Rise above it all today, May 15, Phoenix Day. The power source of the first hot air balloon was a phoenix. Fire and smoke both have tendency to fly high, so having a bird with fire is a winning combo for a flying machine. Phoenix Day has nothing to do with hot air balloons! It’s the day the phoenix is reborn.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: Maya has been kidnapped! So Maya’s family and Virginia’s groupies are all getting together to rescue the best drifter from the worst demons.
And we’re told they’re over here.
I mean, we got tricked last update, but what are the odds of that happening twice in a row?
Todd is a calming swordsman.
I choose to believe that Tiger Jackson (star of Pac-Man Fever) speaks like this, too.
Todd will do one (1) thing this entire dungeon.
“We flew you here!”
Spoilers: we will not be seeing any monster guts at the Dissection Facility. I apologize if that is the only reason you are reading.
There are plenty of decorative (unusable) giant axes around, though.
And treasure. Even if these are inordinately useless items, it’s still nice to find treasure.
So the Dissection Facility is in significant disrepair. There are a number of paths where you must take the long way around some giant hole or alike.
And there are monsters, too.
Unlike Caging Tower, Dissection Facility kinda-sorta does some storytelling with its random encounters. All the monsters are (presumably manufactured) chimeras based on the four basic elements.
As such, if you know their “names” you know their weaknesses. Chimera Geo here absorbs and uses Earth (Geo) attacks, but is weak to wind.
So keep those elemental wards handy. If you really like bouncing in and out of menus, you can pump up the appropriate resistances according to your opponents. Geo is never going to use a fire attack.
And then nail those weaknesses. It would be a really good idea to have the Luceid/Weakness ability by now.
Chimera Fray is using a multi-hit attack. These creatures can use some very powerful spells, but their magic stats are not as terrifying as your average (or super) boss. However, if you let them wear you down over multiple battles, you will be in trouble.
Here is a grouping of Chimera Muse (water, the Capricorn looking things) and Chimera Wing (wind, the bug). Once again, they are just the shifted-elemental versions of the beasts from the last few shots.
For trivia’s sake, note that the elemental monikers (Geo, Fray, Muse, Wing) were prominent names for the elements in previous Wild Arms games, but since Wild Arms 3 dropped the importance of “crest magic”, those designations are not as central in this adventure.
That’s enough about random battles. Now for random puzzles!
Clive can use his Mighty Gloves to move this block into two different advantageous positions. We’ll shove it over here to start…
And then use Virginia’s Gale Crest to skip over the gaps…
Treasure is our reward!
Now back to shove that block into the more obvious bridge gap.
And now we’re on top of that chasm. Wee.
These cells are not “used” like the bubble traps in the previous dungeon, but they do contain treasure.
Opening a door is as easy as running straight into it. Does Filgaia not have doorknobs?
That was worth the concussion.
Break some crates for some goods, too.
This door looks suspicious.
Never mind. Todd has got it handled.
You have probably already guessed that the “gimmick” of this dungeon is that each of Maya’s boys are going to actively help us through the area.
“Leave this to me. The -predecessor- …Milady’s father was a great man. There is no way I can repay this debt of gratitude in a lifetime. But I swore upon Lord Schroedinger’s grave, that I would do all I can to repay this debt through serving Milady and Master Alfred.
He was a strong defender of justice, who raised Milady and Master Alfred as a single parent. A very gallant man, indeed. He took a good-for-nothing man like me under his wing, and I was honored to work under him. I was unable to repay my debt of gratitude of Lord Schroedinger while he was alive, so I vowed to take it upon Milady, and Master Alfred.”
(Given this is something of a branching conversation with whether you “ask” about the key words, transcribed dialogue may come off as a little repetitive)
And this serves the purpose of further humanizing Wild Arms 3’s “goofy” squad.
Not sure how I feel about the fact that the one confirmed person of color in Wild Arms 3 is a butler who is paying off a life debt to a blonde family. At least it’s voluntary!
I will happily acknowledge he is freakin’ badass, though. Love the little “kick” animation there.
You get the impression he could have bisected you at any point in one of your little battles, Virginia?
Let’s go Zantetsuken the rest of this dungeon.
Another masonry fail.
Should we be saving? Amusingly enough, this dungeon simultaneously has two bosses and zero bosses.
A small puzzle where Gallows gets to remember that Steady Doll tool.
The way to solve this puzzle is to move between the switches while slinging your little dude.
But you will be rewarded if you recognize that you can “ride” one of the wall columns.
Once again I am going to lament that Wild Arms 3 doesn’t have that many “treasure” opportunities. I am happy to have another Lucky Card or Potion Berry, but until the endgame accessories start popping up in the endgame dungeons, you don’t often see an unexpected/valuable treasure for finding a hidden alcove or alike.
Back to the lower level to make some progress.
I know what that door means.
If only we had a flying animal of some kind.
We will get an explanation of Shady’s origins, but not an explanation for why he can fly.
I mean, other than that he appears to have a jetpack. Jetpack: Origins is not in the cards.
It’s worth noting that Shady was distinctly “summoned”.
We don’t get any further explanation, but Shady is some manner of magical creature. The only “summoning” we ever see in Wild Arms 3 is when the Prophets yank a monster out of Hyades, or when we summon the Guardians. Given Shady doesn’t appear to have any sympathy for the demons, it is strongly implied here that Shady is a lesser god (guardian).
“This dates back many generations but I was summoned by a Schroedinger and locked up in a puny, little- -box-. That’s when Madam rescued me. At first, I just did as she said as I plotted my revenge for lockin’ me up. But as time went by, I got hooked on madam’s pace, and here I am.
Day after day, I would help ’em out with various experiments, but in the end, they sealed me inside a box for what seemed like forever. That’s when -madam- rescued me.
At first, I thought about gettin’ even with the Schroedinger people, but…she invited me to join in on her fun. And boy, was it ever! I’ve never felt so excited and free in my life!”
(Again, given this is something of a branching conversation with whether you “ask” about the key words, transcribed dialogue may come off as a little repetitive)
Also, confirmation that Maya’s ancestors were straight up summoning magical feline creatures is one of the first big clues that the Schroedinger bloodline has more going on than just “eccentric thieves”.
And then Shady gets to show off his atomic fire breath.
I hate to say it, but we must now move on from examining Virginia’s girlfriend’s cat.
So, like the earlier area, the goal here is obviously to move the blocks into bridge positions.
However, investigating this spot fully will reveal a secret room. Note that this is very easy to miss if you are not frequently rotating the camera.
So we have some worthy treasure, and a monster hologram thingy in the corner.
We’ve been doing pretty good with super bosses so far, let’s give this one a shot.
Say hi to the eye.
Heimdal Gazzo was the name of the Death Star that menaced the world with space lasers in Wild Arms 2. It could be a coincidence of a name, though, as it is probably some kind of bastardization of Heimdal’s Gaze. Heimdal was a Norse god who was known for lookin’ at stuff, so it works for an eye in the sky or a bundle of eyes in a dungeon.
Heimdal Gazzo is a super boss, and is totally optional. I am attempting this battle on my “normal” playthrough mainly because that playthrough has stomped a few other bosses through ingenuity, and that “normal” party is getting pretty “extra”.
Might have to pull back on this, though. Jet just lost like half his HP in one attack, and the rest of the party isn’t fairing much better.
And it’s not like we can exploit any weaknesses here.
So, first of all, Clive has ridiculous damage potential with that ATT Plus ability we earned from the well monster. That means we won’t hit the wall of not doing enough damage to ever succeed.
And we can use Weaken to make Gallows do comparable damage, too.
Not as good as Clive, but that is going to sting.
Now you may have noticed that Gallows did not take any damage from HG’s earlier attack. This is because he happened to have Dark Ward equipped through his Moon medium. We are now going to use a Dark Ring to spread that barrier around. Note that I am only using one Dark Ring so I can sell the remainder at the Black Market so I can then have more Dark Rings. We’ll need them later.
Wirginia and Jet are sacrifices while Clive and Gallows are protected to carry the day. Heimdal Gazzo only has one attack that isn’t dark-based, so as long as we don’t see that, Clive and Gallows are effectively invincible.
Jet and Wirginia only ever healed each other during this fight so they would hopefully be alive to nab the experience at HG’s death. And that worked out!
So Heimdal Gazzo works almost exactly like the Kraken super boss: protect against its main element attack, and you have nothing to worry about. Your reward is EXP, a whole lot of cash, and maybe the most useful super boss reward in Wild Arms 3.
The Gold License cuts the cost of every shop and service across Filgaia. Let’s take a peak into a future outside this dungeon and see that this means that all the exorbitant prices at the Black Market… are still exorbitant, but slightly less so. We only have to spend 4,999,999 gella to earn an EX File Key now! Note that it is likely not a coincidence that the rewards for all the super bosses add up to about 3,000,000-4,000,000 gella. Don’t forget to use those Gella Cards!
And I want to emphasize that this impacts the cost of “services”, too. Here is the cost of upgrading Clive’s all-important ARM before a Gold Card…
And here we are after the Gold Card. For this reason, I do not recommend upgrading your ARMs too much before conquering this super boss. This is free real estate, Jim.
Okay, back to the present of the dungeon. Heimmy is gone forever, and we can make a bridge at our leisure.
Ah, here’s a Gella Card or two.
More doors, less treasures.
Not much to this area.
This room looks like a boss arena…
But maybe we missed the party?
Duplicator door over here.
And an encounter the minute we enter the room.
Here is optional boss number two.
Don’t talk to me or my son ever again.
I have to assume that Sadas and Sadas Jr. were intended to be the mandatory bosses of this dungeon, but they got downgraded to “guarding treasure” because they were too damn goofy.
These guys are optional bosses, but they are not super boss level in any way. Their stats (and rewards) are comparable to average bosses from this point in the game.
Papa has every elemental weakness under the sun, too.
So here is how this works: Sadas Jr. doesn’t do a thing. He is a fancy pants college boy, and he spends all his time thinking.
Sadas, however, will protect Sadas Jr. from all physical attacks, and Sadas has maximum defense parameters. In other words, you cannot do a flake of physical damage while Sadas is around.
But Sadas won’t be around very long, because he kamikazes and damages your party significantly. Or… uh… “significantly” if your party isn’t generally over-leveled.
But when Sadas is out of the way, Sadas Jr. is completely vulnerable.
… And that’s that. Sadas Jr. literally died in one hit. Under less advantageous circumstances, Sadas Jr. will revive Sadas at the top of every round, so the “block, kamikaze” pattern will repeat indefinitely. However, given Clive is always slow enough to attack after Sadas is gone, it is unlikely you will miss the “trick” that Sadas is only an effective guard while he’s alive.
Oh, and if you haven’t guessed, Sadas Senior’s elemental weaknesses are the other path to victory: slap him with magic, and he might not even live long enough to explode.
There is a nugget of an interesting idea in there, but I can see why Sadas was downgraded to “silly optional boss”. And, appropriately enough, your reward here is “useful”, but not all that rewarding.
Okay, back to the main room. Something happened here.
Though a quick, omniscient look back at the previous update will reveal that this was not where Maya was hogtied. That floor was different.
But there is evidence Maya was here at some point…
Yeah, no duh. Virginia and Maya are the only two people on this planet we have ever seen with books.
She’s trying to tell us, “Hey, I dropped my book.”
This room also contains a door.
Preaching to the choir, Alfred.
Jet is still picking her bullets out of his teeth…
Protip: don’t conflate your daddy issues with your relationship issues.
Also, don’t immediately forgive your significant other for everything with flimsy excuses. You’ll be happier in the long run. This is particularly true when your S.O. has a bazooka.
The brother approves! This relationship is go!
“Befriend”. Just drop the “frien” and you’re right.
There is not a heterosexual explanation for this reaction.
And a delightful little explosion feint.
Alfred does not enjoy the works of Michael Bay.
So we can move forward, but first we can check our inventory for Maya’s recently acquired book.
Some Sierra Adventure Game nonsense going on here…
It’s a surprise tool that will help us later.
Okay, now we can move on.
And we’ve got… a computer room?
Let’s see if we can get something going here.
Incoming message from Rob64.
Or… that guy again.
Siegfried can teleport wherever the hell he wants… but he felt like just chilling and teleconferencing today.
Oh yeah, the Schroedingers haven’t had the pleasure of meeting this demon.
I cannot imagine Siegfried being voiced by anyone but David Kaye doing his same Beast Wars Megatron voice.
“Gimme back my girlfriend!”
“Sure, whatever. Gimme my magical jewel.”
He is an ancient demon that is attempting to destroy and/or conquer the world. What did you expect?
Virginia explains they don’t even have the Teardrop, Siegfried responds that it is no big.
Alfred gets assertive when he wants to be.
Hey! We’ve already been to that dungeon!
Maya ain’t no rat!
“Are there books about my girlfriend. Can… can I borrow them?”
“She uses a book as a memory storage unit, and converts and installs the internal data for her own use. Her spiritual strength exceeds those of demons, generating an extreme illusion through this internal data. A form of autosuggestion…or powerful autohypnosis gives her the ability to transform herself. These are the details of Maya Schroedinger’s supernatural powers. Intriguing, is it not?”
So the scientific explanation for Maya’s magic ability is some thinly veiled technobabble. The important bit is that Siegfried admits that Maya has “spiritual strength that exceeds demons”. This is the other “clue” this update that Maya’s bloodline has some neat stuff going on.
I like the idea of Siegfried exposing Maya to a pile of different books, and testing to see if she is still an uncooperative captive with every transformation.
I love this.
Well, okay, I also hate this, but…
From a character perspective, I hate that this is happening. This is Maya being tortured. She wants to be her normal Disaster Girl persona, but Siegfried is forcing a personality on her for her own ends. This is her “honest self”, and her honest self appears to be “less” than the Maya we all know and have been shot by. Maya has been captured and tortured by the enemy, and that is terrible.
But from a writing perspective? Damn do I love this. This is a T for Teen game with mature concepts like environmentalism, generational trauma, death, and (on the comical side of “mature”) at least one hard-drinking wannabe womanizer. Point is that if the writers of Wild Arms wanted to go full hog on a “typical” torture sequence, they could have tormented Maya with spears and magic alike. They could have gone all-in on a much more explicit rape metaphor with never-not-creepy Leehalt, or let Melody have a Joker moment or two with her “no one is allowed to be more beautiful than me” fixation. There are a lot of directions this could have gone, but the literal demons only threw the book at her (heh). This is the most Disney-ass interrogation I have ever seen!
But it works! It works on so many levels! The bad guys did their research, and used Maya’s own powers against her. The Maya we know would never cooperate, but “her honest self” would, because she must follow the rules of her various forms. Magical Girl Maya must use magic instead of ARMs, Honest Self Maya must tell the truth. And it works wonderfully to make the audience (and Virginia!) angry at these demons, because we all know who Maya wants to be, who Maya has made herself, and this is stripping out her chosen identity. No blood must be spilled, no typical woman-suffering tropes need to be employed, just a book, and the bad guys get what they want. And we get to be angry.
And, yeah, it feels almost perfunctory to note the trans/queer metaphor here. But I’ll just remind everyone that Wild Arms 2 gave us “I no longer consider myself a woman” Kanon…
So anyway, kudos to Wild Arms 3 for this brilliant bit of “torture” that works on multiple levels.
Virginia’s disbelief as Maya’s “honest self” is… honest.
“Girlfriend has a secret plain side… that’s… kinda… Hmmm… I can work with this… Okay! Let’s rescue Maya!”
We don’t have to find a dungeon for once! We already know where to go!
Unlike the one that got us into this mess…
“Princess is in another castle. Time to go!”
“Smell ya later!”
“So are you going to fly out of here, or…?”
That’s it for that dungeon. No real boss, just more plot. We’ll have mandatory bosses aplenty soon enough…
Next time on Wild Arms: The worst reunion ever.