One aspect of the battle system I overlooked in the manual that’s useful to know — if you have multiple allies around a monster (up to 3) they can all attack at the same time, and the enemy only gets to counterattack the initial attacker. This is very helpful to let weaker characters join a fight. The enemies will also use this technique against you.
Aksu’s party continues towards the cave, stopping at a fortress. Enemies attack and the entire fortress battalion flees, but two remaining archers join the party. The enemy attacking is Prince Serius. I guess I didn’t get any screenshots of this battle but it wasn’t too bad. When we beat Serius, a disembodied voice tells us that he was being controlled by evil powers, and so we just killed the prince who wasn’t acting out of his own will.
This is actually a series of battles in the cave; the first one is the hardest battle I’ve faced yet. 12 gargoyles who have very long movement range and do decent damage. I had to reload a lot and keep repositioning my guys until I survived. Aksu’s Return magic doesn’t work in these fights.
|I believe this is one of my failures
The cave has a bunch of tricks and traps, and you have to find two keys to get through to the final room where the next of the Shittenno is waiting.
|Aksu is pretty great
She was strangely easy, doing only 1 damage to everyone while I beat the tar out of her. Unfortunately, she kills Ris Tis, who can only tell us to find the 4 Jimmu orbs (I mistook these as “god weapons” in the last post) to turn into the sacred sword which can beat Belgas. The first of the orbs is in the Dark Castle.
This ends the cave section and now we’re on to Dark Castle itself.
The castle is similar to the cave, with several intermediate battles and then the boss, who is the next of the Shitenno. He was the one who controlled Prince Serius, and now guards the blue orb, the first of the God orbs.
After the fight we get the typical “castle is crumbling” but we can’t escape, until a dragon rider shows up to save the party.
Not only does Akurus save us, but he also offers to lead us to his home, where the Red Orb is in the care of a dragon.
After the long cave and castle, there’s now an extended section with no battles. First, we travel to a fortress where we actually get some equipment ugprades! It’s disappointing that the previous dungeons have no chests or items, but the fortress gives some weapon and armor upgrades, and some herbs. Of course they can’t spare anyone but in the next town there’s the opportunity to trade a jewel from the fortress to hire a mercenary. You have a choice between 3 (this is why the instruction manual says you can get 24 out of 26 characters in a playthrough). I chose the female warrior.
Next up is the cave. First we reunite with Aselia, who is sad to hear about Ris Tis’ death. She has been summoned here by the dragon Bistors about the Crystoll Temple.
Bistors seems to know who Aks is, calling him the たわむれの落とし子 — I’m not sure what a good translation for that is. Joke child? The dragon thinks that Aks can defeat Balgas if he can gather the 4 orbs and unseal Crystoll Temple, where the orbs will become the Holy Sword — this is something only the Meifu Clan can do, and Aselia is the only one of them left. She isn’t sure how to do this, but they eventually find out that Aks needs to use an item Ris Tis gave him. Aselia heads for Crystoll by herself while Aks looks for the other orbs (and gets the red orb from the dragon). But the cave gets attacked by the 3rd of the Shitenno.
The 4th of the Shitenno has a strong attack, but other than that the battle’s not too tough. The damage in this game is so variable that you can just reset until you get 2-4 damage instead of 18 damage.
Aks’ next goal is across the sea, where he hopes to meet a magician who knows more about the orbs.
Crossing the sea is tough because there’s a ghost ship. Of course it attacks the ship Aks takes. The ship itself has a few battles against skeletons, and then the boss, another Shitenno. He’s not especially difficult.
On the ship we also find out the spirit of Prince Serius is there; sorry for killing you.
On arriving in the new continent, it seems that Aks is a wanted man — everyone there believes that Serius’ evil activity was part of the kingdom’s wishes and that everyone else associated with Saturnia is bad. But somehow Aks immediately convinces him otherwise, and the king of this new place gives us the green orb! Also some new weapons, armor, and companions. How trusting!
This is a long battle on a large map, but it’s just grunts, so no problem. Our force is getting bigger — you can always use your full group!
Next up is Damud cave. This is another long cave with a lot of warp zones and incidental fights against grunts. Once we get through all that, Aks gets taken to a room with the magician Zabra Muba, who reveals a lot of backstory.
It seems that Aks is the child of a human priestess and the evil god, who was accidentally(?) summoned by these villagers. He reminds Aks that if he used his innate power he could crush Balgas without the Sacred Sword, but Aks is determined not to use his father’s power. It turns out that Zabra Muba was a childhood friend of Aks’ mother and escaped the village with her. After Aks was born, his mother returned to their village to warn them about its impending destruction, but it was too late and she was killed (maybe) along with the village. Zabra Muba and Aks were both put into hibernation by “that person” (Aks’ father?) 1000 years ago, and now they’re both back to deal with Balgas. So it’s off to Crystoll Temple.
Along the way we stop at a town to pick up a new party member (an Iron Golem) and then the next fight.
This battle had 1 enemy, which seems like a bug or programming error. There are other areas of the game that I feel are this way also — a few characters gain almost no experience from killing things, for no clear reason I can see. Sometimes you get no stat increases on a level up, particularly at odd-numbered levels.
Next we stop in another fortress, which gets attacked once again; this time you fight the two mercenaries that you didn’t hire back earlier in the game. I also started getting class upgrades here (which seems to happen around level 18-20). I’m not sure what the class upgrades do other than give you some stat boosts.
Then in the next town Aselia is there — she stayed back to warn us that the Shitenno are back with Dark Elf weapons, and the only way we’re going to be able to deal with those is to visit the dwarves in the nearby forest and get their special armor.
So that’s where I am now. Based on a Japanese “let’s play” of this game on Youtube, I’m at about the halfway point in the game.