The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 76: Episode LXXIII: The Goddamn Babel Tower Level

Episode LXXIII: The Goddamn Babel Tower Level

Alright, it is time to take the dreaded climb up the Tower of Babel. Joy of joys... Sigurd suggests we check out the new items in the Gear Shop aboard the Yggdrasil before we take off and this is very good advice. Babel Tower is a very, very long Gear oriented dungeon so we definitely need to prep before we begin our ascent.

We’ll need to drop around 20,000 G per Gear to bring everyone we’re taking up the tower to top specs. But, there isn’t much need to sweat cash. We’ll earn it all back with interest given how many lucrative random battles we’ll run into on the way up. It isn’t necessary to fully upgrade every Gear. There’s no bullshit where Fei gets knocked out again or Elly gets kidnapped or Citan finds another half assed excuse to leave the party again. Just the Weltall and the two others we’re taking with us are enough. Bart and Elly are my co-pilots in this instance. Hooking Bart up with a new Gear Whip isn’t a bad idea while we’re in the neighborhood. Nor is stocking up on Ether restoring items. We’re gonna need ‘em.

With prep complete, we’re free to enter the tower in vague hopes of getting in touch with the UFO country hanging around in the area.

It seems the Ethos was a load barring organization. With their swift dismantlement, the giant seal in front of the tower has since crumbled away. Very convenient.

Let’s get this over with...

Music: Omen

So, welcome to Babel Tower. It is...well...roomy, I guess... At least it’s not a series of corridors. That’s a start. It is, however, something far direr... But we’ll get to that in a second. Forced battle time!

This first area is lined with mandatory battles every few feet. Said battles are against these little guys: Traffic Jams.

Traffic Jams are apparently very cranky futuristic traffic signals. Or...distant past traffic signals? Whatever. The point is that they do not take kindly to giant robots stomping around and will blast ‘em with lasers dealing 1,000+ HP of damage. Traffic jams are pretty annoying enemies since, as I said, they’re mandatory battles. This first section just has fixed battle locations, not random battles. Each time it’s three of these jerks. Each of the party will get to go once before the remaining Traffic Jams take a turn.

These enemies have very little HP (350 or so) but are highly resistant to physical attacks. Brigandier is the only Gear that can take one of ‘em out with a single X attack in my current party with consistent results (stop getting blocked Fei!) But, they’re also really weak to Ether. So Elly can cast whatever suits her fancy and Weltall can use Chi Shot. This results in the whole force being taken out before they get a chance to attack. Rinse and repeat like nine times across this first section...

By the way, does anyone knows what the sign on these dudes says?

Now, there’s a good reason many people hate Babel Tower. You know how many dungeons in Xenogears have required platforming? And I’m talking platforming as it “jumping over dangerous gaps” not “jumping to higher ledges to proceed. The answer is NONE! Welp that is changing in Babel Tower as we’ll be doing all sorts of terrible platforming here. The penalty for falling?

You just fall into the water below and take no damage.

Except you resurface down below the entrance to the dungeon and have to take an alternate way back to where you began. And there’s like three Traffic Jam battles on the way back. I’m gonna be honest... I’m REALLY thankful for save states on emulators right now.

But further ahead is the part most people hate (in the first section at least.) This rope. Our giant robots are going to need to do some Tarzan maneuvers to proceed. Jumping onto it is simple enough.

From there, we need to swing to far ledge. You see the trouble here is... I have no idea. People are terrible at video games and cannot follow simple instructions?

All you have to do is press left and right to gain some momentum. When at the apex of your swing, you press triangle. At which point you automatically jump to the far side. There’s kind of a shitty camera angle for this “jump”, sure. But there’s no trick to it. You can clearly see when the rope is getting no more momentum and is just swinging at peak swing and there’s a fairly generous timing for hitting jump. I got it on my first try the first time I played the game on the old Playstation and did it my first time here too.

Now go tell me about how you couldn’t get past that barrel in the Carnival Night Zone, you big babies.

Past the swinging rope is an admittedly rather large dick move. See this crane looking pathway?

Yeah, it collapses about mid-way up. If you panic and run forward too far or try jumping, it’s a good way to fall into the drink. But, keeping calm and walking in the opposite direction will keep our Gears safely on land. It’s a dumb see-saw jump, so we need to quickly run up the thing and leap to the platform above before the walkway collapses.

At the top of the area...

”It just looks like another brown boxy thing to me...”
“And IMPORTANT brown boxy thing!”
“So...what’s the plan?”
“We go in it and mash buttons until something happens.”

It is a good thing there is a rope capable of supporting three several hundred thousand pound mecha suits clambering up it connecting to this relay station. But, it’s some sort of mandatory edict for every fantasy/sci-fi ancient ruin in existence to have all areas accessible via gymnastics. So meh...

Past the tight-rope walking shenanigans we run into a few rogue airplanes flying around. They’re nothing special. They just fire rockets and junk. But, they do remind me of a very important fact... Does anyone remember a feature Gears possess that would...I don’t kind of helpful during this dungeon?

No? Anyone... Alright, pencils down kids.

As I recall...Gears can fucking FLY! And not just jetting forward haphazardly into the air. Like precision flying with the ability to hover in mid-air and the like. To rather sizable heights and distances at that. So it is just a wee bit absurd having a platformer dungeon in flying machines. I think this is a rare case of gameplay retardation, the distant and seldom seen cousin of cutscene retardation.

Anyhow, past the rope we find a human sized entry into this alleged relay station. Kind of hard to make out how to use anything in here.

Though....judging by that chair sticking out of the wall...I think we’re looking at everything at the wrong angle. It seems “Babel Tower” may not have always been a tower... Indeed...I think we saw this place once before... Oh...I don’t know.

10,000 years ago...Well, it only took 34 hours for the prologue to become relevant again. It’s still going to be another 30 or so before the events of it make any sense though. Anyhow, if we fiddle with the console in front of that chair on the wall then...

Ah. A train. Of course.

A ginormous train built for giant robot sized passengers. Sure, why not?

Once our Gears are safely secured abandoned by the nearest ladder, we’re free to clamber up to the next awkwardly positioned control room and able to begin another ancient technology thingamajig fiddling.

”Maybe it’s there...”
“We probably should have brought doc along...”
“No! That guy is trouble.”
“Huh. What did he do?”
“You didn’t hear about Billy’s dad?”
“The priest.”
“Oh. No I hadn’t he—hey! Something is flashing. I think I got it started.”

”So...should we strap in or...?”
“Ugh. This thing is going way too slow.”
“What, did you put it in granny gear? Here. See what this lever does.”
“Alright. Hmm... Doesn’t seem to be doi—“




”Cuz I think the crap is about to explode out of my ass from sheer G-Force...” least we didn’t have to platform up the entire tower. Things seem to be looking up for a change.

Music: Steel Giant

But, the universe simply will not allow things going easy to be part of Fei’s itinerary. As such, things start exploding.

Luckily, there just so happens to be a convenient faux-balcony just outside wherever we nearly de-railed our wall-train.

”Ugh...don’t tell me...”

"I've been waiting, Fei.”
”Oh, Goddammit!”
“Last time at sea, I was rendered unconscious by a surprise traitor, but that won't happen this time. I won't let you go up."
”That was ME that got knocked out. You just ran away for the like thirtieth time. Argh... Has this jerk been showing up while I was out?”
“Nope. I think he’s only got the hots for you, pal. Must be the ponytail. Rawr.”
“Oh ha-friggin-ha!”

"But I removed the recognition code and tracking."
”From what?”
“My Gear.”
“What about that uniform?”
“What? Why would I re—oh...”
“Ah crap...”

"Our back is to the wall, we can't run. I guess we have to fight... Here we go!"

Music: Knight of Fire

Alright, time for yet another battle against Ramsus and Miang. This time, Ramsus has his pretty sweet looking Wyvern Gear. You’ll recall he used this Gear against Id way back at the end of Act 1 and got his shit kicked in after roughly five seconds. But he’s since gotten his arms and legs glued back on and is ready for a second go at it.

Like every other battle against Ramsus, Miang is filling in as a support role. And also like every previous battle against the duo, we once more cannot target Miang or her Gear for unknown reasons. Probably the same reason we cannot fly in this dungeon. Anyhow, for this battle Miang’s Gear can restore 1200 HP every few turns. We can’t use the Wild Smile trick from the Haishao fight. Indeed, Wild Smile has no effect at all in this battle. Shame. So, we’re just going to have to beat him down the old fashioned way.

Wyvern only has two attacks. A physical slashing attack for 500-750 HP of damage a shot.

And a giant laser blast dealing 1000+ damage. Both only hit a single target. So overall Ramsus isn’t much of a threat. The jerk only has 5000 HP to deplete before the battle ends. But with Miang’s 1200 HP healing, it’s best just to get everyone to Attack Level 3 and unleash high end Deathblows in rapid succession the next time Miang heals her commander. Very easy battle, especially after Id and Stone’s Gear last chapter.

For an even easier time: Elly. EtherDoubler. Aerods. One round and the fight is over.

Music: Steel Giant

”Yes it is. See ya in a week or so, Rammy.”
*flies in front of Wyvern* "No Commander! Pull out!"
"Let go, Miang! I, I can't retreat now... Augh... guh...!"
"It's impossible with your wounds. Bridge! Secure the retreat! Main gun, elevation 0.8. Support fire 30! Fire!"

The Gebler flagship opens fire on our party’s position. Luckily, they have about as good aim as your average Stormtroopers. So Fei and the gang get by entirely unscathed as Ramsus runs off in defeat for the fifth time now.

The Gebler flagship’s bombardment is soon halted by the intervention of a friendly passing Chinese Anti-Personnel Orbital Cannon (you get a gold star if you get that reference.)

“Change heading, 180 degrees. Now! All ships full speed! Retreat from this position!"

Miang and Ramsus zoom onboard the Gebler ship as it turns around and gets the hell out of dodge...

"Looks like an air attack. Let's go."
”Nobody’s curious about where the hell that space laser came from?”
“Nah. Remember Fei: Don’t sweat the details! How many times do I have to tell you that?”
“Yeah yeah...”

Solaris Aerial Cruiser Concept Art