Part 12: Episode XII: Wolf BoutEpisode XII: Wolf Bout
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
I suppose it is time to trek through the undoubtedly monster-infested Paris Metro.
What sort of untamed horrors could await Yuri and company in the decre
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
It was just a twenty-second walk to a subway platform? Gepetto did you just find a maintenance tunnel hatch and have been using it to bypass paying for metro tickets? What the hell, old man!?
Progress makes our lives so much easier!
Breaking of protocol aside, Paris is the first proper town of Shadow Hearts: Covenant. This game actually has towns that are more than 2-3 screens big and aren't just doubling as a mini-dungeon that happens to have a couple NPCs wandering around until the calamity of the day rolls into the village. As such, let's chat up the locals to get our bearings.
(Worried Jessie) You've got to mind your manners, now! Or you're not getting on this train, you hear?
I didn't say chatting up the locals is necessarily going to be helpful or anything. That said, I am glad they kept all of the portrait lacking NPCs having titles and names. That was a cute detail in the original game.
Despite Gepetto's insistence to go to the subway, we cannot actually board the train at this time. So let's head back above ground for a bit. More folks are loitering about the streets here. Maybe some of them have more insight than those metro dwelling degenerates from before.
You don't have any cat demons or vengeful ghosts planting curses on people running around, do you?
<shrug> Yeah, I guess it's a pretty OK town then.
There's a wonderful painter lodging in my neighborhood. Maybe I should get him to do my portrait...? I bet he'd even do a nude for me!
You're very confident to just blurting that out to a random guy passing by you...
Naw, I haven't rolled with any spies for over a year now.
C'mon. I'm sure nobody plays Chopin like you.
I hate Raymond, With Nothing to Do because he wanders a circuit around the stairs here and you cannot go past the little shit. There are 25 stairs, you idiot child. Get the FUCK out of my way! I'm trying to play an RPG here!
Guess I'd better go try to find another lottery ticket...
Alphonse, Foreshadowing a Side Quest Return more like it.
Lots of people have heard 'em howling in the middle of the night. That must be real spooky...
I'll ask Blanca if he knows them. Hmm... wait, is it racist to assume all wolves know each other? Or that like... species...ist? Hmm... Maybe I better rethink this.
In order to progress the game, we need to shuffle inside Paulette Bar here next to Timid Salvador. Not that there is anywhere else we could go. That second flight of stairs just leads to a dead end with some forgettable treasure.
The party enters the Paulette Bar.
...Well, look who we have here! It's Gepetto! Haven't seen you in a while! You disappeared all of a sudden. When did you get back?
But I'm caught up in a bit of a situation. I'll have to be leaving Paris again right away.
You don't say? But you just got here! You sure haven't changed... Always sticking your nose into things. You've got to start acting your age!
When I want your advice, I'll ask! But, listen. We want to go to Le Havre. You know any ways to get out of town unnoticed?
<crosses arms> Hmm... You don't want to attract any attention to yourself, eh?
Trouble with the cops again?
No, not this time.
<looks over shoulder> ...No pigs have been asking about me, right?
<nods> Good... let's keep it that way...
Ha ha! Hey, I know! You could use a subway tunnel. That way, you could go where you want without being seen! Rumor has it there are a few abandoned tunnels, and some of 'em even reach to the outskirts of Paris.
<strokes beard> I see! Subway tunnels, eh? That's a great idea.
Hmm... How about we ask somebody that would know? Like somebody that worked on the tunnels...? Or one of those train freaks that can name every single station...?
Or mole men. I bet you got mole men in those tunnels. I'll fight a mole person to get where we need to go.
We're not going to start a bum fight to get information, Yuri.
Not with that attitude.
In that case, why don't you try going to the Champs Élysées? They're enlarging the subway over there right now. You'll find Dr. Gautier, the design engineer, in a hotel there.
The chandelier who?
<turns to Yuri> Champs Élysées! The next station over. I've met Dr. Gautier a couple of times before. He used to come to my theater.
Your theater? You mean you used to be famous, Gepetto?
What, did you think I did puppet shows in a seedy back alley?
...I umm... hadn't put much thought into it...
He quit the stage when his wife died, but his show used to be celebrated all over Paris!
<shakes head> Shh! Don't tell them that! That was all a long time ago.
We got too much on our plate already to get bogged down by anyone's tragic backstory.
...Anyway, we're off to the Champs Élysées!
We're off! In... just a minute. We've got more NPCs to chat with here. We wouldn't want to be rude to the patrons of this fine establishment. Or... fail to be rude to them, I suppose. I'd be personally pretty annoyed if some JRPG protagonist shuffled over to my table and glared at me until I spat out a generic line about local happenings, recent events or unrelated nonsequiturs.
Meh. She's OK, I guess.
She cooks me meals, buys me painting supplies... She's a wonderful woman! I've got nothing to offer her right now, but someday I'm going to show the whole world her beauty through my art!
I see you're well on your way to that goal day-drinking in a dive bar.
Seedy? Eh. This place is pretty tame compared to some of the dumps I've been into. I don't think this place has any witches camping out in bathroom mirrors.
My daughter is going to be three this year. I wish I could take her to see one of your Cornelia performances!
Do the French just like to traumatize their children at a young age? That some kinda rite of passage or something here? That'd explain a lot.
My dream is to one day stand on the stage of the Moulin Rouge! You'll come to see me then, won't you?
Old Friend Louis just reminds us of our next task. I suppose we should get on top of that.
Which means returning back the way we came to go take the subway. However, on our retread of Montmartre, we come across...
Better than yours, anyway.
<turns to Ernest> Awroo! Awroo! (Grrr! These guys think they're tough, Ernest!)
<turns to Tetsu> Hmm, that sounds like a challenge. Tetsu, why don't you show them whose fangs are sharper!
...Awroo, awroo? (What am I getting caught in the middle of, here?)
Awroo... (I don't want to waste energy on a meaningless fight...)
<turns to Blanca> ...What do you say, Blanca? Sounds like they're asking for it to me!
Yeah, look at that look in his eyes. He's gonna whip that hound's ass!
Awroo... (You can't be serious.)
See, he's got some fightin' words for that pooch.
NEW Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf (Theme of "Oh Shit the Wolves Can Talk to Each Other!")
That's a childish reason for a fight! I say no.
Blanca actually gets voice acting when speaking to other wolves. It's very jarring to hear him speak out of nowhere. Blanca also occasionally in-game translations of other dialogue from now on. Not that many people can actually understand wolf barks. Least of all Yuri.
NEW Music: Glint of Light ~ War of the Hungry Wolf (Wolf bouts get their own dramatic rendition of the boss battle theme and you should listen to it.)
Welp. Too bad, Blanca because this is happening. We're now thrust into a mini-boss fight with Blanca flying solo against Tetsu the rival wolf.
Calling this a boss fight of any kind is being VERY generous. It's just two wolves smacking into each other. At most, Tetsu is capable of randomly inflicting a 30% defense decrease with his 9 HP of damage output every turn otherwise. Meanwhile, Blanca's physical attacks can do 20 HP of damage every turn against the only 90 HP possessing Tetsu. Plus he can use consumables and has magic if we were desperate.
In this battle of attrition, our good boy has this one pretty handily beat.
Music: Result ~ Victory
Blanca's victory lands him a small payday and an accessory that slows the rotation of the Judgment Wheel. But there is a more important earning after the battle.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Because you're just a little runt.
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Ernest, a humble zoologist. This is for you, Blanca.
Congratulations! You are now entitled to join the "Wolf Bout," a competition to find the world's strongest wolf!
You battle the wolves you find throughout the world and gather pawprint stamps as proof of your victories.
<walks up to Blanca> Awroo! (Like this.)
Karin has collecting excerpts from a German opera to unlock her unique techniques. Blanca has participating in
...you'll be the strongest wolf in the world! What do you think, Blanca, ol' boy?
Wouldn't that be cool? The strongest wolf in the world, Blanca. Hehe.
Blanca turns and walks away.
...Yeah, he's super into it.
Come ask if you ever have any questions! And good luck to you!
Hey is this sorta stuff, ya know, legal?
Well there are no laws say it is ILLEGAL as of yet.
<shrug> ...Good enough for me.
Yuri walks off after Blanca.
Never mind, Tetsu. You're not a real wolf anyway -- I guess there's room for a few improvements. And I'd better get ready, before he gets any stronger...
We may see more of Ernest in the future as we progress in the entire game spanning Wolf Bout sidequest circuit. It is worth mentioning that Ernest is based on Ernest Thompson Seton a naturalist and animal fiction writer as well as one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. One of his earliest and most popular works of fiction is Wild Animals I Have Known which features the story Lobo the King of Currumpaw which is a fictionalized account of Senton's hunting wolves in the southwestern United States in his youth. It'll take us a while to see how that translated to setting up a worldwide circuit of underground fight matches between actual wolves.
The Wolf Bout sidequest might GO some frikkin' places...
Semi-related, while browsing Ernest Senton's Wikipedia page I came upon this factoid about this life:
Wow. What a fucking asshole dad!
On his twenty-first birthday, Seton's father presented him with an invoice for all the expenses connected with his childhood and youth, including the fee charged by the doctor who delivered him. He paid the bill, but never spoke to his father again.
Seton called his father, Joseph Logan Thompson, "the most selfish man I ever knew, or heard of, in history or in fiction." He cut off ties completely after being made to pay off an itemized list of all expenses he had cost his father, up to and including the doctor's fee for his delivery, a total of $537.50.
For now, our time in Montmartre is concluded. Time to hop on a subway to scenic Champs-Élysées as our Paris adventures continue.
Video: Episode 12 Highlight Reel (You should watch this, it has talking dogs!)
Ernest Concept Art - I wonder how the real Ernest Senton would feel about being a dog fighting organizer in a Japanese video game...