Part 10: Your Temple and Mine
Chapter 10: Your Temple and Mine
The plot so far, in Dragon View:
Alex, the light knight and young journeyman of the Isle of Keire's mighty fightin' crew spat sass at the comely mage Argos after that demonic mook hoisted away Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, to perform his master Giza's bidding. Wrapped in a protective garment and armed with a bastard sword and a fully legitimate boomerax named Hope, Alex heeded the advice of the Dragon Lords who urged him into the awful swamp to form the Soldrak, to get to the underworld, to face off against Giza, to restore the power of the prime orb, to make magic and wizards work for good again, to get Kat back, freaking finally.
Alex enters the Jade Mine of Sektra swamp, trying at the same time to remember and forget why he is here.
Alrighty Alex, simple in-and-out here. I don't think you were the best choice to send in to talk sense to this Fess character, but that's what we're here for. No distractions, capiche?
"If you use your bomb there, the floor will be broken down and you'll be able to fall down."
This poor miner was this close (not to scale) to getting a captain's serving of Hope. He'll keep plugging away as long as he's on the screen. Never seems to find anything, though. Well, thanks for telling me about this dungeon's gimmick, buddy.
And the dungeon wastes no time making good on the miner's promise. We have a small reserve of bombs, so no need to backtrack to buy any this time.
The short drop puts you in a room with these jerks. No more moves than other versions of the lizardmans, but by this point they are more difficult and less rewarding than other baddies we've fought. Our reward is a continued ability to enact the dungeon's gimmick.
Of course since I already made up my mind about not liking the black lizardmans, the game shoves them down my throat by the ox cartload. This time I unleash the thrilling power of the level 3 lightning ring. Resulting in the excellent graphic effect and miniscule damage you see above. I just wasn't going to have an easy out to these assholes.
This happens quite a bit in the Jade Mine, so just imagine this graphic copy-pasted a few more times to get a sense of how the dungeon generally goes.
After some clever falling and climbing, Alex and I reach the far side of this divide and encounter...
The Jade Mine is even more full of these than I remember.
"I need to save my jade so that I may marry my love, Setia." He sighs, "these days you can't do anything without jade!"
In fact she's promised me all her jade if I can talk sense to you, so let's establish an agreed-upon basis for rational discussion and...
Or you could turn into a monster and hit me in the face. Fess prefers the internet forums style of argument it seems.
"Oh my!" cries Fess, "I acted so evil! In my greed for jade, I forgot what was really important. I must hurry back to my Setia! In thanks, let me offer you what I know; Prof. Otran (sic) created a device to enter Sektra. He kept mumbling 'Red, Blue, Green' as if he had to remember that. That's all I know, I hope it helps."
We defeat him, he misses the point, runs off before he can pay us for the effort, misspells the prof's name and punctuates it with "hope this helps"? Shit, we did have a forums argument.
After the boss fight with Fess, you get one with the Dust Efreet:
Mop the floor with this one and you'd have to sweep up after.
Ah. This is the device Fess and Dr. Ortran mentioned. Press a button out of sequence, and the statue hits you for 1 damage. You may notice there aren't any colors on them to indicate the sequence like Fess hinted at. You can get the colors to appear if you use your magic rings. But that's kinda dumb, as there's essentially no drawback to simply trying things until it works. I think it ended up being 213, but anyway you only have six things to try.
Let's hope the function of this raindow machine is better than its security.
"What's important to you, warrior?"
Though she asks, the little girl is uninterested in the answer. Alex has been bad at explaining things today anyway.
"You showed me the error of my ways. Setia and I don't need Jade to be happy! After all, we have each other."
"Alex...!" Setia says gratefully, "You have brought Fess back to me! I cannot thank you enough. I'm so happy, I could cry... Sob, sniffle"
Thank me with the piles of dollars you promised. I'll wait here.
(she never gives you a sou)
"Probably not, since we cannot hear him anymore. At last we can go back to work!"
These miners weren't here before, presumably because they were off in the mine ignoring any warning against working, demon voice be damned. They only show up in town now...meaning they only talk about it being safe to work when they're cowering here away from the danger that they all agree is no more.
You know what, you guys just...keep on mining.
"Ha ha ha! Oh yes! I will tell him about this machine when I meet Methraton next time."
Can't say one way or the other about the machine but I know the on switch is a piece of shit.
No, I take that back, three man-sized minotaur statues ready to bonk you on the head if you get it wrong is exactly the power switch I want for all of my electronic devices.
Of course, I don't own even one rainbow bridge generator, so what do I know.
With the machine on, there's nothing stopping us from getting to Sektra Temple, so let's...
"But I haven't seen him for a while."
Do other things! This is the last health upgrade you can buy from the wandering merchant. The price may look steep, but by this point you have several ways of mitigating it.
Back in the swamp:
We enter...erm...forest? Right, anyway. Must be something good here, the music is all ominous and there's powerful moths here.
Not to mention the wood titans! They march toward you much like a golem will, and chop three times with the axe if they see you in range. They have plenty of defense and pack an even greater punch.
But unless you, I dunno, enter the screen at the wrong place or are surrounded by other monsters as well (bat moths, for instance), no amount of these guys should ever even touch you. If you're having trouble, take Hope in hand and retreat the screen. They'll never get close. They lack the distance-closing shoulder tackle that golems use to thwart this tactic, or anything else that would for that matter.
Score! With this upgrade in hand Alex is a mere four stars from max. That's two more of these to go!
I get a feeling we're going to want that magic, too.
No punches pulled, no series of hints, no bones and no illusions. This be the water temple.
Complete with water clones. They move around and swing their water swords using Alex' animations. They're kindof dumb, a little on the weak side for monsters in here, and fail to exploit the z-step that is Alex' greatest technique (you know, moving toward the front or back of the screen to dodge things), so on the whole their threat level is low.
I will give them cool points for just being there and for walking on the water's surface. Alex sinks right down, having no great bouyancy of his own and further weighed down by his armor.
Ah, and for my next gimmick, I present to you the frozen puddle. In many of Sektra Temple's rooms, you'll have to freeze the water in order to advance. In this case I simply want to walk across to the chest. At some points the water gets deep enough that Alex can no longer jump up out of it, and indeed, will take hazard damage from trying to breathe it in.
I wanted to take a shot of this with Alex posing on top of it because it's pretty neat looking. Can't do anything with it now; that barrier is magic.
"THIS IS THE WATER TEMPLE. WATER KISSED BY COLD AIR TRANSFORMS..."
Oh no, another all-caps history lesson! How will we escape?
Wait, it's over already? Huh. I guess they wanted a hint in there and thought better of putting an NPC who somehow made it in without the rainbow bridge. Fair enough. We already knew this, but it's nice to have an unsubtle hint yelled at you every now and again.
Any level ice magic will do (so use level 1).
Okay, I'm leaving this goof in because it is hilarious. If you freeze the water while Alex is wading in it, he's stuck in place. This water clone got several free hits in on me because of it. Classy.
Oh, and there's keys to be collected for the few locked doors in the temple like the one at the back of this room. The level designers end up making you do one or two of everything in order to get the keys. I like this dungeon.
Not the best pictures of the water elementals, but there you are.
Yep, pretty much they're a recolored version of the fire elementals from before. What I think I failed to mention is that they can, if left alone, spew out copies of themselves until as many as four are on the screen. They use this technique often enough to be a hassle but not often enough to reliably farm them. Pretty neat, though.
Oh, and freezing them does jack for damage. Let's you fight on even ground at least.
In several places, rather than a surface of ice to freeze and get across, you encounter fountains of water that you can freeze and jump on in order to get at goodies (like here) or even ascend to the next floor.
In still other places, you have to reach the deeper parts of the water in order to get through low doors. Freezing the floor will slow you down. I like this dungeon.
I wasn't thinking and missed the screen cap where Alex opens the chest and gets the glove. It sits in the key item part of Alex' inventory and allows Alex to move the heavier (darker) statues.
This one, for example.
You can see a bug here. As far as I can tell, they have the same attack and defense as the ones outside, but they don't give you as much experience. Hoom.
Some of these dragon statues are jerks. Cut that out, you!
Soldiering on through them, though, gets us to the final Hope upgrade! That's a max boomerax, baby!
It's a huge water dragon. Awesome!
I'm probably in for a tough fight...is what you'd think if you didn't know anything about the Water Dragon. Oh don't get me wrong, he can be tricky to hit and often leaves the screen only to appear again too close for you to dodge. His water spray attack is pretty quick and his whole snaky form is made of damage.
But for some reason, he has the attack power of a Hujia scorpion. It doesn't matter if you've been grinding or not up to this point, he's just not going to be able to damage you with anything. He could have been so cool.
Oh, a final note, you can't freeze the water in this room. It will instantly unfreeze. The game's way of saying "nice try."
How to put a water dragon on ice.
And we're...back here at the beginning? Huh. The barrier ominously fades...
"At last, all 8 spirits are gathered here! The Guardrak will soon become "Soldrak," and possess all the strength of the Dragon Lords!
Raise the Guardrak!"
There's no way I'm getting out of this without some platitudinous tirade.
"Alex" a voice calls to you. "If Giza succeeds in turning the Prime Orb, the power ot the Underworld will multiply one hundred-fold. Giza will indeed possess the power to rule this and all other worlds...
He will be immortal. Even with the Soldrak on your side, you could not hope to defeat such raw power. Any more than an ant could move a mountain. Go to the Underworld and retrieve the Prime Orb, only then can Giza's plans be thwarted.
I have seen a whirling cloud of black, hanging like a pall over the Illusion Forest. It is a good bet that there lies the entrance to the Underworld. Seek the guidance of the Woodland Guardian so that you may reach the Forest's heart. We've heard that the Sorceress of Hujia has something for you. Proceed with haste to Hujia. Since you have the Soldrak, the spirit will guide you."
This and all other worlds forever? Are you sure it isn't "this little island for awhile"? Oh well, you're the disembodied voice of plot in all this, better do what ye octune deity say.
Wait, who the hell is the sorceress of Hujia? Miraj had all the sorceresses we've met.
If I think about it too much, not even one sentence the Dragon Lords spout will make any sense.
We race back to Hujia of all places, where everyone has contracted deathitis.
"I wonder what scared them away?"
I wish I could give you the buildup or followup to this story, but there isn't any. One of the symptoms of deathitis is only being able to tell the middles of stories.
"I simply don't know what else to do for them...But even an old fool like me can cure wounds like yours. Hurry, now...and I'll heal you."
We're treated to a little blurb about the town's sudden deathitis pandemic while the healer treats Alex' wounds. Nifty. In a game with as much wide-faced, bald-eyed nonsense as this, hearing something so natural and fitting is refreshing.
"It's like a ghost town. Half the town's population is ill and the streets are almost deserted."
I have a feeling this won't last. Enjoy it.
"If I only knew the source of their ailment, then perhaps I could cure them."
Heh, many have tried and failed at finding a cure for deathitis, lady. Don't be too hard on yourself.
"Mommy! IT HURTS...!"
Yep, there we go. Back to crazy talk.
In this guy's case we simply need to get his head out of the vise-like deathgrip that awful toupée he's wearing has on it. Please, sir, your comical fashion incident is detracting from the serious plight of all these deathitis sufferers.
"I would give you all that I have if you can save her...please help."
The girl's father is puzzled, "Why is she so sick now? She hasn't had so much as a cold, before."
Hnuh-uh. Got played like that once already in this update alone. I'll figure out which of you is the sorceress and be on my way. I will, however, take all of your things if I cure the deathitis by some mischance.
"O Evil, cause of dread,
by my bed.
Why must my spirit ache,
My young life
so soon to take..."
Silent tears cloud his eyes...and he can read no more.
Eff, they've started writing bad poetry about it. This just got serious.
"But magic protects them." Randy informs you. "I wonder what's inside them."
Oh, yeah, those chests that we couldn't open before! Yoink.
Cool I guess? I'll take all the maps I can get anyway. Would be nice to know what to do with this piece of...
"The Woodland Guardian's spirit has fled from the statue. It's only rock, now. Ogma of Neil village may be able to coax the spirit back. The location of Neil village is on a map in the next treasure chest."
Oh, so by "sorceress," you meant "treasure chest." Next they'll be calling wardrobes "wizards" or something.
"I hoped the boxes would hold a magic potion to heal the townspeople. Oh well..."
Yep, there we are back at three-sheets-to-the-wind crazy logic. The dragon spirits seem content to appear before Alex at less and less sacrosanct locales. And now we have a fairy figurine of import, with a half-baked plan to get to the underworld attached to it.
Join us next time, when Alex meets a fairy and a sewer system.