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"Ziggy explains that it's U-GEE that's after them, and that they need to take out the mother ship, which at the very least KOS-MOS already knew. 'So unless we do something, the enemy will overrun the ship,' Shion says. Yes, I would say there's a pretty fucking good chance of it, Shion. Jesus."
     -Sam, Xenosaga Part 7




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Wild ARMs : Part 5
By Ben
Posted 10.30.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
Guys, I'm catching up -- my last Wild ARMs recap was a mere year and a half ago! In fact, I'm sure it's so fresh in all your memories that it isn't even necessary for me to provide you with a summary of the recap's events. All you need to remember is that the Cliché Trio was tasked with protecting three sacred statues, and perhaps unsurprisingly, one of them was destroyed less than half an hour later. I just hope nobody ever asks these guys to babysit.

We pick up the action in Baskar Village with the party breaking the bad news to the chief and his enormous shaggy dog. Because he's a laid-back guy, Chief doesn't chew them out for failing the one task they had to accomplish, instead choosing to hit them with a wave of exposition. After telling them that the seal has been broken (uh, they were actually there, dude; I doubt even these fucktards are dense enough to not notice what happened ten paces in front of them), he gives them renewed hope by revealing the locations of the other two Guardian Statues. Apparently, they can be found in places named Saint Centour and Port Timney, and I sincerely hope that information is more helpful to Rudy and his pals than it is to me. I mean, my lack of navigational skills has been well-documented elsewhere -- it's somewhat unlikely that I've gained the ability to follow directions overnight.

...Yet.
 

"If we can save just one of [the remaining statues], then we can prevent the queen from reviving," the chief continues. "Uh, less of the 'we', please, unless you're actually going to do something more constructive than recline on your straw bed and smoke wacky backy," someone should have said at this point. But, like the mannequins they are, they are once again content to stand back and let yet another random wanker tell them what to do. If Lord Zedd warped into the hut right now and gave them instructions to destroy the statues instead, they'd probably be all "Sure thing, sir! We'll get on it right away!"

The chief isn't done handing out orders yet. "You must use Elw Pyramids, for they are the link to the Guardians," he reveals (WTF?). "You can usually find the pyramids in the same area the statues are kept." How convenient! And yet still nonsensical! "It is said that all life can become energy and be transported to faraway places through the use of Elw technology," he blabbers on, sending me and the party members into a comatose state while also demonstrating that the fabled Elw clearly passed down their own special brand of herbalism, too.

 
I'm surprised the poor dog hasn't been knocked out by all the pot fumes in that place.

I should mention that throughout this entire scene, the only person speaking is the chief himself. I think I just figured out what's wrong with the dialogue in this game (aside from the ripe, cheesy aroma that permeates every line, that is). With very few exceptions, the only time Indy or Cesuelia actually speak is when they're conversing with each other, Scabbers, or the voices in their heads. When anyone else, even an important character, tries to engage them in conversation, they just kinda stand there and nod politely while the other party talks at them. Sure, it's a handy device for when the game designers decide the player needs an infodump, and I can't exactly blame Rudy for it, seeing as he's a dyed-in-the-wool Silent Hero, but it's not like his friends need to follow his example.

While he has a brief moment of lucidity, the chief produces a trinket and hands it to Rudy, calling it the "Kizim Fire of Baskar". At first I assume he's just passing the duchie, but then he reveals that it's somehow the key to unlocking the power of the Elw Pyramids. So...an ancient, mysterious race of elf-like beings who were in tune with nature (but were also proficient in technology and crap) built a series of pyramids that serve as a transportation network for whoever happens to be carrying a magical ball of fire. Gotcha. I feel like I should have smoked something in order for this to be making as much sense as it does, but maybe I've just had to put up with so much crack-induced shit in my time as a recapper that I don't even think to question this stuff anymore.

With the Kizim Jism Fire burning a hole in his palm (fortunately, his PENIS is currently in his other hand) Rudy gathers the rest of the Trio and sets out to track down one of the pyramids. Typing that sentence felt weird, since something like a pyramid shouldn't exactly be difficult to locate -- but then again, this is a Wild ARMs game; I have more difficulty finding anything on this God-forsaken world map than Tidus does finding a woman's clitoris. I mean, poor Rudy has already trekked fifty miles past the giant boob northwest of Baskar before I realize he's headed in the wrong direction.

*Puff*
 

Fortunately, the nearest Elw Pyramid sits just a stone's throw to the northeast, in the middle of a sprawling forest. It doesn't really look like a pyramid in the traditional sense, but I guess "Elw Megalithic Structure of Undetermined Design" didn't roll off the tongue quite as well. Inside the ruin, which has that peculiar dust-free, undamaged condition typical of so many ancient videogame temples, the Trio comes across a huge stone tablet engraved with a message for would-be travelers: "Offer the [Jism] Fire to the furnace hidden in the water flow...life shall dance in the sky and connect the lands..." Mentally jotting down the helpful instructions from the massive granite Post-It note, Rudy explores the area, thinking to himself that these Elw clearly weren't the geniuses they were cracked up to be if they were dumb enough to build a furnace inside a water flow. In actuality, though, it isn't submerged in water, but housed in a separate chamber hidden behind a waterfall. When he inserts the Jism Fire in the hole, there's some promising rumbling as the ancient furnace (which is actually an Elw control panel) roars to life. A plume of flame flickers inside the hole, prompting the Phantom Text God to remark that the Pyramid is "filling with strange energy". Sure it is.

 
Again, fumes.

Rudy decides to take the PTG's word for it and leads his companions back into the foyer of the building, only then noticing another door at the far end of the room. At the end of a long corridor lies a glowing green teleport pad, newly-activated and looking ridiculously out-of-place amid the antiquated décor and carved angel statues. When Rudy and the other party members inside him step onto the teleporter, they are suddenly converted into a green ball of energy, which shoots up through a hole in the roof. Now we see a view of the entire planet of Feelgayer, with the green energy orb rising at speed from its surface, looking bizarrely like a reversing comet. The camera follows the orb up through space until it ricochets off of some kind of satellite and heads back to Feelgayer at a slightly different angle, thereby dumping the party in a new location. Nifty, huh? Incidentally, the PS2 remake of this game predictably injected a dose of epic into this scene, complete with multiple satellite rebounds and the condensed party zig-zagging around the planet like a damn ping-pong ball. I hope they're not conscious during the process, else they'll need to clean up a ton of chunder once they land.

The ball-of-energy party lands in another Elw Pyramid with a crash that shakes the foundations of the place. I'm not sure how a ball of light -- which, in theory, should be a weightless object -- could create a tremor like that. But then, I'm not a physics expert. Or a game designer. Without letting Rudy and the others gather their bearings after being shunted through space at light speed, the disembodied voice of Stoldark booms out of the darkness to nag them: "This land contains the Holy Statue, which seals the evil heart!" Thanks, Stoldark! I thought we'd come here to check out the local nightlife, but everything's clear now you've clarified our purpose here!

There's nothing to do in this pyramid save for plundering the contents of a chest some helpful Elw left behind, resulting in an intriguingly-named "Hard Guard" for Rudy. Sadly, it's a gauntlet, not some kind of protective holster for his PENIS. Lord knows he needs one of those with all the dangerous beasts prowling around outside.

The Baskars can throw one hell of a party.
 

Speaking of outside, the party soon emerges in a new area of the world map, where they encounter a blond NPC clone wandering around aimlessly. When addressed, he spews forth the following, quoted verbatim: "Ahh...I can't remember the last few days...I've...been...just wandering..." Two points here. First, yes, he did actually use all those ellipses. Second, it would be easy for me to dismiss this incoherent fool as another victim of the Baskar Chief's herbal remedies, but there's actually something more sinister going on here. To investigate further, the party must head toward Saint Centour, the only town in the vicinity. If, unlike me, you can remember conversations from ten minutes ago, you'll recall that this very town supposedly hides one of the remaining Holy/Guardian Statues, but the statue's location and the drunken amnesiac outside town are clearly unconnected.

Upon entering the town, I immediately notice that it shares the same jolly BGM that Adlehyde did before the sky cracked open and vomited meteors down upon it. This, to a seasoned recapper (and other people, such as me) is Gigantic Clue #1 that Saint Centour probably isn't going to remain unscathed for very long. Gigantic Clue #2 is the enormous gateway fitted with a state-of-the-art monster detecting device, which repels the gang when they try to enter. As Indy wonders why the hell he and the others got knocked back, a generic NPC in a Stetson appears and reveals apologetically that he thought they were monsters. For some reason, nobody takes this as an insult. Like, I know they don't exactly have the most conventional appearance, but "monsters" is going a little too far.

 
Indy, you can't just rock up to a gay bar wearing that tattered old trenchcoat and expect to be let in!

Stetson Dude reveals that due to the high volume of monster attacks in the area, Saint Centour is "protected by a dimensional protection seal". Uh, this is getting a little too Doctor Who for my liking. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but one is an awesome little sci-fi show about time travel and the other is a mid-90s Western-themed JRPG that hasn't aged too well, and never the twain shall meet. If Cesuelia mentions a sudden craving for fish fingers and custard, I'm turning the game off and digging out my Season 5 box-set instead.

Because he apparently hasn't adequately insulted the party members yet, Stetson Dude again demands to know if they're monsters in disguise. Christ, they're just three wankers and a talking mouse. It's not like they're muttering about the delicious scent of human flesh or walking on all-fours. Also, all this paranoia just screams "there is a powerful force here that can't be allowed to fall into the wrong hands". If the Power Rangers Villains didn't already know there was a Guardian Statue in this town, they'd be pretty much clued-in by the time they reached the entrance and had to face a 20-minute interrogation by Stetson Dude in front of the Evil Repelling Gate™.

Sensing that his companions aren't going to get anywhere, Scabbers scurries out from under Indy's coat and wonders aloud if he triggered the device, being the only non-human who tried to gain entry (apart from Rudy, that is. Spoiler!). Stetson Dude concedes that it's a possibility, claiming that the gate is "very sophisticated" and "can stop spirits as well as monsters". Uh, what now? According to both the manual and the game itself, Scabbers is a "Wind Mouse", whatever one of those is. So is he a Wind Mouse or a spirit? And why do I even care?

Scabbers: Wind Mouse or spirit?
Wind Mouse
Spirit
Actually, according to the original Japanese script, a Wind Mouse and a spirit are in fact one and the same, originally stemming from an ancient legend wherein...*spontaneous fanwank combustion*
Duh, he's Peter Pettigrew.

 

Stetson Dude doesn't seem to care what species Scabbers is, instead wondering whether he's some kind of pet. Of course, as the only character in the game with a functioning brain stem, Scabbers doesn't take kindly to this, yelling "I'm not a damn pet! Indy and I are..." You know, I really hope that sentence doesn't end the way I'm half-expecting it to. Cutting him off, Indy hastily finishes "[Scabbers] and I are partners...can we come in?" And now I'm wondering if he meant they were partners in adventuring, or life partners. God, I hate my brain sometimes.

Stetson Dude finally grants the party entry, but has one final lecture for Indy: apparently, by holding Scabbers deep inside his pocket (no comment) he'll be able to pass through the Evil Repelling Gate™ without setting it off. Wait, so this is supposed to be some highly-advanced device that can detect both monsters and fucking spirits (does it have a built-in EMF meter or something?), but it's entirely possible to fool it by concealing oneself with a layer of fabric? If so, I guess it'll be a walk in the park for Blankie to get in here. Does nobody even think to question this stuff?! I mean, it makes Stetson Dude seem rather silly to be rhapsodizing all over his awesome-o security gate when any monster and their grandma can get through it by hiding under a sheet.

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