Part 2: Heroics 101
You are quite correct.
The game is a factual sequel to Drakkhen, not a true one.
EDIT: Okay, now really in this update. Something was borked about that specific image so I uploaded a backup.
Chapter 2: Heroics 101
We begin today's lesson with slides of the intro movie.
We meet up with Alex and Kat sitting under a tree in the sunset. Kat presumably waiting for Alex to make a move; Alex presumably waiting for Kat to tell him exactly what that move is.
As ordered, Alex hands over the shiny (which as we know from last episode, will be back in his hands in no time.)
The screen pans up and the music turns all ominous like as clouds and lightning roll in. Clearly the gods of rock and roll are angered that Alex doesn't just light this baby's fire already. They show their displeasure by riding the lightning.
Seemless tiles worthy of the photoshop clouds filter. From here the game goes to the title screen, which we've seen before, so on with the game!
We last left Alex as he was about to set foot on the overworld map.
Glorious mode 7 graphics! All praise to the SNES!
As if the construction-paper visuals weren't enough to remind you of kindergarten, the music that plays has a distinctive wooden recorder vibe that makes me want to explore a blank piece of paper with a collection of crayons.
On the overworld, Alex steers like a large truck and will often bump into trees making a "thunk" sound when he does. Learning to move around this awful thing is a skill. For me it's automatic by now, but I assure you this is the biggest hurdle to a player completing the game. Okay, the second biggest hurdle.
On the overworld, you'll see these collections of white blobs in the distance. They'll move and grow larger. If you get close enough, the game will hazily transition into a battle scene such as this one.
This is a scorpion and a burrowing bug. We'll be seeing plenty of them in various palettes before the game is over. Along with the lizardman, these are the only monsters you can encounter in the Hujia region. You can't see the bug in this shot, but he's pretty forgettable while you're playing anyway. We'll get a better shot of one when Alex is fighting fire bugs later.
Here's the town of Hujia, haven to helpful NPCs, right where the map says it should be.
Let's go in and trade some jade for those supplies master Qunos was talking about.
Ah, good. The town has the name that I expected it to. Time to chat up the town!
"There was a landslide on Mt. Galys! I hear the whole pass is blocked! Randy is the one who saw it, perhaps you should talk to him."
Talking to the other one...
With a small gasp of delight, the young maiden exclaims, "Oh warrior, what a gorgeous pendant you are wearing! Sell it to me for 10,000 jade?"
She bats her eyes at you, coyly, "Surely, if you would sell it so easily, then you could just give it to me for FREE!"
"GIVE it to you?!" you roar, "NO WAY!"
This presents another of the game's themes. This island of Keire is positively over-saturated with with women, all of whom are stunningly gorgeous and most of whom feel scrawny sword swingers are their type. It is implied that they're all much better catches than Katarina, but Alex remains largely oblivious to their advances throughout (spoiler, sorry).
And yet, there are other things that can distract him from his quest to rescue his girlfriend. Hmm...
"Does it seem like there are more demons around than usual?"
Again, usual? It seems to me like any amount of them rolling around in broad daylight would be too much. The NPCs talk about them like a weather forecast.
Look, bub, I'm on the prowl now, so expect your demon storm to clear up by the weekend.
"Oh! Welcome to my shop!" The shopkeeper tells you, "The people here love the Fruit from the trees on Mt. Galys. Collect Fruit and I'll buy 'em for 1 Jade each! Please, feel free to shop and let me know if you need anything."
"Come again, hero!" she calls.
Oh, and the shopkeepers are all comely lasses, too. Except we already know that all they want is to have a grab at what's in Alex's shorts pocket. Although I suppose her asking me to play fruit collector could hint at her wanting something other than the jade pouch. 'Come again, hero' indeed.
"I was outside and I saw a MONSTROUS scorpion!" She sits on the barrel, swinging her legs.
"Tell me more, little girl, where did you see this scorpion?" you ask her earnestly.
"You BELIEVE me? Nobody else does... " she says shyly.
"Of course I do." you answer, "Everyone knows little girls see everything."
Happily she says, "The scorpion was headed southeast. Go see for yourself! Big as a horse, it was!"
Alex is much more on the wavelength of the little girl than that of the adult woman. What would otherwise be a sweet gesture on his part in placating her is soured a little by the fact that I must have fought ten horse-sized scorpions on the way to this crummy town. How about this weather we're having?
"Wanna buy somethin' you can't get anywhere else?"
Warily, you enquire, "How much?"
"Only 200 Jade!"
"Too bad," the merchant scoffs, Your loss, warrior."
(grinds for 50 more jade and returns)
The merchant takes your jade, stating, "Thank you hero, you won't regret this! We shall meet again!" With that, he vanishes!
That is what you think it is. The game plays a bassy fanfare when you get it.
Whenever you see a shady merchant, you should buy what he's selling. Go get enough money and buy it.
If you leave the screen and return, a woman appears to take the place of the merchant (perhaps she wears a cloak and pretends to be a merchant herself).
"He was last sighted in Casdra..."
Oh, he was, was he? I'll have to keep my eye on you too, merchant-tracker-woman.
Although, come to think of it, I can't blame a woman for keeping tabs on a sweet sale.
"Y'know, an avalanche blocked the pass, now no one can cross." He pauses, deep in thought, "I'm trying to think of a way to clear the Pass." Suddenly he brightens, "I've got it! Tylon's bombs could easily blast those rocks to dust! Tylon's house is on the back street, go ask him to make you some bombs."
In the house behind the merchant/fake-merchant-tracker-woman you meet Randy, who tells you about why you can't simply proceed with the rescue operation. All we need are bombs. Fine. Perhaps you still have some in your back room here?
No dice, unfortunately. There are chests here...but you can't take them.
"Did you talk to the old bag out in front of Tylon's shop? She wouldn't let me in! Who does she think she is!?"
Two things about this I find suspicious, frustrated young woman. One, you're implying that there's a woman on this island who is both old and a bag. And two, you need bombs for some reason. I don't buy it. Let's ask someone younger.
"Can you keep a secret, Alex?"
"Sure." you reply.
"The shopkeeper said that if I bring her fruit from Mt. Galys, she'd buy them from me. I could become a QUEEN with all that money! But Mt. Galys is full of demons, so I can't go there. Would you help me get some fruit?"
While we are going to collect fruit later, we're not going to sell it off to merchants. Jade is much easier to come by than fruit. And one jade to the apple? Screw that.
"Why not." you reply.
He begins reciting,
"A waterfall; Water gushes to the ground to the rhythm of gravitation/
A waterfall; Water sprays upon the ground at the center of the island/
A waterfall; Water crashes to the ground and seals within it, lightning."
"well?" he asks expectantly, "What do you think?"
There wasn't a "no" option in that. All the same, he's really spinning a thinly veiled helpful NPC suggestion for you to walk into waterfalls. All in good time, old poet.
"Stray from the path once in a while, and you may discover many interesting things!"
You don't see me offering you advice on milling about. Why don't we just leave the adventuring to the runway models, hmm?
"My daughter saw a demon near town! We're all in danger with demons running about!"
Finally, someone reacting reasonably to the demonic hordes roaming the countryside. He's also decided to stay inside because of this news.
Big point against, though, is that he's left his kid outside. Even if your plan was to use your little girl as a human shield, you might want something larger than a buckler for the comparative massiveness of the demon army.
Then again, for all he knows it's only one horse-sized scorpion that they need to worry about. Pshaw.
I mean, I fought plenty of those...more like man-sized really. She's probably exaggerating.
Don't use your little girls as human shields!
"I came all the way from Casdra," she fumes, "to buy bombs from Tylon! But the lazy fool says he's out of dynamite! HA! I bet he just doesn't want to work today! Well I'll show him! NOBODY gets in until I get my bombs!"
"Stand aside, woman," you command, "I have important business with Tylon!"
"Why should I let you in?" she questions,
"OH NO! Then the rumors are true? Galys Pass has been blocked by an avalanche?! If that's true... then I can't get home! I'm stuck here!!! And you want to ask Tylon to make a bomb to clear the Pass? Then by all means, go on in!"
This is the old bag we heard about before. She doesn't look all that old to me, but I guess being a little plump on this island of beauties means being a bag by comparison. She's certainly plenty of bitch to match her size.
"So," he muses, "the Pass has been blocked. I could surely make a bomb that would take care of that! But, there's just one problem...
"Do you think you could get past the demons and bring me a box of dynamite? Great! Here's the key to the storehouse, it's southeast of here. Bring me that dynamite, and I'll make your bombs for free!"
Oh, go do a quest, huh? Well why didn't you say so? Not like I'm on any quests already that I remember.
It's just running to a storehouse to get some dynamite. How hard could it be? :clarkson:
See, and no one else could do it because they didn't have the key and couldn't get past the island's only fat woman. Simple in and out.
Next time, we're off to the Storehouse to get the dynamite and set the bomb-making industry of Hujia back in motion.
EDIT: Ha! I forgot the Hauza trip. I'll add this to the top of the next post, too.
My text for this part of the update got lost somewhere (probably I forgot to save it), so you get a shot of this.
If you go back to the Arsenal from the beginning of the game, you get the Hauza, the other thing that Alex can equip to the Y button. It's like a boomerang and an axe head.
On the plus side, it is consistently more powerful than the sword at equal upgrade levels and it is a ranged attack.
On the down side, you can't attack with it as quickly as you can with the sword. There are also some enemies (ankle biters) that you can never hit with the boomerax, so be ready to pick your sword back up if you come across any.
We'll make use of both weapons as the situation calls for it throughout the game.