The Return of Talking Time

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  #61  
Old 08-28-2016, 07:01 PM
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I did not even consider doing the shrine of the sea god and Yallam first.
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  #62  
Old 08-28-2016, 10:22 PM
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I love that there's somebody named Yepp. Given Camelot's weirdness, I wonder if that name is actually a localization thing from some similar Japanese equivalent, or if it's just strict translation.
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  #63  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:18 PM
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Gonna do a few things this update, but the most important one is that unlike the recommendations of literally every single guide I have ever seen, I will be tackling Gaia Rock before Aqua Rock. You can do the two in any order, really, and Gaia Rock is not appreciably harder in the same way the encounters in Mercury Lighthouse were not appreciably harder than the ones in Kolima Forest. Really, this is just the most efficient way to do it, since that makes the later encounters breeze past or even Avoid-able.



We'll also be doing the trading sequence. This dog wants a drink, and all our curative things like Vials, Elixirs, and Potions all taste like malt liquor mixed with Robitussin.



First, though, the real reason for coming to Gondowan again, the Gabomba Catacombs. It's around this update that I start realizing exactly what kinds of bonus things I want to get, and what ones I really do not give a damn about.



The puzzle element here necessitates the Cyclone Psynergy, leading indirectly to a discovery that using it by these funnel things causes you to warp in.



This leads to a very inconsequential-looking area with a Venus Djinni.

To clarify my above point: I'm going to bonus dungeons to get Djinn, forging stuff, and basically nothing else. I'm not even totally sure I'm going to tackle the bonus bosses of the game, since my strategy for the game basically never unleashes or summons even when it's kind of the best strategy in the game by a mile.



I will, of course, demonstrate all the cool effects I can. Especially this Supercool one.



Gabomba Catacombs doesn't have anything else major to recommend it, aside from these puddles with leaves over them. I didn't try to stand on them before using Cyclone because I totally forgot they exist.



Hey Gabomba how's it kickin'.



Oh NOW you have second doubts, Kraden?



So the basic upshot of this sidequest is pretty simple. We won fair and square (because Akafubu will literally spend the rest of the game sulking in his hut rather than going out and attempting this challenge himself as would take all of maybe five minutes), so we get the sacred magicks of the witch doctors of Kibombo.



But Gabomba still wants his people to, y'know, eventually have a witch doctor worth their salt, so he adds this condition to our agreement.



I can appreciate the sentiment here, but maybe there's a case to be made for, oh I dunno... not forcing Akafubu to be the witch doctor? Yes, he's an Adept and that's important, but he's also really not cut out for it, and it's not like Kibombo would be THAT hard up for Adepts.



And the weird thing is, they put so much emphasis on this. Akafubu NEEDS to be a witch doctor for the sake of their future, and that was something I was legit curious to see the resolution of in Dark Dawn. Guess what never got addressed.



Despite this, we get access to the Tomegathericon, the fan favorite of the three class changing items.



This grants access to the Dark Mage class line. It's fine if you think the Shaman class line needed more status effects, I guess.



Oh, and we get this staff from the Shrine of the Sea God polished up. It's kind of ridiculously good for how early in the Eastern Sea you can get it.



Right, back to Izumo, known for its plentiful Antidote crops.



And by that I mean Gaia Rock.



Time to the actual rock itself: 3 seconds. TAKE THAT, AUSTRALIA.

Most of the rocks in the game are two parts: scaling the exterior of the rock, then going inside and getting the Psynergy of the day.



Gaia Rock is probably one of the better ones in the game, if only because they actually tie in the stuff going on here to actual things outside the world. Air's Rock gets two conversations after you've cleared it, and the other two just say "yeah I guess the neighboring towns might get Psynergy", but Gaia Rock actually factors into Izumo's story.



The Glower Staff is just as impressive-looking as its stats are.



To add to the fun, Jenna gets a new laser.



That said, Gaia Rock still has a lot of problems. First is a minor lore problem: you're going to need Jupiter Psynergy to scale the mountain. It's not a lighthouse, and so isn't held to the same rigorous standards as "YOU MUST BE THIS ELEMENT TO RIDE" but it's still a bit jarring.



MAXIMUM CHARGE!



Second, as with Air's Rock before it, it has a lot of "go the right way first" puzzles. Less than Air's Rock, but they're still there and that's terrible.
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  #64  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:19 PM
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Here's where you need Whirlwind: to blow these vines enough to grab onto them and swing like a junglesman.



Do not do this here.



Okay, so how do the moai statues work for Gaia Rock, then?



Answer: by being assholes that jump out at you while you're trying to hang onto a sheer rock face for dear life. This is more or less trial and error with a mistake sending you back to the start of the climb, and is just as stupid here as ever. The good news is that they usually put one on the route that looks quickest at first, so just take the longer route and you'll be fine.



At the very top is this Dancing Idol, which you have to use Reveal on for some reason.



It's a more cultural version of a keycard, I guess. We'll see how it works in a bit, since we're done with the outside of Gaia Rock now.



You can place the Dancing Doll on these altars to move those giant grinning heads, but first I forgot what's down this path.



Whoa what an actual puzzle? Madness.



And you ruined it. Great. Thanks.

I'll explain this area later because I don't want to deal with it now.



Besides, we have other things to do first.



OOPS I DIDN'T GO THE RIGHT WAY FIRST. WHAT A SILLY MISTAKE TO MAKE.



The platforms here are invisible until you blow leaves onto them. And by invisible, I mean they don't exist.



So here's the puzzle for the area. Back in Izumo, the threat of the day is the tale of Yamata no Orochi. Like, almost exactly so. Kushinada was chosen as a sacrifice to the serpent, and her friend Susa plans to go to the mountain and beat the hell out of the serpent. Since this already exists as a real-world myth, I'm not going to give it any more attention than that.



Our thing here is simple enough: the serpent only enters the village at night, because it fears daylight. So by opening up light to be focused at the spot it's currently resting its head (which it at no point bothers to move), we can weaken it. This lowers its in-battle regeneration from "full heal every turn" to "barely there".



There are four such spots where we can shine light through, and we can reach these spots much faster than we could reach the Wind Stones of Air's Rock.



Why did I even bother uncovering this jackass.



Or this one.



New monster type! But they died before doing anything really interesting.



This is the hardest of the light spots to access by virtue of distance. Simple enough, we can use Cyclone to clear away the shrubs keeping that web anchored. No sign of anything that would've woven the web in the first place. Maybe the serpent did it.



I meant to do that, it was a shortcut.



Nothing else of note happens in lighting up the rest of these.

Compare this update's speed to Air's Rock, by the way. There's just as much nothing going on for most of it, but it's SO MUCH FASTER.



Okay, time for the dumbest part of this dungeon.



This is a Lost Woods puzzle, an archetype I now find more annoying than any sewer level you care to name. And in this instance the way forward is determined by casting Growth on this plant, then taking the direction it points.



Thematically I can see what they were going for. You're beseeching the plants for aid, so to speak. That doesn't change that you're still doing literally the same thing every room...



Or that it costs you 4 PP each time. The most effective way to do this is to give Sheba a Venus Djinni and just have her massive PP pool bear the brunt of it. Guess what I didn't do.
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  #65  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:20 PM
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At least we'll get to see this cool toy soon.



GNAAAAAHR



Oh hey Susa. For the record, he's currently feeding it an inordinate amount of Dragonsbane. I guess the localizers didn't want to go with the original myth's version, where they got the serpent completely smashed on rice wine. I didn't screenshot it, but there's literally dozens of barrels of the stuff offscreen, and the serpent is happily lapping up its fifty-eighth bowl (with its head parked right at the focal point of four beams of light).



Susa leaps in, goes for a dramatic killing blow...



And nothing.



The serpent sneezes at him.



No worries, we'll finish the job. Let me just use two Psy Crystals here BECAUSE THERE'S NO PSYNERGY STONE AT THE HEART OF GAIA ROCK FOR SOME COMPLETELY UNKNOWN REASON, WHERE EVEN WOULD IZUMO GET PSYNERGY FROM



Anyway Serpent time. Not as hard as Saturos was in my run of the first game, but comparable.



With all four light points, the serpent has a meager 30 HP regen to fight against, but it can still use one of its two actions per turn to heal itself.



Mighty Press is its most dangerous move. Not only does it have the raw power to drop a low-health Adept, it has the potential to instakill targets.



It also has a handful of breath weapons, none of which are fire based like what Susa got hit with, or in any way threatening to us.



It also has a set of Venus Psynergy, and... huh. Felix actually bit the dust. That's a BIT of a problem...



Without any Water of Life, I'm forced to unleash a Djinni to revive Felix. Thankfully, it actually works.



Oh no, black ice!



I don't know why I'm bothering with the Unicorn Ring. Possibly because I think my best strategy, defensive-wise, is to keep everyone's health high enough that Mighty Press can't drop them through raw damage.



Evidently I'm pretty good at this.



Needless to say, Sheba's been using her buffs to keep the entire party dealing crazy levels of damage.



Yaaaaaaay



OH BOY I SURE LOVE IT WHEN YOU WIN A FIGHT IN AN RPG AND YOUR OPPONENT ISN'T ACTUALLY LOSING



Thankfully, that's not what's happening here.



They just wanted Susa to get the killing blow. That's fine.



Susa trudges back to Izumo, and the tablet we, in theory, went to this dungeon for in the first place shows up.



Okay, most of the new Psynergy in this game has been pretty weaksauce, but Sand is a legit cool power.



When used over an existing pile of sand, Felix straight up merges with it, letting him tunnel under all manner of obstacles while so buried.



In theory, we've no reason to do that here except for practice.
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  #66  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:22 PM
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But I'm going to do the same thing everyone else did when playing this game and just get this thing we get told about long after we leave this dungeon, because screw that Growth maze thing.



The Cloud Brand is an artifact weapon that actually has a bit of a feeling of myth to it, being a sword associated with this serpent (who, in turn, was formerly a guardian spirit). No wonder Susa took the time to find this thing.



Okay whatever.



Oh, and Susa needs a character trait, so the devs decide that making him aggressively humble was the right thing to do (in sharp defiance of all the villagers describing him as a total wildman). All of our interactions with him involve him saying we should take credit for slaying the serpent. And since I've described one half of the conversation we're about to go into, that makes my job for the other half easier.



News travels quickly, so Izumo is already partying down.



Over here is the village elder, Lady Uzume. She's currently being told of the details of what happened at Gaia Rock, so we don't have to recap it ourselves.



When asked why we even bothered to climb Mt. Mikage Gaia Rock, Sheba puts forth this explanation. This, in turn, leads to another giant "what is Psynergy" conversation among people who REALLY OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER and I already pushed myself to the limit trying to give Garoh this conversation but more different and interesting, so screw it.



Izumo gets earth powers because Gaia Rock and that's literally the entire thing that matters.



This leads to our party giving the explanation that we're actively seeking out these rocks to get new Psynergy types. Camelot continues to completely misunderstand what players in their games might want, because I refuse to believe someone played the entirety of Air's Rock and said "oh man I want to do that again".



We also get into a giant credit-passing contest with Susa where both sides refuse to acknowledge their contributions to taking down the serpent, during which I cannot find it in myself to care about any of these characters at all.



Also Uzume blocks mind-reading, but if there's something we want to know, she'll tell us. This is a lie.



Because what SHE wants is the Dancing Idol we used to move the statues, and in no way does she tell us this while we're in here.



Again, this gets us a Djinni. Specifically, a Mars Djinni. No one asks why a Mars Djinni would be hanging out around Gaia Rock, nor is any mention made of how different Djinni types can drastically alter the Psynergy available to an Adept (which, in turn, would go a long way towards deconstructing or verifying that point about how only Adepts matching the element of a lighthouse can enter).



I don't know why I'm being so harsh on Izumo when I was being favorable for Kibombo, but taking a bit of time to think on it... I think the answer is that Kibombo actually progressed the story. The side stories for the respective towns are about equal in strength, Izumo has more characters, but it also borrows wholesale from an existing myth and Akafubu has more actual character than any of them since he's allowed to have flaws. Meanwhile, in Kibombo we got a very solid lead on Lemuria and time to discuss our group's overall goals, while here we've had the same conversation about Psynergy 101 the series has given about four times over now.



Oh, and the Cloud Brand Susa used is supposed to be our reward, but isn't, because he's bad at this whole "reward" thing.



The only other thing to get in Izumo is within these ruins, accessible by completing the Reveal formation of these rocks. However, the only thing actually in these ruins is a summon, which I have all of zero interest in.



Besides, some of these weapon unleashes are about as flashy as summons anyway.



Let's close off this update by finishing the trading sequence and visiting most of the other garbage islands in the Eastern Sea.



This place is home to a pair of explorers trying to reach Treasure Isle, which is the site of another bonus dungeon I've no interest in.



What I AM interested in is this side puzzle, which also actually counts as a puzzle.



This takes us up to a bird's nest...



Where the bird will trade the Pretty Stone we got from the penguins for a red neckerchief.



We need Sand for the next step of the sequence for reasons.



By giving the neckerchief to this cow...



And by that I mean this cow's... tree?
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  #67  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:23 PM
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We get a jar of milk.



This goes to the thirsty puppy...



Who gives us a turtle they caught.



Finally, we head over here.



Oh hey look, another mention of Poseidon, and an actually concrete one! And if you mind read this guy, he tells you you need a trident to kill him!

Do note that we have one third of a trident and no leads for where to go to repair it.



This turtle wants a buddy, so we'll give it one.



This ends the trading sequence! We have helped a bunch of animals in ways!



As thanks, the turtle will sail us to a secret island spot.



This is, again, a bonus endgame dungeon, and this sigil on the floor is how you can tell. We can't do anything with it YET, but we can explore a BIT of the dungeon anyway.



The encounters are mean, but tolerable.



Oh hey, I forgot these existed.



Turtle boots are terrible, never use them.



There's also a Djinni worth getting...



And a Rusty Staff.



Polishing the mace gets us this Demon Mace, which curiously enough is not cursed...



And the Dracomace, which is a staff. I don't know either.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Actual Plot
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  #68  
Old 09-02-2016, 11:02 AM
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Today we're gonna go grab us another piece of the Trident of Ankohl. I'm also gonna demonstrate the effects of our new weapons. The Demon Mace immediately offends my sensibilities so badly with its meager graphics and Delude effect that I switch back to the statistically-inferior but flavor-wise stronger Comet Mace.



The Dracomace, on the other hand, puts a strong showing with its life-draining Aging Gas.



I considered hitting Aqua Rock in its entirety first, but decided against it. Still, we are going to visit the Apojii Islands, on the eastern edge of the world.



There's not much to discuss about the village of Garapas itself (it's not really named though except in Mind Read conversations, and one assumption is that the localizers did a bad job of catching all instances of the old name). The only important factors here are that it's a nice little tropical village one quick sail away from another elemental rock and sitting directly on the edge of the world.



Getting Sand before coming here is the real reason. We'll never have cause to visit the Apojii Islands again once we get this (except for inn stops before/after tackling Aqua Rock).



Again: we are literally on the edge of the world. Weyard is flat. The locals here mention that the strong currents are very dangerous to swim in, and nobody knows what's beyond the edge of the world because nobody who's fallen there has ever returned. And again, like the nature of the Gabomba, the game just leaves that as a complete mystery, which I rather like.



In any case, by jumping off of the waterfall and entering a secret tunnel, we can reach this Jupiter Djinni.



Not only does this put our Djinn totals in actual balance (only took us literally half the game) it lets Felix upgrade to the Lord class.

One new addition in the Lost Age is the upgrade to physical Psynergy, because it wasn't strong enough already. Ragnarok here gets upgraded to the Odyssey Psynergy. You COULD make the argument that it's meant as a balancer since the PP cost is higher, but I'm not quite that forgiving of the devs.



Right, back to the world.



The actual reason you need to visit Apojii Island rather than just ignoring it outright is this rock here.



The Aqua Stones here, like the Wind Stones of Garoh, amplify Psynergy used on them. (Gaia Rock didn't have anything like that because they had no idea how to make rocks amplify earth power.)



In addition to showing us the route to Aqua Rock...



It pushes back the barrier of moai heads.



Here's our next stop, and arguably a contender against Air's Rock for worst dungeon in the game.



Odyssey: now with more giant exploding swords.



Okay, Ankohl Ruins.



The big problem with Air's Rock, as you all already know by now, is that it consisted entirely of puzzles of "go the right way first". Despite this, and despite stretching the dungeon over an hour's worth of time, the entire rigmarole is fairly linear: cross the mesas to the rock, climb the rock, descend to the base of the rock, done.



Ankohl Ruins invents a bunch of new ways to ruin your day. First off: empty treasure chests for no clearly defined reason. One argument is that it already was raided ages ago, or possibly much more recently by Briggs. My argument against it is "every single other cavern with treasure chests in it".



Second: because of the order I'm tackling things in, the encounters of Ankohl Ruins are actually somewhat threatening. Not enough that I could be wiped at any turn, this is no Wizardry style dungeon crawler, but dangerous enough that I'll usually have to burn a bit of resources to get through this fight, and high-level enough that Avoid doesn't do anything worthwhile.



Finally, the big one: Ankohl Ruins is not ONLY a dungeon full of "go the right way first" puzzles, but it is incredibly mazelike and non-linear. For starters, all of these stone faces can have their center piece pulled out with Move, and there is a room (usually not an important one) behind every single one of them.



This is doubly shameful because this is THE dungeon where we're going to put our Sand power to good use, and most of the time it's completely squandered by being used for pillar-blocked shortcuts. I almost regret not tackling Izumo Ruins, where they actually do put Sand to use.



Oh, and by this point, they've started giving enemies equipment as random drops. Minotaurus there has the Tartarus Axe as a random drop, with an ICC of 7. To refresh your memory, an ICC of 1 gives you a 100% drop chance for your thing, and every increase halves the drop chance. So we'd get roughly a 1% chance of getting the Tartarus Axe from this guy. It's not a bad weapon for where we are, mind you, but again, random drop that WILL be outclassed eventually.



Also, "drop target to 1" attacks are REALLY common here.



Again, Sand is the Psynergy of the day here, letting us get to a bunch of side areas. Ordinarily, I'd say I just want the weapons (this thing) and the forging materials, and then I'm out of here. But Ankohl Ruins isn't so straightforward as Air's Rock that this is an acceptable way to do things.



Now the Thanatos Mace, this I'm okay with replacing the Comet Mace with.
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  #69  
Old 09-02-2016, 11:03 AM
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Most of the puzzles center around assembling these giant stone faces so they can do assorted things.



For example, spraying a bunch of sand everywhere.



See? Thanatos Mace is totally worth it. And as the KALIMA implies, it can totally instakill.



See what I mean? We can't move the pillar from this side, so if we want that treasure (no) we have to go the right way first.



But by the time I actually get over there, I want literally nothing to do with it.



This room's a kind of novel one, if not particularly challenging. Once you hit that switch, the statue starts depositing sand everywhere.



Your goal is to hit the switch in the center before it gets swallowed by sand to open the door. Unfortunately, they do nothing whatsoever to make this more challenging.



Your ultimate goal for the area is to assemble this statue.



Oh hey an enemy that defends on occasion and therefore ought to die last. That's cool I guess.



I've already given most of what Ankohl Ruins can do for us in terms of screenshots. Lots of elements like this to waste your time exist, but very few that are actually worth the trouble of highlighting.



Why no, this isn't going to get old at all.



Oh hey, final Frost line thing.



It was not worth it.



Hooray, upgraded Gaia.



Oh right, I haven't actually been keeping up on buying armor for the crew. The Muni Robe provides some slight HP regen, so that's nice.



One more statue to assemble, seems.



Aaaaaargh



AAAAAAAARGH



AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH



AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH



AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAARGH



Five years later, we get a forging material. Bit stronger than Star Dust. We'll see what we get from it next update.



The sand in this room fills faster and the switch is further. It's still not enough.



Finally got that done.



Instead of spitting sand, this statue's eyes light up.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:07 AM
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When we finally return after a week's voyage to this area, it tries to push off into the void.



Time to reach an actually-interesting use of Sand in the dungeon where you do nothing but cast Sand: NaN



Our reward is finally being able to assemble the face in the earlier area.



Which creates a sandfall we can ascend by merging with it, just salmon do in real life.



HAHA I AM BOTH A SALTWATER AND A FRESHWATER FISH



A few more instances of this...



Take THAT, Thamiel!



I'm going to stop in at Champa to rest at the inn, and that'll be it for this update, because the Ankohl Ruins are exhausting.



Graverobbing is the only actual treasure in Champa. Once again, I'll do the bulletpoint thing for the stuff here.



But not before this screenshot. Champa is kind of a really pretty place.
  • As Briggs said earlier, the town is starving to death since Poseidon's revival has warmed the seas too much for fish to survive.
  • As I said earlier, the only people who can actually make it to Champa from the mainland are the monks of Fuchin Temple, and all they bring is philosophy, which doesn't keep the belly full.
  • They also attempted trading with an island to the east (presumably they mean Izumo, but they didn't mention Champa at all) but without any fish to trade, they're running out of provisions on that front too.
  • The slightly-less-poor citizens get to live in the cliffside caves, as tradition holds that the families of sailors can look out to sea from the cliffs, awaiting the sailors' return. There's a healthy amount of enmity between the people living in raft-tents and the people living in caves.
  • The Ankohl Ruins were originally built by the ancestors of Champa. They were renowned for their connection to the earth (they are right between Gaia Rock and Venus Lighthouse, after all) and their incredible metalwork.
  • Briggs' grandmother, Obaba, is the only person who has any of the Ankohl skills to this day (and could therefore actually repair our trident once we get the last piece). However, she refuses to talk to anyone until Briggs returns.
  • She's not the only one waiting: the entire town is holding their breath that Briggs returns and brings enough food to save Champa.
  • The only other person who's demonstrated any kind of Adept powers is Eoleo, Briggs' son. But he's maybe two years old right now.
  • People have been asking around here for a guy named Felix. That's probably not a problem, probably.



Right now there's two non-inn things we can do here. Remember Feizhi from the first game? No? Me neither.



Why yes, we definitely saved this Ulmuch character, and not someone by the name of Hsu.



Kraden teases Feizhi about having a crush on Isaac because he was being too likable of a character, and Feizhi leaves this bracelet-shaped ring and asks us to give it to Isaac when we see him.



I'm not sure why she thought Felix was Isaac at first. The two look nothing alike.



The other thing happens after we're ready to leave Champa.



And this one's actually kind of important.



Quote:
<Felix> Where have you been, Alex? You all but vanished after we met you at Alhafra!
<Alex> I could ask the same of you. You're fortunate that I can teleport in a pinch, because most people wouldn't take well to being stranded alone by their so-called allies.
<Jenna> Don't even try to pull that! YOU were the one who left US, after suggesting that you take me hostage!
<Alex> Mere details. The important part is that we've caught up with one another, and now we have boats, so we can properly sail to the Western Sea.
<Piers> I'm sorry, but who are you again?
<Alex> Don't you remember? I'm the first person who offered to break you out of your prison cell back in Madra, Piers. My name is Alex.
<Piers> ...Oh, yes. You suggested blowing up the prison.
<Alex> You have to admit, it would be an effective solution.
<Felix> Look, Alex, just leave it be. We're still going to work on lighting the lighthouses, and if you're really going to treat us all so poorly, we can do it just fine without you.


Yep, Alex and Karst ARE working together.



Quote:
<Alex> Thankfully, this honest Proxian explorer offered to give me a ride to where I needed to go. I simply suggested to her that she find out what happened to her sister.
<Karst> If it wasn't for Alex, I wouldn't have even found out about Isaac.
<Kraden> But if that's the case... Why wouldn't you just tell her in the first place that Menardi was dead, Alex? Why leave the burden of that news on us? What's even going on here?


Hello, new friend.



Quote:
<Agatio> Name's Agatio. So let's see... already know Felix, the girls are Jenna and Sheba, the old guy's Kraden? You look like a bunch of weaklings to me.
<Jenna> Excuse me?
<Felix> Hello again, Agatio. I'm guessing you set out with Karst to back up Saturos and Menardi?
<Agatio> You know as well as I do that we have to save Prox, Felix.
<Alex> It's rather fortunate for everyone here that I met up with these two when I did. I was just about to borrow Piers' ship when you returned from Kibombo.
<Piers> You were going to steal my boat? You're nothing but a common criminal.
<Alex> Please, let's all get along nicely here.


Quote:
<Alex> Of course, Karst. Well, as you all know, in order to light the lighthouses, you need both the Elemental Stars and an Adept matching the element of the lighthouse. Felix has the Jupiter Star and a Jupiter Adept in tow--
<Felix> Don't talk about Sheba like she's just a key!
<Alex> ...Of course, I apologize. In any event, you have what you need to access Jupiter Lighthouse, which neither I nor my new companions can do.
<Agatio> What of the Mars Star? We could go light Mars Lighthouse while they're doing that.
<Alex> Slightly trickier. I don't suppose you got it from Isaac and his crew, did you?
<Felix> ...No, we haven't even seen them lately.
<Karst> Perfect. I'll just grab it off of his dead body, then.
<Alex> That would be another reason why Felix's company is valuable to me. To us, rather. None here would doubt your skill as warriors--
<Agatio> Not for long, anyway.
<Alex> But from our travels together, I've seen that Felix prefers a somewhat... gentler approach to these sorts of things.
<Karst> Meaning?


Quote:
<Karst> Terrorize? What kind of way is that to talk about your allies?
<Jenna> You were talking about killing someone in cold blood not two seconds ago!
<Karst> Do we need to explain this again? Because I'm not going to be happy until my sister's murderer is DEAD!
<Agatio> She's right. We need to save Prox at any cost.
<Sheba> We're going to light Jupiter Lighthouse, though! What do you even gain from trying to bully us like this?
<Alex> Well, I hate to be rude... but you must admit, it's been a long time since Venus Lighthouse was lit, and no progress has been made there.


They would also need the Shaman's Rod. This does not get mentioned anywhere ever. We still have it, of course, and I can see why they don't bother mentioning it given the other elements at play here, but it's still important.

Quote:
<Felix> You stay away from Sheba.
<Agatio> Are you threatening me, pipsqueak?
<Felix> No more than you're threatening us. But if you want a Jupiter Adept so badly, go find one and ask them, NICELY, to join your cause.
<Alex> Now, now. The crux of the problem is that there AREN'T any Jupiter Adepts we could ask. You may have noticed a number of civilizations that bear lineages of Adepts around, yes?
<Kraden> Of course. For example, you hail from Imil, whose citizens gain Mercury Psynergy from the lighthouse, even if dormant.
<Alex> Correct. The problem is that there is no known civilization of Adepts that have Jupiter Psynergy, or if they do, it's largely vestigial. Sheba here is the only person we know who stands a chance of entering Jupiter Lighthouse.
<Karst> So why aren't we just taking the girl and the Star and getting it done ourselves?


Quote:
<Alex> Your sister, may she rest in peace, and her companion got results, true. But they burned a great many bridges in the process. I'd much rather we all stay as allies, even if we don't really personally get along. My main reason for bringing you all together here is just to ensure Felix hasn't forgotten the actual mission he's been entrusted with.
<Karst> Whose side are you even on, Alex?
<Alex> There's only one side here, Karst. I just want to see the lighthouses lit as much as any of you, and I feel like cooperation is the best way we can accomplish this. That said, it only works as cooperation if everyone does their part. So, Felix... if you don't start lighting Jupiter Lighthouse post-haste, I'll simply have to let Karst and Agatio pick up the slack.
<Jenna> And while we do that, you'll just go on your merry way to kill Isaac? And you and Agatio are both okay with letting someone die just because he was trying to protect his friends and family?
<Agatio> Well...
<Karst> You have your methods. We have ours. The important part is that it gets done. Right, Agatio?
<Agatio> ...Right.
<Felix> Fine, you've made your point. Now leave us alone. We're going to head to Jupiter Lighthouse as soon as we can.

Last edited by Kalir; 12-16-2016 at 08:50 PM.
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  #71  
Old 09-02-2016, 11:09 AM
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Right, concluding this. Hey, look, we have actual antagonists pushing us towards an actual goal!

Agatio is clearly meant to complete the duo to mirror the original Saturos/Menardi team, but as a villain he doesn't... really get that much definition. He's probably meant to be a hulking bruiser who thinks slowly and acts quickly, especially since he's one of the few characters in the series who fights barehanded. But again: he doesn't need to be our enemy at all! We have literally the same goals in the original writing, and the only thing setting us apart here with my rewrite is the crew's indecisiveness that lighting the lighthouses is the right thing to do. The only crime he commits is a crime of association: Karst has her quest for revenge and Alex is scheming away on whatever else. So, with a bit of inspiration from dtsund, I'm going to be taking Agatio in a bit of a different direction from his original writing.



That aside: this scene is honestly really overall effective for setting up the tone from the last game. One wonders why they didn't put the axe of Karst and Agatio over our heads earlier, or give Alex more reason to actually keep us under the gun, but better late than never. And tying Karst into having actual side goals we disagree with, outside of our shared mission, is a really good way of ensuring we, as the player, don't just ask why they'd join our party.



This also gets a player new to the series (THIS DOES OCCASIONALLY HAPPEN) to actually take the time and realize that yes, Alex is actually a villain. For all his talk about seeing Alchemy restored and his unwillingness to get his hands dirty, he's still totally happy with bringing in some angry mercenaries in to do some friendly, completely non-violent motivational speeches.

There's another minor conversation with Alex here, but I'm cutting it, because the info he gives here has a much better point we could use it at.



Quote:
<Piers> I'm glad I didn't take his offer back in prison. I wanted to get out, but if it meant associating with a character like that...
<Felix> And with the way they were acting, Mars Lighthouse is going to be lit whether we like it or not.
<Jenna> Are we going to be able to save Isaac in time?
<Kraden> I think the stakes are too high to worry about Isaac, much as it pains me to say. Now more than ever, it's imperative we get to Lemuria and find out more.
<Sheba> Just when I thought I'd be free for once in my life, this has to happen again. ...Thank you for protecting me, Felix.
<Felix> Of course, Sheba. So we only need to rebuild the Trident, correct?
<Kraden> Yes. And I have a bit of a working theory in mind about exactly how much the lighthouses' seal have contributed to the state of the world, given our travels.
<Jenna> What do you mean?
<Kraden> It'd take too long to explain, and I don't want to expound on it too much before we reach Lemuria. But I'm sure Piers has an idea of what I mean.


They don't really explain WHAT this theory is, despite Jenna and Sheba begging for Kraden to tell us (although he mentions having told Felix, and needless to say that never happened). But again, I want to just let the existing conversation around the villains just stand on its own for a while. I'm sure you're all okay with that.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Cliffs of Once Again Slightly Recolored Insanity
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  #72  
Old 09-02-2016, 02:49 PM
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Ankohl Ruins invents a bunch of new ways to ruin your day. First off: empty treasure chests for no clearly defined reason.
That's only new to the Golden Sun series. But it's still horrible and irritating.
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  #73  
Old 09-04-2016, 10:23 AM
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Fun fact: I usually have upwards of 130 screenshots at the end of each play session, but only upload about 80 or so when I do post. Anyway here's Aqua Rock.



Aqua Rock might be even better than Gaia Rock even if it's one of the most distant from actual plot points, solely because the actual gameplay of its layout is interesting.



For example, rather than moai heads jumping out of the walls to push us off, they instead cause waterfalls (with a brief pause) to cascade down the sides of Aqua Rock. All you need to climb past is a bit of good timing.



Navigating the exterior isn't just a straight climb like it is for the other rocks either: you're going up and down, using or stopping waterfalls as you go.



Can't do anything here. Yet.



Here's what the encounters for Aqua Rock are: completely ignorable via repeat casting Avoid. Ankohl Ruins paid off.



Completely safe methods of mountain traversal.



The moai here are activated via Douse, of course, as are the Aqua Stones. The effects of the latter vary sharply from stone to stone, though.



For example, here?



We reverse the flow of the waterfall behind it, meaning we can use another completely safe method of mountain traversal to head upwards.



Again, Aqua Rock is nothing revolutionary. In any other game it'd be a blip on the map. But by the standards of Golden Sun, it's honestly pretty good!



We CAN enter the rock from outside early, but it doesn't lead anywhere helpful on account of the pool of water.



Oh right I forgot I had this thing. BRB LOL



Okay that's not bad. Don't know why a vest can heal, but eh.



Back to our vertical ascension.



Pushing these blue rocks that probably aren't ice on account of the established tropical setting.



Gonna get a thing.



The downside of doing Aqua Rock so late is that the weapons are all junk here. I'm selling this thing. It has a stupid unleash anyway.



Right, let's go inside, shall we?



That last Aqua Stone creates a whirlpool...



Which deposits us at the interior of Aqua Rock.



Remember how long it took to get to the interior of Air's Rock? Remember how Gaia Rock didn't have any Psynergy Stones whatsoever?



Oh good, air pressure puzzles again. And you were doing so well, too.



Inside, the Aqua Stones are usually used to create light bridges across water.

I personally think the Mercury Lighthouse version of water-walking was cleverer, and would like to see it repeated here, but this isn't too bad. And again, Aqua Rock is a much more reasonable dungeon than either of its companions so far.



Even if they're reusing these puzzles. You could be charitable and say that's high-pressure waterfall mist or something.
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:25 AM
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Oh hey, actual puzzle. We need to set up the path so that when we fill the pool and activate the Aqua Stone, we can create a light bridge to the end.



Not really Portal-tier stuff here, but still, they are trying.



And Aqua Rock also has a Psynergy Stone within it.

Do note that this should mean the people of Apojii Islands would have access to Mercury Psynergy. There is zero mention of this ever occurring, or of anyone from Apojii Islands actually doing a thing. (This also means we don't get the conversation from Xian, Kandorean Temple, or Izumo yet again, so that's nice.)



Already made everything worth making with this, selling it.



The puzzle here is simple: do you want a treasure? Push that non-ice blue rock over to weigh down one of the tiles.



Weighing down the right one lets you reach the treasure. Leaving the room causes the water from the moai to inexplicably drain, which is fine.



I think it helps that Aqua Rock is a dungeon where I went the right way first, but even so it seems far less aggravating than the ones before (or after) it.



There's our goal, but it's a teensy bit inaccessible right now. Exploring!



This puzzle isn't very hard either. Take a bit of time before scrolling down, if you will, to solve it yourself.



Good work, have a cookie.



Once we find the Plot Key, we can drop it here to grant access to the inner sanctum of the area.



This is also the first rock to hold a Djinni, but with that moai waterfall we can't gain nearly enough headway to get to it.



Whoa, wait, Mimics not immediately next to the dungeon entrance? What? Cool!



Right, here we are. With this...



We can part the waterfall ahead of us to get into here.



Time to get Piers a new move!



That being Parch.



As we do, the ditch behind us floods, blocking our path!



My only problem with Parch is that while I CAN see it being a reasonable Mercury power, I'm curious as to why it's not a Mars power instead. Remember, almost the only thing Mars adepts can do is fire and explosions. Venus Adepts can cause earthquakes, accelerate plant life, and have telekinesis. Mercury can control water and ice, as well as heal all diseases and injuries. Jupiter Adepts can control the weather, see the future and the invisible, and are sometimes werewolves. Mars really gets the short straw here. (Worse, Mars Adepts can't even put out the fires they make, as established in Dark Dawn.)



Parch has a limitation preventing us from being Blue Laser: it only works on standing water, not active bodies like lakes or rivers. Still, it's a neat enough ability to give the player.



Using it, we can retrieve this Rusty Sword...



And this Mercury Djinni.



This upgrades Piers to Captain, and upgrades Diamond Dust to Diamond Berg.



Unfortunately, the sword is vastly outclassed by our other gear at the moment.



Right, time to burn all the goodwill from Aqua Rock. This continent here is Tundaria. The only place we can actually land on it is the eastmost penninsula. We have two goals here.
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  #75  
Old 09-04-2016, 10:27 AM
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Our first is by walking literally across the continent bigger than Osenia.



I hate you, die the most.



Magister rank! This grants us literally nothing!



Our actual goal is Tundaria Tower. This is a mandatory location to go to for the plot. The entire continent has no features on it whatsoever aside from this tower. THIS IS NOT GOOD DESIGN.



Doubly so because if you don't have Parch, you cannot do anything at all here.



So you go here first without Parch, see this ice crystal, and then get to backtrack across only the longest continent in the game, just to come back in ten years.



We have Parch, though. Let's go exploring.



Can't get these yet, give it a bit.



Most of Tundaria Tower's puzzles are these ice-sliding ones, which I for one quite like.



It still commits the usual Golden Sun design sin of "go the right way first" a few times, mind you, but on the whole it's not too bad.



This one seems kind of silly. It's a callback to the puzzle back in Yampi Desert for the Djinn, except you can see the entire board, so to speak, from the word go. You can also just really easily skip the puzzle, or leave the room and reset if you get it wrong. I'm not complaining about the latter at all, of course.



That's one thing that's kind of honestly nice about Golden Sun's puzzles: no single one should wall you for so long that you have to give up going to that area. On the other hand, the puzzles here kind of pale compared to any other game that has puzzles whatsoever.



Hexagon. Reveal.



Hey, that's not a trident!



It is, however, a bonus prize for Jenna since we won't be reaching Magma Rock for a few more updates.



Course, you could equip it to anyone, but eh.



Burst does exactly what you think it does: blow up cracked things. It is in no way similar to the Blast line of Psynergy and cannot be used in combat. (Dark Dawn combines this functionality with the Pound Psynergy, caling the combo Crush.)



With this, we can now retrieve the Center Prong at the base of the tower, but we have other things to do first.



Check it. An actual ice-sliding puzzle. And because it is an actual puzzle, this is one of the few things on GameFAQs with an actual map file. (Things that do not have map files: Ankohl Ruins, Air's Rock. Things that do: that one puzzle in Aqua Rock earlier, the recircuiting of the Gabomba Statue, a multi-floor puzzle in Jupiter Lighthouse.)



GET BODYSLAMMED, KIBBLES AND BITS



Oh right, I got new Psynergy.



Serpent Fume is pretty ineffective here, obviously, but against most enemies (and assuming Jenna isn't rocking the Glower Staff) it's pretty formidable.



Reflux upgrades Jenna to Fire Master, and puts us at the cap for Djinn we can obtain before Lemuria. So that's nice.



Diamond Berg is pretty rad. Not many games let you drop a glacier on people and then carve through it to mess up the dude inside.



All right, we're happy! We have all three prongs of the trident! Now we just need to find a person to forge it for us.
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  #76  
Old 09-04-2016, 10:28 AM
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Also gonna loot the treasure here.



The Lightning Sword is pretty respectable, even if it only causes Delude with its status effect.



OH BOY. TIME TO BACKTRACK.



How exactly do you screenshot a lightning flash? Well, here's your answer.



The Sylph Feather makes us this generally stylish and highly improbable hat.



Okay, we gotta wrap this up before we go any further. What, you thought that just because we got a way cooler boat of our own we'd be off the hook for fixing this one? Haha you are a silly person.



May as well do this now, even though we've passed the point where its rewards would be useful.



Have fun I guess.



By feeding this starving child, we are granted access to the mayor's treasure caves, under the (never punished) condition that we touch nothing.



Dude, the tidal wave was like a month ago. How bad is Nottingham even paying you and why are you still putting up with it?



Don't bother answering, I'm stealing stuff.



Again, the earliest you can get this is when you get the Tremor Bit from Madra, i.e. after you get Reveal. So it is, fittingly, useless garbage to us now.



Anyway, Briggs is still in jail here.



Being visited by the family. That there's Eoleo, who you could easily complete the game without ever seeing once. He is, of course, the only playable character in Dark Dawn to be seen this early in the series. (Note: Dark Dawn takes place 30 years after this game's conclusion. Our party in this game is a bunch of teens with attitude. I don't know what the overall age in the sequel is, but Eoleo has some actual years behind him.)



Some minor attempts at comedy are made here, but the interesting part...



Is that Eoleo knows Psynergy. We have already covered this, but this is the first area where it gets fully demonstrated.



When Briggs scolds him for trying to break him out, Eoleo starts doing that thing babies do.



Anyway that will surely not cause any problems for us later down the road.



Remember, Briggs doesn't really hold any grudges against us. We beat him fair and square, and he was only doing this whole piracy thing to save Champa. We made a deal with him and he held his end up, for which Piers ought to be grateful (and mention it), but it doesn't happen.



Meanwhile, Mind Read reveals that Eoleo and Chaucha are both planning to use Eoleo's Psynergy to break Briggs out of prison. Can't blame 'em, of course, and they drop no hints that they intend to do this when talking. They do, at least, reveal that Eoleo got his Psynergy by being hit by rocks from the Mt. Aleph eruption (which answers my question of why Eoleo got Mars Psynergy when he's next to at least three Venus-aligned locations).



Clearly there are no problems with me clearing the rock off the mast!



With that problem solved, the Alhafran townsfolk realize they can handle the rest themselves easily.



Chaucha and Eoleo realize they're likely going to lose their temporary home and go to kickstart their escape plan.



And Nottingham, ever the skeptic, rolls in to inspect the boat himself.



Oh no. How dare he attempt to get the thing he paid for.
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  #77  
Old 09-04-2016, 10:30 AM
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Since we can all already basically see how this is gonna end, let's speed things up. Nottingham invites our crew to his manor for tea and negotiations, now that he has his very own totally-not-diplomatically-stolen sailing ship.



Of course, our team wasn't born yesterday, and no amount of lip-service from Nottingham can fix that.



YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, YOU'RE NOT MY REAL ECON PROFESSOR



Flash forward through his soliloquy about how, with our help, he could become a trading goliath across the Eastern Sea.



What. Why does your stock-sprite villager assistant get a name BUT YOU DON'T



Act surprised, guys.



I'm pretty sure the implication here is that Eoleo blew up the wall somehow. Which means Eoleo did in five minutes what took Jenna the entire game so far and a piece of jewelry to learn how to do.



At least there's some good news, which could in no way be beneficial to an escaped convict!



I think your silver tongue might be a cheap imitation.



So, this is what you're kind of pushed into doing, despite not really having a reason to do so.

Again, if anything, the party ought to be grateful to Briggs, since he helped to exonerate Piers and agreed to return the ship to Madra. Even if he does steal the ship from Alhafra, it's still on average better for Madra that it's in his hands instead of Nottingham's, since Briggs is a relatively honest man and would probably return the ship once he got back to Champa and got some ships from his homeland. And, of course, our actual goal for right now should be getting to Lemuria or lighting the lighthouses, neither of which Briggs stands in the way of in any fashion.



Eh, may as well.



We are railroaded into doing this by people trying to find Briggs, which is acceptable, sort of, I guess.



Again, act surprised.



This is technically correct. I mean, he owes it to Madra, as established, but it IS technically correct.



Anyway, how will Briggs react to seeing us?



By being afraid that we'll try to catch and imprison him.

Again, we have no reason to do this ourselves aside from MAYBE helping Madra, and are neutral leaning-grateful towards Briggs. And at this point, Briggs has no idea that we have a boat, no reason to assume we'd pursue him to Champa, and was literally saying five minutes ago that he wished we'd met under different circumstances.



Once he realizes that he's safe from us, though, he switches to taunting us.



With utmost maturity.

This would make a lot more sense if we weren't basically friendly acquaintances.



Also Nottingham is throwing a tantrum at the loss of that boat he swindled from Madra.



Why? We agreed to nothing and assisted with the repairs so you could get off your ass and return the boat to Madra.



Don't act surprised.

Anyway, what do we do next? Um... clearly we go visit Champa to give Briggs what-for! I guess??? That'll get us to Lemuria for SURE.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Sea of Time
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:20 PM
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Torzelbaum Torzelbaum is offline
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The Sylph Feather makes us this generally stylish and highly improbable hat.
Improbable but darn useful. A hat that resists being blown off! That would be great. If I wore hats...
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:45 PM
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Okay, the arc for Alhafra and Madra is effectively concluded. Here's the best summary of Alhafra post-theft. Do note that Nottingham quite likely never publicized that Madra was, for all intents and purposes, the legal owner of the boat.



Here's a minor side thing you get if you transfer data from the first game where Crossbone Isle was cleared.



We don't get a reward for this, of course, because this was all Isaac's doing, not Felix's. Why bother rewarding someone completely unrelated to the person who earned the reward, am I right?



On the other hand, Isaac's a pirate king now. That's pretty cool.



These guys decide to go find and swear fealty to Isaac. They do not join our party here or ever, nor does Felix or his party show any sign that they know where to find Isaac.



Anyway Nottingham wants nothing to do with us. Fine by me.



Madra changes literally not one whit now that their boat has been double-stolen. No extra conversations or anything, it's exactly the same as it was upon Piers' return and the Karst intro. Thanks, guys, all that time we spent with these guys really meant a lot. In theory, I could write a conversation about them bringing the bad news and the mayors learning to see a silver lining, perhaps opening trade relations with Kibombo led by Akafubu, who starts trying to live up to Oeia's standards. But no, I already have far too much to rewrite this update.



For starters: literally the entire ending of the Briggs arc.



Like, okay, he came back to Champa filthy rich and now they're all elated, if perhaps not taking any lessons from their time in destitution.



The problem is, once again, that Briggs assumes Felix is here to bring him back to Alhafra. I've beaten this drum PLENTY last update, but again, that's not anywhere near what we care about doing right now. So instead, let's have a conversation or two.

Quote:
<Felix> Easy. We were actually going to thank you.
<Briggs> Wait, what?
<Piers> If you hadn't kept your word, I'd still be imprisoned back in Madra.
<Briggs> Oh! Don't scare me like that, I thought you'd come all this way to drag me back in chains.
<Jenna> Well, you DID steal a boat you promised to Madra.
<Briggs> Like I'd be caught dead in that Alhafran prison a day longer! Don't worry, I'm intending to return this ship to Madra as soon as I can. And that'll be sooner than you'd think!
<Jenna> Oh, really.
<Briggs> True story! We were a bit off course when we headed back to Champa, and we landed on an uncharted island full of treasure! We're swimming in precious gems!
<Sheba> That's really lucky of you.
<Briggs> It's all about karma in the end, y'know? On that note, if you lot need any kind of help on your journey, I'll be happy to help!
<Kraden> Well, since you're offering... we're looking into a relic called the Trident of Ankohl. Have you heard anything about that in your travels?
<Briggs> My travels, no... but my grandmother might've mentioned that in some of her stories. If you want to meet her, just follow me!


That would be the REASONABLE thing to expect here. Instead, Briggs assumes you're here to take him and the boat back to Alhafra and flees towards the top of the cliffs in a panic, without letting you say a word. So everyone in the cliffs assumes you're some kind of jackass vigilante, when there's no real reason for us to do this. (You don't fight people in here, as you might in Lunpa Fortress.)



Speeding up. Remember Obaba here?

Quote:
<Obaba> Is this boy the "mighty warrior" you mentioned, Briggs?
<Briggs> I told you he didn't look like much, Grandma.
<Obaba> Oh, all right. Hello, Felix. My name is Obaba. I heard you had some questions about Ankohl?
<Felix> Yes, actually. We've found these prongs, see--
<Obaba> What?! How did you get those?
<Sheba> We found them all across the Eastern Sea while exploring.
<Obaba> Those are sacred Ankohl artifacts. Give them to me and leave at once.
<Briggs> Whoa, hold on, Grandma!
<Obaba> Hush, Briggs.
<Sheba> We can't give them up yet, we need them fixed!
<Obaba> They're not yours to bear!
<Felix> Look, it'll take too long to explain, but if we don't get these fixed--


Unfortunately, this conflict here is incredibly arbitrary and needless any way you slice it. In the original, Briggs asks Obaba to protect him from these mean people who are going to take him away and make Eoleo sad, so she sends a lava lizard at us because she can't bear her great-grandson being sad. This conflict is solved, after we defeat this lizard, by us just talking for a bit.



I feel like "being incredibly protective of the ancient artifacts of her people, which she is the last keeper of the traditions of" is perhaps a slightly better motivator.



Y'know, slightly better motivation for having a lava lizard on our face than "these people aren't saying words and my grandson is worried they'll take him away". This is not "silent protagonist" us not saying words, by the way: this entire conflict is effortlessly defused after the fight by us saying three (3) textboxes.



Oh well, here's an Avimander.



The Avimander exclusively uses Mars attacks, most of which are relatively non-threatening.



Star Mine packs enough of a kick to be dangerous, and hits a wide area, though.



Diamond Berg is by far our best offensive move.



The Avimander can also increase its defense, which is a legitimate problem, but not a huge one.



So... Hard Mode doesn't appear to be actually doing much of anything for the actual challenge level of the game. Apparently it's just a multiplier applied to all enemy stats. Which means I might run out of PP for fights and the like, but am still doing the same tactics, just more so.



My dudes might actually die here or there, true, but I have enough resources that I can revive them at this stage now.



That said, I am stretching my resources a little more than I otherwise would, with this fancy Spirit Ring.



Not a very hard fight, Hard Mode or no.



Squished lizard.
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  #80  
Old 09-05-2016, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
<Briggs> I told you, Grandma! They've got powers like Eoleo!
<Obaba> All you said is that his name is Felix and he's a "mighty warrior".
<Felix> He's right, though. We have Psynergy, a power derived from the four elements.
<Obaba> Really? Hm... some old Ankohl legends mentioned the powers of the elements.
<Piers> Rest assured, we have no means of stealing your people's artifact. We just need to borrow it for a bit.
<Sheba> Unlike your grandson over there, we're not pirates.


Quote:
<Briggs> Oh no.
<Jenna> Oh, did you... not know already?
<Sheba> Whoops.
<Briggs> Grandma, I can explain...
<Obaba> No, it all makes sense now. The jewels, the food, your long absence... you didn't just miraculously find all of these things!
<Briggs> I did! Well, some of it, at least...
<Obaba> You expect me to believe that?


whyyyyyy is this what the writers think we'd be doing



Right, let's get this conflict wrapped up.

Quote:
<Briggs> Chaucha!
<Chaucha> Look around you, Obaba. The seas have warmed too much to fish, and the people of Champa are starving and dying. Briggs wouldn't have done anything as vile as piracy if there was any other way out of this.
<Obaba> That doesn't mean you should spread our misery among other innocent people!
<Briggs> We repaid them, though! We discovered an island, uninhabited, northeast of here. And on that island was a stockpile of treasures! We were about to set off with much of the treasure we had left, to repay Madra and Daila in full.
<Obaba> And the boat? A boat like that doesn't just up and get bought.
<Briggs> ...No, we did steal the boat. That I can't defend.
<Piers> We can, though. The boat was in the possession of the mayor of Alhafra when Briggs captured it, and that mayor owed the boat to Madra.
<Sheba> But he was trying to use the repairs as a means to extort more money from Madra. He wasn't going to return it now or ever!
<Briggs> Huh. I did hear that Alhafra got the boat while I was in their prison, but I didn't hear that Nottingham had swindled it from Madra. That settles it, then: when we sail out to Madra, I'll give them back their boat and return in a Cham boat!
<Chaucha> There, you see? Not only is he going to make amends for his piracy, he's going out of his way to fix the wrongdoings of others!
<Obaba> ...All right, then. But that boat had better be in perfect condition when you return it, you hear? I don't want the mayor of Madra thinking we're all slobs. And mind your manners when talking to him, too!
<Briggs> Yes, Grandma.


Okay, better start, right? (And not really edited too much in this scene from the original, honestly.)



Anyway, moving along.

Quote:
<Obaba> So... you want the Trident of Ankohl repaired, correct?
<Felix> Right. We need it to get past Poseidon, to get to Lemuria.
<Obaba> Lemuria? You're off chasing fables, then?
<Piers> It's a long story. But from the sounds of it, Poseidon has awakened, and the Trident of Ankohl is necessary to defeat them.
<Obaba> Hm... if that's true, that would go a long way towards explaining the warming waters. If you defeat Poseidon, maybe that will help, and Champa can go back to its old ways without all this piracy nonsense.
<Sheba> That sounds great. Here's the pieces we've found.


One minor problem is that you have no real reason to expect Obaba, out of all the people in the Eastern Sea, to reforge the Trident for you. The only person who calls it the Trident of Ankohl is Obaba herself, and even then only after you've brought her parts. Only one of the pieces is found in an Ankohl-related place (and it's the hardest of the locations, too) and there's no reason to expect the forging to happen there as opposed to, say, Daila. The person who does most of the forging stuff in this game is an easily-missed NPC in an easily-missed corner of the world, and they won't even touch the thing.



The good news is that if you have any Trident pieces at all, talking to Obaba immediately drops one in front of her, rather than making you use the item screen like what happens in so many other pointless places.



Anyway, time to make us a Trident.



Crispy.



And there we go. All of our traipsing around the Eastern Sea, seemingly at random, was to get this Trident.



We have to go get it with Reveal because of all that super-neat and dramatic floating it's doing.



So without further ado...



Let's sail this thing.



These whirlpools will toss our ship around but are ultimately not a huge problem.



In order to get through, we follow the song's instructions by circling these volcano things enough until the currents subside.



It's not so hard that you have to check back at the song every two seconds, just remember that bit and you'll be fine.



The most important thing is that you basically always take the whirlpools straight unless the currents or reefs force you to turn.



Hitting these straight currents shoves you very unsubtly out of the Sea of Time.



It is around this point, should this occur...



That Piers reveals he's never actually had to return into Lemuria from outside, since most people never leave. Which, eh, fair. But the obstacle there is still "find a sailing route" rather than "assemble a mystical trident from its components then kill a sea god with it".



Anyway let's do this right.



Doing it right...



Leads to the big man himself.



Do note: that's our ship in the background. For this fight, we docked the ship and made landfall.

Last edited by Kalir; 04-18-2017 at 06:32 PM.
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  #81  
Old 09-05-2016, 07:48 PM
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The Trident is a usable item in this fight, and any other fight from here on out, actually.



In addition to rendering Poseidon killable, it also deals a significant amount of damage. If you're hellbent on using a casterly sort of character, this gives them a very reliable main attack for single targets. (Sheba, in particular, can make great use of the Trident with her high Agility.)



Poseidon gets two actions a turn, because this is far enough in the game that bosses can do that now.



Most of them are fundamentally the same Mercury area attack. Ocean Fist, however, can drop a target to 1 HP.



Your friendly reminder that Djinn and summons are far and away better than any strategy I've been using all game. This is a single Mars summon, for the record.



Poseidon can also use one of his actions to set up a counter, doing a normal attack against anyone who deals him damage on their turn. This would be an interesting challenge if he wasn't the only target, or if we had cause to use any actions that weren't attacking, healing, or buffing.



SORRY ISAAC WE BROKE THAT ONE GIRL'S PRESENT



Wow rude.



In theory, I could switch to Impact to more efficiently increase single targets' Attack scores. In practice... nah.



I'm sorry, I just don't have interesting things to say about the fights in this game anymore.



Here's Poseidon demonstrating high-end Mercury stuff? Okay?



And then we killed him with a trident.



This creates a bunch of stone spires in the water around us...



And the dude himself to vanish.



WE FINALLY MADE IT TO LEMURIA.



This is still a faster time to reaching an important goal for the party than Dark Dawn.



The game is REALLY telegraphing something to get us past these things. Remember, the one in the Gondowan Cliffs is literally the only thing between us and the Western Sea. We have, of course, received all of zero notification that if we deal with this, we can go light Jupiter Lighthouse. In no way would we expect Lemuria to give us the power necessary to deal with it. (If anything, we'd be more expecting of Gaia Rock to grant us that power, but Gaia Rock gave us Sand and the real culprit is arbitrary barriers regardless of form, so I'll give that a pass.)



To the docks!



Oh man, are you guys ready?



Because they don't do the "what is Psynergy, what are Adepts" conversation for the eighty-billionth time.



I should really have a conversation here, huh...



Honestly, nah.



These guys are nobodies, and they mostly just lay out the state of Lemuria while Piers needles them to let him back into his homeland, don't worry about these godslayers here, we're cool.



Wow, rude.



Also included: high-larious misunderstandings. Remember, the draught of Lemuria extends the hell out of your lifespan.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:49 PM
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I like that this legitimately catches Kraden off-guard for a bit, though.



Alex, I'm starting to think I might have to invalidate your point about our gentler approach.



I'll do a proper bulletpoint thing for Lemuria when we enter, and as with our meeting Obaba and the meetings with Karst and Agatio, I'll be editing the details from it significantly more than the rest.



Now, I have some tragic news.



One of the more amusing elements of the Lost Age is the rant Kraden flies into when you select "No" here. Unfortunately, I didn't get that rant, but instead a much more mild mannered "this is no time for jokes" reprimand. I have no idea what actually causes the rant, aside from perhaps choosing the obviously "wrong" answer to too many yes/no queries in the game, but I of course have neither means nor inclination to track this. As a consolation prize, I'm stealing the text from Quovak's LP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraden in the Mu timeline
What!? Are you INSANE!? Or maybe you think you're funny? Because you're not! Maybe this whole quest is just a game to you, but it's not to me! Are you bored!? Do you want to go home!? FINE! That's it! Then let's go home!


But I didn't get that line in my game. Which just raises the question: why would you ever have that line NOT in the game? If a player really wants to just go off the beaten path with these arbitrary yes/no prompts, let them have a BIT of reward for it.



Oh well.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Lost City of Lemuria
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:50 PM
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I'm afraid I have some bad news, boys.

I have now completely exhausted my backlog, AND I'm about to start working up a storm, so updates aren't forthcoming for a while. I wouldn't call it an outright hiatus, I'll likely put out some updates before the month is out, but just don't raise your hopes too much.
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Old 09-15-2016, 12:52 PM
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FINALLY caught up on this.

Kalir you are doing fantastic work. take a must time as you need.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:30 PM
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Backlog restored. Welcome to Lemuria.



I know last time I said I'd run through a bulletpoint of the story around Lemuria, but I think I'm going to avoid that here. The main reason is that discovering exactly what Lemuria is all about is kind of central to the plot of the game.

But one thing I CAN touch on is this: basically everyone in Lemuria, while they can certainly recall the ages long ago where they had the full power of Alchemy, connection to the outside world, and all manner of marvels up to and including the draught of Lemuria... they are almost to a person completely out of motivation. They're weighed down with literal centuries of nothing happening, and it shows with every person you talk to.



To wit: the guy who stole the last of Lemuria's draught and one of their high-tech ships is just remembered by people as "that one outsider who liked gambling at our pond". This is why Tolbi has its own Lucky Spring.



The prizes are different from the ones at Tolbi, but most of them are just kind of bland.



With one minor exception in that if you throw a lucky medal into the spring cleanly enough, you get the ability to summon Eclipse, a dragon whose wings blot out the sky. Your guess is as good as mine, really.



Got a Hestia Blade at least, that's new.



For some reason, there's a lot of places around Lemuria where you can dig up stuff. Most of it is pretty ho-hum though, the most interesting thing around is a bit of Star Dust (and even that is fairly outclassed now).



So, the big problem with the representation of Lemuria is Kraden's reactions to it. In the original text, he's basically completely taken with how glorious the city is. This flies in sharp contrast to the citizens' total apathy towards everything and the ruined state of most of the architecture here, and it is not to the writers' benefit at all.



What the hell am I supposed to do with this.



Right. So first, we're going to have a conversation with Piers and the group for our first impressions. This entire update will be conversations from here on out, by the way.

Quote:
<Felix> It is. We were told that King Hydros would wish to speak with us?
<Guard> Well, yes, we did send a messenger to meet King Hydros. But it might be a while before you can talk with him.
<Piers> Oh no.
<Sheba> What's the problem?
<Guard> At present, King Hydros is meeting with the head of the senate, Lord Conservato.
<Piers> I should have suspected as much. I'm sorry, everyone, but we'll be waiting even longer than expected.
<Jenna> This Conservato guy is that bad, huh?
<Piers> Well, let me put it this way...


Quote:
<Kraden> Well... I mean no disrespect to your city, but I was expecting something a little... grander, I suppose.
<Sheba> What? The architecture here is amazing! And the people here have endless life!
<Felix> I think Kraden's right this time, Sheba. Yes, it looks like it was an incredible place to live, once. But walking the streets, everyone and everything here just seems kind of... muted, maybe.
<Piers> It's as they say, Sheba. Long ago, Lemuria was a place of wonders. We had the means to prolong our lives almost indefinitely, Psynergy that could let us travel instantly across the land, incredible machinery powered by water. And even outside of these things, our people were livelier, too: we had festivals, theatre performances, singing and storytelling... But now, Lemuria is a mere shadow of its former self.


Quote:
<Piers> Well, King Hydros has the final say on law here in Lemuria, but the senate is responsible for getting those laws to the king in the first place. Conservato leads the senate, and he has done his best to prevent Lemuria from changing these past centuries. He considers the conflicts of the past to outweigh Lemuria's livelihood. His arguments with the king can last days.
<Jenna> So we're just stuck here doing nothing, then?
<Sheba> Let's just leave it be for now. Maybe we can research a bit more about Alchemy here on our own. Do you know where there's any libraries here, Piers?
<Piers> There's one in the palace... and I know Lunpa has his fair share of books, though most are from the outside world. We'll go have a look, but first can we stop at my home? I want to speak to my family, it's been a while since I've seen them.
<Felix> Of course. Lead the way.


Most of that conversation isn't very different, honestly, I just toned down Kraden's enthusiasm and gave us actual directions to go, because the actual thing you end up doing is wandering Lemuria at random until you barge into Piers' uncle's house. That can work in places like, say, Nimbus Land in Super Mario RPG, where you don't actually know your connection to the place yet, but Piers knows exactly where his family lives and is written as caring for them pretty deeply, so NOT having them mentioned is kind of sloppy.



We can also enter the senate building. Do note that this is the only chance we have to do so, as the senate becomes locked off just before we leave Lemuria. Which, in turn, gives us some insights from people that hey, Alchemy was sealed off for a reason, maybe you shouldn't go breaking that seal for the hell of it.



Also, something very very important here:



Lemuria forgot how to make their draught. Babi stole their entire supply, and now the city isn't nearly as immortal as they want to be. For SOME REASON, Camelot saw fit to handwave this problem by having the spring at Lemuria's central plaza have the exact same properties. (There is an actual reason for it, but it's a stupid reason and makes the draught's existence in the first place utterly pointless. We'll see it in a second, and I thank dtsund for his suggestion to make the entire rigmarole slightly work.)



Anyway here's Piers' house. You can tell because there is only one inhabitant and he's clearly perpetually drunk.



Quote:
<Uncle> Oh, Piers! What a surprise, good to see you again! How, er... how have you been?
<Piers> I've been... well, on the whole. I've faced a lot of troubles in my travels, but thanks to the aid of Felix and his partners, I've seen them all through, and have returned to complete my mission.
<Uncle> Let me guess... the one with the brown hair's Felix?
<Felix> That's right. My companions' names are Jenna, Sheba, and Kraden.
<Uncle> Thank you very much for keeping Piers safe.


Quote:
<Piers> Ah, how is Mother doing, anyway?
<Uncle> Erm...
<Piers> In fact, now I think on it... this place isn't normally such a mess. She usually keeps it much cleaner than this. Is she doing all right?
<Uncle> ...You should sit down, Piers. This isn't going to be easy to tell you.
<Piers> Wh-what do you mean?
<Uncle> Well, when that tidal wave hit just as you were setting off... your mother always held such hopes for you. She feared the worst, we all did, but we couldn't leave to find out ourselves, not with Poseidon there. So she stayed in bed, doing nothing but praying for your safety. Even though she stopped praying about a month ago... I guess it worked.
<Piers> No...
<Uncle> You should... go see her. She's resting on the west end of the city.


Piers rushes out the door without a word to anyone.



Quote:
<Sheba> Don't be insensitive.
<Felix> So, the west end of the city?
<Uncle> That would be our cemetery, as you might've guessed.
<Sheba> Cemetery? I thought Lemurians were all immortal.
<Uncle> That's not exactly true. We have much longer lifespans than people in other cities, easily ten times the life expectancy... but ten times the average isn't very much more if you're born with a weak heart.
<Jenna> We had no idea... Piers should've told us sooner, we'd have worked overtime to get back here!
<Uncle> No, don't blame him. Piers has always been the sort to value his privacy. And leave him to his grief for now, please.
<Felix> All right. Maybe you can help us in the meantime, then.
<Uncle> I don't know about what I can offer, but you kept Piers safe, so I'll do what I can.
<Jenna> Let's start with Piers' mission. He didn't tell us that either.
<Uncle> Ah, now that I can help with. Except... there's someone better suited to that than I.


Quote:
<Kraden> Hold on, Lunpa? As in Lunpa, the noble thief?
<Sheba> Those words don't make sense together.
<Kraden> He's earned both titles, though. He traveled the world back when I was barely older than you, stealing from the rich and giving it to the needy. And he's no highwayman either, he never physically hurt people if he could avoid it.
<Sheba> That doesn't really mean he's not a thief.
<Uncle> Whatever his history, he's trusted in Lemuria, and one of the few people to have seen the outside world living here. Piers' mission involved exploring the outside world, so his insights should be very valuable. Let me just tie this letter on...


Piers' completely unnamed uncle ties a letter to the leg of his carrier pigeon and sends it off.

Quote:
<Kraden> Ah, carrier pigeons. What a brilliant idea!
<Jenna> Oh yeah, you used those sometimes to report back to Tolbi, didn't you?
<Kraden> Travel from Vale to Tolbi was too treacherous for mundane reports, so carrier pigeons were the only method I had.
<Uncle> In any event, Lunpa should be willing to see you now. Best of luck to you all, and thank you again for watching Piers.
Remember, in the original, Kraden's researched Lemuria on his own, but nobody else knows really anything about it at all except what little Kraden or Piers told them. Having this scene to check in on the common people and realize that hey, things are pretty terrible here? It's very important, but it's also not really as impactful as it should be. A bit of that's on me, I could've stood to have Piers drop hints about his mom at some point, but Camelot didn't do it either so whatevs.



So, let's move on to Lunpa.

If you played the last game (or read my LP) you already know plenty about this guy. World-exploring noble thief, founded a town with his name, traveled with Babi until the pair reached Lemuria. As you can see, Lunpa stayed behind while Babi left.



He asks us to climb to the upper balcony, where he's left a window open. Okay, sure buddy.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
<Felix> Sorry, but you are Lunpa, right?
<Lunpa> At your service.
<Felix> So you know that we came here with Piers, then?
<Lunpa> I was going to ask, where is he, anyway?
<Sheba> He's visiting his mother's grave.
<Lunpa> Ah. That must've been terrible for him. Leaving his mother behind was one of the few things he was worried about for his mission.


Quote:
<Felix> Yeah. Let's start with the basics: we came here to look into the lighthouses, and what lighting them and unsealing Alchemy would do, compared to leaving them dark.
<Jenna> And we're kinda hoping we can find out info here fast, considering Alex's plans.
<Lunpa> Sorry, not familiar with that name. Care to fill me in?
<Felix> Alex is a Mercury Adept from Imil. He's working with Proxian Adepts to light the lighthouses separately from us.
<Jenna> But if anyone should be kept away from the full power of Alchemy, Alex is it. I don't trust him any farther than I could throw him.
<Lunpa> We knew someone was lighting the lighthouses already, but that there's two competing groups doing it? That doesn't bode well.


Quote:
<Lunpa> Oh, didn't he tell you?
<Sheba> Well, you know Piers. He keeps his secrets.
<Lunpa> Hm. Well, we can't afford to leave you in the dark. In short, Piers' mission, as assigned by King Hydros, was to look into civilizations across Weyard, as well as the state of the land itself, and report how everything has fared since Alchemy was sealed.
<Kraden> Well, we can't report in his stead, of course. But from our experiences, none of the civilizations we've seen could have created the lighthouses, and those few civilizations with Psynergy seem to have mere shadows of what Alchemy could truly offer. The only place where everyone is an Adept in some fashion is Vale itself, and it's only just shy of Lemuria's state.
<Jenna> Honestly I think Vale's better. At least we're not stuck behind an impassable sea.
<Felix> And in either case, the key power in Angara isn't Vale, it's Tolbi, and the only one even remotely approaching being an Adept there is Babi.


Quote:
<Sheba> Let me guess: traveled the world with you, then stole a bunch of Lemurian draught and a ship and abandoned you here?
<Lunpa> More or less. So he's still running Tolbi, then?
<Kraden> He is. I'm a scholar in his service, trying to learn Alchemy, partly for his behalf and partly for my own curiosity.
<Sheba> And I was captured by Babi from my hometown of Lalivero to force them to build a lighthouse.
<Lunpa> Really? I wish I could say I was surprised, but honestly, once he heard from Lemuria all the possibilities of Alchemy, his power-hungriness got the better of him. He didn't abandon me, by the way. I refused to leave Lemuria with him, and tried to convince him to stay.
<Felix> And now he's got all of the draught of Lemuria?
<Lunpa> That kind of overstates what supplies we had left. For whatever reason, sealing Alchemy away made the draught's creation impossible. We've mixed some of it with the spring water here, but that was a while ago, and now sipping the water there won't add more than a day or so to your lifespan. And in about a month or so, it won't even do that. Lemuria's had it, thanks to Babi.
<Kraden> Hm... so when Alchemy was sealed, not only did Lemuria lose much of what it had, but other civilizations might've decayed similarly? I had some theories about this, looking into the histories of many civilizations, including Vale and Imil...


Quote:
<Kraden> Correct, Sheba. At this point, whatever Lord Babi might've done for me, I can't in good faith promise to give him my findings, not when he's proven himself ever so willing to abuse this knowledge.
<Sheba> ...Hm.
<Jenna> Hang on. I can get civilizations losing a lot of their Psynergy and the like from the seal on Alchemy, but isn't that kind of to be expected? And wasn't Alchemy the source of a ton of wars in the first place?
<Kraden> I cannot deny those possibilities. But there's another factor in this, one which I have only bits of evidence for--


Oh hi, plot-critical element.



Quote:
<Kraden> Fascinating. My studies had hinted at the possibility, but to hear that so much of Lemuria shares my opinion... it almost makes up for not seeing the city at the height of its splendor.
<Felix> I don't know, it seems like a bit worse than a consolation prize if that means the world is withering away.
<Jenna> What even do you mean by that?
<Lunpa> I think that King Hydros could explain this better than either of us, honestly. Would you mind if we brought this discussion to him?
<Kraden> I wouldn't mind at all.
<Sheba> Hold on, isn't the king meeting with a guy named Conservato?


Quote:
<Felix> I don't think barging in on a meeting with the king will endear us to him.
<Lunpa> Think nothing of it. I've earned the king's trust, and Conservato being upset at me is old news. I'll take the blame for it if it goes wrong.
<Sheba> Thanks, Lunpa.
<Kraden> Well, shall we be off?


Lunpa hurries off and collides with the jammed door.



LIKE WE'RE GONNA LET A DOOR TELL US WHAT TO DO



Hooray we can leave his house.



Anyway, to the palace. Most people inside are acting all elven at us, but screw them anyway.



Hydros isn't very far in, and Piers is there too. He doesn't bring up his dead mom here or ever again, by the way. I can kind of see why, this isn't really the place for it and the main discussion here is more important, but the fact that it never gets addressed here is a bit disappointing. Not surprising, it is still Camelot here, but disappointing.



That guy to his side is Conservato.

Quote:
<Conservato> So these are the outsiders you mentioned? Are they here to steal more of our secrets and treasures?
<Lunpa> Oh will you give it a rest already?
<Hydros> Both of you, behave. The situation at hand is too serious to waste on internal bickering.
<Lunpa> Of course, Your Highness, my apologies.
<Hydros> You stand in the presence of King Hydros of Lemuria. Might I know your names?
<Felix> Uh, hi. I'm Felix. This is my sister Jenna, and she's Sheba, and this is Kraden.


Quote:
<Hydros> Ah, yes. Your assistance with Piers' mission was invaluable.
<Conservato> So you say. But I stand by the points raised by the senate! Alchemy cannot be unleashed, lest we invoke all the old wars and catastrophes of that age once again!
<Piers> But if we don't unseal Alchemy, the world will wither away into nothingness! We can't trade a possible doom for a certain one!
<Conservato> And I keep telling you, we've already seen that so-called "possible doom"! And there is nothing, NOTHING I tell you, that would make returning to such disasters a good idea.
<Hydros> Well, that remains to be seen. Let us table the discussion for now to review Piers' findings.
<Conservato> Oh, and shall we just gloss over the fact that Piers' voyage broke the law about people leaving Lemuria?


Quote:
<Conservato> Rubbish. You would have gone anyway.
<Hydros> How fortunate for all of us, then, that Piers was able to complete his mission legally.
<Jenna> Can we drop the legal-ese here and focus on his results?
<Kraden> I could not agree more. What were Piers' findings?


King Hydros snaps his fingers, and the floor is illuminated with a map of Weyard.

Quote:
<Hydros> This is a map dated from the ancient world, when Alchemy was unsealed and Lemuria traded freely with many nations.
<Conservato> If I recall right, that is MY map, is it not? I remember those coastlines and cities like it was yesterday.
<Hydros> Correct.
<Lunpa> Almost makes you forget the calamities of old, doesn't it?
<Conservato> Your cutting wit aside, it does. Those were some of the happiest times of my long life.


Quote:
<Lunpa> I sailed the world with this map. I'd vouch for its accuracy any day you'd like.
<Kraden> Fascinating! If what I see is correct...
<Hydros> Yes, you've noticed what Lunpa brought to our attention recently.
<Jenna> I'm missing it, whatever you're seeing. Care to explain?
<Conservato> Lunpa and Hydros both claim that Lunpa's map, for whatever reason, displays the continents as shrinking. Pure drivel, I say, distracting us from the real issue.
<Hydros> How do you explain the discrepancy, then?
<Conservato> Easily. We could've used different scales. Maybe Lunpa's map is inaccurate.
<Lunpa> I JUST said I'd vouch for its accuracy any day. It's still the same day, Conservato!
<Conservato> Well my map isn't flawed, I can testify to that as well!
<Hydros> Then if both maps were correct as of their drawing, isn't the only logical conclusion that the continents are withering away?
<Conservato> That's simply not possible!


The floor starts switching between the two maps to more effectively highlight the difference.



Quote:
<Piers> Yes. My findings, as of my mission's conclusion less than a day ago, are as follows. Not only is Lunpa's map the more accurate of the two--
<Lunpa> HA!
<Piers> But it seems that neither map is fully accurate. If anything, the continents have shrunk further still. And worse, the seas are shrinking as well. It's as if Gaia Falls is eroding the edges of Weyard itself.
<Conservato> What... How can this be?
<Hydros> The only possible answer is that the seal on Alchemy is responsible. Surely you cannot deny the threat this poses, and how it outweighs the risks of power struggles, Conservato.
<Conservato> ...It's true, I can't. The sages who sealed Alchemy away knew that it might pose risks for Weyard. But on this kind of scale... I still can't believe it.
<Felix> So the world's going to wither away, then. But if we light the last two lighthouses, we'll solve the problem, right?
<Jenna> But what about Karst and Alex? If they're gonna light the lighthouses, they won't use the Stone of Sages for good.
<Hydros> Who are these people you mention?
<Sheba> It's a long story. But to put it simply, they're trying to break the seal on Alchemy and don't care about what happens to the world in the process.


Quote:
<Felix> Your concern is that Alchemy being unsealed will cause wars and strife, right? Well, Alex and the people he's teamed up with have kidnapped, stolen, lied, kept hostages, attacked villages...
<Kraden> I know we can't vouch for ourselves, but we know for certain that Alex cannot be the one to light the lighthouses. He would almost certainly abuse the power of Alchemy, and must be stopped.
<Piers> And even if you don't trust them, Conservato, know that they have gone out of their way to help those in need, many times, expecting nothing for themselves. If we were to trust the lighthouses to anyone, Felix and his companions would be the best candidates for the task.
<Conservato> At this rate, I don't think we have the luxury of waiting. Felix, we must rely on you. Light the last few lighthouses, save Weyard, and stop this Alex fellow from getting the Stone of Sages.
<Lunpa> I'm impressed, Conservato. I've never known you to change your mind so quickly.
<Hydros> Desperate times, Lunpa. Conservato, I must ask you to convince the senate to grant Piers and his company leave of Lemuria to continue their task.
<Conservato> It won't be easy. Most of them are even more stubborn than I am in changing their mind. But I shall do my best.
<Hydros> You do that. I will, of course, be unable to enforce the current decree preventing them from leaving, as I will be busy discussing the matter with Lunpa.
<Conservato> Finally going to put your unwillingness to enforce the laws to a good use, are you?
<Hydros> I have no idea what you're talking about. ...Best of luck, old friend.
<Conservato> Hmph.


So, the conversation here.

In the original, Alex's group never comes up. Neither does the whole "Alchemy was sealed for a reason" thing (or rather, Conservato does not discuss that it was sealed to prevent wars and disasters, instead of it just flat-out destroying the world). Instead the entire reveal is on the world eroding away, something which Conservato at no point acknowledges as true (even going so far as to say that Lemuria remains unchanged). He basically just exists for this scene to be a stodgy jackass to provide arbitrary and meaningless opposition. Not to mention, literally everyone else in the room can see the truth and he flat out ignores it in front of him. Unfortunately, I didn't invent Conservato's character here, this one is (almost) all Quovak's idea from his LP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quovak
The debate between Conservato and Hydros isn't about whether or not Lemuria is decaying, which is obvious, but whether alchemy is, on balance, a good thing. Conservato makes the point (with credit to Patter Song) that the societal decay without alchemy is better than the constant feuding and power struggles with it, but Piers' findings shift the debate. The map comparison test, complete with Piers' testimony that the new map is more accurate (for bonus points, Conservato himself sailed the world 500 years ago and can confirm the old one), makes Conservato completely shift gears and start demanding that these lighthouses get lit immediately. Introducing a contrarian "villain" so he can muddle an issue and then get forgotten about is pointless, but introducing him to show that even an extremist realizes how desperate things are hugely enhances the credibility of the argument, has a much greater impact to a player who's been flying blind, and motivates us to get moving right away.
So hey, props to Quovak, and if he ever does end up reading this, I hope he's happy with my implementation of his idea, imperfect though it might be.



Now for stupid.



This entire conversation, in and of itself, does literally nothing for us in terms of leaving to the Western Sea.



So in order to let us actually leave, we get this Psynergy-granting rock that Lunpa found in a cave somewhere.

This is, of course, an incredibly stupid and arbitrary barrier to our passage that is in no way tied to the conversation we just had. There are a lot of places where Camelot could've made this better: calling attention to the Western Sea being blocked off earlier/overtly, making the block itself more momentous and requiring us to actually Do Things in Lemuria (perhaps gaining some kind of key to a Lemuria-placed lock? still shoehorned and arbitrary though), shifting Poseidon to block off the Western Sea and leaving the Sea of Time as the main Lemuria obstacle, not even blocking the damn thing a-tall.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-13-2016 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:37 PM
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To make matters worse, the Psynergy this thing grants is used in maybe three spots in the game, and we're about to see two of them.



Even if the conversation we just had was edited as I've done to make it slightly better and more memorable, the blatant "here is the plot key"-ness of it all is just aggravating.



Oh, and the Grindstone can only be equipped by Venus Adepts for some reason. This limitation doesn't apply to any of the sixty other Psynergy-granting things we have, and was placed only to excuse the Lemurians for not using this to make the Sea of Time more accessible at some point. (This is something changed in Dark Dawn, where almost every such item required the bearer to match its Psynergy type.)



Anyway, in the original, Piers gets officially banished by Conservato and prevented from ever returning to Lemuria, and then Conservato retreats to the senate to get them all to filibuster King Hydros saving the world. They don't do anything else at all for the rest of the game ever.



Also, we can go back into the hold of Piers' ship and use Parch to reach that chest, as mentioned earlier. I'm not doing it.



Oh hey, time for Camelot to try their hand at inter-party character building! That's new. What'll we see?



Okay, decent start.



True to form, Piers tries brushing it off.



The team's very persistent about this, though.



Even despite Piers acknowledging it as unimportant.



And then pointing out that they're all being jackasses.



Can Felix mediate for us?



Haha. Silent protagonist joke. Funny. You laugh now. Mirth is had.



Okay, it's not a strictly bad effort. Decent light-hearted comedy stuff about the age of an immortal, without veering into the territory Japanese stuff usually goes on this topic. You get a B- for it, Camelot.

My only problem is that this would be a PERFECT time to go back to Piers' recent death in the family, and as I've said multiple times, that's considered over, done with, and not worth another mention from here on out. GUESS WHAT I'M FIXING RIGHT NOW.

Quote:
<Felix> Are you all right, Piers?
<Piers> What do you mean?
<Felix> Well... your mother.
<Piers> I'd rather not talk about it.
<Jenna> It's okay, Piers. We know how you feel, Felix and I. Over three years ago, back when this whole mess was just a gleam in Saturos and Menardi's eyes... our parents were killed by the Boulder of Mt. Aleph, when it fell and crushed them.
<Piers> I'm sorry to hear that.
<Jenna> Felix was separated from me during that time, so despite being in my village, I was all alone. And while it was hard at first... it only got harder by everyone bringing it up whenever even the littlest thing went wrong in my life. Or even sometimes completely out of the blue. It made it impossible to move on and accept their deaths.
<Felix> I'm a little jealous of that, honestly. Saturos and Menardi took care of me in that time, yes. But I couldn't really think of them as family, nor the rest of Prox. I had no one to talk to, and needed someone to connect to. I guess it's not surprising I accepted what Saturos and Menardi did in those circumstances. I'd have traded places with you any day, Jenna.
<Jenna> I sure wouldn't have. But I'm glad we're traveling together, on the same side, after all of this. Just like family should be, right?
<Felix> That's right. And Piers--
<Piers> All right, you've made your point. Just give me a bit of space, like Jenna wanted, and when I'm ready to talk about it... I hope you'll all be there for me.
<Jenna> Absolutely.
Better? Probably.



Anyway, one last thing in Lemuria.



With Grind, we can access a rundown area that nobody lives in. Which is nice quiet storybuilding, indicating the city used to cover much more of the island than it currently does.



For the most part, there's nothing here.



Except this guy.



Revealing them with Cyclone forces them to flee to this statue.



We can then shake it with Tremor to get Rime, the seventh Mercury Djinni. Good for us.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Western Sea
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:51 PM
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Oh right, Grind is also required to leave Lemuria in the first place. It's still stupid.



NYOOOOOOOM



Anyway, remember this place?



Grind lets us leave the channel here from the south end.



This takes us to the Western Sea, where new encounters are all around.



The game's kind of given me enough capabilities that I no longer have to fear the power jump for reaching a new area. The more realistic fear is that Avoid is no longer as reliable, so the encounters will never go away when I don't want them around.



The Hestia Blade destroys the Death Star at its opponent, lowering their Agility.



We also make landfall here or there, where recolors await us in spades.



So, y'know how the Eastern Sea had a bunch of little islets with single settlements, a bunch of highly isolated towns scattered across several islands/coastlines, and a lot of ocean in between? The Western Sea is that, but even emptier. The SW Atteka Islet, found at the southwestern corner of the world, holds nothing of value for us.



Okay that's almost true.



Dragon Skin is another, fairly rare, forging material, which only makes armors. I'll put it to use later this update, because my first priority is getting almost all the optional stuff in the Western Sea right out. Only places I won't be hitting are Kalt Island and Loho, mostly because I can't do anything in Loho right now and Kalt Island bores me.



There are three spots in the Western Sea that hold sunken weapons, but this is one we cannot reach at the moment. The reefs aren't so harsh that we can't walk on them, but Scoop is a poor substitute for a fishing rod.



Anyway, the continents themselves. The southern one is Atteka, which those of you who followed the first LP might know the name of already.



Not doing anything serious here yet, just the per-continent random encounter Djinni.



It has the best lasers.



Hooray we have Core.



DANGER: SEA SNAILS



Hesperia Settlement is one of two locations of civilization in Hesperia, the northern continent. It is the less plot central of the two, as you can tell by its highly generic name. I mean, it's losing in relevance to locations like Mikasalla and Naribwe. That takes talent.



Plotwise, Hesperia Settlement only has info about the other location here, Shaman Village (really went all out on the naming here, didn't we). Apparently they heavily distrust outsiders, and their village can only be reached by sailing into the central lake. Since Hesperia is meant to emulate North America, theoretically this lake is one of the lakes from the Ice Age that has today melted out, such as Lake Bonneville.

None of this really matters for Hesperia Settlement itself, which houses one (1) Djinni.



This means I've gone and overloaded just a hair on Mars Djinn for now, but that's not going to be a huge problem.



Anyway. At the far, FAR north corner of the world is one of the two sunken weapons.



On our way back to the other, we'll stop right here...



And fight the last of the overworld Djinni. Glad that's over with.



Anyway I go get the Rusty Sword at the south end of the world and go back to Yallam, which takes about half an hour. The Pirate's Sabre is a pretty solid weapon, and the Scorpionfish unleash can inflict deadly poison.



The Corsair's Edge, less so.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:53 PM
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Sheba gets the Goblin's Rod, which is also pretty okay.



The Star Dust from Lemuria becomes this Astral Circlet, which I have no interest in.



And with the Dragon Skin, we make a completely different Dragon Shield from the one Isaac got way back in the day.



For an interesting time, look up the Sargasso Sea.



Ah, back to the good ol' days of "colored cloud" unleashes.



Right, into the lake we go.



Shaman Village is only accessible through this tunnel.



Thankfully, the cave is VERY short.



Not least because we can't solve the puzzle here for the Mercury Djinni.



Eh, we'll come back later.



Welcome to Shaman Village! And man, if you thought Kibombo was poorly-researched, you ain't seen nothing yet. (According to the Golden Sun wiki, the design here IS close to that used by the Pueblo people, but I'm not sure how much of that was careful research and how much of it was just coincidence mixed with "well we need a Native American civilization".)



Literally everyone in Shaman Village refuses to speak to us, as part of their rock-hard taboo against speaking to outsiders. Thankfully, most of them are xenophobic jackasses anyway, so I am fine with not speaking to them.



The innkeeper isn't opposed to using a signpost to keep running his business at us, for some reason.



By Mind Reading everyone, you can learn a VERY SMALL bit about Shaman Village, but not really anything worth chewing on at all.



First off: contradictions! Contigo is the sole city in the continent of Atteka. No, that's not wrong. South America's representation in this high fantasy game has all of one (1) city in it.

Moreover, they are only kinda-sorta-not-really on good terms with Shaman Village. In the past, the two places were basically at war, until two respective warriors from each side, Hoabna representing Shaman Village and Yegelos representing Contigo, agreed to let a friendly Olympian-esque competition settle the war and foster goodwill between the two, which only sort of worked.



Not even gonna ask how this jackass is exempt from talking to us. But I digress.

That war/competition with Contigo is literally all of the history of Shaman Village. The town has no other defining features to it and no reason we should actively care about it except that it's where we need to progress in the game.



Also, the shops and fortune teller have their tents locked tight, so we can't go bother them.



As we move to check this house, the leader of Shaman Village, Moapa, heads out.



Man that was an easy conversation to summarize.



Man that'll be a great point to discuss once we go visit Contigo! But first we're gonna do this thing.



As you probably totally forgot about, Sheba is in possession of the Shaman's Rod, i.e. that thing Saturos cheated out from Isaac's crew and then let Felix have for no clearly defined reason. As you also know, Hammet got a prophecy that the Shaman's Rod was meant to be used in an important trade, which Ivan took to mean the trade with Saturos to save Sheba's life. This is, of course, the reasonable assumption to make.



If you try showing the Shaman's Rod to either of the Knights here (yes, they are called Knights for some reason) they do not care for any quantifiable amount of whits.



But if you show it to Moapa himself, he instantly recognizes it.



The actual trade/use of the Shaman's Rod is this right here. See, when Hoabna and Yegelos had their competition, they concluded it with a trade themselves: Hoabna traded his Shaman's Rod to Yegelos, who gave him a Hover Jade in return. The "important trade" we're meant to do is the reversal of this, returning the Shaman's Rod to their people and getting the Hover Jade needed to enter Jupiter Lighthouse in return.



The only problem is: how the hell is the player meant to guess this?

I mean, yes, it's the Shaman's Rod, you use it in Shaman Village, and a few people call it the rod of Hesperia, which is the continent you're on (but good luck finding places to state as much). But you got the Shaman's Rod literally ages ago, before this game even began, and it only held meaning for two characters, one of which is not here and is theoretically an enemy, and one of which is a dead villain. Further, the Shaman's Rod was described vaguely enough that one might assume its use is directly for Jupiter Lighthouse, which is of course on Atteka. So a player might not even bother with Hesperia at all and might just wonder how the hell they get into Jupiter Lighthouse proper with this Shaman's Rod.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:56 PM
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And we're not done yet. Remember, we're outsiders, so even if we have the Shaman's Rod, we might've stolen it from honest Contigo people.



Hands up, everyone who's surprised.



Not gonna change up the conversation here too much, because the later bits are where it gets really interesting.



So, the first test (not that they tell us it's the first test) is this here. The textbox is obscuring it, but that's a Wind Stone right there. This gives us a pretty clear indication of what to expect, and if you've been paying attention to things, it's honestly a pretty big plot point.



HYPE CHARGED



HYPE UNLEASHED



Quote:
<Knight> No doubt about it, that was the power of Yegelos at work!
<Moapa> But that can't be, they're clearly not from Contigo!
<Jenna> Contigo this, Contigo that! We're Adepts, what does it matter where we're from?
<Moapa> Many outsiders have come to these lands to claim the Hover Jade, but none have managed to clear this stone. Even when they displayed other strange powers, none but those from Contigo could clear the sands and control the winds as you have.
<Sheba> Wait... nobody else?
<Moapa> In any event, it does not matter. You might bear the power of Yegelos, but that does not mean you have earned the Hover Jade yet. You must duplicate the same feat he did, and walk Trial Road!


Quote:
<Moapa> That's hardly the test here. Any true Contigo would know of Trial Road!
<Felix> Ease off! Sheba doesn't know where she's from, so she might very well be from Contigo anyway!
<Moapa> A flimsy excuse. We won't hand over the Hover Jade to outsiders who know nothing of Contigo, no matter their powers. Leave the village at once.
<Kraden> That's very dishonest of you, Moapa. You agreed to let us take Trial Road, I see no reason why we can't.
<Moapa> Trial Road is the path that heroes walked to bring peace to Shaman Village and Contigo. It's not for ignorant outsiders to traipse about on!
<Jenna> Call us outsiders all you want, you're just a coward! Maybe we CAN walk Trial Road, and do it in style! Sheba's better than any of your stupid heroes, any day of the week! I DARE you to let us try it, you high-and-mighty swindler!


While I do approve the audacity of the party in taunting Moapa to letting us try Trial Road, the original tone of the writing is a bit tepid. They don't really say anything about us not being from Contigo, but are instead reluctant to let us take Trial Road on the basis that Sheba, who cleared the sand away... is a girl.

Really, Camelot? That's really the best excuse you can field for our opposition? They try to back this up by saying "all our heroes have been men since the time of Hoabna" but that's a pretty flimsy excuse when there's all of two cases for precedent, since everyone here or in Contigo only mentions Hoabna and Yegelos. Moreover, there are at least three definite Contigo people with Jupiter Psynergy. Of them, one is Ivan, and the other two are female. I get that you're attaching this trait to... "villains" might be a bit charitable, let's call them "opponents", but I usually find this heavy-handed sexism or the like as a villain flag just really awkward and lazy. It's not revolutionary writing to go "guys, sexism might be bad" as a one-off segment.

I'd write more on that, and more coherently, but let's just save everyone's time and have people read a criticism of Bioshock Infinite instead. Meanwhile, this is a GIANT HUGE COLOSSAL MASSIVE missed opportunity for character building for Sheba. Remember, she straight up fell from the sky and has no idea where she came from. And here we just randomly stumble into an area where there is a full history of Jupiter Adepts (non-werewolf) in a nearby town and NOBODY IN THE PARTY COMMENTS ON IT. And nobody will comment on it in Contigo proper, either.



In the present day, however, our taunts work and Moapa relents.



Trial Road is this game's answer to Colosso. In my previous LP, I compared this favorably to Colosso, but that's a bit of an overestimation of Trial Road. The real benefit it has is that it goes faster and only has the one fight to it.



It's basically a commemoration of Hoabna and Yegelos' race to the top of the mountain, and their duel once they got there. Very Olympian, innit?



Here's where it loses out to Colosso, though. (You could argue that the lack of cheating here, unlike in Colosso, is a missed opportunity, but the cheating was stupid anyway.) In order to progress to the next room, once you hit this switch, you need to drop off an item from your inventory. Has to be a weapon or piece of armor, too, so you'll be gradually weakening your team unless you have spares. And if you're second to finish the room you're in, you have to leave two pieces of kit behind.



Okay, time for an interlude.

Felix speaking here isn't really a huge deal in and of itself. It's a one-word clarifying question, literally anyone could've said it. What IS a huge deal is why Camelot so vehemently adheres to the silent protagonist schtick for both games, despite neither protagonist being silent in games where they're not protagonists.

Silent protagonists work best if the protagonist in question is meant to be a self-insert of the player. Their actions, which is to say your actions, define who they are, and other characters have to come up with their own explanations for why the character is doing things. While this can be harder for a writer to work-around without just "but thou must" railroading, it's not really a bad idea. That said, the RANGE of actions one is afforded as a silent protagonist, even simple things like dialogue boxes, frame exactly who the character is supposed to be. For example, a lot of people have their own reads of the personality of the protagonists from the Persona games, despite them never actually saying anything outside of dialogue boxes, purely based on the choices that come up. This also applies to a lesser degree to non-silent protagonists that the player is very clearly in control of, such as Commander Shepard or Phoenix Wright, and allows for moments where the character might take a course of action that surprises or even conflicts with the player's intent (for example, Phoenix's unwillingness to mention Edgeworth in the second game, despite Edgeworth's fan favorite status).

Golden Sun, at least for the first two games, tries to use the silent protagonist archetype but is pretty bad at implementing it, and there are two big reasons. The first reason, which only applies to the first two games, is the perspective shift between games. If that was their intent from square one, which it seems like it was, there is nothing to gain from forcing Isaac to be silent for the first game only to gain a voice, and for Felix to lose his after speaking as he did in the first. The player can't put themselves in the shoes of either character, because Felix has his own personality that can't easily have a player self-insert themselves over, and Isaac replaces whatever personality the player ascribed to them when he DOES speak in this game.

The second, which can be applied to all three, is that your silent protagonist's motivations are up to the interpretations of the other characters, and Camelot is extremely bad at intuiting what the player wants to do. Dark Dawn is even worse at this despite trying to improve, with the emotion menu. Matthew's emotions are basically constantly up to the interpretation of his party members, particularly Tyrell (not Garet) and Karis (token girl). Tyrell is an imbecile and I hate him, but even Karis is really bad at taking whatever emotion you selected for Matthew and translating that into Matthew's ingame reasonings or feelings. And even outside of menu selections like this, the party's actions, presumably as led by Felix, don't really align with what the player wants, because the party's mostly running through a checklist of filler until they can reach the next plot-relevant point (Lemuria, Jupiter Lighthouse, meeting Alex, etc.) and Felix would in theory be just as impatient as the player to get to the important parts.

But the key thing to the silent protagonist, the thing that makes it work at all, is that the player "imagines" the lines for the protagonist, filling them in. Camelot doesn't even give us that courtesy, because in all three games they basically just assume that while the player is in control of Isaac, Felix, or Matthew, they're just really, really quiet but still saying exactly what Camelot wants them to. It almost makes me think they're being haunted, Undertale style, and losing their free will or something, but Camelot isn't good enough at writing to make this sort of meta-commentary, so instead we are simply forced to conclude: silent protagonists are not inherently better than characters you just play as. Please stop writing them, Camelot.



Anyway let's Trial us a Road.



The two roads aren't appreciably different in difficulty, but if you want to be a true doom completionist, take the right road first, because we'll need to backtrack the left road later.



The challenges aren't very hard, the real issue is just getting that early lead and taking it.



If you don't manage that, you're honestly better off resetting. That's a thing you can do in Trial Road, by the way, and this carries all of zero punishment.



I usually go with my characters' arm gear for weighing down the chests, but the real smart thing to do is to just bring backup weapons/armor to use.



Most of these puzzles aren't too hard to just blitz through if you're ignoring the chests, and unlike Colosso, you're not down three party members and therefore have no reason to get them. Plus, you can backtrack through Trial Road later to grab them anyway.



First to the top wins... nothing, really, because the cost is measured by rooms, not final placing.



Anyway, to the fight itself.



Moapa and his two Knights bear no Psynergy and have only the items they pretended to take from the treasure chests on the way here. Camelot did, at least, give them moves representing physical techniques, but as these are moves in the vein of "hit one guy harder than usual" it's a bit of a miss.



The real problem is you losing equipment to the chests earlier, but that's not an impassable barrier.



I missed it, but "Strong Hit" is what they call a thrown tomahawk. Okay.
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