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  -Suiko2 Main
  -Part 1 :: [11.23.02]
  -Part 2 :: [12.03.02]
  -Part 3 :: [01.13.03]
  -Part 4 :: [03.13.03]
  -Part 5 :: [06.18.03]
  -Part 6 :: [07.19.03]
  -Part 7 :: [10.25.03]
  -Part 8 :: [05.09.04]
  -Part 9 :: [12.01.04]
  -Part 10 :: [12.01.04]
  -Part 11 :: [02.19.07]
  -Part 12 :: [05.22.11]
  -Part 13 :: [09.09.12]
  -Part 14 :: [09.09.12]
  -Part 15 :: [08.30.13]
  -Part 16 :: [08.30.13]
  -Part 17 :: [06.14.14]

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"'You're not letting us go,' Tightass surmises. Whoa, wait a second -- when did Tightass grow half a brain? He actually...figured something out on his own? Holy crap."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 13

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Suikoden II : Part 15
By Sam
Posted 08.30.13
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
Previously, our hero Barry took a huge step forward in his quest to return peace to Highland and the City-States, by murdering the shit out of Prince Adolf Hitler. Sadly, he took a huge step backward in his quest to get his man back, since Jowy went ahead and married Adolf's sister and made all three of them even more miserable.

Once Barry is done leaning casually against the save point in the hope that someone cute will walk by and wink at him, he prepares to go downstairs, but is interrupted by Nanami pulling out of him. Not like that. "It looks like there won't be any battles for a while," she says with adorable naïveté, "and if Apple and the others do their part, the war might be over soon." Emphasis on "the others." She requests that they use their new free time to go on a walk together. "Ever since we escaped from Muse, we haven't had any free time," she blathers on while Barry rolls his eyes. "I want to look around South Window and Kuskus Town." But Nanami getting to go on an outing with her brother is just code for their real errand, the "I killed Adolf Hitler, who wants to fucking touch me?!" recruitment drive.

No argument here!

After a rigorous round of Talk to Everyone--seriously, this place has five goddamn floors now and it takes forever--Barry is starving and decides to stop at High Yo's restaurant. Can't recruit all those super-impressed hotties out there on an empty stomach! But in his hungry state, Barry has obviously forgotten that serving meals is High Yo's lowest priority. Because, for the fourth time now, the restaurant Barry paid for with blood and sweat and potch has been taken over by High Yo's personal drama.

Maybe the fucking restaurant, dingus?

When Barry walks in this time, he once again encounters a cluster of people in between the tables, but this time they are surrounding not only High Yo and his presumptive opponent, but the orange-clad sprite body of Barbara, face down on the floor. Barry checked in on his warehouse no more than five minutes ago, so this is quite a surprise. "Hey what did you do?" High Yo asks the chef and sous chef, this time in yellow. "What did you do to Barbara?" The chef, named Ryuki, answers over the sinister music, "Ha ha ha. That was a poison extracted from 10 species of spiders found only in the nameless countries north of Zexen. If she doesn't get an antidote within 30 minutes, she will die!!! Now [High] Yo, return the 'thing' that you stole!!!!!" The sprites in the room hop with agitation at this pronouncement, but High Yo coldly answers, "Ohhh.......I.....I won't give it to you!!!" Flik is like, "Barry is not getting the bad ending because of your stubborn ass," but High Yo is still reluctant to hand over whatever it is Ryuki wants. Of course, it only takes five seconds for Ryuki to back down from his pretty great bargaining position and propose a cooking contest instead. "If you win, I'll give you the antidote. I'll also give you a recipe according to 'Group' rules," Ryuki overexplains. "But if I win, you must give me that 'thing'. Do you accept the challenge!!!!" Maybe High Yo should turn down the challenge and simply wait for Ryuki to abandon that tack and just give him the antidote for nothing. But he asks for Barry's advice instead. Barry's all, "Asshole, do not let my warehouse manager die." And he's the boss, so the competition is on. "By the rules of the Black Dragon Group," Ryuki name-drops, "let's cook!!!!"

So...I guess Barbara had better hope that the timer for Iron Chef HoYay is less than 30 minutes, and not an hour like the real Iron Chef, since these assholes are dead set on settling this in the kitchen. And naturally, though Barbara is presumably still lying prone on the restaurant tile, Fukui-san still takes the time to introduce each judge and each chef. Today's judges are Tsai of the Teenage Daughter-Creating Spear, Gengen's little chew toy Gabocha, Oulan the scary redhead lady, and Lorelai the scary mullet lady. But he takes way longer to introduce them than I did. Come on, Fukui-san, Barbara's life is ticking away here!

High Yo and Barry put together a menu of island salad (it has soy sauce!), hot spareribs, and their new dessert go-to, cheesecake. This is cake with mayonnaise, the thought of which may ruin cheesecake for me forever. And as the red timer, or Barbara's blood, drains down, they stir-fry, boil, chop, and flambé their little hearts out. For Barbara! And for High Yo's stolen property! We're okay with that for now!

The hell?

And now for the judging. Chef Ryuki's appetizer is a "Teri-Sand," which I am guessing is short for teriyaki sandwich, but in game terms it's a sandwich with soy sauce. And even if I can squint at that from a distance and find it reasonable, the end result is a white bread sandwich cut into triangles with the crusts cut off, filled with some sort of green substance. The judges hold up ones and twos, because ew. Thanks to functioning tastebuds, they are happier with High Yo's vibrant, soy saucy salad. It gets closer in the entrée round, because Ryuki is the first chef to make something that looks both like an entrée and not fucking awful--tempura--but he is still beaten out by the "great scores" for High Yo's spareribs. Dessert goes emphatically High Yo's way as well, though I wonder if the judges realize they're eating mayonnaise cheesecake. Then again, Ryuki made "cream croquettes" which are probably also mayonnaise based. Ugh, this game. But even with these "great scores," we're still talking a range of threes to fours with an odd five. Not fives across the board, or ones across the board for Ryuki, which you'd think would be an easy way to make sure one of their own doesn't drop dead. What the hell is wrong with these people?

Despite the downright recklessly fair scoring of the judges, High Yo wins handily once again. While Barbara is still face down, for the love of God, Ryuki concedes, "You are a true chef, [High] Yo! That's why you were one of the 4 Lords of the Black Dragon Group." High Yo answers with ellipses, because he's not sure how his boss is going to handle the news that he was part of the culinary mafia. I hope they spend their time gunning down snobby Yelp reviewers.

Finally, Ryuki administers the antidote to Barbara and hands over his recipe for pasta, which is curious since he didn't make any pasta himself. And fresh pasta is always a total honeypot for these cooking competition judges! "You beat me, but I won't forget!!" Ryuki cries. "Until you return that 'thing', the Black Dragon Group will be hunting for you!!!!!!" Jesus, can't they just buy another cast iron skillet? They're not that hard to season. But despite Ryuki saying he would not forget this loss, a black screen and violent sound effect later, he and his sous chef have gone to that prix fixe dinner in the sky. This is some dark shit, High Yo. Barry's just going to Chipotle from now on.

Do I detect sarcasm?

With Barbara saved and some leftover spareribs scarfed down, Barry can finally go cruising for strange with Nanami in tow. That sounds like a terrible idea when I put it like that, but he's doing it anyway. That fever dream about Jowy's wedding, which hopefully did not last into Jowy's wedding night, has put him in a strange and crazy mood. And fittingly, the first potential recruit he finds is a strange and crazy person. In the kobold district of Two River, Barry makes the acquaintance of a young man named Bob. Judging from his dreadlocks and the coloring of his outfit--a green vest with yellow fringes over a bare chest and yellow Hammer pants, you know, the usual--Bob is either Jamaican or really, really into Bob Marley. And...holy shit, his name is Bob! My mind is blown. In a decidedly not laid back, Bob Marley-like manner, however, Bob shouts at Barry, "What's your business with me!!!" Well, that might count as subdued in this game. Barry, trying to be cool and keep his eyes from wandering to Bob's pecs, replies, "Hey, join our group." Bob appraises him for a moment, then says, "You surprise me. Maybe I can trust you. Maybe......but no. You're not ready yet....." What a tease. Barry is dying to know what he's not ready for. It's this jelly, isn't it? He swears he is ready.

'Then you probably need some protein...*points to crotch*'

Since I steered Barry toward Bob a little early, he gives up for now and warps to Radat. A while ago, he took notice of the lithe, blue-haired elf with a huge nose running laps on Radat's streets, intrigued but also a little afraid of rejection. Remember, Barry's from Highland so elves are probably totally exotic to him. But Jowy's latest betrayal has burned away whatever remained of Barry's shyness, so he saunters right up to the elf, who we know is named Stallion. And if Barry had known that, he would have propositioned him ages ago. Stallion immediately notices Barry staring at his ears and knows perfectly well it's because there are no elves around here. And now that he knows he has Barry on the hook, he starts bragging, if you could call it that. "I'm the fastest elf alive," he says. "When I'm running away, that is." That sounds like a cutting insult from a bad movie script. "You're only fast when you're running away from your problems, Maverick!!! WOLVERINES!!!" Or something. Oh, Stallion is still talking: "When Greenhill was attacked by Highland," he's explaining to Barry, "I was the only one that was able to escape the Highland soldiers. I ran away and came all the way here." Good thing he was able to escape the horrible fate of hanging out at a prep school and not having to fight anybody.

When Barry asks Stallion if he can ride him all the way to HoYay Castle, Stallion suggests a race to decide his answer. Barry can beat Stallion on foot if he's run away from at least 50 battles in the course of the game, which happily includes letting groups of Holly Boys and Muku Ranger Red's cousins off the hook. After a Black Screen of They Weren't Really Running, Stallion is left huffing, puffing, and overexerted. He insists he let Barry win, or come first, however you want to play this. Stallion agrees to join up and sprints, or skips, probably, back to headquarters.

Cheap my ass! I could sharpen a third of a sword for that!

After buying a poor piglet to turn into more hot spareribs in High Yo's restaurant, which I've only just realized I've never given a name, Barry heads down to the river, to the spot where he once watched and giggled as Apple rooted around in the mud. Standing there now is a person accompanied by the time-honored Gay Even for This Series Theme, a musical flourish reserved for the likes of the Flower General and Augustine. Now, officially Simone's gender is listed, I guess for comic effect, as "?" but s/he is pretty obviously supposed to be a drag queen, even though s/he's dressed in a fancy Elizabethan-era men's coat, albeit a pink and purple one out of the Lisa Frank fashion catalog. I don't know. Let's just enjoy this. Simone asks what Barry wants, but that's just a thinly veiled cover for launching into a pity party monologue: "Well I'm sorry, kid. I've had nothing but bad luck in life. Bad luck and more bad luck. I lost my 'rose brooch' that my dear friend gave me. Can things get any worse? Maybe my friend will forgive me if I tell him how sorry I am." I know it's the most wanted fashion accessory in Suikoland and all, but it's just a fucking brooch--life will go on.

Pick a name for the HoYay Castle restaurant!
The Beefcake Factory
Coq au Vin
The Iron Man
Five Guys


But luckily for Simone, Barry just happened to find such an item in his repeated travels to downriver Banner Village. I guess the implication is that Simone dropped it in the river and it washed all the way down there to be sold in the item shop. That's a long way for a piece of metal to travel very quickly. Anyway. Barry, feeling dramatic himself, holds it out and goes, "You mean this?" Simone freaks the fuck out and basically offers to suck Barry off in exchange for his/her beloved pin. Or to join the Yaoi Army, whatever. I'm pretty comfortable in my interpretation. Simone is, of course, happy to call Barry a "friend." These people all need to realize that "boss" is much more accurate. Waving the rose brooch high in the air, Simone wiggles into the Yaoi Army and into Barry's pants party. Finally, someone will use all that white wrought-iron furniture on HoYay Castle's third-floor terrace. It was looking so lonely!

Oh my.

Continuing his recruitment spree in Radat, Barry next heads to the appraiser's shop. Radat's local expert on shitty pottery is a bald, monocle-wearing, middle-aged man by the name of Lebrante. The monocle, the bald head, and his expensive-looking dark red coat combine to make him look like a comic book villain, but all he does is appraise failure urns. OR DOES HE? Lebrante, either because he's a simple appraiser or because he figured his billion-potch yacht moored at the dock was a clue that he's Lex Luthor, is befuddled at Barry's request to join the forces of good in the Yaoi Army. He covers for this by saying, "I can judge antiques, but I'm not so good at judging people. Isn't that something....." If only he knew how to appraise THE HEART! Sigh. That would be bad enough, but Lebrante also has some Cold Truth of War™ to drop on our hero: "War is a tragic thing. It makes men into beasts. Many irreplaceable antiques have been destroyed in the fire of war. That is no less of a tragedy...." OH NO, NOT THE VASES! I am pretty sure that that is, in fact, less of a tragedy than dead people.

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