The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 13: The Black Knight

Ya got no arms left, ya stupid bastard!</python>

OVERWORLD MUSIC:The Continent of Nadias” (Disc 1, Track 15)

Here we go into the Nordia Tunnels. Interestingly enough, the majority of this chapter will not be taking place in the tunnels.

CUTSCENE: The Nordia Tunnels
CUTSCENE / AREA MUSIC:The Nordia Tunnels” (Disc 1, Track 21)

Leonard: So this is what it looks like inside…

Eldore: These enormous tunnels link Greydall Plain to the Lagnish Desert on the other side of the mountains.

Eldore: Something about the stench coming off the walls makes the beasts here mad with anger. We’d best go forward with care. Ready now?

Yulie: Uuugh. Why wouldn’t we be? You make it sound so inviting.
Leonard: We have to keep going.

Yulie: Yeah, cuz nothing I say matters, right?
Orren: Welcome to the club.

Leonard: The Princess needs us.

Yulie: Then you can go first, Mr. Hero.

I love this little moment. One day on the road, and she’s already had it with his bullshit.

Eldore: Come on, let’s be off.

Even Eldore’s tired of his shit, although you can only really detect it if you’re watching the videos and listening to Charles Shaughnessy’s exasperated tone on this line.

Eldore: The ore refined here is known throughout the land.
Leonard: How does this place keep from collapsing? Look at it!
Yulie: Why would they head for a place like the desert?

The Nordia Tunnels are an interesting bird compared to Greydall Plain and Balastor Plain in that they’re our first fully explorable enclosed area. There’s not that much worth saying about them (it’s grey and blue and rocky) other than you can’t transform into a Knight in most of the tunnels, and that this is the first area that features notable sloping landscapes (ie: not flat) and elevators.

Although we can’t use the elevator to head down to the second and third levels right now, as the game wants to funnel us towards the boss fight and out of the area to keep the plot moving. They do, however, come into play in the online quests that occur in this area.

There’s three new enemy types to fight here in the tunnels. The first of these are Waterspider Sprogs. Spiders are weak against slashing attacks, while Waterspider Sprogs specifically are weak to fire attacks. We’ll eventually see three other types of spider enemies, one for each remaining element.

Also, they’re not actually spiders because they only have six legs.

I’ll also be weaving the gameplay bits into the story posts from here on out because what little new gameplay elements there are left in the game to focus on don’t warrant an entire separate post for them anymore.

I haven’t shown off either support spells or non-battle magic casting. So I’ll do that here. Pressing the X button when there’s no enemies around brings up this menu down in the bottom right of the screen. You’ve seen it before in previous parts.

The second option in the menu is Magic.

Selecting that brings up a list of all the spells the currently selected party member knows.

This is my New Game+ file, so every character knows every skill. We’re going to use +Haste just to see what it does. …Actually, you can see exactly what it does from the panel that comes up on the right.

This thing is hella obtrusive, by the way.

Anyway, spells with a + in front of their name are area effect spells. Normally you can see their effective areas on the field represented by a red outline. I’ve turned that off, however, but I’ll show it off in the boss battle video.

So you select your spell, and your target and your character pauses (because you need to come to a complete stop to do magic in this game) while this purple energy flows around them, aaaaaand…

You see the spell effect and the now the party has Haste status, meaning that their various skill cooldown rates are temporarily shortened.

Anyway, to make it to the other side of the mines we need to go through this gate.


Welcome to another wonderful feature of White Knight Chronicles: backtracking!

Wherein the game will suddenly slam down a barrier to your progress in front of you and tell you to go back and do some menial task or find some arbitrary item before you can move forward again.

This becomes a staple of WKC gameplay from now until the end of game 2, and it’s just there to pad out the running time.

So we turn around and go running to the other end of the map to find the Nordia Tunnel gate key.

The key’s in an entirely different section of the mine, so I’m just cutting out as much of the bullshit here-and-there’s as I can.

This, by the way, is a Fire Elemental. Elementals are floating spirits that are usually stronger than most other enemies on the field, yet completely docile. They won’t attack you unless you engage them first. As you can guess, they’re strong against and attack with their native element and are weak against their opposite element. Each element has an Elemental and they’re strong against all three types of physical attacks, so magic is usually the best way to kill these guys.

Which means you’re shit out of luck, because as we’ve hashed out repeatedly now, the magic system in this game is terrible, and the party AI is too stupid to preform spells without adult supervision.

That said, the AI generally doesn’t attack Elementals on its own, so you don’t have to worry about them accidentally drawing the Elemental into a larger scrum with more common enemies. I say “generally”, because of course this is White Knight Chronicles, and the AI can’t not fuck up 100% of the time, and well “accidents happen”.

These are the final new enemy type we encounter in the tunnels: Basilisks. Lizard enemy types are vulnerable to stabbing attacks like Thrust and will eventually also be broken down into elemental sub-types, but only ice and fire.

Basilisks are non-elemental and are actually a unique design separate from the other lizard pallet swaps, mostly because they have six legs instead of four. Which means Level-5 had to program an entirely different animation rigging just for these enemies.

You did it, Level-5!

You cared about something.

Kind of.

So hidden away in a back corner of the map behind a metric shitton of enemies is a lone chest.

Opening it nets us the Nordia Tunnel Key.

Also, these ‘crests’ items that you’re seeing here pertain to optional post-game dungeon Vellgander, which is unlocked all the way at the end of game 2 and stays unlocked in New Game+. Each crest pertains to a different level of the dungeon and shows that you’ve beaten it. They’re just programming flags to unlock the next level, as such they carry over into New Game+ as well.

We’ll be going through Vellgander in full, excruciating detail at the end of game 2. But for now? Fuck ‘em.

Okay, now we have to run all the way back to the gate, making an equidistant trip. It’s a backtrack inside of a backtrack.

It’s Backtrackception!


For some reason I switched to Eldore here. I can’t remember why. Maybe I just got tired of looking at Leonard or something.

I don’t know why it gives you the option of not using the key, but here it is any way.

Maybe it’s trying to convince me to turn the game off and re-evaluate my life choices.

…Eh, fuck it.

Yulie: I think that knight in black was the Magi leader.
Eldore: That man in black, he was a powerful warrior.
Orren: And that's based on what evidence, now?

The gate swings open and we get to run forward a little bit before we fade to black for more Plot.

CUTSCENE: Belcitane’s Scheme, Take 1

Meanwhile, with the interesting characters…

This thing’s speeding by awfully fast…

Um… look out.


CUTSCENE MUSIC:The Magi” (Unreleased Track)

Now playing: the backside of Dragias.

Belcitane: General Dragias, our persuers have entered the Nordia Tunnels.

Belcitane: It seems this might be our chance to reclaim the Ark of the White Knight.

Dragias: Oh?

Belcitane: Nordia is a dangerous place, inhabited by powerful and vicious beasts.

Belcitane: They will not have an easy time reaching the other side.

Belcitane: If you were to wait by the exit, you could catch the lot of them at their weakest.
Dragias: Are they so powerful that I must deal with them?

General, here’s a tip in the art of warfare and/or villainy, free of charge from me to you: press your advantages. If you’re powerful enough to take out your foes yourself, then just do it already. I can’t believe you need to be goaded into this by a midget with such a hard-on for global domination he crafted his hair in the shape of a crown of laurels. Christ, buddy.

Belcitane: The boy was able to defeat Pyredaemos, was he not? We should not take any chances.

See? Belcitane is the least stupidest person in this game.

Dragias: Heh heh heh. You are right. Very well. I shall great them personally…

Dragias: Then they can taste the might of Ebonwings, the knight-lord of darkness!

And just because he’s a bit of a hammy drama queen himself, Dragias does this awesome flourish and cape toss as he turns around.

Isn’t he awesome, folks?

…Don’t answer that.

Belcitane: Hu-hah. My general is most wise.

Well, I guess we know who the boss of this chapter’s gonna be.

CUTSCENE: Fantasy Politics 101

We now cut back to Balandor. Because the game wants to take ten whole minutes of your time to set up a bunch of minor plot points that won’t be paid off until well into the sequel.

Akihiro Hino’s a master writer, isn’t he?

Sarvain: Impossible!

Well it’s good to see Sarvain is handling things with calm and dignity.

Cyrus: But why?!

And Cyrus slams his fists on the table for good measure. Because Cyrus is a 12 year-old.

Cyrus: We know that Faria will attack us sooner or later!

Cyrus: It is vital we strike first!

Warmongering Farian scum, eh Cyrus? You hypocritical, racist prick. Well, now at least we see what Dragias was saying about ‘without wise leadership…’

Sarvain: No. Now is not the time for that. Our first priority must be to rescue the Princess and restore the monarchy.

Once again, Sarvain is the only adult in the room, despite being clearly evil. What intel do you have, Cyrus, that’s telling you Faria is gearing up for war? Maybe their also having an internal governmental meltdown over Archduke Dalam’s death? What if they’re waiting on pins and needles too thinking Balandor is poised to attack? Isn’t a defensive stalemate better than active war?

Cyrus is pushing for a pre-emptive, costly, and bloody war with Faria while Balandor’s head of state is in absentia based on no other information than “FUCK I HATE FARIANS!”

I am a Nolan North fanboy like nobody’s business, but not even he is capable of salvaging this shitsack of a character. And to think Cyrus becomes a worse character from here.


Sarvain: I think you are forgetting your place, my good captain.

Any time someone prefaces anything with ‘my good,’ someone just got verbally bitchslaped.

Cyrus takes this as well as you would expect: like twelve year old boy would.

Cyrus: Hrumph. Sarvain! You speak as if you’ve become the King!


Sarvain: I could say the same for you, now couldn’t I, Sir Cyrus?

Sarvain: Listen to my advice, friend. Your hatred for Faria is beginning to cloud your judgement.


Oh Sarvain, your level-headed rationality is such a breath of fresh air. Can we please just stay here and focus on Sarvain cleaning house politically in Balandor? Please? Pretty please?

Cyrus: Keep your advice, “friend”!

He pounds the table one more time, causing this poor schmuck on the left to jump in shock.

Again little things.

Cyrus: I will act as I see fit!

Oh shit, he’s goin’ rogue!

Again, I just can’t get over this. The game wants you to be on Cyrus’s side here, yet the argument it’s making for it is that he wants to start an unnecessary war against the wrong enemy (especially given how we haven’t seen any evidence of Faria being an evil nation and/or worthy of such hatred beyond a war that everyone admits was an act of mutual aggression between them and Balandor) purely because he’s a paranoid xenophobe. It wants us to be on Cyrus’s side because he’s a hot-blooded man of action and Sarvain is just so eeeeevil.

No, Hino-san. No. Bad writer! No sequel for you!

Sarvain: Just what I need, our Knight in the hands of an idiot, and our army in the hands of a lunatic. I’m not getting paid enough for to handle this level of crap.

So Cyrus turns and stomps out of the room to go start a fucking war.

Hey, Sarvain? You’re well within your rights to call for the guards to detain him, or even just flat out kill him, ya know?

As Chancellor of Balandor, Sarvain is Balandor’s legal ruler while its monarch is indisposed. He has become the King in all but name and there isn’t shit Cyrus can do about it. What’s more, Cyrus just announced to the whole Privy Council that he’s about to commit an act of treason by defying Sarvain and turning Balandor’s army loose on Faria.

Yo, eagle-hair! Kill this motherfucker before he lights the whole continent on fire! It’s only funny when Cisna does it! He’s goddamn serious about it!

Aide: What should we do? If we let him go, we risk ruining everything.
Sarvain: Nonsense. One man alone will not stop us. But just in case, place him under surveillance.
Aide: As you command.

Ya know, Sarvain, when you start saying shit like that, it kind of makes you seem sort of evil. Also, that ‘one man’ is the guy in charge of the Royal Army now. So… I think he’s a more credible threat to your plans than you want to write him off as being.

Well, now we know that Sarvain apparently has a whole apparatus of operatives in place within Balandor’s government. Because schmucks like this guy are like ants in a kitchen; if you spot one of them, there’s a hundred of them somewhere nearby that you’re not seeing.

Dude gets up and leaves, letting Sarvain have a moment to gloat to himself… and the rest of the Privy Council, who are all clearly still in the room.

Emperor Palpatine: Excuse me. What do you think you are doing? Only I may do that.

CUTSCENE: Cyrus Remembers

Aw fuck. Is this chapter still going on?

So I’m assuming Cyrus took his ‘let’s go kill the fuck out of Faria’ plan to the rest of the army and they promptly laughed in his face. As such, the only people willing to follow him to war now are apparently Rude, Reno, Tseng, and Elena.

Actually these four do get names and two of them even get speaking lines in this game, but I'll cover that when they actually start talking.

He looks back, most likely knowing that the second he walks under the castle portcullis he’s got a death warrant on his head for high treason or something.

CUTSCENE MUSIC:Reflecting” (Disc 1, Track 18)

He shuts his eyes, thinking of days long passed.

Pictured: Cyrus’s emotional intelligence, age 27.

King Valtos: Urgh. Another petitioner. What are you guilty of, lad, and how long do I have to listen to you cry before I call for the headsman?
Castleguardsman: What? No! Your Grace, this is the boy who—
King Valtos: Oh. THAT! Sorry, lad. So…

King Valtos: You must be our young hero. I am told that you are the one who found the Queen’s necklace.
King Valtos: I apologize for the beating you endured from my guardsmen when you tried to explain that you didn’t steal it, as well.
King Valtos: Thank you, lad.

Also, as you’ll plainly see, it’s not a necklace, it’s a choker, but then again Kid-Cyrus is some uneducated peasant boy, so Valtos is probably just using terminology he would understand.

Valtos looks to his lady wife.

King Valtos: You have recovered something that is greatly treasured by my family. We owe you a great debt.

I don’t know how or why Floraine lost her necklace, nor do I honestly care. The game is trying to make me feel sympathy for a warmongering racist lunatic. The buttons it’s trying to push have long since calcified.

Anyway, the Queen nods in agreement.

Kid Cyrus: Ah…

(Or so I’m guessing. The half-noises he makes in this scene aren’t even dignified with subtitles).

Castleguardsman: Well? Say something.

Kid Cyrus: Uh…

King Valtos: It’s alright.

King Valtos: I think we owe this young man a reward. Is there anything you desire, my boy?

Kid Cyrus: I want to be the most prolific voice actor of the early 21st Century, Your Grace.

Kid Cyrus: …Until Troy Baker comes along. Fucking pretty boy.

King Valtos: I see...
King Valtos: Well tough shit, Drake, I’m not the Wizard of Oz now, am I?
Queen Floraine: Darling!
King Valtos: Oh fine.
King Valtos: Well, how about this?

King Valtos: From now on, I give you permission to call me “Father.”

King Valtos: In return…

King Valtos: Will you promise to work hard for Balandor?
Queen Floraine: Okay, that’s getting a little creepy, honey.

Also, did Valtos just pressgang Cyrus into a life of indentured servitude to Balandor in exchange for a meaningless platitude? Now Cyrus is indeed an orphan by his own admission, but Valtos probably didn’t know that at the time. He just forcibly overwrote Cyrus’s own father in the boy’s life for no good reason.

The Lord’s Right, indeed.

Castleguardsman: You’re Grace! You’re going to make this child a vassal?

Kid Cyrus: Ah…

Valtos comes down from the throne and approaches young Cyrus.

King Valtos: Look at him. Look at his eyes.

King Valtos: Do you see anyone in this castle with eyes as clear or as bright?

I can’t tell because he’s been squinting and trying not to cry the whole time. Plus he’s got those weird anime eyes too.

King Valtos: Someday, this child will protect this realm. I am quite sure of it.
King Valtos: I’m also quite sure that Disco will never go out of style, the Titanic is an unsinkable ocean liner, Conan O’Brien will be the longest-running Tonight Show host in history, The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be a complete disaster, oh, and Kerry/Edwards ’04. I got a good feeling about that one.

King Valtos: Look, Floraine, my Queen.

It feels weird not writing that name without like 15 a’s in it.

King Valtos: Floraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaine!

Ah, there we go.

King Valtos: You see it too, don’t you?

Queen Floraine: Yes, I do.

And there’s her lone piece of dialog in this game (not counting her death scream). Take a bow, uncredited voice actor who I originally thought was Laura Bailey but actually wasn’t.

Also, if you pay close attention in game 2, you’ll see that Cisna starts wearing her mother’s earrings on her attire after a certain plot-relevant point. That’s actually a rather nice touch.

Kid Cyrus: Wait! I’ve figured out what I want! …Can I call the Queen ‘mommy’ instead?
King Valtos:

Cyrus: Your Grace… Father… You were wrong. I protected nothing.

Cyrus: Nothing at all.

Ya know, Cyrus may be an angry racist, but at least he’s honest.

And thus, Cyrus and his loyal cadre of the only soldiers in Balandor dumb enough to follow him set out to parts unknown, their future equally unknown.

Watch Cyrus start a fucking war.