So, Armic's party is getting pretty powered up, but we still have some magic to learn and play around with, so we're going to head to Nakle Lines, one of the scariest subadventures in the game.
In case you've forgotten, this is the place with the five patterns on the ground you must finish, then fight Maane and Malig after each, finally leading up to a battle with the terrifying Tagut in the central laboratory area.
When we first come in, there's a Guckie on the path to one of the lines. A bit curious to see a Rank 1 monster here, when there's usually a lot of high-ranking monsters here, especially after all the subadventuring we've been doing...
But let's go ahead and beat it up. It should be fun to see how powerful we've become compared to these early-game enemies, right?
So we fight our cute little friend and... from just one little scratch, it's already dealing LP damage to Nuage...?
Plus, even after all our attacks, it still is holding up at the end of the turn...
And then it starts to transform!
Or rather, it changed colors. Now it has green fur instead of blue.
Well, I guess I should stop pretending to be confused and surprised. What we've encountered is Rainbow Guckie, that secret optional boss enemy that only appears sometimes and always runs away from you. That elusive monster I've mentioned several times before now. Now is the time!!
This thing is indeed harder than the final boss. Even with Drag Down, it still seemed to do a ton of damage to the party. Either all its attacks count as magic (which would be super weird) or it's invulnerable to status down (much more likely).
It may look cute, but this thing is a terror. I've only encountered them a couple times before, and they wiped my party immediately. But we're pretty strong, so maybe we can fight it? I've never been able to defeat one before.
At the end of each turn, it can sometimes change colors. Each color has its own abilities, so you can use the color to determine which characters you want to send out. Just kidding, it will kill everyone equally :) Well, if you're more prepared and actually know what all the colors can do, I guess that could be helpful, but I don't really know, so...
Even though each color has "unique" abilities, they are pretty much the same three animations with different names and attributes.
The first and most basic attack it can do is Rainbow Claws. Actually, all the colors share this attack, though it may deal different status effects to the character it hits depending on the current color. This attack does decent HP damage, usually around 100-200 to all of the party members (though more like 50 to Pharr). It also has a pretty high LP damage rate. Thankfully, it seems like it can only do 1 LP damage at a time. But it may make you lose an LP even if you still have half of your HP left, so it's quite scary.
Another attack it can do is a dash attack. This is the same animation as a regular Guckie's "Roaring Dash" (which I am pretty sure was a misinterpretation of "Rolling Dash" because it rolls as it does it) but each color has a different name for it. These seem to have less LP damage rate than the Claws, but they do bigger HP damage and seem to have a high rate of inflicting status ailments. Each color's version of the dash attack seems to have different status effects it can deal out, and it seems to be able to land multiple ailments at once, too. This is a very scary attack.
There were even status effects I had never seen before. Something with a weird black sword over the character?
Also, the rolling dash attack is very fast and hard to get a screencap of...
The other attack it can do is a crying attack. It calls into the air, and some little sound wave things pulsate down into all the characters on the field. This doesn't do LP damage, but if your HP is low, you're almost guaranteed to take LP damage from it, similar to Lich's Phantom Shark ability.
This can be especially destructive if you have many characters on the field with low HP, as it will deal the most overall LP damage to the party out of any of the possible attacks.
Each color has a different name for the cry, too, such as "Queen's Sigh" above, but I didn't notice a huge different between them. Perhaps some of them can inflict status ailments, too. This is a big battle for status ailments...
Fortunately, the claw and dash attacks can both be deflected. Everyone but Armic has a decent way to deflect attacks, and some characters like Nuage with his high-level Staff Arts deflect quite often.
Of course, that means Kong Ming's Aegis Shield magic art was a huge life-saver. It gives you an additional chance to deflect incoming attacks. Every hit was a big detriment to the party, so every little bit of damage we can avoid is helpful.
Pharr was the first character to do any LP damage, after... tons of turns. Rainbow Guckies have 8000 HP, huge Life Protection, and the biggest HP recovery rate. And we don't have access to Acupuncture right now, either, so dealing LP damage is pretty difficult.
Somehow Pharr got three in, though. And then we didn't see any LP damage for quite a while...
At first I thought it was useless to try to use healing since the thing could tear through the HP of the party too quickly. But I tried it out anyway, much later in the fight, and found that Vearst could stand in front and queue two Purify on himself, using as needed, and generally avoid taking LP damage. Of course, the other characters were vulnerable, and it wasn't foolproof, as sometimes Vearst would lose one or two LP anyway. Sadly, I didn't recognize this strategy until Vearst only had like 6 LP left...
But he did last quite a while with those few LP! Eventually he died, as did a few other members of the team, but we always succeeded at Rescue attempts, thankfully. Almost everyone was down to 3 or less LP, and the character with the most LP was Armic, as I avoided using him too much because him dying is an immediate Game Over.
But around this time, I felt I had to be close to winning, because I was doing LP damage consistently every turn. Usually only one to three per turn, but I was still doing it! I could usually do something like queue three Power Shots with Henri, and usually at least two of them would do 1 LP damage as I used them.
I wasn't counting how much LP damage I dealt, though. But this thing has 44 LP.
That's more than double Chaos's final form. Even Tagut only has 7 LP.
So I decided to put Armic out in front, despite the risks, and heal with him similar to how I was doing with Vearst. If Pharr was in the second spot, we usually got a turn right away, but now the only living characters to send out with Armic to try to deal LP damage were Kong Ming and Norff, with Sniper Shot and Thunderbringer respectively.
The problem with this is that both of those are extremely slow, since they have huge 'preferred distance' and we're standing right up on this thing. And each of them could easily have died if Rainbow decided to attack them a few times.
Of the two, Sniper Shot is much faster than Thunderbringer, so Armic and Kong Ming hopped out. I was worried that this was literally my last chance to try to take it down, so I didn't even bother doing Purify with Armic when my reels came, and went straight for a Sniper Shot.
Especially since for some reason this thing ALWAYS inflicted Confusion on Kong Ming and it would always get rid of all his queued actions...
And miraculously, that happened to be its final LP!
This is my first time ever defeating a Rainbow Guckie, so I was really happy and proud of myself. And I will admit now, I actually didn't have any intentions of doing the Nakle Lines subadventure at this point. I just felt it would be a good time to try fighting a Rainbow since I wanted to make sure I did as part of the play diary, so I looked on Japanese boards and wikis to see if there were any tips on how to encounter them (since they always run away), and I found a place saying that they will get "stuck" in the hallways of the first central area of Nakle Lines, so you're forced to encounter them there if they appear.
I had to restart the adventure about 40-50 times before I found one. Usually I used Eavesdrop on the first turn, and if there were any dots, I jumped toward one. Often there were no dots (because there's also frequently just slimes or vegeplasts there).
Eventually, one spawned, and when I jumped to the space, I saw that little blue guy. It was pretty exciting. It's been a long time since I even had the chance to fight one of these guys.
Anyway, that's all for this post. Just one battle :) Here's some more caps from the fight:
This was a really nice accomplishment to finish. What's fun about unsaga battles is that even when you're underpowered, they don't end immediately, since it usually takes a while for the enemy to drain the LP of every single character. So even if you were to encounter one of these things very early in the game, you'd probably get to see it change colors a couple times and see all of its attacks.
In a lot of other RPGs, optional or difficult bosses pretty much wipe the party within seconds, and it... feels very frustrating. In unsaga, things always feel "doable" to me. I always feel like "If I just change the strategy a little..." or something like that. Plus, as you could have probably realized by now, this isn't a game where you can just go grind levels until you can beat something.
But yeah, my first Rainbow Guckie victory! A milestone for me :)
Sadly, I didn't get a Forbidden Tablet, but really that's fine because no one in the party would really benefit from it. But the only way to get a Forbidden Tablet is to get a Rainbow Guckie to drop one. And then the chance of actually getting a L4 tablet is extremely low.
In all my time playing this game and talking with people who play this game, I've heard of one person getting a Forbidden Tablet ever, and it was only L1.
Anyway, after the battle was over, I just skipped turns with the Action command until I reached the turn limit and was booted back to town. There's no way I could clear Nakle Lines with just a couple of living characters with like 2LP each.
I still want find more tablets for Vearst, and I'd like Armic to learn more of his tablets, too, so I'll keep on adventuring for now. I'm really enjoying this party a lot. And I've learned that I previously had really overrated Line panel combo bonuses.