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The mysterious character known simply as "the merchant" makes his first appearance early in the game Resident Evil 4. The identity and origin of the merchant are a mystery. No explanation is given for his presence, nor is there any for his apparent willingness to assist Leon Kennedy in his mission. He appears frequently throughout the game in fixed locations to sell the player (among other things) weapons, weapon upgrades, and first aid sprays. The player finds money to pay for his wares throughout the game, and can also sell precious items or unwanted weapons to the merchant for more money to spend. Later in the game, the merchant also runs several shooting galleries for the player to participate in.
The merchant deals solely in pesetas, Spain's national currency before its conversion to the euro in 2002 (Resident Evil 4 is set in 2004), suggesting that the game takes place in a rural region of Spain. Players can attack the Merchant and he will collapse with one hit (except at shooting galleries, where he is invulnerable to attack); while he will never reappear at the same location, a merchant will still be present at all other locations.
Some versions of Resident Evil 4 portray the merchant with red, glowing eyes, similar to those of los Ganados that Leon must fight throughout the game. However, he does not display any aggression or hostility toward Leon, nor any other evidence that he is infected with Las Plagas.
- (Entering the "Buy" screen) "What're ya buyin?"
- (Entering the "Sell" screen) "What're ya sellin'?"
- (Selecting an unaffordable item) "Not enough cash, stranger!"
- (With new weapons in stock) "Got some rare things on sale, stranger!"
- (Selecting the Punisher handgun) "A wise choice, mate! Its ammo will penetrate just about anything!"
- (Selecting the Red9 handgun) "Ah, the choice of an avid gun collector! It's a nice gun, mate!"
- (Selecting the RPG) "Stranger, stranger, stranger... now that's a weapon!"
- (Selecting the Mine Thrower) "Not only will you need cash, but you'll need GUTS to buy that weapon!"
- (Selecting the Broken Butterfly Magnum) "I see you have an eye for things. Gun's not just about shoot'n, i'ts about reload'n! You'll know what I'm talkin' about!
- (About to buy or sell an item) "Is that all, stranger?"
- (After buying or selling an item) "Heh heh heh... Thank you!"
- (Selling a valuable item) "Ah! I'll buy it at a high price!"