Part 3: Zone 1 - Metal Farms
Welcome back! Last time we left off at the entrance to the deeper section of the smoke mines. Let's head inside.
Music - Soft Breeze
It's a little bit of a maze, but it's easy enough to navigate. Taking the left path here we find a treasure chest.
Jokers are the resurrection items of this game. If a party member dies in combat we can revive them with this.
To the south there's a confused Elsen staring at the wall.
C'mon buddy, this ain't a good place for you to be.
In fact, as soon as we take one step away from him we're hit with our first random battle!
It's a pair of Magnolias. I don't like these things, they're gross looking. They're very common enemies here in the mines. Their main attack is called Chronic Migraine and does very little damage to us.
With only 30 health they don't take long to take out. Right now the Batter can consistently one shot them, though Alpha is only averaging about 20 damage per attack.
Heading back up and to the right takes us to this T intersection. Let's go up first.
Treasure! Belial's meat is an item that cures all negative status effects. After we snag this we're hit with another random battle.
Three stupid Magnolias. We kill 'em, no problemo.
Oh but check it out, those guys caused Alpha to level! He's learned a new Competence called Saturated Chain. I'll show it off next time we get into a fight.
Going south from the T intersection leads us here. Let's keep going south for the moment and head down that ladder.
Oh man, this hallway is super long. There's gotta be a chest at the end.
Heading back up to the ladder we're attacked by three more Magnolias. Here we see that Saturated Chain is a special attack of "low impact". Let's try it!
It fucking blasts that dude in the face for 60 damage. Alpha has just become useful.
Well, let's go this way then.
Further progress in the mines is blocked, so let's see what's up the ladder.
Music - Rainy Day (and meat)
: Did you come from the smoke mines?
: But... But... But there are loads of spectres down there...
: Are you a spectre?
: Then who are you? Have you been sent by the Queen? Or by Dedan?
: But... But... But... You still know how to fight the spectres? You... You could destroy them?
: Oh. That... That would be great... We... We have... uh... spectres in our big barns.
: Ah... uh... yes...
Once again, those black and white images above link to the full image that's panned across in game. I really like the "parts of the cow" one, even if the whole concept of the metal cows freaks me out.
: There... And thus we have spectres in the large barns...
: I must purify the mines first.
: Ah... Yes, but the barns aren't that big... And uh... It would be nice of you to take care of them fast, because the Queen's inspector is going to arrive at any moment... So... Could you please take care of the barns first?
: ... Alright.
: Ah! Ah! Great! Thanks, thanks a lot! The barns are directly to the right. They aren't big at all; you'll see, it's going to be done quickly.
I'm actually fairly surprised this Elsen was able to persuade the Batter away from his current task. Though maybe not too surprised as he seems to be pretty excited about anything that involves purifying.
: It's uh... metallic.
The cows bumbling around in the pasture there are pretty cute with their dumb little faces.
Oh this is pretty neat! The spectres we need to defeat are floating around in the world here. We've gotta seek them out and beat them to death.
Music - Pepar Steak
Hahaha what? Fat Spectre?
So these guys aren't so bad to fight. They take a while to beat down, but they don't hit very hard. The main thing they do that sucks is that little "ah, ah!" speech bubble there.
The speech bubble dies in one hit, but has very high agility and can spawn more of itself. It hits fast with an attack called Classical Taking (I think this was meant to be Classical Talking, as it's called from another enemy later in the game), and if you let too many of them spawn it becomes a nightmare. As soon as one of those little speech bubbles shows up, destroy it.
Good progress. We grab the guy on the left next.
This is what I meant by these things being a pain in the ass. I've killed the spectre but the one speech bubble left over keeps cloning itself before I can knock both out.
However! Killing the two bubbles in that screenshot nets us a new level for the Batter!
And we get a new Competence! Save First Base heals a party member for a small amount.
Whoops! Nearly forgot this guy, he's straight across from the door.
With a healing point right outside the door, nothing about this is difficult, mostly just tedious as hell.
You are UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE to my cow friends, mister fat ghost.
All right! Well, this floor is completely clear. Let's head into the basement.
Rock pushing puzzle! Here's the second puzzle mechanic that shows up in OFF - rock pushing. You can only push a rock if there's a free space on the opposite side.
The last spectre is totally uninteresting and exactly the same as the last four.
Music - Rainy Day (and meat)
When we try to head outside, we're treated to a little cutscene. The Queen's inspector has arrived.
(The inspector's voice clip is HORRIFYING. Please be sure to click his portrait.)
: Shut your trap, you poor moron.
: No... I... Yes...
: Has he been in there for long?
: I... I don't know...
: Of course. You know nothing. I could've guessed.
: He... He will eliminate... The spectres...
: And why does he think he's capable of destroying those stupid phantoms? He thinks he's better than you! Better than the Queen!
: No... No, I don't think that...
: Shut it. I haven't asked you anything. You all think you're smarter than everyone else. But you're all the same. At any case that's hardly important. The ghosts will erase that prig.
: I... Ah? You... You think he won't succeed?
: Of course not. Nobody here's capable of fighting the phantoms, other than the Queen's officers. If you'd only listen to me more often, you wouldn't be in so much shit.
: But... But then who... Who's going to destroy the phantoms?
: I could've done it. But you don't deserve it. Too bad for you, you'll just have to take care of your problems yourselves.
: I... I... No... P-... Please...
: I'll be leaving now. I'll be returning to Alma. At least the people there are polite. They ain't constantly cutting you off.
: Pl-... Please... Don't...
: Piss off.
: Don't... No... I...
: I command you. Get the fuck out of my way this instant, if you want to keep your job.
OKAY, SERIOUSLY? HOW CAN YOU BE SO MEAN TO THIS CUTE LITTLE GUY?? Oh MY GOD.
This guy is a FUCKING ASSHOLE. The Elsen are so cute and sad how could you yell at one?! Arghhh that guy!
: You... You're alive?
: And... And the spectres?
: Eradicated. The barn is pure now.
: That... You... You must be very lucky.
: Who was that person?
: That... That was Dedan. He's the Queen's supervisor.
: You mean specter.
: ... ... No... The Queen doesn't employ spectres. He can't be one.
: But he's hostile. I must destroy him.
: No... No... Don't do that. He's an envoy of the Queen. I... I ... Uh... You had better go complete your work in the smoke mines... ... P-Please...
: Besides, he is in Alma. No one can get there without proper authorisation. So... Please... Return to the smoke mines...
Don't worry little Elsen pal, I'm not gonna let shitlords push you around anymore.
Back on the screen we came in through there are a few things to investigate. First of all is that little circle near the water on the left side.
Hehehe. Next is checking out what's in that other doorway.
Oh. Oh no. Don't talk about work please.
Let's see what those blocks were keeping us from up north-
: But if I do my job well, maybe I'll get transferred to Alma...
Well let's... Let's call that an update then.
Next time we'll be going to the post office in Shachihata, I hope to see you then.