||[Jun. 27th, 2004|06:45 pm]
So I'm at the final battle of GLII (normal route, for the one person that currently understands that and the many that may possibly understand it in the future), and I can't beat the final boss.
It's very frustrating because, like so many times before, it's a timed battle, with actually a very short timespan. And at that point, all of the enemies can cast magic, yes, even that bastard holding a spear over there, yes, he can heal. And cast attack and protect and make my life a living hell... er. Anyways.
So what does one usually do when one can't beat the final boss?
Well, first you hack around with your characters, saying, well, maybe if I equipped this armor on these characters and switched around their weapons, maybe this would work. In GLII, that means playing with Weapon Rings and Spirit Gems. Playing with Spirit Gems is roughly along the lines of creating a good Magic deck or equipping your character with Elements in Chrono Cross... you're looking for combinations that are going to turn your party/weapons/army/whatever of choice into an outright killing machine before which everything must bow its head and recognize you as master.
Or something like that, anyways. Enough to beat the current battle in front of your face, at least.
I tried... around 10-20 of those combinations before giving up the ghost (screaming in frustration all the while) and deciding to go off and power level.
Growlanser II isn't exactly designed for power levelling. To give you all some background, the battle system in Growlanser I and II (and presumably III, since I believe it's based on the engine from II, and probably IV as well), involves a weird mix between an RTS (real time strategy - think Starcraft), a tactical RPG (ala Final Fantasy Tactics) and your standard Japanese RPG.
In GLI, your characters were usually placed on the battle field either in set positions (in plot battles), or in the formation you happened to be in when the enemies noticed you (in random battles). GLII did away with this, and you start battles in a set formation, regardless of whether they're plot or random. (This actually has to do with the fact that GLII has a really whacked travel system involving dots on a map, whereas GLI had a walk around the world sort of mentality. Except when you had Teleport. ;_; Teleport...) You don't place characters (in the FFT sense) at the start of battles at all.
I was about to write a really long description of the battle system, but I'm going to set that aside for now. I'll just get into the meat of why and leave the details to the side.
There are two very big things that irk me about GLII as opposed to GLI. GLI had items. GL2 does not - which means that if you didn't have someone preparing a Cure spell BEFORE character A got into red hit points, well, put your hands together and pray, because they're probably going to be dead before you can get one off. Irk two is that, while in GLI every character got experience based on the enemies that were in the battle, no matter what they did or didn't do, in GLII you only get experience for things you kill (or a relatively small amount from casting support spells).
Adding to the frustration of Irk #2 is the fact that the barrier between life and death in GLII (at least for me, perhaps I'm playing it wrong), is so BLOODY SMALL that you can't push most of your characters off to the side and let one person get most of the kills. But, since it's real time, it's hard to manage your team of eight people in such a way that characters B and C knock the enemy down to the point that character A can finish it off relatively easily. In other words, you crawl along at about 100-200 exp an enemy, getting about one or two kills a battle.
Oh, and as a side note: GL follows a mixed experience system. When you go up a level, the amount of experience to the next level goes up a bit, and the amount of experience you get from enemies goes down a bit. So something that gave you 200 experience at level 1 might give you 1 when you're level 5-10, and you'll need more experience to level as well.
The Japanese website I've been checking says you can get to about Lvl38 off enemies, then it's down to casting support spells. One thing that makes this bearable is a one use item you can get which knocks your character down 10 levels while leaving their stats and skills mostly untouched. Of course (want to say it with me, folks?), this item is extremely rare. You can swipe it off of one enemy (to my knowledge) in the game or get one, count 'em, one from an extremely short side quest.
I used the one I got from the side quest and am hoping to get my main character powerful enough using it to beat the arena into giving me that one enemy I need to steal from.
Aside from that...
Yesterday I beat Haruka Naru (Haruka Naru Toki No Naka De - trans: In a Far Off Time), which is a dating sim published by Koei for girls. It follows a plotline which is reminiscent of Fushigi Yuugi and, to steal the words of a friend, involves a great deal of informal psychotherapy. I picked up two endings (Eisen - who needed so much help it drove me nuts - and Takamichi), then set the game aside for a long winter's rest. Next time I'm using a bloody strategy guide. I am NOT playing the go-to-random-places-and-hope-you-get-what-you-need game again. I reset so many bloody times in the second half of that game that I almost threw the controller through the wall.
In any case, the reason why I bring this up is because GL has a bit of a dating sim element in itself, prompting the line last night, as I was trying to beat GLII and make it 2/2 in the day:
"Okay, this is it. This is just it. I had to sit through everyone telling me what a great person I was and how much they resepected me and, on top of it, how much they love me and want to be with me right before the final boss in Haruka naru. And that was fine. Silly, but fine. It's a dating sim. But now I'm standing here in an RPG, and we're standing just about right outside the final boss room as he's preparing to take over the world, and you want to play 'develop the relationship'?! Don't we have better things to do?!"
And if you want to hear the final thing that steamed me about this scene... well, it could be considered a spoiler, so ICQ me if you want to know and I'll tell you directly.
~sigh~ A-levelling we'll go...