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  -Part 1 :: [02.17.04]
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"This time, Tightass actually enters the Cloister of Trials, and the fun begins. Of course you know I'm being sarcastic, because nothing involving Tightass could ever be fun, except for killing him painfully."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 9

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Breath of Fire III : Part 1
By Ryan
Posted 02.17.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
After he's thoroughly finished expositing, Rei decides that the gang should hide behind a random tree and wait for the next 'customer'. The Powers That Be at Capcom even use a finger-type pointer to show me which tree it is I am to hide behind. Thanks guys. Five steps later, when all three are safely hidden behind excellent coverage of a two-foot wide tree, Alf tries as best he can without talking to weasel out of 'working'. Teepo, however, won't hear of it and pulls out the big guns. "Come on Alf. Don't get all soft on us now!" Ouch. Talk about adding insult to inefficiency. But Alf doesn't stand for Teepo's implication of erm, faulty equipment and immediately agrees to go along with the whole thing. He'll prove his manhood once and for all. Three cheers for peer pressure!

Conveniently enough, somebody comes along right then. Teepo and CT are beside themselves with joy to see that the person is alone and decide that Alf is man enough to handle the situation by himself. What they fail to notice, however, is that the person walking down the road is a man. A large man. A very large, hairy man. Yes, faithful readers, Alf is going to try to do the wild thing with none other than Hagrid, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. "Okay, Alf, show us what you're made of...Go get him!" CT says excitedly. I make a mental note to add voyeurism to his growing list of sexual deviancies. "Just run into him!" Teepo adds as he girlishly pushes Alf down the hill separating the tree from the road. Alf hurtles down the hill and crashes into Hagrid.

Hagrid, whose real name is Bunyan, apparently believes that Alf is trying to mug him because he hangs out with CT and Teepo, the town larcenists. "If you run into them, tell them that if I catch them... they'll be sorry!" Hagrid says to Alf for no apparent reason other than to throw his weight around. He then continues upon his merry way, spreading sunshine and mirth to all before him.

CT and Teepo just stand around staring into space for a while, obviously disappointed at having missed out on seeing Alf "in action". Then they read the script. "Hey, wait a minute!" CT says suddenly, "If old man [Hagrid]'s out here, then that means there's no one at his house, right?" Teepo catches on quickly and femmes: "Yeah, let's go grab some of his food! That'll teach him!" Yeah, that'll teach him... to kill you little wankers next time he sees you instead of letting you off with a stern reprimand and a finger shake. Is that what you're trying to accomplish, Brainiac? But because the game designers hate me and because I want to keep the recap moving, I decide not to question the poorly disguised fetch quest set before me and decide to just go loot the poor bastard's house.

Who's he... or she? What's that? It's Pat.

Since I'm psychic, I know that Hagrid lives in a shack in the woods near Teepo and CT's Jungle Love Bungalow, so only one thing stands between me on the Yraall road and my destination in the Cedar Woods. A. Fucking. Random. Battle. Every. Three. Steps. Using Alf, CT, and Teepo's impressive fighting abilities, however girly they may be, I am able to smash all the weak forest creatures I encounter and eventually find the place. Nothing like a little genocide to prepare you for breaking into somebody's house, I always say. CT uses his thiefy skills to pick the locked front door and we're in.

CT and Teepo make a big deal out of being very, very quiet because if we make any noise whatsoever, Hagrid will magically be able to hear it and instantly appear inside the house, even though he was miles away when we last saw him. Alf, being the quiet character that he is, takes this advice to heart and immediately sets off running through the house, crashes into the table and knocks a plate unto the floor. See, it is funny because he was supposed to be quiet and he was loud instead. Ha. ... Ha.

His "comic relief" done for the time being, Alf is now free to explore the homely little cottage at his leisure. Again, because I'm psychic, I make a beeline for the cellar and swipe Hagrid's last piece of Beef Jerky. Now that I've done all the work of finding and stealing Hagrid's food, Teepo and CT stop wandering aimlessly around upstairs and come into the basement to congratulate me. But before I can even raise my objections that one slice of Beef Jerky can't even feed ONE person, let alone THREE, a floorboard creaks upstairs. Sounds like Hagrid decided to come home from his trip to the middle of nowhere and advance the plot a little earlier than usual today.

CT takes it upon himself to go up first and check things out, because he's the oldest and the toughest, and because he wants to make my recap last as long as humanly possible. As soon as he leaves the screen, we hear cheesy fighting noises and CT ends up screaming like a little girl. I tremble before his manliness. Then, because it would make too much sense to go out together, Teepo decides to try his girly purple hand at escaping while Alf waits in the basement twiddling his thumbs. After the same cheesy fighting clip, we hear him scream too. Hagrid is quite the child abuser in this game. I finally get control of Alf, but instead of hiding like any sane person would, I have to make him go upstairs to advance the plot. Oh yeah, I want to help my friends too. Right.

As soon as Alf steps out the front door, Hagrid smacks him in the face. See how hardcore this guy is? He can beat up three poor, defenseless kids, one after the other! The blow to the head knocks Alf unconscious for the second time in one recap. It's a good thing Capcom isn't pulling the Amnesia!Card with Alf during this game, because all this head trauma would certainly give him enough amnesia to last several lifetimes.

One loading screen later, Alf wakes up to find that he, CT, and Teepo are all tied up and lined up against the fence outside Hagrid's cottage. I brace myself for a creepy four-way bondage scene, but thankfully, the only torture our trio is put through is having to listen to Hagrid go on and on about how it's wrong to steal when there is a shortage of food. I bet I even would have known about the food shortage already if I had taken the time to talk to some NPCs around town, but I spent the time I could have done that just trying to walk from the Yraall road to this godforsaken forest. Anyway, a food shortage certainly explains why all the trees and plants are brown and dead looking and why CT and Teepo have a strange obsession with stealing food. I just wrote all that, and Hagrid is still going on about how stealing isn't honest work. Those poor kids. All this morality is going to fry their little brains.

Eventually, CT cracks and asks Hagrid what he wants from them. Hagrid decides that the three boys could stand to do some honest work for a while and sends CT on a job to Mt. Glaus, even though he never says exactly what CT is supposed to do. I don't have time to question his actions though, because in a Wyndian minute Hagrid banishes CT to his mystery job and sets Alf and Teepo to work as well.

This work is presented in the form of a minigame. Let me say that again, in case you didn't get a cold shiver down your spine. A minigame. The worst part? I don't even get anything for winning. Damn you, Capcom!

The point of this insanely stupid minigame is to cut the wood that Teepo sets with my sword without letting the log fall over and without cutting Teepo. It may sound like all fun and sunshine, but really, it is just a boring game of watching Teepo's irregular timing. I swear, the little shit must be dying to lose some fingers, the way he puts those logs up for me to cut. Apparently I did a well enough job though, because 30 seconds and 23 logs later, Hagrid grants us our freedom. That was surprisingly easy, but then again, I don't get any real reward, so I guess it's all relative. At the very least, I won't have to come back to Hagrid's Love Shack, Where REAL Men Go To Get Wood, for a long, long time, and that's good enough for me.

As soon as they've put a safe distance between themselves and Hagrid's labors of love, Alf and Teepo decide what to do next. By "decide," I mean "Teepo tells me and I am forced to obey like his little puppy dog bitch because the game designers want me to suffer." He says we should go Mt. Glaus and find CT. I have no say in the matter. To Mt. Glaus it is.

Teepo can-can. Can-can you?

Before I can actually get to the mountain, however, Alf and Teepo have to navigate a little valley that leads from the forest to the mountain. This wouldn't be so annoying if there wasn't a random battle every few minutes, but hey, at least I'm gaining some levels. Those will come in handy when I have to take these two weaklings up the mountain and fight the inevitable Boss of the Mountain. I also learn a nifty trick inside this little valley. If I put Teepo at the front of the party and run into a rock lying on the ground, Teepo will bitchslap kick the rock out of the way. This new ability helps me find numerous healing items hidden underground, but leaves me wondering who would bother to hide their stash of "Vitamins" under a random rock in a random valley between a random forest and a random mountain. Not that I'm being overly analytical about this or anything. I'm sure it made perfect sense to the designers at the time. Then the folks from Squeenix went home and the acid trip wore off.

Well, the blinking timer on the TV is telling me that the hour is up, so I guess we'll have to find out what the heck is going on at Mt. Glaus next time. Ben? It's all yours, kiddo. Until then, fellow gamers! Remember: say no to drugs!

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