Hmm, now that I can actually show things I wonder if that will limit my efforts to describe them. Rather than saying: "the enemies in this area are ninjas, pirates and robots" I would just go "here's a picture of a ninja pirate robot." I think I'm going to post them at the end or something so they don't interrupt the narrative, unless I have a particularly appropriate one. I kind of have to go back and stage these pictures though, so I doubt that'll be the case very often. Maybe when I catch up I can have real-time screen shots including boss fights, but don't hold your breath.
Oh, and if it turns out that you hate the narrative and just wanna see the pictures, I'm gonna go cry in the corner.
the dark side of the moon
Stage 10 is basically the same as stage 9, except darker. More Japanese mansion with the same tileset, it's just poorly lit this time. It's also relatively short and almost unnoteworthy, as a dungeon. Well, it has a series of one-way doors that take you back to the entrance and one room that's pitch black so you have to feel your way around, but I found the lightswitch pretty fast so it didn't affect me much. So that's all I'm going to say about the dungeon.
There's another starter cutscene this time. It's mostly just Eirin talking to Kaguya about stuff like how the rabbits were defeated and all that, but the cutscene is notable because Kaguya is playing a video game (imported via Kourindou, of course). So the scene is basically Eirin talking at Kaguya while Kaguya ignores her and talks about the game and how crazy it is that she can do something like this with modern technology. It ends with Kaguya Rage Quitting
Unlike the last dungeon, I now have a single party again. But it's not like the experience didn't affect me. Having used a lot more of the characters and in general just familiarized myself with the game, I'll be switching my party around a bit more from now on. Not a lot
more, but basically I'm willing to have a good 4 person party and 1 extra who I'm not relying on. The commander slot now goes to whoeever's the lowest level at the time, except on bosses where's it's Mokou.
What this means in this case is that I realized that I can usually survive without a designated tank so I switched out Alice in favor of Satori, who I still haven't used at all yet (she was just the commander for Team Alice). Youmu is now the center character and my field sprite. Just for the record, Satori is pretty terrible when she has no abilities.
Speaking of field sprites, the enemies are now little girls wearing masks on the side of their head. They look like they're from some summer festival or something, but I'm sure there's a classic youkai that looks like that. For some reason they seem harder to dodge here, but I think it's just the terrain.
The enemies here are pretty tough, actually. We've got ninjas, who have a decent physical attack with a chance of instant death, werewolves who can cast all-targeting berserk, floating hard drives that can remove you from battle (super-death, tends to leave things like Marisa's hat lying on the ground, implying you disintegrated) and worst of all these moon princess things that look like color swaps of Kaguya.
They cast Time Stop. Time Stop is kinda like paralyze, but it's not paralyze so you can't cure it in the same way. Also, they go faster than Sanae so they can Stop her before she gets a resist buff off. The moon princesses can't really kill you on their own, but being a sitting duck is never a good idea. Satori can learn Time Stop, and apparently it was completely overpowered in an earlier version of the game, but she never does for me.
Actually, I get to about the third room before I give up on Satori. She managed to learn Lunatic Howl or whatever the berserk ability is, but mostly she just dies and fails to apply status ailments. Actually, one of her most useful moves is Scan, but all I learn from it is that pretty much everything here is vulnerable to darkness, which I can't really do.
In the interests of not dying horribly I switch Patchouli back in, and she spams "Silent Selena". Byakuren can also do darkness, but only single targeting and she's kind of weak right now. Anyway, many MP-recovery trips were made despite the short area. In retrospect, I think you're probably supposed to switch characters when one runs out of MP, since you can just switch your party around anywhere. I'll have to try that.
Anyway, soon enough (much faster than the last dungeon), I reach the ominous save point, now with visual aid◊
. The switch turns on the teleporter; this is basically what they all look like. I switch Sanae back to support mode and prepare for my inevitable death.
We meet Eirin out in the hall rather than in the room we've been seeing in cutscenes. Tensions are high right from the beginning as Eirin knows we're up to no good. Satori goes for the mind read, but unsurprisingly fails again further increasing the tension. Mokou in particular does a lot of angry sprites. Eventually, Eirin... pulls a bow on us!
Wait, am I seeing this right? Eirin, actually using her bow. With full animations. Eirin, using her bow in a video game. I think I can die happy now, Eirin is actually being an archer instead of just carrying that thing around. Anyway, Eirin draws her bow and notches an arrow, cuing the party to get into their pre-battle stances. And so the fight begins.
Or not. Kaguya takes this moment to pop out of a door and ask Eirin if she has anything to write with, because she need to write down a password. She just beat the level you see. Good job, Kaguya! As you might expect, seeing Kaguya makes Mokou go berserk, which Kaguya counters with a "fancy meeting you here" style response. Kaguya quotes something at Mokou prompting startled annoyance from Mokou and a nervous look from Aya, who incidentally doesn't participate in these scenes very often.
Apparently Aya wrote something unflattering about Mokou in her newspaper. When confronted, Aya makes a cute pose and goes "tehe" which doesn't help much. Someone else interjects to get everyone to calm down (I can't remember who, sorry, might be Sanae or Patchouli), but Kaguya quotes something else at her. And the whole scene repeats itself. Eirin shrugs her shoulders at the ruining of the mood but doesn't seem to begrudge it too much. And we finally get another long awaited "shut up, let's just fight them" from Reimu. And they kill us.
are another paired boss, but this time they work together quite well as opposed to just coexisting. Eirin does physical attacks and sometimes all-targeting attacks while Kaguya buffs them both with both attack and defense up and heals. When I noticed this, I decided to Shoot The Medic First
and that worked out pretty well until Kaguya got below half. Then she healed both of them for 11000 each. I didn't realize this at the time, but that's 100% of their health according to those stat pages I have screenshots of. That happens at the beginning of the turn and doesn't use up her action. Then Eirin kills me with her buffed attack power.
The wiki's walkthrough for this boss has exactly one line: cast charm on Kaguya. Which is, well, interesting. I certainly wouldn't have thought of that. That should make it simple, right? Turn the 2v5 into a 1v6, and finish off Eirin easily. Afterwards, Kaguya should be no problem because despite the super-heal, Sakuya still has her old "Killing World" ability which nullifies all healing. Easy-peasy, right? And I only cheated a little bit!
Unfortunately, it doesn't go so well in practice. Kaguya may not be immune to charm, but her resistance is 60, also known as really really high. The only person who can cast charm is Byakuren, who in addition to being a liability for her low level also has a cooldown on all her spells, annoyingly enough. So if I miss a charm I have to spend a turn or two waiting for it to come back. Well, it's not quite that bad because she has another spell that does Control which is better than charm and also works on Kaguya, but it also has a cooldown. And while I'm fiddling with all this Eirin is still killing me, and she's quite good at it.
Anyway, I give Byakuren all my induction accessories and switch her in in place of Patchouli. I need a tank for the boss so Youmu is swapped out for Alice, putting my party at Alice, Sakuya, Sanae, Marisa, and Byakuren with Mokou as commander for the reviving. The basic gist of this that I have to just luckily hit Kaguya with one of the first two charms (not that unlikely, with the induction accessories) and use that time to have Byakuren cast Unresist on Kaguya and Induction Up on herself. And then if I have spare time I also have to cast attack down on Eirin to survive and defense down to actually kill her. Because that ends up being a problem.
One of Kaguya's spells in the Fire Rat Cloak, which increases defense by an awful lot. While it's great when she casts it on us, when she casts it on Eirin it takes a long
time to chip away at her life. Given the constant threat of death, survival buffs always take priority over attack buffs, but as you may have noticed Byakuren has about a billion things to do at any given moment and Sanae isn't much better because of the need to heal (Kaguya can't target my party with her normal heals for some reason). Running out of MP is actually a problem in this fight. My first attempt I managed to kill Eirin but was completely dry at that point and I just couldn't finish Kaguya off.
So I have to respec for MP efficiency, something that generally isn't a concern for my boss builds. But that lowers the effectiveness of other aspects of the characters, and I just fail to kill Eirin before all my defense happen to run out at the same time Eirin gets an attack buff and she kills me. It's a delicate balance and it took a number of attempts, but eventually I win.
So... we won. Eirin gives some explanation about why she's immune to mind-reading, but I'm pretty sure she's lying given a whispered conversation she has with Kaguya. My guess is that she said something like "It's because we're from the moon" and then "good thing she didn't try it on you Kaguya". They talk for a bit, presumably about where we should head next, when suddenly Eirin raises her bow again! What?! We already fought, didn't we? It was hard!
And she shoots. The party flinches, but no one is hit. Until a door in the background falls away revealing a mysterious cloaked figure who runs away. Oh, the intrigue! And then we set out on our merry way. Cut to two
mysterious cloaked figures running through a forest and talking to each other. I guess the plot is starting to move.
Next stop, Youkai Mountain. Now for some pictures.
is what the dungeon looks like. As you can see, it's just kind of dark. I wanted to get a picture of Youmu running because it looks cooler, but I don't have enough hands.
is a picture of the cut-in portrait for Sanae's Last Word. Also, ninjas, and Satori making a funny pose in the lower right corner. The spell is Yasaka's Divine Wind, which is just fun to say.
is a ninja and a floating hard drive. Guess which is more dangerous?
an enemy field sprite, which I should probably come up with a shorter name for, although I can't think of anything right now. Also a room and an open box.
is what happens when I stop paying attention and just auto-attack. Don't rely on your levels, kids! Satori being dead is a common state of affairs.
In a panic, I use Sakuya's "Private Square"◊
. I had forgotten that Last Spells also have the portraits, I just don't use them much because three bombs is three bombs. It should be noted that this is useless because she's blinded (see the sunglasses on the bottom of the previous screen?) so none of her attacks can hit even though she gets 2 free actions.
are the other enemies of the area. I hate the moon people. On the same note, here's◊
Sanae draining MP from them (she's jumping back to her spot). The spell costs 12, and she gets 13 back. I guess it also takes the enemy's MP but I don't notice.
Enemies turn into points when you kill them.◊
Points are experience, power is power, and they can also randomly drop bombs or lives but that's pretty insignificant. Pretty lucky that I got a picture of a 1up here. The game is proud of its shooter heritage.