Oogami's email@example.com ICQ: 37044867 Black/Matrix Extravaganza! v. 0.2 2/1/01 This FAQ is copyright 2001 by Ben Whiting. It cannot be reproduced, copied from, sold for profit, or altered in any way without my prior permission. Contents: -Addendums/Changes -Introduction -What is Black/Matrix? -Differences -Doing Battle -Towns -Seiyuu -Intro Translation -Walkthrough (will be replaced by the script and battle strategies later) -Codes -Credits Addendums/Changes (v. 0.2) – Added a translation for the introductory sequence. Introduction Hello, and welcome to my first-ever game FAQ! Black/Matrix is, by far, one of the best isometric Strategy RPGs of all time, and I felt it's due time that a FAQ be written for it. I'm designing this FAQ to correspond with both the Saturn and Dreamcast versions of Black/Matrix (and later the PSX version, if I can ever find it…), and I'll make sure to point out the differences between both incarnations, as they're quite numerous and often not very subtle. I hope this'll help you appreciate and reap more enjoyment out of the game than before. What is Black/Matrix? Black/Matrix is an isometric strategy RPG, developed by Flight Plan and released by NEC Interchannel, that was originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1998. Unfortunately, very few pressings of this version were made, and it is *very* difficult to find nowadays (I just recently got my copy of the first print, simply by being in the right place at the right time). A year later, it was ported to the Dreamcast as Black/Matrix Advanced, and was released on a much broader scale with many alterations (I wouldn't necessarily call all of the changes "improvements") made to the game, to give it more of an anime-type feel and to make it more accessible to more than just the shoujo crowd. I would like to say right off that Black/Matrix is a *shoujo* game, which means that its intended audience is for girls. I mean, the character designer is Kyouko Tsuchiya for Chrissake, the same person who did the designs for Weiss Kreuz! Also, if armed with the right code, the game can turn into a "shounen ai" (boyXboy love story) game, something that definitely won't appeal to the average male gamer. This is not to say, however, that males can't get any enjoyment out of playing the game, as, like a lot of shoujo, the story is very accessible to people of both genders (and if you don't use the code, then you don't have to worry about the above scenario =D). The Dreamcast version of the game has a much more unisex feel to it, so if you don't appreciate beautiful, "girly" character designs in your games, that's probably the safer route to take. Both versions, however, are very gothic (DC version more so than the SAT), so that's also something to take into account. This is as close to an X (the anime, not the rating) video game as you're going to get, so if you don't appreciate "controversial religious themes", and lots of blood and gore (especially in the DC version!), then this game might not be for you. However, if you're in it for the intense tactical combat alone, then the above shouldn't make any difference to you =D. The combat system is very reminiscent of Tactics Ogre, in that the playing field is isometric 2D with a 3D feel to it (since you can't rotate the camera, it's not true 3D). Unlike Tactics Ogre, there are no distinct classes, but characters are customizable by using the bonus points you get at level up to boost various stats (i.e., DEX if you want the character to move more quickly, STR if you want him to hit harder, etc.) in addition to the normal stat increases. Also unique to Black/Matrix is the Blood Point System (BPS); instead of MP which most RPGs use, Black/Matrix uses BP, which are taken from a pool and specifically assigned to each character before combat begins. BP behave much like MP do, but the only way you can replenish your supply is by killing enemies, and I don't mean just knocking them to 0 HP; you have to actually strike them again after they've fallen in order to gain any BP (quite macabre if you ask me). Keep in mind, however, that whenever you kill enemies and gain BP, you don't actually get BP back in the battle, you have to wait until after the battle when the results are tallied up. Therefore, magic conservation is more critical than in most games (note: this doesn't apply as much to the DC version, as a character can take a turn to replenish BP that have been earned in the battle in question). Also, you can infuse weapons with BP in order to unlock certain special powers those weapons may have. Also unique to the game is the "Biorhythm" concept. I've given up trying to figure out how the Saturn version's works, so instead I'll explain the DC's system. In the upper right corner of the screen you'll see a gauge; this is the Biorhythm. Simply put, it's what determines how effective magical attacks will be. If it reads on the middle line, then spells will do their normal damage. If the gauge's present reading is higher than the middle line, that means that magic will do more damage than normal (also, the higher the gauge is, the more damage the spell will do). Conversely, if the reading is lower than the middle, then the spell will be considerably weaker than normal. It's a rather singular approach to a magic system and adds that much more strategy to the game. And, to us strategy freaks, the more complex a system is, the more fun it is =D. I'm not certain why many people accuse the AI of being "too simplistic". I feel that, while it is a bit passive at times, it can do things which strike me (at least) as being particularly clever. Advanced mode is a lot of fun and very difficult; I hypothesize that the critics of the game's AI have never actually played it on its hardest difficulty setting. The AI is certainly much better than Final Fantasy Tactics' (though that's not saying much), and better IMO than Tactics Ogre's and some of the Langrisser games'. Overall, the game is fantastic, and a must play for SRPG fanatics. Locating a copy might be difficult, but well worth it, believe me! Differences The following are a list of differences I've noticed between the Saturn (Black/Matrix) and Dreamcast (Black/Matrix Advanced) versions of the game: -Black/Matrix Advanced is 2 GD-ROMs long, as opposed to the original's 1 CD-ROM. -The first print's cover of the instruction booklet is really neat, much more interesting than the bland artwork on the DC's cover, which is in turn better than the cover of the second print Saturn cover. (You'd think with two separate printings of the game, more than a few thousand would've been released…). Incidentally, the cover of Black/Matrix Cross is virtually identical to the original Saturn cover, so if you know what that looks like, picture Cross's cover with a Sega Saturn logo on the side and a neat quasi-aurora borealis effect where the solid black background is. The artwork, however, is identical. -Black/Matrix Advanced introduces an 'easy' mode (you'd think they'd call it "Black/Matrix Easy") -Black/Matrix Advanced has a reworked OP sequence. While it captures more of the feel of the game, the Saturn's OP music is far catchier. <g> -The Dreamcast version has many anime cutscenes (albeit very choppy anime cutscenes) interspersed throughout the story, whilst the Saturn version has 4 CG FMVs (albeit very choppy and grainy CG FMVs), one when you let the game idle at the title screen (the OP), one when you start a new game (the intro), and two for the ending. -The character designs are different between the two games. I much prefer the original Saturn's character portraits, as they're much more stylized (very beautifully done; reminiscent of shoujo manga) and don't have the typical anime-look that the Dreamcast characters have. -Zero (the hidden sixth master) is accessible in the Saturn version from the very start, provided you know the code to unlock him. While there is a remarkably similar code for the DC version, he isn't accessible from the very beginning; you have to fulfill certain criteria to be able to choose him (not confirmed) -There are 12 episodes in the Dreamcast version, as opposed to the original's 10, giving characters (particularly Piripo) and the story more development. -The plotline with Abel and Cain doesn't exist in the Saturn version - The other masters (other than the one you chose) don't seem to play any role in the Saturn version's story. Prica doesn't appear at the end of episode 1 like in the DC version, the conversation with Michette thinking you're her beloved Cain doesn't occur (since the episode doesn't exist in the SAT version), etc. -Faust doesn't look nearly as cool in the DC version as he does in the SAT version (sorry, I just had to say it <g>) -Advanced mode in the SAT version is, IMO, more difficult than Advanced in Black/Matrix Advanced! You only get 6 bonus points at level up in B/M, whilst B/M AD gives you 8. Also, since there are only 10 episodes, you don't have as much of a chance to level up before then end like you do in the DC version. -Infusing weapons with BP is more of a guessing game in the Saturn version, as, unlike the DC version, you don't *know* how much BP the different attributes require, and overshooting can result in nothing happening, virtually ruining the weapon (as you can't remove BP from a weapon unless it underwent a transformation). -The nasty "blood" bug is fixed in the DC version. In the Saturn version, the BP techniques you could infuse into a weapon that should sap HP or BP from an enemy would end up *curing* the enemy instead (after you did your damage!). Also, the BP technique that would have you counterattack no matter what mode the character was set on wouldn't work; instead, whenever that character would attack the enemy, it would be the enemy who would counterattack! Strangely enough, all these techniques would do what they're supposed to when the enemy uses them, so it's really not fair. Ah, the wonders of playtesting =p. -Some of the battlefields are slightly different (the fight in Baal's dining room, etc.) -While the music is more or less identical (exception being the Zombies Play track, aka "Check it out, y'all", which was remixed in the DC version), the music placement is different between versions. Zombies Play is the music you hear in the pre-battle menu in the SAT version, while another track (I can't remember its name right off the bat) is used in the DC version (incidentally, this is the track used in the town outside your master's house in the SAT version, where Zombies Play is used in the DC version!) Also, there are a few tracks taken out in the DC version for reasons I'm not sure why. -The Saturn version has a sound test accessible from the title screen! Kakko ii! -Free battles always begin Player Turn in the Saturn version, instead of Enemy Turn in the DC version. -The story sequences are carried out like most anime AV games in the DC version, in that all you see is a half-screen portrait of the characters speaking superimposed on a still background. The SAT version tells the story on the isometric battlefields (a la Final Fantasy Tactics). Both are effective, IMO, though the DC version wouldn't be so if there weren't animated cutscenes all over the place. -Summons are quite a bit more impressive in the SAT version, strangely enough. -The Great Evil Deity armors are awesome looking in the DC version, as opposed to the SAT version, where they're just regular armor with different colored capes. -Abel's a blonde in the SAT version, as opposed to a brunette in the DC version. (okay, so it's trivial. Sue me) -There seems to be a bit more romantic tension between Gaius and Rupirupi in the DC version. -Jude isn't a hermaphrodite in the SAT version (at least, there's no evidence that he is. He's just a drag queen =p) -The DC version awards bonus items at the end of combat whilst the SAT version does not. -Free Battle is ranked in the SAT version only. -The final battle is entirely different, and much more difficult, in the SAT version. -The loading times are much faster in the Dreamcast version. Which version do I prefer? Neither! They're both great in their own right! Doing Battle What's the best part of a Strategy RPG? The battles, of course! And Black/Matrix has its fair share of them. However, the system does take a little getting used to, as it doesn't necessarily follow all the expected traits of an SRPG. When you enter the pre-battle menu, you'll be faced with an array of choices. They are: 1 - Equip Pretty self-explanatory, wouldn't we say? =D 2 - BP Infuse This is where you can infuse your weapons with blood, but remember to unequip them first! (see below on BP infusion) 3 - Item (DC only) Shows you your inventory. 4 - Shop Occasionally this'll light up, and you'll be able to purchase potions and the like from the friendly shopkeeper who likes to do business in the middle of a battlefield o_o. 5 - (DC only) This shows you a list of the different blood techniques you have. The DC version combines the next three options in System: 6 - Save 7 - Load 8 - Config This is where you can change in game settings such as BGM, Voice, and the like. 9 - Exit Select this when your pre-battle preparations are complete! It'll ask you for confirmation, so pick the top choice (Yes) if you wish to continue. Next, you'll find the character select screen. The max number of characters you can usually have on a map is 10, and since for much of the game you don't even have 10 characters to work with, you can usually just select everyone. Characters with bats (swords in the DC version) over their heads are mandatory characters for the scenario. After you're through selecting your characters, you can assign blood points to each character. My advice is, since in the beginning of the game, BP availability is quite low, give everyone enough BP to execute a special attack once or twice. Give Yohane enough BP to cast Light Cross a few times as well, as he is virtually useless without his spells. About halfway through, you'll probably find that you have more than enough BP to completely fill everyone up and then some, and when this happens, the game will just distribute the BP for you (you do have the option to decline this and divvy out the blood yourself, though). Once you're done with this, it's time to do battle! The first thing you'll notice upon entering the battle screen is a blue area underneath your characters. This is the starting area, and you're free to alter your characters' starting locations within this area to your liking. Once you're finished, press start. When you click on a character, the following menu comes up: SAT version: 1 – Movement 1a – Move 1b – Attack 1c – Magic 2 – Item 3 – Status 4 – Waiting Stance 4a – Counterattack when hit 4b – Defend 4c – Evade 5 – Summon Armor DC version: 1 – Move 2 – Attack 3 – Magic 4 – Item 5 – Status 6 – Replenish Blood Note: this'll ONLY allow you to draw from the amount of blood you've acquired in the present battle only! 7 – Waiting Stance 7a – Defend 7b – Evade 7c – Counterattack when hit 8 – Summon Armor Moving and attacking in Black/Matrix are handled in a similar fashion to Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics. When you select move, an area highlighted in blue will appear, which shows you the range of that character's movement. When you select attack, an area highlighted in red will appear, showing you the range of that character's attack. Note that this range is different for each character, and is dependent on the attack pattern of the character in question and that character's equipped weapon. Also, if a character's weapon has been infused with a blood ability, you'll be presented with two options. In the Saturn version, choose the left option for a normal attack, and the right option for your special attack. In the Dreamcast version, the option defaults to normal attack, but hit the directional button either left or right to switch your attack pattern to special. Magic is also reminiscent of other strategy games, but in Black/Matrix, its effectiveness is highly dependent on the present state of the Biorhythm gauge. I've explained the Biorhythm system already, but I'll cover it again, briefly. While I still haven't gotten the hang of reading it in the Saturn version (anyone who's figured it out, feel free to email me!), the Dreamcast's system is easy enough to explain. In the Biorhythm gauge, located at the uppermost right hand side of the screen, you'll notice a series of bars extending from the center. The bar that is flashing in the middle of the gauge marks the present state of the Biorhythm; the bars previous indicate what the Biorhythm was, and the bars subsequent indicate what the Biorhythm will be. If the bar extends above the center line, magic's effectiveness will be increased (how much it's increased is dependent on how high it is). Conversely, if it's below the center, then any magic cast will be weaker than normal. Summoning is a tricky procedure, but one which is absolutely NECESSARY, at least in the later levels of Advanced mode. Here it is in a nutshell: 1) First off, a character must have a Great Evil Deity armor in order to summon. 2) When you want to summon, select the final option in the menu. Notice, this option will be greyed out if the character either is bereft of an armor or is critically wounded. 3) (DC version only) You'll be presented with two options. The first is "Higher Order Summon", whilst the second is "Lower Order Summon". Choose whichever you want. 4) An area highlighted in green will appear. This is the area from which your armor will draw BP and movement points from your allies. 5) One of two things will happen: a) If you don't meet the prerequisites for a summon, a dialog box will appear indicating what these prerequisites are. In the Saturn version, the first line tells you how many BP in all the summon requires, whilst the second line tells you how many movement points you need. This is reversed in the DC version. To better explain movement points: at the beginning of each turn, all characters start out with 2 "movement points". When a character moves, they spend a movement point. When they attack, the spend a movement point, and so on, and so forth. In other words, if a summon requires six movement points, you can satisfy that condition with three characters who haven't done anything yet, two characters who haven't done anything yet and two who have done one action, one who hasn't and four who have, or six characters who have already executed one action that turn. b) If you do meet the requirements, then an area in red will appear on the map. This is the area of effect. Usually these will be quite bizarre, oftentimes forming a shape of an X, a wheel, a strange hook, or *something* odd. This makes using summons a lot more difficult than the comfortable "big square" area that most games of this genre use, and IMO, a lot more fun (you actually have to use strategy!). Much like Final Fantasy Tactics, your summons will NOT hurt your own characters, so feel free to cast them with impunity when you have members in the blast radius. 6) Now, keep in mind, the damage done will be dependent on THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE CASTER AND THE CASTER ONLY!!!! So, even if you make sure Yohane is within the draw area when Leburobs is summoning, the summon will still only rely on Leburobs' intelligence, so if you haven't been boosting that up with your bonus points, it's unlikely you'll be pleased with the results. Moral of this story: DON'T NEGLECT INTELLIGENCE, EVEN WITH FIGHTER-CLASS CHARACTERS! Biorhythm doesn't seem to have any affect on the damage done by summons, which can be both a blessing and a curse. While this seems a little complicated at first, it's not that difficult of a concept to master, and when you do, the final few battles will go from being impossible to just near impossible ^_-. Also, when you've knocked an enemy down to 0 HP, they will be felled, but not dead (this counts for your guys, too), as a healing spell can quickly bring them back on their feet. The way to *kill* enemies is to knock them down, and then hit them again, thus skeletonizing their body. Now, this is the only way to get BP in the Saturn version of the game, though in the DC port, you can get BP just by knocking the enemies unconscious. Keep in mind that magic and summons DO NOT net you BP, so only kill enemies with those techniques if you have no other method of reaching them and it's critical that they can't be brought back to life. After you've taken your turn, you may want to alter your waiting stance. What that boils down to is: do I want to counterattack the enemy, defend against their attacks, or try to dodge their attack altogether? Personally, I use this strategy when assigning stances: - If the enemy is more powerful than I am and/or there are a lot more of them than I, I usually set my characters' stances to defend, sometimes putting a few members (Piripo and Leburobs, usually) on counterattack. This way, the damage done to me will be minimal, ultimately reducing potion usage (and believe me, you'll cherish potions in this game as if they are gold). - If any characters are on counterattack and they attack an enemy who is also set to counterattack, I switch their stance immediately prior to their engagement to defend. That way, when the enemy retaliates, the character won't take the full amount of damage that they'd otherwise take if they were kept on counterattack! Then I switch them back after their turn was done. - Once the characters that are on counterattack start to get a bit low on HP and I don't have many potions left, I switch their stance to defend. - Once a character is critically low on HP (where it doesn't matter what stance they're in; if they're hit, they're dead) and I'm without any potions (or just don't want to use any more), I'll switch them to evade. At least, in that stance, there's a possibility that they'd dodge the attack altogether. It is NOT a good idea just leaving your characters on one stance indefinitely. Defend is safe, but ultimately delays your victory, and in Black/Matrix, oftentimes the longer a battle takes, the less likely you're able to finish it alive. Counterattack is efficient, but dangerous if used liberally. Evade is even more dangerous, as if a character is hit, they'll take up to 1.5x the amount of damage they'd normally take if they were on counterattack! Evade is really only good as a "last resort" tactic, when it really doesn't matter what stance you're on and you're just hoping for a bout of good luck ^_^. After you've done all that you've wanted to with your characters, go ahead, hit start, and select the first option to end your turn! After the battle is finished, you'll be presented with a list of statistics. These include the experience you've gained, the amount of money earned, blood earned, and your rank (S being the best, C the worst). Then, you'll be presented with a level up screen, where you can apply the experience you've earned to raise your characters' levels. Yep, YOU can decide who gets what amount of EXP, regardless of how much the character really contributed in battle. This makes it possible to raise the levels of characters who are pathetically weak and who you're afraid would get diced if they tried to kill enemies on the field. HOWEVER, characters who weren't in the battle to begin with don't get any EXP at all, so make sure to select your low-level characters prior to battle, but just put them out of harm's way once the fight begins. Also, characters that have been killed don't get any EXP, so watch out for that; in fact, if a sub-character gets killed, THEY'RE GONE FOR GOOD, so, for the love of God, unless you really don't care about them, DON'T LET THEM DIE!! Once you've assigned EXP to different characters, you can use the bonus points you get when you go up in levels to assign to various statistics. Hit the A button (X on DC) to access the bonus point assignment window and raise those stats! Towns Ah, what would an RPG be without towns? An RPG without towns, of course! Seriously, though, Black/Matrix has towns sprinkled here and there, all with your normal town amenities such as shops and random townspeople all itching to have a conversation with you. In the Saturn version, you don't actually move around, but simply highlight the block that the townsperson/shop is on, press C, and do your business! The Dreamcast version allows you to walk around, which can either be a blessing or a curse, it all boiling down to whether or not you like to explore towns or just speed through them. Anyway, the menu found in the town stages is identical to the pre-battle menu, so there's no real need to repeat myself. In addition to all of that, the towns also feature what's known as "Free Battling", where you can test your mettle as often as you wish against the resident town guards for experience and rare items. In those battles, only the leader need be killed, but the more of his underlings you kill, the more experience you get (though not much). Talk to the cloaked man with glowing eyes, usually in the corner of towns, to start your free battling session. Frankly, I find free battling to usually be a waste of time. The experience you get is negligible (I think the most I've ever gotten is 400 EXP), and it's very easy to lose blood if you're not careful. Also, the chance of getting a rare item is, well, rather rare (though I've noticed it's a bit easier in the Dreamcast version), so unless you think you REALLY need better weapons and can't afford any from the shop (or if the shop doesn't have any weapons better than what you have), don't bother with this. Also, one more thing to mention about towns: you CANNOT sell items in shops, so watch your cash! Seiyuu These are the talented voice actors/actresses who supply the voices for the characters in the game. Many thanks to Hitoshi Doi for cataloging these on his webpage. Domina – Hidaka Noriko Also: Tendou Akane in Ranma ½ Takaya Noriko in Gunbuster Jean in Nadia Prica – Kanai Mika Also: Urara in Kakyuusei Yumi and Emi in Musekinin Kanchou Tylor Tialiss in Langrisser III Courreges – Shimakata Junko Also: Kato Mika in Graduation Homonculous in Mercurious Pretty End of Century Michette – Miyamura Yuko Also: Souryuu Asuka Langley in Shinseiki Evangelion Marie in Boku no Marie Nayotake in Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi! Prague – Yamazaki Wakana Also: Toria in Orguss 02 Cooan in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R Iria and Perishii in Star Ocean (yes, for the SFC!!) Rupirupi – Inoue Kikuko Also: Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama! Luciris and Farna in Langrisser III Seira in Kaitou Saint Tail Piripo – Yuuki Hiro Also: Rion in Shamanic Princess Young Dios in Shoujo Kakumei Utena Arc in Arc the Lad Marco – Orikasa Ai Also: Quatre in Gundam Wing Ryoko in Tenchi Muyou! Fujieda Ayame in Sakura Taisen Gaius – Shiozawa Kaneto Also: Bosel in Langrisser (all of 'em) D in Vampire Hunter D Zongi in Tenkuu no Escaflowne Leburobs – Hori Hideyuki Also: Keith in Langrisser II Omega in Langrisser V Hans in MD Geist (oh, yeah, THAT's something one wants on their resume ^_-) Yohane – Aono Takeshi Also: Tenchi's grandfather and dad in Tenchi Muyou! Eggbert in Langrisser II King Caconsis in Langrisser IV Lucca – Nagashima Yuko Also: Cardina in Magic Knight Rayearth Rina in Kaitou Saint Tail Sei Kanon in Mercurious Pretty End of Century Jude – Nanba Keiichi Also: Junta in DNA^2 Umino Gurio in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Andy Bogard in Garou Densetsu Mammon – Ikemizu Michitaka Also: Mammon in Black/Matrix Advanced Mammon in Black/Matrix Cross IOW, he hasn't done anything else!!! ^^;; Baal – Ebara Masashi Also: Shinobu's father in Love Hina Bolt Crank in Eatman '98 Mikawa Yuuji in Meitantei Conan Cherubim – Sogabe Kazuyuki Also: Largo in Bubblegum Crisis Kunzite in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Lt. Kilgore in MADOX-01 Zero – Itou Kentarou Also: Aoi Jun in Nadesico Kaga Shirou in Innocent Tears Terry in Outlaw Star I don't know any of the seiyuu information for the minor characters. Any assistance will be appreciated and credited! Intro Translation: (applicable to all versions) The first thing you'll see after you select New Game and the desired difficulty level is a short FMV sequence followed by a slightly longer FMV sequence. FMV 1: Narrator - We are known as the evil ones in a "just" world where good and evil are reversed. In this world, the offspring of the black, bat winged people and the white, bird winged people exist in two distinct classes. The former, the "superior black winged people", as they are called, have the power to govern the world, while the "inferior white winged people" are their slaves. In order to profess these truths, the black winged priests recited the following speech: FMV 2: Priest - There exists a myth from antiquity.... The world was governed by the Great Demon Deity, God, who preached such falsehoods as "Love" and the like. During that era, a great being came forth to rescue the world from such hypocrisies, the Great Angel Mephisto Pheles, and in order to oppose God and his wicked cohorts to promote the heavenly message of our father, the Great God Satan, began a holy war. Girl – That's wrong… Priest - The war, which was fought by the two divisions in heaven and lasted for 666 days, finally ended when our lord Mephisto exploited the Evil Deities' stupidity by luring them to the basement of the enchanted city Linear, thus sealing them off within hell and liberating the world of their deceitful ways! Girl - Something's...not right...! Priest - Thusly, our lord Mephisto is the omnipotent great angel of this world!! And we, black winged people who are direct descendents of Mephisto, govern this world, since it is our birthright! Girl - There is definitely... Priest - The inferior "White Winged" people are all descendents of the foolish Evil Deities. Priest - Therefore, for the sake of our livelihood in this city, Linear, and for the sake of sealing the Evil Deities away, a sacrifice of a white winged person is necessary!! Girl - There's definitely something...WRONG ABOUT THIS!!! Walkthrough: For now, this walkthrough is specific for the Saturn version only. The game is actually very linear, INCREDIBLY linear one might say, and there are only a few places where a choice you make might make a difference between continuing on with your quest or seeing a Game Over screen. Right now, I'll just sketch a rough outline of the game, and as I continue work on the translation, I'll replace this bit by bit with a full script translation and battle strategies for Advanced mode, as I'm determined to make this FAQ *the* one-stop Black/Matrix info source! Episode 1 - After the intro FMV, you'll come to a character select screen. This is where you can choose your master. Select whomever you desire and press the C button. - After your character wakes up, your master will ask if you've forgotten who you and she/he is. This is where you can change both your name and your master's name if you want. - Once you're able to stand on your feet, your master will have you perform basic chores (mopping, fishing, Whack-A-Mole =D, etc.). Each of these are mini-games that are basically there for your amusement and which offer stat increases if you're successful. - After a year passes (I guess you only do one chore a year, as every chore you do advances the calendar a month ^^;), your master goes missing. You go out into the town to find her/him, but to no avail. - Once you decide to leave, policemen arrest you, and drag you back home in humiliation. They present you to your master, who confesses her/his love for you, and thusly through you in jail and spirit your master away to some unknown location. Episode 2 - You're shoved into a jail cell, where the inmate challenges you to a fight. Don't worry, you aren't supposed to win this. - Afterwards, he introduces himself as Leburobs, and whilst conversing with him, Gaius shows up. - Eventually, the guards come back looking for a person named Piripo. Piripo confesses his location after a brief amount of time, and the guards proceed to taunt and kick him, much to the amusement of everyone save you and Piripo. - Eventually, an elderly man appears and lets you out, instructing you to escape. Guards appear to block your way, and you must fight your way through. Use caution in this battle, particularly if you weren't able to up any of your stats in chapter 1, as the guards are fully armed and you're only equipped with a simple shirt and wooden stick. - After the fight, the elderly man introduces himself as Yohane. The company is assaulted by more guards, one of which is the head of the prison patrol, himself. - After you escape from the prison, Yohane agrees to aid your search for your master if you agree to help him locate the Great Evil Deity armors. Episode 3 - Welcome to your first town! Make certain you purchase better equipment for your characters, as wooden sticks just won't get you very far. Also, potions are a must, but at 300 G a pop, you might not be able to afford many (so use them wisely!). You can free battle if you wish, and perhaps get just a tiny bit of experience if you only need a little to bump a person up one more level. Otherwise, when you're finished, just select the final option on the town menu to continue. Oh, and if you're wondering why Yohane is wearing a mask, that's so none of the priests will recognize him. - The first battle you'll fight is against a Poisonist and a few warriors. If you have any Blue Cures handy, they're good against poison, as poison in this game REALLY HURTS if not cured quickly. I've noticed poisonists tend to use Stone quite often against magic users, so be careful (unlike most games, stone WILL wear off eventually, so don't worry too much). - Next, you'll fight a mysterious Knight of the Dark Order, along with some warriors and magic users. You only have to defeat the knight to win, and in advanced mode, that's pretty much all you CAN do, unless you spent a LOT of time free battling to up your levels. Keep in mind that the enemy goes first in this battle, so position your characters before battle with this in mind. - After you defeat the knight, she'll introduce herself as Rupirupi, a former student of Yohane. Before they have much of an opportunity to reminisce, more magic-users and warriors will attack. WATCH OUT for the Healmasters (the magicians in red), as their main magic attack can do a LOT of damage, and they can also heal their allies (of course ^_^;;). Try to off them as soon as possible, and then go for the others. In fact, a good "priority" list of class types to kill first is as follows: Healmasters Demon Summoners Archers Poisonists Knights of the Dark Order Other miscellaneous fighters Of course, this list will change slightly later on, as more types of enemies will be introduced and Knights of the Dark Order (referred to as Dark Knights from now on) will start using summons against you. - After the fight, you'll be presented with an option to return to town or to press on. I highly recommend for you to return to town and restock on potions and weapons. Select the first option to go back to town. - Next, you'll have to fight that infamous drag queen, Jude (pronounced Yuda and German for Jew ^^;), and his "Lovelies", which look awfully close to girls in the SAT version (they look too butch to be believable on the DC). Keep in mind that Gaius and Rupirupi had left just prior to the fight, and returned after Jude and Co. had already shown up, so you can't change their starting location. This is still a rather easy fight, though, so don't panic and you should be fine. - After you best Jude in combat, you continue toward the Great Evil Deity armor that's stored within the temple. Once you find it, Jude challenges you again. This fight is slightly tougher due to the two Demon Summoners, but it's still not very difficult. While Abel now has the ability to summon, it's doubtful you can fulfill the requirements yet; have patience, you will ^_^. - Next stop: The town of Pandemonium. Episode 4 - On the road to Pandemonium, you'll be ambushed by a gang of bandits. It's pretty facile, so don't fret. However, the victory conditions state that you only need to kill the bandits, and your ability on obtaining a secret character depends heavily on this! Just make sure that Jelle (the only white-winged slave female) remains alive though the fight, and you'll get her afterwards! As for all secret characters, when they ask to join you, the first option is yes, and the second is no. - Once you arrive at Pandemonium, make sure to free battle a little to boost Jelle's levels a bit (unless you didn't get her). Also, as always, check the shops for better equipment and more potions! - Next, on your way to see Mammon to get the Great Evil Deity armors, you'll fight another battle. Just more of the same; fight defensively, and use Rupirupi's Lilim spell to heal when necessary (make sure you use her healing spells instead of potions whenever possible). Now, in either this fight or the next (I think it's the next, but I can't remember right off the bat), you'll see a purple-haired man watching the battle from an isolated perch. He's Faust, and as I'm sure you can tell from his stats, he's one tough cookie. Fortunately, you don't have to even touch him at all, but I hear that if you CAN beat him, you'll get a rare item (not confirmed). He'll appear in one other battle in the game (two in the DC version), and when you see him again, you still won't have to beat him, so don't worry about him. - After this skirmish, you'll meet Mammon and have a conversation with him. He's convinced that money is power, and to prove his theory, he'll have (*gasp* ^^;) MORE soldiers attack you! This battle's not too much tougher than the last, but the enemies DO go first, so keep that in mind during character placement. As you're kicking tail in the fight, Mammon will keep raising the reward on your defeat, in hopes that it'll motivate his men to do better. <g> After the fight, select the first option to return to town, and the second to keep going. - Next, you invade his mansion to confiscate the armors within. He'll appear to stop you, though, and you'll have to do battle. This battle's pretty easy (despite the enemies going first), and you don't even have to approach Mammon. Just kill off all his cronies downstairs and start to make your way towards him. Try not to use ANY potions in this fight, as the more potions you have for the next fight, the less nerve-wracking it'll end up being. - A story sequence will commence, ultimately leading to Leburobs and Piripo's donning of their new armors. Now, this battle is TOUGH! You'll be surrounded by enemies, many of whom are archers who will decimate your party if you take too long defeating Mammon (fortunately the victory conditions state that only Mammon must be killed). Also, Mammon will cast Inferno on your characters, which can do anywhere between 10-60 HP damage each, and when you get close enough for melee combat, his flail will knock off 40-60 HP a hit, PLUS, he's set on counterattack (which is just mean). Your first priority should be offing the two Healmasters, preferably on the first turn. Next, work your way up, killing any soldier or archer getting in your way (don't CONCENTRATE on them, just whack at them if you can't get a shot at Mammon yet). Have Rupirupi make liberal use of her Lilim spell to heal, and have Yohane assist with Light Cross. If you can spare the BP, have Rupirupi cast Astral on a character to up their stats by 25%. MAKE SURE that Piripo stays alive as long as possible, as he'll prove invaluable at picking off Mammon from afar (with Mammon set to counterattack, you want to engage in melee as little as possible). Try to save characters' blood attacks for Mammon, though use them on the Healmasters if that means you can get them out of the way before the first enemy turn. Keep your cool, persevere, and victory shall be thine. - Afterwards, as you finish kicking Mammon around a little (hehe, that Leburobs ^_-), you'll be assaulted by a mysterious black-winged woman and her troops. This battle isn't NEARLY as tough as the previous, and once you've offed a good portion of her troops, she'll escape. If you can complete this battle in 26 turns or less, you'll have the chance of recruiting Arquen into your group! Episode 5 - Once you arrive in Canaan, do the normal town routine: shop and free battle if you got a new sub-character. Make absolutely certain you talk to the waitress walking around town, for if you do, she'll join you after this scenario (she's arguably the most useful sub-character in the game). - When you exit the town, you enter a nobleman's castle, escorted by his butler. - You're treated to dinner by Baal, who claims that he does not wish to fight you. During dinner, Gaius will get up to go search out the armor in Baal's possession. On his way downstairs, he'll witness a chef preparing a rather, uh, cannibalistic dish (the FMV in the DC version was particularly unnerving here). In order to prevent Gaius from also appearing on the menu, he has to fight the chef and his underlings. This is a gimme battle, meant only as an EXP booster for Gaius. - After his run in with the cooking staff, Gaius makes his way back to the dining room, where he informs the party of what he saw. Baal, knowing that his cover has been blown, will attack the party. This battle can be dangerous if you're not careful. Try only tackling a few enemies at a time; rushing into the fray will only get you killed. You must kill *everyone*, by the way, not just Baal. The biggest threat in this fight is the butler; his "B.W.S." staff, whilst sporting a "vigorous" STR+0 (it's just a modified wooden stick), has a blood attack which can hit your party *in a 2 square radius!!* for 999 damage! He can do this multiple times, so when you have a go at him, MAKE SURE you kill him in that turn, or your chances of surviving are quite slim. He only has 50 HP, so it's not impossible. When you smite him, you'll receive a wooden staff, but don't get your hopes up, you can't get the B.W.S. blood ability (at least, I never could). Oh, yes, you can go back to town if you want after this battle. - Baal will plead forgiveness to himself (which should be your first clue that he really isn't Baal ^^;), and disappear. The party will continue down to the cellar to claim the armor that resides there. On their way down, they'll get into another battle. This battle isn't easy, as you're fighting a lot of magic users, but keep your cool, and you'll win. BTW, this is the fight where the Dark Knights start becoming much more bothersome, as they can summon their armors against you! Make sure you either kill the Dark Knights first, or make sure that there's never more than one other enemy next to them at all times (otherwise, they'll more than likely summon the beginning of the next turn). After you beat them, you'll get an option to keep going or to explore a room which is similar to the one you're in. Select the first option to fight a much easier battle for more money and a SMIDGEON of experience. Still, it's more money and a little more experience, so why not? =D - Once you reach the basement, Baal will attempt to belay you with his vampire maids, to whom he'll cruelly transform into undead creatures. Gaius, in his desperation, will zip on over to the armor, which he will don and challenge the real Baal (this FMV is REALLY cool in the DC version!). This fight isn't too difficult, as you only need to kill Baal, so you can basically ignore a whole side of enemies (unless you really want to kill them all). After the battle, if you talked to the waitress in the town when you first arrived to Canaan, she'll introduce herself as Parity and offer to join your party. Say YES!!! She will become one of your most invaluable assets, as she not only can move as adeptly as Gaius, but she's also an archer! And she's rather cute, too. ^_^;; Episode 6 - The episode opens with Lucca (the mysterious black-winged woman from before) speaking with the Pope (lit. Religious Emperor, I think Pope works better, though). - Afterwards, the scene shifts to a rather humorous conversation between Gaius and Leburobs (Prica and Leburobs in the DC version). The party decides to take a rest except for Gaius, who isn't tired and wishes to scout ahead. - In a rather shocking scene (even more so in the DC version), Rupirupi gets shot by an arrow whilst conversing with her teacher. The party is even more shocked to find that the assailants are none other than the foes they've faced before. Jude will instruct his men to attack you; this is a rather easy battle, even without Rupirupi. Make sure, if you have Parity, to include her, even if you don't have her attack. Just being on the field will entitle her to some EXP afterwards. Afterwards, a second wave will assault you, but Gaius returns with a friend. This friend will prove to be a rather useful addition to your party, in addition to also being integral to the plot ^_^;. - Lucca and Co. will escape, though Lucca promises that she and her "Darling" (that's you) will meet again. Gotta love that feisty demon =D. - When you arrive in Begild, shop for some useful items. Make sure you talk to Astarte before you leave, and, for fun, you can volunteer one of the men in your party to take advantage of the prostitutes' entertainment (I've always selected Gaius, who always got embarrassed and declined ^_^;;). - Marco will lead you into Cherubim's mansion, where, underground, a secret revolution is being planned for the white-winged race. After a lengthy conversation, you eventually get attacked by Gusafan, who blames Marco for the death of his friend, Seraphim. This can be a tough battle, particularly since Gusafan's one buff soldier. After the battle, a girl solider named Dyuna will offer to join you. Why not, the more the merrier, right? You'll also get Rupirupi back after the battle, who claims that she's recovered enough to fight. - Before you leave, Astarte will speak with you. Answer "I want an ally" (third option) to get Tarshis, who is the second most valuable sub-character. Episode 7 - Depending on your choices in this scenario, you can end up either fighting no battles, one battle, or two battles. - Upon Cherubim's advice, you head to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. When you arrive in Sodom, you'll notice that the people are out and about and seem genuinely glad to see you. As you explore the town, REMEMBER TO SHOP, because this town has really good items, the likes of which you won't see again until the next episode. Also, free battle a little to raise Tarshis' levels a bit (don't worry about Dyuna, unless you really think she'll be useful). - When you're finished, the mayor will see you in his chambers. The mayor will relate the philosophy on which his town was founded, and then complain about the idiots of Gomorrah. You head over to Gomorrah to investigate, and find the same thing. Gomorrah's mayor will explain how he runs his town and complain about the idiots of Sodom. After you're finished talking with both of them, a crisis happens, and both mayors come running to you for assistance. They'll ask for your allegiance to help attack the other town. When your party leaves the vicinity to sort things out, they'll ask you for your desired course of action. Your choices are: 1. Sodom is right 2. Gomorrah is right 3. I don't favor either of them Now, if you pick the first one, you'll have to fight Gomorrah. Conversely, you'll fight Sodom if you pick #2. If you don't want to fight any battles, or if you would like to fight them both, pick #3. If you've chosen #3, you'll get another set of choices: 1. I support both the towns 2. I'm against them both Choice #1 will lead you to the end of the episode. Choice #2 will have you fight them both. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you'll get a secret character (the girl whom Leburobs was speaking with in Gomorrah) if you fight either Gomorrah or both towns. - Once the episode is finished, if you fought with Gomorrah, Lin will offer to join your party. Minion will join regardless, though, IMO, both of them are useless. Only get them just to say you have them. Episode 8 - This episode is a bunch of trials devised by the Dark Knight who was spying on you the previous episode. You'll first fight a bunch of black-winged troops, which aren't easy. They all have blood abilities infused upon their weapons, some of which function as spells such as Poison Cloud! - Once you've bested them, the Knight will summon white-winged troops to fight. He'll say that these troops are identical to the ones you fought just prior, except that they're your own kind. You'll be presented with three options; DO NOT PICK THE LAST OPTION!!! That will bring you the friendly "Game Over" screen. Go ahead and just choose the first one, "fight!". This battle isn't as tough as the other one, IMO, as the enemy isn't surrounding you from all sides. Oh, don't be intimidated by the archer at level 40, as his stats are easily the lowest of all the enemy's (he never did more than 5 damage to me, if that much). Personally, I think it's merely a programmer error, but what do I know? - Once you've beaten THEM, the Knight will summon up the families of the deceased soldiers, and will ask if you're willing to fight them. This time, pick the final option to spare their lives and get Ruby as a sub-character. The Knight will reveal his true identity, the Dark Knight Moses…yes, you heard right, that's Moses, the big man himself from the Old Testament. He'll even go so far as to part the seas for you, so you can reach the promised land Diabolos. - When you arrive at the base of the tower of Babel, you'll enter the town of Nor. This is the final town in the game where you can buy equipment, so buy, buy, buy! Also, free battle to try to win a Zweihander from the demon leader, as that is a VERY useful weapon for Abel to wield. BTW, the Dark Knight is in charge of the free battles in Nor, whilst the cloaked man is the shopkeeper. - Once you're ready to bid goodbye to Nor, Moses will use the last of his strength to open the tower of Babel. Once you enter you'll be assaulted by a group of demons. This is actually an easier battle than it looks; since the demons can only use the thrust attack pattern, they'll be unable to hit your characters if they're not on the same height level, so use that to your advantage. - As you progress through the tower, you'll come to a group of crazed angels eating their dead and their not-so-dead o_O. You'll fight them, but be warned, this is the toughest battle you've had yet, so plan your strategy carefully. All the enemies' attacks do a TON of damage, and to add insult to injury, the purple-haired angel demons can also cast magic, which ALSO does a TON of damage. I sure hope you stocked up on potions in Nor before you came here… - When your party gets to the door to the promised land, Diabolos, Yohane prepares a chant to enter. Before he can begin, Gaius finally confesses his suspicions about Yohane and demands that Yohane tell them who he really is. Thus ends episode 8. (What a cliffhanger! =D) Episode 9 - These next two episodes are tougher than any of the episodes previous, so be prepared. 'Tis not for the faint of heart… - Lucca appears and a dialogue ensues, revealing many of the secrets behind Yohane (boy, I can't WAIT to get to translating this! =D) Anyway, a while later, and some tower guards will attack. All the guards are buff, and will wipe out your party if you're not careful. Intelligent uses of summons is almost a necessity to win this (particularly in Advanced mode). - On your way up the tower to the promised land, you'll have to fight two more battles, each increasingly tougher than the last. Just keep your cool, time your summons to hit as many enemies as possible, and wipe out the Dark Knights as quickly as you can to prevent them from summoning against you. This isn't easy, but persevere and you'll emerge victorious. - Once you reach the promised land, talk to the woman in the upper left (Fimme) for her to join you (not like she's going to do you much good, though). There's no real need to free battle, unless you are dying for extra EXP and are willing to fight tens upon tens of free battles for a level up. Just save and continue… - Okay, next you'll fight the third toughest fight in the game. Frankly, unless all your characters are überbuff at level 30 or something, I don't see how you can win without summoning. The red Knights are just way too difficult. Unfortunately, this is the last fight in which you'll be able to use Rupirupi, so have her go out in style! (and DON'T waste any EXP on her afterwards, or any of the other sub-characters for that matter.) Episode 10 (the Finale) NOTE: This is SUBSTANTIALLY different from the DC's finale. - Your characters will enter the temple at the summit and face the Archangels (the bosses from before). As you exchange harsh words, you notice that you can't move. The Archangels jeer at your gullibility, but in one desperate attempt to save your lives, Rupirupi sacrifices herself to her armor to remove the enchantment cast upon you. After a touching moment between Rupirupi and Yohane, Yohane dons her armor and is once again the Great Evil Deity Raphael. You then proceed to fight the second most difficult battle in the game. - Wow. That's all I can say about this fight. It's 5 of your guys versus 5 of them, and each and every one of them are more powerful than you. If you haven't been upping your INT on your main characters as you've been going through the game, you'll find that the enemy's magic will wipe your guys out within a turn or two. To add insult to injury, they'll even summon their own armors, which pretty much guarantees certain death (it'd usually do about 350+ damage to me). The order in which you should kill the enemies are: Astarte – She's easily the most dangerous of the bunch. She has BOTH healing and attack magic, and has the highest magic defense of all the foes. Cherubim – He can heal. That makes him deadly. Baal/Mammon – Both are offensive magic users and attackers. Jude – Only an offensive magic user. Worry about him last. How I won: I kept all my party members back whilst Piripo picked about 30 or so HP off of Astarte, Baal, and Mammon. Next, I moved Marco in a position where he could summon his armor, which would do between 230- 350 HP damage to four of them (since I injured Astarte, Baal, and Mammon, it killed them all instead of just wounding them critically). Jude was the only Archangel left, and I quickly dispatched him. Sounds easier than it really was. - After this fight, your characters will rejoin with Abel, and a huge dialogue between the Pope and your party ensues. It's impossible to really sum this up in a nutshell, so I'll save the plot for the future translation section of this FAQ ^_^. Anyway, after a LONG time, you are transported to the Black/Matrix where you have to destroy the seven seals of the Apocalypse. - This is the most difficult battle in the game, though once you figure out the puzzle, it's really not THAT hard. You have to destroy ALL seven seals, whose stats are ALL maxed out, within an unspecified turn limit, or your own armors will destroy you. It's impossible to destroy them all without first hitting Hochfart, the highest-most seal. But how do you hit it, you might ask? I find one of the neatest aspects of this battle is its rather unusual puzzle, and it gives you a clue at the very beginning of battle. I really hate to spoil this for you, but for those who really are stumped, here's the solution: All right, when you begin combat, do you notice that hook-like design which appears after the seals appear? Does that remind you of anything? Particularly the damage range of someone's summon? ^^; First, move Abel and THREE other people (not everyone, or you're not going to survive) to the area at the upper-left part of the map. See the ledge that sticks out towards Hochfart? You have to place Abel on the final square of that ledge, and have the three other party members in range for him to draw their BP and movement points. As they're doing that, move your other two party members to two of the seals on the right side of the map (assign one to a different seal). Time is of the essence, so hurry. Once you hit Hochfart with Abel's summon, a huge demon-like statue will appear, and the stats of all the seals will decrease dramatically. Now, HURRY and destroy the seals, but make sure your characters are spaced apart from each other in a way that a summon from your other characters can't hit them. Why, you may ask? Because after about three turns, YOUR ARMORS WILL START SUMMONING THEMSELVES AGAINST YOU! Yes, this is the battle where your own worst enemy is yourself, and there is NOTHING you can do about it except intelligent character movement. Each of the summons means certain death for whoever's in range (though there is ONE rare one which only does 1 HP damage), and armors on characters who've fallen in battle CAN STILL SUMMON THEMSELVES! Also, that turn limit is still in effect, so even if you do survive for a long period of time without destroying the seals, your armors will just destroy you automatically. It's tough, but hang in there and you'll be fine. - Afterwards, after a LOT of dialogue, you'll have two options. Pick the second one. Your party members will become possessed by their armors and turn against you to try to prevent the second Apocalypse. You'll again have two choices. Pick the first one. Watch the ending. ^_^ Whew. Congratulations ^_^. Now you're done with the game, but I bet you want to know what the heck was going on! Well, don't worry, as I will soon start translating the full script of the game! But I figure this bare-bones walkthrough will do for now. Codes (SAT/PSX versions) What would a game be without codes? A game wit-er, never mind. Well, Black/Matrix has only one code that I know of, and that is to obtain the hidden master, Zero! If you enter this code when the game asks for you to select your master: X, Y, Z, A, B, C, Start (SAT) L1, R1, L2, R2, Start (PSX) You should hear a chime. Scroll back from Domina to find Zero, who can transform this otherwise normal SRPG to a shounen-ai game. ^^; Keep in mind, though, that you have to be SWIFT to enter this in, as you have to input this while the sentence "Goshujin-sama o erande kudasai" is on the screen, but BEFORE you can actually select anyone. I've found that just quickly rolling my thumb across the top row of buttons, then the bottom row, and finally hitting Start is the most efficient and effective method for inputting the code, as my thumb just isn't fast enough to hit the buttons individually. ^^; I imagine the PSX code is a tad easier to input, but I can't be certain, because I don't have the game. I KNOW there's a way to get Zero in the DC version, but I haven't found the correct code yet, so anyone who knows can feel free to drop me a line. Credits I would like to thank the following people and websites without which this FAQ couldn't be possible: Hitoshi Doi for his extensive seiyuu database, from which I was able to obtain some voice actor information that I didn't know offhand. The Black/Matrix Cross Chop BBS for supplying me with the solution for the final battle (okay, so I was stumped, too ^^;) Toybox for offering some useful battle strategies. Donny 'Gamera' Chan for supplying the Saturn Zero code. Astarte for supplying the PSX Zero code, and for being my goshujin- sama. ^_- Hiryuu Honyaku and No-Life Translations (both groups to whom I belong as a translator) for supporting my efforts in this project. Oh, and for congratulating my beating the Saturn version on Advanced mode a month after the fact ;p And, of course, to NEC Interchannel and Flight Plan for making my favorite game of all time. Expect the next update soon!