Part 137: Episode CXXXI: On Further Keys and Trials of SolomonEpisode CXXXI: On Further Keys and Trials of Solomon
Can you feel it? In the air... A rumbling in the distance. A feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach. It's more JRPG bullshit busywork. It approaches once again. It keeps coming. Like the endless march of time, it tramples you beneath its heel. Its name...
Music: Deep Meditation ~ Title
So we have actually obtained all but two Magic Crests in the game. One is at the end of the final optional dungeon we need to tackle and the other is a special Magic Crest obtained by all other Crests and finishing all of Solomon's Trials. So, I reckon we ought to fill in the rest of Solomon's Keys regions on the board up to this point. The Bastion of Riches is our first objective.
We're just going to go down the list unless something is too esoteric to immediately place. Andromalius is rather vague and I'm not sure if two shitty desert tents count as "treasure hordes" but it's the only location that has two of a thing on this map. So it goes there.
Valefor is adjacent to the Wilderness of War, which is the map to the northeast, and the watchtower is that central structure. So he gets placed here.
We're skipping to the back half now because the next few qualify for the "I have no idea what you're talking about without context" placements. Malphas built the watchtower. So he probably lives there, right?
This place is lousy with treasure, unlike that supposed horde of treasure in tents to the north. So Belial hangs out here.
Next to the watchtower. Wings and horns. Next to the Spring of Wisdom, which is just south of this. The horns are admittedly hard to detect at such a low resolution but they're there as is Haagenti.
A bunch of crystals and the Palace is the region right next to this location. That seems like Decarabia's home, eh?
Three dudes hanging out at a table next to the Spring of Wisdom looks like this. Let's hope nobody does a spinning lariat to Seere lest he sicks a golem on them and starts a cannibal space baby apocalypse.
We know where Seere goes and while there are two options adjacent to Seere and the watchtower... he goes here. Because that's where he goes. Look, these things aren't all entirely clear...
It seems like there is a bunch of alchemy bullshit going down here and it is next to the Palace region so Zagan finds his spot in this slot.
The west side of the watchtower is fairly clear. Shax welcome home.
And with that, we have completed the Bastion of Riches. I just replayed Bastion recently. Still, a pretty damn good game, as it turns out. I should get back into playing Hades... Anyway, completing this region of the Keys of Solomon unlocks:
Andromalius - Holy Resist, Bright Banish
Valefor - Heal
Belial - Heat Resist, Red Cradle
Zagan - Earth Resist, Rock Strike
Shax - Gathering
Malphas - Gale Spark, Bright Crime
Haagenti - Aqua Resist, Hail Crash
Decarabia - Cure Plus
Seere - Air Resist, Gale Spike
Cimeies - Arc Heal
So top-tier magic spells and resistance to elements for the most part. The latter of which is just a waste of a turn for the most part at this point. This game is oddly starting to have a Koudelka feel of they put way too much shit into the battle system compared to what the actual gameplay entailed. Obviously, it's not THAT egregious. There's no PIE stat. But the amount of buffs and debuffs and levels of spells you just... do not need to engage with at all is getting to be staggering.
The most I've grinded in this game is forcing a few extra battles to get Joachim out of a morph I did not want for a boss fight. It's almost entirely been just doing every random battle that comes my way with little else. The only time I ever use Crest Magic is for debuffs/buffs/healing and beyond that, just decent AOE spells to take out enemy trash mobs quickly. There is almost never a reason to use specific magic on bosses rather than characters' special techniques or physical attacks. The latter of which has a whole system tied to it that inflicts its own status effects that are far more effective than any magic debuffs as almost every boss is immune to 'em.
I almost kind of think the game would be better if it forced you into a lot of specific party configurations like Shadow Hearts 1. Actually having to properly utilize Kurando for a few hours after ignoring him for a long stretch was the most interest I've had in the combat segments of the game in a while. Shadow Hearts 1 did have the folly of Yuri and Alice being just mandatory after a point since playing the game naturally they were both essential and out leveled everyone easily by quite a magnitude.
But ehh... it is what it is. Too many systems with little purpose were the name of the JRPG game for a good decade from the mid-90s to mid-aughts. Let's just live with it and move on to the second zone we're clearing out: The Spring of Wisdom.
Well, you can't get farther southeast than literally the southeast corner of the map. So I would imagine Amdusias is located here.
Giant telescope. Andrealphus. That name sounds like a weird sneeze.
This one is a little vague but this is the only spot encroaching on the Bastion's otherwise square map so Vapula goes here.
The sea region and a smokestack I suppose is an incinerator of dubious purpose are both here. As is Vine.
Astronomy is popular on this side of the map and this mansion has a telescope so Orias must hang in this spot. I skipped Valak because they are entirely contextual on other units we've yet to place.
Guy lives in the spring. Pictured Gusion's spot at a spring.
Lives next to Gusion and it looks like a bunch of nerds doing nerdy shit so Stolas has his place in life.
Buer is up to some freaky shit and two guys leering over a table at a naked corpse seems like freaky shit. And it's next to Gusion's spring so Buer does depravity here.
Next to Gusion and the Palace slots nicely here for Foras's joint.
Another vague one but there is only the one available slot net to Stolas so I would guess this nondescript slot is for Botis.
Guy has a tower. We have a tower. Marbas lives here.
Yeah, he knows gems, looking at stars and "medicine." There's only one slot next to Amdusias and that's where local drug dealer Marax slings his wears.
There is only one space available adjacent to the central spring so Ronove finds a spot here getting high off fumes from the incinerator like a weirdo.
There is only a single slot that is connected to Buer and it's not near the other two guys he doesn't like. So Valak's haunt is right here.
There's only one final slot left and not being next to Marax isn't too clear a hint. Whatever. By order of elimination, Naberius is squatting here.
And that is the Spring of Wisdom eliminated from the board. It yields:
Vapula - Arc Rage
Stolas - Arc Cure
Botis - Gathering
Naberius - Arc Gale
Foras - Raise Up
Gusion - Resurrection
Buer - Cure All
Orias - Earth Edge, Heat Edge
Marbas - Air Edge, Dark Edge
Ronove - Aqua Edge, Holy Edge
Valak - Arc Barrier
Andrealphus - Entrance
Vine - Arc Mirage
Marax - Arc Heal
Amdusias - Arc Shield
Way more a support suite of buffs and protection on this end which makes them far more likely to get some use.
The central area of the Key of Solomon is the Palace of Transgression and it is home to all the boss-related Magic Crests such as Asmodeus, Astaroth, and all the ones the demon bosses at the end of the optional endgame dungeons have been dropping. We still have one of those to tackle so we'll leave this region be for the time being and back out of Solomon's Keys.
But we're not done with the good old king of Israel yet. Unfortunately, we're going to go take some time to burn through another set of Solomon's Trials back in Turkey.
Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God
Why the long face?
Well, I keep doing these trials, but for every one I complete, there seem to be two new ones to do!
It's getting to be a grind. A grind where I don't get XP. The worst kind of grind...
<holds out arms> As you overcome the trials, your power gets ever closer to that of King Solomon. Don't you feel honored?
The prizes haven't even been that good for the effort. I've at least gotten some story or SOMETHING interesting out of other diversions. This just a retooled pit fight some dangerous magic orphans used to do back in London and the back of a seedy bar in Shanghai. Before it exploded.
Nonsense. This is a storied trial lasting eons to hone the skills of warriors such as yourself.
C'mon, lady I'm picking fights off a list. I did this same thing with a soul-stealing 12-year-old with an options menu written in crayon.
Look, I've never met this Solomon guy! I don't know anything about him...
T-take it easy, Yuri!
She's just doing her job. You can't do anything getting mad at her. You're going to need to speak to her manager to get anywhere. You're just upsetting her.
Huh?! Oh! Sorry! A-are you angry?
Look, I'm sorry! I-I said too much! I'm really sorry! Please, don't be mad, okay?
...Will you do the trial?
O-of course! Sure I'll do it!
<nods> Very well! Let's get on with it before you change your mind. Are you ready?
It's my duty to test you. Do you want to attempt a more difficult trial?
Yeah! Bring it on!
That spiel was actually introducing the Trial of Embodiment which is unlocked by visiting Asuka Stone Platform and initiating the endgame quests. We'll tackle that next time. Today we're going to burn our way through the Trial of Worshipper set which was unlocked following our visit to the Immortal Mountain and Nicolai's death. And... oh fuck me, I have to use most of the characters I haven't touched since they stopped being plot relevant? And they can only use magic. Which, other than Blanca, that checks out. I just need to take a few minutes to equip everyone with idle Crest Magic of the AOE variety to make this go as swiftly as possible and...
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
The game kind of knows you definitely have neglected at least a couple of these characters. There is no way you've been having multiple magic-oriented users. Hell, the reason Blanca is my utility character is he's decent at magic and can actually hit worth a damn if need be. Gepetto, Lucia, and Anastasia are wet rags physically.
To that end, they're throwing fairly low-risk encounters from late Disc 1 and early Disc 2's proceedings at us. Such as a pair of Emptiness, two Lemures, and a Danters from Apoina Tower Disc 1 end.
Then we've got a trio of Koshoki that were rapidly spawned from the science magic wolf tearing up shit at the Imperial Capital's streets.
Against all odds, there are still a couple of remaining Steel Soldiers and a Flying Drone X that survived the Hojo Research Laboratory massacre. We'll fix that right quick.
Mutant Snails from the Forest of Wind that if you'd neglected any optional content you'd never fight to make the penultimate round of the benchwarmer party and the good boy.
And finally, the magic-only team has to take on the Armored Fighter the Mutant Apes tangoed against within the Ouka dungeon from early on in Disc 2.
So I decided to something stupid here and gave Lucia a second chance to redeem herself and the Tarot Card disaster of the SG Italian Branch Incident.
I'm willing to give most people a second chance to turn it around.
Immediately after that Armored Fighter just kicked the living shit out of Lucia and I didn't even bother to revive her before finishing the fight. Just toss her limp corpse off the edge of this astral plane. Nobody will miss her.
I can't fucking believe Lucia screwed me again. That boss fight redux went three extra rounds because I had to get everyone's HP and MP back up and fix Gepetto from going Berserk. Lucia stayed dead. Don't even look at this lie of her climbing to her feet as though she contributed to completing the trial. Pah!
Silver Angel four of five is collected from completing the first level of the Worshipper trials. As with the final Magic Crest, the last Silver Angel is kept in the remaining dungeon crawl we'll be venturing toward in our next adventure.
Worshipper, Level 2 is the other half of the party being barred from using any magic. That's perfectly fine. There are no random Tarot Cards to hurt us...
Up first on the docket here is another trio of dog spawn Koshoki.
A fire sale on remaining mechas from the Hojo Laboratory with a trio of Beetle Walkers and another Flying Drone X.
The Towd, Enku, and Yomi Samurai denizens of Garan's Purgatory. Not to be mistaken from the Otherworld.
Five more Mutant Snails. You ever had escargot? I did once since I'll try any food while traveling if it's put in front of me and has observably been eaten by another human and they didn't start foaming out of the mouth and drop dead. It tastes kind of like an earthy chicken if it had the texture of say... a clam, I suppose. I was not big on it.
Finally, Garan back in his Purgatory's Yama Garan form is here for one last go at it with a trio of Enku minions.
It goes the way it always goes for Garan. With him dying again and nobody caring he existed. The Trial of Worshipper 2 is down!
We gain another Ultra Belt here. I was actually very incorrect about the Steps mini-game providing the only one of those. I have four now from the optional dungeons and this. It's just the top-tier belt accessory that you cannot buy from normal means.
There are only three trials in the Worshipper class and the final one is a party with one member down and Fast Ring in effect. Everything else is a go.
We'll take Yuri, Karin, and Blanca as our crew by sheer virtue of Joachim's Judgment Ring is a wee bit harder to hit than Blanca's when I need to react to Fast Ring status.
We're jumping around for this set of battles. We're all the way back to the Otherworld (not to be mistaken with Purgatory) of our first Garan encounter with a Gaki, Pera-pera, and a pair of Noh Masks.
There's still a flash sale on mechas at the Solomon's Trials with two Beetle Walkers, a Flying Drone X, and Steel Soldier from the Hojo Labs.
We're back to the Purgatory party with four Enku and the designated driver Yomi Samurai.
Joining the party late are a Towd, Yomi Samurai, and Enku.
And finally, that dog that got turned into a monster beast by shocking Nicolai's balls too hard, Shoki, is the last challenge of the Worshipper level of Solomon's Trials.
Yeah... an early Disc 2 boss is not particularly taxing. And that completes our session of Solomon's Trials for today.
Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God
Our final reward for completing Trial of the Worshipper is the Dragonfangs the... second-best weapon set for Yuri. They boast +195 Physical and +177 Special Attack Power and we'll never equip them because we already have obtained his superior ultimate weapon for much less effort...
Thanks for nothing, Solomon's Trials! Goddammit, I don't believe I still need to come back here for one more update later. It's endless this endgame!
I know Solomon's Bullshit is not the most engaging content for the LP. So let's just go and initiate the steps for the final dungeon of optional engagement we'll be crawling through next go around. For this, we need to return to Le Havre.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Particularly, we need to enter Granny Lot's bar on the southern end of the town. Not to talk to her. Her relevance evaporated as soon as we had Joachim formally join the party.
No, we want to speak with this fellow, Drunken Gauss who is getting sauced at one in the afternoon and looks suspiciously like the drunkard we encountered in the bar in the Port of Southampton.
<waves hand around face> Gak! You smell! How much have you been drinking?!
Yes is not an amount.
<hic> Yes it is!
Hello...! You people come to drink too? <hiccup> Lemme buy you one. I just made a whole bunch of money. I can't use it up all by myself...
<steps forward> Buy us a drink? Well, if you're sure you don't mind...
Back off, Gramps!
He's offering. It'd be rude to refuse.
Yeah, you're still on thin ice for that whole haunted house thing and having your daughter's soul in the doll that is creeping us all out.
Yuck! It stinks here. Do we have to stay?
Aw, don't be that way. We can stay! Just for a little while, okay?
You freeloaders need to buy something if you're going to stay!
Hey, lady. We saved your adopted children and got the mob off your back.
Yeah, six months ago! That's not paying toward my goddamn rent! Buy a drink or beat it!
She's got a point.
You are not getting a drink on the party's funds.
I went on a trip and got lost in some strange woods. Then I found some glowing flowers in all different colors! I picked 'em and brought 'em back, and made tons of money! Now I don't even feel like working anymore. <hiccup>
...Glowing flowers in all different colors? Tell me more about them. Mister!
The flowers talk?
Don't remember what they said. I don't usually listen even to people! Anyway, the flowers were deep in that forest.
Are you sure you weren't just drunk? Or high? Or both?
Oh, most definitely. But those talking flowers sobered me right up, I'll tell you what!
...Say, everybody. I want to go there!
What? You want to go?
But I want to go! I want to go! Please? Please?! Let's go, everybody!! Pleeease?
We should really get back on task...
We just spent the entire day messing with a puzzle board and flew to Turkey to do magic simulation fights. We took an entire day doing a haunted mansion for your weird puppeteer friend. We've been all over the world doing Blanca's dog fighting! Karin had that dungeon of ghost busting! Anastasia made us go through the same dungeon a second time!
...Yeah OK that sucked.
Kurando just got to get some weird sword and yell at his mom. Joachim has his bat family problems. I've not gotten to do anything special!
...You haven't really done anything since you joined us.
Oh, and you're one to talk!
...I interject occasionally...
Well it's my turn now to do something and I wanna do this!
<hic> You tell 'em girl!
Yikes! Fine, fine! We'll go. We'll go, right, everybody?
Oh, boy! Thanks! We'll all go, then!
And with that, the last of the optional dungeons unlocks -- The Black Forest. Guess where our adventures take us next time!
Lucia Expression Concept Art - Lucia is desperately trying to remember how many edibles she ate and it's hitting hard.