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Andrew - January '27- 8:00 Central Standard Time

Apparently the Justice League sent Google an urgent call to help them stop Dr. Doom, leaving me to do Q&A. Hey, I’m just happy I’m not wearing tights and don’t have to think up heroic speeches. Not to mention I’d probably end up jacking the Martian Manhunter in the face.

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Foreign devils!

Hello.

I was wondering when you will be doing more coverage on Xbox RPGs. Not once have I seen a headline about the announced "Runebrid" or "Master Slave" by Takuyo. Both are RPGs. I always see Final Fantasy this and that. I would like to know about those games, and other Japanese RPGs for Xbox.

Thank you.
-Marcus-

Andrew:
Judging from your poor use of the English language, I’m going to guess you’re not from America. Look, it’s very simple. RPGamer tries to cover the majority of games that are coming to this side of the world, and we have a section for Japanese only stuff, which rocks. ...besides, you didn’t really think RPGamer would actually cover a game called, “Master Slave” did you?

 
Completely random. Sorta like the readership of this column.

Andrew;

It just occurred to me that no one has complained about Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Mind you, I think this is good. I know the game is simple, and some people hate it being linked to the regular Final Fantasy games, but it has awesome music. Music is very important to me in RPGs. FF VII has the best music ever!

-Wesley

Andrew:
Why would they complain? Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was a cutsy little game that was fun to play. I mean, aside from being nothing like the rest of the series, there really wasn’t any bad points about the game. Well, except for the protagonist’s queer-as-hell jumping style. “Look at me! I’m a ballerina! In full armor! With a battle axe!”

 
Quest for a Paladin’s epilogue.

Andrew; I didn't recognize the title at first, but after reading other people's comments I remember the game. I decided to rent it before buying, and, boy, was that a good idea. Yellow submarine meets art-deco. The hero reminds me of Thomas Covenant (does NOT want to be there). No good reason for this, but I hated not seeing my characters in battle encounters.

Zuhalter apparently means that great chick Dagger!

I like Legend of Mana, but I really hate the two-dimensional, sluggish movement in battles. I bred GREAT fruit and pets.

My girlfriend started me in RPGs. The first I heard of such games was from her over the phone: "Yeah, we're playing Zelda, and we're throwing pots and bushes!" She usually starts the games before I do, but rarely finishes them... She has every plot memorized, though.

Another letdown game: Saga Frontier. Maybe I just wasn't patient enough. It was really hard for me to get going in that one.

You know, I never considered NOT actually trying to collect all the Chrono Cross characters... I like your response to Zuhalter regarding Final Fantasy IX. The only thing lacking from FF IX is the crystal SquareSoft promised. Maybe I missed it, but it seems to me the only reference to crystals is Dagger's pendant.

Thank you for your friendly frankness!

-Wesley

Andrew:
The Dragon Warrior series has never shown characters in battles, and it’s like, the most popular series ever. So uh, sucks to be you and miss out on all of those cool games.

I’m sure you do breed great pets. Ya sicko.

Crystals were in Final Fantasy 9. Hell, the entire last dungeon was MADE OF CRYSTAL. IT ATTACKED YOU. WITH EVIL, AND STUFF. Oy.

 
Cowboys. Damn their rugged good looks and awful smells!

Although I missed last week's topic thanks to that worm thing, I now have my e-mail back! My biggest RPG disappointment was Chrono Cross, but that was done to death last weekend, so I'll focus on a more recent letdown: Wild ARMs 3. Sure it looked good, and sounded pretty good too, the plot started weakly (I could only stand the prologue and first chapter) and was basically recycled from every cliche in existance, the characters were annoying and unlikable, and the gameplay [WARNING: RANT IMMINENT] was horrific. Why havn't we moved past the ancient initiative-based battle system? Who came up with the FP idea? It basically prevents you from using magic in random encounters. This wouldn't be nearly as bad if this game didn't have the highest random encounter rate I've ever seen. And the search system? Ugh. How can your party walk through a town without seeing it? I hated it. [END RANT] But at least I returned it for enough money to weather the wave of new RPGs next month. Anyway, if you don't have a topic for next week, might I suggest Best Character Development System. Materia? Espers? The Job system? Or design your own!
Eakin3

Andrew:
To be fair, I haven’t heard anything good about Wild Arms 3, and the blocky graphics turned me off when compared to the alluring sweetness of Suikoden 3. I made my decision, and I’m happy with it. What were you expecting? Another great game like Wild Arms 2? *cough*

 
This poor fella appears to be brain-stupid. Er...

Andrew,

I have heard several people say bad things about Legend of Legaia. Hey! That game was cool! Sure, the graphics aren't anything to make you go, "My goodness! I have been blinded! These characters look REAL!", but it was fun! The story was kinda cool. I mean, the seru thing was awesome! You could learn them by destroying them, cast them alot, max out their stats, learn another, etc.! It is a simple but cool spell system! The weird thing, though, is that the spells they were good at did not match their Ra-Seru element at all... In my team, Vahn, the fire guy, was good at earth and dark magic; Noa, Ms. Wind, ruled with dark and fire magic; and Gala, the thunder fighter, was good at wind... What's up with that? Anyway, the fighting system was pretty cool. The "up-down-left-++NEW ART++" thing was gave players something to play for besides just getting EXP.

Ah, a question - I have heard my friends say that Wild Arms 3 is so much different than other RPGs in its style, but when I ask why, all they say is, "It's like a western!" Is that all, or is there something that distinguishes it from other games?

"Do you know where we could find... A Shrubbery?"

--Ewcoolio

Andrew:
Ahem. Legend of Legaia blows for not only the reason you mentioned, but also because battles, all battles, took forever to finish, the story was painfully lame, and the “arts” were basically useless. Oh, and did I mention the main heroine was raised by wolves, yet knew martial arts? I mean, how in the hell?

Wild Arms 3- The game also features an obtuse map and really jaggy graphics. You know you want it.

 
Secret of CRAP.

As a card carrying member of the old fart gamers society, I felt that I would weigh in on a few rpg's.

Aren't all rpg's cliched, even the early ones? I mean look at the first Dragon Warrior. It's your typical hero rescues the princess deal. If an rpg doesn't get the plot from some fairy tale or legend, then usually it grabs some anime plot. Does this make it bad? No, of course not. FF4 was great, but horribly cliched. FF 6 is the most original of the entire series, having fewer cliches than most, which makes it totally awesome....dude. I'd like to see it redone with today's graphics.

My personal faves are FF4, Earthbound, LunarSSC, and a little nugget called Mario RPG. My biggest disappointments? Skies of Arcadia(also bought on Google's praise...along with a dc), Saga Frontier, and FF8. What was the most challenging? SNES's Ogre battle, simply for the length and inability to save during the middle of a campaign. Easiest? Legend of Mana...all too easy.

You want an hard to find game? Try Tecmo's Secret of the Stars. I rented it for a week to beat it. Now that game is cookie cutter. Yet strangely good.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. Have a good day.

By the way, Whatever happened to Paws?

Light Magus

Andrew:
So...uh...what’s your point about cliches? Games have cliches, the less there are usually helps a game’s storyline, and cliches are fine anyway, if they’re done well. Who doesn’t know that?

Secret of the Stars had ugly graphics, and AWFUL storyline, and popular rumor suggests that the game was translated by mental patients and designed by Rasputin. How could you possibly like this stinker of a Russ...er, humanity?

Paws has started a thrilling career as an exotic dancer, and her website’s addy is- Gah! Stop choking me! No! Not a kick to the bal-

 
Rosewood. Feminine and phallic at the same time! *barf*

Hello Andrew,

I'm a relatively new reader and am not sure if this discussion topic is over with yet. But here are my two candidates, one of which will probably be eh, somewhat controversial.

First, agreeing with another letter writer, is Grandia. There was plenty to like about it in its level-up system, lots of fun finding out the abilities you'll earn next. No probs there. What I disliked was:

(1) The characters. Justin "I'm an adventurer!" got boring quickly. And no one else really grew on me either--I just can't get into a set of characters where everyone is fawning over the boring adolescent hero and parroting his opinions, who have interesting personalities when first introduced but lose any character development after joining the party. Note: Feena doesn't count, because "having interesting things happen to you" does not equal characterization.

(2) The difficulty level. Grandia was way too easy. I don't like it when there are bosses in RPGs that require a certain exact strategy to beat and can't be beaten otherwise, but Grandia takes things too far in the other direction with bosses where you can use the same strategy again and again (namely critical attacks and strong spells/moves) and have no worries about ever having a "game over." Being able to recover fully at every save spot might have something to do with this.

(3) The pacing of the story. After an interesting intro, the main plotline is abandoned and two-thirds of the first disk is spent on a bunch of boring fetch-quests done for villages with supposedly unique cultures.

The second disk was great though...and actually, despite all this growling, I didn't dislike Grandia. It just wasn't the fabulous experience I was expecting after all the praise I'd heard.

Second, the controversial one, is Secret (not Legend) of Mana. So many people adore this one, and after picking this one up on ebay and playing for a little while, I admit I just don' geddit. I have a bias in not being a great fan of action-RPGs, but even Link to the Past and Dark Cloud, despite their utter lack of any plot or character, kept me playing after the first 10 or 15 minutes, intrigued as to what I'd be able to figure out next. LoM did not do that at all. The "training boss" made me think the super-sword-swings were too difficult to time in conjunction with trying to maneuver around the monsters at the same time--I "died" several times without really figuring out what I was supposed to do. There were no puzzles in sight--one of the things that can actually make an action-RPG fun for me. The main character was beyond bland (not that that's unusual in RPGs, mind you). He finds a sword, and seems to be "the chosen one who will save the world." Gee, where have I heard this before?

On SoM I'm perfectly willing to admit I'm missing out on something--something that makes itself apparent once you get further into the game. Maybe getting a better handle on "how the game works" would make me appreciate it more--I went into it blind, with no rules book available, and not doing any pre-research on the net, so it's entirely possible that a little digging in those areas would make for a better experience with it.

Here's my question: what do you think of the Tactics Ogre that was released on PSX? That's another one I've heard praised to the skies, but another opinion wouldn't hurt especially when I'm looking at its startlingly high "prices" on ebay.

Beth
but I'd prefer if you used the nick Rosewood if you put this on the site, thanks. :)

Andrew:
1. Your dislike of the characters isn’t anything new, I disliked a lot of the later additions to the party myself.

2. Eh? Wait wait wait. What was the last RPG you played where the bosses were incredibly difficult? I mean, it’s a pretty current trend for RPGs to have painfully easy bosses. After all, game creators have to appeal to the toddler demographic, right? And the recovery thing is genius. I know I wasn’t the only person sick of paying 3 gold for the inn. Grandia took inns and made them useful to the story, instead screwing up a game’s time line by letting player’s spend “days” leveling.

3. Too true. I snapped pretty bad when I got to the town entirely made of flowers.

4. You sure as hell missed something. How about the heart felt scene where the hero was banned from his home village? His meeting with Luka and his quest’s beginning to bring about peace to the world? Sure, you’ve heard it all before, but I think you’re just embittered because you panic in battle. Slash and dodge! What about the huge variety of weapons? The multi player option? Maybe you missed out on all the cool charge abilities, or the awesome spell effects when they’re levels are high enough. Really, it sounds like you need to give Secret of Mana another, more thoughtful try.

Tactics Ogre- It’s a pretty good tactics game, but the prices for it are nuts. Go get yourself the Game Boy Advance version.

 
So angry I could- *yawn*...

Ho Andrew!

Firstly, did you mind my defacing of saturday's column?

Secondly, there isn't really any game I have ever truely been disappointed with, I guess hoshigami comes the closest to being that. I mean, I wasn't disappointed with how hard it was, I was just shocked it was that fricking hard. Even Sony QA couldn't beat the original version ( so the story goes as to why Altus changed the difficultly level). I was more disappointed in the fact leveling in the game doesn't really help make the game any easier at all. Only items do. Going up the towers and sessioning items off the enemies is the only way to make the game really any easier.

Thirdly, Chrono Cross was just bleh for me. I did enjoy the battle system a little bit, but there really isn't anything else I remember about the game, good or bad. And I didn't really care about how many characters there were in the game. I mean, it's not like it was Suikoden or something.

Fourthly, What is your opinion of the Fallout games?

Finally, How do you like working for RPGamer?

TRC- Resident Bird in Charge of Guides

PS, People need to send me love for guides, I just updated today! Even if it is a filler update

Andrew:
“HO” Andrew?! HOW DARE YO- Oh wait. You’re right. Damn.

1. Your defacing ways left me so angry I had to lay down and take a nap. If it ever happens again, expect the same harsh treatment. Grr, or something.

2. Damn it. Now I really want to pick up Hoshigami. I haven’t had a game that’s made me snap a controller in two for quite a while.

3. My biggest memory from Chrono Cross was when they revealed who Kid was, and I kept thinking, “She had purple hair, I KNOW she had purple hair. What happened to her ultra powerful magic skills? What about her fabulous rack? What the hell are they trying to pull? Who are these white men in coats? Hey! That’s my pile of deer carcasses! What are you doing?!” *sob*

4. I love the idea of them, yet I always die early, since I put all my points in sex appeal and none in any sort of fighting skill. Bastards, taking away my right to be beautiful. I’m a lover, not a mutant!

5. I love the little RPGamer. I loves it goooood. If I do not have it, I will explode! That happens to me sometimes.



Quickies

TROG DOR!!!!!! THE BURNINATOR!!!!

Oh where are the dragons of old, with names like Flawereshindrotwer? Trog Dor sounds like the name of barbarian who has trouble with big words, like “the”.

Well, most of the letters I get have trouble spelling the word “the”.

Nevermind... *le sigh*

The Final Grumble:

Just got the call! Google and the other Justice league members fell into Doctor Doom’s trap of pointy spikes and such, and I’m the only one who can save them! Hooray! Now, to slip into my rabbit suit and save them!

LONG EARED AVENGER, AWAY!

Andrew "Can't breath..." Duff

www.pawsispurrfect.com

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