To progress in Suikoden, I’m sad to admit I resorted to cheating. It wasn’t very bad cheating and it sort of happened by accident, but my playthrough of Suikoden will now forever by tarnished by this fact.
How did it happen?
I was looking up location names for this article by glancing over a walkthrough. I know, that seems like a bad idea, but it really is the easiest and quickest way to get names of cities and important characters.
The thing is, I accidentally glanced a bit too far down and saw a mention of some rapids that look like a whirlpool that I should visit with a boat from Rikon to advance the story.
In my defense, and this is a really good defense, this would be considered extremely bad game design these days. The rapids look exactly the same as the whirlpool to the north of the map, which I encountered earlier. There is no indication I should visit or “examine” them by pressing the X button. There’s also no indication I did anything after pressing the X button and the game telling me that these in fact are rapids.
Advancing the story
What happened, though, was that I went back to Rikon and then there was a custscene. After that, I was able to visit the other towns and, through a series of events, recruit two NPCs who then upgraded my boat, allowing it to cross over rapids.
After that, I went back through the river and got to the house of the legendary healer I needed to find. He didn’t want to join at first, but then he got arrested by Milich. A few more recruitments later, where Flik got molested by an alcoholic document forger, I had the forged documents needed to enter Soliere prison and save the healer. After that, he was more than willing to help and Milich was defeated in another grand battle. I had the option of recruiting him, so I did.
Immediately after, general Leo’s forces attacked, and we got defeated again, so I had to go get the Fire Spears we delivered to designs for earlier in the game. This helped us defeat general Leo.
Back to the present
Right now, it’s a few months later again and we got to the southern region, where a vampire named Neclord is molesting some cities and basically causing a lot of trouble. Our weapons can’t hurt him, so we need to get a special weapon.
Drama and sacrifice
Throughout the story, there are occasions where I’m forced to sacrifice a few characters to keep the fight going. The thing about this is, it’s not this amazing emotional moment like the one from Final Fantasy VII. More often, you feel something along the lines of “why the hell did this idiot have to do that, he could have made it”.
Up to now, we lost an entire elven village, the first leader of the Liberation Army, it looked like we were going to lose Valeria, but granted, the game surprised me there, and then Gremio was lost in a completely dumb way. Now it seems like Pahn is lost to, but there’s no confirmation yet, and General Teo was lost, though he technically wasn’t a character.
It seems like characters get killed of for the sake of adding drama to the story, except it doesn’t really add drama. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it. It’s just feels archaic and a bit naive and shallow, which I guess is to be expected in an early PS1 era JRPG. It’s still a great game!
I’m guessing someone who has played Suikoden as a kid might take offense at this, because they have their childhood memory to fall back to. It’s probably the same with me and Final Fantasy VII. I’m sure many people back then didn’t feel the sadness of the famous scene in Final Fantasy, and I’m sure there would be many more people now, so it’s probably the same thing with Suikoden. I get why these characters dying would be sad events, I just don’t feel it.
But back to the present. I now have my goal of defeating Neclord, but I’m in no rush to do it. I’d like to gather some gear and weapon upgrades first, and hopefully recruit a few more characters I know I’ve missed.
The castle is progressing nicely and I believe I have all the services available in the game now. I even recruited a third blacksmith through the story, allowing me to upgrade weapons up to level 12. I would like to gather a few more runes, if for nothing else, to just try them out.
A few deserving mentions.
A woman who apparently loves doing laundry joined me after I did a series of very simple fetch quests in her town. She wanted soap, the guy who had soap wanted something else, so on and so on. The initial item was some sugar I bought from the local item shop.
The three pirates who have their own island fortress finally decided to join, after I got the new boat and paid them a visit with the two fishermen. I also finally got the cat for that girl at an inn. I knew which cat it was and where I could find it, but I was only able to catch her now.
Neclord is a cartoon villain if I ever saw one. All you need it to see a screenshot.
By the way, I’m about 12 hours in now.
Come to think of it, that’s three of the five great generals down, possibly even 4 (I lost count). I think I’m done with well over half of the game now.