Monday, January 28, 2019

Wild Arms 3, Part 12 - Spirit House

Today on Wild Arms 3: I tackle the horror of game design that is The Abyss, and draw ever-closer to the final boss. We're almost there.

Okay, I'm going to spend as little time talking about The Abyss as possible. This is the game's big sidequest-dungeon, and it's 100 randomly-generated floors of absolute misery. Each floor is a maze, and you can't just walk to the end of any given floor because you have to collect all of the crystals on that floor before the exit opens. This means walking to practically every dead-end in sight, getting attacked all the while.

And speaking of being attacked, the place is full of these enemies that steal about 10% of your money on the first turn and run away on the second. The good news: Usually you can defeat them before the second turn, reclaiming your money. The better news: If you have any gella-enhancing abilities equipped, you'll actually get back MORE money. In other words, if you have a +80% Gella Boost ability equipped, at the end of the fight you'll get back the stolen money +80% of it. This makes these guys the best way to build up money in the game...if you have enough Gella Boost equipped. Every fight basically gives you 8% more Gella, and it adds up FAST.

However, like most things in this game, there's an element of BS involved: These things frequently ambush your party, and in this game an ambush leaves you with one character. Since there's no way one character can take them out in one turn (unless they have Justine equipped for insta-kill, or Escape equipped to flee), you're screwed every time this happens. In my case, it offset most of the Gella gains I was accruing from farming them, so I just moved on.

On floor 10 is a fairly easy boss with a cool name, and this is as far as the player needs to get. That's right, I don't have to do all 100 floors of the Abyss, thank the almighty. Just need to reach floor 10 to progress the main story. Floor 100 is where the final uberboss is, and I won't be going anywhere near that whole situation. The first 10 floors took me a couple hours to get through, and after the UFO tedium this place was an unwelcome timesink.

After the fight you get the choice to leave or continue. Choose continue by accident and you're stuck, plus floor 11 has significantly stronger enemies ready to kill you and make you repeat the first 10 floors (that's right, saving is disabled here). So it's a very good idea to take the "leave" option.

Why did I do all of that, you ask? The floor 10 boss gives up the Dragon Idol, which summons the 12th and final Medium...

...Zephyr. This guy is extremely badass. The fight itself isn't too bad (again, I'm well-overleveled from those tedious sidequests), and I get him as a summon.

This summon is one of the best in the game, if not the best. It does a massive amount of damage, far more than any other medium. The damage output of this thing actually makes it more efficient than Justine for one-shotting groups of enemies, even though Justine is an insta-kill. It sometimes misses, while Zephyr doesn't. I suppose this guy is the Bahamut of the game.

I upgrade my last two silver Mediums to Gold, and we're finally ready for the endgame. From here it's just a matter of tackling a bunch of dungeons in a row.

Here's my final Medium setup. Zephyr's spells aren't as useful as his summon, but he does have the Permanence spell (gives a character a buff that causes any other buffs that land on them at any point to be permanent for the rest of the battle, which is amazing). I stayed with my idea to give our MC the final Esper.

With all 12 Mediums, we can get into the evil lair of Siegfried. Let's get him!

Here's Virginia's last tool, which changes the properties of transparent blocks. It's used for a bunch of endgame puzzles, plus it opens the way to a ton of treasures you passed by earlier in the game. ...which I'm not going to worry about, because this game needs to draw to a close over here. The UFO sidequest just burned me out.

Meanwhile, the bad guys are lurking around in their base, holding Maya firmly. At first I thought they were overreacting a bit to her...

...but I was wrong. You see, Maya is actually super-powerful. Our first evidence of this is when she stops playing dead to stare down Melody. More on this in a bit.

An extremely important item is found in this dungeon: The Violator. This teaches an Esper the Finest Arts ability, which is basically this game's Omnislash. It does around 60,000 damage, in a game where the strongest powered-up regular attacks might do 2,000-3,000 at a time.

Meanwhile, back at the villains! Asgard has gone full Perfect Cell, explaining to the other bad guys that he has feelings on what's going on.

::Maya hangs limply::

AH! JESUS! Sudden creepy child out of nowhere! Horrible heavy metal music is heard in the distance while she brandishes a bloody knife and licks it.

She disappears as boiling blood rains from the heavens outside. The Weirdass Samus clone comes to life and we find out that it's a clone of Malik's hot mom. The Devil's hands have been busy.

Sudden boss fight! The gimmick for this one is that you can't damage it until you hit it with an ice spell, which turns it into a cat-shaped blob. What?

There are a couple of these in the final dungeon, which makes this an ideal place to build up. ...which I'm not gonna do. Nope, beelining for the end here.

Melody can't handle people disagreeing with her, and immediately goes on twitter to rant about it and call them dumb names like a 5th grader.

What follows is a fight with her and Malik in their new forms. They don't do anything new, it's an easy fight, and I'm pretty sure they're dead now. Probably. We'll see, there might be a 28th battle with them still in store.

Siegfried and his head-dildo are VERY displeased with the performance of Malik and Melody. If you want something done right, you've gotta do it yourself. That or send Asgard and Leehalt since they're still alive.

But wait! Maya springs to life and attacks Siegfried. I thought this would be the end of her, but instead they have a competitive fight. I did not expect that!

At the end of the fight, Maya pulls this gatling gun out from between her legs and annihilates Siegfried with it. I'm not making this up.

Meanwhile, our heroes escape from the enemy base aboard Lombardia. We didn't even have to save Maya because she just saved herself. As cool as that is, what was the point of, like, all of this?

Next up is a boss fight against Wyvern, which brings back Xenogears memories. Like all vehicle-based fights in this game, it's easy.

Val Venis' theme plays as the enemy base roars up into the sky, Fortress of Doom style.

Siegfried pops up totally fine even though he just got owned. What is he, John Cena? Also, it turns out that boss we just fought was only one of many Wyverns, which now appear as random fights as you fly around. Ugh.

"The Villain" Marty Scurll is the next person to talk to, and he unlocks the last town we'll be visiting.

Here, you look through a telescope to spot the location of the flying fortress so it'll appear on the map. The fortress in question is now called Deus Ex Machina, which is a great name for a final dungeon. Too bad it isn't the final dungeon. It probably should be, but a few more redundant dungeons follow it just to pad things out.

I explore the new town to find another Migrant Seal by a bunk-bed. These are like, the most important items in the game because they let you avoid higher levels of enemies. Especially in the endgame, where they can make the difference between a dungeon being a breeze or a hassle.

Here's Deus Ex Machina. Time to take the fight to Siegfried!

The villains are in disarray. Melody and Malik are probably dead, Asgard is missing, Maya just shot the place up and pranced away cackling or something, and Leehalt is...still Leehalt. What's worse, a mysterious third party has entered the scene. Someone is tapping into Hyades, the internet of Filgaia's DNA or something. Don't ask me to explain the story at this point. What's important is that someone else is messing with the villains and they don't know who it is. It's probably that little psycho that Malik saw earlier.

Our heroes crash through the wall of Deus Ex Machina. Talk about literally making an entrance!

Yep, great name. I was hoping this place would be an amazing techno-dungeon, but it's yet another bland locale that is largely indistinguishable from the other dungeons we've been through.

Maya is here too, lurking in the shadows.

Her and Virginia draw on each other before realizing who it is.

That you are, woman. Let's go get Siegfried.

But first! Boss fight with this thing that has a sword on its head!

Defeat it, and our next fight is against Leehalt and...sigh...clones of Melody and Malik. But first! Time for a hell of a revelation:

That's right, it turns out that the demons of Filgaia are actually the descendants of humans who fled Terra, aka Earth. There's a lot to unpack here about human nature and our ability to destroy our ecosystems...but I'm not going to do that because we're keeping things moving! Next boss!

Even as a creepy faceless clone, Melody is kinda sexy. I just like that the game found a way to shoehorn in yet ANOTHER fight with her and Malik even though they're dead. We're going to be in the final-final-final dungeon and get attacked by the corpses of these guys who do the exact same things as the other 37 times we fought them.

Another big revelation follows: Jet was created in a lab! Yeah, we kind of figured that out.

Don't be thinking you so bad jes' cuz you was in SOLDIER.

What follows is a scene where you have like five seconds before the party gets crushed by an incoming wall. I don't know what happens if it gets them. Do you game over and have to do the fight again? That'd be this game's style, since it wants everything to take as long as possible. Either way, I was already armed with the solution to this puzzle you have five seconds to figure out outta nowhere: Use Gallows' freeze ray on the wall. Superman 64 says hi! ...the game design, not the fact that Superman has a freeze ray.

With the Advocacy disposed of...again...our heroes finally confront Siegfried while striking their best "Let's Fighting Love" poses.

Siegfried drops yet another bomb: Our heroes are the descendants of demons/humans. Siegfried is one of the many who traveled here in the past. You see, the humans that crossed the stars were so advanced that they gave themselves all kinds of mechanical enhancements, which is why Siegfried looks the way he does.

Time for the battle we've been waiting for. He's equipped with Janus' spear, and unsurprisingly uses more powerful versions of all of Janus' moves. Turns out that Janus' use of Negative Rainbow was entirely on purpose as far as being a clue as to where his power came from.

Sick beam attack! Unfortunately his amazing battle theme from the original Wild Arms doesn't play here, and he gets one of the usual boss themes.

I unleash Finest Arts for the first time to win this fight quickly. Dishing out the game's strongest attack is a bit of a process: The character who has it needs to run out of ammo, then use Gatling while they have 100 FP. This'll make them punch a bunch of times (since they're out of ammo) and the last punch will trigger Finest Arts. It doesn't have any special animation, it's just a punch that does a massive amount of damage. It really trivializes a lot of lategame fights, and to be honest I'm not sure why they put it in the game.

One hit completely annihilates Siegfried. It uses up all 100 of the character's FP. It's best to give the ability to Clive, since he has the highest attack power of any character (which is exponentially magnified when using Finest Arts) and the lowest bullet-count. Unfortunately I upgraded his bullet count as much as possible over the course of the game, so it takes me a bunch of turns to get to where he can use Finest Arts in any given boss fight.

In retrospect I should have left him at his initial bullet count of 2, even though it would have made the rest of the game more tedious. Finest Arts really is the only way to fly in the endgame and the only way to beat some of the uberbosses. ...who I won't be fighting. You'd think this ability would have been unlocked by beating the final boss or something rather than found right before you fight all of the big bads (who you can now one-shot).

Siegfried explodes in a glorious flash of electric power. Wow. I was almost certain he'd be the final boss, but it certainly didn't feel like the game was over after my anticlimactic annihilation of him. And I'll admit, my interest-level in the game is quite a bit lower without him around anymore. It was a good call transplanting him from the original Wild Arms, because Janus and the Advocacy weren't doing it for me.

Next up is an escape sequence. Maya, who had time to change into a schoolteacher dress-sphere somewhere, insists on staying behind while everyone else escapes. Don't worry, she won't die.

Our heroes reluctantly leave her and go. I don't think they realize that she's like THE MOST POWERFUL OF ANY OF THEM.

Case in point, as a very not-dead Siegfried wanders out to challenge her again. This guy is so badass, and -really should have been the final boss- for reasons you will see.

Maya proceeds to completely BURY HIM IN RUBBLE.

As much as I hate to see Siegfried go... worth it

Oh wait, he's still not dead. Is ANYBODY ever actually dead in this game? He's in full-on beefed-up mecha form now. Still no ultra-badass Wild Arms final boss theme unfortunately...

What follows is another fight on Lombardia. This is probably the toughest vehicle-based fight in the game, which means that it's difficult to lose instead of the usual "impossible to lose".

With Siegfried defeated...again...he crashes to earth with this quote. And that, officially, is all she wrote for the main villain of the game.

As Deus Ex Machina burns in the distance, our heroes take in a moment of respite. Reminds me of the scene at the end of the highway in Final Fantasy VII. I love stuff like this.

A party follows, with dancing and merriment and Jet sitting off to the side scowling.

Screaming heavy metal music plays in the distance as the mysterious creepy child appears again. For some reason Shane-O-Mac thinks she's cool, so her heavy metal theme music becomes the BGM for an upcoming NXT PPV.

Shane then goes crazy and runs to a nearby shrine. This means...yes...the game isn't over. Deus Ex Machina and Siegfried would have been the perfect point to end the game on, but we still have one final chapter to go.

After going through the dungeon to find Shane, I must battle the fearsome Hydra. As far as Wild Arms 3 bosses go, this one is more impressive than most.

We also learn after the fight that the creepy little girl's name is Beatrice, and that she's some sort of virtual Lawnmower Man type character who broke out of Hyades and now wants to take over the world. Can we have Siegfried back? Get ready, 'cause this shit's about to get heavy: Technically Beatrice is a "Dream Demon", which means she interacts with people through their dreams. Her goal is to create a Filgaia where she can interact with everything, which means the tearing down of the old world via manipulation of the people in it.

I think I know what she wants: To love everyone, empty every bullet out of every ARM!

Without further ado: The theme music of Beatrice.

Next time: Final Villain Outta Nowhere.


  1. 100 levels without even being able to skip around? Good gravy.

    ...but you're still hungry.

    While it's entirely possible to go too far in reusing music from older games, Zeik's final battle theme showing up here would have been something.

  2. Man, you've trudged through this whole game for us. Hope something better is around the corner, what are you eyeing to play next?

    1. Finishing LTTP and Let's Go Pikachu, then I'm going to take some looks at Final Fantasy Adventure/Sword of Mana/Adventures of Mana. Three versions of the same game from three different decades.