Sorry for the delay, goons, but now I'm back from vacation and only some of my skin is coming off.
To make up for the delay, here's a fun fact: If we had taken the experience everyone had earned upon reaching level 21 and given it to Arc, he would be level 44. This is not counting the experience certain party members enter the party with (like
Once we're done with this LP, I'm considering making a run through the game allowing only Arc to damage enemies and see how long it takes to get through. Getting back to the here and now, though... We currently have two of the five stones required to save the rainforest or whatever and we're now on our way to the third.
"Captain Planet, he's our hero..." etc.
: At last, 7 heroes come together. Is good.
: I said nothing!
: Gogen, I have no idea where to go next.
: Have you forgotten already? Trust in the stone, my friends, trust in the stone...
: I am familiar with that place. They hold a notorious tournament there.
: The top prize offered is the fabled Wind Orb. It is reputed to be a wild competition.
: Wind Orb? That some kind of treasure ball, eh? Chongara heard about that. Is good!
: In any event, it sounds like a promising lead. Let's move.
Sidequests are for pussies. And end-of-game bonus material. So screw you, we only listen to those with hair. And those with the most hair get the most say, like Gogen.
Ah, so THAT'S why Chongara is in second place, with that beard.
Actually, it seems that the party has already taken to ignoring most NPCs anyway.
See that yellow area? We're not allowed to explore that part. Granted, it appears that we're not allowed to visit anything outside the two colored areas, but the yellow part? We're ESPECIALLY not going there.
Arc spends a little too much time admiring the asses of the giant gay furry statues in the lobby.
Are you sure you don't mean bong? OHHHHHHHHHHHH
How the hell does an herb end up inside a gong? It's a large metal disc on a hanger. WHERE DOES THE HERB GO
I feel like I'm misusing Arc at this point, so I decide switch to someone slightly less sophisticated before entering the tournament.
It doesn't really matter who you take control of, though, since the head guy still feels the need to ask you.
The confirmation choices for each member are slightly different, too. Arc, Tosh, and Kukuru get the standard yes/no style treatment, but the others are altered to fit each character a bit more.
We'll be sticking with Chongara, just to make things more interesting.
: As anyone who hasn't been living under a ROCK knows...
: ...the grand prize in this tournament is the ultra-famous, the ultra-COOL...ultra-ancient Wind Orb!
: But you may ask, what is it made of? What is its function? What relevence does it have for me?
: And, just WHY is the Wind Orb so fabulously mysterious? To you I say: Who CARES?!
: Everyone drawing breath covets it simply BECAUSE it's the fabulous, iridescent Wind Orb!
Wow. Now that's not even trying on the exposition anymore, geez. "Why does everyone want it? BECAUSE IT'S THERE, BABY!"
: But, you all must know already that the person or persons...who possess the Orb may die a sudden and unnatural death.
: Lest you doubt that warning, let's discuss the history of the Orb for a moment...
: Last possessed by royalty, the entire blue-blooded lineage died out, ultra-tragically, and ultra-unexpectedly.
: The mysterious circumstances of their passing left every person of power, fame, and beauty...
: ...insanely attracted to this iridescent spherical mystery. And so, fools rush in to possess the unpossessable.
: They yearn to relish the relic that holds such power, and foolishly believe they can tame it.
: Fortunately, their folly is our gain, for the battle is always FABULOUS!
Jesus Christ this guy looks stupid.
I think he's actually a recolored monster or something. I need to look into that again.
: For his or her efforts, the runner-up in the tournament will receive an ultra-handy set of travel luggage.
: But wait! There is yet one more surprise for today's combatants!
: Once he has beaten the field of contestants, the new champion must face and defeat the prior champion to claim the Orb!
...But...I thought the previous champion would've died of the curse.
Nah, the guy gave it to some royalty to watch over.
: It's gonna be a ROCKIN' good show, and it's time to kick it off! Let's GO!
We get to hang out in the lobby between battles and talk to people who speak about as well as Chongara.
I like how the guy by Gogen looks like some sort of weirdly-sprited Dick Cheney.
I'm actually all for this. You know, for the Olympics or something.
Are you sure you don't mean dong? OHHHHHHHHHHHH
Okay, here's the scoop. For this portion of the game you have to fight a series of one-on-one battles. You can pick any character you want to go through them. Since Chongara can hire two other characters to fight along with him, one of which can heal Chongara between turns, it was pretty easy to get through.
Chongara decides to try sitting on the enemies for a change of pace.
They're understandably upset.
But isn't that where all the best service comes from? OHHHHHHHHHHHH
The Boogie Man has Wind Slash and a mirror that blocks an inordinate number of Chongara's attacks, but the healing kelack is there so the point is moot.
I even send the little guys to launch an assault from behind.
I think he likes it!
Urine humor? Really, Working Designs? You need to grow up and start making pot and homosexuality jokes like the rest of us.
I'm pretty sure the giant what-the-hell-are-these statues ARE the homosexuality joke. Possibly conceived while on pot.
The next opponent's pretty tough (he can deal 44 damage to Chongara in one hit), and even the Mofly's not a huge help. But... what's this?
After a good six hits or so, I think he's wearing out! Now we just get Chongara to set his ass on fire again and...
Buh...guh? Enemies can't heal... ENEMIES CAN'T HEAL!!!
Fuck you, tell that to Fragmaster.
Have you ever imagined what most RPGs would be like if enemies could heal as much as the party members? Every battle would last like five hours. This guy only does it twice, so we're lucky.
Not bad for Chongara's experience, either. Did I mention you don't have to kill enemies to get experience from hitting them?
Okay, time for the finals! After the last one I bet this guy's hard.
Hey, he's stealing Kukuru's schtick!
...Including the "lack of damage" part.
Well, yeah. He's only using the spell at level 2.
PROTIP: If you have to level your skills to max just to make them as useful as everyone's DEFAULT abilities? You suck.
Well, that was fast. I got cheated in the semi-finals.
BUT WAIT! We still have the deceased returning champion to deal with.
Green ninjas are the best kind.
And they biodegrade when you kill them!
High offense and low defense make the two pretty even in trading blows. His HP gets depeleted pretty fast.
Assassin? More like ASS-ASS-in.
HIS FACE LOOKS EVEN WORSE FROM THE SIDE
: Let me do the honors...and present you with the Ultra-Fabulous...Wind Orb!
: Come on now, let's hear it for the new champion! Yeah-yeah-yeah!
Chongara instinctively runs past and GRABS it from the guy.
: I really didn't think there was much hope of you winning.
: I think she means to say that we are relieved you won.
Oh great, we have to look at him some more.
Huh. Maybe this is why my brain keeps going "reskinned monster". Because he's, uh... a monster.
He snaps his fingers and cohorts appear out of thin air. Not bad.
: So! You've been killing every champion that wins the Orb and stealing it back.
: Then you enter a phony champion from the year before to cover your tracks!
It's a brilliant plan that accomplishes nothing!
: With such a sharp mind, it's a pity you have to die. But, alas, I have no choice.
Jesus, if she's a "sharp mind" for figuring that one out AFTER YOU TELL HER, what the hell kind of idiots are around you?
Wait, nevermind. The tournament's viewers keep believing some random schmuck is the previous champion despite all evidence otherwise.
: Make your peace, and say your prayers. It's the beginning of the end...for YOU. Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmmh...
A vast improvement, I must say.
I play like an idiot in this battle and pile all the party members in one spot so they can get hit by all the Wind Slashes. (We have six Boogie Men to deal with this time, by the way.)
Makes it just as easy for Kukuru to heal everyone, though. Because the party has room to move around, this is actually a lot easier than the Greyshinne mountain battle.
: At least we've got the Wind Orb, but we still need to find the Wind Guardian.
: Yes...there must be some connection between this Orb and the Wind Guardian.
: But the question is, what IS it? Nothing immediately springs to mind.
: Let me gander at your little bauble, boy.
Those are some freaky eyes. I may have to add those to his portrait. What do you think, readers at home?
Give me a day and I can stick them in, so, uh... vote, folks.
Okay, enough with the fetish jokes.
Wind Guardian: You are the first humans I've encountered in more than 600 years!
Not quite as shocking when one of your party members has been imprisoned for five times as long.
Wind Guardian: You see, long ago an evil merchant conspired with dark forces to entrap me so that he could control the wind.
Wind Guardian: He sealed me in that orb all those years ago, controlling the wind while he lived.
: So you've been trapped in there since he died?
Wind Guardian: Correct. Tell me, why are human beings so greedy?
Wind Guardian: Since being sealed in this orb, I've seen people kill repeatedly for that worthless blue ball that was my prison.
Wind Guardian: If you hadn't broken the orb, it might have held me forever. Oh, what a thought!
: People's ignorance and greed cause these tragedies.
: But, people CAN learn. They are not all greedy and thoughtless.
Wind Guardian: I see. You would ask me to believe there are still ones who would deny their greed to seek the truth.
Wind Guardian: Though I remain filled with doubt, I give you the Wind Stone as a token of my hope that your words are true.
So, let me recap.
Wind Guardian: "You humans are assholes. I've seen so many slaughters."
Punch Rockgroin: "But only until you tell us we are."
Wind Guardian: "Oh. Okay, here, have this anyway, despite having, erm... slaughtered everyone. Wow. I'm slow, huh?"
Wind Guardian: The last of the Stones are with my brothers, the Guardians of Water and Fire. Seek them out.
Sweet, this is speeding right along. Also, we just opened up a new sidequest. In case you haven't been keeping track, we now have three:
Alatos: This contains the Forbidden Ruins, with its huge number of floors and enemies to deal with, with some treasure chests thrown in to entice you. It's a nice place aside from the fact that you have to go through every room twice, but we won't be dealing with it until post-game (which is the same as pre-end-game, only we'll have seen the ending already).
Greyshinne: As the monk said, we can use the proving grounds to train ourselves. There's a series of battles to deal with here, each one containing a buttload of one type of enemy. Again, I'd like to save it for later.
Niedel: This is where we are right now, and we can continue to fight one-on-one battles in the arena, only now the enemy fought is determined based on the chosen character's level. Also, once we fight a certain number of enemies, we get fabulous prizes! Let's see how many we need to get the first one...
...What? These SUCK. I could've gotten any of these from fighting ONE enemy. Using all my characters. How long until the next prize?
...I don't like the looks of this.
Up next on Arc the Lad: Arc enters a time loop!