Part 41: .hack Quarantine - //Update 03 - Σ Graceful Tempting Fallen Angel//Update 03
Hello everyone! Today is going to be one hell of an update. Be sure you've got some snacks and something to drink. Trust me, you're going to need them. This update is somewhat long.
: Where's Lios?
: The pig-head is with his men at their positions.
: According to information from that pig-head, there is a bias on where the Wave emerges. So, they will take positions in areas the Wave frequents and encircle it as soon as it appears. Specifically they will restrict the movement of the Wave by using the vaccine. Guide it to Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars. We will destroy the Wave there.
: You will stand by at the lowest level of Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars.
: Now, what is the name of this operation?
: We will commence Operation Orca!
: Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars is protected. Use this. Be careful.
: Operation Orca. It's a good name.
Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars is added to the Word List.
I can't tell Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars where we're Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars supposed to Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars go guys. Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars I think Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars the area name Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars was something like Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars.
: The Wave will be moving there soon. Be careful!
: OK, let's head to the lowest level of the dungeon.
So this field is pretty important all things considered. We're gonna be coming here three times total, so it would do you well to learn your way through.
I have no idea why I thought this was an acceptable screenshot. You can see just what I mean about Wiseman's favorite element. So many screenshots are gonna have these awful trees obscuring everything important and there is absolutely nothing I could do about it short of re-recording and that is not going to happen.
The Alucard, by the way, you can somewhat see over to the left. It's just one of those coffin-surfing gargoyles.
More snakes. They are a pretty cool enemy design, truth be told. Three serpent heads joined to a single body? How could that be not-awesome?
(For those of you that didn't have the Harry Potter Bestiary while growing up, that's called a Runespoor.)
These Hsien enemies are too uncommon for their own good. They show up, at best, once per volume and die so fast that they rarely have a chance to cast spells.
Already a new variety of the peacock enemy. This particular type will be sticking around for a while, however.
So the dungeon is remarkably short, all considered. The fourth floor doesn't even have any enemies between you and the obvious goal.
: There's nothing here...
: Something strange is going on. The movement of the Wave that we were herding is strange.
: Lios, what do you mean?
: The data volume is... diminishing. Vanished... target lost. I don't understand...
: What the hell?!
: Confirmed abnormal data volume increase in Σ Graceful Tempting Fallen Angel. We can still make it. Head over there!
Σ Graceful Tempting Fallen Angel is added to the Word List.
I do have an explanation for what happened, but it's going to have to wait because it relies on pretty major spoilers. In the meantime, we have our goal and the area name even sounds like somewhere you'd fight something called The Temptress.
We're level 75 going to the first phase fight in the game. Things in Quarantine move really fast!
We'll be approximately level 76 for the Cubia fight as well as the second phase fight.
Bizarrely, the field isn't protected.
The enemies aren't very impressive, either.
Except these assholes. Liches remain awful enemies to fight. They all run faster than you can, their spells lock you in place, and those spells are awfully powerful.
I have to continually remind myself that this dungeon is only 5 floors deep. My memories, for some reason, have it pegged at 10 floors. That particular horror is for much later, though.
Also from this point on, you should really click on the videos in this update. Trust me on this.
Video: ***WATCH THIS VIDEO***
Oh hey, Elk found Mia.
: Elk... who am I?
Mia's voice is really weak and shaky.
: You're Mia, of course!
: I have no memory.
: ...... (This is him gasping in shock.)
: It's true... I only exist in "The World." The only memory I have is when I am in "The World."
Mia is trembling here.
: I... I want to say as me!
: Stay back!
: Elk... I'm sorry.
She sounds defeated, here. She knows she can't hold back whatever is happening.
Macha here is singing to herself. Lots of "las" being hummed.
I'm fairly sure that was the last bit of her that was "human" sending Elk away. Mia's gone and Macha is here to stay.
As far as my guess from earlier? Macha's data was being herded by Lios and his men when she encountered Elk. He had a calming presence on her impending transformation, enough that she reverted back to Mia for the time being and went on an adventure with him.
In all likelihood, the transformation was going to happen anyway. Kite showing up may have hastened things along, but I'm willing to bet that eventually not even Elk's presence would have been able to keep Macha at bay, leaving him a coma victim in the end, betrayed by his
Elk will never see it that way, but it's very likely that Kite just saved him from a terrible fate.
I've ragged on Mia a lot, many times deservedly, but she was Kite's friend. She loved to fuck with Piros. She taught us how to hack gates.
And yet, every time we've seen her since the end of the first game, she has gotten measurably worse. The game degraded each time we data drained one of the phases. As the game's health went, so did Mia's.
At first, it was just her speech screwing up. After the corruption spread at the end of Mutation, she appeared to be lethargic and moody. After we killed Fidchell, she lost memory of who Kite was - asking him "So, who are you?" when he approached her in Fort Ouph. After we killed Gorre, she disappeared altogether.
It's one of those twists that makes sense in retrospect, but doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. Losing a party member because of plot is one thing, but it's really quite another to have to put them down yourself.
We're going to have to kill Mia and I really don't want to have to do this.
First off, Macha's attacks cause Skill Drain, so that's something to watch out for.
She's got the standard status spells.
She also has the standard high level "wreck all your shit" magic.
Sprite of Love has Macha creating an energy bomb in her hands that she then throws at the party for moderate damage.
Suspicious Seduction is the move you have to be wary of, though. Each phase so far has had a signature ability - this one is Macha's. Something pretty neat is the animation for the ability is her blowing a kiss at the party.
The last image in that series is what happened after the dust settled. Thank God that Wiseman didn't think to cast any spells or this might have been a wipe.
I said it on Twitter when I was capturing the screenshots, but it bears repeating. This game occasionally has some really striking images that only show up for a few fractions of a second. That last image above is probably one of my favorites from the entire LP.
For Gorre I had this gigantic rant about how awful the phase fights were. Macha, surprisingly, defies that. She is still a massive slog of a fight, but she doesn't run away as much. Having a Wavemaster on healing isn't as important because you can just throw elixirs instead. My recording has the whole fight taking 11 minutes, which is honestly pretty fast for a late-game boss fight.
Seriously, the artists and animators in this game put in a surprising amount of effort. Most players will never see it, but Macha is cowering as Kite data drains her. Look at her, she's trying to shield herself from him. This flashes by in less than a second, so most players will never see it.
Heh. The 6th phase fight has 6000 HP. I'm not 100% on this, but I'm willing to bet Gorre had 5000, Fidchell had 4000, and so on and so forth. It's a pretty neat detail to be honest.
Even in epitaph form, her magic is incredibly powerful. But eventually she's going to fall. I'm just going to be quiet from here on. Please watch this next cutscene, though.
I'll see you guys next time when the game sees fit to kick us after this massive gut punch.
Video: *** WATCH THIS ONE TOO ***
: Repth... Ol Repth... Phal Repth!
: Mia... What have you done to Mia?!
: Oh Elk... thank you.
: The data that vanished has returned. We're resuming the operation! Go back to Ω Cruel Vindictive Scars!
: Elk... Mia is...