Earthbound – Week 08

–Day 36–

After opening up the last couple presents in the maze, I figured it would be a good chance to use the Exit Mouse and follow him out of the cave. However, that’s not quite how he works. I was expecting him to physically lead the party to the exit, but instead the whole party was simply teleported away. It’s admittedly much more effective than I thought it would be, but I still can’t help but feel a little cheated that I wasn’t able to follow the little mouse with a sign out of the cave. At least the photographer was waiting for us at the entrance to capture the moment of victory.

We tell the digger all the monsters are gone now, and he seems pleased. Now he’s going finish digging and maybe give us something for our trouble. Maybe we’ll get a giant gold nugget worth $1 million? You know, like the amount we need to save the Runaway Brothers again? Or really just any kind of reward…

I’m not sure if I did something wrong, or if he’s hiding or something like that, but after resting I can’t find the digger at all. I start looking around in the maze again, but he’s nowhere to be found. There aren’t any new paths open, there aren’t any other diggers, there aren’t even any monsters left, there’s just nothing anymore except for the family of exit mice.

With no other hints towards what I’m supposed to be doing, we start heading back to Fourside. We’ve barely started crossing the bridge when we’re stopped by one of the diggers. As it turns out, the diggers didn’t manage to find any buried treasure after all. They did however find a large diamond. As a thank you, they want Ness to have it. It’s not the gold we were looking for, but a diamond might be just as valuable.

We continue across the bridge and just as we’re about to enter Fourside the photographer shows up AGAIN to take our picture. Enough is enough dude, you just took our picture a few minutes ago!

Anyway, we quickly return to Fourside and head straight to the Topolla Theater to free the Runaway Brothers from their contract. It might not be gold, but the manager seems more than willing to accept it as payment to cover their debt. Although, she does value the diamond at MAYBE $50, so she’s giving us a good bargain. Since we never actually get to SEE the diamond, I’m not sure if she’s telling the truth or not, but going off her other reactions, I’m going to assume she’s lying.

Once again, the Runaway Brothers show up and say their farewells to the manager. Considering they manage to rack up a million dollar debt in just a few days with this person, they were all very civil to her as they left.

Of course, we paid for a ticket to see their show, and we’re going to see their final performance. This time around, they performed much better than last time. Not only that, but they are joined this time by a female dancer who I can only assume is Venus who we’ve heard talk of. As the show comes to an end, they drive their tour bus on stage, load into it, and drive away.

Unfortunately, that’s where I lose them. Unlike last time, no one is waiting outside the theater to thank us or anything. We start searching all around town for them, but they’re simply nowhere to be found. They mentioned before that we would need their help to take down Mr. Monotoli, but they aren’t anywhere near his building either.

We head back to the theater to see if maybe they’re still hanging out there. To our surprise, we are instead treated to a solo show by Venus. I can’t tell very well due to the small character sprite, but In person she must be very attractive. I say this, because half way through her performance someone runs on stage and needs to be taken away by security…

Ultimately the Runaway Brothers weren’t at the theater either. So once again we’re a bit lost for what we’re expected to do at the moment. I think we’ll just sleep on it for the moment and pick it up again tomorrow. Join me then as we once again search the city for clues.

–Day 37–

We do one more lap around the city looking for the Runaway brothers, but it looks like they might be gone for good. Along the way we did however manage to see one interesting change to the city. For some reason there is no longer a crowd around the department store. Sure enough it is once again open to the public. So far, this is the largest department store we’ve seen so far in the game. It has a total of 4 floors, and 7 different stores to shop from. So many different things to choose from, I just wish I had more inventory space to hold it all. I’m honestly still not used to having THIS limited of inventory in an RPG.

Our delight quickly turns to dread as the unspeakable happens. Just as we were about to leave the building, the lights flicker off and Paula is kidnapped by some kind of green tentacle alien. Then to taunt us further, the creatures calls us over the loud speaker and calls us up to the Manager’s Office up on the 4th floor. We need to rescue her quick. With her powerful PK attacks she really is the powerhouse of the group.

We leave the building for a quick instance to meet up with the Escargo Express man we previously called so we can deposit a few items. That turns out to have been a huge mistake. As soon as we return to the department store we are immediately ambushed by a couple of enemies. If Paula where here they wouldn’t be much trouble at all, but without her Jeff ends up dying almost instantly.

It’s a quick visit to the hospital to revive him, but it’s unfortunately a pattern that repeats itself several more times. We enter the building, get ambushed, Jeff dies, and we have to leave to get him revived. Paula has been gone from the party for a whole 3 minutes and already we’re hopelessly lost without her.

It would take several more attempts before we even manage to make it past the front door and on our way to the manager’s office. Along the way, the creature is constantly taunting us. Not only that, but the enemies are relentless the whole way, often waiting in unavoidable groups just at the top of the escalators.

By some miracle, we eventually make it to the manager’s office like we planned, and the creature has the nerve to be sitting behind the desk like he owns the place. He taunts the party one last time before telling us to go to hell, or rather heaven. Not sure why the sudden shift. It would make sense if he never said “Hell” and it was a type of censorship, but to change it after the fact simply leaves me scratching my head.

The battle against the Dept. Store Spook is definitely a hard one without Paula. Like I said before, she really is the powerhouse keeping the group going. As Ness’ PP depletes and we start running out of healing items, I was starting to think we would end up losing this battle. Thankfully we manage to limp by and defeat the monster and hope is returned.

In his dying breath, the Spook mentions Giygas. So it looks like he’s another servant like Belch was. No wonder he was so hard to defeat. He also mentions Paula, but doesn’t really tell us what he did with her. I had assumed we would get her back once we defeated him, but apparently that’s not going to happen.

As we leave the office, the Photographer shows up at the worst possible moment to take our picture. Please, I don’t want to be reminded of the time we LOST a party member! Come back some other time. At least everything is back to normal, so that’s something to be happy about I guess.

Well, it looks like we’re going to have to rescue Paula now. Unfortunately we continue to have very few clues about where she might be. So let me sleep on this and I’ll see you next time!

–Day 38–

We need to get Paula back as soon as possible, but right now we don’t even know where she is. The only clue we were given was “Monotoli”, so we head over to his building to see if she is there. Unfortunately there’s nothing new to see here. The elevator still only brings us up to Porky and his dad, both of which give no new information. Likewise, the second elevator is still off limits to public use.

Despite our frustration as we search every inch of the Monotoli building and the surrounding area, the photographer decides to take another picture of us as we sneak around back. It’s really a bad time, we’re kind of trying to break in to this building right now. It doesn’t really help us to have photographic evidence of our crimes.

We spend quite a bit of time searching everywhere in town, talking to everyone trying to find just a single clue. The Monotoli Building, the Dept. Store, the Dinosaur Museum, the Topolla Theater, even the Bar, but no one seems to have any information for us.

However, our luck changes as we leave the bar and see a crowd around the alleyway. It looks like someone might be dead. Actually, I think I know that dead guy, that’s Everdred from back in Twoson. What could he possibly be doing here? And I guess more importantly, why is he now dying in an alley behind a bar?

It is Everdred, and thankfully he’s not dead, at least not yet. He tells us everything that happened. Apparently after we defeated Carpainter back in Happy Happy Village, Everdred went in and stole the Mani Mani Statue from him. He brought it here with hopes to sell it for a good profit, but Monotoli noticed it and managed to steal it from Everdred. Imagine the irony, someone stealing from a master thief like Everdred. Anyway, after stealing the statue, he wanted to get rid of Everdred because he know the too much about the statue. That’s how he ended up here dying in an alleyway.

While he can’t tell us much more after that, he does give us our first good clue in a while “at the bar, Check behind the counter”. Then with his dying words he decides to give us a little haiku. “When on your way out – Be sure that you say goodbye – then lock the door tight.”

After that he’s gone. Like, he left, not that he died. He just gets up, makes a nasty face to frighten some of the women gathered around, and leaves. Now I’m confused, how badly injured was he? Is he goes to die or was he just resting. He got up and walked away pretty easily for someone who is dying…

Following Everdred’s advice, we check behind the counter at the bar. As we do, we are engulfed in a blinding white light. When our vision returns to us, we find ourselves in some dark alternate reality version of Fourside. Everdred, what have you gotten us into?!

Asking around, we find out a few key bits of information. For one, this is no longer Fourside, we are now in the city of Moonside. In addition to that, this really is a backwards world where yes is no and no is yes, so we’ll have to keep that in mind any time we talk to anyone here…

As we start talking to more people, we find out something rather peculiar. Apparently the guys in Hawaiian shirts are jerks who will teleport you away as soon as you talk to them. However, the one I talked to did teleport me to a good spot, kind of. We can see the Mani Mani Statue down there in front of the Moonside Monotoli building, we just can’t get to it because this guy is blocking the path. However, he does give us a hint. He’ll only move out of the way for the guy “whose eyebrows are connected and who also has a gold tooth.”

So it looks like we have a goal now, find someone with a unibrow and gold tooth, how hard could that be? Join us next time as we search the town for this mystery man!

–Day 39–

While Moonside may be a neon version of Fourside, it doesn’t have the exact same layout. As such we spend some time simply reestablishing our surroundings. Of course, this becomes much more complicated with so many people in town teleporting us away. Maybe it would be best if we just stopped talking to people for a while.

It also doesn’t help that the town is swarming with monsters. My favorite of which, at least in design, is the Dali’s Clock enemy. These are of course based on Dali’s famous painting “The Persistence of Memory” which just happens to be one of my favorite paintings ever. As enemies however, these guys can be quite frustrating. They don’t have much health, which is good, but they have the ability to stop time and attack multiple times in a row. If you don’t defeat them quickly, you could be in a lot of trouble.

Speaking of having to fight quickly, you also need to watch out for the Robo-Pump enemies. These enemies show up as small fires on the world map, and seem easy enough at first when you encounter them. They don’t ever attack, and simply start counting down from 3 whenever it’s their turn. However, if they manage to count down to 0 before you defeat them, they will throw a bomb at you, damaging the whole party. They’ll also restore their health to maximum and start the process all over again.

Exploration of Moonside is slow and in the end provides us with little new knowledge. Many of the people speak nonsense, so you can’t really gain any information from them. We also didn’t encounter anyone that would fit the description of having a unibrow and gold tooth. What we did learn is that there are invisible walls set up around town, which makes me think we’ll have to talk to more people and hope one of them teleports us somewhere good.

So for now, we’re going to have to accept the fact that we’re stuck for the moment. Join us again next time as we start teleporting all over the place hoping to find our way!

–Day 40–

There are a lot of people in town to talk to, and the fact that many of them teleport you away makes talking to them all quite time consuming. However, we eventually find exactly the person we’re looking for. Talking to the guy directly in front of the hospital ends up sending us to an as of yet unexplored part of town, which just so happens to be exactly what we were looking for. This new area is invisibly walled off from the rest of town, and contains another person in a Hawaiian shirt.

After a few more similar teleportations, we end in a small building with a Mr. T looking guy as well as a shadowy figure. This shadowy figure is apparently the exact person we wanted to meet. After teleporting out of the room the shadowy figure, now completely invisible, ends up following us around.

Obviously since he’s invisible, we have no idea what he looks like, or if he’s even still following us. However, as we walk around he simply won’t stop talking. It is through these dialogues that we discover he is the man with a unibrow and a gold tooth.

We might not be able to see him, but apparently the other true residents of Moonside can. As soon as we talk to the guy by the Monotoli building, he instantly notices his buddy and the two of them apparently head off to get some drinks. At least I think they’re both going. I can only see one of them after all.

Anyway, this opens up the path to the Mani Mani Statue, In front of which is an old man who simply exclaims himself to NOT be Monotoli before disappearing into thin air. Examining the statue itself is also somewhat unusual, Ness recognizes seeing it before, and then we are immediately thrown into a battle with it.

This battle with the Evil Mani Mani Statue is actually quite annoying. For its opening move, it used Paralysis α which took Jeff out of the fight before it even began. Already our fighting power is cut in half, and I don’t appear to have anything on me that cures paralysis.

Death Count: 7

What really made this fight unfair however is how it ended. The Mani Mani Statue “emitted a glorious light” and then POOF, Ness and Jeff both instantly fall to 0 HP and collapse. It wasn’t a powerful attack, it was just a cheap shot instant kill attack which should never be allowed.

There aren’t really any special preparations I can do to defend against an instant kill attack, so we simply head straight back to him and try again. Thankfully our second attempt goes much better. He doesn’t paralyze Jeff, so we actually get to fight the battle at full power. Then before long it is defeated, and we have put a stop to its evil powers.

After the battle we are once again engulfed in a blinding white light. When our vision returns, we found ourselves in some kind of warehouse with the Mani Mani Statue broken on the ground in front of us. It would appear the whole town of Moonside was simply an illusion created by the statue, and now that it is destroyed, so too is the illusion.

No sooner do we leave the warehouse and head back into the bar, we get a random call from Apple kid again. Apparently he has come up with another invention that he thinks will help us. It’s called the “Gourmet Tofu Machine” and like the name implies it makes different types of tofu. It’s still a work in progress, so at the moment it can only make Strawberry Tofu, but it’s a start. How a Tofu machine is going to help me is a complete mystery though. For all my problems at the moment, I can’t think of any that would be suddenly solved with strawberry tofu…

We leave the bar in order to meet the Escargo Express delivery guy with the device, but instead we’re greeted by a random monkey instead. Correction, we meet a random monkey which immediately runs into the wall of the bar and explodes for some reason. Anyway, this monkey has come to tell us that Talah Rama has finished fasting and would like to meet us in the monkey paradise back in the Dusty Dunes Desert.

The monkey leaves, and before we can even take another step, the Escargo Express guy shows up with our package. Or at least he was supposed to have our package, except he forgot it somewhere why passing through the desert. He mentions talking to sun bathers and them telling him about some secret monkey paradise. Of course, since Apple Kid shipped it “Neglected Class”, the delivery guy doesn’t really care that he doesn’t have it anymore. It’s our package, if we want it we should go get it ourselves.

The Escargo Express guy leaves and once again we are approached before we can even take a single step. This time it’s some fancy lady that overheard our conversation with the delivery guy, at least part of it anyway. She is apparently a maid that works for Mr. Monotoli and she is looking for some strawberry tofu to give to one of their special guests. So I guess that answers the question of why we need strawberry tofu in the first place. Now we just have to go out to the desert to get it.

Thankfully, the monkey paradise is very easy to find. It’s actually directly north of the shack where the bus drops you off, so it’s not a long trip at all. However, the caves leading to the actual monkey paradise seem like they’re going to be a pain to travel through. It’s not some maze full of monsters like the mine was, it’s just really annoying because all the paths are blocked by monkeys asking for handouts before they’ll move out of the way.

I don’t have everything the monkeys are asking for right now, but I give out what I can. Eventually I make it to the end and it would seem the tunnel choices I made lead directly to a dead end. The only thing here is a monkey talking about Dragonite and handing out eggs. This is just fantastic. It looks like we’re going to be spending some time in here paying off all the monkeys before we actually get to where we want to go.

I’m heading back to the store to stock up on things the monkeys are asking for, so join me next time as we try to trade our way into the monkey paradise. See you then!