How to Save the World
By now weíve built up enough suspense to enter the final dungeon. I might recommend that you make your final dungeon unique in some way. Often a final level will be in a special location. Iíve seen it be placed in the sky, in a separate realm, on the moon; several times Iíve seen it in a huge castle (not very original) or atop a mountain or volcano. Last dungeons can be especially intimidating, mysterious, large, or difficult. And the more of these it is, the better.
In Part 8 I described the Enemy Hideout Dungeon, but only briefly. I also mentioned that in some games, the final dungeon will be in more of a Fortress setup, where there are several outer barriers the hero must break down before going to the central point of no return. In my game, Lewis has already reached that point when he enters the dungeon.
You open the trap door into the dungeon like Ky told you to in her letter. When you do, you fall to the floor three stories below you. Luckily, you are in water, so you land safely, but thereís no way to get back up and through the door. See? Thereís your point of no return. Welcome to the Spadeland Bastion. Should you get into trouble in this dungeon, you can call on the third Jack any time you are on one of the outside parts of the dungeon. If youíre indoors, thereís no way the Jack can save you.
My Fortress dungeon consists of three main chambers with several minor ones. You are in the first chamber now, the Bastionís top floor. This is the battle chamber. There is one door that leads out of the room, but itís locked. To unlock it, you must defeat the enemies in each of the sub-chambers. These enemies include Chalcedons, Lost Souls, Roachers, and other foes you met earlier. Also found here are some new enemies, like the Galleon, a saucer-shaped enemy that attacks your throat in buzz saw motion. There are also some Feathers hidden in some of the chambers, so be on the lookout for them. Beat these enemies and you move on outdoors.
From here, you travel on the side of the mountain down to the next door. Once in, there is again no turning back, because a stone rolls in front of the entrance after you come in. This room is a bit lighter, though itís not clear why that is; there doesnít seem to be any real light source anywhere. This is the chamber of riddles, the second chamber of the Bastion. Here, you have to solve several puzzles within a time limit to move from chamber to chamber safely to keep the roof from falling on your head. Fail, and you must try again from the beginning of the chamber with less defense power on your meter. Succeed, and you move to the final chamber.
*Does it seem as if this dungeon is moving by a little quickly? Well, thatís unfortunately how many game creators make their last dungeon. Itís as if they just want to get the game over with. Shame, shame, shame. My last dungeon is going to be anything but short. Youíll see.
The third chamber of the Bastion is a battlefield where you meet the sub-boss, General Reginald Dastard himself. The generalís weapon of choice is a weapon you probably wish you had right about now: a sword that shoots charged electric beams from across the room at you. The trick to beating him was hinted at earlier in the game. First, you must get within close range of Dastard; he will not shoot beams at you from back there, because a hit would cause a blast that could potentially damage him as well as you. And when he fights you only using his sword and not the beams, his attack power and skill are greatly decreased. Stay close, and ten hits will destroy him. So youíve killed Dastard and ended the war in the land. All of the Lost Souls simply disappear after their leader is slain. Okay, so now what? You still donít know where Ky is, you certainly havenít prevented the devastation of the land before it happened, and you cannot repair the damage now that it is done. But you have killed the rightful heir of the evil Clubland Dastard Kings, and angered a particular Lost Soul waiting in the underworld. Dastardís last words are, ďForefather, I have failed you. Now I fear you shall never be free.Ē
At this, the ground shakes furiously. A voice from below the earth responds, ďReginaldÖ you shall be avenged. Lewis Dominick! You have killed my heir. I therefore challenge you to fight in my Bastion. Worthy opponent, my victory will signal the ruin of all your land. Not one person will survive when I take over the Island! And should you want to repair the damage done, you will have to go through me first. So accept the challenge, and prepare to die!Ē
All of a sudden, the mountain goes volcano and out of the top comes a steady stream of lava. The lava does not fall after going up, though. Instead it molds to form a mirror image / inverted mountain on top. Together, the two mountains form a sort of hourglass shape (kudos to the makers of Final Fantasy 6 for their island in the sky idea).
Before you can do anything, the fourth Jack, a condor named the Flying Onyx, grabs you in its mighty talons and carries you off. Out of Spade Mountain you go, up, up, and away until the Jack reaches the ďpeak,Ē which is really the bottom, of the inverted mountain, where he drops you off in front of the entrance. Now during this flight, if you had all fifty Feathers, you could use that messenger spell to send the birds to the past. Once you have landed in front of the entrance, though, itís too late and the spell can no longer be activated, since the fourth Jack is no longer in your possession. Technically, neither is the third, but the Amethyst is loyal to you and will send itself voluntarily. The Onyx wonít. You must catch it there and then, or no alternate ending for you.
Now you enter my chamber of tricks and treats, the final part of the final dungeon of the final land in the game. A complete summary of the dungeon will be included later. For now, Iíll leave you with an example of one trial Lewis must face:
You walk through a hallway of kaleidoscopic mirrors in the maze to end all mazes. Constantly, you walk into what seems to be a hall, but itís really a mirror (Skinner: Willie, get my Windex!). On top of this, you donít have the map yet. When you navigate the maze and kill the monsters that await you from every side seeing you in the reflections of the mirrors, you finally get the map. Then you have to go back through the maze to get out and up to the next level of the dungeon.
The final boss is the evil incarnation of the old Dastard King of Clubland, who possessed Reginald Dastard and used him to gain power in a violent takeover of Spade Mountain from beyond the grave, with assistance from living carriers like the jester whom to him he had forced to give eternal claim to their souls. Stephen King, eat your heart out.
The King is giant, red and black, carries an enormous broadsword, and wears heavy, red-hot steel for armor with an intimidating helmet to match. You cannot see his face. His attacks mostly involve the sword, but also molten dispatches of lava he will summon on you. To dodge the lava, you must hover and navigate your way through 3D tunnels of the waves surfing on pieces of rock from the ground. When the lava subsides, attack the King either by getting him long-range with your crossbow or short range with cherry bombs and the bow, which is really handy for tripping him so you can hit him several times while he is down. And if you use combo moves, itís all the better. Though itís easier said than done, fifteen hits takes down the king. Defeated, he stumbles to the ground where you can deliver a so-called final blow, only effective when you hit him in the head. With a clang, his helmet flies off, his body shrinks quite a bit, and he begins to resemble somebody youíve met beforeÖ
King Aetre looks up at you, defeated, his eyes a bright, furious red. I wonít include all of the dialogue here, but in short, he says first how he is so shocked that a mere boy beat him in combat. Then he explains his evil plan all along. He already had one Jack under his control, so with it he carried out his design to catch all of the Jacks, thus becoming unstoppable, and at the same time kill the three other heirs to the thrones of Aetreís Island, thus giving him ultimate control of the universe. He succeeded in possessing Reginald Dastard, heir to the Clubland throne, and then did the same to Kamikaze, King Hectorís long-lost son. His mistake was to let both of the heirsí younger siblings go, so Jerry Carmichael and Alexandra Chi (Heartland heiress) went free. Then when he tried to find the Spadeland heir, all he learned from the legends was that he would be somewhere in Club Town. So he had Dastard bomb the place out. It was a terrible misfortune that the heir escaped unharmed and even learned his first clues on the way to spoiling Aetreís plans. The Diamond King, bleeding to death right now, swears revenge on Lewis. Opening the door for a sequel, his last words as molten lava from the ground engulfs him are ďIíll be back, Lewis Dominick! I will haveÖ myÖ revenge!Ē
With that, the king disappears into the mountain. The inverted mountain begins to shake as it crumbles to pieces. Now would be a good time to call on the Amethyst to take you to safety. This is your last action in the game as Lewis.
On Lewisís return to Club Town, he watches in the distance as the upper Spade Mountain collapses. Suddenly, blue skies return over the scenery. The rubble of the town is cleared and the damage undone. Everywhere, things are going back to normal. The screen shows pictures of Diamond Castle once again bright and peaceful, Heartlandtown back in order, the desert sun thawing the icy streets, and Safe Haven Village, where Diamonds are suddenly becoming peaceful with the foreigners. Last, but not least, it shows Spade Mountain Metropolis, a happy city of busy spades digging away at new and bigger construction sites for their town.
There stands Lewis, alone in his small town, looking at the repair being done to the land. All is quiet, when from the woodlandsÖ could it be? He hears the footsteps running toward him. Itís Ky! She runs up and hugs you. Kodak moment. She thanks you for stopping the evil Dastard and restoring peace to the land, then asks you if her notes helped.
Lewis: Yeah, the notes were great, Ky! Thank you.
Ky: Iím glad to hear it. Wow, I canít wait to see King Aetre and see what Medal of Honor he has in store for you!
Lewis: Uh, I doubt youíll be seeing a lot of King Aetre in the future. You see, heís, well, disposed at the moment.
Ky: Oh. (Pause) Say, Lewis.
Ky: I was wondering, so, like, what are you going to do now that youíve saved the world from the forces of evil?
Lewis: Iím going to Disneyland!