Part 16: Dull and GreyChapter 15 Dull and Grey
Where last we left off, we had finally visited Dareks Haunt, only to discover the SHOCKING secret that Sharon was leader of the pirates there! She offered to help us using her ship, the Blood Hawk, to take us to our island destination. But theres a problem. The boat needs a special stone only found in a special place to function.
Hence our destination is the Thunder Mine.
But of course, first we must do side content.
Dareks Haunt itself is now a place to visit, see scenes, and do minigames.
As you can see, this is a knife throwing minigame in which were aiming to press the X button when the yellow bits on those two gauges are more or less in the middle. Every middle hit gives us 100 points, and two in a row gives you an extra knife (you can see we have 5 to start with) and more points. If we keep hitting the middle, we keep getting knives, and we get more and more points for every successive hit.
Hitting off centre gives you 20 points, wastes a knife and breaks any chain youd built up thus far. You wont get any good rewards hitting nothing but 20s. You can also get a 0 if you completely miss the wheel.
Every centre hit gives you this dramatic animation and zoom in.
Every successive centre hit will make Asteya comment. These lines are voiced. I swear the actor is doing DBZs Oolong.
Click here to see the minigame and the voiced lines.
This minigame is really quite tedious because you will find yourself sitting there, waiting for the gauges to line up perfectly, and it can take some time for an opportunity to arise. Unless youre cheating or have good reflexes, it can be easy to miss opportunities and flub the ones you think are good.
Even worse, if you want to get a reward out of this minigame that isnt forgettable, you need a score of 50000. This is only achievable with a very long chain of good hits. Scoring more for every successive hit only gets you so far on the road to 50000.
But we get there
We are rewarded with a Heavens Secret and the Knife Master nickname.
You can see the knives you threw sticking to the wheel and wall until you leave.
Bacadee here runs a restaurant like the others weve encountered. He will of course refuse to serve Lang a glass of grog. The only recipe Lang cant learn here is Roast Beef.
Theres not a lot of new side content to cover since we havent crossed our next plot hurdle, but theres some things for me to show off.
Terao, who was in the first cut scene from when we arrived in Tanza, now has a minigame to offer us.
It basically boils down to inputting the above sequence over and over, as fast as you can, in order to beat whatever NPC you have to face.
The game has a little display to help you remember what buttons to press, but its not all that helpful if you want to really win. You need to learn this input off by heart to do it quickly enough.
If you make a mistake, Lang falls on his ass and you lose time. Its basically a guaranteed way to lose.
Whereas the knife game is tedious, this one is aggravating. When you first do it, youll be watching your rival do it faster than you, probably panic, make a bunch of mistakes, and then lose. I wasnt even going to bother trying it, but eventually I tried my best and got the sequence down.
You get the Rice Master nickname for getting under a certain time, not just for beating Terao.
Of course, beating Terao is not where this minigame ends. No, there is a new challenger.
PaiPai is an absolute beast at this minigame and far harder than Terao. I tried, I could not beat her. Unlike sidejumping, people generally say this one is actually hard, so less fault on my part, I guess?
If you did beat her in under 15 seconds, you would get the God of Rice nickname and a Heavens Secret.
We find Kazan in the upstairs part of the hot spring inn, sitting with an NPC.
Gyne: Huh? Why are you staring at me?
I have not. But there is something special about this one I believe he may be able to actually do what Rauss only dreams of.
Gyne: Mastering the Tenga-Ryu techniques ? If he make you feel that way, he must be quite extraordinary.
But compared to myself at the same age He is but a fledgling.
Never complain to me about overconfidence again.
Gyne: Nazak and I survived many a battle together! I used my fists. Nazak used a sword!
Remember what Kazan said all the way back on Mt. Gabel? I always preferred to use my fists?
Gyne: What? You dont even know the name of your own Master?
Relax, Gyne. I left that name behind me. Now I am called Kazan.
You probably figured it out by now, but yes, Kazans birth name is just his current name spelled backwards.
And I have laid down my sword. I fight with my fists now, as you do.
Gyne: I see But I presume you havent lost your strength yet! So you use your fists now? Then let me give you some pointers! I think you can handle it.
Gyne: Even if you have left your name and past behind, our bond will never change. Here! Learn my style!
Thanks, Gyne. You have my deepest gratitude.
We acquire the Way of Quake scroll which teaches Kazan the Earthshaker Hyper Art.
In the local bar/restaurant, we find Sharon.
Were going to accompany her.
Sure, sounds good!
Okay, then! Hey! Something for Lang!...Wait. You dont like this stuff!
Uh, Ive never actually been given the stuff
*sigh* Thats sad. If only you liked this stuff Lang, when you acquire the taste for it, come find me! Ill be waiting!
Were done with Tanza and side content for now. But before we move on with the plot, weve got some new campfire chats to see.
I never wouldve thought you were a pirate captain, Sharon! I was so surprised!
Ha ha ha! I DID surprise you, didnt I? Im glad I hid it now!
Hmph! What good are pirates if they cant even get a ship to move? Hmph! Ridiculous!
What did you say?! I dare you to say that again!
Shar-Sharon, calm down now !
Thats right! Weve just gotta get a ThunderWind Stone, and the shipll move, right? Lets get to the Thunder Mine, then!
Just what does a ThunderWind Stone look like, anyway?
It kind of looks like a glass ball. But deep inside, you can see sparks like electricity running through it. They used to get them in The Thunder Mine, but that was a long time ago. I dont know about now
If we cant get one there, I guess well have to SWIM to Drokonia! *Sigh!*
What are you trying to say? Are you saying this is MY fault? OK, fine! Its MY fault, then! Hmph!
But Sharon, he never suggested it was your fau-
EVERYTHING IS THE FAULT OF NO GOOD DIRTY STINKING PIRATES HMPH!
Reflecting on Dreams
(That crater in Kravia In my dream Was that Avalons ? So that was real ?)
Whats wrong, Lang?
Um Remember the large crater in the middle of Kravia? That hole
That crater was made by a Mystic. Long ago, there was something called the Mystic Hunt in Kravia They hunted down Mystics I mean, people with the birthmark, and they murdered them I heard the fury of a Mystic who lost his friends is what destroyed the town. Looking at Kravia today, its hard to believe it really happened.
I can understand the townspeople mistaking them for monsters, but still Anyway, Im glad we dont live in that period! I mean it!
I knew it It wasnt a dream
I better not mention it to the others, though, or it might make Avalon sympathetic even memorable .
Choice of Women
Hey, Lang Do you like older women or younger women?
We get to choose. Given that younger women than Lang would be, you know, illegal teenagers .
Well, lets see I guess I like older women better.
Ah, a man of taste! Great answer! Its just like they say: Like fruit, women are best when theyre ripe!
And what exactly happens when a woman is ripe?
Hee hee hee! Thats a secret!
They say that fruit is sweetest just before it starts to rot
You just stay out of this! Youre not adding anything to the conversation!
Now, let us finally head to the Thunder Mine.
Kaminari no Haikou. The Kanji actually denote it as an abandoned mine specifically, but eh.
So, have you noticed something? Does something stand out about all these screenshots youre seeing?
No? Well thats the point. The Thunder Mine is largely a bland, featureless nothing of dull, grey, linear paths.
Now thats not entirely fair. There are a few trees, some little puzzle things that will come up, that kind of stuff. But for a lot of your experience here, you will be staring at ugly grey walls. Its almost impressive how they managed to come up with such a dreadful concept for a dungeon.
Click here to see a completely realistic depiction of the Thunder Mine experience.
Lets take our mind of it by looking at some enemies, shall we?
Now, Cloud Eaters may look like enemies we havent seen before, but we actually just missed their first incarnation. Necroskels could have been found in the sewers back in Darakin after the Eclipse, but we skipped that segment. They use attacks that either cause Paralysis or Plague, which does HP and MP damage over time. Hanged Shapes are just recycled Hanged Snails.
Helgigasi are Hilgigasi but in blue. Also note the names are a single letter apart.
Oh look, they pallet swapped the Lyps. Unfortunately for them, cooking and Sharon long since robbed them of the chance to escape us.
And more flower pallet swaps.
Could it be? An original enemy?
Fiend Bulbs are Legaia 2s answer to Final Fantasys Bombs. They will explode if you let them do it. Of course, by this point, we kill them far too quickly, as even when they do get to act, they take a turn to set up their suicide attack. Apparently they can also absorb AP when they hit you.
Now lets talk about the dungeon proper. Like I said, its largely a bland, grey place, but it does have some treasure and puzzles.
This here teaches Sharon the Lord of Eden Hyper Art.
To clear this dungeon, we need to collect these Lightning Tear items and use them to solve the central puzzle. Were collecting items to collect an item to move on with the plot. Isnt it fun?
The central puzzle is found here, where we have to insert the Lightning Tears into pedestals to get into the pit in the centre.
If we try to go on without inserting a Lightning Tear into a nearby pedestal, these doohickeys will block our path with lightning. It doesnt do any damage, though.
All pedestals will only unlock the two closest doohickeys, so you have to go searching in the areas you can reach for more tears. We need all pedestals adorned with Tears to proceed.
This dungeon has a single puzzle beyond the usual growing vines, punching boulders and moving pillars of earth. These monsters block your path to certain areas and you have to use Arrode to zap them.
Youll encounter a small problem proceeding normally: the final limb of the dungeon that hides the last Lightning Tears you need is hidden behind the last pedestal. However, if youve used your Tears on two pedestals already, and that is necessary to get this far, you wont have a Tear to put here.
The solution is simple if you arent a stupid child (like me playing this on PS2!). We go back to the first pedestal and take the tear out of that one. Since we had to have placed a Tear in either of the nearby pedestals to get here, one of the doohickeys will still be de-electrified and we can reach the final one with a usable Tear. Then we put it in, go into the final limb, and get the two other Tears we need.
If you squint at the wall, you might make out the enemy that will ambush you when you grab the chest. You can use Arrode to kill these things before they try, but I forgot these things existed.
Until now, the game has been pallet swapping almost every enemy it has. But here, the game has decided to do something revolutionary and just re-use the exact same Jelly Melt enemy from the sewers. No upgraded stats or HP, it dies as quickly as it would have back then, and faster now that were magnitudes stronger. Funnily enough, there is an actual stronger pallet swap enemy called Evil Jelly you could find in the sewers, but I guess they felt the original Jelly Melts camouflaged with the dull grey better?
Once we nab all the Tears we need, and place them in the pedestals
Lightning strikes the doohickeys barring our path into the pit, and we can now proceed.
When I was remembering this game as I played it, I honestly struggled to remember what the boss for the Thunder Mine was. I could remember every boss fight in this game except for this asshole. Storm Idol is the most forgettable and uninteresting boss in this game, which I suppose is fitting for the most dull, grey and uninteresting dungeon in the game.
It is also fitting that we destroy Storm Idol in a single round. Unlike Bubba, Storm Idol doesnt even get to act.
Storm Idols attacks are pretty dull, too. Theyre mostly physical attacks with gibberish names like Branterios, Xeriahalt and Temperius. I have no idea if these are even meant to mean anything or the devs just liked silly fantasy names. He also has an all hit lightning attack called Ozmarakia and a healing spell called Gardihon.
Since Storm Idol isnt very interesting, let me talk about a different feature of the game to entertain you.
If you watch the video I make of this, as pathetic and short as it will be, you might notice Lang and Kazan have two Hyper Arts I havent mentioned before. This is because certain Hyper Arts level up as you use them. For Lang, using Raging Fang eventually has him learn Roaring Fang, which can level up again from there. For Kazan, Fists of Rage becomes Fists of Glory, and youll see him use it against Storm Idol.
Every character bar Maya has Hyper Arts that develop from other Hyper Arts, but well get to all of those much much later.
Click the image below to see the Storm Idols last gasp of air.
With a rock like this, my ship will be unstoppable! Theres not a storm I cant handle now!
Well then, lets go back to Dareks Haunt and attach it to the pirate ship.
Sounds good to me!
And thats it. Dungeon over, we can walk out and deliver our coupon.
Honestly, wouldnt it have been simpler if they somehow merged the last two segments? Like, maybe we meet Sharon in Tanza, or we meet her when we go to Dareks Haunt and she demands we help get a ThunderWind Stone to proceed, we get one, and Bubba could ambush us in the Thunder Mine? All the important bits from the last two dungeon segments with less of the fuss and bother. It would have made the game shorter, sure, but artificial padding just detracts from the experience.
Of course the best decision would be to come up with a more interesting idea than either of the last two segments, but the former could be achieved with little overall change to the game.
I will end things on this note.
Join me next time, where we blow off the main quest to go complete all those guild quests Ive been neglecting.