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. Wed best go forward with care. Ready now?
Yulie: Uuugh. Why wouldnt 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 shes already had it with his bullshit.
Eldore: Come on, lets be off.
Even Eldores tired of his shit, although you can only really detect it if youre watching the videos and listening to Charles Shaughnessys 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 theyre our first fully explorable enclosed area. Theres not that much worth saying about them (its grey and blue and rocky) other than you cant 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 cant 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.
Theres 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. Well eventually see three other types of spider enemies, one for each remaining element.
Also, theyre not actually spiders because they only have six legs.
Ill 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 dont warrant an entire separate post for them anymore.
I havent shown off either support spells or non-battle magic casting. So Ill do that here. Pressing the X button when theres no enemies around brings up this menu down in the bottom right of the screen. Youve 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. Were 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. Ive turned that off, however, but Ill 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 its 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 keys in an entirely different section of the mine, so Im just cutting out as much of the bullshit here-and-theres 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 wont attack you unless you engage them first. As you can guess, theyre strong against and attack with their native element and are weak against their opposite element. Each element has an Elemental and theyre strong against all three types of physical attacks, so magic is usually the best way to kill these guys.
Which means youre shit out of luck, because as weve 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 doesnt attack Elementals on its own, so you dont 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 cant 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.
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 youre 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 youve beaten it. Theyre just programming flags to unlock the next level, as such they carry over into New Game+ as well.
Well 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. Its a backtrack inside of a backtrack.
For some reason I switched to Eldore here. I cant remember why. Maybe I just got tired of looking at Leonard or something.
I dont know why it gives you the option of not using the key, but here it is any way.
Maybe its 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: Belcitanes Scheme, Take 1
Meanwhile, with the interesting characters
This things 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.
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, heres a tip in the art of warfare and/or villainy, free of charge from me to you: press your advantages. If youre powerful enough to take out your foes yourself, then just do it already. I cant 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 hes a bit of a hammy drama queen himself, Dragias does this awesome flourish and cape toss as he turns around.
Isnt he awesome, folks?
Dont answer that.
Belcitane: Hu-hah. My general is most wise.
Well, I guess we know who the boss of this chapters 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 wont be paid off until well into the sequel.
Akihiro Hinos a master writer, isnt he?
Well its 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, thats telling you Faria is gearing up for war? Maybe their also having an internal governmental meltdown over Archduke Dalams death? What if theyre waiting on pins and needles too thinking Balandor is poised to attack? Isnt a defensive stalemate better than active war?
Cyrus is pushing for a pre-emptive, costly, and bloody war with Faria while Balandors head of state is in absentia based on no other information than FUCK I HATE FARIANS!
I am a Nolan North fanboy like nobodys 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 youve become the King!
Sarvain: I could say the same for you, now couldnt 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, hes goin rogue!
Again, I just cant get over this. The game wants you to be on Cyruss side here, yet the argument its making for it is that he wants to start an unnecessary war against the wrong enemy (especially given how we havent 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 hes a paranoid xenophobe. It wants us to be on Cyruss side because hes 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. Im 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? Youre 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 Balandors legal ruler while its monarch is indisposed. He has become the King in all but name and there isnt shit Cyrus can do about it. Whats more, Cyrus just announced to the whole Privy Council that hes about to commit an act of treason by defying Sarvain and turning Balandors army loose on Faria.
Yo, eagle-hair! Kill this motherfucker before he lights the whole continent on fire! Its only funny when Cisna does it! Hes 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 hes 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 Balandors government. Because schmucks like this guy are like ants in a kitchen; if you spot one of them, theres a hundred of them somewhere nearby that youre 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.
Sarvain: UNLIMITED POOOOOOWER!!!
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 Im assuming Cyrus took his lets 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 hes 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: Cyruss 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 Queens necklace.
King Valtos: I apologize for the beating you endured from my guardsmen when you tried to explain that you didnt steal it, as well.
King Valtos: Thank you, lad.
Also, as youll plainly see, its not a necklace, its 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 dont 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 its trying to push have long since calcified.
Anyway, the Queen nods in agreement.
Kid Cyrus: Ah
(Or so Im guessing. The half-noises he makes in this scene arent even dignified with subtitles).
Castleguardsman: Well? Say something.
Kid Cyrus: Uh
King Valtos: Its 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, Im 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, thats 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 didnt know that at the time. He just forcibly overwrote Cyruss own father in the boys life for no good reason.
The Lords Right, indeed.
Castleguardsman: Youre Grace! Youre 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 cant tell because hes been squinting and trying not to cry the whole time. Plus hes got those weird anime eyes too.
King Valtos: Someday, this child will protect this realm. I am quite sure of it.
King Valtos: Im also quite sure that Disco will never go out of style, the Titanic is an unsinkable ocean liner, Conan OBrien 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 as in it.
King Valtos: Floraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaine!
Ah, there we go.
King Valtos: You see it too, dont you?
Queen Floraine: Yes, I do.
And theres 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 wasnt.
Also, if you pay close attention in game 2, youll see that Cisna starts wearing her mothers earrings on her attire after a certain plot-relevant point. Thats actually a rather nice touch.
Kid Cyrus: Wait! Ive figured out what I want! Can I call the Queen mommy instead?
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 hes 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.