The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 50: Episode L: Wow! What a Mansion!

Episode L: Wow! What a Mansion!

Let's just jog a few blocks across London again and see about that mansion. How'd they even manage to kidnap three children when their stranger-danger kidnapper van was still parked at the mansion? I could see grabbing the two younger kids at once relatively easily. Granted, running through the streets with two unconscious orphans being lugged with each arm is a bad look. Did the teenage one just get slung over that Man in Black's back too? That guy is stronger than he looks.

New Music: Ripper Ripper
(Now this is some proper menacing evil residency tunes.)

The orphanage mansion door has been left wide open. So we're free to immediately burst in and start kicking down doors and stumble on orphan murder pits or whatever is going on in here.

Wow! What a mansion! This mansion is actually horribly spaced out. This foyer is like 60% of the total floor space of the joint as we'll soon see.

Straight ahead from the entrance is a door we cannot access at the time. We need some manner of four-digit code. Sorry, no sequence breaking. Yuri refuses to even attempt to punch in a code before we go and find some numbers written down somewhere else in the manor.

To the right of the mansion's first floor is only the save point. So let's head to the left, where we find...

W-who’s there?! That voice. Is that you, Yuri?
Yeah... y-you...
<leans over to Alice> Psst! You remember this kid's name?
<scrunches face and shrugs>

Joshua! Are you in there?
Oh yeah! I knew that! Joshua. Sup!
Halley!! You’ve come to help us?!
<nods> Yeah! Hold on just a little longer, okay?

The Man in Black creeps up on the party. They turn and march up to him.

<takes fighting stance> You’ve managed to sneak in here, but it won’t be so easy to leave.
It was less sneaking in and more literally just walking through the front door.
It wasn't even locked.
Dammit! I knew I forgot something when grabbing those brats...

<clenches fists> Damn it! I knew it was you!

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

It wouldn't do to just fight some guy in a black suit. Instead, let's battle a gravity reversed Simpson character with multiple heads growing out of its face. Meet the Night Stalker -- the 2500 HP sporting Wind elemental true form of Dr. Jack's child nabbing assistant.

This is actually an enemy that originally appeared in Koudelka -- Inverse. Like straight up, they gave it an updated model and otherwise copy and pasted everything else right down to the animations. Inverse was one of the most dangerous random battle encounters in the game because due to that game's absurd amount of ill-defined gameplay systems, it dealt a specific type of damage with its gun that absolutely nothing defended against so it dealt heinous amounts of damage to party members, even in the end game. It could also potentially appear in the second room of the game and easily do a full party wipe. Koudelka was a game that had some serious issues...

This version is significantly less threatening because it's in a game with a half-way decent battle system. Night Stalker starts the battle by casting Gale boosting its physical evasion by 30%. I swear those sorts of spells don't work half the time for enemies and the other half of the time there's just a hard "you'll miss this strike in a combo sequence 100% of the time" flag set. The former was true during this battle, thankfully.

Beyond that, Night Stalker sticks to its predecessor roots and just shoots a single party member every turn. It seemed to particularly hate Halley during this fight. Night Stalker can either fire once for around 70-80 HP of damage.

Or it can just fire all six bullets from its revolver on a single target and do 250-300 HP of damage. That's less than optimal, but thankfully it rarely decides to go all in dumping on a fool.

Since it only targets a single party member per turn, Alice can easily rectify any damage dealt each round. She can also tag in with Blessed Light for some light damage (har-har) if Night Stalker decides to waste a turn casting Gale again and everyone is topped off.

Meanwhile, Yuri is good just transforming into Ifrit, buffing his punches and going to town. That works just as well in Europe as it did in China.

We should probably talk about our newest party member, Halley. Halley's Special Ability is ESP. While most party members outside Yuri and Keith, who I swear was just a Dark element character whose affinity they changed when they remembered Yuri was Dark already, most party members tend to stay in their lanes with their elemental affinity attacks outside the odd mid-range spell. Halley doesn't run on those rules. He slowly gains a high-end psychic attack for every element. We'll go into a bit more detail with him shortly when we're not fighting a mid-boss. For now, we're finding a Wind elemental enemy and Halley has a 40 MP ESP spell called Strong Earth. That sounds like it ought to do the business.

Mother! Give me POWER!

Yep. That's some Strong Earth alright. it does around 220-230 HP of damage every turn. That's nearly outpacing Yuri's Punchfest Celebration of 1914. So at least Halley can hold his own in a fight now that he's been forced upon our party. There's nothing worse than a new mandatory party member that comes in as a garbage tier trash boy that drags the party down by their presence until they can be swapped out. Strong Earth can also potentially inflict Petrification but Night Stalker here is immune to such a status effect.

In any event, the party throws rocks and punches the inverted man until he stops shooting them in the face. He proceeds to fall from his inverted perch, land on his neck and dies. RIP Orphan Kidnapper Man in Black. You didn't even earn an actual name despite living for more scenes than at least a quarter of the NPC characters that got character portraits.

Music: Results

For our effort, we receive the usual EXP and Cash. More importantly, we gain the key to the door Joshua is locked behind. I feel like there's something that's been translated poorly with that line about the Key Room blurb in the item description.

Music: Ripper Ripper

So, we should probably rescue those orphans, huh? I doubt gunfire and magic explosions were ideal things to hear right after your rescuers showed up.

I was so scared!
You’re safe now!
Did you smoke that bloke who grabbed us?
You know it!
You're so cool!

<looks around> Where’s Chris?
A man wearing white clothes took her!
Halley, Halley, you’ve got to help Chris!!
<nods> I will. You two head back, okay?
All right. Let’s go, Sharon!
<nods> Yeah.
Should we escort you two back or...?
Nah. It's fine.
That seems sort of irresponsible.
Well, maybe if you brought your other friends to come help I'd agree. But for some reason, you two insisted only three of us travel here together.
Yeah, well... Ya know how it is with forming a party.
I really don't!
It's a complicated matter kid. We don't have time to go over it right now!

The London Rats head to the exit. Joshua stops in front of Yuri and hands him something.

I got it from the funny old man. It’ll probably come in handy!

I have no idea who the "funny old man" they're referring to is supposed to be. The only other person in the mansion right now who isn't secretly a monster is Jack. There are a lot of screwy translation bits from the start of London up through the next major area. I'm not sure why the localization takes a big hit in this specific portion of the game when it was mostly fine up until now and recovers afterward.

Before we depart, we can look around the Orphans' (Key?) Room for some flavor text and a handful of assorted consumable items we've already seen and will never use (they're another severed Monkey's Paw behind one of the beds!) Such highlights as:

It's a child's bed. The sheets are dusty and stained...
The old toy is torn and covered in dust.
There is a drawing, as if done by a child, inside the fireplace.

Yeaaaaaah... outside of (maybe) Chris, we're not gonna find any more intact orphans to rescue, are we? Well... hopefully, they won't come back as a hideous Legion like mass of orphan biomass. Wouldn't want to deal with something like that. Again...

The Golden Key that Joshua gave us will unlock one of the doors on the second floor of the mansion. The one on the left, to be precise. The one on the right has another lock which Yuri refuses to fiddle with until he's found something resembling a code first. Before we unlock that door, the balcony (I'm not actually sure of the term for a waste of space upper walkway in a mansion foyer) on the right-hand side has a new item we can shove into our inventory.

I feel like the item art team just went out of control designing assorted trinkets so they were forced to make fifty different niche restorative items. This one fully restores only MP and SP. Not to be confused with the consumable that only restores HP and MP or certainly not the one that only fully restores HP and SP. At least there is a use case for MP and SP only. Especially now that we have two MP guzzling, low Sanity members in our party.

Naturally, the orphanage is home to random battles as well. But ONLY the main hall.

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

It's a spooky Resident Evil mansion. Of COURSE, the only trash mobs present are a horde of zombies. They come in cop flavor, the Larmgelg, and flayed emaciated woman flavor, the Banshees.

Boy varieties of zombies only attack by biting targeted party members for around 30 HP of damage. Likewise, like most zombies, they have very low HP and will go down fairly quickly from anything. The only difference is the added effects to the way they bite. Banshees are capable of doing an SP Lowering bite (for zero damage) which will halve the targeted party member's SP. That can be a heck of an issue if two of 'em decide to target Alice or Halley since they'll leave them with maybe two rounds before they go Berserk.

The Larmgelg cop zombies will instead do bites that can potentially cause Ring Abnormalities like Fast Ring or Irregular Ring. Other than that? Not much going on with the resident evil of the orphanage. But can go over some fun name origin factoids!

Banshees are probably one of the more common folklore derived monsters in the game. You've almost certainly heard of 'em before -- screaming spooky Irish ghost ladies. We don't need to go over that. Larmgelg is a bit more obscure, being a mistranslation of Lham Dearg or Ly Erg.

Wikipedia on Ly Erg posted:

Click here for more info!

The Ly Erg is a fairy from Scottish folklore, particularly associated with the area in and around the Glenmore Forest, part of the present-day Cairngorms National Park. It is dressed as a soldier, distinguishable from a real soldier only by its red right hand, said to be stained with the blood of its victims. While out walking it will stop near water, and by raising its right-hand to challenge passersby to fight. But anyone who engages in combat with the Ly Erg will be dead within a fortnight, win or lose.

Writing in 1847, the antiquarian Joseph Robertson tells of three brothers who fought the Ly Erg, each of them dying immediately after their encounter.
Sounds like a sore loser. I have no idea what that has to do with a zombie cop.

Beyond that, let's take a minute to look at Halley's other abilities now that we're dealing with just the walking dead and not a real threat.

Hey, remember how Keith had one of the cooler default attack animations with his Shadow Stepping and Raphael from Soulcalibur type bullshit? What if we went the exact opposite direction and had the lamest shit ever? Sorry, Halley. No one is history has ever looked cool wielding a slingshot. David was a busta. That said, Halley's slingshots do respectable mid-range damage. He's weaker than Yuri, Keith, and Margarete but well above Zhuzhen and Alice's near non-existent physical damage output.

Aarrah! YAAAAAH!

Halley's ESP abilities are where most of his usefulness resides. Healing does exactly what it says on the box. It's an HP restore comparable with Alice's Cure but it costs 20 MP versus Alice's 6 MP for the same service. It's useful in a pinch but Halley is by no means replacing Ms. Elliot as designated healer anytime soon.

Air Edge is just the Wind equivalent of the Elemental added effect the other characters have had. It exists to be cast on Yuri's fists when we're fighting an Earth elemental enemy. That's about it.

Gah! I hate you! I hate you!

Finally, Aqua Blade is a Water elemental attack that, despite the animation of deadly rainwater flooding the entire battlefield, only hits a single target for sizable damage. This can potentially inflict the Poison status effect but it's too busy one-shotting the zombie trash mobs in the mansion to show that feature off here.

Music: Ripper Ripper

That's it for the abilities of our new Esper boy at the moment. So let's continue our investigation of the mansion. There's just got to be a secret nefarious laboratory somewhere in here.

I don't think I'd want a bedroom with a ceiling that high up. What if there's a creepy crawly insect up there plotting some shit? That's too high for a broom even. You'd have to bust out a ladder to sort that out. That's too much effort alone. There are a few things we can check out in here. The plot-critical point of interest is the table with books in the center of the room. No chairs though. It's a standing workspace.

Will you take the book?

Let's see...

For some reason, we need to do a Normal Ring game in order for Yuri to pick up this book and bafflingly it's an extremely hard one. The cursor spins lightning fast, more so than any of even the more difficult Lottery rings. I can only imagine Yuri repeatedly fumbling with the book and dropping it multi-times like he's one of those dinguses from the black and white zone in infomercials where every mundane task is a herculean effort. There's got to be a better way!

When Yuri finally does get his shit together, we discover...

5, March, 75. With my dearest Jack, one year old. Mary.

Wh-what, Yuri? What month is March? The... the one after February but before April? Even you must know this.

The final point of interest in the room is this diary on the desk. Grab yourself an Exposition Sandwich (careful of any Solaris meat or unwanted mayonnaise) and sit back for a tale.

4 February 13.

It’s been two weeks since I was moved into this room all by myself.
Every night the doctor comes to talk about his dead mother. He sounds just like a little child…
He always becomes so emotional. He starts to cry. He even gets up and screams all of the sudden.
At first, I was scared, but I got used to it. If I just listen, I get warm soup and bread.
Every night, I listen to the sobs of the new kids here. But then again, I’m usually crying too.
I hope I can find new parents soon and get out of this place… Isn’t God listening to my prayers?

21 February 13 (Note: The actual text is a mangled "Feb. 13, '21." Pretty sure that's hella wrong given the other two entries.)

The doctor seems so excited. He smiled and started talking as soon as he saw me.
He was happy because his experiment went well and some book was going to make his dreams a reality.
Sometimes I shiver when I hear about his research. It sounds like the story of Frankenstein to me.
I can’t hear the crying of the children tonight. Even though it’s definitely time for it.

22 February 13.

I had a great dinner tonight. I’ve never eaten so much delicious food at once.
The teacher was all smiles too. It seems it’s going to be my turn to help his experiment tomorrow…

[This is the last entry in the diary.]

Welp. RIP that poor sap. But hey! Free Lottery Ticket! Net gain for Yuri and friends!

We're done with that bedroom. So on to the one on the opposite side of the walkway. That diary was just flavor text. The blatantly given answer hint for the dial-lock was the picture with Jack and his mother -- the one that said 5 March, 75. Day-Month-Year is stupid as shit. Look how goddamn awful that garbage looks when you write out the month!

We'll just assume Yuri consulted with Alice to remember what number month March was on to get our code of 5375.

Here we have the third and final bedroom of the mansion. Yep. Just the one downstairs, two upstairs. No bathrooms. 1800s London architectural designs left much to be desired. Once more, there are a few points of interest in the room Yuri can inspect.

It's full of hard-to-understand content, drawings, and symbols.
Books on black magic from the world over line the shelves.

Uh-oh. That sounds a lot like someone dabbling with alchemy. Specifically, the resurrecting the dead kind of alchemy... There was an entire previous game where that was established to be the WORST possible idea that will not go the way you want it to go. At all!

The portrait on the wall is our "clue" to the lock downstairs. You're just dumping a word in the middle of two pairs of digits. Why would you do it like that? Why's it gotta be like that?

Are we sure Yuri is actually OK after his six months of having a dark god overriding his soul? There are no lingering degenerative issues with his brain? I'm starting to worry.

Next to the painting is a desk drawer that Yuri can force open with a Judgment Ring spin. Bizarrely, this one is WAY easier than the one for picking a picture up off a table despite the fact I'm PRETTY sure jimmying open a locked desk drawer takes a touch more effort than picking up a piece of paper.

Once more, we've got a document with a sizable amount of exposition. Sit back and let's learn about this locational story arc's villain of the week's deal.

Apr. 18 ’09.
We finally finished the move. My mother seems to like the mansion too.
I was worried when I first came here but I don’t believe that the ghost of the old owner will return here.
Tomorrow is my first day as a doctor. It will be difficult, but my mother and I will make it.

27 May ’09.
It’s been a month since I started working as a doctor. So far so good.
But the change in climates has given Mother a chill. She is always tired and I’m worried.

11 Oct ’09.
What is going on?! I have no idea what is making my mother so ill.
Each day her illness worsens. It’s unbearable watching her appearance change so rapidly…
She used to be so beautiful, but now her body is changing, drying out as if she was becoming a mummy.
Please give me the power to help Mother! I would do anything to return the smile to her lips…

2 November ’09.
It rained hard all night long. My mother passed away before dawn.
The mummy in front of me will not move again. I tried to halt her illness, but in the end, I failed.
My mother screamed like a beast, went into convulsions, and died with an agonized look on her face.
She ne’er failed to grace me with her smile and was rewarded for it by God with a torturous end.
Tell me “God”, why did my mother deserve this? We honored you, prayed to you as we were taught…
Why have you forsaken us? It is something I simply cannot fathom…

8 Jan ’10.
As I suspected previously, my mother was killed by some kind of curse.
The more I study the black arts, the more I am certain. If I can but unpuzzle their arcane logic,
perhaps I can solve the enigma of my mother’s death. But why am I doing this?
Even if I can uncover what caused the strange disease, I cannot bring the dead back to life.

13, February, 10.
I ran into someone in town today. His name is Roger Bacon.
He told me my mother’s disease lies in the secret arts practiced by the ancient Druid monks.
What an unsettling man. He told me that he knew everything about me, although we had never met before.
He has given me an old book. The text is all in Greek, so it will take some time to decipher it.

30 February ’10.
What have I done? Have I come face to face with God?
A week has passed since I last slept, yet my excitement and curiosity build all the more!
Decoding the Emigre Document shouldn’t take much longer. Then a whole new world will open to me.

2 March ’10.
It was already dark outside when I finally awoke.
My relief at finishing decoding the document must have lulled me into a deep sleep.
But I shan’t hesitate anymore. I have discovered the path that I must take.
I can bring the dead to life with the Emigre Document! I can see my mother’s smile once again!
I’m going to be quite a busy man…

Everyone getting angry and shaking their fist in the air over bacon is really funny out of context. One day we'll sort that nefarious salt-cured pork out! But that's going to be another day. Tune in next time as the gang delves into Dr. Jack's Mommy Resurrecting Lab and things definitely pan out just swimmingly as Shadow Hearts continues!

Video: Episode 50 Highlight Reel
(You should watch just for Halley's awful combat barks.)

Joshua Portrait - Would not trust this little shit as far as I could throw him.

Sharon Portrait - Warning: Actually a powerful devil summoner. Approach with caution. This is not a joke. There's a whole optional sidequest involving it.