Wild Arms 3 Part 17: Sand in Your Huskarl

It is time to turn the crank on the giant machine that says “Let’s Play”; And I am doing that on August 22, Chemistry Day. My hypothesis was that mixing red wine with white wine would produce rose wine, but for some reason it didn’t work out that way. So, I gave up on my experiment and started whining instead.

Previously on Wild Arms 3: Slickster, that bugger, was stealing the guardian’s life force. The guardian was being eaten alive.


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Right?


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Clive asks what this “signifies”, and Gallows is taking it personally that the rest of the party isn’t outraged.


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Gallows, it is okay. A dude tries to slay one of your gods, you are allowed to get upset.


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What we know: bad guys are bad.


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Go ahead and check out the last update, because…


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Clive, I get that you think you’re being smart here, but “Slickster” literally confirmed he was working with Purple Robes Woman when he named her and said, “I am working with her, dummy”.


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Jet out.


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Virginia has had a long day, so she’s going to ignore Jet’s usual nonsense today.


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That always works in JRPGs!


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Gallows…


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Dammit…


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Would it have killed Granny to send Shane off on this mission? Kid is a walking library…


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Passive aggressive is the best kind of aggressive.


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See? It can work!


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“The light shines on the high ground, becoming dew at night, and augite by dawn. Those who wish to seek the light, shall visit and offer prayers of prosperity.”

We just had what passes for our “dark” Guardian, guess we are hitting the light next.


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Unfortunately…


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These ain’t exact directions.


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For a tremendously vague verse, we are immediately deciding it is talking about this specific geographic location we happen to be standing on. Clive is right, of course, but it is a remarkable coincidence.


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“And if there isn’t a Guardian Shrine, maybe the next town has churros!”


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Clive and Virginia step out for a bit of impromptu foreshadowing.


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You’re not paranoid if there is a global cabal of evil prophets out to get you.


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Hey, remember when Janus noted a bird was watching him on behalf of his superiors, and then it was proven that “bird” was some freaky green alien? Just mentioning that for no reason.


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“When an invisible force, or someone who doesn’t reveal his name creates a scene, there is no significance to his actions. They fully understand there is no power or justice involved, as they are enclosed within a cellar, where no one can denounce them. However… Long before this world as we know it, there was a force that brought about atrocity. With power or justice, or perhaps both equipped, they may have been able to proudly reveal their true identity…”


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… What? So… uh… people who know they are doing bad hide, but people who think they are doing good, even if they aren’t, are more open? That… uh… That the idea?


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Gallows needs a drink now.


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See? This guy gets it! Simple and to the point.


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We have a dungeon in the mountains ahead of us, but past there is a town. Somebody write that down for later!


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Time to leave Crappy Twister for a while. We spent a surprising amount of time in the surrounding area, but now we are moving on.


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Sand Canal is our next destination. Note that during my first playthrough I kept trying to “trigger” this dungeon, as the surrounding landscape makes it so obvious there is some kind of something here. I am pretty sure I have been trying to “discover” what would ultimately be Sand Canal since when we first got the horses


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Clive? You want to confirm we are being watched? It might make you feel better.


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Oh. Hello.


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A trio of knights bar our path. Command?


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“Bros, you are in the wrong genre. You should have bandoliers, like Jet here.”


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Not bothering with a GIF for these losers, but note that their armor piping glows neon. They are funny lookin’.


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“By order of His Majesty, none shall pass! We Huskarls protect him with our lives.”

Hey! They are the Huskarls! The lead bad guy was talking about sending them out at the end of the last update.


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So let’s fight the Huskarls.


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If you analyze any of them, you won’t find any weaknesses or distinct stats.


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So usually if there is a tutorial dialogue box during a fight, it is leading you to the “solution” to what is basically a puzzle fight. In this case, in actual practice, it is actually… kind of sarcastic.


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The Huskarls do use support abilities a lot more than their contemporaries.


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But they are also… kind of terrible. Having beaten these losers on my “normal” playthrough, I can confirm that they are little more than a speed bump, and their talk of “working together” is exaggerated. They work together about as well as dumpster cats.


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The biggest problem is that one of them will definitely heal the others if you start focusing on one knight. However, their Heal spell isn’t all that effective, so you can probably outpace the healing… and that’s if you choose to not just kill the healer first. Remember the fight with Maya and company? That had the same gimmick, and it didn’t get a tutorial…


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Other than that, your only major concerns are an attack that can cancel one of your character’s moves (which is generally just annoying), and an instant death attack that is admittedly frightening… but rarely used.


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I just called down the wrath of Guardian and called it a day.


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Are these supposed to be real names? Or just transliteration nightmares?


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So they gonna run.


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Thanks for coming by… I guess? At least it was a boss fight at the start of the dungeon, so we could easily head back to town if healing is somehow an issue.


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The party takes this “threat” appropriately seriously.


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Now let’s start this dungeon for real.


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The Sand Canal is like a regular water canal, but with sand. I am checking my math here, and it looks like this officially counts as our sewer dungeon for the game.


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First challenge: stand on a block, trigger a switch with the Steady Doll. An easy beginning!


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Oh but would all sand canal blocks be so easy…


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A duplicator door is always good for treasure.


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The unique treasure here is a Holy Root, a consumable item that heals any malady. Keep that handy for the next time a robed jerk sticks seven status ailments on Virginia.


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Moving on.


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I guess these crates are a trick related to the next switch…


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Despite the presence of throwable boxes, you need to use Jet’s boomerang to arc around a pillar and open the next door.


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Jet has got this well in hand.


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This is your sewer dungeon, please keep it clean.


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Knocking this bridge into a usable condition means running into it with a good dash. Pictured: a camera that was not prepared for the task.


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Jet has a bump on his noggin now.


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I haven’t noted the encounters yet because there are a lot of “rooms” in this dungeon, and you seem to scoot in and out of doors so quickly that the game doesn’t have time to trigger battles. This is just as well, as the only monsters here are Cave Tauros, which appear singularly or in groups. They hit hard, resist earth, are weak to wind, and… not much else to them. This specific dungeon is not about the fights.


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There is still treasure about, though.


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And gems. Can’t walk three feet without gems.


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The next room has a sand-er-fall. The way forward is behind it, which is how waterfalls are supposed to work.


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Camera has to scoot around if you want to see that door.


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A “maybe it would be a good time to save” treasure is around the corner if you ignore it, though.


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And saving wouldn’t be a bad idea, because guess who we caught up with.


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It took very little effort! Like you guys!


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Could you guys be more generic? Seriously asking!


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I thought you were worried about your liege? Eh, whatever. No need for character development with these losers.


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I am moderately certain this is the exact same fight. Maybe there is some variation? Or is it just a test of whether you have already been drained by the whole two random encounters that happened between the entrance and here?


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Been there, done that.


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Eat rifle, losers.


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From the genius that hired Janus, ladies and gentlemen!


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Are you begging for forgiveness from your ancestors? Are there more Huskarls?


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Oh. Guess that answers that question.


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Green Ranger syndrome?


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Oh? That wasn’t rhetorical? Sorry, Jet.


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Red, white, and blue. And green. National pride is at an all-time low.


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Let’s Huskarl! To the max!


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Same fight, slightly different now.


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If you were expecting anything special from Jasteuch… sorry.


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The one thing this green meanie has got is a hit-all attack that looks to be generally physical in nature. It is not all that powerful, but could necessitate some group healing. Luckily, it is used rarely. In my “normal” play through, I think he only used it once.

(And don’t bother trying to research if "Khordah Avesta" has any relation to the real-life, ancient "Khordeh Avesta". That way lies madness.)


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Other than that? Same fight.


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And DJ Jassy Jeff doesn’t have anything new to offer past his superish attack.


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Drown together, losers.


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They don’t even have good drops…


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The Huskarls are dead now. They will be forgotten after this update. Virginia sees the bright side, though.


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Now we know that we are weirdo magnets. Let’s go to Anime Expo next!


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Virginia is rested and back to not tolerating Jet.


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Clive is on the level, though.


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Gee, Sherlock, did you figure that out from how the Huskarls were literally talking about fighting for their “majesty”?


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“We don’t know any other villains, so let’s blame Janus and the robe folks.”


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“And they have dishonored us by forcing three boss fights with living speedbumps! Set ARMS to kill, boys.”


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Presumably the Huskarl corpses all fell into the sand stream, and are floating off to wherever sewer sand goes.


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Little gem fill up before the dungeon continues.


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Other healing items are available, too.


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Ah. Welcome to the first of a few final, terrible puzzles for this dungeon.


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There are three differently colored sets of blocks in this room, and three switches that will “activate” the blocks. Once a block chunk is live, they slowly float between stationary islands, and it is your job to navigate the blocks to the exit or treasure hidden around the room.


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If you know where the exit is, you only need to activate and traverse one set of blocks. However, if you want the treasure or do not have a map, you will eventually have to activate all the switches hidden around the room. And every time you accidentally saunter off one of these blocks, whether it be because of careless walking, the lack of “borders” keeping your character on a block, or the inability to properly gauge exactly when two blocks are touching, you will fall into the sand, and be sent back to the start of the room. There is no technical danger to your party here, but the possibility of continually falling into the muddy drink makes this room as irritating as the sand that gets in everything.


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Eventually, you may leave. At least if you activate the blue blocks, there is a “never have to see this room again” shortcut from the entrance to the exit.


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And then the next room is Pure Hell: Part 1.

Conceptually, this is a neat puzzle. There are three differently colored sets of blocks, and they follow a very set pattern of white-black-blue. The trick here is to figure out which blocks are going to appear when, and walk your way across this continually shifting bridge.


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Unfortunately, there are some deliberate dead ends in this maze, and you need full screen awareness at all times if you want to make it through this labyrinth. Either that, or you must memorize the exact path, which can be difficult with the continually shifting blocks/colors, and the fact that you can’t see any more than about a sixth of the area at a time. You can walk down a nearby pathway to get a “preview” of everything to start… but good luck remembering the path from that.


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Again, it is simply more annoying than dangerous, and it is not like anything in this room will incur a Game Over (short of someone getting frustrated and ending the game via the power button…).


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Little more dungeon to go.


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And more Hell.


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This is the same conceptual puzzle as last time, just with a bigger maze. It is thus a bigger pain in the ass. However, this one has the trick of a switch about 60% of the way through that you can “cheat” with a Steady Doll to open a pathway around the puzzle. Or maybe it is intentional? Whatever makes this end faster…


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Four minutes! This room took four minutes! I swear that feels longer than it sounds!


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Big ol’ “fall down from somewhere high” switch and no where to fall from. I guess we’ll get some manner of Super Mario Bros: The Motion Picture Officially Licensed Jump Boots in the future.


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But right past there… Wait. They were actually walking through here, too? Like… we caught up to them? This… this makes no sense. They teleport! They must have just been pacing around the room waiting for us…


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And that is the last we will ever hear about the Huskarls. Sorry, we will not be visiting their war widows in the next town.


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The gang’s all here!


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Leehalt has been seen in “narrative” cutscenes multiple times, but this is the first time he stands before our heroes.


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And this is the first “Slickster” says his name. No real idea why he decided to bother now…


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Lady? You got a little… green… thing… it’s right… No, don’t look back. You might scare it.


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I have been fast and loose with this “spoiler”, but the official name for this group is “The Prophets”. Here is the concept’s introduction with what passes for an explanation.


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Honestly, the party has had a pretty succinct explanation of what they are up to thus far: they steal god power and ancient technology. Why does anyone ever do that?


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Okay, that’s one answer.


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Five steps of evolution! Drink!

… Wait, I might be thinking of something else.


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“The first step was the creation of air and ocean on this planet. The formation of amino acids came next. The third step brought self-producing macromolecule compounds. That was the origin of life. The fourth step heralded the arrival of single-cell organisms. Soon, those gave rise to multicellular organisms, followed by mankind. And this is the final step!”

Would you believe me if I told you this dude just inadvertently described the final boss?


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But what is important is that these prophets want life to go further.


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And apparently that can be done if the whole planet evolves past its current state.


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And guess who is supposed to be responsible for such a global under…. Gah! Greenie! Get out of the frame!


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Can we see your résumé? Have you given rise to any new forms of life already? Do not tell me you made that thing skulking behind you…


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A quick aside: The narrative thus far has established The Prophets as maybe the worst set of villains out there. Yes, we have watched them successfully steal whatever they were after in any given scenario, but Melody and Malik both had to be rescued by Janus, with distinct notes from both of the featured prophets about how they were running out of gas and helpless without their spear-wielding bud. And Janus is their ringer? The guy we beat so bad, he got gills? The planet being endangered is a bad thing, obviously, but the threat here is… not all that threatening. This is like a turtle stealing a machine gun. It could go poorly, but does the little dude even have a trigger flipper?


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Oh! You guys are claiming you made Janus into Fish-Janus! This is not something to brag about!


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Virginia did ask to hear their plan, Jet. Be nice.


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“Do demons drink?”
“No, higher lifeforms have no need for alcohol.”
“I’ll kill you dead!”


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In Wild Arms (1), “Hiades” was the home planet of all demon kind.


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Here, it is the library of the demons. Or maybe it is their internet? Their “world” became their “world wide web”.


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It definitely has an emphasis on arcane knowledge.


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“You’re a bunch of demon fanboys!? Nerds!”


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“But you know this planet sucks, right? We are standing in a sand sewer right now. This whole place smells like Huskarl.”


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“And who are you to judge what is right and what is wrong? Who do you think you are? Such arrogance is dangerous, my dear.”

“I can’t tell yet…I came out into the wasteland hoping to find justice. But I know it’s wrong to hurt people! And I’ll never believe you can steal the guardians’ energy for Filgaia’s future!”

AVALANCHE would be proud of Virginia.


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Leehalt? What in the hell are you talking about? You don’t have any friends, and if Janus or Fungus Alien told you these were people that would help this plan…


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Speaking of which, Janus teleports on in.


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Things only villains say #6,071.


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But daaaaaaad.


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Leehalt actually marginally compliments Janus while warning him not to go all out, as his powers have a greater purpose than kicking Drifter behind.


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The prophets (and their pet) teleport out. We’ll fight you nerds again some day!


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Wasn’t planning on it!


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Virginia is on fire today.


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Yeah, that is why we beat you literally every time you showed your scaly face.


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Bro, the fourth wall is thataway.


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Okay, technically this is yet another Janus fight, but there is a twist to this one.


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Janus will attack with regular(ish) moves for two turns. In a normal playthrough, all you have to do is heal during these turns. On Round 3, you are going to want to defend, because…


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Ultranegative Rainbow is a move that can drop the entire party if you’re not in the higher ranges of HP. It (naturally) does jack all to my super powered party, but it can wreck your day if you are of average levels and not prepared. Presumably, the challenge of this fight is based on seeing if you still have HP to spare after a whole dungeon and three Huskarl fights.


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And after Janus’s third turn blast, the battle simply ends. All you have to do is have one last man standing with at least 1 HP.


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“I am talking about my fish abs!”
“We know!”


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Thanks for nothing, Janus!


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Regardless of your HP count, the party heads for sunlight in a seemingly dilapidated state.


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“Unimaginable power…The power to change Filgaia… The wisdom the demons left behind…”
“They’re using that power to get even with the guardians… No, with all Filgaia! Durnit! We’ve got to do something!”
”I believe we need to regroup. I hear there’s a mining town up ahead. Hopefully, there are foothills close by…”

A few unattributed text blurbs appear in black and white. Basically, everyone is feeling the burn to toast some prophets.


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Which we will get to next time. There is a short, possibly dangerous (with low HP) walk over to the next town, and then it is time to strike back! Or… strike… somewhere? Did the Prophets divine some directions for us to follow?

Next time on Wild Arms 3: Oh! Right! That shrine! Let’s go there!

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