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   The Man and Chris Martin  
Chris Martin - April 22 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Before we commence with the column goodness, explanations are in order. As you can see, I like to get the column updated on or around midnight whenever I can. Some of you kids out there who read the column anytime between 12 and 2 am Eastern time ~actually~ got to read a column last night. It was a joke column where, seeing as how I didn't have any mail of my own, I answered letters sent to OTHER Q&A's like "Bridge Today!", "Joanne's Vegan Resource" and, "Parenting Q&A!". I posted some letters, wrote some replies, and I was pleased. I even got a couple letters of praise regarding it.

That is... until THE MAN came. You know who "The Man" is, right? He doesn't let any of us have any fun. I informed Stom about the nature of my column. He was amused, but he was quickly possessed by the evil spirit of "The Man." Turns out, there's this thing called "copywright laws" and stuff that says "Unless you get express, written permission to use emails from other websites, then they might sue us or some crap." Fear of being sued in America is especially high, and "The Man" preyed on Stom's fear like a vengeful rabbit on one of King Arthur's knights. So, long story short, last nights column had to be taken down because of potential legal issues. Am I mad? Not really. I certainly don't blame Stom for doing the responsible thing either and reminding me about the law - he possibly saved my bacon. So, in lieu of funny column last night, there was a no-column. Blame "The Man" and his laws. I plan on sticking it to the man after I write this column by playing some Jet Grind Radio, jaywalking, and punching a senator.

Ok, folks, I promised thee a contest.
HERE is a picture of yours truly in the flesh. I bet you can guess step two, huh kids?

It's the Draw a picture of Thor Brad Chris Contest!

Here's the lowdown. You draw some sweet fan-art of me. (Anime style, cartoon style, whatever suits your talent) Send it to me. The tenative deadline is 2 weeks from today. The pictures will be judged by whoever on staff (and my roommate) I can sucker into helping.

The winner will be given the chance to spend his or her fifteen minutes of fame as my personal guest host for a night. So grab those pens, mouses, styluses, etc. and get crackin'.

Now, onto a deluxe-sized column to make up for last night!

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Cinco preguntas.

Hola, Cheshire,
I have questions that are in need of answering, so I have once again turned to the paragon of knowledge that is the Cheshire Catalyst...or something like that...

1) Aaargh! I'm playing through Chrono Cross, and that big roach thing in the basement of Viper Manor just beat the stuffimng outta me! What'd I do wrong?

2) My friend has just finished purchasing nearly all of the Slayers stuff (multiple series, movies/specials) on DVD. Is he crazy?

3) Hey, you've mentioned the crazy time schedule at your school, does that mean you're on a funky "quarter" system? I attend Ohio State, and they do that here. Icky, ne?

4) The Xenogears instruction booklet says that your character's combos directly translate to the combos your Gear can perform, but I see no evidence of that. Am I crazy?

5) For further Chrono Cross help, please explain the waste of disk space that is Doc. Can he do anything? Is there some special tech he has that is helpful?

Thanks,
Justin " 6 more weeks of school...oh, man..." Harwood

Cheshire Catalyst:
1. Trust me, you'll fight battles that are a bigger pain in the tuckus than Roachster. Here are some suggestions though. You should have access to the Forever Zero technique. Also, try out Zoah's "Toss&Spike". Two attacks that do a decent amount of damage. One way to make the battle easier is to use the "Numble" spell on Roachster. This'll take the edge of its already high agility.
2. Pretty much, yeah.
3. Yeah. 9-10 week quarters with four classes each. Before you turn around, its mid-term time already.
4. There is, but it's a little vague. Basically, as your characters learn more techniques, your gear can do more as well.
5. There are a lot of characrters in Chrono Cross that you'll recieve and never use. Doc's first two techs are basic damage ones, and his Level 7 tech, "HangTen", heals your allies. Not that useful, if you ask me. I stuck with Serge, Kid, and Glenn most of the time.

The saga continues?

FFIX Spoilers

Hello you atomic kitten,

I have a question that has been bothering me for a while. How come no company has thought of coming out with "expansion dics" to their popular RPG titles? They could sell it for like $10 and it would have extra quests, bosses and items available. It would let you use your pre-existing characters from the game. For example, you pick up one for Final Fantasy 9. It lets you go through the world after the defeat of Kuja and see the new world. It would have new bosses, and you could do some new sidequests. It would add a lot to a game that you probably won't touch again after beating. I know that I would purchase them if this was to ever happen. To get back to my question, what has kept companies from coming out with these? I doubt if lack of interest counts, because RPGs are no longer a niche market. Maybe I just don't understand the VG market enough. Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Shin "Peeps are crack!" Karasu

Cheshire Catalyst:
The Black Isle AD&D games already do this for the PC. (Tales of the Sword Coast for BG, Heart of Winter for ID, and Throne of Bhall for BG2)

There are technical issues with doing this for a console, however. Until recently, consoles never came with hard drives. Most of these expansions update data on the PC and adjust elements from the game. The only way you could do this for a console would be to do, like you suggested, take the saved data from the end of the game and stage an epilouge. The final problem is that while your programmers are writing "Wild Arms 2 - special quests", other developers are moving on to fresh, new projects.

Such a popular format for letters nowadays...

Hey, after a dentist appointment and two stores, I finally found Black & White. I don't know if this counts as an RPG though. Any help?
Anyway, I've got a few other questions too.
1. What's your favorite Monty Python skit/movie?
2. I've been told that in Tales of Destiny there are secret characters, one of which includes Stahn's sis. Any of this true?
3. How cool are Cactuars? I LOVE EM!!!
4. Just curious, ever read any of my eds?
5. OK, last question what's the hardest final boss you've ever fought?

OK, I'll stop with the questioning thing cuz i'm sure other people want a turn now.

Later,
Ender

Cheshire Catalyst:
Negro y Claro no es un RPG. It's a simulation game like SimCity, SimEarth, SimPimp, etc.
1. I liked "The Life of Brain". "Holy Grail" was fun until it was "quoted" to death...
2. Nope. No secret characters in ToD.
3. Yeah, they're cool.
4. *see answer #3. yes, I am lazy*
5. In recent memory, Zophar. Chaos from the original Final Fantasy was a royal bizitch, though.

I take it people dig Black and White.

Hey there Einstein of the cat world

It's not exactly an RPG, but have you played/tried Black & White? I love the game, especially the throwing of villagers for no apparent reason. HA HA HA! *note to self: work on evil laugh*

Also, are you looking forward to the Game Boy Advance? I can't wait to get my hands on a portable version of Mario RPG. Would Square or Nintendo have the rights to that?

I can't find Leo in the Epilouge. :( A little help please?

I must go now, destiny (and the bathroom) awaits!
The Wandering God

P.S. See if you can guess this quote from my fav movie: "You beat the other girls (with whips and chains) to the bride's bouquet. (and that too) If you do, you are the coolest RPG host ever.

Cheshire CataLUST <- My porn star name:
No, no black and white for me. I lack the nescessary fundage right now.

The game boy advance sounds plenty fun. Portable goodness.

Head for the top of the tower where you meet Ghaleon for the first time. He's hanging out there.

Damnit, Janet, that's from cult favorite "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".

Again, with this format.

I'm really excited about both Xenosaga and Hoshigami's releases, so I have a couple questions I'd like answered.
1. When are both these games coming out? I know Xenosaga's release isn't for a while but I think that Hoshigami's is some place in the fall.
2. Did Squaresoft fire Maxfive and Monolith Soft or did they both just leave? I see no point in Squaresoft firing these guys.
3. Did the team of Maxfive work on Vagrant Story?
4. Is Mitsuda the same composer for not only Xenogears but Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross as well? If so, he's one of the best composers if not the best in the gaming business today IMHO.
5. Who's the composer for Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story? And what's his current projects?
6. And lastly, is Squaresoft allowing Monolith Soft/Namco use Xenogears names in Xenosaga?

Cheshire Catalyst:
1. Hoshigami is vaguely set for Fall Quarter. Xenosaga has a Japanese release date of 4th quarter of 2001.
2. They weren't "fired", rather after a team makes a game with square, they go their seperate ways.
3. No.
4. Yes.
5. Masaharu Iwati and Hitoshi Sakimoto did the music for FFT. Sakimoto went solo on Vagrant Story. We're not sure what he's up to right now though...
6. Unsure right now, but I'd imagine so.

Some science stuff...

Hey Chesh!

Am I the only one that made the connection between Xenogears and the Law of Conservation of Energy (stating that energy can neither be created nore destroyed, but it can change form)? Xenogears clearly follows the laws of science. Allow me to explain: Miang cannot exist without a host. Nor can Fei's anger, which built up into Id. To do so would deny the fact that energy, the life force of Miang, or the anger and emotions of Fei, can neither be created nor destroyed. Think about it- Miang could not exist without a host. Even when she no longer took the form of Elly, she was the Urubolis (at least that was MY interpretation). On top of that, when Fei found himself unable to express his emotions, they did not simply end- they manifested into something more dangerous then an anger fit, which was Id himself.

Another good example of this are the Zodiac stones in Final Fantasy Tactics. When they were not in the form of stones, they possessed a body. Even in the end of the game, when they destroyed St. Ajora, St. Ajora created a giant explosion that killed everyone except for Ramza and Alma, meaning that it continued in the form of more energy.

Another noteable game would be Grandia II, but for fear of spoilers (for I have not finished the game yet), I won't list the reasons, but if you consider these rules and have played the game, I'm sure you'll understand why.

........I'm starting to think I'm spending too much time with my chemistry! Oh! The left side of my brain hurts!

Xenochick, -the Xenogears Goddess-

Cheshire Catalyst:
Games follow natural law just like the rest of us. A game that starts to suck will likely continue to suck... Inertia, baby.

I'm hungry. Where's my damn pizza?

Yo, almighty Q&A type person

I have some random questions I decided I might as well fire off, so here I go.

1) Why do so many people think that Skies of Arcadia is so good? I thought it was a RPG on the level of FF9 that had good graphics, a good story, but no character development for anyone but one person (Fina). The story also started feeling very rushed right after Yafutoma. Is it just me?

2) Aren't the dungeons in Lunar 2 way too long and hard? I have quit playing since I didn't level up enough and keep getting slaughtered in the Neo-Trial Cave. And I know there is worse later on. *sobs*

3) Front Mission 2 rocks. Enough said.

4) Finally, is the entire RPGamer staff just using their "assistants" to cover up the fact that they are all quitting and/or started licking various red frogs?

Lepant, High Admiral of the Demonic World Known as Lepant's Life

Cheshire Catalyst:
1. Skies of Arcadia was a fairly decent game. Great graphics, enjoyable characters. Just like FFIX! The main difference? Skies of Arcadia wasn't weighted down by Final Fantasy's history. And yeah, the plot was -really- predictable. I mean, elemental crystals? How novel!
2. The dungeons are plenty hard. That game is hard. Tough it out, soldier. Level up, and try again.
3. Good to know.
4. Not that I know of. ;) We like frogs though.

Mini-Game goodness

In FF9, how do they make running around a town beating up monsters for points so darned FUN? Well, until that time I was winning, then got killed by a trick sparrow...but then I reset and won =) Oh, and is it just me, or was the prize not much good?
Okay, I'll go away now.

~Mesaana
"I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

Cheshire Catalyst:
If there's one thing Square does well, it's put soem fun minigames in its RPGs.

With 20% Benzocaine

To Chesh, lover of fine art and other abstract qualities of things:

Just listen to this first,
My memory card that had FM3 on it got deleted accidently, I spent 74 hours on it and was about to beat it the second time, it's now a paperweight.

I've had Xenogears for a long time, but one of my concerns about Xenosaga is that with the PS2 being so hard to code for (and all the games for PS2 thus far only being about 4 hours) will Xenosaga be as incredibly long as Xenogears? I mean, I played FF8 and beat 3 discs by the time I was STILL on the first. It's like a 6 to 30 hour ratio. I think I'm the only one who understood Xenogears completly the first time.

I never played Baldur's Gate, May I have a chemicly stimulated overview of it?

And how about remakes?
FF4? No thanks, even with "dash" I couldn't take having to see more butchered text.
CT? Possibly, but only if I can save schala as a secret.
FF7? I couldn't take having to go through this game getting everything over again.
FF8 again? OH! I get to do Aura-Limit 5,000,000,000 more times! I'd rather play with the box.
FF9? That would be fine, but only if Freya was more developed as a character.
Thank you for your time,

-Starsickle "Of course it's evil, just KILL IT!"

Cheshire Catalyst:
Time will tell with Xenosaga...

Baldur's gate et al. A series of PC RPG's based around Dungeons and Dragons. The setting is the sword coast in the "Forgotten Realms." Real-time battle, fun role playing, loads of sub-quests, fun characters. That's it in a nutshell.

Remakes? Eh, we'll see.



Quickies

Just out of curiousity, who's your favorite RPG girl? I mean.... if you could pull any girl from an RPG and have her fall unrealisticly in love with you, who would you pick?

-Some Guy

Jahiera from Baldur's Gate 1 & 2. Seriously cool.

hey chesh,
Do you think FFT will get a remake for PS2 like the other ff games from PSX?

While I'm tempted to say no, (FFT didn't sell THAT well. It's a fan favorite), I think we all learned that lesson earlier this week. Stranger things HAVE happened.

I think, therefore I am.
-Who said this?

Rene Descartes. (Who was, according to Terry Gilliam and co., a drunken fart)

I may be out of the loop or something, but what is l33t mean? A hacker term or something? Could you post of list of those kinds of words, how they're pronounced and what they mean?

Ari "Thpontaniouthry Combuthted!"

"l33tspeak" was originally crafted by game players to sneak around censorship programs in online games, MB's etc. Thus allowing them to say bad words online. Numbers equal the letters that they look the most like. Here's a brief example...
l33t = 'leet = eleet (or, really good)
ph34r = phear = fear
See? 4's = "a's" and "y's" 7's = "t's" 3's = "e's" 1's = "i's" etc.
People also use other characters to "build" letters. \/\/ = "w", |\| = "n".
Words ending in "s": drop the "s" and replace it with a "z". "skillz", "warez".
Some words are written phonetically. "ph" for "f", "d4" or "da" for "the", "j" for "y".

There you go. Grammar rules for "l33tspeak".

I recently started collecting Trigun, but Pioneer's got me mind- boggled with their weird boxes.

I started with volume 2 'Lost Past' because I thought it was volume 1. Why? Because it said it had episodes 1, 2, and 3 on the back. Now it turns out I need 'The $$60,000,000,000 Man' which is the real volume 1.

Not to mention volume 1 has 4 episodes, but volume 2 dosn't. Is there any other volume released that has 4 episodes, or do they plan to leave one out? o_0

~Geoffrey 'ePaulson
'EVA-licious Frying Pans!'

This happened to me too. It was a printing error on Pioneer's part. Volumes #1 and #8 have four episodes each.

A no Column??!! Young Chris, you are on the path to self destruction. Repent now or forever be unpopular.

-Ryan

I know. :P I felt bad doing it, but after the problem with the old one, it was simply too late to put up a fresh one.

The Last Laugh:

Thar she blows.

HERE is a pic of my lil' workstation. Note the crystal light, Kuroneko, and Game boy. Fun stuff...

That's it for tonight, I was planning on doing a little bit more, but I've got about three guys all wanting help with their papers.

See you tomorrow, and get drawing!

And watch out for the man...

chesh "Nyaa~" @rpgamer.com

Old Issues
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  • Shenmue - terrific or tedious?
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