Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Scorpion Army


Well, here we are, once again.  The semester is over, both at the school I learn at and the school I teach at, so there is some time for updates.  I need to get out of the habit of letting this blog go for awhile, because it is a very difficult thing to get back into.  I have to go back and study all of the things I did before, and then try to remember what I was coming up with.  Further complicating matters is a new computer I got.  I kept everything on my last one, and had to transfer the important files over.  One of these days, I'll get into 2017 2010 and embrace cloud storage.

This article is on the Scorpion Army.  At first glance, they don't seem like they deserve an entire article.  The thing that makes this group stand out is not so much what they do, but where they're found.  Besides the heroes and the Empire, they are the only ones that find their way to some unusual places like the Lost Continent and the underground.  While characters like Watts and Neko do turn up in similar places, it is more as a gameplay element than a plot element.

Oh, and they have their own theme song.

We encounter the Scorpion Army three times.  The first is in the Underground Palace.  On the way from the Ruins, we must stop in the Underground Palace and recover the Water Seed that they stole.  They seem to be aware of the Seed's power as well, at least as a means of powering their ridiculous creations.  Not only do they have the technology to travel underground, but they also build robots:

Aha! The Water seed!  How'd you get in here?  You realize we can't let you leave...

BOSS:Welcome! We, the Scorpion army, will rule the world!

BOYS:Check it out!

BOSS:Shuddap!  WE took the Water seed......to complete our Super Deluxe Robot!  We call it "Kilroy..."

BOYS:Hubba, hubba!

BOSS:Do it!!

BOYS:Aye aye, Sir.

Ah ha!  The Water Seed!  Well…this is different.  How the hell did you get in?  How dare you discover our underground fortress!  What comes here doesn't return!

Boss:  Welcome, little urchins.  We are the Scorpion Army, who will soon rule the world!

Boys:  Cool!  Check this out!

Boss:  Save it!  It was indeed us who took the Water Seed...to transfer the energy to our Super Deluxe Robot!  The name of this invincible guardian is…"Kilroy!"

Boys:  Hehe…it's so cool!

Boss:  Now, let's get this robot going!  You need to get on it!

Boys:  Aye aye, sir!

Non-Japanese players like myself probably did not realize that the Scorpion Army was based on the Doronbo Gang, led by the villain, Doronjo, from the Time Bokan anime:

According to the primary Wikia:
[Doronjo] is an attractive blond known for her vanity, intelligence, and leadership...she along with her fellow Doronbo members...are sent on various missions...but end up getting in various battles...and losing each time and being punished for failures.
Sound familiar?

BOSS:Aiee! What's wrong?

BOYS: Too much energy...it's out of control!

BOSS:Nooo! Remove the seed!  Use the auxillary power!

Boss:  Wow!  What happened to it?

Boys:  Oh, no!  The energy is too powerful…it's no longer operational!  

Boss:  Aieee!  What!?  Remove the seed and go to auxillary power!

After the battle with Kilroy, the Scorpion Army is not even mentioned again until their next scheme.  They seem to have no connection with the Empire...so are just they a sidequest, or were intended to have further significance?  When we meet them the second time, they've imprisoned the fire spirit, Salamando, in a stove to thaw out a town in the Ice Country, making a tropical oasis in the midst of a wintry climate.  This town has a connection to Gold City, which I'll cover in the next
article, but let's take a look at the Scorpion Army here:

BOSS:YOU again!? Didn't you recognize them?

BOYS:Uh, sorry...

BOSS:Everyone's gone!  I was about to become rich!  Huh?  Fire Palace seed?  I haven't a clue.

BOYS:I saw an odd old guy when we nabbed Salamando!

BOSS:Don't HELP them!  See ya, bye!

Boss:  Oh my god…it's you again!  Didn't you slime notice them here?

Boys:  Sorry…

Boss:  Ahh!  It's over already!  After I went through all of this trouble to make money…everyone ran away!  Huh?  The Fire Palace Seed?  I don't know anything about it, and I'm already fed up with these Seeds…

Boys:  Hmm…when we caught Salamando, there was a weird old man...

Boss:  Eh, what?  What are you telling them?  Enough!  We will remember this…

The, "old man" they're referring to should be Santa Claus, but he's found in the Ice Palace coming up.  Unless they're referring to the Gigas in the Fire Palace, I don't know who this is.

Finally, in the Grand Palace, they show up out of nowhere to retrieve Randi's Mana Sword, which they just happened to find out about...

BOSS:Hey, you!

BOYS:You!

BOSS:I did some nosing around...seems this kid is the "Legendary Knight!"  Haw, ha! What a joke!  How could YOU have found that sword? Hand it over!

BOYS:Yeah!  We're gonna be rich, Boss!

BOSS:Shaddap and go get it!  Super Special Deluxe Robot, Type 2...with turbo!  "Kettle Kin!"

(after the battle)

BOSS:Too...strong! He's the REAL Knight! What idiot said he wasn't the Knight? Let's scram!

BOYS:Yeah!

Boss:  We've been waiting!  …you made it!

Boys:  It is so!

Boss:  I checked around and was told all about you!  This is the hero of the Mana Sword!  This child!  Ha ha!  THIS is supposed to be the brave knight?  So I see you do have the Mana Sword, but this must be some kind of joke.  Come on, hand it over to us!

Boys:  That's right!  I'm sure the Mana Sword is worth quite a lot, boss.

Boss:  Now, don't be stupid.  We'll have to take this by force!  Super Special Deluxe Robot, Type 2...with turbo!  "Kettle Kin!"

(after the battle)

Boss:  This one is too strong!  I guess he is the real Mana Knight!  Who are you, anyway?  Why didn't just say you're the hero?  Let's get out of here!

Boys:  Aye-aye, sir!

What's significant here is that the Scorpion Army somehow found their way into the most isolated place of the game---the underground city.  While this may be little more than comic relief, I find myself thinking about the post-apocalyptic future in Chrono Trigger.  You'll recall that Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana started out as the same project.  The designs of the ruined domes in 2300AD are very similar to the design of the underground city in Secret of Mana, and there are also quite a few robots.  I can see aspects of the Scorpion Army as a direct precursor to this concept.  They demonstrate technology in a world where there's little, possibly meaning that they come from the Lost Continent themselves, or are related to the, "Ancients" who built the Mana Fortress.  Many years ago, I read some fanfic that explored this possibility in-depth, but can not locate it now.  

Either way, the game tells us little about their background.  But there is no denying that they are the most offbeat plot element in the game.

I'll close with some insight from user regrs of GameFAQs:

Here's something interesting. 
Kilroy was supposed to make a grand entrance similar to Spikey Tiger. The doors in the back of his arena have partial functionality to open them.  [And no, there's nothing back there. You can walk inside the area a bit though.]  Looks like this:


DqypbTG

Next:  Odds & Ends Part III

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