This was originally posted on Gogglebob.com on May 9, Silver Day. If you have a silver dream tonight, you’ll be taken away to a purple mirror world. I wonder what a purple mirror world looks like? I’d like to see such a world, but my dreams are always in full color.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: Jet learned the true meaning of friendship with his new best friend, Pike. Jet will now have fabulous adventures all over the world, and Pike will shovel horse manure for the rest of time. This is canon.
Moving on to the guardsman.
No, that’s… that can’t be right.
Couldn’t just be a simple “week” with this guy…
When I first played Wild Arms 3, I thought 30 was, like, the oldest a human being could be. Now I look wistfully at this young’un and his childish adventures…
Clive Winslet, age thirty. He is about to embark on a mission considered the most deadly of all Drifter trades–eradicating a monster. These drifters are accustomed to risking their lives to face danger. They do it for the reward and to satisfy their spirit. One cannot deny that in the eyes of many, these Drifters are just ruffians driven by greed. Could this man be nothing more than a ruffian as well…? Or perhaps…
Narrator? This guy wears glasses. Everyone knows he can’t be a ruffian.
Steal his look! Clive has green hair, glasses, a generally red trench coat (with black shoulder bits), surprisingly cool gloves, some kind of leather chest piece, a holster that is evidently incapable of holding his ARM, and vaguely stylized boots. I’m just noting this because it was true in 2002, and it’s true now: if I could pull off this style, I would.
Oh, anyway, Clive was hired to kill something around here, and Borgnine is just trying to help out.
“The keeper of these caverns” is a phrase that is going to come up a couple of times on this quest. I don’t know if this a really awkward translation, or some subtle character building to establish how Clive can’t just say “that thar monster fellar”.
Clive is doing it all alone, as he is a professional drifter, emphasis on that “professional” bit.
In we go!
And for just a touch of transition fun…
Welcome to the Den of Miasma. Hope you brought a flashlight and a gasmask.
Borgnine is going to stand here forever as instructed, but he will provide some heal berries if you deign to talk to him. You may need them…
Like Jet, Clive comes with his tool: bombs! This is another recurring Wild Arms tool, and they work just like they do in every other videogame: they stay still, eventually explode, and they are mostly useful for clearing obstructions.
Bombs also do not hurt “you”, nor do they impact NPCs in any way. Some of the Wild Arms titles at least have townsfolk acknowledge when you’re throwing literal fireballs in their direction, but not this one.
Clive has the “maximum difficulty” rating on that character select screen, so the designers seem to assume you would have chosen literally anyone else first. In other words, Clive starts in a monster den, and random battles are possible about ten seconds after you can wiggle your dualshock.
Clive’s ARM is a rifle with some obvious sniper accessories. This is the strongest weapon in the game… but it also starts with a mere 2 bullet capacity.
So Clive packs a punch, but you will likely be reloading quite a bit if a battle lasts more than a round (well, two, technically).
Also, if you like seeing that hit/combo counter climb, sorry, Clive usually only gets one hit. It’s one big hit, though.
Clive is basically your tank. His attack and defense are great, and he has passable magic in a pinch. Speed is his dump stat. Old man bones don’t move so fast.
I appreciate that the “bruiser” of your party is also “the smart one”. It’s a conceit that works a lot more easily when attack power is based on weaponry, and obviously the crack shot is going to be the “strongest" in this gun world. This is also, for better or worse, a contrast with the muscular character that will be introduced in the next update.
Also: Clive’s ARM is the Gungnir HAG35. Noting this for any Norse mythology/Final Fantasy fans.
Time to clear out the keeper of the caverns!
It may just be because less is “happening” (unlike in other opening dungeons that offer a tutorial every three steps), but Clive seems to have a more frequent random encounter rate than Virginia and Jet. Also, this cave seems to be more… structured? Like, there are a lot more dips and side paths where you could get lost. It really feels like Clive’s dungeon is intended as the “what have you learned” finale to the other three introductions. Then again, Clive is the only one in a cave, as opposed to a manmade structure. Environmental storytelling?
But at least there’s treasure!
Gee, those rocks sure do look different from the rest of the wall.
Zelda rules, ladies and gentlemen. You see a rock that so much as looks at you funny, you blow that sucker back to Death Mountain.
What did I just say, tiny rocks that were minding their own business?
So these things. Translucent poison plant thingys are all over this dungeon. They are classified as traps, and will cause damage if you bonk into them. Use a bomb, and they’ll get out of your way. Blue plants stay “dead” when bombed, red ones will pop back up rather quickly. Watch your boots.
A lot of this dungeon includes one-way ledges. Does this mean this dungeon will be traversed in reverse? (yes)
There are no guardrails, so try not to fall off any walkways. Again, falling does not cause any damage, but it will restart your journey at the entrance of the room.
More plants to explode. Clive should look into some manner of bomb-based lawncare business.
Other fun fact about ledges? If you drop off the side, it cancels any pending encounters. If you are desperate to avoid fights, and you’ve depleted your encounter gauge, just throw yourself into the abyss.
Finally working our way up to that treasure chest from a couple pictures back. A gimel coin! Time to save!
Probably something behind this doorway…
Nope, just another mundane room that is hiding a boulder-blocked secret passage.
This hidden room contains two treasure chests and… a whatsit?
If you’ve played previous Wild Arms titles, you know what you’re looking at here. A bonus super boss lurks in this “holographic archive”, and you will have to return much later to release/fight the monster. For those of you who like reading ahead, this optional boss is Arioch, and he is attached to one of the worst things to ever happen in a JRPG. Suffice to say, when you have the ability to unlock/fight him, do so immediately…
So ignore that wicked presence for now and grab some gold.
Oh, hey, I finally accidentally bumped into one of those plants. Funny that this message can trigger on practically the last crop.
A little further along, and we’re in boss territory.
Okay, yeah, let’s just say Clive pontificates like a weirdo.
There is a minor earthquake, and the ground gives way behind Clive.
Given there was a complete path leading up to the keeper, it can be assumed Clive is the first to get this far.
No keeping, keeper!
Stop making everything blurry!
I guess this creature is very… batty? Like, do a lot of flying creatures live exclusively in caves? I’m not a biologist, I’m genuinely asking.
Oh, here I thought we entered battle mode because we were going to try to talk it out.
Goldrake is hanging around on two legs and chomping away for the first part of this battle. Note that Clive is slower than molasses going uphill in a blizzard, so be aware of your HP and heal before you are nibbled to death.
Clive’s unique ability is Lock On. It guarantees a hit, and, thanks to how “accuracy” is less binary and more active in WA3, usually means Clive will do some bonus damage over his usual attack. It is very useful, though, like Jet’s Accelerator, seems like kind of a tease to attach to the guy who has the best accuracy to begin with…
This battle is a legitimate fight where you can die. That said, your opponent has a scripted bit wherein it must eventually fly, so “phase 2” will begin after you do around 300 HP of damage. If you exceed 300 damage, congratulations, it doesn’t matter. Flying Goldrake still just uses physical attacks.
And this “scripted” bit is basically a tutorial on using Lock On. We just did that!
Goldrake will suffer one Lock On shot, and that’s that.
Yeah! You go, Clive!
Aaaaand hubristic victory.
Clive is mad at himself for not only getting too cocky, but also not correctly deducing that the cave full of poison might have a connection to the monster that can spew poison. Live and learn!
Yep, just die.
But we do get a battle results screen, so I don’t think it’s a game over yet.
Condition green? This is a lie.
Clive has some self-doubt going on.
“Why is my wallet missing? Damn that monster!”
So Clive is poisoned. And, fun fact, it is literally impossible to obtain an antidote at this point in the game. Good luck with the status effect, dumbass!
“Wise” if only because the route you used to get here completely collapsed, and help literally will never reach you.
Jet got a little perfunctory adventure after his boss battle, but Clive gets the actual meat of his personal challenge post-boss.
Yes, you are actually poisoned, and you absolutely will lose a chunk of your HP with every few steps. Resource management is now the name of the game (okay, Resource Management 3).
Condition green seems so far away…
So we bomb our way out of this lair.
And learn that random battles are definitely still a thing. You’re poisoned no matter what is going on!
Wild Arms 3 poison always works at the end of the battle round, not distinctly when the poisoned character acts. This would be relevant in a situation with more party members, and if you are using your slowest character (that would be Clive) to toss around antidotes. I don’t know why you would do that, but it could be relevant.
Bad news: getting 100 FP usually clears all status effects, but this is apparently plot-poison, so you’re not getting out of poison status that easily. Good news, though, is that VIT will fill you up after every battle, so if you were good about managing damage on the way to the boss, you’ll be topped off frequently during this trek.
This room of poison plants is a minor puzzle to see how few “moves” you can make to clear the area. Extra walking means extra poison!
Another minor earthquake blocks the route forward. Is Goldrake just screwing with Clive at this point?
Well, bringing a rifle to dinner didn’t help…
The “new feature” for bombs in WA3 is that Clive can lay an epic number of explosives as need be.
From there, it is the dungeon you already know and love, just in reverse. Thanks to all those cliffs, you can make an easy beeline back to whatshisname with the berries.
See? We’re already back at the entry area.
Clive is doing super!
“Just a little riddled with poison. I’ll be fine.”
“Monster got away. Too much HP. You still got any of those berries?”
Clive passes out in Borgnine’s arms, and he starts having a flashback/hallucination about this friendly looking chap.
Herlock Sholmes here appears to be working on some kind of machine, and Clive is hanging around. Is he helping? Hindering? Lording over the little dude with his superior playable character model?
Clive doesn’t look too happy about whatever is happening here.
Welcome back to the more current flashback.
Please note: the doctor here is wearing a labcoat and sandals. This is obviously Zoidberg’s humansona.
Anyway, Clive just drank antidote tea. No more poison. Yay!
Main character killed by a well-meaning NPC doctor would be quite the opening, too.
Oh yeah, there was a point to this whole journey.
I have no idea how they torched that cave. We were setting off bombs in that place like it was the only reason to own multiple controllers for the Sega Saturn, and not a single pebble actually caught fire.
But Clive realizes the flaw in the plan there.
With no lair, the monster is going to come here. Also: how smart are these creatures supposed to be? It played possum, dropped rocks around an intruder, and now is tracking villagers back to their home?
But Clive is ready to take this bird-lizard out!
One casually-tossed antidote for the road!
Yep, Goldrake’s on its way.
Clive is mentally reciting poetry on his way to monster huntin’.
To thineself be true, turn this dragon into glue.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to chase down this creature all over again. He comes to visit on a nearby rooftop.
Goldrake will use its poison attack just once. This is convenient, as you now have exactly one helping of antidote from the cutscene. Use it.
This is now the “real” battle against Goldrake. It still pretty much just tries to hit Clive, but it does hit harder.
What’s more, since it is now permanently flying, it is a harder to hit target. This means you should do whatever it takes to pump up Clive’s FP, and then use Lock On as much as possible.
And then it kersplodes. Only takes a Lock On or two (with some lucky regular attacks) to take Goldrake down, but it is still the most difficult boss battle of the introductory areas.
Couldn’t have dropped that from the first battle, ya jerk?
The townsfolk cheer, and Clive cheers back.
Hooray for our hero!
Clive aspired to be a bounty-hunter and Drifter. But he always earned more than just a reward. His gave his clients peace and in return they gave him confidence. At times he might stop and rest his wings, but no Drifter ever stopped drifting.
He’s got restless rifle syndrome. Got it.
Clive’s next mission was to watch an artifact on board the transcontinental railroad. But he wasn’t alone. Opportunists were a dime a dozen. No one knew how many were on, or where it was headed. After all, some journeys only start at the last stop.
Clive’s adventure doesn’t actively show you how he got on track (ha!) with the train nonsense like the others, but it does outright tell you “yeah, he got a new job.” We now have confirmation that Clive is the one weirdo in the 4-P standoff that was supposed to be there.
(And if you are curious about who hired him… we’ll see the job’s source sooner than you think…)
Anywho, save and call it a day. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that my timer jumped up a tick from Jet, as I actually completed our next update’s hero’s journey before Clive, and only presented Clive first due to democracy. Let’s Play magic! About 25 minutes is all it takes to complete the prologues when you’re powering through with high levels. And it takes four weeks of updates! And this game is like 40 hours long! Gonna be a long LP, folks!
Next time on Wild Arms 3: Slacking is magic.