Previously on Wild Arms: Ashley got blasted into the past… more or less… and now we’re trying to get him back to the future.
But before we get to that bit of business… New intro!
And may the crows feast on your eyes!
Or whatever that thing is… we’ll come back to it.
So, incidentally, this is all scored by another song that, in the original Japanese version, had lyrics and vocals. Here, it’s just a guitar and harpsichord(?) replacing the vocals, but a trumpet kicks into the lead around the halfway point, and that’s the best.
Now back to… Dracula?
No, it’s just our boss posing as Dracula.
And Brad is fighting a harpy or two!
Here Tim is using a guardian to fight a serpent.
Interestingly enough, the guardian chosen for this intro is entirely optional, and I’ve even missed it thus far in this playthrough.
Lilka is playing with some friends.
And Marivel apparently got her own giant robot while we weren’t looking.
Then everybody starts kicking into gear.
Yeah! Lilka! You show ‘em what Dazzler can do!
Marivel! No! Gamera is a friend to children!
Tim’s Pokémon just outright tears a serpent in half…
And Irving forgot to take his sister in from the rain. Again.
Kanon! I knew we were forgetting someone!
For a minute and a half intro to a PS1 game, these production values are amazing. Or maybe they just blew the budget on 3 minutes of animation, so of course it’s great. Whatever. Take me back to the late 90’s, and let me watch the Wild Arms 2 anime that never was.
A brief break to hang out with our new favorite character.
Miss you already, Annie!
And now we get to see that erupting creature from the start of this mess. Somebody order a hydra?
And we close on a group shot of a sort.
So, just for the record, I vastly prefer the Disc 2 Intro, as it shows everyone “divided but working together” as a short story of ARMS saving the world around the world is told in a minute or so. Were this any other medium (as opposed to a JRPG, where your party being separated is a threat), I could easily see this minute expanded into an entire arc where each ARMS member must battle their own opponent in their own corner of the planet. And the mere fact that that intro inspires such a fun narrative is exciting! Go intro!
And now back to a boring ol’ boardroom.
At the end of the last update, Kate & Amy picked up an Ashley signal… somewhere.
And Tim is just relieved there’s a chance.
All of our equipment is loaded in a flying castle. I’m sure we’ll find some way to trace a signal.
Oh yeah, that makes sense. And it’s within walking distance!
Stupid space time continuum… Hey, why didn’t anybody invite Marivel to this meeting?
Oh… oh no…
You remember! From Lilka’s intro! It got Lilka’s sister killed! We think!
“Lilka, we’re all counting on you.”
“But I’m Lilka!”
“Can we just get a different crest sorceress? I swear we stopped at a town full of them…”
“And could someone get a maid in here!? Lilka nervous puked on the floor!”
“And, remember, Lilka is standing right here.”
God dammit, Irving.
We are so boned.
But Lilka gets her second wind!
“We’ve only failed, like, one mission so far. We’ll be fine.”
So Lilka presumably warped over to Sielje, got lost in six different towns on her way, beat some kid in a children’s card game, eventually earned a Millennium Puzzle, and then reconvened with the team at Sword Cathedral.
Of all the crazy nonsense in Wild Arms 2, I find it most odd that a portable puzzle dungeon is apparently the only accepted way to cross dimensions.
Excuse me, a growing portable puzzle dungeon.
Lilka knows what to do!
Try not to die!
“Why did you say that out loud?”
So Millennium Puzzle Mk. 2. The concept here is exactly the same as the first one, just this puzzle is larger and so much more annoying.
We seem to have five different teleporter points here (the original was a mere three), so let’s head south to the most center point.
Ah, a save point! Yay!
There wasn’t a single save point in Annie’s dream world, so this is the first we’ve seen a break since the Odessa space base exploded. I wonder if that’s a deliberate move to keep the player marching through the very self-contained/informational Memory Maze.
Just beyond the save point is the ol’ “make the colored pillars the right height” puzzle from the last Millennium Puzzle. Hopefully you remember this puzzle from possibly the first dungeon you ever played in this game, as it’s absolutely essential to solving this dungeon.
For now, we don’t know the exact heights of the blocks, so we’ll come back later.
So let’s try the next teleporter over.
One frequent thing you’ll see in this dungeon is platforms that only move when a nearby block is activated with magic.
Also, there are a lot of branching paths in this dungeon.
And stuff like this: basically, one path is the way forward, and another is the “exit” from another path, and, no, you can’t make any progress until you go the “right” way. It’s frustrating.
So much backtracking…
Each path ideally leads to the block you need to activate, and a clue to the center pillar puzzle. In this case, please remember that the blue pillar is supposed to be one block high.
And now we can activate our first mission block. 20% done!
Some platforms move on their own!
And I surely didn’t spend a half hour falling off blocks because walking is hard!
Some areas look complicated, but there’s really only one way forward in this room.
But first, a reminder that random battles still exist. There’s no boss for this area (yay!), so if you’re really missing Ashley, feel free to go nuts with Brad’s ammo.
Sometimes you have to activate switches to get walls out of your way.
Oh, we were in this room before. Now we can go in the “right” direction… assuming we remember which side of this area is the actual exit.
Move a few more platforms…
This side of the room certainly doesn’t look like a carbon copy of the other side!
Okay, let’s try the other side.
This is new!
This room is kind of a trick, as you absolutely can’t get to that far left teleporter with the way the blocks are currently moving. We’ll tackle that one later.
Have I been here before? I’m genuinely asking.
Dammit! Now I know I have!
Let’s try a different fork.
This room is a complete trick. It’s a “puzzle room” where you can fall down the squares like steps… but I clearly just walked into an area that is the lowest rung.
May as well kill some monsters to feel better.
This room still sucks. Why won’t you blocks run into each other at the same time!
This room is new!
No it’s not! I’m just on the other side of that room with the moving blocks. The trick here is that you can use Lilka’s ice powers to freeze the blocks in place, and then force them to intersect properly.
It takes some timing.
But we don’t need to do a thing, because we’re trying to reach the teleporter we can walk to anyway.
The next room requires a little magic, though.
And then a little walking.
Some platform surfing.
There! Finally! Goal 2/5. Yellow is a four block pillar.
Let’s see what else we can find.
Turns out #3 was like a room away. Convenient!
I think the worst part of this dungeon is that you can apparently be stuck in the same stupid loop for ages, and then make oodles of progress the minute you get on the right track. It doesn’t help that basically every room in this place is visually similar.
Now we’re at the top of that “falling” room. Aim away from that one teleporter that we know goes nowhere!
But aim for the right exit…
And we’re just about done! Now we’ve seen all the pillar “answers”. Note that if you didn’t realize (or remember) what you were supposed to do with that central room, you’re basically stuck retreading the whole dungeon… Or at least looking up a FAQ.
Now we can return to the middle area…
Move the pillars into position…
And we’ve activated the fifth and final block.
BEHOLD THE OMEGA BLOCK!
“And by ‘we’, I mean ‘you’, Lilka.”
“Come on, Lilka. Did you get confused? Do you need a Lilka snack?”
Lilka goes for it!
And… we completely failed!
You will note that Kanon is offering zero words of encouragement. She was really looking forward to murdering Ashley again.
So, there’s theoretically something important going on here, and that’s that Lilka doesn’t sacrifice herself like her sister in an effort to bring Ashley back. Lilka is her own person! With people that care about her! She’s different from her “hero” sister.
On the other hand, that dungeon sucked, and Lilka whiffed it at the finish line, meaning the whole thing was pointless.
So screw you and your character development, Lilka!
Meanwhile, back at the cleft of dimension or whatever.
Yes, that is the literal light at the end of the tunnel.
Aw, no, it’s the actual hopes and prayers of Marina. You go, girl!
Yes, please. Please let Anastasia join the party. Please? I’ve been ever so good.
Dammit! Come on! You “died” sealing Lord Blazer, and he got to come out and play! Don’t be the one heroine in a JRPG that actually proves death has meaning!
And then Anastasia has a little breakdown.
“What am I supposed to say? Lucied, help me out here.”
I’m glad this is our last impression of Anastasia. She’s not a composed “Sword Saint”, she’s a girl that really didn’t want to have to die to save her world, but did anyway. Sacrifice isn’t giving yourself to a cause, it’s giving up what you could be for that cause.
“Whoa, uh… hm… Lot to unpack there. Uhh… I… won’t do that?”
It’s nice to have a good guy (gal) give you the ol’ “we’re not so different, you and I.”
“I’m going to do exactly what you did. But better! Probably!”
Big Sis believes in you!
“Bye! Just leave me alone in this endless limbo for the rest of eternity!”
And, in an act of totally unnecessary sacrifice, Anastasia gives up her dog, too.
“Maybe he needs somebody to chase rabbits out of his yard? I don’t know.”
Lucied is kind of a jerk, so he’s just going to chill in an optional cave until Ashley maybe decides to find him.
And that’s it for Anastasia. Can’t stress this enough: she was the best character in this whole story. I’m moderately certain she made an impression on the Wild Arms team, too, as I will continue to argue that the main protagonist of Wild Arms 3 is her indirect descendant. And Annie pops up in a storybook in that title, too. You don’t see that same kind of love with Marina.
Though, speaking of which…
Don’t you just hate when your cell phone goes off in a dark room?
Well, you are standing in his room… and I imagine a guy that guts monsters all day is going to have a distinct funk…
Looks like ARMS left the cathedral a little too quickly.
That sure makes perfect sense!
“The real Sword Magess is here, in our hearts.”
“No! I’m still stuck in a void!”
“Shut-up, you’re ruining this.”
Kate? Are you high?
“Code 618… let’s check the book here… Oh! A member of ARMS has popped back into existence after being lost in space. Cool!”
So there’s this whole big sequence about “finding” Ashley… but, guys? We were just at Sword Cathedral because we knew that’s where his signal was in the first place. Maybe we don’t need to take down the global cellular network…
Lilka is still having a time-out.
Brad and Tim are roommates? Oh man, I’d watch that sitcom.
Kanon is just chilling, thinking about when she gets to murder Ashley again.
Tim is excited!
And we get a mysterious first person view of someone returning to town. Who could it be!?
Lilka has recovered, and is on her way… somewhere.
Mysterious person is going to the bakery! I bet it’s Liz & Ard!
“Late” like “the late Ashley Winchester”?
She’s looking out a window, so I completely believe she sees Ashley’s reflection as he enters, and she hasn’t just gone completely insane.
You know you’re the hero’s girlfriend when you have a distinct crying animation.
That the best you got?
Meanwhile! Literally right outside Ashley’s room.
So, it has been lightly touched on since practically her introduction, but Lilka has basically always had a crush on Ashley.
And right about here is when she gets crushed. It wasn’t Lilka’s magic that brought Ashley back, it was Marina’s deep, unconditional love.
And Lilka just got that.
Everybody was looking all over the Earth, but of course Ashley would only return to one place.
And Lilka was a tweak late.
Sorry, magical girl. We’re not going to have any inner-office romances in this game.
ARMS Mission #19:
Rescue Ashley from the Void
Notes: Okay, ARMS proper didn’t technically have anything to do with this rescue, but we’re taking credit for it anyway!
And we’ll close on Ashley and Marina together at last. I think those crazy kids are going to be alright!
Next time on Wild Arms 2: Burn the land and boil the sea, you can’t take the sky from me. Until you do.