Part 52: Frolf Means Frog Golf
Oh god, its so hypnotic
AREA MUSIC: Flandar Trail (Disc 1, Track 29)
We start off this chapter back on Flandar Trail, because we need to clear this area again before we can go on to the Lagnish Desert. Because padding, thats why.
Theres one thing new about Flandar Trail in game 2 which I didnt point out the last time we were here but want to point out now. In the second game, when you visit the Greede side of Flandar Trail, its snowing very lightly and the sky is all overcast compared to it being bright and sunny in the first game.
Its just a neat little hint of effort on Level-5s part, because thats about all that we can expect from them any more after going all the way through one game and about a quarter of the way through the second.
Leonard: Do you think any of Balandors troops survived the attack?
Yulie: Im sure there were survivors.
Eldore: Most likely theyve retreated either north or south.
Caesar: Hopefully there werent too many casualties.
I didnt show this guy off even though there were a couple of them stalking around the winter sections of the Lost Forestor there should be now that weve cleared it.
This is a Fenrir, the ice elemental version of the Cerberus/Megalo Tigris/Rockhound giant dog enemy type. For a time I actually through Ahwahnee was just a really cleverly disguised ice pallet swap of this enemy type, but no, apparently there is a real ice-based one and Ahwahnee is its own completely unique enemy type.
Who would have guessed?
Theres also Ice Giants and Fire/Ice Lizards, Basilisks, Jackals/Blue Boars/Wild Boars, and our old friends Poison/Sleep Vespids stalking the trail again and making getting down to the desert another joyless slough.
Leonard: I hate to think whats going on in Albana.
Yulie: And we were so close to collecting the third insignia!
Caesar: The Queen wasnt on the front lines, I hope.
Orren: Why am I thinking yes?
MEANWHILE ON GREYDALL PLAIN
Cisna: STOP RETREATING YOU IDIOTS! YOURE MAKING ME LOOK BAD! (Relatively speaking )
Eldore: Theyve lost but a single battle; the war can still be won.
Yulie: We shouldnt jump to any conclusions about whats going on.
Leonard: I wish my legs would move me faster!
After making it all the way down the mountain without Shit-for-Brains in the active party, its time to switch him back in because, sadly, were going to need him for the shenanigans ahead of us. Or rather, we need the White KnightLeonard himself, as always, is expendable.
Really? Its been a goddamn year and NO ONE has cleaned up the campfire from the first time we were here?
Fuck, Level-5 is a special kind of lazy developer, isnt it?
I mean, its not hard to do guys. The campfire setpiece is a single plopable item in the Georama. If I can place it, move it and remove it any time I want with the goddamn DualShock 3, surely you guys are able to do it with a bloody PS3 dev kiWHY THE FUCK AM I STILL ARGUING WITH THIS GAME?!
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
Were almost home guys.
Hey, remember the last time we were here? Remember all the humiliating shit the toads tricked us into doing in order to appease their warty asses?
AREA MUSIC: The Lagnish Desert (Disc 1, Track 24)
Orren: Who has two thumbs and absolutes detests this place? Th
Everyone: This guy!
Orren: Wow, and you werent even here the last time, Caesar.
Leonard: I have thumbs!
Yulie: Fuck off and die, please.
Leonard: Huh? Dont we know those toads?
Orren: Just keep walking
DONT DO IT!
Eh, fuck it.
CUTSCENE: The Toads Return
Orren: Long time no see, cockguzzlers. Whats the sob story this time?
Yulie: Whats the matter?
Pedro: What isnt?! Weve been forced from our beloved Albana and chased all the way across this frog-forsaken desert.
Leonard: Then its true Albana is under Yshrenian occupation?
Pedro: Anyway, wed best clear out before those Yshrenians show up. I reckon they were right on our tail vestiges.
Eldore: You reckon right.
And here come the boys now.
Yshrenian Soldier: There they are!
And we get another shining example of Toad Heroism as they dive for cover behind a 98 lb. girl and a five-foot-nothing ignoramus.
Yshrenian Soldier: Who the hell are you punks?
Funny, youd think Grazel would want to make sure his soldiers knew Leonard by sight, but then again, Grazel is also a moron, so what do you expect?
Caesar: Hey, take it down a notch, man. Youll scare these guys warts off.
Yshrenian Soldier: Our orders were to apprehend any toads that escaped from Albana.
CUTSCENE / BOSS MUSIC: A Worthy Opponent Draws Near (Disc 1, Track 8)
Yshrenian Soldier: Dont interfere!
BOSS BATTLE: Ancient War Machine (no commentary)
Couple of chapters ago I made an Iron Man joke, now I get to make a War Machine one.
Paging Don Cheadle
Anyway, the Yshrenians take the only logical step when dealing the toads, and that of course is to employ a big fuck off tank on them.
This is one goddamn stupid looking tank. I suppose this thing is here to show you that Grazels Yshrenia has stepped up their excavation and refurbishing of the OG Yshrenias various bits of warmaking tech. Which is a stupid implication to make because it means Grazel is using 10,000 year old equipment against Balandor, Greede, and Farias relatively new equipment and
I need a moment to recover from the stupidity.
So the War Machine is surrounded by Yshrenian soldiers of all kinds, namely swordsmen and bowmen. The key is to waste all of them as quick as you can because they can really compound the damage the War Machine dishes out, particularly the archers, who can inflict various status effects on you.
Again, I love +Aftermath. Theres something disturbingly therapeutic about the way it just sends this schmucks flying across the battlefield. Usually because youre the one who gets sent flying across the battlefield most of the time by enemy attacks because this game hates you.
The War Machine has a couple of really nasty attacks that it rotates through. For example, here its in the middle of a headlong charge at the characters. This attack does big damage AND knocks you off balance for a few moments.
However, because the RNG rolled snake eyes, the attack misses Yulie so it just rolls right over her without any ill effect. Id like to think that she just phased through it Kitty Pride style or something.
It also has a charge attack with its turret.
Orren: Uuuuuuuuh. Hate world Kill everything
The shell from the turret does decent damage to you, knocks you off your feet for a moment, and also inflicts one of a number of status effects including but not limited to Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Paralysis, and Knock Out.
It will also attack you for slightly less damage with the smaller turrets that you can see on its front wheels there.
But now its time to put the White Knight to use again. The War Machine is weak to blunt impact attacks, so the White Knights Shield Bash once again does wonders against it. Doubly so if youve broken it DEF stat beforehand.
The area you want to target on this thing is at the very back. It comes up as Engine Armour on the target list. Hitting it there does double the damage of hitting it anywhere else, but more importantly
Hitting it there causes the armour to blow off revealing the engine itself.
With its engine exposed, its even more vulnerable now. However, you need to have a direct line-of-sight to it in order to strike it now. You cant hit it through the body like you generally can other targets on other enemies.
So the War Machine goes into Nuh uhh, fuck you-mode. Because the game hates you. If you try to run around it to strike the engine from behind, the War Machine will wildly buck around like its a damn wild horse and scoot its ass end out of range.
And it will keep doing this endlessly causing you to run around in a circle around it like a jackass until you just give up and settle for hitting another part of its anatomy.
Or until it locks on to another character allowing you to get in close to it.
More patented Level-5 : Wizels cape clips right through the Argent Shield whenever it does a Shield Bash attack.
You useless turd, Leonard.
But then it died anyway.
CUTSCENE: It Just Wouldnt be Albana Without You Pricks
Pedro: Ueeeheeheeheeheeee! You lot are tough as nails!
Caesar: Weve dealt with worse than that before.
He says, gesturing towards Leonard.
Padro: Thank you! How can we ever repay you?
Orren: Shut up, turn around and just walk away ?
Leonard: How about you tell us what happened to the royal army stationed in Albana?
Padro: Hoho, Balandors forces ya mean?
Padro: Well, last I eard they scurried off to the Nordia Tunnels.
Pedro: Dats right, they retreated north, and Yshrenia wont be far behind em.
Eldore: Then we havent much time. We must reach the tunnels as quickly as possible.
Sounds like a plan, gramps! See ya fuckers! Have fun in the desert.
So we jump forward from here directly to the Nordia Tunnels, because nothing at all happened in Albana that was worth recounting.
Nothing at all.
Padro: Well You are not going to get anywhere without passing through Albana first.
Yulie: There must be some way.
Yes, Yulie. There in fact is. Here, lets consult the map, shall we:
There, we dont even have to visit Albana at all. Problem solved.
Pedro: Do ya think we should tell them?
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Verruca (Disc 1, Track 28)
Padro: Whu? About THAT? Ooooh, I dunno, mate.
Pedro: Why not? They can take care of emselves.
Padro: Hmmm. I reckon you're right
Leonard: *sigh* Why dont I like the sound of this?
Pedro: Sorry to keep you. After much discussion, we think cutting through Albana is your best chance!
Caesar: Cut through? Its got to be swarming with bad guys!
Padro: Now old on! You did ear us mention the Yshrenian army has marched off to destroy Balandor? Well, what does that mean?
Pedro: Ill tell ya what it means! Yshrenia cant very well be in two places at once.
Leonard: I get it!
Leonard: Fewer soldiers patrolling the city.
Pedro: An you lot can stroll on through!
Caesar: Youre forgetting something: how are we going to get in to Albana?
Pedro: You just leave dat to us. Well risk life and limb to Oh dear dear me Wa-wait wait just a moment Heh
Caesar: What now?
Padro: Once eensy problem. When we skipped town, we got separated from our associates.
Padro: But well need every Toad we can get to sneak into Albana.
Padro: They must be hiding out somewhere in this sand maze.
Padro: Reckon you could track em down? Course ya could.
Pedro: Were missing three associates. You just gotta find em, tell em to meet us outside Albanas south gate, come back and join us yerselves, and bobs yer uncle! Best of luck, now.
Leonard: Uugh. They really need to work on their people skills.
AREA MUSIC: The Lagnish Desert (Disc 1, Track 24)
As we come out of the cutscene, everyone but Yulie for some weird glitchy reason puts their weapons away. Yulie, however, remains in battle mode so the battle music begins playing for no reason, even though there arent any enemies around for her to target.
So she just crouches there wiggling her hips back and forth with her bow out. (And a nocked arrow passing clean through her hand, OW!)
She does this for nearly a solid minute. I just sat the controller down and let her go because it was hilarious to watch and I wanted to see what would happen first: her AI finally stopping it or me getting bored of watching it happen.
Orren: Yeah, I get it, you hate him too, but we still sort of need the thing he can turn into, so lets not kill him just yet, okay?
Yulie: Ugh. Fine. Whatever. Lets go.
So with that moment of behind us, we head out to do some Toad Wranglingwhich Im pretty sure is a euphemism for something unwholesome.
All your old favourites from the last time we were here are back in full force. Golems, Fire Giants, Cerberuses, Red Scorpions, Killer Scorpions, Firespider Sprogs, Blood Boars, Killer Vespids, oh, and Skeletons now too, because Fuck You.
Leonard: Lets go find those toads who got separated.
Yulie: Urgh! Toads! Always getting you to do the work.
Croakeld: I got split off from the group like while we was runnin for our lives. Those Yshrenians are a fierce lot, they are!
Orren: Nothing compared to how fierce Ill be if your friends screw us again.
Croakeld: I think the rest of the mob went off south of ere. Well, cept for the blokes what took off noreast, that is.
Croakeld: Now urry up and ferret em out, eh?
Orren: Sure thing, sport.
All the toads here have frog pun names, by the way.
So just like Croakeld said, suddenly map markers have appears in the south and north east portions of the map.
Were going to go after the north eastern ones first, because theyre closer and simpler to deal with.
Caesar: Once were through Albana, we push on to the Nordia Tunnels.
Yulie: Wont Yshrenias troops be there?
Eldore: Theyll try to close the tunnels down for certain.
Leonard: Well if they do then well just have to bust our way through.
Yulie: Ya know, I get the feeling Don Phibianacci is juuust fine.
The toad up here is being menaced by a Megalo Tigris and a group of boars, so you need to take all of them out before they will talk to you.
Dont worry, the toad is an NPC, so you dont have to worry about protecting it Which I wouldnt do if the game depended on it anyway.
Ribnald: Mmm? Wossat? Pedros searchin for me? Well, ol Pedros not the only one wiv missin friends right now!
Ribnald: My mates went into the ruins, mostly, but some of em ran off to the south.
Ribnald: Could you be a chum and track em down, like?
Orren: What the hell do you think Im doh piss off.
Caesar: Where did those toads run off to?
Eldore: So, theyve left Albana undefended to pursue Balandors forces, eh?
Caesar: We need to think about rendezvousing with the Royal Army.
Leonard: I hope we get back to Balandor soon.
So down in the south we encounter another squad of Yshrenian soldiers including a newly remolded Black Knave and a pair of Ancient War Machines.
Leotoad: Listen now. A couple of my workers, they ran off west of ere a bit. Think maybe you could elp em, too?
Two more stars appear on the map. The one that were by right now is Leotoad, the other two are where the last two toads are.
Orren: Step right up, free blunt-force head trauma! Free for everyone, one day only! Step riiiiiiiight UP!
Heres a nice shot of the remolded Black Knave that appears in game 2 exclusively. Its got a slightly modified head including a purple glowy magic bullshit thing behind its helmet grill now, and a pair of Frankensteins monster-esque bolts coming out of its black. I think theyre supposed to be exhaust manifolds or something.
Either way Black Knaves remain my favourite Yshrenian war machine in the design department. Mostly because they remind me so much of the Black Knight.
Orren: Finally, a little recognition.
Croakal: Listen, you knows me mate, Ribbim? Well, hes still runnin around these parts somewheres.
Croakal: Ya gotta save im for me! Without me around, the blokes good as dead!
Wow, a toad with honest concern for another living creature. Just goes to show you that theres a black sheep in every family.
Orren: Murdermurdermurdermurder AXEMAN!
Leonard: But thats a hammer.
Ribbim: Now go tell Leotoad that were still alive n kickin, yeah?
Leotoad: Now owzabout you lot scuttle off ahead to Albana? Ill be along in short order, I promise.
I feel like Im playing a Sesame Street game when I see a message like that pop up.
So now a new map marker appears on Albanas south gate.
Leonard: Finally! Thats the last of them.
Yulie: Okay, lets head for Albanas south gate.
Caesar: Uugh. Id give my left kidney for a swimming pool right now.
Pedro: Oi! You did it. Well done, mates!
Padro: Yeah, well done. Took your time, eh?
Orren: Wait! I hear something! A voice whispering on the desert wind. Its saying Go fuck yourself.
Leonard: Right. So whats next?
Pedro: The soldiers Yshrenia left inside the city have emselves right in front of Don Phibianaccis mansion.
Pedro: Just say the word, and well lead you to your deather I mean destination.
Only because its the only way to advance this game forward
CUTSCENE: [ANGRY SLURRED CURSING]
Yshrenian Soldier: Sir! Permission to use the toilet, sir?!
Sgt. Apone: Permission DENIED, soldier! You will piss in your armour like every other man in this frog-infested shithole of a city. Do you HEAR ME, solider? Now get out there find me some more goddamn mines before I break my foot off in your ASS!
Yshrenian Soldier: A-ah sir, yes sir! (But I have to poo )
Caesar: Yeesh. That is a lot of soldiers.
Leonard: How are we gonna get through? Theyll cream us before we go ten steps.
Orren: Okay, there are these things called Knights. Two of you have them. USE THEM ALREADY!!!
Eldore: Perhaps we should fall back and rethink our strategy?
Orren: Or perhaps one of you should transform and flatten the bastards in two seconds?
Pedro is understandably panicked by Leonard (and, sadly, Caesars)s jawdropping plot-convenient stupidity in forgetting that they have a pair of 20 foot-tall walking tanks at their disposal that would make mercilessly short work out of ten men and a hastily constructed watch tower.
Leonard: Hmm. Guess youre right.
Orren: No, IM right! TRANSFORM, you USELESS TWERP!
Pedro: Gah um
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Verruca (Disc 1, Track 28)
He starts muttering to himself and the camera shows a POV shot of him skulking away from Team Stupid.
Good on you, Pedro. Run the hell away from these idiots. Now.
Pedro: Na nan aa, very subtle Sneeeak away quietly.
Pedro: Sneeeaking awaaaay.
Pedro: Pay no attention to that
He takes a deep breath in.
Pedro: INTRUDERS IN THE CITYYYY!!!!
Yshrenian Soldiers: Huh?! What?! Where?!
Yshrenian Soldiers: Over there! I see them!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Attack (Disc 1, Track 11)
Caesar: Those damn toads! They tricked us!
Orren: Serves you right and/or Ill kill the bastards too after this.
Leonard: Well, we have to fight now. Come on!
BOSS BATTLE: Yshrenian Army Detachment Boss Fight (no commentary)
Orren: Okay, here, give me this.
Leonard: Wha? Orren? What are you doing?
Orren: [Grabs the White Knight Ark and shoves it on Leonards wrist]
Orren: O Wizel, white warrior, wielder of the ancient sword, grant this moron your power VERTO!
Leonard: Oh my gods! Whats happened to me?!
Orren: Youre welcome, dipshit!
So Gameplay Leonard does what Cutscene Leonard is too stupid to do and whips out the White Knight immediately at the start of the battle.
I said earlier that these Yshrenian Army Tents become enemy spawners, right? Well, that time has arrived. Theres four of them in the town square of Albana, and each of them pumps out one soldier every 10 seconds or so.
But they go down fairly quickly with a couple of +Divine Blades.
The soldiers and tents go down like nothing, so that leaves the Siege Tower as the only threat left standing.
Occasionally the turret will open up and the gunners stationed inside with take a few shots at you, but this thing is mainly here to be a damage sponge meant to draw your fire while other enemies attack you.
Its weak to impact attacks, so once again Shield Bash is invaluable in this situation.
When the tower goes down, its legs collapse out from underneath it and it tips over.
Leonard: Im helping!
Orren: Good job. You get a cookie.
In any other game this would be a really badass shot.
CUTSCENE: The Dons Gratitude
Padro: DON PHIBIANACCIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Don Phibianacci (Disc 1, Track 27)
Oh boy, here we go again.
Pedro: Boss! Say they didnt hurt you!
Don Phibianacci: Fear not, my dear sweet Toadlings! You came back to rescue me, didnt you? I might have known youd find some way to turn the tides.
Caesar: More like DUMP the tides.
Caesar: All over us, thank you very much.
Pedro: Well whut else were we supposed ta do? Eh heh, nice work, by the way.
Caesar: You got a lot of nerve, wartface.
Yulie: Now now, thats enough. At least were all in one piece.
Orren: Woman, what did I tell you about tempting fate like that?
Pedro: My thoughts exactly! Dont sweat the small stuff. Heh.
Don Phibianacci: Really though, there just arent any words for your sort of heroism. Once again, I am indebted to you, my friends. Youve saved me from a fate worse than my wife!
I admit I actually laughed at that line.
Don Phibianacci: And for that I thank you. Gladly, I would have allowed you to select one of the many fine treasures that made up my collection. Sad to say, however, those Yshrenian scoundrels made off with every last item of value.
Don Phibianacci: This little bauble is all that I have left to give.
Don Phibianacci: But by all means, take it. Accept it as a token of my most heartfelt gratitude.
Orren: Eh. At least its not a kick in the ass.
Once again, another example of Level-5s attempt to make the Avatar more plot-relevant. This is the start of a plot thread that will resurface briefly from time to time until the very end of the game. But more on that later
Don Phibianacci: Tell me, friends. Will you be returning to Balandor, then?
Don Phibianacci: I see, very well. Then whatever you do, beware the Black Knight. Not even the combined might of Balandors royal army was a match for him on the battlefield.
Don Phibianacci: It pains me that I can offer so little in the way of assistance, but I nonetheless wish you a safe journey home to your kingdom.
Yulie: The Black Knight
Eldore: If hes entered the game, then well need to proceed more cautiously now.
Orren: And if that actually happens, Ill be amazed.
Leonard: Yeah. Lets gather what we need and head for the Nordia tunnels!
Meh. Whatever. I got a thing. A really, really reeeeeeally awesome thing, in hindsight
...I drowned those two little fuckers in a fountain on the way out of town.
Don't tell anyone.