Part 42: An Avalanche of Bosses
Right now, we've reached a point where the game is essentially the same for all characters and I know you all have seen it before, so it's getting a bit compressed. I don't recall what order I said I would do these in this time so I went with sheer convenience. Since we're right next to Moonreading Tower
I didn't really notice so much the last time, but Dolan's face is actually prominently displayed above the entrance to the tower.
It's still a maze of stairways, but body-slamming a vampire makes everything worthwhile. Kevin has to carry most of the weight in this area because the elemental rock-paper-scissors doesn't really work for the lunar element.
Once again, actually is Dolan. A lot of people say this is one of the hardest bosses to fight if you put it off.
He does offer a pretty good chance to use some of our new abilities, though. Golem is a lot of fun to watch, and as our only level 2 elemental spell Dark Force is usually a pretty good choice. It's a great default as long as you're not fighting a dark elemental opponent.
I love this party's level 2 techniques. Angela's tech is very magical girlish. She doesn't get a chance to use it often, but it's fun when she does. In contrast, Carlie's is very dull. She just rushes up on the enemy and smacks'em one.
Eventually Dolan's arms explode, along with the rest of his body. It's one of the more unique death animations.
By this point, the merchant cats are a very welcome sight. I end up nearly broke by the time I'm buying for some reason, I don't seem to have as much spare cash lying around this playthrough.
Next closest God-Beast is Earth, in the very confusing Molebear Highlands.
Getting to the Gemstone Highlands can be a bit of an exercise in frustration, as you have to be fairly precise in where you land. A few pixels off, and you're wandering around on the path to Forcena.
Having a wide-area Wind Element spell makes this a much easier area to deal with. Slimes are still a pain in the neck, but since they can't attack Angela's magical ability they're less dangerous than with the previous melee based party.
Land Umber is getting taken care of a lot earlier in this playthrough, so his ability to buff himself doesn't
It goes about as well for Land Umber as you'd expect. Nothing really to say about this boss new, although being unable to strip his defense away could have been a problem if Kevin's offense weren't enough to offset the difference.
At this point, we're basically following a large circle around the map. Despite having Angela in our party, the Snow City and Altena don't have anything to offer plotwise.
It is, however, another area where having an elemental caster makes progressing through the area much, much easier. Some areas have a mixture of enemies, but the Ice Maze is pretty
Fiegmund is potentially a great deal easier with the ability to cast when he's on the other side of the ice, but I failed in my timing this time and didn't have Kevin in his werewolf form. I did record the battle, but that delayed things to the point that it wasn't really worth it to post. It's about at this point that Kevin starts to really outstrip Angela for damage. While she might do around 200-250 damage with her first level fire spell, Werewolf Kevin can do substantially more damage with his second level tech when combined with all the hits to charge it up.
The boss has some beautiful attacks, but he can be pretty dangerous if he gets off a few techniques in a row. Also, snowman is a pretty debilitating status.
It actually took about 12 minutes to transform ice into fire. Despite that, however, it was more tedious than anything else.
Next up, the Forest of Wonder. Looking at the map the Forest of Wonder is about geographically equivalent with Altena, but appears much warmer. Map designers generally don't have much of a sense of how actual climatology works. I'm reminded of an anecdote about Terry Pratchett giving an illustrator for one of his books a lecture when he put two incompatible terrain features together.
Mispolm is another one of those enemies who it's hard to figure out what you should use against him. Wind is one option, while fire seems thematically appropriate.
The great pumpkin isn't terribly threatening, even when using full screen attacks. The fact that it can't move and evade you doesn't help matters.
My only regret is that I couldn't capture his expression when he finally exploded. We're at the halfway point now, which means
New equipment! I can only hope this is meant to be shorthand for "jugular puncher." The alternatives don't bear thinking about.
Rolante provides an opportunity to examine some of the oddities of the game. First off, it's a pain in the neck because there's so many tunnels and places you might conceivably go to in order to find the God-Beast. The merchant cats serve as a guidepost.
The first oddity occurs when full screen techniques interact with the wind statues. Their wind pressure is essentially a textured block that extends directly in front of them, and it's quite clear when you use a large spell.
The next interesting bit involves the actual fight with Dangaard. As you can see, it's night time as we chase after it..
and daytime when the fight starts. A starlight battle would have made this one of the coolest fights in the game.
Kevin's special attack requires him to run up to the target and attack, which plays out in a very amusing way when he jumps onto empty air to pummel an enemy. In some ways, the first indication that a fight is over when using Kevin is his transformation back to his normal form.
Valley of Flames is about where I realized just how much I was lowballing the levels this time around. For reference, I was level 32-33 when I showed up here and the enemies were level 38. This resulted in a considerable amount of grinding, which is particularly dangerous because of the armor knight enemies who can do enough damage to one-shot Carlie and Angela.
At the end, Xan Bie is probably one of the simplest bosses to deal with at this point. Using ice magic results in damage showing up both at the chimney and at the boss itself. I don't know if this actually speeds up the destruction of the boss, but I can't imagine it hurts your chances either...
It's hard to actually tell when this boss is exploding, as compared to its normal activities.
The final boss before the beginning of the end game is one that a lot of people don't like to save for last, but I figure that it's actually right up our alley considering that we're rocking an all dark party.
While you'd think that having a strong Darkness elemental caster would make this entire area much easier, the enemies are actually a mixed bag of different elements. On the other hand, none of them resist Darkness so it's still a fairly safe choice...
Darkness Overcomes Light
Upon reflection, a magical ability that puts a bunch of needle-like projectiles into the target is a particularly cruel thing to use against what is essentially a giant eyeball. When that giant eyeball teleports on a regular basis, some very weird things can happen in the course of a battle.
Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure this was the last God-Beast I fought in the previous playthrough as well. I'll have to do things a bit different next time just to show off the final party, I think I'll do whichever ones are most difficult last.
Kevin's answer to finding the God-Beast of Darkness is "get better weapons!" I suppose he figures that it'll all work itself out from there. It's a pretty simple philosophy.
The game really pushes you toward Pedan, changing the destination from "Destroy the God-Beasts" to "Ancient City Pedan."
Now that we're here, the next step is pretty obvious. At level 37 it's time to stock up on ??? seeds and change classes one more time. So, how shall we do this?