The Let's Play Archive

Mystic Quest

by cardinal direction

Part 3: No Bones About Battlefields

3. No Bones About Battlefields

When we last left him, Ben was having 9000GP worth of problems. His mind raced to find a solution to his financial situation but only one thing came to mind.

Listen kid, this stuff’s precious, right?

My allowance is only 2GP a month!

Your allowance is 0 GP. Your village is gone, remember? I don’t wanna be a buzzkill or anything but everyone you knew is probably dead

Then let’s do it this way. I’m going to the Bone Dungeon to find treasure. You come with me and help. If I get the treasure, you get the Elixir.

Do I have any choice? When do we go?

There’s a Battlefield nearby. Why don’t you whack a few monsters, and maybe win something, kid?

You're goddamn right.

Through the thread’s guidance, from Benjamin’s ashes rises Shrug.

Yeah, that’s… great, I guess.

Oh god, dude, are you sure we shouldn’t be getting that Elixir for you?

As you can probably tell, Tristam is a ninja to the core. Like Kaeli before him, he’s better than Shrug in nearly every way—only now it actually matters because he won’t be leaving us in the span of five minutes.

He’s resistant to death and fire, which is useless because we’re not going to see either of those even remotely soon. Way to go, Tristam! And at this point, you’ve probably noticed that each time Shrug levels up, he gets another 40 health. So Tristam is basically just cheating to have the health we would at level 9. Figures.

Funnily enough, his Japanese name, ロック, is the same as that of Locke from Final Fantasy VI. Guess this is just really unfortunate coincidence among thieves treasure hunters.

His weapon, as you can see in the corner, is a bunch of ninja stars. In case the whole “ninja” thing wasn’t clear enough to you yet. You might also see a number beneath them, which signifies that the weapon is limited by ammunition. He starts off with 99 but we’ll be going through them at a fairly brisk clip. They’re easily replenished though so it’s not worth worrying about.

His ninja stars have the added benefit of being able to poison or paralyze enemies every now and then. Tristam is too strong to actually benefit from this though since nearly every enemy we see in this update will die in one hit from them.

As if that wasn’t enough, he also comes with Life and seven charges of it. Tristam is pretty competent.

No, I don’t know why he’s purple, either.

In any case, let’s actually take the jerk’s advice and check out these battlefields. I’m not a big fan of these because it’s a lot of busy work for the occasional reward.

We have a new enemy! Shrug and Tristam are too strong so these monsters die in one hit. They’re weak to axes because they are trees. Yawn.

Poison toads are marginally more interesting because they bear the dubious honor of being our first enemy to inflict status effects. I have a feeling you can guess what they do.

After slogging through 10 rounds, you get a reward, which ranges from meager to awesome. The rewards can be paltry amounts of experience or gold, or better equipment.

This battlefield gave us, like, a fourth the experience we were getting from encounters in the Level Forest.

There’s another battlefield west of the Sand Temple that’s not totally worthless so obviously we’re going to do that too.

Yet another new enemy. Basilisks aren’t particularly threatening. Their fang attack can hurt but that’s not as serious as it sounds.

After clearing out the battlefield, we earn this charm, which gives Shrug a single point of defense. I always thought it looked like a cute little heart.

Shrug is poisoned and that does what you might expect. After each round, you’ll lose a set amount of HP based on your level.

Artix posted:

First, poison is even more inconsequential as cardinal direction makes it seem, because it only deals [Level * 2] damage each turn.

For reference, Cure Potions fix you up for almost more than twice as much. Poison is not at all a big deal.

Shrug is going to go to the Bone Dungeon anyway because he doesn’t give a fuck. He also doesn’t have any Heal Potions but that’s besides the point.

So does the Bone Dungeon serve any purpose? Do people from Foresta just... put bad bones here or something?

If you look closely, the floor at the top of the screen might seem a bit off. That’s because it’s moving forward. There are several floors like this in Bone Dungeon but they’re all optional. We can take that path up but it’s one-way so we might as well take the sides and deal with the monsters sooner rather than later.

Another new enemy appears in the line up of monsters on the sides. The Sandworm does have some hard-hitting attacks and can lower your speed with quicksand, both of which can hurt for around 40 HP. They’re weak to axe attacks, though, so unless you miss they’ll be going down in one hit.

The worm was guarding a boring brown box and has forced me to correct myself. These boxes contain mostly consumables, either of the ammo or healing variety. My bad!

Kinda curious as to what left this big skeleton behind. The chest behind us was Cure Potions.

Passing through the bone tunnel leads us to this river? With turtle shells to use as stepping stones?

Shrug climbs down the stairs to the right and goes for a swim to the west.

Oh man, are you going to phase through it or whatever it is anime ninjas do?

Watch this!

This seems like a bad idea!

Shrug’s a dweeb but he’s smarter than to carry explosives around with him.

Oh, well, 50% off sounds pretty good.

Declining Tristam’s offer nets you this deal. He won’t go any lower though, sorry!

Nice. Bone Dungeon is where a whole lot of your choices open up. Since this is Mystic Quest, that’s not saying too much but it’s still nice. We head back the other way because Shrug’s treasure sense is tingling.

And he was right! Shrug’s first shield adds another 5 points of defense to his total but isn’t special beyond that. Now let’s go through that wall we blew up.

Wow, this looks terrible.

Another new enemy, Rocs are super frail. They’re weak to shooting weapons, which Tristam’s ninja stars qualify as.

They also only have, like, 90 HP at the most so it doesn’t matter.

Here's a Roc being blown up. Bombs are twice as strong as our sword but have the disadvantage of always targeting every enemy. It’s a pretty negligible downside, though, if you ask me. As far as I can tell, bombs aren’t affected by accuracy so you might as well just use them whenever. But…

Tristam, turn around. I promise, you’re not actually blind.

Rocs can also blind you. If only you hadn’t parted with your bombs, sucker!

Like poison, blind needs little introduction. Your accuracy plummets and persists after battle, also like poison.

Artix posted:

At full strength, the bombs are capable of outdamaging even Tristam's ninja stars, but by attacking three enemies at once, we would be better off using the Steel Sword to attack.

It wouldn't be a proper update from me without forgetting something important. Yes, since bombs default to attacking all enemies the damage is split pretty dramatically. On a single enemy, they're great but I don't really mind the damage split myself here because the enemies are weak enough as is. But then it's the difference between assuredly killing an enemy and weakening the rest so I guess it's more of a toss-up than I originally thought!

Artix posted:

Specifically, the damage formula for basic attacks is something along the lines of:

((Atk * 4) - Def) * weakness / number of targets

Bombs are an exception to this but we'll talk more about that when bombs aren't the strongest thing in our arsenal.

Skeletons are actually pretty annoying. They are capable of confusing you and that really sucks to deal with. Other than being annoying though, they can deal decent damage with their headbutts but they aren’t special otherwise. Being undead, they are weak to Cure.

But not Life. Don’t ask.

There’s not much else of note in the room other than some ninja stars if you’re in need of those.

Heading down a floor, Shrug finds another skeleton tube. Now, how to get past this?

Works for me.

There’s a secret room in here with some ninja stars in case you’re running low.

Yep, we’re already seeing palette swaps. The darker shade of Behemoth over there is a Gorgon and they are a pain in the ass. They can paralyze you if you’re unlucky and that really bites because at that point you’re at the whim of the game for it to wear off before you get beaten down. They can also poison both party members and deal 70 some damage so they’re definitely tough.

And status effects can stack so if you’re paralyzed and poisoned then you’re pretty much fucked.

Tristam can one-shot them though so they’re definitely more glass cannons than anything.

Shrug blows up another skeleton and finds an old friend.

Minotaur Zombie is the first enemy in the dungeon that won’t actually be killed in one hit from Tristam. He can confuse you and hits considerably hard. On the other hand, he’s susceptible to poison and paralysis which Tristam can inflict.

He’s also very weak to zombie attacks like Cure. ...sure. One Cure will do him in but then you sacrifice a powerful heal for yourself.

Artix posted:

Magic works on a very similar formula, which looks something like this:

((Pow * 4) + (Mag * 3) - def) * weakness / number of targets

So since the Minotaur zombie is weak to Cure, that x2 multiplier is actually pretty devastating.

Through the tunnel are some actually really good consumables. Seeds replenish all of your magic points. They are also incredibly limited until later in the game and this is your only source of them. If you’re really struggling during a boss, this is basically the “done with your shit” item.

This fight almost went south real fast. A confused Tristam basically just ‘fatal’ed Shrug in one hit.

I know I’ve said that Mystic Quest is easy—and it is, don’t get me wrong—but shit can happen. You could even die to the tutorial boss if luck isn’t in your favor.

Across the way, we find Shrug’s first Black magic which would be cool if Quake didn’t sort of suck past this dungeon. It deals earth damage to all enemies and is reasonably powerful at the moment. Artix, who has singlehandedly saved this thread from being utter garbage, points out that Quake has a power of 125 (which is what would be multiplied by 4 in the magic damage equation). But similarly to bombs, Quake defaults to attacking all enemies so it suffers pretty heavily at the hands of damage splitting.

Pick up your monitor, shake it, and you’ve seen what Quake looks like.

Maybe we can barter and trade Tristam for the treasure.

All right, I’ve gotta admit, I loved looking through the manual when I was younger and this was pretty badass as a kid.

Flamerus Rex is where Mystic Quest takes off the kids’ gloves. That’s like saying the game stopped blowing bubbles at you and decided to have a pillow fight but whatever.

First things first, he’s undead so you can Cure him for some pretty significant damage but then you risk losing your healing. Life won’t do anything—unless you’re playing the PAL version, in which case it works perfectly well. Quake is also a good option.

Bone Missile is his special attack and he only used it this once this entire fight. It hits one party member for 80 damage, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Here’s the boss in his various states of health. Poison Flour, predictably, poisons someone and Rex can put someone to sleep as well. At this point of the fight, he’ll start throwing out Rip Earth (which is basically Quake) fairly frequently and deal 80 damage to both party members.

If one of them is down, then the surviving party member is going to eat about 160 damage and that’s not a position you want to be in. This is another instance of damage no longer being split.

If you’re lucky, he’ll use Twin Fang and only get one hit, which will deal a laughable 30 some damage.

I got careless and lost because I threw all of my Cures at it, but now Mystic Quest demonstrates one of its quality of life features. If your luck ran against you, don’t sweat it! Just retry the fight from the beginning with absolutely no penalty other than losing your time. No backtracking from the world map or some other bullshit, just give it another go.

I like this a lot. I’m a bit torn as to whether or not there should be a penalty though. The game isn’t structured in a way where you could realistically do that but maybe money loss would work? Or is the penalty that you have to keep trying and find a new strategy? If you choose to give up, it kicks you back to the load screen. I’m not sure how else it could work here, but I think cutting out the fluff is a good idea all the same especially in a genre like JRPG that’s notorious for padding.

Shrug doesn’t give up so we defeat the boss handily and blow it up. Maybe there’s more to the Mega Man comparison than I thought.

Tristam doesn’t care about this whole “save-the-world” thing so he rushes over to the treasure chests

Surprised Tristam doesn’t actually try to find out how much the crystal’s worth

HOLD UP. Can we discuss a trade?

Thanks for jeopardizing a girl’s life for your personal benefit, Tristam!

Don’t forget to pick this up like I did as an idiot child

You’re kind of a dick, dude.

Next time: Shrug fulfills his promise and climbs a tower