The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 28: Berserker

Music: Into the Babel

Welcome to Chapter 5-3. At most, The 3rd Birthday’s episodes have had two or three chapters. But for this final stretch, they’re kicking it up a notch with four chapters in all. Not counting the inevitable boss battle at the end. Spoilers: It is not cut this time around.

Here is our Feats for Chapter 5-3. I will be completing absolutely none of ‘em! Sustain reinforcements once again means no more than five soldier deaths. That will not be happening. Destroying all the Beans and Roller sub-objectives require actively grinding two of the least fun to fight enemies in the game. No thanks. I will not be prolonging my time with The 3rd Birthday in order to gain addition currency for a New Game Plus I shall never engage with in the future!

Thanks, but no thanks.

In regards to the “Destroy All Beans” Feat, in the first part of this chapter, Aya finds herself in a winding tunnel with Beans spawning into the area. There are blue bone walls in the path and an infinite supply of Beans warping into the area. Aya needs to slay five Beans to unlock that particular Feat.

…Or we can just throw a grenade at the bone wall, which instantly de-spawns the Bean. Rinse and repeat three times. You’ll excuse me for not wanting to play cover shooter with five of the biggest bullet sponges in the game for a solid six or seven minutes if I do not have to… Plus, this is the final appearance of Beans in the entire game. So fuck ‘em! No fanfare for the giant butts!

Past the Bean halls, we come upon a whole mess of Rollers and another Mudflap. This one is a mandatory battle. But, if you’ve seen one Mudflap, you’ve seen ‘em all. Remember to Overdive Kill!

In the following area, we come to the final room of this chapter. Yeah, I’m heavily abridging gameplay here but it’s also only a two map chapter. And we’ll be spending about 12 minutes in non-stop combat in this room.

For you see, there’s an infinite supply of upgraded Rollers warping into this room. If you’ll look in the upper ridge past the Rollers, you can see the tops of several crystalline orbs jutting out above. These are spawning the block party of Rollers down below. The trouble is, we cannot actually target them right now as they are out of range from Aya’s guns, there is no pathway to the upper level, climbing is an absurd fallacy, and there is nobody on the upper level for Aya to Overdive into. We’ll just have to grit our teeth for a bit and deal with the swarm.

Fighting proved to be quite fierce. I managed to blow off Aya’s clothes with the splash damage of a grenade exploding in her face as a Roller advanced a touch too quickly. Wei Orff also took shrapnel to the gut from the explosion. But frankly, he deserved it with that name.

Just for reference on how many Rollers there are in this area, the quota for the feat to “destroy them all” is fifteen Rollers. A reminder that Rollers have two health bars and now can throw up a magic shield which deflects all bullets and there is only one ammo recharge and three spare grenades in this area. Plus it’s mandatory to burn three grenades back in that Bean hallway.

Eventually, the tide of battle turns in our favor as Coalition forces bomb open a wall and drive a minigun mounted Humvee into the fray. Though the final Mudflap in The 3rd Birthday does decide it wants to party as well. If Aya can take out the Mudflap (which must be mostly done on foot as it will instantly produce its energy shield buckler if it comes under fire from the minigun), she is free to just hang out and farm Rollers until that other Feat unlocks.

But hell with that! From the Humvee, Aya can barely clip three out of the four Orbs on the upper level of the arena, while fending off Roller respawns in the process. Doing this seems to trigger then next phase of the battle early…

Reinforcements! Great timing!
Destroy the orbs!
Roger that! Commencing orb elimination...

Finally, some friendly lads take the initiative to investigate the upper reaches of this neck of the Babel and realize: Oh shit! There’s a mess of Orbs up here. We’d best sort that out! Or rather, Aya takes action to do so, as our allied troops will just gawk at the Roller spawning conduits as they pulsate in front of their eyes.

This is the final time we have to mess with Mudflaps, Rollers, or Orbs in the game, by the way! No more Slackers either, with the death of the final Mudflap and its potential to spawn more out of our troops. Indeed, we are done with battling all common forms of Twisted in the game! It’s all bosses and mid-bosses from here on out!

[The time-space distortion is just getting bigger.]
*stares at jeep floating by in the sky* …Is that right?
[The void in time and space is approaching. Hehehe. And I'm going to get my hands on a High One. Heh… Hehe. I'm going to culture it… and compare it with you, Aya...]
*clicks off radio*

Right, then. Past the final Twisted showdown, we come upon a bunch of slackers who couldn’t be bothered to help against the ten minute straight onslaught of Twisted in the previous room.

If Aya wasn’t busy e-mailing her tailor, I’m sure she’d give those jerks what for…

I am about run dry on useful Over Energy abilities to even try upgrading much from here on out. Indeed, this is our final loadout heading into the end game. I’m really glad I had Restock kick in a few times in that previous fight.

Upgrades aside, we may as well see what some of the last soldiers left in the Coalition have to say before heading out. Cuz they are ALL about to die in this next fight.

Did you hear about Art?
I heard he was promoted to second class for being killed in action.
So that makes him a captain?
Art had a daughter, too. An infant, just like mine.
I didn't know that.
Titles, schmitles. Die and you're of no use to anyone. Least of all your family.
What are you idiots doing having kids with the world like this?!
This might be the last chance we get to start a family.
…A family that will end by the end of the year. Have you seen the news lately? CNN just has a dumpy man sobbing into the camera taking swings of whiskey while IT’S ALL FUCKED scrolls across the bottom of the screen. I don’t get it.

It's only going to get tougher from here on out. Nobody better die on me!

Well you heard the man. No dying anyone!

…So welcome to this death match arena with a massive time-space distortion floating above it. I’m sure it’s fine! How bad could Chapter 5-4 be?

The only Feat for this chapter is Reinforcements Survived. You heard what the commander back there said? He meant it! If anyone dies in this chapter, the Feat’s parameters are failed. Which is fucking mental given what we’re about to face. By the way, this is only a Level 3 (of 5) Feat. Sustained Reinforcements in 5-3 was the only Level 4 difficulty Feat in the entire episode.

For past reference, as this is the final Feat in the game (I won’t be bothering to accomplish) there is exactly ONE Level 5 difficulty Feat in The 3rd Birthday and it was taking out that Swiftly Ward Off Rover Feat I said was literally impossible in a New Game back in Chapter 2-1.

New Music: Escape from UB – For The 3rd Birthday –
(Yes it is a remix of that music from the end of Parasite Eve)

Anyway, let’s get to it with the penultimate challenge of Episode 5. If you’ve not played the original Parasite Eve, the track playing for this battle is a remix of the music played during the pursuit of the Ultimate Being, the final boss of Parasite Eve’s first play through.

Not the actual battle with the four form final boss of Parasite Eve, mind you. No, you see in Parasite Eve, after you defeat the Ultimate Being it is not quite dead. Indeed, it decides to chase Aya Brea through the bowels of the battleship they are currently occupying. Aya must run through the labyrinthine underbelly of the ship, all the while being doggedly pursued by the Ultimate Being while this pounding like ten note track was playing.

Oh yes, and it was an instant Game Over if the Ultimate Being caught up to Aya at any time. The previous save point was prior to five minutes of cutscenes and battling the four form final boss. There were dead ends and ways to easy fuck up here and give Aya a quick dirt nap. So this music might be ingrained into a few old Parasite Eve players’ psyche.

Back to The 3rd Birthday, there is a lot more to the Escape from the UB track in this game. And the track itself is dedicated to our old friend the Reaper. Remember that invincible jerk that has popped up every other episode? Well, it’s arbitrarily high time for a final battle with the Reaper.

Only err… Well, not quite yet. The Reaper is still invincible as it always has been. And it can still two-shot Aya even 25 levels later from our first encounter with it. So the first two minutes of this battle is dedicated to learning the Reaper’s aggro engagement mechanic. You see, the Reaper has a very short attention span and is only interested in killing Aya Brea. As such, as long as the sorry new excuse for an Ultimate Being isn’t actively in the middle of performing an attack animation, it will immediately drop everything to pursue Aya’s current position.

In other words, as long as Aya keeps jumping to the opposite side of the arena and firing a couple of shots to get the Reaper’s attention, the creature will not actually engage anyone and instead just waste all its time quickly teleporting from vessel to vessel Aya possesses. Which is all fine and good. Except… you know… Playing tag with an invincible super Twisted isn’t getting us anywhere.

But fret not! After a couple minutes of dicking around playing hide and seek with Mr. Reaper, Wayan Epstein shows up declaring “It’s Hiiiiiigh Noon” and he’s happened to have brought an experimental new laser cannon, The BERSERKER!

So yep. Turns out there was a man-portable laser cannon capable of harming the invincible Reaper this whole time. It was just never mentioned or utilized until this particular encounter, when Aya Brea has no choice but to face the Reaper head on. The 3rd Birthday plays by its own narrative rules. Or lack thereof.

Now the thing about the Berserker cannon is that, while it indeed damages the Reaper it both fires (yes the laser beam) VERY slowly and it does a really really slow amount of damage that requires Aya to concentrate fire for several seconds to get anywhere. You see that red tick of damage off its first (of five) health bars up above? That’s one second of concentrated fire with the Berserk. Yeah… we’re gonna be here a while.

Two fellows spawn into the arena, thankfully on opposite sides of the football stadium sized oval cavern and the name of the game becomes swapping back and forth between the two in order to deal a 2-3 seconds of tick damage against the Reaper in a most tedious battle of attrition.

Except for the parts when the Reaper decides to be a real jerk and throw up an impenetrable blood wall around one of our Berserker units. In which case we shift tactics to making one of the useless other troops standing and gawking as bait to give our Berserker gunslinger breathing room.

The Reaper does gain one new, rather odd move during this battle, beyond the usual teleportation and melee hits that take off 75% of anyone’s health. It can float up in the air and produce a wormhole that attempts to suck in anyone not in cover. Unlike the Worm Runt’s similar attack from the previous episode, I’ve only seen this actually connect once and I’m not sure how. Aya and everyone else is safe as long as they’re remotely touching cover. It’s an instant kill, naturally.

I included a video of this fight in the “highlight” reel at the end of the update. It took me a solid twelve minutes to finally beat the Reaper…

…Round 1. After going down to the Berserker cannon, the Reaper takes a quick nap and then revives for a Round 2 with all its fucking HP back! Yep. We have to fight this goddamn boss twice in a row!

The difference between Round 1 and Round 2 is that the Reaper no longer has invincible armor that can only be chipped away with a slow firing laser. It’s now vulnerable to all forms of attack from our standard arms, Liberation shots, Overdive Kills and especially explosives. So we’re not just limited to the slow fire laser beam.

It’s still an extremely deadly, constantly teleporting mess of a fight with five bars of HP and it takes another six minutes to down a secondary time. This is, by far the hardest fight and most tedious boss battle in the game.

Eventually, with one last Overdive Kill, the Reaper at last unceremoniously explodes in a fountain of blood. The end. It’s dead and gone. Good job, Aya Brea! Let’s just ignore the whole lingering bit how there were, in fact, multiple Reapers. We killed the one so mission accomplished on the whole species!

Buuut… Before we continue onward. This whole thing was just how we are supposed to fight the Reaper. A grueling, 15-20 minute battle against a massive wall of HP. But there is another way, a much easier way. Oh it’s not an intended clever alternate method. Oh no, not at all. Let’s back up a bit. Don’t worry, it won’t take long…

So once we survive the first minute and Sebastian Schuman arrives with his Berserker Cannon, we’ll just go ahead and firing a beam into the Reaper for a second or two. That red bit of the health bar is sustained damage against The Reaper. If we stopped attacking, the red fades away to the next HP bar color. It’s key that we see the red bar ticking down.

Now we’re going to pause the game! We’re not going to touch anything here. We’re just going to keep it paused here. I’m going to go toss some laundry in the drier. I’ll be back in 3-4 minutes.

Alright. I’m back! Let’s return to the fight against the Reaper -- who is now dead. Yep. The 3rd Birthday shipped with a glitch where the Berserker cannon’s damage persists even while the game is paused like it was fucking Mega Man 1. So if we just damage the Reaper, pause, and walk away for three minutes. Boom. Instant boss death.

And before you ask, YES. This does work on both rounds against the Reaper. Even walking away twice for a good three minutes, it’s still about a third of the time fighting the Reaper normally with zero the effort.

Huh. Turns out that absurd no soldiers killed Feat wasn’t so hard after all.

That’s the easy way to murder the Reaper. I put together a video showing it off below. Check it out!

Music: The Way Things Are

Following our victory over the Reaper, we come upon the very last soldier hangout safe zone in The 3rd Birthday. I’m done upgrading Aya Brea in any capacity for the remainder of the game. So let’s just have a final word with the last battalion of expendable meat puppets.

Well, I'm still alive. Does that make me lucky or unlucky?
The only one who's lucky is whoever's left standing when this is all over.
How old was your daughter again, sir?
Four, why?
That's such a cute age. Aren't you afraid of leaving her fatherless?
Of course I am. But if we don't destroy the Twisted, my daughter will have no future at all.
Spoken like a true soldier... but when my time comes, I'd rather be with my family.
You're getting soft. Bury those feelings until you can embrace your family again.
It's a miracle we made it this far. Hopefully, another miracle will get me home to my family.

All these people with infants and toddlers and they didn’t have one wayward child who just celebrated their third birthday. C’mon. It’s the single most obvious dumb joke to make with this sappy soldier banter and you blew it! You blew it!

Still better than Trump. If you are reading this in the LP Archives in the future, I offer you this:

Before we travel out to face the final challenge of The 3rd Birthday, Kunihiko Maeda phones up Aya Brea for one final message.

[It's almost time. Up ahead is the Babel's core - the area where Overdive is possible. Hyde is there, Aya. It's time to face him.]
[There's no need to thank me. You have been a fascinating subject to analyze. Heahaha.]
[You are now and forever… my main subject of research. No matter what happens to the world, you will always be the center of my universe. Heheh… Hahah!]
*Removes earpiece and steps on it* And… that’s enough of that.

And indeed, that is the final time we ever hear from Dr. Kunihiko Maeda in The 3rd Birthday. He does have some post-game text only files. But, as far as the Japanese Scientist creeper speaking like an easily amused sex offender G-Man goes? We never hear from him again.

Tune in next time as we confront Hyde Bohr and rush headlong into the end game of The 3rd Birthday. You know how the LP Thread has a no spoiler policy for this shitty, disjointed mess of a game? It was for what’s coming up – the end. It’s the worst, most insultingly stupid ending of any of the games I have LPed over the years and will retroactively make this already weird, creepy fucking video game somehow even worse. It's that bad. And there is a LOT to the ending. About a quarter of the game's total cutscene time is waiting ahead, here at 90% completion mark of the game.

Buckle up, motherfuckers! The 3rd Birthday’s end is about to begin!

Video: Part 28 Highlight Reel Reaper Fight Slog
(Hey, if you want to see that whole fight in one take for the authentic T3B experience!)

Video: Reaper Kill Glitch
(Recommended Viewing!)

Reaper Concept – Again, the Rollers we have seen frequently throughout the game are just recolored versions of The Reaper set to about 0.85 scale. Don’t believe me? Click that Reaper concept art above to see the Roller’s Concept.