Previously on Wild Arms 2: ARMS fought through a dungeon that told them about their next four dungeons. I guess they were pre-dungeoning? Oh, and Brad is back, too. That’s super!
But now we’re searching for the four Diablo Pillars. Where are those, again?
Amy? A little help?
I was considering doing a poll regarding “which Diablo pillar should we hit first?” but the truth is that I don’t know where we’re supposed to be going. This isn’t like the “choose an adventure” at the start, we have to suss out the locations of each Diablo Pillar.
And one of ‘em barely has directions at all.
No matter, let’s hit Baskar first, as it’s been a while since we’ve checked in with our favorite runner-up medium.
I love that Colette has “extra” crazy dialogue for talking to anyone except Tim.
But she gives the official directions only to Tim.
On the way out…
Huh. “The Blaze of Disaster” is the full title of the demon currently hiding in Ashley. Maybe we have more than one medium on the team…
The Diablo Pillar appears to be around here somewhere, but there’s a cliff in our way.
Time to teleport the hovercraft over…
Here we are!
Gee, I wonder who is in charge of Diablo Pillar Antenora.
When Wild Arms 2 says you’re going to disable four Diablo Pillars, it means you’re going to disable four Diablo Pillars, and that means four separate dungeons that aren’t all that different. Each Diablo Pillar follows a pretty simple pattern, so pay attention, because I’m only going to say this four times.
First of all, there are floors with monsters. Here are some monsters.
Please be aware of sharp edges on all monsters.
Each of the monster floors is just a spiraling staircase of nothing.
Battle areas then alternate with puzzle areas. There are no random encounters in these puzzle areas, but there are… puzzles. Hm, probably didn’t need to say that.
Each puzzle floor on each Diablo Pillar is unique, though the pillars generally have puzzles that stick to a theme. Antenora’s areas are brain teasers. This floor, for instance, is one of those “walk over the switches but you can’t step on the same switch twice” deals.
There aren’t any unusual blockages or anything on this puzzle, and it’s a basic 8 x 8 grid, so just walk in four 2 x 2 squares, and you’re good to move on.
Then it’s another battle floor…
Followed by the next puzzle floor.
This time, we’ve got a random pattern we’re supposed to memorize.
Step on the wrong tile in the wrong sequence, and the whole thing resets with a new pattern.
So, fun fact, I create these LPs by first recording all the footage, and then dicing it into screen caps afterwards. Since I was recording anyway, and because I have the memory of a goldfish, I just stopped recording, played back the sequence on my secondary monitor, and, well, I can be very good at Simon Says that way.
The next “puzzle floor” is just a miniboss battle. This will be the exact middle of every other Diablo Pillar, too.
Have you noticed that Odessa is now roughly a “bizarro” version of our own, dear ARMS? Vinsfeld the leader vs. Ashley our leader, Ptolomea the military strongman vs. Brad our military strongman, and Caina the kid summoner vs Tim our kid summoner. Kanon kills because she considers it her duty, while Judecca kills because he finds it fun. And Antenora is the girl, so she naturally stands against Lilka, our girl. Look, it’s not a perfect system.
Regardless, each of these pillars has a teeny bit of character development for its matching ARMS member. In Antenora’s Diablo Pillar, Lilka gets to say a few words before the miniboss.
Lilka has become a little more confident over the course of the adventure.
Presumably confident enough to battle some manner of Power Ranger cyclops creature.
Seriously? Loving the color scheme. All the colors of the rainbow for Prisnum. Oh! Prism! I just got that!
Prisnum has miniboss written all over its multicolored chest. There’s not much to this dude aside from being slightly stronger than a random encounter.
It has like one cool move where it shoots a bald monk at you.
But other than that, he mostly sticks to ice/water attacks.
And then it explodes. Lilka’s sister would be proud.
Each of these minibosses drops a new piece of armor for their matching hero. If you’re trying to maximize your Wild Arms 2 experience, hit the pillars in a proper order to kit out your most used characters. Or blindly bumble along like I am. Either way works.
Another random battle floor…
Oh! Break time! This “puzzle floor” is just a save point. I should stop calling these things “puzzle floors”. Freaky floor tile floors?
Okay, full disclosure, I have no idea how this puzzle works.
You have to hit the switches in some sort of order, and if you hit the wrong switch, the puzzle resets to the beginning. There are eight switches.
But after being taunted by Antenora once…
I managed to avoid the “bad” switch, and hit all the proper switches. I’m not certain if I did something “right”, or there’s supposed to be some moral about just believing in yourself, or… something? Look, what’s important is I never have to deal with a 13% chance of hitting the wrong switch again.
I’m just noting how many battle floors there are for posterity.
And this is the last one!
Top floor. The floors in this area are semitransparent, so if you swing the camera around just right, you can play with some weird pixel perspectives.
Ashley, she has nearly killed you twice now. She was almost directly responsible for Brad’s death.
Give it about five minutes, and we’ll learn this isn’t your typical threat.
There really needs to be an ellipse somewhere in there.
“We’re going to give this whole ‘killing you dead’ thing a shot!”
We get it!
“You heard her! Her heart is the weak point, guys!”
Antenora is the same as ever. Look out for physical (laserish) attacks, and the occasional status ailment.
Due to reckless cheating, I haven’t talked about unique Wild Arms 2 status ailments much. WA2 has your typical poison, sleep, and confuse statuses, but here Brad is affected by… Ugh, what is that symbol supposed to mean? It’s either “forgetfulness”, which means the character won’t earn EXP, or “downhearted”, which means the character gains FP very slowly, effectively crippling the use of abilities. I really should know what that icon means! But it’s not in the manual, and I’m not even done with one Diablo Pillar yet. Let’s assume it’s downhearted.
Working on finishing up here, though.
Antenora is done. Each of the Odessa members drops a War Respite upon their death. It’s a flower consumable that will heal any and all status effects. I also bet it’s another bit of crazy localization. Peace lilies?
The form of a bayonet?
With Antenora’s defeat, the spinning thing at the center of the pillar collapses. Load-bearing general technology.
Antenora lies defeated. Lilka wants to talk about boys.
Antenora laughs at your puny Bechdel test.
Turns out Antenora was low level Slayheim royalty (Duchess Antenora?), and Vinsfeld is directly responsible for the death of her family.
To… help him?
So your grand plan for revenge was… suicide? The hell!?
Aaaand magical death laser or something signifying her end.
Oh, she had strong feelings alright.
Thanks for the relationship advice, living weapon!
Going to go ahead and guess it isn’t the one that leads you to the most elaborate suicide ever!
And we’re done here. Time to teleport out.
Let’s examine the trajectory of Antenora’s life during our trip. Antenora…
• Was born into Slayheim royalty
• Which was summarily killed by Vinsfeld, so Antenora
• Plotted her revenge, which involved
• Joining Vinsfeld
• Sleeping with Vinsfeld
• Creating a global network (a world wide web, if you will) for gathering information for Vinsfeld
• Assisting Vinsfeld in such fun activities as burning villages and releasing monsters
• All with the final goal of making Vinsfeld absolute king of the world
• But! The plan was to commit suicide by hero
• This, thus, would make Vinsfeld sad
So Antenora is completely crazy.
Antenora is a unique JRPG character up to this point. She’s a female villain (villainess?) in a JRPG, but she’s not the typical Claremontian sadist queen you usually see in that position. She seems pretty… normal (and, side note, she’s not wearing a battle bikini or S&M fetish wear). She’s also the de facto leader of Cocytus, and the entirely male (basically) organization looks to her for guidance. She’s not Odessa’s secretary, she’s not their token female here to say lady stuff and occasionally flirt with the hero; she’s a kick-ass general that appears to be the absolute most stable person on Team Bad Guy.
And it turns out it was all a feint so she could better upset a male character.
Antenora, you were this close to being the rare feminist JRPG villain, and you blew it right at the finish line.
Or should I say the Wild Arms 2 writers blew it?
So, one pillar down. What’s next? Didn’t Amy say something about the Sielje Region? Let’s see if we can’t embarrass Lilka a little more.
Here we are, back in the frozen south of Filgaia.
Aw, he probably misses his bomb.
Professor MacGregor gives us the official directions to the next Diablo Pillar, but we should check in with Terry while we’re here. That boy deserves to be happy.
Aw, Terry, you just keep giving Lilka the business like it’s your job.
Speak to Terry as any other party member, and he’ll reveal that he’s apparently the school virgin detector. Keep up the good work, Terry!
So this Diablo Pillar is smack dab in the middle of the ocean. There’s a triangle of islands that hide the pillar at the center, but Kanon’s radar works just as well on the hovercraft, so it’s not a big deal to find this one. Actually, with the “flatness” of the ocean, it’s one of the easiest pillars to uncover.
Welcome to Diablo Pillar Ptolomea.
I’m not going to note every battle floor again, but, suffice it to say, we’ve got the same number as every other pillar. There are different monsters, though. Hey! Isn’t that Decarabia supposed to be in Persona?
Puzzle time. The theme for Pillar Ptolomea is “moving, crushing blocks”. These giant cubes roll forward, and you’re supposed to use Brad’s bombs to blast through them. Lay a bomb, let the block roll onto it, and, a few bombs later, no more blocks.
However, the blocks are kind of glitched, so you can “solve” this puzzle through other means.
In fact, you can wiggle through this entire chamber of four moving blocks without using a single bomb. As my old Spanish teacher used to say, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing rapido.
Oh! This dungeon has monkeys! Sweet!
Next puzzle floor, and we can’t cheat through this one.
You’re chased by four blocks on a narrow, square platform. You have to outrace the blocks and blow ‘em all up before a bridge will appear.
The blocks actually get faster as their friend blocks are demolished. Try not to get squished!
Moving on to the subboss du pillar.
Brad still has Billy on the brain.
Brad believes that, since Billy believed in his friends, he was able to more effectively outrace a bomb. I would say this is some phenomenally stupid thinking, but it is exactly what Brad did last update.
So I guess it’s time to fight a narwhal.
A tiger narwhal.
Belleclaire is, oddly enough, earth element based.
It also has all the strength of a jungle cat crossed with a sea unicorn. For anyone that hasn’t ever fought a unicorn (I’m an expert), that is a lot of strength.
Watch the pointy parts, too!
Belleclaire is probably the most powerful miniboss of the pillars, but it’s almost because of the “accident” of how easily it can fell Tim or Lilka with fierce physical attacks. But you should be able to succeed with just Brad and Ashley pouring on the offense.
And then you get the Best Vest for your troubles. Sadly, this is not the best vest in the game.
Scuttling right along…
Final puzzle room! Now there are grand rows of moving blocks, and you need to bomb your way through to the exit.
Ooooor you can just utilize that same glitch and stroll on forward at your leisure.
Couple more battles, and then it’s time for the one-eyed man.
I’ll save you a google search, and confirm that a “yearling” is basically a baby sheep. Wake up, yearlingle!
Lilka’s personality seems to be boomeranging around here.
It’s been a while, but the last time we saw Ptolomea, he tricked us into a brief debate on ideals and the true meaning of justice. That seems to happen again.
Viva la Ptolomea!
“Could you do that without terrorizing people?”
Ptolomea isn’t even as brutal as his pet tigwhal. Oddly enough, this is yet another Odessa general that is most difficult during his first appearance, but a complete pushover by his final battle.
And I just pushed him over.
Yeah, justice is totally on the side of five people that beat up one dude with a vision disability.
“We’re gonna keep killin’ ‘em in random encounters, so no promises there.”
Sure, Brad. Sure.
This is exactly what Brad said last update. Unfortunately, with WA2’s wonky localization, I have no idea if this is a deliberate parallel, or a fortune cookie that was floating around the Sony America offices. Maybe Ptolomea was in the Slayheim Liberation Army, too? Who knows.
“Thanks! Maybe we can be friends, too!”
“… Or… not.”
Wasn’t he, though?
Let’s talk about Ptolomea for a second. Ptolomea was obviously positioned as a counterpart to Brad, and, right up to the end, the moral seems to be “but for the grace of God goes our heroes”. Ptolomea just happened to be on the wrong side of this conflict, and, were he recruited by the right creepy megalomaniac at the start of this adventure, things might have gone differently. He was a good guy on the wrong team.
Except he seemed to have a recurring love of releasing monsters on unsuspecting towns, so maybe that message got a tweak muddled.
Moving on to our next destination…
Where can we stop to get off this ship? Oh, neat, Ptolomea’s base was really close to Illsveil Prison, the first place we saw him, and where he recruited the majority of his troops. I wonder if that was deliberate.
#3 is supposedly near Guild Galad, so that’s our next stop.
Guild Galad Master is not at all helpful.
But the Guild Galad library is much more useful.
So it’s somewhere to the south, but we may as well read some books while we’re here. This a clue to something? … Probably?
Okay, I took the hovercraft around the area, aimed for a green dot, and found… Dark Reason? That’s not a Diablo Pillar!
But while we’re here… Dark Reason is an optional dungeon. There don’t seem to be any random encounters here, but it is pretty… dark.
The trick here is that visibility is limited, and the bridges around the area will collapse behind you. And, if you take the wrong path, you’ll have to drop in a pit and start the room over again. It can be annoying, but the only thing you have to lose in this area is time.
And finding the right path is usually just a matter of aiming for the door with the most complicated bridge.
And here’s the prize: Leitea Salk, the Guardian of Darkness.
… Did you just say you’re an idiot? Whatever, Leitea.
And the hardest part of this dungeon is that there isn’t an exit spell in WA2, so you have to backtrack over a bunch of stupid dark bridges.
Anyway, Leitea Salk is the darkness medium, and it naturally confers a pair of dark elemental spells to Tim. Unfortunately, these spells are extremely situational, as 90% of the monsters in WA2 resist dark (because they’re monsters, duh). Leitea is more useful for its unique skill, Counterattack, which reverses physical attacks for one turn, and is very useful when you’re stuck in a one-on-one battle with random mooks. Or the mooks just use magic, and you’re screwed. Whatever.
Fun fact: Leitea Salk is one of the few new Guardians created for Wild Arms 2, and I believe it doesn’t reappear in any later Wild Arms adventures, either. That’s what you get for representing the worst element!
Back to searching for that Diablo Pillar. Turns out you need to board the chateau and fly over to one of the four landing pads on Filgaia to find the dang thing. I knew I was forgetting one landing pad back when I said there were only three…
Here we are.
You know the drill. Honestly, I would be so mad if all the monsters were the same across all of the pillars.
And now for some puzzles. “Puzzles”. Caina enjoys shooting galleries, I suppose, and it’s time to show off our knife hurling. These puzzles would be a lot more appropriate for Judecca…
Three hits and we’re good to go.
The camera refuses to cooperate with me for this monster, but if we check our bestiary…
That’s Sibylla. Playstation 1 games had a weird habit of inserting adorable witch girl monsters into games, and I miss those days. … Wait, they just migrated over to terrible animes, didn’t they? Forget what I said, I miss nothing.
Now for some more hand-eye coordination. Don’t hit any of the “bad” blocks, or you’ll have to start over.
Another three-and-done puzzle. This pillar is going down smooth.
And our special guest speaker for this sub boss will be…
Tim and Pooka!
“Person”. It’s probably going to be a coyote with the head of an elk and the breath of a starfish or something.
Man, Tim hasn’t had any character development since he became a medium. He was like the main character for four updates, and then nothing.
Slime monster, eh? I’m betting this guy isn’t going to be as friendly as Rocket.
How many heads does this thing have? Hey! Drawdo! Save some for the rest of us!
Drawdo is quite the handsome fellow.
It’s looking right at me!
Once you get past the smell, Drawdo isn’t that bad. It’s not very powerful, but most of its moves are based on inflicting status effects.
Here is Tim, and he is both confused and poisoned. … I wonder if Tim can summon a guardian to attack the party…
But unless you get unlucky with an entirely confused party, Drawdo should be done in no time.
Do not accept any free ponchos from strange slime monsters.
The next puzzle area is your Breath of Fire style “dark maze”. There aren’t any monsters around, though, so feel free to bump around in the dark at will.
Not that this maze and its crazy color scheme is all that easy to parse with the lights on.
Let’s get out of here.
Another pillar bites the dust.
Hey, Caina. Nice ribbon.
Ashley will be played by Hank Hill for the remainder of this update.
The Wild Arms 2 localization A Team was on a coffee break.
Caina doesn’t actually say a word until the battle starts. I guess we won’t be seeing a ridiculous Caina backstory.
Caina, why couldn’t you use your key weapon to save magical fantasy worlds like a good boy?
Caina doesn’t seem to have much in the way of new attacks since that appearance a few updates ago. Watch out for random status changes, and you’ll be fine.
Asleep and silence? Not great synergy, there.
Hey! Caina! Where’s our flower?
Protocol dictates we kick your ass!
Randolph doesn’t just have a catchy name for the hell of it, it appears Caina’s magic key is partially sentient.
Randi! No! Don’t do this!
Oh… guess Randolph is on our side. This black hole is only sucking in Caina.
“Just to be clear, this isn’t a happy wooooooo!”
“Welp, this has been a long day.”
When your enemy is sucked into another dimension, yes, you’ve won. Just ask Gilgamesh.
Yeah, that kid that just tried to suck us into a black hole was pure as driven snow.
This is absolutely wrong.
Anyway, I’d discuss Caina, but this update is already getting pretty long.
And we don’t even know how we’re going to get to the final Diablo Pillar, so I think it’s time for a break. Come back next time to find there’s a whole stupid sidequest leading up to that nonsense.
Next time on Wild Arms: I ain’t afraid of no ghost.