Back again with another Hero’s Realm update! These will get a lot more regular from here on out – I have a whole 18 chapters written out overall but I have just been so LAZY in uploading them.
Let’s first explore this other shrine.
Not much we can do here, so let’s explore that conspicuous clearing in the middle of that forest instead. By the time we walk up there, nighttime triggers.
This is the Rover Camp. Hmm, I wonder who they’re afraid might raid them.
This area looks mighty suspicious, if we search underfoot at that dirt patch:
This might be useful if we had a Warlock or a Witch in our party.
Searching the tents is rather fruitless. We find a ticket in the armour shop, but most everyone is sleeping. We’ll definitely have to explore this place in the day to learn more. However:
This sounds interesting.
How did he hear of our quest? The teleportal was broken!
Now this sounds interesting.
Oh, no. A prophecy.
Headman: Well, let me recap it anyways… Twelve years ago, the great Guru clairvoyant Alistair had a vision… “The Child of Light has been born,” he said. While this is great news, it carries with it a dark realization. The return of Mephistocles, the Lord of Demons, is nigh. So, one of his cronies, Balthalas is his name, I think, the one who lives in the tower north of here, has been capturing children who are 12 years old, in hopes of finding the Child of Light.
Ridcully: Hey, didn’t that man in the well in Helminsk have something to say about Balthalas?
Headman: Oh, Ricky? I know that guy! You might have noticed that some children remain unpestered. We Rovers have remained ever vigilant, but we have seen Balthalas’ raiding parties leave the tower. Head to Balthalas’ Tower! It is where the children are!
Well, that’s a pretty definitive objective now!
After staying at what passes for an Inn here, we explore the camp a bit in the day.
It seems to make sense that the Rovers have been able to withstand the demon raiding parties. They seem a tough bunch. Maybe it was one of them who broke the teleportal?
The weapon shop tent has some nice upgrades. I buy a Long Bow for Robin, as I like Holdana with her Boomerang for now. I also get Ridcully an Iron Spear. I could buy Carlotta a very expensive Battle Axe, but it wouldn’t be that much of an upgrade compared to her Iron Claws.
I also sell the Cursed Necklace that we got at the Funhouse for a cool 600 gold.
In the item tent I grab a Ring of the Mind, a nice accessory that boosts intelligence by 25 points. I give it straight to Ridcully. Other purchases I made today include some Leather Bracers for Carlotta to improve her defence, and a pair of Goggles which I give to Holdana to give her immunity to Surround. Don’t want her damage to falter!
Nice try, doggie. We’ve already solved your little puzzle.
Rover: We’ve tried to take it down, but it malfunctions and escapes before we can destroy it. It has to be stopped! You look like a hardy warrior. Would you try to take down the metal beast?
And here we have the first mention of mechanical entities in the game! It’s very like the world of Final Fantasy V, mixing fantasy and sci-fi in a way that actually works quite seamlessly.
Now that we’ve accepted that quest, a little butterfly-like thing roams the forest.
The Contraption is an odd side-boss. It has a weird selection of attacks. The first thing it does is inflict an instant-kill on Carlotta, annoyingly. It then heals Holdana for some reason.
And sometimes, it simply malfunctions entirely and skips a turn. This seems to be the switch that allows the Contraption to run away.
And eventually it decides to do just that, and we have to enter the Rover Camp to heal Carlotta up before reattempting the battle.
The next time we fight it, we get this message. An electrical animation plays, and the contraption loses around 1700 HP. This time, it doesn’t get to do anything of note all battle until escaping again.
The machine then teleports to this area of the map, but it can also teleport to a southern forest on the island. You’re supposed to run into it accidentally, but I have the advantage if being able to look at all of the events in the game before we encounter them. Either way, we catch it here and commence the final battle.
It manages to blind two of our party members, but we deal with the machine handily with our special attacks. It goes down with a huge red flash of the screen, self-destructing. Poor thing. We get some Contraption Remains for our trouble, along with a hefty chunk of EXP.
Before handing in the remains, let’s check out this hut.
Anyway. Down the well we go!
You’d miss out on a lot of nice stuff if you never checked out the wells in this game.
We find an Intellect Seed in that barrel, which goes straight to Ridcully.
The attention to detail in keeping the insides of buildings the same shape as the outsides is admirable, a lot of games simply never bother with this, resulting in weird TARDIS-like insides.
We steal from this poor widower. There’s a Tarot Card in one of the bookshelves, too.
Old Man: Say, would you care to listen to the ramblings of an old man, eh?
Old Man: You would! That’s great! Well have I got stories to tell you…
Amusingly, the screen fades out here.
It’s daytime! Oh wait, the screen is fading again. Is that an owl I hear?
Oh wow this guy can TALK.
Old Man: Well, thanks for letting an old man talk your ear off. But don’t go yet, I have a present for you.
Sweet! This little sequence very much reminds me of getting the Bike Voucher in Pokémon Red and Blue.
Old Man: Come back soon! We can chat again!
Robin: Oh for the love of the Goddess NO.
Carlotta: Absolutely not.
Ridcully: I think not.
Having the Silver Key lets us access a whole slew of new areas, but we’ll do all that later.
Back to the Rover Camp to hand in that quest…
A very nice haul of rewards!
With the rovers saved from the somewhat more immediate mechanical threat, it’s time to take on Balthalas’ Tower!
And here we are. There’s no music here, just some ominous wind sounds. Walking through that swampy area causes us to take damage, so we try to take the shortest route possible.
It’s a tower dungeon. Expect lots of winding stairs and some ‘platforming’ at some point.
Heading north is a dead end at the moment, so we need to make our way around.
The enemies here are a step up from those at the Dilithium Cave. This Karkass takes 5 hits from our heroes to kill and it manages to get a Firebreath off, dealing a little damage to everyone.
Ridcully: So, Carlotta, I was wondering. About that… thing you do.
Carlotta: It’s in my blood.
Carlotta: You were about to ask how I can turn into a wolf, right? Well it’s in my blood. It’s like I have this… force inside me. It took a lot of time to learn how to control it.
Ridcully: Actually I was going to ask how your clothes stay on when you change back. Ouch! Why did you slap me?
I’m not entirely a fan of this dungeon, the colours are a bit boring and everywhere looks a bit same-y. Thats’s something of a running theme with the castles and towers of Hero’s Realm. This one does have a neat gimmick on the upper floors though.
Carlotta: A lady does not reveal her secrets to just anyone.
Those tiles on the left are actually going to be walkable soon.
This Guardian is a tough cookie, it deals over 50 damage to Ridcully.
I find a Wizard Potion in one little side-room.
This is a very annoying fight. These are undead enemies which can only be hurt by magic. I take out the Ghost with a Bless spell from Ridcully, but the Spectre lengthens the battle by casting Wail, which inflicts Chaos on everyone.
You can see Robin raising his arms in this screenshot. Chaos forces your allies to dance in place and attack their allies at random. It’s a nasty status effect. I use Holdana’s Blaze to burn the Spectre to death since Robin is busy poking his friends. We’ll be seeing a lot more undead enemies in Chapter 2.
Walking along the pathways can be nerve-wracking. If you walk off the edge you’ll fall down to the bottom of the tower and have to begin the ascent all over again. It can be a quick shortcut if you need to head back to the Rover Camp for some healing though.
The Krypocalypse is vaguely threatening. It can use the buff-dispelling Shadow Flare, which is annoying if you’re relying on status buffs to get through these fights. Luckily we’re well-levelled.
Oh wonderful, a button puzzle.
The rooms around here have some nice items. On the right is a one-use orb that restores everyone’s HP, and to the south is a chest containing a Scale Shield, a nice upgrade for Holdana. Before tackling the puzzle I head up some stairs I find in the left-hand room.
Ladder needed. Ah. We saw one of them all the way back on the first floor. But how to get there?
We save here for good measure. The enemies in the upper levels of the tower are tough, having 3 or 4 at a time. The chest contained a Blazemore scroll, a powerful fire attack.
We take the plunge as this time it’s a shortcut back down to the button puzzle.!
I have to admit I have no idea how this puzzle works. I just pressed the top-left, the bottom-right, the bottom-left, and the bottom-right buttons in that order to solve it.
There is a series of stairs that leads down, down, down.
A basement. That white floor is damage floor, so we head south to avoid it.
Not too bad. Heading around here leads to a staircase.
This chest has a Life Herb, which revives a fallen ally. A very nice thing to have when we’re so far from a church. Time to make the journey all the way back to the top of the tower!
This just-out-of-the-way chest had a Rainbow Seed inside, which increases all stats. I give these to main heroes, i.e. Holdana.
Ladder USED! I take the chance to save again before pushing onwards.
Mere-Wyverns are annoying enemies whose Firebreath deals quite a large amount of damage to everyone.
Here we are. Looks like it’s already time for the final showdown with Balthalas! This turned out to be a short game…
Ah classic videogame villain laughter. Fufufufufu.
Holdana: Silence, demon! We are going to slay you, and stories will be told about us for centuries to come!
If we say no:
Oh of COURSE. Classic villain. I won’t bother to transcribe what he says. It’s basically word for word what the Headman explained to us earlier. It’s probably only here too to make sure the player can’t miss the plot points. Child of Light, 12 year olds, master etc etc.
Holdana: A hero doesn’t back down from such a challenge.
Ridcully: You deserve no mercy for the atrocities you have committed. You have upset the balance of nature and for that-
Robin: I’ll not let you harm a single kid ever again you bastard!
Carlotta: …time to feast.
Balthalas is an annoying fight. The Vanguards seem to be immune to all of my elemental magic, so there’s nothing to it but to take them down one by one.
Annoyingly, most of my party is Stopspeled anyway.
The Vanguards hit really hard, and it’s not long until we start falling to Balthalas’s strong magic.
Holdana: Mother… I really tried… to be remembered.
My first attempt results in an embarrassing defeat.
On my second attempt I put everyone in the back row to reduce the physical damage they receive, and I give Ridcully the Poison Needle to fish for instant kills.
The second attempt starts okay. We survive a bit longer.
One by one the Vanguards fall, though they do take Ridcully out with ease. It could be tricky not having our main healer alive…
At half HP, Balthalas becomes UberBalthalas almost instantly and gets a bag of new tricks. Including a move that deals high fire damage to everyone. He also gains an immunity to poison here. Something I wish was better in this game was the transformations that some enemies have – they happen to instantaneously that they can be quite discombobulating.
Holdana: No, no, no! I can’t die here. I have to live! Robin, get up! Ridcully! Lady Carlotta!
This was… another death. Bless spells would have been useful to have to deal with his Uber form, as it is undead with all the usual immunities and resistances.
On our next attempt we manage to have everyone alive after killing the Vanguards on the third attempt, and this seems to be the key to success!
We’re on good form as we take on UberBalthalas. He does have an annoying spell called Evil Flame, which removes Robin’s Bikill. It’s a multi-target Shadow Flare.
A combination of Holdana’s healing, Bless spells, and nice meaty strikes from Carlotta see us through to the other side. We also get a few chests for the first time! We can open these by pressing 0 outside of battles.
Holdana: We beat you, Balthalas. Just accept it.
Carlotta: Is it over?
Dark energy flows out of Balthalas as he dissipates into nothingness.
Robin: I just felt such a rush of darkness. It’s dissipating.
We head down the stairs on the right.
The children gather around Holdana and co. and each give a line about how they’re scared and happy to be resuced.
Holdana: This journey felt so long. But it’s finally over.
Robin: I think you can call yerself a hero now, lass.
Ridcully: Thank the goddess that we were able to save the children.
Carlotta: Not all of them… look at those bones. Poor blighters.
Heading up the stairs takes us directly out of the tower and straight to Helminsk.
A happy reunion.
We are then taken to Stromholm. Remember the couple there who petitioned the King initially, beginning the whole story and getting Holdana involved?
Ridcully: Are you okay Holdana? You’re crying.
Holdana: We’re heroes now, aren’t we?
Robin: They’ll name a day after you, Holdana.
Holdana: Do you think so, Master Robin? No, that’s ridiculous.
Carlotta: So, what happens now?
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more Hero’s Realm!