The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 45: Episode XLII: The Key to Success

Episode XLII: The Key to Success

Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon

The prison break is a go. Veronica's private jail cells were kind enough to spawn a save point so we don't need to repeat any of that stealth section should calamity befall us. Additionally, since in our LP canon playthrough Yuri was the one to endure Veronica's torture then there is now a chest in the room containing...

Probably the most metal looking designed gloves Yuri gets in the entire game. These demon lord ass looking gauntlets grant a +64 to Physical and +55 to Special Attack. Not too shabby. Very good for punching stabby. If you're curious, if one of the characters failed the torture sequence then there would only be another Third Key here instead of a free weapon upgrade.

Emphasis on not repeating any of that stealth section. I have bad news about the rest of the dungeon. You know all those areas Blanca deftly snuck through previously? Yeah... now we're going to have to repeat the entire area but there are random battles and full backtracking of the map.


Before we proceed too far ahead and receive any kind of objective or inkling as to where the heck they might be keeping Roger Bacon, there is an area of note in the northeast corner of one of the previously sentry patrolled rooms. It's time to check in on an old friend.

I am the Ring Soul... The will of the Judgment Ring, the administrator of all fate...
Hey, Ring Spirit! Hi!
So what did you do to end up in prison? Hey, take it from me. If you see a half-dressed lady with a whip, you should make yourself scare. It... it's a bad scene...
I can see it... I can see your future... This I entrust to you...

Blanca can now enter the five attack string club. I'd say he earned it after rescuing the rest of the party from their grim fate of awkward torture sequences.

I always take it seriously! The Ring Soul doesn't have much impact as a character, so I have to play it all majestic! It's a tough role! I've got a 30-year mortgage, the wife and kids to feed! I can't afford not to take my job seriously, okay?! I'm trying my hardest to leave some kind of impression on the people I meet! Why are you being such a pain?! Just taking me for a fool! Ring Spirit this, Ring Spirit that! I'm the Ring Soul! Okay! Okay! Let me spell it out! R-i-n-g S-o-u-l!
We're having a text-based conversation. Every time we speak I know you can see my name right there in bright green lettering right next to my character portrait. I'm looking at it right now. It says Ring Soul. It has ALWAYS said Ring Soul! At no point did spirit come up as my name. What is your damage?!

You're such a... a... a--- Arrgggh!

Ring Soul rage quits out of the conversation and vanishes.

Yuri, how are you managing to bungle your relationship with a fourth-wall breaking gameplay entity?

With that taken care of, we can now head back upstairs which spawns a new scene as Yuri approaches a door at the top of the stairs.

Maybe, why?
He was put in a specially-built cell. I don't think there's any easy way to get it open...
Really? You couldn't pick the lock or something?
Probably not.
I mean, do you know how to pick locks, son?
...Not exactly.
Yeah, that'll probably be a problem then, wouldn't you say?

Here, let's talk... I'm actually a locksmith. I made all the locks used in the cells. But once I finished, they said they didn't need me anymore, and shut me in! They've got some nerve! I tell you, I'm just waiting to get my revenge...
This place seems super old. How long have you been waiting to get revenge, exactly?
I'm biding my time.

You want me to make you a key?
Yes, please!
Okay, then! First I need you to bring me the things to make the key. I'll need something long and thin for the shaft. A pen or a pencil will do. It just needs to be strong. Next, I'll need some soft metal to make the end. Some wire would be perfect. Maybe there's some lying around... And last, I'll need something to bond the two. I'm sure you'll find that if you go to one of the warehouses. If you bring those three things, I can make you a key.
Oh... umm... Yeah, what if I didn't do all that and just found the actual key to the cell?
I find that to be highly unlikely.

Welp. Who is ready to scour this drab dungeon in search of three random items and then backtrack all the way to this cell in order to make progress in the game? Oh yeah, by the way to add to this fun proposal...

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

Random Battles are back in force and have added a couple additional enemies to the roster (mind you the Claw Admirals and Paladins are still in the mix.) First up is Kheperer, a 90 HP sporting Fire Elemental. Kheperer is actually the giant beetle flying to the side. The giant ball of shrieking flesh is just incidental. Kheperer can VERY rarely do a weak physical attack or cast some fire magic. And by rarely I mean I fought at least a dozen of these and it did it exactly once each. Mostly, the beetle and its flesh sack companion stick to buffing its allies with Rage for a 30% physical damage buff. And every damn battle here has 4-6 enemies in a group and takes a good two to three minutes, so that's less than ideal.

Beyond that, Kheperer is a mistranslation of Kheper more commonly known as Khepri a scarab faced ancient Egyptian god.

[quote="Wikipedia on Khepri"]

Click here for more info.

Khepri (Egyptian: ḫprj, also transliterated Khepera, Kheper, Khepra, Chepri) is a scarab-faced god in ancient Egyptian religion who represents the rising or morning sun. By extension, he can also represent creation and the renewal of life.

Khepri ḫprj is derived from Egyptian language verb ḫpr, meaning "develop", "come into being", or "create". The god was connected with the scarab beetle (ḫprr in Egyptian), because the scarab rolls balls of dung across the ground, an act that the Egyptians saw as a symbol of the forces that move the sun across the sky. Khepri was thus a solar deity. Young dung beetles, having been laid as eggs within the dung ball, emerge from it fully formed. Therefore, Khepri also represented creation and rebirth, and he was specifically connected with the rising sun and the mythical creation of the world.

Khepri was principally depicted as a scarab beetle, though in some tomb paintings and funerary papyri he is represented as a human male with a scarab as a head, or as a scarab with a male human head emerging from the beetle’s shell. He is also depicted as a scarab in a solar barque held aloft by Nun. The scarab amulets that the Egyptians used as jewelry and as seals represent Khepri.

OK. Well, substitute a ball of dung with a ball of writhing flesh and I can see the connection with its namesake.

Also added to the enemy roster for the second half of this dungeon is the Gatorback. It is an Earth elemental enemy with a very sturdy 300 HP. It's just a big mutant scorpion with kind of an alligator mouth that smacks into people and throws rocks at them. I assume scorpions and/or alligators can wing rocks at people, right? I mean, Killer Croc could throw rocks. I know alligators and crocodiles are different, but the same neighborhood. But the rock-throwing and pincers are kind of all it has going on. It can also inflict Up Ring (speeds up the Judgment Ring spinning.)

It's called a Gatorback because it has kind of an alligator looking back, I suppose. Look, they're not all going to be winners.

In any event, all of the random battles take way too long in this post torture segment of the dungeon and we could have done with half the enemies in trash mobs or maybe not having the Gatorback possess near early game mid-boss levels of hit points and appear in every single fight. Just some thoughts.

Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon

Back to the task at hand, now that we are riding with a full party once again, we're now free to explore the upper and lower floors of this area. We're going to skip the lower path for now as that may be retreading in a direction we don't need to go just yet. So instead let's head upstairs where we find...

Why it's Nicolai's office from earlier! We may as well do the sensible thing and longue on his couch for a bit loot it. That chest next to the entrance looks tempting. Also, why did Lenny move a table into the room and put a vase of flowers on it since that last scene...? I can never get a read on that guy.

The rather useful Zodiac Bracelet from the first Shadow Hearts returns with the exact same Paralysis and more importantly Petrification protection. We're going to immediately slap this on Yuri and consider possibly stocking up on Petrification protection for upcoming events.

But more importantly, we're going to nick Nicolai's fancy fountain pen. Nicolai put a curse on Yuri. It's only fair he steals his artisanal imported tricked out pen to craft a makeshift key via some sketchy prisoner locksmith. It doesn't make them even. But it's a start.

With the pen in hand, we can now go back downstairs and continue our travels. In the same corridor as the staircase, just past the office Blanca had to duck into to evade detection, is a gate Blanca neglected to investigate due to the aforementioned sneaking mission. We can now unlock this gate. We've actually seen this southern corridor before. It's the one we passed through early in the dungeon that was locked from the other side. We've made a full loop of the joint.

Well, now that we know we're on an adventure game style key item gathering puzzle, Yuri can rifle through this previously empty warehouse's junk to find a semi-used tube of adhesive. Very convenient.

Returning back the way we came and retracing Blanca's stealth route, we can now also loot that treasure chest to add another Magic Crest to the pile. Another full-party heal? Yeah, that sounds alright.

Ultimately, we have literally return to the beginning of Blanca's stealth run and punt him back out to the wolf forest zone. As doing so results in...

*whimper* Awroo! (It nearly went straight into my paw! Huh? You want this junk?)
Awroo. (Let's just say I am going to recycle it.)
*whimper* Awroo. (I don't know what that word means. But as long as it doesn't end up in my paw. Here.)

And there we have our final piece of trash which allegedly can be crafted into a fully functional key.

So while we're in the area and once again have a full party again, what do you say we just go ahead and purchase three Mirror Bracelets to make our upcoming lives *much* easier. Let's just say Petrification might become a real problem in the near future and we need to be prepared.

Now that we have all three requested components for Dexterous Locke, it's just a matter of... walking near clear across the whole damn dungeon again. If I never see another torch-lit brick corridor in this game I could die a happy man. Too bad I'm destined to live long and be miserable.

Mmm... This pen should make a fine key shaft. And this wire will work perfectly! It just needs a little skillful twisting... Then the adhesives, and... All done! This should help get that old guy out!
Aren't you going to use it to get out of your cell first?
I'm gonna stay here a little longer. It's quite cozy when you get used to it!
It's dank and dark and smells like rotten fish and cabbage.
Yep. Like I said. Cozy.
Uh-huh... You do you, I guess.

Oh, yeah! Here, have this, if it'll be any use to you.

Huh. That guy is really good at bending a busted piece of trash wire and a pen point to incredibly precise angles. Anyway, we now have our means of making it to the end of this dragging dungeon.

Additionally, Dexterous Locke provided Karin with another scene from The Ring of Nibelung. This one powers up Karin's Heuervelk attack. Sure, why not?