Part 12: Quietus
Chapter 12: Quietus
The plot so far, in Dragon View:
Alex, the holder of the Soldrak, majestic maguffin that can undo wizardly perversion to the Prime Orb-source of all Island of Keire-ly magic-braved the wilderness of the outside island (and its many inside caves) to collect a small stockpile of devices necessary to rescue Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, from the clutches of the malefic Giza, who has sent an entire management structure of the wicked to kidnap her so he could use her small hands to reach the switch to the gate to the underworld, and turn it from "off" to "on."
Outfitted with only a few thin layers of armor, a boyscout's wet dreamworth of utility gear, the sword he grew up wielding, and a boomerax named Hope, Alex stands at the base of Mt. Badsel, majisterial and ancestral home to baddies the island over.
The final showdown awaits. Will Alex find the place of battle, and his own courage, in time to save the island and his girlfriend from bad news forever?
Except I'm in no particular rush, and want to collect things in a foolish order.
Yep, I took Alex back to the Desert Cave because I thought there might be more goodies there for us. I found these jerks instead, who are exactly what you may expect from lava blobs given the mercury and water blobs we've fought before. Nothing to see, really. Oh, that fire is still damage, too.
The cave has these guys too, whom we've seen in a cutscene from way back. They and the lava blobs are quite a bit more powerful than the enemies I've been fighting. Hmm...I'll give these Demon Knights the monster review they deserve a little later.
These wizards are much more powerful than the ones before. I want to say they attack and move more quickly, too, but it's been awhile. Anyway not a terrible threat.
These are underworld samurai. They're the top end of this particular monster...I really am going out of my way to go out of order, aren't I?
And not without cause! Just two or three more of these to go and I'll have a health bar as lengthy as the bosses.
With that in hand, we trek back to Breeze and to the illusion forest, and then to Mt. Badself beyond.
Perhaps I'm skimping on monster descriptions, but the general rules for palette swaps in this game is that the monster gets additional attack, defense, and speed. Like these moth bats. Harmless by this point.
I have a lightning-compulsion to explode the boulders I see, mostly for this reason: many are full of prizes. Nevermind the fact that I no longer need jade. Heck, the only reason I have as little as I do is because at some point I took Alex to the shop and filled his inventory with everything available.
Which I could have waited to do until meeting this guy, the merchant on the mountain. In case you're missing something you can't live without, he's got it and he'll accept jade for it.
Bugger off, you guys.
Ah, a second use for Jade. The wandering healer will also save your game after mending your wounds. This mountain is becoming more and more like a town.
There are two goals to climbing Mt. Badsel. One is getting to the overworld plateau on top, and the other is that thing over there. Guess which one takes more screens to get to?
Yep, the heart. And that's without counting the repeated attempts you'll make because of assholes like this one bumping you into a pit below and forcing you to climb the stairs to try the platforms again.
Or the tightropes. This is the only place these appear in the game. Once on one, you can't change vertical level or else you'll fall. They aren't hard in the least.
These trolls, though purple, can hit pretty hard. In this cave, though, you should be able to hit them with Hope without putting Alex in any kind of danger. They're really there to be solved before you step on the conveyor. Or to make a sword-only run more dicey.
After braving all those screens, killing all those trolls and walking across those two tightropes more times than I care to recount, we get the reward. The fastest way out is to leap down the pit and climb back up.
The rest of the climb isn't bad at all.
Putting us in the Badsel region, where it is always raining. There's a high concentration of little caves to go in, mostly because three of them are secrets I never figured out on my first playthrough.
A typical overworld fight in this region. The still different colored trolls are no big deal...by themselves. They can often serve as the nasty punchline to a joke the wee reaper sets up. The reaper starts above the top panel; often you can only see the shadow below as an indicator that something is even there. They will hover down and either send a whirlwind at you or fly at you chopping with the sickle. Each attack is hard to avoid. The whirlwind essentially hits the entire floor and the chopping covers everything above. They're small and therefore harder to hit than the usual, and their attacks are powerful and can position you to get hit with even more powerful moves. The reaper is a great monster, not to be taken lightly.
"You gave me your Magic Crystal, and I could return home. I must thank you...
Take what you find within that treasure chest. I hope it helps with your quest. I should go now. May the Dragons smile on you, great warrior!"
The man who wishes that particular grace is the one who has never seen a wavy image of the Dragon Lords appear in his crumbling drywall.
The third one this update. Sweet.
Give up your Fruit?
Sure, why not?
"There's a treasure box at the back with armor inside. Take it with you! Good luck!"
There's a fruit tree in the illusion forest that's nearby in case you don't have the fifty fruit when you make it here.
This brings Alex to level 4 armor. Yes, the armor upgrades lag behind the two weapons quite a bit. I wonder why that is? Oh right, because armor is busted sideways in this game.
Toward the north part of the region and off the map the statuesque forest goddess scribbled for us in purple crayon (the lazy thing) is this mountain pass. There are no monsters here.
Only this thingy, stuck in the tree branches. If you swat at the tree it falls out like so much fruit. That's four.
We've had lots of terrain objects on the overworld so far. Mostly trees, sometimes icy jags or boulders like this one. You've been trained to avoid them by now because of the annoying thud noise it makes when you bump into one, and the time it costs you.
You should forget about that for a moment and smash Alex right into each of these you see.
Because it crumbles away to reveal a cave.
I mean, unless you aren't spoiling for a fight with Badsel samurais. These guys are pushovers by now, just look at all that armor Alex has (purple though it may be). You have to defeat them to go on, and your reward is...
Heart number five of this update. Booyah.
This is boulder number 3. Number 2 has a chest-game merchant in it, and since I've already stocked Alex to capacity with anything that he could possibly get from the game, I'd rather hold on to the fruit.
We've had variations of this puzzle before. I would even call this a puzzle if it weren't so instinctual to kill the troll by now. A roadblock for a pacifist run?
Wait, what the hell is...oh, right, those caves with the impassable fire pits. That one I kept stepping into regardless of the danger or how out of the way it was, for instance.
"I am but a gluttonous fool! I live to eat fruit from the tree of happiness.
Hee hee hee!
If you give me 10 fruits from the tree of happiness, I will help you with your quest.
Tch...you don't have 10 fruit of happiness? Too bad! Too bad...Hee hee hee!"
This cave is at the way far end of the...erm..hallway that's at the north and east of the Badsel region. If you feed this fool some fruit, he gives you some cockamamie hint about the strength of your sword arm and then vanishes. If you don't, he giggles and vanishes.
If only I could give him carrots instead, his eyes are failing if he's talking about Alex's sword arm like that.
What? We don't need this crap. Screw this cave Alex.
Alex swings his sword around in frustration at the shitty reward and accidentally strikes part of the far wall, which crumbles away
Hnuh? Hey Alex, toss a bomb at that, would ye?
"Now I'll leave. So long!"
This groovy little upgrade changes the X button technique for Hope from using 8 hp to using 4 instead. This means you can pretty much ignore enemy armor for the rest of the game, and they'll almost always drop enough hearts to reimburse you. Coupled with the five health upgrades I've gotten so far this update, and I'm thinking X is the new Y. At least as far as Hope is concerned.
Okay, I know I've been taking trips back to the desert cave a lot, but for one, I have the fire boots at last, and for another...well we'll get to another in a few screens.
Elsewhere in the cave, Piercia appears yet again. She dies in one hit (at most two, it's still dismal).
There are a few other places in these last few caves where you must first swipe at the wall, and then toss a bomb to get through.
And now we have the upgraded sword technique as well. In addition to the health cost reduction, the graphical effect for this attack changes from a purple dragon shape to a gold one. Sweet.
Alright, once again away from the desert cave and back up Mt. Badsel, Alex and I finally enter the second tier of the mountain, ready to bust up the baddies and discover the route to the underworld.
The mountain exterior: plenty more of this.
The cave interior, but where will it spit us out?
Nope. Not kidding. Candy. How long did it take me to get the first six of these?
The mountain pass gets thinner as we ascend.
And more platformy. Mercifully, if you fall, the game puts Alex back on the last platform he was standing on and docks a bit of health. I would much rather have this punishment than the kind where you fall to a lower level and climb back up.
In case the other jumping bits weren't irritating, they add reapers. Go quickly and you can probably ignore them before they start attacking.
Inside yet another part of the mountain, there's this series of crumbling platforms. When you first approach it, it looks like a huge cracked floor. Most of it collapses away when you walk on it. The parts that remain allow you to platform across and get to...
Woo! Full magic!
The sky darkens as you climb ever higher. A cave at the very top reveals...
A back way into the desert cave.
Even in my advanced state, this sequence of rooms would probably kill poor Alex if he didn't have the Fire Boots.
Oh, and the Efreet is similarly a pushover by now. Don't know why they bother.
Our reward is maximum armor, exchanging the purple-gray color for a gold-gray color.
Back past the Demon Knights (monster analysis still later), and underworld samurais who now no longer pose any threat to Alex.
And Piercia's sister; Stabya. She's quite a bit more powerful, making her tragically weak by the time Alex and I are storming through.
Further back, we meet another Efreet, who I think is upgraded to be better armored. Without the boots, this would be very hard, maybe impossible. With the boots it is trivial.
Now, this is the teleporter to the underworld cave, and to the game's final chapter. We'll come right back to this after I clean up some final business.
This is the last glowing triforce cave. Looks pretty much the same, right? Confused me a lot when I was working through the screenshots to put this post together.
Guh. Another one? Come on already. These bosses are not even as interesting to fight anymore as the regular enemies around here.
"I will bestow power upon your Flame ring, so it will become far more powerful.
Well, goodbye now, and good luck."
And that's the last of those. Once again back to the desert cave and through to the teleporter in the back room.
That is, here.
Or should I say, here! This is the portal to the dimension of tie-dye that Giza has re-dubbed "the underworld" to step inside would be madness. But hey, I could use something to jazz up this outfit, so in we go.
I am gonna carve you up like a Christmas ham.
Where is Katarina?"
"You, Alex...!" Argos yells.
"You will see what happens to those who disobey Giza! And you will pay for treating me as a subordinate, human!"
"Did you...! I should report this to Giza immediately...
Argos approaches you, "Alex...Sir I am amazed that you have come this far. You might be able to stop Giza...When Giza proposed to find the entrance to the Underworld, I accept the mission only for my curiosity, but I think that was a mistake since I now know his true purpose...but...I can't stop him now...It is too late. Giza used to be very gentle when he was training in Keire Temple. He became like that since his sister Sara died...
To amend for my sins that no human should commit, I will make a healing circle here."
Argos asks you with tears in his eyes. "Ah...Save Giza, Giza's soul...! Please...save Giza..."
Tears in his eyes? Don't puss out now! We've gained levels and are now spoiling for a fight!
Guh. At least in his dying breath he turned into a save point (the last area would be really unforgiving to the first time player without that).
Just can't ever be finished with this mode 7 stuff, can we. The change of scenery is...erm...well blue frankly. Very blue.
Oh, hey, we've exchanged trees for huge gargoyles. Pretty sweet.
What would an overworld (er, underworld) map be without random encounters? First up we have the Giza imps. In addition to having high attack and defense, these buggers have boosted speed, or perhaps lowered decision-making-time. At any rate, these features combine to make them a legitimate menace, even with max armor.
Then there are also upgraded reapers. This version has a skull cloud attack instead of a whirlwind. It moves more slowly but tracks Alex. While I was fighting them, I somehow didn't get hit. I think you can wait until just before they hit, press X to use a technique and then it will "hit" and vanish while Alex is in the invulnerable part of the animation. Since by this point I'm using X almost exclusively, that may be how it happened.
The large chunk of missing health should be apt indicator that the enemies around these parts mean business. Alex and I at last reach Giza's...uh...snake-headed techno pipe fortress.
How hard could it be? :clarkson:
Gruh, he's trying to blind me with garish decor. That fiend! I guess the plan is to first topple Alex's sense of fashion, and then his other senses are up for grabs. Then profit.
Most of the portals seal behind you, then reopen once you've defeated the monsters.
Looks like this Gold Demon Knight has finally got me cornered. He's the upgraded version of the Demon Knights I failed to describe earlier, and so cornered, I should give this guy his due.
These enemies are badass. They step toward you with a clanky march, and will bash Alex with the mace if they get close enough. Sometimes, "close enough" is half the screen, as the Knight will launch his club across the screen, reaching like a morning star, as quick as a whip's crack. The Knights' usual attack is to wait until Alex strikes, block with the shield and then do a behind-the-back mace swing, during which time they cannot be harmed.
Caution and calculation are needed to take them out, and without the obvious flaw they have designed in to them, they would be downright impossible to deal with. The flaw is that unlike most any other enemy in the game, the Knights have a hard time turning around. Alex is easily capable of leaping over and around one of them and striking from behind (where the shield doesn't work).
Also, either the sword or boomerax technique will ignore their block, so I can basically plow right through them.
Considering how many pits will dump me on top of this or other Gold Demon Knights. I'm really glad to have the upgraded technique.
Some pits drop you here, where you fight now inconsequential wizards. The Demon Knights are at least interesting, and the imps can regularly harass you. The wizards are just wussy by now.
A few of the floors have these...uh...hazards scooting toward you like a few others in the game have done. They make way less sense now, though. I mean, seriously, what the hell are these rainbow colored splotches on the ground, and why does it hurt to touch them?
No, not even the platforms, the trend, the idea that these represent. First the thing itself, then the idea.
These platforms are a piece of shit. Of the dungeon's three or four floors, at least one long hallway of each is one of these, always in the same place on the floor, always waiting to dump you down. If you fall, you land in another one of these hallways, which often means you fall two or more floors, often again landing in a pit with some Gold Demon Knights. The platforms are always in the same place, even though they look like they're constantly jiving and shifting around. It is Giza's evil illusion that none of our prep work and none of our items can help us with. You just have to suffer through the awful platforming and get to the top. This makes the tower feel 50 floors high.
The trend this represents is the designer's willingness to accentuate the worst feature of the game in the game's last stages. Platforming is the worst part of Dragon View. Alex's jump is meant as a positioning technique in combat. A way to stick-and-move. It is no good at all for getting around. Figuring out where the edges are is hard enough when you can actually see them. In here they are mostly indiscernible. I have seen other games do this
I kill you.
With that gauntlet finally navigated, Alex and I approach the final boss fight. The showdown with the big bad. They say it will take more than hope to defeat Giza...
But you and I know that Hope is enough. (warning: much more huge than the other videos)
Epilogue: All's Right as Reign
Dragon View credits and ending scene (warning: as huge as the previous video)
Let me know if ye want the ending sequence in screenshots. I find it a little hard to watch myself because the dialog no longer responds to controller input, and crawls by a half-sentence at a time.
In summary, Giza apologizes for bein' all evil and teleports away with the ghost of his sister.
Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, is in fact not dead. Giza had kept her alive and intact in case he needed her small arms to reach crud underneath his casting couch.
The Octodragon Deity appear and pat Alex on the head for his good job, mistaking him for their missing broomhandle.
Alex returns with Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, to Rysis, replacing the Prime Orb on his way. He chats up everyone of interest in between, including sorceresses, bombsmiths, and retired warrior-hoboes.
The islands only (and therefore top) scholar Prof. Methraton decides to invent Monarchy, and names Alex king of the island. He becomes known that day as King Alex I of Keire, after Katarina insists to Methraton and the Wizard Pope that not even the power of the Prime Orb itself can stop her from having Alex's baby son, and naming him Alex.
King Alex I renames the Prime Orb "Primeorb" in time to make the credits. Though he is anorexic, clumsy, short-sighted, and more than a little daft, Alex is still way more rational and composed than any of the island's inhabitants, and so is presumed to make a pretty good king. He stands atop a cliff and surveys his new domain, staring firmly into the future, which is sure to be bright and happy for the Isle of Keire.
Thanks to everyone for reading and watching. I am really pleased to be able to introduce so many eyes to a pretty good, really obscure game that has the word "Dragon" in the title, like so many of my favorites.
Until next time, may the Dragon Lords watch over you from a proper temple altar, and not from the moldy ceiling tiles in some person's basement.