The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 76: Episode LXX: Grey Worm

Episode LXX: Grey Worm

Time to finally take on Idar Flamme. Despite the claim that the flying fortress would destroy all of Petrograd by the next morning... Nah. It's just been sort of lazily hovering over the city still while Rasputin sits around thinking he's cool all day. You would think there would be some sort of cinematic of the Bacon Jet landing on the structure but...

NEW Music: Pulsation Fortress ~ Pulsating Stronghold
(Boy, this sure is a droning 20-second loop that plays the entire goddamn dungeon.)

...Nope. No grand front gate or really anything. Everyone just shuffles in the front door with zero fanfare. Sure, why not?

This is Rasputin's temple...?

You read some creepy books.
Hehe. It's got a pretty evil air about it, that's for sure!
What's with you? You seem happy.
<turns to Karin> Yeah, well... I'm really gonna enjoy ripping this building apart!
I couldn't see the previous flying castle I was in falling apart since I was in space at the time. So this should be fun.
...Could we not have a floating fortress fall apart over my city?

<turns to Anastasia> Don't worry, Anastasia. I'll take care of Rasputin, and when I'm done, there won't be any trace of this temple.
<nods> Okay!

Remember how in the previous game Neameto Float was a multi-level techno-organic deal with a side of weird gothic castle aesthetic? Oh, and it had pretty decent music too? Yeah, Idar Flamme is not that...

Do you like mazes of winding, gray corridors and the occasional junction leading to more winding identical-looking corridors? Well, you are in luck, my friend! Idar Flamme has that and more in spades! But ahead we hit one of the few gimmicks of the dungeon's early segment.

These big gross alien eggs. Approaching one results in...

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

A battle against these alien parasite worms. These creatures are known as Gigafilaria and are a Fire class enemy with 135 HP. They come in groups of four to six worms. They enjoy time fuckery magic such as attacks that may cause Slow and casting Arc Gale at the first possible chance they get. Other than that, there isn't much to them other than they only appear from those eggs.

Their one unique trait is that they drop THREE Soul Energy a pop as opposed to the usual 1 Soul Energy per enemy (excluding boss fights, obviously.)

Music: Pulsation Fortress ~ Pulsating Stronghold

Jeez! That was pretty creepy! I wonder if there are any more of them?
This temple's alive. I'm sure of it...
The last floating temple I was in had a giant heart in it, so that checks out.

Idar Flamme is just chock-full of splitting paths and they're not some short branches with a treasure chest at the far end. They are significant distances and lead to other split paths with no clear direction as to where the hell we're meant to be heading. Spoilers: Generally we want to go north to reach the next section of the dungeon.

This place is goddamn HUGE and there are many paths with treasure scattered all over the place. For reference to scale, see that big curvy path to the center of the bottom-left quadrant of the map? It takes a solid minute to walk down just that path. That's just walking on the field, mind you. It actually took a good six minutes to make it down that path because giant alien eggs full of worms aren't the only problem we'll be facing here on our way to Rasputin.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

There are also worms not encased in creepy egg sacks! These are Megafilaria the Earth elemental little brothers of the Gigafilaria. These parasites only have 98 HP. They are the same exact deal just weaker and only one Soul Energy drop per kill. They tend to come in groups of 3-6 and are almost always bunched up making them ripe for a magic AOE attack right at the battle's onset.

Fun fact: Filaria are parasitic roundworms. They're usually a wee bit tinier, as I understand it. But I'm no scientist.

Moving on to more interesting creatures than a bunch of big ol' worms, we have Hati which is... just a Xenomorph from Alien but with some extra spikes taped onto it. It seems appropriate given the interior of this temple looks like they copied and pasted a tileset from a PS2 era Alien vs. Predator game. Hati are Water elemental enemies with 145 HP. Primarily, they stick to physical attacks but they do have one wholly unique spell that... really doesn't seem appropriate for an alien beast creature to possess but...

Hati can cast Direct Press which simply drops a comically oversized cartoon weight on someone. This attack sucks ass because it HALVES its target's current HP. Which is a little rough to randomly get hit with in a common battle during a massive labyrinthine maze with save points only at the ends of the joint.

Though of note, Anastasia can use her Snapshot ability to steal Direct Press and use it for herself in the future with her Album ability. Except... massive amounts of enemies are immune to HP percentage-based attacks. So its utility is limited.

Beyond that, the name Hati is derived from Hati Hróðvitnisson a wolf from Norse Mythology that chased the moon around like a dick.

Wikipedia on Hati posted:

Click here for more.

In Norse mythology, Hati Hróðvitnisson (first name meaning "He Who Hates", or "Enemy") is a warg; a wolf that, according to Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, chases Máni, the moon, across the night sky, just as the wolf Sköll chases Sól, the sun, during the day, until the time of Ragnarök, when they will swallow these heavenly bodies. Snorri also gives another name for a wolf who swallows the moon, Mánagarmr ("Moon-Hound", or "Moon's Dog").

Yeah, OK. But it is still just a xenomorph but... perhaps it's a xenomorph that burst out of a wolf? The world may never know.

Joining Hati and the worm gang is this body horror nightmare that is a screaming skinless woman seemingly bursting out of the chest of a demonic snake. As you do. These creatures are known as Echidna. They are Dark elemental enemies with a 144 HP and unlike Sonic they don't chuckle. They primarily like to drain our MP resources by inflicting Mental Break (Poison but for MP) but are otherwise nothing too special despite the body horror aspect.

Echidna is not named after the spiky, egg-laying anteaters but the half-snake/half-man creature of Greek mythology.

Wikipedia on Echidna posted:

Click here for more.

In Greek mythology, Echidna was a monster, half-woman and half-snake, who lived alone in a cave. She was the mate of the fearsome monster Typhon and was the mother of monsters, including many of the most famous monsters of Greek myth.

Hesiod's Echidna was half beautiful maiden and half fearsome snake. Hesiod described "the goddess fierce Echidna" as a flesh-eating "monster, irresistible", who was like neither "mortal men" nor "the undying gods", but was "half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake, great and awful, with speckled skin", who "dies not nor grows old all her days." Hesiod's apparent association of the eating of raw flesh with Echidna's snake half suggests that he may have supposed that Echidna's snake half ended in a snake-head. Aristophanes (late 5th century BC), who makes her a denizen of the underworld, gives Echidna a hundred heads (presumably snake heads), matching the hundred snake heads Hesiod says her mate Typhon had.

In the Orphic account (mentioned above) Echidna is described as having the head of a beautiful woman with long hair, and a serpent's body from the neck down. Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, describes Echidna as being "hideous", with "horrible poison".

Well... there is a lady and a snake and they are merged into one entity, so... I don't think they intended it to be some biohazard monstrosity but I get where they got the name.

The final common enemy (though far less common than the other three, I only fought maybe five of these total) is the Zamuza which looks like one of those Engineer dudes from Prometheus if you replaced its arms with four insectoid razor limbs and its normal legs with some quadruped demon legs. Also, have it hunch over and look as though it is furiously humping the air at all times. Zamuza is a Light elemental enemy with 156 HP to its name. It attacks primarily by... well, it has four arms that are blades. It mostly just stabs things repeatedly.

Zamuza is a mistranslation of Samsa, the surname of the protagonist of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Given we had a giant roach named Gregor earlier, that checks out with theming. I feel like the family of that story would be a tad bit more freaked out if they discovered old Gregor looking like Mr. X fucked one of those bugs from Starship Troopers.

One final note is that Joachim tagged in for Anastasia for this run of the game and managed to trigger his Grand Papillon Joachythm. Grand Papillon just boosts all of Joachim's stats across the board. And of course, he wears his iconic Grand Papillon mask. Like his two other forms, Joachim temporarily gains a new Profile write-up.

Joachim, is there something you're not telling us, buddy?

"In next week's episode: Grand Papillon goes shopping!"

Music: Pulsation Fortress ~ Pulsating Stronghold

And that's about it for the random encounters in this dungeon. And BOY did I have to do a lot of random encounters. Most of this dungeon is optional. We could just make a beeline north and skip the assorted treasure. But this is a rare one-time-only location (the only other one we've had was the Mirror Castle) so any treasure not collected will be lost forever. Nothing in this dungeon is anything that is permanently missable key items. There are no Stud Cards or Aromatherapy Oil or anything like that. The only character quest-related item is directly dropped by the final boss of the dungeon. But there is some decent loot at the cost of a long term investment dungeon crawling to get all. Start to finish this dungeon lasted a solid two hours and fifteen minutes if the footage I recorded is to be trusted.

There is also the matter of the Gigafilaria eggs. Counting the mandatory one at the entrance, there are twelve of these suckers blocking assorted paths down the corridors of Idar Flamme. They all produce the exact same Gigafilaria fight from the entrance and they all drop equal amounts of three Soul Energy per Gigafilaria, so tracking all these down can be quite the boon if we want to power up our Fusions. Just one of these fights is equivalent to the Soul Energy we would get from roughly two-three of the random battle encounters found elsewhere and takes very little time to blow through.

While there is a bounty of treasure to found most of it is just repeats of things we've already seen. With a couple exceptions. Namely:

Lucia can finally have a fan upgrade since we're not paying for it. This grants her +74 Physical and +85 Special Attack power. I actually found a use for Lucia in this dungeon. Given the lack of save points to use a Tent while taking deep dive expeditions for treasure, sticking a Cure spell on Lucia while she sits on the bench and putting her to good use topping off useful characters' HP proved effective for this specific stretch of the game.

We also picked up a Cosmic Bracelet that protects against a variety of status ailments. That is fairly decent as well. We could have used this for that Gundam Wolf Bout. And that is... pretty much it for interesting loot despite the massiveness of this area.

Anyway, when we make it to the far northern end of the region we discover... of course, somehow the Magimel Brothers and their truck have managed to get into the floating castle.

Huh?! What are you doing here?! How did you get in?
We're hundreds of feet up in the air. I had to use a plane to get in here.
Oh, come on! Why act so surprised? You people were here. Surely you knew we would show up eventually!
That is not an explanation how you got a truck onto a floating temple.
You are so focused on trivial details!

We had to come and give out support! This is do-or-die, right?! Aren't you even a little pleased to see us?!
Hmm, well, I guess a little...
So you'll buy something, then?! Use up all your cash! Go on! We might never meet again!
Exactly! You might as well use all your Stud Cards too. This might be our last meeting, after all!
...Thanks for the vote of confidence, guys. Real choice customer service.

<look at one another>

Well, what about you?!
You two...
I'm taking back being a little glad to see you.

I'm sure you all are more than capable of defeating the powerful sorcerer threatening to destroy all of Europe. You must do this kind of thing all the time!
More than I would like...

You just shout when you want to go back. We'll give you a ride back to the entrance, okay? Right, Pierre?
Y-yes, of course! Just say the word! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha!

I am not getting in a strange van with you all...

Pierre confirms we are done with dressmaking for the foreseeable future. Not going to miss that too strongly.

Meanwhile, Gerard offers his usual shopping services plus he will also drive us back to the dungeon entrance if we want to leave for whatever reason. Unfortunately, it's a one-way journey. We have to walk clear across the area again if we want to return to this point. I think we're good!

Gerard's shop doesn't offer any new equipment but it does now carry the third level consumables Thera Root, Mana Root, and Pure Root if we'd like to stock up on some beefier restorative items. That is still within the realm of overkill at this juncture, but it's nice to have the option available.

But I think we're good to go. Tune in next time as we tackle the second half of Idar Flamme. Yes, that monstrous maze of repeating assets was not quite enough dungeon for Rasputin's doom fortress.

Video: Episode 70 Highlight Reel
(Click here for body horror and worms.)

Giga/Megafilaria Concept Art - Yep... that's a demon worm alright.

Echidna Concept Art - Someone less threatening with that mischievous smirk.

Hati Concept Art - Where does it even get those novelty weights it drops on people?