Wild Arms 2 Part 16: Sea, Save Files, and Sielje

Previously on Wild Arms 2: Odessa had its own private plane, but now it doesn’t. Why? Because ARMS kicks ass, that’s why.

We received a hovercraft for our troubles, and now it’s our job to clean up the mess.

But before we do that, we, for the first time in three updates, have free reign of the planet again. We can go anywhere! Do anything! Refill our arms! Visit Ashley’s girlfriend!

This ain’t Chrono Trigger, you don’t get a rare armor for remembering to visit Lucca’s dad. Lame.

Okay, after hitting the item shop (and dropping Tim off at the Personal Skills shop), it’s time to head back out into the world.

And check out our rad new hovercraft! Let’s go surfin’ now!

Map upgrade!

We can now view the entire scope of the planet at once. Technically, this map would surface if you used a teleport gem anyway, but it’s good to see the whole Filgaia at a glance.

While we’ve got the map up, note that the hovercraft only covers the “Inland Sea”, which means we’re stuck in that crescent shaped area in the middle. Like many “early” ships in JRPGs, we’re pretty limited with our means of conveyance. Come to think of it, this is the exact same trick as Final Fantasy 1.

The hovercraft works about the same as walking, and, while there are enemy encounters, their appearance rate is much lower. It grants the illusion of moving quickly, one would suppose.

Stupid artificial, natural barrier… Let me explore the world!

Our goal is to find three needles in the haystack of the Inland Sea. Our only real hint is that items wash up around beaches, and… I have no idea how you’re supposed to pull this off without a FAQ. Seriously, it’s just trial and error and smacking the detect button every three inches.

If you’re some poor person looking to this Let’s Play for guidance, feel free to note the mini map in each shot that will guide you to your tablets.

And feel free to find the other “treasures” bobbing about.

Here is our second tablet. (See how small these things are!?)

And number three is over by this tiny island that certainly won’t be important later.

Does this count as a mission complete? Sure!

ARMS Mission #12:
Take out the trash!
Status: Success!
Notes: Data Tablets floating in the sea will void any and all warranties.

So what are we supposed to do with these things? Let’s call the boss.

Ugh. Boomerang.

Let’s fight some monster clams on the way home. And this hovercraft sure does look like a boat in battle screens.

Clams should not have teeth!

Back home. There’s a “hidden dungeon” available in the Inland Sea, too, but we’ll cover that later. This update is going to get complicated enough.

So are they FAT or NTFS?

Do not ask me how to pronounce “Sielje”.

But Lilka might have an idea.

Sielje has a USB hard drive enclosure. Got it.

So how do people get in and out? Teleport?

… Ohhhhh…

Everybody’s gotta be from somewhere.

“By way of every other town on the planet, as I suck at teleporting.”

Lilka does not want to visit the ol’ homestead.

But the answer is no, and we have to hit up some random miner for info.

Find a tunnel? We were just saving the world through explosions and summoning gods, and our next mission is to find a tunnel? Lame.

Yeah yeah, we’re going.

Technically, we could use a teleport stone to whip over to Damzen.

And we can’t take the castle…

But hovercraft works!

Remember this place? Little one horse town? It was the mining town, but not the other mining town.

I love when NPCs update specifically to your given task.

He’s probably talking about No. i. That silly Axel.

Random NPC claims that everything sucks around here because of the Blaze of Disaster, but we have seen lush forests around, so bully to you.

I assume this is a hint to the location of a data tablet we already have? Or a reference to The Little Mermaid? I have no idea.

Yes, he said you might be able to help us advance the plot. He was really adamant about it.

Okay! Let’s do this!

… Hm. Since we have a cheated, maxed inventory, we can’t accept the Boss Symbol. It’s because we already have over a hundred, so it shouldn’t impact anything. …. Shouldn’t.

Return to Mt. Chug-Chug.

We’ve been here before while chasing a jet (RIP), and there was a locked door at the entrance.

Now it shall be locked no more.

All new dungeon!

All new tool!

Lilka already has a fireball tool, and now she can launch ice balls. It’s another tool that is only useful in very specific circumstances.

The monsters around here are a mix of newbies and oldbies. We’ve seen these gargoyles before, and they’ve only gotten weaker in the meanwhile.

Now for the puzzle! Or “puzzle”. Use the ice rod to extinguish these torches. Wow! Exciting!

Blow out all the candles, and their bases will vanish from the area. Now we can move forward.

But first: treasure!

Dead or Alive is your death spell, and it is exactly as useful as every other JRPG death spell.

It can’t even kill some lame mook from an early dungeon. Very lame.

The next room seems like a simple “hit the switch” puzzle.

But it turns out that if you don’t use some planning, you’ll just drop a box to nowhere.

You’re supposed to move this crate into position first…

And then flip the switch for a viable platform. I would be remiss if I did not again note that to reset this puzzle, you have to leave the room and return, while Wild Arms 1 had a reset tool that would save you the trouble.

Basic dungeon adventurin’ continues.

You have to properly parse 3-D space to drop off platforms if you want some treasure.

Oh, this appears to be the first duplicator in Wild Arms 2. Duplicators are an improperly named Wild Arms tradition. They’re effectively magic keys, and they open magically sealed treasure chests and doors. In general, you will have a limited number of duplicators at any given moment, and a lot of later areas have multiple duplicator-sealed treasure areas. In other words, use your duplicators wisely, and you can score some good gear.

Or savescum.

Or read a FAQ.

Pick your poison.

Here’s a proper puzzle!

The blue and red switches raise or lower platforms, and they require a block to weigh ‘em down.

You must depress one switch, steal a block, use that block on the other switch, and use the first block to help make a bridge across the area. It’s not a very complicated puzzle, and is just about right for a throwaway dungeon like this one. Good job, random block puzzle designer!

And just a little further and we’ll be in Sielje.

Daylight!

Sielje is a little chilly. I guess there’s a reason Lilka comes with a fire stick.

Sielje should be right around here…

But it doesn’t seem to be activating.

… And it’s because I broke the game.

Remember that guy that hands over the Boss Symbol? He’s the flag that activates the ability for ARMS to find the Sielje Region. Since he technically couldn’t provide the Boss Symbol (as I had infinity Boss Symbols in my inventory), the flag could not activate, so Sielje is forever inaccessible. And we need Sielje! I can’t drop Boss Symbols to lighten up my inventory (as they are key items), and I can’t convince the boss to hand over the info without the symbol. In other words, this is a completely insurmountable blockade.

So… uh…

Sorry guys, LP over.

Thanks for reading!







Okay, just kidding, I don’t give up that easily.

Here’s the complicated tale of how I was able to continue this Let’s Play.

First of all, I did a search on the net for a possible solution to my immediate problem.

So I found a post on an emulation forum about the same issue. The post was made a solid five years ago, and I’m playing on a Playstation 3, but it should be relevant…

But there was no solution found. It basically just confirmed that, while this “cheating” file with all the items is available on reputable sites…

It leads to an insoluble barricade right there in Sielje. You can technically use another hacked item to progress, but you’d also miss random chunks of the game. That is not viable for a Let’s Play, obviously.

Oh well. Live and learn, I suppose. Looks like I’ll have to start the game over from scratch, and this time without any cheating involved, because I couldn’t find any other worthwhile cheated save files for the PS3.

Play the game all over again…

Without cheating…

….

Bugger to that!

Something you must understand about me: I will go well out of my way to make my life easier in the most ridiculously convoluted and difficult ways. I’m the kind of guy that will spend thousands to repair a twenty dollar pair of shoes (that I really like!), and I will certainly spend a lot of unnecessary Goggle Bob hours on finding new and exciting ways to cheat. Why would I ever want to fight Odessa on an even keel!?

So, right off the bat, I managed to find some gameshark codes for Wild Arms 2. I liked the “all items” cheat because it allowed me to de-equip my party if I ever wanted to play “for real”, but boosting Ashley and his buddies up to Level 99 right off the bat could work. It would break the game, but it wouldn’t break it in a manner that would make it unplayable, so I’ll take it. As ever, I’m not playing or LP’ing Wild Arms 2 for its blisteringly simple combat system.

Unfortunately, now we have a new problem: I don’t have any kind of Playstation 1 gameshark. Hm.

Well, I certainly have Wild Arms 2…

So I have no problem popping that into a PSX emulator…

And then cheating my ass off.

This meant playing through the intro dungeons again, so I could properly level up my three man band to a cheated Level 99. Lilka has a save point early in her first dungeon, so I played entirely through Brad and Ashley’s stories on emulator, and then “quit” at Lilka.

Now I’ve got a save file with an early game, Level 99 party. But I hate playing on emulators. It sullies the experience, and you never know if Brad glitching through the floor is the fault of the original programming or the emulator. I’d much rather continue this adventure on my PS3, as has been the case for all of my Let’s Plays.

This is when things get crazy.

First, I got my memory card data from the emulator…

And dropped it into a program called Memory Card Manager that allowed me to convert the file into a Dex Drive save. Anybody remember the Dex Drive?

It’s this ugly little peripheral from 1996. It was an InterAct peripheral that allowed you to back up your save files to your computer. This was amazing, because it allowed you to have only one Playstation memory card, and just swap the data back and forth between your PC and your game system. Could save you upwards of thirty bucks! Only problem was…

It connected to PC via a serial port. And even if I dug out a serial-to-USB plug somewhere, I doubt 1996 hardware has modern drivers lying around. This means I needed to go into my attic and fish out…

An ancient Dell from roughly the turn of the millennium!

Which has a serial port!

So I exported my dex save via USB stick from new computer to old…

Inserted my Playstation 1 memory card into the dexdrive…

And this ain’t my first rodeo, so of course the old machine has Dexter, a custom program that controls the DexDrive, as the original DexPlorer sucked.

Hey! Look! This memory card coincidentally has my original Wild Arms 2 save! Neat!

Copied the new Level 99 saves to the memory card…

Moved that memory card over to an usb memory card reader for the Playstation 3…

And then copied that data over to the Playstation 3 so I could resume play with my Level 99 Lilka! It’s that simple!

Then it was the quick matter of playing through the entire game…

Actually obtaining the Boss Symbol…

Earning the heck out of that one essential bit of dialogue that activates the Sielje Region…

Battling through that cave again…

Coming out the other side…

And there’s Sielje Region! Problem solved! Back on track!

The entrance to Sielje Region appears to simply be a room and a teleporter, but we all know what teleporters do.

Okay, on one hand, this is supposed to be an amazing showcase for magic and technology and look people walking around in what should be frozen tundra. On the other hand… it’s snowing. There is snow on the ground. I realize it adds to the ambiance, but how the hell is a force field working if snow is falling?

No time to worry about that now, though!

“This is a 32-bit JRPG town. There have to be, what, twenty people, total, in this place? Go have fun.”

Lilka didn’t come here to make friends.

Aaaaand here’s why.

Tim, you guys met like two days ago, and things have been fairly busy since. Lilka has not had a spare moment to tell you about any duels she may have skipped out on.

I don’t think there’s much oxygen in this force field, as Brad is getting giggly.

You got that from Street Fighter and you know it!

Terry (you get to name Terry, incidentally, but he is not at all important to anything) introduces himself to the class.

Lilka is having none of it.

Apparently they didn’t get along on multiple levels.

And Lilka just wants to get this whole thing over with.

Despite Lilka being Lilka, Terry is very helpful. What a good boy.

That sound you hear is Lilka checking our Teleport Gem inventory.

Just a reminder that Lilka is 14, an age where being embarrassed in front of your friends is a crime that should be punishable by death.

So now we get to explore Hogwarts. As you might expect, this is a town filled with a bunch of nerds talking about magic and research and zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sielje is home to our first really stocked item shop since approximately four updates ago. Feel free to upgrade your arms, craft some new spells…

And be amazed that “Gay Parasol” made it into a videogame from 1999. Obviously, we’re all very mature and such, but, come on, the Playstation 1 was the premiere system for homophobic teenagers. Wait, maybe that was whatever system first introduced voice chat…

Also, it looks like Brad has been stealing parts from Robo.

Meh, we’ll check that out later.

But for now… library! As you might expect, the preeminent academy in the world has a ton of random lore lying around. Here’s an explanation for FP.

This guy is important! If you talk to him, it will unlock some fun next update. He’s talking about a fellow researcher that teleported off to parts unknown. We will find him, oh yes…

And I’m sure this book is completely unrelated to that task.

There’s a book about the Crimson Nobles, a group of immortals that preferred to stay in their basements. Wonder if we’ll ever meet such a creature.

Dragons! Apparently Filgaia dragons are cyborgs. This goes back to Wild Arms 1 lore… kinda. It’s complicated, and, don’t worry, we’ll meet a few dragons to sort things out. What’s important is that some of our best arms tech is not entirely manmade, but is more… weaponized dragon corpses.

Elsewhere, we find a random student getting high. Damn millenials.

And here we are at Mr. McGregor’s office. Terry is very polite despite standing like six feet from a demon summoning ritual.

“We need you to read these data tablets” was probably a lengthy debriefing.

Ashley is embarrassed to receive a phone call in the middle of what will likely be a scintillating lecture from Mr. McGregor, but McGregor is into it.

Oh boy! Video phone!

McGregor needs a solid day to discover that Odessa’s password is just “Vinsfield Rocks” backwards.

But we’re already on Odessa’s trail. Apparently they have their own power plant.

So Irving suggests the obvious: let’s blow that sucker up. This seems to be a recurring plan.

I swear ARMS has the collective memory of a mayfly.

So tomorrow McGregor will give us the coordinates, and then it’s ‘splosions time.

And Lilka has a… bomb? What else would Lilka have that helps with explosions?

But Terry objects to Lilka’s… everything. Honestly, he does have a point about Lilka being woefully under qualified for fighting terrorists.

And he has absolutely no ulterior motives for asking Lilka to stay home.

“Which reminds me, is anyone giving me class credit for these missions? Partial credit? I’ve flunked out, haven’t I?”

Terry… my man… bad move…

That’s fair.

Later! Lilka can’t seem to calm down for some reason.

“Wanna blow off some steam and kill monsters? That always cheers me up. Well, except this one time at the Sword Cathedral…”

Parallelism!

Welcome to the planetarium, where you can scope out this one monster that appears to be a living mobile.

Look, if you lived in a town that was a giant school, you’d be excited about a museum, too.

I’m just picturing a bunch of professors like, “Oh noooo, don’t sneak into the musssseum! That would be aaaaawful.”

Died. Sealed in another dimension. Became a telepathic voice. It’s confusing.

I don’t know how I feel about this “revelation”. On one hand, Lilka is the most optimistic member of the party, and revealing that she has serious abandonment issues seems really tacked on now (after she’s been all waves and smiles for the entire game) and later (she will go back to that immediately after this area). On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that Lilka’s complete personality is some kind of overcompensating so people won’t leave her, and she’s the life of the party precisely because she is so secretly lonely. One way or another, it feels like the translation again dropped the ball on Lilka, and any sort of subtlety in her characterization was lost along the way.

So, anyway, point being is that Lilka is just as broken and isolated as everybody else on the internet in ARMS.

“Or explode in a blaze of glory?”
“That too.”

“I won’t leave you, just like any of your other friends. We’re all really good friends, aren’t we, friend?”

“All of my friends.”

“Lilka, don’t do that. We’re in public.”

Six random nerds come out from behind the projector and inform Lilka that that is not a real spell, and if you really want a permanent smile spell, you’re going to have to check out the index of…

Lilka comments that she wants to be like her sister, inventor of that spell, and Ashley provides some encouragement. Like a good friend.

Oh, right, that.

And they kept it at the planetarium? And students can, what, borrow it?

Great! We tripped the alarm system! …. I’m glad there’s an alarm system for the multi-dimensional bomb!

Oh, wait, it’s not us.

Dammit!

Guess we have to chase Odessa again. Just another day for ARMS.

Gate Bridge is our next dungeon. Got it.

Ashley takes a moment to consider how the heck Odessa knew to sneak into Sielje and steal back the data tablets. Could… could Terry be a traitor? … No, wait, that doesn’t make sense. We love Terry!

Love him!

Okay, last chance to check out the rest of Sielje before we hit the road. Apparently this teacher blames himself for the death of Lilka’s unnamed sister, but he doesn’t recognize Lilka or something, so we don’t get any unique weeping dialogue.

Let’s finally check out the observatory! It’s got a telescope!

Cosmo Canyon was better.

There are some treasures hiding around the back of town. In order to grab that second chest…

It’s Pooka time!

We were trying to leave after looting the place, but, sure, always time for you, Terry.

Something you want to say, Terrinator?

Lilka seems to have an idea on where that trans-dimensional bomb got to. Obviously, the other 14 year old has it.

Terry, we don’t need a lecture!

Lilka is going to charm a bomb out of this kid yet.

So Terry wishes Lilka well (in his way).

And Lilka is thankful.

Eat My Dust is the mega-bomb. It is a key item that will be used at a key time. I have no earthly idea how it earned that name, or why the icon appears to be a Mini-Terry.

And away we go. Bye Terry! Wish you were joining the party!

So a quick jaunt across the snowfields…

Kill a few Wendigos….

And here we are at the Gate Bridge, one of the few landmarks on Filgaia that does not require discovering. What fresh horrors will we find on that bridge? Find out next time!

Next time on Wild Arms 2: The ARMS crew encounters a pair of cold-blooded mysterious strangers, and a deadly timer begins to count down. Is there any way for our heroes to survive? Could science be the answer? Find out in our next thrilling episode, “Battle on the Big Bridge”!

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