Part 31: Saboteur
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we decided to investigate the facility that Ethan was imprisoned in, and made our way to the town of Gleston to do so. There, we ran into Zawu, and in a surprise twist, she decided to help us get to the facility and asked us to destroy it. While we're still not sure whether or not we want to fulfill Zawu's wishes, we're dead set on at least figuring out what's going on in there. Let's get to it.
When we ended last update, we were standing right outside the facility. So let's head in.
The Biorite Facility has no music. Instead, the only sounds are distant drips of water and air flowing through ventilation shafts. It really adds to the creepiness factor.
You don't happen to know the way here, do you Ethan?
Not really. I only remember the way to my cell, and we don't need to go back there.
Let's just see what we can find.
With that, we're given control, and almost immediately we run into this area's gimmick. There are a number of doors in the facility with letters next to them.
As you might expect, they're all locked. We'll need to find keys for the various lettered doors in order to progress in this dungeon.
At least the facility designers are kind enough to leave some treasure lying around for us.
There's also a door that we can't enter near the starting point. Obviously we don't want to head out the front door right now, but it'll probably be helpful to remember this if we decide to go with that whole "blowing up the facility" plan.
One of the nice (if slightly annoying) touches of the Biorite Facility is that it's not just a straight path for us to follow. There are a number of small dead ends in the form of storage rooms, offices, and maintenance areas, and while they're usually empty, it helps cement the impression that this is an actual working facility and not just an RPG dungeon.
The fact that there are guards around helps with that too. It took me a surprisingly long time to run into a battle here, though.
Anyway, these are two Guard Dogs and a Rosehart Soldier. Rosehart Soldiers are straight-up pathetic, dying extremely quickly and dealing very little damage with their attacks. Guard Dogs are at least fairly fast, but their attacks only do about 75 damage and they go down quickly as well.
Now then, let's actually start exploring the facility proper. At present we only have one way to go, and it's not long before we find an A door to complement the B one we saw earlier. Can you guess in what order we'll be unlocking these things?
There's an unlocked door nearby, but before we can enter it we're attacked by a dude that looks an awful lot like the Prototypes we fought on Grey Peak. This is a Prototype Beta, and it's a rather nasty mix of Prototypes #4 and #5. It has some new elemental -mancy attacks, all of which deal damage and inflict status effects simultaneously. Petrimancy deals about 80 earth damage and petrifies a single target, Luminomancy silences the entire party while dealing 70 light damage or so, and Lunamancy hits the entire party with 70 dark damage and enfeeble. These guys have a fair bit of HP, and they also occasionally show up in pairs, so they can be a pain to take down. Still, they're just regular enemies, so you're not likely to be dying to them or anything.
Behind the door we find another corridor and an office, which allows us to see another unique feature of this dungeon. The book on the table is a journal, and we can interact with it to get a bit more backstory about this place.
Lower exposure rate may be desirable.
Well, that was fascinating. At least there's a pretty nice treasure chest nearby.
Further down the corridor Randolph points out that we can take a look at papers lying around, in case the player hadn't figured it out yet.
But mainly I just included that shot so I could show that the game was so eager to put us in a battle that it started one the literal second Randolph finished speaking.
No new findings to report since last month. Project is proceeding at anticipated speed. Human average reaction is 5%. Peak reaction measured is 25%. General deviation of values is low. Vast increase of manpower and funding will be necessary to produce results on short term.
Artificial key? Are they trying to cause the Awakening by themselves? Is that why those people no longer tried to capture me?
There's nothing else in here that explains it in more detail... Huh? There's something stuck between the pages.
With the key we can head out the southern exit, which loops back around to the A door we saw earlier.
Just beyond the door we find another new enemy, the Rosehart Captain. Captains have enough HP to actually survive for a bit, and can attack regularly for 105 damage or with Strong Slash for 125. They're still pretty easy though.
There are several side exits off the corridor behind the A door. One of them leads to what looks like a break room, with another book on the table.
It's the fourth one from the left. I hid the key on the back of it, make sure you keep it safe.
Nearby we find the locker room the note referred to.
We grab the key from the back of the locker...
... and then start looting the place. The Thinking Cap is a mage helmet that, as its name implies, also grants +10 INT. Lorenza puts it on.
In addition to the locker that contained the Thinking Cap, a number of other lockers in the room are open, and while most of them are empty, there's still some treasure to be found. The Marid Tear is an attack item that casts Waterfall.
And if there's any unusable ones, take them down to the lab to be used as test subjects.
Fucking monsters, using dogs as test subjects like that. Anyway, we continue on and find this area's final enemy type, the Defensive Drone. Drones have a lot of HP and several elemental immunities, and often open battles with Ultrasound Wave, which does no damage but inflicts chaos on a character. They also can attack normally for about 100 damage, and like the Watch Discs we saw back in the Altar of Memory, they can declare "Intruder Alert!" and summon a Rosehart Soldier into the fight. They have another technique called Fire Shell, but I only ever saw them try it once and it missed, so I'm not sure what it does.
They tell us all about how important this project is, but they make it impossible to get any work done. Well, at this rate, this artificial key or whatever is never going to get finished. I told Thaniel about it, but he said there's nothing he can do about it. It's been decided from up above. I even heard a rumor recently that our project's all just a farce, to cover up the -other- things. I just feel like walking right out, but they won't let me go that easily. All I can do is see if I can get assigned to another project.
Huh. It sounds like not everyone on this artificial key project is an evil bastard. Nearby we find several Tents, which is basically SCF throwing the player a bone, since once you're in the facility you can't leave.
A little further ahead we find another A door, and once we enter it Hilbert automatically starts walking towards the machinery at the back of the room.
Do you know what this is?
Some kind of control room?
Yes... uhm... Let me see... Ah! Just as I thought!
So we can shut down their power from here and put them all in the dark?
Well, that would certainly be a temporary inconvenience.
Is that your way of saying that it's a dumb idea?
It's not like it would be difficult to restore power if we shut it down. Moreover, having no power may also cause some doors to stop working. We could be locking ourselves in. But, hmmm...
If you have an idea of your own, just tell us.
I'm sorry, this is just very interesting. I also had theories about this myself, and...
Do we really have time for that?
It can be used as a power source?
Certainly it contains surprising amounts of energy. The difficulty is extracting it. It seems these people are having trouble as well. Although it works, their methods are very inefficient.
Randolph, is there some way we could overload this generator?
But... the machinery is very basic. Power production is controlled by demand. In order to overload it, we'd need to vastly increase power demand elsewhere. But it seems there's nothing that requires large amounts of power around here.
Is there anywhere that does?
These gauges show a high peak usage from somewhere in the building, but I can't tell you where it is.
If it's there, we just have to find it.
But assuming we find this place, overheating the power generator doesn't happen immediately. Well, even if it could, that would give us no chance to escape. But anyway... There's nothing stopping them from preventing any damage by shutting down the power here.
So should we have someone stay behind here?
Okay, forget I asked.
These doors can only be opened with a key card, right? So what if we break the device that reads the card? Would that jam the doors?
That's a good idea. By the time they've forced these doors open, it'll be too late.
Let's do it. We'll see if we can find a room where we can overload this machine.
Following the scene, we're dropped behind a B door that was presumably on the other side of the generator room. Trying to open it will just lead to Hilbert saying that they've sabotaged the door, so we have no way to go except forward.
At the end of the corridor is two doors, and the western one contains...
Oh god! The save points were all a Kingdom conspiracy!
(Actually, nothing further ever comes from this revelation, but I thought it was a neat touch. And yes, all of these save points are functional.)
The other door leads to a bridge over a very large amount of biorite.
And in the next room, Ethan decides to pipe up.
This is where I was brought in. My cell was somewhere around here.
Let's look carefully. This must be the heart of the facility.
This hallway is full of doors that lead to cells containing people trapped in biorite, like in the shot above.
One of them contains a chest and some more papers.
Looks like my hard work paid off. I can finally leave this repulsive job behind me. I don't think we'll have a chance to meet in person again, so I'll write down everything you need to know. First of all, regarding the... Oh, never mind. I have to go. For some reason they're evacuating all the researchers here. I'm not sure what's going on. I hear someone warned us there's danger of an attack. Maybe it's just a drill.
We continue through the cell corridor and end up in a room with a guard.
You seem to know who I am. And your face looks familiar too. Were you one of the guards from back then?
A guard? Pah! I'm the Chief Guard here! Chief!
Good. In that case there must be a lot that you can tell us.
Hehe... What makes you think I'd tell you anything?
O... Okay, you win.
Why was I here?
Why? You'd probably know that better than me. You don't get taken here for nothing...
Why did I end up -here-, and not dead or in a real prison?
How was it again? Oh yes. He was using you to see what would happen if humans were sealed in biorite. Nothing happens on short term, but as you can see the effects are very noticeable after some years.
That doesn't explain anything. Why me?
I think Castor wanted you to sleep until he'd conquered everything. That was the whole reason. Who knows. Maybe he thought you'd change your mind if you woke up and saw what he'd accomplished. Really, you should be asking him about this, not me. How am I supposed to know what he's thinking?
Castor wanted me to sleep until he'd finished what he started...? Hmph...
He's from here too, right? I'm sure of it. He was also being experimented on, wasn't he?
Hmm? Oh, yes. Him. I remember.
Don't lie to me. The effects on his body and mind were the same as mine. How else could he have gotten that way?
That's what I'd like to know as well. You want to hear something interesting? After that man was captured by us, we told the Supervisor about it and asked him what we should do.
Why would they have such an interest in that old man, hmm?
He's not from here...? But then, why...
Another guard wanders in.
And then we end up having to kill both him and Hawk. They're just regular enemies, so they go down pretty quick.
In the end, maybe we'll be left with more questions than before.
But learning that Phantom's condition is unrelated to this facility is important too. We may have to search for him ourselves. He must know something.
But that's something to worry about later. We've got other things to take care of first. Let's keep going.
And control is returned to us. We can check out the notes on Hawk's desk.
Physical change in subject is largely superficial. No signs of mental degradation. Warning: Safety of subject must be ensured. Wake up immediately in case of structural damage.
Heading south brings us back to one of the rooms we already explored near our starting point.
From there, we can head back to the other B door we saw earlier...
... and behind it, we find... a rather unpleasant sight.
The people we fought at Grey Peak, and the ones defending this facility were all created like this? So this is what they were keeping a secret... I'm sure of it now. We have to destroy it. It's not worth the danger of letting them continue.
The are a couple of exits off the prototype-growing room. One of them leads to a small furnace area that appears to be empty.
There are also some more notes to the north.
Although they know little about the specifics of the procedure, their willingness surprised me. There's certainly no short supply of fools who'd sacrifice everything for a chance to obtain more power.
Past that we find a C door, and in an office nearby there are some notes referring to some melting vats. Hmm, didn't we just see something that fits that description?
This month alone we've found expensive machinery broken from the heat twice.
True enough, there's a chest behind one of the barrels here, which you can kind of make out even without the hint. The Barbarian Mail behind it isn't particularly worth it, though. It's an armor that grants the wearer +30 STR and +15 DEX, but it actually inflicts a VIT penalty (as in, you'd have more VIT with no armor at all) and the wearer is stuck with a constant berserk status. Yeah, I think I'll pass on this one.
Afterwards, we continue on and find some more caged dogs. Looks like someone left a chest in one of the cages.
Pulling the switch nearby opens the cage doors and allows us to head inside. The dogs won't move to escape, but coming into contact with them on the field will start an inescapable battle against two Guard Dogs.
The chest contains our first new spellcard in quite some time, as well as our first light attack spell.
Light Ray (39MP): Deals moderate light damage to one enemy.
Crisis: White Glow (46MP): Restores a moderate amount of HP to all allies except the caster.
Stat changes: +2% max HP, -3% VIT
Anyway, apologies for the dryness of this dungeon so far, but we're almost done, I swear. The next room appears to be a large library, and there are a couple of sets of notes here.
Given enough time, we will be able to make them three or four times as effective, if not more.
The current bottleneck is time and resources. We must use them as efficiently as possible. We can concentrate on improving the strength and durability of the soldiers. If we do that, we can create near-invincible warriors in small numbers. On the other hand, if you want to build an entire army, we have to make do with basic augmentation. The question is whether you want strength or numbers. Each choice has its advantages. In any case, as long as we have no clear focus, progress will be slow. Please consider this.
Another scene begins as we enter the next B door.
This is where... the biorite itself is being experimented upon? It looks like this device bombards the rock with large amounts of energy.
So this is it?
Yes. This should be the place.
Yes, I think we can take care of this. If these valves are released, most of the energy will go to waste. That will cause the machine to request more power from the generator to run normally. If we also turn up the capacity to the maximum, then...
You just have to turn this switch. It's all up to you now.
You're okay with it now, Randolph?
I may have dedicated my life to the pursuit of knowledge, but I have ethics too. To benefit from this research because it's already happened is all well and good, but... That doesn't mean I can allow it to continue. It would be no different from doing it myself. Besides, I already took a few interesting research reports with me.
All right. Let's put an end to this. I just have to pull this switch?
Yes, but be careful. Once it starts, I estimate we'll have no more than fifteen minutes to get out.
I understand. We'll have to hurry. It'd be best if we all got ready first before I start the machine.
And we're given control. We can get things started by interacting with the machine here, but we should probably take a look around the room first.
For starters, there appears to be the first ever instance of a locked chest in this game. Not much we can do about this at the moment. There are some more notes nearby, as well.
Personally, I am much more interested in knowing where it came from and what its purpose is. This material can't exist solely to be our research subject.
By itself, it's relatively harmless, as evidenced by 6610-C's condition. In ways, it's even beneficial. Indeed, with more research, we may be able to fully harness its restorative capabilities. But restoration and mutation are two sides of the same coin. When tissue is regenerated in a different way than it originally was, mutation has taken place. The biorite reacts strongly to all forms of life. It can be said to have some kind of affinity to it. Normally, mutation in living beings is usually disruptive, and will disable rather than enhance. However, the biorite's healing properties allow us to specifically cause non-destructive mutation. By altering the structure of the material, we can alter the reaction it has on living beings. In essence, it's the biorite itself that we mutate.
Well, that's convenient. That's all there is to see in this room, so it's time to get our sabotage on.
Everything turns red as the facility starts to shake.
And as the Crisis track starts playing, a countdown clock appears on screen. By RPG law, that means we're actually going to have to hoof it out of here before time runs out. Fortunately, 15 minutes is more than enough time--we'll probably be able to get out of here in less than half of that.
Before we go anywhere, though, it appears the energy has blown open the locked chest, which contains the C key.
Which is good, because the way back is now blocked. We'll have to take another path to get out.
Random battles still occur during our escape, and the clock doesn't stop while they're happening. While there's no pause function in battles, it's still possible to pause the clock (and the rest of the game) by making another window the active one on your computer. I believe that's something common to all RPGMaker games.
The next room is absolutely crawling with on-field enemies, who periodically move. Like we saw with the dogs earlier, coming into contact with any of the enemies here will start an inescapable battle: two Guard Dogs for the dogs, and a Prototype Beta for the humanoids.
There are several chests in the area if you're willing to cut through a few enemies. This particular chest also has a rather interesting set of notes nearby.
Doctor, you assured me the new prototypes would be finished last week. I have still received nothing. I'll be expecting a swift response to this message. We can't afford a delay to to your incompetence. Remember that your success in the past is no guarantee for the future. If you can't do what I asked of you, perhaps you are better suited to become a test subject. Signed, Helio, Facility Supervisor
We grab the other chests in the room and run like hell. We end up coming out of the other C door we saw earlier.
But as we leave the prototype room, we find someone waiting for us.
You guys sure are strong, breaking into this facility and trashing the place. But let's see how well you do against our latest experiment! We created him just to deal with intruders like you!
BOSS FIGHT: Biosynthetic Mutant
Huh. You know, this mutant looks awfully fami--... ohhhhhh.
The Biosynthetic Mutant is a giant sack of HP, which isn't really what we wanted to see while a countdown clock is running. Fortunately he has a very exploitable fire weakness, and if you feel like having fun you can also cast healing spells to damage him, though that's not very MP-efficient.
As usual Hilbert grabs the boss's steal on the very first try. I haven't figured out who's getting this or the other capsules we've found just yet, since I don't want to think about that while the clock is running.
The Mutant has a number of very strong attacks, but his most dangerous moves only hit a single party member. His regular attack is capable of two-shotting Ethan and Lorenza.
He also can hit everyone on the field with dark damage, including himself, with Dark Agony. His darkness absorption just means it heals him for a small amount, though.
And lastly, the Mutant's most powerful move is Pounding Fist, which will two-shot any of our party members and one-shot Lorenza. But I was lucky and he never hit Lorenza with it, and I've got Heal cards on Hilbert and Ethan, who are faster than him, so we can usually heal up before he gets a chance to attack again.
Despite the countdown clock, this isn't really a difficult fight, because the Mutant's fire weakness and lack of RES means that Lorenza absolutely destroys him. With attacks from our other party members we easily do over a thousand damage per turn.
And with that kind of damage output, the battle ends in less than two minutes.
Sadly we don't get anything new for winning the battle, not even a new Hex tile. Oh well.
Defeating the Mutant ends the countdown, so now it's time to get out of here.
Next time: It's time to take the fight to the Havali.