Part 25: Episode XXV: Pit FighterEpisode XXV: Pit Fighter
Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood
Time to hit the town in Shanghai with Yuri in the lead this time. A few things have changed in town since Wugui got his ass kicked and ran out with his tail between his legs.
For instance, there's a new shop open across the street from the hotel. Who knew the only thing holding down crime in Shanghai was a man who, by all accounts, seemed to have been hanging out in Hong Kong up until the last day or so and a couple of Kappa monsters disguised as drunk goons.
This shop is the Shanghai Weapon Studio and it's offering the newest in weapons and armor for the entire party (other than Zhuzhen's weapon since we got that for free.)
Now that we have the Star Card in our possession, we can get up to a 20% discount (and 10% sales boost for old junk) by utilizing it at the checkout. Each of the discount cards requires their own Judgment Wheel spin to unlock the savings. If either of the spins (the second one being a faster wheel than the first) fails, then we have to pay full price. It's kinda tedious, especially when you're buying a ton of junk. But you all don't have to worry about that part. There is the first actual JRPG dungeon ass dungeon in the game coming up, so we do want all the new supplies on offer.
Yuri is picking up a nasty looking Steel Claw which is double the power of his previous Knuckle Blades (22 P-Attack and 18 S-Attack vs. 11 and 9.) Be careful or you'll poke an eye out, kid.
Alice is diving deeper into the occult with a new tome which sounds like one of those weird, extremely niche magic items you'd find in Castlevania and never use because it's some shit like boosts magic a certain percentage while in an outdoor area in direct moonlight which is only like 3% of the map. You know the type. Anyway, this has P-Attack 17 and S-Attack 23 over her previous weapon's 8 and 13.
Margarete is picking up another Japanese army pistol that shouldn't exist for over a decade. Not sure if it supposedly being an improved version of the Type 94 is particularly accurate since this first went into service in 1927, about eight years before the Type 94 existed. But hey, who am I to argue with alternate history? The facts remain that this has +11 P-Attack and +8 S-Attack over its predecessor.
Armor wise, Zhuzhen and Yuri are getting into the
Glad we're being fashionable while protected. This offers similar stats to the male counterpart. Just with the numbers reversed (19 P-Defense and 21 S-Defense.)
But we're not done stocking up for coming events just yet. Let's jog down the street and return to that shop we passed by with Zhuzhen.
This shop is offering the next level of basic accessories to replace everyone's Studded Cap and Leather Belts. These kinds of items get outclassed by specialized accessories soonish. But for now, they're worth the asking price for everyone.
Need to have the proper Feng Shui balance with your headgear. This boosts everyone's Physical Defense by a couple points. Every bit helps.
I love frontier hero Billy Coen. I hear he once drop-kicked a rabid monkey to save his pack mule. Likewise, this boosts everyone's Physical Attack by two points.
While we're here, the Shanghai shops also sell the second tier of basic consumable items to restore HP/MP/SP. We're gonna stock up on some of these as well. There may be party splitting gimmicks on the horizon and we do want to be prepared.
These just look like Peanut M&Ms. Gross. They do restore 150-180 HP when crunched down on in battle. We'll definitely be needing a few handfuls of these.
Now, this just looks like rotting peanuts. Maybe because they were soaking in some mysterious goop for 15 years. I don't think nuts are meant to be preserved for quite that long. These restore 7 SP a pop. We won't need quite as many of these. Probably...
Anyway, that's all the supply and inventory shifting we had to do in Shanghai. We're more than prepared to hit the road and see what's going on with this monster overrun temple. But, as it turns out quite a bit has changed in the... twenty minutes since Wugui of Kowloon was kicked out of his own establishment. New, decidedly less shitty drunk but not at all interesting to speak with patrons have gathered. Wander Meiyuan has also made his way to Shanghai. That was like a 1000 km ride directly by boat. How are you here just a few hours after the party arrived!?
Damn, harsh critic in the house... Meiyuan offers his usual services. But going forward, now that we have four party members, Meiyuan offers a new service.
He's the only way to switch out our party at the moment. No idea why him and if the game tells you he had this service, it was silently buried in the increasingly massive FAQ section of the menu. So, if we want to equip Margarete, we need to run over to Meiyuan to swap her out for Alice or Zhuzhen and get her sorted out. It's pretty cumbersome and annoying. Especially since there is no other way to remove accessories and the like from characters unless they're in the active party. It's definitely one of those early in the series oversights that get ironed out in sequels. But alas, this is the way of things in this title.
While we are here, we'll actually employ acupuncture services of Wander Meiyuan to boost Yuri's new weapon. We might need to give him an extra edge. Sorry, pal...
For you see, Mr. Zhen took NO goddamn time overhauling this bar now that he has regained control of it via his friend's friend kicking his boss's ass. Just open up a history book. If you could beat anyone in their own establishment in a martial arts bout, the winner took control of the property in question. I don't make the rules. Anyway, let's check out the fuckin' underground cage matches Zhen has set up in his back room.
And it's all thanks to you and your friends.
Neat. Who were you again...?
Mr. Zhen's daughter...
Zhuzhen has a DAUGHTER!? That old fart is full of secrets.
No... Zhen. The man who owns this bar now. The one who fought Dehuai with your father fifteen years ago.
<snaps fingers> Oh... That guy! OK. Nice to meet you.
...We've already met.
If you say so, lady. So... what's all this then?
Father says he wants to use his powers again and he just won't listen! Watch out when you talk to him.
Yuri enters the arena where Zhen is standing.
You immediately jumped to cage matches? Huh... That's shockingly rad. I guess I can see why my dad hung out with you.
I decided to use summoning powers! Now pit fights are back!
...Summoning powers? Ain't you supposed to like have a horn on your head or have an entourage of dweebs in dumb outfits for that kinda thing?
I'm not as strong as I was before, but I'm sure I could train you people. Let me explain the pit fights. In a pit fight, you bet money on a fight with a monster. You fight the monsters that I summon. I'll reward you according to your number of wins!
Pops, that's not how betting works. That's just paying you to fight a monster.
I'm still working out the kinks. But this is the system for now.
Do you want to participate in the pit fight?
Welcome to the Pit Fights sidequest. We're not done in Shanghai by any means. We'll be coming back here after the rather lengthy dungeon coming up and this side quest isn't going anywhere. We can come back here several chapters from now when the party has another ten levels under its belt. Indeed, it's a rather poor idea to attempt this thing as soon as it's available. But I do LPs, I'm full of bad ideas! So, I went for it immediately.
The gimmick of the Pit Fights is that only one character is allowed to fight a gauntlet of enemies summoned forth by apparently Zhen, the Braska summoner class of the party fifteen years ago. We're given the choice of anyone in the active party for... some reason. It's Yuri. You're gonna use Yuri for these fights. Full stop. I'm sure, in theory as a challenge, you could toss someone else into the grinder. It will not go well for them unless, as mentioned earlier, we came back way later. And by then it still would just go slower than if we just used Yuri since nobody is remotely on his level damage output wise.
Music: Brain Hopper
Pit Fights will be our chosen character against a random selection of past foes we've already defeated. Here we have those two Hellcat mini-bosses that we fought early on in Zhaoyang Village. At this point in the game, they literally cannot hurt Yuri meanwhile he'll brush up against them and they'll explode into dust. Child's play, right?
One a fight is completed, we're given the option of quitting and receiving a cash prize. But obviously, that doesn't complete the sidequest. To do that we need to make it through 10 consecutive rounds of pit fights. If we're defeated at any time, we get no prize other than the experience points rewarded for defeating enemies. No cash, Soul Power points or Malice either. These fights are functionally the same as taking on a challenge from the Four Masks in the graveyard.
Anyway, I'm not going to go over how to beat all these enemies with just Yuri in too much detail. That's not remotely interesting, especially since over half of 'em are complete stomp matches. Let's just briefly see what exactly he fought.
Three White Wolflings. Still baffled how they settled on localizing their name as that.
Yamaraja: Wind is resurrected and slightly more difficult with just Yuri. They're at least nice enough to remove the original version's immunity to physical attacks. Went with Man Dragon spamming Flash Floods since that dealt decent damage, didn't have as high an MP requirement and didn't face Tornado's elemental weakness since we don't have Alice to keep HP topped off in support.
What the fuck, Zhen!? You brought Li Li back from the dead AGAIN!? We just had an ally fucking DIE exorcising this ghost lady and you summoned her back!? Maybe you should start consulting with others before summoning every spirit you could pluck out of the air. Sheesh. In any case, Heaven's Fiend can deal massive amounts of damage and heal itself as necessary. It's not too difficult despite it being the most recent real boss we fought.
This little bastard is the reason why I say taking on the Pit Fights immediately is a terrible idea. This little shit was a fifteen-minute battle of attrition. This is the Custom Wind Shear a monster unique to the Pit Fights. Attack wise, it's identical to the Wind Shears we fought way back in the prologue. Except this one has 500 HP and is several dozen times stronger.
And by several dozen times stronger I mean it can do upward of 60-120 HP of damage in a single turn. It also possesses Tight Ring and will spam it constantly, so Yuri's Judgement Ring will be a small sliver the entirety of this fight. There're items and accessories later on that ward off those effects. But we sure don't have them or the time to use our very limited Judgement Ring status ailment curatives because this jerk will kill Yuri in two rounds if he doesn't heal.
As a result, this just turned into an incredibly annoying, grueling battle of attrition where Yuri would get to attack maybe once every other turn. Sometimes he'd need to take two turns to heal. Burnt through the entire sack of Thera Seeds we'd just bought in the process and most of the Mana Seeds too. Came very close to just loading an earlier save, sticking that inventory junk to the end of the previous update and ending the chapter there to save this for another day.
But in the end, the Custom Wind Shear did go down. This was a bad idea to take on so early in the game. Don't follow my example if you ever play Shadow Hearts.
After that? Three Frog Gods. That cannot even hurt Yuri for more than 2 HP a round. So, we got time to heal to full and restore all our MP before slaughtering them and heading into...
Prototype Wind Shear, the lesser Fire elemental cousin of the Custom Wind Shear. This is another Zhen Pit Fight specialty. Now, this jerk isn't quite as powerful as the earlier one (remember these fights are all randomly selected in order) but he's still a pain in the ass. Especially since we were out of Thera Seeds by that point. Prototype Wind Shear also has 500 HP, but it can only dish out 50-75 HP of damage a round. It also lacked the obnoxious Ring Anomaly effects of Custom.
Instead, it comes packing Flaming Arm of Death. Despite the name, this causes Silence alongside Fire elemental damage. Since we're using Inferno and just punching a bunch, that shouldn't be an issue. It still causes a rude amount of damage. But after that jerk Custom Wind Shear doing 100+ HP a turn, it's not nearly as bad.
Once Prototype Wind Shear and Custom Wind Shear are both out of the picture, we're actually totally on easy street. The final three matches are...
Just a normal ass, Level 1 fought before battle tutorials even kicked in Wind Shears. They were murdered with extreme prejudice after the shenanigans their brethren caused earlier.
The penultimate match is against a four-man squad of Ogre Flames. This match only took a while because they all cast Fireball one after another after each of Yuri's turns. You get that 8 HP of damage in guys. It's definitely gonna turn the course!
The final, incredibly anticlimactic round is again... two more Kappa and a Water Tiger aka the mid-boss of Dalian Sewers. At this point, they're capable of in excess of 2 HP of damage against Yuri.
It did not go well for them. Missed from the potential random raffle of combatants was... just a couple of wolves, Transformed Tiny and Yamaraja: Earth.
But we don't need to worry about that! This sidequest is over! Time for our reward. I mean, aside from the fact Yuri gained nearly three levels grinding through these jerks while Alice and Zhuzhen got a drink in the bar and Margarete took a nap or suspiciously spied on Kawashima or whatever she's up to when out of the party.
Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood
I'll give you a reward worth ten winnings.
We receive a cool 5000 Cash. Which... honestly is kind of underwhelming since we had to blow about $3500+ worth of consumables to finish the trials. Oh well, there's a little more added on top of that for finishing the whole quest at once.
Who's "you-know-who" anyway...
Is that a real question...?
I asked it, didn't I?
Colonel Hyuga! He used to rough it up in pit fights, too.
So you just had a steel cage arena in the back of your bar for over fifteen years?
Yes, of course. Why? Is that unusual?
Hah! Colonel Hyuga said the same thing!
That proves blood is thicker than water! He's got that same quality of excellence. Oh, I remember!
<yells to his daughter> Qiuhua, bring that thing to me.
Zhen walks over to the edge of the arena.
That's right, THAT.
Just a moment!
I don't like this "that" business. Look, if it's my dad's stash of old nudie mags or something, I'm good...
Qiuhua runs off. Zhen turns back to Yuri.
...Well then, shall I tell you about that day? The morning we went to Kuihai Tower...
Music: God Knows Bad News
The additional reward for completing this sidequest is a bonus flashback to the party from fifteen years ago. Look, they even rendered a new angle of the city street just for this sole scene.
<shakes head and waves arms> ......
Don't look like that, I'll be back soon I say.
And if not, well... You or anyone else in Shanghai won't have much to worry about for long... <stares off into the distance>
Zhen joins the rest of the party.
Colonel Hyuga, Master Zhuzhen, father... please.
Hah hah hah. You can count on it! Don't worry about a thing. And you be a good girl, now.
You keep the bar running and don't let anyone snub you on tips, ya hear?
Colonel Hyuga walks up to the girl and kneels down.
It's a lovely cross. I'll take good care of it!
<stands back up and nods> Do so...
Is that all right? To give her such a treasured item...
It's fine. Looking at this child reminds me of my son.
Hyuga turns away.
Well... there was this fox mask I gave him but never taught him what it's for or how to even wear it. The silly kid has it stuck on the back of his head like a hat. I'm a little worried his mother hasn't said anything yet...
Everything's going to be fine, Hyuga! Let's get this business taken care of so you can go home. Kill Dehuai, foil the Demon's Gate Invocation...
Maybe toss that Wugui fiend off the roof...
And you're there in no time at all!
You've obviously never had to write an after-action report... But...
You're right, Zhuzhen. All right, let's go!
They turn and set off for the final battle.
<waves> Farewell! Colonel Hyuga!
Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood
In retrospect, maybe saying goodbye to only him was...
Yuri, the colonel never forgot about you for a moment. He loved you and his wife with all his soul.
The stories he'd tell about his hot, redhead Russian wife with the giant ti
...Heart. The giant heart she had. Such a loving woman, I'm sure.
<walks up to Yuri> I took hold of this that day. Your mother gave it to Colonel Hyuga as a good luck charm. Now it's your turn to hold on to it.
It's a small, beautiful silver cross. You received Anne's Cross.
Thank you. I never thought I would find a memento from my mother here...
Or that I'd have to fight ten rounds of monsters before you decided I should have it.
It slipped my mind until now. I remembered it around Round 7.
You know what? I'm not going to ruin this. I'm happy. I'm just going to go...
This keepsake from Yuri's mother lets anyone whose Sanity drops to 0 do a Judgment Ring to prevent the Berserk status. As in, the character won't immediately go Berserk that round and do some stupid shit. They'll basically just skip a turn instead. They'll still go Berserk next turn if their SP hasn't been replenished. In other words, it's a really useless accessory. Especially since it doesn't have any other stat buffs when equipped. It comes back in Shadow Hearts: Covenant as one of the best accessories in the game.
In any case, that's the Pit Fights sidequest of Shadow Hearts completed. In the first half of the game, at least.
With that, all of our business in Shanghai is concluded for now. All that's left is to make our way to the Temple Ruins and try to prevent Dehuai's latest bullshit. That's a wrap for this chapter. Shadow Hearts will continue in Chapter 7: Xiyuan 9 Courts! I hope you enjoy dungeon crawling and bottle episodes!
That's another short chapter down. But there's still some stuff added to the library. On closer inspection...
Man screw this little dude.
Man FUCK this little shit!
Turns out Zhen is only like in his early 40s. He's just aged like shit. Don't smoke, kids.
Nice soul patch.
Hadn't noticed it until now but she's got quite the chin in her character portrait. I wonder if Kato is single...