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Googleshng - August 5 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

So there's this piece of spam sitting in my inbox. On the one hand, it pretty convincingly resembles non-spam, which is rare these days. On the other, it runs with the premise that someone entered an e-mail addy I never use into a raffle on my behalf. Nice try, but no.

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Randomly indignant.

Wait, some dude WANTS Anrietta to join the party? Man, I wanted to throw that hyperactive little, uh, girl, to the sharks! Why would you want that thing to join you?! Deep cleansing breaths... Okay! So, what's the deal with games that has lousy optional characters? I mean, FF6: Mog's a moogle and I don't need to say more about him, and having Shadow as half of an optional character was cool too. But Umaro was almost useless and brought nothing to the story. Gogo was very interesting, but limited. Chrono Cross had around 40 optional characters, and I can only think of... no, wait, none of them were garbage. Well, maybe the shemale rock player, but the girl that went with him was hot. But Arc 3 is a perfect example of who NOT to have as an optional character. What were they thinking? And the other side of the coin bugs me too, having the omnipotent spawn of Thor and Isis who is also half cyborg half dragon be a hidden guy. Makes the game too easy if you DO get him, but the actual getting is usually like walking down a road made of broken bone shards, boiling tar, glass, and nails. (Thanks for the idea, Lucasarts "Afterlife!") And while I'm at it, a little complaint about La Pucelle: What Asstard thought it would be a GREAT idea to make it possible to totally preclude getting a Good Ending for chapter 5, simply by going to Barsom's house instead of going back to town first? I mean, being the detective I am, I realized that he was bald before I finished that first hairball fight, and what did I get for my prompt discovery? A FRIGGING PUNISHMENT!!! Really, Nippon Ichi, don't try to pull this crap on me in Disgaea, which I realize has been out for over a year now, when I get around to buying it! And if you're Nippon's so Ichi, buy that cream that John Madden's always advertising! Man, they leave all this to me...

Confused and Lonely,

Kenny the C.

Endings in Disgaea are only effected by things that it takes a LONG time to do, and by how many of your own party members you've killed by various points in the game. Getting the "good" ending is just a question of not killing your own characters. Oddly enough, this is harder to do than it sounds. When you have 10 characters out at a time, and there's no real visual distinction between your own characters and the things you're killing, it's surprisingly easy to find yourself saying "Oh wait, that was MY thief. Oops."

Anyway though, on to the matter of optional characters. I've honestly never been too big on them myself. They're more or less forbidden from really factoring in plot wise, and you tend to get them so late in the game that you're not going to want to do much with them in favor of the characters you've been building up forever... unless they're disgustingly good, in which case they feel like cheating. Same goes for characters you're forced to pick up late game really. Like Random Knight #15 in Shining Force, or You Know Who in FFT.

The only two games I can think of that handle optional characters well are Chrono Trigger and FF7. With Chrono Trigger, you have a character who's nicely in balance with everyone else, obtained not too far in, who you were already familiar with enough to care about using him. Then you also have another character who you have to use at one point, but becomes an optional character later. FF7 meanwhile gives you the optional folks so early on that it's easy to forget they were optional to begin with.

And you know, on the subject of having to go through hell to get the best characters in games, I've always felt that it's wrong to reward you for doing the hardest thing in the game with something that makes everything else laughably easy. If you can get it, you clearly don't need it, and if you're the sort to go for crazy optional challenges, you probably don't even really want it. If I throw in some optional nasty bit in a game, your reward for doing it isn't going to make things easier at all. It's just going to be something like alternate costumes, or something effecting the ending, or a set of fuzzy dice for your airship or something.

Visitors from Foreign Lands


Hiya. How are you?

Really? I'm fine. So, how about that local sports team?

Yeah, my team's doing pretty ok, I guess. I'd know more if I had television.


Yeah, it's been a long time since we spoke via email, hasn't it?

Oh, you want real questions, do you?

Ok. My husband is from Britlandia, and was raised on computer games rather than console games. As such, he has a prejudice against console games, thinking them "kids' toys". I've recently been showing him a few titles to get him past his Anti-Console attitude - Skies of Arcadia, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy 6 specifically. What other console RPGs would you reccomend? Strange and wacky is allowed, and traditional is also allowed. The idea is to show him that consoles have good games too.

As a corrolary, what other console games in general would you reccomend I show him? He's played the latest Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Mario Party, and Aerobiz lately, and liked all four.



Hmm.... assuming we're restricting ourselves to stuff you'd actually be able to pull out of a closet or track down, we have various other FF games, Lufia 2 (failing that, Wild ARMs, failing that, WA3), and the original Phantasy Star to represent the traditional side of things. For the exotic, Koudelka of course (and to a lesser extent Shadow Hearts), Valkyrie Profile, Breath of Fire 5, and possibly Parasite Eve. Oh yes, and the SNES Shadowrun game if you want to count it, although it's somewhat rare. Then of course you've got darn near every TRPG ever made, and the odd beast that is Ogre Battle (or better, the N64 one).

Branching out into other genres though, I'd like to think that everyone in the world should have, at some point, played Super Mario Bros. 3, Megaman 2, Zelda, Super Metroid, Toejam and Earl, and Super Bomberman. I could go on to list a lot of other games, but personal taste starts entering into it after a point, and Chuchu Rocket isn't necesssarily for everyone.

Incidently though, letters like this really tempt me to attempt to make my personal collection of impossible to find weird cool games available to the public in some fashion. There's people out there who would give their right arm to play Secret of Mana, and it's just gathering dust on my shelf.

The last of that backlog.

Greetings googleshng,

I can't believe you are just now seeing Bubba Ho-Tep! In my opinion JFK is 10x a better character what do you think? Anyhow, lets do number based to make things easier...

1: I just got the first volume of FF:unlimited and wasn't really impressed do you know if it gets any better?

2: Have you heard good/bad/nothing about Kiddy Grade?

3: In Tales of Symphonia do you get anything special for doing a certain amount in the EB endless/nonstop mini game?



Real quick here, JFK rules, FFU by all accounts is terrible. Kiddy Grade I for some reason possess the first DVD of, and it really doesn't do anything for me, and as for your ToS question, well, I haven't played it, nor has anyone in my immediate vicinity, so I'll have to do me some research and hope my answer makes sense.

To my understanding, we have a mini-game with various difficulty levels to pick from. Get a perfect score on easy, you get some stuff. On normal, you get some stuff, on hard, you get some stuff, and then there's an extra mode where you can play it as much as you want just for the sake of playing it, with no extra prizes. I'm pretty darn confident in at least the first half of my answer here, hope it helped

The Last Laugh:

I have the entirety of No! stuck in my head. Thanks a lot TMBG. Now have a good weekend everyone.

Googleshng "No longer must I sweep for you for I am not your broom!"

I'd quote Wakeup Call but it's kinda hard to do so in text.

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