Part 7: Rolling on the riverLoose Ends, Part 2
For this edition, we have to go straight back to South Figaro after getting Sabin in our party. There's an old woman in this house who'd really like to talk to our "bear" of a man.
Yeah, this is gonna get awkward.
: Master was...Vargas...
Duncan's Wife: I'll never understand Vargas...Fortunately, my husband taught his most secret techniques to you.
: For 10 years you've treated me like a son. I am eternally grateful.
And...end scene. You'd think that she'd be a little more distraught over losing her only family in the world, but that's literally all she says. "Shame about my hubby and son, but at least he taught you stuff. THAT'S what's most important."
I don't even know anymore.
On the way back to Returners HQ, Terra hit level 12 and learned Drain. This ability absorbs HP from enemies for a cost of 15 MP. Given that she has a max of 75 right about now, that is not a small number.
Still, if it makes her harder to kill, I can dig it.
Chapter 7: Rolling on the river
Following the briefing, we end up in a tunnel leading down to the Lete River, with Banon in tow.
Originally, I had intended to use this screenshot to demonstrate that I'm putting the entire party in the back row, but one thing that immediately catches my eye is that the group isn't in the best of shape. Better go back inside and address that issue.
Before you ask, no, we couldn't have entered the tunnel before realizing that it was there. Presumably, that's because they didn't want us going on a raft ride before Banon forced his way into the party.
If you talk to the people in the base, they mostly say something along the lines of "Why haven't you left yet?" However, by the request of Mister Roboto, I am going to demonstrate what happens if you try to talk to the wounded fellow who delivered the message last update.
He's...not much of a conversationalist. However, if we wait around in the room long enough...
Music: The Troops March On (Imperial Army Theme)
What?! But I haven't even prepared yet! It's too early for-
Oh, false alarm. At this point, the Imperial Theme just kind of peters out, to be replaced by the Returners Theme again.
Enough putting it off. It's time to find some people who live.
The raft riding section was always my favorite part of the old Oregon Trail games. After braving diseases, broken limbs, and rivers that just refused to be forded, you had this last opportunity to have all your family and personal belongings washed away forever if you were bad at dodging rocks.
The Lete River doesn't have any rocks, just really easy enemy encounters. This section does have a gimmick to it, however, and that involves this Banon fellow here.
No matter how many Fenix Downs you have in your inventory, if Banon dies, then the game is over. Seems like a simple enough challenge, but the game apparently thought that this was going to be an unreasonable back-breaking challenge guaranteed to test your ability as a gamer, because they also gave him an ability that heals more than 200 health to the entire party for free. I'll give you three guesses at what I'm having him do constantly for this section.
I should also mention that you have no control over the raft during this section. Sometimes you'll come to a point where it looks like you can go down alternate paths, but they either all wrap around to go the same direction or they make you double back to the decision point again.
Some of the monsters in this section have the ability to Blind party members, but even if being blind actually did something (well, it does do one thing, but we'll see that later), Edgar's AutoCrossbow, Sabin's Aurabolt and Terra's Fire are all guaranteed hits anyway. And if Banon's attacking, then you're doing something wrong.
Eventually, we come across this purple abomination. I'm just as weirded out as they are.
Music: The Black Mages-Decisive Battle (Warning: Very loud guitar)
Like Vargas, Ultros is one of those bosses that just likes to talk and talk and talk.
Tentacle is actually fairly nasty for this part of the game, doing around 200 damage if the target is standing in the front row. Fortunately, he's also quite predictable with how he uses it, because he does it in a set pattern.
Ultros: Tender morsel! Let me grab my bib!
His first attack will always be on Terra, accompanied by that quote.
Then he'll target Sabin, followed by a tentacle attack against the entire party. This can easily knock Sabin out, especially if, in his following attack that hits somebody at random, Sabin happens to be the unlucky winner. After that, he'll hit Banon, and the cycle starts anew.
Also, if you hit him with Fire...
Ultros: Yeowch! Seafood soup!
He'll shoot ink at Terra, blinding her. That's really not scary at all.
Assuming that you took the proper precautions, this fight isn't too hard at all, but otherwise, it can be a tad difficult. But guess what? It isn't over quite yet.
: Don't bet on it... It's probably just hiding from us...
: Terra! Get over here!
Yeah, the less said about the relationship of octopi to teenage girls in Japanese media, the better.
: Sabin, no!
: Don't distract me, brother!
In any real sense, trying to punch something underwater is generally not going to do much, but as we'll see later, that's apparently not much of an issue in this world.
: He's always been a tad headstrong...
: Oh, I wouldn't worry about him.
: Are you sure, Banon?
Nice job jinxing us, old man.
As the raft drifts off one way, Sabin goes another.
: Sabin, take care of yourself!
Oh, he's going to be fine, Edgar. We'll make sure of that.
So here is our choice:
On the one hand, Locke has to infiltrate Imperial-occupied South Figaro and then, once his work is done, find a way to get out. In the town, he'll discover a person dissatisfied with the Empire and, with his/her aid, make his escape.
On the other, Terra, Edgar and Banon have to go down the river the rest of the way to Narshe, where they'll need to find a way to sneak past the guards out front. Their journey will be the quickest, the easiest, and probably the dullest.
On yet another hand, Sabin will need to make his way through unfamiliar territory and find some means of getting back to the side of the world with Narshe. On the way, he'll make new friends and, just maybe, bend a train over his knee.
Here's how it's going to work. I want you guys to vote for one scenario. The scenario with the highest number will go first, followed by the second highest, and so forth.
Next Time: We do whichever one you guys voted highest