The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 50: Down For The Count

AREA MUSIC:Scar” (Disc 2, Track 13)

After the cutscene at the end of the previous chapter ends, you’re dumped out in front of the Drisdall mansion. Caesar’s 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 isn’t in your party while he’s standing around in front of the gate, so you can’t upgrade or equip anything of his until you actually go into the Retrospecticon with him.

Just like with Miu, telling Caesar you’re 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 it’s (fake) time travel time again.

Caesar: Woah!


Caesar: So this is the past?
Eldore: Yes.

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: I’m Count Drisdall’s son, duh. Ring any bells?

Guard: His lordship the Count doesn’t have any children.

Caesar: Ooo. Trippy.
Leonard: There, you see?

Eldore: Excuse me, could you tell us if Count Drisdall is in?
Guard: Who’s asking?

Eldore: We’ve come with information about the fever sweeping through Greede.

Guard: Have you really? That’s good news. But I’m afraid the Count is in the Bunker Lode Caverns undergoing the Dragon’s Trial.

Yulie: Dragon’s Trial?
Guard: Yes.

Caesar: So that’s what’s up. Let’s head for the Caverns.

AREA MUSIC:Scar” (Disc 2, Track 13)

Caesar: Sorry to put you guys through all this
Leonard: Are you kidding? You’re not putting us through anything.
Yulie: Yeah, and besides, our countries need to reach out to each other right now.
Eldore: We’re glad to offer what little help we can.
Orren: Emphasis on the ‘little’ part.

So now we can go around and get Caesar’s stuff upgraded because he’s back in the actual party again for the first time since the end of the first game.

The first thing you notice if you’re 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 couldn’t put the effort into populating the town with a different set of NPCs. So instead, I’m just going to imagine that everyone in Greede is some kind of ageless immortal.

I will give the game this much credit: while we’re 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 didn’t 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, there’s only two areas we can visit right now: Greede and the Bunker Lode Caverns.

CUTSCENE: The Dragon’s Trial
AREA MUSIC:The Bunker Lode Caverns” (Disc 2, Track 4)

Leonard: Caesar, what exactly is the Dragon’s Trial?

Caesar: It’s a Drisdall family thing. A form of supplication.

Yulie: 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, let’s 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, “there’s not much to say about the Past Bunker Lode Caverns,” but then I’ll 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. They’re the reason my combined subtitled and unsubtitled runs of this chapter contained over four hours of footage.

You’re first instinct is to run right for the elevator down to the lower level, however…

It’s 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 let’s do that.

There’s also a fair share of Fire Dragons in the tunnels between the generators. Occasionally, you’ll 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 wouldn’t dare face a dragon otherwise.
Leonard: No offense Caesar, but your old man… I can’t picture it.
Orren: You’re a dick.
Leonard: Okay, so the Count must have gone towards the ruins.
Caesar: Let’s hurry up and go after my dad!

Nah. Let’s just go home.

Caesar: You guys haven’t changed either.
Yulie: Running in circles, as usual.
Leonard: It’s 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: You’ve been badly hurt. Stay here and rest.
Greede Soldier: Uugh. I’m 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 Dragon’s Trial.
Caesar: Alone?

Drisdall: Of course. Anything to find out how to stop that black dragon.

Caesar: Let us help you.
Drisdall: That’s a kind offer, uhh… Forgive me, I don’t think I caught your name.

Caesar: It’s Caesar.

Drisdall: Caesar! That’s a strong name.

Drisdall: Good to meet you, Caesar!

Caesar’s, understandably, somewhat taken aback when his dad offers him his hand in friendship.

It’s look like Caesar really is his father’s son after all with Drisdall being a relatively easy-going and compassionate, yet still take-charge kind of guy.

Drisdall: Well, let’s be off.

Interestingly enough, we don’t 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 you’re using. I wonder what that could mean?

The ruins begin to rumble.

Caesar: Uh!


Well well, looks who’s 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, she’s back, and even worse than she was the first time we fought her.

This is where the game’s 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 that’s 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 everyone’s 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.

We’ve also got technically four party members on our team for this fight with Drisdall in our battle party.

The Count is a mirror of Caesar’s default equipment: he wields a halberd weapon, and as a spear-carrier he’s pretty much a damage tank just like his beloved son is. You can also see he’s 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. We’re not quite at our apex—there’s one more new guest party member waiting for us out there—but we can’t really do all that better than Count Driz.

The only downside is that if Drisdall dies in this fight, it’s another game over. But because he’s 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 Count’s 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 dad’s example.

Drisdall: Come on!
Yulie: We’ll see what you’re really made of.
Leonard: We’ve got your back, Count.
Caesar: Let’s show her Da—ur—dude!

Nice save.

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 attack—Shield Bash.

Shield Bash does stupid damage to the Matriarch and if you’re 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 Yulie’s Spirit’s Hymn to refill Leonard’s 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, killing stunning her momentarily.

The Turn Break opens up break opportunities on the Matriarch’s legs…


Thanks to the game’s obtuse targeting system and its brainfart of a party AI system, I can’t 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 you’d all be flipping out if I didn’t blatantly court another time paradox by using the Dragon Knight against the Dragon Matriarch while she’s 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, she’dve trounced those guys if they hadn’t set that trap for her.

But I’m 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 member’s specific skills to augment one another and chain status effects and exploits on top of one another.

It’s 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.

It’s 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 opponent’s attack and defense stats temporarily. It’s 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 won’t use them unless you plead with it to, so you need to be actively micromanaging your characters like the world’s worst department store supervisor or they won’t get anything done.

I know I’ve said this a billion times already, but it bears repeating just like Leonard’s 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 game’s 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 Yulie’s 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, I’m kidding…

Or AM I?!

Nah, I’m still kidding. The Matriarch completely ignores the party’s 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 she’s still wearing at this moment.

Somewhere out there right now, Roy Campbell is screaming.

Dragon Matriarch: Lord Drisdall, ruler of Greede.
Drisdall: That’s my name; don’t 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 doesn’t 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 Family—Making 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 Netherwyrm’s corruptions?

Drisdall: That’s right.

Dragon Matriarch: I must caution you: black it may be, and draconic in appearance—but the Netherwyrm is no kin of mine.

Caesar: It’s 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:Sinca’s 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 brethren’s 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 Industries—a right proper assembly line of “dude, that’s 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 city’s 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 wasn’t. It was a late onset of the Netherwyrm’s pyrexia, like the game already said it was. I don’t get why they’re 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 it’s not an actual equipible weapon for the characters. It’s 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 don’t 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 lance—did Count Drisdall use it to defeat the black dragon?
Orren: Clearly no, if we’re still dealing with it.

Eldore: Presumably.
Caesar: Well, let’s 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?

Caesar: Hmm?

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 what’s next?

Caesar: Hmm… Now that the Dragon Matriarch’s gone, we can forget about the Dragon’s Trial route…

Leonard: Maybe the Count kept the lace—left it somewhere.
Caesar: That’s part of what’s keeping me awake.

Caesar: There was some seriously incredible power coursing through that lance.

Caesar: A weapon like that doesn’t just go away.

Keep this in mind for later…

Caesar: (I’m 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 Caesar’s mind to the point where I feel like this track should be playing over it.

I’m serious. We’re a couple of child’s 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.

Greede’s Merchant Quarter.

Daddy issues.

More daddy issues.

HOLY CHRIST, daddy issues.

Awww, not this shit again…

Caesar: This is Greede’s Underbelly.

The sound of a child sobbing catches his attention.

Caesar: Huh?

Caesar: No way.

Oh hey. It’s little Caesar.

Pizza Pizza.

Kid Caesar: I-I can’t 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: Caesar?

Leonard: Hey, Caesar!
Caesar: Ugh!

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 Greede’s Underbelly.

Dun dun duuuuuun!