Part 107: Episode CII: Baby HeadEpisode CI: Baby Head
Music: Hardcore to the Brain ~ Mid Boss in Japan
Welp. Ol' Baby Head had a bit of a glow-up in the transition to the Battle Dimension. I could not tell you the reason as to why he transformed into twelve-foot tall kabuki... doll... thing. Nor why his floating pillow grew into a headless turtle with a foxtail. It's hard to see but he also has a couple of flying snake heads hanging above him as well. Garan just does his own thing fashion-wise and nobody asks questions at this point. It's a lost cause. This is Yama Garan. He is still a Dark elemental boss enemy and has swollen his health pool to 5100 HP.
As in the previous fight, he has summoned minions to aid him in battle in the form of a trio of Towds. No, spellchecker it really is Towd. Shut up! Those three should be our priority in the opening gambit as they will immediately attempt to start a Combo team up with Yama Garan and that is a problem because Garan still is no slouch with his damage output compared to most recent foes.
Who is equipped with Arc Barrier, in our case Joachim, needs to get up ASAP because a critical strike from Yama Garan's magic can outright one-shot a character if we're particularly unlucky. Especially, if we were to allow any of those Towds are still around. I usually make a save state at the start of battles just to get footage of attacks and letting those Towds stick around to Combo with Garan sent Karin and Blanca to the shadow realm with an AOE spell in a single turn. That's bad news! With Barrier up, they were just shy of death. Buffs. They make the donuts. It was probably poor form playing all those JRPGs as a dumbass teenager in the '90s and ignoring any buff or debuff that wasn't some variant of Haste.
Yama Garan has... honestly almost the same exact move set as last time -- access to all the high-level spells of every element and zero in the way of physical attacks. His AI is still clever enough to target our party's elemental weaknesses and use AOE attacks if our group gets bunched up. Supposedly, Yama Garan can cast Poison too but I let him go sickhouse on the party for a few minutes and I never saw it happen.
We should also get any good hits in with physical special attacks (magic does trash tier damage once more) and get our buffs out early because Yama Garan still doesn't like other people using magic and will drain all of a targeted character's MP. The difference with Yama Garan is that it is basically a free turn now, so he can suck a character's MP dry and still get to do a follow-up attack. I'm going to need to consult the ref about this one. Seems suspect. Also rude as I had to use a healing consumable for the first time since... umm... probably the Mirror Palace?
For Yuri, we're going with the Miserati instead of our old bruiser chungus standby of Fides. Miserati has fairly high magic defenses, its physical attacks will do more damage to Yama Garan and most importantly it is way speedier than a giant armored guy.
And then it is Shadow Hearts: Covenant combat. Set up Combos. Pop-off. Heal when necessary. This game was far harder the first time I played it because I ignored Combos as some weird gimmick until the game started having enemies regularly do Combos that did eye-opening damage. Plus all the fights are gotcha status effects you didn't know you needed to prepare for beforehand. See: All the Wolf Bouts.
Music: Result ~ Victory
And that's a wrap. Damn, Garan a fat stack of paper in his wallet. Not that we're particularly hurting for cash at the moment.
We also gained another Magic Crest. I'll have to check up on Solomon's Key soon to see if we've gotten another regional full set to cash in to the bank.
And we're back from Purgatory to the land of the living. It's surprisingly easy to escape. I don't know why more people don't make the attempt. Everyone always has to escalate to ending up in hell before mounting any sort of daring escape.
Everyone's reaction to being sucked into another pocket dimension in the middle of the woods by a dwarf sorcerer is just kind of "Huh... that was weird. Whatever." I'm starting to think Yuri completely not giving a shit and taking anything remotely seriously is starting to be a bad influence on the gang. Garan is fucking dead, by the way. Literally, nobody in the game acknowledges this. He was that much of a jobber.
Anyway, he never did tell us where he bought that pillow, did he...
You... really wanted to know?
Do you think it turning into a big turtle thing is a standard feature or something you have to pay extra for...?
I couldn't tell you. Would you want it to do that?
I think I would need to get a test drive first. Was he sitting on the turtle or were his legs wedge into the top of it.
It was hard to tell what was going on with that design.
I'm not into that second one. I don't want to put my legs into a small, small turtle house. That's creepy.
Okay, everyone, we're here! That's Inugami Village!
Music: Field of God-Dog ~ Village of The Dog God
Huh. We're allowed to go to a town that isn't perpetually in twilight or darkness? This place must be special.
My name is Kurando INUGAMI.
I have told you my full name multiple times.
Uhh... yeah, yeah. Of course. Slipped my mind. Your hometown, huh?
An elderly woman walks up to Kurando.
<nods> Oh, yes! Battling on!
I suplexed a rowdy deer just yesterday. Can't have those critters causing a ruckus in the village.
Where is she?
You mean Saki? She's at the Fountain of Sukune. She's been praying ever since last night. She had a bad premonition.
It might even be a deadly premonition.
<nods> Yes. It's a good thing you're back! A very good thing! Well, I have to get back and prepare for the reception. <wanders off>
Umm... Kurando, what is it?! Is something bothering you?
If you're not feeling well, let me help! I'd do anything for you!
Uh... No, there's nothing wrong with me.
Are you sure?!
Any aches or pains? Emotional baggage? Oh! Debtors. I can have daddy pay those off. Anything at all, just tell me!
It was at that moment Kurando realized the twelve-year-old had a crush on him and went OH SHIT, NO!
Yuri quickly shoves Kurando out of the frame and the rest of the party hurriedly exits the uncomfortable scene stage right.
<closes eyes and gets giddy> I can be like your wife!
<still shoving Kurando> OK! Let's go!
I'll sew socks, wash your underwear... Eeeeek! I'm so embarrassed!
<blushes and holds her cheeks> I can't believe I just said that... Ha ha ha... Hehe. But it makes me so happy.
Blanca walks backward and gives Anastasia a look of "The fuck are you on about, kid?"
And this is why you don't get invited to the main party, Anastasia.
Music: Deep Meditation ~ Title
That was technically the end of the chapter. We don't even get to go to the map screen normally. We are just dumped in the middle of Inugami Village. But there is a small handful of things still to do in the Forest of Wind proper that we couldn't do with our trek to Purgatory skipping the area.
Despite only taking about ten steps before into the forest before a cutscene took over and we were dumped in Purgatory, the Forest of Wind is actually several maps long.
There is a path on the northern end of the woods. Hey, do you remember Loud Croft's Treasure Hunt sidequest? The previous clue was:
Return to the fork,
In the entangled forest,
Where the wind blows,
It is there before you.
And wouldn't you know it, there is a hidden item right at the fork in the road in the Forest of Wind.
Oddly enough, even though we immediately saw the cliff where ghost Albert Simon is chilling out in Yuri's mind palace seeming only a few steps into the forest, it's actually two and a half maps deep into the woods. Inugami Village is closer to the cliff than the entrance to the village. But, you know, artistic fudging of details for effect. Or the cutscene and the map designers didn't talk to each other. It's fine.
The primary reason we came here is to collect another wayward Magic Crest. Gotta catch 'em all! On that subject, despite skipping this place there are two unique enemies to this region.
Music: Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan
First up we have the Mutant Snail. It's a mutant snail. This part of the game has a lot of enemies that are just what it says on the box. It's a Water Type
Far more unique is these dashing fellows -- Tengu. I'm not going to explain what a tengu is. It's the big-nosed, winged jerk demons that appear in a million things in Japanese media. Unless you play Dead or Alive and then they're optionally that or a horny winged lady with big titties. They are a Light elemental enemy with 660 HP.
The unique feature of these creatures is they do not have any attacks. Instead, they are guaranteed to surround the party for initiative and will immediately use Falling Leaves which lets them all instantly flee the battle. The only way to actually confront a Tengu is to have a party member equip the otherwise almost entirely useless Warning Device accessory that we won as the top billing in Lottery Member 7's prize pool. Then we are given one round to deal with them before they all immediately flee in the next turn. If this seems like an oddity, it's because the Tengu can be Snapshot by Anastasia to gain the Falling Leaves ability for herself. Falling Leaves, much like the Tengu version, is a 100% chance to escape from any battle that isn't a boss or otherwise mandatory fight. Which... is about as useful as an asshole on my elbow. But there you have it.
That's a wrap on this short filler arc with Garan that may as well been a skippable Dragonball Z OVA. Tune in next time for adventures in Japanese culture and chilling out in a pleasant rural village as Shadow Hearts: Covenant continues.
That was a short one. But we did pack in a number of monsters. Even if we barely saw much of any of them.
Still manages to get its nails painted and styled.
Please don't crush my head. It's my only weakness! - Every creature in existence.
You're never going to become the next Hokage that way, newbie.
Even Garan is shrugging as to why he suddenly looks like this.
That's right. They leave behind communist fathers.
Don't let snails get high. The consequences are dire.
Video: Episode 101 Highlight Reel (Warning: Good boy abuse.)
Yama Garan Concept Art - They kind of just threw out most of this design other than the turtle shell pillow, huh?