Part 30: Episode XXII: In Which Draw Distance is the EnemyEpisode XXII: In Which Draw Distance is the Enemy
Music: Descendus (Instrumental)
We are coming toward the end of Chapter 3 quite swiftly. Completing Three's non-puzzle non-riddle annoyance gauntlet of cubic proportions has unlocked another duo of new weapons for the final ending path toll. Both costing a hefty 20,600 gold a pop that I'll
Eternal Wail posted:
A spear modeled after a millennium-old tree. It makes a mournful sound.
Weapon Size: Large
Didja get lost, sir? Well, I'm sorry to hear that.
...A scholar, ya say? How excellent! This village
has a fine library. I wager you'll like it very much.
There's a kind and beautiful lady what keeps the library
runnin'. She loves them books, she does. Spends all day
copyin' tomes to make sure they ain't lost to time.
But such beauty can be deadly! Aye, her twin sister sings
by the village fountain, and she'll have yer head on a
plate if ya make false moves on the librarian.
Those twins protect the village, they do. ...Eh? Since when?
Oh, I couldn't say for sure. Long and longer still. I reckon
they'll probably do so until the end of time.
<rubs neck> Yeah... about that... This is awkward...
A chakram as sharp and piercing as a blazing thunderbolt.
Weapon Size: Large
The boy ran. His bladewhich seemed far too large for his
small framecut through the garrison like warm butter.
Heads rolled. Blood flew. The boy kept running.
He cried to the captain, This is for my brothers!
He made his way forward, mowing down soldiers in his wake,
but the lancers took his life before he could reach his goal
Looking down from his steed, the captain ordered his men
to dispose of the body. Then he rode off without a word,
refusing to think of his son lying in the dirt behind him.
The captain had three sons left, and the one who slew him
would gain all that he owned. ...Such a ridiculous game.
As he rode away, he prayed the gods would take him soon.
Berserk murder sprees, heads rolling, blood spraying, child murder, attempted patricide... Oh, that's a good bedtime story for sure!
That is all sorted out. Let's get onto the main event.
Soon, Zero found herself before the Lost Forest, a foreboding region which no one has escaped.
Verse 5: The Lost Forest
Music: Wilderblades - Battleground
Welcome to The Lost Forest of Forestry State in the County of Forest, LoF, Midgard. Enjoy your stay.
I dunno what happened! I thought I was flying next to you like always!
Ha ha ha! The classic excuse!
Aww, that's not true! That's not true at all!
It IS true! It IS true at all!
I'm gonna die here... And I'll never fulfill my dream of sleeping with Lady Three!
I... I... wanted Octa...
...What? This is a hell of a time to come out, man.
Behold the primary gimmick of this penultimate mission of Chapter 3: Three's creepy ass dolls statues. Take note of its lantern and sassy pose.
Why it is helpfully pointing us to a way to progress. Granted nearly every stage in the entire game is 100% linear and we could have likely found it just as well on our own. But it's the thought that counts. Or rather, the intent. Our primary goal of this area will be to play follow the statues to progress. No point in fighting it...
...That's your reflection.
<double checks> ...Huh? ...It is?
Welp... That happened. I'm going to need to start keeping a running track of the number of ways they've written off Mikhail's incorporation into different missions at some point.
He's in the river.
Er, yes, but I was... actually asking is--
He'll turn up eventually.
Look, I don't know. Maybe some crazy cat lady'll adopt him, okay?
There are some soldiers loitering about the area as always. Very nice of Three to leave them stranded in a forest the narrator already said was no one has escaped from previously. None of them are of note. But I like this statue doing a Jojo's Bizarre Adventure looking pose on the way to the next area. It's got moxie.
A bit past the trash mobs of hapless loyal imperial troops we come to the first major area of The Lost Forest. Ugh. I'm getting The Shaded Woods vibes from Dark Souls 2. That area was fucking awful! Did they just not finish an area beyond basic floor layout? It's like they tossed in some trees, make the enemies invisible, set the fog draw distance to 10 feet, and went fuck it! Done! Print! I've seen early Playstation 2 game areas that looked better than that place. Hell, I've seen Dreamcast areas that looked better than that place. Step it up From Software B-Team.
Lady Three liked to call this area the Lost Forest.
So is there a way out, or what?
Who can say?
Tch. You're useless.
Oh ho ho ho hooo! Sadly, I'm not good for much besides a bit of the old ruuump and tickle.
That's not really something to brag about.
Though, when I was playing with the faeries, I do believe I heard something about minding the direction of the dolls...
...Please don't tell me you were bonking faeries.
So here is the gimmick for this first half of the Lost Forest: A skeleton warrior pops out of the ground. Not a horde or anything flashy. These statues are not atop some elven burial ground or faerie holy site. Just the one uppity skeleton is standing guard. He's all they had on hand. The Land of Forests is in a terrible recession, you see. The Three Riddle Box economic stimulus package was a complete disaster.
Back on task: So you shatter the skeleton and splatter its skeleton blood all over the grass and...
The statue's lantern will light and the statue itself rotate toward our next destination off in the murky draw distance depths off yonder.
I know this isn't in Zero's nature, but she must steel herself and actually follow directions given until reaching the next statue. Deviating from the path will result in that well worn video game forest gimmick of resting us to the starting point of the
Then at the next statue there is another undead skeleton buddy to shatter and... you can see where this is going...
Has there ever been an enjoyable gimmick forest? It's like right behind sewer levels in "Oh boy, here is some video gamey ass video gamey bullshit coming your way, chief!" Thankfully, we can just skip over this nonsense via the power of editing.
You know, for an Intoner, you sure do use a lot of colorful language.
What do you want? That fucking forest pissed me off!
Ah, yes. There's a reason it's known as "the forest that breaks minds."
Yeah, well. Z's mind was already broken. Maybe that just put it back together.
Hey, funny guy! Let's see how funny you are with a sword up your ass.
So, let's see what the second major area of The Lost Forest entails:
...Wait. I said see this is the opposite of...
The second half just flips the goddamn script! This time the statues are already lit! And you... well, you just seek out the next vague light in the vintage N64 caliber draw distance. Deviating off the path once more resets the map. No enemies this time around. Just... navigating to hotspots on the map.
The trouble is they're not really competently spaced out in certain segments of the map and old lantern markers from earlier on might break through the fog. But whoops... Don't head toward those by mistake, good sir. Nope wrong. Restart the area! The segment only takes like five minutes. But still, c'mon game. At least put up a blended in wall that is past the draw distance of the map's view well before you hit the out of bounds trigger.
After a mild bit of inconvenience in this mind-bending forest we finally reach the final segment of the mission before it is time to go throw down with Three.
You know what we haven't had in a while? A new mid-boss. And I'm not talking any tier two Undead Gigas business. Those guys were just silly. No, it's time for an entirely new baddie. The Centaur! ...Yeah don't hold your breath for any non-boss fight original enemy creatures anytime soon. We've still got plenty of stock fantasy fodder to scrape from the barrel.
Nice. This should be fun. I haven't had something meaty to rip into in forever.
Um, Octa? What are you doing?
Oh, nothing, my lady. Nothing of importance...
He was measuring the length of... Well, he was measuring... something.
I'm merely a scientist collecting data on my finest assets, my lady. I mean, what's the point of owning art if you don't view it once in a while?
You're a class act, Octa.
Here we can see the Centaur abusing its anti-gravity capabilities to taunt our loyal disciples and their lack of vertical ups. Though Octa finds himself distracted by the naked woman neck-waddle. Really... Go take a look at the concept art at the end of the update. It's a fairly standard giant stone centaur except for the inverted nude woman on its chest.
Odd design quirks aside, the poor thing used a charge and got stuck mid-air on some geometry and the corner of a rogue breakable box and wasn't sure what to do with itself. I don't think that was an intended factor in this new critter's introduction. But I was certainly intimidated.
The Centaur is akin to an Armored Gigas crossed with a Cerberus if it were actually a competent enemy and not a bungling awkward fool that attacks by tripping over its own too feet and throwing hissy fits. It also has about twice the reach of its predecessors in the mid-boss rogue's gallery thanks to its Kratos' Chains of Chaos cosplaying extender arms. It has no real tell for when it is going to bust out an arm swinging combo. The centaur just pulls back and starts swinging whenever it suits its fancy. The blows come out quick and are deceptively vertical in hitbox range.
Centaurs can also do a charge like an upgraded Gigas. But they actually just stop once reaching a wall or reasonable distance instead of bonking their heads onto or biting the dirt to stop their momentum. Here the centaurs at least have the courtesy to rear up before taking off toward Zero's position.
At close range the Centaur can either just stomp on Zero if she lingers by the beast's feet for too long. Which is just frankly rude in my opinion. Alternatively, it can rear up similar to the charge but then turn on a dime and begin pounding the hell out of the ground potentially juggling Zero along for the ride if she dallies around attacking the monster's sides for too long. I told you it learned from those that came before. Centaurs are probably the most dangerous of the mid-boss pantheon.
This is another enemy where either the spear for quick, high damage strikes or the combat bracers for big damage combos that can be easily broken from in order to flee shine. But when in doubt, a good old fashion Intoner Mode also works. Though the blood coffers are a bit on the dry side given the lack of adversaries this mission. Wait until the fun when they just start opening with mid-boss encounters early on before warm up sessions with the help.
In any case, like all mid-boss tier creatures the Centaur's head and several of its limbs will fling off its body in a fountain of blood upon death like it was involved in a PS2 era Mortal Kombat fatality.
Following the battle a few paces further into the forest...
Well, as I said before, it is the shrine of Lady Three.
Goddammit, Octa! Calling foul on that last one. I like the dick measuring business slide since you had a ridiculous excuse. But, c'mon. You weren't even trying there.
Welp, that takes care of Verse 5 of 6 for Chapter 3. Time to go have some choice words with Three and her doll collection.
Chapter 3 Verse 5 Highlight Reel
Centaur Concept Art - That's quite the neck waddle you've got going on there, sir...