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cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas




Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (or Final Fantasy USA) is sort of an odd duck. In 1992, Square was under the impression that the whole JRPG thing wasn’t really working for the US. Their strategy was to create a game for the “entry-level player” as opposed to Enix’s 7th Saga which was released in the same timeframe and was basically Mystic Quest’s polar opposite.

And then it didn’t! Mystic Quest was basically the definition of average as far as sales and reviews go. Which is hardly surprising considering the game is incredibly simple in nearly every respect. The story is as barebones as it gets. You’ll learn nearly all of the important bits of the story in the first update. I’m not even totally sure if it’s possible to be unprepared for anything the game throws at you without trying really, really hard. You don’t even have to control your single party member and let the AI run wild. You don’t even need to fuss with better equipment because the game decides that for you.

I was able to beat this game with almost no difficulty as a three year old. Of course, the game couldn’t be completely devoid of challenge so Square decided to supplement the difficulty with lots and lots of status effects. We’ll… we’ll get to those later.

So why play it, especially when it has been done two times now?

I think Mystic Quests gets a lot of things right: eliminates save points, random battles are eschewed for cute little sprites in the field, and it adds some fun little exploration elements by letting players use weapons outside of battle to solve puzzles and jumping around to overcome obstacles adds some much needed variety. There’s a goddamn grappling hook, which was just the coolest poo poo back in the day.

It’s streamlined and intuitive, offering you a lot of control at the expense of virtually any real options. Most importantly, it’s honestly just fun. It’s got a lot of charm in spite of its issues and I have a special place in my heart for this dumb game. Had Mystic Quest not been so laughably lacking in depth, I really think it would be held in higher esteem today.

There’s a lot of weird stuff about Mystic Quest because of how blatantly manufactured it is. Artwork ranges from weirdly gritty to dopey. Character names are just sort of a toss-up. Just little oddities like that.

Is there anything new I should expect from this playthrough?

That being said there aren’t a whole lot of interpretations of Mystic Quest. It’s not strategically deep, the game’s too easy to not accidentally break, and it’s a pretty linear affair for the most part. So let’s take the game to task and see where it really went right and where it… didn’t. It’s an easy and shallow game, sure, but I think there are a lot of lessons JRPGs can learn from Mystic Quest.

Plus there are a bunch of bizarre details that are never mentioned in the game so I hope you’re ready to learn a lot of useless trivia!

Throughout updates, I'll be putting in some artwork of the scene at hand. The art featured in the North American manual is done by Katsuya Terada. I'm not sure where the European artwork comes from but it's dopey as hell so maybe that's a good thing.

So I’ve heard that the soundtrack is

pretty cool, yeah. Yasuhiro Kawakami and Ryuji Sasai composed it, rather than Nobuo Uematsu. Battles have speed metal, which is more or less the entire foundation behind the “awesome soundtrack” praise. The rest of it is pretty enjoyable as well, though I’m not entirely sure if I could call it memorable. I have a feeling everyone knows this but we’ll compile a soundtrack all the same. Mystic Quest has a lot of satisfying sound effects that really help in making the game enjoyable.

Updates:

1. Benjamin Goes on a Journey (Hill of Destiny - Level Forest)
2. Benjamin Goes on a Fetch Quest (Foresta - Level Forest)
3. No Bones About Battlefields (Bone Dungeon)
4. Climate Change (Foresta - Aquaria)
5. Between a Rock and a Cold Place (Wintry Caves - Fall Basin)
6. Ice Pyramid? Snow Problem (Ice Pyramid)
7. A Singularity of Dorks (Aquaria - Fireburg)
8. Like Father, Like Son (Mine)
9. Volcano Climbing (Volcano)
10. Lessons on Fire Safety by Shrug and Reuben (Lava Dome)
11. This Could Have Been Worse, Just Saying (Rope Bridge - Alive Forest)
12. The Tree With Two Faces (Giant Tree)
13. A Windia Mountain Than Most (Windia - Mt. Gale)
14. Shrug and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Elevator (Pazuzu's Tower)
15. The Worst Kind of Phoenix (pretty much everywhere)
16. Shrug's Creed 4 (Mac's Ship)
Interlude: Odds and Ends (pretty much everywhere)
17. The Doom Castle (seriously, it's Doom Castle)
18. A Farewell to Shrugs (Final Boss)

OUR INTREPID HERO AND FRIENDS



The hitherto unnamed protagonist, described by the manual as “the most normal youngster you can imagine”. A simple, responsible farmer taken under the tutelage of a Village Elder, the other kids in the village often teased him for being such a big nerd. Wishes he were faster, stronger, and more daring. I'm like 1000x sure he's supposed to be you in the 90s because only nerds play video games.

His canonical name is Benjamin, which is only mentioned in the North American manual, but maybe you have something else in mind you all have chosen to name this unfortunate young man Shrug. He is 16 years old and has absolutely horrible taste in clothing and armor.



This triangle’s name is White, as per the European and Japanese manuals (and only those). He’s probably the village elder? Otherwise he’s a mysterious old man flying around on a cloud, who just talks out loud and people happen to play along.



This is Kaeli. Her original name was the less creatively spelled Karen. She is very strongly connected to the nature and cares for the trees of the Level Forest. This deep love of the outdoors also means she is a big fan of axes. She's 15 years old. I have a feeling she's meant to be fulfill the "druid" archetype.



It's Tristam who is apparently a mercenary from some unknown town. He's kind of a huge rear end in a top hat, frankly. I guess his name would actually be Lock--which is pretty appropriate, now that I think about it. He's 25 years old and the only ally to get a special theme all his own. I guess you could say he's the "thief" of the game, or the "ninja".

I'm not sure why he's purple?



Phoebe, also known as Tea or Fei, is featured on the back of the North American game box so obviously she's the most important. I have a feeling that "Tea", which used her sprite, was a debug character so that's cool, maybe? She's 18 years old and is easily depressed by basically everything. She's very clearly our "mage".



Reuben, or Red (because he's the Fire guy, get it), is 16 years old. Possibly a tiny robot? He's bewilderingly incompetent and kind of irritating. Pretty sure that he's supposed to be the "fighter/paladin".

For your listening pleasure:

Mystic Quest (Title)
Hill of Fate
Middle Tower (Tower of Fate)
World
Beautiful Forest
City of Forest
Battle 1
Battle 2
Shrine of Light
Tristam's Theme
Bone Dungeon
Frozen Aquaria
Wintry Cave and Ice Pyramid
Falls Basin/Spencer's Place/Mine
Fireburg
Rock Theme
Volcano and Lava Dome
Rope Bridge, Mt. Gale, Pazuzu's Tower
Doom Castle
Final Boss Dark King
Ending

Mystic Quest Reborn: or, "This is NOT how you make Mystic Quest more interesting"

Forums poster MaskedHuzzah reminded me that this "hard mode" hack exists and it's, uh, certainly something. Artix, who has made some excellent technical contributions to the thread and saved it from being abjectly terrible, was kind enough to check out some of it. If you'd like, you can take a look yourself here. I should mention that there are a whole lot of spoilers here so if you're coming into Mystic Quest totally blind then I'd wait to click on that.

Hill of Destiny and Level Forest
Bone Dungeon

cardinal direction fucked around with this message at 06:53 on Aug 12, 2014

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cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


1. Benjamin Goes on a Journey



All right, you’ve got eight characters unless you’re cool with Benjamin.





Mystic Quest immediately throws you into the action—Benjamin is scaling the mountain Hill of Destiny because ???



He’s taking this quite well, all things considered.

This place is going to sink any second! Let’s climb up quick!



Jumping is cool. You can traverse any obstacle a square wide. It makes a great noise too.



It also looks really dorky which is fantastic



Immediately after Benjamin’s daring leap, the hill starts sinking.





An old prophecy says "the vile 4 will steal the power and divide the world behind 4 doors. At that time, the Knight will appear." The Prophecy has now come true. Four monsters have locked the doors of the Focus Tower and escaped with the keys. They're draining the light from the four crystals of the Earth and the world is in chaos. The people are in desperate need of help.

That’s it! That’s the entire plot!



Me?

Yes, you Benjamin! Only you could be the Knight spoken of in the prophecy…



This green thing with horns phases into existence.

Look out! A monster!





Benjamin’s first scuffle! As you might notice, the battle menu is pretty self-explanatory. Battle will bring up our attack options. You will never run in Mystic Quest. Control will change our party member between receiving their commands manually or acting on their own automatically. More on that when it’s actually relevant.



If you have ever played a video game in your life, I’m sure you can figure out what these options mean. Benjamin can hit things with his sword, cast magic, use items, or waste a turn.



One of my favorite things about Mystic Quest is getting to see your weapon clobber some shmuck with a super satisfying noise. “Shwing”, in the sword’s case. With each new weapon we collect, the animation and sprite will very slightly change. Kinda cool!

Enemy attacks are pretty dull in comparison—for the most part you’ll just shake and take damage. Some can be sorta funny, though.



Another nifty little visual detail is that enemies’ appearances will change the more you wail on them. It makes the battles feel less static and your foes look hilarious, so what’s not to love?



In any case, that’s how battles play out. It gets very slightly more complex (mostly in the way of enemies being weak to certain types of attacks) through the course of the game but it stays about as simple. It’s pretty appropriate since Mystic Quest was more or less intended to serve as a tutorial altogether.





Benjamin easily slays the tutorial and the old man reveals that the whole ‘knight’ deal was more of a lucky guess than anything.

But you said you were SURE I was the one!



You’ll be seeing our boy Ben do that a lot

Forget it. Just tell me where I can find the Crystals.

It’s up to you to find them. This place is becoming dangerous! Follow me to the Level Forest.



And then he just flies away. Benjamin is left flabbergasted.





As Benjamin departs for the forest, the entire mountain range just falls into the clouds. Nobody you meet notices or cares about this.





Save the Crystal of Earth. See you!

Yup, those sure were some instructions? He flies away again and Benjamin just doesn’t know what the hell anymore.



I bet that other old guy also has a problem so let’s go see what’s up.



He doesn’t think to move out of the way so Benjamin soars over the old man’s head and pushes the boulder aside.

and show her this.



Maybe stop tearing branches off of the trees, you nut.



Next time: Benjamin meets Kaeli and does some deforesting

I hand it over to you now, thread. Will Benjamin stay as such or do you have a new name for him? The character limit is 8 so have at it!

cardinal direction fucked around with this message at 03:17 on Jul 2, 2014

bucketcapacity
Jan 20, 2011



cardinal direction posted:

An old prophecy says "the vile 4 will steal the power and divide the world behind 4 doors. At that time, the Knight will appear." The Prophecy has now come true. Four monsters have locked the doors of the Focus Tower and escaped with the keys. They're draining the light from the four crystals of the Earth and the world is in chaos. The people are in desperate need of help.

Hmm, now where have I seen that plot before...



Oh yeah! At least that wasn't all of Symphonia's plot.

Also, my vote goes to naming him baby, so we can get stuff like "hey baby".

bucketcapacity fucked around with this message at 18:11 on Jun 26, 2014

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


bucketcapacity posted:

Oh yeah! At least that wasn't all of Symphonia's plot.

Of course that wasn't all of Symphonia's plot, they had more sense than that. The rest of it was stolen from Final Fantasy X.

Anyway, I have an irrational love for this game and I can't wait to see your take on it because I can barely read my own LP of it without trying to rewrite half of it and redo all the technical stuff.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

Despite how simple this game is, I really like it. The music is pretty good, I have a fondness for the graphics (particularly the enemy damage sprites), and I really found Ben's animations to be pretty satisfying now matter how many times he ends up shrugging because everyone around him is batshit crazy.

cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


There's no such thing as irrational love for this game because it is actually pretty good in spite of the criticism. As a kid, I remember being incredibly disappointed when other Final Fantasies didn't actually have jumping. For all of this game's shortcomings, it will always have that and a whole lot of charm going for it.

Also, I'm a big idiot and probably wasn't too clear but give Benjamin a new name if you're so inclined! Your limit is eight characters.

Artix posted:

Technical stuff
If you have any technical tidbits you'd like to add or anything, please do! I dug your LP so I'd be interested to see them again or if there's anything new.

100 HOGS AGREE
Oct 13, 2007

by Nyc_Tattoo


Grimey Drawer

I think he should just be named Shrug since that's his response to pretty much everything in the entire game.

Camel Pimp
May 17, 2008

This poster survived LPing Lunar: Dragon Song. Let's give her a hand.

If we're going on the Symphonia theme, then hows about Lloyd?

MartianAgitator
Apr 30, 2003

Damn Earth! Damn her!

Call him TheDevil. And the "plot" of this game is taken from FF1. You young goons, don't know your roots, :shakefist:

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011



Name him Blintsy.

Seyser Koze
Dec 15, 2013


Nap Ghost

Name him Garland.

Techno Remix
Feb 13, 2012



All male Final Fantasy protagonists should be named Bartz or Buttz, depending on exactly how far down you want to sink.

cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


2: Benjamin Goes on a Fetch Quest







Uh, hello to you, too?



That's just what happens, man. Don't let it get you down!



Ohhh, well, that’s much worse.



Gee, I wonder what’s over there in that not all conspicuous backyard?



Magic. Magic is what’s over there. Those red chests are special and always have something important or worthwhile in them.



Here’s our menu. To the left is our inventory and below it are our magic points.

Mystic Quest operates on a stock point style of magic use. At his wussiest, Benjamin gets three white spell casts before he’s out. He’ll get more as he levels up but for now that’s what he has to work with.



In the customize menu, we can also change our party member’s control and go from that weird bar… thing… representative for health to the aesthetically superior numbers. Really, I wouldn’t mind the bar but it’s just sort of odd and unpleasant to look at. I’m not even sure what sort of purpose it serves—it doesn’t seem particularly clearer.

Maybe for the aspiring RPG player who hasn’t figured out fractions yet, I dunno.



Below the stump/house where we found Cure is our first inn of the game. Ben’s a big dork so he does a little dance after every nap.

The bed is free so I guess that’s cause for celebration?



Look up a little thing called “please” and get back to me on that.



But we’ve delayed long enough. Let’s go show this withered branch to Kaeli.



There’s a tree blocking the north exit of the Level Forest. I can chop down the tree, but monsters have taken over the forest and I can’t get to it.





Kaeli’s mom is understandably more than a little upset that some dude just barged in to her house and now is trying to drag her daughter into the monster-ridden forest. Ben, where are your manners?

Listen, mom...





Don’t worry, mom.

Yeah, what’s the worst that could happen??



Kaeli’s mom buries her face in her hands as she realizes her daughter is leaving with the world’s biggest nerd





So Kaeli’s pretty cool. There’s not much else to her character beyond “loves nature, wields an axe” though. I like the European artwork of her—kinda gives her a cool viking-esque vibe. I’m not sure why her hair is suddenly silver but there you go.

She’s considerably tougher than Ben at the moment at two levels higher but stats are honestly sort of… useless, I guess you could say, in this game. Is your level higher? Congrats, you’re good to go. Your party members won’t level with you, which is sort of a bummer, but their levels serve as a good metric for where you should be. Those little symbols in the lower right window are elements or status effects that she happens to resist. We will see exactly zero of these effects until like the halfway point of the game.

She does come with the Life spell though, which is basically your cure-all. Death, damage, status effects… you name it, Life cures it.

Then again, in retrospect, literally everything in the game is better than Ben right now.





In any case, Ben and Kaeli trek back to the forest and she just levels that loving tree like it was nothing.

We’ve got to reach the north exit.

But first, monsters!

(you should absolutely click this)



Our first proper battle. Brownies are about as threatening as you might expect. They’ll hit for around 6 damage and we have 40 health so unless they decide to bully someone you’ll be fine.

Even if they do decide to bully someone you’ll be fine unless you get hit with a bunch of criticals in a row. Kaeli is killing these chumps in one hit. Ben is a weakling and needs two swings of his sword.



Once you’ve beaten them up enough, they’ll take off their hats. That little blue spark over Ben is a Cure spell in action.

Ben got bullied in this fight, is what I’m saying.



The Level Forest is also infested with slimes as per JRPG tradition. Here they are both somewhat smushed and in good health.

That’s basically all for the Level Forest, so we kill enough enemies that Ben isn’t such an embarrassment.



Sure, I can see how that might look ‘evil’.



I sort of have the feeling he was hiding behind the tree.





Here’s the North American manual's depiction of the event. Not sure what the hell is going on with the tree here but it’s loving enormous, look at it!



Kaeli gets back to her feet after spinning around and falling to the ground. Time for our first real boss battle.

(also worth listening to!)



First things first, you could just cast Kaeli’s Life spell on this guy and win instantly. But that’s too easy so we’re going to do this the old-fashioned way.



If you just walked straight up to this guy at level 1, you’d be in for a rough ride. Possibly an unwinnable one if you didn’t just go the Life route. But other than that, it’s not at all a problem. He can hit you from anywhere between 30 damage to 80.

The minotaur especially hated Kaeli this run.



No, seriously, I wasn’t kidding.



Then, mustering up a newfound strength from his marginally bulkier arms, Ben got such an amazing critical hit that he obliterated the jerk.



I think this is supposed to be a depiction of this fight? Where did the ruins come from? What's the deal with Benjamin apparently having a huge braid?





Oh boy, there's no good way to answer this one.

I’ll be okay… as soon as I take Elixir…



I imagine Kaeli’s mom is just about ready to smack this dumb idiot kid that got her daughter poisoned



Kaeli gives us her axe before she’s taken away. You’re good people, Kaeli.


The axe is pretty much a complete upgrade from our sword but it’s a pretty marginal boost. Switching weapons is another one of my favorite things about Mystic Quest.

At this point, we’re free to chop down trees and collect those treasure chests that have been taunting us... but those brown treasure chests are frankly boring. Each of them contains one of two potions:



Cure potions are exactly the same as the Cure spell only, predictably, worse. Cure potions heal for your level x 10 so they get better as you level up but are always pretty ‘meh’.



Heal potions on the other hand just get rid of your status effects, which we’re going to be running into very soon!

The thing is, these are basically the contents of all these boring brown boxes. There are obviously some exceptions, by which I mean you won't get these two potions and instead two different types of healing items.







Well, hey, at least that wasn’t a huge hassle.



What sort of rear end in a top hat closes an empty treasure chest? That’s pretty messed up





Suddenly, sick beats permeate the shrine and I guess Ben can hear them too?



That’s your conversation starter? Shouldn’t you be in the back of an alleyway somewhere?






Next time: Benjamin reveals an embarrassing detail about his childhood and we tackle our first actual dungeon


We’re still really early in the game so I’m holding off on a name on the off chance people want to pop in with more suggestions! Thanks to those of you have tossed one out there!

cardinal direction fucked around with this message at 04:16 on Jul 31, 2014

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Stats are kind of awkward in this game. For the most part, that's pretty much it: more levels = more stats = bigger numbers. Although I'm pretty sure that combat stats are bugged, but we'll talk more about that once we fight something that can actually reduce our stats.

The major exception to stats just being kinda there is Magic. As an example, that Cure spell we just got has a pretty simple formula: ((Magic * 1.5) + 50)% of max HP, divided by the number of targets. Though cardinal direction neglected to show us, Kaeli has 14 magic, meaning her Cure spell is good for 71% healing. But if you consider someone who has 10 magic, compared to someone who has 99 magic, it's the difference between a 65% solo/32% group heal and a guaranteed full heal to both party members, no questions asked. This will be much more obvious further down the line, when we get party members who are "THIS IS THE MAGE PARTY MEMBER" and "THIS IS THE FIGHTER PARTY MEMBER" to compare ourselves to.

(If I'm speaking out of line with any of this, just let me know)

Artix fucked around with this message at 01:25 on Jun 27, 2014

bucketcapacity
Jan 20, 2011



Random Inn Guy posted:

Can you save all 4 crystals?
ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE?

Maybe the visualized health bar was a way to appeal to a wider audience by being "less numbery" and "more visual" and also to show that Square was "forward thinking", since hugely popular games like Mega Man 2 implemented visual-only health bars. That's just speculation, though.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

To be fair, Ben isn't really dancing when he gets out of bed, but warming up by doing some leg stretches (probably so he doesn't tear something jumping all over the place).

CmdrKing
Oct 14, 2012

Maybe if I called it 'Interpretive Stabbing'...

Nemo2342 posted:

To be fair, Ben isn't really dancing when he gets out of bed, but warming up by doing some leg stretches (probably so he doesn't tear something jumping all over the place).

That's how you know he's a true dork: he put's serious thought and effort into being as much of a dork as he can be.

cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


Those details are absolutely fine, Artix. If you don't have a problem with it, would it be alright if I edited them into the update(s) so as to cover up my vast incompetence and ignorance?

As for the health scale, I don't much care for it in Mystic Quest because it's just really unpleasant to look at. Going with the Mega Man example, the bar is at least clearly depleting and looking visibly empty whereas here it just changes color so it doesn't quite look like emptying to me. Since Mystic Quest was supposed to your introduction to JRPGs, I sort of think it would have just made sense to have numbers be the default since that was the standard for Square's other games. Unless the scale really was meant to reinvent JRPG health meter conventions but what a weird way to go about it. I'm also pretty weird, though, so that's probably just a very nitpicky aesthetic gripe on my part.

I'm thinking we shouldn't hold off on a name for too much longer since we're about to get to the meat of the game, so I guess... let's say 8 hours from now is your deadline for a name? It doesn't matter a whole lot, I just want everyone to have a chance to contribute and have a little fun! Otherwise I'll just pick one at random and get on with the show.

liquidypoo
Aug 23, 2006

Chew on that... you overgrown son of a bitch.



I like the suggestion given by 100 HOGS AGREE. Let's go with Shrug.

Dirk the Average
Feb 7, 2012

"This may have been a mistake."


I think you're spot on about the health meter. It's just so imprecise, and while the game doesn't exactly require precise health bars to win, it's annoying to have to try to count up exactly how many fiddly little boxes you just lost from an attack so that you can judge if you can take another hit or three.

Mega Man's health bar works because it's a single bar with a fixed length that doesn't change radically over time. Mystic Quest's health bar fails to work once you start getting extra health bars in the form of those little boxes that go above the primary health bar.

It's a tricky design problem, because without an increasing health bar, a new player has no feedback that their health is actually increasing, but with an increasing health bar, it's a pain in the rear end to figure out health totals.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Go for it. I originally had more there, but whatever, there'll be plenty of time to go into some other stuff.

TheFattestPat
Dec 28, 2012

Santa Cat Says: Good deeds are the things to always do, just make sure someone is watching you


Oh I love this game so much. It did it's job and was the only RPG I could play as a kid without getting my rear end kicked and quitting. Still listen to the soundtrack occasionally, great stuff!

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


I actually managed to die to the very first enemy due to some unfortunate critical hits and misses.

bucketcapacity
Jan 20, 2011



I will change my vote to Shrug because I like it and so there's some semblance of a consensus.

bucketcapacity fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Jun 27, 2014

Techno Remix
Feb 13, 2012



Same here. Buttz is only funny if you're mentally 12 like I am.

Shrug is a very good name.

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011



Keeping my vote for Blintsy.

Orcs and Ostriches
Aug 26, 2010




The Great Twist

Noah posted:

I actually managed to die to the very first enemy due to some unfortunate critical hits and misses.

It's actually very easy to die on him. If he critical hits (maybe 10% chance) and you either miss or don't get a critical hit to compensate, you will die.

cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


3. No Bones About Battlefields

When we last left him, Ben was having 9000GP worth of problems. His mind raced to find a solution to his financial situation but only one thing came to mind.









Listen kid, this stuff’s precious, right?

My allowance is only 2GP a month!


Your allowance is 0 GP. Your village is gone, remember? I don’t wanna be a buzzkill or anything but everyone you knew is probably dead


Then let’s do it this way. I’m going to the Bone Dungeon to find treasure. You come with me and help. If I get the treasure, you get the Elixir.

Do I have any choice? When do we go?



There’s a Battlefield nearby. Why don’t you whack a few monsters, and maybe win something, kid?



You're goddamn right.

Through the thread’s guidance, from Benjamin’s ashes rises Shrug.



Yeah, that’s… great, I guess.



Oh god, dude, are you sure we shouldn’t be getting that Elixir for you?



As you can probably tell, Tristam is a ninja to the core. Like Kaeli before him, he’s better than Shrug in nearly every way—only now it actually matters because he won’t be leaving us in the span of five minutes.

He’s resistant to death and fire, which is useless because we’re not going to see either of those even remotely soon. Way to go, Tristam! And at this point, you’ve probably noticed that each time Shrug levels up, he gets another 40 health. So Tristam is basically just cheating to have the health we would at level 9. Figures.

Funnily enough, his Japanese name, ロック, is the same as that of Locke from Final Fantasy VI. Guess this is just really unfortunate coincidence among thieves treasure hunters.

His weapon, as you can see in the corner, is a bunch of ninja stars. In case the whole “ninja” thing wasn’t clear enough to you yet. You might also see a number beneath them, which signifies that the weapon is limited by ammunition. He starts off with 99 but we’ll be going through them at a fairly brisk clip. They’re easily replenished though so it’s not worth worrying about.

His ninja stars have the added benefit of being able to poison or paralyze enemies every now and then. Tristam is too strong to actually benefit from this though since nearly every enemy we see in this update will die in one hit from them.

As if that wasn’t enough, he also comes with Life and seven charges of it. Tristam is pretty competent.

No, I don’t know why he’s purple, either.



In any case, let’s actually take the jerk’s advice and check out these battlefields. I’m not a big fan of these because it’s a lot of busy work for the occasional reward.



We have a new enemy! Shrug and Tristam are too strong so these monsters die in one hit. They’re weak to axes because they are trees. Yawn.



Poison toads are marginally more interesting because they bear the dubious honor of being our first enemy to inflict status effects. I have a feeling you can guess what they do.



After slogging through 10 rounds, you get a reward, which ranges from meager to awesome. The rewards can be paltry amounts of experience or gold, or better equipment.

This battlefield gave us, like, a fourth the experience we were getting from encounters in the Level Forest.

There’s another battlefield west of the Sand Temple that’s not totally worthless so obviously we’re going to do that too.



Yet another new enemy. Basilisks aren’t particularly threatening. Their fang attack can hurt but that’s not as serious as it sounds.



After clearing out the battlefield, we earn this charm, which gives Shrug a single point of defense. I always thought it looked like a cute little heart.

Shrug is poisoned and that does what you might expect. After each round, you’ll lose a set amount of HP based on your level.

Artix posted:

First, poison is even more inconsequential as cardinal direction makes it seem, because it only deals [Level * 2] damage each turn.

For reference, Cure Potions fix you up for almost more than twice as much. Poison is not at all a big deal.

Shrug is going to go to the Bone Dungeon anyway because he doesn’t give a gently caress. He also doesn’t have any Heal Potions but that’s besides the point.





So does the Bone Dungeon serve any purpose? Do people from Foresta just... put bad bones here or something?

If you look closely, the floor at the top of the screen might seem a bit off. That’s because it’s moving forward. There are several floors like this in Bone Dungeon but they’re all optional. We can take that path up but it’s one-way so we might as well take the sides and deal with the monsters sooner rather than later.



Another new enemy appears in the line up of monsters on the sides. The Sandworm does have some hard-hitting attacks and can lower your speed with quicksand, both of which can hurt for around 40 HP. They’re weak to axe attacks, though, so unless you miss they’ll be going down in one hit.



The worm was guarding a boring brown box and has forced me to correct myself. These boxes contain mostly consumables, either of the ammo or healing variety. My bad!



Kinda curious as to what left this big skeleton behind. The chest behind us was Cure Potions.



Passing through the bone tunnel leads us to this river? With turtle shells to use as stepping stones?

Shrug climbs down the stairs to the right and goes for a swim to the west.



Oh man, are you going to phase through it or whatever it is anime ninjas do?

Watch this!



This seems like a bad idea!



Shrug’s a dweeb but he’s smarter than to carry explosives around with him.



Oh, well, 50% off sounds pretty good.

Declining Tristam’s offer nets you this deal. He won’t go any lower though, sorry!



Nice. Bone Dungeon is where a whole lot of your choices open up. Since this is Mystic Quest, that’s not saying too much but it’s still nice. We head back the other way because Shrug’s treasure sense is tingling.



And he was right! Shrug’s first shield adds another 5 points of defense to his total but isn’t special beyond that. Now let’s go through that wall we blew up.



Wow, this looks terrible.





Another new enemy, Rocs are super frail. They’re weak to shooting weapons, which Tristam’s ninja stars qualify as.

They also only have, like, 90 HP at the most so it doesn’t matter.



Here's a Roc being blown up. Bombs are twice as strong as our sword but have the disadvantage of always targeting every enemy. It’s a pretty negligible downside, though, if you ask me. As far as I can tell, bombs aren’t affected by accuracy so you might as well just use them whenever. But…



Tristam, turn around. I promise, you’re not actually blind.

Rocs can also blind you. If only you hadn’t parted with your bombs, sucker!

Like poison, blind needs little introduction. Your accuracy plummets and persists after battle, also like poison.

Artix posted:

At full strength, the bombs are capable of outdamaging even Tristam's ninja stars, but by attacking three enemies at once, we would be better off using the Steel Sword to attack.

It wouldn't be a proper update from me without forgetting something important. Yes, since bombs default to attacking all enemies the damage is split pretty dramatically. On a single enemy, they're great but I don't really mind the damage split myself here because the enemies are weak enough as is. But then it's the difference between assuredly killing an enemy and weakening the rest so I guess it's more of a toss-up than I originally thought!

Artix posted:

Specifically, the damage formula for basic attacks is something along the lines of:

((Atk * 4) - Def) * weakness / number of targets

Bombs are an exception to this but we'll talk more about that when bombs aren't the strongest thing in our arsenal.



Skeletons are actually pretty annoying. They are capable of confusing you and that really sucks to deal with. Other than being annoying though, they can deal decent damage with their headbutts but they aren’t special otherwise. Being undead, they are weak to Cure.

But not Life. Don’t ask.

There’s not much else of note in the room other than some ninja stars if you’re in need of those.



Heading down a floor, Shrug finds another skeleton tube. Now, how to get past this?



Works for me.



There’s a secret room in here with some ninja stars in case you’re running low.



Yep, we’re already seeing palette swaps. The darker shade of Behemoth over there is a Gorgon and they are a pain in the rear end. They can paralyze you if you’re unlucky and that really bites because at that point you’re at the whim of the game for it to wear off before you get beaten down. They can also poison both party members and deal 70 some damage so they’re definitely tough.

And status effects can stack so if you’re paralyzed and poisoned then you’re pretty much hosed.

Tristam can one-shot them though so they’re definitely more glass cannons than anything.



Shrug blows up another skeleton and finds an old friend.



Minotaur Zombie is the first enemy in the dungeon that won’t actually be killed in one hit from Tristam. He can confuse you and hits considerably hard. On the other hand, he’s susceptible to poison and paralysis which Tristam can inflict.

He’s also very weak to zombie attacks like Cure. ...sure. One Cure will do him in but then you sacrifice a powerful heal for yourself.

Artix posted:

Magic works on a very similar formula, which looks something like this:

((Pow * 4) + (Mag * 3) - def) * weakness / number of targets

So since the Minotaur zombie is weak to Cure, that x2 multiplier is actually pretty devastating.







Through the tunnel are some actually really good consumables. Seeds replenish all of your magic points. They are also incredibly limited until later in the game and this is your only source of them. If you’re really struggling during a boss, this is basically the “done with your poo poo” item.



This fight almost went south real fast. A confused Tristam basically just ‘fatal’ed Shrug in one hit.

I know I’ve said that Mystic Quest is easy—and it is, don’t get me wrong—but poo poo can happen. You could even die to the tutorial boss if luck isn’t in your favor.



Across the way, we find Shrug’s first Black magic which would be cool if Quake didn’t sort of suck past this dungeon. It deals earth damage to all enemies and is reasonably powerful at the moment. Artix, who has singlehandedly saved this thread from being utter garbage, points out that Quake has a power of 125 (which is what would be multiplied by 4 in the magic damage equation). But similarly to bombs, Quake defaults to attacking all enemies so it suffers pretty heavily at the hands of damage splitting.

Pick up your monitor, shake it, and you’ve seen what Quake looks like.



Maybe we can barter and trade Tristam for the treasure.









All right, I’ve gotta admit, I loved looking through the manual when I was younger and this was pretty badass as a kid.



Flamerus Rex is where Mystic Quest takes off the kids’ gloves. That’s like saying the game stopped blowing bubbles at you and decided to have a pillow fight but whatever.

First things first, he’s undead so you can Cure him for some pretty significant damage but then you risk losing your healing. Life won’t do anything—unless you’re playing the PAL version, in which case it works perfectly well. Quake is also a good option.



Bone Missile is his special attack and he only used it this once this entire fight. It hits one party member for 80 damage, which is nothing to sneeze at.







Here’s the boss in his various states of health. Poison Flour, predictably, poisons someone and Rex can put someone to sleep as well. At this point of the fight, he’ll start throwing out Rip Earth (which is basically Quake) fairly frequently and deal 80 damage to both party members.

If one of them is down, then the surviving party member is going to eat about 160 damage and that’s not a position you want to be in. This is another instance of damage no longer being split.

If you’re lucky, he’ll use Twin Fang and only get one hit, which will deal a laughable 30 some damage.



I got careless and lost because I threw all of my Cures at it, but now Mystic Quest demonstrates one of its quality of life features. If your luck ran against you, don’t sweat it! Just retry the fight from the beginning with absolutely no penalty other than losing your time. No backtracking from the world map or some other bullshit, just give it another go.

I like this a lot. I’m a bit torn as to whether or not there should be a penalty though. The game isn’t structured in a way where you could realistically do that but maybe money loss would work? Or is the penalty that you have to keep trying and find a new strategy? If you choose to give up, it kicks you back to the load screen. I’m not sure how else it could work here, but I think cutting out the fluff is a good idea all the same especially in a genre like JRPG that’s notorious for padding.



Shrug doesn’t give up so we defeat the boss handily and blow it up. Maybe there’s more to the Mega Man comparison than I thought.



Tristam doesn’t care about this whole “save-the-world” thing so he rushes over to the treasure chests



Surprised Tristam doesn’t actually try to find out how much the crystal’s worth



HOLD UP. Can we discuss a trade?



Thanks for jeopardizing a girl’s life for your personal benefit, Tristam!



Don’t forget to pick this up like I did as an idiot child



You’re kind of a dick, dude.




Next time: Shrug fulfills his promise and climbs a tower

cardinal direction fucked around with this message at 23:12 on Aug 10, 2014

Vil
Sep 10, 2011



This update reminded me of a kinda subtle thing about the whole injured enemy sprite deal.

Regular enemies have 2 sprites to show their health.
Minor bosses (and then their strong-regular-enemy recolors later) have 3 sprites.
Major crystal-guarding bosses have 4 sprites.

The sprites are also correspondingly bigger as well. This is more easily noticeable in-game due to the size of the square enemy-targeting cursor.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




Also remember that if you level-up on the last battlefield fight, Shrug gets 2 level-ups instead of 1! And remember to post the awesome boss fight music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUGDp39srk0

You are killing a giant dinosaur skeleton to that oh my god how can people hate this game!?

cardinal direction
Feb 20, 2011

This shit is bananas


Oh dang, I totally spaced on putting the link before the fight, thanks for the reminder!

You can level up twice from Battlefield fights if you manipulate your EXP in a way where you level up from the last fight. It's not super useful since your next level up will just take a good amount of time longer, but I can see the benefits if you're really hankering for another level for a boss or something. I'll probably bring that up in more detail when we have more battlefields to go through that don't give such crummy rewards.

The incredible of killing a giant dinosaur skeleton to thrashing guitars is maybe how I'll always remember this game.

And it's an obvious detail in retrospect, but somehow it just went totally over my head that the different 'tiers' of monsters had more or less sprites depending on how threatening they are. It's the little things with this game!

bucketcapacity
Jan 20, 2011



cardinal direction posted:



All right, I’ve gotta admit, I loved looking through the manual when I was younger and this was pretty badass as a kid.
I really like the art too. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel like I've seen this style before in other video game promo art. Maybe...Castlevania? Zelda?? I'm not sure.

cardinal direction posted:

If your luck ran against you, don’t sweat it! Just retry the fight from the beginning with absolutely no penalty other than losing your time. No backtracking from the world map or some other bullshit, just give it another go.

I like this a lot. I’m a bit torn as to whether or not there should be a penalty though. The game isn’t structured in a way where you could realistically do that but maybe money loss would work? Or is the penalty that you have to keep trying and find a new strategy?
Well, a lot of modern RPGs let you save in one way or another right before a boss fight and they don't feel too easy (some are actually pretty hard, like SMT IV), so yes, I think the penalty is that you have to keep trying and do it from the beginning of the fight. The real problem is whether or not the boss is difficult enough to warrant such a luxury. If you're going to make the bosses piss-easy, that probably shouldn't be a mechanic in your game; if you want that mechanic in your game, maybe make the bosses a sizable challenge.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Nothing particularly fancy to add to this update, just a couple numbers and .

First, poison is even more inconsequential as cardinal direction makes it seem, because it only deals [Level * 2] damage each turn. Just as a point of comparison, Cure Potions heal [Level * 5] HP, and you literally are tripping over the drat things up until this point. Also, for all that it's worth, each level results in Ben gaining 40 HP, 2.5 attack, 2 defense and speed, 1 magic, and half a point of accuracy (don't know if it rounds up or down off-hand). Evasion can only go up via getting armor. All of these stats are completely useless outside of HP and Magic.

Moving on, CD points out that bombs are forced to attack all enemies at once, but neglects to mention the rather important second part of that stipulation - namely that attacking multiple enemies at once results in a drastic decrease in damage dealt. At full strength, the bombs are capable of outdamaging even Tristam's ninja stars, but by attacking three enemies at once, we would be better off using the Steel Sword to attack.

Specifically, the damage formula for basic attacks is something along the lines of:

((Atk * 4) - Def) * weakness / number of targets

Where Atk is our attack stat, Def is the enemy's defense stat, and weakness is whether or not the foe is weak to an attack (1 if no, 2 if yes). Bombs are especially vulnerable to this because not only do they do a fixed damage (they will not get stronger as we level up, unlike every other weapon), they're forced into attacking all enemies, which means they frequently end up with halved or even thirded damage.

Magic works on a very similar formula, which looks something like this:

((Pow * 4) + (Mag * 3) - def) * weakness / number of targets

Pow is the spell's power (Quake's is 125, just for the record), Mag is our magic stat, and def/weakness/targets are the same as above. Quake is a perfectly serviceable spell, but it's main issue is the same as bombs; you have to target every enemy on the field, and its damage will suffer for it. Later spells will give you the option of choosing single target vs. full field, which gives them a lot more flexibility.



So yeah, long story short, attacking multiple enemies at once will gently caress your damage output and you really need to be mindful of it. And all of these equations go both ways, which is why Flamerus Rex is so much more dangerous if you or Tristam die - suddenly you're looking at one person taking the damage from Rip Earth for both people, and lord does he start spamming Rip Earth when his health gets low.

Artix fucked around with this message at 04:06 on Jun 29, 2014

Mordaedil
Oct 25, 2007

Oh wow, cool. Good job.
So?


Grimey Drawer

bucketcapacity posted:

I really like the art too. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel like I've seen this style before in other video game promo art. Maybe...Castlevania? Zelda?? I'm not sure.

I'm fairly certain I saw it for Dark Souls.

Yapping Eevee
Nov 12, 2011

STAND TOGETHER.
FIGHT WITH HONOR.
RESTORE BALANCE.

Eevees play for free.


Soiled Meat

Ah, Mystic Quest. A simple but fun little RPG.

Your .gifs are a touch on the blurry side however. To give the same advice HelloWinter once gave me:

quote:

Do you capture your images and gif files through VirtualDub with the help of an .avs file? Try opening a blank Notepad file and insert this code into it, replacing the AviSource() addresses to where your .avi files are located within your directory. Save the notepad file as insert_name_here.avs (make sure the format is .avs). You can then open it though VirtualDub.

code:
AviSource("C:\User\...etc...\part1.avi) + AviSource("C:\User\...etc...\part2.avi)
ConvertToRGB32
PointResize(x,y)
PointResize() will give your resized images a crisper look, the same way as your regular screenshots have. 'x' is the width of the final resized image and 'y' is the height of the resized image.

They also seem a little dark compared to the regular images, though I'm unsure why that would happen. Hopefully this might be of some assistance; I would have sent it in a PM, but that was not an option.

Kieyen
Dec 18, 2006


bucketcapacity posted:

I really like the art too. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel like I've seen this style before in other video game promo art. Maybe...Castlevania? Zelda?? I'm not sure.

It's probably the guy that did the Secret of Mana pictures for Nintendo Power, Katsuya Terada.

http://studiojfish.tumblr.com/post/242963672/secret-of-mana-snes-artwork-by-katsuya-terada

bucketcapacity
Jan 20, 2011



Kieyen posted:

It's probably the guy that did the Secret of Mana pictures for Nintendo Power, Katsuya Terada.

http://studiojfish.tumblr.com/post/242963672/secret-of-mana-snes-artwork-by-katsuya-terada

Ha! I was right, he did do some artwork for Zelda. Thanks for giving me a name to put to this artwork.

bucketcapacity fucked around with this message at 09:31 on Jun 29, 2014

PaletteSwappedNinja
Jun 3, 2008

One Nation, Under God.

^^Yeah, was just coming to mention Katsuya Terada. He did a bunch of Zelda-related promo art, the SFC Prince of Persia box art, some Dragon Warrior-related stuff...

TheFattestPat
Dec 28, 2012

Santa Cat Says: Good deeds are the things to always do, just make sure someone is watching you


Bone Dungeon is awesome. I always thought the entire place was the remains of some colossal dragon, and the skeletons you blow up are smaller dragons it had eaten.

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Bregor
May 31, 2013

People are idiots, Leslie.





I loved this game as a kid. It has all the heart and goofiness of Square's SNES era. Gonna go back and read the other two LPs as well.

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