Friday, January 14, 2011

Secret of Evermore #4 - Green Fields of Harmonium

In the latest installment of Secret of Evermore, our heroes leap down waterfalls and cross lots of fields. Out of the seven Evermore chapters, this is the last one that I'm naming after a place in my vicinity. It's named after Boston Common which is both fieldy and harmonius. Unfortunately the last three chapters won't be posted until later in the month... got a lot going on right now.

 In a seedy back alley, Hulkster finds a pirate.

The pirate sells Hulkster some 'roids. Kids, don't use 'roids to get ahead! But seriously, it's weird that you only get one shot of this formula at a time...

Hope you didn't bother building up that Drain spell you got an hour ago, because here's the upgrade...and it starts at level 1!

Our heroes leap into the massive tunnel that was just created on the edge of Antiqua. At the bottom, they find...

...what the hell? Stewie? "I am free!" he says before sprouting black wings and roaring off.

They also find...well, the lamest dungeon in the game. I spent way too much time lost in this darkened pit of despair back in the day. This time, I had directions, and it turned out the dungeon is only about four rooms long if you don't take a wrong turn into the ENDLESS MAZE OF DOOM.

Here's the boss, Aquagoth. He's a demonic tentacle monster, or something. The Japanese wing of Squaresoft wanted there to be moaning sounds in the background of the fight, but cooler heads prevailed before the final release. Thank God. Just... thank God.

This fight is pretty easy, and considering it follows one of the more irritating dungeons in the game... seems like they could have left this part out of the game entirely and it would have been better off for it.

After the fight, our hero is rescued by a bucket.

Just like the nether-regions of Ann Coulter.

This is Gothica, the third of Evermore's four districts. So what will the dog look like this time?

Why, he's a pink poodle.

 Not just that... he's a prancing fancy lad! See how gaily he romps! Truly he is the dandiest lad of all!

Hulkster: ".............."

The finest of poodles. And on that note...

The fields here are as close as this game gets to Secret of Mana territory in scenery. I love the music here. God, how I love the music here. I can't explain why, but it tugs on my heart.

So beautiful. It sounds like a wind storm in Autumn. Tracks like this are what make me wonder how dark Evermore was originally supposed to be.

Ivor Tower marketplace is like a miniature version of Nobilia Market. Meanwhile, Hot Dog sniffs about for fellow fancy lads, to perhaps enjoy tea with. He's like a young Tony Blair, with better teeth.

Hyuck, if there's one thing I've got in this world, it's a lot of jewels.

That instantly solves my money troubles in this new district. I kinda like the way the game has separate currencies for different areas. It's innovative and probably a first for this genre.

While doing the customary stumbling into the houses of townspeople, our heroes are greeted by... someone who actually lives in the house they stumbled into.

This dude actually calls you out for looting and pillaging, something no other characters in the game (or really, almost any game) ever do. Not bad at all. More games should do this, instead of having the houses of townspeople basically be the equivalent of treasure chests.

He rewards our hero with my favorite attack formula in the game, and the only one I'll really use in this playthrough. It might as well be called "laser beam", because that's what it looks and sounds like. It's high enough tier that it never gets obsoleted, unlike pretty much every attack formula before this. He sells the ingredients for it right here, so I use all that money I have from Antiqua to buy up on them. The spell levels up really quickly, since it can be chained on enemies.

LASER BEAMS! What an awesome formula.

According to timestamps, it took me eight minutes to get it to level 4. Wow, that's no time flat. I could have gone even higher, but I run the risk of overpowering it. With this, not levelling the new weapons I get isn't even a big deal. I've got more range power and versatility now.

"Heeheeheehee" say The Oddities from somewhere. I'm just going to keep walking...

I do some trading in the Ivor Tower marketplace for perfume. Now Hot Dog can smell like a classy dame!

The end result of the trading is this. I didn't realize how good it is and almost didn't bother, but it's simple to get and increases HP by a whopping 45 at this point. That's an increase of over 20%. I don't know if it's a set number or a percentage, but if it's a set number it would have been even better if I'd gotten it back at the market in Nobilia.

"We got creep shows freak shows wicked clowns!" he says.

"You keep your filthy commoner hands off of me!" says Hot Dog.

"Well I never! You'll hear from my lawyers for this!"

Guy: "He can also breathe through his ears. The ladies LOVE him."

Looks like some trouble may be afoot in this creepy, creepy place.

Hulkster wonders what kind of weirdness these people are

Wait a minute, that thing looks familiar.

Through a bizarre series of events, Hot Dog ends up winning a pig race. What kind of heartless pig-racing bastards are these people? Either way, Hulkster wins an audience with the ruler of Gothica. This whole thing is pretty bizarre.

"Phlegm the Fancy? Oh my!" says Hot Dog. "I hear his work is to die for!"

Here she is...Queen Bluegarden. Ruler of Gothica, and nefarious crucible of evil.

"Dear Me! They didn't tell me you were such a...strapping lad!"

"Well ya know somethin' brothers!"

"And well-mannered, too! My loins quiver with anticipation!"

Meanwhile, Pierre the Chef plans to make Fillet o' Pig out of our heroic Hot Dog.

"Well, dog can still work. I'll just tell them it's an Asian dish."

What follows is one of the more annoying parts of the game: the Dog Maze. I really hate this part. It seriously reminds me of the Blackbird section in Chrono Trigger. I hated that part too. It may well have been the only part of CT that I didn't like. As far as Evermore goes, this is right up there with the Aquagoth maze earlier in tedium. You run around in the dark for a little while, basically.

Deep within the maze, our heroic dog finds this old lady. Moments after this picture was taken, he raised his front paws, began to glow, and healed her of her ailments. Then, he lit up a doobie. Old habits die hard!

Moments later, Hot Dog crashes the banquet, cockblocking the feisty queen. Worse still, he proceeds to leap onto the table and pee on the fire-hydrant looking hat the queen is wearing. This is an outrage, indeed!

With that, our heroes get thrown into prison. A bunch of enemies from other districts appear in here, like...

...this GuardBot. Unlike the two in the intro of the game, this thing is ROUGH and hits for triple digit damage. It nearly took out Hulkster before I resorted to staying back and blasting it with Lance spells.

One trip through the sewer later, and we get back into the castle. Hot Dog began to come down from his high during the course of the sewer, and went back to prancing to and fro while complaining about dirtying his knickers.

Of course, they get re-captured. Upon seeing them, Queen Bluegarden licks her lips. WTF.

She's got a mission for us, since we're tough. The mission in question? Go to Ebon Keep. Which is a ways off.

First there's a hedge maze, complete with the awesome, magical field theme. Yep, I love this track.

At the center of the hedge maze is the Chessboard... home of the Footknight. The first official boss in Gothica is pretty damn easy, and easily sniped with spear throws. I gotta say though, this boss is inventive. A foot...knight?

I also gotta give mad props to any games that have a giant chessboard in them. I know Alice in Wonderland did it first. Devil May Cry 3 has a violent chessboard in the final area, complete with killer chess pieces on the attack. Everquest has a huge chessboard deep in Butcherblock Mountains, and said chessboard is home to blood-colored skeletons. An awesome place to hang out around level 8-13. The fact that it's in the middle of such a green, bushy landscape makes me wonder if someone at Sony was channeling Evermore when they made it, but who knows.

Hidden in the Chessboard is a dark, ominous stairway that descends into the depths. Next time on Evermore... The King of the Rats.

Other Evermore Posts 

1 comment:

  1. The Dog Maze actually halted my trek through the game years ago. I didn't get through this part until months later when I saw the strategy guide on sale at the mall.