Xenosaga Episode III Part 16: Oh, Daddy

Previously on Xenosaga: Turns out the worst dungeon in the game was a deliberate, time-wasting trap created by Yuriev. This… doesn’t excuse every other terrible time sink of a dungeon in the franchise, but, hey, it’s nice someone noticed.

Where were we? Oh yes, Yuriev has his eyes on invading the Durandal and stealing the Zohar Emulators. I don’t see why anyone is worried, Mary and Shelley are at the helm, and they… uh… have… nice… teeth?

Here’s Omega, swooping into the Durandal to ruin everyone’s day.

Federation Forces invade the ship with aplomb.

And rifles.

Oh, here’s another bit of censorship. It’s not really “important” to the story (like Shion’s fun times), but this guy straight up blows this lady’s brains out in the Japanese version, and we only get a fade to black stateside. This will be the last big edit until the finale, to my knowledge.

And the man himself is making his way to the bridge.

Durandal! Turtle up!

“Now known as the ‘corpse areas’.”

Gawrsh, how did Yuriev get the command codes?

Ya know, even if you had no idea that Yuriev could take over his sons’ bodies, it still might not have been the best idea to give unique codes to a pair of dudes that share telepathic open wi-fi with Albedo.

Gasp!

Here he is now.

Such a great guy…

Who then shoots Mary square in the gut. Yes, it’s off-camera in both versions.

Juli? You’re still here?

Gasp! Yuriev has taken over Gaignun’s body!

The audience has only known this for two whole games.

…. Just in case you forgot their names…

Gaignuns are comfy and easy to wear.

If anyone cares about the politics of Xenosaga, yes, this is basically a federal government forcibly invading an ally state. No, this will not actually impact anything in the XS universe.

Remember when Mary and Shelley were introduced, and it was revealed that they both have the mutant ability to directly interact with computer data? And remember how it was never mentioned again? Well, turns out they have the unlock codes for the Zohar Emulators downloaded into their noggins. Yuriev discovered this through being a wizard or something.

Despite the fact that Mary is nursing a gaping stomach wound, she’s not cooperating with her captor.

And Canaan to the rescue! … Or not.

Yuriev reminds everyone that he also effectively has Gaignun hostage, because, ya know, same body.

And Citrine introduces herself.

Yuriev brags that Citrine has the same powers as Nigredo. Nigredo… whom we have never seen in a combat situation (without a machine gun). I guess she has the ability to remotely explode Albedo’s arm?

And the scene ends with the typical villainous “we’ll make you talk” malarkey that hasn’t paid off in this game yet.

Junior, you are not going to like the answer.

“Keeps going to voicemail. Did you know that Mary blabs on that message for like three minutes?”

“Not like we have anywhere else to go.”

So you’ve got a respite here for diving back into old dungeons or checking the shops (that haven’t updated yet). Feel free to take your time, Mary is only bleeding out on the bridge.

Ziggy punches them?

Second update in a row where we get a brief intermission of the Elsa zooming about a warzone.

Omega decides to join in this time.

Omega is protecting the bridge, so we’re going to have to park exactly where we park every time we visit the Durandal.

This would mean more if Junior wasn’t totally loaded.

But rip out the walls we do.

I guess because Yuriev only employs absolute monsters, pretty much everyone on the Durandal is dead.

Real talk: after nearly three full games of the Durandal being a sort of home base (and solving half the ship’s population’s problems during XS2), it is appropriately shocking to find that everyone is dead. We didn’t lose any “real” characters, but it’s still disturbing.

“This is my angry character portrait.” (No it isn’t.)

Durandal exploring time!

As you might be able to recognize, the dock area is exactly the same as it’s been since XS1. We haven’t been on this ship in anything but cutscenes since XS3 began, but most of the ship will be familiar to Xenosaga veterans (we’ve… seen things).

In grand JRPG tradition, extraneous rooms have been damaged, and are inaccessible.

We’ve still got the Durandal Monorail to ferry us along.

The Isolation Area is our ultimate goal, but we’re not going anywhere until we rescue our support staff.

So let’s go to the park! As you can see, most Durandal areas are still infested with Federation Soldiers.

These battles are pretty similar to Merkabah encounters. Maybe they’re exactly the same? They’re just that memorable.

The park was home to a few important scenes in XS1 and XS2, so it’s nice that someone bothered to include it in the final game.

It’s also nice that someone stuck a golden door in the holographic flora.

We don’t have the key for this door yet, and, fun fact, it is literally impossible to have the decoder at this point. I’ll explain why later.

With nothing else to do, it’s time to hit the Residential Area. There’s a savepoint right there, so let’s get a time check. 13:43, for anyone that doesn’t feel like reading the screenshot.

This Residential Area is different from the similarly named area from XS1, so hooray for new things.

So far, so hallway.

The main area of the Residential Area is basically a maze of rooms. Currently, they’re all locked…

But if we do a little exploring…

There’s a switch!

But it’s all the way over there! Time for more walking.

There’s a fun glitch in this area that involves enemy soldiers and their complete inability to properly use doors. Use traps that penetrate walls to your advantage.

And while we’re revengencing some soldiers, let’s use KOS-MOS’s Level 2 Special Attack, X-Buster. Yes, that’s only her Level 2, so, after two games, we’ll finally gain a KOS-MOS attack more powerful than the tummy laser.

For old time’s sake, let’s blast random bits of the Durandal for items.

After enough walking to hatch a 10K egg, we find a switch… that only opens one “shortcut” door. Better than nothing.

Here we go, the main door lock for the area. Uh… this doesn’t seem terribly safe. Couldn’t one of the bad guys have just pressed this big, glowing switch? No matter.

Now all of the doors are open. This will prove to be a curse.

First of all, for some asinine reason, we now have to press the door switch on every door. Seems like we could have skipped a step here, guys.

Second, there are a LOT of rooms in this area. And what’s in most of them? NOOOOOOTHING.

But sometimes there’s a treasure, so you check every damn room, because you have OCD.

And sometimes the rooms just contain monsters. Oh my U-DO, I’m playing Final Fantasy 2!

There are some just plain ol’ deadends in this area, too. It’s really designed to confuse. Like most dorms.

Back to this area where we first saw the switch. The center door here is the first of our goals.

There’s a soldier encounter at the door…

But past that loser are Shelley and Canaan. Yay!

Princess Mary is in another castle.

“Get back to the Elsa. Tony has got a stew goin’.”

Canaan can actually fight! It kinda makes sense that he’ll be able to successfully escort Shelley back to the Elsa through the waves of soldiers. Yay!

This completely nondescript door a few hallways over is hiding Mary.

One meaningless soldier battle later, and we’ve got Juli, Mary, and that dog Junior picked up during the ending of XS2. Remember him? Someone finally did.

Do Realians have awkward teen years where they stop being affectionate to their parents? Hm.

MOMO: professional white mage.

Obviously, Mary let (“let”) Yuriev have the access code, but Junior is just happy she’s (mostly) alright.

“Could you give us directions to get out of this stupid Residential Area? Nah, I guess we can find our own way.”

So a scientist, a wounded mutant, and Alby the Dog are all going to successfully sneak through the halls of the Durandal and make it back to the Elsa? Sure.

We went there first, and you know it!

After traipsing back through the dorms, it would make the most sense to hit the Isolation Area…

But let’s stop at the Bridge first to pick up an Update File next to a corpse.

That’s done, now we can hopefully save those Zohar Emulators.

But first, Yuriev’s guard dog.

“Hey, haven’t seen you since we were kids, whatcha been up to?”

Aw, that’s sweet.

But it turns sour fast.

“You still care about your job? Ha, loser.”

“Man, I was just taking some time off to find myself! And maybe kill my brother…”

Yeah, this “my last comrade” talk really degraded quickly.

Great, you can knock off a guy who has stats barely surpassing Allen.

Citrine boss fight! Citrine is really fond of status effects, like how she started the battle here by sealing all of our Ether abilities. Luckily, every ailment in XS3 is just a Refresh item away from not making an impact.

Citrine is weak to beam, and strong against fire. I guess someone took that “Red Dragon” thing literally.

Like her brother, she attacks with a gun. She also uses a shock stick. Neither attack is particularly strong. Guess this is why Gaignun was never a party member.

Junior will participate in some battle banter. But that’s just a prelude for…

Red Dragon Killer Mode!

Citrine will use one attack that sets everyone’s HP to 666, and then her next attack will deal exactly 666 HP damage. Mark of the Beast is really getting a workout this update. Regardless, it’s a simple matter to use a heal-all spell/item to avoid death. Boost if you have to, but you have to restore a whole 1 HP to survive.

Junior gets the final blow with a special attack.

Sadly, she does seem to have the best URTV relationship with her dad. I mean, Gaignun did kill the guy at least once…

Our mandatory reward for the battle is the Weapon Development Area Key. This key will unlock a door back at the CAT Testing Grounds (remember that dungeon?). Behind that door is the super secret most powerful ES boss in the game. Approaching that door now would be suicide, but it might be doable in an update or two. Once you beat that boss, you’ll obtain the decoder key for that golden door we found earlier. So now is the earliest you would ever be able to open that door. Technically. Or at least after the next few cutscenes end.

Citrine gets a little introspective after we beat her to death.

Wow, Junior, way to hang all your character development on a promise you made when you were like twelve.

Sakura casts a long shadow.

And that’s it for Citrine. There was probably some potential in the “URTV Sister”, but she just wound up being Yuriev’s secretary/bodyguard. Guess Lex Luthor has to have a little Mercy.

But no time to think about that now.

“I bet he’s illegally playing Little Samson right now!”

Yuriev is on the other side of the door, and he taunts Junior for caring about killing a sister.

“So don’t worry about it.”

Wonder if Yuriev realizes he mind jumped into his last remaining son that isn’t immortal.

Okay?

Well, yes, that is kind of amazing. But I don’t see what it has to do with this situation.

Oh, right, Yuriev still wants to kill God. Welcome to being a JRPG villain, Yuriev.

Sure, just ask nicely. That’s gonna work.

“Is that you, Rubedo? It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I must say, I’ve missed you.”

… Really surprised Yuriev doesn’t get in a “oh, Rubedo, you haven’t changed a bit” jab.

Junior is not happy to see daddy.

“Don’t blame me, blame yourself or U-DO.”

Junior guesses this is all just a big stupid plan to slay God.

And Yuriev… apparently has other plans.

“And He turned people to salt only rarely.”

“People loved God, revered and even feared God. Out of fear of the undying God, they sought divine power. This was a way for the ancients to resist Him. Eventually, they found a method to become gods themselves.”

… Wait. What?

“We have revived their relics: the Merkabah and the Zohar emulators, as well as Mizrahi’s Y Data, which holds the records left behind by the ancients.”

Seriously? Now we’re going to delve into “the ancients knew everything”? 4,000 years in the future, but our big damn future technology is all based on, what, Bible tech? Really?

And Yuriev shoots out the control console while he rants. Dude can multitask.

“I mean ‘great’ as in ‘good’. Our family’s genealogy is mixed up enough now that I’m my own son.”

Yuriev makes his exit (and I guess escapes because he’s got a gun? Man, we were shot like six times in the previous battle alone), and The Brews attempt to pick up the pieces.

But that’s not happening.

And the Durandal is picking up steam.

Oh no! The ship named after a holy sword is going to be used to pierce the hide of God!

Our only hope is to flee back to the Elsa and get the hell out of here. Huh. That sounds familiar.

And… we’re stuck. Welp, it’s been a fun trip, time to go down with the ship.

How ever will we be able to dislodge the Elsa from the Durandal?

Oh, right, we’ll do the exact same thing as back on the Proto Merkabah.

KOS-MOS and chaos: Immortals for Hire successfully free the Elsa.

And then book it back on to the ship. Uh… that was some entirely pointless drama.

Away we go!

Just in time, naturally.

So the Durandal, which houses the unshielded Zohar Emulators, smacks right into Abel’s Ark. Then things get… glowy.

Good news! Found the original Zohar!

Yuriev and Omega are just taking it all in.

Uh… okay?

The Zohar Emulators all resonate or whatever the proper verb would be…

Omega ejects the Sellers-designed Zohar Emulator and absorbs the real Zohar…

Abel, Omega pilot, gives us a confused look to remind us he still exists.

And Omega and Abel’s Ark both digivolve. We’ll discuss Omega’s final form next update, but Abel’s Ark turns into just blatantly a cross.

I want Allen’s opinion on all this!

Bah, just the usual knuckleheads telling us how this thing is more powerful than we could ever imagine.

chaos just snickers to himself…

Meanwhile over in the official Wilhelm Space Pyramid…

These are words that mean things, I’m sure.

Wilhelm apparently isn’t worried, because Yuriev and/or Sellers are idiots.

“I’m immortal, I’ve seen this kind of thing a thousand times. Wanna go out for a mint?”

Oh good, Albedo will be back next update.

“Gotta kill time somehow. Then we’ll literally kill time.”

“Wait, I got a call coming in. Margulis? Ugh, you’re still alive?”

“I wanna be the big villain for the franchise! Please?”

“Your place is sub-boss material at best.”

“Sit! Stay.”

Margulis and Pellegri are bored, dammit.

At least somebody around here knows he’s just a cog in a stupidly complicated space machine.

Back to the good guys, who are trying to figure out a way to infiltrate a gargantuan, fleshy cross.

But Doctus of Scientia skypes in to save the day. Yeesh, when was the last time we saw this cyborg?

Junior reminds us that most of the party hasn’t even met Doctus.

Nobody was getting anything done, so Canaan called his girlfriend.

Doctus figured out a solution inside of ten seconds.

Oh, right, that telepathy that Junior constantly forgets he has.

She still can’t remember Canaan’s name…. not that I blame her.

Well, that was a harrowing ten seconds of not knowing how we’d reach the next dungeon.

So, like the last couple times, we’ve got a little break time before we have to head to the next area. Shelley is here on the bridge, and we better go see how Mary is doing. I hope she’s not hurt or…

Oh, she’s completely fine. Huh.

Eh, let’s call this the end of these two.

Mary and Shelley are the Patron Saints of NPCs in the Xenosaga Universe. Here we have a pair of characters that seemed to accumulate more character “hooks” at they went along, such as:

• They’re mutants
• They’re expert hackers
• They grew up on Old Miltia (like Shion)
• They’re sisters (a perfect contrast to the URTV brothers)
• Prominent politician Helmer thinks of them as daughters
• It is strongly implied they have a polygamous (and vaguely incestuous) relationship with Gaignun
• They’re apparently human containers for protected data

And practically nothing is ever done with these hooks. As we just saw, the “Mary and Shelley have the codes inside them” thing was introduced and quickly solved when Yuriev got the codes out of them… offscreen. The Gaignun relationship pays off with Yuriev-in-Gaignun’s betrayal… but all we saw of that relationship was some random, Tenchi-esque affection from the gals. And if there is anything done with the “familial” relationships past “oh, these characters know each other”, I missed it. Basically, we’re looking at a pair of characters with a lot of potential, but no payoff.

Of course, they are literally the support staff for the main heroes. MOMO barely gets any development during this game, so what hope did Mary & Shelley have? We’ve got a giant, sprawling story as-is, so devoting time to two characters that are probably best known for outrageous accents isn’t the best idea. It’s completely understandable that Xenosaga didn’t wholly develop these two.

But, like the whole Xenosaga mutant concept, there was a lot of potential there, and, for all the interesting ideas introduced, nothing is ever accomplished. It’s telling that Mary’s wound is played as something potentially fatal… and then it’s resolved as “Oh, I’m fine” in an offhand scene ten minutes later.

Mary & Shelley, you were a secret we wished to divine, but never will.

Oh, and the shop updated. Get those new weapons while they’re hot!

Alright, it’s 14:28, and I’m calling it for right now. We’ll pick up next time with a trip into the smooshy halls of Abel’s Ark.

Next time on Xenosaga: Musical chairs.

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