Part 5: This Is Bull
I'm not apologizing for the title of the update.
...ish behavior? Shit? ...ocks? I don't get it.
Anyway, there's a bit of an issue, mainly that Bud turned into a giant firey bull monster and started joyriding in the streets. We managed to solve part 2 of that problem by getting everyone involved into a horrible accident, but part 1 is still on the list of 'Shit we gotta do'.
Time to take the bull by the horns and actually deal with this issue.
I suppose, welcome to the first dungeon of the game! These are more like labyrinths that you have to fight your way through to reach a boss at the back. Anyone that's played a Battle Network game should be pretty intimately familiar, since the dungeons are usually well-designed (usually. we don't talk about BN4.) with a fun fight as a reward for getting through it.
: I can smell his awful stench. This Comp Space is different from the rest! Be careful and let's get going!
Like Mega said, this comp space is different from the rest, in that it has a few mechanics that are unique to it alone. But, we'll go over that in a minute. Right now, we have a Mr. Hertz to talk to.
Thanks for letting me know, buddy!
Fuck the Hertz. I know, I know. I'm a bully.
Let's move onto the dungeon proper. Like all first dungeons, it's pretty simple.
Two of the directions we can go are blocked off by key items, so there's really only one true path.
Fortunately, there's a new friend on the way!
: There is a panel that can stop the driving control system in the back, but you can't get there without riding those bull programs. They're usually pretty calm, but they're going wild because of the system glitch. If you ride on one now, you might get thrown off...
Yee-hawwww, we gonna ride a mechanical bull all right!
The dungeon in this case has the unique mechanic of riding bulls to get from point A to point B. Huh, it looks like this truck was just bull-themed already and Taurus just picked the perfect host...
Anyway, certain points along the path of the dungeon will have these red bulls instead of just more road.
You pretty much need to charge straight ahead.
When you ride them, like the Mr. Hertz said, it'll try to buck us off. We have to tap these as they appear without failing three times.
Have a Red Bull. It gives you wings!
Yes, this is harder on an emulator than on a real DS. Yes, this is annoying and frustrating to do, why do you ask?
Just ram your head into it until you get it figured out.
In addition to new mechanics, the dungeons in these games also have new encounters. In this case, it's an enemy called a HotRoader! They will run up and down a column, turning at the end. Their counter point is roughly "When they're coming towards you", so just hit them with an AirSpread or something.
Their chip is called FireRing1 (One of the ones we saw for sale in the NPC's chip shop) and acts as a fire boomerang, up and down the column you're in. It doesn't flinch on the first hit, so it'll hit twice.
The other viruses in the area are what we've seen already - Mettennas, CannonBases, and Melomanders.
Moving right along, the rewards here are usually better than in the same-level areas nearby.
They also have their own BMDs to collect.
At the end of the path, we find a control panel like the one in the car, freaking out.
This sets up the general trend of the dungeon. We'll ride a bull to get a key...
And then use that key to open up the next door.
Don't worry, the dungeons get quite bullish in difficulty later.
Rrrr... This is so much easier with a stylus because the surface point is larger than with a mouse...
This is what it looks like when you don't tap the icon fast enough, by the way. Three screw-ups and you fail. It's good to know that you only have 7 taps per bucking session, so on the early ones you can just stop after getting 5.
Post-bull ride, we find this actually very useful chip for early-game.
Remember the Vulcan series of chips from BN? This is that, but also gets to knock the enemy to the back of the battlefield. Pretty rad, especially since it interrupts their move without flinching them.
Some pretty good
It's udderly satisfying.
For making it through the second challenge, we get the BlueKey. Great!
Something I forgot to mention earlier, but the game does take pity. After calming down the system, the bulls go back to normal and you don't have to wrangle them on the way back.
This bull is more of a grazer.
This first area only has three bullrides, so this next one is the last -
Don't mess this up, Yeti. The steaks are high.
I mean, uh, so this is what happens if you fail, I'm showing this off for completion's sake not because I screwed up.
See? Completion. Not for any other reason.
I think Yeti has some real beef with this minigame.
Annoyingly, the last bull ride here goes through two bucking sessions. The errors don't reset between them, either, so you have to hit 14 buttons without missing three total.
The YelloKey is just over to the left, a quick jaunt away.
And with that we've beaten the first area of the dungeon, hooray. I'd like to point out the background image, it's pretty neat.
It's pretty bull-tiful.
The next area already looks way more complicated. I mean, two floors?!
Take stock of the situation and press on hard.
Also screaming people.
Geo, why would you have the opportunity to recognize Luna's scream?
Because if you don't save her, she'll tan your hide.
Please do not antagonize the fire bull, Luna. You may be insufferable right now, but I feel like this game would need a much higher rating if it killed you off.
Milk that damsel role for all it's worth, Luna. We're coming!
: I'm gonna crush that punk, Geo! I'll show not just him, but you too, Prez! I'll show you both how strong I am! Mmmrrrrgh!! Now where is he hiding!?
: H-Hey! Are you listening!? Answer me!!
He kinda... just did, though. He brought you here to show you his power as he crushes a 5th grader underneath the wheels of a truck.
Your moove, Bud. We'll be here any second.
You'll notice that this guy tends to pepper his speech with Mmmmrrrgh! I don't know about you, but I've never seen a cow angry before.
Holy cow does he love that phrase.
Weird jump of logic but okay, sure.
I dunno, I think that's a fair assumption. Wouldn't be a bunch of bull to deduce that.
: Mmmrrrrgh!! Now, now. Let me set a few facts straight for you. While I did, in fact, give him powers, you, Prez, are the one responsible for his misery.
: Wh-What!? I said I would cut our BrotherBand, but I...
I do like this part here. Luna didn't mean to be that big a bitch, she just didn't realize what she was saying was going to hurt so much. The second something's wrong, she regrets her words immediately.
It allows us to endear her character more, for sure. She doesn't have leathers kin or anything.
Okay that one was a stretch.
Of course, she still said it, so I don't really feel all that bad about what's happening to her right now. A BrotherBand is supposed to be something special between both parties, and threatening to cut it is like threatening to disown someone in your family.
They're in the slaughterhouse and they deserve it.
: But what are those two doing in Comp Space!?
: FM-ians can change humans into waves. Those two were too close to the FM-ian, so they were dragged along for the ride.
Apparently this whole transforming thing is AOE. Who knew?
While I usually laugh about Geo being understandably "Fuck this, I don't want to fight" as opposed to Lan, it's a pretty big character flaw for him.
: If you keep your cool, he's a pushover! You want to save those two, then have some guts!! Let's go!
Mega's a good partner for him, pushing him beyond his comfort zone. Sometimes a little too far, but hey, omelettes and eggs.
Yeah, it's a good dynamic. Like a matador and his bull.
Characters aside for now though, we have dungeon to do. This thing is asking for 4 Tetrakeys. Wonder what we'll be collecting.
4 Tetra items? Ah fuck it's Battle Network 3, again. Should we lock horns, again, Alpha!?
Thanks! We need to get to that. You might have noticed Bud standing at a huge steering wheel.
The good news is, once we get those Tetrakeys for the upper door, we can unlock this one too.
...Back to it, I guess.
Take it by the horns, Yeti.
Now that we're in the second areas, even the first bull has 2 attempts to buck us off.
We're rewarded for it, though. More HP? Yes please.
After the first bull, we get the first of the Tetrakeys. The fact that you saw a second bull when I got off means that you should probably be able to guess how this next bit is going to go.
Yeeeep, we have to keep riding the bulls to get all four keys.
Toro, toro, Yeti!
Fortunately, the second bull also only has two bucking sessions.
Not nearly as useful as an HPMem20, but I'll take it.
It's hard to tell in this screen, but the bull started bucking a third time and I groaned a little bit. (This mechanic is my second-least favorite in the game, just because of how irritating it is to try to click on these stupid buttons.)
Higher sensitivity mouse, Yeti. You gotta be faster than that if you want to ride. Moove it!
Key C get, so we're only one away.
And, fortunately, the last bull.
Check it out, something awesome on-screen right now.
Zack failed the bull-run.
That's the last of the Tetrakeys, so let's just take this warp back and open things up, shall we?
Nice! From here on, it's a straight shot to the boss.
As we've been criss-crossing back and forth across the map, I've been seeing this bridge underneath the whole time. It does feel pretty good to see all those blue lines, though.
A carry-over from Battle Network 6, before each boss fight there will be a skull on the ground. The star behind it is a nice touch.
Let's just chat, I'm sure this can all be worked out, right?
A bull's shit.
Seriously, I'm sure the giant flaming rage beast is a cool dude, let's just chat and not antagonize them at all. We're just here for the girl and to turn off the truck.
Hoo boy, here we go. Mega opened his mouth.
It could be worse. He could have Zack.
Zack would have made for a more competent NetBattler than Yeti. Hell, a bull's shit would have been. It's complete bullocks that I wasn't chosen.
If you pay attention to Bud's name, a prerequisite of being a host is being able to make good puns, so you're clearly disqualified.
Yeah, you tell him, Mega.
Geo what did you think you'd be fighting, a helpless old lady? (also cripes that laugh.)
Moowhahahaha. I like this game.
I'm not quite sure what he can't believe, really.
Wait wait wait, Andromeda Key?
This story is wasting no time with its Mcguffins. I guess that's the cape we need to charge at.
So it's like a signal flare, then
...or a cape.
: If you do, the Prez will also appreciate you!
: Mmmrrrrgh!! I'm powerful! If I show the Prez my strength, she'll need me!! MMMRRRRGH!!
Can I just say, I love how mono-focused Bud is on this one issue. It's exactly like Mega said: charges straight ahead without looking. The writers in this game are pretty smart.
It's a shame they couldn't steer clear of obvious pitfalls in the next game.
: W-Wait a sec!! How am I supposed to face him at all!?
: Stop flipping out! Trust in my power and strength!
: Trust...? Easy for you to say...
: Stop your chattering! Here he comes!!
God Geo shut up and
Anyway, we're not given any more chance for Geo to whine, because Taurus Fire attacks. Every boss fight starts with a cool intro where it gives us a neat look at the game model. Pretty mechanical-looking, with those jets of fire coming out of what look like mufflers on cars. Neat.
But hey, this is the first real boss fight! TaurusFire is a pretty simple boss, starting out with 400 HP. He's big but not that tough to beat, since Mega already gave us the single tip that we need to win - just fucking chill and wait for him to give you an opening, then blast him.
Taurus Fire's movement pattern is pretty simple, he'll hop around four times and then attack you with about a second of down-time between each hop. He only has three attacks, Ox Tackle, Anger Punch, and Fire Breath.
Pictured: Ox Tackle. He'll stop on the end of the row lining up with Geo, the panels will flash yellow, and then a second later he'll charge down. If you get hit, it's 20 damage. The counter timing for this is as he's rushing down, so you have about half a second to react if you don't use a non-flinching move.
Pictured: Fire Breath. Taurus Fire will stop two rows away and breathe fire across the entire back row and a space in front of him that deals 10 damage on contact. Because of how this attack hits, it's impossible to dodge without blocking. (I didn't, in the screenshot.) The counter timing on this attack is after he takes a breath to blow out the flames, but before they come out. It's a tight window, so it's probably better to just block.
Be a man and not a bull by countering with LongSword.
Pictured: Anger Punch. He gets right up in Geo's face and then slams his fist down on the panel in front of him for 20 damage. This attack will go through shield, so either step to the side or counter. The counter timing for this is right as he's punching, so my suggestion is wait a second then use a Mega Attack to get a little bit of delay.
All in all, a pretty simple intro boss. The fire element was probably a deliberate callback to Mr. Match, if my guess is correct. (It's worth noting that Taurus Fire is fire element, so RadarMissile1 won't work and water-element attacks will do double damage)
: M-Mega... Don't be too happy... You may have beaten me.. but we'll... Andromeda K... for sure...
In grand tradition, after we beat up the boss they explode. In this case, it's only the FM alien that blows up.
Bud is... probably okay.
: I can't believe I...
: See, didn't I tell you to trust me? That was our power just now.
: Our... power...
: Now you get it, right? So give me a little more credit, and trust me, OK?
I don't know, that fight was all me.
Yeti was just riding off the skills he picked up from me.
But yes, mission accomplished, hooray. Let's get out of here.
After getting kidnapped by wizard magic, if someone kills the wizard you will be returned safely. This is magic law and cannot be denied.
Either that, or Geo would have to learn to return them himself. Which...I would like better, to be honest.
Boss is dead; no more bull puns.
Thankfully. They were awful.
Damn it, Mega! This is one of those things you talk about when asking to crash in Geo's Transer!
Mega can be a bum, but if he explained this, it isn't like Geo would have like to hear it then, either.
: Maybe!? This sounds like more trouble!!
: You'd be in even bigger trouble if they had it!
: We'll probably face off against FM-ians again. Fight like we did just now, and we'll be fine.
And in fine Mega form, he says something then immediately ignores it and pretends it never happened.
But it was, though.
Yes, finally. Let's go.
He does take the time to prop his erstwhile classmates up so they're not all collapsed on the ground, though. That's nice of him.
Come to think of it, it's damn lucky the boss fight didn't cause collateral damage to the collapsed NPCs.
However, we wasted too much time and Luna's going to wake up. Yay...
"Who are you, and why do I have this weird urge to tell you to come to school?"
I mean...wouldn't Geo sound the same? That should be a dead giveaway. As well as the height and the damn hair!
...Really, Geo? That's the best you got? That's like calling the guy possessed by Taurus something like Tau-... oh. Okay, maybe he just followed the naming scheme.
"* Luna will remember that."
Goodbye Telltale Games. We won't miss you.
Turns out that Mega was right and they would eventually pop out of the comp space on their own. Neat.
They hop to their feet at Luna's complaint. And I question how Zack is supposed to protect anyone. Maybe just by his sheer presence, they'll stay away?
To be fair, you are actively avoiding that group thanks to Zack.
: P-Prez... Huh? What am I doing here?
: You... You are Bud, right? I feel like I was in a bad nightmare just now where you turned into a giant monster...
What a weird dream they all had.
Yeah, Yeti got an S-rank on a boss, for once. Must have been a dream.
: You know about all those things getting broken? I think I'm the one doing it... After I got mad at you that one time, I saw the strangest thing. There was a cow monster guy, and he told me he'd give me powers.
Yeah, how silly. What a weird situation.
Bud is pretty clearly going through some issues related to abandonment here, and when Taurus offered him a chance to put his fears to rest he grabbed onto the bait like a drowning man. And I'm mixing metaphors, and I don't care.
Think he stress-eats because of his abandonment? Would fit. Because he stress-eats, he's fat, unattractive, and thus makes it harder to make friends.
This continues the cycle of eating. Which means someone will only befriend him for his strength, and, in Bud's mind, this is what friendship is like. This is only reinforced when Geo knocks him out and Luna threatens to not be his friend.
Are you depressed yet?
I'm torn between a "Insert Twilight Zone theme here" joke, and an M. Night Shyamalan quip.
What a twist!
: I'll apologize to everyone...
: Hmph! Bud! Zack! I want you guys back here at 6:30 AM! We have to fix all the things Bud destroyed! Don't be late or else!
I do like aspects of Luna's character. She's a bitch, but she does have a strict sense of right and wrong. If someone she 'hired' broke something, then she'll fix it.
Oh look, a redeeming quality.
She's also not a total bitch. Self-centered, yes. But this is basically the perfect thing she needed to say to put most of Bud's fears at rest.
He's still useful to her, she still wants him around, she won't be cutting their BrotherBand. A happy ending.
See what I mean? Based on his strength and utility. It works, for now, but I wouldn't be surprised if this issue pops up again.
Meanwhile, Geo is watching all of this like some sort of creep. Alternatively, like he's David Attenborough getting ready for a nature documentary.
Geo: either rethinking all of his life choices or re-affirming them, I can't tell which.
Maybe he's just longing for a close group of friends.
: ...strength could not give his life meaning... And when you knocked him out cold, he thought he had lost his place in the world... He didn't want to lose that, so he let his weakness be used by that FM-ian.
In other words, Mega started all of this. This is literally all his fault.
Does that include Geo? Who knows? Mega didn't exactly take him over, but it's not like Geo doesn't have loneliness in his heart.
(If you haven't guessed by now, this is the game's version of the Battle Network spiel.)
Listen to the writer's soapbox. Listen damn you!
Aaaand of course Geo is a dork about it.
CRAAAWWLING IIIIN MY SKIIIIIN
With that, the chapter is done. We beat Taurus Fire, problem solved, everyone is happy except Geo because his dad is dead. Yay!
Have some concept art of Megaman. Make sure his little ear thingy is round, not trapezoidal, it's very important.