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Feast On Your Eyes November 23, 2005

Matt Demers - 03:01 EST

THOSE DASTARDLY LITTLE cheaters! I'm always looking for the good in people, and particularly the students that I work with every day. However, during Test 4 today, my rose-coloured glasses were ripped off of my face, thrown on the floor, and then stomped upon a few times for good measure.

We caught not one; not two; not three; but FOUR different students in the same quadrant of the lecture hall today with their eyes straying from their papers quite obviously intentionally. The general rule in such a case is to go and stand near them as a TA, but the little brats were audacious enough to not even care about that! One girl was so bad that I actually went and gave her a warning, which she well deserved. The end result is that I ended up standing in the same section of seats for the entire test, so about a quarter of the class is going to think that I'm the most evil teacher's assistant of all time.

*sigh*

Onward, to the complaining, musing, guessing, and all-around question-answering:




L E T T E R S
Star Ocean: Till the End of my patience


Greetings Matt,

I keep hearing of your difficulties with the AI in Star Ocean 3. I donít remember having any great difficulty with them. In fact, I would often run around avoiding the enemies and let my allies decimate the enemy while the bonus gauge built up. Cliff, especially, was able to lay out damage and combos like nothing else.

I believe there were skills you could upgrade that would influence the AIís behavior. If my foggy memory is right, it was possibly to upgrade HP, MP, Attack and Defense. The latter two influenced the way in which the AI handled the charactersí battles, not their power and resistance to damage. But I also seem to remember that the balance being wrong could lead to some really bad AI decisions (like raising Defense too high). I think the system is flawed, but if you know what youíre doing, your allies can be really helpful, and I had a ton of fun with it.

Itís not much of a question, but did you take this into account when forming your views of the AI in SO3?

-Tyke

Matt

Thanks for your insight. The thing is, that my brother actually gave me heck for ONLY levelling-up those very attributes of attack and defense (or at least, putting SP into them over HP and MP most of the time).

Where am I coming from? I played Star Ocean: The Second Story. By and large, the AI was good. I'm big on defensive battling, so I would always have a healer (or two, if possible!) in my party. In that game, they were always on top of things with a Fairy Light or Revival spell as soon as needed. In Till the End of Time, I found that it didn't matter to what degree of wiped-outness my party became, or what strategy I had healers set to; they just took their good old time to get out their recovery magic, if they EVER did. In fact, on many occasions, they would spend the time instead standing completely still (NOT because they were on that setting either) or hopping around like a mindless jumping bean on steroids.

You don't speak of such characters; you speak of attackers. For the most part, my Cliff and Nel performed "all right" in battles. My Fayt, however, did not. It didn't matter what strategy I had him set to; if the computer was controlling him, it always chose for him to cast spells that would do meagre hundreds of damage rather than ultra-fear-instilling apocalyptic attacks that would have done tens of THOUSANDS of damage. It made no sense to me, and it happened with such a frequency that I wanted to throw my controller at the monitor on more than one occasion.

Anyway, I don't have an explanation. Maybe my game was a glitchy one... it DID freeze on me twice, and it corrupted my save data as well. Perhaps Tri-Ace is just trying to drive me craaazy! Well, unfortunately for them, it's FAR too late.

MWAHAHAHAHAHA... foiled again! Go work on Star Ocean 4, fools. Sorry I couldn't arrive at a different conclusion, Tyke!! Does anyone else share my opinions though? Am I really that crazy?



Bowling for Controllers


Hey Matt. I Finally have it, its mine, my own, my precious!

Matt

What? What do you have? Oh, right, Mario Kart. Damn you! I hate you... lovingly, as always, of course, but I still hate you.

Anyway I've heard a lot of complaints about the new Revolution and PS3 controller's but I don't know what the fuss is about? A Third party manufactorer will more and likely make an actual controller that we can use so there shouln't really be any comparison to a system justb by its controller. (Though we own 7 joystick broken '64 controllers).
Matt

So do most of you really use third-party controllers? I'm sure they may make them more allegedly "usable", but back in the day, a third-party controller for the NES was the cause of incredible interference on my TV screen. In fact, I thought that my console was "broken" for the longest time (in fact, during my very first playthrough of Dragon Warrior IV) because every time I would turn on the system, I'd get a fuzzy, very snowy, illegible version of it (as if it were on the wrong channel). Well, I went to try "one last time" one day, and when the same thing happened, I dropped my hands in dramatic despair, and accidentally yanked the controller out of the port. At that very instant, I immediately heard cheery music and was met with a brightly lit screen free of any interference whatsoever. That was another of the "happiest moments of my life", few as they may be!

Lesson learned? I've never used third-party equipment since.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to at least the Revolution's controller. What we've seen of PS3's controller makes me wonder about what they're attempting to say with those lengthy controller handles; last time I heard, it wasn't size that counted; or pointiness, for that matter. All the better to stab your friends with, I guess! Or maybe... never mind.

Also yesterday I passed over Xenosaga 2. Was that a smart idea as to the fact that number 1 was never released over in PAL shores (number 2 came with number 1's FMV sequences. Anyway Mario Karts calling, and i've still havn't passed all the missions yet!

Godmorning Bainick

Matt

That DOES seem a bit kooky, I must admit, considering that a) the first Xenosaga was superior in many respects to the second; and b) there's a fair amount of continuity between the two... the quick summaries given in the sequel don't do Episode I justice. Oh well, stranger things have happened.

Have fun Karting!



Some funnay storays


Hiya Matt!

Okay, I had to laugh when you were bemoaning the difficulty of opening of game packages especially controller packages. It made me think about my own recent adventures with a controller package.

I had purchased a game recently (an action game, so I shall not name it here), and I was all fired up to play it. I finally got some time with the TV for playing games (read outlasted everyone in the waiting to go to bed game) and popped the game in. Much to my chargrin and horror I was presented with a screen telling me that my controller was not appropriate to play my game. I had to use an official PS2 controller (read Sony only).

Matt

Well, howdy-doo! That's really weird... you people must be conspiring together or something. Honestly, too, I read your letter for the very first time only AFTER I responded to Bainick's letter. There must be something in the air besides Christmas cheer and hormones of turkey-consumption-preparation.

So, yeah, I was really cheesed off that my fully compatable (even the packaging said it was fully PS2 compatable) controller was deemed unworthy. But, desparate to play the game, I saved up to purchase an official controller, and two weeks later, I bought the object that would end my game obstruction.

But, I still had one more problem. The stupid, consarned packaging! And what was worse, I could not find a pair of scissors! Ever find yourself in such a situation? I find myself in it often. The only time it is worse is trying to open the packaging for a new pair of scissors... which requires a pair of scissors.

Matt

Hahaha!! A LOVELY case of irony. I grant you a free tilde for that one~

Anyway, long story short (too late!), I finally found a pair of needle-nose pliars and used them to pull at the plastic until it weakened into a tiny whole. I then spent the good part of 15 minutes just pulling and prying with the scissors against the obstinate packaging, trying to get the whole large enough to wedge the controller out. By the time I finished, the packaging looked like a face-hugger had burst from it. But I got my controller.

Matt

Well, it's still not terribly short, but it's funny! Pliars totally beats me; to get into my last controller package, I gave UP on scissors and instead tried to saw into the plastic packaging using the Miracle Blades in the kitchen. I came a trifle too close to sawing through a wire though, too, and that would have been most unfortunate. I bet this is some sort of conspiracy just WAITING to be figured out.

Worst part of this story is that the game turned out to moderate at best... *sigh* Have you ever found yourself jumping through hoops for a game you're dying to play to only find that after your herculean effort it's mideocre at best?

Done with Random Thoughts,
MagRowan

Matt

Hells yeah! It's the story of my life! I think the best example of this was probably when Dragon Warrior Monsters was released, signalling the series' return to North America. I went well overboard whining to my poor mother for the longest time that I wanted it for my birthday, since I had no money as an about-to-go-to-school seventeen-year-old, and I made absolutely sure that she pre-ordered, picked it up immediately, etc, etc. I played it for HOURS and HOURS the first night, and I've never been so disgusted by a game in history. This is not because it was the WORST game of all time, but it was such a big step down from my much-loved series. Oh sigh... who first thought up the whole "random dungeons" dealie anyway?



Games of today and tomorrow to look forward to!


Hi Matt!

I finally got DQ 8, so I started that up just last night. I'm only a little over an hour in, but I have to agree with all of the positive impressions, and I'm so glad that this has lived up to my expectations so far. It brings the older RPGs to mind, not just because of the combat though. It has a certain atmosphere to it that I really can't quantify except for it being...good somehow. I like the colors, everything is really brought to life. The voices work very well. I love seeing all the monsters and their attack animations. Yeah, pretty much the same stuff everyone is saying I guess, but it's worth mentioning again and again. Have you followed any of the news that has been posted about Disgaea 2? What do you think of it so far, dood? All of my anticipation was sorta spent on DQ 8, but I'm sure I'll get revved up about that one too soon enough.

Jeremy

Matt

Hello hello! I'm glad you're having a great time with the game so far! It should give you just as much pleasure a hundred times again, thanks to the massive length, no innuendo intended.

Disgaea 2 is among my biggest desires for next year! Once the dust settles with this string of current releases, that's the game I'll be looking forward to most. This is a chance for redemption after the disappointments of Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom, and I really hope that they do it well. The first one was fantastic, and if NIS plays its cards right, they could make a masterpiece of a sequel!



Ya hit the nail on the head!


Hello Matt,

I would first like to say that I too started at an early age with RPGs. I believe I must have been 5 or 6 when I first played through Final Fantasy (what year did this come out?) and Dragon Warrior 1. I have not played through Final Fantasy 1 in a long while, but I remember when I was a child, I could just not get past this underwater dungeon - Perhaps it was the dungeon where you fight Kraken? So many years later, I just cannot remember. In any case, I played through Dragon Warrior on my own, and from there I was hooked. My absolute favourite was DW4. I've played it through so many times I cannot even count. In fact, I still have the old NES cartridge at home in Ottawa, even though I don't have a Nintendo. The third chapter with Taloon and fourth chapter with Nara and Mara are my favourites. The plot was so epic, and as a fresh and innocent child, it made a big impact. So too did FF4, which actually moved me to tears, but I digress.

Matt

That's not that much of a digression... come on, if you read Q&A once-weekly, you'll know that I start talking about crazy, off-topic things all the time, and for no real reason at all. I'm not sure why this is, but it could be from my mom; she was always a bit absent minded, and we tease her about it regularly. I feel bad though, lately, because I don't want her feelings to actually get hurt. I miss my mommy... but I digress.

I'm now playing DQ8, and I'm completely thrilled with it. I am about 25 hours through. My favourite monster so far - the Dancing Devil with his Sultry Dance. Oh, how it makes me laugh. I've caught the dancing fever! In any case, I'm trying to locate some kind of source online which gives a little bit of assistance with alchemy. I've been trying to .. alchemize? a better boomerang for my hero, and to do so it says it needs a regular 'ol boomerang, and something pointy. Well, all the pointy items I've tried have failed, and I've been forced to move onto another weapon. Any ideas? Have you come up with any neat alchemy concoctions?

Thanks Matt,
Jody

Matt

I got asked this very question earlier in the night! That SPECIFIC question! Now, I don't want to give any spoilers away, but I've made a few cheesy delicacies through trial-and-error. Is it just me, though? Amazingly, I figured out the "pointy object" right away, and I'm STILL equipped with that boomerang five areas later, but other people are having problems.

I'm not big on spoilers, so I'm not going to answer many SPECIFIC Dragon Quest VIII questions for quite awhile. However, you get the pointy object from a barrel, or something, in the same place that you find the recipe for the item requiring it... as far as I remember, anyway. I managed to figure it out on first glance, so take a second look through your TOOLBAG for something that fits the bill of being "pointy", and get back to me. ;)





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

A shorter column today, I'll admit, but it was fun to write up. It's just been a LONG, LONG day full of torturous things. If someone wanted to top it off for me, they could come up and say "Hey Matt! You missed question 5 on the assignment!!" I'd much rather consume copious amounts of ice cream. Hey, I need some sustenance, so that I'm not TOO envious of all of you Americans and your turkeys and stuffing and such. I think Canada should have TWO Thanksgivings...

Flashay!


I haven't had as much response, letter-wise, or SOCK-wise over the past couple of days, no doubt due to Thanksgiving vacation that many are currently enjoying, though I should check to make sure I don't just have bad breath or body odor.

I've been trying to make these SOCKlings more difficult, and I think I puzzled a good number of you with yesterday's, which makes me proud.

#55 was pretty tough, I'd say, and I stumped at least half of you. The screenshot was taken somewhere down the chute in b) Arris Dome. 25 points to everyone who managed to correctly identify it! And good eye...

How much do you guys pay attention? well, some of you went through and did the calculations, and some of you guessed. As I've mentioned a few times, I take the #52 bus most of the time. If you visited my staff bio, you would have discovered that I'm at the elderly age of 22. Finally, yesterday's column was the 29th of my RPGamer career, and thus (55 + 22 - 29) was the correct answer; in other words, I was looking for a) 45, for 20 more points.

For tomorrow:

Question #57: Follow me!--> What exactly is Crono charged with at Guardia castle and tried for in court near the beginning of the game? (20 points) a) Willful Princess Kidnapping
b) Unauthorized Royalty Theft
c) First Degree Capture of Royalty
d) Premediated Abduction of Royalty
e) Princess-Snatching with Intent

Question #58: (30 points) Which of the following items do I have the "least luck with", traditionally, in that I almost ALWAYS lose the item nearly immediately after obtaining it, for some reason or another?

a) Red Pens
b) Lead for Mechanical Pencils
c) Scotch Tape
d) White Erasers
e) Stamps

Remember! QNA mail continues until further notice, so if you want to send in your best guesses, send here.

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

200 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!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)



Well well, everyone! Keep telling me what's on your minds! Is anyone doing anything RPG- related for Thanksgiving? Is that even a legitimate question? A better one, addressed above: Who agrees that the Star Ocean: Till the End of Time battle system is wonderful? Please write in!! OR, tell me I'm right. Either way, you might see your letter answered tomorrow!

On that note, farewell!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt does not enjoy 5 centimetres of snow.


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I have never owned a mechanical pencil in my life. Why have I told everyone? Everybody raves about sweet endings, right? I just want you to have a sweet ending, too!!! A hint here or there might help to further that cause!

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Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's False Delight Cookies

Ah, a recipe full of delicious almosts and not-quites, great for someone who "sort of" has a palate. Give these to guests that you don't really like, and maybe they won't overstay their welcome for just as long. Final Fantasy XI and X-2 fans might like these as well.

-1 1/2 cups white flour
-1 cup oil
-1 cup Splenda
-3 portions egg substitute
-1 tsp imitation vanilla extract

Combine the wet ingredients, then add the flour and stir until doughy! Bake in an Easy-Bake Oven until they look like cookies. Try to just about enjoy them!

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522 pts

2. Ourobolus
515 pts

3. Jbumi
474 pts

4. Flamethrower
344 pts

5. MagRowan
275 pts

6. Arros Raikou
274 pts

7. Xlash
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8. Bainick
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8. Jeremy
247 pts

10. ~Sean~~
215 pts

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