The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 3: Beer Run

It was that or ‘Booze Cruise,’ but since this chapter doesn’t involve a boat… You get the picture.

OVERWORLD MUSIC:The Continent of Nadias” (Disc 1, Track 15)

We open this chapter with a brief shot of our world map. Much like an actual ye olde travler’s map, it’s in a sort of sepia tone and looks to be hand drawn. I’ll post a composite image of the full map later on, but basically Nadias as a continent is vaguely crescent shaped . The Kingdom of Balandor encompasses pretty much everything you see on this screen up to the mountain range running down the right there.

As you can probably tell by the straight line and cursor set up, the game is essentially divided into environment stages which we move between using the map as a fast transit hub. As we progress through the story more destinations will unlock, but right now we’ve only got one option: Balastor Plain. Once we clear Balastor Plain, we’ll be free to move on to Parma Village. But, first thing’s first…

CUTSCENE: In the Wild Now
CUTSCENE / AERA MUSIC:Balastor Plain” (Disc 1, Track 5)

Leonard and Orren leave Balandor Castltown, arriving on Balastor Plain on their way to Parma.

Leonard: The village of Parma is due south of here, pretty simple. There’s not much to it, but it’s a nice enough place. Say, uh, you’re new to Balandor aren’t you?
Orren: What was your first clue?

Leonard: Then why don’t I show you the sights along the way? Sound good?
Orren: Just as long as you keep walking, then fine.

Leonard: Just keep a look out for monsters. We’re in the wild now.
Orren: You haven’t heard a thing I’ve said to you in the last twenty minutes, have you?
Leonard: I’m gonna be honest with you… I actually thought you were mute. This whole “you talking” thing is kind of weirding me out a little.
Orren: Just… ugh.

CUTSCENE: Leonard Explains How To Play The Game

And so Leonard and Orren set out on their trek across Balastor Plain. Leonard volunteers to take point as he knows the way to Parma, while Orren hangs back, letting assessing where exactly would be the best spot on the back of Leonard’s head to bury his axe into should the time finally come…

At this point in the game, even in New Game+ games, Leonard pauses things to go through a series of tutorials to explain the mechanics of the game’s battle system. I’ll cover all that in the gameplay update though, so as not to derail the story. The 5-second version of things? Have you played Final Fantasy XII? Okay, good, just picture that, but dumber. Literally.

Now, Balastor Plain is ostensibly a wide open area full of spots to faff about in and explore. You can very easily run all over Balastor Plain and leveling up to like level 10 or so before you even set foot anywhere near Parma's end of the map. But right now in-game, however, the only thing you really can do is go towards Parma because all the points of “interest” (and I use that term very loosely) on the map are barricaded off at the moment so heading to Parma is our only real productive option.

So let’s do that…

Leonard: Hey, was that guy a friend of your’s?
Orren: Are you for real? Did he LOOK like he knew me?
Leonard: Ah, fresh air.

Seriously, what kind of person sees someone walk past a complete stranger in such a manner that it’s clear he doesn’t know them from Adam, and then asks them later if that person was a friend of theirs?

I’ve owned Chia Pets with more situational awareness than Leonard possesses. And we're just getting started.

Leonard: It’s more or less a straight shot to Parma.

Leonard: You’ll learn the way in no time.

These are all examples of “Live Talk,” by the way. It’s an option you can turn on that lets your party members comment on things as you roam around whatever town or field you’re in. The entire party gets their say in things, not just your active three characters.

Everyone except the Avatar of course. Because there is no goddamn way Level-5 would EVER let the Avatar say anything that isn’t simply combat walla.

Since Leonard is our only speaking party member right now, we get to hear his ‘insightful’ commentary on things. Thus far it’s mostly consisted of him complaining about having to work for a change, how much of an asshole Rapacci is for expecting him to do any work, and banal surface-level situational musings like “gee, there sure are a lot of people in town for the Princess’s birthday.” Pretty much everyone else who will eventually come to form our party has more interesting/funny/insightful things to say in their Live Talk bits. I’ll try to include as much plot or character-relevant bits of Live Talk that I can, where I can because even the sort of banal bits really help flesh out everyone’s characterization (even Leonard’s).

Though it’s also around this point that I find myself wanting to go back to Balandor and check out how things are going between Valtos and Dalam and that whole peace treaty thing.

I wonder what they’re discussing right now? It’s got to be infinitely more interesting than following this brickhead with his out-of-control rattail around as he beats up docile Wood Jawas and giant fuck-off bees.

I can just see them gathered around a table in Balandor Castle, Dalam having parked his giant horn chair right up against one end of it, Cyrus staring daggers at his Farian counterparts because he’s a racist jerk, Sarvain skulking in a corner plotting new and interesting ways to drown puppies, Cisna just standing there doing her best Avatar impression, not saying a word or being noticed by anyone, and Valtos coming up with new ways of working his dead wife into each new discussion of things like border and trade agreements.

Archduke Dalam: I find your terms agreeable, Your Grace. In exchange for lumber exports from our forests, we will accept first fishing rights to the waters south of Redhorn Isle.
King Valtos: Indeed. Why, my dear wife Floraine would be smiling right now knowing we’ve negotiated such a perfect peace treaty. She’s dead you know. It was ten painful years ago. My poor Cisna hasn’t gotten over it yet.
Cisna: (Whatever, as soon as I’m queen, it’s back to war with these assholes anyway. I am totally breaking into the ‘Empire’ business.)
Sarvain: (Augh, this is so boring. Should I just kill myself now, or would it be worth it to try to take a few of them with me before I go? Choices…)

Oh thank Christ, we’re here.

CUTSCENE: Welcome to Parma
CUTSCENE / AREA MUSIC:Parma Village” (Disc 1, Track 6)

Welcome to Parma, a rustic village known for its farming communities and its fine wines.

Leonard: Here we are. Welcome to Parma.
Orren: (Not impressed.)

Well this place looks positively jumping compared to Balandor, right?

Yulie: Hey! You’re on time for once!

The pair are interrupted from their sightseeing by the appearance of a girl with, for some reason, purple hair, whom they apparently walked right by without even realizing it.

The blocking in this game is absolutely ridiculous some times, creating moments like this where Leonard looks like an even bigger moron than he actually is by walking clean past a girl he has known since infancy.

Anyway, this is Yulie. She’s actually who we were sent here to meet up with, only Leonard forgot to mention it. Because he’s slow.

Leonard: Yulie!
Orren: Oh, wait, you actually knew her?
Leonard: Yeah, she’s like my best friend. Why?
Orren: Because we just like walked right by her and you didn’t even say anything.
Leonard: Well, why didn’t YOU say anything then?
Orren: Because I don’t know her!

Christ, look at how short Leonard is compared to Orren. According to the game’s character creator, Orren is 6’1” tall, and Leonard barely comes up to his shoulder. I swear he is like 5’1” or something because he looks like he’s a full foot shorter than Orren.

Again, this is more evidence of the game’s half-assedness, as they don’t even care to scale the Avatar properly some times. The Avatar’s size in cutscenes is all over the place. Sometimes Orren is the same height or slightly taller than Leonard and the other characters, other times he’s a freakin’ giant compared to them.

They just don’t care, that’s all. Could you imagine playing Final Fantasy XIII and having, say, Hope change size based on how the design time felt like animating each particular cutscene? Or how about Mass Effect to use a more appropriate example. You can’t alter Shepard’s height in the ME games, but if you could, would you take the game seriously if you could provide visual evidence of him/her changing size compared to Garrus or Liara depending on the cutscene? Hell no.

Yulie: How’ve you been there, Leonard?
Orren: Well, he survived the trip out here, so I’d say ‘pretty good.’

Yulie: Oh! You must be the new guy. Rapacci told me you were coming. Glad you could make it.
Orren: My name’s Orren. …Howyoudoin’.
Yulie: Oh you.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out Yulie’s odd attire. It’s half medieval peasant, half Japanese school girl. It’s this weird one-piece thing with a built-in leather miniskirt and separate sleeves.

Also her boobs are about the size of her head and will jiggle under the ‘proper’ circumstances. Of all the things they half-ass in this game only to take the time to get jiggle physics right.

For god’s sake, Level-5. You were hand-picked by Hayao Miazaki to make a video game with his animation studio. A studio that has won fucking Academy Awards and produced universally beloved works of animation and storytelling. …I’m starting to wonder why now.

Yulie: The wine’s all set to go. Follow me.

Yulie heads off further into town, beckoning Leonard and Orren to follow.

Orren: Me gusta.
Leonard: What?
Orren: Shut up.

Fun/Weird/Sad fact: it’s implied that the Avatar (male and female) has a thing for Yulie. It could just be Level-5’s incompetent facial animations as shown off in the above screencapture, although the two are placed in close proximity many times thorough the game. That up there at the very least is a look of bemused intrigue.

I’ve heard that people have written Yulie/Avatar fanfiction, but I have not had the gumption to try and confirm this because it would shatter my view that this game didn’t have fans dedicated enough to it to actually write fanfiction about it.

Unless you consider this LP fanfiction, in which case, come join me in Hell, it’s actually quite cozy, once you get used to it.

Leonard just stands there like a moron for a solid five minutes as Yulie and Orren head towards the beastwain on the opposite end of town.

And there it is in the distance…

CUTSCENE: The Beastwain

Orren: What, were a pair of Clydesdales too expensive or something? I mean, come on, horses exist in this world.
Yulie: Rapacci’s trying to find a way to justify the markup we’re asking for the wine.
Orren: What do you even feed that thing?

Leonard: You must be kidding.
Orren: We’ve firmly established that we’re not, unfortunately.

Yulie: Don’t let his looks fool you. He’s a big old pussycat.

Yulie: Now… Where…? Raus said he’d be here?


Leonard: Who?

I just said that.

Yulie: Your driver. Raus is the only one who can get this fella to pull the wain. It won’t move a step, not without Raus’s say-so.

Orren: How complicated can it be? All you need’s a whip, right?
Yulie: You ever seen a cattle stampede?
Orren: Touché. Okay, so where is this beast-whisperer at anyway?
Yulie: Sit tight, I’ll see if I can find him.

Yulie heads off to find the fabled Raus…

Leonard: But… Yulie!!!

…A development that distresses our haplessly co-dependent I seriously can’t call him a ‘hero’ with a straight face, guys Leonard.

And so Leonard starts randomly running around town.

Leonard: Um… Let’s go see if we can find this guy then.
Orren: What? You don’t trust her? She said he’d be right back.
Leonard: Yeah, but if we find him first, we can be on our way even quicker.
Orren: Do you even know what this Raus guy looks like?

Leonard: WINDMILL!
Orren: Aw, screw it. I’m gonna go find Yulie. Try not to start a fire or anything…

So Leonard starts asking random people around town if they’ve seen Raus. However, they’re not interested in talking to him.


It seems Yulie is having her own set of trouble trying to locate Raus. Something tells me that if you can’t find one guy in a literal one-street town, he’s probably not someone worth finding… Just a guess.

Either that or Yulie is just as dumb as Leonard is.

You know, I’m starting to question Rapacci’s parenting skills if the two children he’s raised to adulthood have an IQ between them roughly equal to room temperature.

(And even then, Yulie has the lion share of it).

Leonard continues a time-honoured tradition of JRPG protagonists in his search for our wayward wagoner: randomly entering other people’s houses!

Sadly, Raus wasn’t there.

Maybe he’s in the village chief’s house?


Maybe he’s dead!

…I wish he was dead.

Hey, these graves are all unmarked! …And they apparently have grapes on their tombstones here.

Because they are that. Fucking. SERIOUS. About wine in Parma.

Leonard takes a moment to admire the view of Parma’s wine fields and try to remember what exactly he was doing just a second ago. Just off screen, Orren is pondering the benefits of pushing him off the cliff.

Back on the hunt.

We come to the horse pasture. Count yourself lucky that this is a sight and occasionally sound-only LP because this place STINKS!

In the back corner of the pasture, under the shade of the trees and surrounded by an impressive pile of empty wine bottles rests a lone Papituar.

Papitaurs are diminutive little creatures with large rabbit ears on their heads and rabbit-like eyes. They all talk, unfailingly, in weird and annoying accents.

Papitaurs are terrible. Every last one of them. Raus, however, is our introduction to Papitaur culture. He’s the probably the worst Papitaur character in the game in terms of his actions and characterization. Though really, Osmund, Rocco, and Amir are the only serviceable Papitaur characters. The rest of ’em are shit.

Leonard: Hey! That’s racist!
Orren: Shut up, white-guilt.

Yep. This is our wagon driver.

Orren: Fucking REALLY?!
Leonard: Hey, he might be a real nice guy.

He, of course, is fast asleep in a drunken haze.

CUTSCENE: Raus the Wagoneer

Raus: Zzz…

You know, I have to hand it to the little shit, he’s polished off FIVE full bottles of wine and he’s only like 3’1”. He should be dead right now given the amount of alcohol he’s consumed; instead he’s just sleeping it off.

Also ha-hah, Level-5, I’m so glad you were able to get the ‘huge beast, tiny tamer’ cliché out of the way so quickly. And it only takes you until the second time you pull out this trope in the game to actually make it half-way funny.

Good work! </sarcasm>

Raus: Zzz…
Orren: Well, in all fairness, if I was born a Papitaur, I’d drink myself unconscious any chance I got too…

Leonard, befuddled as usual, ponders waking our sleeping rabbit man.

Raus: Zzz…

Yulie catches sight of Raus, finally. She does the appropriate thing and rushes up to him and starts yelling at him for being an irresponsible drunk shitheel.

Yulie: Ah ha! Raus, you oaf!

Faced with an angry, possibly murderously so, purple-haired teenage girl looming over him, Raus snaps awake and back to sobriety.

Raus: Ohh, dear me! Did I doze off again?
Orren: If that’s what you want to call it.

Raus clutches his head, most likely both to calm his raging hangover, and out of fear for his continued safety…

I wasn’t joking about that whole ‘possibly murderous’ thing. She’s ready to snap his neck in this scene.

Raus: [panicked whimpering]
Yulie: This is where you were hiding? I told you not to be late!
Orren: Should have told him not to get drunk either.

Wriggling out of Yulie’s deathgrip, Raus runs and hides behind Leonard.

Pick a better human shield, buddy.

Raus: Please don’t be mad, Miss Yulie! I am so sorry.

Raus whimpers like a bitch and continues cowering behind Leonard until Yulie and Orren kick his ass back to the beastwain.

Somehow, four hours passes between then and now, and suddenly it’s sundown.

This lazy turd took THE REST OF THE AFTERNOON to climb into the driver’s seat. Either that or the world of White Knight Chronicles has the fastest day/night cycle in RPG history.

…Or, it’s something you’re going to be witnessing a lot of as we go forward: a plot contrivance. IE: Something that happens simply because it needs to happen for the sake of the story. For example, it’s twilight right now because it needs to be twilight.

Nevermind that it takes a minute tops to walk from where Raus was sitting back to the bestwain and seconds to climb aboard it and get it ready, which it already was when the trio went to go look for Raus.

There is no logical explanation for why it is suddenly dark now, other than Leonard and Yulie indulged Raus as he took the rest of a long summer’s afternoon to stumble back into the driver’s seat of the wagon.

Everyone in this picture sucks. Except for Orren, who I imagine was simply ignored throughout the whole ordeal. As usual.

Yulie: There, now you’re all set.
Yulie: I don’t see why it took you FOUR HOURS, but eh, whatever. It’s Leonard’s ass on the line, not mine.
Leonard: Heh heh, yeah, that guy is so screw—wait.

Leonard looks to the sky and states the obvious.

Leonard: Boy, it’s starting to get dark. We’d better haul cask.
Yulie & Orren: You did NOT just say that…

Yulie: Okay, Leonard, like I mentioned before, Raus here will be driving the beastwain.

Because she knows the score, Yulie recaps what we’ve already figured out ages ago for Leonard.

Because he’s dumb.

Raus: Eh heh. Hello. Happy to assist, Chief. By the way… If I happen to doze off… again, kindly wake me up before this beastie remembers I forgot to feed it breakfast and turns me into a late lunch!

Leonard: Uhh… huh.
Orren: You’re a real shitty… everything.
Yulie: He’s kind of weird, but he gets the job done. Off we go!

Leonard: We? You’re coming too?

Oh Leonard, your unwavering faith the female sex is truly something to be admired.

Yulie: Well, yeah! I wouldn’t miss this party for the world! What, you don’t want the extra help? Come on! We’re late as it is.

This is the delightful, self-confident trot of a woman who gives no fucks about what you think of her, and SPOILER ALERT, never will.

Orren: I think I’m in love.

I think you need to get your head out of your ass.

Orren: Fuck you, crow.

Leonard: Uh, wait, did that just happen?

CUTSCENE MUSIC:New Allies” (Unreleased Track)

Orren: Yep.

OVERWORLD MUSIC:The Continent of Nadias” (Disc 1, Track 15)

Back on the World Map, we’ve once again got to clear Balastor Plain to get back to Balandor. This is the second-to-last time in the game that Balastor Plain will be plot-relevant in this game, by the way. We go back here once more in the second game, and then that's it.

CUTSCENE: Leonard Explains Combos

We now have a full active party of three members. From this point on, you will always have three party members, unless it’s part of some special scripted battle.

Technically we’ve got four party members for this part. Raus is a guest character for the run back to Balandor Castle.

I’ll explain why this is a terrible thing in the gameplay update, outside of the obvious terribleness of being saddled with Raus in general.

Leonard and co. run along the path back to Balandor Castle, when suddenly…

A change in aspect ratio portends the arrival of certain doom.

CUTSCENE: Sylvan Savage

Leonard suddenly calls the party to a halt, sensing that something’s wrong.

Leonard: Wait, something’s wrong.

I just said that, shithead.

Yulie: What is it?

Raus looks nervously at Leonard.

Raus: Wh-what’s wrong, Chief?

Leonard: You don’t hear that?

Yulie: Hmm?

Suddenly, the plain has become all too quiet.

A flock of birds, startled by something, takes flight into the darkening sky. The ground begins to shake with a steady THUMP.



Something begins to emerge from behind the bend ahead of them. Something big.

Something armed.

Something nasty.

Leonard: Dammit! It must have smelled the wine!
Orren: Then give it a barrel and tell it to piss off, then.

Raus: Oh no! What do we do Chief?
Orren: Well like I said—

Leonard: We fight!
Orren: …Or that.

CUTSCENE / BOSS MUSIC:A Worthy Opponent Draws Near (Disc 1, Track 8)

BOSS FIGHT: Troll (with subtitle commentary)

And here is not just our first boss, but also our first ‘giant’ enemy, a troll. Nearly every boss in this game has one of these silly, semi-poetic alliterative subtitles.

For more on the mechanics of boss fights, check out the gameplay update one post down.

Otherwise here’s the straight New Game video of the boss fight.

Even if you’ve just run to and from Parma doing nothing but killing only the enemies that have gotten in your way between there and here, you should be about Level 3 by now, and that’s more than strong enough to handily work over this troll in less than 5 minutes with nothing more than the gear you started the game with.

This is not a boss so much as it’s a tutorial, as you’ll see in the video/gameplay update.



The bigger they are…

The harder the cliché is to finish…

So yeah, that’s one dead troll someone gets to come along and clean up. You just KNOW that some desperate and/or perverted scavenger is gonna come along and pry off that codpiece before anyone else gets their hands on it.

…Not to mention there’s enough leather, iron, and fabric on that thing to equip like ten people adequately. Assuming you’re okay with what I can only assume is “troll stink” all over your new belt and jacket.

Also, given the fact that is has managed to cloth and equip itself with some fairly complex pieces of fabric and metalwork, I’m pretty sure we’re all complicit in the murder of a sentient being now. A 20 foot-tall, green-skinned sentient being.

This troll was somebody’s son who just wanted to get drunk on probably the troll equivalent to a can of cheap beer. But no, we had to get the nobles their wine, so it had to be defended with deadly force.

That’s Leonard for you. His heroism thus far has consisted of murdering diminutive humanoid creatures and bees, failing to corral a drunkard that a teenage girl was capable of lifting off his feet on to a wagon in under four hours, and now murdering a massive humanoid by essentially stabbing at its kneecaps until it collapsed, and then stabbing its crotch until it died, Army of Darkness-style.

WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES! The epic fantasy adventure!

Leonard: Whew.
Yulie: Well, at least we survived.

Yulie: And it looks like the wine is okay too.
Orren: Let no one question our priorities, now.

Raus: Nice going, Chief! I thought I’d napped my last nap for sure!
Orren: Oh how you tease me…

Leonard: Nah. The three of us can handle one little troll. It’s Rapacci I’m scared of.
Leonard: I still think he’s going to murder me.
Orren: Yeah, you keep thinking that. HE’s going to murder you… riiiight.

Leonard: Let’s move!

Now, doubletime to Balandor! At this rate we should make it back to the castle by…

CUTSCENE: The Late Arrival

Fucking midnight. You useless tits.

Leonard: Oh man. It’s way past dark.
Orren: Just noticed that did ya, sport?

Leonard: I told Rapacci we’d be back before sunset. I am dead.

No comment.

Actually, one comment: drink in the failure, folks. It starts with small things like failing to do his job properly and will eventually snowball into I-wish-I-were-shitting-you-history-altering-scale-failure. Again, it’s a rare example of deft storytelling from the game, preparing you for the fuck up that is Leonard with little things like this.

Well done, White Knight Chronicles. Well done.

Yulie: Well, moaning about it isn’t going to speed us up.

Yulie, of course, has no time for Leonard’s self-pitting bullshit. My admiration for her has done nothing but grow by leaps and bounds.

Raus: My sincerest apologies, Chief.
Orren: Do us all a favor and remain silent from here out. If I wake up tomorrow morning and I still remember you exist, I’m hiking back to Parma and feeding you to this bovine brute.
Raus: Oh dear…

The …thing… roars wearily.

Leonard: Are you tired? We’re almost there, buddy.

Leonard suddenly gets an idea. And of course, typical of Leonard and thinking, he has to come to a complete stop in order to process a full thought.

He rushes to the back of the wagon and starts pushing it up hill, contributing probably zero pounds of additional torque to the massive beast’s hauling power.

Orren: He knows he’s not actually helping… right?

Yulie: Humour him.

Yulie rushes in to help Leonard push the wagon. Orren hangs back a few steps, because, well, seriously guys, you’re not helping.

No, really, all you’re gonna do is wear yourselves out before you get anywhere near the castle.

You know what? On second thought, you go for it. Push that cart. Push it like you’ve never pushed anything in your life. You’re making a difference. You’re accomplishing something.

You can do it.


And on this Sisyphusian image, we pan up to the night sky as the chapter draws thankfully to a close.

Find out next time if Leonard makes it to the castle alive.

Strap yourselves in, kids. The calm is over as of our next chapter.

What can I say other than “I just wanted to get paid?” I’m sure lots of people have used that justification for lots of things.

I mean, that Yulie girl seemed like a decent person, but I was seriously I’d bit off a little too more than I could chew in Leonard.

I’d decided about halfway up the hill to Balandor castle that I was just gonna take another bounty contract at the Adventurer’s Guild and be on my way to Greede or somewhere before any of them realized I was gone the next morning.

It’s funny how fate works sometimes…