Labyrinth of the Dead (2) – How to Kill Adventurers Via Negative Status

Sorry that this is horribly belated; I played through Labyrinth of the Dead a few days after my last post, but once again I’ve taken a long time to get this written out. Labyrinth of the Dead doesn’t have all that much for me to talk about, and I’ve gotten used to being verbose from the last few areas. All in all, it’s just very difficult for me to finish writing up.

So, here I am again at the Labyrinth of the Dead, on the tenth underlevel. I can't go outside this room right now, but I'm here already.

So, here I am again at the Labyrinth of the Dead, on the tenth underlevel. I can't go outside this room right now, but I'm here already.

Fooling around aside, it’s an easy matter to get down to the fifth underlevel; I spent a few minutes longer than usual on the holy water purification floor, as I had determined to get through without using the map. I ‘died’ about three times consecutively on one jump, being completely unable to see both the ledge I was jumping from and the ledge I was aiming for, but otherwise the total ‘deaths’ numbered less than I expected.

Did you know one casting of Earth Javelin (with Extend Spell in effect) is all you need to take out Dullahan and his minions?

Did you know one casting of Earth Javelin (with Extend Spell in effect) is all you need to take out Dullahan?

As expected by this point, the first part was no challenge whatsoever. The second part is where things begin to get interesting. The first thing anyone’ll notice is that the Labyrinth becomes distinctly Egyptian-themed in its second part; coffins disgorging the undead are still a fixture, but here they’re replaced by sarcophagi mounted on the walls, which open to release mummies, rather predictably. Some of the maps are even painfully complicated; the rest are rather straightforward, but sometimes it’s relieving to be able to get lost even with the map.

Half of the areas here aren't even conventionally-accessible. You MUST fall through traps to get to them.

Half of the areas here aren't even conventionally-accessible. You MUST fall through traps to get to them.

There are no less than three different varieties of mummy; ordinary white-bandaged mummies, red-bandaged mummies that may be a little stronger, and a single gold-bandaged mummy guarding some rather nice treasure… but more about that later. There are also things that look like zombies but move as quickly as the evil undead monkeys – apparently ghouls – from the first section, large knight-like enemies with red crosses on their shields, and two-dimensional shadows that throw off spells. Oh, and the purple ghosts from the holy water area return with… very little vengeance, as they’re horribly weak compared to everything else the area throws at you.

I remember everything in this area as being somewhat tougher when I came here as an Elf, but…
Well. Okay. I’m playing a Sorceress. Our schtick is supposed to be casting spells. We’re supposed to be good at resisting magic, great at casting magic, and mediocre at best at doing anything else. Even with a legendary weapon, I should not be one-hitting all but one enemy in the area, without the buff. Level 190 is probably overlevelled for this place but aside from going through the Old Palace twice and the Ancient Ruins a couple of times, I haven’t been doing much extra exploration with the Sorceress. The only reason this area remains a challenge to explore at all are the status effects most things can throw at you – I counted poison, drain, silence and paralysis this time around – and the traps.

Oh, yes. The traps.

Oh, yes. The traps.


Labyrinth of the Dead actually has effective traps. You don’t notice them coming of you don’t expect them – and it’s been years since I played so I’d long forgotten them – and they usually dump you in the middle of a pit full of enemies with a not-totally-obvious exit. If the enemies here were actually challenging, I’d have a problem, but as it is the traps are still very inconvenient, necessitating climbing back up. Again, in the cases where you fail a jump or forget to jump or have no other way out. After a while you’ll probably start to get paranoid about everything in the area.
This? Trapped.

This? Trapped.


It’s unfortunate that most of the later traps were designed by whoever put together the traps in the Old Palace and the Palace of the Immortals, but this level is pretty entertaining.
There is, however, one big mystery, here. Among the Souls.

This is somewhere around the... 7th or 8th Underlevel, maybe the 9th. I don't remember exactly.

This is somewhere around the... 7th or 8th Underlevel, maybe the 9th. I don't remember exactly.


Does anyone have any idea where this small passageway is supposed to lead to? The name is reminiscent of the boss area in Old Palace, ‘Among the Summoned’, and slgihtly further in it had ground similar to the sections of floor that lowered when you push a block onto a switch, but I couldn’t find out how to lower this section to get through. It’s not necessary to solve the area, as I completed it after skipping whatever this is, but there’s probably treasure there and I hate missing things out like that.

The boss! The Lord of the Dead, who has dominion over the souls of the dead, or… something. The guy responsible for the infestation of the undead in the crypts here.

'Honour your ancestors or else we'll eat you'? That's probably not the right reason to respect them.

'Honour your ancestors or else we'll eat you'? That's probably not the right reason to respect them.


Remember that underlevel in the first part, where you had to let the undead IN to progress? I’m figuring that’s his work – the zombies trying to get at the altar crucifix were probably his, also, but once he realised they couldn’t actually touch the thing, he probably just had a minion or two lock the way onwards and deeper unless the grave robbers or adventurers, or whoever disturbed the rest of those lucky enough to be interred on that specific underlevel, shifted the thing for him. The deactivation of the holy water purification plant was probably his doing, too; if the souls of the dead become monsters he can control when left impure for a long-enough period of time, then disabling the holy water production would ensure him a lot of minions and/or guardians, given patience.
And he’s a lich. He has a lot of time to fill. Taking out the holy water plant was probably the start of the infestation, as that would likely be responsible for keeping all floors purified, not just the single underlevel. Also probably the only entity in the Labyrinth that can write, so he may be responsible for the signs dotted around the place, too.

So. Bleh. The boss. As interested as I am outside of a fight with him, the battle is just… sheer pain. It took three attempts, and I was never able to hang around for long enough to learn all of the attacks he could do; he’s the deadliest yet. Whilst the other second-part bosses tended to defeat me through slowly-whittling my character down or never giving me a break to recover HP and MP, the Lord of the Dead fight is all about praying you don’t get hit with status effects. He took three attempts to beat, and I was rather close to death at the end of the third, anyway.
He comes accompanied by two purple ghosts, two zombie/ghoul halflings, and two or three Dullahans, responsible for some of the status effects thrown about during the fight, so it’s a pretty good idea to deal with them quickly.

Status ailments you can ‘acquire’ in the course of the fight:
Poison. I think this was a Dullahan’s fault. It was also the first ailment I got struck with, and had me cursing ditching the Cure Potions in order to take a Sol Crown earlier on. Then I died, started over, and got hit by the following bunch in subsequent attempts, which made me feel better about that.
Confusion… maybe from a chest trap, but nasty all the same. Today, I learned that you can’t cast spells whilst confused. I somehow managed to outlast this status with only 50 HP left, and then he threw Chaos Flare on me rendering all my effort for naught.
Silence, the doing of one of the purple ghosts. I knew they could throw this about from earlier in the region, but considering how long any status takes to wear off naturally, in here it was a threat.
Slow. The Lord of the Dead has the Fairy spell, yes. This is probably the best thing you could get afflicted with, as it doesn’t slow you as much as Paralysis does, and doesn’t directly do anything nasty to your stats or health. The spells everything throws about in the fight are the ones normally hard to dodge, anyway.
Drain from the Lord of the Dead, and this is probably the only situation where you can’t just laugh it off and keep hitting things. At least Poison only gradually reduces your health; this will completely destroy your offensive capabilities, no matter what class you are. The purple ghosts can probably do this to you, too.
Berserk, probably the Lord of the Dead again, and his eyelasers. This is probably bad for a spellcaster, but as I was confused at the same time, I didn’t get a chance to see what it’d do to my spells.

I’ve got Curse in my head, now, but that list up there is from the attempt at writing this report post-boss, and I don’t think I’d have left it out of the list if it had happened in that fight. Hmm. Maybe I got hit by Curse elsewhere in the area?
Well, Curse is just nasty to contract for a Sorceress. We’re MP-fuelled and usually turn pathetic without our spells.

The Lord of the Dead acts like an Archmage from the Old Palace; he floats, making himself difficult to hit in melee, and he casts spells fairly frequently. Unlike the other Sorcerer-type boss in the game, the Lord of the Dead is actually pretty resistant to physical attacks; I was only able to do around 50 damage to him unbuffed, rising to around 100 buffed. He may have been resistant to Holy; sensible, but odd considering nothing else in the area has that resistance, and he’s presumably undead himself.
On the other hand, with Extend Magic, Blaze does around 300 damage a cast to him, or more if he dodges back into the path of the flames after invincibility wears off. The best tactic for any character is probably to go entirely on the offensive; the longer you hang around in the fight, the more chance you’ll get hit by one or more negative status effects. The minions are a huge threat in this one; the Dullahans can Poison, the ghosts can Silence, and the zombies that act like ghouls can… I don’t know, but they can probably do something to you. The ghosts can also cast Dark Wave, and multiple Dark Waves in effect make it very difficult to dodge anything else.

Special Bonus Content!
…because I don’t particularly want to make this any longer, and I’ll go over loot in a later post.

So, throughout the various screenshots that actually made it into this post, you may notice my character went through several colour-changes; this wasn’t just idle screwing-around. As you may know, the save-icon for any game in Blaze & Blade is a tiny icon of your character’s face, and it naturally differs depending on your character’s class and gender. It also changes slightly depending on your selected colour.
So, whilst running around with the Sorceress, I hit all the savepoints in the area whilst switching colours, and used MemcardRex to export the save icons.

1

1


2

2


3

3


4

4

After going to all that effort… I think the first and second alternate colourschemes are pretty nasty – the blue-haired one doesn’t have enough variation in the colours of her clothing, and the brown- or yellow-haired Sorceress is just a rather nasty set of shades. The basic colouration and the third alternate are my favourites, despite my usual dislike of pink in favour of blue.

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The Old Palace (2) – always two there are, a master and an apprentice

There's a fundamental flaw with these kinds of traps...

There's a fundamental flaw with these kinds of traps...


So, back to the Old Palace. I’ll spare you the rush to the Dark Elf, you’ve seen it before. I did manage to fall off the bridge on the first few attempts to get across, but thankfully there’s that savepoint on that floor. If that weren’t there, I’d probably just abuse Teleport and memorise exactly where the windows illuminate. Nothing interesting happened, anyway.

It turns out that you don’t need to beat the Dark Elf more than just the once to get into the second part of the Old Palace, unlike the bosses of other areas; the Dark Elf doesn’t sit on a route you need to take further down, so you can ignore him on all further visits if you want.
Naturally, I didn’t. I amused myself for a minute or two defeating him with Striking and Enhance Weapon, instead.

The upper portions of the tower are pretty similar to the lower.Lots of magically-themed enemies, puzzles that don’t require traipsing over the entire level, yet more ‘kill everything’ rooms, and yet more inefficient traps.

Stupid Trap A

Stupid Trap A


This one… well, remember the spinning dragon-headed things that spat out water? And remember the wall-mounted dragon-headed things that threw fireballs? This is a spinning dragon-headed thing that throws fireballs. Imaginative, eh?

Stupid Trap B

Stupid Trap B


Then there’s this thing; a slowly-rising crystal-fuelled lift that rises through the paths of yet more fireball-spitting things. I’d be scared of this thing… if, you know, it just incinerated whatever was on the lift, rather than doing 20 damage per hit in an easily-avoidable pattern.

Semi-Effective Trap A

Semi-Effective Trap A


This one, however, is a more effective version of the corridor of bladed pendulums; the knights swivel as they swing the swords. The spot in which I’m standing is still a safe spot, but it’s a bit more difficult to tell, in this case, than the pendulums.

I always thought the area immediately before the boss was similar to the second floor of the Palace of the Immortals; it has an upper and lower area, a central bit that you can’t do anything with the first time you visit, a magical circle (or four, in the mansion’s case), four places to use items to open up the central bit…
Needless to say, we need to make a little detour to get the items we need to use. Trying to activate the stands at the moment tells us we need Gate Crystals, which we don’t have. How do we know we need them? The magic-emitting pedestals probably speak to us like the monoliths in the Ancient Ruins, or something along those lines. A teleporter on the fifth floor will bring us up to the sixth floor, and a suspiciously-familiar bridge.
From the loading screen. Not that one that forces us to spend half an hour climbing back up.

Okay, so I took this long after the battle. I admit I forgot earlier on.

Okay, so I took this long after the battle. I admit I forgot earlier on.


I feel sorry for the Dark Elf, now. He’s little tougher the second time you fight him, and he still does a pathetic 30~ points of damage with his Blaze compared to mine doing 150~… Extend Spell enhanced, admittedly, but it’s still somewhat rubbish in comparison. The real problem in the fight is his pet Black Wyvern, which will happily keep you poisoned for the entirety of the fight, but it automatically dies if you beat the Dark Elf.
That’s not really why I feel sorry for him, though. His master drops a meteorite on him after he gives up, and it’s not possible to avoid this fight. I need to learn to hit the button I’ve linked to the screenshot utility quicker, as I keep missing stuff like this.

Aaaand here we are, the point at which I gave up after finding myself here instead of comfortably before Dullahan in the Labyrinth of the Dead. I don’t like this floor; it’s as tedious as the floors you get dropped down to if you fall off that bridge, and this time the enemies are reasonably strong normally, but made worse by a particular effect on this floor.
To move onwards, we need to destroy a set of eight red crystals. These red crystals are actually a fairly good security measure, as they do several things to the room they’re in; first, all of your enemies in a room with an intact crystal are invincible. Destroying the crystal fixes that, but in the mean time they’re interrupting your spells and dealing damage. Second, the crystals are ‘poison’ crystals, and slowly deal damage to you over time. You can’t leave the rooms until all enemies are dead, either.
So the whole floor will slowly wear your HP and MP bars down, as the corridors between the crystal rooms aren’t entirely safe, either. Last time I was here, I was about ten levels lower and less well-equipped, and kept getting torn to pieces by the skeletal centaur-like golems. This time I’m holding my own, with Extend Spell hanging around. One good thing shared with the original hated floor is that enemies have a tendency to drop a useful object; this time, Material Magic.

Another good thing is it connects to an area with some of the best music in the game.

Another good thing is it connects to an area with some of the best music in the game.

[Old Palace] Crystal Maze
I really do love the music in this area. Back when I could still remember where the memory card with my characters was, I used to simply spend all the effort to get to this area, then leave it sitting paused for hours simply to listen to it. This area’s theme, like the boss theme for the area later on, is a variation on the main area’s theme; both sound far better than the original, in my opinion, though that may be far less in the way of repetition, as far as the boss theme is concerned.
I wish the Blaze & Blade soundtrack weren’t so stupidly rare.

Anyway, music aside, this area has a few other interesting qualities to it. The floor – presumably made of crystal – periodically changes from purple to black and back again. Since the area’s backdrop is also black, this makes it easier than most places for you to accidentally fall off. The game doesn’t pull the same trick it did at the bridge, and it’s still negligable damage, but it still adds up, and is annoying to boot.

Another thing: there's also absolutely no map for the area.

There's also absolutely no map for the area.


So, for once, it’s a legitimate maze; unlike everywhere else, you can’t simply pull up the pause screen to work out where to go next. Finally, only one kind of enemy spawns here; crystal gargoyles. They’re tougher than most of the other enemies in the Old Palace against magic, but slightly less tough against physical attacks than the rest of the enemies that turn up in the second part. They also only ever drop Material Magic, if they drop anything; this is a great place to take legendary weapons and armour for strengthening, just like part one of the Old Palace is great for Fate Coins.

Cue taking ten pictures in a row just to find one good shot...

Cue taking ten pictures in a row just to find one good shot...


All in all, it’s not a great challenge; as the only enemy that shows up is not so hot against physical damage, and drops weapon-strengthening items, Striking is the perfect spell to use, for once, and Enchant Weapon on top of it will improve your damage further. The only troublesome thing about them is they rarely inflict Silence, but by the time one of them actually DID that, I had about fifteen Material Magics on my weapon already, and was doing around 60~ damage unbuffed. They give out nice amounts of experience, too.

So, about twelve levels later, I decided to get on with my job.

So, about twelve levels later, I decided to get on with my job.


There are only a few situations in which a Sorcerer is better off using melee attacks than magic; this is one of them. Material Magic is for the most part only useful for a Sorcerer’s armour, as it’s impossible to raise a weapon’s stat bonuses, and those – affecting magic – are far more important than how much damage you can do in melee. All the same, I’ll be holding on to this stick, as I’ll probably want to return here at some later point.

The aim of the area is to grab the Gate Crystals we found we needed earlier, and to get to the top alive, as there’s no other way out that will let us keep the crystals; Teleport or a Rope of Return are escapes, but they seem to induce bag ‘o spilling when quest items are involved. The general structures of the separate floors we’ve seen before; the first floor involves walking halfway around a circle, the second is reminiscent of the floating platforms from the Abandoned Mines, the third floor isn’t even a maze but has two treasure chests you shouldn’t miss, and the Highest Point has the Gate Crystals and the way out. Falling off drops you to a lower level, if you land on anything – it’s all technically the same map, so there’s no transition.

Happily, the red crystals don’t respawn whilst you’re in the maze, so you can just take whichever side you took when getting to the maze’s entrance on that floor. Also happily, a teleporter that bypasses Stupid Trap B activated after you make it up the first time.

Can never remember where to get the key for these, though.

Can never remember where to get the key for these, though.


There isn’t much else to do here save beat the boss. I’m not sure if you need to be a specific class to open those doors at the bridge, though something makes me think I may need to be an Elf.
Radical species-changing surgery aside, I’m not getting them open. To the boss!
After I heal, anyway.

Must remember to check the magical circles in the Palace of the Immortals...

Must remember to check the magical circles in the Palace of the Immortals...

Some people say the Dark Wizard is female, but I can't see it here. Maybe it's another speech setting.

Some people say the Dark Wizard is female, but I can't see it here. Maybe it's another speech setting.


I think the Old Palace is the only place with properly-chatty bosses. The others don’t listen, won’t understand you, or just don’t give you a choice.

Naturally, the Dark Wizard has a bunch of spells up his or her sleeves. Starting with…

[Forbidden Spell] Meteor Smash
Meteor Smash
This is the spell that did insane (200+) damage to me when I made a very-failed attempt at the Fire Dragon. So long as you’re not within a certain area in front of… hm. I’ll stick with ‘her’, it’s reasonably easy to dodge, and it has a long cast-time, so you’ve plenty of time to get out of the way, but if you’re within the target area, the meteors strike randomly, so it’s difficult to tell where it’ll hit next.
This is probably the spell she used on the Dark Elf. That or a minor variant thereof. Sorcerers don’t have any other meteor-calling spells hanging around. I don’t have this yet, but one of the Forbidden spells is in the Old Palace, and I’m not leaving until I get it.

Fusion
This is the other Forbidden spell the Dark Wizard has access to; it looks like she’s throwing a ‘tiny’ universe at you, and hurts about as much. Like Meteor Smash, this has a large casting time, and also hits a large area in front of her; it moves forward until the spot she cast it at is on the edge of the effect, then stays in that spot for a while, spitting out arcs of magical lightning at the edges and probably killing anything caught inside. She turns as she’s incanting it, but you don’t really have any excuse to be hit with this if you can see her.
The main threat from this spell is that it obscures a large area, and she doesn’t take damage from standing within the area of effect; you can’t tell what she’s doing in there, and she may be winding up for another Fusion or Meteor Smash.

[Spell] Shining
Shining
This is a worrying spell if there’s anything else is attacking you; it’s a maintained spell that automatically and constantly hits the target, so even if you’re resisting every blow, it will still do a fair amount of damage, and slow you greatly for the duration, with nothing you, personally, can do about it.
If nothing else is hanging around in the arena, though, this is simply a matter of surviving the damage. Try not to have your HP fall too low in case she uses this one.

[Spell] Smash
Smash
Maybe dangerous if you’re meleeing her; it’s a second-level spell with a short cast time, so it’s both more difficult to avoid if you’re already in range and you expect one of her longer-cast spells. It probably doesn’t do comparable damage to anything else she has, though, and like Shining should be easier to resist. The range is pitiful and really will only catch you if you’re in meleeing distance. Given the other spells she can throw at you, it’s probably best to put some distance between you whenever she casts, as odds are it’s not this spell.

Her minions – the two bulky demons – can spit out ice breath, or attack physically. They’re not particularly tough, or resistant to magic, and will probably just be taken out whilst you’re aiming for the Wizard.
As befits any Sorcerer, the Wizard is very tough against magic; with Extend Spell applied so I’m at 310 MAt, she still takes only 25 damage a cast of Blaze if she doesn’t resist. She might possibly be fire-resistant, though. Also as befits any Sorcerer, though, she’s pathetic when confronted with an angry adventurer wielding a blunt stick and Striking.
Gee. Good thing for us she owns and made us go through that crystalline maze full of creatures that only drop Material Magic, huh?

I have absolutely no clue how I discovered this the first time. Maybe I was trying to dodge Fusion?

I have absolutely no clue how I discovered this the first time. Maybe I was trying to dodge Fusion?


So, don’t forget the secret northern passage with boss loot. See, this is why I wonder some bosses don’t seem to have loot chests. Am I missing a secret passage somewhere? Did I miss something earlier?
Anyway, aside from a random piece of treasure that is usually something useful for a Hunter – we’re in a Sorcerer’s tower, why can’t a Sorcerer’s item be more common? – that room has ‘Meteor Strike‘… AKA, Meteor Smash, and one of the Priest’s Forbidden spells. Looks like the Dark Wizard – or her ancestors – lived here for a very long time…

I mean, the Bolt of Larie is all well and good, and the Expert is probably right to be shocked by a legendary weapon that, like many, seems to have a demon sealed within it… but it’s one of the most common items in that chest owned by a Sorcerer.

“Bolt of Larie! My word, where did you find this?!”
“Huh? Oh, the master of that tower in the southeast has a chest full of them. Do you want more?”

Loot

[Accessory] Berserker Bones
Berserker Bones [Accessory]
[At.12]
[All]
Skullbone of a fallen battle-mad warrior.

[Accessory] Evil Necklace
Necklace of Evil [Accessory]
[Evil.24, Lck.14]
[All]
Engraved devil’s prayer gives unholy power.

[Weapon] Wand of Evil
Wand of Evil [Weapon]
[At.43, Evil.8, Pow.12, MAt.21]
[Sor]
A wand with the power to curse.

[Weapon] Falconbolt
Falconbolt [Weapon]
[At.50]
[Hun]
A special bow which can shoot two arrows at once.

Berserker Bones really only do boost your attack, stat-wise. They do boost your critical rate in general, and put you into berserk status for stronger attacks when in ‘critical condition’ – somewhere below half maximum HP – according to holypriest’s Item List, though. Nice for a Warrior, I suppose.
There’s a necklace for every element; this is the third I’ve picked up, with Holy Necklace and Water Necklace found elsewhere already. Unlike the Water Necklace, this one boosts my Luck, rather than Intelligence; a nice boost, but less than what dedicated Luck accessories do. Evil is a fair element to have for defence, as outside of magic, not many creatures seem to do Holy element damage.
Evil Necklace, Wand of Evil, floating swords that deal Evil damage, skeletal centaurs, gargoyles, floating armour… hmm. Yeah, the Old Palace is pretty Evil. So is this wand; I hate things that come with already-applied elements, and whilst Evil is okay on a defensive piece, on an offensive piece it tends to suck as a lot of things that deal Evil damage are resistant to Evil damage. That said, it doesn’t apply to the wand unless I’m manually thwacking stuff. Happily for me, Wand of Runes tops the Wand of Evil in all areas save MAt, where it loses out by all of 6 points. I’m sticking with the buffed Wand of Runes, but thanks all the same, Old Palace.
Falconbolt is somewhat obsoleted by the discovery of the Bolt of Larie. To make matters worse for the hapless Hunter who finds this and then the Bolt of Larie, it’s the weapon offered by the Knight in exchange for Fate Coins from a Hunter; for some reason, Hunter rares are stupidly common. I wonder if there’s a typo somewhere? I mean, beyond it being called a bow when obviously it’s a crossbow. It probably has an increased rate of fire, but I can’t check, not being a Hunter.

Item of the Day

[Weapon] Bolt of Larie
Bolt of Larie [Weapon]
[At.92]
[Hun]
A cursed arrow made by the demon Larie.

Because… well… I already covered Material Magic, and this is the first properly legendary item I tend to pick up in any game. Blasted chest. I’d be happy if I could play Hunter, but the aiming on that class is so finicky I tend to leave it to AI, and I rarely drag AI characters around with me because, as I don’t level them, they tend to be as bad as wet paper.
Anyway. Bolt of Larie. The first legendary that ANYONE gets, and curse the people who get better.
This is also one of the sillier descriptions in the game, worse than Falconbolt. As ‘just’ an arrow, unless it strikes and returns like Mjollnir, it’s the worst artefact ever. Between this, the Elven Bow, and Falconbolt, I have to wonder where the right place is to find decent Sorcerer gear. Labyrinth of the Dead? Palace of the Immortals?

Spell of the Day

[Spell] Striking
Striking
MP: 10
Command: X O
Amplifies inner strength and increases attack (AT)

A Sorcerer’s answer to a Sorcerer, this is an expensive spell at the time you receive it, but it balances the cost by potentially being able to take down many more enemies than a single Water Bullet; as many as you can kill off whilst it is in effect, anyway. Striking, like Extend Spell, doubles an Attack stat; this doubles Attack, and Extend Spell, its upgraded form, works on Magic Attack.
As you can tell from today, it’s still useful long after you pick it up, as it still just doubles your attack. With this in effect, a Sorcerer probably still won’t be the equal of a Warrior or Dwarf, but might rival a Rogue or Elf for damage. Perfect for enemies with high magic defence and low physical defence.

The Old Palace (1) – Tedious Trap City

Today’s theme shall be… crystals. Too many crystals. The whole area is lit by crystals, and most of the area’s puzzles involve one of more of the blasted things in some fashion or another; whoever built this place definitely had a thing for crystals. They also don’t like sunlight, for some reason. I could make a joke about goths, but…

So that's a female rogue, female dwarf, an elf of indeterminate gender, and a female hunter.

So that's a female rogue, female dwarf, an elf of indeterminate gender, and a female hunter.

Well, anyway. The first floor is a reasonable-simple, though slightly-tedious puzzle involving windows, natural light and crystals, and I tend to just run straight through it nowadays.
I forgot to take pictures. You’re not missing much. You can, technically, solve this puzzle before even activating it, if you’ve memorised where the beams of light fall after opening the windows, but I’m always slightly off with at least one crystal. I don’t think you get anything from doing that, anyway, aside from possible bragging rights.
The second floor is likewise mostly boring – flipping four switches to activate a tiny bridge. Again, I forgot to take pictures because this puzzle is dull and I try to get past it as quickly as possible. It also possesses the earliest save point I’ve seen in any level, probably because this floor will do something very nasty to you if you don’t watch out. More on that later.

[Old Palace] Multiplayer Puzzle
So, there are two interesting things on this level. First is the area’s obligatory multiplayer-bonus. This one, unlike the one in the Mines, requires good timing and little else. I also swear it’s possible to complete alone, with a Rogue, and a lot of attempts. It’s ‘solved’ by deactivating all four purple-sparkle generators by standing on them; they reactivate after a short period of time, and walking normally you’re going to have at most two deactivated at once. As I said, somehow I managed to complete this at one point, and I’m reasonably certain it was using a Rogue character, thanks to their dash. Your milage may vary.

The other thing…
[Old Palace] Bridge over Nowhere
If you fell down here, you’d expect to suffer approximately 8 points of damage, right?
Well, you’re practically guaranteed to fall off the bridge in this room. The Old Palace is probably the most intentionally trap-filled area in the game, featuring quite a few ‘kill all enemies’ rooms in addition to pendulum traps, spiked ceilings, and fire-breathing wall fixtures, but this particular trap has to be one of the more irritating ones lying around.
First, the bridge starts collapsing after you, once you’re more than a few ’tiles’ in; if you continue walking, you won’t be caught out by this, and it happens slowly enough that you can keep ahead of it. As you may have noticed, there’s a spiked gate at the door you entered by, and there’s a corresponding one at the far exit. So there’s an enemy to kill, in the room. That enemy is the real problem of the room; it’s a floating armour, it’s resistant to most attacks and spells you can throw at it – I was only doing 50~ damage with a third-level spell – and it has several times more HP than you’re expecting on enemies at this point in the game. Worse, all its attacks are knock-back attacks; if it catches you before you’re between it and a wall or the door, it can very easily toss you off the bridge. It probably does nasty damage at the time you first reach this point, to boot.
So the first few times you come here, you’ll probably be falling off the bridge. Rather than a negligable amount of damage, doing so dumps you two floors below ground; you have to work your way back up to even be able to exit the place. Successfully getting out of the room by the door lets you skip all of that.

[Old Palace] Falling...
Of course, I’m dropping down anyway just to show you the area. Note that I’m heading in the ‘wrong’ direction here; leaving the floor and then returning causes the bridge to reappear, and it collapses from whatever side you entered by, just to make things trickier for you.

Welcome to the second underlevel. I always thought the area you fell in was vaguely reminiscent of Dullahan’s boss arena; it’s a roughly-circular area of moderate size with exits at the cardinal directions, and chains hanging around. Much brighter, though, and of course it lacks the headless boss.

[Old Palace] Second Underlevel North
The floor can pretty much be split into four separate areas; north has a suspicious-looking open area up there, so let’s start with north. What looks like the direct entrance to the area is on a raised area that we can’t reach, but there still seems to be two side entrances, so let’s try those.

Magical forcefield windows?

Magical forcefield windows?


Another general theme of this area would be ‘taunting the player with stuff they can’t reach yet’. The guy in black posing with his minions down there is the boss of the first half of the Old Palace, but we can’t get to him yet.
Well, technically, we can, as I went ahead a little and opened the route to him before deciding to go through this bit anyway, but there are more interesting things to see and do down here that you miss if you ace the bridge the first time. Going around the other side is the same; another magical green forcefield-window thingy blocks your way.

Back to the centre, that leaves us with three options; let’s go… west.
[Old Palace] Second Underlevel West
There’s another suspiciously round-ish area there, and since this isn’t the Mines, there’s liable to be something interesting there. Most of the ‘built’ areas have something interesting in each room, whilst ‘natural’ areas like the Abandoned Mines or the Wood of Ruins tend to have useless places and dead ends. Nice touch; why build something if you’re never going to do anything with it?

Totally not significant...

Totally not significant...


This one’s particularly interesting as it gives us backstory. Few areas in the game give us history lessons; the Ancient Ruins are one of the areas, as is the Old Palace. There’s a third area, but I probably won’t be seeing it for a while, and then there’s the Jester guy in the Roadside Inn, who sometimes mentions interesting things.
The ‘correct’ order to read these things is from north to south; it doesn’t solve any puzzles, but it’s nice to get the story straight.

Something is written on the monolith…
Foresia, a land plagued by demons. Saturated with magic like no other land.
For those of us who control the power of sorcery it is the true paradise.

We, who are called sorcerers, could create flames and wind from nothingness through the art of magic.

The sorcerers were given power through the Sagestones…
Arcane artefacts created by the Twelve sages, the Sagestones strengthen the sorcerers and help them to master the art of magic.
To this day there is still nothing comparable, with which one can attain such mastery of sorcery with such ease…
With such power we could perform miracles, we would be like gods.

The Twelve Sages established a great kingdom with abundant magic through the use of the Sagestones.
But in mortal hands this power became too much, and this overabundance of power became a danger to us.

Many sorcerers dabbled foolishly with infernal magic…
And they begat demons of terrible and maddening power.
It may only be a matter of time before the demons destroy us.

Well, straight-ish. I’m guessing that this was written during or shortly after the fall of the ancient civilisation mentioned in the introduction sequence, as whoever wrote it still remembered the Twelve Sages and their relationship with the Sagestone…s. Plural. It’s also biased towards what the Sagestone meant for Sorcerers. I’m feeling right at home, here.
Pity there’s just the one left, huh? And it isn’t really doing anything for the rate at which I learn magic, though that could be because it’s incomplete, and because I’ve already learned all the spells I’m going to learn naturally.

That’s all there is here, so now… east, I think.
[Old Palace] Second Underlevel East
…except we can’t go there as the door’s sealed right now. Pity. We can’t get there from the south, either, because it’s another raised area you can’t jump to. We’ll be back here later.

South takes you into one of the more annoying kill-all-enemies rooms, depending on where you entered from. All of the enemies are the flying goblinoids-that-aren’t-gargoyles-because-those-are-made-of-rock. They move quickly, are annoying to hit in melee, and troublesome to cast spells at as they tend to throw the Fairy Sleep spell at you frequently. Falling off here, if you came around from the eastern section of the level, means a fair bit of backtracking.

Taking the teleport beyond brings you to the first underlevel, an area more tedious than anything else. The point of this area is to open two doors that will allow you to get back to the first level of the area; the teleporter on the northern side of that level leads here, but the door’s locked until it’s opened from this side. It’s full of kill-all-enemies rooms, right from the beginning, and even has a short timed section that happens to be the main source of tediousness if you’re just a bit too slow.

There are, of course, yet more traps here.

There are, of course, yet more traps here.


The good thing about this area is that a fair portion of the enemies can drop Fate Coins. The Old Palace in general is a good spot for hunting those, especially later on when you’ve opened up the second part, but the Blue Lizardmen here seem to be the most generous of all the early enemies.
If you forgot to pick up the keys near the entrance, you have a bit of backtracking to do.

If you forgot to pick up the keys near the entrance, you have a bit of backtracking to do.


The two doors you’ll want to open – to progress or to go back to the Inn after this ordeal – are coloured blue or red. The southern door is blue, and the northern red. The locked doors here contain a symbol on the wall matching the doors to the teleporters, and a crystal, which is somehow keeping both doors shut.
Or... maybe this was the blue exit, instead...

Or... maybe this was the blue exit, instead...


It’s still not much of a puzzle, but this is why I try to avoid falling off the bridge in the first place, especially if I’m playing a melee class; you have to make it around the circular-ish area to the corresponding room on the other side, and there’s always one kill-all-enemies room in your way, populated with four slimes and a couple of other enemies. Slimes are notoriously-resistant to physical damage, so if you’re not playing a Sorcerer or Elf, you may want to go clear out both rooms beforehand.

Successfully activating the second crystal whilst the first is still activated opens both doors. I hate these floors; there’s no loot before you beat the boss, unless you’re a Rogue – there’s a locked door on one of them and there may be treasure behind that – and it seems like they’re just there to waste time, with the exception of the history monoliths.

Bringing us happily back to immediately after the bridge room. Whoo.

Bringing us happily back to immediately after the bridge room. Whoo.


Okay. South teleport takes you onwards – back to the second floor – whilst the north teleport takes you back to the first floor. Perhaps I won’t forget it, this time.

Right. Third level. Which I already completed, before deciding to go down to the underlevels. This floor’s puzzle involves more light, crystals and running long distances, and I’m just going to skip giving you the solution, as I’m lazy, there’s little to see, and this isn’t a proper walkthrough. Just don’t forget to collapse the floor in the room east from the red lizardman room, as backtracking is a headache here.

Getting through that floor brings you back to the… Second Underlevel. This time you’re on the raised section that leads to the proper entrance to the boss area, and there’s a little pillar-thing you can push down so you can get back here after jumping down to find the save point.
Never forget to do that, hm? It’s a crushing feeling when you forget.

Okay, NOW is the time for goth jokes.

Okay, NOW is the time for goth jokes...


So, the boss. Meet the Dark Elf; here, he’s about to throw a hissy-fit because you avoided all his traps and killed all his ‘friends’ who set out to attack you. Seriously, though, the Dark Elf is one of the more annoying mandatory bosses, as he’s almost as small as you are, and moves relatively quickly, making him difficult to target or pin-down by any character; he also cheats, like the goblinoid magic-users, and has spells from both the Fairy and Sorcerer lists.
Apparently you can talk him out of fighting if you’re an Elf, and already have the Sagestone jewel from the encounter, but I suppose he might have loot.

Attacks:

[Spell] Slow
Slow (Fairy)
This is really annoying, as you don’t get any chance to dodge it, and at the time you first encounter the Dark Elf, you have little chance of resisting it. Slow, as you can expect, slows you down for a period of time; as much of this battle involves dodging the Dark Elf’s high-level spells, getting hit by this can be painful. I didn’t see him use Slow in this fight, but memory tells me he can use it. It also makes sense that he’d have it, as he has the rest of the first-level Fairy spells available to him.

[Spell] Sleep
Sleep (Fairy)
Fairly annoying, but this one only means a single guaranteed hit, unless you’re somehow lucky enough not to be hit for the duration of the status. Sleep as a status lasts a very long time, so don’t count on it, but the projectile the spell releases moves very slowly, and is easy to outrun.

[Spell] Haste
Haste (Fairy)
Makes him move faster; his physical attacks suddenly become a lot more difficult to avoid with this active, but it thankfully doesn’t affect his casting speed.

[Spell] Lightningbolt
Lightningbolt (Sorcerer)
Much like the Sorcerer version, this one is unpredictable and rarely fires in a straight line. Just keep moving on the other side of the arena from the Dark Elf and pray it doesn’t hit you. This is actually one of the nicer spells the Dark Elf can use; it doesn’t have a chance of hitting you multiple times, and it doesn’t cause any bad statuses if it does hit.

[Spell] Blaze
Blaze (Sorcerer)
Same as the Sorcerer spell. Not too tricky to dodge, but it will hit multiple times if you hang around in the affected area.

[Spell] Blizzard
Blizzard (Sorcerer)
I swear this one has a slightly larger range than a player’s Blizzard spells do, but otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Sorcerer spell. Like Blaze, this one can hit you multiple times, which will probably kill you the first time you visit. Even if you’re not in the direct path of the spell, watch out, as the blue-tint to the screen whilst the spell is active makes it difficult to spot the Dark Elf.

Finally, his normal attacks – he seems to do karate or some other kind of martial art – do dark-element damage. Wearing something with light-element protection is a bad idea; probably the best protection would be Wind, as I stuck around for ages and didn’t see him try to use Poison Cloud.

For such a small opponent, it seems like the arena is pretty large, but you can’t forget that he tends to use spells that have a long range, or can hit multiple targets; he also starts with three minions that can throw off a selection of offensive spells themselves, so you may need the space for dodging.

Sensible, really - always keep Teleport memorised for dangerous situations...

Sensible, really - always keep Teleport memorised for dangerous situations...


All that said, however, he’s a Sorcerer and is gracious enough to not have much in the way of health. Just dodge his spells and keep hitting him, and he’ll retreat fairly quickly.
I was also lucky enough to get loot. Not-usable loot, but loot all the same.

Well, I’ll be heading back for now. I’ve a fair amount of new loot that needs IDing, and it’s really not difficult to get to the second part. Unlike the Wood of Ruins or the Abandoned Mines, the Old Palace doesn’t require much running around if you already know what you’re doing. You may even be able to skip the whole Dark Elf encounter, but I don’t know whether a certain door will open if you do that. I’ll check next time.

Oh, yeah. Now that the Dark Elf has been beaten, we ought to be able to check out that sealed area. There’s a Rogue-only door, two chests that only contained HP and MP potions, some more defeat-everything areas, including a very small room with no less than four floating mages, leading to… a Wand of Runes, that I’m already using, and a room with two chests for a Miracle Powder and a lamp of some description.
Kinda disappointing.

Loot

[Weapon] Elven Bow
Elven Bow [Weapon]
[At.65]
[Hun]
A magical bow, made for the king of the elves.

[Weapon] Trueheart
Trueheart [Weapon]
[At.15]
[Hun]
A first class bow of great workmanship.

[Weapon] Battle Axe
Battle Axe [Weapon]
[At.20]
[Dwf]
A heavy battle axe, the favored weapon of barbarians.

[Weapon] Long Sword
Long Sword [Weapon]
[At.18]
[War]
Longer than a normal sword.

[Object] Fairy Powder
Fairy Powder [Object]
[All]
Made from fairy wings.
Activates Anti-Circle.

For somewhere that’s supposedly good for Sorcerers, this place has a lot of non-Sorcerer loot lying around. One of the chests on the third level is a guaranteed piece of Warior/Dwarf/Elf armour, if memory serves, and a lot of the enemies tend towards dropping Bows or Axes.
The Elven Bow probably pales in comparison to weapons you can attain later on, but for the point of the game at which it appears, it’s insanely-powerful; Trueheart and the Composite Bow are two bows you tend to pick up more frequently from the enemies here, and are examples of how strong Hunter weapons tend to be at this point. If you’re a Hunter and are lucky enough to get the Elven Bow from the Dark Elf, you’re set weapon-wise for quite a while.
Finally, Fairy Powder. I think I have a new favourite item; I don’t care what it does, that’s just an amusing description when your party may include Fairies. Anti-Circle is one of the highest-level non-Forbidden Fairy spells, and apparently protects the party from magic and bad statuses. Having never used it, I can’t say, but it’s an exceptional drop for the first part of anywhere, given how high-level and costly that spell really is.

Item of the Day

[Object] Fate Coin
Fate Coin [Object]
[All]
It shows the Goddess of Luck.
(Changes Luck)

I’ve mentioned Fate Coins a couple of times previously; they’re the closest thing the game has to a proper currency, as one of the NPCs in the Inn will trade items in exchange for these, and they’re the easiest way of changing your Luck stat.
There are a couple of catches, though; using one of these may or may not raise your luck – it could lower your luck, too. Best to save at the Roadside Inn or somewhere else before using these, if you want higher luck. Second, the Knight sells many items in exchange for these, but some of the more expensive items depend on your class, and the expensive items are… expensive. Good, but expensive. The Old Palace is a great place for accumulating these, but the Labyrinth of the Dead isn’t that bad, either.

Blog Stats and the ‘Search Engine Terms’ (AKA, Aunt Lio Answers…?)

I check my stats often. For this blog, I mean. I check a lot of stats normally, but they’re usually in whatever games I’m playing; my levels in Destruction, Restoration, Mercantile and Stealth, for instance.
Wordpress blog stats, anyway. How many people visited; usually an increase of some kind after writing a long, essay-length piece, like my last post (18 ‘today’, or yesterday by my clock, when I write this). Masses of people searching for impressions of Portal: Prelude on the 11th, most hitting my review/rant.
There’s also more constant traffic, rather than traffic depending on what’s currently popular, to play or talk about; usually at least one person daily looking for something about Blaze & Blade, who may or may not be someone I know. Likewise Etrian Odyssey, but no one’s commented on those posts, sadly. I love chattering about those games.
I’ll post more soon, promise. Etrian Odyssey 2 is on the top of my ‘must plaaaay’ list, and shall be returned to after I beat Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations. Which is much, much easier, but I don’t play that game for the difficulty.

I like it when something I’ve written gets seen; I think everyone feels at least a mild sense of achievement when they do something they like, other people witness, and no one disapproves without reason. Mostly, though, I check that page to see how people found this lair. Whether it’s something I wrote that they’ll be interested in, or they found it by mistake because some of my tags matched their terms.
Quite a few search terms seem to be more active queries, and I always get the urge to answer those. Which is really why I’m making this post. The five I got today range from random things to some of those actively questioning queries, and one recurring query – the one about Etrian Odyssey and its password – so you’ll see a nice selection.

To the adventurer who asked about ‘blaze and blade canyon path’…
I think it’s a bit of a tedious area, but that’s partially highlighted by that collapsing bridge right at the start. It looks like, for once, you’re going to get a quick path – you know they might take it away after the boss – but, no, you have to walk the long way both times. I wouldn’t mind it if, say, the long path led to something interesting, like an optional cave or somewhere with history, or… well… anything. But it doesn’t, and there opportunities have been lost.
What do you think of the place?

To the guildmaster pondering the mystery of the ‘etrian odyssey password’ – and, uh, everyone else turning up here since I first posted about the game…
I had the same problem, I think. Hit select when on the menu, after loading a save, and you’ll get the option screen with the password available. The one from the game’s main menu is a nasty red herring, and I’m surprised it was left in on that particular screen, considering how many people it’s confused.
I abstractly knew I should have checked the manual, but I didn’t, either. I thought I had to beat EVERYTHING to get the password, and thus all my headaches over fighting Primevil. Then again, it gave me something to do while my foot healed, so anyone finding this post from now on should know they’re not alone, and that I probably went through more thanks to my own idiocy anyway.

To the possible member of the Hunter’s Guild, Pioneer 2 Chapter, wondering about ‘the ruins 2’:
Ahh, sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for, if my guess on the above line is correct. Completely coincidentally… or not, as that game really does share a lot of qualities I love with Blaze & Blade, including a whole boss in Ep. 2… I’m rather fond of PSO, and I’m disappointed that PSU wasn’t quite as good, in my opinion, trading the whole ‘item collection’ thing for a ‘make your own’ mechanic that’s implemented in a worse manner than Monster Hunter’s.
Ahem. PSO, Ruins 2. Where enemies come in nigh-neverending waves, and a humble FOnewearl on her tod has to inhale most of her ‘fluids to deal with each room. Which is all well and good, since the value of the loot by that point tends to exceed the cost of the ‘fluids, but it does get a little ridiculous, thinking about it. Still, it’s a beautiful, if deeply frightening place.
‘Revolution to the origin PART 2’ is one of my favourite musical pieces in that Episode, discounting the boss themes, thanks to the strings right at the beginning. Manic strings. Glee.
This probably didn’t help you at all, whatever you were looking for, but if you did play Phantasy Star Online, I hope this provokes fond thoughts of Ruins 2, rather than nightmares.

To the gamer… um… hmm. I’m running out of synonyms for ‘aski-‘ okay, I’ve got it.
To the gamer seeking a ‘rpg fantasy first person’… which technically was what I was writing about in my last post, but probably wasn’t quite what you were interested in…
Oblivion’s good, seriously, even though I can find enough things to poke about it to write an article like that. Morrowind is also good if you don’t mind older graphics, and is available in a single box with both of its official expansions from, well, anywhere that sells games. Even Tesco.
I also mentioned the Ultima Underworld pair of games, spinoffs from the successful Ultima line of PC RPGs, which were good enough to keep me playing even though I sucked horribly at them. They’re proto-Oblivions, if you think Oblivion is a good game.
On the consoles, you might want to try finding the King’s Field series of games on the PSX and PS2; I never played them, aside from Eternal Ring, a sidestory. Which I never got far in, but was enjoyable like Ultima Underworld 2.
Um. Other than that, I tend to go for anything that isn’t first-person, I’m afraid. You’re asking the wrong person. Do you know of any good games I might want to try?

To the hunter wondering ‘how to kill a cephadrome with a bow’… and this was the second query in the list, but it’s long enough and detailed enough that it might be a bit much for someone not playing MHF(2) to skip past, so it’s here at the bottom.
Exactly how you kill a Cephalos with a bow, really. But just stopping there is a bit cheap. Cephadromes, like their smaller kin, are weak against Ice, so take your trusty Blango Fur Bow * for this trip, along with two less than as many Sonic Bombs as you can pack; Cephadrome really aren’t any trouble to take down with one or two Bombs, once you get the hang of it, but it’s always worth taking as many as you can the first time, whilst you learn when you can safely fire or not.
Presumably you know the range of your bows. If you don’t, take a trip to the Snowy Mountains and snipe some Popos; knowing how far you can stand from ANY Wyvern or Primatius boss is essential, and it’s even better when you know just how far away to stand and fire from to hit, say, a Yian Kut-ku’s ears. Knowledge of your weapons is essential; take some stones and practice throwing those if you’re not sure about Sonic Bombs, either.
That out of the way, actually taking down the Cephadrome. I recommend taking the Sonic Bombs from the supply box every time, as if you use only one of them, you’ve gotten a free Bomb in addition to saving the ones you made yourself. Take the rest of the stuff as you feel necessary, down a Cool or Hot Drink, whichever’s needed, and head out to the desert. Virtually every time I’ve taken this mission, the Cephadrome’s been on this screen; its fin is larger than those of the Cephalos, and if it IS there it tends to start trying to knock your feet out from under you almost immediately. Run to the centre, wait a little, and go search for it elsewhere if you don’t hear the ‘something big’s watching me’ piece.
Once you’ve found it… it’ll still be underground. What you’re aiming for when you toss each Sonic Bomb is its fin, and that usually means timing a throw to coincide with the fin missing you as it rushes past. The range of the soundburst a Sonic Bomb produces is about the size of a hunter, but if you get  it right on the fin the Cephadrome will react without fail. If you hang around long enough without doing that, whether because you keep missing or because you’re out of bombs, the Cephadrome’s fin will dip beneath the sand, and shortly afterwards it’ll arch its head out and spray sand at you. When the fin disappears, just make sure you’re moving, and this shouldn’t hit you; it’s a good opportunity to spike it in the head with a few arrows, or a better opportunity to throw a Sonic Bomb at it than as it goes past, as there’s less chance it’ll move out of the range before it goes off.
Having convinced the Cephadrome to please surface, it’ll flop around for a bit, just like Cephalos. Make sure you’re not standing in front of it, and throw off charged bowshots at it. Always fully charged shots unless you’re almost out of stamina, or have to dodge NOW, as uncharged shots do much less damage than fully charged ones.
Eventually it’ll stop thrashing, and get to its feet. This is very important; do not stay in front of the Wyvern. Never stand in front of any Wyvern without being in the middle of going to stand elsewhere; it may make hitting the head, or head and then straight through the body to the tail with a Piercing bow that much easier, but almost all Wyverns’ most devastating attacks can only be applied to a Hunter standing right in front of them. Hunters who stand still in front of Wyverns get spat, burnt, poisoned, bitten, stepped on, jumped on and shocked to failure. Not simultaneously unless there are some REALLY unfair missions out there, though. At this point in the game, you’re still able to easily heal the damage you’ll take there with Potions and other restorative items, but by the time you reach Red Khezu, you can get KO’d from full health instantly that way. Get out of that habit now and you won’t do stupid stuff like simultaneously wear Lightning-weak armour AND stand in front of Red Khezu later on.
Ahem. Ranting about my own stupidity aside, you can rather safely stand at a nice range from Cephadrome just slightly away from dead ahead; directly facing you is bad, facing 10 degrees away is pretty safe, as its sand breath, though it possesses a very long range ahead of the Wyvern, is much more a line than a cone or quarter. Work out what’s safe; it’s nasty, but it shouldn’t be deadly if you’ve picked decent armour. Bows are probably one of the best weapons to use against Cephadrome, as its weakness is its neck, and all its attacks save spitting sand fall much shorter than the comfortable range. Take your time aiming, try to make most of your shots fall against the Cephadrome’s long neck – preferrably whilst its spitting, as it should know better than to  leave itself open like that – and practice using rolling rather than running to dodge, if you feel like it. If you’re using any form of the Blango Fur Bow, the Cephadrome shouldn’t take long to fall, but just use a Sonic Bomb to convince it to surface properly again, or practice quickly aiming with the bow as it pops out of the sand; you’ll want to be good at that for a certain later Piscine Wyvern or two…
Oh, and remember to watch out for the Cephalos that may be lurking, depending on the area. They’re easy to dodge if you move every so often, but they’re an irritation, nethertheless.
I know that was long, but I don’t believe in knowingly being vague; Cephadrome was the first Wyvern I ever managed to take down, and I never managed it without a bow, so I never got further than the piscine livers quests in the original game.
As a very happy bow-using hunter, I hope this advice helps you… if you ever return here. Not likely, I know, but if you ever come by in future, tell me how it went!

That was fun. And I really don’t mind comments, even if it’s about how my opinions differ from yours. I don’t know everything, and I enjoy rambling and listening to people ramble about this stuff, so TALK, darnit. And post if these help!

The Ancient Ruins (2)

– The Ancient Ruins –
Sunken remains of the Arcane culture. The main ruins stand at the bottom of a great pit.

As mentioned before, there really isn’t anything to say about the Ancient Ruins. Brown wolves lurking on the surface levels can drop Blood Extracts, and are the weakest enemies in the area, meaning hanging around on the top level can be a good way to increase your maximum HP… but, depending on your luck and level, not necessarily as efficient as going into the ruins and killing chimera, instead. The gargoyles can drop small red-orange mana potions, but will rarely drop Material Magic instead.

The strongest enemies in the area are the silver-coloured wisps; unlike other enemies with the same structure, these are opaque, and have many reddish eyes on their front. They look pretty scary, ARE pretty scary when you realise there are eight of them that will mob you, and protect the hidden rooms in the Ancient Ruins. I can’t believe I missed those all these years. I even noticed the wall section was taller there, like a door, but didn’t think to try jumping in. I found the room in the Old Palace without help, so I don’t really have an excuse for missing those entrances. Thanks, Blaze.
Explosion, at least, is powerful enough to kill those things before they kill me. Finally, I’ll have something to show for visiting this area.

Down in the ruins proper, the metallic slimes and chimera are great sources of experience. I find the chimera easier to beat, as they aren’t as resistant to damage as the slimes, but the slimes can drop Material Magic. The chimera possess various third-level Sorcerer spells, and the slimes just love to digest you.

The security system of the Ancient Ruins must be beaten in order to leave the area, if you jump down from the surface; even if you jump to the lower area, still on the same map, you’ll have to beat the security system to activate the portal, as there’s no other way to go back up.
You know, unless you bring someone with Teleport or a Rope of Return.

1. The security system will generate Doppelgangers of party members at the beginning of the fight; these are identical to the party members at the beginning of the fight, current HP aside (I think). If you get confused, changing the colour of a character does not change the colour of the respective Doppelganger after they’ve been created.

2. Doppelgangers will attack physically, for however much damage the copied character would do with you as a target.

3. Doppelgangers will not use spells. They might not use other special abilities, but I haven’t tested that.

…and that’s it. They don’t even have the boss-standard attack and defense debuffs. Pretty simple, hm?
Not so simple if you have three AI characters tagging along, or if you’re playing with other people, though. The clones are reasonably aggressive, but are very erratic and might not necessarily move towards you, or may start attacking before you’re in range.
If you’re having problems telling apart party member from clone, changing the colour of your character even before you enter the room does not change the colour of the clone; it will always be the basic colours for your class. Alternatively, you could just switch on the player indicator, or even show directional arrows. It’s all somewhat cheating, but this fight isn’t difficult even at high levels, as the bosses are created explicitly to be equal to you. With four people, it’d just be an incredibly chaotic fight, and a nice excuse to beat up something that looks like your friend’s character.

Loot

First Trip:

“Hmmm, there are markings on that thing which seem to indicate demonic work.”
“Holy… that’s a high-quality prize…”
“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”
“…yeah.”

Guardian Armor [Armour]
[At.16, Df.95]
[War, Dwf]
Armor forged by the warlords of hell.

Material Magic [Object]
Crystal of solid magic.
(Strengthens weapon)

Second Trip:

“Holy… that’s a high-quality prize…”
“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”
“Not this time.”

Merlin’s Ring [Accessory]
[Int.24, Pow.16, (Mat.24? Mdf.20?)]
[All]
Favourite ring of the great sorcerer Merlin.

Mirror Armor [Armour]
[Df.52]
[War, Dwf]
Silver armor with a fine reflective exterior.

Another eight Material Magics…

Third Trip:

Reflector Ring [Accessory]
[Chance to guard against spells to take no damage?]
[All]
A ring that protects the wearer from magic.

One more Material Magic…

Once again more exceedingly shiny things that I can’t use… but the Material Magics are a start. Maybe if I got fifty of the Materials… but one alone isn’t enough to improve the Healing Robe as much as I want.
I’ve discussed Materials before, but Material Magic is a special case; instead of increasing (or decreasing) elements on a weapon or armour, Material Magic increases its At. or Df. stats; therefore increasing the raw damage you do with a weapon, or the damage reduced by a piece of armour. Because Material Magic will never actually decrease the damage you deal, or increase the damage you take, it is by far the most useful and valuable of the Materials that you can find or buy from the Retired Knight. As Material Magic can be picked up from the chests, from gargoyles, from the slimes and from the metallic wisps, the Ancient Ruins are a very good place for collecting them… once you’re strong enough to kill off the wisps.

Finally! Something good I can use! Merlin’s Ring is rather awe-inspiring, especially since I haven’t gotten anything truly useful for a caster since the first trip to Labyrinth of the Dead (…which was the Talisman, zombies drop loads – incidentally, their effect stacks). This is another of the items you can get from the two hidden chests on the surface’s underlevel. Regarding the uncertainty with the last two effects, I’m not sure whether increasing Intelligence and Power affects Magic Attack and Magic Defense. It’s pathetic to say, but I don’t have anything else I can test with.

The Mirror Armor didn’t come from one of the chests; one of the metallic wisps dropped it. They seem to drop Material Magic much more often, though, so keep that in mind if you want it. It’s not brilliant compared to Guardian Armor, all I know about it is from what the game tells me; I don’t know whether it boosts stats, or has a chance of reflecting spells, or anything else like that, as I can’t equip it to check.
Likewise the Guardian Armor, of course.
Oh, and once again, I forget to take a picture of something before discarding it. Bah.

The Reflector Ring is an odd accessory; doing absolutely nothing for any of your stats, it instead gives you the random chance to Guard against a spell and take no damage. Whether your stats alter the chance of that happening or not, I’m not sure.
It’s not better than a Dragon Scale and it’s certainly not better than Merlin’s Ring, so I’m not using it. I like how it looks, though; seems reminiscent of Eternal Ring.

Item(s) of the Day

Power Symbol [Accessory]
[Fire.8, Str.32, Con.15]
[All]
Talisman that draws out one’s hidden strengths.

So I went to the Old Palace after finding myself unable to clear the Abandoned Mine… again. It so happened that, whilst practicing a certain spell, this dropped from one of the two black swordsmen guaranteed to spawn in the room between the Sagestone-locked door, and the room with the healing circle.
Strength is good if you’re hitting stuff, obviously, so on that note this item is better for any melee-type than a caster. However, Constitution is very good in general, for all classes, and 15 points is brilliant, compared to the accessories available in the first parts of any area. Just watch out for the 8 points the item gives towards fire; don’t try to use it against the Kraken.

Spell(s) of the Day

Explosion
MP: 45
Command: O ∆ O O ∆ (∆O) O
Creates balls of fire which explode on impact.

Explosion produces a small-sized orb in front of the caster; this can damage enemies, for the same amount as the spell’s main effect, but its range is comparable to the Sorcerer’s wand. After a few moments, the orb explodes, dealing damage to all enemies in medium range. As a fifth-level spell, Explosion has a very long natural casting time, but it deals exceptional damage; 80 points if something resists, to around 150 points normally.
Here we start with the really good spells. Explosion is the first spell learned from the fifth level of spells, and is part of a set of spells that should be considered upgraded versions of certain third-level spells. Explosion, as the spellcode suggests, is the upgraded form of Blaze. Where the original was a moving AoE, Explosion produces a lot of damage in one (or two) hits, making it much more similar in form to Lightningbolt.
The best way to use Explosion alone is, like any other spell its level, through its spellcode. I recommend keeping one of the third-level spells on the main casting button, for emergencies and not-tough enemies, and practicing hitting the keys for Explosion somewhere near a healing circle, so you can practice until you’re sure you’ve got it. In a party of friends, you might be able to survive casting it from the casting button, but you’ll almost always be casting slower than using the sequence of commands for the spell, so unless you’re running low on MP, you’d be better off learning the spellcode anyway.

Come to think of it, the third-level spells were upgrades of the first-level spells, weren’t they? And the fourth-level spells upgrades of the second level. The problem with the second- and fourth-level spells is… well… they’re not all that useful. There are many more enemies weaker to the normal elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Wind) than to Light and Darkness, and the first-, third- and fifth-level spells are, for the most part, much easier to use. The non-elemental spells (Magic Missile, Smash, Enchant Weapon, Dispell Magic and Petrifaction) are far more situational, or of limited use due to their cost; just look at Dispell Magic. When you get that, generally you’re still facing things that can barely manage the first level of Fairy spells.

The Ruins in the Lake (2)

– The Lake Ruins –

A lake where a great city is said to have existed in ancient times. Ruins tower up out of the water’s surface…

I touched upon this place earlier; the Ruins in the Lake is another of my favourite regions in Blaze & Blade. It has great music, it looked spectacular at the time the game was released, and it has a fun boss fight at the end. It also doesn’t take three to six hours to reach the boss, so if you realise you’re not going to be able to beat something, you won’t feel like the last five hours of your life have been spent in vain.
Not that I’m bitter, but I really do hate the Troll.
I probably wouldn’t like the game as much if all the regions were as short as the Valley of White Silver, the Ancient Ruins and the Ruins in the Lake, though, even if there were many more regions in total than the game currently has.
Long regions require thought, if not careful planning; rationing of items, puzzles, sub-bosses, bosses. They take a long time to work through even if you know where everything is, as they can be absolutely huge. But it’s fun just wandering around a large region and seeing the sights, and fighting the monsters. The payoff is usually more treasure than you alone can carry.
On the other hand, short regions are more immediate tests of raw power; the only major challenge in a small region is its boss, and in both the Ancient Ruins and the Ruins in the Lake, you have to defeat the boss to get out with your loot. Well, unless you’re sneaky and bring a Rope of Return to the Ancient Ruins. The Valley of White Silver, meanwhile, has only a single guaranteed chest – that I know about – but it’s the simplest of the optional areas. They’re good breaks between long adventures in, say, the Abandoned Mine.

Looking at the layout of the region, it’s my theory that either the lake formed around the city, or the city sank into the lake. Why?
Well, we have a path to walk on, but in the entire accessible area we can only find three buildings; the two towers on the north and south ends of the two paths, and the building with the Kraken. Not, to my eyes, the makings of a city.
Unless we’re walking on the top of a wall, or raised pathway. The main buldings of the city are submerged and unreachable, and we’re walking on the upper floors of two towers and the… well, the northernmost building was probably a shrine, especially since it contains the tablet describing the Reincarnation spell.
There isn’t anything contradicting that theory, but there’s nothing actually supporting it within the game, either, aside from the pit the Kraken resides in. The science-geek within me comments that the room you fight Kraken in should be at least half-full of water, as the floor is below the local water level.

…speaking of which, the Kraken. Of all the optional bosses made available immediately after collecting four jewels, Kraken is probably the toughest; It’s made up of eleven separate parts, only ten of which can take damage, and a lot of those component parts aren’t always attackable in melee. However, even for casters this battle can be difficult, as Kraken has a number of abilities that are worse for characters standing still.

Attacks:

1. Kraken’s head can cast a very large-area Blizzard spell. You can’t really fail to see this one coming, as the spellcircles that spring up around Kraken’s head are absolutely huge, and it doesn’t cast anything else. The entire room also goes blue whilst the animation’s running. Make sure you’re moving away as the spell goes off.
Kraken’s head will also attack you, but for about the same damage at the feet. It looks like it’s charging you, but I’ve never seen it do that for real.
There’s only one head, obviously, and it’s immune to damage.

2. Kraken’s ‘arms’ – tentacles ending in a spade-like section – can send waves of water at you, similar to the 2nd Level spell Dark Wave. This isn’t a spell, however, and though the arm does have an animation for the attack, usually the only warning you’ll have is the beginning of the attack’s animation, and the sound effect. This attack doesn’t push you back, but otherwise acts like numerous Water Bullets, you’ll continue to take damage until the wave is completely through your body. It’s difficult to dodge, as the wave affects such a large area, but it does spread out in the direction the beginning of the animation points in, which can help.
Arms can also attack you normally, with a chance of being stunned. Naturally, this is bad. Thankfully, they don’t normally get in melee range of you unless most of the plain tentacles are dead.
Kraken has two arms.

3. Plain tentacles – tentacle legs? – just continually attack you for low water-element damage. They range to just under half the distance between the pit and the walls, so they are easy to avoid by just hugging a wall, but if you go within melee range of Kraken’s pit, you’ll be constantly attacked by all the tentacles that can reach you. Like any attack, you’ll be held still for a short moment; if you’re trying to dodge either of Kraken’s other attacks, don’t run around the east side of the room, as unless you jump onto the raised area, you’ll be in range of these attacks.
Plain tentacles can also send a smaller, single wave of water at you; looks like a thin version of Water Bullet, and pierces, but doesn’t hit multiple times like the real thing, or the arm tentacles’ waves. They don’t seem to do this attack often, even when you’re out of range of their physical attack, but it doesn’t do much damage.
There are eight plain tentacles.

All of Kraken’s attacks are water-element, so equipment or accessories that defend against water are a very good choice. All of Kraken’s body pieces get to act at the same time; you’ll be simultaneously facing waves of water, Blizzard spells, and attacks from the remaining plain tentacles throughout the fight. ‘Killing’ Kraken – or forcing it to retreat – is a matter of destroying all its limbs, as the head won’t take damage.

With water resistance (from the Aqua Shawl), Kraken’s most dangerous attack is the large waves its arms can generate; they’ll hit at least three or four times before the wave passes through you entirely, and the damage isn’t reduced like that of Blizzard.

Blaze is a good spell for the start of this fight; though all of Kraken’s parts are located in a pit, most of Kraken’s parts cluster around the edge of the pit closest to you, allowing Blaze to hit most if not all of the normal tentacles. Lightning Bolt is also good, as it’s likely to hit any body parts hanging around the other side of the pit; well-aimed, it can hit more than half of Kraken’s limbs, thanks to its habit of jumping from one enemy to the next.
Eventually you’ll have to switch to something other than Blaze, as it tends to fall into the pit rather than hit anything, once enough parts are killed. Killing all of Kraken’s tentacles might kill the creature, or it might be dealing damage to the head. I’m not sure, as it’s difficult to tell what the final spell strikes.
Be prepared to jump into the pit and take damage if you want any of the loot directly from this fight; that IS a bottomless pit, and any chests that drop will be forever lost if they fall to the bottom without you landing on them first.

Beating Kraken causes the time in the area to shift from early evening to twilight. I’ve always thought that to be a brilliant touch, but it also always caused me to have problems getting out of the northern building, as the windows are no longer lit.
More relevantly, chest will appear in each of the four corners of the paths around the area, with your reward for the fight; consolation for all the chests players usually see falling in the pit. No more enemies will spawn after the Kraken fight; even the black lizardmen in the ruined towers vanish.
Priests shouldn’t forget the tablet on the east side of the room; check the back of it for Resurrection. I don’t think this is readable in the middle of the fight against Kraken, however, so even Priests have to beat the demon.

Loot (now with icons!)

You may notice I’ve more than four separate items here. That’s because I went through four runs, for a well-needed break after the Abandoned Mine fiasco.
Ice Sword, by the by, has no icon because I discarded it before thinking about it, and my latest runs didn’t produce one.

Aqua Shawl [Accessory]
[Int.8, Water.20]
[All]
Magical shawl worn by the spirit of water.
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Material Water [Object]
Magic crystal water.
(Water attr. to weapon)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Ice Sword [Weapon]
[At.34, Water.12]
[War]
Sword of black ice, supposedly forged by ice fairies.
“Hmmm, there are markings on that thing which seem to indicate demonic work.”
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Ice Jewel
Gem of ice.
(Activates Blizzard; 25% Destruction)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Element Cloak [Accessory]
[Df.17]
[Elf, Dwf, Fai]
Cloak enchanted with the strength of spirits.
“Holy… that’s a high-quality prize…”
“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”

Ice Shield [Shield]
[Df.18, Water.8]
[War, Dwf]
Shield made of ice inhabited by water spirits.
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Items like Aqua Shawl, with extra defence against water, are pretty good if you intend to go on extra runs against Kraken. The unmarked eight points of Intelligence help any caster, to boot; on the other hand, the Aqua Shawl also affects the element of your weapon, so this isn’t a nice piece of gear for people who can’t use spells or spell-like items.
Aqua Shawl reduces water damage from spells to 1 point a hit, and this may be independent of the accessory’s listed water-element points; Earth Tiara acts similarly for multiple elements, and yet has no elemental points to it. I’ll have to check it if I find that item again. It’s almost a prerequisite for beating a later boss alone.

So, Materials also boost your armour’s elements, in addition to the elemental values of your weapon. This is why it’s fairly important to unequip armour or weapons if you don’t want the element on them; sometimes you’ll want an element on your armour that directly conflicts with elements already on your weapon – such as, Evil-element already on your armour when you want to put Holy-element points on your weapon. Using a Holy Material in that situation would reduce the Evil-element on your armour, if memory serves. In this case, were I actually likely to use my current weapon (a Pure Wand – I never get lucky with weapon chests, it’s always something for another class) in combat against Kraken, using these Water Materials would be a bad idea, as Kraken probably has a very high resistance to that element. Water Materials are fairly common from the post-Kraken chests; I got one or two each run. Save them, if you have space, as you’ll probably want them later.

Unlike armour and accessories, water-element weapons aren’t great for this area; you’ll love them later on, but it’s a bad idea to use Ice Sword at the Ruins in the Lake, for obvious reasons. I got this on two separate runs, so it might be more common than other equipment. (So saying, now that I need it for its icon, it refuses to appear.)
On the subject of unequippable stuff… Element Cloak, my first ‘holy’ item on this character, and I can’t equip it. Bah. It probably provides resistance to elements, or a boost to stats, but I can’t tell.
Whoo, an Ice Shield. This place doesn’t like Sorcerers.

“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”
“…yes.”

Item of the Day

Talisman [Accessory]
[Recover slightly more MP from natural regeneration, when equipped.]
[All]
Accelerates the recovery of magical energy.

…because running out of MP, as a caster, is a really bad thing. The Talisman doesn’t provide constant regeneration like the Healing Robe does, but instead increases the amount of MP gained each ‘tick’ of natural regeneration; for me, I get 7MP without it, but with it, 9MP.
Okay, 2MP extra per tick isn’t much, but in a boss fight, when you’re down to the point of being unable to cast spells, and you have no MP items, you’re stuck relying on your natural regeneration of MP. Anything that raises the amount you regenerate helps you in all situations where your MP gauge is more than a single tick away from being full.

Spell of the Day

Blaze
MP: 16
Command: O ∆ O □ O
The ground beneath the opponents bursts into flame.

A medium-range piercing AoE fire-element spell. Doesn’t take too long to cast, and moves at a reasonable pace. Can hit enemies more than once, but only if they’re moving in the same direction as the spell, or if they’re large enough to still be sitting on the spell after invincibility wears off. Strikes flying enemies without trouble, but is subject to gravity.
The first learned spell of the trio of 3rd Level 16MP attack spells, and my favourite, naturally this is the one I get around to covering last. Between Blizzard and Lightningbolt in almost all aspects; it has the same general shape as Blizzard, affecting a roughly-circular area whilst moving in the direction cast towards, but covers a smaller area and moves quicker. Both Blizzard and Blaze can strike enemies directly behind you, too. Does more damage than Blizzard per hit, but less than Lightningbolt; if it hits an enemy three times, it deals more than Lightningbolt, but that usually only happens with large enemies.
Blaze is the only spell of the three that is subject to gravity; it falls into pits which Lightningbolt and Blizzard would both happily float over, so keep that in mind.

The Abandoned Mine (2) – The Ruins Within the Earth

So, what ARE these things supposed to be?


I think that might be a beard…

Heavily-armoured antisocial sword-waving dwarves?

At any rate, back on Underlevel 5…

I never get tired of killing that thing.

So, foolery aside, this is the gate to the further underlevels of the Abandoned Mine. Though the real ‘part two’ of the Abandoned Mine doesn’t really begin until you go down to the next level, as soon as you pass through the gate, you’ll be facing stronger enemies than demonic centipedes, or whatever it is about to jump me in that picture.

Underlevel 6 is more or less a repeat of the action back on Underlevel 4; travelling between disconnected floating rocky paths via magic hovering platforms. There are at least three chests distributed around the area, too, including another chance at a Luck Talisman.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of random monsters here; most of the enemies I encountered were guaranteed, already-there ‘spawns’, so they’re going to be there, whether you like it or not. The upshot is that it’s safe for you to wait between fights, if you’re having problems.

So, whilst the 6th underlevel has water and floating rock paths, and crabs, the 7th has a raised path of ice above a floating path of rock.
And bears. Falling off the ice path – which isn’t slippery, happily – can be troublesome here, as sometimes instead of falling into the abyss, dropping off the ice path will instead deposit you on the lower, rock path, necessitating a walk back to the beginning of the icy route. Icy boulders block portions of the lower route, so you have to switch between the icy and rocky paths to get through. Also, the random spawn is back, so you have to contend with more monsters if you hang around too long.
Pushing a couple of iceblocks around will let you at a chest, if you have the patience for it, but as you also need to do that to access the way to the next area, it’s difficult to miss unless you don’t check past the exit.

I like the second part of the Abandoned Mine, but I really can’t tell what the miners managed to dig into, here. The water is a stretch to accept in the first place, but the ice goes a bit beyond that. The swinging baskets don’t make that much sense, either, though they are a reasonably safe spot to rest on.

If there’s any (non-boss) enemy I hate here, it’s the red ogres; they’re almost entirely immune to Fire, and take low damage from anything else besides. They can deal a lot of (Evil) damage with each attack, and can soak a lot of damage before they go down. Facing these are usually more trouble than they’re worth, and they have a habit of spawning at dead ends from the 8th underlevel onwards.
The other enemies in the area aren’t as bad; blue slimes can do an appreciable amount of damage if four are trying to digest you at the same time, and green wisps can only a little less health than the red ogres, but the bears can’t knock you onto a lower ledge you’ll have to backtrack from, so they’re now just a negligible threat.

Underlevel 9’s path is mostly linear; you do have to switch between different levels of platform, via the somewhat-fun giant springs, but the path you should take to proceed is pretty obvious. All the branches are either very short dead-ends, or lead to treasure and are dead-ends.
You also need to dodge falling icicles at times. They’re smaller than the boulders way back at underlevel 1, so they’re much easier to avoid even if the game doesn’t make it clear where they’re actually falling.

There’s a portal on underlevel 9 that takes you down to the boss zone, ‘The Ruins Within the Earth’. It’s a fair walk to the arena for the boss fight, from where the portal places you, and enemies will spawn on the way there; common spawns include red ogres, green wisps, and the new… green ogres, which have larger axes and a weakness to wind element stuff, but more HP than the red ogres.
Nicely, there’s a chest on the way to the boss. Don’t miss it, as it’s a long walk back. Also, if you turn left, rather than right, on entering the central area, you’ll find a savepoint. I recommend using it.

Fun fact:
This was the boss that lead me to discover the, uh, ‘trick’ under my name (Rebecca) in holypriest’s brilliant Item List at GameFAQs.
You know, the one that blatantly abuses Blaze & Blade’s tendency to let spells, other projectiles, statuses and, most importantly, NATURAL HEALING, continue when a controller removed – or set to Dual Shock mode, too modern for Blaze & Blade to detect – whilst everything else freezes in place.

Yeah, The Troll was one of the worst bosses I fought as an Elf. I got very lucky with a later boss that should have been much worse, somehow managing to pick up the one accessory that nullified most of its attacks.
Enough about that one. For now.

The Troll begins with two green ogres as minions. It has a fairly small arena, fitting in a single screen when the camera is fully zoomed out, and is surrounded by deep water. This is a very hectic fight, as you need to keep an eye on (…and kill) the two green ogre minions, but you really don’t want to get hit by some of the Troll’s attacks, either.

Attacks:

1. Normal attacks from the Troll can deal a lot of damage; he can deal up to 60 points a hit.

2. The Troll can leap forward to attack you, which can stun you for a moderate length of time; usually enough for it or something else to hurt you again. This attack will also knock you back a short distance, and deal a small amount of damage, but both of those are negligible compared to the chance of being stunned.
You can see this one coming, but it’s difficult to get out of range since the Troll moves pretty quickly during it, like most ‘charge’ attacks. Don’t get stunned.

3. The Troll can uppercut you, too; this attack will deal low damage, and throw you back, but I don’t know whether it has the same chance of stunning you as the charge does, as well.

4. The Troll has the usual boss Def./Att. debuff skills, with approximately the same range as the Baby Dragon. These are impossible for me to tell apart, and the effect might just be random anyway, but… getting your defence lowered is very bad, naturally, as it tends to result in hits of 70+ damage.

Many deaths, maaany deaths.
Many-many-one deaths, to be precise. I suspect Troll may be easier for a melee class with better armour, but for a caster it’s pretty bad, and any character should probably bring along a few healing items, just to see you through the minions.
Due to the small size of the arena, and the sheer aggressiveness of the Troll, 90% of the time it’s just not possible to stay out of range and cast from a distance. Any spell that requires you to stay still – anything that takes maintenance, but also anything with a long casting time – is a bad idea. Lightningbolt or anything with wind-element on it would be a good idea, as the green ogres are weak to it, and the Troll isn’t resistant. Spark Bullet isn’t a good idea because even at that short a time spent casting, the Troll is likely to catch up with you, and 15 or so damage isn’t worth it compared to 50 on the Troll and 70 on his minions.
Surprisingly, if you can get the Troll to back off for ten seconds, Magic Ray is good for wiping out the green ogres. With the minions gone, if you need HP or MP, you can run in circles directly away from the Troll; that seems to be just about fast enough to avoid everything the troll does. It’s also usually better to drop off the platform rather than get hit by any of his attacks, as both will give you short-lived invincibility, but falling causes less damage. Just be careful, as it is possible to get stunned whilst jumping off, and stunning persists once you arrive back on the platform.
It’s a little cheap, but once the minions are down, probably the best thing to do as a caster is hang around on the bridge from the entrance and keep the big dumb Troll walking against the edge of the main platform, to the side, and to jump off and away if he works out how to approach you, hopefully geting him caught against the edge of the bridge instead. He tends to beeline straight for your character, so it can give you a much-needed chance to rest.

AUGH. Nine deaths and I still can’t beat it. I’m taking a break for the day.

Item of the Day

Healing Robe
[Df.36, Holy.20]
[Pri,Sor,Fai]
A life-saving robe which heals its wearer.

The description really isn’t kidding; this robe does heal its wearer, and as a result it is life-saving. More times than I can count, it has kept me going in boss fights with only a pair of Healing Pins to go on.
Up to the Troll, anyway. Wearing the Healing Robe restores 1 point of HP each second, approximately, regardless of what you’re doing at the time. Provided you can stay outside your enemy’s reach for long enough, you can survive anything (that doesn’t kill you outright).
Incidentally, Materials do affect armour; the Healing Robe only naturally has 20 points of Holy element to it, yet mine has 3 points of Light and 2 of Earth to it… matching the effect of Materials on my weapon. As soon as I get enough Fate Coins, I’m buying Material Magic for this thing.

Spell of the Day

Blizzard
MP: 16
Command: X ∆ X X
Innumerable ice crystals hail down upon the foes.

A medium range water-element spell that affects a very wide area, but moves slowly, and takes slightly longer to cast than other spells of the same level. Technically piercing. Notable enemies possessing this spell include Dark Elf on your first encounter in Old Palace, and Kraken at the Ruins in the Lake; Kraken’s variant is larger than the one you and the Dark Elf can cast, so watch out for it.
Blizzard is another of the three third-level 16MP elemental attack spells, along with Blaze and Lightning Bolt. I have to say Blizzard is my least favourite of the three; it’s the slowest to cast and start once the animation begins, and seems to be the weakest, dealing the least damage unless used against something with a weakness. However, as it is the slowest-moving spell of the three, it has the highest chance of hitting enemies multiple times with a single casting, and can be especially devastating to water-weak enemies.

The Abandoned Mine (1) – Underlevels 1 to 5

I never posted about this place the first time I visited. That’s probably because I visited before I got into the habit of writing about each region, but it’s also because this place is so utterly hellish for casters, with many sleep-loving magic goblins, other monsters with powerful physical attacks, poisonous snakes and scorpions, and not much room to dodge or run from stuff, that I eventually gave up and went to Old Palace to level there, instead.
…well, I ended up returning here after failing to beat Dark Elf a couple of times. Lightning Bolt is a nasty spell to face. So I eventually beat this place before Old Palace, but only by a little.
THIS time I’m going here first, as I might as well write about the first part of this area sometime.

The Abandoned Mine is the remains of an old mine.
Way to state the obvious, whoo.
From the old man’s comments in the inn, I think it was abandoned relatively recently; that is, not centuries ago, like some of the ruins in Foresia, but within a generation or two. I’m not sure what they were mining FOR; maybe magic crystals, maybe iron, maybe coal.
Being a mine with what are probably gas… braziers, rather than an ancient ruin with magitech lighting, it’s pretty dark in there. Up until solving a certain puzzle that provides a little more illumination, which doesn’t last long, it’s next to impossible to tell when you’re walking up to a ledge and are about to drop off out of sight. With a TV you can just fiddle with the settings; with an old computer monitor, like the one I have here, it’s habitually set bright as possible by default, so I have no salvation there. I don’t even have this problem with the Ancient Ruins, so you can see part of why I dislike this place.

This area, like most others, has favoured classes; I haven’t mentioned it before, but certain areas are just built around the abilities of a certain class or two. They help access extra areas, or solve puzzles. This area likes Fairies, for extra loot at no damage, and Dwarves, for a quicker solution to a puzzle. The Abandoned Mines just brings it to mind as, early on, there’s a chest you can only access by either taking damage, or having the Levitation effect… automatic on a Fairy, bestowed by a Fairy spell, or bestowed by an item that, annoyingly, can be picked up from this chest.
I don’t know how Fairies do on conveyor belts, but there’s definitely more damaging floor later on in.
Other areas… off the top of my head, Valley of White Silver doesn’t really have a class in mind, structure-wise, that I noticed. The Wood of Ruins loves Hunters, and it’s the only place they get any love. I’ll be returning to everywhere else at some point, so I’ll address good classes for the other areas there.

This being a mine, there are the obligatory falling-rock hazards; when you first come here, getting hit by one of these can be a one-hit kill. It was for me, and they still deal more than creatures in the Valley of White Silver or the Wood of Ruins ‘Holy Land’ do. The rocks fall regularly and always in the same spots, marked by shadows, but with the trouble I have seeing in the area, it’s easy to miss those if you haven’t played in a decade or so.
You wouldn’t really expect there to be general falling hazards, but there are more chasms to avoid than boulders. Chasms make more sense than eternal rockfalls, but… why are there either? Tight passages would be even more annoying, and the game has a problem with certain walls and blocking view of the ground.
This being a abandoned mine, you also have to contend with random junk left lying about, such as wheelbarrows, barrels, crates and carts. You can push them about and jump on them, but there isn’t a point where you need to do that, I think. Other than the interactive junk, you can also spot discarded shovels and pickaxes on the ground. Nice touch.

Oh, yeah. I hate bats. When I first arrived at the Abandoned Mines, I didn’t yet have Magic Missile. The one weakness of the Water Bullet spell is that it can’t hit flying enemies. Bats are a more annoying version of the Beetle from Wood of Ruins, as they tend to spawn more in groups, rather than singularly with other enemies. Bats are the reason I gave up and went to Old Palace, instead. Beetles can spawn in groups of four or six, too, but that’s relatively rare. Bats always seem to turn up in large numbers, whenever they appear.
Of course, this time I can tap out the code for Magic Missile and fry the blasted things. Hee, this is fun.

There’s a two-players-or-more puzzle on the third underlevel, in the area with the waterfall and pier. See the sparkle on the pier? That’s a key, but if anyone tries to take it, the pier will collapse, leaving whoever went to get it on a piece of wood floating towards the waterfall. Falling into the water makes you drop the key, even though you reappear miraculously mostly-unharmed by the ordeal a few seconds later.
Whilst you’re (un)happily floating towards watery oblivion, the other player has to get to a switch that lowers a bridge for you to jump onto. There are stone platforms in the water; it might be that the other player has to go across those to stand a chance of getting to the switch in time, or to stay on screen and not pull you off the raft. I don’t usually play multiplayer, but I think that’s how it goes.
Most other main areas also have mulitplayer puzzles. The Wood of Ruins has a barrel-and-knives game. Remember Pop-Up Pirate?
Yeah, that. ‘cept you’re the pirate. Or your unlucky friend. All these puzzles give a decent amount of loot, though I think the Palace of the Immortals puzzle also opens a shortcut.

Another minor touch:

Grand Miner Recruitment!
The Opportunity – wouldn’t you like to become a miner?
A bright workplace, a fulfilling occupation and amazingly high wages – enough reason for you to change your vocation.
Details in personal interview.
We’re waiting for you!

A recruitment poster for miners. In a mine. I don’t know whether that’s supposed to be an old and
redundant poster, or a modern ‘hey, adventurers, you’re down here! You
like mines, don’t you?’ kind of thing. Either way, it’s amusing.
Rebecca says: Nobody’s buying it…

Announcement of lost and found.
The following objects have been found.
Would the owner please report.
Suntan lotion, fishing pole, flower pot for sunflowers, sundial, paintings from the south…

Someone wasn’t cut out to be a miner, hm?
Rebecca says:

Then there’s the area with the huge chasm, floating platforms and quicksand pit on the fourth underlevel. That’s the one area that really doesn’t make sense in a mine. It’s also the one main obstacle to my theory that the actual mine is recent, rather than ancient.
There’s a healing circle over the quicksand pit, if you can negotiate the platforms.

In that area, though, there’s an raised platform over a hole. There are several pieces of pushable mines-junk sitting on the raised area. Pushing each item off, one-by-one, nets you a message, and a guaranteed enemy spawn. One enemy for each item… until the last one, that really pisses off the person below, netting you five enemies to avoid.
Semi-secret… unless you’re like me and love messing around like that. This is a decent source of experience, as snakes, scorpions and spiders give a lot for this point in the game, and otherwise they tend to spawn in an awkward area, normally. They ARE powerful enough to kill in a few hits as a Sorceress, however, so it’s always worth being careful.
Plus, I always like annoying the thing below. Or the mostly-absent narrator. Whatever it is.

The area’s first boss is a Baby Dragon, one of the smaller mid-bosses; larger than Dark Elf and Dullahan, but smaller than the Owlbear and Behemoth. About the same size as the Weretiger and Werewolf bosses from Palace of the Immortals. A mid-size mid-boss?
Anyway, like any self-respecting dragon, it loves using its fire breath on you. It has the standard mid-boss attack and defence debuffs at short range – perhaps one length of its own body. Other than that, it charges at you, and attacks normally.
Unlike Behemoth, this boss is pretty challenging; the Baby Dragon is aggressive about staying in range to attack you, and moves pretty quickly; you tend to get charged and clawed a lot, in this fight, and don’t get much of a chance to rest up, so you’re dependent on whatever healing items you still have hanging around. All of its attacks are fire element, but it’s not likely you have anything that adds resistance against that, right now.
Fighting the thing was always a matter of trying in vain to avoid it, and praying my Healing Pins held out once my potions ran dry. NOW it’s easy, but…
Well, there’s something interesting about this boss, but I’ll go into that later.

Beating the Baby opens the way to an elevator out of the mines, but it doesn’t stay on subsequent visits. I have a lot of new loot, so I’ll take that back to the surface, and take a break for the moment.

Loot

Luck Talisman
Amulet that brings the wearer good luck.
[Lck.32]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Fine Axe
A very fine axe forged by great smiths.
[At.29]
[Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Silver Gauntlets [Accessory?]
Beautiful gauntlets crafted from silver.
[At.10, Df.10]
[War, Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Dragon Scales
Supposedly wards off bad luck and misfortune.
[Df.12, Lck.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Resist Ring
Protects the wearer with mysterious powers.
[Mdf.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

And that’s not counting the discarded or ignored stuff, like the silver medal, boots, shield, and what I think may be a guaranteed piece of armour. The chest containing a medal – Bronze, Silver or Gold – is the one inside the fence that you have to jump to reach, on the way to the water for the flask. The possibly-guaranteed piece of armour can be found by going straight from the first chest on the fifth underlevel, rather than heading left and up to the boss.
All in all, the mines are pretty generous for chests.

Is it just me, or does the Luck Talisman look like a Dragonball Radar?
The medals. I’ve always gotten them in the same order – Bronze first, then Gold if I ever went to the chest again. And now Silver. I somehow didn’t pick it up the first time, but I’ll take it with me when I visit for the deeper trip.
Oh, and… yeah, Earth Jewels, from yesterday, aren’t useful. Using one eats up MP like the spell itself, needs you to hold a button for the effect to continue, and doesn’t do much damage anyway. Even if you weren’t a spell-using class, you wouldn’t want to use it for long, for risk of running out of MP and being stunned.

Item of the Day

Protect Ring
Protects with strange, mysterious powers.
[Df.16]
[All]

Counterpart to the Resist Ring listed above, I picked this up the first time I ran through the mines. 16 points in defence is nothing to laugh at, especially combined with a shiny new robe found nearby. I’ve been using this since the mines the first time, but it’s now being traded for the Dragon Scale, as I have all of 1 point in Luck at the moment, and it’s only a drop of 4 points defence.

Spell of the Day

Water Bullet (Sorcerer/Elf)
MP: 3
Command: X ∆ X
Waves form on the ground and attack the opponent.

A medium-range water-element spell, with both piercing and knock-back effects. I should probably explain what I mean by those; piercing means that the projectile doesn’t die out as soon as it hits a single enemy. That it will go through all enemies until it reaches the limits of its range, or hits a wall. Knock-back means that it will knock an enemy it hits backwards.
Having both of these on a single spell makes that spell very powerful,
as the wave of water first hits something and causes damage, then knocks the enemy
back… then hitting the enemy again, as it’s still in range of the damaging wave. I’ve seen this spell hit a single enemy five or six time in a single casting, causing damage far above what any first- or second-level spell can do. Get lucky and it’ll match Blaze.
The first spell learned by a Sorcerer, costing a whole 1 MP more than
Fire Bullet, Water Bullet will happily serve as primary offensive spell
until you start picking up the third-level spells. Design-wise, this probably wasn’t intended, but as a physically-weak Sorceress, at level 92 it can still make an excellent replacement for the pitiful range of a wand.

The Wood of Ruins (2) – the Ruins, the Canyon and the Holy Land

Being the first full-fledged area that you visit in Blaze & Blade, the Wood of Ruins is a pretty easy introduction to the game. Sure, there are monsters that can cause some trouble – namely, Beetles and Goblin Mages, for being tough to attack and for being able to cause a lot of damage, respectively – but the game never gets easier, and here the enemies are reasonably easy to run around and escape.
Though players can return to the Wood of Ruins at any point, the only way they can make progress after a certain point is by possessing the Sagestone and four jewels; the Boathouse Key allows adventurers to finally take a boat out to the ruins, but an important door won’t open until the Sagestone is four-ninths full.

Boating is… fun. If the boat were any smaller or flying enemies more plentiful, it’d be fun in the Dwarf Fortress sense, but as it is, it’s pretty well done. The eponymous Ruins of the Wood of Ruins are in and around a lake, so, naturally, in order to reach necessary portions of the ruins, you need to use the boat. Thankfully, you get instructions as soon as you enter the area. Directly ahead of where the player starts is a pier, and the door that won’t open until the Sagestone and jewels are brought to it. Nothing can be triggered in this area until that door is opened, at the very least, so curious low-level adventurers usually stop here, if they didn’t die to the wisps and treant already.
And a treant, and three wisps. The enemies in this area aren’t that bad; wisps are the only variety that fly, and they’re like griffons in that they can’t do much damage. Mercifully, they don’t have the griffons’ poke ‘o doom attack, either. Treants are tough casters that love to throw out Poison Cloud and Petrify; you don’t want to get hit by Petrify, but thankfully it’s short-range. Then there are light-blue lizardmen that last appeared in the Wood of Ruin’s swamps, and die in a single hit. More worrying are the new black lizardmen, much tougher than their younger blue siblings, dealing darkness damage with each hit. Lastly in this area there are rafflesia flower monsters that don’t do much or take much damage at all; they love to drop herbs, though.
A lot of the enemies in the area are weak to wind, so Lightning Bolt is a reasonable choice for attacking. Blaze is still a good choice, too, as it doesn’t do much less damage than Lightning Bolt.

Activating the ruins’ portal takes you to the Canyon, and the bane of my existence. Blaze & Blade does something very cruel here; the bridge? The short way to the other side? Attempting to cross it causes a pillar to collapse on it, without fail. You have to take the long way around.
The long way around is loooooooong. The enemies are the same as in the previous area, with perhaps the omission of the weaker blue lizardmen. There’s no treasure here, that I can see; the whole area’s just walking a long way in one direction, skirting around the edge of the canyon, and then walking back the whole way on the other side. Close to the end, there’s a bunch of wisps that I love trying to kill in one Lightning Bolt, but that’s about all the fun to be had here.

Past the Canyon is… the Holy Land, as an earlier sign mentioned. I assume they mean this place, rather than the Canyon; they were probably the ones who put that old bridge (…and pillar) up in the first place.
It’s been years since anyone visited, though. The ‘Holy Land’ is a desert, now, with quicksand pits and monsters; Basilisks and Wyverns predominantly, but also Giants who look a little like the Savage Fighter from the inn.
Wyverns are your standard flying annoyance, though they stop moving to attack you. Basilisks are lizards, though different from the lizardmen; as the name suggests, they can petrify you. Petrification is a very dangerous status alone, as it both freezes you in place until it wears off naturally, and saps your health like poison does. It doesn’t let you use spells, or items. So don’t get petrified, you’ll probably die.
Giants… or Giantesses? They look female to me… well, they’re tougher than treants, and do a lot of damage with their physical attacks.

There’s a glowing pool to the northeast of the savepoint-area in the desert, and I’m not sure why it’s there. Maybe it heals, as I wasn’t damaged when I got there. Or perhaps it’s just meant to look significant, like an oasis in a desert should be.
It’s probably holy. Natural that I find a source of holy water and have no undead to test it on, hm?

For pre-boss puzzles, the Wood of Ruins’ Holy Land/Desert is probably one of my favourites. Singing stones in the desert is a nice mental image.
If I recall correctly, the final level of Fairy spells is hidden here, too. I’m using the wrong class for those, though, and the last time I played a Fairy, I went mostly-melee. Not quite sure how I managed to get this far in the game doing that, really.

Okay, the boss. In a nice piece of attention-to-detail, this is the creature the Warrior, Rogue, Priestess and Sorceress were fighting in the animated intro. The boss is recogniseable only by process of elimination – I.E. it’s not Griffon, it’s not the Dark Elf, it’s not… you get the idea, but the area itself is recogniseable, down to the ‘pillars’ of falling sand from the desert above.

Behemoth’s attacks:

1. It can jump forward to pounce on you for a physical attack. This is similar to other large bosses and their ‘pushing’ attacks – like Griffon’s charge or the Owlbear running at you. Behemoth doesn’t home in on you with this attack, so it’s fairly easy to dodge so long as you aren’t meleeing. He only seems to do this if you’re within the range of one or two of these.
2. Behemoth can also jump up on the spot, and cause a minor earthquake when it lands. The range on this extends just over half a screen from Behemoth, depending on how you have the camera oriented, and you have only a small chance to get out of range from the moment Behemoth lands, before the animation kicks in and you start taking damage. Causes earth damage. The best defence against this one is just to start running when Behemoth jumps.
3. Behemoth loves casting Poison Cloud. Though it’s more powerful than the treants’ version, it’s not something to worry about if you’re fighting at range; if Behemoth is offscreen or mostly-offscreen, you’re too far away for the spell to start tracking, and it’ll just hover above Behemoth’s head. Poison Cloud is Behemoth’s largest-range attack, and it ranges about one full screen. Easy to avoid if you’re prepared and far away from Behemoth, and if it does start tracking you, there’s plenty of space available to keep running to avoid it.
4. Like certain other enemies, Behemoth can also cast Petrify. Again, this is another example of a spell that’s worse for melee characters than ranged, as Petrify is pretty short-range. Not that it’s the most problematic of spells, as it’s a thin straight line that can be sidestepped.
5. Lastly, Behemoth can toss out Earth Javelin; it’s pretty easy to tell when he’s about to cast this one, as it has a much longer casting time than the other spells. This is essentially a remote version of his earthquake attack, as the projectile the spell produces stops, eventually, and causes spikes of earth to shoot up from the ground. Possibly the nastiest of all his attacks, but I never got hit by it; just stay away from the projectile and you’ll be fine.

Behemoth isn’t the most aggressive of bosses out there; it doesn’t seem to have a love for rushing into melee range, and it has no truly long-range attacks that can hit you from anywhere like some bosses possess.
And, blast, it’s a choice between Abandoned Mines and THERE next. Joy. I’ll have to fight him twice, too… hmm. Choices, choices.
Anyway, Behemoth is one of those bosses that’ll be hellish for anyone who needs to melee it to death; it has a lot of health, and many attacks that can really screw up a person’s day and are tough, if not impossible to avoid at short range and warning.
However, playing a Sorceress or other class with magic makes it much easier; the arena is absolutely huge, at least two or three screens across in each direction, and it’s possible to just exhaust your MP with your favourite long-range spell (I recommend Lightning Bolt) with Behemoth offscreen, and then run around the edges of the arena staying safely out of sight until you can cast the spell again. It’ll take a long time without MP-restoring items, as Behemoth still has a lot of health, but as battles go, this is pretty safe.

Winning nets you a jewel; in a nice touch, it’s the same jewel from the introduction, too. I thought those guys already got it, though…?
Hm. Maybe there’s a vending machine, somewhere.

The exit-teleport is back near the desert savepoint…
…uh, assuming you remembered to push the statue out of the circle back at the meadow. I never do. Makes me wish I’d remembered yesterday’s Item of the Day, too, but even without any treasure chests for me in the region, I still managed to pick up more than an inventory of loot.

Loot

Basilisk Scales [Accessory]
Protect against being turned to stone.
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Earth Jewel [Object]
Earth Gem.
(Activates Poison Cloud; 25% Dest.)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Material Earth [Object]
Magic crystal earth.
(Earth attr. to weapon)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Material Light [Object]
Magic crystal light.
(Light attr. to weapon)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Recovery Perfume [Object]
Mildly scented perfume
(Slowly restores MP)
“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

Healing Perfume [Object]
Rousing fragrance
(Slowly restores HP)

“Well, it’s pretty unusual, but it might still come in handy in a fight.”

So, the Wood of Ruins is as cruel to non-Hunters as ever. Despite coming across no treasure chests in the Ruins, Canyon and Holy Land areas, I still managed to get lucky with enemy drops, including something (disappointing) from Behemoth.
Basilisk Scale – handily dropped by Basilisks – either makes you immune to petrification, or just resistant. I’ve never had to use it; getting petrified earlier is the only time I’ve ever been petrified. If I had to go for a status-resistant accessory, I’d choose to prevent something more common, instead.
I could have used those two Recovery Perfumes during the boss fight; they boost magic recovery when used, but I only got them from treants on my way out. Healing Perfume is the equivalent for HP, I’d assume.
Material Light, from a wisp, and Material Earth, from Behemoth – see,
disappointing – let you boost or reduce elements on your weapon. Good for increasing, or reducing, the damage you do
damage, though using opposed-element Materials on the same weapon – Wind in the case of Earth,
and Darkness in the case of Light – will reduce the Earth/Light element
before increasing the Wind/Darkness element. Not really worth messing around with until you have a lot of them, or if you’re having a lot of trouble with a boss, and not that useful for magic-users.
Lastly, the Earth Jewel. It could be useful to another class, I suppose, but I could just cast the spell itself. There are jewels for each element, with a corresponding spell inside, but the only one I find outside of chests following Kraken battles is always the Earth Jewel, containing That Spell I Never Use. They’re just redundant, like elemental Materials, in my case.

Item of the Day

Healing Pin [Object]
Acupuncture needle.
(Restores HP 25% dest.)

Cheap reusable healing. Even as late in the game as the return to the Wood of Ruins, Healing Pins can still be handy despite only healing between 10 and 20 HP a use; thanks to only being consumed 25% of the time, you can get much more than that out of each. Though not good in the face of any other healing item, and really not suited for use in the middle of combat past the first few areas, they’re great to have around if you have nothing else. They’re mostly good for supplementing your natural regeneration.
Since the innkeeper can always supply you with up to two, free of charge, it’s worth taking advantage of the offer. You CAN have more than two at once, as there’s at least one enemy in the game that drops them (Wood of Ruins? Old Palace?), but it’s not common, and not worth grinding for.

Spell of the Day

Lightning Bolt (Sorcerer/Elf)
MP: 16
Command: ∆ O ∆
Opponents are attacked by lightning.

A very long-range wind-element spell, though erratic; it sometimes veers to the side and refuses to hit enemies at the edge of its range. Lightning Bolt can easily hit enemies standing offscreen, as you probably learned from the Dark Elf boss fight. It pierces through enemies, and sometimes inflicts paralysis in addition to damage.
Lightning Bolt is a member of the trio of third-level 16MP elemental attack spells, alongside Blaze and Blizzard. Of the three, it’s the most damaging in a single hit, but there’s no chance this spell will hit a single enemy multiple times. Even with all of the fourth-level spells unlocked, I still use spells from this group as it casts in a reasonable length of time.

Blaze & Blade (2): Boss Musings

…huh.
You know, I distinctly remember the Griffon/Gryphon/creature-of-so-many-spellings – the boss of the Valley of White Silver – being tougher. As a Sorceress, the only problem I had was in keeping out of the centre of its wind-buffeting attack – which deals multiple hits. The whole fight took only… two Healing Potions, and both free Healing Pins. I’m around level 70-80~, and fought the whole thing with Blaze, though a decent amount of time was spent running in circles to let my MP recharge.
Still love the music, though.

I know I’m some way away from level 100, still, but I’m thinking about how to take on the Kraken – bossing around the lizard men and wyverns at the Ruins in the Lake – at this point, or at least when I can survive more than two hits and have a full stock of healing items. Blaze doesn’t work all the time as it’s subject to gravity, and the head, unlike tentacles, seems to have a habit of moving randomly out of reach after the spell’s cast.
Plus the range isn’t brilliant, leaving me a sitting duck for splashes of water, and the dreaded Blizzard spell, when casting. Lightning Bolt will probably be the spell of choice for my next attempt – unlike Blaze and Blizzard, it only affects a more-or-less straight line, and the slightly-random nature of the spell that occasionally has it curving around enemies I want to hit (…maybe, could just be poor aim) makes it less than ideal, but the range of the spell is unbeaten as yet, and it’s piercing. If push comes to shove, I could maybe sit behind the spell-tablet-rock and throw lightning at it until it cries.

…also, on the subject of items, Blood Extract is annoyingly described. I always read the description as filling HP back up to maximum.
Not so! It increases the maximum HP of the character using it. Which is brilliant, but if you’re counting on it for healing in a boss fight, you may end up in trouble.