This is being posted on Gogglebob.com on July 18, Brick Day. Like the many shades of flesh, bricks also come in many colors. I think the description, ‘Wearing a brick-colored jacket’ on this wanted poster of Janus is a poor choice of words.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: Virginia conquered depression, a titanic turtle, and about half of an ancient tower. She’s probably going to cure cancer and repel Satan during this update.
So let’s climb on up to see what the rest of this tower has to offer.
We just had the wheel switches from Virginia’s first dungeon, and now we have the grate climbing for the first time since Jet’s first dungeon.
Since Jet was the only one that got to climb previously, if you are some kind of sprite maniac, you now have the opportunity to see how everyone in the party looks when climbing hand over hand.
This room is pretty straightforward, but the way the grates/”towers” are arranged mean that you will have to double back a few times if you want to hit all the treasure chests.
I would say the grate treasures are… great. Revive fruits are going to come in handy during the inevitable upcoming boss battle.
Oh, I hate this nonsense.
This room ends with two doorways. One eventually leads to treasure, the other to dungeon progress. There is no indicator for either door which leads to what, or even that both doors could have fortuitous outcomes. If you go in the “progress” door, you will likely forget the other door ever existed, and happily proceed with the dungeon…
And that is exactly what I did on my PS2 playthrough. So here we are in PS5 land making the opposite choice.
The south door leads to stairs leading up. The north door…
Stairs leading down. That’s new.
So we earn an accessory that protects against paralysis, and in the duplicator-sealed chest…
Is a booster kit. Possibly the most important treasure in the first chapter!
As you can see from our encounter gauge, we now have double the ECN, meaning we can “dodge” twice as many encounters as before. There is one booster kit per chapter in Wild Arms 3, so you can eventually have an ECN of 50. In PS5 world, I now have 20 ECN, which means I have a lot more wiggle room for canceling random battles.
But I completely missed that door on my “main” PS2 playthrough. What the heck, game?! Most important treasure in the place, and so easy to miss…
Oh well. Nothing to worry about now. Regardless of getting the treasure, eventually you have to hit that south door, and find your way to the next puzzle room.
Ice is nice.
Maybe this tower is still a shortcut to space. You just have to take a lot of steps…
A treasure alcove gives you a “would you like to save” warning of what is to come.
And a wee bit past there, it is time for an earthquake. Or… something to make the screen shake.
From the trembling? Or the tower full of deadly monsters?
Always make sure your boys are okay.
Guess the final battle is occurring right above us.
So we have control again. The game cannot telegraph “there is a boss fight coming” any harder, so go ahead and save and power up (maybe spend some spare FP?) for the last time for the chapter.
And a short elevator ride later, we’re at the top. Looks like Team Janus has defeated the Schröedinger Family.
This isn’t super surprising. We were able to defeat both bands of Drifters, but we never suffered at the hands of the “Trinity Avenger”. Whoever has the newest technique wins!
Don’t worry, Maya! Help is on the way!
“I knew you’d be here! I wore my shiniest purple today! For no big reason! Just because!”
Guess we will have to handle Janus and company…. Again.
Janus has claimed two shields for himself. Want to deliver the third?
Okay, so this raises an important question: if Maya always knew “the Eternal Sparkle” was dangerous, why did she involve Virginia, whom she does not respect as a Drifter, in this entire affair? “The bad guy might get a magical atom bomb” does not seem like the right situation to give a random woman you just met a confidence boost…
But anywho, Janus literally shoots Maya to keep her from relaying this bit of trivia.
It is not exactly a fun time for everybody, but please understand that bullets are a minor inconvenience in the Wild Arms 3 world. Maya will (eventually) be okay.
Janus: still a jerk.
Virginia: still a heroine.
Oh, that’s always a good sign.
I mean… probably not? I don’t think anyone involved here, friend or foe, wants to believe Janus is about to have “unlimited power”.
Virginia is literally backing away slowly.
It hasn’t come up for a while, but a gentle reminder that Janus has been, for the entire time that we’ve known him, grappling with the death of “fourth man” Lucio.
The whole situation seems to have made an impact on Janus’s decision making.
“I’ve really thought about it, and I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to become a vampire.”
“They’re not real in this continuity, boss.”
This is just like the ancient Roman proverb: one day, you will be forgotten by history, unless you are the guy that ate the Mona Lisa.
Magical shield powers activate!
Oh snap! Something is happening! No idea what, but a circle is involved!
“You were supposed to just come here and, like, not ever do that. Or something! It was a bad plan! I know that now! Shut-up!”
Virginia handed over the shield to protect Maya. Virginia did this because she decided her goal as a Drifter was to protect people. Virginia did that because Maya pushed her to decide on her goal. Ergo, this is all your fault, Maya.
Dario and Romero are blown away by this decision.
Probably some kind of irony here wherein in attempting to attain a sort of immortality, Janus is introducing those that helped him to their own terminal mortality.
Or something. So, fun fact? That’s the end of Dario and Romero for Wild Arms 3. Mostly. A long, long time from now, we will get confirmation that those two knuckleheads survived. Other than that? Dario and Romero are blown off an unfathomably tall tower, and they are presumed dead. They’re not! But they may as well be now.
And Janus doesn’t care. Obviously.
This is doubly important, as Maya and friends were theoretically only defeated because the Janus gang was working in concert with their Trinity attacks. But no time for irony now! Look!
It’s the Blue Sparkle! And it’s kinda yellow!
Looks kind of like a sword in its scabbard. With… an eyeball?
Whatever it is, it is sending out negative vibes.
Been a while since this came up, too, but we’ve got gods in our pockets. And, right now, they are scared gods.
Now that Janus is distracted, Maya gets to actually finish her explanation (that we sort of already knew from Janus back in Ruins of Memory).
The Blue Sparkle is The Dark Spear! One would assume that is bad!
“I can kind of see it! But, like, it’s a short spear, right? I don’t see how…”
“It’s not the size that counts!”
Janus is gonna go for it!
“We can channel the gods of our planet. Did I ever tell you that before, Maya?”
“You did unleash a giant flaming bird-lizard when we were fighting, so I kind of figured.”
Subtle thing that has/will come up: Virginia and Maya are both nerds. It is referenced in understated and overt ways across the game, but Virginia and Maya both have clearly done a lot of reading of… let’s say… the Filgaian equivalent of superhero stories. But the difference between our two heroines here is that Maya sees stories of daring heroes as something unattainable and separate from her Drifter “real life”. Virginia, meanwhile…
Is going to be the Red Ranger.
Janus nearly makes contact with the Dark Spear, but it literally flies away when he is inches from his prize.
So Janus does not obtain the Eternal Sparkle he has fought/lied so hard for. This leaves him pretty pissed.
Or maybe he just doesn’t appreciate a woman dual wielding pistols in his face.
Look at Maya. Woman is in love.
Good luck with that one, Little Miss Hopefulness.
Janus offers a pointier counterpoint.
You knew this was next.
It seems impossible, but this is the first we have fought Janus all by his lonesome. Dario and Romero are gone forever, so we won’t be seeing any Trinity attacks. This should be easy!
Or not. Janus was either holding back previously, or the events of the last few moments have overfilled Janus’s unending rage meter. Whatever the cause, Janus did not come to play today. He will counter damn near everything with a physical attack.
Rising Nova is his single-target replacement for Trinity. It does more damage than when involving his buddies, and it was an attack belonging to Ashley from Wild Arms 2 to boot.
Come to think of it, it wasn’t just any attack for Ashley, it was the best attack for Ashley. That has to sting.
So these are screenshots from my “cheating” New Game+, and obviously we make short work of Janus. But please know that over in “real” Wild Arms 3 world, this is the hardest fight of the first chapter. Janus is a monster with dealing damage, and this is definitely one of those situations where you are probably better off having your weaker attackers (like Virginia) just hanging back and defending or healing instead of suffering a potentially deadly counter. Janus still has multiblast, too, so be wary of literally everyone in your party taking a deadly hit at once.
But, again, not much to worry about in this game.
Janus is still standing after the fight.
But not for long, as the ground literally gives out beneath him.
Everybody hastily scoots down from the apparently precarious rooftop arena. Looks an awful lot like Janus will not be an issue going forward.
Maya has dusted herself off and is back to being philosophical.
She may respect Virginia for finding a goal (and, oh yeah, saving her near-dead ass), but she doesn’t have to agree with her principles.
“Justice may be unreliable, but still…I want to make that my priority out in the wasteland. I stand firm on that belief.”
Not like they live in a world with a literal God of Justice or something…
Just kiss already!
Oh yeah. Guess that whole “collect all the legendary shields mission” was a bust.
I like that Maya doesn’t “want to get involved with what just happened.” Can anyone put a pin on what just happened? Some dumbass tried to attain demonic power, but failed, right? Things got a little windy, but there wasn’t much to it…
Hey, who saved who this week?
Spoilers: That will be… two times later. Next time you’ll totally be rescuing our asses.
I think we all know what side she’s talking about here. … Where is my winking emoji?
So everybody heads on home… or at least to the local bar.
The villain has survived a terminal fall and being buried in rubble! Who would have ever expected that?!
Oh, now you want your friends?
Janus’s call was absorbed by the darkness.
But somebody is here…
Or… three somebodies? Okay. This trio is new.
Remember how we knew Janus was working for somebody? Well…
“I didn’t retrieve the spear, and I may have destroyed an ancient tower. But other than that, everything went well!”
You could have just said he was a lousy hire…
Ah! What the hell! Warn a guy when… when whatever that is is going to show up!
So it looks like Janus did not receive the ultimate power because Balazs the Green Thingy stole it out from under him on orders from his bosses (who, admittedly, he was trying to betray at the time).
And management is not impressed.
And “severance” in this case may involve some energy-ball based severing.
Establishing our new villains do not mess around right from the get-go.
Masked Man inquires if it was all “for power”, and Janus is honest for once in his cursed life. (Also: love the "please stop hitting me" window emote.)
Oh! Oh! We’re going to get to see the spear!
We will see it from various angles eventually, but I am not going to lie to you: The Dark Spear is a dead ringer for the Soul Edge in Nightmare mode in Soulcalibur. It has spiky bits, a little pulsating eyeball, eats souls: it is not subtle. Though maybe any weapon with an eyeball is taking us to the dark edge of insanity…
At least Janus gets an up-close view of the “spear”.
And that’s the end of Chapter 1! Hooray! Note that the in-game timer only seems to tick up when you are on a dungeon screen (and not battling or cutscene-ing), so that “1:46” there is a complete lie. Let’s go with the much more accurate metric of “it’s been 13 weeks of Wild Arms 3 to get past the first chapter”. That sounds correct.
Next time on Wild Arms 3: We are going to take a quick break to talk about Wild Arms 3 as a game (and give my screenshotting wrist a week off), and then we will pick it all back up again with our party aimlessly wondering what to do next. Please look forward to it!
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