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"I wish there was something stronger than 'GRRRR' or 'ARRRRRGH' that I could type to convey my irritation. Or maybe I should expand the multimedia portion of the recaps and post a video of me banging my head against the keyboard and tearing my hair out. Well, you all have decent imaginations -- just picture me doing that throughout the rest of the recap. Because I will be."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy VIII Part 7

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Skies of Arcadia : Part 1
By Jeanne
Posted 02.13.02
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
I'm just going to say one thing: the manual to this game sucks.

The first screen of the game is a warning about the flashing lights and other effects in the game, and how they may potentially cause seizures. Jeez, does everything the Japanese come up with cause seizures?

The next screen is decidedly non-flashy. It tells us that people sail across the skies looking for treasure in this age of exploration. And where there is treasure....

...there will be Ass Pirates.

Okay, it doesn't really say Ass Pirates. It's "Air Pirates." The first time I played the game, though, I completely misread it. It doesn't matter. From this point on, the pirates are now of the "Ass" variety.

Cut to our nice title screen and then the opening movie. The Dreamcast graphics are very nice, but not as nice as the FMVs in Final Fantasy games. Still, I'm not complaining, so Dreamcast fanboys, close your e-mail programs and take your hands off your keyboards. Thank you.

There's a boy and girl pirate on a ship, and some fruity-looking blond guy in a throne room. Cannon fire. A different fruity-looking blond guy in a throne room. Then a mean and evil guy with flames behind him. A blond girl in a white dress. Okay, I'm getting tired. Let's just say that we see every freakin' character and locale in the game. I'm not so good at recapping movies. Oh, but I have to mention the silver Pokemon thing. It looks like what would happen if you crossed Ditto (Pokemon #132) with a sperm and then spray painted it with chrome paint.

Movie ends. We open the game with a giant moon. No, not some guy pulling down his pants. Something flies in front of it. That something turns out to be a strange-looking ship. It's futuristic, like some sort of spaceship. There's a girl flying it - the girl in the white dress from the beginning - and the fact that she's doing something besides sitting helpless makes her 100 times more useful than your average RPG female, and it's only the first minute of the game.

A giant ship flies up behind her, and you know it has to be Evil, because the music is foreboding, plus the ship is big and black. We get a look inside the ship and who do we see, but Mr. Fruity Blond Guy from the beginning (the first one). His name is "Alfonso," but it doesn't matter, because he's "Fruity" from this point on in the recap.

The manliest character ever.

Fruity is up to no good. He tells his Vice Captain to fire at the girl's ship, but to take her alive so they can "question" her. The fact that "question" is in quotations creeps me out, but then I realize that Fruity probably isn't interested in nonconsensual (or consensual) contact with anyone of the opposite gender.

They fire at the girl's ship, and it falls. I'm not quite sure how it could fly anyway, because I'm sure the design has no basis in reality. But I'm not here to nitpick fantasy elements like magic and flying ships anyway. I'm here to nitpick everything else.

Cut back to inside the ship. The Vice Captain of Exposition says that the girl has been captured and taken aboard. Fruity announces that he will be rewarded handsomely by the Empress. I think Fruity is the type of bad guy that always announces his plans. It also means that he is unlikely to be the main bad guy.

Suddenly, there is an explosion. Oh no! Someone has attacked the Big Bad Black Ship of Evil. Fruity wonders who would dare attack the Imperial Armada. We shall soon find out. An Observation Soldier, who is wearing a uniform that looks like a green zippo lighter, says that their attackers are....Ass Pirates! Well, Air Pirates, actually, but this is the last time I'm going to remind you of the actual name.

Close-up on the Ass Pirate flag. It's a skull with an eyepatch and wings. Not evil bat wings either, but non-threatening bird wings. I think bat wings would have been cooler. The ass pirates throw out hook thingies on ropes that latch on to Fruity's ship. At this moment, we get our first official view of the hero. Well, not a really good view because it's all dark. He slides down one of the ropes to the deck of Fruity's ship, where some Valuan Soldiers and bad exposition await him.

"[Ass] Pirate scum! Don't you know that we're Valuan Imperial Soldiers?" one of them blusters. Oops, I guess I gave that away already. Our hero, whose name is Vyse, replies, "Of course I know. That's why we attacked your ship. You guys have the best stuff." Aren't you glad he explained it so we all know? There's a dramatic shot of the spotlights turning on, and there is Vyse in all his young piratey glory. He's actually fairly straight-looking for an RPG hero.

Then we actually hear him say "hey" because there are various bad voice acting phrases sprinkled throughout the game. "I'm Vyse of the Blue Rogues. And in a few minutes, I'll be relieving you of all your valuables." Didn't he just say that?

A voice from offscreen tells him to wait, and a girl with Pippi Longstocking hair and a short dress lands next to Vyse. Pippi (real name Aika) says "Vyse, you left without me! I'm not going to let you have all the fun." See, she's the spunky sidekick to the hero. She explains to the soldiers (read: us) that she is also a Blue Rogue, and "We're robbing you." Well, duh. They've made references to that three times already. We. Get. It.

There's some more blustery dialogue and then the first battle. It's the first of many, many battles. Just thought I'd warn you. Aren't you glad I'm not going to recap each one? It's sad just how wussy these soldiers are. I mean, they have armor, for cripes sakes, and they're getting beat up by a girl in a mini-dress with a giant boomerang. How embarrassing.

Vyse and Pippi just kicked some serious ass, and yet the soldiers are still there acting like they won and are about to throw the Ass Pirates overboard. I don't get it. Is this game like Opposite Land or something? Do I have to lose battles to beat the bad guys? The soldiers are interrupted by a gunshot. Close-up on the shooter, and it's some guy who looks like a homosexual stuck in the 80's. He has a little mustache, and is wearing a tight black t-shirt under a sleeveless jean jacket with a high collar. You do the math. Oh, it's Vyse's dad. We know this because Vyse says "Dad!" He tells Vyse and Pippi to make their way to the bridge while the other Ass Pirates hold off the four wussy guards. Once again, I kicked their asses. Why do they need a bunch of Ass Pirates to defeat them again? This is pissing me off.

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