March 05, 2013

Glory of Heracles II - End Game

The path to the second zui (Hatred) led us to an interesting departure from the normal dungeon design.  Instead of having random encounters on all of the floors, a key-based puzzle was laid out.  The three different key types (wood, stone, and gold) open a corresponding door, allowing access to the delicious chests within.  Chests can hold tiny amounts of gold, other keys, or a one-way trip to the bottom level (the only place monsters exist).  Climbing up from the bottom level (which will happen frequently) means everything is reset and the whole process begins anew.  A map detailing which chests contained the necessary keys to progress and which ones contained pit traps would have been handy, but I opted instead to just blunder into previously sprung traps.

50% chance?  I like those odds!

After finding the Hatred zui, we exited the tower and was greeted by our old pal, Hesiodos.  He shows up Homer and helps us yet again by telling us the location of the last zui (Chaos) and that we'll need a ship to get it.  Warping back to my hometown of Nana, we talked to the queen and she generously gave us the use of the only ship in port.  I was wondering when this game was going to pony up some method of controllable transportation.  All members of the party were quite confident in their fighting skills and we were undaunted by the addition of seafood to our battlin' menu.

Abrax is full of... wan??

A short sea voyage saw us arriving in the town of Elm, which had many desirable and expensive equipments.  There was something about the king being sick and needing some life pip thingamabob but we needed golds for shiny things.  The area immediately around Elm held creatures that were heavily laden with the precious metal but it came at a price.  The monsters would occasionally be able to destroy a piece of equipment right off of a character.  There's no repairing the equipment, it's just gone.  Of course, in true Nung form, I was turboing so quickly through the fights that I failed to notice this effect until I was sans four pieces of equipment (worth a total of about 50,000 golds).  Thankfully, Talos's group attack spells were able to defeat the creatures in a single round and the ducats started rolling in after employing said spells.  We quickly purchased (and repurchased) all of our equipment and easily obtained the life pip for the sick king.

Yeah, we got it, just... just give
me a few minutes here, king.

The pip cures the king up instantaneously and he rewards us with a chunk of jade and tells us to get the Chaos zui (as if we weren't going to do that anyway).  That particular zui was held in a lost shrine somewhere in the vast desert nearby.  This dungeon was notable for yet another puzzle within it.  After entering a certain room, the wall closed behind the party and we were trapped; the eight faces on the floor seemed to mock our predicament.  A letter found in a chest informed us that four of the faces were real and four were not.  Stepping on a false face, of course, meant that a pit trap took us to the bottom floor and we would have to blitzkrieg our way back to the room.  Strangely enough, we actually got the correct sequence on our second try.

In yer face, you faces.

In order to obtain the final zui, we had yet another fight with a griffin.  After beating this one, however, we were surprised to find out that this griffin was actually Iris all along!  She gave us some B.S. story about coming to help find the Chaos zui but her ship crashed and then she was turned into a griffin after being attacked by one (as if griffins are lycanthropes).


She dies or teleports or something and we're left trying to figure out how to assemble the zuis into the Chaos Axe and also how to get into heaven.  We revisited the priest who said he had the silk reins and, lo and behold, he had let them be stolen by none other than the villainous Daedalus!  When confronted, Daedalus gives them up easily enough as he is quite inconsolable over the passing on of his son, Icarus, who did not survive his wounds that were previously inflicted.  We tried using the silk reins immediately but was told that it was futile.  Figuring we had to find a special place to summon Pegasus, we set our in boat and found a small island near Nana that seemed to serve no other purpose.  We tried the reins and... success!

The cutest version of the airship so far.

It may be the cutest version but it definitely is not the most user-friendly.  When we land Peggie and enter a town or a dungeon, he buggers off and so we have to retrace our steps: warp to Nana, take boat to the east, debark at the island, and resummon our skittish transportation.  We ended up having to do this approximately twenty times by endgame.  It was only afterwards while FAQing the game up that I learned that I fucked it up as well.  Pegasus can be summoned only on grassland tiles; all my previous attempts happened to not be grasslands.  This somehow convinced me that it could only be done at a special location.  The only defense I can muster on my behalf is that I didn't expect a flying horse to handle like a frigging helicopter.  But I digress.  Heaven was finally accessible to us in all its cloudy glory.  The trip was short as heaven was smaller than most cities and only had a few gods hangin' around (we also talked to Icarus as well — he's fine!).  As promised, Heracles was in da house but fighting with Talos.  Not our Talos, mind you, THE Talos.  This initially caused a little confusion during our very long conversation with Heracles, all while he continued to fight Talos.

♫ Will the real brass Talos please stand
up, please stand up, please stand up? ♪

So we have to go back down to the terrestrial domain to find Hephaestus and have him forge the Chaos Axe for us.  Yay, more running around.  Heph was easy enough to find with Pegasus's help (no battles whilst in flight) and after giving Herc the Chaos Axe, he assured us that this would defeat Talos but he might still need a little help.  We all attacked in unison only to find that Heracles had stopped to tie his shoelaces or something.  The untouchable Talos then proceeded to lay a massive smackdown on the entire crew.

Hercules?  More like Jerkules.

After he stopped to smell the bloody roses or whatever, Herc takes out Talos and the rest of us get resurrected.  Herc joins us and we head off to break the seal of the Dark Lord.  Herc comes with some predictably high stats and some decent equipment.  I took his equipment and gave it to myself as punishment for the dick move he just pulled.  The seal was found and broken and a fight with the Dark Lord, Cronos, ensued.  It wasn't much of fight, however; Abrax started off with a successful casting of the Molsi spell which blocked any spell Cronos tried to cast.

No healing for you!

Of course, this was just the first form of Cronos but he didn't immediately transform into his final form.  Instead, he destroyed the temple we were in and then went off to wreck my hometown of Nana.  We warped there after him to find the queen murdered and replaced with an EvilKing (who was also very beatable).  His defeat revealed a hidden staircase which led to a long path through the Dark Lord's castle, eventually terminating in the classic empty (except for the boss) throne room.  This battle was a lot tougher but again, Abrax managed to seal Cronos's spells right off the bat so it was easier than it could have been.

Herc does his best Joey Lawrence impression.

The castle started to crumble after the death of Cronos and just when it seemed like we would perish there in the ruins, Pegasus swooped down and saved our hides.  Back at my home in Nana, I reunited with my grandmother and she assured me all was right in the world thanks to us.  Suddenly I was visited by Zeus who resurrected Iris — so that we could be together, I guess.  Look, Zeus, I have more attachments to Talos than I do to Iris.  Even more so since I found out, again thanks to the FAQ, that Talos was really a lady statue this whole time.  So, sorry, Iris, but I think my heart could only belong to someone who fought bravely beside me even when the chips were down.  Talos stuck by me through thick and thin; all you did was crash a ship and somehow get poisoned by a griffin.  Come on, Talos, let's go find out how anatomically correct you are.