Part 13: 12. "A hostage! You cowardly scum!"
12. "A hostage! You cowardly scum!"
Where were we? Oh yeah, we were tailing Jan Jack Gibson's killer, Baran Purnet to his apartment in South Downtown. On Disk 2!
This where NLMSX will annoy the crap out of you. From here on out, when you die, you are inexplicably instructed to insert Disk 1, then the User Disk to load your last save and then Disk 2 to continue your game.
SD Snatcher itself is really bad with this, too. There's data replication so you shouldn't theoretically have to switch disks so often. For example, if you go to Junker HQ, you're not required to switch to Disk 1 because the map and data is on both disks.
...Uh, sometimes. There seems like there are points where SD Snatcher will make you switch to Disk 1 at Junker HQ when it doesn't like you or something. And then, of course, back to Disk 2 when you go back to a dungeon exclusive to that Disk. (Like this one.)
Here's what I hate. Purnet's apartment is a grand total of three floors. Completing it requires you to do stupid things like go up to the third floor, head through a bunch of hallways, and then back to the first, just to go to the third again. The maze winds itself through different floors.
The only advantage is that it's a fairly linear dungeon, so there's no dead ends or backtracking required.
Gilian: This place looks abandoned. And full of robots.
Metal: They must have driven out the residents.
Gilian: Think we'll find Purnet? Wait, what's in there-
Metal: Gilian, what's wrong? You look a little pale.
Gilian: N-n-nothing! Heh heh! Nothing at all, Metal! (Oh man! What I could get with this...)
I don't know how much you care for the grand tour of this dungeon, so I'll show off some of the highlights and save full maps for later. (I have them if anyone cares.) But as long as we're here, this is an important hallway later on...
Gilian: I'm not sure about the robots driving out the residents. There's opened cardboard boxes everywhere. Also the walls are in bad condition.
Metal: This is strange. It's possible that this apartment was actually in some level of disuse. I can check with the zoning database...
Gilian: Don't bother. I just want to find Purnet as fast as possible.
Dungeons like this will give you a wide room or hallway and a small bottleneck, signifying a door or something. Robots won't leave the room they're in. If you don't want to fight, you can hide in the doorframe (they can't go there) and wait until the coast is relatively clear, before running through.
I hope you like Hit The Targets and Tanks For Nothing, because you're gonna see a fuckton of them for the first floor of this dungeon. By now, the amount of XP you're getting from them is decreasing as well.
As sort of a warning, you get 5 Newtriz in the box on the left. This is about the point in the game where you want to stock up on Newtriz and Jyro. I'm going to say here and now, with an upcoming exception, I've never really needed more than 10 of each for a dungeon.
Gilian: Let's try the second floor.
Metal: Odd. I don't think we've seen all of the first floor, based on the scale and size of the building, but we've been to every accessible room. Maybe there's a different stairway leading down to a different part of the first floor.
Gilian: That's ridiculous. Who'd architect a building like that?
Metal: Well, it could have been artistic license.
Welcome to Floor 2. It's got a new enemy.
Meet Jetpack Joe! I hate this fucker. He's fast, so you almost never hit where you want. He's got high SPD and ACC, so you'd think attacking his guns to lower his weakest stat, STR would help, but of[f] course, you can't reliably hit the outer-edge guns.
I kind of like hitting the four spots on his face plate which count towards his ACC. It all counts against his ACC, and if he dodges, you still hit the guns which lower his already low STR, or the uppermost corners, which are a third spot that counts toward his ACC. Another strategy is to aim for the middle rockets below to lower his SPD and reduce his dodging ability. I don't like this because if you destroy one of the middle rockets, it's harder to reliably hit the other one and the SPD stat itself is still high to dodge.
They give good XP, but they're a pain in the ass to kill. I found I had to leave the dungeon and resupply at the Joy Division outside a couple times. (To SD Snatcher's credit, it actually lets me stay on Disk 2 for the outside of the apartment.)
Gilian: Alright, Metal. No need to get sarcastic.
One nice thing about Jetpack Joe, is it tends to hand out ammo. That's about all you'll like about them, though.
Gilian: Another stairway up. I see light coming in...
Metal: This obviously leads to the roof.
Floor 3, the roof. It's divided into two sections. We're on the right. If you look left, you can catch a glimpse of a new enemy.
Metal: Gilian, that citizen needs our help!
Gilian: On it! (Also, she's pretty good looking from here...)
Gilian: (Better restore some HP first...)
Gilian: (And maybe level up with one more enemy-)
Gilian: Okay, okay!
It's boss time!
Six Jetpack Joes at once! The same strategy as the first boss, the six Digit Rocks applies here. You'll want to effectively disable one by blinding it to "roadblock" reinforcements and keep it so you're fighting one working robot at a time. The problem here is actually doing that. Jetpack Joe bobs and weaves and your shots don't exactly do mega-stat-dropping when they do connect. I found the beginning of this battle had me using a bunch of my healing items. Note I'm already mid-way into battle here.
And note the really sorry state I had to put this robot in to disable it to a point where it wouldn't self destruct, but it was too blind to hit me. Finally, I could concentrate on its five friends one at a time.
Some time later...
Gilian: All in a day's work. My name's Gilian Seed, ma'am. I-
Gilian: Hey, wait! Where's she running off to?
Metal: Does it matter? Gilian, if she is correct, Baran Purnet is a Snatcher, and it's your job to find him and put him down.
Gilian: You're right, Metal. This is for Jan!
Gilian: Something's different about this hallway.
Metal: This door was closed and locked earlier.
Gilian: That woman must have opened it... let's follow her in.
Metal: It's not good to go barging into people's-
Metal: -homes, Gillian.
If this is her home, it's got a bad case of robot infestation. Meet...
Oof! This ugly little asshole - who suddenly reminds me of the robot version of Gizmo from Gremlins - goes by the callsign "Mr. Squinty." They have similar stats to Jetpack Joe, but to be honest, I never really had any trouble with them. Possibly because of the level up from the boss fight. Whatever. Just aim for the center of their bodies to kill them (the 2x2 area under the "eyes").
The woman's apartment (?) is ah, pretty empty. Head left to find...
A hallway! And!!!
Gilian: That woman is in danger! I get to save two-
Metal: Isn't that the same woman?
Gilian: ...it is, isn't it?
(This isn't comedic license on my part. She gets captured twice.)
Yeesh. That woman is pretty ugly looking up close. Meet another boss! I'll call him Hostage Taker, for now. Remember before when I said "I hate this fucker" about Jetpack Joe? I take it back.
Enemies - bosses included, of course - sidestep to dodge. Well, Hostage Taker has the very "clever" move of moving the hostage into where you aimed. Shooting her once, anywhere is instant Game Over.
I saw that a lot.
The good news is that you can safely attack almost anything on the boss's left side. Including his wheel, to lower his dodging rate, and his arm cannon. Since it's a boss, it won't self-destruct and you can render him completely defenseless.
Don't do what I did and try taking out his head. This is just proof that you can't kill Hostage taker as the situation is. You want to aim for his right arm. If you destroy it...
And you're free to blow this asshole away!
Me too, lady. Coming up...
...We meet our first Snatcher.
N/A - This hostage situation is again, completely new. Well, with this woman, at any rate.