Part 65: Prep: Going Hardin The PaintUpdate 37: Going Hardin The Paint (Prep)
Can you feel the endgame coming? Lets break into this palace and take down the Dark Emperor.
Yeah, what I said.
Thats a pretty good picture, but I still cant get over how the artist just refuses to draw open eyes. Thankfully most of the characters in this game have the anime hair to avoid it entirely, but still.
Narrator: The palace: a golden capital proud of its six hundred years of history. However, under the attack of Altea's allied forces, it fell in a mere day.
Okay, it certainly didnt feel like it, I felt like Id been playing Chapter 19 for 10 years.
Narrator: The Archaneans welcomed them as liberators, supporting them without sparing efforts. All of them had bitter words about Hardin and his bodyguards, who were inside the castle. The people now called Hardin the Dark Emperor. A title symbolic of the people's hatred for he who had killed so many.
"I didn't wish to fight, given the choice, but now that it's come to this..."
Marth raises Anri's flag up high, issuing his final order.
"Go, heroes of Altea! This is the final battle.
All forces, charge into the palace!!"
Jagen I literally just said that.
: Do not forget that Hardin is shielded by the Darksphere.
Did you get that? If you didnt, dont worry, hell remind you.
: Ensure, at all costs, that it's given to the person who will fight Hardin.
Alright, Dark Emperor. A tough map, but not nearly as tedious/bad as the last one. It pretty much shows you its bullshit parts up front (Swarm Bishops, mostly)
The Lightsphere has to be held by the unit who attacks Hardin, or he will nullify all damage. Barst with the Hammer is probably our best bet of defeating him, but I might play around with it a bit. You can pass it between people, of course. Also, the Lightsphere is the only Orb youre absolutely required to get, so its impossible to hit this chapter without it, in case you were worried about that.
Handed a Stat Booster out to Sheema, she could certainly use it.
This has been sitting around forever and Minervas skill is kinda low, plus she uses Axes, so its hers.
I had no idea what that was. (It can be Used to give you bonus Res, like a Pure Water..)
One more stat booster. Steves Defense still hasnt gotten good, despite her spending some time in Paladin.
Quite a bit to talk about today.
A Little Horse to Heart
: But the war isn't over yet. Please lend me your strength for a little while longer.
: Taking care of your wyvern, Commander? If you're just talking to it, then I could do it in your place.
Dont let Steve do it, shell scare it by talking about how her grandpa used to eat wyverns alive or whatever.
: No, this is something I must do myself. We can't fight properly during battle if there isn't trust between rider and wyvern, after all. It's just like pegasus training.
: I see... But you're well-informed, if you know about pegasus training.
: That's because I used to be a pegasus rider, myself.
: Is that true? I honestly had no idea. .........
: What's wrong?
: ...Commander, why did you switch from a pegasus to a wyvern?
Thats just how you guys promote in this game unless you use that whip.
: Are you curious?
: Yes... Forgive me. Have I asked too much?
: I don't mind. It isn't such a private matter. To put it simply... I had to, to become stronger. Macedon isn't a large kingdom. And there's only one reason it's recognized by other kingdoms as an independent nation: Because of its legion of dracoknights. So, to symbolize Macedon's might, those of House Macedon must ride wyverns... And that's why I released my pegasus into the forest and took a Wyvern Whip.
: So thats what happened
: I wonder if the pegasus I befriended is still in Macedon's forests... Once this war is over and peace returns, I'd like to go see how he's faring. ...It's almost time for the war council already. I'm going ahead, Catria.
Im sure the War Council is an exciting affair where, every time, Jagen reminds everyone what a war council is, why theyre at the War Council, and that Hardin possesses the Darksphere.
: Commander is truly a gentle, peace-loving soul... I wonder if the white wings of a pegasus would truly be best suited for her
Nah, that red armor and hair, shes totally Wyvern themed.
: Dame Steve.
: You are... maintaining your weapons, correct?
: That's right. My weapon once broke during a mission... Since then, I've been ever vigilant.
: What? So even someone as skilled as you made a simple error like that once...? Was it some kind of special mission?
: Yes. I had to escort someone... or rather, help her escape into exile.
Huh, that sounds like it would make a good bonus chapter. Hmm.
: So you had to defend and escape... That sounds rather difficult.
: Yes. The main problem was that there were simply too many enemies. If my mighty lance were to break, it'd be all over.
: I see...thats true.
: Well, thats one reason But theres another reason I need to take care of my weapon.
: Hm? And what would that be?
: Oh, y-you mean... I'm really, really sorry about that
: Haha, how rude of me.
: ...Wait! There's someone here...!
Oh no! And we can only fit two portraits on screen!
: Wha--Oh no
: Look out!
: . It seems the enemy managed to escape... I'm sorry. If you hadn't helped me, I'd be
: Well be even, then.
: I understand.
But...but the player didnt see anything! What a ripoff!
(If you havent figured out who Sirius is yet, itll become crystal clear by the end, no worries. Youve probably already pieced it together though. Hes not the best at disguises.)
A Climactic Jagen
: Emperor Hardin is likely waiting in his throne. Now is the time for us to settle this. Right now, there are many who wish for Prince Marth to defeat Hardin and liberate Archanea. But the prince seems bent on rescuing Hardin from the clutches of the Darksphere. And we still have to defeat Gharnef and rescue the princess and the other clerics. Many people are waiting for us. Steve, I expect great things from you!
Holy shit, the Jagen respect is here. We really are coming up on the end.
Use the goddamn lightsphere, player
: Only with the Lightsphere can we hope to prevail against Hardin. So you must be absolutely sure that whoever challenges him carries the Lightsphere.
: Understood, Sir Jagen.
Do you get it yet? Heres the map.
Its another throwback to Shadow Dragon. Like Chapter 19, this one came fairly early in SD, and was much easier. Now weve got a lot to handle. We start in the center, and have to move in a C shape to reach Emperor Hardin.
This entrance hall is empty except for a Thief well want to take out ASAP.
The cell in the top left corner was where you could save Boah, Midia, Tomas, Dolph, and Macellan in SD, but now its just full of Swarm Bishops and sadness. Also a chest.
Have I mentioned Swarm Bishops yet? This one is guarding a hall full of treasure.
The lower left only has one enemy, but its a fucking doozy. Hardins got himself an Earth Dragon. A single Earth Dragon was the final boss of Shadow Dragon. This one isnt as powerful as Medeus in that game, but he moves, and 43 attack, ranged, is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. This guy can be a bigger issue than Hardin.
A little south of Hardin we have Fortify Man, because theyre pretty much standard issue for these last few maps.
The southeast corner is a ~mystery zone~. Who knows what could be hiding here until the door is opened? The answer is probably more enemies. In fact, yes, yes it is.
The man himself is guarded by a retinue of ranged units that will make it hard to get to him, and a few Generals for good measure.
Hardin is the hardest boss weve fought yet, fitting for the big climactic encounter. 62 HP is higher than any of our units will ever get, it caps at 60 for any playable unit type. He has 80 on the highest difficulty, but thats the least of your problems on Lunatic anyway. Gradivus gives him range and power, with a whopping 45 attack, and 24 speed makes him very hard to double. Thankfully, he has Zero Luck, so you wont have to worry much about crits. (They probably just didnt want to make a fancy crit animation for him, if he has one I couldnt find it.) Also, since the Lightsphere negates Terrain Bonuses, that 2 Def and 20 Avoid from the Throne doesnt help him. He will still heal though, and with those damn Fortify guys around...its in your best interest to burn him down quickly.
Heres a better shot of the Room full of Treasure. If you want, you can go through here and just...negate the Earth Dragon entirely, but youll be missing out on lots of EXP and be in a more cramped space to fight Hardin. Dont worry about the locked doors, that Master Key comes in handy. Julian could work too, but his survivability in this chapter is kinda bad with all the Swarm Bishops, so if you do use him, be very careful.
Next time, retaking Archanea.