Part 5: PART FIVE: REMATCHES AND A LACK OF PANTS: THE BIRTH VALLEY STORY
Yeah, I really ought to give Gryz more credit. Ah well.
PART FIVE: REMATCHES AND A LACK OF PANTS: THE BIRTH VALLEY STORY
Alright, now we can finally solve that minor petrification problem that's been bugging us since the end of the training dungeon.
Thankfully no one has fallen over and shattered since our last visit.
: Hahn, stop making that face. Jesus.
: There are just tons of relics from an earlier civilization all over the place. You've come at the right time. You too...
: Professor Holt! This is no time for that kind of thing! Do you know you were turned into stone by Zio?
: Hmm? Oh, really? Well, here I am now, as good as new, so not to worry. All right. Let's reopen the investigation immediatlely.
: Gotta admire his work ethic.
: Yes sir!
: Go back to the academy. Give them a report on the state of affairs here.
: Er...yes sir.
: Ah, Hahn, nobody likes having you around!
: No, seriously, get the hell out of my party.
: Good! We're off further into Birth Valley!!
: Oh well, at least we've settled one problem.
: I'm so sorry...he didn't even say a word of thanks. Well, he's just that kind of guy.
: Oh, don't worry about that, Hahn!
: Well, I'm kind of tired after getting this job done. Let's take it easy today, eh, Chaz?
: Oh, hey, yeah, that's cool, nobody talk to the friendly Motavian or anything. Certainly not like I'm in the party right now.
LATER THAT DAY:
: Aww, I'm gonna miss having someone around that makes me look good by comparison.
: I've got to report about what's been happening 'til now.
: OK. What about Gryz?
: You talking about me? In the third person like I'm some sort of pet? I'm going off to conquer Zio...even if that means me alone!
: Let's not be so rash!
: I don't care whether it's rash or not. I've already made up my mind!
: Normally, at this junction we would go back to the town of Aiedo where the guild is located.
: Someone's screaming!
: Or was really, really relaxed!
In true heroic fashion, our team leaps into action and rushes to the valley entranceway.
I can't think of anything funny to say about that. I mean, seriously.
: We'll have to destroy it.
BOSS FIGHT: IGGLANOVA'S REVENGE (Gamevee Viddler)
: Wait, this guy again? Not even a pallet swap?
: Well, that's disappointing. Hmm...I have an idea. Hahn, you kill it. I'm gonna chill in the corner with Gryz here.
: So....how 'bout that local sports team?
: Ah...well, okay.
: Hey! I can't deal with more than one thing at a time!
: Oh, okay, fine. Chaz, you deal with the little...wriggly...whatevers.
: Wowee! I'm really doing it!
: Well I'll be damned, you really had it in you after all!
: Huh? What?
: My swing! How was it?
: Well, it's a little better now.
(See, THAT'S something that can honestly be confusing.)
: sacred area that something like this is happening!!
: Goddamn yokels...
: ...A curse...I wonder what's further inside? It feels like there's...something calling to me...
: I'll keep it to 1000 meseta.
: ...M...my wedding fund...
Have I mentioned that you actually do get the money she extorts from him?
Well, now I feel bad. Not too bad, of course, since I love fresh meseta, but, you know.
So! We've got a mission to accomplish! This cave beckons us onward! Now, let's just head straight on in...
...to the weapon shop!
: Oh. Is that all you guys have? Well, fine. One gigantic cleaving tool for my fuzzy friend here.
: Much obliged.
: And some new pants for Hahn, who's such a good boy! Who's a good boy, buying himself victory pants for beating that boss?
: Why do I hang out with you people?
: Hey, I wonder if those kids from last time starved to death?
: Man, you're morbid. Let's go see!
: Guys? Professor? In peril? Hello?!
: If you're gonna be such a baby about it, fine, we'll save your professor. Again.
And so, we have to go through this dungeon again, which is just as merciful as it was last time.
Man, these guys have had it rough. They haven't even moved and now they're dead.
Well, mostly dead.
: Maybe...it's too late...
Eh, monsters, shmonsters. Let's go raid some archeology!
It's worth noting that this game has some awesome music, especially when dealing with technology.
: We..we're going to die!
: Stop cowering! Men are such cowards! It's nothing!
: That...that's true.
: Sterilization Treatment Completed. Please follow the line on the floor.
: The line ended! Aaaaagh!
: Shut the hell up already!
Oooh, elevators! No more of that 'stairs' bullshit!
: The line's gone again! OH GOD!
But, seriously, this is a pretty simple dungeon. Of course, it has it's annoyances. Going left here brings us...
...to jack shit. But going right gives us...
...horrible fishmen? Well, they're everywhere, really.
And they just haul off and punch the hell out of people. Neato!
Well, that's just shitty in it's own way. South, then!
: The li-
: I swear to the Light, Hahn, I will break you in half if you keep talking.
: Journey west, young man
: Yes ma'am.
: First no lines, now no floor?
We also have started fighting robots now! Unlike a lot of other RPGs with supposedly space-age trappings, you'll fight a shitload of machinery in this game.
They also have machine guns.
But, hey, that's okay. Chaz has laser hands.
Near the end of the west section...
: A girl's gotta accesorize. Apparently.
: This Point'.
: Pfft, nuts to authority. Let's break on in there!
: Seems they weren't joking around.
Oh well, let's backtrack to the Central Block elevator.
: The lines! Sweet glory, the lines!
: Hey, what's that over there?
: There's no lines over there, that's what!
: They must have transported those things from here...
: And supposedly nobody noticed this?
At the end of this walkway is another branch, but,
one or two steps to the left'll kill that pathway off right quick.
The other path has another elevator. Down we go!
Oh, goddamnit, it's like all those PS3 dungeons all over again! The memories are so haunting that I've even started screenshotting my status messages!
: Well, I don't mind exploring this place. Woohoo!
I know ceramic is highly resistant to heat and all that, sure, but, seriously? Stronger than a titanium blade?
Feel free to correct my lacking scientific knowledge, here.
: Everything is coming up Chaz!
Again, Ryuka and Hinas are infinitely useful. Teleportation to any previous town and a way to escape dungeons are nothing to sneeze at.
: This haul is less than ideal.
: It's the line again! Yay!
: I AM GOING TO KILL YOU, HAHN.
Thankfully, we're nearing the end. Both sides lead to the same place, so just go wherever.
Hey, it's that guy we apparently care about!
: Oh, it's you, Hahn! You came to rescue me! Good job!
: Well, it seems pretty safe here, but, how on earth were you able to escape on your own?
: I...I feel that calling again...
: Well, you see, this person here came to my rescue.
: Who are you?
: My name is Rika. Pleased to meet you.
: Rika. Riiiiiiikaaaaa...
: Chaz, what the hell is wrong with you?
: I can feel it! I can feel my destiny calling to me!
: ...when did you ever hit puberty?
: I- wow, seriously? Well, I wasn't talking to you.
: Good god.
: And what is this place!?
: This is the Bio-plant. It's a research facility for bio engineering created by a thousand year-old civilization.
: I thought we'd figured that out back when we walked into the darn place?
: Is it still operational?
: Oh, yes.
: You'd figure the monsters would've been a clue, Hahn.
: What's more, this isn't the only one. There are many such systems that have maintained their functionality. And it's thanks to these systems which control Motavia's climate, soil, and ecology systems that the human race was able to avoid total destruction after the 'Great Collapse.'
: Really? Is that true?
: If that's the case, how come this recent environmental destruction is taking place? Is it because I'm not recyclying?
: Even though the control system is still functioning, it can barely maintain the minimal conditions for your existence. Even now this system is starting to run out of control!
: Chaz...do you understand?
: What? Well...ah...
: He's still thinking with the wrong head.
: Then, does that mean the recent increase of Bio-monsters is coming from here?
: Yes, unfortunately so. ...If you want to know more, talk to 'Seed'. He's over there.
: He's right in front of you.
: What's going on?
: Aw, she has an invisible friend. You furless types are so cute.
: I am 'Seed', the control computer for this Bio-plant.
: Wow! An artificial intelligence!
: I...I can't believe it!
: That's right, this is no exception.
: Exception to what?
: Check my status here. The system is beyond my control.
: It is continuously breeding harmful monsters.
: Just as I thought.
: Bullshit, you never thought anything other than "oh god, I'm going to die!"
: If we leave each of these systems running out of control...along with the monster problem, we will have abnormal climate conditions and violent changes in the planet's surface. Motavia will be destroyed!
: The only thing we can do is shut down the system!
: But stopping the system itself will cause problems. We won't be able to maintain the ecosystem!
: That's better than the system ruining everything!
(I rather like it when the game answers the questions I'm just about to ask like that.)
: But, these systems are spread out all over the place!
: Wait, you've been paying attention?
: Don't worry.
: Okaaay, Rikaaaa....
: All we have to do is to shut down the plant 'Nurvus' which supplies energy to each system. That will shut them all down.
: That seems like some poor design. No failsafe for a planetwide support system?
: First, please rescue the control android 'Demi.'
: Rescue? What do you mean rescue?
: Rescue: (verb) - To save from harm or imprisonment. Right now, Demi is being held hostage by a man named Zio.
: Zio again!
: Who on earth is this Zio!? I wasn't paying attention the last few times we covered this.
: I myself don't know what Zio is all about.
(Is it just me, or does that wording sound really odd coming from a computer?)
: So all we have to do is rescue this Demi, right? Where is she being held hostage?
: She is with Zio,
(I didn't skip any dialogue here. It's just that clunky.)
: Is that by any chance...beyond the quicksand of Mile?
: Oh, that sinister-looking castle north of Zema. Which thankfully we looked at a while back, or else this would be a really silly conversation.
: It's a pretty long way to go, but having heard all this we have no choice. Hee hee, it's been a long time since I've felt so excited!
: Holy cow, did you just giggle?
: And while we're at it, why don't we get rid of that disgusting character, Zio!
: Hey, that's the spirit! Vengeance!
: Who is this girl anyway? She seems curiously knowledgeable about these matters...
: She is...my child.
: Wait, how does THAT work?
: You see, when a man and an inanimate tool are in love...
: Oh. Well, maybe... Are you saying that she is an artificial life form?
: Hey, I'm as real as any of you!
: That's right. She is a product of a thousand years of improvement on genetic information from a prototype prior to the 'Great Collapse.' The prototype was whining something about "Oh, never let another monster like me be made" or something, but what did it know? Anyhow, I have also given her a basic education. She will surely be a great help to you.
(Damn right she'll be a great help. Guess who's never leaving the party after this point!)
: Have her delivered sometime next tuesday!
: Thank you! I've always wanted to be able to see the outside world!
: Rika, take care...
: OK! Let's get going to Zio's Fort!
: I must first go back to the academy!
: We weren't going to bring you, old man.
: We have to spread this information as much as possible.
And then everyone just bolts out of there.
Some more reserved than others.
: Now that I have sent into the world the fruit of a thousand years worth of research, there are no obstacles to its execution.
Seed then changes his wallpaper.
: Wow, I didn't know the sky was so blue! These flowers...they're so beautiful! How lovely!
: be so novel...
: What was that?
: An explosion! Probably from the exploding mountain that you somehow missed, numbskull.
: Rika, you must carry on the will of Seed! You can't look back now!
: But it's been all of fifteen seconds! Can't I mourn a little?
: I know...
And that's it! We're abruptly outside, and done with Zema until the endgame. Let's check out our newest acquisition.
Level one, and one year old. Egads, you say? Well, worry not. Rika's EXP curve is ridiculously tiny compared to everyone else's, supposedly due to her Numan biology. She hits hard, she hits fast, she can heal and buff, she can take a hit, and she'll be at a higher level than everyone else sooner than you'd think. Fuck yes.
I will also admit that she's cute as a button. I'm a nerd on the internet, what the hell do you people expect oh god stop judging me oh god!
NEXT TIME ON PHANTASY STAR 4:
'More townsfolk in a rut', or, 'What I can only hope happened to the Alisa 3 on some other planet.'
: Disgusting character? I'll have you know that I take a LOT of pride in my daily facials, missy!
In all fairness, Nurvus probably is the failsafe; none of these systems were really designed to operate independently after Mother Brain's destruction. There's another failsafe, too, but we won't run into that until much later.
I suppose I should probably explain a bit about Numans now that we've seen one, huh? Well, they're humanoids made from a mix of human, animal and monster DNA. A Numan named Nei was a party member in Phantasy Star 2. (Significant PS2 spoilers from this point on) The first Numan was named Neifirst, and was created by accident shortly before the events of PS2; I'm not sure how you accidentally mix human, animal and monster DNA, but I guess Motavia's Biosystems Lab was an interesting work environment. When Neifirst found out that the scientists who created her considered her a failed experiment and wanted to kill her, she went crazy, killed all the scientists at the Biosystems Lab, released a bunch of monsters into Motavia and then hid out in the Climatrol system, where she disrupted Motavia's weather and started turning the planet into a desert. Part of her rebelled against the evil she was doing and physically separated from her, forming a clone named Nei. Nei escaped and met up with Rolf, PS2's protagonist, who saved her from lynching at the hands of an angry monster-hunting mob. In their original design, Numans were going to have tails as well as long ears, but the art director decided that would be "too much".
Rika was originally going to be called Nei as well, but the development team felt that she was too similar to Nei from PS2, to the point that several members wanted to replace her with a different character entirely. In the end, her character design was changed slightly to differentiate her from Nei.
"So, if she's only one, and Chaz wants to do her, does that mean Chaz is going to grow a teeny stache, and get a white van?"
I'm pretty sure I've seen a semi-canonical source that implies that Numans continue to age faster than humans even after they've reached adulthood, which means that when Chaz is 20, Rika will be 60 and he'll be a gerontophile! Well, maybe. The source was talking about Nei from PS2, and Rika is a newer model, so the aging problem might have been fixed. In fact, it probably has been, since Seed's purpose in creating Nei was, uh... okay, this is another of those things that's going to be embarrassing to put in my own words, so I'm gonna quote the Compendium instead.
ACTUAL QUOTE FROM THE PHANTASY STAR COMPENDIUM
Seed, the supervising computer at the Bioplant, foresaw the harsh conditions Motabia and the people living there would undergo in the generations to come. Seed's assignment in Algol's environment maintenance system was to balance the ecosystem with the birth of a lifeform suited to the environmental changes. To this end, Seed began study on how to preserve the human race by improving it. Data on the "Neitype", studied for a similar purpose before the Great Collapse, became the basis for this lifeform. Fal was born under these circumstances, but not just as a new type of human. She was also expected to mix her bloodline with that of a human to perpetuate the new race of humans. The term Numan, then, means to say "the lifeform that will give birth to and become the matriarch of a new human race."
So basically she's Seed's personal eugenics project, created for the express purpose of finding some lucky guy and pumping out a bunch of kids. I'd have thought that creating a male Numan would be more efficient if you wanted to produce huge numbers of hybrid children, but hey, I'm not a supercomputer, so what do I know?
Several new things in this update to talk about.
I like to think that whenever Alys is referencing Chaz's swing, she really means in relation to his weapons. In the basement of Piata, she sees that his swing is too slow...for dagger-class weapons, as they're more reliant on quicker strikes and stabs. And now that he has a sword...his 'slower swing' is a better fit to the weapon, as a sword typically doesn't require a fast swing so much as a strong one.
This is also the point where the game becomes awesome. Up until now, we've seen nothing 'advanced'...but then the Bio-Plant kicks you directly in the face with the badass setting, tough encounters, and awesome music. Suddenly you find yourself wanting to keep going, because the sci-fi setting is awesome compared to ye olde clusterfuck. It's also a hell of a place to get some levels, from our pallete-swapped Igglanova buddies.
Rika I truly cannot say enough good things about Rika. Even though she starts out at level 1, she's almost already stronger than Hahn. In combat she does roughly the same damage as Chaz, and she gets absolutely LOADED with support and recovery techs, like Saner, Shift, Deban, the *Res family, and the expensive-but-powerful *Sar family. Her starting skill is nothing to write home about. Illusion decreases enemy Agility, but can be combined with Alys' best skill, Death, to create Lethal Image; a skill that wipes out an entire group of biomonsters. I don't really know if it works on machines, though. Feel free to correct me (as you have been; I honestly never knew Brose worked on bios, never has for me:()
Eventually, Rika learns three more offensive skills, one of which is similar to Chaz's Crosscut, an instant-death attack that Hahn will also master at higher levels, and a move that targets the entire enemy group.
Much like the HUnewearls that came after her in PSO, she plays a critical role in supporting the group with damage, buffs, and healing. One could say she is the best character in the game. But she's not. We've got a long way to go before we meet that person!
Also, does anyone recognize the symbol on her breastplate? I don't, but I'm just curious if anyone can enlighten me.
"I'll let someone else cover the metric ton of Phantasy Star II reference that just got dumped on us."
Ah, yes. The 'product' of 1000 years improvement on Neifirst/Nei birthed Rika. You can call her 'Neithird'.
'The Great Collapse' is the end result of Rolf & Crew's exploits during PS2. Mother Brain is no longer around to dictate everyone's lives, maintain the ecosystem, and control the hordes of machines. Par/lma is no longer floating in space, contributing further to the sorry state of affairs in Algo/l. And by this time, Rolf & Crew are dead, so no more heroics from them.
e: 'Townsfolk in a rut' you say?
Purgatory boss #2: Igglanova's Revenge
I did this earlier than I otherwise would have (more grinding!) because I wanted the equipment upgrades from Zema's shops.. and I also want to get that fifth party member as soon as possible. I should've had only Hahn attack the Igglanova but I didn't remember and I already saved past it. I'll have to maintain multiple save files..
Juva is the guy in Zio's Fort so it will be a little while before I post video 3. Actually, I can probably take out the Sandworm job in Mile first. We'll see.
Thanks Thuryl for all the advice, especially the change in combos!