Part 4: Ninja - Update # 3 - The Trap Master and O-Robo: You know what? I'm fine with that. Would that "talk" involve ninja-slicing?
: I'm down with that.
: I'm not really into the whole "wandering around, righting wrongs" thing, mind.
: But there's something about unleashing undead monstrosities that gets to me.
: Perfectly understandable.
: Follow my lead exactly. One wrong move will-
: Send us right into a pit.
: Good thing we have the key. Remind me to teach you the art of ninja-pouncing. The faceplants are getting embarrassing.
Yes, dropping into most of the pit traps will land us right in jail. An occasionally useful shortcut to a familiar location
Time to go back to that old man and kill him for his stuff.
All in the name of justice, opposing the bad guys and the Nipponese way, of course.
What is it with old men and summoning freaking ninja out of nowhere?
and Ennominae may not be the soft targets we need to demonstrate the other weapon skills, but... unfortunately, we killed all those. Our candidates for change will just have to suffer a bit in service of the LP art.
Water arts is the counterpart of Blazing Firefly.
It creates a water field that heals us if we have the right equipment and damages the enemy a bit.
Neither effect is worth bothering with.
As I mentioned before, Flame Arts starts out pretty good but doesn't scale well.
Poison Mist is (duh) an area poison effect.
That's 6 damage on impact and 3 damage latter on as the poison acts. Oh yes, we'll be using that a lot.
We're never using it again.
Shuriken Storm is a genuinely good attack. The water field obscures it a bit, but the range is the entire battlefield, though only in straight lines and outside meelee range.
The damage is good enough that we'll be using it for a long while. In fact, I'm pretty much dealing with regular encounters with "Run away, Shuriken until they get close, then Ninja-Slice".
Strength of a Ninja is a strong area attack with some possible status effects attached. Unfortunately, this is the first attack Obama has that has a waiting period before it's cast.
IMO, not worth it - we could have hit that guy with 2-3 shuriken for slightly higher damage by now. Also, attacks that have waiting time can be disrupted.
Obama will gain more attacks as he levels, but I'll probably provide a more abbreviated description, since I'm not that familiar with them. Also, if anyone wants to correct me re: how useful some of this stuff is, go ahead.
Time to murder an old man and demonstrate one of Ryomo's attacks. He only has three of them, so that shouldn't take long. The basic Quickdraw Fang
Is exactly what you'd imagine - a ranged attack a-la Obama's shuriken.
Powerful enough to kill an old man in one shot (certainly a great advertising slogan). And behind him we find:
: Nice. Hey, maybe I can take on that carp now.
: I'm warning you, I WILL learn the art of the ninja bitch-slap.
: It was just an idea.
I never did get the Ahusra / Koketsu / Kanesada deal. I know they show up a lot, particularly in Squaresoft games, but what they stand for... ?
Joy. Time to slaughter a room full of Samurai. Samurai such as Harai Taizo, Kataga Harozo and... others.
Ryomo's Warning Shot cancels an enemies movement
The foot symbol above that guys head means he can't move now. It also has a chance of disrupting more lengthy attacks. Interesting in theory, but generally doesn't work against the guys we can't just as easily hack to pieces.
Polaris is a powerful attack
That can also paralyze people. It occasionally works on bosses and is pretty much the default attack I use for Ryomo.
Ryomo has an interesting quirk - he gains xp at 4/5ths the rate Obama does, gains no new attacks and little HP. Basically, his power level is set so that he can help an underlevelled Obama get through the main game but is almost entirely useless against the optional bosses.
This room has really nasty surprise in it that we'll save for latter. So we skip it and go "up" through the next door.
Meiji Hachiro is guarding a door with some stuff behind it:
Money and a healing item, if I'm not mistaken.
The next door over has one
And... the hell?
: It's one of those creepy automatons! Let's see how it fairs in a one-on-one fight!
: By dropping more traps on us. Fantastic.
Do you remember the "breakdown" mechanic Goninja has taught us? This is where it becomes useful.
Ryoma hacks his way out of the fence
And slashes the Trap Master down. Gosh, I hope he won't ever return to bother us.
Moving along (always checking side rooms before going on to our actual destination)
A Kanesada on the wall, Ode Shuriken and Tenmusu (an area effect mid-heal item) in the chest. There's Money behind the girl here, but since the only way to grab it is to kill her, we'll let it be. It's only Money. We know ninja aren't in the game for loot, anyway.
Weren't we leaving girls alone? Well, you see:
This is no girl
But rather some sort of a monster.
It would actually be quite dangerous, but it has a vulnerability to Ryoma's Polaris Blade, so it remains paralyzed as our intrepid duo hacks away.
The next room contains a seeming wealth of chests
But our heroes barely escape as it collapses upon them.
Daikuma Eiki is another guy who wants a password we never bother to keep track of and gets a blade to the anatomical area of choice instead.
In other news, Obama dings level 8
We get another time-delayed area attack.
I forget to use it on Kato Kiyobumi
But Daiku Kyuro get to feel its true might.
I had to paralyze him with Warning Shot to stop him from wandering off or hacking Obama to bits.
Totally worth it, if you don't remember that we could have thrown regular attacks for 2-3 times the damage during that period.
: Oh, Mr Samurai! Help!
Our heroes get read for battle when another door opens
: What do you think you're doing?
Alright, get him!
Each blow takes out one Samurai. We could rush in to kill them ourselves, but why interfere with the guys fun?
: You all right there, friend?
I have become a demon... And I shall kill humans!
Not these humans, he won't. Though he is a bit tougher than the average pre-samurai type. What's in the room from which he came, anyway?
And he summons a tiger to fight us. Tigers aren't really that tough, despite all appearances - they'll appear as the starting enemies in another chapter. The monk is then ranged to death before he actually gets to do anything.
: Not bad.
Another room, another guy.
: You killed 55 people. Are you going to kill me too?
: I guess we might as well.
: Such is my fate.
Frankly, that's one problem I have with the combat system. Getting automatically healed at the end of each combat removes the "resource management" aspect of RPG combat. You never have to consider "do I want to fight enemy x" unless that enemy might kill you, or you're rewarded for not killing anyone (as the ninja chapter does, to its credit). Combat becomes a bit of a busywork in a lot of ways. Thankfully, the enemies are varied and interesting enough to alleviate that problem. Next door:
and Fujin's Scroll, both are attack items I won't be utilizing properly because I'm an item hoarding whore as far as RPGs are concerned.
Side doors before main objectives, as always.
: *poke* *poke*
: *poke* *shake* *poke*
: Come on, stand up und fight!
: Let me sleep.
: Ah... no.
: I told you to let me sleep!
: Now I can rest...
That was certainly a worthwhile diversion. The next guard:
Sacagushi Chiushi, is nearly the last normal enemy we get to face.
After another secret passage we find:
: More traps. What joy. I do ever so hope the seemingly clear passage between them won't get sealed just as I-
: Yeah. What a shocking twist.
The trap sequences are possibly the first fight in the game where simply spamming an attack won't work. Going along the rows to get to the Trap Master will get you attacked, a lot.
But the traps counter every meelee attack with a suicide move
That can one-shot Obama.
So instead we have Ryoma range the one trap blocking his way and slash the Trap Master down.
The next trap:
Goes the same way. Ryoma slashes his way free
Obama sticks around to distract the traps (note the faces on them)
And Ryoma takes down the Trap Master. And we gain some neat armor:
I only recently found out that "Genji something" refers to the Minamoto Clan rather than the main character of "Tale of Genji". The more you know.
Anyways, time for more traps.
Hmm, one of these enemies is not like the others. I wonder if destroying it will have a particular effect?
Here, you should take out all the Buddha statues with a non-flame attack that doesn't hit the candles (they counter any attacks with some fire)
There's another row of identical traps at the other side of the room we go through for the xp. And then we head down:
: Oh no, not another round of traps. I think one of them came close to tickling me.
: So you're agreeing to being the trap bait the next time around?
: Closed. Obviously.
: You must be very tired. I was just about to have some tea. Please, join me. Have a seat...
: Hmm? What's wrong?
: Take a wild guess. You have three chances.
: Look, I'm in a hurry. Please just take a seat on the cushion and relax!
: Do I have STUPID written on my forehead or something?
: If you do, I can't see it.
Shoot! How did you know that it was a trap?
: Maybe... I'm just speculating here, but maybe because every step so far was a freaking TRAP?!?!? Just thinking out loud here.
: All right, I've turned the trap off. Don't worry, it's quite safe now. Come, come! Sit down.
Seriously, when we kill you, it's going to be a mercy killing.
: As well as a service to human intelligence as a whole.
: You're quite the suspicious one, hmm? Don't you trust me?
: No. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Now shut up, and get over here so we can fight you.
: Ah, the tea's finally ready!
: The hell?
: By the way... how did you like all the little gadgets set up around the castle? Oh no, they're not ALL traps. My wonderful mechanical body, for instance...
Have a seat!
And with that highly... original... line to start the battle, we are plunged into combat and into the games first major dick move.
You see, if we follow the same pattern every other Trap Master battle followed and go straight after him... We miss out on a critical item.
So we must destroy all the traps, taking a bit of damage in the process
Then get into meelee range, because that way Trap Master will waste all his time using his almost non-damaging "push away" attack, on the off chance that we won't close in again and he'll be able to use his hard-hitting ranged attacks. We slowly chip away at his health... only for him to die without dropping that freaking item.
One quick reload latter:
: My body won't stop!
Somebody stop it!!!
Now for the interesting part, and the reason we fought Trap Master in the first place.
See that little slot in the wall?
We're supposed to insert something in there.
Specifically, three Money items. At that point we hear a noise and head back into the room:
The little unformed creature also has a "slot". The Zenmai goes in, and we get:
An Obama copy that promptly attacks us.
But once we defeat it:
That's right. We got ourselves a robot party member.
And he's the most badass robot party member ever. We'll see what he can do in the next update.