Part 45: A Look at Free Expedition: Part Tres
A Look at Free Expedition: Part Tres
It's my birthday and I'm fucking around with Drakengard. This is the worst present ever!
First on the chopping block: The Ocean Fortress.
Free Expedition: Above the Ocean Fortress
Yes, I'm sure the Empire's engineers can reassemble nine towers and imbue them with magical powers with just a snap of their fingers if they reach the besieged stronghold.
This one has a few guidelines to be followed along with the general purge of everything in the area. Said naval engagement must be completed in less than three minutes and forty seconds. In addition, Red must have above 25% health upon completing the stage. No big deal, really.
Ishtar is a goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. In the Babylonian pantheon, she "was the divine personification of the planet Venus".
Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the "town of the sacred courtesans"; and she herself was the "courtesan of the gods". Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes:
" woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. 'Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength', says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, 'and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip."
Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and - if one is to believe Gilgamesh - this love caused the death of Tammuz.
Alright, this story better have some tits in it.
So is every weapon in Drakengard's world evil? At this rate you'd find shit like Soul Edge in the back of a shelf behind some Poptarts in a 7-11.
Free Expedition: Inside the Ocean Fortress
Aww. That's quaint. They think the ocean isn't full of unspeakable eldritch horrors.
This mission...this mission is bullshit.
First of all, Caim has to kill every single enemy in the stage to even complete it. For the most part, they're all hardassed elite soldiers that have ridiculous amounts of HP. On top of that, it's a collect-a-thon objective. There are ten chest scattered amongst the three floors of the fortress in random corners. There are seven keys on the first floor, two on the second floor, and one on the third floor. Do you know where the new weapon spawns? Back at the beginning of the stage, of course!
I unlocked this weapon thirty-five minutes ago.
Getting one last lay in before the end? Classy.
It is time for the ever popular Sky Fortress next. These next couple of stages are actually pretty heavily remixed.
Free Expedition: Below the Sky Fortress
Or in this case, the ground a couple thousand feet below them.
This is the area we'd normally fight Inuart and the Black Dragon. It's now filled with Imperial airships and dragons. You know...shit that'd actually make sense when you've got a giant sky fortress tooling around.
Anyhow, this mission's requirement is simply to complete the stage with 75% health. Slightly tricky business, since they just stuff the sky with enemies.
Undead Sigh? Come on. There's always like maybe two enemies in any RPG that succumb to Zombie status effect.
"Hey, priest. Who's better? Me or the God?"
"Errr... God, you arrogant twat."
"What?! DEVIL WORSHIPER!!!"
Free Expedition: Inside the Sky Fortress
So, we've got a bit of a Metroid ending scenario here. Without Manah powering it, the Sky Fortress goes down in flames. Pay attention to that little detail. It might be a minor plot point later on.
With the Sky Fortress going down, Caim has twenty minutes to fight his way to the bottom and back to Red to get the hell out of Dodge. But, in order to obtain his now trophy, Caim must end the lives of a lucky 150 Imperials a few minutes early.
Surt is a really dumb sounding name, but let's see what its story is all about.
Wikipedia for "Surtr". Way to proofread your random mythology name drops, Square-Enix USA posted:
In Norse mythology, Surtr (Old Norse "black" or "the black one") is a jötunn. Surtr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Surtr is foretold as being a major figure during the events of Ragnarök; carrying his bright sword, he will go to battle against the Æsir, he will do battle with the major god Freyr, and afterward the flames that he brings forth will engulf the earth.
I just realized Drakengard is sorely lacking in the manly beard department. For such a grim dark constant war filled world, everyone seems to find the time to be clean shaven without as much as a hint of a five o'clock shadow.
Alright, fuck this. I wasn't a big fan of the whole jail=gaol thing. But vampyre? Really? No. Fuck you Drakengard. That shit does not fly.
Time to tackle the Imperial Capital. This'll take us to ¾ of the damage to be dealt in the Free Expedition grind.
Free Expedition: Above the Imperial Capital
Rip and tear! RIP AND TEAR!
This mission is a complete clusterfuck. Cavia stuffed about as many enemies as the game's engine could handle into this place and slapped a five minute time limit and a 50% Angelus health stipulation on top of it. I know it's the final area of the game but geez.
I'm going to take a wild guess and predict the story involves someone dying. Possibly in a shrieking agonized fashion.
"You forgot the part where I gave the young 'maidens' directions out of my woods. I gave the whores the scenic route past the black wolves den. It was just a riot. Aha. AHAHAHAHA!"
Free Expedition: The Destroyed City
To you, it was the day your empire fell to ruin. For me...it was Tuesday.
"You did not just ape a line from Street Fighter: The Movie!"
Hey! Raul Julia was a great M. Bison in that movie, alright!
"I'm embarrassed to be even seen with you."
I like you, Verdelet. That's why I'm going to kill you last.
"Commando now? Really, Caim?"
Commando was a fantastic movie and John Matrix was the embodiment of all that was great about '80s action flicks.
This one is extremely simple. Caim simply needs to haul ass to the temple at the northern end of the stage within 2:30. If you just hops on Red and spam the dash button, it's possible to do it in about thirty seconds. There's still the trouble of having to kill every single high level bad guy in the area. But, at least the weapon isn't much hassle.
Do you know what killed the dinosaurs? The i-
"I swear to the gods, Caim. If you start quoting Batman and Robin our pact ends here followed by immolation of you and the surrounding city block."
So, once I was in a parking lot and the guy with the keys to our ride was taking for-fucking-ever. So I found a remote corner and took a piss in it. Little did I know, the cracks in this ancient mall parking structure lead to a deep underground lake. The urine tainted the hidden well for years to come (I'd drank a lot of Gatorade that morning.)
Sometime later, a band of gentle mole people came to build a settlement at the edge of this subterranean oasis. Their best craftsman forged a fine pair of solid steel scissors using the waters of the lake to temper the metal. On a whim the scissors was given to a hair stylist in a strip mall in west Baltimore.
Free Expedition: The Altar in the City
Is there a separate hell for the undead in Drakengard's world? Or is there just a general segregation between creatures and races and their afterlives. I know Verdelet would be pissed if his hell had filthy goblins and ogres in it.
Well, at least hell still has bowels. I can rest easy knowing that. In any case, this stage is pretty much complete bullshit and nobody would ever Forest Gump their way into the weapon unlock without looking at a walkthrough. Why is that? Why, because they stuck a pseudo puzzle into this mission.
You remember those rather pixilated repeating portraits from our first trip to this dump? Well, they're the key to uncovering the weapon in Manah's joint.
You see, Caim has to "view" (i.e. stand in front of for several seconds) a specific order of paintings in the area. There are ten paintings on each wall. Caim must check out the first painting on the right, the first painting on the left, the seventh painting on the right, and then the seventh painting on the left.
Basically, he has to make a big Z motion across the battlefield. The annoying part is there are basically continuously spawning high end enemies in the temple and it's not exactly a wide area to maneuver. If Caim gets wacked by an enemy and knocked in front of the wrong picture as a result, whoops. Restart the stage. It doesn't help that there's no real indication the player is doing the sequence right (i.e. a little ping or notification of the like) until the treasure chest appears on the battlefield.
Don't think about just killing all the enemies and completing the sequence either. The death of all foes in the stage results in a mission complete. This crap had better be worth it.
Spiffy... It's a glorified pick axe.
Are they honestly asking this question, given its newest owner?
Alright, that's enough for now. Just the pact partner Free Expedition stages left. Thank fuck. Now, if you'll excuse me my old ass needs to do something more constructive with the day.