The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 116: Episode CXIII: Our Old Friend the Cyborg

Episode CXIII: Our Old Friend the Cyborg

They were units that merged with the inorganic... Of course we had no idea what purpose these ancient Anima Relics were created for. But the fact that they played some kind of role as weapons was blatantly obvious. Eventually their true power will be released... And we cannot allow this power to fall into the hands of evil.
Barring the five or six that were already in the hands of evil. But, details...
In order to obtain the final Relic, we headed for a ruin that is believed to be almost 10,000 years old. ... The remains of the first civilization on our planet. And...a reunion with an old 'friend' awaited us...

A ruins of the first civilization on the planet, huh? We’d not really heard a thing what happened following the Eldridge’s crash other than Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry were born around then. And we’re going to continue to not hear a thing about that epoch of time as Anima Dungeon #2 will reveal fuck all about said era. It’s just going to feature re-used cavern assets and some brown corridors instead of gun-metal gray.

Our new stalker, Shopkeep Johnny, has followed us along to this dungeon should we need some supplies. He isn’t offering anything new at the moment and this isn’t really a combat heavy dungeon, but it’s nice to have the option I suppose.

Speaking of which, Billy now has his Omnigear version of Renmazuo to use in battle. Yeah, it’s still just called Renmazuo. Gears that get directly upgraded with Anima Relics don’t get new names. In the Japanese version, all Omnigears got an “El-“ designation. So El-Fenrir, El-Renmazuo, El-Andvari. But the localization dropped that since...well going from “Renmazuo” to “THE Renmazuo” is a bit silly.

I miss the silly cape on his old Gear. We’ll take him and Citan along for this dungeon so everyone is sporting sweet Disc 2 upgraded Gears (sorry Bart, you’re Disc 1 upgrade rubbish.) By the way... Elhaym and Vierge...? Miiiiiiight wanna unequip everything useful off ‘em before finishing this dungeon. Just a suggestion...

On the subject of battles, this area is the turf of fearsome Croaker Tribe. A proud race of ancient frog people that defend this sacred ground. Too bad the only combat in this area is the cavernous sections and we’re riding around in Gears for 95% of the time there. Oh well. Good to know Glenn procreated eventually.

Anyhow, our first order of business is to shove this boulder out of the way. There’s a huge chasm right in front of where we begin that is filled with platformer ledges that do not actually go anywhere and will undoubtedly waste several minutes of your time the first time playing. Nope, we’ve got to get in our Gears to shove a random boulder to progress. This is...not a very well designed dungeon...

So, who likes puzzle dungeons?! Nobody in the history of any RPG ever? Welp, too bad. That’s what we’re getting. There are three pillars in the center of this room and each of them has a hint to where the game wants us to click on in this dimly lit room. Let’s take a look at the clues.

Translation: You’re gonna need to jump for one of ‘em.

Translation: It is literally on the back of this pillar.

Translation: Pixel hunt, bitch!

Random points on the walls also offer supplementary tips. This one wants us to walk 4 paces south then 10 west.

Umm...good luck with that one considering it’s going by vague sprite walking animations and not “press direction X number of times”. We’ve basically got to pixel hunt in this area for the trigger for the first stone and hope for the best.

The second stone is extremely easy. We just need to check the back of the pillar that basically said “check the back of the pillar.”

The final switch requires we have activated one of the prior stones and use it as a platform to leap onto the top of the central pillar. Which is easier said than done as we need to hit the mark dead center or else Fei will slide off. Once up there, we need to jump into the air again to trigger the third and final stone.

From there, we simply need to slide the stones into the three holes at the end of the room and...

...That causes an earthquake that somehow causes two stone platforms to slam together at just the right angle to not only fail to fall over, but also create a convenient platform across the chasm.

A bit of platforming later and we reach our next obstacle: a lake. Remember how our Gears were upgraded with the ability to withstand crush depths in the ocean floor earlier in the game? Well, the dungeon designers have forgotten that detail and as such we need to find a way to drain this 50 foot deep lake. Why couldn’t this dungeon just be summarized...?

To accomplish this new objective, we need to dismount our Gears and enter the second half of the puzzle dungeon. Though this part is less “puzzle” and more “fuck you trial and error”.

After a couple empty corridors, we come to a long hallway with several treasure boxes in the center. You don’t need Admiral Ackbar to tell you what’s going on in this room.

Walk straight ahead and the party plummets down a pit and needs to walk back around and start over. The solution is just to jump over the trap doors between the treasure boxes and obtain the prizes within. Except... Well, there’s no exit in the room other than the trap doors. The one by the entrance and between the first and second treasure boxes is just an empty pit. But the one between the second and third boxes...?

Well, it’s also a pit. That is...unless you hold toward the east...

Then, you’ll discover there is a hidden path that leads further into the complex. You can see it for a split second before reaching the bottom of the shaft. But, if you don’t know it was coming then you undoubtedly missed it. And if you saw it, I really hope you noted the direction because we need to hold forward in that direction to progress.

Kind of a dick move, Square. Kind of a dick move...

In the next room we enter a platform where the paths break away, leaving us stranded.

Also, there are spikes in the ceiling. Standard issue for any ancient temple, really.

Okay, I know this one. You’ve got to bust out the pistol and shoot the four lights on the ceiling. Toss down a flash grenade if some of those spider Plagas spawn.

...Or we just wait for it to hit the bottom and find it’s an overly menacing elevator. You could have just said something, Fei.

After a spiked elevator ride, we arrive at the final puzzle of the dungeon. This one is err... Remember that part in Die Hard 3 where they had the riddle with the two water jugs? Well, think of that only way stupider and without Samuel L. Jackson.

Ahead of us is a pool of water. There are two switches on the floor. One raises and one lowers water. On each side of the wall are two switches. One is for 7 units and the other is for 3 units. Initially the water is at 10 units. We need to find a “happy medium” of 5 units to complete the puzzle.

I’m sure there’s a few ways to solve this, but a solution is:

Please note that to raise or lower the water you need to click on a switch on the wall. Hit a prompt. Click on the switch on the floor. Hit a prompt. Watch an animation of water rising/falling for several seconds. Repeat. Even knowing the solution, it takes way longer than it should to finish this stupid thing.

Anyhow, after that we get one final little jog before we reach the end of this dull little dungeon. Again...REALLY wanna unequip Elly right about now. Especially if she’s still got that EtherDoubler equipped... Someone else might need it soon.

Seriously, somebody was REALLY proud of this animation as we have to sit through three more of these vault doors to reach the final Anima relic.

Fei, Billy, and Citan enter the Anima Relic chamber. Elly and Rico decide to show up too...

"Hmph, so ancient people worshipped meaningless things too, huh?"
”Yeah...giant glowing magic monoliths that turn your giant robots into crazy super versions of themselves. Why would ANYONE ever think that was special? Who let you out of the Yggdrasil’s basement...?”

Fei fiddles with the Anima Relic controls...

“Say something I understand! Who're you!? Get outta my head!"
"Rico, are you okay?"
”I mean other than the whole 7-foot tall green-skinned ginger caught in perpetual slow motion thing.”

"Wasn't that Rico's Gear? So it looks like it was your turn, Rico! Well anyway, we'll soon see when we go outside."
”So you accept his Omnigear looking like his original one without question...?”
“It’s more like I don’t care because it’s Rico. And want to get out of this boring cave before a boss fight shows up.”
“...Fair enough.”

Everyone wanders out of the Anima Relic chamber. Weltall stops short on the first platform and spots something...

”...Goddammit! THIS is why I wanted to hurry up and go, Larry!”
“...I give up.”

A new giant robot flies up from the abyss and...cheerfully greets our party...”

"Heh heh heh. It's been a long time no see, bro!"
"Hammer, is that you? What are you doing in that outfit?"
"I was finally able to get it... Super-strength... Just like you, bro! It feels so good... being one with your Gear. Krelian did this for me.”
“Krelian...turned you into a giant robot?”
“Yup. Sure was nice of him even though I failed last time.”

“Anyway, just leave that Gear and Miss Elly for me. Resistance is useless. I'm much too powerful for you now..."
"What are you saying, Hammer?"
”Cuz all I heard was ‘minor character wants to die horribly’ just now...”
"What? You're not handing them over? ... I see. Then I'll just have to use force and take the girl and the Gear from you!"
"Stop it, Hammer!"
"Even you, 'Champ', won't win against me now. Here I come!"

Music: Fuse

Alright... Time to take on newly Cyber-Furry, Hammer. Not really where I was expecting the obnoxious merchant sidekick’s character to end up in the end. But, this is Xenogears after all...

Hammer himself doesn’t have too many attacks. He has a few basic, albeit damaging, melee attacks.

He can also Cyber-puke on people for a sizable chunk of damage. Lovely.

Hammer is a bit of a gimmicky boss. Every few rounds, he’ll use an attack called “Self Modification”.

As the name suggests, this causes Hammer’s new giant robot body to spontaneously grow new parts. How? Nanomachines! Conservation of mass gets booted out the door when you’ve got nanomachines in your plot. Anyway, Hammer does this several times during the course of the battle. It both makes him larger as well as ups the damage/combo of his melee attacks. First up, Hammer grows a pair of wings...

Then, a giant scorpion tail to stab our Gears with. None too pleasant, that...

After that, his arms morph into bladed tentacles...

...And finally, he grows a pair of tentacles out of his butt. At this point in the battle, we need to start being careful. Not that Hammer really gets much more threatening.

He can now do a four hit combo with his tentacle arms for several thousand damage. But that’s not why we need to be wary of Hammer. What we want to do around this point is to have everyone at Attack Level 3 and hopefully get one of our two teammates to Hyper Mode. Fei should be slapping on System Id very shortly.

When we see this message, Hammer is done attacking. Indeed, we’ve beaten him! But, the battle is not over just yet. At this point, we can Escape to end the battle as Hammer is gearing up to self-destruct in two turns. We don’t want to be around for Cyber-Hammer’s suicide bomber stunt. If we escape now we get...1 XP and nothing else for “winning” this battle.

If we stick around for Hammer to explode, everyone gets hit for 18,000+ HP which can easily wipe out the entire party if they’re a bit low on health. We also still only get 1 experience for our troubles (0 for anyone killed.)

Instead, we’re going to beat the shit out of Hammer with everything we’ve got. If Fei is in System Id mode and at least one other Gear is in Hyper Mode, we’re in pretty good standing to beat Hammer before he explodes. We need to grind down 21,000 HP before Self Destruct goes off.

With a pair of gears at Attack Level Infinity dealing 4500-5000 HP a pop and the last one (Billy in my case) using a Level 3 Deathblow and a special ability (Hey Jessie! Sorry you don’t have any role beyond being shot out of a cannon this disc) we should be able to squeak by in time to put down Hammer like a man.

We get a big boat load of experience for our troubles beating Hammer this way. But more importantly...

...We receive the Trader Card accessory. This little trinket causes a much higher rate of enemies dropping rare items. Which is neat. I’m sure it’ll be useful when we stop getting railroaded down the plot in like...20 updates...give or...give a dozen or so...

Music: Tears of the Stars, Hearts of the People

“Even for me... Just when I thought I finally got powerful enough to beat you, too!"
"Champ... Promise me you'll go back to Nortune one day... You are... the next in line... to be the Kaiser..."
”Say whaaaat?!”
"You knew?"
"Don't underestimate the power of my information network... But... it's no use now... I... For a bit player... like me... this is probably... the end... I deserve..."

Hammer falls down into the abyss. Sorry, no budget for a proper explosive death...

Hammer disappeared into the chasm with a look of satisfaction... Was he happy because he had been able to attain it...? 'His brief moment of power'... Hammer's smile... Was that the look of joy from attaining power...? Or was it the look of relief from the pain that was brought upon him by his mutation...? Ultimately, we had no other choice but to defeat our 'friend', Hammer, for the sake of our own survival... Was there any other way around it...? I've never felt that fighting was so futile, until now...
Elly cried continuously... She hated herself for not having the power to be able to do anything to help him.
I guess with everything that had happened, she had forgotten Hammer had shot her mother in the face a month ago...
When I saw her like that, I couldn't help thinking... I can no longer allow her to fight like this... We returned to Ignas...feeling that this had become much more than we could bear...

Hammer Gear Concept Art

El-Stier Concept Art – Bwahahahaha. What am I even looking at? Besides an Omnigear I am never going to use.