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Chapter VIII: In Which a Review is Revealed

Lusipurr - Half-Past Now O'Clock

Greetings, little people.

I am here whilst your normal host, Sean Kepper, is in hospital recovering from third-degree burns. Apparently, due to causes unknown, Sean burst into flame here at the RPGamer office on Wednesday evening. The presence of large containers of liquid propane in my vehicle was purely coincidental. Sean is doing fine, but the most severe burns cover 1/3 of his body. As a result, I shall henceforth take over 1/3 of his columns, so you'll see me every Friday hereafter.

I have not been assigned to serve the readers lately, so I've been hard at work. "On what?" you ask. "On this," I duly reply, giving you a link to my Staff Review of Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess. For some reason my boss, Michael Cunningham, thought the review was 'too good' for the site. In fact, it is so good that they cannot put it on the index or list it with the other reviews for fear of putting the rest of our review staff to shame. Therefore I have undertaken to put it here where you can see it. Enjoy.

I will now address your tiresome and annoying questions.

Curiosity of the Masses
The Legend of Mana

Hello whomever is hosting the column next.

You know, I can't quite understand why they seem to be unable to make a suitable successor to Secret of Mana. That game was fantastic. Yet every time they come out with another game in the series it just seems to lack the magic of the original. I haven't played all of the later games, but from the ones I have played and the reviews on those I haven't, they just don't seem to measure up.

Every time they try, they just seem to fall short or miss key elements.


The Mana series has taken a beating lately--from its producers. The treatment it has received at the hands of reviewers has been no less savage. I lost my faith in Mana once I played Legend of Mana for the PS1. Unlike most people, I did enjoy Sword of Mana for GBA, but not enough to restore my faith in the series--and I don't know if I would have enjoyed it without having played the original on the GB.

I think a lot of 'what is missing' has to do with some of the innovation being added. The games are being made increasingly complicated in an effort to cover up threadbare plots, second-rate graphics and sound, and clunky gameplay. The current Mana development team (if they have not all been fired) need to sit down and play Secret of Mana. They should look at what made that game brilliant, and start with those things faithfully adhered to as the core of a new game. If they want to add fluff to it, fine, but they need to get the core gameplay right first, or the whole thing is a lost cause.

Personally I loved the fact that you could play 3 players. I loved that you could customize the AI for CPU players (to a small extent). I loved the way you level up your weapons and spells. Why can't they just take the elements that people enjoyed, and create a new story. It doesn't really seem like it should be that hard. I think the biggest problem is they keep trying to innovate too much. Don't get me wrong, I love innovation, but only when it is done for a reason. Take a look at DQ 8. That game had updated graphics, but it felt like an old SNES RPG in a lot of ways. There weren't a lot of major innovations in gameplay, just enough to keep you interested. And the result was very enjoyable.


Is there an echo in here? But seriously, I agree with you hands down. I think your Dragon Quest VIII analogy is an apt one. Games can be true to their roots even whilst undergoing a face-lift, so to speak. The shift to next-generation systems need not presage the death of an earlier, classic style.

Well, I keep hoping for a great followup to Secret of Mana, but I don't think I will hold my breath.



I couldn't advise the breath-holding thing--unless you're aiming for suffocation. And, I only offer such advice to readers who espouse nonsensical beliefs (currently about 67.2% of our reader base).

Mac's Back! Break it down!


I have two questions and one challenge for you.


I look forward to both with the greatest anticipation.

1) What would your world be like had Final Fantasy XI never come along?


A shallow, empty shell, devoid of enjoyment, substance, salvation, and happiness.

I would not have many of the friends I have now. I'd have nothing to talk about with RPGamer President The Right Honourable Mikel, First Baron Tidwel. Also, if there was no FFXI, then there would be no FFXII either. It is terrible to consider a world deprived of such a glorious accomplishment.

I'd play a lot more croquet and tennis. What else would there be to do on weekends?

2) Which RPG first drew you into loving the genre?


Final Fantasy I, hands down, no contest. Until then, RPGs and Adventure games were like anything else. Final Fantasy changed all that. I spent countless hours playing and replaying that game. To this day, I wonder how I managed to play it so much.

Finally, give each RPGamer staff member an RPG job class based on what you feel is most fitting of them and explain why.

Here's hoping this challenge is either fun for you or makes you never want to ask the staff for questions again.

- Macstorm


This is much harder. What a challenge! I don't know all of the staff well. Some of them are here in the mornings before I come in, some are only here on weekends, and a few have cubicles or offices on different floors, so I seldom encounter them except for at meetings. I'll have a go at it, though. I'll be using the current list of FFXI jobs, of course. I'm also going to limit my answers to the staff I know reasonably well.

Ardo, Steve (Fanart): Thief. He hides from me!

Athab, Majed (New Updates): Paladin. He'd have to be to take all the stuff we throw at him on a weekly basis.

Baker, Michael (Japandemonium): Blue Mage. He's off in the Far East, and no doubt learning abilities from the many strange and exotic people there.

Boulette, Bryan (Interaction): Ranger. He snipes from afar, and his accuracy is legendary.

Bruckner, Shawn (Content): Scholar. His attention to detail and professionality is without peer.

Cottrell, Jeffrey (Forums): Monk. He needs all that HP to survive flames in the forums. Beware his kicks!

Cunningham, Michael (Editorials): Summoner. Whenever needed, he summons a letter for this column. Ask him about how he recently summoned Bahamut again and again.

den Ouden, Adriaan (Point of View): Another Red Mage. He can do it all. What would we do without Red Mages? The same things, only much more slowly.

Drury, Martin (Saving Throw): Corsair. That explains the dice and the cards.

Jackson, Jordan (PR Assoc.): Samurai. Why do you think they call him Sensei?

Kepper, Sean (Q&A): Puppetmaster. Tinkering with and creating his mechanical game in which you are all going to participate. Pity it couldn't save him from Firaga II.

Long, Andrew (Human Resources): Ninja. You never see the guy!

Loveday, Lauren (News/Media): Red Mage. She can do just about any job passing well, and she can do it quickly. It helps that she can cast Haste on herself.

Miller, Jake (MMORPGamer): Dark Knight. Beware him in any PvP game. He *will* kill you. Again, and again, and again.

Motok, Oliver (Currents): Warrior. He's always on the receiving end of my ire. Far too often he puts up a fight. Far too often...

Neufeld, Anne Marie (Reviews): Dancer. Support with attitude. Cross her and you'll regret it!

Privitere, Chris (Development): Beastmaster. Always working hard to whip his pets into shape. You should hear him trying to get us to obey on the podcast.

Russo, Matthew (Sound Test): Bard. He's the SOUND TEST columnist. Duh.

Self, Johnathon (Previews): Thief. He scours the web, stealing a bit of coverage here, a webclip there, in order to put together the most comprehensive previews anywhere. What, you thought it was natural genius?

Tidwell, Mikel (President): White Mage. He heals any rifts, teleports around the country, and is the only one with the power to Banish.

Walker, Ed (Webmaster): Ninja. He's fast, clever, and you never see him--but he's there somewhere, running the show.

Young, Billy (Public Relations): Dragoon. He uses Delphyne (our Weather Wyvern) more than anyone else.

And I'm the Black Mage, naturally! Which explains why no one wants to party with me.

Now that was a challenge!

This Game is Rated PB

Dear Lusipurr,

One evening I was sitting in my high-back leather chair contemplating the curious world of video games and their relevance to the delicious world of peanut butter sandwiches. As we all know, peanut butter sandwiches are a glorious food sent from the heavenly peaks of Zion. Comparably, video games, too, are equally glorious in their wonderful non-edible ways.


We have similar taste in chairs. I have, of an afternoon, enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich. I only use extra crunchy peanut butter (lots of it) with honey. They are surprisingly good with Darjeeling tea. I recommend it.

After several minutes of mental distress, I could not determine which item held a higher place in my heart. If we could only merge the two together, then surely world peace could be acheived.

So, Lusipurr, if one were to create a revolutionary peanut butter sandwich/video game hybrid, what would be the best course of action in starting such an endeavor?

-Jonathon Self


First you would need to draw up some sort of outline for the premise of the game, core gameplay, some sketches, demos, and the like. Then, you'd need to secure financial backing. JIF might be interested in your project. Perhaps you would guide a little peanut through ninety-nine levels of the peanut factory so that he can be made into delicious extra crunchy JIF peanut butter. Then, he can be eaten with honey and Darjeeling tea.

I'm a sucker for a happy ending!

Answers from Above

Happy Christmas in advance. Again.

So it seems this is to become a regular thing--this dialogue between you and I. If it is to be sustained, you will have to send me letters. You will note that in today's column, Mac mentioned something about me asking the staff for letters. This is what happens when I don't have enough, and it isn't the most satisfactory option. First, most of the staff are too busy to write me letters. Secondly, they are all too stupid to write decent letters. Thirdly, something else. Fourth and finally, I'd prefer to answer letters from the public (this means you).

Therefore hasten to your computers and begin typing your questions, opinions, ideas, complaints, and thoughts. Send them to me. Then, I'll publish them and everyone will be happy. Wow, that wasn't so hard, was it? Of course, if that sounds difficult, please don't be bothered to write in. Anyone who finds writing a letter 'difficult' is too stupid to write a decent letter anyway.

My favourite letters cover three important points: First, how amazing and awesome I undoubtedly am. Second: How I am always right about everything, all the time. Last: Gosh, I'm just so great!

Alright. Enough of this gay banter. Send me some letters. NOW!


Whinge via e-mail!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: Hi.

Lusipurr is as constant as the Northern Star.


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Mmm. Pies.

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
His skin was pale and his eye was odd.
He shaved the faces of gentlemen
who never thereafter were heard of again.
He trod a path that few have trod
did Sweeney Todd
the demon barber of Fleet Street.
He kept a shop, in London town,
of fancy clients and good renown.
And what if none of their souls were saved?
They went to their maker impeccably shaved.
By Sweeney,
by Sweeney Todd
the demon barber of Fleet Street.

My Truly Marvelous and Excellent Reviews

1. Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess

My Entirely Educating and Edifying Editorials

1. Conventions and Gamers
2. Anime, Cosplay, and Gaming
3. The Evolution of Sound
4. ESRB Ratings: Blessing or Curse?
5. Out of Time
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