The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 77: Episode LXXIV: The Platformer Castle in the Sky

Episode LXXIV: The Platformer Castle in the Sky

Music: Omen

According to Perfect Works, Babel Tower is 5121 meters tall. Or roughly three miles and 320.3 yards. There had DAMN WELL better be something at the top of this lousy thing or else that dude we rescued from the Ethos is going to have more to worry about than being unable to speak without fifteen ellipses per sentence..................................

After our little train romp and platforming ascent, we get a brief breather in which the gang explores linear oversized vent shafts... I think it is a Xenogears dungeon designer mandate that there must be at least one boring straight corridor segment of every area.

Down the little gap in the cap above, there is another human sized control room we can explore. Good thing the power is still fully active in this place 10,000 years later. And they do not have LCD monitors installed...

Anyhow, from here we can flip switches to rotate a giant mirror above where we fought Ramsus... Not...sure what that’s all about...

We can also check to see communications are active. Somehow. While standing on a monitor and typing upside-down. Sure, why not? We can also unlock a passage further down the previous corridor. So that’s nice.

At this point in the dungeon, random battles make their return. Most of ‘em are unremarkable. Except this little guy. He’s special. This is a Fuel Tank. Slap this little drone around and...

...He’ll happily float over and restore 600 Fuel to one of our Gears. Considering we haven’t had a re-fill since we left the Yggdrasil, that’s nice of him.

However, abuse the Fuel Tank privileges and the drone will take issue and violently suicide bomb the entire party for a sizable chunk of damage. Sheesh. No wonder this space ship ended up taking a nose dive into the planet.

After a bit more vent shaft shenanigans we get to err...

...are those streets on the wall...? Hey... HEY! We’ve seen this place before!

It’s the ant-farm city from the prologue. I told you people not to tap on the glass. Now look what’s happened! Sheesh.

Before we begin our giant robot parkour session, there is a friendly fixer Gear hanging out in the corner that will re-fill our HP and Fuel for a nominal price. Good thing currency has apparently remained a constant for ten millenniums. And language as well, other than those Solaris jerks that started talking moonspeak German.

So this section...this section kinda sucks. It’s neat to look at but it is full to the brim with dick-move platforming. You see, we’re not entirely just clambering up sideways buildings. We also need to leap onto platforms to ascend to higher levels. Said platforms are actually those Traffic Jam jerks from the beginning of the dungeon. And yes, each time we jump on one of ‘em it triggers yet another mandatory battle. Joy.

The trouble with platforming in this section is two-fold. First off: if you fuck up 90% of the time it means having to start the entire segment from the very beginning.

Two: There are still random battles in this area. The way Xenogears handles random battles is that it will load them in the background a few seconds before the fight begins, making the transition between map and in-battle just a second or two long. The thing is, there’s about a two-three second lag time between when the battle begins loading and when it begins. During said time, you can still move around the map...but jumping is disabled. So, if you’re doing platforming and don’t realize a battle is about to begin, it’s a pretty good way to go for a jump and end up running straight off the edge.

On the old Playstation, you could detect random battles looming by the Playstation’s drive spinning-up just before one begins. But on modern consoles where disc drives no longer sound like a machine attempting to pass a kidney stone...that method no longer works particularly well. Doubly so on emulators or PSN classic releases.

Anyway, at the very top of the dead city we find the most bullshit jump of ‘em all. Our target is WAY down there. I took this screenshot while turning the camera. We actually have to make this jump blind, with our only directions being to aim between the two roads on the wall.

Square is making you work for getting to the mid-way point of this damn game.

After that nonsense, we at last get to climb up to the summit of Babel Tower. Hallelujah!

"It seems that it's true. Shevat was here before. Look around."
”Says who? How do we know the top of this stupid thing didn’t just break off somewhere?”
“Fei, this thing is mostly hollow at the bottom with an entire intact city at the top and it has yet to collapse. Unless the moon used to be attached to it, I think we would have noticed if part of it toppled over. I mean look...”

"Oh yeah! Is there any comm equipment nearby?"
"I don't see anything else but..."
”You guys hear something...?”
"Fei! Look up! Something is closing in! ... It's a Gear!"

”I don’t think so.”
“Hey Fei...does this thing look...sort of familiar to you?”
“Other than being another stupid Gear that needs to get spin-kicked in the face? Not really.”

“Many people have tried to get in, but Seibzehn and I remove them."
"Wait a minute. We just want to..."
"Get ready!"

Music: Knight of Fire

Boss Battle time. Meet Seibzehn. It’s not quite as much of a push-over as Ramsus. But particularly threatening, it is not.

Seibzehn seems to enjoy pro-wrestling moves like powerslams and leg drops on Gears’ faces. Along with the occasional flying headbutt. All these techniques only do around 700-800 HP of damage a pop to a single character. So, we’re not in any danger of being robot wrestled to death anytime soon.

Later on it can also unleash a missile volley which, while looking somewhat impressive, still only does in the ballpark of 800 damage. Give or take a hundred depending on Ether defenses.

The biggest issue against this bruiser is its absurdly high defenses. Most normal physical attacks are lucky to break triple digit damage. Vierge is lucky to get into double digits. So, we’ll need to rely mostly on Deathblows to chip away at Seibzehn’s 10,000 HP. There’s also another little snag...

This boss is equipped with a Frame Restore accessory and will heal itself just about every other turn for 400 HP of damage. Kind of annoying, that.

The best way to deal with this rocket powered jerk is to have Fei and another character build up Level 3 Deathblows and unleash them in a row while another character sticks to lower level stuff to negate those lousy Frame HP restorations. Elly is pretty useful for busting out Ether attacks, as those do 300-400+ a pop.

Alternatively: Elly. EtherDoubler. Aerods. Two round victory. 45 second fight.

"Yes, Queen Zephyr."

Well, at least we didn’t climb up here for nothing.

Music: The Wounded Shall Advance Into the Light

"The queen is awaiting for your arrival above."
”Yeah, well how do we make it up there. Is there an elevator or something?”
“Just fly up with your booster.”
“Ah! Ri—wait... Our boosters...? I forgot about those... Then why didn’t we just f...”

“There is an 'Anima Relic' in Shevat... We can't afford to have them align before preparations are complete.”
“It's meaningless if it is not compatible with our type.”
“You want to bury all of Shevat?”
“What of the 'Animus'?”
“There are others. We must respond severely so this doesn't happen again.”
“What about the Shevat gate? As long as it is there, we can't get in.”
“Easy. We just use Achtzehn's gravity cannon to compensate for the time-space warp.”
“Achtzehn? Is it operational?”
“Re-education is complete. It is ready. The airborne squad is already assembled.”
“Any side effects?”
“The regulated 71st Airborne should have no problems.”
“Well then, I look forward to this.”

Eldridge Concept Art – Like a tiny fraction of the front shaft is the entirety of Babel Tower.