Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fire Emblem: The Amazon Challenge I

In which Muninn embarks on a quest for revenge against an evil uncle, armed with naught but the power of teenage girls.  Confused?  Then why not start from the beginning?

Chapter 1: Footsteps of Fate

A remarkably easy chapter, what with everybody on the enemy side being armed with an axe and Lyn having a sword.  Even taking into account the few enemies towards the beginning where the game forces the use of Kent and Sain, Lyn was able to grow from level 2 up to 4.

Lyn4197911721Sword D

Chapter 2: Sword of Spirits

Another easy chapter.  The boss, Glass, had a sword instead of an axe, but even so he was quite the pushover.  Didn't even bother breaking the west wall of the temple, because I had to send Lyn south to take care of the bandits in that direction anyway.  Lyn grew two more levels (to Lv6) and attained her C-rank sword ability.
See that 67 Hit rating (78.22%)?  That's the only attack Lyn was hit with in this chapter.
Lyn6208913731Sword C

Chapter 3: Band of Mercenaries

After a brief usage of Wil for tutorial purposes, I found myself faced with the first real challenge from this chunk of chapters.  No, I'm not talking about having difficulty killing enemies; I mean I was having trouble not killing enemies.  This chapter was liberally strewn with bandits who were a bit too strong for my newly-recruited Florina to take down on her own, but who were unfortunately not strong enough to avoid being killed from a single round of combat with Lyn.  This also was matched with the AI's bizarre desired tactic of suiciding all of their units into Lyn, despite each of them having only about a 10% chance of hitting her.
Dammit Lyn, why'd you have to be so broken in the early game?
Luckily, there were a few bandits who were too strong for Lyn to completely murder (read: she left them with one hit point), so Florina was able to scrape together enough experience to earn her second level by the time the chapter was done.  Some early confrontations managed to reduce her to only four hit points, though.

In addition to the bothersome bandits getting into the way of the leveling of my lovely Florina, this chapter also contained a rather annoying archer who had to be dealt with.  While you'd think that an enemy who can't counterattack at melee range would be wonderful fodder for a low-level Pegasus Knight to practice on, Florina was not yet at the level where she could kill it in one round, and Lyn was at the level where she had trouble letting it live for one round.  As such, Florina found no experience here.

 Luckily, behind the archer was a swordsman.  Florina could kill him in one round, but he could also kill her in the damaged state that she was in.  I placed her beside him and had her use a vulerary to allow her to withstand his attack.
Naturally, the Mercenary decided to kill himself fighting Lyn, instead.
Though Florina lost out on the experience from the Mercenary, the Bandit on the other side of Lyn (The one she was supposed to be blocking in the first place) was left with a single hit point, so Florina was able to make some progress anyway.

With the lackeys lacerated and the peons perforated, it was now time to apply some beatings to the boss.  Migal was 6th level and had a steel axe, so I placed Lyn beside him and had her vulnerary herself back to full hit points.  Unfortunately, his 11.52% chance of hitting turned out in his favour, bringing Lyn down to dangerous health levels.  Not wanting to risk the chance of Lyn dying, I had Florina rescue her, then use an Iron Lance borrowed from the male Cavaliers to finish off the level.

It's 24%, except when the RNG says it's 11.52%, except when Murphy says it's 100%
Florina218679946Lance D

  Chapter 4: In Occupation's Shadow

Ah, the survival chapter.  Have you ever wondered what it feels like to take a fortress designed to be defended by five people, and instead defend it with two?

While the placement of enemies on this map would seem to dictate that the best strategy would be to send Lyn to the south entrance, where she could clean up bandits by the dozen, the tutorial aspect of this chapter meant that Lyn had to instead go east, because it's important for players to learn that any enemy who isn't ugly will quickly turn to your side if only you were to talk to them.  I left Florina in her starting position for the first turn; it kept her in range of only one bandit, ensuring that she wouldn't be overwhelmed.  Though I'd given her an Iron Lance at the end of the previous chapter, I had her switch back to the slim one here.  With this many enemies, my fragile flyer would need all of the dodging help she could get.

Following the initial onslaught of bandits, I had Florina move back to block the passage to the inner fortress.  In addition to protecting Natalie and keeping the men out of combat, this move also ensured that Florina couldn't be attacked by more than one bandit at a time, unless she started killing them with her counterattacks.  (With what her stats were like at the time, I knew this to be impossible against any bandits other than the one that she had already damaged on the previous enemy turn).

In the meantime, Lyn recruited Dorcas, who promptly killed off an enemy.  I left Lyn in position to guard the east entrance (not that I had any choice, as she'd depleted her turn action in recruiting an ally I had no intention of using).  With all of the meaningful members of my team finished, I ended my turn and waited for the onslaught.

Sure enough, Florina found herself piled with pillagers.  There wasn't much going on on the east side, so I brought Lyn back in and had her kill off one of the bandits.  (For this chapter, I was paying only minimal attention to who got what experience.  With only seven available turns, it wasn't like Florina was going to have enough time to finish everybody off on her own, anyway.)  In contrast to Florina's little hideaway, Lyn's position was chosen to allow her to be attacked from all sides, in the unlikely event that she was unable to finish her aggressors off.

Florina remained in the position that she'd been in, striking back at the bandit who'd attacked her during the previous turn.  She killed him, but suffered eight damage in the process.  I began to worry for her safety.  Sure enough, on the enemy turn, a bandit brought her down to only one hitpoint.  Elsewhere, another bandit tried to attack the currently-disarmed Dorcas (I'd given his weapons to Lyn), while another killed himself trying to see how well Lyn was able to defend herself (Answer: Quite Well).

The Fourth Turn began.  I had Florina use her Iron Lance against the bandit who'd wounded her, killing him off before he had a chance to counterattack.

 Lyn killed the bandit who'd been harassing Dorcas, allowing him to move back into the inner fortress to take shelter with the others.  I was worried about how well she'd deal with the mercenary who was about to enter through the east entrance (as she'd been damaged to only 8 health), but my fears were found to be unfounded when it turned out that the Mercenary only had 7 attack, even without factoring in Lyn's (admittedly low) defense.

The Fifth Turn: The Mercenary that I'd been worried about killed himself fighting Lyn with little fanfare and no damage to her.  More worrying was the fact that on this turn, enemies breached the western wall, gaining access to the fortress.  The timing of this new threat made me wonder if the designers of the game had deliberately set it such that these western warriors would become a problem just as the player had mopped up the previous batch of barbarians.  Most troubling about this new squad was that they included an archer: not good news for Florina.  I had her retreat back a square (placing her out of the archer's range) and gave her a vulnerary.  In the meantime, Lyn took position two squares south of her, allowing multiple attackers access to her while still guarding the entrance to the inner fortress.  She used a vulnerary to restore some of her lost hit points.

On the enemy's turn, Lyn defeated two bandits and was struck by an arrow for a low (but nontrivial) amount of damage.

The Sixth Turn: Moving forward a space, Lyn killed the archer, freeing up the area for Florina to safely move around again.  She resumed her old position just inside the inner entrance.  Even though she only had eleven hit points at this point, it was enough to protect her through one enemy attack, and she wasn't strong enough to kill anything and suffer a second enemy attack just yet.

The enemy turn progressed predictably: The bandit attacked Florina, getting injured in the process, while the two mercenaries tried to fight Lyn, with one dying and one becoming severely injured.

The Seventh Turn: Florina attacked the bandit who'd attacked her using her Iron Lance.  She gained a level, but it only provided her with a single hit point.  Lyn killed a bandit, ensuring that the only units threatening Florina were the ones who were wielding swords.

Disaster struck on the final enemy turn: Through the two Mercenaries posed no problem while attacking Lyn and were quickly killed, an approaching Bandit got in a lucky hit, killing her.  Not wanting to redo the entire chapter, I just reloaded the save state and jiggled the RNG a bit to get a different outcome.

Overall, this was a rather productive chapter.  Both Lyn and Florina grew by two levels (becoming 8th and 4th level, respectively), and Lyn attained her B-rank sword skill.

Lyn82281015732Sword B
Florina419679946Lance D

Chapter 5: Beyond the Borders

We now begin the final chapter of this segment.  Fittingly enough, this chapter begins with our recruitment of the final female party member of Lyn's Route: Serra.  Serra is a cleric, which means that we can now be a bit more bold with regards to sending Florina out on the front lines, since healing is much faster, easier, and productive now than it was before.

The archer in the center of the field doesn't last long, as he's only there to serve as an example for what Erk can do.  Erk has a penis, though, so we don't care what he can do.  From that point, it's rather trivial for Florina to take out the Mercenary and Bandit in the northwest and north-central parts of the screen, as well as luring that Northeastern bandit towards the center.  Luckily, that central house and the corner-adjacent forest are in the bandit's range, but not the archer's, so we can lure out the bandit and deal with him at our leisure.  This set of fights gives Florina enough experience to gain another level, providing her with a much-needed point of defense.  We also obtain an Iron Sword, which is good, because Lyn goes through them quickly.

At this point, we begin to examine the archer.  While his weapon deals bonus damage against pegasus knights, it's only an additional six, which puts his damage-dealing capabilities on par with some of the stronger bandits. (He is more accurate, though).  Now that we have Serra, though, it's nothing that can't be healed, so we're going to send Florina out to meet him.

It takes us a few turns to kill the Archer.  In the meantime, that lower-right Mercenary notices us and tries to attack Florina, but he's only capable of dealing two damage, so there's really no threat there.  He eventually suicides against Lyn, who uses the Mani Katti for the first time against him (it was accidentally equipped earlier.  She would've killed him with an Iron Sword, anyway).  He did a bit of damage to her in the process, but Serra heals it, giving her enough experience for her first level-up.  (Unfortunately, this only boosts her LUCK and RES stats, which, while not bad, wasn't the MAG or DEF boosts I was hoping for).

Florina moves south to chill with the boss, while Lyn checks out the armoury and discovers ranged weaponry.  We have her buy two javelins, as Hand Axes and Iron Bows won't do us any good in Lyn's path.

Down south, Florina trades a few rounds of fighting with the boss, Bug.  He can deal fifteen damage with each hit, which means our 12-damage-healing Serra can't quite keep up with him.  Luckily for us, though, at the same time that this becomes a problem that could threaten Florina's life, Lyn arrives with the Javelins.

Now armed with ranged weaponry, we exploit the boss's stubborn refusal to move to deal damage to him without suffering in return.  We only use this when Florina wouldn't be able to stand in melee, though: Iron Lances deal more damage, and Florina taking more damage is good for Serra's character level.  Over the course of this boss battle, Florina gained two levels, with a point of HP and SKILL from each, and an additional point of RES from the second.

Final LevelsLevelHPSTR
Lyn82281015732Sword B
Florina7217109957Lance C
Serra217258726Staff D


Overall, there wasn't much additional challenge in these five chapters (well, six if we include the prologue).  Pretty much any of these levels could be soloed by Lyn due to the prominence of Axe-wielding Bandits on all of the maps, as well as the frequently found Forest terrain, which the player is usually better able to take advantage of than the AI. (The AI will use the forest to attack when given the option, but the player can choose to not attack in order to secure a forest tile, something the AI never thinks of).

So far, Lyn is rather obviously the superior character.  She has major advantages against Florina in terms of attack speed and evasion.  Her attack power with her worst weapon (Iron Sword) is only one below Florina's with her best weapon (Iron Lance), though this is without factoring the Weapon triangle bonus, which applies in Lyn's favor most of the time (and neutrally the rest), but mostly negatively to Florina (with occasional positive bonuses).  Lyn's accuracy is better, too (again, before calculating weapon advantage).  Florina's only real advantage are the two extra points of defense she has, compared to Lyn.  Still, though, Florina's mobility should help later, and her combat will improve once we begin facing more of a variety of enemies.

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