Last time around, our party reached the northern continent and made landfall in the Port Town of Akrass, but their whale friend, Kujira, had been injured in a fight at sea. Knowing that it would take another Hi-Potion to help him out, they ask around town and find a drug dealer in the inn who says he can make a potion for them if they bring him one of the frogs that lives down in the sewer below town. I decide to look around town for some upgraded gear, and much to my surprise, one of the item shops in the town has a hole in the wall of the back room. Since we were already dealing with some pretty seedy folks in our quest to save our whale friend, I decided to grab all of the merchandise that I could and run through the hole in the back (so I got over 2,000 Giv worth of items for free!). Naturally, the shopkeeper is upset about this development the next time we go into the store, but he doesn’t have a clue that it was us that stole all that stuff. Instead, he actually pays us if we agree to help him find the suspects. And, since he pays us an advance, we just pocket the money, take the gear, and head for the sewer.
The sewer is a pretty straight-forward place. It simply consists of one very large chamber to explore and a few random encounters. The local kids seem to hang out down here and get mad at us for intruding on their hideout, but another kid gives us a ball of crap (yes, literally!) that we can use in battle to confuse and daze enemies. Yuck! Some of the storm drains in the sewer are blocked by grates, so we have to find and activate various switches to open them. And, of course, we have to fight in a rather large battle near the end to capture the frog and keep it from being killed by various enemies.
As a note, the sewer looks quite modern to me. It makes me wonder if this game’s world was at one point a bit more advanced than it is as we explore it.
~PORT TOWN OF AKRASS~
After bringing the frog to the drug dealer at the inn, we are given two Hi-Potions and quickly run back to where Kujira is…Only to find him completely unresponsive. Blue had been worried that he would swim away rather than waiting for them to get the potion he needed, but apparently he trusted the party to find the potion and actually help him. He waited around, it seems, until finally succumbing to his wound and bleeding to death. Try as they might, they cannot seem to wake him up and they cast blame at each other. Blue is upset that we spent time dilly-dallying around in town before going to look for the frog, but they finally face the truth of the matter – it wouldn’t have mattered how swift they were as he probably would have died anyway.
After spending the night at the inn, we regroup ourselves and are determined to press onward and find out where the other OPARTs are located. The townspeople keep mentioning something called the Babel Dome, located in the north, and say that a giant black bird recently landed there.
That sounds a lot like the Ferric Falcon, if you ask me.
With no where else to really go at this time, we decide to head north from Akrass and enter the dome.
The Babel Dome is a strange place and is apparently where the mysterious Dr. Hello resides at. It is also a place that really seems out of place in the current world. Rather than being some kind of ancient tower or the like, the dome is a strange, metallic, and mechanical structure filled with gears, elevators, and even robots. Immediately upon entering, we are greeted by a series of doll-like robots who tell us that Dr. Hello cannot be disturbed. We can pay them a bribe (the first one wants a Hi-Potion and the next pair wants a toad), or we can opt to fight them. I ended up giving them one of my potions but did not have a toad and was forced to fight the second set. They are decently powerful, hitting a character up to three times (sometimes upwards of a total of 90 damage!), but it is certainly manageable given how many potions and healing skills we have now.
It really isn’t clear where we have to go, but through trial and error we figure out that we need to head up the tower and through a series of strange, mechanical rooms. Most of the enemies here can be avoided if you simply don’t bother to talk to them or get in their way, so it isn’t an awfully challenging area at all.
Part-way up the tower, we encounter a strange turtle-like person with a sword who seems to know who we are and says he will get his revenge…But as he jumps and tries to attack us, he ends up falling down to some unseen location below. Of course, Blue decides to dub him “Leonardo” (break the fourth wall, much?).
As we reach the top of the dome we find Dr. Hello and his talking bird. Hello seems to be a strange and arrogant individual, insisting that when we refer to him we call him “the world’s last Mad Scientist, Dr. Hello.” What a strange man, yet you cannot help but wonder how he is so incredibly advanced compared to most everyone else in the world.
Before we can really get to the meat of our reason for being here, a bunch of security alerts go off and Hello believes something is going on down in his lab in the basement. We quickly follow him via elevator to the floor below and must fight some of his strange robotic animals to get them to calm down and stop destroying things.
When things finally calm down, Dr. Hello explains that the Ferric Falcon did indeed touch down at the Babel Dome. Red and Blue are very surprised by this because they think that it was too badly damaged to make it that far after it crashed into the mountains earlier, but Hello says that their father was here and was badly injured, but he helped to nurse him back to health. Yet, one day, their father left the dome before his wounds were healed, mumbling something about the pyramid to the northeast. Sadly, Hello explains, the path through the woods that lead towards the pyramid is blocked, but he claims that there is a secret passage that will lead to the pyramid underneath his house back in Akrass. He goes to fix up his lab and his bird escorts us to the entrance, and he tells us to come back later on when the doctor isn’t busy.
With the key to Dr. Hello’s house in Akrass in hand, it doesn’t take us long to find out which house is his. Inside, there are a bunch of mechanical-looking devices, but no obvious cave entrance in sight. Yet, poking around at a boiler-like thing in the middle of the room activates it, summarily causing it to explode, and thus reveals the entrance to a cave below. Enemies inside the cave are a bit stronger than any we’ve faced yet, so the party has to be careful as they make their way through the tunnels. Fortunately, there is a save point that isn’t to hard to get to as the statue that restores our SP and HP, so when we get in trouble it is quite easy to go back and heal up again.
The main challenge here, besides the stronger enemies, lies in finding the correct path without having to fight every enemy in this place. Sometimes clearing the rocks that block a certain path will cause you to get attacked by monsters, so you have to pick and choose what direction you need to go quite carefully.
Once the party is out of the cave, they find themselves in a strange, snowy camp.
Calling this place the “Pyramid Village” seems a bit misleading as it is little more than a base camp used by explorers and archaeologists who are excavating the ruins in this area. However, it does work out for our purposes as there is a tent that sells weapons and items, one that serves as an (expensive!) inn, and even a tent with a priest-in-training who can raise our SP and save our progress. Not too shabby!
Yet, it is kind of strange that it is snowy in this region. Normally, we think of pyramids being in desert-like areas, but this is certainly not the case here. Regardless, we pick up what supplies we can at the base camp and then scale the wall of the pyramid, hoping that pretty soon we will find Red and Blue’s father.
What lies in store for the party inside the pyramid? I’m not sure, but hopefully we will find out soon in Part 8!