Saturday, March 11, 2023

Live-a-Live Remastered, Pt 8 - Middle Ages


Not sure why it's so tough to finish off particular game serieses lately. Either way, this last chapter of LAL is particularly cool, and the only part of the game that gives us a "traditional" Medieval RPG setting.

We start with a tournament to decide the greatest warrior in the kingdom. The final contestants are Oersted the knight and Streibough the sorcerer. The winner gets to marry the Princess. They're copying Dragon Quest IV!

Streibough and Oersted also happen to be best friends, yet Streibough (hereafter known as Stre, like Dre)'s very first comment is something that alludes to feeling some inferiority complex with Oersted. I guess Oersted is the one who usually wins at everything and Stre is the sidekick best friend.

Usually the sidekick best friend just accepts their lot and props up the hero. In this game... the sidekick best friend strikes back.

The battle is joined! Stre is a very easy opponent for Oersted (who you play as) to dispatch.

With Oersted victorious, the Princess will marry him.

Stre is crushed, but begrudgingly congratulates the ecstatic Oersted.

Princess Alethea speaks like a character from English Folklore.

"Now, you must place your faith in ME to fully consummate our union."

They get to consummating, when...

...demons attack!

Oersted tries to fight them off, but...

...they apprehend Princess Elly and take her away to their dark castle.

Said castle is on a mountain just to the east. Wait, this kingdom had a giant evil castle looming over them like a mile away and they've never like, addressed this issue?

I mean I'm no fan of "pre-emptive war" but I feel this is one of those times when the pre-emptor could make a reasonable case that there's a giant evil castle a mile away from them.

Looks like the "Lord of Dark" was defeated long ago so the evil castle has been unoccupied for a while. Now he's apparently back and re-stocking the castle.

World map for this chapter. Archon's Roost is the evil castle, right next door to the "good" castle. Other than that you've got the RPG tropes here. It's a bit like Evermore's Gothica realm, right down to the twin castles.

The Hero's Rest meanwhile is a snowy mountain. Gets a lot of use in this chapter and the final chapter, which is good because it looks superb.

Finally get to control Oersted and walk acround Lucrece, with one goal: Find the Princess and save her from the Lord of Dark.

The townspeople gather to see our hero off.

Outside the gate, Stre lurks about like a panhandler. He can't well enough let his BEST BUD do this alone, so he joins.

They search the land for clues, braving the snowy mountains. Damn, this area is nice.

An old man in a cabin used to be one of the original Four Heroes who defeated the Lord of Dark, but now he's all haggard and just wants to be left alone. Also his name is Uranus. I hope that isn't going to be a problem for anybody.

Another of the fabled heroes, Haashe, shows up and gives us a pep talk. He's the only one of the Four left who is in fighting shape, and he needs Uranus' help. Since Oersted and Stre are also on the same mission, they decide to form a new Four Heroes.

And with that, off we go. Haashe is super-formidable, maybe the strongest single character in the game outside of the endgame when your characters get super weapons.

First we need to climb a mountain to retrieve Haashe's sword. Yeah, like Chrono Trigger.

Oersted is just sort of a background guy while Haashe reclaims his glory, but whatever, there's no room for egos in the Four Heroes. That's right, Ethan Page is barred from joining.

They climb back down the mountain, and man, this area is SO NICE.

Finally, after a long journey of walking 300 paces east of the castle, we arrive at the dark evil mountain.

The next part is a very long cave dungeon. Nothing to do now but walk.




Wait a minute. Statues of all of Odio's forms are in this room. What does it all mean?

And here's a statue we haven't met...yet. The Lord of Dark, perhaps?

Nope, it's just a statue I guess, here's the Lord of Dark.

A battle commences and it's easily the toughest fight in this game outside of maybe the final boss. If this party did some leveling-up before coming here, it isn't too bad, but if you rush here at minimum level it's rough.

He dishes out devastating AOEs. The key is to keep the two casters out of his way and go all-in with the two fighters.

The fight is won, but Haashe was mortally wounded. These guys aren't spring chickens.

Then they discover that the guy they just fought was just a goon, not the actual Lord of Dark. And we're down our best party member, with the Princess nowhere to be found.

What follows is an escape sequence as parts of the castle begin to collapse around our heroes. Oersted and Uranus BARELY get out alive and Stre has disappeared.

It's a really sad day for the kingdom. not going the way RPG stories typically go.

In the middle of the night, Oersted awakes to see a shadowy demon in the castle. He chases it to the throne room and slays it.

...only to find that the demon was some kind of illusion that tricked him into slaying the King, who was standing nearby. The guards show up and they're PISSED.

Oersted is chased down by the guards and savagely beaten a few times, until I managed to get to the town.

Some people, mostly kids, still believe in Oersted.

Most of the population, however, sees him as a monster now.

Eventually he can't run anymore and turns himself in.

Uranus was also arrested. Just by association with Oersted, I guess. The Four Heroes are totally decimated at this point and the kingdom is in disarray with no one to lead it.

Oersted escapes from jail and heads back to the evil mountain. This time there are a bunch of minibosses to fight and some of them are really nasty.

There's this one plant-patch in the woods where you can pick unlimited healing herbs, which is pretty much a necessity for beating the minibosses. This game has a habit of putting things like this in to give you an advantage, unless you miss them. It's a pretty rudimentary way to balance/tune the game.

More minibosses, until eventually Oersted gets back to the final room.

What the? It's Stre! He's at the Lord of Dark statue, lamenting his lot in life.

He's infuriated at Oersted. Turns out he and the Princess actually had feelings for each other, and he was trying to win the Tournament so they could legally get together, and Oersted had to win and make it all about himself.

...or, you know, he could have told Oersted what the situation was and maybe Oersted would have thrown the fight for him. Or maybe not, but he didn't even give the guy the opportunity.

Stre powers up (seems he has gained some new ones here, somehow).

A battle follows, and even with Stre's "new powers" he's no match for Oersted, who basically has to kill him in self-defense.

The Princess emerges from the shadows and weeps over Stre's corpse. She explains that Stre did everything he could for them to be together, meanwhile Oersted couldn't even adequately protect her from being kidnapped by a gargoyle.

Oersted being a Mute Protagonist during all of this makes it kind of weird, but whatever.

The Princess then OFFS HERSELF with a knife. Mute Oersted is all like "............"

Oersted finally speaks. He's basically like "why is all of this happening, I've just done what I was asked to do and what I thought was the right thing, and yet everyone despises me and everything I do is wrong"

This guy gets shit-on more than any RPG protagonist ever, that's for sure.

...because he isn't the protagonist. He notices that the Lord of Dark's throne is empty and realizes that the Lord of Dark doesn't actually exist right now, it's an idea waiting to be embodied. Or something like that. So he sits in the throne and Becomes Odio.

One chapter left. For this part you need to choose one of the other characters as your main, then go around recruiting the others before taking on Oersted. Definitely the most memorable thing about this game, this twist on the formula. To be continued.

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