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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
  -Part 2 :: [02.13.02]
  -Part 3 :: [04.01.02]
  -Part 4 :: [12.08.02]
  -Part 5 :: [07.27.03]
  -Part 6 :: [08.29.04]
  -Part 7 :: [08.29.04]
  -Part 8 :: [11.20.04]
  -Part 9 :: [04.11.05]
  -Part 10 :: [04.11.05]
  -Part 11 :: [02.17.08]


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"Further, Jowy's there to apologize for the Prick living up to his nickname and getting violent with the populace. The Prick doesn't look too happy about that, but then again he's now an underling of some kid that used to be in his Boy Scout troop, so I don't think he has a lot to be happy about in general."
     -Sam, Suikoden II Part 11




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Final Fantasy VII : Part 8
By Jeanne
Posted 11.20.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
We're finally done with this obnoxious exposition sequence, so let's all take a moment to celebrate before getting on with this fascinating plot. We have no idea in hell where Sephiroth is going, but luckily for us, a random NPC at the entrance to Kalm saw a scary man wearing a black cloak and wielding a "killer sword" headed east. Well, I'm not sure I would consider that outfit a cloak. "Dress" would be a more accurate term. But still, we know that no one else on earth could possibly be wearing a black whatever-it-is, let alone carrying a big-ass sword, so the dude is probably Sephiroth. Never mind that no mention was made of this black-cloaked guy dragging around a disturbing headless corpse.

So east it is. On the world map, this takes us along a winding river and through a small valley. Along the way, the party encounters some ordinary monsters -- wolf-like things, along with some more unusual monsters -- the things that look like a spider had sex with a motorcycle. Man, they must have some really special drugs over in Japan.

The green grass changes to a more yellow-green variety speckled with what looks like some two-toed bird tracks. Nestled in the middle of all this is a small farm. I bet they raise cows there. Bitch stops by the place to see what's going on and finds a fenced area full of chocobos. Now, by this time in the real world, we've seen many incarnations of three dimensional chocobos, so the ones here are really nothing special. But back in the day, this was pretty cool, at least to the game designers. In the 2D games, we had such chocobo animations as "run toward the camera, bobbing head," "run away from the camera, bobbing head," and "run to the side, bobbing head." Well, now we have a whole new array of chocobo movement. And lucky for us, we get to see the entire fucking list. Bitch chooses the correct option when talking to the closest chocobo (the choice was between "Wark" and "Warrrk" -- God, how can I choose?), and is rewarded with a chocobo dance. To music. That goes on for a long fucking time. When I say "dance," what I really mean is what I mentioned before -- a complete run-through of all the different animations. Several times. And they include bootay-shakin'. At the end of the very non-masculine dance, the chocobos disperse and go about their business, trying to pretend nothing happened. Kind of like when you go to one of those restaurants where the waitstaff are forced to sing and dance in a humiliating fashion.

Bitch receives his prize for sitting through this silliness -- a piece of Choco/Mog materia. This is our first piece of summon materia, and this was also very exciting at the time. Until you had to sit through the summon animation for the fiftieth time. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Bitch heads into the farmhouse to talk to the guy who's been giving his chocobos dancing lessons. I bet he's fabulous. To Bitch's dismay, he's just an old farmer by the name of Choco Bill. "Thinking of crossing the marshes?" Bill wonders. Well, not really, to be honest, as this is the first I've heard of any marshes. But what the hell. According to Choco Bill, a chocobo is pretty much necessary for crossing the marshes. How convenient for Choco Bill. Anyway, the chocobo will prevent Bitch from being ambushed by the Midgar Zolom. "It's a serpent-like creature over 30 feet tall!!" Choco Bill freaks. Which means it's a giant penis. Yay, another one. Choco Bill wastes time describing the attack method of the giant wang, then says, "To avoid that, buy a Chocobo at the Choco Bill & Choco Billy Chocobo Farm." I'm detecting a conspiracy here, perhaps involving someone sneaking around the marshes in a giant penis suit.

 
It's Emeril?

Choco Bill adds, "By the way, there was another person heading toward the Marshes. Without a Chocobo, the Midgar Zolom probably got him. It was a man in a Black Cape." A few things stick out here. First of all, this information would have been nice to know before I found out I was supposed to go to the Marshes. Second, it would be fucking hilarious if the game's main bad guy got killed by a giant penis about eight hours in. And finally, we now know why Sephiroth is so easily identifiable by his clothing -- this isn't any old black cape, it's a Black Cape. How this sets it apart from the other kind, I don't know. Maybe it has sequins on it.

Now that we know Sephiroth hasn't stopped in at the chocobo farm (unless Choco Bill is giving us a false cover story and Sephiroth's hiding in the barn), it's time to go after him. First stop: chocobarn. In there, Choco Bill's grandson, Choco Billy, tells the "old folks" that too bad, he has no chocobos. Those ones out in the pasture....uh, they belong to someone else. So this chocobo farm has no chocobos and Choco Bill didn't bother to fucking tell me this when giving me all those elaborate details about everything else. Ass. But that doesn't mean these farm folks can't assrape me out of all my cash -- Choco Billy offers to sell Bitch a Chocobo Lure materia so that he can go catch his own God damn chocobo. Great, so I get to pay money and do the hard work. Fuckers.

Choco Billy gives me the lowdown on how to catch a chocobo. First, find the areas on the world map with the chocobo tracks. Then, run around fighting fifteen thousand random battles until I hit one that has a chocobo in the line-up of monsters. Then, feed it greens (which I can also buy from the Chocobo and Assrape Farm) while picking off the other monsters. That's all I need to do to catch a chocobo! It's as easy as that! Of course, all of this can only happen if I buy the Chocobo Lure, at least according to Choco Billy and the player's guide. A walkthrough on GameFAQs tells me otherwise. I figure that anything that will potentially speed up chocobo encounters will save me a lot of frustration, so I spend all my damn gil on the materia and some greens. I'm a sheep. To add insult to injury, a girl named Chole -- Billy's sister -- tries to excuse all this price gouging by blaming it on their parents' death. Whatever. Fucking drama queen.

Just like a man.
 

Several hours of random battles later, I have myself a chocobo. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but still, what a pain. I comfort myself by imagining that my chocobo-related trials in this game are over. Oh, wait. Seriously, I can't believe that people bitch about the minor role of chocobos in FFVIII after all the racing and breeding shit from this game. Psychos. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's focus on the exciting present.

 
No, really?

Since chocobos don't run into random battles, the fact that I get lost on the way to the Marshes really doesn't hurt me too badly. Except for the fact that the Marshes are right next to the stupid chocobo farm, so I'd have to be an idiot to get lost. Don't mind me. As Bitch maneuvers the chocobo through the Marshes -- which are really just a different-colored part of the world map -- a penis-shaped shadow starts to chase him. Thank God my chocobo is faster than that fucker. That could have been very ugly. Bitch reaches a non-marshy island of green in front of a cave.

PENIS!
 

Suddenly the scene changes as Bitch and company find something most unfortunate. It appears that someone managed to skewer a 30-foot-tall penis monster on a lone tree. The camera pans up as lightning flashes in the background. Oh, I get it -- this is supposed to be ominous and evil. "Did Sephiroth do this.......?" Bitch wonders. Sure, if he had a 20-foot-tall ladder. Or a wizard in his pocket. And I don't mean that as a euphemism. That's what fanfiction is for. Either way, sense is not being made here.

Back on the overworld map, Bitch is back on the chocobo, in spite of being off of it and heading away from it on that last screen. All that for a nonsensical creepy scene. Bitch dismounts from the chocobo and that little jerk runs off, leaving me stranded in the middle of Penisland. There's only one way to go. That's into the cave, for those of you who have trouble following.

This is pretty much your standard issue cave with some cliffs and vines to climb, along with random scattered treasure. And random battles, hooray. In the final screen of the cave, the "We're so cool, fanboys want to be us" music starts up as Bitch encounters some unwelcome visitors. That's right, it's the Turks. Well, some of them. Rude, the bald guy, blocks their path to the exit. ".......I hoped I'd never see you again..." Gay Lion whines. "Do you know who I am?" Rude wonders. Hopefully not one of those bad guys who's obsessed with making sure everyone knows who he is. I make Bitch answer, "From the Turks, right?" instead of the "Not interested" option, because I don't really want an explanation here if I can avoid it. Any explanation offered will only serve to make me more confused. "Well if you know, then this won't take long," Rude replies. Oh, thank God. Rude starts to explain what the Turks do, but Bitch already knows -- kidnapping. "...But, that's not all there is to it, anymore," Rude says. Please, enlighten me -- are they into knitting? Square dancing? Volunteering at soup kitchens? Rude stands there spouting ellipses for a while as I'm on the edge of my seat to find out about these other duties. Suddenly, another figure speaks from atop a nearby cliff.

It's a young blonde lady named Elena. Right away, we're off on the wrong foot. "It's all right, Rude! I know you don't like speeches, so don't force it!" she chirps. It's all comic reliefy and stuff. Rude doesn't want to be bothered with any more dipshitty dialogue at the moment, so he leaves it to Elena. She, as we find out, has just been promoted to Turk due to Bitch and the others kicking Reno's badly translated ass. Which sucks for him, but it got her moved up from Shinra administrative assistant, so yay! "In any case, our job is to find out where Sephiroth is headed," she continues. "And to try to stop you every step of the way." She gets a little confused at this, as Bitch and company are "getting in [their] way." When the characters start questioning motivations and plot points, you know your story needs a little tweaking.

At this point, Tseng enters the exit hole. Hey, just like Seifer! He tells Elena to shush, though she's just doing what Rude told her to do. Elena gets all in a tizzy at the sight of Tseng and his sexy girl hair. "I thought I gave you other orders," Tseng says with a wink. Or he would wink if he weren't more interested in the Turks with the Y chromosomes. Come on, look at the hair. Tseng shoos her away, and she responds with, "Very well, Rude and I will go after Sephiroth, who's heading for Junon Harbor!" Tseng's all, "Oh, for the love of..." Elena apologizes profusely, hoping she still has a chance for some hot Tseng lovin' later. And with that, Rude and Elena run off in different directions to go hunt Sephiroth in this Junon place. So I'm confused -- Rude and Elena stopped Bitch and friends in order to...what? They weren't supposed to spill their plans, but that's pretty much all they did. Anyway, before Rude leaves the screen, he delivers a vague threat from the injured and emasculated Reno. Bring on the lens flare, asshole.

 
Let me guess -- it's a penis.

Before Tseng goes off to do whatever effeminate badasses do, he wonders where Airhead is. See, he wants us to think that he's all into her and shit. The guys just give him a skeptical look. Bitch, apparently not caring whether or not Tseng tracks her down, tells him that she's "with the others." Tseng is disappointed. I mean "disappointed." He leaves.

Well, that was a completely nonproductive encounter on the Turks' part, but at least we know our next destination. Back on the world map, Bitch notices a strange fort with a ginormous bird on top of it. This has nothing to do with the main plot at the moment, but what the heck -- filler is fun!

Ha ha, it's funny cuz the chocobo is FAT.
 

This place is called Fort Condor, after its unusual decoration. According to the guy at the entrance, the fort has been engaged in a long battle against Shinra. "Even now, we're still settled in for a long war with them." That's all well and good, but the entire world map is empty around the area. And even if by some sort of magic wizardry, the army is lurking in some non-world-map dimension of this area, it seems that it wouldn't be extremely simple for a group of guys to just walk up to the entrance, let alone get into the place. "If you aren't in a hurry, would you help us fight them? Listen, we don't want to push you but, if you're in the middle of something, why don't you finish that first?" the guy continues. Wow, that sounds extraordinarily urgent. How can I resist such a needy group of people? So I agree to help, even though I have no intention of actually doing so at the moment.

 
If Samara comes out of that well, I'm turning off this game.

The fort is basically a honeycomb of chambers set into the rock. There's an item shop and a free place to rest. And that's about all that makes sense in this place. First of all, a lone guy sitting leisurely at a table says, "Any minute now, this will be a battlefield against Shinra." I think I'm getting mixed signals here. Even with this supposed impending battle of the century, Table Man has time for some exposition. See, there's a Mako reactor on top of the fort, and a condor decided to nest there. This pisses Shinra off because there's "some type of special materia" inside the reactor. Of course there is. And now Shinra wants to evacuate the bird as well as "the villagers." Most of whom aren't even around -- it's just a few guys left. Not that that's the least bit gay or anything.

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