Part 3.4: Suddenly I find myself only having to take a large number of screenshots, not a ridiculous number.
As agreed, I put everyone into formation to maximise the number of relationship bonuses in play. Unfortunately, this means that the Nadesico crew have to hang back to crowd around Akito, who had to stay still so Gai could catch up with him. The swift Bellzelute takes the lead, with Mazinger and Aphrodite right behind.
The enemy attack, starting with Mazinger, who responds with his classic technique
. Nice, but not a one-hit kill, unfortunately.
Next up is Bellzelute, with its basic attack
. 25% chance to be hit without using spirits is fairly good early on in an SRW, and means the enemy won't ignore the Bellzelute completely, even with easy but tough targets like Mazinger nearby. Its a little annoying that our attacks come so close to killing these guys, but come a few hundred damage short.
Another one comes a little too close for the rifle, so we get to see the pistol attack
. Check out the, erm, attention to detail on the animation.
Lower down, Billy's Baybull comes under fire, but he manages to dodge. His lasered gun (just go with it) is noticably less powerful than the attacks of Koji and Calvina, but then he is a melee character.
One rather dim Jovian Lizard unit attacks the Nadesico, with fairly predictable results.
Calvinas been hit a few times, not as badly as in the last level but enough to put her in danger. We heal her up to a point where she won't die in one hit, cast focus to make her basically unhittable, and then have her charge into the middle of the enemy formation shooting
. Damage still seems to be lacking somewhat...
With the enemies weakened after their first turn, we can use weaker attacks to finish them off, to save on energy and ammo.
Also, they're a lot closer now, so Gai can get in on the action
with his new longrange guns.
Akito also gives it a try. The powerful Artillery Frame weapons come so tantalisingly close to one-shotting these guys.
David tries again, this time with his Knuckle Shots, electrified knuckle-dusters that the SPTs use for melee. It does a lot more than the rifle, but still not quite enough to one-shot the bad guy...and because David flew out ahead of his friends and didn't cast Focus, he gets a hit for his trouble. Still, thats not as bad a hit as it could be.
Roanne heals his bro, because thats what support characters do.
Eiji then does his own Knuckle Shot attack. Again, tantalisingly close...
Again, I can't really move Akito or the Reinforcemints, because you ordered me to keep all the relationship bonuses together.
Interestingly, this screenshot implies Akito *does* love Yurika, but considers Ryoko a friend. I don't think this is a plot point, though, since I've noticed it in places it shouldn't be like the Brain Powerd characters when they've just met for the second time. I think the programmers just didn't bother having the plot affect relationship bonuses at all, so we get things in their late-game state once the plot is wrapping up, instead of how they are right now.
Despite her hit percentage being 0 for them, some of the manned Gradosian units think they can take Calvina anyway, and are treated to lasers to the face for their trouble. Again, not quite dead....
She kills one with a critical though, and levels up, gaining the Support Attack skill and the Snipe spirit command, meaning she can hit things even further away if she needs to.
A weakened Jovian unit makes a long-range attack on Mazinger, with the usual pitiful results, and Koji responds with the Rust Hurricane, a metal-decaying breath weapon that for some reason is one of Mazingers best long-range weapons. Its also a status-causing weapon, reducing armor and making an enemy more vunerable to the attacks of Mazingers allies. There are a few more of these in the game, mainly belonging to enemies but there are a few PC examples.
The enemy ships finally fly in to attack, including one that thinks its advanced weaponry can take Bellzelute. Calvina shows that its not how advanced your weapons are that matters, but how stylish your attack.
One of the main problems of the Baybull is that it lacks any weapons with range greater than 4, so it has to just dodge many enemy missile attacks. They're not much threat when David is getting bonuses off Eiji and Roanne, but its still annoying.
Still, when they do get close, he can show them whats what.
The slaughter of enemies combined with the earlier beatings brings Kojis will to 130, activating Mazinpower, which ups Mazingers damage by 30%.
The AI-controlled battleships really don't have good software for choosing proper targets, do they?
SPTs are small-sized, which gives them accuracy boosts, and melee weapons tend to be more accurate than guns, so Knuckle Shots have a high hit percentage against the Bellzelute when it doesn't have Focus on. Still, Calvina manages the dodge and hits back, her will finally high enough that she can kill in one shot.
Roanne gets hit by another Braver's Knuckle Shot, but tanks it rather well, and hits back with his own, earning his first kill. Treasure it, kid, you probably won't be getting too many more.
Blue Earth has been following Combattler around for most of the fight, keeping it at a reasonable HP level even as the enemy beat on it, so its no surprise its there to support defend from this battleship. Combattler counters with one of its crotch missiles, but the danged Distortion Field makes the pelvic penetrator into a damp squib.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Gales lieutenant Karla appears from the rear lines and begins beating on Combattler like a drum. They have little chance of hitting her, as she's a Real Robot boss, so I just set them to defend to minimise the damage. In the late game, it can be worth keeping a unit at low HP to take advantage of its Potential skill, which boosts stats at low health. At the start of the game, however, it ain't something to rely on.
A similar problem strikes with Gale, who attacks Calvina with a more than reasonable hit percentage. I choose for her to dodge and she does.
On my turn, I respond by having Calvina use her Map attack on Gale and the Grados trooper blocking Eijis path to his brother-in-law, then letting David resupply her, which nets him a sizable chunk of XP. Enough to level up, as a matter of fact.
With the way clear, its down to Eiji.
...Well so much for that.
At this point, there aren't many enemies left, so I concentrate on finishing off the ships and their damned fields. For some reason I thought that with Mazinpower on, Mazinger Zs best attack
would be enough to get through the field, but it didn't work out that way.
Annoyed at the stubborn refusal to die, I finish off the ship with total overkill. Its actually starting to worry me how much more useful Combattler is being for me compared to Mazinger. I don't remember it being like that in my first playthrough, though I did have Mazinger favorited.
Gai tries taking on Karla, but whiffs. Thankfully she has the same range problems as David.
Akito has more success, thanks to all the bonuses he's getting, but still, not a lot of damage.
I try to finish off the other ship with the Nadesicos missiles (can't use the Gravity Blast because I had to reposition next to Akito), but again I underestimate the defense power of those damned Distortions Fields, and their own attack wounds the Nadesico. Nuts. And I wasted Katias Bless too.
Its usually dangerous to use Hikaru's Luck instead of saving her SP for Focus, but with all the formation bonuses we're using, we can risk it.
Hikaru strikes true, and kills the thing with a Distortion Punch. Gravity-Based attacks like the Blast and D-Punchs are the best way to get through a Distortion Field, other than using Break or an attack which ignores special defenses altogether.
Not to be outdone, Ryoko takes aim at Karla
, and also wins through.
Karla drops our first Module, a part which is added to a pilot rather than a mech to boost stats or add skills. They allow for a certain level of customisation of pilots, but its hardly a patch on the popular Pilot Points system from the OG games. Nothing like giving all your pilots regenerating Spirit Points, the equivalent of Mazinpower, reduced cost for Spirit Commands and attacks and added move and weapon range. Ah, good times.
Izumi tries to follow her teammates, and bashes Gale to within an inch of his life....only for him to return the favor, despite the dodge bonus from Focus. The D-Field just barely keeps her alive.
With his health in the red, Gale decides to leave, denying us XP and money, but at the least the story advances. Kindly, unlike earlier games, you can check at what HP an enemy is going to retreat at, and try to set things up to KO them so you get loot, but I didn't bother here.
...Its just you thats left, dude.
"I'm so sorry for being born