Part 82: Episode LXXVI: But Steel is Heavier Than Feathers...Episode LXXVI: But Steel is Heavier Than Feathers...
Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe
Welp. There are a couple more sidequest bits that will be completed during our revisit to Apoina Tower but we do need to step forth, gather the party and deal with the Satsui No Hado stockpile the Catholic Church has apparently been hording in a tower of The Vatican.
Music: Death is the Great Leveler ~ Tower of Atonement
At a glance, this place is giving me a powerful Viper Manor from Chrono Cross vibe. I kind of want to replay Chrono Cross and I dislike that feeling.
Speaking of bad vibes, we have dead Vatican guards out front. Apparently, Sapientes Gladio just changed the mask color and didn't let blonde people into the cult outside Nicolai. They should have known he was a traitor.
Elliot, my brother-in-law, told me a long time ago... A tower in the Vatican holds all the anger and hatred of the world. And the vault at the top must never be opened.
OK... I knew Alice was religious and all but what was the Catholic Church's DEAL?
Nothing you want to hear about. We have enough going on.
They say all that evil and resentment would take root in people's hearts.
You mean everyone would start arguing?
Do you even remember how tedious the Malice system was in Shadow Hearts 1, Yuri?! DO YOU REMEMBER HOW MANY WOLF PALETTE SWAPS WE FOUGHT!?
Anyhow, we're doing Apoina Tower again. It is no longer a tutorial dungeon it is now the Disc 1 End Game Dungeon. And things have changed since our visit when Nicolai was fronting as the main character.
For instance, this door to the left that was locked in our first visit is now accessible.
And up here is a couple of chests over that waist-high barrier we couldn't hop over from that side. They were actually visible in that previous cutscene. Don't worry about that! The chest closest to the corpses just has another Thera Extract. Whatever. But this one we're checking out...
Another Crest is available here. Nothing particularly special about it. I increasingly don't like the Crest system with how broad a spread it has with its magic and the fact I'm kind of already locked into the useful abilities at a generous spread and am only going to swap out if a real deal higher tier upgrade appears. But whatever... That's on my end.
The first three or so floors of the Apoina Tower are exactly the same. All looted chests are still looted. It's a bit of a waste of time beyond, well, you know what was coming...
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
We do have a new roster of enemies in this revisit to Apoina Tower. The enemies from the first go-around are thankfully not wasting our time. At this point in the game I think even Gepetto or Lucia could blink at a Revenant from the tutorial and delete its whole bestiary from time and space. So let's make some new friends like Emptiness, a cloaked spirit with a couple of big boy swords of the Fire elemental class with a laughable 100 HP. It just sort of hits folks with swords and occasionally will cast Red Blaze.
Its only noteworthy factor is, despite the tattered cloak, that is technically a returning enemy from the previous game. Emptiness appeared in the final dungeon, Neameto Float. It was way more annoying back then as it was a jerk enemy that cast Gale on its allies and had a percentage based HP Lowering attack. Also, it had three times the HP above this sequel's incarnation.
Joining them are these zombies in floating chairs surrounded by cartoon ghosts. These go by the name Lemures and are a Wind class elemental with 110 HP. They will smack our party upside the head with their old-timey chair and cast Slash (the Street Fighter Guile Sonic Boom ass looking attack.) Again, not a whole big of a threat given the low HP and their tendency to bunch up in battle. Oddly, for being the Disc 1 final dungeon, Apoina Tower has way easier enemies in its random battles than Idar Flamme did. I kind of suspect Idar Flamme used to be the Disc 1 final dungeon at one point in development and then when crafting Disc 2, which may as well just be Shadow Hearts 3, they added in Apoina Tower is a better branching cliffhanger point. Spoilers: Some shit goes down here.
"Lemures" is just Latin for vengeful/restless spirits. There is not much more to it than that.
The final enemy we'll encounter in Apoina Tower is Danters which is a modified palette swap of the Statue enemy from the tutorial version of this dungeon. They have shifted to Light elemental and grown to have 168 HP. They basketball dunk their heads toward our party still.
Danters is a mistranslation of Dunters which is another term for Red Caps. Which is another name an enemy in Neameto Float possessed back in the day.
Wikipedia on Redcap posted:
Click here for more.
The redcap (or Redcap) is a type of malevolent, murderous goblin found in Border folklore. He is said to inhabit ruined castles along the Anglo-Scottish border, especially those that were the scenes of tyranny or wicked deeds, and is known for soaking his cap in the blood of his victims. He is also known as Redcomb and Bloody Cap.
Redcap is depicted as "a short, thickset old man with long prominent teeth, skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large eyes of a fiery red colour, grisly hair streaming down his shoulders, iron boots, a pikestaff in his left hand, and a red cap on his head". When travelers take refuge in his lair, he flings huge stones at them; and if he kills them, he soaks his cap in their blood, giving it a crimson hue. He is unaffected by human strength, but can be driven away by words of Scripture or by the brandishing of a crucifix, which causes him to utter a dismal yell and vanish in flames, leaving behind a large tooth.
There is distinctly not a red cap anywhere here so meh. They at least gave that fifteen Wind Shear variant a red cloak to make it work last time. Not feeling this one, Covenant. Also, you had been so good about not doing palette swap enemies up till now compared to the first game. I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.
Music: Death is the Great Leveler ~ Tower of Atonement
Back to the grind. As I said, everything up until the third floor is identical to the first visit, that one extra room and the new enemy pool omitted. What changes on the third floor is... well. Remember there was just a teleporter to the top of the tower and the Gargoyle fight on our first rodeo? Well, that is gone now.
Though this room is not without merit. For you see, if we walk Yuri to this specific, seemingly empty corner we can advance a sidequest with best boy Ring Soul. How the FUCK you're supposed to know to go to this specific corner to trigger this is one of the many mysterious tenants of Shadow Hearts: Covenant's sidequest design.
You missed a bunch. I punched Rasputin so hard it blew up an airship. And then we went on his floating fortress and took him out. I really expected you to show up there!
Sorry to keep you waiting! So, today, I will assume the role of Miyabi, playing the Ring Soul! I'm so nervous!
My wife, remember? You wanted me to play the Ring Soul as her.
That did happen, Yuri.
...What kind of weird headspace was I in that day?
My name's Ring Soul! I'm the will of the Judgment Ring-a-ling! The administrator of diddly-widdly fate!
S-surely she doesn't really speak like that?! Does she...?
You can't hide from little meesie! I can see your future! Here! My present to you! And a kiss!
Ring Soul, I know your mission is ultimately to get the entire party to their max Physical Attack string level. Which would be admirable if these were consumable items and not just something that could be taken on and off at will as needed. And if I was a crazy person that rotated the party but didn't shuffle gear. But I'm not that...
It's the power of the Judgment Ring! Yipee! Ha ha ha! Next time I see you, you little cutie, I'll give you more power! I'm gonna watch and make sure every one of you cuties is nice to Mr.Destiny! I had such a great time today! You're my best friends!
T-thank you, cutsie-pie!
...It sounded right.
...That's the kind of thing! That was my Miyabi. She talks real cute, huh? Right?
Ha ha! Phew, I've been practicing that for ages. Every evening. I haven't done anything else. Oh. I'm so pleased you liked it! Maybe next time I could do my daughter, Aya?
...Oh, no! Don't worry! No, no...
No?! I don't mind really. It'd be fun!
Okay, then! Better get practicing! See you!
Ring Soul vanishes.
Can I stop showing up for these sessions? I never even get any lines anymore.
No! You started this and you're going to see it through!
Technically, Nicolai started this whole thing. I was just his number two back then.
That is not a solid argument and you know it!
Now that the teleporter is nixed, the creepy door that was over here is now open. I like to think Nicolai has a frustrating time soloing this dungeon on his own time.
Unfortunately, on the following floor, there is another creepy hell door that is evidentially just the Catholic Church aesthetic. But don't worry! To the north, we have an obnoxious puzzle to sort this issue out.
It looks like a machine for weighing things... But you need something to use as a counter-weight.
Yeah, OK. I am not sure about the design of this puzzle. Anyway, there are four cells surrounding this scale. And each of them has a weight in them locked in a treasure chest. Let's take a look at what we've got...
<In extremely Street Fighter 3 announcer voice> Yeah! That makes sense!!
It is very easy to miss the plague obscured by the cell bars in this room which gives us a metric as to how to solve this puzzle. There is a point system in play here. And this is how it goes...
- Thievery is one guilt weight.
- Kidnapping is double thievery. So two sin points.
- Arson is four bad boy points.
- Murder is twice as bad as kidnapping and thus eight naughty points.
- Arson times three is you're done! So if I remember my arithmetic that means 12 points is the execution threshold.
In other words, Murder is Eight Points and Arsonist is Four Points. And that equals twelve and is enough to get you executed in ancient Rome, I guess. I'm not looking up if this was a thing. It probably was. Humanity is always on its bullshit like that.
And thus our way to the top half of the tower is unlocked. Tune in next time as we tackle that and maybe get to punching Nicolai as he undoubtedly is smug and does something stupid. That's just his brand.
Apoina Tower Concept Art - Yeah... Still getting a heavy Chrono Cross dungeon vibe. Maybe it's the fact this dungeon actually has some character to it after five that sucked ass.