Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mystic Ark, Part 5 - Paranoia

Time for part five. This will be the last Mystic Ark post for a while, but I'll pick it up eventually and cover the rest. Sorta like how Breaking Bad season five is split into two half-seasons.

Vince McMahon introduces us to... Ray.


The Children's World is odd. There are no enemies, and you spend a substantial amount of time basically just talking to everyone. Here, I had to figure out how to get this hat down to continue. Yep, these aren't mere sidequests, this is the "main story" right here.

 The broom that I swabbed the deck with so long ago suddenly has a use! Unfortunately, the girl doesn't want a nasty broom touching the hat, so Remeer ends up having to climb the tree anyway.

 Vince gets trapped inside of a pot. Luckily, Remeer is here to save the day. The legendary hero, indeed! What will he do next to save the world from evil? Probably rescue a cat from a tree.
 After hanging around there for a little while, I become bloodthirsty and return to a previous world just to fight something and find out what my new, Light Ark infused weapon does. Turns out that my sword strikes have been turned into lightning bolts and do about twice as much damage as before. Holy shit!

The arks are a bit like the runes in 7th Saga, but different. They don't cast spells; you equip them on people or items. At least, thus far. Maybe later arks will have spell effects. Also, for all I know, the word "rune" in 7th Saga was a mistranslation, and they were meant to be arks.

 Meanwhile, back in the Plant World, it seems that Grape Town has finally sprouted. There isn't much to do here, except...

 ...solving this puzzle gets you an item that you can trade in later for some -really- good armor. Just have to make the picture look right. Shouldn't be much of an iss...

 ...almost got it...almost got it!

 FOOK. The puzzle just keeps getting more and more messed up! I give up for now. Puzzles like this definitely aren't my strong suit.

 At this point I get a bit lost in the Town of Kidz. The exit is a bit hard to find. ...or maybe it's just hard for me to find. I'm not exactly playing at the top of my game these days.

WHOA. The overworld here is actually lush and nice to look at! Finally, a break from the endless drab browns. The music here is particularly serene and enjoyable, and best of all there are no enemies. I'm liking the Children's World so far. Still expect all of the kids to turn out to be body-snatchers or The Thing or something, though. At the very least, I expect that at some point they'll try to sacrifice Remeer while they stand in a circle chanting at an obelisk.

 "Hee hee! The Obelisk requires the blood of many!"


 ...or maybe not. Maybe they're just kids, and this whole thing will turn out to simply be a light-hearted part of the game. Like every other part of the game. That's probably it. This is the most whimsical Dragon Quest game ever.

 This one girl found... a disembodied heart.

 She won't give it up, either. Are we seeing the first signs of the Children of the Corn rising?

Here on the isle of the damned, the only currency left is candy. Wait a minute. Did you just say... Candy Mountain?

Man. This definitely isn't going to end well.

Trust no one.

 There's an odd room in the village of kids. Most of the bookshelves lead to minigames or side-quests, like "bring me a sapphire". It's... sort of a quest hub. This game may well be the most rudimentary MMO-style single-player game ever. Considering it's a console game from 1995, it's a good try if they were going for that type of game.

 An example of the book room's little sub-missions: the coin flip game returns.

This one room is particularly creepy. There's nothing in here. No people, nothing to inspect. Just... dolls. Yeah, moving right along...




A terrified Remeer retires to the local bunk, where he sleeps with both eyes open.


But wait! It seems there's one adult here besides me. It's Celia, and I can't tell if she's supposed to be elderly or the same age as Remeer. Her hair does appear to be gray, but since this is a Japanese game, that just means she's over 25.

 Oh yeah, I'll bet. It's probably where they keep the bodies...

Ah! I see miss serial killer has some moral boundaries! Killing is all well and good as long as no sex things happen, am I right? You're like the American media, Celia!

Seems Remeer needs to go to Candy Mountain to get pieces of candy so that he can bribe the kids into giving him armor and weapons. Oh, and this heart, which he needs to return to the shrine to get the figurine of something... probably to help Celia, who isn't long for this world. At least, that's what I gathered. So before Remeer can save the day, he must be at the mercy of this little girl who wants him to go collect candy off the ground. Your legendary hero, ladies and gentlemen.

Yeahhhhhh! Candy Mountaiiiiiiin! Candy Mountain Chaaaarlie!

 It gets late, and the lights go out in the house of the children. This is it... time for their evil trap to be sprung.




...huh. Seems all the kids are sleeping. Remeer takes a nap of his own, and that's another day in the can.

 The next day... it's time. Time for the journey to CANDY MOUNNNTAIN! It looks like the tall and noble Poo Mountain from Conker's Bad Fur Day.

 Unfortunately, the journey to Candy Mountain is already full of peril. Nan apparently twisted an ankle while walking up to the mountain. Yes, the climb hasn't begun yet. Since this game loves to make you run back and forth to towns, this means we're hoofing it back to the house of kidz. At least the overworld doesn't have any enemies.

 After that, a different group of kids head to Candy Mountain unsupervised, so Remeer has to rush back over there. Again.

WAIT A MINUTE. Monsters? Huh, maybe the kids aren't going to turn out to be malignant hell-spawn after all, and the real foes of this world will be more standard fare. I was paranoid all this time for nothing! Let's do this.

 Seems that to get into Candy Mountain, one must give a password to some stone heads. Woe to you if you didn't read the sign back at the ranch that tells you what it is...

 Inside, the kids are scattered. Seems two of them are inside, and it's up to Remeer to save them. Finally, some action,

 I bust out Miriene for this dungeon. Haven't utilized her yet. She's the sorceress of the game, and the only particularly sexy female in-game. You know, the way the secondary characters in this game have no dialogue and can be summoned out of midair, they kinda remind me of pets in an MMO.

 Miriene shakes her badself as Remeer battles Super Saiyan Chewbaccas. Miriene reminds me of Mara, the dancer in Dragon Quest 4. Same outfit. If only that game were a system later!

 Miriene has quite the spell lineup. Past this, she also has Ice Chain, which hits all enemies for fairly substantial damage. Her forte seems to be spells that hit multiple enemies at this point, but she doesn't have any big attacks for singular bosses. When I think of offensive casters, I usually think of them having big single-target attacks. Enix games generally make them more anti-group, though.

Lux, on the other hand, gets a pretty massive single-target attack at this point. Eats up MP, though.

 I remember these beetle-men from The 7th Saga. Let's see if I can catch one.

Also: Does this damn brown plane for battles ever change? It's ever-present in this game, and gives the entire thing a very brown feel. It isn't the color I would have picked, if every battle had to be one color...

There we go. Took a few tries, but I managed to trap one of them in a pokeball figurine-card thing. Now I've got an up-to-date fighter for the monster arena.

"Whirrrr" says Lux as he vibrates uncontrollably.

Alright, that'll do it for me for the time being. This game certainly has some good aspects. I like the way you can switch your secondary character more or less on the fly. Midway through world three, I feel like I've barely gotten started (there are eight worlds) and I'm curious to know what the other worlds bring. Problem is, it simply isn't interesting. The game continuously lays the same drawn-out fetch quests on you, and never runs out of contrived reasons to send you running back and forth to town to move the plot forward.

I think the biggest issue is that I'm constantly waiting for something to happen, and nothing does. No major villains appear, no real twists happen, nada. Everything in this game seems to be exactly as it appears, and it gets boring. In this latest world, I was really hoping for something shocking to happen, but my hopes were in vain.

Maybe I'm quitting too soon; perhaps it gets dramatically better at some point. Mystic Ark isn't bad, either way. Since I'm on a crusade to gradually play most of the major Super Famicom RPG sequels that we didn't get here, I'll definitely finish the game eventually. Alas, right now my game time is at a premium and I'd prefer to invest it in more interesting games. Leave a comment below if you'd like to see this series continue, and who knows, if the demand is there I might resume it sooner.


  1. Thanks again for the continuing reviews, and please get back to this one soon.

  2. We're going to Candy Mountain! We're going to Candy Mountain!

  3. LoL you soo funny at commetning the 7th ark moments XDD, and I love Miriene~ I duo with her inthe final boss and we Win!! OwO I keep using her everytime ^_^