Part 8: Knights of the Demon World Tower
The first thing that we see upon arriving safely at Floatland is a little rickety village that passes for civilization around here.
The first person we talk to gives us a hot tip about where we might be able to find the Unit we're looking for. Now we're in business!
People here seem to have a better understanding of things relating to Pureland and Sol. It seems that Xagor and Sol might be somehow opposed, which would be nice.
...how does that work exactly? Will we come out the second we arrived? Or do they mean that people don't age?
Going shopping there's only two new spells, but they're both must haves. Cure3 completely restores the HP of a single target and is naturally invaluable, while Fire2 gives us a second elemental attack.
In the equipment shops the first things that immediately needs to be bought are a couple of X-Plane swords. These would help everyone's attack, but it's not worth the money to turn around and update the weapons for Frog and Lucca. Everything in the armor shop is worth getting, with the Speed armor increasing agility as one would expect. Earrings should be purchased immediately as they prevent paralysis.
There's a trio of new enemies, including a creepily spiderlike robot. We can finally see what Chrono turned into way back when, and the Medusa, as expected, likes to use stone and paralysis attacks. The tire enemies are a weird kind, but I like the way the sphinx type enemies look.
The soldiers look very Desert Punk and are in fact some kind of cyborg. The babywyrm are an interesting design, as they look very birdlike.
This must be the shrine they were talking about, which is actually one of the neater dungeons we've had for a while.
The billowing cloudlike areas actually glow and dim rhythmically, and if you step into them can sweep you away to other parts of the level. Manipulating this is an important part of finding treasure within this dungeon.
The level transitions look like manholes from the side. Going past the first one nets us an earth stone, which is part of the fun in the next few dungeons. It generally pays off to investigate past the most direct route.
The next floor has a gridlike setup that you can avoid through expedient use of the jump button.
Jumping into one of the rivers, however, leads to a free Fire grenade.
Another new enemy type, I rather like the snakes. I think I have fond memories of killing a lot of them in later areas for experience.
This is the direct route toward our goal, but making a good jump to the south can net some loot.
On the way there's a nice Water stone. They're really piling these things on here.
Yet another Water Stone, and then the secret of the X-Fire staff. It's actually just off to the left over numerous small bands of cloud. It'll push you back if you try to walk, but you can jump over it.
Up another floor there's a SMG laying about. I'm inclined to think that this would be a better weapon for a robot or a cyborg.
And at the end of the path there's half of what we're here in Floatland. Obviously this means that Maitreya is squatting on top of the other half.
There's a Light stone for the taking, but you'll miss out on something if you just grab the Remote and use the exit spell. Going back a bit you can find another path that will lead back to the center of the first floor with an Automatic Teller Machine for the taking. Or an Atom Cannon, one of the two. I haven't played around with this too much, but I'm inclined to put it in the same category as the SMG.
Next stop is the only other relevant terrain feature in Floatland, this mountain.
The mountain itself is a confusing array of false turns and dead ends.
Tucked away in various parts of the mountain are a few more treasures. Aside from the ubiquitous elemental stone there's also an ice shield. This doesn't have the defense of the X-Plane shield, but does provide protection from fire attacks.
They're even nice enough to provide a healing spring a good ways up.
This is important, as we're not done here...there's an entire tower at the top of the mountain. You'd think that'd be a bit more obvious.
We're introduced here to artillery that is not only self-propelled but also self aware. There was a previous octopus type enemy with an equally fantastic mustache earlier but I couldn't
The deal with this tower is that it's perfectly circular most of the way up with treasure on each floor on opposing sides. Probably the most noteworthy are the Earth stone and the PSI pistol.
More new enemies show up, including the first members of the dragon family. The ronin are an interesting cyborg type enemy.
Immediately upon coming up the stairs we're accosted by a monster. Rather than ending up with a miniboss fight, we just get tossed down a couple floors...
Well, not all of us. Dion is off by himself.
Either Dion is an elf, or that's the worst hidden secret door ever.
Where is Faye?
Sol and the girl are already in the Pureland.
And you'll never see her again!
Pretty menacing. It's interesting how they talk about Pureland and the Pureland. I'm not sure if it's intended to be a reference to Pure Land Buddhism or not. Anyway...
Rather than wait the two minutes for us, Dion must have gone on ahead.
When we reach the top Chrono demonstrates his own talent at spotting poorly constructed hidden doors. I like the whole "Ok." thing for some reason.
Before going in the hidden door, however, climbing up one more set of stairs rewards us with another Cure3 potion and the Battle Armor, which provides a boost to attack power and defense above the Speed Armor. That's going to Chrono.
Passing through the door we're now climbing the outside of the tower. Unfortunately it's not possible to do anything like hop off the edge. It's almost like there's an invisible handrail is there to make this thing OSHA compliant.
In the intervening time Dion has gotten his shit wrecked and is side-stepping the whole issue of Maitreya's gender with a neutral pronoun. So much for him helping us with the boss fight.
I can't hear this line as anything other than creepily cheerful.
We're right about at the same level as Dion, although it's obvious that level for level he's far more badass than our heroes. Almost makes me wish we could dump somebody and take him permanently, but that's just not the way it works.
Boss Fight: Maitreya
The second of the four Water Entity monsters, Maitreya ups the ante by bringing a pair of Lamia with her. I'm coming down on "her" based on the battle sprite. If this Maitreya is meant to be a reference to the Buddha of the future, I suppose an indeterminate gender is appropriate. Even more appropriately, in many schools of Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) Buddhism future and past Buddhas, including Maitreya, are supposed to rule over a Pure Land. At any rate, Quake is a very useful spell here in order to remove the Lamia while damaging Maitreya at the same time. Once they're gone you can concentrate on Maitreya herself, who will respond with Aero, Cyclone, Ice2, and Lullaby. She's got a bit more than 6000 HP, so it's a lengthy fight. We don't have multi-person curing capability, so it can be a struggle to keep ahead of her damage.
Victory, when it comes, is hard won. I should note that Marle is only sleeping as a result of lullaby. This puts both her and Frog a level ahead of the other two.
It sure is handy to know the world's best doctor.
Pulcer here! Can I blow something up? My button finger's getting itchy.
Good, I'll radio when I'm done.
As a note, capturing the Palace actually blowing up is rather more difficult than one would think. I missed the explosion, I'm afraid.
The Talon just got a lot more awesome.
Next time: Trying out our new wings and heading to Pureland after Faye.