Part 1: Ninja - Update # 0 - Oboro-maruWe'll start with the Ninja chapter, just because if offers a nice balance of combat, talkiness, and gimmicks:
The shinobi remain in the shadows even amidst the upheaval of societal change. To one such man, secret orders are given. Sneak past countless guards and traps to rescue the hostage.
Can he kill 100 men?
(I'm picturing the narrator as a senile Ray Bradbury type who is unable to decide whether there are "countless" or 100 guards)
Meanwhile, in an ominous castle...
(We know it's ominous thanks to the lightning strikes and scary music)
Three beings teleport/ materialize / walk to sit in front of their leader.
: How are things progressing?
: We hit a couple of snags, but we finally managed to capture the target.
: Hah! At last, I have him in my custody. What else is there to report?
: Our mechanical friend is nearly complete. We merely need to strip off the shell and give him a nice new finish. The work will commence tomorrow at daybreak.
: Please allow me to handle the spirits. I haven't had fresh human in ages...!
I can feel it.. the world is slowly slipping back towards the brink of total war...
With that ominous speech, we leave the spooky castle behind and move on to:
: I see... So, you were unable to complete your mission.
: I will try again!
: Don't be hasty, Hayate. If you were to be killed, what would become of the Enma shinobi? I myself would go, but these old bones don't move as freely as they used to...
: But, my lord...
: Can we send no one else...?
I am loathe to delegate a secret mission of such grave importance to any other. Except, perhaps...
I have it! The man I have in mind had not yet finished training, but he shows incredible promise. He is already better than many of our finest. He is likely our best bet.
: Ahah! What is this man's name?
: He is called…
Sticking with the default for this one:
Yes, I did type out Obama-maru every other time.
: Bring him here. Immediately!
: Actually, sir, he has been with us this entire time…
: Ah, Oboro-maru!
Well then. I am sending you on a mission of grave import. Do you know what you must do?
Let's assume we're clueless.
: Once more.
: Perhaps you've heard of the Ode clan… It is one of the many families who seek to take advantage of our nations chaos… with the ultimate goal of deposing the Tokugawa shogunate. Ode Iou is holding a political prisoner in his castle. Though your ultimate goal is to rescue the prisoner, how you achieve it is up to you. You might become as the shadows, silent as the stars… Or you could simply kill everyone who sees you.
However! Whichever path you take, none must be aware of your presence. Do I make myself clear?
: Sama, yes sama!
: Now go, Oboro-maru!
: One moment, Oboro-maru! Allow me to teach you my secret art…
Received the cloak of invisibility!
I think it's the new "you got the thing", guys.
: Press the Y button when you are being pursued by the enemy… So long as the button is held, you will become one with your surroundings. None shall be able to see you. I am confident that you will master it with little difficulty. Now go, Oboro-maru!
Ninja pounce - awaaaaaaaaay.
: Good luck, Oboro-maru. The fate of this realm may very well be in your hands.
Ninja Chapter Intro - Youtube / Viddler
As the era draws to a close, the future has become fearful and uncertain for many. And yes, there still remain many whose silent acts will change histories course. The Shinobi.
Oboro-maru of the Enma shinobi is one such.
He, must penetrate the back entrance of the Ode castle, navigate its twisty passages and expel the political prisoner, cleansing any unnatural creatures he meets and washing away the accumulated filth of corruption that years of indiscriminate eating of human flesh have left within the castle walls…
Is it life that awaits him in Ode Iou's sprawling castle…? or CAKE...?
Pouncing off our kite...
Oboro advances and runs into a pair of guards.
A lot of enemies in this chapter have unique names. Here we get to fight
If anyone is versed in Japanese culture, language and mythology and would like to explain what the various names mean, I would more than welcome it.
One of the neat things about this chapter is that you can escape from most battles. No rolls, not waiting time - hit "run" and you're welcome to try again. You can avoid most combat encounters by sprinting, hiding, and fleeing. But who wants to do that? We're showing off the battle system.
Basically, each of your attacks has a certain effect and a certain range. Your basic melee attack (slash good!)
Your enemy attacks are the same. Every time they activate one, you can see its effective range.
"Stone" isn't nearly the weirdest of enemy attack patterns. It is, however, one of the most pathetic.
Our other abilities include an area attack
and the ability to turn a part of the battlefield into a fire zone that deals mild damage to enemies that take action or move within it.
Both are situationally useful, but spamming the basic melee attack will do the job quite well for most enemies in this chapter. We gain approximately one new attack per level, and some of those are quite neat, as you'll see in the future.
In any case, both guards are vanquished handily, and Oboro conveniently keeps score for the player:
By the way, here's what using the invisibility cloak looks like:
Oboro moves on to witness:
: What's the current password?
A bell tolls...
: An intruder! Take him away!
: Hah! Serves him right. With this password system in place, we will easily be able to tell friend from foe. Now, get to your posts! Remember to listen for the bell!
: Oh shit, this is going to be more difficult then I thought. I need to retreat and… get a pen and pencil. Fuck me if I'm going to remember to listen to bells while sneaking around.
Retreating the way we came, we must contend with Yataro and Gonsuke. That's a fight we cannot run from, presumably because there's no reason to go that way during the course of a normal playthrough.
: Should I abandon my mission?
I'll become an outcast...
Perhaps Oboro is being too timid. Hayate came back just fine. We could head back, ask for some help...
: There you are, Oboro-maru!
Ninja pounce three - revenge of the ninja pounce!
And yeah, these guys...
One-shot you easily. Makes you wonder why they're not the ones storming the castle.
Oboro's journey ends here. But the adventures of his identical twin, Whatsisname-maru have only just begun. Vote for a suitable name (6 characters limit) and our goals for the chapter. Possible goals include:
Kill no one (nice reward and a slightly different story, but also somewhat boring).
Kill everyone (no reward except for XP and bragging rights, also kinda boring)
Don't kill any women (average reward, easy to do)
Kill the optional bosses (tough, but rewarding. Not compatible with the "kill no one" goal).
Also, feel free to suggest any improvements to the LP.