Part 85: Trial Maps - Escape
It's like being thrown into JRPG prison, except you don't even have to find your
No, wait, first, let's meet the team.
We're back to my main save on the PAL version and all the little niceties that entails; that soothing ritualistic "50Hz mode or 60Hz mode?" dialog at startup, much better Dolphin compatibility , and resistance on Ike. Aaaah.
Elincia has firmly embraced her class's purpose as a pegasus with magic. She lacks the strength and defence of most physical units but her weapon compensates for that on both counts. Plus she's going to be every bit as fearsome with a Runesword as Mist, and that's saying something.
Reyson can take an entire hit and survive now!
Stefan can fuck shit up, I don't doubt, but he's held back by his characteristically abysmal luck score (plus he's on a biorhythm downer), so he'll be getting hit more often that other comparably leveled swordmasters might.
Tauroneo is still a giant, lumbering wall, although I dare you to say that to his face when he's below 50% health.
Ulki's gotten respectably tough, if a bit slow still. That passive avoid bonus continues to be nifty.
Capped strength? Extremely respectable speed? Quite decent magic? How would you like to hold all of the siege tomes?
Not bad, Lethe! She's a veritable dodge tank untransformed (not that she'll be untransformed much), and she's got the strength to kick serious ass otherwise.
Makalove! He turned it all around in the end! It may have had something to do with the Knight Ward, but whatever.
And what have we here?
Introducing Super Special Mystery Guest #2:
Awwwww yeah. It takes a bit of wrangling, but Greil - in his unique class and with his actual, non-restrained stats - is fully usable, if you know where to find him. Evidence suggests that Greil was, at one point, going to be legitimately playable; perhaps he was going to live a bit longer in the plot, or maybe he was a regular unlockable Trial Map unit. He's got growths, (almost) full animations, the works - none of which you'll ever see in game. He also comes with his own unique weapon; the S-Rank axe, Urvan, which - naturally - you can't acquire legitimately in-game. It's as powerful as Ragnell, decently accurate, and grants a +3 resistance buff (which is just as well, because Greil has no damn resistance).
Despite what we know about his... condition... he can wield swords quite acceptably (his stance is identical to Lord Ike's, or, perhaps, Lord Ike's is identical to Greil's). And, yes, his mastery skill is Aether.
Alright. Here we go.
This map is mostly middling-to-good halberdiers, snipers, warriors and generals (and, naturally, pretty much all of them have ranged weapons), but there are two things that should be considered "real concerns". One of these is the four Siege Assholes.
But the bigger concern is these two motherfuckers.
They're packing Sleep. Give them half a chance, and they will walk directly towards your lowest res unit and whack them with Sleep, and that unit will then immediately get pelted with siege tomes and whatever else. There's a good chance you won't have a Restore staff user in every cell, and since there's no other cure for Sleep... that's bad.
This is why Calill has all the siege tomes.
And this is why I made sure Reyson and Calill were together.
Ike, meanwhile, gets to work on the door.
In the upper-right cell, Stefan remembers we have some Door Keys left over from the campaign.
Lethe is freed, and she knows exactly who to rend.
Elincia and Tauroneo get their door open over in the middle.
And finally, in the lower right, Greil opens his own door while Ulki and Makalov hang back.
The cell doors in this map provide a unique opportunity; if you stand just inside a cell with a horde of enemies without, there's only one spot from which you can be attacked at range, and once you're attacked from there, anyone else who wants to attack will have to do so at melee range.
Sadly, since Lethe is outside the cell, this will be less of a thing up here, although maybe that's for the better since Stefan isn't the most defensive swordmaster.
That said, though, 63 avoid is still 63 avoid. These guys will be getting ~55% odds.
Lethe has her Beorcguard on, although she's dodging everything anyway.
Siege Assholes all go for Ike.
Against all odds, someone tries to melee Stefan.
Stefan brings the crit.
The next guy manages to take two whole Vague Katti hits and not get critted. Damn.
Tauroneo still has the capacity to actually take damage, so we may actually see some Resolve.
Until then, he's dispensing powerful, but singular, hits.
Then a Siege Asshole strikes and he's off by one HP goddamnit-
Meanwhile, the fun in the southwest corner begins.
Of course, it's a swordmaster who Greil can't double.
Like Ike post-promotion, Greil uses big, backhanded swings.
Lethe can double swordmasters. How 'bout that.
Against everything I have ever known about the Fire Emblem AI, none of the other enemies try to engage Greil at range. What.
This mission is weird for reinforcements. There are three set groups (from each of the three doors), each of which is tied to one of the cell doors on the map. Open a door, and the associated reinforcement group arrives at the end of the next enemy phase. But only one group can arrive per phase; if more than one door is opened in one turn, the groups get staggered. Odd.
Calill still has two Boltings left. Good for her. Bad for this asshole.
Ike gets his door open and Reyson helps him charge out. Though I'd dearly love to obliterate that siege asshole to Ike's south, that would involve moving away from the door and potentially allowing an archer near Reyson.
That mage is doing effective damage. But Lethe has the Beorcguard equipped.
HOW MANY LIES HAVE I BEEN LIVING, INTSYS?
I mean, what exactly does this thing protect against?
Oh well. She just dodges it.
Stefan heals. Seriously, all it takes is two opportunistic Siege Assholes and a few melee hits, and he'll actually be in trouble.
Right. Let's try this again.
I love how there's this unstoppable battle move that seems to run in Greil's family but is never mentioned anywhere in the narrative.
Anyway, Greil's Aether is a little different to Ike's, even accounting for the fact he's using an axe.
It seems... floatier? Greil hangs in the air for a bit longer after catching his weapon, and does a few more flips before bitting the ground. The point here is that it's actually a different animation, technically. Someone gave Greil a unique animation. This is part of the evidence that he was going to be playable at some point.
The end result, however, is the same.
As is this part.
The animation also leads back into Greil's axe ready pose - another unique touch.
Tauroneo clears a path for Elincia to break out with her Runesword. She's going to get some mileage out of this thing, trust me.
So confident in her am I that I'm just going to leave her out in the middle of everyone and see what happens.
And that was turn 2.
Oh no, Elincia took a hit.
This whole dance goes on, too.
You didn't wanna do that, mate.
And now Tauroneo is doubling people.
Greil gets in a Tomahawk fight.
On the second hit, he-
-wait, hang on, what?
So, yeah, there's a thing that Greil can do that Ike cannot.
And that is...
...use Aether at range.
Another unique animation for Greil.
The second hit misses, however.
Oh, look, more Aether.
The odd thing about Greil's melee Aether is that the whole animation only contains one hit. But Aether still has to do a second hit, so...
He gets a Luna activation flash...
...and does the same animation again, this time with the Luna effect.
All five of these morons down here suicide on Ike.
All except the Siege Asshole, who just has buddy up with a second Siege Asshole to be annoying.
Meanwhile, no one hits Lethe.
No such luck for Stefan though.
Oh no Elincia got hurt again.
No, wait, disregard that.
Only an undoublable swordmaster survives.
Greil's not done Aethering yet!
On and on he goes. C'mon, man, I've got two whole other units to show off still!
Again, it takes a swordmaster to end his streak.
Another batch of reinforcements, and a fresh Siege Asshole with them.
There are markedly less dudes over here now.
Makalov, you're up.
Why kill a guy in one Vague Katti crit when you can kill him in five half-strength hits?
Damn I love that Lethe is obscenely powerful.
Elincia murdered so many dudes that she broke her Runesword, so she falls back to her Personal Brave Sword.
Meanwhile, Tauroneo is in full on rage mode.
Ike moves to intercept the latest reinforcement brigade.
Calill helps with the... the... help me here... he's not a straggler, he's... a... leftover, I guess?
Can you believe it's only been three turns?
So, some guys attack Tauroneo. It goes poorly for them.
Ike fares somewhat better; most of the reinforcement brigade suicide on him. True to form, the Siege Asshole hangs back and Is An Asshole.
-uuuuuuucking hell, Stefan.
For the xth time this mission, a swordmaster fucks up an amazing killstreak.
The third and final group of reinforcements arrives. There's a Sleep Asshole and three Siege Assholes among them.
Lethe and Elincia clean up around Stefan. Lethe detransforms.
DIE DIE DIE
Now, we can get Stefan out of range of the three Siege Assholes who just arrived. As for the two to the south...
We'll just have to murder our way to them.
A newly transformed Ulki does the honours.
I could have Greil Tomahawk the last one, but...
You guys would never forgive me if I didn't show off Urvan at least once.
It's rather a long axe, but unlike the Poleax, it is held by the middle of its shaft. It's very likely this weapon was designed specifically for Greil.
Why yes, Calill does still have plenty of Siege left in her.
This asshole's keeping Ike back a turn. Asshole.
Reyson, meanwhile, gets the hell out of that swordmaster's way.
End of turn 4. We're not out yet, I've still got one last heart attack to deal with...
Deprived of his chance to gang up on Stefan, the Siege Asshole futilely targets Greil instead.
Tauroneo crits a bitch.
Then he dodges some Siege Magic. Recall that Resolve provides a decent avoid boost.
Then he doesn't dodge. Worried now.
OK, cool, but still worried.
Yes, definitely worried.
Fortunately, the other general decides to stay put. He's not packing a ranged weapon, and he's on defensive AI, but legends abound in Fire Emblem of defending bosses moving off of their points for the sole purpose of opportunistically murdering a player unit, so never take these things for granted.
Ike eliminates that pesky swordmaster.
And Reyson transforms! Right, time to move.
Just as well, Reyson can help us get the hell out in time.
Just a few more leftovers to murder...
Lethe uses a Laguz Stone because.
Calill thinks ahead.
We should probably kill these guys.
Now, between Tauroneo being almost dead and everyone else recovering from fighting, we've got a lot of low-HP units, so...
Elincia breaks out the Fortify staff to heal everyone at once.
End of turn 5. Looking good.
Tauroneo gets started on the remaining general.
Elincia and Lethe finish off the Assholes.
And Calill gets in one last Siege.
That's it. We've routed everyone. The rest is just a formality.
Hey... what's that sound?
Oh, hey, it's this track again! It is used somewhere besides Chapter 1!
Well, let's get the hell out of here.
You only need to have Ike escape, but we've got time to spare, so...
We're going to do this "properly". This will probably be force of habit if you've ever played Thracia 776.
On the 8th turn, we exit.
And that's the end of that.
The numbers in this mission are really not that dickish at all. 8 turns is plenty of time to escape, and there are 40 enemies on the map to begin (plus each group of reinforcements has at least 6 more), so any reasonably thorough rout will get you straight As. The enemies themselves are more of a problem; those Sleep Assholes can really mess you up, especially since their work will probably be followed up on by the Siege Assholes. You need to be careful how you use the people you bring in the light of all this. I was only able to get past the first turn by having Calill be on Anti-Sleep Duty and by putting Lethe in the top right cell; otherwise one or both Sleep Assholes would immediately turn on Greil and that would be the end of that.
Rank A B C D Criteria Tactician 8 12 16 18 ...or less Turns taken Survival 0 1 2 3 ...or less player-controlled characters died Battle 45 40 35 30 ...or more enemies KO'd
Here is the sixth and final map, Trapped, and yes, it is another reused campaign map. It has a uniquely dickish feature. Here, this should highlight it;
Our starting positions are all over the place, and Ike is in the middle. Oh, and count those Sleep Assholes. This'll be fun.
Ike will be accompanied by Mystery Guest #5, Super Special Mystery Guest #3 and ten friends.
Wait, hang on...
Units still available: Soren, Mist, Volke, Nephenee, Astrid, Muarim, Ranulf, Bastian, Geoffrey, Nasir, Giffca, Tibarn.
Hmm. There appear to only be 12 units left, and it looks like the numbers alone are going to force us to bend the rules somewhat. So... well, let's start by scrapping all the rules.
For simplicity's sake, vote for the two units you don't want to bring.
Voting will be open for some days.