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  -Part 1 :: [02.17.06]
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  -Part 4 :: [01.22.10]


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"Selphie starts talking about her 'nice' dream. I think even the biggest idiot could see where this is leading. Squally isn't so happy. '(I dreamt I was a moron...)' he thinks to himself. After all, in his dream, he liked women."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy VIII Part 4




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Tales of Symphonia : Part 4
By Jeanne
Posted 01.22.10
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
It hasn't been all that long since Lloyd's last imbecilic adventure, so I won't bother to recap the recap. I signed off just as Lloyd arrived at his quaint little cottage in the woods, a truly epic cliffhanger if there ever was one.

Inside the cottage, a man turns away from working at a forge to greet Lloyd. This is Lloyd's dad, Dirk the dwarf, and I'm pleased to see that they've steered away from the fantasy dwarf stereotypes and made him a bearded, muscular short guy who works as a blacksmith. Lloyd barely says hello before he asks his dad to make him a Wizard Crest. I love how it hasn't even occurred to him to abandon that plan. Let's say Marble survives whatever punishment will inevitably be doled out to her -- are Lloyd and Genis really going to get past security again in order to attach the crest? And wouldn't the Desians notice it and remove it right away?

Dirk, to his credit, is suspicious of Lloyd's request. Continuing to show his characteristic lack of brain power, Lloyd spills the entire story, glossing over the fact that the Extesticle's owner lives at My Human Ranch. Given the rarity (at least for now) of Extesticles, I'm sure this won't raise any suspicions at all! Dirk tells him that removing an Extesticle that is not mounted on a Wizard Crest is "dangerous." But is it more or less dangerous than the aforementioned danger of embedding the Extesticle directly? It's kind of hard to tell when they don't give specifics. But don't worry -- there's still a convenient solution. As Dirk explains, "So the only thing to do is make an accessory out of inhibitor ore and carve the charm into that, making it into the [Wizard] Crest instead." Oh, of course! Why didn't I think of that? Dirk also has the typical gruff, Scottish-sounding voice of all fantasy dwarves. I'm kind of disappointed that he doesn't live in an underground mine -- this might be confusing to some gamers -- but I guess I can't be picky.

Twink has competition for most jewelry-coveting male in a video game.
 

With this new information, Lloyd is all, "Okay, how about a bracelet, then?" But Dirk does not possess the same retarded genetics that created Lloyd (sorry, Kratos). He wants to know who owns this crestless Extesticle (say that three times fast) first. Lloyd hasn't bothered to think up a cover story before this point, so he hems and haws before coming up with a lame lie about a "traveling mercenary" that he's clearly basing on Kratos. Lloyd's dwarven dad calls him on this bullshit, noting that Extesticles are used almost exclusively by Desians, and if this unnamed traveling mercenary who lives in Canada nabbed it from a dead Desian, it would already have a Wizard Crest on it. Shit! Lloyd scrambles furiously to think up a better lie, but Dirk stops him with, "Dwarven Vow #11: Lying is the first step to the path of thievery!" And we've just encountered Dirk's repetitive character trait. I was getting anxious there for a second.

Lloyd, not wanting to turn toward the path of thievery, admits that he visited My Human Ranch. The camera view switches to the outside of the cottage (where it's now suddenly dark) to underscore Dirk's ensuing freakout. Or it could be the game designers trying to be all artsy and shit. Lloyd tries to apologize, summarizing the day's events as "A bunch of stuff happened." You can say that again. Dirk isn't so much worried about the broken treaty thing as he is about Lloyd's Extesticle. He wants to know if Lloyd let the bad men see his shiny ball. Although it's right there on the back of his hand, Lloyd assures his dad that no one saw it. He wants to know what the big deal is anyway, since Kratos let his own Extesticle hang out proudly. Well, Dirk explains, the truth is that Lloyd has a "special" Extesticle. Of course he does. Lloyd wants to know just what's so special and different about it -- he doesn't want the Desians laughing at him in the locker room, after all.

 
'He said he'd show me his if I showed him mine first.'

"...That [Extesticle] is your mother's keepsake," Dirk explains, which is very confusing given my choice of nickname for the thing. "The Desians killed your mother in order to take it from her." This is news to Lloyd, which makes me wonder what lie Dirk originally told him about why he has an Extesticle that needs to remain hidden. "I told you about how I found you at the cliff near the ranch, right?" Dirk continues, like this is a story that he possibly forgot to mention. Lloyd's mom was there, too, at the time, dying. Luckily she lived long enough to pass along the relevant information to the random dwarf wandering by. But wait -- if the Desians killed her for the Extesticle, and she was dying somewhere near My Human Ranch...where were the Desians? Did they beat her up and then wander off to let her die, figuring they'd come back later to retrieve the Extesticle?

Dirk doesn't have a chance to elaborate further because oh boy, Lloyd is mad now. "Why didn't you ever tell me?!" he screams. Well, so the game designers could provide us with this dramatic moment, of course. The supposed actual reason is that Dirk was afraid Lloyd would try to take his revenge and get himself killed -- I'm sure we've all heard this reason about a million times in about every game/movie/comic book ever. It's a good thing Dirk lied to him all these years, otherwise Lloyd would probably have gone up to My Human Ranch, attacked some Desians, and gotten himself and everyone he knows in a heck of a lot of trouble. Oh wait. But Dirk believes that Suelette is now the real answer to the Desian problem. Now that the Tower of Penetration has thrust majestically into the atmosphere, Lloyd should just sit back and let Suelette take care of things.

'Lloyd...it turns out you really are retarded.'
 

Lloyd still feels the need to vent his anger in a more violent fashion, so Dirk has to whip out another plot cliche. Say it with me: Lloyd's mother died to protect him and the special Extesticle, so he shouldn't let her sacrifice be in vain. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. After this major revelation, Lloyd still wants Dirk to make the Wizard Crest for him. "Are you fucking deaf, son?" Dirk pretty much shouts in his face. Lloyd says he gets Dirk's point -- unlikely -- but he can't just sit around and do nothing now that he knows this piece of his own tragic backstory. Yeah, that'll show the Desians! Stick that Wizard Crest on one of their many prisoners! They'll never recover from that! This statement provokes Dirk into hauling off and punching his kid. Actually, I'm not sure that the punch actually connected, since Lloyd jumped back quickly enough. Then again, this style of punching could be like the Desian style of whipping. "You don't have to hit me!" Lloyd whines, running out the door. While I don't condone child abuse, I can certainly not blame Dirk in the slightest. I've had the urge to punch his son for quite a while now.

 
He doesn't have to, but it's so fun.

When Lloyd leaves the house, he's in for a surprise -- Suelette, Penis, Raine, and Kratos are all outside waiting for him. And yes, they heard the whole thing. Penis apologizes for his role in the argument and no one asks him what the heck he's talking about, which makes me wonder if the other three know about the incident at My Human Ranch that day. I'm guessing they don't, since no one seems all that upset over it. You'd think that Raine at least would flip her shit. But no, her only concern is that Lloyd needs to have a moonlight talk with Suelette. Just when I was thinking this recap couldn't get any more painful. Suelette chooses the most appropriate spot for the discussion -- the second floor terrace. It's the best spot for gazing up at the moon, unlike, say, that little stable where Noishe lives.

Here Lloyd gets a choice: he can either go right upstairs and get this bullshit over with, or he can lower Suelette's relationship score by dragging his feet and talking to everyone else first. Second choice it is! Suelette, perky as ever, takes this in stride. I have to say I much prefer the pot-smoking laid back Mary Sue to the more common passive-aggressive harpy 'Sue. In other words, Suelette is actually not the most annoying character in this game. Did I just hear the sound of snow falling in hell?

So now I've basically screwed myself by taking on a round of Talk to Everyone in addition to the Moonlight Heart-to-Heart. I can't win. First, Lloyd approaches Penis, who's wandering around by the stream. Just the person I wanted to deal with right now. "The Desians are half-elves, right?" Penis asks, also providing us with some exposition. I think this is the first mention of half-elves so far, but by God, it won't be the last. Let's just enjoy our ignorance for a moment. "So does that mean half-elves are responsible for your mother's death?" Raine and Penis, according to a random NPC I probably forgot to even mention, are both full-blooded elves, so this seems like an odd thing for Penis to be concerned about. That is unless you've ever played a video game before, in which case you've already figured out the shocking twist of Raine and Penis actually being half-elves themselves. I'm sorry to spoil that point so soon, but given all the painfully obvious foreshadowing until the reveal, I don't think I can play dumb for that long. Lloyd puts any secret fears of Penis's to rest by explaining that while all Desians are half-elves, not all half-elves are Desians. This is like one of those logic exercises from elementary school. To Penis's relief, Lloyd only hates the half-elves that are Desians. So how do these half-elves become Desians anyway? Is it like joining a gang?

Yes. Every single half-elf is responsible. Jesus.
 

Lloyd moves on to speak to Raine on the tiny wooden bridge. They discuss her leaving, and Raine changes the subject to Suelette's present, because it's so fucking essential to the story. How did Raine even know about the stupid necklace anyway? God, Penis is such a gossip. Lloyd lies that he's almost done with his paperclip masterpiece, to which Raine responds, "I'm sure it'll be fine. You're at least good at craftwork." "...Do both of you have to talk like that?" Lloyd sighs. It's funny because ripping on Lloyd is a family tradition for them! That conversation was completely pointless, so let's see what Kratos has to say. Lloyd finds his biological father next to his biological mother's tombstone. Crap. "Whose gravestone is this?" Kratos wonders, apparently unaware that his dead babymama is right underneath his feet. Lloyd's all, "Oh, it's my mom. You know, the one you heard us talking about that was killed by Desians? Yeah, her."

"Anna...hmm. Is your father alive?" Kratos bluntly asks. Lloyd doesn't know the fate of his sperm donor, but he makes sure to emphasize once again that Dirk is his dad. They're a real family, damn it! Kratos apologizes for prying into Lloyd's personal affairs. Not like that. After this conversation, I really have no idea whether or not Kratos has figured out that Lloyd is his kid, if he just suspects it, or if he's as dumb as the rest of the cast. His reaction to Lloyd's name earlier means that it must have some meaning to him, even if it's in the "Hey, I had a kid named Lloyd once. I wonder what happened to him?" type of way and not in the "Hey, you're my long lost son Lloyd because no one else could possibly have that name!" type of way. And now he's looking at a gravestone belonging to someone with -- I'm assuming -- the same name as his wife, girlfriend, or one-time lesbian sexual partner who wanted a kid. He has to suspect the connection, but the dialogue was uncharacteristically subtle here. I at least expect a lot of meaningful ellipses, with a "...that was her name... I wonder if... but no, it couldn't be..." thrown in for good measure. Note that I'm not complaining about this.

Well, I've procrastinated all I can, so I might as well just get right to it. Up on the little wooden balcony -- excuse me, terrace -- Lloyd apologizes to Suelette for not finishing the extra special paperclip necklace. I'm sure she's just crying her eyes out over this. The sweet bell-like tones of an electric piano (or glockenspiel?) are arpeggiating all over the damn place, just to make this scene even more pukeworthy. Now, a character like Rinoa or Elena might throw an epic hissyfit in this type of situation, but Suelette really doesn't give a crap. "But this sort of thing is special because you get it on your birthday, you know?" Lloyd tells her. I don't quite know what he's trying to say here -- is he admitting that his shit gift is only acceptable on her birthday? All Suelette wants is for Lloyd to wish her happy birthday. So he does.

A wistful synthesized flute joins the sappy musical mix, indicating that things are about to take a turn for the worse. Indeed, Suelette basically says that she's glad she's still alive for this special day. "What are you talking about? You're going to keep on living and regenerate the world," Lloyd responds, completely oblivious to the giant fucking Foreshadowing Mallet pummeling his head. I mean, even if it weren't such an obvious cliché for the Mary Sue to sacrifice herself, this whole scene is so over the top in "hinting" at this upcoming "twist" that there's no way we could miss it. Which means that it'll go right over Lloyd's head until much later, just like with Tidus and Yuna. I don't know how I feel about the possibility of Lloyd having a Tidus-esque screaming fit, though.

As much as I would love for the rest of this conversation to just recap itself, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and take care of it myself. Suelette verbally agrees with this bright vision of the future, her tone of voice and body language clearly indicating she's lying out her ass. Abruptly changing the subject, Lloyd tries again to join the traveling party. I guess he figures that without Kratos there to stop him, he has a better chance of weaseling his way in. Unfortunately for Lloyd, Suelette agrees with Kratos. She cites the "danger" that they'll be in, what with all the Desians trying to murder them along the way. This makes me wonder about the non-aggression treaty again. Did this apply to all Desians in the world, or just the ones at the nearby My Human Ranch? It seems extra nonsensical that they'd have this type of agreement with all Desians, so what was stopping all those other Desians in the world from showing up to the village and assassinating her before this point? And if they do have this agreement with all Desians, then why are the Desians trying to kill her as soon as she leaves the village? Does the treaty have an expiration date? If the whole treaty was put in place to protect Suelette, as they previously explained, then this seems kind of dumb.

 
He'd better leave at about 8AM, considering how many side trips he tends to take.

I really hate it when I get off on one of my tangents where I spend a couple of minutes considering things that never crossed the game designers' crack-fueled minds, but that seems to be all I do here lately. I need to throw some more penis jokes into this recap before I go any crazier. Anyway, at Suelette's mention of Desians, Lloyd feels the need to bring up his personal tragedies again. I suppose I can't blame him, since he just found out the truth and it would be kind of weird if he easily brushed it off and forgot about it (much like other plot points in this game). That doesn't mean I have to like it, though. Anyway, now that Lloyd knows his mom was killed by Desians rather than a freak accident, he doesn't want to live in (or near) a village dickheaded enough to form a treaty with his mother's murderers. In other words, it's fine for those other losers that aren't related to Lloyd to be tortured and experimented upon, but now It's Personal, and totally unacceptable!

Suelette responds to this in her half-baked fashion, then decides that Lloyd is now qualified to come along and get attacked by Desians. She asks Lloyd to arrive at the village at noon the next day, which is when they'll all be leaving. But Lloyd will never set foot in that douchebaggy mean village again! His mom was killed by Desians! Actually, Lloyd's response is, "...Okay! You got it." So much for sending a message to those village assholes. "Now I'll be able to see you become an angel with my own eyes," Lloyd enthuses. Hoo boy, we're back to this subject again. Suelette turns to stare upward and the camera pulls back to reveal the moon. Christ. Suelette tries to act enthusiastic, but once again, her tone of voice says otherwise. Lloyd is still oblivious of course, kind of like GameFAQs posters who think Joachim Valentine is just pretending to be gay to avoid being tortured by a woman. Even so, Suelette is suddenly worried that he's going to put two and two together -- something I'm sure he's never been able to do, even in the literal sense -- so she quickly changes the subject. Well, sort of. She's still talking about angels, but now she's jizzing herself over the fact that Rimiel is her real father. "I'm the child of an angel," she breathes, amazed beyond belief. I don't quite get why it's such a big deal -- if she's going to become an angel anyway, why does it really matter who her parents are?

Of course.
 

Lloyd is really great at interpreting things in a completely opposite way. When Suelette is clearly depressed over her looming death, Lloyd is all, "Awesome! You're going to live forever! Yay!" And when Suelette is giddier than Twink in a rupee bodysuit, Lloyd feels the need to reassure her that she's still the same person she always was, even if her biological father is a gay guy with a pope hat. This just confirms my suspicion that no one in this game ever listens to each other. "You just have two fathers," Lloyd insists, completely ignorant of the connotations. "Just think of yourself as being lucky for having more than most people do." He thinks he's being very wise and philosophical here, but he's actually treating Suelette like a kindergartner. Also, this is supposed to be deeply ironic because Lloyd himself has two fathers! One of them is Kratos! See what they did there?

 
Suelette has two daddies!

Suelette finds Lloyd's words reassuring even though she wasn't at all upset in the first place. Then, just as another kick in my tiny nuts, the conversation has to switch back to the MMSJ. This can be boiled down to the following:

Lloyd: Yay! You're going on a journey to save us all! I bet you're so looking forward to the long, happy life you'll have afterward!
Suelette: Yeah...totally...I'm so going to live and not sacrifice myself at the end of the journey...that would be a bummer...I'm so glad you're a moron so you don't catch on to my blatant lies and constant morose sighing.

After this exchange, Suelette changes the subject back again to her gay angel daddy who she's going to see soon. You know, after the Seal of Fire. I actually am glad they reminded me about that, because I had forgotten that particular goal after my recap hiatus and all those other distractions. I'm sure I will regret saying that after the fifty billionth time I hear anything about flames, fire, fiery flames, or flaming flaminess between now and the end of that dungeon. Lloyd and Suelette wrap up the conversation just in time for Raine and Penis to burst through the door onto the terrace. "Burst" might be a little dramatic, but they didn't knock or anything. I'm guessing that Penis wanted to make sure to interrupt any shenanigans that might be going on. Raine says it's time to go. Lloyd's all, "Okay! See you tomorrow at our agreed-upon time!" Suelette goes shifty again, all, "Yeah...sure I'll be there...goodbye and have a nice life." Everyone except Lloyd leaves. As soon as they exit through the door, they immediately pop into view down below, waving up at Lloyd as he obliviously Sekhmets about making that shitty paperclip necklace. God damn it.

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