The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 134: Episode CXXVIII: Mark of the Wolves

Episode CXXVIII: Mark of the Wolves

Right. It's time to close out another questline. It's time for the War of the Hungry Wolves to end with the conclusion of the Wolf Bouts. Defeating Henri in Tiffauges Castle unlocks the penultimate Wolf Bout which requires a revisit to the Forest of the Wind.

Entering the forest and taking a jog down the only road there for a couple of screens, we come upon ergh... Blanca?

Before we investigate this troubling matter, it miiiiiight be a good idea to equip a Leonardo's Bear on Blanca. And by that, I mean 100% essential.

Awroo... Awroo. (I thought I'd said goodbye to this world, but looks like we meet again!)

Awroo. Awroo. (Technically, I was a spirit already then and faded into the afterlife. More of a Sending than anything else.)
Awroo, awroo... (To fight you, I put aside shame and came back to life as my younger self.)
Awroo... (...When you were at the height of your glory, the King of the Wolves...?)
Awroo! Awroo! (Of course! I hear the humans even wrote a book about me. Though it was highly romanticized and came into scrutiny causing a years-long literary debate about depicting hostile wildlife as sympathetic creatures being a dangerous practice.)

Awroo? Grrr... (Can't you feel your blood stirring? There's only one thing to do...)
Let's settle this thing right now.

Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf

Ha! Enough talk. Come on, then, Blanca!

Music: Glint of Light ~ War of the Hungry Wolf

Cast Arc Shield. Repeatedly headbutt the youthful ghost of your grandfather. Become the new King of the Wolves. Young Lobo's only trick was he has 100% effective Instant Death and with that gone, he's a chump. Oh, and I guess he's still Fire Elemental and has 1280 HP if you're into knowing that kind of thing.

Music: Result ~ Victory

And now we get to steal the highest level Instant Death Judgment Ring modifier. This is absolutely worthless because every single boss in the game is immune to Instant Death as are half the enemies.

Music: ENDS

I managed to win... somehow. Never thought I'd be fighting my own blood relative... twice! Must be karma...
Awroo... Awroo... (I'm only here temporarily, anyway. I can't stay in this world long...)
Awroo... (I am actually breaking the rules regaining my youth and coming back twice...)
Awroo, awroo... (But thanks to you, I was able to be a warrior to the very end of my days...)
Awroo, awroo. (I would have preferred to have defeated you. But, what can you do...)
Awroo... (Lobo...)
Awroo... Awroo... (Blanca, you can't relax now just because you beat me. Ernest is even--)

Before Lobo can finish his sentence, he is whisked off into the afterlife of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.

But the apparition is kind enough to leave us his pawprint to power up Soul Comet one last time.

Famed by man and beast
alike as the King of the
Wolves, he has returned
to the world of the
living for a final
duel with a lone wolf.

That's the second time we've heard mention of Ernest at the conclusion of a Wolf Bout. Could the organizer of an international fighting tournament possibly be up to villainy? That would be a first in the realm of martial arts tournaments. You know, other than Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, Rugal Bernstein, Goenitz, M. Bison, Gill, Shang Tsung, Shao Khan, Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima--<list continues for 23 pages>

There may have been many tournament sponsors who were seemingly never up to nefarious deeds. But that's only because some war god, resurrected ancient warrior, or demon or some shit showed up at the tournament's conclusion before they could get the chance.

Perhaps it's time we checked back in on Montmartre to see if Ernest has returned to his spot after his sudden departure earlier in the game.

I don't usually mention Add-on Effects but we picked up a Delay 4 in the Neam Ruins. It may behoove us to equip that now. It can turn what is a somewhat tedious and bordering on difficult battle into a piece of cake. Note: This does need to be equipped BEFORE entering Montmartre. We are locked into events as soon as we enter.

Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town

...I already don't like where this is going...

Yuri and Blanca approach the sports team mascot.

<shakes head rapidly and returns to dancing> Ernest? Never heard of him. I'm the Wolfman, wolf-suit star, beloved hero of all the little children!
<holds up hand and whispers> Kids, how would you like me to shake your hand under the Arc d'Triumph?
Yeah, all that makes you sound like a child molester. Blanca, go for the neck! I'm going to punch him in the crotch!
...Awroo, awroo! (At this point, who cares who you are? You're the fifteenth and final wolf.)
Hehe. That's right. But do you really think you can beat me? This isn't any ordinary wolf suit, you know. It's the fruit of all my long years of research, "Wolf Technology"! With this on, I'm the strongest hunter on earth! Go ahead and come at me, if you're fool enough to try!
Yeah, Blanca let's just go with that first plan.
Can't let this ridiculous guy win!

Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf

The hell you will!

Music: Glint of Light ~ War of the Hungry Wolf

Now we face Ernest T. Seaton aka The Wolfman. Wolfman is matching Blanca being clad in a Wind Class fursuit and bringing 1800 HP to the table. Unprepared, this guy is actually tough seeing as a one on one duel and there's no hard counter to his bullshit. He's just strong. He does have Wolf Technology, after all.

We absolutely need to have a Shield up at all times. No need for a Barrier, since the Wolfman is all physical attacks. Sneaking in a Rage helps immensely as well since we're going to be relying on physical attacks too as Wolfman would take reduced damage from Blanca's go-to Soul Comet. Which is kind of a dick move for the technique powered up the entire questline.

With Shield up, Wolfman's standard attack string still does 55 damage. It's around 155 damage without Shield. I don't know about the 36% physical defense math there, game. Additionally, Wolfman's physical attacks have an SP lowering version which will just instantly eat 4 SP off of Blanca. Which if the battle is prolonged could spell trouble.

Ernest's most ridiculous yet damaging attack is the pinnacle of his Wolf Technology -- Rocket Fist! Using cutting-edge advancements in wolf science, Wolfman... pulls the glove off his suit and chucks it at Blanca's head. He then quickly runs over to recover it and put it back on while Blanca recovers from the blow. Somehow this does around 110-130 HP of damage with a Shield up and nearly 300 HP of damage without one. Ernest should take off the mascot suit and get into actual baseball with an arm like that.

The biggest thing with Ernest is he has Energy Charge which raises his Physical Attack power by 125% on the next turn. Blanca needs to take the next turn using Block or else he's going to eat shit. With Shield up and Blocking, it's barely an issue. Blanca taking it on the chin with an Energy Charge physical attack string is 350 damage easily. An unblocked Rocket Fist without Shield will outright kill Blanca in one hit, it deals nearly 800 HP of pain and still 500 HP with Shield up. Why is this middle-aged man in a fursuit so strong?!

This battle actually requires defending and healing and I nearly had to worry about my SP gauge for once. It's crazy to have a Shadow Hearts: Covenant boss battle that isn't just. Cast buffs. Dogpile. No pun intended.

That all said, I did hit Wolfman with that pesky Delay which completely torpedoed his momentum since Blanca was getting two turns to his every single turn.

Wolf Technology is no match for the genuine article.

Music: Result ~ Victory

And with that, the final Wolf Bout opponent is defeated. Now let's go see what Ernest has to say for himself after his unprecedented fighting tournament sponsor heel turn. The nerve!

Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town

That's what happens to guys who try to mask what they really are...

Ernest takes off his mask and starts trotting away but stops at the base of the stairs.

Grrr... Awroo! (Now tell me why you started this stupid competition in the first place.)

Ernest walks back and starts dancing. It's very odd.

About twenty years ago, I used to hunt wild beasts. That's when I ran into Lobo--as my enemy. After a fierce battle, I beat him.
He put up his best but even his keen wolf skills could not detect the claymore I had planted.
...That seems fighting dirty.
All is fair in the heat of battle.

But as soon as I defeated Lobo, I got an intense desire to fight even stronger wolves. But there weren't any wolves stronger than Lobo. I decided to create some by having wolves fight each other. That was the start of the Wolf Bout.
Grrr... (All that for the sake of your petty ego?)
<enters fighting stance> That's right. Well, I ended up losing to you, but I'm satisfied. I was happy just to fight a strong wolf like you.
The feeling is not mutual.
<goes back to dancing> But you still have a job to do. You have to kill me and get revenge for Lobo.

<shakes head> Awroo. (Don't care about that.)
Awroo... Awroo. (I cannot say I need revenge for an ancestor whose only interaction I had was fighting their ghost twice.)
Awroo... (And I don't want Tetsu trying to get revenge on me.)
Awroo! (That's right!)
Awroo. (Even though I would end him in a flash.)

<holds up paw> ...Thank you for everything, Blanca. And congratulations. Here's your final stamp!

Soul Comet has now been upgraded to its second form of Red Comet. I'm not sure why Blanca is summoning Char Aznable into battle but I'll take it. Though, in actuality, it's Soul Comet but red-tinted and at the end of the attack, Wolfman teleports in and gives an uppercut to the enemy. Sure... Why not? May as well return Wolf Technology to the side of the wolves.

A mysterious man who
plotted to destroy the
world of wolves. Finally
revealed to be Ernest.
His handmade wolf suit
is a vessel for
wolf technology.

Additionally, we gain the ultimate weapon for Blanca. Enemies become demoralized when they seem they are going against the best boy. The +197 Physical and +199 Special Attack also helps.

It's the fruit of my research. Animal Technology--surpassing even Wolf Technology! I'm sure it will help you in future battles.
Awroo... Awroo, awroo! (Beast medal, huh...? Pretty fancy name. Thanks. I'm sure it'll come in handy.)
A weapon to surpass Metal Wolf Chaos...
Awroo. (I don't know what that means.)

I might write some more animal hunting fanfiction. Begin a youth training program. Start a town. Maybe build a castle.
Awroo? (But no more Wolf Bouts, right?)
Of course, of course.
<rubs chin> Hmm... bears bouts...

Awroo. <Hmph. That's cute.>
Awroo! <Sure is!>

That is technically the conclusion of the Wolf Bouts and very much is so as far as rewards go. But... there is an epilogue to the Wolf Bout and Ernest saga. Which involves returning to Tiffauges Castle. Yeah, I know I said we weren't coming back here. But I wasn't aware of this until now since there is zero indication this is a thing. But, that's about par for the course at this juncture in Shadow Hearts 2's endgame.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

So doing this is sort of a pain in the ass. Our goal is to return to Henri. Remember, he said Ernest cursed him? Perhaps we should check to see if that lifted. Oh yeah, we should have asked Ernest what the fuck is up with him cursing humans to try to get his ultimate wolf. That's kind of fucked up. Anyway, Henri is on the ass end of this dungeon. It's even further a trek than it takes to get to the boss room. And the problem is there are still random battles. And there are no shortcuts TO the side of the dungeon Henri is on. There's a shortcut out from around there near to the dungeon exit. But it's one way only. This means I have to do the whole goddamn dungeon again basically.

Yay! Can I note, I equipped the accessory that reduces random battles and that thing does FUCK ALL. It must make it so it's 20 steps between a battle instead of 18 at the very most. ETA for next random battle 12 11.5 seconds.

I have to watch over them until they can finally rest in peace. To atone for my sins, you see.
Your sins...? Then does that mean you're--?
Me...? I'm simply a mere guide. That is all...
Okay. Phew.
And a very prolific mass murderer of children.
Don't be alarmed. I am bound here forever. As are all my victims.
...Uhh. If I punched you out of existence could I... help them?
I'm afraid not, sir.
Oh... uhh... I guess, I will... just go, then...
Very good, sir. Enjoy your stay.

After 20 minutes of running back through this lousy dungeon for a second time, we find a little old man in Henri's place.

I used to be the wolf wearing glasses. I got a little... rowdy last time we saw each other...?
Henri...? Oh, that talking wolf! You changed back. Hey, good for you.
I think Ernest was the one who put the curse on me. So when you defeated Ernest, the curse lifted. How can I ever thank you? I know I'm an old man, and I don't have much longer to live, but I really hated the thought of dying in my wolf form.
<turns to Blanca> Yeah, being a wolf is pretty embarrassing and all...

Oh, uh... No, that's not what I meant. Please don't take offense.
So what are you going to do now?
Well, I was on a trip when all this happened. I think I'll just continue my journey.
I see... Well, take care. You're not a kid anymore, you know.
And there is, you know, a world war going on. So watch out for that.
I know. You take care too, everybody.

Henri starts walking away but turns back.

Next time you go to Montmartre, you might see an interesting development.
I'll show what happens when someone messes with Henri the Tiger!

And with that, Henri walks off out of the game and we're free to leave the castle and never return. For real this time.

Though I'm just now realizing. I think Ernest and Henri get the most unique character portraits in the game. In our main party, only Karin and Joachim get two. In the villainy department, only Rasputin and Nicholai get a second one for their possessed versions. Lobo got a very slightly altered younger portrait. And everyone else, including Yuri and Kato, the main protagonist and antagonist at this point, only have a single portrait. Weird...

I suppose we should return to where we last saw Ernest and see what's what.

Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town

Huh...? What's up with this rugrat? He a friend of yours?
Awroo... (Never seen him before...)
It's me! Tetsu! Don't you remember me?
Tetsu...? That little wolf Ernest had with him?
I didn't recognize you without that... I don't even know what to call that expression.
Super cool?

Awroo! (But you're a human.)
But I always was a human! I was just wearing a wolf suit that Ernest made me.
...Well, what do you know...
...We let a sex pervert go.
But never mind that. You gotta help me! It's Ernest... He turned into... a bug!
Awroo? (A bug?)
Gee, this is getting more and more ridiculous...
Could you point me in his direction so I can go squish him? That'd be great.
And then he said he had to set up an Insect Bout so he could turn back into a human, and went flying off somewhere!
Awroo... (Hmm, insect... bug... Come to think of it...)

I'll show what happens when someone messes with Henri the Tiger!

Sadly, we cannot track down and squish Ernest who stuffed children into wolf suits, put curses on old men, and held an international dogfighting competition. Which is a lot of fucked up things to pin on the chest of a real guy that was seemingly perfectly decent. Anyhow, that's another sidequest put to rest. And I believe the last time we have any reason to return to... quite possibly any part of Paris.

We're getting there. Someday this cursed LP can end and I can finally rest.

Video: Episode 128 Highlight Reel
(Red Comet is shown off at the end.)

Ernest Portrait Concept Art - I wonder how the real Ernest Senton would feel about being a dogfighting organizer with a bloodlust for the strongest wolf, child abuser, curse practitioner and fursuit wearer who ultimately gets Franz Kafka'd into an insect in a Japanese video game... His first question would probably be "what the fuck is a video game...?"