The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 59: Episode LIX: The Door of Judgment

Episode LIX: The Door of Judgment

Music: Bacon's Juice

Roger has something to show us, possibly dealing with that hatch with the title screen from Koudelka on it. We'll mosey over there in a few minutes. First...

Roger activated a vending machine for the party -- Continental Zero. Good thing in this alternate timeline of Shadow Hearts the entire world has shifted over to Cash currency, so we can stuff money into this with no problem. Also, the early 1900s yokel Yuri instantly knows exactly how to use a vending machine. Don't worry about it! He gained that knowledge from the same place he learned about aliens and marriage counseling.

Continental Zero is the final shop in the game. At least, as far as the main plot is concerned. It offers all the available basic consumables we've run across so far as well as upgraded weapons and armor for the entire party.

Also, since we got that Eternity Card from back in Calios Mental Hospital, we can potentially get up to a 50% discount on all goods. Assuming the player can complete an increasingly difficult gauntlet of Judgment Ring spins. Up to 40% is fairly reasonable. The 50% Discount one is absurdly fast and with unfairly tiny Hit Areas.

We'll go ahead and upgrade the entire party. We may have been negligent of a couple party members for a while here. But as the end game is fast approaching, we're going to need to bring everyone off the bench eventually to participate in the tidal wave of upcoming side quests that may be unlocking shortly. With that in mind, we actually are pretty selective on who we upgrade here. Not to pinch our pennies, mind you. I'm more talking about the upcoming dungeon will offer up free equipment upgrades for the entire cast. Keith already got his free armor that outranks anything we could come across. Zhuzhen and Halley also get unique armor sets coming up that are better than anything we can purchase here. Additionally, there are better weapons for Yuri, Alice, and Margarete very early into the next area. So we can skip these weapons.

But, I suppose we can take a quick look at them before reloading a save...

I dunno. Bad guys with this kind of weapon are always like a C-rank mid-boss that is maybe a threat for like two minutes before getting roundhouse kicked off a building. You're overselling these things. It offers +75 Physical and +67 Special Attack.

They have dozens of crates full of these books at the Vatican they pass off to rubes for inflated prices. This gets +65 Physical and +77 Special Attack.

If you're wondering if they change the attack animations for Margarete when she uses this double barrel shotgun, I can confirm they absolutely do not. Don't worry about it. She's a gun elemental. She reloads so fast it's untraceable by the human eye. This offers +60 to both Physical and Special Attack.

Look, if Zhuzhen starts talking to this staff he's just conversing with a spirit and definitely not starting to go senile. This one comes with +67 and +77 to Physical and Special Attack respectively. We'll buy this for Zhuzhen to make him feel like he's still a valued member of the battle party.

I want to see a demonstration of a dumpy middle-aged dad cut a pig carcass in half with this or no sale. I don't care if it has +55 Physical and +26 Special Attack. We'll get this for Keith since we might need him sometime in the near...ish future...

Strangely, Halley has TWO new weapons for sale in Roger's vending machine and both of them are far inferior to that Improved Slingshot with a tortured orphan's soul stuffed into it that Joshua was "kind" enough to give us before we left London. Steel Slingshot has +8 Physical and +15 Special with a 20% chance of causing Paralysis.

This ridiculous model slingshot has +15 to both Physical and Special Attack stats. For reference, the Improved Slingshot has +16 Physical and +15 Special Attack plus 20% chance of Petrification. We'll be skipping both these weapons.

Yuri can use a new set of armor since he's the only male character who isn't getting a unique set in or around the upcoming dungeon. This model offers +71 Physical and +69 (nice) Special Defense.

Likewise, the ladies have been left out with unique armor altogether during this chapter so we'll buy them both one of these Snow-White Robes. They're packing +69 (nice) Physical and +71 Special Defense. Funny how that works out.

Last but not least, a new accessory that negates SP Down attacks is available in this shop for 6000 Cash a pop. We're gonna purchase three of these. I'm not saying there is DEFINITELY an upcoming boss that can be a real asshole about Sanity draining attacks, but you never know...

Music: Callback from Jesus

Anyway, that's it for our spending spree. We didn't need that 74,000 Cash anyway. In any event, as soon as we return to the ruins, Roger Bacon catches up and leads us to...

No, I just put a giant brass hatch over this hole to keep myself busy.
Keep your eyes open!

Roger Bacon dances a quick jig, causing a quick flash of light and the hatch slides open.

You’ll soon find out why I reside here. Go ahead.

Before we go further, hey... we've actually seen these stairs before back in Koudelka! The hatch used to be a casket that slides open after playing a certain tune on a pipe organ a couple floors up. Koudelka was basically Welsh Resident Evil with a bad JRPG battle system stuffed into it.

Roger and Yuri proceed into the basement.

Music: Someone's Table

I guess all the holy water fonts dried up when the Koudelka gang burned the place down. I suppose a standard save point will have to do.

Our party continues further into the dungeon. Alice feels faint and collapses to her knees.

Ain't that most places we go?
Moreso than usual.
Really? Cuz one of the first places we hung out was a pet demon filled hell dimension...
Trust me on this, Yuri.
<shrug> Kay... Just sayin'.
<shakes head> I'm really glad I wasn't around for the early adventures.
Yeah, cuz nearly dying in a plane crash was a real improvement.
It's been like EIGHT MONTHS, Yuri! Let it go!

Roger ambles over to Alice.

Koudelka’s power sealed him, but his spirit remains… It makes me shiver to even think of him.
Who'd have thought an overweight, aging Welsh scholar could cause so much trouble. I knew I should have penned some warnings on the Émigré Manuscript. But no, I just felt I had to remain faithful to the original text... I hope future generations don't make the same mistake.
<checks on Alice> Are you okay?
<nods> Yes, thank you.

Before we move on, it's worth mentioning that this is the Cauldron of Life from Koudelka. It's way less evil vine covered and an wee bit exploded thanks to the previous game's party tossing a Saint's arm into the thing (long story) and ya know... the arson.

Alice stands up and everyone examines the giant evil cauldron near them.

Elaine’s body without her soul turned into an inhuman entity. Patrick didn’t intend for that…
He likely wasn't banking on being immediately killed and stuffed into a plant root either.
Since ancient times, this place has been called Neam. It contains a mysterious power. There are other places like this as well. Let’s see… Such as Easter Island, the civilization of Atlantis and the lost continent of Mu.
Shanghai had a great tower that was a font of such energy. But I heard there had been some trouble over there recently.
Yeah, you could say that...
<whistles and looks off into the distance>

All of those places were situated upon the Earth’s “nerve points”.
Earth’s nerve points? You mean like in acupuncture?
<nods> That’s right. The stars have a strong influence on this location. Unusual power builds up here.
That reminds me, if some old white-haired acupuncturist wanders onto your property, you should PROBABLY boot him immediately.
Oh, I don't actually have any claim over this land. Wales is lawless like that.
Still, just sayin'...

So, this is a special place on the planet?
<nods> Yes. It’s where a certain something was sealed in place.

Roger and the others walk to a nearby gate.

This door was made in ancient times to seal the ruins. You’ve seen this seal before, haven’t you? This is an illustration of the soul that is called the Judgment Ring.
Mighta seen it once or twice somewhere...
I have never seen that in my life.

Motive is the conscience of life. Action is the possibility of life. Outcome is the destiny of life. Receptacles of our souls. This is a common principle that all humans share. You’re following your will to grab your future on your own. And you’ll see the outcome of your action on the other side of the Door of Judgment!
<nods> Door of Judgment.
<examines door> And at the end of this path shall you find Albert and Koudelka. The will be there without fail. This is the furthest I can go. You must decide on your own if you want to walk through the door or not.
<waves a dismissal> Heheh! Kind Roger! You really think we’d come this far just to turn back? We’ve determined to go to the ends of earth long ago, buddy!
Well... at least the end of the continent. I ain't getting on a boat to the Americas. Someone else can deal with trouble from the new world.
Really? I always wanted to travel there someday.
He doesn't do well with boats. But let's not worry about that.

<nods> You’re right. That’s why we’re here, after all…
That's right! I still need a great climax for my autobiography. We can't turn back now.
Hee, hee, hee! All right, let me open the Door of Judgment for you!

You'd think it would be a complicated matter to open the Door of Judgment but... naw. You just tap on it twice and it's good to go.

Thank you, Roger!

Roger will go no further but that doesn't mean he's done helping. Roger Bacon will remain just outside the gate and will provide a free full HP/MP heal to the entire party if we come back to talk to him. That's pretty darn helpful! Especially, once we see how this dungeon is formatted...

New Music: Sanctuary Ruins
(It's actually just ICARO - Beated with spooky sound effects added.)

Welcome to the Nemeton Underground or Sanctuary Ruins depending on which save point you ask. It is... not a great dungeon, to be honest. It's not as bad as say, the Temple Ruins bullshit. Indeed, it's possible to just dash through this place straight to Albert Simon and Koudelka in about ten minutes. Unfortunately, this dungeon is also host to a somewhat involved sub-quest which MUST be completed before advancing or Yuri will miss out on the second strongest Fusion in the game. The Fusion in question is also very important to Shadow Hearts 2 so it's VERY canon the party did this particular quest.

Before going forward, there's a sneaky Lottery Ticket hidden just to the right of the entrance. Someday soon we'll track down the remaining members of that guild.

Nemeton Underground is a somewhat mazelike area compared to the usual straightforward (and often traversed back and forth) dungeons we've usually been tackling. Past the entrance, there are paths to the northwest and southeast. We'll be heading northeast first, where we find...

That's a bit cryptic. But what it's getting at is that there are sealed treasure chests and they are unlocked by manipulating some sort of flame. We'll just keep that info in mind for now.

That's not to say all the treasure chests in this dungeon are sealed. There's a sneaky one in the background ahead. Pilfering its contents nets us...

It's a Mauser C96 aka the Red 9 from Resident Evil 4 or the basis for Han Solo's blaster. For once, this gun is not anachronistic as the 96 refers to 1896 -- the first year of the gun's production. This weapon also showed up in Nemeton Monastery during Koudelka. Margarete's version of the gun provides +70 to both Physical and Special Attack. We would have felt quite the fool purchasing that 12 Gauge back in the vending machine only to immediately get something much better thirty seconds into the next dungeon. Let's just not dwell on how a late 80s pistol made it into a sealed ancient vault treasure chest.

Below the mysterious Mauser box is another split path heading southwest and southeast. We'll be taking the southeastern route and continuing along the path.

Here we find an open treasure chest. If Yuri shuts the top to this chest, a chest across the ravine here will suddenly pop open. Hmm... We may need to investigate that further.

Which means backtracking to the entrance of the dungeon and going down the unexplored southeastern path next to the Door of Judgment.

Unfortunately, out of place prototype pistols aren't the only thing inhabiting these ruins. Naturally, the place is lousy with random battle fodder as well.

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

The upside-down man with a gun and bonus heads growing out of his face we fought as a mid-boss back in Jack's Orphanage is now a proper common enemy -- the Inverse. That is the same name they had in Koudelka. It seems some of them managed to survive Nemeton Monastery burning down. Unlike the mini-boss version, Inverse only has 500 HP and are fairly easy to slay before they have a chance to attack. Especially, since the Shadow Hearts version of 'em wastes their first turn buffing their Physical Attack stats before actually bothering to attack.

The hand standing nude women with their brains on a stick have migrated from Calios Mental Hospital to Wales as well and are now calling themselves Sin. They're Light elemental enemies here, so they'll spam Nova in addition to trying to stab our party with their brain sticks. Likewise, the birdmen now have a Water elemental equivalent in the form of Straithe.

There's actually some mythology in the latter enemy's name. Straithe is a badly mangled mistranslation of "Stolas" a demon from Ars Goetia in the Lesser Keys of Solomon books on demonology.

Stolas posted:

Click here for more!

Stolas (also known as Stolos, Stoppas and Solas) is a Great Prince of Hell, commands twenty-six legions of demons, and teaches astronomy and the knowledge of poisonous plants, herbs and precious stones. He is depicted as either being a crowned owl with long legs, a raven, or a man.
So yeah, I guess I can see that name being attached to a weird bird dude palette swap. Why don't you stick a Caim in there, you cowards? That was a Welsh bird demon too.

There is one new enemy type hanging out in the Nemeton Ruins -- the Guinea Pig. Hey, remember Elaine's body homunculi? Turns out Patrick Heyward didn't exactly get that totally right the first time. I mean, he never got it right any time but his resurrected wife coming back headless and with a body that split in half into a giant maw is definitely a wee bit further off the mark from the final Elaine product.

If you were negligent in reading the Koudelka LP, these enemies are just the penultimate boss of the game without a head. It's a naked woman with the Tree of Life tattooed on her body and ALL of her bones going the wrong ways. They're a wee bit less body horror without the head, even accounting for The Thing-esque torso mouth. Unlike Elaine, who was nigh invincible, these rejects only have 210 HP a pop.

Indeed, other than Inverse who will need Margarete to take a few pot-shots at to properly take down, almost every enemy in this dungeon can be insta-gibbed by fusing Yuri with Charon and having him cast Nightmare. I don't think I ever actually let the Sin and Straithe mob attack a single time and they're the most common enemy configuration in this dungeon.

Music: Sanctuary Ruins

Back to the task at hand, if we take the southeastern path past the Door of Judgment, we're brought to another split path -- one trail going northward and the other to the southeast.

If we head to the north, we'll find two treasure chests sealed with energy. One blue and one white. Spoilers: There are four treasure chests sealed with energy like this and we need to unlock all four of 'em and raid the contents if we're to get the ultimate prize of this dungeon. We'll just keep in mind these chests are here for now. But before we go, there is a third non-magically sealed chest in this screenshot. Can YOU find it? Cuz I sure as hell just walked right past it on my original playthrough.

It's in the bottom-left corner with just a few pixels, colored exactly like the rocks, jutting out from cover.

I keep Googling all these stupid names and proper nouns popping up in item descriptions despite knowing full well by this point they're all just shit that's been made up... I hope nobody at home has followed the same unfortunate path. Anyway, this provides +85 Physical and +72 Special Attack. Again, this can potentially be grabbed about twenty seconds into entering this dungeon. It's really weird they provided a bunch of inferior weapons for sale literally RIGHT before these became available.

Either way, let's equip Yuri with his new that's just a knife, Yuri! gloves and return to that split in the path to take the southeastern path. Here we find another message on the wall...

The third chest repels the first and second. If you open all three, the white mist barrier will open.

Yeah, don't worry about all that mumbo jumbo. There's a reason we took the roundabout path to open that one chest before actually finding what this puzzle was all about. All we need to do is open the first chest at the top of the screen here and...

Boom! Puzzle solved!

Now, Yuri can mash a newly available button, as you do whenever you find a button in ancient ruins, naturally. This activates a blue flame in an as of yet unseen chamber deeper in the ruins. Hey, remember what that early mural said about the flames and the seals?

Welp. It turns out that's the first sealed chest, the blue seal, unlocked. Tune in next time as we have a heavily abridged shuffling of switches and chests around this dungeon to unlock unholy powers and what have you as Shadow Hearts continues!

Video: Episode 59 Highlight Reel
(You should see the Guinea Pigs in motion. They're quite nicely gross.)

Roger Bacon Portrait - What the heck!? Why didn't we get to meet Roger's owl buddies?