The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 36: Episode XXXVI: Calamity

Episode XXXVI: Calamity

Music: Misfortune - Psycho Temple


Japanese soldiers flood into the hall as soon as the explosion clears.

Should we split into teams to secure the tower floor by floor or—
I said move your ass soldier! Go go go!

The soldiers shuffle up both the staircases with no rhyme or reason. Kawashima and Kato enter after they're all upstairs.

Just like you hoped, Shanghai will become a stronghold for the Japanese Army!

…So it will.
What happened, Lt. Colonel? Is something wrong?
<waves him off> No.
Kato, do you ever feel like you're riding on someone else's coattails?
...Maybe you're the wrong person to ask.

They’re… still fighting above, right?
<nods> Yes’m!

Kato walks over and fiddles with some of the décors.

It’s quite astonishing that your plan to storm Kuihai Tower has gone so smoothly!
I thought the worst when Yuri's group vanished for a few days. We still don't have any intel as to where they went off to in that boat. They must have found some important key to defeating Dehuai we weren't privy to...
Still fighting… him, too. Very well, we’ll fight those monsters too! To the top of the tower!
Yes, ma’am!

Kawashima and Kato head up the tower. We never see them fight a single monster. In fact, we never see them again until near the end of the game in an optional sidequest that wraps up their storyline.

Back up in Dehuai's lab, we could run straight up for the final showdown. But a couple things have changed now that the Japanese troops have invaded the tower. Namely, a couple of soldiers are now stationed downstairs. Let's go gab with 'em for a minute.

<reveals himself as Lottery Member No. 09> This... wasn't ordered by my superior... Are you up to the challenge?
Now? Really?
...I have done this without my superior's permission...!
Yeah, yeah. Count me in.

It's the final lottery member of this half of the game! Boy does he have a pain in the ass Red Hit Area prize. It's those two tiny slivers and this Judgment Ring spins twice as fast as normal on top of it. But through the magic of savescumming quick reflexes and some luck, we win...

Oh, that Oh family. I'm not big on glass cannon builds, so I doubt this will get much play. Regardless, we've gotten a prize from all of the Lottery Members in the first half of the game. So that's a nice milestone.

The second soldier hanging out here allows us to switch out Margarete for Alice if we are so inclined. But my importantly, he runs "Shanghai Transport Reg. Logistic Comp. 8" aka the final available shop in this act of the game. We're going to drop some money here on acquiring three Mirror Bracelets for the party.

Mirror bracelets prevent the Petrification status effect, something we've very rarely come up against thus far. I think maybe one random battle enemy might have been able to pull it off back during the Wuhan Temple Ruins and that's it. Guess what kind of shit Dehuai is going to pull out of nowhere coming up.

That's not all. Our preparation for the final fight also requires we equip a set of Bell Bracelets (prevents Silence) on our party as well. Most major battles in the game usually only have one particular status effect to be wary of and prepare for ahead of time. Considering we need to prepare for two here, this fight coming up might be some right bullshit!

Once we're prepared, all that is left to do is to head up and face Dehuai. Literally, that's our only option. This was the point of no return because Japanese soldiers have stationed themselves in front of the two staircases leading down to the first level and have orders not to budge. There's simply nothing our arcane superhumans who can unmake soldiers with a single punch can do to move them.

So upward we go to the final battle...

Yep... That sure looks like a boss battle arena. Less for a JRPG and more for a fighting game, really. Like Shang Tsung is going to show up here and open a portal to Outworld or some shit.

They're nice enough to give us one final save point before the end. Granted, there was another save point like two screens back and random battles have been deactivated so... not that much of a boon. But given how this fight will almost definitely smoke anyone unprepared their first time through... it was nice of them to provide it.

Up we go...

Hee hee hee… Fool! The time is at hand!
The Mandala of Hell is drawn!!
<looks at the devices> The Vessels of the Gods of the Four Directions face the heavens! So, this is why you soiled Nine Heavens’ most sacred ground… The most secret magic of all… I understand now, Dehuai. Even I understand now…
...I don't.
<concerned look>

<turns around> Correct! The ultimate skill of Nine Heaven’s Taoist magic! The Reverse Demon’s Gate Invocation!

The area shakes and flashes with light.

...Is that bad?
It does not seem good.

Yeah. Yeah, that was bad! We probably shoulda tried to stop him from doing that!
Ya think!?

Dehuai gains a glowing evil aura.

And you, half-rate adept. And you, hussy that shot my cat.
<shrug> You're the one that threw your cat at us in the first place. Who DOES that?! You can't get mad it died!
Silence! I can do whatever I frikkin' please!

The power of Heaven… the power of GOD fills my body!! Let us settle the score before I create a new world!!

Music: China Ogre
(OK, THIS is the final time this track gets used.)

Dehuai is back for another round. Or so it would seem... After a stare down with the party, Dehuai reveals he's actually having the courtesy of doing a real transformation into a second boss fight form.

Meet Yamaraja: Calamity -- the Disc 1 End Boss of Shadow Hearts and the final Yamaraja boy. I dig the William Birkin G-Type chest-face thing he's got going on here. Dehuai 2.0 is by far the biggest hurdle in the game so far. Remember how his previous incarnation had the most HP of anything at 1800 HP? Yeah, we're going to nearly double that with 3500 HP for Round 2! Strap in, we're gonna be here for a while...

Right off the bat, Calamity has initiative and opens with Shockwave -- an attack that does a respectable 50~ HP of damage to the entire party. More importantly, if we didn't have those Bell Bracelets equipped? Whoops! The entire party now has Silence status! Time to waste three turns to sort that out in a party composition where 66% of your members are only useful with special skills! Spoilers: He'll also cast this again at around 50% health and then randomly whenever after that. So, there's the first kick in the nuts for the unprepared for this fight.

On our end, the usual strategy of Yuri doing the Fusion into Inferno and going to town punching is getting sidelined. The thing with Yamaraja: Calamity is that all its major attacks are full party hits. We could have brought Alice in as healer but that'd just have Zhuzhen tagging in too in order to cover everyone's healing. On top of that, there is Alice's shit Sanity stats making topping her SP off another issue to waste someone's turn down the line. So, we're going to sidestep that whole issue by fusing Yuri with Heaven's Fiend which, as might recall, has a relatively cheap (18 MP) full party heal at its disposal. He can do in one turn what Alice would take three to do. That takes a big impact on our overall DPS with Yuri only contributing if everyone is relatively well-off (he can still do around 100 HP of damage even in this form.) But it's easily the smartest way to deal with this boss's bullshit.

With Yuri on healing duty, we're left with Margarete residing in Headshot City and Zhuzhen spamming Life Sucker. Yamaraja: Calamity is one of the very few non-elemental aligned bosses, or just enemies in general for that matter, in the game. So, none of our elemental tricks will do much work against him.

Yamaraja: War has an extremely strong physical attack combo in excess of 100-120 HP of damage if he does the full set but around 60 HP of damage at minimal. On the bright side, Dehuai fucking HATES Zhuzhen and will tend to only target him with his physical hits. Which means Zhuzhen's health needs to be monitored a bit more closely than Yuri or Margarete. But isn't that true of all old timers?

The resident evil sorcerer can also just slap folks with Petrification (and failing that just whack 'em for 50 HP of damage.) Again, that is a status effect I had to look up to see if anything inflicted up to this point and the answer was exactly one jobber enemy. So that's another fun quirk that can come out of nowhere. Remember: Petrification counts as being KOed as far as the game is concerned so if the last man standing gets Stoned, that's a quick trip to the game over screen.

Finally, and certainly most dangerously, is Yamaraja: Calamity's ultimate attack -- Crimson Flame. This does around 80-90 damage to the entire party and is most of the reason we have Yuri as our healer this fight. Especially, since Dehuai just fucking LOVES this attack! Can't get enough of it! When he's at around 50% health and below he'll just spend near every turn casting Crimson Flame. Which gives us about three rounds before everyone is in extremely critical health levels or dead.

If we didn't have Sacred Remedy essentially negating all that lost HP in one go, that'd be a turn from our entire party wasted just keeping our health up, only to lose another 80 HP the very next round. That's not the most sustainable way to go about things. But we've got that covered.

Even with this fairly decent set-up, the biggest issue with Yamaraja: War is its mount of HP. This is the only fight so far where Sanity Points become a major concern because by sheer virtue of the time it takes to burn through all of that health. I ended up using more Sanity consumables in this fight than the entire game thus far combined and doubled. Even Yuri was getting low by the end and he has nearly three times the SP of everyone else even taking his Fusion hit into consideration. MP depletion is a secondary concern since Zhuzhen and Margarete's special attacks take a healthy chunk to cast. Which only adds to the time needed to complete this fight.

That said, if we keep the course and keep everyone's SP in check and their MP up and eventually Dehuai will take the hint and fall. This ended up being nearly a 20-minute fight knowing exactly what to do and executing it alright. My test playthrough a few months ago took almost half an hour with a party like five levels short of the current group. I think I just died a half dozen times my first playthrough. This big boy is definitely a worthy difficulty spike for the end of the first half of the game.

Music: Results

For our troubles the party a splendid Cash settlement and a massive dump of EXP. Margarete even learned about a mid-aughts arena shooter that was a bit above average and whose legacy was sullied by a half dozen garbage spin-offs and expansions.

We also receive the Third Key's cousin the Fifth Key. The 20 Day War of the Gods was a hell of a trip. I'll never forget YHWH doing a flying elbow drop off the top of the cage into Zeus, destroying the foreign announcer's table in the process. Hell of a match.

On top of that, we gain +5 in all Soul Energy elements. Earth Element has made it to Level 2 with Dark and Fire taking up the silver and bronze to the second rank finish line. Get it together Water, what are you even doing with your life?

Music: Misfortune - Psycho Temple

How… dare you… stand in my way…
Dick... move... Blargh!
Hey, guys... I'm not feeling... so great...
Missy, you're the only one who didn't just get set on fire by a magic dragon repeatedly! I don't even want to hear it with your swooning damsel act right now!

<drops to her knees>

Everyone ignores Dehuai and pays attention to Alice instead.

I’m fine…
You… shouldn’t push yourself so hard…
I mean *I* would have gotten enough rest standing on the sidelines for the fight. But we cannot all be as charming and athletic as me.
O... kay.

Hee hee hee…

Right, we should probably finish this geezer, huh?

<crawls forward> It’s… not too late… If I funnel just a little more chi into the Machine… my dreams will… J-just… a little… more… Heh, heh…
What is he trying to pull…?
You're gonna be cool if I punch a hole in this guy's head, right? You don't want to take this one?
Knock yourself out, kid.

Dehuai drags himself back to his feet and faces the party.

If you're gonna do it, now's the time, kid!

What do you mean "Nah"?! He's casting a spell!
Shhh... No, look. I always wanted to do this!
Do what?!
If one of you won't finish him, I'm just going to shoot him in the head.
No! Don't you dare! Just give it a sec...

OK... Here! Quiet!
<clears throat>
Hey, Dehuai...

<points at Dehuai> Omae wa mou shindeiru.

Music: ENDS. Dehuai falls backward dead.

BARF! <dies>
<fist pumps> Hah! Nailed it! I always wanted to do that! Hehehe... That's one off the bucket list.
You're weird, kid.
So... what just happened?

The bastard tried to let loose his last bit of strength and ignite that Spirit Machine. Even though he no longer had the strength to stand…

Music: Much Hatred Still Rankles

Roger Bacon!
It's delightful to see you all arrived safely from Kowloon.
Huh? Kowloon...?
D-Don't worry about that. What do you want, Bacon!?

Dehuai's body evaporates.

What the hell’s that supposed to mean?!
<walks toward the center of the glyph> Now for the Reverse Demon’s Gate Invocation. Such a pity you won’t get a chance to see it.

Perhaps one more push is in order!!

New Music: Sacrifice - ALICE
(This only plays here, so you should probably listen to it.)


I somehow don't think Kuihai Tower was built to support a god summoning. The top of a heavily renovated villain tower is never the best place to do one of 'em.

Heh, heh… Now you’ve made me mad, pops!

You really forget what a hideous caveman stunt double Yuri gets for CGI cutscenes. I don't even know what they're going for with that hair other than an intensely ugly mop.

Hey, kiddo! What do you think you’re doing?!
Don't! No!

No... He can't!

Is he planning to fuse... with that monster? Don't! Don't do it!

Imma do it!
Let's get friendly!

It's a Yuri Fusion special crammed right up yer ass!
...Wait, that came out wrong!

Ha ha ha. Most interesting... Fusing with a god, in order to defeat a god, eh...? But at your level...
What are you... low-to-mid 20s at best? Pah...
You'll be swallowed up by the darkness. Just like the other one!

<shakes head> DOOOOOOON'T!

The Seraphic Radiance powers down.

The monster seems to have settled down. Does that mean the Fusion has succeeded?

<shakes head and cries> Yuri... Your soul is... fading...

I can't believe Yuri Hyuga's stunt double is fucking dead.

Ah, there goes the monster. False alarm... I was worried for a moment.


Hey, ever read about that incident back in 1913 where several blocks of Shanghai were obliterated by energy radiating from a hundred-foot-tall nightmare angel?

Oh, that's right. It quickly got overshadowed by the part where Shanghai got completely nuked and completely wiped off the map. It's really quite impressive how they've rebuilt it in the last century from that smoldering crater where the old city once stood.

<shakes around wildly in mid-air from blast> Ahhh... most impressive! Such is the unfettered power of a god! But... compared with what I had in mind, it is mere child's play. Well, for Dehuai I suppose I must admit it is something of an achievement. Well, there's no sense in my lingering here. I believe I shall return to London and have myself a spot of tea. Well, then... Ta-ta, everyone! If you survive, I hope you'll come there and pay me a visit someday! Wa ha ha! Ah ha ha!


Bacon teleports away for fear of getting a further concussion from flying debris.

That day, the flames were almost beautiful... as they turned Shanghai to ash. In the blink of an eye, they took away so much... Thoughts... Hopes... Dreams...

And as they watched their world burn, the people cried out in grief. It was like a scene from hell. One of our own making...

And that night was the last time I ever saw him...

And that concludes the first half of Shadow Hearts. That... probably could have gone better.

Now THAT was definitely the end of a chapter. Let's wrap up the last of the Library entries for the first half of the game. No new NPCs, though the "alive" status of quite a bit of the cast is currently in question.


Hands out Chick Tracts on weekends. Just smile and accept it or he'll get pissed.

I do NOT want to know what kind of poetry this guy writes.

Just in case you thought that maybe that thing was supposed to be a weird umbilical cord or something else. No. It's a penis with the implication it does rapes. It's just as bad as it looks.

That limp dick is really upset you poisoned it.

He just CAN'T stop eating babies! He loves 'em! Can't get enough!

You cannot fool me, ghost. You're just describing assholes on Twitter.

Note: Very weak against bullets to the brain.

Dehuai: He lived as he died. Gravely incompetent and accomplishing very little on his own.

Video: Yamaraja - Calamity Boss Battle
(If you REALLY want to see an 18-minute JRPG boss fight...)

Video: Yamaraja – Calamity Highlight Reel
(You should watch this though. Most of the moves here are unique to this boss.)

Video: End of Act 1
(Hey! It's the end of the first half of the game! Go watch this!)