Sunday, October 4, 2020

Trials of Mana, Part 7 - Total Carnage

Isabella lets Jessica out of prison only to drag her through the desert as Trials of Mana finally resumes. Their hair colors are coded like Jedi lightsabers.

Jumping right into things here, as the boss of this desert area... the dastardly duo of Bil and Ben, once again pulling their Masa+Mune routine. It's a similar fight to the previous one, though easier in my experience since the party should be a lot better-rounded at this point.

This is their last stand, however, and you never see them again. The first time I played SD3 I was expecting them to last a lot longer in the story than they did. They seem more important than standard goons for some reason.

After that fight, the way is clear to the volcano. Left off with our heroes going after Salamando, the flaming lizard.

This is an atmospheric dungeon with fire pillars and lots and lots of Captain Ducks for some reason. I don't think SoM OR Chrono Trigger have an equivalent area to this, which is kind of cool. SoM's Fire Palace was the closest thing, and also in the desert, but they didn't do as much with it.

Isabella's still dragging Jessica around as a hostage. At this point if Hawkeye is in your group, Neko sneaks out from behind a nearby rock and hits her with a tranquilizer dart. However, if Hawkeye ISN'T in your group...

...he shows up here instead of Neko, saving Jessica from Isabella's vile clutches.

That's cool, he finally did something, while totally stealing the heat of my actual characters.

Hawkeye carries Jessica off to safety. Riesz must be so confused right now.

"All hail! All hail!" she says while holding up an effigy of Toad for some reason.

Once she sods off, we're free to get Salamando. Big fan of this lil' guy. If I had to pick a favorite elemental in SoM...'d be Undine, but a close second is Salamando.

Next up, more turtle-traveling, as I confirm that I can not in fact "land" at a dock. IS TURTLE NOT CONSIDERED A BOAT?

And we get a nice sunset as our heroes arrive at their next destination, Mintas. This leads to the Moon crystal and Luna, and has the biggest leap in equipment stats that we've had access to for a while. Unfortunately you can't go here any earlier, as there's a rock blocking the way until you get the Fire and Ice crystals done.

Mintas: The Freshmaker!

That leads to the forest, which was Kevin's starting zone. There's a lot more to it now.

Most notably, it's full of werewolves. Still reminds me a lot of World of Warcraft.

Goremand is nearby, dining on Sexy Vivi souls. He'll gobble up anybody's soul, good or bad, he gives no F's!

Kevin is STILL ON ABOUT THAT. I'm not trivializing his loss of a pet, I'm saying he should have GOTTEN IT by now that his pet is gone and that these people are LYING.

Goremand is gonna feast on the souls of our heroes, until Beast Master Ludgar shows up. Kevin's greatest rival in the Beastman kingdom, Ludgar is no joke.

Ludgar: No relation to "The Narciss-iss" Lex Luger.

This fight is interesting because Ludgar has all of Kevin's special attacks. Even the ones from various tier-3 classes. Some of them are highly damaging. You could say he's a maxed-out version of Kevin, which makes for a hell of a fight. Not sure you fight "evil versions" of any other characters like this during the game, though Angela has a "mirror image" fight in the postgame now.

It's werewolf versus werewolf! One of the better and more memorable fights in the game. If I were the devs, I would have made this one-on-one.

After we gang up on Ludgar and "beat" him in a totally unfair fight, he grouses about how Kevin is better than him even though he trains so much harder than Kevin does. Not to worry, Lud, he isn't.

Here's Luna, the 7th elemental. She's...some sort of baby now?

And speaking of babies, she turns Ludgar into one so he can do his life over again and make a better go of it this time.

Our heroes are like "whaaaa". This ability of Luna's is never seen again, but it seems like it'd be tremendously useful for redeeming bad guys.

New Ludgar would go on to grow up to be...

…AEW Superstar Jungle Jack Perry, seen here being unsure of what to make of moving cars.

Hey, look, it's Charlotte.

The Elf Town is our next stop, which leads to Dryad. This is Charlotte's home town, so it makes sense that she's around. I like how every character you aren't using still appears in the world in places where it makes sense.

This leads to what is basically the final boss of the first half of the game, Gildervine (now Grapplavine). It's one of the more challenging fights, and like the wall face boss earlier it's made more difficult by the size and scope of the room. In the original SFC version you could see everything that was happening on a single screen, so adds and so forth were easy to keep track of.

It still has a striking resemblance to the Queen Metroid from Metroid II, weirdly enough.

That gets us the 8th and final spirit, Dryad. Though most characters don't get any abilities from Dryad until their tier-3 classes. Same goes for Luna.

Dryad also has this really weird hip-shake going on at all times. I don't know if Dryad is supposed to be sexy or not, because Japan.

Next stop: Oblivisle, location of the portal to Pure Land.

Alas, our heroes are too late, as the bad guys have already arrived and gone through the portal due to their weakening of the Mana Stones. Several games in and I STILL don't understand how Mana Seeds/Stones work, or why the bad guys "unsealing" them is any different from our heroes getting power from them, or what the deal is. Are we just chasing the bad guys around uselessly while they break every seal right before we get there?

Crimson Wizard's flying airship, the Not-Blackbird, looks interesting in this version. Wish we got a better look at it.

This looks like something that'll end up being an endgame dungeon, but it isn't. It never comes into play after this.

Elsewhere, Goremand is prepping the beastmen to invade Pure Land, which means they have to defeat both Crimson Wizard's Sexy Vivi Army AND Isabella's breast-enthralled forces of Nevarl.

King Ferolia just sits around uselessly, approving everything Goremand does and generally contributing nothing. In the original SFC version I always thought it was weird that they didn't get more use out of this guy, at least have him be a boss somewhere.

In this version they DO get some use out of him as a foe, but not until the postgame.

Elsewhere, more scheming is done. These guys are more the "canon" villains of the game if there is such a thing, as agents of Mavolia.

We'll need a way to fly to get to Mana Holy Land (I keep calling it different things, I know) so we summon our turtle once again. Looks like Flammie is located near Riesz's kingdom.

Wait a minute. If you guys had a PET DRAGON roosting on the mountain next door that is completely tame, why didn't you get it to help retake the castle? And I thought not letting men help fight was short-sighted. They could have gone full-on Dracarys on the bad guys. Liza's inability to ask anybody for help is COSTING LIVES.

Celestial Peak is a dungeon that seems like it should be really eventful and memorable, but it ends up being one of the most forgettable locations in the game. This is basically it.

Reach the top of this relatively minor dungeon (it doesn't take long either) and there's surprisingly no boss fight. Gildervine isn't "the final boss of the first half of the game" because it's a big deal, it's just there by default.

Here's Flammie, already massive even as a wee tyke.

Riesz talks to Flammie and she (yes she) just sorta joins the team. I liked SoM's Flammie storyline a lot more; it had some emotional stakes and you literally watched Flammie grow up. Here, you just get her and that's it. Might be the one time in this game where a story feels less fleshed-out than it did in SoM.

Since this post didn't actually have any carnage in it much less total carnage, here are some boss videos:

Lex Ludgar - Noteworthy because he dishes out all of Kevin's later special attacks.

Gildervine - Noteworthy because it looks like a Queen Metroid, and is the default final boss of the first half.

The "second half" will be MUCH quicker than the first, because there isn't much to say about re-traversing areas I've already covered. It's mainly going to have lots and lots of boss fights.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting the way some enemies have your special moves, like the spear wielding bee ladies, they use Riesz's moves.

    Man, I forget how gorgeous this game is.

    Probably better that Flammie is a baby, the full sized version is a Mana Beast.