Tales of Symphonia : Part 2
1 : 2 : 3
In the inaugural recap of Tales of Symphonia, we met our lead characters, got pummeled forcibly about the head by some rather brutal exposition, and named as many things as possible after genitalia. Then we finally got to the plot. Well, sort of. When I left off, our heroes were about to brave the Goddess Martel's terrifying monster trials in order for our Mary Sue to receive the oracle -- whatever the hell that means.
I'll be honest with you -- this recap consists entirely of footage left over from Part 1. That, combined with a rather long dungeon crawl and my lazy refusal to tape more footage, resulted in a shorter than usual recap. And you might have noticed that it's about three months late, too. Rest assured, however, that you are fully entitled to dock my paycheck over these transgressions. I'm cool like that.
Let's begin, shall we? The party stops in the main area of the temple for a cut scene. "So this is what the inside of the temple is like," Lloyd durrs, causing his companions instant blindness from that powerful flash of the obvious. In case you were wondering, it looks like your average circular stone chamber with several short staircases and random decorative accents. Surprise -- just like every other RPG temple in the universe. Penis mentions that Suelette has already been in this temple a buttload of times -- just in case we happened to miss the skit where they already discussed this. Which we didn't, so it just makes it look like Penis has the short term memory of a chronic pot smoker. Though she has indeed been in the temple a buttload of times -- see how I cleverly worked that in again to help you remember? -- Suelette senses a difference. Could it be the bodies of the murdered priests lying bloody and broken about the floor? Of course not -- like the dead guy in the schoolhouse, these corpses have mysteriously disappeared. Well, then, could it be the voices of the invisible murdered priests crying out in ghostly anguish? Wrong again -- that would entail actually following up on that plotline. As it turns out, the difference Suelette feels is...the presence of monsters! Whoa, shit, that just came right out of left field! Except for the part where they talked about the monsters in the temple thirty seconds ago.
This game was clearly designed so that the main character from Memento could easily play it. This is going to be the longest recapping experience ever.
Now that we've established for the fifteenth time that yes, there will be monsters in the first dungeon, Lloyd is all, "Well, we just fought monsters outside on the world map for ten minutes, so this'll be cake." He's right, obviously, but Kratos can't let the moment go by without essentially pointing out that Lloyd is an amateur hick swordsman. "Lloyd...are your sword techniques self-taught?" Hoooooold on, here. This is the sort of father-son discussion that should take place in private...if at all. And by "in private," I don't mean that Kratos should actually be demonstrating these techniques on Lloyd. God, ew.
When Lloyd admits that yes, he's learned all his skills through trial and error, Kratos emits an anime ellipsis and walks forward to hand Lloyd an invisible object. He also slips in a snide remark that basically implies Lloyd's lame sword skills won't do shit for Suelette, then walks away to let Lloyd stew in his own juices. Not like that. This little exchange gives me the Training Manual, a tutorial on the ten thousand different battle techniques and options in the game. I read through it just in case I find any amusing screenshots and also to see how many strategies I totally disregarded in my last playthrough.
Afterward, Lloyd takes the staircase to the right, where he's immediately attacked by a white undulating penis. As one might expect, the penis contains a ghost, a slime, and a spider. Oh, happy day! How lucky am I that both my new recapped games include spiders? If my 12-year-old wiener wasn't so tiny, I'd totally tell the game designers to blow me. Pretty much all the enemies are of this simple variety, meaning that Martel must have the lowest standards of any goddess anywhere. Shit, Tidus could practically beat this crappy trial.
|I hope he used lube first.
At the end of each battle, whichever character struck the final blow does a little pose-and-blab with the typical "I'm so fucking awesome for killing this easy random battle monster!" phrase. In this case, Kratos does some deep knee bends while swinging his sword around and proclaiming, "I cannot die until I fulfill my duty!" I'll let you decide what that duty is. Meanwhile, why does the Mysterious, Sword-Wielding Badass always have to break out lines like that? Well, unless he's already dead, but you get my point. Something like "Why am I hanging out with these annoying asshats?" or "Wow, I'm the strongest party member and I beat the last enemy. What are the chances?" would add a little more flavor to the proceedings.
|What is Kratos's important duty?
A short distance later, a staircase leads down to a futuristic glass checkerboard suspended over a fog-shrouded pit. Below the glass checkerboard -- but above the fog-shrouded pit -- another staircase leads up to an alcove containing an Important Item. Our heroes check this out from their vantage point on the checkerboard, noting that hey, it might be cool to go snag the glowy thing.
Meanwhile, Suelette spots something close by on the checkerboard and wanders over to take a look. It's a creature that appears to be the offspring of a Transformer and a rock, meaning that Brinco the Rock Humper isn't the only individual with that particular fetish. Shame on you, Optimus Prime. Kratos freaks out at the sight of this abomination, charging forward and forcing me into a battle with the thing. Ass.
Product of an Unholy Union Between a Transformer and a Rock is way too creative a name for this band of game designers, so they stuck the monster with the ho-hum moniker of "Golem." While it is tougher than any of the other lame battles thus far, it still ends up getting wiped out by Penis's Kendonga. This humiliation is too much for the poor Golem, so it curls up into a ball at the end of the battle and performs an offscreen morph into a decorative stone block with glowing green corners. What a neat trick! And how fabulous!
Suelette and Lloyd have a pointless exchange that basically amounts to, "Hey, that rock turned into a rock!" From her standing still position, Suelette manages to fall flat on her face (SFC: 3), a feat which only a drunkard or someone with a serious inner ear infection could manage. The former might explain Suelette's near-constant good mood, and also her lack of decapitating the other party members with her chakram, which is what I would do if I were her.
Anyway, this completely random fall actually accomplishes something -- Suelette knocks the fabulous glowing block down one of the nine square holes in the floor that just happen to be shaped and sized for such a purpose. The block lodges in a space in a stone walkway just below the checkerboard, filling in a gap. Without this fortuitous sequence of events, these Einsteins would have never figured out the secret to this puzzle. While Suelette apologizes -- another "charming" near-constant character trait of hers -- both Penis and Kratos exude unison anime lightbulbs and basically announce that they've solved the puzzle. Obviously Lloyd is too
un-psychic dumb to grasp it, so Penis has to point out that the Product of an Unholy Union Between a Transformer and a Rock that Magically Morphs into a Decorative Glowing Block Upon Its Defeat is a monster of the constantly regenerating variety. Sure enough, another one of the fuckers materializes out of thin air a moment later.
This allows me to take part in the "fun" and "non-repetitive" task of killing Golem after Golem and sending their decorative glowing corpses down various holes in order to completely plug the walkway gaps. This is the sort of time-wasting shit I'm going to look back at when I'm on my deathbed and ask, "Why did I do this?"
Once Lloyd has plugged all the holes, a little magical sound effect plays to indicate I solved this brainstretching riddle. Only my goal, the staircase, is right in front of me and quite obviously accessible, so no shit, Sherlock. I suppose the little musical cue would be helpful if a terrible accident occurred where my head became firmly entrenched in my ass. On the bright side, at least then I'd be able to identify with this game's characters.
When they reach the Important Item at the top of the stairs, we now see that it's a ring the size of a dog collar suspended over a glowing green butthole set into a pedestal. "Is this the Sorcerer's Ring?" Penis wonders. Note that for those of you in the UK, that would be the Philosopher's Ring. Anyway, it would be totally funny if it weren't the Sorcerer's Ring and Penis ended up looking like one of those people that you find in every college course who tries to show off how "smart" he is but gets constantly smacked down by the professor. But we know that's not the case -- it is the Sorcerer's Ring. "I've heard about it before. It's a holy artifact of the Church of Martel!" Penis explains to us. "With this, we should be able to deal with most traps and obstacles," Kratos responds, making it obvious why the item is called the Sorcerer's Ring -- because it essentially serves the purpose of your average plot wizard.
Lloyd practically pees his pants in excitement, begging the others to let him use the ring. "...You're like a little kid," Penis comments, hoping that Lloyd's immaturity will make their age difference moot. Will Lloyd ever return his feelings? Penis wonders with a sigh. Back in regular gameplay mode where we can ditch the torrid romantic dramas, the Random Text God informs me that I received the Sorcerer's Ring, just in case I didn't catch that little nuance. I also learn that I can use it at any time by pressing X. I decide to wait until a more appropriate time to test it out, given the urgency of this trial. Just kidding, obviously I try it out right away.
Well. From my angle, it appears that pressing X causes Lloyd to hold the ring in front of his crotch and shoot forth a small fireball. He might want to get that checked out by a doctor. I realize that a ring is not exactly on the list of "things that look like a penis" but given its...abilities and its overly convenient nature, I'm going to have to name it the Wizard's Wang. Just imagine the stone is shaped like a phallus or something if that makes you feel better.
With the Wang in Lloyd's possession, the area suddenly populates with more enemies. I should probably note that unlike games such as Chrono Cross or Lunar where you have no chance in hell of avoiding the visible enemies, here that's not always the case. So I skip past the bouncing skull and the white undulating penis and return to the main chamber of the temple. Taking the middle staircase this time, the party encounters a glowing ball of energy sealing off the passageway. A cut scene conversation removes any possibility of me having to use critical thinking skills to solve the puzzle since Suelette comes right out and tells Lloyd to blast the thing in the center with a hot beam from the Wizard's Wang.
This energy seal is clearly a foolproof way of restricting access to the inner sanctum. Why, if someone wanted to open it, they'd have to walk a short distance down the hallway to the right and fight several mildly challenging Golems to get the Wizard's Wang! Only a truly capable party could accomplish such a thing. In this case "capable party" would also include Shion and a retarded panda bear.
With the barrier removed, a set of double doors slide open to reveal a glowing butthole that serves as a warp point. Before riding the magical butthole to its destination, Lloyd whines over the fact that the Wizard's Wang doesn't also do more interesting stuff like take out the trash or do his homework. Clearly Lloyd is the only male in the universe not completely enamored of his own single-purpose tool. Penis has a similar thought, lamenting that Lloyd "gets bored easily." Oh, if only Lloyd would give him a chance to show him the wonders of the male anatomy! Alas.