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Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!




From the Desk of The Incredible Yorkshire Tea



Making a LP of Mega Man 9 was a blast: Firstly, it’s a great game on its own merits, from gameplay to soundtrack; secondly, our playthrough and analysis helped me to understand, on a more fundamental level, why it works so well; and thirdly, hanging out with your best bud is a perfect way to spend any evening. I was eagerly looking forward to the sequel.

Fast-forward to the second week of playing through Mega Man 10, and I was telling Natural20 the only way he could make up for inflicting this crap on me was to let me pick the next game.

Choosing a game was tough. Any eligible title from my eclectic range of esoteric poo poo had to fulfil three very important criteria:
1) It must not be a horror game, otherwise Nat will go into Maximum Overwuss and derail the whole thing.
2) It must be fast-paced enough that Nat does not fall asleep at the controls.
3) It must be simple and straightforward enough to avoid baffling Nat, who is a very uncomplicated man with a very basic nervous system.

Out went Resident Evil HD and all the many episodes we would have spent arguing about keys, camera angles and why taking a detour halfway across the map just to avoid that one Hunter is a terrible/perfectly sound idea; out went Grim Fandango and my attempts to explain how the puzzles were totally fine and sensible and made sense, no shut up, YOU’RE the dumb one GEEZ; out went killer7 and… well, pretty much any Grasshopper Manufacture game, really. Eventually, it struck me: Castlevania.

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve grown to love Castlevania. As a kid my only option was Castlevania 64, and since this was in the days when you had to take out a mortgage to pay for a single N64 cartridge I decided to spend my money on Yoshi’s Story instead (totally worth it). It wasn’t until Circle of the Moon that I got hooked, but even then, it was several years before I finally got round to playing Symphony of the Night, probably the most famous installment in the series. Even then, SOTN still managed to impress me with its mixture of intricate 2D art and creative 3D effects, its memorable cast, its simple-yet-effective storyline and its excellent soundtrack. There’s a real sense of majesty to Alucard’s journey, but there’s also a charming goofiness which belies its Hammer-inspired roots. A perfect choice.

Symphony of the Night is a story about many things: the undying nature of evil, the inescapable bonds of destiny our heritage places upon us, and how a few good people can turn the tide in the fight against darkness. Alternatively, it’s a story about an angsty half-vampire with no junk and a serious inability to eat peanuts. I think Nat will like it.

From the Less Amazing Desk of Nat20



This is set to be a video LP of Symphony of the Night. I will be running the game entirely blind whilst Yorkshire Tea acts as my guide, helping me by explaining mechanics I might not understand and ensuring that the run hopefully keeps a relatively brisk pace. Videos are set to release three times a week, usually on some combination of Monday/Tuesday Wednesday/Thursday and Friday/Saturday.

To my chagrin, the blind nature of the run does not lend itself to voting, so unfortunately thread interaction will be limited to laughing as I flail at the game horribly. (The fortunate upside of this is that Tea and I can now afford to bank episodes meaning we shouldn’t see large content breaks)

With that in mind, part of the fun will necessarily be talking about spoilers in the game. As I have to monitor the thread to make sure updates get correctly posted here and that everything with the discussion is fine, I would make the request that spoilers about aspects that I have not encountered be discussed with spoiler tags, like this!. Tea will happily read along and chat about these things with you guys, but I will pointedly always ignore spoiler tags until after we’ve completed the run. This is most important if I've managed to miss something along the way. Please don't highlight it without spoilers.

Tea informs me that the intent is that we clear all the enemies within the game. I have also made it clear that he is not to tell me about hidden rooms or secrets in the game. So if I miss an upgrade I won’t be told about it.

The aim is ideally to see how a player entirely new to the game would progress with as little input as is reasonable, whilst hopefully providing at least a little illuminating commentary on the nature of game design.

We are of course flexible and if people have suggestions about a different way to deal with the run that can be integrated easily, we’ll be happy to include them.

















































































Natural 20 fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2018 around 19:10

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Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Reserved for Fanart/Whatever we might need here.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 01 - Can I die in This?


A quick aside for this episode, I've included a small introduction bridging the discussions that I've had across my other LPs over to this one. I'm not planning on doing it for any other episodes, but equally if people find it completely obnoxious I'd be willing to edit it out.

akkristor
Feb 24, 2014



Go for the knees. He'll fall like an oak!

GeneX
Sep 29, 2014

Pathetic.
Awful Games Done Quick 2018 Survivor




You saved the world from the work of the dreaded shaft

congrats

Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.



Grimey Drawer

Huh, so you're completely blind to metroidvanias in general? I wasn't really interested when I just saw the thread pop up, but knowing this I'm glad I decided to at least have a look. I'll be following for sure.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



IIRC, obtaining the Cube of Zoe causes candles to start dropping items, not enemies. Remember, you got both the Short Sword and the Red Rust before the Cube.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado

Commander Keene posted:

IIRC, obtaining the Cube of Zoe causes candles to start dropping items, not enemies. Remember, you got both the Short Sword and the Red Rust before the Cube.

Correct, this makes Cube of Zoe possibly the single most important relic in the game.

You can also totally Climb the elevator early. You can't get very far up, but you can climb it and get a thing

Looking back a thing I love about SOTN is that it's absolutely jampacked with details. All the backgrounds and areas look really pretty and really distinct. There's some really weird and wonderful things that exist only for a single room and I love it.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Zanzibar Ham posted:

Huh, so you're completely blind to metroidvanias in general? I wasn't really interested when I just saw the thread pop up, but knowing this I'm glad I decided to at least have a look. I'll be following for sure.

It will come up later, but I played the Prime series all the way through and I remember playing some of Super Metroid, but if you asked me anything about that game all I'd be able to say is that speedrunners do weird poo poo with it and there's something about animals and saving time.

It's enough that I'd feel dishonest not mentioning it, but also enough that really, I have no idea how this is going to work at all.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



Natural 20 posted:

It will come up later, but I played the Prime series all the way through and I remember playing some of Super Metroid, but if you asked me anything about that game all I'd be able to say is that speedrunners do weird poo poo with it and there's something about animals and saving time.

It's enough that I'd feel dishonest not mentioning it, but also enough that really, I have no idea how this is going to work at all.
Prime doesn't count as a Metroidvania, but the basics of how you're expected to wander around and explore (and yes, even get lost sometimes) are similar to the Metroidvania sub-genre.

Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.



Grimey Drawer

That's still a lot less experience than usual for a metroidvania LP, so I still intend to follow along I'm interested to see what you'll think of the game.

Shei-kun
Dec 2, 2011

Screw you, physics!


SHIELD SLANDERER!

They're totally useful. You just need to pair them with the correct weapon to horribly break the game.

Also, there's a few spells that aren't useless, but for the most part, you're correct in that stabbing is just better.

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Natural 20 posted:

To my chagrin, the blind nature of the run does not lend itself to voting, so unfortunately thread interaction will be limited to laughing as I flail at the game horribly. (The fortunate upside of this is that Tea and I can now afford to bank episodes meaning we shouldn’t see large content breaks)

Don't forget yelling at the screen in impotent rage, the most attractive part of any blind run aside from "I'm going to ignore the spoiler rules and talk about everything as if it's obvious so I can feel smart for once in my life" that makes Dark Souls streams so popular.

UnSmith
Oct 7, 2008

Dis Ist Ein Raven


AHHHHHHHHHH It's my childhood being played before my eyes. Looks like I'll have to boot this guy up again...

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 02 - Best Murdering Buds

Natural 20 fucked around with this message at Jun 25, 2018 around 22:41

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Ick, small error with the video (it's still fine to watch, it's just not framed properly). I'll be fixing that up and reloading in a bit.

Natural 20 fucked around with this message at Jun 25, 2018 around 21:13

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



The "magic salt" is actually probably plain old vanilla table or rock salt. Salt was believed to have mystical purification powers in many mythologies due to its role in preserving food from decay (which, before it was understood that microbes were the cause, was believed to be the work of witches or demons). Hence the practice of throwing a pinch of spilled salt over your shoulder to ward off evil, or the Supernatural TV show's obsession with rock salt bullets.

The backdash is faster than walking forwards, and can be repeated infinitely (even in the middle of another backdash), so it's a common speedrun tactic to see Alucard sliding backwards through Dracula's Castle.

I can sort of sympathize with Nat20 on the issue of "confusing buttons"; while I have no real problem segregating the Sony and Nintendo controller formats due to the latter using letters to designate buttons and the former using symbols, XBox controllers confuse the hell out of me, because they're like Nintendo controllers, but just different enough to gently caress with my muscle memory.

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Those tables are no joke. Not only are they small enough to be under most weapon swings, with a hitbox large enough (due to those floating tableware) to make reach an issue, but they're placed in spots that can easily knock you into a screen transition or other bad position.

UnSmith
Oct 7, 2008

Dis Ist Ein Raven


Shields are awesome and they offer several benefits including PASSIVE DEFENSE BONUS: so equip your drat shield.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Video's all fixed up!

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


Commander Keene posted:

The "magic salt" is actually probably plain old vanilla table or rock salt. Salt was believed to have mystical purification powers in many mythologies due to its role in preserving food from decay (which, before it was understood that microbes were the cause, was believed to be the work of witches or demons). Hence the practice of throwing a pinch of spilled salt over your shoulder to ward off evil, or the Supernatural TV show's obsession with rock salt bullets.
The Castlevania item is "wibuti" (or vibhuti), which is sacred ash.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado

Commander Keene posted:

The "magic salt" is actually probably plain old vanilla table or rock salt. Salt was believed to have mystical purification powers in many mythologies due to its role in preserving food from decay (which, before it was understood that microbes were the cause, was believed to be the work of witches or demons). Hence the practice of throwing a pinch of spilled salt over your shoulder to ward off evil, or the Supernatural TV show's obsession with rock salt bullets.

The "magic salt" are actually meant to be Vibhuti, blessed scented ashes of the dead from Hindu tradition. Considering that you can kill things with a bible or holy water it makes sense you can kill monsters with Vibhuti since it's also a holy object.

As for shields, you can actually use them to block Gaibon's fireballs, both the regular and the angry mode giant ones. Luck mode is a lot easier when you use your shield effectively. Slogra and Gaibon were bosses from Dracula X/Rondo of Blood as well, so having them here is a callback. You can also Shields up and walk through an Axe Armor's axe, or a skeleton's bone, or a bone slinger's boomerangs or the Stone Rose's projectiles. Basically, with all due respect, I think Yorkshire Tea is just flat wrong and shields are awesome.

UnSmith
Oct 7, 2008

Dis Ist Ein Raven


Omnicrom posted:

The "magic salt" are actually meant to be Vibhuti, blessed scented ashes of the dead from Hindu tradition. Considering that you can kill things with a bible or holy water it makes sense you can kill monsters with Vibhuti since it's also a holy object.

As for shields, you can actually use them to block Gaibon's fireballs, both the regular and the angry mode giant ones. Luck mode is a lot easier when you use your shield effectively. Slogra and Gaibon were bosses from Dracula X/Rondo of Blood as well, so having them here is a callback. You can also Shields up and walk through an Axe Armor's axe, or a skeleton's bone, or a bone slinger's boomerangs or the Stone Rose's projectiles. Basically, with all due respect, I think Yorkshire Tea is just flat wrong and shields are awesome.

Slogra and Gaibon were also in Super Castlevania IV, although they were fought separately at the time

Also, Luck mode is the real Castlevania SOTN mode. No other mode will do.

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


UnSmith posted:

Also, Luck mode is the real Castlevania SOTN mode. No other mode will do.
This. It forces you to think unconventionally and getting weapon drops is actually something you can plan for instead of farming specific items

Seeric
Aug 18, 2011


This second video made me realize that the best and/or most agonizing part of this whole blind LP is going to be how atrociously bad SOTN tends to be at marking the entrances to save rooms and boss fights.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Ah yes, another small update. Since Tea and I can now queue episodes, I've taken to preuploading videos and setting them for timed release.

What this means is that there might be some lag between episodes appearing there and me posting here.

Shei-kun
Dec 2, 2011

Screw you, physics!


Regarding the box pushing puzzle at the beginning of the video: The spikes at the beginning of the video will lift the block if you push it on top of them and make the spikes come out again.

Also, how did you manage to miss three save points

Cerebral Bore
Apr 21, 2010

More-than-deserving candidate for a future Stalinist purge



Fun Shoe

Oh my god the save point missing. Just as a general tip, you do want to at least poke your head into every room you come across. Could save you a lot of grief.

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


Cerebral Bore posted:

Oh my god the save point missing. Just as a general tip, you do want to at least poke your head into every room you come across. Could save you a lot of grief.
And we do mean literally just poke head, not actually go into the room so a stone slab cuts off your escape route and you go "umm that looks like a boss room" like you did with Slogra and Gaibon.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 03 - Eat Book

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


gently caress you it's 3AM and I have a deadline in the morning!

...aw gently caress it, I needed a break anyway.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



"Eat Book" sounds like a command you'd enter in a text-adventure game if you were trying to solve a puzzle and got bored or frustrated. I CAN'T EAT BOOK.

Also, seconding that Harmony has the worst soundtrack I've heard in a Castlevania.

I always have trouble against the Doppelganger; his small size and quick movement combine to make him pretty tough, IMO. I usually resort to spells for damage.

SirSamVimes
Jul 21, 2008





I would say that Doppelganger is one of the harder bosses of the game, if only because for most of the other bosses are extremely easy to accidentally overlevel yourself for.

liquidypoo
Aug 23, 2006

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


Terrible opinions of Monster Hunter aside, I am excited to watch one of my favorite games get a legitimate blind run through. I've had tentative plans to do a, uh, weird LP run of this game for years now, and seeing a blind run oughta give me some ideas for it, should I ever actually start working on it.

That said, I'm going to have to never post in this thread again. The temptation to backseat and otherwise dole out helpful information is far too strong. Yorkshire Tea seems to be taking a hands-off approach while in the expert's seat, so I should respect that.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 04- Woof! Woof!

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Y'all may want to stop being coy and just add "pointing at save points along the way" to the list of permissible info.

akkristor
Feb 24, 2014



Woof. Woof.

Seeric
Aug 18, 2011


I don't think I've ever felt as anxious while playing a Castlevania game as I did while watching the entirety of that library section; this whole run is going to be amazing. At least the map makes it a little easier to figure out which rooms might be save points.

Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.



Grimey Drawer

That trip through the library sure was... educational.

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Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 05- Why Game!?

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