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Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Spoiler Policy: Lenient. If we haven't seen it, tag it.



Magical Starsign is a little-known DS RPG released in late 2006. It was made by Brownie Brown Inc. back when they existed and who you may know more for things like, I dunno, Mother 3 and a couple of the less good Mana series games. Don't worry, though, they made up for that one by making this.

Magical Starsign is a direct sequel to a GBA game called Magical Vacation that you definitely haven't heard of. Mostly because it wasn't released in English. You don't need to know anything about Vacation to understand this game, thankfully, and I'll cover some of the more relevant stuff about it whenever it crops up. And some of the less relevant stuff just because it's fun and interesting.





































Lotus Aura fucked around with this message at 19:46 on Apr 26, 2020

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Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!




So, first off, this game uses the DS's multiscreen functionality a lot. A lot. It's taken into account a lot of times, but it gets occasionally ignored as well. You'll see.



Right out the gate, we have to decide what our element of choice is going to be. Technically this is a difficulty choice, sure, but I wouldn't really say Dark is
that much harder than Light. Regardless, we'll be going with Light for this one.



Gender choice matters very little as well. It sort of affects base stats (boy has more physical strength, girl is more magically inclined) and like one scene is altered based on it but that's all. We'll be going with girl protagonist here, just because I kind of like her design more.



There isn't really much of a canon name for either, but I'm opting for Sugar here. In part because I like how it works in-game and in part to confuse anyone who played this game in Japanese.



So, our journey will be beginning in his little ol' magical academy...



Okay, so names! Most people (everyone important really) is named after food, drinks or confectionary in some way. Especially that last one. Pico is short for Pico de Gallo, a Mexican dish containing tomatoes, onions, cilantro and serranos among other things. His name in the Japanese release was Pomodoro, which is just Italian for "Tomato."



Sorbet is, hopefully, very self-explanatory. Her name in the Japanese release was, uh, Sugar. I told ya that it'd be confusing for anyone who played that one.


She's probably just finishing up her lesson plan. Anyway, it's nothing to get so worked up about.



Chai is, well, it just means "tea" in a fair few languages. So that Indian Chai Tea is just Tea Tea. If you live near a river, there's a good chance you could drink it by the River River.

His name was unchanged in localisation.



Lassi is also an indian drink, but it's also kind of like a yoghurt of sorts. Her Japanese name was Jasmine, so I guess we can also add flowers to the list of possible names now.

yes i know its meant to be the tea





As you would no doubt expect, yes, she is named after the madeleine cakes. How easy and convenient! She's also a returning character from the first game wherein she was, uh, your teacher. Huh.


I'm sure you were all quietly studying your spellbooks while you were waiting for me?



Mokka, as a robot, doesn't quite fit in with everyone else so this is replicated in his name. Naturally, he's named after mocha which definitely stands out compared to everyone else. The intentional mispelling is what pushes it over the edge, really.

He's visually similar, but not the same as, a character from the first game who was also a robot called Café au Lait Rustynail. This similarity is mirrored in his Japanese name, Café Latte, naturally.


Yeah. what's up with that? You're late all the time, but when I forget my homework,



I would call Pico the best, and he's starting out very strong for sure, but that would imply that there is a character who is not the best. And that's just plain untrue.

Oh ho ho! I'm so sorry, my little students. I'll never be late again! I promise! Ahaha... Wah ha ha ha!



...Near as I can tell, Kovomaka isn't referring to anything? I could totally be wrong with that one though. But, whatever, while we're here let's have a little more baklava.

No, yeah, I'm completely wrong here. Kovomaka is the first of many things in this game that pull a trick and just reverse the syllables of their namesake. In this case, we can break it down to ko-vo-ma-ka which flips into Kamavoko. This on its own isn't anything, but b/v are the same letter in Japanese and Kamaboko just so happens to be a type of surimi fish cake.


This solar system contains many unusual planets, all home to their own unique civilizations.

To the many people who live on Kovomaka stories of other planets may as well be nothing more than fairy tales.

But not for long...





Well, that's certainly sort of true...





He sounds really serious, too.
Maybe she is getting fired for being late to class 30 times in a row? Just a guess.



...
Hm. I wonder what they're talking about...

So do I. Fortunately, we're more than capable of seeing into this room!



Principal Biscotti here (named after the Italian almond biscuit) is also a character from Magical Vacation. He was the, uh, principal of the school there too. This might not be super apparent at first since his name there and here (in Japan) was Gran Dragée. Dragée is the name for both a small confectionary tablet and also those little silver-y balls you sometimes see on cakes.

I'm afraid there's simply no other way. Leave your students in my care. We will await your return.





Is that so?



Kale?! You can tell he's a bad guy because he's named after a vegetable!



Also there's space pirates. We're not even 5 minutes in yet, and I'm pretty sure this might just be setting up one of the greatest things ever!


I'm sure you remember him. He seemed a most promising pupil, but I'm afraid to say that he has gone somewhat astray.
It may come to blows, and I pray you defend yourself if it does.
Kale?! With the scruffy hair? But he, was such a sensitive boy. What happened? I can't imagine him being any trouble.



And at this point Lassi sorta spearheads everyone rushing into the room.



You can't leave us!
Teacher! We were listening at the door! We heard everything you discussed!



and also kind of awesome

Students, please! This conversation was not meant for your inquisitive ears.
Teacher! All of that talk about other planets... Are you honestly planning on going into space?
Please, I'll be fine. You should be more worried about your tome reports. They're due next week!





It's the same day, so I imagine something to do with the eavesdropping? Maybe?

I wish I knew. But haven't you noticed that Miss Madeleine doesn't seem like herself today?



You know what I think? I think it's 'cuz of something Pico did!



I mean... I didn't DO anything!
Sugar, why don't you ask Miss Madeleine what's going on?
Yeah, Sugar, go ask her!



We do kind of have some degree of control now, and man are the controls kind of... not what you'd expect. They're primarily designed for use with the touchscreen to move and talk to people and stuff, right? But you can use the d-pad and/or face buttons to move around. L and R both act as confirmation, to get through dialogue and examine stuff, which is nice at least.

...There is no way to open menus or select dialogue options without using the touchscreen though.

Oh well, that's my concern, not yours. Speaking of talking to folks, though, before we go talk to Madeleine, let's see what everyone else has to say.




She's definitely acting a little strange today. Hey. Sugar. Go ask Miss Madeleine what's up.

Do you think she knows I hid my carrots in the cafeteria planter?
Oh, jeez... I am SO expelled... Sob...

Beebzzrrbbt... I sense deep seriousness emanating from Miss Madeleine.

Man... Everyone always tries to blame me when anything happens around here. It's totally unfair!
Er, well... I guess they're usually right, in a way.
HAH!

Alright, so, Madeleine!





Don't forget everyone else. Sugar is important and all but she's not the only one!


Ah, and I see you're all here.
Miss Madeleine! What's going on?



But this lesson isn't about your standard spell-flinging, so listen well. The skills I will teach you now are designed for extreme circumstances.



Whoa, whoa, whoa! If you're teaching us how to defend ourselves, does that mean you're taking us with you to Puffoon?!
Ah, err, em... No, children. I'm going to the wind planet alone.



Now, then...Sugar! Step forward, please.



So, tutorials. We'll be skipping past... most of them, since they don't matter here too much.



But some of them are useful to know just to help explain stuff that does matter. There's a front and back row for both you and the enemy. Melee attacks can't be used from the back nor can they hit things in the back.



Magic has no qualms with that, though. It's Magic and this is an RPG. It follows its own rules!



So much so that using it from the backrow is the way to make it multi-target, even. Front row is all single target only. For example:



This is Sorbet's spell from the front row.



Elemental stuff is pretty basic and simple, but good to know anyway. Fire beats Wood beats Wind beats Earth beats Water beats Fire. Light and Dark beat each other, naturally. Very Pokemon, very simple. Hitting a weakness deals double damage, hitting a resist deals half. Oddly this leads to a situation where Fire sign enemies are neutral to Fire, for example.

...Oh and yes, there are SIGNIFICANTLY less elements here than in Vacation. None of those weird ones like Beauty or Bio or Sound this time around.



Now this? This is important. The Astrolog tells us about something very useful and that'll come up the most often. This graph is split into five sectors, right? When a planet is in the sector that matches its sign (like how the Fire planet is in the Fire space and the same with Earth), it gets that little white outline and all attacks with that element are powered up.



There's no Light/Dark planets; instead, those are time based. In-game time, not real world time, mercifully.


This is very important to remember! Well? Do you have the hang of this?
Yes.



Anyway. It's time for the final exam for this little crash course! All of you must attempt to take down these targets.



And so we get thrown into our first real battle... kind of.

3x Magic Dummy



Between the time of day, and the quirk of timing, it is totally possible to get a lot of matching signs already.



It's also important to note that there is one useful mechanic Madeleine neglected to tell us about. Yes, I will be using it. No, not until later. It doesn't really make a difference for a while is all.



Oh right and this is Sorbet's spell from the backrow. Just to compare it to the one from before!



Oh right, so, real quick all things in combat are touchscreen only. Not a super-big deal but it does mean that I won't be able to show what I'm doing quite so easily until I select things. Top-screen gives us an overview of our party's HP and MP, as well as tells us what elements are powered up.

The ring of options is pretty simple so I'll go over that as quickly as I can from the top-right going clockwise:

Physical Attacks: everyone has one. It's not very useful, naturally, but some folks'll need it more than others (Mokka has 5MP, jeez). MP DOES regen on that character's turn but it's a very slow rate at first, since its proportional to max. Sugar regens 10% so she gets back 2, for example, and since her spell costs 7...

Guard: You, uh, guard. Takes reduced damage but that's all it does. It can come in handy sometimes I guess but I almost never bother with it.

Repeat: Speeds up stuff nicely. Repeats the last action that character took. I, uh, kinda forget to use it a lot of the time...

Move: Move between front and back rows. Depending on party composition at the time and the enemy team this can also be pretty useful.

Flee: Escape from battle. I'll pass, thanks.

Item: Use an item. It's a nice and quick way to heal, regain SP, maybe do a bit of damage/ailments/buffs. There's a lot of neat itemstuff.

Magic: The most used option by far, naturally. Or maybe second, depending on how long your fights last for Repeating things. It's exactly what you'd think, really; everyone has 1-5 spells of their own element (depending on their level - right now it's just 1).



The Magic Dummies are just training dummies at the end of the day, so all they can do is bop a single character with a basic melee attack.



No items, no money but 100 EXP is nice and all.



Since it means that they push us up to level 2 already. It's always 100 EXP to level, but how much you gain does scale based on your current level vs the enemy level, yes (Magic Dummy is level 1, of course).


End



Good. We'll end your lessons for today. However, I've written everything you need to know down in your encyclopedia.
If you check your Magical Navigator in your pocket, you can review it whenever you want.
With that information at your fingertips, you'll be all set for galactic fun!
Are you serious? Are WE going to travel to space, too?
So, wait, we're all going to space now? Cool.
Whoa ho ho! No, no, I'll be going alone. Yes, quite alone.



What could happen to you? You're Miss Madeleine. You know... well, everything.
Well, I don't know... just a weird feeling, is all. I don't want to alarm you.
The important thing to remember is this: You each have great power. Believe in it.



Principal Biscotti wouldn't say a word about where she had gone. He simply hung his head and said this:



He looked sad...

And more than a little worried.

Hmm, I also have a vague, foreshadowy feeling. And that feeling is telling me that even though this seems like a short beginning (it's only about half the prologue!), we'll need to take a bit of a break here because the back-half is much denser with talky bits. Stay tuned!

Lotus Aura fucked around with this message at 23:52 on Dec 14, 2018

David Corbett
Feb 6, 2008

Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world.


This looks like it has a ton of character. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.



I bought this one a year or two ago and played for a while, but not to the end. It gets zany.

Is there a way to make combat go faster?

curiousCat
Sep 23, 2012

Does this look like the face of mercy, kupo?


This seems cute.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Oh, it's this game! I remember being interested but could never play it myself. It'll be cool to see how it goes.

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

REAL TOP DOG SHIT
We Have Unlocked Woke Junpei Mode
Fuck Up Cops 2020
Beloved Forums Poster
Evolved Heightened Level Junpei
Junpei Is Not Ironic And That Is Why He Is Good

I remember... something about this. Not sure what, though. Still, am interested.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

These character designs sure are something. I'm having trouble with the protagonists' mouths, either gender. Also, is it me or does the teacher look like Miss Frizzle from The Magic Schoolbus?

EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.


I played this game a bit until it really started kicking my butt, then I returned it because the charm got buffed off by that point.

It's still pretty good!

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I played this and yet remember almost nothing about it.

Serifina
Oct 30, 2011

So... dizzy...


I actually wanted to play this but I never got my hands on it. It looks absolutely adorable.

TCat
Oct 10, 2012

I'll save you the time and call myself a loser

You mentioned Magical Vacation in the OP and the hilarious thing is although it didn't get an English release I remember it having a page talking about it in an old Nintendo Power I used to own. I know it was Vacation and not Starsign because the issue predated the DS. Man now I'm feeling all nostalgic and weird.

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Huh, that's pretty neat. I've never read much Nintendo Power, personally, so I didn't know that Vacation came up in it!

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!




Welcome back! Today we engage in the old classic: a timeskip. It's only a short one, and it's just to cut out unimportant filler stuff anyway so I can't complain.



We rejoin the kids (minus 1) back in the meditation room, I see.


Yup. She's not here.
What's the matter, Pico? Chai? Looking for someone?



Well, that explains why she isn't he--

Wait, hang on. How did you lose Lassi??


I don't know what got into her head. She went totally psycho, talkin' about how she was gonna take off into space or something.
Space? What gave her that idea?
Lassi must think she can find Miss Madeleine on the wind planet, right?
I mean, it's been, what, three months since anyone saw her, right?



I feel like Chai's being a bit too presumptuous with this one. Space is kinda big, so who knows how long it takes to get to Puffoon from here.

Hmm... We're all a little worried about Miss Madeleine, but how does she expect to get into space?
Hey! Maybe...
What, do you know something? Out with it!



Yeah. That was really funny.



I know it's just because of general magic stuff, but I'm kind of surprised that this school has a necromancy lab. That... seems like a bad idea.

Oh, man... that was hilarious. Wait a second. Are you saying she's actually trying to find that rocket?!
Whoa, Chai! Do you think it really exists?! We've gotta find it!
Yeah, let's go scout around and see what we can find.



And with that, the two boys head on off in search of a rocket ship that probably doesn't exist.

Those two are hopeless on their own. I'd better go along.

Best make that the two boys and Sorbet.





But, hey, now we have control and are free to head on out in search of the rocket as well. But first, Mokka's still here so let's see what he thinks of this whole thing.




Yes!
Fine. I guess I better come with you. Someone has to talk you out of doing anything stupid... and human.



Now I feel like we can explore the school in moderate safety. Much better to have a party member than to be running solo, after all.



There's not much in the way of environmental flavour here at Will-o'-Wisp Academy, disappointingly. This statue might be referencing something from Magical Vacation, but I don't think it is. I could be misremembering, though!




That laugh bounces around in my head. And my head used to be such a quiet, empty place...

There's a bunch of other students to talk to, but Jonesy is the most important right now. Professor Pistachio here is just another teacher in the school, and is Sir Not Appearing In This Game. He was, however, in Vacation as a playable character no less!



So, Pistachio Maplewood was a student during the time of Magical Vacation. His primary element was, obviously, Wood though he could also cast some Beast elemental stuff if I remember right. He formally joined the party just in time for the first boss fight and ultimately ended up graduating from Will-O'-Wisp Academy with a doctorate.

...And yes, those are some spare pants he is wearing as a hat.

But that's the past. We're not really all that interested in something like that, now, are we?



Y'know, it's the weirdest thing. We might very well have been in the room when it came up.



It's kind of a shame this school doesn't seem to have lockers. Alan is the exact right type of person to make one a second home for a while.



But, anyway, upstairs there's a couple doors that don't open.

At least not in the main game. We'd be able to get to access more of the school in a multiplayer dungeon but that's not available any more unfortunately!



The door over here, to the right of Jammy, is the only one that'll open and it's going to lead us to some kind of storage room, huh? It's the only place we can go, so...



We'll head on in, and realise that we're not quite there yet. The storage closet is up some more stairs and Sorbet's already bolted on up there, huh? Let's follow her on in!




It looks like you might be able to climb it, huh?
I sense traces of previous access. Someone has climbed through here before us.

It's kind of an obvious faux-ladder, and it even has an arrow there pointing upwards, so I'm not too surprised someone beat us here.



So we can't be first, but we can be next!




Someone must have been performing an experiment here.
An experiment? What kind of experiment?





Huh, that's a... very large door.

What is up with that door?!
I just accessed the school's architectural blueprints, and there is no record of this door. How curious.



So it's clear that our next point of order is to check out the giant double doors, but first I wonder what these two have to say about this.



What a weird door.

Insightful. Let's go check it out, then, shall we?

...And, yeah, I did try to examine the machine for nonspecific experiments but that's not something we can interact with at all.



On the plus side, apparently the door is a character itself.




Yes.



If you seek to pass, show me your power. Touch the symbol of light inside your pocket.



Sure enough, inside the bag we have a new symbol to examine. Let's just give that a tap and see what happens!





My optical sensors are overloaded...





Sugar, you opened the door!
Who knew there was such a creepy door in the back of this storage closet?
And who put this back here, anyway? Well, it's open now. We might as well see what it was guarding, right?

We could head on through the door right now, but we should see what the gang have to say first.



His portrait really doesn't help here, but it's super-easy to read everything Mokka says as overly sarcastic. That one definitely can't just be me.


Lassi must have come through here, too. What do you think? Should we go in?

We should! Let's see what lies beyond.



I bet those are Lassi's footprints! But what is she doing back here?



This ladder here? It's really tall.

A really tall ladder, huh...? I need a moment for this. This is gonna be a lot of work...



This is odd. There is a lot of suspicious-looking machinery around here. Excitingly suspicious, even.





Huh, there's not just one rocket. There's six of 'em. Pretty convenient, huh?

This rocket seems to be in pristine condition. It could be spaceworthy!



What are all these pointy pog things doing here?!
No. Way. The rumors were true!
Even after she told us, I half-doubted that Miss Madeleine was going to Puffoon.
I guess she was serious, though. These are space rockets!

We can approach the rockets now, but since we finally have everyone (minus Lassi) back together...



Is she insane? She's pushing buttons in there!
I have been wirelessly communicating with this rocket, and it insists that all of its systems and subsystems are good to go.
So, wait. You're saying if we climb in one, we can blast off? Like, into space? Whoa.







Now opeing launch bay doors...

Liftoff in T-minus 70 seconds...

Lift Off
its much easier to just watch this





It's 12 o'clock, and that means one thing...



As the school begins to shake, and everyone is aware that something is happening right now.



The clock tower begins to open....



Revealing the space rockets stored within.






I wonder what this lever does?





Whatever it is, it's sufficient to begin to power up the rocket...



And just like that...



Off she goes.



Soaring higher and higher above the school...



The dust around the top of the clocktower begins to settle, and we can rise to our feet.




Er...
Gah!
Whoa...



It seems everyone here is currently incapacitated. The only thing to do is go after Lassi ourselves.







> All systems are go!



> Liftoff preparation sequence complete.
> Pull the lever to initiate launch.



And just like that...







Our rocket begins to properly fire its thrusters...



And off we go, right after Lassi.



We very, very quickly leave the landing site inside the clocktower.



This time, however, we get the attention of Biscotti himself.



And he immediately beelines for the storage closet.



But it's already too late. Both Sugar and Lassi are gone...



Still, he doesn't know that so he continues onwards and upwards.



And speaks to a student to confirm his suspicions.



Meanwhile, just outside of Kovomaka as a whole...



A rocket has long left the atmosphere and is flying past a bunch of asteroids.





But a second rocket catches up to the first...



And the two ships fly in tandem for a few brief moments.



This swiftly ends as one of the ships grazes one of the asteroids, and sends it out of control.



I dunno, I think Lassi's taking it well.



This clearly isn't the wind planet...



But it's where both Lassi and Sugar make a... ahem... emergency landing, let's say.





Man, I can't believe Sugar is dead.

Lotus Aura fucked around with this message at 01:04 on Nov 12, 2018

mateo360
Mar 20, 2012

TOO MANY PEOPLE MERLOCK!
ONLY ONE DIJON!


those school shots and the rocket launches look like they came out of a 90's educational PC game.

Dragonatrix posted:




Our rocket begins to properly fire its thrusters...



And the two ships fly in tandem for a few brief moments.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

God dammit I just realized that Lassi is a dog.

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User




TooMuchAbstraction posted:

God dammit I just realized that Lassi is a dog.

She's a rabbit. But a dog would have been funnier.

MightyPretenders
Feb 21, 2014



The loss of Nintendo Wi Fi connection is a shame, but it doesn't make any difference for this game. Magical Starsign can only use Local wifi.

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Y'know, I keep forgetting that not a lot actually used the online proper even when it seems like it does. In this case, I've never done most of the multiplayer stuff at all, honestly, because I never knew anyone else that'd even played it.

MightyPretenders
Feb 21, 2014



Well, this was released very early in the system's life.

Poltergrift
Feb 16, 2014



"When I grow up, I'm gonna be a proper swordsman. One with clothes."


Loved this game when I was a kid. Then I lost the cartridge.

Ground floor! Looking forward to seeing this play out.

Mikl
Nov 8, 2009

Vote shit sandwich or the shit sandwich gets it!


Oh hey this game! I played it for a while because someone lent me their cartridge, but then I returned it and didn't play any more. Looking forward to this!

SloppyDoughnuts
Apr 9, 2010

I set fire to the rain watched it pour as I touched your face

Am I the only one who thinks the art style and menus are really ugly?

EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.


The art style is based heavily on Legend of Mana, where everyone had a nicely detailed static portrait.

Magical Starsign kinda messes this up with throwing expressions on those characters and deciding to emphasize the clarity of those expressions (IE: this person is obviously distressed, laughing, etc.) instead of the detail of the portait. Like, Sorbet's panic face has a stock anime mouth-dumbell with a single fill of coloring and it looks ugly.
That's probably the worst example though.

The Battle Menu is a DS touch menu and it gets the job done. There's some gold/yellow frill on the text boxes and other information but they don't get in the way (which is good) and are ultimately ignorable (which isn't a point in their favor for existing in the first place.)

SloppyDoughnuts
Apr 9, 2010

I set fire to the rain watched it pour as I touched your face

I couldn't pin down what was so ugly about the art, but you nailed it pretty firmly. It seems inconsistent in what it's trying to be.

Also I find the gold-on-pink of the menus to be ugly as all get out.

Bellmaker
Oct 18, 2008

Chapter DOOF




Thread title should really be Phantasy Mana Star because Brownie Brown basically made a new Phantasy Star game and nobody knows about it but meeeeee

I found the gameplay pretty enjoyable with the team dynamics we've seen a bit of already and I wish more games did what this does with MP for spellcasters.

Bellmaker fucked around with this message at 12:36 on Nov 4, 2018

Serifina
Oct 30, 2011

So... dizzy...


But... It's not Phantasy Star. Like, I love and adore Phantasy Star (PS4 is one of my favorite games of all time) But this... Eeeh, I guess there are some similarities, but I still think it's a stretch.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Madeline and Mokka has basically the best art of the seen characters with Lassi easily being the worst, but yeah I remember the last attempt to LP it how the game looks fun but the character art is awful

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Bellmaker posted:

Thread title should really be Phantasy Mana Star because Brownie Brown basically made a new Phantasy Star game and nobody knows about it but meeeeee

I honestly don't know much of anything about Phantasy Star, since I've never really been able to get into it. The only one I've really played is Zero and I'm pretty sure that's incredibly atypical for the series.

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Welcome back, my good natured students!



Today we find ourselves beginning our undoubtedly very long field trip, starting with the planet Erd. In its more native tongue, Erd is also called "Hikarabita" which means to dry up or go stale.



Lassi crashed not too far from where we ended up also crashing. Impressively enough, she thought ahead and brought some supplies.



It's really just the one bottle of water but it's still more than we thought about.



It's not even common drinking water, but it can certainly be used for it at least. It does make some sense that Lassi expected to need to cool the engine off before reaching anywhere else civilized, I guess.



Really though, I'm just curious how and where she found it as well as knew what it was.






Huh? Whuzzza? Sugar!? Is that you? What are you doing here?
For that matter, where is here, anyway? We're not on Kovomaka anymore, are we?
I remember zooming through the blackness for a while, and... I remember Kovomaka getting smaller and smaller.
And I remember these other stars and all getting bigger and bigger! But... that's all I remember.
But I'm all OK now! Now I've got you with me, Sugar! We're in this weirdness together, now.





I wonder if my rocket landed OK. Let's go check it out.

We can begin to explore the area, but first we should make sure we have a way out if needed.



Erd is very windy (as you can probably tell!), but it's also very rocky and dry and covered in sand. I don't know what a wind planet would look like exactly, but it probably wouldn't be a barren wasteland.




If we run into trouble with any...gulp!...space monsters, we can always come back here to get all patched up.

But, hey, silver lining. If we get injured, we have a free full heal in the form of Lassi's rocket (and only Lassi's rocket) sitting here.



There isn't much to find right now, though. There's no one around to talk to, no fights... this gate to the south is the only thing we can examine other than our rockets.




And if we try to go north, there's a more powerful wind that prevents us from going anywhere.



If we check our bag, we have another small symbol here. If the white one represents Sugar's power with the Light starsign, then...










Don't sweat it, Sugar! I know your light magic will come in handy soon enough!



Lassi had to go and tempt fate...





Aaaaaaaaah!

Ant Lion



So, our first real fight! We don't have our full party this time, and the Ant Lion is... well, he's just a thing, I guess.



He's an Earth starsign creature, as you'd expect, so let's see what Lassi can do to him. Remember that right now, she does not have the wind planet in the right spot on the Astrology chart...



I'd say 100 right now is pretty decent, but that's just me.



Sure, Sugar can ever-so-slightly outdamage that, but she's got synergy from the time of day boosting it.



The Ant Lion itself only has a couple of attacks, really.



It has this thing which hits everyone for some Earth damage. This is really not a big deal, to be honest.



And it has this for its single-target attack, which... so, remember how I said the game uses both screens for stuff?



Yeah, this is the first time really seeing that. The stuff we could do against the Magical Dummies doesn't really count, for reasons that'll make sense later. Just, uh, just keep this in mind for now.



But, well, that's all it can do. It has 650HP, is level 2 and.. uh, that's basically it. It's a decent amount of EXP, and it gives us a Green Frog for good measure. A common healing item that'll see use later since we don't have a healing spell yet.


End



I bet that's what Miss Madeleine was talking about when she said that the power of the planets would help us!

Now that we can continue further north, we'll carry on in that direction. Forward, march!



What is THAT?! It's HUUUUGE!



Yes.
It's risky... and probably totally stupid, too! But I'm coming with you.



The "Kahve Ruins," huh? I guess we're gonna exploring the ruins of coffee this time.



Seems pretty straight forward for the most part, so we'll check out the door immediately in front of us firs--



Oh. Well in that case, we'll head on over to the top-left corner. There's nothing to the right, unfortunately.




Aggghhh! Something's coming!



Yeooorrrrgg!



So, we have to fight 4 Sentry Mk 1's here. They, uh, this isn't an actually difficult fight. A single Arclight or Wind Talon will one-shot any of them from the front row.



They also have exactly one attack, that you'll see a grand total of twice.



Both times in the same round, so...



They only give 5EXP and Bira apiece, so that's 20 of each which is... kind of eh, but it's important to remember anyway.



We can now head on through the door there, which brings us up to the 2nd floor. It's mostly empty but it has this. It's currently not doing anything though...




No.
You're pretty brave, Sugar. OK, I guess I can keep going, too.



...Huh, I can't say I expected to find a rocket here.



Isn't that a... rocket?!
Yes.
We should borrow it and see if we can't get ourselves to Puffoon, don't you think?



I did mean it when I said it was kind of difficult to determine who is the best character.

It turns out it's everyone. They're all the best.



There's nothing else on this floor, so we'll just head on over and snag the rocket.



...Or, rather, try to. Four more Sentries decide to try their luck against us, huh?




Intruders detected. Run anti-spyware utility.



In a shocking twist, these guys brought a 5th different model robot! I wonder how a pincer attack is gonna work with this battle system...



Electro-knuckle charging... Ready to fire. Target acquired and locked. Firing in T-minus...
Uh-oh. RUN FOR IT!

mastersord
Feb 15, 2001

Gold Card Putty Fan Club
Member Since 2017!


Soiled Meat

The character designs STRONGLY remind me of the GBA remake of Sword of Mana.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I think I figure out why Lassi's design is so bad - her eyes are way too low, so it looks like she has a six-head under those bangs.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe



This is some A-tier mook writing here. I appreciate when random mook robots are programmed with an attitude.

Jade Rider
May 11, 2007

All the pages have been censored except for "heck," and she misread that one.




TooMuchAbstraction posted:



This is some A-tier mook writing here. I appreciate when random mook robots are programmed with an attitude.

If there's one thing this game knocks out of the park, it's the writing for sure.

Veriun
Mar 9, 2013

As long as we're alive,
good things will come.

And we'll be okay.


Oh hey, this game! I found it on sale a couple of years back - got stuck on a boss and never really picked it back up. I had no idea about the names being food inspired - the only references I got were Mokka, Sorbet and Chai. Looking forward to see all the other stuff that went completely over my head!

sudonim
Oct 6, 2005


mastersord posted:

The character designs STRONGLY remind me of the GBA remake of Sword of Mana.
Yeah Brownie Brown, the studio that did this game, was the contract developer for Sword of Mana (though these days they're owned by Nintendo and named 1-UP Studios).

Curious if the game will do anything with more it, but it's a nice touch that the robots that attack you have a lot of design similarity with Mokka, a robot.

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!


Veriun posted:

I had no idea about the names being food inspired - the only references I got were Mokka, Sorbet and Chai.

There's definitely a few that I didn't pick up on, because they're a little different or more clever about it so that's pretty fair. At the same time, a lot of the really blunt, obvious ones are just given to generic NPCs so if you don't talk to folks a lot, it's easy to miss too.

And, then you get the ones that have different themes entirely. There's a few very early on that I never got until an off-site friend figured it out, even.

Lotus Aura
Aug 16, 2009

KNEEL BEFORE THE WICKED KING!




So, as you may recall, last time we tried to "borrow" a rocket but Robot D12S got in the way and electrocuted both Sugar and Lassi with a single punch.



Now we're in the Gumbo Gaol. Gotta love that sweet alliteration.





And now that we've been sealed in, by these dastardly spikes, D12S and co. just leave.



Considering the large robot guard they have here, I'm not sure I can blame them really. I'd probably just up and leave too.

The big bot just paces back and forth, stopping briefly only to look into our... cells? Sure, let's go with that.



This is a perfect opportunity to short its circuits and just waltz on out.



This gives us a good chance to nab that chest you probably noticed earlier. Sugarstars are... important. We will need these, I'm sure.



There's nothing else here, 'cept the control panel so let's give it a push.






I have a bad feeling about this.

Now that Lassi is technically free, we should go collect her before we leave.





You came to rescue me?!
Yes.
You are SO my hero! Did you beat up that gigantic robo-guard?

Not quite, but uh...



It is kinda in the pit of spikes and it had a blowing up animation so we're fine.



okay maybe we'll have to tear this thing apart


Securitron



Our fourth actual fight, and the second one that's a 2-v-1 against a big thing. At least the Securitron doesn't take up both screens...? And probably won't crumple if we sneeze on it.



Its moveset is a bit more varied than the Ant Lion's "hit one person or hit both" two moves but that's not saying much. Lock-On, naturally, doesn't even deal damage. The order it locks on also does not matter, sorry.



It follows up on this by shooting out 3 missiles. It hits Sugar and Lassi the number of times each one got a lock-on target, but that's all. The order the missiles are fired is not the same as the lock on.



Its final attack is to just hit both Sugar and Lassi for low damage.



Unlike everything else so far, though, when it gets low on HP it has a different idle sprite. I guess that's something...?



And, hey, he pushes us to level 3 which is nice. Since we're still fighting things at fixed points, this was a question of "when" and not "if."



He even gives us an item of... well, its just a thing we can sell. You'd think it'd be low value since its rusty (and its description tells you its not worth much) but its actually worth 15 Bira which is, uh... really not a lot, yeah.


End



Alright, NOW we can leave this room.





I don't know what it is, but what I do know is that we're going to follow it. Not like we can go anywhere else right now anyway.



Oh man, holes in the ground!



They don't seem important, but they contain worms! We just need to tap on it when its wandering around and...



...it burrows back into the wormhole and gives us a fight, whoops. Timed that badly.



And since we're no longer dealing with fixed encounters, we get a slightly different battle transition. This is how its used for all randoms as well. It shows us (one of) the monster we're about to fight on the top screen which is... kind of useful, I guess?



We got kinda lucky and got to fight 3 Mud Jammers. They're not really threatening or anything, they're level 1 even, but this is the max we can fight in one battle.



As you would expect from things from the Earth planet, their Starsign is Earth. Their only attack is physical, though.



Upon besting these 3 devious foes, we get their tiny EXP, the 15 Bira from each and also the worm from the hole. Yellow gummy worms are good and useful.



Since they're an MP restorative and all. They're also fairly common and while not super necessary, since we restore MP naturally, they are still very nice to have. Especially for Sugar who's MP regen is fairly low right now and all.



Nab the other worm, this time without a fight, and carry on to see a... hat lying on the floor? Let's give THAT a poke to see what it is.




If you give me a sugarstar, I'll create a Warp Point for you right here!



So, what do you say? Do we have a deal?
Yes.
And just like that, it's all taken care of. Wasn't that easy?
Anytime you want to warp, just pop your ol' Magical Navigator open. Easy!
Right then, be seeing you! You know, if you don't have any sugarstars, just poke around on the ground.
You can usually find some after there's been a strong wind. I'd look myself, but I'm kinda busy here.
Oh, you'll have better luck if you look near a pot. Wish I knew why, but there you go.

So, Pizza gives us fast travel! Kind of. We can warp back to this spot for free infinitely, whenever we're on Erd. It'll... probably be useful? Maybe? Some later ones definitely are.

He was also in Magical Vacation, completely the same as he is here now. He didn't ask for Sugarstars though; instead, he wanted Pinecones instead. That's it. That's the only difference.



Carrying along south, we can find a giant hole in the ground. I'd love to see the gummy worm that made that one, but we'l follow the path for now.



But it just comes to a different, closed off gate. Never mind then!



Guess we're jumping into the hole. This can only end well.



See? We're in a... Spiny Mole Hole...?



Leyden is a type of Dutch cheese.


Hop on back to where you came from!
No.
No? Ah, well. At least I tried, right?



Following the path on up, we come across Asiago, an Italian hard cheese.

Yes.
You're joking! Really? I don't mean to sound rude, but I'd thought those robots were pretty powerful, and you look pretty... not.

Well, too bad. That DOES sound insanely rude!



And at the end of the path we find a semi-soft Italian cheese. Hmm...


Yeah, that was us, but... Honestly, we don't really know what's going on around here.
We're just trying to find the wind planet and rescue our teacher.
I'm pretty sure we're on the wrong planet, but... where are we, anyway?
You're a long way from Puffoon, that's for sure! No, you're on Erd, the earth planet!



Uhhh. Yeah. Spiny moles?
Yeah, we have a legend! It say that when



Slobber... Oops, excuse me! It makes me drool a little bit just thinking about it.
And you're saying we're those heroes?
Exactly! I mean, you are, aren't you?
I'm not so sure about that...
Maybe you'd better see our king. He's been waiting for you to arrive. We all have, actually!



And with that, Fontina moves out of our way and lets us into the Spiny Mole's home...



Havarti is semi-soft Danish cheese.

Peat moss isn't a cheese, what's with this name?! I guess its fitting because moles, but come on. There's a theme here!



Romano is a hard Italian cheese, and is just a general classification of cheese in America and Canada.


You were heading for Puffoon, but you ended up here by mistake? Smooth. Real smooth.



I'm going to presume you're not a complete idiot and know what parmesan is.

They say our king is the greatest digger in the galaxy. Maybe His Royal Highness can dig a hole to the wind planet...
Nah, what am I saying? That's impossible, even for his majestic claws.



...So, yeah, every single spiny mole is named after cheese in some way. Most are just an actual cheese itself, of course, but some are a type or class of cheese.

: Oh, what's the point of even telling you? It's not like you can do anything about it. Sigh...



Over to the left, we can find an inn/store which includes Sharp. Sharp is a descriptor of Cheddar cheeses and refers to its age and the affects thereof. Sharp is generally, but not always, between 6 and 9 months.

Not always because, well, this is a loose unregulated label so its not perfect. Figures.



Myzithra (Greek cheese made from goat or sheep milk) runs the item store.



Which is mostly an equipment store. We'll grab 2 Bandanas and 2 Leather Wrists right now, since we can exactly afford that. Just basic armor, nothing to worry about much here.



Anyway, we'll head on over to meet with the Spiny Mole King now. (Gruyere is a hard Swiss cheese, named after the vilage where it was first made.)


I might not be as high and mighty as the great Digging King himself, but I'm doing well enough as the court troubadour...





I don't know if that means I'll ever get to be king, but I do know it means I get awesome birthday presents!

Colby is American; it's a hard Swiss cheese.



Anyway, we have A LOT of books to read here, so...


I don't ask for happiness. I want to give happiness to others. Making other people happy makes me happy! I'm a happy person!



If you were to pinch your nose and close your mouth, you would eventually gasp for air. That's because you depend on fresh air. In space, there is no air. If you were to venture into space unprotected, you would not be able to breathe, like you're pinching your nose. But some brave travelers do venture out into that frightening abyss we call space. It is no small feat!



The house of Gorgonzola is a noble line that has produced many generations of kings in the spiny-mole kingdom. The Gorgonzolas are unparalleled diggers. Some of their detractors have remarked that digging holes is all they are good for. But what else besides digging holes do spiny moles need to do? The power to dig holes is what makes a mole a mole.



This book here is it. This is the most important one.

1: Raise your arms and twist your chin left and right.
2: Flip your arms and do quadruple standing somersaults.
3: Extend your arms and move them in a wavelike motion.
4: Stand on your head and spin around in a fast, circular motion.

Now it's time for some serious steps!

5: Four steps forward, four steps back, and snap those fingers!
6: Keep your head pointed left and dramatically click your boot heels.
7: Repeat the last step.

It's hard, but hang in there.

8: One more time!
9: Take a deeeep breath.

Whew, I sure hope you've got all that. There will be an exam on this!



Once upon a time, there was a spiny mole who had no spines. All the other spiny moles called him names. So embarrassed was this spineless mole that he refused to go outside.

He dug a hole and crawled inside it, and every day, he dug and dug. The villagers soon forgot about this spineless mole.

One day, a storm ravaged the village. The villagers took refuge in the hole that the spineless mole had so carefully dug. The storm began to destroy the hole, so the villagers went deeper and deeper. And at the bottom of the hole, the villagers found the spineless mole curled up and not at all happy.

"Why won't you leave me alone?" the spineless mole pleaded. "Don't look at me! Just go away!"

But all the villagers said, "Thanks to you, we are all safe from the storm! Come outside and be one of us!"

And the spineless mole left the hole and lived happily ever after.



Although the robots of Erd were built by what seems to have been a human civilization, no humans remain on Erd. The robots have found ways to survive without the help of their creators. Their batteries contain gummy cores. While these gummies make a tasty treat for living creatures, the robots depend on them as a source of power.



The Baklava solar system has five planets. Listed from the system's heart, they are as follows:



Scholars and scientists have argued the existence of another plane that orbits outside them.

We know that planet exists, since we came from it in the first place. It's fairly well known, so it's not like there's much to argue about.

Well, maybe. Since Kovomaka isn't on the Astrolog, we can only guess really, but it makes sense to me at least.




Long ago, farther back than any can remember, an extraordinary civilization rose and fell on the planet Erd. Not so long ago, another civilization grew on Erd to replace it, but it also vanished into oblivion. Now, Erd is home to only spiny moles and robots.

We skipped over a couple of unimportant, pointless books, but aside from that we're done over here. Let's head back and go meet the king now.



"Mole empire"? So, you're all moles?



And you are addressing His Royal Majesty, King Gorgonzola, the thirteenth king of the spiny-mole dynasty!
What our minister says is true. We are King Gorgonzola de Formaggio, thirteenth king of this mighty moley monarchy.

The secret to becoming king is to be named after 2 cheeses, instead of just one.

I also like his doofy, twirled mustache that you can barely see.


Judging by your appearance, you are not from this planet. And judging by the fact that you escaped the robots' prison...



Are these the ones sent to bring salvation to our world?



Um... "doomy times"?
The story is well known to our people. You see, when doom comes to this world, heroes from another planet will save us.
You, my young friends, are from another planet. And now, I fear, is indeed the end we have feared for so long.
Once, we had many magicians living in this kingdom, but the robots have taken them all away, made prisoners of them.
And our earthworm harvest has dwindled.



We were just trying to get to the wind planet to look for our teacher, Miss Madeleine.
We just crashed here by accident, and now, our rocket is busted, and we can't leave!
Such humility! It speaks well of great heroes that you do not even see your own greatness.
You want to go to Puffoon, and yet you have no ship... and so you want to help us, so that we might help you, yes?
Er... No. That's not really what I was trying to say, exactly.
Don't be so pessimistic, space heroes! We are certain that you will find your way to the planet in due time.
Yes, all in due time. Minister! Fetch us the books.
With all haste, Your Clawfulness!



Here you are.
The prophecy is written in two books. One is the Book of Darkness. The other is the Book of Light. Read from the Book of Darkness!
Yes, Your Majesty. Ahem.



Allow me to read on.



The ant queen?
Yes, the scourge of our people. The ant queen. She has harried our kind for far too long, and she must be stopped.
This is the favor we must ask of you! Vanquish the ant queen! Will you accept our request?
Yes.
Ah, you have our gratitude.
Uhhh, Sugar? Didn't you, uhh, hear the whole bit about "the scourge of our people"? Are you sure about this?



"But the heroes' journey will not end. They will continue on to greater deeds..."
A wormy paradise? I didn't think it was possible to combine those two words.
The heroes will defeat most villainous evil. The spiny moles will be at their side when that moment comes.
But... you will help us sooner or later, right? Fine. I guess we just have to take your word for it.



Rightly spoken, Your Majesty, but they may need time to make whatever preparations they deem necessary!
Ah, yes, I knew there was a reason we kept you around, Minister! You are ever a gushing font of wisdom.
The heroes shall prepare in our village!



Whew, just a prophecy in a Book of Darkness to uphold. No big deal, no pressure or anything.

So, let's head on back to the royal library real quick...





Now that we've agreed to defeat the Ant Queen, Camembert gives us a small stipend to buy supplies with.



With this, we can head back to the store, get the shirts we were missing and buy a few extra green frogs for good measure. We can't heal if we don't have any right now after all.



Fully geared up now, we can head off to the right-hand side of the village.




They taste pretty good, actually.

There's a soft Portugese cheese here, that likes to murder robots. Considering the only robots we've seen here are jerks, I can't really complain about it.



And there's some loot in here that we can't get yet. Blarmey (Irish cheddar made with semi-skimmed milk) won't let us, since we don't have the King's permission...




Heroes though you are, do not feel the need to be extra-super heroes.
If you take any injuries, come rest at our local inn. It can be dangerous in those caverns, and you must be cautious!

...and he's not going to give us that right now, it seems.



Well, it's not a big deal I'm sure. All we need to do is to head on down, beat up an ant and bring an end to the doomy times. How hard could that be?

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

OK I'm trying to cut back on cheese and this LP isn't helping

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Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

Wait, did they skip over the prophecy from the Light book?

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