Part 5: Episode V: MaliceEpisode V: Malice
New Music: Graveyard Moon
Yuri, you really need to stop getting your ass kicked by every guy that crosses your path. Its getting embarrassing... If you couldnt guess, the fight against Fox Face is an unbeatable boss battle. Even if he didnt reduce Yuris 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. Thats a little bit out of Yuris league forty minutes into the game...
And so weve ended up here...
Whats goin on ? <steps forward>
Where am I?! This is just like in my dreams!!
<looks down> Okay... My pants are still on. So its not ENTIRELY like my dreams. But... Wait, wasnt I fightingOH CRAP! RIGHT!
Wheres...!? Where is he?!
I won, right? Yeah... Definitely... If anyone asks I kicked his ass and he ran away... Thats probably what happened. Probably... So why isnt he here...?
<puts guard down> Heh heh, so he didnt come with me, eh? Damn! I cant 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 dont want to be remembering this! Nows the part where I get lost, then wake up in a cold sweat just as a monsters 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... Im 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 Ive lost it completely. First, Dad jumps out of my nightmare and shows up right before my eyes and now IM in the dream!
I feel like that stupid voice didnt properly prepare me for this one... Like it tells me to go beat up a bear... I like KNOW what Im getting into walking into that a cave that night... But this... Man... This sucks.
I save that girl and dont get so much as a SMILE. Cmon, arent they supposed to get all dewy-eyed, Ooh, Mr. Yuri! Thank you ever so much! SMOOCH! Aint that how its sposed to go?
What if everything I know about girls is a lie and Im doing it all wrong...
Oh man, now Im all depressed.
Were now free to explore the graveyard. But theres only one point of interest that will progress things. So lets take a look at that neon green headstone...
Ha ha! Wouldnt it be hilarious if all the monsters Ive killed started crawlin out of these? Heh heh...
Watch the ghost of that haunted chair I punched into splinters pops out... Thatd be somethin... heh.
<inspects grave> This ones glowing. Seal of Earth, huh...?
The gravestone flashes and grows.
Music: Brain Hopper
Time for a throw down against Tony the Tigers gaunt pissy cousin Raging Tiger. For once, well be facing a major enemy and Yuri wont 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 lets finally take a look at his hidden technique.
Yuris special ability is Fusion which is a low key term for he can transform into a goddamn monster. Weve 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! Yuris only Fusion at the moment is Death Emperor -- the same exact Devilman that Fox Face transformed into before knocking his son the fuck out. Its worth noting that using Fusions drain Sanity Points, not Magic Points. It costs 16 of Yuris current 24 Sanity Points to bring out the Death Emperor. But theres 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 isnt KOed.
Fusions come with their own variety of Special Attacks in addition to just a flat increase of Yuris stats across the board. Special Attacks do use MP as their fuel source like youd 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... thats not really necessary here. Two rounds of Death Emperors default combo is enough to send this kitty to bed.
The poor thing didnt 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.
But thats 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
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.
Youve 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 doesnt 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 Yuris stat if he fuses with it in a fight. Death Emperor is:
- +4 Strength
- +4 Vitality
- +4 Agility
- +6 Power
- +3 Luck
Our new toy, Raging Tiger, grants:
- +6 Strength
- +5 Vitality
- +4 Agility
- +3 Power
- +3 Luck
Were now free to explore the Graveyard further. Theres a door to the north which we cannot access. That definitely wont 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 Im 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 havent missed you guys at all.
That glowing after effect youve got going is giving me a headache.
Ho ho ho Your pathetic bravado cant hide your fear.
<puts up fists> Keep laughin!! Ill 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 guys ass! I aint 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 minds 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 Im scared!? Dont make me laugh! Ive been huntin monsters for over ten years.
Ive 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.
<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 Dont get so excited. You loved your father so much, that now youre wandering aimlessly in search of him.
Stay out of this! Look, Im just out for revenge for my parents. Its 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 youre really starting to piss me off! Say another word and Ill smash your smirking faces in!!
Are all of your solutions punching things, boy?
Its worked alright so far! Cmon, Ill 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 were facing a malevolent spirit with the very unoriginal name of Evil 4. Well 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 skeletons ass.
And well we did just get that new Fusion. Lets take it out for a test drive, eh? Much like the Death Emperor, Raging Tiger costs 16 SP to bring forth. Theres 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 were 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 thats 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.
Its as though there is some mechanical system in place to track the Malice youve accumulated. How convenient for you... Ho ho ho...
Heh heh heh Its too early to get cocky, boy. This purification is only temporary.
Whats 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 youre 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 doesnt need to know that!
NO! This too will accumulate Malice and yield the same results!
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 youd simply come here in death.
At the rate he is going, I dont think he will have much of a choice.
Ho ho ho!
<turns and starts walking away> Enough! Shut up!
And thats the end of our lecture on the Malice mechanic. Well 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 lets head back to where we began this segment and see if anything changes...
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-
Im awake... Im AWAKE! STOP YELLING!! GEEZ!!
Yuri picks himself up off the ground.
<looks around> So... hes 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 heads really starting to hurt. Thats all.
Also there wasnt a guy in an army uniform in some kind of mask hangin around while I was out, was there...?
<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 its voice! Singular. Just the one in my head.
Cmon, lets go.
Im sure that whole sequence was nothing to worry about. Now then, its 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 didnt stir her in the slightest, so it could be hours later for all we know
Whatever amount of time it was, its long enough that the entire stream has dried up from the water being diverted. And wouldnt 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 well go ahead and equip on our protagonist since Alice already has one and were not allowed to double up on Accessories.
Now that weve encountered the Graveyard for the first time a new system has unlocked in Shadow Hearts -- Malice. You see, all these random trash mobs were 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 Yuris talisman. Blue is the bare minimum of Malice, we dont 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 its 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 Yuris 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 monsters 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 were free to cross to the west, where we find...
Theres 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? Well have food, and a bed to rest on!
Weve both taken a dirt nap tonight and thats 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... Its... gone...?
Yuri stands back up and swats at the air.
<kicks the dirt> Im not a damn marionette, you hear me?!
Use a post card or something, you damn voice! I dont care if I dont have a home address! Im OVER this!
<steps forward> Um, Yuri... That voice.
<turns and glares> Yeah, what about it?
I heard it, too
Yeah, yeah... I bet you thiwait, WHAT!?
Youre 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, its just quiet?
Huh... Well then... Ill 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 dont know who it is trying to fool.
...Yeah. The voice never had subtitles for me. Thats weird... How did you make this even weirder? Bah! Dont matter! You heard the voice and I aint a crazy person! There really is some jerkface lady screaming into my head in the middle of the night!
<nods> Yes. I dont think it means us any harm. I didnt sense anything evil about it. I think It feels like it just wants to tell us something.
<nods> Lets head for the village.
Alice begins walking toward the village.
<notices Alice walking away> Hey, wait up! Dont 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 theres some kind of man-eater trap waiting there. Im sure itll 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 theyve been defeated, for the most part. NPCs are... a bit more sporadic. Were done with the first two areas of the game, so lets see what weve gotten so far. Ill be adding this to end of chapters here on out (mostly because I forget it exists until after Ive 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 cant believe Roger Bacon has weaponized vaping. Hes truly an evil man.
Much like the item descriptions, there are no enemies that are just an average animal or insect. Theyve all been punched up with absurd edginess that wraps around to being kind of hilarious. Thats no mere dung beetle! Its a dung beetle that feasted on the excrement of those sent to the executioners block for only the most heinous of crimes and has been filled with their evil energies!
Thats a visual I didnt need, Shadow Hearts...
I think this is the closest well get to something being relatively normal Battle Wolves.
You may notice the number of the enemy jumped up to the hundreds. Thats 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...