This was originally posted on Gogglebob.com on May 2, Miniature Garden Day. My grandpa loved to make miniature gardens. I liked his gardens because the parts he used were so cute. When I asked him what he’s putting into the garden next, he said all the parts that go into his garden are called loners… Needless to say, I had trouble responding to that.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: Virginia saved her hometown from monsters, and, after said hometown saved her, she decided to set off for adventure. And you know who else is ready for adventure?
This boy! Who broke in!
Jet is a legitimate name (Jet Li immediately comes to mind), so this isn’t quite as egregious as a certain other playable character named after a noose.
Virginia was two weeks, Jet is slightly closer to T(rain)-Day.
Hey, at least it’s not raining.
… Thief? No, I’m thinking of someone else.
Okay, maybe he is a thief.
The roughest, toughest frail, this Jet.
It’s bread, right? We were just talking about that.
Yeah, gonna solve all your problems during the opening. Sure.
Straight up: I would love a JRPG where a main character accomplishes their big, personal goal during the opening dungeon, and then spends the rest of the game trying to figure out a second lifetime goal. What else are you going to do with that pumped up attack stat, hero? Just some dude fighting dungeon bosses with his friends like "What am I doing with my life?"
Aw hell you know we ain’t finding anything at Doomed to Obscurity.
So Jet is exploring some kind of ziggurat structure in an unknown location. We got a tomb raider!
Jet comes pre-equipped with his first tool: it’s a boomerang! Link would be proud.
And we’re not getting in the front door.
So let’s circle around and hit the roof.
Literally hit that sucker, as you need to boomerang away some blocking material.
Oh boy! Treasure!
But there is a pit trap, so down Jet goes. For the record “raiding a dungeon, seeing treasure, falling in a pit to more dungeon” is something of a Wild Arms introduction trope, so Jet immediately draws a comparison to Wild Arms 1’s Jack.
Meanwhile outside, some nerd with a fanny pack is comin’ runnin’.
And he picks the front door open! Could we have saved our knees if we just waited a few minutes?
Okay, now we’re exploring the dungeon proper.
Wild Arms 3 is vaguely 3-D, so this dungeon merits an explanation of how to swing the camera around. As someone who has a terrible sense of direction, I appreciate the camera locking to a steady north in the event of maneuvering emergencies.
For your fourth wall convenience, all tutorials will be treated as random graffiti that Jet does not understand. These kids and their L1 buttons!
So dungeon time. This area is a lot more “mazey” than Virginia’s adventure. There are also a lot more obvious treasure choke points if you feel like exploring.
Since we’ve got the treasure hunter on deck, I will note this: you are expected to open every treasure chest in the game. You don’t have to, but there is an eventual reward if you have opened every treasure chest in the world. To be clear, this is separate from items found in crates or alike, and specifically only applies to treasure chests. So even in the opening areas, even if you are level craptillion, there is a reason to make a beeline for every chest you see. You’ll thank me later.
And, to be clear, I believe the game is designed so no treasure chest is ever permanently out of reach, so at least there’s that to assuage your OCD…
But speaking of being overleveled, here is Level 94 Jet ready for a battle.
Jet has a machine gun-style ARM, so those bullets he is wearing are not just for show. Before upgrades, he gets four “bullets” before he must reload, but, as we covered before, that can somehow mean many, many more bullets are actually used in an attack. Or six hits to a balloon per one bullet is some kind of magic thing. Whatever!
Since that monster was blown away, let’s look at Jet’s stats. As you might expect from the name, Jet is
an airplane fast. His magic is crap all around, his (physical) defense is surprisingly good, and his evade outpaces his impressive speed. Jet is a speedy boy.
Worth noting: inventories migrate between characters. Technically, if you are good at resource management, this can make the latter chosen characters’ areas easier, as they can gobble up all the Heal Berries found in earlier chapters. Also, key items migrate, too, which means Jet now inexplicably has a picture of Virginia’s dad. I’m sure he’s just as confused as anybody.
Anywho, opening areas of this dungeon are basically just “can you walk” and “can you throw a boomerang”. Pretty basic stuff.
The next room introduces the new hotness…
Seering, stabbing pain!
Screw you, ancient traps!
So dungeons from here on out may contain traps. They always take a proportionate chunk off your HP, but will not eventually kill a character, only reduce HP to 1. That said, if you are not using healing items between battles, VIT will not restore trap damage until after a battle, so a particularly nasty trap could leave you starting your next encounter at a severe disadvantage. Luckily, most of the traps in WA3 are either simple movement puzzles (like here, all you have to do is remember to run) or routing riddles (maybe find a way to not walk through the lava). This ain’t Celeste.
Sometimes the hardest part of “traps” is how random encounters can pop up anywhere. Don’t be afraid to cancel an encounter for reasons other than cowardice!
Navigate past a few more spears and we circle out of the basement and back to the main entrance.
And we’ve got company.
Kovahn the Shrugger and some other people are looking for… someone?
Ah, Pike. Good ol’ Pike. …. Who’s Pike?
More importantly: who cares?
Surprising no one: this nonsense gets out of hand.
Got a [date], Jet?
Kovahn of the Guiled Chin offers a reward.
Legitimately, this is New Game+, Jet has all the money in the world.
Do it for Old Man! Or Ribbon Girl!
Jet doesn’t agree to do anything officially, so I guess we’re formally looking for the Crystal Flower. These NPCs will mill about alternately asking for help and calling Jet selfish.
Metaphors don’t pay for ARM upgrades, Gaspar!
Jet has a solemn reaction to the ancient coffin that sits at the entryway here. Also, there is clearly a giant door back there, but it doesn’t work at the moment.
So further venturing into the tomb through the only unlocked door in the area.
We doin’ circus biz now?
In an effort to make these 3-D spaces a little more vertical, dungeons may now contain netting/grates that allow for some hand-over-hand climbing action.
In general, this allows the dungeons to be more dynamic, often including a treasure that is on a different level to transform these areas into something more complicated than hallways.
Staying off the ground has other pointed advantages, too.
The first net room is a basic tutorial. A hallway leads to…
The real test. Not that this is complicated, but it is more complex than just walking.
More traps! Try not to get poked in the side.
Revive Fruits are super useful… when you have more than one party member. Weird that these show up frequently in the solo dungeons.
Pike, I presume?
This is reasonable in a tomb filled with monsters.
“I can’t remember if they wanted you dead or alive…”
Jet acknowledges Pike… and then moves on. Jet is committed to not saving this dork.
Now we’re talking!
Reminder: Jet has a machine gun. Pike has a fanny pack.
Welp, this has been Operation: Useless.
Oh yeah. Good point.
Apparently Pike has his own treasure!
So Jet will stand guard while Pike digs a mattock out of his fanny pack of holding.
Whatever is happening with Jet’s posing/acting here deserves an award. Love that “shifting eyes while talking over his shoulder” thing going on.
Boss from above!
Let’s deal with the Tatzelwurm. It’s a… dragon? Baby? Thingy?
It has physical attacks…
And magical fire breath to barbecue the maiden’s fair.
Everybody gets Gatling. Everybody gets Summon (eventually). But like how Virginia has Mystic, Jet has Accelerator. For 25 FP, Jet is guaranteed to move first in the battle turn order.
One would assume you are expected to use this skill in combination with something offensive in this dragon battle, but it comes in handy later for reviving party members in battles. I cannot immediately recall a situation where “Jet goes first” disables an opponent’s super attack or something, so mostly just use it for protecting/healing one of your more fragile party members that is then going to heal everybody when their turn eventually comes up. Might also be convenient for setting up “reflect” style spells or alike.
Regardless, Accelerator has some pretty straightforward uses across the adventure, and it is little surprise it is one of the most frequently used force abilities in the franchise. Kind of weird how it always winds up with the dude that is the fastest party member anyway, though…
With boss death animations like that, no wonder these ruins are unstable.
We earned a Dragon Fossil for fossilizing that dragon! The purpose of these puppies will come up later. Suffice to say, you always want more.
And… we’re back? Not just railroaded into a cutscene? Hanging with Pike in Pike Room? Okay.
Technically we are supposed to mosey up the stairs to trigger the next bit of business, but if we wander over yonder…
We can rotate the camera to see one of WA3’s amusing quirks. In much the same way you know Tom & Jerry are going to interact with that hammer because it is painted in an entirely different style from the background, “stuff” in Wild Arms 3 is always a separate graphic from the usual architecture of the area. In this case, there is a hidden exit that appears to be indistinguishable from the wall from one angle (see the previous picture), but is an obvious door “shadow” if you spin the perspective around. I’m not certain this kind of knowledge is ever a make or break for discovering secrets… but I just think it’s neat.
Back to touching the stairs to leave and triggering a dang earthquake.
Don’t worry, Jet, you’ll get your glass rose or whatever eventually.
“Maybe don’t use a machine gun in a room barely large enough for my fanny pack next time.”
But Pike found his treasure! It’s… bullshit! All bullshit! BAH!
BAH I SAY!
I will give a pass to the concept that monster populations have been on the rise, but that still ignores how this dungeon is lousy with spikes, spears, and other pointy things that are generally unpleasant for children.
So this was Pike’s lil’ memory box, and he was willing to risk life and limb to get it before moving out of the country. Cute.
Normal thing a normal person would say about having a lousy/unremarkable childhood, or a case of super amnesia? Well, this is a JRPG protagonist, so what do you think?
“That’s why I’m a Drifter. I’m free as a bird to fly wherever I want. I have no worries. Maybe except my income.”
Stop blowing your budget on kicky, red scarves, Jet.
So the stairway out is inaccessible, but Pike unlocks his “secret" passage that we were talking about a minute ago.
We already conquered the boss and had our cathartic denouement, but there is still a little more dungeon left to go. Pike is technically “with us” at the moment, but he does not participate in our acrobatic shenanigans or random battles in any way.
So is all the netting around this ruin original to the place, or was it the result of it being a playground back in Pike’s day?
There is a minor puzzle here where you have to be on the right “plane” of the dungeon to hit the crystals that unlock the way forward. Confirming that the boomerang does not work like the Wild Arms 2 throwing knife, and hitting a wall does not mean it will trigger something as it falls.
Now we’re properly lined up. And you can see the second crystal in the room! Wee.
Pike is over the moon, Jet is futilely trying to get all the monster goo out of his hair.
Maybe you should have thought of that before the dragon attack?
Meanwhile, Jet is getting introspective.
Pike has got places to be. I understand, I always put off dungeon pillaging until the last minute before a trip, too.
“The closest station from here would probably take me about five days on foot. And it’ll take me about another day by train to reach my destination. Even though I have a week left before I start work, today’s the only day I have to pack everything. That’s why I don’t have time.”
I appreciate any fiction that takes the time to note that travel used to be a gigantic time sink, and not just “the jet is over there”. … Wait.
And Jet learns that there is a train that may be of interest.
Another conversation, another hidden doorway.
“Will there be another three other people also interested in this treasure? Will they become lifelong friends?”
Pike says there is no way Jet would be able to get a ticket, but Jet won’t stop shifting his eyes as he replies that he will be fine.
Pike agrees to fill in Jet on all the train details when the audience isn’t around to be bored out of its mind by transportation schedules. In the meanwhile, Pike talks about how he will always cherish the time he spent in that basement with a complete stranger who gunned down a lizard.
Jet literally does not understand that this thing that is happening is a memory in the making. He was planning on forgetting about Pike right about…
Afterwards, Jet looked into the train Pike talked about. He managed to get onboard and waited for an opportunity to infiltrate. A sudden impact and the chaos that ensued gave him the perfect chance to break in. With the treasure in plain sight, this was where he would encounter three strangers. Were they friend…or foe? The darkness that opened up before him seemed endless, as if obscured by the world’s future. The train Jet had boarded was still making its way through the long, endless tunnel.
Yeah, hope this “treasure” isn’t just a pile of crap again…
And we’re back at a save stop. Thanks for coming by, Jet!
So what do we know about Jet Enduro? Well, he seems to be a lot more pragmatic than Virginia, and, despite the fact that he appears to be a “boy”, he definitely has a bit of a mercenary side. Virginia would charge into a dungeon just to save a fanny pack, left alone the living person attached to the thing. Jet? Not so much.
I bet these two protagonists are going to be super best friends!
Next time on Wild Arms 3: You ain’t seen pragmatic yet.