As an apology there have been quite a number of factual inaccuracies in the preceding posts, mostly revolving around my level. I'm actually doing this mostly from memory rather than as I'm playing, and I didn't really take notes or anything because I didn't expect to do a liveblog. So that's why I'm being vague about some things (items and such) while at the same time excessively detailed about weird anecdotes like the bugs in the forest.
Regrading my levels in particular, I have a vivid memory of being level 10 or so after Remilia, but based on the enemy guides I've been referring to to refresh my memory this is completely absurd. Maybe that was my power level? Or did I just pull it out of my ass? Anyway, my level should theoretically be around 10 right now, at the start of stage 5. The newcomers are about 2 levels lower. Apologies for the confusion, especially if you were playing the game yourself and were wondering what was up with my absurd levels.
this house makes no sense
I didn't mention this at the time, but Remilia's house made some amount of sense. There were bedrooms, the main hall was physically close to everything else, and if you ignore the locked doors and blocked hallways it seems like a place one could reasonably walk around in without being a marathon runner.
Satori's house is not like that. It is first and foremost a dungeon. You have to go down stairs and back up stairs to get to certain areas, some rooms have no entrances other than secret passages and most of it's filled with absolutely nothing but monsters and treasure. There are some shortcuts that open up later, but it still makes absolutely no sense as a house.
Visually, it's kind of cool. Tiled floors with what seem to be stained glass style images of Utsuho on the ground and portraits of both characters and generic stuff lining the hallways. The whole place is lit by candle stands. Downstairs, it's just classic "dungeon" with stone floors, suits of armor, and that's about it. The music is a remix of Lullaby of Deserted Hell
, maybe combined with something else. This is the first time I noticed the music in the game, and while they're mostly remixes of Touhou songs they did a good job of making them sound pretty generic.
The enemy field sprites are now ravens, which make a lot more sense than giant feet, and the enemies themselves are, for the first half anyway, a continuation of the last stage, with less focus on the fire and more on the demonic. Many of them are vulnerable to light, but I switched Reimu out so neener neener. Patchouli has exactly one light Spellcard, Royal Flare, but it costs far too much to use in random battles.
Dungeon design revolves around invisible passages, by which I mean randomly being able to walk through some walls and not others. Yeah, that's the dungeon. While there are sometimes there are indicators, sometimes there aren't and later on it ends up being just a bunch of seemingly unconnected rooms that you feel your way through by running into every wall.
About a third of the way through we meet a new enemy type, some sort of bird thing that begins every turn by casting a spell that randomly cancels the actions of everyone in your party. and then it gets another turn. And it regenerates. So whenever there's one of these things only about half your actions get through, and you better hope you can kill it before it and its allies kill you. In retrospect I think Reimu could have blocked it as a "Quick" status ailment but I switched Reimu out so neener neener.
At the same time, we head into the aforementioned dungeons of the area, which are much less visually interesting. It should be noted that this place is huge, or at least feels that way. Around the time I'd normally expect to finish a dungeon, I was actually about halfway through. There are two places where you can hit switches that open up shortcuts back to the entrance, which is a godsend because the enemies will kill me when they have birds in their party. Unfortunately, I discovered these switches after
the birds killed me be I arbitrarily took the wrong turn. I actually lost quite a few valuable-looking drops from this.
Oh yeah, and the Mind Flayers, you can't forget the Mind Flayers. As in their D&D variation they will flay your minds, which in this game is represented by casting an all targeting damage + paralyze skill called Mind Blast and then casting the instant death status with their normal attack. Which is I believe exactly what they do in D&D. Luckily you don't fight them in big groups in this dungeon, but when paired with the birds they can easily wipe your party.
After feeling my way around blindly, I finally reach the ominous heal point and teleporter. Which means cutscene. We see Satori at a desk stacked with papers, complaining about her... bills? Weird. Anyway, apparently her pets are causing a lot of trouble for her, financially. She hears the party enter and walks down to greet her guests. Sanae starts to explain why we're here, but of course Satori is a mind reader and quickly clues herself in on the situation.
And refuses. Because Reimu had been thinking of her as an object, and anyway she's really busy so bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out. She also takes the opportunity to randomly state other people's thoughts out loud and generally piss off everyone in the room one at a time. Well, she's a hermit for a reason. For some reason though, she seems surprised when the party's reaction to this is not to leave politely but rather to surround her and attack. In this case, Reimu does not
have to say "shut up, let's just fight her" but she was thinking it. Satori kills me in about three turns.
Surprisingly, Satori's abilities have nothing to do with mind reading. She just changes her element between the 4 basic elements (fire, water, earth, lightning) every few turns and regenerates. When she is in an element she resists it, is vulnerable to its opposite, and casts spells of that element. That's... about it. She's marginally less dangerous than her dungeon. The most dangerous part of the fight is that at the end of her earth phase she can petrify your entire party, which is what killed me the first time.
Alice has a spell that protects your party from an element of your choice, so for the second attempt I just spammed that and went all out with attacking. Sakuya has ability that nullifies all healing for the entire field (allies and enemies), so I used that to cancel her regeneration and she died before she finished her next earth phase. In that sense I suppose I just got lucky, but I'm pretty sure I had some anti-petrify accessories somewhere in my inventory, if only I could read them.
Post-battle, we bully her into joining us and she reluctantly joins our party. Poor Satori. Next stop Hakugyokuro! We don't really have a plan, but thinking is such a pain. Or so says Satori, prompting Reimu to hit her for reading her mind aloud. Satori, you really have to work on that.
- Final Word: "Powerful Mind-reading", Inflicts the Control status on all enemies
- Specialties: Satori (the species, not her name, increases learning rate), Trauma (status ailment skills), Id (stat down skills), 3rd Eye (MP)
- Weapon: Eye, can scan enemies and otherwise just increases her stats generally
- Overall: Mega Manning. She's the blue mage of the party, who learns enemy skills by experiencing them. In that sense, she's ultimately versatile, but only after a while of using her. Other than that, she has a bunch of all targeting status ailment and stat down moves which would be awesome if they could hit reliably.
What happened to her elemental attacks? Well, whatever, she doesn't go in my party because I'm not patient enough to run around learning enemy skills in Japanese. She can join Nitori in the back row doing nothing forever. Incidentally, her debuffing abilities are much better than I initially thought for reasons that I'll get into next stage. That's what you get for playing a game in Japanese.