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ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Welcome back, everyone! Today we're going to start a new LP of a classic SNES RPG that a number of people probably haven't heard of:



Arcana is a fairly early SNES RPG that's a bit different from the standard RPGs based on the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest line. It's well known for having excellent music (which is in MIDI form and not easily available), a unique aesthetic, and a surprisingly high difficulty level. You lose if any of your human characters die, there's no forewarning of bosses, you can only save in town, you get only 42 item slots (no item stacking!), and you can't go back to old dungeons to level up. It's not well known for it's dialogue, however, so I'm going to be playing fast and loose with that for my own amusement.



Arcana is played from a first person dungeon-crawling perspective, with all characters represented by cards. It's a menu driven game, with a maximum party size of four that is comprised of up to two characters and one elemental spirit. Most of the commands are pretty self explanatory, and it's a very straightforward game to play.

What Has Gone Before




There were differences between the kingdoms, but if you read the history of the land you can see that they were treated as minor matters by the people of these kingdoms. But in times these seemingly minor disputes spilled over and became as a storm over the land.



This continued on for many years. The cities were turned to ruins, and the countryside was laid to waste.




Their whereabouts are still unknown. Ten years have passed since this event.



His parents had long ago passed on to the next world.



led the townspeople out of the village into the woods to await reinforcements. In the meantime, a friend of Rooks' father betrayed the survivors, leading to the unfortunate demise of Rooks' parents. Taking the final magic card left to him by his parents…



Will we find out what happened to the King's daughters? Will Rooks get a chance to settle matters with the person who betrayed his parents? Oh, who am I kidding? But of course, the fun is in the journey. Strap in, and enjoy the ride.

Table of Contents

Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5
Update 6
Update 7
Update 8
Update 9
Update 10
Update 11
Update 12
Update 13
Update 14
Epilogue

Arcana Extras

ddegenha fucked around with this message at Jul 7, 2014 around 05:14

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ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Update 1



Our story begins in the tiny village of Galia, where our hero Rooks has spent the past decade living in obscurity.



"What? Who's there? And… uh.. thanks? Wait, is that Ariel?"



"Yeah, when you put it like that it's kind of amazing that either of us could recognize the other."

"What happened? Have you been avoiding me? Didn't our fathers fight together as Knights of Lexford?"

"Yeah, kind of been living as a poor war orphan since then. I didn't have much room to go around looking up old acquaintances."



"I have a different opinion from my father."

"On second thought, let's not talk about how your dad's best buddy was responsible for my parents dying. Who's this girl with you?"



"Wait, you get to have apprentices? This is bullshit!"



"It's not helping you move, is it? I haven't ever done that, but I've heard stories."

"It's not just a coincidence that we met today. Are you aware that dark spirits have arisen in Lexford?"

"Er…yes?"



"There is chaos at the temple in Balnia. It would seem that they are being summoned there."

"Then we've got to close that passageway. Wait, I said we, but…"



"I'll see what I can do."



"I wish I could join you, but my destiny leads me elsewhere."

"Isn't that convenient."

"Please take Teefa with you."

"Okay, my previous complaint is withdrawn."



"You're not selling yourself here. If I walk out that gate and look north I can see the drat place. I just hope you're useful. Can you heal? Use magic? Fight?"

"I..uh…no."

"Fine. Whatever, at least maybe something'll be too busy chewing on your leg to attack me."

"I'll leave it up to you, Rooks… uh… Card Master…"

"You owe me for this one, just so you know. I'll let you know how much after I finish."



And with that, we're able to actually start playing. Rooks is accompanied by the summoned spirit Sylph, who acts as an auxiliary party member. Contrary to what I had to say about her, Teefa actually starts out with slightly higher stats than Rooks. This won't be the case for long. She also needs a bit more EXP to get her first level.



"Okay, first stop is the tavern. After that I need a drink."



"Or not. 5GP? That's highway robbery!"

"Er… it seems pretty cheap to me?"

"We don't have any highways here, sir."

"I stand by my statement."

"You look fit. Are you in battle training?"

"…leaving now."



"Okay, we don't NEED a drink, but we need armor and weapons. So…"




"Argh! Why is everything so expensive!"

"Wait, how broke are you? What kind of bum did Ariel stick me with?"

"Fine, a short sword and some soft leather for me and a whip for the girl."

"I don't even get armor?"

"What can I say? Money's tight."

"…I hate you."



"Why are we standing out front of a fortune teller's tent?"

"More supplies. Trust me, Card Master business."

"If I had armor I'd trust you more."

"Hey, don't blame me. Blame Ariel. You're his apprentice but he didn't bother to get you any armor."



"I can use these to perform elemental magic attacks without the trouble of actually learning spells."

"Because actually learning something would be too complicated?"

"Okay princess, remember who's tagging along with who."

"I am NOT a princess!"

"Could have fooled me."



"Next up, the humble village inn."

"Are you kidding me? I can practically see the roaches crawling out of the walls."



"Don't worry about it. It's 30 GP for a room, and we don't have that now. But when we need it, you'll be grateful all the same."

"In your dreams."

"Let's just go to that temple so you can start distracting some monsters for me."



Movement in Arcana is utterly linear. From a town you can go to one and only one destination. This time, it's the Temple of Balnia.



"Nice decor. Can see that they really splurged on building materials."

"Do the priests here come in your house and make fun of where you live?"

"Aww, that's so sweet that you assume I have a house. War orphan, remember?"



One of the neatest features of Arcana is that you actually have an auto-map. It's not that detailed, but it'll at least tell you where you've been. You also can't scroll it, but for the time I'll take what I can get.



"A stray dog and some kind of animate sludge? Are we talking about evil spirits or just poor housekeeping?"

"You're acting like the two things are unrelated. Obviously one caused the other… I'm just not sure which."



"Well, I'm practically lost. Would it kill them to put up some signs?"

"Considering the reason we're here… yes."



"…are dogs supposed to be that shade of green?"

"I'd ask the nice thug with them, but he's come down with a case of dead. Also, probably not."

Twenty minutes or so into the game, we've got our first palette swap. This bodes well.



Shortly after we get our first level. Levels are fixed in the game, so there's no variation in stat gains. It's just a matter of stacking more HP and stats on top of what we already have.



"Dibs."

"Dibs? It's a sleeping bag! It should go to whoever needs it most! And… well… it looks like you could fit two people in there…"

"As long as you're not Ariel's girlfriend or little sister… actually, wait, he dumped this job on me and didn't bother to buy you equipment. I don't care if you are his girlfriend or his little sister."

"Not if you were the last man on earth and I was freezing to death."

"We'll see about that!"




"Rooks! Rooks! I can heal now! I'm useful!"

"How many times?"

"Um… once? Maybe twice?"

"Better than nothing. Okay, if I see something chewing on your leg now I'll actually pry it off."

"I'm overwhelmed by your regard."



As a note, Sylph and other elemental cards don't gain levels as such. Instead, their stats grow as Rooks gains levels.



Coming around a corner we find our first boss type enemy, a mini boss guarding the area that houses the stairs out of this area.

"Good news! I don't think that this guy has any teeth."

"That's not making me feel any better."



"Hey Teefa, I think I figured out that healing magic you used… and I can do it better than you."

"…can we just finish this, so I never have to see you again?"



"Oh, look! Stairs! The source of the problem has to be upstairs!"

"Shhh! There's still looting to be done down here. Nobody's paying me for this, so I have to pay myself."

"Don't you mean WE have to pay OURselves?"

"No."



"You're not the only one who had that idea."

"Don't worry, by the time we're done I will be."



"Much better. That's about 100 drinks, right there."

"Or some armor for me."

"We could do that too, I guess. What if I bought you some of those drinks instead?"

"…I'll take the armor, thanks."



It's entirely possible to get ambushed while wandering around in dungeons. The yikes is particularly amusing. This means that they get a free round of attacks on us, but nothing more than that.



"Goblins… wait, do they count as evil spirits?"

"Nah, just opportunists showing up for free goodies."




"Like these herbs and this flask. This is my kind of temple."

"Wait, I think that's incense and holy wine."

"And buzzkills like you are the reason I'm drinking and smoking them."

For the curious, Herbs restore HP and a Silver Flask restores MP.

"Okay, one trip back to town and then we'll actually seal that portal."

"Finally!"

"After we stay the night at the inn."

"…please no."



Naturally, this is accompanied by an equipment upgrade. You can actually trade in your old goods as part of the payment for new equipment, which is a bit of a time saver.

And no, Teefa doesn't get that new armor.



And with that, our stats before tackling the second floor. Next time, the end of Chapter 1!

Tuxedo Ted
Apr 23, 2007




Grimey Drawer

I remember renting this as a kid, or borrowing it from a friend. I never got past the first dungeon. Maybe now I can see what the game is all about. Looking forward to this.

Geop
Oct 26, 2007



Man, I loved this game so much. If memory serves there was a sequel on the Dreamcast or something, but it never came to the west

Yapping Eevee
Nov 12, 2011

STAND TOGETHER.
FIGHT WITH HONOR.
RESTORE BALANCE.

Eevees play for free.


Soiled Meat

Ah, I remember this game from the days before I knew of Something Awful, when HCBailly covered it as one of his first VLPs and later revisited it for a better set of videos. (They were still pretty bad.)

The animation on the monster cards is pretty great sometimes. It's really pretty nifty for a simple dungeon crawler, minimap and all.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Well this is fun. Bookmarking for later updates.

PotatoManJack
Nov 9, 2009


I remember playing this and wishing they had done more with the cards system, because I was a kid and card games like MtG were all the rage.

Loved your FFL LP, so will definitely follow this!

Sloober
Apr 1, 2011


Geop posted:

Man, I loved this game so much. If memory serves there was a sequel on the Dreamcast or something, but it never came to the west

Card of destiny or something I think.

This was a pretty fun game although one of the later dungeons is honestly just one giant rear end slog which is where I routinely quit whenever I fire up the game nowadays.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Yeah, Rooks just busting out Heal 2 is kind of hilarious.

Rockopolis
Dec 21, 2012

I MAKE FUN OF QUEER STORYGAMES BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH MY LIFE THAN MAKE OTHER PEOPLE CRY

I can't understand these kinds of games, and not getting it bugs me almost as much as me being weird


I think I read about this in Nintendo Power once. I think they closed their guide with you feel a sting. It's an omen of things to come; a stab in the back.

TKMobile
Apr 30, 2009


This was one of those games I'd read about in Nintendo Power and later day dream about playing opposed to buying and or finding it for rent elsewhere...Kinda did that more than a few times, actually...

*cough* Anyway, already enjoying this play through; hope to see more swords and sarcasm from the protagonist.

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Update 2



"Hey, looks like we missed one!"

"…don't you feel bad about the fact that this money belongs to the temple?"

"First off, it doesn't belong to them anymore. Second, if they were doing their job then we wouldn't be here so it's kind of their own fault."



Spirits pick up additional abilities as Rooks levels up. Lightning hits all enemy targets for damage that varies based on their element. Air is strong against Earth, weak against Fire, and does average damage to Air and Water.




"Is it me, or have these guys gotten a little bit stronger now that we're upstairs?"

"I don't think it's you. Also, they have a dinosaur infestation."

"That's what happens when you leave… crumbs? Plants? What the hell attracts dinosaurs?"



"Maybe jellies? Do dinosaurs eat jelly?"

"I think that you're looking too far into this. If they're summoned spirits and monsters, they're not part of a natural order."




While wandering around gaining levels we continue to pick up spells. Teefa gets Attribute spells, which are elemental attacks. Attribute is a strange name to use, though, and I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to mean.



"You're probably right about no natural order. A lizard man, a jelly, and a hound walking into a bar sounds like the beginning of a bad joke."

"You would be the expert on those."



"Jewelry?"

"A teleportation ring to get out of here once we're done. Hopefully it'll carry two of us."



Nearby there's also another Sleeping Bag, Silver Flask, Herbs, and various amounts of GP. Basically every little alcove in this section has a chest of some description inside of it.



"Whoa! Where did this guy come from?"

"I think it's the inner guardian of the temple… we must be getting close."

"If you know that much about this thing, how are we supposed to beat it?"

"Nope. Things like that are why we have Card Masters."



"Fine! Sylph, grant us the power of wind!"

"Okay…that was honestly more than I expected."

"Your master came to me for a reason. Now, an impairment on its attacking ability… and we just pound it into oblivion."

"Truly, I feel like I'm witnessing one of the great tactical minds of the age."



"That's strange, there's nothing here that could sting you."

"I'm imagining things… we've been in here for a long time."



"Wait, you recognize us? Who are you?"

"Are you with Galneon?"

"Uh… wait, aren't you?"



"…Teefa?"




"Lightning magic? When the hell did you learn that?!"



"Wait a minute! For people controlling evil spirits, they went down awfully easily...what is it about this sword?"

"I came here to win this sword."

"Oh, gently caress me."



"You'v been here the whole time, haven't you? What do you mean?"

"I know how to control Rimsala, the Evil Empress!"

"Uh... Rimsala who?"



"Unless someone comes forth to defeat them, the conflict will never end. We want to create a peaceful land where people of all countries can live together in peace."

"With you so far…"



"We'll have to sway our people toward that end, so we're going to need this sword to control Rimsala."

"And just like that, you took a left turn into Crazy Town."



"Oh, you knew about that? Well, that saves me some awkward explanations. So, Rooks, can we count on your help?"

"Let me answer your question with a question. Was there some part about the phrase 'left turn into Crazy Town' that was confusing to you?"



"You would let down a childhood friend…?! It's because you're a Card Master..."

"No, it's because you're a lunatic! And… uh… yeah, also because I'm a Card Master."

"3…2…1…"



"That would be the poison taking effect from when I stabbed you before we stepped in here."

"You… bitch… GLAD I didn't… buy you armor…"

"Now, now, save your strength. Wouldn't do to get your heart rate up now would it?"



"And that takes care of the last thing keeping us from beating you senseless."

"I'm going to enjoy this."



"Never…"

"It's dangerous!"




"An obstacle has entered the picture… we'll meet again… if you live."

"I wish… you'd just… needed help moving…"

Character Updates



And with that we fade to black and reach the end of Chapter 1. These stat summaries are from the beginning of Chapter 2, so there's a little preview of our next party member included. Next time: Rooks is, unsurprisingly, not dead.

ddegenha fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2014 around 04:35

Tuxedo Ted
Apr 23, 2007




Grimey Drawer

Huh, that was a twist I wasn't expecting from such an early SNES RPG. Kinda wish I managed to get through the first dungeon now, this is looking pretty interesting.

Demicol
Nov 8, 2009



I remember trying this a few times. I think you could get trough any dungeon by hugging the left wall so I just did that. I didn't get very far.

Bellmaker
Oct 18, 2008

Chapter DOOF


Awfully early for a face-heel turn

Surprised I never heard of this, played a bunch of Shining in the Darkness and the like.

TKMobile
Apr 30, 2009


So wait, does Sylph/the other summon spirits not count as a character death/Game Over then if they get ganked, or was that all part of the Plot Happens, Everyone Dies situation?

Also...I'm assuming that sword is important. It's in the logo after all.

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


TKMobile posted:

So wait, does Sylph/the other summon spirits not count as a character death/Game Over then if they get ganked, or was that all part of the Plot Happens, Everyone Dies situation?

Also...I'm assuming that sword is important. It's in the logo after all.

Spirits do indeed not count... they're just cards, and can be repaired if they're destroyed. Humans are irreplaceable, and the plot evidently requires everybody.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Huh. Can you actually buy Teefa equipment? I imagine all of hers is gone forever now anyway.

Sloober
Apr 1, 2011


Glazius posted:

Huh. Can you actually buy Teefa equipment? I imagine all of hers is gone forever now anyway.

You can buy her stuff. I don't remember if she takes it with her though, but it really isn't a big deal since with every chapter there is a big bump in power so it's already outdated as all hell.

Crystalgate
Dec 26, 2012


You can buy Teefa equipment and it will not be gone when she leaves. Most RPGs move equipped items from the inventory to a specific character slot. In this game however, it stays in the inventory and instead the game just puts the name of the character who wears it to the left of the equipment name. You can see it in one of the screen-shots.

Invenerable
Aug 7, 2005


Oh, man! I've been waiting for someone to do an LP of this since browsing the archive and seeing that it was basically the only one from my childhood absent. Even more excited to see it's ddegenha doing it.

Current three memories regarding things we've seen so far:
1) You can unsummon Sylph to avoid having to get her healed next chapter. Ariel always 1-shots her there.
2) One issue of Nintendo Power had a huge fold-out. One side was a poster for some other game, and the reverse was EVERY map to this game.
3) My first time through the game, I didn't realize how to equip weapons and armor. I just bought them. It took FOREVER to get through the first dungeon. I eventually used a built-in button code to start at a later chapter, and realized my error upon looking at the equip screen. Made replays more than a bit easier.

Keldulas
Mar 18, 2009


Due to the way that the game codes inventory, all items are yours, there's no character inventories at all.

This is slightly problematic at certain points just because of the fact that no one ever joins your party with equipment.

Raitzeno
Nov 24, 2007

What? It seemed like
a good idea at the time.



I don't think I ever even heard of this game before this, but your dialogue is great as usual. I'll be watching.

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Update 3




"Why does everything taste like almonds?"

"You've awakened!"

"Where am I? Who are you? Where are my clothes? And… why's there a whip here?"

"I'm Salah, this is my house, your clothes are still on you, and the whip… well, you had that when Axs dragged you in here. I can't explain that one."



"And come to think of it, you look kind of familiar…"

"She is Princess Salah, the daughter of the slain King Wagnall."

"You… oh. Umm… I can explain…"

"You look like you've recovered nicely. I guess Cardmasters are as tough as ever."

"What's going on? I'm completely lost."



"Sure. It happened ten years ago, when Galneon started the rebellion. The late King entrusted me with the care of his daughter Salah. Since that day I've sworn to overthrow Galneon and restore the King to his rightful throne."

"…King? Don't you mean Queen?"

"Hell if I know how your human titles work. Anyway, Galneon sold out to the evil side."



"That's why he captured the Crystal Sword. We must prevent the reforming of the Evil Empress at all costs."

"Sounds like a plan. Do I get to punch Ariel's face in if I help?"



"Er… kind of? Just Sylph and the minor elemental cards, really. It's a gift passed down from my father."

"In this country the only one who could use the cards was Zahan, but he's deceased now. Are you Zahan's son?"



"I take that as a yes. Your father and I were in the same fighting unit."

"So you were one of the Knights of Lexford?"

"That's right. Your father and I, and Ariel's father…"

"Like father like son, apparently."



"Wait, you mean you don't know? I guess we could ask Reinoll…"



"The hell is Reinoll?"

"A sage my father knew. I'll go and find him."

"Wait, I'll go with you."

"Is that a good idea? It's not going to safe."



"I have no choice. Rooks, I commit the princess to you."

"Hey, you're her guardian… you absolutely have a choice? C'mon, what am I supposed to do with a princess?"

"I just committed her to you, so… not my problem. I'll be counting on you."

"Fine. Okay, if I buy you armor will you promise not to stab me in the back?"

"Yay! Uh… sure, that sounds like a fair trade."

"Good. Just remember, you promised."




Our new party member starts a few levels below us, and has a selection of spells that gives her a pretty good spread against most enemy types. People have mentioned before, but as a consequence of the way the game's inventory works they really can't give you companions who come with their own equipment. The flip side is that you always get equipment back when people leave, so we don't have to buy Salah a weapon.



"Sylph… uh.. Sylph might be a bit irritated with me."

"Does she have a temper?"

"Not usually, but I've never actually managed to get her card torn before."

"No you haven't, you jerk! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"This might take a while… do you mind?"

"Far be it for me to interfere in a 'special' relationship."

"That's right! It's a relationship you couldn't possibly understand!"

"It's not…okay, in some ways… listen, it's a Cardmaster thing, okay?"

"I'll just meet you at the weapon shack."



"All better?"

"Except for my dignity. Now, let's see what they have…"



If you look at the bottom of the screen the letters show who can use what equipment. They're fairly self explanatory… we've actually met four of our five possible party members already.

"Okay, chain mail for you! This fulfills our promise."

"You know that I wasn't planning on stabbing you in the back, right?"

"I feel better with a guarantee. And with a visit to the bar."



"What kind of rumors are you talking about?"

"People say that those who dare to go into the Forest of Doubt never come back."

"I don't see how that helps your business.."

"Bartenders are a little bit odd by nature. Don't let it bother you… uh… especially since we're going to the Forest of Doubt."

"If we don't come back, I'm going to haunt you for all eternity."

"It'll be fine, I promise."



Scale is difficult to determine, but we're not actually that far from where we started. The map on this game isn't actually very big… you can see most of the areas we'll be visiting from here.



"It's been a long time since I've been this way… it probably hasn't improved since monsters started showing up."

"The kingdom has gone downhill since Galneon usurped the throne. We've got to put things right."

"As long as we kick all the right asses, it should work out in the end."



"Those bees are enormous! Are those…?"

"Yeah, those aren't normal."

"This is absolutely insane!"



"Here, have a drink. I find it helps."

"If your advice is always this good, I might just knight you and keep you as one of my advisors."

"Save it until we actually succeed. But… thanks."



"Hey, if getting you a drink means I get to be a knight what do I get for saving you from a dinosaur?"

"Not getting haunted for all eternity. We talked about this already."



"…did this honey come from those giant bees?"

"Mmmmph! Delicious!"

"On second thought, I don't think I want to know."

Honey items permanently increase the listed stat of a character. Since Rooks is our only permanent character, he's the natural recipient.



"Well, it's obviously some kind of giant princess eating monster that's not being very stealthy."

"Very funny… no, I think it's a human voice…"



"Oh, is that it? He should be fine. There's only two of them."

"Rooks, you jerk! You don't just stand and watch people get attacked by monsters!"

"I do if they don't need any help. You don't need any help, do you?"

"No thanks. This is the last attack."



"Now, I hate to say I told you so…"

"That's the same thing as actually saying you told me so. You're insufferable when you're right."




"Yeah, not gonna happen. We've got business through this pass."

"Keep your eyes open. Let's go on."



"Actually, on second thought you go on ahead… we'll catch up."

"Could you make up your mind? I'm not waiting up for you."



"This… isn't going so well… why did we turn back?"

"If it's this bad just going back the way we came, it would have been worse going forward."



"Why are we staying at an inn when I have a house in town?"

"I have no good answer to that question. Force of habit?"

"Is this some kind of weird Cardmaster thing?"

"Sure, we can go with that."

Character Updates



A couple of levels under our belt, and some new equipment for everybody helps out considerably. There's no reason not to go back and get some rest after a new event, and it's usually much quicker to go back through an area the second time. Backtracking isn't an option, so you have to take every opportunity to gain necessary levels. Next update: the Forest of Doubt and a new party member.

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

End Session?


Woo, I binged read your last LP in the archives. So this is a treat to be on board a new one from the start!

Crystalgate
Dec 26, 2012


What does the stats actually do? Attack and defend are self explanatory and I think alertness affects turn order. That leaves strength, endurance and intelligence though. Normally, I'd assume they affect attack, defend and spell damage respectively, but I've seen no relation between strength and attack or endurance and defend and if my memory serves, spell damage seems to depend entirely or almost entirely on the spell itself.

I suspect nobody really knows.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Wait, Rooks is the only one who can use elemental cards, but anybody can repair them?

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Crystalgate posted:

What does the stats actually do? Attack and defend are self explanatory and I think alertness affects turn order. That leaves strength, endurance and intelligence though. Normally, I'd assume they affect attack, defend and spell damage respectively, but I've seen no relation between strength and attack or endurance and defend and if my memory serves, spell damage seems to depend entirely or almost entirely on the spell itself.

I suspect nobody really knows.

I suspect you're right that nobody knows. Strength may affect damage and endurance does defense, but spells seem to be within a fairly fixed damage range. Intelligence might affect whether or not status effect spells actually work on enemies. Equipment is a fairly huge part of your success, and it appears that level ups are the biggest difference between success and failure.

madmac
Jun 22, 2010


Man, this game. I'm about 75% certain I actually beat this game as a kid, but I remember literally nothing about it except the interface and everyone being cards. Hell, I don't even remember how I came across it. We borrowed it from my little brothers friend, maybe?

For a game that left no impression on me whatsoever it sure did a good job of hooking me for a couple of weeks, though.

hey girl you up
May 21, 2001

Forum Nice Guy


ddegenha posted:

It's well known for having excellent music (which is in MIDI form and not easily available)
Good news: It's relatively trivial to rip music from an SNES game.

http://snesmusic.org/v2/profile.php...et&selected=142

http://snesmusic.org/v2/players.php

You can convert them to MP3s using Winamp. And probably some other tools, but Winamp was the way to do it 10 years ago and I really haven't looked into it since.

TKMobile posted:

This was one of those games I'd read about in Nintendo Power and later day dream about playing opposed to buying and or finding it for rent elsewhere...Kinda did that more than a few times, actually...

*cough* Anyway, already enjoying this play through; hope to see more swords and sarcasm from the protagonist.
I was the same way. The two different versions of the cards (normal and battle) were intensely interesting to me for some reason.

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


PFlats posted:

Good news: It's relatively trivial to rip music from an SNES game.

http://snesmusic.org/v2/profile.php...et&selected=142

http://snesmusic.org/v2/players.php

You can convert them to MP3s using Winamp. And probably some other tools, but Winamp was the way to do it 10 years ago and I really haven't looked into it since.

I may look into this. I don't have access to Winamp for Mac reasons, but there could be a way.

In the meantime...

ddegenha
Jan 28, 2009

What is this?!


Update 4



"Ahh, everything just feels so much better after a good night's sleep."

"If you say so… do you think that guy we met yesterday is alright?"

"Either he's okay, or he cleared out some of the monsters before he died. Either way, we win."

"Aren't Card Masters supposed to be noble heroes?"

"I kind of had to teach myself, so I might have missed that part of the manual."



"Rooks, I think that one of those plants… just tried to bite me."

"Yeah, they do that sometimes."



"Rooks, I think I hate nature."

"Right there with you, kid."

Notice the blue border around these guys? This indicates a water elemental enemy. Yellow is for wind, red is for fire, and green is for earth. Grey is for neutral enemies.



"Not going to ask why there's a bunch of cards scattered around the forest in convenient treasure chests."

"I don't think there's a good answer to that question, so let's not ask it."



"Huh… gonna guess that our new friend either didn't make it this far or that guy's gnawing on his bones."

"That doesn't make me feel any better!"



"Yeah, that could be a problem. Okay, I can do something about his attacks… Sylph, do something about making sure he doesn't hit us."

"Anything to avoid having to be 'repaired' again."

"What should I do?"

"Do you have some kind of spell that's effective against fire creatures?"



"How's that?"

"Not bad, not bad…"




"But I can do better."

"Show-off."



"Wait, were you just hiding and watching to let us handle that monster?"

"Yep. I'm Darwin."



"I would have been OK on my own, but since I'm in such a hurry I'm glad to have some help."

"Sure you would have. That's why we came back a day later only to find you hadn't gone more than a couple of miles."

"In my defense, it's kind of a maze in here."

"We can't just leave him here…"

"You're right, it'd be like abandoning a puppy. Okay, it works like this: I buy you armor, you don't stab me in the back."

"…what?"

"It's a thing he does. Don't ask me."




Our new companion starts off three levels higher than Rooks, with no armor or weapons as people have mentioned. The game simply won't allow it, so all of your new friends show up without equipment. We'll have to do something about that in the near future. Darwin has a pretty good mix of spells, however, so he'll be useful even without equipment.



"This would have been really handy a few minutes ago…"

"Well, it's not like we a Cardmaster can have too many cards."



"Do they think that they'll somehow confuse us by lining up in a row?"

"Either that or we just walked in on something really weird."




"Honey… bring me… golden deliciousness…"

"Rooks, I think you have a problem."



"No I don't! I can stop anytime I want!"

"Is this just another one of those things, like the whole armor deal?"

"I guess, but somehow it's weirder."



"The armor deal… that's right! We can use this to go back to town and get you armor. So you don't stab me in the back and steal my honey…"

"I'm starting to wish I'd gone forward on my own."

"We should be fine once he comes down off of his sugar high."



"Where… where are we?"

"The Crimson Valley. Are you feeling more… with it?"

"I guess so, but this valley doesn't look crimson. It looks more…"

"Mauve?"

"I was going to say pink, but that works."



"I've been here before. It's not so much a valley as a series of narrow gorges.."




"And sometimes bandits hide their loot in them."

"I found another one over here… it's exactly 50 gold less than the last one."

"It appears we have some very obsessive bandits."

"200, 150…"



"Oh, hey. Speak of the devil. Singular."

"Do… do we actually have to?"

"Hey, he started it. I just finished it."



"Oh come on. That's just insulting."

"Perhaps they're hoping frustration will keep people from looking for any further treasure."

"If that's the case, they don't know Rooks."




"Ha! Take that, dead bandit!"

"See? Can you bring yourself to bring him down when it brings him that much joy?"

"…I really can't."



"Wait, are there more cards than just the basic elemental cards?"

"All kinds, really. This one provides cover if we need to run away. Not that it comes up often."



"Rooks. Rooks! Step away from the honey pot!"

"But… but… there's like four pots."

"You can have some when we go back to the inn."

"…k. But we're going back soon."

"I'm becoming less and less certain I want to deal with that monster with you guys."

"It's not like you have many other options."

"Dammit."




Of course, before that we can gain a couple of levels. Salah picks up a new Attribute spell to round out her ability to hit each elemental weakness… not that it's really going to matter. For more permanent party members, Sylph picks up the next tier of her lightning magic when Rooks hits level 14. All of the elemental attacks hit the entire field, but Lightning 2 ramps up the damage.

Character Update




We've managed to close the gap substantially between Rooks and Darwin in the meantime, and even Salah is catching up. After binging on honey Rooks has got some serious stat upgrades, enough to be ahead of someone a level ahead of him. You can see that he's got an edge on his spirit, which suggests that their stats are based on level rather than on what Rooks actual stats are. Next update: End of Chapter 2. How will we lose all of our companions this time?

Raitzeno
Nov 24, 2007

What? It seemed like
a good idea at the time.



ddegenha posted:

I may look into this. I don't have access to Winamp for Mac reasons, but there could be a way.

In the meantime...

Winamp is dead, actually, and has been for a couple years iirc. You might still be able to get it but it's no longer updated, nor specifically supported by basically anything.

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

End Session?


Foobar2000 and AIMP both can use convert game audio tracks, though each has their own way of setting up and are windows only. I'm sure there must be a music player on mac somewhere that can take the plugins needed.

Getsuya
Oct 2, 2013

The dream and romance of any REAL man!


I just picked up and started playing the Japanese version of this game so it'll be interesting to compare them since I've heard there were quite a few changes. From what I can already tell the English version cuts almost all mention of Rooks or his parents being 'Card Masters', and when you level up they just tell you 'all the stats increased!' instead of actually showing you the numbers for each stat that went up.

Oh and Ariel is Alan... weird, usually when things go from Japanese to English the names get more normal, not less.

TKMobile
Apr 30, 2009


Speaking of Japanese, for some reason I'm wondering if Salah is supposed to be Sarah, and it was one of those wonky translation errors that crop up from time to time.

Also, where'd Darwin get the sword and armor? Were those drops or did you backtrack to a town?

Tuxedo Ted
Apr 23, 2007




Grimey Drawer

Wouldn't surprise me. Like 75% of princesses in JRPGs are named Sarah because the old Hebrew name it's based on means (you guessed it) "Princess". Some Japanese game programmer must have browsed through one of those "1001 Baby Names!" books you find in supermarket check outs back in the day and the tradition has been set ever since. Even Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy games did it once or twice.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

This is absolutely one of my favorite games of all time and I'll definitely be lurking.

Thanks for the maps, Nintendo Power. They helped a ton.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Wait, does Darwin join you after you beat the Cyclops? That wasn't the strong monster he was talking about, was it?

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vilkacis
Feb 16, 2011



I remember this game! Not well, but I do remember it. (Even if I keep getting its name mixed up with Kartia. Wrong card-based JRPG, me.)

Pretty sure I only played it once, but it feels oddly nostalgic seeing it again.

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