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  -Part 1 :: [07.27.03]
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  -Part 5 :: [02.17.05]
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  -Part 7 :: [05.05.13]


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"'Would you like to guess where that abode may be?' Quill asks Twink. No, he would not like to guess. He would like you to tell him, as that is obviously why you are here. So stop trying to be cute and spill it, asshole."
     -Sam, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 5




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Breath of Fire IV : Part 5
By Ben
Posted 02.17.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
A year ago on Two wankers, a dragon and a trashcan, the party waded through enough filler to plug up the Grand Canyon, learned a little about the Non-dragons, and held a bizarre conversation with a talking parrot. Also, Ruley was silent, Sandy was a twit, Clay was hotheaded and generally dull, and TikTok wasn't normal. Nothing new there, then.

As you'll remember, our inept band of nobodies was about to head to the city of Synesta in the hopes of finding Elina, Sandy's missing sister...and participating in another slew of random and annoying Minitortures, no doubt. Before this, however, Ruley must follow the recently-rescued Mayor of Kyria back to the village to "talk". I just hope this little "talk" doesn't involve traps of any kind.

After a short interlude on the Not!WorldMap, the party find themselves back in Kyria, dodging beartraps left, right and centre. As the camera pans over to the Mayor's house, my skin turns clammy, sweat glistens on my forehead, and my blood turns to iced water. You see, I'm about to be confronted with a sight I thought I had put behind me at the end of the last recap. Yes, it's time to meet the SteveIrwin!Parrot once again. Will someone hold my hand?

Inside the house, Mayor Von Trap remarks, "Bet you've never seen a village like this before!" You can say that again. Come on, this is a place where there are more traps than people. Sandy, once again using more periods than I thought humanly possible, replies "Um....well, no....". The Mayor responds that there's a good reason for all the traps and shit. "You mean because of the passageway to Synesta?" Sandy rudely interrupts. Unfortunately, the SteveIrwin!Parrot is too busy chatting to TikTok to fly across the room and peck Sandy's eyes out. "Oh...knew about that already, did you?" the Mayor replies, as a huge exclamation point hovers above his head. As a side note, I'd be fucking annoyed if all my emotions were floating above my head in huge bubbles for the world to see. But then again, what with Non-dragons, trap-obsessed villages and random Australian-accented creatures, I'm sure people in the BoF world have more important things to worry about.

As the conversation continues, we see a pointless map diagram of the secret passage. The diagram shows two dots, representing Kyria and Synesta, and a line of arrows indicating the passage between them. And that's it. Seriously, what is the fucking point? In an instance rarer than an RPG hero over the age of 21, the game designers are actually doing more than is necessary for the player, as opposed to their usual lazy tactics. Is this their New Year's resolution or something? The Mayor continues that during the war, lots of people from Synesta used the passage to seek refuge in Kyria. I can't help thinking that, upon stepping out of the passage and getting their feet caught in a beartrap, being shot with darts and trapped in a falling cage, most of the refugees probably turned right around and fled straight back to Synesta. After some more dull conversation, the Mayor agrees to open up the passage first thing in the morning. As Ruley heads to the inn for a good night's sleep, a dreaded black screen and some ominous music herald the imminent reappearance of Hamlet, last seen way back in Part 1. My, doesn't time fly?

The Pretty-Bishie-With-Silver-Hair-And-A-Fine-English-Accent wakes, shirtless (if you listen closely, you can hear the fangirls squeeing!) in an unfamiliar bed. Well, Hamlet, this is what can happen if you drink 20 shots of absinthe then start talking to a pretty young man lady at the bar. I hope you used protection. Sexually-transmitted diseases are rife in this day and age, and...where was I? Ah, yes. Suddenly, Hamlet holds his abdomen and grunts in pain. Oh my God, maybe one of his kidneys has been removed! Oops, just ignore me. I've been reading too many urban legends lately.

Best BoFIV-style urban legend?
The one where a silent protagonist bites into a burger only to find that the mayonnaise is actually Non-dragon jizz.
The one where a winged princess hears a thumping sound on the roof of her sandflier, only to find a crazed silver-haired bishounen holding the severed head of her companion.
The one where a brash and hotheaded beastman wakes up in a bath of ice with his brain removed.
The one where a winged princess wakes up in a bath of ice with her spinal cord removed.

 

Hamlet takes a few moments to gather his bearings, and tries to remember exactly what his hot young stud looked like. We cut to the exterior of the house, where some crappy-looking smoke billows from the chimney and the sky looks completely white. I'm sure it wouldn't have been such a chore to add a little blue colouring and a few clouds, but I guess Crapcom had more important things to add to this fine game, like endless Minitortures and monsters made from vomit. What, game designers, lazy?! Surely you jest! Hamlet appears at the door, dressed this time, and approaches his latest buff young conquest, who looks neither buff nor young. In fact, he looks middle-aged, is quite overweight, and is hairy. Very hairy. Yep, you guessed it - Hamlet did the horizontal mambo with Hagrid, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Hamlet, you really have let your standards slide. But hey, at least this means that Hagrid's taste in partners has...um...matured.

Hagrid hasn't changed much since his last incarnation - he's still big, still hairy, and still likes wood (heh!). "You're awake, eh?" he grunts, turning to face Hamlet. If I could read sprite body language, I would swear that he also throws him a wink. "How do you feel?" he continues, moving closer to Hamlet. Oh God. Incidentally, I initially read that line as "How did it feel?". I guess VGR has completely corrupted my mind. "You were asleep for a long time, you know," Hagrid continues. "You must be wondering where you are. My name is Bunyan Hagrid. I live here, in the Zhinga Mountains. And, let me tell you, you were the best I've ever had." Okay, I made the last part up. But you have to admit, it fits pretty nicely.

"I found you a few days ago, collapsed by the river," Hagrid reveals. Huh? Oh yeah, last time we saw Hamlet, he was plunging off a bridge after being attacked by some hot young Imperial soldiers and a not-so-hot guy with a Rudolph nose. Phew. Now I can relax, knowing that this whole situation is completely innocent....or is it?!? You know, it's quite fun to write suggestive dialogue between these two, so why stop now?

 
Hagrid sees the perfect opportunity...

"I brought you here, and dressed your wounds...then gave you a little sexual healing," Hagrid says. Hamlet ponders on this for a moment, fondly remembering said healing, before replying "Then w...I am in your debt...[Hagrid], yes? You have a very soothing touch." "No need to thank me...besides, you already did, in another way..." Hagrid responds. "More important, I wasn't too rough, was I?" Hamlet doesn't respond, instead choosing to stagger a few paces, grunt in pain again, then crash out on the ground. "I'll take that as a yes, then," Hagrid would say if I was writing the script.

'I may be big, but I don't like it too rough.'
 
 
Man, that must have been some friction!

The screen blacks out, then Hagrid utters some more suggestive dialogue, which, for once, I didn't make up, and has been screencapped for your viewing pleasure. We fade in on the interior of Hagrid's House O' Lurve, where Hamlet is once again resting on Hagrid's bed, shirtless. Hagrid stands nearby. You know, scratch what I said earlier about the relationship between these two being completely innocent. My gaydar is screaming like an air-raid siren whenever they're onscreen. "You should rest some more," Hagrid says in what I imagine to be a motherly tone, bringing this whole scene to a new level of wrong. "Unless, of course, you've got somewhere to go..." he continues, a hint of jealousy in his voice. After all, a pretty ancient young young-looking bishounen like Hamlet must have other guys falling at his feet wherever he goes. How can Hagrid possibly compete? "[Hamlet]," Hamlet dumbasses out of the blue. When Hagrid appears confused, Hamlet elaborates "Mine name." Unfortunately for Hagrid, Hamlet decides not to give him his number as well as his name. Oh well, it was good while it lasted, Hagrid. There are plenty more bishies in the sea.

"Hamlet, you say?" Hagrid replies, fighting back tears. "That's interesting...same name as the First Emperor, eh?" While we dumb gamers take a few minutes for our brains to process this information, Hagrid whispers under his breath "You were certainly a king in the sack..." Scene! We cut back to our far-less-interesting regular party, who are thanking Mayor Von Trap for opening up the passage to Synesta. We open the scene with Sandy simpering as only she can. The Mayor reveals that the entrance to the passageway is "up that road there", referring to the mountain path that was blocked off in the last recap. After some more polite chit-chat, the party leaves for Synesta.

Our merry band of wankers, led by Clay, only manage to take a few steps before Clay steps straight into a crappily-concealed hole in the ground. Ha ha ha. Man, this is hilarious. Anyone got a needle and thread to sew up my sides? I should have known that this recap couldn't run for ten minutes without another contrived trap situation. We cut to Clay, who has landed in a large cave. And despite falling quite a distance, he isn't hurt in the slightest. I try to nitpick, before remembering that this is the game where a guy can take a dive off of a mile-high cliff without even getting his hair out of place. Sandy floats down to join Clay, closely followed by Ruley. TikTok, apparently being shunted into the Minor Character Corner already, is absent. There's no conversation between the characters - the only point to this little interlude is guiding the party out of the cave. If I were being cynical, I'd say that this is just another morsel of filler, designed to delay any icky plot developments for just a little while longer. But come on, you all know me better than that, right?

Within a few moments, the party have emerged from the cave using a handily-placed ladder, to find themselves inside that little storage hut that appeared to serve no purpose in the last recap. If it seems like I completely skimmed over their sojourn in the cave...I did. Sorry, but it was boring and completely pointless, and Potholing with wankers isn't exactly the stuff great recaps are made of. Clay uses his mad strongman skillz to push the barrels out of the way, clearing the path to the exit. The group hike up to the soopah-secret passage entrance, then begin their journey to Synesta. On a side note, surely this tunnel can't be the only way to Synesta from Kyria? Unless any other possible routes have been blocked by a landslide, or a mob of squealing Sandy fanboys, or a group of acid-tripping game designers, I fail to see why the party couldn't have used one of them instead. But I guess a two-second trip on the Not!WorldMap would have deprived us of this tremendously exciting and involving dungeon.

Why are there no alternative routes to Synesta?
The Plot-Advancement Roadlayers were on a coffee break.
The game designers were on a coke break.
The alternative road was blocked by mobs of squealing Sandy fanboys and acid-tripping game designers.
It was the wizard's day off.

 

Said dungeon has little of interest, aside from some phallic rocks, those icky Puspool monsters from the Dam, a few lousy treasures, and - you guessed it - a veritable buttload of infuriating camera angles. I swear, if the next BoF game doesn't allow the player to see where they are going for more than five seconds at a time, I'm going to personally take a trip to Crapcom HQ and start blowing shit up. I'll take a detour to Squeenix too, if the money's right. On a somewhat related note, the Puspools use a skill called 'Molasses', which very nicely reflects the pace of this game's fine plot. After five more minutes of cave-related tedium, the party find themselves at the bottom of a well. Hmm, I think they've finally found the place they belong. Doesn't it warm the cockles of your heart? Unless, of course, you're a recapper, and therefore have no heart. And a small penis.

From the moment Ruley and the others emerge from the well - no, nothing at all odd about that - and into Synesta, it's clear that the city is going to be - pardon my French - a complete bitch to navigate. Yes, I know I'm whining about camera angles again, but Jesus Christ. You really can't appreciate my bitching about it unless you've played the game. Having your fingers permanently clamped to the shoulder buttons on the controller to rotate the camera really gets annoying after the first half hour. Anyway, Synesta. Amid the nice music and the bustling-market sounds, the camera pans out to show us an aerial view of the entire city, which looks like a fucking Escher painting. Meanwhile, Clay hits us over the head with the Obvious Mallet by declaring: "So...This is Synesta...". What? I thought it was New York! Wonders will never cease! "This town took the brunt of the fighting during the war," he continues, prompting us to remember that conversation with the creepy old guy in Chamba from Part 3, where we found out that Synesta was hit by a nasty Hex sometime during the war. Strangely, Synesta looks decidedly un-Hexed, what with the chattering NPCs wandering the streets. Sandy says pretty much the same thing, to which Clay replies: "Yeah...It's also where Elina disappeared." Ah, so somebody else remembers that whole Elina thing too. But before all that unimportant plot stuff about finding her, there's another big slice of filler for us to sink our teeth into! Joy of joys!

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