|STED — the leading edge in SCIENCE!|
So, yeah, the spot I was missing was, in no way, discussed or hinted at during any point in the game. One is just suppose to know that the center point of these four rocks are important because... uh... symmetry? And it's not like I didn't search that area the first time I found it, before having all the gems, only to find absolutely nothing. You know what would have made more sense, STED, if you just had to go with such an ambiguous scheme? How about three rocks, arranged in a triangle? You know, because there are three gems and that at least gives some connection, however feeble, between the two. *sigh* Anyway, I had to spoil myself with a walkthrough on this roadblock and I'm actually glad I did because: a) I never would have figured that isht out; and b) fuck STED. If this was the only example of this kind of nebulous bull, maybe I'd feel worse, but STED is chock-full of this crap. NPCs often give either confusing or outright false information. For example, the fellow who eventually fixes the harp needed to find the hermit mentions that new strings for it can be found in a nearby cave — right before handing over the completely fixed harp. For another example, some NPCs have their cardinal directions reversed (here's a hint, guys, north is always towards the top of the screen). For yet another example... well, I could be here all day if I start goin' off on this. Okay, just one more; when talking with NPCs that give you crucial details (e.g. passcodes) needed to advance the game, the player only gets one chance to write/memorize the detail. If that finger slips and taps the A button, sorry Charlie, you're SOL. You'd better hope you realize that something important was missed so you can reload.
|Thankfully, nuggets of wisdom such as this|
can be repeated as often as necessary.
The final tower proved to be a real challenge (the good kind, not the frustrating kind). It has a very long path compared to the other towers, complete with traps that force you to warp out to the beginning and try again. Near the end, one can tell that the developers began to run out of level design ideas — the last two floors are just hallway spirals to maximize the chance of random encounters.
|To its credit, there were finally|
some cool robot foes.
When I reached the final boss, I took a quick glance at my remaining inventory and cringed. Almost completely depleted. I didn't want to risk the levels I had gained getting here, so I warped out in order to grind creds for the EP-restoring Brainers. At 5K a pop, this took a very long time. I found an area where the monsters are likely to drop Porno (sells for 1K) but one particular creature there likes to destroy inventory items, so that place was out. Just can't catch a break with this game. A couple hours later and I was brimming with Brainers and MentalCs (for Gap). With the true path mapped out, I made it back to the final chamber to endure the last stretch of STEDness.
|Encounter-free and pointless "maze" — check.|
|Villain speech that doesn't|
really make sense — check.
|End boss that's a dragon or wizard...|
Whoa! — NOT CHECK!
Seriously, Shiseikan is looking all kinds of badass. There's no part of this guy that doesn't scream awesome. I especially like the ironic heart he wears on his lower torso; he's a destroyer of humanity but is still playful about it. I think this is his way of showing us that, even after he succeeds in killing all humans, the spirit of humanity will still live on within all the monsters he's creating. He was almost successful too. I thought I had overstocked for this journey but I'll be damned if that Shiseikan didn't manage to drain almost all my items. Gap ran out of MentalCs and bite the dust but the rest of us managed to finish Shiseikan off. And so the galaxy was saved...
|Well, planet really, but I guess|
galaxy sounds more epic.
I always like to post the final end screen and even here, STED manages one last middle finger directly to the player's face (though it's completely the translation patch's fault but somehow still seems completely appropriate).