Part 3: Hot and Cold
Update 3: Hot and Cold
"...cave on the island. I hear he stole a gem."
"Nobody seems to agree on whether this gem was stolen by a man or a monster. Strange. Well, I'll find out soon enough."
Apparently in the Japanese version, the boatman just wanted a good-looking woman on board to gawk at, not a cyborg, which makes slightly more sense. (Thanks for the information, Wounded Land!)
"Our oldest legend says the evil Dark Force is trapped there by the sword of Orakio!"
Dark Force was an endgame boss in both Phantasy Star I and II. It's a big ol' demon that comes out of nowhere and corrupts people. Of course, in this game it's safely sealed away, and since nobody would be stupid enough to interfere with the sword that's keeping it sealed, I'm sure we won't have to worry about it.
We land on the island to the south...
... and head a short distance southwest to this cave.
I'm not crazy about the colour scheme of this place, but at least the dungeon music is pretty good.
Phantasy Star 1 and 2 were both infamous for difficult, maze-like dungeons. PS3's dungeons are probably a little harder than an average JRPG, but they're nowhere near as complex as the first two games. Getting through this cave is easy: just follow the western wall to the north at the start, and keep following it as it curves around.
New monsters include Tsveidons, which are almost exactly like Eindons except they have slightly more HP and higher attack power. That's right, we're already running into palette swaps. To be fair, the first two games had this problem as well.
By sticking near the wall, you'll pick up every bit of treasure, starting with this Escapipe, followed by a Shield, Dimate and Antidote. Eventually you'll reach a large open chamber: head north.
"You're a Layan, aren't you? What have you bastards done with Maia, and where's this gem I've been hearing about?"
"Please excuse my master's rudeness. He has already demonstrated that his ability to recognise Layans is... limited."
"I don't really need it, so you're welcome to it. I'd like to join you on your adventures, but I have other things to do now. See you around!"
"Wait, so you're not going to fight me?"
"Nnnope. Why would I do that?"
"But... that means I healed up for nothing..."
Well, we got what we came here for.
Gems have to be equipped in a character's belt buckle to be effective. There are quite a few gems in the game, and each of them unseals the entrance to one cave.
We've already been told that the Sapphire opens up this cave, just north of the Layan palace we stumbled across earlier.
"You are searching for Maia, aren't you? What reason do you have to believe that this cave will lead you to her?"
"Well, uh, none, I guess. But we can go here now, and we couldn't before. That means this is probably where we have to go next!"
"You know, I never thought about it before, but isn't it strange how some of these caves seem to be made entirely out of metal?"
There are some new monsters in this "cave". They're quite dangerous and very, very strange. The snail-fox-thing is a Nayl, and can use the Tsu technique, hitting both Rhys and Mieu for 3 damage. The upside-down bat-wolf-thing is a Lobowing, and its normal physical attack does upwards of 10 damage, so we want to kill it ASAP. Unfortunately, because it's in the back row, we have to kill the Nayl in front of it first. Both of them take about three hits to kill, thanks to the Nayl's high defense and the Lobowing's high HP.
This dungeon has some fairly long loops and dead-end paths, so it's not quite trivial to get through. Basically, you want to head all the way north, then all the way east for an Antidote, then all the way south for a Monomate, and finally, a little way back to the north and east.
There. That wasn't so hard, was it?
"Hey, is it just me or did it get cold all of a sudden?"
"According to my records, this is the world of Aquatica. At this time of year, the weather should be mild and sunny."
Most of the enemies in this area are Buzzgulls. They cast Tsu, have annoyingly high HP and can appear in large groups to wear the party down.
Just to the east of the cave where Rhys entered Aquatica, there's a small town.
"It... seems like it'd be hard to do much fishing right now. You know, what with the lake being frozen and all."
We work out pretty quickly by talking to the townspeople that this isn't normal weather: it just suddenly became freezing cold one day without warning. If something isn't done, the only question is whether the people will freeze or starve to death first. One of the townspeople believes that a tower in the world of Aridia may have something to do with the problem for some reason.
"My favourite is one that tells of our people fleeing a terribly evil thing called Dark Force! The legend says we are the last survivors of a race that sailed between the stars."
"Geez, what's with everyone talking about Dark Force? If he ever existed at all, he's been sealed away since forever. What are the odds of some ancient evil returning after a thousand years?"
I pick up two Hunting Claws for Mieu (which basically double her attack power) and a Short Sword for Rhys (which only does a little more damage than two knives, but gives him a big boost to his defense). A Staff is a weapon for Layans, and a Shot is a weapon for androids, but it's too heavy for Mieu. Hmm.
I also pick up a Hunting Vest for Mieu and some Force Boots for Rhys. After looking at the stats for different equipment, I realised that I'd have been much better off getting Rhys some Steel Armour: boots are vastly overpriced for the protection they provide. Oh well.
"So it seems like we've hit a dead end. Where do we go next?"
"Legends mention a hidden gate near their ruins."
"Good enough for me!"
"Is it just me, or was this bridge not here before we went into town?"
On the other side of the river we start running into Lashgulls, which have a powerful Tsu technique that hits both Rhys and Mieu for about 13 damage. Killing them should always be a top priority over other enemies. If you're unlucky enough to run into three of them at once, they can tear you up good and proper.
Just to the east of the bridge, you can find these ruins. Take a couple of steps to the south of where Rhys is now, and...
We're in another mysterious cave! This dungeon's a bit on the long side, but fairly linear.
Take a detour to the southeast corner for a Dimate, then bear northwest, picking up a Dimate and Antidote along the way. From the chest with the Antidote, head all the way south, then west.
"I'm starting to miss the cold weather of Aquatica already."
"We have arrived in Aridia. Ambient temperature is within the expected range."
"Wait, this world is meant to be like this?"
To the east of where we arrived in Aridia, there's another of those mysterious Layan palaces. Just like before, it kicks Rhys out for being Orakian.
Aridia's monsters include Tsveidons, Flayls and Giants. Flayls are the upgraded forms of Nayls and not significantly more dangerous. Giants, on the other hand, have lots of HP and can hit for more than 10 damage even through Rhys's newly-improved defense. Make sure to cure poison and heal up if anyone gets too badly injured...
... or else this can happen.
"Caution: systems critically damaged. Non-essential functions now shutting down. Thank you for choosing Mieu-type cyborgs!"
Aridia can be kind of hard to navigate on account of it being a friggin' desert. Use the monitor regularly to check your position, and head for the river to the south.
Once you're there, you'll see another of those odd structures, and this town.
"Who the hell would want to live out here?"
"Oh, that explains it, then. Hey, wait, why is this town all green? Do cyborgs like gardening or something?"
For some reason (technical limitations, half-assed designers), the shops in Hazatak are still staffed by humans. Most of this armour isn't usable by either Rhys or Mieu; Rhys can equip the Cape, but it's weaker and more expensive than Steel Armour.
The weapon shop's selection is somewhat better. We immediately pick up a new sword for Rhys, giving him a nice boost in both attack and defense.
"Hey, padre, my walking death machine broke. Can you fix her up for me?"
"Sabrus cabrus sebrus bass!"
"Welcome to MIEU-OS! Who do you want to kill today?"
"Hey, Mieu may be old but she's not crazy! Anyway, we're here about the weather in Aquatica. It's been a bit chilly lately and somebody there said something about a tower over here being to blame--"
"Well, that's just peachy. How do we do that?"
"Wait, who's Wren? Where's Wren? What's Wren? Is he another cyborg or what?"
"I, uh, guess I'll be heading over there next, then. Hey, do you guys sell sunblock anywhere?"
Next time: Wren!