers. I'm not sure why.
As powerful as other enemies may be, shamen should be your first targets, because they'll put all your party members to sleep. Fortunately, they can be taken out in one hit.
Kukuru has a healing spell almost exactly like Poco's. Since Poco is generally busy with buffs, and Kukuru can move farther than Poco, this spell will come in handy pretty often.
Arc's learned a new spell too, Slow Enemy.
It's not really useful, but it's fun to watch. And you get to hear the Japanese voice actor pronounce the English name. SLOOO ENEMIII
Wait a minute, how are we supposed to get that? Characters can jump two tiles at the most (at the least, actually), and they like to have something to land onto.
Throwing a stone at the chest causes it to explode. In any other game that wouldn't be useful in and of itself, but as a reward for destroying the thing the gods place a fruit into Arc's hand. This makes me wonder if we couldn't bomb the fifty-floor dungeon later in the game and get all the items inside that way.
I think we're ready, let's move to Ruvag Woods.
Which also fails to be a forest.
I have to wonder if these areas were given generic, unnoticeable names just to test to see if people would realize that they don't actually describe the areas very well. By the way, the above screenshots depict the entirety of Kukuru's silence spell. Let's never use it again.
While we're on the topic, and now that we've shown some skills, I'm going to point out every skill Kukuru has, and who does it better (if it's worth shit to begin with):
Cure - Poco has a better version, it costs less, and does more.
Antidote - She makes HERSELF useless on this one. We'll get there in a second.
Silencer - fucking useless.
Refresh - The "Heal" of this game. Cures all status. Only disadvantage over Antidote is the MP cost.
Divine Judgement - You'll never get her to a high enough level to earn this at any useful level.
Resurrect - You only need to revive Arc. If Arc dies, you're fucked. Simple as that: if Arc is dying, you're not playing right. Useless.
Divide - You know the "Drain" spell in Final Fantasy? Steals life from the enemy, gives you a little less back as health? Okay, take that, and now split the stolen health among around... oh... anyone standing next to Kukuru. Pretty useless.
I stand by my statement.
Oh, bloodweeds are a pain. They're stationary, so they can't gang up on you (aside from spawning new enemies close to you), but if you walk up to them and don't get them in the first hit...
Arc only has 32 HP, by the way. It's really better to take these things at a distance when you can.
Sembara Marsh (which, oddly enough, is not a forest) is full of warlords and mighty flies. In most situations you can place your characters in a tight spot so they can't be approached from all sides, but since mighty flies can go anywhere (and quickly), they render this strategy useless. They also have pretty high HP; it took Poco four hits to get one to go down.
Actually, both Poco and Kukuru ended up dying in this battle, leaving Arc to fend for himself. Fortunately, Arc learned Meteor Shower, making things go a bit easier.
That's a huge red boulder flying in from the background and crashing into the enemy, in case you couldn't tell.
Poco and Kukuru dying is a good example of why so many players end up overleveling Arc. The fact of the matter is that the first few characters that come into your party aren't that great at melee, and they end up dying pretty easily, not to mention Arc is the only one to learn any attack spells for a while. The end result is that you send Arc at any enemies that are actually worth fighting. By the time you get to the really cool characters, Arc has already horded most of the party experience for himself, and he probably doesn't take much damage from anything. It's actually a pretty good strategy for this game, but it does kind of screw you by the time you've ported the characters to AtL2 and they're twenty levels under what they should be.
This continent is the point wherein most players make Arc into a one-man genocide machine. I'm not sure if that'll be the case this playthrough, as, again, I'm not the one playing.
Why am I here, you ask? Think of me as the shitty guest on a VLP. Permanently.
Getting back to this game, Arc handles the rest of the battle nicely, but losing 2/3rds of your party in a non-boss battle is not a good thing. To avoid falling into the trap mentioned above, I make Poco and Kukuru fight a couple battles in Nicarus Forest by themselves until they're more on par with Arc. Then, it's back to General Asshole.
I'll take that as a "no, we want the party to be equal", then.
Yagun: Ehhh, heh, heh, heh! You've got quite a mouth on you there, kid.
Yagun: Your little dalliance with the monsters nearby has proven nothing of substance.
Yagun: Now if you were to defeat the beasts in Toyoke Forest, THAT would be an accomplishment.
Yagun: I've sent numerous detachments there to clear the area and none have returned.
Yagun: Your smart mouth would be of little use in that godforsaken place, I assure you.
Yagun: If you choose to go, you do so of your own will. I cannot be responsible for your safety.
: But you will bask in the glow of our victory, no doubt.
: We take our leave of you, then. You shall not see us again until we are victorius.
Yagun: If that's the case, I had better find a way to finish them off...and soon.
Yagun: Ehhh heh heh heh...ha ha ha ha ha ha...Ahhh...hah hah hah hah!
What!? You mean he's working for the evil side!?
Mysterious Figure: You called, General?
Yagun: See that the adventurers reach the forest...
Yagun: ...and use whatever means you find entertaining to turn them to nourishment for the flora.
Mysterious Figure: Mmm. An eco-friendly megalomaniac is so refreshing in these dark days.
Mysterious Figure: It shall be carried out exactly as you desire.
You have to admit, the villains are much more eco-friendly than our heroes. So far, Arc and Co. have set up a giant, eternally-burning flame (after pissing on it to put it out in the first place), slaughtered most of the fauna (and some of the flora) in three already-dying forests, and crashed multiple meteors into... uh... everything.
And now, the greatest cutscene ever!!
No! Why would he be? Heck, I bet he was thankful for it.
And you thought I was just being catty when I said she was a dumb bitch.
Despite the general's rant earlier, this area isn't that tough compared to the marshes. However, it does feature the standard gaming coolness-increasing factor:
With a twist!
If ninjas get low enough in the HP department, they'll explode on you. This blow actually took out Arc, which made me thankful I had taken time to level the other two.
If you'd done it right and let HIM have their experience, he'd have lived with no issue.
When our party reaches the end of the road, they see...
The Pan Down a Largish Tree, also featured in the Mana series, the Tales series, Myst, etc.
: It's so beautiful!
: I...I've never seen a forest this radiant and alive before.
Unlike Breath of Fire 3, Arc the Lad wastes no time getting to the nipple-less good stuff. If circumstances were any different, we'd have no reason to continue playing past this point, but this is a Let's Play and we have a whole game to cover, so we must trudge on.
: You knew I would come?
Forest Spirit: Yes. Since the time of your father 10 years ago.
: You know my father? He was here?
Forest Spirit: Yes. The Crown Prince of Seirya. Your father.
Oh, so THAT'S why Arc's family lives in a down-trodden two-room shanty in the middle of nowhere! And the king, who would be Arc's uncle, doesn't know who Arc is! But apparently Kukuru does!
Actually, we explain most of that shortly. The only real plot hole is how Kukuru knows. I'm going to blame this on "she sleeps with everything that moves and Arc's dad mentioned it at some point as pillow talk".
: Can you tell me why he left? I must know.
Arc seems unfazed. I guess he's not buying it either.
Forest Spirit: Your father, Yoshua, was in danger, as was the entire royal lineage.
Forest Spirit: He was attacked and left for dead. he dragged himself to the forest, where I healed him.
Forest Spirit: Though he returned to health, he said he wished he had perished.
Forest Spirit: The strife amongst the humans of this world had made him weary, and he was fast losing hope that he could make a difference that could save them.
: It's true! Humanity is dying. It's just as my father feared!
Forest Spirit: You humans believe that the world is out of your control.
Forest Spirit: You have lost the wonder and love in your hearts for the amazing world into which you were born.
Forest Spirit: And therefore, you seek to bend nature to your careless desire.
Forest Spirit: As a result, you bring pain and eventual death to that which you gave life.
Arc drops his sword, ending the lives of dozens of blades of grass.
Forest Spirit: Yoshua said as much. So, I gave him the final hope and trial.
Forest Spirit: To keep his future alive...
Forest Spirit: And he fights for your future, still. In fact, he entrusted the key to you, Arc.
: Key? I don't know what is expected of me. Did he tell you any more?
Forest Spirit: Stay on the path, Arc. All will become clear in due time.
Forest Spirit: I trust that humanity has found a capable defender, for their destiny is truly in your hands.
Hey, he might die a lot, but he's still a hell of a lot better than Captain Planet.
Forest Spirit: Here, Arc. Yoshua left this with me to deliver to you upon your arrival.
Rod Roddy: Hero Crest received!
Forest Spirit: Your next task is to return to Touvil in your homeland of Seirya. Go quickly...
Forest Spirit: Once there, I trust your father will make the way clear for you.
: Perhaps that was a clue of some sort.
: Arc, if your father IS still alive, I know you'll find him.
: But we're not going to find him here. We should get moving, then.
: Besides, I'm getting hungry. We're no good to anyone if we starve to death.
: You're right. All we'll become here is lonely, cold, and hungry. We must press on.
Oh, Poco. You're so obese.
Having done roadie-like work: hauling shit around DOES make one hungry.
Seriously, respect Poco, damnit. Little dude is hardcore.
Up next on Arc the Lad: Arc brings pain and eventual death to that which he gave life!