Part 52: Hidden Meia
Welcome to the Eastern Sword school.
I take it you have come for a lesson.
Foggy tonight. Watch your step.
A time ago I would strike without warning. Now is different. I ask you kindly to leave.
Your mistake, then.
Come out! Face me!
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Ahh. Nothing like a good invasion.
What happened? Why aren't the guards here?
Funny story. I tried to do some rallying while you were away.
It could have gone better.
So it's just us.
Pretty much. I figure I'll take the first twenty guys, you take the next, and we'll just keep alternating until we get overwhelmed and die. How's that sound?
Do you remember where we escaped prison from? The secret passage? We need to go there.
The castle tower is actually a giant spear. At the tip of that spear is a demon. That demon took control of the prince after he died, and that's why he can boss monsters around. And why he went insane and attacked Kaleila. So now we have to go back to the dungeon, find the demon, and kill him before he wakes up, otherwise the world will end.
I have some questions.
It would be really good if you could hold them in for now.
That's a lot to take your word on, my friend.
I have a magic book. Could we please, this once, listen to the boy with the magic book? The one everybody's been chasing after? He just might know what he's talking about.
Why didn't you mention this earlier?
Not sure. Maybe I was still winded after getting punched in the stomach.
Oh. My. God. Are you seriously still on about that.
I know I have no right to talk, but COME ON.
So who told you all this?
And how did we get from repelling an invasion to saving the world?
And you're telling me someone nailed this guy to the ground with a skyscraper and it didn't kill him. How is poking him with a sword going to make a difference?
Use your imagination.
Delightful to see you well. I feared the prince had been overzealous.
Guess I'm tougher than you thought.
Indeed. And I can't help but notice you're standing opposite us, rather than beside us. You're quite welcome to fix that.
You made me punch a child in the stomach. For nothing.
Are you still on about that?
Rather than wounding my poor heart with your barbs, maybe you should go and run that errand.
What about you?
Kid. You've never worried about me before. For god's sake, don't start now.
Go on ahead. I'll catch up once both halves of his face match.
Just one thing.
If we don't see each other again, can we call it even?
What errand might that be, general?
I asked him to grab me some scones. I'm starving.
This is how you want to die, is it? A traitor to your people? To your prince?
I haven't seen any of my people today. Just monsters.
And I don't know what that thing is, but it sure as hell isn't my prince.
Servant. I'm tired of this. Get rid of him.
Oh, very well.
Terrible waste, though.
This is it. The final push.
It has been a long journey, filled with switches. We've seen switches on the floor, switches on the ceiling. Switches that must be shot, switches that must be hammered, switches to blow up. Switches you put blocks on. We have, one might say, switched it up.
What I'm getting at is, we've all had our fill of switches. We are switched off. And I'm sorry that after all that seasonal whatnot, you have to come back to what is essentially a
First, let's look at our new and improved spirits.
Our reward for freeing our companions is more than warm fuzzies. Unshackled spirits have quadruple the attack power, bringing the damage up to 800 points.
And guess what? It's still not worth it!
By this stage, most enemies have at least 3000 HP each. You'd have to use magic four or five times to kill just one. That's 200-250 MP, over half your supply.
I'd actually argue that this is the least viable time to use spirit magic in combat. You're never outnumbered in this dungeon. All the monsters here are big, stompy dudes that you fight one at a time, so the whole area of effect goes to waste. And yes, this is the absolute earliest you can unshackle the spirits. I didn't save it until the end for dramatic effect.
We'll detail how that works in the Real Deal updates, though. Are you expecting me to complain about it? Because I may just!
Here's another reason why you won't be using magic. You've already burnt most of it in the first room.
You have to use the four spirits to flip these switches. Rempo for red, Mieli for green, figure out the rest, I believe in your brain power.
And yeah, these are just regular crystal switches. You could certainly scrounge up fire, forest, ice and lightning codes and put them each on your weapon in turn. You could also hack the ROM to remove this room from the game, but it would be a little too much palaver, wouldn't it?
And you can see I didn't need those bonus points for not using a weapon. Essentially, I just spent 55% of my MP for the sole purpose of avoiding the UI. When your players are doing this, it indicates a problem.
Scanning the enemy here reveals his immunity to all weapons besides the hammer.
And here's the immunity in action. You see how that sword isn't damaging him at all.
He does, however, resist all those weapons, meaning you'll still have to use a hammer if you want to kill him quickly.
I mention this because quite a few enemies in this dungeon are like that. Only one weakness, resistant to everything else. And it's never the same weakness, so you'll have to switch weapons often. We've already covered how tiresome that gets, but you have to do it. It still gets results faster than stubbornly clinging to your sword, and you want to save as much time as you can.
Not mission time, mind you. Your time. This is the point we've reached. You are a marathon runner who's just spotted the finish line. Your sides ache, it hurts to breathe, and you just want to collapse on the asphalt, spewing a glistening vomit crescent on your way down. You're too tired to care about winning anymore, but you still sprint for that line as fast as you can, because the sooner you cross it, the sooner you can stop.
I think the designers knew people would feel that way by now, and created rooms like this to spite them.
Flip all the switches. All I have to do is run to the end of the corridor and flip that switch. Just one switch.
You cockteasing bastards.
It's a Beat All The Enemies mission disguised as a Flip All The Switches mission. How else can I describe it? Why would they do this other than to fuck with the player? If the enemies actually jumped out and caught you off guard, that would be one thing, but you're ready to fight as soon as those gates go up. And then they spawn in one by one and plod around like they always do. That's not an ambush. It's just a regular fight that you weren't expecting.
They pull this on you twice. It is not funnier the second time.
You know what makes this dungeon worse than all the others? It's actually two dungeons. There's one section simply called "Dungeon", and another called "Hidden Meia."
It isn't clear where one starts and the other stops. You'll walk down a path and find yourself in a Dungeon room, then further down that same path, you're back in Hidden Meia. Then the Dungeon again. It seems completely arbitrary as to which rooms get which label.
Why is this an issue? Because if you're flipping through the pages trying to find your way around, the book will turn from, say, Hidden Meia 1 to Hidden Meia 2 and 3. Except that doesn't help you, because Hidden Meia 2 and 3 are dead ends. The path out of Hidden Meia 1 is Dungeon 7, which is considered a different area and is therefore in a different part of the book, away from the Hidden Meia rooms. Even though it is directly connected to a Hidden Meia room.
Hey, you know that shitty map system we have? Let's exacerbate it!
SIDENOTE: You may remember that Lauca's second name is Meia. And yet she has nothing to do with this dungeon.
Not really sure why they did that.
I'm only showing you this one because it contains something we haven't seen before.
Steam vents. Or...smoke vents? Kinda get the feeling these were supposed to be in the volcano, but whatever.
If you try to push the block straight across, you will quite literally have smoke blown up your ass. So first you have to pull it sideways a little bit.
And that's it. Now you're safe. This was their final attempt to hit us with something new.
I have nothing to add. That says it all, really.
This mission, we're challenged to defeat an invincible monster.
And it only just occurred to me what a problem this could be. Sure, the book tells you how to remove Invincibility codes, so they are an immaterial obstacle...provided you know how to access that information. If you don't, it becomes insurmountable.
The monster/character bios are reached by touching the little block of blurry text beneath their portrait, and for a long time, I thought this was decoration. I think most people would. The layout doesn't make it look important, and it's not mentioned in any of the tutorials.
I was lucky enough to discover it by accident, but what if I hadn't? There's no way to deduce how to deal with invincible monsters. You just have to be told. And now I'm stuck in a room with one. I can't run away, and I have no idea how to kill him. My only recourse is GameFAQs.
Incidentally, this dungeon has a big, pulsating, peeking out the top of its y-fronts boner for invincible monsters. There's the guy we just fought...
This guy, who would be invincible if I hadn't neutered him in an earlier sidequest...
Same with this guy, who we debuffed back in the ice cavern...
And finally there's this piece of shit, to whom I give special mention. This is the only enemy in the game that can teleport, and boy howdy does he want you to know it!
He doesn't even attack most of the time. He's not dangerous. He just fucking teleports around, quickly enough and with so many invincibility frames that you can't hit him until he decides to stop pissing about and fight you. This is not hyperbole. It can't be done. As soon as you get him on screen, he's already fading out, and if you wait for him to come to you, he can just teleport away again with no delay.
Thankfully, you don't have to fight him here, but there is a sidequest in which you do.
I lied earlier. The double dungeon shit isn't the worst thing about this place. Or at least it's only half the story.
As you explore, you'll notice quite a few of these gates barring your way. They can be opened by completing certain missions. You aren't told anything to that effect, but hey, you've always had to beat the missions to progress, right? Nothing new there.
The difference is, rather than the gate being in front of you, it's elsewhere in the dungeon. Most likely somewhere you've already passed. So now you have to go back, where you'll find more missions to open more gates in random places you've already been to.
This isn't backtracking caused by unfortunate design. This is backtracking BY design. And the opening of a new area is indicated by a text box saying "Okay, for some reason you can go here now." That's the best they could come up with.
Be honest. Do you think I'm reasonable in presuming rushed production for this game, or am I just naive to think nobody could be this lazy and have a job? Not in the sense that they'd get fired; rather that anyone this languid wouldn't be looking for work in the first place.
That's all. Everything else here is the same re-re-reheated gruel we've been sipping since the beginning. Beat all the enemies, flip all the switches. None of it is worth showing you.
There's no giant fuck off megachallenge to wrap things up, unless you count the challenge of navigating this mess. In fact, the last room in the dungeon doesn't even include a mission. It just has some goblins running around. I wouldn't be surprised if they showed us a text box saying "We're sorry", then rolled the credits.
But you know what? I'll have to ask you to be angry about that on my behalf. Because I'm searching really, really hard for reasons to get mad about this game almost being over. And ladies and gentlemen, I got nothing.
Final boss, coming up. Praise everything.