Part 6: Underground Training Space
Hi folks. Didja Redo, breaking character. We're about to see our first dungeon, so let's leave the narrative aside for a moment and talk gameplay.
Before we enter, we should forge ourselves a new weapon. Remember the metalize tablet we found at the beginning of the game?
After scanning the townsfolk and callously dismantling their personalities, we should have the codes to make this happen. Let's give it a try.
Four justice? I only asked for one justice. I'm not paying for all this justice.
Thankfully, you don't have to match the recipes precisely. As long as you hit all the requirements, having a few extra doesn't matter.
The numbers on the left page represent the weapon's base attack power (right) and effective attack power, taking codes into account (left). As you can see, they made quite a jump.
Recipes aside, adding codes to a weapon does nothing but boost its attack power a bit. A Dog Sword is the same as a Justice Sword is the same as a Freedom Sword, and so on. Therefore, due to their higher base attack power, metalized weapons are almost always more powerful. They often have special properties as well. For example, the Gladius:
- Does additional damage on consecutive hits.
- Looks nothing like a gladius.
Now that we're kitted out, let's do this thing.
Okay, what's this? Flip switches? High score? Goal time?
Oh, I get it. Gus did say this was a training area. These must be some introductory tutorial things to get us used to the mechanics before we tackle a real dungeon.
That's what I thought. It's probably what you thought. And we were both so wrong.
This is, in fact, it. This is what a dungeon is in this game. A series of these timed challenge rooms, one after another. There are some free-roaming adventure areas outside the dungeons, but the meat of the action is here. Almost every chapter, you'll have to go through one of these.
Better explain them, I suppose!
At its heart, all you have to do is complete the objective you've been given. Here, we have to hit all three switches. Then the door opens and we can proceed to the next room.
The timer on the bottom left is not a time limit. You will not die or have to restart if it hits zero, but it will affect...
...your score. Once you finish, you're evaluated based on time remaining and how much damage you took. This happens even when there's no way to take damage during the mission, as was the case here, which means those 50 points are a veiled insult. You exceeded expectations by not injuring yourself on those nasty switches! Good work man, high-five, also low-five because we're celebrating here.
Your score determines whether you get a medal or not and, if yes, which precious metal.
Medals in themselves aren't worth anything, but the higher your score, the more Code Points (CP) you'll receive. Code Points are a tricky and annoying aspect of the game that I'll get into later. For now, let's just say you want as many as possible.
Also, scoring high in some missions will yield a metalize tablet.
Missions often come with optional objectives. Completing some of these is usually necessary to get a gold medal.
Adding two (or more) different metal codes will give us an alloy sword, which is actually weaker than pure copper or pure iron. More codes isn't always a good thing!
You can find all sorts of combinations like this. Metal + Stone makes Ore, Copper + Ill makes Rust, Copper + Wisdom + Forest makes, um, Error.
Yeah, I thought this was just a catch-all for when you throw in a bunch of codes that don't mix, but no, it's an actual thing that you assemble.
They don't all make sense.
Experiment and see what you can come up with. Then quit fucking around and use a metalize recipe, you idiot.
For these "fight with X weapons" missions, you only have to land one hit for it to count. After that, you can switch back to whatever weapon you prefer. Bit of a stupid objective.
As far as monsters go, there are three kinds of codes you need to worry about. The first is "material" codes, i.e. metal or stone. These will significantly increase the monster's HP. The second is Ill codes, which have the opposite effect.
The third is "element" codes like fire or lightning. These have no immediate effect when placed on an enemy, but if your weapon also has a certain element code, yeah you know where I'm going with this some elements are weak to others and you'll do more damage and blah blah usual RPG stuff.
I knew as soon as I discovered the code mechanic that elemental rock-paper-scissors would be involved, which is just as well since the game never tells you about it. But aside from that, changing an enemy's attributes won't change how they fight, there are no clever situational puzzles where you give a monster the "Dog-Loving" property and distract it with corgis, you can't make them drop money by loading them up with Wealth codes or anything of the sort. All you ever do is lower HP and change elements, and it amounts to one big disappointing no-brainer.
So much wasted potential.
"Flip all the switches" is probably the most common objective. Get used to it.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of these rooms. Everything about them feels like they should be separate, bonus missions where you can win new items or whatever, not a core part of the game.
They're obviously going for the Legend of Zelda deal where you walk into a room and the door closes behind you, and then you have to push blocks or light torches or convert all the enemies to Buddhism before you can leave. The difference is that Zelda games have variety. You explore, find hidden treasures, solve puzzles and fight minibosses. The dungeons are diverse, expansive and cleverly designed. Never do you get ten sealed, square rooms followed by a boss fight, which is what this is.
Also, the challenge rooms in Zelda are, you know, challenging. What are we doing here? Smashing up boxes. There aren't any enemies or hazards, which means I couldn't fail if I wanted to.
So many missions have either a trivial element of risk or none at all. Even the "Kill all the enemies" type isn't a big deal, because combat is too easy. Therefore, the only challenge comes from trying to get gold medals, which isn't necessary or even particularly important.
A game should still have something to offer a player who doesn't care about 100% completion. Avalon Code, at least for its dungeons, does not. You are either a perfectionist or bored.
After completing this room, we're gifted with the noble, flawless weapon of a true warrior.
Katanas and swords are the same thing. Technically they do more base damage in exchange for a lower critical hit rate, but it all averages out the same anyway, so who cares? The deciding factor is always "Which one do I have the best metalize recipe for?" Right now it's the sword, so we're sticking with that.
Eventually, Rempo's obsessive need to feel useful gets the better of him, so he demands we let him cannon some fodder.
If you turn to his page, (tap the red tab) and touch the wand icon, he'll unleash a magic attack that hits everything in a wide radius for 200 points of damage.
This will cost you 50 MP per use.
It stands for "Mystic Points", because by god we've gotta distinguish ourselves somehow. MP is required to use items, such as our delicious fresh bread. You also spend 1 MP every time you add or remove a code with the book, which is a major hassle that I'm totally gonna gripe about in detail later.
Anyway, let's have Rempo do his thing.
And then you never use it again.
Seriously, this is not as useful as it seems. Once you've scanned and weakened them, most early enemies can only take one or two hits apiece. By the time you're fighting tougher ones, you're easily doing more than 200 damage per attack. It's also rare to see more than two or three enemies on screen at a time, so it can't even function as an anti-swarm panic button.
It does have occasional use in challenge rooms, either for a bonus objective or to shave a few seconds off. Otherwise, save your MP.
See those 805 hit points? 750 of them are coming from the copper code. Leave it where it is for now, otherwise one stray swing can cost you your pacifist bonus.
You ain't famous though, fuck off Mul.
All remaining enemies and (most) hazards disappear once you've finished a mission. JUST IN CASE IT WASN'T EASY ENOUGH, YOU KNOW, CAN'T LOSE ALL THOSE CASUAL GAMERS THAT ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO PICK THIS TITLE UP
(in all seriousness it'd be annoying if this didn't happen so fair enough)
No, it's not asking us to flip coins. "Toss-ups" refers to a special attack that we can't use until the next chapter. Basically, they want you to backtrack later and do this one room over again to get your gold medal, having to run through aaaall the rooms that came before it and aaaall the way back again because that's fun, this is fun, we at Matrix Software have a deep understanding of fun
That happens more than once, by the way.
This is where spirit magic comes into play again. Normally you'd light torches by hitting them with a fire-coded weapon, but given the bonus objective here, better to have Rempo do it.
Oh. We're 1 MP short. Because I robbed that Mul of its celebrity status.
Alright. I suppose we'll just run back home and rest.
That took three minutes. Was it worth it? No. No metalize tablet. No reward. Just another imaginary medal.
Also, notice I now have no MP. You see, for reasons beyond our mortal ken, resting at home won't restore your MP higher than 50 points. Another huge inconvenience that's getting a kicking later.
After you complete the last mission, one of these urns will appear. This indicates that the next room contains the boss. Oh, and it restores your HP and MP when you break it.
You know when I could have used that? About three minutes ago.
And that covers it for this dungeon! We now return you to your regularly scheduled talking heads.