The Let's Play Archive

Wild Arms Alter Code: F

by Krysmphoenix

Part 12: Oh when the saints go marching away.

Last time we learned the truth about Mother being sealed away, and failed to protect one of the three seals from being broken by Berserk. The Baskar Chieftain sent us away to go protect the second seal.

Our next destination is Saint Centaur, which is the Anti-Fuck-Up count of 2. Seriously, for all the shit I'm giving the localization people, I'll credit them when they get something right for once. It's just north of town, and I didn't hit any random encounters on the way.

We are stopped by a barrier consisting of several hexagons of light. Could this be foreshadowing for future Wild ARMs games?
: What's going on here?!
A guy wearing a coat comes up to talk to the group.
Larry: The alarm's been sounded! Hrm... The City of Saint Centaur is surrounded by a magical wall of stone. That way no monster can sneak inside the city. You look like a human, but are you really a monster...?
: Does it look like I'm a human?
Jack picks up Hanpan and holds him up to the guard.
: I am a human. Look at my long legs, see? Do short legs bother you?
Larry: The magical stone of Saint Centaur distinguishes monster, spirits, and wizards. It keeps them from coming into the city. Is that your pet?
: I have never been so insulted in all my life!!
: He's my partner, not a pet. He may be short, but he is a good 'man'... If I'm partnered with a 'spirit', I can't get inside the city?
Larry: Well, just don't let him scurry around. It's best to keep him on a short leash. A spirit will make the wall react, but if he's held by a human he might get by. Although, if he is indeed a horrid monster he will be stopped by the stone.
: You hear that, Hanpan? Good thing you are not a horrid monster.
: It's not that I'm not ferocious like a monster! It's just that I'm artful and intelligent too!

The holy kentauros's saddness will be the protection
Uh...what? That'

I pay a visit to the local ARMs Meister to upgrade the bullets. I want an even amount of bullets to go well with Rinse & Repeat. I would do this for the Cartridges...but I'm saving those for something...special.

If you use Radar in town, you'll locate lots of chests and stuff that you can't reach just quite yet. For example, there's a chest in the Inn's backyard that I can't reach because of walls of the city and this place. So I'll read his books has revenge. Take that!

The Invisible Wall posted:

An invisible wall encloses Saint Centaur. The wall is created with some sort of magical stone. The energy of the barrier is supplied by this magical stone that is kept within the walls. The Guardian Statue, which is a symbol of the town, is also here to protect the town's people. The ironic thing is, this barrier utilizes holy power generated by the Guardian Statue. In short, the town is protected by the power of the Guardian Statue, and the town protects the Guardian Statue. One more thing, the town's defense is activated by a strong energy aside from the Guardian Statue.
That's not irony, that's good defense design! Put the powerplant within the protected section of the barrier it creates!

Aura: I can tell by talking to people whether they are good or bad.
(If using Rudy or Cec) ...You are a very kind person. But you have gone through a lot, right?
(If using Jack) ...You have a very strong will. But you have yet to realize something important in yourself?
Meet Aura, the local blind girl. I find it odd that she lives alone, as I always imagined they would need someone to just watch over them, but I guess that's not the case. To be fair, I've never actually been near a blind person. Went to school with a specialized program of the hearing impaired, but have not seen a blind person go about their life. A little disappointing.

Nicole: I was on my way to a special sale of dishware on Monday, next thing I know its Wednesday and the sale's over. Ha, ha, ha, funny, isn't it? I am bragging about it to all of my friends.
That doesn't sound like a good thing to brag about...but that's what most of the NPCs in town are talking about, people getting spirited away. Anyway, I go through people's houses and grab three Heal Berries. I'm gathering quite a collection, and am rarely using them. Unfortunately, this how I naturally play RPGs.

This is the protector of Saint Centaur, Ione Paua. Note how this is a centaur. Yup, I think we're good here.

I think the name Kaiser is spoiled for me. I became familiar with the term Kaiser by playing Breath of Fire I naturally associate the term Kaiser with a big fuck-off dragon. It's weird for me to associate the term Kaiser with Caesar, which it is supposedly derived from.
Kaiser: As the safety officer, I am very concerned about it. Those who are missing often return safely after a while, so we can't treat it as an official incident. Besides, I am very busy handling daily tasks, so I'm unable to leave. I thought maybe you wanderers could find out what's really going on. What do you say? Will you take the job of solving the riot of Saint Centaur?
: For the sake of the city, we accept. || Since it is not serious, we refuse.
Kaiser: I truly appreciate it. Let me tell you what has happened. First, about half the city's population has been spirited away. Seems like young people and merchants are the primary targets. Those spirited away are later found at the Caging's on the southwest side of the city. We asked the victims what happened, but they never remember anything. So we have no clues yet... I am positive the key to quelling this riot is hidden at the Caging Tower. So first I'd like for you to check the Caging Tower. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Here is 2000 gella as down payment. More than enough to start, eh?
Sweet. I wonder what the reward is going to be after the mission.

On the world map I come across these blokes, Larva. Their basic attack, Inject Poison, will always inflict the Poison status effect on you, and Poison tends to hurt pretty bad in Wild ARMs games. Fortunately, they are relatively weak, so I destroy them quickly. No effort.

Caging Tower is quite a distance away, and you kinda have to go South first, then West, because otherwise you'll encounter cliffs and mountains you can't walk through.

The bird in the cage can't fly.
Here you get an idea of what Radar looks like when it's being used. Simply a vertical and horizontal beams of light start at the upper left corner and work their way to the lower right. When it's done, it marks where the chests in the area are. Pretty snazzy. There's nothing in this room, other than to climb up.

Meet another recurring Wild ARMs enemy, the Critter. These buggers look really creepy, and have pretty decent ATT, despite being so weak HP wise. However, they also have a passive ability, causing ARMs to sometimes malfunction when targeting a Critter. Malfunction simply means it won't fire, and no ammo is wasted. But still, annoying. Makes the battle drag on another round so Jack has to kill them next turn.

And now we have Jack's second tool, the Wire Hook. It's simply a Grappling Hook you can use to get across pillars easily, and sometimes activate puzzle crystals from afar.

It's a nice tool. A pity this dungeon is so dark though...makes it hard to see sometimes. I also blame my monitor.

This is the second enemy in the dungeon, and can be tricky. Decarabia normally counter attacks against all magical based attacks, but if you use a physical attack against him this turn, at the end of the round, he will retreat into his shell, drastically reducing his RES while improving his DEF. Cecilia is used to pick him off then, since now he'll counter all physical attacks instead. If it survives the magic attack, then it gets out of it's shell and goes back to the physically-weak form.

At first, Jack and Rudy's basic attacks aren't enough to kill Decarabia, but happens to leave just enough HP for Fuck You RNG!! to deal the finishing blow when it reaches it's magically-weak form. Whenever an enemy is killed by Fuck You RNG!!, they will always drop an item.
And probably out of revenge for naming the spell as such, the RNG gave me a Heal Berry out of this, the most common drop. Come on! I sacrificed Mamoru for you!

Funny thing about these yellow chests? (The other two contained Lucky Card x2 and Gimel Coin x2) I naturally use Hanpan to open all chests, because I like throwing a mouse to have it bring back ridiculously heavy objects. So I will never take damage from foolishly opening a yellow chest.
Oh, and non-noteworthy chest a while back had Thunder Gem x5.

Obtained Fast Draw [Burst Breaker]!

Burst Breaker is an interesting Fast Draw. It's very dependent on Jack's ATT stat, but still gets a bonus from REA as per all Fast Draws. (Accelerator doubles the REA bonus.) But, it will never deal overkill damage to an enemy. Instead, the overkill damage is divided equally to all enemies in the same group. Using it with the Accelerator will change it so that it deals overkill damage to all enemies.
It's also very expensive. It costs 15 MP right off the bat, and every level for the skill drops the cost by three. Also, all newer Fast Draws naturally take more uses to level up, so I managed to reach lv. 2 for Speed Fang after only two uses. For Burst Breaker, it's going to take 6 to reach lv. 2. This is one reason why Speed Fang is so damn good: it's cheap, you get it early and it levels up fast. It easily becomes your bread and butter technique. The rest...not so much. Strike Buddy, maybe because it's even cheaper than Speed Fang, but the rest are just too expensive to use. You have to go out of your way to grind if you want to use them properly.

However, it is as powerful as the cost implies. Yum...toasted critter.

I turned off the de-interlace to show what this level does. Those two platforms on the corner will raise or fall depending on which way the lever is pointing. The left path leads onward, the right path leads to Heal Berry x3. Of course, I managed to fall off several times while trying to reach the damn chest. Fortunately, falling doesn't take you to the bottom, just to the start of the room, but still. I hate dark dungeons.

It takes me like ten tries to get this shot right. I could have just walked over there faster and opened the chests then. Now, why do that when I have Hanpan to do it for me? 2000 Gella and PS Dark Break 2 are decent prizes.

This area has the this stuff you can climb up again. Those chests have a Force Carrot and a Revive Fruit. This seems to be a Jack heavy dungeon...I don't think I used Rudy or Cecilia for any of the puzzles here.

Here we reach the top, and Rudy helps Cecilia up.

And Alhazad shows up, this time warping in unusually. Or maybe he was there the entire time and now he's removing his invisibility spell. Who knows.
: Berserk told us about you... You are the humans who are led by the Guardians...
: ... ... Huh, who are you?
Seriously? You don't recognize Alhazad? The guy who murdered most of the Fenril Knights? The guy who Elmina sacrificed her life to let you escape? YOU DON'T FUCKING REMEMBER HIM?
: Sorry, please forgive my bad manners. I'm Alhazad. I've traveled here to remove the seal in Saint Centaur.
Of course, Alhazad doesn't remember Jack either. No surprise there. Jack's just an insignificant bug.
: A new monster!? How many have come back to life!?
: Contrary to my appearance, I'm not violent like Berserk. It would be wise to not waste my time here. For these experiments, I ask for silence.
: Experiment?! What are you...
: Do I bore you? I will use the power sealed in this tower.

He raises his claws to summon the boss for us to fight.

Huh? I thought he was supposed to drop a lot more Gella?
Anyway, this is Night Gaunt. He's a really simple boss. His HP is hidden like for all bosses, but it's only 780. Weak. It's only got one physical attack that does about 30 damage to Cecilia. Weak. Jack has no MP, so I toss Rinse & Repeat on Rudy, who uses Snipe Bullet right away because I don't have the FP to Lock-On Boosted Shot yet.

And when I do, Night Gaunt dies right after the first one. Good, I didn't have the FP for a repeat. This boss is pathetically weak, but his drops are just as weak as well. 260 EXP and 300 Gella? Lame.

After the battle, the purple thingie fades away, and then Alhazad floats backwards, towards the edge of the tower.
: That's good enough... Go back to your seal, Night Gaunt.
: ...I can't let you escape...

...wait. Why didn't Alhazad use it while we were already distracted by Night Gaunt?

: A barrier?!
: Exactly... The small one is quite smart.

There are those hexagons again...appearing as Jack tries to break through the barrier.
: Well, well... You ARE simple-minded! I am not Berserk.
: Let us through!!
: You have no intention of attacking us, you mean to prevent us from leaving!?
: I want those led by the Guardians to see the result of an experiment.
: You are toying with us!
: As time passes, the barrier will dissolve. You can try later... Well, I must leave... Enjoy yourself!
He teleports out. He's going to regret this, obviously. You NEVER let the heroes go free when you already have them in your trap!

Rudy can't break it either. Not surprised, his physical attacks leave much to be desired.
: Someone has their eye on the seal... We must do something!
: We've got to get out of here! Hanpan! Is there a way to pass thru the barrier?!
: Give me a second to think...

Suddenly, these two climb up out of nowhere.
: (Saucy Girl) According to my information, the 'Night Gaunt' must be here... I can already smell the reward money...
: (A man-servant) Here?
The butler points to the party in the trap.
: ...Huh, what's this? These careless people are the savage and vicious 'Night Gaunt'?
: These people look like... us. Moreover, it seems they are in trouble. What should we do, Miss?
: If you can do something, of course we want you to do it!
: You want to get out? You want me to get you out? We are hunters as well... I don't work without getting paid. I need some sort of reward. ... ... ... Honestly... How much do you have with you?
: You are asking for money?! We are here to protect the seal... To bring back peace to Filgaia!

: There are some, like you, who accept their fate and mission from the spiritual world. You accepted it? Oh, I can't stand it! The sensitivity of heroes...
I really like this girl, for this one line. "Yeah, you claim to have the power of the gods at your side. So what?"
: No, we are not! We are really--
: Stop! I just want a reward. Do you know about rewards? I'm not interested in your 'extraordinarily cool' situation! We help you, you pay us a reward. It's a simple concept.
: She may be a miser, but she has a sound argument. How much do you charge?
: Well☆ How about 5000 Gella?
That star...was she the one who robbed the Ruins of Memory first?
: We can't pay that much! You must be crazy!!
: You know, the value of life has a fluctuating exchange rate... Do you understand? I don't care what happens to strangers. So... Do you pay 5000 Gella? Or not?
: Pay 5000 Gella. || That is unreasonable.
: It's a deal! Watch from there!
You were ripped off!
If you don't have 5000 gella to give, she just takes all of it. Unlike the previous game where you were given extra Gella to have enough. Azure totally should have used a Gella Card back then.
: Ok, just leave it to me!?

She pulls out a pistol, and fires six shots into that orb on the pillar. Rudy, why didn't you think of that? The barrier wasn't that high!
: An Rudy?
: I'm Jane Maxwell. Around here, I'm famous for my beauty.
: Around town, she's well-known as Calamity Jane.
: I do not like that name! Magdalen, don't say another word!
: Excuse me...
: This young girl is that female hunter... ...Calamity Jane?
: If I'm a young girl, then you are a troll. Either way, I received what I was supposed to. Thank you very much for your business.?

: Was the seal broken? Or did it react to the barrier?!
: Miss?!
: I guess I should help them... It may be an easy reward.
: Well then, we should share the battle line formation between us.
Jane joins the party!
Magdalen joins the party!

I like this game. It rewards you for being both snarky (refusing to help Emma a while back), and for being polite (paying Jane the first time she asks). Here, if you don't help Jane, she won't join you for this battle, and you have to do it without her.

Now we're fighting 3 Night Gaunts, same as before. Now that we have Jane and Magdalen, let's toss them up front.

Jane's stats are pretty moderate, except for that ludicrous Reaction and Evasion. Sucker☆ (4 MP) will provoke a group of enemies into attacking her...which is pointless since she's squishy. Pilfer☆ (2 MP) will steal an item! FINALLY! Her Force move is Mystic, which spreads an items affect to an entire Group. The entire party counts as a group for healing items. She's the item caddy, with stealing. Yay stealing!
And Magdalen has very high Attack. Punishment (2 MP) deals a lot of damage, scaled by his current HP. At 1 HP, the attack is half as powerful as it is at full HP. Oh, and apparently it does pretty good against Flying enemies, but I don't notice a difference. I might test this if we get him again. His Force is Gamble, which raises his ATT by 75%, and boosts Punishment so it triples his ATT instead of doubling it. He is a powerhouse.

Jane moves even faster than Jack (without Accelerator) so she'll almost always go first in battle. We already know these guys have Potion Berries, so I steal one from each of them.

Punishment does a decent amount of damage to these guys, and I'm sure would just wreck them if I used it with Gamble, but I don't quite have the FP for that yet.

Gravitic Crush looks pretty nice, and since these guys have an Earth-elemental weakness, they take almost 200 damage each.
So one by one, each Night Gaunt gets a Piler, a Punishment and a Gravitic Crush, but this isn't enough to kill them. Why am I not killing them right away?

I wanted to use a bit of style.

The reward for this battle is 780 EXP, 900 Gella, 3 Earth Gems (for killing them with an elemental Material), 3 Potion Berries (Stolen) and a PS Silver Harp 2. Silver Harps help resist against sleep, which doesn't come up very often. Pretty much everyone but Rudy gets a level.

: Let's go, Magdalen!
Jane has left the party.
Magdalen has left the party.

Heaven forbid a guest party member stay for more than a dungeon or a boss fight.
: We must hurry! Before the monster reaches Saint Centaur!

On the way back, I encounter these guys, Hell Hounds. These are a bit tougher, because I am not exploiting the Ice weakness right now. They have a basic Bite and also Baking Breath for more fire damage. If they use Bite, all other enemies will target that one person, so they tend to stack the damage instead of spreading it. It sucks.
Burst Breaker increased Skill!
Oh, and Jack leveled up from the boss fight, so the MP is back to waste on Burst Breaker. Now it's a slightly more manageable 12 MP...slightly.

: Instead... I feel the ambiance of monsters. What happened to the town's people?
: ...It looks just like the problem we were hired to investigate... Where are the town's vigilantes?
: Let's ask Kaiser what happened... We should be able to find out something.

The town is completely empty. This is one of those things that can't really be described with screenshots because this town is just...empty. Everyone is gone. The people, the animals (Save Parrot is still here)... everything is just gone with no explanation.
We can open the chests just feels wrong. Regardless, I open the chests anyway because I need to open every chest in the game for a hidden boss, so I pick up 3 Force Carrots, another Migrant Seal and a second PS Silver Harp 2..

Even the blind girl is missing...

The Guardian Statue is destroyed, but talks to us now.
My statue has shattered and the magical stone was crushed. I cannot forgive this...
: I see. The town's magical stone was built to bestow the Guardian's mercy, eh? I suppose that's understandable...
: What I don't understand is... order to remove the magical stone, they had to break the Guardian statue... But how were they able to sneak into town and break the statue of the Guardian? From what I've seen, we're nowhere near the truth of the matter. It just doesn't make sense...
: This is the demon's experiment that we heard about in the Caging Tower...
My power, of which little is left, will be given to the Shrine Maiden. I give you the future of the world...
Obtained Medium [Holy Man Sorrow]!
What connects the Guardian and the seal is a shrine built by the Elw... There is another Elw Shrine that guides the Shrine Maiden. That Elw Shrine is hidden in the forest...
: So another Elw Shrine exists somewhere near here...
: The demons are quicker than us and have gotten further than we have... Do we have enough strength to overpower the demons?
: We can't waste time worrying about it. At least, we know what needs to be done! We will find the second Elw Shrine. We'll go beyond the shrine and stop Mother from being resurrected!

Inside the sheriff's office, there is still no one, but now I don't have Kaiser or his assistant blocking my way so I can destroy the wooden box uncover this floor switch we can't activate. Oh, and we can now conveniently read the bookcase here.

The Vigilantes Leader Daily Report posted:

Monsters suddenly attacked our city, bypassing our magical stone's protection. The magical stone is functioning right. Still, monsters appeared all over town, as if they simply sprang into being. Despite our desperate battle, we are losing and the Guardian Statue may be destroyed. Unless we can stop them, the magic stone will be lost, and more monsters will appear. I guided Aura, and I hid in the station with Johnson... We may be safe in here for a while, but I don't know for how long. Looks like Johnson got hurt somewhere. He's moaning in agony and I'm worried. I hope that people of Saint Centaur who can escape from the attack will go to the Elw's Shrine north of the Caging Tower. The shrine is on the peninsula that extends toward the inland sea, leading to Port Timney.
Well, I guess that explains what happened to the town...shit. It looks like we're not going to figure out how they got past the security system. Now we know where the next Elw Shrine is, maybe it can take us to the last Seal. With Ione Paua turned into a Medium, that last seal is our last hope.

Meanwhile, the four Quarter Knights look upon Mother as she feels the energy of the second seal break.
Mother: i can hear...a distorted voice in pain...sorrow filled with grief... Screams by foolish and humble humans spark joy in the voices of my servants and will release me from the chains of the seal...
: Just a little longer... I'll finally have Filgaia in my hands!
He turns around dramatically, cape swooping behind him. I suddenly want a cape now.
: When Mother awakens, her dream becomes reality, and she shall preside over this planet...
: That is the likely outcome. Still... I kind of worry about those humans who contacted the Guardian. Though they are small and weak, I sense a power we shouldn't underestimate.
: Unfortunately, I agree. They were Berserk's 'prey'. Of course... as we've heard, Berserk failed. The prey was beyond the braggart's ability... No matter, I will overtake them. I know I can do better than Berserk.
: Grrrrrrrr!! You can't do that! You big-mouthed newcomers...
: Berserk... You claimed them as your prey, as such it is your fault you failed to subdue them. Humans and Elws can show unbelievable power when they are cornered. Mother will be awakening soon and we'll be activating the Photosphere, so any failure is absolutely unacceptable.
: Zeikfried... Are you making fun of me... everyone else?! Fine! I will bring the heads of those humans and lay them down in front you!
They totally missed an obvious "of" there, it should be "front of you." I'm pretty sure this is something even Microsoft Word will notice with it's green squiggly lines. Fuck-Up Count: 14.
: So they are guided by a Guardian, I will destroy them anyway! Mark my words!!
He storms off, someone is clearly pissed.
: No one can defeat Sir Berserk when it comes to a head-on fight, even amongst us... But...he is too short-tempered. Too pathetic to look at. Let me come up with a plan to finally destroy those Humans and Guardians. Grrrrrr...
: As you like. But let me give you one piece of advice. Make the plan simple enough so that even Berserk can understand it. Got it?
Those two leave, then Zeik turns again to look at Mother.
: Our lost home... It has already been 1000 years since we left Saturn Hiades... We came here, to this place, to make Filgaia our second home. Those who have power will gain everything... We will govern this planet... Only then, will our dream come true.

I'm going to end the Update's as good as a spot as any. I could go on to actually reaching Port Timney, but if I remember the original game well enough, my next update is going to be very short.

End of update status:
: Level 16 → 17
--Bullets 3 → 4
--Hoarding 3 Alter Parts.
: Level 16 → 17
--Speed Fang: Lv, 4 (106 / 225)
--Strike Buddy: Lv 3 (50 / 90)
--Obtained Burst Breaker: Lv 2 (5 / 32)
: Level 15 → 17
--Received Holy Man Sorrow
: Level 16 → 17
--Joined the party.
--Left the party
: Level 16 → 17
--Joined the party.
--Left the party.
Gella: 9351
Migrant Seals: 5
Ex. File Keys: 2/25
Fuck-Ups: 14

Version Differences:
There are two Night Gaunt battles.
Jane and Magdalen will join you for the second one if you are nice.
Aura (the blind girl) isn't hanging around after the attack on Saint Centaur
Ione Paua's summon is significantly different.

Guardian Roll Call:

Ione Paua is the Saint Guardian, but has not appeared outside of the original Wild ARMs and obviously Alter Code: F, so you won't see him in any other game. Apparently, in the original game he also had four arms.

His Material is Sacred Isolater, and only costs 25% FP, so it's as cheap as Accelerator or Lock-On. Instead of dealing Holy-elemental damage, Ione Paua will place a status buff on the party. This buff reduces ALL elemental damage by 25%, and lasts as long as a typical buff; that is to say based on the character's Luck. It's difficult to say how useful he is, because my strategy revolves around completely destroying the enemy before they get a chance to do much, but this fellow might see some action towards the end of the game when they start inflating boss HP values.
Also, is it just me or does his face and hair remind anyone else of David Bowie when he played Jareth the Goblin King in the Labyrinth?

Next Time:

It's hard to believe that Wild ARMs 5's Captain Bartholomew derived from this drunken idiot...