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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
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  -Part 4 :: [06.14.03]
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  -Part 10 :: [12.19.07]
  -Part 11 :: [02.17.13]

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"At first Choco won't come near you since he's scared of people but Mene encourages you to befriend Choco and take a little practice ride outside. If you do, he'll tell you a secret. Secret, huh? You mean a secret that will lead me to hours of wrist-killing button mashing and handing over all my gil to you, you little pink shyster? That's exactly what he means."
     -Kelly, Final Fantasy IX Part 6

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Skies of Arcadia : Part 4
By Jeanne
Posted 06.14.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
"First you'll want to go to Upper City. You might be able to sneak aboard a rail car that's on its way to the Palace," Drachma explains. If you say so. Vyse asks Ron how to get to the Upper City, and wouldn't you know, he has to go down the one corridor that leads out of the room. I'm sure Vyse could never have figured that out on his own. Ron pipes up again with the "It's too dangerous! You'll be killed!" bullshit and I groan as I realize what's coming up. Sure enough, it's another, "I have to try because I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it!" speech. Just shut up and go to Upper City, Vyse. After the screen goes black, some text informs me that Drachma left the party, and that Dyne gave them the Yellow Moon Stone. Thanks.

Vyse heads down the single corridor, and after running in a straight line and fighting random battles for a while, he reaches more crap. Literally. There's another poo fall, thanks so much game designers, and I realize that this part of the sewer is a mirror image of the beginning part. Not that the game designers are lazy or anything.

As soon as Vyse reaches the final ladder, Ron approaches Vyse, telling him to wait. The kid looks pretty pitiful, and to drive the point home, the Sappy Pathetic Piano begins playing in the background. "Vyse...Don't go...please..." Ron begs. As it turns out, the kid has a tragic backstory. Go figure. His parents were killed when they tried to escape the city, and Ron doesn't want the same thing to happen to Vyse. Now, that's sweet and all, but does Ron expect Vyse to live down in the Sewers of Green Shit for the rest of his life? Ron goes on and on about how impossible it is to leave the city, and I groan yet again as I realize this is only going to trigger a Vyse pep talk. And I'm right. "But, I have to go...I don't have a choice. And every time I hear the word 'impossible' makes me want to prove everyone wrong." This time the pep talk escalates into a full blown cheesy history lesson, as Vyse talks about those brave men -- and hopefully women -- who took their ships into uncharted territories. Thanks to them, new places were discovered. "If we challenge ourselves, and never give up, our own horizons will our hearts, and in our minds..." Oh, for the love of God. Would you like some wine with your cheese? If that weren't bad enough, Vyse goes on and on about how nothing will ever stop him, ever. I start missing angsty RPG heroes at this point. Ron tries to interject, but Vyse goes on some more. Cait Sith in a taxicab, this is tedious. Finally, when Vyse shuts up long enough, Ron asks if he could ever be a sailor someday. I brace myself for more Deep Thoughts, but Vyse just says yes, and that he'll see Ron again someday. Ron's voice actor makes a single wanky sound, but he sounds like a 30-year-old man impersonating a pig. Sure, that makes sense.

Cut to a magnificent chamber that looks like a stereotypical throne room. It's, well, it's a throne room. Galcian stands facing the throne, along with a rather downcast Fina. He presents "the Silvite" (Fina, for those of you who haven't been paying attention) to the Empress, making sure to mention that he is responsible for capturing her. Because if he didn't point out how cool and capable he was, the Empress might think his penis was small. The Empress, who some large text labels as "Ruler of the Valuan Empire Empress Teodora I", but who I'll simply refer to as "Teodora," looks like a man. Well, a man with boobs wearing a poofy purple dress. Okay, she's just a rather unfeminine-looking woman. Anyway, she's pleased with Galcian and his tiny penis, and gushes over how beautiful Fina is. I don't even want to know the fanfiction that's been written about this scene. Teodora announces that she is one step closer to ruling the world. I know, I know, a villain who wants to rule the world. We're all kicking ourselves for not thinking up that original plot ourselves. The Empress asks Fina why she's not happy, and informs her that she can help the Valuans. "Hahaha...All who oppose us shall fall...Their islands will be reduced to ash and dust!" Teodora proclaims. Uh, yeah, that sounds like the type of thing Fina would endorse.

An extremely gay looking blond man, who, we are informed, is "Prince of Valua Enrique," says that he doesn't approve of taking over the world by force. That's it, Enrique is now "Enrigay." He shows that he is the stereotypical "Evil Ruler's Kid Who Opposes the Evil Ruler's Evil Plans" character (see also: Garnoa). Enrigay is concerned with the plight of the little people, which disappoints Teodora. "[Enrigay], you still have much to learn. You cannot walk the path of an emperor and concern yourself with the petty worries of the 'people.'" Oh, I get it: she's bad. We see some more evidence of mother/son tension (no, not like that) and then Teodora turns her attention back to Fina. She reminds all of us that there are six Moon Crystals that are "scattered all over the world." What we don't know yet, but Teodora explains, is that the Moon Crystals control the Gigas, which she refers to as "weapons of mass destruction." Taking a page out of Sam's book, Teodora has now been renamed "Saddam." Saddam wants to use the Gigas to take over the world, and orders Fina's help in locating the Moon Crystals. "I will die before I tell you," Fina says dramatically. Saddam gets a mite pissy upon hearing this, and demands an explanation. "The Gigas were great weapons of destruction built by the Old World...they are more powerful than you can imagine," Fina replies. Yeah, that sounds kind of bad.

Even in my freaking video games there's talk about these damn weapons of mass destruction. Make it stop!

This doesn't dissuade Saddam, however. She becomes even more excited, determined to get her dictatory hands on the Gigas. She announces her plans to rule the world for the fourth or fifth time, causing Fina to call her a "power hungry dictator." For some reason, this makes Saddam even more pissy, and she demands Fina's death. Enrigay physically restrains his mother, telling her that Fina didn't do anything wrong. "Are you saying that this girl is innocent, [Enrigay]...even after she insulted me so?!" Talk about being unable to take criticism. Saddam again demands Fina's death, and Fina manages to get in one more warning about the danger of the Gigas before a purple-helmeted soldier steps forward and lightly taps her on the head, causing her to collapse in a heap.

At that moment, a messenger runs in with "urgent news." He informs Galcian of the Ass Pirates' escape. Galcian tells the soldier, "Take the girl to the ship and bring her to the Grand Fortress immediately." Well, I guess I know where my next stop will be. Before Galcian leaves to take care of business, he asks Saddam if he can deploy the Armada in order to hunt down the Crystals. Saddam agrees to this, but Galcian has one more request. He wants to appoint his boy toy Squeifer to a high-ranking officer position. Yeah, that sounds wrong. And it probably is. Upon hearing this, Fina gasps. I'm sure this will have some meaning. It always does. Or not. Empress Saddam agrees to this request as well.

The soldier tells Fina to get the hell up, and as she rises to her knees, she says, "[Squeifer]?" Gee, I wonder if they have some connection. That would never happen in a game.

We return to Vyse, who climbs the ladder to Upper City. There's a strategically placed save point, which means that you'll have to wait till part 5 to find out if the Upper City folk are as whiny as their Lower City brethren. See you then!

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