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 Zelda 64.
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 In just seven sweet days, I'll update the archive. Or, uh, six?

Miss me? I know you did! Well, some of you. I hope.

My weekend was a blur of soda, cheesey vehicle combat games and Zelda 64. (I never did get around to Xenogears... Just one more dungeon. I swear.) Anyhoo, Circle of Sages went nicely. Dig the name? 'Thought of it myself. Don't buy that 'Thor forgot to add a link to the address' stuff, though. I figured the link in the opening paragraph was fine, and no one told me different. I was framed! The man with one arm did it!

So much Celes, so little time.

I read under the news section that Square was going to release a FF4,5,6 compilation for PSX. Do you know if these games are the PSX rereleases or the originals? I guess what Im asking is, will these games contain FMV cutscenes? Also, would you know of the status of FF6 PSX rerelease? Would you know if this compilation takes the FF6 PSX rerelease or will there be an additional rerelease? Thanks,

-- David Liu

Thor: The Final Fantasy Collection will contain FF4-6j with FMV at the beginning and end of the games. Square is still releasing FF6j on the PlayStation though, and it'll have FMV sequences throughout. So you can either buy three classics or a slightly "remixed" Final Fantasy 6j. Or, if your father's Bill Gates, buy 'em both.

The Doctor is in.

Joel is better, mike sucks, he's not funny, Joel was, we want Joel, we want Joel! sorry, just had to put my opinion in there By the way, I Like the concept of SaGa Frontier, but not the game itself, is something wrong with me? should I see a doctor about that?

-- The Missing Lump

Thor: Actually, that rather sums up how I (and most people I know who aren't the "THIS GAME SUCKS!!!" type) feel about SaGa Frontier. It had great potential, but somewhere along the line they grew rather unfocused. I don't mind non-linearity much, I've been defending the World of Ruin for years, but at least the WoR had your main goal clearly stated: Kick Kefka's Kan. Er, Can. In SaGa, your main goal is usually as poorly hinted at as any side quest, creating a general feeling of being lost. Lession learned? Non-linearity is great, but nobody likes not having one damn clue. I await SaGa Frontier II with open arms, I just hope it'll be a bit less like icky confusing uncertian "reality".

"It is not, you use guns!" 'What about PE?' "...shut up."

I hate to bother you with this question, but I never felt it was answered in a satisfactory way. Why exactly does an "action RPG" like Zelda make it onto RPGamer and an "action RPG" like Metal Gear Solid not? According to your predecessors, it's because MGS isn't really a console RPG. But Zelda doesn't really fit that particular definition either. I can't speak for everyone, but when I hear cRPG I think Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. I'll admit that I don't know too much about Zelda except what I've read, but it sounds to me like Metal Gear almost has MORE of a right to be featured here. MGS features classic gameplay, an amazing storyline, character development galore, and though there's no experience, your stats increase as you play through the game. If that isn't enough RPG elements to warrant a section here beside Zelda, I don't know what is! I'm sure there's an editorial in here somewhere...

-- Alex

Thor: Hmm. Interesting question. Really interesting since I kinda sorta haven't played MGS yet. Er...

From what I've seen of MGS, it has roughly equal ammounts of storyline, action and character development (what kind of stats increase? Is it basic, like Zelda's hearts?). Maybe this is another case of "If you fight Dragons, it's an RPG", where Fantasy elements tend to cloud people's perceptions. Any thoughts from RPGamers who have played both games?

Nuh huh Vs. Yuh huh.

Er, uh, sorry, but you implied in today's column that Dragon Quest/Warrior was the first ["Console" style RPG] ever. It just so happens that it isn't. If you check the copyright dates, you'll find that DW1 came out in... I believe 87 where as the original Phantasy Star came out in 86. under other circumstances, I'd've let that by, but Phantasy Star is my religion.

Thor: Not so fast! I knew that my Dragon Quest claim would be hard to swallow, so I did some heavy research. Phantasy Star was released in Japan on December 20, 1987; and later in the united states in 1988. Dragon Quest was released some time in 1986 on the Famicom, and later ported to the NES as Dragon Warrior (with minor graphic updates) in 1989. See, guys? I'm not totally inept, just partially.

With a mouth like that...

Hi! I've been away from my precious computer for about three weeks and I discovered a few things had happened since I last checked on RPGamer. I have some questions...

1. When will the F**kin archives be updated?!?! I wanna read Josh Reid's last column!

Calm down. The archive page will be updated next weekend. I thought I'd be able to update it yesterday, but I had no idea it was such a jumbled mess. Apparently, some naughty RPGuru had used a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, thus making the HTML code rather like Jenova after complex dental surgery--butt ugly and impossible to understand.

2.I'm saving up for a game for my brand new spankin playstation and I want to knwo which RPG is better for me to buy, Parasite Eve or Xenogers(Is that how you spell it?)

Xenogears. Parasite Eve is too short to buy unless you can afford lots and lots of games. Like... uh... Bill Gate's kid. (Notice a theme, here?)

3.How do you promounce Xenogers (My friend and were talking about it on the phone and neither one of us could figure it out. I just say it: X-owners or X-zoners.)

ZEE-noh-gears. Or "Zinogias", if you've recently O.D.'d on Lifestream.

4.Okay this question comes from my friend, Judy, about Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES). Frankly I have no idea what's she's talking about but...

Hang on, hang on. I don't know what she's talking about either. Sorry, but this Thor doesn't answer gameplay questions. Try looking for a walkthrough.

5. Why'd you give up the honored title RPGuru?

Because the word reminded me of Richard Simmons, and I'm not really a "Guru". Gurus don't typo as much as I do. I'm more of a wandering taskmage.

6. We all know RPGers are superior indeed to ordinary people but a questions: How come there aren't more us living in freakin Western Pennsylvania?(I swear I'm the only one)

Wow, no self-esteem problems over there in Quaker land, eh? I'm guessing it's because trees usually scare any self respecting gamer off. Who needs Gaea when you have Game Boy?

Well, please post this letter and for god's sake answer that stupid question about Zelda, my friend's been irratating me about it forever!

Sincerly,

-- The lovely, the gorgeous, RPGirl Mistcaller

Thor: I suggest finding another friend.

The Final Fantasy Spoiler

(FF7 Spoiler. Like you couldn't guess.)

Hmm, interesting comment by that fellow on the 8th about FF 7...but, um, it's not quite true. You see, when Sephiroth came out of of Jenova's room, limping, he impaled Cloud (who was then found later by Shin-Ra along with Zack and used in Jenova clones, along with the other Nibelheim villagers-you learn this if you revisit ShinRa Mansion's library), who then proceeded to throw the wounded Sephiroth off the bridge into the Mako, which ultimately lead the (real) wounded Sephiroth to the Lifestream. THERE WERE NO CLONES at this time!! Hojo made them--after this! Sephiroth explains at one point that after that, he learned to travel through the Lifestream, and gained knowledge of his true creation, and of Jenova's true identity. He then found he could control the Jenova clones, especially Cloud, the "failed" clone (actually, Cloud was merely the only escapee--Zack was killed helping him escape). Being able to travel the Lifestream, Sephiroth awoke from the Lifestream and killed Prez Shinra, and hunted for the Black Materia, finalling travelling back to his resting place in the crater, waiting for Cloud to give it to him. Phew.

-- Ozzie ('s in a Jam!)

Thor: This'll be the last "Sephiroth" letter I print, there's just too many different viewpoints to cover here. Thanks for all your ideas, though, and check the link in "Quickies" for a rather interesting essay on FF7's storyline. (By the way, has anyone ever told you that you look kinda like Citan...?)

"Pash me 'nother Dr. Pepper, will ya, Harry? *Belch*"

I live in Canada and I'm turning 18 in a week. I'll be pissed out of my mind! (Uh, Oh exams are coming up) anyway, this just reminded me of one of my favorite parts from Chrono Trigger where Toma asks you to spread "soda pop" over his grave after he dies and you stop the guy in the bar from drinking "soda pop" because he's "had too much sugar".

Thor: Yeah, well, I'm high on life, man. I don't need beer. I'm no chicken, you're a turkey! As fer the soda pop thing... good one, heh heh. Anyone remember Dark Saviour? The game takes place on a prison island, and they changed porn magazines, drugs and beer to soda, comic books and chocolate. Japanese people must think America has really wussy criminals.

Super Mario RPG. 'Nuff said.

On the "Circle of Sages" column, they touched upon NIntendo's attitude of making RPGs (well, they said "I believe the N64 could have a true RPG...if Nintendo wanted one"). I thought maybe I'd shine some light on that. Well I'm a game developer, and soon have to try and get Nintendo to license my RPG (it's for the Gameboy Color, though..so go buy one). I asked my Nintendo contact if they'd consider publishing an RPG and he responded (I quote): "The truth is, the RPG market just isn't big enough."

So, sad as it may be, NOA is blinding itself behind a flagrant lie. The reason you don't see true RPGs on the N64 is because Nintendo has fooled itself into believing that they aren't big sellers. Funny how they chose to act this way RIGHT as RPGs entered the mainstream. It's sad. Wish me luck w/ the licensing.

-- Tomm

Thor: Good luck with the... hey, what? Nintendo of America doesn't believe there's a big market for RPGs? What-in-tarnation about Pokemon? If your contact is right, then Nintendo hasn't changed much since that one rep. (I forget his name) said something along the lines of: "We're glad we don't have [Final Fantasy 7] on our system." Like the game or love it, it was still a hit...

Then again, I hate to play Devil's Advocate (mostly because it always singes my hair), but your contact might have just been giving you a lame excuse. I mean, if Nintendo let Quest 64 through Quality Control, they must be at least a little desperate interested in the RPG market

This guy is really glum

You know that a long series has lost something when a Magic Card-Like minigame is added. Whatever happened to originality? What's more anoying is that they added a 'fad' into the game.

I'm starting to think I should give up the hope of ever liking another final fantasy. FFVII had some problems, but I thought I could over look that because they had to try new things, right? Wrong! First of all, they decided to add a magic system even worse than the last one. I mean, come on! They set it up so everyone uses magic like Gau? Or Strago? That is the worst magic system in FFIV and FFVI, and now it's the entire magic system. Second, they decided to do away with any sence of style in character design. In FFVII, I can only count 2 characters that actually looked cool. So far, I havn't seen a damn one in the FFVIII screen shots. They all look like they hang around in a biker-bar in there off hours. Jeez. Not to mention the fact that they got rid of all non-realistic natural hair colors. Plus, it seems like they've done to FFVIII what they did to FFVII, re-used an old plot. (am I the only one who notices the similarities between every final fantasy plot since FFVI?)

I'm not even going to buy FFVIII, now that they've added this card game crap. I'll just borrow it, or rent it for a few weeks. I see no reason in buying a game that I'm only going to play once.

-- Q-Burn, the black Q-Bert

Thor: Did Final Fantasy 7's magic system "suck"? No. Did it take away almost all individuality of the characters? Sadly, yes. Did the Esper system do the same? Yes. But you must remember it was part of a larger, more complex system: The relic system. Finding combos with items was just as big a part of Final Fantasy 6 as casting Ultima. I rather liked this, it put as much focus on the fighters as the mages.

As for re-used plot... Q-Bert, I hate to break it to you, but sequels--for some reason, no one knows--are usually connected with their prequels. The Final Fantasy series has always started in a new world, but there have usually been subtle ties. I mean, Kefka/Sephiroth's respective quests for power were, at first glance, alike... but once you know the real story (the three goddesses, Jenova, etc) things don't seem quite so simple.

And finally... You'll no longer enjoy Final Fantasy games 'cause people won't have unnaturally colored hair? You won't even buy Final Fantasy 8 because of a minigame? Sheesh, Q-Bert. No offense, but there's more to a game than shuch trivialities.

Nice pun.

In response to the Joel versus Mike comment, you are aware that they are bringing back Joel for the new season of MST right?

In that context does WD ever seem like it 'MSTs' the games it translates. With the inclusion of out of character comments, it seems to me that they are insulting the original game more than helping it. Quote from Rayearth, Umi: "Why are we spending so much time looking at chests when I can't even grow my own?" C'mon she's 14!

-- Alske

Thor: You rule. I had no idea 'bout Joel guest starring. (It's true, people. Party.) Anyway, Working Designs doesn't intentionally mock the games they are translating. They just... have a little fun with them. Kind of like how, instead of writing a totally serious "just the facts" Q&A column, I goof off and act like freak. (A well liked freak, but people, a freak none the less.)

Some folks like how Working Designs fiddles with the script, some people hate it. But you've got to admit... you'll never see a line like the following in a Working Designs game:

"Select the Job command that bundles up Action Ability by the Job in the unit's sub-command."
-- Final Fantasy Tactics

...um, right.

Quickies that satisfy:

MLINK wanted me to inform Kyle Asay about this huge guide to Final Fantasy 7's storyline. Since it's an interesting read (though I'm in no way backing the theories), I figured I'd stick the link here for all to see. (Note: The server is a little funky, don't be shocked if the link doesn't work right away.) // NiKo says: "There's this girl I really like at school. She's really big FF7 fan, she's got everything FF7 has to do with, but she doesn't own the game. How could I get her to like me?" Er... how about you buy her Final Fantasy 7? You're Bill Gate's kid, aren't you? // A mysterious man dressed in a dirty Moogle costume and sporting a goatee pointed me to this site, where you can find an archived "What the Andrews are doing" skit. Joy and a half. // An unnamed AOLer asked me to quizz him so he could prove he has won over 68 RPGs. Guys, I have no life, but I don't have that no life. // I've aquired two new nicknames: "RPGirlmagnet" and "Thundra". Um, thanks. I think. :D // One final blip on the Sephiroth debate: "I just want to point out that in the mako reactor in Cloud's flashback near the end, Sephiroth is not carrying Jenova's head, but rather Cloud's Shinra Soldier hat out of anger." For some reason, that cracked me up. All Powerful Dude resorting to petty thieft? Proof Kefka was cooler.

Thor Stuff:

One thing that... well, not frustrates, but perplexes me about Zelda 64 is why it's so gosh darn fun to wander around and waste time. Time is something I don't have a lot of, despire my patheticly empty schedule--I play, at most, a couple hours a day. An hour, on average. So the fact that I "wasted" my two hours catching fish and trying to beat Ingo made me realize something about Zelda 64: It's more VR than game.

Think about it, the previous Zeldas have been about "hardcore" gameplay. But Zelda 64's focus seems to be imersion. Nothing wrong with that--I find both pleasing--it was just a little weird to mull over. I mean, I didn't spend anywhere close to two hours on any Zelda minigame until Z64.

Well, I'm going to go and try to induce a lucid dream state using several (legal) herbs and self-hypnosis! Seeya tomorrow... unless I drive myself insane during the course of the night by stumbling across The Things Best Left Unsaid. Stupid Elder Gods and their stupid Things.

- Thor "Yen Sign" Antrim
Moogles are sexy, but only when posing in Victoria's Secret lingerie.

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