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  -Part 1 :: [06.09.04]
  -Part 2 :: [07.04.04]
  -Part 3 :: [11.01.04]
  -Part 4 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 5 :: [12.26.04]
  -Part 6 :: [04.24.05]
  -Part 7 :: [06.13.05]
  -Part 8 :: [07.17.05]
  -Part 9 :: [02.17.13]

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"'Commander PUGGY!!!, please give us the signal to move forward,' Mathiu says. Now, this may seem reasonable and everything, but what PUGGY!!! doesn't realize is that Mathiu is really saying, 'We're moving out now, no matter which option you choose, because the game designers are asshats and won't let you save before a stupid army battle which might cause the death of one of the 108 stars and then you'll have to reload and sit through this stupid shit again.'"
     -Jeanne, Suikoden Part 6

Link to VGR!

Final Fantasy X-2 : Part 7
By Sam
Posted 06.13.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
In the last installment of Yuna's home team adventures, the girls got their eager hands on the AWESOM-O sphere, only to find out that lo, it was not awesome. In fact, all that came of it was a jealous shitfit courtesy of Yuna and the knowledge that He-Man is from Spira, and apparently he looks just like Tightass. Given the testosterone level of Prince Adam, I can't say I'm surprised. The Dullwings then chose to give the overhyped AWESOM-O sphere back to N00b and the Youth League, because we are slaves to The Almighty One Hundred Percent. Speaking of that, I recently spent an entire weekend replaying the game up to this point because I realized I was off the mark with my completion percentage. Something I am only partly blaming on Bradygames, as it was my own stupid fault for continuing to follow their failure of a walkthrough. I have corrected that particular lapse in judgment, though, and I'm now ready to see my reward for my hours of toil in the name of VGR.

Nothing? Well, fine. At least the stuff I have to do for this recap couldn't be worse. Knock on wood.

The mission that was left in my lap when Kelly left you guys was to find three female Lesbianc goon uniforms so YRP can sneak into Chateau Lesbianc, formerly Seymour Guado's Lovenasium, and get back the broken sphere that thieving tart lifted from their airship. Everyone on El Celsioso save Paine thinks this is going to be more fun than a barrel full of key-mons, but unfortunately for them (and very fortunately for me) Buddy can't get a lead on any uniforms at the moment. Yeah, I know where to get them, but I'm going to do this right and get on with the second lap of the Spira Reminiscence Tour. Besides, it's not like I want to get into Chateau Lesbianc. You all know as well as I do what's going to happen there.

Obviously our first stop is Besaid. "Some Youth League guy is training the Besaid Aurochs, and training them hard!" the mission screen informs me, asking if I'd like to check it out. If "training" is a euphemism for something else, no, I'd rather not. But if it's not one mind-scarring thing in this game, it's another, so why fight it? To Besaid.

All the Aurochs except for that chub Keepa are doing stretches and toe touches and otherwise working to burn off their pot weight near the save point when Yuna arrives. As soon as they spot her they're all over her with the ass-kissing and congratulations because of the AWESOM-O sphere. "Ya, we knew you were on our side!" Jassu says. Yuna is not smart, nor does she remember that the Crusaders' lodge--you know, where all the Aurochs are living in sin together--is now Besaid's Youth League headquarters. So she must listen as they patiently explain to her that they're all in the Youth League, and they're so very happy that thanks to her the AWESOM-O sphere is back in the possession of their particular side of Spira's uninteresting power struggle. I mean, the Youth League probably would have gotten it anyway if the girls hadn't interfered, but recognizing that would mean a scene where no one sucks up to Yuna, and we can't have that.

Jassu adds that though they've all joined up with the non-elderly political action committee, Wakka has not. Datto--I only know because of the subtitles that it's him, since they all sound the same--cuts in with, "Can't blame him, ya? His kid's popping out any minute you know. Now's not the time for him to be fussing around with politics." Please. It's not like Wakka is going to have any part in this birth beside his obvious first contribution, and it's amazing his men still swim upstream fast enough for that to have happened. Admit it, Datto, Wakka's just a lazy ass.

Mmm, break me off a piece of that.

From the top of the hill, an angry voice calls, "Fussing, you say?" like this is the biggest personal insult ever. Before we get to see the man's face, in true FFX fashion, we first get an ass shot. As we take in the man's ass (and the invisible but surely present steel rod jammed inside it) Yuna asks who this guy is. He answers her in a self-important tone, "I am Beclem. I've been dispatched to Besaid by Youth League headquarters." He adds, "I'm here to pound some fight into these pathetic slackers." Yeah, some "fight." Okay. Jassu whispers to Yuna, "He's a hundred times stricter than Wakka." Well, a hundred times zero is still zero, Jassu. Still, he does seem like a hard-ass. Hey, maybe that's why the game designers wanted me to look at it.

Beclem lectures the Aurochs for skipping out on their training to chit-chat with visiting lesbians willy-nilly. "So, I guess you won't mind showing me what you're all really made of, then," he concludes. The Aurochs all groan, as if they can already feel Beclem pounding the fight into them. I'm really thinking the Youth League's "training" is not about weight-lifting and combat, if you follow me. Beclem responds to this reaction, "Is no one among you man enough to break my record? You're pathetic." And there are records involved? Whatever gets his jollies off, I guess. Rikku is probably interpreting this scene the same way I am, and decides that Beclem is creepy. Yuna agrees, and the girls get ready to leave. Then Datto makes the huge mistake of doing the Yevon bow thing as he says goodbye to Yuna. If you have some kind of flame-retardant clothing or helmet, now would be the time to put it on.

Beclem flips his shit at Datto for daring to use that dated and evil gesture in this enlightened time of peace and universal unemployment. "The age of temples and prayers is over. It's about time you let go of those musty old traditions," he high horses to the group at large. As much as I already dislike Beclem, he is right: the Yevonites were dicks and the sooner everyone divorces themselves of all that stupid brainwashed crap they used to do, the better. And were he to stop here, maybe those present would even listen to what he has to say. But then Beclem does the unthinkable: he insults Queen Yuna.

"There's no need to bow down to summoners, either," he announces, the words "PLEASE FLAME ME FOR I AM A TROLL" practically oozing from every syllable. He pauses for a millisecond to make sure he's got the attention of the girls, then adds, unnecessarily loudly, "Yes, summoners are a thing of the past." Of course, Rikku totally rises to Beclem's flamebait. "Hold it right there!" she snaps. "Whose Calm do you think this is, buster?" Judging by the load-bearers in the final battles in my game, I'd say this is Auron and Lulu's Calm (and yeah, Yuna's too), but maybe I'm missing the point. The point being that, in accordance with the bylaws of Spiran NPCs Local 503, everyone is expected to slurp Yuna like a slut-flavored popsicle. Beclem stares Rikku down, unintimidated. Well, I think. I should mention at this point Beclem's main trait other than his preachiness and his rigid ass--he wears a metal mask with a small beak protrusion. His eyes stare out of the mask, bulging, whiteless and unblinking, like he's got the head of a lemur behind the thing. As Jeanne pointed out some time ago, this character model is a duplicate of Hojimbo's fayth. And if you're looking to reuse a generic model from the previous game, this one with the metal mask is totally a winner.

Oh, what are you gonna do, shake your ass at him?

Anyway, Beclem stares at Rikku and evenly replies, "There are no more aeons to summon. Summoners are worthless now." Again, I can't argue with him. He's absolutely right. In fact, a good deal of the point of this game--past the fanservice and the whole "renege on the sad ending of FFX with a mega-happy ending" thing--is that Yuna, a summoner by trade, had to find something new to do with her life after defeating Sin. And look at the other summoners from the first game. One is playing Wink Martindale at Zanarkand Adventure, and one has nothing better to do than alternately break up with and have breakup sex with a meathead with a bowl cut. And let's not even get started on Yuna herself. Summoners are worthless. But Yuna balls up her fists and grits, "You will take those words back." Beclem is still supremely unconcerned with Yuna's feelings. "I will. If you succeed in proving your worth to me." Yuna can choose to either ignore Beclem, or take him up on this offer to prove herself, and because Yuna just has to have the last word and show this random jerk she just met how strong and perfect she is, she accepts. And it's Mission Time!

The mission screen tells me Yuna must "Run the Gunner's Gauntlet." Oh, this sounds like a blast. There's a high score Yuna has to beat, and there's a time limit! And judging from the name, I'll be depending on Yuna's skill at hitting moving objects with her pistolas. I'm in for a long day. And 500 500 seems like an awfully large number. Meanwhile, I have completely forgotten how to run this thing--something I will discover bodes very badly for my performance--and so I have Beclem give Yuna the tutorial treatment. Hopefully it's not the same as the training he puts the Aurochs through, because Yuna has no interest in guys except for Tightass except for Gippal at all.

Manliest man for Yuna?
Exposition!Man (HOT!)


The tutorial does remind me how the controls work and all, but what I discover when I actually begin the Gunner's Gauntlet (after Beclem shit-talks some more) is that it doesn't matter--even if you know what you're doing, you basically have to have the course memorized or you won't be able to show that ass Beclem what's what. It's like the butterfly catching game in Macalania Woods in that regard, and I think my opinion of this game should be clear, given that I chose to make that comparison. Basically, Yuna must navigate the path between this point and the beach, exterminating the non-threatening fiend species of Besaid as she goes along. The key thing is to build up chains, which is accomplished by killing so many fiends in a row without Yuna being hit by anything. This can be a real bear as the Gauntlet gets more hectic, since at some points two or three fiends come at Yuna at once, ready to rend her exposed flesh from her bony body. It takes, as I just said, a robotic knowledge of which fiends appear where and in what frequency, as well as a mastery of the different types of ammo and, frankly, an unhealthy commitment to The Almighty One Hundred Percent, because only that is keeping me doing this. The first time I played this game that commitment didn't perturb me, but now that I know what that perfect ending actually is, the knowledge that I'm suffering through this hellish mini-game just so a) Yuna can prove to Beclem that she's the most flawless being in the universe and b) we can recap one ridiculously tacked-on scene with no redeeming value whatsoever is killing my soul, bit by bit. The fact that the Bradygames guide refers to this mini-game as "fun" is just the bloody icing on my cake of agony.

I can't give you a play-by-play of my run through Beclem's Gauntlet of Horrors, because after my first few failures I turned off the tape and decided to conserve it by only turning it back on once I successfully reached the end. This led to a rather comedic scenario in which I got to Beclem with nearly 600 points, only to go through the whole spiel that I needed to recap without turning the fucking tape back on. Guess who got to do the Gauntlet all over again! I say it was comedic because, had somebody been watching me as this happened, I'm sure it would have been very amusing. I sure didn't think it was fucking funny.

Yuna experiments with bestiality.

Anyway, a few hours later, Yuna speaks to Beclem on the beach with her new high score. Rikku's all, "Take that!" like she personally contributed to Yuna's success. Girl, shut your trap, this victory is MINE. And even now, Beclem won't give Yuna dap, saying, "Skill you may have, but I find it hard to believe you defeated Sin!" Dude, if you'd seen the Metroid living inside Sin, and the you-can't-possibly-lose-this-battle circumstances of Yuna's triumph, you wouldn't find it so unbelievable. He's about to say she must have had help, but Yuna interrupts him to say that yes, she did, from her friends. "My pilgrimage was successful because my friends and the aeons supported me along the way!" she wanks. "And they still do. Memories of the time we spent together make me strong. I won't stand here and let you call that strength useless." For one thing, Beclem only said that summoners don't have a purpose now. He said nothing about her strength or honor or anything else. For another, I thought I signed on to recap an RPG, not a goddamn After School Special. Beclem is on my wavelength: "Must your kind always prattle on about your precious memories?" But...but...her memories give her STRENGTH!!! YUNA IS STRONG!!!

Wait. I know. He's just jealous! And he is not treating her friends and aeons with the upmost respect! "He's got some nerve!" Rikku basically echoes me. "Sore loser," Paine adds. Why, she oughta toss his salad. As Beclem stalks off I get the Mission Complete! screen and an Enigma Plate Garment Grid. It also says I've reached Level 2, which I'm guessing means a new level of difficulty if I want to do the Gunner's Gauntlet again. I think I'd rather take calendar photos of Shion posing naked on a gummi ship.

Back on El Celsioso, Rikku congratulates Yuna on her performance while Paine chides her for not being able to be the bigger person. No surprises here. Buddy has yet to find a single lead on a single female Lesbianc goon, the slacker, so I guess we continue with the rounds. Next stop: Kilika, former home of the AWESOM-O sphere. Immediately upon arrival Yuna, Rikku and Paine come face to face with Thonga and a gaggle of cheering random Kilika Beasts. Thonga shakes her head and wonders, "Sphere hunters that give back spheres. Don't you think that's a little odd?" Yeah, well, so's that floss in your ass. No, wait, everyone in Spira has that. Anyway. Thonga is glad that they gave the sphere back to the Youth League, but she still has a lingering dislike of Yuna so she doesn't have to automatically like them for this one act. This is neat. I wonder if every location in chapter two will feature someone who hasn't downed the Yuna Koolaid.

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