The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 138: Episode CXXXII: The Black Forest Flowers

Episode CXXXII: The Black Forest Flowers

I'm going to be real. A drunk in a bar in Le Havre getting shitfaced at noon saying he saw talking flowers in the wilderness of Germany is probably the very weakest justification we've had for going to a new dungeon. Tiffauges Castle just being "castle's haunted, dawg" is a close second. But at least that one had the fact it looked like the Mirror Palace where Albert Simon was chilling out earlier and merited further investigation.

We can't tell much from here. Let's go in a little further.

In this case, Lucia just wanted to dick around in the woods so here we are... But perhaps the drunkard had some merit in his tale, since...

Hey! This flower... talked?!
Oh, goody! Then it really is the right forest! Let's get looking, everybody!
Yeah! We'll make bucket loads of money!
And we'll be able to drink as much as we want!
Oh, so no change for you?

No! We can't sell the flowers!
...Then what the hell are we doing here?
Looking for a special flower!
<motions to talking flower> I think we did it.

*ahem* Excuse me. If I could just have your attention for a moment...
Pipe down, you guys! I can't hear what the flower is saying!
...Do I have your attention? It seems you intend to enter this forest, but please reconsider. This is an enchanted forest. Travelers get lost inside it. Once you enter, there's no guarantee you'll get out.
What?! ...But we're not worried about that. Even the drunk made it back out!
True. If he managed it, we ought to be able to do it too.
If that sloshed guy could do it then it should be no problem for us. We're all sober. Mostly.
<hic> What? I'm just mildly buzzed. This is the third forest in Germany we've wandered around in for hours.

Very well. If that is your decision... But please first heed my words very carefully. This forest is guarded by a mysterious power. You must listen to the flowers if you want to proceed.
However, as flowers are all rather fickle, they often don't tell the truth.
If a red flower speaks after you talk to a yellow flower, the red flower will speak truthfully.

A blue flower will speak truthfully after you talk to a red flower, and a yellow flower after a blue flower.

<shakes head>

Lucia, Gepetto, and Yuri grow bored of this long-winded explanation and all wander off.

Karin hesitates for a moment and then quickly runs away from the dungeon tutorial flower as well as it continues to yammer on.

Do not forget my words! I'll be praying for your safe journey...

We now must form The Dancer Party for the Black Forest with Lucia as the mandatory party leader. We'll be using the usual suspects. Joachim still hasn't done his optional quest and we're going to want him to continue to bulk up in preparation for... the festival...

Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon

Despite our intrepid party of adventurers who cannot be arsed to give the first shit about any of this end game content, we do need to heed the White Flower's long-winded explanation because guess what?! This is another puzzle dungeon repeating two different map assets twenty times and calling it a day! Fantastic... We'll be encountering assorted talking flowers at forks in the road and must speak with them in a certain order to gain directions to dive deeper into the Black Forest. To boil down the explanation, the order of talking to flowers is:

It's not a matter of one of the flowers will give correct directions. In this instance, we're supposed to talk to the Red Flower then the Blue Flower.

If we follow the Red Flower's advice OR talk to them out of order, the flag to progress will not trigger and it will result in...

Looks like we get warped back here if we make a mistake.

Getting booted all the way to the start of the dungeon. We want to avoid resetting progress in this dungeon.

So we're meant to go down the left and middle paths. The entire dungeon up until the end is just repeats of these two maps and following the proper directions until we get to another fork and set of flowers with further directions to follow. It is... less than compelling.

Black Flower is just universally a grumpy jerk and I like his moxie.

Unlike Kurando's Dog Shrine that was a very breezy trek since the map transitions were so small, the Black Forest's maps are just long enough that we're likely to get at least one random battle per screen.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

A trio of enemies composes the mobs of the Black Forest. The first one is Beatrice a Light elemental haunted doll with 352 HP. It fires off the Bright Banish spell and... that's kind of it. The creature has some kind of moth under its skirt and the scientific term for the common palmfly moth of southeast Asia is Elymnias Hypermnestra Beatrice. So I'm guessing that is where it derives its name from.

Accompanying the doll we have the Golden Beetle which is... well, a beetle that is gold pushing around some manner of fruit wrapped in vines sprouting flowers. It is an Earth elemental monster with 360 HP that enjoys rolling over people with its ball of vegetation and occasionally lobbing magical rocks.

The Japanese name of the Golden Beetle is "Polisun" which is the Ukrainian name for the Slavic mythological creature better known as a Leshy.

Wikipedia on Leshy posted:

Click here for more!

The Leshy is a tutelary deity of the forests in pagan Slavic mythology. As the spirit rules over the forest and hunting, he may be related to the Slavic god Porewit.

The Leshy is masculine and humanoid in shape, is able to assume any likeness and can change in size and height. He is sometimes portrayed with horns and surrounded by packs of wolves and bears. In some accounts, Leshy is described as having a wife (Leshachikha, Leszachka, Lesovikha and also, sometimes, the Kikimora of the swamp) and children (leshonki, leszonky). He is known by some to have a propensity to lead travelers astray and abduct children (which he shares with Chort, the "Black One"), which would lead some to believe he is an evil entity. He is, however, also known to have a more neutral disposition towards humans, dependent on the attitudes and behaviours of an individual person, or local population, towards the forest.Leshy could take children who were cursed by their relatives (in particular, parents) away to the forest people. Some would therefore describe him as more of a temperamental being, like a fairy.

Personally, the only time I've encountered a Leshy in a video game was wandering into the wrong goddamn neighborhood in The Witcher 3 and Geralt getting sent to the shadow realm by a giant deer skulled 12 feet tall pissed dude. So... a shiny beetle with a ball of compost is someone of a downgrade and doesn't have dick to do with the name inspiration creature other than it's in the woods. So I guess it's fine they localized its name to it to be... just exactly what it is.

The final of the Black Forest three is the Penangglan a creature that looks like it stepped out of a canceled Metroid game. It is of the Water class and has 368 HP to its name. It just bites people. It likes to bite people. That's all it does. Just taking a big ol' bite if given the chance.

Penangglan is a Malaysian folklore vampire ghost that is a floating woman's head with a trail of its internal organs decidedly not internal.

Wikipedia on Penanggalan posted:

Click here for more!

The penanggal or penanggalan is a nocturnal vampiric entity from Malay ghost myths. Its name comes from the word tanggal meaning to remove or take off, because its form is that of a floating disembodied woman's head with its trailing organs still attached. From afar, it twinkles like a ball of flame, providing an explanation for the will-o'-the-wisp phenomenon. Though commonly referred to in its native languages as a ghost, the penanggalan cannot be readily classified as a classical undead being. Rather, it is a witch that developed the ability to take such a form through meditation in a vat of vinegar. The creature is, for all intents and purposes, a living human being during daytime or at any time when it does not detach itself from its body.

In Malaysian folklore, penanggal are mortal women who practice black magic. To become a penanggal, a woman must meditate during a ritual bath in vinegar, with her whole body submerged except for the head. Only active in penanggal form at night, the creature regularly soaks its organs in vinegar to shrink them for easy entry back into her body. The penanggal thus carries an odor of vinegar wherever she flies, and returns to her body during the daytime, passing as an ordinary woman. However, a penanggal can always be told from an ordinary woman by the smell of vinegar. The penanggalan's victims are traditionally pregnant women and young children. As traditional Malay dwellings were stilt-houses, the penanggal would hide under the stilts of the house and use its long tongue to lap up the blood of the new mother. Those whose blood the penanggalan feeds on contract a wasting disease that is almost inescapably fatal. Furthermore, even if the penanggalan is not successful in her attempt to feed, anyone who is brushed by the dripping entrails will suffer painful open sores that won't heal without a bomoh's help.

We're a touch off base with giant mouthed Super Metroid Brinstar creature reject.

Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon

Back on the trail, the only noteworthy loot until the end of the dungeon is one of the final cards in Lucia's Tarot Card set -- The Chariot. This either damages all enemies or the entire party by 50% depending on the direction it lands. The Special Effect is killing all enemies on the field instantly (I don't think this works on bosses) or doing a full party wipe resulting in a Game Over. Terrific!

The next set of flowers we hit up we need to talk to and ignore the Blue Flower first and follow the seemingly hung-over Yellow Flower.

Following that the directions get longer and more complicated coming from the truthful White Flower. I hope you can remember all that doing at least three or four random battles along the way.l

After that, we've got Yellow then Red to speak with and it is left-hand turns all the way down.

Same, Black Flower. But we're going to have to listen to the Blue one to make any progress.

We finally reach the end of the dungeon denoted by a save point and a last pair of flowers.

In preparatory work, it may be in our best interest to equip everyone with Crucifixes or at least something that guards against Paralysis status. It may make our time ahead easier. Oh and we should most definitely save before going further... Once that's done we can walk ahead to trigger a flower conversation.

You mustn't be so rude! Don't you have any idea how difficult it is to make it this far?
Shut yet yap, paleface!
All they had to do was follow directions and walk down paths. Difficult my ass. I could do that.
You don't have legs, good sir.
That's not gonna stop me! Nothin' gonna stop me!

...Well, they've here now, I guess, so I suppose I've gotta deal with 'em. Hey, stinkweeds! Turn left here and get the hell out of this forest. And don't show your ugly mugs again!
My goodness! What uncouth things this one says! Please don't pay any attention to him. To proceed into the forest, turn right here. You still have a long way to go, but good luck!
But the last flower said we were nearly at our destination.
Oh you are, friends. Just down the path to the right. One must gallantly carry on the road ahead.

Why the hell did ya have to tell 'em?
I've had just about enough out of you! Kindly stop talking to me altogether!

Well, the White Flower is always truthful and I sure as hell don't want to restart this dungeon from scratch before getting to any tangible goal or at least beating up some manner of eldritch abomination for money and prizes. And the Black Flower is nothing but a dick. So to the right we go!

I was kind of getting that feeling too.
It has been the same map repeating the whole time before but now it's feeling...
Extra samey...?
...Yeah. And it's been hours since we saw the last flower with directions.
I'm not really missing those chattering things.
Am I crazy or did I hear that White Flower mutter something sinister as we were walking away?

You're just imagining things. Now let's show some spirit and get going!
I've got a bad feeling about this...

Music: Death and Defeat ~ Game Over

God DAMMIT, Lucia!! You're now responsible for both of the only two Game Overs in the entire LP! What is your DEAL, lady?!

Lucia Concept Art - The herald of Shadow Hearts 2 failure states.