By Sparky_Buzzsaw 0 Comments
Today's update will be brief, as Episode 6 really has very little plot but some very creative ideas.
A-Virus Walks Into a Bar One Day...
Episode 6 starts off with Vulcanus revived and in good health. Emizel, Fuka, and Desco explain that they never really wished any harm on Vulcanus, that it was all Fenrich's doing (which it was). When discussion turns to Axel and his mysterious return to health, Fuka begins to talk strangely, almost as though she were possessed by something - or someone. Artina/Vulcanus decides to join the party for her own motives, which also lie with the President.
Fenrich decides that the party should next head for the snow-covered upper boss area, the training ground for demons seeking the presidency. All are agreed it's a solid plan. The party runs into a group of monsters (of course), but there's something unusual about these demons. One of them sounds exactly like Axel.
After defeating the monsters, Val and the crew discover a horrible truth when they encounter an enemy that looks just like Axel. There's a virus (called appropriately the A-Virus) that has infected the entire Underworld. Said virus transforms people into clones of Axel... and unfortunately, the party isn't immune. In quick succession, Fuka, Desco, and Emizel fall victim, starting to develop a habit of talking back to Val as well as taking on certain hairy aspects of Axel's form. Even Fenrich starts to develop symptoms.
We discover that the corruptorment is behind the infection, though the motives aren't clear to the party at the moment. A cutscene between the President and his lackey, Thunder-something-or-rather, shows that though they were responsible for unleashing the virus, an unseen person was responsible for pushing them to do so. The President seems despondent and awestruck at the power and genius of this unseen individual.
The party soldiers on, taking on more and more clones of Axel. They finally encounter the real Axel, who claims he avoided death at Desco's hands by playing dead (by using a "Death Kabuki" move). After fighting through seas of Axel clones (more on that in a second), Val and his crew defeat the real Axel, who claims he has no knowledge of a potential cure. Defeating him does not cure the symptoms either. Val vows to find a cure for his friends, even should they turn into Axel. Slowly, the party succumbs to the virus, and Emizel, Fuka, Desco, and Fenrich are transformed into Axel. Artina at last reveals a solution. She must break the laws of the heavens by wounding herself (the game never acknowledges that she probably could have had someone else do this) and letting the infected drink her blood, which has incredible healing properties. The party is changed back, but not before Artina jokingly threatens to charge them all a ridiculous fee. Since they can't pay it, she says she'll just have to stick with the party until she feels the debt is paid. Val, still mindful of his promises to Artina, refuses to drink her blood. Recognizing the vows and promises of the vampire she once knew, she finally lets slip that she may indeed know Val and be the individual he once knew.
This area, though really light on any story-advancing plot points, is the highlight of the game for me in terms of plot. It's genuinely funny in parts, especially the horror and disgust of the party as they realize they're changing into Axel, whom they have grown to loathe (save for Val, who still treats him with a fair amount of awe and friendliness). I particularly liked the moments when Emizel discovers his newfound chest and leg hair. At first, he's disgusted, but quickly becomes enamored of himself, in the same vain style of Axel. The levels themselves are great too. I like the idea of fighting hordes of cloned individuals, and though the fights can be difficult, there's nothing here that's going to frustrate anyone with a few decently leveled characters. There's one level in particular where I felt nearly overwhelmed as several enemy base panels keep pumping out Axel clones of a relatively high level. It's difficult, but never feels impossible.