Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:45 am

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Up until I got my castle, the only thing different in the second playthrough was a moment's hesitation near the beginning. Upon arriving home from his meeting with the Emperor, Mute went upstairs to get Ted in the party, then went to Sarady before Ted gave him the third degree about what he did at the palace. This nets me a Prosperity Rune, doubling money earned from battles, rather than the Fortune rune I got last time that doubled experience.

And so begins my minimalist run.

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There are several people you hardly give a second thought once they're recruited, but they're optional/missable recruits. In this game I pointedly ignore Rock, so my castle never has a storage vault. This makes inventory management a major hassle, since items I want to keep but don't want to equip or carry around have to be given to someone who's not in the party.

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While still in Lepant's house, I ignore Juppo too.

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...and shortly find out that he joins regardless. Not talking to him means there are still robot encounters throughout the house as you leave, though.

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If you try to leave Kraze mansion without talking to Pahn, Cleo and Gremio stop you on the way out.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:54 am

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Viki blocks the path by standing where she is, so there's no getting back to the castle without her. In retrospect, I suppose if you never need to return to that part of the world until the scenario is over, you never have to go through the forest again. I think it's possible to go elf village -> dwarf village -> dwarf vault -> ruined elf village -> Pannu Yakuta -> warp back to Toran castle at end of scenario without getting Viki. But I didn't think of that before, so I recruited her. Oops.

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Without Gaspar around to raise cash, I grind money by fighting a lot of monsters in this run. I also end up with a lot of rare and valuable antiques without any bathhouse to display them in... so that saves me a bit of time by pawning them off.

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The army battles are where the minimalist run actually gets difficult, rather than simply time-consuming. Not having shops and facilities at the castle means I do more running around to towns on the world map, big deal. But each recruit brings more soldiers into the army, and without those, the Imperials are generally at a sharp advantage in these mass fights. (I suspect that recruits who can't fight in the party and don't do anything else at the castle, like Esmeralda and Maximilian and Qlon, bring more soldiers into these battles than other recruits.)

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Kwanda is an optional recruit, and I'm not getting optional recruits, so I execute him instead.

Kwanda: Emperor Barbarosa, I'm sorry I could not protect you until the end. I enjoyed the 10 years I fought with you. Farewell, Emperor.
Kirkis: Prepare yourself!

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As with Kraze the screen goes black in discretion (or lack of sprite animation) during the execution.

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Windy: I gave him the Black Rune, yet he falls. What a useless fellow.
Kuromimi: Who you? Fix everyone.
Windy: A kobold? I see, Kwanda's Black Rune melted, and you've become free of your curse. Mute, don't think you can get away with your antics forever. My beloved Barbarosa will destroy you. Well, I must be on my way. See you, Mute.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:59 am

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Whoops, Kuromimi translated his name.

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Our next decision point: Milich.

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Milich: I was of no help whatsoever to the Emperor. It's appropriate that I die here. Such a short life, like that of a flower...
Viktor: Prepare to die.
Camille: Viktor, let me.

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Camille takes her debts very seriously. Pahn and Cleo are right there, but Camille's the one who kills Milich, presumably because it means Gremio can never pay her back and she's out a lot of money.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:03 am

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Pahn, at level 9, wearing shitty earlygame armor, claws level 5, takes on Teo McDohl. Despite Pahn putting his guard up, Teo nearly cuts him in half with a single slash.

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Teo: I can help you, should you wish.
Pahn: I'm sorry, Master Teo. I will choose my own path.
Teo: You know what happens to traitors when they are captured.
Pahn: Yes.
Teo: Forgive me, Pahn.
Pahn: I'm sorry, Gremio. I can't... protect... Young Master... any longer.

And then Pahn, too, is gone. It's a noteworthy scene, because despite knowing what his duty is, Teo obviously doesn't want to kill his friend.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:05 am

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The Secret Factory throws Ledon, Kessler, and Kage at you, but I ignore them.

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I actually had concerns that this would be the end of the playthrough. Only Fire Spears can do damage to the Armored Cavalry, and only Charge-type attacks use the Fire Spears. I didn't know if I had enough Charge units to win.

(I did, though.)

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:09 am

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Fast forward rather a lot, skipping over the entire Neclord sequence, to the start of the Dragon's Den scenario. Given that the Warrior's Village is the last armor shop before Gregminster, and the residence of the game's only level 15 blacksmith, I end up spending a lot of time there! But nothing noteworthy to the minimalist run happens, so I'm skipping it.

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But not having Gaspar around means I'm low on cash for most of the game (and given that I've found the game's only level 15 blacksmith...), so it's not a big deal to run out my funds before meeting Vincent in Antei.

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It's a small scene, but one I missed on my first run through.

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I also manage to snag a screenshot of Windy shooting down Black and Futch, so there's that too.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:11 am

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At the Northern Checkpoint, Mute's habit of executing captured Imperials continues...

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...until Mathiu steps in. The ruse at Moravia would be awfully hard to pull off without Griffith, so he's a required recruit.

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The Imperials and the Liberation Army have been fighting at around a 2:1 advantage for most of the game.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:14 am

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The top of the Stone Tablet of Promise looks pretty full!

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The bottom, not so much.

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At the meeting before the march on Gregminster, Leknaat doesn't bring up that the 108 stars have all gathered, because they haven't. And while Leknaat's portrait is almost covering it up, there's one conspicuously empty space in the front row where Pahn could have been standing.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:28 am

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Here we are at endgame, and the army looks like this:

Charge units:
Humphrey's Team is top of the list, since you can't miss Humphrey, Alen, or Grenseal. Power 24.
Lepant Family: Lepant and Eileen, power 24.
Viktor's Team: Viktor, Warren, and Taggart, power 23.
Former Imperial Team: Kasim, Griffth, and Valeria. Power 22.
Fishermens: Tai Ho, Yam Koo, and Kimberly. Power 19.
Bandits: Varkas and Sydonia. Power 17.
Warrior's Village Kids: Flik, Tengaar, and Hix. Power 17.
Carpenters: Gen, Kamandol, and Tesla. Power 14.
Commander's Team: Mute, his manservants having died in service, is all by himself. Power 14.
Old Soldiers: Liukan and Fukien. Power 12.
Secret Factory Team: Mose and Ronnie Bell. Power 10.
Tricksters: Juppo, why did you come here? Power 3.

Bow units:
Forest Protectors: Kirkis, Sylvina, and Stallion. Power 21.
Soldier Beauties: Cleo and Camille (Sonya is still in prison in the castle basement). Power 18.
Kobolds: Black Ears Kuromimi. Power 9.

Magic Units:
Children of the Runes: Luc. Power 19.
Magicians: Viki. Power 13.
While I may have been in error by getting Viki, it probably made some of these fights possible. Otherwise I'd only have one counter to Charge-type attacks. Pitting my own Charge against an enemy Charge would lead to heavy casualties on both sides, and the Imperials have the advantage in numbers for a war of attrition.

Special Units:
Dragon Knights: Joshua, Milia, and Futch.
Merchants: Cunto.
Ninja: Kasumi.
Thieves: Krin and Giovanni.
Strategists: Mathiu.

Not much!

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That old book says that Merchants are the most likely to succeed when the enemy has us outnumbered, so let's see if we can get anybody to turn traitor in the battle where the Imperials have the biggest possible advantage.

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Nope! Merchants suck forever.

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Enemy Bow attacks are the most dangerous, until I start running out of Bow and Magic units to counter properly. A Magic attack shuts down a Charge, and a Bow attack shuts down Magic, but if I'm forced to Charge into the enemy's Bows, then I still suffer some casualties, and that's not a luxury I can afford.

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With my smaller and weaker unit makeup, I'm plinking the Imperials for less damage overall even when I make the perfect choices to counter their attacks. Out of ninjas and thieves to foresee it and my dragons having been tapped out already, I'm forced to Charge into an enemy Magic attack.

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If you make the worst possible choice in a mass battle, someone probably dies. If you're shooting for all 108 stars, you'd better reset, because this means they're as gone as Gremio and Pahn are from their story sequences.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:41 am

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Despite all the money-grinding (and about an hour spent wandering around near Kalekka hoping one of the enemies there dropped another Prosperity Rune, to see if they stack with themselves -- at a drop rate of .8%, though, I let it slide), this playthrough takes significantly less time than the all-recruit one before it.

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The endgame sequence is virtually identical, except that all the people I killed or left in prison don't show up to talk to Barbarosa. Kasim is the only one with anything important to say in this scene, which is probably why he's a required character.

For the record, my endgame party was Viktor, Flik, Humphrey, Mute, Tengaar, and Cleo. Flik had a Thunder rune, Tengaar a Cyclone rune, and Cleo a Flowing rune. And I remembered which head of the Golden Hydra to kill first, so the whole fight was super-easy.

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Several of the slots in the endgame character roll are empty. And some have changed to reflect what got resolved in-game.

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TA
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby TA » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:15 pm

I wonder how low you could get it through deliberate bad choices in battle.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Thad
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:50 pm

Luc and Eileen are the likeliest to die in my experience. I'm not sure who else can, offhand.

I seem to recall there's also a slight difference in Cleo's dialogue when she's talking about all the death -- Gremio, Teo -- where Pahn's name is included too. Obviously a pretty minor change but a nice touch.

I mentioned before that this game, unlike its sequels, is short enough to encourage a replay. I think it does a good job of encouraging players to try again and see how many they can get -- which includes grinding Pahn to see if it's possible to save him.

It's still crazy-hard to get an all-108 playthrough without a walkthrough, but the game's design encourages you to try.

2...well, 2 might be the more satisfying game (and, for my money, the pinnacle of the classic JRPG formula), but even with a detective to help you find the recruits you don't have, a perfect playthrough relies on, among other things, a single specific dialogue choice made in a very limited time period. And getting the best ending requires a very good memory of a seemingly throwaway bit of dialogue at the very beginning of the game, and explicitly dodging the regular ending trigger. (All this is vague enough to get the mechanics across without spoiling anything, right?) Basically, while it's TECHNICALLY possible to get a perfect game on your first playthrough in 2 without a walkthrough, I'm going to call it PRACTICALLY impossible. And it's a much, much longer game than 1 (like, 3, 4 times longer?) to give a second playthrough to.

3, by contrast, is so fucking long (and its first half such a boring slog) that the designers had the good sense to make it the EASIEST one to recruit all 108 characters -- as I've said, I finally had to look up a walkthrough to get one of them because he's a "walk back and forth on two screens of the game with an empty slot in your party and he'll eventually join you at random" recruit, but I got ALL THE REST without any kind of outside-the-game help on my first playthrough.

I honestly don't remember if I got all 108 or not in 5. I do remember I stopped right at the endgame. Maybe I'll replay it someday if I can find a Gameshark code to reduce the encounter rate or something.

4...well, I know I didn't get all 108, and I'm pretty sure I quit at the endgame there, too. That's another one I MIGHT be willing to try again if I could severely reduce the encounter rate, but man, 4 sure is bad. Even if you removed random encounters entirely, the aimless sailing would still be a real bastard.

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nosimpleway
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:38 pm

This page tries to break down who can die, but I wonder how accurate it is. It says, for instance, that Kasim is at risk, but shouldn't he have plot armor so he can wag his finger at the Emperor at the end of the game?

TA wrote:I wonder how low you could get it through deliberate bad choices in battle.

I wonder how you can make an intentionally bad choice and not lose.

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Brentai
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby Brentai » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:19 am

Is anyone else really upset that the game goes back to using "Toran" when talking about the Toran Republic?

Because, you know.

The Wrassle Republic.

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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:22 am

I think the nation is called Toran regardless of the name of the castle in Toran Lake, though. Because 2 DOES use the savegame name of the castle IIRC (I think it's in one of the books you collect, though it might be munged like -- are we really still spoilertagging this? -- McDohl's name).

On the other hand, the name of the army (not the name of the castle) in the second game DOES become the name of the nation founded in the end, and DOES get referenced in the third game a couple times if you load your save. This is trivial enough that I'm not going to bother spoilertagging it.

I had entirely forgotten that I had named my army the Autobot Army in Suikoden 2 by the time 3 came out and was a bit surprised when people started referring to things "down south in Autobot".

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TA
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby TA » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:42 am

Well, then it HAS to be the Highland Army.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Brentai
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Re: Not if it's bitter. Let's Play Suikoden!

Postby Brentai » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:24 am

Bunghole.

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