Part 5: B-ball Catacombs: Part 1 of 2Neo New York was created not only upon the ashes of New York, but on the backs of ancient b-ballers. Instead of celebrating the glory of the players in these tombs, the area is attached to the sewers as an overflow prevention. This disgrace, along with The Purge have turned some of the lesser b-ballers into pitiful abominations in a state between life and death, constantly wishing for one last slam. This single obsession, along with the ancient b-ball magics, make this an incredible dangerous area. The B-Ball Catacombs are full of Barkley's old friends and teammates, so this dungeon acts mostly to draw the player into the world
and the story. There are a significant amount of coffins, and I will be going to each. But first a gas pump.
It has come to my attention that in certain circles, simian-minded individuals are refering to vidcons as 'vid cons', ignorantly placing a space between 'vid' and 'con'. Perhaps their brains have dulled by years of Madden and Quake, rather than the mentally invigorating games such as Arc the Lad and Growlanser, becuase even a child could tell that placing a space between the 'vid' and 'con' in vidcon is perhaps more profoundly philistine than a certain American administration that need not be named. Placing a space in vidcon completely belittles the meaning of the word and displays the user's blatantly minuscule intellect and is understanding of the basic precepts of grammar. Vidcon is a perfect marriage of the words console and video game, creating a short and effective portmanteau that quickly and accurately labels mentions objects and anybody who does not immediately recognize 'vid con' as absolutely outrageous clearly lacks the mental faculties to correctly operate a vidcon other than perhaps FIFA Sports. I make this point becuase I have recently been belligerently barrage by imbecilic 'vid con' references that unnerve me to no end and have taken it upon myself to correct the damage that your poor Western education ( though this is a subject to be discussed on a later date) has wrought upon you. You should personally thank me that i did not see it fit to correct your preponderous mistake in Japanese, becuase I am thoroughly positive your neanderthal mind would be incapable of deciphering the Hiragana from the Katakana.
And walking forward we immediately enter our first battle
Here's a typical dungeon view. The spectre-y thing is an encounter waiting to happen.
Initiating combat is very similar to Earthbound. Creatures appear on the map, and if your character and the creature touch, battle happens. Creatures patrol set paths and if they spot you, will chase you until you leave the area. If the creature catches your back, they get a surprise round, and similarly, if you catch the enemies back, you get a surprise round.
With patience you can pretty easily play this section getting surprise rounds on every enemy.
Combat is slightly more varied than standard Snes area RPGs. Each character has physical 3 or 4 attacks, magic attacks, and unique guard actions. For the physical attacks you must perform actions in real time, lest your attack do low damage or miss completely.
-Shots - Assualt a foe with b-ball shot.
--Free throw - 2 shots low damage, varying accuracy and can hit two targets
--Pass - 1 low accuracy strong hit
--Forward Jumper - 1 strong hit, high accuracy but 33% less guard
--Jumper - medium hit, high accuracy
--Fadeaway Jumper - 1 weak hit, high accuryacy and 33% more guard until next turn
Free throw is generally the best option. In this game the difference between 'high' and 'low' damge attacks is insignificant against most enemies, so having 2 low damage attacks is more effective.
-Slam/Jam - Use verboten jams to inflict damge
--Doubleteam- bamboozles the enemy with shots from all angles.(best throughout game)
Balthios and the Ultimate Hellbane have the same move set.
-BLitz - Blitz enemies with stunning moves.
--zuaber Slash - Brain attack with near perfect accuracy. By hitting the button a lot, it gets bigger and more powerful.
--Stab Dash- Physical attack with near perfect accuracy
--Zeta Flash - Sets back all enemies by 20% in the turn order.
--Zuaber slash is almost always better to use, unless there are a ton of enemies, then Zeta Flash might help.
-Zuaber- Conjure Zauber powers to stifle foes.
--Flame Zuaber- Lowers enemy power
--Ice Zuaber- Hits hard (terrible sound effect though)
More on combat later. Now we head north into a door vaguely resembling an omega
Yes, Barkley. This is the final resting place of a baller long lost to the annals of history. In my spare time I like to study the inscriptions around the sarcophagii and glean as much knowledge as I can about the ballers that reside withing them. I'm a bit of a b-ball historian, you see.
So what have you learned from them?
Oh, this and that. Mostly they are about shoes or incredible plays, nothing particularly amazing. There has been one I've been struggling with recently though. It goes into quite specific detail about a disaster that will take place in 2053. It has to be a mistranslation or a bad calculation, there is almost no was this could happen...
Like the Chaos Dunk in Manhattan?
No, no. Don't get me wrong, this is a tragedy but... But what I've been reading... It can only spell the disaster of mankind.
I... I see.
No... I don't think you do.
Barkley, wanting to know more, presses forward, or in this case, to the left.
The sarcophagus... It's... open.
Yes, Barkley... Ancient b-ball magics haunt these halls, causing the dead to rise.
Is that a joke? Are you trying to bamboozle me?
The joke's on you if you choose not to believe me. But, forget it, Barkley. You're an old man stuck in your ways. You'll soon see the truth...
We'll see about that...
This whole place is so damn confusing, and the sudden flight from his home, Barkley is left in a daze, navigating by which sarcophagi he has passed. A new one, that is to say ancient, and hereto yet unseen, a sarcophagus taller than most stands proudly in an alcove. The Ultimate Hellbane sees the curiosity on Charles's face and begins to enlighten him.
terrific showdowns. I believe the phrase that would have been used in your times was that you "rocked the house".
I can see you're no greenhorn when it comes to pre-21st century b-ball vernacular and colloquialisms.
I shall... Take that as a compliment.
From here we head East. You can actually skip this dungeon if you travel exclusively East, and considering the loot, experience, neo shekels are quite low, if you've played through before or don't feel like reading, skipping the catacombs entirely is an option.
We on the other hand, have statues to learn about. In fact, there are quite a few in this here room.
What is this statue?
It is not a statue, Barkley. It is a canopic urn filled with the entrails of one of the pre-historic ballers. The early ballers believed that if they put their internal organs in urns after death, their souls would find rest in the b-ball dimension.
That's a ridiculous thing to believe...
You have to remember that early ballers were primitive peoples that used the gods to explain life and natural phenomenon. For example, one inscription states that the ancient b-ball players believed that thunder was the result of gods playing basketball in the sky.
Hmph, I wonder what Clispaeth would say about that...
I do not know. Many of these ballers were buried before the time of Clispaeth... Let's go.
We approach another statue, Barkley wishes to continue, being sick of this shit, but the Ultimate Hellbane begins to approach the statue and speak. The B-ball Catacombs are dangerous in pairs, and even more dangerous solo, so he stays and listens.
This urn in particular... This urn baffles me.
Why is that?
This is the urn of a baller, one G.W. Carver or somesuch, who lived during the Cyberpocalypse. Now that's nothing out of the ordinary, there were hundreds, if not thousands of ballers then, but one particularly interesting inscription on the urn reads "slammed for the cycle of 100 suns."
(Clearly uninterested) What's so interesting about that?
This man lived in the era of the Cyberpocalypse, Barkley. If what the hieroglyphics state are true, then the book of b-ball may need to be rewritten. The slam was not said to have been invented until nigh on into the Post-Cyberpocalypse. This G.W.Carver could very well be the originator of slams and jams. At the very least, this confirm the existence of the slam in that era.
There is one hieroglyphic I can't quite decipher though. It seems to be a legume of some sort. I can only make this statement based on conjecture, but I believe it to be an ancient symbol of power.
Perhaps the world will never know...
Down this corridor we find a strange indentation in the wall.
These are the treasure chests of this dungeon! There isn't anything really special, just healing items and some buyable equipment.
Pressing onward we come to something very strange
This contraption intrigues me. I have yet to find out what it's purpose is.
Look's like one of these spinning globes, only a B-Ball instead. I wonder if it still spins. ( The puzzle piece moves) Huh? Did you see that?
Hmm, it appears this is some kind of ancient device. Turning the B-Ball seems to shift the tiles below... This may-
I don't got time for shifting tiles, pal.
...may lead to a valuable treasure.
Treasure? Like the forbidden dunk texts?
Nothing is certain, but if we manage to solve this conundrum we may reveal ancient baller possessions.
In here is a very special item. If we solve the puzzle we get Gatorade gum, a permanent 25 VP increase, which will go to the Ultimate Hellbane becuase his health is low and he actually took interest in it.
... gum ... Gatorade gum?,,,
Wow, I thought this gum was only a myth! This is certainly a great find, Barkley.
Alright, I had enough of this room.
I concur. We need to go further on.
Our travels take us through a winding corrid-
Don't you feel that? All that b-ball energy concentrated into one place?
I don't feel anything...
It's the spirit of a ref trapped in this dimension that's trying to get to the B-Ball Dimension. It's incredibly powerful.
I don't... feel anything, Hellbane
Well you're about to! Here it comes!
Dread refs are incredibly tough, and are discussed in the bestiary. In short, if you don't finish the fight quick, you will be overwhelmed soon.
That... That was a tough fight. May you find rest in the B-Ball Dimension, lost spirit.
Rest... Rest in peace, wandering ref...
Now we fought him to get to here.
Yes, Barkley. This statue particularly interests me becuase of an incredible power it has. Touch it, Barkley.
A-amazing! I feel my b-ball energy returning to me as we speak! This is incredible!
Yes Barkley. This statue restores the b-ball energies of those who touch it. It is quite an amazing artifact, one that I have studied quite extensively and still cannot find an answer to. Although perplexing, though, it seems to have no ill effects. We can use it as we please.
The ancient ballers... They were Amazing...
Now that our health is full, we have one more tomb to check for now.
He was an amazing baller, Hellbane. He though a lot of himself, but he had good reason to. He was one of the best.
That's right, but-
Lookout! He's coming out of his sarcophagus!
Kobe is kind of a bitch. He has an ability where he body falls apart, but he gains around 2/3 health back. If you don't go at him hard, its a long fight. With this information, we easily dispatch him.
K-Kobe... I... I just killed Kobey Bryant...
He was already dead, Barkley...
I know that but... But that look in his eye. Even in death, he had that baller look, that "I'm gonna dunk that ball so hard" look... That was Kobe...
I'm... I'm sorry Barkley.
No man should have to ever do that... I'm sorry Kobe... I'm sorry.
And that is it for now. Next time we will be wrapping up the southern corridors, fighting a boss, and making a friend or two.