The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 15: Attack of the Buzzing Mess of Polygons

New Music: Cloud of Aureolin

Meet the end boss of Episode 2 of The 3rd Birthday: This Abstract Hornet Mess. It does have a proper name, but we’ll have to wait a little bit to discover it.

While the winged polygon clutter was making its debut, Taylen Maier materialized atop the APC and began manning the vehicle’s standard SWAT issue minigun. Aya has taken the initiative and dived into Taylen in a rare case of using her head when out of player control.

Now the armored vehicle’s chaingun does do a tremendous amount of damage. About 6-7 seconds of concentrated fire on the boss is enough to eat through the better part of its (naturally numerous) health bars.

Sadly, we cannot just hang out in the APC to rain fire on nightmare wasp. Like every stupid video game mounted gun, more than 10 seconds of concentrated fire will cause the weapon to overheat and become useless for a good 15 second cooldown. Secondly, Taylen Maier is apparently fused to the vehicle. You’ll notice instead of having Health, he has armor. Should his (non-regenerating) armor be depleted, the vehicle will explode and be gone from the rest of the battle. That would be… less than optimal.

Additionally, when the wasp conglomerate starts flashing yellow, that means it can be Overdived into for a nice chunk of damage. This cannot be performed from the APC, as the mini-gun is manual aiming only and Aya must lock-on to an enemy to initiate an Overdive Kill. I’m shocked they didn’t try to give an idiotic in-world reason for Aya’s impressive aimbot abilities.

As far as offensive capabilities go, the boss Twisted has a rapid fire laser stream as its primary means of attacking. This volley of energy quickly will track its target’s position and will nearly always stunlock Aya if she’s hit (Aya only gets damage invincibility if she’s knocked to the floor.)

The best way to avoid the energy volley is to Overdive into another body as soon as it begins. Hornet Hoedown is committed to the target for a good 10-15 seconds, leaving it wide open to attacks from the sides or rear in the meantime. Also, Feng Cannabich. Are you kidding me, game?

Boss Twisted will seem to know exactly which person on the field is possessed by Aya and will always target her with its next attack. But most of the monster’s attacks, at least in this early phase, commit to a single target once initiated. So this battle is mostly about managing the boss’s aggro.

Beyond the standard energy bolt spam, Bee Bonanza can summon a pair of Stinkers which begin spinning like ridiculous propellers and slowly making their way to Aya’s position, where they will explode on contact. This attack creates a shield against the boss. Bullets aimed at it will be deflected away by the Stinker’s silly spinning. But puzzlingly, just shooting the Stinkers directly will take them out well enough. It’s not the most threatening of attacks.

The buzz saw Stinker bombardment has a bit of a recovery time, so it’s a good opportunity to use our new grenade launcher. The damage isn’t tremendously good against this boss. But explosions do innately cause a decent chunk of Impact damage. So we can shoot a grenade, switch to our rifle to unload, and hopefully get an Overdive kill out of it.

Also of note, Aya apparently keeps spare grenade reloads in her back pocket. However, the animation just looks like she’s attending to an itch on her ass.

The most dangerous attack wasp queen has in the early part of the battle is retreating to the front of the battle arena and summoning a quartet of Stinkers. The four Stinkers somehow act as an energy amplifier to help the boss charge up a massive glob of puke orange energy. This attack has about a twenty second charge up time. During this period, Aya must target and eradicate all four Stinkers so as to dissipate the energy build up and abort the attack.

If the attack is not prevented, the Stinkers and its mom will unleash the energy glob and it will one-shot the soldier Aya is currently inhabiting. Ennis Sinclair deserves better than that.

After taking enough damage, the beast will be unable to fly any longer... not that I’m sure how it was successfully flying in the first place, and begin crawling awkwardly around the arena towards Aya.

The monster can and will still strike Aya by ramming her with its mess of polygons for 3/4ths of her life bar. But, if Aya is getting up in the grill of this thing… she kind of deserves it.

As with all bosses, Aya must initiate an Overdive Kill to end the battle. And in doing so, we trigger a cutscene, of course.

Is that voice... Gabrielle?

Ruh roh. It turns out that our hot mess of polygons adversary is Gabrielle Monsigny, transformed off-screen because… look you saw Emily Jefferson’s incredibly half-assed transformation sequence. They clearly don’t have the budget/ability to muster the effort for any cool body horror transformation FMVs. The more pressing issue is that Gabby has regained all of her health and entered a phase. You know, I’m fine with bosses having a second form. But the whole business of a boss just deciding to regain all its health and a handful of new moves is decidedly not cool.

Hornet Gabby has all of the attacks from her first form. Though now annoyingly, Aya must immediately leap to another body as soon as the boss begins its standard energy volley. In the second phase, Gabrielle now floats slightly upwards and towards her target, meaning cover won’t do shit after a few seconds since she’ll be shooting over it. Additionally, the energy shots are much more damaging and intense and can shatter any cover if it takes more than a couple volleys from the attack.

So it’s pretty much a matter of sacrificing soldiers and hoping they don’t get completely owned too badly while Aya repositions. Jumping into the same secondary soldier in rapid succession is pretty much a death sentence now.

Man-Truck Taylen Maier has at least regenerated his health and remains an instrumental part of the battle. In this phase, we’ve got to be sure to time our jumps into the mini-gun as soon as an attack on a fellow soldier begins and jump out as soon as the attack ends, lest the APC gain Gabrielle’s aggro and get completely chewed up by her upgraded attacks.

Gabrielle does have some new attacks up her sleeve writhing mass of wings in phase two. The most dangerous of the lot is when she releases a load of crimson red homing torpedoes.

These shots will slowly track Aya no matter where she is on the field. Even jumping into another body won’t dissuade the shots from homing in on her. Aya must avoid contact with these homing torpedoes for a good twenty seconds before they run out of juice. Otherwise?

Aya gets hoisted into the air and turned to stone, resulting in an instant death. Yep… I guess turning people into statues is a thing the Twisted can do now? I… don’t think it ever comes up again.

To contrast the deadly potency of the Medusa torpedoes, Gabrielle can also now… just spawn a couple of Stinkers to fly around being fairly useless as always. They don’t even fart out toxic gas. They’re just the occasional energy blast, dead in two shots variety. I think they’re just there to mess with Aya’s auto-targeting. Dick move.

The final, and most difficult to actually deal with, ability of Wasp Monsigny is to transform into a massive swarm of Stinkers.

They’re all just standard Stinkers. No poison clouds. We did, in fact, genocide that entire sub-race of Twisted earlier. This swarm will just float around the arena for a bit initially. Every one of them goes down in one or two shots. Indeed, jumping back on the mini-gun and going to town until the weapon overheats can rack up a couple thousand easy BP.

After a bit of aimless flight around the arena, the Stinker swarm will float into the sky and arm themselves with a sniper rifle targeting laser and attempt to headshot Aya from the heavens. Really. They try sniping Aya. If it connects, it’s a one-shot kill. The sniper shots can be fairly easily evaded by just rolling away constantly until the attack ends after about 15 seconds.

Aya will just have to deal with the sniper shots until an allied sniper appears on the battlefield after a bit. Willem Wodars, you are a lifesaver with a very awkward surname.

As it turns out, the snipers in this fight have a scope uniquely tuned to detect which one of the Stinker horde is actually the queen bee holding the swarm together. How did they end up with that technology? Don’t worry about it! We’ve just got to snipe the glowing red Stinker.

Once the control Stinker is destroyed, Gabrielle’s body will reform back into its normal form and the battle will resume. Unless the boss decides to be an asshole and immediately turn into the swarm form again. Especially if the sniper manages to die while taking out the previous swarm and Aya has to wait for a solid minute for a new sniper to spawn so the battle can continue. Not that such a thing happened to me one of the attempts at this fight.

In all, this is just kind of a long, aggravating slog of a fight. It would probably have been fine if it just started in phase two. But having to do a 3-4 minute lesser battle before getting to the 5-6 proper fight is never good design. Especially against a boss that has several attacks where you just have to stop attacking to evade for a while or prevent some other attack or wait for an NPC to spawn.

Also, Aya got her clothes shredded for the first time so far because having the standard boss attack being a stunlock and NPCs moving out of cover when they get hit, making Aya out of cover if she dives into them, is kind of bullshit.

Much like with Emily Jefferson, Twisted Gabrielle Monsigny will occasionally speak to Aya during the battle. In the first phase, she’ll very rarely say:

Hurry! I can't hold on.
Aya, help!
I'm sorry. It's... too late for me.
Please... don't hesitate!

And as the battle winds down…

Be gentle...
I don't want any wounds.
Took one from me.
I know you like what you see.
Ha! And here I thought...
You can do this.
I can't hear...
An eternal bachelor.

Thankfully, there is no Phase 3 and once Gabby’s HP is depleted for a second time, we can initiate an Overdive Kill and end this episode.

Music ends…

You know… Heh. You're sweet. You know that?

And so Gabrielle Monsigny vanishes into a flash of light, just like Emily Jefferson did.

Meanwhile, in the present, Hunter Owen is really regretting having broken the strap to his gas mask. It’s really hard to type one handed. Also, the whole murdering Aya Brea thing didn’t work out so hot. That’s probably troubling.

Present Day Gabrielle isn’t quite out of the fight. Not sure how that works…


Gabrielle isn’t particularly thrilled with Owen betraying everyone and attempting to murder her friend. So in the scenario where Aya Brea did die just now, Gabrielle would regain consciousness and just shoot Boss in the face? That would be the best case for Owen’s plan. Getting shot in the face...

Of course, we just killed Gabrielle in the past. So things aren’t working out so well for her now that Back to the Future delayed time travel rules are kicking into effect. Of course, this raises the question of how Gabrielle is human here when she was just a gigantic wasp mass in the past…

And I was under the impression Hunter Owen thought this entire program was bullshit, yet now he both has used it to his advantage and is gloating at its mechanics being at work. What…?

In any case, RIP Gabrielle Monsigny… again. Did we really just have an established dead character resurrected and killed again in the same chapter of the story? Why? Who does that? Yeesh.

Tune in next time when we conclude Episode 2 of The 3rd Birthday with some anime ass bullshit and possibly meet an old friend from an earlier Parasite Eve game. It’ll be a trainwreck! Stay tuned.

Video: Gabrielle Boss Battle and End Scene

Gabrielle Monsigny Portrait Concepts – Me on the right when playing The 3rd Birthday.