January 30, 2012

Final Fantasy II - Mucking About With "Multiclassing"

After the foolish decision to destroy the warship instead of capturing it (like it captured our hearts), the party learns about the Dragoons, a group of elite spear-wielding warriors.  Their hometown of Dist was destroyed by the empire but the heroes must go there and investigate anyway.  Dist is located on an island in the eastern sea and luckily a woman named Layla offers to take the heroes there on her ship.  Once on the high seas, however, the heroes are betrayed by Layla and she demands all their items.  Too bad they didn't know that Shen is on some Dragon Ball Z-type isht.

Hrmph.  Shall I fight seriously now?

After getting absolutely demolished, Layla decides to join the group and allow Shen control of the ship.  Off to find Dist.  Shen is an explorer at heart and it seems that whenever he acquires a mode of transportation that vastly opens up the world, he tends to get distracted and then lost.  I'm pretty sure the group gained a couple of Seamanship skill levels even though it doesn't exist in the game.  A couple of fortnights later, the ship returns to port and begins the search for Dist anew.  Finding a cave entrance on an island, Shen figures that it probably leads to Dist after navigating a dungeon.  The fights seem quite tough and many retreats back to an inn are necessary to getting further into the dungeon.  The reason why becomes clear as the heroes hit the bottom of the dungeon and acquire a quest item that they weren't quite suppose to get yet.

And stupid.  Let's not forget stupid.

After finding the real Dist, a series of smaller quests take place involving getting a pendant in order to translate the Hiryuu language and incubating a Hiryuu egg.  After returning to Altea, the party learns that the emperor is holding a tournament at Paramekia with princess Hilda as a prize!  Gordon comes in and offers his assistance to the mission.

lol wut?

Actually, with his new equipment upgrades, Gordon does hold his own with the rest of the group.  Even against the beast fought in the arena, Gordon managed to not die, which is all we ever wanted out of him.

Begrudgingly, the group gives
Gordo a sliver of respect.

Easily dispatching the Behemoth, the group is promptly captured by the imperial guards and put into prison.  With the help of Paul the ninja, the party breaks out and a search of the grounds reveals the captured princess.  Gordon takes Hilda and escapes back to Altea.  I'm guessing he wanted some alone time with her because Altea is also where the rest of the party is headed as well.  Upon their arrival, they learn that the rebels are about to attempt to take Phin back and our help is necessary.  During the melee, the party breaks into the interior of the castle and confronts the general in command, Gotus.  After the party takes him down, the enemy forces are in disarray and victory is soon given to the rebels.  Phin is once again free and the townsfolk rejoice in the streets.

A teasing jab at the townsfolk
in the first Final Fantasy.

Once the celebrations die down a bit, the party is quickly put back on the trail of adventure.  In order to defeat the empire, Gordon and Hilda both believe that the ultimate magic spell, appropriately called Ultima, must be acquired.  More information can be gained in the magical town of Mysidia.  The errant quest item procured earlier comes into play here along with an item gained back at Phin Castle.  First though, since all members of the group are well versed in magic, they simply must pay a visit to Mysidia's famed spell depository.

*drool*

After loading up with some new magicks, the party must, once again, train those spells up a bit in order to make them useful.  The heroes try to build them up as they are exploring new areas but it generally means that enemies last longer and magic points are quickly consumed, necessitating a trip back to a town.  Attempting to "multiclass" the characters in this way has resulted in much longer quest times but the group feels that the addition of magic is crucial to keeping battles fun.  It also keeps winning fights more riveting in the hopes of getting a stat up without another stat going down.  If a pure fighter was being played, his INTelligence decreasing would not matter in the least.  I'm more than willing to put in the extra time to see how some of these spells fare at a higher level.

Completing the Mystidia quest nets the group a Crystal Rod which will be used to break the seal on the nearby Tower of Mystidia.  However, as the ship enters the bay which houses the tower, waves suddenly rock the ship to and fro and is then swallowed by a leviathan.  Layla is now missing but the party quickly finds a settlement of sorts within the leviathan.  It is here they find a new fourth member by the name of Richard, who turns out to be one of the last Dragoons!


Hey, are you going to eat that pizza?

Now to find our way out of here.  Should be interesting to see what kind of anatomy this leviathan has (perhaps a gold vein? lol).

January 24, 2012

Final Fantasy II - Ain't Got No Class

After obtaining the Sun Flame from Kashuon, the only problem is where to find the Warship.  Perhaps someone from Altea has information or... Hold on, what's all this then?

Go Warship Go!... erm, I mean
booooo warship, booooo.

After chasing that sweet sky battle and ending up back in Altea, the party learns that the warship has somehow taken damage and is down for repairs north of Phin.  I guess the time is ripe to sneak aboard and destroy it, I guess.  Wait!  We, um, heard that there was this special herb hidden far away that can cure the ailing King and... Oh, he already died?  Um.  Oww!  Oh, owwww!  Ah, we must have all caught bovine spongiform while we were in Kashuon... Oh, that only affects the moo cows?  *sigh* Fine.  Gimme the stupid Sun Flame so we can destroy the stupid warship.  It won't be easy as the ship is crawling with tough-as-nails soldiers and monsters alike.  Our latest companion, Gordon, isn't handling them too well so he'll need to be toughened up a bit before continuing on.  I'm sure the warship repairs will take a long time.

Don't make me put you
in the back row, Gordo.

Since the beginning of the adventure, the party has always had the fourth slot open to various NPCs that end up joining for a brief time.  Gordon is the newest such member but we've also had a martial artist named Joseph as well as a white magic-user named Minh.  Minh joined early on and had a full arsenal of white magic spells, all at decent levels.  This allowed the party to play around with his magic and figure out which spells would be useful for the other members to learn, if given the chance.  There will be no wasteful purchasing and training up a subpar spell here (as long as it's white magic).  Having a single new character join the party every so often in storyline is both a boon and a curse.  It's cool to get a new member with new abilities and makes sense, story-wise, for them to join you.  The only problem is that some of them (*cough* Gordon) start off fairly weak and need to be trained up a bit.  Luckily the battles, as well as the character advancement system, are both fun to use and makes it far less of a chore than it may seem.

The character advancement system is the most unique aspect of Final Fantasy II.  Instead of the normal gaining experience and levels as most RPGs have, FF II has opted to try out a classless and levelless system.  Not often seen in RPGs of any kind, this system is very malleable though easily exploited.  Stats are possibly raised, or lowered, at the end of each combat.  The actions the characters took during the combat influences the chance of a corresponding stat being modified.  For example, if a character does melee attacks all the time, the PoWeR stat will increase and sometimes decrease INTelligence.  The net effect of these changes are positive though if a stat is never used, it will eventually reach zero.  Hit Points are raised by taking damage in combat which means that weaker members catch up to the others fairly quickly ("As long as they don't die!" — Gordon).  Since characters also have the ability to target each other, this can lead to a "training camp" exploit in combat.  Party members unequip their weapons, crack their knuckles and roll their necks, and just start wailing on each other (using cure spells to keep the combat going as long as possible).  When the battle is concluded, there is a guarantee of many stat changes taking place.  However, only parties in the distant past have ever used the camp.  For these heroes, they must always be fighting against many of the monstrosities that inhabit the world.


That doesn't mean we can't bring
it with the fisticuffs though.

Weapons come in many different classes, such as sword, axe, bow, and yes, fists.  These are also trainable though they progress at a steady rate as opposed to randomly increasing.  Magic spells work in the same way.  The lack of classes allows any character to learn any weapon or spell and train it to whatever extent they want.  Training progresses quickly at first but takes longer and longer to gain more effectiveness as one advances.  Since pure fighter types are usually boring, all the characters have cross-trained in both light and dark magicks.  This also keeps the stats balanced out a little bit more.  It means a lot more grinding but that has to be done anyway whenever the party gets a new character.

Okay, its been put off for long enough.  The party rescues Cid and some princess who were being held in the bowels of the warship.

Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you, Cid?

Fighting through hordes of fiendish creatures and avoiding the deadly warship Captains, the party eventually sneaks into the main engine room.  Taking one long last look at the majesty that is the warship, Shen hesitantly prepares to throw the Sun Flame into the core.  A single tear streaming down his face, Shen squeezes his eyes shut and... and...

♫♪ And IIIIIIIIIIIIIeeeeIIIII will
always love yoooouuuuuu.

January 19, 2012

[Game 012] Final Fantasy II (NES - 1988)

Translation by Neo Demiforce

Though nowadays it has been ported and translated to many modern platforms, initially Final Fantasy II was only released in Japan and, once again, the English speaking rpgamers got the shaft.  Thank goodness we don't live in those dark times anymore (thanks to the efforts of ROM hacking and translation teams), because this game is a peach.  It's not a direct sequel to the first Final Fantasy but the look and feel of the world is the same.  Under the hood, though, is a system completely different from the first installment.  But more on that in another article.

The scene is set as we learn that the Paramekian Empire has been summoning hellspawn in order to extend their lands.  When their hometown of Phin was attacked by said empire, four young souls were forced to flee to the safety of Altea.  They are the dashingly handsome Shen, the sultry vixen Elvira, the brave and mighty Fabio, and Torgo.  Also, Shen has the biggest pects.  However, while fleeing, the quartet are caught by Death Knights and swiftly taken down.  Shen awakes to find himself in Altea and discovers he was rescued at the last minute.  Elvira and Torgo are also there but Fabio is missing!  The threat of the empire is still very much real and the three stalwart warriors join the resistance to do what they can to help.  Princess Hilda gives them the secret password that will let other resistance members know they're cool.

Weak password, Hilly.  Try putting
some _ & #'s in there.

The first big difference in the questing system is apparent here.  During dialogues with NPCs, there will occasionally be the option to learn a keyword.  This can then be used on other NPCs to get more information about the keyword.  In effect, this system is replacing the quest items that are normally used in most games.  There are still actual quest items in FFII but much fewer thanks to the keyword system.  A great innovation that not only clears up room in the inventory but draws one more into the storyline rather than just fetching another item for someone.

After visiting some of the nearby towns and meeting with resistance members, the group learns the resistance is lacking in weapons and armours and is tasked to find a source of some kind of metal that's, like, really tough and stuff.  Hmmm... I wonder what that would be in a Final Fantasy?

Mithril.  It's what's for dinner.

Now that mithril is in the house, the rebels feel a little more confident.  This confidence is short-lived, however, as information comes in that the Empire is building a massive Warship!  In order to get more data on the warship, the party pays a visit to the local airship specialist; my main man with the plan in his hand, Cid.

Then let's go take it on right
now, Cid.  Right.  Now.

Sadly, Cid Vicious here doesn't let the group take control of the airship.  Instead, he informs them that the weakness lies in its power source, the Sun Flame.  Thanks, Cid.  I never would have thought to sabotage the engines.  If the party can find a Sun Flame of their own, they may be able to overload the Warship's engines.  Rumours have it that Kashuon holds the Egil Torch, which is the key to taming the volatile Sun Flame.  Time is of the essence as the Warship is set to take off at any time and begin its rampage!

They may be evil but damn, that's a sweet ride.

January 16, 2012

Glory of Heracles - Ranking

Story & World

Being set in mythological Greece gives a huge amount of material to go off of.  GoH does use a lot of the gods and places but in name only.  The gods are not at all portrayed as their actual characters are and are basically just there to give Heracles stuff.  Heracles felt like a sufficient hero in the world.  People in every town would recognize and encourage Heracles in his quest.  Progressing from the mortal world to the heavenly realm and then to the underworld totally gave an epic feel to the whole ordeal.

Talking with the townsfolk delivers the crucial hints needed to know what to do.  Some go as far as to give exact map coordinates which would otherwise be impossible to find.  As is the norm, about half of the townsfolk give good hints and the other half just cheer Heracles on.  Thankfully, the helpful citizens tend to be outside and about in the town while the useless ones stay inside their houses.

The quests are nicely laid out and have some overlapping of each other.  The earlier quests are all found and completed in a small area and gradually get longer and longer as the game progresses.  Some quests require a set of different quests to be completed before finding the item needed to complete the initial quest.  It was good to see Heracles sweat a little after quests started to pile up.  I would have preferred more quests from the actual 12 labours of Heracles but the game did include a couple.  The quest-resetting password system is really screwy and did a lot to damage game immersion.  If the inventory capacity had just been doubled, it would have prevented the need to reset a quest in order to reacquire a key item.  8/20

Character Development

Basic three stat system affecting attacking, defense, and magic power.  While leveling does increase these stats, along with Hit Points, the raises are quite small compared to the bonuses given by equipment.  Static raise in stats and no inherent magical ability (all magic is done via items).  In this play, the level cap was reached around 60% completion but I suspect this was mostly due to my poor exploring skills (and high encounter rate).

Having the latest weapons and armour weighed far more heavily than gaining levels in terms of battles.  This meant that grinding in an area provided little gain and it was more important for Heracles to find the next town and check out the shops there.  Bosses and certain creatures also have resistance or weakness to weapon types.  For example, sea creatures take almost no damage from all weapons except for tridents.  When the ship is first obtained, there is only one trident available making it a crucial item needed to continue while not actually being a MacGuffin itself.  With three weapon slots, Heracles had a good selection to pick from during battles (not that it really mattered most of the time).  6/20

Combat & Monsters

Combat consists of taking turns beating each other into a pulp, like most games of the era.  The magic system is based around certain items carried by Heracles.  These can be reused indefinitely but since most of them do the same (or less) damage than a weapon, there is little reason to use them (except against bosses that have a weakness against the magic type).  They also take up a valuable item slot which could otherwise hold one of the many quest items.  The game features an option to talk to the opponent during a fight.  It only seemed to work on boss creatures and regardless of answering yes or no, the fight continues anyway.

Amid the strange and wonderful foes encountered (with equally strange names), I couldn't help wondering how many came from mythology.  I didn't recognize many of the creatures but Greek mythology is full of twisted and bizarre creatures and my knowledge of the subject might not be deep enough.  The majority of them are pretty unique (cue the Sexy Moron).  Unique in appearance anyway all regular monsters have a basic melee attack and that's it.  Some bosses have magic but it is usually ineffective.  I won't beat a dead Pegasus but feel I must also mention the asinine encounter rate again here.  4/20

Graphics & Sound

The overworld map and its towns are quite blocky and fairly ugly.  Towns have colours that clash something fierce and the architecture is soooo dated.  A background of some kind would have been nice during battles but the foes themselves were nice to look at.  Music for most locations was nicely done with the exception of the battle music which is quite irritating (likely due in part to the encounter rate).  7/20

Gameplay

Broke the bank at around midgame.  With the high encounter rate, Heracles was never short on gold except for at the beginning.  If you knew exactly where to go and what to do,  it would balance out somewhat more.  With my emphasis on exploring (as well as my wandering when I got stuck), Heracles had no problems amassing his 65,535 pieces of gold fortune.  The best items are ones that found through quests later in the game and economy takes another hit because of that.   

The game is semi-linear.  While certain quests need to be done in order to be able to access a restricted area, there are many quests that can be done at any time and others that carry over into different areas.  The challenge was fair overall.  Exploring a new area usually meant a lot of retreating from the foes until a town (and a night at the inn) could be found.  With the quest-resetting problem being as it is, the pace of the game suffers a lot.  Having to redo a fair number of quests really bogged down the whole experience.

Also, encounter rate.  5/20

Final Ranking:  30/100

January 15, 2012

Glory of Heracles - End Game

This password saving system that GoH uses is a real pain.  The entire reason that Heracles could not get Pegasus was because of this.  Most of the quests that get reset after using a password do not matter since the quest item needed is usually still in Heracles' possession.  If the item was discarded, the quest would have to be redone to get it again.  However, there was a quest in which Heracles did not receive an item and instead the completion triggered a dialogue event in another NPC far away.  Since Herc had not found this NPC between the time of the quest being completed and restoring via the password, the NPC was reset to his previous dialogue state.  After completing the quest the second time, Heracles managed to get the Silk Reins he needs to tame the wild Pegasus.  This was thankfully after only having to redo a handful of the initial quests since some of the later quests have incredibly long paths that must be traversed.  An example would be the Amazon quest in which Heracles has to set sail from the northern town of Leaneira, sail the entire longitude south, walk through a forest, through a dungeon, and finally through the Amazonian city.  We're talking a 250+ step path here combined with the stupid encounter rate.  Although I guess it wouldn't be so bad to see Queen Torba again.

Perhaps a little snu-snu?

With Silk Reins now in his possession, Heracles travels to the much-visited Tomb of Warriors and is finally able to lay his cross on the tomb which summons Pegasus.  In an instant, Heracles does a double jump off the tomb and lands on the back of the mighty Pegasus.  Grabbing onto the ferocious mane of the powerful equine, Heracles struggles to keep his grasp firm as Pegasus attempts to buck and loop-de-loop the hero from his back.  While the effort is valiant, Pegasus just can't compete with a level 30 Herc and is eventually subdued and the silk reins are tied into place.  Now arise, Pegasus.  Arise and take Heracles to the Heavenly Realm.  Up, up, and away!

Oops, looks like Heracles forgot
to get the pressure suit item.

The Heavenly Realm is basically a large town with encounters.  The encounter rate here, though, is different from the normal one.  It's quite reasonable and the three-step-batching problem is gone as well.  The perspective inexplicably changes as well from the regular overhead type to a side view (like you would find in a platform).  Every time Heracles approached an edge, I would inadvertently hit a button to try to jump.  I guess the developers wanted to give a sense of climbing up the heavens and it works fairly well here.

Yo, can you direct me to the nearest
question mark block?

After meeting a few gods and doing more item fetch quests, Heracles has what he needs in order to enter the Underworld and attempt his rescue of Aphrodite.  As expected, as soon as Herc enters he is attacked by Cerberus.  Unfortunately for Cerberus, he falls for the old "throwing the bone" trick and leaves himself wide open for Heracles to cleave him asunder.  The Underworld consists of a few interconnected dungeons but nothing too vile.  The idiot encounter rate is back again but Herc is far too tough for any fight to really affect him.  After crossing the river Styx, Heracles enters the castle of Hades and begins his hunt.

Hrmm, I just know there's a Mr. Roboto
joke somewhere in here.

After an encounter with a fake version of Hades, Heracles finds a secret passage behind Hades' throne and discovers the REAL Hades.  In the grand tradition of final end bosses, Hades has two forms:

The wussy, frail wizard type and the...
 
SWEET MOTHER OF ZEUS
KILL IT WITH FIRE!

As much as I bagged on the game during play, it became all worth it when Heracles defeated Hades and released the stunning Aphrodite, bringing love and peace back to the lands (at least until the sequel).

Perhaps a little snu-snu?

January 11, 2012

Glory of Heracles - Knockin' on Heavenly Realm's Door

Ares bestowed the Silver Bow needed to take down the Golden Hind and enable Heracles to attain the Golden Horn.  This eventually was given to Poseidon to possibly grind up into an aphrodisiac of some sort.  This did not grant Heracles access to the Heavenly Realm but rather a worthy seafaring vessel.  The Argo, in fact, according to the manual.  Now the vast and open seas can also be explored which you would think is a good thing but ends up being terrible.  This is all due to the biggest flaw in the entire game — the ridiculously high encounter rate.

After the 100th time, even the
morons stop being sexy.

On land, it doesn't seem so bad since towns and shrines are fairly close to each other and there are mountains and whatnot to "guide" the path of Heracles.  But after hitting the much larger seas it becomes very apparent.  The Argo can't just anchor at any land point either; it can only dock at a harbour.  Sea creatures are also strong against most weapons and only the trident can inflict any real damage (thankfully found quickly enough).  The encounter rate also has a annoying quirk in that there will be batches of single step fights.  As in, Heracles finishes a fight, takes a step and immediately another fight happens.  It comes in batches of three and it has no problems with dealing Heracles another batch when he has just finished one.  This makes exploring... problematic.  It's hard to get into the excitement of exploring a new area when you know a batch is going to tag yo ass any moment.  After the Rage Meter™ passes a certain point, all fucks that could be given are incinerated.  It's now just machine vs. manchine in a test of willpower to get through the damn game.

If that wasn't enough to break the game immersion, this game also forces a password system.  Save states won't save you here.  If you end up discarding a quest item (which will happen due to the limited inventory), the only way to get it back is to start the game with the password which will reset all the quests.  For example, the volcano that some goddess destroys so that Heracles could access the western sea is restored and the quest must be done all over again.  And guess how good I am at entering passwords in the first place?  Yep, just as horrible as when I was a teen.


NO, YOU'RE THE WRONG SPELL!

I was going to go into the details of some of the quests but I'm just not in the mood anymore.  Writing this has got me all riled up again.  I've also got items I don't fucking know what to do with but I'm scared to get rid of them (especially the ones that had a long quest path).  The one item that I knew Heracles needed (a cross to lay at a certain tomb), I couldn't find for-fucking-ever so I revisited every place and eventually discovered a place I thought Heracles had already explored. 

I can see why you missed it, Heracles.
It just blends right the fuck in.

Okay, I shouldn't leave things on such a negative note.  There are other aspects of the game that are not rage inducing, just interesting.  Weapons and armour have durability values that fall as they are used.  The only way to repair the items is to visit the blacksmith in Athens.  In the early game, this limits how far Heracles could explore before having to head back.  Certain creatures can also cast magic that rusts away large chunks of the item's durability.  For journeys of a longer nature, Heracles has the option to hire the blacksmith for a tidy sum and who will then take up an item slot and automatically repair any damage after a battle.

Will you take an out-of-state,
two-party bad cheque?

Quest-wise, Heracles is so close to the Heavenly Realm that he can almost taste those delicious clouds.  Ten of the twelve boss monsters have been defeated and Heracles knows the next one resides in the Heavenly Realm itself.  All that (hopefully) remains is for Herc to find Pegasus and ascend to the heavens.  Unfortunately, he currently has no leads on where Pegasus might be.  He may have to resort to retracing his journey from the beginning and essentially redo all the quests.  To make matters worse, he reached his gold and level cap ages ago so battles have absolutely no value anymore.  And so Heracles wanders on while Zeus looks down from Mount Olympus and slowly shakes his head in shame.

January 05, 2012

[Game 011] Glory of Heracles: Labors of the Divine Hero (NES - 1987)

Translation by DvD & aishsha

Even though we're well into 1988, the Glory of Heracles has interrupted our normal broadcasted progression and gave us another '87 title to run through.  As new translations become available for titles in which the initial release date has already been passed, the protocol is to insert the title immediately into the next game slot.  Hopefully the releases will be infrequent — I don't need another hundred fucking games to do.  That being said, I am glad that this game in particular did get translated.  The two sequels that follow it are already translated and it's compulsive to do a game series in the original order.

In GoH:LotDH, the mighty Heracles is tasked with rescuing Aphrodite who was captured by Hades and taken into the Underworld.  You're going to be taking on the Gods themselves, Heracles, so here's a few golds and absolutely no weapons and armour.  By the way, you're in Athens.  K, I'm outtie 5000.  PEACE!

After beating up a few tree stumps and some squidy things <WITH MY OWN BARE HANDS>, Heracles manages to afford some basic protections and a sword.  Athens is a decent sized town with a lot of folk and a lot of information about many different things.  None of which has anything to do with Aphrodite but let's just go with the flow, Heracles.  Opting to listen to the rumours about strong monsters in the north, Heracles heads south and finds a narrow path through the otherwise impassable mountains.  This pass is guarded though.

Holy oipho, this guy's tough.

After clumsily missing his initial attack, Heracles is quickly put to sleep by the Iron Boar who then proceeds to kick the shit out of him for a good six rounds until Herc dies a most undignified death.  Nice effort, Heracles.  Are you sure you're a demigod?  We'll just wait here whilst you handle several batches of easier foes.  Mmmm hmmmm mmmmm, hey remember that show The Mighty Hercules?  We only had PeasantVision™ growing up so it was the only thing on for early Saturday cartoons.  My favourite characters are Daedalus and the shape-shifting Otis.  Always been partial to shape-shifting characters.  I remember playing a shape-shifter in some Batman RPG decades ago.  I think he could change into a battle car or into a gun to be used by another character, like Megatron.  Hey, how does Megatron shrink down when he trans... oh, here's Heracles now.  You're at level 5 now and sleep spells don't affect you near as much?  Cool beans, aboot time you woke up and started taking this seriously.

Making his way to the nearby town of Pella, Heracles get a few upgrades and a little more information.  In order to get the Gold Horn from the escape-friendly Golden Hind, Heracles must talk to Ares, god of war.


Not what I was expecting (disappointed).

Ares has a nice little place up by the lake apparently, so it's just a matter of finding it and hoping he doesn't destroy Heracles on sight.  You've never done anything to tick off Ares, have you Herc?  Oh...  well, maybe he's forgotten.

Now strong enough to face the northern creatures of Athens, Heracles finds two more towns, Selene and Hebe.  Nothing too special about either place specifically but what is interesting is the way the all the towns are handled on the overall map.  Usually, a town takes up a single tile on an overworld map and then, upon entering, goes to a new screen with the "map" of the town.  Here, the towns are seamlessly integrated into the whole map.  A large city takes up an appropriately large amount of space.  This sense of scale is a pleasant touch and adds a little to the realism.  It's unlikely that Heracles will miss any settlements this way.  The only downside of the towns is that they are terribly ugly and the colours disturb.


Also, citizens like to cockblock
access to the inn.

The search for Ares is on.  I don't know why Heracles needs this golden horn so badly but I do know he must first access the Heavenly Realm so perhaps this horn plays a part in getting there.  Only one man and one man alone can possibly complete this quest.  That man has ♫ softness in his eyes, iron in his thighs; ♪ virtue in his heart, fire in every part of the ♪ MIGHTYYYY HERCULEEEEEEEEES! ♫