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  -Suiko4 Main
  -Part 1 :: [02.17.05]
  -Part 2 :: [10.19.05]
  -Part 3 :: [02.17.06]
  -Part 4 :: [05.20.12]
  -Part 5 :: [06.04.13]
  -Part 6 :: [09.27.14]
  -Part 7 :: [09.27.14]

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"Finally, R and P manage to pull Y's heavy ass back up to the ledge, with a cry of 'Heave-HO!' That joke is way too easy."
     -Sam, Final Fantasy X-2 Part 1

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Suikoden IV : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 02.17.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Of course, the other ship turns right around and decides to fire back. "When getting fired upon..." Snowe starts, "well, of course, it's best if you never get into that situation..." Something tells me Snowe is slightly lacking the experience necessary for this Captain gig. You're gonna get fired upon sometimes, sweetie. Deal. Anyway, he finishes, "But if we're in a position to fire, too, we can 'Counter' their attack." Wooooooooow, I'm so impressed by his advanced terminology there. A window pops up giving me the option to fire back, and of course I do. Keneth is dying to blow another load...of Rune shells.

This is where the "trick" to the element choices comes in: the enemy ship has lightning and water. Using lightning means at worst the attacks will cancel each other out, and at best we score a hit if they use water. I'm not exactly sure why they would do that, if they have the same ability we do to know what elements the enemy is using. And with only a couple exceptions, every enemy ship in the game is set up in this same easy-to-dominate schema. Seems like a fundamentally flawed way of going about things, but then again, these are the same people who think wearing big hunks of metal armor is a good way to stay safe at sea.

Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Given this advantage, it doesn't exactly take long for our ship to take down the other one. Someone labeled ??? on the other ship blurts, "P-Perhaps I underestimated them..." It's actually Scruffy McGee from the FMV. "VICTORY!" in huge red lettering further rubs defeat in Scruffy's face. Take that, dude.

But VICTORY doesn't linger for long--Snowe runs over to Marvy on the deck, freaking out because they're "being boarded." Wait, I thought boarding only happened when the ship was in an unfavorable position? And now I'm picturing the two ships humping like Jeanne's bunnies. Great.

Best ship-slang sexual innuendo:
'We're being boarded!'
'I like the cut of your jib.'
'We've got a fine headwind.'
'Let's go down to the poop deck...and have sex.'


Snowe's blowjob face clicks back on when he sees Scruffy McGee standing behind them. "Oh!!" he cries. "Th-They're here?!" Yeah, that would explain why they're standing right behind you. Just for that, Snowe is now Slowe. Because he is.

A jingly sound effect escorts Slowe and Marvy into the battle screen, against Scruffy McGee, still labeled ???, and his purple latex-clad lady friend, called ????. "Marvy, I'm here," Slowe very necessarily points out. God. He then offers to give Marvy a tutorial on combat. Even though Marvy is supposedly a proud fighter, as Slowe himself said earlier, he apparently needs to know how to choose "Attack" on a menu. But I'll go through it anyway. Slowe haughtily says, "Choose 'Fight' for me," like poor Marvy is his indentured servant and not his cute boyfriend. Marvy does so per Slowe's instructions, then chooses "Attack," and then does the same for Slowe's turn.

After the first round of combat, Slowe cries, "Ow!" because losing one hit point really fucking hurts. "Marvy, after 'Fight,' select 'Item' and use 'Medicine'!" After a beat, he adds, "Then use it on me, of course." Marvy is starting to wonder if Slowe is more of a self-obsessed hose beast than a warm, nurturing lover. But he complies, and then attacks at Slowe's command.

Next round. "Marvy, are you okay?" Slowe asks, before ordering him to attack Latex Girl again. But to show that he cares, Slowe uses his Water Rune to heal Marvy's one fucking hit point of damage. What a bunch of goddamn babies.

Following this sorry exchange, Slowe tells Marvy that they should do a combo attack together. "Choose [our unite] and fight alongside me, okay?" Marvy is all too happy to go along with this. They get to simultaneously poke their swords into things, yay! But Marvy is to suffer a severe disappointment: the "Friendship Attack" (yeah, right) consists of Slowe ordering Marvy to attack, Marvy landing a flurry of blows on Scruffy, and Slowe coming in at the last second to get in one lame little swipe. Slowe seems all proud that they did this "together."

This is not the most equal of relationships, is it?

The tutorial battle ends here, because Scruffy and Latex Girl are getting slightly nauseated at Marvy being Slowe's whipped bitch. It's just depressing to watch, really. Scruffy--whose real name is Glen, but what the hell, let's keep calling him Scruffy--lightens the mood by telling Slowe he sucks. "Had this been a real battle, I could have approached you from behind while you weren't looking and..." Oh my God. And he even finishes, "Slash!" with a hot threatening swing of his sword in Slowe's direction. Holy balls. I can almost hear the fanfic being written.

Slowe is properly chastised and promises he'll be more careful not to be boarded and approached from behind only to become a victim of slash. Wow, I love this game already. As for Marvy, Scruffy wants to test his combat skills in a one-on-one battle. Latex Girl (real name Katarina) thinks it's a great idea, because we need to get all the tutorials out of the way in the first ten minutes. And I'm all for that, so Marvy agrees to take Scruffy on.

This would be the second of the three tutorials that I don't really need to hear, but it's not like I have a choice in the matter anyway. Scruffy spouts some run-of-the-mill bullshit about not going easy on me, and then I look in the strategy guide to see what he's going to do. My first nitpick with the Bradygames guide (and there will be many) is the presentation of these duel guides. There is a helpful chart correlating what Scruffy says to what he will do (out of Attack, Defend or Special Attack), but there is also a special box describing Scruffy with the sub-header "Opening Move." In this case it says his opener will be a Special Attack. Unfortunately, what the guide actually means is that Special Attack should be my opening move. Oops, sorry, when I see that you've written "Opening Move: Special Attack" under Scruffy's name, I make the huge leap in logic that you mean it's his opening move. Boy, is my face red. Because I spent fifteen dollars on this book.

'Yes, sir.'

Well, after that near-fatal error, I still manage to not fuck up the rest of the battle and Scruffy goes down in theatrical short order. Afterward, Scruffy congratulates Marvy on being all that and a bag of culotte-wearing chips. He even says he's proud to have trained our hero, and you can practically feel the burning jealousy coming from poor Slowe. "Commander," Katarina says, "the graduation mock battle is wrapping up." Hee. I kind of like the concept that all this practice tutorial battle stuff I've been doing basically is a practice tutorial in the game world, too. The contrivance is almost not contrivance. And more importantly, Marvy learned from the mock battle that his boyfriend can be kind of a dick.

Katarina mentions a graduation party scheduled for later on, and Scruffy adds, "[Slowe], I'm counting on you for tonight's 'Kindling Ritual.' It's an important rite for everyone." Slowe jumps to attention and promises that he'll do a great job and make everyone proud and stuff. I'm thinking he might have validation issues. Among the heaps and piles of other issues.

And now I'm in control of Marvy. He plays a round of Talk to Everyone, and from the generics aboard the ship he gets very little out of it, except for one guy who says, "Did you know the armor that official Knights wear is different from ours and can't be taken off easily? They say it shows their resolve and if it ever comes down to it, their lives are with the sea..." So basically, these Knights know they're raging idiots for wearing heavy metal out to sea, but...they just don't care? Okay, then. I guess I'll just have to live with that explanation. Such as it is.

On the upper deck, Marvy has a chat with two of his avatar-owning companions: the girl with the kicky white crop cut and the guy with bedhead. Bedhead, named Tal, but now named Meathead because I just realized that's who he looks like, says something about being hungry. So he's going to be a Pahn ripoff. Okay. The chick is named Jewel, and she states the very non-obvious fact that their training is about to be over. Hi, Cleo. So, constantly hungry and stater of the obvious? Looking forward to having you in my party, guys. Keneth is standing alone a few feet away, and tells Marvy that they must be close to someplace called Razril because the water is getting lighter. "Really?" Slowe asks, and I just now realized he was in the party with Marvy. Creepy. "Isn't it still pretty far off?" Keneth is all, "No, STUPID." And sure enough, he's right. About Razril being close, not about Slowe being stupid. Though he's right about that, too. "Wow..." Slowe breathes. "It seems you'd make a better scholar than a Knight, Keneth." And there he goes with those disguised insults again. He's lucky that his boyfriend is the Silent Hero, or he'd probably get bitched out for doing that all the time.

After a quick shot of the boat moving on the water--thanks, game designers--Slowe waxes poetic about graduation. Keneth takes this for nervousness, but the almighty Slowe would never be worried about being a Knight! "I've been waiting all my life for this!" he wanks. "Finally, the time has come for my abilities to serve Gaien..." Marvy silently broods. Those abilities are supposed to be private. Thoroughly depressed, Marvy goes back to talk to Meathead and Jewel, and Slowe clings along. They ask Marvy and Slowe if they've seen Paula. Slowe has no clue where she is, not in the habit of keeping tabs on icky girls. And Jewel seems overly concerned with this girl's whereabouts. Yes, I'm insinuating that they're all lesbian for each other. Because they are. Meathead brings up this Kindling Ritual again, and says Slowe had better do them all proud. Slowe is confident, despite Jewel's sarcastic ridicule of him. Pssh. Man-hating lesbian all the way.

In that way.

Katarina announces to the ship at large that they must go to the training hall once they land, for important graduation stuff. They probably just have to go write their names on little cards for some douche with a microphone to read and mispronounce. Meathead whines about hunger while Jewel hornily shouts, "Paaaauuulllllaaaa!!" to segue into a cut scene.

In the crow's nest atop the central mast, there's an elven girl who looks exactly like Linkolas. Well, she apparently has a vagina, so that sets her apart. But not really all that much. Paula stares soberly out to sea, but flinches a little when some seagulls flutter artfully past. I swear to God, if she starts singing I'm turning this game off. Paula watches the gulls go, as one of them flies right into the game's title. Cue overblown, heart-pounding music and credit-laden cut scene of the boat coasting into the town of Razril. Nobodies running around a big boat! Stupid metal armor! Maybe I'd be excited if I hadn't seen it a hundred times already.

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