The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

Part 16: Marvelous Dragonfly

Episode 15: Marvelous Dragonfly

Last time, we arrived at the pirate lair in search of a new flyer. After fighting our way through a number of pirates, we found some slaves and thought about freeing them, but then a strange man in blue showed up and did just that. When the pirate guards came to investigate, this scoundrel told them we were working with him and now they would be so fucked. This update is going to be a long one because I didn't find a good point to cut it, so prepare your browsers. Fortunately we just got to a new page, so we should be okay.

This is where we left off last time, with several guards with swords approaching in our direction.

Well, let's see if our newfound skill with harmonic combinations will help us here.

The answer, at least for now, is no. Harmonic combos are massively strong, being able to make a man explode in an instant, but you're leaving yourself open while setting it up and there are just too many guys here. The fact one of them uses Hidden Fist to cause the dreaded Disorientation status effect doesn't help.

Hey, you're not supposed to be using Storm Dragon! Thankfully, enemies can't use harmonic combos or this would get very annoying very quickly.

There. These last couple of guys won't be much of a problem now that most of their friends have been eliminated.

This update has a lot of harmonic combos, but after this I won't be overusing them too much. Instagibbing these pirates was just too satisfying. Also, the guy in blue doesn't know what the fuck he just saw.

My name is Sky. It's good to see there's someone else in this place who can't stand these slaving dogs. We make quite the pair.

Honestly, we kinda did save his ass back there. He most likely couldn't have handled all of those pirates by himself.

It was obvious you weren't with the pirates, why not deal with them quickly? There's bigger game above us. Speaking of which, there's a very secure and equally intimidating gate blocking the way. If we work together, though, it will be simple to crack.

Well, that's convenient.

As good an assumption as any.

Yes, I hunt Gao the Greater, though I will not say why. It is a personal matter. I won't be stopped now that I'm this close, and luckily you're here. That will make it easier to reach the upper levels where he hides himself away.

Oh, so Gao apparently is here right now. That might prove interesting.

Things like how to reach the upper levels of this place, despite that security door.

Can't argue with that. Maybe not the most elegant way to persuade someone to talk and not really our style, but should be quite effective in most cases.

"Kang the Mad" is a perfect name for someone who designs security systems, don't you think?

The door must be operated while that lever is held forward. There used to be a sentry up there who handled that kind of thing, but he had an... accident. I can climb up and pull the lever easily enough. You can open the door when it's unlocked.

I was going to say that was a terribly inefficient method of unlocking a door, but if they had a sentry up there at all times (before his unfortunate workplace accident, of course) I guess it might not have been that bad.

Once the door is open, we can go our separate ways. I have my goals. and I'm sure you have yours. Since we both have much to do, why don't I go unlock the door now?

Sounds like a plan. Well, time to make some more men explode, I guess. Although, since Sky here is obviously our next party member (massive spoilers, I know), maybe he should just join us right now and get it over with.

I should go now, but... I have to ask in case we never meet again. Where did you study?

I see we're not going to mention anything about Master Li being the Glorious Strategist. It's just as well, since nobody believes us about that anyway.

No one I've ever met fights like you do. It's subtle, but your movements bait your foes into seeing an opening that isn't there. It‘s like a clever trap. I'm sorry. I'm wasting time neither of us can spare. I'll get ready and pull the lever when you‘re near the door. Good luck with whatever brought you to this place.

Sky heads for the lever, but before we go to that door we've got some stuff to do here.

You. I know you.

Yes. I also seem to remember mentioning several times that the wilderness is crawling with bandits and ghosts, but they just had to leave Tien's Landing because they couldn't wait an hour for us to close the dam.

They... they took Fuyao, my daughter! They took her to the upper levels. I can‘t leave without her. Please... you have to find Fuyao!

We were going up anyway, so we'll keep an eye out.

Shouldn't be too difficult to find her somewhere along the way.

Right, let's take a look at this apparently rather sturdy and equally intimidating door, then. Yep, certainly fits the description.

There we go. Being careful is a good idea around here in general.

Not exactly a trap (at least not an intentional one Sky would've set up for us) but still some more pirates for us to do battle with.

The pirates are a lot stronger than any of the enemies we've faced thus far in the game, so if you're overly reckless they can fuck you up. These guys get a few good hits in, but fortunately there is a spirit font just out of the shot here.

Further up is this important-looking red building. We're not at the top of the fort yet, but this seems like something we should investigate nonetheless.

Oh, this is where they keep their hologram projector. I'm not even going to guess what kind of insane sorcery they used to get that thing to work, but there it is. That lady also seems familiar...

This bald gentleman with the poor complexion and lack of depth perception is obviously a high-ranking Lotus Assassin. Not only that, he looks to be the Lotus Assassin who has our amulet piece.

So yes, in case you didn't guess already, that guy is Inquisitor Lim. We don't know this woman's name yet, but we saw her in the flashback where she was overseeing the Lotus Assassins' destruction of Two Rivers along with Death's Hand.

It's impossible to get screenshots of Inquisitor Lim where his expression isn't creepy as all hell.

And here's Gao the Greater. Looks like he isn't quite getting along with his Lotus Assassin buddies as well as one would hope.

Even without the dialog, you probably could guess this is Kang the Mad.

Gao's henchman silences Kang with the most hilariously limp-wristed slaps I've ever seen. At least I think those are supposed to be slaps and not just him waving his hand in front of Kang's face.

"Also, you're completely out of shot, so thanks for making me look ridiculous."

The "Mistress", clearly not convinced by Inquisitor Lim's insistence he has everything under control, has said what she needed to and the hologram disappears. Looks like they're using some sort of crystal and... really, I won't bother guessing how holographic tech in Jade Empire is supposed to work.

So the Lotus Assassin lady is known as Jia. It obviously doesn't come across in SSLP format, but her voice sounds like an older woman who really hates everything and everyone around her and has absolutely no time for any of your bullshit. Meanwhile, Lim and Gao continue their little argument.

I am well aware of your son's role in all this, Gao. In fact, I suspect I know more about him than you do.

What are you talking about? Have you heard something about young Gao? Tell me!

Oh dear. This won't be good.

"The perfect time" aka the moment it would cause the most distress possible. Inquisitor Lim is a tremendous dick. You can hear he's barely containing his glee as he's telling Gao the bad news.

I guess we did kind of break his neck.

Gao withdraws to his private quarters and leaves Lim to be an evil dick by himself.

So, obviously, Lim immediately begins monologuing about how he's going to earn Death's Hand's favor by betraying Grand Inquisitor Jia. I love this guy, he doesn't give a shit.

If the Marvelous Dragonfly is not ready to launch when I return, those captive demons will have a new playmate.

Interruptions... who designed that Dragonfly... build something to make his sandals explode....

The Lotus Assassins really are excellent at motivating their employees to perform at maximum efficiency. Of course, Kang mumbled that last line of his when Lim was out of earshot.

Once Lim finally leaves, it's time for us to check out the important-looking building they were holding their little meeting in.

Looks like they left some of the guards to watch over Kang as he works.

I've got the feeling they noticed us. To be fair, our approach was not exactly the stealthiest, not that we had any other options.

Oh no, more guys with swords. How are we getting out of this?

Before we get the chance to wipe the floor with these chumps, Kang throws something at them.

Well, thanks, I guess!

We're actually not done yet even though that looked like it took everyone out. This lady is taking the whole "completely engulfed in flames" thing quite well, she's not reacting in any manner whatsoever. Fire, it seems, isn't particularly dangerous in the world of Jade Empire unless you're Student Si Pat.

There's some more dead pirates. Didn't get the chance to do a harmonic combo on these guys, but it doesn't really matter since they went down easily anyway. Our sword does so much damage so quickly that harmonic combos are more for showing off than anything else at this point.

And the sword, don't forget the sword.

Well, that is definitely a useful skillset for many situations.

My greatest invention is in the launch room upstairs. Light and fast, she has weapons and capacity no other flyer does. The Marvelous Dragonfly!

We do like the sound of that, although the fact he's so readily offering his help to a complete stranger is slightly suspect.

He doesn't understand that multiples diminish the glory of any creation, weakening them all. The Marvelous Dragonfly deserves better. I'll take my chances with you.

Well, that's the impression he's giving us, yes.

Gao wants to give my machine to the Lotus Assassins. But I stopped him. I hid the Extraneous Dust Inductor where no one will find it. Ha! Try to fly without that! But they *can* make a new inductor. It is extraneous, after all. So a few days ago, I blew up the Inscrutable Power Source. Now the Dragonfly can only make short hops.

I believe we picked up one of those power sources at the dam site.

Yes, yes. Of course. What do you think I've been saying? You need to listen more carefully. If you stage a combat-related accident for Gao, like falling down a flight of punches, I'll replace the inductor on the Dragonfly and we can fly away! What do you say?

We should be able to arrange something to that effect, yes. Especially if it gets us a new flyer.

Anyway, you go ahead, and once all the kicking is done, I'll come along, and we'll see what's what! For now, let me think! We'll need explosives... that explode.

Ah, my favorite kind. Let's go find Gao and see about arranging that unfortunate combat-related accident.

When we exit the building, there's two paths we can take. One of them takes us to this lever, which opens the most pointless shortcut in the world. This leads back to the building via another door, but who cares when the main exit is right there?

Obligatory scenery shot. Maybe not the most interesting view, but I always thought those cliffs looked kinda neat.

Of course, there's better things to do, such as fighting more pirates.

oh god this didn't go well at all

Yeah, the swordsmen attack really fast and it doesn't take many swings from them to drain your health. Dawn Star's support skill really saved our asses here, although in a real pinch we could've also used Spirit Thief.

Screw you entirely. I didn't need to do a harmonic combo here, but I was so frustrated with these guys that I wanted to at least finish things off in style.

That is the closest we've come to dying thus far, but we managed to handle things eventually. Let's go see what's in this cave.

Oh hey, it's Fuyao. One of those important-looking people must be the slave breaker Yifong mentioned.

I'm not exactly an expert on this kind of thing, but these guys seem really bad at what they do.

The slave breaker also has a very unfortunate face.

Well, let's get on with it then.

There's one...

..err. Right, maybe we should take out the Ice Shard jerk first.


And three. Apparently the enemies don't even need to be low on health to explode horribly when you land a harmonic combo. I'm pretty sure some stronger enemies can survive it, but these guys certainly didn't.

Quiet, girl! A slave doesn't speak unless spoken to!

What? Why not? A slave has to know her place. If I'm going to have to train these slaves myself, I should get a discount.

You're lucky you haven't exploded like your friends back there. Yet, anyway.

Yes, I know, very tragic. I'm history's greatest monster. If you choose to have Fuyao fight for her freedom, she stabs this idiot and afterwards she seems like she kinda enjoyed doing that kind of thing. Of course, you can just sell her to slavery for maximum Closed Fist points, once again showing that BioWare doesn't understand the morality system they themselves created. For whatever reason, Zu totally approves of selling Fuyao as a slave, which is... I don't even know what the hell they were thinking. Zu doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would be down with that.

Anyway, we tell the slave buyer to go fuck himself. Fuyao's mom shows up shortly afterwards.

The guards are dead, Lun. The slaves are free, and more than a few of them are looking for you. You don't want them to find you.

No, this can't be! I... I have to get out of here!

The buyer just leaves. Hopefully he runs into Sky on the way out.

We will return to Tien's Landing and tell the entire town of your great deeds. I'm sure Minister Sheng will reward you for helping us. Come, Fuyao, let's go. The others are waiting for us.

I'm glad you're safe, mother.

By not selling Fuyao to slavery, we've locked ourselves out of the Viper style and will have to make do with Iron Palm. This is the second Iron Palm scroll we got, so we only need to find one more to learn the style.

"Doctines." I kinda like how they explain having to find all three scrolls for both of these styles. If you don't study all of them, you'll just injure yourself and/or leave yourself open to attacks.

The workshop where they're keeping the Dragonfly should be just past here. Before we go check that out, though, let's do a scientific experiment.

This experiment is called "How does Jade Empire look without the bloom lighting?" Also, I was playing the game at 720p to make the text a bit larger than it was at 1080p, but the difference is barely noticeable unless you compare them side by side. The text size also seems to be identical between 1080p and my screen's native 2160p, so expect GLORIOUS TRUE 4K RENDERING after we get out of the pirate lair (not that you can really tell, when I've recorded the footage at 1080p and then resized my screenshots to 900px wide). But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, turning off the bloom.

Eh. I don't know about this.

It's clear Jade Empire was never designed to be seen without bloom lighting, so this just looks wrong to me. Maybe some of you out there like it this way, but I really don't.

I'm not a fan of excessive bloom lighting in any way, shape or form, but for a 2005 release Jade Empire uses the effect in a rather tasteful manner instead of just coating the entire screen with it and removing all the colors because realism. Bloom is used to accentuate the fantastical atmosphere of this world, and I think it works well. Anyway, that's enough tech bullshit for now, let's get back to the game.

Yeah, but this time it was worse. Better stay out of his way for the next little while. Something really set him off.

Wait a minute... you there! Who are you? You can't be up here!

Chumps. Yes, like I said, I'm overusing harmonic combos in this update. I'll stop it soon enough.

These stairs lead to the Dragonfly workshop, so let's go see the magnificent flying machine Kang is so proud of.

That must be it. It's most likely guarded by another group of scrub pirates, nothing out of the ordinary there.


Rat demons are our old friends so we know them very well, but they've brought some of their other friends to the party.

I don't think this is what Sky meant when he said there was bigger game above us. Rhino demons are slow but hit hard and have high damage resistance, as you might expect from such a creature. Our sword makes relatively short work of this guy, so let's move on to the other one of our new acquaintances.

This monstrosity is a horse demon. I don't know why they look so much creepier than the other demons we've seen, but I do know they're a pain in the ass.

Simply touching one of these things will light your hands on fire, causing damage over time. It's not a huge amount of damage, mind you, but still an annoyance you need to deal with when fighting a horse demon.

That's not all, though. When you deal enough damage to a horse demon, it explodes. Not in that cool harmonic combo way either, but in a fiery manner that kinda hurts.

Well, now that we've dealt with Buttercup here, let's just see what else we can find lying around the workshop before we take a look at the Marvelous Dragonfly.

Hm. That's new. Instructions for making your own horse demon?

Configuration of the Horse posted:

You found this strange excerpt from a diary; the pages were torn from the book but kept together as if they were an important secret. "In his raving, my husband talked of madmen with eyes of metal and of a strange island in the skies. His words frightened me, but none more that when he clutched my arm, suddenly lucid. "It's the tiger", he said, fever burning in his eyes. "The Tiger feeds on the stone of the cow, torn from the bovine's innards. All but the cogs and watching... waiting and active... waiting for the tiger to feed" after his recovery, my husband remembered nothing of his journey or of his ravings except one..."

Guess not. No horse buddy for us. In fact, this just looks like someone's crazed ramblings.

The scrollstand on the opposite side has this useful information. Well, it actually is kind of useful, since it tells you what attacks work on demons and what don't.

Some pirates show up to interrupt our reading. Guys, if we managed to take down your rhino and horse demons, I'm pretty sure we can handle you as well. I don't care how much you've practiced your theatrical poses.

Oh. Well, that might complicate things a little.

The pirates, especially the spear guys, are honestly more of a threat to us than the ogre, but having him stomping around doesn't exactly help us either.

The ogre guard is a tougher version of the regular ogres we fought way back when, and the same tactics apply. Basically, he just has more health and probably hits harder if he ever manages to land a strike.

He's just as weak to magic styles as his lesser brethren, so defeating him isn't too big of a deal.

Oh yeah, the thing we came here to look at. Certainly does look a lot more sophisticated than the crappy Mosquito we crashed earlier. Before we do anything with it, though, there's one more book we must read.

They're getting there!

Okay, now let's see what this button does.

It, well, drops the Dragonfly down to the floor quite violently. Might be a good thing Kang wasn't here to see that.

The jolt activated the Dragonfly's weapon systems, and it proceeds to blow up that door with missiles.

This looks like the pirates' treasure stash. I bet we can find something good if we take a look around.

Or we could find an elephant demon. I was wondering why the door wasn't locked.

Err... I don't suppose we can talk about this?

The penalty for all who enter is death. I, Xianshi the great elephant demon, must crush you!

Aw, this is kind of sad. He can't control his actions because Gao has bound him to guard all this treasure, so he has to try to kill us.

Elephant demons are even stronger than rhino demons. They can stomp the ground and make these rocks shoot up, which is the area attack for the Stone Immortal magic style and makes it quite annoying to get close to this guy.

Of course, once you do get close, there's a good chance he'll punch you in the face.

I'm sorry, friend.

At least we get some decent gems for our troubles. The Gem of Gentle Mind (+2 to Intuition and Mind) is the Open Palm counterpart of the Gem of Evil Thought, and just like that gem it's always found in some random location. The Gem of the Frail Scholar increases the EXP we get from reading books and adds +1 to Mind, but since scholars are pencil-neck geeks it also comes with a -3 hit to Body. As for the Aura of Calm Gem (+2 to Intimidation and Body), I'm a bit confused because according to the wiki it's not supposed to be anywhere near this place.

We're almost at the top, and you know what that means. Gao the Greater is near.

In fact, we can see him right there with some of his bodyguards. Well, here we go.

You are one of Master Li's students! You... you are the one who killed my son, Gao!

Can't really argue with that, I suppose.

And yeah, he kinda did, didn't he? We didn't exactly mean to kill him in that fight, but he did have it coming.

Damn you and that school! My Gao was never good enough for Master Li; you were always his prize pupil. And now my son is... Gao may be gone, but I will avenge him! I know the styles your broken old master taught you, and I know how to beat them! I promise your death will be both slow and painful!

I'm sure it's terrible for him to have lost his son, but it's not as if Gao the Greater has never killed anyone who was important to someone else.

VIDEO: Boss: Gao the Greater

Things get a bit crowded at the start because Gao has several of his bodyguards bothering us, but once they're done away with this fight is quite straightforward. Unfortunately, harmonic combos don't seem to work on bosses (or at least this particular variation doesn't). I tried several times to hit him with the Storm Dragon area attack and he just dodged it every time.

Trading fireballs. Of course, Gao likes using Dire Flame, having taught it to his son as well.

He tries to keep you at a distance by using lots of area attacks, giving himself an opportunity to heal. Unfortunately for him, once we really manage to get in his face we're able to do a ton of damage.

That is the end of Gao the Greater.

Good job missing the whole fight, fellas.

I wanted nothing more than to watch this man die.

Should've come with us, buddy.

Let me explain why I'm here; that should clarify things. You saw with your own eyes that these pirates were collecting slaves, right?

Yeah, we may have noticed some of them here and there.

Gao's slaving operation found its way to my home several years ago. I was away at the time, but my daughter was there. Those black-hearted bastards took my daughter, Pinmei. They killed her for resisting them. She was my only child. I lost her mother when Pinrnei was born, but my daughter was something precious in return. The slavers offered no such consolation.

My search led me here, to the lair of Gao the Greater. His men took my daughter, and I meant to even the score. On my way up here, I stumbled across records that show that this goes beyond Gao. The Lotus Assassins are his primary buyers.

This goes beyond Gao the Greater. I have my vengeance, but how many others have suffered as I have because of the Lotus Assassins? Do you mean to go further with this? I would join you. Only a fool would oppose the Lotus Assassins, but two fools working together stand a better chance than one.

You know what a wise man once said about a fool and the fool who follows them.

Well, since they didn't bother to model whatever that is... please don't keep us in suspense.

Next time I hide something, I'm packing explosives around it. Explosives shaped like silver bananas! Stops thieves, monkeys, and monkey thieves in one fell swoop.

In my mind, you stand the best chance of facing down Gao's masters. We also have a far greater chance of succeeding together rather than apart.

Sure. What does Dawn Star think?

Ah, I see Sky has moved from "my daughter was murdered by slavers and I'm constantly tormented by it" mode to "" mode. Even though the latter probably is largely an act, he switches between the two so frequently that it's a bit jarring. Just... just keep your pants on, all right?

I assure you, I will be as devoted and capable as any of your other companions.

Ha! If I could harness all that hot air, I could make a furnace to power the whole of the Imperial City! If you're done with all the talking, I have to go make the Dragonfly ready for some flying.

We walked past this lever earlier but couldn't do anything with it.

Turns out it opens up the roof of the Dragonfly workshop, so now we can fly out.

The Zither of Discord update is coming soon.

Reading this book in Gao's quarters completes a set and gives us another stat-boosting technique (Health +2).

That's all we can do up there, so let's head back to the Marvelous Dragonfly.

I replaced the dust inductor. The Marvelous Dragonfly will cross the sky at your whim... for a short way. The heavens welcome my machines, but not without considerable cajoling. If you want to fly more than a short distance, I will need an Inscrutable Power Source.

What, this thing we just happened to be carrying with us?

The other was with the Lotus Assassins, but the fools only used it for demolition. Now here you stand with it. I will put it in the Dragonfly, and it will be ready to go. Hm... not the ideal placement. If it shook more, the heavens might think we were afraid and take pity. This is more stable... but not as fun. Okay, she's ready to go! Hop on. I know a nice safe landing place just outside Tien's Landing. Very unlikely we'll crash.

Well, I hope this goes better than the last time we flew one of these machines. Also, we do actually have a ride back to town already.

Your friend will see us take off, and he'll head back to town on his own.

Ha ha! Everybody on board! The Marvelous Dragonfly is about to take flight!

Normally I'd avoid the enemy ships in these situations, but might as well see what this thing can do.

VIDEO: The Marvelous Dragonfly takes flight

I'm surprised those Mosquitoes are even keeping up. Well, let's see how long they'll last against the Dragonfly's firepower.

Not very long, as the Dragonfly comes with homing missiles.

Picking up focus powerups upgrades the main gun. Once you get the spread shot seen here, don't pick up any more focus powerups because that'll downgrade it back to the double shot.

With that, we are safely back in Tien's Landing, with a shiny new flyer. Of course, before we can actually fly this thing any further, we'll need that wind map from Lord Yun. So, next time we shall brave the Great Southern Forest, unless I decide to show the Zither of Discord quest first.