~PORT TOWN OF OCEANIA~
When we last left off, we had defeated Hel in battle and discovered that there were seven more OPARTS we needed to collect that were spread around the world. A quick look at the map provided by Red and Blue’s father suggested that one was located not far from Oceania, so the party heads back to the town. Talking to the villagers doesn’t reveal much of use at this time, but speaking to some sailors near the pier to the south gives us a hint. They go on and on about a being called Gogamba – presumably a creature they revere as the ocean god – and their captain says that according to legend, Gogamba is sealed within a cave to the north of the village, past the forest. This seems to indicate that we ought to go there. Not only does the map say an OPART is there (is it possible that Gogamba is the OPART itself?), but these sailors say that travel by sea will be impossible unless something calms down the waters.
So, it’s off to Herman’s Forest we go!
Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to Herman’s Forest. It seems to just be an intermediary “dungeon” that we have to pass through in order to reach our real destination – Herman’s Cave. The forest is simply one area, yet it is somewhat mazelike in its design. There are a few small treasures and items to pick up that reward exploration, but missing them won’t really be too much of a bummer at this point. Also, the enemies here aren’t all that strong although there is an exception: Hornets and other similar creatures can poison members of the party, and so while their base attack isn’t very high, the residual effects of the poison can quickly lead to death. By now, Rain should have the ability to cure poison (and you should have antidotes), but you want to kill these enemies before they poison you. After all, you want to conserve your SP for the battles ahead.
Once we are sure we’ve gotten everything these woods have to offer, we head north towards Herman’s Cave.
When we enter Herman’s Cave, we find out that the sailors back in town were right: The door that leads into the cave itself is indeed sealed. At first, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way to open it, and the in-game dialogue is also quite unhelpful. They key here turns out to be going into Blue’s inventory and looking at the journal in the rucksack, which mentions the “lovely Angelina” and shouting. This initially doesn’t make any sense, but once you examine it, it seems that you have nothing to lose by simply shouting the words written in the journal. This does, indeed, open the door that leads to the inner caverns.
Who is Angelina, and why does shouting her name open this door? It isn’t clear, and the journal certainly doesn’t say, so for now, we just have to wonder about it and move on.
The first area of the cave is pretty straight forward and we simply need to make our way towards the next door. At first, enemies here seem relatively weak, but this will soon change. There are lots of slime-like enemies that are encountered here, and while they have low HP, they have a pretty decent attack that they can do and, worst of all, they can divide themselves when they want to. So, often when presented with multiple types of enemies, killing the slimes is a good idea because you can quickly get in over your head if they continually divide themselves. The rats in this area also have a very high level of defense and can hit for a high amount of HP. The worst thing about the rats is that their attacks can cause knock-back, which isn’t a pleasant thing.
The big area in the cave is a large lava-filled room with a series of bridges that cross it. While it isn’t really much of a maze, you are offered choices in what direction you want to go. There is a definite path that you need to take to progress through the area, but going down the side-paths will either lead you to an enemy-filled dead-end or possibly a treasure chest. Most of the items in the chests aren’t really worth going out of your way to get, but there are some nice SP-restoring potions you can get if you want (which is recommended as this area, as far as I could tell, does not have a health-restoring station like others have had).
After clearing out the lava area, we make our way to a chamber that contains a save point (Yay!) and a hole that apparently leads down to the floor below. Once we save our progress, the only thing left to do is to jump down and hope for the best…
The room below is crawling with enemies. In fact, this turns out to be a very protracted fight. The usual suspects (slimes and rats) make up the standard enemies here, but there are also jars that produce an “ice bomb” spread throughout the starting area. Apparently, it is possible to lead the slimes and rats near the jars so that they take a ton of damage when the bombs go off, but you also risk you yourself taking damage from the explosion. So, my recommendation to anyone playing this game is to simply use part of a turn to destroy the jars before they go off.
While the volume of enemies here is problematic, the real problem seems to be the massive Minotaur who serves as this area’s boss. The Minotaur moves very slowly, so it isn’t too much of an issue to kill most of the lesser enemies before he gets within range of causing trouble for you. He has two major attacks that he does, both dangerous in their own right. The first thing of note is that he is two spaces wide, so when he goes to attack people that are in front of him he can potentially cause major damage to two of your characters at once. Essentially, he charges into them, causing anywhere from 30 to 55 damage and causing severe knock-back. Yet, if no one is in his immediate range, he can also choose to slam the ground really hard, causing rocks to fall on all characters within a certain radius of him (a rather large radius, actually), dealing 30 to 55 damage to each person hit.
Although I did not die in this fight, I was pretty close to it and got very lucky at the end. Realizing that his ground-pound attack could quickly wipe the party, I had everyone focus on damage-bursting him to take him out as quickly as possible. The saving grace was Red’s attack that slashes an enemy multiple times and the fact that Rain could heal us until she ran out of SP (which is why I was worried near the end).
Finally, though, the Minotaur fell and left us with a Battle Ax that I gave to Red.
Another door ends up blocking our way ahead, yet Rain seems to be able to translate the text. The door talks about tickling Gogamba’s feet, which sounds kind of odd, but what this essentially means is that we need to find a couple of hidden switches in this room. Finding them opens the door, which reveals a crystal that appears to be this area’s OPART.
Is the crystal itself Gogamba? This, too, is not clear, but for now all there is left to do is to pocket this item and make our way through a hidden staircase that opens up and backtrack through the cave, through the forest, and back to town.
~PORT TOWN OF OCEANIA~
Back in town, we see a hole in the wall of the inn that rats run out of. Killing the rats curries favor with the innkeeper and his wife, who offer us a free room for the night. At night, Red wakes up after hearing an ominous calling from outside and after speaking to the others, Ponga jumps up and reveals a ladder that goes to the roof. Rain joins him up there and the two talk for a few moments, Red mentioning that he often climbed up on the roof of their house to get away from his father when he was mad at him and he even talks about his dad beating him up. Rain isn’t sure if he is kidding or not, but says that it sounds awful. She then tells him that she wants him to always like her, but when he asks what she means by this, she says that it isn’t important.
Teenage angst, I guess?
Anyway…A quick walk south the next morning reveals a “new island” that has appeared, but it turns out that this island is, in fact, a whale. The party fights monsters that had congregated on the whale’s back and are surprised to find out that the whale can talk, but for now he tells them to leave him alone.
So, what’s next on their agenda? Will this whale somehow help them cross the vast ocean to the lands beyond the sea, or is there more to do here on this continent first? And what’s the deal with the foghorn in the town…The NPCs talk about the tower it is held in being haunted, yet so far we have yet to find a way in.
Ah well, I guess you will have to stick with me and wait for Part 5 in order to find out!