As I’ve said before, I love Suikoden 2. Playing Final Fantasy Tactics reminded me of some similarities between the games’ stories, so after completing FFT I started a new file on Suikoden 2. Not only did I want to refresh my memory, but I also have unfinished business with that game. I may have beaten more than a half dozen times, but there is one part of the game I’ve never experienced. I have never been able to complete Clive’s Quest.
Clive’s Quest is a sidequest in Suikoden 2 centering on a character named … wait for it … Clive. In order to complete that sidequest you have to essentially beat the game in less than 20 hours. A tall task in a game that generally usually takes me more than 40. It is certainly possible, even without using some of the more involved tactics players have come up. All you have to do is skip almost all of the optional stuff in the game. This time, I was determined to see Clive’s Quest through. That determination, however, petered out around the time I hit South Window, a town you visit at about the one quarter mark of the game. At that point I realized how much I missed all the optional stuff you have to skip to complete that quest.
The Suikoden games are filled to the brim with optional things. You don’t have to work very hard to find most of them, simply walk around your castle and they happen. The spontaneity of these scenes is what makes the world of Suikoden seem so alive. It feels like this stuff is happening whether you are there to see it or not. Sure, there is fun stuff like having your army detective investigate each of the 108 Stars of Destiny that make up your party, but there is also more subtle stuff like stepping into the dining hall and seeing the two dog-like Kobolds performing a dance number. The more you poke around the game world, the more stuff happens that fleshes out the characters and the world.
One the few of these bonus scenes that excludes the rest is Clive’s Quest. To see Clive and Elsa’s story play out, you have to reach certain towns before too much time passes on the game clock, the last being what is essentially the last dungeon with right around 21 hours on the clock. I can’t ever force myself to miss all the good stuff just to get those few elusive scenes. It is just about the only thing I haven’t done in this game. I’ve recruited both Valeria and Kasumi, since you have to choose one or the other. I’ve gotten all of the endings, even the one when Riou (the “canon” name for the protagonist) and Nanami run away instead of finishing the game. I’ve even intentionally let Ridley die so I could recruit his son Boris. Unfortunately I have never been able to force myself to ignore all the other stuff I could see just for Clive. After failing recently, I’m not sure I ever will.
Still, each failure to complete Clive’s Quest is another time I play through Suikoden 2, so none of them are truly failures. Each time I play through the game it is a joy. I really wish Konami would make this game available for purchase on some download service. If I am really wishing for things I can’t have, I might as well wish that Konami would take the time to retranslate the game. Again much like Final Fantasy Tactics, the translation is got in the late 90’s was serviceable at best and unforgivably sloppy at worst. Unfortunately, the game tends toward the latter. It is the biggest flaw in what is otherwise a great game.