Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:26 pm

*: Before we go anywhere, we hit the Fountain and the Cathedral to consider our options.

Image

Sarasvati is our lowest level ally. She's not trash by any stretch of the imagination, nullifying ailments is a huge deal and several of her skills never really get outclassed. But given her relatively low HP and largely obsolete damage spells, I'm finding it difficult to justify ever putting her in the active party. I'd have fused her long ago, but I don't want her to turn into something too unbecoming of our oldest friend. And that's been limiting our options.

That said, now that I've given the issue some thought, I think I got a good solution. After spending 21700 Macca on a Compendium summon...

Sarasvati + Valkyrie =


Image
Image: You're literally glorious.
Image: It does feel good to have wings again!

Image

Lv38 Deity Horus
In Egyptian mythology, Horus is the falcon-headed god of the sky, royalty, war, and hunting. He's easily one of the ancient religion's most important deities, to the point where Pharaohs were said to be either his descendants or his outright incarnations. Legend has it that Horus was born to Isis and Osiris, respectively goddess of health, marriage and wisdom, and god of life, death and afterlife, but only after the latter had been murdered and dismembered by chaos god Set, then put back together and resurrected by his loving wife. Sources do tend to disagree about whether Osiris' penis was his original equipment at the time, or if it had to be replaced by a magical golden simulacrum after the real one had been thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish.

The legends don't seem to spend much time detailing the subsequent exploits of the catfish that ate a god's dick.


*: Good Lord is Mana Refill a pain in the butt to pass down. Seduce and Soul Recruit will be largely ineffective, but Horus will learn a bevy of useful skills that will quickly replace them. Most importantly, he naturally learns Dekunda, plugging a long-lamented hole in our tactics. And Watchful will make sure he levels up to learn it even if we go to places where both Charm and Petrification are maybe not so great.

So. Our leads. We have no idea how to reach the Diet building, the hidden temple full of Magatsuhi is, well, hidden, and if the Manikins want to come up with a Reason, more power to them. Which leaves us with Hijiri and Isamu.

Which means we go to the Amala Network again.


Image
> Will you use the terminal to go after Hijiri?

Out of options. Let's go.

> You used the terminal.

Image

Image

Image

Music: Isamu

Image
Image: Isamu.
Image: What are you doing here?
Image
Image
*: Oh boy. No "I came to take out the trash" option. Hmm. Well, if nothing else, Hijiri's the one who offended us most recently, and Isamu had the decency not to make him track him down this time, so let's go with...
Image: I wanted to see how you're doing. Hijiri seemed to think he had killed you, so, you know. Old times' sake and all.
Image: Thanks... I really appreciate it.
Image: Come on, dude, don't even. Please.
Image: I'm just about ready to perform the ceremony to summon the god of Musubi. If you wanna help, come to Amala Temple with me. It's just down this passageway.
Image: Sure, I'll, uh, help out. Lead the way, buddy.
Image
Image: ...Don't keep me waiting, alright Francois?
Image: I don't have anything better to do anyway, don't worry.
Image
Image

Image

*: We're left in a round Anomaly, with no path behind us. Welp, let's see where this goes.

Image

Wow, the exit already. This can't possibly be this simple. Unless Isamu decided to make this easy for us.

Image

Waaaaaait a minute...

Image
Image: Oh, you pissant.
Image
Image: Got nothing better to do either, huh?
Image: I FIgUreD iT oUT. KiLL aLL wHO geT IN mY wAy... YoU aRe LikE mE.
Image: In your dreams.
Image
Image: Yeah, I don't think that's how it works.
Image: DIeEEeeee...!!



Image: What an unfortunate creature.
Image: It's quite pitiful, really.
Image: I don't know why you'd waste pity on a wretch like that.
Image: I... don't think it's even able to know better. Is it?
Image: NO, IT IS NOT.
Image: It dies in hatred, it is reborn in hatred. Demons do not change.
Image: Damn, it's like it's stuck in this horrible feedback loop. Can't you guys do something about it?
Image: Hmm?
Image: You... you're death, right? End him.
Image: The power to break this cycle has not been granted to us.
Image: Cripes, this is messed up. I'm not even mad anymore, this is just depressing.
Image: Your desire to free it is meritorious, but it is not your place to do so.
Image: Maybe it's just looking forward to fighting you. Think about it this way: it's spending all this time floating around in here, not doing much. Trading blows with you must be the highlight of its day.
Image: So I'm doing it a favor by punching its face in?
Image: I never said it wasn't crazy!

*: This time around, the Specters know Last Resort, Dekaja and a version of Gathering that they can use mid-battle but will only summon one copy. They still reflect magic and nullify most ailments, which means that group-targeting physical skills are the order of the day. However, they're in no way immune to Curse ailments, and it appears that the Curse damage of Black Rider's Soul Divide works despite the magic reflection. If I didn't restrict myself to reading up on bosses only after I beat them, that would have come in real handy.

Image

Image

Hmm. This is... Roppongi. I've been here before of course, but, not since...

*: We've just arrived in the bottom section of the Vortex World for the first time. We popped in the middle of a nondescript wilderness so there's no obvious way back, but that should be remedied to when we find our next terminal. There's an enterable structure in the northeast, but I'd like to investigate the currently accessible areas first.

Image

Oooh, Sati finds a Soma here; I almost forgot she has Lucky Find on.

Image

Image

And that's all we can access for now. The area with the Cube in the middle right is inaccessible from here, but the nearby Cube earns us 5000 Macca. Along the way, Hanuman learns Endure, replacing Stone Hunt.

Image

It's hard to tell from just a screenshot, but the structure in this crater here has three pyramids in the north, west and east, and a fourth, inverted pyramid standing on its tip in the center, slowly rotating clockwise. That's definitely not original Tokyo architecture.




Image

Once more, I don't know what I expected, but I certainly didn't expect this. I should just stop expecting things altogether.

Image

Image

Image

*: There are no encounters here. Once we reach the crossroads near the other end...

Image
Image
Image
Image: Hey, you're doing interesting stuff.
Image: Well, it doesn't matter to me anymore what you're thinking. But, if you're for Musubi, I've got the perfect job for you.
Image

Image

*: Ah, there's a large Terminal just to the side here, excellent. We don't need to heal or anything yet, but it's good to know where our lifeline is.



*: This short "cutscene" normally wouldn't merit a video, but... look at this place. Dang. The actual geometry is beyond simple, but the feel of it is... It's almost reverent, like it's a place of primal significance. I don't know how you could possibly improve on this landscape with modern rendering technology. When I started this LP and saw how good the game looked, I immediately thought to myself "the Amala Temple is going to look amazing", and my expectations are blown out of the water.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Hmm, the floor tiles here look exactly like the walls of the Amala Network.

Image

I'm not sure if it's just a reflection on the still waters, but the pyramids at the edges seem to have inverted versions of themselves underneath.


Image
Image: Don't let Isamu know, but, uh, no.
Image: Well, guess what? I can care less!
Image: DOES HE NOT MEAN...?
Image: Yeah, I know, I know, but don't waste your time.
Image: All the Magatsuhi from the Amala Network comes from here. This is probably the only place with this much Magatsuhi.
Image: I'd be surprised it's untouched so far, but since you can only come here through the Network itself...

*: We run into more Sparna here. Interestingly, the battle music here is the same as in the Amala Network.

Image
Image: Haha, hahaha, you have no idea. Here. Have a dozen.
Image: Thank you very much!
> Sparna is happy.
Image: I can offer you this.
> You obtained 640 Macca.

Image
Image: Apparently, yeah.
Image: This place has got lots of Magatsuhi. Plus, no one else knows about it. That makes it the perfect place for Isamu to summon his god. But first, we have to defeat the three demons in our way, so we can get our hands on the Magatsuhi. This is for the sake of Musubi. Good luck!
Image: Isamu's gonna make you do all the work, isn't he?
Image: Yeah, pretty much.
Image: You give any thought to, uh, not doing it?
Image: Isamu's not alone, there's definitely some serious power backing him up already. His crew would find a way sooner or later.
Image: At least, if we're here as it happens, maybe we can find a way to sabotage him.
Image: That's the plan!
Image: IT SEEMS... FOOLHARDY.
Image: The only reason we even found our way to this place is because he thinks I'm sort of on his side. I have a feeling we won't be able to get to the bottom of this if he figures out I just want to kick his ass.
Image: Could it be that, somewhere, you think you can talk some sense into him still?
Image: ...we've lingered here long enough. Let's go, before someone hears.

*: The spirits around here have an orange aura instead of the usual blue, so they're clearly Network dwellers.

Image

There's a small pyramidal indentation in the floor here, right underneath the floating inverted pyramid. It must be intended to come down at some point.


Image

Alright then, let's start in the middle.

*: We get in a fight with three Dominions; maybe they're Yosuga scouts. Hmm...

Image

Cripes, even the Fairies are here now. Maybe some Musubi follower had loose lips.

Image



*: Nocturne's soundtrack has largely been on my music playlists continuously for a decade, but going through the actual game again, it's a genuine pleasure to come across pieces that never made it on the CD release and that I basically haven't heard since the last time I played all those years ago.

Image

Image

Image

The door in the middle leads to an empty square room with see-through wall. There's a strange pillar of light back there.


Image

Image

Lv55 Jirae Gogmagog
Gogmagog is a mythical giant of British folklore, said to be one of the last giants slain when actual humans settled Britain. Cornwall had been given to the legendary hero Corineus to rule over; the native giants weren't going to take that affront sitting down, so they organized a raid on Corineus' troops. They did kill a bunch of people, but they were all exterminated except for their leader Gogmagog. Long story short, Corineus and Gogmagog wrestled for a bit because apparently that's what you did with prisoners of war at the time, then Corineus threw his opponent off a seaside cliff, causing him to die upon hitting the craggy rocks below. That certainly set a lasting precedent regarding Brits sailing someplace and fucking up the locals.


*: We also run into Titans in here, which are generally amenable to discussion.

Image

This eastern area has a small terminal and a room with two Life Stones inside. The terminal is labeled Amala Temple D, so you know this place ain't kidding.

Image

Entering the first door on the western side, ostensibly to a room with two Cubes, teleports us back to the room with two Life Stones. Of course it would have been foolish to expect this to be straightforward.

Image

This groups gets a surprise round and exploits Titan's weakness to electricity to devastating effect. I don't even want to risk fighting back from this; we use a Smoke Ball and reorganize our crew. Sati stays because the Gogmagogs are weak to fire, I get Sparna in because the Phantoms are weak to Force, aaaaaand I get Black Rider on board, mostly for Prominence but also because he'll learn Mana Aid on his next level. I'm not too worried about MP for now, there's an almost literal hub in this dungeon and we should never be far from a recharge.

Famous last words? We'll see.

Image

The westernmost door takes us to a small room near the entrance, and going east from here returns us to the central room with the see-through wall. Going back and heading north instead takes us to three more doors... Welp, I want to hit every dead-end anyway, I guess there's no sense complaining.

Image

Image

Hmm. Now I wish I had taken the other one, I still haven't reached those two Cubes.


Image
Image: Man, I wish.
Image: There's plenty of Magatsuhi here. It's just a matter of time. Shijima and Yosuga are too busy looking for Magatsuhi. ...Well, I've been busy here, though.

*: A sneaky chest hidden in the northwest corner of this room contains a Soma. We get into a few fights waiting for full K, and dang, is God's Bow basically amazing or what?

Image

The eastern door takes us to the southeast. Yay, woo, etc. The western door sends us to the northeast; I sure am glad I can't help but take notes. Reaching the central northern room at last, we check the Cubes... and the first one is a fixed battle against three Legions.

Did I mention God's Bow is rad? They do manage to Mamudoon Sati, at which point I realize she's our only Recarm caster. We have 10 Revival Beads, fortunately.

...the other Cube in the room contains a Revival Bead. Ha ha.

Image

We're getting real close to this pillar, but the nearby door just makes us backtrack some more.

Image

Okay, from this room here, the northeastern one is the only one who takes us anywhere towards progress. Now to find out what's up with the southeast corner.

Image

Ah, that was from the southeastern room. We'll get to the other two later, we're still missing a couple Cubes.

Image

So that's a sort of elevator then.



Daaaaaaamn son. Ooooh dang. So rad.

Image

The White Temple doesn't even have the courtesy to only warp us around when we use doors anymore. This is really a complex teleport maze at this point, I'm gonna spare you the details before you fall asleep.

Or, rather, lessee...

Image

The green numbers are teleporters, the red numbers are destinations. There's a Chest with a Chakra Pot in the room with the red 6.

Image

There's clearly a Cube on the eastern side of the cross here but I have no idea how to get to it. Unless...

Gah! If you go north from destination 4, then south again instead of east, you get taken to the eastern corridor.

Image

Hmm, I remember this being pretty special...

Image

Ah-ha! It's a free, reusable Mahama. Nice!

Image

We're ready to proceed, at last.

Image

We could turn back, but... after all this hassle? Nope.




Entity Albion, Zoa Tharmas, Zoa Luvah, Zoa Urizen, and Zoa Urthona
Back in the 17th Century, this English poet named William Blake decided to invent his own mythology, which I have to assume was the fashion at the time, combining Biblical concepts and various other religious ideas from around the world. Anyway, Albion is a sort of Adam figure, a primeval man said to be "originally fourfold but was self-divided", which I'm sure makes perfect sense to someone out there. I'm not sure of the details, but this Albion fellow at some point was split off into four distinct aspects of his being, which is to say the four Zoas. Interestingly, there seems to be a fair deal of similarity between this, and the Shinto concept of the Mitama.

The Entity race comprises deities or powerful spiritual creatures that are no longer worshipped or have for some reason been relegated to the margins of history. There are very few Entity demons in the series, and in fact Albion is the only one in Nocturne.

Zoa is a near-unique race that is only ever comprised of Tharmas, Luvah, Urizen and Urthona. It's so specific that in Imagine, they're actually lumped together with Albion as Entities.


*: Albion is mostly a strong physical attacker, with no special immunities beyond the typical boss ones; it's geared up with Stasis Blade, Guillotine, Hades Blast and Heat Wave. However, he also has the unique Conjuration that summons the four Zoas, which he uses automatically if he is alone, even if it's during his opponent's turn.

The four Zoas are each aligned with one of the basic elements, reflecting their own and being weak to their opposite, on top of the standard boss immunities. They know both appropriate -dyne spells, as well as a special 0 MP cost Samarecarm which they are guaranteed to use if it's their turn to act while Albion is dead.

Essentially, you want to finish off all Zoas and Albion in one turn, making sure that you don't save Albion for last. That said, Albion won't summon up his buddies if there's at least one left, so you don't have to make your life as difficult as I made mine by keeping all four Zoas alive. "Difficult" is a relative term here, of course; the sole hitch was Zed getting Bound for a bit. Besides, none of them know Dekaja or Dekunda, so we know where that leads.

It's important to note that Albion and the Zoas have a very distinctive slouching animation when they're low on HP, so it's not too hard to tell when you're close to killing one. It's just a question of not hitting them so hard that you kill them before they have a chance to change their animation.

Image

Adama's the upgraded electrical Magatama; notably, it's the only one we have that outright reflects an element. Its first skill is Bolt Storm, which is a straight upgrade to Shock.

Oh, and I almost forgot...


Lv57 Lady Parvati
Parvati is Shiva's second wife, being in fact the reincarnated Sati. She's the goddess of love, fertility, devotion and divine power, as well as Ganesha's mother. She's moderate and peaceful when her husband exercizes his nature as the god of destruction, and she's the one who calms him down when the time for quiet returns. However, according to some traditions, the major Hindu goddesses are largely different aspects of a single being, and when enraged, Parvati can take the form of Kali, the goddess of death, and it is then Shiva's duty to bring her back to serenity.


Image

Image

The room is otherwise empty, but for a Zelda-style pillar of light that teleports us outside. Welp, two more to go, but we better go heal up first. The trip to and from Asakusa is uneventful, and we soon find ourselves heading for the western pyramid.

Image

Image

Image

This one is the Black Temple. The layout's a little different this time, and a Cube at the entrance surrenders a Light Ball. Can you guess the gimmick?

Image

Hmm-mmm.

Image

If that's as bad as it gets, this'll be a cinch.


Image
Image: Now, I can finally look face-to-face with my darkness without being bothered. I wanna stay like this until Isamu's Reason is conceived. Don't bother me...

Image

*: We can reach the pillar in the back right away, but I don't want to leave all these doors unexplored.

Image

Hmm, there's already a different assortment of foes than in the White Temple. That's a shame, I wanted to recruit a Gogmagog. For... reasons. Loki can be a hassle to kill because he resists both physical and magic damage, but, well, God's Bow.


Image

Image

Lv55 Snake Quetzalcoatl
This would be the famous feathered serpent god from the Aztec pantheon. He's known as the Lord of the Morning Star, and is said to have invented the Aztec calendar and to have given corn to mankind, which may not sound like a huge deal but actually is one. He co-operated with night god Tezcatlipoca to kill the gargantuan primeval crocodile whose body they would later turn into a continent.


*: We find the Small Terminal A in the southeast corner here. So far this seems like a fairly unremarkable set of rooms that barely qualifies as a maze. Maybe this is only a real problem if you don't have light.

A Cube in the southwestern corner gives us our first Megido Rock, which causes a fair amount of Almighty damage to all foes. There's a Mystical chest in the northwest; we reach it just as full K ends. While we run around, White Rider learns Mana Aid, his last skill. At this point he can use God's Bow once per fight and still come out with one more MP than he had. It's too bad I want the others to gain experience too.

And the Chest has a Luck Incense, excellent.

Image

Oh, hmm, this second pillar leads down. So there is an inverted pyramid here after all. Let's head below for now.

Image

This is a small empty room. We can see a Cube through a transparent wall, but there's nothing else to do, so we head to the second floor instead.

Image

It... looks pretty much like the first.

Image

There are four doors on each side, but they're all closed. On a hunch, I let our light run out and try them again, but no dice. There's a pillar leading to the third floor from here though, so we're not screwed just yet.


Image

I don't like this. I'm not a fan of floating orbs of darkness to begin with, but it's been otherwise too easy.

Image

*: A... black torch?

Image
> Will you put it out?

Eh, yeah, sure. The thing's kinda creepy lookin'.

Image

*: That's the eight doors for sure. Let's go back down and through the southmost door on the west side.

Image

Hmm. My first thought is that a pit in one of those rooms would take us to the basement, but there are no matching pits in the ground floor. Welp, let's jump off and see.

Image

Yeah, that's not a new area at all. Maybe there's something different in another room. There's another pit in the northmost door on the east side, and it's right above a similarly-shaped room on the ground floor. Could we possibly break through?

Image

Image

Bingo! And right next to a Chest with a Soma, too! The only way out takes us to the original basement pillar, but at least now we know what we're doing and it's not too much hassle to climb back up.

Judging from the location of the Cube we saw below, I pick the second northernmost door on the west side this time... but it's an empty room with a spirit in it.


Image
Image: It's like we're in a crypt.

Image

*: The last remaining western door drops us to where we wanted to be; the Cube only contains a Bead, but those are handy so I can't complain.

Zed levels up and refuses to learn Mana Aid from Satan. We find the small terminal B at the southern end of the first basement...

Image

...as well as this suspicious door. Better check out the rest of this floor if we can, though.

Image

None of the other pits above would take us anywhere new, but maybe there are other spirits or chests back there.

Aaaand there are not. To the altar, then!


Image



Tyrant Aciel
Aciel is a prince of the underworld, his name meaning "black sun"; he was originally fron Babylonian mythology but was apparently later recycled in Judaism as the ruler of Gehenna, a place of punishment for the wicked in the afterlife.


*: Man there's got to be a better way to do this. I'm sure I could do better in a rematch knowing exactly what I'm up against, but hey, we won, it's good enough.

Aciel has the typical boss immunities, except that he reflects Death effects, and at this point if it occurs to you to use a Death effect on this guy, you deserve whatever you get. The immediately obvious show-stopper here is Sol Niger, which reduces your entire party's HP to 1. I'm pretty sure it's an Almighty effect; I've never seen it miss or otherwise not work. If you factor in Dragon Eye and Tempest, that's a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, he does spend the entire previous turn using Mana Drain as a warning sign, so you can see it coming at least, and prepare for the follow-up physical attacks. It took me a shamefully long amount of time to realize that, and it sure would have saved me a bunch of Tetrakarn casts.

The Mana Drain itself is only for show, as he has like 2000 MP to work with and Sol Niger costs nothing. He knows both Dekaja and Dekunda, so if you want to buff up or debuff down, you better be willing to start from scratch a few times.

Alright, one more down. We go on a healing trip again. Or, no, wait, I forgot those two Cubes in the White Temple. I'll try and get them now before I forget, then we'll go heal.

Image

A Gogmagog joins up for a pittance. Huzzah! It's good to have a physical-immune ally again.

Image

Alright, from the southeastern set of rooms, take the northeast door... for a Medicine and a Bead. Welp, at least it won't bug me anymore. Let's hit the fountain.

Aaaaand back in the saddle. Eastern pyramid, here we come.

Image

Image

This is the Red Temple. We run into a pair of Yaksini right away, so that's another set of foes.


Image

Image
Image: She sucks the blood of intruders in her World of Shadows. Beware the shadows...

Image
Image: Let me outta the World of Shadows! It's full of traps! It hurts... Ow! L-Light gets me out! But, where is it...?

Image

*: There is in fact a big ol' shadow right across the path to the elevator pillar. Maybe we should find an alternate route.

Image

We find a giant pillar of light in the southwest corner. I see what's going on here: this must be the way back if you mess up. I kind of wonder if there's any loot in the World of Shadows, but I'm sure we'll get there by accident at some point.


Image

Image

Lv52 Femme Dakini
Important figures in Tibetan Buddhism, the Dakini are female embodiments of the drive towards enlightenment. They are teachers and protectors, and in the shared mythology with Hinduism, they serve the death goddess Kali and carry the souls of the dead towards the afterlife.


Image

*: A one-way door in the northwest leaves us with no choice but to step in shadow. Dick move!

Image
Image
Image
Image

Oh dang this is creepy stuff. Still, it looks like a copy of the regular floor, so we can pop a Float Ball and beeline for the closest light.

Image

The northern part of this floor has a hallway with five doors. Of course they're all one-way and four of them take you to inescapable shadow, yay. The correct one turns out to be the fourth one.


Image

Image

Image
Image: I passed by here already. I dodged all the shadows. How come I can't make it upstairs?

*: We find ourselves in a rectangular room with four doors, not counting the one we came from. It's a pretty safe bet that we'll have to step in shadow at some point, but I want to do some recon beforehand if I can.

Image

Oooh, terminal C. That should be the last one, unless there's another in that inverted pyramid afterwards.

Image

Yeah, just north of the terminal is a room with one door in light and another in shadow; the correct path is probably the most dangerous one. In fact, taking the lit door leads to a pillar of light and returns us to the central room. Taking the eastern door from there drops us directly in shadow.

Image

The spot where the pillar up should be is just an empty hole in the Shadows, so we'll have to find a light that doesn't shut us out of this area.

Image

Image

Alright, so. Once you make it to the pillar near the northeast corner (one "tile" southwest from the corner), you can proceed back north, east and south all the way to the pillar area, though you're faced with multiple choices of doors that risk dropping you in shadow again. But the area is pretty small and you don't have to go a long way if you mess up.


Image



Lady Skadi
In Norse mythology, Skadi is a Jötunn giantess and goddess, associated with hunting, winter, and mountains. She's not of divine origin herself, but she ended up married to two different gods, including Odin, who fathered many of her children. The gods killed her father, and to compensate her for her loss they allowed her to choose one of them as husband, on condition that she could only look at their feet when making her choice. She picked the most handsome feet, thinking they'd belong to Baldr, the god of love and purity, but in fact they belonged to the sea god Njoror. In the end, neither could stand to live in the other's abode, and they split up.


*: Man that was a king-size bucket of fail right there. We haven't seen a pyrrhic victory like that since the first Dante fight.

On top of the standard boss immunities, Skadi absorbs physical damage. She knows Rakukaja, Dekaja, Dekunda, Thunderclap, Mazandyne and Makajamon, but that's all practically harmless filler in comparison to her actual threats: Dragon Eye, Tarukaja, and Earthquake. Earthquake is an extraordinarily powerful physical damage skill, with the unusual quirk of being unable to crit. Still, basically, if you let her buff up and you're not somehow immune or at least resistant to physical damage, she kills you.

In any case, my two main mistakes were not realizing that Earthquake was physical at first, and then underestimating Skadi's potential damage output and therefore neglecting my defense. I do like how I managed to recover towards the end there, because at the point where Zed was alone, I was pretty sure this was gonna turn into a failure vid. Once Earthquake is properly managed, it's just a question of executing on your usual strategy against physical immunes.


Image

Alright then. If we're going to sabotage Musubi, it's now or never. Though I suppose Hijiri will have plans of his own.

*: At any rate, we're in far too bad a shape to do anything about Isamu right now, so it's another trip to Asakusa for us.

Image
Image: Isamu will soon be able to summon his god!

Image

*: And we're back.

Image

Now, how do... we get inside?

Image

> Will you enter the central temple?

Does the pope take a deuce in the woods?

Image: Yes, but very rarely.
Image: What are you even doing here?
Image: So bored. You have no idea. What's going on? Is this Egypt?
Image: I won't bother explaining, just strap in. The Serious Business is about to go down.



...

Well.

Shit.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:27 pm

*: Before we start today, I need to talk about something that happened last time. Or rather, about something that didn't happen.

When Nocturne asks you a question, it may add a certain number of points to one or more invisible meters depending on your answer, and each Reason has its own meter. For example, when Gozu-Tennoh asks if you'll join the Mantra, accepting gives you 8 Yosuga points, refusing gives you 4 Shijima points, and saying you can't decide gives you 4 Musubi points. This isn't limited to obvious major characters, as even some less remarkable NPCs will ask questions that may increase meters. For example, your answer to the Oni near the Ikebukuro shops to whom our crew pretended to be oppressed may increase either your Yosuga or Shijima meters by 2 points (but not Musubi). As a rule of thumb, if a NPC asks you a question again if you talk to them a second time, it has no effect (because you can't grind points by answering the same question multiple times), but if its dialog changes you probably had a chance to get some points. Also, the questions related to the Amala Labyrinth and the Fiends (the Maniacs expansion content, basically) never have points associated, and your interactions with Hijiri don't seem to affect the meters either.

I mention this because the Musubi meter has now had an effect on the story. If we had either accumulated 32 Musubi points, or if we had agreed with Isamu right after we saw his transformation in the Amala Network, Isamu would have given us the opportunity to summon Noah ourselves by dunking Hijiri in the Magatsuhi pool. Your answer then either confirms your Musubi affiliation, or locks you out of it forever. Of course, we neither agreed with Isamu way back then, nor have we sufficiently reflected the Musubi philosophy in our travels, so he didn't think highly enough of us to ask us to do the honors.

In an ideal world I would have asked for viewer input every time points were in play, but this is an LP in the world we have, it would have made for terrible pacing, and that's the sort of thing best left to a streaming environment with a live audience. You're definitely getting all the major decisions though. Besides, seeing how things have been going so far, I doubt the ending we get will hinge on the time I told that one Yosuga angel to fuck off, or on other similar minor decisions.

Alright, that's settled; we can now return to our regularly scheduled programming and go on mourning the demise of the best reporter in the world.


Image: ...I guess this is it, then.
Image: Hmm. I don't think so.
Image: Right, me neither. If we're still together in the Vortex World...
Image: IT MUST MEAN SUMMONING NOAH WAS NOT THE FINAL STEP.
Image: There may still be time, then.
Image: There has to be time. We just need to track Isamu down.
Image: And kill another god.
Image: How will you find him? He just disappeared.
Image: Usually we'd ask Hijiri for info, but...
Image: Do you have anyone else on your side?
Image: That Takao chick? I don't know how she'd know anything.
Image: Futomimi has to know.
Image: Ah, there's a good point.
Image: WHAT IS THIS?
Image: Eh...?
Image: OVER THERE!

Image

Music: Mystery

Image
Image
Image: ...Finally, a Reason has been conceived.
Image
Image: Lady Chiaki is on the move. Our god of Yosuga will soon descend upon us at Asakusa.
Image
Image
Image: The Manikins! We gotta go! Everyone get the lead out!

Image
Image: Now, with Musubi, we can do whatever we want!

Image
Image: It seems that he has gained power using the Magatsuhi here. Some demons from a rival group came on a reconnaissance mission...

*: We reach the large Temple Terminal and warp directly to Asakusa.

Image

Aw hell.

*: Before we go anywhere, we hit the Cathedral.

Image: Princess Kushinada, Lord Okuninushi, you've both been steadfast and valuable allies and I wish I could make more of a ceremony of this, but...
Image: Right, we're in a bit of a hurry!
Image: We understand. Keep making use of our power wisely.
Image: I will. Thank you. Minister?
Image: Here we go.

Kushinada + Okuninushi =

Image

Image

Lv44 Fury Dionysus
Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, theater, and religious ecstasy. He's a wild, mercurial, occasionally vengeful force, and his followers are encouraged to let go of conventions and propriety, to get in touch with their primal urges and let their deepest emotions spill over. He's the one who reluctantly gave King Midas his famous golden touch as a reward for his hospitality, but he also told him how to get rid of the "boon" when Midas later repented his foolish request after turning his own daughter to gold.

Furies are typically wild, destructive deities, and even though they can be dangerous to deal with and in some cases their wrath could lead to death on an immeasurable scale, it wouldn't be quite accurate to call them evil; they often represent chaos and destruction as an integral and natural aspect of the world.


Image: Are you all ready to PARTY?
Image: Nope, no time for parties right now. We gotta kill a bunch of angels first.
Image: Kid, that sounds like the second best kind of party!
Image: Gotcha. Let's go!

Image

Image: Hey! Hey! Can you speak?
Image
Image: Gah, dammit!

*: There are no other Manikins in Nakamise-Douri. But there are now random battles.

Image

I expected angels, but there's no one left to guard the entrance, so the local demons are pouring in.


Image

Image

Image

*: Ah, so there are angels too then. This is definitely Chiaki's handiwork, if we had any doubt. In any case, there's no time to walk all the way to Mifunashiro, so we use the Terminal again.



Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image: ...we're too late.
Image: Maybe not. I don't see Futomimi here. They might be putting up a last stand deeper inside.
Image: Right. Right! Let's move.

We're here to help, so I dare hope Futomimi won't mind us trespassing this time.

Image

Image: Dammits, you idiots! I'm not here to fight you!

*: Their responses are the same as in the Manikin encounters in Ikebukuro. We run.

Image

None of the Manikins we see near the entrance are alive to tell any tales, but the door in is open.


Image

Image

Image
Image: A demon-like girl came to steal our Magatsuhi...

Image
Image: Are we all going to die...?
Image: Not if I can help it. But I can't stay here just for you, so, try to keep a low profile, will you?

Image

Image

Lv54 Brute Shiki-Ouji
Shiki-Ouji could be accurately if unflatteringly described as paper golems, but they are in fact an exceptionally powerful type of Shikigami that can only be crafted by the most accomplished of Onmyoji astrologists. They're strong enough to ward off demons of sickness and other calamities that would threaten their masters. However, their spiritual nature is very similar to an Oni's, and though they respect power, they are wild, dangerous and unpredictable when lesser mystics attempt to control them.


*: Hanuman levels up and learns Life Surge (increases Max HP by 30%), which I let replace Berserk. That was his last skill, so...

Image

Image

Image

Lv54 Fury Wu Kong
Originating from the famous 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, Sun Wu Kong is a magical monkey born from a huge rock, without equal in battle and wits. His bold exploits and clever antics earned him the attention of the gods, but he took offense at how they seemed more intent on making sure he didn't cause any trouble than on treating him as an equal; he eventually rebelled and caused all sorts of mischief, including sneaking into Hell to remove his name and the names of his tribe from the record of all living things, effectively making himself and his friends immortal. It took the Buddha's intervention to finally imprison him under a mountain for 500 hundred years, after which he was charged with escorting a monk to India to retrieve important religious scripture. The long journey finally allowed him to prove his heroic nature and to put his power to virtuous use, and he was granted Buddhahood upon his return home.


*: This is Onkot's final evolution, and it earns us another phys-immune ally!

Image
Image: Is... that true...?
Image: I... I don't know. I wish I could tell you.

*: A Cube slightly hidden below the door surrenders a Magic Mirror, and that clears the first room.

Image

Image: This place... this place is beautiful.
Image: A little eerie maybe, but, yeah, it is. Though it'd look better with less blood and fewer corpses.
Image: ...this crime must be punished.
Image: ...yeah.

Image
Image: Futomimi... chased after her...
Image: That bold fool.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: All that's left is to finish off that arrogant mud puppet, Futomimi...

So he's still alive!

Image

Image

*: A small Terminal already? I won't complain, but I wonder how much trouble they thought we'd have getting here.

Image
Image: No... No matter how hard we try... we are not match... for demons, or for humans... We should have... run...

Image
Image: I... I can't... I can't fight... Th-There's n-no way I could beat a d-demon... I don't wanna die... I don't wanna die!!!!
Image: ...sorry.
Image: I know...! Y-you're a good demon, right...?
Image: I... Uh...
Image: Yes, he is. What is your request?
Image
Image: That's the plan.
Image
Image: Then... I'll be hiding in here, so hurry...

Image

*: Curiously, this is the first Divine fight we've had since we arrived; the other enemies so far are Gogmagogs, Titans with Sudama, Shiki-ouji with Shikigami, and various Manikins. We still have Sophia equipped for immunity to Expel, in any case.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This feels like a giant vertical cavern; it seems we keep going in and out of this waterfall formation.


Image
Image
Image
Image: I heard there were a bunch of idiots and tools messing with the Manikins down here. I see neither of us are disappointed.
Image
Image: You are much different from those mud puppets who can only talk about creation.
Image
Image: A world without hierarchy, where everyone lives equally in peace... *chuckle* As followers of Yosuga, it is not to be tolerated.
Image: Exactly. We must destroy their hopes before a monstrosity such as that even begins to take shape...
Image
Image: There's definitely monstrosity going on here today, but the Manikins have nothing to do with it.
Image
Image: Yes. I am.
Image: ............ ...So be it. After we finish off the mud puppets, Lady Chiaki's god shall descend upon us.
Image: Not if I can help it!
Image: Once you see that magnificent sight, your opinion shall change...
Image: Why don't you come down here and say that to my fist, huh?
Image
Image
Image: YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT!

Image
> Will you take it?
Image: I'm thinking I might have done enough desecration already today.
Image: WHATEVER IT IS, MAYBE IT COULD HELP US AVENGE HIM.
Image: ...maybe. Alright then. My apologies, friend, but I probably need this more than you at this point.
Image
Image: ...thank you.

*: We use it on Titania right away.

Image

More dead Manikins...

Image
Image: Ah! Sir, let me...
Image: ...Up... ahead... A girl... and... Futomimi...
Image: I know, I know. Don't speak.
Image: ............

Image

Image

Hall of Mirror, eh?

Image

Image
> Will you step into the light?

Nowhere else to go.



Image: CHIAKI! GET BACK HERE!
Image: She's gone, man.
Image: GAAAAAH!
Image: Zed...
Image: That... that creature mentioned Ginza, right?
Image: ...
Image: Boss, there's nothing we can do here anymore.
Image: MASTER, WE MUST NOT LET THE DEBT ACCRUED HERE TODAY GO UNPAID.
Image: We will not.

Seraph Raphael
Raphael, meaning "Healing of God", is only named in the Book of Tobit, which is only canon for Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He travels alongside the titular character's son to recover a sum of money stashed somewhere in Iran. He's associated with healing, but mostly on account of curing Tobit's blindness, at the end of the trip.

The Seraph race is essentially a subset of Divines, being the highest-ranked angels, though they are Light-aligned instead of Neutral. There are so few of them and they're so important that, with maybe one exception, all of those we see in the entire series are unique, named individuals.


Seraph Gabriel
Gabriel, "the Strength of God", is already a bigger deal. I'm not entirely sure why exactly he's/she's depicted as female here, but angels are typically considered genderless so there's no reason that has to be a problem. In any case, she visited the prophet Daniel to elucidate his visions, announced the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, and in Islam, she's the one who gave the Qur'an to Muhammad on God's behalf.


Seraph Uriel
His name meaning "Light of God", or "God is my Light", Uriel never appears in mainstream Judeo-Christian canon, only in apocryphal scripture. Interestingly, when he is named, it is usually along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, as a guardian of the cardinal directions, just like the Four Heavenly Kings of oriental myth.


*: This fight is a bit like the Moirae Sisters fight, in that you have three enemies with distinct abilities, but the Seraphs are individually stronger and as a group they're not as focused on synergy. All three of them nullify ailments, reflect Expel and Death, and resist the four main damage elements, so physical attacks are the way to go.

Raphael is the main irritant, as he'll typically spend his turn on either Tetrakarn or Makalakarn, though he also knows Stasis Blade, Diarahan and Beast Eye. Uriel is more of a damage-dealer with Prominence and Megidola, though he also knows Beast Eye and Diarahan. Gabriel's most dangerous attacks are Radiance (heavy Expel damage to all foes) and Holy Wrath (chance to cut current HP by 50% for all foes), but she has Maziodyne too in case you had the foresight to shut her down with Expel-immune Magatama and allies.

All together, that's a recipe for a pretty tough fight, especially if Ralph and U-dawg start flexing their Diarahan muscles. However, you may have noticed that none of them know Dekunda or Dekaja. If you bring the appropriate buffs and debuffs, you can easily turn all three of them into a tragic joke. They all have 3000 HP too, so with a few stacks of Tarukaja and Rakunda, Zed's Focused Divine Shot could potentially 1-hit-KO each of them in turn without Diarahan ever being a problem.

As you may have guessed, the Yosuga alignment meter came into play here. If you have accumulated 32 Yosuga points, or if you agreed with Chiaki back in the Mantra HQ before she lost her arm, you are given a chance to ally with her, which cements your Yosuga affiliation.

If you refuse, she of course still throws the Seraphs in your face to keep you busy while she does her dirty work.

If you accept, she asks you to kill Futomimi yourself.

That sure would have given this LP a very different feel, wouldn't it?


Image

Image: You. Come with me. I'll give you this chance.
Image
Image: Heh, heh...
> Shiki-Ouji is smiling fearlessly.
Image: Comply with my desire. Offer me 910 Macca.
Image: Small price.
Image: O wearisome robber baron, Nay... NAY, 'tis not enough! I require 670 Macca.
Image: If it'll save a life.
Image: More, I say! Empty thy pockets as thou hast emptied my patience!
Image: This guy has no idea what's going down, does he?
Image: I require 1 Life Stone.
Image: ...take it.
Image: I cannot comply. I have trust in thee, but I cannot ally myself with your grace for our swords will conflict.
Image: That's your funeral, chump!
Image: Leave. Now.
Image: Here! Take thee this.
> You obtained Dis-Stun x1.
Image: I. Said. LEAVE.
Image: I must bid you adieu.
> Shiki-Ouji left.
Image: Wow, I really thought you were gonna wad him up and eat him.
Image: This is a holy place. Only angels die here now.

*: A few "battles" later...

Image
Image
Image: If you think so, I recommend you turn around and walk away.
> Shiki-Ouji is content.
Image
Image: I am called Shiki-Ouji of the Brute bloodline. My fate lies in thy hands.
> Shiki-Ouji joined your party.

Image

Image

*: Huh, I didn't notice this coming in, but it would appear Chiaki hit the door so hard it flew all the way over here.

At any rate, by the time we leave, only angels have died.

I could warp straight to Ginza, but I want to check out the rest of Asakusa to see if there are any survivors with interesting stuff to say.


Image
Image: Well, I guess it's a good place to kick back and relax... There's no one around, so I can enjoy some peace and quiet.
Image: ...

Image
Image: Well, we don't really care.

Image

Image
Image: ...he died.
Image: I see. I guess it must be pretty rough.

Image
Image: ...I don't like the idea of a world controlled by power.
Image: Yeah. Me neither, brother.
Image: Living here, I've realized that Nihilo's Reason of Shijima is the best. No more fighting, please.
Image: Oh fuck off.

Image
Image: I like it. I mean, why do I have to live with all these losers?
Image: Said the dead loser.

Image
Image: Kid, I never thought I'd be this happy to see you.
Image: Oh, you're back. I don't have anything for you, but... I'm not stopping you from playing. So, why don't you try?
Image: Sorry kid, I'm really busy right now. Maybe some other time.
Image
Image: You don't have to push yourself anyway...
Image: You keep on gaming, alright?

Image
Image: ...that's one way of putting it.
Image: Yosuga, Shijima, Musubi... These three are all competing for the right of creation. I don't know who you're for, and I don't want to know. But, the time is nearing.
Image: I'm still holding out hope for one more.

Image
Image: Now that Futomimi's dead, Asakusa's nothing but a ghost town. It's just as Lady Chiaki said. We need to watch Ginza... The Assembly of Nihilo.

Image
Image: I hope you're happy.
Image: Manikins were running about here, not long ago... Now, demons are here instead. Is this the flow of time?

Image
Image: There's still some 'round here.

Image
Image: Having to live like this again... *sigh* Life is short...

Image

Image
Image: Aw hell, old man. I'm sorry.
Image: ............ ...I'm tired of it all!

Image
Image: Damn...
Image: ............
Image: Hmm...?
Image: ............
Image: Are you alright?
Image: ...Maybe lying here wasn't such a great idea.

Image
Image: But, this place was bustling with Manikins just a short while back.

Image

Image
Image: I'm not a Musubi, but I think they should've respected themselves more.

*: And that's it for Asakusa. The junk shop owner and the Collector Manikin are still here, but they have nothing new to say. Just before we leave, Sparna levels up and learns Diarahan, its last skill. I let it replace Fog Breath, since Zed has a lockdown on that one. Gives him something to do!

Image
Image: Hmm?
> Sparna gave something to you. You received Mamudo Rock!

Image

Image

Image: You placed death in my hands, and now you place life. Very clever!

Image

Lv63 Avian Garuda
Well, this is kind of Sparna again, but this time I would presume this is the Hindu version of the myth, where Garuda is an individual creature rather than a race. When he emerged from his egg, the world erupted in terrible flames, but when the gods begged him for mercy, he accepted to reduce his power so as not to destroy everything before the appointed time. He acts as Vishnu's mount, and like his Buddhist counterpart he is also then enemy of Naga and serpents.

Garuda is the only Avian in Nocturne, but in the greater series the race is basically a bird version of the Holy demons.


*: That'll be that. To Ginza, then. Dropping a save, I see we've passed the 100 hour mark! Of course a lot of that was typing dialog down, and it doesn't include close to all of the time I've spent on this LP, but I ain't complaining!

Image

And the world goes on.

Image

Image
Image: Something happened! They must've been doing something!

Image
Image: Sacrificial fusion... The Demonic Compendium... But... there's a rumor that they're hiding something even better.

Image
Image: ...I mean, Shijima. It will be shrouded in silence.

Image
Image: There's a tunnel at Yurakucho Station that leads to Nagatacho.
Image: Hmm. That's where the Diet is. Very helpful, thanks.

Image
Image: Commander Hikawa is the supreme ruler of the battle for creation. We may be a late entry, but that's because we were preparing for an incredible god.

*: True fact: I accidentally typed "we were preparing for an incredible dog" and then proceeded to giggle for like thirty seconds.
Image: Dude what is your problem, we don't need to know that.
*: Everyone needs to know about incredible dogs.

Image
Image: They're sayin' there's a guy diggin' a tunnel at Yurakucho. I doubt there's any relation to what Hikawa's doin', though.

Image
Image: Now, we can create our ideal world of stillness!

Image
Image: Even if our headquarters was attacked, even if we lost the Nightmare System... He'd still be victorious! He conceives plans as if he knows what events will take place.
Image: He sure is crazy prepared, I'll give him that.
Image: He may be human, but he's a brilliant strategist.

Image
Image: You become one with the universe, and there's no need to suffer. ...It fits a person who keeps his cool, like me.

Image
Image: It's going to be a refined new world where the weak don't exist. I think it's a pretty rotten idea, personally.
Image: Yeah, me too. And I'm pretty strong, so you know I'm not just trying to save my own skin.

Image
Image: Their world is one where you can do anything you want without ever having to meddle with anyone else. What do you think of that?
Image: Sounds nice on the surface, but I know I'd just get sick of it within hours.

Image
Image: I hear he's after the large amount of Magatsuhi at the Diet Building... It's ironic that a human is using demons to do his bidding, rather than the other way around.

The National Diet Building is really the last place I would have expected to visit after the apocalypse, but I guess it makes sense. Politicians, demons, what's the difference, really?

*: We heal up, drop a save, and head out towards Yurakucho Station, near the back entrance to the Assembly of Nihilo dome. It was locked last time we went, but if Hikawa had to move his troops through, it's probably still open.

Image

Image

Image

*: The overland encounters haven't changed, and the trip is uneventful. The destination, however...



Well he sure went down like a chump. Is the final Fiend really so weak, or... have I grown so strong?

Fiend Trumpeter
In the book of Revelations, one of the parts involved in the end of the world involves the sounding of seven trumpets, each of which heralds a new form of devastation upon the Earth and all its inhabitants. The Trumpeter is one of the angels charged with sounding a trumpet, bringing forth hail, rains of fire and blood, comets, hundreds of millions of supernatural murderous horsemen and other such cataclysms. Not gonna lie, reading Revelations as a kid scared the crap outta me.


*: Wow, I didn't think I'd get away with this one so easily. The Trumpeter only has the basic boss immunities going on, so that's not a problem. He knows Megidolaon, Makakaja, Dekaja, and all four Ma-dyne spells, but that's not quite the problem either, especially since you can debuff him with impunity. The problem is that he casts Holy Melody or Evil Melody every four turns, alternating between each.

Evil Melody instantly kills your teammate with the lowest HP (in percentage of maximum HP, not raw current HP), and I'm pretty sure it bypasses any Death immunity you might have. If everyone's at full HP, it just picks a target at random. Holy Melody picks its target the same way and heals it to full, but if Trumpeter himself has proportionally lower HP than anyone on your squad, it gets its 11000 HP back.

The basic strategy here is to make sure Evil Melody doesn't kill the Demi-fiend, which isn't too hard to do if you have allies with skills that cost a lot of HP, then revive them with a Revival Bead or the basic Recarm (so they have very little HP) and summon them just in time for Holy Melody to bring them back to full health. Of course, Zed hits so hard thanks to Focus/Tarukaja/Rakunda that the cycle didn't exactly have time to repeat. I'm also pretty happy with how strong Wu Kong is even without Focus on; he's not in the same league but he contributed a great deal anyway.

Next time! We may go after Hikawa, or... we may go bring light to the darkness.

Image: Man, that's not even a question, I'mma go down that pit again and punch stuff a lot.
*: Well forgive me for trying to introduce a little suspense in the proceedings.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:39 am

Image: Guys, I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel like hanging on to those Candelabra any longer than I have to.
Image: They are no longer a threat to you.
Image: We are all vainquished.
Image: Yeah, but...
Image: You're curious about what's going on in the Labyrinth, aren't you?
Image: Aren't you?
Image: Yeah, sure. But, I don't know if going there has ever been a good idea.
Image: IT HAS GRANTED US VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE.
Image: Sounds like the monkey lost his nuts!
Image: Yuck it up, tipsy. If the boss wants to go down there, I'm going down with him. But we can't forget we have other problems here too.
Image: Either way, it's kind of a long walk back to Ginza, isn't it? Can't we keep going until we find another terminal at least?
Image: Hmm. Yeah, good point. Alright then, let's get a move on. And keep an eye out, we don't want to stumble on Nihilo's rear guard if we can help it.

Image

Image

*: Unlike the other stations we've visited, there are two staircases down here.

Image

The western one takes us to a well lit platform...

Image

...while the eastern one plunges us into darkness.

Image

There's no way to tell which one will take us towards the Diet Building, so we might as well start with the eastern one. We run into fights with Loki, Quetzacoatl and Shiki-Ouji down here.

A few Cubes around the area get us a Muscle Drink, a Bead, a Medicine, and an encouter with four Loa. The Blessed Fan actually takes a couple of them out! They drop an Attack Mirror.

Image

Both sets of stairs leading to the eastward tunnels are blocked off, so we retrace our steps towards the first lit platform. Boy am I glad I decided to look at this side first!

On the way back, Horus levels up through Watchful; he learns Mediarama, replacing Liftoma, and Mana Gain transforms into Mana Surge (+30% max MP).


Image

Image
Image: I just saw a human woman! She was headed for Kasumigaseki. She was creepy, like she was possessed by something... She was hot, though!
Image: Is Ms. Takao going after Hikawa herself?
Image: I want to say that's crazy, but maybe Aradia has a plan.
Image: You really believe that?
Image: ...I don't know.

*: As usual, there are two tunnels leading westward. I choose the northern one. Here's to hoping we get the dead end with loot first!

Image

Image

A dead end with a spirit, I'll take it.


Image
Image: Ah, right, I've heard about you. Find anything good?
Image: After years a pokin' around, I finally located the treasure right here! But... The earth here's as hard as a rock turtle with frostbite! So, I can't dig, ya dig?
Image: Wouldn't a frozen rock turtle be especially brittle?
Image: Don't even, it's not worth the trouble.
Image: ............!! Ya got demons with ya!? Hoo-doggie! Could ya spare one a them demons a yers? If ya do, I promise ta split the treasure with ya!
Image: Ehh, I don't know...
Image
Image: There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear. Anyway, I admit I'm curious.
Image: Really!? Hoo-doggie! Thanks! *whistle*
Image
Image: I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm a bird.
Image: Yeah, no.
Image: *whistle* How about Black Rider?
Image: I'm not lending you Famine just so you can put a pickaxe in his hands. He may be a schmuck, but he's a prestigious schmuck.
Image: I appreciate the compliment, sir.
*: Shige pretty much goes through all your allies one by one; I suspect the developers didn't want to make a demon selection interface just for this one guy. I'll spare you the repetition.
Image
Image: Hmm, that might actually not be a bad idea. What do you think, big guy?
Image: Yeah, sure, no problem, I'll have this done in a jiffy. Are you going to be alright without me?
Image: To be honest I'd rather keep you around, but there might be something cool in here.
Image: Well, I'm up for it.
Image: It's settled, then. You got your worker.
Image: Whoa! This one's as ornery as a bobcat with his tail on fire!
Image: I'm sure I don't want to know how you came across that information.
Image: Look forward to ma results!
Image: Aight, I'll be checking in again in a bit. See ya later, sport!
Image: Later, boss man.

*: We return to the platform and take the southwest tunnel this time. We run into an obnoxious amount of five-Quetzacoatl groups; let's just say it helps to have three allies immune to physical damage and Death effects. Wu Kong learns Hassohappa, a group-targeting physical attack that scales off HP. I let it replace Sukukaja, since Black Rider has us covered there.

Image

Image

Image
Image: It's a maze in there. Plus, there are steep slopes. You'll slide right down to the bottom! If you jump in unprepared, you might die of starvation, or worse...
Image: I appreciate the heads-up, but I really can't turn back.

Image

Image: Or, uh, maybe I can. Just this once.

*: This is in fact a Large Terminal, and we head to Ikebukuro to heal up, register, and shop. Asakusa isn't a safe place anymore, and we used up a bunch of Mazio Stones against the Quetzacoatl hordes, so I figure it won't hurt to stock up on attack items again before we head to the Labyrinth. We had nine Tickets to begin with and we spend enough to get eleven more; picking the white box twice earns us Strength and Vitality Incense!

That should be preparation enough; we drop a save and warp to the Labyrinth. We could use the shortcut to the third Kalpa, but I want to hear what Kamala has to say now that Dante's the only Fiend left.


Image
Image: You don't have to worry about them anymore! Yay!
Image: That's great news! Thanks Kamala, you've been a big help.
Image: I, um...
Image: Shhh.

*: As we cross the Third Kalpa to reach the remaining pedestals, it occurs to me to visit the last Luck door we couldn't open before... and it opens! We have 22 base Luck at this time, so the break point is probably at 20. Behind we find a Burial Chamber for Ongyo-ki, Mara, and Black Frost. There are also Chests containing Strength Incense and a Great Chakra. And that's all for the northern branch!

Image
Image: The Emperor has returned!!
Image: Eh wot?
Image: I want his autograph, hee ho, so I'm gonna go look for him!!
Image: COULD HE MEAN...?
Image: Probably. I guess this is where plans to become evil will take you.
Image: What does that say about us?
Image: ...
Image: Well, we can leave whenever we want. That must count for something.
Image: Yeah.

Image

Image

Lv47 Deity Atavaka
Originally a child-eating demon of Buddhist legend, he was personally enlightened by the Buddha and mended his ways. He then became a vassal of Bishamonten, the war god leading the Four Heavenly Kings. I'm not quite sure why he's wearing his own head as a hat.


*: We've used up a fair bit of Gogmagog and Titania's MP getting down here, so I ask Dr. Dark for a 5k full heal.

Image
Image: Yikes! We'll do without for now, thanks.
Image: Whatever happened to all the money, I wonder?
Image: Very funny.

*: Yeah, dude's hiking up his rates. We could afford it, but I think we'll be fine at the moment.

Image

Image

Lv45 Kishin Mikazuchi
In Shinto logend, Take-Mikazuchi was one of the gods the heavenly deities sent to the earth when they decided to take it over. Okuninushi, the ruler of Izumo province, surrendered to him, but his son Take-Minakata didn't want to let his home go so easily. Long story short, Minakata and Mikazuchi had the first sumo match ever, Mikazuchi won, and then he crushed and tore off Minakata's arms because being gracious in victory is for wimps, right?


*: I'm a little surprised to see new demons down here, but the Kalpas actually scale with your level somewhat and tougher opponents start appearing as you grow stronger. I'm sure this is to make it harder if you decide to wait until the endgame and clear the Labyrinth all at once.

Image

Pale Rider, Mother Harlot, Trumpeter. Majesty, Beauty, Godliness.

And Sovereignty is mine to keep.

Image

Image

Image
Image: I know.
Image: Not only is it dangerous, it's VERY dangerous!!
Image: That's okay, so am I.
Image: I mean, it's EXTREMELY dangerous!!!
Image: Dude, I'm not leaving.
Image: If you still insist on going, I won't try to stop you, but... Make sure you go straight. Don't ever, ever turn left! Okay?
Image: Uh... sure.
Image: ...Please believe me.
Image: Alright.

Image

Oh crap.

Well. He did say it would be EXTREMELY dangerous.

Image

*: We have an opportunity to go left. We don't take it.

Image

Image

Image

The color scheme feels like less immediately gross and unpleasant than the third Kalpa's, but it does kinda feel like someone set a bunch of fires in the first Kalpa and didn't mind the smoke damage.

Image

Ah, okay, we're back to looking pretty gross.

Image

We have more choices here, but I'm gonna keep going as far right as I can.


Image

Image

Lv55 Holy Chimera
The Chimera is a hybrid creature of Greek myth, being usually described as a fire-breathing lion with a goat's head growing out of its back and a snake for a tail, though the exact configuration varies. It was killed by the hero Bellerophon, firing arrows from atop the winged horse Pegasus.


Image

Image

Image
Image: It's only a short distance to the other side, but every time you enter, you end up somewhere else... You'll see what I mean once you try it yourself...

Image

No pain, no gain. Let's go.

Image

Image

Hell's Vault, eh?

*: Trying to use the automap button returns a "It can't be used here." message. Whuh oh.

Image

Image

Image

Teleporters, and no automap. Glorious.


Image

Image

Lv63 Raptor Gurr
In Sri Lankan Buddhism, Gurr is an evil, carnivorous eagle demon; he might actually be a dig at rival Hindu god Garuda, who is also an eagle, but also far less of a douche.


Image

Image

Lv63 Haunt Rakshasa
In Hindu and Buddhist lore, the Rakshasa are a race of humanoid creatures, usually quite evil but not always; it is said they enjoy the taste of human flesh, and like to desecrate graves, possess people, and generally make dangerous nuisances of themselves.


*: In addition to these new guys, we keep running into lesser Haunts like Pisaca, Legion and Yaka, so the Blessed Fan keeps coming in handy. Zed levels up, masters Satan and learns its final skill, Deadly Fury, a group-hitting physical attack with a high critical chance. We replace Xeros-Beat with it; it has served us well for a long time, but it was really time for an upgrade. Next on the list will probably be Miasma, so we can upgrade Shock to Glacial Blast. It should also tip our alignment to Dark so we can open that one door in the third Kalpa.

Aaanyway. The aforementioned teleporter sends us to a room with four dead ends and a Chest containing a Bead of Life. Going to the western dead end warps us to a room that looks a lot like the entrance to the Twelve Meters of Eternity...


Image

Ah.

Image
Image: If you want to go back, then return through the 12 Meters of Eternity. It's really strange... From the other side, the phase of Kagutsuchi determines where you'll end up, but from this side, you can only return to the entrance.

*: This'll require further exploration for sure, but I'm curious about that ladder here.

Image

Image

Image
Image: I am, but not nearly enough for this!

Image

Image
Image: It looks like you can get to the other side from the Kalpa above, so...
Image: Huh, really? Well this'll be annoying.
Image: Why don't you try to make your way across?
Image: I bet it's that golden door we couldn't open. There's one behind the switch here too, see?
Image: Ah, you're right. We just need to find the key, then.

*: Apart from small room with a Tetraja Rock and a locked gate, there's nothing else down here. We gotta hit the Twelve Meters again.

Image

Welp, here goes nothing.

Image

*: Hell's Hall, this time. We can't use our map again.

Image

Oh balls.

*: We use a Repulse Bell right away, and start heading east. This area seems pretty huge! The first door we encounter looks like it would take us to the Twelve Meters again, so we turn back and keep exploring.

Image

Image
Image: Well, the sooner we kick his ass the sooner we can get out of here, hopefully.
Image: BE CAREFUL!!

Image

Great, I'll add it to the pile.

Image
Image: Gaaaah, sure, fine. Here.

*: Restoring our HP in here is a silly proposition, but we could use a MP refill if the leader of this place is close by.

Image

The other doors here so far have been the same blue swirly type that we first saw in the third Kalpa, but this one is the red pulsating type. Hmm!

Image

Wicked King's Hall. Welp!


Image
> Will you enter?

It's that or walking back through that awful place. We go forward.



Image: Holy crap! High fives!
Image: Aw yeah!
Image: MARVELOUS!
Image: Kid, I owe you all the drinks.
Image: Well, I-
Image: Haha, gimme a hug, you bony bastard!
Image: Ah? H-hey!
Image: I take back every time I've called you a schmuck.
Image: I don't mean to cut the celebration short, but... What's with this "creating a demon" business?
Image: There's an excellent question.
Image: Hmm. I suppose that is worrying. Yo, Riders, you know anything about that?
Image: Uh...
Image: Everything Lord Beelzebub told you is correct. Beyond that, we could not say.
Image: ...right.
Image: You could not say, huh? Because you don't know, or because someone ordered you to keep quiet?
Image: ...
Image: Well...
Image: How useless you both are!
Image: Hey, that's a little harsh.
Image: THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES INVOLVED HERE, AND WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY.
Image: To hell with that! Speak up before I shove my staff where the sun don't shine!
Image: Wu Kong, stand down!
Image: But...!
Image: I know how you feel, but if they can't tell us, they can't tell us. We'll just have to find someone who can. And if we don't like their answer...
Image: We shall give them a right good thrashing!
Image: We shall give them a right good thrashing.

Tyrant Beelzebub
Originally Beelzebub was a major Philistine god, whose name meant "lord of heaven", but he was demonized by Israelites, and they changed his name to "lord of the flies", which as I understand it had a very similar spelling or pronunciation. He was later recycled by demonologists, who made him into a Prince of Hell who used to be a Cherubim before the Fall; he is the master of all false gods, and presides over either pride or gluttony. Seeing his gut here, I'd say we're mostly talking about the latter.


*: The first obstacle to whittling down Beelzebub's 16000 HP is that he reflects Expel and Death, nullifies ailments, and resists everything else except fire. The second obstacle, of course, is that he fights back. His signature move is Death Flies, which instantly kills all opponents who are not immune to Death effects and inflicts a fair chunk of Almighty damage to everyone else. He also knows Dekaja, Dekunda, Mazionga, Mazanma, Maziodyne, Mazandyne, Megidolaon, and Focus. Fortunately, he doesn't have Beast Eye or Dragon Eye, and he only has his basic attack to spend the Focus buff on (though he's level 95 with 30 Strength, so it'll still hurt a fair bit).

Zed's Focused up Divine Shot is strong enough that it still contributed non-insignificant damage through Beelzebub's physical resistance, but Dionysus's Agidyne and White Rider's Fire Boosted Prominence did most of the heavy lifting, especially when the latter hit twice for around 700 damage total. Besides, using Fog Breath often was essential, as B-bub's Agility is so high that even Prominence has a big chance to miss, and if your healer doesn't get a turn on account of a miss then you might be in big trouble. Makakaja and Tarukaja are nice while they last, but even when they don't last, an icon spent on Dekaja is not an icon spent removing Fog Breath or calling Death Flies.

I think I could have been done a little faster and spent fewer MP items if I hadn't been so afraid of a Focused attack that I thought I had to keep Tetrakarn up so much, but otherwise I'd say the battle went about as smoothly as it could.


Image

Image

*: There's another door on the other side of this Hall.

Image

Oh-ho!

Image

Of course.

Image

Image

Image

Not too shabby! But this doesn't seem to get us any closer to the next Kalpa. The key we're looking for must be somewhere else.

Image

Oh hey, the horrible smog is gone. Excellent.

Image
Image: Yyyyup.
Image: THEN, YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR THE STAR KEY! IT CAN UNLOCK THE GOLDEN DOORS. IT'S SOMEWHERE IN THIS LABYRINTH, WHERE IT USED TO BE CURSED... THERE'S ANOTHER DEMON WHO KNOWS WHERE IT IS. IF YOU CAN GET THE STAR KEY, MAYBE YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE BOTTOM!
Image: Aight, I'll keep looking, thanks for the hint.

*: We make it back to the Twelve Meters without further incident. Let's see if other K phases would take us to interesting places.

Image

1/8th waxing sends us to The Road to Hell. It's a simple descending hallway that looks like it will return us to the Twelve Meters, but...

Image

Hmm.

Image

Yup, that was a hidden passage.


Image
Image: This is a dead end. You spent all that precious time coming here for nothing.
Image: Dick.
Image: Just so you know, there's a place nearby that looks like a dead end, but you can actually go through it. Have fun looking for it.
Image: I don't care, you're still a dick.

*: The only other available path leads to a Deathstone, and...

Image

...another hidden path. There's only a Burial Chamber behind, for Aciel, Skadi and Albion, so we return to the Twelve Meters. Half K takes us to Hell's Vault again, but we can take a different path. We faff around a bit, finding a Great Chakra and an Attack Mirror, until we're teleported to a room with an actual door... which takes us back to the entrance. Alright, I've had enough of this for now, let's give the Twelve Meters one more go.

Image

2/8th waning takes us to Hell's Maze.


Is that a Manikin?

Image
Image: Once you're inside, you can never get out.
Image: We'll see about that.
Image: But, if you do find a way out, please let me know!

Image

*: We have two doors from here. Let's go east first.

Image

We can't go back, but here are two more doors. If we had our automap this would probably be trivial, but I'll just have to draw my own at some point.


Image
Image: There was a guy who managed to escape this prison, and that's what he used to say. I wonder what he's doing now...

Music: Manekata

Image
Image: Aight, shoot.
Image
Image: Uh... You probably wouldn't know it from the way I've been acting down here, but, yeah, I do.
Image
Image: I've been called worse.
Image

Image

*: We actually run into some Manikin random encounters here too. Strange!

Image
Image: Do you think he can find his way out of here?
Image: I don't know... He'll probably give up, and then run home and cry about it. *chuckle*
Image: Joke's on you, assholes. I don't have a home.
Image: Come on, he can't do that. Think about it. How can he run home if he doesn't know where the exit is?
Image: Oh... That's true. ...So, this poor demon's lost and he's all alone? How sad. ...Hey, you there. If you wanna go home, head north. You'll find your way out of here eventually.

Image
Image: But, which way is it...? North or south, east or west...? Good luck finding it. By the way, I know exactly where it is.

Image
Image: You might as well give up all hope. Just look at me... I'm going absolutely nowhere...

Image
Image: ...that haircut...
Image: I contributed to society by doing just that. My company grew as a result, and became highly regarded.
Image
Image: If your company is the only aspect of your life worth mentioning, then I assume that it wasn't.
Image
Image: Just when I thought I'd achieved happiness, my fortune collapsed like a house of cards. You should be careful. You never know what tomorrow may bring...

Image
Image: Have you talked to either of them?
Image: Both, actually.
Image: Oddly enough, it feels like I've met them somewhere before...
Image: That businessman... That was Sakahagi, wasn't it?
Image: Yeah.
Image: He seemed... regretful.
Image: That's unlike him.
Image: IT IS SAID THAT REGRET CAN CHANGE THE NATURE OF A MAN.
Image: Bah, it's easy to be regretful when you've been condemned to eternal torment.
Image: If that was Sakahagi, does that mean the other one was Futomimi?
Image: He didn't strike me as the knife-licking type.
Image: Maybe regret changed him too.

Image
Image: ...Just kidding. You think this is the exit? There was a guy who escaped from here, with something he called the Afterlife Bell. He was saying that the bell has the power to resurrect the dead. If that's true, I wonder if he's come back to life in a cemetery somewhere...
Image: A cemetery, hmm? Not a lot of those left.

Image

*: At any rate, we enter the nearby vortex to get the heck out of here. It does return us to the Twelve Meters, but this time we turn back and return towards the Kalpa's entrance; we did pass a number of "left turns" on our way, and maybe they're less EXTREMELY dangerous now that Beelzebub is gone.

Image
Image: That means the Wicked King has been defeated, but... Who could it have been? ...It wasn't you, was it?
Image: Is that so hard to believe?

*: We run into Dr. Dark again up here, but we pass.

Image
Image: ...then you can call forth the deaths that you have conquered, just as you have created new demons. It all depends on the light of Kagutsuchi, though...

Image
Image: ...I'll sell you something special. Interested?
Image: Mmmmmaybe.
Image: Here's what I'm selling... ...a demon that wields an assortment of powerful attack spells. It's a charming and dependable companion! I'm asking 50000 Macca. I know it's kinda high, but it's well worth the price... So, you want it?
Image: I got plenty of demons who wield assortments of powerful attack spells. Maybe later, I guess.
Image: That's fine. If you change your mind, feel free to come back anytime.

*: This Broker is selling a level 60 Mothman with all Ma-dyne spells, Mahamaon, Mamudoon, Megidolaon and Mana Refill, which isn't too shabby if you want to fuse some of those onto something else, since you can find another Wilder and make an Element out of them, and combine it with another Element to make a Mitama.

A Chest in the same room contains a Soma. While we're waiting for full K, Black Rider learns Mana Drain, which will be super helpful, as his skills that make him effective in random battles are very expensive.


Image
Image: Of course!
Image: I heard that your innate abilities, such as your agility and strength, affect your performance in there. If you plan on collecting Macca in there, then you might want to train yourself first.

*: Ooh, right, I forgot about that. If your Agility is at least 15, you get a bit of a maneuverability boost, and I think you need a Strength of at least 15 to break some of the larger obstacles.

Image
Image: Whuh-oh.
Image: ...Who is he? Sorry, I can't give out his name. But... He's so noble, we call him the Lord of the Flies! I can't stop thinking about him...

*: Turning left at the very first intersection leads us to a wide hall with many doors. The first one has 25000 Macca behind, the second one another 25000, the third one is a Burial Chamber for Specter and Sakahagi, the fourth one...

Image
Image: Ehhh, mostly I guess.
Image: It can take you to different places like the vault or the maze, but... I'm warning you, don't go through it when Kagutsuchi shines the weakest.
Image: Why?
Image: ...Why? Whaddya mean, "Why?"! If you wander into the Wicked King's room, you won't come out alive!
Image: Haha, right, sure.

*: ...and the fifth one contains a Deathstone.

Image

I think this whole halllway would have been under the curse if we had come here without taking out Beelzebub first.


Image
Image: Ha, well said.
Image: It was VERY dangerous!!
Image: Uh...
Image: I mean, it was EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!!
Image: I KNOW.
Image: ...It's a thing of the past, though.

*: We keep climbing out. I'm pretty sure I know where the key is, and I also realize I forgot something important. In the central room of Dante's first maze...

Image
Image: Heeeeee hoooooo! I guess I'm a little too late.
Image: What the...
Image: I tried so hard to get here, too!
Image
Image
Image: Yyyyyeah.
Image: The "Emperor of Kabukicho" has finally made his comeback!!
Image: Not the best choice of venue, though.
Image: Um, if you're wondering how I managed to make a comeback... that's a secret.
Image: You have no idea, do you?
Image: Don't ask me why I shrank in size, either. Okay, hee ho?
Image: I couldn't care less, honestly.
Image: Anyway, once again I'm aiming to be the best! If I tag along with you, hee ho, I think I can become super-cool and super-strong!
Image: I... Uh, that's not...
Image: He's not wrong!
Image: Yeah, fair enough.
Image: So, let's go! Heeeeee hoooooo!!
Image

Image

*: Of course he starts at level 66. Black Frost lost his innate ailment reflection and his physical resistance is back to the standard 50%, but he does keep the rest of his immunities, and in fact the last three skills he learns are Void Mind, Void Curse and Void Nerve.

Now for the key. We climb further up to the Second Kalpa, and go see that one Efreet.


Image
Image: You can go now.
Image: Don't mind if I do!

Image

*: Indeed, the corridor is back to normal, though the tough random encounters still occur.

Image: You got something for me now?
Image
Image: My drinking buddy is somewhere up in Tokyo having a drink. He's got the key that opens the golden doors.
Image: Ah. Well, okay, I'll, uh, find him then. Thanks again for the other day!
Image: That's not as helpful as we'd like, in any case.
Image: Eh, there's only one decent bar in this craphole world, so it does narrow it down.
Image: Do you think his buddy could be Loki?
Image: Oh cripes, I hope not.

Image
Image: Well, not even he can stop our master's plans now.

*: That was the Flauros at the entrance to the second Kalpa. He's still talking about the voice we heard the first time we came down here.

Anyway, we take the shortcut out of the Labyrinth and warp back to Yurakucho Tunnel.


Image

Hmm, Titan must be doing good work.

Image

Image
Image: Oooh, good news then.
Image: I owe ya, lil' buckaroo! We'll split the treasure, as promised! There's four chests ahead, so pick two of 'em.

Image

Image

*: Two Chests and two cubes. We pick the two Chests, earning us a Sapphire and a Great Chakra.

Image

Image
Image: Yer more useful than a cat in a barnyard fulla mice! Here's a little somethin' fer ya! It was in one of ma chests, but I don't reckon I need it. Ya might be able to find a use fer it.
> You obtained a Kimon Ball.
Image: Huh... I wonder...

*: The Cubes contain 10000 Macca as well as the Kimon Ball; if you pick the Ball you essentially get cheated out of a pick, since Shige'll give it to you no matter what.

If we talk to him again...


Image: Hey, uh, where's Titan?
Image
Image: ...what? He died? What the hell, man?
Image: Well, if it's any comfort, he'll be joining his puree'd brothers.

*: So, yeah, don't lend Shige a demon you want to get back. Weak demons take longer to dig the tunnel though, so you don't want to cheap out. Besides, you can still get them back from the Compendium if you really gotta.

Next time: we find a bar, we find a graveyard, and we unravel the mysteries of the Kimon Ball!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:50 am

*: So, the Kimon Ball.

Image

Or, err, the Kimon Stone, as it now says in the inventory. We've seen this word before. Let's head to Asakusa. We heal up, save, register, and restock on Light Balls, earning a few Tickets, then we leave through the western path where the Collector Manikin has set up shop.


Image
Image: If you lose, you're out. That's pretty tough...
Image: It saves you the hassle of living in a world you despise, I suppose.
Image: Art thou thinking of abandoning thy fight?
Image: Ha, not a chance.

*: Zed levels up on the way and learns Glacial Blast from Miasma, replacing Shock. It's 25 MP instead of 9, but if a weak elemental skill would come in handy, we might as well use an attack item.

Image

All of our non-mastered Magatama are wriggling and shining, meaning that they would all teach us their next skill on level up. All, except Marogareh, our first one.

Image

This question mark is really the only instance of a Magatama with an unknown next skill. Strange!

Aaaanyway...

Image

Remember this temple in northwest Asakusa? The one that seals the Kimon of Tokyo?


Image

Image

> Will you enter?

We sure didn't come all this way for nothing.



Kishin Bishamon
Bishamonten is the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings, deities of Buddhist lore who preside over the cardinal directions and whose duty it is to defend the Buddha, Buddhists in general, and the realm of the quasi-divine Devas. He himself is the guardian of the North. In Japan, he is regarded as a mighty war god, which is somewhat at odds with his pacifist origins; there he is also counted among the Seven Lucky Gods.


*: Bishamon can be tough here if you don't know what to expect (he did instantly incinerate Shiki-Ouji and Gogmagog), but he doesn't have any irritating gimmicks and essentially offers a fight against a strong, straightforward opponent. He's got boss immunities, on top of reflecting fire and being weak to ice, and he knows Focus, Hassohappa, Prominence, Diarahan and Holy Wrath. If you just chip away at him he'll use Diarahan at some point and negate all your efforts, so you mainly want to apply buffs and debuffs until you can chunk down his 4568 HP in a few rounds.

Image

And here we have the upgraded Force element Magatama, with decent fighter stats. The first skill it would teach us is Wind Cutter, which is a single-target Force skill that is in fact one of the most damaging spells in the game. If you're doing a specialized Magic build, it's hard to go wrong with Tornado, Wind Cutter and Force Boost, even for the endgame.

Alright, that's it for this quest line until we find the last Magatama. Now, we need a cemetery, and as far as we know, Zoshigaya's the only one left. To Ikebukuro!

We pick up a few more elemental Rocks while we're here, earning us another tenth Ticket. However, I pick the black box by accident, and we only get a Bead. I like getting Beads because you can't buy them anywhere and they're great healing resources even with Zed's low Magic... but they're not Incense.


Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: The Manikin over there died... He died the instant he became human.
Image: Ouch.
Image: You see, humans can't live in the Vortex World... May his soul rest in peace...
Image: I'm pretty sure you need a fact check on that one... but that certainly is one dead guy right there, in any case.

Image

*: Yeah, that's a faintly glowing, human-shaped pile of dust.

Image

> Something is in its hand. Will you take it?

Image: Well, you sure don't need this anymore, buddy.

> You obtained the Afterlife Bell.

Image

Intriguing!

*: Alright, what's next...? A bar, right! We head to Ginza.

Image

Aw hell, there he is. It's gotta be him.

Image
Image: So.
Image: Oh... You again.
Image: Star Key. Hand it over.
Image: What? The Star Key...?
Image: Don't play dumb.
Image: Heheheh... It's in my stomach... As liquor, of course.
Image: Behold our savior and his miracles! Behold he who turns keys into booze!
Image: Do not encourage him.
Image: I sold it to a curious Manikin.
Image: That's... actually pretty good news.
Image: ...I needed the money, since my room was raided. ...Know what I mean? Heheheh...
Image: I'm not sorry.

*: We head straight back to Asakusa. Using the Talk command in the Collector Manikin's shop...

Image: So, you got any new cool stuff lately?
Image
Image: ...
Image: Haha what.
Image: Oh, Loki. Loki, Loki, Loki.
Image: It's called the Star Key. But, I'm not interested in it. I'm only interested in man-made items. So, I'll give it to you if you'd like.
Image
Image: Hey, sure, I'll gladly take it off your hands.
Image: I see. Okay then, here you go.
> ZedPower received the Star Key.
Image: Thanks!
Image: Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your shopping.

*: I pick up three Wagtail Plumes, dude earned our business.

We could go back to the Labyrinth right away, but I'd like to perform at least one fusion before we do so, and none of the candidates are quite ripe just yet. So we return to Yurakucho Tunnel and resume following Hikawa's troops.


Image

Well, that guy wasn't kidding when he mentioned steep slopes. In any case, if Nihilo's Berith and Eligor could find a way out on horseback, I'm sure we won't have insurmountable problems down here.

*: We slide down.

Image

There's definitely no climbing back up from here.

Image

There was a down ladder near the Terminal that we didn't really explore, so I kind of assume that's one way back, though.

Image

Yup, we find the bottom part of that ladder quickly enough. Let's return to the... tunnels...

Image

Oh. Welp. We do climb the ladder and fall down the slope again, and we go all the way down to B4 before we reach a split in the path. We run into Loas, Kaiwans, Gogmagogs and Titans here.

Going through a northward path on B4, we find another slope, and slide down deeper still. It really feels like another dungeon that we might have to visit several times going in the same direction before we can clean it out. B5 starts with another assortment of doors, but I figure we can always pick the northernmost path and work our way south later.

As is my luck though, we find a ladder back to B4. It looks like a separate section though, and we come across Small Terminal A on the way. Then there's a one-way door, another slope... Aight, you know what? You get the picture, I ought to spare you the details before I put you to sleep. Lemme get back to you when there's something new.

...okay, this is interesting.

Image

The four paths leading to the space inside this corridor are downward slopes. We came in from the south, the western path is one-way, the northern room is an empty dead end, and the eastern room has a ladder down, which I assume is our way back up. Let's drop in from the northern end.

Image

Oooh, nice. While we run around, Titania learns Charisma, a passive skill that randomly raises the success rate of all her conversation attempts. And Zed masters Miasma without learning Ice Drain from it.

Image

We're now a Slayer, which is a Dark-aligned title, and quite fitting besides. That'll be one more thing to check out when we get back to the Labyrinth.

At any rate, the Chest contains a Bead of Life. That seems like an elaborate setup for a piece of... treasure...

Wait, the only ways out of here are upwards slopes. What the...

Image

Image

Ah, of course. A series of one-way doors and ladders allows to us climb back up to the eastern side of the circular hallway. There were a couple doors I didn't have the chance to investigate, so I'm going to fall back down.

Image

Oh dang, a loose recruitable Cerberus. I definitely want one, but considering our crowded situation it might be a little while.

Going south from the room the pit drops you in allows you in a little corridor loop with a couple Cubes. One of them is a fixed encounter with two Loas and a Cerberus, which earns you a Megido Rock, and the other contains a Soma Droplet. There's still a one-way door to the west down here though, so we climb back up again, and drop down the western slope. Along the way, Shiki-Ouji learns Mahamaon, making it one of the few demons that naturally learns both Mahamaon and Mamudoon.

Image

Ah, right where I hoped we'd fall. The first door west from here has a Chest with a Pearl, and the second one leads us up...

Image

That door to the east is one-way and would take us to that round corridor again, but there's a new door to the south.

Image

Now this is promising!

Image

We keep going upwards, I like the sound of that. In fact, we find Small Terminal B here.

Image

I can't help but wonder if the game's doing this to mess with me, but I remain optimistic.

Image

Aw yeah. I knew we were bros, Nocturne. I knew we were bros.


Image

Image
Image: I know, right?
Image: But, you're best off not goin' near the Diet Building. If you get in the way of Commander Hikawa... *gulp*
Image
Image: I'm not in his way. He's in my way.
Image: Then, Commander Hikawa really will make you... *gulp*
Image: He sure as hell is free to try. I could use a challenge.
Image: BEWARE WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
Image: I know, I know. Is just, it can't hurt to appear confident, right?

Image

Image

Image
Image: Yeah, pretty much.
Image: I see... But, there's no need to help. We have 'their' protection.
Image: Hmm?
Image: I won't tell you to turn back, but from here on out, I can't guarantee your safety...
Image: That's alright. No one can.

Image

*: Oh-ho! The ends of the station lobbies opposite the entrances are usually empty, but this one has a Chest with a Vitality Incense inside.

Image

Image

We're back in the bottom section. That's clearly the National Diet Building up north, but let's explore some.

Image

Ah, this is the other side of the Amala Temple area. The Cube here contains five Life Stones, and that's all she wrote. Time to get political, then!

Image

Image

Image

The National Diet Building is the rough equivalent of, say, the United States Capitol, being a place where elected officials meet to grind legislation into the guts of the constitution to make the juicy sausages of representative democracy.




Image
Image
Image
Image
Voice: This edifice of Magatsuhi is in Nihilo's possession... Our god shall soon descend upon us, and we shall acquire our Reason. Leavest not, and thy life shall be the price. Begone, lost sheep...!
Image: Whoever you are, you can clearly see me. So take a good look at this!
Image: Wait, I thought this meant he thinks you're number one.
Image: It... really doesn't.
Voice: ............
> You cannot hear the voice anymore.

Image

*: There are doors to either side of this hall, but there's clearly a Terminal up the stairs across the entrance. And it's a large one! What a dang relief.

Image

Two doors on the ground floor, and two doors up here. Where to start...?

...actually, come to think of it, I have a bigger problem. There's no way I'm tackling the notorious Diet Building mid-update, that's crazypants.

Ooooh, alright, lessee. Let's go back to the Tunnel and clear it out first. Maybe that'll earn us enough experience that we can get a fusion done.

Aaaaand we only missed a Bead in a Cube near the beginning and a bunch of dead ends. Gogmagog leveled up but he's definitely not up for fusion. Hmm.

...if I'm in such a hurry to get a fusion done, why did I even keep him on board? Derp.

Aight then, let's go ask a friendly information source about the Afterlife Bell.


Image

Image
Image: Yo, Lady B, sorry to be a bother, but I ran out of friends who might have the least idea what this thing really does. Can you help a dude out?
Image
Image: It's called the Afterlife Bell. It has the power to resurrect wandering souls. I thought it was still hidden in the Labyrinth of Amala...
Image: Well, you gave me the run of the place, I've been more or less turning it inside out for loot, and I found a couple clues that allowed me to track it down. I don't know why you would have expected something different.
Image: A Manikin must have stolen it and fled, in hopes of returning to the Vortex World.
Image
Image: ...do you know how Manikins are born?
Image: From river mud? I don't know the details.
Image: They are originally fragments of human emotions... that acquire physical form and become sentient.



Image: So they really couldn't create their own Reason, then.
Image: That's... kind of a shame.
Image: Would they not have been your enemies, if they were to create a world without humans?
Image: Well, they were human enough, I guess.
Image: NO, THEY WERE NOT.
Image: For me, I mean, even if not for this creation nonsense. Besides, don't Christians believe the first people were made out of clay or something?
Image: Not only Christians, but, yes, they often do.
Image: This whole situation is fucked up the a.
Image: Business as usual, then?
Image: You know it!

*: We then take the shortcut to the Third Kalpa, and look for the golden door. You usually get to its location by failing one of the stat doors around here, but there's also a ladder in the north section of the Luck area that'll get you down there.

Image

Image

Image

Oh! I didn't expect this, but if it's taking us to the Kalpa below, it makes sense.

*: Good Lord this tunnel is difficult. But we manage without too much damage, and find ourselves in the fourth Kalpa.

Image

Image

Image

Well, that was simple enough. I don't want to get too deep in the fifth Kalpa without my fusion done, but we should at least be able to unlock the final shortcut.

We go back to the third Kalpa, then down to the fourth, and we head for the Twelve Meters of Eternity. Speaking of, it can take you to four places. If you go during new K, you're sent to the Hall, where Beelzebub awaits. If you go during half K or full K, you're sent to the Vault with the teleport maze. If you go during any odd-numbered phase, you're sent to the Road, where you'll find the Burial Chamber behind a couple hidden passages. And if you go during the remaining two phases, 2/8 and 6/8, you're sent to the Maze with the Manikins. For now, we go to the Maze, and find the two strong souls again. From the start, Sakahagi is all the way north, then west, and Futomimi is all the way east.


Image
Image: I never felt bad about it, and I don't regret living that way, either. But... when I met that girl, the words just slipped out of my mouth... "Everybody has kindness in their heart." Why the hell did I say that? Maybe I was just curious what warmth and kindness feel like... If I could live my life again, I... I'd wanna be the kind of person who is liked by everyone.
Image
Image
Image: Yeah, I'm, uh, all about feelings and stuff. Lay it on me.
Image
Image: ...you've made the right choice before. You can make it again. Here, listen.
> You rang the Afterlife Bell. Its pure tone fills the air...
Image: I guess it's time to say goodbye to this place... The part of my soul that I was missing... The "me" that I really wanted to become... It's gonna wait with other demons for a new life... ......
Image

Image
Image: I should have taken revenge back then, for what that boy did to me.
Image
Image
Image: If I ever screw up badly, I can only hope one day someone will give me another chance. And it won't be said that I bring only death and pain. Go, and do better.
> You rang the Afterlife Bell. Its pure tone fills the air...
Image: Ah... I can see... my black heart... A new shape surrounds it... I am in a place... that gives rise to many demons... ......
Image
Image: I hope you didn't just make a terrible mistake.
Image: The Manikins are all but gone, Ms. Takao is apparently under divine protection, I don't mind if Sakahagi takes out Hikawa, and the other demons can take care of themselves. How much harm could he do?

*: Time to take a peek at the next Kalpa. We return to the ladder at the exit of the Twelve Meters.

Image
Image: Now, you can move on. Good luck!

Image

Image



Image: So. It's me. I'm the demon to be created.
Image: You're taking this remarkably well, all things considered.
Image: I guess I've known for a while, somewhere in the back of my mind.
Image: And you guys both knew too, didn't you?
Image: Yes, we did.
Image: My apologies.
Image: No, no, it's... it's fine. I get it. If anyone had told me sooner, I probably would have been pretty mad.
Image: BUT YOU'RE NOT MAD NOW.
Image: I've seen a lot of shit go down since I got here. I guess at this point I don't know what to think anymore. I mean, Chiaki and Isamu, right? They were more human than I was, and look at how they turned out. And Hikawa didn't even need to be part demon to murder everybody.
Image: I would refrain from judging all humans from a few of their least savory examples.
Image: I know, I know, but...
Image: So, will you go through with it?
Image: Is that even a hee ho question? It's totally gonna make you super-cool and super-strong!
Image: I haven't decided yet. I guess there's still stuff I want to do up top before I figure it out. Besides, maybe I'll want to support Ms. Takao and her Reason, right? There's still a chance it won't be completely messed up.
Image: The outlook isn't so great on that.
Image: I still gotta see for myself. And on top of that, even if Aradia turns out to be a wet petard, maybe I'll want to finish this whole thing on my own terms. It's not like, you know, like serving Lucifer is my only alternative. It can't be.
Image: Well, for what it's worth, we're with you either way.
Image: It's worth more than you can imagine. It really is. Being a human is pretty cool, but, maybe being one of you guys wouldn't be so terrible. I guess we'll see.

*: Hijiri's fate brings to mind the medieval, typically anti-semitic legend of the Wandering Jew, about a man who taunted Jesus on his way to Golgotha to be crucified, and was therefore punished by God by being forced to roam the earth in misery, unable to die until the end of the world. In the context of the series though, there is a theory that Hijiri is in fact...
Image: Oh this gon' be good.
*: ...that Hijiri is in fact the protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei II.
Image: ...what.
*: I'm not sure of the details, but at least one path in SMT2 has the protagonist outright kill YHVH, or whatever was the current manifestation of YHVH at the time. And his punishment for this is stated to be an eternal cycle of torture, painful death, resurrection, and more torture.
Image: No, seriously, what.
Image: Almost makes you feel glad you quit before then, eh?
Image: So I'm Hijiri. Wow.
*: Well, maybe not. That theory has never been confirmed as far as I know, and besides, given the whole Amala Universe business, it's just as possible that the world where SMT 1 and 2 take place is the same world where Nocturne takes place, but on a prior cycle of rebirth, as it is possible that they are different worlds entirely.
Image: So, Hawke, tell me. Where'd you get the hat?
Image: Where'd you get the broken face?
Image: Huh? I don't-
*: Whoa! Whoa whoa whoa! Settle down!
Image: Lemme at 'im!
*: Aight kids, time out, for both of you!
Image: But-
*: ZIP IT.

Welp, in any case, it can't hurt to just open the door, right?

Image

Oh.

*: Looks like we can't proceed further inside without agreeing to meet with the Big L. Now this may look like a definite point of no return, but it actually is not. In fact, there's some pretty cool stuff in the final Kalpa that we can get to without locking ourselves into or out of anything, and I definitely want to check it out.

Image
Image
Image: Uh, yeah, sure, it all sounds super spiffy and everything.
Image
Image: I will open the way to the last door; please use the candelabrum and come see us. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Image

Well hey, if I change my mind, I'll have lied to the Prince of Lies. I'm sure he'll be able to appreciate the irony of the situation.

*: We ride the last tunnel down. Dang there are actually obstacles coming up from behind, falling faster than we do. That pretty much requires pure memorization right there.

Image

Image

Slayer Francois Hawke. Sovereignty.

Image

Image

Image

Image

*: As anticlimactic as this is, I don't want to get into this just yet, so we take the shortcut up to the first layer, then back down to the third.

Image

Image

Image

The Cube here contains a Deathstone.


Image
Image: I'll sell you something special. ...Wait a minute, your party's full. If you want a new companion, make some room first and then come back.

*: This broker sells a Lv4 Preta. This isn't so great, but it is a Lv4 Gaki that comes with Megido, Megidola, Megidolaon, Mediarahan, Samarecarm, Tetrakarn, Makalakarn, and Recarmdra (an easily abusable spell that sacrifices its user to restore the entire party's HP and MP). It's not a bad idea to let him earn a bunch of levels and use him as sacrificial fusion fodder.

And that's it for the Dark alignment door. I did say it didn't change much!

I take the time to get into a few fights here. Long gains Violet Flash, his last skill. This dude's been with us for a long time! Soon afterwards, Shiki-Ouji learns Megido, Titania learns Mana Surge, Zed passes on Wind Cutter, and Dionysus learns Wine Party, a unique passive conversation skill that occasionally plies an enemy with drink.

Aight, that'll have to be good enough. Let's... leave the Labyrinth. And head for the Cathedral.

My original plan was to level Titania and Shiki-Ouji, then fuse them together to make a level 70 Night demon. However, due to the way fusion works, now that we've made Night Black Frost available, that combination would produce... Lv66 Black Frost. And that's no good for us, as we of course already have Black Frost. I have other plans for Titania now, and besides she still needs to learn her final skill. But Shiki-Ouji's done, at least.

Back when we fought Sakahagi, he was of the Corpus race; if we had fought Futomimi, he would also have been a Corpus. The Corpus are a special race, and you can't ever fuse something into a Corpus, or get one in your party. However, now that their powerful souls have been guided by the Afterlife Bell, Sakahagi and Futomimi have transcended their past natures as Manikins. Sakahagi is counted among the Foul, and Futomimi is counted among the Kishin.

Foul and Kishin, we can fuse.

Shiki-Ouji + Garuda =


Image
Image: Friend, I know you're not the type to seek vengeance. Or, not anymore, anyway, right? But we might just get it anyway.
Image: If I may ask, what kind of world would you create?
Image: It hardly matters anymore, does it?
Image: Still, I would hear it.
Image: I gotta say I'm more than a little curious myself.
Image: I still don't know, honestly. But... The world you talked about... I don't think I would have had it in me to crush it.
Image: You did help us, all the way to the end, even though you weren't one of us.
Image: The Vortex World may forget the Manikins, but I won't. It's an honor to have you by my side.
Image: Let us go forth, then. There are still abominations we can prevent, I'm sure.

Image

*: Futomimi's skill setup intends him to be a physical bruiser, and that's sort of what his boss battle would have shown us. He actually has more Magic than Strength though, and the only physical attack skill he learns is Lunge (though it's still halfway decent with Focus on), so I got him Rakunda, Mazandyne and Megido to round him out. And with the ever useful Life Drain, he'll always be able to cast them.

I would have liked Garuda to learn more of its own skills, but I just had to free up a spot. Speaking of which, I use that spot to summon up two Nigi Mitama from the Compendium, and fuse them to Titania and Black Frost so their Glacial Blast and Mabufudyne can benefit from Ice Boost. Neither of them have MP recovery, but when they do spent their limited juice, it'll count. Of course it's 18000 Macca each, but we have like 700000 right now so it's really no big deal.

Alright then, we have one final dip in the Labyrinth on our plate before we return to the Diet Building. And for this one, we head straight to the fifth Kalpa.


Image

Well, doesn't this look familiar?

But I can't say I'm surprised.



Image: That was a real cool speech and all, but Lucifer can wait.
Image: Hmm? What do you have in mind, then?
Image: You and I, we're gonna clean up the Japanese government.
Image: That's funny, I could have sworn you just told me we were going to clean up the Japanese government.
Image: I'm your client, I've paid good money, and if I say we're fixing democracy, then democracy is getting hella fixed.
Image: That sounds like an even bigger waste of my time than that whole business with Lucia.
Image: What were you even thinking, though? Seriously. Did your agent have a hidden grudge or something?
Image: Alright then, enough talk, democracy isn't going to fix itself!

*: Of course, Dante's coin is double-sided; if you pick heads you'll win every time.

Image

So, Fiend Dante. Not only does he have standard boss immunities, but he resists both physical and magic damage. All of his skills are unique to him, though one of them is a renamed existing skill. We've seen most of the ones he has already; Never Yield is functionally the same as Endure, and Intimidate is actually a passive conversation skill that works best against indecisive demons at least ten levels lower than him, or demons with a childlike personality. He'll get more new toys as he gets stronger, but I'll mention those as they appear.

There are a couple fairly big downsides to Dante, however. One of them may not actually be a problem for us, depending on Stuff that I can't quite talk about yet, but in any case, you can't kick him out of your roster (though he doesn't have to be in your active party), and you can't fuse him, so he's using up a slot until your New Game+. And since you can't fuse him, you can't use Mitama to boost his stats. Even though he starts pretty strong, his stats only grow slowly as he levels up and he can easily be outclassed by high level custom demons. That said, you can give him Incense to remedy to that somewhat, and it might not be such a bad idea given that stats have a hard cap of 40 and the Demi-fiend can count on endgame Magatama stat bonuses for a fair chunk of that number.

In the end, it's often recommended to skip hiring Dante entirely, even if only not to permanently occupy an ally slot. But dang, this is a LP, how can I not show him off? His name's on the box!

Aaaanyway! Man that was one disjointed-ass update. But at least we straightened a bunch of loose ends, right? I still want to fully explore Hell's Vault at some point, but for now it's high time we get back on the main path.


Image: Look, broseph, I'm sorry I mentioned your ridiculous hat.
Image: IT'S NOT MY GOD DAMNED HAT YOU WHIRLING CROTCHNOZZLE.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:27 am

*: As we start, I notice something I've somehow never consciously realized before: the Labyrinth theme adds melody and instrumentation as you go from Kalpa to Kalpa. I put together this video to show how it's changed since we first came here!



With that done, we head to Ginza. I pick up a few Repulse Bells at Rag's, then register, heal up, and save. We're about ready for the Diet!

Image

As it turns out, both doors on the upper level next to the Terminal are locked from the other side, which cuts down on our options pretty quickly.

We run into Kaiwan, Cerberus and Loa down here, and encounters with Efreet, Djinn, and Girimehkala await us deeper inside.

Image

Quite unlike the other man-made places we've visited, the Diet is definitely not washed-out and desaturated. This was a place of power before the Conception, and it still is one now.

...the eastern door on the ground floor is also locked. That's one dilemma solved.

Image

Ice Boost. Aw yeah.


Image

Image

There sure is.

Image

Image

Image

Hmm, one's missing. Well, I can't say I care all that much about dead politicians. Let's get a move on.



Tyrant Surt
Surt (or Surtr) is another Jötunn, like Skadi, but he's also the guardian of Muspelheim, the realm of the fire demons. When Ragnarök comes, he is prophesied to lead the hordes of Muspelheim in battle against the gods, personally slaying the fertility god Freyr, and later engulfing the entire Earth in flames. He's basically the great fiery warlord of the apocalypse.


*: Well he went down like a punk. Surt's a pretty tough opponent when you're not completely immune to fire, but I suppose you'll have to take my word for it.

On top of having the typical boss immunities and obviously absorbing fire, Surt resists physical damage. He knows Tempest, Hell Thrust, Retaliate, Dekunda, Beast Eye, Hellfire and Ragnarok, the latter of which is the strongest single-target fire spell in the game. He also has the entirely unique quirk of a basic attack that deals fire damage, and this applies to other effects that use his basic attack, such as any counter skills he may have (but not other physical attack skills). Of course in this case this played against him, since it meant he could only ever harm us with Hell Thrust and Tempest, which aren't bad skills per se but are kinda middling by this point of the game, and easily healed through besides.

For a moment I consider returning to Ginza to get our MP back, but, eh, nah.

Image

The statue in the northeast is gone, but so is its pedestal.


Image

Image
Image: Looks like this might turn out to be interesting after all... I think I'll play around with him!
Image

*: The statue disappears. Ominous!



Image

Image

Image
Image: Finally... Finally, the Reason of Shijima will be conceived!

Image

So the world ended at 10:08.

Image

Image

Lv48 Yoma Purski
Purski is another name for Airavata, the flying white elephant who serves as steed for the Hindu rain god Indra. His task is to plunge his seven trunks deep in the waters of the underworld, and spray it into the clouds, where Indra transforms it into life-giving rain.


*: A similar room at the end of the first south corridor contains a Cube with a Smoke Ball.

Image

Image

Lv56 Night Queen Mab
Queen Mab is another fairy character known from Shakespeare's works, Romeo and Juliet this time, though she may be a reference to an older folkloric figure. She's said to be a tiny creature who drives a delicate chariot made out of various insect parts up sleeping people's noses, and gives them dreams of satisfaction, fulfillment and success.

A High Pixie will evolve into Queen Mab if the Demi-fiend's level is high enough, though if you want one, you should probably hire a new Pixie from Yoyogi Park and evolve her twice instead of keeping your original ally as a High Pixie for fifty-odd levels.


Image
Image: The Nihilo demons suddenly arrived, and now the halls are all messed up!
Image: Well, they do have a lot of horses, if you know what I mean.
Image: ...It's okay to go this way, right? It's not a picture, is it...?
Image: Huh? What are you talking about? Hello?

*: He says nothing more.

Image
Image: Not for long, I don't think.
Image: Oh, what to do...? Yosuga? Maybe Musubi?

Image

Image

Is that another pedestal at the end of this hallway? What's it doing there?

Image

Waaait a minute.

Image

Um.

Image

Image: You have got to be kidding me. Is that your plan, Hikawa?
Image: That's cute, he thinks you're Wile E. Coyote.
Image: Who?
Image: You know, Road Runner, that whole thing. Meep-meep.
Image I, uh... I don't...
Image: Ahhhh... Never mind.

*: From a distance, the illusion is actually pretty convincing!

Image

The nearby Cube is empty, but we can head north from here.


Image

Image

I knew politicians were crooked, but I didn't expect it'd leach into the actual building.

Image

This definitely looks like a safer direction.

Image

Oh.

Image: I gotta say, I don't really know much about Japanese architecture. Was this place always like this, or...?
Image: I want to say no, but, well, government. Whatchagonnado.

Image

Image

*: It turns out there are no gimmicks there, the floor just angles up and down for a bit. Behind the first door to the north...

Image

Oh shi, I can't not record this, wow. Lessee... Man I'm glad I keep save states for stuff like this.



I had no idea how well these tricks would hold up in high res, but this is still mind-blowing.

Turning back...


Image
Voice: You fell for my trap!
Image: Your trap? I thought this was an art installation! Are you sure you're not just trying to be creative?
Voice: Dumbass! Get outta here!

Image

*: We're teleported back to the false corner. If all of this guy's traps look so rad, I won't mind running into more of them.

Image

The end of this corridor seems normal from a distance, but if you get close to the second door and look at an angle, it's clear this is another trick painting.




Image

*: We're sent to another hallway this time. I'll want to check out that second door later though.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The north and west doors look legit, but the south and east ones are clearly fake. Let's try north.

Image

Image

Yeah, no contest, east it is.

Image

Image

Let's try the door.

Image

Yeah, no. North it is, then.

Image

Image

Hmm.


Image
Image: If you don't have the eyes to tell the truth from the lies, you'll be tricked over and over. Beyond the truth waits the demon in charge of this place. That's why I pick the lies...

Image

*: All of the doors here look painted on. Except the one we came from, of course. I'd rather exhaust my other options before I take a chance here. We go back south, then east.

Image

Image

Image

Not falling for that one again!

*: After a fight with two Decarabia, Dionysus levels up and learns Dismal Tune, replacing Persuade. He then gives us Luck Incense!

Image

Image

This door is clearly leading to that long hallway, so we go east instead.

Image

Nope.

Image

Image

Seems legit...

The first western door reveals a Cube with 3000 Macca, the second nothing, and the third is a Mute trap. Before we reach the end of the hall, Zed levels up and doesn't learn Force Drain from Gundari.

Image

Image

One of those doors clearly takes us back to the Terminal, so there's one option left.

Image

Yeah this is definitely not another dead end.

Image

Nice try!

Image

The lights here are swinging back and forth. We gotta be close.




Vile Mada
In Hindu legend, Mada is a giant Rakshasa whose name means "intoxicator", created when the twin deities called Aswin needed to defend themselves from Indra attacking them for their pride. Mada could change its size at will and grew so large that it threatened to swallow the entire world, so Indra surrendered and accepted to share with the Aswin the Soma he had given to the other gods.


*: Gah, I brought Long in because I figured I'd use Makakaja to accelerate the rest of the fight, but all he did was gank Dante's experience at the last second. Oh well!

Mada has boss immunities, and absorbs physical damage (yay). He knows Beast Eye, Hades Blast, Agidyne, Dekunda, Debilitate, and can use Gathering to summon Pazuzu. His signature skill is Intoxicate, which has a high chance of inflicting Panic to any demon vulnerable to Mind ailments.

He's irritating to fight with a physical-built Demi-fiend, but unlike most physical-immune boss battles, the Pazuzu he summons give you something worth punching so it's not a bad idea to keep Focus up. Other than that, having your own Dekunda effect is a must (on account of Debilitate), you probably want to bring as many Mind-immune allies as he you can, and, well, bring in your good spellcasters. Fortunately Mada has only like 2500 HP and relies on Pazuzu to heal him, so if you got a good survival strategy going on, you can get away with using demons who have attack magic but aren't necessarily specialized nukers.


Image

We've been returned to the entrance of the second floor, where we first saw the empty pedestal in the trick picture. The way to proceed is clearly east, but I want to go back and make sure I didn't miss any loot.

Image
Image: I guess I'm... saved.

*: And, no, that was pretty much it, apart from a couple dead ends with illusions we've already seen. We do open the shortcut to the Terminal, though, and it doesn't lock behind us. We're not in too bad a shape, but given the opportunity, it would be foolhardy not to get a MP recharge, so we do so.

In Ginza, a Preta buys a Life Stone off us for 40 Macca. Can't forget the little people!

Image

Image

Image

This would be the second floor balcony in the Central Tower.


Image
Image: It's hard to miss!
Image: Hikawa and another human -- a woman -- took that to the top.
Image: Aw crap, she got caught. This isn't looking good.
Image: ...W-What kind of world is Hikawa planning to create?
Image: It's built on mass murder and kidnapping. What do you think?

*: Titania levels up and learns her final skill, Prayer. It restores the entire party's HP to maximum and cures all ailments. I did say she was going to turn into a spectacular healer! I let it replace Charisma.

Image
Image: Not only Surt, but Mada as well... ...Be it so, he shan't travel far! With my magic, he shall forever wander these halls!
Image

Image

A Chest in plain sight? Don't mind if I do!

Image

...oh. Very funny.

Image

Image
Voice: With my power, thy path hath been closed!

*: We hear a strange sound, but nothing visibly changes. Unless...

Image

Ah. Yeah, the way back is blocked.


Image

> You can hear a voice.
Voice: With my power, thy path hath been closed!

Image

*: Real classy. We turn back and try the obviously painted-on door in the east.

Image

And we're teleported... to the same spot. Well that's odd. It must be the return spot for several traps. We head south next.

Image

Image

Clearly Mada wasn't responsible for all of the weird crap going on around here.

Image

There are some off shadows here, hmm.

Image

The only doors that aren't clearly fake are the ones untouched by shadow.


Image

Image
Image: But, there is nothing to worry about. We will soon receive our Reason of Shijima. The moment in near...

Image

Image
Image: I wasn't waiting for your permission, but, thanks?
Image: So, please don't eat me!

*: It's a Megido Rock. Ehh.

Image

Image

Image

Maybe we can talk to this guy from here.

> You can hear a voice...
Image: Aw heck.
Voice: With my power, thy path hath been closed!

*: Oh, he just blocked our way back again.

Image
Image: I'll be free if the demon here is defeated, so someone beat him!
Image: That sounds like my kind of gig.
Image: You really ought to charge for that kind of work.
Image: I was going to kill it anyway, so why bother?
Image: It's the principle of thing! When amateurs like you run around killing demons for free, it devaluates the labor of professionals.
Image: Dude, you charged me one Macca.
Image: He's got you there!
Image: Ha, fair enough!
Image: I don't care if only one type of attack works! Just try everything, dammit!

Image

*: Going west, south, then west again from that spirit, we unlock a door leading to the eastern side of the entrance room. Time to head back east!

Image

Image
Voice: ...Truth and falsity are but light and darkness. Dost though have the capacity to find my true self? Thou shan't escape from this labyrinth, lest though seest the truth...!
Image: Yeah, no, screw that.

*: We run past the statues and head for the door at the east end of the hall.

Image

That can't have been this easy.

Image
Voice: With my power, thy path hath been closed!

Image

Of course.

Image

Left hand low at his side, right hand on a cane. Will that help?

Image

Image

*: All the statues look the same, so it actually doesn't. Hmm...

Ah-ha!

Image

The second one from the right on the north side is missing its reflection in the floor, making it look like that one pedestal without a statue in a corner of the entrance.




Image: You're pretty tough, kid!
Image: Ha, you got some moxie yourself!

Tyrant Mot
Mot is an ancient Semitic god of death, from the same mythology as the original Baal. Him and Baal have a pretty severe enmity going on; Mot threatens to eat him and his relatives a bunch, and apparently they succeed in killing each other a few times, until Mot's dad intervenes and forces him to surrender. It would seem the texts detailing their struggles are contemporary to some parts of the Old Testament, but they haven't been nearly as well-preserved, and many details of the story are lost to human knowledge.


*: This is what the spirit meant by "only one type of attack works". Mot is weak to Electricity, but he reflects Force, absorbs Ice, nullifies Fire, and has the same extreme physical resistance as Black Frost (on top of, you know it, boss immunities). He knows Beast Eye, Makakaja, Megidolaon, Tempest, Dekunda, Mazandyne, Diarama and Avenge (which is the strongest counter skill). We're used to dealing all of these skills individually, but this is the first time we're exposed to chained Beast Eyes into a bunch of Makakaja and Megidolaon. The magic power buff stacks will also boost his Diarama, so, really, the most important thing you can bring to this fight is a Dekaja effect.

The second most important thing you can bring to this fight is an ally who can, you know, actually hurt Mot at all. I didn't necessarily plan it that way, but I'm sure glad I hired Dante, because if it wasn't for Roundtrip, our only Electric damage would have been Mazio Stones, and we'd have had to count on buffing up Futomimi's Megido to do the killing. And considering Futomimi got nuked hard, well, I'm sure you can imagine the hassle.

At any rate, Endure and Never Yield saved the day in extremis, as they are wont to do. There's a point to be made about not needing revival effects if your tactics are sound, but dang, I still appreciate the margin of error.

I wish Divine Shot's last battle had been a better showcase for it, but such is life in the zone. Spiral Viper has higher raw damage, but crits less often. Apparently some people prefer keeping Divine Shot and I'd say that's a defensible point of view, but neither will be the last single-target physical skill we learn so it hardly matters, I might as well show them both off.

And, yeah, Albion! Getting rid of Gogmagog's weakness to fire will do wonders.

Before proceeding further east, we do a sweep of the East Wing's ground floor.

Image

Image

Image

Image

*: Dionysus learns Tempest, replacing Maragion, Parvati learns Mediarama, replacing Sexy Gaze, and while I think of it...

Image

Image

Image

Image

These would be Deadly Fury and Spiral Viper. That's right, we get FACE LASERS.

We make another quick trip to Ginza, and return to the east of the statue hall.


Image

Image

Image

Well this is looking fancy.

*: The end of this hall is another false corner, so we have little choice. And the door gives us a "strong power" warning.



Deity Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian god of covenants and oaths; along with Rashnu, the god of justice, and Sraosha, the god of obedience, he stands in judgement at the Chinvat Bridge, which all souls must cross on their way to the land of the dead.

Strangely enough, a secret cult to Mithra became widespread within the Roman empire, its distinctive hidden, underground temples being fairly common in several areas of Europe (there were probably at least 680 in Rome alone), but also to a lesser extent in Greece, Egypt and Syria. The figure of the nude winged lion-man entwined by a snake is actually from this Roman interpretation of the older deity. Very few details on the origins, theology and rituals of this cult remain to us; if anything, the secrecy involved all but guaranteed true knowledge of the articles of its faith would not survive its last initiate.


*: So, uh, I guess this is what happens when a sucker doesn't resist physical damage. Mithra only has standard boss immunities, so it's your cue to go nuts with your strongest attacks.

Mithra's gimmick is that he tends to spam instant death effects: he knows Dragon Eye, Mudoon, Mamudoon, Hamaon, and Mahamaon. Unless the Demi-fiend has learned either Void Death or Void Expel, he can't be immune to both Death and Expel at the same time, so it's not a bad idea to have a Tetraja-capable ally or to keep a pile of Tetraja Rocks handy. Or to, you know, vaporize him in four turns, that'll work too.

Mithra also knows Debilitate, Holy Wrath and Megidola, so he's not completely neutered by bringing along Fiends or other allies immune to instant death. Do bring Dekunda effects, just to be safe, if you don't have the means to end the fight quickly.

Image

Image

This is the meeting hall of the House of Councillors, the upper house of the National Diet of Japan.


Image

This is my chance to give a speech to what's left of the country, but we're really pressed for time. Oh well!

Image

*: A battle on our way out reveals that I was absolutely wrong on something: Black Frost does keep its very high physical resistance!

Image

This is the Chest we were taunted with earlier. It contains Magic Incense.

Image

Heading north lets us unlock the door to the Terminal, so we drop a save and head south afterwards.

Image

A Cube next to the elevator contains a Soma Droplet, but there are no further distractions.



User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:25 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image: ...is it dinner time already?
Image: Here you go. Be still, your neck will be sore for a few moments.
Image: I'll be fine, I've walked away from worse than a punch in the face.
Image: It took us four minutes to find your head.
Image: Is it too late to talk about hazard pay?
Image: Don't worry, we have god-tier health insurance.
Image: So, what happened?
Image: ...
Image: GOD'S CURSE HAPPENED.
Image: No, I was there for that. I mean, what happened with widow's peak and the beige chick? Have we fixed democracy yet?
Image: Hikawa summoned his god.
Image: And the lady Takao gave up.
Image: Well that's great news to resurrect to.
Image: ...she didn't give up.
Image: Look, I get that you like her, but we all saw her quit. She didn't even try to...
Image: No, he's right. Aradia gave up, but the lady did not.
Image: You saw her too, didn't you?
Image: What are you talking about?
Image: Look.
Image
Image: The only reason she brought Chiaki, Isamu and I here is that she figured one of us would decide the shape of the new world. She tried it herself, and she... she failed. But her original plan is still going on. If she had given up on it, I wouldn't have this stone in my hands.
Image: So, what are you going to decide?
Image: Well, Chiaki, Isamu and Hikawa have to lose. That's a given.
Image: B-B-BOOM!
Image: I like the way you think, big guy.
Image: Apart from that, I guess I'll have to find a way to end this whole bullshit, somehow. The world can't stay rounder forever, right?
Image: Might we recommend our master's offer?
Image: I... that's still on the table.
Image: Is that what Ms. Takao would have wanted?
Image: Has the lady Takao ever really wanted anything?
Image: Alright, alright, that's enough of that. The three stooges are making their move, and we're standing here and arguing. Let's get a move on.
Image: Best idea I've heard all day. Where are we going?
Image: To the Amala Temple.
Image: Huh? I thought we cleared the place out already.
Image: We didn't have the lost fifth pyramid last time.

Vile Samael
Samael is an unusual figure in Judeo-Christian lore, in that it's not entirely clear whether he is good or evil. That may be due to his status as the Angel of Death. Some put him among God's faithful, a grim but glorious angel charged with doing Heaven's dirty work; others put him on the side of Satan, even to the point of accusing him of being the one to seduce Eve in the garden of Eden (hence his serpentine form here), and of being Lilith's consort, the father of the Lilim. He may or may not also be responsible for the sinister happenings in a certain little town on the fog-shrouded shores of Toluca Lake.

Samael is a Vile in Nocturne, but all along the series he makes a couple leaps to and from the Fallen race, on top of having a stint in the Dragon race in Digital Devil Saga for some reason.


*: Samael's signature move is God's Curse, which randomly inflicts Charm, Panic, Sleep, Bind or Stun; immunity to ailments, even partial, can be a huge help. He also knows Beast Eye, Rakukaja, Dekunda, Dekaja, Retaliate, Megidola, and Maragidyne. He lacks any non-boss immunities or weaknesses, so as long as you can survive his attacks and remove his defense buffs, you're pretty much free to use whatever strategy you like. I'm especially chuffed that Futomimi did so much of the heavy lifting in our case! Lunge isn't exactly Spiral Viper, but his immunities and resistances make him very reliable.

As you may have guessed, the events preceding the fight proceed differently if you've agreed with Hikawa on the steps of the Mantra HQ or if you have accumulated 32 Shijima points. Unlike with Chiaki and Isamu you get a choice to stop him or not even if you don't qualify for Shijima affiliation, and you can even skip the Samael fight entirely if you don't interfere. However, letting him proceed only confirms your Shijima affiliation if you did qualify beforehand, and in fact it locks you out of one of the non-Reason endings even if you didn't!

Anyway, it's time to get out of here. We take the elevator back down, reach the Terminal, and return to Ginza. Along the way, Wu Kong levels up and has a chance to learn Dark Pledge, which is a conversation skill that attempts to recruit an opponent and works best during New Kagutsuchi. The odds of getting into a fight with a demon you want during New K aren't so great, so I pass on it.


Image
Image: Now, all we need to do to create the world of Shijima is obtain power from Kagutsuchi!

Image
Image: Commander Hikawa is the supreme ruler of the battle for creation.

Image
Image: A painless world because emotions do not control it. The only ones that can live there are beings that have spiritually surpassed humans and demons... That's right... We will all become gods!
Image: My fist is the divine breath!
*: Nope, nope, nope, none of this. Get out.
Image: But... but... fallen seed! Hidden powers!
*: I said GET OUT.
Image: How do these people keep finding their way here?
Image: The door is just open like half the time. I don't know how you don't have more randos dropping by.
*: ...
Image: I'll... uh... sorry. It... gets a little stuffy in here, um... I'll be more careful.
Image: What do you know about Saren's flagship, Sovereign?
*: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: I should go.
*: Yes, you should. You too, blondie. Out.
Image: Aw.
*: ...where were we?

Image

*: Right, crushing Shijima. Thank you, Eligor.

Image
Image: He was probably checking out the other Reasons first...

*: We head for the Cathedral. It's time to kick our average ally level up a notch.

Long's in a weird place. He's got a couple perennially useful skills, but his level and stats are low enough to make him a bit of a liability. The Dragon race outright won't fuse with most of our other allies, and the few it could fuse with would result in a weaker demon because the level disparity is very wide. In most cases we could pick up an Element and rank him up, but Long is the strongest Dragon and it would only turn him into Gui Xian. Besides, we have no ally slots open, so we can't get an Element, or summon a comparable demon from the Compendium to fuse him with like we did for Sarasvati.

Of course, we could outright let him go... but he's worth a buttload of experience.

That leaves one option.


Image: Dionysus, White Rider. And Long.
Image: Oh shi.
Image: Hmph.
Image: THE TIME HAS COME.
Image: I'm still not a fan of this, but...
Image: IT HAS COME BEFORE AND IT WILL COME AGAIN. I WILL RETURN TO THE WATER AND THE WATER WILL RETURN TO ME. NOTHING EVER TRULY ENDS.
Image: We'll see about that.
Image: WILL YOU PUT THIS SACRIFICE TO NOBLE PURPOSE?
Image: You know I will.
Image: THEN I SHALL GO WITHOUT REGRET.
Image: Thank you. And thanks to the both of you, too.
Image: A toast, gentlemen?
Image: Uh, I...
Image: Oh for... Just drink the damn wine, kid, no one's going to call the cops.
Image: Eh, right, sure. To victory, then?
Image: To victory!
Image: TO VICTORY!
Image: You do realize I don't have a digestive syst... hey! What...?
Image: It's not a party until the horses are drunk!

Dionysus + White Rider + Long =

Image

Image

Image

Lv65 Deity Odin
Odin is the chief deity of the Norse pantheon, having participated in the creation of the known world, being the father of a ton of other gods, and presiding over, among other things, royalty, wisdom, and healing. It is said he hung himself on the world tree Yggdrasil as a living sacrifice to himself, an act which granted him knowledge of magical runes; he also traded away one of his eyes in exchange for a drink at the well of Mimir, which granted him great wisdom. He's usually depicted as an old bearded man, but his eyepatch and his dwarf-made spear Gungnir are pretty much unmistakable in the series.


*: Man, there are lots of skills I would have loved to pass down, Prominence certainly among them, but if we don't have Life Drain and Mediarama then we no longer have renewable healing. We also lose our only Dekaja... but I have a plan for that. In any case, Odin does get a bunch of his own good skills, so Mabufula and Life Refill won't be wastes of space for very long, especially considering Long's sacrifice is giving him six free levels. We do end up losing Makakaja and Makarakarn for now, but so be it. There's always the Compendium, in any case.

Speaking of the Compendium, we now have two slots free, so I summon up Sarutahiko and Succubus for about 50000 Macca.

Sarutahiko + Succubus =


Image
> It seems to have accepted you as its master.

Image

*: We then go to Rag's place next door, and subsidize the slave trade once more. For an Agate and an Aquamarine, we acquire...

Image

And returning to the Cathedral...

Phantom + Aquans =


Image

Image

Image: If you follow me, you'll get more killing than you know what to do with.
Image: Is... is this wise?
Image: I think the world is safer if I'm the one holding his leash.
Image: Hmm. If you are confident you can shoulder this responsibility...
Image: I took a chance bringing you back, didn't I?
Image: Ah... Well... Fair enough...

Image

*: For some reason, you can't fuse Sakahagi from ingredients that would normally produce a Foul of his level; the fusion chart straight up indicates it's impossible, as if you were trying to fuse two races that cannot be fused together. But you can use an Element to rank up a Foul Phantom or rank down a Foul Shadow. The guy himself is not super strong, but he does have boss immunities and spells of all four elements. He only gets two free slots to customize himself with, but I managed to pass down Dekaja, which will make him pretty helpful no matter what.

There's one more roster change I want to do here before the next step. I fill up our final slot by summoning a Lilim from the Compendium. Just a regular plain old level 8 Night Lilim. We've had one before, but she didn't get a chance to earn a lot of experience. And I'm not fusing her to anything, I'm just putting her in the active party outright. There's no big reason. I'm probably insane, to be honest. That horrid blue sun must be getting to me.

Image: That, or she's smokin'.
*: She is, but that's besides the point!

Alright, enough of that. We return to the Terminal and head for the Amala Temple.


Image



Image
Image: The young man Isamu said something about Musubi...

*: Lilim levels up, and learns Analyze. What a brave girl! She works so hard to keep up. It's inspiring.



Image: Who do they think they're kidding?
Image: I know, right?

*: On our way out, Lilim gains another level, learning Dark Pledge. Yaaaaaaay Lilim!

There is no Large Terminal in the Obelisk proper, so we warp to the "Assembly of Nihilo: Marunouchi" destination, which is in the back of the Nihilo base; fortunately the exit to the overworld is a few steps away.


Image

Music: Large Map ~ Last Area

Well, this is different.

Image

*: Lilim levels up again and learns Tarunda. Go Lilim go Lilim go!

Image

*: Kid Lucifer didn't show up back there just to be polite. It's the game's way of telling you you're running out of time to make a final decision. In fact, the point of no return that would lock us into whatever Path of Creation ending we've earned is in this tower. But there's still a ways to go into the Labyrinth of Amala before we reach the point where we're locked into... a different kind of ending, so we'll stay away for now.

However, there is one thing we can do here at this time. If we go all the way to the back (north) side of the Obelisk...


Image

Image

*: Do you remember the opening near the top of the Obelisk where we were told that we would lose our life if we were to fall? We've just come through a door on the same floor, but on the opposite side of the structure. This is technically the ground floor now, but we still see "132F" in the corner there. The Obelisk got pushed in hella deep.

Image

Image

There's nothing here but an elevator down, so we ride it...

Image

...all the way to B4. We've seen that area when we were here before; we looked at it when we came to find the Spyglass. There isn't much of interest down here either, but if you look behind the pillar...

Image

Image

The Chakra Elixir is an infinitely reusable Chakra Drop. That's about as cool as it sounds! You can only use it in battle of course, and it takes up the Demi-fiend's action so if you're up against strong enemies it may deprive you of your best fighter for a bit, but in essence, no one ever has to run out of juice again.

This is otherwise a dead end. On our way back out, Lilim gains another level and learns Mazio. ¡Espectacularrrrr!


Image
Image: I hope so, because that's how you learn, right?
Image: You're good! Better than I imagined!
Image: Aw shucks!
Image: I feel like giving you something really special!
> ...You received Bead Chain!
Image: Wow, thanks! You're pretty amazing yourself!
Image
> Let it continue?
Image: You go, girl!
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image: I knew you had it in you!
Image: Well I'll be. I was sure you lost your marbles, but this is pretty damn metal!
Image: ...Lilith.
Image: I'm not talking to you.
Image: I'm not talking to you either!
Image: You're talking to me right now!
Image: Well... uh... So are you!
*: Alright, alright, enough of that.

Image

Lv80 Night Lilith
Well, we've pretty much covered the basics on this gal when I mentioned the Lilim. I said she's from Hebrew legend, but it's debated whether she may have been inspired by an even earlier Mesopotamian demonic female figure.


*: So, yeah. Level 80, same as Dante. She still only has her fairly crummy Lilim skills (though Rakunda and Tarunda never go out of style), but that'll change.

Image: So, we going in?
Image: ...hmm. No.
Image: You want to check out the rest of the Labyrinth, don't you?
Image: Yeah, pretty much. I haven't decided if I'm doing this on my own yet, but I know I'll need to be real strong to kill these three gods, and Lucifer had the courtesy to set up the best gym in the world for me. Are you ready to earn your pay?
Image: Ha, all I wanted was to keep going down there in the first place. You know I'm in.
Image: What about the rest of you?
Image: I'm with you. Is it even worth asking?
Image: I certainly have no complaints about this course of action.
Image: I will follow you. The well's knowledge of the Labyrinth is woefully out of date by now.
Image: Of course I'm coming. I would never allow a child to go alone in such a terrible place.
Image: SMASH-AND-BEAT! BOOM! CRUSH-AND-EAT! BOOM!
Image: I'll... take that as a yes.
Image: No one else is worthy of the hee ho Emperor's temporary service!
Image: I'm not giving up on you, boss.
Image: This is so much more entertaining than my husband's court.
Image: I don't give it a shit where we're going, just point me at somebody's face.
Image: I will keep repaying my debt to you.
Image: Thank you, everyone. Alright, let's do this.

*: We go to Ginza to heal up, register, pick up a few Dekaja Rocks from Rag's just in case, save, then head for the Labyrinth and take the shortcut straight to the fifth Kalpa.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I expected tougher opposition, but I'm sure this is just a taste of things to come.


Image

Image
Image: I'm about to burst!
Image: She's all yours, kid.
Image: Very funny.
Image
Image: I'm... sure you've got plenty of delightful qualities.
Image: You made my day! Here's a token of my appreciation!
> The demon healed you.
Image: Thank you, uh, sweetheart.
Image: Someone's gonna get his little fiend bit off!
Image: Are you volunteering?
Image: I know I've got a couple extra ones stashed in here somewhere...
Image: Forget I asked!

Image
Image: Our master is waiting there. Don't give up now!

Image
Image: This is where the women loyal to our master gather. You have done well in not disappointing him. But, if you underestimate us, you will not live to regret it!

*: Ah, so that explains the encounters around here. We're only running into humanoid female demons.

Image
Image: Even if you think you've found a dead-end, make absolutely sure before you try another direction. Well, that's my advice. Choose to follow it if you wish.

*: About that... There appears to be a bit of an emulation issue with this place. There are supposed to be illusory walls around here that disappear as you get close, but they... kinda don't show up at all. So it's just a regular maze. It sure makes my life easier, but it bugs me that I can't show it off.

Image

*: This first room has doors to the west and to the east. Let's try west first.

Image

Image

Lv67 Lady Kali
In modern Hinduism, Kali is often seen as a goddess of time and change, but as the consort of Shiva, the god of destruction, she's better known as the bloodthirsty, warlike goddess of death. Even today there are still rare stories of human sacrifice committed in her name, whether ritualized in some remote region, or as the act of some deranged killer acting on his own. That said, for all of her darker attributes, she usually acts for the general benefit of the universe, and when she enters the field of battle in person, it's usually to combat the evil and the abominable.


*: We're getting some intersecting hallways with one-way doors further inside, but it's not obnoxious yet.

Image

*: Yeah, these encounters aren't messing around.

Going north then east takes us to a room with a Balm of Rising in a Chest; there are several dead-ends that I suspect are the wrong side of one-way doors, but we can only return to the central room from here. We go west then south this time.


Image

Image

Lv64 Megami Scathach
Scathach is a Scottish warrior woman of Irish legend (you read that right), said to have trained Cu Chulainn in martial arts and given him his mighty spear, the Gae Bolg. At some point, Cu Chulainn kills her daughter's lover in a duel, and accepts to take his place as the lass' husband-to-be. He also ends up boning both mother and daughter, which, well, okay, sure, whatever floats your boat mang.


Image

Image

*: We find a ladder down but I want to investigate the rest of the floor first. Zed levels up soon afterwards, mastering Vimana and having the chance to learn Hades Blast, which we've seen Mara use way back when. I honestly don't know which is stronger or more useful between Deadly Fury and Hades Blast, but online consensus seems to be that Deadly Fury has similar damage but crits more often, so I'm keeping it.

We find a Magic Mirror in the Chest to the north, and we're forced to return to the central room. I expect the eastern side will be symmetrical, so it shouldn't be much more trouble.

Image

Image

Hmm, another ladder. We keep exploring. Black Rider learns Megidola, and Wu Kong learns Attack All, a passive skill which causes his basic attack to hit all opponents. This can be really really good, but also kinda tricky when some of them nullify, reflect or absorb physical damage. Fortunately he still has Brutal Slash for single target damage. It's a tough choice, but I let it replace Hassohappa. It's not as strong, but it doesn't eat up a third of his HP either. Besides, it'll be great for mopping up after a Deadly Fury.

Image

Alright, that's it for B1. Let's try the western ladder.

Image

Image

Image

Two locked gates, facing each other, but separated.

Image

Oh, I get it. It'll open the door on the other side, right?

Image

Image

Ah, actually, it opened the one on our side! Well then.


Image

Image

Image
Image: Are we fallen ones to blame...? Or is it the fault of those who cast us down...? I wonder what our master thinks... I'd like to ask him one of these days.
Image: Oh come on, we both know what he thinks.

Image
Image
Image: Uh... sure, why not?
Image: Imagine you are in the mountains...
Image: Okay.
Image: ...and you see a human about to be attacked by a wild animal. The animal begins to maul the defenseless human! As a fellow human, your heart would compel you to chase away the beast and rescue the victim. Ah...! But, now you're a demon! Suppose you kill the animal with your newfound strength... You crush it barehanded!
Image: I can see that happening.
Image: The human would then fear you, since you had proven yourself more powerful than a wild animal!
Image: So is any rando with a gun.
Image: With your demonic strength, you can no longer be human. You are more dangerous than a wild animal...
Image: Whatever, dude.

Image

*: There are some pretty wimpy encounters in here, somehow. We find Dr. Dark in the southern portion of the area, and he would charge 20000 Macca. Pass!

Image

Another ladder down. I have half a mind to climb back up and try the eastern ladder on the ladies' floor, but let's see where this goes first.


Image
Image: They test various attributes and may even kill a demon if they are inclined to do so. Some will ask for specific demons. If you want to go on ahead, be sure to bring a variety of demons with you.

Image

Image

*: The door goes through our demons just like Shige did. Lilith has a Magic of 30, so I let her try.

Image: Your comrade's magic is admirable indeed... You may pass.

*: It reveals a corridor with a regular door and another golden door. I assume the regular door is a way back in case you can't pass the golden one.

Image

*: Horus passes the test with 26 Agility.

Image

Image

Lv60 Avatar Barong
In Balinese folklore, Barong is a powerful magical spirit, embodying all that is good and kind. It is said to protect humanity against calamities, and is locked in eternal struggle against the demon queen Rangda. It's usually depicted as a stylized lion, though different regions of Bali see it as different animals.


Image

Lv75 Wilder Hresvelgr
Hresvelgr is a giant of Norse mythology, taking the form of an eagle. He sits at one end of the world, and the flapping of his wings causes wind all over the land.


Image
Image: I'm really-
*: GOD DAMMIT.
Image: I closed it! I swear!
Image: I CAN FEEL GREAT POWER FROM THIS DOOR, WHICH LEADS BELOW... SOMETHING EVEN STRONGER THAN BEELZEBUB...
Image: That's weird, I'm not underneath this floor.
Image: IF YOU CHOOSE TO PROCEED, BE CAREFUL.

*: There is indeed a ladder nearby, but I know I want to keep checking out those doors.

Image

*: I'm pretty sure only Beelzebub can open this door.

Image

*: Albion's 25 Vitality passes.

Image

*: Black Frost's 28 Luck is enough.

Image
Image: Hee ho!
Image: Hmm.
Image: Sakahagi seems to be the obvious choice.
Image: Fuck you.
Image: You cannot deny that your soul is black!
Image: HEE HO!
Image: I'm not denyin' it, it's black as hell. I just felt like cussing at you.
Image: But is it the blackest?
Image: Pick me! Pick me! I'm the hee ho blackest!
Image: What about Famine here?
Image: Hmmmmmmnnnnaaaaahhh, too obvious.
Image: I can't believe one of the Labyrinth's riddles would require the Demi-fiend to have turned one of his greatest opponents into an ally.
Image: I can believe it! Pick me! PICKMEPICKMEPICKMEHEEPICKMEHOPICK-
Image: Maybe I could get the Minister to summon me up a Will o' Wisp or something, it can't be that expensive. They're all soul and all black, right?
Image: Weren't they kind of purplish though?
Image: STEP ASIDE, HEE HO PEASANTS! MAKE WAY FOR THE EMPEROR!
Image: Hey! What are you-
Image: You have with you a comrade as black as night... You may pass.
Image: ...!
Image: You have got to be shittin' me.
Image: Hee ho! Behold the Emperor of Darkness!
Image: Welp, I know better than to argue with a door in the bowels of hell. All hail the Emperor!

*: That one in fact is for Black Frost alone to open. It reveals two Chests; one has five Beads of Life, the other has five Great Chakras. All hail the Emperor!

Image
Image: Oh wow, I think I've finally discovered the fabled Evernope! Thank you so much!
Image: ...so does that mean...?
Image: That's right! Nope! Forever!

Image

*: I know who can open this door, but we haven't met him yet.

Image

*: Albion comes through for us again, with his 25 Strength.

Image
Image: Ah, now that's an easy one.
Image: You know it!
Image: You have with you a mighty comrade... You may pass.

Image
Image: Um, are you alright?
Image
Image: Considering you're a god, that's kinda scary.
Image: !!
Image
Image
Image
Image: You're... you! Wow! It's... nice to have you back.
Image: I've been right here by your side from the very beginning.
Image: I definitely haven't forgotten.
Image
Image: Well, if you don't want to...
Image: I'm Pixie of the Fairy clan. Please take care of me...
Image
Image: You know I will, as good as you've taken care of me.
Image: I think I'm gonna puke.
Image: IT'S TIME FOR SILENCE! OR IS IT TIME FOR VIOLENCE? BA-BOOOOOOM!
Image: Ow! Alright, alright! Forget I said anything!

*: This is why we kept her lineage all this time: so we could get her back. But there's more to our dear stalwart Pixie than meets the eye!

Image

Horus was falling behind in levels again, but I didn't worry too much about it because, well. Yeah. That's a 30 in all stats, which is enough to open any door down here of course. I'll probably get a Nigi Mitama to give her Elec Boost, and then at least one other Mitama to fill up these skill slots. That'll have to wait for another free ally slot, though.

Image

Apart from the mystery ally door and the Beelzebub door, that seems to be all for this level, though I suspect more of it is accessible from that other ladder on B1. Let's try going down for now, though.


Image

Image

Lv43 Holy Baihu
Baihu is the Chinese name of Byakko, the mythical white tiger who guards the cardinal directions along with Seiryu, Genbu, and the phoenix Suzaku. He watches over the west, autumn and metal (or wind, in Japanese tradition).


*: Sakahagi levels up and learns Void Force, which I let replace Dark Might since he's pretty fragile. In the same battle, Lilith learns Allure, which attempts to Charm the entire enemy group. We find the ladder again and descend.

Image

Image
Image: I gotta hand it to you, you take rejection well. But not well enough!

Image

*: Hmm. We turn back. We've done a bunch of exploring, I absolutely want to drop a save, and we still have a branch of the place to investigate. We turn back and climb back up, all the to the Terminal. In fact we go heal up in Ginza before going back down.

Image

Youch, Surt is a random enemy now. A bit later on, Zed passes on learning Avenge from Gaea.

Aaaaand we're back. Now for that eastern B1 ladder. Soon on B2, we run into another golden door.


Image
Image: If you are a true demon, then you may see what lies beyond this door.
Image: Well, that's the moment of truth, I guess.

*: The door opens. Huh.

Image

Oh wow, a random Aciel.

Image

Hmm. It's just a bunch of empty corridors. Maybe the door opens for anyone, but only a true demon sees whatever there is to see? We turn back.

Dante learns Bullet-Time, his group-hitting physical move that can inflict Panic. I let it replace Intimidate.

Image

Ah, I was hoping we'd find this.

Image

Does it only lead to a Burial Chamber?

Image

Yyyyup. One for Mithra, and one for a foe yet to be vainquished. It looks like that's it for this branch, so we climb up, then back down again.

Image

Whew. Alright. Zed ingests Sophia for immunity to Expel, and we summon Odin, Titania, and Wu Kong.




Image: So. That just happened.
Image: You know, when someone comes to me with angel problems, I usually give them Bayonetta's number, I can't be bothered. But that, that was a rad fight.
Image: Damn, did you see that? He was all like, "oooh oooh I'm basically god, lick my butthole", and then I yelled at him and he was all "oh shit I'm actually losing"! What a puss, hahaha!
Image: I would not put it in these exact words, but...
Image: It certainly was a masterfully executed strategy.
Image: We whupped him, you mean.
Image: Yes, we... whupped him.
Image: Still, that's another one I couldn't have beat without you all. Well fought, as always.

Seraph Metatron
The details of Metatron's origin, identity and exact role differ from source to source, but it's generally said that he is first among the angelic hierarchy, and that he's effectively the second most powerful being in existence, next to YHVH of course. He seems to be a bit of a divine understudy, who can basically speak and act in the name of God on occasions where being exposed to God's glorious presence would be harmful to mortals. Which is... all occasions I guess?

I'm not entirely sure why he's a giant mech with eye beams here, but, well, Japan, giant mechs, eye beams. You know how it is.


*: Metatron is a bit of a mirror image to Beelzebub, especially in how he resists everything except Ice damage (on top of boss immunities). He goes easy on you at the start of the fight, mostly sticking to Holy Wrath, Mahamaon and basic attacks, and meticulously stripping away buffs and debuffs as you apply them. It goes without saying that Expel immunity is very valuable here.

For his second phase, his typical turn is either Makakaja followed by Megidolaon, or Tarukaja followed by a basic attack; he'll also throw in the occasional Debilitate. He does seem much more intent on killing you at this point, and he'll almost certainly succeed if you let him max out his stats, but he also puts much less priority on using Dekaja and Dekunda, making it more than worth it to start stacking your own buffs and debuffs.

For his final phase, he gains his signature move, Fire of Sinaï. It's a randomly-hitting Almighty spell (similar to Glacial Blast or Berserk), which can ravage you if the buffs aren't in your favor, but is more or less insignificant if they are.


Image

Image

Image

I've been here before, long ago.

Not a place like this one. This exact place.

I had no idea. None whatsoever.

Do I have a clue today?

*: The encounter gauge is blue. The path is clear. No one will stop us.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: Yours is an existence unbound by this world, and for that reason, you have infinite potential. Will the battle with god occur as our master wishes...? Or, will we forever remain in waiting, while history repeats itself?
Image
Image: You may ask.
Image: Very well. It is true that all living things must perish... Bound by the invisible threads of fate, humans die tragic deaths... Does that seem fair to you? If you lost a loved one in a horrible accident, would you curse god?
Image: ...
Image: ..................... There's no need to answer. But, if you feel that fate has cheated you... then go and see our master. Yes... Though long frozen, time shall flow again... towards the final battle.

Image

Image

Image

Image

This is it. This is the edge of the precipice.

There is no more information to gather. No more wait-and-see. Noah, Baal Avatar, Ahriman and their followers are climbing the tower even as I stand down here. All of them competing to see whose Reason is the most wretched.

They will fail, of course. That's beyond question at this point. They'll fail because I'll kill them. I've killed gods before. I know how.

It's deceptively simple.

But who will I be when I kill them? Will I kill them as a human, or will I kill them as a demon?

I could turn back right now. I could turn back and climb my way out of this pit and into the sky. I could annihilate these gods, and stand before Kagutsuchi, and force it to create a world without a Reason. I know I could, rules be damned. It would be a world made from a whole human, not just from the worst parts of one. Not just from the parts that run away into the darkness when pain comes knocking. Not just from the parts that lash out in hatred when they feel wounded. Not just from the parts that pretend their desires don't exist when they look within and are terrified by what they find there.

But...

This would all happen again, wouldn't it?

Sooner or later, someone would find the accursed Scripture of Miroku again. There would be another Maiden.

There would be another Conception. Another Vortex World.

There would be another Demi-fiend.

I could descend right now. I could plunge into this abyss, and emerge with the power to put an end to this abominable cycle. I've already proved I'm a capable leader of demons, in any case. Of course I'd be playing into the old man's hands, this old man who took my Reason from me before it was even born. But if our goals align, what does it matter, in the end?

How many rebirths has this world gone through? How many trillions of lives, extinguished in the blink of an eye? How many more will die if this keeps going on? And for what? What kind of cruel being would put so many through so much horror, without even telling them why?

Could there ever be a good enough reason for all this death in the first place?

The old man wants to find out. I wouldn't mind having the answer either. It's just a question of paying the price. My humanity, and the next world. How much do those weigh in the face of the infinite churning genocide engine of the Amala Universe?

But if this one world doesn't matter, why would any other world matter more? Why would my world have to be the one to end, to truly end? Is it my place to decide whether to pay this price? Even now, am I human enough to have the right to make this sacrifice in everyone else's name?

I don't know. It would be crazy to pretend to know.

But I know I can't stand here forever.

I can turn back, hold on to what humanity I've got left, fight this odious Conception on my own terms, and choose the Path of Creation.

I can descend, claim the demonic strength to bring war to whoever is orchestrating this madness, and choose the Path of Destruction.

Lucifer is watching.

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3161
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Mothra » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:19 pm

Been catching up.

François wrote:

Amala Temple is hands-down the dopest location in the game so far. Holy hell, I love everything about it.

Really, really digging how far the atmospheric videos go toward keeping the mood. I've been mostly following in the SA thread to catch the peanut gallery weighing in, and it's getting a damn good response there. Mighty pleased by that.

I was honestly pretty worried that the step to 3D for SMT would take out a lot of the unsettling weirdness but NOPE

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:05 pm

Right! It feels like... You get inklings of that throughout the game, but the Amala Temple really drives home the impression that the remnants of the human world are a dried-up crust, and all you need to do is scratch the surface to reveal the inexplicable mystical mechanisms underneath.

I wish I had started sooner with the atmosphere videos, but it did take me several updates to consciously realize that there's practically no dungeon music. There's the evolving theme for the Labyrinth, and the final dungeon has its own theme too, but every other dungeon-type area has its own unique soundscape instead, which may or may not have any melodic element to it. And I can't really communicate that through the LP, but the way these eerie atmosphere pieces are paced with the various battle themes coming up during random encounters gives exploration a very satisfying rhythm. In other RPGs you typically have a dungeon theme and a battle theme that keep interrupting each other, and for the most part Nocturne avoids that pitfall. It doesn't whiplash from one track to the other, and instead has a... flavorful quietness as a base, and the combat music comes in and out as needed without feeling like it's barging in despite how high-energy it is.

And yeah, the 3D art direction has no business being so rad. In a weird way, it has an elegance and a restraint that allow it to avoid feeling limited by its technology. But of course you know there's no way it wasn't limited by its technology, which makes it all the more impressive that the devs were so great at keeping so many of the shortcuts they took out of sight.

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3161
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Mothra » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:38 pm

It's really "exploratory," in that you feel like you're just investigating and adventuring through locations in a surreal, living world clearly not meant for humans. Only thing I can think of that it reminds me of are the cooler parts of open-world RPGs like Oblivion (first stumbling through the portal), or games like Super Metroid, where the music doesn't really attempt to alter the mood in any other moment but boss fights. It's like an End of Eva RPG.

I'm a big sucker for mindfuck hellworlds!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:15 pm

Image: Intermission time! Hee ho!
Image: Normally I'd say that's a dick move, but I guess this gives me more time to make up my mind.
*: Well it's not like you're just standing there for several-
Image: You know what I mean.
*: Gotcha, chief.

1. Music
We haven't quite heard all the music in the game yet, but here's the round-up for every track that played since the last intermission.

Mantra Troops
If I remember correctly, this would be the theme for the Mantra Headquarters.

Masura
And here's Gozu-Tennoh's theme.

Kabuki-cho
Hmm, this must be from some part of Kabukicho Prison that slipped by my notice. I was rather focused on navigation at the time!

Rescue
This song plays at the top of the Obelisk, as we were giving Yuko's freedom back to her. Before she promptly gave it away again, of course.

Puzzle Boy
I'm sure a great many people around the world are eternally grateful to IKelley for his step-by-step instructions!

Isamu
This is of course Isamu's theme, but unlike Chiaki, whose song was playing when we first reunited with her, this one only plays once Isamu has become the self-styled master of the Amala Network.

Reunion with Master
This plays when we catch up with Yuko in Yoyogi Park. I suspect the original Japanese title for this track would have been more along the lines of "Reunion with Sensei", in which case it probably would have been better translated as "Reunion with Teacher".

Lord Aladia Advent
And this one is for when we give Yuko the Yahirono Himorogi, and she gets possessed again for a moment. It's also the only inclusion of Aradia's theme on the soundtrack.

Hijiri
There's definitely a tension to this piece, but it's one of the few pieces with a warm, friendly feel to it, which is appropriate for Hijiri for... well... most of the game I suppose.

Large Map ~ Last Area
Good Lord I couldn't say enough good stuff about this track. Daaaang. You don't get to hear it very much for how badass it is, unfortunately; it only plays on the top segment of the overworld once the final dungeon is unlocked.

Yahiro no Himorogi
This is the short piece that plays after the Samael fight, where Ms. Takao appears for the last time to entrust us with the Yahirono Himorogi and all the hope she's got left.

TALK
Very clearly inspired by the music that plays in SMT1 before any given random encounter turns to violence, this track plays before every Fiend fight.

Fiend Boss Battle
This is... well. Right. It's very, very different in flavor than the standard boss theme, that's for sure. It feels like it makes you want to take the battle seriously, which you should, really.

Warp Field
This would be the music the Labyrinth of Amala shortcut minigame. It's a cool enough piece, but I don't have a great many fond memories of success associated with it. :3

Reminiscence
Ah, this one is for the cutscenes you get as a reward for completing each Kalpa.

Joint Struggle
This is for when you finally have a chance to join up with Dante.

Dante Boss Battle
Aaaaaaaaah holy crap it's so rad. It's so damn good. Almost too good.

Law
This is a reprise of the Law theme from earlier in the series. As much as I'm not a fan of the Law faction generally, as far as I'm concerned they got the best music.

Metatron
I can't imagine a better piece for this battle. It's so gloriously pompous! And the way it incorporates the Law theme is just magnificent.

Chaos
And of course this is the reprise of the series' Chaos theme, played just before the Beelzebub fight.

Beelzebub
Man I wish I had more to say than "welp, another perfect track". But, hmm. Welp, another perfect track.



2. Random observations/errata

***: The word "Kalpa" has a very interesting meaning. In Buddhism, it essentially signifies one instance of the cycle of reincarnation, the period of time a soul spends between birth and death. Considering each successive Kalpa in the Labyrinth looks more decrepit than the last, you might think that the soul it symbolizes is accumulating sins and general negative karma from life to life. However, Lucifer waits at the bottom with his own take on the way to escape the repeating ordeal of the Vortex World, so it might be considered as a sort of reverse enlightenment!

***: For most of the playthrough, I've been using Saleh Jamal's invaluable Heretic Mansion application to avoid having to look up fusion tables for race combinations. If you're playing along or think you might play yourself in the future, I highly recommend it!

***: I mentioned a while back that Matador's Red Capote gives him four stacks of Agility buff, but in fact it gives him eight. The maximum is still four, but it allows him to counter any amount of Sukunda or Fog Breath stacks he might have been afflicted with.

***: The status ailments have been pretty self-explanatory, but I didn't quite detail the difference between Bind and Stun. Bind makes you skip your turn and waste an icon, just like being Asleep does, except you don't recover any HP or MP. It also wears off after several turns or at the end of the battle. Stun instead causes any action that has an accuracy check to miss practically 100% of the time. You can still heal, cure ailments, apply and remove buffs and debuffs, and use non-attack items as usual, but everything else will probably just miss. On its face, Stun is significantly less nasty than Bind, but it does not wear off by itself and will persist between fights.

***: As a nice touch, if you jump from the top of the Yosuga HQ with Dante in your active party, he takes no damage. This of course mirrors his entrance cutscene before his first battle, where he leaps down from that same spot and clearly doesn't start the fight with only one HP left.

***: I've probably been making the game look a lot easier than it really is. If you know what you're doing and what you're up against, vast swathes of the Normal difficulty mode are... I don't want to say trivial, but, well, pretty easy. Of course, on the other hand, if you don't know what to expect, things are quite a bit rougher. It's really a question of player knowledge. At any rate, if I were to play the game again on my own time, which is entirely possible, I'd definitely stick with Hard mode.

***: You might think that focusing on Strength is the only way to go for a physical-inclined Demi-fiend, but focusing on Vitality is also a viable choice, on account of physical skills that scale off max HP. Not only does it make Heat Wave much more effective for the long period of time where it's your only group-hitting move, but Deathbound is a spectacular endgame skill in its own right and can outdamage the likes of Spiral Viper even on a single target if it lands at least two hits. This is especially worth considering on Hard mode, where a deep HP pool is much more valuable on its own merits.

***: Turn order and Agility have a major effect on your strategy that is easy to overlook. Simply put, your fastest ally will get extra turns from crits, Pass actions and weakness exploits much more often than your slowest ally; getting even one crit, Pass or exploit will give your fastest ally an extra move, while your slowest ally only gets to act twice if you've managed to halve all of your icons. On top of that, misses will prevent your slowest allies from acting at all. With that in mind, it's easy to see the pitfalls of having a Demi-fiend with low Agility, even beyond the obvious accuracy problems. Acting first and often is super important, considering how much more flexibility you get for summoning, using items, and engaging in conversation. You don't want to know how it feels to summon a healer with your last icon and to have to endure a whole round of enemy attacks before you can get your Dia on. A good rule of thumb is to have just a smidge more Agility than your most agile demon, though coming in second place isn't too bad, since you'll still get to act even if your first guy misses. Third place is a lot riskier, and fourth place is Bad Times.

***: Dang, I almost forgot. I put up a video of the trippy spinning hallway in the Nihilo HQ, and didn't link to it in an official update. So here it is!



3. Genealogy
I've been keeping track of who's part of whom all along the playthrough. It's... probably a little obsessive, but I think it's cool to look at and it was fairly low-effort once I got it started. Our roster is likely to change again before the end, but this is a good place to take stock anyway.

Code: Select all

Evolution or other transformation: ---
Fusion: -+-
Sacrifice -X-
Deathstone fusion: -#-
Fusion accident: -@-
The chart is not keeping track of Mitama fusions.
Any demon without an arrow pointing to it was recruited, summoned at the Cathedral, or purchased at Rag's.

    Pixie ---> High Pixie -+-> Uzume -+-> Unicorn -+-> Kikuri-Hime -+-> Sarasvati -+-> Horus ---> Pixie
                  Angel ---/          |    Blob -X-+                |  Valkyrie ---/
Choronzon -+-> Isora -+-> Nekomata ---/  Taraka ---/                |
  Lilim ---/          |                             Principality ---/
            Sudama ---/

  Kodama -+-> Apsaras -+-> Nozuchi ---> Gui Xian -+-> Naga ---> Raja Naga -#-> Black Rider
Hua Po -X-+            |   Nekomata ---> Senri ---/              Bicorn ---/
 Pixie ---/            |
       Will o' Wisp ---/

 Shikigami -+-> Bicorn -+-> Incubus -+-> Kushinada -+-> Dionysus -+-> Odin
 Mou-Ryo ---/           |            |              |             |
   Zhen -+-> Forneus ---/            |              |             |
Angel ---/                           |              |             |
          Momunofu ---> Arahabaki ---/              |             |
            Koppa -+-> Sarutahiko -+-> Okuninushi --/             |
   Chatterskull ---/               |         Mizuchi ---> Long -X-+
              Dis ---> Valkyrie ---/  Orthrus -#-> White Rider ---/
                                 Sarutahiko ---/

Badb Catha -+-> Succubus -+-> Sparna ---> Garuda -+-> Futomimi
  Eligor ---/      Nue ---/         Shiki-Ouji ---/

Badb Catha -@-> Troll -+-> Sati ---> Parvati
  Eligor ---/ Senri ---/

Gogmagog ---> Albion

Onkot ---> Hanuman ---> Wu Kong

Titania

Black Frost

Sarutahiko -+-> Phantom -+-> Sakahagi
Succubus ---/  Aquans ---/

Dante

Titan ---> Died in Shige's tunnel.




4. Figures
There is something I did for my previous LPs that I somehow completely forgot to do for this one. I happen to own a number of SMT figures, and I used to post pictures of them as we encountered them in the games. Considering they were being compared to 16-bit sprites, they represented quite the leap in graphical fidelity, so to speak. Anyway, it slipped off my mind for Nocturne, so hey, I might as well take this opportunity to catch up. So, in order of appearance...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
(You can get Beelzebub's bottom half, but I don't have it.)

Image
(Come at me, bro.)


5. High-resolution pictures

Aight, same as last time, but more so: http://imgur.com/a/QvqMH/all. Same warning applies: these are 200-odd 1440x1080 PNGs, weighing in at up to two Mbs each. That said, even if you're not going to take a look at the whole gallery, at least check out this mofo. This is a PS2 game from 2003, which you could be forgiven for forgetting.



6. Geography

I was doing to do this section like last time, but it turns out all the locations are so tightly packed it would either be an unreadable mess or an ungainly large image, so I'm changing my approach.

Image

So, from the beginning...

1- Yoyogikoen Station, in the southwest of Yoyogi Park.

2- Shinjuku, where the hospital is located.

3- Shibuya, where we met Chiaki at the club.

4- Ginza, where Nyx's Lounge is located. The Nihilo HQ is a little southwest from there.

5- Ikebukuro, where the Mantra HQ is located.

6- This would be the Kabukicho area, where we freed Futomimi.
Image

We then took Ikebukuro Station in eastern Ikebukuro...
Image

...travelling underground to...

7- Kuramae Station.
Image

8- This is Asakusa; the Manji symbol on the map is Nakamise-Douri and Senso-ji.

Hijiri gave us the scoop on Ms. Takao's location, so we entered the back door to the Nihilo HQ and emerged in Marunouchi...
Image

...which is just east of...

9- The Imperial Palace, which was obliterated during the Conception and replaced by the Obelisk.

Upon freeing Ms. Takao, we returned to Asakusa, where we learned of an evil force in Yoyogi Park. To get there, we entered...

A- Yushima Station.
Image

...to emerge from...

B- Gaien-Mae Station.
Image

Once Sakahagi was taken care of, we returned to Asakusa once more. We followed Hijiri and Isamu through the Amala Network, emerging south of...

C- The Sannou area, where the Amala Temple is located.

On Hikawa's trail, we returned to ...

D- Yurakucho Station, which we had taken a look at long before.

...and took a tunnel to reach....

E- Kasumigaseki Station, close to the Diet Building.
Image

Aaaaaaand that's it, all the non-Labyrinth locations in the game fit in there. The Vortex World is tiny!



7. Conclusion
Aight, that should be all for now. I'd have liked to be more regular with the intermissions, but, well, it turns out I wanted to play the game instead! Who would have thought?

The poll is less even by now than it was after the first day or so, but I'm still giving it another day or two, and I'll use that time to take a bit of a breather and psyche myself up for the final stretch. Regardless of our decision, we'll clear out Hell's Vault and investigate Bishamon's quest line at some point, but we'll have reached partway through the final dungeon before we do so, for reasons that will become clear in time.

Whew, there we are. Hang tight folks, we're not out of the woods yet!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:30 pm

Aight, judging from the gap between the two options and the rate at which further votes are likely to come, I think this is the right time to call it. It's much closer than I expected, but we have a clear winner! This is the final stretch; if all goes as I remember, we can count the remaining updates on the fingers of one hand. Let's take this sucker all the way to the end, shall we?

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:34 am

Deep breath.

The smell of this place...

My feet are wet. My clothes are soaked through with feelings juice.

What the fuck.

Image: I don't belong here.
Image: I beg to dif-
Image: That's not up for debate. Maybe I don't count as a human anymore, but I'm definitely not a demon either.
Image: Where do you belong then, Demi-fiend?
Image: A kilometer above Tokyo, elbow-deep in some dumbshit god's innards, avenging everyone I knew, and deciding who doesn't get to create a world over my people's dead bodies. Is Lucifer going to try stop me?
Image: I'm not at li-
Image: Never mind. It doesn't matter. We're leaving.
Image: You are so close to so much power, and yet you turn away? How-
Image: Impressive.
Image: Absolutely.
Image: Do you not realize the doom you are perpetuating?
Image: I realize a jackass is this close to using me. I'm holding on to my freedom, and to hell with Lucifer if he thinks he can take it away from me.
Image: ...He would not.
Image: He could not. He gave me one Magatama. I've earned twenty-two. It would be amusing to see him try. Any other objections?
Image: I was looking forward to a face-off with the old man, but maybe forcing him to watch you walk away and do your own thing is a better punishment than putting a bullet in his head.
Image: Ha, I can get behind that.
Image: Do you think he's going to cry about it? It's like, you know, right? Get it? I guess you could say, the devil may-
*: No. Shut up. Get out.
Image: Alright then, it's decided. Let's get a move on, everybody. We got an idiot train to catch up to.
Image: ...
Image: You coming?
Image: You are the summoner. It is not my place to disobey.
Image: Smart.

Image

*: We climb back out without encountering unexpected obstructions. As far as the game is concerned, we haven't explicitly refused Lucifer's offer; in fact we are not locked out of the Path of Destruction until we are locked in the Path of Creation. But it's not like we're going to change our mind!

We reach the Terminal, and head for Ginza to get ready for the trials ahead.


Image
Image: It's so quiet... Now, this is what I call stillness.

Image
Image: It's like Kagutsuchi's saying to come on up. Shijima, Yosuga, Musubi... Which Reason will guide Tokyo? Hikawa, Chiaki, Isamu... Who'll become Tokyo's conqueror?
Image: If I were you, I wouldn't place my bets just yet.
Image: ...The moment of fate is near.

*: We heal, register our party, and save. If we were to summon the updated Pixie from the Compendium, it would cost us 112500 Macca! Black Frost is the second most expensive summon, coming in at a comparatively cheap 59400. Our fusion options still need to ripen, in any case, so we spend no more time here, and proceed to warp again to the back exit of the Nihilo HQ.

Zed levels up on the way to the Obelisk, and has a chance to learn Gaea Rage, a group-targeting physical skill. In terms of raw one-hit damage, it's the strongest of its kind, but it actually has a lower critical rate than Deadly Fury, doesn't hit that much harder, and costs a bit more HP, so I pass on it. However, it does look pretty cool, so I branch off a save state and take a few screenshots.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Yeah, Deadly Fury almost always crits at least once when used against three foes or more, while Gaea Rage... doesn't.

Image

There's something I didn't note before, concerning the Tower. The Magatsuhi around it is being siphoned upwards, channeling all that spiritual energy straight into Kagutsuchi. It's clearly charging up and getting ready to spawn the new world. All it needs now is someone worthy to guide it.

Let's try our luck, shall we?

Image

We enter the Obelisk from the south, using the aperture we did see on our first trip here. This means the upper levels are not too far away.


Image
Image: ...the only place in Tokyo that is connected to Kagutsuchi. Everyone went upstairs...

Image

Image

Image

*: Nothing much has changed in here so far, though we do run into some Diet encounters.

Image

Image

Image



Three treasures, eh? I bet I know who has them. If the Reasons are expected to duke it out among themselves, it only makes sense the victor would need to present trophies.



Image

Image

Image

*: This is it, we've crossed the point of no return. We're definitely locked into the one ending now, there is no turning back.

That said, we can still ride this platform back down to return to the Obelisk, but it is not time to regroup and recover just yet.

Image

Image

Image

This is some big place for sure. There are four large doors around the room, smaller ones on a higher level, and strange light columns on every side.

Image

The central pillar does not appear to go all the way through, like the Obelisk's did; it ends a short distance inside and continuously shoots pure energy straight up.


Image

Image

Lv52 Foul Shadow
Basically a type of powerful ghost, taking the form of an animated shadow. Interestingly, they are among the few demons, if not the only demons, who naturally learn all four -kaja spells. This is of dubious utility in battle since they can still only cast one at a time, but it does make them quite versatile and decent for fusion.


*: Seven Shadows! We've never seen that many opponents at once before. Zed still has Gaea equipped, and Endure saves him in extremis from a Mudoon cast. Sophia will be safer!

Image

Image

Image

The columns don't seem to go anywhere, but they must be of some importance.

Image

Oooh, the random Surt encounters are weak to Ice, unlike their mid-boss counterpart. Convenient!

Image

We enter the large door to the south first. The symbols engraved on it are very reminiscent of the writing on the Terminal drums. Hmm!


Image

Image
Image: We've always been looking up. We've always wondered about Kagutsuchi.

Image

Image
Image: I won't.
Image: Thank you.

Image

Image

*: There's a door and a staircase in the side here, as well as a lift block in the southern end. Let's try the door first.

Image
Image: The final battle for creation is about to begin. ...With Futomimi gone, it doesn't matter to us which Reason wins.
Image: Er...
Image: I am a demon now, aren't I?
Image: Yeah.
Image: I do not know if a Reason would have been denied to me before, but...
Image: It would definitely be denied to you now. I'm sorry.
Image: It's not your fault. This is better than being stuck in the Labyrinth, and that horrid girl is the only one to blame.
Image: Right.

*: There's nothing else in that room. The staircase, then.

Image
Image: I don't do cheers, kid. I'm here to kick ass and take names.
Image: ............ ...That's an option.

Image

*: Another door takes us to the central room again.

Image

Image
Image: ...Some of that consists of our people from Mifunashiro.

Image

*: This lift block is above one of the columns of light we saw from underneath, and it takes us to the base floor again. Alright then, time to take the first lift block, all the way south.

Image

It takes us to a small room on floor 167, with only one door accessible.

Image

Image

Image

This is clearly a lift up, but the other three sides are also accessible from here. Let's go back and explore them before we proceed. West is up next!

Image

Hmm. It must only be accessible from underneath, then. I bet it's the same for all sides. Let's return to the base level and investigate.

Image

No one's there. There's a door in the side here as well.


Image
Image: Noah is incredible! We don't need to join together like those other Reasons. ...We'll soon be able to create a world where we won't have to associate with anyone...

Image
Image: I hear it's a very long path, though... ...Well, you wouldn't be able to do it, so don't talk to me.

Image
Image: ...Nothing would really change. I'm doing what I want now, anyway. But, it would be nice if those annoying groups like Shijima and Yosuga disappeared.

Image

Image
Image: .........! ......! ...!! .........!? ...What!? I'm listening to my music, can't ya tell!? There's no reason I need to go up just because the others did, right!?

*: Riding the lift block up, we find a room with a Float Ball and a Vitality Incense. There's also the other side of that closed door to the central lift, but we can't open it from here either. I see what's going on; each side of the area here is affiliated with one of the Reasons, except the southern one which is full of Manikins. We won't be able to open the other doors, but there must be more loot. Let's go north next.

Image

Yup, that's the Shijima side.


Image
Image: Infiltrator of our stillness, begone!

Image
Image: We had a lot of fun, thanks to a certain 'somebody', but all is well.
Image: I'm glad you find me entertaining.
Image: We have our god, Ahriman, to lead us to stillness.

Image
Image: ...Oh, please excuse my behavior. I became quite emotional, contrary to the belief of Shijima.
Image: Well, you know, nobody's perfect. And if you think anybody's going to be perfect if you get your way, then I've got a Tower to sell you.

Image
Image: Guess the path to Kagutsuchi isn't going to be an easy one, after all.

*: The top floor of this branch has a Bead and an Agility Incense in a Chest. While waiting for Full K, Odin levels up; he learns Deathbound, replacing Counter, Makajamon replacing Mabufula, Wooing being discarded, Mabudyne replacing Makajamon (welp), and Maragidyne replacing Tetraja. That's all his remaining skills in one shot, thanks to Long's sacrifice.

We go back down and take the eastern path this time.


Image

Image

Lv64 Divine Throne
Thrones form the third order of God's angelic forces. They are the conduit of God's will; what He decides, they make known to angels and to the rest of the universe. In some traditions they are also called the Ophanim, and are literally the living wheels under the throne of God, or are even the throne itself.


Image

Image
Image: She's not only noble, she's sharp!

Image
Image: Those pests...
Image: They are still driven by hope, though all hope has been taken from them...
Image: They're born from humans alright.

Image
Image: ...I have no business with inferior beings, such as you.

Image
Image: This is discrimination against ex-Mantra demons!
Image: Cry me a river, idiot. This is only a taste of the world you've been hoping for.

*: The top floor has a Cube with some inconsequential loot I forgot to note, and Strength Incense in a Chest. Zed's got his 30 Strength, and Gaea increases that to the 40 cap, so I'm quite comfortable giving Dante all the Strength Incense at this point.

We go back down, then up the southern path again, to the central lift.


Image

Image

Music: Tower of Kagutsuchi

*: This is where the proper Tower of Kagutsuchi track finally kicks in over the atmosphere.

Image

Image

Image

The cubes behind us are periodically pushed upwards by a burst of Magatsuhi, then slowly slide back down in erratic motions. This place is already pretty weird.

Image

Image

We soon find a Large Terminal. It's labeled "Tower of Kagutsuchi 1". The Tower is so big, it has multiple Large Terminals. Yyyyyyup.

Albion levels up, learning Drain Attack; it replaces Sukunda.

Image

Climbing a staircase behind the door next to the Terminal takes us to a higher level; we can see a Chest from here, but reaching it is another question entirely. The path leads us to two doors. Taking the right one...

Image

This block takes us to the Cube, earning us a Megidola Rock. We go back and take the left one, whose cube takes us across the room instead.

Image

We follow a roundabout path, but it doesn't take us to the Chest, it takes us to a staircase down. Hmm.

Image

...aw heck I got turned around between encounters somewhere and just retraced my steps back to the Terminal. Derp! I'm gonna be late for full K too, dang. Oh well, nothing to it but to turn back again.

Image

Oh. There must be a lift block somewhere. Welp, let's keep going. Zed levels up and passes on learning Iron Claw from Kamurogi.

Image

I don't think this is the one, but let's try it anyway.

Image

Image

Yeah, this is a whole different set of floors. I'm not too broken up about leaving paths behind though, since I'll probably want to warp back down and investigate the whole place thoroughly later, for reasons that I'll explain in time.

Image

Instead of going straight ahead, we find a staircase in the east side.

Image

It takes us to the top of that block formation we saw from below.

Image

This block takes us to the western side of the area and allows passage underneath.

Image

Hmm. We need to move these two cubes to reach that loot, so we retrace our steps.

Image

It takes some looping over and under, but we do get the blocks out of the way.

Image

...uh. Can't complain, I suppose. We undo some of the block shifting and clear our path again. It's a little trickier than it first appears, but all the moving pieces are straightforward enough and it's doesn't actually get frustrating. Along the way, Futomimi levels up and leans Might, replacing Mute Gaze.

Image

There are two short staircases on the other side of the block puzzle, on the way to the next lift. On the left...


Image
Image: It's so strong, the higher levels aren't being formed properly.

*: And a lift block takes us down, to...

Image

Ah-ha! I knew it. There's a Great Chakra in there. We go back up, and take the other stairs.


Image
Image: ...Is he waiting for the Demi-fiend?
Image: That's strange, he didn't strike me as the suicidal type.

*: Another lift block takes us down to a spot below where we've been already, so we return to the higher floor and take the lift up.

Image

Image

Image

Dang, they weren't kidding about the Tower not being formed properly.

Image

A couple blocks could take us up this structure. Let's try east first.

Image

That's a Chakra Pot. Down again, then west. Albion and Parvati level up in the same fight. Albion learns Phys Drain, and I let it replace Drain Attack. He already nullifies physical damage, but it'll be a great skill to pass down anyway. Parvati learns Thunderclap, replacing Makatora.

Image

Two more choices here.

Image

Hard to say which will be most fruitful. We try west first.

Image

Oooh, a small Terminal. The encounters around here are manageable, mostly Surt and Gurr with the occasional Cerberus, Queen Mab, Decarabia or Throne, but it's still good to have this safety net. Another choice between two lifts further up yields a Chest with a Bead of Life in the east, and in the west...


Image

Image
Image: Big, and red? I guess Hikawa really is waiting for me.
Image: ...Is it still there?
Image: Not for long.

Image

Okay, this looks important.



Image: You... you fucked up piece of shit. Asshole!
Image: Not my most satisfying victory, I gotta say.
Image: He was... gracious in defeat, at least.
Image: He better be, he got everything he wanted!
Image: For what it's worth, he had the foresight to create a scenario where it was in every way impossible for him to fail.
Image: Well I hope you'll forgive me if I don't spend a lot of time admiring his intelligence.
Image: No, of course not, the man was truly vile.
Image: He never intended to construct a world for everyone's benefit, only for his own. Even as he lay dying, he mourned not that his ideal died with him. What a selfish creature.
Image: Compared to him, I guess I'm not so bad, huh?
Image: No, you're just another sort of knave. This is no bodycount competition.
Image: Shit, I hope so, because if it was, I'm far behind you, boss. Haha!
Image: You shut up! He's fighting for a good cause! I know he is!
Image: Yeah, sure, and if you ask anyone else in this tower why they're fighting, they'll tell you the same.
Image: Except for you.
Image: I'm a lotta things, but deluded isn't one of them!
Image: Sakahagi. Shut the hell up.
Image: Afraid of a little truth?
Image: No, I'm just tired of your bullshit. If I don't fight, that means Chiaki or Isamu wins, and if you think that's an option, we'll soon find out how far up your ass that hook of yours can go.
Image: Don't pretend you don't enjoy it!
Image: ...alright. I won't. But I'll be a lot more pleased when the fighting is over with.

Tyrant Ahriman
Also known as Angra Mainyu, Ahriman is Zoroastrianism's quintessential god of all evil. He's the diametrical opposite of the benevolent demiurge Ahura Mazda, and is in a way a personification of the human impulse towards greed, cruelty, treachery, deceitfulness, and other such base drives. He actively antagonizes the prophet Zoroaster and the righteous deities, and rules over the shadowy land where demons and the wicked dead dwell.


*: Ahriman has two distinct phases with entirely different attack patterns, but he has the same immunites for both: he's immune to ailments, and reflects Death and Expel.

He's basically toying with us at first. He forbids a different type of action every round, and whoever performs a forbidden action gets immediately countered with Hell's Call, an Almighty-type instant death effect with 100% success rate. (The only reason I let Albion die in this phase is because I wanted to show off Hell's Call.) On his own turn, he'll use any of the eight -dyne spells, or a basic attack. You might be in a hint of trouble if you neglect to keep your health up and he forbids healing and items at the wrong time, but otherwise this part of the battle isn't particularly difficult.

Once you deal 6000 damage, however, he stops messing around. He loses the -dyne spells, but starts using Megidolaon along with his two signature moves, Tentacle and Apocalypse. Tentacle is an extremely powerful group-hitting physical skill, and Apocalypse is pretty much the same, but Almighty instead. He also knows Dekaja and Dekunda, but he uses them rather infrequently. And that's good because if you don't increase your defense and /or decrease his offense, chances are he'll crush you pretty quick. It's worth noting that his Agility is only average, so accuracy debuffs are very effective as well. Apart from that, the battle is fairly straightforward, and if you can manage Ahriman's considerable damage output while whittling down his 18000 HP, there are no other tricks or wrinkles. I'm pretty sure the biggest reason I kept swapping allies towards the end is that I couldn't decide on who'd get the experience reward.

I gotta say though, Ahriman looks cool as hell. I love his general design, and all his animations are amazing, especially the transformation between phases. The calm, meditative posture is clearly a front; he's really this wild, cruel demonic beast, and you can tell he's using the whole "stillness" idea merely as a way to sneak into a position of power in the next world.

Also, damn, that music! Holy crap that music. I can't even... Wow. I like the Fierce Battle theme as much as the next guy, and its lyrics become gloriously appropriate for this final ascent, but it's clearly used as a fake-out, and when the Reason Boss bassline kicks in you know The Business is going down.


Image

Drink of the wine of the wrath of the Demi-fiend. One god has been rejected.

Two more to go.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

*: On one hand, yes, Nocturne is recycling visual elements for its final dungeon. On the other hand, it's recycling them into this, so what kind of dumbass would dare complain about it?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Four doors again. I bet the Shijima side is feeling somewhat less optimistic by now.


Image
Image: ...DAMN, she's hot!

Image

*: Oh hey, instead of a Shijima area in the north, there's a Fountain. Because Nocturne is amazing.

Image

Image

It looks like the sides might be connected on this floor, though there are lots of damage floors in between. We got plenty of Float Balls, in any case. There's an Attack Mirror in the Cube visible here.

We get into fights with lone Abaddon or Nyx in here, which is nothing compared to the multiples of those accompanied by Aciel we used to run into on the fifth Kalpa.


Image

Image

Lv66 Snake Yurlungur
Yurlungur is a serpent deity from Australian Aboriginal folklore, presiding over rain and the life that water brings forth. It is said to once have been awakened from a deep sleep by the smell of a woman's menstrual blood, which it later ate, then regurgitated.

Image: This is the second time I hear that one, and it's not grossing me out any less than the first!


*: Dante levels up and learns Stinger, a powerful single-target Almighty attack (!) with an instant death chance attached. Say what you will about Dante, this is easily one of the best skills in the game. I let it replace E & I.

Image
> ...You received Wagtail Plume!
Image: Are you trying to tell me something?
Image: Look, everyone who isn't me gets into a bit of a lady problem every once in a while, it's no biggie. There's no shame in it.
Image: Hey Dante.
Image: ...
Image: Dante. Dante Fante Bo Bante. Dante.
Image: What is it?
Image: I got a lady question for you.
Image: The first step is admitting you have a problem. I'm listening.
Image: Will you be... will you... pfffhaha...
Image: Huh?
Image: WILLYOUBETHEONETOFILLMYDARKSOULWITHLIIIIIIIIGHT
Image: ...!
Image: Oh... oh wow. Yikes.
*: Come on, give the guy a break, he was written by a Capcom employee.
Image: SHE LOOKED LIKE MY MOTHER, YOU ASSHOLE.
Image: Haha, holy crap, that's not helping!
Image: Fuck you.
Image: ...what?
Image: I said, "fuck you".
Image: Soooooo?
Image: Aren't you going to say it back?
Image: Uh, no. Who's this clown?
Image: Don't ask me!
Image: Nobody! He's nobody... important. Let's get back to poking at my old wounds, alright?
Image: Fuck you? C'mon! Don't leave me hanging here!
*: No. Out.
Image: FUCK YOUUUuuUUUUUUuuuuu~~~...
Image: Well. That was strange. Are you sure you don't know-
Image: Nope!

*: In any case! Parvati levels up and learns her last skill, Radiance, which is a powerful straight damage group-targeting Expel attack. It replaces Thunderclap.

Image

A Chest in the far east contains a Pot of Death, which is a single-use attack item that attempts to reduce all opponents' HP to 1.

Image

Oooh, a Cube on the west side puts us in a fight against a Rangda and two Abaddons.


Image

Lv72 Femme Rangda
A demon queen of Balinese folklore, leading armies of witches against Barong and its allies. She also rules over the Leyak, horrifying creatures that resemble floating heads with entrails and organs still attached. She's usually depicted as an ugly, half-naked old crone with bulging eyes. If something goes wrong somewhere in the world, it's probably her fault, directly or indirectly.


*: They drop a Bead Chain, and Zed levels up, passing on Samrecarm.

Image
Image: Ugh...!
Image: Yyyyup, I'm pretty scary alright.
> The demon disappeared.

Image

Image

*: Hmm. It looks like we've been everywhere on this floor, but I can't seem to find the way further up. I guess it's time to try again, looking harder.

Image

Image

Ha, I had looked almost everywhere, then.

Image

Image

Doesn't look like there's much of interest in here.


Image
Image: If you go the wrong way... You'll get a taste of gravity. Darkness awaits you.
Image: That's alright, gravity and I have an understanding.

Image

Image

Image

Image

*: Ah-ha! There's the second Large Terminal. Alright then, that's a good place to call it for now; there's no way we're scaling this huge-ass tower all in one update.

Oh, before I forget. During the last poll, ModeWondershot made a point to mention that I should have a say in the outcome, and in fact surrendered their vote to me. At first I figured it went somewhat against the spirit of the process, but I'm not about to deny that exercise of free will, and I won't be one to refuse the existence of options beyond the two I presented! That said, I didn't want to vote in public during the process because I didn't want to railroad the decision. Of course, the call is made now, and I might as well come out with it.

From a pure gameplay perspective, I would have chosen the Path of Destruction. But following my own suggestions that I made before the first poll, going with my own mind and my own gut, putting myself in the Demi-fiend's shoes, and considering the personality we've ended up giving him... I put in my vote for the Path of Creation. That's not to say I couldn't have seen him go for Destruction if the votes had swung that way, of course. I really did my best to set things up so neither option would have been out of character, but at this point, I don't have enough distance to tell if I've succeeded or not. Though the vote was pretty damn close, so I think I at least haven't completely failed!

At any rate, the poll wasn't so close that I made the difference, and I'm not unhappy about that. When I started this LP, I made a conscious effort to ensure Francois Hawke wouldn't be an author self-insert, so I could let him be his own character who could naturally take decisions I personally wouldn't take... but in the end, all along we've been making the same choices I made when I played blind the first time all those years ago, so who knows, heheh.

So! Chiaki started climbing first so she's probably the furthest up, and Hikawa's taken care of. Next on the hit list: our good friend Isamu.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:24 am

*: We're back to the Tower of Kagutsuchi, in front of the second Large Terminal, on floor 302. Because that's a sane number of floors for a building to have, of course. For reference, the tallest buiding in the world right now is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, clocking in at a puny 200-odd floors.

And we've still got a long way to go, straight up.

There's a big door right ahead, to the south, and a hallway to the east. Let's try the door.

Image

Okay, not very promising.

Image

Oh-ho! When we get close, translucent blocks appear out of nowhere.

Image

We pass three doors on each side of the hallway, and reach the end, blocked by two lift cubes.

Image

When we turn back, the cubes fail to reappear. Looks like this is a one-way path! We still have the pair of doors to the sides, though. Let's try west.

Image

Oooh, I get it. We've been in this room before, at the end of the last update, but we couldn't get anywhere. It must be the way back.

Image

We could return to the central hallway through one of the three western doors, or probably to the Terminal, but instead we work our way around to an opening in the south.

Image

Image

Or we would if the blocks reached it. That must be the way back from another dead-end. Oh well! We return to the Terminal after all...

Image

Okay, no, we don't. The last corner before we could retrace our steps is a dead-end that drops us in a dark place.

Image

Image

Image

And it's not long before we fall another hidden pit, dropping us back to the floor with the Fountain. I'd call that a dick move, but, well. Fountain. We make our way up again; Albion gains a level, learns Recarmdra, replacing Evil Eye, and fails a skill transformation, turning his Diarama into Void Elec. I'll take it!

Image

Let's try the eastern corridor this time.


Image
Image: Ouch.
Image: ...Well, no need to worry about Isamu. He's eaten all that Magatsuhi, after all.
Image: Why don't you go ask Hikawa how that went for him?

Image

*: Ah, another similar room. It's hard to tell from here which of the three doors we should take from the central corridor, but let's try the third one.

Image

Oh boy. Long story short, we fall and fall, then climb up again. Then fall and fall, then climb up again.

Image

Image

Oh-ho! This is new. From the central platform in the eastern room, you can take a path straight south that crosses a spot where another line of vanishing blocks would appear if you came at it from the west. Very sneaky!

Image

This takes us on top of the red lift cubes that were blocking our way earlier. We could ride them down, but let's see the end of that hallway for now.

Eh, nothing important. Alright then, lessee.

Image

Image

Whew, we're done with this at last.

Image

Image

Image

Oh crap, this is the outside of the tower, we can see the ground "below".

Image

The loose blocks are just floating around down there. What kind of half-assed operation is this Kagutsuchi running anyway?

Image

Image

When we reach the corner, the camera switches to give us a view of the other side. We could keep climbing up this incline, but I'm curious about this lift block.

Image

Image

Welp, nothing here but acrophobia waiting to happen. We ride the block back to the wall and continue our ascent.

Image

Hmm, let's try down first.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Oooh, a Chest! It contains a Soma, not bad. On our way back to the wall, Albion learns Hell Blast, his final skill. It replaces Berserk. He also attempts to change a skill, fails again, and turns Void Elec to... Mediarama. Easy come, easy go!

Image

A door, and another lift. Let's try the door.

Image

This is sufficiently ominous.


Image
Image: You're with Musubi, aren't you?
Image
Image: None other.
Image: ............ I see...... Then, go in. Isamu is waiting...

Image



Image: I wish I never had to do that.
Image: You could have let him win. You could have stayed out of his way.
Image: Not an option.
Image: No, he's right, you could have. You chose not to.
Image: What do you want from me? You want to hear me say I chose to kill my friend?
Image: We need you to see things as they are, not as you would want them to be.
Image: It's... damn, it hurts.
Image: Aradia told you it would. Are you afraid?
Image: No. It hurts, but I'm not afraid. It'll hurt even worse before long, but I won't turn back.

Vile Noah
Noah is named after the Biblical patriarch who built a big-ass boat to save his family and all the animals from God's watery wrath, but the creature itself, as far as I can tell, is a strange outsider entity with no mythological connections whatsoever. Which makes sense, considering its existence of complete isolation.


*: Noah starts out with only the usual boss immunities, and until you've hurt him a fair bit, all he does is use his basic attack, which is actually Almighty rather than physical.

It's not too long before he reaches his second phase, where he starts his typical turn by casting his signature move, Aurora. Aurora aligns him with one of the four main elements, causing him to reflect all damage, except from his opposite element. Almighty damage does punch through, but in a nearly unique occurence, Aurora makes Noah highly resistant to it. He'll use his second icon to cast a single-target -dyne spell of his aligned element, which tells you what you should use against him on your turn.

Once Isamu's face pops out for his third phase, he starts using Ma-dyne spells instead, and he gains Dekaja, Dekunda, and Domination, which is a turbo-powered Life Drain. However, his attack pattern changes: his spells are truly random and no longer bear any connection to his current elemental affinity. If you don't know what's going on, this phase is a genuine nightmare, as any given offensive spell you use has a 75% chance of hurting you and ending your turn.

But if you know what's going on... Paying attention to Noah's second form reveals that his first Aurora cast aligns him with fire, the second with ice, the third with electricity, and the fourth with force. He sticks to this pattern for the entire fight, though it does seem to reset once at the start of the third phase (which threw me off for a bit). If you can keep track of his element from turn to turn, it's in the bag. Of course the fight can take a while if your party's spellcasting isn't up to snuff, but that's his sole gimmick, and if you can maintain the buff advantage then he should pose no great problem.


Drink of the wine of the wrath of the Demi-fiend. One more god rejected.

One more to go.

*: Anyway. This room is a dead-end. I'm pretty sure you can proceed upwards without fighting Noah, but you will need his Netherstone, so you have to come back and fight him sooner or later.

We turn back, and take the lift block outside.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: I don't know why you're so broken up about the competitors getting knocked off.
Image: ...But, we have... Lady Chiaki. ...Yosuga... will be the ones to create the world!!!
Image: And they had the great Isamu, Master of the Amala Network.
Image: Ugh...!
> The demon disappeared.

Image

Image

Image

Image: Dang, these Manikins are tough as hell!
Image: I know not what moves me more, pride or sorrow.
Image: We can't set things right, but we can keep Chiaki from profiting from her crime. So turn those to anger, will you?
Image: It... it comes easily enough.

Image
Image: We're all taking a rest now. We may be Manikins, but we're no dummies!

*: There are doors to the sides of this room, so we'll leave the staircase for later.

Image

Holy crap, is that...?

Image

Image

Yup, it is.

Image
Image: ...It's so cute! I want to sell it, but I don't want to let it go! It's a girl thing... Well, I'm not really a girl! *wink*
Image: Sure, sure, whatever you say, brosephine. Just name your price.

Image

*: We buy it immediately, of course.

Image: My cute Magatama... Take good care of it for me...
Image: Don't worry, he'll be happier with all his buddies.
Image: Come to think of it, isn't this a dangerous area to have a shop in?
Image: Dang, you don't say!
Image: ...Oh well. At least the view's faaabulous!

Image

*: Kailash is a powerful caster-aligned Magatama, imparting Almighty-type spells but also powerful unaligned skills, such as Makarakarn, which it would teach us first.

You may also note that all slots in the Magatama menu are filled. We've got all of them! The Minister of the Cathedral of Shadows will definitely want to hear about this. But for now, let's keep exploring.

Image

As it so happens, there's a Fountain across the hall from the Junk Shop, as well as the Tower's third Large Terminal. And across the Terminal...


Image

Image
Image: News travel fast!
Image: In this land, there exist certain things that hold demonic power.
Image: The Magatama, right?
Image: ...Yes, the Magatama in your body are what I am referring to.
Image
Image: We have long awaited such an individual. And then, along came you... You, a human with the strength of a demon, have succeeded in gathering all the Magatama.
Image
Image: Now we're talking!
> You obtained the Lord's Sword.
Image
Image: He, who once protected Tokyo, shall surely help you with his awesome might.

*: That's our cue to follow through with what Bishamon told us back in the Kimon Temple. However, before we do so, I'd like to gain a couple levels, get Kailash to teach us something, and finish ripening a couple fusion ingredients. This'll be a bit out of nowhere, but it's time to clear out Hell's Vault. There will be plenty of encounters down there, and we'll get the experience we need. We warp to the Labyrinth, and head for the fourth Kalpa. Along the way, Zed passes on learning Makarakarn.

Image

It'll take me some time to map out the various branches, but I'll spare you the details; it's a teleport maze with no automap, you can use your imagination.

Image

Oh hey, the Labyrinth's scaling is catching up with us, now we run into multiple Mot as random encounters. Fortunately they don't have the ludicrous physical resistance anymore.

From the entrance, going west, south, south, then taking the south branch of the northwest fork, leads you to...

Image

This is an extra tough "shortcut" where you can make a buttload of money, and it leads into itself so you can go through as many times as you like. Of course, me being me, I get my ass beat, make 40 Macca, and only try once. We have nearly 900000 Macca left though, so it's not like we're going deprived.

Other than that, we found a Bead Chain, an Attack Mirror, a Deathstone, and...


Image

Image
Image: Oh, there's no hurry. Chiaki can't win without the Earthstone and the Netherstone, and I got them both right here.
Image: Everybody runs right by here just like you, not even giving a second glance to a poor old guy on the side of the road. It's a shame what this world's coming to... You folks oughtta get your priorities straight. Ya see, soemtimes you just need to relax and pay no heed to the time.
Image

*: It's not enough just to say you agree. You literally gotta wait here for a couple minutes, Earthbound-style, then say "yes". I'm not joking.

Image: Oh... I can see that you've been listening. You're in a hurry, aren't ya? You should be on your way.
Image: Don't mind if I do, old timer.
Image: Come back anytime if you'd like to talk to me again.

Image

*: He then allows you access to the Vault's central room, that we could see from the entrance. One Cube has a Deathstone, the other has 100001 Macca, and the Chest contains... five Smoke Balls. Huh. While waiting for full K, Black Rider learns his last skill: Megidolaon replaces Megidola.

We futz around some more to make sure everything else is a dead-end... and we're done. Whew. We leave the Labyrinth for the last time, and return to the Tower for the convenient facilities there. On the way, we take a look at the old peephole, and...

Image

We heal up, save, and return to the Cathedral.


Image: Alright, it's that time again. Albion, Your Majesty, you're up.
Image: It has been a pleasure.
Image: BOOM?
Image: Ba boom boom. Boom!
Image: BOOM!
Image: Did I miss something?
Image: Yes.
Image: ...well then.
Image: Will there be a sacrifice today?
Image: Actually, yes. It's-
Image: It is I.
Image: You volunteering?
Image: No. But you no longer trust me.
Image: I don't trust your master.
Image: You are my master.
Image: That's exactly what you'd tell me if I wasn't.
Image: I'm well aware, which is why I know my time in this cycle grows short. Though it appears you'll ensure there is another.
Image: Still sore about that?
Image: Yes. This has all been for nothing. You've grown so mighty... What a terrible waste.
Image: Well, you won't be sore about it for long. Get on the machine.

Albion + Titania + Black Rider =

Image

Image

*: I would have loved to pass down Phys Drain, but the odds of getting both Megidolaon and Prayer are pretty ludicrous, so this is what I'm sticking with.

And that's not all!

Parvati + Wu Kong =


Image

Image

*: From here, we warp to Ginza, trade for an Ara Mitama at Rag's, then warp to the first Terminal of the Tower and start climbing up again.

Image
Image: Your lady's next on my hit list. You can go down with the ship, or give the Demi-fiend a shot.
Image: You wish me to join your ranks?
Image: Hmm-mmm.
Image: Haha.
> Throne is smiling.
*: He asks for some cash.
Image: Hmmm... Then, lastly, let me hear your opinion.
Image
Image: I haven't destroyed you yet. What do you think?
Image: I suppose I can be happy with that.
> Throne is content.
Image
> Throne seems to be satisfied.
Image: I'm Throne of the Divine Lineage. Take me with you.

*: A couple fights later, Scathach levels up and catches up on her own skills. She learns Force Repel, Thunderclap, Mana Aid and Windcutter, and passes on Dark Pledge.

Image

Image

*: As we return to the Terminal, Zed levels up and passes on learning Megido. Back at the Cathedral, we fuse Ara Mitama to Throne, giving him Bright Might and Tarukaja. We also summon a Nigi Mitama, and fuse it to Pixie, so she gets Elec Boost to feed her Maziodyne, as well as Analyze and Rakunda. It also kicks her Magic and Luck to 36, so what the hey, we summon another Nigi Mitama and fuse it again, maxing out those stats. And hey, why not, I feed her two Ara Mitama as well.

Image

Aw yeah.

Once that's done, we heal, save, and warp to the back of the Nihilo base again.

Image

Remember this place?


Image

> The Lord's Blade began to shine! You are surrounded by a bright light...

Image

Image

Image

Music: Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital

*: Yup, that's the Hospital music. I 'unno!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

There are colored teleporters on both sides. Let's try the red one to the north first.

Image

We're taken one level below, as I expected.

Image

Image

The path down here takes a couple turns, then ends at the base of one of the pillars holding up the Shrine.




*: Hoooly crap I did not expect to fight Bishamon first. But he's the guardian of the north, so I should have, really.

He was clearly holding back the first time we fought him at the Kimon Shrine. Here, he's level 99, and has all his stats maxed out at 40. He knows Dragon Eye, Tarukaja, Makakaja, Dekaja, Debilitate, Megidolaon, Prominence, Maragidyne, Hellfire, and Tempest. Fortunately he's fire-aligned, so you can exploit his weakness to ice. He also doesn't know Dekunda, so any agility or defense debuffs will stick to him.

His AI is probably the trickiest part of this fight. If you stack buffs, he'll use Dekaja and follow it up with a couple Debilitates as punishment. If you use Makalakarn or Tetrakarn, he'll start spamming Megidolaon. Left to his own devices, he'll stack Tarukaja and follow it up with Tempest, or stack Makakaja and follow it up with a high-powered fire spell. Basically, he's kinda trying to do to you the sort of thing you've probably been trying to do to every other boss.

At any rate, Dante leveled up and learned Son's Oath, which is a passive skill that increases all his damage by 50%. You read that right. Hmm-mmm.

We head back up and go to the yellow teleporter this time.

Image

Pretty tough encounters around here too. I think all the demons here are Light-aligned.


Image
Image: You must lower the four pillars and defeat the four Devas in order to see him. But, the four Devas are reeeeeeeally strong, so be careful...

Image

*: This dungeon isn't super complicated, but it's neat how you can pretty much see all of it at once.

Image

Lv61 Fury Beiji Weng
Beiji Weng, also known as Hokuto Seikun, is a Taoist deity associated with the North Star. He's also the afterlife's judge, and decides whether the recently deceased go to heaven or hell. By the time he sees you, you're already dead.


*: Following one of the branching paths, we find a Cube containing 50000 Macca!

Image



*: Wow, I would not have guessed Zouchouten would be more dangerous than Bishamonten. Let's try this again, but with more appropriate preparations this time.



Kishin Zouchou
Zouchouten, known as "he who enlarges", is the Heavenly King guarding the south.


*: Zouchou packs the same ludicrous stats as Bishamon, but he's electricity-aligned. His main strategy is to fish for a Shock ailment with his array of powerful lightning spells, then unload a guaranteed Focus crit. He has neither Dekaja nor Dekunda, but he knows buffs and debuffs for everything but Agility, as well as Life Drain.

Aight, two more to go. On our way down, we find another Cube with 50000 Macca. Then, after passing through blue and green teleporters...


Image



Kishin Koumoku
"He who sees all", Koumokuten is the Heavenly King of the west.


*: Koumoku's functions much like Zouchou, but Force-aligned. He can't combo off a guaranteed crit though, so he has Focus, Berserk and the stronger Deathbound to compensate somewhat. He doesn't know Dekaja or Dekunda either, but he does have Makakaja, Rakukaja, and Rakunda.

One more! On our way further down, Zed levels up and passes on Tetrakarn. I decide to increase his Vitality, and that pushes his max HP to... 666. Welp!


Image

Image
Image: His Lordship is up there!
Image: Well I'm not flying up to meet him, so he better come down!

Image



Kishin Jikoku
"He who maintains the state", Jikokuten is the Heavenly King of the east.


*: He's pretty much an ice-aligned version of Zouchou, fishing for crits and all. Otherwise he's pretty much what you expect by now!

Aaaand that's it for the Four Heavenly Kings. Let's see what the Lord of this shrine has in store for us.


Image

*: The shrine gives us access to a platform we couldn't reach before, letting us grab a Cube containing another 50000 Macca.

Image

Music: Mystery

Image

The ground starts shaking.


Image
Image: Just dis guy, ya know?
Image
Image
Image: ............ ...So, thou art the demon who came from afar...? I am Masakado Taira, the guardian of Tokyo for the last thousand years.
Image: Yeah, I heard of you. I don't mean to be a dick, but, uh, you could have done a better job.
Image: ............ ...Thou art Francois, art thou not?
Image: That's correct.
Image: The king of chaos, who hath gained the powers of demons despite being human...
Image: And the King of Shit Town!
Image: And the King of Shit Town.
Image
Image
Image: You seemed like a big deal, so I popped in to say hello. It was a decent workout, sparring with your mates back there.
Image: I see... Thou hast defeated the four Devas out of sport...
Image: Pretty much!
Image: Outstanding... Let me ask thee a question...
Image: Shoot.
Image
Image: Yes. I will.
Image: Then, I shall lend thee my power.
> You obtained the Magatama Masakados.
Image: So Kailash wasn't the last one after all!
Image: ............ Farewell.
Image: See ya.
Image: Be it a new world, it is still Tokyo... Thou art the new guardian of the land...

Image

*: So. Yeah. "Null: all except almighty". How about that? +10 to all stats but Luck, that's not half bad either. It's 40 levels' worth of stat increases. The first skill it would teach us is Megidolaon, the second is Radiance, and the others are Repel skills for all four elements, then Repel Phys.

Long story short, Masakados is Broken. The Heavenly Kings are the game's optional superbosses, and that's about as fitting a reward as one might expect; let's just say this ain't no Desert Rose. I probably won't be using it much, because... yeah. Hmm-mmm.

Aight, that's it for this update. We'll be returning to the Tower off camera, and picking back up in Little Asakusa.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:35 pm

*: We return to the Tower, in the Manikin enclave, and resume our exploration. We start with the door on the other side of the central staircase.

Image

Image
Image: Heyo.
Image: ...Oh, it's you again. I've decided to follow Futomimi's will and create a world of Manikins! So, I came all the way here, just to tell Kagutsuchi: "Make it!"
Image: I like your style, old man.
Image: But, there's a problem... I can't think up a Reason!
Image: Oh, I bet if you can punch hard enough, it doesn't have to be a problem.

Image

Image
Image: He might hit us with his hammer if we get near him. And I already have a pounding headache.
Image: His hammer, eh?
Image: It must be my dear son. He has a good heart, but there are times when he lets his muscles do the thinking.
Image: Are we going to have words if I insist on correcting him?
Image: Ha! Be my guest. It'll spare me the effort.

Image

Image



*: Well, that might have been the shortest boss battle we've had yet. So, Zed needs to be immune to electricity! I could use Masakados, but... Adama will do.



Image: That was embarrassing. You do your best to transmit your values to your children, and they still manage to fall in with the worst sort of crowd.
Image: I THOUGHT YOU WERE GONNA SAY IT'S EMBARRASSING BECAUSE HE WENT DOWN LIKE A CHUMP.
Image: Yes... Well... That too, I suppose.
Image: This whole Vortex World is operating by Yosuga rules already, isn't it? No one's evaluating any Reason's merits. I only made it so far because I'm stronger than everyone else.
Image: But you are clearly evaluating every Reason's merits, are you not?
Image: Well, yeah, I guess everyone is in a way, but, what I meant is, my judgement only matters because there's nothing in here I can't turn into a corpse.
Image: If it's so distasteful to you, then stop.
Image: Yeah, no. If I give up now, Chiaki's gonna win anyway.
Image: Kid, you're overthinking this. This world doesn't matter. Nothing ever gets clean without someone doing dirty work, and if you weren't making sure none of these other assholes gets to run the show, nobody else would.
Image: So I'm the cosmic janitor?
Image: Wow, you really are King of-
Image: Welp, let's get a move on, we got trash to take out!

*: Thor's a lot stronger here than he used to be in the Mantra HQ and he'll mess you up hard if you give him the chance... but in almost every regard he's not as strong as Zouchouten was. Which of course makes sense because he's not an optional boss in a hidden dungeon. In any case, he has no elemental weaknesses and he can buff up his offense, but if you keep him from Shocking anyone, the worst he can do to you is unload a couple Focused up Hell Thrusts or Guillotines during a Dragon Eye.

We go back down to get our MP back. Man, the twin Mot we regularly fight around here give more experience than Thor did.


Image
Image: Yup.

Image

Image

Image

*: Hmm. We get teleported to a new room as we climb up the stairs that Thor used to guard. This won't be as simple as it looks.

Image
Image: I'll never make it to Lady Chiaki's side at this rate! Let me check my map...

*: There are two ways out of here; let's go east.

Image

Welp, Mada as random encounters now. Can't just Deadly Fury everything!

Image

Three more ways to go.

...the first one warps us back to Thor's room. Well, it's not like we don't have a use for the experience. We keep running into encounters with various conflicting immunities, like with Hresvelgr, Randga, Yurlungur and such, which really makes Almighty damage shine. Tao Tie's Megido and Skadi's Megidolaon are all kinds of useful.

Oh hey, Zed levels up, and learns Freikugel, replacing Spiral Viper.

In many regards, Freikugel is a single-target physical attack skill. It costs HP like a physical skill, it can crit like a physical skill, and it benefits from Focus like a physical skill. It does base damage comparable to Spiral Viper's, but has a slightly lower critical rate. The big selling point here then, is that Freikugel doesn't do physical damage. It does Almighty damage.

Image

Image

Image

You'll note that this is Mada, who absorbs physical damage. With a Focused critical...

Image

Freikugel is our final single-target skill.

Alright, so. This floor is a big teleport maze, but you get to keep your automap so it's not so bad. Along the way we find a Cube with 20000 Macca, a Chest with a Bead Chain, and we recruit a Cerberus.

Image

Image

Image

Image

We can lower the red blocks in the center so we don't have to climb the stairs and go through the maze again. Yay Nocturne!


Image

Image
Image: Hmph, how arrogant it looks...
Image: Well I'll be. We agree on something.
Image: Lady Chiaki is much more elegant.
Image: ...marginally.

Image

*: There are damage floors and dark areas here, and you can avoid some of them thanks to side passages if you pay attention... but Float Balls.

Image

An unexpected teleport takes us in front of a small Terminal. I won't complain!

We get into a fight with two Mada and an Aciel; the Madas repeatedly use Intoxicate to cause Panic, and manage to kill off Skadi and Throne before we can get cured. I decide to use a Smoke Ball and cut our losses. I've got the encounters around here under control most of the time, but we can't forget that the demons around here are extraordinarily deadly.

Image

After exploring the hallways in here for a bit, we find a lift cube in the southeast. Let's check it out.

Image

Image

Oooh, more of these. "Nice".

Image

Hmm, it only takes us to a hidden pitfall that drops us back to 431F, in an area with a teleport back to the Terminal. We'll find the right lift yet!

Image

Oh-ho! Right in the middle of the north side. It's looking promising!


Image

Image
Image: If you want to see Kagutsuchi, you need to offer the three stones to it. The stones are proof of Reason, so each leader should be carrying them.
Image: Ha, yeah, right. They're proof that I'm crushing Reasons, at least.
Image: There's nothing better than a good trophy!
Image: Stop talking.
Image: Except maybe earning a good trophy, am I right? Or am I right?
Image: Wow, you're actually making me miss Incubus.
Image: What are you talking about, boss? I'm right here!
Image: Wow, okay, thanks for murdering my nostalgia.
Image: I aim to please.

*: We turn back, return to 431F, and keep looking.

Image

Here's another lift, in the northwest corner. Is the third time the charm?

Image

Taking the first path south takes us on a vanishing block loop, leading to a pit and a Soma Drop, then to the main floor. Making our way back up and heading east instead takes us to a hidden pit that drops us to the northeastern area of 431F, which we haven't been able to access until now.

Image

Heading east from here earns us another lift to 444F. Along the way, Throne levels up and learns his last skill, Debilitate, replacing Mute Gaze.


Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: You still know who's the boss now, right?
Image: I wouldn't dream of changing my mind on this!
Image: For better or for worse, you guys are as good as your leaders, aren't you?
Image: Proudly so!
Image: ...

Image

*: The process to obtain all of the Seraphs in Nocturne starts with evolving a Throne into Uriel.

Hmm, we're almost level 90. Man there's something I gotta do. We find one of the many teleporters back to the Terminal, then warp to the Amala Temple.


Image
Image
Image
Image: ...You must bolster your faith by ridding yourself of the impurities of the world. Now, give up those impurities to me...
Image: Sounds serious... Here you go.
> You obtained Opal x 1. Dominion left.
Image: That's not what I had in mind, but I'm not angry.

*: That was another special conversation. Other attempts to use Brainwash proceed as normal. It's very effective against targets of a lower level than the user, so it doesn't take long.

Image: You're coming with us.
Image

*: And he comes with us, no charge, no questions asked. Rigid hierarchy has its benefits!

From here, we warp to Little Asakusa again, and hit the Cathedral.




*: Just like bringing Orthros to the Cathedral on New K plays the Jakyou Manor music from SMT2, bringing Cerberus to the Cathedral at the same time plays the equivalent track from SMT1.

Anyway! That's not what we came here for.

Uriel + Dominion =


Image

Image

*: We're not done yet! We summon Throne from the Compendium for 45100 Macca.

Raphael + Throne =


Image

Image

*: And that's not even all! We let Cerberus go to get some space, we summon Uriel and Raphael again, for 58300 and 70800 Macca respectively, then we get into a few fights to level Zed up the rest of the way to 90.

Image

Mastering Gaea (and passing on Attack All) doesn't change our alignment, but it does take us to the next tier of Dark titles. We're now Lord Francois Hawke.
Image: There's no way that won't go to his head.
*: You're one to talk. Didn't you declare yourself a Kishin at some point?
Image: Hey, Futomimi made it in the Kishin for getting punked by a high school girl on his own turf. It's not as exclusive a group as you seem to think.

*: We finally return to the Cathedral.

Uriel + Gabriel + Raphael =


Image

Image

Lv90 Seraph Michael
Michael is the commander of God's Army, the patron of warriors, police officers and soldiers. He's possibly the most important named angel, being mentioned in Daniel, Jude and Revelations, in the latter as the one who leads the final battle against Satan during the apocalypse. His name means "Who is like God", which is usually interpreted as a rhetorical question implying that nobody is, rather than actually likening him to God.

Also notably, he's the final boss of the Chaos path in SMT1.


*: So, how about that. The dude's giving orders to your strongest opponent.
Image: Eh. He can't do much worse of a job than his previous employer did
Image: What is this? Do I hear an arrogant infidel speaking out of turn? Which is all the time?
Image: Yeah, you do. Wanna get firestabbed again?
Image: Oh, crap! I'll be good! I promise!

*: So. Metatron's dead, and Michael is God's executive vice-president. Technically, Yosuga's troops answer to us now. Chiaki's still leading them, but that won't last, will it?

Alright, enough of this for now, let's head back up and sniff out Little Miss Important's last refuge.

It looks like the northeastern section has a bunch of dead-ends and lifts leading into pitfalls leading into these same lifts again, so we explore elsewhere for now. Along the way, Dante learns his last skill, Showtime, which is his powerful group-hitting Almighty attack. We have plenty of powerful electricity casters, including Pixie, so I let it replace Roundtrip.

Image

Image

Another lift, in the southeast this time. There's another short sequence of vanishing blocks up there, and another pitfall, dropping us to...

Image

Image

This has got to be it.

Image

It's not Chiaki yet, but is sure looks like progress.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

There are some lift blocks taking us out to floating islands, but again there's nothing there but a view.

Image

Image

Image

Oooh, another small Terminal. Amazing!


Image
Image: Probably not!
Image: There's an incredible treasure hidden in this tower that can manipulate life. After climbing steep paths, falling, scraping knees, finally...

*: Hmm. I know there's an infinite-use Balm of Raising in here somewhere, but I missed it and I can't remember where it is. We do have 10 regular one-shot Balms of Rising though, so I'm not too worried about it.

Image

Image

More vanishing blocks over fathomless chasms! Awesome!

Image

...okay that's new. Wow. At least it's an area we've never been to before. Down here, Zed levels up. Glacial Blast is mostly useless now that we have Freikugel, so I replace it with Makakaja, in case our allies' spells would prove more useful still. A few fights later, Michael levels up and learns Victory Cry, which regenerates his HP and MP to full after every battle. That's... pretty rad. I let it replace Brainwash.

Image

Image

Alright, a new lift block. It takes us next to the Terminal on 444F, so this is less of a hassle than I feared.

Image

Let's try the north path.

Image

Whew! No traps on this one.

Image

Image

The eastern blocks look like they go towards the island in the middle, and the western ones look like they're going all the way to the Dominion and the lift on the other side of the room. Hmm. West seems too obvious, so east it is.

Image

Ah, this is probably more like it.


Image
Image: I'm surprised you have the nerve to even see us!
Image: I won't dignify that with response.
Image: Lady Chiaki is up ahead. Yosuga shall take that stone you have in your hands. ...And your life.

*: Just before we take the lift, Skadi levels up and learns Earthquake, her final skill. I let it replace Force Repel.

Image

Image

Image

Another small Terminal. I think the game wants us to save!




Image: Thanks for helping me with the dirty work, Futomimi.
Image: I would not have dared let this chance you've given me go to waste. If it can spare others my people's fate...
Image: I wonder how things would have gone differently if you had let us in Mifunashiro in the first place.
Image: I... Uh...
Image: It wouldn't have gone differently at all. It's not like we would have just taken up guard duty at the entrance, we had our own stuff to do. I'm sure you did what was best for your people.
Image: I.. shall do my best to keep your words to heart.

Deity Baal Avatar
"Baal" is a word meaning "Lord" in ancient Semitic cultures and can be applied to a number of divinities, but the most promiment would be the storm god Hadad, who was eventually seen as so holy that it would be sacrilege to pronounce his name, and was therefore called just Baal instead. However, since Baal Avatar is accompanied by a pair of redeemed Fallen, it might be accurate to say that she represents a redeemed version of the deity after it was demonized by Hebrew culture.

The Hallel race is only used for Flauros and Ose here, representing fallen angels returned to their former stature (or a mockery of their former stature, whichever is the case) by Baal Avatar's force of will.


*: Apart from reflecting Expel effects, Baal Avatar only has the standard boss immunities. She's surprisingly wimpy on her own; she only has Beast Eye, and tends to stick to Mahamaon, Holy Wrath and Radiance, with the occasional Megidola thrown in. Her first real asset is Bael's Bane, which turns any target who isn't completely immune to Curse into a fly. Flies take a significant penalty to all their stats, become weak to Expel, and the ailment cannot be removed. (I hoped Prayer would work, but it doesn't!) Fortunately they can still perform normally any action that doesn't rely on their stats, such as casting buffs, using any -diarahan spell, or summoning.

Her other asset is Divine Will, which she uses on the fourth turn (and on the fourth turn only) to summon Flauros Hallel and Ose Hallel. Flauros knows Hassohappa, all -kaja spells as well as Tetrakarn, Mazandyne and Maragidyne. Ose knows Dragon Eye, Dekunda, Dekaja, Tetrakarn, Makarakarn, Rakunda, Chaos Blade, Maziodyne and Mabufudyne. Both of them also know Diarahan, making them a priority target. They don't come back when killed, so do make them a priority target, with Ose first because you want to get rid of Dragon Eye as soon as possible.


Drink of the wine of the wrath of the Demi-fiend. All gods have been rejected!

What now?

Image

*: We go around the room and climb up the stairs in the back.

Image

Image

There's only a small room with a pitfall behind that door, and it drops us right in front of the lift to the final area, where that soul reminded us about the three stones. That's our cue to go back down, and make our final preparations. We take the nearby Terminal to Little Asakusa, and run around some until we can hire a Yurlungur.

...in the end it takes so long that Zed makes it to level 94. We're pretty close to a certain milestone, so we keep getting into more fights to gain one more level. Let's just say Skadi, Dante, Michael and Masakados make some some pretty painless grinding! (Pixie doesn't have Mana Aid, so while she tends to hit harder than Skadi, she requires slightly more attention.)

Okay, 95. Whew. Lessee... We summon Wu Kong and Arahabaki from the Compendium.

Wu Kong + Arahabaki =


Image

Image

Image: ...
Image: Well then!
Image: ...aw shit.
Image: Hmm. I hope you'll use this time to learn a lesson or two, Loki.
Image: Ha, never mind that, he's going right back in.
Image: I take it he's the next sacrifice, then?
Image: Wait, what?
Image: That's right! Just pop him in again.
Image: DON'T I HAVE A SAY IN THIS?
Image: Nope!

*: Next, we summon Raphael again. And finally...

Michael + Gabriel + Loki =


Image

Image

Image: Wrath I have more than I need. It's obedience I require from you.
Image: It is all that I am.
Image: No hard feelings about the whupping we gave you down below, then?
Image: You refused the fallen one's request. In this world, I have no other responsibilities. Make what use of me you will through this summoner's compact, and the Universe shall march on no matter the outcome.
Image: Well, I sure made my bed. Come along, then.

Image

*: Whoops, I wanted Yurlungur because we didn't have anyone with Rakukaja, but Metatron ended up with it anyway. Welp! At any rate, Metatron is a special fusion: you need to put together Michael with any other Seraph, and sacrifice any Tyrant.

Alright, it's time. We climb back up to the final lift.


Image

Image: This is it. Whatever happens next, everything will change, and it will change because of me and because of anyone who goes up there with me. I don't understand how this whole summoning thing works, but I know you have to do what I tell you. And right now, what I tell you do, is tell me if you want to keep going with me, or if you want to turn away. I'll let you go. Ms. Takao spoke to me of freedom. It may not be a Reason, but I like the sound of it well enough. It starts here and now. Are you with me?
Image: I obey.
Image: The Emperor will grant you the honor of witnessing your victory, hee ho!
Image: Ha, you know I'm in. I'm all about freedom, and if it kicks the Great Will in the balls, there's nothing else I'd rather do!
Image: This is certainly one rebirth I'm not prophesied to miss, and miss it I shan't.
Image: If I had known you were going to give me such worthy prey, I would have wasted less of our time in the Amala Temple. I can't wait!
Image: THE FOOD GETS SO BORING HERE. WHATEVER KIND OF WORLD YOU'RE MAKING, THERE'S NO WAY IT CAN BE WORSE THAN THIS.
Image: You've more than earned my humble support. I will keep assisting you as I am able.
Image: I can't run this place as long as you're in it, and I'm not so dumb that I think I can take you down. So I don't give a shit. Just give me more stabbin' meat and I'll count us square enough.
Image: We've exceeded the terms of our agreement, but there's no one else in this craphole I'd rather fight with, so keep failing to disappoint me, will ya?
Image: Thanks, everyone. Uh, except, Pixie...?
Image: What, are you kidding? You really need to ask? I know this is the end of the road, but there's no way I'm turning back now. And don't you dare say goodbye!
Image: Ha, okay, okay! I get you. Alright then. Let's move. This insanity has lasted too long already.



Image

Image

Image

*: Before we use the floating block, we go west and drop a last save at the last Terminal.

Image

Image

Image

Alright, Kagutsuchi, you motherfucker.

Watch this.



Light Kagutsuchi
Kagutsuchi is the name of the Shinto god of fire, son of Izanagi and Izanami. His mother died from burns sustained while he was born, and his father was so wroth that he cut his body into eight pieces, from which many gods sprang forth. These events signaled the end of the world's creation; Izanami's demise brought death into the world, and no more gods would be born of the primordial deities. In Nocturne, he represents a sun simulacrum, acting on behalf of the Great Will to collect whatever power remains in the old world, and create a new one with it.

Throughout the series, Kagutsuchi is the only member of the Light race, and even then only in Nocturne. He appears elsewhere in his vastly less important fire god form, typically as a Kishin or Amatsu.


Image: ...are you really doing this?
*: You better believe it! Why stop now?
Image: Oh for..

*: Both of Kagutsuchi's forms only have the typical boss immunities, so you can use whatever strongest attacks you have at will.

His sphere form is relatively harmless. It knows all Ma-dyne spells, as well as Megidola, Dekunda, and Dekaja. Where it gets tricky is that it will use Vast Light every time Full K is up, dealing a lot of Almighty damage to your entire party. Now you might think that's easy enough to deal with, you just need to avoid starting the fight on Full K... but the phase advances twice by itself every turn, and Kagutsuchi can use Phase Shift to advance it twice more. So you better keep an eye on the phase meter and make sure you're all healed up in advance.

Once you've dealt 20000 damage, the real fight starts. Kagutsuchi keeps the elemental spells and Megidola, and gains Dragon Eye as well as a group-targeting basic attack that does Almighty damage. On top of that, Vast Light turns into Infinite Light, which functions pretty much the same, but deals even more damage. And if that wasn't bad enough, the phase never changes from Full K anymore, meaning that Kagutsuchi can use Infinite Light pretty much anytime it feels like, with the caveat that it does take up all his actions for the turn.

The number one priority is to survive Infinite Light and a Dragon Eye + basic attack barrage, and seeing as it's all Almighty damage, it means you need to stack up Tarunda and Rakukaja effects. That's really not optional. Take a look at this.



This is an early test attempt where I had no one capable of casting Rakukaja. Kagutsuchi was completely Debilitated, the entire party had an Endure/Never Yield effect, and we were still vaporized. If you can keep the buffs in your favor while you take down his 40000 HP, then he's not very difficult. And if you can't, you basically lose.


Image: Alright alright alright, we get the picture, stack buffs and debuffs, fine, whatever, let's pretend that's all new information. Can we get on with it now?
*: Ha, sure, I think I've made you wait long enough. Let's see what our efforts have earned us, then.



It's been a few days. Everything's pretty much back to normal.

Well, almost everything, I suppose.

For a moment back then, I was worried. I wasn't afraid for myself, of course. I was long past that. But as soon as I cracked Kagutsuchi's horrible face, I had a doubt. What kind of world would be born? Would a world even be born at all? I had murdered the Reason bearers and crushed the seed of creation.

But creation took place.

This is a new world, but... it's like the old world got reincarnated into itself. Everyone's back, like they never left. Or at least, everyone who died in the Conception. To them, it's like it never happened.

To the rest of us... To me, to Isamu, to Chiaki... We know what happened. Of course, Ms. Takao's e-mail excepted, we don't talk about it. There's nothing constructive to say, really. We see each other every day at school, and we're amicable enough, I suppose. I must admit I can hardly look at Chiaki without seeing her crush a Manikin's head in her bare hands, and I don't know how I'll react the next time I see Isamu give a thumbs down. But... I think they're grateful, in their own way. And as much as I feel like resenting them sometimes, I don't know for sure I wouldn't have acted exactly like them if I had the chance to make my own Reason. Everything was so messed up, you know? It doesn't excuse anything, but I really don't have it in me to fight my friends anymore.

Ms. Takao's better than ever. She was always kind, but whatever warmth was behind her smile before, it's grown a hundredfold since. I think she finally found her own Reason. In the end it didn't change the world, but it sure changed her, and sometimes that's enough to make all the difference.

I haven't seen or heard about Hikawa, but he's out there. He's still got his company, he's still got his money, as far as I know. But he doesn't have his cult anymore, and he certainly doesn't have the Maiden. Man I would have loved to see the look on his face when he woke up and realized how completely alive he was. I'd make a quip about being a fly on the wall, but that hits a little close to home. Of course no one's gonna know to charge him with attempted global genocide and reckless demon summoning, but I have a feeling that existence is going to be punishment enough for him.

Hijiri's running around somewhere, no doubt, but I'll be damned if I know where exactly. I haven't been able to find any issues of Ayakashi Monthly, but I haven't looked very hard.

As for me... I argue with my step-sister a little less, I fight with my step-father a little more (though I can't play anyone with a Hadouken anymore), and my mother may not understand why I've suddenly turned into the hug bandit, but she sure doesn't seem to mind. They say you don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore, and I can get behind that.

That said, I can't help but feel like I've left a chunk of myself in the Vortex World. Or... or that there's a chunk of it left in me. I keep expecting people to twitch; hopefully that'll go away over time. I look human again, but on the inside... Man, I don't know. Every once in a while, I find myself trying to summon. No one's answering, of course. Other than that, I guess I better find out what it is exactly the Guardian of Tokyo is supposed to do, because that's still me. I paid a visit to Masakado's tomb again. Nothing happened. Can't begrudge a guy for taking a vacation after a thousand years, but he could have left some notes or something. In the meantime, I do my best not to get into any fights. So far so good!

Anyway, that's about it. All that's left for now is to find out how this Steven guy got my e-mail address, and who it is exactly he thinks I should be staying strong for.

Image: Hey guys, what's going on in this thread?
*: Nothing!
Image: ...Sorry. I'll... shut the door.

Image

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:40 pm

Image: Intermission time again, hee ho!
Image: Intermission? Doesn't that mean "in-between"?
*: Yup!
Image: Huh. So we're not done, then?
*: Nope!

Alright, so. That's the main portion of the LP done! Man, what a trip. For now I'll tie up a few loose ends, and then we'll get into some bonus content later.



1. Intro videos

The game boots up with two short pre-rendered videos, one before the title screen, and another if you wait a bit. I decided against putting them up at first because while they don't really spoil plot details, they do show a bunch of stuff that I preferred to allow the actual game to present at its own pace. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean!





2. Music

Title loop 1
Title loop 2
These are the tracks for the intros I just posted.

Heretic Mansion ~ Curse
The Cathedral of Shadows has one track we didn't get the opportunity to hear, for when we are afflicted by the Magatama's Curse ailment. Man, we nearly went a hundred levels, and we were only cursed once. And it was deep in the Labyrinth too, so we couldn't safely get back to a Terminal without having it cured.

Reason Boss Battle

Kagutsuchi Tower

Last Boss Battle ~ Before Transformation
I really like how cold and mechanical this piece feels. It really fits the bizarre form of your opponent, especially with its semi-wireframe look.

Last Boss Battle ~ After Transformation
Of course, it can't stay cold and mechanical forever. And because Nocturne gotta Nocturne, it transitions into badass electric guitar sound.

Reincarnation
This would be the piece for the Freedom ending.

Staff Roll
A round of applause, everybody.



3. Final fusion chart

Code: Select all

    Pixie ---> High Pixie -+-> Uzume -+-> Unicorn -+-> Kikuri-Hime -+-> Sarasvati -+-> Horus ---> Pixie
                  Angel ---/          |    Blob -X-+                |  Valkyrie ---/
Choronzon -+-> Isora -+-> Nekomata ---/  Taraka ---/                |
  Lilim ---/          |                             Principality ---/
            Sudama ---/

                                                                        Gogmagog ---> Albion -+-> Scathach ---> Skadi
  Kodama -+-> Apsaras -+-> Nozuchi ---> Gui Xian -+-> Naga ---> Raja Naga -#-> Black Rider -X-+
Hua Po -X-+            |   Nekomata ---> Senri ---/              Bicorn ---/       Titania ---/
 Pixie ---/            |
       Will o' Wisp ---/

 Shikigami -+-> Bicorn -+-> Incubus -+-> Kushinada -+-> Dionysus -+-> Odin
 Mou-Ryo ---/           |            |              |             |
   Zhen -+-> Forneus ---/            |              |             |
Angel ---/                           |              |             |
          Momunofu ---> Arahabaki ---/              |             |
            Koppa -+-> Sarutahiko -+-> Okuninushi --/             |
   Chatterskull ---/               |         Mizuchi ---> Long -X-+
              Dis ---> Valkyrie ---/  Orthrus -#-> White Rider ---/
                                 Sarutahiko ---/

Badb Catha -+-> Succubus -+-> Sparna ---> Garuda -+-> Futomimi
  Eligor ---/      Nue ---/         Shiki-Ouji ---/

Badb Catha -@-> Troll -+-> Sati ---> Parvati -+-> Tao Tie
  Eligor ---/ Senri ---/                      |
           Onkot ---> Hanuman ---> Wu Kong ---/

Black Frost

Sarutahiko -+-> Phantom -+-> Sakahagi
Succubus ---/  Aquans ---/

Throne ---> Uriel -+-> Raphael -+-> Gabriel -+-> Michael -+-> Metatron
       Dominion ---/   Throne---/ Raphael -X-+            |
                                    Uriel ---/            |
                                   Arahabaki -+-> Loki -X-+
                                   Wu Kong ---/           |
                                               Gabriel ---/

Dante

Titan ---> Died in Shige's tunnel.




4. The new cycle

Once you've seen the credits and read the mysterious final message, you're prompted to save your game.

Image

When you load again, there are a few differences.

Image

Image

Image

In the opening dream sequence, Ms. Takao asks if you want a new look. You still lose the alternate clothes once the Conception occurs, but they do switch around a couple of your starting stats. If you choose to stay the same...

Image

Another neat bonus is that you can press Select to play with a first-person camera, in a nod to the previous SMT games.

Image

Image

Image

There are also a couple things that have a much bigger impact on gameplay. Namely, your Demonic Compendium completion carries over, and the level restrictions on the fusion process are completely lifted! Sacrificial fusion becomes a lot more practical now that your new ally's level is no longer capped to your own. Of course, summoning strong demons for the Compendium is very expensive for a fair chunk of the game, especially if you've restarted on Hard Mode where cash is a lot dearer, but if you've managed to completely fill out the Compendium, you get a 50% discount.

The last thing that carries over is your Burial Chamber progress and records. If you've beat the challenge time for all boss tombstones, you can return to the Labyrinth after beating Matador on a new cycle to get an extra cutscene with Cerberus, Izanagi and Izanami, who grant you a permanent bonus turn icon.



5. The other endings

I mentioned before that there are six endings to Nocturne. Of course three of those endings are earned by supporting one of the three Reasons. Interestingly enough, none of them are "bad endings" per se if you happen to agree with them. The game has the courtesy not to judge you for supporting a Reason that appeals to you! I'm not going to go into details here, but do have a listen to the three ending themes, and you'll have an idea of what I mean: Yosuga, Shijima, and Musubi. All three Reason endings culminate in a battle with Kagutsuchi, as a final test of the strength behind your principles.

There is nothing that stops you from agreeing with multiple Reasons, but the game tallies up your alignment points and gives you the endgame for the one with the highest score.

This leaves three unaligned endings. The one we got is the Freedom ending, earned by refusing to ally with any Reason, trying to stop Hikawa in the Diet Building, and answering Aradia's questions in Yoyogi Park with courage. We fought Kagutsuchi not as a test, but because it was outright trying to stop us from derailing the Creation process with an unofficial quasi-Reason promoted by a non-human without divine sponsorship.

Of course there is also an ending if you refuse to ally with a Reason, then skip the Samael fight and/or admit fear to Aradia. It's commonly called the "demon" ending. Once you reach the top of the Tower, Kagutsuchi notes that not only have you murdered the legitimate Reasons, you also bring no conviction of your own to the process. He literally leaves in disgust without a fight, and the Vortex World remains as it is for the duration of the next cycle, as a hollow, sterile, lightless shell where demons rule unopposed. That's arguably the only bad ending, but hey, if that's your bag, who am I to judge, right?

And the third one, well. You get it for allying with Lucifer. Beyond that, we shall see, shall we not? :D



6. What's next

Alright, whew. I'm not done with this, but I'm taking a bit of a break, probably a week or two, because man the Tower is intense and this'll take so much grinding, you have no idea. Though maybe I'll get the itch sooner? Who knows. And then we'll pick things back up at a certain point of interest.
Image: You mean the elevator at the bottom of the Labyrinth?
*: ...yeah.
Image: Aight, cool.
*: You just had to, didn't you?
Image: Hmm-mmm.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:34 pm

"I'd say I found someone you want to meet, but it's more accurate to say they found me, and that they want to meet you. Funny how these things go, right? It's a little scary to think that I'm easier to find than some high-school student. Anyway, I'm sticking my neck out there for you, kid, so be sure to thank me later!"

The message is signed "H". It's probably not Hikawa, so...

Hmm.

I should have stayed home, but I suppose that's hardly proper for the Guardian of Tokyo.

Why meet in Kichijoji of all places, though? And this address... A fortune-telling shop?

Image

Image: Um, hi? I'm sorry if this sounds strange, but I got an invi-
Image: Welcome, Demi-fiend. I have been expecting you.
Image: Ooookay, what's this about? And how do you-
Image: Holy crap I can't believe this worked. Man, you have no idea how many favors I had to cash in to pull this stunt off.
Image: It's actually kind of impressive how far he went to make this happen.
Image: Who the hell-
Image: Gentlemen, please! Time is of the essence!
Image: Sorry ma'am, I'm just super excited is all. Do go on.
Image: Have a seat, young man, and rest for a moment. I have been hired to-
Image: We're gonna show you what would have happened if you had taken that elevator at the bottom of the Fifth Kalpa!
Image: ...
Image: He's like a little puppy, isn't he?
Image: Sorry, sorry, shutting up now.
Image: Look, I get that you went through a lot of trouble to set this up, even if I don't really understand what's going on, but I'm honestly not sure I want to know what would have happened.
Image: Hmm. Can't blame you.
Image: Really now? Not even a little bit?
Image: ...
Image: Well, that's alright. I mean, I spent a lot of nights wide awake, wondering what would have happened if I hadn't made the alliances I made, but I guess that's just me. No one bothered to break a bunch of metaphysical rules from multiple universes to put these questions to rest, and I suppose that was for the best.
Image: ...when you put it that way... I guess maybe I am a little curious.
Image: Ha! I bet you are.
Image: Is this even slightly dangerous?
Image: Don't worry, this isn't quantum physics, we can observe all we want.
Image: I cannot promise that no one will look back as we gaze into the abyss, but we shall not be harmed by what has not come to pass.
Image: Alright, that's good enough for me. How does this work?
Image: Be at peace. Remember your thoughts at that moment, and look into my eyes.
Image: ...
Image: And you two as well, look into my eyes, and behold the reflection of memories that were never made.
Image: Her EYES, buddy.
Image: Uh, right! Of course!



*: Symbolism much, eh? Though I suppose there's a world of difference between a pool of Magatsuhi at the bottom of Hell, and the waters of the Jordan river.
Image: Oh, great, he's here too.
*: Anyway, we are reborn in darkness again, so we wake up in the Shinjuku Hospital's morgue. That about settles the question of who put us here the first time around. For all the power we've received, we didn't change much. In fact, there's exactly one thing that changed. Remember when I mentioned Marogareh had an unknown last skill?

Image

Now that we've aligned ourselves with Lucifer, that last skill is unlocked. Pierce is a passive skill that allows physical attacks to ignore resistances, immunities and absorption (but not reflection). Freikugel counts as a physical attack in every way but damage type, so it also bypasses Almighty resistance, though that only matters for Noah and... someone else, as we'll see.


Image
Image: And now, you have been born a second time...

*: We use the Terminal to warp to the final area, and reach the top of the Obelisk again.

Image
Image: Show me your heart...
Image: I have nothing to hide.
Image: ...All I see is darkness inside you... No light remains in your heart, and your purpose is in defiance of my will... If you dare, then come before me with the three stones of treasure...

*: That's pretty much all that changes for a long time. So at this point, I want to rush up the Tower and defeat Ahriman quickly, then skip Noah so we can get Kailash and start working on our endgame build as soon as possible.

However, I have three additional goals right now that we didn't have the first time through, because I'm not quarter-assing this "bonus content" business. Number one, I want to show off all remaining evolutions. Number two, I want to show off all remaining special conversations. And number three, I want to craft a squad of badass mofos to take on the final challenge. I've mentioned in the thread that I'd make early attempts at relatively low levels, but, given that I decided I'd go for goals one and two and that they'll require some serious leveling up, I might as well go whole hog, bring in the heavy artillery, and demonstrate what it truly means to be Hell's General.

In any case, I need to make some room in our party so we can start working on goal three. We have plenty of allies right now who won't be part of the final battle in any way, and now that Zed's a complete demon and we're going on a parallel story track, I don't feel too bad about making craters in the more sentimental areas of our roster. First off, Futomimi has got to go so we can start training a Throne as soon as possible in his place. I'd get rid of Sakahagi too, but I do want to keep his Dekaja around until I can sacrifice him to pass it down, so he stays a bit longer. I'd also fire Dante if I could because he can't be part of the final battle for mechanical reasons I'll mention in time... but I literally can't.

Welp! Better get to it then. Man I'm glad I got an audiobook backlog.

...

Alright, Kailash acquired. Now we can get started. First order of business is turning Titania, Albion and Black Rider into Scathach again, then heading for Yoyogi Park.


Image
Image
Image: It has been awhile, Setanta. Have you kept up your training?
Image: Of course! I have never skipped a day of training in order to be accepted as a hero!
Image: You have potential! Keep practicing, and one day you'll make me proud.
Image: What gracious words! I, Setanta, will train even harder to fulfill your expectations!
Image: I look forward to that day.
Image: Master, take this as proof of my promise!
> You obtained Luck Incense x 1. Setanta left.
Image: Well, that was surprisingly chaste.
*: I'm preeeeeetty sure this is Setanta still as a little boy.
Image: I know, I know! Just sayin'.

*: Interestingly, Scathach does not naturally learn a conversation skill and can't initiate this special conversation at all if you don't give her one. Fortunately, passing down Titania's Pester did the job.

At any rate, that's all we needed Scathach for, but we do run around some more and recruit Setanta himself, which is painless because Throne's level is far enough above Setanta's that Brainwash works instantly. We then return to the Cathedral, fire Scathach, summon a Valkyrie and a Koppa from the Compendium, then head to the Amala Temple's black pyramid.


Image
Image
Image: Hey, it's you, Valkyrie. Why're you hanging around here? You've got a weird humanlike demon leading you... This some kinda joke?
Image: Silence. I am following my duty and I side with the strong. There's no need to accuse or insult me.
Image: Is that so? Well, good for you. For a minute there, I thought you were in love with that human wannabe.
Image: ...What!?
Image: There was one like that a while back... A valkyrie that became too affectionate with a human and caused a great tragedy.
Image: ............
Image: The man she loves also had powers that humans shouldn't have. ...Sound familiar?
Image: I... I will not follow in the same footsteps!
Image: Interesting. Your voice seems to be faltering.
Image: Get thee hence, insolent scoundrel!
Image: Haha! You're just like your father, it's so easy to tease you! Don't be so edgy, now. Take this as an apology.
> You obtained Vitality Incense x 1. Loki left.

*: I suspect Loki's talking about the love between the valkyrie Brünnhilde and the human hero Siegfried in Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungun opera. At any rate, we kick Valkyrie out of the party immediately to make some room. However, we stick around the black pyramid a bit longer.

Image
Image
Image: Hmmm... This is a coincidence. I never thought I'd see you here.
Image: Brother... Now is the time of ordeal. Lendeth me thy power.
Image: ...Brother? Ahh, come to think of it, we did swear an oath to each other. I forgot about that.
Image: ...Dost thou say our merry trap was but a farce!?
Image: Man! You're so uptight. You've always been like that. You always lose sight of the big picture, like that time when you sacrificed one of your eyes to gain wisdom.
Image: ............
Image: You need to kick back and relax. Enjoy being a god! ...Okay?
Image: Loki. I shall swallow thy sins. Heed my words! O sinful brother, lend my thy power.
Image: ............ I figured it wouldn't go my way... I just can't beat you! Alright then, I'll give you a parting gift. Make do with that.
> You obtained Great Chakra x 1. Loki left.

*: Next up! In the red pyramid, Throne brainwashes a Dakini. We hit the Cathedral again, and fuse this Dakini with Odin to make Kali, making sure to pass down Wooing, then we fuse a Nigi Mitama to Koppa, making to sure to pass down Persuade, and go right back to the red pyramid. Along the way, Koppa learns its final skill!

Image

Image

*: Karasu will evolve again, so he stays employed for a bit longer.

Image
Image
Image: I haven't seen any of you around lately. Where've you been?
Image: (Oh shit!!) ...Huh? Oh, uh... Well, you see...
Image: ...Seeing a man?
Image: O-Of course not! I would never leave you out, b-boss.
Image: ...I see. Then show me proof.
Image: Well, um, er, yikes... I can attend you... like I did before!
Image: You're not getting out of this one that easily! I know... hand over a jewel. You've gotten plenty offered to you, right?
Image: Huh!?
Image: What? You got a problem with me!?
Image: 'Course not!
Image: Then hurry it up!
Image: ...Yes, mistress. (I'll get her...!)
> You obtained Agility Incense x 1. Dakini left.

*: Aight, that's all we needed Kali for, so away she goes. Whew, what's next? We warp to Ikebukuro, summon up an Orthrus at the Cathedral there, then run around until we can hire an Inugami. Once that's done, it takes just a bit of grinding, so we pop back to the Tower of Kagutsuchi, summon an all-star game-winning party of Setanta, Orthrus and Inugami, and punch the likes of Mada, Mot and Aciel for a while. Good thing we got Pixie to take care of the occasional 1-shot casualty!

At last, Orthrus learns Scout.


Image
Image
Image: GRRRR... I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU, BROTHER.
Image: ...? ASK ME THEN.
Image: WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, I HAVE 2 HEADS AND YOU HAVE 1. SHOULDN'T YOU HAVE MORE HEADS THAN ME...?
Image: ............
Image: SO HOW ABOUT IT, OLDER BROTHER?
Image: YOUNG BROTHER OF MINE, YOU SEEM TO BE TIRED.
Image: DO NOT DODGE THE QUESTION, OLDER BROTHER!
Image: I GIVE THIS TO YOU, MY BROTHER!!
> You obtained Chakra Pot x 1. Cerberus left.

*: At the end of the same battle, Inugami learns its last skill.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Lv22 Avatar Makami
Makami are wolf spirits from Japanese folklore. Unlike the tormented and murderous Inugami, Makami are proud, benevolent protectors of the areas which they inhabit, warding off evil and rewarding good deeds.


*: Makami is one of the first evolutions you can perform, and it's not a bad one either, since it learns Void Mind, Diarama and Recarm relatively early. At any rate, that's all we needed Orthrus for, but we give Makami Persuade via Mitama and fuse it with Parvati, creating another version of Dionysus that I will not register in the Compendium. Aaaaand it's back to grinding for a bit.

...no, wait, there is something else that we can get to right now. We summon Garuda from the Compendium, then... Oh, hmm, it needs a couple levels to learn Persuade and it doesn't have any free slots to learn it through a Mitama. Welp, back to grinding, then.

At some point it occurs to me that the Rangda around here are a huge pain in the butt to run across (since they reflect physical and therefore are protected even from Pierce until we get Freikugel), and we're gonna want to hire one at some point anyway, so we get one on board and drop Sakahagi to make room for a Cerberus that we'll also employ before long, hopefully.

...

Whew, alright, Throne Brainwashes a Cerberus. Now, to hire a Rangda after all... or... uh, dang, not yet, there's something I didn't think of. And before we get to that, one more thing needs to happen.

Ooooh, here we go.

...no, wait, what the... Oh crap, I forgot Persuade is a passive conversation skill, it can't be used to start a special conversation. Oh boy! Alright then, I'll have to make this happen some other way. As a consolation though, at the end of that fight, Karasu learns its final skill.


Image

Image

Image

Lv38 Genma Kurama
The Kurama are the most powerful and most famous of the Tengu subspecies, being especially wise and benevolent dwellers of Mount Kurama, where the king of the Tengu also resides. It is said that during the Heian period, one among them taught tactics, swordsmanship and magic to the (otherwise non-fictional) general Minamoto no Yoshitsune.


*: Aw crap, Kurama also has special conversations and I was passing down Persuade to make them happen. So they won't happen for a while yet. Welp, it's not like Zed can't use the experience, right?

At any rate, Dionysus has a free skill slot and is therefore salvageable, but that version of Kurama doesn't and is useless to us now, so I get rid of it. We'll have to start over from a summoned Koppa, but at least it has Watchful so it's almost painless.

....aw hell, I was counting on Garuda to learn Persuade too, but its slots are full too. I gotta kick it out; man, what an expensive mistake he turned out to be.

Image: I'm going to pretend I didn't hear you say that.
Image: Wait, what's this bozo doing here? This makes even less sense than usual!
Image: Well, the lady did mention the abyss looking back.
Image: I thought she was talking about, like, the devil.
Image: And that would be better because...?
Image: Hmm, good point.
*: I'm gonna have to get a Sparna with a conversation skill, then evolve it from scratch. I think I'll save some money and catch one outside the Obelisk.

Okay, so. Keep calm, carry on. Next. I had something else in mind for this Cerberus, but for now I summon Orthrus again and fuse them together into an Aeros with Scout (since they're both Beasts). I then summon an Aquans, and fuse it with the Aeros to make a Kusi Mitama with Scout as well, and register that sucker. Dionysus fuses with that Mitama, learning Scout. I also summon the Koppa, and give it Scout as well. And while we're at it, I leave the Tower, brainwash a Sparna outside, and, you know it, fuse Scout onto it. Whew!

At some point a Hresvelgr joins up, which is notable because it's the strongest Wilder, but I have precious little use for him and he gets the boot right away.

...

Alright, finally something goes right, lessee...


Image
Image
Image
Image: My sssh'mell is *hic* the sw-sweet fragrance of wi-wine! 'Reek' is a phrase... that desh'cribes you! *HIC*
Image: Heheh, don't get all riled up, now! That was supposed to be a compliment.
Image: Wh-what...? *hic*
Image: I finally came across someone who knows what alcohol really is! Are you a god of liquor?
Image: Wh-why?! Are you, too? *hic* ... It's sad knowin' that I'm the *burp* same as a god like you.
Image: Oh, come on, now. Liquor tests the hearts of the greedy and invites both bliss and misery. Just like the work of a god. There are lots of gods, but being a 'god of liquor' isn't bad at all.
Image: Desh'pite your looks, you... seem to undersh'tand. ...Is it hot in here???
Image: Heck yeah. Heheh. I like you. I know... You can have this as a parting gift. Take it.
> You obtained Magic Incense x 1. Mada left.

*: Well hey, witnessing this burgeoning booze bromance makes all the hassle worth it in the end. Anyway, that's pretty much everything we need Dionysus around for, except for one thing. We summon Cerberus again, and fuse him to Dionysus, obtaining Barong (with Scout, of course). And having Barong around...

Image
Image
Image: As long as you live, I will appear. Over and over, just to defeat you.
Image: Yes... I know. Likewise, I will rise from the dead as long as you live.
Image: Rangda, what are we fighting for? Have you ever thought about that?
Image: Shut your mouth!! Or my claws will slit your throat!! I am the dark, YOU are the light! What else do WE need!?
Image: I see how it is... You are right. I will no longer hesitate. From now on, my entire body is burning only with the desire to destroy you!
Image: That's how it should be! *chuckle* Let us continue, then... ...Our 'relationship' that's been going on for thousands of years!

*: Unlike other special conversations, this one doesn't end with a gift, it ends with all your turn icons being taken away!

At the end of the fight, Setanta learns his lask skill and turns into Cu Chulainn, which we had seen briefly in the Labyrinth. Fortunately I don't have any time-consuming plans for him: we go to the Cathedral and fuse him with Lilith to make a Chimera, making sure to pass down Wooing. In terms of combat power that's a colossal loss, since Chimera is a few levels over Cu Chulainn but nearly thirty under Lilith's, but combat power isn't the point here.

At this point we have three free spaces and Throne just turned into Uriel, so we hop to the Amala Temple to get a Dominion, then to the Diet Building to hire up a Purski (for an unrelated reason). While we're in the latter location...


Image
Image
Image: GRRRR...?
Image: I'M THE GUARD DOG OF HADES. MY BROTHER, ORTHRUS, IS THE GUARD DOG OF A RANCH. BUT YOU ARE NOT A GUARD DOG OF ANYTHING. ...WHY?
Image: THAT IS SIMPLE... I AM NOT A DOG.
Image: AWOOOOOO! I HAVE FINALLY FOUND MY ANSWER!! THANK YOU. TAKE THIS!
Image: This definitely isn't my world reborn. This must be some other universe entirely.
Image: How can you tell?
Image: Pascal's way smarter than that.
> You obtained Soma Droplet x 1. Cerberus left.

*: We get our Purski moments later (it comes with Watchful and we don't need it for anything urgent, so that's nice), then head for Ginza again. First fight is the charm!

Image
Image
Image: GRRR...
Image: WE HAVE DIFFERENT PARENTS, BUT YOU CAN SAY WE ARE FROM THE SAME LINEAGE. I WILL WATCH OVER THE PATH YOU TAKE. HERE IS MY PARTING GIFT. TAKE IT...
> You obtained Chakra Pot x 1. Orthrus left.

*: Aaaaand that's all we needed Chimera for. Whew! That's a bit of a relief, but now we got some serious grinding to do until we're ready for the next step. I do fuse up Raphael in Ginza before returning to the Tower, but Zed needs to gain a few more levels before Gabriel is available to us. Welp, time to get to it.

...oh wait, we might as well go shank Thor while we're here.

Yup, still a pushover! We finally hire a Rangda as we go back to heal, but at this point it really is all a question of grinding for a while. I'll get to it!

...

Alright, we got a Kurama again. They can chat up both of their former evolutions, but it's a little tricky; I'm pretty sure you can only meet Koppa in the back passage of the former Nihilo HQ and Karasu at the bottom of the Obelisk near the Chakra Elixir. Well, you can still meet both in the Labyrinth, but you can't have a conversation with them.


Image
Image
Image: There's no reason to hate another member of your race that much, is there?
Image: Shut up! Don't talk like you're some kinda sage. To us low-level Tengu, you're just a nuisance.
Image: ...Hmm. Then you can defeat me.
Image: Wh-What's that???
Image: If you have more strength than I do, you can take my place. I have no regrets if I lose.
Image: Y-You wanna go for it? If I w-win, I can have your p-position!?
Image: What's wrong? Your voice is shaky. Are you... 'scared'?
Image: Sh-Sh-Shut up! I'm not feeling g-good today... I-I'll remember this! D-Dammit!
> Karasu Tengu dropped something while panicking. You obtained Lucky Ticket x 1. Karasu left.

*: Moving on, I can't seem to run into any Koppa at all, which ain't so great. There were butt-tons of them in the Nihilo HQ proper, but that's beyond reach now. Hmm. Oh well, I might look around some more at some point later, it's not like I don't have several more levels to gain. In other news, we have a Garuda with social skills again. First stop: Kabukicho.

Image
Image
Image: This saves me the trouble of looking for you! Prepare to die!
Image: Wait, Naga! Do you not think that this battle is pointless? This conflict was started by our parents. It will not end until we overcome it!
Image: You foot-licking, gutless booze-worm! I will kill you right where you stand just for saying that! This will be easy...
Image: Silence! I have no interest in such a futile battle.
Image: I do not give a damn about your interests! I am only interested in bathing in your blood! Come on, coward!

*: Welp, this one ends your turn as well. Can't say I'm surprised. Next, we go to Asakusa Tunnel, betweeen Asakusa and Yoyogi Park.

Image
Image
Image: Are you going to fight me, Raja Naga?
Image: ............
Image: Is the king of all Nagas going to prolong the mistakes of our parents?
Image: I... I myself have no interest in the feuds of our parents. But many Nagas are still cursed with that grudge. And I am the leader of those Nagas...
Image: ............
Image: But perhaps... it is a king's duty to lead my people towards change. Then, Garuda... Take this. Today, we did not meet. ...Is that okay?
> You obtained Soma x 1. Raja Naga left.

Image: So much for being mortal enemies.
Image: This whole thing about demons being unable to change... I wonder if it's true, after all.
Image: If you ask me, it's a load of crap.
Image: Hmm.

*: Alright, we're gonna need a bunch more levels until something else interesting can happen, so we warp back to Tower and pick some more fights.

...Whew, Purski learns its final skill.


Image

Image

Image

Lv58 Wargod Ganesha
Ganesha is the famous elephant-headed Hindu god of arts, sciences and wisdom, among many other things. He's also known as the Lord of Obstacles, who places them before those who deserve them, and removes them from the path of the righteous.


*: So! We've seen almost every evolution in the game. Other than that, Abaddon turns into Aciel, Jinn turns into Efreet (we've seen Aciel and Efreet before so I'll say I won't have to actually evolve them on camera), and... there's a last one, as we'll see later. Much later for me, but pretty soon for you I suppose, heh.

Anyway, I fuse Raphael with a Throne to make Gabriel again, and if we fuse Gabriel with Ganesha...


Image

Image

*: Thor's in our party at last, so it's time for one final trip to the black pyramid of the Amala Temple.

Image
Image
Image: I finally found you, most foul criminal!
Image: Why so pissed? Wake up on the wrong side of the cloud this morning?
Image: A thousand curses upon you! Don't act the fool with me! My wife's hair was praised throughout Asgard... Thou art the one who lopped it off as a prank!!
Image: For real!? Now... that... you... mention... it, I heard about that! Was that lil' ol' me???
Image: Arrrrrrgh! You don't even remember thy dark deeds of cuttery!? I'll not forgive it! Die a painful death! The wrath of Mjollnir upon thee!!
Image: Painful death? Come on, man... You don't know when to CUT it out, do you?
Image: Enough talk!!
Image: Whoa there! Let me off the hook in exchange for this...
> You obtained Ruby x 1. Loki left.

*: We get back to the Tower, and since Zed just hit level 90, we can triple fuse the Seraphs again and get Michael back. Aaaaand that's as far as we can go on the to-do list until level 95. Oh boy. At least Michael's a powerhouse, and having him around makes things a lot smoother, especially since we don't have low-level hires to train anymore. In fact, before long we can just use Michael, Dante and Pixie to blow everything away.

Image

Oooh, I didn't notice it exactly as it happened, but apparently we've mastered Magatama differently enough to have reached the tier of Neutral titles equivalent to Lord (which is Dark). With Michael in our party, that makes two John Travolta movie references.

Image: Dude you've been grinding for too long.
*: Maybe.

...

Alright, level 95! Hot damn! We hop to the Cathedral, fuse up Loki (from Dionysus and Arahabaki), sacrifice him in a Michael/Dominion fusion (Michael and any Divine or Seraph will do to get Metatron again). He's not going to be in our final party, so the ingredients hardly matter. In fact, he's basically going to be a fancy key that will allow us to get the last piece we needed to put our final party together. And that final piece is in the Labyrinth's Fifth Kalpa.


Image

*: Remember this guy? Metatron is the only one who can open this door.

Image

There's just a big room with a pit on the other side. We gotta go down!

Image

Image

Lots more golden doors here. Stepping into the room...


Image
Image: We are the law here. We will only permit you to use us three times before you are forced to leave.

*: The south and west doors are accessible from here, though there's one more to the east on the other side of the translucent wall. Let's try west.

Image: Attention trespassers... You are only permitted to use us two more times!

*: The only other way is south.

Image: Attention trespassers... You are only permitted to use us one more time!

*: The only way is south again.

Image: Attention trespassers... You have now passed through us three times. You will not be allowed to advance any further!

*: We find ourselves in a big rectangular room with five golden doors, counting the one we came in from. Two of them are in the south, and we take the western of those two.

Image
Image: Leave this instant!

Image

*: We can barely catch a glimpse of a Burial Chamber's grey door before we're teleported to a room full of damage floors back on B3.

There's a Chest in the south end of the room with five Smoke Balls inside; other than that there's a one-way door leading to the area of the floor we already explored.

Image

Aaaand the automap for B3 looks like a skull now. Great!

We fight our way back to the three-doors puzzle and try again. Our prize is in there somewhere.

Taking the first south door...


Image

Image
Image: But, now I'm lost. What to do...?

*: Going east then north take us to a ladder that brings us to a one-way door returning us to the Metatron door room. Another try, lessee... South, south, and south again.

Image

Image
Image: ...I'll sell you something special. Interested? Here's what I'm selling... the strongest elephant you ever saw, with the power of a demon. In battle, he'll bust out attacks that'll crush any enemy!
Image
Image: You're damn right I want it.
Image: Excellent choice!
> You purchased a demon from the Shady Broker.

Image

*: This remarkable Girimehkala comes with skills that normal Girimehkala definitely do not learn naturally, including Attack All, Focus, and all Might skills. On top of that, he is the only demon in the game with Pierce, besides the Demi-fiend of course. We can absolutely register him at the Cathedral and use him for fusion! However, I do want him to gain three levels so it can learn Debilitate; we return to the Tower and fight some more.

...and done.

Now we're in business. We head for the Cathedral and register everyone. First off is a special fusion: putting together a Femme and an Avatar does not usually create a Fury, but Rangda and Barong together...


Image

Image

Image

Lv95 Fury Shiva
In Hinduism, where Brahma is the Creator and Vishnu is the Preserver, Shiva is the Destroyer. That said, despite his wild temperament, he's regarded as a benevolent force, generally destroying only so further creation can take place, and going to great lengths to ensure that nothing is destroyed before its time has passed. He's Parvati's husband, Ganesha's father, and Hanuman might well be an avatar of his.


*: We've also sacrificed Girimehkala to give him more skills. However, this version of Shiva doesn't remain with us for long. We summon another Girimehkala, and straight up fuse it again with Shiva.

Image

Image

Image

*: This is not a special fusion, but still, the number of demons who will fuse into Beelzebub is vanishingly small. I think you have more options if you are Cursed, since all fusions result in Dark demons then, but I'm not sure. I would have loved to sacrifice something to give Beelzebub a boost, but a fusion that results in a Tyrant that's performed on Full K will always result in Fiend Trumpeter if you have a Deathstone in your inventory, so that's a no-go. That said, I get an Ara Mitama from Rag's, and use it to give him Tarukaja.

Up next! We summon up Scathach, and fuse her with Metatron, sacrificing Girimehkala again.


Image

Image

Image

Lv92 Deity Vishnu
According to some Hindu traditions, Vishnu is said to be the supreme deity, somewhat their equivalent to YHVH, though he often shares top billing as a trinity with Brahma and Shiva instead, as we've seen. He's married to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and Garuda is his mount; he has a multitude of avatars, some of the more famous being the hero Rama who traveled with Hanuman, and the lion-man Narasimha who slew the Asura Hiranyakashipu.


*: And we summon up the ingredients for the Shiva fusion again.

So. Shiva, Vishnu, Beelzebub, all of them with Focus and Pierce. We are this close to our final party. All we need now is for Beelzebub to earn a couple levels, and we'll be there. We're not just gonna grind it out, though: this timeline still has a bunch of suckers who earned themselves a punch or two. However, before we resume our righteous crusade, we have a couple last side trips. First off, to Kabukicho again.


Image
Image
Image: Naga. I have something to ask of thee...
Image: I am at your bidding, sire.
Image: Wouldst thou give thy treasure unto me?
Image: With honor, my lord! Please, take this!
> You obtained Great Chakra x 1. Naga left.

*: Then it's off to Asakusa Tunnel again.

Image
Image
Image: King of the Nagas... I have something I would ask of thee.
Image: I am at your service. Order me as you will!
Image: Wouldst thou give thy treasure unto me?
Image: As the king of the Nagas it is my greatest honor to be given such an opportunity! Please, take this with you.
> You obtained Diamond x 1. Raja Naga left.

*: Aaaaaand that's all of the special conversations, except the one with Kurama talking to Koppa, because I can't find Koppa after all. Alright then, next stop: Bandou Shrine. It's gonna be like New Londo in there because we got four kings to whup.

Image

Image

I recorded the Bishamonten fight, but honestly, putting it up would be disrespectful of your time. The other Heavenly King battles are equally uneventful, if you count a 7200 damage Freikugel as uneventful. And the encounter with Masakados doesn't go any differently.


Image: You'd think a true demon following the Path of Destruction and accompanied by the Great Divine Destroyer and the Wicked King of Chaos wouldn't be so easily entrusted with protecting Tokyo.
Image: What was Masakado supposed to do, though? Say "no" to the Demi-fiend?
Image: Hey, man.
Image: Hmm?
Image: Tell me how handsome I am.
Image: ...what?
Image: Come on. Tell me how handsome I am.
Image: I... uh... I don't... That's not how I...
Image: Well then, I guess it's not so hard to refuse the Demi-fiend, is it?
Image: I stand corrected!
Image: Dude, you're hella handsome. And smart too! And so powerful!
Image: Okay, what's gotten into you?
Image: Yeah, I'm getting a little weirded out here.
Image: When I was done saving the world, I didn't hear one half of one compliment. Nothing. It was all, "Stonka are eating all my cabbages!" this, and "yes you have to pay for that pie" that. And I'm gonna make sure that shit doesn't happen to this rad fellow right here. You're amazing, dude. Keep on rocking.
Image: Uh, alright then. Thanks! I will!

*: Back to the Tower, it's time to teach Isamu a lesson.



*: The one thing that usually forces you to play by Noah's gimmick is his huge resistance to Almighty damage. He of course reflects physical damage so Pierce alone doesn't help, but combined with Freikugel, both resistance and reflection are bypassed entirely.

Alright, next up is Chiaki of course. Along the way, Shiva and Vishnu learn their final skills, Phys Drain and Phys Repel respectively. Yup.

Aaaand Chiaki goes down. Nothing unexpected happens here either. We couldn't beat her before she summoned the Hallel, but that's really no great problem. She did attempt to use Bael's Curse a couple times, though it was always on Beelzebub so that was good for a giggle. We have the three treasures at last, but there are still a couple things I want to do before the final battles. We head for a Terminal, and return to the Fifth Kalpa.

On the floor with the lady demons, we take the eastern ladder, and find the golden door that talked about us being a true demon.

Image

Ooooh, these hallways were empty before, but there's a Cube here now.

Image

And chests in the corners too! I don't think we'll need any of the stuff in here but it won't hurt to check it out. Lessee... Four Jades, twenty-five Lucky Tickets (!!!), three Deathstones, 150000 Macca, and three chunks of Magic Incense. Not bad!

As we leave the room, Beelzebub learns its final skill, Elec Boost.


Image

*: To nobody's surprise...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

*: Beelzebub leaps from level 86 all the way to level 95, making his true final skills accessible: Death Flies and Victory Cry. I doubt he'll have time to learn either, but we'll still put him to good use. And one such good use is very close by.

Image

*: This is of course the door only Beelzebub can open.

Image

Two Chests, one with 10 Balms of Rising, and one with 10 Soma. This is just a hunch, but I think the game wants us to be prepared for the final battle.

Of course, we really are prepared by now. It's been long enough, in so many ways. Let's head for the fight to end all fights. We have an infinite genocide engine to stop, and no one in heaven or hell can keep us from putting an end to its wretched cycle.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



Image: Well that was a whole lot of Debilitating Lucifer's crotch.

Lv99 Devil Lucifer
This would be Lucifer, first of the fallen angels, led a rebellion against God, plots within schemes within plots, etc. etc.

Lucifer is usually counted among the Tyrants (Maou), but his appearance in Nocturne is unusual in that he's in the Devil race (Daimaou) instead, which as far as I know is entirely unique to him, in this one specific instance.


*: A wrinkle that's easy to miss for the final battle is the Kagutsuchi phase: DEAD. This is of course because Kagutsuchi has just been killed. It's mostly for flavor, but it does have the side-effect of ensuring that neither Bright Might nor Dark Might can activate.

Anyway, Devil Lucifer! He's level 99, with 40 in all stats, as well as 65535 HP and 65535 MP. He has boss immunities, on top of a 75% resistance to physical, magic, and Almighty damage. Essentially, anything that's not a Pierce-enabled physical skill will barely scratch him. Deathbound/Vitality builds and Freikugel/Strength builds work fine, but if you've got a Magic build relying on Boosted elemental damage, you pretty much have to let your squad take care of the offense.

Lucifer's resistances are why Dante's not so great for this fight. He's literally the only recruitable demon in the game who can't learn Pierce. Apart from Holy Star and Provoke, he has no support abilities; Lucifer doesn't use -nda effects and you definitely don't want to increase his attack power. The demon hunter can't do anything worth doing.

Lucifer knows Dekaja, Dekunda, Diarama (kind of a joke, really), Prominence, Glacial Blast, Mabufudyne, Megidola, and Megidolaon. Apart from Dekaja and Dekunda, seeing him use any of those skills is something of a relief, because that means he's not using one of this three signature moves. Evil Gleam, the one we haven't seen, is a group-targeting Charm attempt with a base 60% hit rate. High King is a powerful group-targeting Almighty attack with a 100% chance to Bind (though it only worked once because of our allies' ailment resistances). And Root of Evil has a random effect on every party member: it may cut current HP by 50%, 75% or 90%, or more rarely inflict Mute, Poison or Stun instead. I think even High King doesn't quite match Infinite Light in terms of raw face-melting power, but it doesn't take two whole turns to cast, and Lucifer still generally hits hard enough that you want to keep up stacks of Debilitate and Rakukaja to make sure that you can survive him following up on a worst-case-scenario Root of Evil.

Okay. So. What's next?




Image: Wait. Wait wait wait. Don't leave us hanging here, lady!
Image: My apologies. That is as far as I can see.
Image: What!? Come on! Just a little more! We gotta see who wins!
Image: Dude, this is fairly non-trivial. You're asking her to look past the death of time.
Image: That does present something of an unsurmountable difficulty. If it wasn't for the strength of this young man's spirit, we could not have seen even as little as we have.
Image: Gah. Aw cripes. Sorry man, I guess this was a waste of your time after all.
Image: It... it really wasn't.
Image: Eh? I wanted you to see how you would've ended up, and-
Image: I appreciate the sentiment, but... That wasn't me. I didn't make those decisions. All I saw was... someone who looked like me, and who did things I'm glad I didn't do.
Image: No regrets, then?
Image: Ha, are you kidding? Nah, I'm... I'm glad things turned out the way they did.
Image: I for one am certainly happy to have been brought back!
Image: The death of a world... Sure would have been a hell of a thing to carry on your shoulders, huh?
Image: There's still the death of infinite billions of worlds out there, though.
Image: All of them with their own copy of the Scriptures of Miroku, all of them with a Demi-fiend calling the shots, and all of them with the potential to be reborn like this one was. It's not your responsibility.
Image: I know. I... I know. And in any case, I'm relieved I didn't turn into... into that creature.
Image: Creature? Well that's a little rude, isn't it?
Image: ...what the-
Image: Wait, what is he doing here?
Image: This is impossible!
Image: Death's vastness holds no peace. I come at the end of the long road. Neither human, nor devil... all bends to my will!
Image: Huh?
Image: Just looking for honest opinion from the only person I can trust. I'm whupping a bunch of cannibals and I figure I might try that line on them for effect.
Image: Cannibals?
Image: Long story. Anyway, you dig it?
Image: Ehhh... A little overdramatic.
Image: Yeah, thought so. Maybe I could write it down somewhere. That kinda stuff always reads better in your head than said out loud, doesn't it?
Image: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Image: Hey, uh... How's Pixie doing?
Image: She's kicking ass, no worries. I'll tell her you said hi.
Image: Much obliged.
Image: Man, you have no idea. Aight then, I'm hopping back out before someone misses me. Smell ya later, chumpos.
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...how many rules did you break to make this happen, again?
Image: Damn, multiverses are weird.

*: Well hey, speaking of long roads ending, it looks like this sucker's just about wrapped up! Man, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. What a trip. A million thanks to everyone who walked this path with me on the Brontoforums and Something Awful alike, to all who might walk it in the future, to all who've commented and discussed, to all who've read and to all who've allowed me into their minds ever so slightly and gave me the chance to showcase this masterpiece of a game. And of course, much gratitude goes to Atlus, for crafting it in the first place, and for having the brass gonads to release it outside of Japan in such a faithful form!
Image: And hey, uh, I'm not sure how this works, but, thanks everyone for giving me my world back.
*: Now go out there, keep your eyes wide open, find your own Reasons, and once you got 'em, hold on tight. Don't worry, it's not like the world can get any rounder, right?
Image: That's it? That's what you're ending on?
*: Yeah, pretty much.
Image: You gotta kill your darlings, that's basic.
Image: I guess you're safe, then.
Image: Man I get no respect.
*: Awwww, come on. Get over here. Group hug!
Image: Bah, fine.
Image: Ha, no complaints!
Image: Hey, this is almost not awkward at all.
Image: Nice!
Image: Wait. Which one of you is getting excited?
Image: I... don't... What... what the-
Image: Ack!
Image: I LOVE YOOOOOOOOOU~~~~
*: I guess I was wrong. This is what I'm ending on.
Image: Oh for the love of-

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3161
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Mothra » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:53 pm

Image
Image
Image

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:52 am

Man, I don't know, sure feels like vacation time to me! :D

User avatar
François
Posts: 1013
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:33 pm

Holy crap, today's the day it has become real. Man, I don't even. Classic and Mothra, thanks for getting me to do this, it feels pretty damn incredible.

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3161
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Mothra » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:44 pm

Slowly catching up now that I'm an unemployed hack. Wonder what I missed in the past fe-

François wrote:Holy crap, today's the day it has become real. Man, I don't even. Classic and Mothra, thanks for getting me to do this, it feels pretty damn incredible.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

DID IT, BABY

I'm editing the first post of this to put a link to the Archive's posting.

This is awesome.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests