Part 11: Xian and Altin
Out of the myriad great design decisions Camelot could have taken from Chrono Trigger, the only one they felt was worthwhile from the whole thing was the lack of a strictly-defined grid. That ends up making this absurdly more frustrating than it needs to be, as there's a range of about a pixel that counts as behind the line but leaves you within range to shoot a gigantic fist out of your sternum (max range 5 ft)
This for example, does not count as behind the line, since from that close there's no way to know if you really used chi. After all, maybe you just have a 4.97 foot long invisible arm and are just cheating the system.
This, on the other hand, is too far back to connect. Trying to use Chi to their satisfaction gets old very quickly.
The warrior used Chi! He did it from the line...and the tree fell!
When we finally get this right, some members of the stunned audience can only repeat exactly what you just did for the benefit of those who suddenly developed cataracts.
He knows kung fu! Do you know kung fu?
The others assume this power is due to years of physical and spiritual training, apparently having never heard that a mile away there's a nice rock you can hold that invalidates the need to ever put any effort into training at all.
As always, the result of this is a new arbitrary plot lead that is entirely unnecessary given the slightly more pertinent one. You know, that one about magical teleporting terrorists kidnapping your friends and making giant spheres to hide behind dramatically.
Something is wrong with Hsu...I sense it.
Ahhh, Feizhi...Is it your power again?
Ever since gems fell from the sky and hit me, I have sensed bad things.
I've been ignoring this because the ten billion word plot dumps didn't make this clear at all, but these gems falling from the sky is apparently due to the volcanic eruption we escaped back in update 3. I would have thought that volcanic eruptions involved cavalcades of lava and that being pelted by falling rocks would result in concussions rather than alchemy that supposedly hasn't been awakened, but then again I'd like to think I'm a moderately more competent writer than Camelot's employees. As is my cat.
(Pictured: Better construction than Golden Sun)
Anyway, Feizhi runs away to give the urgent help that is needed right this second, making sure to deliver a few soliloquies before she leaves.
Feizhi knows kung fu. She will be all right. Feizhi is alone. She cannot go too far. She will give up soon enough. Until then, let her be.
While I cut out a huge amount of text here, Feh's line is unedited. He honestly cannot stay consistent over the course of three words.
That is not the most annoying thing about him, however. That honor goes to the fact that he makes you use chi from behind the line again.
Hmmm...It looks very similar...but it is not Chi.
And, of course, the only point to this conversation besides introducing that disjointed plot thread is a monologue that achieves equally nothing. Stop me if my commentary is getting too repetitive.
Very similar...But still different...Chi concentrates the energy of the body into the hand...then releases it onto a distant object. You, warrior, used energy focused from the mind. The power to will something to move requires much wisdom. Fuchin's Ki releases the mind's energy like Chi releases the body's. The body's energy has limits, but mental energy has few limits.
Nobody caught onto the fact that we're just holding a rock that we found in a cave, did they?
So yes, there was absolutely no purpose to any of that except triggering an incredibly obtuse event flag. In fact, there's no purpose to Xian in general except this djinn, which we get by shoving water-carrying women into cliffsides and then violating conservation of mass.
Speaking of djinn, it's time for Terrible Element Designed To Sell Strategy Guides Hour! This time, the element in question is that certain djinn appear at predefined spots on the world map as random encounters, usually very far away from anywhere on the map you would need to be traveling. Some of these places are at least recognizable landmarks like peninsulas, but others, well...
A GameFAQs guide posted:
Head west to a bridge facing north, trek on over it, then head north-westish over the other bridge. Run around in this area and you'll eventually encounter and fight this Djinni.
Or, to put it more clearly, give BradyGames all of your money for a decent map.
But hey, let's relax with some absurdity.
The Great Mother of the Earth is some cave troll elephant yeti with corn row tree-hair. It spits seeds at the enemy and admires the fast-growing vines with a very expression.
The Sea King is a laser narwhal. I don't feel there's any more to be said.
Whenever I'm upset, I make sure to first announce where I am for the sake of other people listening in. "Yahh! Kitchen! Eggs fell on the floor!"
Because knee-high "boulders" block the path west, the next railroaded stop is Altin, which is essentially a dungeon rather than a town.
This is yet another level where your motivation for helping is "Because Camelot put it in your way".
And the goal is to drain the water by killing sentient fountains. I stand by the mescaline hypothesis.
To get to them, we have to maneuver through the gigantic hazardous mine five feet away from most houses: a saddening commentary on the appalling conditions in the Pullman company town at the end of the 19th century and evidence that Camelot really doesn't understand how to integrate dungeons into a game.
The mine is a maze.
As always, nothing even remotely interesting happens and this level is all filler. Navigate a maze, kill statues that spit water infinitely (this involves fighting the same miniboss five times or so), have that drain the water somehow, go down a level, repeat until GBA is thrown at wall.
Unfortunately, we're nearing the end of djinn that matter. As mentioned, the highest level summons only use 4 of them, so after a while they become like Super Metroid missile expansion #208. While we still have a few left to demonstrate, though...
Greece's Procne was a woman who fed her son to her husband. Camelot's Procne is a bird with wings that has hair made of wings and a tail that's a wing. She shoots laser beams out whatever the bird equivalent is to a navel. Moving on.
Tiamat is an ocean goddess who is suddenly a fire-breathing dragon, giving increasing weight to the "Camelot picks cool sounding names at random" hypothesis. Like most psynergy, this attack boils down to shooting lots of sparks.
Far too many variable water level mazes later, Camelot actually manages to be decently clever. There's an incredibly indirect route to this stump, and using Force on it causes a boulder to drop down.
This forces Isaac to run through the awkward route at high speeds until the boulder crashes through the floor in a legitimately amusing cutscene. If you never got the Force Orb, Garet will kick the stump instead, which sounds clever and well-planned until you realize Camelot hard-coded in a method of skipping a dungeon, openly acknowledging how shoehorned in it everything since Mercury Lighthouse has been.
As always, Camelot has a two-second attention span, promptly fogetting there was supposed to be a boulder down here and changing up the art style of the level for the last room.
Isn't this significantly far below the town? Such that this particular sentient statue isn't causing people any difficulties? Especially given that it isn't contributing to the flooding at all? Ah well, more senseless destruction, I suppose.
And one more summon, because the game has been throwing djinn at us as of late. It tends to be somewhere around here that you realize this game is going to be cut short long before the actual plot is.
Boreas, a old man with wings and snakes for feet who trapped princesses in clouds and raped them (seriously, what the fuck Greece?) is now a giant snow-cone machine. Unfortunately, the guardian statue is a diabetic and Mia's friendly outreach goes un-appreciated.
On the positive side, it's a Golden Sun boss and hence causes us no difficulty whatsoever.
There's a treasure chest behind the guardian statue!
It must all be related to these ruins, buried deep in the mine...
Mines and ruins are not the same thing. In fact, a ruin would be a terrible place to mine and a mine would be a terrible place to build a cave society that would become a ruin. Did the people of Altin build a city on top of a mine established over an older city? Camelot is just choosing words at random.
Our reward is another
(Pictured: Isaac demonstrating his awareness of this fact)
The two powers are, of course, drastically different. The new power lets us lift rocks, while the old power only lets us lift things that aren't rocks. This means that you perpetually need both in your inventory, which can hold 15 items per character. Thanks a bunch Camelot.
Next time we'll use this power to accomplish what will still amount to nothing.