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  -Part 1 :: [10.24.04]
  -Part 2 :: [09.25.05]
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"Speedo, in spite of his smiling avatar, is in a foul mood. Cronabe has done the ultimate evil by choosing not to save Steve. For fuck's sake, I don't see Speedo doing much to help her out either, so where does he get off being such a dickhead? If he's going to be all bitter and bitchy to Cronabe, shouldn't he put on some pants and go find some Hydra Humour? But no, it's easier just to stand there and be an asshat."
     -Jeanne, Chrono Cross Part 5




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Wild ARMs : Part 3
By Ben
Posted 02.17.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Part 2 in a nutshell: PENIS envy, Holy Weed berries, lightning-speed monster makeovers, eccentric engineer Emma, Lolithia's Tomb, Ruin Festival, penis lightning, meteor showers, death and destruction, The End. Now that's out of the way, let's get on with Part 3!

We pick up where we left off, with our insipid heroes regrouping in Adlehyde Castle along with the few survivors of the demon attack. Cesuelia, of course, wants to see her daddy, and so I traipse upstairs and search for his chamber for the next ten minutes. Yes, I know that sounds completely wrong. At the king's door, one of his aides reveals that "It doesn't look good...". What? A member of royalty, related to one of the principal characters, dying? Say it isn't so! Next thing, you'll be telling me that certain RPG males like to have sex with each other! Cesuelia hurries to her father's bedside, all tears and doe-eyes. He gets straight to the point, declaring "Listen, Cesuelia! The monsters are after you. You must defeat them!" "Okay, dad," Cesuelia replies. "But can I watch some TV first?" In reality, another aide barges into the room and reveals that the monsters want Cesuelia's Tear Drop. And if they don't get it, they're going to storm the castle. Hey, if Squatt's leading them, I don't think the survivors have anything to worry about. He'd probably just command his troops to repeatedly run headfirst into the walls.

Cesuelia is shocked to hear this. "The Tear Drop belonged to my mother..." she sighs, initiating Poor Me Mode. Pour me another drink and I'll be OK. "It's very dear to me, but I'll give it up for the sake of my kingdom. The monsters can have my Tear Drop..." Good Lord, the sacrifices this young woman makes! Giving up an old trinket her mother bought from a market stall for 10 Gella just so that her subjects can cling on to their miserable lives! It almost brings a tear to my eye. King Adlehyde, dying but still no pushover, yells that he "won't permit it". He goes on to make a huge revelation - the Tear Drop is no ordinary heirloom. Hands up who never saw that coming. Now get out, both of you, and leave this to the people who have actually played an RPG before. We find out that the Tear Drop -- another gigantic surprise here -- "holds the key to unleashing the power of the ancients". And there was me, thinking that it just looks pretty when the sunlight catches it. "Only a Mary Sue princess of the Adlehyde family may possess it. One who hears the will of the Guardians can use the Tear Drop to change the world..." King Adlehyde babbles on. Is anyone actually listening? For someone on the brink of death, he sure talks a lot. Has anybody got a pillow handy?

Ultimate power is so overdone. What other use could the Tear Drop have?
Paperweight, especially handy for the game designers to keep their endless pages of abominable script in order.
Melted down and forged into bullets, it could provide magical ammo for Rudy's PENIS!
The party could sell it, netting themselves a veritable mountain of Gella in order to buy all the Light Shrooms and Magic Mushrooms Carrots they could ever need!
A handy little weapon to bludgeon annoying people over the head with. Form an orderly queue!
Hollowed out, it could make an excellent hiding-place for the game designers' crack.

 

Cesuelia pleads with her dad. "But if I do nothing, many will die because of me!" she whines. It would have been so unexpected and refreshing if she'd said "Oh well, shit happens. Now, what's for supper?" I swear if I ever make a videogame (about as likely as me becoming King of England, but I digress), I'm using that. King Adlehyde hilariously tells Cesuelia to go to her room. And...she does. Scene.

Cesuelia's room. Angst angst angst. Cesuelia doesn't agree with her dad. "Innocent people should not suffer!" she bleats. Um, but they do. It's been a fact of life, albeit an unfortunate one, for countless years, and somehow I doubt that a whiny princess with all of three magic spells to her name will be the one to change that. But still, she carries on, revealing that there is a secret passage leading from the castle kitchen to a derelict house in the town -- she remembers using it when she was younger. I guess simply walking through the castle gates was just too orthodox for her. By her reasoning, they can sneak into town through the tunnel, confront Squatt, give him the Tear Drop, and everything will be fine and dandy. Somehow I don't think it'll go that smoothly.

And so, off to the tunnel I go. But, as you probably guessed, this isn't a simple case of going from Point A to Point B. No, Cesuelia is barred from going downstairs, and so must make her way to the kitchen via the castle battlements, trying not to be caught by any guards. This, I don't get. She's a princess. Even though the guards are probably under orders from the king, surely she has some power over them? God, she's the sorriest excuse for a princess ever. The process of bypassing the guards and reaching the kitchen takes me an astonishing 12 minutes to achieve. Yes, feel free to point and laugh, for I am a non-leet gamer. I eagerly await the veritable tsunami of emails now winging its way to my inbox, telling me what I could and should have done to avoid wasting those 12 precious minutes of my life. To make matters even more infuriating, every time Cesuelia is intercepted by a guard, she is instantly transported back to her room, where she chides her companions with a simple "We must hurry. More people will suffer". I tell you, someone is going to suffer if I don't get to the damn kitchen soon. Besides, "hurrying" and subsequently smashing headfirst into a wall is what got you and your friends-stroke-babysitters caught in the first place, you dumb fuck.

 
Some people already are...such as recappers.

Phew. I need another drink. And another. Luckily for me, my blood pressure and my PS2, I finally reach the kitchen on my 9th try. Never let it be said that I do not suffer for my art. Speaking with the head chef, Cesuelia manages to persuade him to open the passage. He does this, but not before warning her -- repeatedly -- that the tunnel is filled with dangerous monsters. Well, duh. This is an RPG. Characters in this type of game probably can't buy a carton of milk without being ambushed by packs of slavering beasts. And no, I'm not talking about Rinoa fanboys. When I confirm that I'm ready to face the hordes of hell-demons, the head chef pushes a regular-looking barrel, opening a trapdoor right underneath Cesuelia's feet. The result is, of course, Cesuelia plummeting down into the darkness. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. The fall seems pretty steep, but everyone's favourite princess (and the other two party members, who have disappeared inside her...not like that) escapes without even a scratch. Maybe it's because she landed right on top of a handy mystic save pentagram, or maybe it's because the game designers abandoned the silly and unnecessary notion of realism. Fanwank away.

 
Here's an idea. Have you ever heard of Soylent Green?

How did Cesuelia survive the fall?
The save pentagram directly underneath her gave off a mystical aura which prevented her from sustaining any damage.
The Tear Drop, sensing that its holder was in danger, tapped into her consciousness and used her magic power to create an invisible barrier shielding her from harm.
Fuck mystical auras and invisible barriers -- the girl's a True Blue Mary Sue. Even the laws of physics shape themselves to her will.
She took a leaf out of Princess Peach's book and used her flowing dress as a parachute.
Why even try to understand a game designer's logic? (I bet you were all expecting a 'wizard' option, weren't you?! Hah!)

 

The underground passage is comprised of a network of walkways over a body of water. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for: a) every single part of the area looking exactly the same; b) each pathway being blocked with dozens of crates (inexplicably empty); or c) a random battle every time I draw breath. At least the myriad of monster encounters are easily won -- the "dangerous monsters" mentioned by the head chef turn out to be no more terrifying than toads and green jellies. Tremble in fear, Dream Chasers. In the most interesting (and most annoying -- imagine that) moment of this dungeon, I smash through a barricade of crates, sidetracked with battles all the way, in order to reach a chest containing...3 Gella. Fuck you, game designers.

Eventually, the Cliché Trio manages to reach the end of the passage (a few levels higher and countless Heal Berries lighter), and emerges from the cellar of the house near the town entrance. Apparently the previous inhabitant predicted that a rag-tag group of walking clichés would one day use the not-so-secret tunnel, as he or she has thoughtfully left a chest containing a Potion Berry right next to the stairs. See, if more people were like this mystery benefactor, Filgaia would be a much better place, filled with generous and morally-rich folk who always put others first and never give in to their own selfish desires. And, more importantly, I'd never have to waste more of my hard-earned Gella on healing items.

 
This level of generosity brings a lump to my throat.

With no NPCs to harass (remember, they're all, like, dead), the party cuts straight to the chase and locates Squatt standing in the middle of town, just waiting for the Tear Drop to fall into his green scaly clutches. Not one to mince his words, Squatt keeps his demands simple: "Hand over the Tear Drop!" Not quite sure if she should hand the key to ultimate power over to the enemy, Cesuelia warily asks Squatt if this will guarantee the lives of the few citizens Adlehyde has left. Squatt replies that he's a busy guy -- no opening in his schedule for a little killin' for kicks -- and that, once he has his shiny, nobody in the kingdom will ever see him again. Cesuelia duly gives him the Tear Drop, prompting him to utter a line that I'm still struggling to make sense of, roughly seven years after I first played this game: "Grab the prize and go through the gate as soon as it opens!" I have no idea who he's talking to here. The only option that would seem to make sense -- Squatt giving commands to his troops -- is ruled out by the fact that there are no monsters in the area. The other two possibilites -- Squatt either talking to himself or the Cliché Trio -- make even less sense. But hey, we're just hitting the tip of an Antarctica-sized iceberg in terms of mind-boggling dialogue in this recap, so I'll let it slide.

Remembering that he hasn't performed an Heroic Gesture for approximately half an hour, Indy springs into action, screaming "You demon...I don't know how you got here, but..." Squatt is understandably nonchalant. "So...what are you going to do?" he taunts. In response, Indy draws his blade. "Revenge! This is what I live for!" he cries. Squatt is in the mood for some fly-swatting, but, as he reminds the group, he's a busy guy, and so wishes to make it quick. I should be so lucky. As the screen disintegrates to the sound of the Guitar Riff of Imminent Boss Battle, I prepare myself for the fight of my life. After all, as incompetent as Squatt appears to be, he's fucking huge, with a fucking huge ball and chain to match.

I needn't have worried. Squatt's first action in battle is a taunt: "Humans break so easily. You guys don't make very good toys. We have to be so delicate with you humans. Here, how about a little dance?" Now, if the Cliché Trio were to take advantage of Squatt's in-battle posturing, they could shoot, stab and dismember him before he even got a chance to finish his spiel. But instead, they politely wait for him to finish his turn. Stupid people. Even without a headstart, this battle is as easy as Shion -- Squatt smashes Rudy across the head once, then decides to do nothing but taunt for the remainder of the battle, giving the party ample opportunity to pump him full of PENIS lead, Psycho Crack and pointy rocks. I hear some people charge for that. Now, before I continue the recap, allow me to regale you with one of my patented 'The First Time I Played This Game...' anecdotes. Hey, it wouldn't be a Ben recap without at least one of them! Anyway, TFTIPTG, I thought that, since Squatt was the one in charge of the monster attack and all, he'd be one of those annoying impossible-to-beat storyline bosses. And promptly had seven shades of shit beaten out of me, since Squatt actually decided to do more than wave his flail around. Yeah, I didn't make that mistake twice.

So, anyway. After the incredibly challenging boss battle, Squatt does what every annoying RPG boss does -- he taunts the Trio for their weakness, despite the fact that he was the one having his scaly ass handed to him on several platters. I hate it when they do that. "I feel like I'm being assaulted by a gnat!" he roars, adding that he's running out of patience faster than Lindsay Lohan running out of headline-grabbing private antics. The group receive a respectable 200 exp for their toil, before watching Squatt teleport away, his final words being "Come back when you're more of a challenge, kid!" Usually this would piss me off, but since I can take comfort in the knowledge that karma will soon come back to stab him in the chest, it doesn't bother me. Scene!

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