|Can I at least have back the "World's Best Sidekick"|
mug that I bought special... *sob* for you.
Prince Backstabber did not give any refunds, but I did receive a Strength ring so I could now move boulders without him. Normally, I would have donned the ring and then proceeded to choke a ho, but truthfully, I was just happy to be solo again, even if it meant more difficult battles. Of course, this was not meant to last long and soon I had a new, female companion named Lan, who was so badass that she more a mere dress into combat. Of course, just like almost all females who try to act tough and aren't protected by societal conventions, she proceeded to die in the very first fight one step outside the town. It's here that the interesting death mechanic reared its head. Instead of following around as a ghost or whatever, she stayed dead in the location where she perished. To resurrect her, I would have to go find a town chaplain, have him recall her soul, then go back to wherever she was buried and cast a Relaf spell. Obviously, I had to take this opportunity to get more solo exploring in.
|I'm sure she'll keep.|
Eventually though, she needed to be brought back and we also added a woman-hating man named Gils to the party.
|Well, the good ones do.|
Now, your main man, the real Shen #1, is nothing short of a consummate ladies' man, so I could not abide this outdated sexist attitude and soon replaced him with the powerful Loki, one of my final companions. I think we replaced Lan with a different girl, but I can't be sure because they all look the same to me. At any rate, if I thought having one companion was a pain in the ass, then having two was more like having a cactus colonoscopy. Having someone in the third slot exasperated the screen movement issues by a significant factor, pushing it to over two thirds of the time — and it didn't matter if it was in a dungeon, town, or a completely open plain. Making matters even worse was that the female, who turned out to be named Sara, moved much slower than Loki, ensuring she'd get all of us embroiled in combat whether we wanted to or not.
|Sara also wears a dress as her main form of|
protection — AND SHE NEVER UPGRADES IT.
It's this one — utterly baffling — mechanic that takes this otherwise mediocre RPG and makes it fit for the pit. I just don't understand what the developers were going for with this design decision. In a dungeon it kinda makes sense but anywhere else it's just dumb. Occasionally there'd be glitches as well, where the non-Shen characters would just disappear or end up on the opposite side of the screen and would only return after I went back and forth a few times. These were minor annoyances, but it sets the stage for a major one. So, I had just entered a new area and one of the first screens was split by an unsurpassable river. On the other side, a dude could be seen wandering around. Now, most of the areas in LoI consist of a fairly well-connected inner core surrounded by a long single-screen path of coast line. On my way to talk with the obviously important dude, the glitch gremlin decided to have some fun and send the others across the river. No problem though, because I can just cast Ahmed and warp them back to me, right? Well, that would be the cast if they hadn't immediately been attacked, sending me over to their side. The wife even had to poke her cute little head into the man cave and see if I was really pissed or just practicing my impersonation of Goku going Super Saiyan. Oh, and when I finally reached the dude on the second attempt, all the while feverishly trying to keep Sara alive, my reward was this single line of dialogue.
|Welp, looks like I'm going SSJ3.|
I guess I can't blame him too much though, at least he manages to cobble a full sentence together, unlike most of his kin.
|A small sampling of the local waste of sprites.|
Well, since I've got the editor already opened, I might as well do up a monstage now.
|Gotta use up those screenshots somehow.|
Certain townsfolk didn't bother with any pleasantries at all, rather going straight to insulting the heavily armed, battle-scarred veteran of countless conflicts who was, might I remind, trying to awaken their god so that all the killing of townsfolk and whatnot would stop.
|Oh yeah? Well... you-your mom... sh-shut up!|
Awakening Mr. Byrn was easier than I expected. Things starting coming together after we finally got rid of Sara and replaced her with the last companion, Sho. All three of us are melee powerhouses and we each have a theme for our equipment; Loki is heaven, Sho is fire, and I'm earth. Loki had a full set of gear for quite some time and Sho only needed one more item that we couldn't yet afford. I was still stuck without my expected Earth Shield, so I figured I must have missed it for sale in one of the previous towns. I needed to grind for Sho's last item anyway, so I went back and visiting every single town, enduring the screen transitions which didn't get any better now that Loki was in the third slot. I couldn't find it so, fairly annoyed and mildly pissed, I went back to purchase the fire armour aaaannd it was the sword I wanted, not the armour which I already had. I just purchased another fifteen minutes of grinding. Well, at least I could sell the armour back for half price aaaannd the merchant only gave me 800 golds for a suit that cost 30,000 and which I had purchased literally ten seconds ago. The funny thing about rage is that it doesn't matter if it's the game's fault or my own damn fault, the rage remains the same. Okay, so after even more grinding, I was finally ready to head to the final temple, just a few screens away from the last town. On the way, I found the Earth Shield in a cave because of course that's where it is. The final cave was heavy on the maze elements which actually helped a bit as it made it more likely that monsters would spawn in an unreachable area. The guardian to the final boss could not be touched by weapons, but when all three of us brandished our respective themed statue, the guardian disappeared into the ether.
|It spent most of the time trying to blind us, which|
does not prevent brandishing of statues.
With the guardian out of the way, the ultimate confrontation was about to begin. We were fully stocked with a large quantity of the best healing item in the game and ready to beat down the final boss, all of us resplendent in our completed sets of equipment, aaaannd there was no final boss, just Byrn, who's a super computer and the Light of Indra its power source or something. I dunno, it was a lot for our simple, medieval minds to take in.
|What's a spaceship? Also, what's a computer?|
Must admit, I did not see that one coming. Throughout the game, there was never even so much as a hint of any kind of futuristic theme. I suppose credit is due to Byrn for making such a believable world for his simpleton passengers, but it raises all kinds of questions. Does Byrn come from a planet where computer overlords rule over their human slaves? Do they purposefully keep the humans in a relatively primitive mindset so as to better manage them? Is Ibal just another planet being colonized by a superior metal god race, or was Byrn a rebel upset at the treatment of the chattel and so it abducted a bunch and fled into the cosmos to create its own version of utopia for them? Such musings quickly faded as the end credits rolled and revealed that the first one hundred people to finish the game could send in a screenshot to Kemco and get a fantabulous prize, which was hopefully a full refund for this turd. For me, just knowing that I'll never have to play Light of Indra again is reward enough.