Wild Arms 2 Part 32: Inexplicable Halloween Special

Previously on Wild Arms:

So we’ve got our “airship” now, and that grants us access to the whole of the world. As a result, this update is going to be entirely optional content… though the first two items are arguably optional content that is more important than some of the mandatory stuff we’ll get to later.

So let’s explore this random castle in the middle of nowhere.

I’m sure there are some helpful NPCs that hint toward the location of this castle, but you’re equally likely to find the place through Kanon’s radar while zooming around the planet. It’s right in the middle of a continent that is large enough to scream “there’s got to be something around here”.

This dungeon is predominantly switch based. The first two switches are one of those “one or the other” type deals. Pick your pathway!

Right seems… right.

But we’ll need to find some more switches to make it through here.

So let’s look around elsewhere.

Save point! Not that this dungeon has a boss or anything, but it is nice to have one available.

Here’s our first switch…

Number two is just across the way…

Library with unreadable books in the middle…

And here’s number three. Ashley ran square into that thing, and he’s going to have to lie down for a minute before proceeding.

But proceed we shall!

Ominous!

But the monsters around here are pretty typical fare

Red Barney? Well, I suppose there could be a resemblance…

We literally already recruited a god of darkness, so this can’t be that terrible.

… Ganon?

… Dracula?

Yep, definitely Dracula.

I like to think this is deleted dialogue from every Castlevania finale.

Heeeeere’s Marivel.

“I thought it was just the 10,000 random monsters that I apparently live with.”

“Where’s the King of Darkness we were promised!”

Tim was a penniless urchin a week ago, and now he’s “heard” the legendary immortals live in a giant castle in the middle of nowhere. I choose to believe the guardians are gossipy blabbermouths.

“You were looking for immortal darkness? You got it! Right here! A whole hundred pounds of it!”

Lilka and Marivel would be super best friends if they could only tolerate each other.

Brad also pretty much directly addresses the audience and says, “Look, you’re playing a game with an immortal fire elemental trapped in a random blue haired kid. Are vampires any worse? Just roll with it.”

“Which is why we were exploring a random castle that has nothing to do with anything.”

Incidentally, this is the first we’ve seen “natural” Marivel in the present. I’m kind of surprised the rest of ARMS doesn’t respond with at least a little surprise at seeing Marivel’s actual face.

But the last thousand years were pretty good, right, Ms. Immortal?

Apropos of absolutely nothing, Ashley decides Marivel needs a stern talking to.

And she reacts well!

“It’s not because I like you or anything!” ◕‿◕

Marivel joins the party!

And she’s got her own tool!

The Electel will only ever be used on very specific objects, but Marivel naturally believes it is intended for frying human flesh.

Welcome to the team, Marivel!

Marivel is our one hidden character, and brings our party count up to six. Incidentally, the final boss seems to assume you’ll have a full party of six playable characters, so I have to wonder if she’s really all that hidden. Note also that, unlike some games and their hidden playable characters, you will never reach a point in Wild Arms 2 when you cannot recruit Marivel.

And since we’ve got this vampire on the team, let’s reexplore her old digs.

Side note: Marivel has the best running animation.

Now that Marivel can read those “ancient” books hiding around the castle, the place yields practically a town’s worth of random backstory.

It was not by Crimson Noble hands that they were once again given flesh.

And maybe someone should keep an eye on Marivel around dinnertime?

But we all know why Marivel is alone now.

Lord Blazer was a conceptual being, so he could attack and destroy souls. There aren’t any more vampires in Filgaia because Lord Blazer exterminated their very existence with extreme prejudice.

Second runner-up for “greatest enemy”, ultimately.

We’ll get to that!

We didn’t need Marivel to loot the treasure chests littered about the castle, but it would be rude to search through her stuff otherwise.

I guess we’re not only happy meals for the vampire population.

Please tell me this book is Marivel’s friendfiction magnum opus. … Wait. That actually appears in Wild Arms 3?

I’ll keep an eye out for any items that summon monsters! We sure do need to fight more monsters!

This is a clue to the location of one of Marivel’s unique tools. Remember any ruins with inexplicable markings?

Nope! It was a close one, but we beat up that nuclear dragon!

The Crimson Nobles are aware of the Guardians, but they’re regarded as a bunch of losers.

This book needs to talk to its neighbor book.

These vampires really are knowledgeable about everything on the planet.

Bet Marivel read that one a few times.

Marivel’s weapon during battle isn’t a sword or her fangs or something remotely sane, it’s a pair of tiny robots. Note that we’re not just talking about weapon “type”, Hob & Nob will be her only weapon for the entire game, period. Luckily, you will find powerups for the ‘obs, so their attack power will increase as we go.

Aw, guess Anastasia had a hobby before she became a Sword Saint.

… What was that last thing?

Okay! Let’s fight some skeletons! First of all, Marivel is basically a mage. Her general attacks are pretty weak, but her magic stats are off the charts. And how is that helpful? Well, Mari is a blue mage.

Marivel’s blue mage skills are very… Final Fantasy 5. On one hand, you have a host of elemental skills that can be learned from random monsters, and they’re absolutely not worth it. Fly around the world, find some random lizard creature, use skill drain, and then earn a fire spell that is no different than what Lilka or Tim could use from practically the start of the game. But! Some of the skills are downright gamebreaking, so that can be useful.

For instance, if you’re paying attention to the spell list in Wild Arms 2, you’ll know we don’t even have a basic “sleep” spell yet. And that’s not really a bad thing, because since when have random status ailment spells been useful for a JRPG party? There isn’t a golem guarding a secret town in Filgaia, so why bother? Well, the reason to bother in Wild Arms 2 is that the programmers didn’t think anyone would bother, either, so some of the absolute most powerful bosses in this game are vulnerable to “common” status effects. For instance, one of the deadliest super bosses around can be put to sleep with something like 80% success. And the only way to get a sleep spell is through Marivel’s blue magic, so it’s probably a good idea to keep her around.

But who cares about any of that? I’m not going to spend all day tracking down random spells, so let’s just summon a golem and be done with it. All of Marivel’s FP level moves are various golem summons, but we only have access to one at the moment.

Go go! Fighting vampire! For bloody justice!

Here is Marivel’s basic attack. Operation Genocide is off to a bad start.

And, if you’re curious, here are Marivel’s starting (Level 99) stats. Please be aware that the goggles do nothing.

Stare at this screenshot long enough, and you’ll notice a tiny, nearly imperceptible lightning bolt mark on the wall.

Time to put Marivel’s one tool to use!

Whammo! A new door!

This previously hidden stairway seems a lot like the entrance to Marivel’s crypt/bedroom.

And it contains… the last metroid in captivity?

Nope! It’s a new golem!

… Well, “new” is kind of a misnomer. Asgard is a golem that was featured heavily in Wild Arms 1, and will return again in later Wild Arms games. Asgard doesn’t have much in the way of a “plot” here, but it is good to see the ol’ barrier buster return.

And that’s about it for this castle!

I have a moderately okay memory, so we’re going to make a quick trip back to Meria.

Remember that book in the Meria library that we haven’t been able to read since the very beginning of the game? Well guess what.

One optional dungeon leads to another…

So there’s a Wild Arms anime, Wild Arms Twilight Venom (“TV”, get it?), that was released after Wild Arms 2. It was kinda sorta based on Wild Arms 2, or at least drew its version of Filgaia from WA2. There’s a Crimson Noble in that series right from the start, and she is not supposed to be Marivel. She is, physically, mentally, and spiritually a totally different character. However, she is named Mirabelle Graceland. Obviously, Marivel could be a mislocalization of Mirabelle. Marivel could also be a mislocalization of Isabelle/Isabel. And Wild Arms TV does make mention of an ancient Mirabelle Armitage. And, while we’re talking about ancestors and descendants anyway, all evidence points to Marivel Armitage being the last of the Crimson Nobles, so who the hell else could write a book about how the Crimson Nobles are all dead?

Anyway, my point is that Wild Arms 2 is a land of contrasts.

I need to clear my head, let’s hit that old monster-studying club we visited back when we were tackling Telepath Tower.

We were barred from going downstairs before…

But now we can use Marivel’s Electel to activate a robot and… This sounds interesting.

Welcome to the Black Market! This is another Wild Arms recurring location.

And it’s the only place on the planet where you can buy healing items. Revive Fruits (phoenix downs), War Respites (all purpose remedies), and Mini Carrots (+25 FP at any time) are all very useful.

And there appears to be a puzzle area over here, but we can’t make it through that fence, so we’ll be back yet again.

Now let’s check out that dungeon from Isabel’s secret book.

Aaaaand we can’t get anywhere, because there’s an impassable gap. Put this one on the “return later” checklist, too.

So it’s time to fly around the planet and use Kanon’s radar to find all sorts of random items.

And maybe a werewolf?

Spooky, scary.

This cave has very poor lighting. There is eventually a tool that could clear up that issue, but we can bump around in the dark just fine.

Oh no! A mon(ster)!

At least the way the lighting works makes it really easy to find the edges.

And occasionally bomb the edges.

Don’t fall!

The first demolition wall is pretty easy to find. After that, it’s a little more difficult, but since you’re already aware it’s explosions time, it’s easy to drop a billion bombs and hope for the best.

Here’s the best.

Wave back, Tim.

You’re the worst medium ever.

Yes, your optional character does get dialogue. Yes, she’s still Marivel.

Damn you, dialogue box, you were supposed to help us out with names!

Like I could ever forget such a good dog.

And Ashley is teleported away!

Welcome to the Velvet Room. Wait, no, this looks more like violet…

“Sup?”

Shocking!

Note that Lucied, like Marivel, apparently took the long way back to the present.

Also note that Lucied didn’t actually speak during our time together in the Memory Maze.

“Are we going to have to fight? That has been happening a lot lately.”

“And I am, as you people say, a hungry puppy.”

Sounds familiar!

I’ve been playing this game for nearly a year, and this is update #32. Each of these updates takes hours of assembling screenshots, writing, and then editing a comprehensive commentary on a complete game. And, having said that, who the %^#^ is Grandma!?

Ashley has learned from his adventure full of heroic deeds!

He never really wanted to be a hero, either, he just wanted to make his girlfriend happy. Aw?

Just in case the audience missed it the first sixteen times we said that.

And Lucied is willing to put up with the whole “Marina” thing.

This is will prove to be surprisingly literal.

Also literally.

Zephyr comes later, you silly doggo!

This will be explained shortly.

“I haven’t been okay since this game started.”

“We had a nice chat.”
“Was it about power and whether or not it can be good or evil?”
“How’d you know?”

Kanon busts out a quick history lesson. She knows her stuff.

More’s the pity.

Best vampire.

So Mad Lucied is exclusively an attack for when Ashley is in Over Knight Blazer mode. It entirely replaces Hot Fencer.

Mad Lucied is pretty much the exact same move, but it is non-elemental. Hot Fencer is always fire type (I think), but Mad Lucied just plain does damage. This is important for some of the remaining boss fights, as there are at least a handful of powerful monsters that will absorb Hot Fencer attacks, but take neutral damage to Mad Lucied.

And… that’s all we get out of Lucied. While it makes sense that the most unique Guardian on this planet would grant a very unique bonus (and one that only applies to Ashley, too), this always seems like a letdown. Considering Lucied was a playable character earlier, when Lucied finally joins us in the present, you’d expect something closer to Bahamut ZERO, and less… random fat chocobo summon.

And now we have to walk out of this damn dark dungeon! Lame!

Where to next?

Oh, finally, this dungeon.

Technically you can access this cave anytime after piloting Valeria Chateau, but I kept missing it. Also note the monster pyramid for later.

Yeah, wind is a real mystery.

This dungeon has three rooms (with random monsters). The wind blows at timed intervals in each room.

The idea is to light all of the torches with Lilka’s fireballs before the wind blows them back out. The first room is no big.

But the next two rooms are a little more complicated/tense.

But they’re certainly doable without too much effort.

And we’re done.

He’s still a total sub.

“Here’s my medium.”

Fengalon is an angry cat-type Guardian that uses wind attacks. As expected, he confers a pair of wind spells to Tim. However, Fengalon’s unique skill, Pickpocket, is the only “steal” command in the game. As such, you really should pick up this Guardian earlier rather than later, so that way you can earn… useless crap. Hey, this isn’t Xenosaga and its damned steal-required special moves again. However, you do need pickpocket for at least one other sidequest we’ll be hitting soon enough, so it’s good to have.

Hm, don’t think we’ve been on this continent before. Looks like those mountainous shores were keeping out our hovercraft.

A town! Neat!

Does this place seem familiar to anyone?

Monsters in the fields? That does ring a bell…

This is the best armory in the game, so that’s good.

Oh! This is the town from Lilka’s intro! We couldn’t explore inside the houses then, but now we’ve got free reign of the place.

And everyone is so friendly!

“I have a name, you know…”

And we’ve got a good clue to one of those Raypoints that are actually plot relevant.

Hello, kid behind a tree.

We just made some NPC’s day!

Speaking of Lilka stuff…

Knew I was forgetting something. We delivered it, but did we ever confirm that dude did anything with it?

May as well check that out.

Yay! He did that thing. Better tell the hermit that invented High Level Magic.

But while we’re here, we can get a clue to another Raypoint.

And Terry the Good Boy continues to be a clever, polite lad.

Now back to the island, and we earn Lilka’s Level 3 skill.

Extend basically just ups the number of targets for a particular spell. It can be a life saver if you need to “heal all” immediately, but, other than that, the 75 FP cost means that it is usually more efficient to just waste two turns casting on your individual targets. It’s not like you ever encounter a great number of monsters at once, anyway.

It’s that last thing.

Incidentally, this “quest” can be completed as soon as the Diablo Pillars appear, but I’m so bad at doing things on time.

And speaking of places that could be explored earlier, let’s check out this highly suspicious crater.

We already figured that out!

Another monster pyramid…

And a hole!

This dungeon is holes for days. Test your spatial awareness by falling to the right places!

And there are weird elemental treasures all over the place, too.

Are artifacts supposed to impress me?

The general goal of this area is to fall through the right hole to pull this switch. I realize I could just back up the ol’ screen grabber and get a capture of that very hole, but I’m terrible.

Tom Cruise’s personal Guardian.

Rigdobrite only appears in Wild Arms 1 and Wild Arms 2 (and technically the remake of WA1). However, there is this interesting bit of dialogue from Wild Arms 3:

“August 17: Today is August 17, Star Festival Day. Once, a guardian from the stars landed in front of a starving young boy. Introducing himself as Rigdobrite, he ripped a chunk of his own flesh and offered it to the ailing boy. As a token of his gratitude, the boy became a baker and made Rigdobrite flavored cookies. Since the cookies tasted like shrimp, Rigdobrite became known as the Shrimp-Flavored Guardian.”

Does this guy look particularly edible?

Rigdobrite confers a pair of uninteresting, non-elemental spells upon Tim. They’re pretty powerful, but they have significant FP costs, so they’re rarely useful. Rigdobrite’s unique command is Artifact, which allows any character to “use” one of those artifacts (only found in this dungeon) as an elemental attack. This can be pretty useful, as it means any of the bruisers on the team can nail an elemental weakness at any time… but, at this point in the game, they usually have better options available. But it’s the thought that counts!

Anything else fun around this area?

Floating temple? That seems important.

Hey, the first Raypoint we literally stumbled into. Guess it’s time to at least throw the plot a bone.

Next time on Wild Arms 2: Tim gets all the best stuff.

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