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Let's Play a random Touhou fan RPG!
Clarste

[table of contents]
Stage 20 so close yet so far
As you may have noticed, I didn't have any pictures last time, nor did I edit the post like I usually do (I'm sure bits are unreadable). I was in a hurry to finish it up when I posted it, and haven't felt like going back. I'll do it after this one, maybe.

Anyway, tip of the day: When enemies get hit, they shake. When enemies get hit more, they shake longer. When Sakuya casts her random-targeting random multi-hit attack ("Perfect Killing Doll"), and one enemy takes 6+ hits while all the others take 1, that one enemy will shake for a really long time, well into the next turn. This is hilarious. I've known about it for a while, but it's hard to work that kind of thing in.

Stage 20 so close yet so far

Intro cutscene! This occurs immediately as you exit the previous boss room. The area is now the Great Temple instead of the Lakebed Temple Depths, and it looks completely different. It's now reddish and kind of evil looking, with statues of demons and whatnot. Most tellingly, the water is now purple.

The party is somewhat surprised by how different it suddenly looks. Patchouli claims that more than just the appearance, the air down here is also different. Was the temple this kind of structure? Byakuren starts explaining in her roundabout way, as always. "Rather than 'was the temple this kind of structure' we should be asking 'how did the structure change into this?'." Come on, Byakuren, can't you just say stuff? You really remind me of Itsuki. Byakuren isn't allowed to say things with less than three quotations, apparently.

So, uh... actually I can't understand Byakuren's explanation very well, if it even is an explanation. She felt a flow of power when she arrived on this floor, and while she can't tell what the flow did, the fact that she could feel it at all implies... something. Something was replaced. So I figured she was saying we were teleported here, or maybe the temple was teleported. Alice also felt someone's flow of power, so Byakuren's explanation is not unthinkable. Go double negatives!

Youmu wonders why now of all times and Mokou thinks it's obviously because they're backed into a corner after we beat one of their leaders. Given this, Sakuya thinks it's obvious that there will be more traps, but of course Reimu doesn't care. Charge on through, as always.

So anyway, if the last dungeon was minimalist, with few rooms and nothing but enemies, this dungeon is attempting to make up for lost time by having huge rooms and puzzles. Huge, mazelike rooms. That are also filled with enemies! What fun!

The dungeon is divided into two large halves, left and right. Each half is again divided into two routes, up and down. The up route for each leads to a locked door with a switch behind it. The down route is a long section eventually leading a key. Once both doors are open and both switches hit, the way forward is opened up. The up route is a single puzzle room involving switches that create temporary bridges across moats, basically one-way doors. The down route is a long trek into the basement through mazelike rooms. In the lower right there ends up being a repeating room structure where running off the bottom takes you back to the top, but it's pretty simple. The lower left simply requires you to hit a few switches.

Enemy field sprites are fairies. Just plain old fairies. How appropriate. The enemy set is a mix of some older enemies from two stages ago and some new ones, who now seem to have ridiculous amount of HP, relatively. Seriously, it's getting quite hard to kill things now, with them taking many turns. It doesn't help that I'm playing defensively with both Alice and Sanae not contributing any damage, so my only attackers are Sakuya, Youmu and Marisa. In general though my attacks do a much lower percent of enemy health than I'm used to. I find myself forced to go all out quite often, and to run back and heal a lot. I often felt like I was just sort of slowly clearing out the enemies so I could advance.

Notable enemies include Ammonites, rock snakes and cloud things. These are notable because they use really powerful all-targeting elemental attacks, forcing me to spam Alice's elemental barriers. Luckily, it doesn't seem possible to fight more than one at a time because the area is roughly divided into elemental quadrants, based on the enemy set anyway. Rounding these out are fire witches, who are relatively harmless because they count as Magicians, which Sakuya has Slayer for right now (her latest sword has three slayers, "Etc", Warrior and Magician), and multi-element elementals which are weak against physical. Oh, and giants that take forever to kill but are harmless.

After what seemed like ages of trying to clear this place, I finally open the main switch door. Only to find out that we're not quite there yet. That was the first half of the dungeon, although to be fair more like two thirds. This second half is composed of a single puzzle.

Basically you have to light up the eyes of these plaques on the ground. To do so you have to enter the room from a door next to one of these plaques. If you go through the same door again it turns off. The area is a four room loop, but there are some extra doors that lead between the same rooms but have plaques on different sides. Ultimately the key is to run all the way around using one set of doors and then run back around the way you came from using the other set of doors, maximizing the amount of running you have to do, and these rooms aren't exactly lacking enemies. There are no clues or anything, just RPG "puzzle instincts" and a bit of trial and error.

There are also some new enemies here, notable ones including two headed turtle things and griffins. The griffins are just sort of generically strong and dangerous while evading a lot and the turtles cover their allies, heal, revive their allies, and have lots of defense. The turtles can only be hurt by water, so to kill them I switch Youmu out for Nitori to get some more elemental damage. This works out surprisingly well, but I still have to use Sakuya's Killing World to prevent them from healing. Which is really freaking scary when they're paired with griffins.

Puzzle solved and foes slain, I find the miraculous heal point. It lacks a teleporter though. The closest teleporter is back before Anastasis' room, but distance-wise it's only a few rooms. It was kind of annoying though, running through so many rooms to save my items when I was doing the dungeon. Anyway, boss time!

The party is walking through a hallway, when all of a sudden... mist! Wait, could this be...? Yes it is, as Satori collapses shortly followed by Patchouli and then the rest of the party minus Mokou who's all like "is everyone okay?!". I guess that's their relative stamina ranking. Reimu confirms in dialog that this is probably the incident-mist that weakens youkai (remember? that was the plot). And then a voice from nowhere confirms her suspicions.

Biotopos partially appears, heavily shrouded by the mist I guess, and introduces herself, with the full introduction thing again before appearing completely. I guess the writers really love their full names. Alice wonders if this fog is her doing. Correct. Then... the incident fog is also your doing? Ahahahaha, yup. I like Biotopos. She's all laid back and laughs a lot, but not in an evil way. None of this "fufufu" nonsense, she goes all out with her "ahahaha". Given that she's smoking all the time, she's probably high.

Sanae asks the obvious question of why our human characters are also suffering right now. Well, this isn't quite the same mist. The incident mist was adjusted by her so as to not damage humans. But if she feels like it, ''this'' happens. Cue standard villain "I'm surprised you got this far" speech. Anyway, this fog is much stronger than the other stuff, and the fact that we're still conscious is impressive. One more course ought to settle it.

Reimu stands up and says "you say all that, but you don't sound very pleased". Bio clears up the fog and starts laughing again. You think? Apparently she'd much rather be drinking sake together with us, but they ended up as enemies so here we are. Mokou gets around to asking what exactly this mist is, and Bio suddenly notices that Mokou's been perfectly fine all this time. This is quite mysterious to Bio.

Anyway, Bio's power is the manipulation of life force. With the mist she can suppress other people's life force, but she can also amplify it. Thus, she earned the title "immortal" by amplifying her own life force. Mokou is all like "that does resemble immortality, doesn't it?" and Patchouli finally points out to them that Mokou is, you know, actually immortal. For reals.

This shocks Bio. To think someone actually has such a power. Even a god of longevity like herself is surprised. Apparently she's a turtle goddess and turtles are associated with longevity. Haven't you heard? "If cranes are a thousand years, turtles are ten thousand years!"  *Although now her reputation's ruined, ahahahaha. While Alice lampshades the oddness of Bio laughing at such a statement, Aya starts laughing along with her, just because.

Anyway, Reimu doesn't care what power she has, we're gonna beat her up. Because that's what we do. Bio knew it would come to this, and she has to pay us back for beating up her sister and cute subordinates anyway. We futilely ask what exactly their plan was supposed to be, but again are directed to ask her little sister if we manage to get past her, same old same old. So we fight her. And... she doesn't kill us but I decide to give up because it's taking forever and I might run out of MP before she dies at that rate.

As you might imagine, Biotopos is a pretty defensive boss. While she doesn't regenerate, she has a lot of defense and evasion and the same absurd HP value as Anastasis. Which I suppose is relatively less absurd now that we're a dungeon's worth of levels higher. She mostly does normal attacks which are decently strong but not overwhelming (Alice can tank them easily). Her "thing" though is her mists.

She has two mists which last about 6 turns each. When they run out, she'll immediately cast the other. The first mist is the Guard Mist which raises her defense absurdly. She takes about 90% less damage when this mist is up. Her other mist is the Poison Mist, which isn't actually poison but makes your party take 100 damage per turn anyway. This cannot be mitigated.

Frankly, those are both kind of annoying. It's hard for me to heal constant damage like the poison and having phases where I can't hurt her is really annoying. So on my first attempt that's all I could do, although Satori managed to scan her (weak against water) and apparently poison pierces her guard mist. Not that that's relevant.

Because her mists have a fatal flaw: they're field effects. Which means I can easily dispel them by using my own field effects. Like Patchouli's Arctic Chill which increase water damage. So yeah. I switched my party to Alice, Sanae, Nitori, Marisa and Patchouli and spammed water spells and water chasers. While she still has more magic defense than Sis did, she can't exactly kill me when her mechanics do nothing. At first I was afraid of her reacting to my field effects like Tenshi did, but she didn't. So it was pretty simple. When she dies, she casts her Last Word, Aging Drizzle, which does about 500 damage to everyone. Tanks can survive that now though, and Sanae has a max HP up buff as well, so that's not really a problem.

Bio thinks it's mysterious that we managed to win. Reimu thinks it's more mysterious where these people get all this self-confidence. "So are you gonna stop this incident or are you gonna run away like your sister?" "What, Sis ran away? What a good idea!" And then she runs away in a cloud of mist. Stop giving her ideas Reimu! Well, nothing to do but move forward.

Back in the Gorgon throne room, Lithos senses that Bio has been defeated, leaving her all alone, without her sisters to help her. ...and then she starts laughing to herself, in the evil way this time. The people who managed to beat her two sisters are surely on their way here. It's just what she's dreaded, or rather what she's hoped for. How fun! Still talking to herself, she invites us into her barrier, where she'll show us the power of the final and strongest Gorgon sister, Lithos Medusa Gorgon. She also draws a golden sword.

Next stop, Lair of the Gorgon. I think it's the final dungeon.

Here's the gallery for this stage.
27th Jan '11 10:56:18 PM flag for mods
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