Part 32: Episode XXXII: Andre the GiantEpisode XXXII: Andre the Giant
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
Welp. This is happening now. We're fighting a giant pink, jewelry-studded cat named Andre. Sure? Why not? Naturally, as with most cats, it is a Fire elemental. I mean, you've all heard the term "firecat" before. I ain't never heard o' no earthcat or windcat. That's ridiculous!
Beyond an affinity for arson, Andre also has nine lives and 830 HP.
Nothing about this boss battle is particularly difficult. It is mostly just obnoxious if we allowed Andre free reign to do what she wants. You know how cats are... Primarily, this is due to the fact that Andre's main physical attack string inflicts the Fake Ring Anomaly. We went over Ring Anomalies ages ago but this is the first time they've been a particular issue.
As a refresher, Fake Ring causes the Judgment Ring's Hit Areas to just become patently false. Despite the visuals, the character inflicted still has their normal Hit Areas we've customized up to this point. There's just a false Hit Area UI over the Judgment Ring now. I mean, none of our characters can even have five Hit Areas at this point. So, I hope you have a good recollection of where vaguely all a character's Hit Areas were on their ring. Otherwise, this is a problem.
That's not to say Andre cannot dish out damage. The flamboyant feline can blast our party with Blaze which can deal a hefty 50-60 HP of damage and hit multiple characters if they're in close proximity.
The worst attack of all possessed by Andre is Cash Steal. This, as the name might suggest, just pilfers our hard-earned Cash (which is apparently an internationally recognized currency consisting entirely of huge golden coins.) Why would losing Cash in a battle matter? Well, it's not just subtracted from our total and refunded at the end of the fight. No 1720 Cash is just fucking gone. I guess Andre simply eats it hole and cannot even be bothered to have the courtesy to regurgitate it in a disgusting hairball later. It can do this multiple times if we're not careful. It's a real dick move!
Luckily, for being a cat, Andre isn't particularly speedy. Indeed, it's possible to set-up a 4-Person Combo fairly easily right at the start of the fight.
Since we're fighting a Fire elemental enemy, we'll have Yuri shift over to Mahrae.
From there we'll just blast it with Splash. There are three hits and 70 damage to start the Combo out.
We haven't had much of an opportunity to try out Karin's new Geuschbenst Sword Art. Sure, it's a Fire class spell against a Fire elemental enemy. But it still takes our Combo up to 15 hits and 159 damage.
We can follow that up with a Grand Slam from Joachim. Sure, it's not going to knock the cat into space but that's another five hits taking our Combo up to 20 Hits and 308 damage. We can keep going!
Blanca topping us off with three more hits from his recently powered up Soul Comet taking us to a grand total of 23 Hits inflicting 419 damage or just over half of Andre's total health. Not too shabby for an opening gambit.
In fact, everyone has enough time and MP left to... just turn around and do a repeat performance on the party's next turn thereby allowing the giant pink pussy cat to only have one turn. Now we just have to beat it eight more times and we're done here.
Music: Result ~ Victory
Does it still qualify as animal abuse if another animal lands the finishing blow? Either way, the customary influx of Soul Energy, Cash and Experience Points roll our way along with a mild bonus for being especially efficient kicking the cat's ass.
Andre was carrying another Crest with some Earth and Fire spells should the need arise. Not too overly useful, but we do gotta catch 'em all to complete that Solomon's Key business one day in the distant future.
Comboing the heck out of feline ChuChu also netted us a bonus accessory. I don't know if I want to be infused with "frontier spirit". That sounds like a questionable euphemism for getting a weird STD. But, the belt will grant +6 Physical Attack. Sounds good for Yuri or Joachim.
Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God
Weirdly, the first Shadow Hearts 1 had people fading away into nothingness as the "they are 100% dead" indicator. I mean, other than Albert Simon who... exploded into energy for some reason. But in Covenant, if that happens during a boss fight that means it was just a friendly exhibition bout and everyone goes their separate ways none the worse. As such, Andre is now just condemned to Cat Jail for the foreseeable future.
Oh, thank you!
<points at Lucia> Just what were you trying to pull, anyway?!
Yeah, for real. That was the lousiest surprise attack I've seen since a wizard possessed a puppy.
...You really need to stop blurting stuff like that out without any context.
I'm so sorry! You see, we thought Sapientes Gladio sent you after us!
You thought we were from Sapientes Gladio?
You all do LOOK the part, after all.
What's that supposed to mean?
Oh, nothing. Tee hee!
We've had hitmen pretending to be customers sent to us before. And every time, I'd bring them to this island...
That doesn't seem terribly efficient...
Well, it worked the one time. Who'd have guessed Andre would get a taste for all humans...?
<points at Lucia> So you oppose the society too, eh, miss?
That's right. Ever since Carla ran away from them, they've had it in for us.
And now you know we're fighting against this secret society too. Right?
You beat up my mentor's cat. Good enough for me!
Sometime later, back in Florence...
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Don't worry about that!
So you trust us now?
We never even picked any flowers after the whole cat thing.
Take this as a token of apology and gratitude. I hope you'll get some use out of it.
There's another Crest for the pile. I'm sure we'll have need of some Light Magic sometime. Probably...
I was young and beautiful once too. Loving life, full of dreams, I was.
But those girlish dreams didn't last. Men used me and threw me out like trash. I was hurt and bitter then. That's when it happened.
A secret group called Sapientes Gladio invited me to join them. Desperate, I joined and even took on disciples to be my successors.
But the violence was too much for me, and I ran away from them. They chased me for years, and always I managed to evade them.
Finally, I wound up here. I've been with this one ever since then...
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Perhaps waiting forty years to make a break from the group was ill-advised as well...
Lucia, the stars have turned. It's time for you to start your journey.
Carla turns to Lucia.
You are my mulligan in this affair.
<steps forward and shakes head> It's not a burden, Carla! And I've always wanted to go on a little adventure! And as your successor, I want to make you proud of me!
Carla faces the party.
Thank you, Carla.
<steps forward> And so, if none of you mind, I'll join you on your journey!
Well, you did try to kill us. But I guess you had your reasons...
And it was kinda a piss poor attempt, so...
Sure. Glad to have you!
Lucia is the only character in the game which has TWO unique skills -- Tarot Cards and Aromatherapy. We'll get into those more in-depth when we actually have a battle to test the abilities out. Or, you know, at the very least a menu to sort through the options.
<gasps> But are you sure?! I haven't really perfected how to mix those yet...
<turns to Lucia and points at her> You been slacking off on your studies again, girl? Oh, well. Take them along, anyway. Practice makes perfect!
Carla gives us a couple of oils to start out Lucia's Aromatherapy skill before sending us on our way.
In any event, Lucia has now joined the party. She comes in at roughly the same level as everyone but Gepetto. So that's nice. She also fills our Dark elemental character niche. I know, default Yuri technically fills that role too but hell if Yuri is ever in his default form in anything but the biggest pushover of random battles. As of right now, Lucia has the highest pool of MP and the lowest pool of HP (next to Gepetto who is lagging behind a couple of levels.)
Lucia comes equipping a couple of accessories we've already seen in the past as well as the same Silk Shawl armor we picked up for Karin and Blanca before leaving Florence the first time. Her weapon of choice is assorted fans.
She definitely mains Kitana in Mortal Kombat.
As mentioned earlier, Lucia gets TWO unique abilities. The first is Tarot Cards which is a randomized ability where one of the cards in her current deck will be selected and used on the entire party. By default, Lucia comes with a handful of Tarot Cards. More can be acquired out in the world to expand the possibilities of the ability. But right now, we have...
50% MP bump. The High Priestess is alright.
I cannot abide by the Inverted Hierophant. But a 50% HP restoration is good stuff.
SP hasn't been a particular issue at all at this stage in the game so ehh...
We have to have one negative one in the batch. This just gives the enemy a free turn.
Not that running out of MP has been a huge issue either. But a 50% bump is nothing to thumb our nose at.
But in any event, we'll be gathering more Tarot Cards in the future. They're collected all over the place in a variety of methods. Some are hidden in the world or in treasure chests in plain sight. Some are boss drops. A number of them are rewarded for Wolf Bouts for whatever reason. Much like the ability itself, it's pretty random where a Tarot Card will pop up.
Aromatherapy is a tad more involved of a mechanic. It requires mixing two oils together during a battle for different effects. There is no indication WHAT this effect will do until mixed for the first time. On the plus side, unlike Tarot Cards there are no negative effects from mixing oils. It's also worth mentioning that the Aromatherapy mixes affect the entire party EXCEPT for Lucia. She gains no benefits from it. For now, we've only got two oils we received from Carla. Much like Tarot Cards, we'll be picking up more in a variety of fashions throughout the adventure. Though, there are only six more oils out in the wild. Still, that makes for a total of 56 combinations in all (depending on which oil is selected first, the result will vary.)
Anyway, right now we have...
Clock Tower 3 taught me all you need to do to prevent panicking is to just take a big swig of lavender water.
You lost me at cardamom. Mostly because I had to look up what the hell cardamom was... Not really a spice in my usual culinary wheelhouse.
Carla tells us to practice randomly smashing oils together and hope for the best before sending us on our way.
There's nothing of particular note on our return visit to Florence. A few NPCs have new dialogue. Mostly it's about Lucia having departed to become a wandering JRPG adventurer and being disappointed they can no longer oogle her. Although, we do find out that apparently Lenny and Nicolai were chilling in the café right next door to Carla's joint. Good thing Yuri decided he didn't feel like barging in there to bug random townsfolk and loot a chest or two. That would have been exceedingly awkward to walk in on.
Manmariana Island, which was a decently sized dungeon with a healthy amount of backtracking, only clocked in 274 steps. It is going to be a while until we hit that 10,000 step quota...
But that's for another day. For now, this chapter draws to a close. Tune in next time as Yuri and the gang raid the Sapientes Gladio Italian Branch Headquarters as Shadow Hearts: Covenant continues!
Manmariana Island is another dungeon we have no reason to ever return to in the future. So let's say goodbye to the friends we beat up along the way.
What kind of luck does getting smacked in the face with it entail?
That's just dedication to your job.
Pay no attention to the massive moth butt cloaked beneath that dress, sir.
It turns out cats living to be around fifteen years old on the high end was actually a limiting factor. Fear the unleashed elder cat.
Video: Episode 32 Highlight Reel (Warning: Animal cruelty.)
Carla Concept Art - Yep. Still a very old lady.