November 17, 2016

[Game 061] Rings of Power (GEN - 1991)

Looking at the title and accompanying screen, one may think that this is a Tolkien game, what with the stubby-legged hobbit there and all.  But no, Rings of Power is an entity all unto itself, though it does follow many of the tropes all ready established at that point.  The god Nexus created everything with the help from his Rod of Creation and it was good.  Then the god Void came along, stole the Rod, and took a big dump on everything, causing a cataclysm that lasted a whole 66 years.  Nexus, who was doing lord knows what during those 66 years, eventually battled with Void in a pay-per-view of such epic proportions that it shattered the Rod in half.  Each took one of the halves and split it even further to prevent the other from ever reassembling this ultimate artifact.  Five hundred years later and the segments of power are nothing but a legend to most — but not young Buc.  He's a bright lad who probably should have been named Shen but wasn't.  Buc is a young Sorcerer, devoted to the powers of the mind and one of the six schools of magic that almost everyone belongs to.  From the vaunted high priests to the lowly serving wenches, all have at least some spell casting capability.  It's so common, in fact, that most people don't even use weapons or armour, Buc being one of them.  Buc's master, Thalmus, also believes in the legend and has tasked Buc with leading a party, with each member representing one of the schools, and finding said rings.  Anatomy-minded readers may have already picked up on the tone of the game based off the name of Buc's master, but here's some more evidence, keeping in mind that this is the very first thing that Buc comes across.

Yes, it's that kind of game.

Talking with individuals gives more options than the standard one-liner, with Buc being able to inquire about jobs, class, the local city, and his quest.  Most people will go on at great length on any particular subject.  Unfortunately, 95% of the dialogue is shared between all inhabitants of the same city or class, with some professions bantering exactly the same no matter where in the world Buc is.

Lemme stop you right there.

After doing a minor fetch quest for Thalmus, the students are all gathered for a final briefing, when all of a sudden one of the students assassinates Thalmus, no doubt an agent of Void.  During his death throes, Thalmus teleports each student to a different part of the world.  Buc ends up near the city of Division and is almost immediately accosted by some beggars.  Giving them 50 golds treats Buc to a bunch of ramblings from an obvious madman.

♪ Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mix reality with pseudo god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seeeeen
I sold my soul to be the human manchine! ♫

Beyond this, crazy dude also lamblasts censorship while ironically censoring himself and also complains about having to reprogram the blitter code and buc1.bc file.  The developers are obviously having a bit of fun here but it really alters the tone of the game, and not in a way I particularly like.  I can only hope that this guy is the exception and not the norm.  After the chat, Buc enters Division and proceeds to explore a little bit.  He takes a break near the docks to write some stuff down and all of a sudden — BOOM! — bear attack.  Bears can cast the claw spell, which functions exactly the same as any creature swiping with a pointy paw.  Buc can counter with his ranged Stun spell, which thankfully does a little more damage.  Combat is mostly automatic with an option to be fully automated; I can choose Buc's spell and mood (four different ranks of aggression).  Tactical movement is always handled by the AI, which consists of a lot of shuffling and moonwalking about while occasionally attacking.  I'm not sure I understand the point of the movement system, as it takes place on a complete flat field with no terrain or obstacles of any kind.

Oh yeah, it's also in space for some reason.

If Buc spends one of his phases retreating, the opponent will just spend one of its phases to close the gap.  Perhaps with a full party the AI will develop a front rank and attempt flanking maneuvers, but I'm assuming that things like flanking aren't even considered and that full party combats will just be a clusterfuck free-for-all (I have no faith in artificial intelligences that aren't spelt S-H-E-N).  So combat at this point is funny to watch everyone getting down with their bad selves, but is otherwise completely unenjoyable.  At any rate, hanging outside in town is obviously not safe like I thought it would be, so it's best the Buc get off these docks and — BOOM! — two bears attack!  Damn, is the circus in town or what?  Why are these docks so infested with bears?  Well, Buc knows that discretion is the better part of valour and decides to flee to the nearest dwelling.  He meets with Hack, who will allow a knight named Slash to join him if he does some fetching and a fight first.  Being a knight, Slash does have a weapon but needs to cast a spell in order to use it.  With no real leads about any of the rings, Buc and Slash head south to the city of Blood, where the necromancers play.  Buc figures that it'll be another quick fetch n' slay and then he'll add a necro to his ranks, but he is woefully wrong.  He is suppose to take a corpse to a grave site somewhere on a hill south of Blood and is even given coordinates to the exact location.  Problem is, Buc doesn't have a sextant, though he does know one is located in a cave behind a waterfall west of the city of Cathedral.  But he doesn't know where Cathedral is.  So Buc packs up the corpse and heads off into the world to try to find the apparently rare sextant.

No worries, looks like it should keep.

Since the journey could be a long one, Buc breaks out the map he received at the start of his quest.  And what a map it is!  An accurate tile-by-tile representation of the entire world, though lacking any annotations such as city names.  I spent the better part of fifteen minutes just randomly scanning for locations that I think Buc might enjoy hitting up some day.

And admiring the handiwork of some
obviously drunk highway engineers.

It's pretty early in the game but I'm going to put all my chips on the table and say that this map is the best part of the entire game.  It's huge and — and this is the important part — completely open to explore.  Purchasing a ship isn't prohibitively expensive; the biggest concern is the purchase of food and water.  Yes, Rings of Power isn't happy with just a food clock, it also adds a separate water one as well.  Travelling through different terrains depletes each clock differently, roads being the cheapest.  Preparation and planning is required before heading out of any city.  God, it's so nice to have a non-linear world to explore.  Quests are also completely non-linear and multi-layered, requiring a lot of note taking, which I do not mind in the slightest.  There's also a world economy of sorts; each city specializes in production of a product while giving a high price to a certain other product.  There's going to be a lot of backtracking I'm sure, so I've been keeping a log of all the best deals, just in case I run into a cash crunch. I've found five cities so far (including Cathedral), no new party members, seven sextant locations, and have about four pages of notes.  Combat continues to suck the big one though, with encounters that end in Buc and Slash's deaths before they even get a chance to adapt being thrust into the cosmos.

Hey, is that the Rosetta space probe
over ther — oops, I'm dead.

Buc is close to getting the sextant (I hope), so that this party can really get started.  First priority is getting some party members to help prevent all the deaths.  Ideally, I'd like to get a full party before searching in earnest for rings, but I'll play it by ear, exhausting any leads in an area before heading back to follow up on any previous ones.

November 02, 2016

Jubei Quest - Ranking

Story & World

I almost always inject at least a little of my own homebrew story into these games, but it feels like I did it quite a bit with Jubei Quest.  At first, I was thinking maybe I should reduce the score and give the points to myself for delicious hording.  I eventually decided against that since JQ was still the impetus to all my internalized RP.  Even without my additions, JQ still manages to hold its own.  The intro adventures for Shiro and Rock are just fantastic and I thought it was super keen how I could switch back and forth between those and the main quest at my merest whim.  There's also a good mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements, which is always a good thing in my book.

The supporting cast of helpers is great, though there should probably be quotation marks around helper when talking about Jirokichi.  The rest them though are swell and cover a range of activities, such as deciphering ancient text, talking to animals, or upgrading items.  These activities could have been accomplished simply via an item, so I appreciate the extra effort to tie it into a character (after all, it's much harder to make fun of an item).

As expected for a JRPG, the world is quite straightforward and joys of exploration are significantly hampered because of it.  There's some branching off in the dungeons/castles, but these lead to either dead ends or trapped chests for Jirokichi to fuck up on.  The final castle was especially bad for having rooms with nothing in them.  The "airship" also came far too late to have much fun with.  I did a once-over of the entire world but didn't find anything other than the endgame locations.  Oh, I did find it funny that Mt. Fuji (where I became a dragon) was right next to the beginning town, just blocked off by a mountain range.  14/20

Character Development

Six stats rise variably with each level and spells/abilities are generously given to all characters (except Rock).  Level gains are quite high for the first 30 levels or so and then dips appreciably, curtailing the usefulness of grinding.  Three equipment slots are available for a weapon, a suit of armour, and a charm.  No special abilities for any of the pieces of equipment, just a straight stat boost, though the charms are least affect multiple stats in differing ways.  Both Shiro and myself had a large AP pool with most abilities costing very little; both of us having a good mix of offensive and defensive capabilities.  Jubei, in addition his (smaller) arsenal of spells, also had special melee attacks (with only Raiden costing any AP).  I mentioned his double attack but he also could do things like target multiple enemies or attempt a low to-hit/high damage attack.  There's a good number of consumables available with extra cool shit like machine guns, flamethrowers, and bazookas.  Each character can hold seven items and can purchase a donkey to double their capacity.  13/20

Combat & Monsters

A four member party with positional combats is all it takes to keep a JRPG from becoming stale.  Adding to this is that attacks do not carry over if the target dies, although Jubes has two melee attacks that spread, as well as spells that Shiro and I could perform.  Jubei Quest also has the commonplace high encounter rate whenever I'm trying to get somewhere, then dropping to virtually nothing when I'm trying to grind (yes, this is definitely coloured by human perception).

Welp, there wouldn't have been near the number of monstages if I didn't dig the monster design.  Despite a lot of JRPGs having that sameness to each other, the monsies are at least very creative.  Groupings mostly appear well-thought out and one has to rely on careful experimenting and implementing of the various spells and abilities to efficiently deal with them.  There's generally not enough healing available to dick around with encounters, at least up until endgame.  14/20

Graphics & Sound

Now that I've experienced the magic of colour cycling, I don't know how I'll do without it.  i do hope I'll see it at least once or twice again in the future.  Other than that, JQ follows the standard formula; boldly coloured tiles, nice looking monster sprites, and big, impressive bosses.  Nothing that really rocks my world (other than the colour cycling), but nothing that ticks me off either.  Did I mention that I like the colour cycling?  Cuz I do.

The music follows in the graphic's footsteps; it wasn't bombastic but not irritating either.  A serviceable accompaniment all around.  Too bad music can't colour cycle because I like it when things do that.  12/20


Money was pretty tight throughout, but a big part of that is due to me buying so many different outfits and you know that I have to purchase matching shoes for each one, girlfriend.  Sometimes a purchase would require a sizeable cash investment for a paltry stat increase but I would still buy it anyway instead of waiting until the next town because I can't resist a good sale.

The pacing is solid and there were few times when I felt like I had to grind, especially since fleeing was fairly reliable for the majority of the game.  I really like the chapter system for breaking up the story, even if it did slow down completion of this game by a factor of several magnitudes.  Hey, if it works for books, why not vidja?

The challenge level was decently high; random encounters are tough enough to make one seriously consider fleeing from certain creatures as the risk/reward ratio isn't high enough to justify battle.  Doing a run on each castle requires some serious planning on minimizing the path length to the boss; exploration of a castle generally means having to warp out at least once to top up.  15/20

Final Ranking:  68/100

October 28, 2016

Jubei Quest - End Game

We're leaving together, but still it's fareweeeell.
And maybe we'll come baaaaack — to earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blaaaaame.
We're leaving Jubeiiii! (leaving Jubei!)
Will things ever be the same agaaaaain?

It's the final chapter!

One day, I'm sure I'll look back on my one-posting-per-chapter formula for Jubei Quest and be glad that I spent the extra time with it.  Right now though, I'm just happy to be in the home stretch.  I've got to be in a certain mood before I'm able to blog; frequent stopping of gameplay to post compounds the wait time between periods of being "in the zone".  Normally, I just stop playing when a mood hits and I can bang out the majority of a post in a single sitting.  At any rate, I've still got this posting and a ranking to do, so I'd better get on with it then.  Since becoming an airship/dragon, the posse and I have been able to explore the rest of the world and... hrmm, I'm kinda low on stuff to talk about and I'm sure the readers have noticed that the recent postings have only been getting shorter and shorter.  Better break out the old crutch of rehashing previous jokes in order to get another screenshot in.

♪ I can Shen you the world! ♫

There isn't much world left to explore, just an island or two. We're basically just looking for the Alien Doll in order to break it, so it shouldn't take too long to find it.

Hey guy, we're looking for an alien doll.  Should
be about yea high, quite cuddly and...  oh shit.

This alien "doll" is freaking tough as all get out.  It's got something called a UFO Gun which hits everyone for 500+ damage, killing all except Rock, who just dies the next turn.  Luckily, we've got two All-Revivers, procured from our spaceship buddy, which automatically heals the entire party.  Still, we're having a hard time penetrating A.D.'s defences, even though we've been throwing everything we have at it.

Argh!  Why does the game keep telling me this?!?!

Though we use up a good chunk of our items, it was all for naught, as the doll just guns us into oblivion.  Being wiped out in this unwinnable combat triggers a plot point where we receive the Sealing Sphere, which should be effective against the doll.  The doll is back in Dr. Main's castle, which has risen from the depths of the ocean somewhere in the world, the exact location to be found on my absolute most favourite map ever (sorry, Jirokichi).

Better check the other side as
well in case there's more.

By the way, I'm pretty sure that's Jubei's mom giving everyone in the room an eyeful of sweet, hot back, including Jubei.  Jubei's father, on the other hand, totally tries to jump on the Nung bandwagon and declares that Jubei's real name is, in fact, Shen!

This is just sad.

The lord gives Jubei his final equipment, a Hyper Suit and a Laser Sword, which I think really should have gone to the leader of the group (i.e. me).  Now we're finally ready for the final dungeon, Dr. Main's futuristic city, which has the best monsters in the entire game.  Not only are they all robots and shit, but each one has some impressive colour cycling when it becomes heavily damaged.

I'm not sure whether I should
be hypnotized or be raving.

Now, I'm not going to show y'all every monster's cycle, but what I can do is give you stills of the rest in a special robostage™.

Mmm, another classic content crutch.

The journey through is long and difficult and I am thankful that we fully stocked up on healing Elixirs before embarking.  Eventually, we find the Alien Doll again and this time we invoke the Sealing Sphere, only to have it fail miserably.  I figure that we have to beat the doll down to its colour cycling stage and then use the sphere.  The Doll has other plans and obliterates us in a few rounds.  The second attempt fares better, as we survive much longer and dish out a good amount of damage but the end result is the same.  A few more failed attempts and I have to leave and cool off.  Coming back with a freshly caffeinated mind and I try the unorthodox technique of using the sphere multiple times, which results in the complete destruction of the alien doll.  The doll isn't the final boss, though; we still have Dr. Main and his cronies to take on.  The first three are all mini bosses we've fought before; they hold no real threat.  Upon their defeat, however, they all Voltron it up and combine to create the fearsome Servedragon.

It's not strange, it's a chimera with the
goat head hidden behind the wings.

While slightly tougher when combined, we still manage to poke it with pointy things until it stops moving, and then it's on to the main event with the good doctor.  Dr. Main catches on to our regular routine of buffing with the Cover, Haze, Shield and Sword spells and counters with a Clean.  Some buffs I feel are critical and so this game begins where I buff and then take bets on how long it'll last until Main Cleans again.  Main is tough enough to be able to kill off a party member here and there, but we're chock full of Revivers, which resurrect a character with full HP and AP.  This means everyone (except Rock) can cut loose with their magic with no fear of running out.  Jubei has a special Raiden attack takes up a third of his AP.  After he exhausts them, I find myself hoping that he dies so he can be revived with a fresh stock of Raidens.  I'm not saying that I'm purposefully giving preferential healing to those that perhaps don't need it as much as Jubes, but, yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing.  He's got nuthin' to complain about; Dr. Main is in his damaged form and ready to topple.

No colour cycling though.

With Dr. Main, the world is safe again (but for how long?) and we finally catch up with the Time Wanderer, who've we been one town behind the entire game and who I'm not even sure if I've mentioned before.  Anyway, he drops a knowledge bomb on me about how I'm actually a Time Lord or something but got lost in the time stream due to a wormhole and also amnesia?

I dunno, something to do with time.

At any rate, I have to leave everyone because I'm going back 15 years to before I was born since the time stream is safe now and I have to back and close the wormhole.  None of this sounds familiar to me, it actually sounds like something Jubei should be dealing with.  I give him a glance to see if there's any flicker of recognition while the Wanderer is yapping at me, but no, he's got the same stupid dumb look on his face that he always does.  Guess I'm going back in time, yo.  I've made too many friends here not to say goodbye first, so it's off to shed some tears and gather some hugs.

Evidently, my efforts to trans to
male have failed miserably.

I even say goodbye to Jirokichi who gives me a predictable farewell.

You mean to the point before the memories
you won't be forgetting are even made?

I climb into the time machine, set the dial to -15 years, and get ready to rock.  Time travel is remarkably low-res, just a bunch of concentric squares of varying shades of blue.  I at least expect some names to scroll by but that doesn't happen.  At the end of my journey all I get is this very appropriate end screen, considering the time I took to finish Jubei Quest.

October 13, 2016

Jubei Quest - The Grand, Epic Quest of Oh It's Over Already

I think maybe I've been too hard on Jirokichi for his passive-aggressive outbursts; it's not his fault.  It turns out the game itself is projecting its own insecurities via J.K.  I had made a minor quip at the end of last post saying I hoped this would be the last chapter, due to comedic redundancies.  Chapter 9 isn't the last chapter, oh no.  Chapter 9 isn't even a full chapter.  It starts off well enough, I've found a couple towns and the first "dungeon", this one is in the form of Mount Fuji.  However, the random encounters on the way are so difficult that I've postponed even entering it until I've got the best equipment for everybody in the party — and that means grinding.

Oh phooey, I can't decide between the sassy marigold
sundress, the pale pink bouffant, or that classic little
black number.  I'd better just take all three.

All my fleeing in the previous chapter ensures that I'm broke as a joke and I can only afford a single new Charm (a stat-altering bauble).  Thankfully, grinding isn't so bad as it gives me a chance to play with everyone's special abilities (except for Rock, who sucks).  Large pools of AP for Shiro and I give us plenty of elbow room to cut loose and watch the majority of our spells just fail miserably.  Oh well, at least it's always entertaining to watch Shiro flip out.  So, I dunno, it's been, like, an hour or so of this and I've finally maxed out equipment for all and ready for the first, of what I'm sure will be many, trips to Mount Fuji.  Rock actually picked up an ability to Hide from the random encounters, just in time for our first serious attempt at the mount.  Nice going, Rock.  We make it there in pretty decent shape and prepare for the long ascent of — half a screen or so.  Yep, I dun goofed in not even scouting Fuji as it's just a plot event, no dungeon to be had anywhere.

That's embarrassment, the first time it's
ever happened. (yep, the first time ever)

Shit gets kinda surreal here due to my being leader of the group; the game is expecting Jubei to be there.  Basically, I turn into a dragon and begin to talk to said leader, only the leader is me, leaving the other members of the party to wonder if I've lost my goddamn mind.

"Oh, don't we look handsome today?"
"Why, yes, we certainly do."
"And so well hung as well."
"Oh, go on, you."
↑ my morning ritual in front of the mirror ↑

I now have the ability to transform into a dragon and carry the others to new locations, like inside the walled city of Edo that thus far thwarted our attempts to enter it.  So now we have an airship...  and I'm the airship...  I'M THE AIRSHIP!!1!!1!  Oh Jubei Quest, I know I've made wicked fun and been taking for fucking ever to finish you, but this... *sob*... this is just the best present I could have ever received.  I'll even forgive that this chapter ends inside Edo, with not even so much as a boss.  We enter Edo only to find it completely destroyed by Dr. Main, as well as most of the other towns in the world, except for Yagyu, the beginning town.  After talking to some old man, Dr. Main's voice comes out of nowhere, yells at me for a bit, and then the chapter ends.  Okay, so I'm hoping that Chapter 10 will be the final one.  Regardless, I'm going to wrap up any remaining chapters into a single end post; this structure slows me down too much, what with its double digit chapters and all.

September 30, 2016

Jubei Quest - Wake Up Dead

Cursed undead townsfolk is the theme of this chapter and oh how I wish I could join them, maybe as a sweet lich or dracolich.  The random encounters are brutal, with a good chunk of them sporting monsies able to spank off a third of my HP with every swing.  Oh, and you bet there's group-damaging abilities in there as well and no one in the group has an all-party heal.  The best spell we have is my Hospil, which incidentally heals about a third of our max HP, which is just fantastic.  This means that not only do I spend most battles curing the crew, but afterwards everyone generally needs at least one more boost.  It doesn't help that I'm in the very front and probably've got the worst defence but there's no way I'm letting Joey Jojo Junior Shabadoo lead us, no matter how dumb a decision that is!  So this chapter is going like all the others.  Talk to some dude, get the thing, use the thing at the place to get another thing, get the useless intel from Jiro, enter the castle.

I know this is the third time I've posted one of these,
but I just like how they prove that Jirokichi
has the intellectual capabilities of a toddler.

Thankfully, this castle has no pit traps, just spikes and creepy giant hands that go up my skirt and grope me.

I ended up creeping them out after they found about
9 inches more than what they were expecting.

I'm at about 80% male at this point, so the groping actually gives me hit points back, just like in real life.  Now normally, when I explore a castle, I'll do my best to get into every nook and cranny I can find, in order to git dat loot.  This time, however, I'm just trying to get to the end ASAP cuz I'm sick of having to do multiple trips due to the brutal poundings we've been getting.  I'm also fleeing a lot more than usual to save on precious heals.  All of this, though, doesn't mean we can't stop to pop open a few coffins, although each and every one of them is trapped, which means calling on Jirokichi.

You've got balls, J.K., I'll give you that. Oh, that's
right, that's all you've got left down there.

Oh, did I say there were no pit traps?  That was a half-truth.  The final room is a bullshit trial and error path-finding nightmare, though it dumps me at the beginning of the room, not all the way out.

Argh... must... not... abuse... savestates.

My blood is boiling as I finally approach the boss and am glad that I spent all that time running away as everyone's reserves of AP are appreciably high.  In no time flat, the undead boss is out of commission and we're free to blow up the zombie generator in the next room, freeing the townsfolk from their curse.

He was practically falling apart already.

Chalk up another Cosmotron and we're off to catch another ferry into the next chapter.  Before that though, I meet the priest from Owari (from way back at the start).  As townsfolk all throughout the journey have told me, the priest has always been one step ahead of us at the next town and we've only just now caught up with him.  He asks for the Cosmotrons and I hand them over without a second thought.  In the next town I meet the real Owari priest, who is rightfully pissed that I've just pooched the whole quest in the blink of an eye.

I may just have doomed the entire world,
but there's no need for such language.

The imposter that took the Cosmotrons shows up and reveals its true self, which is a flying demon or something.  It literally bombs the life out of the priest, leaving the rest of us unscathed.  The priest tells me that he's been raising an army to fight Dr. Main but they suck without a strong leader so now it's on me to lead them to victory.  I hope it's the final chapter because I'm running out of ways to make fun of Jiro and Jubei.  At any rate, I'll try to make this posting at least seem longer by including another 2 minute monstage.

September 13, 2016

Jubei Quest - Cold Gettin' Dumb

Taking a breather before getting to work on the Cooler is proving to have been a wise move on my part.  There's actually text indicators showing that I'm on the right path while working on it, I was just too dumb to realize it.  This saves me a whole lot of work I was dreading having to do up until now.

Now we are so happy!  We do the dance of joy!

Now that no one needs fear ever having to drink a lukewarm beer again, I am fully expecting Penta to come over to the main world and join my posse, which conveniently has one slot available.  Imagine my surprise when we ended up with Rock.  Like Shiro at the end of his quest, Rock has an epiphany and a name change, which I promptly change back to Rock.  I don't even remember what the name is because I didn't write it down.  It doesn't help that our first meeting got off to somewhat of a bumpy start.

Hey!  Don't you try to oppress me with
your binary genders!  Triggered!

Rock is a straight-up melee bruiser with no special abilities other than good stats, but I still put him in the back row with some other guy I've never seen before.  Now it's off to the Ice Castle to defeat Daruma, who has kidnapped and frozen all the spring spirits in order to bring about perpetual winter.  To thaw them out, I bring some Fire Sake, don the goose down parka and solid gold toque, and set off for the frosty Ice Castle, which I'm sure will have its own set of challenges.

Including multiple rooms of this bullshit.

Doing a header into a pitfall sees me back at the castle entrance, not just falling a level down, and I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't long before the entrance and I became fast friends.  It's not that getting across each set of two chasms is all that difficult; rushing across as soon as they close is a guaranteed win.  The problem is that often there's an encounter whilst traversing and the nanosecond it takes me to get my bearings after usually results in disaster.  I think if I just stayed still, I'd be fine, but I panic every time and clumsily try to still get across, sometimes even in the wrong direction.  Eventually, a cooler head prevails and I'm defrosting fairies like a boss — at least until I run out of Fire Sake.  Damn there's a lot of these fucking fairies.  Luckily I've been finding sake in chests but I still manage to run out.  Rather than warp back to town and restock, I press ahead and hope to find more.  I'm pretty deep into this castle here; there's no way I want to attempt all those chasms again.  Most of the chests have traps but Jirokichi has around a 90% success rate disarming them.  Even if he fails, the penalty is normally some paltry damage or a fight, though there is one annoying, but rare, trap type.

As in, warp to the boss?...  Please?

Usually, even with a 1 in 10 chance to fail, I'm still not giving Jiro the opportunity to act out against me again, but damn, I needs some sake so I risk it.  How does it turn out?  Well, I can't count the exact number of foreskin lashings that Jirokichi is receiving, but suffice it to say, his penis is now effectively a vagina.  I vow never to return to the Ice Castle.  I've got the lion's share of the Cosmotrons; Dr. Main probably can't do shit without 'em.  Unfortunately, the castle dominates my dreams and I know I won't be able to rest easy until I beat Daruma.  I collect more shame as I abuse savestates in order to get across those dang chasms.  I then absolve the shame by rationalizing that the chasms are a realtime event and Inconsolable is all about the turn-based, baby.  In no time flat, I reach Daruma and punish him for having such an irksome castle by siccing Shiro on him.

Shiro has passed the point of just
merely biting his adversaries.

Daruma can't possibly hope to stand up to the ferocious combo attack by our resident high damage specialists, Shiro and Stanley.  Shiro casts his Double spell on Stan who then employs his 2nd Dan attack, which gives him a second attack.  This sums up to a total of FOUR attacks, allowing Stan (the man) to start slicing shit up like a samurai.  I get the obligatory Cosmotron and head back to town, where I head a rumour about a village to the south cursed with some sort of zombie problem.  I decide immediately to help, as I have plenty of experience in battling the endless hordes of the living undead.

Yeah, see, what cha got here is yer typical class 3
zombie infestation.  I'm seein' a lot of that this
time of year.  Now, what ya need is some good
quality, blessed holy water.  Me, personally?
I don't use anything less than a level 15 cleric,
but that's just me.  Now, look, I've got some HW
right outside in the van, I can get started
immediately after you just sign here.

August 22, 2016

Jubei Quest - Watch the Ice Break

Chapter six starts off with a seemingly insurmountable task — to breach the Great Wall of China.

Oh, I mean Semi-Great Wall
of China... good one, game.

Local rumour has it that a man named Shisan Buto once travelled beyond the wall and if only I could find his treasure, I'd be able to do the same.  I guessed the treasure to be good ol' TNT, but it ends up being something way better.

Tramapoline!  Trambopoline!

The elation Shiro and I feel as the layers of the wall rush past us is near indescribable, hampered only by the realization at the apex of our trajectory that perhaps we didn't quite think this cunning plan all the way through.  Lucky for us, we land in the dumpster of a nearby pillow and cloud factory, so everything's totes fine.  Too bad there's yet another wall cutting me off from the desert where I know another Cosmotron lies in a hidden pyramid.  To navigate said desert, I need to enlist the help of an old pervert named Hidebiro, who used to reside in the pyramid with his harem.  I also find out that there's been an earthquake in the Aurora Kingdom, far to the north, and it has wrecked their most sacred and revered Cooler!  With the fates of hundreds of shindigs hanging in the balance, all thoughts of Cosmotrons are put aside, for Shen is not one to let stop the body-body rock.  I then remember that not only is a semi-impressive wall in my way, I'm also at a desert, so I'm probably nowhere near the arctic.  As luck would have it, Shiro has just found a blue book, which, when read by Other Guy, whisks our perspective to Aurora, specifically to a young penguin named Penta, wearing only a viking helmet and a sly grin.  Young Penta has been charged with fixing the Cooler before all the ice melts and renders an inhospitable terrain somewhat more habitable.  He's given a handful of gold to equip himself and... oh wait, not gold.

Oh, so it's going to be like that?  Well then, game on.

While Penta is saving the entire biome, he might as well pull double duty as a delivery boy and take his wedding band to the village of White Bear.  Right now though, the village is cut off by a river that normally isn't there, so Penta'll have to take the long way around.  On the way, he stops by the creatively named Seal Village and picks up a teammate.  Lucky is a cute seal who was sick of the attention she got so she disguised herself as a granny but she still got it anyway.  Or maybe it's the other way around, I'm not really paying attention as my focus is completely on Lucky's considerable assets.

Even white boys got to shout Lucky's got back.

Lucky brings some much needed healing for Penta but the going is tough as neither penguin or seal are particularly equipped for dealing with anything other than fish.  This changes when they pick up their third companion, a rock golem named Rock.

Greetings Rock!  Ice to meet you.

Rock helps tremendously but even his might isn't enough to make the later sets of monsters a breeze or anything.  Many of them have strong party-damaging abilities but thankfully Penta has picked up some healing power of his own.  The boss guarding the defunct Cooler is the golden child of the JB Quest naming think-tank, a metal block called Metal Block.

Never, vile fiend!  You can snow to hell!

While Metal Block wasn't too difficult of a challenge, fixing the Cooler is another matter entirely.  No member of the party has completed their apprenticeship in Cooler repairs, so the survival of their civilization hinges on good ol' trial and error.

I normally go punch, kick, then leave.

Penta tries a bunch of random combinations but nothing seems to happen.  Instead of beginning a procedural sequencing of possibilities, Penta pouts and we're suddenly back to Shen Quest, still looking for a way past that second wall.  Ugh, I hate to do it but I guess it's time to call on Jirokichi, who spies up a super useful piece of intel.  He suggests that we simply explode the wall but he provides no details as to where to any explosives may be located.

An awkward 5 second silence follows as Jiro
slowly realizes that perhaps he shouldn't have
stayed up all last night playing Counterstrike.

To his credit, JK does make one of his patented sweet fortress posters, so I'm letting him off light with only twenty foreskin lashes.  The poster also reveals that the pyramid has been refurbished from a harem to a factory that makes humans into food.

Whatever, they both process meat.

I think the daily foreskin lashings are starting to take their toll on Jirokichi, as he's starting to act out in a most passive-aggressive manner.  I had just sent him out to spy, even though we were at a hermit's hut and not a place of, you know, population.  He responded to this slap in the face by donning a ridiculous outfit and then straight-facing his routine non-information.

So, I'm thinking fifty, maybe sixty for
today.  Does that seem fair, Jiro?

Despite JK's unefforts, I'm doing well enough on my own.  I've found the "Gain Burst" explosives as well as Hidebiro, whose youth I restore with bingbing essence so that he can make the trek across the desert.  The explosives are super effective, not content to just destroy one section but all several kilometres of it.  Hidebiro's youthful vigour coupled with his perverted old man mindset is becoming unsettling as he details what he's going to do with his harem.  I mean, I'm no prude, I like to get my freak on as many times as humanly possible, but this guy takes it to a whole new level.  More than once, I've caught him staring off towards the horizon after trailing off during one of his raunchy stories, mouth hanging open and drool dripping off his chin.  Once we find the pyramid, Hidebiro practically vaults off his erection into it and he's gone before any of us can even say "Eww."  I hope libido is enough to get Hidebiro through these monsters cuz these are some tough fights.  There's also pit traps which I absolutely suck at avoiding, extending each trip far more than it should.  Eventually though, I find the main factory and can't help but be a little impressed by the operation.

I like the open window policy allowing those
about to be minced to make eye contact with the
slaves being forced to kill them.  Nice touch.

Smashing the miniboss, a stack of large cans called Big Can, I shut down production, pausing only briefly to consider if I should call Jirokichi for one last time, if you catch my drift.  I decide against it, figuring there's probably some downside that I can't think of.  The boss of the pyramid, King Tutan, seems pretty tough as he has some very hurty special abilities.

Oh, I mean he had some very hurty special abilities.

Tutan's demise brings Hidebiro out of hiding and he vows to not only restore, but improve, his harem, making it more perverse than ever before!  Have fun with all that, Hide, because as chapter six closes, I just know that I'll be spending the beginning of chapter seven grinding through all the possible combinations for the Cooler.