Part 8: Yup, Another Goddamned CaveHowdy, folks, and welcome back! Last time, on Breath of Death VII, we escaped from the Motherbound prison and we received permission to travel to Langsong. The ruler who threw us in prison was surprisingly agreeable, but he had the small issue o of overreacting and assuming things when he had no grounds to. If anyone needed a certain failed product...Anywho, today, we're going to the ruins of Langsong, so let's dance.
Before we go too much further, let's do some Chatting.
I'm not even really sure why the Chat option exists.
There aren't that many conversations within the game; if there were more, it could add a fun bit of characterization that the narrative itself failed to add, but for the most part, it's pretty much just another menu option.
We don't get many insights into a character's personality or motivations; Sara wants to investigate these old ruins for...Historian reasons, Lita wants to check out the technology located there, and Erik wants to bang Lita. Why the hell is Dem there? He's basically roped into the whole thing and since we can see his thoughts, he's not even the classic silent protagonist who just happens to get into these wacky misadventures.
Why does Sara give a shit about history? She's a ghost, shouldn't she know some of it already? Why does Lita give a rat's ass about technology? Is it because she wears glasses and she must be interested in the nerdiest thing she can be? And why does a zombie prince, who talks like an asshole, want to bang a vampire?
We'll go to the left.
After the slog that last dungeon was, this dungeon is surprisingly easy.
Their HPs are nothing to be concerned with, and they don't really hit that hard, either.
Shit, I don't have to concentrate party-wide fire on something to make sure I'm killing it.
This is about the worst of it, the stunning part. The Cursed Souls can lower someone's Strength, but it doesn't seem to be that much of an impediment.
And we get fairly healthy rewards out of it, too. It's kind of weird.
It's almost like they wanted to apologize for what a pain that last dungeon was. Not that I'm having a huge issue with that, mind you, but it seems like a strange design decision. Maybe someone can shed some light on that thought process?
Hmm, okay, good. I like Strength.
But Lita's true strength lies with her Magic, so that gets pumped up.
Further to the left is a dead end, so we keep going this way.
I figured that a rock would aspire to be the one plaguing Sisyphus, but what do I know?
If I ever visit one of your houses and you have statues arranged like this, I'm going to hit you with a cricket bat.
One potion? Well, not bad. Useful, if nothing else.
Since I've done a lot of complaining about this game lately, let's say some nice stuff. I really do actually like this game.
Like any piece of media, it has its faults. This game has the fault of poor writing and the wasting of a setting that could have been magnificent.
However, much like Secret of Evermore, the game is tons of fun to actually play.
The combat system is well crafted and achieves a balance that few other combat systems do.
A lot of care went into it, and sometimes, it seems that this game was just a big tech demo for the combat system.
You have the combo count to keep in mind, since certain skills rely on it to grow more and more powerful, but some of Sara's healing spells will also break it.
You'll be fully healed at the end of the battle; is it worth it to take her turn up for healing this round, or should you try and blitz the enemy before they take out your party?
Which combo boost move is best to use? Deathblow is physical damage, so enemies like the Armor from the last dungeon won't be as affected; Sara's Chill Blast is boosted by the combo count, but it's also Aqua element; what if the enemy resists that element?
Potions will completely heal you, which takes the guesswork out of using one. If you need to heal, a Potion will always get the job done.
But the wide variety of skills present also factors into that. Do you want to build Dem so he makes larger, harder hits, or smaller, weaker hits, but that will boost the combo count more?
In a way, when you fight, you're micromanaging the entire battle by paying attention to all of these things, but they way they come and flow is so natural, you're hardly ever consciously focusing on any one thing in the battle.
You're looking at the fight as a whole, but also breaking it down into pieces; you need to defeat this enemy before he takes out a party member, but his cohort might have a skill that boosts his attack, and is easier to kill. But can you count on that enemy using its buff skill? Is it better to absolutely destroy that one enemy, but what about the other three?
Many in the thread have praised the combat system, and rightfully so. It is, without a doubt, the best part of the game. It finds a good balance between risk and reward; finish this fight, and you're back to full health, and with a bit of MP restored.
I also like the random battle counter that's present while you're in a dungeon or on the world map. If you're fighting battles as they come and not finishing areas off, you'll probably be in pretty good shape for what comes next. However, if you finish all the encounters in an area when you visit it, you'll be plenty strong enough to get through anything. There's no ability to run from battles, so you're not really going to wind up underpowered for an area, which is always a solid move. Makes the low level run that some folk want to do a little harder, but that's all about efficiency anyway, so they'll figure out the fastest route in any case.
Basically, what I'm saying is that if it relates to combat, this game has it covered. This game is good at combat and things relating to combat.
This game is not good at things that aren't combat and that don't relate to combat. And the save point stuff; you can save anywhere, but the designated save points restoring MP to full is an excellent choice.
I really like this weapon for Lita. The ability to add extra hits is always solid, not in that it just boosts the combo count, but in that adding an extra hit essentially doubles someone's attack power. With this equipped. Lita is going to be hitting three times harder than she was before. Sure, it's against random targets, but if we can get down to just one and have her focus fire on it, that thing is going to get fucked up.
The extra hits part is one of my favorite parts of the combat system in this game. Being able to get an extra hit dramatically increases your power.
But do they have Netflix?
Speaking of Netflix, I've been binge-watching Columbo lately. My wife does not like it one bit (as it's an "old man show"), but I cannot get enough of that goofy little detective.
He's a poor man's Sherlock Holmes, but with infinitely more charm and infinitely more infuriating.
One of these caves leads to a dead end. The other leads forward.
I'm not sure why that blurring effect is there, but I thought it was cool, so I didn't take another shot of us entering this cave.
The enemies don't change much as we go through these caves; lots of Cursed Souls and Pyrimps.
And then this area, which is a bit of a middle finger to you.
Whether you go left or right, it all leads the same way. And I'm pretty sure they're the same distance, too, so there's no benefit in going one way or the other.
Orc Captains are our newest prey.
This is Lita's new toy in action; that's nearly 300 damage, just from our little vampire.
And in case anyone is paying attention to these stat shots, the Orc Captain is kind of like an Executioner, but he doesn't hit nearly as hard.
I said it earlier this update, but coming here after the Motherbound prison is kind of an odd drop in difficulty; it'd be like if you were playing Final Fantasy IV, did part of the Moon, and then had to go do Eblan Castle. You'd be getting your ass kicked five ways from Friday in one place, but whistling through the other. It's so incredibly weird. I can't really explain what I mean properly.
...Is it odd that image069 is Erik's level up?
Okay, yes, two key stats going up. I like that.
I'm not sure if another 10 Strength is worth not gaining 20 Vitality, so I go with Option A. It just makes more sense to me.
And moving along--
I do not like crab. Not only is the texture weird to me, but the taste is just awful.
Unsurprisingly, giant shellfish are weak to having their tits shocked off.
They pack a good punch with those claws, too. They're also unimpressed with physical attacks, but magical strikes will break them wide open.
Someone pointed out that in the last update, we technically did two dungeons in a row, and he was right. In this, we're doing just one dungeon, but it's broken into several little chunks.
The other cave has a special treasure, but there's a reason to pop into the left-hand cave first.
And not just for the silly-ass dialog.
Yeah, it's been around two hours or so.
Jesus, people, just because we're having a send-up of old-school RPGs doesn't mean we need to bust out all the cliches.
This is the kind of thing in a game that just makes me uncomfortable, through how forced and contrived it is. Sure, this happens in old RPGs, but don't just try and slam it in there because "It has to be there."
She's known you for twenty-five minutes, at most. Le chill out, douchebag.
Of everyone in the party, I like Dem the most.
It's because he doesn't talk and his thoughts aren't full of shit.
Alright, let's go nab some treasure.
This cave is just a long corridor leading to a treasure chest.
This isn't a scripted fight; a random encounter just happened to pop up before I could get the chest.
I'll keep this in mind in case of emergencies.
This, too. Doubling Erik's attack could come in handy at some point. Or maybe it won't. Only time will tell.
And since they were right there, why not use a couple of Unite skills?
And a showcase of Lita's new weapon, as well as just how tough a Gigas Crab is.
Ah, the level up I've been waiting for!
If you were playing this game and took this option, you're probably brain-damaged.
Oh, Sara, you too?
Yeah, no, I'm not fucking up your MP regen glitch.
Oh, holy shit, new armor. I almost forgot we could equip that!
We lose a bit of Magic, but who cares?
Okay, off to Langsong. We've shit to do there.
There's also no boss at the end here. It's kind of weird.
It's almost like they knew this area was just going to be a bit of padding, so they didn't put the full effort into it.
Guess what Lita's getting this level up?
Not this shit!
Lita is now hitting four times with her regular attack. Still against random targets, but c'mon, four times!
And Erik upgrades his pimp suit. Word's still out on if there's a white stripe on it or not.
Much better than his regular suit. Not as good as the Gold Suit, but eh, I can live with that.
And, uh, yeah. That's the cave that leads to Langsong. Speaking of Langsong, Oberndorf has the explanation for the reference there.
Langsong is a reference, too. The Langrisser series is an originally 16 bit strategy RPG, with a near-dead LP on this very forum. The first installment of the series was released on the Genesis as Warsong, with a couple of era-appropriate graphics changes and a marginal translation.
Yep, it looks like a shithole.
Maybe a little too quiet...
Maybe the little too deepest...
Maybe a little later...
Because it's time for a break! This update was a little short, but that's alright. Next time, we're going to be making our way through Langsong, so stay tuned!
In case you were wondering, here's the stat screens of our party.