Part 31: Episode XXVII: In Which There Are Far Too Many Boss Encounters
At long last the party has reached the much hyped Fort Dragonia - the final dungeon of the first act of Chrono Cross. This place...is very, very battle heavy so it is best to be fully prepared before venturing forth. Now that Mount Pyre has been conquered, the party can just waltz through the middle on the world map without having to bother actually entering it.
The dragonian volcanic stronghold is also kind of a point of no return... At the finale of the dungeon at least. We can still leave at any time before getting to the...ya know...Kid stabby floating spire final portion.
Music: Ancient Dragon's Fort
"Return the Colored Crystals to their Grand Masters"
So, yeah... The dream sequence prologue began at the top level of Fort Dragonia and cut out about 95% of the dungeon. The actual venture through ancient fortress is a wee bit more involving.
Ahead from the entrance is a central antechamber leading off in four directions. Each direction has its own little puzzles, mazes, and boss fights. Yeah...it's one of those kinds of timesink dungeons. It doesn't matter which trial is tackled first since we're going to have to deal with them all eventually. But, the southeastern one is the quickest and least taxing, so let's start there.
The southeastern trial is probably the easiest of the lot. There is a dragon statue that has switches that can be toggled north, south, east, or west. Though, whoever labeled the thing was pretty shit with directions, as the central path leading in is considered "north".
The platform will spin in the appropriate pseudo-direction when selected and then vanish, dropping the party about a hundred feet onto the hard stone room below. Luckily, everyone in Chrono Cross had a whole lot of calcium in their diets, so they land with no problem.
All four directions lead to a different part of the lower room and only one can be explored at a time. We'll just have to ignore the previous the fact that it's already been established everyone in this game can jump about 10-30 feet at a moment's notice...just so long as it is a cutscene or there is a button prompt to do so...
Annoyingly, there is no quick route back up once a portion of the lower level has been fully explored. The party has to just slowly climb back up after taking a slippy-slide back into the previous room.
"Ladies' first! Wouldn't want any of you to fall or anything and have nobody to catch you."
"Aww, that's sweet of you."
"I'll go first. I think you're more the type to hang in the middle, country dress."
In any case, the southern switch will drop the party down the appropriate shaft to reach this little shrine. You might recall something similar to this structure from waaaaaay back in the first update.
There are six of these things scattered about Fort Dragonia that all must be activated to err...well, I'm not really sure exactly what it does other than create a dragon statue in some unknown chamber. That in turn seems to supply some manner of energy source to a central pedestal. I'm sure complicated dark magic is involved. Very complicated stuff...
Well, that is one down... Three to go... Let's continue on this counter-clockwise course. It has a good feel to it.
The northeastern trial is basically a straight up maze of winding corridors and elevated paths looping back on one another. It is full of dead ends filled with monsters and patrolled by angry golden robots. None of it is very pleasant to transverse.
Eventually, the party finds the other end of the maze on the northern most part of the region. Unfortunately, that first shrine was a freebie. Serge is going to have to work for the rest of 'em.
The first guardian is this hulking mofo: the Taurusoid. Would you believe this is a giant minotaur robot designed to perform wrestling moves...?
Well, it's a giant minotaur robot designed to perform wrestling moves. If it's good enough for Mexican priests, I suppose it is good enough for ancient lizard people's guard androids. As it stands, despite its aptitude for throwing down in the squared-circle, Taurusoid really isn't much of a threat. All its moves hit for around 50+ HP of damage. But they're all also only single targeting attacks so keeping healed isn't much of an issue. Really, the key thing is just to attack with a non-green color element after every time it busts out a frankensteiner or the like just to break up the field effect and prevent 50 HP of damage quickly turning into 100 HP.
Welp, that is a 3-count. One down! Only...five more to go...
At the very least, Serge and Friends will be seeing this screen quite a bit before the conclusion of this dungeon. It's worth noting that with this star level, all characters now have their Level 5 Techs unlocked. A great deal actually got them unlocked back at the 3 Devas fight but I neglected to mention it until everyone got invited to the upgrade party. Refer to the video earlier posted to see all the superfluous allies' new skills.
Level 5 Techs are utilized much the same way as their Level 3 counterparts. They're separate elements, so party members can bust out both unique techs in a single fight. For our current party...
Serge has gotten upgraded with "Luminaire": a very powerful White innate element that damages all enemies on the field.
Kid has gained "Red Pin" which is also a tech that targets the entire adversary field for Red innate damage.
Leena has gained a non-offensive tech in "Maiden Heart". It utilizes, and I do quote, "A virgin's prayer to recharge Elements' power". So basically Leena is tapping into the fact she isn't getting laid in Another World with Serge being dead in order to restore all previously spent elements. This is one of the few techs in the game that will actually allow Elements to be used twice in a single fight and it is pretty handy with Leena being such a magic powerhouse. Though...a little too much information there...
With this, the lovely emerald dragon relic is restored to its ominous function presumably in that flying platform above the fortress.
Heading back to the central room and away into the northwestern trial...
The third trial involves manipulating platforms yet again. The narrow platform connected to the circular bridge can be moved up and down by opening and closing the two treasure chests found on each side of the room. It takes all of about twenty seconds to figure out the mind-boggler's combination to connect it to the new path...
Next, the party must do battle with a sentient pile of Jell-O. Not my first choice for a guardian for an holy citadel... But, lizard people apparently work in mysterious ways.
Giant Gloop is a blue innate enemy and it likes to attack by pissing on those disturbing it. Gelatin is very territorial. It appears Gloop urine decreases one's ability to evade attacks by 50%. Umm...once more...too much information, Chrono Cross.
Its secondary method of assault is to absorb people into itself and attempt to drown them. Huh...jelly monster that grows tentacles and devours people... Why do I get the feeling one of the developers snuck their fucked up creepy fetishes into this thing...?
Back on point, Mr. Gloop is remarkably weak against elements, especially Red innate. Kid can pretty much single-handedly take this creep show out in a couple rounds with minimal fuss
Ugh... Goo guardians... Do you know how hard it is to get those stains out? Oh...and the stench. Yuck.
As a consolation prize, Team Serge nets yet another star level for their trouble. 17...what a dull number... Who remembers 17 anything? Poor Serge is 17. That was such a filler year. 16! You can get your license and drive now! 18! You can vote! You can buy cigarettes! You can get shot for your country! 17! Err...do good in school, sport...
A majestic cerulean dragon joins his brothers in the plot device hall. You've got to wonder where the hell Lynx and General Viper are hanging out if that's the main chamber of the fortress. Are they having a smoke out on the balcony or something? And the hell happened to the Devas? They literally just evaporate, never to be seen again during this leg of the game despite all indications earlier.
Returning to the central chamber and heading southwest...
The final trial is a wee bit more complicated than the rest. It involves manipulating the position of blocks in order to make a bridge to lower the middle platform containing the shrine.
The method of doing this, however, is a tad wonky. To the west of the room is a small altar that will identify the position of the "head", "body", and "tail". Or first, second, and third character positions. I never mentioned it, but by pressing Select at any time the line leader in the group of three will shift ahead by one (i.e. pressing it right now would make Kid the leader, followed by Leena, then Serge.) This is...really the only time in the game that it is ever utilized other than just flavor for who is running around in first on the map.
Back in the main room, there is a panel that can be stepped on to swap the position of the first and second characters in the group. This puzzle is based off who the default positions are when initially entering the room. So Serge is always head, Kid body, Leena tail. There is a dirty joke to be made there but I won't bite...
Anyway, just fucking around with the order a couple times is enough to line up the corresponding blocks. I think it is random each time as to what blocks go where. I believe I needed to do tail, head, body to get the ones I needed to form a viable path. This is another freebie altar.
Solving the final of the four trials will lower a shaft into the central chamber. It looks quite inviting, I'd say.
Within said cylinder is a fifth prism shrine. But...this one isn't going to give up the goods so easily... In fact, it's a going to be a right...
...Son of a Gun to claim this one. Oh Chrono Cross...you and your puns. This hideous asshole cousin of the Angry Sun from Mario Brothers 3 is by far the most difficult boss Fort Dragonia has to offer. First of all, is a white innate enemy; pretty much the first major one we've done battle with thus far. Being White innate, Serge can do basically fuck all damage against it with his elements.
Secondly, it is one of those ever so fun gimmicky boss fights that shift forms constantly with such colorful permutations as having extremely high defenses, going berserk if magic is used against it, being basically immune to physical attacks, and other such bullshit. There's no real way to know what each mode actually does without wasting a turn or two experimenting. But, SonOfAGun doesn't really like experimenting as it is also an offensive powerhouse.
The perma-rapeface creature comes equipped with all the highest mid-game white elements that will completely ruin everyone's day. Even Serge. Seeing as its Mode Changes also count as white elements added to the field effect, it is very important to use non-white elements to break up the flow of buffs.
Oh yeah...and don't even think about using Black magic against it. It'll almost always immediately follow-up with an AntiBlack spell regardless of what mode it is currently under. And hell, it'll just barf out AntiBlack if you look at it funny.
As if the thing wasn't enough of a pain in the ass, it also comes with a unique tech where it forcefully face fucks a party member causing temporarily paralysis. Very classy.
I've really got no solid strategy against the thing. The battle takes forever as basically the best course of action is to heal with non-white elements to break up the field effect then follow up by chipping away with physical hits. This thing lives up to its name. Hell, it's the first boss to actually K.O. one of my characters thus far (it did a Mode Change, AntiBlack, and Holy Light 3-hit combo to one-shot Leena and knock Kid and Serge into critical.)
Seriously, fuck this stupid thing right in the ear. They should have skipped the big bowl of mobile jelly and just given two stars for dealing with this prick. I feel somewhat insulted gaining the same reward for taking out Cyberdemon's WWE cousin and this right bastard.
Well, that takes care of 5/6 dragon statues on are march toward inevitable cataclysm.
Defeating SonOfAGun summons an elevator to the upper reaches of Fort Dragonia. But, it also holds a rather interesting diversion if we take a quick peek into the basement sublevels.
In the cellar of the fortress is some manner of incubators lining the walls. Most of them are filled with shattered egg shells. Hmm... A shame they seem to be deactivated at the moment. This would be a perfect thing to make the world's biggest omelet with that Big Egg from forever ago back in Fossil Valley. Oh well...we'll just have to make a mental note of it for now...
"Ergh... Oh...oh shit..."
"Eh...something wrong, Serge?"
"Uhh... Leena... You err...don't happen to be related to any chefs, are you...?"
"Huh...? Umm... Well, my uncle George is a baker... Does that count...?"
"Does he...like to cook with his shirt off...?"
"Ugh. I should hope not. His body hair is enough to rival a bear."
"He's not a...large fellow, is he?"
"No...he is fairly thin. Is there... any reason you're asking me all this...?"
"Ergh... Just making conversation..."
"Oi. C'mon Serge, Leena. Just you wait, Lynx! Today's gonna be the day of reckonin'!!! Say yer prayers! ...Not that it'll do ya any good!!! Heh-heh-heh....... HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAA!"
So, Serge and his entourage now find themselves back in the area from the prologue. It is functionally identical to the earlier dream sequence. Only, it now has a few treasure box items scattered about and Acacia Dragoons are hanging around instead of golden robots.
Okay...well, there is one little difference... The altar/teleport activation pedestal is a hair more difficult to access this time around.
Meet Bunyip. Bunyip looks extremely retarded and appears to be a distant cousin of the Beach Bums.
Bunyip is a Red innate enemy and sticks to elements of that persuasion early on. Unfortunately, most of them are fairly high end and cause the Burn status effect (character takes more damage from attacks.)
Leena is once more instrumental in laying the smack down on the fiery mutant. At least...for his first form... The purple monstrosity has a few more tricks up its scaly sleeves.
Once old Bunyip (that is a fun word to say...try it!) has his health depleted a decent amount things...start to change... Chance for the...somewhat unsettling...
The former benign appearing little lizard rabbit creature vomits out a Lovecraftian horror that in turn transports the party to a chaotic pocket dimension for the second half of the battle. Well...less "vomits out" and more "Old One Crawls out of its throat cavity, breaking every bone in its face in the process". The cosmic horror still uses the former host as a glorified butt. Uh...cannot say I saw that one coming when this began.
Bunyip 2.0 switches elements to Black innate and comes packing some rather high end magic of that type. It features a unique tech where it blasts the entire party with laser beams for a good 100+ HP worth of damage. But, that's really its only stand out attack.
It is worth mentioning that Bunyip is a very, very easy way to trap some quite potent Freefall elements from as there is a near guaranteed chance it will use the spell at least once or twice in its second phase. Sure, we don't have any black innate characters worth much of a damn at the moment. But, ya never know...
Eventually, Bunyip (both lizard-rabbit and demonic parasite) will give up the ghost. The party is then transported back to normal space to continue their adventure. It is always nice now these dimensional altering abominations kindly return their enemies back to a safe haven upon death. It would really suck to be trapped in the darkness beyond time or the like just because Cthulu didn't leave open an exit from its dimensional vortex realm.
And that is upgrade level number four for this dungeon. I'm really glad I went back and rested back at an inn before heading into this dungeon. That one missing star would have driven me nuts by now.
And with Bunyip's defeat, the sixth and final dragon idol activates and empowers the central water fountain of the gods.
Just like in the prologue, the central teleportation field activates with the manipulation of the prism shrine. Going up!
"I'll never get used to that..."
"Ya been on one of these crazy things before...?"
"N-No... Nah... How could I? I'm just saying...it's something I could never get used to."
Well, here we are once more... It is time to finally see what is behind this ominous forbidden gateway.
Serge gets one more flash...forward...to what lies ahead. That's not awkward and jarring or anything...
The gate opens, inviting the party inside...
Huh... Let's see... Should I explain I've been having regular visions of disemboweling her since literally before we even met...? That this is almost definitely going to lead to nothing but bad news...?
"What's the hold up? Waitin' for a written invitation?"
Meh... That would be a lot to explain... I mean...dream visions... Random acts of violence... Man-tits... Feh...effort...
Ancient Dragon's Fort
- SunOfAGun's Japanese title was the must less accurate "Sunfacer".
- Taurusoid had the equally stupid name of "Dragonar".
Bunyips are actually folklore creatures of Aboriginal Australian.
Bunyip Summary posted:
Bunyips are creatures that lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. They emerge at night, making terrifying, blood-curdling cries, and devour any animal or human that dare venture near its abode. The Bunyip's favourite prey is said to be women. Fearing to go near suspected Bunyip haunts, the Aborigines shared their fearsome legends with early white settlers. After hearing such tales, they became fearful of strange, loud noises at night, and seriously considered the existence of the Bunyip Monster. Descriptions of Bunyips include a wide spectrum of appearances from animal to spirit. Some describe the Bunyip as a gorilla-type animal (kinda like bigfoot, or the Australian Yowie), while others say it is half animal, half human or spirit. Bunyips come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are described to have long tails or necks, wings, claws, horns, trunks (like an elephant), fur, scales, fins, feathers...any combination of these.
The more you know...