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     Head room is the best gift of all.   June 8, 2005

I'll explain the title of today's column in my closing. Before I get into the letters though, does anyone who reads this column happen to know anyone who works in the submissions deptartment of Steve Jackson Games? I'm wondering if something got lost in someone's mail a few months back.

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Datgaea.

Hey Goog or Andrew -

To the reader who says his copy of FFV on FFAnthology is doing strange things - you're not alone. Mine does similar things where the save screen turns into a jumble of pixels. Mine is a regular, non-Greatest Hits version, but only does it about 10% of the time. Enough to be annoying, but not a problem. Besides, the ROM version of FFV floating around has a better translation, in my opinion.

And yeah, Suikoden 1 is pretty short. I can usually roll through that game in 12-16 hours and still get all 108 Stars.

I wanted to add about flash movies - c'mon, don't tell me that 8-bit Theatre with the FF1 sprites didn't leave you laughing your arse off?

And my real question - I own Disgaea. I like Disgaea. It's fun, it's quirky, it has good voice acting. I even sold the crappy strategy guide that I bought for $15 from a retailer through Amazon for a hefty profit. But I'm curious, as I don't own the other two - so, how do they rate comparatively to each other - La Pucelle, Disgaea, and Phantom Brave?

-DM

Googleshng:
I'd have to say Disgaea's my favorite, followed by PB. La Pucelle just didn't click for me for some reason. They're all good games though. Anway, these other concerns mirror those of other letters in my box, so I'll get to them as I go down.

 
First, Suikoden.

ey Google,

The guy sending in the question about Suikoden from yesterdays column I'm sure was in me beating it in 8 hours. The first time I've ever beaten the game and gotten all the characters it took me about 11 hours, which my most recent time, finishing the game and writing the review every character, was a few minutes over 8 hours. I don't see what problem people have with this game that it's taking so long. I don't rush through the game, yet I get every single item, and yeah, I use different characters ever place I go, but one or two battles at the newer places and their levels are as high as the ones you used before, because while the game is good, it's also very easy.

I just went and looked at the reviews of the other people who wrote them, and a staff review there is 8 to 10 hours, while others range from 15 to 50 hours. I guess because I dislike sitting around and leveling up for a game that's already easy enough. Anyways, maybe the guy can email me if he wants a picture of my characters time at the last save point.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Googleshng:
What is it about really short RPGs with gimmicks that make them seem longer anyway? Suikoden has 108 characters to round up, so you'd figure it'd be at LEAST 27 hours long (15 minutes per character). Then there's Koudelka, a 10 hour game that takes up 4 CDs, and Lost Kingdoms, which is 2 hours long... and that's just plain too short for any game I say.

 
An interesting multiparter.

1. I was wondering, with regard to fire emblem, do you think will sell better, Sacred Stones or the gamecube fire emblem?

Googleshng:
Hmm... I'm going to guess the GBA game honestly. The platform just seems better suited to the genre for some reason (largely due to the number of strategy games and TRPGs out for it already). Plus the GC Fire Emblem isn't going to make any sales based on graphics. It doesn't look bad mind you, but it really doesn't tap into any of the system's potential.

2. When someone mentioned Grandia 2 as having both a novel battle system and requiring the PS2 for said innovations, have you ever played Grandia 1 and if so, why did you not mention it so as to fully dismantle his point. The battle system in Grandia 2 is a complete rehash from Grandia 1. The differences between the two games are story and character-customization based; the core battle system is the EXACT same.

Googleshng:
Well, I could have either very politely said "you're way off base there" like I did, or I could have flown off the handle and foamed at the mouth for three pages. I think I went with the classier option there.

3. Which should I finish playing first, Xenosaga 2 or Suikoden 3? Thanks!

Googleshng:
Well, answer me this. Which are you expecting to pick up next? Suikoden 4, or Xenosaga 3?

 
Easy Ports

Hi answer individual.

You may have received several emails already from smartasses such as myself about this, but in case you haven't, here goes.

In response to the letter from the person experiencing difficulty with their copy of FF5, it's not the game. It's the system. FF5 is on the (relatively short) list of Playstation games that aren't filly compatible with the PS2. There are minor glitches in-game and the save screen periodically appears as a jumbled mess. It happened to me all the time. In-game reloads will usually fix the problem. And compared to some other games, this problem is minor. Have you ever played Tomba! on the PS2? No you haven't. Because it won't get past the friggin' initial loading screen.

So to make this a question email as well and not just a smarmy-type correction one, settle a bet between a friend and I. I know when they made FF1 for the Playstation, they took some of the more frustrating gameplay aspects out, like having characters attack recently-dead monsters, but did they change the difficulty level at all? And were further changes made for the semi-recent GBA release?

Googleshng:
Yes, like pretty much all ports, and particularly ports to handhelds, down comes the difficulty a fair bit. The most significant examples I can think of is both ports having difficulty levels, run buttons, etc. thrown in, and the GBA version I'm told ditches the weird D&D style "I can cast 8 level 1 spells, and 1 level 8 spell" system for your standard MP, consequently seriously upping the number of healing spells you can toss off.

 
On that note...

Hey Goog,

Not that it's really important or anything, but Zelgadis is a character from the anime Slayers who has rock skin because he's part golem. He'd also totally whip Ed in a fight because Slayers is a fantasy anime in which Zel can chuck huge fireballs and other fun magicky stuff. Huge fireballs > alchemy. The end.

Anyway, actual question: what do you think the chances are of Konami ever releasing a compilation, updated (like the Sega Ages PS conversions) or not (like FF Anthology), of Suikoden I and II? Both games, especially the second one, are nearly impossible to find these days, but they're both classics which I missed before and would like to play (even if the first one is insanely short). It's also not all that long until the tenth anniversary of the first one's release, so it just seems like a good time. I emailed Konami about this long ago, but of course, they just ignored me. All gigantic game companies are wankers like that, I bet.

On a completely unrelated note, FE: Sacred Stones is eating my brain with its funness and causing me not to get my final papers done on time. Hail FE, lord of addiction!

frong

Googleshng:
Zelgadis was the one I knew actually. Anyway though, you can't really expect a random PR person from a U.S. based publisher to know the answer to a question like that. Or the head of that publisher, the games' dev team, or any other given person when you come down to it. These sorts of decisions aren' made all that far in advance. If they were working on one, you'd know about it, if they aren't, then either they're too busy with current projects, or it just plain doesn't seem like a good idea at the time. If those circumstances change, then again, it'll probably happen, and you'll hear about it pretty much immediately.

I suppose the odds are fairly good of such a thing happening at some point or other, on the grounds that everyone else is doing it, but then Konami hasn't really jummped on that particular bandwagon yet. If they did though, I'm sure you'd see a Castlevania collection or 3 first.




The Last Laugh:

Right. So anyway, the title. Tomorrow is my birthday, and as a present, someone has offered to pay for my ceiling to be raised from the current height of about 3 feet to one where I can actually, you know, stand up. This is great in the long run, but in the short run, I'm not going to have a roof here next week. So depending on what quality of temporary shelter I can slap together, there's a decent chance of guest hosts next week.



Googleshng "The best part is ditching the broken skylights!" @rpgamer.com

Or standing. Hard to say.

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