The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

by FrankZP

Part 39: Intermission the Third

: Intermission time again, hee ho!
: Intermission? Doesn't that mean "in-between"?
*: Yup!
: Huh. So we're not done, then?
*: Nope!

Alright, so. That's the main portion of the LP done! Man, what a trip. For now I'll tie up a few loose ends, and then we'll get into some bonus content later.

1. Intro videos

The game boots up with two short pre-rendered videos, one before the title screen, and another if you wait a bit. I decided against putting them up at first because while they don't really spoil plot details, they do show a bunch of stuff that I preferred to allow the actual game to present at its own pace. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean!

Cutscenes: Opening

2. Music

Title loop 1
Title loop 2
These are the tracks for the intros I just posted.

Heretic Mansion ~ Curse
The Cathedral of Shadows has one track we didn't get the opportunity to hear, for when we are afflicted by the Magatama's Curse ailment. Man, we nearly went a hundred levels, and we were only cursed once. And it was deep in the Labyrinth too, so we couldn't safely get back to a Terminal without having it cured.

Reason Boss Battle

Kagutsuchi Tower

Last Boss Battle ~ Before Transformation
I really like how cold and mechanical this piece feels. It really fits the bizarre form of your opponent, especially with its semi-wireframe look.

Last Boss Battle ~ After Transformation
Of course, it can't stay cold and mechanical forever. And because Nocturne gotta Nocturne, it transitions into badass electric guitar sound.

This would be the piece for the Freedom ending.

Staff Roll
A round of applause, everybody.

3. Final fusion chart

    Pixie ---> High Pixie -+-> Uzume -+-> Unicorn -+-> Kikuri-Hime -+-> Sarasvati -+-> Horus ---> Pixie
                  Angel ---/          |    Blob -X-+                |  Valkyrie ---/
Choronzon -+-> Isora -+-> Nekomata ---/  Taraka ---/                |
  Lilim ---/          |                             Principality ---/
            Sudama ---/

                                                                        Gogmagog ---> Albion -+-> Scathach ---> Skadi
  Kodama -+-> Apsaras -+-> Nozuchi ---> Gui Xian -+-> Naga ---> Raja Naga -#-> Black Rider -X-+
Hua Po -X-+            |   Nekomata ---> Senri ---/              Bicorn ---/       Titania ---/
 Pixie ---/            |
       Will o' Wisp ---/

 Shikigami -+-> Bicorn -+-> Incubus -+-> Kushinada -+-> Dionysus -+-> Odin
 Mou-Ryo ---/           |            |              |             |
   Zhen -+-> Forneus ---/            |              |             |
Angel ---/                           |              |             |
          Momunofu ---> Arahabaki ---/              |             |
            Koppa -+-> Sarutahiko -+-> Okuninushi --/             |
   Chatterskull ---/               |         Mizuchi ---> Long -X-+
              Dis ---> Valkyrie ---/  Orthrus -#-> White Rider ---/
                                 Sarutahiko ---/

Badb Catha -+-> Succubus -+-> Sparna ---> Garuda -+-> Futomimi
  Eligor ---/      Nue ---/         Shiki-Ouji ---/

Badb Catha -@-> Troll -+-> Sati ---> Parvati -+-> Tao Tie
  Eligor ---/ Senri ---/                      |
           Onkot ---> Hanuman ---> Wu Kong ---/

Black Frost

Sarutahiko -+-> Phantom -+-> Sakahagi
Succubus ---/  Aquans ---/

Throne ---> Uriel -+-> Raphael -+-> Gabriel -+-> Michael -+-> Metatron
       Dominion ---/   Throne---/ Raphael -X-+            |
                                    Uriel ---/            |
                                   Arahabaki -+-> Loki -X-+
                                   Wu Kong ---/           |
                                               Gabriel ---/


Titan ---> Died in Shige's tunnel.
4. The new cycle

Once you've seen the credits and read the mysterious final message, you're prompted to save your game.

When you load again, there are a few differences.

In the opening dream sequence, Ms. Takao asks if you want a new look. You still lose the alternate clothes once the Conception occurs, but they do switch around a couple of your starting stats. If you choose to stay the same...

Another neat bonus is that you can press Select to play with a first-person camera, in a nod to the previous SMT games.

There are also a couple things that have a much bigger impact on gameplay. Namely, your Demonic Compendium completion carries over, and the level restrictions on the fusion process are completely lifted! Sacrificial fusion becomes a lot more practical now that your new ally's level is no longer capped to your own. Of course, summoning strong demons from the Compendium is very expensive for a fair chunk of the game, especially if you've restarted on Hard Mode where cash is a lot dearer, but if you've managed to completely fill out the Compendium, you get a 50% discount.

The last thing that carries over is your Burial Chamber progress and records. If you've beat the challenge time for all boss tombstones, you can return to the Labyrinth after beating Matador on a new cycle to get an extra cutscene with Cerberus, Izanagi and Izanami, who grant you a permanent bonus turn icon.

5. The other endings

I mentioned before that there are six endings to Nocturne. Of course three of those endings are earned by supporting one of the three Reasons. Interestingly enough, none of them are "bad endings" per se if you happen to agree with them. The game has the courtesy not to judge you for supporting a Reason that appeals to you! I'm not going to go into details here, but do have a listen to the three ending themes, and you'll have an idea of what I mean: Yosuga, Shijima, and Musubi. All three Reason endings culminate in a battle with Kagutsuchi, as a final test of the strength behind your principles.

There is nothing that stops you from agreeing with multiple Reasons, but the game tallies up your alignment points and gives you the endgame for the one with the highest score.

This leaves three unaligned endings. The one we got is the Freedom ending, earned by refusing to ally with any Reason, trying to stop Hikawa in the Diet Building, and answering Aradia's questions in Yoyogi Park with courage. We fought Kagutsuchi not as a test, but because it was outright trying to stop us from derailing the Creation process with an unofficial quasi-Reason promoted by a non-human without divine sponsorship.

Of course there is also an ending if you refuse to ally with a Reason, then skip the Samael fight and/or admit fear to Aradia. It's commonly called the "demon" ending. Once you reach the top of the Tower, Kagutsuchi notes that not only have you murdered the legitimate Reasons, you also bring no conviction of your own to the process. He literally leaves in disgust without a fight, and the Vortex World remains as it is for the duration of the next cycle, as a hollow, sterile, lightless shell where demons rule unopposed. That's arguably the only bad ending, but hey, if that's your bag, who am I to judge, right?

And the third one, well. You get it for allying with Lucifer. Beyond that, we shall see, shall we not?

6. What's next

Alright, whew. I'm not done with this, but I'm taking a bit of a break, probably a week or two, because man the Tower is intense and this'll take so much grinding, you have no idea. Though maybe I'll get the itch sooner? Who knows. And then we'll pick things back up at a certain point of interest.
: You mean the elevator at the bottom of the Labyrinth?
*: ...yeah.
: Aight, cool.
*: You just had to, didn't you?
: Hmm-mmm.