Part 66: Commentary: Updates 51 - 55
Gilbert: School Amour
Doing this quest locks you out of the obscure "Gilbert: Love is Blind" quest I ranted about before. You also need to do this one to do pretty much any Geo quest, and there's a ton of those here, including most of the Jumi Arc.
Anyway, the story is simple. Once again, Gilbert's trying to woo a woman who has no interest in him, so once again he decides to have us do some menial task to make him look good, in this case convincing students to go back to their classes.
This whole thing is pretty simple, as you talk to kids and give them the choice they want to hear. If you give the wrong one, just talk again and give the other choice. Mainly, this whole thing is meant to introduce you to Geo, which again is a major quest hub, and to learn a bit about the students in particular, who all get a surprising amount of development for characters who have no function in any quests in any significant manner. There's also some entertaining dialogue here and there, like the dead locust dad.
Fun fact: Kristie's manor has statues of the six protagonists from Seiken Densetsu 3. Some of the location names are also from previous Mana games, like "Lester's Harp" (Final Fantasy Adventure), the Jewelry Shop "Wendell" (SD3 for sure, may be in FFA/SoM as well), and the awesomely-named cafe "Sorry, Carl!" (Carl was a wolf pup and Kevin's best friend in SD3, and also a bit of a sick sense of humor considering Kevin is led to believe he accidentally killed Carl at the beginning of his scenario).
There's even more references in the basement, like a few elemental spirits and some enemies. The woman on the bottom-center of the second screenshot looks a lot like the design for Amanda they ended up using for Sword of Mana, though maybe that's just me. That little clock thing on the bottom right is especially entertaining.
Geo is pretty much one giant area of Mana callbacks.
You know, I haven't really gotten into the game's two-player capabilities. Yes, you can play two-player, though it's not as refined as previous games due to you sometimes having a revolving door of NPC partners. You can even have someone import their character in your game and play along with you!
The arena is where you get to duke with a NPC. This can be almost any NPC in the game, so you can beat the tar out of Niccolo or Escad if you want to, or another character from another save game, in case you want to see if your character's better than your friend's. A nice touch buried in this out-of-the-way area.
Anyway, we end up helping Gilbert out, and he ends up being petrified since he can't take a fucking hint and leave the woman with petrification powers alone.
This quest is really unremarkable other than it features Li'l Cactus going on his own little adventure to find a cure for Bud's illness. It's more exciting for Li'l Cactus, I imagine, but for our character who's slain demons and dragons, going to various places and talking to NPCs is a bit...boring. Mainly, the game's testing you a bit to see if you can figure out where to go next based on context and perhaps memory.
Gaeus is easy to find unless you never ran into him, which pretty much involves never exploring the highway and never talking to Daena early on. Gaeus then tells you to go to Selkie without telling you where she is. She does have a unique name that is mentioned a few times during "Hunting Du'Cate" which would lead you to the jungle, but you might be screwed if you forgot (unless Meimei tells you where to go next, I guess). Selkie then mentions Brownie, a name you won't know unless you've brought Bud and Lisa to Geo to learn the kids' names, but context tells you he's a student. He then refers you to David, the same penguin from "Summer Lovin'" though the fact that he's a pirate is enough to lead you to the SS Buccaneer. So far, so good, right?
This last clue is particularly fiendish, as the game never refers to the Pelican as Amalette. Even the character book refers to her as Pelican! You also have no given location to explore. You just have to think it through and realize he's talking about a delivery person who's incompetent enough not to deliver that well a lot of the time. That, or maybe Meimei will give you a better clue. I never really use her that much.
In the end, we actually accomplish nothing, as just waiting around doing nothing would've had the same result. But then this is Li'l Cactus's quest, so it's only appropriate that he had all the adventure and saved the day.
Niccolo's Business Unusual: Part 4
There are six days in the calender. Two of those days, nobody teaches class. On the other four days, one teacher teaches. Of these, Nunuzac's easily the best teacher and gives you a look into his weird, wonderful sense of humor. I guess you have to have a sense of humor if you're trapped in another dimension and can only communicate through a magic wooden circle.
Anyway, the fourth quest of the Niccolo saga is as tame as the one where the fat fuck gathers animal feces. He "leaves" some silver, which Watts uses up, and then Niccolo demands payment. Of course, whether he actually left silver at all is debatable, depending on how much of an asshole you think Niccolo is.
Of course, what follows is, well...
You see, Watts lost his wallet that had his money in it, so he asks us to give him Gatorskin to make a new wallet with so he can pay us. Only in this game.
Gatorskin's pretty rare, but you get some from the first Diddle quest way back at the beginning of the game, and it might be in a chest or two, as well as being a drop from a Tyrranos. So Watts then makes his wallet, only to discover there's no money in it.
It's really a horrible showcase for both characters. At least this game doesn't shy away from making some of the people your character hangs out with be complete assholes and morons. They make no apologies.
This is the second of two whole quests where we run into Skippie and Hamson, this time involving Lilipeas. The goal is to distract the two and try to save the Lilipeas.
Once we do so and find the village, there's a nice little cutscene where Skippie and Hamson decide they've had enough of this and choose to run away from their debt, albeit separately. There's a nice undercurrent of the two respecting, almost liking each other as friends, yet both are too proud to really stick together and go their separate ways. It's a nice little end to Skippie and Hamson's mini-arc.
The game has an annoying little gimmick where you can only understand the Lilipeas when Rev. Nouvelle is near them, and he takes his time to walk to the elder. That said, the elder's got some good dialogue, and he has a nice, simple boss for us to beat up. And that's pretty much it.
Did you know you get locked out of this quest if you do Catchin' Lilipeas first? I had to go back and do this one and then Catchin' Lilipeas just because I'm a completionist. Ah well.
This one's really simple. The penguins kidnap Putty, the dog who's the symbol of the Diggers cult, and you have to save him because...well, that's kinda your thing.
So you go to the Buccaneer, talk to a barrel with Putty in it, and leave. That's pretty much it. Of course, the trick is that Putty doesn't come back to the Mines, but rather washes up in Polpota Harbor.
Towns and NPC dialogue change a bit as you go further in the game. It's always nice to visit old friends and catch up with what they're doing.
Anyway, you find Putty, Roger and the Dudbears show up, and everyone's happy. It's honestly a rather boring quest, but they can't all be winners.