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   The Sunday of Summer   

Andrew - September 1 '03- 19:09 Eastern Standard Time

To wit: F-Zero GX rules. It not only rules, it eats "rules" whole and then digests it and then becomes some sort of super-ruling creature that destroys Tokyo Tower with one fabulous breath's worth of super-greatness, and all at a fantabulous (which is like, fabulous times ten) sixty frames per second (which adds up to a fabulous factor of 600 per second for all you mathemagicians out there).

As I have now set a new standard in superlatives, I hereby deem it unnecessary to go into further detail since obviously something that I claim to be that great can't possibly suck in any way at all, regardless of what the one guy at GameFAQs who gave it a 3/10 says (I think he lost half his brain in a chemical accident and is now being interviewed by Canadian television as he rides the rails from Toronto to BC to receive some sort of hyperbaric treatment, unless that was an old lady from Virginia, and either way he loses all credibility because who rides trains?).

Wait. I lied - there is actually one part about the game that sucks, a fatal flaw that can be found in most any game pieced together by Sega: it possesses a bizarrely lavish quantity of butt-guitar, the staple instrument that can be found in any title from Sega Rally to Sonic to Super Monkey Ball in some capacity, not to to mention the entire discography of The Scorpions. This butt-guitar, however, is mostly found in the driver's profile menu, where each driver (there are thirty) gets his or her own theme. From the small sample selection I have thus far encountered, each of these "musical numbers" contains butt-guitar, except for that of the curiously flamboyant Dr. Stewart, whose theme song is cheese trance, an equally repugnant form of musical deviation. It also sneaks into a couple of the track themes, but hey, at least they didn't take the Sonic the Hedgehog casino music for the Casino track, cuz that would have been, you know, cool in a strictly nostalgic sort of way. This should, of course, by no means be taken as an indication that the game is anything but stellar, because let's face it - you can mute the volume.

Nostalgia aside, F-Zero GX is not only great- it's the inventor of corn, and as such should be treated with the utmost respect, like that guy in my seventh grade class who claimed his grandfather invented corn, which was obviously a bald-faced lie since F-Zero is the true culprit. I therefore think you should all join me in bowing before our new maize overlord and hope for a corn-rich autumn so that traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be shattered with the inclusion of kernelicious goodness, and a family F-Zero race to the death after football. Within generations, there'll be a GameCube at every dining room table and we can all feast on the wholesome GD-ROMs within, or whatever they call those crazy little discs. Because let's face it - Nintendo is just that cool.

In conclusion, get F-Zero before I am forced to come up with any further incoherence. You won't be sorry.

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The Weekly World News would like to make the following corrections: Jennifer Aniston did not, in fact, sleep with Bat Boy

Well first I'd like to clarify my last letter in which I recommended Chrono Trigger be made into an anime series and said I got the idea from watching the cut scenes in FF Chronicles. I ment FF Chronicles, the compilation of FF4 and Chrono Trigger, that Square released on the PSX, not FF:CC.

Andrew:
Yes, I am, as the old men down the street say, a big idiot and obviously didn't read that very carefully the first time through. Suffice it to say that several of your dutiful fellow readers have duly yelled at me for my error.

Anyway onto the real topic. All the Ogre games are all linked together as each game follows the revolution of a different area of the same world. I believe the correct sequence, chronologically, is Ogre Battles -> Ogre Battles 64 / Tactics Ogre Advanced (they happen at the same time) -> Tactics Ogre. You can really play them in any order, but you will understand some of the characters better if you follow the series correctly.

Andrew:
..Which I'm not doing, apparently. I played smidges of the first one and then jumped directly to the fourth, whereupon I came to a screeching halt and hopped back to the third entry in your timeline. You can definitely see the improvements, but for some reason the interface still inspires an urge deep within my heart to throw giant slabs of concrete in the developers' general direction every so often. Possibly it's because it's entirely unintuitive to my way of thinking, or maybe I just like breaking roads and hiding the evidence inside people's brains. Which tends not to be a valid description after the fact, but what can you do?

 
Old Business the Second

Yo,

Regarding the kid who wanted to run away - I too have an insane mother, and a dad who is too stupid and spineless to do anything about it. I ran away a couple times but always got pulled back. Two weeks ago, I told my guidance counselor at school (I'm 17) that I couldn't take it anymore. He called Social Services and pretty soon I'll be moved to a foster home. I urge you to talk to whatever kind of counselor you have at your school and tell him how you feel.

Peace,

Cloudstrife

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, Alex. On a side note, it's nice to hear that the good folks in guidance do their jobs properly. A lot of guidance counsellors are underpaid and overworked, so it's always cool to find one that bothers to care. Good luck with your foster home.

 
Weekend dregs the third

To help out that reader the other day, about the pink tail.

Its only super super rare in the US version. In the original version there is an item you can use called 'Alarm'. It can be used in the inventory screen from the main menu. What this item does when used, is start a battle with the rarest enemy in the room. So in the P-shaped roon, it starts a battle with the Pink Tails. And yes, with that item, they generally drop the rare item as well.

However in the US version, we get no alarm, so its really time consuming. Word from Nintendo was it is a 1 in 65 change to fight a Pink Tail, then a 1 in 65 chance that they drop a Pink Tail. Oh well.

Chris

-cyvader@hotmail.com

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, Chris.

 
Old business staggers fourth

Hmm... I have never played Tactics Ogre, so I can't respond to the current question, but I've always wanted to see DDR: The Anime! Young Johnny is the champion Dance Dancer in his small Japanese town, until one day, he is mysteriously transported to the alternate dimension of Bemani where he and his loyal group of friends must dance, dance, dance for the fate of the universe!!! (Hey, it's no less dumb than the fate of the world resting on playing cards, or a silly spinning top game... ever notice how that entire genre of 'toy commercial' anime is basically crap?)

Seriously though, on the subject of RPGs and anime, most Japanese RPGs already feel like playable anime to me. The storytelling and art styles of anime and Japanese RPGs are generally similar. I think if you removed the gameplay element of any RPG and told the entire story in cut-scenes, you'd wind up with something really close to an anime. That's why people who like RPGs but don't like anime confuse the heck out of me :P I think it'd be relatively easy to turn an RPG directly into an anime, but it wouldn't be very interesting to watch an anime with the exact same story as a game you'd already played. In reverse, I don't see a reason that you couldn't turn an anime into a decent game. However, it seems that most companies are just too cheap and lazy to make good licensed games :(

Heh, thanks for letting me rant a bit :P

Kitsune "I want an Ixtli!"

Andrew:
Well I don't find it particularly confusing, to be honest. I like some anime, but there's a seething mass of sappy, poorly-written, badly conceived of and terribly drawn anime lurking just beneath the surface of the decent stuff that manages to find its way over here. Seeing as how a good portion of the dialogue found in a lot of that better stuff is painful at best, it's not terribly surprising that some people enjoy having something to distract them from the fact that the characters are saying stuff like "Oh, there is Finn and he is heading on another fantastic adventure!" or "He are sick" or "What is a man? A sorry little pile of riddles."

Yes, give me a game where I can shake such putrescence off and take out my vengeance on behalf of language upon some hapless skeletons or slimes or whatever. Otherwise it's going to be my general surroundings, and I really can't afford to be replacing my TV every time I watch a bad episode of Gundam Wing.

 
Can it be... A letter to me?

y'know, for a second there i thought that the title on the main page said "Shloooooooong! Shloooooooooong!"

you can imagine the awkward thought processes that went on up there.

ANYWAYS, on with the letter. i'm kind of distressed at rpgamer.com's lack of coverage on the upcoming star ocean title. i mean, the last tidbit of information you guys threw out about it was over two months ago. I WANT TO KNOW MORE DAMMIT.

- white lights

Andrew:
Much as I'd like to help you there, I can't do anything short of making junk up, because the good people at Square Enix apparently have higher priorities than Star Ocean 3 right now, such as acting coy about Final Fantasy XII and being outrageously cute in regards to whatever title they have lined up for announcement later this month. Besides, you usually don't get too much actual gameplay information about games that are out in Japan, but not here - the only things that really qualify as news right now are translation details, and the morbid information about what terrible pop song will appear in the host games that spawn such monstrosities.

As a side note, there's plenty of information already available on the game, from the graphics to the characters to the battle system. Beyond new screenshots, there really isn't much else we can do for you at this point, so if you want to sate your curiosity, my advice is to find someone who's imported and bother them incessantly. Still, I like to pretend I'm helpful, so I asked Viper to track down some screens and he said he'll try.

 
Old Junk V

Ello Andrew,

First of all, Wesley. You have won, yay. My e-mail is owozifa at the usual rpgamer.com. You will notice that last sentence is skillfully set up to fool the Sobig virus, so HAHA to you Fux0r.

*Notices Andrew looking dejected* Oh, Hi...

Any news on whether your GameCube has melted into an unrecognizable hunk of plastic? Oh, and by the way, even though it was already stated in Cortney's column, I'll say it again because at one time I thought, but now I KNOW you probably haven't read it. Well that guy you thought was talking about CRYSTAL Chronicles, well, he meant Final Fantasy CHRONICLES, kind of like it was typed. You know, that one compilation with FFIV (IMO MUCH better version of the game) and Chrono Trigger (IMO MUCH worse version of the game). It's alright, I know it was late, and you have FF:CC on the brain. Let's just hope your GameCube gamble pays off.

Andrew:
Super Update! I have the GC back, but the guy at my dad's work said "Good luck soldering that." I will of course take this as a challenge, so further updates are pending, although the lure of F-Zero GX may prove to be too much (I played it at my friend's house after I bought it, in case you're wondering if I'm running some sort of bizarro-GC where I can play games even when the console proper is located triforce-style around my house in pieces).

In a tangent to Cortney's column, yet again, they were talking about habits picked up from video games. I think if this happened to someone with FFX it would be down right hilarious. Think about someone going around saying "ya know"(alright, we already have Canadians for that ^_^) and/or "OK" every few words. In any case, this sort of thing hasn't happened to me, although I seem to have picked up a few things from our resident news head. I'm not sure if I picked up "craptastic" from you but I've used it frequently as of late. Also such phrases as "since forever ago" have also been added to the repertoire of me. (In an interesting note, spell check wants to change "craptastic" to "ceroplastic" I just find that humorous...or humourous...Canada and your crazy Us.) I do claim, however, to be the sole originator of the word "bastardization" in all its glory. I also pick up speech habits from books, it seems. Dang British novels, I keep saying things like "Drat" and "Blast" and "Horrid".

That is all.

-Orie "Forever Ago" House

P.S. I think there was a little more to this letter the first time I wrote it. But then the gaping Black Hole that is the Internet swallowed it alive. So we'll just have to make do with this. Infinite Jellybean.

Andrew:
Craptastic is strictly an invention of the Simpsons, and I don't really use it all that much, which is surprising since I tend to sponge phrases from the Simpsons at an alarming rate. The worst instance of that thing you're talking about from video games has to be Korcha from Chrono Cross. I swear, I actually met someone who did that "CHA" crap and needless to say, they shall remain in my memory forever as "Irritant (Name)", although admittedly this particular quirk was the least of his annoying traits, which should tell you something about this person.

 
MY column now, dammit!

Hey Andrew,

I have a question for you. Ribbons on FF5679 and Tactics make all status effects void when cast on your character, and on FF123 and 4 they reduce magic damage. So my question is, do they really work? Could you put a ribbon on and I'll hit you with a scythe(a symbol of death) and if the ribbon nullifies death, then we can put some instant death poison in your food, and see if the ribbon nullifies that. Then since on the earliest FF games they reduce magic damage, I could light you on fire, and you just tell me if it hurts or not. We could make a fortune, so you want to be my test subject.

Andrew:
I prefer raising guinea pigs to being them, thank you. Well, actually it's hamsters I prefer to breed. I once had thirty-five of the little suckers, since breeding them is actually a highly complex procedure that involves placing a male hamster in the general vicinity of a female hamster. This can also lead to violent fighting, but that's all part of the package.

Incidentally, J.K. Rowlings almost stole my hamster's name for that stupid rat of Ron's. My most prolific stud, who fathered no fewer than seventy hamster babies, most of them terribly inbred, was named Scabby. I think, therefore, that I must sue and claim my well-deserved millions of dollars, whereupon I will move into a flying castle and destroy England with mind rays as retribution for this terrible thievery.

Anyways, I got Disgaea at EbGames the 27th. The game is the funniest game I've ever played, especially the part where their are succubus(not called succubus though(summi, succubi) and they call Laharl cute, and hes like, ahhh get the sexy women away from me, and then turns to his allies and tells them that they dont matter because their's aren't big and don't have any effect on him, so then they reply, excuuuuse us for being flat(so yeah that part is perverted but it is funny, and between every episode it has a funny anime series thing where theyre making a joke about it being an anime series). Disgaea isn't really that good, but it's ok, and all Atlus games are always discontinued a few months after they're released, so if you really want the game, then people should get it quickly.

And for the Tactics Ogre classes.

Male Magic User- Exorcist(higher defense, lower weight, good int.), Warlock or Wizard(high defense magic user that can use Summons or Dragon Magic, whichever you prefer). Ninja(from level 5 to 50, lowest weight, they can use summons, lower intelligence, but good dodging attacks).

Female Magic User- Witch or Cleric(level up to until you can change into), Siren.

Male Attacker- Berserker, Ninja, Terror Knight(level up as a Berserker since they get the highest strength and defense of the lower level classes and better dexterity than a Knight -- Ninja to raise dexterity higher for about 5 or 10 levels -- and the Terror Knight with an axe of his gods alignment).

Female Attacker- Archer, Valkyrie(powerful spear user with better agility). Angel(persuade one to join your team when fighting Bishop Branta, they have the stats that a level 1 Angel would have if it's possible, which it's not).

Status Magic User- Sword Master(highest dexterity, only one spell, which is the only thing that sucks). Archer, Witch(raise dexterity with an Archer and changing to a Witch later in the game, as many levels as possible with an Archer would make a high defense and high dexterity Witch).

Long Range Attacker- Gunner - Ninja - Archer

So those are the best non-character classes in each category(without the Lich class as well, who can equip heavy armor and get the same stat increase as a Terror Knight).

Is Cortney going to be doing Q&A this weekend? If not I didn't send a final email, so if she's not, she'll atleast be reading this.

It was nice while you were doing Q&A and alot of cool stuff to talk about, some of which i didn't reply to, because I just forgot, so I hope you have fun doing news work(and how could you quit playing Star Tropics, both Star Tropics 1 and 2 are the coolest NES games ever, Legacy of the Wizard is also cool, but seriously, I've played it, when my friend lived here, and man, I don't think it can be beaten).

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Andrew:
So, you think I'm some sort of voice mail service? See if I print this...

 
Aw crap... Apparently, I am

Jeff Walker deserves medals for holding a contest about Valkyrie Profile. That game was the pinnacle of ass-kicking and deserves more recognition than the Bible.

So I've started a new religion. It's basically Norse Mythology with Jeff Walker. You can be a lesser god if you want.

-zitanix

Andrew:
I have a better deal. Suppose I get to be Zeus, except I get to re-enact that scene from the Erotic Adventures of Hercules where Troy McClure has those three busty maidens around him and the one runs up and says "Hercules! The Gorgon tore off all my clothes!" Then I could say "Ha ha ha!" and be merry while entertaining notions of smiting you for your insolent perfidy.

Which is to say, yes, that is quite the contest and while comparing it to the Bible thusly may in fact end you up in hot water (heck, it sure didn't do the Beatles much good - two of them are DEAD now!) I heartily approve of anything that spreads the pure white-hot goodness that is Valkyrie Profile. And hey - under your new religion I suppose Mr. Cain is, in fact, Grand High God of All That is Good and Stuff, so I guess Zeus is, in the end, a second-stringer. That is, unless my carefully laid plans succeed.

Now there's a distinctly biblical tone for you. It's just a matter of time before I get to go around offering apple slices to naked chicks while dressed up in a snake costume...Then we'll see how merciful Jeffy is.

 
Hateful spoilers

Monsieur Andrew,

I'd like to point out that both Final Fantasy anime series are considered quite worse than the movie by most people. I've actually suffered through all of the original OVA series and about half of the Final Fantasy: Unlimited series. The OVA, while supposedly taking place in the same world of Final Fantasy V even though that one had one of the worst stories out of the entire series, doesn't have character designs or art direction in general that look anything like any of the final fantasy games. The medieval castles are now Taj Mahal-type structures, the pirates are leather-clad creatures that look like they jumped out of a bad German porno movie, and the airships are no longer ships, but weird metal thingies that look vaguely like the Lunar Whale from Final Fantasy IV. The storyline is completely pointless, just taking FFV's original bad story and then saying, "and then another meanie tried to gain power and destroy the world!" The characters are very stupid and cliched. Final Fantasy: Unlimited is even worse. I thought it would be good from the first couple of episodes, but after awhile you notice that every single episode is just the same: boring "weird" stuff happens to our protagonists as they journey to do whatever, eventually they are unable to cope, and the walking deus ex machina Kaze comes and uses his gun to summon some creature that's made out of CG that's ten times blockier than the field screen graphics in FFVII to kill whatever is trying to get them. The character designs are kind of original and the world it takes place in is suitably bizarre, but the endless repetition, the nonexistent story, and the AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL CG, make the series unwatchable.

I'm sure I won't be the only person to point this out, but that one guy didn't mean Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, he meant Final Fantasy Chronicles, the collection that included FFIV and Chrono Trigger, unless I'm just tired and missing the sarcasm. To tell the truth, I couldn't stand the anime cut scenes in Chrono Trigger. They have a very low framerate and it's just stupid to either watch something happen in-game and then see the same thing as a cutscene or vis versa, which the game seems to switch between. That said, a Chrono Trigger anime series or movie could be good. It would probably be the only thing Akira Toriyama would make that had a passable story.

Oh yeah, "wo" is Mandarin for "I" as in "I love you" (Wo ai ni). That's the extent of my knowledge of Chinese, so I don't know what a certain nefarious bushiban instructor said beyond that, though if I were really bored I could look it up in a dictionary program I have.
Go me.

It looks like the overall storyline for Xenogears has been spoiled for you, but you could probably enjoy the purely geopolitical part of the story that takes up the first disc. To ruin the story even more, the end part of the game when you finally go to defeat "God" is quite similar to the Third Impact in Eva. Just thought you'd like to know that. ;-) -The Nameless Translation Dude

Andrew:
I had the misfortune of watching one episode of FF anime once, and suffice it to say, for all the reasons you've so capably outlined above, I didn't make it to the end of that episode.

Now, I must ask - why do you delight in spoiling Xenogears for me? I mean, true it's my own fault for just letting it sit there while I play through Beyond the Beyond and every other game I own, but can I really be blamed for fearing the alleged eighty hours of "Gameplay" which I also hear involves somewhere around forty of just sitting there with a glazed expression? I mean, I'm two hours in and an hour and a half of that was gameplay, so already the percentages are sliding dangerously towards "movie".

Needless to say, I must regretfully hate you now, despite your heroic sarcasm and flair for description. I guess regretful hatred is kind of like a dishonourable discharge which is better than being executed for treason, and hey, you probably don't care one way or the other, so really this allusion is really just horrible self-aggrandizement on my part. Hurrah!

 
And that's when they realized Andrew really didn't know what he was talking about

Actually, Street Fighter has had an anime made about it. Multiple anime ;).

The best is probably the Street Fighter Alpha OVA (It would have made a great OVA as a standalone!). However, there was also an entire series called 'Street Fighter 2 V' - and it came over here to the US, no less.

There is also probably other stuff that was made, but I'm not _that_ much of a SF fanboy ;).

Favorite character combinations? Princess/Terror Knight/Cockatrice/Hydra.

Not the best combination ever, but the pure amount of status affs you can use can generally decimate enemies that are higher levels than those guys. That, and I love negative status affs.

Andrew:
Affs? AFFS? It's status effects, for one thing, and how much extra effort is it, really, to tack on that extra syllable? I'm all for the general mangling of the language into fast food-sized chunks, but geez. At least make it sound good. I have to agree though - status effects are da bomb hizzidyshiznizzlizzit. In FFIX, for instance, I used Amarant and Freya instead of the more conventional duo of Steiner and Dagger. Eiko I kept just to be mad crazy, and Zidane you can't get rid of, but I like to think I used him in as l337 a manner as humanly possible.

See? Now there's some slang you can sink your teeth into. When you're cooling it up on the corner with all the cool kids some day, you can look back and thank me for setting you on the path to prizzoper usizzanijit of slizzang tizznits.



Quickies

O.o
Beware e-mail claiming cheap drugs...

I think there's other sources of cheap pharmaceutical narcotics that it's more worthwhile to steer clear of, but thanks for the heads-up...

Is it just me or does that FFXII picture remind you a lot of the pictures from the first Dragon Warrior and first Final Fantasy manuals?

AGH! BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES! THEY'RE COMBINING THE SERIES! SOON WE'LL BE KILLING SLIMES IN FF AND OMG OMG CLOUD IS PLAYABLE IN DQVIII AND OMG OMG OMG!!!!11one

No, wait. That was just you.


The Final Grumble:

So as I may have mentioned in the title, it's officially the ultimate Sunday of Summer. The phase proper began a week or so ago, when the figurative week of summer entered its seventh day, but now I must spend the next six days grubbing all the fun I can while not really having any thanks to the grim realization that I will shortly be back in school again and that, more depressingly, winter will shortly strike.

Oh, well. At least with winter comes hockey, making things a little more bearable. Speaking of complementary things (well, not really, but I like my artful segues so just pretend like this was one) F-Zero GX promises to be a game I play a lot while taking breaks from other games. I say this because the original F-Zero served the same purpose for me, along with Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball for the SNES, which is a baseball game that's actually fun to play, if a tad repetitive.

So, the question I throw out for you tomorrow is: what's your sidekick game? Is Mario the Tonto to your Cloud Lone Ranger? If so, call 1-800-73-JERRY. You could be a guest on our show!

Andrew "Hi-ho, Silver!" Long

Good old second wind...

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