Mopped up the second and third dungeons last night, with the second being the harder of the two thanks to the lava and confusing design. I also learned the hard way that the black onion doesn't let you walk on EVERY lava pool. I was lucky to warp out of the dungeon with a sliver of health after foolishly falling into one thinking I could walk on it. The second boss was fairly disappointing. All you have to do is stand in the center and spam balloon bombs.
The third dungeon wasn't so bad, even with all the water. Venus takes hardly any damage underwater, so I was glad to see a dungeon that focused heavily on her special abilities. Probably the scariest part about it was the background, which is field of skeletons, and the black mass of tentacles that appear on a couple of screens. The boss was a bit tricky, too, especially since I let it live too long, at which point it filled the screen up with boogers heh.
I'm really digging the dungeon design in this game, even with the repeating tiles and backgrounds. Probably my favorite part about them is how the map is always shaped like something. For example, the first dungeon is shaped like a shield, while the third is a tombstone. It's nothing fancy, but it's a nice touch that adds a bit of charm to the game.
My next goals are to find the devil wing, and then make it to the fourth dungeon. I've heard it's a real doozy, but I'm prepared for anything at this point.
I still can't believe you made it this far without the devil wing. I mean, it's not hard, just time consuming! I had to warp out of dungeons all the time when my health got too low... and it can be a real slog schlepping it all the way back.
Welp, after eventually managing to find the (admittedly easily overlooked) mines in the third dungeon after beating the fourth one, and obtusely using the puppet to create a bridge to reach the last dungeon (seriously how would have I figured that out if xerx hadn't told me augh), I made it to the final dungeon! And I just now beat it! Huzzah!! Five points, I suppose:
1: The last dungeon was indeed the toughest, with gold knights that are like stronger versions of the skeleton knights able to climb ladders, these small blue guys that punch you from below, and worst of all, invincible storm clouds!
2: You also go really slow until you find the bible, which is in plain sight when you begin but takes a rather roundabout path to reach. Also, lava is at the bottom, so if you take the wrong jump, prepare to fry. At least your life is at maximum this time...
3: The cross is mandatory to destroy the final boss, but it is dang well hidden on the way left side of the map. Move lava to tread over if you're not careful either.
4: Galious, the final boss, is very tough and seemingly invincible until you figure out his secret: If you have the cross, he can actually be harmed with the normal arrows. I guess it'd be too easy if you could barrel through his protective flames, but it is tough to destroy them unless you get in close first with the balloon bombs then quickly flee. I feel the fourth boss is technically more frustrating, but the big G puts up a suitable final challenge.
5: That weird block maze at the end felt like an anticlimax after trashing Galious. I thought he was going to come back in the obligatory second-form reprise, but thus was not to be. Oh well... guess they thought it was bad form to frustrate you at this point, like with all the final bosses of the Gradius series.
All in all, I very much liked Galious. Certainly one of Konami's underrated Famicom contributions and a game I'd play again if I got the chance to do so. I look forward to talking about it in roughly a week from now, give or take.
I didn't have too much trouble navigating the hub world, especially since it's fairly small and the enemies are easy to clear out. I have a feeling the devil wing wasn't supposed to be found immediately, especially since traversing the hub world to reach the current dungeon meant that I amassed a large number of arrows and coins. It's also relatively well hidden in a stack of breakable blocks.
I cleared out the fourth dungeon last night and am slowly working on the fifth. The fourth dungeon was fairly tricky, given it was mostly vertical and there was a large portion of it that consisted of tricky jumps over pits and numerous ladders to climb. However, the worst part about it were the jumping eels and the antigravity blobs. Those assholes knocked me down more times than I would like to admit. The boss was incredibly easy: just spam as many mines as you can as it slithers around the screen. Still didn't stop me from losing Popolon the first time I fought it.
The fifth dungeon has been a royal pain to navigate so far. For starters, you move in slow motion until you find the bible, which is tricky to get to. Even after you find it, you have to contend with knights that have a keen sense of navigation and invincible clouds that rain down lightning, which can set fire to blocks. This is in addition to the layout itself, which is probably one of the most confusing mazes I've seen in an 8-bit platformer. I've found most of the items in the dungeon, thankfully, barring the magic rod. Hopefully I can put this puppy to bed before the night is over.
Edit: And I just beat the game! The hardest part about the fifth dungeon is mostly just finding everything first before tackling the final boss. After snagging the magic rod and finding the magician spell to summon Galious, the climb to the top to fight him was pretty simple. You literally just climb up.
The fight with Galious himself wasn't too bad after xerxes told me that the standard arrows were the only weapon that could damage him. His pattern is fairly simple: he teleports to one of 3 locations, summons a shield of fire that can be destroyed, shoots it out, then teleports again. The real trick here is positioning yourself just right so you can nail him in his weak spot after he teleports. If you can manage to drop his shield entirely, he will stand still for a few seconds, allowing you to spam arrows into his chest.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game. It can be obtuse at times, but it's never unfair. Most of its secrets reveal themselves to you as you play, although a few I probably wouldn't have discovered without the help of Sotenga and xerxes. So in that sense, Game Club 199X has been a rousing success yet again.
That's such an odd reference to throw in there, but I have to give Konami props for doing so.
The podcast was recorded last night and should be up sometime within the week. However, there's going to be a slight change in format: rather than being entirely at the mercy of the randomizer for the next game, we're going to hold a vote for the next podcast based on the top three games the randomizer picked. More will be explained in next month's thread, as well as which games were chosen.
I'm editing the podcast right now. In the meantime, here's some new and improved maps for the entire game. Yes, I know, anyone who was playing this game has beaten it by now. But just as Popolon and Aphrodite's future-baby waited up in heaven to be conceived and/or kidnapped, Game Club exists for the benefit of players as yet unknown.
1st DUNGEON - SHIELD/JUNGLE Boss: "Yomar"
2nd DUNGEON - COLUMN/VOLCANO Boss: "Elohim" Note: Yellow areas can only be accessed by Aphrodite, without a special item
3rd DUNGEON - GRAVE/BONES Boss: "Ascher" Note: Green areas can only be accessed by Popolon, without a special item