At the start of Chapter 5, Craydoll explains the odd behaviour of the hero bosses we’ve been fighting, especially Hugh. It goes beyond them just being interested in Mira’s mixed-race heritage, as it seems Craydoll has been arranging this entire game, adventurer raids and all, as a sort of training exercise for Mira, with the cooperation of each group! So not only was everyone moderately confident that Mira would become good in the end, but we were never doing anything evil to begin with, since we weren’t seriously besieging anyone! Square, you are perpetually toothless about your “play as the bad guys” games, but I guess in this case I’m not particularly surprised. Anyways, Craydoll implies that King Leo will be the final boss. Oh, I’m shaking! What’s he going to do? Sleep at us and wait for the results to come in the morning? The entire plot of MLK was about how Leo both can’t and shouldn’t fight!
Mira, convinced she should be different than her father, insists they press the attack to Padarak, like actual Padarak this time and not whatever fake-out settlements we’ve been mildly annoying this whole time.
Session 2, which carries us to the end of the game, began with the two of us picking up exactly where we left off: me trying to beat the main level, Kyle trying to beat the side-levels. Between the difficulty and the time between sessions, my first two attempts were total cock-ups, and Kyle’s first attempt, despite a lot of forethought, didn’t reach the end. But he pulled off the second!
Kyle’s winning move involved a lot of initial delay floors. Two Slow Clocks with Behemoths and one with a Bomb were split up by Evil Puppet Shows, while some Thunder Stands waited at the top, largely unguarded for the time being. The first serious wave in the set is a wave of three Gladiators, who will naturally get past the Behemoths (and unfortunately also the Bomb, even though it was level 3 at the time). Because there was three of them, Kyle was forced to build a lot of redundant floors, but a wave of weak Red Mages showed up to prove additional funds, so it evened out. Unfortunately, a Thief from a later wave managed to sneak through and started wreaking the Thunder Stands, so Kyle prepped a Behemoth to one-shot her on the next floor (one of the biggest disadvantages of the second-tier monsters is that they have to be summoned at least a full floor ahead of an Adventurer to have their attacks ready under normal circumstances, and Behemoths are the slowest of the lot).
Thieves show up early in the next level, revealing the Poison Harp’s weird defensive resilience to the Job. Other than the Harp, there wasn’t much else to say here, but the level does unlock another side-path (this one not associated with a tower). Both of the two branches presented levels that did away with the Trainees we had been getting used to seeing as early “popcorn enemies,” and promised nothing but Jobbed adventurers from end to end, all Shooter and Mage.
We took the side-path first and it didn’t take it long to introduce Level 5 Thieves, a pair of them right on the heels of three level 3 Black Mages! Frankly I’m shocked we didn’t lose here. Literally half the tower’s floors flashing with alarm (screenshot below), a Black Mage on the final floor, what a wreck. This also marked the end of the side-path, so I suppose that’s something.
Tonbetty suggests the best way to build up terror is to beat up some prominent warriors. Chapter 2 begins after the Tonberries have singled out a target: the Striped Brigands and their leader, Bal Dat, who raid on the continent just east of here and also appeared in the original FFCC (or so I learn after teh fact). And of course, we’d be going in with a new present won from the previous level.
In this case, the new unlock is our second monster, the Scorpion. Relative to the Goblins, the Scorpions are a bit stronger but slower, but their real advantage is that they’re a different attack type. MLD has five attack types, and three exist in the aforementioned rock-paper-scissors triangle that you’ll need to master to move forward. Melee (like our Goblins) beats Shooter, Shooter (like our Scorpions) beats Magic, and Magic beats Melee. This applies both to attack and defence. The rock-paper-scissors structure is so integral that the map screen even tells you which attack types your enemies will have (listing the number of adventurers that have each) so that you can plan the early stages of your tower around that information! The remaining attack types are Generic, which is neutral to everything, and Healing, which I’ll detail once it starts to show up, though I imagine you get the gist already! One thing to bear in mind is that even your artifacts have damage types – Iron Balls, for example, are Melee – though this is primarily a defensive factor since few of them cause much direct damage to begin with!
I have never been good at Tower Defence games. Despite having a blast with my first-ever encounter with the genre (Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne‘s tower defence-themed bonus level), ever since it’s been me and Plants vs Zombies versus the world. And believe me, I’ve played a lot of them. During my many years at Flash gaming site Kongregate.com, I played every game that was ever given a Badge (a site-wide achievement, carefully curated by site staff to generally ensure the games were good), and I’d say that Tower Defence was one of the leading A-tier Flash genres, and I sucked at allllllllllllllll of them. From Desktop Tower Defence to Gemcraft, I failed at one and all. These games were big and advertised heavily enough to have thick guides published by developers and fans alike, and I read them all to try to get the Kongregate Badges, and somehow still never got any better. Short of being told exactly what to do, I would eventually lose well before mid-game, and if I was told what exactly to do, I’d often find myself unable to work out why the walkthrough’s strategy was superior – my brain just couldn’t work this crap out! And that’s assuming it varied in any significant way at all, because sometimes I swear I’d be doing the exact same crap and would still lose. I’m not saying I’m cursed, but believe me you, I’m definitely not going to say that I’m not cursed.
And ultimately this is all bad news, because there are two Final Fantasy Tower Defence games! I’m talking about Final Fantasy Crystal Defenders, which we have lined up on Kyle’s PS3 for a much later date, and today’s game, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklod.