Part 21: Tornaq Ice Cavern
The obligatory ice dungeon is on its way, but let's explore the fort first.
Item one: New weapon!
Despite their appearance, broadswords are no slower than any other sword. They also have considerably more reach. For comparison:
There are two downsides. Number one is the low critical hit rate, a mere 3%.
Number two is the lack of metalizes. While there are plenty of recipes for other varieties of sword, broadswords have only three. The first is completely useless. The second is okay, but you're likely to have a better sword/katana recipe by the time you get it. The third requires a fully expanded mental map, which takes a lot of code points and will only happen before the end of the game if you're extremely diligent.
I'm not complaining too much though, because this just looks silly. Those things are bigger than Yumil is. What is this, a Final Fantasy game? It is not, and by god I am glad for it.
You can also find a FUCK, NO, GOD DAMN IT, NO
It's a breastplate metalize. We don't have a breastplate yet because you find it in the castle, but it boosts the effect of healing items. Which is every item.
This is of little consequence, because we won't be equipping one. They have the same problem as headgear in that they aren't tailored to Yumil's model, so they hang loosely over his coat like a cheap plastic Halloween costume. Also, I never use healing items.
Finally, heading north into the inexplicably desolate Waisen camp, you get this.
Whatever joke you're thinking of, I'm not doing it. I refuse.
Now, as you might have guessed, the upcoming dungeon demands judicious use of our brand new explosives. Let's see how they work.
Bombs aren't much fun to fight with.
I want you to read that sentence twice, because it does not express an intuitive concept. Bombs: Not fun. How any video game can fuck up explosions is beyond me, but Avalon Code pulls it off. I salute you and your unwavering dedication to letting me down.
Your main attack throws a bomb about half a screen's width. After a few seconds, it will explode by itself.
The flaw in this method of offence is that enemies can move. By the time the boom happens, they're guaranteed to be anywhere but inside the blast radius, which is smaller than it appears.
For the charged attack, Yumil simply sets the bomb down, making the same "RRRAAGH!" noise that he does for all the other special moves. Lumbago, presumably.
This bomb will remain where it is until you detonate it with a second tap of the button.
Ideally from a safe distance.
Be careful with these babies. Nothing in the game damages you as much as your own bombs. With an up-to-date metalize, you can expect to lose over half your life bar.
Once you've thrown a bomb, you have to wait for it to explode before throwing another. This means you can only have two on-screen at a time, one for each hand, which I think is what kills the fun factor. Most of your time is spent waiting to attack again.
It's not that fighting with bombs is difficult. Non-boss enemies take so long to recover from explosions that you can run in, plant one by their feet and set it off just as they get up, stunlocking them to death. It's just that this is really monotonous and takes a gazillion times as long as using a sword.
Think of them as tools rather than weapons. They're often necessary for challenge rooms, but in combat, you'll only use them twice, and both of those instances are boss fights where you have no other option.
Enough waffle! Let us proceed.
This mission is surprisingly tricky if you're trying for gold. You've only got ten seconds before you're down to silver, so you have to set your bombs just right to catch as much debris as possible. If you have to use more than two, you won't make it.
"Thank you for that stirring bit of banter," said the raging hypocrite.
Tangent! I hate it when characters talk like this. Mieli is addressing Rempo here. If you were saying that sentence to Rempo, you'd say "You can't handle the cold, right?" You wouldn't say "Rempo can't handle the cold" unless you were telling someone else about Rempo. He knows what his name is! You don't need to remind him!
Seems like another Japanese-to-English thing. I don't know, maybe everyone did this all the time before the game was localised and they just missed this one instance, but I'll be damned if I'll let acceptable excuses stop me from whinging.
The piles of rubble here imply that you have to use bombs for this mission, but you really don't. They're not blocking your path. You don't get extra points for destroying them. We might as well be back in room one of the training hall, because we're just hitting switches in an effectively featureless room. Someone phoned this in.
This switch can't be hit until you use a fire-coded weapon to melt the ice. Our Kaleila bombs suffice.
Mieli! You're supposed to be the nice one! From whence this desire for vandalism?
Some rooms produce one of these statues after completion. You must destroy all of them before the door to the boss will open. Mieli did not know this, nor would anyone until they read the sign in front of the door that says "Destroy all the statues." She just crazy. And Matrix Software can not design puzzles.
The statues take multiple hits to break, and I don't understand why. They can't hurt you, nor can anything else once the mission's over, so why not have them shatter in one hit? I'll admit it's a nitpick, but little things like this add up. Or in Avalon Code's case, they subtract.
Told you this was coming. Slidey ice block puzzle.
There isn't anything to it. You push the block on one switch and go stand on the other. I just wanted to say. I told you.
I'd like to see a game where ice does something besides making things slide around a bit. Have you ever tried to walk on ice? IT'S HARD, and I can't imagine fighting is much easier. Make it a proper hazard! Slow our movement speed, have us slip and fall if we try to do any big, fancy attacks, then give us an "Ice Shoes" item which lowers the chances of that happening.
Actually that sounds annoying as hell, fuck it
You could run around the edge of this precarious, slippery platform throwing forest-coded bombs at the switches like some suicidal environmental terrorist. Or you could just call Mieli.
I'd be happy to take the former approach if code-hunting wasn't so bloody tedious.
Though it seems straightforward, this is one of those missions where switches don't stay switched. There are only two, but by the time you reach the second, the first has long since deactivated itself.
The trick is to use remote detonation. Plant a bomb by the first switch and set it off after you hit the second switch.
Or you could stand next to the second one and hit it after setting the bomb off, you know, whatever, I don't judge.
This is a bog-standard "smash shit up" mission (with a caveat; rolling around on narrow ledges is a dangerous enterprise) but golding it yields something we haven't seen yet; a blue-green metalize tablet.
Don't panic! These ones are your friends! Scanning them will increase your max MP by twenty points. There are no sliding puzzles here. It's okay. It's okay.
Stepping on these panels will temporarily boost your speed. A lot. It saves time, but take care when there are pits around. 'Cause you don't even know how much faster this makes you. It's a lot faster. It is Very Fast.
please slow down yumil, can't you see there is ice, yumil you're going to fall, noooo
It isn't even needed in this mission. As long as you don't fall, you're free to take your sweet time, provided your sweet time does not exceed 75 seconds.
It's enough. Trust me.
Don't miss the flower in this room!
oh gee what am i supposed to do here, i cannot possibly envisage
Not a lot to cover in that dungeon. I mentioned before that many missions involve the same old objectives with more pits and enemies, and this is where it starts to show. Don't worry, though. We'll be okay. If all else fails, I'll compose an epic poem to fill the space, or possibly a rap.
See you next time.