Part 2: Enter Fate
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we were introduced to our protagonist, Hilbert, and his desire to become a hero. Although he doesn't have much in the way of a name for himself, Hilbert has been charged by a little girl with a rescue mission: saving her cat, Anna. And hero or no, that's a job worth doing. So let's get to it.
When last we left off, Hilbert had just finished murdering a kobold. Following the battle, we're brought back to the dungeon, where there are a few rocks in our way, but...
... they can be pushed out of the way easily enough.
Across the bridge we find our first chest, containing Gust Strike, our first spellcard. Now that we've got one, it's time to take a closer look at the Spellcard screen and learn how magic works.
In Last Scenario, in order for a character to use magic, he has to have a spellcard equipped to him first. All characters have five slots for spellcards, though only two are available when a character first joins--additional slots can be unlocked with special items. More importantly, characters can only cast the spells from the spellcards they have equipped. There's no concept of "mastering" spells for use anytime in this game; what you have equipped is what you have available and that's it. From this screen we can equip and remove spellcards, as well as use any equipped spellcards that are usable outside of battle, such as healing spells.
Once we select Equip and a spellcard slot, we're given a list of the spellcards we can put in that slot. As you can see on the left side of the screen, all spellcards have two spells associated with them: a regular spell, which can be cast anytime, and a Crisis spell, which can only be cast when the character's Crisis bar is full. Also, equipping a spellcard will have a minor effect on some of the character's stats, similar to Materia in Final Fantasy VII. At this point in the game the changes are negligible, but later spellcards will have larger changes, and since they're percentage-based, the changes will scale with our characters' levels.
You can see what the two spells of the spellcard do at the top of the screen: Gust Strike allows Hilbert to make a wind-imbued physical attack, while Healing Wind heals Hilbert for a small amount. You can usually tell what kind of regular spell the spellcard has by its color (though the spellcard's Crisis spell may be unrelated). There are five spellcard colors, as follows:
- Gray spellcards are "attack augment" spells, launching a physical attack with extra properties such as an imbued element or multiple targets.
- Green spellcards are recovery spells, recovering HP and clearing detrimental status effects.
- Red spellcards are attack spells, damaging the enemy with fire, ice, lightning and more.
- Blue spellcards are utility spells, performing functions unrelated to attack and defense such as stealing.
- Purple spellcards are support spells, imparting benificial status effects and improving characters' performance in combat.
In any case, we equip the Gust Strike spellcard to Hilbert and move on. You can see that his max HP has been reduced to 22.
In the next room, we run into a couple of Red Wolves. Since this is the beginning of the game, though, most of the enemies in this mine don't pose a threat, even to our level 1 character. Most of the Red Wolf's attacks will do 0 damage to Hilbert, or maybe 1 if they get lucky. Only the Kobold we saw earlier is capable of dealing more than 1 damage in this dungeon, and they're rather rare and show up alone.
It only takes a few shots to take down the wolves, and afterwards, we get our first level up.
Getting back to the dungeon, this room offers us a choice of paths. Let's check out the staircase down first.
Well, that's not going to get us anywhere. Let's head through that other passageway.
There's a small lake behind the opening, and as we're running around it we run into the final enemy type for this dungeon: bats. Bats are negligible. Red Wolves at least have a chance to deal 1 damage to Hilbert, but I don't think I saw any of the bats in this dungeon ever do anything other than zero. They also die in a single hit.
Anyway, the passageway spits us out above the opening we just went through, leading us to a chest with a Brown Herb...
... and this switch, whose effects aren't immediately apparent.
If we head down the staircase we saw earlier, we find that the switch rotated the bridge to point east, and we can now continue on.
Before we do, though, I decide to give our spellcard a whirl. This is the menu that shows up when you select Spellcard in battle. The left side of the window shows our regular spells, and the right side, our Crisis spells. Since Hilbert isn't in Crisis, the right side is grayed out.
Gust Strike does a tiny bit more damage than our regular attack, but is otherwise unremarkable. There won't be much reason to keep this card around once we start getting other spellcards.
Moving on, we come across another chest, containing a Leather Cap. To no one's surprise, the Leather Cap is a piece of equipment that goes in the Helmet slot, and provides a slight boost to Hilbert's VIT. Also, you can see that the few levels we've gained in this dungeon have ramped up Hilbert's stats pretty fast, though this is only because his stats were so low to start with.
The opening on the west side of this room brings us to another switch that causes a rumbling off in the distance.
If we head west from there, we find ourselves back at the mine entrance with this bridge lowered, giving us an easy way back. Also there's a Molotov Cocktail just lying around for some reason. The Molotov Cocktail is an attack item that can be used in battle to deal a small amount of non-elemental damage to all enemies.
Heading back to the room with the Leather Cap, there's a small rock-pushing puzzle blocking our way to the south. I hesitate to call it a puzzle, since I'm pretty sure only two of the rocks have to be moved.
And south of there is a save point and a lit doorway. I think we all know what this means.
There's light coming through holes in the cave's ceiling. This place is not far underground after all.
There's a beast like this in here? But... it's left all these animal bones around... There's no way that Anna's also... right?
Haha, what am I thinking? She probably got scared by this beast and hid somewhere.
BOSS FIGHT: Cave Griffin
I dunno, considering this "guy" is taller than Hilbert while sitting, I have to take issue with Hilbert's claim that he doesn't look tough. But we'll see what we can do.
We can do a bit of damage with our bow...
... but the Griffin has attacks of its own. Poisonous Claw is probably the most dangerous in its arsenal, as--you guessed it--it inflicts Poison. Poisoned characters glow green, as you can see.
Poison is a surprisingly nasty status effect in Last Scenario. 4 damage doesn't seem like that much, but remember that this is more than 10% of Hilbert's max HP, and he's losing it every turn in addition to the damage from the Griffin. If you didn't buy any antidotes like the guy in the item shop suggested, it's entirely possible to die in this fight from the poison wearing Hilbert down.
Fortunately, we listened to the item shop man.
In addition to Poisonous Claw, the Cave Griffin has a regular attack that does a bit of damage...
... and an attack called Tail Swipe that does slightly more.
We've got some tricks of our own though. I toss out the Molotov Cocktail for some significant damage. Attack items in Last Scenario are generally quite powerful and useful. You won't often see them cluttering up your inventory like you'd expect from an RPG like this.
After a few more rounds of trading attacks, Hilbert goes into Crisis. Once a character is in Crisis, they can cast one Crisis spell, which will empty the bar. However, you can "store" a full Crisis bar for as long as you want, even between battles, as long as the character doesn't die--death is the only other way to empty the bar. The tradeoff, of course, is that as long as a character is in Crisis, additional Crisis points they would have gained go to waste.
Now then, let's see the awesome power of Healing Wind!
Hmm. That was rather disappointing. I'd expect more from a spell we had to spend our entire Crisis bar to use.
Oh well. A few more attacks bring the Cave Griffin down.
We get two levels out of the deal, as well as a Silver Dust, an item that restores 30 HP to all party members. We also finally see an item show up in the lower right window. This is a Hex tile, which is added to our collection for use when playing Hex. Enemies occasionally drop Hex tiles, and we can also earn new ones by beating people in actual Hex games. But we'll see that later.
Anna! Anna! It's safe now! You can come out!
No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That amulet just kind of sprang into existence there.
Fade to black...
Following the battle, we're actually forced to walk out of the mine ourselves.
But with the bridge we lowered earlier, it's not a big deal.
Once we get back to Whitelake, the game will automatically teleport us to Cathy's house.
I'm sorry, Cathy.
But you said you'd get her back! You promised!
Don't feel too bad about yourself, Hilbert. I know you did everything you could. She'll understand.
Yeah... I'll just go, then...
Fade to black...
So... this is all I can do? The town's protector can't even protect a cat? What a joke.
Y'know, Hilbert, I can get being disappointed, but you seem to be taking this awfully far. It's not your fault Anna ran off.
Fortunately, before Hilbert can start sulking further, a voice interrupts his thoughts.
I'm sorry, who are you?
You wouldn't know me, but I know who you are. I had a vision in which you appeared to me. It took me a long time to find the person I saw in that vision, but now I know that it was you.
Uhm, I don't really understand. Why were you looking for me?
I'll try to make it simple to understand.
Ooh, I know this one. That was the one where Odin turned his general Hugin and his army into demons, and then they turned on him and--oh wait, wrong game.
A little. I've heard of it before. I know it's a story about a war between humans and demons, but I don't remember much more about it.
You... do not believe in the legend?
I guess... I never thought about it much. It's a little hard to believe, isn't it? I mean, you don't see any demons around nowadays.
Of course. They were defeated in the war.
I know that. All I'm saying is that it's not easy to believe a whole army of demons invaded us, when we don't even really know for sure if demons existed at all.
But it's true, Hilbert. The war actually happened.
One day they will awaken, and then another war will begin.
Well, that's bad if it's true, but... I still don't understand what you want from me.
The time of the demon resurrection is drawing near. I saw that in a vision as well. It will happen soon. I need your help, Hilbert. When the demons return, you're the only one who can defeat them.
Yes, only you can do it. It is your destiny.
Haha... that's a joke, right?
You don't believe that my visions are true? I can prove it. I found this symbol because of them.
As long as you hold this, you have proof that you are part of Alexander's lineage.
... You're saying that... I'm destined to be a hero?
This may be hard for you to accept, but...
I knew it!
Tell me! Tell me what I should do!
I don't know exactly... I can only tell you what I've seen in my visions. In any case, you can't stay in this town forever. It would be best to leave as soon as possible. If you only take action when the Awakening begins, it will be too late to make a difference. Take the seal, and keep it with you at all times. It will open many doors for you.
I understand. I'll need to become stronger, and make a name for myself.
Yes, but whatever you do, don't tell anyone about the demon awakening. At this point it will only create panic. There will come a time to warn everyone, but it's not now.
Wait! You're already going?
This is not something I can help you with directly. You must achieve it by yourself. I have my own role. We'll meet again someday.
One quick walk back to our house later...
I was thinking of heading north to the capital of the Republic. If I join the army, I can make a name for myself and get stronger at the same time.
But... don't you think this is going too fast? Don't you want to think more carefully about this?
I don't have time to wait, Joanna. I've got an important mission.
You don't have to stay here just for me, Hilbert. I'm just surprised at your sudden change of mind. Do you really trust that woman so easily?
I have the evidence right here, with this seal. That's all I need. I'm sure that once I'm at the capital, I'll know if it's the real thing. Don't worry, I won't be gone forever. I'll still come to see you whenever I can.
I know that, Hilbert, but I'm concerned about your safety. Just... be careful.
Our viewpoint suddenly shifts to somewhere else. There's no sound aside from some slowly dripping water.
I'm slowly... forgetting everything... If I stay here... I'll forget everything I know... No... I've got to hold on... at least that one thing... I can't forget...
Next time: The demons are returning and Hilbert is the only one who can defeat them. So let's play a board game.