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Let's Play a random Touhou fan RPG!
Clarste

[table of contents]
Stage 7 the other afterlife
Oh, I forgot to mention, Youmu also has the "Slowly Cut" which cuts slowlies, or rather yukkuris. Yukkuris are, in addition the being disgusting things that we should avoid mentioning at all costs, Metal Slimes in this game, having about 6 hit points but taking 1 damage from all attacks and having ridiculous evasion and perfect evasion (which I think ignores hit; sometimes misses are green and Aya has some perfect evasion raising abilities, that's all I know). They drop a 1000 XP each, which is a lot.

Slowly Cut, which as the name implies is a slash animation slowed down to a crawl, does 3 damage flat to these guys. Given that they run away before I get an action half the time and that Slowly Cut doesn't have a boosted hit rate, it's not that useful but it's better than nothing. That's the primary reason Youmu's in my party. The secondary reason is that Katanas Are Just Better.

Stage 7 the other afterlife

And so we find ourselves in Muenzuka, which is... honestly I don't know. The English Touhou fandom seems to ignore it despite it showing up pretty much constantly in Touhou fangames. As far as I can tell it's the place kinda near the Sanzu river which is basically the River Styx in Japanese mythology. Maybe it's the riverbank? It's associated with flowers for some reason. Wikipedia just leads me to the Touhou article. The name translates into something like "Mound of the Nameless Dead". I guess it could also just be the "Nameless Hill", but "muen" seems to connote unmarked graves and no mourners and such.

Anyway, in this game it's a dry wasteland looking area covered in red flowers. Oh, and it's also a junkyard filled with tires and refrigerators and such for no explicable reason. The music is a rather nice remix of Higan Retour ~Riverside View. There's no water in sight, so I dunno what this might have to do with the river. It's kind funny since in another fangame it was a poisonous marsh.

The enemy field sprites are now hopping umbrella monsters, which makes me think of Kogasa except not. It's just speculation, but I think this game was in development when UFO came out so while it has Byakuren as a playable character it mostly ignores the new stuff. Up to the point I've played to anyway. The enemies themselves are like, robots and stuff.

Seriously. We seem to be drifting back to the surreal, and we get tank-turtles with cannons as well as the comeback of the beloved computer chip bugs, which you might remember from stage 3. In addition to their old Error attack that does paralyze, they now have a new Hard Disk Failure attack that does instant death. What fun. Luckily Alice still has her anti-death accessories from Yuyuko, so I can easily run away if I get unlucky. And it's very hard for them to kill Alice when I'm trying to run away. The "big" enemies are still demons so the Godslayer works wonders.

Around this level I look closer at the Specialties and realize that Sakuya, who I'd had on Time Stop for the attack power (and a minor in Murder for the hit), would get a ton more attack power in 2H Swords. Like, double the bonus. I'm not sure why I hadn't noticed until now, but mostly I had dismissed it as a tree full of abilities I didn't have enough MP to use. Realizing the error of my ways, I respec her to 2H swords, which gives her A) more attack power, B) a chance to hit twice on a normal attack (which synergizes with her Illusion specialty which increases the multi-hit rate of all attacks), C) a bonus to slayer effects for even more Godslaying, and D) a vertical line attack called Ultimate Division which is basically the only way she can hit more than one target at a time for quite a while. Needless to say this makes random battles easier.

The dungeon design is basically a big spiral or circle or something with two floors, the ground floor and an upper ledge. Nearly every entrance or exit to a room has two parallel upper and lower paths running next to each other. So unlike the previous dungeon where figuring out how they connect was the problem, in this one you can also see the other path and the trick is getting up or down a level.

Working towards this is the new concept of flippable switches. There have been switches in previous dungeons, but now we have switches that we can hit more than once. In general, hitting a switch will lower and raise spikes such that they open one path while closing another, often on different levels. Luckily it's never a mystery what's being opened or closed so it's just a matter of paying attention and closing paths behind you that you don't need anymore. It's pretty straightforward, although at one point I was temporarily stuck because I didn't realize that I could hit the same switch from two different sides.

I use up a lot of MP nowadays. While Marisa can go on forever with her MP regenerating Broom, Patchouli runs out at a decent clip and now Sakuya is actually using her MP sometimes. There are only so many demon-turtle-tank-robot-computers that you can fight before running dry. Many trips back outside were made, and I'm once again thankful for non-respawning enemies. Anyway, soon enough I reach the ominous heal point, and we all know what that means.

Cutscene! That I can't read! Komachi, the psychopomp, is taking a nap and, well, we walk up to her. And then some stuff happens and we fight. I skipped through this scene super-fast since I was under the impression that it would be translated shortly, having not paid attention to the dates on the translated youtube videos (which are linked to on the wiki, if you want to see unsummarized versions). So I have not the slightest clue what's going on here, but of course the fight is no surprise. Komachi kills me. Second turn.

This fight hearkens back to Alice, who as you may recall was the Wake Up Call Boss. Like Alice, this one felt hopeless. On the first turn I attacked with everything I had, and she counterattacked with instant death. I still can't revive. So Sakuya is dead from counters (Youmu was changing stances) and the next turn starts with her shooting a ton of money at me which does about 400 damage. I do not have 400 HP, even on Alice. So yeah, instant death in two ways, no hope at all.

Worse still, this also happens to be the point where the wiki's walkthrough section becomes rather sparse. As opposed to before, where they broke down the boss's abilities and offered suggested strategies, at this point they sort of suggest that she may have an ability like this, maybe, and by the way here's a way to beat her. With exactly these characters at this level with these abilities in this many turns. In this case all they said was that Komachi's coins probably have something to do with how much damage she takes, maybe, so slow and steady is good (or kill her in three turns using ___).

That's not fun. That's not why I play RP Gs. I'm not here to blindly imitate people, I'm here to execute my own plans based on my own reasoning. Which, admittedly, was kind of hard when I had no idea what anything did. So I guess I was cheating all this time, and while I'll admit that, this was my first test. It's time to get pushed off the cliff and grow my own wings or whatever. A trial by fire. Against the most dangerous boss I've ever faced. Cue the dramatic music.

Honestly, it wasn't that hard. Komachi just isn't that hard. Yeah, I died more than a few times, but I've died more than a few times on most of these bosses. And the hint was actually pretty awesome, so I guess I'm still a cheater. Oh well. First of all I removed Youmu from my party in favor of Patchouli since Sakuya still does more damage and melee is risky when she counterattacks with instant death (and I can't revive). I cast resist up and gave her the anti-death accessory, but Sakuya died 3/4 through anyway.

The important thing is of course the coins. Like the hint said, it has something to do with how much damage you do, and thematically I suppose it has to do with karma or the weight of your sins or something. Strictly speaking the coins are her toll for crossing the river after death. Anyway, slow and steady is not the answer, but rather the opposite, quick burst damage.

What she does is cast a buff on herself that lasts a turn or two. When she does, stop attacking. All the damage you do to her when she has the buff gets reflected back when it runs out, and if you do no damage the attack is trivial. When she doesn't have the buff, kill her as fast as possible. Pretty simple really. Not the best test of my newfound "actually try myself" technique, but you have to start somewhere.

So, with Komachi thwarted we save the day from the mist! Or not. I again fast forwarded through the cutscene but I'm pretty sure the game didn't end here. The party leaves and Komachi lies back down as if nothing happened. I'm pretty sure she had a Snot Bubble.

I now have enough obsidian to buy Youmu a katana and respec her into katana mastery as I detailed in the previous post. Next stop is... I have no idea. That's the other side effect of not knowing what's going on. Conveniently enough, a short bit of running around reveals that a conspicuous sunflower field now has a giant banner over it...

Edit: This post is the king of typos and for some reason I forgot to edit it until a few hours later.
27th Jan '11 10:51:53 PM flag for mods
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