October 15, 2014

STED - Arrested Development

I should have suspected something wasn't on the up-and-up when a beautiful young lady starts doling out quests.  After retrieving the crystal and waving it right in front of her face, Honeypot kept repeating that monsters had stolen her crystal.  She's either crazy or talking about a different crystal altogether.  I had to talk to a different person entirely in order to gain access to the real elder's house and return the crystal to him.  This elder was a wizened old man with a cane, thereby fulfilling the elder paradigm.  He then immediately broke it after I asked about Litromin, a healing medicine I needed for another quest.

If you're going to be an elder with no wisdom,
you might as well look like Honeypot.

After sorting out that mess, it was off to the multi-leveled tower.  Like the previous tunnels, each level consisted of a bunch of dead ends and rooms with nothing in them, except perhaps an encounter.  The floors are fairly small and easy to map and soon we were at the top floor.  A long pathway led our party to a tough fight with a boss guarding an ancient source of information much more reliable than those damn elders.

Yeah, I got about a thousand
of these on my SPACESHIP.

After giving it the password I learnt from the dude I healed with the Litromin, it used its vast computing powers to print out a detailed analysis of all the monsters in the area as well as a speculative projection as to their origins...  Just kidding, it spat out a Red Gem instead and then turned itself off forever.  Shrugging, we started to make our way back through the tower.  On the way down, I noticed that I was being far less effective in combat than normal and Corona wasn't doing too well either.  Shrugging even further than before, we eventually made our way back to town.  I figured a good night's rest would invigorate Corona and I but I was wrong.  It was then I realized that the culprit was a gameplay element that I totally forgot to mention in the first post.  All the characters in STED have four hit locations (head, torso, arms, legs) which can become injured during encounters, affecting battle prowess.

Darnit, why can't I seem to hit the enemy?...
Ohhh, that's right, both my legs are missing.

I had thought an inn rest would reset these values back to 100 but actually I needed to go to the clinic.  Previously, I had thought that the Regen option at the clinic would repair these areas but they told me that it wasn't needed (which is why I thought the inn just did it).  Well, regeneration is only for when the hit location reaches 0, otherwise the regular check-up does the job.  The cost is one credit per location point and this means that the total cost for each character varies for each visit.  The longer the party is out in the field, the higher this cost will be overall.  This variance led me to believe that the cost was because of the "poison timer" I mentioned in the first post, which doesn't actually exist.  With all this cleared up, I got everyone in the party fixed up proper and soon we were back in the field, exploring far and wide for adventure and fortune but finding something way, way better.

A SNES?  Really?  Well, Imma go
play this instead.  Later, STED!

Unfortunately, the SNES can't be used in the game and instead I sold it to some sucker for 10,000 creds (which they probably ended up selling for 50,000).  The SNES was a nice find amid a slew of tough encounters.  Two new cities and a town also made up for this spike in difficulty but a hefty amount of grinding was still required to have any chance to progress.  A few minor quests between grinds kept things mildly interesting, even though certain NPCs tried to dissuade me from such an endeavour.

But that's all I've ever been!

After feeling experienced enough, the party decided it was time to take on the local tower.  We explored it high and low but didn't find anything of note.  Figuring we must of missed something, we backtracked it all the way to the beginning to retalk to all the citizens.  Too bad the encounter rate stayed exactly the same; soon we were assaulted with many of these:

I'm tempted to come back at endgame
to see how low these values will get.

To make matters worse, we didn't discover anything new, we just wasted a pile of time.  Heading back to the tower, we decided to install the ScanPak we had all this time (and forgot about) into Gap and perhaps it'll find a secret door or something.  In the end, the culprit ended up being the freehand drawn maps (I knew I should have broke out the grid paper) which neglected to properly show an unexplored route.  Soon we were at the top, facing another computer and another guardian.  This guardian, though, is even tougher than the previous one was.  This guy has resistance to all our basic attacks and seems vulnerable only to fire.  This makes Actes and Gap useful only for soaking damage and using items.  Corona and I don't have a lot of ESP available due to all the healing needing to be done just to get here.  Our second attempt fared much as the first, even though we had more ESP since we had a direct route to the boss.  Corona got herself killed on the way up during our third venture and the fourth saw us using up too much ESP before reaching the top.  Man, I can't believe how tough this boss is.

And to think I beat you on my
first try in Super Mario Bros. 3.

So this is currently where I am stuck.  I could do some more grinding but, meh, I'm kinda sick of it.  I could try loading up on the weak healing items and see if that's enough to prevent too much ESP loss but I think it'll mostly be based off being lucky enough to avoid the harsher random encounters.  I keep meaning to try this lackluster strategy out but my ambition drive is just idling right now, plus I keep getting distracted by porn.

Mmm, that's right, ladies, don't be shy
with one other.  Mmm, yeah, that's nice.
Now... now purge each other's EEPROMs.