| paleface [sys=PC; cat=Role_Playing; loc=EUR] |
Playing the free "Megami Tensei: Neuroheroine 2" Megaten fan game on PC! I've never played a Megaten game but I'd been looking for a solo RPG that didn't have flashing visual FX and this is just about the only one I've been able to find--and I really like the aesthetic.
There is one four-letter word in the text dialogue in this episode.
Free for Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android, from https://jameshillten.itch.io/megami-tensei-neuroheroine-2
The game's author jameshillten.itch.io is on YouTube as @dude3rd - https://www.youtube.com/@dude3rd - and on reddit as u/JaneThird - https://www.reddit.com/user/JaneThird/ .
Found undocumented keys:
f = Fullscreen/Windowed toggle
a = Accessibility options screen
SMNh2 doesn't tell you much about its systems; the author seems to rely upon information on the game's itch.io page; this part on stats seems important:
" *Intellect* stat reflects the chance of successful negotiations with demons. *Endurance* stat reflects the chance of automatic ailments mitigation and possibility to sustain the fatal damage. *Luck* stat reflects the chance of Items drop increase and amount of Stamina and Magic recovery during SKIP turn option. *Speed* stat reflects the chance to act more often during battles."
I can't find a way to use items or abilities in the dungeon outside of battle, which sort of makes sense as a purely game design decision but doesn't make sense to me as a player. So getting a battle down to one fairly low-harm opponent & then using SKIP to recharge Stamina and Magic could be key, since you need Stamina for things like the Whip attack...which also relies on being tied to Elements in another obscure game system or two. And then there's Sword attacks being tied to the phase of the moon, which changes with each turn you take in the dungeon...
My first run seemed doomed once my money got reduced to ¥-39 by the Shock status ailment from a common enemy. Seemed weird & became critical once Fountain Lady, whose heals I had relied upon to restore me after the brutal encounters in this starter dungeon, started charging ¥2 for her Healing, which had been free. My funds got back to positive--¥1 'p'--when my character hit to level 2, but it wasn't enough & I was soon dead.
One play problem I have is I keep treating the game like a roguelike, since that's what I've been playing lately. Gotta remember to use Save and Load! On the itch.io page, the author explicitly recommends saving often--and I sure as heck am going to reload when an ailment reduces my money!
Might be TOO easy to save; after recording I was messing around and accidentally saved instead of loaded right after triggering a demon encounter; I had only 8 hp and they always attack first, usually inflicting more than 8 damage combined, so that's pretty much the end of that adventure! OOPs. I mean it was kind of over anyway with no money and low health, but I had a slight hope of checking that buggy-feeling "M" square up north and maybe that would have been the thing in the dungeon that "changed" when I clicked the mysterious button in that dead end.
The fact that the enemies in even the first encounter routinely inflict more damage than you can heal with your limited heals from your Sprite demon summon seems nuts. Game don't go easy! Not sure now I'll ever make it through the first dungeon... Gotta remember to save often & use reload!
Damage & heal numbers are not random: my regular attack does 5 damage each time, Sprite heals for 17 each time, etc.
The most common items I found were Element stat boosting Incense items; not exactly sure how those will work but I'll have to remember to try them next time.
The sprites appear to be rips from 2D Megami Tensei games--I recognized one of the enemies from a SMTII video--and the music is real good which probably means its from a Megaten game soundtrack or five. & the author credits several AI art programs.
|Made with the Python-based visual novel engine Ren'Py. And it's using the same font I'm using for the ASCII roguelike dungeon crawler Angband (see entry 1412): Perfect DOS VGA 437 ( https://www.dafont.com/perfect-dos-vga-437.font ).|
|By exhausting all the possible in-game answers I could find, I eventually deduced 'p' that a mandatory riddle required outside knowledge--and Googling and some Megaten wiki reading and then some guesses revealed that yes, it required specific knowledge from some Megaten game or game...which fortunately was on the wiki and didn't take toooo many guesses so I was able to pass the riddle after flailing around for a while, giving a certain sense of accomplishment. The well-meaning game author spoiled it for me, fortunately after I had figured it out myself. ^ _^|
They've also been dropping explanations of the various game systems in YouTube comments:
"1. Speed stat is very important for beginners. It let you act first in battles and act more often during battles. I recommend put at least 5 points into Speed during prologue. And also keep your Speed stat higher than your current level. If you level 20, your optimal Speed should be in 25-30 range, at least."
So far I've just been leveling my four basic stats evenly since I wasn't sure which was best for now based on their definition on the game's itch.io page; at level 3 I have them all at 6.
"2. Fountain Lady heal cost depend on your current level. It will increase as you progress.
3. You can talk to demons and ask them for money."
I'd tried that once on a Scarecrow I think and they told me something like they're broke too (and when I asked them for healing they told me they can't do that...like another demon I've fought so far they have an attack by which they can heal themselves though ; ), so I hadn't been tempted to spend a turn trying that again! I'll have to keep an eye out for a rich-looking demon I suppose. ; )
"4. Looks like it was a bug during Junk fight. You shouldn't be able to use Flame lash without set him on Fire first (whose fire particle effects)."
Consistent with the rest of the game, the game message you get when trying to use the Whip's "Flame Lash" on a monster who isn't on fire is generic and doesn't tell you why it can't be used on that monster at that time. : P
"5. [riddle spoiler]
6. Map icon reveal whole map you discovered so far. It will be useful in bigger dungeons to see layout."
The [M] map block is against a wall in the first room of the dungeon, so when you're probably going to try it first, you're likely a) not going to have any further map area to reveal anyway, so it will seem like the map block does nothing and the line of text it gives when it activates--doing nothing--seems to make no sense, and b) you'll be facing the wall and turning away from the wall to step off the block re-activates the [at this point imperceptible] map function each turn, so it feels like some bug is swallowing your movement inputs because you actually have to click to clear the re-activation text before you can use a movement input again. : P
"Yeah, it's % chance to set enemies on [Element]. If you will reach your Elemental affinity to 15, demon will change his skill to the more powerful version with higher chance to set enemy on [Element].
Whip stuff is pretty basic. If demon is Vulnerable to Fire (for example), you perform Agilao attack with Chironnupu, set him on Fire (if you lucky) and use Flame whip attacks as much as you want while you have Stamina.
Some enemies (bosses, mostly) will nullify any regular sword and gun attacks, so your only option is to break their elemental vulnerabilities with a Whip.
During Full Moon and New Moon you will get [Element] Incence from chests. Use them at Fountain lady to increase elemental affinity (and Whip elemental damage too).
Also, keeping some demon equipped when level up will automatically increase corresponding affinity by 1 point. Chironnupu is a Fire demon, so you will get +1 Fire affinity point, but only if Chiro is equipped."
"yeah, it's a Megaten thing.
Nu - Null
Rp - Repel back damage
Dr - Dry
Wk - Weak"
From using Talk on a boss, they told me they were "Nu" to Gun and Elec and other stuff, and only neutral ("-") to Fire, and also "Vulnerable" to Elec and Fire. An Elec bullet attack on them did 0 damage, and a Fire bullet attack did 2/3rds normal damage. So it seems "Nu" overrides "Vulnerable," but the "-" and "Vulnerable" to fire allows partial damage to happen from a Fire + bullet attack, with the Gun "Nu" negating some of the damage. I guess? It's confusing, because a demon listing "Nu" or "-" to a damage type but also "Vulnerable" to it looks contradictory.
|'no, no, Vulnerabilities are separate from usual weaknesses, they can be similar but may also be different. Vulnerabilities are used only for companion demon skills and Whip. If demon is Vulnerable to Fire (for example), you can damage him with Agilao (fire skill), at the same time enemy can have "Nu" for the Fire effect, which means Fire Bullets will do no damage to him.'|
|A reply from the author on the itch page: "Megaten games tend to be brutal early game, so I just keep the tradition."|
If you were wondering if you need to have knowledge of the Megami Tensei series to play this game, the answer seems to be--yes! Or eh well I got through a Megaten lore puzzle here thanks to some googling, but only after flailing around for a while before I had to admit that okay it MUST be a Megami Tensei lore puzzle because nothing here in this game seems to be giving me the answer. Man! So I guess I'm gonna need to keep Google handy. Thank goodness for all the Megaten fans maintaining handy info on wiki sites! ^ _^
Also realized the graphics are 720p native. So next time I'll record at 720p from the game running in its 720p window, rather than running it full-screen 1080p, which rescales and thus has to blur the bitmaps slightly.
So...that boss. Looks like it's just gonna take a bunch of grinding to get strong enough not to get killed immediately. But I can't use up any more healing items 'cause you can't buy more in the dungeon--might find more, I suppose--and even bullets that I can buy here are expensive--I currently get about ¥40 per battle maybe, and 10 bullets cost ¥200 from Fountain Lady, so that's means using no more than 2 bullets per battle to be breaking even on bullets! Uh. I'm not strong enough yet to get through the battles without using bullet attacks, I don't think...so hopefully, using my current supply of bullets will get me high enough level that I WILL be strong enough to get through without bullets, and then I can do the real grinding.
Otherwise I'm hosed and will have to restart the dungeon again and hm find a way to do it without so many bullets, maybe. Which would basically mean relying almost entirely on Chironnupu's (after finding him halfway through the dungeon) fiery spell and then Whip Flame lash if I managed to set the target on fire with the spell; those would be taking lots of Ma and Stamina, respectively, so I'd have to use SKIP a lot to regain some of those, which means I'd be taking a lot of damage; but I can't use a lot of the health restore items bought from the store since I'll almost certainly need some of those against the boss even after grinding up my level a lot...so I'm not sure how viable that is. Sooo yeah hopefully the bullets I have (or can get from drops?) will see me through to where I can afford to buy bullets from Fountain Lady. I guess that's gotta work somehow 'cause otherwise I don't know how you'd get through!
So I'll have to hope I can grind up to the point where I can do the real grind. Or something. : P
|'Couple of tips:|
1. It is recommended to be at least level 10 to fight first boss. You level up each two battles.
2. This is hidden mechanic, but always try to use "Flirt" option when talking to demon, he may drop Lifestone if he like you.'
|Author referred to the sprite work as "Kaneko art with pixelization filter" https://www.reddit.com/r/Megaten/comments/yxqdq5/comment/ix6jczn/?context=3 and the music as mostly "SMT, Persona, Giten and Trauma series tracks" https://www.reddit.com/r/Megaten/comments/yyrmp8/megami_tensei_neuroheroine_fangame_is_out/ix2i536/?context=3|
That would be artist Kazuma Kaneko https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuma_Kaneko who's been with the Megami Tensei series since the second game: he applied for a job as a young untutored artist after playing the first Megaten game on Famicom.
Grinding! Pumping Speed stat to ridiculo lvls--& I'm told by the author you lvl every 2 battles--but save-scum reloading (instead of raising my Endurance stat) whenev an actual bad status FX--like getting money drained--or a dreaded double-encounter (whhyyy) occurred slowed things down, as did tougher enemies appearing as I leveled (drat!). Finally survived a double encounter near the end! & the $ you get from battles goes up drastically with each lvl up, while bullet price doesn't, so I can Gun as much as I want, which is lots.
I'm never gonna be able to remember the Wk/Nu/Rf/vulnerabilities of all these enemies. I should be copying them down to a txt file I guess, since you can't recall them in-game after having burned a battle turn learning them via Talk. Mostly it comes down to what attack do I use on this enemy and what's my fall-back if they shield?
I don't like the chancy and meter-costly on-fire/whip mechanic right now; feels like it never works when I need it. Guess I'll pump my fire affinity to 15 so I get an improved companion fire spell, maybe then it won't suck so much. At some point then I'll have to pump Luck, 'cause I'll need its improved Magic/Stamina regain on SKIP to be able to use the fire spell and whip more than, like, twice. ; P The author tells me that at some point there will be enemies--mostly bosses--who can ONLY be hurt by spell/whip, so I guess I can't just ignore it, which I would prefer.
Pixie's healing has been getting better, it's up to +21 HP now or more. Want just to stick with Pix. Almost as good as a healing item which I thought were limited in the dungeon but the author tells me can be got from enemies via Talk - Flirt "if they like you."
But I don't like all these roll-of-the-dice uncertain-to-succeed mechanics which, if you don't "get lucky"--you can't see their chance of success--mean you wasted a vital turn in these almost-always-life-or-death battles. Just gimme gun, sword, and heals, man; those never fail.
May have to money grind so I can buy a better sword once I get out of here; sword dam doesn't rise w/ lvl & my sword dmg sucks & I'm tired of it sucking. Inclined to grind 'til I break the game or nearly & then have to worry about irritating mechanics as little as possible.
Used hidden "a" Accessibility screen to inflate the text size to silly big. ^_ ^ Prolly too big for comfort really but I think it's funny so I'm leaving it. But didn't improve the too-tiny-and-faint mini-map arrow which is actually how you navigate dungeons; ugh my eyeballs.
Did some testing to see if eyeballs felt better going back to 1080p fullscreen vs the game's sharper native 720p window: I think it was actually the dark screen of the game clashing against my medium-brightness Windows background that was bothering my eyes in windowed, not the tiny middle gray map arrow, since that's bigger but blurrier in full screen anyway. So I'll have to remember to switch my desktop bg to gothy black before booting MTNh2. \^ _^/
Oh huh the lower corner curves to the 720p window (Win 11 stupid curved corners~~) don't actually render in the final capture--that's good!
Grinding to rather absurd levels because it's fun. ^ _^ The game's systems feel like they start to work better, for instance once you get your Fire Affinity up to 15--thanks to the dev for the tip!--your companion's fire spell evolves to a version that actually works most of the time, which makes the whole Whip mechanic work, and it turns out that's how you do Really Big Damage.
Could probably take on the Prologue dungeon's boss now but think I'll keep grinding both because I'm enjoying it--there's tactics per enemy and with more demon types continuing to appear I finally had to start writing their weaknesses and strengths down because it was too much for my feeble memory to track ^ _^--and because I want to have enough dough to buy the shop's best sword 'cause hopefully it'll be better than this weakster doodle sword I started with. Although if it did much more damage it could sorta break the balance with your other attack options so maybe it's mostly that it does special side effects during certain Moon phases or something.
More and more topless girl demons--in surprising variety--started coming along as I continued to level up past oh level 7 or so. I guess now I know one reason why the Megami Tensei series is popular! = ooo
Number of encounters that can hit you in a row before you even move has been getting even more ridiculous though, bleh. You can just save/load out of them if you really need to though so it's all kind of ugh.
Never got a heal item from using Talk - Flirt on a demon, but either Flirt, Threaten, or Outsmart or whatever always seem to work, which I guess might be slightly easier than using Chatter like I had been doing. Doesn't really matter I suppose, just depends on which kind of funky text response you want to see. Might be different if I put more points into Intellect but it works after a few clicks so why bother? But I could probably actually get money or healing from a demon if I pumped Intellect. Still not really tempted. ; ) Speed speed speed is killin' it.
Finally went to fight the Prologue boss and gee the big fire spell thing failed, even leveled-up. In the heat of my resulting irritation I swore I wouldn't ever bother using spells again but was forgetting the developer said some enemies--mostly bosses--will "nullify any regular sword and gun attacks" so I guess maybe I'll have to at some point, blahrgh--unless he meant you can still hurt them a little with elemental gun attacks like I was on this boss.
Oh yeah they also told me that if you open a chest during Full Moon or New Moon, that's when you get Incense items. Looks like you can use those to raise stats or trade 'em to Fountain Lady (according to the dev) to raise elemental Affinity. Don't need those much really so don't think I'll bother; didn't buy 'em from the shop (cost 3000).
Oh! SKIP can charge MAGIC and STAMINA up over their normal max; that's how they got to 13 one time in the previous session: https://youtu.be/yx7ySIrtDaY?t=1048 . That had been confusing me; I'd though it was from a Chakra Drop, but the store said Chakra Drops just restore EP.
After buying the two high-damage swords, spent the rest of my dough on 50% health restore items ("Medicine"); good chance I won't really need 'em considering how ridiculously over-leveled I am but what the heck.
I like this 10 ST, 55K sword that kills the current enemies in one 75 dam CHOP. : D Takes all my ST (STAMINA) but hey it's half the battle. ; D WHACK! ^ D^ I'll hafta see what that "Severe" damage from the 3 ST sword is.
You can't negotiate with demons during Full Moon (no Talk, more CHOP!).
Don't like people or heavenly bodies telling me what to do so I'm pretty much ignoring the whole phases of the Moon thing as much as possible. = P
Like the wood grain in this new dungeon, and that the battle music isn't way louder than everything else--so next ep I'll be able to raise the game volume back up so we'll actually be able to hear the rest of the game sounds and stuff. ^ )^
Found you can get a battle down to one relatively harmless opponent, then pump MAGIC and STAMINA to ridiculous levels by click-festing SKIP, healing with Pixie as necessary.
Not enjoying the more mazelike quality of the larger second dungeon, I think especially because of the way the game limits your view of the automap to your immediate vicinity. Automap was invented to save the player the time of having to make their own map; crippling the automap--in this game you have to go all the way back to the start of the dungeon and stand on the "M" tile there to see the full automap--is disrespecting the player's time, and telling them to leave your game and go to a game with a decent automap.
Mysterious reduced damage to an elemental bullet probably means the demon has (undisclosed by Talk) spell Invulnerability to that element.
Gotta test this new Elec Affinity out.
Chain encounters feel like they're getting worse. ; P
Invisible traps sending you back to the dungeon start are pretty annoying, especially when NPCs apparently try to trick you into hitting them (34:01)--which you will anyway because there's no way to detect them.
Didn't need knowledge of other Megami Tensei games to solve the riddle in the second dungeon, so that was nice. The riddle guy's word parser is a little strict so uh that's something to keep in mind.
The pattern for the two dungeons so far is that you explore around until you step on an invisible switch in a dead end that opens a tunnel leading to the riddle guy; type in the answer partially or wholly based on clues from NPCs or props found in the dungeon to gain access to the boss, who you zap to death with a particular elemental spell.
Was Pixie's level up at lvl 40 just automatic?
Last episode I thought I was all clever for using SKIP to pump MAGIC and STAMINA to over 100, but STAMINA just reset to my standard 10 at the start of the first battle, and MAGIC reset when Fountain Lady healed me. : P
Think I am gonna pump Luck some more and see where that gets me because clicking Skip so much is a drag. In fact I think I'll hop back to the store and spend the $ I didn't know what to do with on that Luck Incense or whatever it is to get 20 quick points that way.
Extra MAG and STA gain from Skip after pumping Luck a bit so far is so slow that I'm starting to wonder if more Luck just changes how likely you are to get a whole 2 points of each from each Skip rather than 1. = P
Stubbornly sticking with boosting Fire affinity 'cause well who knows, but it does a heck of a lot of damage when it works. : P
But uh it finally occurs to me that not Vulnerable probably = Invulnerable, and that's kind of annoying. I mean, the magic system was already kind of annoying, and that sure wouldn't be helping.
Well hm maybe it does sort of, but not exactly(??) because Volvo for instance is Vulnerable to Ice, by her own account https://youtu.be/yx7ySIrtDaY?t=6166 , and Invulnerable to Fire (I found)--but I was able to do damage to her twice with Aiho's Zionga Elec spell--but on the THIRD try it said she was Invulnerable to it?? ... ????
3rd dungeon (Mission 3: Eruption) goes really heavy on teleporters, one-way slides (took me this long to spot they do show the slide direction in a tiny directional arrow pattern on the map 'p') and other design hacks, really didn't enjoy that aspect of it. At least the riddle is an easy hack.
Mission 3's end story bit is supposed to be a sad wrap-up of an earlier part of the story, but it's something I have no memory of, either from the first Neuroheroine, which I haven't played, or some story thing from earlier in this game that I totally forgot already.
Raising Luck increases Magic & Stamina gain from Skip turns very slowly. Continually out of EP and 10 back from a Chakra Drop feels almost not worth the turn it took to use the Drop.
Although you get one more elemental spell/companion per mission/dungeon, and the better sword I got made the sword actually cool, overall the combat feels more and more restrictive at higher levels because more of the enemies nullify more of your offensive options.
Forgot to use my stat-booster consumables that you can only use outside the dungeon again! Argh! Maybe I'll accidentally save over all my saves again and have to go and buy them all again next time, too! Wouldn't that be Fun HAHGHhahahhghhugh
The dungeon 3 boss looks super-cool but continuing the trend since dungeon 2 I seem to have leveled past the cute girl demons, and I didn't manage to find any amusing new game things to try to exploit, so overall Mission 3: Eruption felt pretty sloggy. Maybe there'll be some hot newness in Mission 4.
|Developer says "Both Eddie and Security Android are from first Neuroheroine game."|
*Apparently https://www.pronounceitright.com/pronunciation/hecate-15209 the Greek pronunciation of "Hecate" is something like "Heh-KAH-tee." Arthur Golding spelled it "Hecat" in his 16th century English translation of Ovid's "Metamorphoses," and English speakers at the time pronounced it "Heck-ut"; the "e" was eventually added back in, resulting in an Americanized "Heck-uh-tee" pronunciation.
**Part of the dungeon's idle music track got a copyright claim on it, so I cut 4 ~2-minute segments from the video. 'p'
***Thought Bael had hit me with an instant death attack of some kind but no, I just hadn't been watching my health for a while = P
I'd been kinda down on the previous dungeon, so fortunately I had more fun here playing through the game's fourth dungeon, from "Mission 4: Missing Entrance." The maze is less cheesy, I liked the demon designs more (aside from the boss encounter they're based on your character's level though, not the dungeon itself), and I was better prepared, having stocked up on bullets and Luck ahead of time.
So, that was all right! And uh I was wrong about it being the last dungeon. ; )
Heading into the game's 5th dungeon in Mission 5: Lotus Pond. You shrink yourself down with Alice's Wonderland "Drink Me" drinky-poo and are soon wending your way through giant lotus flowers. 'p'
A bit more mazy than the last dungeon; boy that encounter square right before the last half moon door I had to get back through just would NOT stop spawning and throwing off the timing, blargh.
Low-level monsters started appearing once I hit level 65, I think this may be because the developer--as he mentioned--only made monsters up through level 65 (and I ground up for 25 levels or so back in the first dungeon)--so now I seem to be facing monsters of all levels! So I took advantage of hapless lowbie opponents to Skip my MAGIC to over 1000...but now I don't want to get Healing from the usual home-base Fountain Lady because it'll reset my MAGIC back to 10. : P
Although magic is kind of a pain anyway, it's usually easier just to Skip more turns to recharge Stamina for another 75 dmg sword hit; most of the early monsters aren't invulnerable to Sword/Phys.
Speaking of magic pain, I think maybe it's a % chance per hit (~50?) that a demon will become invulnerable to an element to which they aren't explicitly Vulnerable.
I know it sounds like I'm talking nonsense but that's how this game works!
Running back into the low-level monsters is helping me fill out my notes on their confessed defenses and vulnerabilities, though. I probably should have noted the character level I was at when I first met them. Oh well hey I started noting their time stamps in the YT video descriptions, I guess I can go through those and match them back up...
Second half of game's 5th dungeon in Mission 5: Lotus Pond.
Most of it was a wandering maze--surprisingly straightforward for this game! So that wasn't too bad. Still getting random level demons attacking because I exceeded the supplied menagerie's max level of 65.
Still have my huge amount of stored-up MAGIC points. Learned you can pre-load bullets over 10--I guess you should just do that before entering the dungeon so you don't have to waste turns reloading. I don't THINK getting Healing from Fountain Lady will reset BULLETS like it does MAGIC...
Like the first dungeon, this fifth dungeon's riddle involved Megami Tensei lore from OTHER Megaten games, and not having played any of those, I had to Google for the answer. Wanted to see if I could find it in non-Megaten stuff first, and well at least I learned some non-game stuff. ; )
Hm considering what the apparently precognitive Orcus said here, the next Mission is probably not a regular dungeon...
Found another undocumented keyboard function (while trying to type/cast spells : P): "f" toggles full-screen.
My SPOILERIFFIC notes on the demons (& Moon doors): https://smbhax.com/stuff/misc/mtnh2_demons.txt
Pretty good ending to the game, I think; the author definitely broke out some vibes.
The end song "Fragment from 'LIVING WITH A GHOST' Live by Chihiro Onitsuka," according to the credits, is real nice and I only talked over a little of it even. [_[ That didn't end up mattering 'cause it instantly got a copyright claim on YouTube of course because it's TOO GOOD. So I cut it out 'cause I don't like revenue sharing. Go play the game and get the full, copyrighted ending content yourself, it's pretty cool.
I was adjusting the game volume here--which I don't usually do--it was mostly at the beginning of the end song though which all got cut--by typing it in which would spike the volume real loud or anyway cause a burst of noise which uh yeah note to self don't do it that way if you're doing it while recording, use the darn slider.