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Cheshire Catalyst - November 26th '00- 12:00 Eastern Standard Time

Homework, Final Fantasy Nine, Studying, Food, Baldur's Gate, Anime, doing this column, sleep, and more studying. "The only things that play an active role in Cheshire Catalyst's life?" Ding Ding! You've just won $25,000. Thanks for playing the pyramid. This is Dick Clark reminding you that while Malboro cigarettes will eventually kill you, that never stopped you from eating that bag of Doritos- which will kill you, and make you fat.

It's column time again, boys and girls. We asked you to send in letters, and you did! What a nice relationship we have. Now I will answer some of said questions. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

By the way, does anyone else think Zidane sometimes talks as if he just walked out of an ABC afterschool special? Don't get me wrong, he's still cool, but where he's telling Vivi that "screaming empowers you and frightens your attacker"...does that seem a little odd? I half expect him to tell me that "Tobacco is Whacco" if I'm a teen.

Questions about the changes your body is going through?
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But only if you're Natalie Portman.
Recent Q&A's


If I've said it once...
The Old stuff
The Archives
Draw Google!
Fan Googles
How do you pronounce...?
In the PC:
Baldur's Gate II
Nature! Take the life She gave!
Septerra Core
Maya is ten times cuter than Rinoa.
In the PlayStation:
Final Fantasy IX
On to Disc 2
PC to Console? It's mad I tell you!

Yo gangsta,

It seems Baldur's Gate II will be ported to the Playstation 2 (and possibly the other consoles). Do you think it can successfully make the journey from a mouse-and-keyboard-driven environment to gamepad controls? If it's a good translation, do you think we'll eventually see ports of other Black Isle RPGs like Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment (the best RPG ever, by the way. It makes the plot of Xenogears look like the random defecations of an insane orangutan)?

-Ybhan D'Ari

Cheshire Catalyst:
The interface of Baldur's Gate is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. The mouse and keyboard make for quick maneuvering and commanding (essential on the harder bosses). It might be a little awkward, but I imagine it will be just as much fun to play as the original. As for Torment and Icewind Dale? It all depends on how well the Baldur's Gate games sell. $$$ makes the gaming world go 'round.

And, yes, Torment does rule.

What do you want to be?

I'm finally getting around to playing the first Baldur's Gate, and since you seem to know about PC RPG's I figured I'd ask you this...

What is your main character race/class wise? My BG1 character is a multi-class(Fighter/Cleric) Half-elf, and he seems to get like no experience. The rest of my party is levels 3 and 4, and he's just barely hit level 2 for cleric and is still level 1 for fighter. Is it worth it to go multi-class, or should I have stuck to one class?


Cheshire Catalyst:
There's a big difference in how experience points are dealt out between Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs. Many RPGs say that, for example, killing a rabid cow is worth 5000 exp. Every member of your party will get 5000 exp. Dungeons and Dragons makes it a lot harder. Those same experience points are divided amongst the characters. So, if you have 6 members in your party, each party member will receive only about 833 points apiece. And if your character is dual-classed, that makes leveling up that much harder. Those 833 points will be split in half and given to each of your classes (ie: 416 to your Fighter and 416 to your cleric.)

My main character, Christopher, is a paladin. They require more exp than fighters, but the healing bonuses and detect evil powers make that class all the more interesting. In your case, unless you want to be evil, I'd suggest being a paladin as well. The high charisma gives you discounts at shops as well.

3 special questions.

Question #1: Why is Diablo 2 the full version much easier than the Stress Test?!!? I started playing it, and I was dusting it! Either that, or I suddenly became very skilled at that game.

Question #2: Why can't they detail more of the monsters and items in the manual for Baldur's Gate II! Damn lack of telling me anything... also, while you're at it, make my computer handle Baldur's Gate II better. It could definitely stand to do that.

Question #3: Uhm... uh... why is Shinji a jackass?

All right. I ran out of complaints. Fix those things. Now.


-Yoshi Noharu

Cheshire Catalyst:
1.) Maybe you're just getting better. ;) I haven't heard too much concerning the game's difficulty. My friend Paul seems to have had trouble at a few spots, but no real problems. Pat yourself on the back!
2.)It all adds to the mystery of these characters. ;) Everyone in the Forgotten Realms world has seen Gibberlings, Wolves, Goblins, and Orcs, but how many have seen Beholders, Dragons, and Liches and walked away to tell about it? The beholders in BG2 scared me a bit ;)
3.)I used to like Shinji. Episode 24 almost made me feel sorry for the kid. But how he acted in the End of Evangelion movie made me hate him all over again. ;P Asuka's a pain too. Gendo Ikari is still one of my heroes.

Hocus Pocus! Your computer works. Shazam!

History Rules.

I was reading a book today about the Civil War and it turns out that the 10 Arkansas regiment used... get this.. gunblades!! They carried a small, one-shot pistol that had a retractable sabre below the barrel. Just thought you might find that interesting.

Chad "Still working on FF8" Koralewski

Cheshire Catalyst:
That's very cool. This is not the only piece of Final Fantasy related history though. Turns out...
The French Revolution ended when the Paris Bourgeoise obtained some materia from the Spanish.
After wearing his silk hat for 4 years and gaining 70 AP, Abraham Lincoln gained the skill "Auto-Potion." Sadly, he took no potions to Ford's theatre.
When Christopher Columbus first arrived in the America's, he was welcomed by some of the locals with a very simple message. "Insert Disc 2"


On the topic of FF9, my mom (yes, Mom) is a big Vivi fan. She likes to come and watch me play just so she can watch Vivi. When you get to control the little mage, I have to call her in so she can make him walk around. She gets upset when [Spoilers!] Vivi plays card games ("He shouldn't gamble!"), gets upset/scared, or takes part in the, err, male ritual ("Vivi wouldn't do such nastiness!"). Is this normal?

Since you want a question, and since I want to know: how on Earth do I use the Namingway card? I have it, but I can't use it... Bean

Cheshire Catalyst:
Mothers and video games are an odd combo, indeed. My mom never became attracted to any Final Fantasy characters, and dad doesn't really read anything that wasn't written by a dead British guy.
I've yet to come across the Namingway card. Try pressing select to use the help function. Maybe that will help.

Secret of Mana wierdness

Ok, here's a question that will sound like I was sniffing nailpolish for too long, but I NEED to know the answer so I don't think I'm losing my mind. When you or any other member of the RPGamer staff ever played Secret of Mana (assuming you played SoM) and used the Sprite's Shadow Gate magic, did you ever see a horde of Shadow Zeros (assuming you know what those are) come swarming out of the Shadow Gate and run across the screen? I have seen this happen twice and I'm trying to find out what triggers the different look. I can't be going crazy... there were other witnesses!

One more question, what happened to Escaflowne? It isn't on Fox Kids anymore. True, the Fox Kids version was all chopped up and had horrible voice acting, but I still liked it and now it's GONE!

~Nomi Sunrider, Jedi Master Bean

Cheshire Catalyst:
When your magic reaches the upper parts of level 8 in Secret of mana, it starts to look a little differently. Almost like a magical level 9 ;)

Yes, Fox has cancelled the Escaflowne series from its Saturday morning lineup. This was obviously done to pave the way for such entertaining shows such as "NASCAR Racers" and the latest power rangers incarnation. ;P Maybe Cartoon Network will purchase the rights sometime in the future. If you want the show bad enough, you can always buy it online. (DVD or VHS)

What I love, baby.

Howdy Chesh, incoming filler for the column:
1. Is Vivi your favorite in FFIX? If not, who's your fave?
2. Have you played Shen Mue? Any good? I have a DC, but I think I'm gonna go trade it in for credit towards a PS2.
3. What's one of your favorite lesser known rpgs from way back when?
4. And of course, a non-rpg related question: what kinds of music does the staff at rpgamer listen to in general?
Hoping to make the column bigger,

Cheshire Catalyst:
1)Too early to pick a favorite. Zidane, Vivi, Steiner, Garnet, Freya, Quina, I love 'em all.
2)Shenmue is a big seller. I'm hearing some mixed reviews of it though. Some love it, some think certain aspects of it are too tedious. You might not wanna give up on that Dreamcast though. Skies of Arcadia is good, and Grandia 2 is coming soon.
3)I really enjoyed the Action RPG "Illusion of Gaia." Remember when Hamlet(the pig) threw himself on the fire to feed the village? So sad :(

The moments we'll remember forever.


I just started the third disc on FF9 and so far I'm loving it. I haven't enjoyed a FF since FF6.

So, first thing I'd like to know is, what are your thoughts on FF6?

The way you answer that question will determine how you answer number two.

How are you comparing it to FF9 thus far?

I was at Hastings this evening looking through a Gamefan magazine, and one of the writers was giving his thoughts on the FF series. He noted a few key moments in the series development, such as Palom and Porom turning to stone to save the others in FF4, the opera in FF6, and Aeris dying in FF7. He wrote how each of these memorable and emotional experiences in the series changed his outlook on the FF series and RPGs in general. Reading that got me thinking, and I'm really amazed at how much I am loving FF9. FF7 was ok, and FF8 I never bothered to finish because I found it so boring. I hold FF6 in the highest regard, quite possibly as the greatest RPG of all time, and I'm still hoping that FF9 will include one moment, a scene where the music grabs ahold of your heart, and you cannot take your eyes off of the screen because something so beautiful is occuring, that will make me rank it up with FF6.

Thanks for letting a delusional old Final Fantasy fan ramble, and I would appreciate your thoughts :)


Cheshire Catalyst:
I really, really enjoyed Final Fantasy VI. I loved Terra's inner struggle, I loved Kefka's insanity, and I loved almost all of the characters.

The Final Fantasy Series is full of great "moments". Palom and Porom morphing into stone to save the party, Golbez revealing his identity, Emperor Gestahl reviving the lost continent, The Opera, Terra saying to Kefka during the final battle, "I now know what love is!", Kefka's entire speech at the end of FFVI, "What do you think you've found in this dying world? Why do you build knowing destruction is inevitable? Why do you yearn to live knowing all things must die?", Cloud discovering the truth about himself in the lifestream, Aeris's death, Aeris's final prayer for the lifestream to stop Meteor, Squall carrying the unconscious Rinoa across the lengthy ocean-spanning train tracks...

I'm sure all of you can think of many more. The point is, that this series of video games has given us some of the most memorable moments in video game history. Will FF9 be as good as FF6? Maybe. I know I'm loving it so far.


she is very happy. noNONO! the mouth opens! I DO NOT WANT TO BE FOOD!!!! TO LATE TO ESC

where are the other geusts? BURRRRRP! I do not know. (oh please do not look in my belly. i ate every body).

Is it just me, or has saying "You guys need to send more letters" become a requirement for "things to say" in Q& A sessions? You guys all seem to say that at LEAST once a column, if not more.


Mistake, ladies and gentlemen, my coworker at Did they let you out of the cage again? ;) It's been a slow season lately. We love getting letters.

...can andy come along if we shove him in the trunk?

-- hall of fame announcer harry carey.

Sure. We'll give him a tank of oxygen and a can of aerosol cheese, and he should be cool.

Vote trieze!

You didn't capitalize the "T." Trieze is a proper noun. Though this is a minor error, I had to re-examine your vote. After looking it over, I see that while it *looks* like you voted for Trieze, you probably meant to vote for Cologne. Another vote for Cologne!

The Last Laugh:

A much longer column than yesterday's, thanks to everyone. ;) Wasn't that more fun?
The last letter gave me an idea. Tomorrow, write in and tell me your favorite RPG moment. It doesn't have to be a Final Fantasy moment, any RPG moment will do. Also, write a short little blurb explaining why. If you feel you can't explain why you love a certain scene in just a few sentences, the editorials section is just one step down on the navigation page. ;)
So send in your favorite moments, and I'll print the letters I like (or that time permits) ;)

Chesh"working for peanuts!"
I like the peanuts...

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