Earthbound – Week 03

–Day 11–

What else could I possibly do right now that would help me get past that iron pencil statue? For quite some time I was simply wandering around town just talking to and retalking to every person I could find. Someone must know something that will help.

Sadly, talking to everyone I could find brought about no new information. Maybe I’m supposed to clear all the ghosts out of the tunnel myself first so we can get help from the next town over. I was honestly surprised to find out that you can’t fight the ghosts in the tunnel. But unfortunately, that wasn’t what we needed to do right now either. After making it most of the way through the tunnel the ghosts simply teleported Ness back to the beginning, just like they did with the bus.

After another sweep through the town pointlessly talking to people, I decide to go check out the Iron Pencil again. The only new item I have is the receiver phone, and that obviously does nothing. So I’m stuck at this point and have no clue what to do.

Suddenly, my luck changes. Apparently checking out the statue again was exactly what I needed to do. As soon as I get out of the tunnel and back into Twoson, Apple Kid calls us on the receiver phone to tell us he has finished his latest invention. This is exactly the break we were looking for.

Unfortunately Apple Kid isn’t home when I go to talk to him. Where could he be? Thankfully Orange Kid is waiting outside his own house ready to tell me, with some noticeable jealousy in his voice. Apparently Apple Kid has run off to Burglin Park looking for us. So I guess I’ll head up there and start looking for him looking for us as well.

It took me longer than I care to admit to find him in the park, mostly because he’s hiding down in the corner away from all the vendors. I didn’t think to look there. Anyway, Apple Kid has finished his latest invention, the “Pencil Eraser”. This device will eradicate all pencil-shaped figures, which sounds exactly like what I need.

It took longer than I would like to admit, but we’re finally prepared to go rescue Paula. Join me next time as we head deep into Grateful Dead Valley and hopefully reach the Happy Happy Village.

–Day 12–

Well, it took us longer than it should have, but we finally have everything we need to get past the Iron Pencil Statue. With that out of the way, we can finally travel deeper into Grateful Dead Valley and hopefully save Paula.

Before we really even start exploring the second half of the Valley, the photographer once again shows up to take our picture. Where does he come from? Where does he go? Why does he insist on taking my picture? We may never know!

Anyway, as is to be expected, Grateful Dead Valley is a bit of a maze to get through. Nothing too complicated of course. But the increasingly difficult enemies beyond the Iron Pencil Statue make it a bit tough. The Valley is already known for its UFO enemies, so the new Spinning Robo enemies aren’t anything out of the ordinary. They’re a bit stronger than the Li’l UFOs we’ve already faced, but not by much.

The real threat however is one I never would have thought of, the Territorial Oak. These enemies are trouble for a few reasons. For one, they look like trees, and it’s easy to walk right into them if you aren’t paying close enough attention. On top of that, their attacks are really strong and quickly drain your health.

The one thing that makes them a truly terrifying threat however is what happens AFTER you defeat them. Unlike most enemies which simply disappear, the Territorial Oak will burst into flames, causing massive damage to Ness, damage in the range of twice Ness’ Max HP.

The only reason these attacks aren’t fatal is because of an interesting mechanic in the game. Your health meter doesn’t update instantly, instead it counts down as you take damage. Because of this, the battle ends before all the damage is calculated, and you end up surviving what should have been a fatal attack. Don’t start feeling too comfortable though, Ness still takes in the area of 60 damage before the battle is won.

Eventually, we make it to a cave at the other end of the Valley. After passing the short distance through there, we arrive at the Happy Happy Village. Paula is being kept somewhere in this village, are it’s up to us to find her.

So join me next time as we search the village for clues about rescuing Paula!

–Day 13–

Now that we’ve finally made it to the Happy Happy Village, it’s time to look for Paula. But first we need to explore the town and gather some information. In general, it’s a nice enough little town with only a few buildings and a small handful of residents.

It doesn’t seem to have an official Hotel or Hospital or anything like that. But there is a house where you can spend the night, as well as a doctor working out of his own house. In addition, the town also has a drug store with some decent equipment.

There’s also an odd house on the edge of town that doesn’t really seem to fit in. For one, it’s red instead of blue like all the other houses. But more importantly, the person inside has a very unique font to their dialogue box. They mention something about a friend in the valley behind Threek, but other than that we don’t gain much useful information.

As nice as the town is, you can’t escape the Insane Cultists that founded it. These Cultists closely resemble KKK members with the exception that their robes are a blue color instead of white. Also they seem to be carrying around paint cans for some reason.

While fighting the Cultists, they will frequently call over more members to join in the fight. Thankfully, they are pathetically weak, doing only 2-3 damage with each attack. Another plus is that they give an incredibly large amount of experience given how weak they are. All things considered, these guys are actually really good to level grind with.

In my exploration I did manage to gain a few key pieces of information. First I found out who their leader is, and what their goals are. It would seem a “Mr. Carpainter” is the leader of the cultists, and for some reason he’s trying to spread peace by painting everything blue. That would explain the paint cans the cultists are carrying around. I’m not sure how well that plan will actually work out, but I guess it’s rather harmless as far as cults go.

Next, and quite possibly more importantly, is the location of Paula. According to the masked person at the edge of town, he and an overweight kid kidnapped Paula and have her hidden her away in a mountain cabin. That’s good to know, now we just need to find said mountain cabin. On top of this, we finally know WHY she was kidnapped. Mr. Carpainter believes she can become the goddess of Happy Happyism and help spread their message.

Before we go and rescue Paula, I really think we need to confront Mr. Carpainter first. That means we have to head into the main building in the center of town and demand to see him. However, I wasn’t prepared for the literal army of cultists inside blocking the path.

Thankfully, not all of these cultists are enemies. That would just be torture. Instead, this building acts more as a maze. At first, there is no clear path to the other end of the room, but many of the cultists are willing to move out of the way if you simply ask them to. You might end up fighting a few of them before finding the correct path, but in general it’s not difficult.

Eventually, we do make it to Mr. Carpainter’s office. Right away I noticed the giant gold statue behind him which has a striking resemblance to the one we saw previously back in the hills of Onett. I’m not sure what connection they might have, but I thought I should point it out. Anyway, talking to Mr. Carpainter reveals that he’s actually interested in Paula and I becoming his assistants. Together we can spread Happy Happyism to the whole world.

As the hero of this story, we of course reject his offer. And as you would expect, he doesn’t take that news quite well. He jokingly suggests we can become his left hand if we don’t want to be the right, but immediately follows this up with a threat. Normally, I would expect there to be a boss battle after this exchange, but I should have learned by now not to expect the normal chain of events from this game.

Instead of a boss fight, Mr. Carpainter strikes Ness with a massive lightning attack. The game is as always very forgiving though. Instead of killing our hero you are instead teleported away, landing just outside the hotel house. It looks like rejecting his offer was a bad idea. I hate to do it, but maybe for now we should at least pretend to go along with his plan.

This deception will have to wait for next time though. So join me again as we once again try to get closer to Mr. Carpainter in our attempt to rescue Paula.

–Day 14–

So last time we got a little lippy with Mr. Carpainter and he shot lighting at us. This time we’re going to take a slightly different approach and just pretend to go along with his plan. Getting through the swarm of Cultists is a bit easier this time, now that we know who will and will not move for us. Now let’s see what Mr. Carpainter has to say this time.

Apparently there is no right answer to this question. Answering yes just prompts him to gloat about catching me in his trap. Then he once again strikes us with lightning and teleports us outside. Looks like I might actually need to rescue Paula first to deal with him.

We were told previously that Paula is being kept in a mountain cabin. However, she’s not in any of the buildings in town. Thankfully, there aren’t a lot of paths OUT of town either. After heading through the cave at the north side of town, we quickly find the mountain cabin where Paula is being held captive.

Inside, Paula is being held behind metal bars which are locked tight. Paula knew we would be coming for her, and she seems relieved to see us. If we hadn’t shown up soon, she would have started crying.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to get her our right now. Mr. Carpainter has the key, and he’s not going to part with it easily. She does however have something to help us, the Franklin Badge. According to Paula, this will help us deal with his lightning attack.

So after a few words of encouragement, it’s time for us to ONCE AGAIN confront Mr. Carpainter. Hopefully this Franklin Badge will work as advertised and stop us from being teleported away.

As soon as we step outside, we’re stopped dead in our tracks by a familiar fat little kid, Porky. It would seem Porky has actually joined the Happy Happyists and we the one responsible for kidnapping Paula. Of course, the fat coward has no plans to fight us himself. Instead he quickly runs off, leaving a group of Cultists behind to slow us down briefly.

The Cultists might now have held us up for long, but it was long enough for Porky to get away. But let’s forget about him, we need to face off against Mr. Carpainter if we want to free Paula. We once again defy him, saying we won’t join his cult. And once again, he uses his lightning attack on us. This time however, it is reflected back at him instead of teleporting us away.

Now it’s time for the real battle to begin, and just as quickly end. Turns out that Franklin Badge was exactly what we needed for this fight. After he performed his first attack, the badge reflected so much damage back at him that he was turned back to normal almost instantly. Kind of anti-climactic, but I won’t complain. A win is a win.

After coming to his senses, Mr. Carpainter reveals he has been acting weird ever since he got his giant statue. He then apologizes for everything he has done and hands over the key to Paula’s jail. Looks like everything is going to be good now, but I can’t help but wonder about the other statue back in Onett.

Anyway, after leaving his office we find out that nearly all the members of the Happy Happy Cult have left. There are only a small handful of truly dedicated members left, and even they admit they probably won’t stay long. In a way, I’m a bit sad about this, they really did give great experience. I should have level grinded more while I had the chance.

Outside, Porky is waiting for us to apologize as well. He claims he was also being influenced, but somehow I just don’t believe him. Especially when he leaves with a “See you, Suckers!” I swear that kid is going to be big trouble soon.

Back at the mountain cabin, it’s time to finally set Paula free. After saying her thanks, she joins my party along with her teddy bear. She claims to have strong psychic powers which will help, however, she is currently only level 1, and is incredibly weak and easy to kill. The trek back to town might be kind of rough.

We take one step outside and that mysterious photographer shows us AGAIN!! He had better become important to the story somehow. Because the mystery of where he comes from is killing me right now.

Anyway, we equip Paula with everything we can get from the local drug store before heading out. In the end it raised her defense from 2 all the way up to 32 once everything was equipped. That certainly made the trip back to town easier. That Teddy Bear also came in real handy, taking most of the damage that would have otherwise killed Paula.

It also helps that someone has repaired the bridge back to town. That cuts the journey back easily in half. This former Cultist has really turned things around and I gladly accept his apology. Now stay out of trouble.

Back home in Twoson, Paula’s parents are thrilled to have her back, and thank Ness multiple times. But it seems they’ve also already accepted her role as one of my party members. Her mother even gives us special band-aids to help on our journey.

Her and her father have a loving farewell talk, and Paula informs us that there is another friend waiting for us in Threek. So they say their goodbyes and we’re ready to hit the road. Well, not quite yet, there are a few other people that would be happy to see Paula back home safely.

That however is going to have to wait till next time. See you then.

–Day 15–

Paula is now officially a member of my party, but before we head off on our adventures we need to stop by Everdred’s house and tell him she’s fine. It looks like he’s already heard the news as well, since he sent someone to the school to find us.

It turns out Everdred was going to ask us to be his partners, but he already knows we would refuse him. He was even going to offer us a lot of money if we accepted. After second guessing himself, he realizes he shouldn’t keep the money anyways and gives it to us to help in our journey.

He hands over a sizable $10,000 and tells us to spend it on whatever we want. He also mentions wanting to find the golden statue for himself. That can’t be a good sign. But hey, we got $10,000, let’s leave before he changes his mind.

Unfortunately for us, there was a bit of a catch to the $10,000 he handed us. It’s not actually money in our pockets. Instead it shows up as an item. Of course, that means we can’t actually keep or use this money. But who needs $10,000 right now?

Of course! The Runaway Brothers are in financial trouble, aren’t they? We never did get to see one of their shows either did we? As it turns out, they seem to have a soft spot for Paula, and they hand us some free back stage passes to see their show tonight.

Then again with the photographer! He’s just popping up everywhere lately! WHAT DO YOU WANT WITH ME?! STOP STALKING ME!!!

Anyway, we use the backstage pass to gain access to the show. Inside the club there are quite a few people seated at tables all waiting to see the show. There are fans, a couple on a date, and even some business men trying to win over a client.

And then there’s this girl who is clearly just a groupie. As soon as she sees our back stage pass, she forces herself into our party and practically drags us back stage to see the band. I’m sure she only has one thing on her mind, if you know what I mean.

Talking with the band, we find out that my previous hunch was right. The brothers happen to be EXACTLY $10,000 in debt. So it looks like we’re going to have to give up that wad of money we just got. I really wanted to buy that seaside cottage back in Onett. Oh well, I’ll make enough money someday.

Well, if we’re going to be paying off their $10,000 debt, we can at least watch the show first. It was a fun little show they performed. There weren’t any lyrics or anything, which was kind of disappointing, but they did a little dance which I guess is going to have to be worth $10,000 to me.

After the show, we head off to talk to their manager and pay off their debt. Goodbye money. The manager seems kind of upset that his star act is free to leave now, but he has no regrets now that he has the money. He probably should have SOME regrets though. $10,000 isn’t going to last long, especially now that he doesn’t even have an act anymore.

After paying off their debt, the whole band shows up to both thank us, and say their farewells to their former manager. All things considered, that was a lot more pleasant that it could have been.

Outside, the whole band is packing up into their tour bus. To show their gratitude, they even offer to give us a lift to Threek. I hope that actually works. The ghosts in the tunnel just turned around the last bus I tried to take.

These guys aren’t the best drivers either. As they drive up onto the sidewalk, I’m a bit scared that I may have made a mistake getting on board. However, their loud music was enough to drive away the ghosts and actually make it through the tunnel.

Now that we’ve made it to Threek, I think I’m regretting that bus ride even more. The whole town has a dark aura about it, and the band is just kind of leaving us here on the side of the road. What have we gotten ourselves into now?

Either way, the town of Threek has a lot for us to explore, and explore we shall. The Runaway Brothers dropped us off towards the bottom of town, so I guess we’ll just start from the bottom and work our way up.

The field to the south of town was our first stop, and it seems to be just filled with caged trailers. The kind you would typically see at a circus. Unfortunately, the field is also full of Zombie Dogs. These guys might be small, and not look like much of a threat, but remember, Paula is still very low level at this point. With her low stats, these Zombie Dogs end up killing her.

With Paula dead, and Ness poisoned, we really need to head to a hospital. I guess we should be grateful that we know where it is. The Band dropped us off right in front of it. Almost like they knew we would need it. So a quick patch job later and everyone is back to normal.

I really should have trained Paula a bit more before coming here. Unfortunately, the ghosts in the tunnel prevent us from heading back to Twoson to fight weaker enemies. We’re just going to have to stay here for now and be extra cautious as we explore and level grind.

So join me next time and we do our best not to die. See you then!