Part 35: Chapter XXXIV: An Update So Manly, It Broke My EmulatorHey, guess who's posting two updates in two days because they're moving back into college tomorrow and their campus internet upload speeds suck ass? This guy!
On the road to Shikk, there's a ? mark that always shows up. Let's investigate it and see what sorts of things we find there!
HOLY JESUS KILL IT WITH EVERYTHING
This is the Legion, a new monster type. It regenerates 700 HP each round, and each physical attack that lands on it increases its regeneration rate, health, attack power, and exp. Smack them around a bit, then nuke them to death or you're going to get murdered.
As for the area proper, it's a crossroads. Take the offshoot.
A secret area! This is where Su Ryong is, making him my candidate for second most obscure dragon to get as he's barely mentioned and you have to be the kind of person who explores ? areas.
: "I...am Su Ryong. I watcheth o'er this world from under the canopy of the eternal green. The ancient trees whisper to me their secrets, and my roots run long and deep. Not a single leaf falls, nor a step is taken on the earth, that I do not hear. Out of respect for my knowledge, I am called the Tree of Wisdom by some mortals. Tell me, young Yorae Dragon...dost thou needeth my strength?"
Yes, Su Ryong is the Tree of Wisdom, which heavily implies he's Yggdrasil from the other Breath of Fire games. Another bit of evidence in the continuity clusterfuck.
Our first glimpse at Su Ryong's design, which - while extremely weird - does not get my vote for the weirdest looking dragon in the game.
Also, I'll head this off at the pass and say yes, this screenshot totally does make him look like
And now we get the single worst dragon move in the game. Holy Circle, when used, makes your party invulnerable for the rest of the round. Sounds amazing on paper, doesn't it? The problem is that most of the enemies that this would be useful against are also much faster than Ryu, making using it AFTER they move pointless. Not only that, you can rarely predict what move they'll use, and you'll feel like a total moron if you use it the round that they buff themselves to horribly kill you the next round. If you crank Ryu's agility to insane levels, it's worth it, but it's mostly a crapshoot.
: "Another awaits your coming...his song can be heard in the breaking of the waves. If thou seekest the dragon, seek ye there."
The Sea Dragon is in the Sea. No shit, sherlock.
Now, finally, we can go to Shikk and find ourselves a boat.
You may notice the addition of a certain awesome person on this screenshot. Well, unbeknown to me when I was playing, my emulator somehow bugged out for a stretch and blocked out part of the screen in the screenshots. Since that would be ugly as hell and cropping the image size down would be jarring, I decided to make lemonade with the lemons given to me and use the space to give Scias some more screen time.
Moving on, this strongman down in a basement by the water trades us the Copper Ball (not Bell, as Marlok's dialogue misstated) we need.
The local shop also has all sorts of wonderful toys for the party. Cray gets a nice upgrade to his beatin' stick.
More importantly, though, Ursula gets her first pistol. Yes, she's somehow able to double-tap with a flintlock. Are YOU going to question her?
Down in the basement of the store is a bar with some people around, but the important guys are up at the bar.
: "You wanna ride on our ship? Hey, I dunno who you you are, but we don't let jus' anyone on our ship, y'know! Besides, we can't let anyone who doesn't have the blessing of the God of the Sea come with us - it's bad luck! Now be off with ya!"
Meet Zig. He's the herald of the point in the game where the gameplay padding goes from jRPG-acceptable standards to Completely Bullshit levels. I can't hate him for it though, because he's pretty cool.
Anyways, you may have noticed that path leading from Shikk on the world map to the coast. This is the Fane of the Sea God, a completely pointless dungeon. A few steps in and we're already in a fight.
OH GOD What is it with this update and terrifying enemies?
These are Blue Balls. Stop giggling. They mostly attack with Giant Growth (STOP GIGGLING) and if you hit them with a water attack they use Frost Strike, which you can learn.
: "You want the blessing of the God of the Sea so you can become sailors yourselves!? Well then, that's a different story, now isn't it? Go on ahead."
This is why I didn't show the Fane before: you can't go in very far until you talk to Zig.
The spring thing is a Bad Coil. They cast Sleep on the party, then Command any Bad Pups on the battlefield to attack you.
I will brook none of their bullshit.
This is the Earth+Fire level 2 combo, by the way. Very effective in this area.
So, in this cave on the top floor, there's an obvious meeting spot but nothing around.
So we walk downstairs to find an offering shrine, but we don't have what it wants.
So we have to go downstairs into a small maze to get the offering for the shrine to get the blessing to borrow a freaking boat.
Oh yeah, two new enemies down here, Bollor and Rollob. Interestingly, their Japanese names are A and Un, continuing the crazy amounts of symbolism in the game. Each one is annoying on their own as they spam wind and water magic at you, but if both are on the same battlefield...
They can actually use combo magic on you. This makes them complete assholes who should be killed immediately.
In a sub-room, there's an interesting bit of treasure. While the item description does not mention it, the Wetsuit actually increases the wearer's resistance to Water damage. There's a few bits of equipment with hidden effects, this one is just a bit lackluster.
Right, now we take this...
FUCK OFF MASK CRAB. YOU ARE A SCORPION NOT A CRAB GO AWAY
AHEM. We take this, drop it in the pool...
See a big flare of light...
...try click it a few times in confusion, curse, go outside and walk around to the top of the area again, which is a random battle or two...
...and meet Hae Ryong.
: "We are Hae Ryong, one of the dragons of old..."
: "So the God of the Sea is just an avatar of one of the dragons?"
: "Forsooth. Though our powers be faded with time, there art many of us who are glorified as deities still..."
: "Um, we came here because we, um, need a ship..."
: "Thou seekest my blessing? Very well. Thou shalt have it. Once thou walk the whaleroad, seek us out. We shall give you another blessing then, young dragon. We dwell in the wild deep places, those protected by hard rock and stone. Bend your sails there, and thou shalt find us."
That's pretty much the best hint we get to finding Hae Ryong as the other hint we get is, due to either misunderstanding or mistranslation, blatantly wrong and actually makes finding him even harder. I guess he can't give us his power here as it's just a projection, like at the Yorae Shrine.
Also, that blessing we went on this half-hour diversion to get? A fucking hunk of rock salt. I'd be more forgiving on this bit if it was some sort of divine seal, but no, we could have faked this pretty easily
Anyways, while puttering around, the faeries have been repopulating, and getting Njomo as a master gives us a new job.
We can now make houses for Troops. The more troops you have, the better Njomo's moves are, but we don't have any and we have very few faeries, so no need to assign faeries to the army yet.
The other jobs, incidentally, are an item shop, a weapon shop, an inn, and an item-hunting service that's more useful as faerie eugenics as it has an incredibly high chance of killing the faerie assigned to it when you send them on the most dangerous missions available. All houses can hold up to three faeries, and the shops stock different stuff depending on the personalities of the faeries inside. They also don't start with full stock: you have to park faeries inside and keep them there for a while before they get a full item list. We don't have the spare manpower to allow for that, though.
So, we'll assign two more houses to be made and one of our beefier faeries to make them. The other two will be more than able to keep the food flowing.
Back to Zig!
: "You say you went to the Fane of the Sea God!? Well, I'll be... This is a Salt Stone! If you have this, it means the God of the Sea must have appeared to you! This must be an omen...a sign of the God of the Sea's wishes...all right then, who am I to argue with the God of the Sea? You can come with us on our ship if you want!"
I love that. "Dude, Poseidon just said that you guys are bros. I guess you guys are bros."
Sadly, ingrained misogyny overrides that.
: "Don't tell me these ladies are coming too?"
: "Why wouldn't they? You got a problem with that?"
: "Yeah...I do. We can't let women on board our ship! It's an old sailor's rule - no women! It's bad luck! So, I'm sorry, but you'll just have to wait here!"
: "Um...but...isn't there anything we can do? I mean, we've been through a lot just to get here. No matter how bad it might be, I'm sure we can handle it!"
: "Nope! Not a chance! Look, it's nothing personal, but sailing is a man's job! A sailor needs to be brave, determined, and strong..."
Boss Video XIV: Kahn 3
Okay, I'm sorry, I had to do that. You had to witness the second funniest scene in the game as it was made to be seen. Here it is in screenshot format.
: "After you defeated me the second time, I wandered the world until I came here, where I became a sailor! A sailor is a man's man! It's not a job for the weak! Only a real man can become a sailor! And now I'm gonna show you exactly what a real man can do!"
: "He came here a little while ago...we gave him a job cleaning the ship."
: "Hey. You there. You were just talking about how a sailor has to be strong. If we take him out, will that be proof enough that we're strong?"
: "Huh? Ummm...ahhh..."
And now you know where my first Kahn avatar came from.
And that is why Ursula is cooler than Ershin.
: "Well...that's not exactly what I had in mind...see, I'm talking about more like physical strength. Like, what if we run into pirates, and you have to fight while on the masts or something? Think you can do that?"
: "Um, all right. I'll do it."
The scene cuts to Nina and Iggy on the masts.
: "Pretty scary, isn't it? You can still quit if you want to!"
: "The view from here is wonderful! Oh, I forgot! We're here to fight, aren't we? I'm ready anytime you are, Mr. Iggy. May the best ma...er, person win!"
This minigame is extremely simple. Press Square to run, press X to jump on Iggy's head, run into Iggy's back when he's stunned to shove him.
: "OK, OK, you've made your point. I can see how strong you are. But, I still don't think you can handle the open sea. I mean, you don't know what it's like..."
: "Then show us! We'll do anything! Don't worry - whatever it is, we can handle it!"
: "Well...if you say so...I know a way I can show you what it's like on a ship. But I'm warning you, it ain't pretty! Don't say I didn't warn you! Come talk to me when you think you're ready. I'd quit now if I was you, though..."
Yes, we still have to prove our manliness further. This is an opportunity to go rest and save, but we don't really need it.
: "So you still want to go through with this, eh? I figured you would. All right then...come with me."
Inside the ship...
: "This is where you'll be spending the night. You might think that'll be easy, but it's pretty creepy down there. It's dark, and wet, and who knows what lives down there. When that Kahn fellow showed up, we put him down there too. He was crying like a baby! If you want to quit, this is your last chance..."
: "No! We'll do it! But remember, a promise is a promise! If we stay there all night, you have to let us on board!"
Nina and Ursula descend into the hold.
: "Or this humid down here...it really is kind of creepy down here, isn't it, Ursula? I wonder...think there are any ghosts or anything down here?
: "Who knows? I've heard that they usually appear in dark, dank places..."
There's a loud thunk and a giggle.
This is an interesting enemy.
Depending on if you hit him with physical or magical attacks, he shapeshifts into one of two enemies. If you refuse to hit him for three rounds, he gets angry and spams Blitz. We'll be hitting him with magic since that's much more entertaining.
Shazam! Copycat has evolved into Wizard!
Wizards have two moves. One is Recall, which randomly uses one of the many, many elemental magic attacks in the game. This can either be completely ineffectual or it can rock you like a hurricane. Their other move...
Yyyep. I got nothin'.
Before you ask, yes, it's completely and utterly useless.
Next time: more gameplay padding, annoying sidequests, and the single most amazing scene in any form of media ever.