kind of a filler stage, really
As mentioned last time, new weapons appear about every 2 stages nowadays. It's been two stages, so new weapons! I get a new sword for Sakuya, the Nęgling
. This new sword has the Dragonslayer property, which is somewhat ironic because it utterly failed to slay a dragon when Beowulf tried it. Dragonslayer isn't nearly as helpful as Godslayer because the powerful demon archetype is still around while dragons don't quite exist, but the sword is just a lot more powerful against everything else.
Our next stop is the Youkai Mountain. This is actually the home turf for quite a few members of the party. Both the tengu (Aya) and the kappa (Nitori) make their home here, and Sanae is the miko of the shrine at the top. Somehow that doesn't protect us from the waves of random monsters that attack us though.
When I first enter the area, we see a short scene, as always. Byakuren talks, so I guess we officially have her now. I'm guessing the party is here to talk to the gods who live at the top, but that's just guessing. More immediately though, there seem to be some mysterious craters in the ground. I'm pretty sure those haven't been there before. Was there a battle here? What caused this stuff? We must investigate!
Oddly enough, this damage is not reflected in the actual dungeon itself. I suppose there are just isolated craters in particular spots that I can't access. While I say this is the Youkai Mountain, we're not actually at
the mountain yet. Foothills, at best, but really it's just a forest. It seems entirely possible that it looks exactly like the Forest of Magic, but I haven't actually compared them back to back. It's a completely generic forest, is what I'm saying. There's not really much to connect it visually to the Youkai Mountain. Other than all the youkai running around, of course.
The enemy field sprites are... sparkling puffballs. I think. They remind me of those FOE
things that are get associated with Touhou through the magic of memes, but on closer inspection they're not because they have no faces or markings of any kind. They're very sparkly though, so I'm going to imagine that they're bishounen puffballs, sparkling in the sun and mysteriously surrounded by fangirls in high school.
Although come to think of it they actually are
vampiric, so I guess a Twilight joke would have been more appropriate. The enemies are... eclectic, but at least one of these is a vampiric floating head that drains about 2-3 times as much damage as it does with its normal attack. This is actually a pretty common thing that enemies do, and it's really annoying. If they attack a less armored character they can significantly undo damage to themselves. It's not actually dangerous
, but it certainly slows things down a lot.
Other than that, there's birds, plant monsters, rectangular blocks with arms and legs, Buddhas, the usual stuff. The Buddhas heal the enemy party, and the blocks have a lot of defense, so I guess this is a defensive themed enemy set? Frankly, that's really annoying because it slows things down, but they're not going to kill me unless I just stop paying attention.
The dungeon design here is really annoying. There are lots of huge paths that are ultimately dead ends and overall it's pretty mazelike and narrow. Luckily, there aren't many of those hidden paths, but I'm forced to fight more enemies than I'd prefer and it's a bit hard to remember where you've been. And then there's a heal point.
That was fast, but there are two weird things about this heal point. First of all there's no accompanying teleporter back to the entrance, and second of all the heal point disappears when I touch it. So a single use heal point. I am
paranoid though so the lack of teleporter doesn't make me think it's okay, but rather forces me to walk all the way back through the maze, and then return here. Well, that's one way to commit it to memory. Turns out the heal point respawns when you return to the world map, which is nice because I had to fight some more enemies on the way.
So I head past it and unsurprisingly there's a cutscene. The party is walking along what is a presumably a forest path when suddenly enter Momiji
the wolf tengu. She suddenly jumps in front of us from nowhere and blocks our path. At least someone's
doing their job. The fact that Aya is with us seems to be of no concern to her, so there goes our free pass up the mountain. I'm guessing they're on high alert from whatever caused the aforementioned terrain damage. So as you might expect, she attacks us. Boss fight!
clearly looks all physical with her sword and shield and all that, so I do the standard physical defense buffs and whatnot, waiting to see what she'll do. What she does is... dies. Really really fast. All she did was hit us with normal attacks a few times. Um... what? Is that it? Has this game given up on me? You can't really call that a boss.
And indeed it wasn't. Rather than being defeated, she just retreats. And the stage goes on. Momiji, now and forever relegated to midboss status. This explains the strange heal point, but unfortunately it also means more stage.
Luckily for me, the second half of the stage is completely different. Now outside of the forest, we're on the pebbly banks of a mountain creek, a la stage 3 of Mountain of Faith
. However, the boss of that stage was Nitori, so... *shrug* The rest of the stage goes upstream and takes us back and forth across narrow bridges. Compared to the forest maze, it's child's play.
The enemy set is also different, despite hiding within the same bishounen puffballs. While you still fight a few of the same enemies, they are now the support for huge swarms of fairies. Fairies wielding a variety of weapons. Your standard axe fairies, staff fairies, double bladed lightsaber fairies... Reminds me of the old days, back in Remilia's castle. They hit pretty hard though so this much more troublesome than the previous half, especially when they're supported by healing Bhuddas and whatnot.
Eventually I find my way to another heal point, this one permanent. No teleporter though. Perhaps having gone temporarily insane, I decide to head forward a bit to see if the teleporter was just off the screen or something. Unsurprisingly, the screen does not scroll when I move forward, but rather I enter a new area. And a cutscene. if you've been keeping track, my record for "beat a boss on the first try" is at 2/10. While that's actually slightly better than I would have thought, I would recommend against betting on those odds.
Waiting for us on the edge of the creek is... Cirno?!
Can't say I expected that. I have no idea why she's here, and I will continue not having any idea why she's here because I skimmed this scene and there aren't many contextual clues this time. She gets ready to fight us, but enter Momiji, stage left. So now we fight the second most random boss combination we've seen (Remember Remilia and Nitori? Yeah). And they kill us.
Well, I had been expecting this ever since I stepped past the heal point in what I must emphasize was a ridiculous lapse of judgement. I knew that was a bad idea half a second after I did it, it just took a while to pay off. So I lose about half the boxes from the creek section plus whatever dropped, and quite a few things dropped. No use crying over spilt milk though. I make my way back to the heal point and discover that there was a bridge of lily pads leading to the East, where there's a switch that opens a semi-shortcut back to the entrance. It's a pretty long shortcut, all things considered, but I guess it's shorter than the other way and I save before trying the boss again.
are basically Tewi split into two people. Except a bit easier. And you know what, I won't take back that midboss comment about Momiji. She's a midboss. This whole fight is a midboss, and this whole dungeon was just the prologue for the actual mountain. We're just killing time here.
As for how they're actually like Tewi, the combo here is that Momiji just sort of spams an all targeting attack with a very low hit rate and Cirno casts ice spells which do decent damage and have a chance of freezing, which causes you to have no evasion (or negative evasion). So Cirno sets you up to get hit by Momiji. What's slightly different from Tewi are three things: Most obviously, there are two of them so they get twice as many actions per turn. Secondly, Momiji's attack hits, or rather misses, each character 4 times so she's pretty likely to get weak hits off consistently but you'll take massive damage if all 4 hit. This causes there to be much more of a gradient between life and death.
Lastly, and most importantly, Cirno's attacks are elemental. There are a ton
of ways to deal with elemental attacks if you know when to expect them, and Cirno just does them every turn. As I suppose is to be expected, Cirno is the weak link here. I have two ways to basically nullify her attacks, and I decide to do both of them. As I referred to in a non-blog post, Patchouli has a set of spells that effectively modify the land element for as long as they're up. In this case, I can cast "Hotspot Volcano" to switch it over to fire, which as you might expect isn't very helpful for Cirno's ice. Alice also has a series of spells that lets the party resist/be immune to/absorb an element of your choosing for some amount of turns.
So Cirno's damage output becomes a non-issue and while she can still freeze, Momiji's attacks aren't completely
devastating on their own, especially with defense up and evasion up buffs from Sanae. Other than an amusing episode in which Alice cast her all targeting cover spell ("Little Legion") and got hit 20 times by Momiji while frozen and died horribly, the battle goes very smoothly. I target Momiji first because Cirno is already nullified, but I don't think that matter too much, really.
So Cirno and Momiji are defeated and we proceed. Nothing important happens in this stage.
Oh, forgot the pictures.
is Kourindou, the shop. The picture says it all.
is what the forest looks like. I got someone to help me by running while I took the picture, so it looks slightly less like I'm a tourist posing for shots. Most of the time I'm running past stuff. Note how Youmu runs with a hand on her sword. Attention to detail is what counts. Well, I suppose that's not as clear as it is when she's moving.
are some puffballs cornering me. They don't look very sparkly in the image, but hey, I'm trying to take a picture while being chased by enemies! This◊
is the temporary heal point, which is actually a different color Is guess.
is an image of the... pre-turn thing. Before you start selecting the character's commands it has this thing, which is where you can use commander abilities, run away, auto-battle, or hide the menu so you can take a screenshot of the enemies. The thing in the upper-right is the land meter, although it's empty.
are some enemies, including the vampire head. Which on closer inspection has a bunch of organs hanging down. Ew. While I'm fighting these random battles anyway, I decide to take some pictures of abilities and whatnot. So here◊
is Pathcouli's famous "Silent Selena" (please tell me how that's a darkness spell in any sense), and this◊
is Youmu being awesome. Note that she does it again afterwards for free, and that Kaguya only had 11000 HP.
Marisa procs her Last Word◊
, but honestly it doesn't do much for random battles, since while it looks cool all it does is lower MP costs.
In the second half, it looks like this◊
, and the enemies look like these◊
. They're actually quite dangerous and kill Patchouli and Sakuya when I go easy on them, but that procs Youmu's Last Word◊
so it's okay. As you may recall, Youmu's last word kills all enemies. Twice, in this case, because every single ability she has can randomly happen twice
. Ah, the wonders of paired katanas. For my trouble, they drop an obsidian◊
, yay! Although looking at the kanji I'm not sure it's actually obsidian. Maybe I should stick with something something rock.