Previously on Wild Arms 2: Ashley was sent to prison by a militant jackass for a crime he didn’t commit. Ashley, Lilka, and Brad promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to Valeria Chateau. Today, everyone forgot about that whole criminal thing, and they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire… The ARMS-Team.

This unnamed fellow hangs out outside the boss’s room, and he’ll always remind you of your next objective… because he listens through the door during all briefings. Time to head off to Under Traffic and get away from this weirdo!

We’re on our way! There isn’t much (anything) to do at the chateau right now, and Wild Arms 2 is absolutely not a JRPG released in the age of “hunts” or “optional content”. Actually, there will be a few optional dungeons, but they’re not open right now. The opening of this game is just some hardcore walking from point a to point b.

Incidentally, the local monsters are still scaled to “the party is only Ashley”, so… well… don’t expect much EXP from a pair of slimes.

Under Traffic is south of the chateau, just as we were told.

I’m going to claim that this is the first “landmark” that is at all difficult to find. It’s fairly obvious that you’re looking for something in the nearby rocky area, but the actual entrance is kind of small and nondescript. Can’t all the locations be the only thing on a giant cliff?

Depending on how you count Ashley’s opening ruins, this might be our first cave. This is a JRPG, so it won’t be our last.

The excuse for this dungeon is that there was a cave-in, so the “puzzles” all involve blasting rocks out of the way. See that box sporting the Jolly Roger? There was apparently a massive shipment of Grandma’s Boxed Explosives going through Under Traffic, and that’s coincidentally going to help us out.

The boxes may be kicked by Brad’s kickin’ boots…

And detonated with Lilka’s fire magic. Blast a box by a boulder, and we’ve got a boulder no more.

Naturally, there are also monsters in this cave. Some Wild Arms 2 “puzzle areas” are monster-free, but this ain’t one of ‘em.

The opening passages are pretty much “kick box, blow up box”. Nothing complicated.

But then we get some legitimate puzzles. Blow up the boxes in the proper places in the proper order to proceed.

It is very easy to accidentally use all of your big bang boxes before clearing the necessary blockages. Wild Arms 1 provided a tool that would reset any and all puzzles, but Wild Arms 2 dropped that ability for the comparatively clunky “have to exit and reenter the room” alternative. Odd choice.

The only disadvantage to the extra walking is having to fight random dryads, though. Remember to kill your veggies, kids!

For anyone that is foolishly using this LP as a FAQ, here’s a segment of what you’re supposed to do for this room. Also, if this puzzle stumped you, just go ahead and quit now. It’s for the best. I won’t judge.

Even doing everything right, there’s another boulder blocking the way forward. Guess we’ll see if entering this door does us any good.

Here’s a neat mechanic that you’d think we’d see more often. Up to this point, we’ve been using Brad’s kick to move objects forward, but this room is all about “kicking off” the sides, and riding small rafts around this watery area. Old dog is learning new tricks!

Two possible rafts forward. The left side is the proper choice, as it leads to…

Multiblast! … What’s a Multiblast?

Oh, right. Technically, Ashley only ever has his Bayonet Arm, but he can acquire new “ammo” that effectively works like a different weapon. Each ammo can be separately upgraded, has its own ammo count, and has different properties and features. Multiblast isn’t that strong, but, as the name implies, it hits multiple opponents. Also, it’s an Arm, so it’s likely to miss multiple opponents.

Also, for whatever reason, all of Ashley’s different ammos must be used from the item screen before they become an option during combat. Brad doesn’t have the same problem. It’s weird.

And that’s it for the raft room. Good-bye forever, fascinating mechanic!

Now we can blast that rock from behind to complete the path. We never have to enter that raft room ever again! … Not that we’ll ever have to revisit this dungeon for any reason anyway…

Sometimes the graphics of these dungeons give away secrets. I want to say that that “rock wall” to the right is supposed to be “hidden”, but, assuming your camera is oriented… in pretty much any way, you’ll notice the strangely out of bounds series of boulders. Probably a good idea to blast those.

I could push this Explode-O-Box to the nearby rocks, but…

Yep, secret passage back here.

Hiding in this nook is a crest graph and a moonstone. Moonstones protect against poison and evolve clefairy into clefable. This is convenient, as Dryads are fond of poison attacks, and Clefable is decent in the NU tier.

And now the box has respawned, so it’s time to move forward.

The next passage is pretty similar, but we have an all new choice. We can either use the boxes to detonate the rocks, or stick ‘em together to create a makeshift bridge.

Detonation is the proper first solution here, as it leads to the crucial Map Scope. Despite what you see in my cheating screenshots, Wild Arms 2 does not provide a map by default, and you have to first discover the Map Scope before you get any sort of onscreen direction for the overworld. This is particularly egregious in a game that relies on “finding” landmarks, but I suppose there are people out there that don’t need an onscreen map at all times. I’m not one of those people. I recently got lost in the supermarket, and now I can no longer shop happily without a GPS.

Now let’s reset the room by abusing a nearby door, and make the bridge. Incidentally, if you make the bridge first, you’ll inevitably notice the treasure chest on the floor, and likely return for your booty. I mean, unless you ignore treasure chests like some kind of monster.

Save point! I bet a boss is coming up!

Or just a passed out dude. Uh… that’s okay, too.

“Brad! Try kicking him!”

You know, with all the explosions… that we caused… it’s a wonder only one dork got hurt here.

“I really don’t want to have to walk back through this dungeon.”

Don’t worry, he didn’t turn into a monster or something, there’s an audio cue here that is impossible to replicate in mute LP form.

Our hero was just surprised and scared by his ringtone.

The game actually drops the cutscene so you, player, have to answer the phone yourself.

Let’s open up the ol’ menu here…

“How did you get this number?”

“Lilka tried to cast a healing spell… so he’s on fire right now… But I think we’re handling it.”

Last update, Irving gave Ashley this “psi communicator” as an apology for the whole “sent to jail” thing. Now it’s revealed that, incidentally, the communicator has a built in global tracking feature. So Irving knows where the party is at all times. Ya know, just a standard feature.

Irving is so nice! He directs our party to the nearest town… which is like five feet away… and we probably would have found it anyway… But still!

So Ashley gets stuck with lugging Guy around. Brad would carry him, but, ya know, bomb in the neck, really don’t want this dude accidentally bumping into that. Also, Brad would love to help you move next weekend, but, again, bomb in the neck.

Ah, fresh air. For a normal playthrough, this would be the first you get to see the map scope in action. You can also bring up the full, large map, but you can’t overlay that map atop the gameplay. You need an upgrade for that. Considering that’s just a slightly convenient way to navigate, it’s a weird thing to stick in a plot gateway.

True to Irving’s word, Damzen is just a little southeast of the Under Traffic exit. You don’t have to carry Guy very far.

Huh. These map miniatures are very close to the actual layout of the “real” town. This is what Damzen would look like to Godzilla. Side note: I want to play a JRPG where the protagonist is Godzilla.

I like Damzen. It winds up being involved in the plot at a couple of points during Wild Arms 2 (unlike many towns that are one-and-done affairs), and it’s one of the few locations in this Filgaia that leans into the whole “Western” theme. This is a small, poor mining town featuring a saloon and dudes in cowboy hats. I approve.

Oh, right, have to deliver an unconscious dude. Right.

Note that the signs in this town are in English. I think that’s standard across (real life) regions, as there will be some not-English in some “foreign” towns. “Filgaia” seems to be an English-first planet.

“Uh, yeah, found this dude and… wait, which one us was carrying… Dammit! We’ll be right back.”

Aaaaand it turns out the dude passed out because of a broken finger. We spent most of this update losing HP to sentient plants, and this guy drops from one measly finger injury.

“Devoured by Gobs. That mine was crawling with monsters, ya know.”

Gasp! The cave-in was sabotage! Or something! There’s probably a word for deliberately and maliciously causing a cave-in. Mineocide?

“Even though it didn’t! Unless we’re talking about the other side of the mine…. Where we opened the entrance after a whole ten seconds…”

“Shenanigans afoot! Tell an adult!”

“New phone, who dis?”

Did… did we just tap into a party line?

For anyone that’s curious…

Kate and Amy were the two strange women hanging out in the forbidden area of Valeria Chateau. Here they are from a previous update, because no one has a photographic memory of Wild Arms 2.

Side note: This nickname will never be mentioned again.

And here’s how our little combination phone/tracking device works. It’s powered by empathite, and telepaths are able to relay signals over said empathite. There will be a quiz on this later.

Incidentally, it’s implied by some auxiliary data in Wild Arms 3 that Kate and Amy are twins, and telepathic abilities are predominantly found in twins. This doesn’t have much of an impact on anything, but I always thought that it was a cute evolution of the “real world” myth of telepathic twins.

Anyway, our new mission is to find out whoever was responsible for the cave-in.

Wait, does this mean our second mission is complete? I think it does!

ARMS Mission #2:
Reopen the trade route of Under Pass after a mysterious cave-in
Status: Success!
Notes: Probably caused about six new cave-ins thanks to continuous explosions. Entire mine now filled with methane.

“Dude, there are like twelve people in this town, total. I’m assuming half this town is related to you. No, I’m not calling you a redneck, I’m just saying that with population density and…”

Okay, here’s someone suspicious. Hey, weren’t you the “girl (?)” from the start of Update #4? Guess we’ve nailed down a gender in the meanwhile.

Yes, definitely the woman gazing at the comet.

She recognizes Ashley… and Ashley is confused.

Interestingly, Mystery here has different reactions to each party member. She knows Ashley, but Brad is referred to only as “backup”.

And she offers a makeover to Lilka. Man, I want to see that montage.

Anyway, let’s get out of the shade and into someone’s house. Hey, this sounds promising. Towers are perfect for dungeons!

So this family is supposed to be responsible for a spot called Telepath Tower, and some dudes broke in, and I guess the family knows this because they have a closed circuit security system that beams directly into their collective brains. Or however people in JRPGs know things.

So it’s time to update Irving on the situation, because it’s been a whole two minutes since we checked in.

“I thought you said these communicators worked because of your two magical receptionists?”
“Look, technology is complicated. Shut-up and secure the tower.”

So our goal is to head to Telepath Tower, but we may as well check out the rest of town first. I lied in an earlier update, as Damzen (and all future towns) has separate weapon/armor and item shops. Well, they’re in the same building, but you have to walk all the way over from one counter to the other. Anyway, new equipment available, if that’s your thing. This would be the first upgrade shop available after Hometown.

Media Vision, the folks behind the Wild Arms franchise, also released a Contra-esque game called Rapid Reload. In Japan, it was known as… Eh, the name escapes me at the moment. Don’t know why it just popped into my head.

This NPC and her dialogue will be important in another hundred billion hours or so. Please remember that.

The bartender claims he’s got some information, but only if you grease the ol’ gears, if you know what I mean. And Ashley probably doesn’t, because he’s underage.

But Brad doesn’t get carded anywhere (which is good, because he lost his ID like five years ago).

Screw Telepath Tower, I want to see a strange building!

I also completely lied about there being no optional areas during this update. I’m walking things back as fast as I say them!

Here comes the strange!

Or Odd. That’s good, too.

Yep, definitely Odd.

Oh, this is promising.

That “Mascot Doll” appears to be some manner of mechanized McGruff the Crime Dog. You can blast it with various tools (like Lilka’s fire), and it will have different reactions. Of course, I only really have one tool that works like that right now… so not going to bother.

But here’s the real reason to visit here: the Wild Arms 2 Bestiary. As you battle every monster in the game, the “Kaiju Cards” populate, and you can read up on the weaknesses and drops of every monster in Filgaia.

You don’t have to “scan” or do anything in particular during a battle to fill in these pages. Note that all monsters are listed alphabetically, which was probably an enormous pain in the ass to code for different regions.

Also, all of the monsters have accompanying art that is slightly more interesting than a mere polygonal model. Final Fantasy 12 evidently took notes here.

Of course, all bosses up to this point have been logged.

Ah, the majestic Olivier in its natural habitat.

At this point in the game, you may only check the bestiary while at Odd HQ, but eventually you’ll earn an item that allows you to view those cards from the main menu (and, since I’m cheating, I already have that item, natch). Unfortunately, even once it’s part of the menu, you can’t check the cards until after a battle, so it’s not very useful for one-time boss battles. Though I suppose it would be useful if you were writing a FAQ or Let’s Play.

Additionally, you can go downstairs, and get blocked by a strange object, or change the name of any party member. We’ll cover that all later, when we can actually make some progress down there.

Back to wandering around the world map, we found…

Not Telepath Tower. Treasures may be found on the overworld, and they’re generally of the “rare” variety. It’s normal to find items like Plus Stat Apples, Bullet Loads, and Lucky Cards. We’ll cover the particulars of Lucky Cards during our next boss battle.

Now here’s where we want to be.

Welcome to Telepath Tower… where we’re going to break for today. The next “event” really deserves its own update, and it’s tied to this dungeon, so… please look forward to it?

Oh, but first, let’s compare Ashley’s normal bayonet attack…

To the new Multiblast. See? Slightly different.

And I never really got a chance to note Lilka’s Mystic ability. Right from the start, Lilka has the ability to expend 25 FP to “mystic”, which spreads an item’s use across the party. As she started alone, this was completely useless in Lilka’s opening dungeon, but it can be a major boon now that we’ve got a full gang. Everybody poisoned? Mystic an antidote. Need to restore health? Mystic a heal berry (which, incidentally, doesn’t lose any potency when “spread”). You can even mystic a mini carrot to grant 25 FP to your teammates and immediately restore Lilka’s expended FP. This is a great ability, and only really has the drawback of being tied to Lilka, who has about as much HP as a hedgehog. Oh well, can’t have everything.

Next time on Wild Arms 2: The revolution will be televised.

One thought on “Wild Arms 2 Part 07: Under Traffic Under Siege”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.