Xenosaga Episode I Part 17: Love, Justice, Courage, and Giant Robots

Previously on Xenosaga: I guess the final dungeon appeared? Does anybody care? It’s time to hit the side quests.

We’re kicking this one off with a visit to a certain scientist in the Kukai Foundation. Technically, this bit is available as soon as you swing by the Kukai Foundation (Update #11, right after the Beach Episode), but I’m smooshing the whole adventure into one update, because that’s how narratives work.

So here’s Shion encountering Professor for the first time.

“Mysterious Old Man” is not a fan of humanity in general, though it’s entirely possible he’s just generally misogynistic. And excitable. Professor is not meant to be a role model.

He also might be a tweak self-centered.

Robot pieces are robot pieces.

Yes, see? AGWS suck, and always have.

Paranoid Old Man.

Reminder: Shion built her own robot. She… isn’t so giant.

Yes.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeees.

Alright, yeah, that makes sense.

Sure, that’s as good of an excuse for a fetch quest as any.

Shion is instantly into this. She’s probably going to fall asleep tonight dreaming of a giant KOS-MOS, and share her thoughts with Deviantart later.

So we officially are conscripted in the hunt for robot parts.

Yay! Stuff!

And “Mysterious Old Man” identifies himself as Professor. No, not “the professor”, he’s Professor.

You can explore Professor’s lab (Robot Academy), but there’s not much to see, save a giant robot launching platform, and what appears to be a piece of RAM big enough to crush a man.

ROBOT ROLL CALL! This quest technically began back on the Woglinde, when Sgt. Swaim (RIP) bequeathed us our first Door Decoder, which conveniently decoded a nearby door that held the Robot’s Right Arm.

The next relevant decoder was being hoarded by the ice numbnuts on the Cathedral Ship.

And its related door was hiding on the top floor of the Cathedral Ship’s office area. This housed the Robot’s Right Arm, so it’s entirely possible to have both arms before ever meeting Professor.

Robot’s Left Leg’s decoder is a reward for returning the sad woman’s engagement ring.

And the door is found on the Elsa of all places. Hope Captain Matthews isn’t going to miss it.

The next decoder is the reward for that stupid Bunnie tag minigame during the Old Miltia Virtual World.

And its corresponding door is hiding in the Laundromat of the Kukai Foundation. This effectively means you won’t be able to collect and return the Robot’s Right Leg until you can exploit that downtime while you’re off “apologizing” to Allen.

The decoder that is mentioned by Pink Bug is next. It’s hidden in the Durandal’s Park Area, but it won’t appear until Pink Bug has delivered the skinny. I guess The Brews aren’t that observant otherwise.

And the door hiding the Robot’s Head is up on the far right of the roofs above the Kukai Foundation. Note that this is 100% only accessible after (or during) the gnosis siege. So, technically, you could have all these pieces before heading to The Song of Nephilim.

The final relevant decoder is hiding on The Song of Nephilm itself, in the Third Tower, tucked away and hiding. It is easily missed, given the danger of the surrounding area. You can’t leave The Song until after the area is completed, so you can’t cash in your final decoder until it’s time for the final dungeon.

And the Robot’s Body is hidden way back at the Dock Colony in the basement of the Talk to Me! item shop. It’s a completely nondescript, “why would you ever return here” location, but it’s at least easy to get to when you know you have to go there (if you found this door on your first visit, there is a menu in Xenosaga reminding you of its location).

Now we’ve caught ‘em all, let’s see how the Professor’s story goes.

This chapter activates if you’ve acquired both arms.

For the record, you can collect these pieces before ever meeting Professor, so the “faster” thing could be a meta joke. At this point, the only “trouble” involved in collecting pieces was like one gnosis.

And Shion tries to play hardball when Professor indicates that he might squelch on the deal.

But nothing is going to get done until someone cleans up the place.

Yes, of course I’ll actually do what I said I would if you just do this one more thing.

As we blast all the junk around the Academy to “clean” the area, I consider that, were this a modern Persona game, this is likely where Shion would gain a maid costume…

Pats on the head all around!

Marvel as “Robot Arms” are transformed into “Robot Arms”.

Throni Blade is our first Robot Summon. Yes, each set of Robot Pieces is converted into an ether attack that Shion can utilize. Given Shion doesn’t have any multi-hit tech attacks until late in the game, I want to say this is here to compensate. Throni is pretty alright, but it won’t set the world on fire. Because offensive ether attacks may only be utilized once per battle, and drain limited EP, they’re very situational.

Return with a bot pair of legs, and Chapter 3 begins.

Oh, this oughtta be good.

Before the term “intern” became popular…

Here comes the Professor’s very own Allen.

Hey!

In an act of defiance, we will talk to Scott like a real human.

I mean… Assistant Scott.

Assistant Scott now joins in the button pressing fun when modifying a robot piece.

Fun fact! I can’t type Dominion Tank Police without adding a “Police” to the end.

Dominion Tank Police roll out! I like that half the animation is the tank just… leaving.

I’ll form the head with Chapter 4.

Oh no!

Welp, looks like this relationship has soured pretty quickly.

Aw, I guess he’s not completely Allen #2. This model has a spine.

Professor has a problem.

Unlike Allen, Assistant Scott has the support of Shion.

Professor is mad at everybody today!

Assistant Scott is only making things worse.

You can’t fire Assistant Scott, he quits!

Screw that guy!

This Robot Head is clearly a Prince of All Cosmos prototype.

Seraphim Bird is the next attack. Zoom, and whatnot. If you haven’t noticed by now, each Robot Attack is an anime vehicle mixed with a Biblical Angelic Order. Ah, remember when mixing anime and Christianity was new and novel? … No?

Bring back Robot Body and the Final Chapter begins.

Friendship is important!

It’s always great when a plan comes together.

But let’s not ask about Assistant Scott.

I’m sure this will go well!

We can convert the body piece, but we still need to link everything together.

Technically, it’s six robot pieces, and four kinds of robots, Professor.

The East is not burning red.

No giant robot for you without the power of friendship.

So we have to go retrieve Assistant Scott, who is drowning his sorrows at that same bar Allen utilized a couple updates back. Guess these guys are pretty alike.

Shion literally doesn’t even speak, Assistant Scott just immediately comes around to what needs to be done.

And the finale.

Where would we be without Love, Justice, and Courage?

Professor doesn’t believe anything needs to be said.

Shion needs to meddle!

Or not…

D’aww. Friendship. I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson about codependency and enabling.

And true feelings are revealed while tapping on keyboards. This is the power of engineering!

And we’ve got our own (invincible) giant robot.

So, good news, bad news. First the bad news: Erde Kaiser requires all of Shion’s (non-expandable) Ether slots. This means that, while Erde Kaiser is equipped, Shion does not have access to her valuable healing ethers, nor her completely unique “steal” command. She can still use special techs, of course, but any other ether skills are out of the question. Also, Erde Kaiser requires 60 EP to use, which Shion should have, without any extra grinding or skill point allocation, around level 50. You’ll note she’s currently around 30. However, there is an accessory that cuts EP cost in half, so 30 is much more manageable. The good news…

♪ Go fighting robot Erde Kaiser! ♪

♪ Go fighting robot Erde Kaiser! ♪

♪ Fight for Love, Justice, and Courage! Fight for everything we’re not!♪

♪ With all the power of Professor and Assistant Scooooooooot! ♪

Erde Kaiser always does an insane 9999 of damage to all enemies. Always. You can only obtain this attack at the end of the game, but at that point, there’s a whole two enemies that will still be standing after summoning Erde Kaiser, and one of them topples over after a follow-up hit from MOMO. Technically, with enough “ethers”, you could conquer the entire final dungeon by just walking around, summoning Erde Kaiser every battle, and then guzzling something to refill EP. You have to work for it a little, but Erde Kaiser is almost literally the win button for this game.

About the robot and his mistress, Erde Kaiser is basically the god of all robots in this series, so the name seems appropriate. Additionally, he sports a very “moon” theme, which fits deliberately with Shion’s other moon references (the “lunar blade” attacks, her attraction to bunnies, etc.), and, according to ElloniaNightingale’s Battle Quote FAQ on Gamefaqs, the literal translation of that haiku is…

Trying so hard to stop
creating mounds of corpses
the way of war gods.
As the full moon rise
tears flow from my eyes.

Radical. Shion’s second favorite robot.

So what other sidequests are there? Well, we can take those –seeds- we found on the Cathedral Ship and bring them to Luty at the Dock Colony.

She’s a happy mute.

Return a little later in the game, and the seeds are coming along nicely.

And at the end of the game, it blooms.

She speaks!

Shion solved all the problems in the universe forever! Yay!

Nope!

For our troubles, we get a Tech Upgrade Z, which is useful, but it’s no Door Decoder.

There are a pair of “super bosses” in Xenosaga Episode 1. Both are found by poking around completely arbitrary areas and, more importantly, having the right character at the front of your party. To my knowledge, there’s nothing in the game that indicates you would ever have to put a particular character in the lead, so, unlike “accidently” finding Emerald Weapon or fighting to the end of a dedicated dungeon, the hidden bosses in this game pretty much require a FAQ.

So, discoverable only by Junior, Great Joe is hiding in a random shower on the Durandal.

Great Joe kind of has a cowboy/gunslinger motif going on.

Any fans of Xenogears will remember the reoccurring comic relief character Big Joe. Aside from being completely random like his forefather (or descendant?), Great Joe has basically nothing to do with any other Joes, and is primarily just an easter egg. Ultimately, he could be named anything.

And here’s Great Joe enjoying Junior’s latest tech.

Great Joe uses a few status effects and hits hard. He’s no Ruby Weapon, but he’d probably be difficult for an unprepared party. Other than that, he’s a pretty straightforward boss.

Also note that Great Joe is gnosis type. His “clothes” are very… organic. Also, I think he has cannons attached to his armpits, which is unusual for most humans.

Here’s KOS-MOS’s final tech, the Rad Dragon. It’s just an excuse to hit things.

When you defeat Great Joe, he doesn’t fade or anything, just starts seeing birdies.

He disappears, but grants Junior a new technique… and a swimsuit. Weird guy.

Soul Rhapsody is the new technique, and it sucks up gnosis. Why should you bother with this attack? Well, for every five gnosis it defeats, it powers up a new ether attack that Junior acquired…

Yes, now Junior can summon Great Joe like Shion summons giant robots.

Great Joe isn’t as great (ha!) as Erde Kaiser, but, if you feel like grinding gnosis into that special tech, he’ll get stronger as you go, and could conceivably come in handy. Mind you, earning this technique at the end of the game, when you’ve already got a host of other options available, is kind of pointless… but, hey, why not? Do it for Joe.

For our second boss, drag MOMO across the rooftops of that bar we always seem to be returning to within the Kukai Foundation.

Similarly out of nowhere, here’s Mintia.

Sure!

Don’t worry, AGWS are stupid anyway.

Mintia is considered “far”, so bully on me for not including Junior in my battle party.

Mintia can be a complicated battle if you make it one. Mintia doesn’t really hit hard, but the majority of her attacks are meant to take you down in HP no matter your defense. She’s got poison (which, reminder, in Xenosaga Episode 1, always saps a set amount of HP based on your max), and other moves that work like Final Fantasy’s gravity magic, always sapping a set percentage of HP.

This works “well” with her other big attack, which saps all of a character’s health save 1 HP. If you’ve got a big pile of HP, this has the potential to restore all of Mintia’s HP. She’s got Death’s 7,777 HP, so here she refills more than half of it by sucking down on KOS-MOS’s absurd HP total.

So, basically, the key to victory is to keep your HP at a level where you’re still alive, but not leaving much for Mintia to “eat”. There’s a huge difference between Mintia stealing 300 or 3,000 HP… so basically this entire battle is based on ignoring every JRPG impulse and leaving your HP NOT maxed out. Neat way to flip the script.

I’m not going to admit that, thanks to my stupidly huge HP totals, this battle took me forty minutes.

This allows MOMO to summon that Shuma Gorath thingy during a tech attack. It works like Final Fantasy’s “morph” technique, and allows MOMO to transform gnosis into items. Most of the items are sellable valuable gems, but this is also (inexplicably) how you acquire chaos’s final weapon, The Holey Gloves.

Oh yes, all of chaos’s “weapons” are gloves of degrading thickness (because he “is” the weapon, so anything that allows more power to leak through is stronger), so his final weapon is a delicious holey/holy pun. Bless you, Xenosaga.

Mintia is never seen again.

About these super bosses, with Great Joe’s “goofy” animations and vocal cues, and Mintia’s intricate design and “pet” eldritch horror, I can’t help but wonder where these designs originated. Both of these bosses are, of course, “noncanon”, and never return for future installments (not even so much as a cameo, if I recall). My pet, completely unsupported theory? Both of these bosses, with their half gnosis/half human motifs, were early Xenosaga character designs before the “rules” of gnosis (no switching for anyone but Testaments, no functioning “half breeds”) were established. Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I just want to imagine a world where super serious Wilhelm has goth lolita and cowboy sidekicks.

MOMO doesn’t have her own special summons, but she does have a few unique costumes. One is hidden in the Cathedral Ship (and I’m not going back for a screen capture), and the other is completely arbitrarily hidden in the Second Tower of The Song of Nephilim. You’ll miss it if MOMO isn’t the head of your party… and why would you be using MOMO in The Song? She’s not even MOMO there!

MOMO’s armor ethers let her go full magical girl.

Here’s her first available “combat armor”, Star Wind.

This one provides a lot of support skills. Star Veil (pictured) is “magic barrier” and Star Action will max someone’s action points from 0 to 6. Reminder: everyone receives 4 AP a round just standing there.

And here’s the one from The Song of Nephilim, Starlight.

It has more combat oriented spells, and the ability to summon a particularly pissy Bunnie.

These armors… suck. Yes, the transformation improves MOMO’s stats, but you can only transform for a round or three, and using the most powerful ether or special technique for each armor will instantly cause MOMO to revert. And you have to equip all ether/special techniques beforehand, so if the transformation goes poorly (like, because MOMO has the lamest HP pool of any character), you’re stuck practically defenseless in normal form. Yes, they make MOMO more viable, but every other character is already more viable, and they don’t have to transform to get there. Basically, they’re a cute novelty, and, while I’m sure someone has found a way to exploit them to conquer the game, they’re pretty much useless in normal play.

And that’s about it for “bonus content” for Xenosaga Episode 1. There’s a third “Super Boss” in the form of Ace Pilot, a mech hiding back on the U-TIC Ship from Junior’s introductory chapter, but that fight is basically just an HP attrition affair, and doesn’t offer anything interesting in the way of plot or prizes or… anything, really. Just an excuse to use your AGWS for once, but who cares?

Other than that, we’ve seen everything in Xenosaga Episode 1. Only one thing left to do…

Next time on Xenosaga: All good things must fall apart into 28,000 pieces.

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