Part 10: When the Game Takes Off the Kiddy Gloves and Smacks You With ThemChapter 8: When the Game Takes Off the Kiddy Gloves and Smacks You With Them
Now that the gang's back together, we head north to the Illusion Woods Ronfar mentioned.
At first, there doesn't seem to be anything in the Illusion Woods, but if we poke around a bit...
We find a woodsman. Let's hope he's not missing an axe.
: C'mon... I don't have time for this! I know you know the way through the Illusion Woods. Tell me how to get through!
: You're not getting one bit of information from me until you pay me back! I want another chance to win back my money, buster!
: Geez, this guy's not too bright, is he? Hasn't he figured out Ronfar's dice are loaded?
: Okay, but remember, you ask to play this round! We'll play odd and even. What do you call?
: Uh... uh... uh... just a minute... let me think... uh... uh... uh...
: C'mon, woodsman! I don't have all day! What is it, odd or even?
: Uh... uh... uh... okay.. I'll... I'll bet odd!
Look how surprised I am. I know you can't see my face, but I have a surprised face.
: Ha! Even! Sorry buddy, it looks like I won.
: Ouuuggg! I know you cheated me again somehow!
What is "Ouuuggg?" And yes, I did directly transcript that from the game.
: But, a deal's a deal. Here, I'll enchant you so that the paths show themselves...
One screen flash later...
: Whoa! I'll be a dirty...
: Ha ha ha! Pretty impressive, huh? Without my special spell, the path I've cut through the woods is invisible! These tunnels will lead you through Illusion Woods with a minimum of fuss.
Oh there will be a lot of fussing, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
: ...and when you have time, remember, Ronfar... I want a rematch using my dice!
: Uh... yeaaaah, right. Whatever you say, old dog. See ya around!
The game actually has the hole there fade in and out, but the effect is honestly kind of shitty. In any case, let's skedaddle before-
Yes, that, exactly.
: I want a low-level search of every outhouse, dog-house, hen-house, tree-house, boat-house, birdhouse, road-house, and penthouse within a 20 mile radius. We're gonna get this girl and her cohorts!
Okay, Agent K.
: When I catch up to you and that destroyer, there'll be hell to pay!
: No sign of the girl or the others, sir!
Man, wouldn't The Fugitive be an entirely different movie if it has magical forest trails? ...maybe it did, I don't know, I've never seen the movie.
: Damn! I know they're around here somewhere! I will find them! All right, men! Back to the Destiny... double-speed!
Bye losers! See you next when we need plot tension!
So the Illusion Woods. The Illusion Woods is composed of these brown tunnel areas connected to outside wooded areas. Monsters only show up in the tunnels.
All of the wooded areas have more than one exit, but more often than not they lead to the same place (which is definitely true for the one pictured). It makes the Illusion Woods seem more complicated than it really is; if you've got a decent sense of direction, you shouldn't get too badly lost.
Right next to the hole we entered from there's another one (it is a hole; I couldn't find a frame where the hole actually shows up) and a chest with a Star Light. Hoo boy, I'm gonna enjoy hoarding this!
(I'm going to use it eventually, but it's a good idea but to still be in hoard mode.)
All right, from here you're going to want to hug around the bottom wall; there's a path in the middle leading north, but it'll just lead you to where you were.
And I ran into my first encounter. I remember these guys from the first game! These were some of the first enemies you ran into in Lunar 1; they were kinda tough, but nothing all that threatening. Well, okay, probably don't need to do anything more complicated than attack...
Hm, Hiro can't kill one with both of his hits. That sucks. This is gonn-
They killed Hiro in a single round. In a single. Round.
This is going to be painful.
Also, notice Lucia's still defending... even though her curse has been lifted.
Moreover, she really likes to run away. Yeah, thanks for that, Lucia, you're a peach.
Although the fact Lucia successfully ran away (Ronfar tried, but failed) is the only thing that prevented a party wipe.
And that was the first fight of the dungeon.
...at least I didn't die.
Thankfully Calm Litany patches us pretty quickly, and at 7 MP, it's cheaper than casting Heal Litany twice.
That first fight was a bit discouraging, but let's not dwell on our failures.
I also remember Golbins, but their King is new. Huh, I seem to recall David Bowie being taller. Golbins showed up much later, but they were saaaaaad enemies. I'm not too worried.
Hiro can't kill one of these things in a single round either?! You have got to be fucking me.
And the King can heal his companions.
At least Lucia's prepping up a spell. That will help us immensely-
You fucking bitch.
Sometimes when Lucia's doing her spell casting animation, she'll run away instead. That's a hell of a time to grow a sense of humor, Lucia.
But this battle is unsalvageable, so we're following her lead.
And that was the second battle. At this point, I don't care if the only person standing is Lucia, I just want to win a battle!
Is there any enemy sprite they didn't recycle from the first game? Yeap, Hummingbyrds are from the first game. Anyway, I've learned my lesson, and I've decided Hiro needs to throw his boomerang like an Australian stereotype.
Despite my ragging on Hiro's magical abilities, Boomerang is not a bad spell to spam in this dungeon. It'll one-shot pretty much everything, and it costs less than Poe Sword. 1 MP less, but considering how much I'll be using it, that adds up.
If you don't throw Hiro right in the thick of the enemies and take them out as quickly as you can, it's not too ba-
Oh right, I forgot to mention that the Goblins can summon buddies. As far as I can tell, the game does not tell you when they'll do that. When the Goblin are going to crit hit you they have the club out... but as far as I can see, that's the only tell they have. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but otherwise it seems like how often Golbins will call for reinforcements is entirely up to the Random Number Generationer God.
Despite that setback, I'm still winning. Ronfar can one-shot the Golbins, so that actually helps a lot. Soon I have just the Hummingbyrds left. All right, I can do this!
OH YOU MUST THINK YOU'RE FUCKING FUNNY, GOD.
Actually, Hiro can survive about two hits from Ronfar, and there's only one enemy left. So one more Boomerang and I'll finally be victorious!
The rewards are good, at least.
It is at this point something becomes very apparent to the player; Hiro is surprisingly fragile. He has over 20 less HP than Ronfar. As I've mentioned a bit, his default stats are kinda puny, although his equipment is good enough to overcome that. Moreover, Hiro levels rather slowly. And that isn't helped if he dies a lot on you. On the flip side, his Poe Sword is so stupidly powerful that it makes him your biggest source of damage. He is the glassiest cannon.
This is a far cry from Lunar 1, where Alex is by far your best party member in both the original and remake version (although he's stupidly overpowered in the original). Moreover, Hiro is not like this in the remake; he's a standard, sturdy fighter.
After those unusually eventful three battles, we find ourselves outside. Now, each of these holes actually do lead to different areas. You want to go all the way to the north and find one tucked away.
Right here. Man that disappearing/reappearing thing really ruins screenshots. But away, beyond this hole here is-
A piece of armor I already have. But I only bought one for Hiro, so this one goes for Ronfar. Even if you bought two, you still want to pick this up, as it will sell for some okay cash.
Anyway, there's another tree with a hole in it below this one, and the path through it is linear and has only has an herb. Along the way Hiro and Ronfar gained a level. And yes, even though they gained a level in the same battle, Hiro still needs 300 more EXP than Ronfar to reach the next level. And Hiro is two levels below Ronfar. Hiro does indeed level very, very slowly.
But also Ronfar got a new spell! Clean Magic cures status ailments. It's quite pricy at 13 MP, but if I need it, it's nice to have.
Moving on, we're outside again. Both of these trees lead to the same place.
This one has some money, though. The other one has a chest with a Purity Herb in it.
Inside the trees, you'll want to go all the way left and then up. There's a treasure chest with some money along the way. And while I was going towards it, the strangest thing happened.
Lucia decided to actually cast a spell.
Plasma Shock is actually an area of effect spell, but there was one enemy left. Lunar 2 introduced area of effect spells; the original did not have them. While Lucia isn't quite the murderess she used to be, her spells are very effective; that did over 100 damage, which is around what Poe Sword does. So Lucia will occasionally decide to sling some magic, but never count on that to get your butt out of a bad situation. If I recall, in the remake if Lucia was close to the enemies she would almost always cast, so you could "force" her to cast if you engineered it. Here, though... I'm pretty sure it's random.
Moving outside again, these will also go to the same place.
However, the path inside splits four ways! The two on the left, of course, come from the same place, and the other two... lead to the same place.
Lucia decided to demo another spell for us. Thunder Blow is a single target spell, although it actually did less than the Plasma Shock. I wonder why... maybe one hit a elemental resistance or affinity? Unlike Lunar 1, elements do actually exist in this game... but they're still not that core, compared to most other RPGs.
Anyway, once you're outside again, head into this tree here. The tunnel inside is another straight shot. Then you're outside agai-
Wait, what is that music I hear?
It's a... carnival?
And there's a lady bustin' out some fancy moves.
: Wow! That was amazing! She's the most skillful dancer I've ever seen!
: Well thanks! Say, I haven't seen you here before. Are you visiting?
And why do you sound like me?
Ruby and Jean have the same voice actress, Jennifer Stigile. That's also the lady Working Designs got to sing pretty much all their songs.
: Well, my name is Jean. Hee hee hee! And if you haven't figured out what I do in the troupe, I'm the star dancer!
That's... unusually threatening, considering how friendly you just were.
: Relax, we're just passing through. Let's get going, Hiro.
We'd definitely want to clear off before Leo eventually finds us, but we could stand to chat. Besides, I wonder what these guys are doing here, of all places. And why they're still here.
: I hope that you'll be able to stay a while and enjoy these pleasant surroundings. We're trying to find a way to get past that giant thicket up ahead.
Oh. That would be why.
All right, looks like we'll be here a while.