June 25, 2020

Stardom Warriors - End Game

Being a talent manager involved a lot more than I had originally thought.  Stupid me thought that I'd be booking concerts and studio time, arranging transportation, generating media buzz, giving full body massages, etc.  Oh, I tried to book a flight to somewhere other than New Yorik, but all the tickets were sold out.  I attempted to purchase some scalped plane tickets to Botson, but buddy didn't want cash (even though I had over $100,000 on me).  Instead, he wanted a hot dog from the city of Denber and, since there were no flights going there and no car rental agencies available, the gals and I had to hoof it the entire way.  The "city" of Denber has a whopping three buildings and the citizens... well, let's just say the citizens are a simple folk.

Hey, Denber, I think your dog is broken.

The hot dog cost just under ten grand, which may just have been marked up substantially for us tourist-types, and we walked back to New Yorik to give the dude his soggy dog.  We got the tickets but didn't realize that they were super-saver extra coach and had to parachute out since Botson doesn't have an airport.  That was fine though, as now the Stardom Warriors were on their way to expand their sphere of influence and gain even more loyal fans and followers.  It was during this time that a new game mechanic appeared, as enemies started to direct their insults sometimes to the girls instead of just me.

She's not stupid, you jackass, she's
just a hugemungous heifer.

Ahh... much better.

The insults contributed to their stress levels, making each lady act like a buffer that absorbed the occassional attack but had dire consequences should any of them reach 100%.  At this point, I had managic spells to easily replenish my HP but nothing short of finding a restaurant and shovelling foods into their gaping maws would get the ladies' stress down (just like in real life).  I rather enjoyed this mechanic, not only because it made travelling more difficult and unpredictable, but because finally it wasn't just me berating these airheaded princesses.  Unfortunately for me, I made the mistake of thinking that the more expensive food items reduced their stress by higher amounts but it doesn't matter what item is picked, their stress is always reduced to zero.  Their demand for higher quality foods was actually tied to their current level/popularity, which makes a lot of sense for the talent in this industry.  The punishment for daring to let one of these precious snowflakes eat subpar foods was to go back to the starting agency and have to search the building to find the sulking baby.  There are no encounters of any kind, just empty room after empty room after empty room.  It figures.  I had just given SW a compliment on a game mechanic and then it hit me with this bullshit.  Of course, turbo-boost made this much easier to handle, but I vowed to never let this happen again.  My vow didn't last very long as I wasn't paying close enough attention during a random encounter and one of them got picked on and hit 100%.  After going through the worst mini-game in existence again, we stayed at the hotel as normal, to refresh my HP and MP.  Welp, I guess we gained a level somewhere in there because now the rooms weren't good enough either and so I had to do it again!

Fuck me running, why couldn't
I be killing kobolds instead?

With the devas now in full-blown prima donna mode, I could just buy the most expensive option and focus more on the many quests I had going on.  SW actually has a decent questing system, with many broken up in a non-linear fashion.  A major quest involved acquiring seven different cans of paint (all the colours of the rainbow), which would be combined into magic paint, which would then be given to some lady who would reward each of us with a boat.  It was great to be trudging along, doing the regular exploring and performing in new cities, and getting clues here and there as to the whereabouts of fresh paint.  The quest was viable for about half of the entire game and it felt like quite the accomplishment to finally wrap the whole thing up.

Though I was expecting something with
a mast, not a friggin' coracle.

While hitting up all the new locations, I thought that the cycle would be the same — small, similar looking towns sparsely populated with NPCs who one-line nothing of particular value.  Oh, how wrong I was.  Up until this point, I had thought that Stardom Warriors was just another low-effort and rushed cash-grab of a game.  Several events happened which convinced me that SW was actually a troll in disguise.  The first was when I walked into a new city, expecting to find the same solid yellow or green floor tiles every other place had, but was greeted with this instead.

Caution: do not look directly at above
pic if you value your retinas.

The second was some old lady who decided not to spew off some one-liner but instead told me her whole fucking life story.  It just went on and on and, of course, didn't have any relevant information at all in it.

WHY DO OLD PEOPLE ALWAYS
TELL THIS STORY?!

The last one involved the jackass who combined the rainbow paints and, instead of doing it instantaneously like every other game, wanted to engage in a staring contest while the paints did their magic.  It lasted for around a minute in real-time, during which all button presses and smashes were ignored.

To be fair, I did use this time to self-reflect and
determine WTF AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!

Okay, enough about my gripes, how had the Stardom Warriors been doing up until this point?  Oh, not much — just rockin' the faces off any city they happen to be in!  After acquiring a handful of songs and skits, all the concerts were easy-peasy to take to the max.  All I needed to do as manager was make sure they didn't repeat any song/skit and they'd always score enough points to win over the crowd.  On a personal note, we also engaged in a multi-part quest that brought us to the girls' mother, who had amnesia (runs in the family, I guess).  Seeing a picture of the girls as babies jogged her memory and the family was finally reunited after all these years.

Really?  And here I thought I was looking
at a picture of three CHRISTMAS HAMS!

She also outted Lord Scottish as being a practioner of "Dark Managic" and that only the powers of kindness and good music could stop him.  What a surprise, the creepy guy from the beginning turned out to be the final boss.  We'd deal with him in due time but for now we had all the MacGuffins necessary to be able to hold the CONCERT TO END ALL CONCERTS.

Aww yeah, standing room only, bitches.

In the inevitable confrontation with Lord Scottish afterwards, he completely breaks down and starts talking like a typical, fantasy-based final boss.

Which just made me want to play
a typical, fantasy-based game.

Oh, and he's LARPing as a vampire,
just like all those famous Scottish
vampires you hear about all the time.

After his defeat, the curse that he'd apparently been maintaining was broken and everyone lived happily ever after, just like so many J-Pop idols do, I'm sure.  For Manager Shen, though, I was done with dealing with the phony and exploitive nature of this industry and wandered off into the sunset, looking for a nice dungeon to delve into.