Previously on Wild Arms 2: ARMS averted a cave-in! Or… they at least cleaned up after one. What’s important is that ARMS accomplished something. That might not happen again for a while.
Oh, we also got a hot tip about some mysterious gang approaching Telepath Tower, so let’s dive on in.
Well this is certainly odd: a trio of glowing cubes are hanging around the entrance.
And, not coincidentally, there are a few chuckable boxes lying around, too.
But all doors leading forward are locked. Can yoooou solve the mystery?
Eh, no time for that now, we’ve got to fight random battles with Rat Monkeys and Cenobites.
Good to see the family that runs Telepath Tower finally solved that puzzle box.
Back to “exploring”: the first thing you have to do in this area is chuck any and all boxes at these glowing cubes.
Unless you’ve really been paying attention to the throwing mechanics, you’ll probably whiff on a few of those tosses, as the “throw” move has a very specific, rigid arc. I think there are four boxes and three cubes in this room, and, if you run out of boxes, you have to exit the whole tower to “reset” the boxes. Good news: the cubes don’t reset. Bad news: this is still very clumsy for a series that previously had a “reset puzzle” tool.
Three cubes nailed, and the door opens wide. Note that the other door to its right is still locked.
Another in a series of random encounters. Wild Arms 2 very rarely has a monster that simply attacks, and you usually see either the name of the move used (like Water Catastrophe) or something that the monster is apparently saying (like “I hate you!”). Rat Monkey, what did I ever do to you? I haven’t killed you quite yet.
On a vaguely unrelated note, when the team earns the steal command, it’s useful to come back here and steal Small Flowers from Rat Monkeys. That item will always increase your luck, and it can’t be easily found elsewhere.
Enough about fights, time to ascend the tower.
According to the lore, all Telepath Tower has to “do” is be tall, and contain empathite. But I guess this place was decorated by Metal Man, because there are gears all over the place.
“We decided to throw some science-y stuff around to keep the nerds happy.”
Hm, end of the second floor, and there’s another sealed door to accompany our opened door.
The third floor features a switch just out of reach, and an open bridge above it. Normally I complain about villains “easily” making it through dungeons while you have to solve a puzzle every three feet, but in this case, you could probably claim that the “mysterious strangers” ahead of us deliberately activated every impediment to slow our ascent.
So we have to climb another set of stairs, approach the open bridge…
And hop down to the switch.
This closes the bridge… and then we have to climb the same stupid stairs again to reach the bridge. Who doesn’t love a JRPG that deliberately wastes their time?
Now that we can proceed, we see a treasure chest that is out of reach. That area leads to another sealed door, so it seems we’ll be making a return trip.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it distinctly yet, but Wild Arms 2 has some pretty wild monster designs. How would you concisely describe this enemy? Springy angry clown balloon?
Save point! Wild Arms 2 is pretty generous with saving for an “old school” JRPG.
Impromptu library! Hard to say if this is a JRPG cell tower, or a JRPG television broadcast tower. Though I suppose it could be both. Does Filgaia have any decent sitcoms?
It might be the wonky translation, but this seems to imply that Telepath Tower originally used a human being as a telepathic conduit, used him up until his death, and then replaced the poor guy with a rock. I believe Twitter moderators follow the same trajectory. Ha ha, just kidding, there are no mods on Twitter.
There’s a switch over in the corner. Wonder if I just activated some more gears.
And we can’t progress anymore on this floor, because there’s a huge hole in the ground. A shame, too, because there are a bunch of treasure chests just out of reach.
But the previously sealed door is now open. Way to go, switch!
It’s an elevator! This dungeon isn’t that long, but if you want to head back to the first floor, leave, and gather some supplies, you’re welcome to it.
For now, though, we’re hitting Floor 3, so we can reach the previously unreachable treasure chest.
Sir Mix-a-Lot is pleased.
Mmm, damn right it is. Just a little something-something.
Oh, wait, it’s just our only optional main character tool.
Booty Call is here for all your completionist needs. Using the Booty Call will search for treasure on the current “screen” (whatever area is between you and the next fade-to-black transition, so it could work on a small room or an entire town). If it finds something, you’ll hear a beep. If it finds something you can actually see, it will cause the treasure to flash green along with said beep. Usually it tells you exactly what you know (“Do you think that treasure chest might contain… treasure?”), but it is useful if you’re looting a town and not already doing the Dragon Quest thing of smacking the search button next to every barrel. Very useful if you absolutely have to know you’ve found everything in an area. Note that it will not find secret passages that may be necessary for finding further treasure.
Here’s an example of a very obvious treasure chest being booty called, just for obviousness’s sake.
Floor 4 had that impassible hole, so let’s scoot on up to Floor 5, the final floor that is Irving-accessible.
Looks like we’re beyond the hole.
And we can go back and check… and nab all that treasure. Note that the ReviveFruit is the Phoenix Down of this adventure, and it cannot be purchased at your local item shop. Think twice before reviving a teammate.
There may be some subtle storytelling going on here. Damzen looks pretty Wild West-y, which implies drought, which implies that Telepath Tower was deliberately built in a hurricane-free zone. … Or it’s just a happy coincidence of fictional geography.
In case you were wondering what empathite actually looked like, here you go.
Oh boy! Puzzle room! And there aren’t any random encounters in here, either.
This is one of those deals. Pull a switch, some walls go down, some come up, blah blah blah. There are multiple little quadrants, and I totally didn’t solve this puzzle by randomly pulling switches until something finally opened up that allowed me to proceed.
The far left side has a switch that completely disables the puzzle and a special treasure chest that can only be opened by Brad’s kick boots. It contains a new Arm for Brad.
The easiest way to get over there is to cheat. Once you reach the exit, leave, return to the room, and then the puzzle will have reset. Pull a few switches from the “winning” side, and you’ll have Brad’s new pineapple in no time.
Here’s an example of Brad using the ultimate pizza topping to completely whiff on some dryads. This Arm, like Ashley’s new MultiBlast, is basically just there so Brad has a multi-target Arm attack.
Here we are, tippy top of Telepath Tower.
The party separates to make sure everything is in working condition.
Hurr gee, ya think?
Guess the bad guys put a signal booster on the biggest (maybe only) broadcast tower in Filgaia. What could they be up to?
Oh, we’re about to find out.
… Should we be letting this happen?
Well, Lilka is down for a show.
Okay, this bit is a tad lengthy, so I’m just going to reproduce it all at once to start:
For All of Filgaia
First, greetings to all corrupt officials who have inherited power with no qualifications. And all the ignorant fools who have qualms about leading degenerate lives. I am the Reform Party "Odessa" leader Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus. It’s a name worth remembering!
Let me state this at the start. Among those listening now, are traitors. And that is "you!” If you’ve not averted your eyes, you’ll have noticed the ground is full of monsters. They are impure creatures yet, no one tries to remove them. No one tries to bring peace. Why? Because people are cowardly animals. As one who grieves the fate of Filgaia, I say this is because of the traitors! We’ve handed the land over to the monsters. How can that be allowed to happen?
My harsh comments here should be understandable! We of Odessa swear an oath. A powerful National System will be built by eliminating foolish national boundaries! We are fundamentally different from statesmen who only bark like dogs at banquets! We’ll start with those three countries. First we’ll hammer Meria Boule, Sylvaland and Guild Galad and take control. Once judgment is passed your relatives’ blood will spill and you’ll hear their cries.
But who can intelligently refute my resolutions? This is a rite of passage to make the future ours. It is a "burial". Yes. It is a "burial" for a new "creation!" For the new era, judgement will be passed on the system which carries on the old ways.
To all who sympathize with Odessa’s ideals come join Vinsfeld. The blood we spill together will purify
the tainted earth and form the bonds of tomorrow’s Filgaia. There are those who criticize Odessa’s acts as extreme. They spout malicious gossips. We are prepared to stop it all. This is because we operate under the right principles! The governing nation of "Odessa" will rise up from the rubble of ashes and dust.
Welcoming the leader who promises the next era…is an honor and blessing bestowed upon you.
TLDR: Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus is the leader of Odessa.
Vinsfeld thinks you are all sheep. He is broadcasting this across the whole world, so please baaaah along.
Wait, not sheep, you’re all traitors. Make Filgaia great again.
Vinsfeld and Odessa are going to conquer the planet, because your government is fat and stupid and he hates it.
Incidentally, Vinny is broadcasting this message on every reflective surface on the planet. Right now, there’s an old man sitting on a talking toilet.
Anyway, join or die. #odessa #vinsfeld4king #justtrying2mfga
Don’t believe fake news.
“Don’t you want to be on the winning side? And I have a cool cape.”
Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus just introduced himself, so let’s give him a formal rundown. What we have here is our first official villain of Wild Arms 2, and, per JRPG tradition, he’s going to be one step ahead of our heroes at every turn until the very moment ARMS drives a sword into his face. Of course, as the first clear and present villain in a JRPG, he’s inevitably not going to live to see the final dungeon, but that won’t stop him from being a cool, charismatic villain.
Honestly, Vinsfeld and the Odessa terrorist organization are a big part of why I’m doing this Let’s Play at all, so know that I’m not at all impartial when I say that, for being a 32-bit JRPG villain, Vinsfeld is a surprisingly nuanced dude. What we have here is someone that wants to rule the world, yes, but has more than a few ideals and ideas that actually mesh with the reality of conquering the planet (which, let’s be honest, would be a logistical nightmare). In other words, he manages to come off as an actually human super villain, which is a big contrast from the usual JRPG murder clowns and genocidal nihilists.
I mean, did Golbez ever think to broadcast his plan to the world to maybe scrounge up a few extra recruits? I don’t think so.
So, anyway, point of this whole bit is that Vinsfeld and Odessa are the bad guys, and they want to take over the world.
And they’re doing it with style.
Apparently Vinsfeld left a little present behind to make sure someone else couldn’t offer a Telepath Tower global rebuttal.
Boss time! How am I supposed to pronounce… Eh, I’m just glad this is only a written LP.
Uh… what the hell am I looking at here?
It’s… like… some kind of… rainbow ghost? With elongated limbs? Nope, no idea what they’re going for.
No, I do not want to see a HD redesign of this thing. Are those supposed to be eye-mouths?
Vagesta’s big thing is that he’s fast, and will usually go first in a round. This pairs poorly (for you) with his other big ability: distortion. Distortion causes everything -even moves with 100% accuracy- to miss. The lesson here is to never rely on some “big” attack to hit (like an Arm), and just use normal attacks if you want to keep your blood pressure down. If you use a strong attack, I can pretty much guarantee Vagesta will “randomly” use distortion, and you’ll have wasted your bullets.
Oh, remember when I said the analyze skill sucked? Here’s a fine example of why. Real helpful.
But I also said I’d explain the Lucky Card item during the next boss battle, and here we are. The Lucky Card is an item that impacts all party members, and, at the end of the battle, any surviving combatants will receive double EXP and cash. These items are limited, and, unless you run into a metal slime-type enemy, it’s best to save all Lucky Cards for boss battles. This is a great way to quickly gain levels, and is probably integral in some speed run strategies that would make my head hurt.
Back to the battle, Vagesta is also one of the few bosses that uses healing techniques. It’s easy to outpace his healing, so it’s not a big deal, just kind of annoying. In fact, aside from possibly cursing your party with disease (a status effect that temporarily disables your own healing), Vagesta is a pretty easy boss, and is generally best described as a waste of time.
There, one less Vagesta in the world.
“Your tower got used by some bad guys.”
We’re automatically teleported out of the tower, so we don’t have to hit that elevator again. Still have to walk back to Damzen like a sucker, though.
While I’m fighting the number one reason to never live in Filgaia, let’s take a moment to note…
ARMS Mission #3:
Protect Telepath Tower from “dangerous people”
Status: Success!… kinda
Notes: Telepath Tower is technically still in good functioning order, so our cell phones still work. Unfortunately, the dangerous people broadcast their terrorist agenda to the entire world… so that could have gone better.
So, yeah, back in town, even the family that (ineffectively) maintains Telepath Tower is like, “Dude, you have bigger things to deal with.”
Old man likes his Booty Call. Now that we’re back in town, be sure to use that new tool to fish various random items out of barrels all over the place.
Don’t talk to strangers, Ashley!
Mystery entices the gang with “you want to progress the plot or not?”
“We’ve got to go… do… uh… What was our plan?”
So… that’s a cancellation on the makeover?
It’s a good thing there’s an obvious cliff side just to the east, otherwise “east from here” is a pretty imprecise bit of direction.
Brad? Do you have a secret jet you want to tell us about?
Let’s be suspicious of this suspicious woman.
… What? You worried about skin cancer or something?
Oh, that is her face. And name. Hm, to give you the usual “here’s a picture” treatment would constitute a bit of a spoiler, so be content with this name entry screen. Red eyes… pale… pointy ears. Can you guess Marivel’s secret identity? That’s right, she’s an elf! … Wait, that’s probably not right.
Marivel Armitage, for most of the game, will be our resident crackpot genius character. If this were Final Fantasy, she’d be Cid(ney). Late in the game, we’ll get her backstory, and there’s a lot more to her than being the whacky girl genius archetype, but that is a long way away at this point. For now, she’s just our resident smarty, and she’ll be sending us off on fetch quests to find magical rocks and circuit boards and all manner of random science crap soon enough.
Also, Marivel apparently wound up making a good impression on the Wild Arms staff, as she pops up again in Wild Arms 3 and Wild Arms 5. Good for her.
Oh, and while it’s hard to see in that little profile picture, she wears goggles as a headband below her hat. This is the true sign of a genius.
But that doesn’t explain how she knows Ashley.
I want to make this clear: Ashley doesn’t have amnesia. In fact, none of the main characters in Wild Arms 2 have amnesia. This is huge for a JRPG, and should be commended. Anyway, we’ll eventually learn that time travel hijinx are involved, so please look forward to that.
And then Marivel teleports away. This isn’t that amazing, as you may recall that silly ol’ Lilka teleported like sixteen times in her intro chapter alone.
“Good news, my world wide web of informants and secret cameras have pinpointed…”
“Oh. Uh… Guess you heard.”
Ah yes. I’m sure we’ll stop this terrorist organization in the very next dungeon. New mission start!
Irving is currently remotely promoting Ashley out of spite. Peter principle the poor kid, that’ll learn ‘em to take advice from strange women in hats.
Ashley is excited to be the boss. Up to this point, he was taking orders from Brad, who earned that position by being the tallest.
Go about as east as it gets, and you’ll find a cave.
This is an adorable name!
Mt. Chug-Chug opens with this mysterious floating pyramid thing. There’s apparently a monster in there… but we won’t be able to fight it until pretty much the absolute end of the game. These pyramids will appear in a few random spots, and they’re all optional super bosses. Please write down this pyramid’s location in your official Wild Arms 2 Notebook, and do your best to return in twenty or so hours when this is relevant again.
And there’s a sealed door to the right. This “puzzle” is much more transparent. Come back with the Boss Symbol when you need to go to Sielje. That will happen much sooner than any pyramid fights, too.
For now, we head left, and explore the part of the dungeon that isn’t currently locked tight.
But… we don’t get very far. No way over that chasm.
And above it is another path… that also goes nowhere. Argh.
There are some demon jerk monsters in this cave. Their big thing is stealing…
And then running the heck away. Since healing items are fairly limited in this game, these stupid things can be a major pain the butt. Always kill monsters quickly, boys and girls.
Mt. Chug-Chug is another dungeon with twisty, samey rooms. But, again, the gems around the area may be used as metaphorical bread crumbs, and, if you’re in a room where there are no gems, you’ve likely already been there. Personally, I like to randomly gather gems in unusual patterns so I know for sure where I’ve been.
Mind you, this wouldn’t even be a factor if this game had a damn minimap…
Is that a minecart?
Damn right it is! Give that sucker a kick!
It’s on like Donkey Kong!
Oh, wait, simple solution.
Not enough JRPG heroes acknowledge that they’re constantly exploring around precious, beautiful crystals. I have never understood the common Final Fantasy protagonist that doesn’t start chipping away at the nearest crystal cave for rad jewelry.
So Ashley fixes the machine by removing the pretty crystal, and nabs a sweet gift for his not-girlfriend. Score!
Now we’ve got a working switch. I guess the theme of this update is “turning on elevators”.
It’s all coming full circle.
Now some lifts around the mine are operating, so we can access the higher levels.
Nothing to see here.
Just a weaponized Mr. Potato Head.
The trick to the upper decks is to find the right hole to fall back down.
Here we are. Landed on that slightly elevated bit of ground, so now we can move on.
Save point! Boss incoming!
After quite a bit of walking…
Here we are. Hey, didn’t we see this guy back at the prison?
“Be careful, giant dude. You could poke an eye out!”
Literal kind of fellow…
“Only a terrorist would know about danger without being warned!”
“The ‘thread’ told Antenora. She said someone’s been following us.”
Antenora is another member of Odessa. “The thread” here is likely some weirdly translated attempt to make Antenora sound informed.
Yeah, your name still isn’t appearing in your dialogue box.
Introducing yourself with a boss intro? Bad. Ass.
Ptolomea is one of the four special generals of Odessa. He’s the goofy and strong one. Were this another universe, he would totally pilot Yellow Lion.
Also, his weapon is some kind of spinny helicopter blade thing.
It normally just looks like a giant claw, but for attacks…
It looks painful.
This is likely the hardest boss fight up to this point in the game. Ptolomea hits hard, randomly uses a powerful attack that damages all party members, and often counters your own physical attacks. He’s by no means impossible, but this is probably the first battle where you’d have to choose between using Lilka’s heal spell on one character (probably Lilka) or mystic-ing a heal berry to heal everyone simultaneously (but at the cost of more FP).
But the giant falls soon enough. Actually, upon winning, Ptolomea won’t even give you the satisfaction of indicating any sort of damage, and the normal “victory theme” is replaced with something more somber. Wild Arms 2 doesn’t seem all that celebratory any time you beat an actual human.
This will turn out to be a complete lie.
Ptolomea apparently retreats to join his buddies. Remember how the Telepath Tower Family described four suspicious people entering the tower? Guess who we just found.
Coming this Fall to PBS.
Or… that’s not really their name.
This is Glasses talking. I guess the Fun Friends saw ARMS during the jailbreak, even if there was literally no point in that scenario where everybody was near the same room.
Four against three does not sound like good odds for our fledgling gang that could barely deal with one of these dudes.
And the girl is the conscience of the group. And maybe the leader? Nobody dies, so they do seem to listen to her.
So Odessa has a lot of name origins, but, considering we’re dealing with a terrorist organization, it’s probably referring to the original Greek meaning of “filled with wrath” (which supposedly describes a certain dude who spent a good long time sailing around the world and occasionally calling himself “nobody”). However, given the context, it could also refer to the (probably fictional) secret Nazi plan to see that Hitler and other high ranking terrible people successfully fled to Argentina. Either one works for a group of terrorists.
But Cocytus seems to further support the Grecian interpretation, as Cocytus is a pretty clearly defined river outside Hades. It’s probably not a coincidence that Homer wrote about Odysseus and the Cocytus River. Then again, it could also refer to Cocytus from Dante’s Inferno, which is described as the circle of Hell where noted traitors Caina, Antenora, Ptolomea, and Judecca hang out.
… Oh, wait, it’s probably that.
Incidentally, the “fifth man” in that little gang is Satan. That probably doesn’t mean anything good for Vinsfeld.
Maybe the terrorists are just polite enough to listen?
“Ashley, hey, long time no see. Been taking a bit of a nap here, but, ya know, if you want to kill everyone, you may as well start now. No? Okay, well, ya know, just a little reminder for you to kill ‘em all.”
But Ashley fails to reach out and murder anybody, so Cocytus hops in their sweet ride and gets the heck out of dodge.
ARMS Mission #4:
Stop the terrorists’ escape
Notes: They were right there… and we just kinda let ‘em leave. Sure, ARMS was outnumbered and outgunned, but nobody ever said being a hero was easy.
And we close with Ashley contemplating that voice in his head. Ashley, you have to get your multiple personalities under control! Hopefully before the next update!
Next time on Wild Arms 2: ARMS and ARMS Jr.