Part 11: Surprise! Why does this always happen to me?
Now that we're back at Castle Glaive it's time to settle a few scores. Being the hero that he is, Rock naturally goes in the front door.
Only to find that the second front door is actually closed. Damn you Castle Glaive with your multi-layered defenses!
Instead we have to go through this inconvenient forest...
And in the side door guarded by, of all things, rabites and imps. What could this be, you might ask? The servant's entrance, perhaps?
If only. Instead, we've got that obligatory setpiece of every RPG: the sewer level.
Like any good sewer level it's full of zombies, giant poisonous mice, and ghosts...but it's also mercifully short. In reality there's only about 4 rooms to it.
It's kind of strange to see these guys back here as well, but in case one runs out of keys it's good to know where these skeletons are at. So far they're the only enemies I've run across who drop keys..
It comes out in this isolated corner of the castle, where there's a convenient vine...
Which rather inconveniently requires you to fight through a number of enemies and be a sitting duck for these enemies. We've got something new with these guys: the knights have actual shields and can block some attacks from the front, while the mages are immune to elemental attacks and can turn you to stone with a spell. This has to be the most inconvenient secret entrance ever.
Down the stairs we come to a narrow hallway leading to an improbably large space...I'm sure you can guess what's coming now.
Miniboss Fight: Chimera
Chimera Miniboss Battle
I love the design on this guy. He's actually rather interesting looking as chimeras go. You might be able to guess from the shot that he's vulnerable to fire, but the best weapon is still our trusty morning star.
He's got two modes of attack: a zigzagging charge attack that covers broad swathes of the screen and some slow, easily predictable fireballs. It's hard to avoid taking some damage in the fight, but it's nowhere near as dangerous as some of ones we've dealt with.
He'll go up in a fiery conflagration after a good smacking with the morning star. I really got to like that thing all over again this time.
I know. Dark Lord has been bragging about it for days... you know, I am beginning to think that he doesn't EVER take that armor off. We have to get it back! ...Let's go!
Aren't we already kind of on the top... how does that work?
We come out in the courtyard where the enemy was recently taking pot shots at us while we climbed the vine. There's a couple pathways to take here. Directly south it's a dead end with some enemies, but taking the stairs down leads somewhere else.
There's a small shop/inn tucked in a corner here. The stock is nothing special, but it's a good place to get things like keys and potions. Speaking of which, we get about 4 or 5 keys here. They'll come in handy here.
In order to continue we have to head west, walking around the top of the walls and slaughtering our way through Dark Lord's army.
Our destination is yet another small door. The architect might have phoned it in just a bit.
There's no way to avoid the spikes here, and you're going to look at losing about half your HP. Luckily Roll's healing ability has scaled with levels and now heals around 40-50 HP.
Shortly we come to this room. The morning star was used to open the passage we're going through, and I think that the skeletons are actually a bit more subtle of a sign than the normal floor patterns.
Once again we have to pull out a weapon that's far weaker than our current one to get around. Right now the difference is something like 20 AP, which is a bit painful.
The path eventually splits, but the path on the right is actually rather short...
It leads us down to this room, which can be used as an inn once all the monsters are cleared out. They're being rather kind about giving us places to rest, but this a very long dungeon.
Coming to this room there's no real puzzle as such, you just have to avoid hitting any of the chests and ruining the pattern. I suppose if you screwed up you could turn a werewolf into a snowman, but there's no need to really do so. I should mention that magic isn't terribly helpful in this room, as fire will target chests given a chance.
Another handy room with a skeleton in the off chance that you're running low on keys.
At this point they've kind of pulled out the stops with hints about where to use the morning star. Then again, we've got unlimited uses now as compared to having to ration our mattocks.
This is another passage made with the morning star and is in fact the right way to go to finish this dungeon, but we want to go south first..
Cleansing this room of all the knights running around provides us with the blood sword, a rather curious item...
It's actually got a slightly lower attack power than the morning star, which might lead to a number of people discounting the weapon. We're going to be using it in the next boss fight anyway, thanks to a rather peculiar property that I'll mention then.
This particular puzzle room is one that the random enemy generation can screw you on. You need two snowmen to move forward, and the mages are immune to ice magic. It's quite possible to come in here and find only one knight. You've got no choice then but to leave and come back until you get at least two.
A throne room would seem to indicate that we're getting close... which is vindicated almost immediately.
but not enough to fight me, boy!
Let's see about that, shall we? Stay outside. It will be too dangerous here.
... Okay... be careful.
Oh yes, it's finally time.
Boss Fight: Dark Lord
Dark Lord Battle
This is actually a rather fun fight. Dark Lord is fast and spastic when he attacks, and has a really good defense from the front. He's actually like a very fast Darknut from the original Zelda. We don't have Roll to heal us, which is where the blood sword comes in. The blood sword, you see, gives you some HP every time you attack an enemy. This has the dual effect of letting us know when we've actually hit him. The charging attack makes it very easy to stay out of Dark Lord's reach if you're fairly careful...eventually vengeance is achieved for Willy. (Although nobody will mention his name.)
I love the fact that Rock is paused in mid-air for this shot, especially considering...
He evidently has time to loot the pendant from Dark Lord without coming down and then realize
... It's fake! .. Then, where is the real Pendant?
Before coming down.
Coming down from Dark Lord's room Roll is mysteriously gone. Rock immediately knows that something's up...
Rock's many things, but he's not slow.
We immediately rush out the front gate and see Roll walking past, but...she's acting strange.
She doesn't respond to direct inquiries and just stares into space.
Use this Pendant and cast the spell, Roll.
Roll! Don't! Come over here!
I mean, seriously. I've never seen her that quiet or seen her listen like this.
Incoming plot revalations
I am the last one left of Empire Vandole. I shall receive the power of Mana again! Now, Roll! Reverse the Waterfalls!
If you've forgotten, Vandole was the civilization that abused the power of Mana and that Roll's mother and the previous generation of Gemma Knights had to put down. Evidently this orphaned Julius and, somehow knowing about this despite being a baby, he's been scheming the entire time to regain what he sees as his birthright. It's not a bad motivation as far as villainy goes.
It's not Klaatu Barada Niktu, but it's close enough.
In a really neat effect the waterfall starts going upwards, starting from the bottom.
Rock makes another doomed attempt to stop Julius, with a result that kind of mirrors the last time he tried to stop Julius from taking Roll. What is this, the 4th or 5th time Rock's been knocked for a fall?
It looks like this one stung a bit...
Next time: Rescue, a heroic breakdown, and a new quest.