The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 23: Episode XXIII: Under New Management

Episode XXIII: Under New Management

Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood

We now find ourselves playing as Zhuzhen for a while since Yuri is taking a nap and somebody needs to move the plot along until he wakes up. Silent Peddler is chilling out upstairs in his continued lowkey stalking of the party. But we didn't really jog much while stuck on a boat. So, he can be ignored for now. Instead, let's go downstairs and chat with Margarete.

Yeah. Thought I'd go kill some time.
Maybe have a drink or two with an old friend.
It's around 9:00 AM...
Early bird catches the worm.
Huh. I didn't know that idiom was referring to alcoholism.

By the way, you haven't seen our two smuggler friends, have you?
<shrugs> They both left a little while ago. Seems they had someone to meet... more shady business, I'd guess.
The way those two greenhorns looked after that encounter I wouldn't be surprised to bump into them at the bar.
It's like they saw a ghost.

What a metropolis Shanghai is! I just went and had a look... it's nothing like Fengtian or Dalian! Hee hee. Want a date? You don't want to wander around the big city all alone, do you?
I'll manage. Make sure those two youngens don't get cursed or kidnapped by wizard minions or the like while I'm out.
Your loss.

Let's hit the town! The bar Zhuzhen wants to visit is the building just to the south of the Cypress Hotel we're staying in. Which obviously means that's the last destination we'll venture toward. Also, right across the street is a chest nobody seems to be using. So, let's do the touristy thing and immediately raid its contents.

Naturally, a new staff that just happens to be Zhuzhen's forte is hiding within the said chest. It'd be rather awkward if he raided it and there was a weird bible or a gun inside. This rod grants 17 Physical Attack and 24 Special Attack which is double the strength of the one we purchased him for real money in Dalian and he went on to use for all of one boss battle before ducking out of the party for an entire chapter. Wee bit of buyer's remorse for that one now...

Anyway, let's see what's happening in town today.

I don't think "training" is the word I'd use for the lesson he is going to get taught.

At around sundown, he transforms into Bumming a Few Bucks Off His Mates For a Pint Miha.

Sure enough, that is the exit to Shanghai. Come to think of it, I think this is the first area we've been to that had a proper exit from it you could reach at any time. But despite that, Zhuzhen refuses to leave town just yet. He just got here!

It's a little late for that, my guy...

In the clutter near Hasty Kawa, we can rummage about and find yet another Lottery Ticket. The game is really frontloaded with handing these out like candy and becomes far stingier as we progress to the second half. Also, if you'll look to the barrel at the bottom of the screen, Zhuzhen can dig through that like a weirdo to discover...

It's the second tier of MP restorative items. This one will top off a healthy 100 MP on use. Who would leave a precious rare seed that only drops once every other year in some back-alley barrel? Highly suspect behavior.

Even though it was a fishing boat, there wasn't a single fish on it!
Trust me, you wouldn't want any fish from that boat...
Oh? Do they not handle their load properly?
Let's just say there are cursed conditions on that old tub.

If we continue to the east, we'll come upon another adjacent street with several points of interest. For instance, could you guess there are two items staring you in the face right now on this very screen?

No, of course, you couldn't because they're bloody invisible until you walk over them. Hugging the righthand side of the street will produce this first item...

Holy man Hylas sure looks an awful lot like an anime schoolgirl... Unless that is supposed to be one of those water nymphs that abducted him like a chump. This is an upgraded revival item. Crumpling this up and tossing it at unconscious party members will revive them with 50% of their total life. That's OK I guess, but I wish all the alcohol-based consumables from Koudelka stuck around. The concept of reviving someone from being KOed by shoving a bottle of whiskey in their mouth was fun/dumb.

A second new item is found also down the street by some shelves just under the balcony on the bottom right building. It's another one of those weird buffs that rejigger the Judgment Wheel's layout and we'll probably never use. Also, this Blue Dragon really needs to get itself checked out if these gnarly things pass for horns.

Nobody on this street has anything too interesting to say. It's all mostly variations of everyone being worried about the Japanese army showing up in town. A lot of that going around China these days.

Further down the street, there is a new shop being run out of some kid's house. We're just going to remember it's here for now. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to go shopping with just the single party member on hand. Plus, there might be a way to get a further discount on items in the near future. We'll be back another day.

If we keep heading further down the street, we'll eventually come to the docks where the Smuggler's Boat can be found. Kawashima and Kato are nowhere to be found and the ship's wheelhouse is no longer accessible, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to see here. If we go below deck, we find a little boy is squatting in the crew's quarters...

I could debate this point, but you're probably right...
C'mon, this is your chance to win big! What'll you do, pal?
...Come again?
Did I hear a "Count me in" just now?
No... What are you even doing? What's with the changed voice? A lottery what...? I'm very confused right now.
Ask the boy in the trench coat. He knows all about us.

Turns out Sharp Van is actually Lottery Member Number 12. We definitely want the top prize from this kid. This Lottery Judgment Wheel spins way faster than usual, so it's tricky get. But...

The Star Card grants the party the chance to receive a 20% Discount and 10% Price Raise in stores. That was worth the effort of reloading from five attempts.

With the Star Card acquired, we're more or less done with all the optional bits of Shanghai's streets. Again, we'll wait to shop until we have a full party. So, let's head back to the first screen...

The ENTERTAINMENT SHOW bar just across the street from the gang's hotel is where we want to go to advance the story. As soon as Zhuzhen sets foot inside, we're whisked away to another scene.

Music: Army Mood

Ah, it’s been awhile, Lieutenant Suketani. At ease, please.
Ma’am how are we doing on the “package” for the mainland? The special charter is ready.
Yes, about that… I was thinking we might postpone it for a bit.

There have been developments we need to study before moving forward just yet. I need to look up documentation on... materials I was not aware were things I needed to be worried about...

...Mhm. That would be one of the new developments...

Kawashima walks over to her desk. Kato joins at her side.

<nods> Yes, please do. Lieutenant Suketani, how’s the investigation coming along?
Yes, ma’am. We’ve managed to get our probes rather deep inside.
<turns to his men and motions them out>
<stand at attention and leave the office>
<notices Kato is still here>

Suketani walks up to and death stares Kato. It is very uncomfortable.

Ah, yes. I forgot to introduce you, Suketani. This is Sergeant Kato. You may talk in front of him.
Is that right. Then you must excuse me, Sergeant. My apologies.
<nervously shakes head and wipes the sweat off his brow>

Suketani returns to his position to finish giving his report.

It seems that it is YOU who are under investigation, ma’am. You’re safe with me, but please stay alert.

I’M being investigated?! It must be a spy sent by one of my father’s political enemies… The Capital is a pit of schemes. I’ll be careful.
I swear, you indulge in the local cuisine one time and flippantly mention it's better than anything back home and some peon trying to get one over on you reports back that you've gone native...
Please continue with what you were saying before.
Yes. Dehuai, who’s fighting against our Japanese army, is planning a Demon’s Gate Invocation. But he still needs a few more things to cast the Taoist magic needed for the invocation.
A few more things?
Also everyone is readily going along with magic being in play here?
Were you not, ma'am?
I had a strong skepticism on any reports. That stance has changed recently...
Going to see those flaming skulls in my nightmares...
Quite... So, what else does Dehuai need?

Kawashima walks to the office window.

Dehuai must also banish the four gods that block the ceremony by protecting the earthly veins. It appears that all of these factors must be in place to make the ceremony possible. In the past six months, Dehuai has collected the Black Tortoise, the Blue Dragon and the Red Phoenix.
<nods> So the only one left is the White Tiger, then… And where is the White Tiger? Do you know yet?
It’s in Wuhan. More precisely, it’s sealed in the temple ruins on the edge of Wuhan.
Of course Dehuai knows this? Then before it falls into his hands, we must send troops to seize it.
We’ve sent forces there… twice. But…
Every last man was lost. Not a single survivor. Some terribly powerful monsters have made a nest out of those temple ruins.
You didn't feel it prudent to mention you were repeatedly sending men into a meat grinder?
I did. Just now, ma'am.

Are those monsters protecting the White Tiger? And I wonder why they picked such a troublesome spot…?
I don’t know. But apparently, Dehuai isn’t able to handle them, either.

Wh-what is it, Lt. Colonel?
I’ve just had an idea!
A… an idea?

<turns to Suketani> We fight fire with fire. We defeat the monsters with a monster…
I know just the rude hero and gullible accomplices... Let's go.

Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood

Meanwhile, we regain control of Zhuzhen back at the ENTERTAINMENT SHOW bar. As we enter, we see a poster sign reading.

Qiuhau's Chinese Fiddle Performance, Held Every Day!!

We'll take a look around in just a sec. First things first...


The local bar patrons are none too helpful or friendly. They're probably annoyed the establishment doesn't have any chairs to sit in. You hate to see budget cuts like that. Anyway, let's see if the bartender will be more helpful.

Just tell him Zhuzhen is here.
Sorry, sir. The boss isn’t in.
Doesn’t this place belong to Mr. Zhen?
Zhen? Can’t say I recall the name…
Let’s stop the kidding around, shall we? I’m talking about that young lady’s father. <motions to the poster near the entrance>
Oh, if that’s who you mean, just have a seat. He should be along any minute now.
Keep some pocket change handy if you don't want to get pestered.
He’s not… the owner of this place?
Hah, give me a break. This place changed hands years ago.

Go have a seat. The show is about to start.
...I cannot help but notice there aren't any chairs.
Maybe your friend Zhen took them all with him.
Service has certainly declined since I was here last.

Zhuzhen makes his way to a table as a young woman enters the stage with a Chinese fiddle. Which leads to...

Video: Quihua's Performance
( Hey go watch this! It's one of the only times in the game Zhuzhen gets voice acting. )

Quihua bows and briefly exits the stage to put her fiddle away. When she returns to the stage, she notices Zhuzhen watching.

Uncle Zhuzhen!!

Quihua runs up to Zhuzhen.

It’s good to see YOU! You look well. In fact, you haven’t changed a bit!
Like... literally. Are those...the same clothes, even?
Some looks don't go out of style.

So how’s your dad? How’s Mr. Zhen?

…What’s the matter?

Mr. Zhen walks into the room and starts begging for handouts from people watching the show.

What do you want now, man?! Begging for coins again, huh? Fine! I'll give you some!
Don't say I wasn't a reasonable drunken hooligan.

Zhen walks over to the other patron.

<turns around and notices Zhuzhen>

That’s right, Father. Uncle Zhuzhen is back.
Can you believe it? He hasn't changed one bit. It's a tad bit creepy...
Gee thanks, kid.

Y-you’re alive…?! But… how?!
What kind of greeting is that for an old friend? Fifteen long years, and you look like you’ve seen a ghost!
You were gone for fifteen years and Dehuai is still around, so... It was a reasonable assumption.
They tell me this place has changed hands. Is it true?
Err… Erm… Yes, it’s true.
Aw, come on! What’re you being so formal with me for? That’s no way for the owner of this place to…

I just said I don't own this bar anymore, so could you stop before—
…I am the owner of this business.

Out strolls Wugui of Kowloon.

Music: Misfortune - Psycho Temple

So you’re still alive…
Heh heh… I believe that’s my line, Master Zhuzhen.
Did literally everyone think I was dead?

I’m finally back from Kowloon, and I find myself meeting old faces. Let me welcome you properly.

Master Wugui, please leave Uncle Zhuzhen alone. He just came here to see father. That’s all. So please… Please…!
<turns to Quihua> M-MASTER WUGUI?!
Why act so surprised? Didn’t I just tell you? I am the proprietor of this place. Once, Zhuzhen, Zhen opposed Master Dehuai. Now, he and his daughter are among my employees.
<turns to Zhen> I-I can’t believe it! Is this true, Zhen?!
<shakes head> H-how could this have…?
Hah ha ha ha ha!! What’s the matter, Zhuzhen? Shanghai’s changed! Now then, to begin the welcome banquet! You remember how to play the old game, don’t you?!
No transforming foreigner to babysit you now.
Is that what you called it when he handed you your ass?
You know... I'm going to let you have that one since you're about to die.

You two!

The two patrons Zhen was begging to step forward.

<turns to Quihua and motions to the door>

Quihua runs out of the bar.

I'll take you first, old man.
Feel free to both come at the same time...
I ain't splitting a reward with this chump!
Sorry, man...
<shrug> Your funerals.

Music: Brain Hopper

As with during the flashback to the fight with Wugui, his minions transform into Kappa when it's time to throw down. This Kappa has raised stats compared to its early predecessors.

Which means it takes TWO Ogre Flamedances to kill one of 'em instead of just one-shotting them. I don't think it would have mattered if they teamed up.

Well, in that case… In that case, if I win, I get this place as my prize.
I didn't win this place in a card game, old man. I bought it. With money. I'm not putting it up for beating my cronies.
…Hmph. In any case, your attempts will prove futile. You’re far too old for this.
Shouldn't you be pushing your '40s by now? It's been fifteen years for you too, you know?
<enters fighting stance> Not bad, gramps. But can you hold up? Maybe it’s time for a prayer.

Spoilers: It does not go well for Hoodlum Kan either.

Music: Misfortune - Psycho Temple

Your arts are as sharp as ever, even if you yourself haven’t fared as well.
Have I not aged a day or have a deteriorated into a mummy? All of you folks are giving me really mixed signals.
Hmph! Are you quite finished?
Enough talk. Now you face me. Heh heh heh… You DO remember, don’t you?! Your magic has no effect on me!


Music: Brain Hopper

So, remember in the flashback with Ben how Revelation, one of the strongest single spells in the game, healed Wugui of Kowloon?

Yeah, that's not changed at all. Turns out folks from Kowloon can simple absorb all magical attacks. Considering Zhuzhen is just barely past Alice as the weakest physical fighter in the game... Yeah, that could be a problem here.

Apparently, Wugui has been doing some Yoga practice because he also possesses some bizarre stretchy arm powers like Dhalsim from Street Fighter. For when you really want to deck someone but walking across the room is simply too much of a trial.

Zhuzhen can put in some work trying to beat back Wugui with physical attacks. Unfortunately, that's not quite enough to beat up this mid-boss. Especially since he'll begin using turns to Defend which leaves Zhuzhen open for retaliation. But really, all we need to do is keep Zhuzhen alive until Wugui decides to use his ultimate attack.

Game of Death is an instant kill attack. There are still zero accessories that prevent Death status up to this point in the game. There's absolutely nothing Zhuzhen can do to prevent from getting incredibly owned here.

I can't believe Zhuzhen is fucking dead.

Video: Wugui Stomp Match
(You should probably watch this.)

Wugui of Kowloon Art – Who knew Bruce Lee ripped off a magical stretchy Triad guy from Kowloon this whole time?