No fancy mission name this time. Game’s finished already. All three endings have been acquired (including even the “fake” mission 10 ending where Allura flees). This progress log is all about those sweet, sweet “B”-set side stories, which are better than you’d expect. They have some of the weirdest characters, some of the best music that you don’t hear in the game ordinarily, and then sudden pivots into stone-serious character development. It’s pretty crazy, but they’re weirdly effective.
Mission 1 side story B
The very first side story has a cocky ice mage show up to try to take on Allura on his own. He gets launched into lava because the burning status effect is the greatest thing in the entire world to inflict on annoying ice mages. Then the mission ends and some really interesting music plays as his master’s ghost shows up (I can’t tell if Allura can see it, but she’ll see ghosts in later side stories because set “B” has a lot of ghosts) and he confesses to it that he deserves his fate for using the magic she taught him for his own personal gain. It’s kind of impressive how quickly the mood shifts from laughing at the burning ice mage to feeling kind of invested in him.
Mission 2 side story B
A group of kidnappers enter the mansion as a bunch of belligerent cellos duke it out as the background music. I tried to be creative for these side stories rather than always dropping a flare rock on everyone’s head, but the boomerang just isn’t a good trap and unfamiliar trap combos are kind of awkward to figure out the timing of. Anyway, they die and a woman appears, explaining that she had been kidnapped by the pair. She mistakes Allura as another kidnap victim and decides that both of them should leave. It’s possible to attack her, but I found her too adorable to kill.
Mission 3 side story B
An ice mage comes by to try and find our adorable kidnap victim from the last side story. We could play dumb and cause him to get suspicious and attack, but she needs all the help she can get, so we tell the truth about her leaving and heading home. Obviously killing them would be important if I was trying to fill out the game’s murder-y encyclopedia of victims (on second thought, it’s entirely possible that side story kills don’t count), but my OCD doesn’t stretch quite that far, and I’m chaotic neutral enough to let a few people go on a whim. Also, the music that plays for this side story is really atmospheric and reminds me a lot of Radical Dreamers.
Mission 4 side story B
A bumbling, argumentative group of bounty hunters show up to kill or capture Allura as some bouncy, almost circus-like music plays in the background. Apparently Catalina or someone put a bounty out on her? Whatever the case, this group is so amusing that it’s almost a shame to kill them, but the leader has a thunder whip thing, so we toss everyone into lava out of an abundance of caution and call it a day.
Mission 5 side story B
Allura is visited by an especially pushy door to door saleswoman, so we feed her to the music box and try to remember to hang a “no solicitors” sign out front.
Mission 6 side story B
A woman shows up and randomly tries to get Allura to drink something. We get a choice to drink or not drink, and we wisely choose not to, possessing the requisite life experience to know better than to ingest unspecified liquid from strangers. It turns out to have been a sleeping potion so that she and her son could rob the mansion, so we kill the pair and the world’s IQ raises slightly for their absence.
If you choose to drink instead, Allura gets all dizzy, but almost immediately throws it up and the fight commences as normal. That’s honestly a little disappointing.
Mission 7 side story B
Presenting: a jarring tonal shift! This side story involves Father Johannes, some kind of ice mage priest who Allura clearly grew up with and who subsequently views her as a daughter. Thing is, he’s dead and a ghost and not in a good mood, and he doesn’t recognize Allura. His ghost-ness doesn’t stop flare rocks from being effective, though, and after being beaten down, the two have a heartwarming reunion. Then the devil eats his soul. Yeah, not quite as much fun as bumbling bounty hunters or thieves, but appropriately dark and affecting nonetheless.
Mission 8 side story B
Some of these side stories actually tie into “A” set side stories (they were probably meant to be together and then mixed up accidentally because the ordering here is kind of nonsensical), and this is an example of that. In the mission 7 side story “A,” some priestesses try to convince Allura to make up with Catalina and explain that Graines was the one who killed the king and that Catalina only accused Allura in order to help her escape since she was supposed to be murdered as well. Mission 8’s “B” side story continues on with Allura actually meeting with Catalina, and you’re given the choice to either side with her or refuse to work with her. I knew she was lying, but I wanted to see what would happen if you tried to work with her. Basically, two soldiers show up and you can try to kill them. I only managed to get one of them, sadly. Then the mysterious mage from Mission 12’s “A” side story shows up, kills Catalina, and explains that this Catalina wasn’t the real one. Also, that she was obviously lying and that we’re an idiot for buying into it. Paraphrasing, obviously.
I was too curious to just leave it at that, though, and there doesn’t seem to be video of what happens after you refuse Catalina’s offer, so I played through the game a fourth time (only to mission 10 so that I could kill Jais and have that be on my save) to record the result myself. The scene plays out much the same, only there’s no combat. Instead, the false Catalina (who turns out to be a normal fire mage) and the two knights kill each other off-screen before the mysterious mage shows up.
Mission 9 side story B
Another angry ghost shows up. He’s not happy with Allura because she has the mark of the Fiend, and apparently some Fiend worshipers killed him and his lover. I wonder if they’re the same ones we killed in mission 5? Whoever did the deed, we finish him off and the devil eats his soul. So much for being reunited with his dead lover. Oh, and Allura feels kind of bad about this, though it’s hard to tell the difference between regret and generic Allura-brand brain-damaged confusion.
Mission 10 side story B
Some treasure hunters are looking for a hidden treasure and stumble on Allura, who grows a temporary spine and tells them to leave. One of the three recognizes the mark on her arm, but all three attack anyway. I reward their stupidity with electricity and flare rocks. I guess continued existence was the treasure all along!
Mission 11 side story B
Some kind of wannabe hero and his companion enter the castle looking for the person with the mark of the Fiend, only to mistake Allura’s armband for a burn. Both of them then head for the exits right away and I only manage to finish off the companion, though I totally had a shot at also getting him. I just blew it with the trap placements, and I forgot to save before this side story, so I had to live with the result. Still, his companion is dead because of his actions and he now has to live with that, which might be even more evil than simply smashing his head in.
Mission 12 side story B
Silvoff, an elite knight of the realm, shows up looking for someone. It’s obvious that he’s looking for Allura, so we answer honestly. He praises this, then decides that Allura is too naive to ascend the throne amid the country’s current chaos and that he has to kill her. Silvoff will become the broest of bros in later “B” set side stories, but for now we pummel him until we wrongly suspect that he’s dead and move on.
Mission 13 side story B
A mage named Fulchet who worked for Hertzog (by way of Catalina) is about to be killed by some other Hertzog soldiers, but Allura is given the option to rescue him and he claims to have something to tell her. We oblige and kill off the two who are threatening him, only for him to give some back story on Catalina that makes you feel kind of bad for her. Then he dies and Allura has a small crisis that Jais helps her through. That bit’s admittedly a little over the top, but the Catalina part is well done.
Mission 14 side story B
Here’s where things start to get crazy. Hertzog’s elite guard have Jais and Allura cornered, but Silvoff reappears and helps Jais out while Allura goes on ahead to chase after Hertzog by herself. She finds herself in one of the mansion’s more entertaining rooms confronted by Mayte, who explains that the Fiend’s throne is ahead and that he’s one sacrifice away from being resurrected. Allura responds by saying that she’ll fight the devil if she has to, and Mayte is like, “yeah, the ‘C’ ending is hard to get and I don’t believe you, so let’s fight it out.” Again, paraphrasing.
Anyway, she’s pretty gullible with the spring traps and the room can do plenty of damage on its own, so the fight itself is laughable. That’s not the crazy part. Things take a weird turn when the Mayte you fought turns out to have been some kind of magical projection, and wizard-tease Bertran telepathically communicates with her to tell her to leave Allura to him despite us having pretty definitively killed him in mission 13. Either the side story ordering got confused (this seems the most likely given the earlier “B” side story that’s a sequel to an “A” side story), or the Fiend can mimic the abilities and mannerisms of those it devours, which would be a weirdly convenient and unnecessary ability to trot out toward the very end.
Mission 15 side story B
The mysterious mage who helped us in mission 12’s side story “A” and mission 8’s side story “B” finally reveals himself as an ally of Rachel. His name is also Kendal, which doesn’t really seem like a mysterious mage name, but I’ll play along. Especially since this is the side story for mission 15, so it technically takes place between Rachel brandishing a knife and Rachel stabbing annoying pacifist Allura. The chronology of the whole thing is messed up, but you know. Magic and stuff.
He confirms that Rachel set everything up so that Allura would become the Fiend’s sacrifice, and Allura goes into some hardcore denial. Then some kind of Ada phantom shows up to fight. She’s immune to the spring traps, but not very smart about not running into a moving flare rock (it’s great to set it at the bottom of the stairs so that the push wall moves it up, then the stairs roll it back down). The second that lands, the spring trap becomes an option again and can even launch both of them into the air together for even more damage. Once she’s dead, Finnegan similarly gets a phantom who you have to fight. This is even easier because he can be hit with the spring to start with and comboed from there.
More phantoms look ready to appear when Silvoff, showing his true bro colors, blocks the phantom magic (or something) and dies in the process, saying nice things to Allura in the process. Then we fight Kendal and he proves to be a giant pushover. Seriously, this guy is just a normal fire mage with more health than most, and he also has a fire geyser kind of attack so telegraphed that random people on the other side of the planet know to avoid it. Oh, and the guy has no spring immunity, so the whole thing becomes a joke. Then the Fiend eats his soul and it doesn’t count for some reason because he’s then a disembodied voice talking about how he’s totally on Team Anti-Fiend and how he’s waited for hundreds of years from “the other world of the mark.” He bleeds red, though, so he’s not a Timenoid and I have no idea what he’s talking about. Disembodied voices are always such vague jerks about stuff.