Welcome back! When we last left off, I had just made the pivotal decision to go with Miki as my guide into Viper Manor, in order to figure out just what in the hell is going on around here. So, I thought it would be best if I actually tell Miki about my decision. She thanks me and tells me to head to the very originally named Shadow Forest to look for Nikki, the wayward rock star. I thought she was going to guide me! I feel betrayed and hurt. Is this what pain feels like?
Back to the World Map and then to the forest! Ooh, my song is playing. Must resist urge…to sit here…all day…Okay, whew! Made it to the Shadow Forest, which is just east of Termina and southeast of Viper Manor. As you would expect from the name, this is a dimly lit wooded area, so despite my earlier jests, it is a highly accurate name and quite a pretty place to boot. I’m not saying I want to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.
I find Nikki singing to a green monster, which is likely the result of some childhood trauma he sustained that has to do with his need to seek approval from strange creatures. The beast is unmoved and Nikki takes off in a huff. I attempt to attack the monster and put it out of its misery, but apparently that’s not an option. I guess I won’t be getting any renegade points here.
Now the singer is being accosted by some more monsters, but these are armed with spears and don’t seem as forgiving as the last one about his musical prowess. *SIGH* I suppose I should save him. One super fast victory later and…nothing’s changed. Nikki is very ungrateful and runs off again. Clearly he is in some sort of trance, probably a virulent case of Bieber-fever. I think an exorcism might be in order here. Chasing him into a waterfall, we manage to corner him and he asks ME to take him with us into Viper Manor. One of us is confused and I’m not sure which one of us it is. Nikki seems to think his sister is in the Manor and asks to join the party. Naturally, I say yes. He also asks if I want to hear a song and the game gives me three options, all of which are refusals, which is pretty funny.
He proceeds to tell me that if I want to go to the Manor, which I so obviously do, I have to move the monster that is blocking the path by feeding it to one of the other monsters in the forest. Seriously? Can’t I just kick its ass like I do everything else? I know it’s not original, but it is damned effective and pretty fun, now that I think of it. He says I have to lure the monster using plants found in the forest. I will spare you the cumbersome explanation I receive on how to do this, but I will say this: you bastards better appreciate this blog and all the shit I have to put up with to entertain you.
I lose my Mojo and add Nikki to the party because, frankly, guyliner is one thing missing from the lineup. Examining the cave inside the waterfall, I find an Angry Scapula, which is another part of Skelly! Boy, this guy left pieces of his ass all over the place, didn’t he? I daresay he has more DNA lying around than Tiger Woods. Anyhoo, I use a bit of plant to lure a monster to the big beastie blocking the path. The big monster eats the smaller one (THE CIRCLE OF LIFE) and attacks. Well, at least I still get to kick its ass, even if I had to take a convoluted path to get here. Ass kicked, moving on.
Or can we? Our old friends Solt and Peppor appear, along with a new buddy, Zoah, one of the 4 Devas of the Acacia Dragoons, as he introduces himself. Zoah, who wears a closed helm on his head and speaks in ALL CAPS, knows who I am and attempts to keep me from Viper Manor. But, since Solt and Peppor are here, I know this is merely another tutorial battle, this time about Summon Elements. Yawn. Oh, Zoah says if I defeat him, he will let me pass. Um, Zoah, buddy? If I defeat you, I don’t think you have much choice in anything, do you? Maybe loosen the straps on your helmet there? I think some vital areas aren’t getting their proper nutrition.
So…after I kicked his tail, Zoah is gracious enough to allow me to pass. How sweet. Breathing deeply, I decide to the let illogical situation pass by without giving me an ulcer. But it’s not easy. Continuing on, through another cave, this one all watery with an underground river, I finally make it to the outskirts of Viper Manor. Cut-scene! A very nice cinema plays, mainly showcasing the exterior of Viper Manor. When it is completed, my party is now inside the walls, having climbed up from the bottom of a well. Well…cool.
Guards patrol in the inner walls and spotlights shine down. That’s right…it’s stealth section time! I’d like to thank Metal Gear Solid once again for ensuring that so many games poorly mimic it. Like an idiot, I decide to try the front door, but it’s locked. So I head for the rear, as I am wont to do and find the stables. But there are no horses in the stables…they have dragons! Awesome. The presumably senile stablemaster thinks I am the new helper, as often happens in JRPGs. I mean, if you work in a heavily guarded fortress and someone you have never seen before walks in, possibly accompanied by a young girl and a Ziggy Stardust look-alike, why wouldn’t you jump to the obvious conclusion that said person is the helper? I mean, it’s not as if you, being in charge of this position and all, interviewed this person or even got a name, description or maybe even a gender.
So Dipshit, as he will henceforth be known, wants me to feed the dragons. Kid, in her ever subtle way, asks if Dipshit has a key to the Manor. Dhfadkhgfkdlshngl…Sorry, I blacked out on the keyboard for a moment. See, after Kid asked that, I fully expected Dipshit to prove me wrong about my initial impression of him and call for the guards. But he said, yes, he does have a key and he would be happy to hand it over if I feed the dragons for him because his moronic back aches.
With this level of security, how the hell does this place not get broken into on a weekly basis? I feel like it could be a reality TV show or something: “This week on…Breaking Into Viper Manor: A young man, a rock star and a mysterious girl try their hand at El Nido’s favorite past-time! Will they succeed? Hell yes, because everybody does!”
Okay, sorry. Back to our regularly scheduled JRPG. Another mini-game is explained and depending on how I do, I get a better prize. Obviously, a key to the Manor just isn’t enough these days and additional incentives are needed. Mission accomplished, rather easily, I might add. Dipshit hands over the key to Viper Manor and fully lives up to his new moniker. Well done, Dipshit. You are the MVP of this whole operation.
Be sure to check back next week as I will use my brand new Manor Key and finally penetrate Viper Manor. The enemy behind all this will finally be revealed! Well, since this is a JRPG, I doubt that, but AN enemy will be revealed, which is a start. What did you think of this week’s blog? Was I too hard on Dipshit? Can you think of a better name? I want to hear your ideas! GO!