Part 50: Down For The Count
AREA MUSIC: Scar (Disc 2, Track 13)
After the cutscene at the end of the previous chapter ends, youre dumped out in front of the Drisdall mansion. Caesars there waiting for you, so you can take this opportunity to go into Greede proper and stock up on items, weapons, armour and upgrades (if you can afford any of them, that is).
Unfortunately, Caesar isnt in your party while hes standing around in front of the gate, so you cant upgrade or equip anything of his until you actually go into the Retrospecticon with him.
Just like with Miu, telling Caesar youre ready triggers the cutscene.
CUTSCENE: 40 Years Ago
Caesar: Are you sure this book is gonna
Yulie: Hey, just pipe down and watch.
Eldore: Are you ready?
Caesar: A-alright, whatever.
And with that its (fake) time travel time again.
Caesar: So this is the past?
Sure, why not.
Caesar: Check out the purple mist. Then we must be forty years in the past.
Caesar: Wait. I gotta try something.
Orren: Famous last words
Caesar: Hey, is my dad home?
Guard: Huh? And who might you be?
Caesar: Im Count Drisdalls son, duh. Ring any bells?
Guard: His lordship the Count doesnt have any children.
Caesar: Ooo. Trippy.
Leonard: There, you see?
Eldore: Excuse me, could you tell us if Count Drisdall is in?
Guard: Whos asking?
Eldore: Weve come with information about the fever sweeping through Greede.
Guard: Have you really? Thats good news. But Im afraid the Count is in the Bunker Lode Caverns undergoing the Dragons Trial.
Yulie: Dragons Trial?
Caesar: So thats whats up. Lets head for the Caverns.
AREA MUSIC: Scar (Disc 2, Track 13)
Caesar: Sorry to put you guys through all this
Leonard: Are you kidding? Youre not putting us through anything.
Yulie: Yeah, and besides, our countries need to reach out to each other right now.
Eldore: Were glad to offer what little help we can.
Orren: Emphasis on the little part.
So now we can go around and get Caesars stuff upgraded because hes back in the actual party again for the first time since the end of the first game.
The first thing you notice if youre actually playing the game is that Greede from 40 years ago is the same as modern Greede, right down to the people. Because Level-5 couldnt put the effort into populating the town with a different set of NPCs. So instead, Im just going to imagine that everyone in Greede is some kind of ageless immortal.
I will give the game this much credit: while were in the past you can directly access the Bunker Lode Caverns via the Greede rail system. Because this is the kind of crisis that would warrant Drisdall ordering the Demithor into Up position during the mining off season in order to get to the Bunker Lode Ruins more quickly.
Yay plot-gameplay integration!
But I didnt do that in this footage capture run. I just leave through the front door like a moron.
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
Again, theres only two areas we can visit right now: Greede and the Bunker Lode Caverns.
CUTSCENE: The Dragons Trial
AREA MUSIC: The Bunker Lode Caverns (Disc 2, Track 4)
Leonard: Caesar, what exactly is the Dragons Trial?
Caesar: Its a Drisdall family thing. A form of supplication.
Caesar: Yeah, you know, praying?
Caesar: To borrow the strength and wisdom of the dragon in our time of need.
Yulie: Borrow it how?
Caesar: Look, lets just find my dad further in. Then it should all click.
Leonard: So the armoured dragon will tell us how to stop the Netherwyrm?
Eldore: If you want to know about dragons, ask a dragon.
I want to say my standard, theres not much to say about the Past Bunker Lode Caverns, but then Ill wind up writing three thousand words on it anyway like I always do. So just bear with me.
Just like last time, we encounter fire and earth elemental enemies exclusively in the mines. The most recurring offenders are Fire Lizards, Red Scorpions, Firespider Sprogs and Dire Firespiders.
These shitfuckers are everywhere throughout the caverns and they take forever to beat. Theyre the reason my combined subtitled and unsubtitled runs of this chapter contained over four hours of footage.
Youre first instinct is to run right for the elevator down to the lower level, however
Its not working again, so we need to re-run the original Bunker Lode Caverns route and activate the three generators that power the elevator.
So lets do that.
Theres also a fair share of Fire Dragons in the tunnels between the generators. Occasionally, youll encounter a random Earth Dragon too.
Yulie: Does the Count know how to fight?
Caesar: Yeah. I hear he was quite the warrior back in the day ehh, today.
Eldore: He wouldnt dare face a dragon otherwise.
Leonard: No offense Caesar, but your old man I cant picture it.
Orren: Youre a dick.
Leonard: Okay, so the Count must have gone towards the ruins.
Caesar: Lets hurry up and go after my dad!
Nah. Lets just go home.
Caesar: You guys havent changed either.
Yulie: Running in circles, as usual.
Leonard: Its not like we have a choice, with the world the way it is.
Eldore: Our journey ends when the war ends.
CUTSCENE: Father and Son
Drisdall: Youve been badly hurt. Stay here and rest.
Greede Soldier: Uugh. Im sorry, sir. Uuuh.
Eldore: Count! Are you alright?
Drisdall: Hmm? Who are you?
Eldore: Just a band of humble travelers seeking to bring an end to the fever afflicting Greede.
Orren: And if he buys that, I swear
Eldore: Your man watching the gate told us we could find you here.
Drisdall: And so you did. Thank you.
Orren: Well hot damn.
Drisdall: Your concern for Greede is appreciated. Might I trouble you to share with me what you know.
One Eldore coma-inducing exposition session later.
Orren: And then they made me their king.
Drisdall: Fascinating. So a deathless black dragon is the cause of our misfortune. I might have known. There have been sightings of such a beast.
Caesar: Okay. So what are you gonna do about it?
Drisdall: Continue on to the palace. I must face the Dragons Trial.
Drisdall: Of course. Anything to find out how to stop that black dragon.
Caesar: Let us help you.
Drisdall: Thats a kind offer, uhh Forgive me, I dont think I caught your name.
Caesar: Its Caesar.
Drisdall: Caesar! Thats a strong name.
Drisdall: Good to meet you, Caesar!
Caesars, understandably, somewhat taken aback when his dad offers him his hand in friendship.
Its look like Caesar really is his fathers son after all with Drisdall being a relatively easy-going and compassionate, yet still take-charge kind of guy.
Drisdall: Well, lets be off.
Interestingly enough, we dont get a little Count Drisdall joined the party screen like nearly every other character gets. Meh.
CUTSCENE: Drisdall and the Matriarch
The Count approaches the palace ruins confidently.
Drisdall: Hear me! I am Drisdall, lord of Greede!
Drisdall: Mother of Dragons, I summon you to fulfil your pact and grant me your power!
Those words youre using. I wonder what that could mean?
The ruins begin to rumble.
Well well, looks whos back.
CUTSCENE / BOSS BATTLE MUSIC: Tense Battle (Disc 1, Track 30)
Dragon Matriarch: Drisdall!
Dragon Matriarch: If it is power and wisdom you seek
Dragon Matriarch: Then power and wisdom you must first SHOW!
Dragon Matriarch: roar
BOSS BATTLE: Past Dragon Matriarch (no commentary)
Well, shes back, and even worse than she was the first time we fought her.
This is where the games difficulty curve really starts to take off. I was making this harder on myself by playing everyone using their default armours (ie: their character clothing), and thats actually kind of dumb to do the further you head into the game.
The first time I played this battle for this chapter, the Matriarch nearly ruined me because I was ill-equipped for it. When I replayed it, I have everyones armour and weapons upgraded decently and I also played it the smart way this time around, which I will get to in just a moment.
Weve also got technically four party members on our team for this fight with Drisdall in our battle party.
The Count is a mirror of Caesars default equipment: he wields a halberd weapon, and as a spear-carrier hes pretty much a damage tank just like his beloved son is. You can also see hes even got a higher HP ceiling than the active party does.
I told you that guest party members just keep getting better from Raus on up. Were not quite at our apextheres one more new guest party member waiting for us out therebut we cant really do all that better than Count Driz.
The only downside is that if Drisdall dies in this fight, its another game over. But because hes a goddamn tank, that will probably never happen, especially if you keep him buffed with defense boosting spells or techs.
You can also eventually bind the Counts armour from a Binding Post. Dirsdall wears the Ares armour set (including the cape). So if you wanted to be poetic about it, this set makes a good end-game armour setup for Caesar to wear, since a big part of his character arc is living up to his dads example.
Drisdall: Come on!
Yulie: Well see what youre really made of.
Leonard: Weve got your back, Count.
Caesar: Lets show her Daurdude!
Drisdall: You will NOT deny me in the hour of my peoples need!
So I said there was a smart way to fight the Dragon Matriarch, right? Ironically, it involves Leonard.
Or specifically, the White Knight. The Matriarch is weak against impact attacks, and the White Knight is the only one of the two Incorrupti we have that has an impact attackShield Bash.
Shield Bash does stupid damage to the Matriarch and if youre around Level 45 heading into the fight, you should have enough MP to pretty much ruin her by the time you need to use a Mana Potion or Yulies Spirits Hymn to refill Leonards MP bar.
The Matriarch also hands me a rather nice gift right as I bring out the White Knight. She starts charging her special attack
Allowing Leonard to Turn Break her and plough Talion right through her skull,
The Turn Break opens up break opportunities on the Matriarchs legs
Thanks to the games obtuse targeting system and its brainfart of a party AI system, I cant land a Shield Bash on her nor get the party to land a weakness-matching hit on her before the window closes.
The Matriarch has one really powerful earth elemental are-of-effect attack that knocks everyone, even Knights off balance.
Once I get her down to about ¼ health, I purposefully revert Leonard to human form.
And jump into Caesar.
Because I know youd all be flipping out if I didnt blatantly court another time paradox by using the Dragon Knight against the Dragon Matriarch while shes still wearing its armour.
Still, I will give the game props for indulging fanboy curiosity by allowing moments like these to be possible.
Unfortunately, as cool as it is to see a Dragon Knight/Dragon Matriarch throwdown, the Dragon Knight is actually at a disadvantage here because it has no weakness matching attacks to throw at the Matriarch.
Drisdall: Test me all you want, Mother of Dragons. I will not falter!
Caesar: Man, shedve trounced those guys if they hadnt set that trap for her.
But Im not going to let that get in the way of pre-murdering this majestic highborn beast.
The key to this fight is constantly hopping between characters and using each party members specific skills to augment one another and chain status effects and exploits on top of one another.
Its kind of sad that the game is so obtuse and clunky when it comes to combat, because if this mechanic had been handled a little smoother and more intuitively it would have made combat an absolute blast instead of a chore.
Its another example of Level-5 getting the basic rough form of an idea down, and then going fuck it, that works, print it without refining it.
Case in point: Leonard has a pair of skills that do both impact damage and break an opponents attack and defense stats temporarily. Its worth your time to have these in play on bosses and giant enemies as often as you can to take some of the bite out of their attack and to help them go down quicker.
But the AI wont use them unless you plead with it to, so you need to be actively micromanaging your characters like the worlds worst department store supervisor or they wont get anything done.
I know Ive said this a billion times already, but it bears repeating just like Leonards stupidity needs to be pointed out because Level-5 fucked up so thoroughly what could have been in my honest opinion a really great RPG.
This shot is an example of the games terrible battle camera, clunky character change system, and the laughably small boss arenas all converging at the same time to slam the camera up close to the Dragon Knight and pointing the WRONG WAY in the midst of the battle, causing Caesar to lose his lock on the Dragon Matriarch.
With Caesar at near full MP thanks to Yulies support and the Matriarch at >10% health, I go full Rendar on her and just bash the crap out of her with like three or four Wrym Dances in a row.
Dragon Matriarch: HAX!!! Drisdall you CHEATER! You get NOTHING, sir! GOOD DAY!
And then she flew away and Greede was kind of fucked.
Nice going, idiots.
CUTSCENE: The Truth About the Netherwrym
Nah, Im kidding
Or AM I?!
Nah, Im still kidding. The Matriarch completely ignores the partys blatant disregard for linear timeflow and just glosses over that whole thing about the two kids who helped Drisdall beat her using one suit of armour that still buried inside the Dogma Rift right now and another that shes still wearing at this moment.
Somewhere out there right now, Roy Campbell is screaming.
Dragon Matriarch: Lord Drisdall, ruler of Greede.
Drisdall: Thats my name; dont wear it out.
Caesar: High five!
Dragon Matriarch: Idiots, both of you.
Dragon Matriarch: You have proven you strength is true.
And the real kicker is, since this is a pocket recreation of the past events which doesnt affect the flow of actual history, that means in the original timeline Drisdall faced the Matriarch alone, and mopped the floor with her.
Once again: The Drisdall FamilyMaking White Knight Chronicles better since Chapter XIII of the first half of this LP.
Caesar: Nice work.
Drisdall: Thanks. Same to you.
Drisdall approaches the Matriarch to hear her counsel.
Dragon Matriarch: Drisdall. You say it is your wish to rid Greede of the Netherwyrms corruptions?
Drisdall: Thats right.
Dragon Matriarch: I must caution you: black it may be, and draconic in appearancebut the Netherwyrm is no kin of mine.
Caesar: Its not a dragon?
Dragon Matriarch: Correct. It is not a dragon. Thus it will neither heed my please, nor will it answer to those of dragonkind.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Sincas Children (Disc 2, Track 15)
Dragon Matriarch: The Netherwrym is a living, undying weapon, crafted in ancient times by the Yshrenian Empire to fight in the Dogma Wars.
Dragon Matriarch: Its indestructible flesh was made from my brethrens armour, allowing it to weather countless battles, and yet never know true defeat.
Because, lest we forget, Dogma Era Yshrenia was a subsidiary of Venture Industriesa right proper assembly line of dude, thats really fucked up.
Yulie: So how are we supposed to fight it off?
Dragon Matriarch: There is one way. But know this:
Dragon Matriarch: The power is far too great for a mere man to wield without cost.
Luckily, Count Drisdall is no mere man.
Dragon Matriarch: Drisdall. What price are you willing to pay?
Drisdall: Any price. My citys well-being falls squarely on my shoulders.
Drisdall: I stand before you unafraid.
Can we bring Young Drisdall back to the present with us and leave Leonard here as some kind of temporal counterbalance? Please?
Also, the game is trying to imply that this thing is what actually drove Drisdall to his early grave. It wasnt. It was a late onset of the Netherwyrms pyrexia, like the game already said it was. I dont get why theyre dangling this red herring in front of everyone for no reason.
Dragon Matriarch: Very well. Then to you, I present this.
Drisdall: A lance?
Dragon Matriarch: The divine lance Wyrmbuke.
The funny thing about this lance is that its not an actual equipible weapon for the characters. Its a scaled down pallet swap of an Incorruptus weapon.
Near the end of the game when Incorruptus weapon binding is unlocked at the Incorruptus Workshops, there are two weapons you can bind if you farm the right materials:
The first one is the Ignition Spear.
And the second one is the Ishtraris.
Both are equipible by the Dragon Knight.
Yet as you can see, neither of them have the same colour scheme as Wyrmbuke does. And no, you dont get to turn around and use Wyrmbuke on the Dragon Knight either.
Dragon Matriarch: Use this weapon to run the Netherwyrm through!
Drisdall steps forward to claim the lance.
Caesar: Huh?! What the?
The time paradoxes finally get to be too much and the Retrospecticon crashes to desktop on them.
Eldore: The Retrospecticon ends there.
Caesar: Aw! Come on! Things were just getting good.
Leonard: So that lancedid Count Drisdall use it to defeat the black dragon?
Orren: Clearly no, if were still dealing with it.
Caesar: Well, lets figure it out in the morning. You can crash at the mansion tonight.
CUTSCENE: Caesar Remembers
Caesar stands on the mansion balcony, looking over his city and pondering the things he saw in the past today.
And then Leonard comes in to shit up the scene.
Leonard: Not sleepy, huh?
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Reflecting (Disc 1, Track 18)
Caesar:Yeah, man. Yeah.
Caesar: It was just weird seeing Dad so healthy. Ya know?
Caesar: He was badass. Who knew?
Leonard: I know. You must be proud of him.
Leonard: So whats next?
Caesar: Hmm Now that the Dragon Matriarchs gone, we can forget about the Dragons Trial route
Leonard: Maybe the Count kept the laceleft it somewhere.
Caesar: Thats part of whats keeping me awake.
Caesar: There was some seriously incredible power coursing through that lance.
Caesar: A weapon like that doesnt just go away.
Keep this in mind for later
Caesar: (Im trying to think back A purple mist A deathless monster )
Caesar: (Something my father wanted to keep safe )
A bunch of images cropped from the last hour of cutscenes flash through Caesars mind to the point where I feel like this track should be playing over it.
Im serious. Were a couple of childs scribblings and freeze frames of word-for-word of death threats away from this being an end-of-series Evangelion episode.
We see Caesar meeting with Nanaco, which we missed the first time around.
The plague monument in the Flandars.
Greedes Merchant Quarter.
More daddy issues.
HOLY CHRIST, daddy issues.
Awww, not this shit again
Caesar: This is Greedes Underbelly.
The sound of a child sobbing catches his attention.
Caesar: No way.
Oh hey. Its little Caesar.
Kid Caesar: I-I cant find my dad!
Caesar: Hey. Where was your dad headed?
Kid Caesar: I just wanted to help. He said he had something important to do, so I tried to follow him
Caesar: I did?
Kid Caesar: This way.
Caesar: No! Hey! Wait up!
He tries his best to keep up with his younger self, but the boy runs into the light and everything starts to fade out on him.
Leonard: Hey, Caesar!
Leonard: You okay?
Leonard: You just kind of stood there for the last five minutes. I even went and got a sandwich while I waited.
Caesar: Yeah. I remember now.
Caesar: The lance is down in Greedes Underbelly.
Dun dun duuuuuun!