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Grandia II : Part 4
By Jeanne
Posted 08.17.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
To the church they go! I love how the town theme is this overly happy little tune. Didn't the composer make it through Game Music 201, where they teach you to write Desolate and Depressed Town Tune For Towns Where Everything Is Shitty? Most likely, he got weeded out in the first class. That might explain the prevalent 80s guitar. But he did make it through whichever course taught them the rule "Always use organ music in a church." The church itself is tiny, with three pews on each side. No wonder Granas got pissed off -- he wants stadium seats and projection screens.

Stop right there. Don't want to know.

The one guy sitting in a pew is not a pious citizen. Brace yourself for the shock, but he is greedy and sick from hunger. He just randomly ended up at the church after passing out. I hate it when that happens. Ryudo leaves the guy to wallow in his own piggish behavior and goes to talk to the Father. The Father's character portrait looks familiar, but it's not because we've seen this guy in Grandia II previously. He kind of resembles a starving General Teo with a splintery rod up his ass.

Mary Sue asks him just what the fuck is going on in the town. Father admits that he, too, is confused and disturbed. Kind of like me while recapping this game. He doesn't believe the theory that Granas has revoked His blessing from the town. "Yes. I have heard this tale. There are those in town who say they have lost the blessing of Granas," Mary Sue tards pointlessly. Good lord, she's stupid. Ryudo points out that Granas sounds like a bit of a dickwad. Mary Sue almost faints from the blasphemy. In addition, Ryudo expresses his confusion over the concept of a blessing. "That one lard-butt looked pretty damn blessed to me. About two hundred pounds more blessed than anyone else around here." "Ah, you must mean Mr. Gadan," Father Einsteins. According to him, Gadan wasn't always a fat, worm-lipped, walleyed bad dude. Once upon a time, he was kind and loving and good. His change to the greedy and ravenous Jabba the Hutt clone only happened later. "And as I recall, this occurred roughly around the same time that our current misfortunes befell us," Father finishes. Which was, according to the townspeople, ten days ago. So Gadan ballooned up that much in ten days. Right. Unless he was already fat, which is not possible, since Father clearly stated that Gadan was a good guy. And fat people are baaaaad. "People deal with depression differently," Ryudo says. "Some sleep. Others write. Still others lose all self respect and fall in love with irritating Mary Sues. Others suck food down their throats like garbage chutes." Tidink the Rocket Scientist can't understand what "One guy becoming a pig" has to do with "Everyone else becoming unable to eat." No one even has a response for this level of dumbassitude.

'They look like penises...'

Mary Sue is also confused about the Granas blessing, among other things. She wants to know the whole backstory of the town, and why the townspeople think the place was the apple of Granas' eye. Father enigmatically says that they'll understand if they go upstairs and look at the town from above. What, does it have a giant stamp of approval on it? Or a smiley face? They follow him up to his gigantic study to solve this mystery. A row of windows gives a fabulous view of the town. In fact, it's just an abbreviated version of the stupid town tour we got earlier. The camera focuses on each of the broken penis pillars in turn, making sure not to miss a single one. Because then we might not get the point they're trying to convey. Even Mary Sue gets it, which must mark some kind of milestone in this game. Father says that the pillars are the ruins of some temple. "They were damaged when the town was rebuilt, but Mister Gadan says that they're still not sufficiently destroyed," he finishes.

Tidink spells it out for us. Because the town was built on a ruined Granas temple, people think their town is blessed. Well, I guess that's better than building your town on an ancient Indian burial ground. Tidink thinks it looks like the curved penis pillars are pointing toward a central area, like a ghostly vagina. Ryudo and Mary Sue turn to face him at this proclamation, with Ryudo wondering if something is buried there. "Now that you mention it, I've heard of an excavation at the base of the pillars," Father duhs. And yet no one has put two and two together. Morons.

Ryudo is all, "I have a bad feeling about this." A musical piece most likely entitled "Oh Fuck, Some Evil Shit Needs Killin'" starts up. "What do you think, [Mary Sue]? Sound familiar? Ruined temple, burial mound? Unholy piece of Valmar sealed up inside?" Ryudo wonders. Mary Sue surprisingly picks up on what he's talking about -- Garmia Tower. Although I must have missed the part where Garmia Tower was a burial mound as well as a tower. But Ryudo's leap of logic is right -- it's the same damn thing. When Father protests that he's had his head up his ass and has not heard of anything involving a Valmar piece, Ryudo is ready to pack up and go.

"Hold, Ryudo. The suffering of the townspeople may be a result of the breaking of a seal," Mary Sue finally figures out. She wants to go check it out. Ryudo argues with her some more, saying that he's not being paid to hunt down Valmar. Now, while he has a point, and while I'm clearly more on his side than on Mary Sue's on account that she's irritating as fuck, you know they're going to have to fix the town's problems. As well as the problems of every other stupid town they encounter. So they might as well get on with it. Because Ryudo has to be a total stubborn asswad about things, I'm subjected to the Mary Sue Pouty Tantrum Stance as Mary Sue points out that she has a duty to help people. Ryudo argues with her some more, both about the subject of non-payment and also that Granas, being a god, can take care of Valmar just fine on his own. OR CAN HE?! I won't spoil it for you. Ryudo's final point is that Mary Sue -- in case we forgot -- needs to get to the Cathedral ASAP. "Ryudo, please... I cannot ignore their suffering. If I do, I might as well never take another step toward the Cathedral!" she melodramas. Never mind that a person possessed by Valmar may not be the best candidate to go tromping off after another piece of Valmar. That would require some shades of gray thinking in this game, and that's way beyond the mental giants that wrote this shit, trust me.

Falling in love with irritating Mary Sues isn't in your job description either, but that doesn't stop you.

Mary Sue finally decides to go off and solve the problem all by her pointless, helpless self. Surprisingly, no one laughs their ass off at this declaration. But Ryudo decides to protect her, since that is what he is paid to do, after all. And not because he wants into her pantaloons. So the result is the same as if Ryudo never argued in the first place. Oh, but then I would have missed out on all the fabulous character-building. Fucking Grandia II. Ryudo walks forward and pinches Mary Sue's cheeks, telling her to cut out the self-righteous facial expressions. He pointlessly tells her to make a nice face. What the fuck? The game designers even made a special character portrait of Mary Sue for this occasion, with Ryudo's hands distorting her face. I repeat: what the fuck? Finally, he lets her go, announcing that they'll investigate the ruins, but they're leaving tomorrow, "no matter how many kittens are stuck in trees." Hee. "Oh, Ryudo!" Mary Sue gushes, insipid smile plastered across her portrait. Kill me now.

For some reason, there is another cut scene on the main level of the church. Mary Sue asks about the excavation, and Father tells her that yes, there is one, but no one has been allowed to check it out. Obviously, this is essential information and requires a special cut scene. Assholes. The game designers taunt me by having everyone almost out the door, but then Mary Sue turns back and has a Me Moment. "Oh Father. I have had terrible dreams of late. In them, I am haunted by Darkness. Does this mean that my soul is weak...?" she whimpers. Father basically tells her to suck it up and stop acting like a wuss. I guess that scene wasn't so bad after all. After fifteen more seconds of filler dialogue, the group heads out the door...

...only to find Ludo randomly standing by the path up the mountain. Ryudo's all, "What the fuck are YOU doing here?" "The SMELL of this place... It offends the earth," Ludo non-explains. This causes Ryudo to freak out like Rinoa walking in on Squall and Seifer. "Wait! Tell me... is my brother here? What of Melfice? Where is he? What has he done?" Ludo must have figured out the whole Melfice = Ryudo's brother thing from Ryudo's obvious slip-up earlier, as he shows no reaction whatsoever. According to Ludo, it SMELLS like Melfice did something in the town, but we all know how reliable his sense of SMELL is. "Do not ask of what came by his hand, for I wish not to bear the remembrance of it," Ludo says, displaying a rather pretentious grasp of the language for such a burly beast man. He could have just said, "I don't want to talk about it." When Ryudo continues to press for details on his brother, Mary Sue steps forward to enlist Ludo's aid in their upcoming dungeon crawl. Ludo's over-the-top reply essentially translates to, "Sure!"

Ludo joins the train of party members, meaning that I now have two that don't suck unreal amounts of ass in battle. I could do without the constant SMELL dialogue, though. Unfortunately for my shitty sense of direction, the little compass has no entry for "Next Dungeon." I traipse about the town, looking for some kind of excavation equipment. Anything that looks remotely promising isn't. Finally, the group stumbles across a random trapdoor next to one of the pillars. How did I ever manage to miss that? Stupid game designers. Ludo basically says that it SMELLS like ass and Melfice down there. We get it, Ludo. Jesus H. Since everything has to be a huge production, Ryudo screams as he strikes the lock with his sword. That won't attract any attention at all.

My recorded footage is totally dark, so I can't properly describe the fantastically detailed dungeon. It's a...cave, with wooden supports, unlit torches (which the party can light, but don't brighten up my video at all), and, of course, monsters. Somehow the town's engineers, who probably have no battle experience, managed to dig this entire tunnel without getting killed horribly.

Every video game needs mo' gay.

After winding through the endless maze in the first part of the cave, the party reaches the actual temple. This particular portion is a light gray stone hallway, in which someone thoughtfully dug a tunnel through one of the walls. Ryudo and the others enter the tunnel, which brings them to another awesome dirt tunnel area. That, in turn, leads back into the temple hallway on the other side of a chasm. This is just fascinating, isn't it?

The game designers actually got off their lazy asses and put different monsters in the temple area. Some of these are undead creatures whose bodies taper to a point below the waist and who wear their intestines on the outside. They also grunt in voices like the NAMBLA members from South Park. This is still not as disturbing as the love story of this game.

Finally, the party reaches a dead end. In the center of the chamber, three colored balls float atop three penis pillars. A stone tablet in the center informs Ryudo that he'll have to "light the red, blue and green candlesticks" to continue. Yeah, right -- "candlesticks." There is also a switch that he can press, which he does. And nothing happens. Alrighty, then.

The three orbs that light the three penis flames are located in "hidden" chambers along the wall. When Ryudo approaches each orb, a buried penis pillar rises erect from the ground beneath it. The emergence of this penis causes a mystical choir to sing, as we see the corresponding orb light up in the main chamber. The game designers must have felt this orb "puzzle" was rather pathetic, so added an extra puzzle to reach one of the orbs. Ryudo must cross a walkway made out of crates to reach the third orb. But oh no! One of the crates is slightly askew. Christ, they have got to stop throwing these complicated riddles at me.

I hit my head on the desk until I am stupid enough to actually feel challenged by this box puzzle. Oh, I get it! Ryudo has to push the crate slightly so that it lines up with the walkway. Whew! I need to take a mental break now. After Ryudo lights up the last orb and heads out of the chamber, the crate puzzle resets. OH CRAP! Now I'll have to solve it all over again if I ever come back to this chamber, which of course I won't. Stupid game designers.


Back in the main chamber, a yellow orb sits in place of the stone tablet. Excited by Ryudo, it, too, becomes erect. A set of large double doors open as light floods in. Ryudo and the others find themselves in a small tunnel carved in the side of the Granasscrack. It looks like someone tried to carve a penis into the holy cliffs. Probably the same people who spray painted the ejaculating penis -- and helpfully labeled all the parts -- on our power box outside. A gay cone nearby essentially acts as a neon "BOSS HERE" sign.

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