Breath of Fire III : Part 4
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Last time, Ryan led you through more wacky adventures in Pedo Paradise, losing CT and Teepo, gaining Miss Piggy (who is, thankfully, less annoying than her BoFIV incarnation), rescuing Miss Piggy after she was kidnapped with barely enough time to introduce herself, becoming acquainted with the Bizarro Centaur Assassin Twins, Bonnie and Clydesdale, and navigating the nonsensical Wyndian Catacombs. So without further ado, let us plunge back in straight where we left off, with the thrilling...er, walkabout around Wyndia. Hey, we can't end every recap on a dramatic cliffhanger, you know!
Seemingly at somewhat of a dead-end, with no clues to the whereabouts of Teepo and CT, Alf randomly decides to talk to a group of kids playing near the fountain. "Looking for someone? Hmmmmm I know what that is!" the leader of the rugrats babbles awkwardly. "You're playing Hide-and-Seek, right?" he continues as an exclamation point flashes over Alf's head, perhaps indicating that he has a functioning brain. We've had bigger shocks in this game. Alf and Miss Piggy both sweatdrop as the kid squeaks "OK, you're it!!", prompting another filler-ific minigame that leaps straight over the line between "Fun, entertaining interlude" and "Pointless, tedious crap". I swear to God, these inane minigames are becoming a series trademark, along with Australian animals and talking plants.
The Black Screen of Lazy Game Designers (BSoLGD) does its work for the day as the kidlets scatter in different directions. "You're looking for Teepo, right, Alf?" Miss Piggy says, just in case he's somehow managed to forget this tiny matter in the fifteen minutes since she last mentioned it. "And he's a kid too, right? So maybe these kids will know something about him, right?" she continues, ignoring the fact that her reasoning sounds incredibly far-fetched. I mean, she must think that children have some universal kiddy grapevine or something. There's no way any of these kids will know anything about the Purple Powderpuff, right? Right?!
So, on with this contrived game of Hide-and-Seek. Alf finds the youngsters fairly easily by rotating the camera, which is more than can be said for its counterpart in the sequel (which I've been putting off for this very reason). Incidentally, the first time I played this game was with a friend, and we managed to find every darn kid except one. Eventually we restarted the entire game, from the beginning, because we'd convinced ourselves that we'd accidentally fucked something up along the way. Then we found the little bratlet behind a fucking tree. Ah, happy times.
Once all the ankle-biters have been located, the BSoLGD pops up again momentarily, sparing Capcom the trouble of moving everyone back to the fountain. The lead kid remarks that Alf and Miss Piggy are pretty good at this game. Alf winks to the camera and taps his nose, deciding not to reveal his secret affiliation with GameFAQs walkthroughs. Of course I found the kids all by myself! Why, what do you take me for? If I used a strategy guide for anything, I wouldn't be a TR00 G4M0R, after all.
"We're looking for some friends of ours," Miss Piggy responds, regardless of the fact that she's never met either CT or Teepo. I don't know if this is just lazy dialogue, or if it shows that her affection for Alf is already becoming scaringly stalker-like, muscling in with his circle of
butt buddies pals. Take your pick.
Exposition!Kid, by the amazing powers of
plot convenience coincidence, reveals that, a little while ago, a robber broke into one of the houses. Amazingly still, the kid was the same size as Alf. I'd find it really funny if this kid were just some random punk and nothing to do with Teepo at all, but, as we all know, this is RPG Land, where there is no such thing as a simple coincidence. And for those of you wondering if this new information means we'll be reunited with the Miniskirted Wonder anytime soon...well, we won't. Sorry if I've ruined the suspense for you. Hey, don't worry, the next 20-or-so recaps will fly by! According to Exposition!Kid, He-Might-Be-Teepo took off down the Eygnock Road, just outside the city. So, Alf and Miss Piggy decide to head in the opposite direction and go back towards the Dauna Mine.
...Had you there, didn't I? Of course, the game is slightly more predictable. After speaking with the residents of the burgled house (during which we learn that the robber sounded like "some little good-for-nothing kid from the country" - remind you of anyone?), Alf and Miss Piggy leave the bright...er, windmills of Wyndia behind and head for the Eygnock Road, but not before finding some not-at-all-randomly-placed Ginseng outside the city walls and paying a visit to a random bum named Durandal in a hut nearby. Durandal turns out to be a Master, who takes the magically-competent but physically-wussy Miss Piggy under his wing.
As the two kids begin to walk down the road, Miss P takes it upon herself to state the obvious. "This is the entrance to the road," she reveals. NO!! "There's a small hut over there," she continues, as though Alf has suddenly been struck blind. Oh look, there's a tree! And another one! Look, grass! Over there, a fence! Interestingly, Alf shakes his head in derision while she's doing this, showing that he's becoming as irritated as I am. He takes off towards the house, anxious to get away from Miss Piggy's unnecessary running commentary. He barely manages to step inside the building before he hears a scream; before rushing to Miss Piggy's aid, though (let's face it, it must be her - she's the only available female for kidnap duty right now) he takes the time to raid the cupboards (nabbing some Clothing) and speak to the house's incredibly creepy elderly owners. "Hey granny..." the old man leers. "Another little visitor..." His no-less-unnerving wife replies "Oh, my! Hohohohoho..." Alf makes like a tree as quickly as possible, before the haggard old sexual deviants try to grab him and tie him up with knitting wool.
Now, before we go on, I'd like to mention this important fact: due to the ever-increasing number of pedophiles in this game, I've decided to
blatantly copy take inspiration from Sam's SCDC and Jeanne's
CASC and begin a little tally of my own: The Dirty Pedo Count, or DPC. So, what with this old pervy couple, CT, Hagrid, Bonnie, Clydesdale, and, at a stretch, Mayor McNeil (hey, his ho seemed very young), we've encountered seven kiddy-fiddlers already, and we're only three hours in. E-freaking-W.
Alf makes a swift exit from the house, only to be confronted by the sight of our old buddies, Bonnie and Clydesdale. Of course, Miss Piggy, who is kidnapped more often than she changes her underwear, has managed to get herself captured for the second time in an hour, although thankfully, she isn't being molested by Clydesdale this time. B&C chat shit for a while, then Bonnie kicks the tar out of Alf. The Black Screen of Alf Being Knocked Unconscious arrives to spare us the beatdown scene in all its sprite-errific glory. We fade back in on the World Map, as the camera pans across Central Wyndia and down into a desert-like, mountainous region with a huge stone arena-esque building in the centre. The screen blacks out again temporarily as ME!M, woefully underused so far in this recap, writes "Genmel" across the screen. We now see a scene of, in no particular order: a drunkard in a stupor, anthropomorphic animal-men (who, for series veterans, bear more than a passing resemblance to Bow and Sten) arguing heatedly, shady-looking hooded men scurrying around, billboards of scantily-clad women lining the street, and an obese, wealthy-looking man with a nubile young hooker on his arm. I don't know about you guys, but I get the feeling Genmel isn't the most wholesome of towns. Not that they're trying to shove the fact down my throat or anything.
The camera continues to pan for all it's worth, ending up inside a tent marked "Pub" (judging by Genmel's inhabitants, I'd wager that the pub is the most important establishment there). "The pub 'Fahl's'" ME!M continues, as we fade in on Bonnie and Clydesdale talking to a - yes, you guessed it, anthropomorphic - ox. A huge, scary-looking winged creature in purple robes stands in the corner, watching intently. "OK, Fahl, they're all yours..." Bonnie addresses the ox. I won't keep you in suspense - yes, he's talking about Alf and Miss Piggy. You can breathe again now. "I just gotta keep an eye on 'em, right?" Fahl replies, to which Bonnie says "Yeah, just keep your eyes on them...and your hands off the bottle, OK?" Ah, this tells us that Fahl is an incompetent alcoholic who couldn't guard a kitten, let alone a baby dragon and a
pink ball of pudge princess armed with a plastic Barbie wand. But I'm sure they won't be able to escape. Besides - an alcoholic bartender. Oh, the hilarity. The camera, having stayed still for the better part of ten seconds, starts moving again and pans up to show Alf and Miss Piggy tied up behind a screen. "OK, brats..." Bonnie tells them, "You'll get yours once the Contest is over...". I have no idea what the Contest is, but since it's a "Contest" rather than a regular old "contest", it must be important. If B&C are any indication, maybe it's some kind of competition to round up as many minors as possible. As Bonnie turns to leave, Clydesdale addresses the scary winged creature as Garr and tells him to take it easy, as "the Contest is coming up". If we are to take this as an indication that Garr will be participating in the Contest, then surely he would already know that it's imminent? Oops, there I go again, expecting realistic dialogue to take precedence over dumb-as-fuck exposition. Someone slap me.
Bonnie and Clydesdale finally leave, prompting Miss Piggy and Alf to openly discuss an escape plan within earshot of their "guard". My, it's so fortunate that Fahl is already too sozzled to know what the hell is going on right under his nose! I'd love to know how Alf and Miss Piggy would get themselves out of this mess if Fahl were teetotal. Alf silently suggests that he could chew through the ropes, but this idea doesn't sit too well with the princess. Nevertheless, chew he does, and before you can say "You know, these kidnap-escape sequences are getting really old, really fast!" Alf and Miss Piggy are both free from their bonds. Now all that remains between them and freedom is the small matter of sneaking past Fahl and out of the Pub. Miss Piggy peeks around the screen and reports that Fahl looks like "he's had too much to drink". Of course, the fact that his sprite is perpetually swigging from a bottle was probably considered too subtle a hint.
|I don't want to know what they're talking about...
Alf and Miss P sneak towards the exit - their idea of sneaking is to walk, really slowly, in plain sight of Fahl. Surprisingly, this method seems quite successful until Fahl finally notices that his captives are no longer captive. "Hey! Where d'you think you're going?" he slurs, because he's drunk. I hope none of us missed it that time. "Nowhere! We're not going anywhere!" Miss Piggy squeals. "Nowhere..." Fahl repeats, adding a hiccup so we all understand that he's drunk. Before his drunkenness can be hammered into our brains more forcefully, the heroes quickly leave the Pub. Incidentally, while all this is going on, Garr remains stock-still in the corner, making no move to stop, question, or molest the kids. I don't know if we're supposed to think he's asleep, or that he simply doesn't give a flying fuck (either way, it seems a little odd). I don't think anyone knows, not least the game designers. Anyway, we won't be seeing Garr for a little while now, so let's continue with the thrilling action!
Once outside, Miss Piggy urges Alf to run away
with her and father her babies before Fahl sobers up and realises that they've gone. But Alf, never one to let the prospect of a walk, talk and steal session pass him by, decides to explore the corrupt city first. It soon becomes apparent that the heart of Genmel is its massive stadium, which, I discover, plays home to the mysterious Contest. Wouldn't it be completely unexpected and original if Alf and Miss Piggy somehow found themselves participating in the Contest to fight for their freedom? That's never ever been done before! For now, the arena is out of bounds, so Alf settles for a buttload of exposition from the numerous shifty NPCs in the area. I learn that Bonnie and Clydesdale are running the Contest, among other tidbits of less-useful information. One man inside a show tent complains that he was expecting to see "big girls", but "all there was was little girls!" Well, I guess that's hardly surprising, given that our Pedophilic Pony friends are the ones in charge here. Another guy reveals that whoever wins the Contest receives whatever they want as a prize. While he continues to babble on, I ponder on what would happen if the winner asked for something ridiculously implausible, like "the universe", or "world peace", or "an RPG hero who is both straight and likeable".
|The most outrageous thing a Contest winner could ask for?
Alf receives a "Flyer" from a random fish merchant, which entitles him to a discount on all items sold in Genmel's shops. Unfortunately, Alf gets so pissed off at the fact that, despite the discount, he still only has enough moolah to buy a few Healing Herbs, that he drags Miss Piggy out of the God-forsaken town as fast as his little legs can carry him. With the intention of heading back to the relative safety of Wyndia, Alf and Miss Piggy high-tail it to the Maekyss Gorge, only to find that the bridge spanning the river is blocked, meaning that they are forced to take the long way around, over the mountains. Mt. Boumore provides the next annoying random-battle infested obstacle course for our hapless heroes, and, for those of you keeping track, this is the third mountain dungeon in the space of three recaps. Gooooooo originality!