The Return of Talking Time

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Old 04-19-2012, 10:04 PM
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Default You promised me a pony... with missiles... Let's Play Iji



Hey kids!



Let's play Iji!

Iji is a sidescrolling shootytype game developed by Swedish indie games man Daniel Remar. Those of you who know me are aware that I'm something of a fan of his. You can obtain Iji yourself here. Go do that if you haven't.

As for this LP... there's a few different ways to run through Iji, so I'll be doing multiple runthroughs. Sadly, I can't record the game without the video coming out at like half speed, if that, and even with nothing major onscreen. I sincerely apologize for this, because my original plan was to do two simultaneous playthroughs, one in video, one screenshot. However, it can still be adequately screenshotted on both playthroughs, probably. I'll explain what I will and won't be doing for the first runthrough as it comes up.



The story starts off at this research facility. They research stuff.



Inside, a number of people who aren't spectacularly drawn are walking through the halls. A few of them even have faces and pigmentation!



I guess this one is supposed to be Iji.



There's a flickering in the clouds that catches her attention...



And for good reason.



The game cuts to another scene entirely. The first chunk of the game is pretty exposition-heavy.



I'll do my best to transcribe cutscenes without them getting too long, but the game likes to be pretty wordy sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desperate Scientists
<Becker> What good will it do if we can't perfect her? They have an army, and we have a potential soldier at best. Even with that gun we found -
<Doc> Look. As long as we can do something, that's better than nothing at all. I'd rather see her alive again at least once before we die.
<Becker> Hm. Like she'd make that much of a difference.
<Plait> Stop bickering already. Should we wake her up or not?
<Doc> Yes. Yes, of course... there. Now, first we should check mental stability, sensory response and... wait, what's that sound?
<Becker> What's wrong?
<Doc> Oh no... everyone to the safe room!
<Plait> TOO LATE! THE TAS- AAAAAH!


Well that's one way to wake up from a sky laser induced knockout. Screaming scientists.



Looks like Iji's the only one around.



Hey, a door. Maybe they went in.



Oh. Yes. Yes they did.



Thankfully, a familiar voice on the speaker gets Iji's attention before she can get the attention of the murderers.



Welcome to Dan! He will be our guiding voice from on high (or a different sector) for pretty much the whole game. Let's listen to him exposition for a while!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstory
<Iji> Bro!? Can you hear me?
<Dan> Keep your voice down! Yes, there are microphones in these speakers, but you shouldn't talk or the Tasen could hear you. I can talk as much as I want - I use all the speakers at once, and I don't think they understand any human languages. As far as I know, we were all visiting this place with dad, as he works here. All of a sudden, an alien spaceship bombarded the area around this place with a space-to-ground weapon called an Alpha Strike... then they came down and killed nearly everyone inside. That's why I'm stuck in this control room. They're called the Tasen, and I don't know why they invaded this complex or if it's possible to make them leave, but I'm trying to find out - and I need your help to do it.
<Iji> Y, you're lying! That's -
<Dan> Calm down, and listen. It's been six months since the Tasen invaded this place. Since then, a team of researchers trapped in here tried to study their Nanotechnology, to find a way to stop them. They managed to make a cyborg soldier out of the only suitable survivor they could find, using the Tasens' technology. You are that cyborg.
<Iji> N, no! Y-you're just making this up! It's just a dream, isn't it!?
<Dan> Iji, calm down!
<Iji> NO! I...
<Dan> IJI!

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:09 PM
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Well that's grim. Everyone Iji knows except for Dan is dead, and also she's been turned into a cyborg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accepting
<Iji> I know.
<Dan> Your goal is to talk to one of the Tasen leaders, and convince them to take their spaceship and leave.
<Iji> But, why hasn't anyone done something about them? Hasn't the rest of the world noticed what's going on here?
<Dan> I think we'll have to take this one step at a time. You really have to get going soon, or the Tasen will find you.
<Iji> Okay.


Right, negotiate with invading aliens. Because that's worked so well in every example that's ever done it, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission
<Iji> Hhhh. Alright, I guess I'll try.
<Dan> I'll direct you to a Tasen Elite called Krotera, so we can have a talk with him. Remember his name. You have the ability to understand their language, and your personal Nanofield alters what you say, so they can understand you too. Stay on your guard; everyone in this complex is under orders to kill on sight. Don't bothet trying to communicate with anyone but Krotera. I'm sorry we have to do this, but... good luck.


Okay, now we get to play! Shut up Dan, I can tutorial us just fine.

Anyway, controlling Iji is easy enough. You move left and right, you can crouch, and you can jump.



She has a few other moves, such as a chest-height kick. However, we need to upgrade our stats to be able to do much of anything with it. We can also interact with logbooks and machinery, and we have a perfectly viable Nanogun that the researchers stole from the Tasen.



As we move through the areas of the game, the title of an area will be displayed above us. I won't go out of my way to capture these later on, but they're useful for knowing where you are, and they have a good bit of flavor to them.



Crates like these can be destroyed by just about anything. Iji can even stomp through them from above.



Despite that Nanogun, Iji's got some respectable upper body strength, and can hoist herself partway up a ledge if need be.



The Nanogun we've got is outfitted with a Shotgun, which isn't a terribly great weapon, but it's not bad, and it's got infinite ammo. Since a lot of the fun in Iji comes from the weapon selection, I'll try to show off every weapon in the game. The Shotgun behaves about as you'd expect, having decent damage output, but limited range and a significant reload time.



Here's the first guy we can test it on, a Tasen Scout. Scouts are the weakest of the Tasen forces, only carrying a machinegun, having only one health, and being slow to react due to the combat drugs they're on not meshing well with their systems.



"I'm sorry..."

Even as untrained as she is, Iji can take this guy down easily. Doesn't make her any less shaken by the fact that she's just killed someone. She becomes used to it the more she fights, but if you want, you can avoid killing enemies outright. This changes a lot of the story, and I'll show it off next playthrough. This playthrough, I want to show off cool weapons.



And that all starts with this little guy here. By collecting Nano, either free-floating, or by killing enemies, Iji can improve her stats. Higher stats expand various parameters of your abilities, including health, what things/enemies you can kick, attack power, and weapon availability.



There's also Red Nano, which recovers two points of health and some armor, and Green Nano, which just recovers armor. Blue Nano (the stat-boosting stuff) also recovers armor. All of these are modified somewhat by the difficulty setting.



There's three difficulty settings you start having unlocked: Normal, Hard, and Extreme. In addition to making enemies tougher and faster, these difficulties also lower the cap on how much Nano you can process, limiting healing and upgrade strength. Pic unrelated, in which Iji misjudges her jump height.



Not much farther in, a few more bits of Nano give Iji her first level. However, we can't cash in the point this level awards immediately. We have to use Cyborg Stations to spend stats. There's a Cyborg Station for Health off to the side, which, as the name indicates, improves Iji's health by 2 points per Nano point spent.



We've got six other stats available to us. In order:
  • Attack improves the damage our Nanoweaponry deals by about 10% each level.
  • Assimilate improves ammo capacity and armor recovery from Nano by 10 points apiece.
  • Strength lets us kick open stronger shield doors and kick heavier enemies.
  • Tasen and Komato allow us to use different kinds of weapons. You only get the benefit of the stat at levels 3, 6, and 10, however.

There's also the Crack stat, but that doesn't come into play for the first sector. Generally, my playstyle goes by getting the strongest weapons as fast as possible, even if that means paper-thin defenses. After all, we can headbutt ceiling lights with what we've got.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:10 PM
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However, I start with a point in Strength.



Not to take out this shield door, mind you. We can bust through it without upgrading Strength.



Nope, I want to get into this room.



I can read any and all of the logbooks here, but there are a lot of logbooks in Iji, and I'd rather save them for the second playthrough so you're not bogged down in text all the time. However, that doesn't mean I won't show off any secrets I can get my grubby mitts on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Family
<Iji> This picture was taken when we visited dad and Dan. Must've been the same day the Tasen struck this place... I remember Mia wearing this ribbon. Dad... Mia...
<Dan> Iji, what are you doing staring at that picture? Get a move on.
<Iji> But, it's -
<Dan> What's done is done. Who's dead is dead. Get over it and move.
<Iji> ...


Each Sector has a poster hidden in it. This is by far the easiest to get, since you only need a single point of Strength, and backtracking to here isn't hard at all. The posters do something.



Back at the other end of the tunnel, we collect a bunch of weird ammo. You don't know how much of unknown ammo types you have, but they'll remain available once you actually get the weapon that uses it unlocked.



Oh hey Dan. I'm done tutorialing for now, so go ahead and exposit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apprehension
<Iji> Um. Dan?
<Dan> What is it?
<Iji> This gun's so heavy, I can barely even carry it without standing straight... and, also, how many Tasen do you think I'll have to face on my way to Krotera? I really don't want to fight them.
<Dan> You'll get used to it. Unless you learn to fight, you won't be getting anywhere. Okay?
<Iji> Okay.
<Dan> However, and I'll only say this once... what you do or who you kill, nothing will get past the Tasen. Survival comes first, so shooting them doesn't make you evil, just better prepared for what's ahead. Enough about that, use the teleporter to the right and get going.


And warp! Left or right, which path to take...



Let's go left first.



As you can see, the Machinegun the Scouts use can beat the range of the Shotgun easily. Thankfully, both weapons only do armor damage, which is much easier to heal. There are a bunch of weapons that do straight up Health damage, but these are easier to dodge if you see them coming.



Note that blue spark on the Scout here isn't from my gun, but rather from him picking up the powerups here. Enemies can and will use Nano to protect themselves. However, we've got enough Nano ourselves to buff up our Strength, giving us enough oomph to kick over a Scout, as compared to the two shots our Shotgun would have to do to pull off the same.



To the right, there's a new kind of enemy, the Tasen Soldier. They've got two points of health, and better reflexes, letting them dodge certain attacks (say, kicks). They also have a second weapon, which I'll show off soon.



To the lift! That little chamber down there can be accessed if you take the lift up high enough and go under, but usually they just put a teleporter down there to let you leave afterwards.



There are two floors to stop at here, but the top one has an interesting bit of wall. We can't do anything to break it on our own. Maybe if we had some kind of explosive.



I've got a plan, though. The lower floor has a few Scouts, which we can now drop with a kick. It also has a Strength Cyborg Station, letting us kick Strength up to 4.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:44 AM. Reason: this is your left, that's your left, this is your right, and you're gonna die
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:12 PM
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Just enough, as it were, to kick a Soldier.



Soldiers can't jump like Iji can. So we're safe down here, for the most part.



Safe is boring. We kick the Soldier down to the next area, and they do a backflip handspring sort of thing to get back on their feet.



We then lead them over to the side, where I demonstrate the Soldier's second and more dangerous weapon:



The Rocket Launcher! These things do two points of Health damage on a hit, and cover a wide radius when they connect. At our current stats, that would mean instant death. However, the Soldier's gun has to charge up a bit before firing a rocket, and rockets can be ducked easily enough. The same holds true for Soldiers: if you fire rockets at them, they'll duck if they see it coming.



But enough about that. It's SECRETS time!



The Supercharge we just picked up is a free point, not held to the level cap like conventional Nano. Each Sector has one, meaning on Normal difficulty, which has a level cap of 5 per sector, you can get a total of 6 points if you find the Supercharge. I'll do my best to show off all the Supercharges, though a few of them may prove elusive.



As for this teleporter: Sector Z, detailed in that logbook through a bunch of nonsensical mumbo-jumbo, is only accessible to players who find all the posters in the game. I will be showing this off, but not right now because we don't have all the posters yet. Don't be silly.



Moving right along! Here's a storeroom with more unknown ammo, and what looks like a ribbon.



I dunno. Maybe she wanted to get to the Nano too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mia's Ribbon
<Dan> Iji, what's wrong?
<Iji> Uh, nothing. She can't be alive anyway. Never mind.


That's all for the area up top. Taking the elevator you didn't see in the prior screenshot (we fell onto it!), we reach this area down here.



Not much to the left except for more ammo, a Scout, and some Nano. Oh, and more light fixtures for Iji to headbutt. What can I say, it's amusing.



I actually do want it now, if only so I can show it off once and never touch it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Similarity
<Iji> Dan?
<Dan> What's wrong?
<Iji> Uh, the Tasen, they kinda look like -
<Dan> I can assure you, they're not people. They're not from this world. I know it may be difficult fighting them now, but you need to get over that as soon as possible. We can't stop and weep for everyone you shoot.
<Iji> ...


Thankfully, we not only have the points to get this weapon, but a conveniently placed Cyborg Station suited to using it!



This gives us our first new weapon, the Tasen Machinegun. Due to Iji being a unique snowflake, her variant of the Machinegun has a tighter firing cone and more damage output than either the Scout or Soldier variants. However, she requires ammo (seen next to the Tasen logbook) to fire it. It doesn't do much more damage than the Shotgun, though, so I usually don't bother with it.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:14 PM
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It does have very respectable range, though! If we wanted, we could probably even fire from back where the boxes are to hit the Scout.



We're nearly done here. All that remains is to headbutt more light fixtures and... hey, what are those squeaky things down there? They're too purple and leaping to be mice.



Those are Blits, and they don't like Tasen. Or us, for that matter. They're a kind of Nano-based creature that is invincible to any kind of weapon we have and drains armor when in contact with Nanofields, like what Iji now has and what all the Tasen already have. Once your Nanofield is gone, you tend to suffer a case of existential annihilation. So, uh, don't play with Blits.



Anyway, just about done with the sector here. Normally, once you get to a sector's exit, you either encounter a cutscene or a boss after a cutscene. Here, though, you're home free.



Well, unless you did this.



What ceiling lamps?



Yeah, uh, despite the generally pretty heavy story, this game loves to put silly garbage in as secrets. Which suits me just fine, actually.



Anyway, that's Sector 1 done. I won't be trying to kill EVERYTHING I see, but I will be killing stuff. Iji's more than agile enough to evade things that she can't kill, what with the ability to jump, and some enemies, particularly later, require some pretty heavy-duty weaponry to take down. But for now, this should do just fine.

Next Time: The Other Side of the Coin

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:43 PM
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Fantastic~!

I think the art in this game is a bit of an eyesore, but it sounds interesting, and I've heard good things, so poo poo I suppose. Also, did Dan tell Iji about the Blitz, or is that knowledge you pick up along the way? An interesting introduction to them, either way.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:01 PM
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I remember this game making waves in the indie game scene a year or two back. Should be interesting to see it LPed.
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:29 AM
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Well, you've already convinced me to download this. I like the art; it reminds me a little of Another World.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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I've never really heard anything about this game prior to this thread. This LP should be interesting.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:15 AM
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There's two ways to discover about things: reading their data in the help menu (every enemy you encounter is added to the menu at the start of the next sector) and logbooks. Speaking of the latter, you can expect to see those in the next update. I think Sector 3 has a logbook about Blits in more detail.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:29 AM
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Interesting game, and I love when they throw in little humorous secrets. I haven't played this before, but I'm calling it right now: Dan is evil, no aliens, no cyborb technology.

A minor complaint: the images are larger than my screen. Would it be possible to shrink them a little for the next update?
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:39 AM
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Possible, but not really doable unless I want to go through editing each screenshot. Iji runs at a fixed resolution, and that's a new development, considering it used to be fullscreen only. Sorry, amigo!



So, what's one way to make the gameplay and story of Iji different?



Pacifist run!

Even without reading stuff about pacifist runs, Iji's attitude towards killing the first few Tasen she meets might lead people to try going through without killing any. You still count as pacifist if you keep your kills per sector to 5 or under, and there's ways to dispatch enemies that don't break that, but early on it's mostly just jumping over and running past enemies. Gameplay-wise, it's not nearly as fun, if only because GUYS THE WEAPONS ARE SO COOL.



Fortunately, you can evade Scouts and Soldiers easily by just jumping over them. Even on higher difficulties they can't keep the pace with Iji. Since pacifist playthroughs really only differ in story and gameplay, there's no sense in showing off the same sector twice except for what actually does change. So I'll use the pacifist playthrough for another purpose:



"...font, I suppose that's when the change happened. The change in me, Doc and Becker to push on and finish turning this girl into the first Nanofield-driven human being. The Tasens' technology is unlike anything we've seen, but there's a clear, if non-human cognitive process behind it. The subject is unfortunately Dan's sister, the older daughter of Ron over in Sector 6. He's dead of course. I advised Dan to throw away his emotions early on, or we may run into trouble, and he did. We can only hope Iji will do the same. We don't have the time nor the resources to get her a decent suit of armor underneath the Personal Nanofield, like the Tasen use for enhanced shock protection. Instead we'll focus on mobility - less restraining clothes, more motion amplifiers. She's been decked for five months though, the risk of illness will keep increasing if we can't finish her soon. I've gotten rid of my emotions and expectations too, so I'm prepared for the possibility that she won't wake up when we finally boot the Nanofield, but one thing I've never given up... hope. Silly, but it's true. Looks like the control unit's in place, time to stitch it up. Glad we worked in Medical."

Logbooks! There are a ton of logbooks, though most of their authors are (A) not human, and (B) not as rambling and wordy as Plait. They go a long way towards explaining the setting of Iji, both in terms of tying gameplay and story together, and in setting up personalities for the plot.



"...troops, Dan is stuck in that control room so we can't share rations anymore. Whatever Doc and Plait say about the Tasen, what I find the most fascinating is how quickly people can adapt to dramatic changes. I mean just look at us! Look here Tasen, what's your weapons to our will to live? You'll see once Iji wakes up. Oh yeah, you will!"

A few logbooks, as well as a few other things, were added to address issues fans had with earlier versions of the game. Some of them are pretty nice, but some just strike me as superfluous, but on the whole the game is still as good as it ever was.



"...'Machinegun'. Others are so out there we simply did our best with the translation. We also found plans for combining Nanoweapons and interfacing with doors, which is why we spent three weeks fitting Iji with the ability to crack Nanotechnology. Let's hope she understands it, I didn't sleep for days when implementing this. Disassembling a ternary programming language with our lab computers is like cutting cheese with a toothbrush. It appears the same goes for the Tasen - Doc believes they don't even understand their own technology. Their weapons and nanofields hold potentials they simply can't grasp, and judging by their logs, neither can the majority of that other species they keep referring to. I shudder at the thought of where these human-looking Tasen came from, and how they turned such a technology mainstream for military purposes. Becker says ration time. Sick of vending machine leftovers. Note to self: leave the deep thoughts for when they'll actually matter."

Yeah, that's what our currently unused Crack stat does. We'll get plenty of opportunity to show it off, believe you me.



"...and listen to the whole complex, talk to Doc and the others through the speakers, but outside I'm just a human among the Tasen. I've no idea how long my supplies will last either, they've got the storerooms guarded. Whatever, as long as sis is still alive. Doc and the team said they'd only augment her arms and legs, but that Nanofield they're going to project around her... I know it's the only thing that can withstand their weapons, but I don't know if it makes me feel better to see her lying there. She's breathing, maybe even dreaming, unaware of what's to come."

Yeah. Don't worry, the wordiest logbooks are in secret areas, usually. Logbooks just in the path tend to be brief. In fact, Sector 1 has some of the briefest in the game.



Also, Posters remain unlocked permanently once discovered in any playthrough. Makes it easier to collect the lot if you don't have to worry about keeping five different save files.



As for actual pacifist gameplay: this is what it looks like 70% of the time. 10% of it is jumping over dudes, and 20% is hiding behind boxes.



But enough about that. Now let's read some Tasen logbooks!

"According to officials, the sentient race we found on this planet is called the 'humans'. I don't know how they found that out, and I don't wanna know... stick me with the people who take orders first and ask questions later."



Due to the limitations of pacifist mode, a few of the Supercharges aren't entirely viable to get. Thankfully, you don't really need any of them, since you only worry about four stats: Health, Assimilate, and Strength/Crack for doors.



Not to say you can't try for them! You can damage enemies without killing them and still remain pacifist! It's just not recommended is all.



Ma'am? That's not how aiming works. Like, at all.

Yeah, engine quirk: you can only aim directly to the left or to the right, and the same goes for pretty much all enemies. Additionally, Iji can't fire while jumping or ducking. This doesn't become a big problem until you encounter a few enemy types very late in the game, thankfully.



"Hmm, did I lock the door to the storage area? I keep forgetting that. In fact, did I even open the door in the first place? Now that I mention it, I don't think I've ever been to the storage area before. Man, I'm so envious of the Soldiers... at least their brains reacted well to the combat drugs! Stupid army's just using us Scouts, you know. They're pushing us around."

The ribbon dialogue also changes in pacifist runs, if memory serves. There's a few other variables that alter it too, but we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.



I looted the whole Guard Room while that Scout was fascinated by that filing cabinet. Even broke a ceiling lamp and he never noticed me.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:40 AM
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Oh hey, our first honest change due to playing pacifist. Nuts to you, Dan, we're so fast they can't even touch us.



"Nothing to report as usual. There's no real danger left here. Most troops agree with Elite Krotera though, so no alien is to escape alive."

Well this speaks well of our odds.



We kick our Health up to level 3, thus ensuring that we won't die for a long time.

Seriously, if you have even a smattering of health, you become almost impossible to kill, so don't be afraid to frontload it with your points if pacifist runs give you trouble.



"Seriously. Commander keeps telling us, "if you ever forget about your weapons, enemies or abilities, check the Pause menu by pressing Escape". If this is some new helmet interface upgrade, I bet the Soldiers are keeping it from the Scouts. Jerks."

Sadly, a lot of really funny logbooks are hidden in very tough places to reach, so I may not be able to get to them in conventional playthroughs. However, I will show off as many as I can get my hands on.



But yeah! Zero kills on Sector 1! Can I keep this up?

Of course I can. Don't be silly.

Next Time: A Breath of Fresh Air

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:58 AM
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Iji is pretty boring when you play it as a pacifist, but it is kind of funny when you finally bump into a Tasen when they finally stop trying to kill you.

"You violated my personal bubble. PREPARE TO DIE!"
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:43 AM
Kejardon Kejardon is offline
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ooh, Iji's a game I enjoyed a lot. I probably won't have much to add to this LP though, you're doing a great job covering everything so far and I should refrain from spoiling things.
I'll second that pacifist runs are more boring to watch, I was disappointed when SDA went pacifist for AGDQ, but I think a pacifist run is more fun to play.
The fact that reflected shots don't count as kills anymore feels like cheating though - my first 0-kill run was before that change
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:04 PM
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Man, I shouldn't have spoiled myself with Smiler's spoiler. Damn it gahitsu~

Also, I love that you're showing the two play-through concurrently.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:15 PM
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Iji is almost as awesome as Kalir. Looking forward to this LP!
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  #18  
Old 04-21-2012, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suspicious Inquiries
<Dan> ...get any farther without it. Remember that you're heading for a Tasen called Krotera, as you may be able to convince him to make the Tasen and their spaceship leave the planet.
<Iji> I MAY be able to convince him? You don't even know if this is possible?
<Dan> Well, no, considering his reputation - but it's all we can do at this time. I need more information on a certain subject first.
<Iji> What subject?
<Dan> I can't tell you yet. I said earlier that we have to take this one step at a time; I don't think you can handle it all at once.
<Iji> Humph! I'm not a child. And besides, you still haven't told me why this whole alien invasion thing has gone unnoticed by the rest of the world.
<Dan> Well, that's because their spaceship was really well stealthed, and, well... stop asking questions and head for Krotera already.
<Iji> Alright, got it. Doesn't look like you're telling me anything anyway.
And despite us being in a second, briefer tutorial zone to start sector 2, he still won't tell us anything! I will!



For this is the sector where Iji first gets the ability to crack things!



To crack something, simply interact with the thing the same way you would a logbook, and it'll report how tough the security is. If you confirm, you'll go to a short minigame where you have to navigate a small maze like seen here, from the upper left to lower right. It's really not hard at all, since the only obstacles are the "ice nodes", or black dots, which your cursor leaves and which are scattered about the system. Higher Security systems require a higher Crack stat to manage, and have larger systems with more ice nodes.



Also, time flows normally while doing this, so don't go trying to break into bank records while a rocket's flying towards you. If you succeed, the thing opens!



The thing in question can be a security door, a security box, or... well, a few other things I'll show off.



As a reward for figuring out how to crack stuff, we get a new weapon!



The Resonance Detonator! It's a Komato weapon, different from Tasen weapons in some fashion somehow I dunno. Anyway, the Resonance Detonator is a weird one: it takes a huge amount of time to prepare and reload, but emits a field around Iji, roughly twice her height in diameter, that is functionally identical to a kick, but faster and doesn't interrupt her movement. Even with high Strength, it's only really useful for speedrunners who don't want to waste time kicking down doors.



Just ahead, we find a Nanoweapon Station! Using these, as well as the Crack stat, we can combine any Nanoweapons we find, to make new and more ridiculous Nanoweapons. There's no penalty to just brute forcing combinations of your current weapons, but you do need a high enough Crack stat to get access to them. At present, we've got two viable combinations, but not a high enough stat for it.



But whatever, we'll burn that bridge when we get to it, which isn't right now because hey look a new kind of guy.



Tasen Commanders are bigger and badder than Soldiers, and fire rockets a lot more often than Soldiers do. That big-ass lobster claw isn't just for show, either: if Iji gets close enough, they will not hesitate to punch her clean across the room with it. However, they can't duck attacks like Soldiers can, and they don't have Machineguns (like anyone cares).



You get no points for guessing what the next Tasen weapon is.



Not much of merit for the first bit of the sector, although someone left a barrel full of volatile game fuel around here.



Did you know that Tasen can't recognize human warning labels?



I like how the camera's following the Soldier. Dan must be amused, or at least a little freaked out.



Oh hey, the Supercharge is up there! We can't reach it right now, though. We probably need an upgrade to that elusive Jump stat.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:47 AM.
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  #19  
Old 04-21-2012, 07:53 AM
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At least taking that elevator up there gave us a path to continue. It's nice that the game is designed such that you'll consider little off-the-beaten-path things like this as possible areas to check out, though Iji is a fairly linear game.



Before we know it, we're back up here, on the other side of the wall near the Supercharge. This could probably be blown open by some kind of explosive, perhaps a launched one, like a rocket.



Heading up, we see a ledge we can't quite jump up. None too subtle about our future upgrades, are we, game?



To distract us, it provides not one, but two shinies! The one on the right is shinier, therefore we will take it first.



Nano Overloads like those will give Iji a random powerup for a short amount of time, usually a very strong benefit. The powerup selection she can get from it is weighted depending on killcount. More kills means more offensive powerups, fewer means more defensive stuff. Nanomirror here will automatically reflect any heavy projectiles, like rockets, that come at us. Really good in later areas, not so much here.



Whoops, I broke it before it could attack.

Yeah, uh, that was a Tasen Turret. They beep and shoot. Each turret is fitted with a different type of weapon. Early turrets are outfitted with Machineguns, and thus are so unthreatening that you can walk right up to them. In fact, close-range is usually the best place to attack a Turret from, since you can either crack it (even as it shoots at you if it's using a Machinegun) or more amusingly, kick it. This sends the Turret head flying, and will even injure anyone it hits. Course, you can still shoot Turrets, but they're pretty volatile and will explode if you take them out that way.



Moving on. This terminal here controls the door to the medical bay to the left. Sometimes terminals have security in place, but this one doesn't.



The other shiny is a checkpoint. These only work once, but they telprot Iji back to them if she loses all her health, fully healing her. Don't ask why it works. It's a secret, and I don't think anyone really knows anyway.



I forgot to show off the Resonance Detonator earlier, so here's a good-ish example of it in action. It sparkles and emits waves!



The Commander is too heavy to kick, and I don't feel like fighting him to the death, so let's just move on.



Well, there's that.



Yeah, we've got a much better jump height now! Take that, gravity!



Also, we find a secondary treasure while clambering through the human-height air vents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mia and Dad
<Iji> Wait, what's this? It's another of Mia's ribbons! Some rat must've found it and dragged it in here. Mia... you probably weren't far from dad and me, when the Tasen struck this place. Looks like me and Dan are the only ones who survived. Wait, I have to find Krotera - I gotta focus!


Down here, there's a ledge that even our new jump height can't quite reach.



There's a teleporter here guarded by a rocket Turret, too.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:48 AM.
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  #20  
Old 04-21-2012, 07:56 AM
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"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

So I do the reasonable thing.



All according to plan.

translator's note: plan means plan



The elevator takes us back to the start of the level, but now we can jump up that ledge that we encountered.



Not much in the way of resistance here at all, though.



But this little detour is very worth it.



Because it results in the third Tasen weapon, the Rocket Launcher! These work exactly like how they do in every other game that has Rocket Launchers. They're also our first weapon that bypasses armor completely to do straight-up Health damage (unless you count the Resonance Detonator, and you shouldn't). This makes it super hella useful.



Now that we have it, I don't have to stock up my points anymore, so I dump them all into Crack for reasons.



Anyway, let's take it for a test drive.



Exemplary!



And that's our second Supercharge. Since we'd have to get a rocket launcher to get it in the pacifist run, I won't bother. But yeah, the first trick for it is getting the rocket launcher, which requires jumping into the path of the rocket Turret after the Jump upgrade. Not exactly intuitive, but hey, it's not totally unreasonable. After that, it's a simple matter to backtrack to here for the Supercharge.



Anyway, time to show off the last feature of Cracking.



Like doors, boxes, and Nanoweapon combos, every enemy has a Security level to their Nanofield, too.



If you can crack a Tasen's Nanofield, you disable their heavy weapons, and have a chance to damage them for half their health (or in the case of Scouts and some Soldiers, kill them). Cracked enemies will also always drop ammo, so it's worthwhile if you don't have much to your Assimilate score. Don't try it unless you can sneak up on an enemy, though.



Right, enough screwing around, let's keep going.



Eh... maybe? We've got an okay Crack stat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurt Pride
<Iji> Wh, what's that supposed to mean?
<Dan> What? The door is hard to crack. I didn't mean to insult you. Drop the attitude, you're making this difficult.
<Iji> Hmph. Like you'd survive one minute in my shoes.
<Dan> What? I can't hear you when you whisper like that. Now crack the door directly or find the terminal.
<Iji> Fine.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:48 AM.
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  #21  
Old 04-21-2012, 07:59 AM
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Higher security, more ice nodes and a larger system.



The door actually started at a security of 3, but I screwed up once because I don't know, and the security upgraded as a result. This can push the security of a system outside of Iji's range, so just be careful. Failure to crack can also cause stuff like the system damaging Iji, a security box exploding with its contents, or an enemy noticing Iji and giving her a face full of lobster claw.



It's really easy, though, and the rewards are well worth it.



With a Crack stat of 4, we can now afford to make two new Nanoweapons. By cracking together a Shotgun and Machinegun, we get a Buster Gun. Functionally identical to a Shotgun, only each shot uses a point of Machinegun ammo, and it fires three times faster than a vanilla Shotgun. Not efficient in the slightest for conserving ammo, but extremely effective in close quarters against tough foes.



We can also crack our Shotgun and Resonance Detonator together into a Resonance Reflector. No, don't ask why those two make that combination.



Anyway, the Resonance Reflector is the weapon you will use 99% of the time in pacifist runs, due to it not granting kills when you reflect a projectile at someone. It takes as long to fire as the Resonance Detonator, and it only works on stuff like rockets, same as with the Nanomirror Overload.



So, remember how I said you could kick Turret heads about?



These can and will damage enemies. In fact, it instantly kills Scouts, due to doing a single point of health damage. What a way to go, huh?



Here's the computer Dan indicated would open the door we cracked. But it's inactive, because, uh, we cracked the door.



Not to worry, we can still have fun!



So yeah. A Tasen Elite. Krotera's the same rank, so let's go see if we can talk to the one down here!



There she is. Tall as hell, that. And hey look, a conveniently placed Nano Overload.



With an even more convenient powerup! Infinite ammo, you say?



I AM THE BEST AT NEGOTIATION

Elites are some of the strongest units of the Tasen's invading force. They've got a good hefty chunk of Health, a Machinegun that actually matches up to the one Iji uses, rocket launchers, and one other weapon I didn't get a chance to show off here. They've also got a quirk to their Nanofield that keeps them very rooted to the ground, preventing them from being knocked back. That doesn't stop them from sending Iji flying with a well-placed kick, though.



All that power can't stand up to a continued barrage of rockets, though.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:49 AM.
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  #22  
Old 04-21-2012, 08:02 AM
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There's not actually much merit to going into the Elite room, though. Just some ammo, and a teleporter.



It leads to a Komato Cyborg Station, but we can't even really use that stat until we hit Sector 3.



So let's hurry up and get to there, why don't we?



NO WAIT, ONE LAST SECRET



This is the fastest way to open it up. Machinegun also does the trick, or you can kick the Soldier down and have her open it for you.



And it leads to the second poster! Iji's got some odd specs. And yes, there are clues to her abilities AND some plot nonsense on here. I'll give you a hint: the Skills displayed at the bottom? We already have the Air Brake documented in the help menu, it lets us slow Iji's horizontal movement if she gets sent flying by an explosion or melee attack. The others, we can either find logbooks on as we play, or we can discover them on our own.



And since I don't think we can get back here in the pacifist run without screwing with our stats, let's show these two logbooks off.

"I tried hacking the alien-counting machine when no-one was looking yesterday, but that show-off Yukabacera had laid down some sophisticated encryption algorithms for it. It took me a few days, but I managed to make it display "Naotgerai rules" - after which Yukabacera reprogrammed the whole thing from scratch, using a hardcoded encryption instead. I don't know which one of us is the most bored right now."



"We're now officially the most bored Tasen squad in the universe. Since all we do in this remote room is keep a lookout for hostiles - of which there are none - we started shooting down the winged alien lifeforms flying by the small window in here. We programmed a simple machine, using a display taken from one of our suits, and a heat sensor from a turret. The machine, quite simply, counts the little aliens killed. I believe we've taken the expression "terminally bored" to new heights."

You can actually shoot down the birds if you want, and the machine will tally it.



Iji's got a different idea, though.



Take that, alien invaders. We are the l337est of all!

...also I just realized how dated that phrase is. Wow. I feel old now.



Bah, let's just finish the sector. Whippersnapper!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Unprepared
<Dan> Iji, don't go out there.
<Iji> What? Why not?
<Dan> Because. I don't want you to see what it looks like. You're not ready for that yet.
Dan, you're such a killjoy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dissent
<Dan> But - you won't like it, trust me. It's for your own good.
<Iji> Geez, stop hiding everything from me! I'd like to know what's going on around here too! Maybe I'd just like to get some fresh air for once, see what the Tasen spaceship looks like!
<Dan> But, look - just be careful up there, okay?
<Iji> Hmph.
Nuts to you, speakerface! We do what we want!



wait what



...Oh.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:50 AM.
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  #23  
Old 04-21-2012, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Invasion
<Iji> Leave me alone! You, you LIAR!
<Dan> Listen, I tried to warn you. I lied to you because there was no way you would accept to do this otherwise, but now you know. The Tasen command an entire armada, and they Alpha Struck the whole planet. The Strike was a weak one, to avoid destroying the surface completely, but the human survivors are few. This complex is the center of the Tasen colony, and their fleet, that's why they left it intact. We can only assume they will eventually spread to the rest of the planet. I know, it's not much of a world to save, but...
<Iji> It's just a dream... isn't it?
<Dan> Stay calm, I don't want you to lose control. That's the most dangerous thing you can do. You have to trust me, and you have to believe that we can convince Krotera to make them leave.
<Iji> But... I'm not some kind of, I was just -
<Dan> Damn it, I knew this'd happen! Everything... all of this will be for nothing unless you make it to Krotera!
So uh yeah. Humanity? All but wiped out. Earth? Totaled. Tasen? They control what's left of it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Urgency
<Iji> Okay.
<Dan> Good. I should've told you earlier to leave your feelings behind. I forgot that you haven't been around for the last six months.
<Iji> Dan...
<Dan> I - maybe you think I'm pushing you too hard, but please, unless you keep moving they'll catch up to you.
<Iji> Right.
This is nowhere near a good situation.



But nothing for it. It's the two of us that're left in the facility, and we've got to hope Krotera will listen.



Compare this with the previous Sector Complete screen. When something really heavy happens like this, Iji looks more burdened by what's going on, and the normally "GET PUMPED" end music is replaced by somber piano.

Speaking of, go get the music for the game. It's good.

Next Time: A Glance Into the Tasen Mindset

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:50 AM.
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  #24  
Old 04-21-2012, 08:42 AM
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Bad Hair Man Bad Hair Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
You can obtain Iji yourself here. Go do that if you haven't.
I second this motion. Iji is a tremendously good freeware platform shooter.

When I played through it the first time, I didn't realize that a pacifist run might even be a thing until I reached the very end. The whole idea seemed so counter-intuitive given the game's genre, that even though the game drops subtle hints (references to all the violence Iji has been committing) every couple of levels, I figured it would probably just do the normal cheap video game thing of leaving all the dialog the same even if you play through it avoiding all those actions.

I mean seriously. Jumping over enemies instead of shooting them? That would just be absurd.

And then I reached the end and found out that game rewards you with a title based on how many enemies you've killed, what all the possible titles are, and what the kill threshold for each one is. "Pacifist: Less than 50 kills? Innocent: Less than 1 kill?!! How can that even be possible? If nothing else, the bosses are unavoidable kills, aren't they?" This was both baffling and intriguing.

So of course I played though Iji again and had my mind blown at a story (and character development!) that changes not because of any choices you make via dialog options or other clear decision points (Do you do A or B?) as is the usual route for such games, but rather based simply on how you act during the jumping around and shooting segments of gameplay.

I really like this game. It's good. It's fun. It's high-quality (especially for the price). And now I have to go play it again because of this thread.
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  #25  
Old 04-21-2012, 10:23 AM
Kejardon Kejardon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
translator's note: plan means plan
Do you mean pain?
On that note: There is a way to actually get that supercharge in a game mode where you die in one hit. I'm curious who else knows how
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
You didn't mention it explicitly, but that's the message you get when you try to kick something you can't hurt with kicks yet. You get a similar one for cracking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Hair Man View Post
So of course I played though Iji again and had my mind blown at a story (and character development!) that changes not because of any choices you make via dialog options or other clear decision points (Do you do A or B?) as is the usual route for such games, but rather based simply on how you act during the jumping around and shooting segments of gameplay.
Damn those ammo-hogging bots.
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  #26  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:41 AM
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The plot of Sector 2 doesn't actually change at all in a pacifist run. The only difference is a change in Iji's portraits when she talks, and since that would require screenshotting individual boxes of text, I'll go easy on those. The game already has boatloads of text! So I'll show off a few of the areas I missed screenshotting. Like here, for example, just under the starting area with the Nanoweapon Station.



Fun fact: if you indirectly cause an explosion (say, by stomping on a box full of explosives), anyone that dies from it isn't treated as a kill!



Granted, it still hurts you, so don't actually do that very often.



"The lifts we installed here aren't a security problem, they're downright lethal! It's only a matter of time before someone loses an arm in one of those things, or falls down an empty lift tunnel. Have they ever heard of doors? Even the humans had those. Some guys have been busy blocking certain lift tunnels to prevent people falling into them, using the materials lying around in some of the human-made boxes. Speaking of which, why are there so many boxes all over the place, anyway? The lift music is catchy though, it plays a lot of political stuff. "Welcome to Ciretako" always makes me glad I'm not in the Komato army."

Y'know, it never really occurred to me that the lifts are that dangerous. I mean, Iji's Nanofield lets her fall just about any distance without more consequence than being briefly winded. I guess if you can't vault like ten feet in the air at will, it's an issue.



Speaking of, the bottom of that elevator shaft looks like this. Blits like to hang out in places like these, so don't stick around too often.



"Reports are pouring in regarding an individual called the "Human anomaly", who is believed to be a champion of the humans. It would explain why she uses advanced Nanotechnology that none of the other humans we've encountered possess; she's clearly special in some way. It's still not known if she's cooperating with the Komato, but it's highly likely - we have to terminate her at all costs, or she might warn the Komato Imperial Army of our presence on this planet. Some say she may be able to understand and speak our language - this may be due to her personal Nanofield, but do not be fooled if she tries to communicate with you. Kill her on sight and report it to your nearest superior."

Well, that's exciting. The game will take plenty of opportunities to remind you that despite being hulking, terrifying dudes with powerful weapons and deadly strength, even Commanders and Elites are individuals with their own thoughts and ideals.



The two logbooks here are just tutorials, and not even exciting ones. Also, I got Nanomirror again. Boo.



EFFICIENT DEFENSE SYSTEMS.



"We've set up some turrets here, specifically designed to target humans. They won't shoot anyone with the proper subroutine programming in their personal Nanofield. If the rumors are true that there's actually a surviving human running around here, she won't last long. I heard the turrets in other areas were given some insane Nanoweapons - I don't know if they were designed for field testing, or if some of the guys around here think it's fun seeing humans getting blown to pieces. The turrets' only real weakness is their ridiculously frail construction, you could kick one clean off its support pole."

They're not kidding. A lot of the high-end weapons in the game can be found on turrets, and they can and will wreck the hell out of you. That doesn't make Machinegun turrets any less useless.



Anyhoo, made it to the Jump upgrade without much incident.



Kejardon says there's a way to get back here without upgrading Health and taking a rocket to the face. I guess if you got the upgrade, then backtracked all the way to the start, you might be able to clear that jump over the elevator shaft that falls to the teleporter? But that's not as humorous, so NUTS TO THAT.



Anyway, brief detour into the Commander's room below to get the final point needed for the Resonance Reflector.



Bing!

And yeah, this doesn't count as a kill, but it does have a five-second reload time, so don't bother using it to "kill" every enemy, or you'll ruin the spirit of the playthrough and get really damn bored. Turrets and other mechanical enemies also don't count as kills, because Iji can't spend points on Machine Empathy.



Bah! Should've saved that point I put into Assimilate.



"How long is that Elite Krotera gonna keep us on guard duty? The Komato won't ever find us here, we totally trashed the aliens in this place, and it's not like we could defend ourselves if the Imperial Army actually did find us now. There's no reason to stay armed and alert when we've finally found a safe place, when we should rebuild what little we have instead of spending all our resources on weapons and Nanotechnology research. How much do they think they can pull out of this space rock, anyway? I'm even starting to wonder if the aliens on this planet are as hostile as we thought, or if Krotera's new position is just getting to him. The guy's a walking insult to Hel Sarie. Still, orders are orders. I don't want to lose my own head when we've come this far."

More mentions of the Komato. Perhaps they're the dudes what made the Resonance Detonator. We don't have enough info on them yet, though, and the Tasen are the more immediate problem.

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:50 AM.
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  #27  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:42 AM
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You kids like Metal Gear Solid? I don't. But here, have an infodump about Nanomachines anyway.

"As a cyborg, your body and armor is run by a Nanofield, trillions of tiny machines working together. The most important aspect of the Nanofield is its ability to be reprogrammed, like a freeform supercomputer. The Nanogun is a small shapeshifting factory that builds the projectiles and firing mechanisms needed, given the right programming. Anyone with a Nanofield can even connect to another by physical contact - while this has created a "cracker" subculture, each Nanofield has a range of security measures, to the point where it simply reboots to its original state if critically threatened. As a physical armor, the Nanofield is nigh unbetable; in fact, most weapons even able to scratch someone with a Nanofield are Nanoweapons themselves. Throwing a Nanofield into another with great force is also highly damaging, letting particularly strong users engage in melee combat with deadly results, but actual weapons revolving around this concept were found to be resource ineffective. Currently, only the Phantom Hammer is able to completely disintegrate a Nanofield."



So yeah, that's about it for Sector 2. Kind of simple.



Not to worry, Sector 3 is where stuff really picks up.

Next Time: For the Greater Good

Last edited by Kalir; 07-17-2017 at 11:51 AM.
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  #28  
Old 04-22-2012, 02:02 PM
Giampi Giampi is offline
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I love this game. Dan is a whiny asshole though.

I love the way your actions have in-game consequences. The first time I played the game I slaughtered everything in sight, and after a while Iji would start laughing in sadistic delight every time she killed someone. It was a real shock.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:19 PM
Kejardon Kejardon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giampi View Post
I love this game. Dan is a whiny asshole though.
But but Dan has the best Scrambler quotes!
How much of that are you going to show off anyways? Personally I can't help but think that Yukabakara intentionally made it translate Asha the way it does.
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  #30  
Old 04-23-2012, 04:27 AM
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Augh I must stay strong and not spoil!

Kalir, I don't know if I missed something in the LP, but are powerups random? You talked about getting mirror again.
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