Last time, we left our heroes charging to the rescue of Kouji Kabuto's place of employment, Professor Yumi's Photon Power Research Laboratory. Baron Ashura's attack on Kouji's school was a distraction to allow Dr. Hell's other minions to attack when Mazinger Z had no pilot (or even a cockpit, for that matter).
Before we get to that, though, let's have a quick look at the Intermission screen (where you go between levels in this game).
Left to right, top to bottom the choices are:
Unit Status, Unit Upgrades, Weapon Upgrades
Pilot Status, Pilot Reassignment, ...I forget
Optional Parts, Unit Add-ons, System Menu
Save, Load, Pocketstation
The Status screens tell you exactly what the ones during the missions do and most of the rest are irrelevant, not least because no one in America ever owned a Pocketstation. What we're here for is Parts and Upgrades.
Optional Parts is where we equip that sweet loot Ashura dropped. In this case, we're giving the Booster to the Grungust to increase its piddly move speed of 5 by one, putting it on par with the typical ground-based unit.
The unit upgrade and weapon upgrade screens are where we spend that hard-earned cash (well, that and repairing units that were shot down at the end of a mission). You generally want to be conservative with upgrades at the start of the game because your units aren't necessarily going to be useful all the way through, but since the Grungust is our main character mech, its best weapon is an Energy hog, and Energy is the cheapest thing to upgrade, I'm just going to dump 8000 credits into giving it another 50 EN. That's an extra Maxiblaster shot per level, basically.
Anyway, let's save, and...
On with the show!
Prof. Yumi: Why in the hell did I let him take the entire cockpit module home with him?
Shiro Kabuto: Uh, isn't this normally when we use Mazinger Z to wipe out the bad guys?
Sayaka: Yes, well, the good news is Kouji is protecting everyone in the city. The bad news is we're all going to die now if I don't go beat them back with Aphrodite A.
Boss (yes that is the entirety of his name): I'll help in Boss Borot!
Sayaka: You mean that piece of crap robot you made out of scrap metal?
Boss: I think you're missing the point that I, a high school thug with no engineering background or resources, managed to build a functional giant robot out of scrap metal.
Prof. Yumi: Whatever, both of you get out there while I try to remember how this barrier thing we have to protect us works. Let's see...was it a forcefield or the Star Wars "they can just walk through it slowly" type...?
Mission 2: Mazinger Z's Desperate Situation
Sorry, I missed his voiced (annoying) catchphrase
Boss: HAWRIGHT, Boss Borot's here to beat the crap out of Mechabeasts!
Sayaka: Just remember, if you take any damage (and somehow don't fall apart), Aphrodite A can repair Boss Borot.
Boss: And Boss Borot can refill your EN and Ammo!
Boss: Or just, y'know, get real close to Aphrodite A. For moral support.
Count Brocken: I'm the disembodied head of a Nazi or something and even I think that's creepy. Also, Mechabeasts! Destroy the Photon Power Labs!
Prof. Yumi: Right, I, uh, double-checked, and you definitely shouldn't let any enemy units move onto the labs. It could be pretty fatal for me and this helpless little boy who's still here for some reason.
Shiro: I don't have parents, remember?
Okay, mission start.
COOL TIP: If you hit the O button over an enemy unit, you can see how far it can move. This can at times become hilariously important on base defense missions like this one. Hopefully we're never reduced to counting squares this early in the game, but it's good to keep track of.
Speaking of which, as happens from time to time in these games, we have objectives other than "blow up everything on the screen". In this case, our success conditions (top) are:
1. Don't let any enemies onto the Photon Power Labs
2. Destroy all enemy units.
Failure conditions (bottom) are
1. An enemy unit enters the PPL
2. Any player unit destroyed (actually this might be "all player units destroyed", but the early levels of this game are hard to lose even one unit on, so I never found out).
You can pull up your objectives at any time from the fifth (third from bottom, just above System and Save) item in the general menu.
Aphrodite A, being essentially a mook unit, has humble but reliable attacks in addition to the ability to repair other units.
Boss Borot, on the other hand, just has three different variations of punch inna face.
Off we go, charging the enemy!
BGM: Mazinger Z
And the enemy attacks!
In case you forgot, yes, Aphrodite A has boob missiles. It's a Nagai thing.
The enemy units focus on moving toward their objective, with only the ones that end up next to my units by chance attacking and eating a counterattack in return.
Kouji: (singing) Here I come to save the daaay!
Sayaka: Kouji! Wait, that other robot...
Leona: Grungust. I'm piloting it. Details later.
Brocken: Goddamnit, Ashura! You can't even kill one ordinary high school student!
Prof. Yumi: Kouji, get the Pilder over here to the pool and dock with Mazinger Z.
Leona: ...you keep Mazinger Z in the pool?
Kouji: Don't look at me, I just work here.
As you may have noticed, we now have Kouji (in the Pilder) and Leona (in the Grungust Type 2) on the opposite side of the map from the labs. If we take Kouji over to the labs' pool, he'll dock the Pilder and have access to Mazinger Z, doubling our number of useful units.
While we work on that, though, let's look at Boss's spirit commands, because one in particular is going to come up often in this game with a certain selection of pretty boys and quiet girls (Boss is neither of these things).
This is the Self-Destruct spirit, which does the unit's current HP in damage to an adjacent enemy, then destroys the unit. Sadly it gains no experience, but hey, 100% guaranteed damage.
Yeah, okay, I'm never going to actually use this. I just think it's funny. Also Boss Borot's repair cost (the monetary penalty for losing the unit) is 10 (ten) credits, so if you'd GOING to intentionally destroy one of your units...
Boss: Eh?! Destroy my Borot?! I'll show you!
Boss: BOROOOOOOOOOT! PUUUUUUUUUUNCH!
Leona: Let's try something less stupid, like a Boost Knuckle...wait, did that just hit and do damage?
(For the record, the TK Field doesn't kick in until 110 Morale. Forgot to mention that before. Grungust is still a tank without it, but that combined with Moral mulitplying base defense is what makes it such a good tank.)
Kouji helps Leona the only way he knows how. With pink laser beams and yelling.
Sayaka: How about I Mazin slap your shit?
One down, but now the rest get to move...
Brocken: What the heck is that?! says the decapitated but still living German nobleman.
Leona and Brocken: *German swearing contest that is indistinguishable from any other conversation in German*
My only regret is I didn't record EVERY time Boss missed with a Borot Punch
At the end of their turn, the enemy's made significant advancements. Also I "forgot" to actually move Kouji over to the Labs.
After some movement and incidental attacking to wear down the HP-heavy Mechabeasts (and Boss missing yet again)...
I move my people into more blocking positions. This is a bread and butter tactic for base defense levels. Note that opposing units can't move through each others' spaces, and that water slows down land-based units by a ridiculous amount.
Also note you can look at an enemy unit's status by hitting X over them. Also also note that enemies have SP and EXP to next level even though they never level up onscreen and never cast spirits from that SP pool. Why they have these stats? It is
You can even hit O from that screen to get a full status screen for an enemy, as long as you've fought them once this level or cast the "Scan" spirit on them. This is really handy for bosses and checking the ranges on powerful enemy weapons, especially later in the game.
Is it just me, or does Toros just look sad?
Maybe it's because its friend Doublas just exploded and leveled Fraulein Protag to 4
Or maybe it just feels sorry for Boss. Personally, I'm laughing my ass off.
Leona: I have no idea how this even woooooorks!
(That's the basic melee attack on the Grungust.)
Boss: It's easy. You just--
In case anyone was in suspense, Leona finally killed that one with a counterattack.
With two enemies left, Kouji's finally in position to dock with Mazinger Z and finish off this level with a decisive strike!
Everyone: WHAT?! After all that buildup?
Kouji: Hey, we got this. This is exactly like last level by now, except we outnumber them!
Leona: He's right, let's just swat this scheisskopf and call it a day.
**NOT docking Kouji with Mazinger Z for the whole level gives us a Skill Point.**
Boss whiffs, and Sayaka finishes the last mook.
Before Leona charges Brocken, here's her Spirits. That's Strike on the left (not needed against clumsy bastards like mechabeasts and Ghoul flying wings) and Guard on the right (halves final damage until the start of her next turn, the very basic tanking spirit). Let's throw that on just to make sure Brocken never does damage.
Well that was pretty pointless. Brocken does use a lot more of his Ghoul's attacks than Ashura did. This time he tried to drop bombs on me.
As mentioned at the start of the mission, Aphrodite A can repair other units. This is a special command that can be used on an adjacent ally, with or without moving first. It heals an amount based on the repairer's level and gives XP to the healer based on the target's pilot's level and the amount healed. It's pretty much how Sayaka levels up, so if she has no attacks to make, be sure to go heal someone.
Incidentally, if you turn animations off, you just get animated damage counters on the map.
Final turn! I think.
Kouji: I have two words for you, headless freak. Soccer. Ball.
And finally, Brocken gets one last shot in. Leona's fired two Maxiblasters already, but since I added the extra EN...
BGM: Steel Cockpit
Managed to actually cap the over the top "battleship explosion" animation this time.
I told you it was over the top.
That's 8000 credits (hey, as much as I spent last intermission), a bunch of XP, and a repair kit - a one-use full-heal item.
Shiro: Welcome home, Big Bro!
Kouji: Stop playing girly dating sims.
Kouji: And sorry I didn't get here sooner.
Kouji: But speaking of girly dating sims, good job Sayaka and Leona.
Leona: De nada.
Kouji: Yeah...hey, wait a minute...
Prof. Yumi: Yes, yes. Good job, all of you. Except Boss.
Prof. Yumi: (Damn. Dr. Shirakawa and Robert will need to know about this...)
NEXT TIME: More classic family giant robot anime of the 70's! Starring a bunch of homicidal maniacs barely wallpapered over with kid-friendly personas!
Leona: Let's be honest, giant robots vs. giant monsters stories are always pretty messed up.
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