Part 36: Update #XXXVI Stage 5-1 Oh No! Human HorseshoesUpdate #XXXVI: In which the plot finally kicks in
After defeating DR. ION and his giant spider robot fortress, Gene decides to go back to the motel and confront Olivia about what he learned from Azel. Indeed, there is more than meets the eye between those two lovebirds, for they were fiancé, as it turns out. This is where the game takes an unexpected melodramatic turn as we get an exposition dump about Olivia's character and the origin of the GODHANDS (yes, there are two of them). It was about time we get some backstory to keep us invested in this video game.
As seen in previous cutscenes, Gene is magically being teleported back to the motel. He waltz into the room in which Olivia has been twiddling her thumbs since the beginning of the game--since Stage 1-2 My Right Arm The God Hand, which was 33 updates ago, to be exact. When I say Olivia was twiddling her thumbs, I mean that literally. By pausing the game and pressing the R1/L1 bumper buttons, you get to see various pictures of Olivia taking a nap, drinking booze, relaxing in a bubble bath and gambling away Gene's hard earned money at the casino. See for yourself.
We need to talk, young lady.
Hey, what's the haps, Gene?
What's this I heard about you being the DEVILHAND's fiancée?
You two met each other, huh? Awkward.
Yeah! Not only did I meet him, but we even had a boss fight. This guy's an asshole!
What's the deal between you and him, anyway?
Allow me to explain.
The cutscene now has a monochromatic filter over it. You get a black screen if you're using Hardware mode on PCSX2 (PS2 emulator), but switching the video plugin to Software mode fixes it.
My father was head of the clan charged with protecting the GODHANDS from demon kind, I became engaged to Azel through an arrangement by our parents.
The camera slowly and ominously pans up over Azel, with clan members lying (probably dead or severely wounded) in the background.
However a year ago, Azel snatched away one of the GODHANDS, changing into the human personification of EVIL and taking on the name of DEVILHAND. He dedicated himself to finding the other GODHAND and began a campaign of terror within the clan.
Azel stands triumphantly, fist in the air with his newly-acquired DEVILHAND in hand. Why Azel doesn't have a DEVILHAND bracer like Gene is never explained. My guess is that they went with the tattoo design instead of a bracer because it looked evil and cool. The latter is subjective, this is Azel we're talking about.
Mom said it's my turn to play with the god hand
Olivia is running in slowmotion, holding a sort of coffin in her arms.
My father entrusted me with protecting the remaining GODHAND and I ran away to escape certain death.
Perhaps the only surviving members of my clan are Azel and I. Everyone else died defending the remaining GODHAND.
Back to color again. Gene then attempts to console the now crying Olivia by giving her a Godly hug.
It all makes sense now.
Leave it to me. If Azel is Demon, then I be a God.
The two snap out from their embrace.
What base did Azel get to, anyway?
Nothing of the sex occurred between us.
I am relieved.
So, where am I heading next?
Stage 5 is Floating Bazaar.
A water level? I'll need a yacht!
Olivia hands Gene some dollarinos.
It's not enough for a yacht, but take this.
I see you have been turning tricks. (this is an actual line from the game, Gene jokingly implies Olivia has been working as a prostitute.)
Get wreckt, shitlord
With his white privilege now in check, Gene leaves the room without a word. A couple minutes later, a topic titled "Why jiggle-happy boob physics helps with immersion in video games" is created by user XxX_Alxnd3r_teh_Gr34t_420_xXx on KotakuInAction.
Smiling at the door, Olivia lets out an annoyed, yet lovingly sigh.
We are now in STAGE 5-1 ~ Oh no! Human Horseshoes. And would you look at that, Olivia gave us 20,000 gold. During your first playthrough though, you get 10,000 gold instead. Since this is a New Game+ run, all the money pickups are doubled, Olivia's donation included.
This stage's architecture is reminiscent of Venice. Sort of. Similarly to Venice, most of Stage 5 is separated by canals and linked by bridges. Here's a picture of the Rialto Bridge, to give you a general idea.
Up ahead in the distance is a fruit market stand called GODHAND FRUITS (I'll show it off later) and on the right is a large empty place with 3 bad guys waiting for us.
I see a Clown Fatty on the left and a basic thug on the right. The guy in the back is new: I'm calling him a Bandana Brawler Elite.
This joker is a brawler type enemy, by that I mean his attack pattern consists mostly of a dirty street-fighting style, i.e. it involves haymakers, low kicks and knee strikes.
Video: Bandana Brawler dude
First order of business to take these guys out is to bait the basic thug. In GODHAND, you should always focus on defeating the weakest enemy first. Seen above is me dodging (with grace) his right hook machine-gun attack. The trap is set and the gears are in motion.
While I was fending against the thug's offense, the bandana brawler managed to catch up on me at lightning speed. A well placed High Side Kick counter-hit launched him right into the fruit stand. The clown in the back doesn't seem too flustered about my skillful performance, though.
I only have a couple seconds to breathe before the bandana dude and clown get on the offensive, so I decide to get rid of the thug with a Juggle move (I used Double Snap Kick) followed by an Air Launch Kick. The impact against the wall isn't enough to take off the few health points he had left. But it doesn't matter, for his fate has already been written.
So far so good. I back away to reposition myself and wait. Looking carefully at the clown fatty, I anticipate his next attack. He's about to curl into a ball and bounce in my direction, and I have just the attack to counter him: a running headbutt. The stars have aligned and I go for it.
Close enough. A well-timed Charged Punch counter-hit is all I need to send the bandana dude straight into the canal, followed by his friend the clown. I got rid of the basic thug at some point, it happened so fast I forget how.
Now that the area is clear, let's take a look at this fruit stand.
Wait a minute, there's no grapes, apples or lemons in this game. And to top it off, there was only one cherry drop in those crates. Pfft some fruit stand.
Justice being served, the fruit stand now destroyed, I go on my merry way.
Here's a better view of this bridge you see in the background, which is actually Stage 5-3. Anyway, upon reaching this area of the level, loud laughing can be heard in the background.
It appears 3 bad guys are bullying a villager. Traversing the bridge and getting closer to them triggers a cutscene.
A fatty, a guy wearing an orange outfit and a thug are laughing at a drowning villager.
The thug throws a giant horseshoe at the villager.
Thug: Don't worry, we'll help you!
Guy in orange: You're worthless! My turn!
The orange guy takes aim and throws.
[laughing even louder]
Everyone: Come on! Swim! Come on, swim for it!
Poor guy. This fight is actually timed and the villager will drown if you take too long helping him. A cutscene will trigger when he dies, I'll show it off in a bit.
These jokers will notice you as soon as you get down the stairs, however you can use this as your advantage. For now though, let's talk about this orange guy.
He's an Elite type and acts the same as the bandana brawler from earlier. Only thing worth mentioning is that he can perform a roll followed by a shoryuken attack (which you can up-dodge.)
Orange guy video
Anyway, let's save this poor villager already. He will die unless you defeat all 3 enemies, and you have a 2 minutes time-limit to do so. One strategy I like to do is go down the stairs and wait until the fatty spots me and reacts.
The fatty gets baited and goes for a sumo headbutt, hitting his two compadres at the same time. I gracefully dodge with a backflip, smiling as the fatty's hurtbox goes right through my invincibility-frames.
A few respositioning and AI manipulation later, I land a Chain Yanker, which stuns both the fatty and the guy in orange. I then follow it up with a quick Charged Punch into an Air Launch Kick, successfully hitting all 3 bad guys at once, launching them straight into the canal. The villager has been rescued from being bullied and a cutscene plays.
[drowning sound effect]
[drowning sound effect stops]
Gene stares at the villager who is now swimming in his direction.
Take my God Hand if you want to live.
The villager ignores Gene's attempt at referencing 80s action movies (more on that later) and places a chest at his feet. This is where you originally get the Home Run God roulette move.
Sick. The villager then swims back into the canal and thanks Gene for his help.
Villager: Thank you~! Kick more ass for me!
Now that equilibrium has been restored, let's head to the exit and call it an update.
So like I said earlier, you actually have 2 minutes to defeat the 3 bad guys, or else the villager will drown and die. If you immediately leave the level right after his first cutscene though, he won't count as "slain" in the Stage 5 score result. Please refer to the section bellow to watch the secret cutscene with the villager (which is a Terminator 2 reference iirc.)
Stage 5-1 map
Stage 5 intro cutscene
Villager bully cutscenes
Bandana brawler dude