Ask Andrew  


Andrew - December 28 '02- 5:00 Central Standard Time

Winners are featured at the bottom of the column.
For Christmas I got a GameCube, Metroid Prime, Mystic Heroes, a few CDs, books, and my favorite presents, a subscription to NewType magazine.

Now, Iím not sure what the rest of you got, but Iím pretty happy with my haul, even if Mystic Heroes is going back for some GBA games. The thing is, every Christmas and Birthday, my parentís always ask me what I want, and I usually stall and bluster around until a week before, because I have no idea what I really want. When you create your own RPGs, this tends to happen.
Well, not anymore. If youíre an avid gaming fan, I canít recommend a better gift for yourself then doing what Iím doing. Remove all those little subscription cards from all those gaming magazines you buy, fill them out, and give them in a stack to your parents and friends.

For me, I wish I had thought of these years earlier. Finally, I can have all the gaming news I need, all the material to decorate my dorm walls, (RPG ads, yo.) and Iíll never be lost come a holiday for what to ask for. Just something for you to think about.

As for the sidebar, Iíve made a few changes. Iím sure some of you remember back in the day when the sidebar was about this size, full of info on what your Q&A host was playing. Well, Iíll admit it, when I see a great anime series, I want to do a little advertising for it, and there you go. Check out Fruitís Basket, people.

Now, on to your letters!

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Answers that would have been perfect for yesterday.


First off, to the guy wondering about Kingdom Hearts. As far as I know, the lamps in Halloween Town don't do anything other than light up when you hit them. For the treasure chest in Atlantica, you have to hit it from below to dislodge and open it. I believe you can access it through an exit from the area with the sunken ship.

Secondly, that isn't a chocobo in the FF12 poster, it's Jar-Jar Binks, which would explain why the buildings are reminiscent of Coruscant. And while we're on this topic, what do you think of the change in character designers? Akihiko Yoshida did the character designs for both Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story before this, and I quite enjoyed his work in both of those.

Your columns are good,
But lacking in much haiku.
Please fix this problem.


Thanks Bart, your letter was the only one of the dozen or so I received on the Kingdom Hearts question that was legible. Have a tilde. ~
As to the rest of you, better luck next time.

I doubt itís Jar-Jar, since I donít think Quina would be willing to give up its spot in the limelight for a slap stick plot device who ignites a war that destroys civilization.
I love Yoshida art, and other than the deformed chocobo, have to say that Iím liking the new look.

Final Fantasy
The new one looks good, indeed?
Better then an X!

Cowardly fighter defeats evil! More on that and drugs after the movie!

Hey Andrew,

OK, here's my best RPG moment EVER...I was playing Final Fantasy 1, and got to Gurgu Volcano. I walked inside and my party immediately got decimated...except for my fighter. I ran from that battle, and every other battle in the entire dungeon for that matter, and got to the bottom floor. I was torn between fighting Kary or going for the Flame Armor. In the end I decided to go for the Flame Armor, so I went over, beat the Red Dragon, and got the Flame Armor. At this point I figured I had nothing to lose, so I went to the crystal room, used all the rest of my potions, and fought and defeated Kary! Then I got outside, used a tent, and got back to safety at Crescent Lake! I'm sure there've been other close crapes, but that's the one that always stands out in my mind. And the thing I find most amazing about it is that I still remember crap like this after 13 years, but can't even remember the names of any of the towns in RPGs I've played in the last three years.

Robust Stu

Great story, Stu. Stuff like that sticks with us because theyíre great adventures, and people love to hear a good retelling of an adventure. And youíre right...I canít remember the majority of town names in RPGs... hell. >_<

Nicknames, Square games, and why all of you should shut up.

Hi Andrew,

I know you're against having a nickname, but I think I've found one that suits you and that you should consider using: Qualanqui. It means "Angry at Everybody" in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs/Mexica. I borrowed it from Gary Jennings "Aztec"--a book that I can say without use of hyperbole is the greatest book ever written in the history of the English language (Really, I can't espouse it enough. Sex, drugs, violence, human sacrifice, verisimilitude: it has it all.).

Hmm. I suppose I should ask a question while I'm at it. What do you think of Kingdom Hearts? I know a lot of people are singing the praises of it--but dammit, I just can't bring myself to rent/buy it on principle. Should I put aside my dark hatred for all things rodent related and at least give it a try (okay, so technically that was two questions)?

Frankly, the whole concept of that game just baffles the hell out of me. Disney and Square! It's like Marvel and DC, or cheese and porn: a bad combination.

Because I'm an SD(rhymes with "pit reverber") , and therefore aggravating by nature, I thought I'd throw this little gem/rant out there--and overstay my welcome too!

To: All people out there freaking out over the Enix/Square merger
Re: Said merger

Enough already! Sheesh! Never in my twenty-six years on this planet have I seen so much ado about nothing. Calm the heck down.

I believe this union will be relatively painless and beneficial to us all--and that it'll be a least a year or so before we in the gaming community see any consequences, good or ill. All the frothing-at-the-mouth debates and innane speculation going on isn't doing anyone any amount of good, and it sure as hell isn't going to change anything.

And usually when two companies merge, it's to the advantage of both, and you wind up with a company stronger and more competitive for it (don't quote me on that as I'm not a business major). It's called "leveraging synergies", and it's all the rage with the kids.


Mixtzin "Oh my God! Cream gravy! It's burning my flesh. But it's so tasty."

Well Mixtzin, you certainly picked out an interesting nickname for me. However, I think Iíll stick with my real name.
Online, youíll find a lot of people who are leery of telling others who they are, afraid that theyíll be tracked down. Well, I always thought that this was the silliest thing in the world, since if someone actually wanted to find me that badly, it wouldnít be too hard, with or without a nickname. And Iíve got a sword cane just waiting for any mean-spirited stalkers.
Worse, some people use their nicknames as a shield to who they really are, creating personalities and acting in ways that they never would in real life, which I find absurdly pointless. After talking with Google, I decided that keeping my real name would be the best idea. Especially since my, ahem, rather unique take on stupid questions should give people a real person to understand and deal with.

1. Kingdom Hearts is a well done Action-RPG with a unique cast and a paint by numbers story. Happy?

2. Well, this letter is a bit out of date, so the Square-Enix news is pretty much accepted now, but youíre right. People worried about a drop in game quality from the merger obviously arenít in control of all their brain cells.

Santa got ran over by some zombies.

A belated Merry Christmas to you Andy,

Got a nice juicy multiparter for you. Don't worry, it won't bite. Only the zombies will.

1. Wasn't Working Designs going to translate all that other stuff to the Growlanser series and release it in the US? Everyone needs more RPGs to play.

2. Will Konami ever make another Symphony of the Night/Nocturne in the Moonlight quality Castlevania game again? One that doesn't end up being for the GBA I mean?

3. Is Chobits really that good? As in, good enough to get me to temporarily put Excel Saga on hold?

4. Son of a submariner. It's not a question, just an amusing line.

"Black as Sin, Red as Blood"
Orochi Yamazaki

1. Rumor from around the water cooler at RPGamer is that Working Designs is still hard at work on Growlanser. Iím sure weíll hear something about it eventually.

2. We can only hope. I would love to see a massive Castlevania game in the vein of SOTN, with real towns, new abilities, and more then one character to choose from. Of course, some losers think 2d is out, and blocky, poorly done 3d is in. So for now, GBA is the only place to get your Castlevania fix. *sob*

3. Well, Iíve seen Excel Saga, Chobits, and Fruitís Basket, in that order. And I can honestly say, Iím in love with Fruitís Basket right now. If anyone has a chance to pick up this great series, run out and do so now.

4. I always found it amusing that Final Fantasy games always have one horribly mistranslated quote per game that everyone fixates on.

Music music everywhere, but not a piece to...uh...nevermind.

Hi Andrew,

Lately, after playing so many RPG's (especially squaresoft games) the main themes and melodies seem to be less and less creative. Originally with games like Chrono Trigger and FF6, Square (and by that I mean mostly Nobuo Uematsu) seemed to have used most of their musical ability in the scores for those two games. Sure, every final fantasy and Square game in general after that had notable, creatively new tracts, but the meat of the songs are mostly previous materal tweaked and played with. My First question: Am I the only person who feels this way? Second: Do you think that Square should hire different people to do the music? Oh yeah, and third : Are there people who read this who have never heard the original Chocobo theme? (If so DOWNLOAD it from this site probably in the FF4 section. The theme has become a time honored tradition in remixing, but make sure you hear the original!)


Sorry Argo, but thatís the nostalgia talking. Gaming music hasnít gotten worse, itís just gotten more prevalent. Now companies can afford to be more creative with their music and arenít forced to reuse the same theme over and over. Perhaps we all have the ďCrystalís ThemeĒ from Final Fantasy deeply embedded into our souls, but that doesnít mean new games donít have great music too. Well, with the exception of the intro music to Suikoden 3. The bastards.

Nothing is forsaken to those with brave hearts! Well, except this.

I'd have to disagree with you on the Crystalis thing, the FFT team broke up but not their entire company thus leaving the rights to someone. In Crystalis's case, the whole company went under so unless they gave their rights to it to another company its fairly hopeless.

Anyhow, on to questions...

1. Do you think theres any hope for the cube and RPGs in the future?
2. A few weeks ago I asked you about the sonic and knuckles-like lock-on tech being used for the GBA. When I asked it, I meant it in more of a use for multi-cart games rather than addons. Wait, this isn't a question its a wait, its a question. Feck, I dunno.


Cube owners have the new Final Fantasy to wait for, and letís not forget the Zelda 3 pack combo. And if that remark sparks another batch of letters on how Zelda isnít an RPG, I swear, every letter I get on the subject will be subscribed to every gay porno mailing list I can find.

Oh...and Skies of Arcadia is coming to the Cube too, but Iím not a big fan of old ported games.


Hello Andrew.

Any ideas on what was meant when said that FFXII would have FFT2 characteristics? I'm sure he didn't mean FFXII would be tactical, and personally I haven't played FFT2. Also it could be that there is something specal in FFT2 that isn't anything like FFT so that narrows it down even more. What would your guess be?


Iím going to take the safe route and hazard a guess that theyíre referring to the new creatures in Final Fantasy Tactics 2, the ones that seem to round out the man party and play the ďadorableĒ role in FFT2. But hey, we wonít really know for a while. Letís all cross our fingers and hope itís the ability to jump.

umm...i was wondering if it was possible to sell fanart online. if you don't know the answer thats ok with me but could you please help a little!!!!!!

Well, I donít see any reason why you couldnít. If youíre a good enough artist, just make the attempt and try to pawn it off some of your work over on Ebay. However I doubt that someone who uses six exclamation marks to end his letters is a good enough artist for people to buy his stuff.

Dear Andy

First of all .hack//sign is an anime, the game is just dot .hack, the OVAs comes with the games. The Manga we probably won't see. But as for the series, it was the reason why the game was delayed. You were right in that the series won't be on t.v but it is coming out. Vol. 1 of the series is coming out the same time as Vol. 1 of the game.

Well thanks for correcting my blunder. I suppose it was silly of me to think that creators behind .hack wouldnít be attempting to hock as much related crap as they could at us.

Dear Andrew.

I got Kingdom Hearts for Xmas.
It sucks.


Congrats. Now you have a game you hate, AND everyone thinks youíre a moron who canít explain why she hate things.

The Final Grumble:

Yep. Out of all the entries I received, the cute rabbit with a scarf was the coolest one. Maybe Iím just a sucker for Sam & Max lookalikes...
Iíd like to thank everyone who participated, and Iíll heavily hint that Iíll be holding a similar contest the same time next year.
Second place goes to this kick-ass depiction of me as, and you guessed, a robotic, multi-tentacled cowboy.

Slight problem with sending out the prizes though. I...uh...sorta deleted the file that had everyoneís entry, names and home address. So if you drew either of these pictures, email me, with your address and real name, and Iíll get you hooked up with either your GBA game or mystery prize.

And by the way, if you think you can pull a fast one on me and claim you drew one of the pictures when you didnít, donít be surprised when I ban your name and you never get to send me letters again.

Andrew "Munchy" Duff

If you're reading this, you're thinking too hard.

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