Part 43: UPDATE 38: Royal BloodSorry I've been falling behind on my Ogre Battlin' lately -- job troubles, other assorted troubles, etc etc etc. Hopefully I'm back on the (nonexistent) horse for good now.
That said, as usual and in true Ogre Battle fashion we've got some organizin' to do before the killin'.
Y'know, at the end of the day Boudica is a frontliner and I have plenty of other Dragon Masters ("plenty" is a word that here means, I think, 2) taking melee hits. You don't keep Venerable Dragons for breath attacks, you keep them for back-row destruction. Let's give this a shot.
Gramlock and the Celestial Hammer get put to immediate use. This freed up the Aqua Hammer for Harvey in the back row (he's Water-element) but I figured two screenshots of hawkmen getting new weapons was probably enough.
Leia's been holding onto that funny-looking stick this whole damn game. About time I upgraded her to a fell instrument of the occult like pretty much all my spellcasters.
Marty and Ankiseth are about due for some replacements as well -- yeah, Ankiseth has a decade-spanning history with that Blessed Sword, but the Notos is good enough to switch it out.
This one was probably a bad decision. Not my fault it looks like a squeaky-hammer.
Finally, Penthesilea is still dead. Merely keeping from turning into a zombie isn't good enough for me, though -- a little more Luck therapy and she'll be flying around and Banishing people before you know it!
On that note, we've got a castle to storm.
Update 38: Royal Blood
The only thing that's changed since our last plot-dump is the sudden revelation of Xevec as the traitor. He's not worth Hugo's time. Let's talk siege.
This map appears roughly the size of a rather small mission map, but it's on a much smaller scale, since the entire area it covers amounts to one stronghold.
: "We must take Fort Romulus. This is your first time sieging a fortress like this. It's different than your previous battles. This fortress is ringed with precipices and thick castle walls; only air units can access the fortress directly."
OB64 doesn't have specialized siege classes because there are (I think) three siege maps in the whole game; as such it falls to our normal units to find the gates and bust the fuckers down.
: "Your troops will begin dismantling the gate when they near it. They will be preoccupied with the gate; make sure they aren't attacked. Until you breach the castle gates, we won't know what is going on inside. Obviously, we should expect resistance once inside the gates. Be prepared for all hell to break loose when you enter the castle walls."
Man, this game does NOT know how to properly use commas. I switched in a couple of semicolons there. Doin' my part!
Anyway, siege missions are much like regular missions except everything's on a much smaller scale. There are only two strongholds: your HQ camp, and your objective. There are some rest-stop-type places along the way that give you healing much like strongholds usually do -- like that yellow circle on the map -- but you can't really capture or liberate them. They'll give healing to whoever happens to be sitting there at the moment and that's about it. I'm not sure what's so special about them that that's the only place you can heal -- there's a good 8 or 9 buildings on this map that could be perfectly serviceable places to rest -- but that's how it works!
(wait, I forgot Hugo also says this stuff, but less clearly than I did. Here's his line for the record.)
: "Unlike previously, there aren't any strongholds inside the castle walls to be liberated. Your men can still be healed, but they can't regroup. You can only do that back at headquarters. Don't forget."
I think "regroup" here means some functions you can normally do at strongholds like trading items or characters but I've only really done either one of those like once. So yeah thanks for pointing it out, Hugo, I guess.
: "This is very confusing, but don't worry. You're experienced enough to handle it."
uhh it's not THAT confusing but thanks for condescending to me anyway bro
: "Restricted by ramparts and castle gates, a legion cannot enter strongholds. Huh? You'd like to use a unit from a legion? Don't worry, I've disbanded the legion. Just concentrate on the battle."
Wow, what a GARGANTUAN FEAT OF ORGANIZATION THAT MUST HAVE BEEN
In all seriousness, though, this is awesome because I'm fucking sick of that floating 1 over Freddie's head. Do me a huge favor and just keep it that way?
Another lack of self-awareness on the game's part -- "Siege maps are so different because you can't use any of these really important game functions you've been utterly dependent on the whole time! Right?"
New music for this one. Also yeah we apparently have to finish sieging this castle by 7 PM sharp or Freddie turns into a pumpkin or something I dunno. Important to note is that since this map is on such a smaller scale than most others, time moves at a much slower rate -- a game minute roughly every two real-life seconds rather than a game hour roughly every two real-life seconds. That's the only reason we have any prayer of hitting this time target.
YES I KNOW THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME
The only troops the Central Division has seen fit to place outside the walls are this pair of Paladin units (who have apparently replaced Xevec). I guess they're depending on the strength of their impregnable walls to protect them! Let's SEE HOW THAT GOES.
On the left, Hicks has elected to fill his back row with outdated frontliners. On the right, Gauche places a lot of value on protecting that Knight behind him for some reason. maybe it's his boss's son or something?
Well, let's see what we're dealing with. Most units I control, of course, cannot pass over this wall. However as Hugo said earlier Sheen can just fly straight over that fucker. (While he's doing it, he apparently found a Thunder Chain.)
The three Saturoses in the middle are pacing back and forth on those paths for some reason. Everything else is lying in wait for your units to peek their heads through the gates. Meh, 4 units isn't really that huge of an ambush to be honest. Let's see how everyone else is doing with those gate guards.
THIS is how they're doing. Yeah, I love the Evil Spear, its blade alone is like the size of Leia.
Now then, as to siegecraft. To knock a gate down, order one of your units to get suitably close to it. Rather than displaying a terrain type, the confirmation box will read "Before the Castle Gate." When they get there, they'll automatically get to work. I picked Meredia because she's just so cheery.
A countdown will appear, starting from 5. At zero, the game will switch down into this courtside-angle view and you've got yourself a lovely open doorway.
Yeah, this close-up view is actually one of three camera angles you can choose to use while you play the game. My first time through I insisted on playing every goddamn level like this. God knows why, you can't see anything.
Oh, and also worth noting is that it takes something like 3 minutes of game-time to knock down a gate (as every tick on the countdown is about a real-time second or so). I guess they're using Fantasy Dynamite.
Anyway, if you'll recall, Sheen found while scouting that our reward for busting the gate is a two-unit ambush. On this side it consists of a Siren unit and a Diana unit.
The odd trend of using Goblins as frontliners for humans continues. Not looking forward to having to deal with those Gremlins, but overall I'm not too worried about this.
DAMMIT MARY JANE
YOU PETRIFIED THE WRONG PEOPLE
THANK you, Marty. At least ONE person here still cares about not wasting my damn time. <>
Guy was in danger of getting arrowed and Abyssed to death here, but his Golems and his creepy marionette made to look like Freddie bail him out.
Meanwhile, Team West has its own pair of ambush units to deal with.
One of them is appropriately demonic; the other one is almost all Undead. Europea's sitting this one out, so I'm gonna have to wipe these guys out damn near all at once.
Ugh. Stupid flaming sword of justice. Freddie made sure to hit every zombie in this guy's unit at least once.
Good thing I was lucky enough to get just the right skeleton out of the way permanently!
After that, it was inevitable that the entire western front crumpled under the weight of Dio's fifty billion attacks. Once again, this design was completely unplanned, but it just works so damn well!
At this point, with multiple Generic units inside the walls, the patrolling Saturoses begin to take notice.
I was wondering when we were gonna see some Ogres!
And... ugh... more Gremlins. I fucking hate those things so much. Anyway, worth noting is that despite these units' AI dictating that they must pace ceaselessly back and forth until the Generic Army arrives, only one out of three of them was given any Fatigue-reducing items. The other two are pretty much asleep on their feet by now.
Sheen, still positioned conveniently close to the one in the middle, took advantage.
Oh yeah, I don't think we've shown off the Seraph's Jihad attack yet. It looks a little like this.
These conditions -- only two enemies left in the unit, both positioned on corners -- are not ideal at all for full-unit attacks. Trust me, Jihad's usually better than this.
Sheen's front row guarded 5 out of 6 Ogre attacks. I guess those Ogres are pretty goddamn sleepy.
Time moves slower on siege maps, but Fatigue works just the same. It doesn't make much sense.
"Man, we've been walking for like half an hour! Hold on, lemme just grab a five-minute catnap before we go anywhere else. I'm BUSHED. Such is the life of a soldier!"
Sure did give Meredia an opportunity to wipe out Bernarle without having to deal with those goddamn Gremlins, though, so I won't complain.
Here we go here we go time to die Carlson
How do you block half of a meteor strike anyway
Anyway, as Sheen approaches the plaza that marks the only place on the map where units can heal without sleeping for some reason, a couple of hidden units burst out of those locked buildings!
man is it me or does the ground in this mission look like wallpaper
Goblins Ogres Gremlins Sirens blah blah blah
STOP BLOCKING MAGIC THAT SHOULD KILL YOU, YOU FUCKS
I swear to God, there's just no respect for FINESSE these days.
Sheen was supposed to be out of action the rest of the mission due to being too high-level, but sometimes they just don't give you a chance.
And here we are. The Central Plaza is so goddamn pretty or something that sitting on it for twenty minutes is enough to heal all wounds. Sure.
While they're sitting there, all my units are stuck in a staring contest with Reinhart the black knight. He's guarding the next gate and won't stop looking at me weird and it's VERY DISTRACTING.
As always, killing someone with fruit doesn't count or something. This can NOT be good for Katreda's self-esteem. WELP, Asnabel's problem, not mine!
On the other side of this gate is another ambush! They're pretty half-assed ambushers, though; if your siege units turn back and go south of the gate after opening it these guys won't follow you.
All I can say here is that Dave is like the worst fantasy name ever. I can just picture the arguments this guy would get into with his DM.
I missed the screenshot of Frye dying for some reason. I think I was paralyzed over whether to make a Futurama joke or a Ferris Bueller joke. in retrospect probably the futurama one would have been better 'cause i don't even know if anyone who isn't me remembers cameron's last name
Pictured: an effective solution to the problem of regenerating Skeletons. Also Dave died. Let's fight a boss.
Thankfully, busting into the castle proper isn't nearly as complicated as taking its walls apparently was. And yeah, previous screenshots (and the mission's name) might have spoiled it, but our boss tonight is the fearsome Prince Amrius. Looks like we get to test Xevec's theory about royal blood a little sooner than expected.
Shouldn't he have soldiers or something? I feel like he should know some soldiers.
So. Uh. Hi. Were you gonna like summon some guards or
Oh uh okay that works too
: "Behold... This is the ultimate power... The legendary power is mine!"
Well I dunno man. I've seen one instance of Ultimate Power and one instance of Chump Power For Chumps. So far you've stood in a castle and gotten lit on purple fire. Guess which one of those that looks like?
: "What you have is not the ultimate power! You lost to the Infernal Aura. ...You fell to the way of the darkness."
: "...How dare you mock me!! I attained this formidable power without losing my will. ...This is the ultimate power. ...The blood of the chosen... That's the privilege of the royal family!"
: "I am your master. Bow down before me!"
Well I was KIND of expecting you to summon some ogres or something after that little spectacle, but sure, we can do this like this.
So yeah, Amrius has a cool attack animation but he's nothing particularly special and you'll notice that there is only one of him. Even more of a letdown than the Godeslas fight was. Pity.
Done and done! Now can we wrap this up, we've been in Romulus for like a week now.
yeah maybe just a smidge, i mean you did rush five soldiers by yourself and all
: "Well then, how about this...?"
THERE we go
THAT's what I was expecting!
: "With the power of a god, even denizens of the netherworld heed my beckoning! Now, let's see how you do against this!!"
Presenting Amrius mk2. Yeah, to any seasoned JRPG player this fight had "multiple stages" written all over it.
and HE KEEPS BLOCKING MY SHIT WHAT THE HELL <>
Since his new formation places him in the back row, he's got a new attack for us!
That attack is basically a Pedra of Bane, only with more damage per attack. And it HURTS. Sorry, Panic.
The thing is I've got a little something of my own to share with him which I haven't shown off yet.
What's the natural counter to a Pedra of Bane?
HOLY FLYING SQUIRREL ATTACK!!!
So endeth His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince Amrius.
Not with a thunderclap, nor with a clashing of swords.
With a squirrel to the face.
: "I will rule... the world... with this... po...wer........."
Sorry pal, ellipses don't lie.
You're pretty much irrelevant to the plot at this point anyway.
Only 2 soldiers for this one
More interestingly, the Rune Plate is some awesome Virtue-element heavy armor that is going immediately to Freddie.
Whoa hey what????
but the goblets
and the brooch and it was supposed to
she's been dead for like two seconds!
okay, i guess???
(damn, Penthesilea's luck must have been in the absolute SHITTER)
In case you're wondering, no, the text going off the side of the box there is not an emulator issue. I very distinctly remember this same thing happening on a bona fide N64. I think it's probably a localization issue no one caught because why would anyone on the localization team go to the trouble of making an Angel Knight?
Now then. Back to the Plot Basement we go for a text dump!
: "This is the conclusion which my master has drawn, after studying the relationship between the way of the darkness and the power it grants. The divine being, whom we refer to as The Creator, made humans from the void. To serve his every need, The Creator gave humans infinite potential... so my master thought. As evidence, it is possible for humans to enhance their abilities. A good example will be the magical power one can attain. ...Then, what is considered the very height of human capability? Is there a limit on human ability? As he continued to research the subject... My master discovered it... the seal put upon humans."
: "...Seal... put upon humans?"
Do people really talk like that in Japan? Like, make perfectly sure they heard everyone else correctly whenever something important comes up?
: "The Creator feared the humans for their capability of gaining god-like power. And... he decided to put a seal on their infinite potential. When the seal breaks, they gain power above the potential of ordinary humans... but many of those who release their inner power become dominated by Infernal Aura. To gain the power, one must control his mind and body with strong will. That... is my master's conclusion."
: "They become dominated by the Infernal Aura, as their power is released?"
god you're doing it again
: "Yes... and that is considered falling into the way of the darkness. It is not an easy task to withstand the Infernal Aura. Momentary inattention, a small incident is all it takes for someone to succumb to the darkness. And when that happens, nothing can be done... to reverse the process..."
TL;DR: There's a hard cap on how much power you can have as a human because otherwise we'd be too badass. If you go past it for some reason you'll go crazy unless you actually deserve that much power. Which really deepens the tragedy of Godeslas because if he were just a little bit less of a lameass he would have gained the Ultimate Power way back in Chapter 1.
: "But, how is the seal broken?"
: "It is said that those with strong Infernal Aura break the seal as they draw out the dark emotions from deep within a person's subconscious mind, and lure him into the way of the darkness. ...Most likely, those beings are within the Central Region."
: "Those with... strong Infernal Aura...?"
: "High-ranking denizens... Enigma of the netherworld..."
HAVE WE MET ANYONE LIKE THAT???
: "They are more than enough to drag people into the darkness. What should we do, Freddie? Should we cross the Basilica River and march on the capital, where King Procus and the denizens of the netherworld await, or should we first liberate our fellow countrymen? ...We can only choose one."
Yeah that's a total lie. Nothing stopping us from doing both. also King Procus and the Denizens of the Netherworld would be a totally badass name for a metal band
NEXT TIME ON OGRE BATTLE: Either the Blue Basilica, which would take us closer to the capital of Latium, or Ptia, the Secluded Land, where we might wanna go because there's some people there we could kill. STAY TUNED