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Mother Hen Come Callin'

Andrew Long - October 2 '03- 03:00 Eastern Standard Time

I WENT HOME TO WORK a couple days back to the exciting news that my dad, for reasons unknown to me, had decided to take the advice of the dubious service tech at our local computer shop and install some sort of plate underneath the motherboard on his computer. Apparently this was of the utmost concern, as there was alleged danger of "shorting out" the air flow.

Now, I'm no big-city lawyer, but it seems a little strange to me that air flow can be "shorted out." Well, actually it would seem strange if only this particular service tech hadn't eagerly chalked up various other problems to things having "shorted out" as being the culprit on each of my dad's previous visits. Hard drive needs formatting? Service tech: "Ya shorted out your CPU chip there, partner. Maybe you shoulda brought it to us and put it together." Various connections not properly connected? "Oh, your motherboard's probably shorted out. See, this is what happens when you put it together yourself. If you'd brought it to us, it'd be working now, but now you're bringing it to us and you want us to get it fixed."

After Johnny Logic finished his little self-glorifying speech, he then went on to plug in the computer and touch various parts of the computer's innards, apparently oblivious to the risks of electrocution involved (despite his wealth of knowledge in the field of "things" and "shorting them out.") As he was no doubt aware, though, my own fiddling the night before had failed to do anything other than to disconnect the power source, so unfortunately he was then able to go on to prophesy yet another dire instance of short-circuiting.

I guess what I'm saying is that although I'm not exactly pre-eminently qualified to give a dissertation on the assembly and workings of a computer, this guy does not inspire within me an overwhelming confidence in his abilities. Add to that the fact that he looks like he grew up chewing on car parts, and you should be able to see where I'm coming from - namely, my computer blew up, so I came all the way back to Toronto just to post this column, which is either ostentatious now that I've trumpeted it here or just plain silly, since I could have waited until tomorrow.

Either way, let us begin.



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My current love affair: Beth... I mean, BoF V

Hello Andrew,

Your talking up Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter a week or two ago inspired me to go pick it up at the local games store, when I'd pretty much ignored it previous to that. Waiting ended up working in my favor, because it only cost $30! (I should've waited to buy Xenosaga, too, since it's now also only $30....)

I plopped DQ in the PS2 when I got home, and promptly proceeded to get two game overs in as many hours. I SOL'ed "restart" both times.

This game is way too hard! But I say that in a good way. It's not hard because of a bad camera or cheap enemies, it's hard because I haven't yet discovered how to use strategies besides flat-out aggression, and I really suck at using items before combat. Once I get those two things down, I'll have a lot more fun with it. The first dungeon alone has some tricky scenarios. For example, first you come across big monster who runs away when you've dealt with the two little ones in the same room. But just a floor or two later there's a momma monster who roasts you if you attack its young!

I haven't run crying to any walkthroughs yet, but I have set the game down until I can put some devoted attention into figuring out how to play it! I wonder how many times I'll end up going to see my boss in her office and buying my first set of items....

Any general tips (aside from "learn how to use items, crazy"), since you seem to be both enjoying it and doing well with it? Or any more enthusiasm about the game you'd care to throw out there? Do I have lots of juicy gaming goodness in store once I manage to get past the first hurdle?


It's probably good that you didn't go to a walkthrough, because they really aren't much help, I'd imagine. I haven't really consulted any either, except for a D-Counter guide. This is because I was wondering whether I had any hope of completing the game with the D-Ratio I was saddled with in the Industrial Waste sector, which was a robust 73%. Guide sez: 11-15%. Ouch.

So right now you're asking how this little tidbit helps you? Well, let me break the unfortunate news to you nice and early: you're gonna die. You're gonna die a few times, in fact, and you should probably resign yourself to that fact. Handily, the game wants you to die, so go right ahead and follow orders. What you should do your first time through is concentrate on getting used to the ins and outs of fighting - those traps they encourage you to use early on really do help, so make sure to use them to advantage. Also make sure you try to accumulate abilities that hit multiple enemies at once, because so far as I can determine, busting up big groups of baddies gets you more Party XP.

Which brings us to the next point of advice: don't use Party XP your first time through. What you should do instead is build up a big ol' pool of it which will then carry over into your second time through, allowing you to start out with Ryu at a nice high level that puts Bosch in his place, or at least makes him easier to talk about behind his back with all the other rangers (I hear Captain Xeno totally thinks he's a bore, and one of the Low-Ds put a rat in his lunchbag the other day and he freaked out and destroyed a locker in the dressing room and now they're planning to drop a decapitated Lantern Bat on him next week!)

Finally, since you're probably going to have to use Ryu's dragon form a lot your first time through just to survive, don't be shy - roast every boss and big group of monsters you come across. Just don't let the D-counter hit 100%. Once you get up around 95% or so, find the Identify girl and leave any possessions you value with her. Then go out and commit assisted suicide and restart your game. It seems like a big pain, granted, but you'll find that however far you've made it really isn't that much distance once you breeze through the first few areas with overpowered levels and sexy high-level armour and weaponry.

Yeesh... You can tell when I really like a game, eh? ^^


Hey Andrew,

I seem to remember one guy emailing in asking if a Taser has ever been used as a weapon on an RPG. If it has, which I actually think it has, but I'm not sure, it would be on Phantasy Star 2. I think the Taser is a weapon for Amy, Rudo, or the one biologist(I forget his name).

In keeping with my current BoF V obsession, I would just like to point out that various guards in the game use stunguns, which are pretty much tazers in macho drag. Chalk another one up for zapping people with sticks!

Anyways, I have to delay my strategy guide making even farther, because I've started playing Brave Fencer Musashiden now. I like that game, the only problem with the game, is the fact that the town no matter how many times you've beaten the game, is always confusing as you never truly learn how to get to where you want in the town quickly. Another thing is that if you haven't played the game before, all they do is tell you where to go(as in the places name), they don't tell you a remote location at all, so if it's anyones first time in playing the game, you'd basically be wandering around quite a lot not sure of where to go because they didn't say. And also, the fact that you can actually skip a storyline part in the mountain by going up the mountain instead of going left, when jumping across the river, and if you drop down there, and then go to climb back up, you wont go back there because you won't know that you're supposed to walk across this one invisible line to get the story part started, which is pretty stupid. But other than that it's a really good game, with alot of secrets, and even a secret boss.

While my memories of BFM are rather fuzzy seeing as how I haven't played it in a few years, I do remember that I didn't spend all that much time wandering about after the first few hours, although there was the occasional bit of wandering about wondering if the Allucaneet Kingdom was, in fact, edible. I do, however, entirely agree with you on the matter of the town; for some reason it was just too hard to keep all the buildings straight in my mind, possibly because they all look exactly the same.

I was also reading the UNLIMITED Saga instruction manual, which is the reason now I know it's called UNLIMITED Saga instead of Unlimited SaGa. So basically, all the other SaGa games have been spelled SaGa, and then, they change it and the spelling is now Saga, and unlimited is all capitals which I don't really get. I enjoy the game, I don't have any of the problems everyone else has with it, it's not really hard at all, except some of the bosses maybe. The only thing I don't like about it, is the reels outside of battle, because they don't always immediately stop when you hit the X button, and learning abilities. The abilities are learned just like in the Romancing SaGa series and SaGa Frontier, except for the fact that it's way harder(because the percentage to learn the abilities is extremely low) to learn abilities in UNLIMITED Saga than it is for SaGa Frontier 2, and I have 6 hours and a max of 2 abilities for each weapon I use for each character(where I only use one weapon for each character). I even have high leveled Art learning skills for the weapons I use, so I should learn them easier, but they don't help, still haven't learned an ability for atleast 2 hours.

Anyways, has Disgaea finally came in the mail yet? Well, it has to have came, but have you started playing it, and if you have do you enjoy it? Also, I'd give away Tobal no. 1 with the Final Fantasy 7 demo if anyone lived close enough to me(I'm too lazy to go to the post office to send anything out, and 5 dollars is alot of money), just to be a guest host and get a free game. Tobal no. 1 is extremely rare, but, it really sucks as well, possibly the worst fighting game ever, even with the Quest mode it still sucks, which is why I wonder why I've had it for a few years.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

So let me get this straight - you care enough about the finer points of capitalization as it pertains to Unlimited Saga to devote a paragraph to rambling about it? You, my friend, would win the prize for caring about pointless minutiae, if only the various broadcast teams from FOX and ESPN hadn't been so slavishly rattling off statistics at tonight's Marlins-Cubs game. For instance, did you know that ten extra base hits in a row is a post season record, eclipsing the seven set by some other pair of teams back in 19dickety7? We had to say "dickety" back then because the Kaiser had stolen the zeros.

In conclusion, watch baseball; it's really good this time of year and anyone who doesn't feel for the Cubs is obviously Hitler, or at least Hitler's kitten, which I hear liked scratching things a lot.

Incoherent != wacky, people

Um, in reference to 'a Super Mario RPG', there already is one. It's top notch, too....'cept for the fact that it's a SNES game...oh well, who cares? Just emulate it. It's fun! wiv snuggly charaters, and fun INTERACTIVE battle thingies, and TONS of mini games and side quests....sigh..... I love Mallow. hugs'n'fluffy cute things!

bloop de dooo, lalalaaaaaaaaa....*hackslashdisembowel*
-oh I'm siiiiiiingin' in the raaaaaaaaaain, an' I'm siiiiiingin' in the raaaaaaaaain-*carnage! blood! VIOLENCE*-I think that I'm a little distuuurrrrr-urrrrrbed...-

I stopped singing, and I feel happy, hap-hap-happy!
My uterus! No babies for me! EVER!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

luv furever'n'always,

I had hoped that everyone would catch on that the letter in question was pure sarcasm, but obviously my titular warning was insufficient protection against this sort of letter. Let it not be said that I didn't try, and to you, bunnyshooz: get a REAL uterus :P

Mishmash: the other white meat

Hi. While this might be off subject, the add for the dang thing was posted below your column. I saw the trailer for 'The House of the Dead' movie and me and my friends are excited. But we're concerned that they may have the bad acting from the game transfered over to the Movie. What do you think.

Also, is there any chance in hell that the Naruto RPG for Playstation ever comming to the US? Because I love Naruto and it would be awesome it they brought it here.

LEONheart Kennedy

First off, it's rather difficult to be off-topic when I don't have one, so consider yourself acquitted of all charges. Secondly, the proceeding advertisements contain claims and warranties of the advertisers. All claims, warranties, and opinions stated in said ads are those of the participants and not of the Global Television Network, which is why I must now tell you to avoid all horror movies unless you're going in hoping to laugh at them, in which case, by all means.

Thirdly, if Naruto has not seen the light of day by now, then Naruto is not going to see the light of day. Except in Japan, where I hear they have their very own light of day that even does magical things like singing the national anthem and spelling your name in clouds when you look skywards, which I am reasonably certain Naruto has come into contact with, since I saw a cloud formation today that spelled out "Naruto" and smelled like Japan. How do I know what Japan smells like? Well, to be honest I can't really back that part up, but it sure is a neat story.

Arc guy returns, and this time, he's.. here

Greetings again Castomel

Thanks for your timely reply/advice, but I suddenly realised I had another solution to my Arc 1 crashing problem after futilely (is that a word?) attempting to save and restarting for the 9th time.

Quite a while back I acquired a copy of the full version of the Connectix Virtual Game Station for the PC but I had never used it becaue I already had a PS2. But, I have discovered that not only does it play Arc 1 properly, it does so just as well as a real PS1, and as I have a USB joypad there's no fumbling around with the keyboard either. The only downside is that I'll either have to give up on converting my data over when I finish part one and start part two on the PS2, or play the whole series on my PC.

As for the game itself, I've only just recently played my first Tactical RPG (Final Fantasy Tactics, which I forgot to mention is also part of my import collection) and it was damn hard, so it's a relief to find out that Arc is much easier to get used to and the battles are very fast and fluid.

I love the graphics too - the animation is superb and I always think that beautiful, hand drawn 2D graphics are far more impressive than spangly 3D vistas. They just seem to have a magical charm all of their own.

Anyway, cheers for the info, no doubt I'll be badgering you again when I get stuck throughout the trilogy. Oh, I'm also trying to play Shadow Hearts and Dark Chronicle at the same time, so I might need assistance there.

For now, toodle-pip, as we British are so fond of saying (not).


No problem, eh?, as we Canadians are fond of saying. Really, we do! it's hell on punctuation, but what use is a period when you're fighting off a moose at snowshoepoint in the middle of an icestorm while just a few feet away across the border, our American neighbours are sunning themselves in the scorching July heat?

Googleshng doesn't seem to like the new format.
You should send a band of exploding ninja orcs from the Mafia armed with cacti to convince him to use it.


I would, but then who would vacuum my rugs, clean my bathroom, and mention my unmentionables? Besides, Google actually said it was "spiffy"; he could have been lying but I think had he outright hated it he would've clomped me with a giant shoe and forced me to use his instead. Basically, he likes his design and he's comfortable with it, so he uses it. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.
"The mark of tuinte"?... wtf!?!?!?
I believe I explained this before, but if you look at any of the templates tuinte (a good friend of mine both online and off who once worked in news here) has designed for this site, you'll find that little logo. It's basically just "I am here" or a monogram like you'd find on a painting. As you seem to be terribly freaked out by this, however, may I suggest you somehow knock yourself out so you don't have to be conscious and thinking about these terrible, earth-shattering things?


Some of you may be wondering about my now-epic attempts to coincide with my planned guest host. Well, as you can imagine not being able to be online has rather neatly monkeywrenched me, so I'm going to have to save that until Friday. In the meantime, I guess I'd better dream up a topic for tomorrow, since not too many people seem to like randomness. Along those lines, then...The N-Gage launched to various generic articles in local papers jampacked with quotes from "experts" who happened to work for Nintendo about how the thing is doomed to flop. While I happen to agree in that I think its chances of making a significant dent in Nintendo's domination are low, I'd like to hear what you guys think. Planning on getting an N-Gage, or do you think Nokia should just stick to cellphones?

Also, on a slightly more RPG related note, anyone really hoping that S-E would get its act together and deliver us FFIIIj? I know I am...
Andrew Long is gloomily conceding that his monitor might just be in the early stages of death.



And man, that collision with Johnny Damon was quite possibly the most painful thing to watch I've ever seen

The Mark of tuinte
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