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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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"This is, without a doubt, the definitive moment proving just how deep the crack addiction goes in the game designer circles. Mark my words, one day you'll see 'I Was A Game Designing Crack Whore' in theaters and the whole sordid history will come to light. They'll probably loop it endlessly on G4, right after 'Cheat' and that stupid little asshat Jay Sparks doing the umpteen-millionth update from Vegas where players of Madden '05 act like they're the ones out there throwing the goddamn winning tournament pass."
     -Kelly, Final Fantasy X-2 Part 6

Link to VGR!

Suikoden IV : Part 2
By Sam
Posted 10.19.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
And sure enough, the whole ship shakes as the enemy ship gives it a little hello nudge in the rear, as Marvy is informed that they're being boarded. A second Gaien Knight is in the middle of explaining their predicament when he gets what look like three straight razors in the small of his back. The source of the long-range back-stabbing is a person simply named "Assassin." In his portrait he just looks like a bug-eyed zombie in a green mock turtleneck, but he also has a large red shield, or a hat, or something, on top of his head, which gives him the appearance of a demonic mushroom. This is quite possibly the weirdest character design since Tidus.

"My apologies, Master Brandeau," Mushassin says in a high-pitched "listen to me I'm so freaky-scary" voice. "Looks like I was the only one who got to have fun." If he means the fun of killing people, Marvy and the first knight are still there, so there's plenty of good times to go around. Brandeau, a white-haired man with a sexy bare chest and sexy eyepatch, just chuckles. It's one of those unhinged, unsettling kind of laughs that crazy people have before they murder you and sell your eyeballs on the black market.

What's Brandeau giggling about?
"'My arm.' What a maroon."
Marvy's lame outfit, what else?
He just had a root canal before coming on this pillaging spree and is still high on novacaine.
"Hey, did you guys catch Seinfeld on TBS last night? 'No soup for you!' Shit's hi-larious!"


And now Marvy and his one surviving Gaien Knight must face off in deadly battle with Mushassin and Brandeau. They pick off Mushassin first because of his annoying all-enemies attacks, and Brandeau goes down shortly after. The strategy guide whinges that this battle may be hard because you only have a Suiko!Clone fighting beside you, rather than Slowe and your other friends. Like Slowe and his INJURED ARM would have been helpful.

The Gaien Knights all apparently survived the boarding, and now surround Mushassin and Brandeau with their menacing little swords. One knight exposits that the Orark ship has sailed away to safer waters by now, and then he gets a little cocky: "Hmmmph, so you're the Pirate Brandeau?" he says with obvious disdain. "You've really got guts picking a fight with the Knights. But you'll regret that decision in the afterlife." The knight's slightly misplaced bravado and provoking of Brandeau sets off alarm bells for Mushassin, who starts frantically pleading for his boss to keep his temper in check. Brandeau, breathing hard like he just had sex, raises his arm, and a magical red flame starts pulsing from his hand. Mushassin tries like hell to get away, but the knights hold him at swordpoint, and otherwise just stand around and pick their asses. Even when the flame gets bigger, Brandeau utters "Die…" at all of them and Mushassin is screaming about being turned to ash, the knights still just stare at Brandeau as if he's about to show them a neat card trick, and is not about to engulf them all in a mile-wide fireball.

Which is exactly what he does, of course. Mushassin and all the generic Gaien Knights are evaporated on the spot, but Marvy is protected from the blast by a magical green bubble. Could there be something special about Marvy? I mean, it's not like he's anyone important in this game.

We cut to Scruffy's ship sailing through the water. Scruffy and his men spot a dinghy coming toward them, being rowed by none other than Captain Slowe Fingerbang. I don't think I need to tell you that he is rowing madly with both arms, including the INJURED one. Not to say I've never faked sick before to get out of doing something I didn't want to do, but I don't recall ever doing so to get out of saving my friends and comrades from dying at the hands of bloodthirsty pirates.

It looks fine to me.

When Slowe sees Scruffy, he starts in with the hysterics and, yes, the arm-waving. "C-Commander!" he cries. "I-It's terrible! Thie ship… The shiiiip!" Christ. Chickenwuss would make a better captain than Slowe.

Who else would make a better captain than Slowe?
Well, Marvy, obviously.
Irvine. What with his Nerves of Steel.
Hammer and/or Corey Feldman. Ditto.
Gremio. At least when he's falling apart he feels the need to cook something.
Wakka. When you crash your ship into a rock, tell your commander you were high. He'll understand.


Scruffy, who, remember, already thinks Slowe lacks that je ne sais quoi to be a good captain, is stunned that the little primadonna would abandon his ship. "I…I know," he stammers, "but, my arm!! My arm wouldn't move, don't you understand?!" I expect some kind of scathing retort about how it looks fine right now, and it must have been fine to do all that rowing, but Scruffy skips the battle of words and simply punches Slowe in the mouth. Rock!

"You coward!" he yells, as Slowe lies prone on the deck. Hee. "What kind of captain leaves his men in order to save himself?! The captain is always last to leave!" And now Slowe is on his knees, clawing for the last scraps of Scruffy's sympathies. Or maybe he's on his knees to do something else. I don't know. "But…my arm!! My arm wouldn't move!! Look!!" he whines. And he starts holding it in the same affected way he was when the ship was first attacked. I would think he would at least now abandon the pretense that his INJURED ARM is still hurting, given that he rowed all the way here. But not only is Slowe lacking in testicular fortitude, he's also not all that smart. Scruffy looks away in disgust, hoping that Marvy and the other men haven't all died by now thanks to this simpering wad kneeling in front of him.

Back to the action. Marvy is just fine--in fact, he seems to be doing a heck of a lot better than Brandeau, who is slumped on the deck, moaning and clutching his head. He opens his eyes, expecting to be quite alone in the wake of his pyro party, but then he sees Marvy getting up from the ground. Once he's processed that Marvy managed to survive whatever it is he just did, Brandeau whispers, "Will you…be…next?" The two of them stare each other down to cue the first non-tutorial duel of the game. Hopefully, you'll remember what I said about the strategy guide regarding the duels--I was told "Special Attack" for the opening move the first time, and it turned out that's what I should have done, not what Scruffy was going to do. Given this knowledge, I turn to the guide now. It says "Attack or Special Attack" under the opening move header. Well, that's a tad confusing--which is it I am supposed to do? With nothing better to guide me, I listen to what Brandeau actually says--"Now…I will kill you with a single blow"--and decide to defend against what is likely a Special Attack. And I get it right. See, this time, they decided to have Brandeau's opening move (which could have been either Attack or Special Attack) under "Opening Move." If Bradygames is going to make shitty guides, the least they could do is ensure that they are consistently shitty. This back-and-forth is giving me an ulcer.

'Wow, where do you learn to do THAT?'

The rest of the duel is easy enough, as Brandeau is not the most subtle guy in the world. Of course, everything sounds like a deathblow attack when his voice makes him sound like a chain-smoking Lord Voldemort. After about five turns Brandeau falls over, just in time for Scruffy to show up and catch Marvy in mid-faint. What is it with Suikoden heroes and fainting, anyway? I'm guessing it's partly because none of them have weighed more than 100 pounds. I'd like to force-feed Monte Cristo sandwiches to the lot of them.

As Scruffy is holding and caressing Marvy in much the same way that Marvy was holding Slowe earlier, Brandeau, face-down on the deck, mutters, "Finish me…now… Please…" Scruffy gets up and walks over to the pirate, noticing his still-glowing hand. "Is that…a Rune?" he asks. "No, it's a piece of ribbon candy," Brandeau says in my head. In the game, he says nothing, and stays inert as the rune wafts up and away from his hand, with Scruffy watching in fascination. "Heh…heh… It's your turn now…!!" Brandeau finally yells--well, as much of a yell as he can muster with his Janis Joplin scotch-scarred voice. Before Scruffy can do a thing to stop it, the rune implants itself on his hand. "Now…I'll be…free…" murmurs Brandeau, before evaporating into a black puff of smoke. I guess that's better in style points than just flopping over on the deck like a dying flounder. Once Brandeau is well and truly gone, the rune starts freaking out and flaring up on Scruffy. We're treated to a short, whitewashed montage of people dying. Handily enough, I know that these people are former holders of this rune, so it's funny that they just drop dead, instead of fading away into the mist or whatever like Brandeau did. Maybe he just had a flair for the dramatic.

Now it's Scruffy's turn to faint. Hey, maybe he's this game's hero and Marvy isn't. That'd be funny. Two Gaien Knights tend to Scruffy as Marvy takes in the swirly, toilet-flushing-esque rune symbol on Scruffy's left hand. The ship sails out of the black cloud of smoke the battle and the rune left behind.

On the Orark trade ship, Mizuki observes that the pirate ship sunk. Thanks for that piece of insight, genius. Ramada says how very unfortunate the whole thing was, but adds, "But with this…we will no longer be dogged by the infamous Pirate Brandeau." Akaghi points out the supposed irony of them calling Brandeau "infamous," which I guess means that they are infamous, though they don't look it in the least. I suppose Ramada could be infamous just for that enormously gay-looking bird he has as his pet. It's teal and has a long beak and flowing feathers. Just lovely. I bet he's named it Mrs. Ditherington or something silly like that. Ramada asks his ninja cronies what they made of "that light" they just saw. They agree that it was creepy, and Akaghi mentions some screaming that he heard at the same moment. Spooooky! Ramada says, "Hmm…I suppose this is something we should report, as well," but says they should confirm what they saw before saying anything about it.

Elsewhere on the sea, we find Slowe checking out the wreckage from his sad little lifeboat. Wait, so Scruffy made Slowe row home in the lifeboat? That is too awesome for words. As the ship Marvy and Scruffy are on passes by, Marvy stares down solemnly at his boyfriend, who glares back at him and says nothing. These two need couples counseling, like, now.

Some indeterminate amount of time passes and we're back in Marvy's room. I still don't know if they made Slowe row back to Razril by himself or if they were sailing by to pick him up, and apparently I'm never going to find out. I will be operating on the assumption that he did have to go back on his own, though, just because it's funny and it adds considerably to Slowe's coming martyr complex. When Marvy leaves his room, Slowe is in the hall waiting for him. He wants Marvy to come with him into town for a little shopping trip, "if [he's] up for it." Is Marvy Gaye up for some shopping? Is the sky blue? Is Rinoa stupid?

Marvy and Slowe are just about to leave the Knights' Hall when a couple knights pop up to ask Marvy how he's feeling after his fainting spell. They make sure to compliment him on being so strong and brave and cool. "I was really worried for a while there," one of them says, "but the Commander escaped with only a small injury, too." Slowe, who I would imagine is persona non grata around here after his gutless display of assholism out at sea, could have just stayed silent and let these two guys be on their way, but he just can't help himself from getting up on his high horse. "I can't believe you two!" he snits. "Didn't you see what happened back there? The Commander's wounds were hardly small!" The two knights chuckle. "Well, well. Shouldn't the ex-Captain with the 'seriously injured arm' be getting some rest right now?" says one. Ooh. Zing. Slowe whips around and grits "Let's go" to Marvy, like they're marching straight into the girls' bathroom to bitch in privacy. Once the generic knights leave, Slowe murmurs, "...Oh, don't worry about me. I'll be more careful next time. You'll see." He'll be more careful not to fake injuries and get bitchsmacked by gruff older men? This is not something which requires care. It just requires not being a cowardly, whingy dillhole.

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