Part 7: The Final Showdown with Steele (II)
It is time to put Steele down for good. You can watch the battle if you like.
We may have two options in this battle, but only one of them will bring me any kind of satisfaction. Steele is going down. It's the least we can do for Walter.
There is no new music for this fight. Things Lost continues playing through the entire battle.
Steele is by far the strongest foe we have met, and we're up against more enemies than in the last battle with less power on our side. Steele has Counterattack and Battle Lust at D rank and Guard at E, as if his shitload of HP and higher level stats weren't enough.
Worse yet, he comes with a very nasty surprise. If you were paying attention during the previous scenes with him (especially if you watched the videos), you might have noticed the symbol on Steele's left hand, but no one draws attention to it, and it would be entirely possible to miss it and find out in the most brutal and painful manner possible.
...Edgar are still very powerful compared to the generic pirates, and will be doing most of the work during this fight.
Peck is no longer under our control and will not move from this spot. Enemies will go after him if given a chance, but he's able to stand up to them for a couple of turns.
One of the enemy pirates tosses a water bead. Brandeau is also water elemental, and will be taking advantage of that little patch of blue ground soon enough.
The generic green pirates will actually be moving in this fight, and this time they're more a hindrance than anything else. The enemies will go after them before they attack Edgar and Brandeau, who are much better equipped to deal with them, and the green pirates die in three hits or so.
Here is the support defence system in action. Edgar is about to take a back attack from the blue spear-wielding pirate, but...
...Brandeau protects him, taking minor damage.
When this happens, the protected character will tend to have something nice to say about it.
Not pictured: an archer goes after the Jolly Pirate, bringing him to critical health.
Having just watched his father mutate into a mindless fish monster and subsequently get stabbed to death by one of his closest friends, Kyril is understandably distressed. As evidenced by the green status window and shadow, he's under computer control for this fight, and just like Peck, he will not move from his current location.
Brandeau takes advantage of the water terrain and backstabs the remaining pirate.
Andarc kills the red, axe wielding pirate, and fills the gap so the other enemies can't reach the Jolly Pirate and finish him off.
Edgar throws him some medicine. Note the fire icon over the pirate's head here - characters will sometimes go berserk when they take large amounts of damage. This does the same thing here as in Suikoden IV and is, of course, a nice little freebie.
Well, crud. I was hoping Steele would go after Brandeau on native terrain. He aims for Edgar instead.
Though the gameplay mechanics are different, the first level spell from the Rune of Punishment, Eternal Ordeal, is still a hard-hitting single target spell. It does not require charging, and he can hit us with it from seven squares away - longer than any of our characters can actually move in a turn. Needless to say, it is a major threat.
However, Steele, despite his higher level, is only able to do this once, so now all we need to worry about is his physical damage, which, while also dangerous, is more on par with what our own characters can accomplish.
Though it barely makes a noticeable dent in Steele's massive HP pool, he does take backlash damage from using the Rune. Consistency is nice.
Meanwhile, Kyril remains stationary. After his third turn, a new fishman spawns near the back of the boat. Left alone, this monster will run towards Kyril and, given a couple of turns, kill him. This is an instant game over. However, I do not intend to let the battle drag on long enough for that to happen.
Brandeau puts down a water bead so that he can enjoy the benefits while Steele is blocked off from them.
Jolly Pirate thinks he's being helpful. Despite being berserked, he deals all of one point of damage.
Edgar runs up and put down some fire terrain. Despite his low health, this should prevent Steele from killing him, or the brainless NPC.
The generic enemies will prefer to attack Peck if they have a chance, and the remaining ones are now in range to do so, so they charge him. The Rowdy Pirate takes care of the archer (in yellow), leaving only the spearman. We must finish Steele before any of these guys go down, or all that hard work will have been in vain.
On his turn, Andarc runs up and slaps Steele with a Lightning Force. Steele won't move from his location unless he has a very tempting alternative (say, water terrain he could stab someone in the back from) and won't even step off the lightning terrain.
Peck doesn't have enough health to survive one more hit...
....and Kyril is in danger as the fishman approaches.
However, Steele's days are numbered. The crossed swords indicate the ability to counter. The data on the bottom shows this in more detail, and lists the chance of Steele countering at 40%. It does kick in, but since he's weakened by the terrain and Brandeau is standing on water terrain, the damage is minor.
Edgar finishes him off...
...and that ends the battle.
Aside from the S-rank reward, we also get Prime Gold Ore by defeating Steele here, as well as...
...this for keeping all the green pirates alive through it all.
Watch the scene
Whether you defeat him or not, Steele heads for the "device", doubtless slapping Peck out of the way in the process; even without using his Rune, Steele is by far the stronger of the two.
At a time like this?! To hell with this worthless contraption!
However, it seems to have been damaged in the battle...
...and Edgar is hot on his heels.
Playtime... is over.
But Steele has one last ace up his sleeve.
Far too late, Edgar realizes that he has underestimated his opponent.
It is the first time we see the Rune of Punishment unleashed against anything less than a small fleet.
The results, as always, are devastating. (Music)
Somehow, Brandeau managed to avoid the brunt of the blast.
Edgar was not so lucky.
We have seen this before.
And we know that Brandeau is right. He will not die here.
Wh-What? That light!
As it has done so many times before, the Rune of Punishment abandons its host...
...and claims a new one.
Willing or not, it is irrelevant to the Rune.
No... NO... You bastard... What have you done to me?!
Most cursed, it is... It devours... human life...
And like all previous hosts, Steele's body crumbles to dust.
Brandeau was not a very sympathetic character in IV. All he really did was show up and shoot at you, then pass his Rune on to Glen after you kill him.
He isn't necessarily a good person - though saner than Steele, he's still a pirate - but at least now he comes across as a person, rather than the rune delivery plot device he used to be.
And, while it's easy to forget this in the mess that is Suikoden IV, he is every bit as much a victim as any of the other bearers.
Something stirs amidst the rubble.
It says something about the shittiness of a situation when the man who has merely been terribly disfigured is probably the one who is best off.
Peck... you're Peck? What... What happened to you??
Peck looks down on himself for the first time.
My hands... They look like... a corpse's! Wh-Wh-What does this--?
Peck is lucky, in a sense. If he had been a little closer, that might have been him on the deck below.
Peck, do you want to come with me? I can't ever return to that island. But if you travel with me, this Rune might devour you, as well. I don't want to drag you down.
I'll go! I'll go with you, Mr. Brandeau!
Are you absolutely sure?
I'll follow wherever you lead, Mr. Brandeau!
All right, then. So be it. Let's go.
And so we also have the explanation for the nameless "assassin" appearing at Brandeau's side. Just as Brandeau warns, this decision will eventually cost Peck his life, but at least in his case, it was a path he chose willingly.
The remains of Walter's group seem to have made it as well...
...though some in better shape than others.
Kyril! Are you okay? He must be freezing...
We'll get you back to the ship soon. Hang in there!
Good. Let's go.
A-Are you sure about this? Shouldn't we at least see Lady Kika before we go?
No. I don't have the right to. What could I say?
Forgiveness... salvation... I am beyond these things, now. All I have is this curse...
We must leave. Now.
And as for Edgar...
Brandeau did indeed take him home.
Shut yer trap, numbskull! Think about how she must feel right now, and keep quiet!
Edgar... Don't ever leave me again.