Welcome back! To refresh you, we are in Termina, searching for a way to break into nearby Viper Manor. We already met Guile, a Magus-reject in a bar and are now looking for other possible allies in our effort to penetrate (Insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here) the fortress-like mansion.
Heading left, we come to the Termina docks. We meet a human overseer…overseeing the work of demi-humans. Ah, slave labor exists in Another World. How quaint. Seems this is a prerequisite for most fantasy/sci-fi. There are signs everywhere for a festival coming up and I climb aboard a wooden ship docked nearby. Apparently, Miki and Nikki, two popular musicians, are going to give a concert on the ship. But Nikki is, you guessed it, missing! Miki has been searching for him, but to no avail as he disappeared into the Shadow Forest. How foreboding!
But what’s this? She mentions that there is supposed to be a way into Viper Manor from the end of the forest! Okay, time-out! If this place is so damned impregnable, how come everyone and their brother, including the touring musicians, know a secret way inside? It just seems implausible is all, I’m not trying to nitpick. Oh, wait, yes I am! That’s the point of this whole blog!
Miki asks me if I will help her and I refuse for now, as we aren’t quite ready to make our decision just yet. No deal, Howie! We leave the docks and head back to the right, to the marketplace. A fortune teller is nearby and as we all know, I am a sucker for this sort of thing. Turns out Serge’s fortune is that he might be the key to the destruction of the entire world. Bummer! That kind of news will put a damper on your day, but hey, just remember, this is a Square Enix game, so I’m sure someone will give a speech about making your own destiny and to hell with fate! Just watch! It’ll happen.
Entering a building, I find a blacksmith, Zappa, who speaks with a not-at-all stereotypical Scottish brogue. He gives me some spiel about how every stroke of his hammer involves putting a bit of his soul into his work, which is a little too fruity coming from a guy wearing overalls, but what do I know? In his backroom, I find a mysterious swordsman. Actually, it’s a pretty blonde man with a foppish purple hat named Pierre. And you thought we were done stereotypes I bet!
Mr. French Accent is on his way to see General Viper at Viper Manor. What a coincidence! Apparently, he is applying for the opening in the Devas, which is more appropriate than I can really put into words. But he lost his Hero’s Medal and can’t get past the gate without it. I bet he wants me to find it.
Breaking news: Pierre is an idiot because a little kid running around in circles has his medal and gave it back to me freely. Easiest quest ever. So Pierre is the third choice to help me get into the Manor. We’ll hold off for a bit longer and finish getting the lay of the land. The next building is the house of an artist named Van, who’s father, Gogh, wants him to quit his passion and study accounting. Be careful! The cliches are starting to get insane around here! So Van feels neglected. I’m sure I will be playing therapist for him later on.
Continuing on, there is some huckster who says he has a mermaid on display, which draws quite a crowd. Until some hippie named Korcha comes along and ruins it by exposing him as a fraud. He takes off on a rowboat. Random, much? Heading south, I wander into the Shrines, which seems just like a graveyard. Hey, it’s my buddy from before, Glenn and some chick. They are at a grave until Glenn notices my BELLFLOWER and asks for it. Since I’m awesome, I gladly hand It over. This is the grave of Dario, Glenn’s brother. The girl is Riddel, Lord Viper’s daughter and former love of Dario, hence all the sadness at his grave.
She talks to Glenn about Lord Viper being upset about something ever since “that beastly guest arrived”. Then they depart, leaving me to wonder what the hell that was about. Guess I’ll find out when get to Viper Manor! I run across Korcha again, but he says he can’t take me the Manor because he doesn’t know the way. About time! Someone is at least pretending that Viper Manor is impenetrable. But he does say he will take me if I find someone who can show the way. Finally, finishing off this massive town, I come to a hut where a guy named Greco lives, but some lady says he isn’t there right now and to come back later.
Enough stalling, it’s time to make my decision! Will it be Guile, the magician who can lead me there through the Viper Manor Bluffs? Or Miki, the super-hot dancer who wants to find her bandmate in the Shadow Forest? Or Pierre, the French guy who plans on walking up to the front gate and asking politely to be let in? This is key because whoever I don’t pick is going to be unrecruitable, so the story branches big time here.
Well, when I first played this game, I used Guile. And Pierre kind of annoys me, so we are going to go with the hot chick because I need something to erase the emasculating stigma of having Poshul in my party. Miki should be able to do that because she comes equipped with a secret weapon: DAT ASS.
Join me next week as Miki and Serge journey to the Shadow Forest to find Nikki and then head on to Viper Manor to advance the plot! Thanks for reading and let me know what you think: did I make the right choice? Was Miki the shallow pick or should I have gone with someone else?