The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 130: Episode CXXIV: Château de Tiffauges

Episode CXXIV: Château de Tiffauges

Today's session sees us return to Italy for a brief check-in to Florence for a couple of reasons.

Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town

First off, let's check in on Healthy Rooney and the Steps Sidequest. Despite having had someone (Blanca 95% of the time) equipped with the Pedometer for all dungeons outside of boss fights, since that has little use there, we're still only at 8550 steps and we're already one optional dungeon deep. Healthy Rooney shows options for up to 9000 Steps rewards. But the true prize is a character's ultimate armor obtained by walking 10,000 Steps. So, it seems like we ought to go dungeon crawling some more to get ourselves up to snuff.

We are also not playing around anymore and sliding straight into cheating territory enhanced training by equipping Blanca with the Pedometer alongside the Step Doubler and Step Tripler. Which do stack! Making each step worth five steps. Now we just need another dungeon to cheat grind steps reach our full potential! And wouldn't you know it, we can unlock one right here in Florence. A portly man hanging outside Carla's fortune teller domicile has new stuff to say now that we've reached the endgame.

I know of this treasure. You could steal it and sell it off. It's a sure thing! It's got a lot of history. Look, if I tell you any more, I might get a ghostly curse put on me. What d'you wanna do?
I'm scared of ghosts. Count me out.
Yeah, but the loot behind the ghosts.
I already have one curse. I don't need a second one. That would be my third curse. That would just be embarrassing.
Have I mentioned talk there are also power-ups alongside the treasure?
...This changes everything.

Tell me, tell me!
Nerves of steel! Great! Things would be pretty dull otherwise, right?! So... It's this huge mirror that vibrates with the voice of a ghost. They say an evil demon'll come out if you look in. Apparently, it's hidden away in some old fort in Bretagne in France. Well, wanna test your nerves?!

Returning to the World Map will now unlock Tiffauges Castle in the far western section of France. Tiffauges Castle or Château de Tiffauges is a real 12th century castle. Though it is in a far greater state of disrepair and decay than we'll see here.

It is best known for being the home of Gilles de Rais, a comrade-in-arms of Joan of Arc in the 100 Years' War. He then went on to blow his family's fortune trying to get a lavishly expensive theater production off the ground to the point the rest of his family had to step in to cut him off and get the King of France had to put out a royal edict to make sure nobody did business with him since he's an idiot with money. Seriously, the production he did, Le Mystère du Siège d'Orléans, had 140 roles with speaking parts across 20,000 verses and included 500 extras and required 600 costumes which were only used once per play, threw out and had new costumes made. For reasons. He also had an all-you-can-eat unlimited buffet for spectators.

This man was not good with budgeting.

Rais then got big into the occult, particularly alchemy and demon summoning. Tried to summon a demon a few times in a get-rich quick scheme Faustian deal, as you do, with no luck. He then ead the fine print on rituals and saw the part about how child sacrifices might do the trick. Which, one thing led to another and he ended up, you know, being one of the earliest recorded serial killers having raped and murdered somewhere in the ballpark of 100-200 children in the mid-1400s. As you do. He's the inspiration for the Bluebeard fable. He also has the dubious honor of being the fake Dracula in Castlevania 64. That's what really tarnished his legacy, honestly. Not a great fella all and all!

His castle is the next optional dungeon in our Endgame campaign. Though to call it a "new" dungeon may be a bit of a misnomer...

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.
Copy and pasted content. How lazy can you get...?

Remember before, when Jovis sent Karin and me on a little trip? This is the place.
Or based on it... since that place was somewhere in my soul that my old nemesis is hanging out and was imprisoning the power of Amon. Ergh... it's complicated.
Hmm. So that must mean...
<nods> Yup, the castle where Amon was.
Anyone know what the deal with this castle is...? It's weird it is in the real world too.
It was home of a child-killing mass murderer aristocrat from the 1400s.
Oh... huh... That's dark. Especially, you knowing that...
Aristocrats keep tabs on other aristocrats. History is important.

Tiffauges Castle isn't actually just the Mirror Palace copy and pasted. It's just using all the assets of the Mirror Palace and placing twice as many corridors between copy and pasted connecting rooms. So just a more tedious version of the former dungeon, if we're being honest. Got to get the most mileage we can out of those assets! It's going to be a mind fuck when we get to the next bonus optional dungeon and it is nearly 100% new assets and a healthy amount of effort put into it. It's akin to Kowloon Walled City in Shadow Hearts 1 where they stuck a horror dungeon with more effort put forth into it than the last handful of dungeons combined and then stuck it in an out of the way easily missed segment of the game.

Tiffauges Castle is just fairly dull and not actively a dumpster fire of frustrating design and random encounters out the ass. It's essentially just going down a linear path and being sure to scrape side paths for loot and a few sidequest continuation hooks scattered around. This dungeon only took a little over an hour and I probably could have shaved off a few minutes if I didn't accidentally get turned around and bypassed a shortcut by mistake. It's easy to do when every single room looks like the above two screenshots. Doom WADs from 1994 had more landmarks than most Shadow Hearts: Covenant dungeons. The only item of note beyond this is that this is the Yuri mandatory dungeon but... why would you ever take Yuri out of your main party? I forgot this game even offered removing him from the active squad as an option this go around.

That said, they have at least sprinkled in a new monster mash infesting the halls of Gilles de Rais' murder castle. Let's take a look-see.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

First up we have these alien bat-looking creatures known as the Duergar. Which is a misspelling of the Norse name for a dwarf, "Dvergar." You know, bearded dudes. Like to mine the earth for riches. Those kinds of dwarfs. Umm... I'm not seeing it, Shadow Hearts 2. What I am seeing is a Dark elemental creature with 212 HP that is easily defeated and only has strength in numbers, coming usually 4-6 per battle. They can cast Dark elemental magic Evil Summoning and their physical attacks have the potential to inflict Fickle Ring (Judgment Ring slows and speeds up at random.) Other than that, not much to say here.

Next up we have Peg O'Nell, a floating blind mermaid surrounded by levitating swords it enjoys flinging into our party members' chest and occasionally throwing out some Wind elemental spells. Good guess that it is a Wind elemental being, given that knowledge. And it has 322 HP. Again, not too much of an issue. This dungeon was definitely meant to be done early on in the endgame content compared to the Neam Ruins. But, the developer intended order of events and LP update flow to smoothly pace out content are different beasts. So we'll just have to deal.

Peg O' Nell refers to an English folklore tale of a servant girl working at an estate in Lancashire, England who was sent out to fetch water in the middle of winter, slipped on ice, and broke her neck on the well she was to fetch said water. This resulted in her spirit cursing the land or some such and she was the source of woe blame for dipshits drowning or falling down wells. Or something akin to that. It's one of those obscure ass folklore stories that has so many games of telephone recounting it that no two sources say the same thing other than well involved and a servant died. Hell, their gender swaps in some of the retellings.

The point being water ghost mad. Don't fuck around with wells. It doesn't even have a Wikipedia article. But, not that any of that matters since at no point did I think it was a flying mermaid demon with a quartet of telekinetic eight-foot-long swords.

The last creature on the roster of Tiffauges Castle beasties is this chungus baby thing known as the Muscida. These are the walls of meat health pool rich enemies of this dungeon with 808 HP and a Water elemental affinity. They mostly like to just smash into targets. If they're not doing that they have a pair of buffs with Arc Rage and Arc Surge. Arc Rage and its physical attacks actually smarts pretty hard to the tune of nearly 300 HP of damage. But the only time that will be an issue is the rare encounter pool where it's just two of these big boys lumbering in for a tag-team match and that is rare.

If you're wondering, and you probably weren't but I like looking up the name origin trivia so fuck you! Muscida is another shorthand name for Omicron Ursae Majoris (though Omicron UMa is the currently common term in Astronomy nerd circles) a star system light in the Ursa Major constellation. I haven't the foggiest idea what that has to do with a 12-foot tall bloated mutant baby. But it's not like the last few vague astronomical reference names have had much in common with their creatures either.

Getting back on track, as I said this dungeon is essentially just running a straight circuit hitting any points of interest along the way. Such as another Magic Crest.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

And a dapper man just hanging out in the middle of the hall in this demon-infested castle of a mass child murderer. Nothing suspicious here.

Go wherever you like inside the castle, but if you wander into the Mirror World, you'll find it very hard to get back.
Thanks for the info. And who are you?
I'm simply a mere guide. That is all...

So given this guy is named "Beard" and Gilles de Rais is the basis for Bluebeard... this is probably his surprisingly polite for mass rapist and serial murderer of hundreds of children ghost. I'm sure it's fine to just let him hang out being a tour guide. No, really. It's fine. There's nothing to be done with him.

It's not like almost all the rest of the NPCs wandering these halls are the ghosts of murdered children trapped in a mirror dimension purgatory for all eternity.

Oh, wait no... That's exactly what the rest of the NPCs in this dungeon are as soon as we teleport through the first of two mirror zones. Whoops!

I don't know what's on the other side, though.

Spoilers: It's more of the dungeon. We could jump through there to progress. But if we continue to a dead end in this first mirror corridor, we find...

Another one of Lucia's Tarot Cards. There are only two remaining after this. One is in the Lucia character-specific dungeon. And the other is in The Vessel at the Asuka Stone Platform toward the very end of the game. Kurando and Lucia just both get a shrug and they gave up stick it in the final dungeon last upgrades since they had way too many associated with them and they showed up way the hell too late in the game to mash things in, respectively.

The Devil Card does what it says on the box. It inflicts one status effect on all the enemies and the entire party if reversed. Double that to two status effects if the Special Effect is in play. And ignore the part where most enemies are immune to 90% of status effects and nearly every boss is completely immune to all of them making this about as useful as an asshole on my elbow.

Throwing this in the pile of collectibles that will rot, we now can proceed through the portal mirror near Maivia, Full of Curiosity, and proceed to a new hallway. This time we're going to want to start heading south to progress as this is a mirror version of the previous segment. But if we head north again, to the mirror version of where we found the Devil Tarot Card, we now find...

I'm twenty-five, kid.
Bah. Look at you. A baby. I would be a 477 if I didn't get murdered when I was six years old.
...That is uhh, rough, kid.

<transforms into Lottery Member 4> Now you're gonna start crying, I suppose! Look, I'll let you do the lottery okay? So don't cry!
Okay, I won't cry!
I would be confused how a murdered spirit trapped in a mirror dimension can be a Lottery Member but you're not even the first ghost to do this.
Don't cry about what's through the looking glass.

Alicia in Wonderland's gimmick is she has an Invisible Ring for the Lottery. But the game will briefly show it a split second at the start and they're of far more generous width than usual.

The top prize is a unique item in the Demon Ward accessory. This is another returning item from Shadow Hearts 1. Identical to the previous title, it gives a paltry +1 Special Defense but it also halves the random battle encounter rate should we need to return to an earlier area where random battles are 100% a waste of time. So pretty much any dungeon prior to the endgame at this point. This is good for just running in to pick any missed Magic Crests or what have you from areas but otherwise, we really should be fighting everything we come across.

We've actually already met Lottery Member #3 back in the Fort of Regrets. Once we leave this area, we can conclude the Lottery sidequest in short order. But that'll be next time. Let's continue our adventure in the serial murderer noble's overly blue endless corridors of a castle and talk to some more dead children, shall we?

What does she got to be afraid of? We're already dead!
What's going to be worse than getting your head sawed off while you're still alive? I don't get her. She's dumb.

This is a dead-end for now but we can come to the other side of this door to use as a shortcut later. For now, we're going to teleport through another mirror to a central segment of the dungeon. To the north of where we end up is a save point and the end goal of the region. Perhaps a boss fight. So we're going to head south first and explore that area.

You start getting really tired when you haven't slept or aged for 400 years.

It's worth noting that around the corner to the west from Rhodes, Afraid of Something is another Crucifix in a chest. Which is always useful to have.

But if we head to the south from the dead boy, we find a mirror version of the room we began in and a wolf chilling out. Tossing that Crucifix on Blanca isn't a bad idea before approaching this wolf. Who we have met before. It is of note that this Wolf Bout only appears if we've done the previous twelve Wolf Bouts and returned to Tetsu to find that Ernest has left and there's a backside to the Wolf Bout paw print collection sheet.

Anyway, this is Henri the old man who was transformed into a wolf we fought in the return visit to the Sapientes Gladio Italian HQ ages ago.

Hey, you're that talking wolf!
Got tired of that typical bad-guy headquarters back in Italy, huh?
<groans and shakes head>
<enters defensive stance> Grrr... (Something's wrong with him!)

<barks repeatedly>
Yikes! What happened?! He turned wild all of a sudden!
Blanca, what did you say to him? What did you do?! Did you say something like... wolf racist...?
Awroo! Grr! (No, you dolt! Something is wrong!)
Yeah, you should probably apologize. He looks really pissed! It takes some anger or demonic possession to get a new character portrait.

I'll bring him back to his sense.

Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf

He doesn't even understand me right now. I hate to have to do it, but I can't just leave him when he's like this!

Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf

Henri ~ Round 2! He is still an Earth elemental wolf but his feral state has jumped him from 300 HP to 1200 HP.

All he does is spam physical attacks that inflict Reverse Ring. So what we're going to do is throw up a Shield so all of his attacks do 1-2 HP of damage.

And just throw Soul Comet at him until he goes down for a second time. The fight lasted all of 90 seconds.

Music: Result ~ Victory

Blanca gets another win on the Wolf Bout circuit and we also receive a Valuable Gem. This has no functional use and is actually quite rare in this series 100% Vendor Trash to the tune of 50,000 Cash (62,500 Cash if we up it with our current 25% max mark-up rate.) Not that we're remotely hurting for Cash. I haven't even remembered to sell this and there are still three updates worth of content I have recorded and we're sitting on over a million Cash at the moment.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

<shakes head> I don't feel too good about that one. What use is winning when he isn't even in his right mind?
And it is someone I already have beaten once. Does this even count for the bouts?

Awroo? (What happened to you, anyway?)
Well... after you beat me, I traveled the world looking for a way to break my curse. Along the way, I heard that if I saw my reflection in the Mirror of Truth here in Mirror Castle, I would change back. I'm ashamed to admit the result. Not only did I not turn back, I ended up changing into a wild beast!
Who knows? Maybe that's your true character?
Ha ha ha. I guess I deserved that.
Hehe. It's like Blanca here. He seems like a big tough wolf but he's a big soft fuzzball deep down.
This human is the single worst judge of character I have ever met and that is interacting with other humans, much less me.

...Well, I don't want to keep you standing around listening to an old man talk. Here, Blanca. This is for you.

And so we gain the first of the final three of Blanca's Wolf Bout prints. After this dungeon, we can also complete the Wolf Bout sidequest in fairly short order. But we'll save that one for a little later.

Henri, reduced to a
wild, crazed wolf after
peering into the Mirror
of Truth. Barbaric and
unable to communicate,
but three times stronger
than before.

Citation needed. Unless you're just talking about his health pool. And even then it would be four times stronger. Where did you learn math, game description blurb?

Who the heck is Ernest?
Awroo, awroo! (The one who started us on this ridiculous Wolf Bout journey.)
Yeah, it doesn't ring a bell for me either, boy.
He is the one who started you on this ridiculous Wolf Bout journey.
Oh, right! That old weirdo. Blanca, you should listen to this old-timer. He knows a thing or two.

Now just to retrace our steps to the north and the boss area. If we take the path east at the crossroads from Rhodes, Afraid of That Time He Was Brutally Murdered and Dismembered Something, we find...

The scared girl behind the locked door from earlier that is also recalling how she was a victim of the good lord Rais and his infinite love of grisly child murder. This is a one-way shortcut but it does save traveling down a couple of bonus corridors.

To the north of this corridor, we find a save point and a mirror leading north. Which forces us into a mandatory battle against all the beasties of Tiffauges Castle. Nothing to that.

We now find ourselves in the room wherein the Mirror Palace we faced the boss fight version of Amon. Let's see what we find this time around...

Music: ENDS

So you came back...

Yuri about faces and looks around confused before turning back to the mirror he was inspecting and finding...


Albert Simon walks out of the mirror.

So this is where you live now, huh...?
It's more of a spiritual holiday of sorts. But...
Yes, this is Tiffauges Castle.
Yeah, I read the sign on the map getting here.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

I made my soul pact with Amon here.
That sounds like a retcon, Albert.
Retroactive continuity alterations involve changing pre-established facts to more convenient to the current narrative's molding in a way that is incongruent to previous information given. I possessed a Soul Pact with Amon before you stole it away. There was never information of where I obtained such power previously. This is merely new information you have obtained. Please use terminology properly, young man.
Tch. If you say so.

This was once home to Gilles de Rais, a powerful French nobleman.

After his lover was executed as a heretic, he turned to the dark arts. Rumors of his devil worship spread and he too was executed by the Church.
Yeah, Al, there's a LOT of ghost kids out there that I am pretty sure were killed by this guy.
I never said I approved of his methodology. I am just stating history.
Didn't you give the Émigré book to some crazy doctor in London? That guy killed a LOT of orphan kids using that thing.
I gave him tools, yes. I did not tell him the means to orchestrate the use of those tools.
Ehhhh... I don't think this argument is going to hold up, guy.
We can discuss the morality of child sacrifice for greater purposes at a later time. To return to the discussion at hand...

That was almost 500 years ago... Even love can turn to tragedy... Time changes nothing.

The world today is still filled with madness and rage...
Letting that young lad unleash all the pent-up Malice in the Vatican hasn't helped matters. I could have told you myself not to approach the level of Malice the church contains in its walls.
<rubs neck> Yeah, not my best hour...

In any case, you used it well, didn't you? Amon's power.
Yeah, I took out Rasputin.
Good. That man was... hmph...
A huge dick?
Cruder language than I would employ. But yes. He was a dick.

But a much more powerful enemy appeared...
<looks to the floor> ......

A vast power lies beyond this mirror. A forbidden power surpassing Amon's.
A forbidden power?!
I call it... Amon 2: The Sequel to Amon.
Can we workshop that, Albert?
Hmm. Amon X2!
That is just Amon 2 but you put an "X" in front of it. That's still lame.
Amon X2 #Reload!
...X2 Sharp Reload? What the hell does that even MEAN Albert?
Fine. Amon XX Slash
What is with the "X"s?! What does that mean, Albert?! What are you doing?
Amon XX Accent Core Plus R
Albert Simon, pal. Are you... are you having a stroke? Can ghosts have strokes?
Amon Xrd.
What...?! I'm good with words and I know that is NOT a word!
Fine. OK... How about... Neo Amon?
...Yeah, that works.

It is yours if you can but defeat me.

Do you wish to try again?

Yeah. It won't be like before. This time the gloves are coming off!!

That's fine with me.
You did kill me the last time. I don't imagine it can get much worse than that.
You'd be surprised.

Music: Ladder to Heaven

It is time to face Neo Amon which is just Amon but bulkier and with much more HP. The Neo Amon incarnation has gone up to 6660 HP and is still a Non-Elemental affinity. Regular Amon works perfectly well as a counter here. Last time we had only Karin and Yuri in the party so we had to manage healing only getting two actions per turn. With a full party of four characters, Neo Amon is a complete joke.

Neo Amon supposedly has access to a new high-end magic spell. But I let it have seven turns before reloading and doing the battle properly and all it did was punch, kick and cast the same spells it did in the original fight but with higher damage output.

So... nothing really to say here. Use buffs. Do Combos. Compared to Orobas in the Neam Ruins, the final showing of Albert Simon as an adversary is frankly a letdown.

Music: Result ~ Victory

For our efforts, everyone but Gepetto gets a Level Up. We overall get less cash than fighting the berserker Henri in that Wolf Bout when factoring in the Valuable Jewel drop. And we get the Amon Magic Crest which is equipped with the highest level Fire magic elemental spell in the game.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

I've gotten pretty good at kicking your ass.
Hehe. The ultimate demon. That's a fitting name for you, Godslayer!
Maintain that title, boy. I cannot hold too much ill-will being defeated by a Godslayer.
Hehe. I'll try.

And with that, Albert Simon's spirit fades away and departs the franchise. And Yuri gains his penultimate Fusion -- Neo Amon.

Yuri briefly remembers one of the one hundred and twenty-nine times Alice flashed him wearing the shortest skirt on the planet until Karin came along and suddenly Madagascar is wiped off the map.

Beyond that, by default level, Neo Amon has a few extra, very powerful (and MP costly) magic spells unique to it. We'll look into them later. But stat-wise, at base level we gain:
Pretty fuckin' good! But... I already maxed out Amon's Soul Power to Level 10 ages ago. So now it is...

Yeah so... guess which Fusion we're using the rest of the game! Until we get the actual ultimate Fusion just prior to the final dungeon and wipe the floor using it.

The game is polite enough to teleport us out of Tiffauges Castle and for once we have no reason to return to a completed dungeon. So that's another one added to the list and immediately crossed off. That's what I like to see as Shadow Hearts: Covenant's endgame continues.

We did finish another dungeon, so it's time for another dip into the Library.


...Are you sure some bat demons from deep, forbidden recesses of the rotten core of the earth didn't just eat all the dwarves and make up a bullshit story after they stole all their shit?

Ignore the fact it is clearly a female creature.

Note: Do not topple off cliffs when you're an angel still waiting to receive your wings. It's a bad scene.

It's just a conga line of threats that can end the world right around World War I.


Considering Shadow Hearts: From the New World is set in America you would expect that maybe she might also make a cameo appearance in that game as well. But it's a bad game and that does not occur so Margarete's next point of interest is a firing squad in France in 1917 for being exceptionally bad at espionage.

Video: Episode 124 Highlight Reel

Albert Simon Portrait Concept Art - You keep whatever headgear you wear upon death into the afterlife. Little known fact.