The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 92: Episode LXXXVI: Trials of the Mutant Apes

Episode LXXXVI: Trials of the Mutant Apes

So who is ready to spend time with a cyborg Japanese lady in skin tight battle gear with some big ol' honkers and a huge ass? Well, let me tell you, that Code Lyoko ass looking CGI Netflix Ghost in the Shell is NOT what you're looking for! Good grief. But don't worry! Shadow Hearts: Covenant has you covered instead.

<Over an unseen announcement speaker> Ouka, wake up.

No... you're saying it weird. It's just two syllables. Ohh...kah... Try it again.
Ou... ka...

That's right, Ouka. That's your name. Now sit up.
Sit... up...
That's right. Sit up. Additionally, going forward I want you to follow my instructions but not repeat them back to me every time. Do you think you can do that, Ouka?

Ouka sits up on the table.

<looks around the room> ......

Your job is to escape from there.

Ouka stands up and examines the laboratory room.

Kill anything in your way. Then come to me as swiftly as you can.
Yes, Master.

NEW Music: Hatred ~ Hojo Research Institute
(I'll take any new dungeon theme at this point. Other than the one from Idar Flamme.)

So we're now playing as a new character -- Ouka. She'll be our protagonist throughout this weird mini-dungeon. Given the Director's Cut dungeon content and how far along most of it was in the base game before being cut, they clearly intended to periodically switch over to the villain side for some dungeons to spice things up. But this is the only one that made it into the base game. It's an... odd dungeon.

Ouka is capped at Level 50 and cannot gain any additional experience as you'd expect of a guest character. But considering Level 50 is around 15-20 levels head of most of our actual party and around the range we'll be in the endgame, I'm sure she'll be fine. That aside, you know... this mysterious lady looks kind of familiar...

She looks suspiciously like the dearly departed Lieutenant Colonel Yoshiko Kawashima from Yuri's previous adventure. This is quite peculiar given we just met her dad and saved his adopted daughter who inherited her name a couple of cutscenes ago. Well, let's see what Ouka's profile blurb says...

Oh... Ohh... Hey, remember how Kato got the Émigré Manuscript from Nicolai a while back and we haven't heard a peep about it since then? Turns out over the last few months he used it to make an obedient clone of his dead superior officer he had a huge crush on. Also, he saw it fit to double her breast size and give her a booty augmentation before sticking her in a Samus Aran Zero Suit knock-off.

Hey, Kato... Special Agent Kato, my dude... WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!

Equipment-wise, Kawashima 2.0 Ouka has a sci-fi version of the Type B Nambu pistol. Those are some impressive specs considering looking it up the original model only shot at 290m/s and had an effective range of about 50 meters.

She also comes equipped with a Zero Power Suit. Highly protective. Chafes like a bitch though. Beyond that, Ouka doesn't come carrying any accessories but that's fine.

For Ouka's escape test we're also given an assortment of consumables to use. Ouka cannot use any Crest Magic so this is just about all she has going for her. It'll be more than enough. Let's head out of this initial lab room and see what lies beyond.

Ouka, that's Hien. He's one of the Mutant Apes, just like you.
Am I to kill him, master?
No, no! Not him.
But I was instructed to kill anything that gets in my way.
Yes, I know I may have said that but make an exception for him, Ouka.

...Excuse me, but if we're going to fight alongside each other, I want to test your skills first.

Music: Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan

We are now taking on Hien who is a 621 HP foe which is Wind elemental, shockingly enough. So this fight...

Has basically NOTHING going on in it. What you see above is just about the entire battle in a nutshell. Ouka has a toolset of a physical attack string which is what she and Hein will be exchanging blows each turn as they're both roughly the same speed.

Ouka's only other option is to employ her Support Fire unique ability and toss an Anti-armor bomb -- an animation which takes longer than the standard attack string and does either the same or slightly less damage. There is no reason to use this attack here.

Especially since you'll be seeing the animation anyway because Hien has an identical attack. Genetically modified Mutant Apes are well known for their grenade spamming like they just respawned at a boss in a Metal Slug game.

And that's about it. Ouka and Hien just smack each other about for about two minutes straight before Hien gets sleepy and keels over. Ouka can survive this fight without needing to heal. But if Hien happens to land a critical hit and her health does get dangerously low, we can do a safety heal before resuming the offensive. Despite this being a friendly test bout between new co-workers, Ouka can be killed here and it is a Game Over. I'm sure Kato would feel awfully silly if he went to all the trouble of creating a weird super-soldier clone of his old crush and she immediately gets killed by the first person she runs across five minutes after being activated.

True strength comes from the mind.

There is no Experience, Cash or Soul Energy in this dungeon because... well, it's a guest character we're only temporally using and they're at the current level cap. That'd be silly. We do get a spiffy SP-Defend Down 4 from Hien which we should equip on Ouka's Judgment Ring Add-on immediately. We should also have her chow down on that Thera Extract after the battle as she does not get healed and she may have another one on one encounter in at a later time in this area.

Music: Hatred ~ Hojo Research Institute

And if necessary, handily defeat me in battle. Admirable.

Hien teleports away.

So this dungeon lacks random battles. In their place, there is instead a target shooting mini-game that is basically just a glorified QTE. Targets will spring forward every few paces and Ouka will stop, draw her pistol, and be forced to shoot targets (usually one or two at a time) using the corresponding face buttons on the controller. If we hit the wrong button, Special Agent Kato will come over the loudspeaker and berate Ouka for missing such a huge target and she'll lose time listening to him. There are also special targets with Kato himself printed on them. Ouka must NOT shoot those and wait for them to disappear after a couple of seconds. If she does shoot them by mistake, Kato will come over the loudspeaker and get pissed, which wastes time just like missing a target.

This segment is timed but there's no prize for going swiftly and efficiently. There is no prize at all, in fact. Indeed, Ouka can beef it non-stop missing every other target, idling for half an hour while the player is taking a phone call and shooting every Kato target she sees. No penalties. No reward. It is just kind of busy work. But I'll take that over wasting a bunch of time with random battles in meaningless fights using a character we're only playing as for a very limited stretch of the game. Don't worry! Yuri and the gang will eventually come to this dungeon as well and the target shooting will be replaced by random battles! Fear not!

There are a couple of rooms were the Yoshiko clone will be tasked with stopping and shooting a set amount of targets.

Again, we can miss these all day. But as far as QTEs go these are insanely generous. There's a good two-second window to fire from when a target first appears to Kato being cheesed off we missed.

Also, I really want to see the budgeting order for this project having requested about twenty cardboard targets with commissioned art of Kato looking like a cool anime boy. What a fuckin' dork.

Reminder that despite looking about 50 years old thanks to his unfortunate facial features and being voiced by Jamieson "Papa Nier" Price, Masaji Kato is only 29 years old. He is at the prime of his life to be a huge tryhard dweeb with enough money to finance his geeky hobby. And fetishes, unfortunately, give... you know... Ouka. Kato, you used to be OK. He was a dingus, sure, but at least not the type that would leave behind instructions to burn his hard drive in the event of his untimely death. What happened, dude? Other than depression, funding, and a lot of bad ideas.

Like many Shadow Hearts 2 dungeons, it's just a series of winding dully colored corridors with the occasional dead end and Ouka having to stop every 30 seconds or so to shoot some more QTE targets.

Eventually, we come to a proper shooting range, and once more Ouka is tasked with shooting 30 targets. Only this time, they're coming faster than ever and moving towards her. If a target reaches Ouka, she is once again chewed out by Kato and loses time. This section is also in first person for some reason. It's a good thing all Shadow Hearts universe firearms have infinite ammo after the great Aberystwyth ammo shortage of 1898.

I think I did this about nearly as optimally as humanly possible and Kato was pleased with the results. Ultimately, the only thing the timer changes is if Ouka takes too long he instead says...

Those results were much worse than I anticipated. If this keeps up, I might have to make some adjustments to you.

I don't like the phrasing "make adjustments to you." I already see the augmentations you gave to Not-Kawashima's ballistics... In any regard, at the end of the next hallway we the third and final Mutant Ape hanging out...

If it is shooting additional targets, I am more than up to the task.
Don't give me that look. I'm Raiden. I'm part of the Mutant Apes, just like you.
...This is the first this "Mutant Apes" term has made sense as of yet.

...I'm Ouka. Nice to meet you.
Not so fast. First of all, I wanna see how good you are!
Time for me to show you the rules of nature!

Music: Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan

Raiden has 675 HP and is an Earth elemental enemy. And that's about all you need to know as this is the exact same fight as the one with Hien right down to the fact Raiden ALSO possesses the Anti-armor Bomb ability. The only tangible difference is that Ouka could potentially inflict Special Defense Down with that Add-on she picked up from Hien which would make her own Anti-armor Bombs more effective.

It should be noted that the three Mutant Apes also share their names with World War II Japanese fighter planes. Which is impressive considering we're still in World War I at this point. Raiden is named after the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden just like a certain edgelord cyborg from another franchise. Hien is named after the Kawasaki Ki-6 Hien. And Ouka is named after the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka (yeah the localization picked the wrong Romanization here, it happens) a plane exclusively used for Kamikaze attacks towards the tail end of the war. Also, Raiden has some cybernetic capacitor things where his ears should be, Ouka has that techno visor, and Hien has a ninja mask covering his mouth. You can figure out the reference for yourselves there.

Mas...ter... Ugh...

In any event, Raiden also fails to stop Ouka as well. We once again need to be sure to heal after this fight as Ouka retains any injuries and there is one last boss fight in this dungeon.

Their attack pattern was too simple.

We get a Physical Defense Down 4 Add-on for Raiden. We'll have a use for that momentarily.

Music: Hatred ~ Hojo Research Institute

Well done, Ouka. Now for your final trial, Mutant Apes!

Hien teleports into the hallway.

Yes, sir!

Tune in next time as we see all three Mutant Apes working together to take down a common foe! Kato, still not cool with the fact you cloned the original Kawashima... Not cool with it at all.

Video: Episode 86 Highlight Reel
(You should definitely watch this.)

Ouka of the Mutant Apes Concept Art - Strangely the ape DNA spliced in solely gave her an enormous booty and anime hair bangs.