Part 10: Chapter X: Dam-nationGear up, this update's pretty big.
Something not really mentioned yet is that the two major continents aren't separated by an ocean, per se. They're separated by a giant sea of mud. There's a smaller, water-filled ocean in the north part of the world but it's seen as an oddity. The Mud Sea is also full of precious minerals in the silty bed below it, such as Aurum. This dam exists to filter out these materials which are sifted out in the basin below by workers. All of this material about what the dam is for is extrapolated from a throwaway line by a worker if you only have the base game to go off of, so it's the first real instance of there being a bigger world beyond what you see.
: "I heard there was lots of people working here but I sure don't see 'em!"
A turn of the century strong man! Run for it before he tears a phone book in half!
: "We want to get to the other side of the river. May we cross?"
: "Sure! Don't need my permission t'do that! But uh...wait, don't tell me you don't know what's happened?"
There's suddenly a loud crash as the dam trembles, and a loud roar echoes up from below the mud.
: "You hear that? There's a dragon running around in there. That dragon lives in the mud. Normally, he swims near the bottom and doesn't bother anyone much, but for some reason he's been acting real crazy lately. Everyone was afraid he'd break the gate, so they ran off. You can go across if you want, but just be careful, you hear?"
: "Thank you, sir. We will."
And go we do. The dam is a maze of paths and ledges down the side of it, with a few tunnels thrown in for good measure. It's not too terribly long, but it's still a bit annoying.
Wild Shot is an ability that can either make your attack hit extremely hard or very weak. It's for the gamblin' sort of man, or for use against enemies who shrug off normal hits anyways.
This is the new enemy we meet in the Dam, the Puspool. Apparently it is a giant ambulant pool of pus with horns. That's more than a little grody. Normal attacks barely hurt it, while magic does normal damage to it. However, fire damage does something special to it.
If hit with fire damage, any further physical damage is unaffected by its no longer squishy form. Any water damage will make it gooey again. It's the little quirks about enemies that help keep combat interesting.
Down here we can see some workers still at work sifting out Aurum despite the dragon trying to break the place down. Gotta respect the work ethic. Let's talk to the foreman to see if he can help us across.
: "Can you tell us how to do that?"
: "The other bank? Why would you come all the way to this place to do that? Well, I guess that's none of my business. Anyway, you want to get to the other side, first you have to close the sluice up there, then cross the river. Once you're over the river, you can use the lift there to get to the top of the cliff. Rhoppe's got the key to the sluice--go talk to him. He's the one with the tube."
: "Yeah, I've got it. Here. What d'you want the key for? ... You want to go to the other bank? Oh...OK, well, be careful, huh?"
Well, we have the key, at least. When questioned about the tube, he says it's in case the dam breaks. So, he's actually thinking ahead.
Going back up the dam's wall, we flip this here switch...
Which gets this thing turning, lowering a sluice to make a bridge for us.
Cray gets his first bit of attack magic. Rock Blast is the first level of Earth magic, and it hits all enemies on the field. Very solid () spell.
Spiffy. Ryu needed an upgrade.
Let's hit this next one and...
...nothing happens. It just spins a bit and gutters out.
Sluice is a goofy word.
: "You want to close the sluice?"
: "Uh...Yeah...Yeah, we do, but this machine here..."
: "It stopped, right? It's been a little stiff lately. You have to turn it really fast to get it to work. Here, I'll explain what you have to do. First, you have to turn this flywheel here by hand. Then, when the wheel's spinning fast enough, flip this switch here. If you just want to close the sluice, it doesn't have to be spinning that fast. But, the faster it goes, the easier it is to operate, so I wouldn't mind if you put a little extra effort into it."
Guess what? A minigame. Just press the D-Pad keys in a circle until Ryu starts sweating a lot then hit the switch. This one doesn't even give us meaningless (until later) points
When we do the arbitrary minigame correctly, the sluice gate closes properly.
: "You should be able to go across the top of the sluice now. Also, it looks like it's running a lot smoother now. Thanks a lot! I'd like to give you something for all your work. Here - hope you can get some use out of it!"
A fishing lure? A girl after my own heart.
Rock Blast makes short work of those squishy abominations outside.
Yes, these are a bird's eyes in a chest. Eat them to raise your Agility. Don't think too hard about this.
: "All right, I'll work the lift for you, but first, you've got to give me back the key, all right? Hey, Rhoppe! Go up and open the sluice, OK?"
: "See, if we don't open the sluice, we can't do any work. That's why we're waiting for you to get outta here so we can get back to work! All right, then, let me work the lift for y..."
There's another loud roar, then a bell starts ringing.
: "It looks like I got more important things to worry about now!"
: "You mean we can't get over to the other side!?"
: "Look...I'd love to stay and help you, but I've gotta get outta here! You'll have to work the lift yourselves! Here - use this!"
: "All you have to do is attach that to the box in front of the lift and pull on it a few times. I'd think about gettin' outta here too if I was you! Anyway, good luck to you! See ya!"
With that, the foreman runs for his life, and we book it across the bottom of the dam to the other side. We insert the crank into a box and turn it.
We keep hammering the "Turn Crank" button and the camera angle shifts.
PRESSING BUTTONS AS FAST AS I CAN CRAY
The shadow of the mud envelops the whole dam just as the elevator reaches the bottom.
Made it just in time.
: "I hope all the people who were working there are all right..."
Admit it. You'd totally do this too.
Let's move on, then.
What's this? It must be plot!
: "There's a village called Kyria to the east of here. We should be able to get to Synesta from there."
Wait, what's that...?
: "Isn't that...?"
: "It's that dragon that destroyed the dam..."
It's...a giant tattooed column of Jello with a spinal column. Or maybe that thing from the end of Princess Mononoke. When I say dragons are weird in this game, I mean that dragons are weird in this game.
The dragon ripples, and coos at Ryu. A sitar plays, and the group turns.
: "Looks like your paths have become intertwined with the dragon's..."
: "Do you know a lot about dragons, ma'am?
: "Is this the same dragon that destroyed the dam?"
: "Dragons don't attack people dear... This one just wants to tell you something."
Through interpretive dance, apparently. Shit's hard to do without limbs.
: "What we know of them comes to us in songs from ancient times. Do you want to hear one of my songs? It won't cost you much..."
We have the option to pay either 10 or 100 zenny. Let's be cheap.
The Frog Woman's Song
...what in the fuck was that!?
: "Guess that wasn't the 'Song of the Dragon', was it? Want to hear another song? It won't cost you much..."
Bitch. We give her the hundred zenny. She has a few more gag songs if you keep stiffing her, and eventually gives you the song you need anyways for cheap, but I actually didn't know that.
The Unfading Ones
I have no idea if either of the songs translate right.
The dragon appreciates our funding of indie musicians, and commences to jigglin'.
Also, to disappearing.
: "What was that supposed to mean!?"
I love Cray. This and a few other lines make me read his lines in Mr. T's voice every now and then.
: "It means that when the dragons move, the world follows. Everything the dragons do changes the world in some way, and you all have been caught up in that change."
: "I'm sorry, lady, but we're kind of in a hurry. We don't have the time to sit here and talk about dragons or whatever."
: "Thank you for singing to us, ma'am."
The party walks off, and the lady plays her sitar some more.
: "Heh...Your path is more than just tangled up with a dragon's...you've got one walking around with you!"
BUM BUM BUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(everybodysawthatonecominganywayyyy)