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Googleshng - May 15 '03- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

When doing a job like this, it is incredibly common to get letters of such a variety as to make one's eyes bulge out of their head. Normally when I get these, I'll ignore them, or print them with some restraint. Tonight though, thanks to getting a certain combination of letters (not all of which I'll likely print) and being under unusually high stress, I have slipped into Evil Mode.

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We have a release dates section. You just click the big link up there that says "Release Dates".

Dear Google,

I CANNOT FIND OUT WHEN FINAL FANTASY X 2 COMES OUT ANYWHERE!!! I am a huge fan of FF's, and I really need to know. I've heard that it comes out in November 2003, but another place on the web said that it already came out this April!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!

Googleshng:
It was released in March actually, in Japan. The U.S. release should be around late October-early november.

I'm not sure if there's anything that bothers me more than someone who has an authoritative tone and not a clue what they're talking about.

Greetings Goog,
Takin' time to write in after a long while regarding Patrick's question about Woolsey detractors. Woolsey escapes much of the criticism directed at other translators of the early 90's because his US script itself generally flows fairly well, without any blatant spelling errors or Janglish scattered about. A critical difference exists between Woolsey's flowing translation and a GOOD translation, however, which is what Woolsey is rightly criticized for. Woolsey's relatively errorless script hides the fact that signicant alterations of the Japanese original exist, where FF IV's bumbling US diaologue couldn't hide that fact. Certain Woolsey failures were obviously functions of Nintendo's conservative policies, meaning that Relm (and everyone else for that matter) no longer curses, Cefca (miswritten as Kekfa by Woolsey) gets a bevy of ridiculous swear-replacement lines and a toning-down of his murderous dialogue, the Three War Gods became Goddess Statues, and so on. Made-up words like Magitek and Esper abound, innumerable arbitrary name changes were made (noted in my FF VI Ultimatum guide), and dialogue was softened and dumbed-down. I supported Woolsey's work for years before examination of the Japanese VI revealed such a different work. VI's biggest fans would also do well to check out Sky Render's complete retranslation of the game at *URL OF SITE DISTRIBUTING ILLEGAL MATERIALS DELETED* . His is no doubt the finest and most faithful rendering of the original Japanese script that I've yet to see on the net, which can be read off of the website as patchwork is still pending.
It'll open a few eyes, I'm sure.

Maou

Googleshng:
The statement "Cefca (miswritten as Kekfa by Woolsey)" proves flat out that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. The Japanese language does not use the english alphabet, thus all translations from it are phoenetic. Ergo, the only time someone could be wrong when choosing a K over a C is if the original word was written in our alphabet, translated into Japanese, and then translated back into English. Having just double checked against Kefka's name being a specific reference to anything, which involved me sitting here and pouring over a ton of obscure religeous texts and such for a couple hours, this leaves me with the conclusion that you know absolutely nothing about the Japanese language, the process of translation, or, going by that link that had to be pulled there, copyright law. Furthermore, you arbitrarily put greater faith in the translation of a random ROM-hacker than someone who does translations for a living.

Now then, while I'm foaming at the mouth here, let me explain to you what a good translation is. A good translation is one in which the correct meaning and tone of each line is preserved. This differs from a direct 100% accurate translation mainly in that it is actually possible to do it. No two languages have sets of words where any given word in language A has one specific matching word in language B. In most cases, you can't even come close. Not to mention the fun to be had with differing rules on sentence structure and grammar. For example, if someone were to say in Japanese, "Itadakimasu!" the best translation one could give of it would be "Let's eat!" or some variation thereof. The closest you can come to a literal translation of the word however would be "Receive!" So in conclusion, the only things you can legitimately gripe about being poorly translated in FF6 would be that Terra's Japanese name is Tina (which is stupid and I'm glad they changed it), and the translator missed a translation-mangled Star Wars reference. Anyone who says otherwise probably doesn't have a clue what they're talking about and evidently consider Legend of Dragoon to have the best translation ever.

Oh yeah, while I'm ranting about translations, I would like to take this space to once again bash Software Sculptors for translating the main character of Hellsing's name as Arucard. I maintain that this is the stupidest translation oversight of all time.

Speaking of LoD...

LoD spoilers if anyone cares.
Actually, I agree with nmc. I thought that The Legend of Dragoon was one of the better games of that time, FF7 copycatter though it was. The battle system and the Dragoon Spirit system really caught me - as did the story. I found myself in tears or fuming rages at the appropriate story points (Crying when Lavitz dies, for example). Just to let you know, nmc isn't alone in his thinking.

Sephira

Googleshng:
OK. First off, I have to point out that we have here two people claiming that Legend of Dragoon was one of the best RPGs ever released in the 1990s. Two points here. Point #1- This is a timeframe spanning from the release of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior 2 to the time of Star Ocean 2 and Final Fantasy 8. That covers the bulk of all RPG releases ever, and as such really shouldn't be thrown around so lightly. Point #2- Even in Japan, Legend of Dragoon wasn't released until the year 2000.

That said, we have people here claiming that LoD is a great game, and Sephira here enjoyed the story. Now, I can potentially see someone liking the game mechanics, and even the graphics if they have a mental block around everything but the water, but the STORY?

OK, first off, we have a collection of blatantly one-dimensional characters. I say blatantly because everyone's personality matches their element, and if you didn't notice that there's something wrong with you. Second, these characters march through what is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, THE MOST cliché-ridden and predictable story ever to grace an RPG. Back when the game came out in fact, I took to amusing myself by predicting to those nearby every single detail of the plot to onlookers hours before they happened, right down to the attacks that would be used by the opponents in the inevitable area battles, and I didn't miss a single thing. Lavitz dying especially. Even if it wasn't excessively obvious from the dialog, it was obvious from the graphics. He didn't come close to having that Party Member Look, you know?

Anyway, if it wasn't dawn I'd get into the problems with the graphics, game mechanics, battle animations, and horrific translation, but I'll just let it stand that while Legend of Dragoon isn't the WORST RPG ever made, if you list it amongst your favorites, then there's a good 300 or so games you really need to play some time.

And lo, as a reader gave cause NOT to sit around pining for a new Chrono game, the ranting did subside.

Hey, Goog,

I was thinking about Chrono Break again (yes, I'm a die-hard Chrono Trigger fan), and I realized something. CT was re-packaged in a FF anthology for the PSX, which sort of relates it to the FF series. And since the FF series seems to follow a release pattern (3 regularly numbered games per console: FF1-3 on NES, FF4-6 on SNES, etc.), I would assume that the Chrono series might follow a pattern as well.

But what that pattern might be is anyone's guess. Trigger was released for SNES, and Cross was released for PSX, so it's about time for another one, right? Not necessarily. Five years passed between the North American release of Trigger, and the NA release of Cross. It's only been three years since then, so I would assume it's much too soon to be expecting a third. I'd get ready to wait until next year's E3 before I hear word of a new Chrono game.

Now as for Chrono Break (I won't give italics to something that doesn't exist yet), it sounds more like a breakfast cereal or an energy bar than a game. Stranger things have happened (Mud 'n' Bugs, for instance, a cereal based on The Lion King - specifically, the Timon & Pumbaa TV series - and as can be expected, it's full of chocolate), and I can just imagine the slogan...

When you're hungry, take a Chrono Break! *Sounds of explosions, crunches, etc. in the background.*

Anyway, my question: how successful does a game have to be in order to have a sequel? Or more than one sequel? Because after playing (and beating) Lufia & The Fortress Of Doom, I can't believe the series has grown to four games. And if the new Lufia game is any indication, it's not over yet. I think I picked the most mediocre Lufia games to play first, because I'm not impressed with Lufia: The Legend Returns either, although I'm more impressed with it than I was with the first Lufia.

I guess I should ask Andrew what his favourite Lufia title is. With my luck, it's probably the second one, which is the only one of the first three I haven't played...

"I'm walking on the water and my head's on fire, flying like a bird but I can't get higher"
CW

Googleshng:
Honestly? For a game to get a sequel, it has to be successful enough that the developers don't have to sell their computers to pay off loans they needed to get the thing made. While movies are made by a small number of big studios who can only afford to put so many movies out in a given year, and thus only approve sequels to things that made them a lot of money, a decent percentage of videogames are published by the people who actually designed them, and only have their own ideas to work with. So it's entirely possible for someone to release a game, have it totally flop, ask people why they hate it, change those things, and release a sequel. Happens all the time in fact. Heck, some people even skip the feedback step. The bottom line really is that once you have a finished game, any excuse to recycle the engine pretty much drives the cost of making a sequel down to zilch. And that Virginia is why there's so many Army Men games.

Oh, and while he isn't around to ask, it's a pretty safe bet Lufia 2 is Andrew's favorite. 1's not really worth writing home about, and The Legend Returns was an attrocity, but 2 is considered by most people to be one of the best RPGs on the system.

Lufianess

Well, thought I would write for the fun of it. Anyways, I was reading through the Q&A section and I noticed a question wondering how often people used to look at the back of the game box to see if they would like the game or not. I remember, back in the 8-16 bit days, when you would walk in the stores and see a box that would catch your attention, and would make you read the back to figure out if you would like it or not. When I think about it it made rpg buying a lot more interesting because you would never know and nowadays you pretty much know what your going into the store for.

and my question: If i'm thinking right then your the big lufia fan so I was dying to know what you thought of the new lufia for gba. I kinda of have mixed feelings (both good and bad) I do know that the plot does seem to be the worst out of all the games so far.

thanks

Googleshng:
Of course, during the 8-bit era you'd only get an RPG every year or two even if you were grabbing all of them, so it was less a question of choosing at random than a question of spotting your annual ration.

Anyway, I would also like to know what I thought of the new Lufia. I'm told that unlike the GBC one, it actually has the sort of puzzles and whatnot that make everyone recall Lufia 2 so fondly. Unfortunately, barring the interference of luck or charity, there's no chance of me getting a copy any time sooner than the end of the year. Actually, come to think of it, it'd still be charity then, just of a somewhat dependable nature. Quite frankly this is a horrific time to be broke. No Golden Sun, no Castlevania, no Lufia, no MMBN3... heck, it'd really hurt my ability to do this column if people asked me about GBA games more often.



Quickies

Have You ever died? Its actually pretty fun. You should try it.

Meh. Dying is overrated.

The Last Laugh:

Seriously. Do you people realize how long I spent double checking for hidden meanings of Kefka? Not a one though unless you can make some connection to the Chinese Evangelical Free Church of Ames. Anyway, It's Andrew's turn to sit in the Q&A chair now I believe. Live from E3 and all that.

Googleshng "Sure, you can say it's a Kafka refrence, but that's a points for Ks." @rpgamer.com

I'm an insect! Wait, no I'm not.

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