The Brikeye genocide thus begins. I’m including a video of how incredibly tedious this is below, but I’m going to go ahead and warn anyone sensitive to flashing lights to avoid clicking on it; Shining in the Darkness was made before the potential repercussions of such inclusions were widely enough known for developers to avoid them, so the spell effects in this game usually involve the screen flashing colors. It’s really overwhelming, though I’ve noticed that playing in fast-motion causes some of these flashes to be missed, making this part of the game slightly less painful.
If you didn’t click on the video, it’s just me spin-grinding Brikeyes using the technique I outlined in progress log #9. I thought it’d be interesting to break up the screenshot barrage with a video and point out how similar (and similarly good) the music is to that in Landstalker. Really, despite the game as a whole being a soul-crushing grind devoid of any kind of value outside of nostalgia, the music’s actually pretty decent throughout. It repeats a lot, but still. Credit where it’s due and all that.
Like I mentioned before, this first area is surprisingly easy to navigate. It’s not long before I’ve found a door that leads up (or to the side, maybe—it’s kind of hard to tell what’s actually happening here). Forward progress either way.
This next area isn’t quite as friendly as the last, and before long I’ve wrapped back around and returned to the first area by simply walking through a door that didn’t initially appear to be a one-way trip. Apparently the two are connected, so this is the same floor. The only reason I figured this out is because of this turning thing, too, so it’d be easy to think you’re in a completely new area right up until you’ve backtracked all the way to the portal that brought you here in the first place. This is obviously a fantastic design choice. I’m left with no choice but to slog my way back.
Now that I’ve obtained a bunch of Mithril armors and weapons, pretty much everything I find in chests turns out to be useless. None of this makes sense: enemies could do far too much damage without the upgraded equipment, but the stuff I find in chests suggests that I should have weaker equipment right now. Did the game designers expect the player to slowly grind out levels instead of just going out and getting better equipment? This isn’t coherent game design.
Even with my awesome new equipment, some enemies can do a lot of damage to me if they use certain attacks. If there’s a way to prevent taking huge amounts of damage to magic/special attacks, I don’t know what that is. Eventually I get sick of a few specific types of enemies and use save states to manipulate the RNG so that Meat Shield Milo’s instant-death spell works every time.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned these before, but they’ve been littered throughout the entire game and haven’t actually done anything yet. What torments me is that they look like a stone chest of some kind, but can’t be opened. Not only that—none of my items work on them, and some of them in this area glow yellow for some reason. Is this another early-labyrinth-statue example of something that exists for no reason?
My party eventually finds some stairs leading up, and the new floor looks slightly different to the last one. That’s a refreshing change given the number of identical wooden walls we’ve had to navigate through. Sadly, this floor is awful. I’m taking huge amounts of damage despite the equipment I wasted so much time grinding to buy, and the area design is just bad. Definitely not easy to navigate anymore.
It’s not long before I come across a chest with this “mystic rope” in it, and using it sends me up to the next floor. My first thought it that this thing is a one-use-only item that allows you to warp to the next floor. I thought this for a truly embarrassing amount of time before finally figuring the whole thing out: this rope can be used infinitely, but only allows you to move to the next floor when there’s a pit above you, and there’s no guarantee that the part of the next floor you climb up to is the path forward. More often than not, climbing up leads to a dead end with a single chest.
Our old pal Grimwall has a family member installed here, so my party slaughters it out of principle. The fallen wall takes its revenge, however, in the form of the chest behind it having absolutely nothing good in it. Touche, wall.
Luckily, my aimless wanderings finally pay off as I find the first piece of equipment in this place better than what I was wearing before. JERK equips the Lighthelm. Milo’s MP is getting pretty low, though (if you didn’t notice in the earlier screenshot, his full-party heal costs 50 MP and right now he only has 10 MP), so I head back to town. After all, it’s best to return early since I’m going to have to fight my way all the way back up to where I left every time I warp back to town.