The Let's Play Archive

Septerra Core

by ToxicFrog

Part 10: Zombie Tested, Player Approved

Another short update, I'm afraid. Updates will be somewhat erratic for a while as I deal with moving; I'll keep them coming, but don't expect regularity until mid-May.

bbcisdabomb posted:

So when do we get a wacky episode such as Jeremy, Hammond, and Capt. Slow Maya, Corgan, and Grubb get to ride motorbikes across Vietnam hoverbikes across the world (shell)?

Nice catch on the half-reference there. No more hoverbikes, I'm afraid, but there is some vehicular mayhem coming up!

Lockmat posted:

Seriously, I couldn't even be bothered to cheat myself through the sheer amount of enemies there.

The MAKETHEMSTOPMOMMIE code doesn't just prevent enemies from acting in combat; it prevents encounters from triggering at all.

Bart Roberts III posted:

I still couldn't see how much Core I had at any one time, still hadn't figured out most of the system, and the story wasn't shaping up to be much good, so I walked away from the game.

I like the story, but I can easily see how someone wouldn't. As far as the interface and mechanics go, though...did you get a second-hand copy without documentation, or something? The manual doesn't go into a lot of detail on the specific numbers involved, but lays out the interface quite clearly (Core in particular is the giant blue meter across the top of the screen) and gives a decent overview of the game mechanics (or at least, how spells/abilities work and what all the stats do).

10: Zombie Tested, Player Approved

Back at the mountain base, we hand the supply cache over to Layla.

We found the supplies.
A good sight indeed.
The town of Armstrong was wiped out by the Chosen.
Corgan... I'm sorry...
I won't let this happen again, Layla. I'll kill the Chosen bastard with my own hands if I have to.
The Chosen warlord is moving on. If you want your chance, you'll have to hurry after him.
They're leaving?
Only this Doskias you spoke of. He leaves behind a garrison of soldiers led by one of his generals, a woman named Selina.
She will fall as well.
[talk] How are we going to get to Shell 5??
We have no ships. You'll have to secure passage at the Helgak Port.

The Helgak Port, eh? That's our next destination, then. First, though, let's take our new card, Barrier, out for a spin.

And what better test subject than the humble zombie? Slow, stupid, and plentiful, zombies are ideal for trying out new abilities.

First of all, a baseline: Grubb's Aqua Strike does around 30-35 damage to a zombie, and Maya's tier 2 attack, 35-40.

Let's throw a barrier around one of the remaining zombies. Note that two of the cards at the bottom of the screen are still lit up - this means we could combine them with Barrier to form a new spell.

And with the barrier up...the zombie takes half damage from everything. Magical, physical, doesn't matter, all incoming damage is cut by 50%. It works just as well for us, too, and this spell will be a mainstay of my strategy in high-damage boss fights.

Barrier has another useful property: if you have two ready characters, you can give a card to the second character as well, forming a new spell. The cost is the same as using both cards individually, but the result is correspondingly more powerful... not only does Water Barrier carry the usual 50% damage reduction of a plain Barrier, but it also cuts water damage by 75%, effectively neutering any enemy that relies on water-based attacks. At the moment we can also combine it with our Earth card for an Earth Barrier that behaves the same way, and as the game progresses we'll get a wide selection of other cards that combine nicely with Barrier.

For now, however, we have a helgak to catch.

Keep heading west from the graveyard, across the bridge (note Shell 4 far below us), and you find...

...the Helgak port.

Within, the booking agent has a conversation (which we can't overhear) with some Chosen troops. They soon exit stage left, towards the dock.

[talk] How bad is the occupation?
M-may I see your passport please?
[talk] What kind of ships are you running?
Our ships are crafted of wood and steel, slung underneath Helgak.
Great flying beasts.

The clerk, despite her willingness to talk shop briefly, is clearly nervous and reluctant to deviate from script or discuss the Chosen. Unfortunately this means we also can't talk our way aboard without paperwork.

[passport] What if we have no passports?
I'm afraid t-that you may not book a flight without one...

And that's as far as we can get. Note that Corgan has no dialog here; in fact, each character has a custom "I can't/won't engage in conversation" response (which seems to be directed at the player). If we try frobbing Corgan here, we get his:

Sometimes, it is just better to say nothing.

On the way out, there's another ??? to check out.

However, rather than containing an enigmatic tower or a rapidly escalating series of fights, this one contains a tranquil beach.

After a brief rest on the shoreline, we head back towards Wind City. After all, maybe the passport office is still operating!

No luck, however; we can't even get into the city. Perhaps there's a back door?

North of the city lies the one part of Shell 3 we haven't seen yet, the Northern Forest.

Entering greets you more or less immediately with this - a Bee Nest. It can't attack, but summons Killer Opteras - the small flying things that look nothing like bees - as long as it's left alive.

However, all they can do is hit for 1 point of damage or inflict Slow. They could be a serious threat if paired with something dangerous, but on their own they barely qualify as a nuisance.

Heading north a bit from there gets us a fight with three Grey Wulves. They could actually be a credible threat, as they come with sharp teeth and Mass Haste. However, this area is also scaled to be visitable as soon as you arrive onShell; our zombie-hardened party barely slows down.

The only reward for our efforts, however, is a locked door. There's bound to be something really cool behind it, but whatever it is will just have to wait.

Now that we've been everywhere else, all that's left to do is search Southfarm for clues. The guards posted here will actually ignore you as long as you ignore them, but where's the fun in that?

State your business!
[talk] We're only simple travelers...
Well then, be on the lookout for the Holy Guard...they're dangerous. Bring'em in and you'll get a reward.
[talk] Cool uniforms, man!
They're not uniforms,'s grown onto us.

If you talk to them with Corgan, however...

It's one of the Guard! Attack!

...they politely clump together so that you can fire grenades at them.

NPCs still wander around Southfarm, but their dialog is changed, and some won't talk to you at all.

[talk] Is your family safe?
Not those in Wind City. But I've heard that the Monks of the Library are running a secret passage out of the city into Southfarm to help in the resistance.
[talk] Any news of the Holy Guar-
We're supposed to report you to the Chosen. I won't do that, but be careful - not everyone's as friendly.
[talk] Have you heard anything from Wind City?
People report seeing ships moored over the city. They say the Chosen General commands the operation from his flagship.
[the Chosen] Can the Chosen be defeated?
Not without ships, like the ones from Ankara and Jinam.
Are they powerful?
Combined, they've got a fleet of battleships that rival the Chosen. But they're too busy aiming at each other.

I take this opportunity to restock on healing items and pick up some better gear for Corgan and better armour (which I couldn't afford earlier) for everyone.

Good thing I have one of them right behind me.

[talk] that you?
What is a Monk of the Library doing selling junk?
Looks like my disguise has failed. My brothers and I are trying to get people out of the city...
How are you getting them out?
Underground tunnel to the Library, from this very shop.
Can we use your route for passage, old man?
Well, I recognize you, but who are your companions?

Maybe you should have considered that before telling us where the secret passage was?

Allies, all around...Layla has gifted them with her trust.
Layla is alive?!
Aye, she's gathering our forces for a counterstrike. If we can get into the Library, perhaps the Monks can help us...
I'll allow them to pass, as long as you are with them.

Aye. Boyman is dead; Layla now leads the Guard.
Bring her my sympathies...
[talk] What's going on?
We've formed an underground passage to get people safely out of the city.
[talk] How long did it take to build the tunnel?
It's part of the network of catacombs under the city. Our ancestors have done most of the work for us.
[talk] Abbot, do you know anything about the fate of the border towns?
Most are in dire trouble. The Chosen are ruthless and have begun to cut off supply routes.
[passport] We need passports, can you help us?
I have some forgeries that we secured from our spies. Take them and put them to good use, child.

We have passports! There's really nothing left to do on this shell - you can talk to the rest of the NPCs in Southfarm, but most of it's just rewordings of stuff we've heard already (with two exceptions: that the Chosen are taking people to work the Helgak farms to grow replacement parts of their ships, and that another group of the Guard managed to escape and is holed up in the forests north of Wind City).'s time to leave for Shell 5!

Everything seems to be in order. Are you ready to board?

This way, please.

Runner somehow knows we're about to leave and comes running up as we approach the boarding ramp.

The two countries of Shell 5?
Now what are we gonna do?
Captain: We will be taking a detour to Shell 4 and the World Bazaar, where you can attempt to find passage to your final destination...


What will happen to our heroes? Can they still find help on Shell 5? Will they even make it to Shell 5 at all? Learn the answers to some (but not all) of these questions in the next installment of Let's Play Septerra Core!