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  -Part 1 :: [07.27.03]
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"Tita is a little ticked at Airhead's attempt to divert Bitch's attention, so she just tells everyone they need to get going. So they do. Well, except for Gay Lion, who muses, 'What a fascinating story.....' Where has he been?"
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Breath of Fire IV : Part 3
By Ben
Posted 08.09.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
I'll say this once before I actually begin the recap: ERSHIN IS NOT NORMAL. Since this point will be hammered into our collective skull over the next hour, I figured that it couldn't hurt to say it here first. With that out of the way (for now at least), let's continue with the next tiring - uh, I meant thrilling - hour of the game.

After using Sarai's magic teleporting device at the end of the last recap, Ruley and Sandy appeared on the Non-World Map, where I now resume control. It takes all of five paces to encounter another "!" speech bubble, which takes Ruley and Sandy to a walled desert canyon. They quickly run to hide as a group of Triple H's soldiers appear in pursuit. Unfortunately, these soldiers don't appear to be the sharpest tools in the box, as they walk straight past their intended captives, who are standing in plain sight against a wall. God, don't these soldiers ever think to, I don't know, actually look around for their targets? I think we have some new contenders for this guy's "Walk in plain view of guards" crown. "The Imperial Troops are here, too?" Sandy wanks after the Fool Platoon has disappeared offscreen. No, those men were on their way to a fucking Halloween party. What the hell do you think?

Sandy's tirade of wank is cut short by the cry of one of those weird big-beaked birds. Said bird's owner just happens to be the Saddam Hussein lookalike merchant from Sarai's tavern, who was last seen sucking on one of Triple H's balls...a magic ball, for crissakes! Okay, I admit I deliberately made that sentence sound dirty. Leave me alone. Merchant Hussein tells Ruley and Sandy that they should take the road to a town called Chamba. How convenient that a new road just appeared when all hope seemed lost for our party. After thanking the merchant, Sandy drags Ruley back onto the World Map.

The new road, miraculously, leads straight to Chamba without any other locations or "!" bubbles to hinder my progress further. Once inside the town, it is clear that Chamba is an industrial community. In case we DUMB G4M0RZ couldn't figure this out from the crates, NPCs dressed like miners, and the abundance of steel everywhere in town, Capcom also decided to fill the town with pipes, pulleys and other such devices. Okay, Chamba is an industrial town. WE GET IT! God.

Gee, do you think this could be an industrial town?

"Hmm...I thought the town was bigger than this..." says Sandy upon entering the town. What the fuck did she expect -- New York City? Anyway, Sandy's naivety gives the impression that she's never set foot outside her castle before. So how the hell would she know how big an obscure town like Chamba is? Since I've given up hope of finding any consistency in this game, I'll just play along. Did I mention that I hate Sandy?

Sandy suggests that she and Ruley should find someone who can help them get back to the crash site. Although I'm reluctant to grant any of Sandy's requests, I wander around town speaking to the NPCs who, like in Sarai, are all inbred. I think humans are as rare a species as (Non)dragons in the Breath of Fire world. Inside one building, a weapon/item seller (an orange fish-man, no less) says that "Everyone is out working...zey 'ave left me to keep an eye on zings." Oh, I get it -- he's a French stereotype, meaning that he says "z" instead of "th" and leaves the "h" off of certain words. Nice job in making this game sell in France, Capcom.

None of the other NPCs have anything of interest to say. Near the top of town is a big-ass wooden gate, past which is what looks like a bridge leading into darkness. Naturally, I can't open the gate, since the game hasn't told me to do so. Yay for linear gameplay! I don't know why Capcom didn't just subtitle this game "My First RPG". One old man tucked away in a corner of town turns out to be the key for the proverbial Plot Advancement Door. "And who might you be?" he enquires creepily. If you could see his avatar, you'd see why I refer to him as 'creepy'. Presumably, Ruley asks the old guy if this is Chamba, to which he replies "What kind of a question is that? Of course this is Chamba! A part of it, anyway."

Ah, this explains why Sandy thought the town should have been bigger. Wait, that means that Sandy was right about something. Kill me.

I won't recap the entire conversation, as it takes 'tedium' to whole new levels. The meat of the old guy's story is that the rest of Chamba - past the Huge Wooden Gate Of Doom - is a veritable ghost town due to a hex. Apparently, the Empire hexed many towns during the war. Man, these Imperials sure sound like nice people.

Exposition!CreepyOldGuy continues by saying that 'ordinary folks' like Ruley and Sandy basically stand no chance of crossing the town until the hex is lifted. Apparently, people have been trying unsuccessfully to purge the town, as the Huge Wooden Gate Of Doom now opens to reveal around a dozen people wearing weird armour and masks. Some of these guys, wearing hoods and with scary red eyes, give me a strange impression of what the Dementors from Harry Potter would look like in the Breath of Fire world. A few of the purgers, or whatever the hell they call themselves, are literally two feet tall, wearing what look like dinner plates on their heads. This seems like a good form of defense to me. "Hey, we might get infected by the hex, but at least you can eat off of our heads if you get hungry!" I feel like I've just stepped into some bizarro world from which there is no escape. Oh yeah, it's called Breath of Fire IV.

The leader of this ragtag bunch of freaks basically tells the others to get some sleep, as they head back into the cursed side of town early next morning. Then the screen cuts back to Sandy and Ruley, in order to spare the lazy game designers the trouble of programming all of those NPCs to move offscreen. I feel somehow cheated.

I find out from Exposition!CreepyOldGuy that the armoured freaks are called Purifiers. They travel from town to town, purifying them of hexes. It's just a pity that they don't also purify them of Mary Sues. Speaking of Mary Sues, Sandy now wanks "So...if we want to find out more about the hex, we should ask them, right?" Because we're all too stupid to figure that out for ourselves. May you rot in Mary Sue hell, Sandy.

Even dogs hate these wankers. Ha!

Once again I explore the town, as the NPC floodgates appear to have opened. Most of them mention the things we just heard from Exposition!OldGuy, because, you know, we're all stupid and need things rammed down our throats before we even begin to comprehend them. Two NPCs mention another hexed town, Synesta, but since this isn't important yet, it isn't expanded on. Another exclaims that the hex is full of "wraiths and specters". This hex sounds scarier by the minute, doesn't it? Yet another NPC mentions the hex, proclaiming: "Way I figure it, the hex is like someone talking bad about you. I mean, when someone says something bad, you don't feel too good, right? So a hex is like that, except lots more powerful, see?" Oh, I get it -- in the same way that an atom bomb is similar to a sneeze, but lots more powerful. I'm stunned by this random NPC's staggering intellect.

More NPCs, more bad exposition about the hex. Blah blah, even the smallest exposure to the hex is lethal, yadda yadda, full of ghosts and stuff, blah blah, Sandy is a slut. Okay, that last part was me.

I eventually locate the 'boss', who resides in a house at the top of town. Unfortunately, it seems that I have arrived at a bad moment, as he asks me to come back after dinner. Excuse me for spoiling your meal, wanker. This is stupid anyway, as the whole aim of it is to make me talk to the NPCs again. Jesus jumping on a pogo stick, I KNOW ABOUT THE FUCKING HEX!!!! Readers, next week, instead of Part 4 of this recap, you'll get A Pocket Encyclopedia On The Intricacies Of The Chamba Hex.

After speaking to the NPCs once again, I return to the 'boss'. Amazingly, he's now finished eating...if that's what he was doing in the first place. Ew, I just got a mental image I did not want to see.

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