The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 81: Episode LXXV: Trial of the Monk

Episode LXXV: Trial of the Monk

Fuckin' Goreme Valley. The place I hate the most the rest of this game. We do need to complete the next step of the Solomon Trials as the final stage of wrapping up Disc 1 optional content. So let's grit our teeth and get to it.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

The Monk Level Trials were unlocked back when Idar Flamme was a thing but we put it off until now because... it is mostly just redoing all the fights from the whole Russia arc of the game up to that point immediately after we did the whole Russia arc of the game. Also it's a bunch of annoying bullshit that sucks ass if you're not looking at a guide. And still sucks ass if you're looking at a guide and forget specific enemies from hours ago's abilities and piss sixteen minutes of time down your leg for not preparing from them. We'll get into that. I DEFINITELY didn't have a shitty time doing this for the LP and just dropped this sidequest when I played the game the first time without a guide.

In the background we are going to make a change to having everyone use the Gamble Ring because it makes a lot of sense to do so for this gambit of trials and also... I'm just sick of doing QTEs 3-5 times every time I use any action in combat. Idar Flamme was a real burn out on my tolerance for the Judgment Ring.

Monk Trials of Solomon is another four level gauntlet of Pit Fights. First up is doing a 18+ hit Combo but everyone's unique abilities are off-limits. Stocking up on multi-shot Crest Magic is an option but ehh... Those frequently don't combo particularly well since they're generally launchers. Don't worry, this isn't tough.

We'll be taking the usual squad for this trial.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

Back from the dead is the worst assassin ever, Victor, and his familiar jobber Pendulum. I'm still not particularly comfortable with the Pit Fights just resurrecting people from death's embrace. At least Victor is still a completely un-noteworthy looking dude and not an inverted pregnant woman or some shit like that. Remember that boss from the previous game? Some inquisitor asshole switched genders and got pregnant and turned upside down after a battle transition. That was a peculiar transformation in a series full of peculiar transformations...

Regardless of circumstances, this fight goes the same way it did the first time. We need to immediately nuke Pendulum which is easily done in a single round with our Level 30~ish characters.

After that, Victor will flail a bit doing perhaps a whole 5 HP of damage to a single character because level scaling is absurd in this game. When he is done, we can just set up a four-person Combo and I mean... Air Shot Combo Magic alone does 18 hits. And that does not count as a personal skill as anyone can perform it at the end of the 4th turn in a Combo so...

Yeah, eat shit, Victor. I think 33 hits will suffice. Away with you to Second Banana Hell. You have to be endearing corny like Lenny or Chief Mendez to make it to Second Banana Heaven. You sucked.

That is one in the books and easily the least annoying of the lot.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

Naturally, we get a reward for our efforts. It is actually something we have not seen for a change.

Nothing about that description indicates what the hell this accessory does. But backing up a step to the inventory listing reveals this doubles random encounter frequency. Yeah... yeah, I'm good, actually. No thank you. No bueno.

Time for Monk, Level 2 and one of the two primary reasons we've switched to a Gamble Ring. Three fights, Tight Ring and not allowed to miss a beat. Tight Ring just reduces the Hit Area size by 50% which is problematic but way less so when we only need to do one Hit Area.

Karin and Yuri will be joining us for this session as they're just our best fighters. That is all there is to that.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

The enemy sets here are randomized but that's fine since they're all rather piss easy. For instance, our old friend Arachne from ages ago in the Ardennes Forest is the first up. Hey, remember when Yuri's malice was going out of control from the Holy Mistletoe curse and it shat out a weird hand spider? And then that never came up again. Weird...

The Fides Fusion is going to be our frontrunner for a while here since it is just strong as hell with physical attacks even more so than Amon.

By the way, if you want a reference for how tiny the Gamble Ring with Tight Ring permanently affixed to it for this trial is, here you are. Also, a rare look at the one big emulation bug I cannot fix is the in-battle Judgment Ring.

You see it too...? For me... it's always like this...

Anyway, Fides can smoke Arachne in a single turn since it only had 300 HP. So let's move right on!

Remember Castor and Pollux from Veronica's first monster of the week episode back in the original brown subterranean dungeon in the abandoned Paris Metro?

Yeah, I barely did either. It takes Yuri and Karin one round to take each out.

Finally, we have the Mirror Match Round 3.

Except we're a good six levels stronger than we were in that dungeon and our cheap knock-offs can instantly be gibbed by the real McCoy.

The no missing an action business was a little rough and I had to reset once but ehh... again, the Drakengard taint is upon me and I'm very competent at QTEs.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

We get another far more rare Fifth Key for this Trial. We'll definitely use that to body an end boss one day far from now.

The third trial is a three-person party with no stipulations. Except one... don't make my mistake and forget a gimmick of an enemy from five hours ago...

Or, I mean, get blindsided by it since you are not told what is coming up. Hey, we need everyone to equip Leonardo's Bear as an accessory. That is VERY important. As sixteen minutes of my life was wasted because I had to redo this trial because of some bullshit in here.

This time around we're going to tag in Anastasia as our third party member. As this is a necessary step for her character growth sidequest.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

This Trial has a set enemy encounter roster. And first up... Hey, it's Carla and Lucia's cultist murdering giant cat we beat-up -- Andre.

There is nothing at all to be said about wrecking Andre's day at our current level. But there is the reason we brought Anastasia along.

Anastasia can use her Snapshot ability here to dive into the past and grab a new Album ability -- Cash Steal.

Come to me!

There is NOTHING more disrespectful than summoning a doppelgänger to use your own ability against you. Plus, it's nice to get paid from one of these trial grinds.

Once that is done, we're free to kill that cat again. Don't worry, it still has seven lives. It's fine.

Following that fight with Andre, we have the ten minute Winter Palace dungeon crew of Pendulum, Wormgaur x2, and Quartzback. No need to comment here.

And then the Gallery of the Dead reps of Jack, Jill, and Agony.

Follow that up with six huge assed demon deer Perytons.

And then we get to the actual problem if we didn't do prep work before getting here -- Night Queen Veronica is back from the dead.

Speaking of dead, she still has Instant Death as her default move that she'll do every turn and she's faster than most bosses. Guess where the sixteen minutes of fighting ended when I went "OH FUCK!" forgetting Night Queen could do this...

But hey, don't worry about that! Each of these LP updates is only three plus hours of my limited time on this hell planet. On your end, it all worked out!

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

Our reward this time is the Step Doubler which just lets us cheat at the Step Count sidequest. The Pedometer still needs to be equipped but... I did mention that this far in the game we still needed like close to 6000 steps and... well... Sorry, Blanca. This and the Pedometer are permanently getting taped to your mane outside boss fights.

OK! Prep for the next round. The Pocket Watch is essential to be equipped on Yuri. Also, we're going to equip the Mind's Eye which doubles his physical damage output but hides his Judgment Ring Hit Area.

Helpfully, there is an arrow in the six o'clock position where we need to remember and that's not too hard to do. It'll be fine. Why are we doing all of this?

Well, the final trial is a gauntlet of five battles with one character with Blind Ring which is... exactly the same thing Mind's Eye does but not by choice. At least we're allowed to fuck this one up, unlike the Tight Ring challenge.

Of course Yuri will be our solo boy going forth. He is the most OP JRPG protagonist perhaps of this whole PS2 era of JRPGs. Have Yuri travel back in time to the Koudelka era and just tear off Elaine's head and punt it into the Irish Sea while James O' Flaherty looks on in cucked horror.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

This one is a set series of enemies with Veronica's dog Oscar as the first one up to the plate.

Again... the level scaling is rough in this and Oscar can't do shit. At least all dogs go to heaven. I believe a documentary cartoon film from the '80s told me that. Wait... that had a SEQUEL? What?!

Following that we have another helping of folks from the overly long dungeon that was Saint Marguerite Island. Whatever.

Hey, remember that Pocket Watch business? This was the fight I was referring to that being necessary. Ogoroja (the spooky grim reaper thing) is a big whatever, but Tweedledum can inflict Up Ring (makes the Judgment Ring go faster) which is not great when you need to get a specific invisible QTE spot. But more troubling is that Tweedledee can inflict Fake Ring which just shifts where your goddamn Hit Area is and that is A PROBLEM when it is invisible! Fuck these optical camouflaged goons. I had to restart this one too because of this and forgetting the gimmick of an enemy in a nothing dungeon.

After that, it is just a rematch with Amon, who as it turns out, is a complete chump vs. Fides. Hard counter!

And that is the final trial done! ...On Disc 1.

Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God

For our efforts we get... another Mind's Eye. You know what? Appropriate.

While we are done with all the Trial of the Monk of Solomon's Trials we do need to make one final expedition into Trial 4.

Specifically, Anastasia needs to get in there.

Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe

So Oscar, Veronica's Dog, holds another secret of the past.

It's rather odd they'd do multiple bosses with Blue Magic abilities you can only get from a character later than they're fought and only possible to obtain either via New Game Plus or doing a weird, shitty sidequest. But here we are! Oscar yields the Remove Album ability which just deletes buffs and that's the only way to delete buffs in this game. Oscar himself does not do buffs so we cannot see it in action.

At this point we don't need to do the rest of this trial. But I did do a rundown of status effects ages ago. Shadow Hearts: Covenant has Poison and DOUBLE Poison, which I believe only bosses can inflict such as Oscar. Optimally, we never want to get Double Poison because it does an insane QUARTER of your maximum HP per turn.

They got me... Ugh...

Anyway, Anastasia got bodied but we still retained the Album entry so a net gain. Don't worry, kiddo. You already paid for that Tent I'll have to use to top you off from that Cash Steal on Andre.

OK, then... That's it. We have done all the optional content of Disc 1 of Shadow Hearts: Covenant. All that remains is the Disc 1 final dungeon that is Apoina Tower. Buckle up as we're going places!

Arachne Concept Art - Do not like a spider with nails and eyelashes.

Castor and Pollux Concept Art - These feel like things that would go down from like three Belmont whips.