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  -Part 1 :: [02.17.05]
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"But no, Vyse has to be the big protective man, throwing himself over the two women (and likely copping a feel or two in the process), never mind that the Penis Ray of Doom could cut through that meat shield in no time. Speaking of said Penis Ray, it shoots out of one of the heads from left to right, throwing up sand and fire everywhere. Now that's a money shot."
     -Jeanne, Skies of Arcadia Part 6

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Suikoden IV : Part 3
By Sam
Posted 02.17.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Day Three on the deserted island, and a third opportunity for our protagonists to pick up random objects from the ground. Marvy hasn't chopped down any trees yet, so he takes that task for himself and leaves the others to do their thing. This is the most annoying of the random tasks, because it takes place in the monster-infested hills past the beach. Further, Marvy doesn't even get to use an axe to chop the wood and get a little tone on his noodly arms--when he goes up to a tree with a sparkly spot on it, it automatically becomes a log in his inventory. Lame. The experience does make for an amusing caption, on the bright side.


Marvy now makes another trip to the cave lake, where Tuna!Shion is again waiting for him to arrive. Out of nowhere, she says in her hateful voice, "...Y-You're not going to hit me? You're not going to take my hide? You're not going to...kill me?" Well, I'd like to--believe me--but the game isn't going to let me. And Marvy is a gentler soul than I am, anyway. At least, when it comes to people not named Slowe or Katarina. After he tells the mermaid he doesn't plan to skin her or anything, she responds that she now finds Marvy trustworthy. She dives into the water again, the camera making sure to highlight her scaly ass, and Marvy grabs another present, a Guard Ring. Maybe he could give some of these trinkets to his friends...naaaaaah.

On this third night of Fireside Choad Chatting, Marvy is asleep and Chiepoo is awake and yammering to the other two, as he is so fixated on eating the crabs he's seen on the beach that he has to ask the others what they think about it. Keneth says they probably aren't edible, because "they have really hard shells." Brilliant, Keneth. You'd think the concept of shellfish and their delicious innards would be commonplace to a bunch of sailors. Chiepoo basically says this, but Paula shoots him down, saying they should just stick to fishing. Chiepoo defers to their decision, but we'll see momentarily how well he sticks to the no-crab edict.

The next morning, their boat is finally finished. I like how none of the effort to make the boat, let alone a shot of a partially-completed boat on the beach, is shown, but we had to go through three monotonous days of picking up coconuts. Also, there seem to be a great number of things thrashed onto that boat, like palm fronds, which no one ever gathered onscreen. But who cares? No more lame deserted island adventures! No more icky Shion mermaids! Hooray!

But hold the phone: where is Chiepoo? Neither Keneth nor Paula seem to know where he's gone off to, and Marvy sure as hell hasn't been keeping tabs on him. But right around the time they're asking themselves this question, someone with the answer pops her head above the surface of the waves. Sigh. Even better, she's got some nonsensical, badly voice-acted gibberish for us. The game designers apparently decided that Marvy has suffered enough lately, so they're passing the pain on to me.

Anyway, Tuna!Shion is talking. I suppose I have to recap what she says, even if it is stupid and makes me want to hurt myself. So: "The cat is being chased by the Master. The cat can't win. The cat probably won't be able to come back. The cat tried to kill the Master's child, which made the Master mad. The Master is always angry. I hate it. The Master is up there. I want you to get rid of the Master for me. Once you do, the cat will come back, too. And then, the thing I hate will be gone. Okay?" She says all of this in about two breaths and then disappears back into the water. Marvy, Keneth and Paula, too stunned to speak, watch her leave in total silence. Finally, Paula says, "Excuse me... What did she mean?" Paula, I'll probably never tell you this again, but that is a good damn question.

As tempting as it is to just get on the boat and leave without Chiepoo (who would miss him?), obviously I can't do that. So our party of three heads up to the top of the hill, per Tuna!Shion's "instructions," to see what the hell Chiepoo is up to. As it turns out, he is in the middle of being chased around by four small crabs, in a lap around a very large, and very stationary, daddy crab. A few feet away from Marvy, Chiepoo trips, and as the crabs surround him, he starts crying and shaking and holding his paws to his face, like the crabs just violated him and now he's catatonic. ("Catatonic." Oh, ugh.) Marvy and Pals prepare to fend off the little crabs, but then the big one rears up on its legs to defend its brethren. Well, it wouldn't be a boss battle without the boss.

In a weird transition, though, when the battle begins, the boss crab is back on the ground, hunched into its shell. Why even bother to have that part of the cut scene, then? It's not like it was a powerhouse production, really. More annoying still, this means that attacking the boss crab at this point is futile, since it takes almost no damage. And there are two or three turns after the other two crabs are dead where it just sits there and there's nothing to do but defend. At that point, Marvy has a choice: he can keep whacking away at it to no effect, or he can spice up these boring proceedings by using the Rune of Punishment. Keneth and Paula are aghast that he would want to use the rune, like he hasn't been using it on anything and everything up to this point. He was exiled, dumped and generally treated like shit for that rune--you think he's not going to get his money's worth out of it?

*inserts Benny Hill music*

The blast from the Rune of Punishment gets the boss crab off its ass for the second half of the battle, in which he is joined by four more of his children. Several more of the small crabs chase Chiepoo from one side of the screen to the other, so we at least know why he's not helping out his friends in the boss battle. Not that he's a huge help in battle anyway, but it's nice to know he's fleeing for his life instead of lounging in the back with a cocktail.

Paula immediately takes a dive in the battle, because she has neither Marvy's hit points nor Keneth's ability to dodge the attacks of small animals. Fortunately, between Eternal Ordeal and the spells of Keneth's Lightning Rune, they didn't need her Wind-of-Sleep-using ass anyway. Nonetheless, Keneth revives her using a Jizo Clock, so she can at least get battle experience, level up, and not have this happen to her again. And yes, I only mentioned this step in the battle so I could mention that the Jizo Clock is now known as the Jizz Cock. You can call me immature and dick-obsessed all you want, but tell me with a straight face that you could resist doing the same thing.

After a shot of Thunder Runner finishes off the boss crab, the party obtains a number of junky shells and things from its corpse, and Chiepoo confirms that he's just fine, Marvy promptly faints into the grass. Not to rag on Marvy's delicate constitution, but he just fainted after using nothing but first-level spells. Even Slowe wouldn't wimp out after that.

But really, it's just an excuse for Marvy to visit The Vortex of Past Exposition. He runs as fast as his twiggy legs can carry him to the oncoming ball of purple light, which features a creepy scene between a man and a boy. "...How do you like it?" the man asks, to which the son replies, "It's delicious. This one's really tasty, too." Oh, dear. The man continues, "Really? I'm glad... Let's make it together next time. We'll make lots of funny-shaped ones..." The kid thinks this is a great idea. Why do I get the feeling this conversation is taking place in the back of a windowless van?

A second ball of light carries on the story: the child screams "Father...?" and the man yells in turn, "Stay back!! Damn it!! Damn...this Rune!!" But...but...what rune do they mean? I am so confused.

Third time: the father murmurs in terror, "Why... Why did it take you...?" The kid says he's fine, and the dad warns him not to use the rune's power. The kid's all, "Okaaaaaaay...I proooooomise," which means about as much as Marvy's since-discarded promise ring from Slowe.


A fourth ball of light hits Marvy. Christ, this is boring. The kid says, "Father...I'm sorry..." because he used the rune, like dogs knew he would do. According to him, he did it to get back at a bunch of jerks who burned down his dad's village. With that nugget of completely uninteresting backstory for some person we don't even know yet, Marvy enters a battle against the underage former owner of the Rune of Punishment. Marvy quickly releases the shadowy child from his immortal coil or whatever, and the kid, who has a very unfortunate pageboy haircut, mutters something about wanting to sample his dad's "bread" once more, before turning into ash. Not creepy or anything.

Over a black screen, Chiepoo apologizes for causing trouble just because he got a little crab-greedy. Keneth says it's no big. Paula adds, "That crab was...delicious." Heh.


When Marvy wakes up, he is surrounded by the up-close and ugly mugs of Keneth, Paula and Chiepoo. His eyes fly open and he bolts upright, as would anyone who found himself prone underneath so many ghastly, irritating people. After we establish, via Marvy's telling silence, that he's feeling okay, I regain control of him and the party gets ready to get on the boat and put this hellhole far, far behind them. But of course, they can't have a peaceful escape. The mermaid isn't done bombarding them with talking.

From the water on the starboard side of their boat, Tuna!Shion wonders where they're going, no doubt hoping that they'll stay on the island forever and protect her from the menace of crabs. Keneth busts out the Dumbfuck Line of the Recap: "I remember you. I see you're a mermaid." You might recall from the first hour that Slowe referred to Keneth as a "scholar." Oy. Paula, meanwhile, tells Tuna!Shion that they're looking for inhabited islands, and asks if the mermaid knows of any. I expect her to go, "Duuuuuuuuuuh, I don't knoooooooooooow," but she does actually point them toward an inhabited island due south. The island she's referring to, I see from the map of the Island Nations, is actually southeast, but I guess she's close enough. It's not like they'll find the place on their own anyway. They thank her and get ready to go. "Come again sometime," she tells them. "My name is Lilin. You will always be welcome." Paula, ever the optimist, tells Lilin that they will visit again, long as they don't die within the next few days on the ocean. Life of the party.

Not me, Chiepoo.

And we're back to floating aimlessly on the ocean! It's nice to have a bookend to a recap, don't you agree? It gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling of accomplishing absolutely nothing in over an hour of gameplay. So, next time, Marvy and his friends will finally get rescued for an icky Mary Sue. Oh boy! See you in part four!

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