Stage 15 something old and something new
As I discovered in this thread, each character's unique armor has some special properties idiosyncratic to them. Youmu's gives her an increased counterattack rate (which apparently only works when entering a stance) as well as a "strikeback" chance which allows her to randomly deflect physical attacks and counter. Given that I use her as my random battle tank, having her counter a lot seems useful, so I buy her armor. I want to buy Satori's armor too, for the bonus induction, but I don't have the mats for it; I'll get them in the next dungeon.
something old and something new
So the party enters◊
the Forest of Magic, again. This is a different area with a different entrance on the map, but it has the same name. Marisa notes how good it is to home aga— wait what the hell is this?!◊
it's as if the plants are radiating life energy. Sanae wonders if this is the work of the black somethings that Tenshi was talking about, and I fail to get a screenshot of that textbox because apparently "print screen" doubles as "advance forward in the cutscene", much to my annoyance. So if there's a key line with no screenshot, that's why. They mention the black somethings about three times in this dungeon, but I miss it each time.
Nitori wonders why we're here and Marisa explains to her the whole "look down from heaven" thing that I mentioned last time. Was it not made explicit before? Patchouli attempts to look up "identifying mysterious lights in the Forest of Magic" in her book, but as you might expect that doesn't go anywhere. Anyway, Reimu thinks speculating about any of this is pointless, and that the only thing to do is move forward. I miss her dialog box, but here's◊
Reimu in her action pose.
The forest is pretty straightforward. Unlike previous forests, there are no hidden paths and there aren't really that many split ups either. What it does
have is a bunch of large green pipes, as you may have noticed during the cutscene. These are Mario
pipes that can be entered to go to different areas. They even make the classic sound. I'm not sure why they decided to add these to this dungeon, but whatever. The pipes lead to an underground area that composes the other half of the dungeon. The first pipe though just leads to a gated off area, clearly a shortcut back to the entrance.
The enemy field sprites are the same mushrooms from the original Forest of Magic, but the enemies are completely different. The basic enemies here are all nymphs of various kinds, which I suppose favors the "Greek" theory. Oreiades, Dryades, Alseides, the whole shebang. Well, not the whole
shebang, maybe they're saving some for later. Backing them up are Spartoi and Harpies, so yeah, very Greek. The nymphs are weak against darkness while the Spartoi are strong against physical but weak against earth, which I can't exactly do.
I know this because I have Satori in my party, and she can scan. My party is now Youmu, Sakuya, Sanae, Marisa, and Satori. I felt sort of guilty for not using her, so I switched her in and loaded her with Induction to see how it works out. Her poison, which is both cheap and all targeting, ticks for exactly 300, which isn't bad at all. Sakuya only hits for 400-500 base, so being able hit every enemy multiple times for 300 is actually pretty awesome. Too bad it overwrites Sanae's paralysis, because you can only have one "permanent" status ailment at a time.
This doesn't last long though, because Satori very quickly runs of out Lives, on account of dying in every single battle. She is the squishiest wizard yet, although a lot of that is just due to her level. Before she goes though she manages to learn Plasma Ball, which is her first actual attack spell. Too bad it's really weak. I replace her with Byakuren, who I decide to treat as a simple nuker for her dark damage, instead of messing with buffs or induction. She's actually surprisingly potent when given a good staff.
Shortly afterwards, I find the first real
pipe that actually leads somewhere underground. I hit a switch that seems to open two gates, but when I pass through one of them it closes behind me. Trapping me. I don't like being trapped, it's quite nerve wracking to not be able to retreat.
Underground, there's a different enemy set. Instead of nymphs, we fight giant bugs and lizardmen. The scorpions are notable for their massive poison damage (240) but scarier are the antlions, which both remove a character from battle or blind the party. Blind doesn't actually lower your hit rate, but is more like silence for physical attacks. You can't even try. Anyway, Sanae is back on resistance buff duty for these guys.
I shortly find another pipe up, but I have no idea where I am and it takes 3-4 rooms of frantic exploring to get back to familiar ground. In the meantime, I encounter another big angel enemy, but I can actually use darkness now that I have Byakuren! So it's surprisingly not a problem. I decide to play it safe and run all the way back home to save.
Having gotten some materials in the dungeon, I'm able to make Satori her armor, which both lets her live and gives her 20 more induction. This translate into 380 poison damage, which I have to say is great. It's kind of funny though, Satori still dies more often than not, but at least she doesn't need to be alive to do damage with poison.
Anyway, it seems I've explored most of this area when I ran back, so all that's left is a minor puzzle involving another auto-closing gate. It seems the gates are connected so when one closes the other does as well, but the basic point of this is just to make you take the long way around. Effectively, the gates that close are never necessary to go through at all, and they're best treated as walls that look like doors. Along the way I encounter an Elder Basilisk, but being a dragon it goes down fast.
Mid-dungeon cutscene! The party stumbles upon a section of the forest that seems to be petrified. I... have no idea how to integrate this into the prose, but this prompts an "Ayaya?!"◊
which for some reason I though was worth preserving. Reimu sees something else up ahead and runs forward, and when the party follows we find this.◊
, Yukari's direct familiar and quite a powerful being in her own right. Youmu briefly considers that it might be just a statue, but no, she can feel that its a living being. So we're dealing with someone who can petrify people. Medusa? Aya takes notes, but Reimu continues her "we'll deal with it when we get there" policy and we move on.
The second half of this stage adds some new enemies, that appear both above and below ground. First of all are the Beholders, yet another D&D property, that are really weak against physical attacks and interrupt magic spellcasting. Um... when I say it like that it sounds like they're useless because all they do is encourage you to use the abilities that they're weak against, but they're quite annoying in combos. The other new enemies are the unicorns, which are immune to all magic and do powerful physical attacks.
Anyway, as you might imagine this section is pretty annoying for magicians, so I switch out Marisa for Nitori. The unicorns are also vulnerable to fire despite being immune to magic, so it's win-win. It does make Spartois significantly more annoying to deal with though.
Shortly after I enter this new area I find a Ribbon. Normally I don't note items, but this is blatantly a Final Fantasy
reference, given that it's a super-accessory that increases all elemental and status resistances. I give this to Sanae the next time I save my items, which is pretty soon because the next room opens up a shortcut back to the entrance.
There's a very strange puzzle here. Basically there are three different pipes that connect the surface and the underground, and while you can reach any of the pipes easily on the surface, the underground is separated by gates that open and close. What's weird is that the gates all simultaneously change positions every time you take a pipe from the surface to the underground, but only when you use a different pipe then the last time it happened (so you can't just go up and down the same pipe). It's pretty simple and really short, but for a while I thought I was just stuck cause I couldn't even leave. I was ready to call the game buggy for trapping me like that.
It's at this point that an Elder Basilisk kills me. I mean, slaughters me. The first time I fought one it didn't seem to do much, but apparently they spam an attack that does significant damage plus instant death. So yeah, another status ailment enemy, but it caught me off guard and instantly killed me. So watch out for that. There's not really much left to the stage, and shortly I find myself at the ominous heal point and teleporter. Switching back to my boss party, I enter and cutscene.
The party walks forward and encounters a purple pipe next to a sign. Reimu walks up and reads the sign, which says something like "This is not suspicious, definitely ignore it, please". This apparently gets Aya's reporter blood boiling with excitement, but Byakuren doesn't seem to understand and points out◊
that the sign does in fact politely ask us to definitely ignore it. And it seems Aya is the only curious person in the party, so we decide to ignore it and walk past.
This angers the person hiding in the pipe, who turns out to be the turtle◊
from last time. What's up with kids these days, aren't you the slightest bit curious?! When a normal person sees a sign like that they just have to know what's in the pipe! The turtle announces that he's finally returned to get his revenge on Reimu, but...
Uh... who is this guy?◊
Reimu has no idea who he is, but Marisa gets the feeling that he's somehow familiar. "Oh yeah! Didn't you use to, like, drive a turtle or something, Reimu?" "Now that you mention it..." The turtle internally takes offense at being considered a vehicle instead of a faithful steed, but chooses not to say anything yet.
So, what happened to that flying turtle anyway, Reimu? Well, you see, that turtle was an item◊
for flying. And now, I. Can. Fly.◊
So I threw it away. Isn't that the obvious thing to do?
The turtle (what was his name again?) is enraged by this whole conversation and start ranting, but Reimu rants back and ultimately kicks him. He bounces◊
back and forth between the pipe and the wall, another Mario reference, and Reimu suggests we forget this ever happened and move on.
That doesn't happen, because the turtle recovers and claims to have gotten powers from his new master. Byakuren tries to interrogate him about his new master, but he doesn't give more details other than a name (Biotopos) and rants about how he can finally get his revenge with his awesome new powers, which Reimu is very skeptical of. Long story short, we fight him.◊
That's a battle stance picture, and it happens every boss. Oh, and his name is Genjii
is a flying turtle. That's the long and short of it. I beat him on the first try, so don't expect any detailed analysis or planning. What I do know is that he has a ridiculous amount of defense, both physical and magical, and that he counters Master Spark by casting reflect on himself. So this battle takes a long
time and Marisa is spending it twiddling her thumbs. The only thing I can do that does significant damage is Youmu's spellcard, but that can only be done every 3 turns.
Offensively, he seems to mostly do single targeting attacks, although he has one all-targeting attack that he stopped doing partway through the battle for whatever reason. One of his attacks is darkness and raises the land gauge. Since I have no light to balance it out with, by about half way through darkness was maxed out and he could kill anyone in one hit with it, including Alice. Undaunted, I just kept reviving. If he can only kill one person at a time, that's not really a problem.
Other than that, he has three utility spells, only one of which I understand. First of all, he can dispel all buffs from everyone, including himself. I assume it clears debuffs too, but I didn't have any in this party. Most annoyingly, this also clears Youmu's stance, but luckily he doesn't do it too often. Secondly, he does this thing where it looks like he's sucking in air, which gives him a "special" buff icon. Because that icon is idiosyncratic, I have no idea what it does. I thought he might be charging up for an attack, but eventually it just runs out and I can't tell the difference.
Lastly, he does... something
that involves the Land gauge. It quickly says something at the top of the screen, but the only word I can pick out that fast is Land. My first thought is that he's failing to do a move because the Land gauge isn't appropriate for him to do so. I think that might be why he stopped doing his all targeting attack, but who knows? After the battle I looked at his status screen and it seems he's vulnerable to both light and dark, so maybe there's some yin-yang gimmick here that I completely ignored by letting him charge up the darkness? Maybe those are the only spells that would significantly hurt him or something, but they also charge up his attack? I have no idea, but I feel like I did it wrong.
Anyway, it's a long
battle and I end with basically no resources left for anyone but Marisa, who was of course just twiddling her thumbs.
After we defeat him, he resumes yelling at Reimu, who just punts him off the screen. What a bad person, she exclaims, prompting a sweat drop◊
from the rest of the party. Satori was thinking "you're one to talk" but print screen ate the dialog box. And then we move on.
First of all, three new Last Words: Nitori◊
, and Satori◊
. I hadn't actually seen Satori's until just then. I'm rather partial to Byakuren, of these three. To me, it looks like she's listening to music. I suppose this spoils what characters I'll use. Oh, and I also confirmed that Sakuya's Last Word has the same portrait as her Last Spell, so I guess I could get these on demand if I really wanted to.
are some random◊ shots◊
of the forest area. I take pictures while opening boxes because it's safe. Huh, I didn't notice at the time that the heal point room lacks the glowy things.
the underground area◊
. I took pictures of gates because that's what stood out to me, sorry.
are some nymphs◊
. In the second picture Satori is scanning: it says "vulnerable to darkness" at the top. In the third picture she's learning Plasma Ball, but it only shows it because she happens to level up at the same time. This◊
is an angel. I can't figure out what its name is supposed to be. Kareidobaachaa. Kaleidovarcher? I dunno. I cast Master Spark◊
on it just because.
Underground, we fight these◊ guys◊
. When removed from battle, Youmu leave only her ghost half behind.◊ This◊
is Byakuren roasting a scorpion with Starfire. Lastly, these◊
are the enemies from the second half.
On a "failure" note, here◊
is Satori being dead on the menu after running out of lives, and these◊ are◊
the game over screens. In the latter one, an enemy died from poison after I died, so the points just float there. I think my party members give suggestions for the dungeon when I get a game over. After this, we lose◊
our items. Pray that the list isn't more than one page.
are yukkuris. They give a lot of experience.◊
I have an awful lot of boss fight pictures, but most of them are pretty uninteresting. This◊
is a few turns into the battle. He has both reflect and his whatever buff. This◊
is right before the end of the battle. Honestly, I thought I might die from attrition. Alice has MP, but no bombs. Marisa is poking him with her broom for 0 damage because there's nothing better to do when he has reflect. This◊
is Genjii's head exploding. I mean, that's his AOE attack. There's an awful lot of attacks where the enemy hops up there and shoots stuff at your party, and I think of them as breath attacks. Finally, this◊
is the boss dying. He turns gray and shakes. All the items are gathering on Sakuya, who got the final hit. Bosses drop a lot of power◊
is a link to the whole folder, where you can browse them as a slideshow or whatever. They're in a completely random order because I named them descriptively rather than sequentially. I think I'll number them next time. There are a few pictures I didn't use here, but not many because... I'm bad at making decisions.