Part 35: Metal Gear Blanca
We've finally got the run of the prison, but only one problem...
Blanca is completely on his own.
We can't get through the door, but luckily there's a short-cut through the wolf cave.
While we're here, I pick up the Camio Crest (Rock Storm), which I forgot earlier.
We head for the exit, but some mangy wolf stops Blanca before he can reach it.
Awroo, awroo. (No way. This island has a couple of little rules, you know.) Awroo! (If you want to get through, you'll have to fight your way through!)
Philippe is only slightly challenging, considering that Blanca can do the same amount of damage in one hit that he does for his entire attack sequence.
He can use the spell Evil Born for about 30 damage...
...but it's no match for Gale Spark. Philippe can also cause Mental Break, but equipping a Silver Bracelet will prevent it.
We get Pure Extract for beating him, which will completely restore Sanity Points.
I guess it is a big world...
Awroo! (Enough! All of you!) Awroo, awroo! (The strongest is our Alpha. That's the law of the island. Here, take this.)
Blanca finally learns a new skill. Full Moon removes all Status and Ring Effects from the entire party.
Awroo, awroo... (They captured my friends.)
Awroo. Grrr... (Oh, yeah? I thought I heard those no-good humans getting up to something.) Awroo, awroo. (Take a right on this path. It'll take you to a hole that'll get you inside.)
Awroo! (Okay, thanks.)
Blanca starts to walk away.
Awroo, grrr... (There was this wolf...looked just like you. He rescued me when I was a pup.) Awroo, awroo? (When I first saw you, I thought you were him. Maybe you're his grandkid?)
Awroo, awroo. (I don't know. Never knew my family...)
Awroo, awroo. (Oh. Sorry 'bout that...)
Awroo... Awroo. (I think it was...Lobo. Yeah. He said it was "Lobo, King of the Wolves.")
Awroo... (Lobo, King of the Wolves, huh...?)
Eh, don't worry about it, Blanca. I'm sure it will never come up again.
Now that the fight is over, Philippe's pack starts hanging around in the clearing.
Snow: Aw-awroo, awroo! (If you show any weakness, they'll attack. Don't let your guard down.)
He's referring to the "Stray Wolves" that randomly attack in this area. It's just like any other random monster encounter, but for some reason they're not included in the monster library.
Awroo, awroo. (Train hard, and one day YOU could become the Alpha.)
Cornet: ...Awroo? (...Really?)
Anyway, we eventually make it into the prison. We're in the room marked 1 on the map.
Aw-awroo, awroo. (Better not make too much noise. Don't wanna be discovered...)
We start moving north, but Blanca pauses when he notices something at the first T intersection.
And Blanca immediately goes into a Snake impression. If only there were some boxes scattered around here. This starts off the "stealth" section of the game. You can just ignore it and fight all the guards; they're only Paladins.
This part is simple. Blanca will drop down to all fours after noticing the guard. All you have to do is watch the red arrow on the mini-map and dash past when it's facing away.
Around the corner, Blanca notices some more guards.
Guard: They're slave-drivers! That's what they are! Just the other day...
Awroo... A-awroo! (They're engrossed... Now's my chance!)
There are some loose sticks scattered on the ground in front of the passage. As long as you hold down O while using the left-analog stick, Blanca will walk instead of run, letting you cross without making enough noise to alert the guards.
There's another guard patrolling at the intersection by the exit.
The iron grate at this end is close enough for both guards to see Blanca if they're facing him, but it's easier to get past them than you would think. From where Blanca is you can just barely see the arrow indicating the closest guard.
All you have to do is wait for the guard to turn and walk toward the grate, then as soon as he starts walking that way make a mad dash for the exit. If you're fast enough, you should make it through the door before he turns back around and sees you. (We'll come back for the chest later.)
We're now in the section labeled 2 on the map. As soon as we're through the door, there's a problem.
We're now told that we can hide by pressing X when Blanca is near a pillar and we can press O to move again. The guard turns around just before he gets to Blanca. When he does, move and follow right behind him, hiding again behind the last pillar before he turns back around.
He'll walk right past Blanca, and we can then dash down the hall to the east. Before we can get through this section, another guard comes up the stairs.
Awroo! Aw-aw-awroo! (Damn, another one! Better go in this room for a while...)
Blanca automatically goes in the next room.
There is a set of keys in here. They will be randomly hidden in one of seven spots: the desk, the couch, the file cabinet to the right, the metal cabinet on the back wall, the bookcase on the back wall, and two of the corners in the cell. Unfortunately, you only have time to search five of those spots.
If you don't find the keys by your fifth try, a guard will burst into the room, and he'll turn out to have the keys when you defeat him.
However you do it, the coast is clear to leave once you get the Ring of Keys.
We ignore the stairs and go through the door to the east to get to the section marked 3 on the map.
"Pretty alert" means that once the guard comes back to the intersection, he'll pause, look down the hall Blanca is in, pause, look again, and then finally continue south.
Once you're sure he's moving on, stop hiding and run like hell to the stairs heading down.
The section labeled 4 is the hardest to get through. There are three guards randomly patrolling through the room, and if they pass Blanca hiding, they will often turn around and spot him (even though the instructions earlier said that he couldn't be seen when hiding).
There are also sticks in the middle of the room. If the guards are far enough away, there's a chance they won't hear if you accidentally make a noise, and I managed to get lucky.
This guy walked right past Blanca and thankfully turned to the right instead of going back the way he came.
The door we need is to the north.
We finally make it into the last guarded section, marked 5 on the map.
We get their attention by simply walking up to the grate and staring at them.
Guard: Stop right there! What are you doing?!
The guards each run in a different direction around the wall to get to Blanca. If you're fast enough, you can run right, hide, and then run to the exit as soon as the guard is past you. It's difficult, though. The guards know Blanca is there, so they're very alert, and you need to have the timing down perfectly if you don't want to be spotted. Frankly, it's vastly easier just to fight them. It's still fun watching Blanca hide behind walls, though.
We're finally through and- wait, Fluffy?!
Actually, it's Veronica's two-headed dog, Oscar.
Oscar is Wind based, so Earth spells are the way to go. The fight seems intimidating at first, but it isn't that much different from the Wolf Bouts if you're prepared.
I haven't spent much extra time leveling, and Blanca is still out-hitting Oscar by about 60 points. His only really nasty attack is one that inflicts a fairly strong Poison, but as long as you equip a Shell Bracelet on Blanca, you don't have to worry about it.
Don't bother buffing against Oscar (Earth Edge, for example). As soon as you cast the buff, he'll get rid of it.
As long as you've been using Blanca periodically to keep his levels up, Oscar falls easily. Poor puppy.
He drops a new Tarot for Lucia, Temperance, as well as the next level of the Poison Ring Effect.
There are a couple treasures in this chamber. The first is the prize from the Treasure Hunting mini-quest. You don't get the question mark for this item; just mash X along the length of Oscar's chain.
You got the Wheel of Fortune Card
We get yet another Tarot Card, Wheel of Fortune, for Lucia.
There's also a treasure chest with a Strike Expand on the right-hand platform.
Going down the stairs, we finally reach the rest of the group.
Blanca!! Thank goodness you're all right!
Oh, Blanca! We knew you'd make it! You're a wolf among wolves!
You really did it! You really came to save us!
Oh, boy! Now we'll all be saved! Good Blanca!
Blanca lets everyone out, although I'm not entirely sure how he can work the keys.
The reunion is cut short, as an alarm starts sounding.
The exclamation over Lucia's head shows up noticeably behind the others.
Uh-oh! They're onto us!