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   and John Z.  

Googleshng - April 12 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

I'm keeping my intro short because John here isn't.

John Z.: Hey all you out there in Internet land. The name's John, and to tell the truth that suits me just fine-- never had a need for a nickname. I hope you folks are buckled in, 'cause we're in for a rough ride.
As for who I am, well, I'm a student of Computer Science at a major university somewhere, and I enjoy long walks on the beach with someone speci-- er, wait, I'm getting off track. For what it's worth, I also work at a video game store, so if you have any q's on how the biz works, feel free to ask.
I seek the elusive mayfly of love, or at the very least Love Hina Advance. This is because I am a LH fanboy with no remorse. Nonetheless, I'd be tickled with Star Ocean 2, Rhapsody, Valkyrie Profile, Super Mario RPG, or Ogre Battle (PSX/SNES). The chair can be yours if you hand one over to me. C'mon, let's make a deal. I gots what you want and you gots what I need. Drop a line and we'll hammer something out.
Are we ready? Did we go to the bathroom first? Don't try to hold it, it's a long way to the bottom and we can't make any stops. OK, then, let's move out!

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Xeno

Hello Google. I am a big fan of Xenogears and have a couple of questions about Xenosaga for Ps2.

John Z.:
Well, we could always use another -Lamb-... err, I mean fan. Yes. Fan....

1. Will Xenosaga come to Europe?

John Z.:
Honestly, I'm not sure. It really all depends on if the game does well enough in Japan and the US. So bug your American friends to buy the game.

Googleshng:
It depends more on whether Namco likes porting stuff to Europe or not. I seem to recall they do though, so your odds are good.

2. Does Xenosaga's story have anything to do with Xenogears? >/Tuxedo

John Z.:
Well, sure... if by "anything" you happen to mean "setting up the entire premise upon which Xenogears is based, give or take three games and sundry events which as of yet have not been revealed". It's like Star Wars. You have to have Episode 1 before you can have the really cool part where Luke gets his hand cut off.

Googleshng:
You know how Xenogears says "Episode 5 End" when you win? Xenosaga 5 will be a remake of Xenogears. Enough said.

 
Titles

Hey, I just had a random thought. Of all your column titles, which are you favorite and least favorite? And do you make them up at random or is there usually a point to them?

John Z.:
Personally, I've been fond of "John takes over and remakes RPGamer to be 'Luna's Love Shack'", but I doubt that one will be coming anytime soon.

...Now, Lucia, on the other hand...

Googleshng:
If I have anything relevant to stick in a column title, I stick it there. Otherwise you have to deal with something random, like Riboflavin. Anyway, I honestly don't give a smurf either way about any of them, so I can't quite answer the rest of that.

 
This wasn't a multiparter when I first saw it...

You don't have to print this, I just really wanted to ask you this. I find it strange that everyone you know that has played Grandia went through the game without taking damage. I mean, I still don't really think it's possible never to take even ONE point of damage, but if it were, you'd have to use spells or special attacks in EVERY fight. Are you telling me that everyone you know did that? Because you certainly can't kill every enemy with one normal hit every time.

John Z.:
Oooh, I was hoping for something like this... Anyway, I am going through Grandia right now, myself, and I am finidng it no more or less difficult than any other RPG nowadays (ie not seeing the "game over" screen until well over twelve hours into the game). I'm taking damage, yes, and I've had a couple boss fights which got weird, but this is because of one important thing: underleveling. Game Arts really got soft when they made Grandia; I remember agonizing over the bosses in Lunar, when just one or two levels would have solved my troubles.

Googleshng:
Well, seeing as save points fill up your HP, MP, and SP whenever you touch them, and using spells and specials gets you access to better specials, along with more MP, SP, and base damage, and there's a save point before every boss, what exactly is keeping you from using spells and specials every fight?

I myself NEVER used spells or special attacks except in boss fights, so that explains a lot, but I still got hit a lot in said fights. What's even more weird is that no one I know who has played the game did it without taking damage. I guess me and my friends just suck at videogames then :)

John Z.:
No. It is extremely difficult to go through a game without taking damage-- UNLESS you take advantage of the requisite "wussy, relatively-high-experience first dungeon" and level like crazy in the beginning. It's like saying you beat Ruby Weapon without KOTR or All Lucky 7s: it can be done, but don't expect every schmuck off the street to be ableto do it.

Googleshng:
No... it's not that hard. I never went back into the same place twice to make the monsters respawn, except to the degree everyone does when they kill monsters near a save point, save it, shut it off, come back later, and have to kill'em again.

Now, as for why everyone I know who has played Grandia took no damage, and everyone you know took plenty, you should keep in mind that everyone I know who's played Grandia works here at RPGamer, which generally means they play far too many RPGs than is healthy. When you do something like that long enough, you get to a point where you pick up the best strategy for new games right off the bat. The same goes all activities, but it gets you more respect when they aren't so nerdy.

Seriously, I'm really fascinated by how you could take NO damage at all. I mean, not even ONE point? You killed EVERYTHING in the game with one hit? In the beginning, there are often more enemies than characters in your party, so you can't kill them ALL before at least one of them hits you. Say that you have Sue and Justin. There are 4 enemies. You hit 2 of them, and their attacks get delayed, or they die. There are still TWO enemies left, and you can't say that you get another turn before they get their first turn, because that's just plain wrong.

John Z.:
Played FFX yet? Got everybody Hasted and near-maxed out on their Speed stat? Didn't think so. FF is usually the series that tips the scales so ridiculously in favor of the player. Granted, Grandia is pretty easy, but it's not something you could play in your sleep, either.

Googleshng:
I don't recall being vastly outnumbered ever really early on, and I do remember that in Grandia you can either do one big damaging attack, or a few little ones. Against painfully wimpy early game monsters, a few little ones is plenty, and I seem to recall you get multi-target specials pretty early on too.

I can't believed I just wrote a letter this long about such a silly subject. It's really weird how I care about these things sometimes.
-Gandalf

John Z.:
I can't believe you did either. Don't you have better things to be doing with your time, like chasing down furry-toed midgets or something?

Googleshng:
and I can't believe how flabbergasted so many people are that I breezed right through an easy game. Let's move on to some questions now, shall we? 8)

 
This is going to be a very stripey column.

First, I want to agree with you about several things. Chronicals of Amber rocks. And its completely possible to go thru Grandia with out taking damage. There's an acessory called Dragon Scales that reduces all damage 10 (maybe 20?) or below done to the Character to zero.

John Z.:
I really need to read that. As for the Dragon Scales, yes, but IIRC you don't get that until later, after the whole "leaving Palm" thing.

Googleshng:
That's an odd thing for an accessory to do...

Now the questions. Have you heard of a GBC game called Magi Nation? What's it like?

John Z.:
Magi Nation... Hmm. I believe this was created in an effort to catch on to Poke-fever, but as a franchise it kinda flopped. The game was pretty good, what little of it I did play.

Googleshng:
Magi Nation suffers from having a name too close to another game's. It happens quite a lot, and makes news really hard to notice. You'd be better off poking around our page for it honestly. Same goes for that Other Evolution. The one whose name made sense.

Is the EverQuest that will be released for PS2 up to par?

John Z.:
Par for what? Gouging your eyes out with a piece of disc-shaped plastic? I'd have to say that you could get the same effect by using the $10 PC version, but hey, to each their own. (D'you get the feeling that I don't play on-line RPGs much?)

Googleshng:
Well, if you like EverQuest, then... keep playing EverQuest, you don't need another MMORPG to suck your life away. If you don't, you'll probably hate the PS2 version too. If you've never played a MMORPG before, you should try one of the plentiful free ones out there, since they're all the same... which would also rule out the need to get it. Honestly, the only real motivation for buying it I could see is if you didn't have a computer, but if you didn't have a computer, the only way you could send this letter would be off a Dreamcast or something, and heck, then you should just play PSO instead.

Lastly, I can wield any weapon I can get my grubby little hands on, including some of the more exotic pole-arms. As such, instead of being your minion, I'll be your Slime hating Arch-Enemy!!! I should be able to deal with your minions without a problem!!!

John Z.:
Bah. No one can withstand the power of the cabbit.

Googleshng:
You sure about that? It seems I have about 60 or so now.

Bolt Thundara, Bane of Slimes Isn't rapier pronounced rape-ee-air

John Z.:
That word, I believe, is pronounced "that word". Sheesh, did everybody forget how to use a dictionary or what? (OK, OK-- Rapp-ee-ay is how I think it's pronounced, owing from the French root of the word.)

Googleshng:
No, it's rape-ee-er. With various odd accents you can replace that -er with an -air, an ar, or various other things. Unlike most words people have a hard time pronouncing, this is one of those ones which I actually encounter outside of books often enough to be quite sure about. Like in the phrase "rapier wit".



Quickies

i pronounce it google shang. is that any where close?

John Z.:Actually, I pronounce it "it". Where do you get that weird "googlewhatsit" from?
Google:That's how my mom pronounces it, although it's generally considered more accurate to move that A a space to the right or drop it altogether. Or you could do what I do and just forget about speaking it out loud. When I have to, I just spell it out.

The Last Laugh:

John Z.: 'Twas extreme, no? But it's all right now. There there, don't cry. Here, have some Okinawa watermelon. We're having a party at the hot spring later. Shinobu made punch and cookies, but Suu might eat them up, so you'd better get there early. Kitsune wanted to see you there, too... Naru and Keitaro might be there-- they still have to study, but Mutsumi's definitely going to be there. Now remember, nothing naughty or Motoko will whip out her sword and bust some butt. Anyway, just show your invitation to Tama-chan at the door. If you bring the game you said you would, we'll make it a done deal, OK? How do you like the fruit? Mutsumi's melons are the best, aren't they? All right then, see you later.

...And that's all I got. Thanks for this opportunity, Goog.

Google: Here's an after the bell letter asking how Zelda is an RPG if Resident Evil isn't. The answer is simple. Zelda isn't an RPG. It's also Action/Adventure game. However, if RPGamer didn't cover it, we'd have thousands of fans screaming at us day and night, and that gets it honorary status.



Googleshng "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" @rpgamer.com

The Man says it's 5 AM! I say it's only 4, but that's still pretty late.

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