Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Noises in the Night

  With Amber joining the group, new stories begin to unlock.  Porcoline, given a chance, will run Lest all over town to announce that he has a new bucket of slop.  It was slop right?  New quests at the billboard open up more layers to the game’s ever complicating crafting system.  Even so, these quests feel almost like busywork compared to the adventure in the forest.  Lest goes to bed, perhaps dreaming of what tomorrow might bring.

  Late one night, Lest finds his sleep disturbed.  He wakes to confront the noise, but finds it to be coming from Ventuswill’s central chamber, so he thinks “Venti” is responsible for it and decides not to disturb her.  In time, though, he will find that the noise is setting everyone on edge, and they have come to Ventuswill to have something done about it.  Her brilliant plan?  Get the Prince to do it!  Argh!

  The fallen tree due south of Selphia can now be removed by Volkanon, and new combat weapons like the gloves are added to Lest’s inventory.  He takes a mission to go and explore the Water Ruins to the south and east, and barriers remain in place to keep Lest from wandering too far off of the path.  A clear pattern is certainly being set in place, as Doug and Kiel will both drop in to check on Lest’s progress, offering helpful advice and tips to help him go further.

  The Water Ruins will allow Lest to see the path forward early, even if he cannot travel it yet.  The boss causing all of the trouble is directly north of the entrance, but Lest will have to travel the long way around in order to flip two switches, one opposite and in sight of the other.  Once both switches are flipped, the entire temple is open to Lest at any time.  But there is always a catch… the long way around is quite LONG around, and filled with enemies that are far more dangerous than the undisciplined targets populating the Yokmir Forest.

  There are many more summoning portals, each summoning goblin soldiers with a variety of available attacks, from melee to archers.  Fish enemies flip about, using Water rune magic that can knock Lest about while damaging him.  The best part of this is only that their magic is on a rune that Lest can claim and turn back on them, called Water Laser.  Turtle enemies stand out; their shells reduce melee attacks to glancing blows, but they are more vulnerable to magic.  Lest needs to pace himself, and take care, especially of ranged attacks.  Plentiful food and healing items are a must!

  The boss is a different beast altogether, a fast moving horse monster with a penchant to fake dying in order to lure Lest in for the kill.  Hey Ref!  Are you seeing this?  Oh right.  Listed in the wiki online as Thunderbolt, it cavorts about the narrow boss room hurling cutter blades and lighting strikes along the ground.  Hey, that’s not how thunder works!

  Before this fight, I was comparing RF4 unfavorably with both the Sims and Animal Crossing.  This stage recalls strongly Monster Hunter.  Lest cannot use any items while pausing the world around him, he needs to engage an animation that otherwise slows him down.  Thunderbolt is just waiting for these moments to pounce, hurling Lest around the tiny room like a rag doll.  He also resists magic effectively, necessitating the player constantly be on the alert for moments to capitalize and heal, or otherwise set up the next attack.  You may become upset that you cannot find time for Lest’s full combo, but be serious: mobility is more valuable here than combat damage.

  After a few tense moments of smart fighting, Thunderbolt will collapse, for real this time.  After the obligatory, and as cool as ever, explosives go off, a boy materializes in the last place Thunderbolt previously occupied.  Lest shoulders the duty to drag the chump, I mean boy, back to Dr. Jones himself this time, and all sorts of consequences from that decision flow (next time).

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