Part 33: Part Thirty: Xibalba Revisted
Part Thirty: Xibalba Revisted
Last time on Persona 2...
There was a serious fuckload of plot exposition. If you're unclear as to what exactly's going on, you probably ought to read the last update and the recap of Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Basically, the Persona 2 crew joined up with Tatsuya, Katsuya's brother and a native of a parallel universe known as the "Other Side". In this "Other Side", Maya is dead, and her death was the event that caused the two worlds to separate. Now, a catastrophe is approaching "This Side", threatening to destroy it just as it had the previous world, and only the party (with Tatsuya in tow) can stop the villainous machinations of the Crawling Chaos and save reality itself.
Before we get on with the reality-saving, though, we've got a few loose ends to tie up. For instance, we turn in our map of Mt. Iwato. Salaam is so thrilled with this that he gives us a Fool card! Fool cards are incredibly rare; to get one normally is an arcane, painful process that's nigh-impossible when playing the physical game and a gigantic pain in the ass on an emulator.
Basically, the idea is to contact a demon and evoke Interest; alternatively (as in this example) the demon can contact you at the beginning of battle. Either way, the point is to evoke Interest, then Anger, then Interest, then Anger, but the catch is that this must be done in a single contact session - basically you make your move, then answer questions from the demon to evoke the necessary emotions. If at any point the demon decides to not ask you another question...well, you're fucked, basically. Finish your contact, kill the demon, and try again. If, however, you're ridiculously lucky, the demon will ask you a very specific question after the last evocation of Anger, as we see here.
You then respond by saying you're foolish or stupid...
...and this earns you a single Fool card. The screenshots don't really make it clear how unbelievably difficult this is - it's such a rare event that even save states didn't make it much easier. I really should've bought a lottery ticket today.
Fool cards are used to summon Fool Arcanum Personae. As a general rule, these Personae are ridiculously powerful for their level; due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining the cards, many players have never even seen them. We, however, are not actually going to summon any of these Personae - we have a very specific use for our Fool cards that I'll reveal later on.
Speaking of luck, there's new prizes at the Casino, mostly material cards. I put my newfound luck to use and win an absolute shitload of coins so that we can buy them all.
Does Satan really need any introduction? He's motherfucking SATAN. He's not content with just a Photon Cannon, oh no, he's got Nuclear Missiles on top of that. It's probably made pretty clear by his level, but we won't be using Satan during our playthrough of the main story; suffice it to say that if we did he'd basically ruin the game's shit.
Lakshimi is the only Persona with the Boost: Recovery trait, if I'm not mistaken. This does just what you'd think it does, and makes Lakshimi one of the best support Personae in the game. Sadly, however, we probably won't be putting her to use before we're ready to finish the game.
Kali is a goddess of destruction, and it shows. She doesn't fuck around. We can't put her to use just yet, but we might be seeing her before the game's over.
Brahma is another Persona that's a little too high-levelled for practical use during the main story. He does, however, have a very specific use that makes him one of the best Personae in the game. We won't be seeing this use before we've finished the game, but I'll show it off during the bonus dungeon.
Bishamonten is a solid Persona made even more solid when we add Maka Kaja to him. There's a reason we're doing this - you'll see in a second here.
First, though, we summon Il-Dana, a Fire/Holy-based Persona that's perfect for Katsuya. We add on Maha Garudyne from a Hurricane Card to give him a little diversity then put Apollo in reserve.
Maha Garudyne gives us the ability to use the Giga Cyclone fusion spell, pictured here. Basically it ruins people's shit unless they void or absorb Wind. Not much more to it than that; the combination is Wind/Water/Maha Garudyne.
A new section of the Bomb Shelter is open, and while we still can't finish the puzzle there as the entire place isn't unlocked, we can certainly pick up the new Persona Demon Izanami that wanders the fifth area.
Izanami doesn't have any specific elemental weaknesses, so we just beat the living shit out of her until she folds. This gets us her Material Card, the Path to Hades.
We immediately summon her, adding the Maha Magdyne spell from the Earthquake Card to give her some diversity. Frankly, however, the only spell we need her for is the unbelievably powerful Affectionate Prayer. Affectionate Prayer, used by itself, just heals a chunk of HP about as much as Medirama.
Used after a Kaja buff spell, however, it turns that spell into Maha *whatever* Kaja, causing it to target every party member. This is unbelievably game-breaking when used with the Maka Kaja spell we added to Bishamonten, as it causes all of party's spells to do nearly double damage. This basically turns the rest fo the game into a piece of cake.
After all this prep, we're finally ready to head to the Torifune. To get there, we'll need to go through the Subway. The party climbs into a subway car as we enter.
Baofu: Hmph, who're they kidding. They set this thing up and tried to make a rumor come true, they must be insane...
Maya apparently knows how to drive subway cars!
Ulala: Hey Tatsuya, I found some drinks. Want some?
Ulala: Hey, Tatsuya...Something's been bugging me. Why are you the only one who recalls the "Other Side"?
Baofu: Don't have to say what you don't want to...Besides, what I want to know is what are WE like on the "Other Side"? We were there, right?
Tatsuya: My brother was pretty much the same. Ulala was scammed by a con artist. I only know you spread rumors on the net.
Baofu: So the "Other Side" is not that different...
Tatsuya: No...never mind. Forget about it.
Baofu: What about you...?
Baofu: It's the same...There's nothing good. The pain just keeps growing.
Baofu: Welcome to the "Gates of Hell". Worry about everything later. You're still young. You got lots of time...that is, if you stay alive.
Ulala: Adults, huh? What are adults, anyway?
Baofu: Time is cruel...It just keeps moving on and on, and before you know it, we all just look like adults. Gotta do this, gotta do that...Sooner or later it all gets left behind somewhere. All the pain and dreams when you were a kid...
Katsuya: As a child I believed adults had strong beliefs and could rule themselves. I wanted to be an adult like that...But, as you age, you start to see many things. There are times when you become confused. It's sick...to feel yourself being defiled...
Speaking of defilement, this is Vain Splash, a Water fusion which we use to defile the living shit out of all the demons in the next two dungeons. Just imagine me using Vain Splash on any random encounters for the next two hours or so and you've basically got the idea. The combination is Water/Earth/Maha Aquadyne.
The Subway is basically long and boring; there is a Rainbow Drop that I missed, but we can buy those from Padparacha so it's honestly not that huge of a loss. At the end of the line, we reach the entrance to the Torifune.
The scene then shifts to the control room.
Tatsuzou: We ask - what has human history been up 'til now?! Various religions! Tribes! Desires! Values! Was the human history laden with these, a history of "sin"?! The masses, blessed with materials, lost their ideals. They don't examine themselves or even try to atone for their sins! We must provide a dream of reconstructing a new future and cleanse the rotting world! This is the "Punishment"! And the Chosen Ones will know! The future of salvation stands before us!
Tatsuzou: I will leave the Torifune to you. We will ascend to Utena with Gozen. Prepare the Petit Deva.
Sugawara: Yessir...it shall be done.
Tatsuzou: Do not worry about your frailty, my friend. Gozen is very happy with your work. Your wish for immortality will be granted...
Sugawara: Ah! My loyalty has finally been rewarded...
Tatsuzou stalks off, leaving us to ponder what exactly he meant by that.
Meanwhile, our heroes are standing in front of the entrance to the Torifune.
Tatsuya: Well, considering it can fly with a city on top of it, it better be...
Ulala: This is rumored to be the ship of a god or aliens, right...? Don't you think that they would've set traps or something...?
Katsuya: How do you know?
Tatsuya: People's fear, insecurity, hopes...It borrows the form of rumors, it is the incarnation of the unconscious world. I think that's why Philemon said thoughts would become reality in the unconscious world...
Ulala: Then all we gotta do is think pleasant thoughts...piece of cake.
Tatsuya: No...this is his domain. Don't think anything...
The group tries to get inside, but the door's stuck. Suddenly the temperature begins soaring.
Baofu: Yow! Hot! What's going on?! Serizawa! You thought of something bad, didn't you?!
Ulala: Yow! Hot! It, it's not me!
Tatsuya: I'm sorry. It was something that happened previously...so I inadvertently...
Baofu/Ulala: Wh, whaaaaat?!
Katsuya: It's no use talking about what we thought! So what happened on the "Other Side", Tatsuya?!
Tatsuya: If you concentrate, even an oven is cool...that's what Maya said.
Katsuya: That's unreasonable...
Baofu: You gotta be kidding me! Yow, hot! This is not my idea of fun...
Baofu/Katsuya: My sunglasses are melting off my face!
Despite the heat, the team manages to get inside the Torifune, and we immediately start to ransake the place. Mapping the Torifune is an enormous pain, as it's basically eight floors of fucking random encounters.
The prizes aren't bad, though. Before long, we head into a room called the Room of Insult.
It's full of corpses.
Ulala: Is this also the work of that "Nyar-something"?! Isn't it weird?! Why does he kill his own men...!
Tatsuya: It's proof that the New World Order isn't aware of the secret of the Torifune..."He" thinks of humans as mere pawns. They probably don't even know of "his" existence. This ship...him...neither one is anything a human should mess with...
Ulala: It's not like I'm playing the hero, but a lot of people died...Even I would think that would be enough! Grandma said if I wanted to help people, I had to do it without thinking of the consequences...Now I finally understand!
Katsuya: Tatsuya said that this is part of the unconscious world...Our hearts are created by multiple layers. Normally, our ego is viewed as the "self", with our unconsciousness lying beneath. Below this, each society has one culture, family, etcetra...the "Collective Unconsciousness". These abysses spread out infinitely. Think of the normal unconscious as a sea of unconsciousness all humans share...The tiny island floating in that sea - that's "ego". If it is the peole's rumors that created this ship, then you can call this Sumaru society's "unconsciousness". (Incidentally, the Persona series is based very heavily on the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung; look him up if you'd like this line to make a little more sense.)
Baofu: I don't care about the Crawling Chaos, but I'm not letting them get away...I'm gonna be the one to kill Tatsuzou.[/i]
We run into the Room of Damnation before long, and Ulala collapses there.
Baofu: Suck it up. If you can't keep up, we're leaving you.
Ulala: It can't be helped...I don't walk this much even at work. Isn't there a place to recover?
Katsuya: It HAS been awhile we've been underground. If there was a Velvet Room, we could rest there...
Katsuya: It's awfully suspicious...That Nyarlathotep guy decides whether or not to make our thoughts a reality, right? Why does he give things so conveniently?
Tatsuya: He's playing with us...
Baofu: I don't know what he's up to, but if I can use it, I will...
The rest of the group head into the Fountain and Velvet Room as Maya and Tatsuya have a seat against the wall. Neither says a word, until...
Suddenly, out of nowhere, three mysterious golden figures appear.
Figures of Lisa, Eikichi, and Jun, there to remind Tatsuya of his sin and torment him.
Tatsuya tries to defend Maya with his sword, but his weapon is completely useless against them.
After tearing into Tatsuya some more, the three golden figures vanish, taking him along with them. Maya is left alone and stunned.
Maya tells the team what had happened.
Katsuya: What did you say?!
Baofu: Ch...we fell for it. C'mon, we gotta find him!
Ulala: Oh come on, Ma-ya! What were you doing?! ...Wait...I'm the one mostly at fault...
Baofu: They pulled a dirty trick on us...I like his style. Too bad it won't do him any good...
Katsuya: Damn, Tatsuya's letting his pride get in the way...he's trying to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders!
We head out of the Room of Damnation, grabbing a new Material Card on the way...
...and before long we're hit with some resonance.
We grab another material, the Scarlet Wings, on the way to the room where Tatsuya is being held.
There, he's laying on an altar as the metal trio stands above him.
Tatsuya: How can I...forget...
Metal Lisa: But you broke an important promise, didn't you?
Metal Eikichi: That's why you're suffering, right...?
Tatsuya: I'm sorry...
Metal Jun: Tatsuya...you can stop suffering. Let us ease your suffering?
Metal Jun draws a blade and prepares to impale Tatsuya with it, but Tatsuya catches it in his hand.
Suddenly the cavalry arrives, guns blazing.
Baofu: Ch...physical attacks don't even scratch 'em!
Rather than laying there and accepting a stabbing, Tatsuya's ready to fight - he hops off the altar and draws his katana. It's boss time.
The Metal Trio are copies of Lisa, Eikichi, and Jun from Innocent Sin; they use the same Personae and general combat styles as those characters did. Eikichi, for instance, relies on his Persona Reverse Hades...
...and his special attack Bloody Divorce, which does a fuckload of Dark damage to all party members. It also looks badass.
Jun uses Reverse Cronos and a really, really annoying attack called Terror of Fortune, which also does a fuckload of damage and causes a variety of nasty status effects. This is basically the Metal Trio's "I Win" button - if Jun uses this, chances are you're fucked unless you've got a really good backup plan.
Lisa uses Reverse Venus and the special attack Lover of Darkness, which does a ton of Dark damage then hits again for Physical damage; this is enough to cut our characters down to 25% HP most of the time.
The Trio isn't up for negotiation, so our only hope is to try and fight our way through them. This is arguably the most difficult fight in the game; Shimazu and the final boss are comparable.
Fire damage is our saving grace. Eikichi is weak to it, and Jun and Lisa have no special resistance against it, so we buff up with Maha Maka Kaja and blast away, healing between Bloody Divorce and Lover of Darkness.
Three or four shots of Meltdown and Eikichi bites it; the battle is much less one-sided when we only have to deal with two of them at once, assuming Jun doesn't whip Terror of Fortune out of his ass and fuck us up.
He doesn't, and we pull through.
Tatsuya and Katsuya share a moment after the battle.
Ulala: How can you two be brothers?
Katsuya: How come I didn't realize it earlier...About "This Side"...About the "Other Side"...how stupid of me...
Tatsuya: I'm sorry, Maya. I troubled you...
Ulala: I'm an only child so I don't know, but it must be great having a sibling...Katsuya told me that little Tatsuya became a delinquent after the incident with his dad. Maybe he was his role model...Katsuya became a cop to do something about it. Knowing his brother's ways, he could not talk about clearing his dad's name...
Baofu: Don't go trying to stop him...At that age, his risking his life to carry this worthless world on his shoulders...Let him do it the way he wants to do it. If he fails, then hold him. Leave it at that...
Is Baofu getting soft?
Before long, we come across the Room of Transportation, which has a strange device inside.
Tatsuya: I think it's some kind of teleportation device...It was another symbol in the "Other Side".
Ulala: It's called "Petite Deva". It's written here.
Baofu: The symbol of Kandori...If we use this, we might be able to get back to the city. I'll leave it up to you, but do we have time to be leisurely? Let's finish this quickly.
Tatsuya: This seems to be a designated coordinates model, so I set it to Araya Shrine. You should be able to get back here, too.
Katsuya: Tatsuya is really skillful with his hands. My real brother wasn't...There's no point to that discrimination. They're both my little brother...
Ulala: Since we can get back here, why don't we go back to the city? I'm getting hungry...
We do not go back to the city - there's no real need to.
We do, however, finish the map of the Torifune. This'll be handy later.
We finally make it to the last room - the Control Room. The place is littered with corpses, just like the Room of Insult.
Soldier: Save me...I don't wanna die...
Katsuya: It's alright...You're not gonna die...what happened?
Soldier: General became monster...everyone...killed...tell daughter...grab your dream...
Remember Sugawara and Tatsuzou's comment? Well...
Suddenly, Sugawara's dramatic entrance is interrupted as the Torifune activates...
...and takes off into the sky, with the city resting atop it.
Ulala: You're kidding me...
Katsuya: What have they done?!
Suddenly, everybody remembers that there's a huge, disgusting monster right over there, and it's boss time again.
Was Sugawara is a gimmick boss - he heals about a thousand HP every time he gets a turn, and physical attacks heal him.
Because of that, he uses Roar to try and send our characters into Fury, forcing them to attack him and restore his HP.
Unfortunately for Sugawara, he's got a severe weakness to fire, and we've got Maha Maka Kaja to make the flames burn that much more fiercely. He's dead in four rounds, despite berserking a couple of our characters.
After the battle, the party kicks his ass one last time and shoves him into the depths of the Torifune.
Katsuya takes the opportunity to make a badass action hero quip.
Despite being , we're unable to stop the Torifune.
Ulala: What are we gonna do?! The city's flying...at this rate, the dragons will appear, and the Earth's axis will rotate!
Katsuya: Tatsuya is right...we haven't lost yet. We're gonna bring this ship downt he way we're gonna bring down Sudou! Even if he has backup!
Baofu: That's fine, but looking at the teleport device he used, we can't stand around...A bit late, but we're going back up!
We appear at the Araya shrine...
...and the world has changed. Sumaru City is miles above the Earth, floating atop the Torifune. The Narumi district, since it was built outside of the Torifune, was destroyed as the ship was raised; nearly everyone there was killed. Finally, there's a huge pagoda structure in Rengedai; that's where we're headed next.
COMING UP NEXT: The beginning of the end...