Saturday, August 1, 2020

Anachronox #11 - The Mysterious Levant

Spoiler alert, Sister Angela was the culprit. Fortunately for us, her partner in crime is completely incompetent and leaves the stolen goods just lying around in the open. We get the necessary evidence against her and problem solved. I am starting to suspect that you were only ever able to bring Stiletto and Grumpos to Hephaestus, though the game made a good job at making me think this was accidental. Now that we get to read the library, Grumpos goes to work. He learns how to untap the hidden potential in Mystech and tries to teach blockhead Sly (ergo, us) how to do it. It's good that he explains it slowly and in laymans terms because I still don't get it.

Choose your henchmen carefully.

Remember those heaps of bugs that were lying around everywhere? I mentioned them before and how I had no idea what they were for even though you could interact with them. Well up until now we have thought they were just mounds of disgusting bugs. Now we know better. The bugs are tuned to the Mystech and by attaching them on to it and also feeding them petals of flowers that grow around the place we can increase the strength by our Mystech (quite a lot it turns out). Yeah I don't really get it either, but I just tinker around and the end result is pretty awesome.

I get about as little as Sly does.

Now that Grumpos has read up on Mystech he also wants to have a word with the big honcho himself. The abbot informs us that they don't want to talk to us until we've... you guessed it, help them with another task. This one is a bit bigger though, we have to go deep into the underbelly of the monastery and make the pump work again. 

Walls or tunnels, who can tell?

This place is a maze like every other place, but it's also extra dark making it a bit more difficult for me to find my way around. Where is my Cat's Eye potion when I need it? The task is straightforward as usual, and only really requires you to go through the area and interact with whatever you can interact with. At one point however it took me embarrassingly long (read: around 30 min) to find the path I needed to go to continue. I even had to go look at a walkthrough, but the walkthrough was so blurry it was even more difficult to make anything out! It didn't really help me, it only confirmed what I already knew, there was a path somewhere I needed to take and for some reason my eyes refused to acknowledge its existence. If I ever have any complaint about this game, it would be that it's too damn dark!

If only they were all as obvious as this one.

I also accidentally read in this walkthrough *cough* that there are weapons to find for Grumpos and Stiletto, but unlike before they're not just lying about but have to be found by talking to the right person. There is just no way I could figure these things out by myself, and I'll be damned if I am going to talk to every person with every person in my team! Some of them give little clues though so I guess I just need to be more alert about them. I can't get Grumpos new weapon however because my Yammer skill isn't high enough, yet another thing I have missed to improve on somehow. I am hoping the weapons can be bought in the store once this is over, as the other ones have been.

The enemies down here aren't too difficult fortunately, even with my apparently subpar team skills, especially since Grumpos has an aoe-heal-all which feels quite overpowered. The reason the pump is working turns out to be because a massive lava-monster has decided to live in it, or something. Either way, it's boss time again and also again it has a gimmick in which you can pull some levers that blow cold air on the monster for a very high damage attack. I do like the tactical aspect to the fight, where each turn you have several options and you often have to weigh them against each other and choose the right one for the right time. Since I mentioned about the combat being a bit too simple it's definitely ramped up and is now at a pretty good level where you can't just mash a button and win but have to give some thought to your actions, but without too much worry about death around each corner.

What is the opposite of "burn baby, burn"?

Enemies only respawn once you leave an area, and what counts as "leaving an area" is something that isn't entirely logical and can't be explained, you'll learn as you play the game and will get a feeling for it. Overall this means that as long as you are in an area doing your thing you won't have to be in many battles. If you ever leave an area you'll know exactly where the battles are and what enemies you meet too. It's a pretty good system because it allows you to grind levels if you want to, or just focus on problem solving (once you've done away with the enemies) if you want to.

Once we've solved the problem with the pump we get to talk to the main guy and he tells us something about how Chaos has escaped and is causing all the trouble. Seems like a tall order for little Sly to save the universe, but apparently that's his destiny or something. Next up is going to the planet Limbus, not that we know how that is going to help but that's the only clue we've got so far.

It seems like a good idea to revisit areas when you have the opportunity, the game sort of hints at it as well. A guy gives me a side quest to go to Anachronox and back there I find another guy who gives me the master level of Democratus tractor beam. So that is how that works ey? The fact that you can revisit areas is a pretty good hint that they've left things lying around for you to do, once you've got new characters with new abilities. It's not entirely easy to figure out exactly what these are though, so either you've got to be a bit lucky or literally run through the entire areas again to see what you come across.

Flying to Limbus I bring Rho and Democratus with me. Again I am not sure if I actually have a choice in the matter of team mates, but the game makes another good job at making me believe I do. But the cut scenes all involve Rho and Democratus, so either they've got cut scenes for all possible team configurations or I've been set up, again. 

I'd read that.

Before we get there though, the massivest space ship ever recorded (according to Democratus) shows up and swallows us into its belly. The game keeps throwing us curve-balls because yet again something happens that I just couldn't have anticipated even in my wildest fever-dreams. Sly immediately recognizes that the ship belongs to a "super-villain" (his words) called Rictus. Apparently there are comic books across the galaxy about some people called the Kratons and they're based on actual real people. Rictus is part of this somehow. No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

They like charming fellows.

Even weirder, the game decides to go comic-book mode, and the entire exposition cut scene is in a comic book style, think like Scott Pilgrim. The game hardly even takes itself seriously at this point and I love that. I have no idea what is coming next and I love that too.

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