The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 5: Episode V: Malice

Episode V: Malice

New Music: Graveyard Moon

Yuri, you really need to stop getting your ass kicked by every guy that crosses your path. It’s getting embarrassing... If you couldn’t guess, the fight against Fox Face is an unbeatable boss battle. Even if he didn’t reduce Yuri’s health to 1 HP and punch his lights out, Fox Face would have unleashed an attack in his demon form that does around 200+ HP of damage. That’s a little bit out of Yuri’s league forty minutes into the game...

And so we’ve ended up here...

What’s goin’ on…? <steps forward>
Where am I?! This is just like in my dreams!!
<looks down> Okay... My pants are still on. So it’s not ENTIRELY like my dreams. But... Wait, wasn’t I fighting—OH CRAP! RIGHT!

Where’s...!? Where is he?!
I won, right? Yeah... Definitely... If anyone asks I kicked his ass and he ran away... That’s probably what happened. Probably... So why isn’t he here...?
<puts guard down> Heh heh, so he didn’t come with me, eh? Damn! I can’t believe this. Honestly, this is a pretty lame illusion. If… it is an illusion.
A spooky graveyard? Really? What is this Halloween? Is a gargoyle going to pop out of a hell portal and fight me next?

Yuri steps forward and looks around.

…Yup, this is it all right. The graveyard from my dreams. Aw, man, I don’t want to be remembering this! Now’s the part where I get lost, then wake up in a cold sweat just as a monster’s about to eat me.
And my pants are gonna be gone and my junk is going to be flopping out and everybody laughs at me. Man... I’m wearing FOUR belts, you stupid dream! My pants are staying ON!
No, no, NO! Nothin’ but trouble ever since that freakin’ voice showed up! Maybe I’ve lost it completely. First, Dad jumps out of my nightmare and shows up right before my eyes… and now I’M in the dream!
I feel like that stupid voice didn’t properly prepare me for this one... Like it tells me to go beat up a bear... I like KNOW what I’m getting’ into walking into that a cave that night... But this... Man... This sucks.
I save that girl and don’t get so much as a SMILE. C’mon, aren’t they supposed to get all dewy-eyed, “Ooh, Mr. Yuri! Thank you ever so much! SMOOCH!” …Ain’t that how it’s s’posed to go?

What if everything I know about girls is a lie and I’m doing it all wrong...
Oh man, now I’m all depressed.

We’re now free to explore the graveyard. But there’s only one point of interest that will progress things. So let’s take a look at that neon green headstone...

Ha ha! Wouldn’t it be hilarious if all the monsters I’ve killed started crawlin’ out of these? Heh heh...
Watch the ghost of that haunted chair I punched into splinters pops out... That’d be somethin’... heh.
<inspects grave> This one’s glowing. Seal of Earth, huh...?

The gravestone flashes and grows.


Music: Brain Hopper

Time for a throw down against Tony the Tiger’s gaunt pissy cousin – Raging Tiger. For once, we’ll be facing a “major enemy” and Yuri won’t be getting his ass handed to him. Indeed, Raging Tiger is extremely easy. But Yuri really needs to save face with his track record so let’s finally take a look at his hidden technique.

Yuri’s special ability is “Fusion” which is a low key term for “he can transform into a goddamn monster.” We’ve actually been able to do this the entire time. But, you know... Any fight that would have warranted it so far would have resulted in the Fusion immediately getting its shit kicked in.

But no longer! Yuri’s only Fusion at the moment is Death Emperor -- the same exact Devilman that Fox Face transformed into before knocking his son the fuck out. It’s worth noting that using Fusions drain Sanity Points, not Magic Points. It costs 16 of Yuri’s current 24 Sanity Points to bring out the Death Emperor. But there’s no penalty after that beyond normal Sanity drain. Yuri can remain in his Fusion state for the duration of the battle as long as he isn’t KOed.

Fusions come with their own variety of Special Attacks in addition to just a flat increase of Yuri’s stats across the board. Special Attacks do use MP as their fuel source like you’d expect. Drain Wave is a spell that steals MP from an enemy. Curse Attack is a buff that raises Special Attack Power for five turns. Dark Messenger is just a big ol’ fuck-off super attack.

But ehh... that’s not really necessary here. Two rounds of Death Emperor’s default combo is enough to send this kitty to bed.

The poor thing didn’t even get a chance to attack. Its only turn was desperately hollering at the sky to restore a meager 9 HP as a devilman whipped his ass.

...It was not enough.

Music: Results

But that’s alright. Raging Tiger will get his chance to shine another day. Just not in the way it was anticipating. Defeating this enemy in the Graveyard yields a Fusion Soul meaning Yuri now has the ability to transform into his own oh gawd he’s got a fursona now, abort Raging Tiger.

Music: Graveyard Moon

Huh?! What the...? Suddenly I feel... awful...!! <kneels over in pain>

There is a brief flash of light and a piercing sound.

You’ve received the Soul of Tigerion!

A new spirit to fuse with... Is this... my power?
Wha...!? I could have been getting new fusions this entire time...? Why doesn’t anyone tell me these things!?

We can now equip different Fusion Souls in the equipment menu. Obviously, only Yuri has access to this tab. No turning Alice into a tiger lady or anything like that.

Yuri can equip up to three Fusion Souls at a time. Equipping a Soul will show how it will buff Yuri’s stat if he fuses with it in a fight. Death Emperor is:
Which ain’t a bad buff across the board. It's nice that Fusions are just a flat buff across the board and not static stat conversions when transformed. You know, the type of thing that near universally leads to the human versions of characters out-leveling their special forms or summons in tons of games.

Our new toy, Raging Tiger, grants:
Again, not too shabby. You might notice there’s an Earth element when equipping Raging Tiger. That’s because Fusions also will alter Yuri’s Elemental Alignment. So that’s something to take note of when transforming. Might not be a bad idea to shift elements if we’re up against something that dunks on the current alignment. Likewise, if Yuri is getting his ass kicked by Light magic, shifting to another element could help mitigate the damage a bunch. But that’s all junk to worry about much later.

We’re now free to explore the Graveyard further. There’s a door to the north which we cannot access. That definitely won’t ever become relevant and some key moment later on.

What we do want to want to take a gander at is the ominous door with the four spooky evil ass looking masks floating around it. I dunno, that seems like it could be kinda important. Just a vibe I’m getting...

We are pleased to see you, boy… The detestable young Harmonixer who damned us to eternal hell…
He he, no need to thank me. But to be honest, I really haven’t missed you guys at all.
That glowing after effect you’ve got going is giving me a headache.
Ho ho ho… Your pathetic bravado can’t hide your fear.
<puts up fists> Keep laughin’!! I’ll slice that stupid mask in two!!
Ho ho... Like you did the warlock on the train?
Or that familiar spirit at the bonfire?
Shuddup! Neither of those fights were fair! Stupid magic using jerks... Besides, I just kicked that tiger guy’s ass! I ain’t no pushover.

Ha ha ha! Your mind may not comprehend this place, but your heart understands it full well. Yes. This world is a reflection of your own mind’s darkness, darkness you have created yourself.
<looks around> ...
I think my mind would have created something a little more exciting...
Ho ho ho… The more of our brethren roaming about the world you strike down, the more you shall become saturated with venomous Malice, born of their bitter vengeance… And when the limit is passed, so then shall HE be reborn into the world of the living. Ho ho ho… The man, the very thought of whom make you shrink in terror…

<laughs and vanishes>

You think I’m scared!? Don’t make me laugh! I’ve been huntin’ monsters for over ten years.
I’ve been carving them up all across the world, pal.
Oh my... A monster hunter for generations, are we? I bet you have some stories. Heh heh.
Tri me!

<kicks dirt> I can handle one or two of those guys with the flick of a finger! You got that, you bodiless freaks!
Ha ha ha… Don’t get so excited. You loved your father so much, that now you’re wandering aimlessly in search of him.
Stay out of this! Look, I’m just out for revenge for my parents. It’s none of your concern!
Your revenge keeps killing our comrades and that is, as they say in the living world, “not cool.”
Heh. Strange words for someone who still desperately wants to believe his father is alive somewhere…
<clenches fists> You... Now you’re really starting to piss me off! Say another word and I’ll smash your smirking faces in!!
Are all of your solutions punching things, boy?
It’s worked alright so far! C’mon, I’ll show you!

Ha ha ha! Slow down, boy. Worry not, we have a proper opponent for you! To sweep away the accumulation of Malice, you must do battle!

Music: Brain Hopper

Fight time once again. This time we’re facing a malevolent spirit with the very unoriginal name of “Evil 4.” We’ll back-up and watch the prequels The Evil, 2 Evil 2 Malice and Evil 3: Manchuria Drift another day. For now, we need to kick this ghost skeleton’s ass.

And well we did just get that new Fusion. Let’s take it out for a test drive, eh? Much like the Death Emperor, Raging Tiger costs 16 SP to bring forth. There’s a reason why Yuri starts with six times the Sanity of Alice.

Yeah, this is pretty much just a stomp match. The most Evil 4 can accomplish is bonking catboy Yuri on the head for all of 1 HP of damage. Hang in there, skeleton.

A final issue to bring up in the Graveyard: since we’re in some weird spectral... dream realm... thingie, no experience points are earned fighting any enemies here. Same with the Raging Tiger. Items still drop, though. So that’s nice.

Music: Graveyard Moon

Ho ho ho… Well done. Your victory has swept aside the vengeance of our brethren. And it appears that the reactions of that cursed talisman you hold have vanished as well.
It’s as though there is some mechanical system in place to track the Malice you’ve accumulated. How convenient for you... Ho ho ho...
Heh heh heh… It’s too early to get cocky, boy. This purification is only temporary.
What’s that supposed to mean?!
Ho ho ho… When you return to your world, killing our compatriots will only result in increased Malice. Then you will come back here to lower it. No matter how many you slaughter, this hell will continue.
So you’re saying I should just start breaking monsters’ legs and leaving ‘em alive?
Wait... Can he do that...?
No... I think that still counts as Malice.
Are you sure...?
No, this never came up. Ergh... Quiet! He doesn’t need to know that!

NO! This too will accumulate Malice and yield the same results!
Aww... dang.

Ha, ha, ha! Then, in due time, HE will be resurrected… The man you fear more than Death itself!
Tee hee hee… Do you intend to keep running forever…?
Ho ho ho… How much easier it would be for you if you’d simply come here in death.
At the rate he is going, I don’t think he will have much of a choice.
Ho ho ho!

<turns and starts walking away> Enough! Shut up!

And that’s the end of our lecture on the Malice mechanic. We’ll dive more into that when we get back to the real world.

Once again we have control of Yuri. The Masks will just dunk on him again and tell him to leave. So let’s head back to where we began this segment and see if anything changes...

Music: ENDS

…Huh? That voice…?
Yuri…! Please, open your eyes!
<falls to his knee> Aargh! …My head again!!
Stop screaming in my ear! Geez!!

Wake up! Wake up, please!

Music: Sphere -qu-

I’m awake... I’m AWAKE! STOP YELLING!! GEEZ!!

Yuri picks himself up off the ground.

<looks around> So... he’s back.
Are you all right? You were having a nightmare… Mumbling about masks… And “Malice.”
You were also meowing like a cat. That must have been quite the nightmare...
…None of your business. My head’s really starting to hurt. That’s all.
Also there wasn’t a guy in an army uniform in some kind of mask hangin’ around while I was out, was there...?
Err... no?
<looks around> Good... good. Just askin’... Ya know, you never know what kinda creeps are around...

Whew… How long was I out?
Only two or three minutes since I found you. But you seemed to be in such pain.
Nothin’ to worry about. I always have nightmares. Ever since I was a kid.
Was that before or after the voices started in your head?
Long before. And it’s voice! Singular. Just the one in my head.
I... see...

…C’mon, let’s go.

I’m sure that whole sequence was nothing to worry about. Now then, it’s been some indeterminate amount of time since we opened the sluice gate. Alice seems like she could sleep through a bomb considering Yuri and his ghost dad having a brawl didn’t stir her in the slightest, so it could be hours later for all we know

Whatever amount of time it was, it’s long enough that the entire stream has dried up from the water being diverted. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a sunken treasure chest in the water. The item in this chest is actually determined by which of the two broken sluice gate handles Yuri acquires and how many tries it took him to tear it off with the Judgement Ring prompts. Since we went to the top gate and it only took the one try, Yuri receives a second Bandanna which we’ll go ahead and equip on our protagonist since Alice already has one and we’re not allowed to double up on Accessories.

Now that we’ve encountered the Graveyard for the first time a new system has unlocked in Shadow Hearts -- Malice. You see, all these random trash mobs we’re encountering on our journey are none too thrilled about getting murdered by our punch boy. As a result, Malice accumulates after every fight.

The current amount of Malice is indicated in the menu by the color of Yuri’s talisman. Blue is the bare minimum of Malice, we don’t need to worry about that. Green means Malice has begun to accumulate in problematic amounts. Yellow means Yuri is getting lousy with Malice and should really sort it out. A red Talisman glow means you done fucked up and Fox Face will start appearing. Any random battles can be replaced with a solo fight against Fox Face until the Malice is cleared up. Unlike the first encounter, Fox Face is technically beatable but it’s highly unlikely for a good chunk of the game. Being beaten by Fox Face at maximum Malice results in a Game Over. So we wanna avoid that!

In order to reset the current Malice level, Yuri needs to return to the Graveyard via any Save Point (the World Map also works) and return to the Four Masks to go beat up a spirit like Evil 4 earlier. Naturally, the level of Malice will result in stronger enemies to take on. So early in the game it is best to sort out Yuri’s Malice as soon as it gets to the first warning level.

In addition to Malice, enemies now begin dropping Soul Energy. Soul Energy accumulates according to the monster’s Element. This Soul Energy is tied to Fusion Souls. Once one of these elemental meters is filled, a corresponding grave in the Graveyard will light up and Yuri can do battle with a monster to gain a new Fusion. We may do some grinding at some point just to gain additional Soul Energy to unlock useful new Fusions for our Harmonixer.

Edit: There are story gates for Level 2 and 3 versions of elemental Fusions. I felt no need to bring that up just yet because we're still on the first hour of the game. But some people just cannot shut up...

Back to the task at hand, now that the stream is stopped there is no threat of Yuri getting his coat wet. So we’re free to cross to the west, where we find...

There’s actually some civilization out here. What do you know? Surely there will be a comfy inn and no further complications. The duo have already been through enough this evening.

Why the long face? We’ll have food, and a bed to rest on!
We’ve both taken a dirt nap tonight and that’s not really my kinda scene.

Yuri begins walking toward the village but is stopped by another flash of light and an ear piercing sound.

<looks around confused>
Pant, pant... It’s... gone...?

Yuri stands back up and swats at the air.

<kicks the dirt> I’m not a damn marionette, you hear me?!
Use a post card or something, you damn voice! I don’t care if I don’t have a home address! I’m OVER this!
<steps forward> Um, Yuri... That voice.

<turns and glares> Yeah, what about it?
I heard it, too…
Yeah, yeah... I bet you thi—wait, WHAT!?
You’re not just humoring me, right!? You ACTUALLY heard that stupid voice?
A low whisper female voice that sounded very far away with subtitles that implied parts were blocked out even though you can clearly hear it all, it’s just quiet?
Huh... Well then... I’ll be damned. Wait, “subtitles”?
Yes. A bunch of ellipses and parts of words blanked out with periods? “Pu.gato.y” is clearly just “Purgatory.” I don’t know who it is trying to fool.
...Yeah. The voice never had “subtitles” for me. That’s weird... How did you make this even weirder? Bah! Don’t matter! You heard the voice and I ain’t a crazy person! There really is some jerkface lady screaming into my head in the middle of the night!

<nods> Yes. I don’t think it means us any harm. I didn’t sense anything evil about it. I think… It feels like it just wants to tell us something.
...Oh yeah?
<nods> Let’s head for the village.

Alice begins walking toward the village.

<notices Alice walking away> Hey, wait up! Don’t leave me here!

And that concludes our adventures on the Midnight Plains. Tune in next time as we enter our first proper town of Shadow Hearts despite the fact a voice yelling at our protagonists said there’s some kind of man-eater trap waiting there. I’m sure it’ll be just fine as Shadow Hearts continues!

Video: Episode 5 Highlight Reel
(You should watch the Harmonixer monster mash.)

Raging Tiger Render – There was specifically a character design note demanding washboard abs on this catman.

Shadow Hearts includes a vast Library of Monsters and NPCs that have appeared in the game. Monsters get unlocked as soon as they’ve been defeated, for the most part. NPCs are... a bit more sporadic. We’re done with the first two areas of the game, so let’s see what we’ve gotten so far. I’ll be adding this to end of chapters here on out (mostly because I forget it exists until after I’ve recorded a whole area worth of footage for the LP. )


All of the enemies get a fun little blurb of lore. Also their elemental affiliation, which is probably the more important part. I can’t believe Roger Bacon has weaponized vaping. He’s truly an evil man.

Much like the item descriptions, there are no enemies that are just an average animal or insect. They’ve all been punched up with absurd edginess that wraps around to being kind of hilarious. That’s no mere dung beetle! It’s a dung beetle that feasted on the excrement of those sent to the executioner’s block for only the most heinous of crimes and has been filled with their evil energies!

That’s a visual I didn’t need, Shadow Hearts...

I think this is the closest we’ll get to something being relatively normal – Battle Wolves.

You may notice the number of the enemy jumped up to the hundreds. That’s because all the Graveyard enemies and sidequest involved monsters get shuffled off toward the end of the listings. All other enemies are usually in order of appearance.



Dude is looking pretty nice for being 699 years old.

Turns out Mr. X was an honorary member of Imperial Japan. Makes sense...