Greetings again from Guns of the Helghast, DOOD!
Last Friday, April 26th, 2013, Guns of the Helghast dropped into the Disgaea 4 Lounge. Developed by Nippon Ichi Software Inc., the creators of the Disgaea video game series, this public space was installed on U.S. servers January 18th, 2012. Inspired by Hades, the main hub of the game-world in “Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten,” the general structure of the Lounge mimics the game well. In fact, aside from NPC placement, Home’s unique set of interactive features, and a few cosmetic alterations the space is spot-on down to the secret scalable sides along the edges of the isle. For those unfamiliar with the game or Home space, Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea 4 Lounge is done in an exaggerated art style reminiscent of “Maximo” or “MediEvil.”
Coming off quite cartoony with its use of bright colors, irregularly shaped gateways, comically crooked stair banisters, and over-sized seating, this place based upon a version of a hellish underworld in no way inspires fear. To the contrary, the super-deformed environment of the Disgaea 4 Lounge exudes a certain charm that is a welcome change of pace from Home’s usually more realistic locales. Saying the space doesn’t at least hint at a variation of Hades however would be untrue. Seemingly situated in the bowels of the Earth, the area directly overhead is as dark as death but fades in to a yellow-orange glow as one’s vision tilts downwards towards the light emanating from the lava-flow below. Encircling the periphery of the estate rings a strong stone gate, separating those filled with hate who had met their fate, from an ominous outer oblivion. And resting amidst this fiery sea like some quirky man-made isle, is a mountain of rock paved smooth with stone, sparse foliage, and surreal sets of furniture, games, and shops. This place isn’t all just loopy looks, though. Sporting plenty points of interest and the most mini-games covered in a space thus far, the Disgaea 4 Lounge is just as entertaining to play in as it is to ogle at.
Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea 4 Lounge is host to a total of ten items of interest, with six of those being mini-games. The first four on mention are fairly straightforward, being motion displays and shops. Not only with their eye-grabbing video but also an aural assault, the space’s two trailer screens are the first things taken note of. Largely displayed both fore and aft the initial spawn point, these screens stream identical feeds of trailers that boast the video game this Lounge is meant to mimic. Looping about every five minutes the ads begin with a beautiful soothing tune, which abruptly shifts into a wacky showcase of the game’s many features. Informative and fun to watch one may linger for a longer look before shuffling on to the space’s shops.
Each linking to a different set of merchandise, there are two shops in this Lounge. Similar to most markets in Home, the store set along the pink portal’s side sells virtual goods for real-world money. Items such as clothing (some of which aid in one of the Lounge’s games), companions, and furniture are available from here sporting the same sense of style native to this space. Along the green portal’s side is the Prize Exchange, the Lounge’s second store. Here HL (pronounced “Hell”), a form of virtual currency unique to the Disgaea 4 Lounge, is used to purchase male and female – specific masks and shirts only obtainable in this way. So how does one raise a little HL? 😉 Four of the Lounge’s six mini-games offer this exclusive form of cash.
Prinny Racing, potentially the fastest but also riskiest way of raising HL, is set immediately before the spawn point and so is the first of the four to be encountered. Prinnies are multi-colored penguins on peg-legs with tiny black bat wings attached to their back. Similar to dog or horse racing these prinnies all have different stats: the race number they’re assigned, their name, HP, HIT (which is guessed to be attack strength), weapon type, and comment, which may give some insight into their race performance. During a race prinnies not only run along pre-determined paths stretching around the majority of the isle, but will sometimes stop to fight. It’s during these encounters when a prinny’s HP and HIT primarily come into play to determine which prinny will emerge victorious and which prinny may meet their end by having their HP depleted, turning into a ghost, and being disqualified. HP also plays a role among one of two non-combat related mishaps, bomb blocks. Set about the path are black cubes covered in question marks which may vary in size and contain either a bomb or a speed boost. Bombs will deplete part of a prinny’s HP and slow its progress. Speed Boosts temporarily increase the speed at which a prinny travels and while this sounds like a good thing, which it mostly is, the sped-up prinny also runs the risk of running ahead of the other competitors into a bomb block, which would remove the bomb block from the path of the trailing competitors, or catching up to a hostile prinny looking for a fight. Slipping is the other non-combat related mishap that might befall a prinny, and while it doesn’t affect a prinny’s HP it does slow its progress a tad. Slipping may also happen anywhere along the path and isn’t triggered by the black cubes. If one wishes to place a wager on a particular prinny, tickets may be purchased for as little as one HL from the Ticket Sales prinny located at the center of the Lounge. Don’t yet have any HL to wager? Fret not, for twenty HL is received immediately upon engaging the Ticket Sales prinny for the first time. On each obtainable ticket will be listed odds for a particular prinny’s victory. The higher the payout ratio for victory the lower the probability of that prinny actually winning. While useful in being an additional aid as to whom to bet on, don’t immediately shy away from a longshot as sometimes they do place high, or even first, allowing for a massive gain. The only real deterrent to Prinny Racing is losing HL. Unlike the other three HL-gaining games, Prinny Racing is the only game where HL can be lost. That’s right, place a high wager and one could lose big; lose it all and the other games will have to be played in order to slowly regain what was lost. Worry not if no race is being conducted upon arrival as they are occasional rather than constant. In the meanwhile just be patient and try something else till a race begins. Nestled in a nearby nook between the Prinny Race and spawn point, and along the green portal’s side, sets the second HL-raising activity of the Disgaea 4 Lounge.
A fun way for fans of the Disgaea franchise to bide their time and earn some extra HL is with the Disgaea Test. Spanning the Disgaea franchise up to the fourth installment, the Disgaea Test is a timed multiplayer trivia game. A question is displayed upon a wide rectangular screen with three answers listed below and each aside a letter, marked “A – C,” in multiple choice fashion. Standing atop a colored square containing one of the letters, and before the timer completely counts down, is the method by which one answers. Correctly answering a question is only worth a single HL so progression may seem slow, but unlike the gamble of a Prinny Race there’s no way to lose what HL has been gained. That’s right, a wrong answer delivers no penalty other than the absence of a gained HL. Stuck for an answer? Look to the other players to indirectly glean some guidance. A bit shady perhaps, but when in Hades do as the dark denizens do. 😉 For those unfamiliar with the franchise there are still other HL-raising options.
Hell Sevens has two wood and green felt-top tables set not far beyond the Prinny Race acting as agents into the third of the Lounge’s games. Based around a column of cards marked with the number seven, up to four players take turns lying cards down to either side of those sevens forming horizontal rows of matching suits in sequential numeric order. The object of this game is to empty one’s own hand before their opponent(s) by strategically playing the right card or cards at the right time. Yes, multiple cards can be played in a single turn provided they contain a collection of cards matching in sequence to the order mentioned above. This game grants winners and other participants with HL just for playing, though placing nearer towards the winner rewards one with increased gains. While an entertaining game Hell Sevens is perhaps not quite as fun, though more simplistic, than the Lounge’s final HL-raising game called Netherworld Millionaire.
Not only the final of the four HL-raising games, Netherworld Millionaire is also the space’s second and final card game. Set upon the highest podium furthest from the initial spawn point, Netherworld Millionaire is played above twin sets of square lava pools and supports up to six players. After repeated reading of the game’s instructions this is assuredly the Lounge’s most complex game. A firm grasp of all the game’s intricacies and strategic tactics will escape most simply by reading; Netherworld Millionaire is a game which truly teaches best by playing. While initially daunting, most players will catch on after a round or two provided they first peeked at its rule sheet. As one learns the ins and outs of the game an appreciation is gained for the thought put into its construction. In the end it’s those same daunting complexities that serve to add a deeper level of strategy to Netherworld Millionaire and ultimately generates a more rewarding game. Top participants of Netherworld Millionaire also seem to earn more HL than those playing Hell Sevens. Unfortunately a former reward, a prinny-winged t-shirt, no longer appears to be obtainable as comments have arisen from multiple players stating that a strange glitch is the culprit. Apparently being broken for a while, hopefully someone at Nippon Ichi will see this and check things out. Regardless, this game is still a lot of fun and offers a healthy amount of HL for playing. The last items of interest in the Disgaea 4 Lounge are two simplistic arcade games and while no HL can be obtained they still offer an enjoyable diversion.
As neither game has an official name outside of “Arcade Game,” the first discussed will be labeled Prinny Toss. Set far back from the spawn point and having the appearance of a traditional arcade cabinet, Prinny Toss is most easily summarised as a strange take on “Bejeweled” or “Dr. Mario.” Etna, a vassal and main supporting character from the first “Disgaea,” stands to the right of a game-board filled with multicolored prinnies and hearts, holding either two prinnies, two hearts, or a combination of the two. After moving a set of connected twin cursors over two prinnies and pressing the “X” button Etna tosses the contents of her hands into the spot selected knocking away the previous place’s prinnies. The goal of the game is to pull off combo chains by matching prinny colors or hearts which clears the game-board of those prinnies / hearts, increasing one’s score, gaining more life, advancing on to higher difficulty levels, and causing other prinnies and hearts to drop into the newly created gap below. There’s no time limit so take time strategizing ‘lest one leap into loss. This can be a thoroughly addicting game and is a sure recommendation to those who like the aforementioned puzzlers. If slow and steady matchmaking sounds a bit too slow than this space’s final game may fit the bill.
Also lacking a more descriptive official name, the second arcade game will be labeled Block Fall. Operated from a cellphone-like kiosk, Block Fall is a simple test of memorization and reflexes. As might be guessed from its label this game involves pressing a button corresponding to a falling block on-screen. There are three different blocks that fall, each featuring the face of a popular character from “Disgaea 4.” As the blocks begin to fall into a central single column one must press the appropriate button tied to that block, either square, triangle, or circle. As time progresses the blocks fall faster increasing the challenge. Should the column completely fill, game over; likewise, if the wrong button is pushed, game over. Simple and speedy this game is for those who seek to play something at a faster pace. Guns of the Helghast plays host to all appetites as everything was sampled at least once.
Having cut our teeth the week prior on some ghoulish fools, Guns of the Helghast pursued a second helping under the command of 1st Division’s Colonel Orga. Descending deep beneath the black Earth and into the horrible hot home of hate itself we searched for an even greater challenge. Much to our bewilderment we were not bombarded by battling banshee or dropped on by deadly demons, but rather bore witness to prancing peg-legged penguins presenting purchasable property from their colorful shops and guiding us to games Guns of the Helghast hadn’t quite encountered on any planet’s surface. Once assured by these prinnies pleasant behavior that they meant us no harm we decided to take part in the fun festivities spread before us. First up was a photo to commemorate our brave attempt. Rather than silently stand as usual we decided to dance around the demons’ dwelling daring them to retaliate, as seen in the image above. With none stepping forward to meet our challenge we moved on to a card game called Netherworld Millionaire; Phoenix, our Vice Commander, emerged victorious in the first round. Moving on to the next card game, Hell Sevens, Sergeant Richard of 1st Division came out on top. Finally we headed for the Prinny Race; you wouldn’t guess it to look at them but those prinnies can really move. As luck would have it our leader for the night, Colonel Orga, had waged the winning bid. Hurrah to 1st Division for winning the majority of the night’s group-based activities. Afterwards we dispersed to the other areas of interest, some to the shops and others to other games. Once an entertaining while had passed, Guns of the Helghast decided to return home hoping to visit again soon for some further game-time or the slaying of some grotesque creature. Who knows, maybe all the evil entities were out to lunch. Our arrival home was not the end of our night, however.
Last Friday, April 26th, 2013, was the last Friday of the month. As some may know from previous articles, at the end of each month we Helghast perform two positive processes which award steady attendance and contribution as well as help foster a sense of community and general sense of well-being towards all specially involved. After our return to the clubhouse and once settled-in it was time to begin our round of promotions. For 1st Division, Sergeant Richard was promoted two positions to the rank of Captain, way to go Richard! 🙂 For 2nd Division, Associate Snake-Eye was promoted to the rank of Member; it’s been a while in coming, welcome aboard. 🙂 For 3rd Division, we have Lady Diamond promoted from the rank of Corporal to Sergeant; your continued support of all things Guns of the Helghast, along with your helpful attitude continually makes us grateful you’ve joined us. Also from 3rd Division, Needle was promoted from the rank of Member to Private; thanks very much for your unique contributions to our Friday events and your winning personality. Finally, being restored to the rank of General to 3rd Division is my direct predecessor, Gamer. As each division is helmed by a single General this means that I, Orpheo, have stepped down from my post to more easily pursue my education. Fear not reverent readers as I’ll still be covering all the Friday events for the foreseeable future. I also have faith in Gamer and his abilities to lead 3rd Division to success; General Gamer, I salute you. 🙂 With promotions finished there was but one last thing to do, BIRTHDAYS! 🙂 Having donned party hats early on and keeping them equipped throughout the night we ended this Friday’s event with congratulations and a birthday song to the members born in the month of April. These members include: General Ventura, Captain Richard, and Lieutenant Subtenko of 1st Division, along with Colonel Stars of 2nd Division, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all! 🙂
Guns of the Helghast had a fabulous Friday. I’d like to thank Colonel Orga for hosting the night’s event, Nippon Ichi for creating such a cool (or not so cool ;)) space, and the readers and viewers who continue to support us with their views and well-wishes. Congratulations again to all those who received promotions and to those of you whose birthdays we celebrated. 🙂
So what’s next for Guns of the Helghast? After all, once you’ve been to HL and back what more is there to see? Find out next Monday in our new article; this is Guns of the Helghast wishing you well. 🙂