So, moving on to stage 1-3: Stairway of Judgment (or possibly Judgement).
This area's a huge staircase, something Ein's none too pleased with. The first area's empty, too, so I move on (there's only one way to go again). Rose immediately complains about all the climbing (hey, at least you don't have to climb).
Before anything can come of her comments, some demons (a big ape man and another hammer guy) show up. Ledah and Rose start talking about how to activate Over Skills, so I'll talk about that.
Over Skills come in 4 levels: 1, 2, 3, and Execution. To use an Over Skill, you need to build up a meter that appears on the top of the screen (the Overdrive meter, for future reference). It has three tiers, and each type of Over Skill consumes a different amount of energy. A level 1 Over Skill consumes a single tier's worth of energy, a level 2 one uses 2 tiers of it, and a level 3 one requires the whole bar. Execution level Over Skills, meanwhile, can be used at any time, and their power is dependent on how much energy there is in the meter. However, they also break the Overdrive gauge when used, so they're exclusively finishing moves. You fill up the Overdrive gauge by hitting things and being hit.
Enemies have a similar mechanic, known as the Rage gauge. This fills up whenever an enemy is hit and empties over time, and once it passes a certain point enemies will use different attacks. When the Rage gauge is full, the next enemy to move will use its ultimate attack (called a "Break Out", in true Engrish fashion), and then the gauge will empty. Also worth noting is that the Rage gauge automatically fills up by a bit whenever an enemy dies, and it won't go down past that point for the rest of the battle.
Anyway, this fighthas absolutely nothing interesting about it, except that Ein is forced to use his Double Slash (a level 1 skill) whenever I have the energy for it and it's his turn. It's not the most impressive attack in the world, to say the least. Just two attacks that are slightly stronger than his regular Slash. Still, it's better than nothing. We got hit with a Devastator, but it didn't matter because Ledah immediately used his own Over Skill, the Execution-level Lost Seraph, to wipe the hammer guy out and give us an S rank (this is what I was using for those earlier S-ranks).
On the next screen, I examine the path and find a giant spider. Fortunately, I still have that rock from before, which I throw at the spider. Doing so starts up a brief minigame, the first of many. In this one, I need to stop a moving arrow within a certain area (these are called "Timing" minigames). Doing so kills the spider, prompts some snide comments from Rose and Ledah, and provides me with twenty Spider Webs. These can be used to delay the actions of every enemy on the field, but they aren't worth bringing due to the limited battle inventory.
Following this, I move on to stage 1-4: Cavern of Judgment. Like the last area, this one consists of three screens arranged in a straight line (actually, a lot of areas have this problem).
Entering the area, I immediately examine the sunlight streaming in through a hole in the wall, prompting Ein to say that, "It's beautiful...but also sad..." Yes, with both ellipses. I then move on to the next room, where I run into another Hell Hound and the first of the game's "vampire" enemies. The Riviera
interpretation of vampires doesn't sparkle, fortunately. Instead, Riviera
vampires are barely-dressed women with scythes who can drain HP from their targets. Go figure. They're also weak to Holy damage, so Ein wipes the floor with them.
After killing them and getting the Potion they were guarding, Ledah says that we need to hurry and "actuate" the Retribution (what's wrong with simply activating it?). Ein then mentions that the Retribution involves destroying Riviera, before wondering if there's any way of stopping the demons that doesn't
involve massive collateral damage. Ledah tells him to stop thinking because Riviera used to be Utgard, because that totally
justifies it. *gunshot*
After that bit of navel gazing, I examine the sunlight in this room. Because I examined the sunlight in the previous room, Ledah makes a comment about how the walls were destroyed the same way as the last ones. Ein, clearly having been rised on Sierra On-Line adventure games, immediately deduces that this means that there might be something on the ground. Sure enough, there's a chunk of Orihalcon (or however we're spelling it this week) on the ground, and I get 7000 points for finding it.
Moving on, Hector calls us again, kindly asking us to hurry up and get the Retribution started already. Ein tries to bring up the whole "destroying Riviera" thing, but Hector hangs up before he can say anything.
Before leaving, I examine one of the steps. Ein claims that it's going to crumble, and I'm presented with the options of: leaving it alone, touching it, or punching it
. I choose that last one, and predictably enough, a boulder falls toward Ein. This prompts a short minigame where I need to press some buttons in a certain amount of time. Since this is the first one, dodging the boulder is stupidly easy. Ledah chews me out for it, and I get 5000 points.
While I didn't need
to do the boulder thing (heck, it didn't even give me anything useful), it introduces the sort of thinking you need to succeed in Riviera
: The rewards for performing an action are inversely proportionate to the sanity of the action in question
With that done, I think that's a good place to leave our heroes for now.
Next time: Our heroes fight a dragon!