The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 18: Episode XVIII: Valorization

Episode XVIII: Leaving Port

Now, where were we...? Ah yes. Countering dark arts with mystical Taoist lightning. Zhuzhen will be played by Christopher Lambert in the Shadow Hearts movie adaptation. He'll then go on to be played by the dad from Dexter in Covenant's follow-up adaptation.

Music: China Ogre



...FUCK!? What jerk hid a nightmare angel where a curse tossing ghost lady was supposed to be hanging out!? I'm calling foul play! But I suppose we must deal with this now. Meet Yamaraja: Wind, the boss of Dark Port Dalian. This fiend comes packing a respectable 900 HP, which is a considerable step up from its Zhaoyang Village cousin.

A more troubling matter is this thing also has an immunity to all physical attacks. Any attempts will just plain miss. Hence why we've shoved the entire party into the back row for this fight. May as well minimalize their damage if they cannot take advantage of the front row attack buff.

Our first order of business is Yuri tapping his Harmonixer power and fusing with Tornado, the Wind elemental Fusion. Guess who has another translation bungling? It turns out Yamaraja: Wind is... an Earth elemental enemy. His original Japanese name was Enma-O: Hiei. Hiei being roughly "flying shadow" which... I mean, I guess if you squinted I see how that could end up localized as "wind." Except for the part where that's a gameplay mechanic element and again, someone should have caught that'd be really damn confusing to the player. Especially since the damn thing looks like it should be a Wind elemental enemy. It's got giant wings as a prominent part of its design for Pete sake!

You could have just left its name Yamaraja: Hiei, Midway. It would have been fine. I've seen Yu Yu Hakusho. It's alright to have a few Japanese names...

Localization gaffes aside, Yuri is going to be our powerhouse for this fight with Tornado's Wind Shear. Hitting Yamaraja: Wind's elemental weakness with this attack will do between 125-150 HP of damage each turn. Yuri can fire off five of these before needing to replenish his MP. So, he'll be on Wind Shear duty the entire fight.

Since Wind Shear had been an attack several enemies had possessed early that Yuri is now borrowing, it's only fair that the Yamaraja can use Raging Tiger Yuri's old Flying Stones trick to start hurling rocks at our party. Turns out having a barrage of rocks tossed at your head HURTS. Especially if they nail Yuri, as he is weak to the Earth element in his Wind owl boy form. Flying Stones will rock him for 60-70 HP of damage. Anyone else still takes around 40-50 HP from a Flying Stones hit, which still ain't nothing to sneeze at.

Since Alice is out of commission for this fight, we're going to have Margarete take over her role as designated healer. It's not because she's a girl or anything. It's just Zhuzhen, being an old-timer, is the slowest party member in the game and we need someone relatively on their toes to be on the ball with healing. Good thing we packed extra Thera Leaves.

Zhuzhen is going to be falling back into the same routine he had during Yamaraja: Earth and just start spamming Ogre Flamedance. It's worth mentioning the adept picked up Scirocco Blast in the interval between leaving the party and rejoining here. That just adds the Fire element to an ally's physical attacks, like Alice and Margarete's similar abilities with their elements.

Ogre Flamedance is much less comparatively effective this go around, doing around 70-80 HP of damage. If Zhuzhen was on healing duty, we'd just have Margarete spamming Grenade in his stead and that would also be doing similar damage output. Again, Yuri is doing most of the heavy lifting here.

While Flying Stones is a nasty attack, the most dangerous ability of Yamaraja: Earth is its physical strikes. Lashing people with its gross tongue and smacking them about with its skeleton arm or, heaven forbid, its gnarly stretchy left arm can do 60-90 HP of damage depending on how many times it decides to hit in a turn.

Last up in Yamaraja: Wind's moveset is Shockwave. It is err... a shockwave of energy. This one only hits for around 35-45 HP of damage. The trouble here is that it hits the entire party. Thankfully, it seems to be non-elemental for some reason as Yuri's Tornado doesn't take any additional damage from the blow. It might be a decent idea to have both Zhuzhen and Margarete take a minute to go on healing duty after a Shockwave.

But not Yuri, though. Yuri is gonna ride that Wind Shear train all the way to victory.

Overall, Yamaraja: Wind isn't too bad if you know it's coming. It can certainly be an early game roadblock if you don't know what you're doing. Like say, never getting around to gaining additional Fusions since the game in no way urges you to do so beyond the tutorial or even directly states what leveling up Soul Level is about unless you dive into the FAQ section of the menu.

I think the first time I played this game, I fought this dude at like Level 9 and only unlocked Raging Tiger Fusion recently and reckoned the Earth elemental guy would definitely be great against a guy named Yamaraja: Wind. Wind is right there in his name! And pfft... I was fine with like the four remaining curative items the game had directly tossed my way by that point...

It did not go well.

Music: Results

For our efforts defeating another Yamaraja, the party receives a decent amount of EXP to Level Up everyone, alongside a nice bonus of Cash. At Level 13, Margarete learns Scout which is this game's equivalent to a Scan ability that shows an enemy's HP, MP, and Elemental affinity. Could have used that a bit earlier... Thankfully, I think that's the only two enemies with deceptive/wrong names. There are more Yamaraja bosses to come. But from here on out, they stop naming them after elements. That's probably for the best...

Also, for defeating the menace of Dalian, we receive another Seal item. This one boosts HP by 3-5 points, making it one of the more worthless Seal items in the game. We'll probably toss that Zhuzhen or Alice's way, as they have the lowest HP currently. Speaking of Alice, let's see if that sorted out the curse...

Music: Sea - Highnoon Fish

The curse seal vanishes in a blinding flash of light.

But… I wonder why this village was targeted by evil spirits in the first place?
Probably for being too long-winded with their storytelling.
That's not a good reason.
Ain't gotta be a solid reason to throw down a curse or a haunting. Sometimes it's just a dick move for the sake of a dick move.
You're not wrong there, but...

For generations, the villagers have worshipped the Blue Dragon at an undersea shrine just offshore. A month ago, lightning struck, and the Dragon was sealed away. As a result, Li Li became a ghost.

<shakes head> It’s just like what happened at Zhaoyang, isn’t it?!
Just like what happened where...?
You weren't around for that. There was this village filled with cat demons and another big ogre guy like the one we just fought. It was a whole thing... Alice and I met this quack there.
I told you to knock that off, kid.
Cat demons? Are you just going around the countryside fighting evil small animals?
No! Those were evil cats that transformed into people and THEN into crazy cat demons! They didn't start as like kittens or anything. It's totally different! I'd have punted that puppy into the ocean as soon as I saw it if that'd been the case. But anyway, this whole thing is just like that...

Which means… Mr. Smarty-Sage, you know who the big boss is, right?
<knowing chuckle> Well, I may have a slight id—
…Wait, we were attacked in Fengtian, too! It’s that old geezer Dehuai, isn’t it?!
Oh? You’ve already met him, have you?
Yeah... Dude is like an evil puppy. It was real weird... real lame...
A... puppy?
Yeah, you know... A tiny mutt. It started talking and then got mad when nobody took it seriously and turned into a big hellhound. Then things went poorly for it.
...I see. His methods always were... unique...

…At any rate, you are correct. He plays puppet-master from his tower in Shanghai. He is attempting to gain control over the entire continent… by using his Taoist magic in forbidden ways.
What does Dehuai want from US?
He wants Alice.

...I guess he mighta said last time, huh?
Did he? I was kinda too focused on how stupid it was a tiny mutt was trying to intimidate us.
Same, but... I *think* he mentioned something about wanting Alice...

…In any case, we’ve successfully broken the spell that was cast over this village. Let’s go back to the restaurant from before.

Sure enough, all random battles are gone and we're free to head back to the Sea Turtle Restaurant undeterred. There we find...

...Alice has made a full recovery from her curse. That was a remarkably inconvenient couple of hours for her. Good thing curses are a cinch to break, eh?

Oh, and Sea Mother… I don’t think Dalian will be having any more ghost trouble. However… the fact that Li Li herself did not appear does concern me…
That... thing wasn't Li Li?
Hadn't you encountered Li Li yourself? You'd know better than I.
Tch. I dunno Ghosts transform into freaky shit all the time.

We are indebted to you. On behalf of everyone in this village, I thank you.
<shakes head> Don’t mention it.
<steps onto the stage area> But, you know… I feel like some sort of karmic bond brought us all together here. Will you listen to what I’ve got to say?

Music: Misfortune - Psycho Temple

Heh heh… Well we have the Black Tortoise of the north and the Blue Dragon of the east… They’re two of the four gods of directions. Someone is trying to seal them away to further his own evil ends.
<nods> Yeah. Now, this is the most important part. The villainous Dehuai… He’s after you, Alice.

He did say that before...
See? I told you that guy said that...
OK, fine. You were right.

<shrugs and shakes head> Yeah, you were saying that before, too, but… why’s he after Alice? I don’t get it. Or, hey! Maybe this Dehuai guy’s just some sick old perv with a Lolita complex!
Now, now.
Alice has got all the weird old dudes creeping on her. Don't you go get any funny ideas, pops.
<rolls eyes> Put a sock in it, kid.

Well, Alice? Is there something YOU can tell us about this?

Except… When Bacon murdered my father in France a month ago, the last thing he said to me was… “There are dark warlocks trying to bring about the Valorization. I won’t let them make you their key!”
Alice… A “key”?
I really need to sit down with y'all folks and figure out what your deals are... I'm getting a wee bit lost here...
Yeah, I was gonna give you a big ol' synopsis on my past back on the plane but then you crashed it, so...

You’re no ordinary “Demon Eyes”, girl… The star within you shines far brighter than that. Li Li’s power was nothing compared to yours. I’m not surprised there are warlocks seeking to abuse it. Your father gave his life to protect you from them, correct?
<nods> Yes. And in the end, he sent me far away. …He used up the very last of his strength to keep me safe…
<swats the air> What, so you’ve gotta keep running forever and ever? That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.

We could always make for Shanghai and go after Dehuai ourselves. What say you?
If you're suggesting a road trip to go climb a wizard tower and uppercut that evil old geezer off it, I have NEVER been more down for traveling in my life.

Indeed. It would mean a repeat performance of the nightmare we lived through fifteen years ago.
The nightmare fifteen years ago? The “Valorization”…?
It’s a ritual that, in effect, turns the entire world upside down. Dehuai attempted the Valorization once before. Countless people lost their lives in the catastrophic earthquakes and disasters that followed.
Fifteen years ago, huh… So, this Valorization didn’t work?
Hah! You must be joking. If he’d succeeded, it would have meant the end of the world. As I recall… A certain man stood in Dehuai’s way and gave his life to stop the process of the Valorization. Having lost half his body in that battle, Dehuai went underground… But now he’s plotting a comeback. Yes, plotting secretly to carry out the Valorization rite known as the “Demon’s Gate Invocation”!!
“Demon’s Gate Invocation”?!
That probably sounded less lame in the original tongue, eh? Though having talked to that jerk... I guess that is on brand.
So if we don’t, like, stop it, this battle’ll go on forever, right? I like it!! I say we go to Shanghai.
I want… I want to go to Shanghai, too. I can’t keep running like this forever… Not if confronting Dehuai will help me understand why my father died.
Y-you’re all going?! …Hmm. This means I’m outnumbered. Sigh. Guess I’m in this thing with you, then.
You know you don't have to keep following us?
Ehh... I'm having a good time and now I feel invested.
Don't you have like... spy junk to be doing?
"Spy junk"?
Yeah, she's a spy. Not a very good one, mind you.
Could you not go advertising that around? And I'm terrific at my job, thank you very much!
Lady, you introduced yourself by insisting you were not a terrorist but a spy. You even spelled out the word "S-P-Y" to emphasise it.
...You did do that.
Yes... well... Shouldn't we focus less on me and more on this Dehuai business?

But how are we gonna get to Shanghai? If we go overland, the Japanese Army will catch us at a checkpoint for sure. And… I’ve… had enough flying.

You can use my boat.

Kawashima causally walks into the restaurant.

New Music: Profile

<shrugs> Hey! Were you eavesdropping on us?!
I didn’t mean to. I just happened to overhear.
To my defense, you ARE standing in the middle of the only restaurant in town chatting quite loudly in the middle of the night. I'm surprised this place is still open this late...
We're NOT! When are you people going home!? I need to get some sleep!

I didn’t expect to get into port THIS late, you see… There was some big fuss about monsters. It was all I could do to protect my goods!
<steps forward> Oh? And what business ARE you in, Miss? It does seem rather late for honest traders to be out and about.

…Of course, “courier” is a bit euphemistic. To put it bluntly, I’m a smuggler. Based on what I overheard, you’re looking for a way into Shanghai. …And that means sneaking past the Japanese Army, right?
Heh. No need for explanations, I guess. So, you got a boat?
Yes, but it’s old. The Army thinks it’s a fishing boat, and they let it right through the checkpoints. They never guess that there might be contraband under the floorboards… even if it’s human.
Heh, nice. The Japanese army is filled with a buncha morons. Those clowns couldn't find water in a river!
<twitch> Yes... indeed...

Hmm. I don’t know how comfortable I am with this, but… what would you ask in return?
You tell me. You could say I’m a little short on cash…
<nods> All right. It’s a deal.
Excellent. I’ll go ahead to the boat. Make your preparations and meet me there at first light.

Kawashima Smuggler Boss leaves the restaurant.

What's wrong with her? She's got a boat and she's down for some crimes. My kinda lady.
Don’t fret. You’ll find people making a living slipping under the eyes of the law anywhere you go.
Is that the kind of person you think that woman is?
<nods> Most likely. Besides, do you have any better ideas?
Yes… You should call it a night and get some rest at the inn.
Sea Mother has a point. Let’s be going.

Music: Sweet Pillows

And with that, the party retires for the evening. Weird to think everything from Fengtian till now was just one day.

The next morning...

Music: Sea - Highnoon Fish

<turns to Zhuzhen> Hmm? Where are the other kids?
You’re finally up, huh, kid? Margarete’s already left.
Now, this is the most important part. The villainous Dehuai…
<shakes head> Oh, shut up. You were dead asleep.

Yuri, let’s get going.

...I have no idea what the hell they're trying to say in the above conversation. Outside of a few flubs, like the Yamaraja Bros' mixed up elemental names, I'd say Shadow Hearts has a fairly solid localization. EXCEPT weirdly there are several transition scenes, like this one, where after events there will be a fade out to the next day and the following conversation reads like they just hurriedly tossed the script in an online translator and called it a day. There's a particularly egregious example late game in which everyone acts as though a character died when they... clearly just got teleported away with a villain.

In any case, back to it with a fresh start. For some reason, Meiyuan was watching us sleep. Not much privacy in the old Dalian inn. We don't need his services currently. Instead, let's head downstairs for a minute. Remember that kid diligently keeping us out of the back of his dad's weapon shop?

Here, I want you to have my treasure. Go ahead, take it.

We can loot this boy's treasure box to obtain the Flare Brooch – a Yuri only accessory which reduces Fusion SP consumption by 20%. Additionally, it grants +2 to Physical Attack and Defense as well as Special Attack and Defense. We'll toss that bad boy on Yuri immediately.

It's worth mentioning the Flare Brooch originally appeared in Koudelka. It was obtained by forcefully making an angry little girl ghost get raptured into the afterlife after tossing a bunch of letters from her mom at her feet and shattering the foundation of her hateful worldview. In that game, it was a much more significant boost to stats, but it was also acquired like 75% into the game.

It's a new day in Dalian and folks are out and about again. Everyone has new dialogue but it's all just uninteresting variations of "That's cool the ghost curse is gone, thanks!" Except for one character we want to chat with...

Would you bring this to Sea Mother for me? She loves fish, so you might receive something in return.
As long as the reward isn't another three-hour long ghost story...

Oh, Christ! Keep this away from any androids! Let's get this over to Sea Mother post-haste. Apparently, she just lives in the Sea Turtle Restaurant...

The spirits are gone from the harbor, but they still roam from the ocean. I will pray for your safety.
That's cool. Some lady wanted you to have this nasty dried mackerel.
Oh, is this fish for me? Thank you. This is my favorite...
To each their own.
I'll tell you something. A man who died from Li Li's curse left a strange message. It's about where he kept an extra stash of money. I didn't look into it too much, but maybe you'd find something useful.
That sounds shady as hell. But yeah, let's hear it!
I don't understand what he means. He said, "Where the turtle looks, take three steps." What does that mean?

It is a mystery. One we'll solve momentarily. Now that the curse has been broken, one of the NPCs' states has altered. If we talk to Filthy Samo wandering in the corner of the restaurant like a weird creep, suddenly he'll become...

O... kay...?
Play lottery, pal?
Count me in.

Turns out Filthy Samo is, in fact, Lottery Member Number 14. Before we leave Dalian, we need to drop a Lottery Ticket and win a prize from him. We're shooting for that Pocket Watch here. It's easy enough to obtain. These early few Lottery Members have easy Judgment Rings.

Don't blab yer mouth 'bout me not bein' so filthy, ya hear?
Your bizarre secret is safe with me... Cuz I'm getting on a ship in like 20 minutes and never coming back.

McNabb? I love that guy! This is an accessory that cancels out all Judgment Ring status effects. It might have its use one day. But probably not. Judgment Ring anomalies are never a major issue in this game. Just an occasional annoyance, really.

Anyway, about that mysterious message Sea Mother gave us from the dead guy's stash. Turns out the answer to the riddle is just walking about three steps (more like two and a half, really) straight out from the Sea Turtle Restaurant.

Something's lodged in here... Is this what the old lady was talking about? Jeez, what a pain in the rear. Huh?! Hey, are you in some shady business by chance?

Naturally, we need to use a Judgment Ring to dislodge this hidden cash cache. Depending on how many of the Hit Areas we successfully nail, our reward is improved. We managed to hit all three though, so we gain an extra 2,000 Cash. Not a bad haul!

Let's head to the docks. Remember that turtle guy? He might have something new now that a new day has arrived...

300 per play.
I'll try.
Should I explain how to play?
Yeah, now that you mention it... that might help...
It's easy. I'll lend you my hoe. You can dig up three spots on this field. Anything you find is yours, but if you don't find anything, that's your tough luck. Well, let's get started. There aren't any annoying time limits, so you can search all you want.
...Not much going on in this town, huh?
<frown> No.

As Man with Turtle said, we've got a hoe and three chances to dig up something. As with the turtle earlier, there are randomized spots on the field we can investigate. All but one of the hotspots either contain a Thera Leaf or Mana Leaf.

Selecting a spot requires once more to hit targets on a Judgement Ring – a surprisingly tight ring at that. Failing any of the targets will result in Yuri getting no prize. But you don't need to worry about that.

Now, I said all, but one, hotspot contained basic curative consumables. There is one key exception – The Third Key. I once more got extremely lucky and hit this on my first try. It was in the same exact spot right next to turtle boy as the turtle was earlier. The Third Key essentially lets you take three turns in a row to dish out considerable damage. Which is nice and all. More importantly, this is an extremely rare item. There's exactly one more found mid-game and then they're sold for 30,000 a pop at the end game. As such, this thing sells for a whopping 15,000 Cash. Considering that's around 75% of our current cumulative funds five hours into the game...

That ain't too shabby!

One final note before we leave, the Silent Peddler has appeared in town. He's now offering services in his shop. I've had the Pedometer equipped most of the time so far. There are a few items available, but they're all junk we can obtain elsewhere. What we're going to do is save up for the 8000 steps item, which is a unique thing only available in the Silent Peddler shop. But that's a lot of steps off...

That's about it for Dalian. Let's go talk to Kato Courier Subordinate and conclude this chapter...

She coulda warned me about that chin...
Aren't we done yet? Let's go!
You ready to leave?
Yes, let's push off.

And that concludes Chapter 4 of Shadow Hearts! At least we sorted out that whole ghost troubles. The gang's adventures will continue in Chapter 5: Li LI's Tears! ...Hey! Wait a minute! That doesn't sound like we sorted out the ghost trouble at all!

That's the end of a relatively short chapter. There wasn't much in the way of new monsters, but we definitely introduced several new NPCs along the way...


Did you hear that nice guy on Twitter was secretly a Water Creeper? Fucked up.

Sure, it was a cumbersome, shambling skeletal abomination on land. But toss this sucker into space? It will HAUL ASS like you wouldn't believe!


I heard main character's mother had some real wild adventures in her younger days. Also, that's kind of a spoiler given what a jobber Dehuai seems to be... But the actual revelation of this information just kind of gets mentioned offhand too, so ehh... The series occasionally has a problem with revealing information in status blurbs WAY before it's given in-game. Shadow Hearts: Covenant has one of the first playable character's revelation as a main baddie just sitting in his status screen available seconds after you can first take control in the game and like two hours before that is revealed in the plot.

Puberty was really hard on young lad Hyuga...

Ben, you really need to update your portrait. You can't keep using the one from when you were 25. You're pushing 50 and a ghost now. C'mon, man.

Sea Mother personally added that last part of her blurb herself.

I imagine post-curse she has a Dr. Girlfriend from Venture Bros voice.

Yeah... Yeah, I guess that's one way to put it for the Chin Emperor here...

Video: Yamaraja Earth Battle
(You should see this weird, creepy fella in motion.)