Part 15: Update XV - RED-HOT WORLD!Update XV - RED-HOT WORLD!
Music: Chapter Title
Music: Unknown Energy
An alarm starts blaring as soon as we enter the building.
Intruder has breached facility interior. Strengthening security for all areas.
No, it can't be... The timing is just too perfect. There must be somebody else in here causing the ruckus.
Are there others who are fighting the Rebellion Army?
Yes, Cinnamon, that's the entire reason we came here!
At any rate, this spells trouble for us. The security is going to be tight. It could be a trap, but... X's friend could also be waiting for us. There's no turning back! Lets go.
As we walk into the room, a beep plays.
Stop, everyone! Stay completely still!
Two more beeps are heard.
And then the room goes red while that Mechaniloid starts flying around.
Ah, I get it. When the room turns red, That Mechaniloid starts moving. Ha- Ha ha ha! That's it, huh? That's all there is to it! Everyone, lets go! (Phew... Glad I didnt move...)
Today's gimmick is Red Light Green Light. If you move even an inch while the room is red you get thrown into a fight. Random encounters in these rooms are disabled so you don't have to keep track of how many beeps you're on between fights.
A Figure Token in the corner, and the green crystal on the other side holds a Fire Guard.
Random encounters are only disabled when you're actually in a guarded room, stepping out of one re-enables them.
The Mega Mantor is our first new enemy of the day. It can shoot you, go for a guaranteed critical with Shell Bullet, or hit the party with Flame Ray. It also has an innate S-type barrier, but dealing 1000 damage in one move will disable it as well as Shell Bullet, plus hitting it with any Water attack will disable Flame Ray.
The Ace of Clubs they hold is, you guessed it, an upgrade for Spider.
Much like Massimo back in Chapter 3, Cinnamon will be gaining hella levels while she catches up.
The dungeon's first Treasure Token is in this lava room.
I'll give the Rebellion points for having actual safety rails by this pool of molten metal, albeit only on one side.
These rooms even have an entirely different battlefield!
On the other end of the room is 300FME, 1000z, and a Rush Loader for deployments.
We exit into another guarded room with a Build LE directly ahead.
There's another entrance to this room by the first guarded room, but the short path to the exit is blocked.
Gotta show off everything, after all.
Like this Preon Shielder. They always spend their first action on Counter Shield, and will shoot it at someone on their next turn with Force Shield or use it as a counter if they take an S-type hit. They're weak to C-type damage, which also takes down the shield.
An Ultra Blizzard sits by the exit to the room.
Ahead, we have a new twist. Drones can block paths, forcing you to wait for the next sweep so they can land somewhere else and open the path.
They like to block off items.
Being under a drone when it lands also starts a fight.
The Preon Soldier is a simple unit. They can hit you, hit you harder with Smash!, and patch people up with Life Gain 25.
If you can keep that last bit in the back of your mind, congratulations! You have a better memory than I do!
The Nurse, meanwhile, is all about supporting. Between Life Gain 25, All L Gain 25, and a full quartet of Boost skills, the Nurse can keep their friends around for a long while.
While you might think that the best plan is to target the healer first, the Nurse will actually use All L Gain 25 on you if you kill everything else first! After healing you, it will then use Thanks on their next turn to flee the battle.
The Injector it holds is a weapon for Cinnamon, which has an added Virus effect.
This door is completely blocked by boxes, which is kinda annoying when the Treasure Radar is showing a token on the other side.
On the plus side, the chapter's obligatory Tank Parts are really early this time.
The next patrolled room has an x-shaped (not to be confused with X-shaped) set of boxes in the middle, with an item in each corner holding a Figure Token, Tank Energy 50, Build WE, and 800z. There are three drones that move in a clockwise pattern around the center.
The door to the left leads to another hot room.
A random fight against a Mega Mantor nets me this. I've had the King of Clubs for two zones, I could have saved valuable zenny!
Looping around to the boxed off door from before, we find an Einhammer without their hammer.
Some Deployment bots, like this Ein here, need a key item to obtain. Some of the needed items will be found on the field, while others will be found from deployments.
Behind it is a Treasure Token and a King of Hearts.
On the way back, we run into these Super Tripuffers. They're Tripuffers from Tianna with shuffled resistances and will use Mega Fire when hit with a Fire attack.
That may sound a bit strange, but the Gulpfast here will cast Ultra Fire on their own side as a healing option. Beyond that, they're just Blowfish with a new coat of paint.
The east door in the x-box room takes us to the exit.
We have a lot of boxes, but there are no more patrol Mechaniloids.
As an aside, Final Strikes now give a bonus to FME based on how much damage you deal.
A Build Speed off to the side here.
One room over has a Boost Speed.
To the west, another hot room with a giant doodad in the middle. The green crystal holds an Aero Buster, which trades off the X Buster's defensive stats for a bit more Power and much lower Weight.
Going around the ring gets us a Mini-Battery, a Mechaniloid item.
The Fire Glob here is all about, well, Fire. On top of the standard Mega and Ultra variants, the Fire Glob also packs Giga Fire and Tera Fire for single target, as well as Ultra Giga Fire and Ultraflame for groups. Don't get your hopes up for more offensive items, these are all enemy exclusive. The best we'll ever get are the Ultra items.
The Fire Glob is also unique in that taking Fire damage boosts all stats as well as their EXP payout, with further boosts on each hit. After 7 boosts, it will flee the battle.
The Fire Star is a weapon for Marino, giving her an option for S-type damage.
Going around the other side nets us a Treasure Token.
Coming back from that detour and moving on.
Video: Enter Axl
There's a sneaky dude hiding on top of the boxes.
X isn't playing, he just immediately draws on the guy.
Oh no, the generics have Hyper Mode, all is lost!
In a shocking twist, we find a party member with absolutely zero foreshadowing.
Music: I'm Axl
Yeah... But Axl, what are you doing here?
I came to Giga City because I heard my shape-changing ability might have been invented here. I've been searching around for clues but nothing yet.
Okay, this line means that X8 never happened in this timeline, meaning all that stuff about New-Gen Reploids never happened.
It also makes absolutely zero sense unless Giga City was secretly around long before X7 happened. If Giga City was founded after, then what Axl's doing would be like breaking into Lockheed Martin's HQ because you wanted info on the Wright Brothers' plane.
Yeah, I heard they used to do a lot of research in this place. Back before the rise of the Rebellion Army.
So, they may have been working on Axl's shape-changing ability, too?
Its a very specialized area...
I see. But with the Rebellion Army around, its hard to investigate...
Yeah. Like I said, not many clues around.
Hey, Axl. Have you seen Zero around here?
You'd think Zero would be a bit more obvious about attacking a place, if Axl has no idea he's here. Maybe's he's been indulging in some tactical espionage action?
Yeah... We heard Zero was here and we came to find him.
I haven't come across him yet.
I'm sure he is. Dont worry. Zero wouldnt go down without a fight!
Music: Unknown Energy
Axl is, fittingly enough for the kid made to take X's place, similar to X. His stats are fairly on par with X's, all his weapons are S-type, and he has a full four FM slots. Unlike X, his Immunity is incredibly low, forcing him to run some Neutralizers or 0 cost FMs like Exodus if he wants to actually use all of them.
His starting Hunter Missile costs 15 WE and has boosted accuracy, while his Cracker costs the same and has an added Berserk effect.
Music: Irregular Battle I
His default Axl Bullets deal two hits.
His Hyper Mode, Stealth Mode is, uh, Trickstar.
Exactly Trickstar. +100% Power, -25% Speed, complete immunity to everything, 2 turn limit. The only thing different is a coat of paint.
I mean that literally, by the way.
His Action Trigger, DNA Change, lets him out-Mega Man Mega Man X, and use a boss' power for his own. Each successful button input moves you a column ahead, giving you access to the button above and below your current spot. Screwing up an input stops you cold for a second, while you can restart the combo with Start if you accidentally end up on an unwanted path.
More WE gives more time to input a combo, but once you get a few choice options down to muscle memory you can easily use it at 50% with no risk.
This one's for you!
Running out of time, or using an unavailable attack, results in Rolling Assault. Unlike Spider's Fumble or Marino's Marino Stamp, Rolling Assault has normal accuracy. However, the damage on it is so low that it should still never be used. Even a normal attack outdamages it!
Wild Jango uses Rolling Assault for a heavy single target Thunder hit.
Silver Horn, meanwhile, uses Tidal Wave. Unlike Silver Horn's actual Tidal Wave, which was a low accuracy move that halves HP, Axl's is a standard Water-element party attack.
Mad Nautilus uses Mad Cocktail to try and inflict Blind, Virus, Berserk, or Bind on all enemies. As this is an RPG, enemies are either too weak to bother with ailments on, or have resistances so high it isn't worth the time to try.
For the last 'new' party member we're getting, Axl is sorta eh.
Everyone else we have has a niche exclusive to them. X can flip between attack types mid-battle and can deal with both bosses and crowds. Zero has a sky high damage output and not many things block C-type attacks. Spider can inflict incredibly reliable damage with Clubs and Spades, or boost rewards with Diamonds and Hearts. Massimo is a giant, Reploid-shaped gun. Marino is speed incarnate and can easily yoink rare steals. Cinnamon is a goddess in mortal guise that can render all her followers immortal.
What does Axl bring to the table? Spider has the same invulnerability trick, he certainly can't outgun Massimo or X, he'll never keep up with Marino even before Stealth Mode's Speed cut, and comparing himself to Cinnamon is heretical.
His AT gives him easy access to all elements (eventually), letting him always hit weaknesses, but that means he's always using elemental damage. If enemy resistances don't line up, his damage output takes a serious cut. He has one other single target option aside from Jango (and Rolling Assault, but we don't talk about that), and that requires beating a bonus boss to get. If a big enemy has a Thunder resistance, Axl is screwed. If a random fight has a spread of resistances, Axl is screwed.
Axl isn't out-and-out bad per se (kid me beat the game only using X, Axl, and Zero), he's just outclassed by everyone else in one field or another.
Music: Unknown Energy
Covering all that burned Hyper on both Axl and Spider, so I make a quick trip back to recharge.
After boxes upon boxes, now we have a (stationary) conveyor belt.
The change in scenery adds the Preon Tank to the other Fire-type enemies in the dungeon. This Chaser palette swap brings something entirely new with Flammable Oil, which reduces the target's Fire resistance. It can then follow up with the usual Mega Fire, or let all the other Fire-type enemies in the dungeon do the work.
The Oil Can it holds lets us use the same trick on enemies.
Music: Darkness - Cloud - Low - Lost
Up next is a classic conveyor belt puzzle.
Those green lights are terminals that flip every belt, we have to find the one that can lead us to the exit.
This puzzle is kinda incomprehensible in screenshots, so I'll just be rushing through it. The crystal holds 1000z.
We can see the exit ahead (although the belt is running the wrong way). Instead, we get a Treasure Token and a WE +5.
And a fixed fight.
They aren't much of a threat.
Although as it turns out, even with a weakness you have to actually deal damage to break a Shielder's shield!
Another fixed fight and a Tank Energy 25.
A Gain Hyper and the terminal we need to get out of here.
Trying to describe all of this in screenshot form would be hell. Figure Token in the crystal.
A Token here, and another Token up ahead right next to...
Another guard. Notice how this Soldier's saber is a physical shape instead of the glowy light show their in-combat models have.
Another two Figure Tokens.
As a chance of pace, a Figure Token and a Treasure Token.
Says the Nurse that's going to be healing me in the next five minutes.
Another set of Tokens in the center platform.
And one last Treasure Token tucked behind this guy's chat model, plus the terminal we need.
One last fight, and one last Figure Token.
Well I wasn't wrong, Zero did Metal Gear Solid his way in here.
He just pulled a Gray Fox rather than a Solid Snake.