Part 7: ... Go Often Awry
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, the Pargon Republic officially declared war on the Northern Empire. After a brief trip back to Whitelake to visit Joanna, we headed back to Stonewall to receive our first mission for the war. Commander Tazar and Colonel Newick have instructed us to infiltrate a fortress known as Fort Walstein on the southern edge of the Imperial continent, where the Empire is apparently training beasts to fight for them. Our mission is to set the beasts free and force the Empire soldiers to handle them while we escape. We've gotten our supplies from the northern outpost near the Imperial continent, so now it's time to get on with our mission. Let's get to it.
Me? I'm more afraid of those beasts in the basement than a Republic attack. What are you worried about, with no enemy in sight? You think they're just going to drop down from the sky?
And we're thrust into battle with two Imperial Soldiers. These guys aren't anything special. They can stab us for about 4 damage and go down in one round of physical attacks if all of our characters hit.
Though in a bit of thematic consistency, human enemies are also capable of using spellcards. Imperial Soldiers have access to Lightning, which thankfully isn't as overkill as it is for us and does 9-10 damage per cast.
Also, here's our new Scan spellcard in action. A Scan casting shows us all of one enemy's stats, as well as the items and Hex tiles that they drop or have available for stealing. In addition, though Imperial Soldiers don't have any, Scan will also let us know of any weaknesses or resistances an enemy has to particular elements or attack types.
Anyway, we take the two grunts out pretty quickly.
And we're given control. We can talk to Selene and Jord here, but there isn't much of a point.
This little scene leads into another battle with three Imperial Soldiers, who go down about as quickly as the last two.
Only problem is that there are safety doors in our way that require a key. There should be an officer somewhere around here who has the key. We'll go look for him. Selene, Jord, you two head for the doors and clear that area.
Well, our objective is to the south, but come on, this is an RPG and we have to explore everything. Let's see what's this way first.
Welp. I should probably point out that there are no random encounters in the fort, and the only way to get into a fight is to run into a group of soldiers like I just did here. But as you can see from all of the treasure chests nearby, it's usually worth it.
This time around the game throws an Imperial Sergeant into the mix. But aside from somewhat higher HP and attack power, these guys are basically the same as the grunts. The only exception is that they can also cast Cure to heal an ally for 50 HP or so, but that's fairly rare.
Afterwards, we loot the place. The Star Cape is our first mage armor, granting +5 VIT and +30 RES. Too bad both of those stats are useless right now. The Snow Powder is an attack item that casts Frostbite.
Further to the north is a dead end for the time being. The conspicuous switch to the right won't work without a key.
So let's head to the south of where we started and see what we can do about that.
There are a few locations where soldiers will pop in and force you into a battle. They're still not a problem.
Not every group of soldiers is guarding treasure though. The room to the southeast is empty.
The room to the southwest contains a sergeant capable of speech, which leads to another battle with an Imperial Sergeant and two grunts.
We get the key for defeating him.
The chests in the room contain some spellcards, as well. Noise we've seen for sale before (it cures Silence), but Vigor is new:
Vigor (3MP): Cures Enfeeble, Amnesia, and Slow for one ally.
Crisis: Warmth (7MP): Cures Poison, Berserk, and Chaos for the entire party.
Stat changes: +2% max HP
Anyway, we head back to the switch and pull it, which opens the gate. A few soldiers drop in afterwards and we take them down without much trouble.
This should've been the only obstacle on our way down. We just have to find the main controls for the cages now.
How are you doing, Hilbert? It's your first major mission after all, and so soon after you joined.
Me? I'm doing okay, I think. It's different from fighting beasts, but... I'm the hero's descendant, right? I won't give up so easily.
I don't know what the big deal is. These imperials are little more than beasts themselves. They're the ones who started this war. If they were afraid of dying, they shouldn't have joined the army.
Jord! I don't want to hear you talk like that! Even if they're the enemy, they're still people. No one wants to die. You don't want to get killed either, do you?
Enough with the chatter! How can you even think of arguing about that in a place like this!? Jord, stay with Selene, and don't do anything reckless. Hilbert, you come with us. Everyone move out!
I'm sorry, Captain.
A little ways north of the gate is this bridge, which starts another brief scene.
We're almost there. We need to find the central controls for the cages.
It doesn't take us long to get down to the cages. Only a single group of soldiers stands in our way.
The game is nice enough to hand us a free Tent next to a save point here, in case we haven't gotten into the swing of buying them yet. I've already got two, but a free one is always nice.
Ha ha! Excellent! I was growing bored of just handling animals. I'll take care of you fools myself!
Be careful, he looks tougher than the rest.
And it's time for a miniboss fight. The dude in the back is an Imperial Elite and he's quite strong, but the game still plays the normal battle music for this fight.
Along with a regular stab that does about 12 damage, the Elite can use Heroic Strike to hit our entire party for around 9. He also has an impressive HP pool, and it takes at least six or seven rounds of Hilbert and Thorve using their spellcards to kill him. Once he's down, though, the grunts aren't any trouble.
As a reward, the Elite drops the first Key Tablet of the game. Key Tablets are the special items used to unlock characters' extra spellcard slots, and the number on the end tells us which: Key Tablet Is unlock the third slot, IIs unlock the fourth, and IIIs unlock the fifth. Each tablet can only be used on one character, though, so we'll need to find more if we want to unlock the third spellcard slot for our entire party. For now, Thorve's our best mage, so he gets this one.
However, we should be careful. We'll have to make our way through these monsters as well to get out.
Do it. The faster we're out of here the better.
A-Are you from the Republic army? We're only researchers. I beg you, please don't...
Shut up already, old man! You got nerve, trying to tell us what to do. It's your own damn fault for playing with these beasts!
Leave now, and you can still make it out alive. There's no point in trying to stop us. Go! I won't tell you a second time!
If the cages are opened, all safety gates will close automatically! You can't open them from the inside! We'll all be trapped!
Is there no way out at all? You'd better tell us if you want to live. We're opening the cages no matter what.
Yes, there is an emergency exit... but it's far from here. You would have to go past all the beast pens. You'll never survive! There's a dangerous specimen contained there that would also be freed!
Captain, what should we do? We could try to make it out, but...
No time for discussion. Take that man with you and return to where we came from. I'll stay here and pull the switch myself.
What are you talking about? We can't leave you here! If we go together, then...
I said no time for discussion! This is not a situation I can put the rest of you in. As the Captain, I'll take responsibility.
He's right! We came here together! Even if it's just the three of us, I know we can do this!
... Like I said, we have no time for this. Selene, take Jord and the researchers out of here. Hurry!
Captain... We'll be waiting for you on the ship! I know you'll make it!
There's no turning back now. I'm going to have to get all of you out alive. Thorve, open the cages.
As Thorve pulls the switch, there's a brief fade to black, the cages open, and suddenly all of the beasts disappear from the screen. What this actually means, however, is that random battles are now active again. We'll be running into the beasts we just freed for the rest of the dungeon.
Before we head onward, though, we go back to the first room of cages and find a Fur Hat in one of them. The Fur Hat is a helmet that grants a paltry +7 VIT, which is worthless, but it has the added benefit of making its wearer completely immune to ice attacks. Hilbert puts it on.
As we're heading back we run into some of the beasts we freed. These are Tarantulas, capable of biting for 8 damage or using Venomous Bite to inflict 8 damage and Poison.
Back in the room with the main switch, there's a bit of minor treasure in one of the cages.
Imperial Soldiers will also appear in random battles here now, but they're still the same as before.
What? How on earth do you know that? Whatever. Puzzles!
Of course, we need to grab the treasure in the corner before we start closing the cages up. The Mystic Fan is an attack item that deals minor wind damage to all enemies.
We're also ambushed by a Giant Scorpion before we can get to puzzlin'. The Scorpion only ever shows up alone, but has a physical attack that does 12 damage, as well as an annoying technique called Nightmare that simultaneously poisons a target and puts it to sleep. Although sleeping characters lose their turns, poison will still damage them when their turn would have come around.
Anyway, each of the switches in this room will either open or close a few of the doors. I suck at these puzzles so I hit them at random until all of the cages are closed, which opens the way forward.
Another scene begins as we reach this small overpass.
What were they keeping in here? It must be huge!
It must've been that monster the researcher warned us about. We're lucky, it looks like it went somewhere else.
We can escape from here. Let's move, we're almost out!
.... They don't even realize who we are. Come on, we don't have to stay here any longer.
Wait! If we leave them there, they'll die!
Are you telling me we should risk our lives to help the enemy?
Look! They're not even soldiers! They have no way to defend themselves! I can't leave them to their fate! You were helping those researchers back at the switch too, weren't you!?
Now listen to me, Hilbert. We're not here to rescue people. This is war. I feel sorry for them, but I'm not going out of my way to save them from their own monster. We can't endanger our mission for these people.
... oh god. Is he gonna--
Holy shit. Remind me to not make Matilda angry ever.
I'm going to kill that boy!
Fade to black...
Following the scene, we're dropped back at the south of the overpass. We can actually walk right back to the window if we want to, but there's no way to interact with it, so it looks like it's rescue time.
The staircase down brings us to an intersection, but the room to the west is empty.
Well, there are monsters I guess. Not two hours in and we've already hit some palette swaps. These guys are Dire Wolves, who are fairly weak but show up in groups. They only have a physical attack that does 4 damage.
The room to the east of the intersection, on the other hand, has a pretty kickass item inside. Gold Dust is the step up from Silver Dust, healing 200 HP to the entire party, which means it'll be a full party heal for a good while.
A save point greets us in the room south of the intersection. I bet you can guess what's next...
... oh. Guess not, because these guys show up first. These guys are Basilisks, who have a moderate amount of HP and deal about 10 damage with their regular attacks. They will also rarely use Terrible Gaze, which petrifies its target. Petrified characters cannot act in any way, and I was rather cocky last update and didn't buy any Softs, so we have no way of curing the status. Fortunately, status effects don't persist past the end of a battle.
Following the battle, Hilbert and Thorve swap their Lightning and Frostbite spellcards. There's no reason for this at all.
Right then, now it's time for what actually comes after a save point.
This is the beast? What kind of idiot would try to control a thing like this? This whole situation has already made me real angry, and seeing this overgrown snake only makes it worse. Hey, over here! I'll cut you to shreds!
BOSS FIGHT: Amphisbaena
... what? That doesn't look anything like the sprite on the map.
Well, in any case, the Scan results remind me that I probably should have bought a Spark spellcard while we were back on the Republic island. We'll just have to make do, I guess. Since I have no method of stealing it, I should also explain that the Panacea the Amphisbaena carries is an item that heals all detrimental statuses on a character. Handy, but not a huge loss.
The Amphisbaena's resistance to ice means that Hilbert's opening P-Frost yields less than impressive results. I mainly did this to show that Last Scenario will inform you when you hit an enemy with an element that it resists: the game will show the damage in gray to indicate this.
I also did it to show off Amphisbaena's gimmick. As the game so kindly informs us here, Amphisbaena hates magic, and anytime it is hit with magic it will automatically counter by attempting to silence the caster.
But thanks to his Blue Ring, Thorve takes the counters in stride and will be spending the majority of this fight calling down the thunder on the boss.
Beyond its auto-counters, the Amphisbaena has a few attacks. Its most favored one is probably Neurotoxins, which inflicts a fair chunk of damage as well as the Amnesia status. Amnesiac characters start emitting weird blue circles from their heads, as you can see. I don't care that Matilda has Amnesia because she's not casting magic anyway, but you should make sure to bring a few Mementos in case Thorve gets hit with it.
The Amphisbaena is also fond of using Double Head Attack to hit the entire party for 15 damage or so.
But apart from those two attacks, the Amphisbaena only has a physical attack for about 12 damage, which means it's not much of a threat. If you haven't sold the Blue Ring that Thorve starts with (and if you have, shame on you), all you really need to do to win this battle is to equip it to him and have him fire away with magic for the entire fight. Bring a few Mementos in case he gets hit with Amnesia and the boss won't last long.
Apart from the new Bogdrin Hex tile, the Amphisbaena also drops a Keepsake, an accessory that prevents Amnesia. Personally, I prefer the Blue Ring if you're looking for status protection on a caster.
The wind's still good. We can wait for a little longer if we have to.
Should we go take a closer look?
That's it! I'm taking us out of here!
You can't do that! What about the others!?
You want to fight off all those soldiers by yourself? We can't wait forever!
You don't care what happens to them!? I won't leave them behind!
Jord! He's right! We can't stay here any longer! We have to believe in the Captain! She wouldn't die so easily, right? We'll see her again at the outpost!
.... Yeah, she'll make it.
Fade to black...
Look... there are arrows stuck in the wood here. They must've left because they were under attack.
Fade to black...
Are your heroics going to get us out of this too? Huh? Look at me when I'm talking! Think about what you've done! You didn't just put yourself in danger, but your teammates as well! You think you can go off and do what you want when you're part of a team!? Hey!
Don't undermine my authority, Thorve. He needs to be disciplined.
There is a time for that, and it's not now. Our first priority should be getting back to the outpost.
You're right. This can wait for later. Do you know this area well, Thorve? What are our options?
There are several things we can do. First of all, we can wait here in case the ship comes back for us.
Not a chance. They won't come back for us at a time like this. We'll just waste valuable time waiting.
Yes, it's a bad choice. We can also try to go west. That's where the Republic army will be making their attack. We could hide in that area and meet up with our allies when they arrive.
But it will take time for our forces to arrive. In the meantime, we'd be surrounded by enemies.
Yes. There's no optimal solution, but we have to make a choice. Unless...
You have another idea?
The fort is right on the border of the Empire.
They're officially part of the Empire, but there's no military presence there. We could find a coastal village and get a ship to take us back.
Hmm. That seems to be the best solution. Even if they refuse to transport us, we'll be safe for now. We'll go east then. Do you agree?
I have no issues with it. I'll follow your orders.
Fade to black...
Welp, that went well. We're dumped back on the world map following the scene.
Normally I'd take some time here to explore the new area of the map, but there's literally nowhere we can go aside from back into the fort or this mountain pass to the east. So the pass it is.
If we're low on supplies, Zodov here functions as an item shop with a standard selection. We don't need anything, though, so we move on.
As soon as we head off the north edge of the screen, we transition into another scene.
Good. If we can find a ship straight away, we may make it back before they launch the attack. The situation may not be as bad as we thought, although it's still a major inconvenience. The Commander is not going to be happy.
Are you mad at me? I'm not the one you should be angry with. Take some responsibility. I might've respected your actions more if you actually had the guts to defend them.
God Matilda! That's hitting a little below the belt.
It turns out Hilbert's done listening to her after that, as he gets up and walks away.
You don't think he deserves it after what happened today?
This has gone beyond punishment. You're just breaking down his self-esteem now. There are different ways to deal with each person. I'll go talk to him.
Fade to black...
Did I... do the wrong thing?
I wouldn't say it was wrong... but it was certainly a foolish thing to do. Treat this as a lesson.
What should I have done? Let those people die, or put my friends in trouble... what would a real hero do? I want to be a hero, but... I just don't know.
I'm really not the person to ask such things... But there are things even a hero can't do. You can't always save everyone.
Does that mean... that even if I become a hero, I still might not be able to do it? I still won't be able to fulfill my destiny?
What do you mean?
Never mind. I'll apologize to the Captain. I'll try to think of my allies as well next time.
Yes, that would be best.
When we visited your hometown, you told us that your parents are dead. And when you walked away just now, it was because of what the Captain said about him, wasn't it?
It happened eight years ago. A group of pirates looted the town, and there was no army to stop them. A lot of people were killed... entire families... I saw it. I saw them kill my father and mother in cold blood. People were being slaughtered... and all the while, I was hiding. I was too afraid to do anything. My sister, Joanna... she's only alive today because she wasn't in town at the time. If she was there, then she too... I couldn't do anything. If only I was stronger. If I was stronger, I could've saved them. It's because I was weak and afraid that they all died.
That's why... I'll become a hero. I'll protect Joanna, and everyone else in town... and all of you too.
You have a lot of guilt weighing down on you. Wanting to become a hero because of that is...
Next time: Okay, we've got a young boy who wants to become a hero, an ancient reawakening threat, a tragic past, a heroic destiny... what other cliches are we missing?