Part 14: Episode XIV: Tight FitEpisode XIV: Tight Fit
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Who is ready for a subway dungeon aka a dry sewer level? No raised hands? Not a one? Welp. Too bad! We're doing it and it sucks ass just like damn near every city underground run down tunnel maze dungeon in existence. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was announced while I was recording footage for this section and I damn near had a PTSD episode to its sewers.
The exit to this dungeon is not far at all. There's just one completely absurd problem that rears its head as soon as we approach the train ahead.
This is the way Dr. Gautier told us to go, right? Damn. Looks like we can't get through...
There's a fuse blown on this thing. We can't move it the way it is.
...There is no way we could possibly get around this train with a gap on either end large enough for two full grown adults to stand elbow to elbow and pass by without touching the train or the tunnel. This is our dilemma for this dungeon. And before you ask, no they do not intend to use the train at all. We just need to move the car to get down the tunnel behind it.
So as a result, we'll be spending the next half hour crawling through this joint. In no small part due to...
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
You guessed it! Random battles! No wonder these tunnels are incomplete if workers were getting attacked every 10-15 steps and having to fight off xenomorph worms and hell hedgehogs. The worms go by the name Ekimmu and are a 51 HP Water class jerk. The hedgehogs are very creatively titled Sting. They are 32 HP Earth class enemies with the innate ability to poison with their bites. Neither is particularly troublesome on their own. The problem is that they come in assorted packs of four to six enemies. Sting critters are more common than the Ekimmu as far as battle configurations go (it's usually 3-4 Sting and 1-2 Ekimmu.)
Unlike Lenny's goons back in Ardennes Forest that evaporated immediately after the cutscene where they were allegedly pursuing the party, Clawed Soldiers actually are port of the dungeon roster this go around. They're exactly the same as the ones back in Gepetto's Apartment but are limited to two to three in any random battles. They will often team up with the other two enemy types. I guess Sapientes Gladio has brokered an alliance with the Parisian underground wildlife at some point.
While they've got more numbers, our party now has quite the blossoming array of special attacks at its disposal. We've got wolf spirit charges.
Folks setting their swords on fire and launching them like missiles.
And praising the sun to receive a holy blessing of err... a giant waterspout beneath an enemy's ass.
Most battles at this point end before the enemy even gets a chance to attack and last all of 90 seconds tops. We've come a long way since the days of Koudelka where every single random battle was a three to five-minute slog.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Back to dungeon crawling. Eventually, we find ourselves at a three-way split (with a freebie Shell Bracelet right before the junction.) There is another train we simply cannot go around to the right fork.
The left fork? Oh, it's just a dead end. You may see that strangely high resolution looking letters and digits spray painted on the side of this minecart and think that surely this is some kind of puzzle element. And you'd completely wrong. It's just flavor and this dead end is just a waste of time. There's a lot of those in this subway.
In general, we're heading north and crisscrossing to different tracks because there are mine carts and whatnot in the way. After several minutes of this, peppered with the odd random battle, we eventually come to...
...an old acquaintance. Ring Soul appears before Karin and Yuri. Why in some run down abandoned subway tunnel in Paris, France? Don't worry about that. Ring Soul is just gonna Ring Soul.
Yikes! What the hell are you? A ghost?! And why so high-and-mighty?
This looks like one of those kinda crappy enemies that only magic works on. You can take this one, Karin. Not worth my time.
Oh! It's you again... This is the Ring Spirit, Yuri...
No, no... I'm not a spirit. Nor am I flesh. I am the Ring Soul. The will of the Judg--
<puts hands on hips> So what does he want with us, then?
You peddling some kinda mini-game? Not interested.
The will of the Judgment Ring, the administrator of all fate. I can see it... I can see your future... This I entrust to you...
We get another item that increases the number of attacks a character can use. We'll put that on Blanca so he can join the 3-hit crew alongside Yuri and Karin.
The power to command the Judgment Ring. Such power will help you carve your way through destiny...
...Hmph?! Is that all you can say?!
That was a lotta pomp and circumstance for something you coulda just stuck in a treasure chest.
The blessing of the Ring Soul in a common treasure chest?! Why I never...
Oh, um...he means, thanks! Thank you, Ring Spirit!
It does not pay to forget gratitude... I will appear to you again, to bestow upon you more power... But beware! I am always watching... Watching to see if you are truly the one to command destiny...
The Ring Soul vanishes.
H-he seemed a little angry. I hope it'll be okay...
Whatever. I don't like that always watching spiel he gave at the end. Is it gonna watch me poop? No thanks.
With that, we can continue our meandering trek down the tunnels.
The only new bit of loot we got this whole stretch is this Special Attack Defense Down. If this effect triggers it gives an enemy a 30% reduction in Special Attack (read: anything that consumes MP) defense. We'll put this on Blanca for now since he's regularly attacking anyhow. May as well get some bonus effects from it once in a while.
At the far end of this tunnel, we find a switch. Naturally, we're gonna yank that sucker. What else are you going to do with a random switch in a tunnel? Find out what it does first before doing anything rash? That's not video game adventurer talk.
Somehow, yanking this switch starts up a generator which... moves a train car across the area? Unfortunately, it's not the train car we wanted. Remember back at the three prone fork tunnel where there was a train car on the rightmost tunnel. Yep. That's moved.
So cue several minutes of backtracking down the same tunnels fighting the same three enemies no less than four or five times. This new path gives us another fork in the tracks.
Along the way, in this region, we find another Magic Crest. The Amy Crest has Heat Edge available -- an 8 MP spell that adds the Fire Class to one ally's Physical Attack. We'll stick that on Karin since she's our Fire class character and isn't using a whole lot of MP at this point in the game.
The other tunnel down this path leads us to a ladder leading to the surface. Well, maybe we'll stumble upon an industrial fuse fit for a derelict early 1900s train car up there. Crazier things have happened.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
We've surfaced at a new region of Paris, the Cathedral District. Despite the name and Notre Dame being RIGHT there, we are never stepping foot in there. No hunchback mid-boss battles for this RPG adventure, I'm afraid. There is also a couple of folks hanging out we can chat up while we're getting some fresh air.
Never heard of it.
...Never heard of what?
Notch Damn or whatever the heck.
It's one of the most famous buildings in all of Paris!
Meh. I've seen better. It's no Blue Castle of Transylvania.
I'd take crowds over random battles any day.
If you keep going back to look, you might be able to find a real bargain.
Perhaps after hitting key plot beats or clearing future areas and whatnot.
...That's a weird sales pitch.
Indeed, the only actual point of note in the Cathedral District is this Junk Shop. Let's head in and see if there's anything we can scrape together to get that utterly impassable train out of the way.
Wow, this place has everything. Do you know how hard it is to find a 32x64 resolution blown up JPEG of the Mona Lisa in poster size? That's a find right there.
No? You're looking for a fuse? Of course I have one! Brought back a real good one just the other day. If you want it, you're welcome to it!
...I'm not Gepetto and I didn't say anything.
And thus we have our fuse for the train. I feel like just finding this in some random treasure chest would have been way less awkward than this entire exchange.
I didn't ask...
Don't be silly! I couldn't take money from you for that old thing! Take it. Something else you need? I'd have to charge you for anything else, though, I'm afraid.
...Oh, I see how it goes. Get a free key item to get people hooked and then reel them in with consumables. Sneaky.
The Junk Emporium features everything we saw for sale back in Pierre's shop plus a couple of extra accessories that are well out of our current budget. This area will actually carry all inventories (weapon and armor wise) from across the game. If we, for some reason, wanted an early weapon type. There might be other uses for this Junk Shop in the future. But like many things, that is down the road a sizable way.
Now that we have the fuse, it's just a matter of backtracking all the way to the beginning of the subway to move that pesky train car. But, before we do that...
We have gotten quite a bit of Soul Energy. Indeed, enough to unlock quite a few more Fusions. So let's take a trek back to the Graveyard. For the record, accessing the Graveyard is just like in Shadow Hearts 1 and can only be done from Save Points or the World Map.
Music: Holy Mistletoe ~ Graveyard
Yep... Still a weird Yuri growing out of a creepy tree. That's probably fine.
We've got a number of Elemental options available to us at the moment: Light, Dark, Earth, Water and Wind are all still up for grabs.
Let's try filling one of the elemental niches we're lacking thus far. Yuri is technically Dark elemental class by default. So let's go with the Light Class Fusion. Mix things up a bit.
All we need to do is pump 40 Soul Energy into the Light alter here, just like we did with the Fire one, and...
Oh no, Yuri's heart has been filled with an angsty teenager that hates Troy Baker. These curses just keep piling up.
But on the plus side, we have gotten a new Fusion -- Radeus. Let's just open up Yuri's Personal Status screen and take a look...
Video: Episode 14 Highlight Reel (You should see everyone's Special Arts in action.)
Radeus Fusion Concept Art - Good to see Grobyc from Chrono Cross is still getting work.