The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 142: Episode CXXXVI: Many Strong Men Await

Episode CXXXVI: Many Strong Men Await

Here we are. The Man Festival. One hundred stories of wrestling rings with a challenge to be dealt with of the legion of Curry Men await. Who are the Curry Men? Where did they come from? What is the process of becoming a Curry Man? Do you need to perform a trial and immense training? At birth are they deemed a Curry Man by a mystic council? Do you fill out a job application and it's a temp gig? Are they human manifestations of the curry they represent? Have they all just been lurking deep in the earth beneath Nihonbashi this whole time, waiting for the day for the ultimate challenge to be tackled by a worthy contender?

Fuck if I know! But they're here and you'd better strap in. As this is a goddamn grind of a sidequest. I've used Joachim nearly the entirety of the game since he joined the party in anticipation of this going faster. It still took me over two and a half hours from the opening cutscene with Great Gama to the point I could save the game and leave Nihonbashi forever. This is a sidequest you grind through while watching something in the background. I've been watching a lot of Columbo lately. Sadly, when recording this, I did not have the Columbo Dimension at my disposal.

That aside. We're going to be here a while. So let's get into it.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

So, as the Curry Man receptionist previously stated, there are only allowed to be as many combatants as there are Curry Men in the ring. By default, Joachim is the prime party member in fights. He may get help for tag team matches. But if there is a single combatant, it's Joachim on his own.

Our first of many (questionably) strong men is Murgh Korma is a chicken curry with little to no spice containing cream or yogurt. The thinks pepper is too much for their palette whitest of white people spice option at an Indian restaurant. The Curry Man carrying the namesake is also an Earth elemental with 340 HP. Interestingly, someone on the localization team must have chowed down on curry regularly because they have (kind of) proper curry names you'd order while the original Japanese text this guy was just literally Chicken Curry Sweet and the rest of them were similarly "<Curry Type> Curry - <Spice Level>" naming scheme. So that's a fun flare for the localization.

Battle wise the Curry Men all share the same exact attack animations. It is either a flailing series of windmill punches ending on a headbutt filled with a plate of curry or a flamboyant kick leading to an ass thrust launcher. Or they'll do the Yoga pose and levitate (you know the one where Dhalsim from Street Fighter teleports) to cast a spell that is almost universally going to be a buff for the enemy side. The Curry Men attack with their muscles, not magic. These attacks will get progressively stronger and gain different debilitating attributes on them but... that's kind of it. For all these fights. It is... not... too... engaging to actually play through. We're here for the beginning and the end for the most part. The middle is... taxing.

Anyhow, Joachim can smoke this guy in less than a full attack string. Bodied.

Music: Result ~ Victory

Another factor of the Curry Men is, while they might occasionally drop an item upon the 3-count victory, they otherwise universally yield exactly one experience point... one unit of Cash... and 1 Soul Power each. That's it! Which, I suppose, is more than Solomon's Trials battles. But... it somehow feels more insulting to just get 1 unit of everything per victory rather than nothing at all and moving on.

Music: Grand Papillon!! ~ Pro Wrestler

Every single time we win a match, Joachim will say this line. And then leap straight into the air. Presumably smashing through the ring that instantly mends itself because I think Great Gama is just an enemy Stand user and this is his deal.

Murgh is a word of Persian origin that made its way to India and is just "chicken." Masala, per Wikipedia, is a term from the Indian subcontinent for a spice mix in certain proportions. A masala can be either a combination of dried (and usually dry-roasted) spices, or a paste (such as vindaloo masala) made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients—often garlic, ginger, onions, chili paste, and tomato. It's the mild spice curry or the white people starting to sweat variety. And this guy has 350 HP and Water element and is otherwise unremarkable.

Madras is a curry sauce that is usually red and made with chili powder. Now we gettin' spicy. The good stuff! Appropriately this Curry Man is Fire elemental and has 360 HP. And that's about it. The Madras variety of Curry Men tend to cast buffs like Surge or Gale and the like. To spice things up, you see.

The Twin Typhoon, Chick Rider 1 and Chick Rider 2! Power and technique c-combined, c-cluuuck!

Now it's time to mix things up. A little bit. Tag team match!

These first handful of levels of the Tower of the Holy Ring are pathetically easy after we've done most of the end game content. So, you know what? It seems appropriate Joachim and Anastasia form a tag-team alliance. They're probably heels because Anastasia is a little shit and Joachim will reluctantly bash a Curry Man in the back of the head with a steel chair while Anastasia cuts a promo challenge and they'll both stomp a mudhole in them afterward. That gremlin could probably cut a pretty decent shit-talking promo, thinking about it.

All we're doing is fighting a combo of previous Curry Men Murgh Korma and Murgh Masala. I'm not sure how ring legal dropping a meteor is on an opponent. But again, Anastasia. 100% a heel in the ring.

I don't like the term Chicken Rod. Just gonna say it outright. Not a fan of this business. No sir. Beyond that, this is Murgh Korma and Murgh Madras teaming up.

Huh? They said their team name was "Chicken Rod."
Word c-c-came down from c-corporate to rebrand after a parental out c-c-cry. C-c-cluuuck!
Uhh... What does that mean?
There is no time to explain the inner workings of the business end of wrestling! We must face this challenge!

Here Murgh Masala and Murgh Madras have formed a less than deadly alliance.

C-c-c-cluuuuck! Chikitan! Chikila! Chikirata! The three Chickenizers! C-Come on, c-cluck!

Three-man bouts start now in the Chick Curry Man league. Anastasia is going to move to a management position and cut promos for the party and we're going to get serious... just to make this go faster... by having Yuri and Karin enter the squared circle alongside the mandatory Joachim.

This match is two Murgh Korma and a Murgh Masala. Apparently, these Curry Men names are ranks. Though I kind of wish it was just the same three guys scurrying up to do another match floor by floor.

This is more birdmen than anyone can handle. Or it's Murgh Masala times two and a Murgh Korma. They are dicks in these fights by purposefully spacing out the Curry Men at the start of battles so no AOE magic can just immediately nuke them all and we can move on. That wouldn't bring honor to the ring.

I wouldn't recommend eating shark. They piss through their skin. Eagle doesn't seem like it would be good eatin' nor does panther. Can we just stick with chicken? That aside, this is a combo of all three Murgh Madras, Murgh Korma, and Murgh Masala.

If you can't take the heat, don't start so spicy!

The tenth level of most of the Tower contains the mid-boss Curry Man of the league. Such as this, Man Festival Committee Assistant Manager Murgh Vindaloo. Vindaloo is a spicy ass curry sauce made with chili, peppers, root-ginger, and vinegar and is usually the fuck me up fam but don't kill me level of spicy curry you can order in joints. This wrestler is a Wind elemental with 360 HP and can actually do somewhere approaching three digits of damage. For reference, all his predecessors could not. For an entire attack string.

So the game is generous and we do not have to tackle the entire Man Festival in one sitting. It is possible to warp out to stock up on supplies and save the game and whatnot. Perhaps, in theory, this is meant to be chipped away at as we tackled other endgame business. But, I mean, who actually does that? You always just smash your face into the gladiator arena gauntlet sidequest when it is presented. Plus, the only other side content left is... the other battle gauntlet. Ugh. Well, we're not going to finish this today. But we can probably handle another ten floors.

Wateeeer! Breeead! The curry ninja is on fire! Oink, oink! Meet the Pork Masala Barrel!

A new tag team duo has formed with Joachim and Yuri. I bet Yuri knows his way around a steel chair and has good mic work in the ring but cuts absolutely shit promos outside of bouts. Just kind of mumbles and forgets his lines and storms off.

So we've reached the Pork Curry league. Though they localized it to Gosht which, last I checked in my culinary knowledge, was usually mutton and goat. Right? Which is decidedly not pork... They kind of flubbed this naming scheme. These two are Gosht Korma, a Light elemental with 380 HP and his attacks are stronger than the Chicken variety and also innately inflict Evasion Down. And Gosht Masala, a Dark Elemental with 390 HP and can likewise inflict Physical Attack down. Still, they're very much on the tap out to a single physical attack string tier enemies.

This level adds Gosht Madras to the stew with 400 HP and the Earth elemental alignment. This flavor of Curry Man can lower Physical Defense with his headbutts and butt stomps. Very rude.

Gosht Madras and Gosht Masala enter the squared circle on this floor. Hey, have I mentioned if a pre-fight starts at this camera angle is over here it zooms in right on the guy in front's ass before the screen shatters to the fight transition. I won't subject you to that. But know, that it is happening... Keep that deep in your hearts.

Saffron Chop! Mint Chop! Turmeric Chop! The three ingredients of the Pork Choppers! Oink!

We're back to a three-man tag team. And you know what? There's nothing in the rule book that says a dog can't wrestle! Tag in, Blanca! We should probably try to keep Karin out of the ring until Vince dies. They'd just squander her potential.

Oh yeah, I guess we're taking on two Gosht Korma and a Gosht Madras.

All three of the Gosht Squad are stepping into the ring for this match. I got convinced to watch Wrestlemania five or six years ago and I wanted to die by the end because it was like fucking four hours long. I don't remember a single interesting match. I just remember getting up to get another drink and coming back to Triple HHH dressed like a cyborg Shao Khan and flanked by Terminators and being very confused.

Gosht Madras times two and Gosht Korma. I still have a friend that occasionally watches the WWE. They are utterly defeated. His smile and optimism: gone. Just there with a frown slumped in a chair silently hoping Vince McMahon's heart finally explodes in his roided up chest.

Aaaargh! For a Korma, I'm not so sweet! Oink!

We're back to Joachim solo matches. We're just going to burn through all three of the Gosht Squad the next few levels. It's an inverse of the Chick Curry league. This is really shaking up the batch!

Sir, please never again use the term "Gosht gore" I don't like it.

I wonder if the Indian restaurant joint in town survived the pandemic intact. I know it's still open but there's a difference between being open and being open on life support open. I've ordered from a few places where they're clearly running on fumes and scraping by and the output has turned to shit. The restaurant industry hit hard by the plague. But restaurant owners also the cheapest motherfuckers on the planet so ehh... Oh no, you can't find people to work like a slave and only take breaks to smoke for shitty pay. Oh no... Oh no! Tiniest violin playing in sympathy.

This is where you pig out! Ooooink!

We're finishing out with another tag team match and Yuri is once again going to be our man for the job.

For this final throw down we have Fish Curry, which is confusing to be the head of the pork selection of Curry Men, which has actually approached a real enemy with 890 HP and the appropriate Water element. He casts Shield on himself and his cohort at the start of the battle. Flanking him is Gosht Vindaloo with 410 HP and also of the Water element. He casts Barrier on the enemy party at the start. Unfortunately for them, they're really trying to put Joachim over the top in this storyline so they fail to stop his rising up the ranks.

But for today, we are going to tap out. Many strong men still await.

Curry Men Concept Art - Impeccable balance.