Saturday, 8 March 2014

What's Going on Beneath Roppongi? (Shin Megami Tensei IV)

Tenkai - Tokyo Midtown boss
Tenkai, guardian of Tokyo's Midtown.
After the shock of finding out Lilith was the leader of The Ring of Gaea, Flynn and his friends have to make their way back to Shibuya in order to find out what's going on beneath Roppongi. Lilith told them to check out the area, as Tayama was apparently up to something truly evil there. She told the samurai to take a look with their own eyes, and then decide whether or not they wanted to kill her.

Before we could do this, we needed to figure out a way into the place. Walter was so eager to find out that he ran off ahead, leaving the group. He also seemed to be very sympathetic to Lilith and her ideals, which worried Jonathan quite a bit. Heading back to Ginza, we ran into Hikari, the girl we'd met when first coming to Shinjuku. She was there with Walter, and recommended going to Shinjuku to speak with someone named Fuijiwara who may be able to help with getting under Roppongi. Walter didn't waste much time running off to talk to the guy, but he should have stuck around a while. Hikari explained that Fujiwara hung out at a fairly exclusive cafe that was members only. In order to get in, Flynn would need to show the doorman a special book of matches, which she passed along.

Fujiwara
Fujiwara strikes me as a genuinely
nice guy. =)
So it was back to Shinjuku. We had to pass through the underground city, and head back above ground to one of the more removed areas of the region. I'd passed there before and come across a hunter guarding a cafe, asking if we were members before shooing everyone away. I'd been wondering what that place was, and now I know! When we got there, Walter was outside arguing with the guard, trying to get in, but he didn't have the matches so that just wasn't going to happen. Flynn showed his match book, and everyone, including Walter, were granted entry.

Inside, the place was a nice, cozy cafe with a warm, wood paneling sort of ambiance to it. There we met two older gentlemen: Fujiwara and his friend Skins. Hikari was also there waiting. It was a nice chat and the two guys seemed really nice, middle-aged folks. I imagine that they were probably college students, or around that age anyway, when the demons started spilling into Tokyo. Fujiwara was certainly dressed the part. They explained that life in Tokyo was hard, and asked the samurai what they thought if everyone left Tokyo to live in Mikado since it was so much nicer there. Walter was for it while Jonathan was not. When Fujiwara asked Flynn his thoughts, I selected that it would be fine if they came.

Fujiwara and Skins seemed pretty happy about that. A short time later, they told us how to get to Tayama's base under Roppongi. We'd need to go to a nearby building in Midtown (presumably Tokyo Midtown?), and take an underground passage that connected the two places.

It was a bit of a hike getting there but we finally made it. Right as everyone entered the building, they found themselves face to face with a huge demon named Tenkai. It was his duty to stop anyone from entering the building, so a battle ensued.

He was pretty easy despite pummeling everyone with Megido. My party had enough hit points and healing power to get past that and focus on hammering him with gun-related attacks. During the fight, Tenkai asked Flynn a few questions very obviously directed towards his alignment between order and chaos. Surprisingly, there were very neutral-sounding answers that could be selected, as opposed to the solid division towards one side of the spectrum or the other, which I was more used to getting. I pushed ahead with neutral answers and before long the demon was defeated and turned into stone.

Skins
Skins is pretty nice too.
Tenkai out of the way, Flynn had a lengthy trek ahead of him. There were barriers blocking the way, so that meant there must be another demon somewhere in the building that was keeping them up, and we'd need to deal with it if we wanted to proceed. This required going up several elevators while weaving through a mess of ransacked offices, beating the tar out of demons along the way. It took a while to get to the top of the skyscraper, but it was a good opportunity to earn some experience points and recruit a few demons along the way.

Eventually we did make it to the top of the building and came across what looked like some sort of control center with computers and monitors everywhere. Here there was what seemed to be another demon to face, but talking with him revealed that he was actually the angel Mastema. For a moment it looked like we might actually have to fight him, but he then said that he was joking and had no wish to find himself dead like Tenkai. Jonathan asked the angel to join them but Mastema refused, saying that his duty was to stay in Midtown and limit access to Roppongi. He did lower the barriers on the first floor of the building, though, so we could proceed to Roppongi ourselves. I guess he liked the cut of Flynn's jib or something. =p

After the meeting, we headed back to the first floor of Midtown and proceeded into the area that was previously blocked. A short ways in we came upon a ladder leading down. Taking this brought us to a small, abandoned military passage.  There were a few demons here, mostly crab-like ones, and they were easy enough to defeat, but it was only a short job down a few halls before coming upon another passage leading down.

Getting to the next level, everyone was quite surprised. They'd arrived at their destination and it was the Roppongi Hills building except that it was underground and upside down. Very strange. In any case, if Flynn wanted to see what all this evil Lilith was going on about actually was he'd need to head inside.

What they found there was truly disturbing. The place was like a high tech lab with several small rooms. Each of them had an operating chair in it. Some rooms were empty while others had comatose humans sitting in them. Others had humans in them with a lab technician extracting fluids from the person's brain (surprisingly, most of these technicians thought Flynn and his friends were the next shift, not intruders). Most disturbing was that there were children here. Earlier Tayama had shown the samurai a video with happy kids saying what they wanted to be when they grew up, and here they were being taught those lines. However, upon coming upon another room there was a semiconscious man saying the exact same quote. Had this facility been in operation so long that the kids became adults and were then held there to have their bodies used for something?

Mastema
Mastema strikes me as being pretty
interesting as far as angels go.
As it turns out, this was the place where the Ashura-kai made their Red Pills. While the things kept demons from eating humans, it looks like there were still human costs. The pills were made from various components that grew inside human brains, so people were being harvested here to create the stuff. It was truly macabre.

After getting to the lowest floor of the facility, Flynn crossed paths with a strange demon named Yaso Magatsuhi. We couldn't fight him, as he had an ability that made everyone go crazy and lose consciousness. When Flynn came to he was with everyone in a suite in the above ground section of Roppongi Hills. Apparently he'd been rather silly before passing out. Something running around with no pants on, much to Isabeau's embarrassment.

At that moment, Tayama came in and explained that his project was a necessary evil to keep most humans safe in Tokyo. The alternative in his view was total anarchy, which may have been how things were before the Red Pills went into circulation. He then reminded the samurai that he wanted Yuriko of The Ring of Gaea dead, and told them to get on it.  He was surprised to find out the woman was actually a demon, but the fact remained that she and her group were serious competition to the Ashura-kai and needed to be dealt with.

So, with that we left Roppongi again with a decision to make: should we kill Lilith? At this point, Jonathan was still all for it, and Walter's doubts remained. Before we could make up our mind, Sister Gabby contacted them on their gauntlets and asked them to return to Mikado briefly. They were to head to Shene Duque, an important holy land, to meet some VIPs.

When they arrived, they came upon a large cocoon-like structure, which was actually the cocoon that escaped Tokyo before it was covered in stone. Upon entering, everyone was shocked. The people they were meeting were archangels. The prisoners they had earlier rescued from Kagome Tower were actually these beings. Also, Gabby wasn't human but an archangel herself.

Their plan was to become the new leaders of Mikado, as they felt there was a certain level of corruption working its way into the kingdom. They would purge that and rule themselves, keeping people in line along the path of order. This meant that they also wanted Lilith dead, as she was a problematic obstacle in achieving this goal. They also have a very low opinion of the humans of Tokyo, viewing them as tainted, and absolutely being Unclean Ones. Walter asked what would happen if the humans there tried to come to Mikado, and the archangels said they'd be destroyed as these humans were filth that had no right to enter the kingdom. This didn't sit all that well with the samurai, and they were even a little worried about what would happen to Fujiwara and Skins if they tried to come over.

After this meeting, a major rift formed in the group. Jonathan wanted to side with the archangels, as he felt it was his duty as samurai to preserve order. Meanwhile Walter wanted to save Lilith. He felt that the archangels were going to far, and much preferred Lilith's idea of freewill, and survival of the fittest.

The Archangel Michael
The archangels in SMT IV actually look kind of
scary.
From here I had to make a choice in who Flynn would side with. Go with Walter and save Lilith, following the path of chaos, or side with Jonathan, kill Lilith, and choose order instead? To be honest, my decision came down to my desire to try and go neutral. As far as I could tell, Flynn was still neutral up until this point, but I knew going forward that I may need to push his alignment more one way, then swing it the other to stay neutral. So I opted to help Jonathan as I had a feeling Flynn was probably leaning ever so slightly towards chaos in reality. I'd need to go order, then push back to chaos again and hope I was able to pull off neutrality. If I fail, oh well, I'll just look up the other endings on the internet or something. =p

To team up with Jonathan, I had Flynn go to the entrance of Naraku to meet him. There we had a little chat and he was really happy that Flynn sided with him. During that time, Isabeau popped by for a visit saying she understood Flynn's decision. However, she had her own stuff to sort out in her head, and opted not to join them.

So, next stop is back in Ginza for a showdown with Lilith. Personally, I'd rather have sided with her, as my personal beliefs tend to align more with hers, but in the name of game mechanics and trying to get the neutral ending, I'm forced to fight the demon.  Such is life, I suppose.