There are apparently three endings in addition to the “fake” ending that you get if you flee in mission 10 and kill Jais, and the “A” ending covered here means that the game ends at mission 14. The “B” and “C” endings both stretch on to mission 15 and involve literally fighting the devil. Obviously we won’t be done until all three endings are ours, but for now, this is Mission 14: Basically Everyone Dies, Then We Find Out That Our Bestest Friend Had A Secret Dark Mage Bestie Behind Our Back And Overreact So Hardcore That We Basically Doom The Entire World Forever.
This mission’s side story marks the introduction of legionnaires, which are long-dead warriors brought back by the Fiend (or something along those lines). Basically, they’re slightly beefier beefheads. The real enemy here is the area design, with the best choke points also having unpredictable environmental fire traps that’ll set you ablaze even if you didn’t visibly touch the fire. They managed to kill me on my first try, forcing me to put my flare rock and push wall in a less than ideal place and run around a lot. I hate this room so much, and there are no doors on any of the walls, meaning that you’re stuck fighting in this place whether you like it or not.
Info dump time! The box is opened and Schrodinger’s king turns out to be alive after all, explaining that this whole “Allura entering into a covenant with the devil” thing was part of an elaborate plan to resurrect the Fiend in order to make him bring back his dead wife (Allura’s mother, obviously). This is clearly not a great plan, but it’s exactly the sort of plan you’d expect from a king who drove his kingdom to ruin through overtaxation and general mismanagement. You do you, Olaf.
Hertzog turns out to have been working for the king this entire time, but suddenly betrays him in front of Allura, explaining that he never had any intention of going along with Olaf’s crazy plan and that he’s instead going to make himself king and do a better job. That explains why he tried to send her off back in mission 10. Anyway, Hertzog is a true ideologue, but loses a bit of the moral high ground when he follows up his impassioned speech by gloating about the king joining his wife in hell.
Oh, come on. You’re not even trying anymore, Trapt.
Hertzog has a leaping attack that takes a little getting used to, but he’s pretty harmless so long as you keep moving around. In fact, he’s one of the least dangerous characters in this mission, especially since he has no problem being lured over a spring floor to be crushed and pushed around. The only real issue here is that we’re stuck in the same sealed room the side story had us in, which sucks.
Hertzog and his men bite it without too much issue, and we suddenly have to face off against a second mob of enemies. This one includes two legionnaires, and the second to show up is named Hercule. He’s special among the game’s enemies because he moves 2-3 times faster than them. So fast, in fact, that the camera rarely swivels around fast enough to see him when you’re running around trying to keep your distance. For all his speed, however, he’s every bit as willing to walk over spring traps as his fellow legionnaires, so all killing him takes is a minor timing adjustment.
Once the second wave of enemies is finished, Rachel shows up and explains that the Fiend is a single life away from being resurrected, which is her wish. Dun dun dun! Who could have possibly seen this coming? Sarcasm aside, it’s kind of funny that she knows exactly how many lives are needed and how many lives have been taken thus far. I like to think that off-screen, she has one of those fundraising thermometers showing how many souls have been taken thus far that she’s slowly filled up with marker as the game has progressed. If she wasn’t evil and insane and armed with a knife, I think Allura would have no choice but to admire the organizational structure she’s brought to the devil’s revival campaign.
This is where we choose an ending; you can decide whether to fight with Rachel or not, and the “B” and “C” endings require you to not fight. Rachel sucks, though, so we’re totally going to murder her in the face here and do the other endings later.
She’s kind of annoying to fight because she can trigger Allura’s traps, evidently having made her own deal with the devil behind our back. That’s only a minor inconvenience, though. The real problem with this fight is that she has a secret best friend named Nocto who’s a dark mage, and Nocto spams this annoying homing spell that’s virtually impossible to avoid in the large, mostly open space. When you get hit with it, the entire screen becomes dark, making it even more difficult to see. That means that this fight is unbearable unless you kill Nocto first. After that, you just need to remember to stay out of range of your own traps and things should go well.
Time for another info dump! It turns out that Rachel is our half-sister, with the king having fathered her with a Timenoid who he subsequently abandoned after Allura was born. Rachel’s Timenoid mom didn’t take this very well, and taught her daughter all about the Fiend before she died (which is weird since Timenoids leveraged this very information to become immortal, but I guess Rachel’s mom didn’t partake). Anyway, Rachel was filled with bitterness over her mom’s death and became a maid to get close to Allura. She also tricked the king by leveraging his grief over losing Allura’s mom to set this entire revenge plot up. Rachel’s got great initiative.
Allura decides to break out of her damsel-y ways by stabbing Rachel. Awesome.
With the Fiend nom-nom-nom-ing Rachel’s soul, he’s finally given physical form and makes an appearance. Allura goes into a weird sort of trance and walks to him, at which point he embraces her and basically steals her body for his own use.
Allura-Fiend exits the mansion and is met by Mayte, who pieces together what happened immediately. She starts to talk about how neither she nor humanity will stand idly by and allow this to happen, but does so while standing idly by.
And since she’s not a moving target, Allura-Fiend impales her with a pendulum from behind. What is the pendulum technically attached to, you ask? The sky. Duh.
The different endings unlock new traps that you can buy, and the “A” ending unlocks the Death Hammer. This thing covers a fairly large area and spins around, damaging anything in its large radius, but it doesn’t work as effectively on slopes or if it’s blocked by something (which causes it to break instead of continuing to spin around). Still, it does a lot of damage and recharges fairly fast, which is pretty great.
Pictures don’t really capture the awesomeness of this ending, so I went back and made a video of everything starting from the beginning of the Rachel fight.
Now all that’s left to cover are the other two endings and the entirely different “B” set of side stories that you get on your second playthrough (the side stories alternate between the “A” and “B” sets each time you beat the game).