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August 23rd, 2007

Matthew 'barieuph' Russo - 10:20pm EDT

I lost power today for about four hours. As such, I've put a lot of time into getting my characters nice and beefy in Final Fantasy III. Nothing like having your four level 23 characters do 10+ hits with 1500 to 2000 HP each. The rest of the day is filled with me searching for my missing Pokémon Sapphire.

Anyways, let's move onto the letters shall we?

My first JMS experience

Well Bari, Sean requested that I give you something to work with. Thus begins our first correspondence, which hopefully finds you in an amenable mood to answering the esoteric material I am notorious for?


Oh JuMeSyn, I guess I had to experience you first hand at some point. As far as me being as you say, amenable for this encounter, well I could see myself no other way.

It's a question I must ask of everyone who hosts Q&A, so let's hear your take on the scintillating topic of Sega. What's your Sega experience? Doesn't have to be in RPG form, just overall.


Here's how my Sega experience pans out:

Sister buys GenesisLoads up with Sonic 1 and 2
Brother and I buy the rest of the Sonic Games.
The End.

But seriously, I haven't had much experience with Sega platforms, outside of emulating Shining Force I and II when I was a kid, and watching my brother emulate Phantasy Star. The Sonic the Hedgehog series was always a blast to play though. When someone was playing SNES, someone else was plowing through one of the Sonic games.

I deduce you to have much musical mastery, which makes me wonder how a few tracks from games you've never played would go over. ....Actually, that sounds like a capital notion. I've a reputation of flummoxing and flabbergasting with my material to uphold! *snipped due to legality* is a Panzer Dragoon Saga track to ponder, from a moment midway through when the player must knock out an ancient ship that has some nasty prevailing winds constantly blowing the dragon back. I continue to extol Tengai Makyou's music, so I'd better include a snippet from both the games I've played. The regular battle music from Tengai Makyou Zero is quite nice, so here goes: *snipped due to legality* Catchy, I say. And Tengai Makyou IV needs a sample, so here's one that conveys a bit of the utterly bizarre nature: *snipped due to legality*. This is from Madame Appetit's castle in Tombstone, Arizona. Her castle is a gigantic food processing plant, and I distinctly remember fighting A La Mode in there. Then she somehow had four sumo wrestlers join in for her great number extolling eating before I fought her - it was surreal. Treasure Hunter G, another one with great music that doesn't exist in English legally. *snipped due to legality* is essentially what the track says: a boss fight. Majesterial however. And one more, because if I go beyond five it will probably irritate: *snipped due to legality* Hmm, what composer is Motoi Sakuraba channeling here - I couldn't possibly venture a guess. Maybe if I say that 'Walcuray' can also be translated as 'Valkyrie' it makes sense? Oh yes, this is from Shining Force III.


Well I can't say that I've played any of the games that you have on that list. Furthermore I'm only vaguely familiar with the soundtrack of Treasure Hunter G. As for the rest of them I'm not familiar with those soundtracks either. However, the music is appreciated, although I cannot post the links because of their legality. Sites hosting soundtracks are a no-no. As for Sakuraba, I wouldn't have any idea where he got the idea to write that song. Valkyrie probably doesn't help much either.

Now I suppose you're wondering why I've never sent something in to Sound Test, and it's very simple: I'm only good at listening to music. Aside from smacking my father's drum set around as a very small child I have no experience in playing instruments, I can't read music, and I have never felt the urge to write new songs or alter existing ones. So, yeah. Unless there is a place for me to just talk up how good soundtracks of games most people on this site haven't heard of, I can't offer much to your bailiwick.

What else do I have to offer today... a push for you to investigate the two Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation titles if you're looking for quality tactical action? Yep, that's on the table. I shouldn't say more when I wrote reviews on the games that far exceed the word limit for Q&A. I don't have anything else ready for today. Fare thee well, good sir.


Sound Test does in fact accept soundtrack reviews. Check out the guidelines for more information. I'm sure someone like yourself has tons to say on the soundtracks of those underappreciated games. There is a template that you can follow. Please make sure your tracklisting is complete if you do submit a review.

As for the games you've suggested, well I can't finish any of the games I have, let alone the games other people want me to play. Nevertheless, thanks for the suggestions I'll look into them if I ever finish my backlog. Thanks for writing and making my life complete with my very own JMS letter. Let's not let this be the last of our correspondences.

Randomly Encountered Strategy

Hi there - I've only recently found your website, having been looking for information on Luminous Arc and discovering your early review. I then discovered that many of the upcoming titles I'm most looking forward to, you guys are covering too. Just wanted to start out by saying thanks.


No problem! We're always glad to hear from someone new. Chances are if you're here, and an RPGamer yourself, we're going to be covering most of your anticipated upcoming games!

I'm a long time gamer (started owning the pong system, and have owned usually the most popular system of each generation, including handhelds, until the current one. Now, the only gaming system I own is a DS - but I do love it. Typically, in the past I've only been really into Strategy RPGs - the only RPG I really played all the way through and enjoyed was the original Dragon Warrior on the NES. There's a few reasons for this - I dislike random encounters, I don't really like how the characters all line up during battle and just take turns taking swipes at each other. The battles in Strategy games are more like chess games, manuver your pieces around and... well... take turns swiping at each other. But it feels a little more "strategic" to me... you know what I mean?


I've always enjoyed strategy games because of its likeness to chess. Honestly I'm a lousy chess player, so whenever I beat a SRPG I tend to jump up and down like a crazy monkey screaming "checkmate." You should try that sometime, you might turn a few heads.

Anyway, I got to thinking about "regular" RPGs and the thing that enjoy the most about them is the exploration, being able to wander around the map and discover new places (towns, caves, etc.) and I was thinking that I'd probably be able to handle the random battles if the battle itself more resembled a Strategy RPG (the chessboard) - has such a game been made? Is there an "regular" RPG that has those types of battles - or a Strategy RPG that has that kind of freedom to explore the world? Are there any upcoming titles (especially on the DS) that might feature that kind of combination? And if not - do you agree that this could be a good combination of play styles?

Thanks again.



I can't think of any games like this, but maybe some of the readers will send in letters of games I might have overlooked. As for the combination I think it would be a great idea, but could fall to the problem of becoming drawn out and long. Part of the reason why strategy games have structure battles is because the battles take a long time. I don't know though, readers what do you have to say? After writing all that, I was reminded of Koudelka, which has a grid based battle system but random encounters.

Thanks, hope you keep writing in Jim of consciousness...

This is frustrating! Second time I've tried to message about this subject! Lufia2- have gone into the ancient cave about 50+ times. Love the random levels! Have all the Iris items. Guess you get the final item when you beat the wierd creature at the bottom (it is a cave). Very Challenging game! Have wacked the bosses several times, haven't beaten the critter at the bottom of the cave (level 99)- tough row to hoe), as the old timers would say. Right now I,m listening to the Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Temple Music. Underated game! Great music. Think some of the best "old school games" came out on the NES,SNES,SEGA GENESIS,SEGA SATURN,SEGA MASTER SYSTEM,TURBOGRAPHIC16. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it


Well there you have it folks, it appears someone has utterly crushed Lufia 2. As for the FFMQ soundtrack it's not bad at all. Even if the game is less than exciting, the soundtrack makes up for that.

As for your opinion, I'm going to leave it for contestant number 2, lemme see the next showcase showdown!

What do you think?

Hello Sean

I recently started Altier Iris 1 and I am pretty engrossed in it, are the other 2 as good as the first one?



According to other members of the staff, AI2 is okay but they preferred the first one. As for AI3, not many have played it.

Well what do you guys think? I'd love to receive a few letters with your thoughts.


I'll be back again tomorrow, and I have no letters so I'll be relying on you to send me something to post tomorrow.

Here are a few things I'd love to hear about.

1. Favorite class in Final Fantasy III DS, and perhaps your characters' job level for that class
2. I always want to hear about your thoughts on the latest in game soundtracks. For instance, how about Odin Sphere's soundtrack? What about
3. Atelier Iris 2 and 3: better than the first, or super duds?
4. How about that strategy RPG meets random encounter idea--Sound good?
5. I need quickies so how about: Pre-order or buy in store? And furthermore: first day or wait?

In any case, I'm going to get going and watch the inbox until I see 10 letters. Better get writing! So long.

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