Part 5: Episode V: On the ClockEpisode V: On the Clock
Its shining with a sacred light... It appears to have been purified by the holy water...
For cleansing the Herb Garden of the encroaching villainy that was the Giant Plant, the holy water font here has been restored. James really should have just give it a minute before lamenting about its current state. Priests... always jumping the gun with their judgment of unholy monster filled ruins.
What this actually means is weve unlocked the first proper save point in Koudelka. Unlike Temporary Saves, Permanent Save points can be saved in a different memory card slot to rotate in case the pooch is screwed at any point. Not that Koudelka will find herself in a solo duel on a rooftop against a trio of enemies that will immediately gank her with no recourse to leave the area to grind or reequip. Thatd be terrible game design and Koudelka already has enough of that going for it.
An added benefit of the Permanent Save Point is that it fully restores HP and MP on use. Making it a prime home base to go do some level/magic/weapon proficiency grinding for a bit.
We may as well take a moment to see our newest party members stats. Unlike Koudelka who is nudged toward the magic side of things and Edward who is pushed toward the physical side with their starting stats, James O Flaherty is in the middle of both ends. He has very high starting PIE stats. The Catholic faith loves their pies, you see. However, his Intelligence and Mind are middling at best. His Vitality, Strength and Dexterity are comparable to Edward. Though he is also slow as hell thanks to piss poor starting Agility. His Luck is also garbage but were not going to worry about that.
As such, James can be built either direction fairly easily as another tank with a bit more magic defense kicking ass for the lord. Or he can become another mage. Despite his holy ways, James is immediately skilled in all forms of heretical witchcraft and magical powers as soon as he joins the party. Dont worry about it.
As funny as a punch priest might be, we are going to skew James towards the magic side of things. Particularly, as more of a support role for healing and buffs. Right out the gate weve got access to Fortify spells of every stat. Fortify Agility is particularly good stuff as it just speeds up other characters meaning more turns and more punching with Edward and magic casting with Koudelka. Anything to make these battles to go faster.
Were going to stick around the general area of the Permanent Save and do a bit of grinding here just to make the future a bit easier. Also, there is an absurd hidden mechanic that requires the use of a save point that well be touching on shortly. First, lets take a look at the enemies in the area we didnt see trudging through here the first time.
Hanging out in the storage shed next to the Herb Garden, we have Faces. Just your run of the mill massive childrens heads with wings instead of ears. Distant cousins of the Medusa Heads, as I understand it. Youd think they would attack by ramming into you while trying to transverse dodgy platforms in a clock tower. However, they prefer to just send out psionic waves causing... Silence? Im sure theres some sort of metaphor in there Im missing.
Also lingering in the boiler room are Hands of Glory. They are left arms (as everyone knows the left is clearly the eviler of the two upper limbs) that... well... just kind of punch folks. I mean... theyre just a dismembered limb... What more do you want out of them? Having no body mass to back up the punch, its rather a weak slap on the wrist. But, poisonous! So thats something, I suppose.
If youre wondering if punching a fist is an effective tactic: absolutely! Arms HATE getting a taste of their own medicine. Its incredibly insulting to them.
Fun history lesson, a Hand of Glory is an old weird ass practice from back in the day.
Wikipedia on Hand of Glory posted:
The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (sinister) hand, or, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that "did the deed."
Old European beliefs attribute great powers to a Hand of Glory combined with a candle made from fat from the corpse of the same malefactor who died on the gallows. The candle so made, lighted, and placed (as if in a candlestick) in the Hand of Glory, would have rendered motionless all persons to whom it was presented. The process for preparing the hand and the candle are described in 18th century documents, with certain steps disputed due to difficulty in properly translating phrases from that era. The concept inspired short stories and poems in the 19th century.
Thats some weird shit, old dead Europeans...
Also weird, the Hand of Glory mob dropped some Dried Food. It turns out pickled fish heals even greater than Bread or Cheese with a 350 HP restorative factor. Its still no red wine, though. Not sure if Id be keen on eating dried food dropped from a pickled zombie hand. Give me a full cooked roast beef from behind a brick wall in a cursed castle any day over this shit.
James managed to gain a level while we were farting around the area grinding for a little bit. Were going to upgrade him largely in the same way as we are Koudelka. However, were going to skip on any more Piety for now and double up on Agility Points to get the slow old religious farts ass in gear a little quicker alongside more Intelligence and Mind points.
Additionally, Edward has upgraded his Bare-Fist proficiency, allowing him to add a sick roundhouse kick to follow up punching abominations. So thats fun and twice the damage. Theres even a different animation for low to the ground enemies like the giant roach, where it becomes a sweep kick. All weapons get a second strike when their proficiency levels up. We are unlikely to see many of their second blows... Also its not a guaranteed thing. It can randomly fail and only produce a single hit.
What? Youd think there would be one aspect of this battle system that didnt have an element of randomness shoved into it for shits and giggles? Pfft!
After grinding for a time, were going to return to the Permanent Save font to perform the very most arcane bullshit Koudelka has to offer. That is patently absurd. Bear with me...
So remember how I pointed out the game timer that is always counting up, even in the menus? As it turns out, there are hidden items in Koudelka that unlock at very specific times. Its not for reaching a certain point in the game by XX:XX:XX time like say Excalibur 2 in Final Fantasy IX. No... thats far too simple for Koudelka.
There is a set-up to this unlock. It involves having a very specific number of items in our total inventory. Specifically: there must be either 10, 21, 32 or 43 items total in our inventory. This includes key items and weapons (equipped or not.) Stacks of junk such a curative tools only count as one single item.
What? Why? Huh? you ask? Fuck you! Thats why.
Im fairly certain it is virtually impossible to have 21 items collected by this point in the game. We had 15 with eight minutes left on the clock. Considering every random battle takes about two to three minutes and there is zero guarantee of a (unique) item drop in that time, we had to cull our inventory space of excess weapons and curatives. Sorry Bread and
So thats half the arcane bargain at play. We now only have ten inventory items. Next comes the much harder part. You see, to unlock the item in question we need to save the game at precisely 1:11:11 on the clock. The only time Koudelkas clock timer stops is when saving the game. The second when the game is saved. Keeping in mind there is about a second lag time from hitting the save point to the menu opening. And if the save is canceled, Koudelka needs to move a couple feet away from the Holy Font and run back to activate it again.
So basically the clock must be blindly winged at exactly the correct time to do this trick. Overshoot it and end up on 1:11:12? Welp. Better just reset your Playstation and reload the game from the closest time. No, you cannot hold all four shoulder buttons and hit Start + Select. That doesnt work for this game!
I am using an emulator for this LP and even having a savestate with ten seconds to spare on the clock for getting the just right save time... it still took me like seven tries to get 1:11:11 on the dot. Asking this to be done on physical hardware is borderline madness. That said... were still not done. Nothing is actually unlocked yet.
What we need to do now is reset the console (or restart the emulator in this case) and load our save from 1:11:11. Nothing is prompted to have changed in doing this. However...
...If we look into the inventory now, an accessory has magically materialized in our pocket. Bessys Ring.
Heres the kicker, though. This... isnt actually a unique item. Sure, the implication it belongs to Bessy, who just tried to poison our party, would make you think its something special. But no... this is a Ring accessory that can be (granted rarely by still) dropped from random battle enemies later in the game. Its just been renamed (which can be done at any time for any item if you wanted to make things extra confusing.) Indeed, most of these initial secret unlocks are renamed rare drops from later in the adventure.
That said, its a pretty darn nice accessory for this early in the game. It boosts Intelligence by three, PIE by seven and Mind by four. Well be sticking that on Koudelkas finger to buff the hell out of her magical capabilities. James devotes his entire adulthood to a pious lifestyle and is outmatched completely by a woman he just met putting on a ring she acquired from outside time, space and reasonable game design. Sad!
That is enough shenanigans downstairs. Were through with the first floor unless we can find a Red Key to go have a word with the Hartmans later. For now, well return to the second floor and see whats beyond that painting that hid a Dirk earlier.
Hmph. Another dingy storeroom. Its starting to feel like theres more rooms for storing rotting old crates than living space in this mansion. Lets move right along to...
...Some kind of kennel with something that has burst out from within seemingly. That probably is fine. The likelihood of some hellhound stalking the monastery grounds is minimal, at best. Lets just continue the tower like structure beyond. Staying out here is ill-advised.
The area is already lousy with spell casting and face punching bulbous evil Shadows. Nobody wants to be a party to fighting shades. We all know how poorly that can go when it turns out this was actually the soul of some conglomeration of pre-school childrens souls or the like.
There is also the occasional Headless Corpse stomping around with a chip on its shoulders... You know, it needs something on those shoulders without the head. Clearly this poor fellow was bound and decapitated. Thats one thing. Really got to ask how it get a half dozen giant shards of glass stuck in its chest or where it got the reverse-jointed peg legs. Was that posthumous mutilations or did this poor guy have a really rough day before dying?
Either way, Edward is more than happy to spin kick it directly in the... razor sharp shards of glass... Look, Im not going to question Edwards methods. He gets the job done, dammit.
During this brief random battle romp we gained a new class of weapon: the spear. Spears are actually a unique mid-range melee weapon. Meaning it can melee attack enemies a square distance away. This can come in handy in certain situations where enemies might be trying to hide in a back row and are taking advantage of the fact our characters cannot walk past enemy characters on the grid. Or well just forget it exists like most weapons until a boss battle rears its head again. Its difficult to say at this juncture.
If youre wondering, the RNG Gods decreed this to be a Water Spear.
Entering the building past the kennel or... whatever that cage sporting courtyard was meant to be... we find another Temporary Save Point. Theyre extremely generous with these early on. Especially considering the last one is technically only two rooms over. Advancing further down Corridor, 2nd Floor leads to...
What a dark and depressing building. Even with the temple... you can't feel the presence of the Lord's light. I can't believe Ive set foot in this place.
It is as though even the lord almighty has turned its back on this place.
Well, it is Wales...
Where all have gone and all must go, to be the nothing that I was. They are born to life and living woe.
Lord Byron, no? *I* am not an admirer of his. In the first place, his poetry is unrefined.
Who gave you the right to judge the refinement of poetry?
The lord, naturally...
I must have missed that part of the good book...
<turns away> Poetry should delve into the depths of the souls of the faithful...
<quickly glances at Koudelka> ...And others. It should inspire the soul, as do Alexander Pope or George Herbert...
If they have the power to do away with these evil spirits, I'd choose anyone. Even that dear old carpenters son you love so much...
Pagan! How dare you utter such words of sin!
To seek help from someone you have never met before is ridiculous! Especially when people are dying from hunger every single day in London.
Oh theyre all filthy and immoral little beggars who deserve to die. Heaven is...
Jamess definitely not going to be super shitty and racist speech on why God works in mysterious ways is interrupted by gunfire from outside the corridor window. Edward and Koudelka immediately hit the deck. James is a touch slower on the uptake. It was clearly in Gods plan if he were to get no-scoped by a sniper here and now...
That doesn't sound like a demonic spirit to me!
The noise is coming from that building over there!
The poison didn't kill us, so they are taking the fast and easy way now.
Don't be ridiculous!
<stands up and gets huffy> Why don't you ask the bullets who is being ridiculous?
<yanks Edwards dumb ass back to the floor> You IDIOTS!
This sure is a fine fix our party has gotten itself into. Tune in next time to see how they manage to get out of this on
...Oh the scene just ends and it is fine. Well... alright then. Carrying onward. Im sure the mysterious sniper will never come into play again.
The end of the corridor leads to a double set of doors. Hey remember how I said the game would warn us beforehand before boss encounters? Yeah. I only meant major boss encounters. As in the ones that would unlock a Permanent Save Point. Not all bosses are created equally and mid-bosses get no fanfare before striking.
That said, just in case... you know, in theory if we were to be attacked by a boss suddenly, were just going to go ahead and equip Edward with that Fire Hammer again. No big reason. Just being cautious. I mean there was just an attempted shooting. Anyway, lets head out the end of this corridor and...
When you try to open it, a monster attacks you!
Music: Incantation Again
Welp. Glad we took preparations. Its time for Koudelkas second boss battle: The Seeker Trio. You may notice these floating eye...crystal... thingers are color coded. Green, Red and Blue. Could this be an elemental affiliation gimmick boss battle? I dunno. Lets try smacking the Blue Seeker with that Fire Hammer our resident beefy hurtman Edward J. Plunkett is wielding...
...Yep. This sure is an elemental gimmick boss battle and one of its members has been one-shot. Not bad, Edward. That hammer is coming in handy. Too bad itll likely shatter in your hand within two or three more battles if you kept using it.
Now just to deal with the Fire and Wind elemental enemies. The Fire Seeker is weak to our newly acquired Geyser spell. Of course, since weve barely gotten a chance to try it out, Geyser is still quite weak. Granted, Flare has yet to level up either despite Koudelka having used it every single battle shes encountered thus far. Magic abilities level far slower than weapon proficiency, unfortunately.
To remedy that, were going to have to move Koudelka up toward the front lines thanks to that whole magic distance correlating to magic strength mechanic being in play. But thats fine.
James can stay in the backrow looking down upon poor people and casting Fortify Agility on the other two party members and topping off with some heals as need be. We could get him out in front casting some spells as well. But his contribution wouldnt speed things up all that much.
Enemy wise, the Seekers do just what youd expect em to do: casting magic of their elemental affinity. Fire Seeker casts Flare. Wind Seeker (dont ask me why Wind is Green) has a Tornado type attack weve yet to acquire. Water Seeker, had it not immediately gotten ruined by a hammer to the dome, would have cast Geyser. All these do some pretty decent damage... to Edward at least.
Koudelka might take a magic blow. But since Bessys Ring boosted her PIE stat kind of absurdly high for this early in the game, she basically no-sells any and all magic attacks. So thats a nice bonus for jumping through the farcical hoops of unlocking that thing.
The most annoying thing that can happen during this battle is any of the Seekers can cast a Silence Spell on Koudelka to take her out of the casting game. The most aggravating thing is that given the way turns work with an unseen Action Points stat determining actions, Koudelka can start casting a spell, have Silence cast on her and then be unable to finish casting the spell. This just effectively wastes a turn. Which is always fun and cool.
The Panacea herbs avoided the great inventory purge of 1:11:11 for just such an occasion and James can continue his supporting role from the back sorting out Koudelkas silenced problems. Im sure hes not happy with that duty given Koudelkas recent blasphemous talk. But theres bigger problems at the moment.
Well... one less problem now. Turns out an Wind elemental enemy might not take added damage from a Fire Hammer. But its also not absorbing any damage and a flaming hammer still hurts like hell. Thats two down. Now just to concentrate on the Fire Seeker, who comes packing slightly more HP than its compatriots (1200 HP versus the other twos 800 HP.)
Koudelkas Geyser works fairly well once shes within reasonable range of casting. But... I think we can make this go a little bit faster.
For instance, we did just pick up that Water Spear earlier and I cannot imagine a giant magical eye would appreciate getting poked with an above average in size poking stick. Lets test that thesis...
Sure enough... yup. It hated it! Sticking a giant stick in the eye of a creature that is 90% eyeball is the very meanest thing you can possibly do to an eyeball based creature.
Our victory is rewarded with a handful of new items for the party as well as a new Tornado spell. Now we just need to beat up an Earth Bender at some point and well have acquired all the magic spells in the game.
Weve now added a non-elemental Axe to our armory. That will probably see minimal use overall. But well keep it around in hopes of hitting 21 items in the inventory by 2:22:22. But thats not very interesting. Instead a factoid: A tabar is an axe originating from the Ottoman Empire, Persia, Armenia and India. See you learned something new! Probably...
An Earth Rapier has been added to our inventory as well. As you could see from that previous fight, even if were not proficient with weapons, its not a bad idea to keep a spare of every elemental in storage for Edward to bust out at opportune times for a good elemental weakness walloping.
Finally, weve gotten a Water J Ring. Accessories also get randomized elemental affinities but I... dont think it actually does anything regarding strength/weakness to elements. Regardless, this ring boosts Intelligence by seven, PIE by frikkin 14 and Mind by a very respectable 11. Since two accessories can be equipped on a character, well just continue to transform Koudelka into a wizard beast lady.
Anyway, lets take a quick look beyond the Seeker guarded door before we conclude this session.
...Ah. The tower beyond the caretakers mansion is a dungeon. Great... Nothing to be worried about stumbling upon a dungeon in Wales. Perfectly reasonable explanation for this, Im sure. Tune in next time and well see what this is all about as Koudelka continues.
Video: Episode 5 Highlight Reel
Cutscene: Click Here.
Edward Plunkett Concept Art For a dude that is supposed to be from London, he sure looks like he just walked out of a Wild West saloon. Dorky backpack notwithstanding.