Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Let's Play: Breath of Fire IV - Part Five

 Part Four


 Day Two: The Chamba of Secrets

 So, what is the inside of the hexed Chamba like?

 By the way, there's a feature in this game that allows you to use a character's abilities in the field. This has been a feature in the series since the beginning. After a certain point in the first game, Nina gains the ability to turn into a giant bird and carry the party around the world map.

 In comparison, Nina flying up to give a bird's eye view of an area isn't as cool, but is still pretty handy.

 On top of being filled with this creepy black mist, the area is swimming with undead enemies.

 Zombies, ghosts, giant skulls who emit poison, the works.

 So, why is the inside of the hexed area like this?

 Well, according to a rumour that the purifiers will tell you, the hex is created by sacrificing a person.

 Considering the undead monstrosities, I can believe it.

 Getting through Chamba isn't such a problem. It's a bit of a maze, but nothing particularly challenging. There are also a handful of chests that are reasonably easy to find.

 So far, so morbid and creepy.

 Once you've made your way to the next part, there's a puzzle. It involves swapping between Nina and Zog and Ershin.



 You can see the delineation between the part with the hex mist and the part without, as Ershin has a protective armour suit, she can safely go into the hex mist without having her soul immediately sucked out.

 So, in order to get Nina and Zog through this section safely, they need to travel across the rooftops, which involves Ershin getting on the box to the left soe that the other two can go over the box on the right.

 You switch between the pair and Ershin by pressing the select button. Which would be fine, but I'm playing on PC with a keyboard (still haven't found that controller yet). So I spent about five minutes going through the settings to see which key that was, failing, staring forlornly at the screen and trying every key on my keyboard bar F9 (because that's how you quit back to the main menu). Eventually, though, I did manage to work out which key it was, turns out that it's F1.

 After mucking around on boxes to get everyone over to the far side of the area (and grab two chests), the group finds a valve.

Capcom doesn't when it comes to this series.
If the two levers are pulled at the same time, the mist will be drained from the area so Nina and Zog can make it through without dying horrible poisonous/magic deaths.

 From here we end up in another rooftops upon a sea of death section and have to carefully make our way across. The problem with this section is that there are spoopy noises that freak Nina the crap out.

 Ershin says that's it's to be expected, because the hex is a person's fear, hatred and anger given form. As long as it's just sounds, they're fine.

 That's how she talks, by the way, she mostly speaks in the third person. Ershin says this, Ershin says that, Ershin thinks... and when asked for confirmation, she always says 'apparently so'. It's really weird and really interesting.

 Shortly after they hear the sounds, they see this majestic beast.

That's... not sounds.
 It's the evil power of the hex given physical form, that wants you dead.

 (Something that Ershin laughs at until Nina asks why she thinks them being killed by a skulfish is so funny.)

 Since it's following them, the group needs to run away, which is shown by Nina and Ershin just legging it and Zog following them while I furipously tap the c key.

 Thankfully, I'm pretty good at bashing buttons constantly in order to get things done in video games at this point, after all, I did beat Twilight Princess and you do have to do some button tapping to beat the final battle in that. (I am much worse at swinging a wiimote rapidly, which is why I had something of a stress breakdown while fighting Girahim for the last time in Skyward Sword.)

 So, with Zog out of harm's way, that's it, right?

 Well, no. This is a video game, have you ever played a video game where they let you out of a dungeon without some kind of boss battle?

 That's what I thought.

 So, unsurprisingly, our skeletal fish friend here leaps from the hex mist once more and attacks.

 This is where my game crashed.

 Not that getting through Chamba is a great challenge to begin with, but it was a little annoying.

 It was also something of a boon, because I'd been horribly overusing Nina's healing spell and forgot that I didn't have any AP restoring items to use on her before the boss battle. So when I got through the second time, I was sure to not do the thing I just told you about.

 So, here we are.

 Fighting the fear, hatred and anger of a sarificed human being given physical form.

 What's the first thing to do?

 Turn into a dragon, of course!

 Just like Fou-Lu, Zog can turn into a dragon. In fact, he couldn't do this prior to Fou-Lu awakening and being able to turn into a dragon.

 I think we can all see that something fishy is going on here.

 (Apart from the boss monster, obviously.)

 There's also one other thing if you're not catching my drift.

Look familiar?

 Fun fact, by the way, the dragon form in this game works by slowly whittling down Zog's AP, and once he runs out, he reverts to normal.

 This is much better than what Breath of Fire II did, which was you lost all of your AP in one big dragon based attack. It was really annoying.

 This is also less OP than the first game was, because there's a limit to how long you can stay in this form.

 On top of regular attacks, he also has a series of attacks that use AP, thus causing you to have to decide what the best use of his AP is.

 One of these, Hwa, is a fire spell that can be used in conjunction with Nina's Sever to create a more powerful version of the Firewind effect gained from using Sever and Burn together.

 It's cool, I like it.

 After the Skulfish is defeated, it twitches as it sinks back into the hex mist and Ershin explains that the malice contained in the hex cannot be so easily dissipated, it will eventually reform.

 Nina feels oddly sad at defeating the skulfish and says that the hex is horrible. Which it totally is.

 In response, Ershin says this:

 Geeze, thanks for the sympathy in this difficult time, Ershin.

 After this enlightening conversation, the group leave Chamba at last and Nina thanks Ershin for helping them.

 Much to her and Zog's surprise, Ershin says that Ershin wishes to accompany Zog on his journey.

 Despite being weirded out by Ershin from the very moment they met her, they don't mind her coming along, and the three head out of Chamba and back to where Cray has been waiting for Nina this whole time.

 Which we'll cover next time, in Part Six.

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