Clearing the whirlpools allows our heroes to arrive in Kurebeppu unmolested and continue their search for Cosmotrons and revenges. I use the term heroes lightly as within minutes of their arrival, they listen to a lady complain about losing her purse near the ferry, send Sabansuke out to retrieve it, and then promptly keep the hundred ryo found in the purse.
|All within eyeshot of the lady.|
Contemplating shaking down some of the other townsfolk, Jubei decides against it and instead learns about a volcano fire threatening the next town of Satsuma, which their local fireman, Sabu, has gone to fight. The rest of the town has the basic amenities, like an inn and weapon shop, but a new store type is also present here; a registration office where character names can be changed! So long, Jubei, it was nice knowing ya, but it's time for tha Shen-dawg to shine and — eh? — oh, Jubei's name can't be changed. Son, I am disappoint. But wait! I can change Ryumi's name and since I already admitted to wearing panties last post, this isn't too far of a stretch.
|That's pronounced Shee-en.|
I'll take the lead there, Jubei, thanks. Yeah, I don't care if I'm a hundred times weaker than you, you're being demoted. This is now Shen Quest, motherfucker, the quest for gender identity acceptance! The hilarious thing about this situation is that, even before this took place, I thought that the Ryumi sprite looked decidedly masculine when facing towards the screen. I know it's suppose to be a scarf or something, but to me it looks like she's got a big ol' beard with a smile peeking out from it.
|And now you can't unsee it either.|
I'm finally in the game and I'm embracing my new role as cross-dressing leader. I probably won't go as far as going trans, but who knows? Anything could happen over the next few chapters. At any rate, I've got a pile of ryo burning a hole in my new purse that I "found" and we all know that Shens be shoppin'. I purchase a Crying Sword because it's super cute and a darling little number called Rose Armor. I look good, I feel good, I'm fuckin' dead sexy in this armour — it's time to hit the club, girlfrans! Kurebeppu doesn't even have a night club, so we're going to Satsuma to see if that scene is any better. It isn't. In fact, the entire town is covered in ash from the nearby volcano and everything is just super icky and grossers.
|They should be using sake, which is|
both sustainable and eco-friendly.
Apparently, the fire-fighting Sabu got all fucked up trying to put out the volcano (duh) and now is in need of something to cure his burns. The only person who can do that is Gennai, who lives in Barbarstadt, which is filled with people with heavy German accents. I can barely make out what anybody is saying, so I scope out the local market for shiny things to buy. I don't find anything glittery, but I do get some chocolate, a pack of fags, and an adult magazine. Taking the mag in hand, I excuse myself from Jubei and head to the can to say hi to my monster. In a bizarre turn of events, it seems that this cross-dressing is affecting me in a most pronounced way.
|This has literally never happened to me.|
I find Gennai and can barely piece together from his accent that he's lonely and wants a woman. Well, I'm close enough and so I utilize the one skill I have from the menu.
|Oh, I hope this push-up bra doesn't|
make my moobs look too lumpy.
The cool thing about working this skill is that I detach from Jubei and can walk around on my own, just in case my flirting leads to a nice pounding. I actually tried leaving the town without Jubes, but the game wouldn't let me. With his depression cured, Gennai joins as a helper and he can craft new items from existing ones. It doesn't work on everything but his repertoire is still pretty impressive. I know we need some Burnt Grass in order for him to make his patented Burn Cure, but so far I've found nothing to match that description. With nothing more for me to do in Barbarstadt, it's off to the next town of Moji where I get stuck due to not being able to get through a crack at the back of a house because, as I was told, humans can't pass through a hole in the wall, only animals can. This can mean only one thing — back to Shiro! What was Shiro doing anyway? Oh right, attempting to murder Zombie Momotaro. Well, Shiro and Onitan are able to reach the other side of the island and find a mountain town where they pick up another companion. This little cutie is a baby phoenix who sucks hard in combat but has the critical healing spell that the other two lack.
|Don't sweat it, Feen, you can take 'em.|
From here, the wandering monsters become more difficult and the high encounter rate is starting to take its toll. It doesn't help that the island is covered in lava and spikes which do damage to the group, albeit just a small amount. A long path around the center of the island has the frisky friends arrive at Monkey Mountain, which I was expecting to be a dungeon of sorts since I was informed that it was inhabited by "bad monkeys", but it turns out to be another town. All the monkeys have been beat up by Zombie Momotaro, though this doesn't prevent some of them from still conducting business. At the top of the mountain is the Monkey Boss, who flips out and attacks the pals, erroneously thinking that they're allies with Zombie Momotaro. The fight isn't a tough one, thanks to Onitan successfully putting him to sleep with a lullaby in the first round and then all three of them bravely pounding on his dozing body. When Monkey Boss Saru awakes, he disregards his multiple fatal wounds, apologizes to Shiro for his mistake, and joins the group.
|I love how everyone in this game|
is motivated by the revenge.
Saru is also holding a chick named Oniko, who was kidnapped from Hime, a small town located near the middle of the island. Her father is a boatbuilder and, in gratitude, gives Shiro & friends a sturdy vessel in which to explore the sea surrounding the island. Turns out the sea is more like a lake since it wraps back to the island fairly quickly. But really, all that is needed is to get to a smaller island so that the fantastic four can retrieve the Ath Staff, which is needed to get into a shrine located on the awesomely named Hammer Isle. Entering the shrine, the music immediately cuts off and dead silence follows. In front of Shiro lie eight statues, each of which generate a musical note when pressed against.
|A Minimoog would be preferred,|
but this'll do in a pinch.
A Hime townsfolk had previously sung part of a song, which she called the Tulip Song, using the western notation for the major scale (Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti). She didn't remember how the ending went and since I've never heard of the tulip song, it's off to the googles for some research. Well, it's a Japanese children's song (no shock there) and there's a good number of vids playing it, but what I need is the sheet music and I'm coming up with nadda. The best I can find is this little munchkin playing it on a synthesizer, which helps despite shaky camerawork from dad. I'm still missing something though, so I'm getting the wife up off her knees and asking for her help. She plays piano like a boss and has no problem laying out the correct note pattern after listening to the song. Go team Nung! With the last note still ringing in Shiro's ears, the entire party is teleported to the middle of the island, where Zombie Momotaro dwells in his peach-shaped castle surrounded by spikes, spiky mountains, and lava (with spikes on the bottom).
|Okay, will admit a little jealousy here.|
I didn't even realize the castle was a peach until Shiro reaches the main throne room and notes the ginormous peach in the back and Zombie Momotaro screaming about how he's in peach boy heaven.
|The peach is rockin' a sweet 'stache for some reason.|
Zombie Momotaro is quite the tough little nut to crack and beating him depletes all our heroes magic points to dangerously low levels. In the end, Z.M. falls and then surprises Shiro and the gang by having a second form, which is audacious for someone who isn't a final boss. Of course, his second form is some kind of wolfman with a shotgun (so predictable) and thankfully he can be beatdown with just regular attacks quite handily. With the evil Momotaro's influence removed from the island, Shiro is informed that his real master lies in the world above this one. Well, I think Shiro is beholden to no man, woman, or anything inbetween, but he still decides to jump on a giant bird, take one last tour of the island, and then heads off to the overworld to find his new partner.
|♪ I can Shiro the world! ♫|
Shiro is told to wait by the ol' cedar tree back yonder and then the focus returns to me, the fantabulous Shen and that other guy. I use my power of the ancient art of metagaming to immediately go to the cedar tree, which was empty when I discovered it before aaaaand still is (except for some dude who is not Shiro). Crap, looks like I have to buckle down and trigger some events. I manage to cure the burns on the fire-fighting Sabu but haven't found any fires yet. I'm on my third trip running around the overworld from town to town, choosing not to warp in case I missed a cave or something, and this encounter rate is just killin' me. It's always so much more noticeable when I'm stuck like this and I'm already pissed because I'm stuck. I eventually figure out that I need some oil from German Town but I hate talking to those guys. This time I decide to do some online translating, which I should have done in the first place, as I found out that some guy wanted "zucker" which is sugar in German, and I have chocolate, which is close enough. Now everything else is falling into place. I know I'm on the right track because I find a place with many tiles of fire for Sabu, who's apparently near-sighted, to put out.
|Fire's right behind you there, chief.|
Sabu has a good motivation for destroying all this fire for us as his sister is being held captive in a prison with a door made from liquid hot magma. Not one to be deterred by such a badass barrier, Sabu annihilates it by spinning around a bunch but comes at the cost of his life. His sister vows revenge (I like her already) on the Flame King who is responsible for all this. Returning to Satsuma, I find the entire place burning and am told that the Flame King is hiding somewhere in what remains of the town. There's no wandering monsters so it's just a matter of walking everywhere until I stumble upon him. With his defeat, finally everything is correctly triggered for me to hook up with my main poochie Shiro, closing Chapter 3 on a high note.
|Oh, he wants to be called Wolf now.|
Yeeeah, about that... ↓
|So much for being partners.|