Part 8: Episode VIII: CrestfallenEpisode VIII: Crestfallen
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Welp. Yuri is cursed again and stuck with another group of weirdoes (and one very good boy) out in the middle of nowhere due to some magical bullshit he didn't really want to deal with in the first place. I suppose we should chat up with our new party while we're here.
Not sure what else I expected to come out of a wolf. But at least he's finally given a name -- Blanca.
Nah. I need a save point to pitch a tent to rest so...
I think there is a save point right outside.
...Yeah, I'm still not gonna rest. What am I MADE out of tents, lady?
<slams fist into palm> Oh, and I should give you this.
You got the Andras Crest.
You got the Furfur Crest.
What do you think? Pretty spiffy, eh?
...What's the matter?
<waves dismissively> H-he hehe! Umm, thanks, but, uh, no thanks... I don't need magic like this. I can do my fusions.
You know, I can just pop into Charon or something if I need to set anything on fire. I like to keep in simple. Heh...
You know, I haven't seen you fuse into anything but that big devil thing the whole time I've known you.
Yeah, well... Don't fix what ain't broke.
You sure? It's a pretty handy thing to have...
Yuri turns away from Gepetto.
...Hey, wait a minute! Don't tell me it's because you can't remember spells?!
Did you never actually get around to learning how to do proper magic?
Ehh... well, you know... I've been busy...
...Well, never mind. Blanca and I will use it, then.
You're gonna give magic scrolls
Whatever to the frikkin' DOG?!
It's a wolf and yes. It's something even a canine can easily learn. Or so I thought until I met you bumbling your way through life as you do.
<sits up> Awroo!
Well, what do you know...?
So magic has undergone a big change in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. In the first game, it was a matter of just leveling characters and they will eventually gain new unique special abilities (magic) of varying utility. This time around there is Crest Magic, where different crests can be equipped on characters to imbue them with magical abilities at the player's discretion. Except for Yuri, who is an idiot which has his own gimmick that definitely didn't get the Metroid treatment from that Holy Mistletoe debacle.
We will get into Crest Magic a little bit more in a minute.
We are given the chance to speak to everyone again. Talking to Karin, in particular, will advance the plot. But first, let's do some menu diving now that we've acquired a new party. Karin is sitting out for this entire chapter of the game for no particular reason. She's not hurt or shell shocked from losing another squad of men/being betrayed by the bishonen bishop. She just plain doesn't seem to feel like fighting. Sometimes you're just feeling lazy, ya know?
You know, I could have sworn Yuri Volte Hyuga was around Level 40-something last time I saw him. But apparently, he has been slacking off in the last year since Alice bought the farm. Or maybe his new curse de-leveled him from punching out a god level. Regardless, Yuri is down to a Level 4 busta again. By default, Yuri is Dark elemental but don't worry about it too much.
Gepetto is a puppeteer and by that I mean he's basically a puppet wizard that can straight up do magic with toys. He is the reason there were murderous wooden lions and toy ducks back in Domremy. In battle, Gepetto attacks using the Cornelia doll though he is more of a caster character. Right now Gepetto is Non-Elemental. But that is because there is a whole... interesting... sidequest system associated with playing doll dress-up. Like many things brought up this update, we'll be getting back to that at a later date.
Finally, Blanca is just a Wind elemental good boy.
Like with Nicolai and Karin, everyone also comes sporting some default equipment. Though our new batch of characters had the good sense to also equip an accessory each as well.
Yuri is now running around with some rusted Vega bullshit claws. What the fuck, Yuri? I had to do a TEN spin Judgment Ring of absurd speeds and teleport Roger Bacon to the goddamn moon to get you that ultimate weapon Nightbird Claws in the first game. Did you pawn them off to get your stupid puffy pirate cuff leather jacket? You're a goddamn mess, Hyuga! That aside, Yuri gets assorted glove weapons with varying degrees of pointy bits on the end for punching better.
Both Gepetto and Yuri are sporting a Cotton Shirt. Sure, I can see that being under Gepetto's coat but you're not hiding any white button up color shirt under your outfit, Yuri. C'mon.
Yuri is also wearing a Leather Belt. I mean, technically he seems to be wearing two leather belts with two more hanging off his fanny pack and we won't even get into the two mini belts buckling closed his shirt. But this one particular belt raises a wee bit of attack power. So that's nice.
Gepetto's weapon class is assorted strings for his puppets. Kind of weird but makes sense, I suppose. Granted, I don't think at any point you actually see Gepetto using strings. But, details...
Both Gepetto and Blanca are wearing this horsehide Leather Cap from the horse-riding tribe of... don't worry about it. Sadly, this is before the era where we could have widespread advanced dog hat tech so it's limited to menu screen artwork only.
Blanca doesn't use weapons since... well, it's a wolf. It can bite and scratch things. Instead, we get him different qualities of rasps and brushes to clean his teeth. Proper dental hygiene is very important, even for a rad wolf buddy.
Blanca also comes equipped wearing this for whatever reason. Armors are kind of weird in this game in that there are some that can only be worn of characters of certain sizes, some that are male/female only and a few other parameters that kind of make sense when we know these characters better but... eh. I've never been a big fan of character specific sorts of armor.
The only other item of note is the Key Item of Yuri's Periapt charm. This thing was tied to a rather obnoxious system in the first game that has thankfully been dumped in the trash for the sequel. But it's function of detecting Malice (read: bad demon energy mojo) is still a thing.
That's enough about items. Let's take a moment to check out this Crest Magic business. Every character, other than Yuri, has an allocation of DCP or Dominance Capacity Points. Gepetto comes with 10 DCP and Blanca current has 7 DCP. For what it's worth, Karin has 6 DCP and Nicolai had 9, not that it mattered back then.
Each Magic Crest has a certain level which corresponds to the amount of DCP it will take to equip. So in theory we could equip all three crests on Gepetto right now and he'd still have 1 DCP left. But that'd be dumb, since putting all our magic on a single character isn't a good move, especially with the very limited MP pools available in the early game.
Magic Crests are all named after the demons from The Lesser Key of Solomon book of demonology of which a TON of monster/demon/magic shit names from in all sorts of video games, anime and whatnot originate. There are 72 Magic Crests in the game, one for each and every demon in the grimoire. Each Magic Crest contains a Crest Magic (yes these are different things.) For instance, as you can see above the Focalor Crest contains Hail Beak, a 16 MP Water elemental spell. The other crests we received are:
Andras - Crest Magic: Mirage - Increases Evasion Rate for one ally. 12 MP per cast.
Furfur - Crest Magic: Gale Spin - Wind Class Special Damage. Circular, small. Two hits. 16 MP per cast.
There may be a way to upgrade Magic Crests to unlock a secondary magic spell for 'em (at no additional DCP cost.) But that's a story for far in the future.
For now, we're gonna pop that Water spell and the Evasion increase spells on Gepetto. We'll give Blanca the Wind elemental spell since he IS the Wind elemental characters. Also, its crest is called Furfur. It'd be wrong not to give it to the wolf.
The Magic Crest system is pretty basic for now in the early hours of the game. But there you have it for the time being. Let's chat with the party before we gather up and venture forth into the great unknown of another dungeon.
Yeah, just kick me while I'm down why dontcha?
Look, I'm trying alright?!
Tch. Tell me about it...
What are you afraid of wolves?
No, I'm afraid of having to use Blanca to sniff you out if you keel over into some dark ditch.
<shakes head> Pfft. C'mon. When is the last time that happened?
Yesterday. At the church.
...Yeah, OK. We should probably get going.
Out into the world, we go! Earlier, I didn't know why they felt the need to include a few maps of walking through the woods to arrive at Domremy mostly because the very next area is a semi-lengthy running through the woods dungeon.
The party walks a few paces through the woods. Karin stops and starts looking around.
...Something seems... strange.
Uh-oh... Be careful, everybody! Here come some monsters!
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
Right out the gate, we get ambushed by two of the three monsters roaming Ardennes Forest.
This winged plant nightmare is a Skeeter. Apparently, the French have a much different definition of what constitutes a mosquito than I do. These buggers have a meager 20 HP and just kind of smack around folk with their vine appendages for 6-10 HP of damage. The only other noteworthy fact about them is their Japanese name is Entwife as in lady versions of the giant tree dudes from Lord of the Rings. Unlike the first Shadow Hearts, most of the enemy name translations are on point with the original text unless, like here, they you know... directly reference other properties. I don't think the Tolkien estate would be cool with that back in 2004 just months after the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy concluded.
The other enemy present is a death snail. What if a snail had a skull for a shell! The spook meter is off the bloody charts! These jerks just ram people for 6-7 HP of damage. They only possess a piddling 19 hit points.
Once we do get a chance to attack, there isn't much trouble to be had handling this trash mob. Other than the fact Yuri's toolset is... rather limited. You know the Fusion monster transformation thing he is known for in battle and is the reason he cannot use Magic Crests? Yeah. That's not an option at the moment.
Granted, that's not going to be too much of an issue when dealing with these scrubs. Especially the ones that are literally sentient scrubs. But still, that's probably a tad bit worrying.
Music: Result ~ Victory
<cracks neck> If that's all they got... no problem.
The victory screen has added a new value in a "Soul" digit. It seems we already have accumulated some 53 Soul Energy. It's almost like the game had been tallying that since we began the game and is just now providing a UI to display it to the player. Just keep that Soul Energy is a thing in mind for now. We'll put a pin on that with the rest and come back to it later on in this very dungeon.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
You're the one that's drawing the monsters to us, you know!
I just got some dumb magic stick stuck in me. I didn't get frikkin' branded!
Yeah. It's a curse that works on your mind and spirit. I bet you can't do fusions anymore, right?
Yeah, maybe... I'm just a little off my game today, ya know?
Your soul has become unstable, and it's emitting waves that draw the monsters.
You mean they might be able to kill me while I'm like this?
That's about the size of it.
But I punched out a goddamn god!
Oh yeah? What Level were you when you did that?
I dunno... Forty-something?
Still four... err... Wait, shit... Where the hell did the second digit go?!
I was afraid of that.
The Malice that fills the world and the Malice that's trapped in your soul are both growing and creating hatred.
<steps forward> What can I do about it?
Gepetto turns away and strokes his beard.
The only thing we can do right now is concentrate on staying alive.
So you have no useful advice?
I'm a retired puppeteer and this is the first day this week I've been sober past five o'clock. What do you want out of me? Be happy you got that much info out of me, kiddo!
<Narrator Voice> And so the party gets away without the least bit of trouble.
Video: Episode 8 Highlight Reel (You should check out our characters' attack animations.)
Blanca Official Art - A good boy.