Part 37: Chapter XXXVI: Fuck The Ocean
Right, let's get this mess over with. First off, note this apparently useless walkway. Let's head into the oh-so-spooky hole.
It looks like it's trying to tell you something, but what?
I can tell you what it's trying to do.
It's a magical stop light.
You see, this maze of walkways is positively RIDDLED with hidden weak spots, and the little will-o-wisp lights up yellow when one is within a small radius, and red when you're facing one directly. You can also fall down holes you've already broken, and it keeps warning you about them. This means you have to walk slowly or carefully if you don't want to charge straight down a hole.
This is where you land if you fall. There's nothing down here but creepy rattling skulls that turn to face you as you move, and an absolutely absurd monster encounter rate.
We met that little squat thing in Deis's dreams before, when it didnt have enough AP to use its moves. Istalks (Eyestalks? iStalks?) love to give them lots of tasty AP. You can see how this is a bit of a problem.
Cray now has the best way to use his AP in the entire game: the ability to give it to other people. Transfer costs 20 AP and gives someone 20 AP. You can target the user with it, making them regain it instantly. Clever combo chaining can actually make this profitable to do with AP regain tacked onto other moves, but mostly Cray is going to be shunting off his AP to people who need it more. Speaking of which...
Cray, sadly, sort of gets outmatched at this point in the game unless you spend a LOT of time focusing on him with Masters. Ursula, Scias, Ryu's dragon forms, and even Ershin can outmatch him with raw physical power, while his utterly pitiful wisdom score means that using him for anything other than smashing things or opening a high-level combo is a sucker's game. With care, he can hold his own, but really, he's a one-trick pony in a party filled with people naturally designed to be versatile. Yes, he has earth magic and some buffs, but as stated, Ershin has him beat at his own game with earth magic via Quake, his normal wisdom gains are almost nonexistent, almost all of the good physical masters penalize it further, and most of the wisdom increasing masters neuter his physical strength. The fact that three of the physical attackers of the party get easy access to +1 hit weapons while the only one he can get requires insane amounts of effort is the coup de gras. He'll be used to facilitate combos, use items, be a giant brick of HP, and occasionally smash heads, but not much else.
Before you pipe in the thread that he's amazing with Super Combo or whatever, I posit that whatever skill he's good with, using it as Kaiser or with Scias when he's Rakhasa'd will inevitably do way more damage.
Oh yeah, one other thing about iStalks is that they use Sacrifice if they're alone on the field so watch out for that.
That's what a hole in the walkway looks like after you fall through.
Oh yeah, if you though that there were no monsters up on the walkways, think again! Bollor and Rollob return with their asshole combo magic, and there's a new enemy called the Sepoy. He loves using Swordbreaker, a learnable physical attack skill that can lower attack.
This is the first time we've seen Ursula's Will, called Valor. When knocked out in a battle, she has an extremely high chance of getting back up with 1 HP. Only works once per battle, though.
Oh God I've been waiting for this move for so long. Vitalize is Heal for the entire party. While that itself is incredibly useful, it works in combos, meaning any buffs or additional beneficial effects used before Vitalize get tacked onto it in lesser form. Used together with some of the later moves, Vitalize's full-party effect can make your group effectively unstoppable.
Note just how many holes there are in the walkway. I broke all of them to see just how many there were and there were a lot.
This ring, by the way, is fantastic. It lets the wearer regain HP from fire attacks.
So at the far end, we climb up a ladder to the top of a boat. Going toward the front...
We open that chest we saw at the start for sweet loot.
Also, we find out that seemingly useless path is a shortcut out of here.
Back inside is a narrow twisty path of bullshit that I'm just going to completely skip because it has nothing interesting at all.
Oh you must be joking.
This is just lazy, game.
: "Um...h-hello...are you, um, the Sea Dragon?"
: "Deis is wondering if this is even one of the Endless..."
: "Nope...it's not one of the Endless. It doesn't have the right feel to it."
: "Says Deis."
: "Hom? You no got sacrifice? You talk funny - you make fun of me! Me kill humans!"
Boss Video XVI:
So we beat the cheap recolor of a boring boss from Fou-Lu's section and he disappears in a puff of smoke. Seriously.
: "When the power of the Endless increases in the world, it begins to affect creatures sensitive to their aura, like that one. They absorb some of that power, and think themselves gods. And since Ryu is not whole...since there are two of him, the balance of power may be out of whack as well."
: "Thus says Deis."
Didn't we hear this exact point already in Fou-Lu's story? I understand the Ryu Crew has to learn about this somehow, but does it have to be the exact same way? C'mon, game, there's some things about you even I'm not going to defend.
Yes, let's get out of here, I've already wasted a half hour on this bullshit.
: "Let's get going then. I hate this place anyway...being around all these sunken ships gives me the creeps."
: "Deis says,"
: "Anything that gets affected by the aura of the Endless like that thing back on the island is nothing but trouble!"
So, we continue sailing and get another little run-around-and-talk-to-the-party section. Here's the highlights.
: "To be able to affect a monster like that even though you're incomplete...you must be very powerful, Ryu."
: "Says Deis. Heh heh."
: "I wonder where the real Sea Dragon is? It's going to be hard finding him in all this ocean..."
Nina: Master of Understatements.
Lyp's music starts playing. It's also the music in Astana, for the curious. It's pretty awesome, but I'll be damned if I can figure out the title.
: "'Course, you still got a long way to go. Much as we might want to, we can't help you get to Hesperia, you know."
: "You've already helped us enough by letting us use your ship. Thanks again."
: "No worries, eh! Let us know if you need to borrow our ship again, OK? Take care!"
That's awful nice of him. I'm sure Ryu's stream has something to do with the charity, though. Lyp is a nice little town with a few shops and some local color, but there's two major items of note here. First, there's a Master to talk to.
: "Fishing is a true man's sport, don't you think? I've been fishing all my life, all over the world! If you want, I can share some of my tricks with you. Interested?"
Hell yes, I am the fishiest!
: "Whaaat!? You call yourself a fisherman? You're not ready for what I have to teach unless you've got at least 3,000 Fishing Points! I'll be staying here for a while. See you later!"
God damnit. It'll be little a while before I actually get 3,000 points as I'm waiting for a specific rod and a specific kind of bait to be available, since the new fish in the spots we find from here on out are going to start getting really hard to catch with what we have.
Next up is a complete asshole.
: "Really, I did! But no one believes me...do you believe me? It was that place north-west of Shikk, where it gets really shallow and all the rocks are...there was this big face coming out of the water...it looked right at me!"
Well, that certainly sounds like directions to Hae Ryong, doesn't it? There's one huge problem with this though.
It's not northwest of Shikk. Rather, it is, sort of, but not really.
Before we go back out on the open ocean though, time for an upgrade. I'll be taking this.
Oh yeah, and pawning some stuff off for two of these.
Now we can actually pilot the boat around and look for stuff. It all boils down to setting your sails when the wind is moving in the right direction. You have a limited amount of supplies, and that amount slowly ticks down even when you're at rest. Sailing with the wind increases the supply intake, and you can sail around without wind by rowing, but this chews through your supplies at an insane rate. When you run out of supplies, you're instantly taken back to the port you came from and your supplies are refilled. Luckily Shikk and Lyp are just barely close enough to allow you to just hold down the row button to reach each other. At any time, you can drop anchor and send out a dingy, but there's a grand total of two spots that have stuff and aren't marked.
As you can see, northwest according to the wind is to the right. There's actually an area over on the right part of the map that is shallow with tons of rocks, and so you'll think to look over that way and drop anchor over and over and over and over and OVER while never finding anything.
Then this happens.
A good five to ten seconds of nothing. Between EVERY search.
You know why this is a problem? Because that man's directions are assuming that north is up. The wind has it down and to the right. What's worse, there is literally no indication that you're looking in the right spot until you actually find the Sea Dragon, and the window for actually docking at his little island is absurdly small. What makes it even more psychotic-rage-inducing is that the supplies make a time limit on you before you're zapped back to port, and any real fine adjustment of the boat's position can only be done by rowing it. Countless hours have been wasted by people playing this game screaming in frustration trying to find the fucking Sea Dragon.
So yeah. All through the ocean there's islands with flags on them. On these islands there are items.
Shablam. Damaging items.
Shazam. Water resisting accessories.
Hey, a blue flag. That's new.
Awww snap, Poseidon lives here?
This spot is the only place where you can fish up whales. I will be doing this in the distant future. And it will drive me completely insane.
That's the Island of Fire. Just offscreen to the bottom-right is a string of four rocks. At the northwest (by the correct version, not the wind version) end of them there's a hidden item called the Divine Helm I completely forgot existed. It increases your status effect resistances.
Next! I'm actually on the wrong side for this screenshot, but fuck it.
Kahn must have been here.
Final spot! This is the general area you're made to think to look for the Sea Dragon, by the way, it's a big twisty maze of rocks and shallows.
Sweeet. This increases the chance that a combo will go off successfully if it involves the wearer.
Okay. THIS is the area where the Sea Dragon is. Even when you know this is the general area, it's still annoying as hell to find him.
Somehow I got it on my second try. I have no idea how.
: "From the depths of the eternal blue, I watcheth o'er this world. My domain toucheth e'ery part of the land, and surrounds it. I knoweth the name of any who dost have fin or scale. Tell me, young Yorae Dragon...Dost thou needeth my strength?"
Blah blah lightshow.
Our first look at Hae Ryong. Best described as a mix between a bivalve, a plesiosaur, a weevil, and Blastoise. No, really. We get Flood Tide from him, an incredibly powerful wind/water move that can stun. Very, very handy.
: "On the great expanse to the west of these shores...waits one with earth itself, unseen and unknown to man. If thou seekest the dragon, seek ye there."
That'd be about The Nameless One, the last dragon we have to find.
This is the exact spot where the game put me when I left Hae Ryong's island, so dock here if you're looking for him.
Next time: more pointless bullshit and unintelligible natives. Buckle in for the long haul, folks, because this image succinctly describes the next few updates when it comes to plot development: