Tag Archive: Legendary Creatures


3/30

Having given up on finding a crab in Osiris’ courtyard, at least for the moment, we turn our attention to the Chamber of the Gods, which is still teeming with cryptic critters. Oceana is with me — I’ve resigned myself to taking her along as my good luck charm — and it’s midnight, when I tend to find animals I missed during the daytime. As always, finding our way into the Echoing Terrace is an exhausting exercise, especially in the dark and after six months spent on dry land. But after arriving at the east hall, finding the first few fish is relatively easy and sedate.

First we find the prehistoric-looking frilled shark lounging in the corner pocket of the chamber, around D1.

Frilled shark

Rounding the corner and down the stairs into the Altar of Osiris, along the left wall I find the black pyramid butterflyfish and the too-tiny-to-photograph whitespotted boxfish.

Black pyramid butterflyfish

 Continuing west along the north hall, we run smack into a cave-in. Fortunately, amongst the rubble we find a trio of hot-pink painted frogfish, who look like their whispering about me.

Painted frogfish, conspiring

Next we execute that slick maneuver of descending through a trapdoor behind a statue of Horus, bypassing the Subterranean Reception Room with its many hungry spider crabs, and up through the ceiling into the Pillars of Shadow. Turning north here, we’re met with the impressive sight of the thickest concentration of Coelacanths ever witnessed. If, like me, you grew up fascinated by the discovery of this impossibly rare and ancient fish in the waters of the Black Sea, and assumed there were maybe one or two of them in existence, it’s mind-boggling to see so many packed in one place. All the more amazing that only one of these is the legendary coelacanth our Marine Encyclopedia says we need to find — we have to paw through the crowd, asking “Are you the one? What about you?”

But we’re just starting to mingle when some uninvited guests show up to spoil the party. I’m talking, of course, about that most unhandsome of elasmobranchs, the goblin shark. More specifically, a whole passel of ’em, marauding and striking every time we try to introduce ourselves to a docile coelacanth.

G-g-goblin shark!!

I whipped out my pulsar and started zapping like crazy, and just by accident happened to tag another legendary, the ferocious Okeanos’ Guardian. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my hands steady enough to get a clear photo of it.

Okeanos' Guardian, passing under my fins

 Eventually, I got the goblins subdued enough where I could quickly tag a few coelocanths, and eventually found the Living Fossil I was after. Yet I barely had a chance to line up a good photo op before the sharks attacked again en masse. In the middle of this, my “out of air” claxon went off. With no time left to swim out, we had to drop everything and beam back to the ship.

The Living Fossil

 For the first time since the height of the game, I was a relieved to find myself back on dry land. I suppose I should go back there to study the goblin sharks as part of my “Know Thine Enemy” series, but I wouldn’t say I’m in a rush.

7/7

On my second return to the Cavern of the Gods, I’ve decided to take Felix the false killer whale with me. That way, if I run out of air he can tow me back to the surface more quickly than I can swim.

Right at the entrance, directly in front of us is an ascending stone staircase. I don’t know how I missed it the first time, but I did. This leads immediately to the upper level of the temple, to the Pillars of Light. How in the world did I miss this? These silt-shrouded columns are like the trees of an enchanted forest, teeming with strange sealife. Pods of sleek black and white Commerson’s dolphins and albino humpback whales, including the Singing Dragon herself, unharmed by the rampage that wrecked the temple. Swimming up a pillar, I discover a Nomura’s jellyfish, floating near the ceiling like a grand chandelier.

Commerson's dolphin

The Singing Dragon

Nomura jellyfish

Through a skylight in the ceiling I pass straight into the Celestial Mausoleum. It’s all there as it was before: the windlass, the animal statues, the golden god that sits in the vault, with the Pacifica treasure spread at his glittering feet. Months ago, I’d barely gotten a glimpse at that statue before everything started coming apart.

In the lap of the gods.

I no sooner lay eyes on the Pacifica Treasure than Jean-Eric gets on the phone and urges me to leave it alone. According to him, they’ve received an offer from the mysterious Karia Foundation to undertake the salvage; they’ll pay us 50,000 p not to touch a thing. It’s hard to pass up treasure when my mutlisensor is going crazy, but okay. Back on Ninball Island I’m gifted with a frogman suit for leaving well enough alone.

6/10

Gatama Atoll—I’m about 25,000 shy of 1 million Pelagos. Now that I’m this close to opening the Chamber of the Gods, it’s tempting to indulge in nonstop treasure orgies to gobble up money as fast as possible. But frankly, I’m tired of salvaging, and I wouldn’t mind if I never set fin in Valka Castle again. So I’ve decided to put the multisensor away and try to earn honest money by any other means.

In fact, today I’m not looking for money at all—I’m just trying to get the Pacific white-sided dolphin to be my friend.  The trouble is, this dolphin—whom I’ve already named Violet—is pathologically shy. You have to approach it  “Red Pony” style,  slowly earning its trust. This actually makes it one of the more realistic quests, because it doesn’t rely on any tricks. No whistles, no rescue efforts—just old-fashioned perseverance.

Of course, this means I have to make multiple trips back to its habitat around the Deep Hole in Gatama Atoll. So we’ve basically set up camp on the boat, sleeping on deck and returning to Nineball Island only to develop pictures. It’s been tremendously relaxing in  a way, like setting up a tent in your backyard for a sleepover, and it’s given me a chance to do one of my around-the-clock ecological surveys that I love so well.

Sunset—The water takes on a hazy glow as bigfin reef squid dart through the kelp leaves like shuttles in a loom.  Pee Wee, the pygmy sperm whale, comes out of the Deep Hole for an evening swim around the Colosseum.

Pee Wee out for an evening swim

Unfortunately, so does Sluggo, the tiger shark. 

Sluggo

I’ve tried to draw up a “Know Thine Enemy” about Sluggo, but he’s too unpredictable. After a daytime appearance early in the game, he now only emerges at sundown, and he never seems to attack as long as you keep your eyes on him. The moment you turn your back and try to move away, he starts to close in, but when he’ll strike is hard to predict. I’ve known him to leave me alone throughout an entire dive; other times he’ll strike two or three times, even with frantic pulsing. It’s almost as if he has moods, and if you catch him in a bad one, he’ll make sure you know about it.

Did I mention that Sluggo is rather large?

Then there’s the pod of five or six Pacific white-sided dolphins that fly all over Deep Hole. I suspect that they’re the real terrors on this reef, scaring the smaller fish away until only a few lost-looking moorish idols are left. And damn, they’re fast—it took me a long time just to single out Violet by her white, hook-shaped dorsal fin. Somehow, Pee Wee, Sluggo and the dolphins are all able to stay constantly in motion around each other without colliding.

Violet

Midnight—The midnight shift is very much like sunset, although Sluggo appears more sedate—perhaps, contrary to popular belief, sharks do sleep now and then. The dolphins, on the other hand, are still bouncing on their beds.

I’ve taken Hayako with me, and her fish-finder indicates an undiscovered creature moving slowly around the Mouth of Truth. I look carefully for it without success. The only thing I see in that range is the ocean sunfish, and it couldn’t be ol’ Sol, could it? I click on him, and magically crusty ol’ Sol transforms into the resplendant Apollo, a golden-hued legendary creature that the native Paolians think is the personification of the sun. Why Sol, you old sea dog, you!

Apollo

Dawn—At dawn, a squadron of Japanese eagle rays take up their formation, circling over slow-moving unicorn fish blanched pale green by the morning sunlight. The light is so strong that I can see directly down the Deep Hole all the way to the bottom. It’s too hard to resist—I take out my multisensor and scan for a few treasures (that didn’t last long). Later, I try to keep up with the dolphins—they’re too fast for me. Using the whistle, I’m able to draw Violet close enough to click on her, but she’s not ready to swim with me yet.

Morning rays

Noon—At noon, the light is more diffuse, the blues so saturated that I’d almost think the sky above the water must be overcast, if that were only possible. Sol is his old self again, shrunken, doddering, nothing at all like the sun. I pursue Violet one more time, but she’s still playing hard to get. I’ll have to come back to Deep Hole another day. Ah well!

Back on Nineball Island, Jean Eric tells me that I’ve got an e-mail from the magazine I sent my photos to. (BTW, how does he know what’s in my  inbox? I guess since he’s the point man, the magazines cc him, but it’s still kind of creepy.) Anyway, Maritime Weekly liked my photo of a leafy seadragon—it rated an “A” and a cover! I tried something different this time, and if it works again, I may be on to something.

Next I had Nancy appraise the whopping two items we found in the Deep Hole. Before she left, she passed along a note from ML, of all people! I thought we’d never hear from him again, but here he is asking for a photo of a whale shark in Gatama Atoll. “Oh wow!” shouts Oceana, “I can’t believe a professional photographer wants our photographs!” Yeah, I can’t believe it, either—better get a copyright watermark on that photo, pronto!

5/10
Ciceros Strait—Off on a salvage request to find the Diamond Watch, then GG and I combed the strait looking for treasure. I’ve learned that a lot of the best stuff lies scattered far from the wrecks themselves. We finished our tour at the Emerald Lady, where I tried a technique of inviting the sharks to assault me, zapping them as they charged. I got beat up some, but eventually they gave me enough elbow room to seize a few treasures and fill out the bag. It was actually kind of fun. In total, we raked in about 11,000 P.
 
Afterwards, I took Hayako with me into the northeast area of the map looking for new creatures. A ‘???’ appeared on the fishmap, with a tiny red dot moving incredibly fast in a wide circuit across the North Canyon. Streaking past, it appeared to be a particularly athletic Atlantic sailfish, one that seemed impossible to catch. Each time I tried to chase it, it immediately outpaced me, disappearing like an arrow in the distance. I had to abandon that tactic and hang back, tracking the bogey on Hayako’s radar, edging into its path, waiting for the chance to intercept it. After several lunges, I managed to get my cursor on it and fire. Presto! It’s Gungnir, a legendary sailfish named after Odin’s magic spear in Norse Mythology. He owes his incredible speed to overdeveloped muscles; with his battered spike he’s staved in many a fisherman’s hull. 

Gungnir

 4/10

Cortica River, noon—This weekend my family and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo, which has a pretty nice exhibit of South American fauna, including giant otters and arapaima, so for once I was in the mood for exploring the Amazon. Fortunate timing, as I once again have a backlog of tasks awaiting me. Nineball Larry, Jr. is along with me, so I put him in the “diver’s seat” (a bad joke I’ll bet you don’t get to use every day). We started upstream to avoid the piranhas and right away, under Spirit Falls, the giant piraiba catfish at the mouth of the temple swims right up to us and takes the “servant’s ring,” which I wasn’t even aware I had. It then proceeds to turn into gold and becomes a legendary, the Gold Eater. He’s eaten so much gold on the river bottom, see, that he turns gold—he just needed that one ring to put him over the edge.

Gold Eater

We move forward, exploring the temple and taking many pictures (my son’s a perfectionist when it comes to the camera), when we see, emerging from the temple, a gleaming white caiman. It’s another legendary—King Gigide, who was first mentioned in that Zahhab Region find a while back. Apparently encountering the Gold Eater unlocked the cabinet that imprisoned the King. The multisensor yields a bagload of loot, and we return to the boat.

King Gigide

It’s raining torrents, and I remember that there’s something we’d find in the mangrove beds if we searched in the rain. Sure enough, we pull up the Dark Statue. While we’re in the area, we stop to watch the giant otters, which are not as cute or animated as their real-life counterparts. I ask Jr. to take a photo of the western sandbank, one of Jean-Eric’s requests. We head back for Nineball Island after a momentous visit.

The Dark Statue is worth 12,000 P, but the big find is a stone statue of a golem worth 13,000 P. How did the Golem of Prague wind up in an Amazonian River tributary? Must have something to do with Nazi fugitives smuggling and perverting Rabbi Loew’s clay factotum to build an army of sedimentary super-men and reclaim the lost glory of the Reich in the jungles of South America. The game literature isn’t clear on this, but I’ve got new material for some awesome Indiana Jones fan fiction.

4/6 (70th hour)

Nineball Island, daybreak—Over the past few days, I’ve been filling out the schedule with a bit of dolphin training. This isn’t the most exciting work in the world, but I did discover a couple of tricks to make it less mind-numbing. First, if you press “2” on your Wii remote, it will change the angle of view from the standard facing-the-rubber-boat, affording some interesting views of you and the gang on the docks reacting to dolphin antics. When the thrill of that wears off (after about 3 minutes), I set things to free training (the little icon in the bottom right of the screen), and iron my clothes, make a sandwich, or see what else is on TV. Do this for about 1 hour and your dolphin should have learned all its tricks and is breaking its own records. Then run through the routine with your star, make sure Oceana exclaims it can’t do any better, work on the tricks that aren’t there yet and you’re ready the next time Hayako offers to test them. I’ve trained up Lilly and Frodo this way. It’s cheating, I suppose, and not exactly fair to the other characters, but hey, I’m the only one with a life outside the game.

After I gave three dolphin shows, one with each cetacean, our talent scout Finley made another appearance to tell us there was a narwhal that looked like it just might be the next Paoulian Idol. A performing narwhal? This I’ve got to see!

Weddell Sea, later that day—On our way to the narwhal polo grounds, we run bang into a new legendary creature, the Ancient Mother. I guess this is the thing Jean-Eric said we might find at the north or south poles. I’m kind of disappointed because a.) it’s just an albino blue whale, and b.) we found it without even looking for it. Ah well. Never seen such large, kind eyes, etc., as the game enthuses. 

Ancient Mother---such large, kind eyes.

At the narwhal breathing hole,  I show the greenland shark who’s boss by pulsing it and go in search of our next star. A series of cut-scenes tells us we’re looking for a narwhal with a red tusk. This turns out to require some patience and quick reflexes. We have to go to the surface and wait for a red tusk to breach the water. Okay, but it’s whiteout conditions topside, and I can barely see any tusk, let alone a red one. When I think I see it I have to quickly find my equipment and dive. It takes about three or four tries to get the right one, a  piebald beauty with a long spiraling tooth that looks like it’s been painted with pink nail polish. I name her Pinky Tuscadero, after Fonzie’s girlfriend on “Happy Days.”  That time Pinky almost bit it in the demolition derby, and the Fonz got down on the track to declare his undying love and Pinky gave him her scarf to remember her by, that is true love, man. You say Romeo & Juliet, I say Fonzie & Pinky.

Anyway, we take Pinky back to Nineball Island and immediately put her in training, just so I can watch a narwhal do flips.

Pinky Tuscadero

The Grave Keeper

4/1

Zahhab Region, noon—On our last visit to the Depths of Zahhab (the ill-fated Viking Treasure quest), we learned that that the giant isopod was Oceana’s all-time favorite creature. So today I return  to the dark confines of the Twin Caves with Oceana, whereupon finding two disgusting giant isopods, a cutscene ensues, revealing a third, even more disgusting isopod, a legendary creature called the Grave Keeper. Oceana is delighted: why isn’t it just the cuddly-wuddliest little thing you ever saw? We’re told that, like all giant isopods, the Grave Keeper, which is the size of a baby (nice image), feeds upon the pale, bloated carcasses of whales and other creatures that expire and land on the scrap heap of the seafloor—including, presumably, treasure hunters who set out in leaky submarines. You would think that, confronted with the knowledge that the Grave Keeper (c’mon, look at its name!) in all probability contains the body of her long-lost father—albeit in nutrient form—she would break down on the spot, but no, she thinks it’s adorable. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Or maybe she’s fully aware he’s dead and  bonding with the sea cockroach that ate her father is her way of somehow being closer to him, of gaining closure on her grief. Anyway, though we map the rest of the depths region, I tactfully keep her away from the Osiris’ Courtyard and the wreck of the HD-9.

Back at the surface, I trade Oceana for Lilly and finish mapping the open sea. Then on the way home, stop off  in Ciceros Strait to take a photo of the Cross Rift for our mystery man, ML.

On Nineball Island Oceana, out of gratitude (or maybe because I finished the Zahhab map), hands me 20,000 P.

Which brings my total to 337,949—1/3 of the way!

Valka Castle

3/24

Nineball Island, Sunrise–Started the day with a couple of dolphin shows, first Jeanne, who came all this way to see a tail walk, then Dirk who wanted singing. Dirk wasn’t impressed, but paid his money anyway and left.

Next GG and I went off to Ciceros Strait to once again seek the Spartan Treasure. Diving at night, this time we hit paydirt–11,000 smackers. We stick around to raid the Blood Lotus, then drop down the well to Valka Castle. I’m hoping I see the ghost this time, but no luck. I do get to test out a tip from one of the Gamespot forum posters and poke an octopus to make him ink himself. He-he! I fill out my salvage bag and camera in the castle, then head for the boat.

It turned out to be an enormous haul—11,000 P for the Spartan Treasure, 13,000 for a book called the 7th Tome, and 9,000 for a canopic jar. That brings my total P count up to 216,477—nearly a quarter of the way there!

FF turned up to claim his treasure, and there was some awkwardness as usual, with him going, “You should keep the treasure, you earned it,” and GG’s like “No way, it’s yours”, and FF’s like, you’re a softy and GG’s like, “That’s MISTER GG to you!” and on and on. Get a room already!

The sun sets on the third dolphin show of the day, this time for Yannick. He too wants Pha to sing (what is this, American Idol?), and goes away happy.

Then just as I’m about to turn in, I check in on Snorkle, who’s lying by the firepit staring out at a sparkle on the shore. The sparkle turns out to be a new item, “mirage” (maybe that’s the thanks I get from Mr. Tiki for bringing his tusks?) As I pet Snorkle for a being a good boy, he jumps up and starts barking at something out to sea. Jean Eric says it’s an island that wasn’t on the charts before, just west of Cake Rock. I go out to investigate, and surfacing outside Cake Rock, see something weird on the sea near Gatama’s Navel. Pha and I head out there and discover that the “island” is a huge leatherback sea turtle named Cocoa Maharaja. So another legendary creature is found. The big fella’s supposed to be good luck for treasure seekers. We’ll see.

Strong in the ways of the Force, you are...

3/18

Taking a request from Oceana, we and a marine biologist named Matilde head out to the Zahhab  beaches to watch sea turtles lay their eggs. This has to be done at night, when the sh-sh-sharks are out. If you keep moving they don’t bother you much, but they can still take bite out of you from time to time. I fumbled with the pulsar gun as usual and lost a lot of air before I found some blue starfish, the clue to where you’re supposed to land. Watched a short cutscene of turtles dropping their little pingpong balls in the sand, then it’s back to Nineball for payday. It’s a good one this time: 2,000 P, plus a 10,000 P bonus! We’ll meet Matilde again when the turtle  eggs hatch.  After another quick trip to the private reef, I go back home and sleep until the next day, then run right out and check the telescope. Score! It’s a full moon day and I see something really weird off to horizon. It’s fuzzy, but it’s big and has four limbs, so it can’t be a whale. With Pha I head out to what I call Corner Pocket Island, and there…find… a very large, very cranky croc named “gatama gatawa.” A little disappointing, frankly—I was expecting a mososaur or something.  Click-click.

"You kids get off my yard!!"

Next I jet off to Tokyo to visit the aquarium, where I change the main tank around to a polar theme (Belugas—I love those guys!). I add a few new things to the small tanks and kick out the sea lions to put in emperor penguins in the land exhibit.  There ought to be lines around the block now, but no, Hayako tells me they want to see creatures from Valka Castle. What-ever! Then back to Nineball again to develop pictures and go to bed. Overall I spent more time on dry land today than I did in the water.