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Goodbye, Blue Monday

Andrew Long - December 04 '03- 01:38 Eastern Daylight-Savings Time

I KNOW I SAID YESTERDAY THAT I STARTED playing Sword of Mana, but today I started playing an even better game, Mario & Luigi. As such, despite the fact that I could quite easily be grumbly about the fact that there are a number of off-topic letters, I will instead be glad of it because now I can try and relate every answer to Mario & Luigi.

Actually, that would require far too much stretching, and my days as a gymnast, which do not exist, ended a long time ago, and probably on a planet far far away, assuming that I had some sort of previous life in which I was a champion gymnast for the Tralfalmadorian soccer team, which is of course necessary when you play time-traveling soccer with only one net suspended from a ceiling twelve feet high. Let it not be said, however, that my current athletic predilections lean in that direction, for I am reasonably certain that if I move my leg just a little further than it is accustomed to in any direction, there will be blinding pain in my future, and possibly my past if I do happen to acquire some of those trippy Tralfalmadorian time-travelling tendencies which I hear really impress chicks if you suddenly get pulled out of World War II and into an interstellar museum exhibit.

So without further ado, then, let us get through the letters before I suddenly find myself running a factory in 2023.



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Bostonians on the morrow
'Tis quaint when one doth find
Cause and reason most just
To gabble on in such parlance
As one is insufficiently equipped
To continue at such length as is necessary
To adequately convey
The goodness that is Mario & Luigi
For certes! In its glory
All other titles on yon handheld
Do pale as like dull rock
In the face of brightest sunshine
Such is this game
And yea, I do verily be
A Nintendo fanboy

Secret of Evermore !=SD

Seiken Densetsu eh? Well having played all four (or five including the remake; or six including the bastard red-headed step child with an American father known as Secret of Evermore) of these games, I can tell you that Secret of Mana is clearly the best one. I like the way the characters had to wait for their bar to fill up to 100% to attack at full power, but maybe that is because I am having an affair with an ATB bar, i don't know... I really don't care for the stories of action RPGs, and I really can't compare them because I don't know Japanese, and SoM would have a distinct advantage in that category anyways being the one in English. So what I'm really trying to say amid st all of this rambling is that the best part of Secret of Mana was the ATB bar... I liked the classes in Seiken 3 though, and it seems that they put them in the new GBA title, but unfortunately you have no idea what class you are going to get, i got stuck with the barbarian nonsense. That is all.


I'll tell you what makes the, uh, "ATB" (I have serious reservations about calling it that, but whatever blows your hair back) bar so satisfying - it's that "scree, scree, SCREE, SCREE" sound it makes when you hold down B. That one little sound effect is what makes Secret of Mana the best game in the series, and I wish I wasn't joking but I seriously can't think of any other reason beyond nostalgia that it rates so highly in my heart. Well... actually, whatever all you nutjobs think, SD3 has terrible music in my sometimes humble but mostly egotistical and self-important opinion.

As for the classes, well - if you pour all your level points into a certain class, then you can guess pretty well what sort of class you're going to end up with. It's a Square game, so just cut and paste the random job titles at various branches in the "skill tree", if you can even call it that, keep plunking in points, and eventually you'll gain that title. Besides, the titles are so much nonsense; most of the bonuses you get from titling up are exactly the same as the stat improvements you gain through leveling the various classes that lead to them, so it's not like you're in for any big surprises.

NEVER call me Andy

I, too, purchased and began playing Sword of Mana yesterday, Andy,


and I have to say that I am impressed. One of my two only gripes is that the topographic layouts can be confusing, and the notebook you buy from Niccolo in Topple isn't much help, so much so that I sometimes wander about for a good half an hour before I muddle myself onto the correct path. Never mind the fact that I'm geographically retarded who gets lost on his way to the corner store.

The other gripe is the fact that I'm playing it on an original Game Boy Advance, sans backlighting... stupid contradictory Nintendo going back on their word... I'd have waited the few months... Anyway, Sword of Mana, like Preparation H, feels quite good on the whole. See now, I could have dropped the w and it would have looked like I use my copy of Sword of Mana for anal stimulation...


...which is ludicrous.

In any case, I just picked up a flail from a mad mallard, and I want to hook shot my way around the Marsh Cave now, so if you'll excuse me...

"Drive fast. Take chances."

This has been Walo, ladies and germs! Thank you for that horribly disturbing mental image, Walo! You truly are a gentleman and a scholar. Incidentally, you can get a Game Boy Player and not feel like too big a victim of Nintendo's evil. Just think - I bought the GBA, the SP AND the GBA player, so I know what it feels like(the pain of buying all three, not SoM in my behind<.<).

Pre-Stalk mode


Who woud have thought a list of things to why I'm cynical could be found here? Speaking of such precious, precious thoughts..on to topic!! Sword of Mana, interesting indeed. There's just one thing that bugs me...look at the art for the hero..then look at his hair. He looks girly-er than Clay Akin...I mean Fabio. No wait, there's more! If you order now, I'll thrown in this slightly used spatula and Monica Lewinsky's wading boots...absolutely free!* (*plus s+h, tax included, non-Canadian residents will have to pay extra s+h and swear their undying loyalty to me, myself, and my knife!) I miss the ninjas...ya know, the ones that randomly appear and kidnap people? *insert ninjas breaking through a window, grabbing tui, and throwing him in a large bag* Sigh... Just think, we'll never know how they're doing.. Enough for now, I have to finish my math. Oh yea for my gift to'll have to wait for Christmas!

It's ninja-licious,

O' Shrouded One

I will be very put out with you if there's a mail-order death ninja under my Christmas tree come the 25th.

Feep Feep Feep Feep Feep Feep FEEEEP

I have mixed feelings about Final Fantasy X-2 thus far...I'm only five or so hours into it, but it just doesn't FEEL like a real Final Fantasy. It's FFX + a new battle system, as far as I'm concerned, but without the grand, sweeping storyline that has become Final Fantasy's trademark. As much as I enjoy levity and lightheartedness, this game takes it WAY too far...even Yuna's monologues about what her life has become and how much she misses "him" (WHY THE HELL WON'T THEY SAY TIDUS' NAME?) become drawn-out and overstated.

They never say Tidus' name, dude. It's cuz you can rename him in FFX, so I guess in the spirit of continuity or maybe the spirit of being able to rename him in FFX-2, they left it as "him", "he", "that guy", and "Woody Allen".

As far as the battle system is concerned, it's got ups and downs. Ironically, both of these stem from the same issue: that of the unbelievably quick and chaotic pace of the battles. On one end, the frenzied menu selection and on-the-fly strategy thinking has actually gotten exciting at times, injecting some new life into the tried-and-true...but at some point, it just needs to stop. I'm down there looking at what Swordplay ability to cast and in the span of three seconds, I miss what attack by what monster did how much damage to what character of mine, what status ailments were inflicted, the effectiveness of certain things I'd tried earlier...and the camera angles are just horrible. Characters are all over the place, including off the screen, and I very often get confused who's who, especially amongst human opponents.

It's still Final Fantasy, and I'm still having a good time, but I'll be waiting for the next real installment...FFXII...which, honestly, I'm not too psyched up for anymore, after this new batch of information. I really, REALLY don't want influences from FFXI (first-person sucks) and FFTA (different races and judges suck) in a new game...all I want are my moogles, chocobos, and Cid, thank you very much. Oh well...I have Tales of Symphonia to look forward to...

Oh yeah, and congratulations to whoever the hell designed FFX-2's menus, hands down the most beautiful, engaging menu system created in any game EVER. Seriously.

- Feep "No! Echo Core Break x3!"

Edit: Five days later, I'm still only five or so hours into it. DAMN YOU, FFXI!

So, rather than having different races, you want... different races? I don't understand... All FFXII is doing is fleshing out the world introduced in FFTA (well, I know, it technically started with FFT and VS) and telling a story the developers feel should be told. This Product Development Division Four crew seems to be pretty keen on their world, and hey - aside from VS, which I hate with miserable intensity, its games have turned out to be pretty playable. Given that Cid and moogles and chocobos are all in effect, what exactly is it that I'm missing? ^^

Nintendo Power strikes again


First of all, I'd just like to say, for those of you who haven't caught the so-called Final Fantasy VII reference in Final Fantasy X-2, one of the guys on the Celcius bears the name "Shinra." While not spelled SHIN-RA like the company from the aforementioned game, I suppose you can call it a semi-reference.

Or, you could do like me and just call it a "pointless" reference.

About Secret of Mana vs. Seiken Densetsu 3: I find it rather difficult to choose between one or the other. Mainly because I only played part of SD3, so I didn't get to find out what it was really all about. It had a lot of potential, though, up to where I played. I was quite excited about the "class promotions" that you could make later on in the game, but I eventually made it to a point where I was quite underlevelled, and so I couldn't beat a chain of bosses that I had to fight.

One thing I love about the Mana series is the art. The characters are just so alive and colourful. The really make the game that much more enjoyable. The images on the screen just seem to jump out at you and get your attention. In fact, I love everything about the Mana series. It's so good for nostalgic purposes. Just thinking about the good ol' days of playing Secret of Mana sends shivers up my spine.

One thing I didn't like about Secret of Mana, though--and actually, this really doesn't have a whole lot to do with the game--was how glitchy it was. Character sprites disappearing here and there, the game forgetting if you'd actually picked up a chest or not (on some occasions I've received multiple Weapon Orbs from the same chest), and the infamous Neko save station on the ice continent (for those of you who don't know, saving here is well known for erasing your game).

Before I go, there's something I'd like to clear up. In the latest issue of Nintendo Power, someone asked whether or not Sword of Mana is a remake of Final Fantasy Adventure. Nintendo Power said that it wasn't actually a remake of the game but more of a "spin-off" game. I was under the impression that it was a remake, ŗ la Final Fantasy Origins, but perhaps I am mistaken?


Heh. Has the Official Nintendo Power nostalgia column taught you nothing? While Nintendo Power is very shiny and should be held only in the highest regard and reverence, it is also written by filthy liars whose job it is to sell Nintendo products and services at any cost. As such it is in their interest to gloss over the fact that the game is essentially a remake with a better-than-Square-average amount of bonus material. Which by the way is MEGA COOL TO THE MAX DUDES! TUBULAR!

Whoever invented the 80s had better be dead...

Hmmm... Peace be with you?

I have a Playstation 2,With the Online Network Adaptor and Will both Work with each other to Play On-line Games Please Reply ASAP Will truely appreciate the answer,Thank you, God Bless

Well, so far as I can determine, as long as WebTV functions as a regular ISP you should be able to use the PS2 online stuff through it, although I don't think it would actually be involved in running it. I'm not entirely certain, however, so if anyone can prove me right or wrong, let me or (preferably) MIGUEL SANCHEZ know.

Could it be? No Unfit for Print? HUZZAH!

Hello again Andrew,

I haven't played Sword of Mana, in fact asked for it for Christmas, so couldn't offer an opinion of it just yet. I've played the first hour or two of Secret of Mana, and while the gameplay was pretty fun, the storyline wasn't grabbing me--I understand though, that I haven't played it long enough for it to get truly challenging or for the story to get rolling. The cart is right here, so it'll likely get the attention it deserves right after Sword.

On to the subject of your Onimusha Tactics review--I've read both your review and the board's responses to it. I liked Max_Deltree saying "Damn, ok. The game is really bad. But... but... I liked it." Heh!

If you gave your opinions according to what you felt a majority of people would be happy to hear, rather than what you really thought, that'd make you... a politician! (Noooo!) But seriously, I appreciate the honesty of RPGamer's reviews, and would be sad if the writers came to believe that pandering took precedence.

Tried to make it relatively short today, since it seems I took up about a third of your column last time with my FFX-2 blather. After all that, I hope you like the game!! ^_^;


Hey, there's always room for Beth.! Anyhow, if you have somehow managed to not play through Secret of Mana, do eet! It's on my top three list of SNES RPGs, which admittedly isn't exactly hard to do, what with the relative lack of RPGs in those days, but it belongs there because it's a lot of fun once you figure out what's going on. Seriously though, the story's nothing special, so you'll probably just have to pretend it's fantastic if you need a good story to keep you rolling ^_^

And thanks for the kind words - I didn't give OT a 2 because I'm under the employ of Satan or his apparent henchcorporation, Square Enix. I gave it a 2 because that's exactly, in my estimation, what it deserves as compared to other T-RPGs.

The sneaky 3 AM letter

Fuzzy White Rabbit,

After your surprising knowledge and references to Star Trek yesterday, it made me think about Star Trek games. I can't think of any RPGs that they have made. They have too many FPS games, I know that Armada was good, but what else? As a Star Trek and RPG fan, I demand a Star Trek RPG! Hmmm... imagine if Square(-Enix) pulled a Kingdom Hearts and mixed in Star Trek with... Chrono. (I feel like I'm going to be excommunicated but hey, who would have thought Square and Disney four years ago?)

-Captain G22

Score! I tricked him with the exclamation point! I knew it would work...

Anyhow, I hate to disappoint you but I'm not the Andrew you're looking for. I do, however, possess the ability to rattle on about your hopes and dreams of a Star Trek RPG. I agree that in theory it could work, but in practice, there are a few problems with your idea. First, S-E has no rights to Star Trek. Second, every Star Trek game ever has sucked. Finally, I'm going to excommunicate you and so your ideas will no longer be good and holy which means that only demons will be able to hear your thoughts. As a result of your soon-to-be newfound infernal proclivities, your game therefore stands a chance of release only in the fiery reaches of Hell, and of course its marshy suburb, New Jersey.

Let me just note that I've never been to New Jersey and have nothing against the state - it just seems to make a really good punchline, and "ugly like New Jersey" seems somehow classier than "ugly like sin", which sounds like something an old woman might say... Especially an old woman from NEW JERSEY!


I <3 you. Be my special-somebody-type person/lovar.

Hugs and kisses,


P.S. I stalk you

At the advice of my high-powered attorney, who suggests that my lovaring you may in fact be gratuitously illegal, I have chosen to reply through tuinte:

You just stay shrouded there, chief.

so I didn't understand why Yuna
sometimes says "duck soup" at the end of a battle in fin fan X-2. then today in a meeting my canadian pseudo-boss used the same expression in a context similiar to "piece of cake". so is "duck soup" a canadian term, and is that its meaning?

I don't know that it's Canadian (the only person I've ever heard use it is our friendly neighbourhood baseball broadcaster Jerry Howarth, who is American by birth), but that is what it means.

Just curious about when or if there will be a Gladius review.
I noticed you did a feature on it but I havenít seen the review yet. Cheers.

Well I'm pretty sure someone's playing through it, but I can't remember who at this point. There should be a review at some point, anyway.


Hey i need a good opinion. How do you feel on the idea of making the .Hack// video game series into a real MMORPG instead of just a shadow MMORPG, for like the PS2 or something?

You needed a good opinion and you came to me? How unfortunate for you... I hate the idea of .hack and the way it's split into four separate entries, so any answer I give you will be biased, and involve the word "NO".


So as I mentioned, I have abandoned Sword of Mana like the fickle bastard I am and now suckle warmly at my GameCube's teat. The Game Boy Player is definitely the only way to go for Mario & Luigi, because Nintendo actually went and put some effort into the sound, a surprising development to say the least. On that note, for tomorrow, I will ask: which do you play most of your games on, the SP or the GBA Player? Do you hate the perfidy of Nintendo's one system in three? Still dying to talk about the Seiken Densetsu series? Let us make such a Friday as to be remembered for it!

And on that note, this Thursday is rapidly eclipsing without sufficient M&L being played, and so I must go. Unless you know something I don't, I'll see you lot tomorrow.
Andrew Long likes stealing radio announcer's catchphrases



T-Mac to the rack... KABOOM!

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