Part 21: Shining Tactics,BONUS: Shining Tactics, Part 2
You didn't think we were done with the shitty evil twin romhack, did you?
So despite the monster stats being almost completely ripped off from Challenge Mode, this game is still significantly easier. I think it's because character growths are set so lategame stats are just higher all around. It might also be because I have the control enemy cheat on. One or the other.
If anyone can offer a reasonable explanation as to why Muddle is still in the game, I'm all ears. I believe I mentioned this last time, but Kazin's fourth spell as a mage/wizard is Dao. Why he learns a sorcerer spell when he already has a high power single target spell with Freeze is beyond me.
We'd normally find the Silver Tank here, but May is the only archer who doesn't come pre-promoted, so we won't need it. I have no idea what the vampire blood actually does, and I don't really care to find out.
Did I mention the custom art for this game is hideous?
As pointless as it is for Jaha to learn Sleep, I have to say that the icon actually looks decent. This is the only time I will be praising Dark Claw's coloring skills.
To stay fair to the hack, being able to buy fairy tears is a welcome change. One major problem with casters in this game is their inability to sustain in a fight once their MP is gone, they're useless. Fairy tears give them a second chance, albeit an expensive one. Additionally, there are a lot of half-casters in the game who run out of MP after one or two casts, so being able to have stocks of fairy tears actually makes sense. One of the few remarkably good decisions in Tactics.
The kraken head's regular attack, which it's programmed never to use. Strangely enough, it has the same range as its bubble breath. The animation is similar too, with the stuck out lips but without the actual bubbles.
If the AI were actually programmed to do this, this game would be impossible.
The Taros Sword has been eliminated, presumably remade into one of the new accessory equipments. Taros gets a power ring instead, which is now a normal item that goes on unequipped fighters.
Now Taros can't accidentally kill Bowie with counterattacks. Also:
Items that you force enemies to drop in combat will show up in the deals section of any shop. I could have done this with the Taros Sword in Challenge Mode, but nobody can equip it. It's just an item that casts Bolt 2 for free at that point (though that would be a very nice accessory to have too). The power ring is just +15 ATT for Kiwi, Gerhalt, or Peter. Meaning I buy it and watch Kiwi have way more attack power than he should at this point in the game.
The special stage in the elven village. I originally intended to grind all my characters up to 40 and promote, so I could wreck this romhack faster. Unfortunately, if you have the control enemy cheat on, the enemies never actually spawn.
The only enemy on the map is a single bubbling ooze, which we saw in the Mitt Romney fight. The contest is to see how quickly I can run to the back and kill it, though more monsters will spawn at given points to impede me.
This, of course, is the first monster that spawns. You're not supposed to actually encounter one for another 15 fights or so, but it is exactly the level to carry you all the way up to 40 without a problem. The issue is just not having it one-shot your entire army while you're getting there.
Anyways, trying to abuse this fight in a timely manner would require a lot of resetting and save stating, so I'm not really up for it.
Vigor ball and secret book have been replaced. These items can be used in combat, but I don't care. Special promotions for priest and mage actually do have some consequences. Observe:
Master monks do not learn the level 4 versions of their non-offense spells. Interesting change, actually. Whereas sages...well, I don't know what the fuck is up with the sage spell list. If anyone can offer a coherent explanation behind that choice of spells, I'm all ears.
FUN FACT: You can skip the fight between the elven village and the harpy pond if you just walk up and around to the north.
GOOD IDEA: Creating a battle where the party is split up at the start, forcing you to consider your tactics in two separate battle parties.
BAD IDEA: Doing so in a game where you can't select who's positioned where, so the two parties' effectiveness is left to random chance.
Remember what I said about Shining Tactics' balance being lazy? Look at the stats for these two characters. They're virtually identical. It stays this way for the entire game. Jesus.
May's promoted sprite. This actually isn't too bad.
Oh, another fun thing about Shining Tactics. The tactical base in New Granseal cannot be accessed in this romhack it just freezes the game. Unfortunately, tactical base is where you pick up the warrior's pride, the special promotion item required to turn Jaha into a baron. As it turns out, you are 100% forced to turn Jaha into a gladiator in this hack. Good job, Dark Claw!
More arbitrary changes that make you wonder what the fuck.
Oh yeah, another thing. Paladins learn spells now. Chester learns Heal, Rick learns Attack, and Higgins learns Freeze. One problem for the time being: Chester only picked up 2 MP but Heal 1 still costs 3 MP. Oops!
Elric comes pre-promoted as a gunner now. Instead of putting around in a golf cart, he has his normal sprite with a badly edited helmet from May tacked on. Also, the animation for this class is really goofed up, but I couldn't catch that in a screenshot.
The palette still freaks out when casting Blast after promotion. Funny thing, Blast 2 has a wide area affect (same as Slow 2) and does ~18 damage for the cost of 12 MP. For contrast, Blaze and Freeze 2 each cost 6 MP. Scale, what's that?
Before I forget, every single character's growth patterns are set to Early after promotion. That means once you promote, each character just gets a complete buttload of stats every level for at least 5 levels. Getting a +1 is rare, +2 and +3 are the norm, and you'll even see a +4 once in a while. It's stupid.
Don't know what this does, don't care.
The first piece of evidence that Tactics monster stats weren't completely copied from Challenge Mode. If you recall, knights had 90+ HP in the hack that isn't terrible.
Hey look! More spells I can't cast yet! What is this, Breath of Fire 2?
I wasn't lying about +4 to a stat. Kiwi got +4 DEF two levels in a row, and Jaha got +4 HP. I honestly didn't even know it was possible to get +4 until just now.
The tunnel that leads to the Mitt Romney fight. Instead of being the cave music, it's the town music. How did that one get fucked up?
The bubbling ooze special attack, since we didn't get to see it in the real game.
Okay, so giving Chester Heal wasn't such a bad idea, because it means you have at least one more source of healing for most of the game, especially if you skip Karna at Creed's. The problem? Chester's class still isn't flagged as a healer class, so he gets no EXP from actually healing. Oops!
And more arbitrary changes, along with another ugly icon. Speaking of ugly things, have a montage of all the horrible recolor jobs present in the hack!
I originally meant to catch up in Shining Tactics to where I am now in Challenge Mode, but the little terrible things were really piling on and I couldn't take it anymore.