Stage 6 this would normally be the final stage except it's not
Sorry for the delay imaginary readers. I'd like to say that I have less time during the weekdays, but truthfully I'm just lazy. That burst of whatever that caused me to write all that in the first place has passed, but I still think about what to write here when I'm not writing here, which is always. I'm somewhat afraid of forgetting stuff, but I'm sure my mind will embellish the memories and come up with something better
than what actually happened. This liveblog is now a work of fiction and any resemblances blah blah blah.
this would normally be the final stage except it's not
Fresh from picking up my lie detector, I check back with Akyuu and lo and behold, new weapon recipes! Or rather, a whole bunch of new recipes that later turned out to be weapons when I visited Rinnosuke afterwards. This is the second tier of crafted weapons, and a rather significant jump in power.
I buy weapons for Sakuya, Aya, and Alice because they're my physical fighters, although it later turns out that Alice can't hurt anything at all no matter what weapons she has. I also buy a broom for Marisa, because I notice that her Broom tree has MP regeneration, which seems sort of awesome at this point. For the record my party is still Alice, Sakuya, Aya, Marisa, and Patchouli, with Sanae as commander and replacing Patchouli for bosses.
The party heads over to the Netherworld (who left the gate open?) and notices that the mist doesn't seem to reach into it. This is used as evidence of Yuyuko's guilt, but they still don't quite know what they're going to do with her. Other than fight her, of course, because that's how things work.
The Netherworld seems at first to be a gloomy place, reminiscent of a haunted graveyard or something. It's vaguely swampy, with no plant life except dead trees and the whole place is littered with those Japanese grave marker sticks. And of course the ever present floating ghost orbs and the walls are made out of the moaning souls of the damned. After exploring the rather large entrance room though, the only exit is a teleporter. Hmm...
The teleporter takes us to something more like what I had imagined, a narrow walkway seemingly floating in the sky above the clouds and surrounded by Japanese shrine trappings (the arches, etc). The walkway itself seems modeled after a dragon flying through the sky, with a somewhat scaly underside, a floor paved with irregularly shaped stones, and of course it's really twisty.
The dungeon is basically split between these upper and lower halves with teleporters between the two as well as some one-way broken floors that let you fall from the upper area to the lower area. The goal is essentially to fall in the right places to hit switches that let you go back up through new teleporters.
The enemy field sprites here are those doofy ghosts from the older Touhou games. The enemies themselves are split into two distinct sets, one for the upper heavenly area and the other for the lower hellish area. There are angels/dragons in heaven and demons/undead in hell, logically enough. Neither are particularly dangerous but the angels sometimes come in huge swarms which can be troublesome.
It's here that I discover a rather interesting property of Sakuya's sword, which has the rather banal name of "Greatsword" or something like that. While fighting swarms of angels, I noticed that Sakuya always got crits on them, for roughly triple damage. Given that she's already the strongest character, that's a lot. At first I pinned it down to luck, but when it's so consistent...
In the other half, I started fighting big tough single enemy demons (I mentioned this archetype, right?) and she also got only crits on those. Or so I thought... until she got a real
crit and did even more massive damage to a demon. More damage than I believed it was possible for me to do.
Turns out there's a property that certain weapons can have, translated as the Slayer property on the wiki. It makes them do a lot more damage to certain types of enemies. And this weapon, the unnamed greatsword, is a Godslayer. Yes, the second random sword in the shop has the Godslayer property that makes it ridiculously good against angels and demons. And gods. Who'd have thought?
Anyway, that helps a lot against the big demons, which I have few other ways to hurt. The huge swarms of angels die quick to Patchouli's Silent Selena (moon sign, therefore darkness element) but that takes a bomb and a lot of MP. The enemies not being a problem is helpful, but the stage itself is often confusing given the dual-layered map. Eventually though I connect the loose routes in my head and finish exploring. All that's left is a gold door.
And then a cutscene. Oh shit oh shit there wasn't a teleporter or a heal point I haven't left since opening those chests am I gonna die? I'm gonna die aren't I? Why is there a cutscene now shouldn't they warn me where was the heal point?
Panic aside, we see Yuyuko sitting at a table in a Japanese style and throwing a tantrum. "Youmu! Gohan ma—da—?" She's basically acting like a child impatiently demanding dinner, but it sounds kind of funny when I hear it in my head. Luckily, dinner actually is ready and the half-ghost gardener/swordsperson Youmu
arrives with two trays of fried Night Sparrow
. After a bit of eating, Youmu notes that Reimu is invading and Yuyuko goes into "fufufu" mode (that's a sort of arrogant chuckle) and tells Youmu to go guard the entrance. Yuyuko is looking forward to this.
And there's no fight!
They tricked me! Apparently that was just a random point in the dungeon where they decided to give me a cutscene. Whew. This is about the halfway point, but the rest is just more of the same. To the right is a shortcut back to the beginning but I don't discover it because I go left first. Go me!
In the second half of the dungeon there's an enemy that I can't beat. It's called Hręsvelgr (incidentally, I had to google the katakana because I would not
have gotten that) and it's a four-winged bird that gets two actions per turn, has a ton of life plus a life drain attack, begins every battle by casting evasion up on the enemy party, and has no elemental weaknesses. I can't hit it with physical attacks, I can't quickly kill it with magic, and then it just kills me. Also, it comes with other enemies who I also can't hit with physical attacks. Classified as a giant (nod to mythology) so even the Godslayer doesn't help. I just run away from them.
Despite that obstacle, in due time I arrive at the ominous heal point and accompanying teleporter to the entrance. Knowing the drill by heart now, I save my items and enter for the cutscene plus obligatory death.
The party is walking up the steps of Hakugyokuro (The Tower of White Jade) and complaining about their excessive length (they are pretty long). At the top we see Youmu guarding the gate, and we immediately start pressing her to confess to Yuyuko's sins. Youmu claims to know nothing and Satori confirms that she does indeed know nothing, because Yuyuko never tells her anything.
Youmu is shocked that her mind has apparently been read and decides to test this by thinking something random. Satori correctly guesses the "Yuyuko is an idiot" mantra and follows up with a "at this rate they'll even discover the bedwetting incident!" Yeah, Satori, you gotta learn to stop reading things out loud. Satori gets a smack from the party for reading too much, again, but it's too late.
Youmu turns completely red and attacks. This is not actually a battle, but simply a cutscene using the normal out-of-battle engine. Remember what I said about wasted animations that only appear once? Yeah. Youmu slashes at Reimu who sidesteps and starts shooting seals at her. Youmu deflects them with her "Roukanken, forged by youkai, (that) can cut through almost anything" and at the same time attacks with her other sword.
Her ability to attack and defend at the same time surprises Reimu who nearly gets hit. Then Marisa reminds us that we're outnumbering her 9-1, and the party starts bombarding her with danmaku, forcing her to defend with both swords. Things are looking bad for our antagonist until a bunch of butterflies come out of the gate and injure the party. Yuyuko pulled a Big Damn Heroes
. "If you come out now then all the work I've put into guarding the gate is pointless!" complains Youmu. But Yuyuko simply can't allow herself to miss the fun.
Yuyuko starts cheerfully teasing the party with her face behind her sleeve when Satori finishes one of her sentences. And she's shocked. "...I've never seen you before." Yuyuko has a grim look on her face, one that actually seems completely out of place. Given how cheerful this Yuyuko is being characterized as, it's pretty shocking. Satori introduces herself and is asked to check Yuyuko to see if she's the culprit and... it doesn't work?!
Yeah, Yuyuko's that awesome. Realizing what's going on, Yuyuko blocks off her mind. Because she can do whatever the hell she wants. And this mind reading stuff pisses her off. "Such a tactless
power, time for some punishment." And then she kills us.
Apparently this is That One Boss
for this game. This is another duo boss fight, obviously with Youmu and Yuyuko. Youmu attacks with powerful AOE physical attacks (which means you can't just taunt with Alice) and counterattacks while Yuyuko uses weak magic attacks that have a chance of instant death or curse, which basically makes you kill yourself when you hit things. I still don't have revive. When one of them dies, the other gets two actions for the rest of the battle. When Yuyuko dies, she casts Saigyouji Flawless Nirvana, which kills you. Instant death to the entire party, no saving throw.
There are two keys to this fight, killing Youmu quickly before she tears you apart and resisting Yuyuko's status ailments. Well, three keys if you count Saigyouji Flawness Nirvana, but that's sort of gimmicky. Killing Youmu is simple enough, but resisting status ailments requires understanding how the game works. Ah, the manual, my only weakness. Yes, I know the manual is translated on the wiki, but seriously, who reads manuals?
In addition to the basic stats like STR and INT which have only their English abbreviations listed, there are a whole lot of derived stats in this game. And they're all in kanji so I kind of skimmed over most of them, although I figured out which ones were attack power and defense for both physical and magic. The others are things like hit, evasion, and speed which while relevant aren't really necessary to pay attention to. In this game however, there's another pair of opposed stats that I hadn't really expected, called Induction and Resistance.
In addition to being an electricity pun (seriously, the resistance buff has an Omega icon for ohms), these stats affect the odds of afflicting and receiving status ailments, sort of a separate hit rate. Furthermore, they also affect the power of status ailments, so with high induction and/or low resistance poison does more damage, paralyze lasts longer, etc etc. So they're combined attack power and hit rate vs defense power and evasion stats, but just for status ailments. If I ever want to use Satori, I should stack her with Induction.
This is mostly irrelevant since you can't control it, except for two things: in-battle buffs and accessories. You may recall from earlier that I cast Sanae's resistance buff to no effect when fighting Alice. I had simply assumed that resistance affected magic damage, but it doesn't. Undaunted by the fact that I never noticed any difference, I would routinely cast it against bosses that did magic damage. Remember how Satori was so easy last time? She's supposed to be a status ailment boss spamming poison and silence and blind and whatnot. So Yeah
That's not enough for Yuyuko though. A poison or two getting through is no problem, but death is death. I can't cure death. Furthermore, two actions per turn. I needed something else. I needed accessories
. By this point I had accumulated a huge list of random Japanese kanji that I couldn't read. Surely some of them would help against death, right? Having recently read the manual and memorized the kanji for resistance, I managed to stack Alice with a small pile of resistance, and crafted an anti-death accessory for good measure. I also take the opportunity to equip completely random accessories on everyone. What could possibly go wrong?
Newly prepared to deal with instant death by tanking all the butterflies with Alice, Youmu slaughtered me. Oops. That's a simple matter of changing the formation though, so Alice would be separated from the group. The revised strategy worked like an anti-death charm and they went down without too much trouble after only a few attempts. I dealt with Yuyuko's final attack by covering someone with Alice so she'd die twice (still no saving throw) and they miraculously go down like a Final Fantasy boss. You know, with the shaking and everything.
Post-battle, we still can't get anything out of Yuyuko. She had been prepared
to tell us everything we wanted to know and more, but the whole mind reading incident pissed her off enough that she's going to let us figure it out on our own. So apparently that whole sidetrip to get Satori was more than a waste of time, it actually hindered us. Oops. Yuyuko can guarantee that she's not behind it though, by temporarily opening her mind again. Yuyuko also decides to send Youmu with us, as punishment for a certain "Yuyuko is an idiot" incident that she happened to overhear.
Seemingly back at square one, the party decides to reexamine their evidence and comes to the conclusion that they were on the right track with the whole "death" thing, but maybe it was supposed to be that other death
. So we're going to go seek out the shinigami and see if she knows anything. After everyone leaves and Yuyuko goes back inside, a mysterious cloaked figure pops out and worries that we're getting closer to them. Wait, there's an actually antagonist?! I thought this was "Wild Goose Chase: the Game"?
And with that, that's all the translation I have. Future cutscenes will be much abbreviated as I skimmed through them almost entirely. They can usually be boiled down to "Satori reads someone's mind, pisses them off, and we fight before being directed somewhere else." Sometimes people are immune to the mindreading, which pisses the party
off and we fight anyway. I'll note what little bits I bothered to read, but it's not much.
- Last Word: "Konpaku Flash", instantly kills all enemies. Based on the induction stat, no funky cut-in-half animations or resistance piercing.
- Specialties: Human Realm Sword (hit, criticals), Deva Realm Sword (defense, evasion), Asura Realm Sword (attack power, induction), Half-ghost (Hp, MP)
- Weapon: Paired katanas, self-healing spells, chance of instant death, chance to attack twice with any ability
- Overall: Lightning Brusier. She has good attack (not as much as Sakuya though), good speed (not as much as Aya though), and good defense (not as much as Alice though). So above average in every stat but not to an extreme level. She has powerful single target, AOE and status reduction abilities. Her balancing weakness is her "stance" system which I'll explain in a separate paragraph.
All of Youmu's abilities are categorized into Human Realm, Deva Realm or Asura Realm. The basic ability for each category is the "stance" ability which casts a buff on yourself that raises the corresponding stats. Changing into a stance is the only ability other than normal attacks that you can use when not in a stance. A stance lasts a few turns (increased by raising the specialty) and allows you to use that stance's abilities, as well as a few other "any stance" abilities like most of her Last Spells.
Basically this means she has to waste a turn in the beginning of battle if you want to use any of her abilities. Changing into a stance is a really slow action that will always go at the end of the turn, making it vulnerable to interrupts or knockdowns. However, when she's changing into a stance she'll counterattack any normal hit, so it's not all bad.
Anyway, I put her into my party instead of Aya, buy a katana for her (what happened to her named swords?), spec her into katana mastery and stack her with a ton of induction so she can kill randomly cause instant death to normal enemies. Or rather, fail to buy a katana. Katanas apparently use the same semi-rare resource *
as Sakuya's 2H swords, so combining them in my party is actually a bit of a problem since I have no more obsidian. Youmu gets a spear for now, but did we seriously expect her to be effective at level 1 anyway?
Next stop, the (other) afterlife.