Part 68: Monster Time Part 1 - Your Sanctuary: Giant StepHurray! One down, seven to go.
I don't see Nass as a paladin so much as a protagonist. The game doesn't really try to balance him against the others - sure, he's not great at everything, his teammates have strengths he doesn't, but Nass is by and large the best character.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves! We haven't even left Onett yet.
Why do they always run away?
So you beat up Frank, claimed the Key to the shack, and you're on your way there. Suddenly, a Coil Snake appears from behind a bush! You prepare to fight... and it flees in terror.
Okay, that was kind of cool. But why did it happen?
Every monster has a special stat - call it "Courage." Coil Snakes have a Courage of 1. The Sharks range from 3-4.
When an enemy sees you, it divides the sum of everyone's levels by its Courage and consults the following table:
- 6 or lower: Always attack, never flee.
- 6 to 8: 50% chance to attack, otherwise flee.
- 8 to 10: 25% chance to attack, otherwise flee.
- 10+: Never attack, always flee.
So when you're first starting out, the Coil Snakes think Nass is an easy target and move to attack. By the time you're done with the Sharks, Nass will be level 7-9; some Snakes will get spooked and run away, but not all of them. Once you hit level 10, though, even the stupidest Coil Snake knows not to mess with the kid in the red cap.
The one exception to the above rules: When you claim a Your Sanctuary point, all the monsters in the adjoining cave will flee from you regardless of Courage.
Oh, by the way: This asshole? Courage 27. "Detestable Crow" indeed.
Monsters of Onett: Part 3 (Giant Step edition)
Ah, the Attack Slug, that sweet fountain of XP. Unless you're woefully underleveled these guys are a guaranteed one-hit kill, and their attacks do 4 or 5 damage on a good day. You can fight up to six at a time, and a full complement will pay out more XP than both the Frankies combined!
Attack Slugs can use Hypnosis Alpha, which always works on Nass, but they start with the "Can't Concentrate" status ailment. As a result, all their attempts to use PSI fail until the status effect wears off about four turns into the fight.
HP 30, PP 6, Offense 9, Defense 2, Speed 1, Courage 5.
Worth 27 XP and $6. 1/128 to drop a Super bomb. (!!)
Attack Slugs are immune to Hypnosis.
Black Antoids on the other hand can go sit on it. They hit hard, take several hits to kill (especially if they start using Lifeup) and then sometimes this happens:
Unlike the Skate Punks, who could only call for other types of Shark, the Black Antoids call for more of their own kind. There's no way to stop them from doing it; you have have to keep attacking and hope that last Antoid doesn't summon yet another.
The one good thing is that Black Antoid are vulnerable to Hypnosis, so you can lock one down while you kill the others. But really, I recommend just killing them with PSI Bacon if they start multiplying. It's not worth the effort.
HP 34, PP 25, Offense 14, Defense 13, Speed 4, Courage 7.
Worth 37 XP and $7. 1/4 chance to drop a Cookie.
Black Antoids are vulnerable to Hypnosis.
The Rowdy Mouse is the game's way of letting you know that the rules apply to enemies, too. Though Rowdy Mice have a Guts of 225, which means every other attack will SMAAAAASH! Their Offense is low, so their non-critical hits don't do much damage, but their high Defense means it can take a few turns to kill them. Encountering these guys and Black Antoids together can be an absolute nightmare.
Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about Rowdy Mice is that they never let up. Every other enemy we've seen to date has had at least one move that did nothing or was at least non-damaging. The Rowdy Mouse's AI has a single line: Attack.
HP 36, Offense 7, Defense 20, Speed 5, Courage 6.
Worth 34 XP and $9. 1/32 chance to drop a Bread roll.
Rowdy Mice are resistant to Hypnosis.
Titanic Ant has grown strong on the energies of Giant Step, and she's not in any mood to give it up. Be warned: Sanctuary bosses are dangerous, though the rewards are great. (also you have to kill them to finish the game)
Titanic Ant will attack physically about half the time. The rest of the time she will use one of his three PSI powers or launch a withering strong attack. Defense Down isn't really worrisome, since the effect is rather slight, but the other two are a one-two combo of dickishness.
Shield reduces the damage of your Bash attacks, and PSI Magnet (aka PSI Fuck You) steals your Lifeup fuel.
The Ant is accompanied by two special Black Antoids with their AI rigged to use Lifeup every turn. They're not smart enough to aim, though, so they're as likely to heal each other as their boss.
My advice? Go in with a full pack of Hamburgers and do an alpha strike. Throw as much Bacon as you can. If you can afford three, you'll probably kill her outright; otherwise you'll have another two or three turns of chopping through her Defense. Use the Hamburgers for healing; you can't rely on Lifeup with PSI Magnet in play. Don't bother with Hypnosis; it only succeeds 50% of the time and even if it works you won't buy yourself much time.
If all else fails just grind out a few levels on Attack Slugs until you've got the PP to triple-Bacon her to death.
HP 235, PP 102, Offense 19, Defense 17, Speed 6.
Worth 685 XP and $150.