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"Red Cloud wonders who it is, but Mr. Mystery Guest solves that problem by greeting Sergeant Pepper and telling him that it's ironic that he should find ol' Sarge here in the Mantis Hizzouse. I imagine that it's like raaaaiiiaaannnn on your wedding day, Mr. Mystery Guest. Oh, and just a tip from me? You may not want to drink the chardonnay, either."
     -Kelly, Legend of Dragoon Part 7

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Tales of Symphonia : Part 1
By Jeanne
Posted 02.17.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Her name is Suelette, Lloyd. No need to be crass.

Luckily for Lloyd and his companions, they have All The Time In The World to get to their destination. Now that everything is back to normal in the classroom -- including the positions of all the student NPCs and the return of the happy, idyllic town tune -- in spite of the recent tragedy, Lloyd takes the opportunity to examine a human-shaped hole in the wooden wall. He's all, "Wha?" prompting Penis and Suelette to remind him (read: tell us) that Suelette caused it during spring cleaning. "You're such a klutz, [Suelette]," Lloyd comments politely, setting us up for the first of many, many, MANY "Suelette falls down" jokes. Get it? She's not totally perfect because she's clumsy! It's a character flaw that makes her more believable as a person! This exchange rewards Suelette with a new title, "Klutz." Equipping a title to a character generally gives them certain stat boosts upon leveling, as well as some other...interesting effects later. No, not buttsex.

In the village proper, Suelette and Penis notice the lack of any townsfolk and figure the Desians have scared them into hiding. As a smug and evil childfree person, it rather amuses me how none of the parents even bothered to check on their kids at the school even though parents are the MOST SELFLESS PEEPLE EVAR. Well, it looks like one guy might give half a shit at least. Suelette's dad, a blond guy with the fantasy-oriented name of Frank, runs up to the trio. He doesn't ask after Suelette's welfare -- which is odd for both a parent and someone in the presence of a Mary Sue -- but he does have some information to share. Apparently, the Desians were there in the village, but they refrained from any raping or pillaging and instead continued on to the temple. According to Frank, "no one was hurt." Well, not unless you count that priest guy from the temple, but no one gives a rip about him.

Even Lloyd's stance is ripped off from another game character.

Frank seems rather unconcerned with the idea of the Desians in the temple, even though that's where all the important oracle shit is supposed to take place. Even after Suelette is all, "Uh, isn't Grandma Phaidra in the temple?" Frank just says, "The priests are there with her. There's no need to worry." Dun-dun-DUN! Not one of the trio says anything about the priest who just freaking died in their classroom, not even after Frank unconcernedly reminds Suelette that she's supposed to go to the temple and carry out her assigned task. You know, if these Desians are such horrible douchewads that it takes an entire dangerous journey just to get rid of them, why would anyone think that a few old geezer priests could hold them off? Frank's all, "Well, good luck then!" No wonder the villagers gossip about Frank not being Suelette's real dad -- this guy cares less about her than I do, and I'm a jaded recapper.

Lloyd has a sudden flash of brilliance, and realizes that it may not be the best idea for Suelette to travel to the Desian-infested temple alone. He says this like he senses some sort of potential threat and not like he just saw one of the priests freaking die right in front of him. God, these people. Penis can't let his intended butt buddy out of sight, so he agrees to lend his underage fighting skills to the group. Frank's all, "Okay! Bye! Come back if any shit goes down!" before speeding off the screen. I'm still torn between snickering at this town's complete lack of "OMG, TEH CHYYYYYYYYYYYYLDREEEEEEEN!!!!!" mentality and boggling over the horrifying stupidity of everyone. No reason I can't do both, I suppose.

Just in case we thought there was any urgency involved in this situation, the game itself refutes that by once again starting up with a not-so-rousing rendition of "Generic Happy Town Tune" and displaying the town's name and description (Iselia, The Village of Oracles) on the screen in an unconcerned, lazy fashion. No reason I can't go exploring, then. The quaint little village resembles every other quaint little village from every game ever, except that in this case, it's cel-shaded. But without all the whining fanboys that Wind Wanker had to deal with. Before going too far, Lloyd and the others head back into the schoolhouse where a skit pops up. Entitled "It'll be fine," it consists of the trio's character portraits discussing Raine's future reaction to their little excursion. I think I was supposed to get this skit on the way out of the classroom before running into Frank and getting his blessing, but whatever.

Penis puts on his Sad Face, fearing his big sister's anger when she finds out they disobeyed her. "Don't worry. All we have to do is get back to class before she does," Lloyd grins. Suelette points out what we're all thinking -- that Raine is going to be at their destination. Lloyd's all, "...Shit!" End skit. A man died, and their biggest concern is their teacher getting pissed off. Unless Raine makes a habit of punishing students with a Sodomy Stick, I'd say their priorities are still a little skewed.

'Only one thing. *wink*'

Exploration time! Most of the houses are locked due to the Big Bad Desians, meaning less NPC exposition for me to recap. I'm suddenly very thankful to the Desians. Approaching one of the larger houses in the village triggers a cut scene between Lloyd and Penis. "Lloyd, do you need something from my house?" Penis asks hopefully, wondering if there's an easy way to ditch Suelette. Lloyd answers in the negative. Crushed, Penis reminds him about the temple and even gives me him directions, which he'll promptly forget, I'm sure. But that's because people in this game have no memory, not because I'm a directionally-challenged dumbass.

Lloyd continues with the mixed signals to Penis by entering his house. To drive home that both Raine and Penis are super duper smart, fuckloads of books litter every available surface. Lloyd even comments on the impressively challenging contents of the bookcase, which he assumes belong to Raine. Surprise! Those are Penis's books. Because he's a genius! Lloyd sweatdrops over this revelation, like he's never before been to his best buddy's house or talked to him.

Walking past the useless village guards, Lloyd pays a visit to the item/weapon shop where the owner only sells weapons that Lloyd and his buddies already have equipped. Lame. But he also sells healing items, not making him totally useless. Thank God this man is brave enough to run his shop in spite of the Desians. The only other unlocked house in town is Suelette's mansion. Oddly, while it looks smaller on the outside than Raine and Penis's place, it's much, much bigger on the inside. Good planning there, game designers. Frank sits casually at the table, at least having the decency to heal the party for free even if he's going to be a useless slacktard.

Okay, time to advance the plot. The big, wide world lies just beyond Iselia's north entrance. But oh noes! As the party prepares to leave, they're confronted by a three-foot-tall bouncing skull. "I thought the northern region where the temple is located was a sanctuary!" Penis shrills. Suelette thinks the monster in the village is simply a part of the Goddess Martel's trial that no one has mentioned up to this point. Yes, the most logical conclusion is that the goddess is responsible for a monster in the village. Never mind the eeeeeevil Desians or, say, the constant presence of monsters just outside on the world map.

The battle tutorial teaches us three very important features of the system: 1) The monsters on the battle screen look nothing like their counterparts on the main screen, 2) The characters like to randomly scream and shout things during battle, and 3) The battle system is not menu-based (except for things like items). Luckily for me in regards to the third item, a little button-mashing goes a long way in this game. Never mind that I constantly have to use healing items and magic. I'm 1337! Basically, I control one character in battle while the AI takes care of the rest. I can also disable certain AI abilities of the other characters in order to prevent such unfortunate incidents as casting a fire spell on a fire creature. Of course, I have to think ahead and remember to do this before the battles in question, so I'm kind of fucked in that regard.


While Lloyd's status as the hero dictates that he must use phallic weapons -- in this case, double swords -- Suelette shockingly is not the white mage of the group. Sit down and recover from this if you must. I'll still be here when you get back. As I mentioned from the opening movie, she fights with a pair of chakrams. You wouldn't expect a weapon that is pretty much the opposite of phallic to be used in a technique called "Ray Thrust," but lo and behold, that's exactly what happens. Hey, I take whatever surprises I can get in this game. Penis, whose kendama weapon very much resembles a penis, fulfills his destiny as the Super Genius Kid by using black magic.

This dynamic trio has no trouble bringing down the single zombie. Still, Suelette has to jizz herself over Lloyd's "amazing" skills. This is his cue to exposit about the item that gives him such special zombie-defeating powers, even though it was Penis's barrage of fireballs that ultimately killed the monster. The Exsphere, or Extesticle, as I shall call it from this point forward to further amuse my pathetic prepubescent self, is the magical hand orb that the camera drooled over in the opening movie. According to Lloyd, "It's designed for combat and brings out my maximum strength." Because his best friends wouldn't already know that or anything. Lloyd believes that without his Extesticle, he'd be about as useless as the spawn of Rinoa and Tidus, but Suelette obviously disagrees. Penis, feeling left out and more than a tad jealous, snarks, "Yeah, at least his sword skills are good." "...What do you mean, 'at least'?!" Lloyd demands. Before the two get into a slapfight, another bouncing skull makes its way toward them.

Though this skull monster looks identical to the last one for those of us with untrained eyes, it apparently consists of more than one baddie. Suelette tells Lloyd to hold off for a moment while she reminds him that physical attacks don't work for shit on non-physical monsters. Lloyd has no fucking clue about this, having never played an RPG or retained any knowledge in his life. He agrees that Penis should take on the Ghost while he gives the Zombie some sword time. Sounds good to me. I'll just be here hitting the A button repeatedly. And that's not a euphemism, you sick fucks.

After the simple battle, Lloyd lectures the others on choosing targets wisely, like he's suddenly the Einstein of the group rather than the guy who didn't know shit thirty seconds ago. Whatever. Let's just go to the fucking temple already. Unfortunately, the party doesn't even get to take a single step on the world map before another skit pops up. This one, "What's the Temple Like?" involves a discussion about -- wait for it -- what the temple is like. Suelette's the only one who's ever been there, but never beyond the outer part. Suddenly, in spite of the fact that Suelette's grandma could be lying dead inside, Lloyd plasters on his hugest anime grin and practically wets himself in excitement over visiting the temple. "If only you could keep up this enthusiasm the entire time..." Penis snits, indicating for the first of many times that Lloyd doesn't exactly follow through on his...activities. And I think you know what I mean.

At least buy him dinner first, Lloyd.

Soon after beginning travel on the world map, the party encounters possibly the shittiest battle mechanism ever. Namely, the randomly-appearing black blobs with eyes. Just to mix things up a bit, sometimes the randomly-appearing black blobs with eyes walk on two legs. These two varieties of black blobs represent the entire gamut of possible enemies on the world map. A wolf? Shows up as a black blob. Four ladybugs? Black blob. A giant, fire-breathing dragon? You got it -- a black blob. I appreciate having a chance in hell of avoiding battles when I'm just trying to get from point A to point B. Really I do. And maybe I don't understand the difficulty in programming visible battle monsters on an overworld map while simultaneously smoking a crackpipe. Still, this has to be one of the lamest shortcuts I've ever seen. I'll buy that a bouncing skull can represent ten thousand ghosts and a zombie if I must, but this? Not so much.

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