The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 19: Episode XIX: Solomon

Episode XIX: Solomon

Music: Glint of Light ~ Mid Boss in Europe

On to the title card match of the night. It wouldn't be appropriate if the rest of the party charged into the ring for the main event. As such, this is a solo fight between Joachim Grand Papillon. I'm afraid every RPG in existence is legally obligated to have at least one of these one-on-one fights despite the entire party being just feet away. And this game sure ain't just going to do this single one.

There isn't a lot to this battle. It is mostly a damage race between Veronica and Joachim. Veronica is a Water element affiliated dominatrix with a none too impressive 220 HP. But we can stack things in our favor a little bit. I'd earlier slapped on all the physical damage/defense buff related Magic Crests on the big boy here. So he has access to Barrier which will mitigate Veronica's damage. This turned out to be a waste of time since she... never bothered to use her magic attack. She has access to Hail Break which without Barrier does 45-50 damage which... that's a lot right now. But again, she didn't bother to use it this fight for whatever reason despite completely wiping me with it back when I played the first few hours of this game before the LP began.

Veronica mostly attacks with a three-hit combo using her whip. This does between 25-30 HP of damage each turn. Given Grand Papillon is a bit of a glass cannon at this point with only 105 HP that is... kind of a sizable amount of damage to absorb flying solo. Veronica's whip also has the potential to lower Joachim's Special Attack by 30%. But that's not of great concern.

Since we're just going to buff Grand Papillon's Physical Attack using Rage. Let's see, +36% to the highest physical damage output character currently in our party. What's that work out to...?

Ah yes, completely destroying Veronica in two turns. Gotcha.

Music: Result ~ Victory

The final battle is still to come!

Alright, then. That seemed a little too easy after all that build-up. But hey, a win is a win.

Music: ENDS

Hmph! Not too shabby, Masked Wonder!

Ha ha ha! No evildoer can stand against my RIPPLING MUSCLES!

Music: Flame of Strain to Blaze ~ Tension

Well, I hate to get myself all sweaty.
<whips the air> Here... I've got a present for you.
Boooo! She's just summoning a monster of the week! I told you this was gonna happen. Fire that hack writing staff!

Veronica backs up into the smoke machine cloud and vanishes, leaving behind...


Woah... That thing looks pretty tough!
It reeks of booze too. What's that all about?

C'mon! We've got to help <runs toward the monster>
<puts hands on hips> Do we really have to get in the middle of this one...?
...We can just leave. The thing couldn't even fit through the door.
Yuri, get moving!
<sigh> Yeah, yeah... Guess I do need the experience points.

Music: Glint of Light ~ Mid Boss in Europe

Time for the real match of the Wine Cellar -- Meursault. The gang is all here for this rumble. Which is good because I don't think Joachim could handle this one solo. Especially, given he's still injured from the first against Veronica.

Our first order of business is getting him back up to snuff. A Thera Leaf is enough to do the trick. May as well use them now before they get completely outclassed by Thera Seeds in the near future.

Next up, Yuri needs a suitable Fusion. This four-armed frog demon, Meursault (named after the French town of the same name known for its vineyards and wine production) is an Earth element creature with 666 HP. Very edgy. So Vastitas our Earth Fusion fits the bill here.

And once more Joachim and Rage are a nice combo since hell if he's doing more than hitting things.

Early battle prep aside, it's worth mentioning that Meursault brought in its own posse of a Centipede and a Gregor. We want to prioritize getting rid of them before focusing on the boss. Gregor isn't a threat but that Centipede can and will cause Poison if it attacks and that's not a headache we need.

Especially, when this PS2 era Mortal Kombat reject of a boss has the potential to cause Paralysis on its physical attacks. Thankfully, it only seemed to do physicals against Joachim, who has an accessory to negate that. Nice work, ya dumbass frog.

Indeed, Meursault only has two attacks to its name bucking the usual expansive move list of THREE whole attacks most bosses come equipped with these days. Howling is basically that one attack in Dragon Ball Z where someone gets frustrated and fires a hundred bullshit fireballs at their enemy. You know, that one attack that literally has NEVER worked or even done more damage than causing a pile of smoke to slowly clear revealing the opponent is unharmed. Yeah, Frog Goro here can do that. It does a respectable 35-40 HP of damage but meh...

Meursault's major problem is it is an INSANELY slow enemy. It is trivial to set up a 3-person or even 4-person Combo and execute it before it even thinks of getting its turn in to stop the team attack.

To say the least, that does not work in Veronica's pet frog's favor. You hate to see stomp matches get top billing at an event. But sometimes them pay-per-view specials are just disappointing like that.

In any event, looks like cuisses de grenouille is on the menu tonight.

Music: Result ~ Victory

If that's all they got, no problem!

We get the usual healthy infusion of Cash, Experience, and Souls.

It's not come to this point, but you may notice Gepetto received a boss fight experience despite sitting out this dungeon. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is nice enough to dole out major boss experience points to everyone currently available in the party, whether they participate or not. They have to be an active member of the party (i.e. if they temporarily leave and couldn't be selected at the time, they don't get it) but this game is WAY better about not doing that for extended periods of time. It is not like the first game where Zhuzhen started lagging behind 20 levels because you had to have Yuri and Alice may as well have been mandatory as well. Plus the third character slot was taken and non-negotiable for stretches long enough that it was laughable to ever use the bench warmers again. Having the fourth character slot helps, but so does giving everyone the biggest payout of EXP in a given chapter of the game.

We've come a long way from Koudelka and its mechanics madness.

Meursault also dropped a new Crest. Gale Spin seems kind of eh, whatever. But Gale on its own is basically Haste and that ain't nothing to thumb your nose at... We'll find a good home for this later.

It's not directly mentioned, but Yuma's Hairclip/Grand Papillon's mask has quietly been slipped into our Key Items as well. I literally didn't notice until I was capturing screenshots for another Key Item and saw it was there in the video.

Post-boss battle looting aside, the party is instantly and rather abruptly transported straight back to Le Havre and the Mayor's Mansion. That's fine. I wasn't remarkably eager to have to trot all the way through that boring brown dungeon anyway. Especially, since I'm going to have to do just that for some sidequests in the next update.

Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town

Yeah? What do I see?
Cuz the last time I had to deal with some jag-off that kidnapped orphans, I punched them to death and then I punched their mom to death. Granted, she was kind of an unholy abomination. Also maybe... made out of ground up orphan slime. It was gross. Whatever! You get my point!
...Can we back-up for just a second? What?!
Ahh... long story... We gotta talk to these guys. <cracks knuckes>

The mayor and his flunky cower in fear.

And you're to stay away from the Sea Gull from now on, you hear?
Yes, ma'am! Anything! I owe my life to all of you! I'll never let my greed get the better of me or bother anyone ever again! I promise!
From now on I'll only exploit anyone completely through legal local governmental means.

<nods> A c-condition? I hope it's nothing too difficult...
I am only a humble public servant with alleged organized crime connections that cannot be proven in a court of law...
<leaps in front of the mayor and growls> Awroo, awroo!!
Yeah, you tell him, boy!
We need to take a ship to England. You don't need me to spell it out for you, do you?
<shakes head> N-no, sir! I'll make all the arrangements. Just leave them to me!

<nods> He he he. Thanks again for saving us.
Yeah... you two need to stop creepily laughing during statements or I will punch you and possibly your mothers should they turn out to be monsters of the punchable variety.
<frown> My mom's been dead for fifteen years.
...Yeah, that doesn't change what I said.

Despite what Mayor Leonard said, we cannot actually take off for England JUST yet. We need to head over to the Seagull bar and tell Granny Lot we saved the kids and have a general Le Havre debriefing.

All the NPCs in town have new dialogue but it's all literally just variations of "yay the vigilante group is through and crime is solved in town forever." Career criminals and corrupt politicians never backslide into being shitheads a few months after the heat dies down. That is unheard of!

The party heads for the Seagull Bar.

Welcome home!
...I'm not Joachim, but OK.

He promised to leave the shop alone from now on! I feel so much better now!
Did he really?!
Considering we walked back to town with him and his goon then went straight to the mayor's mansion...

We're so glad, Granny Lot!
And we're getting that ship ride we wanted too. It all worked out great.
Y'all going on you can't just punch and kick all your problems away. Pfft...
Thank you for everything you've done! I'll be praying for your safe travel.
As long as there's no ghosts or wizards this time, I'm sure it'll be fine.
Yuri... You cannot just keep throwing stuff like that out there and letting it hang.
Ehh... you get used to it.

Stop by if you ever come back this way again. Joachim, the children and I would all love to see you again.
Granny, I want to talk to you...
...What is it?
I'm going on that ship with them!

Awroo!? (What!?)

Are you really sure you want to come along?!
You should really know about us first. Yuri is cursed. There's a secret cult after us. I'm AWOL from the German army. We're going to Wales which is evil as heck from what I hear.
<nods> Can confirm.

Granny here rescued me once when I was left for dead by the side of the road... I'm grateful, but now it's time to go.
<nods> ...All right, Joachim. I remember you when you were just a dying bat, but you've certainly turned out fine. Off with you, then! Build up your skills then come back and show me how strong you've become!
Thank you, Granny! Thank you!
You're kidding, right? Coming along with us won't be any fun, you know!
Fighting giant bugs in drab corridors is like half of what we do during the week.
Yuri, you do want to know who I really am, don't you?
Well, yeah, I do, but...
Tch... Were you on the Trans-Siberian Railroad? Like a passenger or something? Naw... I would have noticed a guy as big as you...
<folds arms> If you let me come along, maybe I'll tell you someday.
Son of a...! ...Fine. Do whatever you want.

And with that, Joachim Valentine has formally joined the party. You would think the surname Valentine and the fact he can turn into a bat would tip off Yuri. But then I remembered Yuri and Keith exchanged like maybe five lines of dialogue the whole journey and... well, Yuri is kind of dense.

Granny Lott wanders up to Yuri and stares at him.

Here you are. This is for all of you.

...This is clearly a scroll, which is neither a book nor a ring.

Granny Lott has handed us a new mechanic. We'll go over this in-depth next time. It's a little more complicated than this blurb would suggest. It's more of a completionist nightmare kind of thing than anything.

I did some digging on my own, you see! And that's when I found that book.
...It's a rolled-up scroll. Does book mean something different in French?

Hee hee hee! I just had to find out what was down there! But the only thing I found was that old, rotting book. I wish it were something more valuable.
<sigh> I guess it'll just be serving watered-down drinks to local winos for the rest of my days.

You mean you know what that book is, Gepetto?
It's a rolled-up piece of paper. That ain't a book!
Stop dwelling on details and listen.

No question about it! It's "King Solomon's Key," one of the lost, great black books! This book contains a map of where the 72 demons that were controlled by King Solomon lived. You know those crests we've been collecting along our travels?
<looks down> ...Crests? Oh! You mean those things I've got absolutely no use for? Those the crests you mean?
Stupid dumb crests for idiots that can't do fusion? Those crappy crests?
<nods> Hee hee hee! You don't have to pout, just because you can't equip them, you know. You're just a big baby!
<turns away and looks at the ceiling> Hmph. Shaddup.
Excuse me, I'm talking here, folks! And I'm about to say something very important, kiddos, so listen up. They say that if we place the demons that dwell in these crests properly, we can unleash great magical power!
Yeah, terrific. Unleash great magical power. THAT has never gone wrong. Stupid crests...
Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Nothing but trouble.

Oh, I get it. We place the crests on this old map, right? But how do we know where to place each crest?
That's the question, isn't it? Maybe we could guess, based on each demon's preferences and characteristics... But the trip ahead is long. I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually! Granny Lot, this is a true treasure, indeed. Thank you very much!
You're certainly welcome. I hope it'll be useful to you.
Is it actually that valuable...?
Oh, more valuable than you can imagine!
That... that's great... You hold onto it. I did gift it to you, after all. I'll just... stay here in a failing business raising two orphans. Alone. That's fine...

Alright, then. Our time in Le Harve is nearly at its end. However, we're not quite ready to get on a boat and sail to England just yet. You know long boat arcs can last. Best to put it off until we're damn good and ready.

And this chapter IS about the Wine Cellar. Tune in next time as we revisit the only active vineyard in France to see a few new items of interest as Shadow Hearts: Covenant continues.

Video: Episode 19 Highlight Reel

Le Havre Concept Art - Very quaint.