Part 9: Bogged Down
Chapter 9: Bogged Down
The plot so far, in Dragon View:
Alex, the travel-weight knife-end-user and red-faced green-horn of the Isle of Keire's holy-warrior-rolodex insulted the sexiest wizard in the room Argos after that magician-with-a-capital-magish vouchsafed Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, to complete his day's v-word related activity. Comprised in a cuirass and armed with a master sword and a boomerax named Hope, Alex followed the black moustaches to Ortah Temple at the behest of the best buxom belles of the Miraj Sorceress Guardianship.
Alex stands in wonder at the majestic ziggurat his horn recently unearthed (unsanded?) before him. Will demonic forces prevent Alex from unhoisting the sorceresses' own ample petards, or will he triumphantly back that ass up?
Ah, Ortah Temple, Dragon View's Dungoen Quarterly centerfold. It was likely the bottom-heavy difficulty that was keeping the whole place submerged in sand.
Branching paths, pits of spikes, and cackling imps are all over the place. I haven't bothered to map out the routes through any of the dungeons so far, but if I had been doing so, this dungeon would certainly have made me stop.
Oh, it also treats us to some nonthreatening gordos. Among this dungeon's dangers, the gordos are not the foremost.
We've seen these before, right? You can sine wave your way around them to avoid getting beaned. For Alex and myself at this point, I largely just pushed on through. It was far more important to me to keep going through the temple rather than avoid every little tick of damage.
Our final sword energy upgrade, putting it 5ATP above level 4 Hope. I can understand why they chose the firey red color for the final upgrade (but if I were doing it, the level 3 black color would be on top).
But wow! With the final sword in hand we must be close to finishing the game, right? :V:
About the spike pits. They function exactly like the pits of fire in the fire cave. Alex even has a "wading in spikes" animation while partially submerged in them. It makes them feel...well nothing like spikes, frankly.
Plenty of mook wizards to get in your way, too. Nothing terribly remarkable about the place so far.
Well, these individually wrapped spikes sortof are. Except we've seen those, too.
This is a bigger, brighter, sharper version of the Fire Cave. The danger is in attrition: will you have enough hp left over after all the pitfalls? You have to fall, climb, and fall again in order to get through, and a single misstep can mean several additional screens of dungeon repeated. Granted, I've leveled Alex enough to come out in the black from hp pickups, so for me it was annoying. At a lower level, though? It could be a menace.
Somewhere along the line you get a key.
It leads to a room full of mummies (which is exactly as much fun as it sounds).
Just one more statue of Master Chief to push aside and...
A boss draws near!
The Death Jester is, apparently, the rube who snookered the sorceresses into opening the temple's gates to the flood of demons it is now awash in. How this clown even made it past the greeter at the gates is beyond me, but hey, the girl's love a man who can make them laugh, right?
The only laughter you may enjoy from fighting Death Jester yourself is a derisive snort at his general crappiness. The clown has two moves.
One, while hovering, he launches a large, slow, homing shot at Alex. You can defeat the shot with a swing of your sword, or break it with the power of Hope.
Two, while standing, he'll dodge backward and then bonk Alex from range with his extendohammer.
Neither of these moves is powerful. Each is easy enough to avoid. I mean it's cute and all that he laughs at you but come on.
I'll Take the Arr, This Joker's a Joke
Afterward, the game decides to take a massive plot dump on ye.
"We are at your service."
"But the great war split us, and only we four remain here. We fear you must have the help of all 8 lords to defeat Giza. When you have the blessing of all 8 of us, the Guardrak is formed. The other four Dragon Lords can be found at the Sectra Temple, in the swamp. The map in the next room will show you the location of that place. After you get the map, return here. We wish to speak further with you."
They're ancient, malformed, half-alive, and sleepy. I'll excuse the typo.
"If you go to 'Orsort' in the Northeast swamp, you may find the way to enter Sektra Temple. Hurry now, time is short!"
Oh, you have time for that diatribe, but when I'm ready for my edgewise word, "time is short," huh? Assholes.
Anyway, sure hope I can find this Orsort they mentioned.
Now let's bury this where it belongs.
And buy yet another health upgrade with the massive stockpile of jade we've manufactured from bones of our enemies. There's one more to go, but it will set me back more jade than I have, so it's high time to explore the swamp.
Sektra swamp is in the middle-to-North of the island, North of the Lake Region. It's easy to wander in and die fairly early in the game, and by now Alex and I are more than prepared to face it's handful of dangers. This spot in particular has a merchant.
Potions can cost a lot of jade, so this is a pretty good deal. I don't need any potions right now (I may have purchased one, I forget). Little things like this will make you feel like a sucker if you ever sold your fruit for jade.
This is arguably the best thing you can spend your fruit on. I'm continually perplexed at the fruit economy that all outdoor trade seems to run on.
The bag lets you carry more potions (3-5), crystals (3-5), arrows (30-50), and bombs (20-30).
I may actually end up using the crystals (not sure about all the rest, but hey).
"Boulders that defied bombs will fall to dust under the might of the Lightning Ring!"
Aha! Not only a lightning ring upgrade, but also a plot point. That brings us to level 2 lightning. So let's go get level 3.
That is, right here in the magic mirror cave not ten paces away. These lightning wizards are benevolent and all, but what if we were to encounter an ass? A really brassy wizard who won't tolerate Alex's bullshit?
"What's this? A young warrior wannabe? Ha ha! What kind of look is that on your face?
Did I hurt your feelings?"
"You're only a pup! What makes you think you deserve to wear a warrior's armor!? I wager you can't even destroy a hundred Demons! I'll bet my treasure on it!"
Here's how this works. Once this quest is active, the wizard will count every monster you defeat on the overworld. When you've beaten 100, he'll let you take the treasure. Try to walk up and take it beforehand, and he'll chastise you for stealing (and prevent you from taking it). We have every reason to expect this treasure is something good, and I was going to end up killing all those demons anyway. So we shall return to Wet Cavern after fighting some dudes.
For instance, these dudes. The watery blobs are an upgrade of the living metal from before. Sadly that's it.
The bugs are also a staple of the swamp. They can wiggle at you, and they can hop at you.
That's about it. They have a huge defense score and an even huger experience payoff, making them a ripe monster for sequence breakers (remember that four hits from one of the X button techniques will defeat any normal monster).
If you're fighting them the normal way, ahem, you can get yourself on one side of the screen and them on the other. Wait for them to leap at you, then attack with the sword. Alex will use the upward thrust, and they'll take the hit and be too far away for the wobbly follow-up to hit. Essentially you can just stand there and press the attack button at the right time (with fairly generous timing at that), and you'll eventually win.
I may have to make a video to demonstrate what a pair of these things can do to a low level Alex.
Behind the swamp, amidst the mountain pass to the north of the desert, the town of Orsort lies. I'd post the map location except is isn't on my map right now.
"This is the mining village of Orusort." the woman points out. "People come from all around to get rich in the Jade Mines!
The Jade Mine is just northwest of our village."
Or maybe it's spelled Orusort and I'm an idiot for getting my spelling lessons from a half-baked, half-conscious, half-octumvirate of a Dragon pantheon. My bad.
"I don't care about that voice in the mine, a voice can't hurt me! Jade calls to me! See 'ya!"
Jade is caaalling me...
Wait for me, pretty jade, I'm on my way!"
I'm sure I knew a girl named Jade. Or maybe I'm thinking of Jackie Chan Adventures. Anyway this guy is whacked. So enthusiastic about talking about mining, so unenthusiastic about mining. Tsh.
"Every night, strange voices from deep in the jade mine disturb my sleep." the woman complains.
"Dr. Ortran is a peculiar old bird. He surrounds himself with his inventions, and cares little for Jade."
More about those voices. Maybe we'll have to do something about that.
Also, I really hope that this prof's name isn't Orutran, I don't think I could take another missing u.
"Hmph! I ain't heard no voice. I don't think there is one!"
The woman looks terrified, "The miners have heard an awful voice in the mines. If it is a demon's voice, surely it would be dangerous to work inside!"
The way everyone else looks in the game, I at first thought this poor stout miner was headless. Shocker for me when the stump started speaking. But then, I guess there's a lot of strange talk going around. Demon voices indeed.
"You are just in time for my lecture.
Shit. Alex, run!
I created a machine that will allow us into Sektra Temple! It creates a bridge of light that we may cross. That machine is hidden deep within the Jade Mine. To prevent unauthorized use, there is a special order in which you must press the pedals. Don't even think about trying to start the machine without knowing the order. Or you'll regret it...
Gurk. Too late. Well maybe if we just ask him nice he'll tell us, you know, what we actually need in order to get to the next plot point.
No! I won't tell you the order of the pedals! That's my little secret."
Hey, we listened to your lecture! Fine, ass, see if I sign up for a second semester.
"Nearly all anyone in Orusort thinks of is Jade, Jade, Jade..." he grumps. "But young man, you know Jade is not everything. There are some things Jade cannot buy!"
Yeah, like that sour attitude. Actually, wait, you can buy prune juice.
"But Fess hasn't returned from the mine yet! Setia is very worried about him."
Just in case the other talk about demon voices from the mine wasn't enough...
"Everyone is talking about the voice in the mines! And my Fess is still inside! I would gladly give up all my jade just to have Fess safely in my arms!
Please go to the Jade Mine and find Fess...I have to know he is okay. Go to the mines west of here, and tell him to come home."
Sheesh, did Alex leave his nametag safety pinned to his breastplate? Well, anyway, these people are all supposed to be loaded, so I can hardly wait to see the massive stockpile Alex earns from this little jaunt.
You heard her say it, "gladly," she said.
The Jade Mine is pretty nearby, though still not on my map.
I'm going to cut it there. We've covered exploring the swamp and talking to Orusort, and the next two dungeons deserve their own update together. I also feel confident saying we're through the second worst dungeon in the game!