The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 82: Episode LXXXII: Middle of Nowhere

Episode LXXXII: Middle of Nowhere

Music: Star Shape

Back at it again in the Neameto Float. It is time to conquer the "Third Floor" which is composed of no less than around five standard floors for sane people. I think... This one is a little bit harder to gauge for reasons that will become apparent shortly.

For now, let's take one last trek through the sci-fi tech corridors of the lower levels of the Float. It's kind of unclear how high up the flying castle is meant to be at this point. There are still clouds outside in that last shot, so it isn't actually in space. But, that could just be weird vape smoke emanating from the fortress. Albert Simon definitely looks like he vapes and would admonish any real smokers for their crude ways.

New Music: Middle of Nowhere
(This only ever plays here so you should probably listen to it.)

Welcome to the final stretch of the float. All of the techno-organic business gives way to something that looks more akin to the gothic aesthetic of the Nemeton Monastery of Koudelka. Just somewhat more fleshy on the sides.

This area is a wee bit on the pain in the ass side for one key reason. A type of dungeon gimmick that in no point in my life have I ever welcomed in any dungeon's design.

< W A R P - M A Z E >

Yeah, NOW this place is getting weird.
Tch. You know what I mean.

I think there must be a space warp here…


What does that mean?
Well, it means a distortion in the spatial continuum links this place directly with somewhere else.
...The heck does THAT mean!?
<sigh> It'll teleport us between two points.
Why didn't you just say that then?
It's really hard to gauge how much I have to dumb down everything I say, kid.

Can we go back?
I think so. We can probably go back from the same place where we arrived. The tricky part is that you can’t actually see with your eyes where the space warp is.
<shakes head> Ha! So it’s like a maze.
Crud. I hate mazes.

In the grand pantheon of warp mazes, this one isn't bad at all. I've played my fair share of Shin Megami Tensei games. Trust me, this shit could be WAY worse.

Our first order of business is heading up several sets of stairs. At least the party is getting a good work-out if nothing else. Mid-way up the third set of stairs, we're whisked off to...

Now, this just looks like a Mortal Kombat stage. Our ultimate goal is actually the set of stairs in the center of this room. But it's going to take some doing to make it up there with all the spatial distortions and what not. Also last of the ever present threat of every dungeon -- random battles.

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

Surprise! It's all just reskins of enemies we've already seen! Well, at least they've altered the models of 'em somewhat. Technically, there are three variations of the bug women in this dungeon. The previous iteration also had a pink haired variety that was virtually identical other than a different elemental affiliation. This one, Black Widow, is simply a Dark elemental version of the previous enemy with marginally jacked up hit points. That's it.

The final random battle trash mob filling out the enemy roster is naturally a variant of the Wind Shear. We are ending the same place we started. Look at the little imp. It's got a hood now. That's adorable. These are Red Caps. For being the 37th variant of this enemy type, these boys are surprisingly hardy with a good 2000 HP to their name and the ability to shave off a couple hundred hit points to our party, if they're feeling sassy.

I do believe this is the last creature in the game that has a vaguely mythological origin.

Wikipedia on Redcap posted:

Click here for more.

The redcap (or Redcap) is a type of malevolent, murderous goblin found in Border folklore. He is said to inhabit ruined castles along the Anglo-Scottish border, especially those that were the scenes of tyranny or wicked deeds, and is known for soaking his cap in the blood of his victims. He is also known as Redcomb and Bloody Cap.

Redcap is depicted as "a short, thickset old man with long prominent teeth, skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large eyes of a fiery red colour, grisly hair streaming down his shoulders, iron boots, a pikestaff in his left hand, and a red cap on his head". When travelers take refuge in his lair, he flings huge stones at them; and if he kills them, he soaks his cap in their blood, giving it a crimson hue. He is unaffected by human strength, but can be driven away by words of Scripture or by the brandishing of a crucifix, which causes him to utter a dismal yell and vanish in flames, leaving behind a large tooth.
It's well known that people wearing red caps are assholish trash tier goblins. So this checks out.

Music: Middle of Nowhere

Farewell, random battles. You happened, I suppose. And I'm sure you'll happen again. Getting back to the maze. There's another warp on the far side of this Mortal Kombat arena. It's hard to see the distortion effect given how busy the background is already, but it's up the stairs on the left-hand side, behind the err... flesh tubes?

This plops Yuri out on one of those precarious rafter walkways they always put archers on in Dark Souls. This doesn't lead to any progress. It does lead to the penultimate piece of new gear in the game.

It's Yuri's second best armor. Sorry, coat with the power to defy deities. You're second rate compared to a hand-me-down Japanese army trench coat found inside a mind palace.

Returning to the Mortal Kombat flesh pits stage and attempting to climb the central stairs will teleport us to another part of the precarious Dark Souls rafters.

Continuing along the path here will warp the party to another OSHA violation central. I don't know how technologically advanced your civilization might be. Put in some dang handrails. Especially if your structure can fly. That's just begging for a Star Trek bridge tumble escalating into a Wilhelm scream into the abyss. Don't worry about that open chest. It was just a Talisman of Power. This dungeon gives out the assorted Talisman items like candy. Heading to the west platform here leads us...

Back to the rafters from early. No teleportation involved. It is here where we stumble upon the very last piece of new gear in the game. Uhh... whatever that word salad means up there. It says Blade in the middle, so it is probably for Keith. Probably...

I'm taking issue with this blurb. This thing is in the top of an ancient aliens civilization fortress sunken at the bottom of the Irish Sea, presumably for thousands of years, up until a few weeks ago. How, exactly, were the Darkness Clan passing this down for centuries? Were they just coming to Wales, pointing at the sea and going "I bequeath thee the family legacy" to their very confused offspring? Citation needed for every damn one of these flavor texts.

Continuing along the rafters here gets us warped back to the previous room, but further north. Trying to walk north here earlier would teleport us back to the start of the maze. In fact, approaching any of these teleporters from the incorrect angle just warps the party back to the beginning of the maze or at least further back in the series of teleportations. I'm just doing this the correct path from start to finish. It's significantly more annoying to do it blind.

In any event, walking a few steps further in this room lands us at the top of the Mortal Kombat arena and the final set of stairs leading us to...

Ergh... I'm not exactly sure what we're looking at it. But we're gonna fight it. As you do.

Music: Demon's Gig

Seriously, this was just a stage in like Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance or some shit. Sub-Zero uppercut Bo Rai Cho off this thing earlier that year.

Well, that's a nightmare creature right there. But at least I can identify a goat part to make its name, Scapegoat, make a... little bit of sense, I suppose. I'm not sure about the three alien heads covered in eyes, gashes, and mouths or the sinewy wing-like appendages. Still, I'd take this thing over the Koudelka incarnation.

That's just too many legs and some of them are spider legs. No sir. Not a fan. That's not even a goat anywhere in that one. It's ridiculous. Though, the actual origin of the scapegoat is kind of ridiculous too. It was just the early Judeo-Christian belief you could pour all your sin, like it's just a meter you can empty, into a literal goat and then tossing that fucker off a cliff into the desert and everyone was good. Raw deal for the goat and I'd wager a guess God would probably be like "What?! No! Fuck off! I didn't put that in the rules! Why'd you do that to that goat?!"

Anyway, Scapegoat here is a Wind elemental enemy with 7700 HP. This is the last mid-boss before we get to the finale. It looks like the Earth and Fire elements are getting shafted on boss representation.

Hey, guess what. The game's combat is basically solved at this point until the actual final boss throws a wrench into it hard. So let's skip past what the party is doing... again and get to the Scapegoat's abilities.

This boss is another enemy that has Deathtouch which just straight up deletes 75% of the target's health regardless of stats or resistances. Alice will fix that up the next turn with an Arc cast long before Goatse will get another turn, so whatever. Minor nuisance.

Beyond that, it can fling a Sonic Boom at the entire party for a little over 100 HP of damage which Alice doesn't even need to bother healing at this point if we're being honest. Is Guile's Sonic Boom a wind-based attack? Is Guile a Wind elemental...? Could you slot the Street Fighters into Shadow Hearts based elemental affiliations? A few of them would be easy to do. But like... what's Zangief? Or Balrog? Would Ryu and Ken be the same element? What about Akuma? Is Psycho Power a Dark elemental or Non-Elemental ability? This is a can of worms we cannot get into here.

Oh right, the fight. The horrific goat demon... alien... deal tried to eat Alice and Yuri took umbrage with a monster trying to make a snack out of his girlfriend.

This did not end well for the Scapegoat. I reckon it would be difficult for a scapegoat to dump its sins on another goat. That's just asking for a pyramid scheme of goats dumping sin into other goats until you're eventually left with the dark SIN GOAT, a power the likes of which nobody could hope to combat.

Music: Results

In case you've skipped all the end game content to get to this point, the game REALLY wants you to have at least one person with a Crucifix so your entire party is not getting beamed with status ailments. Here, have a free one! EQUIP IT!

Music: Middle of Nowhere

And that concludes the third (or like eleventh, depending on what you count as being a floor) and final floor of the Neameto Float. Our reward for defeating the Scapegoat is the final save point and warp out of the Neameto Float in the game. Up ahead is the point of no return in which we're locked into the ending of the game.

We may as well step past that point before we wrap up the update. We are going to do one last touch of prep work before heading forward. Crucifixes are a must on all characters. But we're also going to equip Will Power since perhaps there are a number of SP draining dick moves coming up that will put a damper on our gameplan unless we nip that in the bud beforehand.

Welp. This is it... No turning back!

Tune in next time for the beginning of the end of Shadow Hearts!

Video: Scapegoat Battle Highlights
(You should watch this. He's a gross demon boy.)