Part 5: Watery Caves And A Dragon's BlazeThings have been kind of quiet in the thread lately, so let's update and see if that changes things. Last update, we discovered there's a place in the desert badlands where we have to deliver a series of crystals, because of reasons. Today, we're going to cross through the Water Cave, leading us one step closer to Motherbound, so let's dance.
We have to head North to reach the Water Cave, but there's a quick stop to make first.
Bonus Caves are everywhere, if you haven't guessed that by now.
They're useful as another source of experience, in addition to some nice items being available inside of them.
This is the first level of this cave, but the basement floor is super short.
In fact, this area isn't very long, either, but the path is winding around and around, so it takes a minute to get through.
You've seen most of the layout already, actually.
So how about some new enemies? You guys like that, right?
Puke Zombies are, surprisingly, stronger Zombies. They can puke on you.
Gatormen are stronger Lizardmen, in another shocking twist.
There was a Hailstorm in there somewhere, too, as well as a Shotgun blast.
Looking at them, I still think slightly cybernetic, but it's the red eye that does it for me. That's such a hallmark of evil cybernetics that I can't really look past it. Plus, the white skull looks slightly metallic to me, but maybe I'm just nuts.
There's only one correct course of action here.
Science prevails! All hail science!
And all hail the end of the bonus cave!
Yuck. I don't like sushi.
Just 350 HP? Shit.
These guys are much less of a challenge than the five Sturdy Ogres we fought at the end of the last bonus cave.
For one, they hit for much less damage. Well, not really, but we have more HP and another party member.
Who happens to have the element they're weak against.
All in all, it's a pretty simple fight, and nothing to get excited about.
I had picked up a set of Geek Glasses for Lita, but the Heart Glasses are better in every way.
Now, that's not bad. Lita isn't too strong, but she's also fairly slow.
But these things are her bread and butter. I actually end up taking the Strength and Agility boosts, since Lita needs the speed, and I'm having her using her regular attack during normal encounters, where it's too costly to drop 18 MP to hit all enemies. The MP/Magic boost would have made that more effective and given me essentially one more casting of Lightning, true, but with the Shotgun hitting all enemies for free, and making Lita's slow ass faster, I felt that the first bonus was the best one at the moment.
But she's not the only one to gain a level.
30 Agility? Yes, please!
Ooh, Combo Boost is nice. This will break the combo, though...
But this slows down the enemy, but the power doesn't raise as our combo count does.
I take the Chill Blast, since Combo Boost is a very nice skill. That breaks the combo, yes, but I'm mostly building the combo to build up Deathblow, so think of this as Sara's version of Deathblow. It feeds off the combo count that I love to boost so much, so that felt like the obvious choice to me. I could see taking the other one, though, since some enemies are fast enough, slowing them by a quarter is a nice incentive.
Having dragged our asses into this cave, let's get it over with.
Fairly sturdy Cave Bats, at that.
Like the other Bats we've encountered, these sons of bitches are fast.
However, one thing to note, since I gave Dem that +30 boost to Agility, he's now faster than Sara.
But her two Hits allow her to deal more damage than Dem, even if it isn't much more.
So, yeah, this is a cave, with some water in it.
It's very brown and blue.
With more than one dead end around. Not that I mind, since dashing makes it easy to get back to where you were, and it lets me snag some extra EXP.
I'm drawing a blank on what to say about these guys. I mean, they're upgraded Crows. I'm not sure the tombstone they're on has even changed. C'mon, at least give me a Star of David or something.
Maybe a magic spell? 'course, they could have them and I've just not seen them use it.
In either case, it's pretty easy EXP and Gold.
I'm not sure who laid the bricks down there, but they did a bang-up job of it. At least until the point where they got tired of doing it, but I suppose that's bound to happen if you start in the middle of a random corridor.
Ready to meet some asshole enemies?
Imps are fucking dicks.
They might not have a ton of HP, but they are good at taking HP away.
That doesn't look like a ton of damage, but that was a spell hitting our magical tank.
That spell, combined with regular enemy attacks, can lead to some very sticky situations. But, much like in Doom, Shotguns are efficient at taking care of Imps.
Now that is a reward I can get behind.
Just like I'm sure that treasure chest is something I can enjoy.
But getting to the damned thing is the trick.
That's one of the ultimate teases in an RPG, I think. Showing me a chest that is basically within arm's reach, but is actually closer to a quarter mile away.
It's like dying of dehydration while floating in the ocean.
Or starving to death while in Wisconsin.
(the joke there is that Wisconsin is full of overweight people and lots of food)
(I hear they have a drink called Crazy Butter, which is a stick of butter melted into a mug of cheese)
(And that they will give you a sombrero full of nachos, that is made of nachos, and filled to the brim with nacho cheese)
Don't think that I haven't been fighting. I just haven't met anything new.
I didn't realize that until right about now. It's kind of bizarre.
Aww, dammit. Not that I mind Potions, but I prefer equipment.
Well, let's pop to the next chunk of this Cave.
But not before chatting it up with the ladies.
Just in case you thought I was full of shit about the references in the naming scheme.
Dem, you're a bit too much of a straight man for me.
Oh, hey, we're about to meet another new enemy.
Babygons! I'd say they're cute, but they are some fugly creatures.
And like most ugly things, they're sturdy.
They've got decent attack power.
As well as being able to light the entire party on fire. It's not a ton of damage, but combined with other enemy attacks, and potentially another fire breathing Babygon, this could lead to another scary situation.
But, hey, nice rewards.
That led to a dead end, so let's head back.
To another new enemy.
Cave Dwellers are massive assholes for one simple reason.
They have a special attack that hurts like a bastard.
Other than that, they're unremarkable, barring a good bit of health.
Time for me to explain another decision!
Seal will block off an enemy's special attacks, leaving them to just physically attack.
Double the MP, targets the whole enemy party, but has half the chance to do so. I go with the 80% chance, since there will usually be only one or two enemies that I want to Seal up, and 80% is a pretty good chance of that. If there are two enemies I want to Seal, Dem and Sara can usually kill off one of them, leaving Lita to neuter the other.
That's becoming one of my favorite parts of writing up these updates. I've thought about these skills before, but I've never really had to explain why I've made the choices I have. Sometimes, afterward, when I'm telling you why I took this option over that one, I start thinking I might have made the wrong choice, or at least made the choice that wasn't quite as good as the other.
And since I'm afraid of being judged by you guys, I try to have a good explanation for why I took what I did.
I might need these at some points, but I'd still like to have some new weapons.
Gold is good, because it leads to new stuff.
Coming back through, Dem hits another level.
This is good. Dem will never have enough Strength.
Vitality is good for him, too, since his is already pretty high. Will is even more important, because his isn't all that great. However, for those of you who know how I like my RPG characters, when it comes down to more power or more defense, I'm going to choose more power 99% of the time.
And, as I tend to do, Sara got the boost to her stats, since she has infinite MP, effectively.
Let's go get that other chest, shall we?
That one does not have new equipment in it, if you don't mind the spoiler.
I wonder, who the hell builds the staircases inside of dungeons like this?
I bet there's a union for that kind of thing. There has to be; how the hell else are you going to get the workers to go into the monster infested caves?
Then again, I suppose they do have their tools with them, and I'm sure most monsters would piss off after getting smacked with a hammer.
But, like I said, Gold is nearly as good as new equipment.
Who keeps these torches lit? I guess the Babygons could, since they breathe fire.
Hey, a new bit of equipment!
Now, that is quite a boost to Strength, and it ignores Defense? I like the idea of the Rifle, but being able to hit all enemies at once is still too appealing to me.
It helps that it's a free hit (MP-wise) to all enemies, too.
If you aren't aware of it, Yapping Eevee has started a new LP. It's a VLP of EVO: The Search for Eden, and I'm a guest for it.
In other interesting news, there's a treasure chest over there.
And a branching path! With dungeon set-ups like these, the commentary practically writes itself.
So, for those of you who don't know, I'm probably going to disappear for a good bit in a couple of months.
My wife will be giving birth to our first child, and I can't help but feel that our new daughter is going to be a bit more important than whatever LP I'll be running at that point in time.
Though, I'll warn you, when I do start updating again, half of my commentary will probably be about how precious she is and how much I love her. Some of you may vomit.
Hey, something to distract you from the fact I'm a gigantic softy.
Now this is an interesting choice. I could eschew Vitality, Agility and Will, and gain +20 to Strength and Magic, but Lita needs the Vitality and Agility, so she gets the +10 to all stats.
Up and around we go, where we stop, nobody knows!
Imagine how many RPG obstacles would be trivialized with a jump button.
I mean, old-school RPGs.
There's the path to the boss, but that's not the correct one to take to grab treasure.
And I won't complain about more Gold.
You know shit is about to get serious because there's a save point.
Due to the nature of this game, I have three different save files, just in case something happens and I lose progress.
A dragon, you say? Well, let's get it on.
Ghidorah! You've...You've seen better days.
And with an assload of health, this guy is tough.
Hailstorm is essential for building my combo count.
Multi-Strike has less hits than Fire Flurry, but does more damage. With this guy, I'll take more damage over a couple of hits added to the count.
And since I'm trying to rekill this dragon, I figure I could at least try to make him go back to his grave by reminding him of its earthly trappings.
Ouch, that stings. And across the entire party, and it'll only get stronger through the battle.
And, of course, this dickhole can poison you, since why not?
And he's now dealing roughly 100 damage a turn.
What? I was worried about Lita.
He also hits pretty hard.
If you try and do this fight as a straight slugfest, you're probably going to get your ass killed.
Eventually, through the power of a sniper Shotgun blast, he falls.
The skill gained here would have been useful a couple of minutes ago.
Now that is the kind of skill I can get behind. Having a good enough offense to make up for a lack of defense is something I'm perfectly cool with.
Yeah, I don't even really consider this skill. It's just not the sort of thing that I'm in to.
Both good things for Sara.
As are these, but I take the extra Magic and Agility.
And just to round things out, Lita gains a level, too.
With the same logic I used for taking the 80% Seal, I take the 80% Blind.
Who, me? Yeah, I'm good.
And to also get the hell away from relationship values.
We're stopping off at this point.
Next time, we'll enter Motherbound and see what's shakin' in there.