The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 8: Episode VIII: The Anti-Cat Maneuver

Episode VIII: The Anti-Cat Maneuver

Music: Destruction - Noise of Fangs

Now that Zhuzhen has joined the party, perhaps we can make some headway in the troublesome cat lady issue at hand. Let’s return to the last spot we saw her appear and try that again.

Cat Lady ninja smoke bombs onto the scene. She immediately recoils backwards.

Is she bothered? She isn’t acting the same as before… Is it because of pops?
I bet that dirty old man hasn’t bathed in days...
<ponders time since last bath>
...You know maybe I shouldn’t call others on that one.

Now that we have a full party and we’re (slowly) approaching the conclusion of this chapter, I think we can drop some cash buying a couple extra Leather Belts for Alice and Zhuzhen and an extra bandana for protection on our new Taoist sorcerer. It’s not too much of a dent in our wallet.

With our new accessories equipped and good to go, let’s head to the other place we last saw the Cat Lady.

Cat Lady warps in next to the well. She recoils again.

<hops back and teleports away>

You’d think we’d now return to the Shrine where we saw her first in this sequence. But nope! We now want to return to her home where we murdered her children kittens.

You’ll never leave. That is the Yamaraja’s decision.
<steps forward and looks the Cat Lady over> What you mean, granny, is it’s the decision of whoever’s controlling Yamaraja behind the scenes.
Hey, could we establish what the hell a Yamaraja is before we start jumping to the next level in management...?
Wh-Who are you?
Heh heh heh… I’m the adept hired to exorcise this village. So, are you ready to say uncle?
Ha ha ha! You couldn’t even catch me. Why would I be afraid of you? Poof!

You suck at this.
No, I can still feel her presence. She’s still hiding somewhere in this house. I guess it’s time to apply the secret formula for smoking out cat people.
...We’re gonna get it high?
<incredulous look> No...

Do you have any idea what we should do?
That I do. I suppose you know how cats take to catnip?
I thought you just said you weren’t gonna get it high!
May I finish speaking before you start your outbursts, kid?

<holds up bag> I made it by mixing catnip with a special dye! Well, this here is something called “Anti-Cat Powder.”

Yuri jumps back from Zhuzhen.

Like... all the time? Just in case?
I was hired to exorcise malevolent spirits from this village. I’m not sure if you’re aware, kid. But there’s a LOT of different varieties of ghouls and ghosts out there. I like to come prepared.
Whatever. You’re batty, man.

<nods> So that’s what that funny smell was... Now I get it! That’s why Granny hid herself!!
<laughs> Right, she probably couldn’t stand the thought of running into me and having to smell this odor again. It’s actually an herbal remedy for stomach aches, but its smoke has a powerful effect on cat people. Simply carrying it is effective, but burn it and the power multiplies. Let’s smoke her out.
Couldn’t we just... I dunno... set this house on fire? This seems like a lot of work.
She’d likely just flee again and we’d get nowhere.
But why wouldn’t she flee from the anti-cat whatchamacallit?
...That is a good point.
<sigh> Just trust me on this. I AM an expert on these things. We’ll smoke her out and she’ll reveal her true form.

Oh, but to do that, we’ll need a metal vessel and a torch. You need to go find those two things. When you bring them back, I’ll burn the incense in this house.
<nods> A metal vessel and a torch. Right.

There’s nothing worse than cat troubles. Unfortunately, there is no torch nor bowl nearby. We’ll need to go track those down in the village while ignoring the fact that Zhuzhen is literally a Fire Bender. To do that, let’s try asking the only other human in the village that didn’t just arrive.

> I’m looking for something.
You seen a bowl or a tor—
Metal vessel!
Excuse me METAL bowl or a torch?

Hmm? A “metal vessel” and “torch”? The “metal vessel” you can get from any street shop. And there are some “torches” near the gate... That’s if I remember correctly.

Look, they went to the trouble of rendering the hell version screens of this town and DAMMIT they’re gonna get their money worth out of it! We need to once more travel across town hitting event flag hotspots again. The first is one of the shop stalls in the main street.

A quick Normal Ring mini-game and the Metal Vessel is ours. I’m sure burning the rotten flesh flecks alongside the stinky catnip will really add to the aroma.

A torch is just sitting on the ground over by Wander Meiyuan. No mini-game necessary to collect it. I feel like gathering this specific bundle of sticks is rather egregious considering we’re in a village full of wood huts and again, a pyromancer is in our party. But what do I know about Eastern medicine?

As a side note, the party is still obviously regularly coming up against random battles and has been picking up a few levels along the way. On the way back to the Cat Lady mayor’s home, Alice managed to hit Level 7 and learned Holy Edge. All characters, except for Yuri, have an “Edge” ability which can be cast on allies to add their elemental alignment to that character’s physical attacks. So Alice’s Holy Edge can turn Yuri or Zhuzhen’s physical attacks into Light Elemental strikes. It’s a real useful ability in certain situations. It’s almost universally one of the first additional techniques a character will learn if they don’t come with it unlocked already.

That aside, back to the Mayor’s house we go...

Well, I guess I’ll give it a go!
<turns to the fire pit> Let’s see, put the Anti-Cat Powder into the metal vessel… And light it with the torch...

Yuri tosses all of that junk into the fire pit. He immediately runs back as soon as it ignites.

Maybe we should have gone outside as soon as we lit this thing. I’m not eager to stink like blue anus musk the rest of my life.
<cat howl>
<scan the area>

The Cat Lady rockets out of the fire pit.

Oh my goodness!
Hah! Did we accidentally set her on fire? That’s great!

I’ve got you now, old hag! You ready to be skinned, cat?
H-How dare you! I’ll show you all! You’re all in big trouble now!

Music: Brain Hopper

Time for another mini-boss. Cat Lady has shown her true form of Felinus, a 250 HP sporting cousin of the Hellcats from earlier. This fight is overall only marginally more difficult than the battle again those brats from earlier.

As a quick aside, Felinus’s Japanese title is Nekomata the little known cat based spin-off to NieR: Automata. BECOME MEOWS DOGS! a cat spirit that could shapeshift.

Wikipedia on Nekomata posted:

Click for more info

Nekomata are a kind of cat yōkai told about in folklore as well as classical kaidan, essays, etc. There are two very different types: the ones that live in the mountains, and the ones raised domestically that grow old and transform.

In China, they are told of in stories even older than in Japan from the Sui dynasty that told of mysterious cats, but in Japan, in the Meigetsuki by Fujiwara no Teika in the early Kamakura period, in the beginning of Tenpuku (1233), August 2, in Nanto (now Nara Prefecture), there is a statement that a nekomata ate and killed several people in one night. This is the first appearance of the nekomata in literature, and the nekomata was talked about as a beast in the mountains. However, in the "Meigetsuki", concerning their appearance, it was written, "they have eyes like a cat, and have a large body like a dog", there are many who raise the question of whether or not it really is a monster of a cat, and since there are statements that people suffer an illness called the "nekomata disease", there is the interpretation that it is actually a beast that has caught rabies. Also, in the essay Tsurezuregusa from the late Kamakura period (around 1331), it was written, "in the mountain recesses, there are those called nekomata, and people say that they eat humans...”

At the same time, in the Kokon Chomonjū from the Kamakura period, in the story called Kankyō Hōin an old cat raised in a precipitous mountain villa held in its mouth a secret treasure, a protective sword, and ran away, and people chased after it, but it disguised its appearance right then, and it left behind that the pet cat became a monster, but in the aforementioned "Tsurezuregusa", this is also a nekomata, and it talks about how other than the nekomata that conceal themselves in the mountains, there are also the pet cats that grow old, transform, and eat and abduct people.

In the Edo period and afterwards, it has become generally thought that cats raised domestically would turn into nekomata as they grow old, and the aforementioned nekomata of the mountains have come to be interpreted as cats that have run away and came to live in the mountains. Because of that, a folk belief emerged in each area of Japan that cats are not to be raised for many months and years.

Felinus also just means “cat” in Latin. Hey, we’ve got a cat of our own here!

It just so happens Raging Tiger is an Earth elemental Fusion while Felinus is a Wind elemental foe. Now seems a choice time to employ some of Raging Tiger’s Special Attacks. Specifically: Flying Stones. This is one of the more costly special attacks we’ve got at our disposal MP wise, so Yuri can only perform this three times this battle unless we want to blow a consumable.

Flying Stones is... err... well... literally exactly what it says on the box. Raging Tiger uses telekinesis to pull up a bunch of stones and then sends ‘em flying right at its target’s everything. Look, sometimes just throwing a rock at a dude is an effective technique. Particularly here when it’s doing 60-70 HP of damage a shot.

Meanwhile, Zhuzhen can add offensive support by setting that cat on fire with Ogre Flamedance. While not quite as effective as Yuri’s rock lobbing at only around 40-50 HP of damage, it’s still nothing to sneeze out. Alice meanwhile kinda has nothing to do this fight. She could heal, I guess, if the boys got really sloppy with their Judgment Ring usage and whiffed a bunch of attacks. That didn’t not occur.

Offensively, Felinus’s primary ability is Wind Fang which will slice into the entire party for around 15 HP worth of damage. Nothing to worry about at all.

It can also just run up and scratch our characters for minimal damage. It is a cat after all. We’re just lucky it doesn’t hack up a gross hairball to poison anyone during this fight.

All in all it is needless to say that things do not go well for the Cat Lady...

Music: Results

For our troubles we receive a small amount of EXP and a new item – the Lottery Ticket. This is part of a mechanic in Shadow Hearts that we’ll be encountering in the next location. We’ll just keep in mind we’re carrying one of these for now.

Music: Destruction - Noise of Fangs

You’ll never understand the pain of giving birth, only to have them devoured… My vengeance was in vain…
Suck it, cat!
I feel for you… But I suggest you let it go and give yourself some peace. I’ll ask my employers to pray for the souls here.
I won’t accept pity from you! Yamaraja! I leave everything in your hands…

BARF! <dies>
Why do they keep saying "barf"?

Perhaps the cat-demons. I find it doubtful the villagers were raising snails.
Also the straight-up zombies.
Well, those could be vengeful animal spirits inhabiting human corpses. It’s a debatable fringe case as to the nature of such creatures.
At least it’s over now.

Now, now, Alice. We’re not done yet. Next comes that so-called “shrine” over there!
<looks at door and laughs> Heh, now for Yamaraja!

Indeed. Time to return to the village shrine and see what the hell a Yamaraja is anyway. Tune in next time as we finish our adventures in Zhaoyang Village and conclude the Midnight Plains Arc as Shadow Hearts continues!

Video: Felinus Boss Battle