Sunday, March 2, 2014

Romancing SaGa III #12 - Ocean Palace

As this game grinds to a close, here's a look at the packaging. Gotta say, Super Famicom games win out over Super NES games on packaging. Too bad we didn't get this kind of artistic box-art here in the states.

 Tough decisions are faced, as I put Boston back on the bench and switch Snowman back to the main party. Glad I kept him around, even though he's in the position of weak link. Will I find a strong fifth character before the end?

I have to replace Undine's water magic with wind magic (which makes her far less powerful) but I finally have the proper elemental setup to cast Galaxy.

It bombards the bad guys with... PLANETS.

Does a lot of damage. Here's the kicker, though. Your main character has to be in "commander mode" to use this spell, which means he can't fight. And the two characters not involved in the triple tech go on auto-pilot for that round. All of these limitations pretty much kill the strongest spell right out of the gate.

Green Dragons? No! It's Dragon Quest II all over again!

I should cover that game some time.

It's time to take out the bastardly Maximus, who has hoarded several of the world's most powerful weapons.

Meanwhile, Herman (who sucks, and forces his way into the party after refusing to join earlier when he would have been useful) is needed for this. Uugh.

Herman is the Edge-looking guy. I guess you CAN get him later if you messed up with the Dolphin Statue.

Far from being blind followers, Maximus' churchmembers ask him for proof that Herman is lying about his wickedness. You see, Maximus used to be a pirate called The Jackal, feared for his raping and pillaging.

Maximus flees when exposed, and our heroes chase him through a bunch of hallways. What is this, FFXIII? Hmm, he DID have an emblem on his wrist. My God. He is Fal'Cie.

BOSS FIGHT, as our heroes battle... Ren Wang. Whoever that is. It's over quick.

Maximus escapes to the Divine Tower. It's like the plot from early in the game suddenly got resurrected.

This guy offers to sell a robe that'll disguise Harid so he can get into the tower without paying their exorbitant 10000 G entrance fee. Harid is all "who will buy!" and walks away.

Who will buy indeed, Harid. Who will buy indeed.

Harid is kind of an ass. This is unfortunate for me, and I end up having to pony up TEN THOUSAND G to continue with the game. Luckily, I have that sitting around because I haven't bought anything in a while. If you so much as bought a piece of lint right before this, you'd have to go back out and find more money.

The Divine Tower isn't a million feet tall as legend tells, but it's tall. Really tall. Obnoxiously, boringly tall.

We aren't here to pray, bro.

::Harid and company suddenly draw their weapons, Matrix-style::

Maximus whips out his penis and performs Helicopter Dick in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary. YOU SEE WHO YOU TRUSTED? MAXIMUS IS NO GOOD!

Meanwhile, his draconic minions are flying around the tower roof, and they took out the elevator so we're all stuck in here.

This is just like Die Hard!

His minions attack one-by-one, including this palette swap of the game's first boss.

The tower is ful of crisscrossing stairwells. All things considered, it's one of the cooler areas in the game.

I attempt to leave the tower to go get healed up at an inn, only to discover that I can't get back in without ponying up the full, max, 10000 G again. Seriously.

Good thing I anticipated the game pulling something like this, so I saved before I left the tower. I'll just use a tent, thanks.

One by one, the party gets scattered by Maximus' various traps. Now this is a real villain!

Eventually, Muse falls into a pit, and Harid must go it alone for the confrontation with...

...MAXIMUS. You scoundrel!

The fight starts out one-on-one, but one of my comrades returns every round.

Unfortunately the first to return is that useless loser Herman.

All things considered, this guy wasn't too difficult to beat. It was clear he was meant to be fought earlier.

At this point I get not one, not two, but FOUR super weapons. Too bad three of the four poof into the ether because my inventory was close to full. DIE, GAME! JUST DIE!

By the time I noticed that they weren't in my now-full inventory, I had already rested and saved.

Luckily, I soon learned that poofed items go to the vault. Where is the vault? In the basement of one house in one town. What I really needed for this game was an official guide.

At this point I try to give Herman the boot, but he refuses to leave. Go to hell, Herman!

Maximus? He's dead now.

Next stop is a lush jungle area. I'm really liking the look of this place.

The fire palace is where we're going next.

The jungle is an unforgiving place. It looks like a fusion of a bunch of 90's Squaresoft forests.

I put Herman in the front position and let enemies beat him to death repeatedly. Since his HP is awful, it doesn't take long. Soon, his meager LP run out, killing him and taking him out of my party Candy-style. Yay.

Moving on, here's the Village of Fairies. Far from benevolent, they drug our heroes and rob them.

The fairy I saved during The Greatest Show was supposed to appear here and take me to the Fire Palace. Well, that fairy didn't show up, so I ended up wandering around until I found the palace myself.

Rumor has it that he was busy starring in a movie. Fetching girl in the middle there... kooloo-loompah indeed.

Here's the palace. The Fire Abyss Lord awaits.

Inside is... fire, unsurprisingly. Lots and lots of fire.

This place has awesome music, and a distinct Ocean Palace vibe going on. That'd be from Chrono Trigger, another game I should really post on here.

Tiamat of Final Fantasy fame makes an appearance here as a miniboss, but falls quickly.

Wait a minute... where's Undine?

Somewhere in this palace, Undine disappeared. I'm not sure if I let her LP get low without realizing it and she died, or if she just poofed in the Fire Palace with no explanation. I guess it'd make a little bit of sense since she's anti-fire, but the game could still tell me something.

The harem is no more... just means I'm going to be fighting with four characters instead of five. Undine was so diminished by switching elements from Water to Wind (so I could cast Galaxy, which turned out to be pointless when I learned all the requirements) that she wouldn't have been tremendously useful from here on out anyway. Oh well.

Here's the Fire Gate. And in it... are Sara and some kid. Who is Sara, you ask? One of the starting characters. The really antisocial one who I didn't like. What's she doing here? And who's that kid? ...was there, in fact, an earthly reason to pick Sara as my character at the beginning? Is she directly interwoven with the finale?

No time to discuss this development, because Aunas ROARS in.

This guy looks more badass than his three contemporaries, but is he?

...not really. Harid WHOOPS UP, and I win handily. The main threat here is his 300 point damage shield. Every melee attack against him causes the attacker to sustain a 300-point burn. Because of this, some say that Aunas is the most difficult fight in the game, and that you need Galaxy to win. I didn't find that to be the case. Just back your physical attackers the hell off and let Harid do the damage while keeping him healed. He does the most damage, and keeping one person ahead of damage shield blowback isn't too bad.

Now the random child goes to seal the gate, but Sara pushes him away and does it herself. I hope this random child is actually The Dark Chyld, harbinger of Toad.

"I will soon be birthed! Hooray!"


Regardless, Sara gets eaten (hawr) by the Abyss Gate in the process. Really sad music plays here, and if the game had made me care about anything, I'm sure this would be a touching moment.

Instead, I was like "Who's Sara?"

I wonder how much of this is the translation I played the game on  and how much is me missing story points as I played. The game can't be THIS vague normally, can it?

Our heroes retire to the inn, where they brood somberly. There will be no yuri orgy tonight.

Somewhere, someone is now finding this site by googling "yuri orgy". That guy will be very upset when he sees all of my anti-WoW jokes. Then he'll go back to twinking his PVP rogue. "Those honor points aren't going to earn themselves, MOM."

"Nothing matters anymore!" says Harid. "WHY SARA! WHYYYY!!!"

A fifth gate exists? And we might be able to get Sara back by going there? Thank God. Just... thank God.

Harid sets out again...on a mission. What if Sara doesn't WANT to be saved? What if the Hell Dimension she went to is actually a super-rockin' place? She's going to be pretty upset with Harid.

Before I go, time to run down the ultimate spells for each element, now that I've seen what all of them do:

Moon - Doubles the attack power of one character, but wears off when they take physical damage.

Sun - Absorbs several attacks against one character. Not sure if this could be combined with Moon for uber-OPness.

Earth - Really powerful attack spell. Not as powerful as high-end techs, and spell damage is overrated in this game, making this the worst of the ultimate spells.

Wind - Gives one character unlimited HP and MP for a few turns, so they can wail on the enemy with their strongest attacks.

Fire - Life 3 (ala FFVI). Puts an auto-revive on a character.

Water - Causes the whole party to go first every round. This is the -best- of the lot, because it circumvents the annoyances and randomness of the turn-based system.



  2. That packaging is amazing. Japanese love packaging, no lie.
    "Who will buy!" is perfect negotiating language, no doubt.
    That shot of the dragons flying around the tower is awesome.
    I'm really glad we did get to see this church quest in the end.
    Herman being not-that-cool when you actually get him is a weirdly appropriate metaphor for the way you see older kids you knew changing as you grow up.
    This jungle looks beautiful.
    Never thought I'd see that Teaching Mr. Tingle poster again. But fortunately my life has been long.
    This lake of fire looks a lot more badass than other SNES RPG fire.
    That blue fire? Really great.
    It's charmingly chaotic that you simply lost a character during the game but kept soldiering on.
    Aunas looks excellent, totally worth the wait. Reminds me of FF1 Kary.

  3. herman seemed totally useless and stuck with me, too. but i actually discovered exactly what you're supposed to do: take him with you to defeat the water demon. apparently, he was the legendary pirate black who fought the demon but was curse instead of killed, like many believed.

    once you i defeated him, i noticed herman had black hair, no walking cane, and was now named 'Black' in the menu screen. his LP is way higher and all his stats become much better in his original form. i'm sure there are tons of subquests and mini-events like that which the player has to figure out based on a ridiculously high level of intuition and imagination, or pure blind luck

    1. Wow, I had no idea that Herman could turn into an uber-character. Like I mentioned in this post, a guide would have been a huge help for this game. Everything just seems so random, and you constantly need to do things in "the right order" to have things happen correctly. It isn't really a good look for such an open-world type of game.

    2. To be honest one of the first thing Herman says to you is that he wants to fuck up Forneus so yeah you might be tempted to keep him for Forneus and Boom he becomes Black.