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Walkthrough, Part IX

The Iron Maiden

The Iron Maiden is Vagrant Story's huge bonus dungeon. Only the first two rooms have to be explored to beat the game, and only B1 can even be accessed on first play, but there are some big rewards to be had from going down here, as well as some tough fights. Look at the Secrets section for information about the biggest secret of the Iron Maiden; for a straight-up walkthrough of the place, look no further than here. A good time to explore B1 is just after you get the Tearose Sigil. For B2 and B3, you should beat the entire game up to The Great Cathedral, find the Iron, Silver and Gold Keys, and clear out the other second-play areas first. Your armour will probably be Hoplite level, and an Edged Wakizashi plus a Blunt Bec de Corbin both make great weapons.

Meaningless trivia fact: every room in the Iron Maiden is named after a medieval torture device. The Iron Maiden itself is such a device, actually.

Iron Maiden B1

You'll enter The Cage from the Keep. Head south into The Cauldron, where a Wraith and two Gargoyles await. The Wraith is a pumped-up Ghost, basically, and will teleport and try to hit you with magic from a distance. Follow its shadow across the floor and hit it with an Edged weapon, then switch to a good Piercing weapon if you've got one and aim for the Gargoyles' wings. They'll try to Numb you in the process, but a Spirit Orison item can fix that. You'll win the Exorcism spell and the Mandrake Sigil, which you need to advance in the regular game. The door to The Wooden Horse is locked with the Tearose Sigil, which can be obtained from the Sky Dragon in the Abandoned Mines B2.

Once you unlock the door, drop straight down to the exit from The Wooden Horse. If you want to go back up, you have to solve a small puzzle. Push one of the two lower cubes towards the other, then push the upper cube towards the box. Pick up the box and put it higher, then use it as a platform. If you want to keep going, however, you don't have to do this.

The next room has another Wraith and some pitiful Mummies. The Wraith is the only enemy that poses any threat, so take it out first and dice up the Mummies for some equipment, including a Shamshir blade that's useful for combination on first play. Move on to The Breast Ripper, where there are three exits. The east and west exits both lead to treasure rooms, actually, and both contain Shadow enemies. These odd creatures only appear in the Iron Maiden B1; for maximum damage, use a Blunt weapon and any of the four Fusion spells. One of the chests, you'll note, is locked with the Chest Key. If you don't have it, it's because it's actually located further down in Iron Maiden B1. When you get it, remember to come back here, since there's a Hagane Bec de Corbin in the locked chest.

In The Pear, you should first make a detour east to the treasure room, where there's some equipment. To get to the west side, jump from the Cloudstone as it's moving west to utilize its motion. To get back, roll one of the cubes in the middle towards the ledge near the exit back to The Breast Ripper.

The western exit leads to some Dark Skeletons. Take note of this now: one of the Dark Skeletons in the Iron Maiden B1 is carrying the Khopesh weapon. If any of the Dark Skeletons drops a sword, make sure to look and see if it's that one. If it is, you can combine it with another Khopesh for a fine Edged Wakizashi.

North is Spanish Tickler and the Wyvern Knight. If you defeat him, you'll get that Chest Key, so jump underneath his head to avoid his breath and pound his head with an Edged weapon. Herakles and Prostasia will assist you, as they always do. After that, the next few rooms are straightforward, but Bootikens contains another puzzle that you'll have to solve if you want to climb back up. Here, if you put a blue cube on another blue cube, it will jump and hover some distance above the lower cube. If you put it on a red one, however, it will glue itself to it and you won't be able to pick it up again. Well, there's only one blue cube that you can pick up, so pick it up and place it on another blue cube near it. Now you have room to take another cube, turn around and put it right where you were standing. Then you can climb onto that cube, pick up the first one you moved and put it under the crate. Now move one more blue cube to create a hovering platform that you can grab hold of and climb onto. From there, jump to the ledge, using a Faerie Wing for an added boost.

The next room contains the Iron Golem. Luft Fusion and a Blunt mace will do him in. In the next room, you can move some of the crates around to create platforms for either jumping to the door or grabbing the Cloudstone. Regardless of the situation, cast Eureka so as to avoid the trap in front of the exit. In the next room, the west exit leads to a treasure room where you can get a Kora blade. If you have an Edged Kora (as you should if this is your first time through the game and you've been following my walkthrough), you can combine it with this one for a Khopesh, and if you won the Khopesh from one of the Dark Skeletons, the Wakizashi is as good as yours.

That's pretty much it for what you can do in the Iron Maiden B1 on first play. You can go through a few more rooms, but you'll only get to a door that's locked with the Iron Key, and if you open it there will only be another one locked with the Steel Key anyway. On second play, however, you'll have the Steel Key if you've beaten the other second-play areas, so you'll be able to open that door as well and advance to yet another door that's locked with the Platinum Key, which you should also have if you've been following this walkthrough. Open that and fight the Wyvern Queen by casting Herakles and Prostasia, jumping underneath her head to avoid her breath, and hacking away with your Wakizashi. Also, her INT is very low, so you can try out some of your toughest offensive magic on her and see what it does. The very next door leads to the Iron Maiden B2; only go through it if you're ready for some very tough fighting.

Iron Maiden B2

Now you've gone and done it. In the Iron Maiden B2, you can't look at your map, and your mini-map will display the general shape of the room, but won't tell you which way you came from. Since the rooms look so similar, if you rotate the map at all, you're as good as lost. The Snowfly Forest was the same way, except this is going to be much tougher.

First, kill the Shrieker that attacks you. This disgusting little thing is like the Quicksilvers in the Undercity East, except it's tougher and it knows the instant-death spell Banish. Before it can use that spell, lay into it with a Piercing weapon, maybe with Luft Fusion for assistance, and don't let up until it stops moving. Now, rotate your map so that the door you just came through (north) is at the bottom and the exit (south) is at the top. Don't rotate it again until you're safely out of the Iron Maiden. This will make it a bit easier to orient yourself.

Take the south (top) door and you'll be in Ordeal by Fire, right in front of the Dark Dragon. As always, jump underneath its head. Your Enchanter magic won't be of use, but you can always use a Piercing weapon with Angel Pearl Gems attached, with the added boost of Prostasia and Herakles. It's actually not that hard a fight, given how strong you should be by now. When it's over, go south (up) to The Oven at Neisse. The west and east exits just loop onto each other, so go straight into Pressing and charge at Ravana. She's like Kali, so do the same thing you did to Kali and apply that Edged weapon anywhere but Ravana's right arm. You'll win before Prostasia and Herakles from the previous fight wear off.

Move on straight to The Mind Burns, chop up the Shriekers and go straight forward, ignoring the side paths. Do the exact same thing in the next room, where there's a relatively docile Ogre (well, docile compared to Shriekers). Keep going south into The Saw, where there's a Dragon Zombie. Use the same weapon you used against the Dark Dragon, and remember to get under the dragon's head first. The Dragon Zombie has an odd attack called 'untitled', including the single quote marks, but it won't be of much help to it.

Move straight through another room, once again ignoring the side paths, and enter The Shin Vice, where you'll meet the charming tag-team of Death and an Ogre Zombie. Death is an advanced form of the Lich Lord, with even stronger spells and, of course, the ability to teleport. The Ogre Zombie is just as resistant to Chain Abilities as living Ogres, but if you use the Piercing weapon you used on the Dark Dragon and Zombie Dragon, and cast Spark Fusion on it, he won't be too big a problem.

Death is a problem, however. While you're exorcising the Ogre Zombie, Death will happily teleport right behind you and cast something very nasty on you, often killing you outright. He's strong against all elements, and is oddly enough strongest against Light, but he can't take the physical damage very well. So, your best bet is probably to take the strongest weapon you've got, stick some Gems on it that increase Physical affinity, cast Herakles and Prostasia, and bum rush Death. Usually, the first thing he'll do is teleport, so you'll be able to follow his shadow across the floor the same way you've done with the Liches and Lich Lords and eviscerate him when he appears. In the meantime, the Ogre Zombie will hack at you with its weapon, but you're hopefully tough enough to withstand a few good hard physical attacks. Wait for Death to pop up and immediately attack him with the longest Heavy Shot / Crimson Pain chain you can muster. Don't stop until he's gone for any reason; if your RISK gets high, it only takes one Vera Potion to get rid of it, and if your HP gets low, it only takes one Cure Potion to replenish it. Once he's dead, quickly do something to lower your RISK and restore your health, and go at the Ogre Zombie using the strategy I've described above.

When that unpleasantness is over, go south again. In this room, however, the side paths lead to treasure rooms, so take them in turn. Each treasure room contains a Lich and some Shriekers, and the Lich may actually be the least dangerous of the bunch. Just focus on one enemy at a time, and don't let your RISK get high. The chests contain some Hoplite equipment - if you're wearing Hoplite equipment yourself, you will be able to combine the two sets for Jazeraint equipment, the best set of armour in the game.

When you've gotten the goods from the side rooms, head south to The Strappado. Now, the fun begins. Each of the remaining rooms in the Iron Maiden B2 looks exactly like the others - a square with four exits. The exits will warp you from one room to the other in no systematic manner, and since all the rooms look the same, you can see how easy it will be to get lost. Some of these rooms will be empty, but most will contain one Lich Lord apiece, which is actually not too bad given what you've just gone through.

Hopefully, you haven't rotated the map since the beginning of the Iron Maiden B2, and south still points up. If so, you'll be able to tell which direction is which, and thus make use of the following. Starting at The Strappado, where you are now, go east to Tablillas, then east again to Tormentum Insomniae. In Tormentum Insomniae, you'll face an Ogre and an Ogre Lord, so you'll be able to tell if you're in the right room. After killing them, go north to leave the Iron Maiden B2 and enter the Iron Maiden B3.

But wait - what if you're aiming for 100% map completion, and you want to pass through every single remaining room? In that case, starting from The Strappado, go:

west to Thumbscrews;
west to Pendulum;
south to Dragging;
east to Strangulation;
north to Tablillas;
north to Ordeal by Water;
south to Brank;
west to Tormentum Insomniae;
north to the Iron Maiden B3.

That was hard, but the toughest fight is about to begin.

Iron Maiden B3

You'll behold Asura the second you enter. This, then, is the Iron Maiden herself, and she's got 999 HP and the best accessory in the game. Even with your tough equipment, you're unlikely to do more than 2 or 3 HP of damage to her with a regular attack. Heavy Shot / Crimson Pain chains are another story, though. As with the final boss, they're probably the strongest weapons you've got. So, cast some status-changing spells on Asura first. She keeps casting Surging Balm on herself, and if you can successfully cast a status-changing spell on her, you'll negate the Surging Balm and she'll waste her time restoring it. While she's doing that, hammer her with the aforementioned Heavy Shot / Crimson Pain chains using your strongest weapon (I'd recommend using that Wakizashi, since that'll give you room to use a shield, as well, and a shield can make a huge difference in this fight). You might not be able to reach her head, but it doesn't matter what you hit, really, since you're likely to do low damage everywhere. Keep your health as high as you can; if you're in any doubt about it, just spend 5 MP on a Heal spell, lest she cast Judgment on you and deplete the rest of it. If you're done with a long chain and your RISK is high, immediately use Vera items to reduce it.

When you win (and it'll take a while), go north into Judgment. From here, look into both side rooms before going north. They contain chests with the rest of the Hoplite equipment as well as Lich Lords. Be careful here - there's no sense in going this far only to be killed by them. Once that's done, take the north exit, which will warp you right back to The Keep, fortunately. Save your game, first of all, then go make that Jazeraint equipment.

You'll have noticed that you won a bunch of Sigils from the various enemies in the Iron Maiden. They are actually used to open the Time Trial doors in the Keep. Open them all and you'll be able to fight the Minotaur, the Dragon, the Earth and Snow Dragons, the Damascus Golem and Crab, Death and the Ogre Zombie, and Asura as many times as you wish. Now, the fights will be timed, and if you win them all with an "EXCELLENT" rating, you'll obtain another of the 32 titles that appear in the Titles section somewhere in the game's menus. And that, as they say, is that.

Part VIII / Table of Contents

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