Part 2: The Advent of Ensign Expendable
Stuck in the pitch black of wherever this is, alone with your unconscious thoughts. Wish Tierney hadn't poisoned us. Maybe then we'd be back home comfortably relaxing until--
These grunts both use the same character portrait so they get written names instead.
Grunt 1: See? See?! It moved again! It's breathing! That thing is alive and breathing!
Grunt 2: You're imagining things.
Grunt 1: I did no such thing! Watch this! I'll prove it to you!
Grunt 2: Hands off you bloodthirsty fool! That'll kill it for sure! Let's just push it back into space. We'll say the crate was empty.
Grunt 1: Are you crazy? Stand between Commander Bloss and a new Earthman?! No way.
Grunt 2: Fine. Remember, you found the Earthman, I found the gun.
Grunt 1: Hold on... Nope. No good. The breathing stopped again. Guess... ...things... ...after all...
Same thing here.
Medic 1: ...badly... ...extensive damage...
Medic 2: ...try to... ...no use...
Medic 1: Bah, look at what those grunts did. There's hardly anything left to work with.
Medic 2: This guy's been through plenty all right. It's a wonder he's still alive at all.
Medic 3: He can't croak soon enough for me! Commander Bloss has signed the carcass over to my office!
Medic 1: Feh...If you need an Earthman sample so badly, snap off a finger. He won't need 'em where he's going.
Medic 2: Would you two back off? I need room to operate.
Medic 1: Waste of time. This fellow's at Death's door. No way can he fight in this condition.
Medic 3: Then he's mine either way. He won't last five... ...in the...
Medic 1: ...slipping... ...hand me... ...still...to save...
Medic 2: ...too late...
: Try not to strain your muscles.
: Do you know where you are? Can you recognize me?
: You... ...you are... ...a Krill...
: I'll admit I'm surprised. You should be quite dead by now. You are on a Krill starbase. A fairly run down one, but a starbase nonetheless.
: Your security shuttle had the misfortune of crossing paths with one of our warships. We found your body while salvaging the wreckage. I'd daresay Earth was glad to be rid of you, judging by the maximum security cell! It must have been expensive to banish you to space. You must have quite a history.
: I remember... ...it was dark...stale... How long... ... have I been asleep?
Man, was WayForward being paid for every ellipsis they used? This is ridiculous.
: Well now, I wouldn't call it sleep. You were delirious for the first eight days and unconscious for nearly three weeks after that.
: ...a month... ...it's all so confusing... ...hard to remember... Why... Why are you helping me?
: I'm sorry to say that restoring you to a functional state is no rescue. Commander Bloss has plans for you. Unless I'm mistaken, he plans to meet you in the ring.
Why do I get the feeling that this Bloss guy is really fat?
: He wants...to fight me?
: Bloss is, or was in his youth, a fighting champion. On this starbase, it's the only Krill pastime we have. The crew is very excited to see their first Earthman fight.
: We're fighting... ...to the death?
: Well, that all depends. I think I can buy you a bit more time... Try to rest.
Well that doesn't sound good.
: They're ready to skin you.
: Skin me? What do you mean?
: Don't worry. It's not as bad as it sounds. They just want to fit you for a parasite.
: Everything you said sounds bad.
I agree wholeheartedly.
: Down the hall. You'll see. And if I might make a suggestion... Don't try to escape. It would be bad for the both of us.
But they want to put a parasite in me! Help!
Oh god it floats and it's disgusting!
This whole unconscious thing is getting annoying. Can't we stay awake for more than two minutes?
: Who... Who are you?
As you can see, Recker now has a new character portrait to reflect his new sprite change.
: You will address me as Commander Bloss!
Also, I totally called it that he'd be fat.
: My gun... You gave it back?
: I've given you more than that, if you'd bothered to look! I've also fitted you with a Krill parasite!
: What is this?! Some kind of body armor? Aaaah! It's alive! It's biting my head! It's crushing my neck!
: Every Krill soldier wears a parasite! You are no different.
: Hey... I can breathe again... I feel...stronger than before.
: The physical advantages are just the beginning! But I'll explain all that later. I'm sure my medical staff mentioned my little game.
: Yeah. I won't go easy on you.
: Me? Hoh no! I just observe...and take a few bets. You'll be fighting Hen'nk, the previous champ. Now get ready... Begin!
VIDEO: Hen'nk fight.
Of course, I take the screen as he flashes from getting hurt. We now have our GUN! Press A to fire. Our Krill parasite also allows us to run faster by holding B.
Hen'nk is easy to defeat. Just avoid him and fire. About 15 shots and he goes down.
He's exploding here but he's partially offscreen and it's fading out so it's hard to tell.
That guy got Recked (I'm sorry).
: Splendid! Yes, from the moment I saw you under lock and key I knew you'd prove valuable. Your human leaders would vomit if they knew we had our hands on one of their most hated outcasts! I'll make you an offer.
: I'm listening...
: How would you like to pay back the fools who exiled you? I'll let you live, and in exchange you can perform a couple er...odd jobs.
: You mean betray my planet.
: Ha ha ha. Does that bother you?
:Not really. Does this mean I'm free to go?
: Hah! Leave! Take the grand tour! I'll even let you keep your sidearm! But never forget, my very loyal creature is fused to your spine, and my men are watching. Prove you can be relied on and you will go far in the Krill forces.
Doesn't the fact that the parasite can listen to us kind of blow a hole through the undercover plan?
Well shit. ...Well I guess there's nothing to do except tour the starbase.
: A good slam against the wall takes care of that!
I'll keep that in mind if mine starts acting up, thanks.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to explain GUN DATA since the game allows you to access the Weapon Select screen at this point.
Your primary weapon while flying can be greatly customized depending on the Gun Data you find throughout the game. Your weapon is made up of three components: Cannon Data, Bullet Data, and Impact Data. Finding a new piece of Gun Data will unlock a new data in one of those three areas. There are enough gun data in the game to create 15680 different custom weapon combinations (28 Cannon, 20 Bullet, 28 Impact).
Cannon Data affects how the shots are fired. It will always deal with the path the bullet will take. The basic path is just a straight line but you can find all sorts of different paths, such as front-back alternating, wave pattern, all 8 directions and more.
Bullet Data affects what the shots look like and how much damage they do. The basic bullet is a small bullet but you can find all sorts of different bullet data, such as large shot, tri-shot, missiles and more.
Impact Data affect what occurs when a bullet hits an enemy or solid object and can be by far the most interesting type of data. The basic shot simply disappears when it hits an enemy or solid, but you can find all sorts of different impact data, such as rising bubble on impact, health drops every 10 hits, large EXP drops every 10 hits and more.
Not every piece of gun data is useful, but it's nice to have such a variety of choice. It really allows the player to play the space battles as they want to.
Back to the LP!
: the COMM ROOM...Just because it's unlocked now doesn't make it your business.
Comm Room, eh? And don't go in there? If video games have taught me anything, it's to go to places people don't want you to go. Let's find it.
: We use it to make long range calls to anywhere in the galaxy.
That was easy. Well let's see what's the deal with this place. ...Kinda empty. And if I push this button...
: No thanks to you!! You tried to kill me!
: Control yourself Recker. Your voice will carry.
: I don't see what difference it makes since I've got a bug on my head listening in on every word! I'm as good as dead already!
What makes this scene even better is the totally deadpan expression on Recker's character portrait. (and there will be plenty more like it.)
: That parasite won't be reporting anything.
: But that's not what Bloss said.
: He's lying. After your last mission we found Krill pilots dead in the wreckage. We've done extensive studies of their parasites.
: It's harmless biotechnology. Mindless reactive creatures... To the Krill. no different than a wristwatch.
: (Oh... I've really got to be less trusting of my enemies.)
: Now listen carefully. I've just now pulled up our intel on Bloss. He's the lowest ranking commander in the Krill service. There's a reason his starbase is positioned in the middle of nowhere. Give him an angle that offers career advancement and you'll have him eating out of your hand.
: When should I contact you again, sir?
: I'll signal you.
: Like this...
The game plays a little sound at this point, it comes up along with Tierney's face whenever he wants to talk to you during the game.
: Hear me in your ear? We implanted a chip behind your ear. I can send you a one-way signal.
: Thanks for consulting me first.
: Ha!! Use that anger; it will help sell your story. I'll be in contact again soon.
First poison, then chip implantation, then prison ship, then ship explosion and now skinning. When I said 'all the way to the Devil's door', I didn't expect to get there so fast.
Grumble, Grumble... Well, better go see if Bloss wants anything. The less time I have to spend among these Krill the better.
: It's time to cash in that favor you owe me.
: I'm your man.
: We're dropping this station onto a heavily forested planet. A lot of hostile life forms in the area. If I set you up with one of our Krill Fighters, can you blaze a path for us? I'd rather not risk one of my own men.
: Just call me Ensign Expendable.
: Then get yourself to the Launch Bay.
So now we get to fly that which we are used to shooting down. Krill ships are a bit different than Earth ships though. I'll let this guy explain it.
: Seems that way.
: Ok, well this ain't like no human crate. Krill Fighters are living beings, just like your armor. Don't spook it whatever you do.
: The ship's alive?
: It chitchats with your personal parasite, that's how you control it. You'll also be sharing your energy and experience with any ship you pilot.
So that's why the Krill ships looked like they had faces...
: So if my ship gets the sniffles?
: Just take care of her and she'll take care of you. While you're in the Control Cavity, you and your ship share life and limb. So you can see why saving your progress is a good idea before flying.
Not pictured: Me using the Data Plug (Save Station) talking to the guy who explains it. Just step onto it to Save. It's that simple.
: You can use it to ready a ship for takeoff. Just use the +Control Pad and A button. Go on, try it out.
Hey, the game explained something for me!
Time to fly. I'll be back by dinner.
VIDEO: Chapter 1 Intro Mission
For Mission sequences, you get this little launching scene beforehand.
So this is the first mission with an enemy counter. The game take it upon itself to explain this to you by way of a Crewman over the chatter.
: Okay human, listen up! See that number up there? That's your Target Counter. When it reaches zero, the threat is over. Take 'em down!
Very basic enemies at this point. The yellow-green ones fly straight forward and the purple ones fly in half-circle motions. Both take one shot to kill. Those blue circles are EXP. EXP value increases depending on where you are and what type of enemy you destroy, though there's no visual cue that tells how much it's worth, like a big EXP being a larger circle. For this mission, each EXP is worth 1 point. It will be like this for most of Chapter 1.
After beating a mission or random battle (also referred to as a stage), you press A to return to the surface or the starbase. I showed a picture of this before, but with a Krill ship, those blue lines are supposed to represent Recker getting warped back.
Here's the Data Plug. I'm going to go save. Join me next time as we get to meet a lady and explore a planet. There will be more actual gameplay too, I swear.