Wild Arms 2 Part 12: Down Below and Way Up High

Previously on Wild Arms: In a shocking turn of events, Liz & Ard betrayed ARMS. Fortunately, our heroes persisted, and they acquired half of their daily required magical rocks.

Now it’s time to beat feet back to the teleporter to find an all new chunk of granite.

What’s yours is mine.

Quick bop around the world…

And here we are at the Ruins Mine Teleporation Station. If it seems convenient that the ancient teleporters just happen to coincide with the locations we need to rob, recall that we are heisting ancient materials, and, what, Filgaiains of yesteryear were just supposed to walk to their magic rocks?

Unlike the path to the Raline Observatory, this spot is a small island, and it’s nearly impossible to get lost.

And here’s our destination. Don’t be confused by all this talk of mines: our target is technically a town this time.

Poor mining town ahoy. I want to say that this is our last “real” Western town, but don’t hold me to that.

Well, at least we’re good for the monsters thing.

We haven’t had a fill-up since two boss fights ago, so the inn is our first destination.

And because I’m neurotic about employing my favorite Booty Call everywhere, we discover a hidden treasure… in bed. It’s just like the fortune cookie and my friend Vinnie said!

Hey! It’s a tool! That is absolutely essential!

Brad now has the ability to be the all-new, all-different Bomberman!

Basic Bomberman/Zelda rules here, except standing on a bomb will absolutely not hurt you. Other than that, lay up to four bombs wherever you want, wait for the boom, and maybe something has been exploded.

The next house over has a clue for acquiring bombs, but that’s only necessary if you don’t already have OCD.

You notice how Irving just said “get rock” and not “get this much rock”? That’s how you know you’re in a JRPG.

Go to the inn and get explosives! We get it!

Okay, time to hit the local mine. All that is really left in this town is a lackluster weapon shop and maybe another kid talking about bombs.

I WONDER IF WE’LL FIND AGUELITE HERE!?

Say what you will about modern JRPG design, but I feel like we didn’t see a decent cave dungeon until well into the 21st Century. I love you, Chrono Trigger, but skipping Heckran’s lair would change nothing.

Fighting monsters and mining! Living the Holst dream!

Oh, and see that Galeion on the side? They’re effectively metal slimes: they’ve got a pile of experience, but they’ll run at the first sign of trouble. Aim there first!

If you somehow missed the bombs tool (they’re in the inn. Did you get that?), these rocks will stop your progress cold. Also note the subtle design bit that they’re arranged in a manner that would make pushing impossible… I mean, assuming they could be pushed at all.

But with bombs, they ain’t no thang.

This looks like an interesting fork, but, no, just off camera are two dead ends. Cave-in or poorly designed mine? You decide.

This area doesn’t have a boss, but there are Leprechauns about, and that’s never good. Basically, these creatures are convinced you swiped their lucky charms, and will always attack the party with a surprise ambush to get the first turn. Then, they’ll use confusion status attacks to really ruin your day. And they’re level 40 for some inexplicable reason. In other words, they’re a giant pain in the ass, so be careful.

They are kinda cute, though.

Another fork. This time there is actually a choice.

And it’s one of those choices I hate! One path leads to a few heal berries and a crest graph treasure, and the other path just leads you further on, with no indication that backtracking might yield goodies. 50/50 chance you instinctively choose the rewards, 50/50 chance you never know you chose poorly.

Now back to the other path.

This save point is named Saving Grace, as it is the most important save point in the game for completionist nerds.

The abandoned mine contains another, smaller abandoned mine.

There’s a switch to the left there, but we’re going to take the caution hint and explore right. See! This is how you do a fork!

Little bit of walking…

Had to blow up a doorway…

Here we are: one of the absolute hardest bosses in the series. We can’t touch the sucker right now, but suffice it to say we will return and defeat Wild Arms’ Omega Weapon eventually.

But this trip isn’t just for postgame content, we’ve also got a new Brad Arm available.

Missiles for everybody! … Still don’t know what “AM” stands for, though.

Oh, thanks.

Okay, now let’s double back and pull the switch.

Welcome to flavor country.

Oooooor more boring mine hallways.

Now this looks interesting.

This pile driver (Zangief not included) is not kick operated.

But this is the bomb dungeon, so let’s give that a shot.

Oh! Actual ruins! I thought the mine was just in bad shape.

Block-like object. That is blocking progress.

Bomb dungeon, so, ya know, just keep throwing bombs at it until the “puzzle” is solved.

This is a really complicated way of saying “use the bombs again, mate.”

But quickly.

That’ll do.

Three rooms worth of ruins, and we’ve found our prize. I do appreciate that the unseen ancients apparently used the same treasure chests we find randomly in modern cities.

It is a rock that produces energy and… Okay, fine, nobody here is a scientist.

“Lilka, you’re super dense, could you power a city?”

Brad decides to get philosophical for a moment.

Brad decides to get depressing for a moment.

It’s a nice compliment, but Lilka said the same thing to a cereal box yesterday.

Brad… is still really depressing, but we’ll find out there’s a reason for that later. Well, a reason besides being imprisoned for years for leading a failed uprising. Related reason, I suppose.

Oh, right, we’re handing these super rocks that a lizard could use to make super monsters to a guy that doesn’t exactly scream trustworthy. Oh well, he’s pretty rich, I bet he wouldn’t do anything to harm the planet.

Says the guy who can turn into a jet black monster with a fire sword.

We’re only about 20% into a JRPG, so, no, no it absolutely will not.

“Hey, do you think the next mission will, like, be at the beach?”
“Nope, that trope won’t become mandatory for another five years or so.”

We’re teleported back to the entrance of the mine (but not the world map). There isn’t anything to do in this stink town, though, so time to head on home.

So we had two dungeons. One introduced new characters, was a nigh-constant stream of dialogue and simple puzzles, and included two bosses. The other dungeon was practically entirely silent, introduced a new tool that was the solution to everything, and included zero bosses. Weird choices all around.

Oh, and these little fetch quests did practically nothing to advance the Odessa narrative. We simply learned that Liz and Ard are members of Odessa. Which is more of an excuse of “why are these goofy bad guys bad” than anything.

Much though I love our favorite lizards, this little bit of game could be completely cut, and nothing would be lost.

I mean, Liz and Ard (and to a lesser extent, the bombs tool) have to appear somewhere, but they don’t have to be associated with a pair of lame fetch quests just when the plot was getting interesting.

Oh! We’re home!

“Universal death weapon.”
“Oh.”

“I don’t know, it’s magic.”

Eat it, Wild Arms 1.

Lilka is the audience surrogate/an idiot.

“Go play with your blocks.”

“Or stand motionless in this room while the protagonist visits his girlfriend.”

Marivel is confident.

Wassat?

Oh, we just stole some ancient rocks to power magical tech, and next on the agenda is recruiting gods. Irving better be a good guy (he’s not).

“Turns out this whole ‘prayers’ thing actually works. Who knew!?”

Ashley is already preparing to crack.

Irving! Not helping!

It’s how you refill your HP!

We only have control of Ashley for this segment, so that means…

Getting yelled at by Marivel. Wait, no, that isn’t right.

Yes! That!

Something on your mind, Lilka?

On the walk back to town, you will note that somebody forgot to update the NPCs on your successful mission. Which reminds me!

ARMS Mission #7:
Grab some magical crystals to power some magical machine
Status: Success!
Notes: We may have made powerful, reptilian enemies.

Home sweet home.

And men in strange hats are menacing children! This is not how you play tag!

“These wimps had problems with a kitten! A kitten!”

And Tony claims this attack is completely unwarranted… which, come to think of it, I don’t know how this trio of orphans even eat. There a Meria Orpharium I’m missing here? I’m saying these urchins are probably rotten thieves. Get ‘em!

Or run away. That’s good, too.

“This is Kate. Your next mission is to kill three rogue teens that have been terrorizing a local town.”

“Is it a bird?”
“It’s the size of a town.”
“A big bird?”

“Also, that’s the only flying machine we know of in the entire world. Also! Sometimes I forget to translate things!”

“I was going to teach these kids to play Apples to Apples and… Oh, never mind, I guess.”

“I can get up on the roof, if that helps.”
“It doesn’t.”

“Yes, it’s the entire plan, stupid.”

“Ashley, how do you feel about giant slingshots?”

“I haven’t even seen my not-girlfriend yet!”

… What?

Inexplicable anime-scene pan up from town to…

Scary death ship!

Your pilots for this air battle.

What is the Pillar? Or Who? And do strange men with hats want the Pillar, too?

Supervillains always travel with their monster luggage.

Cryogenically frozen for shipping convenience.

“Stop playing with your stupid monsters!”

“Could you please just let me have a little fun? That maybe gets everyone killed? Please?”

Yay! Mom said it was okay!

Guess who thawed out!

Ashley assumes that his companions do not have eyes.

Is this just a coincidence, or does the Chateau really have 50 or so areas?

Recall that we were ushered out of the area by the receptionist twins earlier.

Wait… what?

Valeria Chateau has a… command center? And we’ve been wasting all our time in that lousy boardroom?

Amy, you are like looking in a mirror.

“No, seriously, where the hell are we?”

“We already got that!”

“The deck? I still have no idea where we are right now!

“You keep saying that!”

What? Now we’ve got an earthquake to deal with?

Ooooooooooh.

Going up?

Yep, Valeria Chateau is secretly an airborne castle. The main base for the protagonists is a mobile, flying fortress. This is the coolest thing to ever appear in a JRPG. The sheer amount of creativity and…

I guess the deck is just an exit? Why didn’t Irving just say that!?

Alphael is cool, but rude.

So whatcha got for us, Alf?

Not much! Alphael isn’t really that difficult. Liz & Ard are clearly the bigger threat in this organization.

This is another situation where you will face simple attacks from a particular body part, and if you happen to kill said body part…

Then you get the laser breath. Worth noting is that this monster is one of those rare unicorns that is actually light elemental. Uh… that isn’t a turn of phrase, I’m saying that unicorns are pretty damn shiny on their own. There’s like a whole cartoon about that.

And here’s your reminder that Ashley has the ability to turn into a superhero when his FP maxes out. For most playthroughs, this is a must for any boss battle.

Here is a laser sword that I forgot to feature last time Knight Blazer showed up. Was it worth the wait?

Please look away when slaughtering any and all light-based monsters.

Since Ashley no longer has crazy brain problems after transforming, Knight Blazer has his own victory animation. Go Team Kill Everybody!

It would cost too much to animate the rest of The Great Air Battle of Whatever, so we’re back on the ground with Young ARMS.

Let’s learn about strange adults that chase children. Let’s ignore that they inexorably just saw a freaking castle fly into the sky.

“What’s up, nerds?”

-Not a secret-

Well nobody wants your stupid lack of powers, Tony. Go build an iron suit about it.

A quick nod to the instant scene transition of a moment ago, which I guess means…

ARMS Mission #8:
The Town of Meria Air War!
Status: Success!
Notes: Lasted all of five minutes.

“Anyway, Irving said we’re going to talk to gods, and you have a strange glowy power, so, ya know, probably related. Come with me if you want to live.”

Or you were the medium all along. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Get in the robot, Timmy.

Tim takes a moment to consider, and then instantly decides to leave the absolutely nothing that he has here. Tony and Scott? You’re crap.

And away we go! What nefarious plan does Irving have awaiting Tim? Find out next time!

But first, let’s talk about how hilariously terrible it must have been to do anything remotely cinematic on the Playstation. There’s a simple camera switch here, but if you slow down the video, you’ll note that there are two Lilkas for a moment.

I am basing this on nothing other than my own knowledge of coding, but I am absolutely guessing that, in order to instantly “flip” the camera, the asymmetrical sprites on either side of Ashley had to be “flipped” to match the change in perspective, and, for a second, Lilka Left and Lilka Right have to exist (and Brad is shunted to another universe). You wouldn’t notice it unless you were taking the game frame by frame, but, hey, what else is a Let’s Play for?

Next time on Wild Arms: A pillar of the community (that must be killed).

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