Previously on Wild Arms: This update is posted in memory of Brad Evans, who died as he lived: silently meditating the nature of heroism while actively blowing stuff up. Donations in his honor may be sent to the Slayheim Liberation War Orphans Fund.
Our last update ended with the party back at Valeria Chateau. This is actually the first time the plot has chilled while we’re inside the chateau since the thing got rocket boosters, so let’s take a quick tour of the extra floors.
There are a few crewmen wandering about offering reasons to not use the flying castle. You want to keep your job, private?
And we can… pretend to be Irving at the helm? You there! Go fetch me magical rocks!
The Valeria Chateau main deck is Floor 4, but we now also have B1 and B2 available. We’ve technically been to these floors, but only during cutscenes.
B1 hides this dude that can be pretty useful.
Elemental Rings are expensive, but they will add elemental attributes to your attacks and defense. This isn’t all that useful for random mobs, but some bosses are very elemental-based, so a set of three for the party could cut down a game over-ing multi-hit attack to a mere tickle. This is useful particularly for some of the optional super bosses, and all but required for the super-duper death of all things optional boss of the franchise.
… Basically, remember this dude is here in like sixty updates.
Also, may as well note here that “water” and “ice” are two different elements in Wild Arms 2, as are “wind” and “lightning”. Also, I’m betting that “Lightning Ring” was too many characters, so “Thor Ring” had to do.
Irving has his own jail in the basement. Can’t say I’m surprised.
Gabacho is the hero we all deserve.
Speaking of heroes, remember how the dearly departed Brad always took the wheel with flying machines and giant computers and whatnot? Apparently there are tales of The Hero of Slayheim’s best buddy, a guy that was “a whiz at machines and flying”. While I enjoy the subtlety creeping around the edges of the main story, I kind of wish Wild Arms 2 did more to separate “Slayheim Army Brad” from “Present Brad” (or “Past Brad”, sob). I kind of want to see the (possible) Brad that was Billy’s (“Billy”) subordinate, who may have secretly been Launchpad McQuack.
Okay, back up to Floor 4 to steer out of this place.
And we have to return to Quartly… which doesn’t have a landing pad… so our flying castle is as useless as ever. Valeria Chateau, you had an eagle’s introduction, and now you’re an albatross.
Teleport over to Quartly…
Spend as little time in this stink town as possible…
Scoot across the haunted salt flats of Slayheim…
Head over to this conspicuous mountainous area…
And here we are. Time to escort Guild Galad’s son.
I bet this train station between a thriving industrial center and its completely eradicated neighbor sees a lot of foot traffic.
Say hi to our new choo choo.
“Hi Noel! Does your dad have a name aside from Guild Galad Master?”
Ashley is now the de facto ambassador of ARMS.
It’s the little things that make WA2. Lilka doesn’t say a word, but a quick glance in Ashley’s direction indicates her embarrassment at Ashley’s introduction abilities.
Noel is pretty chill, and quite the contrast from his father.
“Kill Noel. Got it.”
Noel’s whole entourage bows to ARMS’s reputation. Reminder: 66% of our party isn’t old enough to vote.
Lilka states the obvious: Noel is already covered.
But whatever! A paycheck is a paycheck! … Wait… Have we ever been paid?
But hey! Train ride!
Ashley is distracted by the fact that this train is also carrying other, non-Noel cargo.
Okay, so if you didn’t notice the Raiden hats on Noel’s crew, Guild Galad is supposed to be not only the technological center of Filgaia, but also some kind of Fantasy Far East, and more China than Japan. Thus, some of the names around here get a little crazy. I can at least perform a cursory Google check on this one, so “Dianbai” is a place in China, and “Guang” is another place in China, and the name basically means “big”. Anybody with some Chinese knowledge want to help out here?
“Ashley, I would find that insulting if this train wasn’t traditionally used to transport my collection of Hammer Pants.”
“Prince” Noel is basically angling for that coal miner vote. He’s just a down-home, average joe kinda heir to the most technologically advanced country on the planet.
Conductors and their schedules…
Train, train take us away. Take us away, far away. To the future we will go. Where it leads no one knows.
Noel is a good guy, but his crew is full of nerds.
And Noel is fully aware of this fact. He’s actually concerned that having more people around is going to draw the attention of the only terrorist organization on this planet.
Billy had his Brad, Brad had his Ashley…
“Father’s personality is what it is, but everything he does is for Guild Galad. He too wishes to return to a kinder and gentler world.”
Yes, I’m sure that’s the end goal of the guy who technically has the largest collection of weapons on the planet.
Brad is pushing up daisies, so it falls to Ashley to wax philosophical about the nature of war. This is gonna be a long train ride.
Right!? Even Lilka is getting bored, and she loves trains.
The conductor rushes in! Also, shouldn’t he be conducting the train?
Are we going to fight… geography?
No, you’re going to hide in the train while we wander around a dungeon.
So we’re expected to leave the train, but the conductor is nice enough to let us save before heading out to see what’s up.
The great train robbery is an exciting and venerated trope in the Western genre. It is inevitably thrilling when a speeding train is involved, near misses happen at every turn, and some poor schlub has to duck to avoid losing his head to a tunnel. Aaaaand Wild Arms 2 comes this close to doing such a thing, but chickens out and parks its train at a glowing fantasy dungeon. Dammit. Guess we’ll all have to play Final Fantasy 15 for exhilarating train times.
So welcome to the Emulator Zone. Here you’ll find all the latest roms and warez. We’ve got the patched version of Final Fantasy 5, but you’ll need to upgrade if you want to play the version that allows you to actually see in the Ship Graveyard.
Wait, I might be thinking of something else. This is a dungeon very much like Lilka’s opening area (Millennium Puzzle) that starts off with a really easy block pushing/pulling puzzle.
Light up doorways to proceed!
And then it descends into madness.
This is one of those dungeons. Go in the right door to proceed. Go in the wrong door, and your position resets, and you’re likely to be a few rooms back. Go in the exactly right sequence, or never make any progress at all. And all the rooms look very alike. I hate these things.
Uuuuugh. Can’t I just chase a flute playing skeleton or something?
Oh, that doorway looks important. Let’s get out of here.
Dammit! Doors that are not glowing and activated are no doors at all.
This area has random encounters, but like Alchemical Plant and the Vanderwhatever, monster mobs are severely limited. We’ll only encounter Odessa Man 2s here, and they’re not all that exciting.
Basic attacks, a random status ailment or two, and you’ve seen everything these dorks have to offer. For the entire dungeon.
So anyway, that room took us back to the beginning of the dungeon (ugh), and, on a second trip through the area, we found this room with a plaque.
Oh, good. This dungeon is stupid and has puzzles.
So, in the room with the deactivated doorway, you’re supposed to “look back” and double back over the “entrance” door.
This will lead to this room that contains…
The only treasure chest in the whole dungeon.
New tool for Tim! Yay!
This is another projectile tool. Air Ballet (I swear, even Tim’s tools sound intentionally emasculating) can be used to “shoot” blocks and objects so they move around. Strangely, due to a limited number of moveable blocks in WA2, this becomes Tim’s least used tool.
But it’s useful here.
Now that big door has been activated, but some voice is talking to us about magical keys.
Nice to meet you, too.
Caina! Yes! The last of the big four. Finally! We’ve fought the other guys twice already!
The kid just likes playing with trains, I guess.
After pulling the whole “spooky voice” shtick, Caina just strolls up to the party. Really thought we’d have to fight through more dungeon to find the guy. … Err…. Girl.
And, since we haven’t gotten there yet, let’s talk about Caina. Caina is the youngest member of Cocytus, and she wields a magical key that allows the summoning of demons and alternate dimensions. You would expect there to be some explanation for Caina’s nigh-godlike abilities, or where the key came from, or something, but, nope, there’s just a magical key, and you’re going to have to deal with that. The key appears to be sentient? I don’t know. You want a full explanation of keyblades, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
Caina is also the biggest “true believer” in Odessa. While the other members have their own reasons for joining, Caina truly believes in Vinsfeld’s ideals lock, stock, and barrel. There’s also a strong implication that this wholehearted dedication to Vinsfeld has translated into an unreciprocated crush, and… that leads to the other big thing about Caina.
In the American version of Wild Arms 2, Caina is female.
In the Japanese version of Wild Arms 2, Caina is male.
In both versions, yes, Caina definitely has a thing for Vinsfeld.
At first blush, this could easily be the ol’ “hetero washing” of any even potentially homosexual relationship in a piece of media as it skips across the Pacific (see also: an embarrassing amount of localized 90s anime). On the other hand, the localization of Wild Arms 2 is so… confused at times, that it’s entirely likely the translation team simply looked at the effeminate kid with a crush on a male superior and assumed “that’s a girl!” And it can’t help that Caina appears to be wearing a Sailor Moon-esque giant ribbon on his butt, either. I can see how someone would get confused (but, then again, on my first playthrough of Chrono Trigger, I thought Lucca was a boy).
Anyway, one way or another, it doesn’t really impact the story. Caina is still the kid in a group of murderers, and he/she still has a crush on her/his boss. As far as representation scrubbing goes, it sucks to lose a homosexual character, but, on the other hand, maybe it’s not the worst thing, as then the only confirmed homosexual character in the story would be evil as all get out, and that’s not that great, either.
So, for the purpose of the LP, I’ll be referring to Caina as female, as I am playing the version where that’s accurate. Though I reserve the right to completely forget that at times. I do personally see Caina as a boy mass murderer, and not a girl mass murderer.
Fun fact: Caina is the only Odessa member without a last name, which may indicate she’s supposed to be an orphan, and thus a fairly perfect evil analogue to Tim. … Though I don’t think Tim has a crush on Ashley. This isn’t Nier.
Also, were this another universe, it’s pretty obvious that Caina would be piloting Green Lion, for all sorts of reasons.
“That day of the Demon Summoning, if not at the <Sword Cathedral>… If you hadn’t returned alive with the Demon inside you, our goals wouldn’t be undone!”
Also, Caina holds a grudge directly against Ashley. This makes Caina the one Cocytus member to so much as learn an ARMS member’s name.
But, yeah, guess this is the first Ashley is learning there’s a reason there’s a demon/magic sword stuck in his soul. Also, that Caina is arguably directly responsible for every dead monster-man that Ashley had to kill at Sword Cathedral.
I say to thee: neener neener.
“That would have been a great time to go super saiyan, Ashley.”
“I know. Sorry. Forgot my hair dye.”
Caina basically requires healing every turn from one of your support squirts, but, otherwise, this isn’t a very difficult battle. Keep Ashley on the offense, power up to Knight Blazer when available, and let the kid have it.
Caina also counters often, so if Lilka and Tim aren’t doing much damage, it’s best to keep them exclusively on support.
The biggest threat in this battle is completely arbitrary: Caina can use a move that inflicts a random status attack. Poison is a big fat who cares, but sleep can be annoying. If Ashley, your main attacker, gets confused, though, that’s going to ruin your day. Keep on the pressure, though, and the battle should be over before you know it.
Be sure to see a physician if your mental convergence breaks.
So Caina whines a bit and teleports away. I see Odessa has a protocol for losing battles.
He said to dead air.
Caina might be gone, but the Emulator Zone is still here. I mean, of course it is, we haven’t gone through that one door yet.
If you’re hurting from the previous battle, you’ll want to temporarily retreat and save at the train. If not, lay on, MacTim.
Time for Emulator Zone Part 2: Teleporter Maze. I hate everything and everyone.
The first area of this section is basically two rooms with weird, staggered pathways. You can see that in this room you can go up and down stairs to the right, but you have to drop off a ledge of no return to the left.
But even if you fall, you can pop around on purple diamond teleporters and find your way back up… though maybe not in the exact same room. If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, and I hate it.
And then we get to this nonsense. These are a series of staggered platforms, and you have to choose the right teleporters to make your way up toward a doorway.
Technically, you are teleporting between different rooms (I think three different rooms, but I’m not paying enough attention to this hateful nonsense to confirm), so it’s not just a matter of aiming for a destination and hoping the teleporters get you closer. You have to think fourth dimensionally.
And, as if you had any doubt, there are useless random battles to break your concentration.
Finally made it to one “big” exit.
Some giant translucent crystal is keeping this place going.
Welp, anybody got a bomb on their neck to blow this sucker up? (Too soon!)
Ashley says to try something, but then doesn’t do anything. Useless neophyte leadership.
But Tim can do something! Use the Air Ballet to shove over a block…
And that looks like we’re making progress. Only two more blocks to go!
And to reach those blocks, we have to navigate the stupid tiered teleport maze at least another two times. I hate these things. Have I mentioned that yet?
Made it to the second block pretty easily.
But the third block…
Dammit! Wandered around, and only wound up in the first doorway again. Or the second. Kind of hard to tell.
Here we are. Entered this same room through three different doors, and shoved over three different blocks.
And now the crystal drops like a rock. We win!
Kanon outta nowhere!
I think that, by the time you’re fighting people in another dimension, you’re pretty committed to the cause, one way or another.
“Psssst Ashley? Did you two used to date or something?”
“I’m pretty sure I’d remember dating a robot lady with green hair.”
“So you’re saying that’s not your type?”
Didn’t Kanon already say this last time? Or maybe she just alluded to it. Kanon isn’t after Ashley, technically, she just wants to murder Lord Blazer, the demon trapped inside Ashley. Fun fact: Lord Blazer once destroyed the world.
Ash is like, “Because you’re trying to kill demons?” and Kanon is like, “I have other interests!”
Kanon Fight V2. Rematches are coming fast and furious in this section of the game.
Gasp! Kanon is a descendant of the Sword Magess, the woman that banished Lord Blazer however many centuries ago. Note that Kanon is not directly a descendant of Sword Magess, more of an heir to the Sword Magess’s sister or something. Sword Magess spent her time not worrying about boys, but studying the blade.
Yes, Kanon went full robot woman in pursuit of becoming the ultimate weapon against Lord Blazer. She had her womb replaced with a switchblade. It is really uncomfortable.
On to the fight! The last time we fought Kanon, Brad was around, and his absence is keenly felt here. Be on your guard, literally, as, in a normal, non-cheating game, Tim is likely to go down in one hit from Kanon. And, honestly, you may as well leave him dead. Attack with Ashley, heal with Lilka, and hope for the best.
If you want, you can revive Tim, but don’t bother using anything more industrious than Lilka’s low level Life spell. Sure, he’ll come back with very little HP, but he’s going to die in a hit anyway, so don’t worry about it.
Eventually, the battle ends, and Kanon reveals that we just wrecked the place through block pushing. I think we knew that already.
Yay! New friend!
I think she just said why…
I’m gonna go ahead and make that my new OKCupid profile.
Ashley really wants to be friends with Kanon (and it’s not just because he likes the way she keeps murdering Tim).
Kanon offers the ol’ “if I stop fighting for the one thing I’ve been fighting for all this time, then what I am?” excuse. Hey, blood vendettas against ancient demons are what keep JRPG worlds turning.
Aaaand Kanon left us behind with a “get out now or die” timer. I guess the truce only extended to “not going to fight you right now”.
You know what’s worse than a teleporter maze? A teleporter maze with a timer!
Luckily, backtracking through this area isn’t nearly as annoying as making forward progress. Half of these “traps” are meant to send you back to an entrance (not exit) doorway, and now all of our entrances are exits, so getting out of here isn’t so bad.
Odessa Man 2s are still around, but they don’t impact the countdown in any way.
And we made it out with plenty of time to spare. Assuming you don’t get in some kind of door loop (and somehow don’t notice), this escape sequence should be pretty easy.
“Also, did you see a green-haired robo lady around here? No? Whatever, truce is off.”
Trains are known for their ludicrous acceleration.
ARMS is going to try the ol’ “jettison the cargo to go faster” trick. Was that in Back to the Future 3?
“Well, they didn’t try to kidnap you while we left the train completely unguarded, so probably not?”
Lilka is the only person here that has ever been trapped in another dimension, so she’d know.
Conductor! Do more train stuff!
Basic physics are go!
The conductor objects for some reason, but ol’ Noel has his head on straight.
And this reminds Lilka of her sister for some reason. Does anyone that isn’t a complete asshole trigger Lilka’s “sis…” reaction?
Considering “what may happen” is “us stuck in another dimension”, that’s fine.
The train detaching sequence was never meant to be immortalized in GIF form, but I’m a terrible person.
Yes yes, we’re all very concerned for whatever stupid cargo you had in there. We’ll get you a new Beanie Baby collection.
Thank you, Ashley.
Thank you, Noel. I really like this kid. It would eventually become the whole plot of Wild Arms 4, but WA2 seems to lean heavily into “the children are our future.”
Had enough of trains for this game, let’s get out of here.
You would think the entire point of a railway system would be to take people directly to a city, and not involve miles of walking from station to town, but you’d be wrong.
There’s like one woman hanging out at this train station, and she’s not that interesting.
But you can use Pooka to fish a new hat out of a treasure chest at the other end of the place.
Hooray! We needed a save point after all that nonsense.
And now a brisk walk across the expanse of Guild Galad territory. If you’re curious about how far we went via train, compare the mini map here to the pre-boarding shot.
There’s this incredibly conspicuous peninsula of beach, but no Guild to be found.
And there are these chubby starfish monsters, too.
Here we are, next peninsula over.
Unlike other towns, we get a neat little “town intro” upon entering. Unfortunately the town isn’t all that interesting. It’s basically a giant, indoor mall with a vaguely factory-esque aesthetic. However, they do have a cool dragon fossil.
Time to head to the throne room.
Well, shucks, he doesn’t seem all that happy.
Steam is literally coming out of his ears, I think we’re past the point of “rude”.
Noel must have gotten his chill from his mother.
Yeah, come on, all the people involved survived and…
What? Dammit! The last Super Weapon we saw turned an entire nation into salt! And made Brad sad!
Ashley, the adults are talking.
“And weapons are bad, if you didn’t get that.”
Ashley isn’t mad, he’s just disappointed.
“We talking like ‘city destruction’ or more like ‘world destruction’? Did it come with a manual?”
Well, if someone left it lying around, it can’t be that bad. I bet it’s just…
… Aw damn.
“You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things.”
Thanks a lot, Einstein.
That’s one (sadistic) way of looking at it.
Thank you, Ant, for being the voice of reason. Mostly.
And Vinsfeld elaborates. A quick note here, but Wild Arms 2 is distinctly not using a fantasy “Angel Weapon” or whatever here, they are talking about straight up nuclear weapons, and their theoretical value as a deterrent against war (well, hot wars). This is surprisingly heady for a fantasy old west JRPG where one character just earned a tool that magically shoves blocks.
Oh, and Vinsfeld switched to maniacal laughing in the span of one text box.
Yeah, come on, not like they’re just going to put a nuclear bomb next to their amiibos.
Assuming they don’t blow up the table itself…
Because I guess the script decided to get more introspective at the sight of nuclear weapons…
“On our many missions, we have come across many different people. All had their own ideas and their own way of doing things. I’m only stating the obvious, of course. Even people who shared the same goal used different methods to achieve that goal. In short, no two people think alike. Accordingly, words like ‘conquer’ and ‘dominate’ mean different things to different people.”
Ashley starts to gush about some of the central themes of this plot.
And, yes, conquering the world does take a lot of work.
Lilka of all people brings us back to reality. And reality is that we have to punch people until they fall down.
So Guild Galad Master is going to apologize for endangering the entire planet by upgrading our hovercraft. Score?
And now our hovercraft will teleport when we teleport. That means we can go anywhere we want on the planet (that has a beach)!
That also reminds me…
ARMS Mission #15:
Protect Guild Galad Master’s son
Notes: Apparently the forest was stolen while we were chilling with a tree.
And maybe next time… we won’t find out.
Next time on Wild Arms 2: Fight for your right to a party.