Part 12: Chapter XII: Romance of the Three.. Rivers?Chapter XII: Romance of the Three.. Rivers?
Don't ask me where he got these obscene number of troops, how he wasn't hunted down by Cao Cao, or why he is in the Riverlands, he just is, okay?
Also, if you don't recruit Lu Bu in the Dong Zhuo saga, he forgets all about the Gemsword, and it is impossible to use it on him, meaning you have to haul around a piece of useless for the rest of the game. Just confirming the age old rumour, that's all.
Although he has a metric shittonne of soldiers, he has absolutely no support and no INT. Even Zhang Fei can burn him without little to no difficulty.
Also, I need to elaborate more on Pang Tong on how fun he is to use, seeing as he has triple everyone's soldiers, and is smart.
"Oh my life comes to an end. My life was an essay in betrayal."
In which this fantastic essay would no doubt receive an A, as he would cut the grader if he had gotten anything lower.
After battling Lu Bu, we gain a level and learn Da Re. Although Da Re is a one person hit:
Hitting a single person can pretty much cripple them, and make them do minuscule damage for the rest of the fight.
Progressing further, we find that people are dicks and like to build their cottages right in front of roads just to get attention.
"Zhang Fei. Shu is in chaos, just as Zhang Song told Zhuge Liang. Someone must suppress the rebels and restore peace to Shu."
And worst off, they give redundant information. Why is it that there are only three rivers in Shu when it's called "the Riverlands" when Wu has like fifty billion?
This section of the game is fun, because healing is sparse, and the next city is two gates and countless random encounters away because of how the geography is set up.
"To the battlefield! Destroy Liu Bei's army!"
The Riverlands are canonically ruled by Liu Bei's clansmen, but seeing as Liu Bei isn't here to passive aggressively take the land from them, we simply mercilessly slaughter them. At least the game helps justify our cause by making them all evil rebels.
Like everything up until we invade Wu, Da Re works wonders on them, especially since Pang Tong is unmatched in the INT department. Also, simply having Pang Tong in the party is enough to switch the soldier bar colour.
There is a grand total of one person at camp.
"Zhang Fei! Liu Zhang has been captured by rebels and has been taken to Fushui Castle."
Liu Zhang is the ruler of the Riverlands, and is a very incompetent one, who is portrayed as such by getting kidnapped by the rebels.
Exciting stuff, I know.
Major book spoilers, only read if you don't intend on reading the book: Of course it's foresty, as Pang Tong is killed in the forests of the Riverlands while Liu Bei was conquering it. However, he doesn't die in the game, rather slips into obscurity and delivers no more lines. As does Zhuge Liang for that matter, although he should be more important, seeing as he is one if not the most important person of this era.
Go back to bed, Tao Qian.
This is not militarily efficient, it's in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and trees, and would take like a year to fully mobilize troops. Not only that, but you'd have to hope they don't get attacked by bandits along the way like we sure did.
This is an ideal fight, and you should pray it happens often, as fighting commander after commander with no healing and then expected to plow through three warlords is pretty shitty.
"I've been making swords for 20 years and have yet to be fully satisfied. The only good iron in the area is in Mt. Gan Tai and that is very hard to find. If you brought back some of that ore, I could make my masterpiece."
Well, it is quite literally "along the way", so why the hell not?
But anyway, here we go, I ran away from battles lots to preserve TP.
"Where's my enemy?"
Someone really wants Xuzhou back..
(This is a naming error obviously, as Tao Qian dies, or goes to "sleep" shortly after giving the throne to Liu Bei)
"Go home and tell Liu Bei how terrible Yan Yan is."
While it's good to see warlords using tactics every now and then, Pang Tong quickly ruins all of them, no matter how high their INT is.
Like I said, Da Re quickly makes them into cute kittens.
"The last of the tigers is in Han Zhong's army."
Not to be confused with the Yellow Scarf Han Zhong, there is also a geographical location named Han Zhong. Unique Chinese names!
"Liu Zhang is being held somewhere in this castle."
"Somewhere", you mean like the only other room in the castle?
"I think this door is very old. If you ram into it, it may break."
Some goons on GameFAQs say that you need to rearrange your party and keep hitting the door until it breaks, but all you really need to do is press the up directional button into the door around three separate times. So no, Zhuge Liang does not need to resign as the tactician, and Pang Tong take his place, while Zhao Yun leads the party, only for Guan Yu to discover how to open the door, and lead the party while being the tactician. You simply press up three times.
"Thank you, Zhang Fei. Someone must stop these rebels from ravaging the land."
He then walks off to the enemy territory, because he must enjoy getting kidnapped or something.
The armoury sells the Copper Hat which provides an extra 10 A.C which might be modest, but a quick glance at the war funds shows that it does not hurt to buy one for everyone.
Luckily the whole winding, sparse healing is in the past, and the march to Luo Castle is within yards.
"Take them out before they are ready."
Da Re in action, as awesome as always.
Zhang Fei's critical hits are also fierce, and do not require TP.
Upon raiding the castle, we find the father of the hero of Dragon Quest V guarding it.
"I'm impressed by your tenacity but such a small army can't possibly defeat us."
Your army's smaller though, AND just got horribly burned!
However, Da Re is not just our tactic.
Da Re'd! Can you imagine if he was at full soldiers when he used it?
"You routed my men. In all my years of war, I have never suffered such a defeat. I would be honoured to join your side if you'll have me."
"We will serve you faithfully."
While he will never make an amazing tactics user, he has decent STR and INT (tactical resistance) making him into a mini Zhang Fei with actual resistance which will be important. He is also a tiger general and will be on the team until the end.
"In the past, many fine weapons were made from iron found in Mt. Gang Tai."
"Mt. Gang Tai? It's due south of here."
"I'm no swordsmith."
Bows are fun n' all, but enemies are starting to increase in terms of soldiers and A.C, making them obsolete.
"Be careful not to be found by Liu Bei's army."
"Liu Zhang has betrayed Liu Bei, and joined the Han Zhong Army. How could he do that after all Liu Bei has done for him?"
That bastard, after we broke the door down and killed a guy for him!
That's a good excuse to conquer this land for ourselves. Too good? Read on.
Extra: Back story on Liu Zhang!
Liu Bei wanted the Riverlands, but did not want to sully his honour by fighting his kinsmen, but in the end, Pang Tong eventually talked him into killing Liu Zhang. While at first, Liu Bei originally wanted a simple, clean assassination, he totally overreacted and went to war with Liu Zhang when he pulled a Yuan Shu on him by giving Liu Bei paltry gifts for ridding the rebels in the area. Of course, because Liu Zhang was so incompetent, the battle was short and Liu Bei won the Riverlands with little to no problem.
Just on a tangent, the improv among the Riverlands generals to save the clueless Liu Zhang from getting assassinated was great. At one point, Liu Zhang was about to become sushi from a "botched sword dance" by Wei Yan (one of Liu Bei's commanders), when Zhang Ren, a Riverlands general joined in and said, "This dance is to be performed in pairs... I shall accompany General Wei Yan." At this point, Liu Feng and Ding Xian joined in to help "botch" the sword dance, which Liu Kui and Ling Bao join in to save Liu Zhang, which the four reply "To add to the merriment."