Short update tonight guys because, well, THAT'S ALL YOU GET.
Back at Eureka's Castle, Sanchez brings us up to speed on the remaining Imperial forces: Kasim Hazil's men in the north, men stationed at Shazarazade, and the Imperial Guard itself. (Interestingly, Ain Gide doesn't seem to have any men at the Fortress of Kwaba. Why haven't we just battered down the doors of that place again?)
Anyway, here's my feeling on it: 24,000 guys? Shit, ○×∆□☆ busted just that many on his way through Milich's prison back in the day. This ain't gonne be no thang.
Alas, Lepant is to skittish to finish what we've started, and insists that we can only handle Kasim's army. Then Humphrey pipes up with this idea: why not forge an alliance with the Dragon Knights?
Sanchez almost immediately tries to poo-poo this idea, but ○×∆□☆ likes the sound of it. He and Humphrey suit up and make their way towards the Dragon's Den!
Flik decides to tag along as well. What with Gremio being dead and Viktor on vacation I guess he feels he's qualified to fill the role as supervisor.
First let's check out some of our new castle areas! Here we have Hugo's library, where he's taking good care of the Old Books we've collected so far. This particular one gives hints on how to recruit some of the more obscure characters in the game, which is actually super duper helpful if you don't already know where everyone is. Later games let you recruit a detective you can pay to get this information, which is much cooler, but I guess they haven't concocted that idea yet.
Hey peanut gallery!
I don't have all the Old Books yet, but I'll complete the collection for your perusal. How do you want me to go about them? A dedicated post with all the images in a line? Transcribe them? Fire up Camtasia and sing them to you in a video? INPUT PLZTHX.
Window is all hopped up on goofballs and doesn't even remember who I am. Hooray!
I only have two Window Sets so far: the rosey flower one and the solid gold outline one. Even with such a meager collection Window throws in all the different color changes for free. I'll just assume you guys want me to use the ugliest one imaginable, so we'll lace everything with flowers and then turn the boxes purple for good measure.
Hey, now that our window can't possibly get any gayer, what does Milich have to say?
Hard to believe this is the same guy who fed my nanny to evil flesh-eating spores? Go back to your soyjoys and herbal tea, nancy-boy.
In the meantime, we've got some peoples to recruit. And we're gonna have to go truckin' through some long dungeons to do it. Before it's time to get our hands dirty with the Dragon Knights I'll graft my Double-beat Rune onto Humphrey, but for now the idea is to get in and out as quickly as possible. The Champion's Rune will let me avoid weakling fights and cut my dungeon-running time dramatically.
Back in Kalekka, Leon decides the Liberation Army meets his exacting standards and asks us to pay Mathiu a compliment.
Mathiu, figuring the leader of the Liberation Army has nothing better to do with his time, asks ○×∆□☆ to be his messenger boy.
Hey boner, if you were just gonna come out here ANYWAY why did you make me lug this letter around? Sheesh.
Hey, you hear that horrible groaning sound? The one that sounds like ten thousand frustrated gamers crying in unison? That's the sound of absolutely everyone getting screwed out of a perfect game. Even if you know the requirements for Leon he is stupidly easy to miss. (Actually I don't think you can miss him permenantly, but there is a Point of No Return beyond which recruiting more Stars won't earn you the best ending, so you have to have Leon before then.) The subquest is easy enough: with the castle in phase four, talk to Leon, then talk to Mathiu, then talk to Leon again. I've highlighted the tricky part in blue for you. In order to get Mathiu to advance this little subplot, he's got to be in a position where talking to him won't advance the regular plot. The window of time where this is possible is ridiculously short; it's got to be after you get your nintieth recruit (impossible before the very end of the Neclord scenario) but before you finish the Dragon's Den scenario. See, meeting Mathiu after clearing the Dragon's Den triggers the next part, and he spends the final two scenarios of the game away from the castle. So, no chance to recruit Leon.
HEY BRICK STOP YAMMERING AND GET TO THE POINT.
Okay okay. Up until now I've been in a pretty good rhythm of: follow plot, go recruiting. Follow plot, go recruiting. That's just the natural way Suikoden plays out. However, if you go recruiting after Neclord while missing a single Star you won't meet Leon's requirements. And who is going to think to abandon the scenario mid-plot to go recruiting?
So yeah. Lots and lots of characters in Suikoden, but only three that have a habit of screwing veteran players out of a perfect game. Leon is one of them. We'll meet the other two in short order.
091/108: Leon Silverberg
I've already given my dissertation on why Leon is a cool character back in my last visit to Kalekka. Like Apple, he simply joins Mathiu on the Strategist team in combat and... nothing else. Ah well.
Back in the Qlon Caves, looks like our castle is big enough for Crowley.
Crowley is the king of the rune mages. He get an absolutely sick amount of spell charges and has the highest MGC of anyone in the game. Now, I've been down on dedicated rune users most of the game, but Crowley is so terrific with them that it almost makes up for the drawback of him being useless in Free Will fights. Certainly a lot better in a group than Luc or Hellion.
Our next stop is Neclord's Castle. Specifically the very tail end of Neclord's Castle. This being the most recent dungeon we've tromped through, not all the fights are at Let Go level yet. Not to worry, because I can put the little-used Bribe command to good use to avoid the few fights I do run into. I've got practically infinite money anyway, and I want to get this over with quickly. The real question is what the heck a flaming horse, three-headed skeleton monster and the ghost-sperm triplets are going to spend money on. Ideas?
In Neclord's room we run into Pesmerga, the dark knight who hunts Yuber. Thankfully the only hoop he makes us jump through is retracing our steps through Neclord's Castle (and, of course, back out again since Escape Talismans don't work). Thank heavens for small favors.
We know less about Pesmerga than we do Yuber. Literally the only thing the games tell us about him is that he is chasing Yuber. Why? We don't know. How long has he been at it? We don't know. Is he a regular human with a death wish or some otherworldly creature with a grudge? We don't know. What we do know is that he's one of the strongest S-range fighters in the game, built like a brick shithouse. Put he and Humphrey on the front line together and you'll never have to worry about taking damage from regular attacks again.
Last we hit up Rikon. Like Antonio, Jabba and Esmeralda there is an element of randomness here. Sometimes this guy is standing in the Inn waiting to be recruited, sometimes he isn't.
LUCKY ME! It only takes three tries to get Clive to appear. You heard right, gang: this means the game took pity on my poor soul in all four random-recruiting missions.
Clive is the man in the back line. He's the only dedicated fighter character (read: sucky rune magic) who is L-range and actually worth a damn, justified by his use of a rifle in combat. He gets lots of crits and is absolutely brutal with a Double-beat Rune. Of course, estragon is going to lecture us all on why we should never use Clive, but nuts to that, we know our Second Amendment rights, don't we?
Hey peanut gallery!
Next update we'll pick it up in the Dragon's Den scenario. I only need to fill two slots, and we just recruited three of the best endgame characters: the best dedicated mage, the best ranged attacker and the best armored tank. Surely you're going to ignore these cats and vote for a butcher, a baker and a candle-stick maker, but I can at least appeal to your sense of pity, can't I?
Master list is here. My my, it's starting to look pretty full!
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