The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 70: Episode LXX: Keith's Performance

Episode LXX: Keith's Performance

Wanna go back to a weird backwoods Romanian town mentioned in one paragraph in Bram Stoker's Dracula again? Of course, you do!

For this session, we're gonna need Keith in the active party for the first time since... err... Well, the last time Bistritz was plot relevant. Maybe I was too hard on Rico Banderas for being a nothing character with zero relevance after a point. Keith may as well escaped from the Chrono Cross character cutting room floor.

Music: Coffee With Bullet

Naturally, we need to seek out NPCs with character portraits if we want to trigger any relevant sidequests in the area. Since I highly doubt they'll resurrect the creeper stalker who turned into a rotting dog corpse before getting Old Yellered mayor, we should probably head to the local item shop to check in on Nina and Michelle.

<runs up to Keith> Keith! There’s something I want to tell you!! The other day when I was collecting nuts in the woods, a golden light burst from the castle! The light stayed around for a little while, then went back to the castle. What could it have been?
A golden light…? I wonder if it could be…?
Whatcha thinking, champ? Ghost? Poltergeist? Will-o'-the-wisp, maybe? Can you punch one of those? I never tried. Seems like it'd work.
I suspect it may be something far more powerful...
Oh? Are Will-o'-the-wisp one of them things that look like they'd be a total pushover and then as soon as you attack it whoops! Someone got turned into a pile of gore. Saw that happen to a townsperson back around Manchuria with this weird two headed frog. Ugh. Took me weeks to get the smell out of my coat.

Y'all ain't concerned about the alien god summoning light from a couple days ago?
Oh? Did that happen? I don't get out much.
It... it covered the entire planet. Yeah...
Yeah, I haven't gone out of the shop since that whole incident with Kevin.
...That was like six months ago.
Was it? Oh, how time flies!

We now never have any reason to return to Bistritz. So let's head to the Blue Castle so we can scratch that one off the list as well.

Before we march forward, we're going to do a little bit of prep work with Keith and equip him with every accessory that will boost his physical attack power. Defense is a dump stat. We need our vampire to start hitting as hard as possible. He's lagging behind nearly fifteen levels behind near permanent party fixtures Yuri and Alice and ten behind Margarete. And I really don't feel like grinding him out to get up to snuff for what's coming up. I think we can deal here...

Music: Coffin Fetish

Our destination is back to the crypt where we had a puzzle involving the alphabetic order of the coffins containing the extended Valentine family. This time around, we find an as of yet unaccounted member of the clan hanging around Keith's coffin.

It's me, Keith! It was me all along!
Aww, sonuvabitch!
...Who's this bat?

It’s been a long time, brother…
So my hunch was right. It didn’t seem possible, but that voice is unmistakably my brother’s.
<shakes head> Hey, buddy! Aren’t those bats?!
You bet. I’m a bat. Something wrong with that?! Hunh?
He’s a vampire, right? That’s just a bat.
Vampires can turn into bats, Yuri.
Since when?!
I'm pretty sure that has always been the case.
It has.
What!? Nobody tells me anything! But this guy... It's gold. Gaudy guy fronting he has wealth and desperate for attention gold.

It’s even shiny.
That’s right, buddy!! My color’s a bright, shiny gold!! Trying to make something of how I look, bud? Hunh? Hunh?
It's the color of truth! And honor!
And urine.
And uri—HEY! Gold is a shining beacon of light when the forces of darkness descend!

<turns to Keith> Is that really your brother? He looks more like MY brother…
I don't follow that joke.
You know... like, when I do the Fusion I have wings and stuff. Sometimes.
Oh... OK. I can see that now.

Shut yer trap! It was too noisy outside to sleep, so I decided to fly around the village.
My brother… becoming a bat is fine, but what if you can’t get back to your former shape?
Shut u-u-up!! You got a problem with bright, shiny gold?! You make fun of bright, shiny gold and I’ll make you wish you hadn’t! Got that? Hunh?!
Um, I hate to tell you, but isn’t that shiny deal kind of out of style?

Like a guy in a big puffy trenchcoat with cartoon gloves and five belts on has any room to talk!
Hey! Watch it ya golden flying rat!
...The hell is a cartoon?!
Now, now, brother. Don't get testy.
Oh yes, Keith. I'm sure the purple rain outfit is still all the rage in... whatever year it is...
You're gonna crap on everyone's fashion and you don't even know what year it is, grandpa?
Oh yeah, yuck it up silver-haired Alice in Wonderland cosplayer! I'm sorry, we're not hosting an anime convention at the Blue Castle this year!

<nods> Yes, brother?
Don’t “Yes, brother” me!! I was waiting here today so I could give you a special present! Here! Take it!!

A sword has appeared in Keith's hand.

Magic-slash-demon sword? That's a mouthful.
You got it! When our forebears sensed that the world might be destroyed, they came to me!
Since SOMEBODY decided to wander out of the country without telling anyone.
Bestow this upon the one who will become our warrior, they said!
I don’t know what to say! It is an unimaginable honor! I humbly accept…
No-o-o-t so fast! The sword isn’t yours for the taking! You’ve got to earn it, by showing me you can handle it! Your test will be a duel with me! If you win, you will be master of the Demon Sword. If you lose, you will die a true death! En garde!

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

Who is up for a solo boss fight with one of our weakest characters with no access to any special abilities and an instant death turn limit? Since that's what we're doing now!

Face me in the ring!

Keith now needs to prove his worth with the Demon Sword, Tyrving. Which in gameplay terms means Keith is limited to using only physical attacks for this boss battle. The one time one of those twenty-seven varieties of physical buff consumable items would come in handy and it's off the table.

Additionally, we're automatically equipped with Keith's ultimate weapon, said Demon Sword Tyrving. I hadn't mentioned it up until this point, but mechanically all ultimate weapons in Shadow Hearts have VERY narrow Hit Areas. Indeed, the biggest pit of money in the game is using Meiyuan's Acupuncture to strengthen ultimate weapons/widen their Hit Area -- with each one costing well into the six-digit figures price range. On top of that, Keith has a really awkward Judgment Wheel with the first Hit Area being about a split second after the wheel appears. This was a fact I'd all but forgotten about since Keith had been warming the bench for nearly 30 updates at this point.

C'mon! Dance like a bat! Sting like a bat!

The Golden Bat has only 1500 HP that Keith needs to whittle down during this battle. The trouble is that Keith is only doing around 230-270 HP of damage per turn. The math is against him for that five-turn limit...

A man's road is a hard one.

Demon Sword Tyrving does have a fairly high natural critical hit rate so Keith is getting some lucky strikes in so his damage output is jumping to nearly 300 HP of damage occasionally. Maybe...

In the name of truth, these muscles. In the name of honor, this blood! In the name of justice, this fist!

C'mon. I really don't want to go grind out Keith. And by grinding Keith I mean bringing him along while Yuri nukes everything in one shot and Keith is just incidentally around for the ride.

A true hero never loses!

At least Zhuzhen didn't demand any physical challenges after he was merged with the bench. C'mon, Keith. Get it together! You're literally the only party member in the game using a proper weapon.

Next week’s episode! A Humiliating Defeat - The Death of Keith Valentine!

We actually get one bonus turn making it SIX rounds in which the Golden Bat must be defeated. If Keith still biffs it at this point...? Well...

Do you get the Grand Slam finisher? The Deathtron Hammer? The mighty Artem Buster!? No... You don't deserve any of them!

At this point, Golden Bat starts attacking. All of its attacks do 999 HP of damage and well...

New Music: Bloody Kitchens
(It's the Game Over theme. We probably will never see it again in the LP.)

That doesn't go well for Keith. Alice and Yuri just give into despair and let the world fall to ruin following the death of their vampire friend they barely talked to and who just sort of awkwardly hung around because he was pleasant enough.

But I didn't actually have to grind levels for Keith. Thankfully, our resident vampire had JUST enough damage output to muster the requisite 1500 HP of damage to defeat his brother.

Music: Results

For his efforts, Keith receives enough EXP to jump to Level 30 and surpass Zhuzhen for the coveted second lowest level party member slot. That poor Oracle really isn't adjusting well in the move from Asia to Europe, huh?

Music: Coffin Fetish

My brother, Keith. You must live to see the future! To see the future with your trusted friends!

And with that, the Golden Bat vanishes from Shadow Hearts forever! He reappears in Shadow Hearts: Covenant as a playable character who may as well be a Tiger Mask wrestling anime persona. Unlike his fairly boring brother, he whips ass.

(You should watch this if just for Keith's awful Count Chocula voice.)

Music: Bacon's Juice

Ahhhhh! It feels so wonderful! I feel so truly ALIVE at this moment! I've never felt such a rapturous feeling of bliss!

To live! To peer into tomorrow's tomorrow -- that is my deepest desire! You, my friends, have liberated me from the prison of endless tedium!

And no matter what may await me in the days and months ahead... I shall never regret it! With this sword in my hand, I shall travel with you all to the very end! To be witness to the tomorrow that we create with our very own hands.

Music: Coffin Fetish

What is it with these brothers? This made a power-up possible? Are you kidding?
Is this normal with vampires, Alice? He's all like sparkly now and junk.
That one is new to me.

?? Huh… he’s all roarin’ to go.
Let us, as they say, rip and tear!
Who says that...?
They WHO!?
...Man, whatever. Vampires are weird. Or you are just weird. Maybe you're double weird. I dunno...

With that done, Keith has no properly obtained the Demon Sword, Tyrving -- his ultimate weapon. This sword provides +62 Physical and +48 Special Attack power. No real other special attributes than that. I suppose it is worth mention that Tyrving is named after a magic sword from Norse Mythology of the same name. Though that one is more commonly translated as Tyrfing. Frankly, Tyrving sounds way less dumb.

We're not QUITE done with the Blue Castle just yet. There is one more article of note dwelling in Shadow Hearts' Castlevania. For this one, we actually need to be sure Keith is NOT part of the active party. Which means returning to Bistritz or anywhere else Wanderer Meiyuan is hanging out being a creep and sorting our party there.

If we return to the throne room of Blue Castle where we initially recruited our vampire ally, there's now an invisible man who is definitely not just Keith wandering around the chamber. If we speak with this mysterious, definitely not a party member, stranger, then...

<becomes Vice Chairman (Lottery Member No. 01)> What is your decision?
Wait... Keith, YOU are the vice-president of these Lottery weirdoes?!
I don't know who this Keith is you speak of...
Shoot... I don't actually know if vampires can turn invisible. Now I'm doubting myself... I gotta ask Alice about this later.
I say again: What is your decision?
Right. Right...

Count me in.

There's a very tiny Hit Area for the top prize but the cursor spins at a fairly lackadaisical rate so this was rather easy to grab in a couple tries.

We had previously come across Pirate Earrings which raised money payouts from battles by 20% but lowered item drop by 20% and Brigand Earrings which did the exact opposite. Thief Earrings raise both Cash and Item Drop percentage from battles by 20% with no downside. Not too shabby if we felt the need to go grinding for money and items in the future.

We've now tracked down all the core members of the Lottery guild. But the chairman is still out there somewhere. Hmm... A guy that would still be an old fart even 200 years ago. Whoever could fit the bill there? Hmm... The mystery will have to linger for another day.

For now, that concludes our business in Romania and with it, Bistritz and Blue Castle are both exhausted of any and all content. Tune in next time as bonus dungeons and unlocked Fusions await in Yuri and the gang's immediate future as the side quest arc of Shadow Hearts begins winding down. You know, except for the long involved one involving the unlocking of an alternate ending. Shadow Hearts will continue! And happy holidays!

Video: Golden Bat Battle

Video: Keith's Performance