The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 22: Hot Amir-on-Demithor Action

When we last left off with our heroes Team Caesar, Count Drisdall had agreed to move the Demithor to the Bunker Lode Caverns for them and sent the off to find Amir, the Demithor’s handler to do it. Our newest acquisition, the eponymous Caesar himself, suggested that Amir would most likely be at the bar in the Downtown quarter of Greede.

Leonard also got Caesar accidentally kicked out of his house and disowned by his father.

Because Leonard is a fuck up who ruins peoples’ lives wherever he goes by dint of merely existing.

Also, during the Live Talk for this part of the game, Caesar scores this little gem:

Caesar: So, Leonard, how long have you and Yulie been, ah mmmm…?
Yulie: Huh? Oh! No! We’re—we’re not—I don’t… Uhhaaaa…
Leonard: What? We’re just friends.
Eldore: My, that was direct.
Kara: Classy.

Welcome aboard Caesar. Never leave. Ever.

Inside the bar, we find Amir himself. You can also see Shu in the background, still trying to work up the courage to awkwardly squeak at Zoey while she has her back turned to him.

I’m here to see a man rabbit about a horse giant hexapod.

Also, you can walk right up to Amir as Caesar—someone who has known Amir nearly his entire life—and he’ll still give this canned response. I know this because I did it once in my one of my footage capture runs.

CUTSCENE: Finding Amir
CUTSCENE MUSIC:Amir the Animal Tamer” (Disc 2, Track 6)

Amir: Ohh! This could only be one man’s handwriting! The Count has sent you!

Amir: Gentlemen!

Amir: I am at your service. I would be happy to move the Demithor.

Leonard: Great! Thanks.

Amir: One eensy problem…

Amir: I cannot do it on my own.

Amir: We need to pass through the corridors of Greede’s Underbelly to reach the Demithor’s head.

Amir: But no one clears out the monsters this time of year. Big, deadly monsters!

Caesar: Hey, no worries.

Caesar: Like I’d let my pal Amir get hurt.

Amir’s face lights up at the sound of Caesar’s voice.

Caesar: I’ll be right there to watch your back. They pick on you at their own risk.

Amir: Y-young master! You just called me your “pal”.

Amir: This is the happiest day of my life!

Again we see the distinction between Leonard and Caesar. Leonard ruins the lives of those he encounters, Caesar brightens the lives of those he encounters immeasurably. Hell, he made a goddamn Papitaur likeable by association, and I usually want to kick every Papitaur not named “Osmund” I encounter in this game straight to Alpha Centauri.

Kara: This will be a long day.

It’s like Kara has zero faith in the competence of the people around her. Hell, it’s almost like she resents them of getting a member of her family kill—oh, riiiiight.

Also, for those of you not benefiting from the video, Caesar is currently merrily spinning in circles on the barstool behind Amir.

Amir: To get to the Underbelly, we need to use the Downtown entrance not far from here.

Amir: Once we’re there, gentlemen, I’ll show you the way.

Caesar: You heard him! Amir’s in charge now. Move out!

I love how Caesar has already supplanted Leonard as the tip of the spear for the party (pun intended, by the way).

CUTSCENE MUSIC:New Allies” (Unreleased Track)

Not permanently though. This game doesn’t have the balls to give you a non-human party member for any longer than an hour at a time.

Of all the JPRG tropes to ignore, I would say I’m surprised to say that they picked the “Token Non-Human Party Member” trope, but then I realize coding a Warg, Farian, Toad or Papitaur party member would take some sort of effort, and we’ve already established that when it comes to this game Level-5 is incarnate.

And it’s kind of sad too because you could easily slide a member of each race into a certain party role. A male Warg could be your powerhouse tank or Monk geared towards physical attacks. A female Warg could be a quick and agile glass cannon. A Farian could be good at physical attacks too but really excel with magic. A Toad party member (though I shudder at the thought) could be your thief character… if this game bothered to have any kind of steal mechanic. And a Papitaur party member could the game’s Riki, Penelo, or Cait Sith, a Lethal Joke Character par excellence.

Well, there’s a few more ideas to chuck onto the “Wasted Potential” pile that’s building up behind us. No?

CUTSCENE: Cyrus in the Desert

Okay, back to the plot. Suddenly we’re back in the Lagnish Desert.

Oh, hey, I know that uniform. Hey everyone, it’s Cyrus! He’s made it into the Lagnish Desert with his crew of hangers-on—and at a fifth the pace our party of apprentice wine sellers, elderly men, fuck up assassins, and miscellaneous did.

Orren: Blow me!

Oh really? How would you characterize yourself then?


Okay, then back to Cyrus then.

Cyrus: Must… Kill… Farians…

Give the man credit; if nothing else he is really goddamn dedicated to starting this war against Faria.

He’s also really goddamn dedicated to proving he’s an even bigger idiot than Leonard is.

Cyrus: Urgh… This heat…

Somewhere in Balandor right now, Sarvain is laughing his ass off.

Thank you, Akihiro Hino, for that pointless reminder that Cyrus is still alive and still wants to start a war with the wrong enemy based off nothing but racial hatred.

Meanwhile, back with a marginally more competent collection of individuals…

We now have to head for that little alleyway marked out on the map from the last update to reach the Underbelly.

Amir: The Demithor will be up and plodding in no time!

CUTSCENE: Greede’s Underbelly
CUTSCENE / AREA MUSIC:Greede’s Underbelly” (Disc 2, Track 7)

Caesar: These halls will take us right out… next to the Demithor’s head.

Caesar: Ya know, I hear the monsters are extra nasty this time of the year. Should make for a fun trip.

Yulie: Ugh. What’s fun about it?

Caesar: Well…

Caesar: We won’t get bored, will we?

Caesar, you goddamn beautiful troll.

Again, Yulie wants to kick him into orbit by his balls. All I need to do is photoshop Kara, Belcitane, Cisna, Miu, and Charles Shaughnessy’s voice acting into this frame and it will be the perfect encapsulation of the only good parts of this game.

And on that murderous glare, we head into the Underbelly…

Before we head out, however, Amir lays out the gimmick of this dungeon for us.

Amir: We’ll need to use these devices to open the gates as we proceed to the Demithor. They’re a pain to deal with, but they defend against intruders and other nasties! However, be warned. Many dangerous creatures lurk down here as well.

Greede’s Underbelly is probably the most actually dungeon-y dungeon this game has outside of The Dogma Rift Temple at the end of this game 1, and Redhorn Isle and The Lost City of Vellgander in game 2.

Like Amir just intoned, there’s a complex 3-level switch-and-door puzzle blocking our direct access to the Demithor’s head. Luckily… because I’ve played this game three times now () I know how to clear it in the most streamlined fashion.

If you can make heads or tails of my map down at the end of this post, then congratulations, by the way.

So now because we have Caesar in our party at last, let’s take a moment to look over his character.

Caesar has a spear for his default weapon. The spear is the only other weapon besides the short sword/hatchet/mace that allows you to equip a shield.

Spearmen in White Knight Chronicles are the game’s Sentinels, to borrow a term from Final Fantasy XIII’s job system. They’re damage sponges and the diametric opposite to axe/hammer wielders, who are the game’s damage dealers. You can see Caesar’s redonkulously high DEF and RES stats reflecting this.

The spear skill line has a number of skills meant to attract enemy aggression onto the spearman and away from everyone else. They also have a number of skills designed to bolster their own and the party at large’s defense stats temporarily without having to waste like five minutes and 40 MP trying to cast +Fortify and the like.

Essentially, the spearman is a mirror for Caesar’s character in general: someone who defends those weaker than him by attracting attention to himself and then weathering the hits meant for others.

We’ve also got four new enemies to deal with in the Underbelly, though only one of which is actually a brand new enemy type.

The first up are the Spider Sprogs. These things are the generic Earth-elemental version of the Waterspider Sprogs from the Nordia Tunnels, who also turn up in the Underbelly alongside the Ice Lizards from Flandar Trail.

Next up are Wind Elementals. You can already guess what I’m gonna say about them. Weak to earth magic, strong against wind magic, completely docile unless you attack them yourself.

Moving on.

And then there’s the Stone Guardian, our first Golem pallet swap. Same weaknesses apply: wind magic and smashing attacks.

The final new enemy type we will be meeting soon enough.

So the Underbelly itself is kind of cool. It’s got this interesting stone dungeon feel to it with gears on the walls constantly moving and all these switches and gates and stuff.

This is also the setting of the bar-none most popular online GR grinding quest back when the servers were still online: Demithor in Peril. It was notable for being a relatively lucrative GR-paying quest that could be beaten in under 10 minutes with a sufficiently leveled party.

If you know what the acronym “DiP II” stands for… you have my sincerest sympathies.

I also should point out that we also have Amir as a guest party member for this section of the game. Amir is the anti-Raus, in that he’s a Papitaur guest party member who’s actually somewhat useful.

Amir has a cute little hatchet for a weapon and is scaled about five or more levels below where the party should be at this point in the game. If you’ve been playing the game properly, Amir shouldn’t even be seeing any combat at this point because your party should be mowing through most non-giant enemies before Amir even gets anywhere near them.

Once again, if Amir dies, it’s game over.

But since this dungeon is a half hour of running and flipping samey switches with nothing interesting happening, I’ll spare you most of it.

So your primary objective is to open all the little switches blocking your way to the two big switches blocking the way to the Demithor’s head.

And in each of these Important Switch rooms are a pair of Direspiders, the final new enemy type here in the Underbelly.

Direspiders are big fuck off spiders that freak the hell out of me. These things are the worst because they’re really tough, they’re quick, and they have a nasty habit of jumping around a full 180° when you get a break chance on one of their legs and by the time so you have to run around them to try and score the break hit before your window closes.

They also have a really creepy special attack where they spawn like five or six Sprog enemies if you don’t kill them quick enough. Much like their miniature counterparts, Direspiders also have elemental pallet swaps.

This is point where you want to begrudgingly allow Leonard back into your active party simply to use the White Knight on them, and then shunt him back to the reserve section until you need to do it again near the end of this section.

So you need to do this twice and then the Demithor’s head is unlocked.

In the centre of the Underbelly, there’s an elevator that links all three levels.

Once the main gate is unlocked, you can head down to Level 3 and head for the head.

When you’re in an elevator in a dungeon, your party will just awkwardly stare at you on the ride up or down, by the way.

Two last things I want to show off here. The first are these gears.

The Underbelly is littered with them, and I think it’s a nice touch that they’re moving in the background without being too noticeable. It helps make the place feel alive.

The other is this thing. I don’t know what this thing is or why it’s here. I think it has something to do with one or more of the online quests, but I’m not in the mood to find out.

Does anyone in the thread know what the hell the point of this thing is or if it actually does anything? Because right now and while Level-5 peppered this game with underdeveloped ideas, it was rather good about keeping things out of the game (gameplay, I should say) that served no purpose being there.

Case in point.

Amir: Attention gentlemen: we’re nearing the Demithor’s head.

Caesar: We’re nearly there, Amir!
Leonard: Finally! We get to meet the Demithor.
Yulie: Nothing makes the time go by like a little conversation.
Eldore: How time flies.
Kara: Hurmph.
Amir: Ready, young master!

And with that, the way to the Demithor’s head is clear at last.

CUTSCENE: Communicating with the Demithor

Leonard: Look at the size of it!

The Demithor roars proudly.

Its cry ripples through the party, well, through Leonard and Yulie at least. Everyone else isn’t that bothered with it.

Caesar: Amir, take it away!

I love how he taps Amir’s shoulders for good luck. You can really see that he cares about the little guy, all told. Again, Caesar > Leonard.

Amir: Right then, stand back.

Amir: I’mgoingtoesablishcommunitatiooooooon!

I love Amir’s sudden ninja run. I was not expecting that the first time I played this game and it was a pleasant surprise.

And of course, Leonard looks absolutely dumbfounded.

Amir: Okay beast, let’s dance!

Amir: Roar!

Amir: Roooar!

Amir: Rrrooaar!

Amir: (Kill the pitiful humans my slave!)

I will freely admit I laughed my ass off at this scene. It was not expecting the game to actually do something funny so it caught me off guard.

This was also the game’s internal mulligan on the “Huge Beast, Tiny Tamer” gag that they fucked up so badly the first time around with Raus and the Beastwain.

Well done, Level-5. You sort of learned from your mistake and fixed it.

The Demithor begins to move with purpose thanks to Amir’s orders, causing Leonard and Yulie to lose their balance amid the shaking.

I can only imagine the kind of property damage that’s being done up on the plate city overhead thanks to this unscheduled Demithor detour.

Again, I have to imagine it because no one at Level-5 bothered to. And I like finding ways to ascribe random, massive acts of destruction to Leonard regardless of his culpability.

Because he totally deserves all the blame I can pile on him.

Eldore: At last, we’re moving.

CUTSCENE: Greede Connects to the Bunker Lode Caverns

We now get one of those rare pre-rendered cutscenes of the Demithor being all sorts of badass and connecting Greede to the Bunker Lode Caverns. Which means I don’t gotta caption these next images.

This shot of Greede just rising up out of the clouds from the POV of inside the mine itself is also really well done and creative.

So kudos to Level-5’s cutscene animators , because someone had to accidentally bop their elbow on that button eventually.

CUTSCENE: Mission Accomplished

Leonard: Wow! How did it do that?!

Leonard: so dumb he doesn’t even understand elementary locomotion. Or so smart he understands the square-cube law and is subtly calling bullshit on the Demithor’s basic ontology. Take your pick.

Amir: It worked young master! Gentlemen!

And that’s the last we see of Amir until the ending credits of game 2. Farewell, good sir.

Caesar: Right, shall we?

CUTSCENE: Almost There Now…

Eldore: We’re almost there.
Yulie: Yep. Took long enough.

Leonard: Cisna must be close.

Because Leonard can’t go a fucking chapter without saying the word “Cisna.”

Caesar: So…

Caesar: Is this princess hot?

Caesar: The way he goes on about her. Whew!

Orren: Gods, tell me about it. I try to hit him everyone he says her name without context.

Caesar: Yeah, but is she HOT?
Orren: I guess… If you’re into Machiavellian women with a penchant for random genocides. She’s way too good for him, honestly.
Caesar: Boy oh boy, she must be smokin’! Ha ha hah.

I'm just surprised someone bothered to actually talk to the Avatar again after all this time. The Avatar won't be directly spoken to again until half-way through game 2 now. Once again, more ammunition for your Good Guy Caesar memes: "Realizes the Avatar is a part of the party. — Actually talks to them."

Kara: Hey. Move it.

Well, I’ll take that one, thank you. It was nice going through an afternoon without feeling the urge to throttle someone. This Caesar guy was aces in my books, and there wouldn’t be a damn thing he would do between now and when I finally rid myself of the rest of these idiots and assholes to tarnish my view of him.

If nothing else, he managed to neuter Leonard’s shiftless ignorance with his insightful focus on things other than a certain Princess who shall remain nameless so that I don’t have a flashback-stroke or something…


My route through the Underbelly for this dungeon, for those of you playing the Home Version.