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  -Part 1 :: [11.25.02]
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  -Part 5 :: [01.27.03]
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"He and Alex start out by interrogating the sailors on deck, with such thought-provoking questions as, 'Steering? Does that have anything to do with cows?' and 'Excuse me, sir...but what is this big pole used for?' Okay, so that second question is the best thing Squeak has ever said, but for whatever reason the sailor he asks this doesn't take the obvious joke and run with it. That's a first for Working Designs."
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Legend of Dragoon : Part 5
By Kelly
Posted 01.27.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
On our last outing with the Tepid Trio, they met up with the righteous, handsome, Gary Stu-riffic King of Basil, his Majesty Albert in the lovely city of Bale. We were treated to Sony's idea of good CGI by watching a frickin' slide show based on the Bayeux Tapestry, and we found out that there was something a long, long time ago called the "Dragon Campaign" giving humans the upper hand. Shana pledged her twoo wuvv to Red Cloud, accompanied by much groaning and eye-rolling from your writer, while Sergeant Pepper offered to show Red Cloud his "treasure" which contained absolutely no sexual connotation at all, with the exception of my prolonged snickering. Red Cloud stole the townsfolk blind, and Sergeant Pepper said his hellos and goodbyes to Mama Slambert. And now that I've regurgitated the last recap for you in bite size form, you're no doubt wondering just what in the hell those crazy kids are up to in the questionable metropolis that is Hoax. Let's get it on, shall we? No, not like that. Pervs.

My thoughts exactly.
 

As Red Cloud & Co. hightail it out of Bale, they bump into a woman by the name of Martel. There's a lot of conversation on exactly who bumped into whom, but it's all pretty pointless. The only real trait Martel has is that of a trailer-trash mother, who doesn't give a damn about her kid until the poor thing starts crying, which she blames on Red Cloud. Sure, lady. Running boobs-first into a dude wearing armor wouldn't have anything to do with waking your precious little chicklet up from her Children's Nytol induced coma. Just go to the pub, already. Martel obliges me and we're free to leave.

Following the Yellow Dotted Line west, our fearless adventurers reach the town of Hoax, or at least, they reach the sign that says it's the town of Hoax. You can never be too careful with those practical joke loving folks of Serdio. Along the way Shana gets the honor of killing all the creatures in the random battles. Yeah, I was pretty shocked myself. When we first get into the town of Hoax, all is quiet and calm, but I suspect that the presence of Red Cloud could soon change that. Hoax is a pretty desolate place, and we soon find out that it's all the fault of those Sandoran baddies. Hoax used to be a freewheeling, fun-loving town, but with the war and all, the whole city decided it was best to shutter themselves and build rickety walkways to get everywhere. So, for example, in order to get to the market, you may have to traverse the attics of your nearest neighbors. What a cunning plan for the city's defense, people. Sure, the Dragon may fry your nearest and dearest, but hey, here's that casserole dish I loaned to Madge three years ago! That old bitch thought she could hide it from me, eh? No doubt this will give Red Cloud the opportunity to "find" things lying around that nobody wants, like say gold, or weapons.

As soon as the Tepid Trio get into the town proper, Sergeant Pepper announces that they should meet up with Kaiser of the Eighth Knighthood and take their orders from him. Rather than follow Sarge's directions, Red Cloud decides to take the grand tour, starting with a visit to the Inn, where he relieves the sullen innkeeper of a recovery item known as "Angel's Prayer", which proves that Sony didn't rip the idea for this game straight out of Final Fantasy. See? There's no mention of a Phoenix anywhere! Another walkway takes us into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gormless, and Mr. Gormless announces to Red Cloud that at last the defenses of his home are complete! Apparently not, my good sir, since Red Cloud just "borrowed" a few things from your fine home, starting with the Stardust in the fire. Next Red Cloud visits the local church to hear whatever uplifting message each person's god has for them. The minister tells Red Cloud that this war is a test from their god, and that they just have to suck it up and keep believing, or things will never get better. Yes, it truly makes me want to hand my hard earned gold into the collection plate, Pastor Doom. Red Cloud buys about as much of that speech as I do, and he gets the hell away from Pastor Doom, leaving the church.

 
Sure he will, kid.

Outside, Red Cloud talks to an NPC who tells him that his daughter gave him a special amulet so he'd come back safely. That of course, is our clue that this NPC is a Dead NPC Walking. Kids, if you want your Daddy to come back safely from the awful war, don't tell him that the two Popsicle sticks you glued together and covered with glitter are some kind of magic talisman, give him a decent sword and maybe a few anti-Dragon rounds instead. You'd be doing the poor man a favor.

Dude, what do you think?
 

There are still a few places Red Cloud hasn't visited in Hoax, so we're off again through Mr. Gormless' attic and across the walkway to a nice house set by the town's south wall. Red Cloud enters through the house's attic and "finds" a box containing 20 gold. Finders, Keepers, right? Downstairs is a sweet little old woman who tells Red Cloud flat out that she is the "best midwife in Serdio". The fact that your name is "Midwife Gilda" was probably my first clue there, Gran. Red Cloud introduces himself, and explains that he has joined the defense efforts for the town and that Midwife Gilda's "contribution" to the war effort was greatly appreciated. Midwife Gilda, a little deaf on that side, catches the introduction, but not the fact that her life savings of 20 gold has just been lifted by a spiky haired git in skater kneepads. The old dear has something up her sleeve, however, as she now corners Red Cloud and Shana to ask them when their baby is due. Red Cloud, of course, freaks out worse than a whore at a Baptist tent revival, while Shana tells him to shut the hell up in front of the nosy old bat. Midwife Gilda backtracks like anything, much like the woman who, when I first began to get fat, rubbed my stomach and congratulated me on my upcoming child. I still treasure the look on her face when I explained that no, I'm just a fat girl, and I imagine that Gilda is wearing a similar expression. Serves you right, hag. Then again, old ladies seem to have a talent for sniffing out the er, happier young men in a given group, so I wonder why she kept up the pretence of an upcoming arrival at all. Heck, my late grandmother was telling us for years that my beloved cousin Brian played for the home team, and yet there were still family members who reacted with shock when they found out later. But, Midwife Gilda, secure in her position as "kindly old repetitive exposition woman" gamely goes ahead with her story, telling Red Cloud that when he and Shana are ready to have their baby (due in part to some great miracle, I'm sure), that they are welcome to return to her, the "Best Midwife in Serdio™". Midwife Gilda also tells our pair of broken winged lovebirds that she delivered King Bohunk when he was a baby. Of course, this is about the third or fourth time I've heard this said, either from NPCs, or from Midwife Gilda herself, so let me spare you the redundancy game designers. I. Fucking. Get. It. Midwife Gilda cleaned up Al's first poopie, and everyone is so proud that the old crone didn't kill the mother and child from her gentle ministrations. Can we go on now? No, we can't. Red Cloud takes this as a "clue" that Midwife Gilda has been around since before the Serdian War, which began 20 years ago. Dude, she's probably pushing 70 or so. Do the freakin' math, all right? Red Cloud asks Midwife Gilda to tell him all about the political situation in the pre-bellicose era, when everyone got along, and Hoax was a happy town full of fire-eating mimes. I'm just kidding. Everyone knows that mimes are the cause of fire-eaters. If I had the choice of swallowing a kerosene infused ball of flame or dressing up like a colorblind idiot in a beret, I'd take that burnin' ball of gristle any day. Anyway, Midwife Gilda explains that 20 years ago, the former King of Serdio, Carlo kicked the bucket, passing the title on to his very young son, Albert, who Midwife Gilda just happened to have delivered by her own two hands, just in case you missed it. Well, Carlo's younger brother Doel didn't like this arrangement very much, and he left to form his own puppet government. Why he didn't just take over L'il Al's government and have the little nipper conveniently "housed" somewhere is beyond me. Hell, it worked for Richard III, so it can damn well work for Doel. Red Cloud, bored shitless at Midwife Gilda's rambling history lesson tells her that he and Shana need to go now, thanks so much for everything, especially the 20 gold, and we get ready to leave Midwife Gilda in poverty. Before we go, Gilda tells Red Cloud to come back anytime. Shana thanks Midwife Gilda and frog-marches Red Cloud out of the house posthaste.

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