The Age of Algol is underway. Now that we've defeated the Giant that was too much for the Saigo Peeps (and for Pigeon's crew), we're... a little at a loss on what to do. So we're just gonna run around now!
There's a place on the map called "Maze of Memory" that's been hanging around for a while that we haven't gone to.
Um, it's not until looking at all of these screenshots closely to write this that I noticed just how... funny Algol's sprite looks. Like, I already thought he looked kind of funny with his differently-sized eyes, but like... what is up with that... pose? from behind? Like, one arm is really thick and short and the other is thin and lanky and stick out like...?????????????
Anyway, uh, Maze of Memory. Weird place. No explanation, but there's four orb thingies hanging out in here. So let's go touch one!
We talk to the green orb and are transported to this place called Green Labyrinth. I'm suddenly overwhelmed by fear because when we arrive, there's no way to go back. So we're just kinda... stuck in some place that we have no idea about. Well, it was nice knowing you, Algol...
Actually, after coming in here, I started to think maybe this was the extra dungeon that was added to the game (that wasn't in the original Super Famicom version). All we can really do is wander around and try to find our way out, I guess! The enemies in here aren't too bad, and it's just some big jungle area. There's a few treasures scattered, around, too. After a little exploring, we're able to at least see a green orb thing, so maybe it will be our ticket out. Or just take us to an even deeper stage of the labyrinth...
But we also see a treasure and treasures are delicious, so we're going to try to get to that first, then go to the green orb.
We actually wander around past the green orb eventually finding our way into the little lake thing so we can walk over to the chest. I was worried that serpent thing in the water was going to be some kind of boss to guard the treasure, but fortunately it was just more small fry.
And for all our hard work, the reward is...!
... FIGHT A DOPPELGANGER :D Yayyyy...
Though we haven't faced these guys since Kzinnsie's house, so hopefully they're a lot easier now.
And in fact, they are. Like super easy, actually. So I guess we kinda wasted some time running around this place. Now back to the green orb.
Touching the orb takes us to a room with some weird-colored goblins. They yell, "Gob Gob!" at us and say enemies are attacking. I think they mean us. I have no idea what is going on. But I think it's super super cute that the goblins say "gob gob."
These "Ancient Goblins" are actually big pushovers. Even easier than the now-easy Doppelganger. So they fall in a single round of combat. You go, Algol.
When we leave the battle scene, the goblins are still there, but they retreat and run off the screen. We now are faced with a white orb and a green orb. I have no idea what these do, and I want to leave, because I feel like I'm not supposed to be here, and I'm trying to find more places to advance the story, so...
I save the game just in case and touch the white orb. It asks if we want to leave. Huzzah!
With still no real direction, we head back to the Child & Mu Calf cave. Because I really, really want to help out the bellydads.
I decided to be super thorough with my exploration this time, and we ended up finding another cry. There was a long tunnel at the "end" where all the caves along the north side of the wall lead to nothing. But walking around in here this time, I just so happened to be walking against the bottom side of the tunnel and happened to hear a cry! We were able to walk through the wall here and head on to more caves and cries, when we finally got to one last cry in front of a cave...
We head inside and THIS THING IS RUNNING AROUND REALLY FAST AND COMING RIGHT FOR US.
I really freaked out and actually ran back out of the cavern to calm down for a second hahaha. This is why I don't play horror games...
After collecting myself, though, we head back in, because, well, what else are we going to do?
This big thing ends up being... Dantarg, one of the Seven Heroes. Oh boy. I was not expecting this... I just wanted to come in here and save a couple kids to make the dads like me...
We demand he allow us to pass and he gets mad. We ask him why one of the Seven Heroes is dicking around in some cave, and he says that his only objective is to get stronger. Wagnas and Noel are bent on revenge, but he doesn't care about that.
We tell him that he has been here so long that time has passed him by, and if all he wants to do is hang out here and try to absorb monsters' power, we'll just let him. He thinks we're threatening him by saying we'll leave him be (???) and fights us. lol.
Dantarg is... some kind of like... horse cow elephant raptor man????? 8)
Also he is very fast and strong. The buffest characters in the party barely have around 500HP, and Dantarg's attacks to even the most well-armored members do something like 700-800 damage at a time...
Even trying to heal every turn, it's only a couple rounds of combat before we're completely wiped out. I guess he wasn't really exaggerating when he said he viewed us as mere insects. He pretty much just stepped on us and squished us and we're dead.
So, the Age of Algol is over already. Oops. And the Age of Topaz begins! Look! She is yellow!! So cute! I love her...
I actually liked having a magic-focused emperor and another mage in the party, so I decided to be REALLY stupid this time and recruit yet another mage to the party! Because you know that's what our party needs is more frail characters to get smashed easily...
So we now have a slightly modified version of the last party -- we have the two Vagabonds in the flanks again, Topaz as empress, the other Court Mage in the back, and now in the front we have the Mage-for-Hire recolor that replaced Algol when he died. Uh, his name was Polaris. I forgot to take screenshots of everyone's names and stats so I don't remember everyone's names, so uh. Polaris. In the front. lol...
Anyway, despite Polaris being a mage, I decked him out in the heaviest armors just like the Heavy Infantry or whatever would get and gave him the Amethyst Axe that we got from defeating the Giant. He has a high Level with Staves, which doubles as the level for Axes, just like in RSG3, so he's actually pretty good with it. And he's got good magics naturally, so I kinda made him some kind of weird warrior mage thing?
We go sit in the throne and a Peep comes. Yay! University! Education! Let's build a school like Lady Sofia!
Just kidding, he wants to upgrade the stupid orchard. :\
I mean, I love my cute little baby tree but like... I want... a school...
But it only costs 0.5mil and we have 2.5mil. The uni cost 2.0mil, so we'll still have enough left over. Just no money for R&D if we need it...
So, in our neverending quest to find out what the heck we're even supposed to be doing, we head to Miles and exit out the east, which takes us to the Steppe. We haven't really gone here yet; this is the place south of the Great Cumberland Wall that we couldn't pass through from the north, where apparently Bokhohn built a ship hideout thing. We also are running into these enemies, and I can't remember if I introduced them yet, but they're like weird... yellow ball things with wings and like??? They are so creepy looking. And to add to the creepy, they are called like "Maggot Ball" or something. I remember they were enemies that appeared at the first huge difficulty spike in Imperial SaGa so I have a natural fear of these creepoes.
The ship is out here. And I don't know if it was moving around at this point, but when I came back, it was moving around. It also gets 'stuck' when it runs into enemies, and it looks like it could have just been stuck on the enemies here. But I remember the first time I saw it, it didn't move, so when I came back and it was moving all around, I was really freaked out.
Anyway, this is gonna go to one of the Seven Heroes so I am cowardly and don't want to go in there. But there seem to be other exits to this place, so maybe we can actually get to other areas from here!
The exits to the north just lead to the Great Wall, which is still closed off.
The southeastern exit takes us to a new place called Savannah, though! Yay! A savannah! Also, please, please look at how cute Topaz is. I want her to be Empress forever...
The Savannah is huge and has tons of exits all over the place, too...
The first place we happen to stumble across is one of the exits to the south.
This takes us to a little encampment? village? something? called Ostro. It's cute and quaint and pretty much there is nothing at all here. But we're able to stay and rest in one of the little huts, so that is cool. Always take the opportunity to rest since it's free almost everywhere and restores all those precious SP and MP.
But as we're sleeping, someone yells out, "Termites!!"
And now I've finally seen the infamous 「アリだ！！」 scene! Or at least I think this is it. When Imperial SaGa was about to be released, the site was just a minigame where you fight off the bug enemies that was based on this "scene." Like, just a person yelled out "termites!" and then you fought them in the minigame by like hovering over them with the mouse. It was stupidly addictive and I played it a lot. Don't judge.
But I didn't actually know what scene it was talking about, so I actually thought that there was some attack on Avalon by a termite army or something in the game. But it must have been referring to this. Or else there's going to be ANOTHER termite raid later!
We go outside and there's... nothing. No one. Just a big hole lol. When we inspect it, we're given the option to hop inside and try to fight the buggers, or to "plug it up." Now, I'm not claiming to be much of an expert on insect extermination, but I just like bugs, and I'm pretty sure if you plug up the hole, you'll only make the problem worse. They can just create more holes and they're still going to be down in there breeding and feeding. So we should probably go after them. Even though I am scared.
The Termite Den is pretty fun. Bugs everywhere and lots of little cave rooms. I like it. Also these bugs are rich for some reason. There are chests littered all over the place with tens of thousands of Crowns in each one.
Now and then there are some holes in the ground, and the place is kinda maze-like. I mean, not REALLY but there's more than just a straight line. We explore all the paths we can before jumping into any holes first, nom up all the treasures, and then starting hopping in.
Eventually one of the holes takes us to this giant staircase that's totally not ominous and foreboding. And I'm totally not scared about walking down it and just press the down button casually without hesitation!
lmaooooooooo what the hell is this T______T
Actually I think I know what this is because I've seen it in Imperial SaGa. Why... do I have so much random knowledge about this game from that single source LOL. But, uh, that doesn't stop it from being super creepy and scary. And the bugs are still running all around. And there are like... eggs...
We can't pass over the big pulsating red tube thing, but we can walk alongside it and discover even more little caves and tunnels down here.
The tunnels are actually getting more sophisticated down here, and there's bugs everywhere. Lots of little rooms, too. And uh, there's a bug attacking this poor mole guy.
We fight off the bug and mole man says that the termites destroyed his home and most of his friends and family became food for the bugs. That's... bleak, man. I'm so sorry Moley :(
But we're here to exterminate! So don't you worry! But yeah, I guess this is actually the Mole village or something, and the termites built their tunnels into here and decided to just eat up the moles. :\
There's another Mole guy on the east side of this area, and when we save him from the bug facing him, he says, "If the termite queen were any more fertile, we could make an omelete!"
I have no idea what that is supposed to imply. Like, those eggs are as big as the moles so why couldn't they make an omelet with just one? And uh, there are like, hundreds of eggs down here, so like...??? What??
We leave out the south exit by second Mole Weirdo and find that the big pulsating pink thing we've been following alongside this entire time is actually... a giant eggsac abdomen of the Termite Queen. Yup, it's alive!
Look at this thing. Look at it.
It's... actually pretty cool hahaha. It's not enough that it's a giant bug with a mile-long pulsating egg sac attached to its body, but it's also some kind of mage wielding two staves??? And one is decorated with a human skull. Talk about your badass bugs. This one is not messing around.
Actually it is, because it dies super easy. I had a really tough time taking this thing down in Imperial SaGa's Abyss Battle mode. But here it just kind of... died. We didn't even have to do anything special.
After defeating the Queen, the big egg sac thing turns black and grey and dies. Kinda gross. Kinda fun. But probably this will stop the termite problem now? It seems like there's still termites in here, but they are probably just stragglers, I hope? It's probably just because we haven't actually left the area yet. Though I guess when we defeat other bosses in other places, the enemies all disappear immediately. Not here, though...? Is there more...?
But when we go back to the Mole Place, there's no more bugs. So I guess we did it! And we talk to the guy and he talks about how great moles are or something. And then out of nowhere we ask him if he can make a Moonlight Comb. Hey! If we get that, we can purify the lake water and take some! Then we'll only need eggshells and we can make the mermaid potion! Yay! Wait, weren't the eggshells supposed to be from the Savannah? Ahhhh, we're getting close!!
Also I think this is overall a hilarious conversation...
"Hey, we killed the Termite Queen."
"Did you know Moles are geniuses with claws?"
"Yes. Do you know how to make Moonlight Combs?"
But yeah, Mole Friend says we need to collect Moonlight and give him some money. Why do they always want money? Do you even use money down here under the ground? Why do you accept foreign currency? This is weird. And don't you know I'm trying to build a school? Think of the children...
But uh, yeah we're supposed to "collect moonlight" and he gives us a Moonlight Pot or something to put it in. Yay, more things that don't make sense or give clear direction! Or at least, I thought for a second... but just walking out of the Termites' Den, I remembered that there were a bunch of random people in inns around the world that say something like, "Did you know this is a famous moon-viewing spot?" or something like that. If only one person had said that, I'd probably have forgotten, but like... multiple people say this in multiple spots. So maybe we're supposed to head to those spots and do something. Wow, a lead!
On the way out, we talk to the other mole guy and he says that once they've repopulated (wait are the two of them the only ones left? Are they gonna make babies? I was just kind of assuming they were both males. Oops.) they'll "be of more use" to us or something, which I'm assuming means they're going to be able to join the party. You can get them as party members in Imperial SaGa. I talk way too much about that game lmao. But anything I know about this game has been seocndhand information implied from that game, since I've been trying not to spoil this game for myself XD
We also find a chest we somehow missed on the way down here which contains a Beetle Robe. It has 8 defense and boosts magic, which is pretty cool, so we equip it to Algol2 in the front.
The people back in the village still seem worried about termite attacks, so I guess we just don't bother telling them we took care of it. Or maybe we really didn't...? We can sleep safely in the town, now, though, so at least they're not popping up at night anymore.
A guy in one of the huts lets us know that there are birds with big eggs in the woods to the east of the Savannah. Hey, hey! We're on our way to getting our Mermaid Potion after all!
He also says that he'll help us anytime and then the Savannah becomes part of the empire. And we're taken back to Avalon. So now we have to trek all the way back out there to go try to find the eggs...
Though at least we do learn that the orchard expansion was completed! And now we're getting a revenue of 4,000 from our tree. The expansion didn't seem to actually do anything except add another worker peep walking around in there.
Still no choice to build the university, but we have an extra 7 million Crowns now, so we order some R&D. I somehow didn't manage to take a screenshot of what it was I ordered, though.
We head back to the Savannah and go east to find a bird nest. That was easy! But there are some snake things attacking the bird or something? The bird is also smaller than the egg so this entire thing is super weird. We tell the snakes to stop it stealing the egg. Because... we want to steal it. lol.
We end up fighting the snakes, which I guess was just one snake creature? Or like multiple snakes tied in a knot? It's called Pyrohydra. Polaris glimmers an axe skill called Phantom Chivalry (lol wtf) which makes a bunch of little Polarises. The description says it uses your energy to create an illusion.
This thing is kinda strong, and keeps taking out party members, but we're able to scrape by spamming our best attacks and healing often. Sadly, Topaz died before the end of the fight, as did one of the Vagabonds, so they didn't get any Levels Up at the end of the battle.
After the battle, the bird is still flying all around the egg, and we think to ourselves about how if we steal the egg, we'll be no better than the monsters we just defeated. It's funny because I was already thinking that when we told them to give us the egg. We're given the options to steal the egg or "rethink priorities." The thing is, this whole time I thought we were looking for eggshells... not like... full, intact, incubated eggs...?
So I choose to rethink priorities because I always pick the goodiegoodie options. And then a bird that is identical to the bird flying around hatches from the egg (I guess they just hatch fully grown?) and the two fly away together. So now we can pick up eggshells! Yay!
I walk to the egg and inspect it and it says, "Received Eggshell." But the egg is still there. So I inspect it again and it says, "Received Eggshell" again. OK. I go into the inventory menu and notice we have 2 eggshells. Then I try inspecting it again; it says it again, and checking the inventory, we now have 3 eggshells. Why are we able to keep picking it up...?
I just mash the button for a while and then open the inventory and we have 34 eggshells. Yay. I guess this is enough. I think we only need one, anyway...
After that, we go exploring around the Savannah some more. There are lots of little villages here, actually. And some of them are even connected via termite tunnels! We find a slightly more developed village called Bihara where we learn that there's a "big fish" in Lake Wyringa. We can actually go to the lake which is north of the town and get in a boat. There are fish underground. If this is anything like the first Romancing SaGa, that means the fish are going to attack us if we take the boat near them. So we leave immediately. We're just seeing what's out here for now.
We also learn about a place called Teretuva which is to the south past the Melu Desert and is sitting at the mouth of the Ilorina River. I had to sit and swap between the screenshot and Vim over and over to make sure I was spelling all that crap right. Apparently the Melu Desert is dangerous, though, and our HP will be halved while in there (!) so that's definitely a no-go for now. But now we have more options for places to explore later when we need things to do.
And with that we're going to head back toward the Steppe and go try to collect moonlight and stuff. But those are tales for another time.