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Old 06-30-2014, 09:38 PM
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JBear JBear is offline
Phantastic Oil
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Fredericton, NB, Canada
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 13,334

We just have the standard win/loss conditions again, but this battle is anything but standard. As Ash just said, we need to cross this bridge before it collapses, and he wasn't kidding. At the beginning of each of our turns, the rearmost row of bridge tiles will explode, and anyone standing on those tiles will be killed instantly. This wouldn't be so bad, but, as you can see, there's a lot of red waiting at the other end of the bridge to greet us, so we won't be moving forward any more than strictly necessary.

To be honest, I find that the biggest risk in this battle is forgetting about this mechanic and leaving someone on the rear row. Eagle-eyed viewers may notice a continuity error or two below, as I usually play through these battles a couple of times to get the screenshots I want, and I made this mistake more than once while compiling this update. Note that there are no items on this map, hidden or otherwise (or at least, none that I'm aware of), so we just need to worry about not standing in the explosions and killing everything in our way.

So, uh, how exactly did these brigands tame the forces of Hell? I'd speculate that this is just a colourful name for more mundane bats, but a quick look at that mugshot tells a different story. Maybe they've been sacrificing the corpses of passing merchant trains?

In any case, as you can see, the enemies in this battle are actually one level lower than the previous encounter's golems, but there are more of them, and they're in a much tighter space. The Hell Bats in particular are a real pain, with high mobility, high damage, and one annoying additional mechanic that I'll be highlighting shortly.

I check every enemy unit's range and use my first turn to carefully position my crew just outside their reach so I can swarm in and kill as many as possible on my next turn. This concludes our first lesson of SRPG 101.

Roughly half of the enemy forces rush forward to greet me, with the bats using their superior range to get out well in front. They'll be the first to die.

Huxley's earlier misgivings about these kinds of bridges being unsafe seem pretty ludicrous given that this one is weathering multiple explosions like this and not just crashing into the water in one piece or even so much as catching on fire.

That is a very good question, Diego.

Then maybe you shouldn't waste them so readily by sending them to attack armed strangers?

(You may notice that Eleni's eyes are closed in several of the above screenshots. Eleni is unique among the characters that I've collected thus far in that her battle sprite blinks constantly as part of its idle animation. The blinking headshots already bother me, but this drives me absolutely crazy.)

I think it's cute that the game takes the time to address this. I'd have preferred an army of golems though...

Alright, let's check out what our new Mage can do. I have her sidle up beside one of the bats so that she can provide a support bonus, and then attack the other bat with her only spell, Dark Star. It attacks a single target within four spaces at a cost of 2MP, which means that she can cast it seven times with her current MP pool.

As soon as Elini begins to cast, Clint cowers beneath his shield and Huxley holds up his staff as if to ward something away and begins to grit his teeth. What's wrong, guys?

Uhh... are we sure we're the good guys? That blocky bit of CG in the 2nd screenshot distorts and rotates around the monster while warbly theremin sounds play. You can better see the rest of my party cowering in that last shot. The Hell Bats can take quit a beating though, so this one is left just under half health when the distortion dissipates.
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