PHOWA PHOWA PHA! PHOWA PHOWA PHA! PHOWA PHOWA PHA!
The next dungeon has our heroes fighting vampires. As lame as these vampires are, they're still cooler than Twilight vampires. You guys are hundreds of years old and the place you choose to spend your time is an American high school?
Ninja enemies tend to be some of the most overpowered in the game, much like Final Fantasy VI. Soon after this they become exponentially more dangerous than any of the other enemies that occupy the same areas.
Stuff happens with rubies and politics. It's like watching House of Cards, only everyone is blond.
Guy introduces our heroes with heroic nicknames... except Selan.
Yeah man, it's pretty bad. Even Lexis got a cooler name than that, and he fights with a wrench.
We all know what that is. Spill the beans, Leon.
Leon: "YOU! And me!"
Leon: "...and her. Simultaneous!"
While Leon gets busy making half-siblings who aren't twins but mysteriously have the same birthday, our heroes set sail for new horizons.
My God. Do towers in this game serve any helpful purpose for anybody?
I've got some bad news for you, kid. Some cakes...
...just want to watch the world burn.
The next town has more romantic intrigue, as a princess is set up to marry a dickish prince while her true love, a lowly soldier named Hans, looks on. Well, if all else fails they can pull a House of Cards and drag Hans into it. With the princess in the middle there's some leeway!
People in this town sure talk to themselves a lot...
Stop thinking out loud! We can hear you!
Moving on. With this, Lexis can end the streak of Goldberg!
Atop the tower, our heroes sense a disturbance in the force.
The second Sinistral has appeared, and he's much badder than Gades.
He proves this by THROWING GUY INTO A WALL. Why is this game so mean to Guy?
After Amon just sorta...leaves without fighting us, we return to town with the rock that the princess demands of her suitor. The dick-prince immediately grabs it away from Hans and essentially calls him a bitch for not finding something better.
The prince whips out a giant sapphire, yet the princess isn't interested. She wants the ugly little stone, because Hans gave that to her when they were kids.
She then owns Prince Pencildick way worse than Guy got owned a minute ago. Ouch.
"Or it could just be orbital wobble."
...shut up, Highlander: The Source!
The town of Agurio is in ruins, in one of the more depressing scenes of the game.
No one speaks, and the game doesn't mince that they're dead. A lesser game would have dubbed in text responses during this part to make it look like they were all just woozy.
Iris shows up and tells us about Dual Blade, giving us a goal for the remainder of the game. Find Dual Blade, kill Sinistrals.
Somewhere, Dick Cheney is licking his lips.
Next up, Lexis builds us a submarine. Awesome.
Milka (yes, that Milka) is angry that our scientist friends are polluting the planet by dumping ooze into the ocean. Unfortunately for her, the house and senate don't share her concerns.
Oh, here's a big moment: The debut of Artea. The bow-wielding, teleport-casting elf is the fourth and final of the Four Heroes, so the endgame might be near.
Artea quickly gets pulled into the struggles of the group when Amon starts menacing HIS town too.
So...what do the Sinistrals do when they run out of towns to torment? Do they just sorta... hibernate until the people rebuild? Actually, that would explain the "every hundred years" deal.
Artea officially joins the group (heh, "Pounder Rod") and... wait, what the shit? "Arty"? Why the abbreviation? That's like renaming Selan to "Sely". It doesn't make any sense. He isn't even a jovial fun character who might go for that name; on the contrary, he's pretty serious. And his full name already fit within the five letter limit (I know this, because I can't name anyone "Cockburn") so... why?
At this point I get top-tier magic spells. Here I take a moment to unleash hell on those damn overpowered ninjas that have been causing me so much trouble. The top-tier fire spell is a phoenix summon (without the Life effect).
The top ice spell is
SHIVA Ice Valkyrie. How's the view, Guy?
The top thunder spell is a thunder dragon. Thing looks awesome. Speaking of looks, it's odd that Artea seems to default to sword and shield as a look when he's primarily a bow character (at least, lore-wise).
...huh, it just occurred to me after all this time that Artea is probably based on Legolas somewhat. Come to think of it, that's true of pretty much all "elven archer" type characters.
Water spell is another dragon. All of these are quite damaging, especially if the enemy is weak against their element.
And speaking of dragons... I find my third Dragon Egg. No plans to go for all of 'em in this game, though.
Amon is encountered again. This time, he isn't just going to let our heroes go for no reason! Nope!
However, Karyn (the elf he kidnapped from Artea's town) proceeds to battle him. THAT was unexpected.
Unfortunately, she loses and dies. She does manage to send Amon packing, one way or another, so our heroes are spared again.
Artea gives the bad news to Milka. She'll have a big role in Lufia 3, one of the few things I like about that game.
However, since it cut into the future Shaia Lab's yearly profit margin by 2%, they said "fuck it". Good luck trying to get corporate emissions regulation passed in congress, Milka! The powers that be stand firm with the job creators! Enjoy your polluted tap water, sucker!
Meanwhile, our heroes set sail into the ocean. With the new submarine upgrades, I can submerge and find a whole new world of magic and mystery.
There isn't much down here, but seriously... how cool is this? Very very few RPGs take us under the ocean like this. Final Fantasy VII and Breath of Fire come to mind.
After traversing an underwater cave and doing another dungeon, I do battle with...
...this nefarious ghost.
Arty Artea debuts Fry here, the top-tier holy-elemental spell. It does huge damage to this boss. The weird thing is that Artea is the only character who can use this particular spell. His spell power isn't that great (though it is better than Maxim's) and I find myself wishing Selan could use Fry instead.
That boss was a manifestation of hatred towards mankind. Sorta like Odio from Live-a-Live, which I painstakingly covered on here last summer.
What follows is a weird scene where Iris asks for some time alone with Maxim, and Selan gets PISSED about it. Really?
Apparently. My beefs with the characters of this game (well, the main two, and their relationship) have been well-documented already, and I suspect a lot of it can be chalked up to the translation.
Now we'll learn the tale of the time George W. Bush was tricked into thinking he was a vampire.
The most political post in ages! It must be an election month.
Another dungeon follows. 98% of this game is dungeon after dungeon. It's nonstop action. I've complained about games being too story-heavy and not having enough action, especially in the RPG department. This game only takes breaks from the action for a few minutes at a time, enough to give the player a short cooldown time. It's almost too much action, though, and it highlights the lack of variety considering that the dungeons only have a couple of themes. Once you've been through so many towers/caves/shrines/mountains that look the same, the game begins to drag on.
At the end I find Iris... and SHOOT HER. HAW HAW!
She no-sells a flaming arrow, and sends our heroes into the mirror room to confront their true feelings. They solve their trust issues and stuff by realizing how dumb
Selan is being they are being.
The mirror also gets broken somewhere in there, leading to bad luck for our heroes. Good thing they have no need for luck. They're the leading couple, and plot armor ensures that nothing will ever happen to them. Suck it, Sinistrals!
After everyone leaves, Iris goes and repairs the mirror. I sense a revelation coming on...
...EGAD! Iris was the blue-haired woman talking to Arek at the beginning of the game?
TO BE CONTINUED.