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Tales of Destiny : Part 3
By Ben
Posted 06.23.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
You know, one of these days, I'm going to pick up a game I recap and discover that there hasn't been a gap of at least three years since its last installment. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, though. A long time ago, my second hour of surprises yielded several shocking developments, including Aslan and Sword of Snark teaming up with a pair of bickering ex-lovers friends, one of whom is an amnesiac. Because every RPG worth its salt needs one of those, right? The party embarked on a few Lens-making schemes before coming unstuck in the village of Harmentz, where Rutee got a little greedy at a plant-pot ATM (No, really. Go back and read Part 2 if none of this is making sense) and subsequently got herself and her friends arrested by a pink-caped brat with yet another talking sword. Seriously, the smart-mouthed weapons are probably going to outnumber the human characters before long -- not that I'd complain about that.

Before I continue, a short addendum is in order. As always before I write a recap, I just went and reread the previous installments, purely in the interest of re-familiarizing myself with the more pertinent points of the game - namely, that Aslan is dumb and SoS is awesome. However, I noticed that in Part 2 I poured scorn on the scriptwriter's use of the phrase "illegal alien", assuming it to be a translation error (a recapper can only be burned so many times before he starts actively looking out for fire). Of course, I had it wrong, and now know that the term is perfectly correct. My only excuse for this oversight is that the phrase isn't used in the UK, and being an actual 26 12-year old British homo, I had never heard it before. This could be viewed as an apology of sorts to the game designers, so make sure to savour it - it won't happen again.

Pesky disclaimers out of the way, let us continue. We pick up the super-deformed action in Darilsheid's prison, where the three party members are pacing their cells like cold-turkey junkies on a Friday night lockdown. Curiously, Rutee and Mary are sharing a cell, lending further credence to my theory as to the Sapphic nature of their relationship. Furious that one of his icky lady friends has landed him in jail thanks to her psychotic greed, Aslan pounds on the door, demanding to be let out since he "hasn't done anything wrong". Well, apart from that particular choice of hairstyle. The jailer reacts in a predictably belligerent manner, calling Aslan "pond-scum", among other choice morsels of generic "I am a cruel and sadistic jailer" dialogue. Aslan sighs despondently, wondering why the guard chose to call him pond-scum, out of all the possible insults in the world. Well, I can see the guy's point - that shaggy mane could probably be mistaken for a mound of algae when wet. Further wallowing in self-pity, he wonders aloud what he did to deserve any of this, prompting Rutee to chime in from next door "Yeah! Why do I have to put up with any of this?!" Uh...maybe because you tried to steal from a temple, knowing that the people in these parts would put Fred Phelps and his inbred clan to shame in terms of religious fanaticism? These people all need to start thinking before opening their mouths. Or doing anything at all.

Rutee says she blames Aslan for the whole thing, since he's the one who picked a fight with the Seinegaldian soldiers. She clearly has selective memory syndrome, as I distinctly remember that she and Mary participated in said battle, too. Granted, they stood behind Aslan while he did all the work (read: got his ass handed to him by Leon of the Pink Cape), but they were there. During this entire exchange, Mary stands with her back to the others and looks out the window, possibly contemplating suicide. I can't blame her for this, but the useful thing to do here would be to stop the children from fighting, especially as she's the elder stateswoman of the party at the ancient RPG age of 24. Rutee continues her daily dose of Aslan-bashing, landing the finishing blow with a scathing "Oh, stop your whining. Why don't you be a real man and take responsibility?!" Christ, Rutee, you're in jail, not a "Who's mah babydaddy?" episode of Maury. Finally deciding she's had enough of the high-pitched screeching behind her (and that was just Aslan), Mary spins round and yells "Why don't you two lovebirds stop fighting? You sound like a married couple." Now, I'm completely in the dark here, having never gotten this far in the game before, but I sincerely hope that wasn't some ham-fisted foreshadowing. Sure, Aslan and Rutee are entertaining enough as individuals, but I doubt they would work as a couple, given the whole "they both play for the home team" issue.

 
'Come on, shake your body baby, do the conga. I know you can't control yourself any longer!'

Before Mary can start planning the wedding, the party is startled by a commotion outside the cells - a retinue of soldiers tramples down the stairs and gestures for the jailer to unlock the doors. Apparently, the group is being taken before the King. Rutee demands to know what he wants with them, but the guard snits that she doesn't have the right to ask that question. Ooh, burn. Rutee, once again showing impeccable judgment and restraint, retorts that he's useless. She really is asking for a life sentence in this recap. The soldiers presumably clap the trio in irons (the sprite graphics can't convey this) and march them upstairs, through several large corridors and antechambers, before finally reaching a set of stairs laid with a plush carpet. This establishes that Seinegald Castle is fucking enormous, a fact that'll become more relevant a little later - coincidentally, around the same time I tear all my hair out and start howling at the moon.

The party is taken upstairs to the throne room, where the generically-kingly King of Seinegald awaits. The soldier leading the group -- Isard -- declares "Here they are". The guy seems to be a nothing more than a generic grunt, his sprite being identical to all the other soldiers in the room, so I have no idea why he's been granted the honour of a name. But since his name makes me snicker immaturely, I'll let it slide. Hee, "IsHard". There's a second curiously-identified soldier clone, too, but his name -- Dryden -- isn't dirty enough for my adolescent brain, so I don't care about him. The king tells the trio to take a moment to reflect upon their actions. Rutee reacts typically facetiously, claiming that she still has no idea what her alleged crime is. Aslan tries to go along with this, because he's a dumbass. "Who do you think you're fooling, you imbeciles?" the king roars, proceeding to remind the gang of the whole "let's try to steal from this temple and then attack the soldiers who come to stop us!" thing. Maybe it'll sink in this time. And maybe I'll be able to go ice-skating in Hades this summer!

As if the throne room wasn't cluttered with enough random wankers already, yet another character enters the scene. This one, named Hugo, at least has his own sprite, so he's probably going to have more of an impact on the plot than Dryden and IsHard. The King seems irritated by Hugo's interruption, but the guy is unperturbed, wondering if his monarch knows what a Swordian is. The king thinks this is a strange question, and I'd be inclined to agree; aren't Swordians -- ancient, sentient weapons capable of mass destruction -- something the land's ruler should know about? And shouldn't his knowledge of them be a foregone conclusion? I mean, the real-world equivalent of this scene would be a presidential aide asking Obama if he's ever heard of a little thing called a WMD (if this scene had taken place in Part 2, I would have been able to make a Bush joke there, further illustrating just how much procrastinating I've done in the past few years).

Hugo puffs out his chest and declares that the criminals before him are all Swordian users. Apart from Mary, of course, but I guess she isn't important. I still haven't been told who this fucker is, but seeing how he's able to stride straight into the throne room and question the king without ending up on the chopping block, I figure he must have some sway in the kingdom. "According to Leon, although they are immature, they may be of some use to us," he continues. If you guessed that Rutee reacts to this slam in a predictably Rutee-like fashion, you'd be right. Hugo wisely ignores the outraged squawking behind him, choosing instead to focus on making a pitch to His Highness -- apparently, he wants to send the group to the Straylize Temple, whatever that is. King Seinegald isn't completely sold on this, admitting "Although you're my trusted vassal [hmm...], I think this proposal of yours does not make any sense." He may be right, but since when has the S word applied to anything in an RPG? More importantly, we now know that Hugo is the king's trusted vassal secret lover. I suspect this very public disagreement will be discussed further in private, possibly involving some intense make-up buttsex.

Well, I'm happy to volunteer my services if nobody else wants to push the button...
 

Where was I? Oh, right. The king states that he's uncomfortable with the idea of his prisoners conducting Hugo's business, whatever it may be. Hugo's all "Aha! I have just the solution to that!" Apparently, he plans to fit the heroes with a device that will ensure they have to obey orders and resist the urge to escape. He orders one of the soldier clones -- or maybe IsHard, I can't tell any of them apart -- to hold Aslan while he demonstrates the powers of said mysterious device. "W-what are you doing to me?" Aslan yells, leading me to suspect a Black Screen of Implied Sodomy is imminent. Instead, Hugo fits him with a tiara that can "generate a severe electric shock via remote control". How fascinatingly fashionable, kinky, and sadistic, all at once. Also, this is giving me major Battle Royale vibes, although I probably won't be lucky enough to have the king dump the party on an island and force them to kill each other. Hugo duly activates the Tiara of Pain, sending an electrical current coursing through Aslan's scrawny body. If the game designers showed his hair standing on end, it would probably fill the entire screen, so we're forced to settle for a bug-eyed expression and a couple of quick yellow flashes. His insides fried, Aslan slumps to the ground, as Hugo gloats "The test shock just given to the subject wasn't much, but any attempt to remove the device will generate a lethal shock." He's kind of a dick.

The king is impressed, safe in the knowledge that he can control the gang if they try to run away. Hugo continues to cream his corn over his wonderful invention, as they can now afford to send the party hither-and-yon with only a single escort to keep tabs on them. I hope this escort is the one entrusted with the make-people-frazzle button, as this whole plan would be pretty idiotic otherwise. Suddenly, the king seems to be having second thoughts, but Hugo is quick to offer him his penis counsel: "What is troubling you, sire? Please tell me, I can't read your mind." I could put a dirty spin on this, but I'll resist -- this time. "What I'm about to say does not leave this room..." the King suddenly declares ominously. Because it's always prudent to discuss confidential and possibly dangerous information right in front of the group of criminals you're planning to torture into servitude.

"Hugo, you've heard of the Eye of Atamoni, have you not?" he continues, donning the Exposition Crown. I guess this was something they never discussed during pillow talk. Not to be outdone, Hugo snatches the Exposition Scepter from his hand and replies "I believe that was the doomsday weapon from the time of the ancient Aeth'er Wars..." It would be hilarious if the king was all "Uh, no, it's this excellent little tavern in the lowtown. I was hoping we could check out their cocktails sometime", but the Eye is indeed an ancient WMD from the time of the Aeth'er Wars, the mysterious conflict Sword of Snark has alluded to a few times. I should have known it would turn out to be important. The king continues that the Eye still exists and is kept underground, beneath the Straylize Temple. Ah, the components of this imminent fetch-quest are slotting into place. For some reason, Hugo starts wigging out upon hearing where the Eye is kept, making me wonder why he suggested sending the party there in the first place if he wasn't even aware of it. I'm hoping in vain that all of this will be explained, because I haven't learned anything in the eight years I've been recapping these games.

Apparently, Seinegald has seven generals, which is probably at least three too many. One of them, a dude named Ashley, begs the king to send him to the temple, as "there isn't a moment to lose". The king shoots him down, claiming that the public will panic if one of the generals is seen to be investigating the Eye of Atamoni. Clearly, some Bad Shit is about to go down, but nobody sees fit to shed any light on the matter for now. This must be the first case in recorded history where the game designers aren't bludgeoning me with blunt expositional objects. Hugo reiterates that they should send Aslan and co. to the temple, as a group of miscreants under duress will supposedly provoke less of a reaction from the pesky, interfering citizens of the kingdom. As the cherry on top of this cake of bumfuckery, Hugo has a brainwave -- send Leon as their escort, as he's already proven himself able to handle them. And to kick their asses. I don't know what rank the guy has, but he's all of sixteen -- as prodigiously talented as he may be, it seems ridiculous to me that the king would even entertain the notion of entrusting the success of this mission -- which could potentially fuck up the kingdom, if not the entire world -- to a kid in a pink cape who can't even legally drink yet. So of course, that's what he does. How Seinegald hasn't been reduced to a crater in the ground yet, I'll never know.

 
Aslan's interest is piqued.

As the dunces try to process everything they've heard throughout this two-minute conversation, two soldier clones attach Tiaras of Pain to Mary and Rutee. The latter, sickened by the act of an icky man touching her, calls the guards perverts, while Mary admires her "great new fashion accessory". I thought the only fashion accessories she was interested in were sweatbands and weightlifting straps, but I guess even female bodybuilders need to show off their bling from time to time. "You're such an airhead..." Rutee sighs, wondering why she was ever attracted to Mary in the first place. In full-on Spiteful and Greedy Bitch Mode, she then gets up in Hugo's grill, 'subtly' hinting about the possibility of a reward: "I don't know if it's the Eye of Atamoni or the Evil Eye or whatever, but you're going to compensate us for our work, right?" Shaking his head at her brashness, Hugo basically tells her that their reward is being able to keep their pathetic lives. Leon, too, is outraged at her, calling her a "brazen hussy" and wondering who gave her permission to speak. I'm wondering when the hell he entered the room, given that I'd have noticed his incredibly-masculine powder-pink cape as soon as it billowed into view.

Rutee is still yammering about payment, so Hugo relents and promises that they'll all receive a reward upon their return, provided the task is carried out successfully. His reasoning for this is that they are "simple people" who need something to motivate them into doing anything worthy. Understatement of the century... As an afterthought, the king agrees to this, lest we forget he's the one supposedly calling the shots around here. Hugo tells the group to come to his mansion before they set out, claiming he has something to give them. "My mansion is the largest building in Darilsheid," he casually mentions, not that he's trying to compensate for anything. "You can't miss it!" I wouldn't be so sure of that - he isn't on this end of the controller. Before leaving, he drops a bombshell: "My name is Hugo Gilchrist, the president of Oberon Corporation. Remember my name." First, his helpful last sentence tells me he's going to be a pretty important character, and second, we now know why he's such a big-shot around here. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it in the earlier recaps, but Oberon Boneron Corporation is a massive organization which manufactures consumer products from Lens. So, for lack of a better example, Hugo is essentially the Seinegaldian equivalent of Bill Gates. I think he just got a new nickname.

With Bill leaving to inspect his massive penis mansion, King Seinegald tells the group they have two objectives -- report to someone named Archbishop Marton at Straylize Temple and ask him for an update (on what? The Eye of Atamoni? The preparations for the harvest festival?), then put a stop to whatever is going on there. Aslan still doesn't know what the hell is going on, but I have a feeling he still wouldn't have a clue even if Bill had handed him a 100 page briefing on the situation at the temple, so I'll move on.

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