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  -Suiko2 Main
  -Part 1 :: [11.23.02]
  -Part 2 :: [12.03.02]
  -Part 3 :: [01.13.03]
  -Part 4 :: [03.13.03]
  -Part 5 :: [06.18.03]
  -Part 6 :: [07.19.03]
  -Part 7 :: [10.25.03]
  -Part 8 :: [05.09.04]
  -Part 9 :: [12.01.04]
  -Part 10 :: [12.01.04]
  -Part 11 :: [02.19.07]
  -Part 12 :: [05.22.11]
  -Part 13 :: [09.09.12]
  -Part 14 :: [09.09.12]
  -Part 15 :: [08.30.13]
  -Part 16 :: [08.30.13]
  -Part 17 :: [06.14.14]

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"In summation, I fucking hate BradyGames. I hate myself for buying this guide and for feeling obligated to use it because otherwise it's a $15, glossy, 224-page coaster, or alternatively, a $15, glossy, 224-page firelighter. I hate this dungeon. I hate everything."
     -Sam, Xenosaga Part 9

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Suikoden II : Part 4
By Sam
Posted 03.13.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Last time on Barry and Jowy's Excellent Adventure, our heroes ran for their lives as Prince Adolf went for the pyromania hat trick by burning down Bear's fort. But the urgency of the situation wasn't enough to stop them from taking a little breather in Torched Toto Village, where they received the Bright Shield Rune and the Black Sword Rune, the two halves of the Rune of Butt Se--er, Beginning. Now we can move on, since that True Rune bit was obviously just an amusing side bonus and won't have any bearing on the rest of the game.

The party travels west to Muse City for the second time, but when they reach the city walls, the gates are closed and a guard is stationed in their way. He refuses to let them in without an entry permit, since they have to be on the lookout for "Highland spies." Oh, the irony. Jowy announces the group as part of Bear's mercenaries, but the guard, of course, doesn't believe them, because guards in RPGs don't believe anybody, ever. Jowy gets a little flustered, leading Nanami to have a go at getting them inside. No, not the Rina way. She simply tries being nice and cute. The guard, being the world's best judge of physical beauty, decides to shoot down Nanami by calling her a "frog-faced whiny little tomboy." Before Nanami can beat the snot out of the guy, Jowy and Barry hold her back and decide they'll have to think of another way to enter the city. What, exactly, is the problem with Nanami wanting to fight the guard? If she loses, no big deal--she's a tough girl. If she manages to, say, knock him unconscious, then their problem is essentially solved, isn't it? But if there's one thing we'll see clearly throughout the game, it's that Jowy and Barry believe in making love, not war. Literally. 'Cause they're gay.

Amazing! Clean beds!

With no other alternatives--I guess--the group heads back the way they came, where they find an inn roughly between Muse and Toto on the world map. When they enter the White Deer Inn, they're immediately greeted by a frumpy-but-somewhat-hot housewife in a red dress. This is Hilda, the inn's proprietor. Nanami says the first thing that came to my mind: "You picked a strange place to open an inn, didn't you?" I mean, it's not exactly a long distance between Toto and Muse, so who the hell is going to stop there, other than oddball guests like these? Hilda doesn't have an answer to that question, but she insists that they'd be surprised how many people come there. Yeah, this entirely empty inn is practically buzzing with activity. Hilda is about to show them to their rooms when a brunette man rushes through the door and calls to her. This guy has an extremely screwed-up face. His cheekbones are really pronounced, his nose is long and pointy, and he's about a millimeter away from having a unibrow. Not only that, but his super-straight bangs remind me of Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber. That seems like a decent enough nickname for Alex (his real name), so Lloyd he shall be. Lloyd's damn excited, because he found the "way to the treasure" in the "ruins." He's obviously cracked. Hilda doesn't like the idea of Lloyd treasure-hunting, but he assures her that it's worth it to get out of "this failure of an inn." Ah, so Hilda is in denial. Lloyd, done with his plot setup, declares that he's going to go look for help in obtaining the treasure and runs back out the door. Jowy correctly assumes that Lloyd is Hilda's hubby. She looks embarrassed beyond belief by his behavior, so she quickly changes the subject and leads them all upstairs. It's night-night blackout time.

Can we try making a game WITHOUT incest?

The next morning, Lassie and Nanami are the first ones awake. Nanami sighs in that "I'm so mature and I'm up with the sun" kind of way, as she wakes up Barry. The three of them stare bemusedly at Jowy, while Nanami wonders why he always sleeps in. Barry, if he were a talker, would probably tell her at this point that they had quite the workout the night before, and that Jowy needs to recover, but alas, he's the quiet type. Lassie, on the other hand, decides to take action. Probably thinking herself very funny, she crawls under Jowy's blankets and burrows toward the bottom of the bed. Jowy wakes up, then bolts out of bed like he was just goosed by a six-year-old girl. Oh, wait. Sick. The morning's Jowy Molestation completed--which Barry is rather bitter about--the foursome leaves the room and meets up with Rikimaru, Gengen and Kinnison. I'd rather not hear anything about their little slumber party in the next room.

Downstairs, Hilda wishes them safe travels. But before they can leave for Muse, again, only to be kept from entering, again, Lloyd barges in, all in a huff about the dickheaded city folk who wouldn't help him. Hilda tells him not to worry, because she doesn't want a treasure anyway. This is woman-talk for "I really want a giant diamond," I just know it is. Lloyd agrees with me, and is bound and determined to get to the treasure with or without the help of the people of Muse. At this detail, Nanami's ears perk up. She asks Lloyd if he has an entry permit to Muse, if he was there earlier asking for help. Well duh, Nanami, of course he does. Unless he did what you guys thought was a bad idea and just beat up the guard and let himself in. Now, I hate to insult your intelligence by spelling out what comes next, since I'm sure you can easily see it, but here's the deal: Nanami volunteers their services as assistant treasure-hunters, in exchange for the use of Lloyd's Muse entry permit. Jowy gets upset about Nanami not thinking this over a little more, but he's obviously excited--these ruins Lloyd mentioned have to be full of secret spots for two boys to be alone, right? Lloyd tells Hilda to look after Lassie, since she's too young to come along. She gets to play with their son, Pete. Poor little Pete. That girl can't be a very engaging playmate. Ew, that came out wrong.

' ...because we're Highland spies. Oh, forget I said that.'

Lloyd, pleased as punch to have some new monkeys to fight random monsters for him, leads them to the ruins his backyard. What the hell? He honestly needed a whole gang of people just to explore the area right behind his goddamn home? What a wuss. He approaches the entrance of the ruins, the doors of which are covered in bas relief. Jowy, the party's smart cookie, examines it and determines that the writing is Sindarin, so these must be Sindar ruins. Nanami gushes over Jowy's book smarts, and he goes into false modesty mode, explaining that he merely read a lot of books on the Sindar in his father's study. I seriously think we get it by now. Jowy's family was all rich and perfect, but there wasn't any LOVE! And what's a family without the LOVE?

Lloyd is pissed that he's not the center of attention anymore, so he moves things along and shows them that he figured out how to open the doors. He stands in front of them, doesn't really do anything in particular that we can see, and the doors slide open. I sure am impressed. Lloyd says, "I knew these weren't normal ruins," which makes no sense at all. Aren't ruins usually mysterious and full of secret doors and enigmatic inscriptions? So far I haven't seen one thing in this place that doesn't scream STEREOTYPICAL RUINS. Whatever, Unibrow. Let's fight some monsters and get this over with.

Inside the doors, there's another set of doors, which Lloyd opens by touching some random buttons on a nearby panel. Barry and Friends enter the ruins proper, which are surrounded by thick vegetation. I want to know where these OUTDOOR ruins were hiding on the world map, since the inn and a small grove of trees are all that's visible. I guess I shouldn't fret about that, because if I wanted a really accurate depiction on my world map, Barry's sprite wouldn't be the size of the inn itself. Moving on. The Sindar ruins are the aimless, labyrinthine kind--y'know, like all ruins. The random monster set is fairly difficult, too, but I think that's more because I'm stuck with such a shitty battle party. Barry wanders for a little while, not really knowing where he's going, but hoping he and Jowy can "lose" the rest of the party, until he comes across a pedestal with a circular orange plate. Lloyd takes it and says, "Maybe you're supposed to stick this iron plate into something." I know this is the game where I make lots of jokes about sticking things into other things, but honestly, where the hell did that come from?

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