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ASK ANDREW
Best Soup Ever April 22nd, 2005

Andrew Long - 1:05 EST

YUM YUM YUM. Martin Yan knows how to pick them, I tell you hwhat; while in Toronto some time back he managed to navigate through the profusion of restaurants at the Pacific Mall, a local Asian supercenter, and find the best damned noodle stand on life. My friend actually discovered it before reading the article in which Yan recommended the place, but we didn't try the soup out, which I can now say was a grievous error. The soup contains hand-made noodles and is, bar none, the best I have ever tried. If you are ever in Toronto, go to Dong Bei Wang, in the upper level of the Pacific Mall. You won't be disappointed. If you'd like to see a picture of the thoroughly awesome chef, here's a story from a couple years ago.

In other news, sincerest apologies for my failure to produce a column yesterday. Unfortunately, I had an exam today, which kind of interfered with my scheduling. Finally, I can see why Google always says "I'm not Andrew," because after a week of properly addressed mail, I'm back to an inbox full of stuff addressed to him. I do Thursday Friday Saturday. Goog does Sunday through Wednesday. That is all.




L E T T E R S
Gatogatogatoga-to... GATO!


Hey Goog,

Sorry to hear about the socially-challenged feline you've recently acquired. It kind of reminds me of this kitten I had for a week or two. We named it Hissyfit, as it was already about as bloodthirsty as a Quentin Tarentino character at like two or three weeks old, and the thing would hiss like crazy and try and claw your eyes out anytime you acted like you might touch it.
ANDREW


Sounds like my friend's girlfriend's cat, named "Baby" by her and more appropriately termed "Dragon cat" by myself. This cat is big, fat and covered with sneezetastic black fur, and actually growls at anyone who comes within three feet of it. If someone is foolish enough to move within that range, it then springs into action, growling some more and then moving with surprising agility to claw and hiss until the interloper backs off. It will also rear up onto its hind legs to get more weight behind its attacks, which is the stance that earned the nickname. In the end, I have managed to get it to accept some petting, but it will always break off at a random interval and hiss at me, taking ineffectual swipes that seem to say "I could claw your eyes out if I wasn't so damned fat."

My cat is much nicer, though similarly antisocial around other cats. It drove out its brother after two months of living together and subsequently developed the sweetest feline disposition I have ever encountered - except when my sister's dog comes over, in which case all bets are off.

Question: What's the coolest name you've ever given a cat? My favorite would have to be Clueless Morgan... Real Question: What are your feelings towards Guild Wars? I'm kind've impressed with the whole no-monthly-fee bit.

Later,
-Lunch?


ANDREW


The only and therefore coolest name I have given a cat was to TV's erstwhile brother, whose Hemingwayesque paws led me to name him Yogi, in view of the fact that said paws each contained between seven and nine toes. I liked what I saw of Guild Wars, but bear in mind: while there are no monthly fees, content additions will be fairly regular and pretty much amount to the same sort of thing.


One Winged Whining


Why must RPG heroes always face a god-like being at the end of a game? Also, it almost always turns out that said god-like being was pulling the strings. I think it's not like an RPG plot wouldn't work if it just remained firmly centered in a political conflict, or whatever else the game started with.

I guess the majority of Final Fantasy games are fantastic from the start, and pretty much demand a god-like being at the end. But still... Final Fantasy VIII started with political strife (well, okay, it started with a final exam... but still). Final Fantasy Tactics started with political strife. Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy IV... even Xenogears started out politically. And yet, each and every one of those games ended with god-like beings at the end.

I guess what I'm wondering is, are there any RPGs that start and end strictly politically? I'm only partway through Fire Emblem, but it's beginning to look like there'll be a god-like being at the end. Final Fantasy II also seems to be going the same way (and until I continued it yesterday, it had stayed firmly rooted in the struggle between rebels and an empire).
ANDREW

Suikoden II managed to stay fairly well-grounded; while the big bad final boss did inevitably merge with a rune to become a good deal nastier, the gameplay was never about "FIGHT OFF THE RUNE GOD." Instead, players were just fighting off an encroaching and violent imperial force. It is rather infrequently, however, that you will see a game that resists this temptation.

Also, a side note: "Reinforcements? I am the reinforcements." Is that Parasite Eve II? It's very familiar, almost like something Aya Brea would say.

-CW


ANDREW

Nope, and somebody already guessed this correctly yesterday. As such, I'm afraid I will have to remove your ear as punishment.



SAG...What a peculiar acronym


Hey drew/goog or Monkey,

I have to respond to the qnas dealing with SAG and voice overs. The huge problem with what is going on between the gaming industry and SAG is that a lot of the high end, quality, good voice over talent used in the gaming industry (not neccesarily hollywood 'stars') are all card carrying members of SAG. So if SAG decides to ban there membership from doing video game voice overs (yes SAG can do this) you will see a large drop in the quality of video game voice overs. The video game industry (or atleast the English speaking video game industry) will have to dip into the pull of "non-union" voice over actors to avoid paying the extortion/shakedown fees that the union will end up charging.

"Non-Union" voice acting is bad...really bad. It's on par with say, the first 'Devil May Cry'.

Though this could also cause companys in rethinking whether they use voice overs at all in there games...could be a blessing in disguise.

Sincerely,
GOD OF WAR is not an RPG but it is fricking awesome.
err
I mean Thomas


ANDREW

Umm... Voice acting is already largely terrible. For whatever reason, even card-carrying SAG people can't seem to make a conversation sound genuine enough to keep me from wanting to launch missiles into their living rooms, and so I ultimately don't think this threatened action will necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, if it compels game developers to forego the voice acting altogether, as you say, maybe we'll just end up with the Japanese dub, which I like a hundred times better because when a line is stupid, I can't tell.

In the end, there are few people suited to doing game voiceovers, and if the FF movie is any indication, it doesn't matter a whit whether or not the person in question has performed well in live action films.



Riddle me this: what is the purpose of this column?


Dear Q&A host (i guess that would be Andrew today)

I've been thinking about this for a whole now, and i was wondering, if you are given 5 bags. There are 10 beads in each of the bags. In four of the bags, the beads each weigh 10 kilograms. In the remaining bag, each bead weighs only 9 kilograms. All the bags and beads look identical. You must find out which bag has the lighter beads. The problem is that all the bags look identical and all the beads look identical. You can use a scale, but it has to be a single-tray scale, not a two-tray balance scale. Also, you may use the scale only once. How can you find out which bag has the lighter beads?

The answer (copy-paste in word) : Just look it up in google you lazy ass.


ANDREW

I would weigh one of the bags, and if it were the 9-kilo bag, I would set it aside. Thusly assured that I had the heaviest bag possible, I would then proceed to administer a vicious sack-beating on whoever asked this question. A hundred kilos of ball should be able to do some serious damage.

So yeah. This is not a brain-teaser forum. I'm here to talk about games, although judging from the next four letters I may soon wish to reevaluate that position.



"Bare" with you, eh? Sounds kinky


I will talk about WildArms, but will take a while to get to the point so bare with me.

Imagine a game called "the rpg". It has a build-up system of 3 tri-shaped slots and 50 or so gems that you put into the slots that give small bonus to the character (like a fire gem give you a low fire spell) , but in certain combinations of two gems (say fire+mana sword = fire sword) give mid-sized bonus, and in very rare combinations give you a huge bonus (like fire+water+wind = hyper ray of doom -or something-), nice system if i can say so my self.

Now imagine a game by the name "the rpg 2" where the build up system is only level based and you get spells by levels only (like "dude No.1" gets fire on level 3).

The 1st had a system that encourages you to get every chest and talk to every one, so you can get gems and try out combinations. Now the -should be- improved 2nd game don't push you to do anything, just run through them dungeons as fast as you can, you will get more exp in later harder dungeons and better weapons in the next town, so why bother?

Now here comes WildArms3 where levels don't even give you spells, and you gets spells from 12 statues that you get in the course of your story, and it has less -Items, Spells and RageModes-then WildArms2.

And that is why i hated it. Now i wish you would tell what did you like in WA3? What do you want see in the newer WA's?

-He who type with nine fingers-


ANDREW

I'm curious as to why exactly you felt compelled to make the WA series anonymous when a)you mentioned Wild ARMs beforehand, and b)made it quite apparent that you were talking about Wild ARMs. Either way, I find your complaints irritating, because your only real bone of contention is that both sequels failed to measure up to your expectation, which was apparently for each of WA2 and WA3 to be a carbon copy of WA. If you think that RPGs aren't going to evolve over the course of a series' lifetime, you're deluding yourself, and if you didn't like WA3 so much, well, maybe you should have rented before you blew 40 bucks on it. Either way, WA:ACF should set your mind at ease, although if I know whiners like you, you'll probably find something wrong with it.

As for WA3, I've never played it, so I can only hope that newer WAs are sufficiently enjoyable to prevent people from complaining about it.



Can't.. say.. anything nice...


hello i got a question for you.

now i was curious. E3 is coming soon. now my question is will we see any ports or remakes we wont know about?

whats your thought? do you think we will be in a surprise for remakes and ports this year?

or do we hold our breath and wish for the best?

all the best

Paine


ANDREW

...



Urge to kill rising...


so when do u think the makers of FFVII for DS are going to relese the complete name

ANDREW

Gee, Brad, I don't know. There is no FFVII for the NDS at this point, so naming a game that doesn't exist seems like an awfully stupid thing to do to me. Then again, I agreed to answer these four letters with no compensation accruing to me, so maybe I shouldn't talk. Either way, if you're talking about FFVII: DC, it does have a full name, and if you're referring to the fake FFVII we announced on April Fool's Day, it's fake. Thanks for the flashback, though.



Unfit for Print


Deawhoever anwers

I need cheats for halo 2 pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee someone please respond signed mr. T


ANDREW

Here's a thought...die.





q u i c k i e s

Howdy,

What's up with Roku's review of Digital Devil Saga? What's the point in switching from a 10 point system to a 5 point system if half scores will be allowed? Basically, giving the game a 3.5 defeats the whole purpose.
-Tommy Moo I'm not muscle bound... I'm already there!

ANDREW:Roku, not unlike myself, was never really a fan of the five point system, and Roku, like myself, feels that there is sufficient latitude in the difference in quality between games to warrant a more specific point scale. He has, however, been chastised, since technically staff are "discouraged" from .5 reviews (and by discouraged, I mean under threat of dragonbite).

O googley-goog mastuh fresh........

Have you seen the trailers to final fantasy VIII advent children? One of the most feverishly debated topics is the identify of the man in the wheel chair, Who do you think he is, Rufus, Ho-Jo, Sephitroth, of even a surprisingly masculine Aeris?

ANDREW: I think he's a man in a wheelchair whose purpose will be revealed in due time. Am I the only person in the world who doesn't want to know what happens in a movie before I see it?

hi , i was wondering if it would be a better idea to wait for Ys VI: the ark of napishtim for the PSP or if i should just pick it up for the PS2 ?> thnx

ANDREW:That all depends on how often you play games on the run. If you've got the time to sit down in your living room, get the PS2 version, since RPGs are usually more enjoyable when you have the time to enjoy them. If you think you can wait for the PSP release and would have a better chance of finishing it with the ability to play it anywhere, go that route. I doubt there will be much difference in quality.


C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Please to be excusing my woeful anger management. For tomorrow, we can talk about anything, as long as you phrase it in such a way that doesn't make me want to chew on fibreglass.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long can't handle the truth.


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