Etrian Odyssey is one of the few games in recent years that appeal to old-school RPG players and those with a desire for a challenge. From the character designs to the scores of music to the changing scenery, everything serves to bring about a sense of nostalgia from the days of old. However, most of the details such as animation, the personalities of characters, and the exploration of the labyrinth are left up to the imagination of the player. As such, a game like this would be sure to invoke memories of triumph, regrets, and even stubbornness. One such tale would be the encounter with the FOEs halfway through the first stratum (a "set" of similar themed floors)
From my countless descents into the labyrinth, I picked up a few things here and there. First, don't take on more than you can handle. It's always better to retreat and "to live to fight another day" as some might explain. Second, always carry a Warp Wire with you. This was essential as it provided a quick way back to town and was relatively inexpensive so not having one would be due to forgetfulness or recklessness. Finally and perhaps most importantly, one should take caution in dealing with FOEs. FOEs are basically tougher enemies that populate each floor and are seen as miniature bosses. They provide rare materials but are balanced out by the additional difficulty it takes to obtain it. With that said, who would have guessed that all of these rules would be broken in one instance?
On my arrival into the third floor of the labyrinth, I was greeted by an ominous message warning me of the new dangers presented by the FOEs of this floor. From this, I knew it would not be something that could be taken lightly so with great caution, I began to map out the floor. Not far into the exploration, I chanced upon the one thing that I was dreading: the FOE that the message spoke of. I immediately started to flee from it but instead of retreating to the previous floor, I chose to make haste for the unknown. Not exactly the best of ideas but eventually I reached a door and went to the other side.
It was at this point that things began to go awry. My sense of curiosity began to override my sense of survival as I wondered if this was really worth running from. After all, the FOEs from the previous floor were hard but I overcame them to reach this floor. With that, I went back again through the door eager to see what exactly had been chasing me just recently.
It turned out to be much harder than I could have anticipated and the FOE, a praying mantis type known as Stalker, proceeded to make short work of my party. Panicking, I tried to escape from the battle and succeeded but not before half of my party became decimated and the other half badly injured. So I stood there, with the FOE in my face and I turned to my Inventory. I was desperate to escape and only then did I realize what being prepared would have done to help me. In my previous trip, I had forgotten to resupply, particularly for a Warp Wire. Distressed, I had no choice but to walk back to town. Unsurprisingly, things don't always work out as planned.
In the end, everyone died at the hands (or is it feet?) of a Ragelope (one of the FOEs from on the second floor) and I was forced to revert to an earlier point in time. So what did we learn from this experience? That Stalker is going to get what's coming to them! ... after I get a bit stronger...