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   30 Letters.   

Andrew - January '26- 2:00 Central Standard Time

Last night, around 1:30, some virus went through the internet and blew up a couple of servers, which included the one I use, so that explains why yesterday the column went up like, 12 hours late. So you have TRC to thank the column got up at all. Not that it matters, the huge outpouring of letters has been insane.

And that's right. 30 letters. Come on, I dare you to find a larger Q&A column.

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Haha! Panpan is fat!

First, lemme say how awesome it is to see such a wonderfully caustic individual doing the Q&A. You make me smile.

Am I too late to get on the "Biggest RPG Letdown" gravy train? For me it's no contest. Xenogears. There are three good things about that game. An interesting attack system, a fair amount of references to "Once Upon a Time in China", and Billy Black.

The bad: A story that begins with just about every RPG/anime cliche they could put in, picks up in the middle when they start introducing interesting characters, and an ending which proceeds to ruin every good thing it had. Characters with great potential are left out to dry after their initial introduction to the game (Maria?), and instead we get Fei/Elly angst fests. As the game went on, it felt like they were more concerned with poorly slapped together religious symbolism than with creating multi-dimentional characters people might actually care about.

Xenogears was basically "Star Wars: Episode 2" for me. I wanted so badly to like it, but in the end it only hurt me... and poured salt into the wounds.

PS: Are you a fan of Homestar Runner by chance?

The ďgravy trainĒ is always open for old topics for the weekend column. The more letters, the merrier.

Xenogears came out in a time far removed, when gamers would snap up any RPG they could because there were so few and far between, especially a Squaresoft RPG. I got bored with the game on disc 2, when the characters stopped being the focus and NPCís got increasingly more preachy. Too bad Square was so busy crucifying mechs that it forgot to add, you know, fun to Xenogears.

A Homestar Runner fan? Youíve got to be fweakin kidding me.

Smells like...hatred!

Andrew, Thank God that someone in the universe besides me actually hated Skies of Arcadia. I bought a Dreamcast just for that game, and to this day, it's still the only game I've ever purchased for DC (which now sits unused and gathering dust). Everything you mentioned I agree with one hundred percent. It had great graphics, yes, but the cutesyness of it made my stomach turn. No onto the question you posed of what games I thought would be great and then let me down.

1) Legend of Dragoon -- There was so much hype surrounding this game, and gaming magazines gave it great reviews. I thought it was going to be the first Final Fantasy not made by Squaresoft (you know what I mean). But it was horrible. Every RPG cliche in the universe was utilized in that game. Not to mention the fact that the battle system was horrid. The idea of defending to recover health was a novel concept, but that lack of healing magic and extremely *tiny* amount of inventory you could carry negated the creativity and made sitting defending in battle for long periods of time the only way to beat enemies. The graphics were subpar for the time, especially the fact that many screens were so murky they had arrows all over the place just so you could find your way around a level. I couldn't even beat the game. Definitely a letdown for me.

2) Brave Fencer Musashi -- Why people rave about this game is beyond me. It sucks. The control scheme is horrible, the voice-acting is vomit-inducing, the cutesy main character is cuter than the cutest cute Disney character, and in an action RPG, that's NOT GOOD. What pissed me off the most about this game was the fact that you were often required to do extremely difficult jumps and maneuvers in limited amounts of time. And not only would missing something be extremely frustrating, Musashi would add to the agony by uttering some horrendous comment in a sweet little voice, "Aww, darn! Now I have to start all over!" Please God let the torment end.

3) One more... although it's not an RPG, Top Gear Daredevil for PS2 let me down. I knew nothing about it when I picked up at Wal-Mart for 20 bucks, but I had bought a PS2 recently and thought I'd fill out my library. I liked the Top Gear games on Super Nintendo, I figured this couldn't be that bad. It was worse than bad. If you've never played it, see if you can find a discount copy somewhere just to prove how terrible of a game it really is. And then sell it on eBay! Somebody was actually dumb enough to buy mine for $14!

That's all. Sorry to monopolize so much of your time.


1. While there was a lot of hype around Legend of the Dragoon, Iíve never seen any magazine give it an above average score, and it certainly didnít live up to its Final Fantasy 7 killer rumors.

2. Oh, you big meanie you! Musashi was such a sweet little game! Didnít you love rescuing townspeople and being a short-arse? Seriously, action-rpgs usually just take people the wrong way. You know what they say; RPGamers canít jump. I actually liked Brave Fencer a lot.

3. ...a crap racing game you bought because of the title? You should have know better.

ďDonít forget, I fought in the Mcpoop war.Ē

S'up, chronically sarcastic one?

What game let me down the most? Easy. Suikoden 3. For a lot of reasons really.

Despite being forty hours long, the gmae felt really short, and by the end of it, I felt I hadn't accomplished much. So I started over, but couldn't get into it again. At this point, I have yet to finish it.

While the concept of the True Elemental Runes was cool as well, the only one you really get to have fun with is the True Lightning Rune (and little enough of that). The rest come far too late to really enjoy them, especially when you compare it to the previous games in the series (Suikoden 1, you get Soul Eater after about an hour of gameplay, although you can't really use it for another two hours. Suikoden 2, you get Bright Shield and Black Sword after maybe an hour and a half).

Last but not least was the absolute dismissal of the savedata from Suikoden It was like an afterthought. No special quests, no super special characters (like McDohl, Riou or Jowy, which would have been extremely cool, if somewhat (heh) overbalancing), and no really interesting changes to the game. I played through Suikoden 2 eight times to get just the right savedata, and I was rewarded with a name change, a book and two scripts? I was not a happy camper.

Anyway, Suikoden 3 let me down more than any other game I played, although Beyond the Beyond was pretty bad, but I wasn't expecting much from it anyway.

Dave "Phoenix"

You make a very good point. Screw the thumbed down battle system, forget Geddoe the uninteresting, what we really wanted was a bunch of cool rewards for our huge amounts of work on Suikoden 1 & 2. You bastards, Konami! We trusted you! *sob*

A grand experiment.


I know what you mean, I bought playstation 2 just for finalfantasy X, and it isnít as great as I thought it would be I mean, the storyline is pretty cool, but how can he be a dream, when he was just playing blitz all in zanarkand and gets swalloed by frickin sin!

So getting swalloed by a huge immortal monster makes you into a dream a thousand years in the future? And what about the voices, they donít fit the charactors, and there mouthes still move when there done talking! And their faces donít actually smile when there happy and stuff, emotions!! Thatís it, they said their faces actually showed real emotion. This game was awesome, except those facts, but dude, some parts of a storyline are pretty messed up like getting swalloed and being a dream, and disinigrating at the end. To me FFVII and VIII where my all time favorites, so cya lata

PeePs and PeePetts

Hey, whatever problems you have with the plot are your own. Final Fantasy 10 was bold step for Square. One that utterly, utterly failed, but it still was bold. Not content with blocky polygons and heroes that were all beautiful and utter asses, Square had to add voice acting. The crap canít get stacked much higher here, folks.

Whoops, forgot about FF10-2 Nevermind.

Zuhalter pities the fool who likes Final Fantasy 9!

Andrew the Magnicificent (I'm gonna call you that from now on. I like it) I didn't explain why I was disappointed in FF9 yesterday because I didn't wanna start a flame war. But hey, since you're encouraging flame wars, I might as well bash away.

1) Everyone was yapping about how it "goes back to the root of the series." Well, I guess it does have more of a midieval setting, but that doesn't matter to me at all, considering Final Fantasy has always had a progression towards more technology in each game. Go play the first one. You go into outer space and fight giant robots AND IT ROCKS! There's more examples of technology out there... All 7 and 8 did was get rid of castles, basically.

2) Characters. Quina's the worst thing ever, and Zidane looks like a 12 year old girl with a tail. Vivi was pretty cool, but I always imagined Black Mages being more, you know, evil (much like Brian Clevenger at does).

3) Magic system SUCKED. It seems to me that in an attempt to return to the roots of the series, they took at all innovation whatsoever they had built up with magic systems. They basically took espers, but worsened it a million times because you have to suffer using crappy equipment to learn good spells. After something so flexible as materia (which was so godly that it deserves its own cult to worship it), why did they decide to devolve so much?

4) Some of the biproducts of the magic system got annoying. You couldn't sell equipment because you might need to fuse it later, and you had to steal alot. Considering you succeed about 1 in 8 times, and the battle system was fairly slow, that got old really fast.

5) The dialogue got on my nerves. After playing with Cid in your party in FF7, it's kinda hard to go back to "Argh! I hate you!" Come on, the villain's gotta inspire some better emotions than that. I say if people wanna go for that classic feel, they should all play Dragon Warrior 7.

As for Way of the Samurai (which I also mentioned yesterday), it's got a few glitches, and there are way too many ways to learn combos, but I think the overall idea is great. Basically they took the main thing I wanna see in RPGs (namely, ROLE PLAYING) and stuck it into a great action game. I love being able to walk around and kill whoever I want, make whatever decisions I want, and soforth... Another game that nailed this aspect is Deus Ex. We need more games where everyone wandering around the town can actually do something, hold equipment (for you to take), give useful information, or just be target practice.

I love randomly killing things.
Tim the Zuhalter

Before I tear your points into tiny little pieces, thanks for taking the time for writing back explaining how you feel.

1. What people were saying by FF9 going ďback to its rootsĒ was that the focus wasnít on technology anymore. Remember is Final Fantasy 8 when Zell rode in on his hover board? How retarded was that? People were simply sick of worlds that were more concerned with nuclear war then evil warlords.

2. Well yeah, everyone thinks Zidane is a chick when you first meet him. Hard not too. We all hate Quina, but with Vivi... Do you know how lame you sound when you donít like a character because he isnít a cookie cutter mold from 8-bit theater? Besides, weíve all seen the alternate version of Vivi. His name is Orko, and it isnít pretty.

3. Go to hell. I, along with the majority of the universe, like characters where their abilities differ. Materia stripped all that away, and thank God Final Fantasy 9's system worked so well. It wasnít as if you needed to sell items that badly anyway, what with the near infinite inventory.

4. Regardless of what you think of the magic system, you have to admit it was a huge step up from Final Fantasy 8's completely retarded method of ďdrawingĒ.

5. Nobody liked Oglops. That was the point.

If youíre looking for a game in the vein of Way of the Samurai and Deus Ex, I strongly suggest Morrowind.

Quest for a Paladin, part 1-

You requested info on Paladin's Quest, and well, I know the game.

There's only one word that can properly describe how I feel about it:

YUCK! The battle system royally sucks, the enemies are about 20 times your strength and can wipe you out in a single round, and though I played about 20 hours into it, using an emulator to cheat my way past battles (which just made the bosses even tougher, though) I still didn't get what the story was about. I'm still not sure there IS a story!

If you have the money to spare, get it for rarity. Don't get it so you have a game to play, because then you'll be disappointed.



So this hard to find game is complete crap. Hooray. Sadly, this is often the case with games that are impossible to find. With the possible exception of ďThe Tales of Spike McfangĒ. Now that was one hat throwing, card casting, tomato sucking, messed up adventure!

Quest for a Paladin, part 2.

From one Andrew to another:

I have Paladinís Quest, by virtue of having conned my Grandma into buying it used back in the day, so I can vouch for its somehow making it to North America, despite the absence of various other of Enix's better titles. I write only to dissuade you from making the worst mistake you can possibly make: actually searching for Paladin's Quest. To sum up: Worst. Game. Ever. I'm counting non-RPGs here. The colours are all eastery, the plot is terrible, the characters ridiculous (and even more ridiculously named) and the music tedious. I suppose you could make a case for it being unique, but I like to dispense with such pleasantries and call awful awful.

Anyway, if you still don't believe me, here's a review I wrote a year or so back that still needs to be proofread (I'm not bitter... really!) before it can become official and such:

href="">The Contraband Review

I hope this will prevent the evil that is Paladin's Quest from entering your life. Remember: Knowing is half the battle! (cue GI Joe music)

-Your Friendly Neighbourhood Head of News, Andrew

What a helpful review. My favorite line is how long it took you to play, ď Eight Long, Painstaking YearsĒ. However, if nothing else, I have to say the graphics look pretty damn cool. Love the crazy colors.

Quest for a Paladin, part 3.

I found it interesting to see that a reader posted about Paladin's Quest, a game that was released almost a decade ago for the SNES. To answer a question, yes, it was released in the U.S. I bought it used at Electronics Boutique about 5 or 6 years ago. The game is really good, although it is a bit simple (like most NES and SNES RPGs) and the graphical system is...unique, but overall it is a good game, very challenging, and takes about 50 hours to complete. It has a really cool mercenary system as well. If you can get your hands on the game at EBay or something like that for under 20 bucks, go for it.


Andrew: two people hate enough to write a very in depth and painful review, and one guy loves it. Consider me stumped.

Quest for a Paladin, part 4.

Hi Andrew,

Yesterday, someone wrote in about Paladin's Quest, and I'd like to tell about it.

I'd refer to playing it as more of a negative experience than a positive experience, but since I've had the fortune(?) to play it, I figure that I'll tell a bit about it.

For one, the battle system was unbelievably original. You were able to attack with each hand depending on which button you pressed. Late at night, I often fought monsters with my shield by accident. There was only one meter which was life. You cast magic with your HP, so it was possible to do great mortal damage to yourself by accident. The battles didn't flow nicely either, as it took too much button pressing to give commands. The magic system was very original, as you were able to learn different elements and spells from magic schools around the world, and then combine them. The monsters were often challenging and battles could take a long time to play out. There were only two main characters, although you could hire up to two mercenaries to fight with you. The music was, also frighteningly average, from what I can remember, after having last played it 4 years ago. The story was original, but I wasn't really interested in it. It started as a basic main-character-opens-a-seal-and-has-to-save-everything-kind-of-plot, but gets better, but not interesting as the game plays out. The main thing that I hated was the graphics though. At this time in RPGs, they could've done much better. It was a weird kind of pastel look, that really got to you after a while. The building designs all looked like they were acid induced, which isn't a bad thing usually, but it is here. That's about all there is to say about Paladin's quest.

Also, what on Earth is this Neos Guilty Exodus that's in the Dreamcast section. Do you know anything about this game? It intrigues me.

-White Shadow

And one vote for average. This is crazy. A few years ago, all I wanted was a game called the Journey Home that only had a tiny review in Nintendo power and I never heard from again. Now someone mentions a rare game and all of you pipe in on whether itís worth it to find. Insanity.

Quest for a Paladin, part 5.

hey andrew

This letter is in remark to macdowells letter about paladins quest. PQ was released in the us. The game is pretty good. Graphics are ok but then again the game was released back in i believe 1993. The battle system for the time was unique and so was the way you got characters. The way characters joined you was through hiring their services as bounty hunters. I bought this game in a used shop in like 1995. The game came with a map that showed all the characters you could recruit. I guess this game is hard to find now but you should be able to find some copies on ebay for like 20 bucks.


And another vote that Paladinís Quest was a good game. Iím liking a lot of the ideas this game has had, like the mercenaries and the right/left hand attacks, but most of you seem to think they were executed poorly. Hmm.

Quest for a Paladin, part...6!?!

So you wanna know about Paladin's Quest?

It's not a half-bad game. Watch out for the pastels in the graphics, though. Very very pastel. Well, outside of battles. Battles are done in the Dragon Quest/Warrior style when you face the monsters, and you don't see your characters. I'm not a big fan of that, but oh well. The story is pretty much standard fare -- the main hero (Chezni) climbs a tower on a dare and releases this big, evil, scary demon guy, then gets blamed for it, and he has to go save the world. Soon after, you meet your one permanent party member, a girl whose name escapes me. The other two party slots can be filled by mercenaries that you hire.

It wasn't spectacular, but I wouldn't say it was BAD either.


Another vote for average, and a vote from me for games with more pastel colors in them. SOOTHING!

Last one. Really.

I played through that one a couple times back in the SNES days. It had its good and its bad points, but the main thing that struck in my mind was the sheer weirdness of it. Most of the characters were weird alien-creatures, and the game's very effeminate main hero was about as human as your cast got. Beyond that, most of the game's architecture were oddly-shaped and in odd pastel colors.

The gameplay was mostly strange, too. You had a four person party, but you only had two regular party members. The others spots were sometimes filled with regular NPCs for a while, but mostly you filled them by hiring mercenaries. The mercs didn't have much backstory, but a lot were fairly quirky. One would refuse to leave the party until killed, another would steal from the party and leave at the worst possible time, a third was one of the best mercenaries in the game, but wouldn't join unless you hired his useful brother as well, and so on.

Even the magic system was odd. You learned spells by learning new elements, and new spells just came from combining old elements with the new one. Your mastery of the elements improved by casting spells that used them, so if you cast the group fire spell (which used the fire and sphere elements,) your level of fire and sphere will increase. Sometimes, this just increased damage or other data, but it also could increase the spell's area of effect, thus attacking other enemies.

So, all in all, it's a generally entertaining but really weird game, which you may or may not appreciate. The characters are fairly shallow, and the plot fairly generic, but I enjoyed it.

Of course, I'm the only person on Earth who really liked Legend of Mana, so what do I know?


A great answer, Seth. When it comes down to it, Paladinís Quest seems to be why we get so many cookie cutter RPGs. Itís when companies release these truly bizarre games that people are so divided on, they get scared and run back to the atypical crap. The game sounds like a lot of fun from youíre perspective, so Iím going to give the thumbís up and encourage people to find this unique game.

How dare you release cool games when I have no money!

My biggest let down in a game, wasn't really in the game itself, but in the company that released the game.

For a while, I'd been looking forward to Suikoden III. I love and cherish 1 and 2. But, when it came out, I was broke. So, my fault there. But when the I finally had the money a month and a half later, I talked to the workers at Software ETC. and the game had been delisted. I couldn't believe that a game was out for only a short while, and was delisted before I had a chance to get a copy.

Other than that, I was not really disappointed with any game, because I am at heart a pessimist, and never get my hopes up about games being "l33t" or "godly."

Ricky Takare

P.S. Damn Konami!

I know exactly how you feel. When I got a GameCube, my search for Super Smash Brothers Melee met the same fate. Just keep looking, and Iím sure youíll find it. Damn you Konami! Now the only way you can make it up is with a 2-d Castlevania for PS2!

But I thought I could create games with my Hello Kitty toaster!

What games let me horribley horribley down? Well, first one that comes to mind is Baldur's Gate 2. I needed a new game, I was horribley bored. So I read a few reviews they all praised it as great wonderful etc. So I rushed and got the money and grabbed it a couple days after release. Popped it in, waited 2 hours for it to install, played it...thought it looked kinda cool so far...played...finished the first dungeon...played some more... and then I realized all I was doing was clicking and watching people whack things, and they weren't even doing it in a amusing fashion. I got bored and quit soon after.

So then I spot Neverwinter Nights...anticipate it for years, save up the money since last Christmas to get it, buy a freaking new video card, etc. I was hotly anticipating it mostly because of the DMing, and the scripting looked preety good. So the day comes when I finally get it, I play it...its way better than BG2 I quickly agree with and after a few days of single player I get bored with it and hop into the editor.

...Only to discover the scripting is about as powerful as crap. Sure, its better than some things...the language itself is great... the problem is, its completley limited to doing basic things, impossible to break out of NWN's gameplay with it. Sure, its fine for what it was meant to do, but somehow I expected something more powerful.. (Lets not forget how completley cookie cutter it one in their right mind could possibley add tiles or models to it for obvious reasons, and the tiles are so utterly massive its hard to make your levels look unique at all. A retarded kid could make a area look good, but then it'd look like every other area ever made)

...So then I move on to the DM discover its preety freaking limited. I can't even SEE MY DAMN PLAYER'S FREAKING STATUS SHEET, EDIT IT IN ANY WAY, OR TOUCH THEIR INVENTORY. But I go on anyway seeing the rest of it. Well, its not too bad past that, but then I could only have two players since all my players have crap for computers....

So in the end while NWN was defintley better than BG2, it sure wasn't worth paying $60US on the release day to get it. And BG2 was a huge waste of $50 to get then, too.

Moral of the story: I hate 80% of PC RPGs, why was I stupid enough to buy these on near release day? I have no clue. Probably because I listend to reviewers I disagree with totally on the subject of PC RPGs.


Hey, you bought a PC RPG. You should have known what to expect from Baldurís gate 2, and yeah, the editor wasnít great, but frankly, why should it be? I mean, it was a nice little add-on, but I doubt it was meant to allow people to create totally new games. There are plenty of creation engines out there, and if you were bored with the series anyway, why would you want to make more games like them?

The blind cosmic janitor. I wonder if heís related to DareDevil.

Disappointing video games? I doubt anyone's ever heard of (much less finished) this game, but it was called "Final Fantasy 8." I saw a preview of it in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, and was really excited about it. It looked so spiffy, aside from the mutant ostrich thingies that were used as transportation...

Anyway, get the game on Christmas Day, and it's so icky/boring/etc. that I actually fall asleep playing it. The characters themselves were fine (as were the designs... except for how much they repeated FF7), but the entire plot seemed to be moving in slow-motion and had one of the worst cases of deus ex machina that I've ever seen. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, play the game up until you get to an abandoned orphanage... and then proceed to bash your forehead against the controller. repeatedly. Until your eyes stop bleeding).

Okie-dokie, I think I've vented now. It's the first Final Fantasy game I've ever wanted to sell... right up until the place I was going to sell it do said they didn't want it. (True story)

Cosmic Janitor

In my eyes, Final Fantasy 8 isnít really a Final Fantasy game. It had basically nothing in common with the series, save a few minor characters/enemies. The mechanics of the game were nothing like the rest of the series, and hated the game for this.

Bad plotlines ahoy!

Hey Andrew,

I completely agree that "Legend of Mana" was the one of the biggest RPG disappointments of my time, what with its good break with and having little in common with the other games in the series (i.e. the battle system, rebuilding the world, zero plot). At least "Dark Cloud" (a decent ARPG, BTW) has a legitimate reason for why you have to rebuild the world (and you actually get rewards for rebuilding it, too).


People simply thought that Legend of Mana was going to have something, anything, in common with Secret of Mana. Save for a few enemies, the games were completely different.

Girl gamers. Thatís like...almost a feminist. And feminists are HOT.

Ach, Andrew, you mentioning Skies of Arcadia did nothing but... pain me. Oh. So.

I ALSO got SoA upon hearing the praise-- but I can't think of an RPG that I hate more, really.The clichťd, unimaginative characters (oh, look, the tragic/mystical/immediatly-in-love-with-the-hero girl character! how sweet!) and battle system (select attack. get hit. select attack. get hit.) is what really did it for me. So I'm glad to know SOMEONE else agrees with me. I was looking forward to that game, too!

But let's see, for I game I impatiently awaited and then blew my goats... Final Fantasy 8. Oh, dear god, F-F-8. Along with everyone, I waited nearly two years to play this baby. After FF7 taking the place of favourite game, I eagerly needed my next FF fix. Who didn't drool over the screenshots? Living in France, I even put down an exorbitant amount of francs to get a U.S. copy the day after it came out. I launched myself into it with full force, and all smiles. I play and played and played and said how much I loved it, because you HAVE to love final fantasy, right? Oh, it could be really annoying at times, but I plowed onwards, giving it generous forgiveness for it's faults. Right about when I reached Adel, I realized I couldn't beat her(him?) I simply, physically, could not win that battle. I also realized that I had saved over my save outside the lunatic pandora, so I couldn't leave. There aren't any monsters that give you exp in that place, so I couldn't even level up! And then I woke up: Most of my characters were still on level 16, because I hatedhatedhated the leveling up and I ***HATED*** the characters. It was slow, sad dawning of why I was so weak. I just couldn't stand them anymore, and I didn't care about them enough to bother levelling them up. So now, I've reached the conclusion of how much I hate the game. Yes, I finally beat it one day, and I still think the game is -horrible-, and whoever wrote the story for that one must've been asleep: Everyone coming from the same orphanage and having convinently forgotten is the laziest work of story-telling I have ever seen? Everyone in that game is stock; and I also hated that everyone was between 16-17 and beatiful, model-perfect bastards. And yes, I know that most RPG heroines (and heros alike) are still very clichťd, but Rinoa hit rock bottom. It's great how whenever you're fighting a monster, there's an 80% chance it's because of her. How many times does she need to be saved? My mom once asked me what was happening in my current game, and I said that "Rinoa's fallen off some cliff and needs some rescueing!" She replies, "Again?! ...This Rinoa girl sounds like more trouble than she's worth."

That pretty much sums up how I feel about that load of crap of a game. Don't even get me started on Squall... (whiney pathetic highschooler who wears crotchbelts and can't do his own laundry and shrinks his clothes. Sorry.) But what really hurt was that I reallyreallyreally looked forward to it and reallyreallyreally WANTED to like it. Sad. But the happy end to this story is that I got Kingdom Hearts, I game I did expect to like much at all, and now I love so-so-so much! : D

So that's that.

But I was wonder about something else. Now, I ask you this: Is there some kind of appeal to girls that play videogames, namely, RPGs? Are we really that rare? Whenever a guy finds this out about me they are shocked, say how they've never met a girl who played games before, and suddenly get all interested. What is it, please, pray tell?

Keep it up, good sir, you brought life back into the RPGamer column.


Oh wow. A french chick who speaks perfect English, and hates weak girls in video games. Damn, you must have to fight off the guys with a pointy stick.

Anyway, Iím agreeing that Skies of Arcadia had rather weak female characters archtypes, and Rinoa was all talk and no action.. Kingdom Hearts does rock, and I think most people were pleasantly surprised by it.

As for the whole video games + girls thing, yes, itís a bit shocking to met a girl who loves video games, though it isnít all that rare. Plenty of girls like video games, but most of them donít LOVE video games, so meeting a girl who can argue why SoA blows is always a bit of a surprise. Anyway, youíve basically got your pick of the nerdy guys. Have fun.

The heavens quake, the earth shakes, as Red Raven the fan boy leaves terror in his wake!


This is a bit preemptive, but I'm sure that Xenosaga has no way in hell of ever living up to my expectations.

To explain: I am an obsessive Xenogears fan. You know, one of those people who paid a ridiculous amount of money to buy the Perfect Works book despite having no Japanese language skills, justifying the whole purchase by saying that I'm going to take three years of Japanese for the sole purpose of being able to read it. I also started on typing up the entire script for Xenogears. Do you have any idea how long that would take me? I'm already 20 pages in. There's really no rational explanation for this sort of behavior.

Which brings me to Xenosaga's impending release. I pondered for two weeks about whether I'd enjoy the art book offer at EB better than the Xenosaga T-Shirt offer at Gamestop. I then seriously considered pre-ordering copies at each store. Luckily, I had no money to do so at the time, because I then realized that eBay would probably be able to better control these irrational cravings.

In short, I have hyped Xenosaga up to mythical proportions. There is so much that could disappoint me: story not as deep as Xenogears, English voice-acting is sub-par (a serious concern), combat is a pain, a different developer will make it feel different, etcetera. At this point, if Xenosaga turns out to be any less than the greatest achievement ever made by mankind, then I will lose faith in the entire genre. It really doesn't make any sense why I have pinned so much significance to this single release. There is no reason for this. I must be completely insane.

Come February 25th, at least for my sake, Heaven better be shaking.

-Red Raven

Thatís...really scary. I want, nay, demand, that you write a review for Xenosaga when it comes out. Iíd love to hear you point out all the piddly little errors that no one else even notices. Or cares about.

Hello oh Master of the Long Ears,

Worst 'rpg' games ever to be made:

Vagrant Story - The graphics were good but the story and the battle system were worse than Wild arms 2! Who the hell likes having the story of FF Tactics redone (good one square) and spoon fed to you so that a baby could understand everything. I really didn't like this game.

ICO - Over hyped and completely unplayable , this game had a great intro but beyond that was nothing but something to ohh and ahh at. The game play basically made me puke.

Best RPGS:

Final Fantasy 9 - I'm sorry but this game was just done so nice, the graphics and FMVs were done so nice, it had a explorable map (darn you FFX) and lets face it, Yuna was hot.

Kingdom Hearts - Okay all you Biased idiots.. go away. For those who actually tried this game on hard, you probably loved it, I sure did, the amalgamation of Disney and square in my opinion went off without a hitch, it was masterful. The voice acting and graphics were just perfect. My only problem is the same problem I have with FFX, the fact that even after the game came out here we got screwed from the extras that have a point in the game, storyline and enemies. Thanks for not caring square!

Chrono Trigger - Lets face it, this game is the pinnacle of gaming, great storyline, awesome (for the time) graphics and it had splosions (yes that's on purpose).

Decent RPGS:

Final Fantasy X - I liked this game, I hated the fact that there was no map that I could walk around but it was a okay game, I hated the fact that once again we in north america got screwed after the fact and the japanese gamers got our version with extras like the ending and extra aeons. Thanks rpgamer for bringing the ending out for us to see.

Xeno Gears - My main problem was the multiple personality cool guy who wouldn't shut the hell up!! Oh and the fact that the text couldn't be sped up.

I do have a question however:

What's your favorite and what don't you agree with in my list?

ps. for those who liked vagrant story.... go play a game with class like Final Fantasy Tactics!

David Hackman


Ico- Iíve been getting mixed comments on this game, so Iím guessing Iíd either love or hate it. Most likely hate it, but you never know.

Final Fantasy 9- Ahem, brother. Too bad Yuna isnít in FF9.

Kingdom Hearts- Does anyone not like this great game?

Chrono Trigger- A fantastically innovative game for its time, and still holding strong today.

Xenogears is one word.

Devil go down on you. Ickos.

Hey Andrew,

I had to think about this one for a bit, since I usually read reviews beforehand, and tend to gauge how much I'll like a game. For stuff I buy without reading a review, I pretty much expect to get whatever I get.

However, there's one big exception: Devil May Cry. (Hey, you didn't say it had to be an RPG.) The reviews were good. I watched the demo,and that was good.

So I get it home, and... what the !@#$... missions?! I had expected, and been lead to believe, this would be a wonderful action-adventure. The game engine itself otherwise lent itself perfectly to an action adventure; better than many in recent history. The "world" was laid out well. There were things to come back to. You could examine lots of random stuff and get interesting tidbits. And Capcom goes and makes it a glorified arcade game by partitioning it all up.

Anyway, enough of that. You said you haven't played Ico... you really should. At least borrow it from someone. It's a work of art. It's just beautiful in every respect.


Eh. As long as it doesnít affect the game play, Devil May Cry still sounds pretty sweet. Seems like you were looking for a 3d Castlvania. As for Ico, Iím not sure anymore. Maybe if I see it dirt cheap, Iíll pick it up.

Itís like taking a vacation. To defeat evil and save the world, but otherwise, a vacation.

I noticed that some people who played FFX didn't like the whole muSummonersners trying to stop Sin aspect of the story. I don't have a problem with you not liking the story, your tastes are yours, so go ahead, but I also noticed that most of those same people overlooked one tiny story detail. (Or at least, act like they overlooked it) The reason why there are so many Summoners trying to get to Sin is because, and FFX's characters say this at least three times, most of them either die or quite the journey before getting to Sin. Stories are so much more entertaining when you pay attention.

Indeed. What the hell was up with that? Why didnít all the summoners just join forces? Why was Tidus such a dork? Why did Lulu always have to lean down and dust herself off after battles? What holds Wakkaís hair up? Why I am still asking questions?

Long list of titles. Think heís overcompensating for something?


1) Does anyone play the oldbies anymore? I mean, the _real_ oldbies, like FF6, Ogre Battle, the rest. Cause, they rule.

2) Interesting little tidbit, not really a question. In the opening of FF3, it says somethin like "Will someone repeat the mistake (of unlocking Magic). In FF6j, this was written in the same style of language that the Hiroshima Memorial is written in: "Yasuraka ni nemutte kudasai, ayamachi wa, kurikaeshimasenu kara." (rest in peace, for they will not repeat the mistake). About the only difference is the change from kurikaeshimasenu to kurikaesu ka... and of course, cutting off the first sentence. So, they made a parallel between the atomic bomb and magic that was lost in translation. That is all. ^_^

3) Does anyone else play games in their original language? Have you? How much Japanese do you know?

Love ya, see you tonight,
Alexander Bryanson
Keeper of the Seals
The Flame of Tar Valon
Defender of the Light
Sometimes known as Tikein Coriander, but not very often >_>
W4nn4b3 l33t m45+3r ~= s/wannabe//

Oldbies? Iíve got a ton of old SNES rpgs in a box back home, though I donít pull them out to play anymore, if only because I havenít had much time. On the other hand, Iíve beaten the crap out of most of my SNES rpgs more then a few times. Ah, nostalgia.

Thatís a really interesting fact. Millions of Americans would have had such a guilt trip if they had translated the intro right.

I havenít played any games in their original language, and know very, very little Japanese, though Iím planning on taking courses on it next year, and Iím aiming to head for Japan for a semester or two. Hooray for college exchange programs!


I was somewhat disappointed with Arc The Lad 3, which felt tacked on to the end of the series, and completely unnecessary, but it came with Arc 1 and 2, so I can't say I was disappointed with the overall purchase. If I can't be happy with two good games, and a box full of useless crap, then I need to take a serious look at my priorities.

I don't know why people are always ragging on Chrono Cross. Yes, it's not the most direct sequel in the world, but I see it as setting the stage for the next game, which will be a more direct sequel to both games, at least I hope, and if you pay attention to the plot, which is extremely well done, if not all that centered on most of the characters involved, there are many, very interesting paralels. I do wish they had centered on a small group of interesting characters, instead of having Serge and Kid have meaning, and everyone else is just sorta there, resolving personal issues by fighting against an almost insurmountable evil. Hey, there's an idea for a new theraputic technique. Having troubles at home? Well then you go find yourself a magically enpowered villain and pick a fight.

I loved FFVIII too, but I really couldn't tell you why. Maybe rays from Square's secret hypno-satalite.


Arc the Lad- You really do. Working Designs spoils us rotten.

There you go. Chrono Cross was a good game, just not much of a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Frankly, I think we should be thankful we didnít end up with Radical Dreamers.

The first of seven questions that focus mainly on Chrono Cross. Youíve been warned.

Who doesn't think Chrono Cross was one of the worst letdowns ever? Chrono Trigger was the first 'real' RPG I played through and got me hooked on the genre. It was just flat-out great in every aspect (okay, except for some completely illogical issues involving the continuity of the timeline) and managed to somehow create both a set of characters and a story that were lovable, cool, and still both among the best ever.

So naturally, a sequel to it was high on my anticipation list. And when it finally arrived and I popped it in, boy oh boy-- did it suck. Now, in case rabid CC fans (if those exist) out there are descending towards my house with pickaxes and cannons like one of those VISA commercials, let me elaborate.

There were some good elements to that game, or at the very least some good ideas. It was admirable to try to rework the way an RPG magic system worked (though Tablets and the like did it in a really irritating way), and the system of level-up and difficulty balance was actually pretty well done to ensure a smoothly-flowing plotline. Some of the scenes and plot were actually really good, such as (possible spoiler) the trek through the Dead Sea and the battle against Miguel. That section dripped with perfect atmosphere and effect.

The problem is that these were heavily outweighed by a lot of lackluster elements. To begin with, the concept of a "huge" party with "30 plus" characters sounded so cool as a tag line to buy the game... then a few hours in I came to the inevitable realization that every single new character would bring to the storyline nothing more than another infuriating accent. The riveting switching-between-dimensions trait, which seemed like such a cool follow-up to Chrono Trigger's time-travelling, amounted to nothing more than one damn spot on a beach where the screen flickered. The storyline, which was hoped to be a continuation of CT's epic plot, instead degenerated into a mangled and confused mess of sci-fi themes that went nowhere and plot incongruities that made no sense. The free-roaming sense of Chrono Trigger, where you could explore not just a whole world but that whole world during numerous different time periods, was replaced by one shitty little archipelago encased in a perfectly rectangular reef. The nice, complete feeling of Chrono Trigger, which one would want to play through again and again, was replaced by a plotline and experience that made New Game + irrelevant; going through CC more than twice was cruel and unusual punishment.

Basically, it all boils down to the problem of expectations. Chrono Cross had to follow in Chrono Trigger's footsteps. If Chrono Trigger hadn't preceded it, or if Chrono Cross wasn't marketed under the Chrono Trigger theme, the game probably would have been little to no let-down, just an interesting RPG with several problems. But CC had a lot to live up to and sputtered and failed in just about every step of the way in trying to do that. The 'fun' sensation that Chrono Trigger had just wasn't recreated; even Double and Triple Techs were (for the most part) nonexistent. I certainly wouldn't have wanted just a "Chrono Trigger clone," but when the ONLY things that really tie the two games together (storyline or otherwise) are a reference to Lavos here and there, a cruddy little backstory about Lucca, and a ghost that looks like Crono... something seems lacking.

Chrono Cross wasn't a terrible game by most standards, but it certainly was a terrible sequel and the biggest RPGaming dissapointment I've ever had. Touting it as "the greatest RPG ever created" was an extremely irrational move on the developers' parts, and making a sequel that completely fails to carry the traits that made the original great seems pretty damn illogical.

... whew. I talk too much. Feel free to chop this letter up. I've just been meaning to vent about CC for a while now, as you can probably tell.

- andrew 'WobblyFork' kugelstadt

Oh yeah, and what on earth was up with the whole 'cast spells in the right order in this stupid last battle or you don't get an ending' thing? Grumble...

I, for one, loved Chrono Cross. Yes, it had problems, but if you look past how it was suppose to be Chrono Triggerís sequel, and look at it for the great game it is, Iím pretty sure youíd change your mind on it.

Alundra 2. My eyes...

Now, for some column contentÖmy biggest letdown was Chrono Cross. I donít think Iím alone on that one, considering that our site gave it the award for "Biggest Letdown" in its own time. Another letdown for me was Xenogears. While the gear battles were great, I felt that the game was just not enjoyable overall. Iíd like to add that there have been some surprisingly good games for me as well. One of those was Alundra. I paid $6 for it, and I enjoyed every minute of the challenging gameplay. Alundra 2, however, would go in my letdown list. Games containing extraordinarily ugly 3D polygonal sprites should come with a Surgeon Generalís warning.

Best regards,

Cortney Stone

a.k.a. Alethea

Iím going to vote Alundra 2 as biggest let down for a sequel ever. How they take Alundra 1, a great, if depressing 2-d action/adventure/rpg/puzzle game, and turn it into that mockery of blocky 3d and camera problems is beyond me.

If Iím Santa, then Google is the Easter platypus.

Dear Santa Clause -

I'm gonna get flamed for this.
I was really looking forward to Chrono Cross before it came out. Chrono Trigger is one of my all time favorite games, and I figured that Chrono Cross wouldn't disappoint. Boy was I wrong.

1) The story wasn't very good. Story is the backbone of any RPG. You can't have a good RPG without a good story. Pretty CG movies can't make up for a bad story either. It's like painting a picture on the flaming paper bag filled with dog poop you just put on your neighbor's doorstep.

2) There were a ton of characters. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there were too many to keep track of. In Trigger, the player develops an affinity for all of the characters. I still rotate all of them through my party when I play it. In Cross, there are just too many of them. The player doesn't have time to build all of them up.

3) The battle system, while somewhat cool and innovative, was not that great. I wasn't looking for a carbon copy of Trigger's battle system, but certainly something more familiar than Cross's. Don't get me wrong though. I liked Chrono Cross. I just feel that my expectations for the game were not met.


So, you thought the story was average, the battle system was average, and you had trouble enjoying all the characters. Maybe if you stopped focusing on how the game isnít Chrono Trigger 2, but a slightly connected sequel, you wouldnít be so jaded.

And this goes to everyone who hated that you could have so many 2d characters...

...honestly. >_<

Cat eating freak.

Hey what's up Andrew? Anyways I was thinking about it, and the sweetest game ever would be a MMORPG based on the Fallout Series for the computer. I think tons of people would play that. You can't beat the classic fallout options (1 Yes I'll help you find your cat Mrs. Johnson, 2 No I can't help you find your cat Mrs. Johnson, 3 Yah I'll find your cat, then I'll shove a stake up its (SMURF)and eat it as schishcabob). Heh.

As for games that were letdowns, Chrono Cross comes to mind. On a non RPG related note, I was one of the few people dissapointed with GTAIII. I had always admired the series up to that point. Anyways I might as well throw up a question. What do you think about Star Wars Galaxies? From early indications its gonna be fun, and might be the first MMORPG that I really get into. Hopefully it doesn't become one of those letdown games.


Eh. A Fallout MMORPG? That would most likely kill all the enjoyable aspects of the series.

Ignoring your unexplained hatred for certain popular games comment, Star Wars Galaxies will have a fatal glitch on the first day that makes everyone wookies, and create a race of super wookies that will rule the galaxy with an iron paw. Hooray.

Wobbly fork take two.

Hi again regarding letdowns,

I didn't know you guys liked having convenient tag formatting or I would've done it all along. Oh well, live and learn. Just edit the intro phrase and past away! Anyways, all this mention of Legend of Mana made me smack my head... how did I forget it?

Then, I thought long and hard for five seconds and started typing this email. I think I was a lot less embittered about LoM than Chrono Cross simply because Legend of Mana never really tried to tout itself as a direct sequel to Seiken Densetsu 2. As far as I remember it, when I preordered it (which was mainly for the Rabite stuffed animal anyways...) I pretty much clearly understood it was just an offshoot with Mana-type themes and settings. Chrono Cross, on the other hand, puffed itself up to be the next best thing since sliced bread or Jesus or bread sliced by Jesus, and instead was a lackluster mess of accent marks.

That, and Legend of Mana, though largely boring and annoying, managed to be interesting when Chrono Cross was already becoming tedious. So far, CC still holds the top medal for worst disappointment, but LoM does deserve honorable mention.

One game I was surprised I didn't see mentioned was Wild ARMS: 2nd Ignition. I was under the impression that a LOT of people felt very let down by that game. I know that I definitely did at first, but the more I played through it, the more it grew on me. I'm actually rather fond of WA2, although it can't hold a candle to the original. I really need to get around to playing 3rd Advance...

Oh yeah, and, I'm in the same boat with the whole football thing. I'd rather play through Thousand Arms in one sitti-- dear lord, no I wouldn't. Well, football doesn't interest me, regardless.

- andrew 'WobblyFork' kugelstadt

Hey, I was kidding. Iím watching the Super Ball like everyone else. Gooooooooooo sport team!

No one mentioned Wild Arms 2, because like me, they couldnít play it thanks to the stupid lock out if you had a modded Playstation. Great way to cut sales, morons!

Legend of Mana, was craptacular. Deal.

News junkie.

Hey Andrew,

Cool, this is the first letter I've written to you. Anyways, the game that I was looking forward to that let me down the most was definetely Chrono Cross. Now, granted, Chrono Trigger is my favorite game of all time, and sure, it would be hard to live up to that, but come on. To me, Chrono Cross felt more like a Final Fantasy (a new one, not one of the SNES classics) with a dimension-crossing theme and a very small bit of Chrono Trigger's storyline tacked on. There were too many characters, the dialects were just plain annoying on many of them, the menus almost made me go blind, etc, etc. Argh, makes me angry just thinking about it again. Great soundtrack though.

I suppose Final Fantasy 7 was sort of a let down too, though that was my fault (I'm sure many of you can relate; going and downloading all of the summon movies, reading the story overviews, listening to the soundtrack, and all of that, BEFORE the game came out.)

- DynaBladeX

Youíre right. Chrono Cross did feel like a regular Final Fantasy game. Huh. Funny how I never noticed that before.

Well, aside from a lot of baseless crap I read from magazines about Final Fantasy 7, I thought it lived up to every bit of its hype. Too bad Cloud didnít turn out to be the son of Cecil...

The chief of the Orcs speaks. We translate, you read.

I'll split this message in two parts, just so that if you don't agree with these 2 games I'm going to rant about, just cut out the parts you don't like.

RPGamer, and many other sites, greatly praised an old playstation game, which was hailed as the "FF7 killer". The game was called Grandia. Reviewers loved it as well. Everyone praised the music. So, what else could I do but buy the game? And this was simply the worst $45 I have spent in my life. The moment I start the game, I am greeted by a main character who makes Forrest Gump look like a Nobel prize winner. Not only him, but just about every single character in the game possessed the IQ of a rock (no offense to rocks). The wondrous music everyone praised? A horrible mix of teenypop that you hear on MTV every day. Since I shelled out my hard-earned money for it, I still forced myself to finish the game... and wished I hadn't. Not only was Grandia content with having the most stupid plot and characters ever conceived, but it had to drag on forever. Over 50 hours of pure torture. I usually keep all the games I have bought, but this is one exception I'm willing to make... selling one Grandia in good condition for cheap.

A great disappointment? How about the sequel to one of the best RPG's of all time, made by a reputable company. Yes, I'm talking about Chrono Cross. A game that had nothing in common with its predecessor except for the word "Chrono". Gone were the fun battles, excellent storyline, and memorable music. Instead, I was given a boring, cliched story, with horrible characters (over 40 of them! ARGH!) But the worst part? Absolutely boring, slow gameplay. Pointless battles, since there is no leveling up. And the Xenogears team still had not learned that we do not want cutscenes that drag on forever just before a major boss battle, and that we read a lot faster than the producers can (GIVE ME A TEXT SPEED OPTION DAMNIT!) In the end, it wasn't that Chrono Cross was a bad game. It was just so thoroughly average, that it utterly failed to deliver the promises as the sequel to Chrono Trigger. Interestingly enough, at almost the same time, a little-known game called Valkyrie Profile was released. Despite selling far less copies, that game beat CC in every single category possible. I'm glad I bought that as well.

There you go. End of rant. Hey, you asked for it.

- Chief Ug

Grandia- Wow. Such hatred. I enjoyed the first Grandia immensely, though it certainly didnít beat out Final Fantasy 7. It was more about exploring then the typical save-the-world focus of most RPGs, at least, in the beginning The characters of Grandia really brought out that sense of adventure for me, and I really enjoyed the game for it. No angst ridden anti-heroes for me!

Chrono Cross- You hated it because it didnít live up to imaginary promises and greatness you pictured for it? Looooooooser.

Valkyrie Profile- Everyone loves this game. Congrats for noticing. Hey, look! Cheese!

More unfocused hatred.

Duff Oh yeah!

In rebuttle to the problem with LoM and its irrelevance to the rest of the Seiken Densetsu series, the game was made to make you think. Your character was of little importance hence the reason why he/she never talked. SPOLER ALERT STOP READING NOW IF YOU DONT WANT THE MAIN STORYLINE RUINED!!!


the point of the game was that your character was the one to bring the world back from its darkness. The world was sealed into artifacts, and your character gained those artifacts. He/she was able to release the world inside the artifact and restore mana etc. And if you are complaining because the game didnt have item rings, or good magic, blah to you and your inabilty to change.

ok those not wishing to have their storyline partially ruined may return to read again

Chrono cross too was a great game. I felt it connected itself to Chrono Trigger as much as it needed to. If you wanted a direct sequel then you shoulda looked for a title called CT2.

However, my most disappointing video game would definatly be shining force just wasnt as likeable as the first shining force...mmm now those were some good games...

keep up the steller work

barieuph V_V

Legend of Mana- Look, I like games where Iím thrown in and allowed to do as I please. However, I hate it when after I complete a quest in LoM NOTHING CHANGES. No one who I was just teamed with recognizes me, and the only damn thing in the game that changes is the heroís house. Blarg!

Shining Force 2- Youíve got to be kidding me. Do you remember the heroís 2nd armor in the first game? A skeleton suit with the collar up. Yeah, now thatís styling when you want to defeat evil.

Seriously, both games were awesome.


No quickies?!

Guess people just wanted to run off their mouths. Hey, that's cool.

The Final Grumble:

I hope everyone enjoys todayís column, and the Super Bowl too.

Eh? Next weekís topic? There ainít no damn topic next week! I spent all day on this column, and the only letters Iím going to get will be about the spelling error in letter 16! Arrrrrrgh!

Andrew "Knight of Letters" Duff

Naaaaaaaaaaruto! You got some serious explaining to do! But Ricky! *Waa*

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