Part 27: Site of Cyril
Alright, that's just rude. This game's English release was in 2009, people. There is no excuse for this regressive nonsense.
Anyway, as we stride into the desert without water, shade or directions, we should spend some time with our new toy. Or perhaps I should say toys.
He has a powerful weapoooon
(no he doesn't)
These are your first ranged weapons, unless you really want to count bombs. They lack punch and have few metalize recipes (and even fewer worthwhile ones) but look, look at how far away that spider was when I hit it, does that not count for something
Yeah, we're both thinking it. Challenge room tool.
So what's the difference between daggers and guns? Quite significant, but let's stick to how they work in this game.
Daggers have the ability to bounce off walls.
Guns exchange this trait for more damage and a higher rate of fire.
Doubtless this would be a difficult decision if wall-bouncing was the least bit useful. It isn't. You will go through the entire game without ever needing or wanting to do it. If you should happen to try it for novelty's sake, good fucking luck getting the daggers to go where you want them to. Even the consummate geometrist will never be making any long-distance trick shots thanks to the top-down camera. It's tacked-on, unnecessary and likely just there to give the illusion of variety. Stick to your guns.
So if nothing else, the game is true to life. Given the choice between throwing knives and a gun, which would you pick? That's right. A sword.
Projectile weapons can also shoot birds, but not in the way you're thinking.
For the charged attack, Yumil spits out a giant homing laser peacock, and never has there been a greater disconnect between how awesome something sounds and how awesome it is.
"Dancing Dagger", as it's called, is the most uselsss special move in the game. The bomb and hammer attacks are essential for challenge rooms, and Whirlwind Blade is just good for killing things. This one disappoints on both fronts. None of the dungeons make use of it, it doesn't do enough damage to justify the charge time, and no enemy is difficult enough to hit that you need a homing attack.
That's if you even bother fighting with projectiles in the first place. You'll only want them for the few contrarian bastards who think being resistant to swords is funny, and the best thing for them is to get right in their face and blast away.
Aim? What, as in the instant messenger?
But that's enough of a child playing with firearms. Let's talk about the desert itself before this turns into an after-school special.
At this point in the game, using un-metalized weapons is rather like doing track and field in flip-flops. Unfortunately, our mental map isn't yet big enough to make use of this recipe we picked up from Zeno-9.
But not to worry! The sands hold the secrets we need. Here in Central Desert 7, we can find the Assassin Dagger, which...
...is a rapier recipe.
For Christ's sake, people.
Okay. Central Desert 12, Throwing Star. Sure this is what we're looking for? Sure it isn't a hammer or something?
This will only appear if you spoke to Olly after duelling her. If you come here and she hasn't told you about it, it isn't there.
There are quite a few of these Schrodinger's tablets in the game. It is from them that we obtained our fancy new sword...
...and our fancy new hammer.
I'm not covering these quests in detail because none of them have any substance. They're all just "There is a weapon in a place, go get it." I run out to find it, say "guys this is that weapon the person talked about" and everyone yawns. No thanks.
I'd call them fetch quests, but "fetch" implies that you have to bring it back. You don't. The reward is the weapon itself. You can make it and give it to the relevant character, but...
Nothing much comes of it.
But damn, for a metalized weapon, this ain't very good.
Actually, let's make a gun with some regular old codes and compare the attack power.
WELP, THAT RECIPE WAS WORTH THE EFFORT
Back to the desert.
They attempt the Lost Woods gimmick of having the path loop endlessly unless you go in the right direction, but you're given no prior warning that it will happen. You have to be paying attention to the map numbers. Even the identical-looking screens don't give anything away, because this shit starts repeating itself long before you're actually going in circles.
These are two different, adjacent areas. Spot the difference!
It's hard for me to gauge exactly how frustrating it is, because the instant I realised it was happening, I snapped the DS shut, threw my drink across the room, flipped the table over and stormed off to GameFAQs, slamming the door behind me.
That alone is quite telling, though. It's time to let this one go, folks. It's not a fun mechanic. And now my neighbours won't invite me to dinner anymore.
It's easy enough to remember once you've found your way, though. Just go east until Central Desert 9, then go north. Voila.
Entering the ruins, we come across a grisly scene of mutilation.
Sometimes things are what they look like, Mieli. This is one of those times.
Although tracking down a crazed angel murderer would be infinitely more interesting than the upcoming dungeon, I'm afraid these are just another accessory.
They increase your movement speed when worn. It's not significant or even that noticeable, but there's no reason not to wear them aside from looking silly. Enough reason for me!
And apparently Anwar's been shadowing us. However, realising that following any further would entail 23 rooms of flipping switches and pushing statues, he wisely turns tail and goes home to his squealing fan harem.
I don't know if this game was popular enough for the characters to have fangirls, (I ran a few through Akinator and he accused me of making shit up, the prick) but if any of them do, I guarantee it's this dude. Effeminately handsome, stoic yet troubled, dark and mysterious? Check, check and check. The characters likely don't have models under their clothes, but I'm sure Anwar could lose his shirt and have the ladies drooling over the void where his chest should be.
It may go without saying, but you do need to use a bladed weapon to cut ropes. Swords, daggers or axes (spoiler!) only. Haven't these people seen Plunkett & Macleane?
of course they haven't, nobody has except for that one scene because it had that song in it
So we'll need a projectile to hit the first crystal since that fence is in the way. Hammer to cross the pit. Next room we have to kill enemies weak to swords...
You'll be switching weapons a lot from now on. To do this, you have to tap the Index button, open the Weapons chapter, open the category of weapon you're looking for, flip to the one you want, tap the picture, select which hand to equip it to, then press the D-Pad and wait for your spirit buddy to say goodbye before you can continue the game.
and to continue in that vein, why, why, why do you keep making me do this
Even if it had been tough to figure out the first time, I've opened three of these things now. Any trace of mystery they may have held is decayed and gone. It's not a puzzle, it's not an obstacle, it's just a waste of my time.
When you start seeing rooms like this, you might have the idea of putting all four elements on one weapon and never having to worry about crystal switches again. You might think that's very clever.
It isn't. Doing this just gives your weapon the "mixed" property, which doesn't work on any of the crystals. The exact opposite of what you wanted. See where your ideas get you? See what happens when you try to be smart? You aren't smart, asshole. You aren't funny. You aren't good-looking. Just fucking give up. Just fucking go.
Small mercy: Falling damage does not exist, except of the bottomless pit variety.
"Face statues together."
I have some things to say about this.
There'll be two of these stony chaps in rooms with this objective. Your goal is to align them such that their eyes meet, which is indicated by a red glow.
It sounds simple, but the game is strict about the positioning. You will accidentally push/pull one of them too far and have to nudge it back and forth until it's in just the right spot. The above screenshot? No glow. Ain't good enough, son.
Also, moving these things into place takes so. Damn. Long. So long that you can end up losing more points than you earn because your time bonus goes down the tubes.
All you have to do in this room is stand on the switch. One switch. That's it. Gold medal. I did the mission twice and got a lower score when I pushed the statues than when I just got it over with.
These things are jump ramps. They launch you in whichever direction you were going when you stepped on them, which may well be into a pit. Caution is advised.
There are only two of them in the room and you kind of need them to get around anyway, so this isn't much of an objective.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME
Oh wow, you actually are.
Yes, for some reason, your key doesn't work here. You'll find out why later, but for now, have fun boggling over what you're doing wrong.
Ooh, a new main objective. It's been a while.
These hexagonal panels will change colour when stepped on. There are only two of them in the room, so I guess we just pick one and run back and forth until the colours match. Okay then.
There. They're both red. Colours matched.
And the timer's still going. And the mission isn't over.
See, when it says "Match the switch colours," what it really means is "Turn all the switches blue." Once you do this, a hover panel will appear on the floor.
(Not quite the same as jump panels. These launch you straight up and keep you there until you move away.)
Alright, so I have to climb to the top? Maybe there's a regular switch to hit as well.
Nope! Nothing up here either. Now you're supposed to know to make both switches yellow. Once you've done that, a third switch appears on the top ledge, and you have to make them all red. Then you're done.
I suspect "Match the switch colours!" was the best they could do, because "Make the switches the colour we're thinking of, which we aren't going to tell you and which will change several times throughout the mission" is too much to squeeze into one line.
My suggestion? Just have it say "Fuck yourself with an icicle." It's more honest, and the actual objective would be no less evident.
Again, facing the statues together is not worth the effort. Though it might get you a higher score in the end, (I'm not testing it this time, bugger off) it's still pointless, because you can score over 4000 even ignoring the bonus objectives altogether.
As I've said before, 4000 is the maximum CP you can get from any given room. Any more than that is purely a matter of pride, and I can assure you that nobody in the world gives one milligram of a shit about your Avalon Code high scores.
Incidentally, the "Scan all Metalizes" objective just means there will be a fake tablet somewhere. You do not get recipes or anything else from them, and the one in this room only appears if you face the statues together. To hell with that.
Avanium is to gold as orichalcum is to copper, steel is to iron, etc. You won't have enough gold codes to make it at this point, but it shouldn't matter.
Pretty standard mission here. I just wanted to show you these dudes. Lot of HP, resistant to everything but bombs, and they can block your attacks. Total pain to kill.
You also have to be careful when you're asked to do a lot of toss-ups (15-20). If you're inflicting too much damage, the enemy can explode into confetti before you reach your target. Should this happen, either use a weaker weapon or raise their HP somehow.
Ughh more switch flipping and fucking statues and
Okay, this isn't as hard as it looks. If you walk into one of these tunnels, you'll come out another. You have to navigate your way to the top, hitting all three switches along the way.
Figuring out which holes go where requires experimentation, so you might not get your gold medal first time. Once you know where to go, it's a breeze. You can even use Rempo to hit the switches if you're feeling lazy.
When you hit the first switch, the statues will appear. Do yourself a favour. Ignore them. You do not need the extra points to gold this level. You don't even need them to get 4000 CP.
I suppose I can't complain that the most annoying bonus objective in the game is the one you most rarely need to complete.
Design flaw! If you have the maximum number of jewels (9999), you can't complete objectives that require getting jewels. Any reasonable person would say it counts as long as you pick the damn things up, but no. It doesn't. You must increase your total affluence by 15 jewels.
I didn't know about this until just now. And guess what? I currently have 9999 jewels. Since I've already bought all the items in the store, I'll now have to go and burn some money on a giant wad of Zeno-9 cards that I don't need, just so I can do these missions properly.
And another door for good measure. You couldn't resist, could you.
The Site of Cyril is the biggest dungeon in the game, so in terms of size, it's all downhill from here. And thank god for that, because I am rapidly running out of new things to talk about.
In fact, this would be a good time to explain why I'm not doing a blow-by-blow, 100% rundown of the game.
There are three reasons. First, it'd be boring. I've already complained about sparse adventure areas, repetitive missions and dull, samey, far-too-easy combat. If I told you every little thing I was doing, the gameplay updates would be drier and harder to get through than a burnt steak sandwich on stale bread. Without sauce.
Second, the narrative updates are more fun to write. Selfish, but whatever. This is charity entertainment, you mangy gits. I'm allowed to be selfish.
Third, I want you to play Avalon Code. Seriously. I do. I would love it if someone bought a copy because of this LP.
I've mentioned several times how disappointing I find this game. Not just boring or frustrating, but disappointing. Understand that I would not feel that way about a mediocre action RPG. I'd have put it down after an hour or two if I'd bothered to pick it up at all, and I certainly wouldn't be writing this paragraph right now.
Avalon Code is not just a mediocre action RPG. Avalon Code, as the thread title states, is a mediocre action RPG with awesome ideas behind it, and I am so very sad that none of them panned out. That's why I want to talk about it. That's why I want people to know.
This could have been so fucking good if only it were better executed. The whole concept of the Book of Prophecy is amazing, not just for the gameplay possibilities it affords, but for the story you could weave from it. This had the potential to be a deep, tragic, personal journey that broke away from the usual JRPG "save the world from the bad guy" fare. There are many games I look at and think "This could have been better," but Avalon Code I look at and think "This could have been more."
I'd love to see Matrix Software take another stab at it. As cruel as I'm being to them, I do think they have an excuse for not getting it right, because "it" hasn't really been done before. A fresh idea like this, you have to make some mistakes before you can nail it down.
The story is ripe with sequel potential, or even prequel potential. Perhaps Avalon Code 2 could go back to the first time the book came into being, show the corruption that necessitated it and expand on its motivations. Why it picks some random schmo to create the new world. Why it had to shackle the spirits. Why it has creepy devil eyes on the cover.
(There's no way this thing is a benign entity, come on.)
The chances of a follow-up are minute, especially this long after release. However, it's even less likely to happen if this game goes unsupported. If there's any urge in you whatsoever to play Avalon Code yourself, it will not survive me gouging out every titbit it has to offer and leaving the desiccated husk. So I'm not going to do that. I'm saving some for you, and I encourage you to take it.
Try Avalon Code. You will be disappointed. But it's a good pain, the sort that reminds you you're alive.
See you next update.