4 – 1 = (3 + 1) / 2
Hope you’re hungry, because today is September 18, Stomach Day. Yesterday, I ate so much that I turned into a barrel. That loud rumble coming from my stomach is a warning from Mr. Stomach to handle him with care.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: Clive had a momentary lapse in judgement and let the rest of the party start the next dungeon without him. They were captured immediately, so Clive independently got over his love of the internet and rushed to rescue them.
But I’m sure they’ll be fine.
“Might need your knockin’ hand later.”
Do we count Lombardia? Who could probably blow up this whole stupid dungeon from space?
The end… when we run out of oxygen?
You do not have to make the trek back to Demondor Pillar-Rear with just Clive; Lombardia drops him off right at the entrance. This is significant, as why couldn’t she do that for the rest of the team?
So same dungeon, but now you are a solo party of Clive.
And you cannot take the other team’s route, because that would require Virginia’s tools.
Clive has tools of his own, though.
This is a totally different path that just happens to look very similar to the other course.
Clive also has to deal with monsters.
As previously noted, the random encounters in this dungeon are not difficult. Clive can handle them alone with his big ol’ ARM. The only thing to remember is that Clive is slow as heck, so if HP does manage to get low, chomp a heal berry immediately. Maybe cancel a turn if you have to.
This orb-y thing kind of reminds me of something…
And we’ve got some switches that apparently open doors.
But they are pressure sensitive, and the doors will close if you leave the plate.
Whatever. Let’s blow up the orb.
Hey hey! Clive came through!
And now we have the signature “two parties” dungeon. This was more common in previous Wild Arms titles, but now we finally have an opportunity to work together through splitting up.
The basic concept here is that Clive and Team Not Clive will be stepping on switches and opening doors for their corresponding parties.
So Clive standing on a switch in his distant room opens a door for Team Not Clive.
And now goodies are available, too.
This isn’t rocket science: if you see a switch, stand on it and toss it over to the other party.
And thus is progress made.
And money, too.
There are three different switch/door combos: yellow, blue, and red. A switch will open all corresponding doors, but only when someone stays on said switch.
But, again, the dungeon doesn’t complicate things too much.
And not like you can blow past a switch anyway. Stand on that yellow switch, or you will be stopped by a blue door all of five steps later.
Every little bit helps.
Oh boy! Choices!
Team Not Clive was halted by a blue door, so can you guess which switch Clive should stand on?
And what’s this?
A yellow door? What should we do now, toddlers who are having difficulty with this puzzle?
What’s that? Move Clive slightly? You win!
Good thing Team Not Clive took this route, as those treasures can only be obtained by Gallows.
It’s Adventure Book 8! Kaitlyn does deserve a prize for inadvertently saving the whole party.
Did I get a shot of the whole random encounter trio yet? Here they all are lined up.
Some of these wiggly pillars are blocking the way forward, so eliminate them at will.
To hit that switch, freeze a pillar…
And then bounce a boomerang off the ice.
Nothing to it.
Oh no! Is Clive capable of slightly moving again?
And now Team Not Clive can hold down a switch so Clive can get out of that room.
Kicking ass and descending stairs!
Ha! I encountered Arioch aka that damn random encounter “super boss” while solo’ing around with Clive. Good thing this loser is still in his power infancy.
“You guys got a red switch on your end?”
And we are reunited!
Okay, that would have been funnier if you did it in reverse.
“Did you abandon your father… I mean family… Did you abandon your family like my father?”
He’s back/polite, baby!
That is what good waffles do.
Yay! Full party! Gonna wreck these stupid metal guys.
So now that we have Clive’s tools available in this room with the switches, pressure will be applied.
And all doors are open forever. Seriously. If you revisit this dungeon, you can now take both paths unencumbered by nonsense.
And placing blocks on all the switches will open the way forward.
We find treasure and immediately start a fight.
It’s our old friends, the Die Almost Immediately Gang.
Gentle sneezing will knock these guys down at this point.
And our reward is disproportionately amazing.
Prism Crown allows one party member to resist all elemental attacks. Considering most of the bosses and super bosses have a strategy that sounds something like “protect against x element”, this is a tremendous boon. The only drawback is that it requires an appropriately costly amount of personal skill points, so make sure you equip it on someone that can afford to use it. Jet usually fits that qualification on my plathroughs. Remember that you can free up a number of PS points by dropping all the elemental wards that Prism Crown will protect against anyway.
Note that there is only one Prism Crown "treasure" in the game, but you can find them as rare drops from Agawogdent in the Abyss if you are really lucky.
Sweetest plum plucked, moving on.
This feels familiar…
But we are not at the ultimate chamber yet.
This Mario-ass room has those snake-rotating things from the last dungeon. Don’t get hit!
And what’s with this pillar in the center?
Red pillars regenerate quickly.
And the center pillar needs to be frozen before it can be detonated. The team is working together!
Apparently that pillar unlocks the door forward, so now we just have to tiptoe on over to the exit.
And now for the finale.
Remember last time? This ended poorly.
But Clive has made some progress.
“Memories are like building blocks that keep piling up… Great memories you want to hold onto, sad memories you want to forget…They just keep piling up and are meant to continue rising so that you can bring forth a new tomorrow.”
You’re thinking of Tetris, Clive.
“And metaphors are stupid!”
Eat it, teeth machine.
“Learning is for squares.”
“I am politely going to accept your metaphors today.”
“Except you, Jet. I really do not care for you.”
Looks like this is as good a time as any to talk about the proud sniper, Clive Winslett.
As was stated with Jet’s dénouement, Wild Arms 3 is unusually understated for an RPG. Clive seems to embody this concept, as his archetype is obvious (he’s the smart one!), but he is not written as Data the Android every other dialogue box (“There is a 3.7% chance this plan will work, Madam Maxwell”). He is introduced as an old man of thirty (cough), and is literally labeled as the one layabout in this cast that has a job (“A Drifter Guardsman”). His family is kept secret for a surprise reveal at the top of Chapter 2, but once his saccharine home life is revealed, it is simply background characterization for why Clive has a reason to fight. And, of course, Clive’s major driving force is his desire for knowledge and grief-debt to his mentor/father-in-law. But, aside from spouting off his “a shortcut will lead you astray” credo, the plot doesn’t grind to a halt every time he references that particular tragedy (Virginia, we do not need to hear about your daddy issues ever again). Clive is just quietly there, and his rare spotlight moments are a lot more subtle than what we see in contemporaneous RPGs (let me tell you about Auron. Or, let him tell you about it for days).
But when Clive does get the spotlight, consistency shines through. Clive basically has two motivations: he loves his family, and he is pathologically indebted to his mentor. The latter purpose not only works to explain a number of Clive’s decisions across the plot, but also gameplay: the man that is slow and powerful in battle is naturally the guy who thinks shortcuts will get you killed. And past that, his love for his family influences events before we even know Clive has a family. Despite being the eldest and most capable member of the group, Clive almost immediately throws leadership over to Virginia. Why? Well, once you ignore the obvious narrative crutch that she is the main character, you might notice that Clive is a father himself, and sees a young woman that needs responsibility more than Clive needs to be in charge. And, of course, his crisis here is born of the fact that his two passions finally came to a head: he must protect “knowledge”, but at the expense of his family/friends? And he gets over it because his family is more important than the whole of demon history. Let the dead bury the dead!
And this wholly works for an old man (30) such as Clive. He is established as a person, and his guiding principles have served him well in his profession as a gun-for-hire. But it was all bound to have a sticking point somewhere, and that finally comes through the Demondor Pillars. And Clive triumphs over his own obsession! And the day is saved! He’s not a drastically changed person, and it’s not like he took the time to piss on his professor’s grave or something. He just has a more focused view of the world now. He might not have found out he was a secret robot clone or whatever, but is a better husband/father/scholar/Clive.
And he was already a pretty good guy to begin with, so good job, Clive.
But no time for kudos now!
Something starts pouring out of the teeth machine. Mist? Isn’t that a different franchise?
Other. There’s just the one.
“It’s still… uh… belching?”
But there is still a room left, so that’s convenient.
Probably a good time to heal up and save…
Because this is looking ominous…
And we’ve got…
Beatrice didn’t even notice they were usually a gang of four.
“And we have ARMs.”
Being an internet troll is the strongest thing to be.
Didn’t we already cover this? I swear we covered this.
Beatrice confirms that she was the one that caused the Yggdrasil Disaster, which was previously relayed by Werner, the most reliable narrator.
And Beatrice admits the whole plan was a longshot. So she basically screwed up the whole planet on a whim.
Oh yeah, that is why The Prophets were so jazzed when Asgard showed up with data from “old” Filgaia. Beatrice apparently had to pull “memories” from somewhere else…
Bum bum buuuuum.
So there is kind of a “don’t think too hard about it” metaphysical component to how Yggdrasil malfunctioned, but the end result is…
The Yggdrasil Disaster not only screwed up the planet royally, but it (and Beatrice’s involvement) is also the reason no one remembers a better world existing more than ten years back. Yggdrasil ate everyone’s memories!
Virginia only ever has one focus.
The Daddy Factor.
Oh, that’s not good!
We last saw Werner when he was leaving to shut down Hyades. Guess it didn’t go well.
He was going to fake electrical signals! Of course! That fact is important to know!
“He actually just tripped, but I couldn’t resist taking a picture.”
Always important to learn from your mistakes.
Yes, it was Beatrice that stole the Yggdrasil generator during the finale of Chapter 2. How she did it without a body is kind of a question…
So you’re going to use the exact same plan as last time? The plan you just claimed you learned from?
I have been saying recently that my mind has too many hoops.
Big deal, girl, monsters are all over this planet already.
She going to go fish out a bigger monster?
Huh. Guess we do not get a boss fight this time. Beatrice, you tease.
They have been doing fine as miserable townsfolk of the wastelands. I wouldn’t worry about it.
You know Virginia was daddy-worrying the whole walk back.
Clive trying to work out our next move…
I know, right? Usually the bad guy tells us exactly where to go next.
“No. I noticed they had the same daffy floor pattern as Yggdrasil, though.”
“Flowers don’t grow indoors, stupid! We’re going in circles!”
Virginia can only ever see Daddy when Daddy is within her vision.
Something that has maybe come up randomly in the plot like six times?
Come on, the player, help Virginia out!
“Well…Uhh…The white flower does ring a bell, but I can’t pinpoint what…White flower…Tiny, white flower… That tiny white flower is Mom’s favorite flower. And the person who would sometimes place it on her grave was… Let’s go to Boot Hill. There must be some kind of message from my father waiting for us there.”
That is super specific and, obviously, completely correct.
To Boot Hill!
Next time on Wild Arms: I don’t really feel like completing a dungeon right now.