Wild Arms 3 Part 05: Janus Never Blinks

This is being posted to Gogglebob.com on May 23, Correspondence Day. I was writing letters to a pen pal, but when I told him about all the holidays, he suddenly stopped writing back… Hmph, I don’t care about boys who don’t care about holidays, anyway. Hey, I know. You must like holidays since you’re always talking to me. Do you want to be my pen pal?

Chapter 5: Janus Never Blinks

Previously on Wild Arms 3: We have completed all the prologues! So we’ve got…

· A new drifter that fights for justice
· An experienced drifter that fights for justice
· A new drifter that will do anything for a buck
· An experienced drifter that will do anything for a buck

Such variety!


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No matter who you chose last, at the culmination of their tale, we cut immediately to a train station.


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It must be kind of weird or absolutely normal if you somehow choose Virginia last.


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This suitcase is where Virginia keeps the 999 items you have on your person at all times. It is never seen again.


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Virginia was the narrator this whole time? Is… is she omnipotent?


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“There goes our Virginia, off to… uh… somewhere. What did her ticket say? Adventure? … That isn’t a place.”


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Around and around we go…The world that encircles me begins to revolve…The gears grind, and the spinning wheels of fate begin to turn…And finally, the train departs. A journey without a purpose. The train just steams away to the world beyond today. The accident that ensued on the train I happened to be on…And the three strangers I would later encounter…These were all coincidences. But if coincidence is a part of fate, I want to roam this vast Filgaia to find the reason behind that encounter.

So, basically, the point of your journey is you want to find the point for your journey. Got it.


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Or at least a decent Let’s Play.


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The planet Filgaia is slowly rotting, its once lush vegetation withering away. As if it weren’t enough, all sorts of predators roam the desert and prey on innocent travelers.. Yet there are some willing to brave this wasteland to seek their fortunes. These folks are called "Drifters."

… Still think that “drifters” could have been localized to be something more… better.


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Though it’s not like “Wild Arms” is ever a phrase that made any kind of sense to begin with.


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So this is a staff roll with some banging music and…


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Some minor flashbacks to what everyone (not just Virginia) was up to before the standoff. Who picked the lock? Looks like Gallows.


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Who almost slept through the whole thing? Virginia.


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I would complain about flashing back to something we had already seen if that update wasn’t already over a month ago…


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Probably not a coincidence that “Character Animation” is credited while Virginia does her little feint-run.


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And while Jet has the most fun sneaking onto the train. Was he down there the whole time?


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We don’t see the dialogue again, but we can all recall that Tony is terrible at his job.


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Clive rushes into action. I guess his guardianship didn’t involve actually hanging out with the treasure.


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Gallows got there first! Was he always intending to steal the thing, or just confirm it is what the newspaper said it was?


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Clive was this close to blowing a few holes into Gallows. Or at least knocking off 12 HP.


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And we all wind up at the treasure at the same time.


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Back to the present! Or the character select screen!


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Suddenly! An explosion from above interrupts our possibly homicidal heroes. There’s a hole in the ceiling now!


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Spoilers: Tony somehow keeps his job after all this.


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“Or we’re being attacked by some kind of poisonous, flying bird-lizard. That ever happen to anybody?”
“Yes.”


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Quick to assume it is a person there, Clive. Virginia spent her entire intro fighting thieving monsters.


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So Clive and Virginia want to sort out whatever business is on the roof, but the two literal thieves involved are a little more leery.


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Spoilers: this all works out. That said, trusting two guys that were really obviously trying to rob the place in order to maybe catch a third thief (that could be working with the first two guys!) is exactly why you wound up lost and poisoned in some godforsaken cave, Clive.


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Guess we still have a few more credits to get through. Not everything is sepia this time, though!


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“Might be easier to lift the girl if you put your shotgun down, Gallows.”
“No.”


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And our team of four meets a team of three.


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If you don’t feel like zooming in, the blonde on the left has some kind of face/eye scar, the cowboy on the right has noticeably not buckled his pants…


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And the man in the middle means business.


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Shrewd, too!


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Ah, the mortifying ordeal of being seen.


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Royal “we”.


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The important distinction here is that “the heroes” may have all had their ARMs at each other’s throats, but nobody actually pulled the trigger. Robber here is quick to jump to the carnage.


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Though maybe not everyone is on board with violence.


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But violence solves everything!

(Everybody pays attention to the hit, but take a moment to note cowboy’s wince.)


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For the record, it appears that parentheses indicate whispering or something along those lines…


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Either that, or Clive and Virginia have developed some immediate telepathy.


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Gallows and Jet do not respond, but nod in agreement. Basically, they are part of the party because Clive realized that, even with Virginia, he was outnumbered. Pragmatic beginnings.


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You can’t tell me Jet and Gallows both aren’t considering just grabbing the treasure during this melee and going with option #3 here.


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Credits are just trying to sneak in where they can!
(That is Robber’s sleeve, if you’re curious.)


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Quick aside: Wild Arms 3 seems to present Drifter teams in groups of four. The backstory to these guys is that they used to have a fourth member, Lucio, but he died under mysterious circumstances. “Mysterious”, in this case, is defined as “nobody ever decided to spring for a flashback/model of Lucio”. Whether it was to save a couple of bucks or because nothing could be more interesting than the myths about the legend of Lucio, Lucio does not actually appear in Wild Arms 3 at all. That said…


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The ol’ official website had this piece of art, and it is consistent with some background comic that appeared in the Japanese exclusive Wild Arms 3 Complete Guide. Lucio is the redhead with the halo, obviously. So, basically, what I’m saying is we could have also been fighting a guy that can’t button his shirt to match the man that can’t button his pants.

(And, aw, Wild-Arms.net is still a valid URL after all these years…)


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Whatever the case with Lucio, he is gone now, and it is immediately clear that left an impact on this group.


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And we get some names! Dario is the fly guy in the ten-gallon hat, Romero is the wannabe ninja.


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And the leader is the one and only Janus Cascade.


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Given his blue hair, red motif, the fact that his ARM is a bayonet style gun, and another parallel that comes along in a few hours, I always assumed Janus was designed as a sort of “evil twin” counterpart to Ashley Winchester, main protagonist of Wild Arms 2. They do not have much in common on the personality front, but I’ve always thought there was a resemblance. Janus is certainly a lot less… friendly.


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Gallows! The game has barely started! Knock it off with the lampshading!


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Have you ever tried to have a conversation on top of a moving train? It is amazing if anyone understood like three words Janus actually said.


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“We must protect that thing 50% of us were trying to steal!”


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And, without any proper JRPG battle transition, here is our first four-person battle. Note that this is the first four-person battle in the franchise, as both Wild Arms titles before this one only ever allowed three people per fight. If you are curious, Wild Arms 1 only had three characters total, and Wild Arms 2 had more than three party members, but you had to pick and choose between battles. Wild Arms 3 has four in a fight, and those are the only four you are ever going to get.


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Wild Arms 3 is turn based, so everybody (opponents included) just chooses an action at the start of the round, and then waits their turn to gun down opponents. Jet and Virginia usually act at the top of the turn, while Gallows and Clive usually wind up toward the end.
Also: you are going to see a lot of my party defending through these early battles, because otherwise the fights would be over within about two screenshots.


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The minions only seem to have a single attack each. Dario tosses shuriken at one team member.


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Janus, though. You gotta watch out for that guy.


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Multiblast was a move/ARM used by Ashley in Wild Arms 2. Here, it is an attack exclusive to Janus, and it nails everybody with a hail of bullets. As this is the first battle with more than one party member, it is technically the first multi-hit enemy attack in the game.


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As such, we get a quick aside/tutorial acknowledging how the party may be hurting after that salvo.


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Virginia has Mystic, which will now finally come in handy to spread a healing item across the party. Gallows also has Extend, which allows him to use one (healing) magic spell on multiple targets. You’ve got options! Also (not mentioned by the game), Jet can Accelerate to first place and heal people at the top of the round to guarantee they will be alive and available for later actions. So, really, only Clive has a Force Ability that does not have “defensive” utility.

While we are talking about healing: Heal Berries (and, thus, Virginia’s item-based Mystic) always heal 300 HP. That is great for the early game, as it takes a little bit for your party members to have more than 300 Max HP. Gallows has his healing spell, but that healing is exclusively based on his magic stat, so it probably only heals like 80 HP a pop at the start. So figure out what will actually work before making a choice.


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Back to being shot at. I choose to believe the full name of this weapon is Gillius Thunderhead 12/23


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I assume this is the name of Janus’s ARM, and not simply an attachment. Janus being equipped with a shark is appropriate.


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Should we start dropping these yokels?


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Or just analyze their stats? Not really much to these guys. Not that you would expect anything of the “boss of tutorials”. Presumably to account for how any one of these party members could be all of Level 2, and there is no way to revisit tutorials and grind, this battle is remarkably easy.


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Time to end ‘em.


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As is proper to a plot fight, nobody “dies” or “disappears” when their HP is depleted, they just find various ways to look tired.


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Because these guys are going to be around for a while.


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Already with the cute nicknames.


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Pop quiz, Virginia. What is the white-haired boy’s name? …. Did you just say “plane”?


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“Nooo, it’s also my birthday, I’m a little birthday boyy…”


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Battle officially ends here for some reason…


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Very little has changed since we got that carrot.


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But we can see why the battle is well and truly over.


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So Team Janus leapt to their deaths? Guess that solves that problem.


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Oh, wait…


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They just jumped onto another train on a lower track. Guess that’s why Janus was watching the clock.


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And Virginia just watches as they go.


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“We didn’t accomplish anything, but we’re going to act like this was a win, Princess!”


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“You also probably can’t hear us anymore, but I’m going to keep talking!”


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Good morning.


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Those credits kept going all night.


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“In the future, if you are trying to rob me or my client, I will simply go to another room.”


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Aw. Clive got a souvenir.


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“What you saw, young lady, was the sparkle of the Ark Scepter. It’s a sacred artifact used to communicate with the power that sustains the world.”
“The power that sustains the world? So that’s what they’re after…”

So since you already have one, does that mean you sustain the world, Gallows? What’s that? You were going to pawn it for beer and gum?


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And away the train goes. Just going to leave us all here… wherever… here… is?


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Dark, too.


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You shot a maximum of three guys a couple of times. I don’t know how much helping you think you were doing.


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And, to coin a phrase, there was no getting off the train you were on.


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“Hope everyone brought their hiking boots on that train ride.”


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And Clive indicates that Gallows might just know where we are all going.


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Yep! As you may have guessed from an Ark Scepter being involved, Clive is returning the booty to granny.


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“It seems like that would be easier than figuring out how to separate our item stash now.”


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Professional Thief is now part of the Ark Scepter Protection Committee because there might be a paycheck.


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Oh Guardians, we’re going to play I Spy the whole way there?


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No, not with those people.


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D’aw! They probably talked about their introduction dungeons on the way over. I wonder if Clive mentioned the part where he was knocked unconscious and randomly experiencing flashbacks.


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Please save before actually playing the game.


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So this is where the game officially begins. We have a full party, we have access to the world map (after the save screen), and we will be slightly less railroaded (ha!) going forward.

That said, since this is the official start of the Let’s Play (a month in), we’re going to quit and…


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Press start. Because we want to see…


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The intro!


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This animated intro is one of the best out there. It is not as good as the transcendent Wild Arms 1 intro, but it is right up there for the PlayStation 1 & 2 era.


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The whole thing is basically an excuse to see our main characters in slightly higher definition.


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Clive has the tiniest bit of stubble. Very Mr. Fantastic.


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Stop being sad about scarves!


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Whole party just found out that kittens eventually grow up to be cats, so they are taking a moment.


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No guardrails in the wasteland.


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But there are horses!


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And cliffs!


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And sandstorms!


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And comradery! The defining theme of this opening is basically how the team goes through a lot together, together.


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The moon is pretty, too. Looks like we only have one this time.


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Everybody gets to showcase their “powers”. Clive has his ARM…


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Gallows has his magic…


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Jet has his boyish good looks…


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And Virginia gets to duel with Janus


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Variable opening system activate! Wild Arms 3 has four distinct chapters, and each of the chapters are defined by their main villain du jour. Janus is the antagonist of Chapter 1, so he is featured in this rad Trigunian duel for Chapter 1. When we advance to future chapters, Janus will unfortunately be replaced.


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Virginia is sticking around for the long haul, though.


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These guys, too.


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I enjoy the little coda to the intro that we don’t have time to stand around and pose all day, gotta find a way down this stupid cliff…


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Into the sunset. Or the sunrise. Something with the sun.


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In Japan, the title is technically Wild Arms Advanced 3rd. That has to play hell with this delightfully compact logo.

That’s the intro. If you didn’t already look it up on Youtube, a song plays over that sequence, too. Before the prologue chapters are complete, the full animated intro will play any time you load a game, but the song will only feature whistling for the main chorus. Once the intro dungeons are completed, you get actual vocals.

There is a Japanese track from the original release of this song (called “Wings”, incidentally). The Wild Arms wiki gives us this general translation of the Japanese lyrics:

I don’t have the power
To swim against the stream
But I’ve made up my mind

Even so, it is because I have my memories
That the calm winds cried out to me,
"Don’t turn away, keep on walking"

Those memories in my heart
Are slipping out now
And seem to disappear into a shining tomorrow

True power doesn’t lay
On just pulling the trigger
I can advance forward and I won’t get lost

And these lyrics will change in future chapters (Chapters 3 and 4, though not 2). However! In the American localization, the lyrics were localized and sung in English. Wings does not change throughout the different chapters, but sounds slightly more lyrical in English.

A change in time finally made up my mind
I raise my hand from beneath the shifting sands
And embrace the winds of change
Suddenly, everything is up to me
The pages turn flashing full of memories
I can see all too clear,
The time has come to face my fear
And there’s a fire burning in my heart
To shine when all is torn apart
And I will make it through this desert storm
Safe and warm!
My shield is strong,
I’ll take my chances here and now
Bring on the fight,
I’ll find a way to win somehow!
No tomorrows, no regret,
I’ll risk it all for this brand-new day!

In both cases, it is clear the “singer” is Virginia, further centering Wild Arms 3 on its heroine. Good stuff!

We’ll talk about the other chapter songs as we get to them, as they are relevant to Virginia’s journey and the overall Wild Arms 3 plot. Also: there may be more of a reason they were not localized beyond perceived indolence…


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And speaking of things being centered on Virginia, here is the “outro”, or closing animation that appears every time you tell a save prompt that you would not like to continue playing the game.


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I personally saw this animation a lot less when playing Wild Arms 3 the first time, as I just usually saved and turned off my Playstation 2 like a normal person.


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Technically, all of your party members’ current stats are listed across the closing. I deliberately took these captures during Jet’s intro dungeon, as that way there is less text for our one party member.


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These are basically a series of static images slowly drifting around the screen while music plays. Good finale for chilling out.


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And, if you haven’t caught it, it is about Virginia and her daddy (issues).


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You’ll find him one day, Virginia! Hope you don’t have too many game overs before that!


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And everything fades to a starry night.

Like the opening, this one is whistled until you complete the intros. You get lyrics for Only the Night Sky Knows eventually. In Japanese, it seems to translate as thus…

My memories of the rusted smell of the guns
Keeping my both hands on all the time
I just want to fall into a silent slumber
Under blinking stars of wilderness
The name I happened to call out in my dream
Only the night sky knows who that was

While the English localization that is song is…

I can still recall the smell of smoke from rusting guns
Lying here beneath this starry desert sky
Tired from the fight I fall into a slumber
With memories of days gone by
What was the name I call out in my dream
Guess for now only Heaven knows

Fun fact! None of the English localizations were ever released on official albums!


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Anywho, that’s that for this week. We have a full party, a rival party, and a mission to deliver an Ark Scepter or two. Time to go wild (arms).

Next time on Wild Arms 3: “You all heard her! Gramma said we gotta kill god!”

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