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Zero Hour November 14, 2005

Matt Demers - 04:50 EST

WE STAND together here, at the start of an exceptionally big week in the RPG world this year. Not only is one of my most-anticipated games ever being released tomorrow; it is being released alongside several other titles as well, including the long-awaited Wild ARMs: Alter Code F, and Magna Carta. It's going to be a week of butterflies and happiness, but right now I'm feeling a different kind of butterflies: Butterflies of anticipation! No, I haven't resorted to actually eating the little critters. Besides, they've all gone into hibernation, now that winter's icy grip is nigh.

What say we warm up my icified fingers by plunging them into the inbox and discovering what things you guys have sent me over the weekend? Does that sound like a good plan? Too late! Here goes:

The difference is in the extra "I"

Dear Matt, I think one of the best things they could add into FFVI is an actual seven-dream sidequest for Shadow and a, *sniff*, happy ending for th guy. D; Has anyone actually gotten hold of the seven dreams thing? I've only ever heard about that rumor and... while it's possible that it's really just a rumor like that.. oh, Aeris-revival-sidequest-that-was-removed-in-VII, don't you think those five other dreams were there for a purpose? :O


Of course they were! And watch the spoilers, though if the entire universe doesn't know of Final Fantasy VII's biggest shocker by know, I'd be extremely surprised.

Shadow's dreams in Final Fantasy VI don't serve any purpose other than to provide some sort of window into the background of his otherwise shrouded life. While it's an interesting idea, I doubt highly that they'll make an entire side-quest out of them; you already jump into another character's dreams over the course of the second half of the game anyway, and Shadow already sorta has the Coliseum as "his special place".

And it got me thinking too :D! I do think a lot of us think FFVI kicks FFVII's bum already, but it just hurts when the newer fanboys flock to Final Fantasy VII. Admittedly, the movie was awesome (and the voice actors, Japanese ones, just complete fanservice...) but it admittedly had some major flaws too, like inconsistencies within plot that... people.. .would.. only.. be.. too happy to dismiss because of eyecandy. ._. Why won't they play Final Fantasy VI? D; I think though that part of what made Final Fantasy V II a hit is the fact that it 'takes' some of the FFVI's characters and 'improvizes'. While talking about FF:AC one day, for example, and explaining the why and how Sephiroth came to be I kinda realized how.. well, he kinda reminds me of Kefka. :O! Both are crazy, insane, want to be Gods and.. feel.. uh.. betrayed? (Sephy had a big Mother-complex, Keffy had... insanity..) Both were, if I remember right, products of some nasty experimentation (Esper-blood? I think I vaguely remember them implying something along the lines or have I been reading too much fanfiction? And then Sephy had Mako (?) injected into his blood :O) and like Kefka was kinda obsessed with Terra... Sephy was kinda obsessed with Cloud. I think there's a lot of.. parallels between the two games. Like, uh.. rip-off? :d


There's no denying that the two games have a large number of parallels. Several plot elements are remarkably similar; the battle systems of Final Fantasy VI and VII are quite alike in construct; the spell systems are somewhat parallel as well. Perhaps that's why VII did as well as it did; everything in VI was great in the first place, and VII polished things up by adding FMVs, attracting huge amounts of attention.

Kefka and Sephiroth though? Kefka was far more psycho, and way more evil in a crazy, chaotic, nonsensical way. Sephiroth was cold, calculating, and frighteningly evil, but he had a rhyme and reason for his ways. I wouldn't say that one is ripped off the other, though, because there are several other series that commit far worse versions of the same crime.

*eyes Pokémon Ruby, sitting upon the shelf on the bedside table

^_^ I wonder if it's wise if I skipped Suikoden IV in favor of Suikoden V. I'm still upset with Konami for not bring my Hero2 into Suikoden III. *smiff* He would have been an... old fogey as you put it... but it'd have been cool. So cool. Why did Tir get all the happy treatment? D;

~obsessed with emoticons much Ai-chan.

PS, What do you think about.... Lord of the Rings.... Tactics...? *shudders*


Hero2? Who is this Hero2?

Tir? Who is this Tir?

Ai-chan? Who is this Ai-chan?

Where am I? Where am I???
Yeah, Lord of the Rings Tactics is something I wouldn't buy, just because it's called "Lord of the Rings Tactics". Movie-based games are always last on my list of things to do, with the sole exception of movies based ON games, which can sometimes be even worse. Mario Brothers? Those guys were GOOMBAS? Sacrilege!!

Kweh! Wark! Woogie-woo!

where do Chocobos come from?


Ohhh... my shortest question to date, proof that more of you need to start writing in with your queries!!

Anyway, the answer is not so clear-cut. Chocobos could come from Chocobo Eggs, but they could also be summoned by a pretty elementary caller from the Land of Summoned Monsters (and by "pretty", I don't mean "beautiful"). Another possibility is the incredible Carrot: If you use one where the odor of chocobos wafts through the air, a Big Chocobo might just materialize and offer to act as your personal safe-deposit box!

If, on the other hand, you're talking about within the history of the Final Fantasy series, then the first chocobo reared it's cute little bug-eyed head back in Final Fantasy II, where there was a single forest. Chocobos in that game were priceless, since travel time over the huge super-continent-overworld was never short, and the battles were never easy. They've appeared in each and every Final Fantasy game since!

I need a Saving Throw NOW!

Hey Matt,

Heh, I woke up this morning to find my SOCK answers to be sitting in an e-mail in an unsent form. OOOPS! I had them both right too. :(

Todays answers are... White Dragon... and... Final Fantasy III/IV. It came out before the others (I actually bought it on release day here in Canada which at the time happened to fall on the day after my bday). It cost me 113.51 or some such amount. The others I bought later when they came out. =)


Yeah man... if there's one thing that was wrong with the old-school generation, it was the price that came with being a gamer. Not only did things cost twice as much as they do now, I was making 0% of the money that I make today!

A crying shame.

As for my birthday present... no games were given. But... I did get cash to spend on a game, so now I have to choose again... Magna Carta, or Castlevania? Or, should I just use the cash to buy DQ8 and save my own? Mind you, Atlus games are a rare commodity as it is, and even rarer here in Quebec, as they are not allowed to put Atlus games on the shelves bacause of some "no-French on the back of the box\manual, so no putting it on the shelf" law.

And Magna Carta would be interesting to try since I haven't played anything Korean yet... Are you at all interested in it?


Sure I am! It looks gorgeous, first of all, and also looks to be a blend of a few possibly fresh and innovative ideas. The problem is, that despite the fact that even though it does look like it holds promise, there's just so much other stuff coming out in the next couple of months. Someone's gonna have to buy it for me, as a result.

Anybody wanna be my sugarparent?

Imagine you are creating a battle system for an RPG. You have one spell that you want to implement - a spell that temporarily enhances your strength for a single swing of your sword. How would you do it? I am looking for an interesting mathematical formula that can be used to add or multiply the original damage roll. ^_^

Have fun!



My uneven-tilded friend, that would a very difficult thing to do without knowing the mechanics of your game!

A similar spell was included in my own little-known tabletop RPG series, created by yours truly in ancient times. The characters of that game came with a certain base attack power that was multiplied by a weapon multiplier. The spell of "Hyper" used to just double again that whole amount before taking into consideration monster defense. I'd suggest doing the same: Take whatever the normal attack roll would be, and multiply it by 1.5, 2, or 3, rounding up. It might be a good idea to ask Nwash, who is in the process of preparing his new column dealing exclusively with tabletop RPGaming for a grand opening in just a week or two!

Dragon Quest spinoffs that spun out

Hey Matt,

So, two more days... one more from the time you (hopefully) put this in the column... Are you ready for that DQ goodness?? Or DW, whatever, they lost some good ice cream jokes when they had to change the title to Dragon Warrior from Dairy Quee.... er... Dragon Quest.


Good sweet damn! How could I have not made that connection until this point?? My two greatest loves are coming together: Turn-based RPG action and soft-serve ice cream blended with goodies!! I'm SO going to Dairy Queen on the way home from the mall on Tuesday afternoon and getting a Medium Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard, because they are so absolutely delectable that my happiness goes up by at least 20 points immediately following their consumption.

Anyway, I'm MORE than ready... I'm counting down the hours! We're down to about 32 at this point. It's too bad that this week is looking to be so busy... how predictable!

What's your opinion on the DQ/W spinoff series? I haven't enjoyed a lot of the Torneko series, though the Dragon Warrior Monsters games were fun enough, in a Pokemon sort of way, and the cameo appearances of various major bosses from previous games was amusing. I currently have the chance to get a copy of the first Slime Quest spinoff game (technically titled : Slime Morimori Dragon Quest : Shougeki no Shippo). Do you have any thoughts on this one? I've noticed RPGamer has ZERO coverage. The one review on GameFAQs is pretty positive, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask a known DQ/W afficionado for his opinion.


Dragon Warrior Monsters took the monsters out of Dragon Quest games past, and smashed them together in a not-so-desirable mush of overly long random dungeons and out-of-your-control arena battles. The battle system was a bit sloppier, for some inexplicable reason, than that of the core DQ games, and the lack of any real storyline sealed the letter on that one, so to speak. It didn't really stop me from getting addicted for a time, but all the game really did was leave me CRAVING a real Dragon Quest game, which was made all the more painful at the time by the Dragon Quest VII screenshot teasers being released by RPGamer. Boy, was I happy when I heard that that one was crossing the Pacific!!

Back on subject, Dragon Quest Monsters 2 was an enormous improvement over the first, but still didn't come close to Dragon Quest wonderfulness. I'm a Torneko virgin, and I don't know too too much about the Slime Morimori thingamajig. Not too many people do over on this side of the world, as of yet. Of course, that may change if Dragon Quest VIII does particularly well.

Also, recently saw a promo for the new Slime Quest DS game, and nearly collapsed laughing. Apparently in this one, a large group of monsters has attacked the Slime Village in tanks the size of small office buildings and made off with everyone. One little blue slime is left, wandering the world all alone... until he stumbles onto a gigantic slime-shaped tank, and starts blasting things to kingdom come. It looked like there were a lot of touch-screen puzzle games involving loading and moving the tank, and some big battles against enemy monsters' vehicles. All in all, looked cute as heck!

--Gaijin Monogatari


Well, one thing is evident: You'd need some serious fanbase to get that game over here. What does that say about the poor little guys?? They must not be in league with the big baddies all the time, and since they help you out from time to time in later games (IV, onward, I believe) there must be at least a little bit of good in them. I mean, just look at the things: If they were sitting on a speed-bump, they'd be shaped like an upside-down heart, and clearly, things shaped like hearts mustn't be all bad.

Slimes in tanks, though... this is definitely a new genre waiting to happen. Has anyone played Blast Corps?

Summon a different source

Do you know if there are summons in this game because while reading on the site it says blast worms posses magic powers and the ability to summon familiars but im not exactly sure what they are talking about if possible can you clear this up for me thanks



Well, seeing as no one has actually played the game in North America, it would be quite the feat for me to know exactly, so take it at its face value: There are obviously creatures called Blast Worms in the game that can fry you with magic and then unleash their pets upon you to feast upon your entrails. Rated M for Mature!


Well, suffice it to say that I had some severe e-mail issues over the weekend, and thus I didn't receive a single letter, spam or not, in my inbox from Friday onward. I assume that this is the chief reason why I didn't have very many Qs to A today, right? RIGHT?


Yeah, so I can't really update this either, because it is possible that some of your e-mail responses got lost in the shuffle while my account was down. So, I extend Thursday's question by one more day: If you sent in a response over the weekend and you're feeling particularly vigourous enough to send again, then please do! New questions will be up for sure in Tuesday's edition!

Oh, and Final Fantasy VI was over with as of 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, so Chrono Trigger shall be featured in the coming weeks! Stay tuned!!!

Anyway, to repeat from Thursday:

Question #44: (20 points) Follow me!--> In Final Fantasy VI, how many crates are in the town of Nikeah?

a) 0
b) 28
c) 40
d) 42
e) 56

Question #45: (15 points) What is the most anyone has ever won on the US version of the game show "Jeopardy!" in a single day during NORMAL gameplay (i.e. not during tournaments)?

a) $37,000
b) $45,001
c) $52,000
d) $55,001
e) $75,000

Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

100 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
500 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #1 (5 remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Soundtrack (5 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)

Tomorrow is the day, everyone. The day we've all been waiting for. I hope you're as excited as I am!

Until then, why don't we touch on some things from earlier on in today's column? What do you think about movie-to-video games? Or video-game-to-movies? Are either acceptable at any time, in any way? Or should they be banned from existence? Also, to celebrate November 15, what's your favourite Dragon Quest or Wild ARMs game and why do you feel the way you do? Make your voice be heard!! Submit, and submit often!

Good day to you all.
***Matt's bank account is preparing for a direct hit!

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Oooh, the tension is just BUILDING! Like a Mischievous Mole!


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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

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Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's Chocolate Celebration Cookies

Another REAL recipe! These sweet treats are the perfect things to munch on while playing a brand new game, whatever that new game may be. If you wanted, you could shape them into little slimes if Dragon Quest VIII is what your desire is, like me!

-1 c Butter

-1 1/2 c Sugar

-2 Eggs

-2 tsp Vanilla

-2 c All-purpose flour

-2/3 c Cocoa

-3/4 tsp Baking soda

-1/4 tsp Salt

-2 c Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. In large mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Munch away!

SOCK standings:

1. Jbumi
365 pts

2. Ourobolus
320 pts

3. DDX
307 pts

4. Arros Raikou
192 pts

5. Flamethrower
169 pts

6. Binser
135 pts

6. ~Sean~~
135 pts

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115 pts

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95 pts

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