Part 9: Running For Our Lives
Continuing the joke that never ends, we are now rolling with the Dinosaur Company. This is not actually what it's called from here on out, and in actuality this will also be the name of our army for some reason. The game doesn't tell you this which I consider kind of douchey.
: That was okay, right, Azure?
Basically, we're not prepared to win this skirmish.
Suikoden 2 Tunes Tactics
: We've set a few traps along the way. That'll hurt them a little.
: The Fire Spears are ready. Thanks to everyone who worked through the night to make that possible.
: The battle must not be lost!!
(the soldiers yell back Hey!!!!!! in what I believe is a mistranslation or is super goofy)
: If we can hold out until then, we've got a chance of winning. Our main strategy is defense, but first we'll attack from here. This will frustrate them and weaken their offense. After that we just have to defend our fort and wait for help. That's all.
: Everyone understand?? Good!! In the name of the lion on our flag, let's save our fort!!
Bahahaha. I'm so glad this game acknowledges it.
Thus begins the first major battle in the second game.
Suikoden 2 Tunes War ~ War Theme #1
In the NA version, this theme glitched out and could not be heard in-game; instead, you'd be treated to silence.
It plays out very, very differently from the first game. It's such a radical change that this is by far the worst war battle system in the series.
Solon Jhee: Okay, let's finish this before Lord Luca comes!!
Culgan: It's unwise to take foolish risks. Better conserve your strength until its needed.
Seed: How boring! An opportunity wasted!!
This first battle is entirely automated. Suikoden II war battles play out like an SRPG, but also like tactical chess. Your characters don't really have HP or any values other than ATK and DEF. Some characters also grant bonuses to their units if they are included.
Tsai marches forward to attack a unit, dealing one sword or half damage to the Highland soldier but also received that in turn. Units can have either two or three swords worth of damage before being removed from the battlefield.
Once Flik uses up his Fire Spear, Apple starts to teach us how to war battle.
She also gets impatient if you don't do anything.
Infantry units normally get just one square unit of movement, so we can move left, right, or back.
There are three actions we can take immediately: Attack which does just what Tsai did, Wait which nulls our turn, and Rune. Rune is a catch-all for any special ability, it doesn't always correlate to an actual Rune on your characters.
For this first battle, we have three available to us: The Fire Spears, Repair Self which heals a sword of damage, and the passive Critical buff, which means we may do double damage on a regular attack.
The enemy team begins to freak out because we have fire spears.
Sometimes we just cancel each other out in attacks...
Archer units can attack from afar, but are generally weak and can't take out units very often.
Tsai manages to annihilate one enemy unit.
The Fire Spear ability covers a 3-square panel either vertically or horizontally. What it does is that it has a somewhat good chance of automatically dealing a sword of damage to a foe, but watch out! You can hurt allies with it as well.
The reason II's war battle system is so goddamn bad is that it has an element of randomization. The ATK/DEF stat values do not always (or even most of the time, or even sometimes) correlate to a definite win/loss against an opposing unit. It can be very, very frustrating in some of the larger battles. The game realizes this, though, and gives us many more tools to use in the future to make them easier.
Solon Jhee, for some reason, gets super frightened of our fire spears despite the fact that we haven't damaged him whatsoever with them.
Suikoden 2 Tunes Victory
: The Highland Army is tired after their long campaign. They'll probably attack again tomorrow or later, after they rest their troops.
Oh Apple, you are just not a very good strategist. Do you really think Luca Blight's gonna just let his troops rest?
: Nobody leave the fort! We've got to defend this place at all cost!!
Since we're boxed in by our own troops, there's little to do in this fight but wait until they come to our doorstep. This is a losing battle.
As you can see, things are just going to shit.
Then we get pincered by forces from the south. But that's kind of expected considering where the fucking fort is. What was Apple thinking?
At least Viktor goes down swinging.
Like I said, characters have their own abilities. When Apple is in a unit, sometimes that unit will take no damage from an impending direct attack. It does not protect against magic or archery.
And Viktor takes out Solon Jhee, who is probably the weakest general in Highland.
Cavalry units like Flik's also have the ability to attack at a range. Not all cavalry units are capable of this, however.
Also notice that the Dinosaur Company is the only one with a unique sprite (Riou's).
And so Apple has her first of a few failures.
: The fort is lost! Everybody split up and run away!!
: Are you hurt, Azure? It looks like you're okay. Good. Oh no, Pilika! We've got to save Pilika! Come with me, Azure?
Choosing this option makes Azure go it alone, which doesn't really make much of a difference and just makes the upcoming battles a little longer.
This fort is lost. Completely.
There's some battles with Highland soldiers in the fort, but they're piss-easy.
The way south is constantly blocked by Highland soldiers, so if you wanted to grind for levels or potch this is a pretty good place to do so.
I like the nice touch that each troop of soldiers we take out inside the fort become dead bodies on the regular map.
Watch the Video!
our good buddy/polite slavemaster Pohl is murdered as soon as we enter the tactics room.
: Shut up, brat!! You're spoiling my fun!!
If you don't choose fast enough, only Jowy will save Pilika. So let's choose the first option.
The first option makes both Jowy and Azure step in to block Luca's blow.
But it's futile, they're not strong enough.
: Ha! Brave words indeed. Let me tell you something, there are weak and strong men in this world. The strong men take everything and the weak men die. That's how the world was designed. Now I will show you how it works, weaklings!!
: Sit quietly and watch, worms!! So what if you save this girl? Better that you think of your last words, because you're next!! Hey brat, what is it, can't talk? Hoo hoo hoo ha haha! Relax! I've chopped hundreds, if not thousands of necks. I can do it with my eyes closed.
: Hoo hoo ha hahahaha! I love those eyes! So weak, so filled with fear!! Ha ha hahahaha!! God, I love this!!
Just then, Viktor sets fire to the entire fort in a callback to his tomfoolery in the first game. The fort shakes so hard it causes Luca to lose his footing.
: Wait!! You... I'll make you regret the fact that you survived this day!!
Goodbye, mercenary fort. We hardly knew ye.
For quite a long period of time, Pilika will be shellshocked and completely mute. Her only contribution to any conversation will be .........................................., which I prefer over her third-person whatever the fuck. She'll be a staple of our convoy for many acts to come.
The translators once again forgot how to spell their own character's names.
Somehow Nanami snuck in during our running away from the fort, which is whatever. Anyway, you'll notice that our party is randomized as hell. Well, every time you escape from the fort, you'll come out of it with a different party. As far as I know, there's no way to cement the party that you'll have upon your escape (unless, of course, you pick and choose to only recruit certain characters), and this party is forced for a dungeon and a boss. I actually came out this time with a less-than-adequate party, but I'll make due.
Then I remembered that Gengen and Shiro have a Unite: The Bow Wow attack. It deals 1.5x damage to one enemy, and looks hilarious.
Since we're heading back to Muse, we have to pass through Toto Village. Pilika automatically leaves the group when we do so.
She stops at this cave entrance.
I know, Pilika. Sometimes that's how I feel about this game as well.
A Highland general with very little backstory and is just kinda... there. He became a general due to how powerful his family is back in Highland.
Part of the fearsome twosome villain trope that the Suikoden series occasionally has. Culgan is the 'calm and collected' part of the duo, and that's all there is to say about him. He serves underneath Solon Jhee.
The hotheaded and temperamental counterpart to Culgan, who also serves underneath Solon Jhee. He rose up in the ranks quickly due to his skill with a sword and rune. There's a little bit more information about his goings-on during this game that is explained in supplementary materials, but we'll go into that later.