Earthbound – Week 04

–Day 16–

Our exploration of Threek doesn’t get off to a good start. As soon as we set food outside the hotel in the morning, we were almost instantly attacked by a pair of haunted marionette puppets. With Paula still as weak as she is, there was just no way for her to hold her own against Smilin’ Sam and Handsome Tom.

This simply won’t do. We need to train Paula quickly if we intend to make any progress. It took some time, but we managed to find some enemies that even Paula could survive against, the No Good Fly. These little guys aren’t very common, but they’re at least weak enough that Paula survives the battle. Right now, that’s all we can really hope for to get her some much needed experience.

Death Count: 3

Slowly, and very cautiously, we train Paula up to a decent level. It took a lot of effort, and we both died at one point, but Paula eventually made it up to level 12. That’s still not great, but it’s a lot better than before. At least now she doesn’t die instantly in each battle.

Today was mostly spent training, but we did manage to explore the town a little and pick up some useful information. Apparently, the terrible situation in town can be traced back to the Zombie Relief Corps, led by a monster named Belch.

It would seem the Zombie Relief Corps is using the circus tent in the center of town as their main base of operations. As much as I want to clear the town of their zombie problems, I’m sure Paula simply isn’t up to the task yet, and we’re going to need some more training.

We also hear word that there might be a safe path somewhere in the cemetery to the north of town. Combine that with Paula’s knowledge of another friend in town, as well as the strange texted house from back in the Happy Happy village, I think that might be the path we want to take first. If we can get a third member in the party, we might just stand a chance.

That search is going to have to wait till next time though. So join me as we explore the cemetery and try to find another friend.

–Day 17–

After yesterday, there actually isn’t a whole lot more to explore in this town. There are however two mysteries that stand out. First, there is apparently a Suspicious Woman walking around that has been seen with the zombies. And second, there is apparently a secret way out of town through the Graveyard.

The Graveyard is actually a pretty big area, so it’s a bit hard to choose where to search first. However, one oddity stood out to me, a lone tombstone outside the fenced areas at the end of a walkway. It just screamed secret tunnel. Instead what I got was YET ANOTHER photo-op for the mysterious cameraman.

So I guess that wasn’t the secret tunnel after all. That just means we’re going to have to search through the whole graveyard to find it. Of course, the graveyard is full of monsters, though perhaps not the kind you would expect. Instead of finding waves of zombies, we instead ended up fighting various trashcan monsters like the Putrid Moldyman and the Smelly Ghost.

These enemies were good for some nice experience, but not much help for finding any secret exits. As it turns out, I was over thinking the whole thing. The solution was in fact as simple as going to the far northwest edge of town past the graveyard. Unfortunately, the path is being guarded by a pair of monsters which stare into my soul.

These monsters won’t let us through, which is to be expected. However, they won’t fight us either, so I guess for now that path is still off limits. All that searching through the graveyard ultimately just made us tired, so we head back to the hotel for some rest. That’s when we get a lead on our other mystery, the Suspicious Woman. We see her walk into the hotel just ahead of us and we can’t help but follow her. Inside, all the hotel staff are missing and the music has become somewhat distorted. I think we’re onto something here.

This is very suspicious indeed. Naturally, we follow her through the hotel and right into her room. But it was a trap! As soon as we enter her hotel room, we’re surrounded by monsters. What have we gotten ourselves into?

The monsters quickly close in around us and knock us unconscious. Much to our dismay, it would seem we’ve been kidnapped and are now locked away in some underground cell. It would seem all hope is lost now.

As I was allowing despair to set in, Paula used her psychic powers to call out for help, just as she had done before to call me to her. This time however she is calling a new friend who we’ve never met, Jeff.

Far to the north, in the town of Winters, inside the Snow Wood Boarding House, Jeff manages to hear her calls for help. He might not know it yet, but he’s about to join us on our quest to save the world.

While trying to leave his dorm room, Jeff accidentally wakes up his roommate Tony. Thankfully, Tony is fully supportive of his running away from school to save the world. In fact he didn’t even give him a chance to explain that he needed to save the world. Maybe Tony just wants him to leave so he can have the room to himself.

Anyway, Tony does give us some good advice. It’s dangerous outside lately, so it would be best if we arm ourselves with equipment from the locker room. After this, he decides to join us in our search.

Considering it’s the middle of the night, it’s kind of surprising that so many people are awake and just hanging out in the hallways. Either way, we glean some helpful information off our fellow students. For one, we learn of Tessie, a mysterious creature that lives in the lake to the south. Obviously this is a nod to Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

In addition to that, we hear a rumor that there is an entrance at the center of Stonehenge. I can only hope that is the other end of the secret tunnel out of Threek. It looks like we have out next destination set for us. Let’s just hope the Bigfoot rumors aren’t anything to worry about.

We also had a bit of evil fun when we entered one of the other dorm rooms. Apparently tomorrow is Tony’s birthday, so one of the other classmates was wrapping up cookies as presents to give out at the party tomorrow. That’s so nice of them. It would be a shame is someone came along and opened all of those presents.

There isn’t much else to do inside the boarding house, so make our way to the locker room. Unfortunately, every locker seems to be locked. Who would have thought? Thankfully, there is one other person in the school willing to help us, Maxwell. After gushing to us about how great Jeff’s father is, he offers us the key to the lockers.

Something doesn’t seem quite right thought, this key looks all bent. Sure enough, the key is too badly damaged to actually open any of the lockers. I hope Maxwell knows how to fix this.

Lucky for us, he already knew this might happen. So while we were out he invented the “Machine that Opens Doors, especially when you have a slightly bad key” which is, well, a machine that opens doors, especially when you have a slightly bad key.

Maxwell also gives us some life advice in the process. As the son of the great Dr. Andonuts, we should be able to fix small tools like this on our own eventually. That really shines some light on what Jeff’s role in the party will be. He’ll be the nerdy mechanic.

Anyway, Now that we have the Bad Key Machine, it’s time to raid the locker room for supplies. There isn’t a whole lot to choose from. Just a Holmes Hat for a little protection, and a Pop gun to defend ourselves with. There’s also a Broken Air Gun in one of the lockers. It’s obvious that Jeff should be able to fix this, but I can’t figure out how. I’ll just have to hold onto it for a while until I figure it out.

We’re finally equipped and ready to tackle the world outside the Boarding House. That means we’re going to have to jump the fence. Tony is willing to give us a boost, but that unfortunately means he’s going to be left behind and we’re going to have to go on alone.

Outside the gate, the first thing we come across is a small shop. Jeff doesn’t really have any money right now. And even if he did, everything is really expensive here. I’ll have to come back here at some point after I meet up with the rest of the party.

There is however a lady that is VERY insistent that we buy some gum and get a free monkey. That’s an odd promotion, but who am I to judge. As it so happens, I have always wanted a helper monkey.

Apparently that monkey REALLY likes bubble gum. So much so that he’s willing to follow us around just because I gave him a piece. He also manages to blow a bubble so large it lifted him right off the ground. I’m not sure yet how useful he’ll be, but I guess it’s nice to know I won’t be wandering around alone.

So join us next time as we head south and try to rescue Ness and Paula.

–Day 18–

And so, our journey South is truly underway. Unfortunately for us, Jeff starts out incredibly weak at level 1. Doubly unfortunate for us is our first enemy encounter outside the school. Instead of running into a weak enemy like a spiteful crow, we end up running for our lives from a Gruff Goat. These happen to be the strongest enemies in the area, and this one nearly ends our adventure before it even begins.

I really have to be thankful for all those cookies I stole earlier, they really helped us right now. But what really saved us was the fact that Jeff was carrying around a Big Bottle Rocket in his pocket… That sounds wrong… Anyway, this did massive damage to the Gruff Goat and we survived to fight another day. We also managed to level up all the way to level 3 instantly from this one fight.

However, this fight made me realize something quite worrying. What are we going to do to recover health? Those cookies won’t last forever. We also can’t get back into the school to rest. I guess we could buy items at the shop, but without an ATM Card we have no way to withdraw any money.

Thankfully a couple of campers have set up a tent out in the woods. They’re nice enough to offer us some tea and let us rest for a while. I have a feeling we’re going to be visiting these campers quite often. At least until Jeff gains a few levels and can take care of himself.

As Jeff continues south, we come to the edge of Lake Tess where we find a rather large gathering of the “Tessie-Watching Club”. It would seem they’re all camping out in hopes of catching a glimpse of Tessie.

Sadly, none of them seem to have any true insight on the creature. However, one suggests that Tessie only shows up when it’s windy. Then another is quite confident that Tessie will show up tomorrow. Normally I would call them optimistic fanatics, but in games all rumors are true. So I should really look forward to seeing Tessie tomorrow.

Much like with the campers, the Tessie-Watching club is nice enough to share their provisions with us. This time the group’s chef is willing to let me have some of their stew and rest for the night. Of course, we can’t just lounge around while Ness and Paula are in danger. In fact, Paula reminds Jeff of their danger by contacting him telepathically during the night.

Also during the night, we learn about Jeff’s repair ability. Apparently this is something that will happen automatically whenever we sleep, assuming Jeff’s ability is high enough. In this case, Jeff managed to repair the Broken Spray Can into a can of Defense Spray. Now I know what to do with any broken items I find.

We awake the next morning and see that the wind is blowing, as indicated by the leaves blowing around now. That was of course one of the signs that Tessie would be showing up. Like I said, in games, all rumors are in fact true and Tessie is sure to show up today.

With Tessie’s arrival imminent, there’s only one thing to do, take pictures of everything. So naturally, the photographer shows up to take Jeff’s picture. It’s interesting, this is the first picture so far that won’t have Ness in it.

Anyway, now that Tessie has actually arrived, I have a brief panic attack. What if it’s a boss battle? There’s no way Jeff is high enough level right now for any kind of major boss battle. Oh no, that was probably why Jeff was already carrying that Big Bottle Rocket! I was supposed to hold onto it for exactly this battle.

Thankfully, no such boss battle takes place. After giving the monkey some gum, he floats over to Tessie’s head as it rises from the water. Then for no explained reason, Tessie allows Jeff to ride on her (I’m assuming it’s a her) back and across to the southern edge of the lake.

After dropping us off on the shore, Tessie simply leaves just as quickly as she arrived. I’m thankful for the assistance, but now I wish we could have spent more time with her. I’m actually a big fan of monsters like the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot and other creatures like that. Of well, we’ll just have to continue on without her.

Tessie may have given us a nice little ferry ride across the lake, but she didn’t exactly drop us off in an ideal spot. Just south of where we landed there is yet another Pencil-Shaped Iron Statue blocking our way. Without any other options, we are forced to make our way through the dungeon maze known as “Brickroad”.

Inside the maze, we once again have to face off against the Rowdy Mice. Just like before, these creatures have an unnaturally high chance to get critical hits. Thankfully the maze is stuffed full of presents full of items to keep my health up. It’s also not a very long or particularly complicated maze.

Even with the simplicity of the maze, there are still a few things that leave you with your guard up. Certain deceptions, like these monster infested present boxes. Normally I would expect the monster itself to be some kind of haunted present, but no. Instead we are attacked by some Worthless Protoplasm which are, well, worthless.

There is also a sign halfway through the maze warning you to watch out for falling materials. However, instead of anything dangerous falling from the sky, we are instead greeted by the photographer once again. Yet another first, not only is Ness not in this picture either, but this is also the first instance of us having two pictures taken in the same play session.

So after fighting some mad ducks and opening finding all the presents in the maze, we finally make our way to the exit. There’s even a phone here so you can save your progress. It would be such a shame to make it all this way and then lose everything.

As soon as we leave the dungeon we are confronted by the dungeon’s developer, Brickroad. Now this makes me question if the dungeon itself is also named Brickroad or if I just jumped to conclusions. Anyway, Brickroad tells us that he has devoted his life to creating dungeons by combining his skills with the intelligence of Dr. Andonuts. Oh good, he’s friends with Jeff’s dad.

After sharing his ambition to become “Dungeon Man”, the first ever combination of human and dungeon, he offers us up a good night’s rest. We gladly take him up on his offer, we could use some healing after the damage we took in that dungeon of his.

We still have quite a ways to go until we’ve rescued Ness and Paula. We haven’t even made it to Stonehenge yet. But that’s going to have to wait till next time. See you then.

–Day 19–

We may have made it out of Brickroad’s dungeon, but I think we still have a long way to go. We haven’t even made it to Stonehenge yet. As much as I would love to continue south through the woods, it looks like we’re going to be passing through yet another cave right away.

For the most part, it is a fairly straight forward cave. It isn’t until about the half-way point that we really come to the only challenge we’re going to face. With no other paths available to us, we need to make our way up the cliff walls. But there’s a problem, the rope is still coiled together at the top instead of dangling down for us to climb. This is where the monkey really comes in handy, give him a little piece of gum and he’ll float right up to get that rope for us.

While this may have been the only real obstacle we faced while passing through the cave, what lies ahead is more than I expected. I can’t really make out the enemy, but that is clearly an area boss similar to the Titanic Ant back in the caves by Giants Step. Jeff clearly isn’t ready for a battle of that magnitude, and thankfully he won’t have to face it yet. Without Ness in the party we’re incapable of initiating combat. We’ll just have to remember to come back here later.

Upon exiting the cave, the monkey catches the eye of a girl monkey, and the two run off together. Well, he more chases after her, but you get the idea. Now I’m all alone. At least it looks like we’ve actually made it to Stonehenge.

However, the rumors of there being Bigfoot in the area happened to be true, though I can’t say I was expecting their appearance. Instead of the large gorilla like appearance most people imagine, these are closer to being cavemen. They are incredibly strong and if it weren’t for their terrible accuracy, Jeff would almost certainly be no match for them.

Best not to test fate much longer, if I can just find the cave entrance I think we’ll be safe. I don’t exactly see anything that looks like an entrance, however, that bare spot in the center looks awfully suspicious. Sure enough that was the entrance we were looking for. It also appears to be yet another chance for a photo-op. smile and say “Secret underground tunnels!”

Unfortunately there’s nowhere to go once we head inside. After a very brief exploration of the tunnel our path is blocked by another large iron statue. This time however it isn’t a pencil, it’s an eraser. I guess now we’re going to have to look for an Eraser-Eraser if we want to go any further. So it looks like we’ll have to find a different route south from here.

Sadly, there isn’t much left for us to explore above ground. Just south of Stonehenge the path ends at the entrance to a lab, so naturally we head inside to look for help. I can’t say I was ready for what was inside though. It would appear we’ve stumbled into the lab of our very own father, Dr. Andonuts.

While usually the family reunions are a happy occasion, this is one of the most cringe worthy things I’ve ever had to endure. It’s painfully obvious that Dr. Andonuts hasn’t exactly been father of the year. He has been absent from Jeff’s life for the past 10 years, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in being a part of it now. After some awkward small talk, Dr. Andonuts suggests they should do this again in perhaps another 10 years.

In between the awkwardness however, the good doctor does offer us up some assistance. It would seem he is working on basically a teleportation device, but it’s not ready yet. Instead he suggests we use one of his other inventions, the Sky Walker. It’s apparently the round machine over in the corner. His instructions on how to use it are a bit vague, but I think we might still be able to handle it.

So we climb inside the Sky Walker and hope for the best as it shoots up into the air and out the top of the lab. As we fly, we occasionally dip down below the clouds to see the ground below. We see another city which I can only imagine is Fourside, as well as a desert which I know is just outside Threek.

Eventually we make it to Threek and start circling around town looking for Ness and Paula. After a few passes of the town the sensors on the Sky walker locate them in the center of the Graveyard. Now we just have to gently land the ship and go save them…Or crash it into the ground, crashing into the ground is fine too.

That may not have been the best choice Jeff! Now the Sky Walker is completely destroyed and you’re trapped right alongside Ness and Paula. Regardless, Jeff is now a part of the team and we can only hope to find some way out of this prison.

But for now, I’m going to let everyone rest and think of a good plan. Join us next time when we make our daring escape from monster prison!

–Day 20–

Now that we’ve had some time to sleep on our problem, we find out that escape is easier than we ever thought. Now that Jeff has crash landed into our little prison, it would seem we’re all trapped. However, Jeff still has his “Bad Key Machine” which is capable of unlocking any door, including our current prison door.

Once free, we find ourselves in a small underground passage, but it doesn’t take us long to find our way back to the surface. After escaping we get a chance to see the damage Jeff actually did with his crash landing. He punched a rather large hole right through the ground. I’m pretty sure the monsters are going to notice that.

With three people in the party now, we’re going to have a much easier time of things around here. Or at least that’s what I would like to say. Sadly, Paula and Jeff are still much too low level to truly be of any help. They’re both equipped with the best gear available in Threek, but it’s still a challenge to keep them both consistently alive.

With that in mind, we have to do some serious power leveling before we even attempt to move forward with the story. It took some time, and was rather difficult, but we managed to get both of them up to a respectable level. Now we have Ness leading the team at Level 24, followed by Jeff at Level 19, and Paula trailing behind slightly at Level 18. We would most certainly benefit from some additional level grinding, but I think this will do for now.

Join us next time when we start our attempt to rid the town of its Zombie Plague!