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Clarste

[table of contents]
The Death and Rebirth of the Liveblog
So... we're back. For now anyway. When we last left off Lithos had been defeated, and I guess there was a cliffhanger there. Anyway, we jump straight into a cutscene.

Lithos is... defeated. She's kneeling on the ground, cursing the power of the Hakurei Miko (somehow it's just really fun to call her that). Reimu takes the opportunity to try to cash in on the rain check Lithos' sisters gave us for an explanation for all this incident stuff. However, before she can get an answer she's interrupted by the world falling apart. More specifically, the barrier that we've been in for the entire final dungeon is cracking and two jagged openings in space appear. And out pop none other than Anastasis and Biotopos! Isn't sisterly love a wonderful thing?

The first thing they do is tease Lithos a bit, likening the situation to helping their little sister out when she's being bullied. Yeah, like you're one to talk. Anyway, they owe us an explantion, so they give one. They want to show Gensokyo's gods and youkai the power of the Three Gorgon Sister Goddesses. Yeah, that's it, they just wanted to show off. Reimu is unsurprised; she figured it was something like that. Okay, that's nice, are you done yet? Can we stop this whole "incident" thing already now we've beaten you?

But, alas, it is not done yet. There's still one person who has not acknowledged their strength. And she's standing right here. Complaining about incidents. Yeah, you Reimu! This would've been over already if you hadn't come here trying to stop it and interfering with their showing off! Being foiled at every step of the way isn't the best way to make a first impression, so the Gorgons plan to have at least one victory by the end of this. And the last few battles didn't count; they can only show their true strength together. Reimu accepts their challenge. This is the final battle.

It's at this point that the developers realize that they have all these other characters standing around not particpating in the plot. So everyone in your party goes through their own short "this is who I am and this is why I'm going to stop you" speech. It'd be a lot like FF 6's classic "self-help pamphlet" scene if any of the characters had actually had any dynamic character development over the course of the game. Anyway, Byakuren starts it with a whole "save the youkai" thing but down the line the others just sort of shout their full names, which I suppose is payback for all the time the Gorgons did that. And then the battles starts. And I die! A lot! Forever!

Actually the battle doesn't start immediately. In a bit of blatant fourth wall breaking we're teleported into a room with two hintbooks, as well as the ability to go backwards to the previous healpoint, or just leave the dungeon entirely. Very polite of them to let us leave in the middle of a dramatic scene. Anyway, one of the hintbooks explains the situation and the other starts the battle.

The situation is this: you have two parties in this fight. I suppose it's only appropriate that you get to use your full party on the final boss. A new battle menu option has been added for this fight that lets you switch to your other party at any time, at the beginning of a turn (it doesn't take time). However, you can only do this once. Essentially, there's a 1st party and a 2nd party, and you switch when the first one gets low on MP or is otherwise no longer effective. The battle is actually divided into two distinct parts, so really that's the dividing line. The second hintbook triggers the menu to create two parties, which is really really annoying when you have to do it every single time you attempt the boss.

As the battle starts, we see only Anastasis. Huh? Weren't we supposed to be fighting all three of them? As it turns out, "all three at once" is more like "all three in a row, rotating". The mechanic is that every two turns the boss switches place with the next one. It goes Anastasis -> Biotopos -> Lithos -> Anastasis, rotating forever. They share HP and status effects, so mechanically there's really only a single enemy that changes appearance and properties. Obviously they all have different abilities and weaknesses and such, so the trick is being able to deal with everything they can throw at you, one at a time.

Visually, each of them is in "serious mode" compared to last time. They have different sprites and names from the last time we fought them. Anastasis has her hair down and has appended "Crocodile God" to her name (Wanigami Anastasis). Biotopos is sitting upright in her chair and is now in "Turtle God" mode (Kamegami Biotopos), and Lithos is actually using her sword this time and is finally identified as a "Snake God" (Hebigami Lithos), although that was pretty obvious. And she has wings. They primarily use the abilities they had in their own battles, including the Last Words, so I got a screenshot of Anastasis. Here are all three sisters, together as they were meant to be. Oddly enough, Sis' hair magically ties itself back when she's doing her ultimate move.

Anastasis is the first one, and the most dangerous. She's still weak against lightning, and still just physically tough. She also regenerates 999 HP a turn, which slows down the battle considerably, although because they share HP that just means the boss regens 33% of the time, which is certainly better than 100% of the time. She just hits me really hard, and this time I don't have Byakuren to weaken her, because I need Byakuren for the second party. Randomly at the end of her first turn she'll charge a bomb. This causes her next action to be either a powerful all-targeting punch or a ridiculously powerful single targeting attack (her Last Word, which is apparently called Muscle Revolution). Not knowing which she'll do is the hardest part of the fight in my experience.

Biotopos is second, and honestly doesn't seem to do anything. Anything. Her basic attack is magical instead of physical, but she lacks any of the abilities she had in her boss fight. I don't know what's up with that. Still weak against water. I basically consider her the damage and recovery phase, she's mostly a breather between Sis and Lithos.

Lithos is last, and really kind of annoying. She's weak against fire, but has a really really high evasion stat and magic defense so I can barely hurt her. She has a random chance at the end of her turn to dispel everyone, which means you'll probably have to start Anastasis' phase with no buffs. Yay! She also has an all-targeting attack power reducing debuff as well as the ability to charge bombs like Anastasis. With her bombs she'll either use all-targeting charm or her Last Word, which as you may recall does petrify.

Adding insult to injury, every other turn a support enemy spawns, up to a maximum of two. These enemies are either crocodiles, turtles, or snakes, as well as somewhat more rarely a former boss. Yes, a former boss. The three battle-maids from stage 18 as well as the Chinese crab youkai can randomly show up and ruin your day, although obviously in a weakened form.

The trick to this is to keep killing them until you get a harmless set that you can ignore. The crocodiles are the least threatening, with the snakes in second and the turtles in third. The snakes can randomly paralyze people at a low chance and the turtles will cover the boss and kill themselves, preventing you from keeping them up. I try to end up with a combination of crocodiles and snakes.

My party for this ends up being Alice, Sakuya, Nitori, Marisa, and Sanae. Youmu, Byakuren, and Patchouli are on reserve for phase 2, although honestly I never got anywhere with that. I probably could have split my party better, but phase 1 is hard enough on its own... I've beaten it exactly once, and *spoiler alert* phase 2 killed me instantly.

Anyway, Nitori and Marisa rotate through the elements as appropriate, Alice and Sanae keep everyone alive, and Sakuya's just kind of there. This is a long fight, the way I was doing it anyway. Unlike the previous fights with these bosses, there's really no way to stack buffs and such to do massive damage, at least not at my level. It's slow and cautious, because one slip up could cause me to die.

The two most relevant abilities are the bombs that Anastasis and Lithos do. For Lithos, I just have Alice use Little Legion which causes her to cover everyone else in the party. So instead of everyone being hit by charm or petrify, Alice gets hit by it 5 times and Sanae pre-casts a cure spell (which luckily goes slower than Lithos).

For Anastasis it's trickier. If she does the single big hit, Alice has to guard. Even with the 90% damage reduction Alice's guard ability does, she still takes half her life. I used to have a 75% guard which also effects magic, but that wasn't good enough. On the other hand, if Anastasis does her all-targeting punch, other people are gonna die unless Alice shields them. So basically every time Anastasis charges a bomb I have to choose who dies. Ultimately my decision was to stack HP on Sanae and always guard with Alice. Sanae can revive people afterwards but that really slows down the fight.

Anyway, I eventually beat phase 1, and then there's a short mid-battle cutscene where the three sisters, now beaten up, decide to merge. Wait, what? Are they Voltron or something? More charitably, I suppose they might be three aspects of the same goddess or something like that. Anyway, there's a 9 turn charge-up period where you have to do 50,000 damage in order to weaken them for the combined form. This is completely impossible and absurd, especially with my party split up.

There might be some sort of trick to this, but it may not be possible at my level and the first phase takes so long that I'd rather not figure it out by trial and error like I usually do. After they merge, they kill my entire party in one hit. Apparently there's some sort of mechanic where they absorb the land gauge to heal and do massive damage. Also, they're weak against dark and Youmu has a sword with godslaying properties, so its basically designed for you to abuse her with Byakuren's Dark Sword enchant. Not that I got a chance to.

And that's that. I can't beat the final boss, and have little motivation to beat the final boss. I basically quit the game at this point. However, an expansion came out later with new story, new characters, new dungeons and the works, which I'm interested in playing. Unfortunately, it starts post-game and requires a clear game file.

After wasting many hours grinding in the final dngeon to no avail, I gave in and downloaded someone else's save file, which shall be used as the basis for future updates. Yeah, I'm cheating, but games are games, not work. The clear game is about 10 levels higher on average (20 levels higher than I was when I fought Lithos) which is completely absurd given the way XP works. Presumably it also has different items, which might be confusing, but at least the character customization system is easily reversible so it's not like it'll be completely different.

Oh, and here's what the ending probably is: They all drink tea or sake together, and at least one of the 3 Gorgons makes some sort of commitment to hang out at the shrine sometimes, or something like that. It's a Touhou game, what else could it be?
27th Jan '11 10:57:04 PM flag for mods
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