Part 86: Episode LXXXVI: Hiding a Curse
Episode LXXXVI: Hiding a Curse
Welp. We had our happy end to Shadow Hearts. Unfortunately, that ending is obtuse to the point that if you didn't have a guide or access to the internet, it's very unlikely that would be the ending you would get on your first playthrough. Remember the steps were, in review:
- Talking to Joshua after the events at Calios Mental Hospital. He was up to that point was an NPC that did fuck all but stand in place repeating a single line of dialogue after his events in the previous chapter concluded. He gave you a special item with zero indication of its significance to getting the good ending and no fanfare whatsoever.
- Reading the description of that item and realizing it was talking about the Four Masks.
- Purposefully building up Malice, a thing the game had taught the player not to do early on because an enemy that would whip their ass would show up.
- Grinding Mask encounters until they showed up in the proper order and defeating all four. A task that took me, knowing exactly what to do from the start and going to an area where random battles were trivial but frequent, nearly two hours to complete.
- Returning to the Graveyard with Yuri and examining the small grave to see Alice's name is now on it. This is a 100% critical step and the game makes ZERO mention it needs to be done, even if you figured out defeating the masks on your own.
- Defeating Atman.
So let's rewind the game and do things the "right" way. We're heading to back to all sidequests complete but before breaking Alice's Four Mask Curse.
Music: Atmosphere - Blow Up
We should probably get back to Rog and see if he's done... err...
...What were we waiting on again?
A teleporter to the Neameto Float.
Riiiiiiight! The final dungeon in space. It's a good thing Albert was way off on that seven days thing, huh?
Huh. I forgot all about that time limit.
Heck yeah. Same till just now.
He was way off base!
Tch. He was just doing a big baddie speech and pulled that timeframe out of his ass. They always do that. It's a rookie villain monologue mistake. You gotta throw out a vague declaration like "the end is nigh" or "your doom approaches" and leave it at that. Put a concrete date down and you look like an idiot when it's like... err... how long have we been off farting around?
Nearly two months... Wait... Haven't we had this conversation before...?
...Probably. Gonna be real, I'm only half paying attention half the time. Now... we ready to go do this or are we forgettin' something?
No... it's nothing.
Yeah... Don't worry about it. It's probably fine. Probably...
<shrug> OK. Let's mosey.
Music: Callback from Jesus
OK. Things just more or less proceed as normal for a while here. Remembering, speaking with Roger Bacon at any point after Koudelka peaces out of plot relevance is the trigger to unlock Neameto Float as well as lock in the ending path the player will receive.
Yes, I know it's absurd I'm still tinkering with it despite the gap of time since you lot last showed up. I've barely touched the thing since your group left. I know how you young folk are with your gallivanting around with optional content when you should be saving the world.
That's just the way of things. I don't make the rules.
It's fine. Just go... get some sleep or something. I'll be done in the morning.
So do you like... have any extra guest beds or...?
<looks around> Do YOU even have a bed somewhere in here?
OK. Where do you sleep then?
I once USED to have a very comfortable coffin in the monastery but a certain trio burnt it down. I'll never get as good a sleep as that thing so I don't even bother anymore.
I have more questions but I'm just gonna save 'em...
Music: Graveyard Moon
<looks around> Or... just me... Why am I getting a sense of déjà vu...?
It's that graveyard again... Its almost as if this entire world was waiting for me
Like some kind of curse.
Alice walks further into the graveyard and collapses to her knees.
We've done this already. No need to examine the graves this time around. They just say the same thing as our visit here in the previous timeline. So let's go straight to the Four Masks to get the score.
Ho... ho... ho...! It seems our spell has finally taken you!
Yeh... heh... heh... You're just lucky the sacred covenant of the side quest kept us at bay for so long, girlie.
Bwa... ha... ha...! Whats wrong little girl? You struggle, but your souls fate lies here.
Tsk... tsk... tsk... No accursed orphan relic this time, eh?
...What now? I don't understand.
Ho... ho... ho...! Don't worry about it.
Yeh... heh... heh...! If you could, you would die for your love, hmmm?
Tsk... tsk... tsk...! Go now to the depths of the evil dimension.
The gate behind the masks opens.
Alice enters the evil dimension.
<presses hands to her chest>
Hmph Do you fear me?
I'm not sure... I don't know what I am talking to...
It's Atman. It's not that hard to remember. I swear, some people...
Oh, you don't know... Right... It's a different tiAhem... I mean... BEHOLD!
I am Atman, the executioner of spirit sacrifice. I bring death to your soul.
Looking for someone to come and save you? Unfortunately, youre all alone here. No one is coming to your rescue, youre quite alone. Do you have any regrets about dying for that man?
<shakes head> No, I have no regrets.
No regrets, eh? Oh, I think we can fix that...
Such a courageous girl. How delicious your pure, unsullied soul must be
Do you hear that sound?
That's right. Nothing. Silence. Isn't it grand?
Come. The final wedge has been driven into the Judgment Ring. Youll become one with my darkness
Music: Thorn of Mind
Time for a solo battle between Alice Elliott and Atman. The creature still only has 4000 HP to its name. Alice might not be the heaviest hitter in the party. In fact, she's one of the weakest overall.
But, you know, backed into a corner she can still hold her own alright. Advent is still an ultimate Light elemental technique and can do some pretty decent work. It'll be a tough road but if we are careful, this is still probably doable without Yuri.
...Oh. That... that ain't great...
OK, so Atman is only taking 1 HP of damage from magical attacks. That's alright. I mean, Alice still has her ultimate weapon. What if we gave that a whirl instead?
...Welp. We did 3 HP of damage. Only 3996 health left to go. If we just keep this up another 1333 rounds then Atman will go down in no time.
Sure, Alice will have to stop and heal herself like every third turn. So it'll be more like 2000ish turns overall. Though that isn't taking into considering Alice's SP. So that'll need to be sorted out every 16 round. But we do have that massive stock of weird consumables we could finally burn through. Maybe this is still doable.
Oh... right. Eradication, the attack of the many Atman and the rotating JPEG of Alice's father. Well, as long as we immediately use Arc the next turn it should be fi
As it turns out, if we don't defeat all of the Four Masks not only does Yuri not show up to team up with Alice, Atman is also invincible and will simply one-shot Alice after four rounds as Eradication does 999 damage regardless of defenses or levels. Alice is just plain fucked.
Music: Callback from Jesus
Alice stands up from her nap on the floor.
I know Roger doesn't have any beds or anything, but there's gotta be a better place to sleep than the middle of some stairs.
<nods> Im okay. I just had a bad dream, that's all.
And that's it. We get no slideshow debrief about how Yuri is actually a good boy. Alice simply rejoins the party and we're back on our way.
And at this point, we're free to travel to Neameto Float. Since we didn't defeat Atman, we didn't meet the prerequisite to go face Ben Hyuga and obtain Seraphic Radiance. Remember, that happens after the Atman business. And also canonically... Yuri didn't do any of that either. Amon is the strongest Fusion he obtained. So, I guess we'll just have to make do with what we've got.
Tune in next time as we revisit Neameto Float. If the final dungeon felt kind of sparse, until the end, narrative-wise what with just the bosses unceremoniously appearing and dying as we traveled mostly in silence floor to dubiously defined floor... maybe there was a reason for that. Maybe the Good Ending path has significantly fewer cutscenes for the final stretch of the game... Tune in next time for the last dungeon speed run as the Shadow Hearts begins its death march to the conclusion.
It didn't feel right to have the last Library dump of the game affixed to the Good Ending. So I'll just bolt it on to the start of the Normal Ending path instead.
He also enjoys kicking back with a six-pack after his shift ends at the Neameto Float giving its big ol' beer gut.
I know it's supposed to be a sword but at a glance, it looks like he's holding a charred low-poly baguette.
OK... like how much peeping were you doing at a Franciscan monastery in Bumbfuck Wales, guy? Did you get to spy Bessy Hartman's gams while she was helping with all the serial killing back in the day?
I saw that thing lurching around in battle. To say it swiped its claws at the speed of light is a BIT of an overstatement.
Look, God got REALLY drunk that night. He really cut back after He woke up the next morning and found this thing out back in the Garden of Eden.
Wait, so a hungover God tried to fix up his huge fuck-up creation by replacing tree branches limbs with stubby wings and dyeing its hair blonde? I have questions, Lord.
Nothing is more powerful than a legless rock dude. Nothing.
Oh word? The creature named literally "Hate" is full of hate? Fucked up if true.
This creature lives in a humid area? You know, undersea and/or in the upper atmosphere of Wales, known for its humid temperatures year round.
Falling off the wagon later that week, God took one more crack at this monster by giving it a hula-hoop for limbs, putting tattoos on its breasts, a platinum blonde dye job and finally the ability to produce offspring. I feel like YHWH might need an intervention.
Hey, he looks like a tiny Baraka from Mortal Kombat beneath that hood. That's adorable.
So many of these descriptions feel the need to inform us that the monster in question smells weird.
Deicide is a cool word that I never even considered being a thing. Which is weird considering how many gods I've murdered in video games.
I never noticed his idle animation was just standing on his big beefy arm. I don't know if that's a great way to live your life, Albert. But you do you.
In case you were wondering, Meta-God is in fact just a sufficiently advanced alien and not actual capital G God like the one James O'Flaherty evoked to Rapture himself and his resurrected college crush back in Koudelka.
Finally, this doesn't really count for the Library. But the stats on the left are the final Score we obtained in the playthrough for the LP. Seraphim, huh? We ended up as Skinless Jesus rank? Sure... That sounds about right.
Video: Episode 86 Highlight Reel
Video: Shadow Hearts Attract Screen (Some real odd choices of scenes and in-game B-Roll for these.)