Part 41: Lows to Highs (3)
Now it's time to get to that needle. There's a small cave area and then one big screen where the needle is.
These guys are Scamperin' Mushrooms, which we already met in the volcano earlier.
These guys were one of the enemies we fought in the previous update. Like the rest of its species, these guys specialize in high defenses, strong attacks, and hypnosis (in this case, Hypnosis Omega, which can hit the entire party).
Next up is this mountain area with only one type of enemy.
These guys are pretty one-note, though their one note hits hard.
It does alright damage to three different characters, which adds up when you're trying to make it to the boss relatively unscathed.
Thankfully, Wall Staples are as helpful as ever.
Of course, there's treasure in this area.
This is the last of the musical presents. Savor it while you can.
This weapon is a slight upgrade over the Spiky Weapon I just bought Lucas not five minutes ago.
Also it doesn't look very vigorous.
A nice head upgrade for Duster.
It's pretty uneventful otherwise, and soon we make it to the top.
Lifeup Gamma is exclusive to Lucas, and it will restore the target's HP to full for 16PP. Very, very handy to have.
As Mixolydia said, the needle is up here and well-guarded.
Are th-th-these the "Barrier Trio"? Each one of their names is carved here.
Are they really that strong?
Meet the Barrier Trio, which serves as one of the more interesting fights in the game. This is one of the more gimmicky fights in the series, which is kinda surprising since there's really not that many gimmick fights if you think about it.
First thing's first, you gotta get rid of that shield.
PSI Counter puts up a psychic shield that both halves PSI damage and reflects inflicted damage back to the opponent. Normally, I wouldn't bother with this and would just stick with shields. However, for this fight you'll want all the extra damage you can get.
I believe you can cheese the fight by continually lowering the Trio's defense, forcing it to waste turns on Defense Up Omega to counter it. I don't really bother to do this in this fight, but the option's there.
So, the gimmick of this fight. One of the three will call out a pose, and all three will go into a stance. Depending on who called out the stance, the trio will be weak to one of PK Fire/Freeze/Thunder and immune to the other two. Barrier Man is weak to Fire, Barrier Gal to Freeze, and Barrier Dude to Thunder.
For this fight, I only had Barrier Gal call out poses, which works nicely since Freeze is Kumatora's strongest PSI. Unfortunately, there are not different battle sprites for each pose, only "posing" and "regular" sprites.
Since the Barrier Trio have very high defenses and will counter Defense Down with Defense Up, Boney and Duster won't be very effective with just their physical attacks. This is as good a fight as any to finally use all those explosives you've been stockpiling. Don't tell me you've been using them, I know you're hoarding them to use in a very tough fight that'll never happen. Seriously, stop saving those things, you don't have any more inventory room for new stuff.
I'm even using healing items this fight!
Freeze hitting a weakness does decent damage, about 400. For reference, the Barrier Trio has 4000 HP to burn through.
There's no reason it should be Omega instead of Alpha, since the Barrier Trio is technically one enemy. But it does make sense logically since there's three of them. They also have enough PP where it doesn't really matter.
Considering your only reliable sources of damage are Kumatora and possibly Lucas when he has a break, having Counter deal extra damage will add up.
Do enough damage, and you'll break the pose and they'll have to regroup.
Barrier Gal's the only one doing any work.
And this is why you want to use Counter instead of Shield. That's 320 extra damage right there.
Well, that's far from the only reason.
For if you do enough damage to them, this happens.
When you see this, make absolutely sure you're healed and shielded.
Even with shields, this does huge damage to the entire party.
And to the Barrier Trio. This is why you want PSI Counter over PSI Shield. That's close to 600 free damage on the thing from its ultimate attack. It just hurt itself for 15% of its max HP.
I lost Lucas but at this point I decide to push it and go for broke because why not.
As you can see...
...I got lucky.
In the end, I barely made it. Fun fight overall.
It looks like we'll be ahead on the Needles for once!
OH COME ON
Looks like our old friends the Pigmasks have come to crash the party. I don't care, I'll clobber you all again if I hafta.
I'll clobber you too while I'm at it.
Yeah, this is one of those "Fuck you" moments games like to pull on you.
And just like that, we're back to nothing.
Hey, you. Just how long are you going to sleep there?
Your heart wasn't the one passed on to the Dark Dragon; that masked man's was... But there's nothing that we can do about that. Fate is fate. ...But it's odd. I should be sensing that masked man's heart coming from the earth, but I'm not feeling anything at all...
I instructed him to wait for you at the beach. You can ride on his back all the way back to Tazmily. I'll give you my razor and lipstick. Take good care of them, almost as if they were me.
Oh, wait. I almost forgot something very important. Could you give this to Ionia for me?
In Tazmily, I believe there is a "map-loving and map-owning" fellow, yes? I think he'll know where Ionia's house is. So hurry there! Take this to Ionia!
Welp, we failed. It just means we have to get those last two needles.
Oh yeah, we gotta backtrack through the entire island and we don't get any healing. So have fun with that.
On the way back, Kumatora force-feeds Lucas some jerky. That's pretty much the highlight.
Fire Gamma is nice, 200-230 damage to all enemies.
At least there's a Hot Spring before we backtrack the rest of the way.
On the way back, we meet the other two enemies from the previous section. Ancient Dragonflies breathe fire but are otherwise fragile and go down quickly.
Monkalrus is the last one. It hits hard.
It also has fleas, so maybe keep your distance?
No more mushrooms, it seems.
The snake and I talked things over, and I decided to go back outside. So now we're both back in our natural states.
At least they worked things out.
I know I'm an octopus, but please get on.
You're given the option to refuse. If you do:
Is it because I'm an octopus?
Let's not be racist and ride him home.
Yeah. Good work today.
See you later.
And so our heroes ride home on an octopus. Pretty tame as far as adventures go.
Next time, we'll tackle the final section of this chapter as we race to find Ionia and pull the sixth needle before the Masked Man does.