Part 5: Ghosts, Specters, and Phantom, Oh My!
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, Hilbert headed to the capital of the Republic and joined the army. In addition to learning that the seal of Alexander that he holds is real, Hilbert has been assigned to a special forces team led by Captain Matilda, consisting of her, a medic named Thorve, a young woman named Selene, and a young man named Jord. Hilbert's first assignment with the team is to check out Farin Island, a place that's been mentioned quite a bit by Republic citizens. It's time to find out exactly what went down there, and what our job is. Let's get to it.
Music: None (waves crashing)
We're on our way to the former army base at Farin Island. An investigation team was scheduled to go there, but apparently some monster already made the site its home.
What makes it worse is that once you got one monster at the place, it starts attracting others. We've got to find the big one and take it out of action, but we'll also have to deal with lesser beasts.
What is this Farin Island? I heard other people talking about it as well.
And now we come to the RPG-opening-requisite "protagonist asking a stupid question to get exposition" moment. I do like that Matilda and Selene call him out on it though. Most RPGs just kind of ignore this.
How can you not know about this? It's the largest act of aggression against us from the Empire in years! Everyone's up in arms about it! If it continues we'll end up going to war with the Empire over this!
I'm sure it's going to happen. Me, I can't wait to get those Imperial bastards.
Oh, I see... I didn't know.
I hadn't thought about this before, but... I thought there were no survivors at the island? If so, how do we know it was the Empire?
I know the answer to that. A patrol ship that was in the neighborhood intercepted one of their boats. I don't think we took more than a few of them prisoner, but it was enough to get the story out of 'em.
They thought they could get away with this by trying to get us to blame the Kingdom. If we hadn't captured them, then...
Fade to black...
Okay, I think I'm just going to have to ask you guys to ignore the weird squares popping up in the location titles. I can't seem to get rid of them, but they're honestly not a major issue.
We'll split up and clear out the area. Selene and Jord, you two take the east section. If you run into any trouble, don't do anything stupid and come back to get the rest of us.
Got it, Captain!
That leaves three of us for the other two areas. Thorve, you take the new guy and go west. I'll do the north section myself.
Oh, and here are the supplies I got for this mission.
Received 2x 'Serpent Tongue'! Received 'Soul Essence'! Received 'Tent'!
And we're off. Let's see what this new guy is all about.
Thorve is, essentially, the anti-Hilbert. Whereas Hilbert has good strength and speed and below-average intelligence, Thorve has good intelligence and below-average strength and speed. He's not a pure mage--a later character will fill that role quite handily--but he's definitely someone you'll want casting spells more often than not. Unfortunately, for the time being he'll be mostly stuck with physical attacks because his MP pool is only large enough for four spells.
Thorve's weapons of choice are gems, whose use we'll see shortly, and he comes with a free Blue Ring, which prevents him from getting silenced. He also has a few spellcards equipped to begin with: Frostbite, an attack spell we saw last update, and another spellcard that'll be a staple for quite some time, for obvious reasons:
Cure (4MP): Restores a small amount of HP to one ally.
Crisis: M-Cure (7MP): Restores a small amount of HP to all allies.
Stat changes: -2% max HP, +2% max MP
Here's Hilbert's stats for comparison's sake. While Hilbert and Thorve's strengths might seem roughly equal, keep in mind that Hilbert is two levels behind.
Now then, let's check out the western section of this base like Matilda asked.
It isn't long before we run into some of the monsters we were warned about. In this case, we're dealing with three Ghosts.
The gems that Thorve equips in his weapon slot are presumably used to power the magical claw you can see over his right hand. His damage is all right for now, but he'll get outclassed pretty soon.
Ghosts can bite us for 2 damage a pop, but they're also the first regular enemy with another trick up their sleeve: they can use Life Steal to drain a bit of HP from our characters. 4 damage isn't that much, but it still adds up quickly this early in the game.
The door to the north takes us to a small supply room. Despite all of the boxes lying around, the only thing we can open is the chest in the northeast. Turns out we didn't need to buy that Feathered Hat last update.
As we're leaving we get ambushed by an Air Elemental. These guys are fast enough to move before Hilbert and have a bit of punch behind their attacks.
They also can use Vapor Blast to hit both Hilbert and Thorve for 6 damage each. As you can see, Last Scenario steps up its game pretty fast.
Anyway, as we continue along the path we reach two doorways, but we can't go through one of them yet. Looks like we're going outside.
We run into a few Blue Geckos as we head into the courtyard. The other enemies we've seen here have had special moves, but Blue Geckos are just there to smack you for around 3 damage. They're not too tough.
They're also our first regular enemy to drop a Hex tile. Most bosses have guaranteed Hex tile drops, but regular enemies can drop them too, albeit with a much lower probability.
The small hill here brings us to a closed door. Hmm, I wonder what we could possibly have to do here?
There we go.
We run into some more Ghosts as we're heading back around, so I decide to have Thorve try out his Frostbite spell.
At this point in the game, offensive magic is complete overkill. We're not hitting a weakness or anything here--this is the normal damage for our spell. Of course, only having enough MP to cast it four times kind of dampens that.
The game hands us a free Serpent Tongue right afterwards though, so that'll allow us to continue our magical reign of terror a bit longer.
The door brings us back inside and to a fork. The western path holds a bit of treasure.
The Pulse Gem is a gem for Thorve, giving him a slight boost.
The other chest holds a Red Cinder, an attack item that deals a small amount of fire damage to one enemy. It's pretty much the item equivalent of the Spark spellcard.
We find another enemy type on our way back to the fork: the Lost Soul. Lost Souls are dicks. In addition to high HP and a physical attack that does about 6 damage, they also can use Vile Sword to deal that 6 damage and also poison one of our party members. These guys are priority targets.
The eastern fork lets us continue on, but as we walk in front of the doorway in the above shot...
... Thorve pops out and the game takes control away from us. Hey, I wanted to go in there!
I was hoping it'd be on our path. I think the two of us are best suited to deal with it...
Should we go back? Maybe the others need help.
Yes, that would probably be best.
Good, you're here. I heard your voice from the other room. We've found a suspicious person!
A suspicious person?
He doesn't look dangerous, but we're not sure what to do with him. He's not a soldier.
I understand. We'll come right away. In the meantime, make sure he doesn't go anywhere.
Got it, we'll be waiting for you!
Wait, what? Why can't we just jump down to their level? Whatever, we get control back here.
I head back to take a look at that door we saw earlier, but a couple of Shadows appear before I get there. Shadows hit for about 3 damage, so they aren't that dangerous in terms of attack power, but they're highly evasive and most physical attacks will miss them. If you've got MP to spare, an application of Frostbite will take them down quick.
Anyway, inside the door we find a bit of treasure. The Silver Chain is an accessory that grants +5 INT. Thorve could get some use out of it, but I prefer to keep the Blue Ring on him. 5 INT isn't that much and his INT won't matter anyway if he gets silenced and can't cast spells.
The other chest contains our first Capsule. There are a multitude of <stat> Capsules spread throughout the game, and each one will provide a small but permanent boost to the stat in their name for the character who uses them. Hilbert pops this one to give himself a +5 STR boost.
The hallway to our south leads us to a switch, which unlocks the door we saw earlier that was locked from the other side. With it open we quickly make our way back to the entrance.
After a quick rest at the save point at the entrance, we continue on to the eastern section.
The first thing we find in the eastern section is a dining room, but there's nothing to pick up here.
If we continue along the path, we find ourselves outside again, on a small ring that circles the center of the base. If we head south from here we can get to the treasure chests we could see from the entrance.
Nothing major, but a free Tent and spellcard is always nice. The Lightning spellcard goes to Hilbert, since he's still got an open slot.
Hey, you. Wake up. Who are you and what are you doing here?
Ghost!? You think he's not human, Thorve?
He doesn't seem to be a ghost or spirit. Let me ask you again. Why are you here?
I am here. Yes, I am here. Why?
He just looks like a senile old man to me.
I am looking. I felt like I could find a clue here.
A clue? For what?
Yes... What. What? Who am I?
Huh... not much sense left in his old head.
How did he get on this island? Do you know?
Yeah, there's a boat right outside. Just a small rowing boat, nothing else inside.
That's enough. Selene, Jord, take this man back to his boat and send him off.
Are you sure he'll be fine?
He came here by himself too. We can't take him with us.
All right, I got it. C'mon old man, let's go.
No, I didn't... Our target wasn't in the east or west section, so that means...
She might be in trouble.
Fade to black...
Following the scene, we're once again forced to walk back to the entrance.
It doesn't take us long to get there, and we head through the northern door.
That specter... it must be the source monster! Stand back! It's resistant to physical attacks! My magic will be more effective!
I can't allow that, Captain.
Didn't you hear me!? I'm fine! Go and take everyone to the exit! We're leaving after I'm done!
What are you talking about? You're already wounded! We have to help! Or else you might...
No, she's right, Hilbert. She can handle this by herself.
But... it's obvious that...
Regardless, Captain, we're on a mission. We're supposed to complete it as efficiently as possible. We can finish this mission faster if we work together.
All right, but don't complain if you get hurt.
BOSS FIGHT: Knight Specter
Just as Last Scenario is starting to step up its game with the normal enemies here, the Knight Specter is also an appreciable jump in difficulty from the Cave Griffin. As Hilbert mentioned, Matilda is already wounded, and she enters the party at 20 HP. So first order of business is getting her healed up.
Hilbert kicks off the battle by trying out his shiny new Lightning spellcard. While he doesn't have the magical power that Thorve does, using Lightning is still the best move for him in this fight. Thorve mentioned that the Specter is resistant to physical attacks, but that isn't actually true--it's just that spellcards are much more powerful than regular attacks at this point in the game.
The Specter retailiates with Blind Fury, a rather annoying spell that causes no damage but inflicts blindness and berserk simultaneously. As we don't have any way of curing either status, we're just going to have to let Hilbert fire away and hope he hits.
One of the slightly annoying aspects of Last Scenario's battle screen is that the game will only ever display a single status effect for each character. Here, Hilbert is shown berserk, but he's blinded as well and we have no way of seeing that at a glance. The only way to know what other statuses a character has on them is to highlight them with the targeting cursor, which will display them all in the text box at the top of the screen.
In any case, Thorve gets Matilda healed up just in time for the Specter to bust out Flames of Vengeance, which deals a good chunk of damage to the entire party.
I'll get into Matilda's stats more later, but for now all you need to know is that her primary purpose is to stab things in the face really hard. 23 damage is pretty damn good compared to what Hilbert and Thorve have been doing, but magic is still the way to go in this fight.
As if to demonstrate, Thorve follows up with a Frostbite attack that does twice her damage.
The Specter's regular attack is no slouch, either. Getting hit by a physical attack dispels berserk, so Hilbert is now just blind.
I also have Thorve toss out the Red Cinder we found earlier in the dungeon. Tossing an attack item is equivalent to casting the spell associated with it (in this case it's Spark, which we don't have a copy of yet), so Thorve our best candidate for item-throwing.
Then Hilbert uses his Crisis and the rest of his MP to try out X-Lightning, which looks the same as Lightning but causes the screen to flash yellow. The extra power allows him to match Thorve's damage output.
The Specter also has access to Horror, which I think is just a beefed-up physical attack as there's no fear status in this game. At any rate, he never inflicted any statuses with it.
Lastly, if he wants to be a real dick the Specter can silence your party members, making it much more difficult to damage him. Thorve's Blue Ring prevents that though.
The Specter has a pretty large HP pool, but with some more attacks, a grenade, and a timely critical by Matilda, we take him down.
Aside from the Lost Soul Hex tile, which we already have a copy of, our reward for the battle is a Healing Orb, Last Scenario's version of the Elixir. Using one will restore one ally's HP and MP to full, and unlike Tents, they can be used anytime. Although we didn't have it available, if we had grinded out a Steal spellcard we could have also swiped a Swift Lance from the Specter, a weapon for Matilda. It shouldn't be too big of a loss though.
To turn into a specter, he must've died with extreme regret. It's not common even on the battlefield... The other spirits in this place should gradually disperse now. Our mission here is over.
Fade to black...
Selene, how did it go on your end?
We put him back in his boat and made sure he left. That's all we could do. If he comes back once we've left we can't stop him anyway.
I felt kinda sorry for him. He was really gloomy and quiet after you left. I wonder why.
He was creeping me out. He has these piercing eyes, like he's seeing right through you.
What are you talking about? Did something happen?
It was nothing important. We'll explain on the way back. Right now we should leave and report back at the capital.
You're right, there's no need to stay here any longer. Everyone, move out!
How... How did I do?
If you want to be a part of my team, you'll have to start doing better than this. I'll give you a break because you're new, but I expect you to improve quickly.
But coming from her, it's almost a compliment. If she thought you had no potential, she would've told you so.
Hilbert dashes off after Matilda.
He's pretty good.
The spirit of a hero, huh?
Next time: Both our characters and NPCs have been talking about the possibility of war with the Empire. I wonder what will happen next...
Also, just as an aside: I don't really like having to ask for this, but I'd appreciate it if we could get a few more posts in here from those of you who are reading, so that I'm not forced to crash everyone's browsers by posting 5-6 updates on a page. Thanks!