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"As the king sinks to his knees in shock...something appears. It is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen (and yes, that includes the cast of Chrono Cross)."
     -Ben, Wild ARMs Part 1




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Eternal Darkness : Part 3
By Jeanne
Posted 02.17.09
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of "Jeanne Plays Catch-Up With Old Recaps." Like Final Fantasy VIII, it has been almost 3.5 years since I last updated the Eternal Darkness recap, with its creepy tales of creepy creepiness. In Part 2, we met Ellia the dancer, who learned the hard way that yearning for adventure is best left to Disney heroines. After she died horribly, we went back to the even further past, where Penis Assthrustus and the evil Pokemon God Charmander plotted the doom of Emperor Charlemagne. Shockingly, this was not just some random plot point that won't be explored for another ten hours -- it's actually the focus of this recap.

Back in Alex's grandfather's dark and spooky secret library, our heroine wastes no time in reading the chapter page she discovered at the end of the last recap. Once again, this chapter begins with a voiceover from Dead Edward Roivas. As he has still not learned how to speak like a normal human being, I will translate his Pretentiese into English. Basically, the Pokemon Gods are so freaking powerful, they control everything humans do. Anytime a leader tries to change stuff, the Pokemon Gods take him (or her) out. Watch out, Obama!

But we're still talking about the distant past. The Holy Roman Empire has flourished under Charlemagne. I know this fact because Edward tells me, and not because I have any knowledge of world history. This game has a way of displaying my ignorance for all of you to see. My defense is that I'm twelve years old and still in elementary school so I haven't learned this shit yet. Anyway, the Wikipedia article on Charlemagne confirms Ed's statement. Wikipedia is never, ever wrong.

The Photoshop-filtered scene on the chapter page comes to life, as the handwritten text informs me that the current location is Amiens, France in the year 814 A.D. A man wearing a white top is on his knees in front of a guy in a black hooded robe. The robed guy has a flat, gray face, and he's weird-looking in a way that I can't decide if it's on purpose or a result of shitty graphic design. There's no doubt he's supposed to be creepy, of course, but his creepiness may go beyond what the game designers intended.

Anyway, I can't figure out why the white shirt guy is kneeling in front of the black robe guy, but as soon as he stands up and shows his face, it becomes totally obvious. Let's just say that the red pageboy haircut, the plump rosy lips, and the tight white tunic don't leave much room for doubt as to this guy's sexual orientation. Black Robe -- let's call him Voldemort -- hands the young man a rolled up scroll, speaking to him in Latin. I'm not going to play dumb anymore -- the gay dude is Anthony, our ill-fated playable character for this recap. Since I have so much experience playing as a young male homosexual, I'm sure Anthony and I will get on quite well. Also, his name is now Tony because of Sam's reasoning that Tony is a gay name. If I don't get angry e-mails and forum posts like she did over this statement, I will be somewhat disappointed.

 
Twink would love this guy.

Tony takes the long, cylindrical object from Voldemort, looking at it with apparent interest. Soon, the Latin fades into English, much as it did in Part 1, only it's obvious that the entire dialogue already took place in Latin, so it's like Voldemort is just repeating himself. He orders Tony to deliver the scroll to "our lord and Emperor, Charlemagne the Frank" as if Tony might accidentally deliver it to some other Charlemagne. Not only is the message in the scroll super urgent, but only Charlemagne is allowed to see it. And with that, Voldemort leaves.

Before Voldemort is even off the screen, however, Tony starts looking around suspiciously and sneaks off to a stone alcove a few feet away. I'm sure no one would suspect he's up to anything, what with the shifting eyes and alll. As he walks, it becomes apparent that he's outside. Not that this means anything, it just makes it extra funny that he's trying to be so secretive and he's not even bothering to go indoors. It should come as no surprise that Tony opens the scroll. I like how he doesn't even have to think about whether to disobey Voldemort's orders -- he simply must see that secret message.

In my sick, sad imagination, Tony is madly in love with his lord Charlemagne. From what I read on Wikipedia, Charlemagne was all about the ladies, but that doesn't mean Tony can't still pine for him. I just thought I'd point that out because I don't think he looks at the scroll entirely out of fear for Charlemagne's well-being. I imagine there's a bit of jealousy involved as well. What if Charlemagne is passing notes with some hussy?

When Tony reads the scroll, a yellow blast hits him right in the face. This magical golden shower knocks him onto his back, a position which is probably not unfamiliar to him. The screams and the sparks indicate that the assault of magic is not consensual. Also, I figured I'd point out that Tony wears tights. Surprise, surprise. When he gets back to his feet and is all, "What the fuck, dude," we hear his voice for the first time. Let's just say that his high-pitched girl voice would give Phoenix Wright a run for his money. His voice also has this kind of whiny drama queen quality to it. Not that it's unwarranted, since the guy just suffered a painful magical attack, but it's still a bit over-the-top.

Tony figures out that he has been "bewitched" by some unpleasant spell, but he's not concerned about himself as much as he is about the scroll's intended recipient. His course is clear: he must warn his beloved about the assassination attempt. Actually, at this point, I'm not sure how Tony has proof that Charlemagne's in that much danger. All the spell did was knock him down and hurt a bit, kind of like a bad static shock. But Tony will take any excuse he can get to suck up to Charlemagne. And I do mean it like that. He sets off at a prancing run...

'Suddenly I have the urge to experience sex with women! The horror!'
 

...And the camera cuts directly to a cathedral. Naturally, this is no soothing, uplifting cathedral, but a creepy, dank one with chanting in the background. Right now, the cathedral is not at its creepiest -- the chanting isn't all that ominous, nor is the accompanying birdsong, and the late afternoon sunlight coming through the windows lends a beautiful effect to the scene. But there's no way a cathedral in this game is going to be anything but 100% pure evil. Also, it seems that Charlemagne is lurking somewhere in this run-down place for some reason. I don't think his presence here is ever explained.

I gain control of Tony for the first time and take the opportunity to Talk To Everyone. "Everyone" in this case is a group of monks scattered about the wooden pews. Through the wonder of Random Expositional Text Dude, we find out that perhaps all is not right with the monks -- they seem fearful and a tad intolerant of Tony's presence. Does this have something to do with the church's stance against homosexuality? From a group of guys who live together with no women in sight, that's rich.

 
Yes, I'm sure the guy with girl hair and tights is very frightening.

Tony also finds out that Charlemagne -- or Charlemagne, rather -- was seen talking to the Bishop in his "visiting chamber." Well, that sounds perfectly innocent. Some muffled voices are audible from a nearby door, and Tony walks over to inspect it. This inconspicuous wooden door set into a dark alcove is apparently the visiting chamber. Tony tries the door, but it's locked. Ever helpful, RETD informs me that I need to find the Bishop's Key in order to enter the room and speak with Charlemagne.

Okay. Here we have a door that is clearly not soundproof. If Tony were to yell, I'm sure the room's occupants would be able to hear him quite clearly. If Tony believes that Charlemagne's life is in danger, wouldn't it make sense to just yell through the door? Surely an emergency situation such as this would override any need for politeness or whatever he's worried about. But this is a game, and that means that I must hunt down the key first. But if the Bishop is inside with Charlemagne, where would the key be located? Wouldn't the Bishop have the key?

I may as well stop thinking too hard about this, because it doesn't change what I have to do. Tony tries to find out more information about where he might find the Bishop's Key, but all the monks want to talk about is some dead guy. One guy, "sob[bing] pitifully" as RETD kindly describes it, informs Tony that this particular dead monk is the latest in a recent string of dead monks. I'm sure this bit of information is totally random and has nothing to do with the storyline at all. The sad group of monks is waiting for the Bishop to arrive to start the funeral. Meanwhile, the dead monk in question is lying inside a rickety wooden casket in front of the altar. That must be fun for them -- sitting in a dark sanctuary with only the smell of their rotting friend to keep them company.

Wuss.
 

Tony disrespectfully approaches the casket, causing RETD to gleefully report that it's "A funeral casket made from unfinished wood. It is not properly sealed and could probably be opened." He even asks if Tony should open it. Sure, why not? I can't think of a single reason that anyone with an ounce of tact would throw open a casket in front of the deceased's colleagues, but let's assume that Tony is a skeevy motherfucker with no social skills. It'll make things more interesting.

Despite the cover story that the dead monk fell to his death from a tower, the state of the corpse clearly indicates otherwise. The very second Tony whips off that coffin lid, the entire chapel erupts in voice-acted fear, like a 9th century version of the Phoenix Wright courtroom. Of course, there's no way any of them could see into the casket from where they were standing, but that's not the most pressing matter here. The deceased, still in his hooded robe, has a gaping chest wound. I don't know, maybe he fell on something sharp. Also, we can assume that none of these guys stuck him in the box, as they're acting like is the very first time they've seen their friend's corpse. Since there was a cover story involved, obviously someone was trying to hide the manner of death. Then why wasn't the coffin lid securely sealed? Apparently, the culprit never thought that anyone would be horrible enough to peak inside. Clearly, he wasn't counting on Tony and that little devil on his shoulder, RETD.

In a cut scene, one of the monks confides in Tony, apparently not minding the giant social faux pas our hero just committed. Honestly, I'm not sure why they wouldn't all shun this morbid butthole. Maybe the fact that he exposed the evil plot, whatever it is, overrides the way he discovered it. And now I'm fanwanking. The monk describes the corpse as looking like something burst out of his chest. So now Tony is looking for some kind of alien? The monk assigns Tony the task of tracking down the Bishop -- um, isn't he in the room with Charlemagne? He must have somehow teleported to some unknown location. Anyway, the monk hands Tony a short sword for "protection." This is the second time in the first five minutes of footage that someone has placed a phallic object into Tony's hands. I just thought I'd point that out.

 
I'm sure Tony regularly carries his own protection.

Because of the way the camera cut to the monk giving Tony the sword, it's possible that the monk went off to retrieve the sword and then returned. The way it looks, though, is like the monk had just been carrying the sword around with him. Why would he do that if he doesn't know how to use it? And if he does know how to use it, why is he entrusting this task to Tony, the random guy who likes looking at dead people? Is this part of the evil plot, or is this guy's name just Brother Convenience?

Is it? Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious.
 

But these are questions without answers, and the important thing is that I now have a pointy weapon and thus, Tony won't have to slap the inevitable monsters to death. With that out of the way, the monk leaves the room and Tony is left all alone. The other monks must have run away like a bunch of pussies after their outburst when Tony jerked open the coffin lid.

Well, there's only one place Tony can go, and that's up the stairs near the entrance. When he reaches the top, the screen goes all wavy and fades into a stone chamber somewhere other than the cathedral. There's a large arched window at one end of the room, with a small round window above it. Any semblance of normalcy stops there. First of all, the sound of human screams and moans fills the room, and I know what you're thinking, but it's not the least bit erotic. It's creepy. Go figure. A narrow pathway over a bottomless pit leads to the other end of the room, lined with square blocks at even intervals. The first two blocks serve as pedestals for statues. When Tony examines them, he finds that one, which is intact from the crotch down, is labeled "Penis Assthrustus." You may speculate on whether the broken nature of Penis's statue is a reference to the statue he had to break in order to learn how to target different body parts, or whether it represents the broken nature of his evil soul. I'm too tired for that shit.

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