Part 2: Trees? In a FOREST?I had go back and take the shots for the first two images here (hence the sudden jump to level 4). This was a mistake on my part and should not happen again.
Music: World Map
So here we are on the world map. There's no actual exploration or anything, just press a direction and you'll head off toward whatever destination lies that way.
Here we are in Foresta. It's exactly what you'd expect given that it's the first town. A couple houses, a few people to talk to, but nothing really special. Hitting up the townsfolk:
Well shit, there's trees in the forest. Dunno how we'd have possibly gotten that on our own.
Now this is interesting. Not relevant yet, but I'm sure we'll be heading there eventually, since that's our destiny and all.
Anyway, there's a very important item hidden in Foresta. Take the back entrance to this guy's house, and we get...
Our first white magic book. Cure is pretty good. It'll heal for much more than a Cure Potion, and you can cast on both yourself and your partner simultaneously, though you'll get less healing out of it.
This bed will let you rest up for free. Resting will refill both you and your partner's HP, Magic, and heal any status conditions you have. Most towns have an Inn you'll have to use, but the costs are minuscule compared to how much money you'll have, so for all intents and purposes, healing is basically free.
Next stop, Kaeli's house.
There's a tree blocking the North exit of the Level Forest. I can chop down the tree, but monsters have taken over the forest and I can't get to it.
Kaeli promptly shuts down her mother for attempting to intercede in her conversation.
How much the trees must be suffering! Ok, you win.
She grabs the axe by the wall, and after telling her mother off...
We've got our first party member.
Looking at Kaeli's stats, you can see that she far outclasses us. She's much stronger, has a ton of defense, and has a fair amount of HP (120), and resists water, petrification, and silence. She's also got the Life spell, which completely heals someone, revives them if dead, and heals all status effects (only in battle). Not bad for a starting party member.
Back in the Level Forest, Kaeli cuts us an opening so we can clear this place out. First, we'll take the left path for some Cure Potions.
The best basic battle music in any SNES rpg.
First new enemy is the Brownie. They can punch or kick us for 6-8 damage, and have about 50 HP. We're only capable of doing 40-odd damage at the moment, so they'll take two swings to put down. Their sprite changes by losing the hat.
There's Kaeli's axe in motion.
The other new enemy is the Slime. Also packing about 50 HP, they're a little bit stronger than the Brownies. Their stab attack is nothing special, but their Hydro Acid will do 12 or so damage and I could have sworn it lowered defense as well, but I never saw it happen. Damage causes the slime's top to fall in, making it look kind of like a curved 'M'.
Off to the right here, there's a few more guys to slaughter, as well as a glowing tree to the north.
Inside the box, there's a few Heal Potions ripe for the taking. These will cure any status condition we happen to be suffering from, and are one of the few compelling reasons to use Auto control versus Manual. Manual and Auto control are exactly what you'd expect, but Auto has the benefit of reactive AI, so if we got hit really hard or got petrified or something, the AI can heal that instead of attacking.
I head back to Foresta for a quick heal before fighting the boss in the area. The box has more Cure Potions in it, but we can't reach it yet, because Kaeli refuses to cut down any other trees than the one she did to get us through the forest.
After clearing out the forest one more time (Because why not? They all respawned, and we get more free Cure/Heal potions), this is what our stats look like before the boss. We've caught up to her in offense and speed, we've got 40HP on her, and we're marginally more accurate. We're also a tad overleveled.
All your partners come at a predetermined level, and as long as you're at or around that level by the time you find the boss of the area, you're good to go. Mind you, it's not the end of the world if you're not, as the game's not exactly difficult, but it's a good way to measure your strength relative to where the game says you "should" be. It's worth nothing that your partners never level, so what you see is what you're stuck with, but that won't really become a problem until later in the game.
Glowing = Evil. Just for future reference you know, wouldn't want anyone to get lost here.
Wait, so was he in the tree, or was he the tree, or what?
Kaeli collapses as he blows a small bit of pollen at her. Nasty allergies, you see.
And with that, it's fight time. (If you only ever click one music link in the entire LP, make it this one)
Meet the Minotaur. He'll attack with his axe for a moderate amount of damage, but the Roundhouse is the attack to watch out for. It hits fairly hard (about 30 damage to us, 20-odd to Kaeli), and if he criticals, it can easily put a character close to death, if not outright kill them, and that's not something you want at this point in the game. If you go down, it's no big deal, have Kaeli revive you while she takes a hit. If she goes down, then you better have that Cure spell, because there's no way to revive her during the fight.
As you damage him, he gets more pissed off and his arm-bracelet-thing breaks off. Another round of attacks and he goes down.
Wait, what? But Life is a heal-
Yep. Fuck actually fighting the boss, you can just instantly kill him with Life. All of the white magic books have effects like this when you use them on enemies, but that's a story for another day.
Kaeli's mom out of nowhere. I guess it makes sense, we did massacre all the living creatures of the forest, so it's not like there's anything alive to stop her.
Art, being caring man he is, can't stand to see a girl suffer from allergies.
Before she gets hauled off by her mother, Kaeli gives us her axe. It's a slight upgrade to our Steel Sword, but nothing to get too excited over. It also lets us cut down trees of our own accord, an ability that will be completely useless for a majority of the game.
Next time: Battlegrounds and Ninja(?)