Part 1: Day 1 - Mouse in the HouseDay 1 Mouse in the House
We open with a quote from Hamlet, of all things. Want to guess whether this quote will be relevant to whats going on?
We then cut to a boat as introductory credits play.
The game starts introducing random people by their roles. These are all characters we will meet in game, so it acts as a sort of spoiler as to whos actually important. The whole list is as follows:
Xelpherpolis as Ruler
Loreille de Pandule as Princess
Rummy as Royal Guard
Bagoth as General
Rinna as Ceremonial Dancer
Plosi as Artist
Kyte as Seaman
Ano as Magic Scientist
Gallhint as Bandit
Claire as Watchmaker
And thats our protagonist. No, hes not Gallhint.
Now Playing Reiselied
If you read the OP, youll know I mentioned Reiselied being part of the original Japanese title. For whatever reason, the localisation removed it from the title on the cover of the game (and the title screen, I believe) but didnt change this bit here.
Also might just mention Reiselied is a German word meaning something akin to travelling song. Fitting for a game about a travelling musician, I suppose.
Despite being called Seaman, this bloke is not the Kyte mentioned earlier.
Seaman: Ill lose track of time Ha! Ha! Ha!
The protagonist shakes his head.
Letter: Could you please come pay a visit to my palace on Pandule? While it is a small island, we do have the finest. I look forward to meeting you.
Seaman: Sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the journey.
The Seaman then walks off.
Meet Pattimo, our protagonists sentient guitar. He is largely an exposition device, as youll see soon.
Unlike Legaia 2, most of Ephemeral Fantasias choices boil down to simple prompts like this. However, just like Legaia 2, most of these choices dont matter. Case in point
(Hey, whats with the attitude? Im saying this because I care, you know.)
And if you select the ellipsis, the protagonist shrugs, but gets the same response as a NO. No matter what we choose, the scene continues on
Now Playing Prologue
The protagonist strikes up a tune as Pattimo chides him.
(Especially women! What are you thinking?!....You always get carried away when it comes to women .Man! I cant listen to this!)
Our protagonist is silent, but the game implies his responses a lot.
The game starts doing a panning shot of the boat as the protagonist jams out.
Thank you, I take great pride in my musica-
Seaman: Were finally landing on Pandule!
were you complementing me or the island?
Seaman: Hope that you have a wonderful stay on the island.
The game eventually cuts to our docking.
We watch the ship depart, and then finally
Now Playing Harbor & Marketplace
Were in control and get to play the game!
for ten seconds.
Even if you just stand still at the dock, you will quickly be forced into a cutscene with Kyte here. At best, you can dick around with the menu beforehand.
Kyte is of course the Seaman mentioned in the intro credits. Must be a very important interaction then, eh?
Well, youve come to the right place. The islands are about to celebrate the first royal wedding in decades, so things are hopping. Its not something that happens often, so enjoy it while you can.
And then we walk off. Rather pointless for a supposedly important character, no?
Now Playing Rummy's Theme
We immediately happen upon Rummy here. She too was mentioned in the opening credits. My guess is she was meant to be Rumi in Japanese, and they Anglicised it because we just cant have foreign sounding names in these kids games, oh no. Of course Rummy is a fucking stupid name and conjures up the image of a drunkard.
We finally get to put a name to our protagonist. The default name is Mouse, as you can see. In the Legaia 2 thread I put the protagonists name to vote, but I wont here because not only do I assume no one gives a shit, but Mouse will turn out to be somewhat fitting for this bloke anyway.
Yes, I am Mouse.
I hope your stay will be enjoyable. If you need anything, please dont hesitate to ask. Do you have any luggage?
Only that musical instrument? Well then, lets go. Im sure youre tired from your long journey, so Ill show you your lodgings first.
(Pattimo, nothing will distract me from bringing home the booty)
(Youre staring at her ass right now)
(Yeah, the booty)
Jokes aside, you might have noticed Rummy is wearing a ridiculous thong-like ensemble. This game will make a point of showing you her ass. Legaia 2 had Sharon, this game has Rummy. The sexualisation never ends in anime land.
Back in the day, I used a walkthrough to help me through the tedious parts of this game, and the author had a really unhealthy obsession with Rummys pixelated ass, sparing no opportunity to describe how sexy they thought it was. Ah, terrible memories
Well its his name.
I mean, its like calling a sword Excalibur or something. Not that unusual, is it?
I had heard you were a very famous musician, so I just assumed that you were much older. Hee. Hee. My apologies.
Wouldve thought the same about a royal guard
This region here is the most lively part of the island, especially now with the impending wedding. Everyones frantic with preparations for the ceremony.
So, uh, whos this princess marrying anyway?
Ow! Yeah, the letter didnt explain anything! Didnt even know there was a wedding. Bloody hell .
.Its none other than Sir Xelpherpolis himself.
(Pattimo, what the fuck?)
(Hey, dont get so mad, Partner. I did it so you wouldnt have to get all excited. Dont lose sight of your original goal.)
(And now you might have scuppered any hope of her helping me with that goal, thank you very much.)
But be sure not to stray away from town wild monsters often appear in the mountains and on the beaches. Itd be best not to go near them when I am not with you. Then, I will see you later.
And then she leaves.
It looks like shes prepared to fight. Seems shes guarding us. Or is it spying ? Either way I wouldnt let my guard down. Well !
Now Playing Consultation
Pattimo, I think I know what I do for a-
I dont know what that man Xelpherpolis is going to ask of us, but this time, like every other time, were going to take money and treasure in the midst of it all. Luckily, the island is caught up in the chaos of the wedding. No ones going to think twice about it if a few things are missing. Of course! Well take the remuneration for the work we do too! Theres our public persona and the private persona, and we get double profits. When night comes, security is slackened in both the palace and the city. Thats when we make our appearance. During the afternoon we have to case the joint, you know. Doubt were gonna get much sleep during these 5 days of the festival.
See what I mean about Pattimo and exposition?
Fuck, I really should have locked the door
Note this man is identified as Rinnas father. Rinna was mentioned in the intro credits as a Ceremonial Dancer.
Rinnas father: To think that a guest of the royal family is staying at my inn. Makes me hold my head high. If theres anything you need, dont hesitate to ask. Perfect service is our motto so ..! But really, its so great! Who would have ever thought such an important guest would stay here! I assumed that theyd choose the Utiketter Inn on the West side of town. I started this inn 10 years ago oops! Was it 30 years ago .? Strange how many years has it been? Oh, it doesnt matter how many years its been .Its the first time Ive had such an honor. Sir Xelpherpolis does have good taste! Actually, despite appearances, I .
(How long is this old guy going to go on!?)
(Maybe the Utiketter Inn still has a vacancy )
Rinnas father: Im so proud of my daughter prattle .even though the Princess is getting married .blah blah .the fish are good .blah .Its an unusual festival .so, how about going for a stroll in the neighbourhood instead of staying locked up in your room?
That sounds fantastic right about now.
Rinnas father: Theres a map by your bed, so please use it.
Rinnas father: Well, if youll excuse me now.
Id excuse him, but he already bloody walked out
Now Playing Castle Town
And now we are finally free to play the game.
Ill take a brief moment to mention that this is the kind of game where you do not run by default. Moving normally just has you walk, and you need to press the Circle button to run. Legaia 2 was like this, but it had a menu option to turn running on by default. Ephemeral Fantasia has no such option. Its a bit annoying because you basically want to be running all the time, especially because this game is time sensitive.
Pressing the Triangle button once brings up the watch/compass display you can see in the upper right corner. Pressing it again brings up the menu, where you can access items and options and the like. As I said, this game is time sensitive, insofar as you have a set number of days to act in (the days leading up to the wedding), and things will change depending on the in game time. The game has day and night cycles, and certain people and actions will be available depending on when. Events will also occur at set times. Rummy mentioned coming back for us at 5pm, so well see something happen with that then.
Obviously, the reason you want to run a lot is because you need to get to places at the right time, or before it gets dark for instance.
Anyway, as were canonically a thief, lets start robbing people! We go across the hall in the inn to rifle through peoples stuff .
The Wind Amulets a bog standard accessory that guards against Wind attacks. They sell them at a shop, so its not special.
These are our early game healing items. Just one equates to a full heal at this stage.
We head downstairs
This is the Ceremonial Dancer Rinna mentioned in the intro, daughter of the innkeeper. We can presume she is at least as important as Pyke.
People frequenting an inn due to a little girls popularity? Nothing suspicious about that
You may notice the odd highlight to the above image. Thats because the time period in game transitioned to the afternoon as I was walking about.
Whats a D.H. Egg, you ask? It means Death Hiyoko Egg.
That explains nothing? Yeah, it doesnt. Ill get into what a Death Hiyoko is later on, but suffice to say theyre like monsters you can take into battle.
Nakhmalbafs Wife: Ha! Ha! Ha! What in the world are you talking about?! How could anything like that happen on such a safe island? Sir Xelpherpolis was kind enough to invite you here, so just relax and enjoy the sights! Just relax!
Is the game trying to foreshadow that nothing interesting will happen on this island? Also, Makhmalbaf is an Iranian name, FYI.
Heading outside, let me talk about Pandules capital city.
The city alone is massive by video game standards. In Legaia 2, Darakin had all of two parts and maybe 30 odd NPCs. This city is far larger and probably has countless individual characters to talk to. Its almost impressive how big it is.
Of course, the tradeoff is there are far fewer unique locations. Legaia 2 had about 8 locations with NPCs, whereas there are maybe one or two other notable locations on Pandule. For all the people there are in the city, few of them are terribly interesting, and youll probably just not bother exploring the whole place.
Speaking of exploring, the citys like a maze. Trying to get anywhere specific requires navigating a lot of streets and roads. That makes the whole time crunch all the more annoying, as if you get lost you might have to reload if you dont want to miss content.
Theres a lot to see in the city, but were gonna make a beeline for the exit, because we need to see some gameplay in here.
On the way out, we encounter this twit.
Tuggiwa: The Princess is nothing next to her! I just want to bury myself in those breasts!! Why dont you join the fan club? Sanjo, the fortune teller is a member!
Maybe this bloke wrote that walkthrough I read.
Now Playing Forest
This is where the city ends. Encounters can occur from now on.
Now Playing Main Battle Theme
We soon encounter our first enemy: the Non.
Legaia 2 came out a year after this game, and it had infinitely better enemy design than this. I mean what is it, a giant, killer hamster?
As far as I can tell, this thing just attacks normally.
Lets discuss what we can do in battle.
Arts are our primary means of attacking. Slash is our bog standard attack command which sees Mouse swing his sword at the enemy. Other attacks have special effects, like Duet, which sees Mouse smack the enemy with Pattimo, potentially causing paralysis.
Magic naturally entails magic spells that our characters can use. Mouse knows no such spells for now, but he will eventually pick some up with levelling.
Item involves using items as you would in any typical RPG.
Style allows you to put your character into different attack modes. Weve got three: Offensive, Balanced, and Defensive. Offensive raises attack but lowers defense, and Defensive does the opposite. Useful if you want to change your approach on the fly.
Exit is how we run from battles.
As I said in the OP, this game uses the same system as Final Fantasys ATB games, where you wait for the gauge to build up before attacking.
If you noticed the Dynamic icon in the top right, thats a description of the camera mode were using in game. Dynamic is where the camera sort of pans around the battle as you fight, focusing on different characters and enemies when theyre relevant. The other modes include Party, which keeps the camera focused on your party, Enemy which focuses on the enemies, and Fixed which never moves around.
Click here to see a battle demonstration for Ephemeral Fantasia.
Defeating the Non is not hard, of course. But theres other enemies around.
Walking Flowers primarily attack by absorbing your health. They can absorb almost as much as you deal in damage, so you can get into a nasty feedback loop with them. Sometimes, however, youll do enough damage to kill them in one blow.
Tucked in the corner here, we find a chest with a map piece. I should probably explain why these are important: in Ephemeral Fantasia, you start with knowledge of the area around the inn alone, and have to find more as you go. If you dont have a map piece, you have to wander around blindly, and given the time crunch, you dont want to have to guess where you need to go. Getting map pieces is also necessary to use one really useful ability well learn later on.
Anyway, our little trip to the wilderness goes on for a while, until
As promised, Rummy returns at 5pm to collect us. No matter where you are, shell find you and drag you to the plot.
Now Playing Triumphal Entrance
This is the General Bagoth mentioned in the intro.
Honorable Rummy. Thank you for your trouble. Sir Xelpherpolis is awaiting you in the parlor.
They all head inside.
Now Playing First Meeting
Meet the long mentioned Xelpherpolis. He is the very poorest mans Sephiroth.
I have heard of your reputation, and though someone else was playing, I have heard your songs as well. What a magnificent melody. But youre an itinerant musician and dont stay in a single location long, so they call you the illusory singer.
(Is he narrating my backstory to me ?)
It took quite awhile, but Im glad that the messenger I sent with the invitation letter finally got it to you. Actually, because I respect your talent, I have a request for you. You may have already heard I am about to be married. Including today, there are 5 days until the ceremony. The island has already started celebrating the marriage festivities. My request is none other than to see if you would be willing to compose a song for the wedding ceremony. Of course, this means there are only 5 days to complete the composition. I apologize that there is so little time, but I really must have a song performed by you. In other words, I was seduced by the melodies of your songs. Ha!
This is of course another non-choice.
Hey, dont mess with me. If you really werent interested, youd have never come all the way to the island.
You can keep saying no, but you wont get any other responses from him.
I promise to give you full cooperation. When the wedding ceremony is done, how about I pay you 100,000G? As an advance Ill pay 10%, 10,000G. Use this money freely for your expenses. Im counting on you.
Mouse gets up to shake Xels hand.
(Did you hear that? He said 100,000G! This sum makes stealing seem ludicrous. Maybe this time we should take composing the song seriously?)
I must say, this is one of the goofiest outfits Ive seen in an anime game. She looks like shes wearing a diaper.
(Shes very beautiful. However, she seems bewitching Her eyes are as deep as a bottomless lake.)
Mouse drops Pattimo.
(Ouch! Darn I was too late .)
Loreille gets up and goes over to Mouse.
And here we arrive at the musical segment of the game. Oh joy.
Those three columns with the lights on top are the main attraction here. When you start the song, you go into a Guitar Hero style segment where you need to press buttons corresponding to each column and then another to hit the keys as they come up through the screen.
Like that. If you hit the key right on point, you get a GREAT!!. Hitting near it will get you a Good and missing gives you a Bad This song isnt too complicated for an adult, provided they get used to the controls, but between being someone who had never played a music game and being a dumbass kid, these musical segments sucked hard for me back in the day.
Theres also a mode you can activate somehow that hides all the little note thingies, just in case you wanted to be hardcore and play a song like a real musician or something. My masochistic tendencies are limited to playing this game at all, not making it harder.
Click here to watch me play the song.
I achieve an A grade here by
Rummy and Bagoth clap hard enough to fill the room. No matter how well you do, you get this exact segment.
While doing bad here doesnt prevent you from playing, there are consequences for doing good or bad. After Rummy and Bagoth clap, Xelpherpolis will give you different responses.
For the A grade pictured above, we get:
Remarkable! Youre almost done. I knew I was right to choose you. Ill have to be generous with the remuneration.
Doing well, but not perfect (what I managed without cheating), gets you this:
Impressive. Youre already half done. It seems I made the right decision in choosing you.
If we suck hard instead:
I hope thats not what youre planning on playing during the wedding ceremony, is it? Im sorry, but Im going to have to reduce the advance a bit.
Whatever happens, he continues like this:
Finish writing the song early, then you can fully enjoy the islands festivities. I definitely would like to hear the song as soon as possible. Well, we shall meet again, Mouse, my new found friend!
Now Playing Castle
Rummy and Mouse leave together.
It appears that even the Honorable Mouse has had his heart stolen by the Princess. It cant be helped, really. The Princesss beauty doesnt seem to be of this earth. Even Sir Xelpherpolis has fallen under her spell. Yes, even Sir Xelpherpolis has
Oh joy. I think I had my fill of anime love rivalries in Legaia 2.
(Sorry to say, but no beauty can rival her when the bewitching charm of the Princess is the opponent.)
(I swear, arent you the one getting distracted by beauty, Pattimo?)
Were now left to our own devices once more. However, theres something we urgently need to attend to.
You need to get to a building called the Public Office to pick up your advance. Its 15000 if you did well, 10000 for doing alright, and 5000 if you did shit. The kicker is while the advance is mentioned, Xelpherpolis doesnt tell you where to collect it. You might not even realise the advance is anywhere to be collected if you dont look it up. Also, theres a short window between leaving the palace and night ensuing, and if night ensues, then everyone leaves the Public Office. If you miss it today, it will be stolen by bandits by the next, so this is your only opportunity. What a bother!
But now that were flush with 15000, we have somewhere very important to go.
You have to spend money to upgrade weapons in Ephemeral Fantasia. This is a function ripped straight from Suikoden, also made by Konami. We manage to raise Mouses weapon level by two, which will help us trivialise fights with early game enemies.
Now youll have no idea what youre expected to do after the palace, so you just have to wander aimlessly until the clock strikes midnight.
Pattimo insists we head to the palace. We have no choice in the matter.
Once again, youll have no idea what youre expected to do, but the goal is in fact the throne room where we met Xelpherpolis.
(Lets go look over there!)
Where there is isnt explained, but you have to go into the room to the left. Where Loreille came out from earlier
(I see a balcony exit, we can probably jump from there )
Now Playing Impression
Some traveling musician comes into her room in the middle of the night and she doesnt bat an eye.
Its so sad.
Well thats ominous and cryptic. Would you mind explaining ?
Okay, dont mind me, just wondering what the fuck you meant
Cant hang around forever. Better get out of here now!
You might think Mouses legs ought to be shattered jumping from so high, but this is actually a canonical super power of his. Youll see.
Anyway, I think this is far enough for the first ruddy entry.
To recap, were a travelling musician and secret thief who has been invited to the island of Pandule to play a song at Xelpherpolis wedding. However, his bride to be, Loreille, refers to the island as a prison. What could it possibly mean?
Join me next time, where things only get more cryptic and mysterious.