May 14, 2012

EarthBound Zero - Heaven and EarthBound

Past the northern gate guards, standing impassively inert in the depths of a cave, lay a strange, rocky shell formation.  Using his Nungcun mind meld technique, Shen learned that this, apparently sentient, structure was pondering the age-old question that has plagued mankind for generations; who has lost his tail?  Figuring that the thing was perhaps alluding to evolution, Shen went back to the zoo to perhaps fetch an ape (or maybe a monkey would do).  No dice.  Journeying back to cave, Shen tried using all his available items on the shell.  No dice.  Oh well, must have missed an item somewhere along the way.  Let's retrace our steps through the known world and chat with everyone again.  No dice.  It was only after a good night's sleep at his house that Shen realized that he had left two items with his sister at the very beginning of the game (thinking that they had already served their purpose).  The grandpa diary that Shen had read briefly at the start turned out to be the key.  Finally Shen is on his way to Merrysville.  Or is he?  In an unexpected twist, he finds himself in the heavenly land of Magicant.

I should have known taking twenty
drugs all at once was a bad idea.

Magicant is full of witches to chat with and home to a series of shops with some sweet (and expensive) magic items.  After coming down a bit, Shen visits the local queen who really would like to sing some song but can't remember all the bits.  Shen has already learned a few riffs of the tune in his journey already but needs eight parts (only has three at this point).  A quest for music?  Coolest quest yet.  Saving the world is played out anyway.

I'll get yo groove back, shortay.
You just chilly chill.

Leaving Magicant to return to the Earth requires a slog through an ice dungeon and then a trip through some wilderness which eventually spills out into Merrysville.  After Magicant, Merrysville is sort of a letdown.  Just regular earthies being their boring-old, non-magical selves.  Though I shouldn't be too hard on the hoo-mans; they've still got some good traits.

Heh heh... You're alright, man(kind).

During his stay in Merrysville, Shen visits the high school and ends up befriending a chap by the name of Loid.  Bullies had put him in a trash can on the roof of the school and he would not come out until Shen found him some bottle rockets for him to fire off (he's an explosives geek).  These, of course, were located in an abandoned factory infested with tough encounters.  After acquiring them, Loid joins Shen and can actually use the bottle rockets in battle.

Hi, Loid.  I'm already annoyed.

Thirsting for more explosives, Loid drags Shen back to the factory to stock up on more bottle rockets, bombs, and the occasional laser.  They are also looking for a missile that they can fire into a heap of boulders that lie on the train rails, preventing access to some other towns.  Thankfully, Loid does not miscalculate his trajectory coordinates and soon the path is cleared.

Probably should have made
more rubble but whatevs.

Three small villages are now accessible and after doing a cursory examination of each place, Shen and Loid quickly found a third companion to join their group.  And it's a GIRL!  At the risk of coming down with a severe case of cooties, the boyz allow Ana to accompany them.  Ana has Psi-abilities just like Shen except she gains them a lot faster and has access to many offensive abilities that Shen lacks.  She sucks in melee combat but so does Loid and he doesn't have any Psi-powers at all.

Back into the trash can with you, Loid.

Now three strong, the terrific trio brave the long and harsh journey across the blistering desert in their efforts to reach Youngtown.  Rumour has it that all the adults are missing from Youngtown (whoa, no way!) and it's up to our stalwart young detectives to investigate.  Shen had previously attempted the desert back when he was on his own only to get swiftly pwned.  Bringing no water or food, the tenacious trinity soon found themselves succumbing to the scorching heat and they were only half way to Youngtown.  Their parched throats were a constant reminder of just how important H to tha 2 O is.  Just when they thought they could go no further, fortune smiled upon them and they stumbled across a man giving airplane rides for a nominal fee.  Sure, why not?

*krsh* Passengers may want to note
the delicious water to their left. *krsh*

The pilot informs the group that if they take a bunch of trips in his plane, he'll give them the keys to his tank.  Doing a double take, Shen quickly wiped away the drool from his mouth and forced everyone to take the full amount of trips.

Shen never says no to tanks.

The tank is a little fucked up as it can only traverse desert and can't handle grasslands.  It could have got the party across the rest of the desert safely but Shen just had to tear himself up some sand dunes.  This resulted in accidentally coming across a guardian boss battle in which the guardian and tank were both destroyed.  Luckily, they weren't too far from the edge of the desert and, after Shen had dried his tears, they proceeded on to Youngtown (making note to return to see what the guardian protected).

In Youngtown, a psychic baby teaches Shen and Ana a teleportation spell.  It functions like most teleport spells and allows the party to return to any city or town visited.  Its execution, however, is quite different from the norm.  It can't just be used anywhere.  The group needs to have a clear path in order to get a running start (of about two screen lengths).  If they run into something, hilarity ensues.

So we're burnt or something?

The city of Ellay is now the only place that has not been visited.  Only half of the melodies needed for the music quest have been found so hopefully just the half-way point has been reached.

One final detail.  The spanking Hippie music (go ahead, listen to it again, you know you want to) has carried over to other creatures as well, ensuring that there's always a slight chance of awesome in the random encounters.

Keep close, that's right. Watch
out for the Killer Cars.