Part 5: UPDATE 3: SparksIn an effort to make the updates a little less freakin' long, and because there's a huge plot dump after this mission, I'm going to take a shot at alternating plot updates and gameplay updates. Let me know what you think!
First off, let me take the opportunity to keep my promises.
Unfortunately these two and Marty are not in the same unit.
I don't know what this is a reference to, but I know I'm gonna get sick of typing it!
This guy probably won't be a Fencer, but you'll probably be happy with my plans for him anyway.
I, err, have no idea whether you're a guy or a girl, but "Panic" seemed gender-neutral enough and "Silphie" was kinda boring anyway.
Update 2 -- Sparks
So, when we left off, we were just about to travel about 4 days to the Volmus Mine to rescue Prince Yumil from revolutionaries, because no one else can get there in time.
Note that Akka Castle is about as far away from Volmus Mine as we are right now. Yeah I don't really know how it works. Let's see what Hugo says.
: "Let me start... Refer to the map."
: "Our goal is to rescue Prince Yumil. Unfortunately, we don't know where he's being held captive."
"...and liberate strongholds on the way to gather information on Yumil's whereabouts."
That's his plan? Wander around aimlessly until we find him? Wow Hugo sure is earning his salary.
: "I'm sorry, but this is all I can do. I'm heading to Akka Castle. Good luck, Freddie."
You know, buddy, if all you had for me was "just wing it" you could have told me when I decided to do this in the first place, before we spent 4 days walking here, and be bringing me some goddamn reinforcements right now.
FINE LET'S JUST FIND HIM ALREADY
So yeah, at this point the game will start throwing half-assed attacks on your HQ to start every mission. It does this pretty much every time except the first one, because that one you can rightfully be expected not to have any goddamn clue what is going on.
Looks like this first attacking unit's being led by a Cleric. Clerics are extremely important. Here's a writeup.
Some would call the cleric the most important class in Ogre Battle. The only (good) source of in-battle healing in this game comes from the ring-staff of this fearsome-looking battle nun. Much like their more useless cousin the Witch, the Cleric does not attack; instead she spends her turns undoing damage that has been dealt to your units. This does NOT affect which side of a battle is considered to have won, but 49 times out of 50 you'll be worrying less about that and more about your multi-battle attrition rate. Having a cleric in your unit cuts this worry into tenths. Two heals in the back row, one everywhere else.
See this here, kids? This is how NOT to use a Cleric. They're very useful to have on hand, but every Cleric in your unit is one less character to do any ass-kicking, so the rest of your characters will have to make up for it by kicking even more ass. They can't do that if they're Soldiers.
One run-in with Swift and Tanya's making a break for home. I let her go for now. She'll be back.
Meantime I'm being attacked by another Cleric who went around the long way. Amanda's unit is totally bass-ackwards, with her healers in the front and her (one) attacker in the back. Time to capitalize!
where are you going
Oh, I see, she's called off her attack because her Fatigue is full on account of having gone around the long way. Sometimes it's hard, struggling against such worthy adversaries all the time.
Ivory is able to catch up when they finally fall asleep, but unfortunately they all wake up in time to pour on the healing, keeping Amanda alive. That's the problem with bass-ackwards formations -- if they run away for any reason, suddenly they're right-side up.
I don't mind, though -- more battles with a mostly harmless foe means more opportunity to gather experience for my Soldiers! Mature characters get EXP from killing enemy characters, but Soldiers get EXP from victories, which I'm racking up pretty constantly in this particular case. Ivory gets a new friend!
In frustration, all her little buddies stab a nun to death and steal her necklace. The unit-defeat rewards in this mission are heavily skewed toward allowing you to make your own clerics; this is the first ingredient.
oh look who's back
In the process of killing the hell out of Tanya, Swift promotes his first set of Soldiers too! HOORAY
His reward is a Light Mace. That hoop-staff thing Clerics carry is constantly referred to as a mace for some reason, I dunno, probably D&D-related. Another item required to make my own Clerics.
The one guy in charge of guarding the closest Stronghold is hiding behind some manner of adorable monster! It's a baby dragon!
The exploited child soldiers of the dragon world. Once you ruin its childhood enough, it'll grow up. If its alignment is very high when this happens, it'll become a White Dragon; if it's very low, it'll become a Black Dragon. Anything in between and it'll mature according to its Innate Element -- one with a Fire element will become a Red Dragon, etc. Honestly I'd just wait until you can catch one of those rather than bothering to raise one from a babby. Two adorable attacks in the front row, one everywhere else.
Naturally anything this cute is slaughtered instantly when Doreauxgard comes to town.
The rest of that unit, consisting of just the one guy, is finished off pretty quickly. In an effort to feel important, Freddie liberates the Stronghold.
The guy in charge of guarding Dese, to the southwest of Suakin, apparently thinks it wise to let Soldiers tank for him. As you can see from the battle shot, it only works so well. That's my attempt at capturing on film the animation for Acid Vapor, the basic spell cast by Earth-elemental mages.
After I kill his friends and steal his town, Feldman decides it's a good idea to storm the castle all by himself. It works about as well as you'd expect.
Attempting to attack the town of Ishro, to the southeast, brings up another "enemy units shooting the shit on some random country road" type cutscene. They are the same class and neither is important enough to get his own portrait, so enjoy some mildly confusing dialogue!
: "What's taking him so long? They'll be here any minute."
: "They found out our plan a little while ago. There shouldn't be anyone in the area except for the prince's escort. We have a very small advantage, so let's not screw this up!"
A little while ago? jeez i found out about it like last week when your friend with the huge beard wouldn't stop monologuing about it
: "Why hasn't the scout come back yet?"
: "They're looking for him right now. This plan has got to work! If we can't hand those three over, the whole thing falls apart."
NOTE: "Hand over." Not "brainwash" or "quietly assassinate" or "release a video of us shooting them on Al-Jazeera."
: "Th... They're here..."
: "The Palatinean Army is here!!"
PARTY TIME MOTHERFUCKERS
I kill their slightly taller friend who randomly walked up behind them right before the battle started, and send Freddie in to take the town. My reward: another cutscene. (I don't think Freddie has to do this himself, but I just like it better if he does.)
We open with some old guy standing around watching over some guys in armor sitting around with their hands tied. But not their legs. I dunno man. Freddie comes struttin' in like it ain't no thang and the old guy kind of quietly runs to a corner.
oh hey Yumil. Sup. I see your sleeves are less poofy these days. Nice thigh-high yellow boots, though, I always thought you were a spring myself and
oh right sorry
: "Are you hurt, my lord?"
: "Thank you, Jeal. I'm okay. Are you alright, Rhade?"
Just gimme a minute to work everyone's name we don't know into the conversation and then we can get on with our lives.
guess that's a yes
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rhade. Dio is no longer the angriest character in the game.
: "What took you so long!? Incompetent Southern Division... Well anyway, I appreciate your, (ahem) timely rescue. Which post do you belong to?"
: "My name is Freddie, sir. I'm a cadet with the Southern Division... I am not yet assigned to any post, sir."
: "F... Freddie? Are you..."
You'd think he'd recognize the blue sash.
And the hair. But mostly the sash.
: "Not assigned? What are you guys, rookies or something?"
: "... Yes, sir."
Rhade is apparently fuzzy on the definition of "cadet."
: "You're the only ones who came to rescue us? Bullshit! What the hell is the Southern Division doing!? Alright, I'll give you a chance to prove yourself. ...Go and take care of those rebels."
Look at the size of that anime mouth. I guess being tied up in an attic for days and days turned Rhade into something of a crankypuss.
: "...Is that really necessary, sir?"
: "Shut up, kid! Yes, it's necessary. Rebels wish for the downfall of this kingdom. They jeopardize the lives of innocent people and bring discord to peaceful lands. What else can we do to protect our kingdom and the people we love? We must crush them and teach them the futility of their defiance, that is the only way! ...I know it's a painful task to carry out, but it must be done."
Wow if I hadn't already seen that yelling screenshot I might almost think Rhade was being sincere here.
: "Now go... and kill them!!"
alright guess i'm gonna go wipe out an enemy force to the last man, laters
Meanwhile the old guy who had been watching over the prisoners before I got there tries to slink out while they're all inexplicably staring at the opposite wall.
whoa you let him keep his sword what the hell
: "Did you forget what I just said? All rebels deserve to die..."
"i know it's a painful task to carry out so just let me do it"
"let me do it over and over again"
: "...How could he do such a thing?"
: "My lord, we should get moving."
NICE SUBJECT CHANGE, JEAL
So yeah, new mission. Winning condition: Kill them. Kill them all. Up until this point Volmus Mine has been a neutral stronghold. At this point it is taken by the enemy and (I'm pretty sure) any units of yours you might have had the foresight to send over there are knocked off of it.
I think we already saw this setup last mission... Gail. Nice name.
That went about how you'd expect.
While finishing off the empty broken shell of Gail's pet catbird, Ivory found a nun dress. Let's not think too hard about WHY she found this and focus more on the fact that that's the last item I needed to make Clerics. Also, Doreauxgard tracked down and killed those two guys from that cutscene. Their loot sucked.
The boss of Volmus Mine is a fellow named Qad. Pronounce this however you wish. Popular candidates: "Quadd;" "Chad;" "Khad." His class is new! LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.
Chaotic melee unit. As you can see by his dislike of shirts, the Beast Tamer doesn't get heavy armor. I mean, he doesn't really "get" it. Notable for awesome beards, for bringing out the full potential of Beast units (this thing + a Hellhound = DEATH INCARNATE), and, most important for the start of the game, getting 2 attacks in the middle row. Also, two in the front and one in the back, but that's nothing new. If you need a middle-row character in a Chaotic unit, or if you want to use Beasts, get yourself one of these guys.
My active-duty units conga-line on over and it's go-time!
: "How pathetic! Are you trying to threaten us? We pledged our lives to the revolution. You're not going to stand in our way!! We'll create a world where society is not based on class, and everyone has equal rights! Feel our pain, our sorrow, our wrath!"
well OKAY THEN
Anyway all Swift's characters finished their actions and Qad's pet Hellhound was still due to get two more attacks, so at this point I executed a strategic retreat to avoid a little bit of pain, sorrow, and wrath.
Which leaves Ivory to finish the job immediately afterward (the advantage of the conga-line boss rush). Specifically, the killing blow is dealt by Marty.
Qad was looking to be martyred.
Anyway, time for one of Freddie's infamous interrogation sessions.
: "There's no point in risking your life to kill a lowly soldier like myself. As I said before, I don't want to take your life. As long as you keep on living..."
"myself" and "I" are words which here mean "this Scottish guy who works for me".
: "Stop talking smart to me. Your sympathy won't change our fate. Mind you, we are the ones who attacked the prince..."
This game sure does have a lot of ellipses.
As our reward, we get slightly more money than before, one less soldier, and Qad's whip.
How will Rhade react to our new (unmistakably alive) prisoner? Is Freddie, as Yumil suspects, in fact THE SAME Freddie from that beginning cutscene?!? Did Hugo really make it all the way back to Akka Castle by himself? The dude uses a cane! The answers to all these questions and more, next time on OGRE BATTLE 64!
Still plenty of room for renaming in my roster!
LEADER: Freddie, Gladiator (NOT RENAMABLE)
Robert, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY)
Zemeckis, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY)
Ling Chi, Amazon
Panic, Amazon (RENAMED ALREADY)
LEADER: Doreauxgard, Knight (RENAMED ALREADY)
Jager, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY)
Meister, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY)
LEADER: Swift, Fencer (RENAMED ALREADY) (SORT OF)
Cucka, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY)
LEADER: Dio, Gladiator (NOT RENAMABLE)
Ferdinando, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY) (SORT OF)
LEADER: Ivory, Dragon Tamer
Marty, Fighter (RENAMED ALREADY) (SORT OF)