The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 48: Episode XLVIII: London Rats

Episode XLVIII: London Rats

Music: Atmosphere - Blow Up

Time for another road trip! It is only around 300 km from Rouen, France to London, England. Give or take depending on where they have to take a boat ride across the English Channel. The gang obviously can't just trek through the Chunnel at this point in history. Probably...

Great Britain gets its own sub-map. We might be hanging out in the general area of the island for a little while... The remainder of the main plot takes place here.

And we're not done zooming in! The city of London gets its own sub-map. Today we'll specifically be heading to Old Castle Street. This is an entirely unremarkable street in London other than the fact that one of Jack the Ripper's murders took place in an alley off this street. That has zero relevance to the plot. Just a fun factoid!

New Music: Vitamin Metropolis
(I would not have pegged early 1900s London with such jaunty tunes.)

At least that Dehuai dingus back in Shanghai lived in a big obvious evil tower with ogres guarding out front and junk. Random mansions don't really stand out.
Well, it is the capital of England. Anyway, doesn’t this place look suspicious?
I dunno. Everything here seems suspicious. Some dude just wandered up to mean and went "top o' the mornin' to ya, governor!" Like... do I look like the governor or something?
That's just an expression, Yuri.
Naw. Suspicious is what it is!

But you think he’s really here? This card guy or whatever?
Cardinal Simon.
<nods> Yeah. That’s the one.
<shakes head and shrugs> Enough with the dumb act already!! I know you know who I mean!!

OK. We're free to explore London's Old Castle Street. There is a hotel just to the right of where we begin but Yuri refuses to enter it until we poke around the area for a bit to investigate. So let's chat up the locals and see if we can get anywhere.

Are there birdmen or gremlins running around lately?
Howabout rabid wolves or ghosts?
What on earth are you talking about!?
You said it was dangerous, guy. Wanna know what I gotta punch.
There are no fairy tales here, sir. There are pickpocketing ruffians and muggers stalking the alleys. You'd best be on alert.
So no randomly attacking mummies or bloodsucking bats?
Don't be absurd. Of course not!
Tch... This city is lame...

Oh yeah? Where's it at?
Say, do you want a rare card? I've spent so much money collecting them, I'm broke.
A rare card?
Whatabout that cardinal guy's mansion? Where is it?
Oh... I just heard of it. Haven't the foggiest where it might be.
...Very helpful.
So the card? Do you want it?

> I want it, I admit it! > I'm no card freak.

The game doesn't indicate the price until we accept the purchase, but it is a fairly steep 7,000 Cash dropped for this rare card. The card in question is the Sun Card which provides the potential for a 40% Discount and 20% price raise in all stores. I'd say that was worth dropping seven grand. It'll likely pay for itself the next equipment upgrade session. Granted... I now kind of regret upgrading Zhuzhen and Keith back in Prague given they've done nothing but sit on the bench since then. But eh... ain't like we're exactly hurting for cash at the moment.

Behind the corner from the hotel is yet another Lottery Ticket. Sneaky! But good timing, because the last NPC hanging out in this twisty street is...

The only thing t' soothe the human heart is liquor. Liquor, and... Uh...
<becomes Lottery Member No. 05> It's a lottery!
Count me in.
Booze AND the lottery at the same time! It's a revolution!
Hell yeah, son!

There's no noteworthy gimmick with this Lottery spin. It's just an extremely narrow Hit Area for the top prize. I got fairly lucky and got it in the red my second try.

What kinda name is "Ganbriel"? Whatever. This accessory provides a 20% reduction in MP cost for Special Abilities. Yuri could probably benefit pretty well from these given the inflating MP cost with his newer Fusions and his overall lower end total MP stocks.

That's it for this street. Let's continue onward to the next map, where we are immediately met with...

<yanks on kid> Hey! Quieten down, will ya!

The party rushes onto the bridge to help the child.

Who the hell are you?! Shut up and mind yer own business. The law in this town says that all orphans go to the orphanage.
<steps forward> Shut up. Mind yer own business, is it? You and me got a problem, punk.
It's been a few days since I've punched something and your nose is looking MIGHTY punchable right now.

The Man in Black pushes the orphan boy down and runs off. Well, it's more of a power walk. Regardless, he leaves the scene. Margarete walks up to the fallen boy and helps him up.

Yeowch! I’m okay, ma’am.

That hurts! Ma’am!
You mean “miss”, don’t you?
Ma'am is what you use when talking to an older, refined woman. It's not appropriate for a beautiful flower in its prime.
O...K... ma'am?
Call me ma'am one more time and they will NEVER find your body, little boy...

<stands up> O-okay, m, miss!!
<approaches the pair> What a horrible way to treat a child. Say there, where’s your home, little boy?
My home?

The boy runs to the end of the bridge.

Do you want us to take you there, little boy?
Really? Thank you, miss ma’am.
I don’t appreciate that phrase…
Haha! Now that’s a brave lad there.
<glares at Yuri> Did you say something?
Er, nope…
Well, let’s go, shall we?

A slightly older girl runs to the end of the bridge.

What happened? You’re hurt!
<runs up to the girl> I’m okay. But I was almost taken away by this guy in black. These people helped me!
Oh, my! I see. Thank you so much for coming to my brother’s rescue. Come on, Joshua. You need to thank them, too!
<walks up to Margarete> Thanks for everything sir, miss… and er, miss ma’am.

Joshua bows his head and quickly swipes something from Margarete's jacket. Never trust street urchins.

<leans forward> Next time you call me “miss ma’am”… I will kill you.

<glares> I will put a bullet in your limbs for every letter in that phrase and then cast your broken body into the Thames with a rock tied to it.

<stands straight and laughs> Bye-bye now!
She’s scary!

Chris and Joshua run off down the road.

The older sister seems like a nice kid.
And the younger brother seems traumatized. Nice work...
Well they certainly didn’t look at all alike. Anyway, let’s go.

What is it?
My w… wallet?! I was hiding it in my shirt. I’ve lost it!!
Is it true?!
That little punk!!
<pulls out gun> I will END HIM!
<nervous laugh> Let's just calm down now.
...Wait, did I give you my money to hold onto too?
You do what you've got to do.

Sure enough, we're now broke! 0 Cash! For some reason, Margarete was carrying the entire party's war chest in her jacket pocket. That was perhaps not the best idea the team has ever formulated. In any event, we now need to track down those kids. Some little orphan shits aren't stealing 16 hours of JRPG random battle earnings. Let's try talking to folks in the area if they know anything about thieving children.

Oh, I bet you guys got scammed, didn't you. By a couple of London Rats.
Care to elaborate on what that means, guy?

They target tourists and bum food from them, or lift their wallets. The bar owner can probably tell you more about them.

OK. We need to hit up a bar to learn more about the pickpocket orphan gang. That seems reasonable. Before we head over there, Yuri can rummage in someone's yard to find a hidden Oak Slingshot. There's no way to inspect that yet. It's almost like it's a weapon for a party member we've yet to obtain or something. We'll just hold onto it for safe keeping.

Now, about that bar...

Yeah. I tried to be nice, and the brats stole my wallet.
Well, my friend's wallet who was holding all of our money. Well, not MY money cuz I was kinda light after six months out of action. Ergh... You don't need to know all this.
Stole your wallet? It must have been the London Rats. I know a little bit about them.

We're now abruptly asked to name a "Heckling Brat" we've yet to actually meet. Meet Halley Brankett, the enigmatic leader of the London Rats who definitely will not be joining our party like literally every other character we've been able to name thus far... Halley's name got completely mangled in the game's localization. It should really be Harry Plunkett. One of the party members in Koudelka was Edward Plunkett. I'm sure that's just a weird coincidence...

I see them all the time, so I figure they must live around here somewhere.
OK. Kick a kid named Halley's ass, huh? That's a start.
Well, I guess I’ll go back to the inn. The old man should be here by now. I’d better go meet him.

To progress the plot we now need to return to that hotel Yuri refused to enter earlier. But before we do that, let's chat up the bar patrons.

There's a Silent Peddler hanging out at the bar. Does he just point at the bottle he wants when ordering? That seems obnoxious as hell. Well, we certainly haven't accumulated enough steps to get a prize and we're rather short on cash for any purchases. So we'll just skip him. He's got the same stock of junk as Silent Peddler back in Rouen.

You clearly haven’t had your money jacked recently...
If their parents had sent them to school and made them study, they wouldn't have turned bad.
While I ain't sympathetic to thieves... I don't think dead parents of orphans have that luxury.
Not with that attitude. Tsk. Young people these days.

Ever since they took his mom away, he's been looking after kids who've gone through the same thing. No one in the whole town can really hate those kids.
Ehh... I know one lady that might.

There's a cute little Easter Egg on this bar's wall. The poster up on the bar wall is...

...a very low-resolution promotional render from Koudelka. She never actually took her jacket off in-game. But marketing for the game tried to go with attempting to make the protagonist a sexy Lara Croft type. That didn't really translate to anything in the actual game. Or help push more than about twelve copies of the game sales wise.

Before we depart, we can pay back the barkeep for his tip by jumping behind the counter and stealing the first full MP restore item available in the game. It seems like a pain to transport that thing around in a mystical glowing wine glass. But what do I know of arcane alchemical extracts?

Back to the inn we go. We wouldn't want to make the mistake of only using a map render a single time, now would we?

Sometime later...

<marches up to Margarete> And cripes! You had all of MY money too!
<jumps back>
I still dunno why you all felt pooling our money with one person was a good idea...
I let you out of my sight for a minute and this is what happens?! You can’t do this to me!!
I'm getting old! That was my whole savings! What do you want me to go do? Grind monsters for hours of the little remaining time I have left!?
That’s why I’m trying to apologize! Okay?
<laughs> It’s not like we needed the money. I mean, look at us!
I can punch a hole through a dude. Alice can vaporize dudes with her God powers or whatever.
<frown> I'd rather not do that.
Keith can teleport and shoot fireballs out of his cape.
I am not even wearing a cape nor can I do any of what you just mentioned.
And Margarete has a gun! We're pretty much set if we need anything. We could just blast this hotel clerk and stay the night for free if we wanted.
<clerk gives nervous glance>
<looks at Yuri and shakes head> That’s right. You come from the same kind of stock, don’t you?
Your solution to getting robbed is for us to become a band of marauding brigands?
Hey. I'm just offering options, ya know?

I don’t suppose there’s any use crying over spilled milk. But what do you intend to do about it?

Margarete huffs up and marches to the middle of the group.

Do you understand?! If you do, then come on!! Let’s find us some London Rats!!
Okay, I got it. I’m with ya.
I'll punch a kid! Ain't nobody gonna stop me!
That's the spirit, sonny boy!

Um, count me in, too.
I-I would rather NOT punch a child.
Oh, you're gonna be punching a kid Alice. This isn't negotiable. You are gonna slap the taste out of some little boy or girl's mouth by the time we're done.

I wish you all good fortune. I will wait here.
Penniless and tired after days of walking but with nowhere to rest my head because some idiot got robbed by a toddler...
I think I'll stay here, too, and keep Master Zhuzhen company.

Time to hit the town and wreck some orphans. Back across the bridge, there is an abandoned house that seems rather irregular. We could have explored it earlier but Yuri couldn't be bothered to investigate anything yet. But now that we're determined to go fuck-up the Artful Dodger's day, Yuri can inspect the area more thoroughly. For instance, just to the left of the area is a discard new item.

At least you could put some tinfoil or the like over this gunk to transport it. This is the companion piece to the Mana Extract. It fully restores HP. Nobody will ever use it. What if there's an emergency later and we need that full heal!?

But if you listen really carefully, you can hear some kind of noise...

OK. We need to get into this abandoned building. Yanking the boards off the front door simply won't do. Instead, let's check further into the yard for anything suspicious.

It looks like this shutter can be moved...

Here is a new Judgment Ring challenge. This is basically a button tapping QTE. The more we press the button, the further the indicator climbs. If we stop pressing it, it will slowly begin to fall. We have to have the indicator in the Hit Area within 10 seconds. It is possible to overshoot it, so no being too overzealous with our button mashing.

And there you have it -- the London Rats' secret underground bunker. In we go! I hope Little Orphan Annie is ready to get a German suplex through a table.

New Music: Babysitter is Old Nurse
(I have no idea why the plucky orphans' hideout theme is so sinister.)

It's surprisingly cozy for a street urchin hideaway. Welp. Time to get looting! Just to the left of the ladder entrance is...

I feel like street kids should not be dabbling with demonic jewelry. There is no good end to that tale... This particular item adds 20% physical damage and lowers physical defense by 20%. Meh.

There are decidedly few orphans hanging out in the basement. Perhaps the first floor will yield kids to smack about for our stolen money?

Nope! OK. Maybe they've made the tactical blunder of trapping themselves on the third floor.

Wow! Joshua, that’s awesome!
Yeah! On top of saving my life, they gave me all this money! I’m almost thankful!

<pulls out gun> SURPISE, motherfuckas! Where's my money, you goddamn nerds!?

The kids run to the back of the room.

Well now, do you want to give back what you stole?
Or am I going to have to teach one of you little turds the meaning of the word "defenestration"?

Alice and Yuri run up to make sure Margarete doesn't straight murder a child.

I can smell a rat, get it?
<steps forward and puts her hands over her heart> I-I’m so sorry. You see, those kids haven’t eaten in three days…
<shrugs and shakes head> That’s no excuse for stealing someone else’s money, you know!
I've strapped men to a chair with a lit stick of dynamite in their lap for less.
I really am sorry. Here’s the wallet… though we already used some of the money… Please forgive them…

Your wallet is returned. Somehow, it feels lighter than before...

Thankfully there isn't some percentage of your total money removed like some other RPGs I could name when you got cash nicked. It's only 100 Cash. There's literally nothing we could purchase for just 100 bucks at this point in the game. I guess we don't need to break the starving orphans' kneecaps.

I'm sorry.
<walks up to Margarete> This... is a token of my apology.

You got a Crucifix! It's very expensive-looking. Who could this have belonged to?

Joshua forks over one of the best accessories in the game -- the Crucifix. It negates all status abnormalities. This includes both regular Status Effects and Ring Abnormalities. There are only four of these in the game and the rest are a much bigger pain in the ass to obtain. So getting one for free is quite a nice compensation.

Heh heh! Sorry, we scared you like that. We’re not gonna hurt you.
I mean we totally were gonna. But I think Miss Margarete here has calmed down and I'm not feeling anymore either.
Th-that's good...

Do you all live here together?
Uh-huh. None of us has any parents to take care of us. In this town, whenever they find a homeless child, they take him to the orphanage.
And don’t they take good care of you at the orphanage?
No way! Once they take a kid there, he’s never seen or heard from again!
All the kids at the Orphanage become monsters!
What’s that mean?
Like a delinquent menace to society or...?
It means that there aren’t any good people in this world.

Halley Brankett marches up the stairs.

Music: Rice Field of Light


Who are you?
I’m Halley, leader of the London Rats. I’m like their big brother. Sorry about Joshua, but you should’ve kept your guard up!
<laughs> Hmph! You have some nerve.
I'll just be sure to double-tap the next dirty kid on the street that approaches me.
Ain't that a little extreme, lady?
<glares> No.
You do you.

<steps forward> I’m glad you’re not from the orphanage, though. All the kids taken to the orphanage disappear mysteriously.
<looks around> So that’s why these kids are hiding here?
<nods> That’s right. All the residents of this area keep their mouths shut, too.
Almost everyone in the area immediately told us everything about you.
Err... You must have gained their trust somehow.
We've been in town for all of an hour.
That is... a little concerning...

<starts pacing around the room> Not an easy place to live in. But you know, it was about the same for me when I was your age.
What are you doing here in this dump, anyway?
Hey! This is our home! It's notta dump!
<grits teeth> It's sweet you think that, Sharon.

I’ll help you in return for saving one of our little ones.
We’re looking for someone. Do you know if there’s a mansion around here owned by a person named Cardinal Albert Simon?
Albert Simon?
<steps forward> Halley, I wonder if Old Carl might know something?
<nods> Yeah, sure. He’s an odd one, but he knows a lot about this area. I’m sure he’d help you out if I asked.

Music: Babysitter is Old Nurse

OK. If we ask any of the London Rats, they'll tell us Old Carl lives right next door. Before we leave, we'll just pilfer one more thing from the impoverish youngens.

I don't think I ever mentioned it but Shadow Hearts does have Back Attacks (enemies get initiative and the party's placement in rows is reversed) and Pincer Attacks (enemies are on both sides, gain the initiative and running from battle is disabled.) The reason I've not brought it up is there's been exactly two instances of either in the 181 battles fought thus far and they were both in the middle of a long stretch of throwaway random battles. As such, this accessory that prevents 'em is about as useful as an asshole on my elbow.

But it's better in our hands than the orphans' mitts. What do kids living on the street need with a device that prevents stranger danger, anyway?


...Hmm. Maybe we shouldn't have stolen that. Oh well! Hindsight and all that. I'm sure it'll be fine!

New Music: Vitamin Metropolis

In any event, right next door to the boarded-up London Rats hovel is Old Carl's house. Let's kick the door open and see if he has any info on Cardinal Simon's whereabouts.

Oh, it’s you, Halley.

Old Knowledgeable Carl walks up to Yuri and inspects him.

Who’s this stranger?
They saved Joshua from the orphan hunters. Carl! You know Cardinal Simon? They’re looking for him.
What? You want to know about Cardinal Simon? Hmm… I’ve got it! That mansion is across the Thames River, in the residential area in the north!
Thanks, Old Carl! Let’s go, Yuri!

Thanks, Carl! Don't mind us. We're just going to steal this Lottery Ticket off your shelf. You're old. You don't need it.

That's a wrap for Old Castle Street, London. Tune in next time when the gang tracks down Albert Simon's mansion and maybe meets an evil Fusion Dance hybrid of Goro Majima and Kiryu Kazuma as Shadow Hearts continues!

Alice and Margarete Promotional Art - You distract them with weird bible verses and I'll double tap 'em in the skull. It's the perfect plan!