The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

by Dragonatrix

Part 42: Conquest, Destruction, Preservation and War

So, we've got a lot of fights to go through this time around. Let's start with the only one we have to do.

And look who we've got here. Even Meganada's solar data is waiting for us. This is a fight that's been a long time coming and I am so glad we got a chance to kick this guys ass.

Boss: Yaksa Meganada

Hunting ~ Betrayal

So, Meganada is arguably the hardest boss in the main game. Could even go so far as to claim that he is the "real" final boss, which some people do.

I won't, because that's dumb, but he is a good chance for us to finally use the buff equivalent of Debilitate. All it requires is any normal kaja and Mind Charge which is super easy to manage.

For the first stage of his fight, Meganada uses nothing but physical attacks. A very, very small amount of them actually.

But, uh, this is with TWO Charges so, um... he does hit quite hard with them anyway.

And by a small amount I mean "two." He does have a couple more things he can do right now but they're special and more punishments for being too defensive.

He also gets his shit thoroughly wrecked by any spells, except for Elec ones which he will drain. Makes sense, since he kicked the shit out of Indra and all.

Conversely, he's immune to all Physicals. Obviously this doesn't apply to almighty elemental stuff.

So after we just smash through the first ~2000 of his 8,000HP he changes things up a bit.

At this point, Meganada brings forth freedom from the cycle of reincarnation. This is not an attack though.

Instead, he opens up revealing his many mouths and removes any buffs/debuffs afterward.

At this point, his resistances switch around and he becomes immune to magic and vulnerable to physicals instead.

In his more magic oriented phase, he has four press turns instead of the two that he otherwise has. And as before, after losing another 2000HP he switches back to his physical form.

And from hereonin, he swtiches between them whenever he likes.

Normally this is when he begins his dark love for God. He can do it earlier too, but that's more as a punishment for not attacking more than anything else.

On its own, this does nothing but on his next turn he puts it to full effect.

In the magical phase, it lets him gain access to Meru Thunder. Think of this as the electrical equivalent to Pyriphlegethon.

As that implies, it hurts like hell and you don't want to be tagged by this unawares.

On the other hand, it being electrical elemental makes it a bit of a disappointment. Good for a full heal in a pinch though!

The biggest surprise he has isn't that, though. He signposts it a turn in advance so you can prepare. The unexpected attacks are Tentarafoo and Fatal Charm. I dunno, I don't see myself falling for the giant orb man with 6+ mouths and a penchant for murdering people.

Occasionally, he can drop Mudoons too but they're not a big threat so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Once he gets low on HP, he can Black Bhakti in one phase and then switch to the other. Or just using Black Bhakti and then the move it grants access to immediately afterwards.

Anyway, his physical special is a much bigger threat. Viraj Blade will almost definitely fuck you up at least once.

It hits hard and deals random heavy Almighty damage. Despite this...

The best way to deal with Meganada is to actually use Void/Repel Phys at the appropriate times and he becomes such a non-issue.

So Meganada has a lot of neat tricks, can put up a decent fight but the secret to the fight is that he runs on a semi-predictable pattern for most of the fight. His exact moves are randomised to a point, but he has a small pool and can only pull from a very limited amount no matter what.

He does become somewhat less predictable when reduced to critical health, but by the time you get there he'll be not much of an issue anyway.

Gives decent money and Karma though.


Our only rewards for Meganada are the final save point and access to the final boss's room.

But there's a data node in the previous room anyway so I don't see the point. Also saving in two slots here for obvious reasons; the next four optional bosses are going to make us supremely overlevelled and overpowered just through fighting.

The last one especially, because its a little special but now we're getting ahead of ourselves...

Rather not chump the final boss that way, so making a copy to go back to before all that.

Speaking of optional bosses, let's start with the two right here. Normally you do the one over by the healing node first, but that's dumb and boring.

Also, uh, never seen anyone else do that one second anyway. We'll start with the left flower-door, just to be contrarian and different.

Epic Battle ~ Prelude

Need the Nandaka from Narasimha to get to fight Vishnu past this door. Kinda clever, that.

I must cleanse this impurity. If you wish to change my mind, then show me the strength of your dharma!

Optional Boss: Deity Vishnu
The game calls him a Fury, but that's just a mistranslation of Majin. Don't worry, there IS an actual Fury fight later.

Hunting ~ Betrayal

So, Vishnu is the harder of the first of the two optional bosses in the 6th layer by far. For the time being, he prioritises physicals.

He has a decent array of them too.

And caps it off by having Executioner's bigger and meaner brother on call. Severe ST Phys with a very high crit rate. Yikes!

He mostly uses his second press turn to debuff with Rakunda and nothing else. Umm...

He CAN also buff... albeit with only Makakaja. And most of his moves are Physicals. Vishnu, do you know what you're doing?

So, the thing with Vishnu is that he's a cleverly done barrier change boss fight. Rather than just arbitrarily switch at random, he changes at the start of his turns based on what you hit him with.

Hitting him with Fire, for example, makes him Ice aligned which sounds stupid but it makes sense. He switches his attacks and resistances to combat what you're doing. So when Ice aligned, he drains Ice and is immune to Fire.

He only uses Ma-dynes once per phase, and its at this switch. It gives him some degree of predictability which is a shame, but you need to keep track of your attacks too. If you hit him with multiple elements in a row, he switches based on the first one you used.

But the first ~2000HP of his 10,000 are kinda boring. At this point he adds a mean new trick in lieu of a Ma-dyne rarely. But it becomes a main staple later so we'll deal with it then.

After another 2000HP, he gets a little more serious and has a scripted turn at this point.

This is one of two times in the fight he Dekundas. He'll never do it any other time so you can debuff to -2 without worry.

Don't do -3 though. It, uh, is kinda a bad idea.

At this point, rather than just use his second press turn to buff or debuff he'll cast Rage to get another attack in first.

He can also just throw out his unique skill on a whim now too, rather than once as a surprise dick move. Chaturbhuja is sanskrit for "the Four-Armed One", and is also the name of several temples of Vishnu.

Here, it is an undodgable almighty attack that hits everyone for a random 2-4 hits. And it can crit.

It, uh, it's fucking nasty is what it is. Good news though is that he doesn't ever cast it twice in the same turn.

Once he gets into critical health, he just goes all out and will Chaturbhuja basically every single turn. He does sometimes stick to the elemental spell gimmick but it's not worth counting on any more.

This also happens to be when his second and final Dekunda is, which puts it at a nasty time. He can follow this up with another buff/debuff, say fuck you and throw down a Chaturbhuja at the nastiest moment ever or cast Dekaja here. This is the only time he can Dekaja at least.

Also he adds Vanity at some point, but its pretty rare save for being a nasty trick he can throw down after Chaturbhuja come the end-game.

So, uh, Vishnu's kind of a fun and decent fight even if it can get a smidge annoying with Chaturbhuja-spam at the end. I'm glad I did him first because saving him for second makes him a colossal chump. Also a semi-fun fact: he's level 200. This means absolutely nothing but it's kinda cool.

The Pandemonium is the best bullet in the game, by the way. It's not even a close contest.


On top of that, Vishnu gives us a couple more rewards for good measure. The upgraded Nandaka lets us get one.

Not this, though. This is the fourth from last ring we can get and it's kind of underwhelming for how late it comes.

+20 to everything is damn nice for laughing through NG+ though, even if it does exist solely to make the Amala Ring a worthless waste of time. Twice as good for infinitely less effort and hassle?

Yeah, so the Nandaka now lets us get a new mantra.

It's bloody expensive though, jeez. Definitely won't be buying this one at the moment.

Chaturbhuja is nice, even if it's merely almost as good as Vishnu's version.

It's not a random 2-4 hits to everything, but it's still Mega Almighty that effectively can't miss. Celestial Ray is identical to before but cheaper, which is something I guess?

Epic Battle ~ Prelude

Next up is Shiva, who requires the Pinaka to fight. Parvati even basically told us as much.

Also, I'm kinda disappointed that they used the Devil Summoner model since it makes Shiva and Vishnu look like palette-swaps of one another. I know it's just convenience etc but still.

I shall ascertain if you are worthy to face Brahman. If you cannot defeat me, then your world does not deserve to exist.

Optional Boss: Fury Shiva
Once again, translation error with the race. For whatever reason, they translated Destruction God as Tyrant.

Hunting ~ Betrayal

So, Shiva's the least interesting dude we're fighting today. I'm including Meganada in that, because he at least had plot-vengeance stuff. Like Vishnu, Shiva's a barrier change boss but he hides it a little and runs on a set pattern.

Unlike basically everyone else to date, Shiva gives no fucks for your precious buffs or debuffs. He will Dekunda or Dekaja at even one just because he feels like it.

This is a good thing.

He'll also slam down Debilitates sometimes, just to remove your +1 buffs or because he's confused or to follow up a Dekaja and laugh at you.

Being Shiva, he has a very large array of powerful physical skills.

You might think then that you can be clever and throw up a physical immunity. Hahahaha, Shiva will not take that shit.

Shiva is the first boss in DDS2 who does their little pissy "taking their ball and going home because you won't play by their rules" routine. Sure, Michael and Vishnu get mad if you try and get too overpowered midfight with buffs and debuffs but they just slap you once and move on so you learn.

Shiva just targets anyone with phys immunity or better with almighty attacks until they die. He's like a bad GM who just always targets the same player because they're not playing by the rules he wants them too.

i'unno i think its a good analogy

So, we'll just let him play like that. His attacks mostly aren't too bad right now.

I say mostly, because he can spam Genocide. And Genocide this time around is a secret murder machine.

Or at least it is in Shiva's hands because he gets mad crits with it. Genocide innately does not have a high crit rate.

Shiva's just making it finally live up to its name.

Whenever he's not doing this, he likes to waste his turns with Mamudoon. Whatever.

So, uh, Shiva's resistances change on his turns. For the first turn, he's vulnerable only to Fire and Ice.

For the second turn, he's vulnerable to Ice and Elec. Except he isn't. See, they actually implicitly change after his turns. The first two turns he has the same resistances, then the pattern begins.

Turn 0 is just because we get the first move, so that doesn't lead to any changes. After that:

1 is still vulnerable to Fire/Ice;
2 is vulnerable to Ice/Elec;
3 is Elec/Force;
4 is Force/Earth;
5 is merely Earth;
6 is all five.

Then it loops back to 1. Except it shouldn't begin to loop again, because Shiva is a secret pushover. You do sorta need to finish one loop unless you're overlevelled though, just to get enough hits in.

See, despite what you would expect from how late he is and that he also has 10,000HP he has no magic defense at all. With no buffs/debuffs, a single Mind Charged boosted-amped dyne will deal ~1200 damage. Bear in mind I'm level 69 here.

You're "meant to" be level 80+ to fight this guy. Ummm....

So after losing ~3,000HP, Shiva at least sort of changes things up. Sort of.

Like Vishnu, this is when he adds his unique skill. It's kinda good but also fairly underwhelming.

It hits everyone once for Mega almighty magical damage, so its already not that great in Shiva's hands. It can even be dodged for fucks sake.

And all it does other than that is inflict Stun at a very, very high rate. Like 75%ish high.

Once he loses another 2,000HP, Shiva gets a smidge more desperate.

By which I mean he adds Vanity to his moveset.

You might think then that Void Ailment is a good idea to bust out now. Especially with Third Eye in the mix, right?

pffft nah who cares. There's a little trick to those two that makes it irrelevant.

If you try it, he'll probably just Ragnarok you anyway. Because he can also do that now.

And Ragnarok is mostly identical to before save for one big difference. Can you see it?

Yep. It can crit. Very, very nasty.

Oh and Shiva does not care for your bullshit so he could just hit you with this twice, just because. Probably the meanest thing he could do and he can do it on a whim.

Or, y'know, since he's nearly dead by now you can just not give a shit and keep blasting away. Pyriphlegeton gets a lot of flak here for Fire attacks being less useful in a prolonged fight against Shiva.

If you're having a prolonged fight against Shiva, you're doing something wrong.

He basically gives up when you get him in critical HP, for the most part. Sure, he'll spam Vanity and Third Eye and Ragnarok more now but the trick is: you want him to Third Eye you first.

It sounds stupid, but it stops Vanity from doing anything. Because you'll probably be stunned and you can't have multiple ailments at once. And they can't overwrite each other. So getting stunned by Third Eye makes Shiva technically easier.

I've probably just upset that one poster who wanted me to play nice with these guys. But, uh, if I can let you in on something for a second: I am. There are other spells I'm avoiding that would make them even easier.


With Shiva dead, we can take the Pinaka and get another new mantra out of it.

But we can also take the opportunity to get one of the best rings in the game. The Turn Ring is so good.

It just gives us another press turn, and does absolutely nothing else.

Except, uh, it doesn't need to do anything else. This is pretty much staying in use forever now because seriously. So good.

Shiva's mantra, conversely, is not worth the 2mil it costs. Third Eye is meh and outdone by a lot of other things we already have and Phys Absorb is too niche to care about. Nice when it comes up though.

Man, I don't know about you guys but I'm feeling a little sick and tired of all these Hindu god bosses in a game based on Hindu mythology. It doesn't fit at all but I so want a change of pace...

Oh, I know! We haven't seen what lies behind this door by Ravana's room yet.

Needed both the Pinaka and Nandaka to open it up, but just having them wasn't enough. They needed to be filled with the residual data of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively, first.

It, um, leads to another small dungeon segment.

Your objective does not lie in that direction. But, if you can accept the loss of your health, there is nothing to stop you from proceeding.

So, this seal's gimmick is kinda boring. We have a fairly linear and glowy yellow walkway to traverse. Spoilers: turn left and then head towards the exit; you have to purposefully fuck up to get it wrong here.

What makes it wacky and different is that every few steps you take unblockable damage; Core Shields are worthless here. How boring.

After that, we're at a boss door with a small data node next to it. Let's see who lies within.

Epic Battle ~ Prelude

Why, it's the Egyptian God of Storms and the Desert: Seth. Might seem a bit of an odd and out of place dude, and he kinda is, but also kinda isn't. See, the optional bosses have an SMT2 theme to them. Well, Shiva and Vishnu not-so-much but Seth fits that theme at least. But now we're getting a little ahead of ourselves.

I cannot forgive... one of contrary existence.

Optional Boss: Reaper Seth
I think "Reaper" sounds better as a race, because it is one, but the game calls him Death and that sounds cool. Death Seth. It rhymes so it must be true!

Hunting ~ Betrayal
Actual in-game music is this, of course, but...

Imagine ~ Universe Seth Battle
Seth also happens to be a final boss of the MMO, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. This is one of his themes from there. And it is awesome. Please click that link.

Seth is, under normal circumstances, the hardest and final optional boss. To get to him, you need to have taken down both Shiva and Vishnu and snagged their rewards so he's expecting you to be stronger than they were.

He has almost his entire repertoire of moves right out of the gate, so some of them might seem a little lackluster at first. Gate of Hell is on the less interesting or threatening side of things, which is saying something when it can petrify you.

Blood Curse is, by far, the biggest gimme of a turn he could do. It's just a waste of one of his three press turns so its nice when it happens.

More importantly is his somewhat large repertoire of unique moves. Spiteful Force is both the most and least threatening of the two major ones.

Bearing in mind this is damage with no buffs or debuffs and it seems kinda threatening considering thats about half of everyone's HP in one go.

Now, it has a special trick to it. Spiteful Force's damage increases as the fight progresses, because its one of those HP-dependant moves. Only it's an almighty aligned, high accuracy spell this time and its damage goes UP the less HP the user has.

I'm also fairly sure you can't dodge it, so there's that.

But for most of the fight, Pain is his go-to move for fucking you over. It's a single-target Severe almighty physical attack...

That has a nuts-high crit rate, and can potentially crack upwards of 2000 damage later on. Your max HP is still capped at 999. It's name is pretty damn appropriate.

Fortunately, this one CAN be dodged.

Resistance-wise, Seth is immune to Earth and that's it (aside from the obvious three). He's neutral to everything else except guns. Which he's weak to.

Unlike with Kartikeya, you WANT to utilise this. Seth will fuck you up if you don't and you want the extra turns to both smack his health down and keep up the healing and buffs.

Like his unique move suggests, Seth is kind of a spiteful git and will take the opportunity to sometimes exploit any unprotected weaknesses just to twist the knife and get more turns you don't want him to have. He doesn't do it often though, so it's not that big of a deal in practice.

After you deal a lot of damage, enough turns pass or Seth just feels like it, he'll finally bust out his third and final unique skill.

Desert Wind is both kind of annoying and yet a nice reprieve at the same time.

On the one hand, it kicks someone out of the battle and immediately benches them. This does remove all buffs/debuffs they may have had in the process, true, but it cannot kill anyone. It merely reduces them to 150HP, and that is constant.

The problem comes more afterwards. He can follow it up with basically anything in his moveset, so you can get some nasty combos with it. After that, even if you dodge/block his second action, he'll use his next turn to Power Charge.

So, uh, this is how Pain can maybe crack 2000 damage.

Granted that's assuming negative defence and possible also a crit. If you hit him with 2 Debilitates and have neutral defence, (so no kundas or kajas) it's a "mere" 1,000. Around 1,500 on a crit.

If this is on someone who just died recently or got hit with Desert Wind, I'd consider that a good thing since it doesn't actually fuck up your buffs or the like.

Also he likes to try and mute you with Revelation somtimes.

Apparently Silent Howl as well. Huh, that's new. Don't remember that one.

Once he gets low on health, he adds a couple new moves but they're all stuff you'd expect at this stage. Debilitate is more of an inconvenience than anything else really.

Ragnarok is nasty if only because of the defense debuff. As he gets lower on health and starts to actively throw murdershots at you, this is on the nicer side of things.

Which is kind of weird to think about, really. It's more of a problem if he chains them or you don't dodge one and he segues into a Pain or two.

Oh and he can Dekaja/kunda, at pretty much any point but it gets more common later on. When it happens it's probably not a bad thing since its a turn he's not using to kill you.

And, of course, he picks up Vanity in his death throes too. I'd be more surprised if he didn't at this point.

In terms of results, this isn't a bad one at all. I have a couple of Panacaeas that Seraph could use to cure that Charm, but I've been keeping a slight count on Seth's health and he's gonna die this turn. There's basically nothing Argilla can do to ruin that.

Except, uh, except... Argilla what are you doing. No stop don't do that.

Argilla no why would you do that. What did you do.

he had a little over 400hp left one more prana beam would have killed him

......Okay, so there is that. An old, obvious predictable result of a charmed healer at the end of a good ol' fashioned slobber-knocker boss fight. What sweet, wonderful hubris. I legitimately deserved this.

And that's why I'm not actually bothered by it. I was an overly-confident, arrogant prick who didn't think about the consequences and got what I deserved. An old lesson we could all learn once or twice.

So, that's Seth. A cool fight that is good and fun and not a complete cakewalk even if you abuse his weakness and the Dual Ring to smack him four times a turn with one person. It helps, but it's still not a guaranteed win which is nice and something that I've missed lately.

Also, yes, that is one million dollars from this fight. The Rich Ring would've been nice here, but there are better rings to use that actually help with the fight.


Speaking of rings, here's the penultimate one.

The Avoid Ring is really good. Most things it doesn't help for, because its effect only matters when enemies have 3+ press turns to begin with. Still, there are times when it would've come in handy before now just to speed things up if nothing else. And there is still someplace we can put it to good use anyway.

Also, Seth's mantra is the Root of Evil. Named after the coolest skill in Nocturne, which is awesome.

It's 2 and a half million for Death Flies, which is identical to before in every way, and Spiteful Force. The only difference between our Spiteful Force and Seth's is that ours can be dodged easier. The damage up effect is nice but not as pronounced, since we don't exactly have 22,500HP to begin with. It also doesn't get taken into account as much because generally don't want to run around with low HP anyway.

Oh, and the platform we fought Seth on moves. I wonder where it leads.

It... leads to another optional boss. A very special optional boss, who we can only fight because we're on Hard mode.

Suddenly, I don't feel very prepared for this.