Snow Queen Quest
Going into the Snow Queen Quest, Kyle and I prepared for the worst. Knowing we had needed the Ultimate Personas in the main quest, we followed a guide to getting the others in the SQQ as well. The guide called getting the Ultimates “one of the hardest challenges in all RPGs,” but frankly, it wasn’t that awful once we had advice. Certainly easier than beating the main game, or as you’ll see, the SQQ for that matter.
By the way, our screenshots here are SEBEC screenshots from ZEROthefirst’s Let’s Play, since he didn’t cover the SQQ. I can’t remotely blame him. (more…)
Maki fled to hide with Mai in the Lost Forest, forcing us to backtrack through the old dungeon to reach the Gingerbread House. There we met Mai, now openly called “Maki” (which won’t make this confusing at all), who explained that Aki had woken a fourth and final aspect of Maki, Pandora, who was presumably made up of all of Maki’s worst traits the way the Maki in our party had been the idealized self. Mai/Maki said we’d need the compacts owned by all the Makis: the original, the one split between Mai and Aki, and uh… well the third was confusing. In a later scene, Mai/Maki would say it was from the real Maki, but that it wasn’t the one from the real world? I’m not sure why the game was so obsessed with compacts to begin with, from a metaphorical point-of-view I mean. They let you view but also change yourself? (more…)
Now unfortunately, this is where my notes – already inadequate – collapse entirely, giving me almost no clue as to which note belongs to which part of the game. I know I promised I would do better with my note-keeping but—oh, what can I say? This game just grated on me from about this point on and was so indistinct from map to map that there was no sense commenting on much of anything.
The Lost Forest found us reaching one of the most important parts of the game: when you finally make contact with the girl in white, and furthermore set yourself well on the way to one of the game’s two endings. As you can see, it was a fantastic place for my note-taking to belly-up and croak. (more…)
After the sequence, the party found themselves dropped off in the school’s “Old Gym.” Mark rushed to Maki’s side while Sorrow just sort of stood there watching the unconscious people with disinterest. After confirming that everyone was alright, the party turned their attention to the subject of the “Old Gym,” explaining that it had been demolished six months ago (you might remember Maki’s confusion about the new gym from earlier). Maki said that they’ve “gone back,” and they discussed the possibility of time travel for a while. Maki brought up an unfamiliar name at this point, Yosuke, and by the magic of plot contrivance, a girl rushed into the gym and said that Yosuke had just been attacked by the girl in black, who was apparently a regular sight here in… urm… the past? Something was clearly wrong. (more…)
Heading to the shrine, we discovered Maki’s mother, Setsuko. Mrs. Somomura tells us that her employers, SEBEC and its CEO, Kandori, had deployed a machine called the Deva System that may be responsible for the changes around town. But that’s not why we’re actually here. No, the game has actually brought us here for another chat with our good buddy Philemon, who’s here to give us some vague warnings about the upcoming split between the SEBEC plotline and the Snow Queen plotline. The original North American release subtly changed Philemon’s dialogue to make it about the options you’ll take to the good or bad ending, which was clever work for such an otherwise less-than-graceful localization, but the fact that the speech is parked just before the option to start the Snow Queen quest and only after a choice that affects the ending (your response to the nurse trapped under the vending machine) suggests the former was the original intent. (more…)
Once we finally caved and went to the hospital, we were given Maki’s room number and spotted Yamaoka stalking Nanjo from a distance. Yamaoka asked Sorrow not to tattle on him, and we went on into the hospital ourselves. This was a strange place to come back to in our SQQ run, as it’s essentially the last new ordinary building you’ll enter in either storyline! This makes it feel very strange. Dungeons are laid out in an incredibly hostile way, ala Wizardry, while the malls and (to a lesser extent) the school are laid out for easy video game accessibility. Meanwhile, the hospital was structured like a real-world building, making optimal use of all its space! (more…)
Time for something a little different: our first Persona Marathon entry!
Persona, if you’re new to the series, is a major subseries/spinoff of Atlus’ long-running mythology-themed Shin Megami Tensei series. I’m a big fan of the series, but the games are notoriously difficult, and prior to Persona 1, I’d never actually beaten any of them. Kyle, wanting to get into the famous Persona 3 and 4, agreed that we should intermix the Persona games with our existing Final Fantasy Marathon, playing the games in release order alongside the Final Fantasy games. Since Persona 1 was one of the earliest JRPGs released for the PSX, its remake became our first game from the 32-bit era.