Part 112: Episode CVI: The Fallen Angel Runs WildEpisode CVI: The Fallen Angel Runs Wild
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
If this doesn't look like bossfightleadin.jpeg I don't know what does.
Before we mosey in to go kick Nicolai-Astaroth's ass, there is a very nice accessory Yuri can obtain by shoving his hand into lava roughly half-way across the bridge to the boss arena.
The Flare Brooch is a pretty damn good accessory as it grants +2 toward both Physical and Special Attack AND Defense. But more importantly, it cuts SP use for Fusions used by Yuri and Kurando by 50% which ain't too shabby. It's also an exclusive accessory to those two. You know... cuz of the Fusion thing.
It's worth mentioning this is one of the few accessories to appear in all four games of the series. It originally appeared in Koudelka as a reward for successfully slam dunking the ghost of a murdered little girl into the afterlife by flinging a bunch of undelivered letters her mother sent. There it gave a healthy buff to several accessories, most importantly PIE. I will never forget that most baffling stat that is PIE.
In the original Shadow Hearts it was a reward for defeating an elemental guardian monster to remove a monster plague on a port town. It gave similar stat upgrades but it only granted a 20% SP reduction. I guess the Flare Brooch got more juiced up switching affiliation from the Regina to Lejina fire goddess. It also appears in From the New World doing the same business as Shadow Hearts 2.
In any event, it's time to save and heal up because we're about to do some dirt.
Nicolai has shifted positions from assuming the fetal position in a lake of molten lava to a wack-ass crystal prison on the edge of a cliff. He has also thankfully put a shirt back on.
Hmph, Yuri. So you have finally arrived...
Kato has seen better days. It seems he has gotten the Worf treatment to make clear that this new Astaroth possessed incarnation of Nicolai is a real match and not the same guy who has gotten his ass handed to him a few times now.
How ya doin'?
We would have gotten here sooner but, you know, that lousy warping maze was a pain in the ass.
I wouldn't know about that. The Mutant Apes and I teleported past it.
Ugh! Damn it! The first thing I'm doing when this adventure is over is learning how to teleport.
You tell me. How do I look?
Heh. You're a tough cookie alright.
I'm not gonna lie, you look rough. But you don't have a glass jaw, that's for sure.
...That's not very amusing.
The Mutant Apes teleport onto the scene.
<nods in agreement> Hm.
<smiles and nods back>
You're too late...
That's no longer the Nicolai that you knew.
He is no longer smug and condescending. He's just generically evil now. Don't waste your time letting him monologue for too long. He'll just ramble about destroying the world for unclear reasons. And cackle.
So did you miss us?
Time is meaningless here.
Pfft. Is that why I had to waste so much of it navigating your stupid maze?
Very soon the destruction of this world will begin...
Yes, that's right. Destruction. The Malice released in the world will soon destroy it.
What are you going to do?
Be careful. His claws are poisoned with Malice. There's no antidote for that.
One scratch and that's it... Hehehe.
<nods and smiles> I got it.
And for the record, you can drain Malice pretty easily by fighting a monster behind a spooky gate in your head.
I don't know what that means. But... good luck, Yuri.
It cannot be avoided... My soul has been revived! The Age of Mankind is coming to an end... Joy, sadness, desire... All of it is finished now.
So did you steal all your lines from Asmodeus or did you guys like share a dorm in college and read a bunch of lame comic books?
Asmodeus was a weak-willed fool with petty ambitions.
You shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Especially, when you're about to go meet 'em.
I will usher in a glorious new future!
Before you do, can I ask a favor?
What do you wish, human?
I wish you'd shove it. You know where.
I'm talking about up your ass.
I AM AWARE, INSECT!
Just checkin'! It looked like you were doing some mental math figuring it out, is all.
NEW Music: Astaroth ~ Crack Your Mind ~ The Fallen Angel Runs Wild (This is the Berserk version of Astaroth's battle theme. It might be the last chance we get to hear it.)
The fully in control model of Astaroth has certainly gotten... spikier. I was kind of hoping we'd get a deformed nightmare version of Nicolai as we did with Rasputin-Asmodeus but I suppose the Level 2 Devil Trigger version of him will have to suffice. Meet Neo Astaroth (or Last Astaroth in Japanese.) As with most high-end Fusion-esque creatures, he is still a Non-Elemental enemy though his health has ballooned up to nearly double that of his previous incarnation with 6120 HP.
Beyond that? He is... kind of just a beefier version of the Astaroth we fought at the end of Disc 1. He'll still always put up a Barrier to nerf magical attacks against him. He loves to nuke bunched together party members with Bright Crest for massive damage and a reduction to Special Attack defense. Which we should counter with an Arc Barrier of our own. His physical attack string can still cause Delay to give him a few extra turns versus the targeted party member.
Really, the only new abilities he has gained is casting Meteor Burst which is a highly damaging Fire elemental AOE spell that fully necessitates the use of an Arc-Cure to top up everyone's injuries the next possible chance we get.
And far more annoyingly, when he gets to critical HP levels he'll cast Cure Plus and retrieve a cool 800 HP back. Which, dick move! You're just wasting my time now Nicolai.
Enjoy another rejection from the one girl you tried to hit on in the form of a Combo Magic Kamehameha straight into your incel dick, you dork. I bet you wish you were still getting your balls zapped by pervert scientists.
Music: Result ~ Victory
And with that, Neo Astaroth is vanquished. And he exploded no less so he might actually be dead! I know Astaroth vanilla exploded too when defeated but... Nicolai literally stopped being a character around then and has just been a screaming meat puppet. So, the explosion versus vanishing dichotomy is still in play. As is getting kind of obscene Cash and EXP payouts from bosses lately.
We also gain the Astaroth Magic Crest so we too can drop magic AOE nukes on crowds that lower everyone's special defenses. I'm going to stick that on Karin. Just to be mean to Nicolai.
U-ugh... K-Karin... A-ah... ugh...
<looks up at Karin> U-gh...
Yuri rushes over and shoves Karin out of the way.
Music: Holy Mistletoe ~ Graveyard
Don't think you can escape the curse of the Mistletoe...
Thanks to you... All my plans have been ruined...
Do you know how humiliating it was to be chained up to be poked and prodded and have my testicles electrocuted for months on end?!
<groans> I thought you... forgot that...
I... barely remembered... I was still... cursed... Aaah! It's been months... since that... was brought up... Gah!
No. And now... you'll die for it...
<decks the shit out of Nicolai> PUUUUUUUUUNCH!!
Yuri falls to the ground unconscious and Karin runs to his side to prop him up in her arms.
Nice save, Kato. I see you've learned how to handle things the Yuri way. Also, I guess he downed a Thera Root or two between scenes since he's now fully healed.
It's amazing how many times Nicolai has just taken a major L nearly every time he's tried some shit.
But Nicolai is not out of the game yet. He just so happens to come upon a jagged red crystal of some sort. I'm uncertain where it came from or why it's here now. Mt. Fuji is clearly just filled to the brim with stupidly placed crystals within it. Nicolai snatches up the crude stabbing implement and...
Echoing stabbing impact.
<increasingly shocked look>
Ouka goes limp against Kato. And so you are 100% it's a serious wound, her high-tech visor falls off and clatters on the ground.
<brief moment of despair followed by getting INCREDIBLY PISSED>
You son of a...!!
The raged-filled Kato grabs Nicolai by the head and starts raising him in the air and squeezing.
OOHHH!!! UGGGGGHHH!!! AAAAAAHHH!!
AAAAH!! UGH!! K-KARIIIIN!! AAAAAAAGH!!
<gasps and looks away>
NGGGH!! AAAAAAHHH!! AAAAHHH!!
<The Kato intensifies> HRR!!
The very squishy sound of Nicolai's skull being crushed like a melon is heard.
And thus Nicolai is incredibly fucking dead! I did not peg the smug early game heel turn villain's ultimate fate to be having his face crushed into pulp for accidentally stabbing the clone waifu of a joke character from the first game in the center of Mt. Fuji. But that's Shadow Hearts for you, baby!
Kato comes down from his skull-crushing blood rage and realizes he has to address the whole Ouka sacrificing herself for him thing. Poor Kato is not having a good day.
Music: Faith or Fate ~ Kato
Are you... hurt...?
<shakes head and smiles> I... I'm fine!
<nods and smiles> I'm... so glad... Ngh...
Ouka closes her eyes and dies.
<gasps and shakes her body> Ouka?!
<starts to tear up in despair> .....
Yep. Kato is definitely having a bad day. I do hope this doesn't lead to any irrational decisions on his part in the future.
Video: Episode 106 Highlight Reel (You should definitely watch this.)
Nicolai Concept Art - In happier times when he still had an intact skull.
Nicolai-Astaroth Concept Art - Looks like he could use a nap. Still looks better than his current caved head state face down on rotting in a volcano.
Immortal Mountain Concept Art - Explore the wack ass crystal prisons of one of Japan's most scenic spots.