Thursday, November 14, 2013

Game 21: Little Ninja Brothers (NES) - Speckled Fronds Upon The Floor

I've seen this screen more than I'd like to
This world is a dangerous place. I should have taken the boss difficulty as a warning rather than an anomaly. Instead I blundered my way into battle after unbeatable battle, and found myself revived at my last check point at the convenience store. When I reached the next boss I got my first taste for the turn-based combat (see above).
Yet another easy way to die
To keep Jack alive I have a healthy supply of Sweet Buns (heals 40 HP), but I'm only able to carry 8 of any one item. This limitation impairs my ability to just tank damage from the boss. Although, I'm not necessarily stuck since I was able to explore beyond my current location, Cilly City.
CelCelCel Cel?
Cilly City is under a strange curse. The evil queen across the lake cast a spell that turned the humans into morons. As luck would have it, I met a divine being called Savior Moonlit Tiger who was unaffected by the curse. He explained that I needed to retrieve the antidote from the queen and deposit it into the spring water. Even in all this craziness I found a human with the clarity of mind to tell me of a hidden sword to the south.
Ha! It's a talking snake... how Cilly
Swords are capable of defeating some otherwise indestructible enemies. It also has great power; the drawback is Jack gets no experience when defeating enemies with it. I haven't bothered with using it against the boss, which I suppose is an option... I'd rather get experience.
Extended reach from the sword is another plus
After banging my head against the evil queen a few times I decided to venture into the surrounding area. My previous assumption about running was quickly shattered during my exploration, and I wonder why I thought running was guaranteed when I had an item that allowed immediate escape from battle.
Where'd Ryu come from?
Nearby was a cave where the Water Lily Queen was in exile. She gave me a mirror shield which is supposed to reduce the effectiveness of the evil queen's magic. All I've noticed is a small chance to deflect some of the damaging spells. In fact, right after I received the shield, the very next fight, I got stun locked.
Can't attack in this form, and Jack says different stupid phrases
Determined to make some progress during that session, I expanded my exploration of the surrounding area. To the far northwest, through many tough battles, I discovered another town. I would assume it's the next town, but I actually haven't explored to the eastern shore.
There's no mention of the problems in Cilly, but rumors of the Yoma gang suggested they'd taken over the town of Yokan. An NPC noted I needed the Talisman Gamma to improve my resistance to their magic if I were to stand a chance. Random townsfolk are always the most knowledgeable.
He says this for anything I buy
Well, the merchant selling the talisman decided he wanted some pop instead of money. The only place to get some was a Yoma Chateau to the east. This place is basically a series of fights similar to the boss battles, but lacking a final boss. Once I got the pop, the trip back was really easy (compared to the boss I was still losing to), and I received the talisman for my trouble.
This was the last battle, and it was a cake walk
Near Okay I pooled up enough funds to afford the Fire Punch, and finally felt prepared for the boss. Of course, I wasn't, but I'll get to the reasons shortly. Battles are sparse on money rewards, and leveling up is slow. I'm really unsure if I'm under-leveled, but I definitely feel like it. The levels displayed on the battles ranged from 12 - 23, and I've just barely reached 14.
A Whirly Bird allows quick travel between towns
I believe the main reason the boss is so hard is levels don't seem to increase my chance of survival. The only stat displayed is attack power, which increases 1 per level. Even after gaining five levels from my first attempts, and increasing my armor, she continues to do 9 HP of damage with her attack.
Guard appears to have no effect
In addition to straight damage output, the evil queen has two spells that basically do the same thing. Fool makes Jack act stupidly instead of taking action, it takes at least one turn to recover. Stone turns Jack into a rock where he sits and takes hits, it takes at least one turn to recover. I have yet to dodge either attack, so she uses these abilities to no lose of turn on her part.
I'll just attack now and... what the?
And in case all of the above was not enough to cause great pain, her evasive ability is greater than any other RPG boss I've faced. Seriously, it must be 70%+. In all fights, I've landed no more than five hits. I have seen my damage potential increase with levels, and my new weapons also kick it up a notch. Still, it's not enough, and I continue to fail.
The dragon is one of the invincible enemies, but beating this fight without the sword is over double most fights
With a limited supply of healing items, and many action sequences between the town and queen, it's no surprise I lose because I always run out of healing. I'm going to move on further than Okay, and come back when I've gained a few more levels. My only concern is the boss that follows.
Maybe Hard wasn't the best idea
It's possible to choose difficulty each time the game is loaded, so maybe I'll try normal if I have as much trouble next session. Wish me luck, but I think my hopes for a short game are already dashed.

Elapsed Time: 2h35m (Total Time: 3h40m)


  1. I always thought harder difficulties were intended for second, third, etc. playthroughs of the game anyway. I play every action-RPG on Easy if I can, and most turn-based ones on Easy (unless the reviews warn that Easy is *too* easy).

    If you're ever playing any RPGs by Atlus on this blog... I cannot stress enough the value of picking Easy for those games (which is typically analogous to "Normal" or "Hard" in other games).

    1. I may still switch back to normal; however, I chose hard because I knew I wasn't going to play through it again, and the manual made normal sound too easy. The game is setup in such a way that the path forward isn't blocked by unbeatable bosses. I've been able to skip over them and continue on to the next town. After collecting some better equipment and a few more levels I managed to easily beat the queen. I'm now not sure though if it was the levels or equipment that helped me the most.

      I'll keep that in mind for Atlus games, and I think I'll play on normal for games in the future (or another difficulty if readers suggest differently). Unless I become completely stuck I'm going to stick with hard for this one. My current plan is to make my way to the end of the game area to get the best equipment before trying to deal with the remainder of the bosses.

      I feel like the game could wrap up pretty quickly. I now have 3/7 bells, and know where 2 or 3 others are (behind very difficult battles). If it's just a matter of getting those last few and one more area, then I may be about halfway through.

      I'm glad the majority of games don't have a difficulty option.