The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

by Dragonatrix

Part 18: Yellow Dragon and Silver Wings

Alright, so we're heading right back to Ajna immediately. Trying to find this strange demon with beautiful, silvery wings and all. In order to get him to appear in the first place, we do need to speak with the two ladies outside the base proper.

...And in order to get THEM to appear, we need to have beaten all four of the Si Xiang and have the Red Ring. Just beating Orochi isn't enough on its own.

Anywho, once all that's done, we just go to the white configuration.

Thanks to Ajna being really small, it's quite easy to actually find this guy.

And he just so happens to be hanging out in the courtyard.

Big Battle ~ Prelude

You bastard! Did you... Did you devour Laura!?
No, I didn't do it.

We can also totally just lie and tell him we did, but unsurprisingly that leads to the same thing:

The random newbie opts to try and murder the crap outta us. Sorry dude, but you gotta die now.

Optional Boss: Aerial Metatron

Big Battle

Alright, so our first optional boss du jour is the highest ranked angel bar none.

As you would expect, he does quite like to Dekunda if you try to debuff him too much. Too much can be -4, -1 or anywhere in between. He doesn't do it too often but he can spam it a lot if he feels like it!

He also DOES Dekaja sometimes. But the emphasis is on sometimes. He won't do it too often normally, and on average maybe only once or twice a fight. You can buff pretty freely but if he does get Dekaja happy, he gets VERY Dekaja happy.

Also, from Power Charged Executioners, he takes around 2.5k damage on average (at +4 Str vs -2 Def). Considering he has 16,500 that makes it pretty easy to slice through him.

...Resistances? Oh, uh, Metatron kinda has none. Not really. Immune to light, dark and ailments, sure, but that's just regular boss stuff.

Attack-wise, he mostly likes to spam either Mahamaon or Maragidyne. Neither is a particularly big threat, so there's not really much of a need to worry about setting Null Expel on everyone or anything.

He also does sometimes try and smack you upside the head with a Revelation but its only more of a threat for the chance to Mute.

...Y'know if you still don't have Null Mute by this point anyway. Its damage is quite underwhelming, especially since by the time he bothers to try it you'll probably have a decent number of Rakukajas in play anyway.

After he drops below 10,000 HP, he does change things up a bit at least. Mainly picks up a couple nasty new tricks.

For instance, at this point he'll Makakaja twice in a row. If he was at -2, this is a good time to Debilitate to push Magic down to -1 again and everything else to -3.

Of course, he'll also try and Megidolaon you sometimes. It's not very threatening on its own though.

It's also in this middle stage that he picks up his unique spell. The fire of the mountain where Moses received the ten commandments is sort of threateni-


See, Fire of Sinai IS actually a really dangerous and potent attack. Problem is, its random Almighty damage. So it could ruin you or it could hit one guy once.

N-No... I...

Once he hits critical, Metatron changes things up again.

This is beginning to sound awful familiar.


At this point, he'll let you know when he's going to prepare something nasty. This line of dialogue occurs whenever he's going to double Makakaja... sometimes...

And immediately afterwards, I hope you're Rakukajad and he's either been Debilitated a lot or at least Dekajad! Because he'll Mind Charge and IMMEDIATELY...

Hit you with a powered up Fire of Sinai. If he's at base Magic and you're at 4x Rakukajas this can still deal a ton of damage.

And, of course, even a Mind Charged Megidolaon can get VERY dangerous!

But on the whole, he's really not all that threatening unfortunately. Kind of a shame considering he's, y'know, Metatron.



The reward for this one is the Seraph Quill and... I'm sure you know where this is going by now.

Right into the Terminal to give us the Gyokuza mantra.

In terms of offence... Gyokuza is probably the best mantra. Fire of Sinai is relatively cheap for a Mega damage Almighty attack that hits multiple times. It has the potential to deal the most damage out of every attack in the game which is nice too.

Repel Expel and Death are nice but they're not massive game changers like Repel Element could be. They're also not really worth it but it could always be worse...

*sigh* Major bummer. I'm not sure my heart will ever recover from the shock.
Come on, cheer up. Let's have a sleepover and eat ice cream until morning.
--? What are you talking about? ...Sounds fun, though.

So back to Sahasrara it is. And, of course, getting the guy here to appear we need to beat all four of the Si Xiang and talk to the Embryon redshirt outside who had the crap beaten outta him.

Spider's String ~ The Second Movement

We'll also take this opportunity to highlight just why having to run through the temple more than once sucks. There are four Large Terminals so it doesn't sound too bad. #4 is the highest in the place, of course.

That drops us off at just after where Garuda and Jatayu's boss versions were. That still leaves a lot of the dungeon to crawl.

So, at 12,530ft there's a couple of "secret" areas that I skipped past. Mostly because, uh, I couldn't remember which one led to the boss fight and which ones didn't.

...What? I can't exactly be expected to remember absolutely everything!

The map is kind enough to sort of indicate by proximity that you might just be missing something. And since this is a teleporter heavy area...

This one just leads to an unnecessary Revival Gem and the one small terminal we skipped over before.

So on the other side of the first area, there's another teleporter that flings us through a wall.

Sadly, this one just leads to a Fusion Cell. Not even a healing terminal here or anything.

That just leaves one in the next area of the floor. It doesn't seem like there's anything here but that's how you know its the right spot!

The wall is an illusory wall and it has a teleporter sitting behind it.

That one flings us through the wall to the east and drops us off exactly where we want to be.

Face-to-face with a red wall. Pretty safe bet that we've found it!

If that's not enough, how about a roboguard who's been obliterated?

Which is incredibly unimpressive but it fits the pattern.

As does the "hey there's a boss fight here!" message. Well, let's go.

Big Battle ~ Prelude

Is it the members' strength... or is the leader's...? I will learn as we battle.

Optional Boss: Dragon Huang Long
Note: because of this fight's dumb gimmick there are parts of this video just removed wholesale - you are missing nothing...

[ Optional Boss: Dragon Huang Long (Full)
but if you really want to see the full 10 minute affair including the dull bits just to see what nothing you missed here you go

Hunting ~ Comrades

So, Huang Long is the only boss of this entire cavalcade of optional ones to get the initiative. He always gets the first action in this fight and that's actually a minor problem. See, the first like three turns are the hardest part of the fight!

Because he can do basically anything he likes and there is absolutely no way to prepare for it. An opening Mamudoon or Mahamaon are very rare but totally possible.

Hell once I had him open with two Megidolaons in a row. That was astoundingly unlikely to happen but it did anyway!

...Although a Mamudoon isn't as threatening as it sounds since Huang Long kinda sucks.

Mostly he'll just use his eye lasers to shoot you once and then Tarunda at the start though.

His second turn is exploitable. See, Huang Long (like all the recent bosses) switches phases throughout the fight but not at HP gates. He starts in a support phase which he's only in for 3 turns and its the only one where he can Dekunda and Dekaja.

The trick is that he will ALWAYS do it if there are any buffs and/or debuffs in play. So if you spend your first turn abusing that he becomes much easier already.

He'll also only do it in the first two turns of this phase.

His third turn (and third turn in the support phase period) is always a Celestial Ray opener. He doesn't care about buffs or debuffs here.

Celestial Ray is Huang Long's big unique attack. It deals Mega tier Almighty damage but hits everyone once. The real catch is that it can inflict any and every ailment in the game.

Now, ailment in this case means stuff that Cielo is weak to. So Charm, Poison, Mute, Sleep etc. are all fair game. It will never inflict Curse or Stone.

There are ways to make this completely unnecessary but you only really need Null Mute, Charm, Panic and Nerve to completely shut him down. Sounds like a lot to cover but it's actually not an issue. Don't exactly need a lot of attacks here.

See, Huang Long's main gimmick is... that he's a barrier changing boss. Everytime this message appears, he switches around to one of four elemental phases; Fire, Ice, Force or Earth. For some reason he doesn't have an Elec phase.

Point is, which one he uses and when is random. He likes Fire the most it seems but that's not a problem. The problem is that he resists everything when he's in these phases. The sole exception is the element he uses. Which he drains, of course. He does not give himself a weakness to its antithesis this way either.

And the only way to know which one he's in beyond throwing spells at random is to see which one he uses. And he only uses the Ma-dyne too. This sounds like a problem since he very, very rarely uses spells but its not really.

Remember that he can only Dekaja and Dekunda in the support phase. He cannot do them in the elemental phases. You can chill at +4 in everything and drop him to -4 in everything and he still won't do it.

He'll try and debuff you with Tarundas, Sukundas and Makandas (no Rakundas though!) sometimes but Makanda is like a free turn since it doesn't matter.

Of course, he can buff himself but only in very limited ways. And by limited I mean Tarukaja very, very rarely and Makakaja slightly less rarely.

Now, when I said he resists everything in this phase?

That includes Almighty. Huang Long is one of like three enemies to resist Almighty.

He's not QUITE as resilient as Genbu was when it comes to Physicals, but he's still very tanky. This is at +4 with Power Charge vs -4 and that still came out as sub-300 damage.

For reference, he has 20,000 HP.

So, what do you do then? In his support phase he might not be as resilient but you're better off gaming his AI then. He also only enters it when its the start of the fight and sometimes after a very special other one.

Not this one, though. When he pulls out a scream (as noted by the !! at the end), he's entering whats best thought of as his all-out-attack phase. He's not elementally inclined here, he doesn't dick around doing nothing of interest...

And instead focuses on doing an all-out-attack by trying to blast you every single turn with Celestial Ray.

...The problem for him is that when he does this, he doesn't just lose the resistances. He becomes functionally weak to everything (except light, dark and ailments obviously) without actually being weak to them. Essentially he takes double damage which is how you can do stuff like this.

The problem for you is that when he enters this is completely random. If he does it too early, you won't be prepared enough to handle it and you will probably die. If he does it too late, you're spending fucking ages sitting around doing nothing because he can't hurt you and you can't hurt him either.

And when he leaves it is equally as random. He can stay in it for one turn. He can stay in it for five. Choice is his alone. Whenever he does leave it, he'll always enter a perfect-defense phase. This is the only time he does it and he never switches to anything else after attacking.

And when I say perfect, I mean perfect. He takes no damage at all from anything. Physical, Magical, Almighty... he doesn't care. Immune to the lot.

After this, his phase change is random again. Might be an elemental one, might be all-out-attack again... might be support. Usually it's support since this is the only time he can switch into it. And if he does then he'll Dekaja and Dekunda immediately.

And there's the problem with the fight. You can slowly chip away but until he lets you, you can't really hurt him. You do not get to win until the game decides that you do so. Which can take a very, very long time. It's entirely down to chance and that's just no fun.

To say he's one of the three final optional bosses (four if you count Beelzebub) that's quite disappointing. A fight that comes purely down to a test of patience rather than skill or anything is just boring.

You might disagree with that and think that trying to survive in the interim is fun and challenging but, again, you can fully buff and debuff and there's dickall he can do about it. No matter how you slice it, Huang Long is a badly designed fight.


Spider's String ~ The Second Movement

And then to make things just a little more annoying, you don't get your reward immdiately. You have to run a little bit further in first. There's no point to it. There's no random encounters here, no actual danger, no threat at all.

Just an extra room and a redundant red wall. Why is this even here? You can't get to this room without it, and you can't exactly lose it before now so it's just needless padding.

Our reward for all this is the Golden Orb which, yeah, gets us yet another new mantra.

And the Five Gods mantra is not worth the hassle, frankly.

Phys Absorb is so pointlessly niche I'd rather they didn't bother. Celestial Ray is the most expensive non-combo skill and its not really deserving of the cost. It hits pretty hard, sure, but it hits once and maybe sometimes inflicts random ailments.

It gets outdamaged by Fire of Sinai. It gets outdone in added effects by Death Flies. It costs 2 million macca for a bad skill and a useless passive!

But, hey, it's alright. No need to buy it anyway; never gonna use it so just save your money for something more useful.

Plus, y'know, we've only beaten two of the de facto final three optional bosses. Our final one is going to take us back to A--

Alright, so, we're at the top of the Karma Temple. We're given a prompt before we dive through the final door and meet what lies within...

Let me think.
Is there something on your mind, or are you afraid? There's a reason we'd gotten this far, and received the help of so many others. Don't forget that.

That's a good point, so just need to make sure I'm fully healed, make sure I've got everyone's skills setup and now...

I'm ready.
So am I. I'm sure Heat, Argilla, and Cielo feel the same way. Let's go, Serph.