Part 2: Zone 1 - Smoke Mines
Welcome back to OFF! Last time we were just headed off to the world map, so let's take a look at that!
Music - Silencio
...Oh good. So. this abstract palm tree thing acts as our world map. Each red and white/red dot is a zone we can go to. The words "world map (?)" scroll up the left side of the screen.
As you can see in the upper right corner, the dot the batter is standing on is zone 1. We came from zone 0, the dot directly above him. To his right we have zone 2, zone 3, and the bright dot is just labeled "THE ROOM". We've only got the key cards for zone 0 and 1 right now, so let's go see what's in unexplored lands!
Music: Rainy Day (and meat) (Outdoor Mix)
It's raining in zone 1, and the sea is pink.
Heading north we find a tram station - and some people! Actual people. The sign says we're in Elsen.
We can only reach this pleasant fellow to speak to. These guys are also known as Elsen, and they make this odd soft gasp when you speak to them. (Make sure you click on the character portraits for the Elsen coming up, I've linked to their creepy breath sound.)
There's only one area accessible on the number 1 tram right now, so let's head there and check it out.
Heading south we find a little house and a blocked path to the right. If we get any closer a little Elsen wearing a hat runs out to talk to us!
: I... Uhm... Welcome to the smoke mines. Uh... may I know who you are? Are you an inspector?
: No. I'm the Batter. I've come to exterminate the impure spirits.
: The... Batter... The... impure spirits? Are you some sort of... prophet? Or perhaps a man of belief?
: Yeah. Something like that.
: I... Who sent you?
: Nobody. I'm being led by Panzer.
: Ah. I don't know her. She must be a member of the superior personnel... In any case that's good. It means our requests have been acknowledged... Here, I'm going to explain your task.
This section slowly pans across the larger diagram images. Click each of the images above to see the full size diagram of how the smoke mines work.
: Finally... uh... How do I put this?
: Where are the impures?
: Uh... yes, there we go. There are many spectres in the mines. They are becoming more and more aggressive. But uh, in fact, it would be better if you didn't enter the mines.. Because...
: Because the regulations forbid visitors to access them. So, uh, here's what we're going to do. There's an annex tunnel that nobody ever goes to. But a miner went in there some time ago... And he saw something strange, he said. Nothing like the usual. So, I thought... maybe... it's the chief of the spectres.
: Uh... so, there's your task. If you accept, you'll go into the annex tunnel and kill the chief of the spectres... Then, the spectres will disappear and we can work properly again. There we go, there we, uh... do you have any questions?
: Ah. Great. Impeccable. The tunnel is right down there. I'll wait here.
We'll check out that access tunnel in a moment. What's in this little house?
Treasure! And another little Elsen fellow.
: I'm anxious for that day to arrive.
Alma sounds like a pretty important place! I'm sure you'll get that promotion soon. Popping open the chest we find another Luck Ticket.
Anyway, other than the access tunnel the foreman mentioned, this is all we can access in the area, so I guess we're ready to go fight the chief of the spectres!
Music - Rainy Day (and meat) (Indoor Mix)
It seems... preeeeetty empty here.
Oh! Hello Judge! You sure got here fast.
: Are you the specter's leader?
: Aha, no no, certainly not. I am only passing through, not unlike the smoke which is being extracted from this pale and metallic place. However, I believe I know where the one you are taking for an ectoplasm can be found.
The Judge leads us a little further into the cave towards a giant floating ring.
: I have very well tried to accroach it, but the operation has failed systematically so far. But I am thinking... Maybe you, one who does not have a physical order, will succeed in affiliating this spiritual entity to yours.
Our first party member! Yes, this is our first party member. Look just trust me here. This ring is called Alpha!
: What an exceptionally intriguing phenomenon... I must admit that I remain perplexed by this unexpected, metaphysical reaction. Fair enough; since it has decided to accompany you, I know only to advise you to make th ebest usage possible of it.
: Got it. The chief of the specters isn't here?
: Sorry, but I fear I have to respond in the negative. Apart from this Add-On, I have not crossed the way of a single soul in this lieu.
Well shoot. That's okay though, I'm sure we'll figure something else out. The Batter sure is single-minded on his given task though, huh? Let's go see what that foreman has to say.
Music: Rainy Day (and meat) (Outdoor Mix)
: No. He wasn't there.
: Oh... oh? Really? I... Bugger. Crap. I... Well, then uh... I believe that I'll have to let you enter into the main gorges, then. But uhm... the regulations oppose it. Alright uh... I..... I suppose this is a very special case, as stated in paragraph five.
: So, uh... Good, well, the main mines are on the right. There.
With that he lowers the barrier to the right! Progress.
Before we move on though, let's take a quick look at our menus now that we have an additional party member.
Here's our main pause menu. Object is our inventory, Competence our skills menu.
Here's the Batter's current status and equipment. Beside our weapon slot, we've got 3 slots for defensive equipment and one extra slot for special items. You'll notice there's a little bit of untranslated French on these screens, but I think it's pretty understandable.
Here's Alpha's screen. He's weaker than the Batter in all stats but Defense, in which they're tied, but he grows into a hard-hitting bastard eventually. An interesting thing to note here is that he's of the "Father" class.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand, which is these poor little guys being terrorized by spectres... specters? The game spells it both ways. Ghosts. I'll say ghosts.
: But now it's breaktime for me anyways.
Or phantoms. I guess we can call them phantoms??
Kind of! Let's head down the stairs and inspect said mine.
: And besides... Who has let you enter? Normally the regulations prohibit external visitors...
Music: Soft Breeze
Once we reach the room with the yellow cube, the Batter freezes.
Music - Pepar Steak (Seriously pro click, the battle theme in this game is messed up and amazing.)
Our first battle! Let's kill the hell out of some dorky ghosts!
Here's what the main battle screen looks like. "Pure" after the characters' names refers to their status, as enemies can inflict us with status effects like poison or blind. CP is our Competence Points, what we spend to use special skills. The small bar beneath each CP number is our active combat meter. We can only act once the bar is full. The speed the bar fills at is dependent on the agility of each character.
Right now, Alpha has no Competence abilities and can only attack physically for a meager amount of damage. The Batter has one skill so far:
I'll be using this each time we encounter a new enemy so you can see their names.
These guys are pretty much total scrubs with only 10 HP, so we pound them into the floor.
The Batter is only level 2 but his crits already hit fairly hard.
Yikes, they chipped away at Alpha's health pretty fast. I'm going to need to pick up some defensive equipment soon.
With this battle we earned 400 xp, 80 credits and 6 luck tickets. With every battle we'll be earning some amount of xp and credits, though only some battles give us loot. I'm only going to mention the spoils if we get anything interesting or if a character levels up.
: This "Add-On" is fighting by my side...
: ...That's practical. Let's purify the other galleries.
Checking out that yellow block, it's a health-restoring save point. I abuse these a lot for healing while traveling through enemy heavy areas, so if you notice sudden discrepencies in the party's health that's why.
Next time we'll be heading to the metal farms of Pentel! I'll see you then.