Spoony Bard Episode 20: Save the Anime

After the problems with last weeks ‘cast Stark and I felt bad enough to get together and do one in person, and a little over an hour and a half.  This weeks game is the PS1 classic Ape Escape, a game that I knew nothing about and Stark knew only slightly more.  We complain a lot about how we wish that we had played this game when it first came out, and how the controls on it are super dated.  As we normally do we start talking about other things, including the challenge game for this week (Azure Dreams– which you can find article on on this very site!) as well as Hyper Dimension Neptunia.  We also bring up the subject of a test video cast of us playing a game, much like the old Broken Pixels podcast that 1up used to do or even a quick look that Giant Bomb currently does.  It turns out that recording video and audio after almost three hours of drinking isn’t advisable.  The important thing is that we all learned a lesson about making sure that video is being captured at more then 1 frame a second.


Worthless Villains: Meet Beggar from Atelier Iris

Most JRPGs are lousy with villains who are simply terrible at their job of being evil.  Final Fantasy VII’s organization The Turks alone held enough of them to populate a small village; so the only real surprise of this article should be in the fact that I found a villain that was bad enough at his job that I felt that I needed to share it with the world.

Beggar starts of his career of being annoying to the main character the way that most evil doers feel accustomed to, by asking him to be a pawn in the massive army that he is quietly building.  While the reaction of ordering his troops to kill him on sight seems a little overboard, even when taking into consideration the standard reasoning of villains, it manages to set the mood for the rest of the game that Beggar irrationally hates the heroes and blames them for everything that is going wrong with the nation that they live in– even if he actively sees them fighting for the forces of good.

The main problem with Beggar’s plans isn’t that he is terrible at following them through, although people with chronic Alzheimer’s manage to complete more projects than he does, it’s that he is incapable of finding the heroes base of operations in a town with less than 100 people in it—a town populated mainly with his soldiers.  This is kind of understandable though because they only hide out in a house roughly the size of half of the town and every single person who lives there knows where it is.  The place is so big it is the second thing most astronauts in this world from space, right after Beggar’s failing.

Even after all of this, when Beggar does manage to leave the safety of the starting town where everyone feels that he is some kind of clown that threatens death as a form of a joke, he still manages to run into his nemesis literally every time he feels the urge to wander more than five feet outside of town.

All of these encounters, of course, result in a battle with Beggar.  It should also be pointed out that he never manages to get stronger during any of these fights.  During the first encounter he is something along the lines of a standard RPG boss strength, sadly he never gets strong.  At one point after the third encounter his minions, which start appearing during the second encounter to attempt some form of challenge, who are just as strong as him start appearing as random enemies– they also stop appearing because the party gets uncontrollably stronger than they are.  This mean that by the end of the game a handful of well placed hits is all that is required to beat the snot out of him after every long and annoying monolog.

Beggar also stands apart from most other worthless villains because the game feels fit to give him an entire family from the start of the game.  Oddly they are only ever used as random spots of character development and then promptly never brought up again, and the development of his character always ends up being something along the lines of “Yeah, I have a wife,” and nothing more. Although the way that his character comes off it seems like he is more in line with the guy from Office Space and is just doing all of this stuff to actively get fired, and then go home to complain about how much work sucked to an uninterested family.

He also tries to kill his sister in cold blood because of a minor disagreement.  Yeah, so the any argument that the game throws out later about how he is misunderstood and was simply believing in the real bad guy because he thought it would be a better world, all of that is given is kind of invalidated by the fact that he attempts to kill a defenseless woman in the middle of a city street in front of children.  It doesn’t matter how many stupid plot related devices are thrown in that he helps the heroes out of, when it comes down to it he is mainly just an ineffective killer.

So the end of the game is Klein leaving the entire area in the hands of Beggar, the man who attempted to take it over under the guidance of a guy trying to kill everyone.  This basically leaves an open power vacuum, one that the rest of the party (aside from the two leaving the area forever) don’t care enough to fill, that will mean that he is free to march what remaining troops he has over the rest of the land.

I guess the real lesson from all of this is that while Beggar might be a lazy, terrible bad guy but the heroes of Atelier Iris are pretty much just as worthless at their respective jobs.  That and I think the entire thing was sort of meant for kids.