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ASK ANDREW
Everything Suggested A Tendency Towards Evil March 4th, 2005

Andrew Long - 19:16 EST

YOU KNOW, I really, really wish Nintendo wouldn't bugger around with translations as much as seems to be the case. My gripe in question comes from playing through Sword of Mana, which, though entertaining enough (the extraneous garbage thrown in so the PSX generation will find something to sate its desire to turn 10-hour games into 20-hour games notwithstanding) shows clear evidence of Nintendo's tampering. The translation is capable, to be sure, but utterly bizarre in some instances, leading me to believe it has been somehow neutered.

I come to this conclusion because dialogue in many situations seems very toned down, and the words used sound, to put it bluntly, ludicrous. Stuck in a jail cell? Well, according to SoM, your natural reaction should be to say "Don't worry about me... Just make sure you get the bad guy.. eventually!" Feel like giving a Sylvester Stallone-style cry to the heavens? Your favorite term is now "BLAST IT!" or possibly "BLAST IT! BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST IT!!!!"

Again, nothing about this is precisely bad, and these probably aren't the best examples of what I'm talking about, but just once, I wish Nintendo would stop trying to make things palatable for eight-year-olds and make a game that might actually appeal to people with nostalgia associated with either FFA or SoM. Grr!



Ramblebox
YAY TO WINTER! IT IS MY FAVORITE OF ALL! YAY ALSO TO LOSING MY VOICE FOR THREE DAYS! SOUNDING LIKE I BELONG ON THE SOPRANOS IS TEH WIN!

-AL  


L E T T E R S
Contrition and a question


alright, I can see now that I was a real idiot to think the way I did on that copyrights issue, sorry to annoy you with that, though I can see you have a good sense of humor, lol, " I hear Xenosaga III's going to be cancelled based on copyright failure! DISCUSS!"
ANDREW


Heh, apologies for being so waspish on Sunday, and don't feel too bad. It was the combined effect of your letter plus three others that set me over the edge, because I got the distinct feeling that I was repeating myself and nobody was listening. Also, my dinner was late ;_;

Anyways, on to a question. Why won't Konami rerelease Suikoden II. It goes for a lot of money online, sometimes as high as $250 dollars because it is in high demand, and these copies are not even new. I would think this demand would show Konami that it wouldn't be a money hole to try to rerelease it. I know Valkyrie Profile is getting a PsOne box set in Japan, and hopefully it will come over here again, and it is just as hard to get. It would make sense to me (Being the biased gamer who really wants to play it) to give it another release and make fans a little more happy.

In a complete aside, wouldn't a port of Super Mario RPG for the SNES be cool for the GBA or NDS?


ANDREW


As far as I can tell, Konami hasn't really made a big thing of re-releasing its hits. Of course, that's mostly because every Castlevania game has the exact same plot, but still, it's one step up on Capcom and Super Street Fighter II X Combo Alpha Silver Dragon Edition 3 Platinum. That said, unfortunately, PSX rereleases in North America haven't really been happening since Xenogears and FFT got reissued a couple years back, and that only happened because Square's financial situation was less than pretty at the time. There's always a chance, I suppose, but right now, it appears Konami is more intent on cranking out newer, crappier Suikodens than capitalizing on the older, better ones.

And yes, yes that would be cool. Unfortunately, the logistics involved are probably a little bit sticky, given the fallapart experienced by the relationship of Nintendo and Square shortly after that title's release.



DON'T call me Andy


Hey Andy,
ANDREW

DIE

Now you can call me a radical dreamer, but I would love to see a third Chrono Trigger installment. Not a hacked out pice of garbage (story-wise), who's developers obviously had no love or respect for the orginal game, but a nice warm feeling third one.

Any chances of such? It would make my day.

Tad Ghostal?

P.S. I heard if you save General Leo on the PS remake of FF6, that he will appear and save Areis in FF7. Any chance of that? For some reason, Kefka always kills my Leo no matter what I do or shout.


ANDREW

The chances of such declined noticeably when Square Enix allowed the trademark for Chrono Break to expire last year. That doesn't mean, of course, that something won't happen in the future, because the Chrono franchise, even with the polarizing effect Chrono Cross had on RPGamers, is still one of the most deeply cherished based on Chrono Trigger alone. I think that had Chrono Cross achieved even minimally decent pacing or a story that didn't utterly waste the events of Chrono Trigger, it would have done a lot better and the matter of a third Chrono title wouldn't be if, but when. As it is, I would guess that Square Enix has stepped back to take stock of their current situation, and to determine whether or not they can realistically devote the time and energy necessary to produce a fitting sequel, since both companies were involved in the original (and who knows, perhaps the absence of Enix was the main problem with the second effort.)

P.S. I hate you.



Yes, it's the chocotastic weekend dilemma, but there is an interesting question here


Someone wrote in wondering why there wasn’t chocolate in RPG’s from Japan. One good example of this not being true is Secret of Mana. Speaking of, one thing has always bothered me in that game. You get orbs to power up your weapons, but two of the weapons (the axe and gloves, I think) have one less orb to get than all the rest. Why in the world would they do that?

iehley


ANDREW

Ah yes. That one is a headscratcher indeed, since it would have been pretty easy to throw in two treasure chests somewhere. Instead, however, it's left up to you to secure them as random drops, which you can do in the Fortress of Mana. The trouble with that is, however, that you almost never get the one that you need, which leads to fun little weapons like the Garuda Bow and Daedelus Lance of 8-99 goodness. There really is no good answer to that question, anyway; just smile, nod, and kill a whole bunch of space crabs until you get the orbs your sense of symmetry so rightfully demands.



Grr


Final Fantasy 8 gets panned because of its abysmal battle system. To sum it up in two words...it sucks. Who wants to "draw" magic from enemies to get more powerful. And the idea that using magic can make your characters weaker just baffles me. What was Square thinking? However, I must admit that the GF system in that game was great. Much better than the take on summons in FF7 and FF9
ANDREW

Yes, and had you bothered to use it for anything other than the flashy summon sequences, you would have discovered that there are, in fact, many other ways to obtain magic besides drawing. And if using GFs doesn't tickle your fancy, there's still Triple Triad, which by and large is a heck of a lot more entertaining than sitting around drawing from Caterchipillars. I guess what I'm saying is, I enjoyed FFVIII's battle system. I enjoyed it a lot. The only real flaw I find with it is the absurd ease with which characters can be pushed into Limit Break mode.

The Question: Way back when, there was word going around that Square was remaking it's Playstation Final Fantasies. Is there still any hope for this or word of its possibility? When I first heard that news, I thought....who wants 7 and 9 remade...they're already classics. But 8, in my opinion, had the best plot of the three, and also the worst battle system of the 3. I instantly thought that it would be great to have FF8 remade with a redone battle system (which you'd think Squennix would do based on all the negative feedback). They wouldn't even have to redo the entire battle system, since the GF system should be kept.

So, is there still any hope for this?

an RPGfan

P.S. Did you know that chocolate was in Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo?


ANDREW

Sure, if you're really hopeful. The remakes were pulled "indefinitely" from Square's plans prior to the merger, and no mention of them has ever again surfaced. As such, I would tend to suggest that "indefinitely" means "for good" and you should all forget you ever heard about this. Sadly, I will have no such luck; this question invariably comes up every couple months or so, so until May, no. No you won't be seeing those remakes.

Incidentally, for every letter I get tomorrow saying "So the remakes are coming out in May?" I will kill you a hundred times, each more painfully than the last.



This question is rated U for Unsanitary


Hi there, this isn't in reference to the whole chocolate subject floating around, but rather the comment Googleshng made about how many rpg's have people going to the bathroom in them, I can site at least two different occurrences. Final Fantasy 7, wall market, and a town in Star Ocean 2, first disc, port town of Clik I believe, before the tsunami tidal wave hits, in the bar, there's a person in the bathroom as well as one pacing out side of it wanting to get in. I'm sure there are more scenes in other rpgs.
ANDREW

I can think of a few others myself; in FFVI you can use the toilets in the Imperial Fortress at Vector, and in FFIX, there's an old guy pacing around Lindblum muttering "I have to take a dump!" I don't know exactly why he would be saying that, but oh well. In fact, come to think of it, FFVIII also has a drunk in the bathroom at the bar in Timber, if I remember correctly (though he might be in the ally, I can't quite remember.) ANYHOW, moving along...

Anyway onto the question. I'm a pretty decent DnD fan, and heard and saw some news about the making of a DnD tactical RTS game being produced, but there wasn't much info. I know that's not exactly an RPG, but where DnD is involved, role playing aspects can't be far behind. Was just wondering if any one at rpgamer had learned anything on it, any aspects, or if it might turn out to be rather worth waiting for and buying. I know I enjoyed some of the rpg components in the single player game of warcraft 3, and the heros in the game, so I thought I'd look into this cos it's right down my alley. At any rate, thanks for your time and reading this, and replying if you do.

ANDREW

I believe this is probably what you're talking about; I hadn't really heard about it, but it does, in fact, exist. If there hasn't been much info since last e3, you might have cause to be a little worried, but in all likelihood, there'll be more info at this year's show, as that tends to happen a fair bit with that sort of thing.



Today's edition of Meowing About Things That Needn't Be Meowed About


Hi.

OK, you've probably noticed this, but I feel like ranting about it anyway. RPGs just aren't very realistic... I mean, why do the evil villains always say "Hmmm... let's put a simple enough puzzle on this incredibly top secret area instead of regular locks. Yep, that's sturdy enough"?

Or, if they actually bother with putting a password on a lock, either they tell it to some random guy walking around the nearest town, or it's another puzzle concerning numbers this time, or they just happen to forget notes with clues about what the password is around the house/mansion/factory where the safe/door/mechanism is.

For god's sake, some of the most powerful weapons of all time in Xenogears (and Xenosaga, which got me thinking about this) are locked away with a *magic square*! Seriously, a child of 6 could sneak in there and get Xenogears just for being able to add. o_O

And what's the deal with self-destruct mechanisms? Why would *anyone* want something like that? And if they do make one for some reason, are they really so stupid that they don't leave an option to stop the countdown at any time?

If you want a question, I guess it would be, do you know of any RPG that actually has that kind of realism? I enjoy puzzles as much as the next guy, but they don't make a lot sense. Then again, niether does most of the other stuff in RPGs...

Sorry for the long letter,
--
Zohar Gilboa


ANDREW

No, really? Abstract elements of gameplay don't mirror reality? ASTOUNDING, HOLMES! Of course RPG puzzles don't make sense; the whole idea of having puzzles is to incorporate, in a form that can be expressed through gameplay, the difficulty of completing a given task. Obviously a secret tower of doom probably won't be guarded by switch puzzles that a three-year-old could solve, but it would be pretty boring if all you had to do was walk right in through the front door and take the elevator up. Similarly, if you had to decode encryption that a PhD in computer science would have trouble deciphering, you'd also be barking up the wrong tree if your goal was producing a playable game. The happy medium? Dumbass puzzles that provide some hindrance, but are ultimately most annoying in conjunction with the random battles you must endure, which I think neatly sums up the difficulties in breaking into a place you shouldn't be (security guards + security systems).

Same thing with getting into those RPG safes. You obviously can't experience the hands-on thrill ride that is cracking a safe with your controller, so you get to do the next best thing - mildly complicated math or fetch quests. Both occupy your time, and achieve exactly what they are meant to - increase gameplay time and complexity without making things overly unenjoyable. I won't get into the self-destruct mechanism, because if you've grown up exposed to Hollywood, you should know where that silliness comes from and why it's an inescapable part of badly written drama; Deus Ex Machina, unfortunately, is rarely subtle.

So no, I don't think there should be more realism in RPGs, because realism can only have so much of a role in good video games. At their core, games are about mental exercise and / or the twitch factor that comes with action-oriented elements of gameplay, and to weigh these down with reality is missing the point. Games aren't about reality; while they can certainly tell a realistic story, games that offer minimal interaction are about as entertaining as watching paint dry. Accept the little puzzles and move on; after all, in a genre that has you learning magic spells from hats, summoning giant dragons, snakes, and bats to immolate your enemies, and turning into mist to seep through vents, reality should hardly be your biggest concern. On the other hand, if you absolutely must have it, play Shen Mue.



Another victim of my temper


Senor Cast,

This letter is a hybrid; half correction, half apology, and continues as such:

Regarding the slagging of Nintendo and XBox, My intention was not to "slag" Nintendo in any way, shape or form, I love nintendo, and have done so since I was a wee lad. I have (and still) own the original NES, the SNES, and Gameboys 1-3 (Regular, Color, and Advance). I own a gamecube and play it faithfully. When I mentioned the part about Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, that wasn't meant in any way as a slight, those three franchise pulled vast amounts of my childhood out of oblivion and boredom. I love Nintendo, and the question was more geared to your thoughts on the future of nintendo, because I have seen that you love it so, and so do I.

I cannot say the same for XBox however, I may have come of a bit...harsh before, but I think it has great potential, I just think It's being wasted in some areas, I wasn't intending to take a shot at anyone, as there are games I enjoy playing on it, I think I just let my temper get the best of me, and I was wrong to lash out so, I HOPE the new XBox does well, and makes many kids happy, who knows, I may be one of them.
ANDREW

Sorry if my response was a tad over-the-top; it continues to frustrate me that the PS2 gets so much love when strictly speaking, it's the lousiest of the three systems in most regards and pretty much every edition of it has failed. I'm not suggesting that this immediately exempts Nintendo or MS for criticism over the failings of their respective system; it just bothers me that Sony gets off scot-free by the simple expedient of being in everyone's living room (and, based upon how many of the systems have failed, garages and basements too, no doubt.) At any rate, again, there is no need to apologize; your opinions are your own, and all I was saying is that taking into account what Sony has really done in this particular generation might be worthwhile.

I am uncertain as to the future of Nintendo, meanwhile, because its next-gen console is shrouded in mystery. I can probably give you a better assessment after E3, so write back about this then.

So, I come to you in all sincere humbl-ness, and can only offer this question as a small penance, because after all, this IS Q & A:

Do you think that despite the lackluster performance of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within at the box office, that the release of FFVII: AC would be a good idea, since fans worldwide are already so familiar and so in love with the FFVII cast of yor? I know personally that I'm giddy like a schoolboy just thinking about it. Thoughts?

Humbly,
Frammy


ANDREW

If it is in fact worth seeing, I would rather just buy it on DVD than pay to see it in theatre AND buy it, to be honest. I don't think movie critics will be inclined to be very forgiving towards this sequel, somehow, because they were all too willing to slag on FF:tSW, and deservedly so, and there is a certain built-in arrogance in the American film industry towards Japanese stuff for some reason, which is strange given the relative quality between the two is about the same (Japan being guilty of copious Hentai, the US being guilty of copious morality-based mediocrity in terms of cartoons.) It never fails to amaze me that Disney would sit on such wonderful films as the assorted works of Miyazaki, because even as old as some of them are, I think the stories and general beauty of the art would be more than enough to propel good DVD sales with any kind of real publicity, and even a decent showing in theatres with the right ad campaign.

I would also hope that the people involved in its production have done the smart thing and gotten an actual screenwriter to do the script, because that was the biggest problem with FF:tSW. Certainly, it was a technical achievement, but videogame writing is simply not sufficient for a movie. Movies require more believable dialogue. They beg for a plot more complex than "find the eight artifacts and stop the giant space laser" and while there are many that are content to settle for this, they do not, by and large, end up classified as good movies, and if Square Enix wishes to avoid another bomb at the box office, they would do well to bring somebody on board who is capable of penning a story that won't make Hollywood critics puke.

In any event, I think the bad taste left by tSW would incline people to give it bad reviews, which will likely lead to another disaster at the box office, though obviously, good marketing and good buzz could change that. If Square Enix is able to put together sufficient substance and hype for this one, it might pay off, but I would be very cautious about a theatrical release if I had a say in the matter, because you can get away with a lot more on a straight-to-DVD release than you can with something that sees big screen time.



Non-Sequiter


Zup Drew,

Not really an RPG question, but a question none-the-less... Do you play any of the PS2 hockey games? If so, which one is your fav out of this year's cream of the crop. My friends and I still get hammered and play Genisis Hockey, but we're considering upgrading to the 21st century.

That's all.

Tad Ghostal

P.S. I hope the 2k5 versions of the game actually allow you to play hockey and don't just have you sitting there with the player's union doing nothing. Because that would almost be the worse game I ever bought (but probably still better than Palidin's Quest)


ANDREW

tuinte has NHL 2K5, but we have yet to play it, since his PS2 busted and besides, we're almost never home at the same time, it seems. No, the last hockey video game I played was EA 1994, and a fine game it was, even if the only way to score was to wheel around behind the net and plant a backhander in the goalie's 5-hole. And I would rest assured; while the antics of the NHLPA and NHL are certainly childish, they don't really qualify as entertainment.



I don't even know where this one could have come from...


Dear Andrew,

I have a question about Squareenix's Final Fantasy series. Now i know that "Message boards are the devil", and that I should send you a crate of creamsicles, but, sadly for the latter, i do not at this time have the technology to send you them though the internet(but i'm working on it ^^). But anywho, my question. I've heard that Square is going to start producing games for the XBox. Is this true? and will it effect the Final Fantasy Series on Sony's Paystation?
ANDREW

Nope. I think you're probably talking about a story that ran some time back when Yoichi Wada was asked about whether or not Square Enix would be continuing to produce exclusively for Sony into the next generation. As I recall, he hedged his bets and wouldn't really say which system Square Enix would end up on, and raised the distinct possibility that there could be S-E titles on all three. As for this generation, though, it doesn't make any business sense for S-E to make games for Microsoft or Nintendo, because Sony has a much wider installed user base. It might not be the greatest system, but it's the easiest to develop for, and the most likely to get you lots of sales, so I think Square Enix will probably be staying the course for now.

PS - just to rant, i wish that it was Squarenix and not Squareenix (and if it's not I am missinformed and so is everybody else) I hate how the double e looks, I just thought that it would be cool if they used the same e to combine the names you know cause there 1 company now so it shows unity? Or that could just me me and meh to me! Okydokey I guess that's it.

Thanks alot. ^^
-Elisa-


ANDREW

I guess it would show unity, but to be honest, that just looks like something that you would pronounce SKWARE-NIX, which is probably not what either company wants. Either that or maybe they're just protective of their letters E.



Randomblings


Dear Castogooguesthost, Me and my friend were arguing the other day about which episode of Xenosaga, Xenogears is (I hope that makes sense). He says it's episode 6 while I say its episode 5, who's right? Also what were you hoping for Square-Enix *shudders*(I hate that name) to do with FF7, a remake on the PS2 or a full movie of FF7? ~DJ

Phat Bones


ANDREW

You are the winner, my friend. As it has been officially explained, Xenogears would be the fifth episode in the timeline, although when it comes time for Xenosaga Episode 5, it will likely appear as an entirely different game. Nonetheless, you may now exact whatever it is your friend has promised in exchange for this fantastic bet (I certainly hope it involves creamsicles, or at least booze.)

And your second question? I hope, or had hoped, that Square Enix would do absolutely nothing with FFVII, because it was a perfectly good story the way it was. It seems I'm in a distinct minority in that regard, however.



Chocotastic!


However, the highest quality chocolate in an RPG would have to be the DX Chocolate, found in Boktai 2.

It's chocolate-covered chocolate.

-DNE


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, DNE.



Randomness to close


Laputa? This movie seems to sound a lot like a movie I watched (loved) called Castle in the Sky? Are they the same movie with different names or just similar?

anime rocks


ANDREW

You are correct, sirrah; Laputa, or Laputa: the Castle in the Sky, as it is more lengthily referred to, is the movie you saw. I hereby present you with chocolate-covered chocolate in recognition of your achievement.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well then... That was an awful lot of letters, but if I'm ever going to beat this backlog down to a reasonable number, there'll have to be more of the same... Not that I'm complaining, mind you. For tomorrow, since it is finally March, what are your favorite March Break / Spring Break gaming memories? I have a strange fondness for playing Paladin's Quest at my grandma's house, despite the general awfulness of that game, and I also quite enjoyed bringing Zelda II along for the ride.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long wherever he looks, wherever he looks out there, on field days, field days orange girl, with a pineapple hat, walks in the sun, with her friend the mouse, with her friend the shadow!


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