The Let's Play Archive


by Azure_Horizon & Kobold

Part 19: Super Fighting Robot

Lizard Wizard posted:

Speaking of moves, please see if you can't get GIFs of the Programs. They're great.
I don't have any good GIF-making programs on me at the moment, no pun intended. However, should I get some, I'll see what I can do. Alternatively, if someone else makes a few short GIFs themselves, I'll include them in this following update!

EDIT: Correction! The Run programs have been updated with new information and shiny new GIF animations thanks to the efforts of Gabriel Pope and Explosionface!

Leaving home, we find the three blue-haired children having a pow-wow. Since this is an event thing, they deign to actually talk to Brain rather than chase him around the map. You don't actually have to talk to them, but it gives some basis to a later event.

For now, though, it's time to hit up that Shop.

Unfortunately, the shopkeeper is one of those characters who has that pesky alternate dialogue for mouse-form that trumps the event dialogue that opens up after to make your first Robot. A quick reminder of who we are gets him to open up the back room to us and to take the capsules that are back there.

He means those two ball-shaped objects down in the lower right, which contain two pieces of scrap metal - Scraps 2 and 5. These two scraps in particular are going to be very useful in the near future, so we'll want to keep hold of them. In addition to these tantalizing bits of "trash", the crate in the upper right contains another Cure. The only crate in the room with the capsules that can be searched from the front contains a Repair.

Since we're still laden with free items lifted from both the shop and our home, there's no real need to buy additional Cures and Cleans. So, the next course of action is go flaunt our robot to Father.

Entering his home results in our hero stumbling across a Hacker soldier trying to convert Pops over to the Dark Side. It turns out about as well as you'd expect with a guy who has a device that scares the bajeezus out of people. And mice. And cats.

And after showing off Pinky to Father...

He gives us the Surprise Horn so that we can scare cats as well.

After which we loot his house for a Clean, a Repair and our very first learned schematic. I'll go into further detail about these once we start actually making things. For now, though, we make our way out of the house to seek further excitement.

It should be noted that he's scripted to say this every single time you leave his house. We're done here for now, though, so leaving is just what we want to do.

Upon leaving, however, we're accosted by a Hacker soldier that seeks to ratnap our hero and use him to get Pops to work for them. However, they aren't expecting us to be packing a big pink robot. And thus, we begin our very first battle of the game!

The basics of the battlefield are simple enough. That highlighted area around our robot is the movement range he has. He can freely move around in that space but cannot pass beyond it. The game is turn-based, so the enemy will sit there patiently while we futz around and decide what we want to do.

Once we're in a position we're happy with, pushing the A button brings up this menu.

ATTACK: The command to attack your enemy. It opens up its own menu of options for deciding how you want to attack. However - as counter-intuitive it seems - save for one specific thing, you actually will probably not want to use this to attack. I'll explain in a bit.

GUARD: The defense command. Basically, if you cannot or do not want to attack an enemy, this is the command you will want to use. For a minor chunk of your Charge Bar, you get a bolstered defense until your turn comes up again.

ESCAPE: Running away. Selecting this command causes your robot to attempt to flee from the combat. If he's unsuccessful, you lose a bit of energy and have to wait for it to refill to try again. Should you succeed, the enemy spins around in place for a bit and lets you put some distance between you and them.

BRAIN: This is a list of options that our hero can do rather than his robot. Using this menu, you can switch to the next robot in the roster or use a variety of consumable items such as Cures and Repairs. While in our mouse form, these are inaccessible.

We want to attack him, so the choice is obvious.

The attack command, as mentioned, has its own choices. Most are self-explanatory: Sword makes you use your sword, Shot makes you shoot your gun, and Bomb makes you launch a bomb. Each one takes up a differing amount of charge, with Sword using the least and Bomb using the most. Run, however, lets you run a series of pre-programmed commands. We'll get more in depth with that after the battle.

For now, though, we'll pick Shot 1.

And so, we shoot the enemy with our gun and finish the introductory battle. Megs are the experience in this game, and it all goes to Brain and not his bot. Using it, he can level up and not only gain the knowledge to understand new schematics, but also Program more stats into his robots.

Seems straightforward enough, but let's rewind time a bit and confront that Hacker soldier again. There's a little more to explain.

Remember that capsule sitting on the field? Attacking it with a melee weapon - in this case, Pinky's Sword 1 - opens it and reveals the contents within. There's several things that could lie within that wonder ball:

An Explosion: Probably the most common result - the capsule is a trap and just detonates when you attack it. The explosion damages your robot and has a chance to afflict him with the Rust status effect, which is this game's version of Poison. At low levels like this, this is a very dangerous thing indeed. Especially when you only have one robot.

Energy Restored: Your robot is fully healed. Would be handy, but it seems to have an annoying habit of being the first capsule effect you come across right after you've healed your robot yourself. Never bank on a capsule being an Energy Restore, you're likely to get your bot scrapped doing it.

Big Bomb: It gives you a Big Bomb item. It damages all enemies on the field when used, but its damage quickly becomes obsolete as you level. It's even more useless to a mouse who can't use items in battle. It's best left for combining later or recycling for 100G.

Equip Level Up: Now we're getting into the good prizes. This levels up all the equipped weapons on the robot that opens it. Every weapon on initial creation starts at level 1 and can get up to level 9, and increases in power as it does so. Getting a good chain of these can help bolster your robot's damage in short order.

0.5/1.0 Megs Bonus: The last of the potential rewards. Depending on the version, you'll gain either an extra 0.5 or one whole meg upon completion of the battle. Under one condition. Look in the upper right hand corner. See that number there?

That's the Bonus Time. You can only get the bonus experience if you defeat all opponents before this timer runs out. In fact, you'll actually get a little extra bonus for beating enemies quickly regardless of whether or not you got a Megs Bonus capsule. However, failing to kill all enemies before it runs out will result in a loss of all bonus Megs, as well as destroy any remaining capsules on the screen. Battles with single enemies will always have 8 seconds of Bonus Time, two enemies will have 15, and three enemies will have 30.

This adds a rather unique tactical mechanic to combat. Do you kill the enemies fast and get the straight bonus, or do you risk losing it for even greater rewards? More experience is always good, so the usual rule of thumb is to kill the enemy and ignore the capsules. However, if you're good on the button mashing and they're close enough to reach, you can actually get a number of capsules equal to the number of enemies on the field without risking losing the Bonus Megs.

While not necessary, heading back inside and tattling to Pops results in a bit of surprise that the Hacker would try that, followed by this sudden concern about tardiness. However, we're not here for him right now. In the back of his house are stairs leading to another Invention Machine.

It's time to program some Run commands for Pinky.

These are commands that you can access from the RUN option on the battle menu, and eat up an increased amount of the Charge Gauge in return for a special attack. The amount of charge that each "use" of an attack in the combo varies on which weapon is in that particular slot - melee uses 1/6, ranged 1/3, and bombs 2/3. After programming in the move, you're able to name it. It should also be noted that the buttons used to program (X, L, and R) can also be used in combat to instantly use that weapon rather than having to go through the menu. This is critical for ensuring consistency in getting both capsules and Bonus Time Megs.

The following is a list of RUN programs. In order to keep things simple and avoid confusion, it's going to be assumed that there is a melee weapon (like a Sword) in the right hand and a ranged weapon (like a Shot) in the left.

RRR: Attack with the equipped melee weapon three times. A high damage move for about half the Charge Gauge. Very good against single targets that you can't kill in one hit. Especially if you can get behind them for even more damage.

LLL: This command shoots one shot on each row in return for emptying the entire Charge Gauge. Shot damage decreases with distance, oddly enough, so this RUN command is actually better used closer to the enemy. Its potential is also limited by any capsules between you and the target, since the attack will destroy the capsule instead of hitting the baddy.

LLR: Two shots and a melee make for a damaging closing technique. Your robot will shoot twice and then close for a melee hit. However, this is very costly for your Charge Gauge - leaving only a sliver - so expect some retaliation while it recovers.

LRR: Charge in and swing twice - a solid move for offing enemies that take more than one hit to kill. However, its going to cost about 2/3s of your Gauge, so your robot is going to take a couple hits. With a high enough Charge and good button mashing, however, it could make for a good initial closer for bosses.

RLR: Hit an enemy once in the front and once in the back. Since damage is increased on back attacks, this is another solid move for killing single targets that take more than one hit to kill. However, it does require you to be next to the enemy to make it work.

LRL: The inverse does about the same thing. However, your robot will actually rush to the enemy on that line in order to make its front-back attack before returning to its start position. Very handy if you don't want to be close to any counter-attacking enemies, less so if you want to be in close.

XRR: Bomb plus two subsequent melees will cause your robot to jump over and behind the enemy and strike them in the back twice. Since enemies take extra damage from back attacks, this is actually rather useful. However, this requires there being room behind the enemy to jump behind them.

RRX: The inverse of the previous attack is a space-giving move rather than a space-closing one. The robot will hit the enemy twice and then push them away. Very nice for dealing with enemies that are dangerous up close. However, if you don't have an appropriate ranged weapon, you'll still have to chase after them or wait for them to get back over to you.

RXR: This attack causes your robot to rush each enemy in turn and attack them. This is regardless of where they are on the map, and has a chance to hit the backs of enemies that are facing away from you. A very powerful move that, despite eating up the entire charge bar, can end most fights in one attack.

XL: Probably the weakest of the Bomb + Something attacks. This attack randomly drops three bombs on your current row. Since there will never be more than one enemy on a row at a time, this is a terrible use of your entire Charge Gauge.

LX: Alternatively, the inverse of the previous move is actually very good. This RUN command causes your robot to unleash a massive explosion that hits everything. If your robot doesn't have a melee weapon to use RXR - or you just like explosions - this is a great RUN program to have at your disposal.

Personally, I run with only the three commands shown. The others, save for LX, are either circumstantial or use too much of the Charge Gauge to be practical in a one-robot run. However, it gets worse, some enemies have what I can only call "Run Resistance" and actually take less damage from Run commands than they would from normal attacks. So be wary when deciding whether to Run a program or just attack.

As a final note on the wonders of Run programs - these techniques are only usable if you have the proper weapons in the proper slots. If you have two melee weapons equipped, the L-programs will not work as indicated. In addition, if you have something that isn't a weapon at all in that particular slot, the Run commands that use it will be red and unusable.

By the way, I wasn't kidding about the every time you leave thing. We're done here for now, but there's just one last thing to look at before our hero returns home to Nagisa.

Next Time: Building Up a Little Momentum