Part 3: Update Three: That's One Hell Of An OpinionLast time on Earthbound, we found out that Pokey is a douche and that we never should have changed out of our jammies. Today, we're going to go find Pokey's brother, Picky, so let's get started.
This is our party to go find Picky; Nass, Bowser and Pokey. One of these members is useless. I'll give you three guesses as to who, but the first two don't count.
Gasp! An enemy! Our first one of the game!
When you enter combat with a foe, the gray swirl lets you know that battle will start as normal. There are different colors for different situations, such as if you engage an enemy from behind, the swirl will be green. But, if the enemy gets the drop on you, then the swirl is red, to let you know that you done fucked up.
Our first enemy is also the weakest the game has to offer. Only 18 HP, but it's just as fast as we are (which isn't very fast), and it can deal decent damage, considering we only have 30 HP.
You'll notice that only Nass has a battle box; Pokey and Bowser aren't really in our party. They're just guest members, kind of like in FFXII; they'll act on their own, but they can't take damage, so Nass is kind of alone here.
There's quite a few options here, too. Bash is our basic attack. It's what we'll be using most often, more than likely. PSI is basically our magic for this game, but we don't have any fun psychic powers yet, so it's useless at the moment. Defend spends our turn with our defensive power raised so we take less damage, Auto Fight is, well, self-explanatory, and Run Away is for cowards.
Selecting Goods brings up this screen. From here, we can choose an item to use in battle, and if it has a function, it will be used. Only the bread roll and cookie can be used now, and they restore HP. Since we haven't taken any damage yet, we don't need to use those at the moment.
Combat and actions take place pretty much entirely in text; I wanted to show this off, as well as the constantly moving background. It's like every time we enter battle, a small amount of LSD is activated in our systems. There's a huge variety of backgrounds, too.
Bowser is pretty useful for this part of the game. He either does his lunge attack, which deals good damage, or a weaker bite attack, which still does nice damage.
Pokey does nothing useful during battle. If he's not doing this, then he's playing dead, apologizing, faking tears, or using Nass as a shield. What an asshole.
This is one of two attacks the Coil Snake has; I'll show the other off in a later battle, as, surprisingly, he didn't use it in this battle.
Four damage, while not a ton, is a good bit, considering we only have 30 HP.
When a character acts in battle, their box raises above the others; it also does this when you're deciding their action, as a nice little visual indication of who's acting. Nass swung his bat here and cracked the snake for 8 HP.
Bowser actually did something very sexy here.
SMAAASH attacks are critical hits in Earthbound. Were this his stronger lunge attack, I'm certain this would have one-shot the Coil Snake.
When defeated, several enemies "become tame" and fade away. I think it's just a fancy way of saying "you fucking wiped them from existence".
This is also where treasure, if any, from battle is shown. The Coil Snake has nothing to drop, so we get nothing. One experience might seem like a gyp, but we're only level 1 here.
Since we're still in early, "I'm explaining stuff" mode, here's the main menu; Talk To and Check can both be used to speak with people. Check can also be used to, well, check stuff. Hitting the "L" Button uses check automatically, so you don't have to open the menu to speak with somebody. Goods is pretty much the same as it is in battle, while Equip should be familiar with anyone who's ever played an RPG.
We can also check our HP and PP totals here, as well as our money. With what we have in our bank account, we've got a grand total of $50.
Nass has fairly balanced stats, and is good for just about anything. The Coil Snake also gave us a quarter of what we needed to gain a level. Hitting "A" lets us look at our PSI powers, but since we don't have any, we'll hold off on doing that.
Moving along, we're headed back to the meteor site.
Another new foe!
The Runaway Dog is just a step above the Coil Snake; 21 HP, a bit stronger, and a lot fucking faster. The Runaway Dog has 26 Speed, so this guy is going to go first for a good while.
While he might be able to hit a skosh harder than the Coil Snake, more often than not, he just howls at us. This action doesn't do a damned thing, so it's pretty much just a free round for our party.
He dropped 4 exp., which was enough to boost us up a level!
No choices in what we gain here, but the game is still nice enough to tell us exactly which stats are raised when, and any PSI powers we pick up.
Our first power, and a hella useful one.
It'll be useful for a good while, considering that's three times as much HP as we have right now. PSI healing is a wonderful thing, though sometimes, it never hurts just to carry lots of food around, too, as the offensive powers are wonderful things, too.
See that crow up there?
Yeah, that one. I'm circling the tree to try and get the drop on him.
This guy is a fucking cocksucker, and is hated by everyone who's ever played this game.
I know what you're thinking; he looks so cool, with his sunglasses and bowtie.
He does this just about every Goddamn turn, though.
As could be expected from a bird driving their beak into your eyes, this attack fucking hurts. Since Pokey and Bowser can't take damage, Nass is forced to suffer this alone. Bowser also missed his attack against this fucker, but that's okay.
This was actually pretty lucky; with his Speed (77!), he very well could have killed Nass next round, if he didn't use his useless action, which is to grin at you, like the asshole he is. He's got 24 HP, and is just about the toughest thing around these parts.
In my experiences, they usually drop an item after defeat, though, which isn't too bad.
Cookies might only restore six HP, but when that's a fifth of your maximum, that's not too bad.
I eat our newly won cookie and the one that Tracy gave us for a little boost; I also happen to notice we're only 1 exp. away from leveling up.
This screenshot amuses me far too much, but that Coil Snake is just so fucking Kilroy right there.
He proves an asshole, however, and spent three rounds of this fight not actually biting me, but coiling around Nass.
This inflicts a sort of paralysis-lite; it only lasts one turn, and until the afflicted character takes their action.
The purple on the box indicates you have a status effect and later ones all have little visual indicators of what they are.
Imagine this, three turns in a row. It was irritating.
This, however, was not!
Expect to see plenty of offense boosts for Nass. This kid is going to be able to smack baseballs to the moon when we're done.
This was one of those sexy levels where everything went up at least a point. These don't happen often, so it's definitely a nice surprise when they come around.
We also gained a point of luck, but I thought that showing off a gain of 13 HP (six times what we gained last level!) was much more impressive. Expect a lot of boosts like that, too. Nass is just a physical wrecking machine.
Up past Lier's house, we can see Picky snoozing by a tree.
I was too busy to investigate, but I heard a child's voice on the hilltop. I'm a busy man, but when I do a job, I do it well. I'm a man's man.
You scare the shit out of me, Lier. I'm pretty sure you're the kind of guy who has to introduce himself to everyone when you move into a new neighborhood.
It's been like, fifteen minutes. Where the hell did everyone go?
Bowser, what is it, boy?
: (I'm outta here!)
With that, Bowser runs off back home. Stupid dog, you made me look bad!
Checking the meteorite gets us this. Seriously, this cannot be proper police procedure for when something like this happens. Can someone shed some light on this?
Great googly-moogly, that kid has the mother of all bowl-cuts.
: Pokey! I've been looking all over for you...You see, Pokey got scared and ran away...Well, I'm glad you're okay, at least.
I don't know, Picky. I mean, they're not actually out looking for you. Hell, I'm willing to bet they didn't even send Pokey, he's just here to help save his porky ass.
No matter your ages, Picky, Pokey will always be the big brother.
Picky is a hell of a lot more useful than his brother; he actually attacks in battle!
: No, lardo. Maybe it's just what a stroke sounds like.
: Oh, c'mon, you must hear it...
...Meteorites do that normally, right?
: A bee, I am not...I'm from 10 years in the future...And, in the future, all is devastation... Giygas, the universal cosmic destroyer, sent all to the horror of eternal darkness...
Now, you can barely see him, right there above Nass' hat.
He's very small and circles around constantly, making it kind of a pain in the ass to get a good shot of him; this is about the best I can do.
: from ancient times. It says "When the chosen boy reaches the point, he will find the light. The passing of time will shatter the nightmare rock and will reveal the path of light."
: Wait, nothing about dragons or space whales?
: No, shut up. Anyways, you see, it is my opinion that you are that boy, Nass. This I believe...
: If you start to confront the enemy immediately, you may have time to counter the evil intentions of Giygas. Three things are of the utmost importance: wisdom, courage and friendship. The legends from the ancient times tell of three boys and a girl who defeat Giygas. I will tell you more later. Go now! And do not be anxious about the future. You have much work to do. Did you listen to what I told you?
: Yes, future talking bee.
: Thank you for listening to my long story. You are as exceptional as I expected you to be...
And now, awesome future bee Buzz Buzz joins us. He's pretty fucking awesome, too.
: Three boys, he said? ...Uhhh... I'm not one of those three, am I?... 'cause... I'm not into this kind of thing at all...
If only we could be so lucky, Pokey.
Well, since we found Picky, let's get him and Pokey home. I'm sure Nass wants to get back to bed, too. Buzz Buzz's mission can wait until tomorrow.
Buzz Buzz is a guest party member as well, but he's never useless.
All the monsters have disappeared from the path.
It's kind of odd, considering that we just got a new party member; I mean, don't you want to see what this guy can do?
We're stopped here, but by what? I don't see--
GREAT GRIZZLY ADAM'S BEARD!
: You've been successful at foiling Master Giygas' plans. But... Buzz Buzz, you must now surrender. You're no longer a hero, but just a useless insect. I'll stomp you hard!
That shuriken style swirly means that we're entering a boss fight.
Our first boss, the Starman Jr., has 200 HP, with 10 offense and 11 defense; he's only got 1 speed, so we're going before he does, but he's not going to take a ton of damage from us.
This is one of the reasons why Buzz Buzz is fucking awesome. PSI Shield Sigma provides a very strong shield around everyone.
Here it is in action. Everyone gets this shield, even though only Nass can take damage.
This is why Picky is automatically better than Pokey; Picky just attacked a Goddamn monster from the future that teleported out of the sky.
Granted, he hits about as hard as my grandmother, but the important thing is that he nutted up and did it.
Yeesh, we're going to be here for a while. He's only got 196 HP to go!
Oh, that explains our low damage. Even if he weren't on guard, we still wouldn't be doing anything that could be considered stellar damage.
Alright, my second bit of evidence for Buzz Buzz being fucking awesome.
Yeah, he just did 35 times more damage than Nass did.
God, this is going to hurt.
Without the shield, I'm willing to bet that would have simply out-right killed Nass. Thankfully, I believe it's in Buzz Buzz's scripting to use that right out of the gate, so we're not in any real danger here.
This is more of a demonstration on how badass Buzz Buzz is.
Shields can stack in this game, which can be one hell of a live-saver.
Fire PSI attacks hit entire rows of enemies; when used on your party, everyone gets hit by it.
This was just a regular attack from Buzz Buzz. He's a Goddamn monster.
Sometimes, Picky does something useless.
Pokey is just always useless, though.
He and his gravitational orbit made Nass miss!
More fire dispelled by PSI shields.
Buzz Buzz, erring on the side of caution, has ensured we're even more invincible than we were before.
Hell yes, Nass!
This was the first time I'd ever seen Nass actually deliver the killing blow. Usually, Buzz Buzz deals enough damage that he did it long before this point. What I'd really like to see, though, is Picky finish him off.
A big chance in keeping us alive? Or in coming back?
: From now on, you'll be fighting enemies sent by Giygas, as well as humans who have evil thoughts. They'll definitely make trouble during your adventure! Animals are also becoming violent due to Giygas' influence over the evil in their minds! It is the truth, so listen!
Let's get these two home, Buzz Buzz. I'm sure Nass has a few questions.
Jesus Christ, Pokey, your house is uglier than sin.
POKEY LOOK OUT! THERE'S A GORGON IN YOUR HOUSE
: to get it now!
Picky and Pokey trudge off upstairs. I wonder how long he's going to ground them.
Jeez, he's going to yell at 'em good first.
This is very hard to communicate through screenshots, but I just want you to know, that man is upstairs, beating his children.
: I'm tired of your family living next door. We've loaned your father a lot of money. It may have been a hundred thousand dollars or more... Well, I guess it really could have been less, but because of the loan, my family and I now live in poverty!
: That's the story of our life...
Both of you are horrible people! Seriously, just what the fuck, lady!
I think Buzz Buzz is preparing to lay the smack down on this bitch.
: I AM SIMPLY YOUR DOOM!
JESUS CHRIST! She just kung-fu kicked Buzz Buzz's ass!
Alright, folks, go grab a drink. There's a few coming up.
: Agh! *gasp* I was... Much weaker than I thought... So you now must begin your adventure...See...You...Oh, I just remembered...Listen to my final words...To defeat Giygas, you own power must unite with the Earth's...The earth will then channel your own power and multiply it...There are eight points that you must visit. Make these places your own...Each of these locations is "Your Sanctuary." One of them is near Onett. It is called "Giant Step." Go there first... Do you understand?
: Yeah, sure, Earth does her multiplication tables with me.
: and...Oh, the pain! Everything is getting dark...urgh...*gasp* Before I pass on, I want to give you something...It is the Sound Stone. You can record the melodies from the eight "Your Sanctuary" locations into this stone. It is an awesome item. By the way...I'm almost gone, but did you want to hear the story one more time?
Hell no, Buzz Buzz.
Already dawn!? How did it take us that long to walk up a hill, beat two dogs, a crow, and two snakes to death, find your ass, then kill the robot-looking alien thingy?
Buzz Buzz, no!
Sorry, folks, but he's gone.
Next time, we'll mourn Buzz Buzz and get this adventure started.
(How were the portraits and stuff, guys? I think they turned out well. And what did you think of the bit of extra dialog I snuck in there?)
Starman Jr. Boss Fight