The Let's Play Archive

Wild Arms Alter Code: F

by Krysmphoenix

Part 20: Storming the Castle

Last time we fought Alhazad...twice. I hate fighting that bastard. Anyway, they almost took the Rune Drive, but we stopped them so now it's been applied to Asgard. Now there is nothing stopping us from the Photosphere. The demons have no hope...except for maybe that 'Hope' Zeikfried kept references with quotation marks. To night it is time to storm the final dungeon!
It's a bit strange that the game's ending already...I've barely explored the world map,

So, since we're storming the final dungeon and all, I figured this was a great time to show my PS builds for each character, since that's been background stuff for the most part. Jack gets all the MP boosting stuff, and the only MP Repair I have right now. FP Advance allows for early Accelerators which will end random encounters fast. I give him the only Initiative I have because I like the idea of it on the fastest character. Later on in the game I'll have six of them for everyone.

I should probably give Cecilia more HP Ups, but I say screw it, her HP is too low to boost anyway. She also gets both MP Ups since I recently got a duplicate second level. The Resist Ups increase her Magic Resistance, which is high for her anyway, and I generally switch around her elemental Breaks to make her more survivable against magic damage. FP is most useful for her, so she gets SOS FP Up. Besides, she's most likely to reach critical HP.

Rudy is the tank. Blocker randomly negates basic physical attacks, and Defend means he'll randomly intercept an attack instead of someone else. (These interceptions also have him guard, reducing damage further.) Defense Up compliments that, as long with more HP UPs. I gave him Critical, since he uses basic attacks the most, but in hindsight, I should probably give him Counter, because he's most likely to take the hits, so why not have him counterattack them as well?

I pick up Fire 1000 Degrees. Why this name? Well, I figure this spell is pretty low on damage, so it's got a low temperature. Vapor Blast is probably closer to a million degrees considering it basically just covers the entire area with fire. And we'll see one billion degrees much later on.

Asgard smashes away these boulders with lots of random light that appear to come out of nowhere. I guess it's the Rune Drive and the Anti-Phasing Barrier or something like that. Boy am I glad I don't have to fight against a boss that uses those!

For some reason, scanning the Photosphere with the Search system gets a special thing that zooms in and has this thing fade out of nothing, instead of becoming visible in a weird blocky computer way.

: If we go fast enough, maybe we can just run through it.
: I don't think that's very smart. When anything comes in contact with it, it's probably vaporized. The air smells like burnt flesh...
: What smell? You're imagining things... Anyway, Princess, just have Asgard break through the barrier. He listens to whatever you say.
: Please do not imply that our friend is just some handy tool... Ask him sincerely and Asgard will answer.

Asgard's eyes shine as he approaches the barrier.

Two punches is all it takes.

I have no idea why I love this particular image so much.

: or maybe... I should say, his soul...
: Impenetrable defense, you say? Hah, that was incredible! Piece of cake!!
: We know what must be done.

Have fun storming the castle!

The fallen star can't light up the future.

Alright, here we are! The photosphere is actually a very simplistic dungeon with lots of circular hallways. It's like the interior is made completely of lots of mini-spheres.

About the only tool you need is the Change Staff.

This is the primary puzzle type in the dungeon. When you step on a dot, that dot and all adjacent dots turn the other color. You want all dots red. This kind of puzzle has been seen all over the place, so it's easy to figure out.

This is the ONLY enemy type in the Photosphere, the Retributor. It only has one move, Rule of Vengeance. When this ability is used, the Retributor gains the "Counterattack" buff. From then on, whenever it is attacked (and survives) it will counter attack and deal the exact same amount of damage dealt to it. If this sounds familiar to a certain boss in Wild ARMs 3, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to know that the counterattack uses the same graphical effect as Eliminate Scanner.

They aren't too strong, and Rudy and Jack can clear them out in one hit. Sadly Cecilia can't quite yet.

The only real danger in this place are these lasers, which you have to run to get past. They are scattered all over the place, but you should be able to notice them pretty easily. Only the first one tricks you because you don't see it coming.

Oh right, searchlights. These are the only other real danger in this dungeon are these things, which instantly cause random encounters with more Retributors. This dungeon really isn't that tough...and it's like all the demons just aren't here.

These things really aren't that difficult, and yet I seem them in multiple games. Then again, I guess they are simple to implement and if you use a variety of designs, they can be a bit tricky and some additional poking around would be necessary.

Suddenly, this guy appears.
: A demon! Get ready to fight!
The robed guy just turns around and starts walking away.
: (Mystery Man in a Robe) Follow me. I know where the Teardrop is...
: How do you know about the Teardrop?
: Are you coming or not? Aren't you guys here to take back the Teardrop?
: You can't blame us for being a little suspicious. Who are you anyway? I don't know what you are up to, but we are not falling for it!!

The guy suddenly takes a step toward the party, whom instantly flinch and take an aggressive stance. Also, does Cecilia's pose there remind anyone else of Chuck from Wild ARMs 5?
: Hehehe... What are you afraid of? You cowards...
: Cowards?!
: Don't let him provoke you!
: Last I checked, a coward is someone who is afraid to face the truth.
: Nobody calls me a coward! Nobody! Let's go! I'll take you on!
The robed guy walks away again.
: The Photosphere is about to surface as we speak. Do not get caught up in doubt; concentrate on your duty. Hurry, the Teardrop is this way...
And he's gone.
: Is he helping us, or is there an ill intent? I cannot fully trust him, but we should follow him.

Mr. E Man appears several times throughout the Photosphere, and his next appearance is down just a few hallways.
: ...Hehehe... Don't be so stubborn... Give me some credit.
: I still sense malicious intent. It is unfortunate, but I cannot fully trust you.
: Although we are enemies, I'm neither lying nor deceiving you... We are both here for a common cause... to defeat the Mother. It will be a long and tough road.
: What you mean is... We are both enemies of the same enemy?
: That does not make us allies!
: I agree. But as long as we have a common enemy, there's no reason for us to fight. I aid you human warriors because I find it useful... Now, we must hurry before the chimes of destruction ring. This castle, the Photosphere, is on its way to destroy Filgaia. I must take control of the Photosphere before it is too late. The Mother must be destroyed!
: Why are you...telling us all this?
: Can't you see? I don't wish to see Filgaia destroyed...
I think it's safe to say that after every one of these conversations he teleports out or just walks away.

Halfway through the dungeon is a heal station. I suppose this might be helpful if I wasn't already able to cancel 90% of all battles because I have a high Migrant Level.

Reclaim the Teardrop: Check.
: Oh! I missed its sparkle and its warm light... I'm so glad to have my mother's Teardrop again... I don't know what to say.
Event Item [Teardrop] was obtained!
:I'm so sorry... I will never let go of you again... Please keep your blessing for us...
And Mr. E returns.
: The Teardrop is made of crystallized human energy, capable of changing thoughts into reality. The Teardrop powers the Photosphere. The Mother, which consumes massive amounts of power, is also dependent on the Teardrop. You get the picture, right? Without their main source of power, both the Photosphere and the Mother are as good as dead. The Teardrop gives humans a chance to defeat the otherwise indestructible Mother. ... ... ... You are all on your own now. Should Mother have her way, all will be left in total darkness and ashes. Just as my home world Hiades was.
And he's gone.
: His home world was destroyed by the Mother?!
: Now I see why he was helping us... But we were cooperating with demons to defeat the Mother... I still don't like it one bit. I don't like, but I'll fight... Not just the Mother, but every demon I see!
: Funny you should say that... I sensed something funny all along... The Photosphere is supposed to be the home for all demons, but we have yet to see any of them.
: Let's not speculate on things that work in our favor. It is time to believe in ourselves and do what we need to do.

There's a trick to this hallway. There's lots of lasers in this hallway, but in the small gap where there isn't one is a panel to open this locked door. You'll probably just fly by it like I did. I don't know why but I actually like this. It's like the game is saying "don't get too excited," although it didn't punish me for my stupidity by having me run into the door and land in the path of the laser.

This would be a really horrible place to end the update.
: Ha... Hahaha... He's not moving, is he? Like Asgard was...
I think Lolithia's a she...but I'm mostly saying that because it's a feminine name, it's got connections with female character in future games. I won't call a Fuck Up here, although Hanpan should be using it instead.

Nope, it's awake.
: What would be a proper greeting? 'Hey, long time, no see!'
Lolithia smashes it's fists together.
: Your comment irritated him, Jack!
: Why would the Golem be coming after us?! We are the Golem's allies. They helped us protect Filgaia a thousand years ago!
: I've heard that a cat forgets its owner in 3 days. We can't really expect a Golem to remember us after a thousand years.
Silly Jack, you don't own cats...

Another original song for Alter Code: F, and I highly recommend you listen to it because it is just fucking awesome.
Anyway, now we have to fight Lolithia. This attack you're seeing right now is Magnetic Molecular Movement, which causes serious Ice damage to the entire party. And by serious, I mean about 2/5ths of our HP.

Lolithia's basic attack is flavored Gigantic Stomp, but fortunately Rudy's PS Blocker stops it. I love it when this activates, it looks so awesome.

This is what makes Lolithia really dangerous, Freezing zone. Remember how poweful I said Magnetic Molecular Movement was before? Double that power. Now it will nearly kill the entire party, and that isn't Lolithia's only attack. It's also got Cold Sleep which deals ice damage to a target, as well as a moderate chance of putting the target to sleep.
Oh, and she Activates with Freezing Zone, increasing her stats further. I guess Magnetic Molecular Movement would probably kill the entire party now.

How did Gatling Raid deal so little damage? I had 8 Bullets and used Lock-On? Not that it matters. With Axle Smash mastered, Lolithia goes down very fast and is destroyed on the start of the fourth turn, dropping 6500 EXP, 2500 Gella and PS Ice Break 3. After the battle, the party talks to themselves.
: ...This cannot be... The Golems are the front line of the demons' army.
: I'm afraid the Golems were brainwashed once they were reanimated...
: Without a soul, you can't discriminate between demons and humans... Sadly, soulless power is easily misused. Never mind me. It's just something I learned in the past. We better get going. The Photosphere is about to surface. There's something else going on here...

Another one of these puzzles and a few Change-Staff obstacles is pretty much all that blocks us from going further on.

Will you open the door and face the Mother, the queen of all demons and the
leader of the Photosphere?

Standard "Final Boss is behind this door, don't enter without being ready" message. This game really plays up the Photosphere like it is the final dungeon, although having easier access to the world map (I never knew how to open it in the original game) makes it obvious that this isn't.
: Yes || No.

: The ultimate transcendent deity bringing universal pain and suffering. The absolute being... What is your wish? Pain or despair? I shall grant you any request.
: The only thing I wish for is an end to your life! And, an end to all the demons!!
: An end to my life? I like your spirit... But, you are no match for me... Thus, I'm afraid I cannot grant your wish... But, I can grant my own wish...To end your life right here.

The black panels light up, showing the outside. We are in the sky...wait, since when, and how didn't I feel anything?
: The Photosphere has surfaced. Even if you somehow defeated me, you would never leave alive. Know that now that you stand before me, your life is ended, marked for death. But, fear not. I will be sending more souls after you. They will keep you company on the other side. As a matter of fact, lots of company. How about everyone in Filgaia...
: Whether you like it or not, we are not cowering in fear. We are here to stay... And until we stop your vicious plans, we will keep battling you and your minions and making it back alive.
: You have no chance of defeating me, even with your Teardrop. Absolutely none. Simply killing you would be too easy, though. I will devour your souls!

Looks like she didn't need that thing after all.
And also, you better listen to this song. It's intense, and the background voices singing every once in a while, you get a feeling of despair. Like you're fighting something big and powerful. Like you're fighting a god.

: I have accepted that truth. I am the mother of all that ends. You cannot run from the truth.

Mother does not fight this battle alone. She is accompanied by two Amadeus, which are rather weak enemies. They'll sometimes cast Dispel, but more likely they'll use Hyperion Blaster for a moderate amount of damage, or Radiant Light and Melancholy Ray. Radiant Light causes Amnesia while Melancholy Ray causes Helpless, which prevents special actions (like Fast Draw or magic) and Force abilities from being used by the person with the status. They have 500 HP so they take a little effort in taking down, which you will want to do because they will Defend (intercept the attack) if you do a basic attack against why would you do that?

Mother on the other hand, has more powerful attacks. She has Phatima's Miracle and Als-Magna, which do Light and Dark damage respectively. Those are her only two attacks, oddly enough, but since they target everyone, they are a threat.
EDIT: Thanks Tallgeese for catching these.

Tallgeese posted:

In case it's not obvious, Mother is loaded with the usual Japanese brand of misappropriated Christian symbolism.

"Phatima's Miracle" is better known as "Fatima's Miracle". an apparition of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, once showed up in Fatima on a schedule for awhile.

"Als Magna" is better known as "Ars Magna". "Ars Magna", or "The Great Art", was basically a philosophical instruction manual for converting Muslims to Christianity. It basically went "If argument X comes up, use response Y".

Burst Breaker is an incredible move to have in this battle. Because Amadeus have low Defence, Burst Breaker will deal a nice amount of damage to them. Boost that with Quick Step and Accelerator, you can destroy one Amadeus, and have the overflow damage destroy the other while doing a nice chunk of damage to Mother directly. They'll never live long enough to inflict Amnesia from me and stop me from getting EXP!

Fortunately, I remember this exploit in Mother's AI. If there is even one Amadeus down, she will not attack and instead revive them with Vinculum Animae (translate to "The Bond of the Soul"). Guess what Fast Draw I'm using next turn!

As long as you press the attack, Mother really isn't that difficult. Just make sure you have enough MP for Burst Breaker. Or master it like I did.
: If human extinction is the truth... Then why are these humans still standing before me?! While the truth still stands, I shall correct my errors and make it right.
Mother drops 7000 EXP, 5000 Gella and a EX File Key. Each Amadeus destroyed gives an extra 200 EXP and 150 Gella. I killed 6 total. Everyone gets a level up!

Oops....may have taken it a bit too far with that many Burst Breakers.

It lands in the sea, but the Sweet Candy comes rushing in!

...why is it that Jane is the only one with a concerned face on?

...there's a pun in there somewhere. Anyway, the panels were really giant television screens and are turning snowy as the place is falling apart and sinking.
: What has happened? Having ugly humans walking all over me, the "mother of extinction", is unacceptable. I think I see... Destroying everything else has not excluded me from the truth of extinction... Inevitably I, too, must answer to this absolute truth, and I take great pleasure in it. The absolute truth... Perfect ending... Eternal return... Universal death... Extinction... Destruction... The Photosphere is out of control. Any attempt to propel it is beyond my power. It seems our crash into the sea caused much damage to the Photosphere.

: What can you do now? Nobody can stop the Photosphere from sinking...
: We have to escape!
: He's right! We can't just give up!
: Escape? I thought I made it clear that your life ended once you stood before me... Even if you escape the Photosphere, where can you go? We are in the middle of nowhere. There's no land in sight. It is useless to even try. Escape is out of reach... You must accept this as the end. I invite you to the darkness of the sea... I take pleasure in taking you there! An ode to our beautiful ruin, ultimate bliss. did she get in so fast? Seriously, how?
: Please... Keep your pleasures to yourself. You're irritating us!
: Jane?! What are you doing here?
: Captain! Magdalen is here too? How did you...
: We have become close friends since our trip to the Volcannon Trap. I requested his help for our rescue, and he kindly offered his ship.
: Kindly offered? More like he couldn't say no to a pretty girl.

Bart waves his hand to try to get Hanpan to shut up.
: What is that supposed to mean?
...I honestly can't tell if Jane is taking advantage of Bartholomew, or if he's using the excuse to hang around Jane. Both seem equally plausible...and are not mutually exclusive now that I think about it.
: Never mind. There's no time to chat, we have to get out of here!
: Ah, yes ma'am! We need to get to the Sweet Candy. We don't have much time left. The flooding on this ship is getting worse by the minute!
They start to leave, but Jane stops Rudy for a second.
: We are even. Good deal, right?

Mother is left behind. As I look at her like this, I can only imagine her mentally facepalming herself, considering the conversation that just took place as she was brutally ignored while politely offering them to join her for a cup of doom, despair and destruction.

: If it wasn't for me suggesting to go after that huge sphere in the sky, we all would have been dead. You owe me big for this. I would be charging money if we weren't friends.
: Actually, Jane voiced concern about Rudy's condition.
: Well, I took my eyes off of him for one second, and then the next thing you know, he's gone.

: You didn't have to say anything. I could just tell by the look on your face.
: You caught me, huh?
: Yes.
: You could tell?
: Yes.
: Ouch... The sea wind sure hurts my eyes... Anyhow, not only did we defeat the demon empress, Jane's found what she's been looking for. I would say this calls for a celebration. Where's my champagne?
: So typical of the captain... Anything for some booze.
So now the world is safe, I'd say that's a valid call for some booze! Let's get drunk have have a "we just saved the world party!" After all, we just defeated Mother, recovered the Tear Drop and destroyed the Photosphere. Nothing bad can happen now that the world is safe.

End of update status:
: Level 27 → 29
--ATK Bonus: 46 (Lv. 4)
--Bullets: 8 (Lv. 5)
: Level 27 → 29
--All current Fast Draws mastered.
: Level 26 → 28
-Learned 1000 Degrees
Gella: 22515
Migrant Seals: 7
Ex. File Keys: 3/25
Fuck-Ups: 17

Version Differences:
The only random encounter in the Photosphere are those machines, giving the image that the Photosphere seems oddly devoid of any demonic presence.
Mother's battle theme is kickass.
This game explains a little better that the Photosphere is flying, and how Jane and the others arrive like big damn heroes.

Ex. File Keys:
The Ex. File Key that Mother drops is the sixth key, which shows the fourth Illustration Gallery. In Japan, many of the keys played the battle voices for all of the party members as well as some enemies and bosses, but since those were removed and not replaced, they split the illustrations over multiple Ex File Keys. At least they didn't prevent players from earning some Ex File Keys through the localization process, like certain other Wild ARMs games. I hate it when localizers remove content!

This key just shows one picture for Jane, two for Magdalen and two for Mariel. I know a lot of people don't like concept art as rewards for completing tasks in the game...but I do. I love seeing behind the scenes for the game development progress, and little things like these make the game a whole lot more interesting. And besides, what else are you going to use a rewards? Game breaking equipment after they already broke the game in half to defeat the boss that gives that equipment? Token items to prove victory? Or better yet, absolutely nothing? It's a nice cheap way to make the whole experience seem more rewarding.

A Saying A Day
: (July 16) Today's saying is that a even an elegant swan paddles under water. This means that people who make things look easy still do hard work behind the scenes. It's like before a test, everybody tells each other that they haven't studied at all. I am usually proud of my efforts, so I am sort of annoyed by that kind of behavior.
: (July 17) Today's saying is, 'when you hit the right cheek, hit the left cheek next.' You generate more power this way. This is an effective way to box. And if you have anything left over, knock him down by singing a 'sweet lullaby.'
: (July 18) Today's saying is that a casino was born from a lit match. Take inspiration where you can get it. One day a gambler struck a match. In the flame the match produced, he saw an image of a grand casino. Then, he made his dream casino a reality. It took luck and a lot of hard work, but it all started with a match.
: (July 19) Today's saying is, 'a cute doll has fangs.' This saying is talking about girls, but it's mainly a warning for young men in their 30's. If they just think of girls as cute, they might forget that girls have their own ideas and goals. The girl may be cute as a doll, but don't you treat her like one. You might be reminded that she has fangs.
: (July 20) Today's saying is that girls will do anything to be beautiful. Here's a recipe for beauty that I read. 'Lay down in a tub of gelatin and spread the jelly on your skin. After that, sprinkle some sea salt and butter on the skin. You shall feel refreshed by morning.' I know this is a beauty treatment, and I desire to be beautiful........ But now, I have to become a walking recipe?
: (July 21) Today's saying is that there is no second rabbit under a willow. This phrase originated from an old story. The second rabbit's name was No. He was still under the willow after the first one was caught in the same spot. Naturally, he got caught, too. No showed us that if you don't recognize trouble, trouble will recognize you. 'Thank you, No,' we should tell trouble.
: (July 22) Today's saying is that a dandelion's seed can grow in an ear. So, learn after them, and have a lot of vitality. That's the meaning of the saying. This is more like a slogan or motto than a saying.

Next Time:

The world is not safe....