By Sparky_Buzzsaw 0 Comments
I've got my PS3 on and am downloading a patch for Disgaea 4 as we speak. Hopefully when that's done, I will be able to dive in and finish up this blog series tonight with Episode 10 sending us home. In the meantime, kick back, drink a Pepsi Max (so damn good with rum), and dive in.
Oh, and happy New Year's to everyone. Whether your year was good, bad, or somewhere in between, here's hoping 2012 sees a better year for all of us.
To the Moon, Alice
The party has just learned that the nefarious Judge Nemo has plans to destroy the moon. Incredulous, the party demands an explanation. Nemo explains that this is his Plan B (not the day-after pill, you filthy heathens). He has set up explosive devices on the moon with a little help. The party, as always, vows to stop him. The party argues amongst themselves how they should get to the moon, be it through rocket ship, a badass robot of some sort, or through other means. Fenrich snaps at them all to stop being such idiots, and that he's already arranged for the dimensional guide to create a portal there for them.
On arrival, the party immediately notices that there are all sorts of structures dotting the moon's surface that look like some sort of base. Oh, and Fuka lets out an explosion of breath, not realizing that as a demon, she apparently doesn't need to breathe (look, it's an NIS game, just forget science exists, mmmkay?). The party storms the base, and discovers that Nemo's helpers are aliens. This episode is full of not-so-sly nods to its inspirations, and these aliens, though humanoid in appearance, are obviously directly inspired by the bureaucratically obsessed Vogons of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. They insist that the party must follow all its rules and regulations, including submitting the proper forms to visit the base and its leaders. Of course, the party refuses and takes out some aggression on those alien scumbags.
Once that's over and done with, Fenrich flies off the handle, demanding to know how to shut down the explosives on the moon. The aliens don't give in right away, insisting again that regulations must be followed. Fenrich and the crew make a few threats here and there, and soon enough, the aliens spill the beans. Apparently the moon base has an ignition switch that must be demolished to destabilize the explosives... but if the party does that, they risk destroying the gravity generator or some such and creating a black hole - again, this game kind of ignores centuries of science in favor of... well... weirdness.
The party is at a complete loss as to what to do - risk a black hole and destroy the ignition switch, or let nature run its course and let the moon be destroyed. Fenrich flies into a quiet, sulking rage at himself for not knowing what to do, and the rest of the party mulls over the choice... except for Val. For him, the choice is obvious - take a chance on saving the Earth, of course. He gently chides Fenrich and the rest of the party for even thinking that they shouldn't take a chance like this, and relieved that someone is once again taking the reins, the party agrees that destroying the ignition switch is the best move. The party continues on, finding the ignition switch surprisingly close, and after a quick confrontation with some of the aliens, they destroy it. The party is just about ready to metaphorically pop the champagne bottles and get in the celebrating mood, but Judge Nemo pops up and snickers that they've not won yet, that there is still another ignition switch to go.
The party hunts down this second ignition switch, and in a slightly more difficult battle, they manage to destroy it too. The nefarious Nemo crops up yet again, and tells them a quick little story about how he came to work with the aliens. It seems that the humans were scheduled to be destroyed by a Pan-Galactic Council (see what I mean about Douglas Adams, again?), so Nemo asked them to let him try it his way first, with the demon clones. When that failed, together Nemo and the aliens devised the alternate plan to destroy the moon, which would create tsunamis, global disasters, and the end of mankind. And if that plan was somehow stopped, well, then, a black hole could be created, ending the Earth once and for all.
The team hunts down the base's reactor core, the source of all energy on the moon. Of course, it's being guarded by more alien scumbags, so they've gotta deal with them first. But once that's done, Val and his merry crew take down the reactor, which creates a rumbling earthquake. Uneased and unhinged, the party panics, and Nemo rears his ugly head one again, explaining that they've managed to stop the black hole from being formed. However, in shutting down the moon's power, they've destabilized the gravitational field keeping the moon in its place, and so the moon is now plummeting towards Earth. The only thing that could save the Earth would be for some great force to push it back up into orbit. Naturally, Desco and Fuka assume this means that they've gotta start jumping up and down, which is perhaps my absolute favorite moment in the game - it's just such a silly, childish moment that it's hard not to laugh as they hop up and down with all their might.
In any case, of course that doesn't work. But in a flash of light, a newcomer appears with a piercingly annoying cry about love energy. Enter Flonne, a character first introduced in the original Disgaea and the Lady Archangel to whom Artina/Volcanus is sworn to serve. You don't need to know much, if anything, about Flonne's backstory in Disgaea 4, but essentially, in the original Disgaea, she was sent from the heavens to assassinate an Overlord and winds up joining with the characters in that game to teach the protagonist all about love. In successive games, she plays mostly minor roles in post-game content. So, back on topic, she's essentially an angel of love, a point thoroughly emphasized and shoved down the throat of both the characters and me, the player. Yeeeech.
Flonne has brought with her a secret weapon to help stop the moon from crashing into the Earth. In one of the game's rare actual cutscenes, we see the parts of a giant lady robot quickly assembling, much like an anime Mega-Maid (and if you don't get that reference, FOR SHAME). The robot tries to push the moon up into orbit, but Flonne claims it needs more awe energy, the energy formed when humans pray to the heavens. Val decides that the party must pray, to which Fenrich denies vehemently. He believes that they can do this without prayer, that there must still be some aliens left with the technology to help them instead. Val agrees that it's worth a shot.
Somewhere in the midst of all these happenings, Flonne lets slip Volcanus's true name, Artina (which we've known but the party hasn't entirely confirmed - they've guessed). Judge Nemo doesn't hear it from Flonne or Artina's lips, because he can't hear angels, but in shock, the party repeats Artina's name, to which Judge Nemo is utterly shocked. He knows the name of Artina, and curses the party for saying that she was there, disbeliving that she was there in the room too because he can't see or hear her due to his lack of faith.
We are also shown a snippet of how Fenrich came to be in Val's service, and why Fenrich is so adamant about saving the moon. Fenrich had been critically wounded by an unseen something, but Val saved him. In return, Fenrich offered his eternal servitude to Val. Val tried to dissuade him, claiming that Fenrich should live his life however he wished to. Fenrich states that he wants nothing more than to serve Val for the rest of his days. Val states that so long as the moon shines, Fenrich will serve him, a vow Fenrich is completely happy with. So that's why he's so set on saving the moon. Bleeeeeeargh.
In the final battle, the few aliens left fight against my team, which has seen a few notable changes since the last boss fight. I've reincarnated my two primary mages into different classes in order to try out some different things. I've never really used the Shaman or Masked Hero classes, so I decided I'd give them a go. When humanoid characters reincarnate in Disgaea, they retain the abilities of their former class(es) and can receive stat boosts if they've collected enough Mana from killing enemies (or by gaining mana from other characters as they kill enemies if they are situated correctly in the Senate). My new Shaman, therefore, has some great Fire, Wind, and Star spells while my Masked Hero has Ice and Star abilities to boot. The Shaman class looks interesting in that there are a ton of support abilities to learn, all of which are a low cost in Mana, while the Masked Hero gives my character a nice boost in movement range. I haven't yet experimented much with their new Evilties, which I plan to do once I can boost their Mana, probably post-game. In any case, I've taken some time to level them each to about level 70-ish, which leaves them sort of vulnerable but able to still cast devastating spells, especially with their top-notch equipment.
These two characters pretty much run the gauntlet of this boss fight. I've kept an archer/healer and Volcanus behind them, healing them and supporting them. It isn't much of a fight, as most everything goes down quickly save the boss itself, a Magichanged alien with lots of hit points. Keeping it at range and using a few new nifty debilitating effects from the shaman keeps the battle short and sweet.
After the fight, the party has rounded up the aliens. Apparently, there is nothing they can do to stop the moon's fall, so Fenrich demands they kneel and pray to Mega-Maid... errr... the robot Flonzor X (even the game acknowledges how dumb that name is). Artina and Flonne chide him for that, stating that they can't draw much awe energy from people forced to pray. In a last act of desperation, Desco, Fuka, and Emizel begin to pray, though some with a fair bit of grumbling. That adds a bit of energy to Flonzor X, but not nearly enough... until it receives a big boost from somewhere unseen. A video screen pops up - the boost has come from Axel, Hugo (the former President of the Netherworld), and the masses of the Netherworld itself. Flonzor receives yet another boost of energy, this time coming from the human world, who have received videos of Val and his crew fighting on the moon for them.
But all that energy still isn't enough. In one last fit of desperation, Fenrich begins to pray - not to God, not to Flonzor, but to his faith in Valvatorez. Did I mention these NIS games have a tendency to become cloyingly saccharine at times? Ugh. Anyways, this last boost of energy does it, and Flonzor X is able to push the moon back into its proper orbit. Judge Nemo arrives in a fit of rage, but is incoherent and quickly disappears, seemingly in pain. A cold, dark energy descends upon the Earth and the party. Val describes it as being "dark and confusing," claiming that evil wasn't a good enough word for the feeling. The episode ends as Artina realizes that something she recognizes has been unleashed.