Day Two: Dam Parrot
So, how does one make their way across a mud river dam?
Well, if you said 'head all the way to the bottom and ask for help from some prospectors' you've probably already played this game. Congratulations on your fantastic taste.
While heading downwards aimlessly, you'll find this door.
|I hate it when sensible workplace practices are enforced.|
I can only assume that the dam was absolutely buzzing with activity before the dragon started acting up, because there's actually a reasonable amount of people still on it. I really like this game for that, it does go to some effort to make the places feel like they're alive and actually functioning areas instead of just giving them the bare minimum of NPCs to make it logical.
One of the guys is scared of the dragon, but he's got nowhere else to go. Poor lamb.
Well, wolf, he's a wolf dude. But still, poor wolf dude.
Right at the bottom of the dam there are a bunch of prospectors, but they're not prospecting for gold, they're prospecting for Aurum.
Well, okay, that is technically gold, but in this game Aurum is the item used to transfer learned skills from one character to another.
For example: Say I wanted to give the Burn skill that Zog had learned to Cray (because there's no point giving it to Nina, she can't combo with herself), I could take the skill away from Zog in the skills menu, but to give it to Cray I'd need to go to the save book in the camp and use a piece of Aurum. Since only one character in the party can have a learned skill at any point, Aurum is a vital piece of party management.
Which leads to far more tactical thinking than 'let's give everyone Firaga to get a good attack stat!!11!!'.
Square, if you remake VIII, make it more like this.
Along with the prospectors there's the boss fellow and this guy:
He's also the one with the key, which makes me rethink the whole 'sensible workplace practices' thing.
Of course, you only get the key after the boss guy explains that the party needs to close the sluice gates, travel to the other side of the river over the dam and use a rather rickety looking lift to get back up.
So, once you have the key, you can head back up and get through the door to turn off the sluice gate. This lets you cross over the gate and further towards the goal of the other side of the river.
After this there's on more sluice gate to close, but this time, it's not quite working correctly. So guess what that means. Yes, another minigame.
|Insert your own dirty joke here.|
It was kind of awkward on a keyboard, but far from impossible.
Apparently something can happen if you make it go fast enough? It hinted at something anyway, but I was waaay too lazy to do that.
With the second sluice closed, you can pass over it and make your way down to the other side of the river.
There's a watchtower there and the guy on top of it is keeping watch for the dragon, if it starts to attack the dam, he's going to ring a bell to alert everyone so they can avoid an untimely and muddy. muddy death.
I dare you to fail to see what's coming.
Push down a plank to act as a bridge, give the key back to the boss dude and the bell starts ringing.
Yeah, this was always going to happen. So you need to leg it to the lift and bash the action button to get the lift down in order to avoid a muddy death.
I kind of panicked and stared at it for a few seconds after I hit the action button for the first time before I got with the programme and managed to get the party to saftey.
So, did the dam workers and prospectors survive?
|Well, I stand corrected.|
Well, that's nice. It's good to have some good news for a change.
Now, it's important to note that after this point, you cannot return to the dam, so any items you miss, you have missed for good.
So be thorough.
After this, the party finds themselves on an idyllic sunset lit cliff top.
They discuss their plans and are interrupted by a dragon.
|A very pretty dragon!|
This dragon is the one who destroyed the dam. When asked if this was the case, the mysterious lady restates the idea that dragons don't attack people.
To be fair, I don't think that this one had any intention to hurt anyone. It comes across as though they wanted to get to the shore to meet with the party and the dam was just in the way.
In many ways, dragons are forces of nature.
But they do sometimes attack humans. We need to accept this.
We need to fight back against this false and dogmatic attitude that dragons are wholly benevolent beings. This Dragon's Dogma must end!
The Creeping Clan lady spouts more cryptic stuff about fate and destiny being intertwined with the dragons' and none of this is really surprising.
Not even when, after the party has left, she says that the party has a dragon with them. Just in case anyone in the audience hasn't managed to work out that the guy who dreams about Fou-Lu and can turn into a dragon, and has the dragon's eye, is actually a dragon.
I don't mean that in a 'god, they think the audience is dumb' way. I think they're just making sure, just in case the player wasn't paying attention, or is incredibly slow on the uptake.
So, now what? what does the party do after they make their way through a mud river dam and meet a dragon?
Head to a village full of traps, of course!
|"Uh, watch out for the bear trap directly behind you. By the way."|
The thing is, he has a trap attached to his front door which prevents the party from going in to search for him inside, his pet is some kind of bee warrior and the only way into his house is to fall down a pit trap made by one of the villagers in order to go through an underground passageway.
And he's not even in there!
|But he's not in, and that's the problem!|
This damn, bloody parrot.
Okay, the problem with this thing is that he knows where the mayor is, but you need to talk him into telling you.
The thing about this is, despite understanding the inexplicable Aussie dialect, I have absolutely no clue how any of the options I'm given are meant to relate to my goal. I'm just baffled by this whole process, and I have experience with both Aussies and interrogating parrots.
|"Objection! Witness is argumentative!"|
Going there doesn't lead us straight to him, however, as he and an associate were laying traps for some monsters who had moved into the forest, and he managed to get himself cornered.
So in order to find him, we need to lay some bait for the monster in question and follow it further into the woods.
Two things about this:
1. You get given one apple for bait, and after that you need to use Ershin's over world ability to get more from a tree.
And 2. This is really awkward at the best of times, and I'm still not totally used to the keyboard controls yet.
So... I'll suffer through this and continue our search for Flynn in Part Eight.