Part 18: Has the Underworld Got a Deal for You!
The Tree Palace is located square in the middle of this huge water structure... how did I miss this again flying all over the world?
There's nothing wrong on the outside, but...
The inside is something else again. I like the way they gave the Emperor the personality of liking to gloat. He doesn't even know who we are, but he just wants to rub it in our faces that he got here first and its all over.
Then he hands us off to his remaining minions. I'd love to see them play rock, paper, scissors over this.
??? No explanation as to who this guy is yet and I'm sure we've never seen the sprite before. As a note, people have mentioned that it's weird how the Republic has a king. What's weird to me is that the game doesn't come out for a very long time and clarify that Tasnica is the Republic.
Somehow this makes sense to Boy, although I've got to say that finding out that this guy is the Dark Stalker.. isn't impressive, considering how thoroughly we destroyed him.
Typical villain posturing. "I was just holding back!"
Or there's option B: Yes, I really was that much of a wuss and have since made a deal with the powers of darkness to become stronger.
When does that ever work out, anyway? You never see a character talking about how they sold their soul and everything worked out swimmingly. Also, it seems that the Empire pretty much had defacto control over most of the world except a few places anyway, so... what did they gain with this deal?
At least he's slightly more threatening in this form, although you have to wonder.. is immortality and increased power worth giving up your essential humanity? Would you want to live forever as some kind of twisted monster to persist?
Boss Battle: Aegagropilon
Aegagropilon Boss Battle
Aegagropilon.. what kind of name is that? This guy is fairly hideous, and to complicate matters his hit box is hard to pinpoint coming from some angles.
He's got some fairly nasty magic as well, most of which we haven't seen before. There's a reason for that: he's actually using magic that we'll be getting from the last elemental spirit. Wall is particularly troublesome, as it means that we can't just spam magic without getting it thrown back in our teeth.
The solution is pretty simple, although it's easy enough to miss it if you didn't level Shade or didn't even pay attention to him. Dispelling Aega's wall will allow you to exploit his resistance to thunderbolt, and a few of those with some regular attacks will finish the fight fast. Sheex doesn't really know quite what to think of this, but he's kind enough to hand us a spear's orb as a victory prize.
At the final seed, however, things aren't going at all well.
As our heroes stand there preparing to be esploded, the final mana spirit shows up to give us a much needed kick in the ass. I actually really like her design.. you see a person, but if you look a bit closer you see her treeness as well.
It's also extremely appropriate that the final spirit is a tree spirit, especially considering the whole Tree of Mana thing. One final confusion, however, is the whole urge to get out of here. Wouldn't the highest point on top of a rising continent be among the safest places you could be in such an event?
No, you'll go up with it. You appear to be confused about what's going on here, and going melancholy to boot.
Boss is really appropriately named for his role when dealing with the Mana Spirits. He doesn't take shit from anybody.
Dryad isn't at full power because we didn't beat the Empire here, but anything is better than nothing.
We don't get a seed unlock, but at least we've got some new spells.
I suppose that going above the continent is probably even safer than being on top. As soon as it finishes rising, we can land back on top.
Somehow Jema slipped in and the place is full of monsters. You'd be forgiven for thinking that Jema might actually be doing some fighting here, but he and the monsters appear to have come to an agreement to not bother each other.
... yeah, we kind of got that. We were here, you know.
By "we" he naturally means "you", as Jema and his troops aren't going anywhere. That said, I love this idea of a sunken city recently risen from the sea bed.
The underworld angle is a strange development. These monsters are somehow different than the other ones we've been dealing with, I guess? This underworld interference comes very late in the game. I also blame the King of the Republic of Tasnica for holding out on the sword power up.
I'd love, just once, to catch Jema actually doing something. It'd be a nice development to find him in the middle of a fight or having cleared a portion of an area before we got there.
Now that we've got a moment, this is what we gained from Dryad. I'm inclined to think that Kid got the better end of the stick here, although wall is somewhat situational. If you leave walls on your characters it can get ugly when they need to be healed.
Going in to the temple itself the path forward is blocked, so it looks like we're going to have to go the long way. If you think about it that means that the temple had enormous sub-basements full of seawater and the remains of a dead civilization.. which is pretty cool.
The entire outside is set up as a step pyramid, and it's crawling with enemies. These metal caterpillars have a decent amount of HP and defense, as well as an unfortunate habit of setting your characters on fire.
Our next set of new enemies are metal scorpions, who act pretty much like the regular ones we've seen thus far. The aesthetic of this dungeon is great, especially since they went that extra mile to make it look as though it had actually been underwater for some time.
I'll have to check, but this orb is one of the last ones we're going to get out of a chest. It's possible to end up missing a few orbs in the game, but most of them from here on out are coming from bosses.
Waterfalls in this area will push you backward, so the key to moving is to move quickly through them and try to stay by. The next area has a lovely side path that taunts you by putting you within sight of the exit and then forcing you to back track all the way around.
The actual route is through a field of spikes that you can cut down with your axe. Kimono Wizards patrol the area, shitting out caterpillars at regular intervals. They do it often enough that you're probably going to want to completely ignore the caterpillars to focus on the wizards.
Similarly, the basilisk creates eggatrices if you leave them alone for a second and give them a chance. They're not a real problem, but they tend to get underfoot. The association is amusing, as a cockatrice is supposed to be hatched from a rooster's egg incubated by a serpent or toad.
The trick with the giant waterfalls is to slide down them and keep an eye out for these mechanisms, which shut off the water. A long weapon like a spear or a whip is pretty helpful when it comes to hitting them. Upon reaching the exit, it's time to visit an old friend:
Boss Fight: Hydra
Hydra Boss Battle
You probably remember this enemy from such boss battles as the Jabberwocky, and he hasn't changed all that much in the ensuing time.
His main attacks are physical, but each head has an ability they like to use. Current is a mild nuisance that freezes you in place, but fire breath has an ugly tendency to set your characters on fire.
He's also got some incredibly weak versions of Undine's magic..
And tends to regrow his head if you take it off. It'd be tempting to think this meant he was getting HP back, but it's just a way of varying the fight a bit. It's really entertaining when you manage to destroy both heads and there's a fraction of a second before a new one grows. Despite having fire breath as an attack he's still weak to fire magic, and destroying him nets us a whip's orb.
It also draws the attention of the Emperor and his flunkies. You know, the game does a pretty poor job of developing the Four Generals outside of the Mech Rider and Thanatos. We have no idea who Fanha is at this point other than one of the Emperor's top aides.
We also don't get to find out any more, as the Emperor just wants to leave the people who've fought their way across half the world and defeated half of his generals to the Mana Fortress's devices. Surely that'll be enough to kill them!
Seriously, she is pissed off beyond all reason considering the little we know of her. I don't think it spoils anything to say that we'll be seeing her as a boss fight sooner rather than later.
With that the Emperor throws a flash grenade of some sort, and we're left on our own to proceed in to the Mana Fortress.
Fawnaha's Speech is Kinda Hard to Translate
Reverend Cheddar posted:
Emperor "Kukuku, I thought you might be arriving sooner or later. However, I will not let you interfere! If the seals on the palaces of this world are broken, then the ancient continent said to be sunken under this coral will rise!
We've already broken the seals on all of the other world's palaces. This will be the last one. And at last the Fortress will be revived! It is a pity that you won't be able to see it for yourselves. Kukuku...
Now then, who shall have the honor of eliminating them?"
Sheik "Your Grace, please let me take care of the matter! I beseech you ahead to the altar with the Lady Fawnaha!
I shall make you pay dearly for having made a fool of me in the Tasmanican Empire!"
BOY "Wait, you were that Dark Stalker?!"
Sheik "However, you did not meet me as my transformed self! Look now and be paralyzed in fear, at the real power I wield!" (I'll be perfectly honest, as a kid I DID scream and burst into tears when I saw the boss for the first time. ... cut me some slack, I was five.)
Sheik "Haaaahahaha!! Mere children cannot hope to win against we who wield the powers of the demon world!!"
BOY "What did you say?! That means the Emperor is also -- "
Sheik "It should be obvious! To conquer this world, we made a pact with the demons of their world, and now their powers flow freely through our bodies! And to that end, so no human can dare question our authority, we will resurrect the Mana Fortress!
You shall begin your eternal sleep here... "
(this is the boss that made me cry when I saw it for the first time. I think I even had a nightmare that night! I'm a wuss. )
Sheik "T, this, this can't be possible...
BOY "The altar's on the second floor, right? Let's go!"
BOY "The seal's melting! Are we too late?!
It's no use! The seed and sword won't resonate!!"
Dryad "You're in terrible danger! Get out of here, quickly!
I'm the spirit of wood, Dryad...
The seals of the seeds of the world have all finally been melted. It won't be long before the continent sleeping under this palace will arise! Please, save yourselves and escape from this island!"
BOY "What about you?"
Dryad "I failed to protect this palace... Leave me here..."
BOSS "That's a load of crap! It's not like the shit's gonna smell any better if you stay! Come with us! You gotta help us protect Mana!"
Dryad "... But, I doubt a spirit like me could really do anything for you...
There isn't a lot of magic I'm able to use... a man named Thanatos sealed my Mana magic. Surely I wouldn't be any help to you like this..."
KID "Don't fret about it! Let's go!"
BOY "C'mon! Quickly!"
Dryad "... Oh... even though I'm so...
... Thank you. I'll do the best I can..."
BOY "Whoaaa!! It's started! The continent is rising! Let's get outta here!"
Jema "BOY! You've arrived! (uh, jema, shouldn't we be saying that?)
The Sunken Continent where the Fortress sleeps has finally risen to the surface!
Right now, troops from the Republic have arrived on the continent in order to keep the Fortress on the ground and out of the Empire's hands. It seems there is an ancient city underneath this enormous palace. If you cannot penetrate through the city, then the chances of you entering the palace are slim. It seems as though Emperor Vandole has made some sort of pact with the demon world. Monsters are swarming all over, even in the underground! The Holy Sword is not yet fully restored, but in order to stop the Empire, it seems what power has been regained has become dire to our cause...
We will fight off the Empire's troops on the surface! You three, head inside the underground and we'll send backup later!"
Fawnaha "So you came. This time you shall have the honor of having me to choke away the last of your life... I hope you've prepared some decent last words!!"
Emperor "Leave it be, Fawnaha! We don't have time to spare for you to play around with these imbiciles! If the Fortress is in our grasp, then we can blow apart these brats and that band of idiots from the Republic to every island in the world anyway! Let's move on!"
Fawnaha "... Tch!
... As you command...
... But I assure you, you will have the privilege to have me sending you to your deaths... I guarantee it!"
BOY "I can't see a thing! We've gotta hurry!"