The Let's Play Archive

Armored Core: Project Phantasma and Master of Arena

by ArclightBorealis

Part 22: Master of Arena - Chapter 10: Destroy...

Well everyone, it's that time. ⑨ Day has arrived, and no it is not in celebration of this moron.

This is the day Nine-Ball is defeated for good.

Since the last update, I spent some time in the garage mulling over what changes I would need to make to my loadout for the final battle. We're unable to directly challenge Nine-Ball via the Arena so it's going to happen during a mission. And since we know how stuff like the last mission in AC1 turned out, just sticking to the usual won't cut it.

The head and core are the same as always, but we've changed to some heavier legs which allow us to equip some bigger, more heavily armored arms. The LN-S3 and AN-891-S if you recall were both AC parts introduced in this game that we won for participating in the arena, the former at the end of the Humanoid Legs Arena on Disc 2, and the latter from climbing up the ranks in the main arena. I mentioned earlier in the playthrough that based on the stats these legs might get some use if "something tough comes along." We'll they're getting used now just for that.

In addition, I've swapped the KARASAWA for the WG-XFwPPk, which has only a third of the KARASAWA's attack power but double the ammo. We're gonna need the ammo to get through the first half because the KARASAWA's fifty shots won't be enough. Especially with the way I tend to miss a good portion of my shots. Lastly, the back laser cannon's been swapped with the trusty multi-missile launcher. This will be the one mission where this weapon will shine the most, but that's if things work out smoothly the first time.

Oh, and the generator's been changed to the slightly heavier GBG-XR, with the benefit being an increased Maximum Charge so we can boost about as effectively as before considering we got this somewhat heavier build now. Some optional parts have been switched around for other functions like automatic missile launches and we're set.

No time to waste. Let's get to the briefing.

There is a Factory near Isaac City that no one knows of. I am waiting there.

Scientists attacked... Ravens targeted... The best AC in the Arena lives even after defeat...

Do you think you've figured it all out? Come meet me to see if you're right.

Why yes, I have figured out, but I might as well let the mission play out and have it explained there. Why spoil the fun here?

*Be sure to watch this along with the other videos afterward. The audio is very important here*

We start out in a short hallway leading to a tall room, and as we head forward a familiar voice is her to greet us.

Wait, "all of you"? But I'm the only one here.

Oh yeah, and not even a minute in and we're already thrown into a battle with Nine-Ball. The bastard yet lives.

Unfortunately, this encounter is pretty easy to exploit. You open the door to the room where Nine-Ball is, but you can still stay in the hallway and we will never follow you in there. There is literally an invisible wall that prevents it from passing through that door, so you can easily unload into him the moment line of sight is confirmed.

Although I say unfortunately, in actuality it's rather fortunate to take this approach because of what's coming up.

Anyway, Nine-Ball's destroyed (again) and we have to boost to the top of the room to find the exit. This is where bringing a heavy AC would appear to be a bad idea, but there is nothing else in this room to distract us. You just have to be better about managing your boost and knowing the weight of your machine to do so effectively.

This next section is multiple corridors with an elevator at the end, but in these hallways some pretty major discoveries are made. Some that are unique to this game, others that are extremely familiar to those who completed the first game. I'll let the video and these images speak for themselves.

So yes. As suspected, there's more than one Nine-Ball. In fact, there's a LOT of them. It's no surprise when you remember that you fight it twice at the end of AC1. Also Lana Nielsen, you're former handler, is revealed to be in very close to the same position as R was in the first game; an AI tasked with monitoring the progress of humanity and steering it through conflict while containing any potential destruction by eliminating dangerous entities directly, even using Raven's as their tools via the NEST only to snuff them out later.

The twist exclusive to this game is that Hustler One and Lana Nielsen are one in the same. Elan Cubis was correct in his assumption. H-1 isn't the name of a person.

It's an AI.

And in its eyes, we are a threat to the current state of the world, which considering where it's at after the horror that was the Great Destruction, it's not in a very stable spot I'd say.

The elevator reaches its destination, and we pass through a series of multiple doors that open in rapid succession, and then find the entrance to another room. Get ready because we're not going back after we see what's behind this door.

Yep, there are two Nine-Balls.

And unlike the ones we just passed in the halls, they are active.

And we're gonna fight them both at the same time.

Welcome to the first circle of hell.

This early on in the series, the idea of one AC having to deal with a group of 2 enemy AC wasn't used too often during missions (hell, 2 on 2 wouldn't even be much of a thing till AC3 and its unlockable team arena), and when it has been used in this generation the encounters weren't that difficult. This is nothing but difficult.

In addition to Nine-Ball's usual tactics being made worse by them happening twice as normal (constant pulse rifle shots while stunlocking you with dual missiles from both ACs), the AI has decided it's now time for them to whip out the grenade launcher. Remember that because Nine-Ball is AI controlled, it's considered the same as a Human PLUS and has no need to stand in place in order to use it.

This also can result in making your life somewhat easier, if you can keep track of where both Nine-Balls are and use friendly fire to your advantage. The grenade launcher packs a punch, but what both Nine-Ball's don't quite realize is that even if one of them isn't in the other's line of sight, firing it off too close to each other will result in one of them taking splash damage. That's essentially how I was able to take out the first one without having to connect as many shots. Keep one of them close as the other fires the grenades

The stress is slightly relieved once it turns into a one on one fight, but depending on how much AP you've lost by this point you still need to be on your toes.

In this case, keep moving and use tactics from earlier encounters to finish off the last one. I was able to lead Nine-Ball into a corner and stuck against the wall so aiming would be easier. Didn't stop him from getting off a grenade or two though.

The next door opens up after the end of Lana/Hustler One's speech about its goals, and we're presented with an evelator leading us further into hell.

Only we won't be going down one level at a time. It's straight to the bottom from here.

Here's the second half of the mission. At this point just conveying what's next through screenshots and text won't be enough.
Enter Factory - Final Battle