Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mystic Ark, Part 2 - Lighthouse

The cook has gone missing. The question is... are we talking about a food cook, or a Breaking Bad style meth cook? I've been wondering why the cat people are locked in a nonexistent war and why their warships seem to be beached in the middle of the desert. Short answer? They're high out of their minds.

The enemy never seems to be advancing! Is this war entirely in their heads?

 The captain of one of the warships astutely notes that Remeer is not, in fact, a cat. You'd think more of the cat people would have pointed this out by now, since this is apparently a world of cat people.

 This book features the basic fighting arts of the cat people. Also the fighting arts of drunken young women when they catch some 'ho checking out their man. Meow!

 Some rummaging through drawers later, and I find a moon-shaped rock. I take this to the nearby bridge, and...

Alright, stop the presses, I need to shoot for a moment. The first couple of hours of this game... are incredibly boring. I don't know what's happening, or why it's happening. These cat people are ridonkulous. The hero lacks motivation. Everything is the same drab brown color scheme that I'd expect out of a Call of Duty game, not a classic SNES RPG. Perhaps I hyped myself too much on this game, expecting an improved 7th Saga sequel or an up-to-par 1995 RPG along the lines of Chrono Trigger. So far, I'm finding the game to be extremely tedious. However, I may not have given it enough of a chance, and I'm hoping that things improve after I get out of this first world. Sad thing is, given the drabness of the visuals and the complete boredom brought on by the constant fetch quests, I'd be willing to bet that very few people who have played this got that far.

 I place the moon rock in a table, and it causes a gate to open nearby. THIS... is Mystic Ark excitement!

 The next "dungeon", like the others up to this point, is short, boss-less, and provides little challenge. It's full of giant nuts, and - I'm not making this up - if you rub up against them, Remeer is healed.

 Many of them also give you healing items that are nearly as good as potions. Unfortunately, inventory space is already starting to run low. If only there were a way that Remeer could - somehow - get a bigger sack of some sort.

 Remeer returns from the cave with some new herb... and the cat people get all excited. They then take the herb away to plant it and grow their own. I knew these cats were getting high!

 This guy gives Remeer the task of swabbing the deck, as the fetch quests continue. When is our hero going to get to do something... heroic? A little while ago he was a figurine! If a goddess personally saves you from your petrified fate, then there's gotta be a reason for your continued existence besides sweeping the floor for cat people.

 Annnnnd with that done, I wander around a lot as the battle with feeling sleepy begins to take a turn for the worse.

 At this point I found myself referring to a walkthrough way more than I'd like to, as I simply found myself continually needing to know what to do next. I had a similar vagueness issue when playing Romancing Saga 3, another Super Famicom RPG that I'll be covering on this site in the future.

 In any case, a rock-pushing puzzle follows soon after. It's tedious, but uncomplicated.

 My rewards aren't exactly stellar, but it moves the plot along. I'll take it.

 As Remeer traverses yet another cave, here's a returning baddie from 7th Saga. It's just as freaky now as it was then. It reminds me of how engrossing 7th Saga was compared to this game so far.

 Didn't mention this yet - save statues and inns also seem to function as warp points in this game. So it's important to hit every save statue and every inn as you go just to create more options in the menu for Warp Gate. Sorta like Return in a certain other Enix series.

Wait a minute... a save point in a dungeon? Could this mean... the first boss fight is finally imminent?

Remeer tumbles into a pit of sand, right into the first boss. Luckily for all of us, Antlion is ta-


 Remeer dishes out Fire! ...for less damage than his regular attacks do at this point. I was saving it up for a boss fight. Not too sure what the point of it is now... maybe it's more powerful than your attacks when you first get it.

This thing is no Romus, and falls quickly.

 With the first boss easily dispatched, the next mission seems to be to find the cook so that the cat people can get their meth kitchen cafeteria running again. From the sound of things, Walter White was abducted by a winged version of Toad.

"The cook must part with his soul!"

 Here's another thing the game gives little hint on. Turns out that the abducted cook is a figurine back in the starting shrine of the game. Now that the precedent has been set, I take it that all of the figurines there are people who need saving in various worlds. Just like that, Remeer's adventure actually has a point. The game could have started with this to have a far more engrossing introduction, but hey.


 Upon returning the figurine to his proper world, it turns back into a person. He's saved. Now that Remeer has put things right in this world, he should be leaping right about...

 ...huh. He didn't leap. I guess there's more to put right. Ziggy says there's a 90% chance it involves saving the cat people from their latest problem: a giant, invading mole.

 Second boss! This one is considerably more formidable than the first, but still not super difficult. I discover here that the spell Power can be cast repeatedly to incrementally increase Remeer's attack power. After a few casts, he was hitting for 40+ damage, making this fight much quicker.

 Beer? As of high cats weren't bad enough, now we'll have drunk cats? The sooner I get to the next world, the better.

While chasing the Mole King around (that's right, it got away), the two sides of the cat war run into each other. I thought this would lead to some kind of peace as they realized they weren't that different from one another, or perhaps they'd join forces to battle the Mole King. Nope, none of that. They just scowled at each other a lot and retreated to plot their next moves. The Mole King also got away, so he'll probably be back.

 Despite being denied a merciful end to the cat-war storyline, I press onward. Seems that Matoya's Lighthouse is my next stop. If I can get in without being struck by lightning, she can concoct a potion that will tame the Mole King. Then the cat people can use him in battle. But which side of the cat people? And why am I bothering with any of this? AHHHHH

 Matoya is a bit friendlier this time, and invites Remeer to try getting past her demonic assortment of traps. The music in this dungeon is still really good. This game follows the Dragon Quest model of towers being more big-time (and trickier) than run-of-the-mill caves.

The local cat merchants get beefed-up with some new equipment, finally. Weird thing is, the Iron Scimitar is more powerful than the Iron Knife, yet costs half as much. I gotta wonder if weapons have a hidden accuracy modifier. It'd explain the cost of the knife if it had a higher chance to hit.

Regardless, I go with the biggest damage upgrade, the Iron Axe. The neighboring armor shop had some new stuff as well, and getting all of it barely put a dent in my accumulated funds.

 NOW I'm ready for the lighthouse. The enemies here are a massive difficulty jump over all of the caves I've been dealing with. I'd go so far as to say this place is a 7th Saga level difficulty spike. All of a sudden you're outgunned, despite easily mowing down everything in your path minutes before.

 Sets of three enemies are now the norm, but luckily there's a healing fountain in the first room. I take the time to do some grinding, and get Fire Storm. It's basically Fire 2, and it's actually useful because it does significantly more damage than my regular attacks. I'm sure it'll be outpaced before long, though.

It sorta reminds me of Rubicante's Glare attack in FFIV, graphics-wise.

 Among the more sturdy foes here: sexy vampire ladies.

 Hold up! Did I just step into Earthbound?

Come to think of it, did I step into the original Final Fantasy? A witch named Matoya... huh. I bet this is Enix taking a shot at Square. Payback for "Erdrick Sleeps Here".


I thought it was weird that another healing fountain popped up before long, but little did I know that it was poison. On the bright side, this finally gives me a use for the Antidotes I have taking up increasingly-valuable inventory space.

At the top of the tower is Matoya. NOTE: The floor directly in front of her? It's all trapdoors. Squint and you'll see them. If you fall through, you get to re-do THIS ENTIRE DUNGEON.

Why is Remeer going through this again? Oh yeah, to get a potion that can tame the mighty Mole King so that the cats can continue their nonsensical war. This game should be called The 7th Fetch Quest.

 We have fetch quests within fetch quests, as Matoya makes Remeer clean the room before she even talks to the guy.

 Oh boy, here we go... meta fetch-quest incoming. Get ready for this...

Wait a damn minute! That last thing isn't for the potion, it's so you can get drunk! I know what you cat-people are into.

Well, that's it for me for today. I was hoping for a break in the fetch quests, but I basically just got saddled with a quintuple fetch quest. I'd really like it if the game would just give me a challenging dungeon with a boss or two at the end. You know, standard RPG stuff. I don't care about these cat people and I'm not sure what the point of any of this is.

I'll stick with it because I want to see all of this game, but I hope for my sake that it starts giving me a reason to like it. If the next world has some actual color, and I get new characters soon, it'll be a good start. The promise of having some interesting characters on the horizon is keeping me going with it, like a light in the darkness.


  1. All the fetching your hero is doing makes him seem pretty lame. What right do they have to make him swab their sandy deck and demand he do a thorough job after he'd brought them HERB? It's like someone came up with a list of all these things a player could do but didn't think of the logic of it. Or like the game was designed for whiling away time rather than to be awesome.
    That list of things to fetch got funnier as it got longer. The indignity of it all!
    Rubbing against nuts heals someone, eh..
    Reimagining the role of the chef did make this more fun.

  2. Oh, I guess Remeer learns Power instead of Speed. That's pretty neat.