Xenosaga Episode III Part 11: The Under Labyrinthos Dance

Previously on Xenosaga: KOS-MOS is up, Black Testament is out, and Shion convinced the rest of the gang to storm Labyrinthos to either destroy or save the universe. It’s got to be one of those.

Picking up exactly where we left off last time, Shion comments to herself (for like the sixth time in this game) that it’s time to hit the shops again. Are there people out there that don’t compulsively check inventories for new items?

In a cute bit of continuity, immediately after the Black Testament fight (during which Voyager blew a hole in the place and KOS-MOS started swinging around pieces of the ship), you’re not allowed back in the hangar for a while. You’re not missing anything, but I guess someone has to clean up after all those cutscenes.

Nothing to do on the Elsa, so we may as well cut across Miltia to Labyrinthos. If you’d like, you may re-explore any old locations.

But we’re kind of in a hurry here. Heat death of the universe and all that.

Problem: We’re not technically allowed in Labyrinthos.

Solution: Kill everybody.

Ziggy was introduced to the franchise infiltrating a U-TIC base, and now, here we are, fourteen years earlier, doing the exact same thing, slaughtering the same guys.

Actually, thanks to time travel, Ziggy might be re-killing the exact same dudes.

After that little starter battle, the dungeon proper begins. Let’s see, it’s 8:41, and we’ve got the full party again for the first time since the mystic tomb-y place. We’ve also got Professor and Assistant Scott as guest characters, as somebody is going to have to hook up those Vessels of Anima when we find ‘em.

The lobby area of the ANTC is now technically an enemy infested “dungeon”, but you’re still not allowed to use traps. There’s no real reason to explore this lobby again, but it’s there if you want to.

Exploring the rest of the ANTC is off limits, though.

So let’s explore Labyrinthos! Again!

The last time we visited Labyrinthos (fourteen years from now), we crept in through the sewers. Now we’re going in through the ANTC entrance, so that’s a good enough excuse for a completely different dungeon. Does this place even have a front door?

The first area is a pair of hallways surrounding a central “command room”. The west side is blocked by bars (but is hiding a red segment door), so the east side is the way to go.

Slightly more advanced U-TIC soldiers stalk the hallways, but they’re not advanced enough to turn around and face their doom.

Those hover-dorks from the XS2 Ormus Stronghold also make a return for this dungeon. Guess they’re reliable, middle of the game monsters.

That command room in the center of the opening area is not going to be accessible yet.

Next area is the main “hub” of this dungeon. It appears to be blocked off by bars, but you can sneak off the side on those pipes to…

Some seriously spacious ventilation ducts. When are supervillains going to learn to stop building these things!?

Past the ventilation duct is the other side of that elevator that leads up to where Shion’s mom is being treated.

Shion considers making a mad dash to save her family, but she’s going to be a good girl and not endanger the timeline for selfish reasons.

Yet.

Now we’re on the other side of those bars in the hub area. This elevator is exactly what we want to use, but we need a keycard to operate it. Guess what we’ll be looking for for most of this update!

This game is so insistent that you hit a shop every time a new mission starts, yet there’s always a shop at every other save point. Hmph.

This dungeon is now a lot of hallways punctuated with random rooms. It’s like it’s a real evil office building! By all accounts, this is Margulis’s room.

There’s an update file to be found.

… And Jin’s Swimsuit. What’s Margulis doing with that? I’ve got a few theories…

I’m trying to save the swimsuits for their own update, but here’s Jin’s tremendously more modest than his XS2 swimsuit swimsuit.

Here’s an evil business auditorium. Can you imagine U-TIC team building exercises? Do you think they cover “what to do in case of cyborg infiltration”?

It appears that your average U-TIC employee isn’t all that dedicated.

If you sneak into this dude’s room, and then destroy anything, you’re in for a battle. He’s asleep standing up, but apparently a light sleep stander.

I think this is kind of a “trick”, as any items you find in the sleeping guard room aren’t really that great. On the other hand, it’s not like it’s a difficult battle.

We’re about halfway through the game, so right about here is where characters start learning their Level 2 Special Attacks. Here’s Jin modeling his swimsuit and matching lightning sword.

PUZZLE TIME!

The deal here is that you are to push two blocks onto those faintly green glowing squares to blast open a pair of doors. The catch is that you don’t really “push” these blocks so much as blast an adjacent block so… Oh, just watch the gif.

The west exit hides an ES item.

And once we open the east exit…

We receive a hefty amount of cash for blowing up both doors without having to reset the puzzle midway. Handy!

Past the puzzle lies our pathos for the day.

It’s (surprisingly mobile) Sellers arguing with (surprisingly alive) Dr. Joachim Mizrahi.

Sellers is basically telling Joachim to get back to work, but Joachim says that Kevin and Sellers already did all the good stuff, just leave me alone, I want to play with my dollies.

Mad scientist fight!

Joachim is pretty much done with U-TIC at this point. Dude sure makes a great patsy.

Joachim retires to his lab, and MOMO decides to chase after her daddy. Shion nods in approval.

MOMO alone enters Mizrahi’s lab. Hey, remember this place?

Glimpsed only briefly in a flashback during XS1, this is the MOMO hatchery. Once again, the XS franchise’s dedication to properly rebuilding locations is oddly impressive.

As we know, MOMO is incapable of convincing deception.

Joachim immediately accepts MOMO and asks for her assistance.

Daddy-Daughter Day is a success for at least one party member.

Joachim recognizes MOMO’s Realian-ness immediately. Complete conjecture here, but Joachim Mizrahi is a surprisingly spiritual mad scientist. It’s not confirmed (or denied) here, but it’s possible Joachim believes he’s talking to a straight-up ghost of his deceased daughter, a Realian “Ghost of Christmas Future”, or exactly what is happening, his life’s work is time traveling. Point is, Joachim seems like the kind of guy that would take any of those explanations in stride. I mean, MOMO isn’t exactly in disguise here…

Either because he’s genre savvy or he’s into talking to teenage artificial life forms, Joachim “confesses” that the reason he explored the mad science of the Zohar and its related mystical items was to revive his lost daughter. Basically “My daughter went to Heaven. Well, better get to work finding Heaven.”

And he explains the UMN. Get Shion in here!

Apparently the space internet of Xenosaga is also the collective subconscious of all of humanity (and some Realians). Though I guess the name Unus Mundus Network might have been a tip off there. (And thank noted phantom Torzelbaum over at Talking Time for pointing that out nearly a year ago.)

But Joachim laments the fact that, while he tried to hook up Proto-MOMO to the UMN to download Sakura’s consciousness (or something), it didn’t work out. MOMO is her own girl.

But he’s cool with it! Yay!

Seriously, he knows he’s talking to MOMO, right?

“Like, exactly like you.”

And then Joachim seems to have a flash of realization, and decides he “must stop them” for the future of adorable artificial adolescents everywhere.

“Elevator to my inevitable death, activate!”

MOMO is left behind in her own womb.

Happy/sad MOMO.

Hugs!

You may recall that previous Xenosaga Episodes ended with a post by yours truly chronicling all the characters, where are they now, where are they going, etc. I’ve determined that might suck for Xenosaga Episode 3, as some characters “wrap up” well before the finale, and it makes a lot more sense to talk about, say, Ziggy when he actually has his big cathartic denouement, and not six posts later. So, moving forward, when a character finishes their arc, I’ll take a more focused look at the character and what they did in the franchise.

So that’s basically all preamble for this: Sorry, MOMO, you’re done.

MOMO was probably the biggest loser when Xenosaga changed from “anthology” format to “three episodes”. MOMO clearly had a character arc planned out from day one… it’s just an arc that ends about half way through Episode 2 (reminder, originally intended to be part of Episode 1). MOMO is alone, she meets Ziggy, gains a surrogate father, finds out her dad might be crazy, appeals to her frigid mother, reveals her shared past with Junior/Sakura, and then finds out her dad wasn’t so bad after all. The end.

And then, for Episode 3, she… does pretty much nothing. The preceding scene with her dad is about all she’s got.

It’s a shame, too, because most of the rest of the cast is a series of immortals generally set in their ways. Spoilers: chaos isn’t going to change much over the course of three episodes. But MOMO is, essentially, a teenager, and there’s a lot of potential there. No, I don’t want to see MOMO’s goth phase (this is a lie), but you can really get away with a lot of character growth with a previously isolated teen that is thrown into extraordinary circumstances.

Then again, maybe that’s just every JRPG ever…

Regardless, point is that MOMO got all her character moments back in XS1/XS2, and she could have easily been glued to the Elsa bridge for this game, and nothing would change. Go read her description from the end of Episode 2, and note that nothing changes.

I guess it’s nice that she got to hang out with her dad for two minutes.

Alright, MOMO, your big scene is over, let’s get back to dungeon times.

A little further ahead, Ziggy, commander of stealth, stops the team at the sight of a pair of dudes we probably shouldn’t kill.

Yep! Kevin wasn’t just randomly bossed around by Kiddy Shion, he also distinctly hung out with Suou Uzuki. News to Shion!

They leave without noticing the party. Fun fact: if Young Kevin met KOS-MOS, the universe would collapse.

So let’s check the room they wandered out from.

The electric bill for this facility has got be nuts. Somebody turn off a monitor once in a while!

Suou, the guy we’ve seen exclusively involved in U-TIC machinations since we got back to the past, is actually working with U-TIC! Gasp!

Shion thinks MOMO noticed her mom’s name on the list of subjects, but…

What? Really? I mean, Allen and Shion both were looking at this list earlier, and they somehow missed Shion’s name? Maybe I’m just weird, but I can pull my name out of a random line of text from thirty yards away. I mistakenly assume people are talking about me when they’re complaining about being devoured by “The Gobbling Blob”.

And Jin indicates that he knows more than he’s letting on.

Jin, tell your sister what you know. The whole of existence is in danger!

Oh, that’s not good. That’s an Asura Realian. You might not remember those things…

But Shion does. Bad memories. Dead parent memories.

“You rarely see giant sword arms on nurse Realians.”

Well, that explains how they got in. I mean, the elevator is right over there…

Yep! Your dead fiancée built the Realians that killed your parents! Then again, he also built the robot that wound up killing him, so maybe that’s fair? Point is: Kevin was really bad at his job.

Jin is concerned for his sister. Not concerned enough to tell her the truth, but concerned, all the same.

Yeah, let’s keep going. For the mission.

But, hey, keycard! Yay! Now we can use that elevator.

And the hallway Kevin and Suou left through is a shortcut back to that elevator. Good. Shion needed a break.

Going down?

And now for a monorail ride. You may recall that we took a monorail from the sewer area of Labyrinthos to the Zohar room during XS2, and this is basically the same deal.

In fact, this room is very similar to the sameish area in XS2.

“Sameish” because this area has a “secret” elevator…

That Jin has used before. When, you ask?

Xenosaga is being clever again. This elevator leads to a catwalk above the Zohar Room entrance.

This would be the exact same catwalk that Jin uses to save the party during XS2. No one was asking “how did Jin get up there,” but here’s your answer.

Naturally, this catwalk leads to a secret “ceiling” entrance to the Zohar Room. You’d think U-TIC would lock that kind of thing down, but nope!

And this is, naturally, the exact same room that housed the Zohar/Proto Omega/Cecily & Cathe during XS2. Junior! Scratch your name into the wall so your future self will be confused in fourteen years!

And we get to watch Suou and Margulis hanging out. This is one “retcon” that at least makes a certain amount of sense, as both Jin and Margulis trained with Jin’s grandfather, presumably Suou’s father. Suou has probably known Margulis since he was in short shorts.

Margulis reaffirms that he’s been in Heinlein’s pocket for at least the last decade.

And it’s cute that they pay some lip service to the fact that Pope Jerkass is really interested in Proto Omega, his ultimate undoing.

Oh, and Kevin is here, too. So I guess everybody in U-TIC but Mizrahi was responsible for the end of the (that) world.

What’s that?

chaos and KOS-MOS are wincing for some reason, and nobody knows why.

Erde Kaiser Zohar?

“Ya know, aside from these two children Realians that we stuck in tubes because we’re assholes.”

Hey, that is a good question. Wait… are you going to start sticking Shion’s mom in a tube?

Realians don’t feel fear? Someone should tell MOMO that. But I guess the explanation (finally) for Realians like Cecily & Cathe being bullied into Zohar experiments is that Realians don’t feel fear like humans, so they don’t freak out like, say, Voyager did when he encountered U-DO during Pied Piper.

Coming into contact with U-DO/the Zohar can make your body disappear, eh? Oh, wait, we actually knew that from practically the start of the franchise when random space dude evaporated after touching the Zohar. Wonder where those evaporated consciousnesses go…

“In order to control the Zohar, we must use Lemegeton and convey human will from the Vessels of Anima via the U.M.N.”

It really bothers me how this obvious technobabble is starting to make sense to me. Lemegeton (the program Grimoire of A Missing Year designed back on Earth) allows “human will” to influence and potentially control the most powerful relic in the cosmos.

“But that results in direct contact with U-DO and U-DO invokes primal fear in human beings. Humans reject others. Those who are rejected are overcome with fear of isolation. That fear is even stronger than that of death since humans are weak.”

But a human going straight to U-DO invokes that previously mentioned “primal fear”. Realians don’t have that problem, but what happens to a human that has rejected all the rest of humanity? Do they become some kind of monster? Do they get… salty?

“The Realian consciousness unavoidably suffers stress since it acts as a wall to suppress the human fear of U-DO.”

So Cecily & Cathe were (are?… damn time travel) just there so Pope Jerkass wouldn’t freak out when trying to control Proto Omega/The Zohar. Makes you wonder what Abel, current pilot of Omega, has going on upstairs.

“BTW, Vector is on board.”

It’s commented that Pope Jerkass wouldn’t like knowing that Vector is participating, so screw him, he doesn’t have to know. He’ll be vaporized soon enough, anyway.

JIN, YOU INCREDIBLE DOUCHE, JUST TELL SHION WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!

Anyway, past Voyeur’s Corner is a savepoint and an elevator. That elevator leads to…

The Anima room!

Professor is excited!

“Assistant Scott? My science crowbar, please.”

Or I guess they just open with the press of a button. At least they’re yet another thing in Xenosaga that evokes a coffin.

“Hey, it’s that ES we beat up during XS1!”


There’s your ES rundown, folks.

Three are ready to go. Let’s see here… Dan, Judah, and Simeon? Just a guess.

And, yes, there are only eleven, because Asher is busy getting ready for the intro of XS2.

Evidently that’s wrong!

Reminder:

But I guess for now we’ll claim it’s some kind of U-TIC/Vector weapons deal.

Professor ain’t got time for postulation. Let’s get those giant robots ready!

So Dinah, Zebulun, and Reuben are just stealing the Anima Relics from their past selves, but Old Asher already has its Anima, so we’re kind of stuck there. Also, I kind of love the idea of Professor just jamming some other Vessel of Anima into the Asher and hoping for the best.

But Asher gets a consolatory Erde Kaiser engine instead! Rock! Oddly enough, this will be important at the end of the game.

Junior is adorably defensive of Asher using nonstandard parts. chaos takes it in stride.

Maybe… that’s not a good idea.

And an alarm goes off.

Professor notes that he was using U-TIC gear to get the ESes ready, so, yeah, he’s not exactly stealthy.

ESes! Transform and hover out!

Middle of the game, time for a power-up.

Everyone considers Virgil’s nonsense spiel from back at the tomb, aka the last time this happened.

chaos knows more than he’s letting on, but even noting that feels redundant at this point.

This is one of those weird gameplay disconnects that happens on occasion. Since their (real) introduction in XS2, it’s been stated that controlling an ES is difficult and “taxing” for a human being. Yet there’s never any indication of that during the ES sections, and we even saw Allen co-pilot one of these bots. But, sure, we’ll be careful.

“What was that, chaos?” “Just foreshadowing! Don’t worry about it!”

So now we have the ability to use Level 2 anima nonsense while piloting the ESes. This also means that the anima gauge will fill up faster, so we can use Level 1 nonsense more often.

Meanwhile, back at the command center… Hey, it’s Past Pellegri. Haven’t seen her in a while.

“We watched them do it, but, ya know, giant robots. Kind of didn’t want to get smooshed.”

“We need a boss for this dungeon, you imbecile!”

Yeah, that never has any ramifications.

So the final bit of this dungeon is the ES section. ES Asher is being stuck in reserve because, without its Vessel of Anima, it can’t use special attacks. And I like special attacks!

This area is pretty much a straight series of hallways, but I guess we haven’t used the giant robots in a while, so it’s a change of pace.

Poor Asher, eternally stuck at zero anima.

Two identical hallways later…

And here’s our way out, complete with a savepoint and shop.

The absolute end of this dungeon is a series of branching paths that either lead to treasure or the way out.

Let’s focus on that “way out” thing.

I bet they’re talking about stuff that is plot relevant!

It is a wonder that Shion wound up with a name that actually sounds like a name. Her mom couldn’t even score a consonant.

But I guess that isn’t important right now.

Shion hops out of her ES. In the middle of an enemy base. While they’re already on high alert.

KOS-MOS is as concerned as her processor will allow.

“You’ll understand when you’re my age and go back in time to save me!”

“Toodles!”

“I told you to put a leash on that one!”

No time for that, though, the boss is here.

“Not a good time, mysterious mech!”

So here’s Omega Universitas. Xenogears fans may notice that this mech is basically Weltall, Fei’s starting gear. This is, of course, deliberate.

And like Weltall, Omega Universitas attacks with karate. In fact, you want to try to avoid using direct contact moves during this battle, as OU counters a lot.

And when it wants to be annoying, it releases a wave of death that is just a pain in the ass.

But it’s also not very hard to start this battle with three completely filled anima gauges.

Which, ya know…

Isn’t good for the bad guys.

Look out! It knows the hadouken motion!

Yeesh, now even the nothing bosses are ending their battles without falling down.

It’s really well made?

Oh no! It’s going to enter ID mode! We’re completely screwed!

But… it shorts out. Experimental weapon, remember?

Bye! Talk to you again when I feel like dealing with the hardest ES battle in the game!

Oh, Shion ran away, too. Right.

But the U-TIC cavalry is here.

Come on, Junior, stand your ground and earn unlimited experience.

He said while cutting two AMWS completely in half.

“She just acts like one. Now let’s leave, my blood sugar is low.”

“I’m sure the second weakest member of our party will be fine completely alone in an enemy base.”

Hey, she made pretty good time getting through that dungeon again.

*sneak sneak sneak sneak*

Buuuuuut…

Determined Shion is best Shion.

Red Testament replies with simply Shion’s name… and she doesn’t appreciate it.

Red is hurt.

Here it comes!

Get your fainting couch ready!

Red Testament is Roth Mantel Kevin! Wow!

“Back from the dead, or back here, specifically?”

Whoops, company.

And Shion gets captured.

Kevin, you psycho hosebeast.

And that’s the chapter, folks. Enjoy the KOS-MOS V4 pinup.

9:49, another hour of inoffensive dungeoning sprinkled with revelations. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess we’ll be back. I don’t think Allen is going to let anyone go back to the future without his boss…

Next time on Xenosaga: Get equipped with laser crossbow!

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