View Full Version : Save a Tree, Kill an Elf; Let's Play Tales of Phantasia!

01-30-2009, 04:27 PM
"If there is evil in this world, it lies in the hearts of men."
-Edward D. Morrison

I forget who suggested this game for a Let's Play, but when they did, I pretty much knew I had to do it. I've beaten this game at least ten times, but it's actually been well over a year since I last went through the whole thing.

Anyway, introduction time, I guess. I don't need to go describing the history of this game because Mightyblue already did it (http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/index.php/Games/TalesOfPhantasia). And he knows more than me. So go ahead and read it if you want!

I was thinking of polling people on which version to play, but the PS1 version would definitely win. That's actually good, because even though I don't like it as much as the Super Famicom original (the remixed music doesn't sound quite as good, and I like the old battle system and sprites more) there's ultimately a bit more to talk about and see, particularly an extra party member and a few more sidequests.


Sound Mode lets you play the music. It's in all versions except the English GBA. I forgot to check it first, but I know on SFC you can transpose the music in real time, which is awesome.

Anyway, we do have something to decide.


This is _______ Alvein. "Cless" is the default name, widely accepted by the community even though the GBA version's "Cress" basically makes more sense and sounds a little less weird. (This doesn't make that version's localization overall not crappy) So! A name! What will it be?

The "Random" feature is pretty damn crazy, by the way. The hacking on this was done by the same guy who hacked the Innocent Sin patch and the random names dig up tons of names from other RPG series, names spelled "wrong", and tons of other random nouns. For example:
Disappointingly, playing with this for a good 45 minutes didn't yield either "Ashley" or "Pants." But I'm not sure they're not in there.

Anyway, we need a name! Go! You people are much better at coming up with names than I am.

(And his dad's name is "Miguel", so don't pick that)

01-30-2009, 04:31 PM
I forget who suggested this game for a Let's Play [...]

Well boo. :(

Anyway, you should keep the name as the default "Cless". The last thing a game like this needs is for it to have any and all dramatic tension ruined by naming him after types of PANTS.

01-30-2009, 04:31 PM
If random megaten names are getting mentioned, I'm going to go ahead and throw Katsuya into the ring. Because Katsuya is awesome.

01-30-2009, 04:44 PM
As long as at least one person is named Tequila I'll be happy.

01-30-2009, 04:46 PM
Well boo. :(

Anyway, you should keep the name as the default "Cless". The last thing a game like this needs is for it to have any and all dramatic tension ruined by naming him after types of PANTS.

damn it.

01-30-2009, 04:56 PM
I finished this version last year sometime, and it's one of the few Tales games I can actually stand.

Anyway, name him Cress just to be a jerk. Or change his name every update. You can namechange at any point in this one, can't you? I never bothered, but I think you can.

Octopus Prime
01-30-2009, 04:59 PM
Well boo. :(

Anyway, you should keep the name as the default "Cless". The last thing a game like this needs is for it to have any and all dramatic tension ruined by naming him after types of PANTS.

I strongly disagree with this sentiment.

Name him Bloomers.

01-30-2009, 05:06 PM
Cless, Cress - either works for me, really.

I strongly disagree with this sentiment.

That's because you're wrong.

01-30-2009, 05:06 PM
Name him Dhaos. I think it'd be funny. SNES version ftw

Tales of Phantasia is an interesting game. It's great, and since then the Tales series has not evolved at all. And Namco keeps making money off of it somehow. It's incredible.

01-30-2009, 05:07 PM
Cless -> Chess -> Rook

Name him Rook, or maybe Bishop.

01-30-2009, 05:15 PM
I strongly disagree with this sentiment.

Name him Bloomers.

I think you mean "Bulma."

Octopus Prime
01-30-2009, 05:23 PM
I think you mean "Bulma."

As long as it's phoenetically similar to a kind of underpant.

01-30-2009, 05:24 PM
Dragon Quest is an interesting game. It's great, and since then the DQ series has not evolved at all. And Enix keeps making money off of it somehow. It's incredible.

But, yeah. That's not entirely true. Like DQ, the other games in the series are different enough to say that they've at least been refined over time, even if the most very basic mechanics are the same. The difference is that the newer Tales games absolutely do not have the charm that the older ones had. Much less the charm and polish that DQ has.

What I played of Vesperia seemed like they were just taking the plot way too seriously for how generic it was, and it just came off as insipid instead of charming.

01-30-2009, 07:38 PM
I finished this version last year sometime, and it's one of the few Tales games I can actually stand.

Anyway, name him Cress just to be a jerk. Or change his name every update. You can namechange at any point in this one, can't you? I never bothered, but I think you can.
I've barely played this version, and not at all in English. I did play on GBA a few times, where you can't change Cress' name at all. But I'm familiar with some of the other changes because of it. (For all I know, the infamous "tiger" line is still in, though based on what I've gathered I'm pretty sure it's not.) So I don't know about changing names whenever.

At any rate, the fact that the PS1 version pretty much plays like all of the later games is the main reason I like the original more. Though I have to say, controlling Suzu is a pretty strong case for the remade versions.
Well boo. :(

Anyway, you should keep the name as the default "Cless". The last thing a game like this needs is for it to have any and all dramatic tension ruined by naming him after types of PANTS.
I thought it was you, but I decided I'd look dumber if I said it was you and then it wasn't, than just saying I forgot in the first place.

Anyway I'm not convinced I'll be taking this as seriously as I did with most of Persona 2. I actually like the plot in this game a lot, but the pacing sucks pretty badly and most of what happens is rendered largely irrelevant in the later bits of the game. (Kind of like Persona 2!)
As long as at least one person is named Tequila I'll be happy.
Unless what Spoony said is true (I'll check later tonight) this may be something of a problem, since you certainly don't get to name the other characters on joining, if at all. It's stupid, I know.

01-30-2009, 08:00 PM
Considering I've played every Tales game except for the Japanese only entries, the ones that really deserve a playthrough are these:

1. Phantasia (SFC or PS1, but not the GBA ver.)
2. Destiny
3. Destiny 2/Eternia (for the best battle system in the series hands down, less so for the Engrishy localization)
4. Vesperia (For the best 3D battle system and 1/2 of a generally charming plot before it gets all serious and crap)

01-30-2009, 08:03 PM
Unless what Spoony said is true (I'll check later tonight) this may be something of a problem, since you certainly don't get to name the other characters on joining, if at all. It's stupid, I know.

It turns out the game is still on my PSP, so I just went ahead and checked this.

Yes, you can rename Cless and everyone else.

01-30-2009, 08:06 PM
Oh man, excellent.

I know who's being named Tequila!

Also, I've played a lot of Rebirth and aside from working through the menus and cutscenes being a chore in Japanese I'm quite fond of it.

(fun story: at one point there's a menu option to warp instantly back to Sulz, the town from the beginning of the game. I used this and had to walk for about half an hour to get back to where I was.)

01-31-2009, 05:31 AM
I vote Bishop. And then we can name everybody else after X-Men characters too.

01-31-2009, 10:51 AM
What I played of Any Tales Game Ever Made seemed like they were just taking the plot way too seriously for how generic it was, and it just came off as insipid instead of charming.

I really enjoyed Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Destiny, but by the time I was done with Tales of Eternia and Tales of Symphonia, I had lost all interest in the series. It's the same game with the same characters over and over again. There's The Girl, The Tough, The Street Smart, The Hero, The Anti-Hero...it's ridiculous. Each Tales game is every RPG cliche rolled into one, but with a great battle system. That's one thing the Tales series does have going for it. Fighting is never boring. But that can only go so far when the story that's built around it is an absolute turd.

That said, this is probably the best one so let's all enjoy it.

Sky Render
01-31-2009, 11:25 AM
I don't see why people dislike the GBA version so much. Yeah, the translation is wonky and the music's a bit different than the SNES version (less so than the PS1 version, though), but the gameplay's largely intact. It does suck that they took out sound mode in the US release, though...

Also, Tequila? That, right there, is an awesome name for a hero. Though you would have to follow suite and give everybody else alcohol names too. I wonder who would be Guiness?

01-31-2009, 11:28 AM
The music is horrible. The gameplay is sort of buggy and is a half-assed mix-match of the SFC and PS1 versions.

...aaaand that's about all really, besides the cruddy localization.

01-31-2009, 11:36 AM
I don't see why people dislike the GBA version so much. Yeah, the translation is wonky and the music's a bit different than the SNES version (less so than the PS1 version, though), but the gameplay's largely intact. It does suck that they took out sound mode in the US release, though...

Also, Tequila? That, right there, is an awesome name for a hero. Though you would have to follow suite and give everybody else alcohol names too. I wonder who would be Guiness?

The GBA one was inexcusably sluggish. The only version of Phantasia I spent much time with was the PSOne version so maybe it was similar on the SNES, but it felt like everyone was moving through molasses. Being so combat heavy a Tales game absolutely depends on its battle system, so having it be so slow and unresponsive kills the game for me.

01-31-2009, 12:07 PM
Also, Tequila? That, right there, is an awesome name for a hero. Though you would have to follow suite and give everybody else alcohol names too. I wonder who would be Guiness?
Alcohol themed names is the way to go! Cless should be named Tequila, especially since his dad's name is Miguel.

Pajaro Pete
01-31-2009, 12:12 PM
Mint should be Julep or Mojito.
Klarth should be Bourbon or Whiskey.
Suzu should be Sake.
I don't know about Arche and Chester, though.

01-31-2009, 12:15 PM
Also, Tequila? That, right there, is an awesome name for a hero. Though you would have to follow suite and give everybody else alcohol names too. I wonder who would be Guiness?

Cress= Tequila
Chester= Vodka
Mint= Gin
Arche= Sherry
Claus= Bourbon
Suzu= Soda

No I don't watch Detective Conan why do you ask ohohohoho

01-31-2009, 02:04 PM
I'm liking the liquor names thing. Because Grim Grimoire also did that and Grim Grimoire is awesome. But I think we'll change up the names at least a couple times.

The SNES and PS1 versions have roughly the same speed of combat. Based on what I've played though, you die faster in the original version if things go wrong, which makes it feel a bit more exciting. And it has a better Hard mode overall, since it just raises enemy damage instead of health and damage like the PS1 version. Though admittedly, it makes getting the fourth party member a pretty obnoxious grind since the two bosses in that dungeon are pretty horribly difficult even on normal, and unlike the later versions you can't downgrade at will.

The funny thing about the series overall is that this one has always struck me as simultaneously the least goofy and the least brooding. Which goes about the same for tri-Ace as well since they split off after working on this game. It's one of the most melancholy game stories I've really seen work because until the end, it's never too self-satisfied.

01-31-2009, 02:28 PM
Chess-themed (i.e. Bishop) would be fun but you'd have to rename people "Pawn" when story-appropriate. Like through most of Vesperia, Estelle would probably bear that name.

Drinky-theme is okay though.

01-31-2009, 02:55 PM
I vote for a good balance between Chess and Alcohol names at all times in accordance with their respective behaviors throughout. (The idea of naming them all pawns when story-appropriate is highly appealing to me as well)

01-31-2009, 08:49 PM
Maybe the craziest feature of this hack is this:
It lets you decide how the skill names are displayed, and let me tell you, I can't tell which of these is less useful to me. The translated names are still all literal and don't match Namco's official ones, while the romanized kanji, despite being nonsense to my gaijin brain, I can keep track of just as well having heard them all yelled hundreds of times playing this game repeatedly.

Anyway, the game begins with a short-ish prologue. (This is the only tri-Ace game before Valkyrie Profile 2 to get into the actual game in a remotely reasonable time frame) Four people are fighting an exceptionally large blonde man in a cape. Three are still standing. One chants an incantation.
A huge bolt of lightning comes down and zaps the huge guy, who turns into a small spark of light and vanishes.
That spark then travels through a blue haze, with a particle effect, a really nice music track, and the opening credits going on. On the SFC version, this all looks a lot different, and the credits are for the main people who worked on the game. In this version, it just gives all the voice actors and the characters they voiced.

The man reappears in a dimly lit room, where a coffin lies open. He gets trapped by a magical triangle, which forces him into the box. It gets shut, and two magical pendants are revealed.
Ten years later, in the village of Toltus...

PANTS (yes, I'm starting with PANTS names, just for the very beginning) is talking to his father Miguel. Miguel wants to talk to him about the pendant he gave PANTS for his fifteenth birthday...but PANTS has some plans for today. Also, the venerated sword master Tristan is visiting the village today.

Meanwhile, his friend Chester Barklight is leaving his house, telling his sister Ami (why isn't it just "Amy"? Oh well, not like she's a major character or anything) to watch the house. She tells him she has something to give PANTS. Chester comes over to the Alveins' door and calls for PANTS.

Miguel tells PANTS they can talk about it at dinner, since the two boys are going to go hunting. Chester gets renamed "CHAPS" for now. (He was going to be "BRITCHES" for the purpose of terrible punning, but it was too long) As they leave the house, PANTS' mother Maria comes out of the house and tells them to be careful, then gives them an Apple Gummi (30% health restore).

Ami's gift for PANTS is a little doll that looks like him.
It's completely useless, but amusing and this is *cough* the only time in the game when you can get it. (I'm also pretty sure it's not in the original version, and I think the text that indicates it exists is also absent from the GBA translation) Chester gets a bit jealous that there's nothing for him, her brother, so she also gives a "Channeling" ring, an accessory that...I'm not sure does anything either.

On their way out of town, they see Master Tristan again, who says that he's been called away urgently by two people. He tells them again to take care on their hunt.

This is the overworld map. It looks okay, I guess. The hunting ground is the forest just southeast of Toltus.

The pair find their mark almost immediately, a large boar. Chasing it through the woods leads into the game's first battles. (Unless you run around grinding for a while on the map)

This game uses random encounters, some of which are occasionally really mean, but early on they're pretty straightforward. Especially since your only move is attack, at first. You get a bunch of different attacks, but they're still all attacks.

First, if you're far away, the character you're controlling will run at the enemy. There's three main attacks from long distance. Up and attack will cause PANTS to jump and stab upward at the end of the run, hitting flying enemies and knocking ground enemies into the air (unless it misses). Down and attack causes him to jump up into the air and descend toward the enemy for a powerful stab. Pressing to the sides or not touching the D-pad at all causes him to do a similar jump, but with a downward slash at the end.

If you're close, then pressing attack twice will perform a two-hit combo. There's three versions of this too, all determined by which direction you press with the first attack. Up causes him to slash upward, then jump up a bit and slash downward. This is the most important combo if you really need to avoid enemies hitting you (basically, playing the beginning of the game on a higher difficulty than normal), since it has the quickest recovery and stops enemies both on ground and in the air. The down combo is a low stab, followed by a slash upward that knocks the enemy into the air. Sometimes. The neutral combo is a plain slash, followed by a daring thrust forward. This gets you a couple steps and can be used to hit enemies who are standing next to each other, but it leaves you vulnerable to those same enemies.

In this and all later versions, you can switch to control any character you like, but CHAPS isn't a whole lot of fun honestly; he's slow and can't combo, plus the line-based battle system makes playing the range game a whole lot less interesting since PANTS will just meatshield for you no matter what. Most of the other characters are even worse, as spellcasters who you can control manually just as effectively by using Menu Magic.

At level 2 PANTS will learn his first Technique, or "Tech" for short. Techs cost Tech Points (TP) no matter which character you're using. You get back a bit of TP at the end of each battle, a percentage of each character's max. The first tech is Demon Fang, a projectile attack that runs along the ground, until it hits something. The sword swing that accompanies it delivers a second hit if you're in melee range, but...well overall the skill is pretty weak. Still, there's nothing else to spend TP on so far. This screen lets you set four techs, so you can use different ones depending on which direction you hold when pressing the tech button. You can also change them in battle if you want, and an accessory you can find later in the game removes this restriction entirely by changing all of the tech commands into Street Fighter moves.

At level 3 CHAPS learns his first tech. Actually, he doesn't get them at all in the original version. CHAPS' techs are really good. Just from the start, his fire arrow hits for about 30 damage, when any other hit is lucky to do 10.

Anyway, at a clearing in the woods, the boys realize they've lost track of the boar. CHAPS looks around for it, while PANTS finds himself drawn to a rotted, old tree. (Guess what? It's central to the plot!)
Suddenly, a spirit appears near the tree. It appears to be a woman in a dress, and she implores PANTS to "do no harm" to it. He looks up to see a fleeting vision of the grand tree in its full splendor, then CHAPS returns and tries to get him to pay attention again.

The boar shows its face again, which means it's time to fight!

The battle is against one huge boar, who has a little less than 200 HPs, and three little boarlings. The young ones don't do anything except run away after about 10 seconds. If you can kill them (which is awfully difficult) you get little strips of bacon or something for your characters to eat. I don' remember. The big one hits pretty hard. Still, the battle's mostly a matter of pushing him backwards into the corner and then mashing him to death.
The "stun" status here is the most powerful in the game, basically (aside from Petrify on your characters, but you can't cast it on enemies, so it's not too relevant). It's randomly inflicted by physical hits, and prevents enemies from blocking said hits. Unlike the 3-D games, it doesn't go away when you hit the enemy; you're supposed to keep wailing on them as hard as you can while it's up.

After the battle, the two are satisfied with their work and consider the hunt finished, since they won't need any more food. Suddenly, they're startled by a loud din, that stretches even to the serene depths of the forest.
They race out to see what's happened, and...
That is not good.

01-31-2009, 08:51 PM
I've finished playing the whole beginning (this is like 15 minutes out of the first hour) but that took forever to write since I was trying to explain so much so the rest is going up tomorrow I guess. Also, I had to make a second post for this because there's still a character limit? I thought that got taken out.

01-31-2009, 09:32 PM
If you want, I can explain how Symphonia's a prequel to Phantasia, although that's incredibly nerdy and I haven't played Symphonia's sequel yet either.

01-31-2009, 09:34 PM
For some reason, 240x240 is a really weird-looking resolution.

Maybe the craziest feature of this hack is this:

Oh, man, I love this. You'd probably never see it in an official localization because it would come off as wishy-washy (and no one wants to go to the extra effort anyway), but this is such a good idea.

01-31-2009, 09:37 PM
Sound Mode lets you play the music. It's in all versions except the English GBA. I forgot to check it first, but I know on SFC you can transpose the music in real time, which is awesome.




Transpose as in "this is in C, push this button and it'll be in Db major" transpose?

What's the range on this? Any key, or only a few?

If so, this is AMASING. It's the most amasing sound test ever. It is the only sound test worth EXISTING.

01-31-2009, 09:40 PM
If you want, I can explain how Symphonia's a prequel to Phantasia, although that's incredibly nerdy and I haven't played Symphonia's sequel yet either.
I was going to write this up later, when more of it would seem potentially relevant both at the time, and at the end. I haven't played Dawn yet either, but I'm not expecting it to have much to do with Phantasia at all.

I didn't even notice the square screens until I was checking the album. It's definitely kind of bizarre. I've seen it before though; the Treasures of the Rudras guys had to stretch the resolution any time there was text on-screen. That's not quite what's going on here (check this one (http://i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll136/spine_shark/lets%20play%20top/SLPS_01770_31012009_164133_0796.png) again for an obvious exception), but regardless, it's interesting, and kind of weird. But seriously, advanced romhacking is a miracle which I am loathe to doubt. I just wish they'd work on games I really, really like a bit more often.

01-31-2009, 09:43 PM
I believe the agtp guys only did that with the 1.0 Rudra patch. Most of the really good hackers use variable width fonts when they have text to cram into a box now.

01-31-2009, 09:48 PM
nunix: yeah, that's what it is. It changes by half-steps; you can go up 7 and down 8. You can't fuck with the J-Pop opening song either, but being one of the less interesting pieces on the soundtrack (aside from the technical, how did they do that on a little cartridge 14 years ago, sense) that's not so bad anyway.

I didn't actually get around to playing Rudra 2.0 yet, I need to do that sometime, since I really liked it. I checked it out a little, but basically all I remember of the game is from playing the first completed English version.

01-31-2009, 10:05 PM
Once you get to the PS1, it's not uncommon to see different resolutions used in the same game. The in-game action in Symphony of the Night displays at 256x207, for instance, while the title screen is an inexplicable 512x480.

Actually, even the Genesis did this to some extent. The main resolution was 320x224, but the logo splash in Konami games was 256x224, just like on the SNES and PC Engine.

Ami (why isn't it just "Amy"? Oh well, not like she's a major character or anything)

Because that would be Eimii, of course!

01-31-2009, 10:17 PM
Huh. Well I've never seen it before, but I admit I pay a lot less attention than you do to visual details in games, whether it's technical stuff like that, or sprites and animations.

I also think the grasp on English sounds demonstrated by the people naming stuff here doesn't rule out the possibility of "Amy," though it's good of you to point that out since I didn't think of it. I actually never paid attention to the kana for her name, anyway. (Well, this is the first time I've played the game since I could read it) At any rate, I dislike it a whole lot less than "EIRA" but I don't want to start that again.

02-01-2009, 05:50 AM
They race out to see what's happened, and...
That is not good.

What.... Doesn't this happen in Symphonia too? Or something?

02-01-2009, 06:29 AM
What.... Doesn't this happen in Symphonia too? Or something?

Yes. I think we've already discussed how every Tales game is the same game. Well... they are. still awesome same game though

02-01-2009, 09:51 AM
It actually...doesn't happen in any of the other Tales games I've played, aside from these two. It's not exactly an uncommon trope in the genre either, though.

Sky Render
02-01-2009, 10:11 AM
Yes. I think we've already discussed how every Tales game is the same game. Well... they are. still awesome same game though

Well, except Abyss. Tales of the Abyss is closer to a Star Ocean game than a traditional Tales game, for many reasons.

Pajaro Pete
02-01-2009, 10:17 AM
Once you get to the PS1, it's not uncommon to see different resolutions used in the same game. The in-game action in Symphony of the Night displays at 256x207, for instance, while the title screen is an inexplicable 512x480.

Yeah, Chrono Cross's menus run at a giant resolution, too.

02-01-2009, 11:12 AM
Yes. I think we've already discussed how every Tales game is the same game. Well... they are. still awesome same game though

I gathered that, but I didn't know it was this blatant. I guess you could say what happens in Symphonia is an homage of sorts... Or just laziness.

02-01-2009, 01:38 PM
The village has been completely ruined in the course of just a few short minutes. I guess it's supposed to be longer actually. PANTS arrives just in time to see his parents dying before his eyes. Miguel implores him once again to take care of the pendant.
Everyone in the village has been killed, and when PANTS asks CHAPS to come with him to Euclid, he refuses.
So he's going to stay here and take care of the bodies before moving on, but he promises to meet back up. PANTS is on his own for a little while.

There's a mountain pass on the way.
The random statue here serves so the game can explain how to push and pull things. This game involves a lot of that!

Fighting alone is pretty fun actually. There's a lot more to pay attention to, rather than just knowing your party members will take care of things behind you. Suddenly, I wonder why I'm not playing Swordcraft Story instead. It has a sexy Atlus translation, even!

PANTS' extended family lives in a house in northwest Euclid. They ask if it's true that the village was attacked, and then if he's tired and wants to rest. The answer is YES. Because it progresses the story, of course.

That night, when PANTS is sleeping, a bunch of men in armor enter the bedroom.
As they take him away, the uncle says he's sorry. Too late...

Then in a part of this scene that isn't in the Nintendo versions, a soldier re-enters the room and approaches Olson. "No hard feelings," he says, before it cuts away.

CHAPS, at some point during the day, is hard at work when he hears footsteps coming.
Could the killers have returned? We don't get to find out right now!

The soldiers take PANTS to a man in black armor, who is behind the destruction of the village.
The man in the armor takes his pendant and then walks in front of a mirror, where PANTS sees a ghostly image above his head.
The soldiers take the rest of his possessions and throw him in a jail cell. The door is locked, and can't be opened by hand. After pacing the cell for a bit longer, a woman's voice implores him to approach the hole and put his hand through it. She hands him an earring, tells him to hold it up to the wall, then requests that he saves a young girl who's also in the cells here.

The earring blows a huge opening in the wall that he can walk through, and on walking through it, he sees...
A woman who's dead, probably for quite some time. (No, it really doesn't make sense. I like that.) He takes the sword from her body, equips it, and uses it to pry open the doors. A few chests strewn about the room contain food and a Battle Axe, an item whose sole purpose is to taunt you for a brief moment. (It doesn't exist in the Nintendo versions, either)

The girl in the cell is Mint Adnade, who wears "Methodist" (in this translation...it honestly kind of reminds me of the "Presbyterian Church" thing from "Backstroke of the West" though) robes. She's the party's medic in this game.

She gets renamed DRAWERS for the next half-hour. I was going to name her HOSE for a rather lowbrow pun, but as I mentioned before, the other part wouldn't fit in the box, so I changed the whole plan.

She asks PANTS if they can go rescue her mother, who's in the cell nearby, but he decides that if she saw that, she wouldn't be able to handle it, so he lies.

There's a grate in the back of the prison that leads to the sewers out of the evil base here. Unfortunately, in the PS1 (and maybe PSP?) versions PANTS can't break it with his sword. Thus, this is the stupidest puzzle in the game. You need to equip the Battle Axe and use it to break the grate. Doing this breaks the Axe so you never actually get to fight with it. It's so dumb!

DRAWERS is initially not useful in battle. She slowly lumbers over toward enemies and occasionally swings her little staff at them. Often this does no damage at all, but it can cause enemies to enter their hit recovery animation, which means it could still be worse. She can also cast First Aid, which is accompanied by an amusing "FAASUTO EIDO!" voice clip. It restores about 30% of a character's maximum health. She doesn't start with much TP, so it's important to play carefully until picking up a couple of the Orange Gummis (30% TP restore) laying around the sewers.

(By the way, that isn't "113" damage in that picture, but 11 on the first enemy and 13 on the second, stacked conveniently on each other)

The exit to the sewers is blocked by a "Clay Demon," a flying demon with a trident, and his cohorts, two slugs and and two bats.
The slugs are honestly the most dangerous, since they hit the hardest and can poison the party, plus they're the hardest to hit. However, this battle's easy enough on this version that you can take basically any strategy you want as long as you're not too stingy with throwing items. This time I just mashed the demon into the corner, then killed the slugs and finally the last bat. After this, PANTS gets all of the things that were taken from him back for no apparent reason (another change from the SFC and GBA versions), which means there's something else I should've done in Toltus. Oh well.

Outside of the sewers is another forest (or, I suppose, potentially the same one from the beginning). Just when the two think they're safe, a slug appears behind DRAWERS and PANTS pushes her out of the way. He gets spit on, and collapses. She tries to pick him up, and then hears footsteps coming...

02-01-2009, 02:03 PM
Ah, I know Mint's hat! Estelle can get it as an outfit accessory in Vesperia. I don't particularly like it.

Playing SO2PSP right now and all PCs are forced into having all-caps names. It makes me feel like I'm playing a Let's Play. :/

TK Flash
02-01-2009, 07:41 PM
I like how Spineshark made sure to point out that both skill naming schemes were worthless in the end. With fan translations, sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

I think we shouldn't change the character names throughout the playthrough. It'll be confusing.

02-01-2009, 08:03 PM
Yeah, Chrono Cross's menus run at a giant resolution, too.

Yeah, and let me tell you how much fun that was when I was trying to write a FAQ for the import version on a 12" screen via composite video.

02-01-2009, 08:08 PM
I gathered that, but I didn't know it was this blatant. I guess you could say what happens in Symphonia is an homage of sorts... Or just laziness.

Um... "heroes rush home to find their tiny hamlet in flames" is hardly a cliche reserved for the Tales series.

Pajaro Pete
02-01-2009, 09:03 PM
I think we shouldn't change the character names throughout the playthrough. It'll be confusing.

I vote that you attempt to make the story of this game as inscrutable as possible.

In fact, you should just name everyone "Cow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPsYIf3_S0M)"

02-01-2009, 09:34 PM
I vote that you attempt to make the story of this game as inscrutable as possible.

In fact, you should just name everyone "Cow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPsYIf3_S0M)"Oh, he doesn't need to do anything to make it inscrutable. Your crew will be doing enough weird and wacky things that it doesn't really make much sense until the middle and end. And not even then, unless you've played Symphonia in which case it makes marginally more sense if you make a few assumptions.

02-01-2009, 10:11 PM
name everyone dhaos

02-01-2009, 10:25 PM
(Seriously, I don't get it. It's cool, sure, and an impressive bit of hacking. But a good, useful idea? Not seeing it.)

I guess I just meant that it's cool, like you said.

02-02-2009, 09:43 AM
PANTS wakes up in a strange bed.
The man tells him that he's already heard what happened, from his friend, and then mentions that the girl was carrying him when he found them. DRAWERS did some cooking while he was asleep and gives him some, since he must be hungry. This introduces the game's cooking system, another new addition in this version and continual staple of the Tales series.

I hate cooking. It's another stupid grind in a series that already has too many (not to mention searching for the Wonder Chefs who have the recipes, which is rarely difficult but still annoying). The only game where I find it bearable is Rebirth; Annie isn't allowed to cast healing spells outside of battle, because the game doesn't use a standard mana-esque resource system. Cooking thus becomes the only economical way to restore health between battles, and it doesn't have the same idiotic "mastery" system that most of the other games use.

Morrison encourages PANTS to get a breath of fresh air, so he does.
CHAPS also met Morrison, while he was still burying the bodies in Toltus, and he helped with the process. Morrison talks about how he knew both PANTS' and DRAWERS' parents quite well. He explains that he was also looking for the man in the black armor, then asks what happened to PANTS' pendant...when he finds out that it was taken, he asks the kids to stay at his house, and says he needs to do something right away. They return to the dining room and start arguing about whether they should listen to him or follow him.

PANTS also realizes that he's no longer holding the earring he got from the dead woman. Could this possibly be relevant? Not really!

Master Tristan comes by the house to meet with Morrison, but he finds of course that he's already gone. When he hears what happened to Toltus, he realizes that the men who called him away were obviously working with the man in black armor. But he also says that as a frail old man he couldn't have possibly stopped him. He, too, recognizes DRAWERS. And it was right then that I realized I *should* have taken Parish's naming suggestion, despite my initial hesitance.

Anyway, Tristan doesn't think it's such a bad idea for the kids to go exploring the crypt near the house here. They (except CHAPS) are the children of great powerful heroes, you see. He tells them to get ready and that he'll meet them in the cave.
Back in Toltus, on the top floor of the Alvein house, is a sweet sword, the best that can be obtained in the opening of the game. It belonged to one of the soldiers, but it just got left in the fireplace. You can pick it up right away after the village is destroyed, but in the GBA and SFC versions you lose it when the soldiers take your things. On the PS1 version, I guess you get it back, so I should've picked it up earlier.

Mint gets her second tech, Pow Hammer, which sucks. It stuns enemies...sometimes. More effective to use her TP for healing. Fortunately, it's possible to prevent party members from using any skill you don't want them to by just hitting "square" with the cursor over it in their skill menu. That's what the greyed-out name here shows.

The third tech is Charge, which gives 5 TP to a party member, at a cost of 10 TP. There's an accessory later that halves TP consumption, but considering that her TP is arguably the most valuable, this skill is still a stupid waste in general.

Anyway, like I said, the sword is a pretty serious upgrade.
Inside the cave, Tristan teaches PANTS how to do the first "Ougi" a skill that combines two other skills. The first one is "Demon Kick," which involves first using Demon Fang, then Swallow Kick, a close-range attack which involves jumping and kicking the enemy up to twice, then stabbing them. In order to use combination skills, PANTS has to master both of the skills that make them up, which means using them 100 times.

Generally, there are only a few skills I spam enough times to "master" them. So these won't come up much, not that they're very useful in the first place in this version since the combo system is more robust anyway.
The first hallway down here has five doors that each lead into small rooms with these coffins. Each coffin has a Mummy inside of it. They're annoying to kill, but they usually drop Panacea Bottles (cure basically every status), plus you find another item inside the coffin after it's dead.

After raiding the rest of the tomb for equipment, PANTS reaches the bottom floor, where he sees a huge statue.
It attacks. The golem is really annoying since it blocks a lot and has high defense, but it goes down eventually. It did manage to kill CHAPS, so PANTS runs from the next couple battles.
All it takes to escape is to run into the side of the field until this gauge fills up. It takes longer if you're underleveled, which fortunately we're not right now. Also, if you're immobilized through paralysis or petrify status, then you don't even need to stand at the edge of the field.

Moving the statue onto a button at the south end of the room opens a door, and through that door is a miniboss battle that I didn't remember was here. Maybe it isn't in the other versions, I'm not even sure.
It's just two Clay Demons, who are pathetic now, attacking from different sides. Reviving CHAPS so he can fight off the back one is a good idea, though.

They guard a chest that contains a magical ruby, that opens a couple doors in this dungeon. Through the door in the first hallway, that was locked before now, is a magical circle.
It leads down to a fiery pit of lava and moving platforms. There's a small puzzle here, where one of the platforms doesn't come quite close enough to the main platforms, so you need to find a switch and extend the platform a bit. However, when floating on one of the platforms, PANTS drops the ruby. He goes down some stairs to pick it up, but it falls down again.

Another magical circle here causes him to float. This is good, because going down the stairs to find the ruby leads to an area with damage floors. It's not necessary, but it does make life a little easier.
There's another battle with two Clay Demons who guard a perfectly ignorable chest down here. And not that I tend to make fun of games a lot for mistakes that aren't really worth the effort to fix, but hey, we're not floating here. The chest has a Lavender, which is a...stat boosting item of some sort. I'll tell you what it is when it actually gets used.

Anyway, the Ruby is used to open another door, and...this time it's a battle with two golems. This is, no shit, the second hardest boss battle on GBA. It's very easy on SFC, on the other hand. I didn't have any problem with it this time, but I was also a lot higher level than I usually am when I play this game, so it may be just as difficult as the GBA version.

Inside the next room, the man in black armor tells them they're all too late, then opens the coffin. He attempts to command the "Ancient King" Dhaos.
Dhaos annihilates the bad guys with a huge beam, then prepares to finish off the heirs of the ones who defeated him before. Morrison begins a new incantation, but CHAPS thinks there isn't enough time for him to finish it and rushes Dhaos to buy them an extra second. The other two kids disappear, along with a book that Morrison suddenly pulls out. Dhaos recognizes the spell as time travel and asks where they've been sent, but Morrison refuses to reveal that. Dhaos says it doesn't matter anyway, then kills him with many beams of light.

02-02-2009, 09:52 AM
The two find themselves on a hillside at sunset. They wonder what's happened, where they are, and what happened to the other two.
Morrison's book explains the opening of the game, basically. He first describes how there was an ancient war, in which two kingdoms banded against Dhaos. Dhaos was finally defeated by four heroes in that past, but he had a nearly godlike control over time and was able to escape through time from them. The families of those heroes were charged with keeping watch so they could imprison Dhaos when he next appeared, knowing they would not be able to slay him. After a hundred years, Morrison, along with Miguel and Maria, and Meryl, Mint's mother, did so, and captured his power in two pendants, one which Morrison kept, and the other which was given in safekeeping to Miguel and Maria. Looking around again, they find
But they decide it's no use worrying for now, they need to find shelter. They're dumped onto the overworld map, where...
Does that gap in the mountains look familiar?

02-02-2009, 09:55 AM
I think we shouldn't change the character names throughout the playthrough. It'll be confusing.
There ended up being two themes that seem to have some popular support, so I was thinking of just changing twice (once for each time jump) but if there's support for sticking with the defaults or something I'm not at all opposed to that. This is the only version I've played where you can rename any of the other characters, anyway.

02-02-2009, 11:37 AM
In Vesperia total mastery nets you new outfits... Well I thought every character would have to master it to get their outfit. It's actually just one for all. Oh those wasted hours...

Oh god, Pow Hammer. I HATE that spell.

That is entirely too cheerful for asking if you want to disturb the dead.

I like the idea of screwing with names if it works out entertainingly.

02-09-2009, 09:37 AM
Sorry about the delay; between a cascade of minor personal catastrophes I narrowly avoided and the fact that I wasn't able to upload my pictures for a few days when I finally did play more, this is the soonest I can actually do this.

The village just to the north is called "Belladem" (at least in the other two translations I've played, so I'm going to stick with it. We're not going to be here much anyway). When Cress and Mint (now Knight and Bishop) arrive, the villagers begin talking. Who are they? Where did they come from? These are actually good questions, because there's nothing resembling civilization south of the village. The village Elder comes out and asks them, but their honest answers confuse all the villagers. He asks if they've somehow arrived via sorcery.

The Elder, whose name is Lenios, invites them into his house so they can talk more. He's surprised that they consider sorcery a "lost power." Bishop shows off her own special healing powers, which impress him, and then he gives a display of sorcery, shooting a fireball through an open door, which hits a bystander who's outside.

Lenios goes on to explain that Dhaos has ran rampant across the land for years, causing destruction and lots of trouble for the people of the world. Knight and Bishop decide they must be a few years in the future now, but it still just doesn't fit. Finally they just ask what year it is, and learn that it's actually 100 years before, before Dhaos was ever sealed the first time.

Again, they're told that ordinary weapons can't harm Dhaos, and that they'll need the power of Sorcery. They want to learn magic, but Lenios tells them it's impossible; only elves and half-elves can do it. He tells them to meet a man named Klarth in Euclid.

They all go to bed, but there's only two. An awkward moment ensues and then Cress decides he's just going to sleep on the floor. He lays down, thinks for a moment, then falls asleep. Mint brings him over a blanket. I've always found the sprite kind of cute.

The journey to Euclid is completely uneventful like before. Near the entrance to the town, a girl is hunched over near the welcoming sign. Knight tries to talk to her, but Bishop thinks he did a bad job. She says the girl's in love.
This sidequest is pretty much a waste of time, but oh well. She has a crush on Elwin, a guy who's in the weapon shop, but she can't bring herself to talk to him. The party goes back and forth, relaying information, but Elwin declines to meet with Nancy, knowing that if they fell in love his father would disapprove, so he'd like to avoid the issue in the first place. He's the heir to a large trading company in the city of Venezia to the north, and he'll be returning there soon. And that's all that happens with that for now.

Klarth's house is in the northeast part of town.
They ask about his research on Sorcery, and he informs them there's a 10,000 Gald fee to hear his lectures. Mint gets kind of indignant, claiming they can't pay that (though, amusingly, for the first time ever when I've played this game, that's not actually true, as I have lots of money from fighting so many battles), and tells him it's so they can fight Dhaos. He calls her "princess" again, and she gets even more irked, when he reminds her she never told him her name.

His female assistant, whose relationship with him is completely nebulous (well, they're not married), comes to chew him out.
I'm pretty sure the kana for her name is ミラルド (because DeJap used "Millard") which can't be literally transliterated into any good English name. If I remember correctly, the GBA version made her "Miranda" which I once again approve of strongly.

Anyway, Klarth isn't an elf or part-elf either, but his research has led him to believe strongly that he can still learn to use magic by making pacts with the great spirits of the world. All that remains is to try it himself, so if the pair will assist him, they can find out once and for all if this summoning thing is any good, and pick up a great ally in their battle against Dhaos.

Klarth gets renamed "Rook." I was debating for a moment whether he or the next party member after him to join should have that name, because the other one would be "King" or "Queen." Naming them both of those at the same time is just not okay, though.

The Lone Valley, where the Sylphs live, is right behind that house over there, but first the party needs to go shopping in the next town over, Hamel. The item shop has a rope and a pickaxe, both of which are needed for the next dungeon because they decided to be annoying. Also, because you're supposed to come here now and see how nice the village is.

The house belongs to Bart, a man who Rook bothers for the Pact Ring necessary to make pacts to summon the spirits. He gives it up, on the condition they'll look for his daughter Arche, a teenaged girl with pink hair.

The pickaxe breaks down various rocks around here. This is the only place in the game where it does anything.

These chickens appear in random encounters in the outside areas in this dungeon. They're not in the Nintendo versions of this game, and they're really kind of annoying. Rook only carries a book right now, which he can swing at enemies for lousy damage. So Knight's still stuck with all of the legwork.

This is also a weird dungeon because the only battles that resemble bosses come at the beginning instead of the end. The Blue Sylphs are mostly harmless, but they get in the way of hitting the Red Sylphs, who can cast Tornado, a spell that hits the whole party for a substantial amount of damage. Still, they're not too dangerous, they just can't be allowed to cast it too many times in a row.

Inside the caves, the rope is so the party can go into these little pits.
Again, it's useless everywhere else. After going through the first pit, the party fights another set of Sylphs, then the dungeon's "puzzle" starts. There are bubbling pits leaking demonic "miasma" into the valley, which is what's driving the Sylphs crazy. Conveniently, there are rocks that can be used to block these holes. All the party has to do is knock over some walls and pull the rocks into the holes. It's easy!
Also, on the second part, it's possible to get into a battle against some really evil "demon" guys. They're nearly impossible to kill at this level and cast the spell "Summon Lich" which will pretty much one-shot the party, generally. The only real solution is to escape immediately, but I didn't even meet any this time.

At the tree, reached by crossing a bridge across a wide chasm, the Sylphs are grateful that they've been spared from the demons' curse. They agree to pact with Klarth, but they have a dire warning as well. The World Tree is in danger, and they don't know why. They implore the party to look into it.

02-09-2009, 10:59 PM
I don't remember the 2x Clay Demons fight either. I'm going to agree that they're probably PSX only.

And is it just me, or did the location of the Sylph boss battle get changed? Because I remember them being at the very end of the dungeon.

02-10-2009, 11:30 AM
The World Tree is in the Forest of Spirits, that little place just south of Belladem.
There, Knight meets the great spirit Martel once again. She tells them that mana is being consumed too quickly for the tree to handle, and that if the cause is not found and stopped, the tree will be destroyed and mana will disappear forever. Having seen the ruined tree, Knight knows this is true. The party suspects, and even hopes, that Dhaos is the cause of the mana depletion; if he is, then defeating him will solve both problems at once.

In the north, the town of Hamel has been destroyed. Everyone in town is dead, except for one person. She's a young girl with pink hair, and the party asks her what happened. She says an evil wizard destroyed the town. And his name was...
Really? I think ascribing that Greek goddess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demeter) as the intended reference here is kind of a stretch! Seeing as he's a minor character who is going to be killed off this update and never mentioned again I'm just going to call him "Demitel" like the other translations do. The girl says he headed north, and gives her name as "Rhea Scarlet."

The north edge of the continent has the port city Venezia, where Elwin lives, and Nancy has followed him.
By talking to them a bit more, a meeting is arranged. Now to the very important business of REVENGE.

A person in the Mayor's House tells the story of Demitel. He was a talented, aspiring magician, who one day suddenly turned evil and moved off to a spoooooky manor in an island near the city. Knowing this, the party needs to commission a boat to sail to the island. The one at the northern dock is the one needed for this task; the other one is dedicated to sailing the route to Alvanista, but the captain's too much a wuss to cross the seas right now, times being what they are.

In a chest on the dock on Demitel's island is a ?Book.
Unidentified items can be identified with Rune Bottles, turning them into something usable. The book means it's equipment for Rook, and...
Oh. Well then. Moving on.

Despite being one of the smallest dungeons in the game, this is one of the most confusing and difficult to solve. There's some prisms in this room, which indicates strongly that some light needs to be shined on them, for a puzzle!
So, you can open the blinds...but nothing happens. Heading toward the back of the house, there's a door that's locked. (There's also one that isn't, and has a ton of chests inside)
The key is in a random pot halfway across the mansion in the other direction. Opening the pot allows entry to a little courtyard...thing, where a huge tree blocks the light.
Knight has to check the tree about five times before it attacks him so he can cut it down.

The two Orcrots are a difficult battle on the original version of this game, but they're cake in the remakes, for one simple reason: Klarth's Summon Sylph spell is actually okay in the remakes. The trees are weak to it, and so it does four hits for over a hundred damage each. In the original game, Sylph does the same damage per hit, but each casting hits only once instead of four times.
Knight's Lightning Tiger Blade is the attack of choice, since the trees are also weak to it. Lightning Tiger blade deals one hit of Lightning damage, in the range of about a hundred right now, and 1-2 more hits on the swing down, that are much weaker.

After the battle he learns Sword Rain, a rapid stabbing attack that's very good with weapons featuring high Thrust attack, like spears and rapier-style swords. It's terrible with Axes and swords like scimitars, though, which feature strong Slash attacks by contrast. Most of the best swords are actually balanced either way and don't make a big difference.

With that taken care of, there's just a little puzzle to get the light to shine just on these little orbs. That's the easy part!

This opens a staircase into the basement, which is also really short and easy. A chest here has a spear weapon that's called something different in each version of the game so I don't even remember what it is. Except good. It's very nice.
This ominous hallway has gargoyle statues whose torches light up as you walk past, and a save point. I think there's a boss here!

Demitel offers his own version of the events at Hamel; there was an "accident" and everyone died...[i]including[i] one Rhea Scarlet. Her father was, in fact, his magic teacher, and he would have no reason to kill him, right? Whoever the pink haired girl is, it just couldn't be Rhea...

I don't know what happens if you pick #2 and I forgot to savestate; I don't even remember this choice coming up in the other versions but maybe I just forgot. Anyway, he's a right bastard, and when he walks in front of the mirror, Knight sees that he too is being controlled by Dhaos.

The battle is against Demitel, two golems, and two Wraiths. The golems can be one-shotted by Sylph attacks in the remakes and the Wraiths just have to be slammed around a bit, then it's easy to trap him in a corner and stab him to death.

By contrast, this battle is the single most difficult in the original; the golems still take a decent amount of effort to kill, because Klarth sucks. The wraiths have dangerous spells themselves and teleport a lot, and Demitel himself puts up quite a fight on his own, with powerful whip attacks and an extremely dangerous attack that shoots several small balls at the party. However, he's rather amusingly unable to turn around (I guess they didn't want to make a right-facing sprite, or even mirror the base one?), meaning that if you can manage to get Cress behind him, he's no longer really capable of blocking your attacks or hitting you back.

02-10-2009, 11:31 AM
Rhea thanks the party, then dies.
A spirit leaves her body, then the pink-haired girl gets up again. Predictably, it's Bart's daughter Arche. The party returns to his house, where they talk for a bit, then she comes outside to join the party.
She also relays a couple more pact rings, which Bart gives to Rook as thanks for rescuing her.
While most of the characters just get extra skills on level-up, and Rook gets his through pact events (most of which are story-based, but a few are optional), Queen kind of has a combination; she learns some spells from leveling up, but most of the good ones come from spellbooks strewn across time and space the world. For example, in Rook's house in Euclid, the book for Ice Tornado is sitting on a shelf in the corner.

Anyway, this is a full party! Hooray!

Next time: The game starts to be really, really easy! Also, the plot pretty much goes away for several hours.

02-10-2009, 11:57 AM
Arche's introduction story is possibly one of my favorite character introductions in any RPG.

I played the GBA version and definitely gave at some point during the interval when the plot went away. The laggy battles in that version didn't it help it either. I should try to play the PSX fan translation at some point now that I've hacked my PSP.

02-10-2009, 12:52 PM
I'll go ahead and warn you that it'll crash in battles on occasion if you play it on a PSP, even if you change the pops.

It only happened to me in a few specific areas, but it was pretty obnoxious getting through those places.

02-10-2009, 05:03 PM
Egh. Martel's introduction bugs me, since she's not the same type of "Spirit" as Sylph and crew. It's also sort of hilarious that your crew saving Yggdrasil/Martel is probably the single most important thing they do in the course of the game despite the whole Dhaos angle.

Of course, that only really makes sense if you've played Symphonia.

02-10-2009, 05:34 PM
Egh. Martel's introduction bugs me, since she's not the same type of "Spirit" as Sylph and crew. It's also sort of hilarious that your crew saving Yggdrasil/Martel is probably the single most important thing they do in the course of the game despite the whole Dhaos angle.

Of course, that only really makes sense if you've played Symphonia.

Well, in the present, the tree is dead and magic is entirely gone, but Mint can still do her stuff and the world didn't end. I mean, I suppose I can see some sort of Princess Bride-type "it's only half dead" shenanigans, but I got the impression that the crew in Symphonia was overreacting and didn't actually have any idea what would happen if the tree died.

Plus, Lloyd is stupid and there's no way he'd be right about it. Because he's stupid.

02-10-2009, 06:42 PM
Then how did Dhaos use his magic or Tornix's time travel spell for that matter? How did Tornix use magic in the parents' fight against Dhaos?

It doesn't really make sense to say that the World Tree is dead by the time the story starts. Almost dead, sure, but not quite I think.

Plus, since it borrows so heavily from Norse mythology, including the damn squirrel who runs along the Tree's roots (Ratatosk *cough*), you'd think the existence and continued well being of the tree is necessary for the existence of life in the world. Symphonia was pretty adamant about that, with the commentary early in the game about how mana was necessary for plants to grow healthily and all that.

02-10-2009, 08:22 PM
Here's what I think:

(Hey guess what, these are spoilers that go through various parts of the game including the ending)

First off, about the healing powers: I think they're intended to not be mana-based, at least in the same way. There's that church in Hamel that I didn't point out, where everyone is praying to some "God," who never comes into play again. So I have no idea if there's actually anything to that in this game. Either way, Mint saves the tree with her powers but I don't think this actually indicates much about the nature of them, because the mana tree's problem is that mana is being depleted too fast...so I don't know if she's giving lots of mana back, or just plain "healing" it.

Then there's Dhaos. I agree that he's not the more threatening force in the world since all he ever does is kill a lot of people, and even that is not really part of his main plan. At any rate, I've always taken that his powers come not from the mana of the World Tree, but from Derris-Kharlan, which is also what he calls out to at the end when he starts changing forms. But of course, he does need a mana seed, so that itself is not independent either.

I think the real answer is that I don't know and I liked this game's plot better before I started looking for holes.

02-10-2009, 09:31 PM
I think the real answer is that I don't know and I liked this game's plot better before I started looking for holes.

Just be glad we didn't make you draw up a Zelda Timeline for the entire Tales series.

02-10-2009, 10:17 PM
Just be glad we didn't make you draw up a Zelda Timeline for the entire Tales series.Oh, lol (http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/562854/18147). Spoilars abound though.

03-25-2009, 08:32 PM
Hey, this is back. Oops. I was separated from my PSX-emulating computer for a while, and also I didn't really want to play this part since it's pretty boring. Sorry!

Anyway, there's some chests in Demitel's chamber that we couldn't pick up last time since we got kicked straight back to Bart's house. I thought there was also a spellbook there but there wasn't.

Just so mentioning this wasn't a total waste, here's a picture of the funniest spell in the entire game, TRACTOR BEAM. It lifts people off the ground and drops them on their heads. It doesn't work on Queen, since she fights flying on her broom.

Back in Venezzia, Elwen and Nancy have a confrontation with his father, which ends badly. Afterwards, as they wonder what to do, one of the party members has a suggestion.
This pointless sidequest is almost finished! Yes!

The party wants to meet with the king of Alvanista, but they need to take a boat out of Venezzia to get there. But the captain doesn't want to sail the route, because he's afraid of Dhaos.
She has an "offer" for him, which, in showing him how ridiculously desperate the party is, convinces him to start the ship going again. How fortunate! It's 170 moneys a person to ride the boat, which is absolutely nothing at this point in the game.
The boat scene is the most infamous moment in the brief-ish history of video game fan translations from the DeJap patch for SNES. Sure, having that line be "I bet she fucks like a tiger" is crass and juvenile, but at the same time, this scene really isn't that funny, so I'm personally okay with wringing a few laughs out of it with a bit of surprising shock value.

If you somehow don't know about this scene, it's Klarth asking Cress which of the girls he wants to get with. Cress denies that he's been thinking about it.
"But what about Miranda?"
"She's just my assistant!"

Also, a weird green-haired man introduces himself as "Mayer." (In the other translations it's "Meia," but for once I totally agree with this version, since Meia is kind of a girly name. I actually thought he was supposed to be a woman the first time I played because of that. And of course that's the girl's name from Alundra, too) Then everyone decides to get some food.

Inside the ship's dining hall, there's only one open table, the one where Mayer is sitting.
So they drink, and drink, and drink. Eventually, Mayer reveals that he's secretly on an intelligence mission to Alvanista, because Dhaos is controlling the prince to prevent Alvanista from allying with the other major kingdom, Midgard. Also...
Dreams are odd things.

The next morning Rook has a hangover and Mayer has been possessed by an evil minion of Dhaos. Knight goes out alone to stop him.
There's a fight on the deck. It's really easy, since you can basically spam any move until he dies and use items if you need to heal.

This is the boat sailing animation. It's a hell of a lot fancier than the Nintendo versions. I think it may also take longer :/

After getting to Alvanista, Klarth suggests staying at the inn to talk over plans. They plan to sneak into the prince's room and stop whatever's controlling him. The only trick is getting there in the first place.

From this balcony, the prince's room is very close, but there are guards patrolling the hallways, so it's time for a Super Short Stealth Sequence!
You only have to get past two guys, but their sight ranges are really weird. (though I intentionally walked into that one just so I could get the picture) They can see behind themselves at certain ranges, and...well I'm just glad it's short.
You can see two things in the Prince's room. Then he wakes up, the lights turn on and he says he's calling the guards. The party has to quickly find out what's controlling him, and...
Okay, I guess that couldn't be much more obvious. The bird dramatically turns into a weird flying she-demon and tells the party that they're going to die. Pffffff.

There's two minions in this battle, who are decent punching bags but not dangerous. A few spellcasts will take care of them, and then it's onto the boss, Jamir. Jamir has some pathetically weak spells, and then Summon Demon, which hits everyone on a screen for 700 damage or so. Which isn't very much anymore.
She also has this shield thing, which hurts a lot on the original version. Here, not so much. She doesn't move while using it, and spells will knock her out of it easily, so it's no threat. Some Ice Tornados and lots of Tiger Blade finish her off easily.

Afterwards, the guards still come in and take the party to the dungeon, but they continue to Positive Thinking, knowing that because they saved the kingdom they'll be pardoned. And so they are! The king understands what happened and gives them some crazy treasures.
The ring is another pact ring. The Gungnir is a spear. I'm not sure what that other thing is for.

The party can also pick up a permit to explore the Morlia mines tomorrow; Rook wants to go so he can find the pact ring for Luna, who's believed to be one of the most powerful spirits.

However, what they don't know is that they won't be able to reach the bottom of the mines without all four of the lower spirits: Sylph (wind, of course), Efreet (fire), Undine (water), and Gnome (earth). We DO know that, though, so we're going to get those three spirits first. But we don't have to do them in any particular order. So I ask, which of the three should we visit first?

03-26-2009, 10:45 PM
Undine's the best spirit. Ergo, get her first.

03-27-2009, 12:34 AM
Daaaaaamn. She happens to be the most annoying to get first, but I suppose I can deal with that.

04-07-2009, 06:11 PM
You know how I said Undine would be the most annoying in the post right above this one?

Yeah, I forgot something:

The witch here also sells the Tractor Beam spellbook, which, amusingly, has the same initials. Tractor Beam is kind of weak, and fails to hit flying enemies (which aren't too common) but it's fun. Thunder Blade is sick though.

This place, by the way, is the magic research department at Alvanista Castle. They're trying to develop "Magitech" for unspecified reasons, but one of the researchers notes that the tests have caused problems in the nearby areas.

The people here also know where to find the three summon spirits.
I know you can't get to Undine's cave without getting this text, but I think the other two are open either way.

The boat captain back in Venezzia who helps the party sail to Demitel's island can now be commissioned to go to the cave in the north where Undine is.

The monsters in the cave are mostly watery creatures like huge squids, slugs, and my favorite, starfish with crazy teeth (unfortunately I didn't get a picture of their bite attack).

It's easy to make dumb jokes about monsters dropping silly things in RPGs, but this was just too awesome. The squid monsters drop Squids, but they also...

The point of this dungeon is to hit three bright blue switches.
However, many of the rooms are flooded, and flipping levers changes the water location so that the party can walk through the dungeon.
It might sound little complicated, but it's pretty blatantly linear. A pond in the first room leads to the first switch, so changing the first lever lets you get down there (and pick up a couple chests too, but they contain cheap junk you can buy in stores). This fills a pool blocking the next room at the same time though, so the party has to flip the lever back to progress.
This leads directly to the large central room. The two pools are effectively the same, both with a switch under them, but only one can be emptied at a time. In the last room, which is north of here, there are two switches.
The top one toggles the two pools in the previous room. The bottom one fills the pool in this room with water, which does nothing until finishing the puzzle.

After flipping the third switch, a hole appears in the middle of the room for some reason.
Filling the pool now awakens Undine, and she attacks immediately.
This battle starts with six enemies: Undine, two Squids, and three Sea Slugs. One squid and two slugs appear behind the party, while Undine and the other squid and slug appear on the right.
Undine casts Ice Needles and Ice Tornado. Ice Tornado is pretty good, just like Arche's version, while Ice Needles does completely trivial damage. She also likes to deal normal sword hits and has a shockwave move that comes out instantly and sweeps across the entire party. It'd be her most powerful attack if she used it very much.
The battle mostly comes down to managing the extra monsters; the party is pretty vulnerable from behind with three spellcasters and Knight's attention needs to be dedicated to stopping Undine from casting Ice Tornado. However, Thunder Blade takes out the Squids in two hits (or one, if someone hits them a little beforehand), so they quickly become a non-issue.

Klarth makes another pact. Nothing special really; there's going to be a lot more through this game. In fact, another two are coming right up! Do you want to see Efreet or Gnome first, tyrants?

04-07-2009, 10:31 PM

04-08-2009, 12:10 AM
I usually prefer to do Efreet first, so Gnome. Plus, Gnome is pretty hilarious in his own way.

04-15-2009, 01:03 PM
So, to get to Gnome's cave, which is in the south near Belladem, the party doesn't have to walk all the way from Venezzia; they can ride a boat back to Alvanista, where the harbor also houses two boats.
Instead of the "ride this boat to whichever useful location" in the other place, there's just one that takes supplies for work that just happens to be near the cave. (Unfortunately, it only goes one way)
The door to the cave is blocked like this. I forget how you're supposed to figure out the password (it's "kikurin" in the original version, and as I recall the GBA translation as well), but you give four answers, each one containing one to three letters. Well, the right ones are all two, but you get the point. In this hack, the password is "PA SS WO RD". I'm so glad they made it easy!

Inside this cave is a Clay Idol, which I'll be henceforth referring to as gnomes (with a lower case "g") because that's what they are. He's looking for his friends; accept and the thing will follow you around. It's a little annoying because it's very slow, and will also block your path.
See, not only did I walk all the way from behind that rock over here, but I also decided about 10 seconds later to take a picture of him being really slow.
The gnome that's not following me is aggressive, and pretty fast. The party dashes past them and waits for the good gnome to catch up.
If you do run into one, it starts a battle. The gnomes are, for all practical purposes, invincible, so the only thing to do is run.
There's only one screen of guys like this though, so once the gnome reaches the border like so you can walk together onto the screen where his four gnome friends are. They run of for some reason as soon as this happens. There's also a stairway down ahead.

There's gnomes blocking a couple doors over here, and if you talk to them they'll just ask if you want to fight. Not really! Fortunately, the gnomes have a completely random lever that causes a siren to sound when it's pulled.
Doing so causes them to all run over and see what happened, so the party can walk into Gnome's room.

If you've only played the GBA version there's a good chance you wasted Gnome in less than 30 seconds. His health's not very high. Thunder Blade hits for about 1,000 damage and Sylph goes for 400-500.
However, he's really, really annoying in the original version, and even more so in this one. Gnome has one attack. Behold:
Gnome is four pieces, which means he turns into four missiles that rain down on the party. Over and over. Eventually they'll stop after a random amount of time and the four parts will group up in the middle. Each character has time to score one hit (if that) before he starts firing off again.
You can tell where he's going to reform based on where spells appear and where Knight runs to when you give him attack commands, but this information isn't too useful.
Fortunately, you can keep the casters alive better and save their MP by switching their commands to "Defend yourself!" during the rocket phase, then going back at the right time (or manually casting their spells) to land them on Gnome when he reforms. You won't get many heals off though, since the rockets hit everyone a lot if they don't move (especially the character who hovers in midair) so it's a good time to use all the Apple Gels that have been in chests. They're pretty much never going to be useful again!

Gnome gives up, so Klarth pacts with him. He's also guarding a treasure chest with the Glaive spell (it's not very good). And checking the other room the gnomes were guarding?
It's...empty. For now...


04-15-2009, 02:06 PM

Bishop looks so happy there =D

04-18-2009, 04:38 PM
Bishop looks so happy there =D
That's because she actually got to do something (even if it was a pointless something). It doesn't happen much yet, you see.

At least one night has passed, because the party slept on the boat while hanging out at Undine's cavern, so the Adventurer's Guild pass is available. The guild is in the basement of an item shop in Alvanista.
One of the characters is a stand-in for series composer Motoi Sakuraba. He offers to sell you a secret password, which would be the one for Gnome's cave.

Mayer dropped a sword when Knight fought him, which I finally identified. In the original version it's the awesome (for the next dungeon) Ice Scimitar, but I forgot that in all the remakes it's this useless "Fame Face."
I actually forgot how to get to Efreet's dungeon, so I wandered around the world for a while. Probably the most notable location is a house in the middle of the woods to the southwest of Alvanista.
The conversation with the woman doesn't lead anywhere, but we'll be seeing her again.

There are also a couple of tents where swordsmen will offer to teach Knight more combo techs. I doubt these will be useful, but it won't hurt. Even the one that costs money, since it'll be overabundant soon enough.

Further to the southwest is a small camp of performers.
I've never seen these guys before and I have no idea what the hell is going on here. (It's not in Japanese, it's just a bunch of noise)

Also, I figure now is a fine time to talk about the world map a little.
Aselia's geography is really weird, and I don't just mean that in the usual RPG sense that ERAU QSSI DLRO WEHT. If you look just to the left of the center, the smallish green island is where Alvanista is. There are two bridges connecting it to the larger continents on either side, though. The large continent in the west is where Belladem, Euclid and Venezzia are. In fact, right near that bizarre camp I just mentioned, you can look across a "small" bay and see the dock near Gnome's cave.
However, there's a big mountain range here that separates the Alvanista section of this continent from the main part. In the east, there's a similar deal, so the whole thing ends up constructed as three main land masses that are cut by mountain ranges out of two continents. (The desert in the southeast is connected to the large continent above it) It's never as noticeable with the standard overhead, 2D maps from the SNES and GBA versions, but on seeing this, I thought the design there was really odd.
Anyway, there's a dock near the eastern mountains that looks more like a busted bridge on this map. The boat takes trips to "Freyland," that desert. The desert has a village and Efreet's cave. All right!

Olive Village is mostly notable for the weird blur effects designed to look like it's really hot. After quick prep it's time to hit the cave.
The party is around level 20 now so their level 20 titles are slowly coming in. But this one is the best, obviously.

In the basement is the Tales staple item, the Sorcerer's Ring, in a chest. It shoots fire at things!
Like these targets here.

All you need to do here is wander through the doors, shoot all the targets, and get the Magma Key from a chest also in the basement. The basement mostly goes one way though, aside from the last room (which has the Ring), so the party needs to grab the ring, then run all the way to the front side after opening the door in the way by hitting the first target.

Monster-wise, the place isn't very interesting. I'm pretty sure this cave is supposed to be the first one you visit, so the monsters, mostly "Burning Dead" (red-tinted skeletons, basically) and these "Azar" fire spirits are pretty easy.
The Azars are annoying since they have bizarre hitboxes and cast the Eruption spell. Eruption causes fireballs to fall from the top of the screen, dealing about a hundred hits of roughly 15 each, spread over the screen (so many of them miss). It's more annoying than dangerous...like most things in this game.

There's also these lizardmen, which are overall the most dangerous monster type in the game except for one thing: they almost never attack above ground level, which means the witch is generally free to blow them away with spells. I'll be complaining about them more later, when they actually matter.
The last room before Efreet contains all these pillars. (The door at the bottom is where the Magma Key goes) You just have to hit all of them with the ring. *yawn*

Finally is the battle against the fire spirit himself. Undine deals two hits of 500 or so damage with each cast, so he gets destroyed quickly. He mostly uses a melee attack and throws some fireballs, with occasional teleports.
Ice Tornado hits for about 500 damage itself, which isn't too shabby, but the Summoner is the clear MVP in this fight. Aside from potentially a few battles very late in the game, that really won't be happening again.

Efreet agrees to make the pact because he got his ass kicked, and another treasure chest contains the Eruption spell for Queen to use. It's good on single, large enemies who cover most of the width of the screen. Too bad none of those exist!

Next time: Maxwell, the Mighty Molecule of Morlia Mines!

04-18-2009, 09:38 PM
The reason why the geology is so screwed up has a lot to do with the series' backstory, and gets explored in the Symphonia games.

04-21-2009, 03:09 AM
Out of all of the spirits, I'd have to say Efreet has always been my least-favourite design-wise, honestly. He's just a big, floating fiery dude, which isn't really as interesting as the Valkyrie-esque Undine or the Gnome Rockets. Ah well, at least he hits stuff hard I guess, so at least he doesn't take up space.

04-21-2009, 09:18 PM
Out of all of the spirits, I'd have to say Efreet has always been my least-favourite design-wise, honestly. He's just a big, floating fiery dude, which isn't really as interesting as the Valkyrie-esque Undine or the Gnome Rockets. Ah well, at least he hits stuff hard I guess, so at least he doesn't take up space.
Yes he does. His animation is reaaaaaaaally freaking slow in this game, though, since he coalesces out of fire for like eight seconds before even starting to attack.

Morlia is a pretty boring dungeon, with standard RPG dungeon gimmicks strung together for a process that takes way too long.
At first it's totally standard, just step on the buttons and flip switches to open doors. Then you start getting stuff about dragging statues, low visibility, and camouflaged switches. On B5 is the first thing that requires visiting one of the spirit caves.
After a short scene the party will decide they need something that can shoot the switch. Fortunately we have this Sorceror's Ring! I forgot to mention that in Phantasia, somebody has to have the ring actually equipped, unlike most of the other games. Since Mint isn't really in the min/maxing game (as long as everyone's alive she can't be doing her job much better) she's usually the best person for this.

On B6 there are spikes. Some of them you have to walk over, and the others you still might as well, since walking around them is slower and they don't hurt too much.

On B7, Knight tells a lie. This torch looks exactly like the secret switch on B4...at least on my screen. Anyway, since it's unlit, you just have to shoot it with the Sorceror's ring, and a teleporter shows up.
Between the party and that chest is an invisible teleporter that sends the party back to the previous room. They have to walk all the way around the room, then step on it to progress...four times, each time with the chest in a different position relative to the party.
B8 features more torch-lighting, and then a trick puzzle where you inspect the last set of torches because there's actually a switch to open the door. If you try to shoot that last torch the party will be shot by an arrow trap and lay on the ground for several seconds dramatically, before getting up to exclaim, "Like that would ever happen!"

There's a floaty switch somewhere to get over this huge spike bed, but I always forget where it is and it doesn't matter anyway.

On B9 the party has to cross to the northwest portion of the floor through some obstacles that are extremely repetitive at this point and hit a switch, then backtrack most of the way to another staircase. On B10 there's a Turquoise pact ring in a chest, and two switches that open up two more teleporters.
The first teleporter leads to this stone slab, where Arche will read a riddle written in Elven (because she's half-elf, she somehow just knows how to read it). It describes where to summon the spirits in the room from the other teleporter, in a rather vague and roundabout manner.
At each one, Rook can choose which spirit to summon at the altar. There's something about a "Maiden crying tears in the west," which is Undine. The riddle also indicates that Sylph is across from her, which means in the east, and Gnome goes unsurprisingly in the bottom, leaving Efreet for the top altar. When all four are summoned, the party hears a shout; someone wants to know who summoned him. Back in the tablet room...
This battle is really easy and fast in this version (Undine and Thunder Blade each hit for nearly a thousand damage, and he only has about 8,000 health. He can heal himself and use "Molecular Attack" where he turns into a ball and bounces around the room. It's easy to interrupt him from doing both of these things, though (but not in the original version, where he's probably the second hardest fight).

Maxwell pacts with Rook on the Turquoise ring, makes Knight's Gungnir spear stronger, and lets the party into the treasure room, where they find lots of unidentified artifacts that are all probably inferior to things that will be sold just a couple towns into the future, and two broken pact rings.

Taking these to the sorcerers who work in Alvanista castle, one of them has a suggestion for what to do.
As they prepare to leave, Knight also hears a strange voice inside his head...
(This minor storyline really doesn't go anywhere, as I recall)

04-27-2009, 12:44 PM
Edward's house is the one that was visited earlier, southwest of Alvanista. The party knocks on the door and the same woman opens it. They show her the letter they have to give Edward.
Sif is, as you may remember from LPEP or just knowing Norse mythology on your own, the name of Thor's wife. I don't think it's symbolic of anything, but that doesn't really matter when Thor is awesome. Anyway, it turns out that Morrison is looking for heroes to fight Dhaos in Freyland, so the party hops a boat over there, and I grit my teeth in preparation for the most asinine sequence in the game. It's not that bad, it's just really, really stupid. Kind of like the Ghoul Powder thing in VP2, except worse than that.
The party asks a guy in Olive Village if he's seen Edward, and he replies thusly.
The oasis looks like this on the map, and the party arrives to see Not-Edward there. This person tells them that he's at an oasis north of there. It's easy to find, and when the party tries to ask an old man at that one about Edward...
The old man mishears Knight repeatedly before giving up the RUSE and telling them he was joking and can hear just fine, and that Edward left for a third oasis in the north. At that one, the party finds out that he returned to the village.

Edward has fallen a little ill and needs some Basilisk scales to cure himself. The scales drop from Basilisk monsters in the Freyland desert...at most, only one per monster.
The easternmost part of the desert here, especially that peninsula, is the best place to encounter them.

The basilisks rely mainly on status ailments, particularly petrify, so they're a lot more annoying than dangerous. As you can see, the Maxwell summon shoots out a lot of Maxwells that bounce around the screen and do about 200 damage per hit. It's actually bad against smallish targets like this since a lot of the balls can easily miss them. On the other hand, if Maxwell appears directly on top of an enemy, all the balls will land directly on them. It doesn't do any more damage, but the non-missing factor is pretty good. Undine is more useful in general though since it doesn't miss like that and is a lot faster. The basilisks also absorb fire, which isn't a big deal, but it does kind of suck the first time you accidentally heal one.

After getting five scales, the party takes them back to the innkeeper, stay the night (for free), and then the next morning meet Edward. Edward is Edward D. Morrison, whose quote "If there is evil in this world, it lies in the hearts of men" opens this thread and appears in the game before the title screen when you turn it on.
The pact rings, he explains, were made by the Dwarves and Elves a very long time ago. The dwarves are all dead now, but the Elves should be able to fix them, magically. They just need to ask the Alvanistan researchers for a permit to enter Ymir Forest and they should be good to go. Knight then takes Morrison aside.
He shows him the book the other Morrison gave him before sending him through time. Edward is frightened by the thought of knowing the future and asks Knight not to tell him anything. He also asks if Knight has any way for he and Mint to return to their own time, which they don't. But in all this is one source of encouragement for Morrison.
Bishop also tells the other two party members about when she and Knight are from, though they're largely unfazed, aside from Queen realizing that if they meet again in the future, she's going to be really old.
In Alvanista, Lundgrom is a little frustrated that Morrison didn't make sure it'd be okay to get a permit to enter the forest, but he gives the party an emblem that will allow them passage and warns them that half-elves are not allowed there. As the party prepares to leave, Arche says she'll just stay in the inn while they're out.

And we know she always behaves, right?

05-06-2009, 08:17 PM
As soon as the party leaves town, the scene cuts to the Inn for about two seconds.
The Elf lands are in the southwest peninsula from Alvanista, surrounded by a huge...moat.
Inside, a guard asks them to stop, then seeing their identification, lets the party pass.

If you've played Symphonia, you'll remember that the Ymir forest section had a really weird and random puzzle here. Phantasia doesn't!
You just walk over the boardwalks to get to the end. It's a bit of a maze, but there's nothing complicated or secret about it. And so, at the other end...
After meeting more guards at the front of the town, the party gets to meet with Brambart, the leader of the elves. He tells them that beyond the village is the sacred forest Heimdall where a mysterious slate will have the power to fix the rings. He then heads toward the center of the forest and somewhat mysteriously indicates the forest creatures will guide them to meet him.
All he means is that you're going the right way if you go onto a screen with these unusually-sized rodents on it. They can be hard to spot though, especially on the larger screens, but the game isn't exceptionally mean about it; you don't get kicked back for going the wrong way, there's just a lot of screens you don't need to visit. There is some treasure but most of it's not even that good.
The monsters here are mostly bears and trees. They all have way too much health. This is something that's bugging me a lot in this version. However, this crazy combo of Rising Phoenix (a skill Knight has that turns him into a fireball that tosses enemies into the air then dives through them for a lot of fire damage) -> Efreet was pretty awesome.
There's a save point here. Usually that sort of thing is ominous but there's no boss here right now

Instead, Brambart tells a story, about the greatest spirit of all: Origin.
He says that Origin appeared during a historical war, one that's usually called "Ragnarok" by the elves. Or "Kangaroo" if you're playing the GBA translation. (This has been taken by many as a sign that the script was simply fed through Word's spell-checker or some such device at some point)

The Kangaroo ruined ancient civilization, and Origin has supposedly never been seen since, but his power can be drawn from the slate nonetheless.
Brambart finishes by telling the party that there's a "Tower of the Zodiac" between Freyland and Midgard and that they should check there for a powerful spirit. And they get more rings!
Klarth is going to be swimming in bling by the end of the game.
Bishop learned the Nurse spell at some point, which is the best. That's all I have to say about that. Also, the "Bushwhackers" are elves who like shooting bows at us for some reason. I know it's best not to question what's up with random encounters in any game, but...what is that about, seriously?
They drop these "Long Selfbow"s, which I have no idea what that's supposed to mean either.

On their return, there's an intruder in the village.
See, if they let anyone go, then there's just going to be more trouble. Though I don't remember if they ever explain why it's such a big deal in this game. Fortunately, we're spared losing a party member forever when...
As they leave, Queen realizes what's going on, but as she calls out to her mother, the guards become more forceful about getting the party out of there.

There was no time to stay at the inn, but Queen comes back with full TP anyway, which is enough to Thunder Blade the hell out of everything on the boardwalks out.

Next time: I'm the DJ of this gig!

05-06-2009, 08:24 PM
The long and short of it is that elves are racist bastards in the Phantasia-verse. Racist against their half-breed kids. It makes NO SENSE AT ALL. Not that anything else does, but this makes less sense.

05-07-2009, 07:46 AM
Eh, I've seen several stories where Elves have their hate on for half-elves, it's not that weird. Plus, one might remember periods in US history when half-African-Americans were not looked upon too kindly. I'm sure it's not the first time it's happened.

But seriously.... Kangaroo?!?

05-07-2009, 10:48 PM
KangarooI remember that from GBA version. It has always puzzled me what the localization was going for.

05-07-2009, 10:53 PM
Eh, I've seen several stories where Elves have their hate on for half-elves, it's not that weird. Plus, one might remember periods in US history when half-African-Americans were not looked upon too kindly. I'm sure it's not the first time it's happened.

But seriously.... Kangaroo?!?And isn't that wrong in its own special way? That racism against half breeds is not unusual is bad enough, but not unusual /= nonsensical anyway.

05-08-2009, 07:41 AM
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I though you meant it made no sense story-wise, where on the contrary it's pretty believable, which is pretty sad.

05-08-2009, 11:45 AM
I remember that from GBA version. It has always puzzled me what the localization was going for.
Well, like I said:
Sure, it's not proof, but it is a solid explanation nonetheless.

05-08-2009, 11:48 AM
Yeah, I meant racism against mixed race peeps is just wrong and nonsensical in general.

05-12-2009, 07:21 PM
So we're looking for a tower between Freyland, the desert, and Midgard, where we haven't been yet.
It's not this, because this fiery place in the desert can't be walked to, no matter how hard you look.
It is this, and that moon symbol on top of the tower might just be an indication of what we'll find inside!
The tower of the Zodiac comprises six floors, each of which is divided into two sections. One of the sections is just this tiny room with a staircase up and a door down.
The other features a tablet, which provides a clue to the puzzle. The puzzle is based around music, you go to a statue and change the song to the one described. The "is sung by one not human" is on all of these; it just means the melody is played by (fake) instruments.

The balls of light don't appear in the Nintendo versions. I think they hurt you a bit if you walk through them, but it's so trivial that they're barely worth noting.
These statues let you change the music. There's four on each floor, appearing in different configurations of four out of eight rooms on each floor. There's two on the left, two on the right, and four below.
On floor 6 the party is stopped after fixing the music the fifth time and this fairy tells them he'll only let them pass if "the pink-haired girl gives someone a kiss."

She seems to accept these conditions pretty quickly, and lines up (despite standing right next to her target in the first place) before Bishop intervenes.
Then they're stopped by a mysterious voice who tells the fairy to give them a spellbook. It teaches Queen "Ray"...which is still not as good as Thunder Blade.
Luna invites them upstairs and talks to the party about their quest. She doesn't really want her power to be used to hurt people, but the party convinces her that she'll be helping save the world. She agrees to make a pact without even fighting.
And she's awesome. She shoots beams of light down that cover basically the whole screen and do tons of damage.

Now time for lots of boring cutscenes! Stop me if I'm going too fast.
At Midgard castle the party gets past the guards by showing them the emblem they got for the elves. In the room, they meet the king's advisor Raizen, who explains that they live near Dhaos' castle and that he's got evil plans.
Unaware that she's a character in a 16-bit RPG, Queen seems awfully confused that Dhaos wants to destroy the world for no particular reason. Does he really have no reason? Does he really just want to kill everyone indiscriminately? As she points out about two minutes later, Dhaos is only technically at war with Midgard and hasn't attacked Alvanista or Euclid. But then there was Hamel...which was only destroyed by a pawn of his, but is still an unknown on either end.

Raizen also shows them the magitech lab; humans are going to be able to wield magic against Dhaos to kill him once and for all. Sure, it's not natural, but who cares?

Queen then decides she wants to go back and talk to her father. It's kind of far, but she says she knows a shortcut.
Picking 2 is completely idiotic. The "shortcut" warps the party straight to Lone Valley, so unless you enjoy boredom it's the only thing to do.

There's a confrontation over Queen's mother, who, as Bart explains, was forced to go with the elves when they withdrew contact with humans, and told him to pretend she had died.
Then she asks him about Rhea's parents, who were killed in Hamel. He says that they were working on a secret project in Midgard, but doesn't know anything else useful. Sooooo, it's time to go back, and...
Eternal props to whoever put this in. Seriously.

Next time: Flight of the Valkyries!

05-13-2009, 03:49 AM
Picking 2 is completely idiotic. The "shortcut" warps the party straight to Lone Valley, so unless you enjoy boredom it's the only thing to do.

I'm guessing the option to take the long way is just there in case you feel there's something you want to take care of before you head out, like training the group up a bit or searching for secrets in places you've already been in. Always nice to have a choice, right?

05-18-2009, 01:29 PM
Yeah, that's true, but it's a choice in which you do the same thing either way, except one way sucks a lot by comparison. If it was like "do you want to prepare before you take the shortcut" it'd be a lot nicer.

Plus this is the only place in the game where they actively mitigate the annoying backtracking, so it's a shame to let that go to waste.

Anyway, back at the castle, Morrison is confronting a demon who's holding a child at swordpoint. When the demon sees the other adventurers, he becomes especially excited-time to finish off all of Dhaos' greatest enemies at once!
Morrison teleports behind the demon, but not fooled, the monster also turns around, and skewers Morrison with his sword.
Morrison explains that his teleporting is close to the magic needed to travel through time, and if he'd just had a chance to refine it a little more he'd have learned to do that too.
He then blows up and takes the demon with him.

Inside the castle, the battle strategy against Dhaos is being explained. A large plain, called "Valhalla" lies between Midgard and Dhaos' castle stronghold. Several teams of special forces will work to cross the plains quickly and take the bridge on the other side to prevent Dhaos' forces from advancing across the plains in full force.

The party is considered mercenaries by the kingdom of Midgard, and so Rook, being the oldest member of the group by about ten years, is made the official leader for Midgard's purposes. He has to stay in the conference room for an official strategy meeting or something.

The party stays in the inn, and comes back just in time to see him leaving the meeting room. I guess the briefing wasn't so brief.
As they leave the castle to prepare for battle, a cutscene hypes up the upcoming battle, describing how totally epic the war between Midgard and Dhaos is.
Then it shows the final preparations for the battle on the southwest end of the plains. Raizen explains that the team who is the most productive on the field will be rewarded the greatest.

Vallhalla works differently from everything else in this game (sort of like our other setpiece this update!), primarily because you can see all the enemy forces on screen, and try to run around them.
Their collision detection is pretty bad in this version; it seems to be possible to run right through their bodies on the field as long as you touch their backs first. Conversely, it's not possible to escape from them in this version either if you do touch them. If you run from a battle, you'll be thrown back into it before you can actually move. Most battles are surrounded! attacks anyway, so it's less annoying to just kill them while you have the chance. The ones that aren't pit you against a single, pathetic enemy.
I said Ray sucks but most of the enemies here are demon and undead types who are weak against light, so it actually dominates in this stretch of the game.

The battle of Valhalla lasts five days. You can see time pass as the shading of the field and battle screens changes, growing red at dusk and deep blue at night. At midnight you'll be prompted to rest. This is useful! You get a free tent, fully fixing up the entire party.

I don't know how the battle could last five days though. I'm not sure if the game counts battle time as part of the time until nightfall, just field time, or something more arbitrary like the number of screens you've crossed or steps you've taken, but in any case, you'd have to be awfully lost, if that's even possible, to take more than three days. I've always reached the other end in two days, because the screens are simple and your target is essentially always up or to the right. At the far end of the field is a save point, which means...boss!
Ishrant casts spells and has some dumb lackeys. Ray and Luna destroy all of them pretty quickly, but hitting him with Knight is problematic because his main attack is to place a fireball in front of him that deals constant damage (~300 per second) to anyone who touches it. It's actually high enough that it doesn't hit as long as Knight doesn't jump, though, but that often means dragging Queen to close to it, so it's probably safer to stand back.

After capturing the choke point, the party returns to the castle despite the apparent lack of friendly soldiers nearby. The king, happy with their bravery and productivity, gives them a reward of 50,000 Gald. Then there's another panicked announcement; with his ground force defeated, Dhaos now advances from the skies!
A sort-of-anime-styled FMV shows tons of dragons and ghosts flying in. Alvanista's engineers turn on the Magitech cannon, and the party heads outside to figure out if they can do anything.

Knight hears the same voice telling him he's not worthy to wield his weapon, and is teleported to a strange room.
At the north end of the room is a Valkyrie, who explains the spear is Odin's, and as a god's weapon, the Gungnir is not fit for lesser people. But Knight realizes that the horse she's riding is probably magical and somehow convinces her to let the horse help him for just a few minutes. He magically reappears near the party, as the freak out over his disappearance.
In another FMV, the mana cannon fires, destroying many of Dhaos' forces. There are still more, so Raizen prepares to fire the mana cannon again.
Meanwhile, a sudden trauma rocks the Forest of Spirits. A distressed Martel notices that mana is suddenly being consumed at an alarming rate.

The cannon fires again, but this time it goes nuts and causes severe damage across Midgard, without harming Dhaos' forces at all.
Knight explains his strategy; he'll go up and kill all the demons, or at least their leader, and Midgard will be saved.

And then he was a zombie.

05-18-2009, 01:33 PM
Queen offers to fly up too, but her broom won't last long enough. Pegasus grants it a spot of extra magic power so she can also come, but apparently not enough for anyone else to ride on it too.
And so, in the most high-concept sequence in this game, you control Knight on a flying horse. Pun so very intended
Battles on the horse are a pain though; techs are disallowed, and the horse's movement is a bit wacky, not to mention it about triples the size of your hitbox. Worst of all, there's no Bishop. It's easy to spam items still, and there's all those Apple Gummis that are useless when she's around, so it could be a lot worse, but it's a bit annoying.

A short sequence of easy battles ensues, against weak birds, slightly more dangerous flying demons, and some ghosts. And then...
The same boss, again. Except he's got less people, and so do we. That works in his favor. Plus, as I mentioned, the taller horse makes it all the more dangerous to get close to him thanks to his fireball move, even as it's more important to hit him so he doesn't hit the party with devastating long-range spells.

Ray still wins the day, though. It's all good.

Back on the ground, they thank Pegasus, who takes back the spear, and leaves them something oh so much better, as well as a letter from Morrison.

Morrison's letter explains how he's probably dead if they're reading it. He starts by explaining a bit of what he knows about Dhaos, including something Dhaos said once:
Then he tells them that even though humans can fall to their evil ways, the human spirit has very much the opposite potential as well. (This kind of sounds like my other Let's Play!) He's come to trust that the party is fighting for the right reasons, and that they'll beat Dhaos, so he gives them a spellbook to help them along.

Queen has learned Indignation.

It is a good day to die.

05-18-2009, 01:58 PM
Queen has learned Indignation.

It is a good day to die.

Hell yes. Heaven's light, shine!

05-25-2009, 12:24 AM
To get to Dhaos' castle, you have to cross Valhalla again. It's empty this time though, without the special on-field battles or new random ones.
Dhaos' castle starts with a rather expansive ground floor. The left half of the floor just has some assorted treasure, most of which is redundant, including the best item, a "Mecha-Halberd" sitting discreetly on a weapon rack. I know I always ended up with two of these on the GBA version at least, but I don't know where the other one came from.
This is a simple puzzle. The first time you step on the button, it opens that door directly above it, but locks one that leads ahead. Walking through another door lets you back over the button in that way and swaps the door locks back.
Like the Morlia mine puzzles, you just step on the buttons in order. Easy.
On the other hand, this is the most annoying puzzle in the game, and EVEN WORSE in this version. The large table here has four buttons on the sides. Queen insists on doing it with Knight, but she's a spaz who doesn't like to walk in any sensible manner. She stalls randomly between each button and does some weird pacing. It's always the same, and always annoying.

After each failure the game will give you a "hint" which isn't all that helpful until the last one, which mentions that you can just run over each button repeatedly until you get lucky. In the other versions, after ten failures, Mint and Klarth will offer to just do it for you, but in this one, you have to keep going until it works.

A few rooms later, a button controls a door; there's nothing in the room to put on it, but just upstairs is a statue to push down a hole above.

This room has no such convenience. Somebody has to stand on the switch. I left Queen since she was running low on MP; Indignation completely destroys things, including her mana pool. As compensation, it's her third best spell in the game, and second out of the ones you get during the main game. It's fantastic against every boss except one.

Above is a series of rooms leading to a mini-boss, who guards a "Mysterious Hand-Mirror." Taking the mirror below to other rooms with mirrors will summon evil spirits, and killing them leads to alternate mirror worlds.
The first couple just have little chests, but the last leads to a relatively expansive mirror world containing a Golden Key. The key opens the room with the statue and the pit from the other side...
which lets us put Arche on the switch again and have her fly up to meet with everyone else.

Finally, in the room with the save point, is a locked door. Fortunately, it's simple to open.

Behind the door is a minion of Dhaos who tells the party they won't lay a finger on him.
The three evil lords are easy to stall so they don't summon any huge spells, and easy to kill. Since there's been so many of these guys already, there's nothing interesting to say.

Then the next room has Dhaos. The party is aggressive toward him, but Dhaos seems oddly passive.
However, at their insistence, he decides they're just being pawns of Midgard and should be killed.
Dhaos starts the battle with two Evil Lords, and unlike the original version (where he was extremely difficult to target) starts casting immediately. Dhaos has a pretty simple but potent moveset:
Melee - Dhaos does a crouching sweep at the nearest person, which has a fairly high stun chance, but is easy to jump over.
Tetra combo - a series of punches that ends by knocking the target in the air. Comes out more or less instantly, is interrupted by spells.
Tetra Spell - Dhaos casts the four low-level elemental spells (Lightning, Ice Needles, Fireball, Glaive) all at once. They hit pretty hard but don't all hit the same people. Still dangerous.
Dhaos Laser - Long casting time spell that sends a huge beam across the field. Since he basically only gets time to cast this when he's already winning, it pretty much means game over.

Tiger Blade and Lightning Tiger Blade are good enough to avoid his melee; Swallow Kick is fine too, but it's so bad at this point that I have no idea why anyone would use it. He also has a sort of spell shield that frequently absorbs spell hits, but they're still far more effective than Knight's attacks. The entire strategy is pretty much to keep in his face, since it's a lot easier to just keep Knight healed than try to keep up with his damage otherwise. Since he ends up stuck in the corner all battle though, Luna doesn't work well, and Maxwell becomes the best summon to use. After a couple minutes of wailing on him and enough damage, he'll turn into the spark, like at the beginning of the game, and disappear.

He still gives experience, thankfully.

Knowing they won't see him again in this time period, the party returns to Midgard, where they receive yet more commendations. And talking to Lundgrom...
I never really thought about this before, but it's kind of funny that Morrison wrote two different letters for the party in the one day between meeting with him in Midgard and when he was killed.

The letter instructs them to go to his house.

Next time: Pure white!

Also I guess it's about time to talk about Symphonia, because this is the part when they actually tie together.

Pajaro Pete
05-25-2009, 04:37 PM
I hated going through Vahalla in this version. (I don't remember it in any of the other versions)

10-12-2009, 09:27 PM
This is totally about to come back as long as at least one person can prove they really want it.

I have no idea what that means, but it shouldn't be very hard.

10-12-2009, 09:38 PM
Bring it back, and I'll update my LP!

- Eddie

10-29-2009, 08:20 PM
So the party heads to Edward's house and asks Sif if they can enter his study. She says they're welcome, but that it's locked. Fortunately, Edward left them a key for this purpose.
The city, called Thor, has long since sunk under the ocean, but the book suggests where they might find it. The party can also have some slightly heartbreaking conversations with Edward's kids, but that about sums up what's to see there.

Before they go looking for Thor, they have another problem to solve; if the tree dies there won't be any magic to fight Dhaos when they meet him again. So they head for the forest of spirits again.
She's going to try healing the tree. Cutscene logic dictates that usually, this will not work. And it doesn't, but in an attempt to keep things positive, Queen says "I think I saw it perk up a little bit." They return to the village, where the Elder invites them to stay again. They tell him about defeating Dhaos and ask if he has any ideas about the tree, but he doesn't. They stay over again that night, and Bishop has a plot-important dream.

In the dream, she's a young child again, and asks her mother if she can have her earrings. She can't, but the earrings are explained to be in the shape of the Unicorn, the symbol of their healing-powers-that-aren't-"magic."
Stupidly, I didn't get a picture of her wearing the hat either.

She tells everyone about the dream, and they start to wonder if they can actually find a Unicorn. But suddenly, half the world's population can't stop thinking about Unicorns either, so they're probably on the right track.
Also, the legend says it'll only meet with pure maidens, which like in the movie Hocus Pocus, is only mentioned for the sake of being "funny"

At any rate, after hiking across the world to Midgard, a girl says that it's supposedly in a forest to the north. You know what else is to the north of Midgard though?
Fortunately there's still no battles here, so you just kind of wander in the opposite direction from before and eventually you'll get dumped out on the opposite side of the plains.

Inside the forest, Klarth suggests that the two girls go looking on their own while he and Knight wait at the entrance.
There's no battles here either, but you can pick up mushrooms that are useless. I'm not sure if they're cooking items or status cures or what, but whatever they are I've never been in a situation where I thought "damn, it's sure lucky I wasted a few minutes in the Unicorn forest picking up some mushrooms"

When you get close, Arche runs off, giving a non-explanation.
Sure enough, just another screen up is the Unicorn.
She tries to explain the situation, and when she finishes, the Unicorn seems to be thinking. Then three Evil Lords drop from the sky and she screams.

Hearing that, the two males head through the forest to rescue her. "We have to hurry!" says Knight. (You don't actually have to hurry.)
I have no idea why these guys talk like this either. It's pretty silly.

So you have to fight three Evil Lords without either of the girls. It's easy, just spam Lightning Tiger Blade or something so they can't cast spells, but unfortunately it didn't really leave any chances for me to think about taking pictures.
I didn't even have to use any items.

The unicorn is dying, but it tells Bishop that her heart is honest and pure, and it offers her its power. It turns into a staff, the Unicorn Horn. She can equip it, and it's pretty good, except her equipment is completely irrelevant anyway so really it's just a MacGuffin.

So Rook asks why Queen ran away.

anyway, it's time to go back.
I'm not sure this one is here in the other versions, but I'm certainly grateful.

This time, she tries healing the tree with the Horn, and there's an EXPLOSION OF POWER which she can barely contain. But it works, and the tree is healed.
With that taken care of, the party wonders why Dhaos was attacking Midgard anyway.
Not only is this a typo but it's also the most important line in the scene, so yeah. Of course, the obvious reason for why he wants to destroy magitech is just so the humans won't be able to kill him, so that really may not be much of an explanation. Regardless, nothing remains to be done right now, so it's time to head Back To The Future! Klarth suggests stocking up for what will "likely be our last battle." Obviously.

I mean, certainly, the reason I put this on hold for so many months was just because I wasn't ready for it to end, right?

10-31-2009, 10:55 PM
This part's quick (if you have turbo anyway =/ ) and easy so there's no reason to not get it out of the way.

Finally, the second-to-last walk to Venezzia! The random commission boat captain offers Thor as a destination now. After sailing out a bit, the boat stops, Klarth summons Undine, and asks her to take us underwater.
A bubble containing the party floats (unfloats?) down to the huge ruins. On the ground, there's only one building open. The party finds a small card sitting on the counter.
In this version there's this disorienting water effect, while the others just have the outside of Thor tinted slightly blue-green. At another door, the party tries again to open it, then uses the card in the nearby slot. It unlocks the door.
This large room is essentially the whole dungeon. It's laid out in a 9x3 fashion. There are nine doors at the top of the room, nine non-random encounters with "Jann," a pathetically weak genie enemy, and nine chests, one of which holds a "Common Key."

The key opens three of the doors in the room, but they randomly shuffle each time you re-enter. The other six can't be opened at all. It's also used up each time you open a door, so if you get the wrong one you have to start all over.

The three possible exits lead to a small room with the "Judgment" ("God Breath") tome for Arche, back out, and of course, the way to progress. I found that room on the first try so I decided not to bother getting the book right now, I will later if I feel like it.
Walking forward sets off an alarm, and five robots come out to attack.
One of the smaller ones begins behind the party in an attempt to make this battle not pathetically easy, but it's such a minor annoyance. Indignation will wipe out the small robots in one hit, leaving just the two punching bags to finish off with all we've got.

On the floor afterwards is the Diamond pact ring. Sort of like Persona 4 starting the last S. Link in the apparent denoument following the regular ending, we're obviously not done yet! Going forward, the party's presence activates what seems to be a central computer.

Medical Treatment heals everyone and restores TP, of course, and the party talks about how amazed they are as it happens. Asking for the Time Warp initially fails as the computer claims there's insufficient power, but it then decides you're the closest thing to the mayor and can therefore authorize it to to reactivate the entire city. And so it rises from the ocean.
Doing it again then causes it to ask the party when they want to be, and after explaining that, it begins. And through the vortex we go.

Meanwhile, we see the scene play out just as we left it, as Dhaos prepares to kill Morrison. Only this time...
And so there's another battle with Dhaos. It's basically just like the last one, except he's faster and stuns more. He also has a new desperation move, but it's really not at all dangerous, just virtually unstoppable if you're not already hitting him. It's still about the same though, just pinning him in the corner as much as possible.
In the fashion that would become especially common in Tales games, the apparently dead villain lays on the ground as the building starts to collapse. Everyone flees, the place breaks apart and there's obviously no way he could survive, and everyone begins to celebrate their victory/mourn the fact that they're going to have to separate.
Mint has little tears in this scene that were impossible for me to get a picture of. I wouldn't even mention this if it wasn't for Kishi, so, thanks, I guess?

But actually, before that, there's a scene where Cress stands over Mrs. Adnade's grave and talks to her, telling her he's sorry he never told Mint what happened to her. But DUN DUN DUN
This scene, by the way, is TOTALLY not in the other versions, because I know I would remember this of all things. Partly because, who even buried her? Last we saw, she was in that cell, and there's no way all those evil guys would have done it.

But anyway, jumping back to the timeline of things that happen in every version of this game, right as the members of the party from the past prepare to leave, a bunch of meteors rain down from the sky.
Then somebody else teleports in with time travel.
He explains that in a handful of years Dhaos will return and start fighting humans all over again. And he tried to kill the party just now, right before he arrived. So they quickly prepare to head off again, all together now, and Cress insists that Chester come too.
And so begins an agonizing tsundere bit between these two. Ugh.

Anyway, everyone heads back to Thor, and time travels fifty years forward, to Toltis Village. Which is now called "Miguel Village."
Harrison heads off, saying he'll tell the king in Alvanista that everyone's coming. He asks them all to catch up as soon as possible.

Anyway, with that over, two things.

First, new name suggestions. The alcohol thing seemed pretty popular way back in the first place so are we still going with that? And if so, who should be called what?

Second, there's now five party members, but you can only have four in battle. So who has to sit out? Right now, you can't vote for Cress because it makes things ridiculously hard to take him out at this point in the game.

11-08-2009, 08:38 PM
My vote goes to yanking Klarth out of the party. Arche's always seemed more useful to me. I've got no vote on the party name thing because no matter what the result it, I'll just be confused because I know the characters by their original names.

Also, thanks for skipping over the Thor dungeon bits as much as you have (despite it being one room long). The place is annoying as fuck and I'm glad I didn't have to see the rng mess with you repeatedly. [edit] apparently I can't read!

11-08-2009, 08:46 PM
Cless / Mint / Arche / Chester is the best way to go. Klarth's summons seem tempting, but I remember them getting outclassed hard in the endgame by everyone else while Chester turned into a beast with the Berserk Bow. Plus it's the OTP party, which is funny in its own way.

11-08-2009, 09:01 PM
Klarth is pretty much on par with Arche at the end if you get Aska from Thor (and Origin is pretty good too) or do Moria Gallery (since they'll both get their strongest spells), and the game is really not hard enough to call for min/maxing anyway, but this is the part I tend to put him away for a while still.

11-08-2009, 09:27 PM
I vote for using Klarth.

I like summoning. And making the LPer go the path less traveled.

11-20-2009, 05:11 AM
I used Klarth here since Arche's two best spells (Thunder Blade/Indignation since I didn't get Judgment) aren't so good in this part, but she'll be returning for the next few.

Anyway, I renamed everyone. I'm too lazy to fix my post so I can show all the status screens (I hit the picture cap and had to take out 3) right now, but anyway.
Kahlua (Mint) Adnade
Gin (Chester) Barklight
Whiskey (Arche) Klaine
Yeah I dunno. My new system is probably just going to be having the goofy names in the pictures and using regular names regardless when talking about things.

If I had shown the others, you would notice that I haven't changed Mint's equipment ever (well, I didn't post a picture in the first place, but she's not wearing stuff in any slots after the first two). It really doesn't matter because she doesn't kill things and isn't really any more vulnerable than anyone else either. Or Chester's for that matter, but there's an obvious reason for that. Though as you'll see in the next couple parts, this is the part of the game where equipment (outside of Cress' weapon) actually starts being worth bothering with.

Out front in Euclid is some signs showing what shops you'll find here. I find it funny for some reason, like those things you'll see on the highway that tell you what restaurants and hotels are in the next random small town.

Anyway, if you do stay in the inn, there's a cutscene outside where Chester is practicing.
Chester feels like he really has fallen behind after Cress gained 20 levels in about 10 seconds (from his perspective) and he also goes outside alone to get away from it all. Watching this scene gives him a healthy chunk of experience, taking him from 10 to 18, so that's nice.

In the house in the Sylph valley that used to belong to Arche's father, there's an old guy who sells spellbooks. Ice Tornado we already have, and Stone Blast isn't very good, but oh well!

After walking to Venezzia, we find out the captain isn't willing to risk crossing the seas in these troubled times, and rather than having Arche work some magic *cough* Harrison decides to try a backup plan.
He takes the party to Euclid to meet with the head scientist of some research academy. The guy has built a set of flying machines (conveniently, enough for all the party members except Arche who can fly anyway)
But if there was a summoner who could control Volt, the spirit of COULD IT BE ANY MORE OBVIOUS then they'd have all the juice they need.

Well, thankfully we have one of those, so we just need to find Volt and the scientist gives the party a pact ring. Even more happily, he lives on the continent, in a cave that's suddenly (well, sometime in the past 50 years I guess) appeared adjacent to Morrison's old house.

Inside the house are a bunch of random, crappy NPCs, including a painter here who asks for Klarth's girly magazine that we found on Demitel's docks. WHAT. I have never seen this before.
He hands over a mirror, which when checked in the Items menu, says to look at the options in Customize. I can't figure out what it does.

Volt's cave starts pretty boring but eventually we see a little girl in a red robe being attacked by ninjas. She attempts to boss them around, but they say they'll kill her for disobeying Dhaos. This leaves only one option. She instantly runs them through.

Then she then runs off before saying any more. As the party walks up, she seems to be caught in some kind of electrical coil. And maybe this is some sort of Japanese humor I just don't get but during this part everybody in the party says the same thing in a row. It's annoying and definitely not funny.
After everyone is sure to take their turn smart-ass about a little girl being fried, they tell Cress to save her. And he gets zapped as well.

Also, I'm really starting to hate the writing in this translation. Lines like this barely feel like a step up from this (http://d.hatena.ne.jp/video/niconico/sm8756176).

All the puzzles here have to do with sparking coils with the Sorceror's ring or finding switches through non-obvious pathways. The coils only stay active for a moment, so you have to be quick and light them from as far away as possible to make it through some of the doors.

Then there's a scene where the girl is being attacked by more ninjas and everyone makes Cress run in again.
This fight is kinda impossible in this version because everyone STILL HAS TOO MUCH HEALTH but it doesn't matter if you lose since the next scene just has Suzu going tate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightshade_%28PlayStation_2%29) on their sorry asses. Before running away again, she'll at least oblige the party's requests to find out her name (if not, we'd know she was just a minor character we'd never see again!)

One of the enemies here dropped a Damascus Sword. I didn't remember what that was, so I went to go equip it and
Oh. Well that made things a lot less painful.

Volt lives at the top of a cliff and talks like this. The fight against him is probably the most intense I've had in this version, because he can throw off Thunder Blades faster than anyone else in the party can cast. This makes things kind of messy, and I didn't get any pictures. He starts with two samurai enemies with about 8000 health each and a pathetic zombie. Still, all it takes is getting him to not hit Klarth for a bit; once he gets off a single cast of Luna the other enemies should be about dead, and then Cress can just keep knocking him into recoil until it's over. He drops an Emerald Ring and "Rice." Actually, that was probably one of the samurai carrying that.

On the way back down there's a couple treasure chests down this ledge. You'll have to take my word for it because I took the picture when a text box was covering them. Arche flies down, and after Chester yells to make sure she's not stealing anything, returns with another Emerald Ring and some piece of armor or something.

The Emerald Rings reduce TP consumption by 1/3 and I'm pretty sure they stack, so putting the two on Arche should make her pretty unstoppable. But we'll see next time, because this is where I'm cutting off for now!

11-23-2009, 04:49 AM
I thought of a better name.

Anyway, taking Volt back to the science lab, Klarth summons him to juice up the Rheabirds.
Working as intended.

The scientist explains how to fly, in a rare case of using the controller's buttons to explain how to do something in the game actually maybe kinda making sense in the context of the game. I forgot how to do what I was planning for this part so there's just some random stuff but FIRST let's get the boring cutscenes out of the way, eh?

There's a familiar face at in the Alvanista court. Lundgrom, being an elf, is still alive, and looks the same age...kinda like us! Strange how that works. He explains that since Dhaos is theoretically capable of running away from the party through time forever, they'll need a special weapon to defeat him. The Eternal Sword, created by uniting three artifacts, is supposed to have the power to control time, which would prevent his escape. The three artifacts were split between the three ancient civilizations, and ultimately all lost. So then our mission is clear.

Future destination number 1: the tower of Odin in Freyland

Remember that spot surrounded by volcanoes that I noted in the past? That's where this is.
The bottom floor is normal, but as soon as you head up stairs, the party is faced with BURNING HEAT. Unlike environmental damage in most games, ToP doesn't wuss out here. You won't go down to 1 HP and then stop being hurt by it; it will kill you outright and give a game over. You can open the healing menu every 5 seconds through this place and make it through alright, but there's an alternate solution intended.
The enemies drop these accessories, which protect from ice and water damage. Sound useful? It's not! That's why Rune Bottles exist, though! Using one turns them into a Water Charm, blocking Fire damage instead. You need at least four though if you're doing this. (The other two will die of course, but if they're the characters who aren't in the party there's no particular reason to care)

Meanwhile, Fenrir is on this snowy island that wasn't accessible in the past.
Above its ruins lies the town of Freezekill or Friezkiel or however you want to spell it. The puzzle here is ice-based, naturally. The question is which of these two dungeons we should do first. Vote or die!

Anyway, Freezekill itself is pretty awesome. It has some of the best equipment in the game! Expensive though, which is why we have to sell those mushrooms we got in the Unicorn Forest.
What do you know? This time, I am glad I picked them up! Also, nice text error there.

Even with that, all we can get right now is a LASER SWORD for Cress and a new bow for Chester. No more armor for them today though, unless we want to pawn a Star Robe for 417,000. But that goes on Mint instead. She won't die, but she's at least slightly more likely to be hit than Arche (because she flies) or Klarth (because he's not in the party right now). If anything, this is a more tempting offer:
Sold in a shack on a random, otherwise uninhabited island, the Combo command turns all techs into fighting game motions. The good side is that you can use any move any time in any battle without having to reset your techs. The bad side is you have to remember which move goes with which motion, and also you have to do a hadouken motion even if all you want is a lowly Demon Fang. If you're up to it though, it is fun so I'll probably play with it later. Though, it probably won't affect the reading experience much.

Gnome's Cave:
That room that I pointed out that was empty 150 years ago? Now has a pact ring. We're done here.

Mint gives piano lessons to this little girl if you enter the Mayor's House. As far as I know this does nothing but give you a title if you get all the "Mint teaches Piano" scenes.

Alvanista again:
You need to talk to this girl to get Aska. Let's go!

YAY. This spell is actually better than I remember =o
Asking about Aska appears in the console commands for the Thor central computer now. He explains that the spirit was found and captured, then tested on fruitlessly before being placed in cold storage. Since that means it's still around, the party requests that he let it out.

Like its partner (in Symphonia anyway) Luna, there's no battle against Aska. Klarth just speaks to it for a moment and it agrees to make the pact.

And that's it for today! Voting between the two dungeons will determine what happens the time after next, unless my plans for next time are impossible because I'm trying to do it too early.

11-23-2009, 10:48 AM