Part 139: Episode CXXXIII: Mind the GaapEpisode CXXXIII: Mind the Gaap
At least Shadow Hearts 2 was kind enough to put a save point immediately before doling out a Bad Ending. There are certainly other games I could name featuring robots facing existential crises with advanced booty technology have been far less courteous.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Let's try that again. We do want to get out of this forest at this point so we'll heed the Black Flower in Denial it is a Dark Purple Flower's advice and head to the left fork this time around.
Nice try. We reloaded our save data, dungeon boss.
Drat! I knew installing that Save Point outside my lair was a poor idea. I never should have listened to that Black Flower wretch. Nor should you have!
That voice... You're a white flower!
You guessed it.
Does that mean you were all the talking flowers? That was a lot of trouble just to trick us.
No, no. I'm just the White Flower. The rest are just normal talking flowers.
...Does this mean there are other monsters connected to those flowers too?
No. They are just normal talking flowers! Have you never encountered a talking flower before?!
I can't say I have.
See, this is why I am irritated by unwanted travelers in my forest.
*sigh* I was going to just let you wander around the forest forever, but...
You should feel honored, having the great me be the one to take your lives from you!
Music: Glint of Light ~ Mid Boss in Europe
The master of the Black Forest, Gaap, has arrived. The deceitful flower-vegetation angel is, as with all the rest of the optional dungeon bosses, Non-Elemental and has 7500 HP. Her most noticeable attribute is she is significantly speedier than the other optional bosses we've faced even now when she is one of the last ones we'll be tackling in the End Game era. To counter that it is best to pop off Arc-Gale ASAP to stay competitive with turns.
Using Arc-Surge and sticking with magic attacks as well as Arc-Barrier to give the party some juice defending against magic is also a decent idea. Gaap will throw up and maintain the Shield spell to protect herself physically. And she also has a couple of hard-hitting magic spells we have to contend with as well.
The one debilitating gimmick she has that we needed to negate
Speaking of Lucia. You know what...? It's a really stupid idea but... I'm willing to give her a third and final chance not to completely beef it with the Tarot Card ability. This is your very last shot, lady. Make it count.
Ignore half the screen turning green. That's an emulation bug that's been there the entire LP but I just edited around there since it doesn't affect anything. It doesn't have a decent remedy beyond bumping down to software default PS2 rendering. PS2 emulation is still in the not bad but not great stagnation for a decade and I like running the internal resolution at 4x. You need all that upped fidelity to tell some spent way too much time butting texture detail in Karin's ass. The glitch is actually usually a distorted squashed image of the last time a particle effect occurred from an attack for... some reason. Emulators are weird.
Behind the scenes fuckery aside, Lucia drew the Judgment Card which grants the power to draw a second card via the power of an English angel harassing a naked zombie family in the desert. This will give us a positive effect on the next draw. And for our second card...
ZA WARUDO!! TOKI WO TOMARE!! This flying naked lady doing a cheerleading routine to impress wild animals and her supportive but concerned girlfriend give us double Cash, EXP, and Soul Energy after the battle. Uhh... considering we're at an optional boss battle in the Endgame and the bosses have already been a piñata of ludicrous amounts of experience, money, and souls... that's ain't bad. Good work, Lucia. You did it. It still didn't contribute to winning the battle in any way, shape or form. But at least you didn't get us all killed.
Fun fact: I did this battle properly but had to redo it because the immediate post-battle scene's footage cut off short. I just cheesed my way through it using those Seventh/Fifth Keys and going sickhouse on Gaap in about two turns. But I was curious to see if Lucia would botch her redemption arc if Tarot Cards was tried one more time. Do you know that roulette for selecting cards that pops up to randomly snatch a card from the deck in an element of chance? I messed with save states to play around with it and guess what? It's completely fake! The random element to it is selected at the beginning of Lucia's turn when the game will select a card from Lucia's deck. The roulette is just there for show. No matter how long you let it ride or quickly you stop it, it will always be the same card.
Oh if you're wondering the card was The Star which increases the whole party's maximum HP by 50% for the battle. I also learned... yeah, it increases it by 50% numerically. It didn't say anything about GIVING you that 50% increase. You need to heal up if you want the benefits it offers, sucker. Rude.
Oh yeah and we beat Gaap. Shadow Hearts: Covenant bosses still are less than thrilled about getting hit by 4-Person Combos.
Music: Result ~ Victory
And everyone sure as hell is getting a Level Up! after doubling the experience points payout. Our stupidly large war chest of spare funding is also getting a nice boost. The thing is, unless we want to, I don't know, buy a bunch of Third Keys from the Winter Palace there... really isn't a lot to spend all that money on. The most expensive item in the game was that Asmodeus Crest back in Petrograd for 100,000 Cash. And we don't have any further weapons or armor to pick up in stores. So...
It's going to be a long-running legal battle over how the funds are distributed once the party breaks up at the end of the adventure. Yuri, Kurando and Karin probably won't care. Blanca is a wolf and cannot open a bank account. It's very discriminatory, I know. Gepetto is going to want a piece of that pie for drinking money and more unsettling dress commissions and Lucia is definitely going to want a cut. Joachim doesn't know what money is or how to use it. Anastasia, you've got to watch out for... That's funds for the war effort she'll claim is all for the Russian Empire and can undoubtedly lawyer up the most in court. Fuckin' nobles...
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Hehe. But that's okay. I bet if I go with you, I'll see things a whole lot more interesting than this forest!
Oh, yes. There are caves and repeating temples and buildings made almost entirely out of hallways. It's a wonderful world out there.
Defeating Gaap earns us a Magic Crest of the same name. This is the very last outstanding Magic Crest for completing the Solomon's Key sidequest and fully powering up all the quests. But we'll address that after we finish up in the Black Forest.
That drunk guy sure was lucky.
Everybody! Over here!
Adriatic Magnolia? You meant that flower Carla was talking about?
The very one!
How do you remember that but not basic geography?
<shrug> Fighting the big freaky pink cat, probably made it stick.
We could make some really, really amazing aroma oil with this! Come on, everybody! Let's hurry up and take it to Carla before it withers!
Lucia dashes out of the woods.
She's got us running errands all over the world...
Is that any different from Blanca and his wolf fightin'?
No. But Blanca is a good boy so he gets a pass.
Hmm. Fair enough.
The party all depart from the Black Forest and are automatically whisked back to Florence.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Sorry about the wait. I never thought I'd get to work with a real Adriatic Magnolia again!
It'd been so long I was starting to suspect I made the thing up as an excuse to feed shady people to my cat.
<hands Lucia a bottle> Here you go. Adriatic Magnolia aroma oil!
Adriatic Magnolia aroma oil... Tee hee hee! You did it! Yippee!
Here we have the final special oil for Lucia's Aromatherapy ability. The final set of combinations is as follows:
- Aurora Oil + Ocean Oil = Medium amount of HP, and small amount of MP and SP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
- Aurora Oil + Misty Oil = Small amount of HP/MP/SP restored, and Status/Ring Abnormality protection for two turns. 70 MP
- Aurora Oil + Grass Oil = Small amount of HP/MP/SP restored, medium P-DEF/Sp-DEF boost for two turns. 70 MP.
- Aurora Oil + Night Oil = Medium amount of MP, and small amount of HP and SP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
- Aurora Oil + Moon Oil = Small amount of HP/MP/SP restored, Allies attack with Third Key effect for two turns. 900 MP. No that's not a typo.
- Aurora Oil + Shining Oil = Small amount of HP/MP/SP restored. medium P-ATK/Sp-ATK boost for two turns. 70 MP.
- Aurora Oil + Sunrise Oil = Medium amount of SP, and small amount of MP and HP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
- Ocean Oil + Aurora Oil = Large amount of HP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
- Misty Oil + Aurora Oil = Protection against Ring and Status Abnormalities for three turns. 60 MP.
- Grass Oil + Aurora Oil = Large P-DEF and Sp-DEF boost for three turns. 60 MP.
- Night Oil + Aurora Oil = Large amount of MP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
- Moon Oil + Aurora Oil = Allies attack with Third Key effect, for one turn. 750 MP.
- Shining Oil + Aurora Oil = Large P-ATK and Sp-ATK boost for three turns. 60 MP.
- Sunrise Oil + Aurora Oil = Large amount of SP restored for two turns. 70 MP.
Keeping in mind Lucia would need to be have about 30 more levels to reach a pool of 900 MP, I'm not sure that is worth the investment or remotely necessary. Spoilers: I've already recorded footage for the rest of the game doing everything available side bit content-wise, including the super boss, I handily beat the game with the core party members just in their mid-60s level wise.
I know. I know. I'll be careful with it! Tee hee hee!
I dunno why, but I've got a feeling something bad is going to happen...
Yeah, I know what you mean...
As long as she isn't using those Tarot Cards anymore.
Yeah, no kiddin'.
Bless your heart, girl. But you're as dumb as a bag of rocks.
Music: ICARO Piano Arrangement ~ Main Theme
While we are done with the Black Forest proper. We are going to go ahead and sort out the rest of the business tied to completing that last optional dungeon. There is another lengthy, battle-heavy segment ahead of the optional variety but I wouldn't call that a dungeon. It's more of a gauntlet. Or... a festival...
More to the point, we have now collected all 72 Magic Crests and can now complete the Key of Solomon. We'll be doing this by slotting all the high-level boss oriented crests into their appropriate homes in the final central region -- The Palace of Transgression.
Kicking things off it's the pact partner of poor dead smug elemental incel Nicolai and he goes in the topmost slot.
Asmodeus is just yelling POWER out the window to the Spring of Wisdom on this part of the board. Somewhere, deep across the cosmos on a distant world, a space wizard that looks suspiciously like Darth Vader's ears perk up.
Yuri and Albert Simon's Fusion timeshare Amon chills out at the southern part of the map since he likes to zone out and gaze at the ocean.
Orobas the kingly bug/horse with an eyeball penis is neighbors with Astaroth and the Bastion of Riches. He's always getting noise complaints about loudly proclaiming he's going to take over the world and a distant gremlin yelling "That's stupid!"
Our newest and final acquisition, Gaap, is hanging out on the western part of the map and is already crafting another annoying puzzle dungeon as we speak.
Baal is our last placement at the center of the sphere grid and that...
Finishes up the final grid. The Level 20 Crest Magic club gets its full potential unlocked with:
Astaroth - Evil Crest
Orobas - Red Crest
Gaap - Gale Crest
Baal - Rock Crest
Asmodeus - Bright Crest
Amon - Hail Crest
So the highest tier magic spell of every element. Not too shabby. All of these spells cost 80 MP but it's a really bad day if it hits any foe's elemental weakness. But we're not done yet...
You hear a voice...
So King Solomon is real and is indeed a ghost king and not just the voice of a crazy white woman that's been out in the desert sun of Turkey too long. King Solomon is Shadow Hearts: Covenant's super boss and can only be accessed by fulfilling two requirements. One is filling out the Solomon's Key Sphere Grid and gaining his summons.
However... the second requirement? Ugh... Finishing all the Trial of Solomon pit fight gauntlets back with Sarah.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
We'll chip away some more at that tedious rock next time. We're not done wrapping up things on Lucia's Black Forest fallout.
We need to exit the map and reenter to trigger a new event by returning to Carla in her fortune-telling shop.
So how has it been going?
Lady we were just here five minutes ago...
Yes and you shoved a mystical flower into my hands and demanded I brew the rarest of all oils in the art of aromatherapy then ran off as soon as it was completed like ingrates! Lucia, I haven't seen you for coming up on half a year and you can't even tell me what you've been up to? I raised you better than that, girl!
I raised you to do what I tell you and answer my question, girl.
Now that checks out more.
Yeah, she was stuffing her face with rice cakes the whole time in Japan.
We've got a huge guy that packs on carbs to burn exercising all the time and an actual wolf and she out ate both of them. It was a little scary.
Tee hee hee! Actually, I think I gained about ten pounds!
What?! Wait just a minute, girl! A dancer can't afford to gain that much weight!
But they were just so good! I had toasted rice cakes, and rice cake soup and--
And the weight went to all the spots that count. Tee hee.
<looks away and shakes her head> Oh, brother! What that man sees in you, I'll never know.
I got a message from Mr. Lawrence. He said if you had time, he'd like to see you and talk to you about something. Said he'd be in Southampton until next week.
Until next week? And then he's going away somewhere else?
How should I know? Ask him.
The English explorer we met in Wales and later in Gerome Valley.
The one that told us about Sapientes Gladio...? He was secretly a British spy.
He has the most dashing mustache!
Oh! That guy. With the mustache. Yeah, OK. It's starting to come back.
Honestly, how on earth do you not remember a man who told us about the cult we were after for months but can recall the magic flower we dealt with for a day?
<shrug> Blame it on the curse, I don't know. It's supposed to eat my memories or something. Maybe it's deleting minor characters first.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
And that is our last visit to Florence. We will be going to South Hampton to go visit Mr. Lawrence but first, we're going to skip back into the Black Forest for one last tidbit.
The Black Forest's layout has changed. It's only the one single path that is three map screens long. All the flowers have vanished. There is a fork in the road but all roads lead back to Gaap's former lair and the exit. One of the forks does have an elusive Seventh Key which is worth picking up. The other one...
Has a Lucia exclusive accessory that gives +2 to all stats but more importantly it makes Lucia's Tarot Cards have the potential to be a great boon or absolutely murder the entire party immediately. No in-between!
Black Forest is now also crossed off the list of locations to ever need visit again. Let's do the same with the Port of Southampton for one final visit before it too is dumped into the irrelevance pile.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Lawrence is taking a breather taking a look at the majestic scene of a blurry PS2 sky texture on top of the ramparts of Southampton not far from the guy with the straw that initiated the trading quest.
Mr. Lawrence! What is it? What did you want to see me about?
Well, actually, headquarters is sending me on an important mission to Alexandria. They want me to lead the Bedouin in an uprising against the Turkish government to secure victory for the British.
Oh my, the British government would interfere in foreign affairs and help overthrow another government?
<smiles and nods> One of our nation's finest pastimes.
I don't know when I'll be coming back. ...There's something I want to tell you before I go.
What is it? What do you want to tell me?
I've known you since you were a child...
Which makes this next part... awkward...
I'm nearly ten years older than you are, and I've got a secure job...
...I'm not sure you have our age difference right.
Although, I suppose what I do isn't very safe... But I do think it's important work, very worthwhile, and I'm happy to do it.
Of course it's important! Being a spy for England must be so exciting!
Shh! You'll give me away!
Tee hee hee!
Hehe. What's anyone going to do?
Have me arrested for treason or hung for espionage depending on where you ask.
...So I've been thinking. When this assignment is over. I'd like to retire somewhere and enjoy life in peace.
I could ride my motorcycle down old dusty country roads. It would be marvelous.
Oh, that sounds wonderful! You could really relax there. The sea breezes are marvelous too!
S-so what do you say? Would you like to live there with me? As my wife...?
Wh-what do you think? I hope you'll say yes...
My only female acquaintances are yourself and the follower of Solomon back in the valley. And to be honest, I fear that one may be touched in the head. She told me she was married already to the will of King Solomon and stared straight into the sun at length.
<looks away> Well... But...
...I've gained all this weight? Are you sure you don't mind?
You gained weight? Uh, about how much?
Tee hee! More than twenty pounds!!
At least the last time I weighed myself. That was five meals ago. I could be up to twenty-five by now! Tee hee!
Well, as long as you don't get like Carla, I suppose...
Ha ha ha!
Tee hee hee!
But honestly, it would be a strain on our marriage if you shrank by two feet over the course of a weekend.
Ohhhhh. So you like having a woman taller than you?
Tee hee. I see your game.
Oh, that's right! I have a present. I had a dress made for you.
Lucia, I respect what you're doing with the cleavage situation but I'm going to need to see even more titty and some midriff while you're at it, sweetheart.
Tee hee! Naughty man! But all right. When you finish your assignment and come back, I'll dance for you all you like!
A couple of things to note here. The timeline of this nebulously being 1915 for seemingly over a year would put this at the correct time for T.E. Lawrence to set out for what he said his assignment was to Lucia. The thing is... he was born in August 1888 which would put him at 26-27 years old. He's known Lucia since she was a child and is ten years her elder. Except... Lucia is supposed to be 28 years old and would be older than he is... And T.E. Lawrence was notably fairly asexual never having a visible interest in either sex. Through his writings did skew toward a good chance he was gay and was just keeping it on the down-low because it was the 1920s and he was a military man. But we're in a game where Roger Bacon is a 400 year old horny wizard and Princess Anastasia is evading the Romanov purge by hooking up with a Japanese swordsman.. we shouldn't worry about that too much about details in historical love interests. Just some historic details and timeline weirdness.
Plus we never see him again. Later, Thomas and Southampton for that matter.
As a final note, the Bride's Dress is the third and final alternate costume for the Shadow Hearts 2 ladies. Like the others, it's an exclusive item that offers no stat bonus and simply changes Lucia's appearance to an even skimpier set. Yet, for being a dress meant for her to dance sexy in before she and her new husband get to all-night post-marriage banging it is... still far more modest than Karin's stripper outfit.
Enough with the fanservice and any relevance Lucia has to the proceedings of the remainder of the game. Until next time...
A brisk turnaround between dungeons that still gains a handful of new entries into the Library pages.
I'm not sure if that was true because a light breeze could obliterate these things on the first turn.
Beetle just here to troll travelers.
It's Friday? You know what that means! Human meat cheat day on its diet.
Wicked machinations such as making flowers give bad directions that failed to fool a drunk and a bunch of idiots.
Gaap Concept Art - I like this one. It's freaky. It's hard to see in-game but its eyes are bleeding.
Gaap Alternate Concept - This one? Not as much of a fan. Blargh, look at me. I'm a plant. I hit you with vines.
Lucia Alternate Costume Concept Art - Oh no if she gains too much weight she won't fit into my custom-made horny bride outfit! - T.E. Lawrence, 1915