The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 30: Episode XXX: Alliances

Episode XXX: Alliances

Music: Profile

The crummiest chapter in the game is behind us and it couldn't even have the courtesy to end properly. Just <~SCENE MISSING~> hey we're back in Shanghai again! Don't worry about it!

Yuri hops out of his bed back at the Cypress Hotel in Shanghai.

<shrugs and shakes head> Who do you think rescued us from the rubble? Hmmm… I’d better go next door and check it out myself.

Yep. That's it. That's all we get for the transition back to town. The Japanese army apparently dug Yuri, Zhuzhen and Margarete out of the temple's rubble, they were all perfectly fine but unconscious. They were then transported several hundred miles back to Shanghai, checked back into their same hotel room from earlier and just kind of tossed into bed with not so much as a single one of them waking up at any point to figure out what the hell was going on. The 1913 Japanese military was shockingly efficient, it turns out.

Anyway, this entire time Kawashima and Kato have been checked into the room right next door. There's just never been a reason to talk to them up until this point. But let's go over there now and see if things have changed.

Welp. I guess the Smuggler Boss and Courier's Subordinate ruse is off unless they're going to explain these guys stole their uniforms for some clandestine deal with the army.

Kato and Kawashima exchange a nod before Kato waves off the soldiers. The two guards put down their rifles and exit the hotel room. Yuri approaches the pair for some answers.

I was starting to worry when none of you regained consciousness after... a good day half-day trip...
Yeah, I’m awake all right!! Care to tell me what’s going on here?! Why the Japanese Army?
<motions to Kawashima> Yuri, this is Lt. Colonel Kawashima. Her unit saved you from the temple ruins.
“Lt. Colonel Kawashima”?! The Japanese Army is our enemy! They went to the temple ruins for the White Tiger Votive Picture!!
Well, you're not wrong, per se.
<walks to the window> Sergeant Kato and I posed as smugglers, entirely to maintain contact with you.

I am still wearing army fatigues. Just not the dress field uniform...
Tch. Like I know what an army uniform looks like or if that's the part of your mug I'd pay attention to!

Please, try not to be angry… We apologize for withholding information from you…
To be fair, you never asked if we were affiliated with the army...
Shaddup! You think you can just let bygones be bygones, pal?!
Heh. Calm yourself. At present, we are not your enemies.
Take it easy, kid. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Zhuzhen and Margarete barge into the room.

We don’t know what could be happening to Alice!!
Alice is fine.
Dehuai took off with her... I think... I was slightly knocked out at the time. Kinda a lot of that going around lately... Does anyone else hear ringing in their ears like non-stop?
That's probably fine too.

If only I’d realized sooner… I would have killed you without a thought.
Now, now, let’s not get hostile.
I'm looking the other way after you bombed a train station and stole an airplane from Fengtian.
...That was YOU, the idiot that blew up that train and made me have to walk 70 kilometers to Dalian?
Heheh... Don't we have more pressing matters at hand?

The only ones who’ll profit from our fighting are Dehuai and the Japanese who aim to take Shanghai. Please, think about it. If we truly hated you, would we have gone through the trouble of putting our men in danger, asking them to dig you out of that monster-infested rubble?
You said that Alice is okay, right? How do you know that?!
<walks to the window> If I were Dehuai, I’d protect her. She’s a treasure to him. Her very existence gives him satisfaction.
Notta fan of any of that phrasing...
He will leave her in some secure location, while he hastens preparations for the Valorization.
<shakes head> Which means that Alice is safe until the Demon’s Gate Invocation begins.
<nods> Precisely. While we do not have too much time, we are not too late. Dehuai has made Kuihai Tower his fortress. But since there’s no way we can break through the front…
<faces Zhuzhen> …Master Zhuzhen. You are the most familiar with this, correct? Why don’t we collaborate?
<shakes fist> So everything’s just part of the plan, huh? I can’t believe you!!

Yuri advances towards Kawashima. Kato grows a huge pair of balls and blocks his path.

Yuri! You shouldn’t say that! The Lt. Colonel… The Lt. Colonel was at the temple ruins the whole time, praying for your safety, waiting with the unit. She waited, and waited… believing you’d come back…

That's not really selling me, guy.

Enough, Kato. The fact is, we did use you. I truly apologize for that.

Kato gets out of Yuri's way.

<approaches Yuri> Yuri, I want to join in arms with you.

<goes to the window> I aim to make Shanghai a staging base for the Army, but it can’t be done with Dehuai at large. Dehuai is your enemy, as well. Joining forces to stop him is the most logical strategy.
Why do you want us to cooperate? It should be easy for your famous army. Why not wipe everything out with your military might?
<turns toward Margarete> That’s not it at all!! Certainly, there are many who’d like to do just that… But I am not one of them! An invasion of Shanghai, once begun, cannot be easily stopped. A huge number of people will be involved in the battle, and a lot of them will die. The best course of action is to fell the ringleader, before the winds of war kindle an inferno.
<shakes head> That’d be awfully convenient for you wouldn’t it… I’d sooner take Dehuai’s side than do anything to abet Japan’s designs on Shanghai.
Master Zhuzhen?!
Dehuai is bad news, don't get me wrong there. But I'm not aiding the invasion of my country by a foreign power either. Are you serious? You can go suck eggs on that front.

Yuri walks past everyone to the window. Music: ENDS

If the Japanese Army wants to invade Shanghai, so be it. After I finish Dehuai, I’ll fight them.
You'll fight the entire army?
Tch. Those soldiers are like one punch a piece. How many would be marching this way?
Upward of 40,000 men.
So I'll be puttin' in a solid 9:00 to 5:00 that day.

Now, Kawashima, I may not be as smart as you, but I know what’s important in life!
And it's punching that creepy old wizard's face in and saving Alice. Not necessarily in that order.
Are you saying a joint effort is impossible?

Music: Profile

Don’t underestimate Dehuai! If you leave here on your own, all that awaits you are his traps!
Oh no! I'll have to deal with him like possessing a monkey and I'll have to beat that up. Whatever...
I don’t care if it’s a trap. I promised myself I’d protect Alice at all costs.
<nervous laugh> Y-you… You’re... a fool.
People like you, people who plan out every little detail of their lives. You could never understand me.

Yuri starts walking past everyone out of the room.

I thank you for saving us. Goodbye.

Yuri drops the mic and leaves the room.

Well... that could have gone better...
<turns to Margarete> If the Demon’s Gate Invocation actually takes place, there’ll be no point in debating about Japan.
So that's a "no" out of you two as well...?
<walks away without saying anything>
Bitch, you're lucky I don't double tap you and your bodyguard right here and now...

Zhuzhen and Margarete depart as well.

Everything will be fine. Illogical people can just be… difficult…
That's one way to put it...
Kato, is Suketani still away?
<nods> Yes, ma’am, he said he’d be back right away… I’ll go check on him.
Oh, and Kato… give them the Yawang Gate Key.
Lt. Colonel?! Are you sure?? Our spies worked so hard to get such an important…
Just do it. We can’t let Shanghai become a pile of ashes. Even if we can’t cooperate with them… we can gather our troops and prepare to invade Kuihai Tower. Understood?
If need be we have the skeleton key known as "a cannon" to get through that gate.
<salutes> Understood. Lt. Colonel, please wait here. I’ll take care of it.

Kato runs off to fulfill Kawashima's orders. Meanwhile, outside the hotel...

Music: Swindler - Shanghai Mood

Wait, sonny boy, you can't go by yourself!
That's right. You can't very well leave behind your guide through hell, you know?
Hmph. I know that!

We're free to explore Shanghai once again. Absolutely nothing has changed since the first visit. As a side note, out of curiosity/wanting to save the game (Yuri refuses to go back in the hotel with the army narcs in there) I returned to the World Map here by heading north from the hotel.

Turns out the Japanese military did a HELL of a job digging out the Temple Ruins. Indeed, the party can march straight back to where it allegedly caved in on them after the Wugui fight and it's perfectly intact. Indeed, the entire dungeon save the entrance to Xifa's chamber is still fully accessible. There's absolutely nothing to do here and it seems like an oversight it's still an available location when the game had been disabling every other previous locale up to this point. But there you have it.

Getting back on track, there's no indication of where we're meant to go next to progress. But spoilers: It's Zhen's bar. As soon as we run down the stairs, we're whisked off to another cutscene elsewhere.

Music: Army Mood

Knocking is heard from a door.


A pair of Japanese soldiers enter the room, approach Suketani and draw their rifles.

<looks the two over> What’s wrong with you?! Have you gone mad?!

An officer with the designated smug asshole/every white guy in the '90s haircut enters the office.

<salutes> M-Major Kutsugi?!
I ordered Kawashima’s whereabouts reported the moment you located her! You tried to trick my spies?
N-no, heavens no! I… I haven’t found Lt. Colonel Kawashima yet!
Enough lies. I am assuming Shanghai command. This is a direct order from the Imperial Capital. You were with Kawashima in Wuhan, weren’t you?
Do you honestly expect me to believe this report you were lead there on a tip by "Smuggler Boss" who 100% matched the description of the Lt. Colonel?

Tokyo may charge her with treason. You’re a good soldier. Tell where she is. I will not ask again.
I-I know nothing of it! And the Lt. Colonel had no plans for any treason!
The Lt. Colonel you've been unable to locate... You're really not good at this, Lieutenant.
She failed to report many key details and moved ahead without approval from the Capital. That doesn’t sound like treason to you? Hmph. In any case… The truth will be revealed soon enough, as my soldiers turn the city inside out. Farewell.

Major Kutsugi departs. Music: END

I kind of forgot how much of a bloodbath this game was for minor NPCs you didn't particularly care about.

Meanwhile, back in Mr. Zhen's joint...

Hi... you...
I knew that.
No you didn't.
You got me.

How did it go? Did you retrieve the White Tiger?
<concerned look> Nothing good ever begins with "well..."

Fade to black to explain that awful filler dungeon and the events that followed.

Except Alice... And Master Xifa and the annoying cat boy.
OK. Maybe "everybody" was a bit off the mark.

So, tell us, Zhen. How have things been here in Shanghai? I sense a disquieting air about the town.
Indeed. The Japanese Army’s preparing for something… The number of troops has increased!
I think they call that sort of preparation an "invasion" or something like that.
Hey, how do we get inside Kuihai Tower? If you know, you’ve gotta tell me!
Fifteen years ago, Dehuai destroyed every entrance to the Tower but one Yawang Gate. The door is sturdy and locked tight.
It’s locked? You can do something about it, right, Zhuzhen?
Hmph! If all it takes is an unlocking spell, that’s a simple enough order.
Yawang Gate, eh? Thanks, Mr. Zhen!!

OK. So, we need to go find a key. Shanghai is only a few screens big. Surely it cannot take that long to track it down. Side note: If you were ever playing the game yourself, now is the time to tackle the Pit Fights in Zhen's bar. Indeed, the cut-off point for that sidequest is fast approaching so it's one of the last chances to do it too. But we don't need to worry about that. Let's head back outside.

Music: Army Mood

Well, they didn't waste any time at all. All NPCs on the streets have been replaced by patrolling Japanese army soldiers. The soldiers don't have any AI or anything. They just kind of mindlessly marching back and forth in the same couple of yards of space. But should Yuri bump into one of them...

Music: Brain Hopper

We'll be forced into a battle with a couple of Corporals. Despite literally being an identical character model to the previous soldiers we've fought, these soldiers are slightly more durable and have rifles that can nearly do double-digit damage with each shot! The military might of Japan is getting even fiercer!

By being "slightly more durable" I mean they'll die at the end of Yuri's entire three hit string instead of keeling over from the first punch. Margarete can also take most of 'em out unloading an entire magazine into their chests. Since there's only ever two soldiers in a fight, Zhuzhen doesn't even have to participate.

Music: Army Mood

In any case, when the party walks into the middle of the street, we're stopped by Kato rushing out in a panic trying to get our attention. Let's see what has the mighty chin upset...

N-no! It’s terrible, just terrible!
You’re a grown man! Get a hold of yourself!
What is it? What happened?
Yes, yes… Well…

Music: God Knows Bad News

L-Lieutenant Suketani!! <runs over to Suketani>
<kneels down> L-Lieutenant Suketani!! Please, please, say you’re all right!

Wh-who did this to you?! Lieutenant! Who was it?!
Ku-kutsugi… Major Kutsugi… He’s after… the Lt. Colonel… Listen carefully, Sergeant… I hid it… the p-precious item… I hid it in the boat… Tell that to them…
Tell Yuri’s party, right?! Understood! Please, don’t say another word, Lieutenant! I’ll send a medic over right away!
Forget it… Sergeant, forget about me…
I'm l-lung shot... and gut shot... and lung shot a-again... and my heart... and n-neck... S-Shouldn't even be... able to... speak...
The Lt. Colonel… Protect her! There’s no… time… G-go! I… leave it to you…
B-BARF! <dies>

Lieutenant!! Lieutenant Suketani!!

Back in the street...

Music: Army Mood

<sniff> But Lieutenant Suketani... I can't believe he's gone.
Yeah... none of us ever met that guy. So not really feeling that loss...
I just shot dead a soldier kid in the alley...

But… what in the world is this precious item that Lieutenant Suketani wanted us to have?
He says he hid it on board his ship?
Yes! Please go get it right away. I must return to the Lt. Colonel!
Got it. As soon as we find whatever it is we’ll head back to the inn! Until then, you stay put! Got it?!
Y-yes! <runs off>
I thought we just told the Japanese army to shove off. Why are we back to help them again?
Ehh... I guess I've cooled off. And I kind of like that big chinned dope...
What about Kawashima?
<shrug> She's kinda hot so, ehh... Let's see what this thing is in the boat, maybe beat up a few soldiers and then we'll go kick Dehuai's ass.
You're not the most focused guy, are you?
It comes and goes.

Over to the Smuggler's Boat we go. More Japanese troops are patrolling the streets. But again, they make no effort to actually give chase to the party. That said, there are now random battles in Shanghai against these same soldiers. So... not sure what the point of the patrolling guys you can easily avoid is supposed to be, other than flavor.

Checking the Smuggler Boat hold where Sea Mother stowed-away a lifetime ago will result in the party locating the key Kuihai Tower where Dehuai is up to some nefarious shit. Thanks for the assist, rando military guy the party never once interacted with directly. Tune in next time as we help Kawashima out of a jam (not because we wanted to help her or anything baka!), discover what happened to Alice and completely skirt our responsibilities to embark on a wildly inappropriately timed entire sidequest chapter as Shadow Hearts continues!

Lt. Colonel Yoshiko Kawashima Portrait – Yeah, my office is full of dragonflies. Meh... It happens. China is weird.