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Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shantae playthrough log

Shantae box cover art

Reading the manual for the first game now... it seems kind of interesting. A looping overworld section leading to 5 separate town areas, a day/night system, and labyrinths (the game's dungeons) which are locked until you do some specific story tasks. The pause screen is very Zelda-like, showing a bunch of optional hidden collectibles as well as required story items.

One of the optional collectibles, warp squids, give you different warp dance powers that warp you to a certain place depending which warp room you returned those warp squids to.

Shantae has dance powers. Magical dances that give her different abilities. The dancing mechanic works kind of like playing the ocarina or conducting the wind. There's also a secret dance you can only learn if playing the game on a GBA.

Wow, this game is tough... not only is it tough to just survive (enemies ambush you constantly), it's also tough to find your way around... In particular I got kind of lost at this huge waterfall area on the way to the 2nd town, and the respawning enemies and pitfalls make it very inconvenient to explore... At least I could find maps of the overworld areas, so now I can proceed through the game confident that I'm not missing any collectibles. No maps of the labyrinths are available but I think I prefer figuring those out myself, and just clear out the collectibles in there with a guide later.

I started getting the hang of this game during the first labyrinth/dungeon, Dribble Fountain. It's difficult to navigate but not impossible. After 1 game over, I thought it'd be really tedious to restart the dungeon again but actually it's arranged so that you don't have to redo a bunch of areas again after you unlock certain doors. Got the monkey transformation and beat the first boss... yeah this is not really that hard once you get the hang of it.

11/06/2015

The desert area is SO annoying, especially those serpent girl enemies that jump up in the air and shoot homing beams. Oasis Town and the Golem Mine (dungeon 2) are on 2 separate forking paths within the desert, instead of the dungeon just being on the way between towns.

This dungeon was actually very fun. It has some weird puzzles involving making yourself magnetic with either the red or blue fields, and taking out the enemies of the opposite color to get their key (enemies of the same color will run away from you, and if you try to pass under them while the same color, they'll zap you)... I found the genie guardian pretty quickly and got the Elephant transformation... The rest was straightforward. I hated the boss only because it's not at all obvious what you gotta do to beat it. Got all but 1 of the warp squids here...

Pretty much the pattern now is I read the walkthrough between dungeons to find out what stuff to collect, then use the maps to get everything I can and find my way to the next dungeon... Then I do the dungeon blind and go back in for warp squids with a guide if necessary.

Also looks like I'll be able to open a shortcut on the path between Scuttle Town and Water Town now. Finally won't have to go through that awful waterfall section again until I'm going for collection cleanup. Although I still gotta go through that scarecrow field with those really annoying enemies that insta-spawn on top of you...

The region after water town is fairly easy, you can just run past most enemies... The Snail Wasteland is tedious if you don't want to get hit though... then past some easy Zombie Swamp section where you can just run past everything, and then a Ghost Forest where you can mostly run past everything... The Zombie Caravan town is only accessible at night, if it's day you'll just end up heading towards the 4th region...

The 3rd level, Cackle Mound, mostly just involves navigating spikey corridors with SMB3-like eye platforms... You get the spider ability, which can climb up certain background walls.

11/07/2015

Spent like 3+ hours playing this today, following a guide to find my way to the 4th level, Twinkle Palace... This whole region is really confusing to navigate when you don't have the Harpy transformation yet... Mounty Point is full of slippery slopes and spikes making it so you can't easily explore with the monkey.. and it seems like you can't even get through to Twinkle Palace from the Archer Forest entrance...

It seemed like I would've had to go through the desert/Oasis Town again to get there through Mud Bog and Eagle Wasteland... but instead I warped to Zombie Caravan, which just happened to be next to Mud Bog at that time. So I could skip the desert.

This level was really annoying... it has these spinny launcher things that you use to navigate through large rooms with spikes all around it, but sometimes you can't tell which way to go and you accidently launch into spikes and die. After I got the Harpy transformation, the rest of the level and boss was super easy. Still eeded the guide for most of the warp squids though.

Then I went around everywhere using the guide to gather the remaining fireflies, heart holders, and last 2 warp squids from levels 2 and 3... Oh and the transformation talismans which let me attack in the animal forms. Up until now I only had the monkey's attack (useful for small enemies that I'd normally have to duck and attack), and the elephant attack (useless except for certain breakable walls and a few specific enemies)... The Harpy attack isn't very useful since I find it easier to just avoid airborne enemies than attack them in midair. Haven't even tried the spider venom yet...

Also I bought the secret "Advance Genie" dance power, [Down, Down, Up], which transforms you into a bandit with a sword attack that I guess has better vertical range.

The 12 fireflies light up the shrine in Water Town, which allows Shantae to read the scroll to learn the health recover dance power, which costs just 10 gems to use... Also I went around to every town and got the warp song and talked to that town's named character one last time...

Now all that's left is to enter Risky's hideout, which is hidden in the sky in Ladies' Desert... The only in-game hint you get for this is Mimic telling you to search the skies... I guess I'll want to save up 900 gems and buy that last special move from Water Town... and also buy/try all the other different items I haven't tried yet... Then just beat the game.

11/09/2015

So I just found out the Harpy's attack is completely broken, it kills enemies in one hit... Also the spider venom is a projectile, making most enemies that are dangerous to attack close-range into a joke... The last level of the game was a cakewalk because of this.

Also I did get stuck for a bit on the part where you have to destroy the steam engine... I couldn't figure out where the things you had to destroy were, until I checked a walkthrough and found out you had to use the monkey to get into some very easy to miss corridors.

I liked how the first game was ridiculously hard to the point that even just navigating the world and backtracking to collect stuff during the day/night cycles was an endurance run... But then near the end of the game you gain the Harpy transformation which makes navigating the world 1000x easier and it's like an amazing feeling suddenly being able to steamroll over everything casually and go anywhere in a fraction of the time it used to take.

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