A new Episode means three new chests for the player to plunder and more things to say by the resident Demons.
Note: Provided you haven't done so yet, enter the Dark Assembly to locate a bill called "More Expensive Stuff." This Episode has a tendency to pit the player against enemies with high HP, particularly the first Map. The basic weapons your characters are equipped with won't protect them from menaces later on. Pass the Bill at least twice before proceeding. Some Assembly bills have a chance to fail, so it's best to Save the game before proposing the bill. "More Expensive Stuff" usually falls between 50%-65% in terms of chance.
Speaking of the Dark Assembly, You may have unlocked bills such as "Make a Strange Old Man" or "Make a Busty Beauty." This unlocks more classes for players to create. These have a slightly lower chance to pass,but saving and re-loading will ensure an eventual approval.
Note: This Episode's enemies take a sudden jump in defense and equipment. It is highly recommended that you introduce yourself to the Item World. Talk to the Ghost next to the Director to receive a tutorial. The Item World allows one to enter any item, powering it up by progressing down it's floors. Players just starting out should follow these basic guidelines:
- No need to progress past ten floors until at least three or more troops have their attacking stats exceeding 400.
- No need to kill every enemy on a floor, though better rewards usually follow if you do.
- Enter any Yellow Gate you find. These are Mystery Rooms. The only rooms of interest for now are ambushes, Treasure Chest rooms, and Dragon-guard rooms. Denizens of any other type of Room are insignificant for now.
- If enemies are stronger that you, make entering a Red Gate a priority.
- Don't be afraid to throw allies into Red Gates if obstacles block normal movement.
- One can lift an obstacle, move an ally, then cancel the lift, as though it wasn't even there.
- A Fist-user is essential for knocking Gate Keepers off of Red Gates.
- Killing Item Generals is optional, but generally hazardous, as they are usually better-equipped than their minions. A Thief that knows Consciousness and/or Health helps.
The "Item World" section goes into greater detail. Once any or no preparations have been made, speak to the Director to move on.
Stage 2-1: Desert Ballad
|Weapon||Wolf's Fang (Red)||Slime Juice|
|Special 1||Zombie Juice||Zombie Juice|
Geo Symbols - Blue, Purple, Red (Clone, Move -1 (x2))
The odds are against you from the start. A massive field of Panels that not only lowers your Movement range, but spawns enemy troops every turn if something is in it. All the while, your army is assailed by enemies that can spread Poison. Peachy.
Needless to say, the Geo Symbols have got to go. But how to get across without activating the Geo Effects?
A throwing tower, of course! Get two characters with 5 TW to toss your strongest combatant to the other side of the field. Have your ace pop the nearest Geo Symbol to begin a Geo Chain that erases all of the ill effects. (Unfortunately, your throwers will take Chain damage, but a Healer can fix this) To destroy the symbol however, an attacking stat higher than 150 will be required. Hence, the recommendation to enter the Item World.
Upgraded equipment will also be useful against the Zombies, who have well over 300 HP (The Corpse has about 400!) and can fully heal themselves if an ally is killed with a regular attack.
The Zombies will also use Zombie Juice, which inflicts Poison. Poison takes away 20% of an ally or enemy's maximum HP each turn. Poison usually goes away after three turns if left untreated, though it is best purged from the outset with Fairy Dust items or the spell Espoir.
Zombies have moderate DEF but pitiful RES, making Magic effective against them. They also can't move very far, so long-range characters are relatively safe if they keep moving. Close-range fighting is doable as well, and is best used in tandem with long-range potshots. Fists and Axes will be very effective here, for Counter rate and Critical chance, respectively. Of course, Poison makes tanking somewhat of a non-option, as Poison ignores DEF.
As long as the player can mitigate Poison and activate the Geo Chain, this map will eventually be conquered.
Stage 2-1: Desert Ballad: Revisit
This map functions exactly as it did before with no changes.
Stage 2-2: Two In Dire Rubicon
|Vodianoi (x2)||Nemophila (x2)||Hell Hound (x2)||????: Rogue|
|Weapon||The Dead (Blue)||Goblin Claw (Red)||Wolf's Fang (Red)||Bear Claw|
|Armor||N/A||N/A||N/A||Leather Jacket, Imperial Seal|
|Special 1||Electric Shock||Green Needle||Wild Rush||Kienzan|
Geo Symbols - Green, Purple, Aqua, Yellow (No Lifting, Enemy Boost +50%, EXP +50%, ATK +50%)
This is one of the few "Boss Battle" type Maps in the entire game. The enemies are boosted by 50%, and cannot be lifted. The bridge in the center of the map increases the attacking power on anything on it by 50% and enemies destroyed on it give out 50% more EXP.
The broadcasted strategy is to man the bridge, taking enemies out one at a time using the benefits given. However, the enemies will work in tandem to destroy you, and even the highest defenses will wittle away with time.
The Geo Symbol giving the No Lifting effect can be easily destroyed by a Magic-caster with a Staff mastery of 2 or more. The Geo Chain's scratch damage will reduce the HP of all but the Rogue by half and considerably weaken the enemy offense, leaving just the benefits for Axel's forces to exploit.
The generics are best dealt with first, as the Rogue will perform Combos and Team Attacks with them if they are saved for last. These enemies are best defeated with long-rang attacks. The platform the player starts on is an excellent area for Magic-casters and Gun-toters to pelt enemy forces. Physical fighters and Bow-users should man the Bridge, if only to prevent the enemies from doing the same.
The Rogue has extremely high ATK, (Though Item World-boosted equipment can be on-par) high HP, moderate DEF, and has a Special that can attack three characters at once. Her Special Attack Kienzan is Fire-based, so a Healer or Axel can brave through it. She also has a Counter rate of 2, making regular attacks lethal to any unit with less than 200 HP. Truly, she is the strongest enemy one has faced so far.
While the Rogue has low RES and randomized Elemental Resistances, her high attacking power and the range of Kienzan makes Mages a mixed bag in this fight. As such, Physical fighters should be of greater priority. The Thief of all classes is very effective here at Level 10, as she learns the ability Conciousness. Conciousness puts a target to sleep, with a 90% chance of success. Putting the Rogue under both Sleep and Poison is an underhanded way to win worthy of a demon.
Otherwise, one massive Combo should be enough to close the curtain on the Rogue. Upon clearing the stage, the Rogue reveals herself to be the Actress, and promptly joins Axel's party. The Actress has the highest HP Aptitude of all of the game's Unique characters, making her an excellent tank after Axel.
Stage 2-2: Two In Dire Rubicon: Revisit
This level is probably the best grinding site out of Axel Mode's main story maps. The strategy involves combining every enemy into a single entity to be Poisoned and put to sleep. The Poison will whittle the target's eventually obscene HP to a level in which you're troops will be able to defeat it. Of course, the target's stats receive a major boost due to the piled-on levels. Therefore, the target should be tossed onto the Bridge area so that the character one is leveling will be able to do more damage. (Attacking from behind is recommended, as the target's now-boosted SPD will reduce accuracy)
Note: The grinding from this Stage, should the player pursue it, is the quickest way to level a Level 1 unit to the 20-25 range in one play. Reincarnation to a higher class tier / competency level should be pursued at this point.
Stage 2-3: Dancing Sword
|Archer (x4)||Hunter (x3)||Shooter|
|Weapon||Long Bow||Long Bow||Wooden Bow|
|Armor||Plastic Nose (Glasses)||Plastic Nose (Glasses)||Opera Glasses (Glasses)|
|Special 1||Poison Blast||Poison Blast||Poison Blast|
|Special 2||N/A||N/A||Raiden Missle|
Geo Symbol - Green (Heal 20%, Evade, Enemy Boost +50%, Clone, No Lifting, No Close Combat)
Note: Save before you enter this map.
This map is a shade of Stage 1-4, but with Human enemies instead of Wolves. The archers are obscenely powered up with a bundle of positive Geo effects. Unlike 1-4, a Geo Chain won't save you, since all Symbols are of the same color.
The worst effects on this map are Evade and Clone. Evade reduces the maximum possible accuracy of any attacks launched on things on these Panels to 50%, regardless of the attacker's HIT. Clone does exactly what it says: spawns a double of anything on it. You can always tell a clone from the original by the title of Poser (For generics) or Copy. (For Uniques)
The Evade and Clone symbols need to be destroyed. A Magic-caster can be thrown across the map by other allies to take care of the Symbols. Unfortunately, the Evade effect adds an element of luck to the strategy. It's best to use a Caster that can attack three Panels at once. (The third range option when choosing a spell, which requires Level 3 Weapon Mastery) If the Caster misses the Evade symbol, it's best to reset; as the Caster(s) will be pecked to death by boosted Archers.
The Archers themselves are standard affair on their own, with the stronger ones on the other side of the map. However, the enemies have two major weaknesses: They will never move, and the No Close Combat effect prevents the Archers from attacking anything right next to them. This makes physical fighter-types the best units to take the fight to the enemy. (As other types generally lack the HP to take more than two or so hits)
Note: Players using a second play-through (Or having intensely grinded) may have a Fist-user that knows King of Beasts or Rising Dragon, which can be used to knock the Archers off of their Panels, making them vulnerable. The Clone Symbol and corner-placed enemies can still be an issue, though.
Stage 2-3: Dancing Sword: Revisit
This map functions exactly as it did the first time around.
Stage 2-4: A Hero Arrives
|Tree Folk (x2)||Jounin (x2)||Sniper (x3)||Ghast (x4)||Black Dog (x2)||Asagi: Main Character?|
|Weapon||N/A||Double Slap||Steam Gun||N/A||Wolf's Fang (Red)||44. Magnum|
|Armor||N/A||Leather Jacket||Leather Jacket||N/A||Cross-Trainers||Light Armor, Ninja Tabi|
|Special 1||N/A||Triple Strike||N/A||Zombie Juice||Wild Rush||Tri-Burst|
|Special 2||Morphing Blow (Magichange)||N/A||Sacrifice Beam (Magichange)||N/A||N/A||Gaia Blast|
Geo Symbol - Red (No Range Attack)
Compared to previous maps, this one is easier on the brain. No Range Attack Panels cover the bottom ravine. Asagi and her Gunners all have Zombie minions waiting to Magichange the following turn. Two Golems and Ninja have the Base Panel covered, while two Wolves wait to draw in. Asagi and her allies will not attack you this turn, so it's best to pop the Geo Symbol first, so you may attack unrestricted.
Asagi is well-eqipped, which makes her able to dodge many attacks with ease. A Thief that knows Conciousness (Or even better, the Paralysis-inducing Freedom!) can put Asagi temporarily out of commission while the player advances on the other enemies. The Wolves aren't amazing, but the Zombies' high HP make it best to let them Magichange into the frail Gunners, thus thinning the enemy force with no effort on your part. The following turn, the Gunners will advance, attacking with Sacrifice Beam.
After the Gunners are defeated, Your Thief should re-apply Sleep and/or Paralysis, leading the way for a massive Combo to take Asagi down with.
Stage 2-4: A Hero Arrives!: Revisit
Asagi is gone, but everything else stays the same.