Part 58: UPDATE 52B: Caliber
That's all that changes? The ending? You don't even get a different final boss?
Haha. You, my friend, are gonna like THIS update.
There is ONE FINAL angle we didn't cover last time. Did you notice how much Destin factored into pretty much every ending we received? If you don't have Destin, those scenes don't happen. In most cases, that's just about the only difference, but in one very special case there's quite a different outcome.
It's possible to be an even bigger jerk in the eyes of this game than we were when we got that previous Bad End. Specifically, if you fought Dio in the Prologue, then held your silence at Volmus Mine, requiring Dio to be a man FOR you, and then ALSO ended the game with a low Chaos Frame, you get to see a little something special. (Much thanks to thread-reader and all-around badass Kibibit for providing me with another save file so I could do this without playing the damn game twice!)
Kill Danika, Danika goes away, etc.
And... uh. Looks like this time we're... back on the world map? Kind of. We only really have the option to go back to Latium, it looks like. Which makes sense. Where else would we wanna go? Let's just head over, and
whoa I guess we're stopping here???
Update 52B: Caliber
Huh. Another mission. Who is there even left to fight? We don't have any enemies left -- not even Kerikov anymore, since we know what he's up to right now.
: "I don't know who, but there's an unknown group in our way."
Hugo doesn't know either! How
: "...Are they remnants of the Central Division?"
: "By the size of the group and their level of organization, I don't think they're mere remnants."
: "Then who could they be...?"
: "Regardless, we must get ready for battle. ...Let's have a briefing. Let's get started..."
: "We must liberate the fort, and then return safely to Winnea. Our scouts have learned little about them, except that their forces are formidable."
The map is much smaller than it was last time I was here, being pretty much entirely contained within those rivers. Fine by me, small maps are way better.
Huh. So I get to fight some really hard enemies, AND my scouts are finally dead? THIS IS THE BEST BONUS MISSION EVER.
NOTE, also: Not "God" with a big G; "god" with a little g. Europea style. Way to make it past the censors, Ogre Battle!
: "Be prepared for anything."
Come now, Hugo. We've got our Hitler set to maximum and we've got a full battalion of gamebreakers (plus Gilbert). We're gonna be fine!
Well these guys are certainly wasting no time.
Hm. I was expecting the Ultimate Vampire Unit to be a bit more undead-themed, but then again undead DO suck, so I probably shouldn't be surprised here. Let's see the other one.
That's. Uh. Actually a pretty good design. Kimble should be on the side column, but still. Alright, come at me bro.
Easy part finished!
Lucky for me they picked two different targets with no splash overlap. This could have been ugly otherwise. This mission thoughtfully starts you off on a Stronghold with a Witch Den, and you'll probably need it for this unit alone.
Like I've said, though, if you can tank a Sphinx's first attack you're pretty much in the clear.
Dibelca got stopped short when the sun came up, but I've got no shortage of enemies coming my way anyway.
I admit that on at least one occasion I've gone to the trouble to make an all-Angel-Knight unit, because I hate myself and enjoy suffering. It wasn't really worth it. Elton here is the only AI dragoon we've seen this playthrough (and the second one it's possible to see depending on your choices), and his unit would be pretty good if he gave himself a proper back row.
This never really did get any less satisfying.
I was working out how to type Vad killing Elton as the big climactic finish to an epic duel, then I realized Elton was asleep at the time. Never mind. Screw this unit.
The HQ attack's not quite over yet. I've got Cybil in the north, and Belinda in the south.
Hm. Well, Cybil's made some pretty good choices regarding dragon choice (ie no Flarebrasses) and placement. I guess Belinda just never bothered to upgrade her soldiers, but she could be trouble anyway depending on whether she manages to get off combo magic on me.
(end result: she did not)
Guy is an ideal candidate for dragon-slaying here due to his corner positions and his golems' impeccable defense. He himself is having a little more trouble tanking these attacks, but it's no big deal.
Oh, also Dibelca finally woke his lazy ass up so I could kill him. HQ attack dealt with; maybe now I can get myself some answers regarding who the hell is trying so valiantly to kill me.
Hm. Nobody I recognize so far. Let's see what they've got.
I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Well, at least only one of those pumpkinheads can ever be in the back row at once, and at least I have Sheen dispatched to take care of that Dahaka for me.
NOT ENOUGH DEATH, TALLGEESE <>
ow ow ow ow ow
Could be worse -- if Flo were
And HP. And soldiers.
Curious reward. The Glass Pumpkin is an unbuyable accessory required by Pumpkinheads, but any Pumpkinhead you catch will come with one anyway and it's not like anything else can change class INTO a pumpkinhead. I guess it really doesn't matter what your rewards are in the very last mission.
Y'know what's nice about a Naughty Playthrough? I don't have to pay attention to leader alignment at all and don't have to care when crap like this happens. Put 'em all to the sword, Leia!
I still don't get why dragons care so little about Jihads, but I don't mind as long as that Dragon Master's dead!
Sheen doesn't really grasp the concept of an Evil Playthrough apparently.
In the southwest I'm looking at Lovell, who could probably do some damage with all those Sword Masters, even if he'd take a lot of it himself.
Self-inflicted or otherwise. Yeah he just Sonic Boomed himself to death. Hilarious.
Up in the Northeast I'm dealing with Woo. You don't really even have a particular reason to take this Stronghold other than crippling OCD, but I might as well anyway.
Of COURSE there was gonna be a Cockatrice unit. Call Guy up here.
PETRIFY THIS, ASSHOLE
No. Guys. We're EVIL this time. EVIL, like, not nice to people. C'mon.
Finishing off Lovell's unit earned me a Yu-giri, which is a nice little consolation for not being able to have it as a mission reward from Tremos I, even if I can't use it.
Well, I've just about subdued this entire region, time to go see the boss and see if I can't get myself any answers...
Erm. Bosses, I mean. 5 bosses. ...and it looks like... they're the Zenobians???
Yup. If you manage to be such a horrible person that none of the cast of the previous game offer to join you, and stay that way until game's end, your reward is to kill them all in battle. It's kind of like the ending of Pokemon Gold/Silver, except they lecture you more.
First up is Gilbert. For such an Old Wise Person he sure doesn't know how to properly use a Sphinx.
Hi, Gilbert. Wanna tell me why you guys suddenly want to kill me so badly? I thought we were bros.
uh gilbert i don't think that's a real idiom in this language
Hm. Never mind, apparently it is. Way to hit me with obscure archaic slang, Gilbert! Always the educator.
: "...but I see now that single-heartedness can, at times, create tragedy."
i guess maybe...? You DO realize you're talking to Ankiseth, right? He's only like eight years younger than you.
: "It's foolish to use faulty reasoning to cover a mistake, but not trying to think things through is equally foolish. You can't blame your youth for your ignorance!!"
so were you gonna tell me exactly what i did wrong or
Nevermind, I don't think HE knows either.
The Zenobians' units each work like an area boss -- kill the leader and the battle ends instantly and the rest of the unit disappears from the map.
Canopus is a hawkman from MotBQ and LUCT who is Gilbert's best bro. He's not in this game because they already HAD a hawkman with a unique sprite and they decided they didn't need two.
Next up is Debonair, whose unit is full of knightly assholes like himself. Hey, y'know what?
This is the first time when killing an Area Boss type character doesn't instantly end the mission, so let's try a little something out. Time to use your talents, Euryale.
Sup, Debonair. I'm gonna be honest, you're probably gonna want to stop being a douche like right now. Seriously.
: "I really don't want to fight you, but I must fulfill my knightly duty. For the sake of justice, I won't hesitate to raise my sword against anyone!"
well you asked for it
The Gaze of Terror triggered a really weird graphical glitch, but that wasn't what I was trying to do with it. Sure does end this battle really fast.
: "I have no regrets for being bested in strength..."
not sure that's QUITE what happened here dude, but thanks for the benefit of the doubt
Oh, Debonair. Lawful-Good to the end. He was actually managing to speak remarkably well considering that he died of petrification.
So yeah, the game really was not expecting you to take care of any of these guys by Petrifying them. They register as dead, but the rest of their unit fails to disappear from the map, and will act like any other leaderless unit. Poor guys, skulking around without honor. Well, it's what they get for daring to defy me! (thanks for that glitch, Nakar!)
Next up is Saradin. Predictably his unit is pretty magic-themed, with a back row that has the potential to cause me some damage if I give them the chance.
Hey, Saradin. Why's everyone mad at me? Gilbert was babbling like a madman, and Debonair was no more help than usual. You wanna tell me what's up?
: "Now, is that true? Did you not use strength alone to get here? Do you deny that? That you chose the easy path? With your potential, I expected more from you..."
So... you're mad at me because I didn't do a level 1 run? No dude, look, this isn't that kind of LP. Look, I know you're disappointed, but it's the last goddamn mission and I'm not about to go back and change it now.
Boy this unit sure would have been bad news if the back row got a chance to attack before Saradin died!
JESUS CHRIST ENOUGH ABOUT RASHIDI, HE'S A DEMON BABY NOW, END OF STORY
Aisha is an exception here in that she's the only Zenobian you don't really have to fight. All the others will attack you if you get too close, but she'll just kind of stand by and watch you kill Destin if you want.
But we're evil in this universe anyway, so what the hell, as long as we're mowing down everyone in our path let's take care of her too.
: "Why can't you think of other people? One of your strengths should be an ability to open your heart, to show concern for those around you... It's such a pity... You were only able to care for yourselves..."
Jesus Christ if I knew you were this preachy I'd have killed you in the other save file too.
Just finish her before she can heal. It's not too tough.
: "I always thought you'd understand..."
(Backstory here: Aisha's mom died.)
The reward for every Zenobian unit will be some significant item carried by the character in charge of it. In order from best to worst, Aisha's was this sweet Celestial Mace; Debonair's was his Breidablick; Gilbert's was a cool whip that is worse than the one we have; Saradin's was a Vestment of Earth.
Well, Debonair's buddies are still running around aimlessly like idiots, but I don't feel like tracking them down. Our new final boss is Destin. His unit looks kind of like Richard's, except that Destin himself is slightly more powerful than Richard, if less likely to block your attacks.
Hey, y'know what'd be fun?
Let's lose this battle and see what happens. I'm sure it'll be a goddamn blast.
: "Surrender to us. It's not too late... yet."
: "Why? Why do you have to treat us this way?"
"I ask only because it's a requirement for a fallen hero to be a whiny bitch. I honestly stopped caring sometime around when I killed Saradin. Let's just get this over with."
: "...Reflect on what you've done. Were you not absorbed in fighting... in winning battles? Did you stop to think of others? Didn't you think you'd have to make sacrifices? ...Results are important, but results alone aren't good enough. That's no different than those who exercise power over the weak."
Oh hey, that's the name of the game! WHAT A COINCIDENCE
: "You're telling me that my actions... my decisions were wrong...?"
: "They weren't wrong, but they weren't right either."
well THAT sure sounded familiar!
: "As long as you believe in the rule of might, I cannot let you return to Latium!"
Oh yeah? Just try and stop me!
We find Freddie wandering around in the mountains. In this battle and this battle alone, losing all his HP doesn't mean Freddie dies in battle, it means he wanders around in the mountains. He sure did get embarrassed, though -- so much so that he lost his whole battalion!
: "Damn it, somebody tell me why!!"
It's because I switched around your formation and Battle Strategy, you silly goose.
Got a lot of nerve asking me that after you killed me with a goddamn Flarebrass of all things.
: "I don't get it. Why did you......"
: "If you, a warrior of matchless valor, return to Latium, where the new leader is aiming to guide the people to the right path... What will happen? The soldiers, still high from the war, will follow you instead. But... can you lead them as well? You only know how to fight... Do you think you can lead in peacetime?"
I apparently can, they even invented a new adjective for me in an alternate storyline, weren't you paying ATTENTION Destin???
: "At this point, your existence would only bring discord to this kingdom. ...Do you understand?"
: "It is your duty to make the most of your talent. There are things that you must learn. Don't look away from the reality. Accept it for what it is! ...And start anew. Freddie... stand up, and follow us."
We've seen the rest of how this scenario plays out. It's exactly the same as if Destin worked for us, complete with badass pose and everything.
However, we all know this isn't how it really would have gone down. Because it stands to reason that if you managed to beat Danika, you'd never lose to Destin unless you were doing it on purpose. (Hell, on at least one occasion while trying to get that ending I somehow managed to kill him even AFTER handicapping myself. Lost Reynolds, but I still killed him. Yeah I don't know how it happened. Without my self-imposed handicaps it wasn't even a contest)
: "I won't... No, I can't stop you anymore..."
Well. Freddie can deal with thorns. The plant boss was two updates ago. Right?
OH GODDAMMIT. THIS AGAIN???
We MOSTLY know how this goes from here. It'll turn out slightly differently, though, because Destin isn't around to teach us manners this time. Because we killed him. (This ending is the same one you'll get if you have low CF and SOME Zenobians but not Destin. That way doesn't get you the bonus mission, though!)
His name has now been long forgotten...
Oh... oh. Jeez, what a downer.
That wasn't how it actually ended, right? Because this was a NICE playthrough ever since we had that vote at the beginning of the thread. Nice playthoughs don't end like this.
They end like THIS. Muuuuuuch better. Everyone please join me in a salute to the legendary Generic Army!
Leading the van, the Core of and sole unit in our only Legion, is the implacable Freddie and his Gallant Guard! The relentless hammering blades of Freddie and the star-powered duo of Robert and Zemeckis beat all enemies into submission while putting up an impenetrable wall for their casters. Generals, princes, kings, and GODS have all learned a valuable lesson: Don't fuck with Freddie! Lemon may be filling in for an accidental angel, but when she rains destruction from the heavens you'll know she's no second-stringer! And if you even THINK of Game-Overing me, you'll have to go through Reynolds, the medical mastermind who can reliably heal a character for more than 400 damage per battle -- in a small area, of course! Give it up for the Gallant Guard!
Next up is the SECOND unit in our battalion whose leader can truthfully say he's killed a god -- the Dragonslayers! Fearless leader Troi started off as a gangly mama's boy wearing armor three sizes too large, but one day he traded his spear for a legendary sword he carved from the belly of a Dragon God, strapped on some Ogre-themed gear, and became the physical powerhouse of every demon's nightmare! Doreauxgard may have lost his command to the guy with the fancier dialogue portrait, but he's still Number Two in our hearts! Bluemage, working a hot back-right corner, runs 1.21 jiggawatts of pure death through all his foes, and Lime is as menacing as a caster without a Drakonite book can be! Finally, Meister may have lost all point to his name without Jager there to balance him out, but everyone knows he's the glue holding this unit together! Let's hear it for the Dragonslayers!
You can't talk about physical dominance, of course, without mentioning Black Sabbath! Leader Asnabel and his good buddy Biske think nothing of dropping off three-digit-damage haymakers while hitting you with guaranteed status effects -- not that you'll survive long enough to worry about status if they and Generic Army legend Swift are attacking you! Sexwale and Saradin will combo any enemy into submission -- Drakowhat??? Let's have a big Something Awful sendoff for Black Sabbath!
Here comes the story of The Hurricane, the unit packed with 15 servings of pain! Every character in this unit -- from leader Dio to angry meatshield Karkat to the enigmatic Ferdinando to plot-critical murder engine Destin to Liedel, the Jewdar-baffling sniper who is apparently a furry now or something -- gets three attacks in every! Single! Battle! And in Liedel's case, all three of them will Petrify you, too. They coulda been the champions of the world -- one more time around for The Hurricane!
I'll see your 15 attacks, and raise you 15 attacks including 5 Meteor Strikes. Meet The Queensguard! They always called Meredia a Princess, so one day she put on a tiara and made it official, and ever since then this unit has never met an enemy unit it couldn't wipe out in one battle! Dropping meteors with even greater frequency than Meredia is Rose, the grimdark mistress of the occult (as well as all of our hearts)! The front lines are led by Ivory, the Doreauxgard of Organize Screen Column 2, who lost unit command due to a boring dialogue portrait but never lost that positive attitude; joining her are jack-of-all-trades Cucka, who once led a Beast unit, and Marty, who lost unit command so hard that his unit might well have never existed at all! Ladies and gentlemen of the thread, I give you The Queensguard!
If the ending cutscenes made you feel really uncomfortable, perhaps you're a fan of The Anti-Shippers! Leader Leia is a strong, independent woman working out her weird daddy issues without any romantic help from a male lead, and her huge part in the revolution means even more in that she doesn't gain anything from it! Conversely, Vad has his whole life to gain, and you can see that in the way he tears his enemies apart Wolverine-style! Fel was raised as a Dragon Master, building up her stabbin' muscles with mundane rapiers, only to trade them out for magical spears and elemental destruction once she got big and strong. Aisha might be kind of a boring character, but at least she doesn't have to wear a silly hat! Finally, even with Aisha healing instead of throwing spells around, Tallgeese's undead magic mojo gives The Anti-Shippers an unstoppable back row! An appreciative round of applause for the Anti-Shippers, please!
Cockatrices flee in terror before the status-resisting might of Aleph Mem Tav! Leader Guy avoided being Doreauxgarded when his replacement (Paul, remember?)'s existence was wiped from continuity by a community vote, and remained an integral unit leader to the end! His original charges were MaskedHuzah and Equius, but when Stone Golems got heavily outclassed I had to switch them out for Dorfl and Shale. Out with the old, right? These walking walls are almost immune to non-elemental damage, and they tank elemental damage pretty well too! And don't even TRY to hit them with a status effect -- you'll just get crushed with a pair of fists as large as you are for your trouble! Let's all groove to a klezmer-music salute to Aleph Mem Tav!
Many AI-controlled squads suffer from malnutrition; good thing The Harvest Festival is in town to give them more than their daily share of Vitamin C! Apple and Banana may be confused with regards to exactly what type of fruit they are, but with the amount of pain they dish out on a regular basis it's pretty much a moot point! They're not too kind to their own welfare in the process -- luckily leader Katreda is around to keep them in shipshape! This unit had been lacking in melee punch to finish what it started; that's what Carth and Debonair came around for! With a double-barrel blast of nutrition, it's The Harvest Festival!
Look, up in the sky! It's five birds! It's the fantasy equivalent of five planes! No, it's Death From Above 1979! Sheen gives his enemies the creeps when they think about being struck with that firey axe of his, and his good buddies Pidgey and Brundlefly are around to back him up! Alita and Panic might look like angels, but don't expect any forgiveness or mercy -- they're the angels of death come knockin', and unless Chuck Heston's spread the lamb's blood on your door, the Jihad is coming your way FAST. There is blood on our hands again, sing Death From Above 1979 -- if you're lucky, it's not yours!
This update was posted on Father's Day -- call your dad, or The Strict Disciplinarians will have something to say about it! Leader Ankiseth sends enemies to their room without any dinner, then hits them with his ultimate wind blade just to drive the point home! Speaking of driving the point home, Mehuyael remains the only Cataphract in the Generic Army, and anyone who tells him that class is underpowered will get a face full of Ignis for their trouble! Mehuyael's solid defense is complemented on the other side by TurosKensei, who's such a glass cannon you could call him a paper nuclear bomb! Finally, Donna and Hippolyta are free to rain down a withering hail of arrows from behind this (mostly) solid wall of defense. They're not mad, they're just disappointed -- it's the Strict Disciplinarians!
Next up is a setup that's sure to make your Greenland swell up bigger than your Africa -- meet The Mercator Projection! Perhaps casting Europea as the leader of this batch of continents wasn't the most PC-friendly thing I could have done, but the point is that every one of them, from America back to Australia, will serve up a Virtue-flavored cultural smorgasbord of death! After so many zombie apocalypse stories, it's time for the world to strike back! At least they're not the Werner projection -- it's The Mercator Projection!
They've been scowling at The Dragonslayers ever since I decided to give them that name half an hour ago -- meet The Dragonslayer Slayers! Boudica's name might not make much sense now that she's not a Valkyrie anymore, but a Dragon Master is needed to keep this unit in prime condition! Whether it's a vortex Ozzie has called up from the ground, or a huge frickin' orbital laser TheWhitDrgn has called down from space, these dragons make entire units feel the hurt! All valiant knights beware -- it's The Dragonslayer Slayers!
It's saying a lot that the Cerberus in this unit isn't its main focus -- The Stone Menagerie here will root you to the spot in fascination but also from being petrified! Leader Gilbert and main melee attacker Fuzzums II combine to give me my only Mountain-terrain unit, while Mary Jane the giant chicken and sometimes drug reference turns any and all enemy leaders to stone! Paying no mind to the wishes of the Rice video plugin, it's The Stone Menagerie!
Nobody tell R.A. Salvatore that The Demonic Destroyers are a group of Chaotic-Good rebels from archetypally evil races who have rejected the corrupt culture of their forefathers, or we might have a lawsuit on our hands! Leader Hector started off fighting for demonkind, but he came over to our side once I
AND THE REST
That about does it for me. I'd like to thank everyone here for all their support and for politely ignoring it that time I got drunk and started babbling about the relativistic Doppler effect as it relates to Asnabel's sleeves. This is one of my favorite games of all time, warts and all, and I'm glad I was able to share it with you.
Thanks for reading!