In this part, we finally get a portion of plot. The action finally starts here! Following from the next part, we finally enter the Hospital.
Part 3: Mikage Hospital - Awakening of the Personas
: Heh… Cold, man. By the way, Maki’s in Room 302.
: You’re pretty well-informed, Masao.
: Uh… Shut up! A friend of mine told me! Yo, Naoya, let’s just go already.Before visiting Maki, let's talk with everyone in here.
: What’re you lookin’ at me for? Hurry and go!
: Huh. Interesting that Masao knew which room Maki was in.
: Hospitals certainly enjoy keeping people waiting. Don’t they know time is money?
Receptionist: I’m sorry. We’re tied up right now, so please wait a little longer.
Other receptionist: Hm? Maki Sonomura? Oh, yes, her… She’s in room 302.Ooooh, look who we have here.
: Oh dear, oh dear! I’ve been spotted. I would ask that you keep my presence a secret from the young master…
College student with her boyfriend: Hoo boy… Know where the police station is? My boyfriend crashed his motorcycle.
: What’s this now? The police? You mean the place where Baldy works? Yeah, just head west after you leave the hospital.
College student with her boyfriend: Exit the hospital and head west… Thanks a bunch!
Injured man: Testifying about accidents is such a pain. Talk about bad luck.
Pregnant woman with her husband: I wonder if my honey’s okay… Isn’t seeing things a sign of overwork?
Tired salaryman: I’m going to work! To hell with fake hallways and stairs! To hell with that little ghost girl! If you can’t handle such things, you have no place at SEBEC! Honestly!Oh, so we have someone who works here at SEBEC. Seems like very strange things happen in that building... Anyway, to the hallways we go!The hospital is also a dungeon, divided in three small floors.Here's Maki's room.> Maki Sonomura
A chronically ill classmate who’s been hospitalized for over a year now.
Doctor: Oho, it seems your real medication has arrived. I’ll leave you kids be.
: You’re so thoughtful, Masao.
: What do you mean?
: I told Masao I wanted to see everyone when he was here last time… Isn’t that why you all came?
: …Yes, it is. Oh, and Yuko said she’ll come by to return the book she borrowed. “Gate to Paradise”, I think it was.
: Ah… That’s okay. I’ve read it so many times, I practically have it memorized.
: All right, I’ll tell her next time I see her. So how’ve you been? You doing okay?
: Uh-huh. I’m doing much better. I wonder if it’s because of that good dream… It’s hard to remember, but I keep dreaming of a very nice man… He’s like a father…
: Like that doctor? He seemed nice.
: …I don’t like him…
: Did he do somethin’ to you!?
: No, that’s not it… I just… don’t like doctors…
: Well, let’s talk about other stuff, then. Hey, how about your mom? How’s she doin’ at SEBEC?
: She’s not my mom! She cares more about her job than me! She doesn’t care about me at all…
: Oh… It’s all right… Ngh! Maki grabs her chest in pain.
: Maki!? What’s wrong!? Hey!
: This isn’t good! Call a doctor!The screen fades to black. Cutscene time!
The party runs outside of the room to find out where that scream came from.Seems like we got ourselves in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
: What’s with these guys?
Panicked nurse: Th-The dead patients suddenly got up and walked… That old man rescued me and… Nooooo!The nurse exits the room.
: What!? These guys were dead? Is this for real!?
: Y… Yamaoka…? Yamaoka! You bastards… How DARE you!?
After the battle, all characters get enough experience to go up a level (all of them are at level 6 now). For the main character, we get to distribute the three points granted by level up as we please, but the other characters have programmed growth rates.Now that the fight's over and the zombies are dea... erm, defeated, Nanjo rushes to Yamaoka's side to check on him.
: Yamaoka… Don’t go… You wouldn’t leave my behind, right? Right, Yamaoka?
: Oh, young master… Don’t be so sad… It spoils your handsome face… You’re a fine Japanese man… And a man must stand on his own someday… It seems like this… will be the last service I can provide for you…
: No! No no no! I won’t let you leave me! Hang in there, Yamaoka!
: It’s time I said farewell… Just one last thing… Please promise me, young master… Promise to become the No.1 man in the country and carry Japan on your back! *cough* *cough*
: …Of course… Of course I will. When that time comes, you’ll see. So, until then—
: That’s my young master… I will always be… in your heart…
: Yamaoka? Hey…! Answer me… I’m begging you… Yamaoka!
: Nanjo…Yukino walks towards Nanjo.
: Let him alone…
: That thing said it was me?
: I heard it, too… Think it was that Persona thing?
: It said it would lend us power, so I kinda doubt it’s hostile. If we’re lucky, maybe it’ll listen to what we tell it… I guess we might go on calling it “Persona”.
: That’s how it felt to me, too… I have a bad feeling about this. Let’s go.After that we gain control of our characters, but before procceding, let's speak with everyone.
: I didn’t think he was gonna cry… He must’ve really loved that old guy.
: Nanjo seemed like a little boy in front of that old guy… Failing to protect the ones you love… Nothing hurts worse than that.If you try checking Yamaoka's corpse, you get this message:
> He’s already gone…
: Yamaoka… What should I do…? Without you, I’m all alone… No one is here to encourage me… No one… will stand by me…After exiting the room we were in, we find ourselves in the game's first dungeon. Thanks to whatever happened during the earthquake, the hospital's been completly warped in its design. It's very easy to navigate in, though, since it's the first dungeon.
In this game, the human characters are responsible for physical attacks while magic is used by summoning Personas (and just like in any RPG, it costs SP, with each Persona having a different cost that's the same for all spells). We can't create new Personas (yet) so I won't go over the details on that. For combat, the characters and enemies have their own 9x9 grid (9x18 in total). All attacks (physical or magic) have a different range and how you position your characters changes which enemies they can hit.
You can also negotiate with the enemies (by the way, most enemies in this dungeon are zombies, but you can also meet a few fairies and other weak magical creatures), allowing you to smooth-talk your way from fights if necessary. But for now let's check the character's Personas:
The Personas are classified under an Arcana (as in, Tarot cards).
Arcana: The Emperor
Name: Seimen Kongou
The protagonist's Persona. In tarot readings, the Emperor symbolizes the desire to control one's surroundings, and its appearance could suggest that one is trying too hard to achieve this, possibly causing trouble for others; some elements in life are just not controllable. Seimen Kongou, also known as Shoumen Kongou is a Rakshasa of Hindu lore and a protector deity in Japanese Buddhist lore. Gameplay-wise, Seimen Kongou specializes in wind magic and status ailment-inducing spells.
Arcana: The Hierophant
Name: Aizen Myouou
Nanjo's Persona. The Hierophant is a symbol of education, authority, conservatism, obedience to rules and relationship with the divine. The definition of a "hierophant" is a person who interprets sacred mysteries or esoteric principles, and the term was originally used to name ancient Greek priests who did so. Aizen Myouou is considered a Vidyaraja or "Great Wisdom King", in keeping with others like Fudo Myouou and Gozanze. There are four different mandalas associated with Aizen Myouou. The first posits him with thirty-seven assistant devas, the second with seventeen. Gameplay-wise, Aizen Myouou specializes in holy magic and stats buffs.
Arcana: The Chariot
Nanjo's Persona. Portrayed as a king leading a chariot made up of two differently colored horses (in some cases mythical creatures). The Chariot Arcana is a symbol of victory, conquest, self-assertion, control, war and command. Ogun is a god from the Yoruba people in Nigeria. He was called the God of Iron, having been the first god to show people the use of iron. Gameplay-wise, Ogun specializes in physical magic, though he does learn a few magic spells.
Arcana: The Empress
Yukino's Persona. In tarot readings, the Empress represents mothers, prosperity, creativity, sexuality, abundance, fertility and comfort (most often in helping maintain peace around them like an ideal mother would). Vesta was the goddess of the hearth in Roman mythology, but even moreso, she was the goddess of virginity and sexuality. She had her own group of priestesses called the Vestal Virgins that served her. With fire as her ruling element, Vesta was a passionate goddess. Unlike her other siblings, Vesta chose not to get married, giving herself for others. Gameplay-wise, Vesta learns Nuclear magic (yup, she can nuke enemies), as well as Fire and minimal healing.
In our way through the hospital, there are several rooms with doctors, nurses, etc. in them. These also have items so let's check them all.
: What is this bullshit!? Whoever’s doing this is gonna pay! I’ll get this place back to normal or die trying!
: If only… If only I’d made certain he went home…
: With this power, we should be able to find out why this is happenin’!
Nurse: The TV’s not working, and the phone’s dead too! What in the world is going on!?
Doctor: Dammit, why can’t I get to the ICU!? There’s a patient in there! I have to treat the Sonomura girl…!
Other nurse: I’d treat your wounds at the examination room, but… I can’t find it! Nothing in this hospital is where I remember it!These are equipable headgear, aside from that there's a chest with 6 medicines (healing items).There's also the mysterious missing ICU where Maki was.
: It’s like even the air’s changed… I’m finding it hard to breathe.
: Dammit! If only we had a hint or something!
: …I’m sorry, Naoya. I’m not thinking as quickly as usual.
Nurse: There’s a strange haze I can see through the window… it’s covering the town. You don’t think we’re trapped here like in the horror novels, do you?
Old man: Oh, hello, Hiroshi! Did you come to listen to my stories? I have something to say that I think you may need to hear. Stay calm, and think carefully before making a move. If you do… you’ll arrive at the truth come what may. Say, Akiko? Is lunch ready yet?A poison-healing item. There's no enemy in here who knows Poisma (poison-inducing spell) but it's good to keep them in stock.Oh look, it's room 302, where Maki was.
: I’m worried about Maki too, but let’s get to the streets. I have a bad feeling…
: I can still feel Maki here… Hang on, Maki. We’ll find you.Checking the painting on the wall, we get this message:
> It’s the painting called “Gate to Paradise” that Maki won an award for. You can sense Maki’s pain just by looking at it…
: Hey, you think the other guys have this power too?
: I’ll figure this out… There’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it!
: This power’s kinda unnerving, but it looks like it’ll come in handy.
Patient: I’m prepared for the worst, but I’m worried about my little grandson… He should be at school… I hope nothing’s happened there.
: I always thought you were a pushover, Naoya… I’m surprised how calm you are.
: I wonder if there are any patients besides Maki in trouble right now…
: …Hm? Yes, what is it?
Nurse: I can’t get in touch with the patients! What am I supposed to do? Can’t you do something!? …I’m sorry. I’m asking the impossible. I’m just so confused…
Doctor: Are you all right? Here, let me take a look… I want to save as many people as I can. Try not to push yourself too hard.This is a free healing spot. Good because I abused it to grind a few levels.Here's our current objective: the entrance door of the hospital.
: We haven’t time to waste, Naoya! It’s too late for her, but not for us!
: Yo, Naoya! The monsters are just around the corner!Remember when I said some choices affect the game's outcome while others do not? This is the first game-affecting choice we have: whether or not to help the nurse. Obviously, we're going to help her.
: What’re we gonna do? Now’s the time to decide, man!
: I can’t leave her here! Help me!
: …I don’t want to leave Yamaoka behind, either. But we don’t have a choice, we have to go!- Don’t leave
: Tsk… Don’t blame me when you end up part of the problem instead of the solution.
: Don’t give up! I could really use a hand, Naoya!- Help her
- Don’t help her
: Okay, you take that side!
: It’s no good, they’re coming!Too late, the demons are here already.A wild Elly appeared!
: Oh, my! There are demons here too?
Anytime you enter a battle in which a character will awaken to their Persona, you'll automatically level up after it. If you know when they'll happen, you can go just after leveling up and gain yet another level. By the way, we jumped ten levels because I took my time to grind. This game isn't hard... but we're playing in Expert so it's better to take the opportunity to overlevel right at the first dungeon.
: It’s me… and I’m it…
: Eriko? Hey! Are you okay?
: Nike… The archetypal portrayal of Christian angels… It’s me… and I’m it…
: No good. She’s completely gone.
: Eriko! Snap out of it!
: *gasp* I-I’m sorry… I’m all right. I am an angelical bringer of victory! From now on, you have my protection.Eriko does a victory pose...
: …You idiot. We can do it too....and then sweatdrops.
: R-Really? So I’m not the only one who was chosen…
: Eriko… you dreamt of the butterfly, didn’t you?
: How did you know about that? I’ve seen it quite often in my dreams… Ever since I played the Persona game.
: Just as I thought. That dream must be the cause of the phenomenon…
: That aside, why’d you come here? Is it like that outside too?
: Yes… There are demons everywhere. And it’s impossible to leave town. I looked everywhere but it seems that the school is the only safe place.
: Oh? The school’s safe? Let’s go back there, Naoya.
: Oh, but I nearly forgot! We should go to the shrine first. Maki’s mother is hurt. She collapsed there…
: What!? Dude, why didn’t you say so before!?After that, we gain control of the character. Let's speak with everyone in here (by the way, the hurt nurse has mysteriously disappeared... don't ask me why).
: You’re all so softhearted… Anyway. The Personas, this change in town… It all seems too pat. What could be causing all this?
: The shrine isn’t far from the school. We should have no problems.
: Maki… We’ll come back for you, I swear…
: Alright, let’s save Maki’s mom and make a run for the school.Yeah, let's save Maki's mother and ignore Maki herself. But even if you explore the entire of the hospital, you can't find her anywhere. So the most the characters can do is pray that she is alive and well... somewhere.
Leaving that aside, let's take a look at Elly's Persona:
The Judgment Arcana, in tarot, is associated with realizing one's calling, gaining a deep understanding of life, and a feeling of acceptance and absolution. Nike, the goddess of victory, is also, the archetypal portrayal of Christian angels. As the Greek deity of victory, Nike's greatest feat was in the Titan War, in which she served as the gods' personal charioteer. It is said that without Nike, the gods' couldn't have won the war with the Titans. Gameplay-wise, Nike is, IMO, the best of the first Personas you get. She can attack with Light, Shockwave and Ice, as well as having a healing spell and a defense boosting skill, plus her attributes: weak to Dark magic and physical attacks and immune to everything else.Leaving the Hospital, we discover that what Eriko said is true: there's a wall surrounding the city and we can't get out of here. In the next part, we'll rescue Maki's mother and discover who is behind all of this mess.TO BE CONTINUED. . .
Next part: The shrine.