The Let's Play Archive

Wild Arms Alter Code: F

by Krysmphoenix

Part 11: Where the mountains reach the heavens above, where the lightning splits the sea.

Last time, we traveled to the Guardian Shrine, took their tests and recieved three cool new mediums. Then there was some psychological test we failed horribly, but they are relying on us anyway. They tried to warp us to Mother so we can stop her ressurection, but ended up in a desert instead because Ziekfried is a badass and stopped us from teleporting there with his spear.

Anyway, Baskar Village is pretty close to the landing site.

They live with the spirit like an old story.

And like any good RPG hero, I'm kleptomatic and pick up any treasure I find. I had to climb the buildings to get one of these, which was just a Heal Berry. Either way, I know the buildings here are based upon a Native American tribe, but I don't remember which one. I want to say Navajo, but I can't say that with any degree of certainty. If there happens to be a resident Native American expert, please correct me and tell me what this is based on.
EDIT: We got something.

Raitzeno posted:

I am no expert but I think you are looking for Pueblo there. I think I learned that in elementary school art class? My exact memory of it is pretty hazy.
Looked it up on wikipedia, the building structures definately match. I really said Navajo because that was one of the few Native American cultures I actually remembered, and vaguely remembered them being to the south. Let's go with Pueblo for now at least.

Garmin: Our Chief dremt of the Western Wind. I feel a change is on the horizon... Don't you feel the anticipation building up in this village?
Not really, you all seem pretty relaxed. This guy's house also has a Heal Berry shoved in a barrel. Normally I wouldn't bother since the barrel items tend to be pretty lame, but the Radar tool makes it just too easy...with the exception of one barrel that's blocked by chickens that makes it hard to reach. In it is a PS Gaia Stop 1, which makes it slightly worth it. Oh, and there is a book.

The Creed of the Baskars posted:

The Curan region and Baskars both worship the same Guardians. However, the Abbey believes in living with nature. Baskars believe in living "in" nature. Central to this belief is the concept of "Regression", the return to an existence within nature. A natural way of life, where humans lived as part of the ecosystem rather than apart, was believed and practiced among the Baskar. The science of the environment is known to have been taught by the Elws long ago; possibly directly related to ancient Baskar. Elws were known for their intimate knowledge of the laws of nature; they understood the magic of the elements. The Elws incorporated this knowledge to create their stunning technology, while the Baskars applies it to their way of life.
Uhh...these guys aren't even on the same how do they know about each other?

...seriously? I swear, the name is usually the last thing you forget because it practically is you.
Chief: Call me whatever you like. Rudy, Jack... and Shrine Maiden, Cecilia.
Alright, I did a bit of research on this one, and stumbled across the term "Miko," which is the Japanese term for Shrine Maiden, but sometimes gets translated as Shaman. The game seems to be very inconsistant about it's use of Shrine Maiden and Shaman, so I can tell that the original term was probably Miko, but I gotta call them out on this.
Fuck Up Count: 12. This is two fold: One, for being incosistant and randomly deciding which one to use. (I guess they might have had multiple translators never talk with each other), and two for using Shrine Maiden when there is clearly not a shrine that Cecilia is tending to. So they know this word has multiple meanings, but they occasionally use the wrong meaning. Anyway, back to the cutscene in progress.

: How do you know all of our names?
Chief: How would I not? I had a dream about you visiting us, here in Baskar Village. I've also dreamt about the Guardians and the demons. Of course, it was nothing more than a dream, but I believe a dream is what one makes of it. This dream was just too vivid to ignore. Guardians' warriors, you must listen carefully. Deep in Mount Zenom lies a keystone. The "Mother" who the monsters seek is sealed within. Destroying the seals that contain her would be their priority, should the demons wish to waken the "Mother". Shrine Maiden and her warriors... Mount Zenom is located to the northeast of our village... ... ... ... I firmly believe that you are the ones who can summon the Zephyr and grant us the Western Wind of Hope. Visit the keeper of the "Altar of Wind". He will be a great help to you. Mother is sealed here...but the Arch Cacoon that the demons have... This part of the plot never made sense to me. Either way, we're off to Mount Zenom, but first we have a book to read here and a Guardiant to try to revive.

The Sky-Reaching Demon Tower posted:

Having no wings did not stop the Elws from reaching the sky. The Elw's extraordinary alchemy skills enabled them to build a sky-reaching tower. A teleportation device was installed in the top of the tower. It was said to be a ladder to the Sea of Stars. At the end of the Great War, all Elw and humans were exhausted. Many projects, like the massive tower, were abandoned. The tower fell into disrepair, and the entrance was sealed by the Guardians. We'll never know the reason why the Elw built this tower to reach the stars. the Elw built this tower...but it's associated with the Demons...why?

Alright, let's give this a shot.
Everyoen steps onto the alter and looks up to the sky. A sandy wind blows.

Tajini: I am afraid Zephyr, the Western Wind of Hope, is not ready to respond to your call. Perhaps the power lost by the Guardians is making this process more difficult... Understand that there are many abandoned Guardian temples throughout Filgaia. There are ruins that honor Time, also known as the "Perpetual Engine", located northeast of our village. Please, warriors and Shrine Maiden. I ask you to gather up all of the Guardians' power. Only then will the Zephyr respond to your call and render the Wind of Hope.
Right... time for more poking around the village first. Another barrel had a wopping 10 Gella! And another Heal Berry in some guy's house. Silly villagers, don't leave your healing items out in the open!

You can buy another Migrant Seal from this guy for 5000 Gella, which I got by selling two of the Gella Cards. Although you get double gella after battle if you use're not going to run into an enemy that gives more than 1500 gella to make it worth it for a long time. This makes 3 Migrant Seals now. I also try to get a few of the healing consumables

I dispanded Aether, to replace it with Lightning Tesla Coil, since we know Berserk is going to try to break seal, hopefully we'll run into him soon. Interesting note for the original game though, there was no real element of Water. You could learn elemental attacks for the four primary elements, light and dark elemental buffs to change the damage for physical attacks, and then there was Lightning. In that game, it hit a group like DONGS, but here it's another single-target spell. And I have a water-elemental attack spell I can learn too, Azure doesn't get one.

On the world Map, I encounter a Dryad. They don't look like giant shit monsters in this game...but they kinda remind me of Minecraft Creepers...with giant mouth hand claw things... They'll sometimes use Sweet Sigh, which causes Amnesia. I finally looked it up and Amnesia prevents EXP gain from battle. Now I remember what Amnesia does! Fortunately, Sweet Sigh rarely hits, and a lot of the status effects in this game go away at the end of battle.

There are also Hobgobs, which were a boss enemy in Wild ARMs 3. They have a few more stuff they can use, but basically their just another grunt enemy which dies easily to Rudy shooting them in the face, or Jack using Speed Fang.

Perpetual Engine is on the way to Mount Zenon, so let's pay a visit.

Time and Tide will never end, but what is there?
Perpetual Engine isn't a real dungeon, more just a puzzle that you solve over time. Starting at 1 o'clock (assuming 12 is North), there are various mini-puzzles you can easily solve with your tools.
At 1 is a bomb thing Rudy can hit to lower the wall and press the orange button on the wall. At 2 is a pit for Hanpan to cross, hitting a button and raising a platform to walk across to hit the other main button. 3 is a torch for Cecilia to light, so you can reach the button. 4 has a hidden button on the floor to step on so you can reach the button on the wall. These are the only ones we can solve for now, but over the course of the game we can reach our way around the clock.
Each mini-puzzle also makes the respective crystal shine in the center (there are twelve) and a chest appear. So far, we got an Alter Part, 1000 Gella, a Crest Graph, and Revive Fruit x5. If you look around, you can get a good hint of what we need to solve the rest of the puzzles.

5 o'clock seems to have posts you can grapple across, 6 is being blocked by a cat that we can't push aside and 7 has a wheel that we can't turn because we're too weak. 8 has some orange gems over the pit, maybe we can use those to lightspeed dash across or something like it. 9 has a floor button that is stuck in place and won't go down, and 10 has some kind of gyroscope. 11 has the same thing as the bomb puzzle for 1 o'clock, except it's behind the platform and I can't reach it with the bombs, and 12 has a sealed crystal that gives off an eerie and ominous hum. You know, the kind of crystals that secretly have megabosses in them. And that's really it for now. We can only finish this place up later. For now, cheap loot.

You know, I think it's a bit silly that entrance for all mountain dungeons are mine entrances.

Their black sin is covered with wite snow.

Which I think is doubly weird because most of those dungeons start outside a bit, and don't have an entrance that even remotely resembles what's on the world map.

Gila monsters are pretty basic enemies. They have a basic attack that hurts a bit, and Hydro Launcher, which does water magic damage. I'm thinking maybe I should get Lucky Shot sometime soon so I can get the dropped PS a bit more reliably.

Here's the main gimmick of the dungeon: Ice spikes. These deal damage if you run into them, and you have to destroy them with the Flame Staff to move on.

These buggers have an attack that can cause Sickness and Confusion, but I never saw them use it, and even then it misses pretty often. A note on items dropped and stolen. Each monster has an initial value for how likely they are drop an item or getting it stolen. From there, it goes through the list, which is generally ordered from most likely to least likely. Like that LVL Apple. Shriekers have a 12.5% chance to be stolen from, and the LVL Apple has a 6.25% chance of being the item stolen. Of course, that only matters once we get the ability to steal from enemies.

You might totally miss this wall you can bomb open. It doesn't show the yellow dot like most do. Behind it is a Gimel Coin and Lucky Card.

This area features hidden ice platforms that you can walk on, but can only see when you have the Flame Staff activated over them. If you memorize the area, you could theoretically do without the Flame Stuff...but it's so fun to use! The chest had 3 Heal Berries.

Even though I can see all the chests when I enter the room, it's still a good habit to use Radar, because you still might miss one due to the camera, or while you're at it uncover a hidden button or something. Like most of the chests you need in this dungeon, you need Hanpan to get those 5 Fire Gems. It's good the game gives you Hanpan right off the bat, because he's also really useful.

Ow! I forgot these spikes respawn if you leave the area. The side passage I just came out of had a PS Water Break 2.

This dungeon goes in and out a lot, but it's a nice change from a constant cave like some of the dungeons. A side path gave a Gella Card and at the top of the hill is this thing...let's burn it!

Using the Flame Staff on it triggers a cutscene where the rock rolls down the hill Indiana Jones style, and Cecilia just stands there. Rudy jumps out of nowhere and saves her.
: I'm sorry... All of you have encountered danger by my carelessness...
: All right, the comedy is over now... It's over...
Cecilia then turns to Rudy, and actually acknowledges that he saved her.
: ...You... You saved me...? Why did you put yourself into danger?
: Listen, Princess, he'd do it no matter who you were. He is different than you and me... He lives for the chance to help others.
: I bet it was his upbringing that made him the way he is. Jack should follow his example.
: You are never at a loss for words, mouse. You want some rat poison in your next meal?
: ...Thank you, Rudy... When you are in trouble, I will try my best to help you.
Rudy just stands there, smiling. More RPG main characters need to be like Rudy. Calm, quiet, gentle, altrustic, cheerful, and never saying a word.

The Tracker is an invaluable item. It gives you the number for each room, and marks which exits you've gone through before. Dungeons like this one are easy enough that it doesn't matter, but some of the mazes later on become possible with this simple little item.
The other chest has a PS Critical 1, which boosts the frequency of critical hits. I put it on Jack, because I realized I spent way too much MP on boosting Speed Fang in this dungeon, and by this point he had no MP, and the EXP gain was too little to rely on a level up to get the MP back. Oops.

Another ice platform room, this one is wsy more complex. The door on the far side leads to treasure, while the door on the left is the way ahead.
And what a treasure it is, as the treasure room contains 3 Duplicators are a standard item in Wild ARMs, which you find throughout the game to unlock sealed doors and chests. In the same room is a sealed chest which carries a PS Initiative, which gives the whole party a higher chance to get the surprise round. You can only equip one per member, but the more you have, the higher the odds.

This rock was originally frozen, so you had to melt it first, and now you bomb it to get through. Easy roadblock.

...what, you already forgot who this guy was? It's Berserk!
: I am Berserk. You do not know my power... I will break you for Mother's seal!
Uhh...yeah, we kinda do. You were a pushover who kept skipping your own turn. Seriously, what is with the dialog here? I won't call a Fuck Up because it's probably the original version's fault, but still....
EDIT: Looks like it's a Fuck Up after all.

Polsy posted:

I noticed that while I was looking at the first line because there were two text boxes in the Japanese. The first one is something like 'I am Berserk. It's not necessary for you to remember me.' (presumably because he is about to murder you). Certainly 'power' isn't used there, I dunno where they got that from. Second line would be better (and more sensically) 'I'll break you together with Mother's seal'.
Alright. That sounds more like a Fuck Up to me. This makes 13.

With a single stroke, Berserk breaks the crystal behind him. I guess that crystal was the seal?
: The seal?!
: Yes! You went on a wasted errand!! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I heard that there were humans who were in contact with the Guardians... It's a surprise that it was you. Humans led by Guardians... What a joke you all are!! Well, satisfy my lust for battle! Until I feel satisfied, I will torment all of you!!

Berserk hasn't changed a bit since last time, though his stats improved slightly. He has a new move, Disrupt Hammer, which replaces Torment. I think Disrupt Hammer will interupt the character's action...but he only used it on Cecilia for this battle, and she always died in one hit from it. Since Jack's out of MP, I had him revive her. This happened twice.

Fortunately, Cecilia was alive long enough to use Rinse and Repeat on Rudy, who repeats his exact action at the end of the turn in addition to glowing pure white during that entire action. I don't like using Boosted Shell outside of Lock-On, so I started off with a nice double Snipe Bullet. Since Jack has no MP, Rudy's on offence duty, which he pulls off quite well despite not having many cartridges. Yeah, I'm hoarding my Alter Parts. These cartridges aren't worth the parts.

Tesla Coil does a good job, dealing a bit more damage than Rudy's normal attack. I made a foolish mistake because later this very turn, Berserk used Disrupt Hammer on Cecilia again. I should have just had her defend.

Besides, Rudy's got the damage down good. For some reason, Rudy's Luck is Best, so Command Replay lasts 5 turns...which would normally be good except he has an odd number of cartridges, and if he has no ammo left, he'll do nothing for the replay.

If you have no ammo left when you used Shot, he'll just do a basic attack for pitiful damage. You have to remember that a decent amount of Rudy's attack power comes from his arm. Or at least it does for me because that's where I've been investing all of my Gella.

Defending worked!...too bad this is a round-delayed battle, and is over by the fifth round, so I don't get to use all that FP for anything.
: Muscle and spirit?! In the past 1000 years, they were given to humans?! Why don't you polish them? Why don't you get serious and sharpen your body and other words, become a honed weapon!!
Berserk drops a base 250 EXP, and the damage we did pushed it up to 1973. Rudy and Jack level up twice, Cecilia once. We also get a meager 550 Gella out of that.

Natrually, the party was horribly beaten, despite only Cecilia being at danger HP levels, and the rest of the party doing pretty well despite having no MP or cartridges remaining.
: Even...even if we have to, I will not show my back to him! Not to...not to these monsters!!
: It's a pity to hear you brag without any real ability. I will put you out of your misery. Die!

Cue a Deus ex Machina.
: ...This is a...trap? Whats happening?
Come on, Cecilia, you have to say trap with more emphasis! You can't be so hesitant!
: It's the security system! It must operate when a seal is released without following proper order!
: Wha...what is it doing!? ...It's a teleporter!? I refuse to be teleported!!!

There is a flash of light. When it fades, the light surrounding Berserk, and Berserk himself, is gone.
: ...Did we...survive?
: That monster... Berserk... It was a stroke of luck for us that he thoughtlessly broke the seal...
: We lost the battle for this seal... To win the war, we need power. Power so we can fight equally. We need 'Absolute Power'...
: ...Let's follow him... We might have lost the battle, but this isn't a complete defeat...
And of course by "following him", they mean magically skipping to the world map, but first...

Mother goes through changes throughout the game, so she won't get a mugshot quite yet.
Mother: My precious Zeik... My loving children, where are you? Let me hear your voices.

: It's annoying to see only the 'Quarter Knights' being important. This is MY time... Time to have a little happiness. They can underestimate me all they want, until it's too late. I will become an admired fiend by leading Mother's resurrection. I must remember to practice my autograph, it'll be essential for an idol! The time is now... Fortune is smiling on me!
To be honest...I've never been sure where Zed's place in the Quarter Knights is...or how affiliated he is with them. It seems like he's just a mook, some kid who tagged along with the demons for fun. But you know what? They pull him off pretty well, and I blame the fact that he is a ham.

There isn't much to do but return to the Chief and explain that we just unleashed an elderitch abomination upon the world that will cover the world in despair, darkness and destruction.
: ...I'm so sorry... We were not strong enough...
Chief: Do not despair yet. Though the demons are ahead of us, their mission is not nearly finished. The heart of the 'Mother' will stay dormant as long as at least one of the three seals remains intact... There are still two more seals. As long as there is a seal still intact, we have the advantage against the demons. Protect the seal at Saint Centaur.
: Saint Centaur... Where is that? How can we get there?
Chief: Use the Elw's Shrine, which is in the woods to the southwest... There is a strong bond between the Elw and the Guardians. That is why the seals are near Elw Shrines. The power of the Shrines allows any living being to be transported to far away places instantly.
: Wow... That's trippy.
...huh. Azure, are you sure you're not Hanpan in disguise?

Azure_Horizon posted:

I forgot to mention when we started this LP together... I am a blue mouse that can run at the speed of sound and operate technology.
Chief: Use the transfer device within the Shrine and head to even farther places. Go to Saint Centaur and protect the seal, Shrine Maiden and her warriors!

While I'm here, I pick up two more spells. Tesla Coil goes bye bye, to get replaced with Crush Gravitic Crush, the Earth-elemental spell. I also pick up the costly Lucky Shot Fuck You RNG!!, which costs 32 MP to cast (same as Rinse and Repeat) but if it kills an enemy, they will 100% drop an item. Hopefully this will let me snag a few more PS along the way. Sadly, this spell is really weak, so it's best used on enemies that Rudy or Jack barely leave standing after an attack.

The shrine is really close by. In the forest, as mentioned.

Raypoint 1st
Every Elw Shrine is nearly identical. This is the entrance area, with a lower doorway and an upper doorway dead ahead. The upper doorway leads to the teleporter, while the lower doorway leads to two chests. They are all named the same, but each one has a different "Raypoint" number. I really wanna call a fuck-up on this, except Agetec didn't write the dungeon/town one-liners, so I can't blame them for fucking that up. Either way, I'm pretty sure beyond this oddity, the game almost entirely uses Leylines and Leypoints.

The other chest has 1500 Gella.. You've seen one Elw've seen them all, pretty much.

Except the room with the actual teleporter in it. It has a different symbol for each Elw Shrine. Let's step on the teleporter and...


One thing Azure didn't mention is that while you're up here, you are bouncing off of satellites. Yes, in this fantasy western game. I've been telling you folks from the start there was going to be sci-fi in this.

And now we're hitting atmo...

Raypoint 2nd
See? Different symbol.

Solid Storm is another Cartridge for Rudy. It hits an entire group, with 50% REA modifier, and -25 ACC. The Tech Constant for Solid Storm is 1.5...which sounds nice until you remember that a basic attack has a TC of 2. It's nice for hitting groups...and not much else. Sadly, you almost have to use it with Lock On to make it useful becase that -25 hurts you. And I'm already hurting because Boosted Shell seems to miss half the time.
In the other chest was an Ex. File Key, number 2. This one is probably the most worthless out of all of them: Status.

The game lets you review the status for the characters in the party, and party status as well. I could actually view the Party status the entire game from the status menu...but it really isn't worth much. Best ignored, really. This Ex. File Key sucks.

End of update status:
: Level 13 → 16
--Obtained Solid Storm
--Hoarding 3 Alter Parts.
: Level 13 → 16
--Speed Fang: Lv, 4 (Forgot to get numbers)
--Strike Buddy: Lv 3 (Forgot to get numbers)
: Level 13 → 15
--Forgot Aether. Learned Tesla Coil.
--Forgot Tesla Coil. Learned Gravitic Crush.
--Learned Fuck You RNG!!
Gella: 3319
Migrant Seals: 3
Ex. File Keys: 2/25
Fuck-Ups: 13

Version Differences:
The Baskars look a bit different...more deserty? I think they are based on Navajo Pueblo now.
New dungeon: Perpetual Engine. Kind of a playground for the tools. You fight Berserk again, instead of some random spider boss. Still can't win against him.
Kizim Flame is just...kinda forgotten

Next Time:

Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time? What does that makes us?
Big damn heroes, milady.
Ain't we just?