were the first 14 just the prologue?
Due to the previous dungeon's success with switching in a previously unused character for the 5th slot (both Satori and Byakuren), I decide to go all out this time and switch around more than half my party. I'm now using Mokou, Youmu, Sakuya, Satori and Byakuren. Oh, in case you didn't realize I always list my party in numerical order, because that's how I have to choose my party. The 1st slot is the tank, the front two slots are fighters, and the back two slots are casters, although that's just because of the formation I'm in, which rarely changes. So Mokou is the tank now.
To facilitate this party change, I buy new weapons for Mokou and Youmu. Byakuren is using a good staff I found in the forest while Satori is still using the eye she started with. She just uses it to scan enemies. Mokou's weapon has a deflect chance on it and Youmu's has a chance of causing stop, although she can still cause death too because that's her own ability.
As you could see in the cutscene screenshots I posted earlier, this place, the Genbu Creek, is just rocks and water. It seems a lot less alive
than most previous outdoor dungeons, but I have no idea if that's an intentional theme. It has both indoor and outdoor sections, but nothing complicated. The "theme" of this dungeon, if you could call it that, is that there are lots of dead ends that kinda look like they could be paths because of small holes between rocks and such, but aren't. It feels like they're teasing me, but maybe it's supposed to represent seeing future paths through holes? Whatever the case, it's just straightforward.
Enemy field sprites are land octopi. The basic enemies here are centaurs, and like most basic enemies come in different flavors. Sword centaurs do drain, spear centaurs do physical attacks, and staff centaurs cast fire spells. Only the staff ones are particularly dangerous, although that's a relative claim. They're backed up by sirens, which look a lot like harpies but can cast sleep and charm, although they're terrible at it so it was never a problem.
Other enemies include poisonous spiders that can paralyze with webs and Persephone. Yeah, the queen of the underworld. She's undead, and casts something similar to Sakuya's Killing World that prevents healing. She also casts Desu, which is Death but I have too many memes stuck in my head. Rounding it out is some skeleton thing called Hain or something (that's in romaji). It changes its defenses to be strong against what you hit it with, which in my case is always physical. It also attacks with the same element.
Satori's poison does its job the same as last time, and can even hit undead things for some reason. However, the enemies have more resistance now, while I have the same induction because I can only get it from accessories and skill trees. So poison does less damage and I'm worried about Satori's scaling. Byakuren fries things with darkness or light, depending (centaurs weak against dark, Persephone weak against light), but now she also has light and dark element healing
spells too. One of them is a vertical line while the other is a horizontal, neither of which are useful in my formation.
New to this whole "in the party" thing is Mokou. As I mentioned a long time ago, she's a counter-attack tank of sorts. One of her fist-weapon skills is Cross-counter, which causes her to deflect and counterattack everything that hits her that turn. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much MP so she can't spam it in random battles. She also just counters and deflects randomly anyway, and unlike Youmu it happens no matter what she's doing. She's got some decently powerful spellcards, but very few bombs. Like Youmu, she has a random chance of attacking twice with anything she does. However, because of her level, mostly she just dies a lot.
I'm feeling pretty confident in this dungeon for some reason so I keep pushing forward instead of constantly leaving to save and heal, so I end up running really
low on MP and bombs. I'm pretty sure I'm near the end because I just picked up a gold key for a gold door and that's usually what that means. However, not wanting to push my luck I decide to head back. And I can't.
There's an enemy blocking my path, an enemy that I had simply run past on the way here but was now an unavoidable obstacle. It's a party of 3 Persephones and two other things, which is quite large. And... I'm not really equipped to kill that without MP. After about 2 or 4 attempts during which I ran away, I have the bright idea of changing my party. I switch everyone out but Youmu, who has enough for one last spellcard, and that's enough to push through. Well, really all the work was done by Patchouli's Royal Flare, which as you may recall is Light, and thus super-effective against Persephone. This is the first time I've actually used such a strategy, and I guess keeping your party evenly leveled is a good way to avoid MP problems.
However, I'm still paranoid about the items so I leave anyway. One of the Persephones dropped a Hades Amulet, which increases both dark resistance and dark damage at the cost of light resistance, which I give to Byakuren because she mostly spams dark spells. After healing up I get the crazy idea of replacing my entire party with the people I rarely use, but a single battle squashes that idea pretty decisively. I'm sorry, Reimu and Aya, I still don't really see the point of you. I think I'll try them again later, but probably not at the same time. I still need a picture of Reimu's Last Word, at least.
Anyway, my initial instincts were correct and there's only one room after the golden door. However, it is a room that's positively swarming with enemies, so heading back wasn't a bad idea. I clear half of it before advancing and find the heal point, so when I head back for the other half I can splurge on bombs and MP. That's always fun, and it's sort of surprising how much easier it makes things. As expected, there's a shortcut back to the entrance. As I approach the boss room, I consider switching back to my "boss" party, but honestly that sounds like a lot of work. Eh, this party should be good enough (hint: it isn't).
Entering the boss room, the party encounters a lake◊
. Marisa is just as surprised◊
as I am to find a lake in the middle of the Forest of Magic. Patchouli notes that given that our enemies have apparently moved an entire lake here from outside of Gensokyo, hiding a temple or two as well along with it would be no problem. Youmu thinks two temples might be stretching it. But apparently the party is looking for a temple, good to know. This time I actually have an online dictionary opened up and am prepared to search through radicals and stroke counts to look up kanji, so I'm learning a lot more than I knew before.
For further clarification, we're looking for a temple at the bottom
of the lake. Mokou notes how convenient it is that its summer, because doing this in the winter would be relatively troublesome. Reimu does her classic "yeah yeah, who cares, let's go" and steps forward slightly when a challenger appears!
This new person, who was also present at the Quirky Miniboss Squad
introduction from a while ago as the non-maid, non-turtle, teleports in from nowhere, although I think it's supposed to be implied that she's just moving really fast. Who are you...?◊
Amazingly enough, I actually got a screenshot of her introducing herself!◊
I'm pretty sure this is a first. You may not care since it's probably all moon runes to you anyway, but I'm always trying to catch key lines, and always failing. Hopefully that won't be a problem in the future.
Anyway, she introduces herself as the gatekeeper of the lake-bed temple, 紅 松葉. In Japanese that would be read as Kurenai Shouyou, but I'm pretty sure she's supposed to be Chinese because she has the same family name as Hong Meiling and is also a gatekeeper. Also later in the conversation they refer to her explicitly as a Chinese gatekeeper, so I suppose she's from the ancient Hong clan of Chinese gatekeeper youkai, or something. Using my mighty google skills, I determine that her name is possibly Hong Songye, but don't quote me on that. I know even less Chinese than I know Japanese, and that's not much.
Despite immediately threatening us with her scissor hands◊
, it turns out that Songye is a pretty laid back person. Byakuren asks her what her master's plans are, but Songye has no idea. Satori confirms that she's telling the truth, and in fact is not the slightest bit curious. All she knows is that she's supposed to guard the temple, so she's going to do it. For some reason her attitude (and maybe her appearance?) reminds the party of a certain shinigami
which they spend a while pointing out◊
Having stopped taking her seriously, Reimu steps forward, but Songye responds by cutting in half◊
one of those rock pillar things. The cut happened too fast for my terrible picture skills, so that's Youmu being all shocked by it. You probably have to directly compare it to another picture to notice the lack of rock. Songye reiterates◊
that she has no interest in the mist incident nor her master's plans, but she is definitely
going to guard her master's life, and thus this place.
It's at this point that the party notices that she's a crab. I notice it quite a bit later after the boss fight starts, but this conservation suddenly made sense retroactively. Gensokyo has no oceans, so they don't get to see sea life very often, so a crab youkai is quite rare. Youmu thinks she looks tasty◊
and thinks Yuyuko would have loved to be here for a rare chance at crab for dinner. Songye doesn't appreciate where this conversation is going, so she cuts the other rock. Again causing the party to flinch, but I guess they don't really care this time. Reimu confirms◊
that getting permission to pass is not an option.
This causes Songye to go on this strange rant about the hypothetical situation in which she lets us pass. If I let you pass then my masters might have to leave this temple, and they might fire me. If they fired me I'd have to ___ but if they kept me on out of pity we'd ____ and then they'd probably ____. It's sort of a weird tangent, but I guess this game is all about weird tangents. In the end though, her story involves her fighting us again later anyway, so she's gonna show us her limitless power!◊
And then she kills us.
This is not a complicated fight. From what I can tell, each turn Songye◊
does one physical attack with a small chance of instant death and then one horizontal line attack that in my formation hit three people. Each of her attacks does more than half the HP of anyone in my party (obviously more on the weaker party members) so if she hits someone with both they die. Byakuren isn't exactly a good healer, or at least not with how I have her set up, and I can't revive because Mokou's not in the commander slot. So I pretty much inevitably die because I lack defensive options.
I learn two things: first she's vulnerable to poison which is interesting but not unexpected, proving that Satori might be okay on bosses. Second, I scan her with Satori and discover she's vulnerable to lightning. And also a marine animal (fish type). That's how I realize that she's supposed to be a crab. Oh, three things, I also learn that Mokou's self-rez has a chance of happening each turn, instead of just the moment she dies. So if you leave her on the ground she'll just get up eventually. Not that that helps when she's the only person standing with 1 HP.
I return with a more traditional party, but decide that instead of using Marisa and Patchouli's lightning spells like I normally would, I'd just use Byakuren's elemental weapons buffs on Sakuya and Youmu. This is because Marisa and Patchouli are very weak against physical attacks and would be pretty likely to get hit. Admittedly, I just want to see how useful it is.
Turns out my actual party is very much overkill. Alice takes 0 damage from all of her attacks, and can use full party cover every other turn. Byakuren's attack buffs and elemental imbues turn Sakuya and Youmu into monsters, the likes of which I haven't seen since the infamous Kanako + Suwako fight. Youmu does about a third of her life in one hit, quite a change from the previous boss.
When she's below half she casts some sort of buff on herself, but I never saw what it did because she died the next turn. This makes me a sad panda. I think Byakuren is banned from boss fights from now on, or at least ones with elemental weaknesses.
Songye, not seeming much more threatening than Meiling at this point, is now on the ground◊
, but still strong enough to pull herself up and retreat. I guess we might see a scene of her reporting her failure as well, but not yet. Next stop, Lake-bed Temple◊
Sorry if this one's particularly meh. I'm kind of sleepy, but I'm pretty sure I'd forget how the conversation went by tomorrow and I spent so
much time failing to read it. It's not like they're using complicated words or anything, I just completely fail at kanji and it gets tiresome looking up every single word.
Oh, and here's ◊
Mokou's Last Word, which revives everyone to full, which is extremely situational. I believe Reimu's the only one left. Here's◊
a link to the whole gallery, it's in chronological order this time and pretty self-explanatory I think.