Part 12: The Self
Well, things happened last time, and the game decided to end on another "To Be Continued".
Even though this time, the correct way to continue the plot is NOT reloading your saved game, we can still do that anyway. If we do, we'll find ourselves again at the point before crossing through the Final Door. At this point we are free to do whatever we want.
One thing we can do, is for example to exit the Bereshith Road dungeon and come back to it.
If we climb up to the floor where the arena is, we'll find that it now contains one of these things again...
...and you know what that means, there is another "hidden" boss fight here. Wonder what the boss will be like.
Oh. Looks like we're going to be fighting dark versions of ourselves, then.
"Dark" Escher and Musiea are on level 90, and in the game they are called "Escher Atman" and "Musiea Atman". Of all things in the game, this one in particular is NOT a mistranslation from Japanese, believe it or not! "Atman" is a word in Sanskrit (आत्मन्) meaning "self". It is a concept in several religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Read more about it on Wikipedia (where else).
As for the fight itself, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you here. The game designers pretty much dropped the ball all the way on this one. What could (and should) have been a cool fight with interesting dialogue is unfortunately neither of those things. There is NO dialogue here at all (not even any kind of evil taunting from our mirror selves), and the fight is just your completely standard trading of blows. The enemies of course have all the same abilities as we do, but still suffer from the fact that enemy levels are not equivalent to ours.
Which means, that even though they are higher level, we can still do this in our first attack.
Sure, they can do OK damage to us too...
...and they also block attacks with annoyingly high frequency.
But the fight is still over before it began really.
And here is our reward:
As a reward, we get two upgraded accessories (diamonds). In case you were wondering why we only got clothes and weapons from the other superbosses, this is why. This was the missing piece of the puzzle as far as this particular bit of hidden content goes.
Don't worry, there is still more hidden stuff in this game (it IS a JRPG after all!).
But for now, I have something else I wanted to show.
So as we are playing through the game, I have been mentioning various genes and abilities that we have been earning, but I didn't really stop to explain it more detail.
In essence, genes are this game's combined version of Magic and Skills/abilities. For example, if you want to be able to use the fire spell, you'll need first to find it and then to equip it on your characters. Genes are not equipped individually, but instead in groups of (up to) 6 which are called Gene Plates. Gene Plates contain a fixed combination of genes (i.e. you can't group them how you want). Using abilities consumes MP, which unlike HP are NOT replenished after every battle. It is also not possible to use abilities outside of battle (except those which are "always on").
Each character starts with one innate gene plate (Human Warrior or Human Mage), containing two abilities at the start. As we have seen, the other four abilities for each character have been earned by fighting other human enemies (i.e. other contestants in the arena). All the other gene plates and abilities are earned by fighting enemies of different types. For example, fighting mouse-type enemies will earn us Mouse genes and also over time different abilities that go on that plate. Fighting enemies of higher levels increases the chance of randomly learning an ability from them.
The abilities are actually not unique, and same ability may appear on multiple gene plates. This makes combinations easier as each character can equip up to 3 gene plates (in addition to their innate one). Same gene plate CAN be equipped by both characters at the same time.
So here is a kind of a summary of what genes there are and some of the more interesting abilities they contain (other than the Human ones, which I have already covered during the game).
As for the abilities, here are some of them:
Elemental spells: There are three kinds (water, fire and wind) and you get both a single target and a multi target version. Also there are abilities which allow you to "attach" an element to your ordinary physical attack--this basically allows you to do elemental attacks without spending MP (but be careful not to be countered)!
Healing abilities: There's a few, like single and multi target heal, MP recovery, 5% HP recovery at the end of turn (this one is quite good), Steal HP (that we have seen that one boss use quite annoyingly), Revive and so on.
Support abilities: There are a few of those such as the usual OZ Up and EXP Up which give you more money/experience after a battle. Then you have your usual increase defence/increase speed/physical resist/magical resist/various elemental resist things. Also useful things like Auto-Counter which gives you a random chance to counter an enemy's attack. There's also things like Get more items and Get more genes here, abilities which do obvious things. There's a few other things here like "Encounter" which allows you to turn random encounters in dungeons on and off at will (useful when you are just trying to investigate an area or you are simply lost and want to find the way out without getting constantly interrupted; it can also be used to more or less control the speed of leveling up).
"WTF Japan!" abilities: Since Piu-Piu is a perv, there is actually an ability called "Sexy Pose" which when equipped, gives you a small discount in his shop! It CAN be equipped by both male and female characters, too!
So there's nothing too out of the ordinary here, but if you are interested in a particular set of genes, let me know and I'll post more about it.
I think that about sums up the brief description of the gene ability mechanics.
* * *
While the game is reloaded, we can go to Piu-Piu again. He doesn't have anything new to sell, but we can talk to him briefly.
So nothing special, the whole story about his former identity is not even mentioned at this point (but don't worry, we'll come to that eventually of course).
Well that's it for this brief inter-update. Next time we'll have lots and lots of plot progression again!