The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 36: Episode XXXVI: Block Head

Episode XXXVI: Block Head

Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe

Couldn't stay away from Wales for too long, now could we? I'm sure walking halfway across the continent and securing another boat across the English Channel in wartime should not be too hard to do for the third time, right?

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

Jumping right in, there are a couple of new items of interest in and around Roger Bacon's home. Particularly... what's up the red cylinder out front? That bares investigation.

Music: Gathering God ~ Thrill

<folks arms> Hmm. Nice mailbox...
Hey! Don't go getting any ideas! That belongs to someone, get it?
The cylindrical shape is calling out to me...
What does that even MEAN?! Ergh... wait, I don't think I want to know...

<clenches fist> Hmm... I really want this mailbox...

And thus Joachim just hoists the thing over his shoulder and obtains his second new weapon in the questline. Sure, I guess he was about due for another one.

Joachim, stealing a mailbox full of wartime correspondences between families fighting the war seems a LITTLE bit shitty. Also, strong emotions in letters provide a +49 Physical and +38 Special Attack bump.

Never mind that!
Um, weren't you supposed to be a hero?
Some heroes must make great sacrifices.
But you're not sacrificing anything. You're TAKING something extra. That's like the exact OPPOSITE definition of sacrifice!
Never mind that either!
...Whatever. One less hit to my wallet.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

Joachim gonna do what Joachim gonna do. What can you do? Anyway, the entrance to the Neam Ruins is due north at the same cliff overlook toward Nemeton Monastery's ruins that Yuri gave his first flashback crayon session to Karin during the first Wales trip. But we need some way of getting down there.

Luckily, if we wander into the back of Roger's House a new chest has spawned. Don't ask me how it arrived here. Maybe it was a mail delivery while we were away in Italy.

As luck would have it, this chest contains a way too convenient rope ladder. We probably shouldn't have dumped the whole chest's contents on the ground. You know how long it's going to take to roll up a several hundred meters long tangled set of wood and ropes? What a mess.

Also here, the (bizarre bound by ropes like it is some manner of survival horror game prop, vending machine has been repaired... somehow. Maybe a repairman also stopped by while we were away? One that knows how to repair decades advanced automated electronic technology. Don't worry about it? The main point is the Continental Zero 2 is now open for business. And with it comes a slew of new weapons for the entire party sans Joachim who just got his upgrade for free. The next dungeon is completely negligent about offering up free upgrades so we may as well splurge with our decent savings account and stop up. At least for the party members, we'll actually be using this upcoming dungeon.

Ah yes, I recall reading all about the Industrial Revolution's HF Blades. You'd hate to read about workers trying to unionize get a Zandatsu performed on them back then. This gives Yuri +47 Physical and +40 Special Attack Power.

What's the difference between "enchanted" and "haunted" when it comes to spirits? I feel like that's just a favorable spin a merchant has put on this. Or a vending machine description, in this case. Karin receives +45 Physical and +43 Special Attack Power.

Whetstones were like the 1910s version of iPhones. If you didn't get the newest model, what are you even doing with your life? Are you going to pass up +43 Physical and +45 Special Attack Power? I hear next year's model is going to have a goddamn +1 and +2.5 stat boost upgrade. That's easily worth 1960 Cash.

I guess we can look at Gepetto's new weapon and just not buy it. Has there ever been a puppeteer assassin? I feel like such a disguise has eluded Agent 47 thus far.

Lucia, you can fan yourself off just fine on the bench with the fan you already have equipped.

That's it for engaging in capitalism. But we can still spend a tad bit on the Soul Energy market to buff a couple of our Fusions. In particular, I pumped two levels into Barbaria. Which bumped all his stats other than Power by +1 (+2 in Luck!) We might be engaging in a few Water elemental enemies in the near future so this big armored boy may be the best bet to improve at the moment.

With that all taken care of, we can now head to the edge of Roger Bacon's property to progress further into the mysterious Nemeton Ruins. I thought the last two dungeons were pretty good stuff? This one... much less so, to be honest...

Yeah, it might be a little dangerous, but this ladder ought to do the trick.
Roger teleported us there last time. It was... a problem when it came to getting back out...

The party descends into the Neam Ruins.

NEW Music: Call Back From Jesus - Mysterious Monastery ~ Underground Ruins
(Oh shit, we're actually getting a dungeon that doesn't have In Darkness of a Labyrinth playing. You should probably listen to it. Also it's a Shadow Hearts 1 track remix.)

Welcome to the Neam Ruins. Not to be mistaken with the Nemeton Underground where we fought Albert Simon prior to him summoning the Neamto Float and summoned an alien space god back toward the end of the original Shadow Hearts. That joint was underneath Nemeton Monastery ruins. This is like a quarter kilometer away from that shit. Totally different! And... ehh, kind of an equally lousy dungeon.

The art design is a bit better than Nemeton Underground's aesthetic of mostly "brown caves" and not much else. I mean, it's mostly bluish stone instead. But hey, those weird alien guys holding a big ass football are fun. It's better than a cave wall. Also better than a cave wall is a chest with loot!

Penny Blood is the most Japanese assassin name I've heard in a while. Like this motherfucker is gonna show up in No More Heroes 3. That said, this is actually the best headwear accessory available at this point in the game. We'll put this muzzle on Blanca since he's slightly squishier than the rest of the cast.

Anyway, behold Neam Ruins. I... hope really like the cube geometric shape. No, it's not block-pushing puzzles. That great evil of old is not here. Mostly...

Hey, how do you feel about RIDING blocks instead of pushing them? That's a paradigm shift, right? Right?

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

But no dungeon paradigm shift will stop battling enemies. This is actually a scripted encounter. So let's jump into that.

OK. We have this... whole thing. Umm... I guess it's appropriate going to Nemeton-side areas we start getting the weird monster designs of the Koudelka/Shadow Hearts 1 era. These umm... skeletal centipede snake with a giant brain stabbed by multiple swords and a tongue leading to a demonic Noh mask... things are going by the title of "Ofnir" and has 256 HP and an appropriate Dark elemental affiliation.

Ofnir (actually it's Ófnir with the o-acute) does have some folklore behind it. It's another title (or like sibling of) Niddhog the giant serpent that gnaws on the World Tree. It's kind of an obscurer one that has barely any context in Norse mythology from what I can tell. It's a big evil snake so sure. This works, I guess. If you squint really hard like usual.

Ofnir is a jerk that relies on physical attacks that inflict Delay. I don't feel like I need to recount what that does and why it would be annoying to have two weird bone snakes hit separate party members with that...

Thankfully, they're not too hard to deal with and seldom come in more than two at a time thus can be taken out in the first wave of attacks fairly simply. I cannot abide by the status effect enemies ever. They've just got to go. Much like how I'll curse out some dick that goes to a grocery store express self check-out that is 12 items or less and brought a full cart of a fuck-off amount of shit. I had once, summers ago, a clearly day drunk old dad from Ohio dickhead get in my face after I heckled him for being a dick doing being in the wrong lane when I had shit to do one time at a grocery store. Little did he know I was also summer day drunk and way the fuck meaner than that shitty boomer and I just full-handed slapped him in the face and told him to fuck off like five seconds into him trying to be a big man to me. The backdown was hilarious. Dude just abandoned his cart and left muttering swears and threats about calling cops. Bitch made fuck boy never entered my life again.

This slapping story will not be relevant later in this update...

Music: Call Back From Jesus - Mysterious Monastery ~ Underground Ruins

He did have an Encounter-None Crest equipped so that might be the issues.
I-I feel really sick... It's like something down here doesn't want living creatures around...
A place this steeped in evil and curses is rare. Something really horrible must've happened here...
It's Wales.
You ever get worried a Welsh person might get mad about you constantly giving them such shade?
Pfft. NOPE! Hahhaa. The Welsh...

The first level of this dungeon is just walking onto colored fancy cubes which will navigate you to other points of the dungeon. Which are also composed by cubes? It's cubes all the way down. Including the elevator down to the next level...

Floor 2 has an alteration to the formula. Now there are switches that change the button color to make them fly to different, similarly aligned blocks. It's still basically the same thing. It is not really an interesting gimmick. But guess what the next 10 minutes entails.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

Anyway, let's get to something more interesting like the other couple of random battle trash mob enemies. This weird eye-angel having an orgasm is known as Calamity Orb. I have no lore for the Calamity Orb. It's just an orb of Calamity. It is made out of tissue paper with 68 HP and a Light affinity.

The big thing is these idiots are a HUGE first target because they just exist to buff their friends and hugely debuff the party's speed. Neither of which are optimal.

Speaking of their friends... Chaos Orbs nearly universally come alongside Otheon which sure does look like a Drakengard golem but with a HUGE dick and stretchy Dhalsim arms. This brutish creature has 256 HP making it rather fearsome and a Fire elemental affiliation. All it does is punch folks with a potential to do Special-Attack Power Down.

Beyond that, I have no idea where the name "Otheon" comes from and even looking at the original title is a big shrug. It paired with the Calamity Orbs can be a problem solely because Calamity Orbs come in no less than three of a kind and Otheon are two at least and that's too many to kill in a single round so... A little problematic, but not too much so. Some resources may be spent.

Music: Call Back From Jesus - Mysterious Monastery ~ Underground Ruins

So this new floor. Gimmick? Hard-Light passages that just kind of flash at you and you run across them. That is uhh... that's it, really. There's random battles as you do it but ehh...

You do need to switch the passages by, again, flipping a switch. It's basically the previous level but they just don't animate the cubes moving. You see why I'm not big on this dungeon yet?

Lottery Ticket! You just rearrange a few paths. It's not too much to do.

Please take me from this bore zone.

OK. Surely, this floor will mix it up! I mean, it's a save point. Surely we're a decent way in. One might say that. And they'd be a stupid wrong idiot. We're barely half way in, my friend.

This floor's gimmick is there is a switch that moves a block to progress this time. That is it... You need to flip a couple switches at a point to get to new areas.

One of these switches leads us to another Leonardo's Bear. You know, the "do not allow instant kill" accessory? It may be warning us of future events.

There is also Crest which bestows a magic power that is basically a resurrect. Let's try to use that minimally, eh? It's bad if a slot is dedicated to that.

Related, this is another thing that unlocks a part of Solomon's Key. I am going to leave these until the end of chapters. Just not to have too much update bloat. DEFINITELY not because I forget when the hell they get filled out and I'm already one behind at this point in the LP. Don't believe their lies!

The only loot of note in this whole segment is Getitup! Another steroid package for Joachim which will instantly transform him into Grand Papillon if one so desires. This is probably the most desirable of the three Joachim transformation items but... eh. We'll let that happen naturally its first time, you know? It'd be fucked up to drug up our good vampire boy to inspire it early.

Anyway, there was a bunch of switch flipping and cube riding. It wasn't very interesting. But at the end of THIS floor we get...

Music: ENDS

We now go to cutscene mode with the party wandering ahead with no real focus. Except...

...... <looks around confused>

What's wrong?
I don't know. I hear a voice calling to me.
A voice?
You remember this place is haunted as heck, right?

<looks around> Grandma?! Grandma, is that you?!

<grabs Karin> Hey! Relax! There's nobody there!
It's just a dumb ghost. We're in a haunted dungeon... Calm down.
B-but I'm sure I heard her! It was my grandmother from back home! She needs my help!

Karin throws Yuri off and goes back to yelling at the walls.

What's wrong?! Why do you sound so sad?! I'm right here! Don't worry...

Just going to stop here and say upping the resolution of old games several times internally leads to weird things like holy shit is Karin's ass absurdly rendered to the point of being a PS2 2B. What the...?

There! Did you hear that?



Get ahold of yourself!
Haunted! Dungeon!
Don't listen to what dead spirits say! They can steal away your soul.

Karin collapses to that one pose female falling to their knees pose that only exists in Japanese video games and anime. You ever tried that? It's wildly uncomfortable.

Something here wants to frighten us, to turn us away from our task.
Yeaaaah... Kind of remembering Roger had a lot of ghost prompts to make people leave. That book is super evil...

Don't let it bother you. That wasn't here, you know. Your grandmother's soul is safe.
She didn't die in Wales, right?
Then she's good! Wales cannot hurt you outside its dark boundaries.

<nods> I guess so...
<stands up and helps Karin up> Let's finish our job and hurry back. I don't like this place.

Karin gets up and dusts herself off.

My family is from Munich. Fallen nobility, you might say. If we ever get the chance, will you come visit there with me?
Sure, no problem.
After dealing with the curse. The secret assassin society. Rescuing Roger. And you being a military deserter and all...

<nods> My, that sounds nice, all right. Hehe.
I was talking to Yuri but y-yeah... You all too... Uhh... Shoot...

Video: Episode 36 Highlight Reel

Video Bonus: The Board - Happy Halloween.
(Hey go play Control. It's quite good!)

Neam Ruins Concept Art - Blocks!

Otheon Concept Art - Seere is filing a lawsuit as we speak.