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12:49 AM on 11.05.2009

GoddessCast#6: We Also Heart Anime

Yeah, so I didn’t feel like making a new header this week and just used one of my old fanarts. Wanna make something of it? DO YOU WANT TO FISTICUFFS!?!

This show is late-- normally I try to get them up by mid-day Wednesday-- but stuff was going on today. On the plus side, GoddessCast is almost like a grown-up podcast now and has its own feed.

Anyway, we decided to do an anime episode this week because we felt like it. Every episode will still have the ‘what we’ve been playing’ segment (which is unfortunately kind of pathetic this week), but we may periodically do more episodes on anime or other tangentially related topics. This is still primarily a gaming podcast, but it’s a better show if we’re doing what we want.

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4:46 PM on 11.03.2009

Parasite Eve: Day 5 (The Longest Day)

For the benefit of you latecomers who haven't been reading the PE series since...last November *gasp*, here are the links to all of the previous entries; they link together, too. I probably should have done this from the very beginning, but I didn't realize it was going to get this long (why do I never learn.)

Day One: Parasite Eve, an Odyssey

Day One: Sewer Fun

Day Two: CSI:NY(megalomaniac cellular organelles division.)

Day Two: Scientists and Ghosts, or Where the **** is the Zoo Key?

Day Two: Extended Boss Fight Edition

Day Three: Getting Back To Business Edition

Day Three: Giant Dogs and Exploding Bullets

Day Four: I Finally Do a Day in One Blog Edition

I think I inadvertently wrote a book; I would say "I hate it when I do that", but that would be a lie.

Penultimate Day!

The good news is, I'm onto Day 5, which means I'm in the homestretch of my PE playthrough; the bad news is that I have no excuse to write 'sperm bank' over and over again in this installment. I think I got a lot more pleasure out of that than I should have.

It's hard to think of things to say about this section of the game in general, since I haven't done the Museum yet-- that's the final dungeon, the end of Day 5-- and a lot of what I've just played involves wandering around in the Chinatown sewers like a damp, lost puppy. An Aya-puppy.


As far as effects go, this is about as good as you can get on your first playthrough- at least until the very end of the game. The base attack power sucks, but that matters less than you would think.

One nice thing about playing the same game a bajillion times is that you can try all of those things that seemed far too risky and impractical your first time through. The strategy I originally used in regard to Aya's main weapon, and the most common one, was to keep transferring stat boosts to whatever the newest rifle was. Rifles have the best range, which is incredibly important in PE. However, they fire slowly, so you spend a fair amount of time watching Aya laboriously aim that heavy gun while monkeys start clawing at her ankles. Grenade launchers are designed to be cannibalized, handguns are blah, and the rocket launcher is mostly unavailable(frankly it's unavailable even when it is available, if you know what I mean.)

This is Chinatown: I kind of gloss over it here because there's only a few screens of it before you have to jump down a manhole into the sewers. I wish that were reversed.

Now, machine guns are made to suck in PE-- they come with abilities like Random Shot (horrible for obvious reasons), or a high rate of fire, which is deceptive. A higher rate of fire is actually bad in PE; the more shots Aya has to fire at once, the more time she spends standing in one place, out of your control. Plus, the damage doesn't go up at the same rate as the R.O.F.-- the more shots, the less power there is behind each shot. There's some arcane math involved, and I believe you will do more damage overall if you fire multiple shots, but altogether it's just not worth it. However, machine guns have the fastest firing animation in the game. If you take the crappy abilities off of the machine gun (and I had a bonus Supertool thanks to my mixedman hijinks during Day Four), what you essentially have is a handgun that fires three times as fast as a handgun.
Switching to a machine gun seemed like a huge mistake at first, since the loss of the range of the rifle was extremely noticeable (my attack power briefly went down as well). However, after boosting the gun's stats a bit I was very happy with my speedy custom gun. I don't know if I could ever go back to a rifle now; I ride the MP5K express.

Forget Dante's Inferno: This Is True Hell

If I ever make good on my ongoing threat to set fire to the Fox News building, I might end up in hell. I think it looks a lot like this.

In the Chinatown Sewers, you fight in cramped, dark quarters; you don't have much room to maneuver. However, if you don't maneuver right, you will get poisoned by the snakes and blinded by the bats, often at the same time. The poison isn't that bad, but the darkness is a killer: the attack that casts it takes up a huge amount of space, meaning it's often virtually impossible to dodge it, and once you're stuck with darkness, you can no longer shoot any of the things that are blinding and poisoning you. You spend most of your time in this area attempting to dodge attacks that are almost impossible to dodge while waiting for negative status effects to wear off, and the moment they do, you usually get nailed again immediately. I don't understand why anyone on the PE team thought that anything about this level was okay.

I like these psychedelic frogs, I'll bet these are that special kind that you can get high on.

That said, objectively I realize that it's terrible level design, but I actually kind of enjoy it. You do feel like a real badass on the rare occasions when you dodge everything, and there are a lot of cool pick-ups in the sewers to reward your toil. Specifically, you get the shotgun with the Burst effect, which is cause for celebration.

A Burst of Salvation

I was going to try to explain this screenshot, then the thought of what I would have to say started doing funny things to my brain, and then I realized that these captions shouldn't be that frickin' long anyway.

When you add Burst to your weapon, suddenly the terrible level that is the Chinatown Sewers becomes a blast to play, because everything that's been annoying you out of your mind for the last hour has been toned down significantly. See, what Burst does is makes every shot you fire an area of effect attack. In the claustrophobic surroundings, you can often nail every single enemy with one shot; it's amazing how much less frustrating it is when you can nail all those middling little enemies in one or two shots without having to take them out they think they're IMPORTANT or something.

It's crossed my mind in the past that this level was designed with this feature in mind- that you would really be struggling until you got Burst, and then it would be like Christmas and your birthday all at once. If that was their plan, it definitely worked, but the level remains poorly designed in other respects. This is, by the way, the only part of PE where I whip out the strategy guide so I can check the map. Considering that I have all of the other maps in this game memorized, that's saying something.

The Crab, the Warehouse, and the Useless Piece of Useless

I swear, I totally want to eat something like this right now. Seafood would be awesome tonight.

The Warehouse is an optional area, but there are a lot of great items- with the exception of the rocket launcher. It also has the hardest boss in the game; a cross between a hyper-powered mangrove crab and Cyclops from X-Men. I'll bet Eve was proud of herself when she thought this bastard up.

In the interest of full disclosure, I tried to do the Warehouse before Chinatown just to be sassy, but due to a combination of being under-leveled and careless, I actually saw the game over screen. That may be just as well, because I'd forgotten what it looks, seriously, I'm not just trying to be cute, I literally forgot what a game over screen in PE looks like. It's nothing special, by the way.

The only thing of note about the Warehouse is the Crab Battle(!), at the conclusion of which you get the rocket launcher. I find this strange, because there's that video game tradition of awarding, after a boss fight, the exact weapon that would have been best used fighting that boss. In this case it's the opposite- going up against the speedy crab with the slow-as-hell rocket launcher would be tantamount to video game suicide. The crab would look at you, blow some bubbles, toss it's giant claws at you, read an interesting article in Vanity Fair, sip his coffee with a slightly bored expression while thinking about existentialist concepts far beyond the comprehension of normal delicious seafood, and do about 12,000 points of damage to you while Aya stood there waiting for her ATB gauge to fill. It barely does more damage than your main gun, which is unforgivable. As a final insult, you have a stupid Rocket Crate taking up space in your inventory for the rest of the game. I wasn't prepared to go this far, but you know what? I think it might be the most useless weapon in video games. I think this is yet another reason why PE is so special.

Next time, the second half of Day 5, with the Museum of Natural History-- can you believe that I'm almost done? I mean, yeah, there is a Day 6, but it's really short so I'll probably just write a paragraph about aircraft carriers and mutant babies and call it a day.   read

7:45 PM on 10.30.2009

Fanart: Bayonetta

After reading stewie's cblog on the question of why Bayonetta is hot, I got to thinking a bit about the character. She's the last character I ever thought I'd want to draw, but after thinking about it, I realized that I do like the fact that her design is so different. I don't see why a lot of guys seem to find her so sexy, but I get that all that stuff is subjective; if it weren't, every time my bf says "You're so beautiful", I would have to correct him with "Actually, by any objective standard I am merely okay-looking", and like fuck is that going to happen.

I tried to draw her in my style without losing the characteristics of the original character, and while I'm not sure if I like how it came out (I need a few days of not looking at it first), she still looks a bit like Sarah Palin, so I must be doing something right:). The uncropped version is below.


5:32 PM on 10.28.2009

GoddessCast#5: We Heart PSX

On GC #5, we talk about the original Playstation in all of its pixelated glory. Wilson is fairly quiet during this episode while Micronesia and I take a happy stroll down memory lane. Games mentioned include: FFVI, Travian, Fate/Stay Night, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, Tenchu (series), Tomb Raider, Ehrgeiz, Parasite Eve, Jet Moto, Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Ghost in the Shell– alright I can’t remember anymore. There are a lot, okay?

Errata: I say "Move to 3D" at one point when discussing the Tenchu series; it should have been "move to the PS2." Also, everything Micro says about me sucking at games can be considered errata, and should be stricken from the record.

I just wanted to note that I haven't replaced all of the sundry, bloggy-type-things I do with GoddessCast, it's just kind of worked out that way for the last few weeks.

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4:42 PM on 10.21.2009

GoddessCast#4: Afternoon of Darkness (and Golf)

Okay, GGCast sounds funny so I’ve just decided to call it GoddessCast and get it over with. Doesn’t really sound like a gaming podcast, but then again Rebel FM doesn’t sound like one either, and that seems to work out okay.

This week, old friend Micronesia joins us to break up the love nest that is Wilson and I, which is probably a good thing. The theme of the show is Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, and we dutifully spend the first segment actually discussing it (I think Micro is a good influence on us.) The second segment we get into Golf video games, Starcraft, Starcraft characters playing golf, the kind of game you would have to make in order to get sexual favors from GamingGoddess (or other girl children of the ’80s), and which Tekken characters might need to ride the special bus. Also, I give my weekly update on my progress in FFVI, although this is not my best week in Final Fantasy gaming prowess.

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10:06 AM on 10.20.2009

Parasite Eve: Day 4 (I Finally Cover a Day in One Blog Edition)

In Day Four of Parasite Eve, Aya races to St. Francis Hospital to get to the sperm bank before Eve does. I have decided that, at least for the purposes of today, I am actually twelve years old and the whole concept of a sperm bank is hysterical. I'm going to try to mention it as much as humanly possible.

The hospital is a fun little area, in part because it's the most Resident Evil-esque part of the whole game. Like the early RE games, you have to spend time tracking down keys and fuses and other puzzle pieces so you can progress through the building, but unlike RE instead of being needlessly complex and annoying the hell out of you, in PE it takes like an hour and then you're on to bigger and better things. Now I quite liked Resident Evil 2, but seriously, how many plugs and keys does one really need to look for in one game? Come to think of it, a true lock-picker (and not a crappy one like Jill) would pretty much be God in RE. "You think I need the fucking ROOK PLUG? Well, aren't you misinformed, stupid police station."

There is Nothing About This Situation That Sperm Would Not Improve

As the NYPD struggles to maintain some semblance of order after the attack of the previous day, Maeda finally starts pulling his weight by figuring out Eve's next move. Reasoning that Eve can't handle the stress that the mitochondria are putting on her body for much longer, she must be looking to give birth to a new being that can withstand it, as the previous incarnation of Eve tried to do in Japan. For some reason, Daniel knows that there's a doctor who specializes in artificial insemination at St. Francis' Hospital, so off our intrepid heroes go. Daniel stays behind to watch the station and play deputy police chief (he sticks to this plan for all of two hours), and Aya and Maeda head to the hospital. Apparently the plan is for Maeda to stand outside and look pitiful while Aya goes in to take care of business, so I kind of wonder why he bothered to come in the first place. You never know though, it's possible he might be needed for SCIENCE! reasons.

Aya and Maeda in the car together without Daniel to act as a buffer to absorb the awkwardness; would be really funny if Aya would stop asking questions like this.

After some puzzle solving that isn't worth going into in any great detail, Aya learns that she can take out the sperm bank by turning off the supply of liquid nitrogen that keeps the sperm frozen. I want more games where my objective is to take out the sperm bank. Stupid sperm, swimming around like they own the place... anyway, Aya keeps seeing apparitions of Maya, and possibly herself, throughout the hospital. She also finds some medical records that have been rummaged through, presumably by Eve, which include information on her mother and sister. Apparently the extended Brea family, critically injured from a car wreck, was admitted to the hospital on the same day as one Melissa Pearce, a.k.a. Opera Singer of Death. You just know there was some organ-swapping shenanigans going on there.

Eve messes with Aya by cutting the elevator cables, something I have been terribly afraid of for my entire life. Scariest part of the entire game.

Not Broken, Just Awesome

Gameplay-wise, there are some very interesting enemies in the hospital. All of them have projectile attacks, meaning that you have to do a helluva lot of dodging if you want to earn those bonus points. One particularly interesting enemy is the mixedman, a strange crab-like creature that shoots balls of rock at you out of one of its orifices (I'm not speculating on which one.) The cool thing about mixedmen that I'm pretty sure 99% of the people that have played this game don't know, is that they will not shoot at you indefinitely; after a certain amount, they will actually run out of balls. I'm not sure what the exact number is, but after about 10-15 minutes, they will just stop firing them. The benefits of this are twofold; one, if you defeat a mixedman after it's run out, whatever item it was going to drop is upgraded to the next tier. Since mixedmen often drop Tools, this means you can get virtually unlimited Super Tools before even going into the Ex-Game. Furthermore, you earn a few bonus points for every ball you shoot, meaning you get loads of extra BP that you can then pour into your stats. I only bothered to do it once this time around, and I still got about 800 extra BP and a Super Tool. I think I'm going to use my bonus Super Tool to properly mod a machine gun, just because I can.

I'm doing it wrong here: I got a Super Tool anyway. So there.

Unfortunately, Eve makes use of a sperm sample before Aya can stop her; you actually see the empty vial on the floor. See, if only the NYPD had a zero-tolerance policy on sperm banks, liquid nitrogen, and opera, this whole sad situation could have been avoided. It should be about prevention.

I hate it when sentient blobs of blueberry Jello get all in my face on my way to the sperm bank.

Twins: It means they are THE SAME

This boss likes to trap you with webs: this Aya likes to cast Haste on herself to avoid the webs and then use Energy Shot on you. This boss does not like this Aya one bit.

I'm actually slightly confused about an aspect of the plot here, and I'm really not sure if that's due to the writing, the translation, or my own misunderstanding. After defeating the Boss Du Jour, Eve and Aya have one of their disjointed little chats and confirm that Eve is, at least partially, Maya, Aya's twin sister. The thing I don't get is that no one seems to understand the significance of the fact that Maya was Aya's TWIN sister. Eve merely refers to her as "your sister", and everyone else seems to gloss over the fact that Aya and Maya were identical. I mention this because people still seem confused about the source of Aya's powers throughout the rest of the game, and they even provide a different explanation at the end: that Aya had a cornea transplant from Maya at the time of the accident, which is why she too has Maya's powers. But why should she need a transplant from Maya to have the same powers? Genetically, she already IS Maya. I guess I'll never know.

Eve, who has apparently decided that she's tired of waiting for Aya to get her act together and join her on the crazy side, tries to kill her by crashing a jet into the roof of the hospital. Aya gets away, and apparently Daniel has materialized in the interim to save Maeda's ass from the scary exploding hospital. They meet back at the station and hear new information gathered by the other policemen; apparently Eve and Klamp have been in cahoots for a long while, even back when Eve was still called Melissa and had better hair. I guess Melissa must have had a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, because she seemed to maintain her original personality until the events at Carnegie Hall; if she was Eve before then, she didn't know it.

Race Against the Womb

Silly Daniel, Klamp is a part of EVERYTHING. Clearly he's one of the Knights Templar...or the Knights of Malta, they're cooler actually.

In a quaint touch, Daniel gives Aya and Maeda walkie-talkies so they all can keep tabs on each other. Walkie-Talkies? I know this game came out in '98, but I'm pretty sure cell phones existed back in the 90s. Oh well. The group vows to find Eve before she can give birth to an ultimate being, and that's it for Day Four. I guess it's just as well that they don't find her during the birth of the ultimate being, because that would just be awkward. Would they deliver it, then kill it? Or would they get so involved in the whole "breathe Eve, you can do it!" process that they would get too emotionally attached to the baby to kill it? Actually, I think Aya could probably just kill the thing without a second thought, chasing down mixedman balls for a half an hour has probably taken its toll on her limited supply of patience.

Next on Day Five: Why I never go to Chinatown, the dinosaurs in the Museum of Natural History come to life (go Eve!), and the most useless rocket launcher in gaming. Seriously, it's worse than the knife in Resident Evil; at least the knife is a amusing in a masochistic, I-could-beat-the-game-with-this-but-I-think-I'd-rather-kill-myself sort of way.   read

4:48 PM on 10.14.2009

GGCast#3: Five Hours in a Cave

Our plans for this week's podcast got pushed back since our new cast member is having microphone problems-- hopefully by the time we record the next one he'll be ready to go. Anyway, this episode is a bit more rambling then I would have liked, but we're saving the stuff we had planned for when there's three of us.

In this episode, we talk about games for the first segment, then sort of drift off into a bunch of random topics: Twitter, message board hilarity, Jim Sterling's latest Videogame Show What I've Done, etc.


EDIT: Oh, and there's some obvious censoring toward the end for what should be equally obvious reasons.   read

12:54 PM on 10.13.2009

Art Blog: The Kiss

I don't post most of my Sterling stuff here, but this page just makes me really happy:) :) :).

Some other images from this scene are included.   read

5:38 PM on 10.08.2009

Fanart: Rydia, FFIV

This is one part of a larger project, but I haven't posted any new art for a little while so I figured I'd share it.

It's actually kind of scary to use colored pencils these days-- I'm so used to Photoshop that the idea of not being able to immediately fix a mistake makes me nervous. Still, it's fun to have that hands-on experience sometimes, and overall I think she came out pretty well.

Hopefully you can see the full project sooner rather than later.   read

3:22 PM on 10.07.2009

Podcast: GGCast #2

In this episode, we discuss the fact that I've finally started playing FFVI, then try to avoid talking about Final Fantasy for a brief period until we give up; then we just blab about FF excessively. Which was a lot of fun actually, but next time I'll make an effort to focus on something else.

Games mentioned: Every FF ever (pretty much), Dissidia, Cross-Edge, Chaos Wars, NOT Half-Life 2, Diablo II, Ehrgeiz, Odin Sphere.


I'm still trying to figure out what the best way to host these files is, so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. So far my experiments with podcast hosting sites have been very frustrating, so this is a temporary solution.

Also, assuming I can sort out the hosting issue, the GGCast will probably update on Wednesdays from now on-- just what you need to combat those "I have to wait another week for the next episode of Podtoid?" blues. Well, for ME anyway.   read

2:19 PM on 09.30.2009

FFIV DS And the Role of New Game +

Rydia: Still Awesome.

I hadn't planned on playing through FFIV DS again immediately after finishing it; after all, I'm a busy girl. But, after finally beating the game the other day and starting over, I quickly realized that FFIV DS may have the most perfect New Game + system ever. While trying to figure out just what it was about FFIV DS that makes the second playthrough so damned good, I got to thinking about the role of New Game + in general.

New Game +: Your Party with Added Steamrolling Functionality

I've written quite a few times about how much Chrono Trigger blew me away, but most of that awe is reserved for the first playthrough; I've still only completed it once. In theory the fact that you can play through indefinitely and keep getting different endings is fascinating, but in practice it has some limitations. Immediately upon starting NG+, I was bored by the tendency of my party to absolutely annihilate all opposition. Sure, it's fun to steamroll over enemies that gave you some trouble the first time around, but it's fun in the same way that Game Genie was fun for about five minutes after taking it out of the box. You're essentially playing God mode, for hours, until you get to the end of the game again.

In FFIV DS, you lose your levels and stats. Let me repeat that: you lose your levels and stats. You also lose your whole inventory, (barring a few especially rare items, most of which I personally never got in the first place.) In essence, everything that would make the second playthrough too easy is unceremoniously taken away from you. You have to wonder: How can this be a NG+?

FFIV DS: Strategic Magic

You keep two main things for all subsequent playthroughs: augments, and map completion. Augments are bonus abilities that you can give to your characters, and map completion is comprised of two things: map completion percentage, and the actual view of the dungeon maps on the lower DS screen. This means the following:

1. You have different strategies available to you from the start of the game, since whatever strategic decisions you made concerning character customization have carried over.

2. Most of the dungeons on the second playthrough come pre-mapped, meaning you tend to go through them much faster.

For example, though Cecil was set back to level 10 at the beginning of NG+, he still had all of the special abilities he had at the end of the first playthrough-- Counter, Draw Attacks, HP+50%, etc. This meant that while he was a lot stronger right out of the gate, he still had beginning stats and equipment, so he wasn't terribly over-powered. Furthermore, since having the dungeons pre-mapped means that I blow through them at twice the speed, my party is under-leveled. This means that while I have greater strategic resources available, I'm facing the bosses a good 5-10 levels lower than I was initially, if not more.

Another feature added for this version, auto-battle, presents a game-within-a-game in NG+. Originally auto-battle was only good for the easiest random encounters; trying to use it in difficult dungeons was suicide. However, in NG+, it's possible to set up a customized auto-battle system that works fairly reliably for every area. I was able to mostly auto-battle my way through the Tower of Zot, something I absolutely could not have done the first time.

Whyt: Still useless!

The only complaint I have thus far is that Whyt, Rydia's summon whom you can train in several mini-games, doesn't keep his training. Whyt is normally pretty useless, and having the time spent in training carry over would actually make him worth summoning, at least during the earlier parts of NG+. I suppose it would be kind of broken if child-Rydia could summon a fully-trained Whyt (with the ability to cast Flare) an hour into the game, but having nothing carry over makes it seem like the time I spent on those tedious mini-games was wasted. I think the idea of a bonus, trainable summoned creature for the game was a good idea, but this feature could have been designed better. The prohibitively high MP cost of summoning him early in the game would have provided enough of a drawback to keep things from getting too unbalanced; as it stands, he's 50MP's worth of fluffy uselessness.

While I am essentially playing the same game again, it's like playing the game from a different angle as opposed to just playing the game on super-ultra-easy mode. This is true replay value, since I really am replaying the game-- not just holding down the confirm button while my party of demi-gods steamrolls their way through all and sundry. If games are going to continue to offer NG+, this is what I think we all want: an experience that really is new in some way, not just the same thing with added ennui.   read

3:59 PM on 09.18.2009

Parasite Eve: Day 3 (Giant Dogs and Exploding Bullets)

I've always been a fan of the "Your home base is now infested with monsters" event. Familiar territory becomes exciting again, and as an added bonus, for once you know where the hell you're going. When they say "Ben is upstairs", you already know where the upstairs staircase is! Sweet.

Aya and Co. arrive at the station to find the place looking as though it were hit by a hurricane. They speculate that this is probably somehow Eve-related, and Aya suggests going off on her own to check things out. Daniel refuses and runs off, because Ben is in the station. Lucky for him, Eve actually isn't there this time, so no one is spontaneously combusting, otherwise that would have been the last stupid decision he ever made.

Aya heads into the station to investigate, but not before Maeda gives her a useless good luck charm that will sit in your inventory until you dump it into storage. He will do this twice more before the end of the game. There is actually a reason for this-- the charm is meant to keep a space in your inventory open so it can be replaced with Maeda's Gun at the very end of the game. However, the burden on your already strained inventory is unwelcome. Maybe the developers thought that Maeda was just too likable?

Inside, lots of the regular characters are injured but still alive. A few nameless uniformed officers have died, however (redshirts!) But alas, there is an actual death: Torres, the older man who runs the weapons department. A giant, mutated dog from the Kennel burst into the room, and Torres was mauled to death. Apparently Torres was actually armed, but didn't use his gun on the monster because he's hated guns ever since his daughter died from a handgun accidentally going off. According to Wayne, the whole reason Torres took the job in the weapons department in the first place was to try to keep guns OUT of people's hands, which explains his reticence to give Aya a gun early in the game.

It may seem stupid that Torres didn't shoot when his life was in danger, but I've seen so many people demonize guns-- as though the gun itself is somehow sitting in a room, petting a white cat and planning to kill people-- that it rings true for me. At least in America, the whole dialogue involving guns is so messed up that everyone on both sides is made to sound like an idiot about 99% of the time: on the left, they tend to go on and on about the few children each year who die in gun-related accidents (know how many kids die annually in cars? Do you have ANY IDEA?), and on the right they drone on endlessly about the second Amendment-- as if everything we ever do in this country should be dictated by a bunch of dudes who lived 200 years ago, because clearly they were omniscient.

Don't get me wrong, there are real issues there and difficult moral choices to be made, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the times in my life that I've ever heard someone address them directly and not the layer of bullshit surrounding them. It's not my intention to get on a soapbox and try to change anyone's mind from whatever their current opinion on the subject is, the point is that the fact that PE deals with this issue in such a sensible way is like a breath of fresh air-- not because it's brilliant or anything, but because the bar has been set so low for this subject.

Anyway, Torres' body is dealt with off-camera, and Wayne (who is now in charge of the weapons department by default) gives Aya the M9-2, Torres' gun. Now, it would be really cool, and a nice farewell to the character, if Torres' gun was a kick-ass weapon that would cause you to trash Aya's rifle immediately, and take to the hallways of the station eliminating mutant dogs with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the M9-2 kind of sucks. It has more customization slots than any other weapon in the game, but the only time that would matter is late in the EX-game, by which point you've sunk so much time into the game that Aya's nearly invincible anyway. And it's base stats are super- low. Oh well.

Meanwhile, Sheeva, the dog who has been keeping Ben company all this time, is starting to feel the effects of mutation that has already transformed all of the other dogs into hulking monsters. I think the implication is that Sheeva holds off the change longer than all of the other dogs because she's trying to protect Ben for as long as she can. Awwwwwww. Ben has run off after her, and all of the wounded officers implore Aya to go after Ben before he gets himself killed. Awwwwww.

Aya has to fight her way upstairs and through the second floor of the police station, taking down mutated rats, crows, spiders, and giant dogs, in order to get to Ben. Somewhere around this point, something wonderful happens: Aya learns Energy Shot, her first offensive power. This means that she can now channel all of her Parasite Energy into a bullet and shoot it for tons of extra damage, all the while generating a cool glowing effect. To be honest, I'm not sure how useful this really is overall since a properly-leveled Aya with a properly upgraded gun can get along just fine without using any spells, but it looks really cool, and frankly that's all that matters. I then proceed to pummel everything in sight with Energy Shot for no good reason-- pathetically inefficient, but one hell of a good time.

Ben catches up to Sheeva in an unused room on the second floor, and tries to hug her. Police Chief Baker (remember him?) picks Ben up and carries him away, putting himself between Ben and Sheeva. Sheeva then bows to the inevitable and changes into a horrific three-headed beast. Baker tries to hold her off with a handgun, but quickly runs out of ammo. Ben screams; clearly they need some serious rescuing. Aya had better get there as soon as possible!

Except, I now take this time to backtrack through the police station and use the new keys I've found on the second floor to get more guns and things. I mean, sure I care about Ben, but he's a tough little bugger. And Baker's huge, so chances are Shiva will be full for a while after eating him anyway. Besides, Aya has a moral responsibility to upgrade her weapons before facing the boss, I mean what kind of an example would it be setting to get there on time but with a crappy gun? We have to set an example for Ben. Clearly I'm the only one here thinking of the children.

Boss Fight: Kerberos

Thanks Square, the three-heads were kind of a tip-off but your concern is noted.

This is the hardest fight so far, not for me because I'm a Parasite Eve Super-Pimp by this point, but in general. Kerberos has several different attacks, and there just isn't enough space to avoid all of them. No matter what you do in this fight, you're going to be taking a lot of damage. Kerberos has three heads, and I believe disposing of them in a certain order has some effect on her weaknesses, but frankly I've never bothered to experiment with that and just killed her the old-fashioned way.

Oh, you call that an energy attack?

I would love to be able to regale you with interesting anecdotes from this boss fight, but frankly I just shot her in the head(s) a whole bunch of times with Energy Shot while giggling to myself, and then it was over. Sheeva would have wanted it that way, maybe.

BWAH HAH HAHAHA! I'm drunk with power! DRUNK I TELL YOU!!!!

After disposing of Sheeva, Aya learns confuse (the status spells are just there to mock you, I swear), and Daniel bursts in-- quite a gift for avoiding actual combat, that one. It must be a family trait. Daniel thanks Baker for protecting Ben until Aya could get there, and the injured Baker asks Daniel to stop treating him so formally, and reminisces a bit about their past together. I like the fact that they show that Baker is actually a decent guy before all intents and purposes writing him out of the game; Daniel is now the de facto police chief. That will go about as well as you would expect.

Later, Ben asks Aya if she's going to stop the person who hurt Sheeva, and Aya says that she will; it seems like she isn't just answering Ben, but that she's admitting to herself that she's chosen her path. She's done worrying about herself, what she is and what she may or may not be capable of, and is ready to focus all of her energy on taking Eve down.

Next Time: Everyone figures out what Eve was trying to distract them from with the half-assed attack on the police department, and Aya must stop Eve from getting a bunch of frozen sperm. I don't even know where to START with that, everyone make up your own jokes.

Contine to Day Four   read

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