PREVIOUSLY ON XENOSAGA: Shion, KOS-MOS, and the smelly guy made their way to the Elsa, and met its crew of kooky characters… but none of that matters, because we won’t see a single one of those weirdoes in this update.
We’re going to kick this off with what is either a planet, or some sort of fancy production logo.
Alright, it’s a planet, and it appears to be tearing itself apart and erupting with light… or… something? Bad news for the planet in question, at least.
Aaaaaand she’s gone. Guess this is one of those disappearing planets no one really cared about.
It was also just a projection on the bridge of some ship somewhere. Xenosaga is getting clever with its cavalcade of flashbacks.
This young lady was none too happy to be watching an entire planet full of people die. Or disappear. Whatever. Sad times.
And here’s that Margulis guy that was remotely commanding Cherenkov a couple of posts back. He does not give a damn about a planet full of people. “What’s one and a half billion people to us…” is the full quote.
Bleeding heart, worrying about the dead… or missing… whoa, hey, is this like an episode of The Leftovers? But in space? I’d watch that.
Ah ha what a jerk.
It’s just implied here, but here’s the full info because it will be important later: planet tinkers with emulator, planet disappears, emulator remains, Woglinde nabs emulator (aka Zohar, aka big golden monolith), and… well, you already know how that turned out.
Margulis is going to keep smooshing planets until he gets what he wants. This is not a guy who worries about broken eggs in his omelet.
Pellegri is Margulis’s second… he shows affection by at least making sure Pellegri isn’t actually on any soon-to-be-vaporized planets.
Margulis is keeping Pellegri in line with the ol’ “Go ahead and tell the authorities, you’re just as guilty as I am” gambit. Sle-azy.
Margulis, confronted with a retort noting that his own arrest might go poorly, once again reveals that he is a raging misanthrope.
We shall be as gods, etc etc.
Just so we don’t all think these guys are some ancient society or something, Margulis’s lofty goals aren’t even old enough to drive.
Pellegri backs down and… oh! Vanderkam! That was the name of the guy with the purple X on his face. He survived! He’s the only survivor!
And he reports that, as we know, the Zohar got away from everybody. Whoopsidoodle.
BUM BUM BUUUUUUM… I have no idea what this means.
Before we hop away, let’s take a look at Commander Margulis. We’re about to fill in a few blanks on the commander’s organization shortly, but the man himself is… kind of terrible. Margulis is, obviously, one of the bad guys, and, to his credit, he’s one of the few antagonists in this game that is dedicatedly, overtly evil, but lasts for longer than five minutes (wassup, Virgil?). Every scene with this guy is just an excuse for him to yell at some baby bunnies or rant about how killing billions of people ain’t no thang, and he considers himself above pretty much every living thing in the universe.
He’s also, basically, a pope. Maybe at least a cardinal.
Also, as you can tell from his lovely complexion, he’s seen some combat. Fun fact? That scar on his face is actually the handiwork of Shion’s brother. Small universe.
Switching scenes, now we’re at Fifth Jerusalem’s Orbit Tower, which is basically the Galactic Senate Chambers.
Politics… OF THE FUTURE!
So these guys that mostly don’t have names are discussing their latest hire, some former police officer.
I guess he retired. And became immortal.
… I am narrowly suppressing a “together, they fight crime” narration joke so I can use it later.
“He’s a relic from the days when they reanimated the dead.” Geez, that sounds like a fun time. Also seems like something humanity wouldn’t want to get away from. Immortality sounds pretty great, right?
Oh… so the dead were reanimated to be fodder. And in one sentence we also learn the popular opinion on the Realians’ purpose.
Hey, maybe he just likes a challenge? Some people enjoy hard mode.
Senator Mustache assumes he’s suicidal, though.
Yeah, see? He must just enjoy challenging assignments.
“Hmph. Advances in science have placed thousands of drugs on our shelves, and yet we still let psychiatrists wield their influence over us. They use these ‘assessments’ to validate their existence. I don’t believe them one bit.”
Out of absolutely nowhere, Baldy decides to rail against psychiatrists for a spell, and then everybody goes back to what they were talking about. I’m going to assume this guy rants a lot about space chem trails, too.
Well, if he only seeks missions with poor chance of success, and he’s still alive, he’d almost have to have a good record, right? That’s how that works.
And now the man of the hour, ushered upstairs with a holographic secretary. Ladies and gentleman, here’s the best character in the series.
“Ziggurat 8, isn’t it? Upon your death in T.C. 4667, you donated your body and chose to become a product of Ziggurat Industries.”
We’re looking at the kind of guy who is assigned a model number, grunts affirmatively, and then lives the next hundred years with a digit in his name. Probably makes it easier to come up with unique passwords, though.
I would certainly hope that, at the point that he’s appearing before the people hiring him, he’s at least heard of what the job entails.
Oh, “a certain armed group”, yeah, they sound like a lot of fun.
14 years ago? I swear I just heard that exact number a moment ago…
And we’ve got a name for Margulis’s armed group, the U-TIC Organization. I’d go into a paragraph or so of detail on ‘em, but you’ll basically learn everything you need to know within these updates.
Apparently U-TIC is operating out of an old shrine. As alluded to earlier, they actually are pretty much religious extremists, and it’s not just a random hangout.
Oh, if it were so simple…
“See, there’s this woman in a pink dress, and she’s been captured by a fire-breathing turtle monster, and our last guy took a hammer to the brain, so we need some new blood on this mission.”
Ziggurat 8 is not one for unnecessary chit-chat.
The camera takes a moment to linger on the only person in this room (other than the cyborg) that showed up for work wearing something different. She brings an image up on the jumbotron.
Looks like you are rescuing a princess, Ziggurat.
Alright, she’s not quite a child, she’s a Realian. As we’ve learned before, though, Realians are effectively just manufactured people, so she’s probably about a thousand times more emotional than KOS-MOS.
Though, speaking of KOS-MOS, she’s another “product” meant to combat gnosis. Guess it’s just vogue to make all your anti-space whale technology look like various young women.
And they’re new!
Unlike KOS-MOS, the 100-series, anti-gnosis Realians are actually mass-produced, presumably because their creator wasn’t a procrastinating loon (well, maybe a loon, but not a procrastinator). Pinky here is the prototype.
Ziggurat 8 confirms the parameters of his mission: secure the prototype, screw everything else.
The senate asks Ziggurat if he’d like to take the job, and he calmly points out that, legally, he’s basically furniture, so he literally can’t say no. Not that he’s exactly upset about it, though.
But he does have a request.
“After my return, I ask that you eliminate the neural memories residing in my brain from my previous life.”
“That’s not a problem, but it could be a difficult procedure with a body as outdated as yours.”
“Add as many synthetic parts as necessary.”
“He” wants to be “it”, and he doesn’t care what it takes to do it.
Isn’t it, though?
And that’s Ziggurat 8 in a nutshell. He’s bizarro-Pinocchio. What a twist!
The senate agrees, and Ziggurat 8 is grateful for their efforts to effectively kill him.
Ms. Sensible Duster over there is identified as Juli Mizrahi. Guess she’s got the deets.
Ziggurat 8 leaves, and no sooner is he outside of earshot do the chatty little hens start gossiping about the fact that he… committed suicide? Wow, that can’t be good.
Well, gee, Baldy, if only we had some kind of psychiatrist around to ascertain and possibly improve his mental state.
Ziggurat 8 isn’t exactly a great example of free will, apparently.
Just when I think I’m out…
Which, as we’ve already learned, effectively means nothing in this universe. Just ask Shion.
It was supposed to be a quick suicide, but some dorks made it last foooooorever.
We’ve pretty much well and totally established Ziggurat 8’s character with all the subtlety of a rail gun, but let’s give it a little closer look. As plainly stated, his whole deal is that he wants to be less human in a world crawling with various creatures that want to be more human. As you can likely already guess, this won’t last, and his heart will grow three sizes before this whole thing is over. Obvious plot beats aside, he does work out to be one of the most enjoyable and, arguably, relatable characters, as his general reaction to so much anime space nonsense is basically, “I’m getting too old for this shit.” Even beyond that, he’s pretty much the polar opposite of the typical overly-excitable shonen hero that is everywhere in JRPGs, and the only character I can immediately recall with a similar personality/situation is (consider this the highest praise) Nier (of… Nier).
And, if you’re unaware, he’s a playable party member, and is the first new character we get to actually use in combat since Shion and KOS-MOS debuted at the start of the game. Well, first character that will stick around past one dungeon, sorry to undercut your big moment, Virgil.
STUFF TO WATCH (and, seriously, part of why I’m willing to replay this series): It’s already been established that Ziggurat 8 became a cyborg after committing suicide. It was always my impression through Episode 1 & 2 that Ziggurat 8, originally named Jan Sauer, killed himself after witnessing a horrific event involving his wife and child. It’s sad and crappy, but a pretty traditional “tragedy” ending, like Romeo and Juliet. However, it was eventually revealed via a cell phone game starring Jan Sauer during the lead-up to Xenosaga Episode 3 that Jan didn’t kill himself due to hopeless trauma, but because he was in one of those superhero standoff situations where Big Bad was going to possess his body/soul if he did nothing, and, thinking of no other way to save himself from being possessed and causing further harm, he shot himself in the head. So, basically, Ziggurat-8’s initial end went from depressing tragedy to heroic act.
My question is, basically, was this always the intended back story for Ziggurat-8, or was this just a retcon to further bolster the reputation of one of Xenosaga’s most well liked characters (or it could have even been some writer somewhere identifying that maybe our coolest character shouldn’t in any way be promoting suicide). Whatever the case, I’m going to be keeping an eye on Ziggurat-8 and any references to his past, because I’m genuinely curious if it was just my own assumptions at work, or if this was a retcon inserted years later for the final chapter.
But let’s forget all that and flip back to U-TIC base, where that pink-haired Realian is under guard.
And here’s Margulis dropping by to spread a little sunshine.
Put down the vinegar, pick up the honey jar, you’ll catch many more flies.
Pinky won’t even play the friendly game, though, unlike some people, she doesn’t like being called by a model number.
Margulis? Not helping.
This is the first scene where Pinky is speaking, and she just has the most sickeningly sweet “kid voice” ever. It’s the same voice actress behind the Tachikoma of Ghost in the Shell, and, oh yeah, Sasami of Tenchi Muyo. Ring any bells? The voice completely fits, because she’s a kid acting like a kid, but it does get old pretty quickly.
She’s basically as confused about her incarceration as anybody else. Come to think of it, there was that whole meeting, and no one really mentioned why she got kidnapped.
Margulis is not into the whole “treat Realians like people” thing (which is literally a law, if you recall). Then again, he doesn’t treat people like people, so maybe he’s equal opportunity?
You tell him!
What are you talking about? Something like this?
Alright, I take it back, psychiatrists are terrible.
Because there may be some confusion, he’s not presciently predicting a certain cyborg’s arrival, he’s referring to yet another bad guy that is on his way to pick up the poor Realian. And you do not want to leave your little girl Realians with that guy.
D’aww. She’s just wike a widdle kid.
Now approaching U-TIC organization stronghold, please secure your valuables, and don’t think too hard about how a structure shaped like that would be at all functional for humans.
Took Z-8 about two days to get a ride in to U-TIC. Waiting to be rescued is never any fun.
As you can mostly see here, Z-8 has some kind of invisibility attachment that allows for easy sneaking. This seems like it would be simultaneously the most useful thing in the universe, and exactly the kind of thing a cagey paramilitary group would be guarding against. Eh, let’s not think about it too hard.
If you squint, you can see our hero, but no one else has squinting powers. This is the first we have a working controller after the cinematics of the previous two updates, a series of “movies” lasting about 35 minutes. Geez. I’m going to talk about that… issue in the next update, incidentally, so look forward to it.
Since we’ve got time to stretch our legs and reenter the menu, let’s have a little tutorial on Tech Attacks. Note that there isn’t really a tutorial at this point in the game, I’m just doing this for the benefit of anyone at all curious about one of Xenosaga’s most mandatory optional systems.
First of all, remember that I squirreled a bunch of Skill Upgrade items into Shion’s backpack, and we’re going to feed these to Z-8. Note that, even in a “proper” Xenosaga run, Z-8 (and, later, a whole new solitary playable character) mysteriously has access to all of Shion’s items and gear. Despite the fact that it couldn’t make any less sense, though, Z-8 does not have access to Shion’s UMN PDA device, so you can’t look up her glossary, or read her emails. Just as well, I never want to hear from Miyuki again.
So normally you accrue Tech Points (T.Pts) from battle, and Z-8 would have zero at this point, but those items I just subjected him to have gained us a few. Here are two techs currently available: Cyber Kick and Lightning Fist. Techs are obviously character specific, and you likely remember Shion’s Spell Beam or KOS-MOS’s million laser sword deluge from previous updates. Each Tech Attack has three parameters to upgrade: Tech, Speed, and Wait. Upgrading Tech will lead to a more powerful (more damage) Tech Attack. Upgrading Wait will mean less cool-down time after each usage, which is important, but turns cycle around pretty quick in Xenosaga anyway, so that’s likely why improving Wait is only 10 points versus Tech’s 180. What’s important is upgrading Speed, because when you do that…
You can slot a Tech Attack into the High (Speed) section, which means you can perform a Tech Attack with zero charge time. As a reminder, normally you can only perform a Tech Attack after limiting yourself to using only half a turn (utilizing one attack as opposed to two per round), guarding, or using a “weak” item. Upgrading a Tech Attack to the High section, however, allows you to use a powerful Tech Attack every single turn, and the only penalty is having to wait slightly (very slightly) longer to see your turn come up again.
This is such a game-changer for damage dealing that it isn’t even funny, which makes it all the more strange that the game never really “leads you” to this upgrade area beyond a gentle, “hey, don’t forget to upgrade sometime” message during the opening tutorial when you have practically zero points for an upgrade. If there’s a min/max strategy for the game (ignoring the end/”post” game), it relies on knowing which skills to upgrade immediately for what situations. Most Tech Attacks have an elemental component, and many have additional modifiers regarding effecting near/far enemies, or even particular groups. Figure out all the Tech Skills, allocate points correctly, and you might survive to see Episode 2.
Of course, I’m a filthy cheater, so I’m just going to pump my characters completely full of T.Pt steroids as they join up, because, criminy, we’re barely out of the prologue.
Aaaand we’re back to our infiltration mission, already in progress. Hey, look, it’s our first real save point in ages. Remember that.
Technically you can “talk” to the guards milling about, and you won’t be detected. Invisibility has its advantages.
When they said this place was some old religion’s base, they weren’t kidding. Half this place looks like a whiz-bang future space station, and the rest looks like a medieval dungeon, complete with inexplicably burning torches. Shouldn’t there be some oxygen recycling concerns in space?
Z-8, one to plan ahead, sticks some explosive devices on these rocks. The devices themselves also go invisible after being planted. I refuse to believe any society could advance past the invention of “imperceptible bombs”.
Welp, time to Metal Gear around the base proper.
And Z-8’s camouflage malfunctions and is inaccessible for the rest of the mission (and, I think, the rest of the trilogy). What might have been the most useful tool in our hero’s arsenal is pretty much never mentioned again.
Phew, we nearly went a whole two minutes without some exposition there, so it’s time for a flashback to that chamber from a few moments ago.
Everybody else went home, but Ziggurat 8 and Juli Mizrahi are discussing how super important our pink-haired Realian is to the human race.
The creator of the 100-Series and the founder of U-TIC was a Dr. Joachim Mizrahi. So he’s an evil genius? Another one?
And he was amazing in the sack. Spoilers, the two most established romantic relationships in this series both involve a woman and a genius of dubious sanity.
Credit to the voice actress and/or director, Juli says this line with all the world-weariness you’d expect. Yes, I was married to a murderer, we used to summer in Second Hamptons.
Ziggurat-8 is not one for small talk. Also, further good acting, both from the voice work and the general pose, Z-8 reacts like someone who’d kinda like to leave now.
Can we change the subject?
This is an important question from a “plot” perspective, but Mr. All Business is likely just asking it to make sure she’s not, ya know, a bomb or something.
Here is your stock answer.
And here’s the real answer. Apparently Evil Joachim Mizrahi is dead, and is an accused murderer who started an organization that routinely disappears planets, so Juli Mizrahi is the legal guardian of this Realian child… so she’s basically the kid’s mom. And… well… the relationship is complicated.
Z-8 comes out of his flashback coma noting that, yeah, what a nutbar.
Back to actual gameplay, here’s the layout of the place, typical “stealth mission” setup, with soldiers patrolling around large walls in set patterns, and you’re to sneak quietly about and hope you’re not spotted. If you are seen, it’s not a Game Over, simply a battle like any other, and you’ll earn EXP and items for your trouble.
“Sneak” means “hold the walk button”. As you can see here, I don’t give a damn about being spotted, because I wanted to give Ziggurat 8 a little test run before we get into the complicated stuff.
As you have likely guessed, Z-8 is generally your bruiser for the game, with high HP and great attack. I wouldn’t expect him to run any marathons or win an ether slinging contest, but the guards are not going to survive detecting the cyborg.
And here’s one of those pretty pretty Tech Attacks. Don’t think this one is Lightning Fist…
Z-8’s victory cries are usually something vaguely taunt-y, but still fairly robotic. “The battle was decided the moment I drove my rad sword thing into your skull.” That kind of stuff.
Despite not having access to Shion’s UMN PDA, we do have her destructor beam, and there are a few places you can detonate the walls to find secrets.
Here’s one of those red doors the nanobots are building everywhere. Considering these things even appear in virtual environments and ancient shrines, I do mean everywhere.
These guards are not very good at their job, and, seriously, why are they even patrolling? There’s no sign there’s been a break-in, and this is the only part of the base where there are distinct “patrols”. Are they just trying to stay warm jogging in circles? With guns?
One passage is a catwalk over a very cathedral looking room. Guess which “ancient religion” U-TIC subscribes to. As is inevitable, we’ll get into the particulars of that plot point as it becomes more relevant… in a game or so.
There’s an AGWS with a badass sword wandering around, and, yeah, don’t blame Ziggurat 8 for not wanting to confront that thing head-on.
So you can pull the high-tech equivalent of throwing a rock in the other direction, and distract the AGWS by swinging a crane around and blowing up some boxes. And the nitwit will stand around investigating the area (but not you) for the rest of forever.
And in no time at all you’re at her cell. Despite the fact that you could conceivably get this far without experiencing a single battle, apparently some soldiers have been knocked out by a strong space breeze, and are not reporting in.
Aw, isn’t she just the most precious little thing?
Ziggurat 8 sneaks around the corner and confronts the cell guards.
This isn’t a mere cutscene, you do actually fight the guards. If you’ve been proficient at sneaking, this is the first battle for the area… though the odds of that are fairly low.
I’m more interested in Ziggurat 8’s height as compared to the average storm trooper.
Again, not one for small talk.
Here we see the other side of that Mizrahi relationship. “Mom” can barely admit to it, but daughter is super excited to even hear her mommy’s group is involved.
But we’re not through the woods yet.
As per videogame tradition, we have to go find some keycard, because of course we do.
Z-8 does say this in a fairly comforting manner. He might be all business, but there’s overwhelming evidence the child-bot really is a child, and Z-8 acts accordingly. Cyborg with a heart of gold.
Fun fact: as I’ve been dancing around it, we haven’t officially named “100-series Realian kidnap victim” yet, but the dialogue box clearly identifies her as MOMO here. Eh, not like most people playing this game didn’t already know that. It’s basically KOS-MOS’s helmet all over again.
So while we’re trekking off to find that keycard, I’ll note the reason you probably should actually sneak around this area. After Shion and KOS-MOS (and Virgil) had their fun adventure on the Woglinde, the average player is probably pretty confident in their Xenosaga battle capabilities, but that gang of characters were all of average-to-fast speed. Ziggurat 8, though, is slow as balls. He’s strong, and he can take a hit, but he is not in any way speedy, so while you’re likely to win your battles, you can also get in super annoying situations like pictured here, where you’re poisoned (which drains far too much HP per round) and this common soldier is acting probably three times for Z-8’s one. Couple that with the fact that you’re alone, thus have no healing support, and are limited to only Med Kits (potions) on hand, it’s entirely possible you’ll die basically just because you didn’t have time to react between “HP is low” and “oh look, it’s finally my turn again.” This all combines poorly with, as mentioned in a previous update, there’s no “retry” option like in later era JRPGs (or Final Fantasy Mystic Quest), so a Game Over means you’re sent aaaaaaaall the way back to that save point I noted on the way in.
In short, as much as earning additional EXP sounds like a good idea, maybe wait to pick fights until after you have a second party member.
And there’s a couple of mean tricks related to that, like this group of boxes that introduces the concept that enemies may be hiding in destructible items. If you’re not constantly healing between battles, this one might kill you.
The surveillance room houses this mini-boss, another required fight.
You’d think this would provide a map to the place, or maybe the ability to track guards or… some tactical advantage? But, no, we just identify this as the most useful room in the place, and then never utilize it in any way.
Time to turn this miniboss into scrap. Nothing too hard, other than the fact that, with little bit things released, this battle might have the greatest enemy to ally ratio in the game. Still pretty manageable if you defend, heal, and use your techs appropriately.
Yay! It’s that thing we need!
On the walk back, we’re taking a moment to observe the fact that this place is basically half-museum. What have we here? Some kind of tablet? Neat.
And the day is saved.
Ziggurat-8 uses his sensors to confirm he’s found his target while he, ya know, just asks her.
As mentioned earlier, not a big fan of the model number thing here.
Unlike Margulis, Z-8 immediately asks what she’d actually like to be called. Also note that he squats down to her level, which is probably a metaphor or something.
After we went through all the trouble to get the keycard to avoid any alarms, one of the guards wakes up just long enough to set off the claxons. Thanks a lot, doofus.
Gotta go fast.
And now we have her official naming: MOMO is MOMO. Also, confirmation that he dear ol’ infamous father is still “daddy” to her, and she has enough affection for him to use the name he assigned her.
“Yeah, I’m down with that.”
MOMO is the other party member we’ll be grabbing during this scenario, so let’s take a closer look.
First of all, yes, MOMO is one of those “eternal children” characters that seem to pop up in Japanese media far too often. On the plus side, we’re not dealing with one of those thousand year old vampires that is sarcastic and world weary but looks like a twelve year old; at least here we have an eternal child that actually acts like a child, and is (thank God) not ridiculously sexually exploited over the course of the series. She is very much supposed to be the kid of the group, and, despite Realian skills and observations that put her far beyond the abilities of the average child, she still has a tendency to react to situations as you might expect a child to, whether that involve naivety or wonder.
From a plot perspective (aside from sticking an actual Realian in the party instead of just having a bunch of humans standing around talking about them), she’s the most overt link in your party to the Mizrahi legacy, which is something that is felt all over the universe, and even by characters we’re already familiar with. She’s also got a macguffin hardwired to her skull, and that’s important to everybody.
In battle, she’s pretty much your white mage, and her abilities seem geared toward support all around. You’ll see this in her first battle, but she has nearly a quarter of the HP of Ziggurat-8, so keep her safe, because she is not soaking bullets like KOS-MOS.
MOMO’s least desirable traits involve a tendency to be kidnapped at the drop of a hat, and a general doe-eyed expression that gets kinda tiresome next to all the hardened warriors running around.
Brief tutorial on rows! There’s a front row and a back row in combat formations. Everything you’ve seen so far has had all characters in the front row, but you can stow anyone in the back row at will, and they’ll be able to sling ether skills and items, but can’t actually physically attack. The benefit, though, is that anyone in the back row can’t be attacked until the front row is defeated, so some more stressful battles can be more easily won by having a back row of healers, and let your main damage dealer suck up all the damage and attack. The downside is that using that technique takes forever, as you’re basically reducing your offensive capability by 66%. Who has the patience?
The other advantage of using the back row is that you can set a back row ally behind a front row ally, and then that ally can’t be “switched” to the back row by an enemy attack that specifically does that. It is a wildly specific situation, but it can come in handy if you’re afraid of having to waste half a turn to move a guy back up to the front row.
Ya know, speaking of ether attacks, let’s feed MOMO some ether point items and see how that works.
Ether upgrades are a lot more straightforward than Tech Attack upgrades. Basically, you get enough points, and you can buy new ether skills, easy peasy. It works on a sort of “tree” system, where you can follow branches and maybe spend your points on an attack spell now, and buy support skill later, or vice versa. Don’t worry, ether points are a renewable resource, so the only downside to choosing a less effective branch is that you’ll have to “grind” for more ether points to grab the other branch. You can also, if you have the points, transfer ether skills between characters… but there’s rarely an ether skill valuable enough to do that, though there are a few exceptions.
Here we can upgrade MOMO to have the Miracle Star ability. This is fun and all, and maybe this is a result of the back row setup for the game, but ether skills are, offensively, pretty crappy. With one giant exception, ether skills are never better for dealing damage than Tech Attacks (which, incidentally, can be continually upgraded to be more powerful, while ether skills cannot), so you’ll spend your points more effectively just aiming for support and healing abilities. Even your mage characters, like MOMO, are usually better served by Tech Attacks if you want them on the frontlines.
Weird quirk that a lot of people forget: you can’t just “earn” a new ether skill, you have to then equip it. Basically, spells are not just automatically added to your spell list, you have to remember to slot them into place. This is an outgrowth of the fact that you can only have so many spells at a time (maximum weight), and some spells are more valuable (weighty) than others… though for most characters, it really doesn’t matter.
Rescuing MOMO reveals our first save point since that one at the start of the area. As noted earlier, that means any lucky soldier could have eliminated all progress between these two points.
We can’t go out the way we came in, as U-TIC is apparently well prepared for that. Oh well, more dungeon to explore!
For whatever reason, the designers decided to give MOMO a sort of “magical girl” motif for battle, so a number of her Tech Attacks seem like they’d be better suited to the Sailor Moon universe than one with creepy space whales. Hard sci-fi, indeed.
MOMO’s victory quotes are usually something fairly adorable and apologetic, like, “Oh, I’m sorry, did I just break all of your bones?”
Venturing past the monitoring room again, a group of guards shows up, and Ziggurat-8 and MOMO duck for some cover.
Anybody want to tell me why, during an event that sees the entire base under siege by an unknown assailant, absolutely nobody is in the monitoring room?
Guess we can pick up that conversation that was interrupted back at the cellblock. MOMO is curious about her savior.
Million Dollar Man.
Does this horrify anybody else? I think it’s supposed to.
MOMO knows her history, and this won’t be the last we hear about this little act.
Throughout the series, there’s a number of references to the fact that, for the last few centuries in the Xenosaga Universe, there have been a few “technology outstrips humanity” events. It’s all common speculative sci-fi tropes, but it does give the impression that a lot has happened in the 2,000 years between then and now. Always nice to see a future where it’s not just “uh, it’s a utopia/dystopia now, for some reason.”
MOMO, very meekly, notes that she doesn’t even know Mr. Cyborg’s name.
Ziggurat 8 replies like he’s embarrassed to have not mentioned it before, and MOMO… is a little confused. That sounds more like a model number, and all that.
Oh thank God, I was getting tired of dancing around that one.
This shocks Ziggy into a flashback to happier times.
Aw, memories of giving his son a puppy.
Well, sort of a puppy. It’s a simulated, robo-puppy, because real puppies are hard to come by. Remember, last update we confirmed a number of Earth species that are common today are now completely extinct.
Robo Pup is named Nexus 6. Familiar naming scheme?
Kids are good at names, but I would have named him… hm… yeah… alright, Nex is fine.
And we close the scene with confirmation that this kid may have had dexterity issues. Also, if you haven’t noticed, Ziggy’s memories have a kind of VHS tape tracking issue, which is a neat way to visually distinguish an “ancient” cyborg’s thoughts.
I’m not certain if MOMO is intuitive, or if Ziggy verbally relayed that story and wasn’t just having a random, internal flashback. Clearly, MOMO named Ziggy after the ancient publications that involved a big sad sack that also never wore pants. Seriously, Ziggy? Put some pants on. There are children present.
Ziggy tries to play it cool.
MOMO is the anti-cool. Together, they fight crime! There! Nailed it.
And I believe we’ll take a breather as we head into the depths. The next chapters kinda blend into each other, and we just got the “real” names for our heroes of this chapter, so we’ll take a break now, and pick it all up again in an inexplicable space sewer.
NEXT TIME ON XENOSAGA: I wonder what Allen has been doing all this time. I’m on the edge of my seat!