Neural Simulation Spotlight: Jean Sartre

Tips and tricks to help you take down the four-armed Frenchman.

Exarch of the Adventists, controller of Beauvoir System. High-ranking personnel who is in charge of all internal affairs in Containment Zone Aleph.

Sartre is a human boss who first appears as the chapter 7 boss. He plays similarly to Beauvoir-13, but has his own unique features.

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Behaviour and Attacks

Sartre has three phases, separated by an invulnerability state between each. He also begins combat with a shield.

During combat, Sartre will teleport around the arena, leaving behind floating mines.

Phase 1

This phase lasts until his shield is broken. Sartre has access to several basic attacks:

Sartre fires a barrage of fast-moving bullets that deal damage but do not stagger. This attack is called “Dash Light Drill,” and is accompanied by two more barrages at higher difficulty levels.
Sartre fires three slower-moving “flares” that deal damage but do not stagger.
Sartre fires two fans of homing projectiles that deal damage but do not stagger.

These are the least threatening attacks that Sartre can make, with all three being very easy to dodge. They can be easily sidestepped or avoided with a dodge.

Sartre will also summon minions that can replicate one of these two attacks. At higher difficulty levels, Sartre summons two instead. These attacks are similarly quite easy to dodge.

Sartre can also cast Penetrating Light, which summons a field of blue lasers. These blue lasers deal a small amount of damage, but do not stagger. After a delay, larger white lasers will fire where the blue lasers were, dealing damage and knocking back operatives. At higher difficulties, all white lasers will fire at once.

Casual players: The delay between the two lasers is long enough to safely get out of the range of the attack. Not very threatening.
Speedrunners: As this attack forces you to reposition or time a dodge at the right moment to avoid being knocked back, it may be difficult to do so while still maintaining DPS. Don’t be afraid to reset a run if you mess up. As well, make sure not to take evasive action until the initial blue laser fires, as Sartre will continue to adjust his aim until that point.

Sartre’s last move available in phase 1 is Theater Stairs, which summons rings of bullets that expand out from him. These bullets do not stagger. At higher difficulties, Sartre fires seven rings instead of five, and each ring will move faster.

Casual players: Very easy to dodge, just run out of the range of the rings.
Speedrunners: You can probably just facetank these to DPS more as long as you don’t get hit too much.

Once Sartre’s shield is depleted, he will enter an invulnerable state and teleport out of the map, leaving behind multiple minions that will each target an area on the ground to fire a laser at. Being hit by the laser will stagger you. After this attack, he will teleport back into the map and transition to phase 2.

Casual players: pay attention to the marked areas on the ground, and be ready to dodge. If you time it right, you can avoid every laser with a single dodge.
Speedrunners: See the section on skipping mechanics in the Strategy section.

Phase 2

Once in phase 2, Sartre will still use the attacks from phase 1, but also has a new move. Sartre can now cast Rotating Curtain, which fires arcs of bullets outward. These bullets do not stagger. Sartre seems to always cast this attack right after phase 2 begins.

Casual players: Don’t be afraid to hide behind the terrain pillars and peek out to still do damage while avoiding the bullets.
Speedrunners: The bullets don’t do a lot of damage, so just facetank them and enjoy your free DPS window on a stationary Sartre. Also, see the section on skipping mechanics in the Advanced Strategies section.

Once Sartre reaches 50% HP, he will once again teleport out of the map and summon minions. This time, they will charge up an attack that affects the majority of the map, dealing large damage and knocking you back. After this attack, he will teleport back into the map and transition to phase 3.

Casual players: The attack doesn’t affect the edges of the map, so just run out of its range and enjoy a breather where you can reload and heal up if needed.
Speedrunners: See the section on skipping mechanics in the Strategy section.

Phase 3

Like with phase 2, Sartre keeps his existing roster of attacks while also bringing three new ones.

After transitioning to phase 3, Sartre locks your active operative in place for a period of time, preventing them from moving. After a delay, he summons and swings a large laser downwards, dealing huge damage and knocking you back.

While you can swap to one of your supports to have them tank the attack, you can also dodge right as the laser swings downward to escape mostly unscathed.

The timing window for this is more lenient than you think! Of course, please remember to keep attacking Sartre while you wait for your chance to do this.

Sartre also gains an attack that’s like Rotating Curtain in phase 2, but much more chaotically arranged.

The same advice about Rotating Curtain applies here.

The final new attack summons a large tube of bullets that fire towards you. Fortunately, they move slowly enough that you can casually sidestep them.

Strategy

Sartre on the whole is one of the easier Neural Sim bosses, and is really a floating pinata for you to beat down once you learn his attack patterns. Thus, there isn’t a lot of advanced strategy, mostly boiling down to “shoot him really hard and really fast.” That being said, there are a few things you can do to speed up your clear.

During the invulnerability states between phases, Sartre actually has a brief window where he can be stunned. If you stun him during this period, he will no longer teleport out of the map, allowing you to continue attacking him in that time. The go-to operative to use for this is Haru - Absconditus due to having an easily accessible stun on her support skill.

The skip used on phase 2
The skip used on phase 3

By timing the activation to when Sartre points his hand in the air, you can reliably land the stun and knock him out of the air, where you can then keep dishing out punishment.

Speaking of which, it seems that Rotating Curtain can be cancelled early if you deal enough damage. It’s not super useful for speedrunners as you typically just facetank or sidestep the bullets anyways, but it’s good to keep in mind.

Team Building

As Sartre starts combat with a shield, a gun damage DPS operative will likely be your best bet due to ballistic damage doing bonus damage to shields. All the top ballistic damage DPS operatives will do well here, but Sartre’s easy accessible weak spot (his head) and lack of other mechanics for operatives to take advantage of means that Yao - Winter Solstice can have an absolute field day, chunking down Sartre to skip one or even both later phases when combined with an invuln cancel.

As for supports, Sartre doesn’t demand anything specific, so you can run all buffers or offensive utility and do just fine. Keep in mind that he is only vulnerable to Slow and stuns, so Acacia - Redacted gets extra value here. Casual players can also utilise Siris - The Goldfish here to great effect, as her support skill can block many of Sartre’s attacks for those who struggle to dodge them. Finally, Haru - Absconditus can also be used to cancel invuln phases as previously noted. This can shave precious seconds off your clear time, even while considering her lack of utility elsewhere in the battle.