Part 3: Chapter III: Cliff Diving And Something Completely Different
We pan up the cliff faces of the aptly named Cliffs as Nina and Ryu enter. Nina mentions that it will be nightfall before too long, so they'd better cross the cliffs before then.
But first, random encounters! Apparently, blue jello achieved self-awareness by virtue of its intrinsic deliciousness. Then somehow grew eyes that bounce up and down upon its gelatinous mass. I can dig it.
Eye Goos are the first and weakest type of Goo, which we will be seeing a lot of over our adventure. Usually, blinding Goos gives you some extra experience but we don't have anything that inflicts blind so we won't be doing that for a little while.
More notably, Eye Goos have Rest, a move that is surprisingly useful for being the first move most players get. It costs no AP and restores an amount of HP and AP to the user that scales up with their Wisdom, meaning it never loses its usefulness. While free recovery is a sweet deal, the fact that using it strategically means you can negate the per-turn AP loss incurred by Ryu's dragon forms means it's absolutely essential for long fights. Ryu will be learning Rest and keeping it in his skills list for the rest of the game. I'll talk more about learning skills and switching them around when we have more to work with, but for now, all you need to know is that you have to be guarding when a monster does a learnable move to get a chance at getting it.
After devouring some delicious blue jello, Ryu levels up!
Each character gains stats at a different rate. While Nina's base stat gains are much more focused on wisdom and AP naturally, Ryu's are general with focuses on attacking and AP. Stat gains can be fiddled with, but it'll be a good while before we see someone who can help with that.
Ooh, a mysterious bag! But how to reach it?
Here's the first of many dick moves with the camera. Several items - and even rooms! - are either hidden by, or have their access hidden by, camera positioning. General rule of thumb is to flip the camera around as much as you can if you smell anything fishy about the area.
Ooh, hey, now all I need's some bleach and I can wash out the memories of The Making of a Prophet.
Actually, ammonia functions as this game's Phoenix Downs. It revitalizes downed party members with 1/4 of their maximum HP. While there's better items, they won't be seen for a long while (like, half the game a long while, not 'an hour or so' long while) and require a good deal of effort to amass a stockpile of. In addition, ammonia is a pretty rare pre-placed item, is expensive compared to other consumables, and Nina doesn't get her own revive effect until level 17, so ammonia'll do just fine for now.
Huh. Camera won't go around the corner here. Guess I'll just walk around it then.
My, that's a sharp drop.
: "But don't worry. We should be able to jump over this. All you have to do to jump is stand at a place where it's narrow enough to jump, and press the X button or move in the direction you want to jump using the directional buttons. Try it!"
This is the only time in the game where a character tells you the controls. Usually, a help window does the job for you. This makes this sole instance of it even more jarring.
Ahh well. Allons-y!
Oh come on. Interestingly, if you try to turn back here, Nina asks if you're afraid of heights instead of just repeating the tutorial.
: "Don't you just love that feeling you get looking down from a high place like this? It makes me dizzy--it's so exciting!"
You're going to slip and fall, aren't you?
Nina's shoes must be made of greasy Teflon. She slips and plummets down faster than the screenshot-taking button can record without having her embedded in the cliffside.
Blue haired mute protagonist to the rescue!
Ryu jumps from outcropping to outcropping in a desperate attempt to save Nina before she goes splat on the jagged rocks below!
There she is!
Wait. Hold up. Are those wings functional?
Oh good lord that looks painful.
: "You're not hurt are you? I'm sorry, I didn't tell you about my wings...I can use them to fly a little, so I can survive a fall like that."
: "But it was very brave of you to do that, Ryu. Very brave...and heroic. Thank you."
Ryu blushes, and is somehow able to walk despite a fall that arguably should leave him with his ass protruding out the top of his head. The sun dips down below the horizon, and Nina says they should find shelter.
Lucky for us there's shelter about five feet away.
: "We should be able to camp here. Now all we need is a fire!"
The scene transitions to Nina telling the mute stranger her life story in a dark cave in the middle of a desert. Hey, I told you she ain't too bright.
: "...And that's how I ended up here. Where are you heading, Ryu? Whoops...I forgot. You're lost, aren't you? Tomorrow, once we get to town, I'm sure we'll be able to find someone who knows you."
The screen pans down to show a green tomb below a full moon. Suddenly, a slab of rock sealing the entrance shudders, and explodes into a column of light.
A stone Foo Dog emerges and takes a reverent spot next to the entrance.
A white-haired man in pajamas ascends the staircase.
A fair warning: every time Fou-Lu opens his mouth, an English major somewhere sheds a single tear. Instead of sticking to the rough equivalent of the original way he talked in the Japanese version (to be specific, he spoke in the Keigo form, which is used for being very polite and has connotations of old-timeyness and regality) they decided to translate his dialogue into horribly mangled 'Old English' with the Royal We. I swear that he gets better about it, but in the early part of the game his dialogue can be a bit painful.
: "T'would appear that something is amiss. Where art the courtiers? The priests? Why is there not a single voice raised in greeting at thy return?"
: "'Tis not of import. They are mortals. Were we to attempt to understand their mind, we should spend an eternity. There be more pressing matters to attend to. Canst thou not sense it? This presence...'tis far, and still slumbering, but 'tis what we have sought lo these many ages. Won-qu! Guard our place of rest."
: "As you wish, sire."
So, Fou-Lu huh? Kind of a goofy name. Wonder what his stats are.