Previously on Wild Arms: ARMS fell into a devious trap, but they were able to escape thanks to the twin deus ex machinas of Marivel and Ashley turning into a friggen superhero. Lucky, that.
And I guess everybody needed a breather.
Okay, so, funny thing going on with Wild Arms 2 versus Xenosaga. I was really good about doing weekly Xenosaga posts. Part of the reasoning on that was that I was concerned that if I didn’t “keep at it”, I’d never make it through three long games. But, on the other hand, part of that was that Xenosaga kind of naturally flowed forward, and it was genuinely interesting watching to see what would happen next. Wild Arms 2, meanwhile, has a lot of… sticking points. It’s not that the game is bad or boring or whatever, it’s simply that, for instance, once I see that yet again we have to stand around and talk to Irving about our next mission or whatever… I kind of check out. I don’t think Jesus is going to show up in this story at all!
But before we get into the latest Irving nonsense, we have a little flashback to sometime within the last three days. Guess Ashley got shore leave for saving a kingdom.
“The places I’ve seen! The monster goo I now need to wash out of my hair!”
Absence makes the Ashley grow fonder.
“Much better than murdering all my friends that transformed into monsters!”
“Brad… and… whatsherface…. The girl? You met her!”
“I’ve saved like two towns now! How many we got on this planet? Eight?”
Ever seen Spider-Man 2? Or 3? Which one is the one where MJ is a complete wet blanket?
“Oh yeah! That reminds me! Brad and the girl were hung on crosses! It was so weird!”
Marina doesn’t want Ashley to be sacrificed. There. Now we’ve covered that for the 78th time.
“Oh, right. That rock I gave you. Am I supposed to be thinking at it?”
Please go back and reread update #5 if you forgot that this whole “who is Ashley” thing is a recurring conversation.
There’s something… odd about Marina… or Marina’s writing. It’s almost like nobody wanted to go all in on Marina being a complete “nag” about the whole “please don’t die” thing, so she usually winds up apologizing at the end of her Ashley-concern tirades. I can’t tell if this is a deliberate move to make Marina more sympathetic to the player, or if it’s just kind of… realistic. Look, I don’t know about you, but I have apologized for being justifiably mad at someone roughly twelve billion times in any given relationship.
And Ashley has his own secrets. Just go ahead and say it: “I may be possessed by a pair of dueling ancient entities, and they combine to transform me into a power ranger.”
“I’m just gonna play some GunGrave and fall asleep. Don’t worry about it.”
“Lilka! That was her name!”
“Were you daydreaming about incredibly mundane conversations?”
“Ashley Winchester…. Detention!”
“Hey! You with the hat! Who are you again?”
Marivel is easily the most humble person in this room. Probably most humble person on the planet. Maybe the universe.
“She probably would have been useful when I made you activate those teleport stations, but she doesn’t usually wake up until dinner time.”
This is clearly a misattributed line. Either that, or Irving has a self depreciating split personality.
And Marivel once again alludes to knowing Ashley from some unseen time.
“Or will you finally realize… that you are The Black Knight, ‘KnightBlazer?’”
Bingo has a name-o.
“What, did you think we were going to call you Super Ashley or something?”
So, for anyone that didn’t catch the clues presented when Ashley first transformed, the deal here is that Ashley was possessed by a demon during the ARMS Ceremony, but then he absorbed the Argetlahm (magic sword), and the yin and yang transformed him into a magic black knight. In the American version, they just say “the demon” and leave the player to piece together that the other half of this equation is Lord Blazer, the big bad of prophecy. In the Japanese version, it’s much more obvious that “The Knight of Lord Blazer” has a direct connection to Lord Blazer. I mean, it’s still kinda apparent in the American version, but KnightBlazer could just be a cool sounding name on its own. It’s not like the Burning Rangers are actually on fire.
“Oh, good, because there’s been this other voice in my head that…”
“You are possessed by two diametric forces that are waging war for the fate of humanity. But don’t worry about it. Anybody wanna go out for ham dingers?”
Oh, Ashley is finally going to call Marivel on the whole… everything.
I really thought Irving vetted his employees better. Wait, no, he didn’t even know ARMS hire #2 was dead.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
This is the kind of thinking that leads to guardians stomping all over Hyrule, Marivel.
Bit early in the LP for an airship, but I’ll take it.
Kind of a conflict in…
Oh, thanks Lilka.
So the next mission is a damn fetch quest for two magic rocks. Great. We just introduced the big bads and the magical chosen one powers of Ashley, and now we’re off to random caves for random rocks. Dammit, Wild Arms.
TO BE CLEAR: The EMMA motor is not named for someone named Emma. That would be silly.
“No, it’s a pair of rocks. Pay attention.”
Lilka is imagining soaring through the heavens on a magic carpet.
“Aguelite Crystal is mined near the Town of Holst. A few Germatron Crystals are supposed to be left in the shut-down Raline observatory.”
We actually get a choice of locations next. Choose your own adventure!
Basically, the whole point of the last mission was to allow us to teleport to the next mission. ARMS is a flat circle.
“An egregious affront to us who rule the world! I’ll take those Odessa scoundrels down a peg or two!”
Marivel… is there something you want to tell us?
Legitimate question for anyone who hasn’t already played Wild Arms 2: Have you guessed Marivel’s deal yet? It becomes really obvious in retrospect, but the game is kind of slow with the reveal.
Anyway, time to wander off and find some rocks.
As mentioned, we have a choice of destinations. We can either go to the mine, which contains a new tool, new monsters, and an ideal way to level up close to a town/inn, or we can go to the observatory, which introduces the best characters in the franchise.
Ha ha, this isn’t even a choice.
Quick beam around the planet…
And here we are on the other side of the world at Dragon’s Vein, a location so named because we will eventually find a dragon somewhere around here.
Dragon’s Vein seems to be the implied “second choice”, as it’s a lot easier to get lost on this side of the planet compared to the easier-to-find mines. Somehow I walked all the way around the teleporter temple and found nothing.
And there are random monsters around here that know instant death spells. That’s never fun!
This giant suspicious mountain? Nothing. No observatory at all.
Here we are. Raline Observatory is back near some nondescript, slightly smaller mountains. What is being observed here, again?
Raline Observatory is a vaguely “technological” looking location. There will be a couple of places that use this general tileset across the game, but I think this is the first. (Telepath Tower looked kind of unique with its gears and whatnot.)
Somebody’s in trouble!
And ARMS ain’t buying it. An interesting thing happens here: we’re about to introduce the comic relief “villains” of the piece, and the party recognizes it immediately. Team Rocket wouldn’t last ten seconds against ARMS.
Ashley advises we just immediately give up. It’s so cool being a hero, Marina.
But ARMS proceeds, and a boss introduction begins.
But no boss quite yet. Well, kind of, as we can see the boss right there, but it’s otherwise occupied by kicking… lizard people?
Same to you, pal.
“Everything about this is confusing!”
To be clear: Wild Arms 2 does not take place on a Dragon Ball or Shovel Knight-esque planet with random furries. There are only humans and monsters, and never the twain shall meet. There are not supposed to be lizard people. But, here we are.
It is kind of rude to just leave them there eating boot.
Bah, I guess we better save ‘em.
So here’s Undines (sic).
It looked bigger on the map screen, not the battle screen, for once.
Do not try to figure out why Undines’ “throw a rock” attack is named “Intifada”. That way lies madness.
So, despite its size, Undines is kind of a difficult boss. In general, you’re probably better off leveling up in the other dungeon, and then returning here, as this boss moves fast and hits hard. Oh, and you’ll note that we encountered this boss at the start of the dungeon, so you can’t just unload all your ARM ammo, as you need to conserve it for the inevitable “real” boss of the area. It is goofy looking, but Undines might be the first difficult boss of WA2.
And just to be an extra jerk, Undines has a dispel spell for any buffs you might use. At least it has a cool name.
Of course, I’m a cheating bastard for this LP, so no troubles here.
So, first thing we’re going to learn this update: Wild Arms 2 has a really wonky translation, but it’s theoretically deliberate any time a lizard is talking. These lizard folks, spoilers, are literal aliens, so give ‘em a break. Filgaian isn’t their first language.
And Ashley has no time for this nonsense.
Started a couple days back, buddy.
Lack of communication…
This is an easy to remember name.
And Ard here is a Pokémon.
Inflection is important.
Maybe he’s been Ard’s trainer for a long time?
“We got an R2-D2 thing going on. Don’t worry about it.”
I guess scientists are jerks.
But it looks like we’re getting some new party members regardless.
See? Now it is the beginning of a fantastic story!
Well, see? He’s got a great résumé.
And Ard is Ard!
Introducing Liz and Ard! First of all, it is entirely appropriate that the best image I could find of the duo is clearly some manner of partially cropped and scrubbed official art that got reposted on RPGFan. Liz is only 3 ft. tall? With hood? Huh.
Liz is an unparalleled genius with seventeen doctorates and a penchant for always saying the exact right thing at the exact right moment. He is from another planet, and on said planet, he is evidently some manner of philosopher king. He has many girlfriends on his home planet (you don’t know any of them), and he has had the sex on multiple occasions. Liz also once won a fighting tournament before going on to win a pianist contest, which is a thing that happens on his home planet. Liz was gifted his kicky scarf and rad hood by the previous king of his planet, an act that would prove Liz is the greatest in all the universe.
Ard has a hat with spikes on it.
Together, they are the greatest friends a merc could ever have.
Sadly, Liz and Ard only join in spirit. Like Young ARMS earlier, they’re “here”, but they’re not party members.
Okay! Now let’s explore the observatory!
We don’t get very far before we hit our first insurmountable obstacle. We don’t have a thing for crossing these gaps, and the switch is way over there.
But Liz has a plan!
… Oh… Kay?
Yay! The friendship cross!
Now that’s a dual tech!
And then we can cross the newly materialized bridge to… retrieve Liz.
Yes. That is how I would describe this situation.
Moving on, the next area is just a basic hallway, and random battles present… this thing?
There is not a single thing about this dungeon that is not entirely too weird. I love it.
And now for this room.
Whoa, okay, bit of a crushing trap there.
Okay, we know what’s going to happen. Anyone have a plan?
True. I think.
That did work with the guillotines.
It’s not exactly eloquent, but a giant green lizard running with that purple hood thing… yeah, I could see it.
Liz assists by… cheering on his trapped buddy.
A hero’s job is never done.
Welp, tried kicking him, and that didn’t work.
The solution is to drag a random statue into place.
And, once freed, Ard has a few things to say about his previous predicament.
Oh, guess it was more straightforward than that.
Ashley ain’t buying it.
That isn’t a real place! On this fake planet!
The internet’s motto!
Moving on… now we get a little actual dungeon, and some real, live treasure. Good thing this hat won’t fit a lizard.
And back to hijinks.
ARMS figures out the solution pretty quickly.
I guess Liz is into it, too.
Ashley is so done with this whole thing.
Can you still rhyme after a concussion?
Liz is over there. We’re over here. That’s okay.
Lilka has… concerns.
Haha, medusa joke! Let’s not try to figure out which Filagaia myths match up with our world.
Pictured: Goggle Bob awaiting replies to any of his posts.
Man, I wish away messages were still a thing.
So I guess we have to find a way to reconnect with Liz. This will take a little traveling.
Save point! Yay!
This dungeon gives you a teleport gem without any fuss. Guess you’re not expected to walk back.
Still haven’t gotten back to Liz, but there is a very simple block puzzle along the way.
Huh. This path is a dead end with a rather suspicious face on the wall. I suppose we’ll need the knowledge of a genius to solve this puzzle.
Speaking of puzzles, now we have to move two blocks to make a bridge.
Do not block yourself in like an idiot!
One bridge later, and we’ve got a switch to rescue one lizardian.
Oh dear God no.
…. Isn’t Liz supposed to be the obtuse one?
Back to the face room.
Will the throwing knife work? Guess not.
That’s what you’re here for, Liz!
Score another one for science!
Ashley… has a guess on where this is going to go.
Of course Liz isn’t going to do it himself. I mean, that’s why you have an assistant.
Ard properly flips the switch… but he seems to be having some trouble.
Timmy’s trapped down a well?
Did Liz just forget his buddy’s monosyllabic name?
Ashley draws the line at lizard on lizard violence!
Liz has a long memory.
So the party resolves to save Ard with a mighty kick despite Liz’s homicidal objections.
I don’t think Ashley is going to officially invite Liz to join ARMS anytime soon.
A place like that…
Liz knows his place.
Lost Liz again.
More basic dungeon walking, less dungeon talking.
More weird monsters about. Stop doing a handstand and get back to battling!
Hey, a new Arm!
Bolt Action is a stab followed by a missile. It looks cool, but it’s just another “slightly more powerful attack” Arm. Not like it “technically” hits twice or anything.
Huh. Dungeon seems to be leading downward. Maybe we’ll reencounter our little buddy.
Ashley has a dry sense of humor.
Maybe Liz is broken?
Maybe he’s just coldblooded.
Only one way to rouse this lizard. Stabbing!
Sorry, we don’t have a “shout” tool.
Liz is either a genius or naturally resilient.
“Do your job!”
Okay, definitely foreshadowing.
The switch deactivates our last obstacles, and it’s time to rejoin Liz and move forward.
Germatron get! Mission half completed!
I think it was more Marivel, but whatever.
Is it only fair if we split ‘em? I mean, we don’t know what Liz needs these for. Maybe he wants to help repair an orphanage for wayward lizards or…
I think he just told you…
Once more for the people in the back.
What? You’re not even good at controlling your own monsters?
“You guys saved me from death, so I owe you, but the Germatron… Never. Or else I’d be pursued by dangerous men. This is proof of my loyalty to Odessa.”
Oh no! Who could… Wait a tick.
I think Liz got his reveal reversed here.
Liz is upset!
You always knew it would come to this!
Liz starts the battle by using an item on Ard that… poisons him. I hope it raised some stats, too. Well, I mean, I hope for Ard. I feel kind of bad for that guy.
So this fight is pretty tough. It’s also fairly crazy. Basically, Ard is the straightforward muscle, which is to be expected. Liz, meanwhile, will use moves that damage everybody… and I mean everybody. His normal homemade bomb attack will damage the entire party and Liz and Ard. This would be a tremendous boon if the party had a reliable “heal all” spell, but, at this point, you’re still stuck with Lilka’s mystic + heal berry, which is limited by her FP. Basically you have to survive long enough to outpace all this damage while attacking two different targets. My advice is to aim for one target and not let up until somebody falls down dead.
Though it’s not like anybody involved gets any respect.
I took down Ard first, but the key to winning this battle is to fell at least one lizardian quickly. Liz is still a fine choice.
Lizardians do not dissolve when defeated.
See? They are resilient.
Well, at least they apologized.
Know your enemies!
By “guys” you mean “lizards”.
And we’re teleported outside. One crystal down! Now we get to go to the boring dungeon!
Next time on Wild Arms: The boring dungeon! Wait… I should have rearranged these updates to keep people interested. Um… there will be explosions?