Part 39: Guest Update I: Director's Cut Content - Nakhásh TempleIt happened with Final Fantasy. It happened with Kingdom Hearts.
Yes, I'm talking about the ultra-special re-releases with added bonus content and adjustments to gameplay.
Frustratingly released one day before the PAL version of the standard Covenant, the Director's Cut included two new dungeons, some new cutscenes, and a few other additions.
While not the most essential of content, it builds on the pretty solid base on Covenant, and overall just adds a bit more to the experience.
The Dark Id has very kindly allowed me to show off the DX content, and I'll be chiming in every so often with it.
First, a brand new dungeon! This technically happens during a weird interstitial point when in Cannes, but it fits a lot better immediately after the Neam Ruins.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Finally! Let's get this show on the road!
Oh, put a sock in it! I've been walking all morning! I'm exhausted!
Yeah, but if you charge in like a bull - as usual - you'll just end up lost, and won't be able to find the exit. As to be expected from a dunderheaded oaf like you.
What'd you say?! Why I oughta-!
Enough! We need to finish our investigation here before they bring us the Émigré Manuscript! We haven't the time for your petty quarrels!
Pft! Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So yeah, we're playing as the quirky antagonist squad for this little section.
Nakhásh is Hebrew for snake, incidentally. So, we're in "Snake Temple".
Let's have a quick look at their menus and items.
Their stats are fixed, and they don't share Yuri and co's inventory, but they start with a few healing items.
Nicholai still has his stuff from the beginning - although it's been buffed to keep him from becoming the "never-catch-up Zhuzhen" of the group. He's the most balanced of the three, but also the only one with the ability to heal the others.
He's still got his Cure and Bright Light moves, but he's also learnt a new one, Divine Light.
He's technically had this all the time, even in the standard English game...but he only ever does it while Berserk.
An interesting little programming oversight?
That's the healing bitch outta the way, now we have the dumb ox Lenny.
Yep. He's the beefy boy whose job is to smack things hard. He has only one special move, Iron Claw.
It's pretty great.
And finally, she-of-the-silly-outfit, Veronica Vera.
She's the black mage of the group, with her own BDSM skills named Punishment.
Two are the standard Heal (cures status abnormalities), and Hail Beak, which is the bog-standard water-element attack.
Her personal skill is Aroma Oil - Stun Perfume, which damages enemies, and has a chance to paralyze them.
Shame there's only one enemy vulnerable to paralysis in this entire area though.
An interesting little thing is that all their unique equipment was actually properly translated, and Lenny and Veronica are fully playable in the English games via this game's debug mode, although their sounds are bugged, and their moveset names are blank.
(This is "Rude Spanking" in the Japanese version. The very horny devs are obviously fans of Le vice anglais.)
Can't be comfortable with that boob window.
A Khanjar is a type of Omani dagger. Not...traditionally used as a bludgeon.
Lenny really needs to be riding some kind of hog. Harley-Davidson was actually producing motorbikes around this time.
They must have been pretty close to finishing when developing this stuff, as all the enemies and bosses are fully programmed. It's literally just missing some minor cutscenes and the dungeons, although there's some lingering evidence in the files that they were removed.
But oh well...
We're locked in if we're try to leave.
Immediately into a battle!
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
So yeah, we've got some neat new enemies as well, although they all use moves that are in the standard game. This purple bird tit thing is Baphomet - weirdly translated in the debug data as "Baphemetous".
Baphomet, beloved icon of heavy metal bands, and goths, even if they don't know anything about the occult. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping it, although that seems to have been a very convient excuse for the then French king to confiscate their wealth.
The name is believed to be a corruption of Muhammad ("Mahomet" - "Baphomet") - crusades era, after all. Its iconography is probably the most famous image of a devil that people have, and generally ends getting linked with Satan.
It's got 68 HP, and is dark elemental. It has Dark Claw, and can inflict Sp-DEF Down.
The eye squid with the legs is Luvart -"Luvar" in the debug info.
It has 85 HP, and is fire aligned. It's got Magma and can inflict Mental Break.
Luvart is a super-obscure demon mentioned in Sébastien Michaëlis's My First Book of Demonlogy, L'Histoire admirable de la possession d'une penitente, where it was possessing the body of a nun.
How the Shadow Hearts devs got "eyeball manta-ray ballet dancer" out of that, I don't know.
It's a quick battle.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
Did my boys get their butts whooped by these punks?
I doubt it. It's difficult to imagine they fell to a group of that caliber. More likely, there's a powerful demon among their ranks.
This door is the way to proceed.
Hm? This gate ain't opening?
Ah, I forgot to mention. The gates in this place are rigged to be opened by two switches. We can find those on the same floor.
Sounds like a pain-in-the-butt if you ask me...But if that's what it takes, then let's pull those switches and get back here, pronto.
That's the first half of the gimmick in this temple - to open the doors to the next area we've got to flip two switches.
Fortunately there's one of the handy dandy switches round the corner.
If we examined the switch first, there's actually a slightly different conversation that occurs.
Hey, what's this switch?
You see that door there? It's a switch to open it. It seems that if you don't operate two switches on the same floor, the door won't open.
Damn, pain-in-the-butt switches...C'mon then, let's find this other switch.
And down we go.
In the chest is a silver bracelet. None of the stuff we find here will carry over to the main party, by the way.
So this is the second half of the dungeon gimmick. As we approach this gate...
Whoa, awesome! An automatic door!?
It is somewhat remarkable, yes...
Wha-!? H-hey! Did I just get locked in!?
Oh, stop your snivelling! This fence is one-way only. Look, there's an arrow carved down there, right? It means that if you aren't coming from the side of the arrow, you won't be able to open it.
Veronica steps on the arrow.
W-what?! Who came up with this stuff...Don't screw with me! Geez!
Oh Lenny, you so dumb.
There's an alternative scene that plays out if we examine the closed gate on the other side of the room.
Hey! Why ain't it opening?
The gate only opens one way. You see that arrow on the floor? These gate will only open on the side with the arrow, following its direction.
Not nearly as fun as Lenny being a dumb dumb.
So yeah, now the switches will be placed at the end of these hallways you can only approach from one side. It's honestly not difficult though, and this dungeon is short enough for it not to be a hassle or getting lost.
Not like that goddamned Parisian subway or Welsh mine.
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
And here's the last regular enemy in the area, Amphisbaena.
These are the strongest ones in the section, with 222 HP. They're earth elemental and attack with P-ATK Down, and Rock Storm. They have an ultra rare chance of dropping a Mind's Eye - the item from the last game which doubled your attack damage, but made the Judgement ring invisible - although this area is not that difficult.
Amphisbaena are two-headed serpents found in Greek myth that were formed from Medusa's blood after she was beheaded. Pliny the Elder wrote, "The amphisbaena has a twin head, that is one at the tail-end as well, as though it were not enough for poison to be poured out of one mouth."
Yep, in place of an ass, just another venom-spewing face.
They tend to get overshadowed by the more famous and interesting stock Greek monsters, but I'm pretty sure I've seen them as snake enemies in RPGS.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
In the main area one of Lenny's Clawed dudes appears.
You hurt? Tired? In your hour of need, leave it to me, Clawed Medic MD!
HP and MP Fully Restored!
I'll stand watch here. If something happens, please call me any time!
We can return to him anytime for a free heal - although we're well over half way through this dungeon with only the last section and the boss to deal with.
Immediately into a cutscene.
Ya know, I still can't believe there's a temple like this on the bottom of the ocean.
Aah, that reminds me, this is your first time here, isn't it?
Long ago, worshippers of a heretical faith, built temples in unseen places to escape persecution. These ruins are most likely the remains of one such temple.
Huh...but, if it's under the sea and all, why's there still air... and how come the water don't get in, huh?
There's probably a certain power at work here. The fact our master had sent us to investigate this place is tied to that.
It's vexing me. As whatever is causing the disturbance here is hindering our progress.
Nicolai clearly up to something here. Anyway, this is the final area. It's only slightly more challenging that the previous one, but honestly still not so bad.
I kinda like this section to be honest - it's short and sweet, and they don't drag the gimmick out so much. I can easily imagine making this four or five floors and have it be tedious as fuck.
These a few more items down here, but nothing major, just a Tent, a Daphne Fruit, a Pocket Watch, and Poison Lv2 we can stick on someone. Useful, but not vital for this little section.
They weren't here the last time we were here...
Excellent, this might be it.
Music: Flame of Strain to Blaze ~ Tension
Oh...looks like we found the boss.
RIP Clawed Soldiers.
No doubt about it. Doesn't look like it's going to let us leave in one piece, either.
New Music: Ladder to Heaven
This sucker is Nuckelavee.
It's a giant, fucked-up, Scottish nightmare centaur with super-long arms, a single burning eye, and toxic breath that wilts everything. Oh, and it's also got no skin, black blood, yellow veins, with its gross uncovered muscles on display.
Wales isn't the only country in the British Isles to have a monopoly on fucked-up hellbeasts.
It's only weakness is fresh running water. Or being told to stop by praying to the Sea Mother. That's not a joke, by the way, there is an entity in Scottish myth called the Sea Mother (Mither o' the Sea). I'm guessing her other power was to over-enthusiastically tell travellers ghost stories with sound effects. *Shlooop! Shlooop! Splat! Skree!*
It has 1610 HP and is dark aligned - which is good and bad for light-aligned Nicholai here.
It has Slash, Red Blaze, Dark Claw and Blind Ring. It can also boost itself with Surge.
It particularly liked Surging and Red Blazing it during this playthrough.
There's not really any strategy to this fight.
Our trios specials can really wreck its shit, especially in a combo.
Although, I chose to end with combo-magic.
They're all ???? because this is the first time I've used them during this specific playthrough. Once they've been used, it reveals the name in any future combo.
The actual spells we can use are based on our party's elemental make up - Nicholai is Light, Lenny is Earth, and Veronica is Water, so we have access to Holy Pulse, Strong Earth, and Shock Max.
If some of those sound vaugely familiar, it's because they're also Halley's ESP moves from Shadow Hearts.
And to go back even further, they are actually the same name of the spells Koudelka uses in the Japanese version of Koudelka. Although, they were localised very differently for the English release.
Anyway, back on track;
I was hoping for Holy Pulse, to hit its elemental weakness, but eh, Strong Earth is fine.
That's 1/5 of its HP gone right there.
For some reason, Nuckelavee kept targeting Lenny, and he got KO'd.
C'mon Lenny, up you get.
D'oh! Leave off Lenny for five minutes!
That's better, focus on Mr Backpfeifengesicht.
It doesn't last long under our assualt, and Nicholai gets the last blood.
We don't get anything for defeating the boss. As stated before, nothing we get here carries over to Yuri and co.
Damn, never expected a monster like that to be here!
What do we do now, Nicolai?
As soon as we obtain the manuscript, we'll report to the Master. For the meantime, I suggest we halt our investigations here.
Damn staight! I'm not letting you send any more of my boys to die at the bottom of the ocean!
Lenny walks off.
The Master won't be pleased...we'd better prepare for his displeasure.
Veronica walks off.
... ... ...
He walks over to this altar-thing.
With this ring, shall our pact be forged. With this power, maybe I'll be able to surpass him...
As Nicholai walks away we pan up the altar.
Music: Mysterious Theme
All in all, this section is a fun little distraction, but that's about it. It adds a bit more character to the antagonists, and a nice bit of foreshadowing so a certain plot point doesn't feel like an asspull outta nowhere, that's otherwise not present in the standard versions.
Moral of the story; don't date crows. Don't trust girls with birdclaws for hands and exposed breasts.
I always wondered what happened to the career of [INSERT TOPICAL CELEBRITY HERE].
Ouroboros are way classier.
That's Wales and Scotland off my vacation list.
Video: Nakhásh Temple Showcase. (Check it out for Nicolai, Lenny and Veronica's moves, and enemy animations).