Xenogears 16: Know Thyself

Everybody has got oneKnow thyself, know thy god.

Krelian was an assassin 500 years ago. Unfortunately, he was not a very good assassin, and fell in love with his target, the 13-year-old Sophia. Krelian had a good seven years with Sophia before she became politically active and started hanging out more with her “childhood friend”, a pretty boy painter. But, potential infidelity and/or grooming aside, when Sophia was permanently lost to a suicidal combat maneuver during the Shevat-Solaris War, Krelian karened out. His anger at a manager that would allow such an injustice was so all-consuming, he vowed to create a new manager that presided over a world where the good would never be sacrifices.

But Krelian was not honest with who he really was, so this plan had a few hiccups. For one thing, his plan to create a new god would sacrifice nearly every human living on the planet… which is a bit of a hypocritical move when you are doing this “for” one dead lady. He also gained the ability to control who lived or died through nanotechnology, and unilaterally “sentenced” a few random Shevat and Solarian leaders to immortality. Did he use his ability to grant eternal life for a good reason? Nope! And, in pursuit of his goal, he tortured and experimented on people for centuries. He even tortured Elhaym Van Houten, who was the living reincarnation of the woman he purported to love! And he tortured Chu-Chu, too! Which is just unpleasant!

In short, Krelian wanted to create god, but he ignored how he had turned from the divine long ago.

Watch the pointsThen we have Lacan, that painter that Sophia seemed to dote on. Lacan had significant self-esteem issues, and thought painting a portrait of “the Holy Mother” that happened to be his friend/potential paramour was beyond his capability. Then, when Sophia died, he blamed himself, and decided it would never have happened if he was tougher. In pursuit of -the power-, he hooked up with a purple-haired war criminal, and attempted to steal strength from god. However, this ended poorly, with 98% of the planet’s surface population being obliterated in the ensuing chaos. And that wasn’t enough! This was right about the time that, thanks to a gross misunderstanding of some well wishes, he vowed to live to see the end of the world. And if that apocalypse wasn’t happening anytime soon, he would help the world get to the last page all the faster.

And considering he then spent the next 500 years manipulating everyone within a 500-yard radius into similarly and fruitlessly chasing -the power-, it is easy to see how he could bring about the end of everything. He even manipulated a traumatized child into being a living weapon. Which is all the more tragic when “old” Lacan had power all his own all the while…

But that brings us to that traumatized child. Fei Fong Wong was a mere babe when Lacan attempted to steal -the power- from Fei. But Fei’s father, Khan, fought to protect his son, and, in the ensuing melee, Fei’s deific power was released. This instantly killed Fei’s mother, Karen, and left the youngster in a mental quagmire that plunged his “normal” personality into hibernation. This left us with a Fei identifying as Id that seemed to live for death and destruction. And when this Id hooked up with Lacan (now known as Grahf), the two of them got up to a few hijinks that involved a surprising amount of genocide. Eventually, a third personality in Fei emerged to suppress the murderous Id, but this third persona had no access to the memories of the previous two. In short, Fei was a third of the person he could be, with memories that only stretched back a few years.

But, despite/because of more recent traumas, Fei was able to come to an understanding with all of his personalities. Even if this process caused him untold pain, Fei was able to reckon with his true self. As a result, Fei was able to make true contact with god, and obtain the fabled Xenogears, a Gear that was powered by an extra-dimensional energy source entirely separate from Krelian’s machinations.

And were Krelian or Lacan ever able to find their god? Well, considering Fei killed that giant slug before he even achieved enlightenment, outlook is not too good there.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 16

Original Stream Night: June 1, 2021
Night of the Bravest Fencer

Random Stream Notes

  • Beat, Fanboymaster, Jeanie, Caliscrub are here at the start. Kishi is on their way! At the very least, we’re gonna fight god!
  • That’s our god?”
  • Kishi arrives for the start of our militant atheism.
  • “The god bug thing isn’t hot enough.”
  • We discuss exactly what Grahf is wearing. I feel Xenoblade Chronicles 3 eventually answered any questions about what we are supposed to be looking at.
  • BEAT sees Chu-Chu crucified live for the first time. Why would that puffball even inflate for that?
  • Look, this game was translated by Richard Honeywood sleeping under a desk. Please excuse any typos from Wiseman.
  • “It not only has two heads…
    What is even happening here?

    It has two torsos.”
  • “I’m Gyro Man.” “Here’s five dollars, please give me a sandwich.”
  • Let’s talk about the most expensive brisket Caliscrub has ever seen.
  • Please enjoy the great blue vs purple debate over Miang/Elly’s hair color. I’m with purple.
  • “That frog’s not a pervert.”
  • “I’m really proud of Fei for remembering who Rico is.”
  • There is a lot going on in flashbacks here. So, naturally, we discuss whether Fei smells bad.
  • Dan’s forehead is back! Hooray!
  • Nice dye job“What do I do to get that motorcycle?” “You pay twenty dollars, little Timmy.”
  • All the xeno-heads are “excited” for Fei’s imaginary journey through his subconscious. Buckle up!
  • Lacan is Grahf who is also Fei who is also Wise Man who is also Khan. You get all that?
  • “Look, we all killed mom. Together.”
  • “Is this going to turn into a rhythm game?”
  • Jeanie realizes how Xenoblade is related to Xenogears. Go fig!
  • “So how do I use the Zohar to mine for bitcoin?”
  • Let us always remember to store data in our introns. … Wait, that is a real part of DNA!?
  • If you want our first discussion on how the ending sucks, here it is after checking out Fei’s introns. To be clear: the ending as an ending isn’t bad, it is just that literally the entire world is dead.
  • Oh, I guess we’re never streaming Final Fantasy 8. Shucks…
  • “May we all be brave enough to be Goku.” “Oh! It’s a save point! My favorite character!” Thanks for watching!

Next time on Xenogears: What is considered optional in this universe?

I blame you, Dan

Wild Arms 3 Part 38 Interlude: Art Appreciation

Did you think we were taking a week off just because Janus died? Nope! Gotta post something on January 23, Odd Number Day. Even though half of all the numbers in this world are odd, why are odd numbers called ‘odd?’ Is it implicating that half of everything in this world is odd?

Previously on Wild Arms 3: Chapter 2 complete!


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And now that all the major players have made their appearances…

Back in the day, I always loved strategy guides. It wasn’t just about knowing what was happening/going to happen in a game, it was also about the fact that strategy guides (and their general gaming magazine cousins) were about the only place you could get “official” art of videogame characters outside of a manual. And this was huge when your protagonist was a 16 x 16 block of smeared pixels! Do you know how many different ways I tried to interpret Celes Chere back in 1994? There was Amano art of her with pants! Did her sprite have pants? Could I see them on my chiclet-sized television? A strategy guide might help!

Now, Wild Arms 3 was released in 2002, and that was well past the point that one needed a magnifying glass and guide to figure out what was going on. In fact, as has been noted before, Wild Arms 3 has some extremely detailed and expressive models. However, it never hurts to see what was “intended” by the art department, so let’s take a quick look at some official Wild Arms 3 art.

(Unlike the rest of the LP, click on any of the images in this post for a larger view)


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As was the style of the time, our first decent introduction to our team is available in the manual. I appreciate that everyone looks happy, and even Jet seems to be having a good time. Also of note…

  • Jet’s age is listed as ????, which is never not a red flag for “mysterious past”
  • Gallows is 6’ 3” and 220 lbs. He might be the most jacked mage in all of JRPG history
  • Clive is 5’ 8”, and his gun is nearly as tall as he is
  • Virginia and Jet are the exact same height. There is something about that that I find adorable


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And our villains get a page, too. While the Prophets are clearly implied to be evil, Janus seems to be described as almost heroic. Maybe aspirational? Regardless, he definitely comes off as the bad guy who eventually joins the heroes… But, as we all know now, that is not the fate for this JRPG Janus.

Maya is not mentioned in the manual at all, and that is a crime.


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Anywho, that’s it for good stuff in the WA3 manual. Just going to also note that I am not convinced that there are actual screenshots in this manual, but some kind of simulated, labor-intensive art going on. Speaking as someone who has spent the last year taking “real” pictures of Wild Arms 3, these examples do not look actually possible…

Beyond the manual, there was a Wild Arms 3 strategy guide, but I never bought it, because Wild Arms 3 came out at exactly the point in time that I was a poor college student that had to decide between purchasing strategy guides or buffalo wings for the week… And there wasn’t a free website called buffalowingfaqs.com.


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There was some free official art released on the Wild Arms website, though.


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I have had this nonsense saved as part of my pictures screen saver for the last two decades.


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I have always loved this piece…

FGC #651 Goat Simulator 3

Look, I ate an epically spicy tortilla chip live on stream for my loyal audience, so I am going to claim that is worth a thousand words. Please enjoy watching me play Goat Simulator 3 with a spice-based handicap in place of a more extensive article.

Trust me, this is in everyone’s best interest.

FGC #651 Goat Simulator 3

  • System: Looks like we have Playstation 5 and the Xbox X|S|PC this time. The stream was the Playstation 5 version, if that wasn’t readily apparent.
  • Number of players: Like the original Goat Simulator, there are multiplayer game-events around the world that serve to remind you that you do not have any friends that will play Goat Simulator simultaneously with you.
  • This looks like a good ideaMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: The original Goat Simulator was fun as hell to screw around with, but seemed to suffer any time the producers tried to attach any concrete gameplay or goals to the adventure. Goat Simulator 2 is not worth talking about. But now Goat Simulator 3 has made a cohesive “game” out of the established Goat Simulator gameplay, and we are all better for it. This is still the same mayhem simulator we all know and love, but the various tasks have been masterfully tied to various mayhem-upgrade abilities, and… Well, it is hard to see Goat Simulator 3 as anything but the GOAT goat.
  • Favorite Goat: There is a large, gray goat with hard skin, heavy hooves, and a horn at the end of its nose. This might be some manner of “unicorn goat”, but it also looks a lot like Rocksteady of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So I guess it is an 80’s toy reference.
  • Favorite Headpiece: You can customize your goat in all sorts of crazy ways. While wearing a dress or sandals is fun an’ all, my favorite costume chunk is a Cyclops visor that provides continual laser eyebeams. Goat Simulator 3 finally rectifies the mistake of Nature not blessing the average goat with vision-based firepower.
  • The Air Up There: It seems like every open-world game since Batman: Arkham City has included a gliding mechanic. I just want to note that this is a really weird choice for most protagonists (even “street-level” Batman seemed vaguely betrayed by having flight powers), and I am 100% here for it. Let my goat soar from building to building. It is the only way to fly.
  • ZoooomYou wouldn’t download a car: You can steal vehicles at will in Goat Simulator 3. This comes about twenty years after Grand Theft Auto 3 made that a standard part of open world games, and feels a little too late for it to be an upgrade of any consequence. Much like Saints Row 4, you can often get around easier without a car, so why bother? What’s this? Because it causes more wanton destruction? Okay, fine. You can stay, cars.
  • An end: The finale sees your goat attacking their creator in a dramatic showdown that may or may not include a significant reference to Super Mario Land. I do not envy the people that had to figure out a way to “end” Goat Simulator 3 in a satisfying manner, but I have absolutely no complaints about the experience, so they must have done something right.
  • Did you know? Speaking of videogame parodies, Goat Simulator 3 includes a few very recognizable parody areas, including an entire “Doom level” and some distinct Mortal Kombat references. However, the best parody in there must be a recreation of the Hideo Kojima/Guillermo del Toro designed Silent Hills demo P.T. It is nice to see those endless hallways relishing some love in Goat Simulator 3 after Konami dropped it like a wet turd.
  • Would I play again: Goat Simulator 3 is a great pick up ‘n play game, and I might buy a second copy on sale for the Xbox X|S just so I can have it immediately available on that system, too. I am perfectly willing to play Goat Simulator 3 for the rest of time… or at least this console generation.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Gungrave Overdrive! Speaking of Even Worse Streams, we’ve got another one inspired by some Tuesday night gamin’. Please look forward to it!

Radical!

Xenogears 15: People and Power

Let's go, ratToday we will (rapidly) examine people who came from nothing, but eventually obtained -the power-.

First, we have Hammer. While Hammer was friendly with one future god-slayer and one future popette, it is hard to say Hammer was ever a good person. He did good things, and he did help people in the prison of Kislev District D, but he was also an arms smuggler, which is decidedly not the most altruistic of vocations. Then, when the chips were down, he was easily coerced into threatening an innocent(ish) woman’s family. He failed at that (while incidentally killing the future holy mother’s mother), and was then rebuilt as a weaponized robot rat. Unfortunately, even with this power at hand, he still attacked his old comrades. And, when he had been summarily defeated, he found that his new masters had boobytrapped his body, and he was rigged to explode. While his former compatriots were able to escape, Hammer died bursting with agony in a pit in some forgotten cave. He came from nothing, gained -the power-, used it for selfish ends, and returned to nothing.

And on the subject of Hammer’s homicidal superiors, we have Ramsus. Ramsus was born to be something more, but was treated like trash since the womb(/tube). He worked his way up to a standing of some nobility, but then had a win-loss record of 60-1 for a solid six years with a “trash” martial artist (that would have rather been a painter anyway). As a result, despite clearly proving he has -the power- (just not all -the power-) Ramsus was convinced he was a loser, and would literally do anything to demonstrate he was something more. In a mad attempt to get the attention of his rival, he endangered an entire town of people, and even threatened to crush their holy mother (who, admittedly, was his hated opponent’s girlfriend). When that proved to be so pointless that it was barely worth mentioning, he then moved on to killing the Emperor of Solaris. And, yes, Solaris was mostly a smoking crater at this point, and it was hard to say what Emperor Cain was even ruling, but still. It was not a nice thing to do, and only served the purpose of further endangering the like sixty people that could be defined as humans at this point. Ramsus, like Hammer, used -the power- only to help himself, and even failed at that.

This is grand funBut this world is not so dark that you cannot see the light. Ramsus had a group of subordinates known as The Elements. Dominia Yizkor, Seraphita, Tolone, and Kelvena were all considered to be have-nots, as they all had disadvantages such as random etheric disabilities, cybernetic parts, or elf ears. However, they pooled their abilities to become a force that could threaten -the power-, and literally combined their strengths into a gigantic robot. And, like Hammer or Ramsus, they initially used this force to bully those that they blamed for their difficult lives. But after speaking to the woman that would shortly thereafter be manhandled by a raging Ramsus, they decided to use their vigor not for selfish reasons, but to help the man that had raised them up to -the power- in the first place. And, while this change of heart was partially facilitated by being beaten bloody by a team of giant robots (two of them piloted by former Elements that now had better jobs), everyone else mentioned at this point were defeated by Gears and still didn’t learn their lesson.

So use -the power- for good. And if you cannot bring yourself to do that, maybe use your own power to find something good. It will reduce the odds of self-exploding.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 15

Original Stream Night: May 18, 2021
Night of the Frontier of Sagas

Random Stream Notes

  • Never call me Microsoft Bob. Welcome back to Xenogears with BEAT, fanboymaster, and Jeanie.
  • And Caliscrub arrives as we are discussing super exciting spelling bees.
  • Do we have a tally of how many times we talk about Final Fantasy 7 on this stream? Let’s discuss concepts for Vincent Valentine.
  • The N-Gage is gross, but Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2’s team getting recycled in “Triple-A development” is grosser.
  • As the Elements appear, BEAT reveals he did not know the Sailor Moon cast was related to particular elements. How do you miss that?! You are experienced in JRPGs, man!
  • And then I lose power! In real life! What the heck!?
  • Who would even make this?Seeing the Playstation 3 boot screen may have been when we officially decided to play all the Mega Man Legends titles. That’s some more Even Worse trivia for you!
  • We’re back to playing the exact same thing! And talking about how Metallica proved they were squares.
  • We need more JRPG bosses like the Turks who will give up immediately.
  • And the Elements combine! Woo!
  • This was the first I heard of Voltron not being notable in Japan. It broke my heart.
  • Joe & Mac is announced on virtual console with Spanky’s Quest! Best stream ever!
  • We talk about Skies of Arcadia a lot on this stream, so let’s remember the dearly departed noises of a grinding Dreamcast as we hit our second dungeon.
  • “There are plenty of people that are just jackasses.”
  • All the puzzles ever intended for Xenogears wound up in one dungeon, and now we have to deal with that.
  • Let us all lament the loss of Hammer, the one character we unanimously liked.
  • Cain is dead. “Do we ever get an explanation for what is going on in that room?” “No.”
  • That's grossWould you take the Pope with you to fight street toughs? Would you have sex if a mascot monster told you to?
  • Yes, it was Ashley in Wild Arms 2 that got his Playstation 1 mack on, too.
  • We’re finally back at the Eldridge! From the intro! It would have been a nice dungeon! But we don’t have time for that now! Let’s take a break.

Next time on Xenogears: We kill God, and then get to some actually important stuff.

Enjoy yourself, kids
Chicka wow wow