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After yesterday's typo-ridden column (I can't believe I misspelled "Thursday" and automaticly added "Frontier" after "SaGa") written on 4.5 hours of sleep, I knew something had to change. So today, I meditated on my waterbed, purifying mind, body and soul alike for today's Ask Thor. (I can make "sleeping in" sound really noble and romantic, can't I?)

Anyway, this is the last Ask Thor for this week. For the next two days ya'll can write to the Circle of Sages. You can write any RPGamer staff member any question you want, just as long as it doesn't involve sheep and power tools. (Just be sure and make it clear who the letter is meant for.)

"How much for just the game?"

Having missing about a months worth of RPG news (don't ask me how), I have a question about Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. I heard abut a price hike and a bigger packaging (a music CD and some other stuff). Do you know anything about this, or are you in the dark like I am.

Thor: Lunar:SSSC will cost between $60 and $70 and will come bundled with the following: One CD soundtrack with select arranged tracks, a "Making Of" movie CD with interviews of voice actors and Working Designs staff, a cloth map, a cloth hardbound artbook/instruction manual which includes 20% of a walkthrough, and a high quality package which holds all the loot. (Note: A while back I sat down and calculated all the extras, an' they added up to $82. Did you know 20% of a guidebook comes to around $3? Well, ya do now.)

The World of Ruin was simply too straightforward!

What do you think the best Final Fantasy ever is? I think its FF2 US, as it was great in every aspect. My friends all think it's FF3 US, but i thought that game was a little too linear, at least in certain parts of the game. Not to say it was bad, because it rocked. I just liked FF2 better. Also, everyone says FF7 sucked, but i didn't think it was all that bad. Am i the only one who actually liked it?

Thor: My favorite Final Fantasy was FF3. (Saying "best" just starts fights, for the record.) Plenty of people liked Final Fantasy 7, it's just with every new Final Fantasy people always point to the prequel and say it was better. I remember when my friends were insisting FF2 was better than FF3 because of FF3's "crappy" ending. Come FF7, I heard the exact same argument. They're only endings, people. They can't ruin a game, just leave you with an intense feeling of disatisfaction!

...Final Fantasy 3 a little too linear? That's a first.

Final Fantasy 7: The confusing

(Final Fantasy 7 Spoiler)
You don't have to print this, but I just wanted you to know my personal opinion on the whole Sephiroth thing. It's stated more completely in my editorial on RPGamer, "The Role of Sephiroth and the True Villain of FFVII," but this is it in a nutshell: Sephiroth was not evil. Sephiroth was dead. The Sephiroth you see in the main part of the game is just a mindless clone from Shin-Ra possessed by Jenova. The real, original Sephiroth "died" in Nibelhiem, that is, his Jenova cells started to multiply and his body was taken over by Jenova (sort of like with the Borg in Star Trek). Sephiroth as a person ceased to exist, and once Jenova took him over she went about reviving herself, as shown when "Sephiroth" stubles out of the reactor with Jenova's head, after being stabbed by Cloud (the real Cloud), and then is thrown in the lifestream by Cloud. He ends up at the Northern Crater, and you see him again, after the fake Sephiroth jumps into a pit ("This body is no longer of any use to me."). He is the thing inside the materia cocoon. At the end of the game, Seraph Sephiroth (mistranslated as Safer Sephiroth) looks suspiciously like the metallic image of Jenova adorning her container in the Nibelheim reactor. (Gosh, I'm babbling here. Sorry!) Anyway, there seem to be a considerable amount of evidence that what you're fighting is not really Sephiroth, and my editorial deals with how Jenova as a villain fits into the game. And it's not just Sephiroth. For example, in Cloud's flashback, Sephiroth (as he's gradually "dying") is reading Shin-Ra documentation in the library/lab in the mansion, and the Jenova Project is listed as beginning on the same day that construction started on Mako Reactor #1. Also, SOLDIER's power is drawn from infusion with Jenova cells. So, it's possible that many of Shin-Ra's actions in harming the planet are because of Jenova. Anyway, just thought you'd like to know. Keep up the good work!

-- Kyle Asay

Thor: Your letter was different enough from your editorial to warrant a printing. Besides, I had to show the world (OK, RPGamer readers. Er, OK, RPGamer readers who read this crappy column) your wicked theory that Shin-Ra was being manipulated from the inside by Jenova. Even if it might be wrong, I fell in love with the idea. Kyle, you've a better grasp of Final Fantasy 7's storyline than most. The weird thing is, if you're right, then the badguy in FF7 wasn't a megalomaniac looking to play God or an inhuman psycho--it was an Endbringer, pure and simple. I like it. Next time I play FF7, I'm taking some !@#$ notes.

Be it "Girl" or "Grrl", they rock.

Heya! Here's another RPGirl fan of yours (yes, we do exist!).

1) So, you don't like Sailor Moon, huh? Good for you. Anyone who dislikes Sailor Moon and likes Ranma, Slayers, and Akira is already starting off with major points in my book ^_^. Oh yeah, this needs a question. Um...are you a fan of more anime/manga styled characters, or are you a fan of the realism movement that's becoming so prevalent in newer games?

No doubt about it: I like hand drawn "anime" characters. Look at Final Fantasy Tactics; those guys express more emotion than the handless squareheads of Final Fantasy 7 ever could. ("Oh, look, Cloud's putting his arms behind his head. Again.") I can't wait for technology to get to the point (Dreamcast! Woo!) where we can have Chrono Trigger looking polygon characters--the best of both worlds.

2) Have to ask...do you like all those archaic Dragon Quest (or Warrior, whatever) NES games? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with a soft spot in my heart for "Taloon trips!"

I like them, but a total lack of attention span keeps me from really playing 'em for very long...

3) OK, Thor, you gotta let all us RPGirls in on the secret...what do you look for in a woman?

That's kinda personal. I'm sure the male readers could care less, anyway.

4) No, really. Answer number three.

Uhm. Well, OK, if you insist: Intelligent, funny, unpredictable, and she'd have to enjoy life enough not to be depressed by its cruelities. Oh, and if she looks anything like Teri Hatcher, that's a always plus. (Long.. dark.. hair... mhhmm--*ahem* sorry.)

Well, that's it for now. I seem to be short on inane questions today. I'll sign off, I suppose, as

Your biggest RPGirl fan, -_^

-- Nšelle

Thor: Woo! RPGirl! No painful flashback... you're nice. :D

What's in a name?

1) Can I still find "old generation" RPG's anywhere(such as Secret of Mana)?

Your best bet is a used game company, such as Funcoland. There are others, but I'll only suggest Funcoland 'cause I know they are legit. Expensive, but legit.

2) My friend and I always argue over What makes a game a Rpg? What elements make a game a RPG?

Thanks Thor, I would appreciate it if you replaid to my questions. Have a nice day.

-- Mogon

Thor: This is another one of those endlessly debated topics. The basic definition is any game which puts you in the role of a character. So, Zelda 1 was an "RPG". So is Metal Gear Solid, and countless others. But RPGamer is about Console Style RPGs, so I'll talk about those:

Console Style RPGs basicly started with Dragon Quest. There were other kinds of RPGs before it, such as Ultima: Exodus, but DQ (Dragon Warrior 1) is pretty much the basis for what we're buying to this day. (Unless there's an obscure never-been-ported-to-America game I've never heard about.)

Common traits of Console Style RPGs include: "Cut away" battle scenes, battles that don't take place in real time/on the overworld map like Zelda 64; some sort of an advancement system, with EXP or MP or whatever; and finally, more emphasis on storytelling or character advancement than platforming and action. Deciding what's an RPG and what isn't is not an exact science, and with newer action games using "RPG Elements"--now there's a buzzword--the lines grow ever more blury. (It's kind of like how 99% of PC games made this year were "Real Time Strategy" games--even Myth. Yeah, right.)

Se7en

I have some questions for you (I think they're for you, atl least. :P)

1.) DX stands for Deluxe. Why they called Zelda that and not "Color" or something is beyond me. Do you know why?

'Cause there's more than just color! Nintendo added a new dungeon with a heavy color theme to its puzzles, a camera toating mouse who captures twelve pictures (think Resident Evil 2) which you can print with the Game Boy Printer, and Link can now wear a red or blue Tunic to increase his offence or defence respectively.

2.) Being a wrestling fan, do you ACTUALLY wrestle?

Being a RPG fan, do you actually kill for experience and gold?

3.) Tell us a little about yourself (or, if it was already asked, post the url for the first Ask Thor, cuase I missed it.) Okay?

I think I've said quite enough about myself lately, heh heh. I'll save the Thor stuff for, um, "Thor Stuff" and Thursday Thorsday Madness (see Thursday's column for info). Here's the first Ask Thor. You won't find it on Interaction->Ask Thor->Archive 'cause I'm waiting until this weekend to update that particular page. (Just you wait, it'll load much faster once I get around to fixing it up.)

4.) What about Golbez? You gotta love Golbez's robbing tand pillaging of the people and mind controlling your best friend, then turning him against you (plus torching several castles.)

Golby was cool, but, in my mind, Kefka rules over all. G'ha, ha, ha!

5.) Two words: Phantasy Star. That's an old RPG that's go a lot of praise from everyone who's played it. And, since is MS, you can just buy a Game Gear and a Master Gear to play it.

Great idea. You know, Phantasy Star is probably one of the best RPGs of all time, and so few have had a chance to play it. It's a real shame.

6.) What non-RPG console, PC and possibly Mac games/genres do you play?

Really edited list: I dig Master of Magic for PC, Twisted Metal 2 for the PSX, Romance of the Three Kingdoms 4: Wall of Fire for the SNES and Shadowrun for the Genesis. (OK, so Shadowrun was an Action/RPG, sue me.)

7.) Doesn't Nintendo piss you off?

-- Mike Dore

Thor: Heck, no! Nintendo rocks. What other company would have the you-know-whats to, instead of trashing their system at first signs of failure (*cough*Sega*cough*) actually stick with it? And, instead of pumping out a poorly made license games, Nintendo actually spends as long as it takes until they've got a product like Zelda 64 or Mario 64. (This also goes for any Rare game. Rare has adopted Nintendo's "Quality over Quantity" policy.) Of course, not all N64 games are great, or even good... but you can bet any first party or Rare game'll be worth at least a rent or six.

Now, how about translating the Ranma 1/2 RPG?

O Great Thor,

I was just reading at the bottom of your column on 01/07, and you mentioned a letter from a guy who called you "an Atheist and a Darwinist" because you were against censoring Relm in FF6j.

Man, that's gotta be odd. I haven't played the 'uncut' version of FF6 out there on emulator, so I don't know what Relm is saying that's so amazing flagrant. I have qualms about her being censored in the first place: when you think about it, most of her charm as a character would come from her dialogue moreso than her abilities. I mean, 'Sketch' and 'Control' are nice, but I didn't care about it that much. I love the idea of an eleven-year-old swearing like a sailor!

Relm comes out being all those crazy sensational characters you find throughout anime: Asuka, from Neon Genesis Evangelion, would be one example. That brings up something else in your column that I thought kewl -- you're an anime fan?

Heheh -- RPGs and anime are both such large elements of the counter-culture I live in that it's ridiculous. Which is why I was kind of angered to hear that FF8 was going to be less anime-stylings than it's predecessors. What's your call on that? And, in general, what do you think of the correlation between anime and RPGs? Examples being Magic Knights Rayearth and the recent Slayers game.

Thor: The thing I don't like is that, well, kids cuss! It's true, and if you don't think it's true, you're living in an idealized dreamworld. Nintendo (they gave the final yes/no to scripts) allowed teen pregnancy in Final Fantasy 3, but not a little girl who says something other than "Please", "May I?" and "Tee hee!"? That's just weird.

I think crossovers from Anime and games are a great idea. You don't have to worry about creating a world and mythology and such, because the "rules" are already there. This gives you more time to work on gameplay; and from what I hear, Magic Knight Rayearth has some yummy gameplay. As for the look of FF8's characters... they're OK. I just hate being reminded of Tekken 2 every time I look at new screen shots.

Dragonpants. (Geez, what a lackluster title! Who came up with--oh.)

Mighty Thunder God,

Ahhh! A fellow Dragonlance fan. Wouldn't a Dragonlance RPG for the Platstation rock? Speaking of books, I would love to see some great fantasty and sci-fi literature liscensed and in the hands of a great developer who cared about retaining the books integrity. Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time (I know about the upcoming PC game, it looks pretty cool, but its supposed to be more action/strategy than rpg), The Belgariad/Mallorean. That would be bitchin'!!! Ah, to dream...

-- Shane N.

Thor: Beware, my friend. Dragonlance: Heroes of the Lance for the NES was a Dragonlance game, and it royally sucked. The sad thing is the Dragonlance world would make a great setting for almost any kind of game--except a horrid NES side-scroller. What were they thinking?

We have a winner!

The quote's from BOF3. The head fairy says it when you go to the fairy realm the first time after becoming an adult.

-- Gerard

Thor:Yes. Congratulations, enjoy the sack of monkeys! Er... they're kinda sorta left over from last contest (the previous winner waived his right to the prize), and I kinda sorta forgot to feed them, so they're kinda sorta... dead. Enjoy?

Why? Why?!

Why is it that everyone reads every article, buys every demo, and downloads every movie of the newest RPG they want...and as soon as there's a rally against why it's a good game, they join in? I heard "Final Fantasy VII is the greatest RPG ever!" over and over until someone said that they didn't like the ending. It then became the leprecy of RPGs. Why?

Thor: It's called "mob mentality". Remember when everyone up and decided Square was "evil", because they were taking members off the Resident Evil, Tactics Ogre and Tekken 2 team for their own projects? I sure do. A month later cries of "Square sucks!" diminished, but the damage was done: SquareSoft released SaGa Frontier as punishment. (Kidding, really. Hey, SaGa message board guys, put that brick do--Ahhh!)

Enough Quickies to last the weekend:

For those of you wondering about the origin of the phantom "X" on PlayStation's acronym, check this out. It's a long read, but a fun one if you're into history. // Ryan Connors assures us that Defender of Oasis for Game Gear is indeed a great RPG. Ryan sez: "It was set in a 'Genie/Aladdin' type of time period. Very classic RPG style play like that of an Enix or Squaresoft game." // One (unnamed) reader wrote: "Grow a new brain that isn't obsessed with the word 'dude.'" Sure thing, dude! // Another Ryan (William Ryan, this time) reports Kefka was not born insane. In FF3 a soldier says that Kefka is insane because of the Magitek experiments performed on him to give him magic. Kefka may not have been born insane, but he still didn't bother with rationalization: He just enjoyed the kill. Kind of like a kitty. Aww, Kefka Kitty! // Sailor Virgo (an "RPGirl", you ladies are so good to me) reports the DiC version of Sailor Moon does indeed suck, and wonders why us RPGamer Q&A Guys dislike Saior Moon. I can't speak for the others, but I just didn't really care for the (DiC) episodes I saw. // A couple of guys reported seing a Xenogears commercial "once or twice" on MTV. What gives, Square? You should know us MTV viewers need these things pounded into our brains!

Thor Stuff:

A lot of you have been asking, so, I'll say it again: I'm 18 years old. This means I am old enough to have sex, vote, own a house, car, get married and even help create an entire human being--but I can't drink because I'm not "responsible" enough. Gotta love laws, eh? Oh well, I'm more interested in coffee than booze, anyway.

I'm restricting the number of letters only askin' questions about me/my likes/opinions to one a day, except on Thursdays. I've posted a lot 'cause this was my first week and we were all getting to know each other, but I feel enough's been said about the Thor-man. For now. (Note: I'll still print multi-part questions which ask a few RPG-orientated Q's and then one about me, so sneaky and Thor-obsessed readers can still get their fix.)

According to the boss-dude (take that!), no previous Q&A Guy has received as much *ahem* supportive fanmail from girls as I have--which I think is just awesome. Girl gamers rock for countless reasons, my favorite being they're (on average) less aggressive. In my life, I have met one girl (in a chat room) who regularly engaged in system wars; i.e. "Nintendo is better!" 'Nuh huh, Sega rulz!'... and "she" later turned out to be a guy.

Eww.

Anyway, I'm gone. See you all on monday, and remember: I love you all equally, just for different reasons.

- Thor "Yes, this is my real name" Antrim
Who is better, Joel or Mike? We may never know.

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