Part 9: Witch's Hidden Room
Dungeon time again? So soon? It's still chapter one!
The training hall barely counted as a dungeon, though. This marks the point where gold medals take a little effort.
You see how there is a pit. We might fall in that pit. Just strollin' along and be like fuck, there's a pit. This won't kill us, but it will send us back to the starting point minus one HP.
There is no jump button, but the platform moves. You can't see it, still pictures and all, but trust me. I wouldn't lie to you.
As the levels get more difficult, switches often refuse to stay flipped. After four or five seconds they'll turn themselves off again, so you have to move fast.
Also, the objectives start becoming vague. For this room, we've again been told to flip all the switches. What, so we just have to step on that green panel? That's the only thing here resembling a switch. Seems too easy.
And it is. All it does is drop a box from the ceiling, which you will smash because hell, ain't anything else you can do with it. Still, nothing happens. So you run back to the switch, which drops another box.
Once you've done this four times, another switch appears across the pit. Step on that and it's mission complete.
I suppose that's a puzzle? Kind of? Not really. No.
"Beat X-type enemies" may be the most pointless bonus objective in the game.
All it means is "Kill at least one monster that has a fire/ice/whatever code on it." Given that codes on a monster's page affect all monsters of that type, you can set this up before you even start the challenge, and it doesn't make the fight any harder. It's free points.
It's sad, because I do think they were trying to explore the code mechanic's potential by adding things like this. It's not that they couldn't be bothered. Their attempts just fell flat.
Maybe with extra time and money, they could have done more with it. Then again, you could say that about any game in existence, so that's hardly a point in their favour.
Okay. Confession time. I am only covering missions that have new stuff in them, or are otherwise noteworthy. There are well over a hundred of these things, and a lot of them are the same old shit with more pits and enemies thrown in.
Here, we run around and smash boxes again. I don't want to write it, you don't want to read it, the boxes don't want their trauma broadcast to the world. Everyone wins.
Here's something of interest, though. Let's talk about Code Points.
Almost every page in the book has a CP value, shown on the bottom right. Map pages, character pages, item pages, even your page. Certain actions will increase that value, depending on the type of page.
Remember I said you want to score high in dungeons to get code points? This is how it works. Your CP value for any given dungeon room is your high score for that room.
For non-dungeon map pages, it all comes down to exploring, and by "exploring" I mean "pressing A." Every area has three to five hot-spots to be examined, each of which will add CP.
There is no indication of where these hot-spots are. This means running around mashing the A button on everything that looks even vaguely interesting, until you catch them all. Worse, even when you're looking at the right object, it often won't register unless you're in just the right position.
Here's an example. In Central Park, one of the hotspots is the fountain. Fair enough. Big, obvious feature, something you would naturally think to examine. But simply looking at the fountain isn't enough. You have to stand in this exact place and look at the fountain. If I take one step to the left...
It doesn't work! I'm pressing A! Nothing's happening!
And sometimes you'll scour every inch of every object on the screen and even that won't be enough because the hot-spots are lying on the ground somewhere.
I'll go into this a bit more when we get out of Rhoan, because that's when you will really start getting sick of it, but fucking hell. What I've told you should be enough. Awful design choice.
Character CP increases as you talk to them, give them gifts and do sidequests for them. They also have "aspirations", which are certain combinations of codes that yield the highest possible CP for the page.
These are hidden at first, but you can uncover them by giving gifts doing sidequests blah blah blah.
For monsters, I'm not sure. Adding codes does make a difference, but it's never clear which codes give the most CP. You do receive a teeny bit of CP for every monster of that type you kill, though. A teeny bit.
Items again don't have much rhyme or reason to their CP values, but you'll be changing their codes more than anything else in the book, so there's little point worrying about them.
Once you gather enough CP, the book will level up. This will eventually expand the code grid, (or "Mental Map", to give it its proper name) but there is another effect. After the book levels up, moving to a new area will trigger a special event.
The game calls these "Future Visions", but most of us know them as "sidequests." Visit the area mentioned in the headline and there'll be monsters to fight, treasure to find, or some other goings-on that will usually yield a reward.
I like how these are framed. It could have been a plain text box or a dream sequence, but this old-timey news article has so much more flavour and works well in the context of the game. This is how a magic book shows the future. I'm buying it. Good job, Matrix Software.
"Use 5 evasion moves" means "Roll around like an idiot, or like Link in OoT because this game wasn't Legend of Zelda enough yet."
Much like our favourite blond elf, well-timed rolling is faster than running. By now you've worked this out and made poor Yumil into human tumbleweed anyway, so being asked to do it in a mission makes little difference. I won't call it a pointless objective, though. It does make things riskier when pits are involved.
skull man has a fish, scimitar time
If you're wondering where "Orichalcum" is coming from, it's the copper. Adding six or more of the same material code will upgrade it to a better version, increasing the weapon's power. Iron becomes Steel, Stone becomes Obsidian and so on. Worth noting if you've still got space on the grid after metalizing.
Our first accessory! Accessories offer miscellaneous beneficial effects when worn. Helmets, for example, have a small chance of deflecting enemy attacks. That could be useful. I don't know. I never wear one because all the headgear in this game looks terrible.
It's not that it's badly designed. This is a regular old helmet. Decent enough. Problem is, it's not made to fit Yumil's model, so rather than wearing it, he just kinda perches it on his head.
Tell me you'd take the LP seriously. Go on. Lie to me.
This is not worth a few hit points. I'm sorry. It just isn't.
That panel is our ticket out of here, so let's wrap this up. See you on the outside.