Part 18: In Which We Meet a Major Evolutionary Discovery and Kill ItChapter 16: In Which We Meet a Major Evolutionary Discovery and Kill It
Last time Lucia was a big ol' poop face poopy head and ran off.
But the ellipses plague waits for no one, so let's get our asses into gear!
: I wish I could help you defeat that monster. You are going to try to defeat it, aren't you? It's the only way to make the mayor's granddaughter well again...
Don't worry kiddo. That monster's getting an extra asswhooping just for you
Before we make good on our promise, I'm curious about one thing.
: She's already passed through this exit. Man, I don't understand why you just let her leave without going with her. If I was her, I would want my boyfriend to always be close to me.
: What are you talking about? Lucia doesn't have a boyfriend...
And more pressing...
Last update posted:
: I'm sorry, but I can't let you pass! You must first help us out.
You wouldn't let me!
: Lucia seemed like she was in a hurry. What does she have to do in Meribia?
: Lucia doesn't have anything to do there! Jean's the one that has business there!
: Yes, but Ruby, I can't leave this village like this. They need our help.
See, Jean knows that tragic backstory takes a backseat to distressed village! Sheesh Lucia...
Anywho, here's the entrance to the next dungeon.
Welcome to the Snow Cave. Holy moly look at all that white. It's whiter than a mayo sandwich on Wonderbread.
While the Snow Cave is quite big, it's fortunately not that labyrinthine.
The enemies, on the other hand, are a massive punch to the gonads. Not only did I get back attacked, but I got attacked by two of the hardest enemy types here. Remember the Neutronitor? I do. Remember the Neutronitor's crazy HP, attack, and defense? Yeah, that's about the norm for this dungeon. The Barbarians are particularly nasty. They're a bit slow, but they'll be able to reach us from where they are, and they hit like a freight train.
Also Neutronitor. I'll never get a chance to type that name again.
That's a regular attack. Not a crit. (admittedly, Ronfar does have really shitty defense.)
They do have another attack, which they telegraph by little breath puffs. I think it freezes you, but so much of my party has resistance to freeze it didn't go off.
Lemina's Fire Ring is a godsend in this dungeon. Unlike Jean's Butterfly Dance it will actually damage multiple targets, and unlike Hiro's Sybillium Sword it has decent range and a caster that has the MP to spam it.
Although one thing I've failed to note is that AOE spells in this game do far, far less damage the further away from the center it gets. So Fire Ring can still be a bit dodgy. And that 162 damage? Didn't kill it. Hell, Hiro's Poe Sword won't reliably kill the Barbarian right now! I just don't know what to believe anymore!
The Razor Wolves aren't quite as nasty, but if they start burying their heads in the ground, they'll do a critical hit.
Sonic, no, I thought you were on my side!!
Fortunately, with enough Poe Swords and Fire Rings I am victorious. And Lemina gained a level!
This is actually two-level dungeon. The eye-searingly white outside and....
And the far less blinding inside. By the way, that treasure is an Herb. Not worth a screenshot.
Here we see the gimmick of the dungeon; chutes and ladders. Well, these are just chutes. By and large, don't go down these, as it'll just send you back. With, of course, one exception. So, have fun with trial and error! Or, you know, I'll tell you which one you have to go down. Whatever.
It's also at this point I decided to experiment with something.
If Ronfar goes first, why the hell not throw the dice?
It's kind of hard to convey in either gif or still form, but that sent all the Razor Wolves to sleep. What's even better than sending half of the enemy party to sleep?
Making it so the rest can't get to you! The pathfinding in this game is not particularly good, as you can see.
At this point, I can carefully pick off the enemies. As long as I stick to powerful single-target spells, I can kill the sleeping Razor Wolves with no difficulty, so the only actual threat is the Barbarians. Lemina and Hiro had no trouble moping up the rest of this.
Also, here's the damage from the poison Jean inflicted. She's helping (In all fairness, she did kill one of the sleeping Razor Wolves with Needle Step)
Fortunately, it's not just Sonic and Sir Punchington in this dungeon. There is one more, far easier enemy type you can run into.
Oh Lunar EB. You went so long without re-coloring the slimes. You've let me down.
They can inflict poison, but otherwise they're completely laughable. You can actually kill them with just regular attacks, so no need to all-out on 'em.
That's enough battlechat for now. Anyway, there's not a whole lot of places to go inside the cave. It's worth poking around, though, for some treasure. Go through this hole. It'll lead you outside, albeit briefly. Head to the other exit, go back inside, and along the way you'll find...
An upgrade for Hiro!
Keep going left, go outside again, then back inside, until you're here.
There's a nice amount of money in the chest.
From here, go to left and all the way up.
In any case, this is where you want to end up. This chest has a far smaller amount of money in it. What we want, is to go down the chute. I know this now, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out when I was actually playing. While I was dicking around, I realized something.
That's not HP that Chance Dice is healing. That's MP. It's enough to bring Hiro to full MP.
Also, even now Ruby still occasionally finishes off enemies.
But, yeah, I never realized one of Chance Dice's effects was MP restoration. This changes everything. I can afford to try at least once a battle, since Ronfar's going first and has nothing better to do. I only got it to pop up like three times the entire dungeon, but three times is more than appreciated.
As a matter of fact, looking at the effect list, all but one of them are positive. Four of the rolls do status ailments, which makes Chance not all that great for boss battles (among other reasons) but as you saw, it could demolish random battles if the enemies have the weakness to it. From then on, I started every battle with Chance Dice.
And look, I finally went down the stupid chute. Go me.
From here, go all the way to the right, and then up.
The chute to the right will send us back. The one to the left let's us continue on.
Oh look, another Dover Nut! Still not ready to use these. Go a little bit north and we get-
Another accessory! It raises attack by 10 and defense by 1, but its main effect is a reducing damage from water and wind attacks. Considering where we are, it can definitely come in handy. I put it on Ronfar.
From here, you go all the way to the left, and then down, take the Star Light along the way, and exit. Done with the chutes and ladders! Anyway, we go outside and-
I have a feeling that snowball opened something up.
Just a feeling.
Anyway, we're actually at a dead end, and since I'm running low anyway, I warp out and heal up. Aren't Dragonfly Wings handy? They are. Guess who didn't buy another one after using up the only one they bought?
Oh! I have enough MExp to power up Lemina's Flame spells to level 13.
Power Flame is a single-target attack buff. Sweet.
Anyway, if we enter the dungeon again and go back to where the first exit, instead of going in the hole we keep going right.
Across the plugged cavern, there are two new exits. Let's go in the upper-most one. There's a short indoor tunnel, and then we're outside again.
Also I've been getting sick of battles. Considering the rather low success rate for running, it is actually better to just have everyone run individually. I actually got everyone to successfully run away, which surprised me.
Another snowball? This one plugs another hole. We'll be heading back, but if we keep going up there's a goodie.
And what a goodie it is! Not only is this an upgrade to Hiro's attack power, it gives him fire elemental attacks. With this sword, Hiro demolishes everything in this dungeon. He's one-shotting with Poe Sword again! Hell, he's one-shotting the Gelatin enemies with his regular attack! Jean still needs all three of her attacks to bring down one!
Anyway, head back and let's go into the exit we skipped the first time. Again, we head through a short tunnel and we're back outside.
Since we plugged this gap with the second snowball, we're on a straight shot to the end. There's a few more screens to go through, but there's no way to get lost.
There's an Iron Bracelet along the way. All the characters who can equip the Iron Bracelet already have one. Ah well.
In any case, we're pretty much at the end. It's not much of a spoiler to say that there's a boss coming up, so let's try and keep our MP up as much as possible.
Ronfar, you beautiful bastard.
And here we are. The end.
All told this wasn't as bad as I remembered this being; Zulan can be a real speedbump. Although I only gained about two levels per person. Well, except for Hiro, who only gained one, but damn it he'll level up when he's good and ready!
Say, the snow seems to be picking up.
: *Gasp* Aaaah! The snow! It's- it's- it's an avalanche!
And then they all die-
Wait, I already did that joke? Shit.
: Hiro! Hiro! Hiro. Hiro, wake up.
: Hiro, please open your eyes. For me?
Wait, that couldn't be-
: Oh Hiro! I'm so happy you're awake again... please be still. I must heal your wounds.
By "heal our wounds" she means "festive confetti."
Works for me!
: I can't tell you how worried I was you had both died! It was horrible...
: But Lucia... why did you come back to find us? You risked your life... your mission.
: I came because... because... I... It makes no sense, but just before I came to you, I felt something was wrong. Not wrong in general, but wrong with Hiro... it was very strange. When I was alone on the Blue Star, I never had such a strange feeling... It was like... like Hiro and I were one. I've never felt that before.
: Well, whatever hocus-pocus called you back to us, I'm grateful. If you hadn't come, we'd probably be popsicles by now. C'mon, let's hurry and find the others!
Huh. That was... interesting. I'm not really sure what Lucia's going on about, but whatever! She's back, saved our asses, and about to save everyone else's asses.
Oh god he came back a zombie! Kill it kill it kill it
: Man... do I have a king-size whopper of a headache!
I mean, uh, hey man what's up?
: It's a good thing you guys found me when you did. Guess I'm luckier than I'd thought...
: Ya got that right!
All right, on to the next confetti recipient.
: The... the last thing I remember was Ruby screaming as the snow washed over us. I can't believe I'm still alive! Thank you!
I know that video game characters just don't care about cold unless the game needs them to, but you have to feel sorry for Jean. No one else is dressed for the cold (except Hiro, arguably) but Jean's really not dressed for snow at all.
: Wait... there was an avalanche, wasn't there? How is it that I'm still alive?
: It's because Lucia came back and saved our butts!
Now that we've got the party assembled-
: I'm so glad we were able to find and revive all the party members. For a while there, I was frightened at what I might find. It's strange, I feel like my heart is relaxing...
: It's called relief. It's the opposite of anxiety, which you felt earlier.
: Hmm... 'relief.' I like this feeling. Hm... relief.
Of course no JRPG with this character archetype is without "what is this feeling in my chest?" Honey, it's called a heart attack. You need to see a doctor.
Anyway, since this beast decided to greet us with a shower of snow, I think we should repay the favor. Not, uh, with snow. That would be pointless. But a sword in the throat would do nicely, don't you think?
It's boss fight time motherfucker!
The Missing Link is a bit of a step up from the previous bosses we faced. He's got a good 1000 more HP than the Magic Tester, and he starts with a barrier (which is the blue lines you see there.)
The Missing Link is invincible until we dispel the barrier.
Fortunately, Lemina's Flame magic does that quite handily.
And the damage ain't too shabby either. Nice!
Lemina pays for her insolence.
Actually, he gots two attacks; his second one punts Hiro for a nasty 80 damage. Ouch! Although, perhaps the Missing Link was just anticipating...
The damage Hiro's putting out with his Poe Sword. Wow! That's... that's pretty great. And that's unbuffed, by the way. Oh speaking of buffs.
Lucia gets a new spell. This one raises attack power. Unfortunately, it suffers from the problem the rest of Lucia's buffing spells do-
Or she could use the spell on the character that actually needs it. Holy shit! I'm really not exaggerating when I said Lucia previously never cast a beneficial spell on anyone but herself. This is a very sudden turn of events. And a very welcome turn, at that. Now Hiro kicks even more ass!
Look at that number! Just... look at it. Isn't it beautiful!
Unfortunately, as nice as it is for Lucia to become a team player, her AI selects skills based on what's true at the beginning of the round, and it doesn't adapt like the AI will in some games. Since Lucia is always dead last, she does a lot of stupid things like heal a fully topped off Hiro while ignoring a hurting Jean.
Not that losing Jean is going to hurt me. That 66 damage is about the best she can do! I thought that perhaps casting Power Flame on Jean and just having her attack would perhaps be the better plan, but by the time I had thought about it, it was too late. Oh well.
Anyway, if the Missing Link has both of his arms on the ground, he'll use a skill called Gas Blaster.
I'm not sure how it relates to Gas, and I'm not sure I want to know. Anyway, it does a far chunk of damage, especially to Lucia. Nearly one-shot her!
And still she cast Mystic Defender on Hiro! She, uh, kinda tends to prioritize him.
There's still a couple of attacks from the Missing Link we haven't seen yet.
Like Frozen Blast, which, uh... reduces defense? I think?
Finally, when the Missing Link has both of his hands up, it does Boneyard.
Not as bad as it could be, really.
Spoke too soon. Shit.
Fortunately for me, the beast can't stand up long against the power of a fully roided up Hiro, and it fell in the next round.
And guess what? This is the first boss battle in which Lucia did not die. Congrats Lucia! Enjoy that share of experience you EXP stealing whore. Level up for everyone!
: Now that he's destroyed, the village should have much better luck with weather!
All right, now let's return to tow-
Wait a sec, I didn't buy a second Dragonfly Wing, did I?
Wait, where does this lead?
Not the entrance, I'll tell you that.