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  -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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"A random worker dude enters the room and asks the other workers already in the room if they said anything. This is kind of stupid because I'm assuming that the workers in that particular room often say stuff to each other. Does the random guy ask them about it each time? I'd think that would get annoying."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy IX Part 3

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Suikoden IV : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 02.17.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
As promised, Marvy and Slowe meet up near the entrance to the Hall of Knights. Arm in arm, they skip gaily to the training area. No, they don't. But wouldn't it be adorable if they did? In the training hall--which is open air, so it seems like a strange thing to call it--Marvy and Slowe choose to be sparring partners for some younger trainees, because it's easy level-building and I want to see Slowe stand bow-legged some more. Hee. After they've satisfactorily hazed the freshmen, Marvy goes to speak to his friends, who are gathered near three senior Knights. Jewel establishes what she already told Marvy last night: it's time to train against people who are supposedly better than they are, given their higher rank, but Marvy and Co. will have no trouble wiping the floor with them because they're Destined and Stuff. Jewel also mocks Slowe and asks if he's scared of getting beat up or peeing his pants or something. Slowe glowers at her. Rawr! Hiss!

Now it's time for Marvy to choose the remaining party members. I like how Slowe seems to be the one that's in charge here (despite the fact that they're all new Knights), but he leaves all his decision-making to Marvy. It's like he wants to be the big man on campus without having to do any of the actual work. But don't mind me. I'm sure this won't come up again.

Both Slowe and the strategy guide suggest trying everybody out at least once to see who works best for you, so I do. Yeah, I know--I'm listening to the "wisdom" of Slowe and Bradygames. I'll snap out of it eventually. Anyway, I immediately realize that Keneth is a lock for party inclusion, between his Lightning Rune and his status as the best looking of the four of them (in spite of the terrible hair). Now, I'm sure you're all thinking, "Now she's going to put Meathead in the party, because Keneth and Meathead both have peeeeeeenises and Marvy is gaaaaaaaaaay!" Hold up there, guys. It's not that simple. As willing as I am to give Meathead a chance based on this premise, he just isn't doing it for me. For one thing, he has a regular ol' Earth Rune, which in my mind is one of the most useless runes in the game. And as if that isn't bad enough, when I put him in the party he says, "All righty, let's do it!" I'm sorry, but Marvy does not roll with any dude who says "All righty." It's a personal policy.

So it's down to the chicks. We've already seen that Slowe seems to have some kind of problem with Jewel--perhaps he's afraid that fanfic writers will pair him up with her because they both have white hair?--and Marvy doesn't want to upset his man in any way. And Paula doesn't seem too objectionable. She's quiet, and she looks so much like a gay man that Marvy's willing to pretend. So after giving each one of them a token chance to wow me in battle, Keneth and Paula it is. The Cleo and Pahn ripoffs will just have to sit at home and give each other makeovers. Losers.

This totally temporary and insignificant party of four decided, the gang heads down to the dock for their first ever patrol mission. The Knight standing in front of the ship offers Marvy two choices for what mission they'd like to take on. One involves sailing around until the party has fought three random battles. The other requires them to deliver a document to nearby Middleport. Both of these missions sound equally challenging, and by that I mean not challenging, so I let the guide pick for me. It says that you get 1000 Potch if you go to Middleport, and you'll get the random battles to level up on the way regardless. Sounds good to Marvy.

'Sure, Squally.'

Once Marvy has made his decision, the view switches to a chart of the sea around Razril. Middleport is only a little ways to the southeast. Looks pretty simple! I place the little red arrow on Middleport, and off the ship goes, at a nicely accelerated clip thanks to me holding down R1. The first time I played the game, however, I didn't realize that you could make the ship go faster by doing this, and it took me over half an hour and some God awful uncounted amount of random battles to reach my destination. And this was even without any problems with the wind, which I have in spades now. See, if the wind picks up, it blows the ship wildly off course, as if it were a leaf on a breeze instead of a huge honking frigate. Getting the ship back on course can be akin to steering a three-wheeled rusted shopping cart through a foot of snow. To wit: whoever designed this piece of crap control system should be forced to spend the day in a tiny economy car, seated in between Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly. With no spit guard.

Anyhoo. Middleport. The party is nicely leveled up by the time the ship arrives, mostly from beating up monstrous schools of seaweed and mutant swamp creatures. Don't ask me. A Knight standing on the dock here hands over 1000 Potch upon the exchange of the document, and dismisses Marvy and his pals to shop to their heart's content. Unfortunately, Marvy has a grand total of 3278 Potch, and that just isn't going to do. Oh, how can Marvy improve his financial standing? Maybe that chap over there with the mustache can help.

The man, who indeed has a very gay mustache and is wearing a pink blouse with a high open collar, is named Gunter, and he wants to play a game. I panic a little bit when I see that he's holding a ceramic bowl, but his games are called "Down to One" and "Triple Toss." I don't see the true name of The Game That Shall Not Be Named! What's the harm?

This was not Marvy's roll.

Okay, so obviously Triple Toss is actually TGTSNBN, and the writers just tried to trick me with new packaging and a guy who looks nothing like Tai Ho. Well, maybe he's Tai Ho's dirty pedophile great great uncle or something. Anyway, it worked and now I'm playing it. Unkie Gunter and his kin apparently have cheating in their fucking DNA, because I swear to God I lose all my money in ten minutes. This is accomplished by me winning at first, losing and dipping below what I had, thinking that maybe I can win it all back if I keep playing, and failing to do so. Yes, I realize it's hardly Unkie Gunter's fault that I'm a gullible dumbass. But you have to admit that him rolling 4-5-6 THREE TIMES IN A ROW is a little suspect.

Flipping Unkie Gunter the bird, Marvy runs crying back to the ship. Deprived of a sinful shopping spree for two whole days! This sucks. The boat returns to Razril, and by the time Marvy is workin' his ass from the ship to the dock, the party has gotten back a good deal of money from random battles. So modest armor upgrades for one or two characters! I'll just be over here with my Tai Ho voodoo doll. (What, you think I'm going to make one for every character who subjects me to TGTSNBN? I'm not made of dolls, here.)

Since my party is now level 5 or higher, the Knight at the Razril dock has a new job. It involves going back to Middleport, and it would have been nice if the guy in Middleport had said something about it, instead of making me sail all the way back here first. Ass. In an amusing side note, the Knight asks Marvy, "Do you know where Middleport is?" when he didn't ask that the first time Marvy went there. Brain trusts, these Knights.

Most challenging task put to Marvy thus far?
'Hey, find this place that you traveled to five minutes ago!'
'Do you think you can light these flaming sticks with your flaming stick?'
'Please ram this steel pole up your ass and walk around with it.'
'You and Slowe should totally go out! He's only a little high maintenance.'


And so it's back to Middleport. At the dock, standing next to the asshole Knight is some generic guy. When prodded by the Knight, the guy stammers, "A-Actually...I was fishing around here when I happened to run into a strange creature... It looks sort of like a black, furry thing, sort of... In fact, it's kind of cute-looking." Not wanting to diminish his own manhood, he hastily adds, "But it's terribly strong! Or rather, it's really pesky! I have no clue at all why that thing took a liking to me... Please get rid of it for me!" So I have to go kill some big Sea Furry? Okie dokie.

Happily enough, the game is programmed to make the thing pop up in the first random encounter. I'm glad they realized how much it would suck to sail around for two hours waiting for it to arrive. Anyway, the Sea Furry's real name is the Damp Hairball. I'm just gonna keep calling it the Sea Furry, since the other name I have for it seems rather raunchy even for this recap, and besides, no one present except Paula wants to hear about yucky girl parts. Whatever it's called, the Sea Furry is either phoning it in for its spar against Marvy and his friends, or that fisherman is a total wimp, because it goes down in two or three turns, and all my equipment sucks so that's saying something. Also, it looks like a big black Kuribo. Oooh, scaaaaary.

Back in Middleport, again, Marvy receives an outstanding 2000 Potch for his hard work. This time he steers the hell clear of Unkie Gunter and walks straight to the blacksmith's. The blacksmith himself isn't in, but his apprentice is willing to get their weapons up to level 3. The apprentice, named Adrienne, is a very gay-looking young man with a ponytail mullet and a ripped red tank top baring his midriff. Oh, wait. That's a girl? Jesus, this game has me all gender-confused. Plus, you can't see her boobs from this angle. Okay, so Adrienne THE GIRL sharpens everybody's weapons gladly. And for those of you who are itching to get all French Linguasnob on me and point out the -nne at the end of her name as a clue to her gender: we'll see later that not all French -nne names are for girls. Well, Adrienne is, but damn, she looked like a guy.

Time to go back to Razril. As soon as they exit the ship, Marvy, Slowe, Keneth and Paula meet up with Katarina, who asks Slowe to report on their patrol. Slowe says it was easy as pie, because he made Marvy do everything he's just so super-cool. Katarina's all, "Uh huh, whatever," and goes on to rain exposition down from the skies. "Recently, there have been rumors of the Pirate Brandeau expanding his area of influence," she blahs, though this Brandeau fellow sounds neat. Love the name. "Be sure to remain vigilant." She then informs Slowe and Marvy that they are to be assigned a separate mission for just the two of them. Sexy.

I will let your agile imaginations run wild with this one, because this is where we're going to stop. I expect full, steamy fanfics from each of you as homework. In the next recap, our hero and his boyfriend will suffer further cracks in their baggage-filled once-pristine relationship. This may or may not have anything to do with a True Rune that makes everyone's lives suck. There will also be a ninja who doesn't wear a bra. Look forward to it!

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