Earthbound – Week 10

–Day 46–

It looks like we have quite the challenge ahead of us as we try to fight the Kraken. Short of power leveling for hours, there isn’t really much we can do to prepare for this battle. We took the Flame Pendant out of storage for a bit of protection against its Flame Breath attack, but other than that we already have the best equipment we can buy at the moment.

With really nothing else to prepare, we head out onto the boat once again. The journey was identical to the first time, even the quick break where our captain complained of sea sickness. As the Kraken approaches the boat yet again, all we can really hope for is that we’ve learned something from the last encounter.

This time things turned out a bit different. It didn’t open the fight with its Fire Breath like it did last time. In fact it was several turns before we saw that again. Instead it used a “Crashing Boom Bang” attack which did only moderate damage to both Ness and Paula. It then followed this up by wasting a turn emitting a pale green light which reset any PK effects on the party, of which there were none.

When the Kraken finally did use its Flame Breath attack again, it was just as damaging to the entire party as it was last time. It actually did mortal damage to everyone other than Ness who was wearing the Flame Pendant. However, luck was on our side this time. Just as everyone’s HP counters were about to roll over to 0, Ness managed to defeat it with a powerful PK Gaming β attack. It looks like we’ll get to continue the game after all.

Having safely arrived in Scarabia, it’s time to start exploring this new region. From the looks of the map, the town itself is rather small with only a few buildings. Most of the area seems to be taken up by the vast stretch of desert to the south where the pyramids are.

It’s not long after we arrive that we start to find signs that Porky was already here before us. It would seem the little fatty either couldn’t find a restroom, or simply didn’t care and simply took a squat on the ground at the edge of town. That’s gross, and I think I might have stepped in some of it. Hopefully the sand will help scrape it off the bottom of our shoes as we continue exploring.

Just next to that mess is a man sitting on top of a building. This on its own is quite unusual, so I thought it would be nice to see what his whole deal was. Turns out he’s an acquaintance of our old friend Brick Road. It would seem he has accomplished his dream of becoming a true “Dungeon Man” instead of just a dungeon maker. This man offers to introduce us to him, but unfortunately he has lost the key to enter him. It’s an odd choice of words, but I guess we’re going to have to keep an eye out for a missing key now.

The only other real attraction here in town seems to be the market in the southeast corner. They sure do have some weird things for sale. For example, there are only six different vendors in the Market, but two of them are selling live snakes for some reason. Why would we need live snakes? There must be a reason, but for now I think I’d rather keep my pockets snake free, thank you very much.

In the end, we don’t really buy much from the market today. But I’m sure we’ll be back later for something. Even so, the Photographer shows up once again to take our picture here in the new town. Say “Fuzzy Pickles” everyone!

We don’t have a whole lot of time left to play today, but I thought it would be worth it to at least check out the desert. Wouldn’t you believe our luck when we stepped outside of town and immediately spot one of those worms we saw back in Dusty Dunes! This red variant is pretty quick, and we chased it literally to the other end of the desert before we caught him, but boy oh boy did it give us a TON of experience for the trouble. Nearly everyone leveled up from this.

Anyway, like I said, we don’t have a lot of time left, so I’m going to ignore the Pyramids for now and just check out the other areas of the desert, you know, looking for presents and perhaps that lost key. The desert ends up being surprisingly small, and thankfully the enemies aren’t very strong. Most of them are just Pallet swaps of the enemies we’ve already seen back in Dusty Dunes.

So I guess that’s it for today. Join us next time as we start exploring the pyramids and see how mad we can make Giygas by messing with his plans.

–Day 47–

We don’t waste any time today, and we head straight to the pyramids. It looks like the Photographer was expecting this and was waiting there to once again capture the moment.

Unfortunately, the moment is slightly ruined as soon as we try to actually try to enter the Pyramid. The entrance seems to be sealed tight and there isn’t much we can do about that. There is a Sphinx just south of the Pyramid with a very obvious button puzzle. Unfortunately the Sphinx won’t talk to us, and we don’t have any clues about what order to press the buttons in.

And so, the entire rest of the day was spent trying to find a clue of what to do next. We talked to everyone in town. We looked through the desert for the lost key. We even bought a bag of snakes to see if they would scare the Sphinx. I don’t know why I thought that, but you have to try everything at this point!

After wasting the entire day with nothing to show for it, I finally cave and pay the hint guy to tell me what to do. Actually, before I share his hint, I do want to say the hint guy is a very welcome addition to the game. Many retro games have moments like this where you simply can’t think of what the developers thought you should do next and you really need that little nudge to get you back on track. That is doubly true pre-internet when these games came out and the answers weren’t easily available to you.

Anyway, onto the actual hint. The Hint Man tells us we should check out the Second Floor of the Scarabia Cultural Museum in Summers. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see the hieroglyph they have there. You see, that’s the kind of developer logic I wouldn’t have thought of. When we last visited the museum, the second floor was closed for renovations and the second floor guard simply turned us away. I wouldn’t have thought we’d done anything since then that would justify revisiting the Museum.

So I guess we have our destination set. Join us next time as we see what’s so important on the second floor of the Museum. See you then!

–Day 48–

After getting the hint yesterday, we head back to Summers for a quick revisit to the Museum. Just like last time, the guard originally starts to send us away, claiming the second floor is being remodeled. But after seeing Poo, he quickly changes his attitude. Poo unfortunately has to hand over the gem his is carrying before the guard will let us check out the next room.

Inside, they do have a rather large stone slab with Hieroglyphs written on it. The guard starts bragging about what a great experience this must be for us. He also mentions that a rich kid, no doubt Porky again, came by recently and also took pictures of the Hieroglyphs. So these must be very important to us, but more importantly, how is Porky always one step ahead of us? We have a party of four and we’re struggling along. How is he alone getting by as well as he is? He was useless when he was in our party back at the beginning of the game.

Anyway, I would love to take a look at the Hieroglyph now, but before we can, we see why the second floor was locked off to visitors. It’s not because they were remodeling, it was because a few of their exhibits weren’t quite happy to remain dead. Two sarcophagi converge on us as we cross the room and we are forced into battle with the Shattered Man. He isn’t very strong, but that’s not the point. Museum exhibits shouldn’t be attacking the guests like that.

Now that those things are taken care of, Poo can finally read the Hieroglyphs for us. Translated it says “To fight against the invaders, we built this pyramid fortress. However, our efforts were futile, and we lost. Nonetheless, our pyramid was protected by the gods of Scarabia. The invaders from the heavens will be reborn every millennium and will attack again. Even now, the invaders hide beyond space and time and build their evil stronghold. A place out of time is beyond the Dark, and is even farther beyond the Lost Underworld. The Deep Darkness is shrouded, it is without light. Only one with the Hawk Eye can pierce the dark. The Sphinx now watches over everything, waiting for the coming of a truly brave hero.”

After that, there is a weird number pattern which must be the sequence to the buttons in front of the Sphinx. That should be easy enough to remember. You basically just draw a star. Now that we have the button sequence, we should be able to enter the pyramid without any trouble.

However, we might not be heading back to Scarabia so soon. Just as we attempt to leave the Museum, the phone on the front counter starts ringing. The receptionist is for some reason nowhere to be seen, so we take it upon ourselves to answer the phone for them. It’s Mr. Spoon calling from the Fourside Dinosaur Museum. Apparently he has found something “extraordinary” and words simply won’t do it justice. So I guess we’ll have to head back to Fourside first to see what he found.

Upon our return to the Fourside Museum, Mr. Spoon has indeed found something extraordinary, but he’s not willing to just SHOW it to us right away. He wants something in return first. In his case, he wants an autograph from the singer Venus over at the Topolla Theater. Specifically, he wants her autograph on an eraser. Or anything really, even toilet paper, as long as it’s really her autograph.

This should be an easy task to accomplish. We’re already allowed back stage, and she knows we’re friends with the Runaway Brothers. I just didn’t really expect what she would end up autographing for us. She autographed a Banana Peel. Who does that? Who would want an autograph on a banana peel? Whatever, at least Ness got a nice kiss out of the deal.

True to his word, Mr. Spoon shows us something extraordinary once we give him the Autographed Banana Peel. It would seem there is a bright light shining up from below a manhole in the next room. When Mr. Spoon went down to examine the source, he apparently saw a huge monster rat down there.

So suddenly the whole party is mucking around down in the sewers, just disgusting. Unsurprisingly, the whole area is full of monsters, mostly Stinky Ghosts disguised as garbage cans. These guys aren’t very much trouble, but on rare occasion they can possess a party member with a mini-ghost. Of course even that is really more of a minor annoyance than it is an actual threat to the party.

As minor of an annoyance as it is, we really should go and get it cured. Plus we should really check out the mall and see if we can finally get Poo equipped with SOMETHING. Unfortunately, there is still nothing he can use. In fact, the act of equipping him with anything actually drastically reduced his stats. Maybe he’s just one of those character types that are just better when they’re barehanded.

Either way we have a very stinky adventure ahead of us. So be sure to join us next time as we exterminate the giant rats living in the sewers of Fourside!

–Day 49–

We once again dive into the sewers of Fourside in search of this Monster Rat which Mr. Spoon mentioned seeing. However, we aren’t having much luck. The closest we’ve found so far are a handful of Deadly Mice. Yes, they’re rodents, but they’re not quite the type we’re looking for.

At the very least we can take some comfort in the fact that we get to walk along the platform instead of actually IN the sewage. Sadly, that small comfort is also soon taken from us. With heavy barrels blocking the path, we are given no alternative other than to step down into the waters and trudge along hoping not to get any in our mouths.

The path through the sewers is, if nothing else, a straight forward endeavor. There aren’t any branching paths to navigate, or any maze to solve. The occasional room or bend is the path is the only thing really distinguishing how far we’ve traveled.

After what seems like forever, we finally come to an exit, which is somewhat surprisingly guarded by a My Sanctuary boss. I wasn’t expecting there to be a My Sanctuary location here, but sure enough this is the fifth My Sanctuary Location. It’s also the Monster Rat Mr. Spoon was talking about, or rather the “Plague Rat of Doom” as it’s properly called.

Having already defeated the Kraken, the Plague Rat of Doom seems like a minor annoyance in comparison. Granted, it does have a lot of HP, causing the battle to drag on for quite some time. However, it doesn’t have any attacks that even compare to the Kraken’s Fire Breath. It is capable of poisoning a party member with its bite, but that’s more of an inconvenience than a real threat. Just as everyone’s PP is starting to run out, the Plague Rat of Doom is finally defeated.

We climb the ladder and found ourselves behind the Fourside Dept. Store where there appears to be a giant chunk of metal. As we approach it, Ness has another vision, this time he sees a baby’s bottle, but just for an instant. He then records the melody of Magnet Hill, and we claim another of the My Sanctuary locations.

For some reason, there is also a present here with a “Rabbits’ Carrot inside. Not sure what that’s going to do for us, but it seems like it must be rather important if it was here in the My Sanctuary. Curiosity aside, we’re suddenly overcome we the feeling of dread knowing we must once again go crawling through the sewers if we hope to get back to Mr. Spoon. In retrospect, there was probably enough room there to use PK Teleport β instead. But you know what they say, “Hindsight is 20/20.”

It’s a bit surprising though when we return to Mr. Spoon and he makes no acknowledgement at all of what we just did for him. He just gives a weak request that we come back and visit him again sometime. At least the Photographer knows how important this moment is as he captures our image upon exiting the Museum.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone I guess. But with that whole ordeal out of the way, we really need to head back to Scarabia. So join us next time as we FINALLY get to enter the Pyramids like we wanted to do days ago!

–Day 50–

With the picture of the Hieroglyph in hand, the Sphinx finally talks to us. We press the buttons in the simple star pattern shown to us before and the Sphinx acknowledges us as warriors fit to enter the Pyramid. He also gives us the advice to search for the Hawk Eye, which the Hieroglyph mentioned being essential to defeating the evil invaders.

As would be expected of a Pyramid, we are almost immediately attacked by a mummy when we enter. At least I’m guessing it’s a mummy, with a name like “The Fierce Shattered Man” I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking at. These guys are nearly identical to the ones we already fought back on the second floor of the Museum, just a little stronger. Still not a huge threat though.

What did catch me a bit of guard though was when the Hieroglyphics started coming to life and jumping off the wall to attack us. I’m not entirely sure how that would even work. I mean, hieroglyphics are typically created by chiseling them out of the stone. How does negative space come to life?

Thankfully, the Pyramid is similar to the Sewers in the fact that there is only a single path to follow as we make our way through. At the highest point of the pyramid, we find a very suspicious casket. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it at the moment. I know it can be moved, I can see the hole underneath it when it disappears in the battle transition. I just don’t know what we’re supposed to do yet to get it to move.

The path does continue on to the right and down the other side of the Pyramid, so maybe we’ll find something useful over there. After some time travelling down the other side, we eventually find ourselves in a dead end room. At first glance it would appear empty except for the handful of monsters. Not exactly what we were looking for I’m afraid.

However, on closer inspection there is actually a hidden switch on the floor. We can’t see anything change, but it sounds like something has moved up above. Upon returning to the highest point of the Pyramid we see that the casket has indeed been pushed aside, revealing the hole we knew was under it.

We can’t be sure what’s down there, and everyone is already pretty low on HP and PP. So before we jump into the darkness, I think it would be best to return to town for a quick moment and heal everyone. Join us next time as we explore the hidden depths of the Pyramid in search of the Hawk Eye!