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Andrew - January '04- 3:00 Central Standard Time

All I ate today was pizza. I feel ill.

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Zelda for GBA

Ah, the Japanese fetish for exploding animals.

Hi Andrew,

Here's one of them great and heart-warming RPG moments. I was playing FFVIII, and decided to give Ultima Weapon a try. So I head down into Deep Sea Research center, strategy guide in hand, and somehow make it all the way to the second stage undamaged. There's a save point there, but apparently I was high on something then, because I forgot to save. Can you feel the suspense already? Thought so. Well, as I slayed Behemoths and Imps, I finally managed to get Quistis' two final limit breaks, something I'd be trying to accomplish for days. Then suddenly I run into a Ruby Dragon. Yup, attacked from behind. The overgrown lizard uses that evil Breath attack before I even have a chance to scream any obscenities, and predictably it's instant game over. But then! The mighty Phoenix arises from the ashes to saves my party's asses. I slayed the dragon, made it back to the savepoint, and lived happily ever after.

Oh, and as for the question who's the most pathetic and/or useless RPG character, I can't believe no one metioned Monyo, Manyo, Munyo and Wahagai from Bahamut Lagoon yet. They may look cuddly, but their attacks would either fail, set a bridge on fire (yes, the bridge my party is standing on, or even the very bridge THEY'RE standing on), or heal the boss for 9999 HP. Pair them with a Black Dragon for ultimate doom-- to the heroes, that is. They're supposed to be comic relief, but the only funny thing about them is that cute dance of theirs. Especially when Byuu mimiced that dance for Yoyo and she got all the wrong idea and... wait, I'm rambling. I'll quit now.


While all these phoenix stories are making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, my most vivid memories of the fire bird saving me are in the next turn, when the boss killed me with a single, furious blow.

As for the annoying characters in Bahamut Lagoon, no one has commented on them yet because next to no one has played a game that was never brought to the US.

Youíd think that in the prehistoric, millions of years before the invention of the common shaving razor, Ayla would have been MUCH hairier.

Greetings, Andrew

Chrono Trigger was one of the best RPGs for the SNES. It excelled in graphics, story, character design*, and battle system. The only character I had a problem with in the game is a certain prehistoric butch called Ayla.

Ayla facts of nastiness:

1. She talk like dis

2. She wears a fur bikini thingie

3. She runs on all fours

4. Square loves her (they reincarnated her in babykins form for Chrono Cross)

I know many RPG developers think its all the rage to have a beast in the party, but a HUMAN beast?!

What have we come to?

Seymour (Butts) Guado

First off, Ayla was all woman, just a very MANLY woman. The ďtailĒ was part of her bikini, which Iím sure many readers had no problem with. Meow. And yeah, Ayla was a bit dense, but she made up for it with her strength! When you compare Ayla with other atypical strong party members, Barret, Steiner, Ox, etc. She doesnít come off as half bad.

By the way, your nickname gave me a serious case of the giggles. Thanks.

My advice on what to buy? Baaaaaaaad idea.

Dude, you are funny. Just had to let you know that. Youíre just so bitter and sarcastic. Itís great. Anyhow, a few questions. What's your impression of Suikoden 3? The last RPG I got was FFX, and that was when it first came out. I've been sustaining myself with some PC RPGs in the mean time, but I'm looking to get another PS2 RPG. What's the best one out right now, or should I wait for a few more months to get something really stellar?

I feel your pain with the school starting up again. It's going to be death.


Iím enjoying Suikoden 3, and give it a hardy recommendation. Itís just not as good as the first two games.

As for school, Iím looking forward to it starting again, since Iíve finally snapped and gone for 9 am class starts. Hooray for sleep!

The magic of projection TVs. Overly expensive, and you canít play video games on them without risking their destruction.

Hey there,

Long time reader, first time writer. (Such a beautiful and original little phrase)

I am writing to the masses for hopes in an answer to a long pondered (and by 'long pondered' I mean 'considered for two days') question. Can you hook me up with the 411 (or the 555-1212) on video gaming with Rear Projection televisions? I have journeyed through many message (and massage) boards in search of an answer.

Everyone seems to have an opinion, though few people have any experience to really back it up. I've heard that playing games on RPTV's can be done safely if the contrast is turned way down and the game is not paused and left in one area for extended periods. I feel pretty confident in playing the new 3D things flying all over the place type games, but what about the classics, like Chrono Trigger for PSX and the like? Should I be fearful? Any one actually damage an RPTV with video games before?

All answers will be ignored unless they are exactly what I want to hear.

I have no idea. Asking staff members have given me answers of varying degrees of caution, from ďItíll probably be okayĒ, to ďIs he stupid? Of course not!Ē So if I were you, I wouldnít risk wreaking a nice big TV, and go buy myself a cheap 19 incher.

Useful vs. Annoying. No contest!

Quina was an appalling instance of cute character design, but (s)he was one of the most useful characters for boss fights -- the Angel's Snack spell, which cures most status problems, is indispensable for fighting Ozma. And the Shell and Protect spells just don't live up to Mighty Guard.

And I could never find that stupid fifth squirrel, even though I've played Suikoden 2 enough times that I can get all 108 stars, do the McDohl subquest and see all the Clive and Elza scenes with five hours to spare.


Quina may have been useful in a few places, but Iíd still take any other character over it. I mean, if only to avoid itís horribly bizarre dialogue.
Zidane- Oh no! The world is exploding!
Dagger- My people!
Quina- I leik teh fuit it be ok?!

The final squirrel is found where you found the other ones, you just have to keep searching. It only took me an hour to collect them all, but a lifetime to regret letting them into the castle.

Return to Thunderdome.

On EQ: Okay, you're right about the D&D stash thing. But to clarify, most of the people mom plays with are in their 20s to 30s, most aren't housewives (just male slackers), and several are highschoolers and college kids. Not "everybody," certainly, but not nobody either (there're thousands upon thousands of people "Ga-Ga").

On my Diablo 2 Suitemates: You're dead wrong. They don't play online. They play boring old singleplayer, unless they're trading amongst their many characters. I am not full of crap; they are, indeed, trying to collect every unique. They make "mules" (bogus level 1 characters) to hold all the stuff. They give the mule a Horadric cube and lots of items to hold. When it runs out of space, they make another mule. So take that, you lout!

Do you know anybody addicted to Animal Crossing? Quite a strange one to be addicted to, but I've heard stories...

- Colin "I can so understand other languages ::grumble grumble::" C.

Mag Roader

The fact that you know so much about the people your mom plays Everquest with is creepy.

All right, I take it back. Your suitemates really are freaks. But since theyíre using your copy of the game, just donít bring it back to college. Problem solved.

Iíve never heard of anyone addicted to Animal Crossing, though itíd be a pretty cool game to become hooked on. Mmm...old Nintendo games...

Grammar Nazis!

"Frankly, I could care less about Japanese only extras"

This is a pet peeve of mine, the expression is "I couldn't care less" If you state you could care less, what does that mean? In your case, if you care less about Japanese only extras, maybe you care for them a great deal but could still care less. On a caring scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being "I couldn't care less" then "I could care less" could be anything from 2 to 100. So in summary, "I could care less" is a useless phrase with an indefinite meaning.

BTW, I've been a regular reader for 3 years, and this is the first letter I've gotten around to sending, isn't that sad?


Wendell G.


What kind of ďRegardsĒ, Wendell? Are they warm ones? Cold ones? Are the regards only because thatís how youíve always ended your letters? Youíve really left me very confused with your abrupt end to your letter.

But you gotta love his hair.

Hey Andrew,

I had to think about the annoying characters question long and hard, because in the many RPGs I've played, there have been a great many annoying characters, but how is this defined? Does their personality annoy you? Are they completely useless? Do their attacks take FOREVER to complete? I guess my answer would have to be Nash from Lunar:Silver Star Story Complete. His magic is cool, but if you run out of MP, he's totally screwed because he's useless in battle. On top of that, he has low defense, which makes him doubly useless. Add on top of that annoying voice acting and a terrible personality, and you've got one very easy to hate character. Plus his name reminds me of Kevin Nash.

Robust Stu

Ehehehe. While Iíll agree with all your points, Iíd like to point out that Nash was suppose to be an annoying dork. Hooray!

A perfect battle is one that does not happen!

Hey Andrew,

What do you consider the perfect RPG battle system? In my opinion, Final Fantasy X's turn-based system was perfect, letting you see who will attack next. I love such a system, since in games like Wild ARMs 3 or the Dragon Quests, it really pisses you off when you're low on HP, try to heal, but can't, since the monster kills you first. What's your take?


Ugh. My perfect battle system is completely free roaming with the option of auto battle.

For love of war.

The most obnoxious character in an RPG would certainly have to be Farmer Algus.

Look at it this way: You save his whiny ass (or Delita saved his whiny ass, whatever). Now, instead of becoming your humble servant, he attempts to aid you in battle by using up your items and killing people you were saving for experience.

Alright, overalls. Give me that sword.

You watch him torture some poor soldier, kicking him in the face. Jesus, what's your problem with these commoners? I don't remember you being in such high standing yourself.

Then you fight Miluda (or something...whatever). The conversation goes something like this:
Miluda: "Why can't you treat us like equals?"
Algus: "Because you're all animals!"
Miluda: "Everyone is equal in the eyes of God!"
Algus: "Animals have no God!"


I killed him right there.

Oh, we're not done. He verbally attacks your best friend, leaves, takes part in a plot to kidnap your friend's sister, then shoots her, and finally repays you for saving his life by trying to kill you.

That game was filled with crappy characters, but Algus stands as the cream of the crap.


Algus was one horribly abusive jerk, wasnít he? Reminds me how much I loved Final Fantasy Tactics, with its characters that stood by their morals, no matter how stupid they were.



When you said that people make bad "knock-offs of their favorite 80's games," you are ignoring why many people make them- practice. It is a fact that many starting game designers aren't gifted with the ability to make RPG's right off the bat, so they practice making arcade games. It is good practice and will give people something to be proud of that they made- not just a lot of cocky remarks about the RPG's they will make.

Oh, and Quina was very frightening in FF9. When he/she/it was comparing food to friendship or whatever near the end of the game, it made me think, "What? It witnessed all this stuff and is still obsessed with food?"

By the way, am I the only one who desperately wants a modern game with the same job-system as the one in FF5?


1. My big jab there was the idea of having to cough up $30 to use Project FUN, when you could easily find a free engine or simply bite the bullet and learn to program. So yes, itís better then bragging about how good you will be, but not the best starting place.

2. Quina has problems, and they ARE GIVING YOU BRAIN DAMAGE.

3. Uh? Well then, why donít you create it? *runs*


I know this is a bit late, but I can't believe no one nominated this moron already. I speak, of course, of the "illustrious" Jean the Frog from Breath of Fire 2, the alleged prince of...uh, it's been awhile? Prince of Frogtown, who has the dubious distinction of _not really caring_ that he has been replaced by an impostor. He doesn't care that his impostor is going to kill him, either. Aside from that, his attack sucks. His special ability sucks. His spells suck. There are only two things worth having him in the party for, and one is the Warp spell that lets you travel from place to place without having to walk.

If I could, I would have sunk Jeanís stupid castle into the lake. That was by far the most pointless quest in any RPG.

Hey Andrew, here's a quick one for you: I know that Shadow Heats is the "sequel" to Koudelka, but do you really need to play Koudelka first to understand the plot of SH? Just wondering, because the two games don't appear to have anything in common except for the fact that they both take place on Earth. Thanks for your help.


What an oddly worded question. If you had played Koudelka, and were interested in Shadow Hearts, then your question would be, ďDo the games have anything in common?Ē If you had finished Shadow Hearts and were wondering if was worth it to pick up Koudelka, you would have said so. As is, since youíve played neither, but are probably thinking about getting Shadow Hearts, I suggest you just pick it up and see how you like, and Koudelka be damned.

Andrew, is Pain Spelled w/ an "e" on the end of it? And if you can tell me, is Pain/Paine an Al-Bhed?

Dom know what? These are completely irrelevant questions. Why did you send me something so stupid?

I heard rumors floating around about FF7 being remade. Any truth behind this?


Answer 4- Yep. Final Fantasy 7 will be remade into a giant transforming robot, and will crush the city of Tokyo sometime in 2008.

The Final Grumble:

Ah, pizza puffs. A great snack to keep me awake while I write the column.

Andrew "Mr. Blue Sky" Duff

I'm such a liar.

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