The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 12: Episode XII: Fei Fong Wong and the Hermit of the Stalactite Caverns

Episode XII: Fei Fong Wong and the Hermit of the Stalactite Caverns

Welp...instead of being buried alive, it seems Fei and Young Master Pirate have just fallen into an underground dungeon cave system.

The pirate hops out of his Gear and marches over toward Weltall demanding Fei get out. Fei does so mid-sentence...


<No shit, Sherlock>
"I told you that in my intercom transmission earlier. You're the one who refused to listen to me, right?"
"Ha, ha, ha. Sorry, sorry. Yes, I remember you were saying something like that. I went off half-cocked and thought you were the enemy.”
”Heh. You know how it is. Hot-blooded manly brawl. Got kinda caught up in the moment.”
“Uhh, ahem... My name is Bart. I'm the pirate that works this territory."
"My name is Fei. I was arrested for no apparent reason, shoved into that Aveh transport ship... And was nearly going to be sent to a concentration camp until you went and blew the thing to blazes.”
*cough* “Well, I might have jacked an Aveh motorcycle off some soldier guy... But I was going to bring it back once I found the doc!”
“Anyway...I'm just glad to have been able to survive."
"I see... Well, I'm glad I at least helped you out a little. But I didn't expect a civilian like you would be riding in a military Gear. Besides, this Gear is a brand new model. I've never seen this type before."

“It wasn't like I wanted to pilot it!”
”Well...okay, maybe a little at first... But...”
“Where are we anyway? Looks like we fell into one weird place. I've never heard of huge stalactite caves such as this existing under the desert before."
”Hmm...I think at least... Were stalactites the ones that hung down from the ceiling or up from the ground...?”
*raises eyebrow*
“Well... Do you know or not...?”
“Ergh... Crud.”
*raises eyebrow not beneath an eyepatch*

"What? You don't know anything, do you? Where are you from? The desert only covers around 1000 sharls of the outer layer of the earth. The stratum underneath that consists of igneous rock."
"From a sea of trees to a sea of sand... and now a stalactite cave... What's next...?"

"Oh, nothing... Never mind..."
"We're in trouble... Look, the hole we fell through has disappeared. We'd better find some other way out... So, you wanna call a truce for now? ...At least until we find an exit and get out of here."
"Yes...agreed. First, we gotta find the way out of here... So, let's get going..."


“Hey, you! I know you're tired but don't go any further than there!”
“Shut up! You sunk our ship! Don't you forget that!”
“No, you shut up! Just be thankful that you were saved!”
”What kinda logic is that?! That’s like me shooting you, then patching you up and saying you should be thankful I didn’t let you bleed out!"
“Excuse me...”

*looks around at blank stares* “No one...? Well that's depressing...”

“So your 'young one' has not just been shooting at anything and everything then, Sigurd."
"Yes, he actually calculated this attack...or so he says! As you can one has died this time, either."
”And other times?”
“...It’s been a learning process.”

A red Gear marches over to where Citan and Sigurd are chatting...

“We still can't locate the young master... General Maitreya's platoon will scout around again.”
"Okay. I'm counting on you."
“Yes, sir! Since I'm part of the unit I'll also excuse myself.”

The Gear flies off into the distance...

”Please stop making ‘air quotes’. It is rather ‘annoying’.”
"He fell into an underground cave with that other guy in a Gear. It's near an old excavation site, and he is riding in a Gear, so he'll probably be able to come up somehow... We'll try to find him for a while, and if that doesn't work, then we'll wait for him at our meeting point."
"You seem to trust him a lot..."
"Trust him... Yeah, I trust he'll get us into trouble. ...But I never thought I would meet you here, 'Hyu'..."
"It is not coincidence. It is an inevitable consequence... I assume."

”I did not acquire that PhD in Foreshadology for nothing...”

Back in the caverns...

Welcome to our second dungeon: The Stalactite Cave. Boy is this place friggin’ boring. I hope you like endless brown rocky textures and the sound of dripping water, as that is basically the entirety of the dungeon and its musical score.

Anyhow, Bart has now joined our party. He’s lagging a few levels behind Fei and unlike Citan, he’s not an unstoppable powerhouse that can skullfuck the competition at Level 1. However, we cannot really talk much about Bart’s innate fighting abilities as we are currently within our first Gear based dungeon.

Since this is the first time we’ve actually gotten full access to our Gears outside scripted events, we can now access the Gear menu screen. Here we can equip assorted weapons and accessories on our giant robots, fiddle with magic abilities, and get on and off our Gears at will. It is a VERY bad idea to get off a Gear in a Gear dungeon, as most enemies here will be giant robot sized and squash Fei or Bart on foot in a single hit.

Our first objective is just getting the hell out of this cave. Xenogears almost universally lacks maps for its dungeons, so it is very easy to get lost if we’re not careful.

The game takes mercy on us in this first room and has Bart basically go “GO TOWARDS THE BIG ROCK!” with the camera panning straight over in the direction it is located. But, other times we’ll simply be given vague directions toward the East or Southwest and have to wing it.

There are quite a few interesting new enemies hanging out in these caves. Like electric sand jellyfish – Medusoids. They’re a pushover barely worth talking about. Well, other than being a giant flying desert jellyfish...

There are also Tin Robos, really crap K-Mart brand Gears that are even worse than the ones we fought during the attack on Lahan. They are occasionally accompanied by Tusken Raiders Sandmen on foot. Remember how I said getting out of a Gear in one of the Gear oriented dungeons was a really bad idea...?

Yeah... There was a good reason for that. I do like that they made specific animations for attacking tiny enemies while in Gears. They’re mostly just variations of stomping or crunching ‘em with the Gears’ fist. But, it’s nice for a game to acknowledge severe height differences between opponents.

One of the stranger enemies wandering around is the Nomad Fix Bots. These helpful droids will tune-up our Gears and refuel our engines for free. It’s right friendly of ‘em. We can also smash them up for a decent bit of money. Enemies in Xenogears generally drop cash where appropriate. Flying sand jellyfish or wolves don’t carry any money, because that would be silly. But we can presumably break down rogue Gears for scrap to sell off and Aveh soldiers’ wallets can be reallocated to our war chest, so they will drop cash. This is the first area where we can make a ton of money from just kicking a bunch of random encounters’ asses. So it’s not a bad idea to do some grinding here.

Lastly, there are these terrifying bug-Gear hybrids stalking the caverns – the May Flies. May Fly monsters are the strongest beasts roaming the wastes here. They hit for a good 100-150 HP of damage and can vomit clouds of Defense dropping smoke. On the plus side, they are worth a TON of experience and good cash. Besides, something that creepy should not be allowed to live.

Let’s talk about Bart’s Gear for a second. That boss battle with it previously was pretty much the sum of its abilities. Brigandier is a bit deadlier in our hands, but it still is quite a bit behind Weltall in offensive performance. However it, and Bart himself, come equipped with one of the very most broken as shit abilities in the game.

Wild Smile, as stated in the previous update, can damage enemies’ Accuracy and Evasion abilities. This means they will whiff attacks and be helpless to dodge, if those names were a bit too puzzling for you to parse. The broken part about this ability is that buffs and debuffs in Xenogears stack. So, Bart can take a few rounds spamming Wild Smile and the enemy in question will be unable to hit the broad side of a barn with a giant robot utilizing rocket fists and will be far more prone to taking critical attacks whilst it flails about helplessly. The thing is...there are very few enemies that are immune to Wild Smile. And this includes bosses. Used properly, this attack is basically Easy Mode for quite a few otherwise tricky encounters and by just possessing the ability, Bart is one of the most useful characters in the game.

But, enough about how broken Wild Smile is...let’s attend to that giant rock in the way...

Fei bitches at Bart to stop whining and help him push over the boulder so they can get out of this dump. It was clearly a two giant robot job to topple the thing.

“Let's keep it up so we can get out of here."
"The hydromechanic pipe for my knee joint is on the verge of breaking down. It's all because of that fall from the ceiling... followed by pushing this mega-colossal boulder. It won't be funny if my Gear malfunctions in a huge cavern like this."
"Your friends won't come and help us?"
"It'd be a waste of time waiting. They probably won't come."
"But, aren't they your friends?"
"We believe in a liberal upbringing. They'll think we can escape by ourselves."
"I wonder if doc is okay."
"Don't worry about the man you were with. I'm sure our guys saved him by now."
”Or he got sucked under with us but didn’t have enough weight to fall all the way through and suffocated to death in the sands... But, that’s unlikely... Well, pretty unlikely...”
"What is it?"
"...We wouldn't have fallen in here if you had only listened to me."
"Don't blame it on me! You should've surrendered instead of challenging me. All I wanted was your Gear."
"Don't be ridiculous! You're the one who blindly attacked me. What else was I supposed to do? I thought I might die if I didn't fight you."
"I was taking it easy on you. Couldn't you tell? Then you're a bit dense."
”Oh, bullshi~it!”
"Don't lie to me. I know you were serious."

”Didn’t you just say your Gear’s knee was almost busted? If you really want me to kick you in the shin and strand you here in this cave, then sure thing... But let’s stop the dick waving until we’re out of here, eh?”

Weltall jumps off the rock...

"Wait! Settling it right here comes first. I won't be able to get anything done until we settle this once and for all!"
"I thought you wanted a truce for now? Getting out of here should come first! Once we're out of here, then I'll fight you all you want. Let's hurry up and move on out of here!"

”Wooh... Take a number...”
“Damn it! I'll get you when we get outta here."
*Weltall makes jerking off motion*

So...not much at all to stay about this dungeon. You see this path? It goes on for like 30-40 seconds straight... I really wish there was some music. I feel like I’m playing Xenosaga again. Why did that game lack music for half its dungeons? And no boss battle theme...? Xenogears has like half a dozen boss battle tunes. Xenosaga Episode I had the same battle theme for every single encounter in the game outside the final boss...

After a bit of monotonous traveling, the team comes across an idle Gear hanging out at an intersection.

We can actually speak with this guy and get some info about the area. There’s an awful lot of friendly droids around this area, aren't there?

”So what’s the current situation? Other than being stuck underground...”
“Sand sensors have detected an abnormal amount of sand. The sand barrier south of 'Terrace Stones' has been sealed to prevent sand from entering excavation site.”
”That sounds like...”
“...Backtracking incoming.”
”So what’s the surrounding area like?”
“And don’t say ‘sandy and brown’. We know!”

There is a barrier wall in the southeast of 'Terrace Stones' that was built to stop the shifting of sand. Until the barrier reopens, please assemble at the shelter located to the east of the barrier wall.”
"What's with this Gear? It's well maintained for a Gear just left lying around like this."

If we follow the unmanned Gear’s advice to travel east, we’ll come upon a large chamber with a little hut dwelling in it. There seems to be somebody home, judging by the smoking chimney. Let’s visit!

Fei and Bart pile off their gears and wander inside the house...

"Hey, Fei! This is a surprise! There's someone living in this place!"
”What about those Sand Men we encountered...?”
“I said ‘living’ didn’t I?”

An ancient looking old man wanders in from the back of the dwelling...

“Well anyway, come on back in here and make yourself at home.”

Bart and Fei follow the old timer further into the house...

"I guess that's it."
“I see... That's too bad. I can tell from the sound that you both ride good Gears... But the legs seem to be playing up a bit.”
"You mean, you can tell what's wrong just by the sound of its footsteps?"
“Ha ha ha. It's easy to know what's wrong with Gears by the sounds they make. My guess is that one of them needs a new hydromechanic pipe in its joints. It's making a nasty sound. It must be hard to walk with too. Oh, by the way, the name's Balthazar, but you can call me Ol' man Bal.”
”Did you say Old Ben?”
“No. ‘Bal’, not Ben...”

"Oh yeah? So looks like we've got a real fanatic here, huh! What's an old man like you doing in a place like this?"

“There is much to be found lying around in this here stalactite cavern."
"A collector, huh? Sounds interesting. The things on this shelf, are they some of the stuff you have found?"
"You mean the fossils? They're one of the things I collect. Feel free to have a look at them."
”But no touching or I will add you to my nosy trespasser corpse collection!”
“Hmm... You say something...?”
“No. Now, follow me.”

“Notice anything particular on these shelves? They go from oldest on the left, to newest on the right."
"Are you an archaeologist or something, old man?”
”If you tell me that this ‘belongs in a museum’, I am going to ask you to leave...”
“I don't quite see what you're talking about. They just look like a bunch of old bones to me. Fei, what do you think?"

“Then, from here on over to the right, something is slightly different... I guess."
"Yes, from a certain point in time, human fossils suddenly no longer appear. That point is roughly 10,000 years ago."
"What does that mean?"
"Don't ask me. I don't know for sure... But my guess is, there were no humans on this planet before then. At least it appears so."
"How could that be? What about all that talk about evolution?"
"You mean the theory of evolution as taught by the 'Ethos', right? You can't trust that! Rather, I believe in the old legends and myths."
"Legends? Myths?"
"Haven't you heard of this story...?"
”Follow me back to my study. I can put on some appropriate ominous mood music there...”

Music: Omen

“With god's protection, there was no fear of death and natural disasters were entirely unknown. Then one day, the humans ate a forbidden fruit which gave them incredible wisdom. But god drove mankind from the paradise for their sin. Bitter at having been driven out of paradise, humans used the wisdom they had gained to make giants. With these giants, they planned to challenge god himself. But god poured his wrath down on them. All who defied god were destroyed. But god himself did not escape unharmed. Taking paradise with him, the wounded god buried himself deep beneath the ocean to sleep for eons. Before going to sleep, god used his remaining power to create right-hearted humans to live on this planet. These people are said to be...our ancestors."
"Well, anyway, I'll stop my rambling now."

Well, that was quite the mysterious tale that was certainly not cribbed from another creation myth. As are the fact that humanity only suddenly appeared 10,000 years ago. Except we already know the reason for that part from the Prologue... Hmm... Welp. Chew on that for a bit. See you next time for further spelunking adventures!

Music: Omen (You should really listen to this.)

Bart Art – That is...quite the extremely fruity unique outfit, Bartholomew...