Part 19: An Old AcquaintanceOnce again the chapter title is a lie. We'll be meeting several of those this time. Starting now!
All we need to do is go back into Merseto after the last chapter...
...and these two will throw themselves at us.
I saw the whole thing! Everyone was rooting for you!
Sorry for butting in, but I couldn't help overhearing. You're off to strike down evil, mend bridges, right the wrongs and all of that, right??
Go on. Just try to convince me he's not Maximilian's ancestor.
Huh?! Um, well, it's not quite like that...
Darling, are you--
Yep. I want to help these guys. Come along, Ema! Let's travel with them!
Of course I'll go.
Kyril doesn't get a say in this.
Great. It's settled then. We've decided to join you. Looking forward to working with you!
Don't worry, dearie. We won't get in your way.
No, it's hard to do that from the bench.
Which is where you'll be spending the rest of the game.
Oh, okay... Good to meet you both!
Well, shall we? Together we'll crush the wrongdoers!
Actually, come to think of it, one thing that will make me doubt him is the fact that he still hasn't gone full Maximilian and decided to actually be useful for something.
...okay, explanation: Gary and Ema are utility characters, much like Rene. Unlike Rene, there is not much reason to ever use them. Gary's special ability is a buff, but it accomplishes very little that a well placed elemental bead can't.
Ema's gimmick is that she has access to the entire inventory - as in, every item that is not currently equipped on someone. This might be handy if you're in for a really long map where you'll run out of stuff, but... well, there aren't any.
So yeah, Gary and Ema are joining Team Bench. I may show them off at some point, but they're not going to be part of the regular party. Don't worry, though! We're about to pick up a bunch of people who will be up for vote later on.
So let's get on with that.
The Merchant's Cap is an odd item. That's a lot of boosts, but it's not enough to be really useful for any particular type of character. It goes on Dario for the speed boost, which he still really wants.
Also Eugene gets the Kangacorn Rune.
And a whole fuckload of items on top of that. God damn that's a lot of money. And yeah, as he can't use Battle Lust from the kangacorn, he gets Bull's Eye and a berserker belt instead.
Next order of business: El-Eal. (You should want to watch this.)
What the what?
It's my favourite Canadian!
Damn it! You don't understand a word I say, do you?!
And he's up to something fishy!
Seriously, I can't get enough of this guy.
It's him again!
That guy who attacked Kika's hideout. So he's a Kooluk, huh? What now, Kyril?
We kick his arse and take his stuff, but we feel slightly bad about it because he's just so lovably inept.
Let's go pay him a visit.
So. El-Eal. Again. And would you believe me if I said this isn't the last time we fight here?
(You should, you know. I've played this game before.)
Can't complain about the "just murder everything" condition.
Can't complain about Roget having voiced battle dialogue either.
Or maybe you're their bait? Come on, we're outta here!
I have no idea what he's talking about, but I don't care as long as he is talking.
Roget puts down a Wind Force and does nothing more on his turn.
(By the way, this is the track that plays when fighting at El-Eal.)
Here's our setup. The pirates will be heading left; the rest of us go right. Since I don't have anyone with a ranged weapon you bastards, I'll have to climb up on the ledge above here to get rid of the enemies there, but it shouldn't really be a problem since pirates are ridiculously overpowered.
Dario gets speed... and promptly forgets to gain skill.
(And MDF, but no one cares about MDF.)
But he doesn't need to be fast or skilled in order to tank.
So. Fishmen, then. As you can see, there's a bunch of different types. Red ones are basically fighters; they get up in your face and smack you with their fins.
Orange ones are mid-rangers, the equivalent of a thrown weapon.
And the blue ones?
The blue ones are casters.
Casters are trouble. These ones don't have a lot of MP, but like human casters, they will only become more dangerous as the game goes on.
Still, it's nothing threatening to a guy with a berserker belt sitting on a kangacorn, so it dies before it can annoy me.
After Roget's second turn, some reinforcements spawn in... and it just so happens that they're our reinforcements! I'd be happy, but, well. Both Mizuki and Akaghi are two weapon levels behind the rest of the party, with substandard skills, levels and equipment. It would be pretty easy to get them killed here, but fortunately most of the enemies will head towards our main party.
Hey-Heyy, what's going on?
Fish, is what's going on. Lots of fish. Fiiiish.
C'mon, let's help 'em out.
Well, someone has a good sense of priorities.
The Firefly Rune makes Eugene an irresistable target for the fish. Unfortunately, he's still weaker than the rest of the party and so they can actually damage him.
Speaking of damage...
Nalleo gains a level and... gets neither STR nor MDF. Come on, Nalleo, you're supposed to be awesome!
One fishman and one soldier go after Mizuki and Akaghi. That's about as much as the ninjas can handle.
For some reason, Kika is not one of my highest levelled characters. Still, closer to it now.
Ow, damn it.
But I loaded Rita up with a wind bead for a reason. Enjoy being invincible for the next half the map or so!
Still, that's a lot of fish. Better send Kyril to clean up some of the mess here...
...except he fucks it up spectacularly.
Though he is a pretty well adjusted guy considering the shit he's witnessed, Kyril still can't bring himself to kill fishmen. He can damage them, but any killing blows will simply reduce them to 1 HP instead.
It can get rather annoying, but at the same time it sets them up quite nicely for less fortunate characters to finish off. The fact that he's pretty powerful outside this also helps.
If I were playing normally, I'd have sent him to deal with the human enemies on the left instead of running straight into a horde of fishmen, but well, I needed to show this off.
With Eugene on native terrain, there's not a whole damn lot the fish can do.
That damage output
Since he has the Berserker Belt, his hit rate is a bit iffy when all the enemies are facing him, so I'm going to Rush this one.
And of course, killing an enemy half again his level nets him a lot of EXP.
Roget does nothing, and the ninjas decide to ignore the approaching enemies for a chat.
...I don't have time to waste on small talk.
This would have made more sense if I hadn't made you talk to him first, but, eh.
They still get more Good Will.
Mizuki and Akaghi are pretty weak, but the enemies are wind-types, so we can even the playing field a little. It would be somewhat problematic if I had stripped them of all their equipment before, though. It's kind of tempting to do that with characters you don't intend to use, given money is in pretty short supply around they point where they join up.
Their gear still isn't good, though.
Eugene keeps tanking, and Rita keeps doing Rita Things.
SPEED, DAMN YOU. SPEED.
Kyril has more or less outlived his usefulness for this map and will just be sitting around on fire terrain, eating snacks and waving a little "Go team!" flag.
Kika and Dario have cleaned up most of the mess on their end, and Nalleo runs after the rest of the group. Eugene doesn't really need his help, though.
Roget finally moves up, but fortunately he heads towards the people who can actually deal damage. Pictured: none of those people. (Though Akaghi still finishes the guy on his turn.)
More reinforcements! And this time they're not mine. It's just two, though; shouldn't be a problem.
That's the last enemy up here. Kika will go after the treasure chest next. Dario runs after Nalleo, but isn't really going to catch up in time to do anything useful.
Not much Kyril can do against Roget right now, but he can at least inconvenience him a bit.
Eugene skewers another fishman. At least he remembers to get speed.
Roget takes the bait. There's a good reason I wanted the wing mail on Eugene for this; Roget has picked up a third level spell and anyone who gets hit by it is going to be very happy to stand on native terrain when it's over. Watch out, this is going to hurt-
...except he went for wind of sleep instead.
Can't say it's entirely out of character, I guess.
The remaining fishman helpfully wakes Eugene up before his turn rolls around again.
Nalleo handles the terrain, and Eugene finishes Roget off before he actually starts using that third level spell.
Rush actually makes you run over your target, ending up on the other side, unless there's an obstacle there. Unlike Disgaea where you couldn't use skills that move the user if the target area is blocked, though, here you just bounce back to your original position if there's an obstacle in the way.
And with that, Roget warps out.
Eugene gets 1010 EXP.
Fishman casters! That is the Earth Rune's second level spell, which buffs DEF and MDF.
I could have killed this fishman earlier, but then I wouldn't have been able to inflict such glorious overkill on Roget, so I didn't although Mizuki probably thinks that was a bad decision.
She counters the fish for 8 damage, which it promptly regenerates.
That buff meant Rita couldn't one-shot this one, but it's okay - Nalleo takes care of it. And gets +2 SPD!
Eugene dispenses meds.
The caster fish does mean things.
Kika reaches the chest and loots an Iron Mail.
That's one down, one to go.
The ninjas have a little chat.
I know. Don't mess up, Akaghi.
Come on, it's me we're talking about!
This time, they learn their unite, Ninja Attack. I don't show it off here, but it's a single target attack. The ninjas are actually a somewhat bothersome pair to use, given Akaghi is weak to Mizuki's element (as appropriate as this may be!) and thus doesn't really want to hang out around her.
Since his kangacorn doesn't like jumping, Eugene hops off it to chase down the final chest.
It's not really worth it.
Nalleo finishes the last fish, and we're done.
This S-rank award for El-Eal is completely useless.
(Well, there is technically one thing we could use it for, but, eh.)
Nah, I think that's just Roget.
Kyril, I'm sorry we arrived so late.
Don't be. Be sorry that you didn't upgrade your weapons or equipment while you were gone.
No problem. We just got here, too...
Hey! Who's that?
...oh, hello again. Fancy meeting you here.
Yes, I'm all right... I hope I didn't worry you. I'm surviving, as you can see.
You could be a zombie.
Or a Dracula.
That's a relief. What brings you here?
I was just passing through. You see, I also do business in Kooluk. When those beasts appeared, I had to duck for cover. Well, I should probably be on my way.
Does he look like a waiter? Iskas ignores him and walks off.
Now that you mention it...
Ooh, that shady little slimeball!
I'd say something about how Akaghi is more observant than I give him credit for, except Iskas actively cultivates an air of Shady Little Slimeball so it's more surprising more people don't pick up on it.
Still, he's... helping, I guess.
The Kooluk have a laboratory in Caleron, inland of this fort. It seems the Kooluk Army's runic weapons are being gathered there. That will be of interest to your friends behind you as well, no? Now, I must be going.
Maybe he's not that bad after all.
"I understand your situation. However, I cannot make the decision to send reinforcements just yet. It may take some time, but I will send help. Please continue your investigation."
I've gathered a small band of people who can help.
So we're still getting reinforcements; it's just that Lino can deny all knowledge about it.
Some of them look pretty familiar!
Yeah. Let's go.
And that's a wrap.
Except we still have some introductions to get through.
Despite the watery-sounding technique, Jeremy is a lightning elemental, 1H swordsman. I've never used him.
Millay is basically Jeremy but better and fire elemental. If you're looking to actually use a 1H sword character, she's definitely a contender.
Carrie is another support character I'll never use. Her special ability heals people. I already have more than enough ways to heal people. Bench.
Axel is still terrible. Actually, 2H sword users in general aren't that good in Tactics.
Ameria is a wind elemental 1H sword user. She's okay, I guess?
Wendel is probably the character who got screwed over the most by the division of casters and fighters in Suikoden Tactics. In IV, she was a surprisingly good mage with reasonable physical stats, and her stats remain mostly the same here... except she can't use magic any more. If she could, she would be the best caster in the game by far. However, even without it, she's still one of the fastest characters in the game, and that's enough to make her worth using. She's also one of the few people in the game who don't have any good will at all, but that's not a big deal since there's hardly anyone who'd be able to keep up with her anyway.
If you couldn't tell, I really like Wendel.
Gretchen is an earth elemental 1H sword user... which we really needed since we've used our previous earth elemental swordsman so much... and doesn't get Extra Move either.
A new path has opened! However, we're not going there. It's Island Nations time, motherfuckers!
...after a little nap.
I'm like an older sister to you, right? Not a mother figure.
Damn, you're really hung up on that.
Huh? Are you still worrying about that? I'm sorry...
Don't worry, you're just like a big sister to me!
I am, aren't I? I try to be supportive when I can...
You're really good at it, actually.
Honestly, you, Andarc and Yohn... You really are my family. It means a lot to me.
I'm going to interpret this as a defence mechanism. We all know what happens to parental figures in JRPGs. Other relatives have a considerably higher chance to survive to see endgame, so it's really a good strategy.
Also, here's the art for Iskas and Roget.
Next up, give me a party of... uh, I dunno... let's say six characters, excluding support ones. Rules remain the same as before: bold your votes, and any votes you don't use can be left to me.