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November 1, 2006

Matt Demers Arros Raikou - 21:42 EST

GREETING EVERYONE Arros Raikou here, I'm hijacking poor Matt's intro paragraph to try and invite some of you QnA goers to come look at my anime/manga styled artwork which will hopefully become a webcomic before long, though be warned some of the images are a little gory and blood filled and there is more than likely less than pleasant language, you've been warned so
Don't head here if you have problems with those kinds of things

Continuing the CD Discussion


Having caught yesterday's column, I thought I'd clarify the difference between the 20020220 and More Friends albums, with information taken from Wikipedia and Uematsu's website.

The 20020220 album is a live recording of the February 20, 2002 concert at the Tokyo International Forum. The concert consisted of music performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the first reader in the letter (who seems to have left no name) had the track listing correct.

On the other hand, the More Friends album is a live recording of the May 16, 2005 concert at the Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles, CA. Whereas the Dear Friends concerts across the U.S. featured orchestral works in the vein of 20020220, More Friends also featured an appearance by the Black Mages, Uematsu's rock band.

The Gamemusic site (when last checked) didn't feature a track listing, but here's one taken from Amazon:

1) Opening: Bombing Mission (from FINAL FANTASY VII)

2) Aerith's Theme (from FINAL FANTASY VII)

3) Zanarkand (from FINAL FANTASY X)

4) Don't be Afraid (from FINAL FANTASY VIII)

5) Terra's Theme (from FINAL FANTASY VI)

6) Chocobo Theme (from FINAL FANTASY II)


8) Battle 1 ~The Rocking Grounds~ (from FINAL FANTASY III)

9) Maybe I'm a Lion (from FINAL FANTASY VIII)

10) SUTEKI DA NE (Isn't it Wonderful) (from FINAL FANTASY X) Vocal: RIKKI

11) A Place to Call Home (from FINAL FANTASY IX)

12) Melodies of Life (from FINAL FANTASY IX) Vocal: Emiko Shiratori

13) Overture: OPERA "Maria & Draco (from FINAL FANTASY VI)

14) Aria Di Mezzo Carattere: OPERA "Maria & Draco" (from FINAL FANTASY VI)

15) The Wedding Waltz ~Duel~: OPERA "Maria & Draco" (from FINAL FANTASY VI)


I hope this helps!

Eric McLendon


It does, Eric! Why I didn't check Wikipedia in the first place is beyond me, since it's usually one of the very first places I go to grab answers to questions that escape me, even though it's not always 100% reliable.

Incidentally, it's a bit sad to me that there is almost nothing from pre-Final Fantasy VI. There are some absolutely fantastic themes, in my opinion, from the older games, that would be absolutely fantastic in orchestral format. I'm afraid that almost all of these oldies-but-goodies would easily go overlooked in today's world.

Anyway, thanks for your assistance!

There's SO much extra material, you might need to get the game hemmed!


After sending an overlong message last time I decided to stick to one topic to at a time.


Dear me... I never thought this day would come! I will make it no secret: Letters of reasonable length really do make life easier for Josh and myself. We feel the need to respond to as many people as we can, and especially to those who put the effort forth to write such huge letters, but when it takes an hour or two just to respond to a single person, that leaves little time to pledge towards others. That certainly isn't fair!

So anyway, what do you have to say today?

Completing RPGs..... I often find when playing through RPGs that the biggest stopping point for me is usually approaching the "endgame" in a game with challenging sidequests. The dilemma I always face is the question of whether I finish the main plot and go back to a previous save to do the sidequests or try and accomplish them before finishing the main story (and often making the final section too easy in the process). Another issue arises in the dreaded "point of no return" syndrome (particularly if you have only one save which isn't recommended).

One example is Tales of Symphonia where I have got to a point where I am pretty sure I'm near the end of the game but there are many subquests I am aware of that I am not powerful enough to accomplish (a certain bonus boss springs to mind). In the end I just ended up moving onto another game.


Oh, we all know what you're talking about. I often use that excuse: "I'll come back and do the side quests after I'm finished beating up the final boss!" Then, I finish the game and almost never do go back, because well, what's the point? Usually, these mini-games or sidequests are to obtain powerful skills or weapons, but if you can already beat up the strongest enemy in the game, then it seems like a waste of time, unless of course the sidequests/mini-games in question are actually enjoyable.

The first Shadow Hearts was another one I stopped just before entering the final dungeon but I managed to get back to that one and do all the side quests I could find (which weren't too hard in the end) but as a result the end-boss was extremely simple. I was also slightly miffed afterwards to find out I'd missed a whole game section (a whole city rather than just a single room) because of a one time event (3 questions) I hadn't answered "correctly".

Even simple quests like the coffee quest in FFVIII or FFIX (I forget which) was a little silly because as a "pointless" sidequest I would expect to be able to get the items pretty much any time throughout the game but I had missed the first one so was unaware of the quest until too late.


What I don't like about both of those games (FFVIII and IX) is the fact that Disc 4 is a no-man's-land for each of them. For the sake of disc space, presumably, they made all towns inaccessible in VIII and they conveniently placed roots in front of half of the points of interest in IX. Lame-o. LAME-O! I had plans to complete a few little things that I had started in FFIX, at least, but I never got the chance to in the end. Yeah, I really hate keeping second save files, and honestly, I wouldn't have the time to go back and play through them if I wanted to anyway.

I feel like I paint my life on here to be a giant imprisonment where video games are my favourite thing yet I am constantly unable to enjoy them. Well, that's pretty much true. Don't ever start a Master's Degree if you plan on having extra time on your hands (or become a Q&A host, for that matter). :)

And finally the questions. Do you or other people find these "choices" to be an issue in completing games? How do you tend to choose the route to take? And finally do you think the "one-chance" (and unsignposted) only sidequests are a sign of bad game design?


By "choices" I assume you mean optional material; then sure, I think they're an issue. It's fine if sidequests are present, and it's even better when they are somewhat substantial, but I think that it is possible to lose focus of the main game by focusing too heavily on extra material, which is, in my opinion, the one major thing that tri-Ace games tend to suffer from. I don't, however, think that they're an "issue" as if they're an obstacle that I feel that I just *have* to complete before tackling the final villain, no.

I don't think that one-chance-only things are signs of bad game design at all. In real life, if you miss the last bus, you can't just walk off the screen, come back, and get on again. That might not be the best analogy, but I think that extra material like this can make a game feel a bit more realistic. Sure, it can be annoying to know you've missed something, but if that "something" is obvious, I think that it would just give you a reason to replay the game one day, playing it more wisely. I remember playing Final Fantasy VI again and again with my brother and sister, discovering new things every time we went through it - even on our third and fourth times through! It's neat to see the things you missed, I think, especially when they're big and surprising.

That's just the way I see it, though! Other people could be much happier finding everything by sitting down with a strategy guide from the beginning. Whatever lets you enjoy it most, right? These games are supposed to be fun, one way or the other.

I'm currently finishing off the first Digital Devil Saga and feel I am soon going to reach that same issue..... One exception I played was Final Fantasy X, in which I tried to complete a lot of the sidequests before finishing it, but knew that defeating the Dark Aeons was going to take way too long to achieve so skipped them until later and finished the plot (most pointless end-boss ever IMO). I heard someone saying they had spent over 200 hours and hadn't finished off all of them too. I suppose that was less of an issue in the NA release as I seem to recall it not including them.

Anyway that's me finished rambling and it's hopefully not too long.



Hmmm... do you mean Final Fantasy X-2? I say this for two reasons: The endboss of FFX was a sad, sad, sad joke; the biggest joke in the history of the series, despite the flashy background graphics and music. However, I definitely do not recall that any Dark Aeons are in Final Fantasy X, and it sounds more X-2-y, so that's what I suspect you're talking about. Anyway, you could spend upwards of 200 hours easily on the extra material that either game has to offer.

Oh, wow. Upon further reflection, I've discovered that Dark Aeons ARE in Final Fantasy X, but just the PAL version. How about that? You PAL people have something we don't, for once! I'll remember this for the next time one of you guys pipe up... <3


Something that annoys me: for the latest .hack series, Namco/Bandai made public, in promotional material, facts that I consider storyline spoilers for the series (that particular characters are members of an interesting group, a fact not given away in the first game, for the most part). Why did they do that? That is SO annoying, especially since the E3 movie that's a bonus movie IN THE GAME is the main way this info was transmitted!


Oh, I know. I KNOW! It's so annoying, isn't it? I'm extremely sensitive to spoilers, and so maybe this is a little bit of an extreme example, but I was quite annoyed when I read the instruction manual to the original Disgaea to discover that they TELL you within how many chapters there are. I don't want to know!! I want the fleeting hope that there will be more game to come; not the oracle-like knowledge that it's just about over.

Of course, for your example, it's a much, much bigger spoiler, and so yeah, I'd be upset too. You'd think that the people working at the company and pumping out these games would realize as likely RPGamers themselves that people don't want to know the little details. Surprises and twists don't pack much punch when you know what's coming already, do they?

That's too bad, Leaper. Hopefully you enjoy the game in the end, regardless!

More on the dreaded SPOILER... sigh

Hey Matt

Wow. I guessed I missed a little bit in the past couple of weeks didn't I? Huh...Oh well...


Yep, and it all started with the day you left. You were like the "One of Order", Erika! SOCK depended on you for stability! Well, except for that whole Apocalypse deal, I suppose. How are you doing, anyway?

So, here we are, October 31st the day of FFXII's release and I just got the call to go pick up my game. I now have my copy. However, I lack one thing... time. I've been awfully busy these past few days and, what with plans tonight and (as CW mentioned in Friday's column) NaNoWriMo starting at midnight and continuing through November, I foresee myself facing quite the juggling act. I haven't even had time to finish Valkyrie Profile 2 due to having been out of the country for nearly two weeks. But I'm rather more worried about FFXII spoilers since VP is less widespread.


You NaNoWrImO people just boggle my mind!! It would definitely not be easy to try and balance all of that, even without two new console releases and two of my most long-awaited games coming out (FFXII and III, respectively). What are you (and CW, for that matter) choosing to write about? And how far have you come already?

I imagine you're in a more spoiler-prone position yourself. Since you've grumbled about them before can I safely assume that you're not a fan of spoilers? I myself am not; I like to go in without too much knowledge of the game so I've been avoiding reading any detailed plot-related articles since it came out in Japan. I want to be surprised; it's more fun that way. How about you? Have you got a spoiler-avoidance plan or are you just going to cross your fingers and hope for the best?



Oh, Erika. I don't know very many people at all that actually enjoy spoilers; they wouldn't be called what they are if they were loved by many!

As for an "Advance Plan" though, I can't say that I do. I just try to stay on top of overly-excited friends. I've already talked to a few people who are like "HAVE YOU FOUND THIS YET? Well BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBL[etc]!!" I understand that people can just get very enthusiastic about their games, but I make sure that I'm quick to say "Well, let me discover something!" if I see that a conversation is going that way. Also, while looking through my inbox for things to reply to, I'll almost certainly defocus my vision whenever I open any letters entitled "ffxii qusetoin" or other misspelled things like that, so that I can read word by word with utmost care, trigger finger ready to hit "Back" at any time.

Life's rough on this side of the table, but someone's got to do it...

I hope JuMeSyn won't be as broken up as this letter is <3

'You've got style, that's what all the girls say,
Satin sheets, and luxuries so fine,
All your suits are custom made in London,
But I've got something that you'll really like...'
You know the game by now. NAME THAT SONG.


Gah! My knowledge of non-video game music is lacking, and my last choice of game show to appear on would definitely be "Name that Tune". Someone else name it, 'cuz, well, I've got RPGs to talk about.

Oh, and as I cast a quick survey upon what I've written - it seems quite prodigious today. If you have to split it in half, I understand. If on the other hand you can do it in one go, the homework situation must be more pleasant.


Yes. Yes, this is way, way long. I very honestly worry that when you ramble on for such a long time, it will be for nothing, because no one is ever going to read patiently through the entire thing, despite the things you have to say! Bear this in mind!!

Okey dokey DMJewelle, as you were granted the honor/privilege of responding to my alternately bizarre and brilliant bunkum, I shall properly begin by responding to a few of your points. First up - had I known you were far more interested in popular music of the early 80's than Matt, I would have offered to send the track. I still can send you 'The Look of Love', or 'Poison Arrow', or 'When Smokey Sings' - take your pick of ABC hits, I probably have it. Ask Matt if you want me to send you music, but be prepared for it to take awhile thanks to my crappy connection.

Poor DMJewelle... your lack of aptitude for the action game makes me sad on your behalf. Does this only include 2D platformers, or does it extend into the 3D realm? Regardless, if you couldn't take a Sonic title, not much on the Genesis would be within your enjoyment realm. Certainly not Gunstar Heroes... oh, and last time I played it, Street Fighter 2 is many things, but no one would classify it as an RPG. Were you thinking of Shining Force? Or Phantasy Star? Or Shadowrun? Or *shudder* Sword of Vermilion? The Genesis can't match the SNES in RPG content, but it does have a few. Those released in Malaysia, though, I can't speak with regard to.


It's true, though, that some people just weren't built for action gaming. I'll try forever to get my parents into the simple Mario games, but I don't think it will ever work. I let mom try The New Super Mario Brothers, and yes, she ran into the very first enemy that she could have possibly run into. *sigh* Dad, on the other hand, made it all the way to 1-2 without dying on his first play, something that was QUITE surprising. Even then, he died just because he ran out of time.

3-D platformers lose a little bit of something, I think, just because they're not quite as simplistic, and thus not quite as intuitive; it's a lot easier to blame "falling in a hole" on graphical perspective and viewing angle in three dimensions than in two dimensions, where you just don't have an excuse. Shooters and Fighting games and Racing games are all things that I'm generally not good at either though, so never fear, DMJewelle; you're not the only one who feels most at home with RPGs.

As for Sakura Wars, I'm increasingly smitten with the game. I can well understand someone yakking incessantly about it decreasing your desire to have anything to do with it, but I discovered it on my own. As related to the Ouro recently, I just copied the entirety of a fine fellow named Kayama's translations into Notepad and keep the file open while playing. (This is why I like having a laptop - using a desktop for this purpose would be incredibly irritating). And I certainly haven't heard anything of the series ending - as witnessed by the recent port of 1 and 2 onto the PSP, although of course English speakers are screwed. This is a very popular series in Japan; there's no reason for Red to cease its development! As for 3, it'll have to be the Dreamcast model for me. I've already explicated why I do not own and will not own a PS2 to the Ouro. No need to restate it. My grandma pays for EGM because she's nice that way. She retired about 8 years ago, though. And while I COULD ask what she gets in retirement, something tells me that would spark a scene. NO thank you!

Anyone would think you were an aspiring politican, DMJewelle, with the way you dodged that Gamera/Godzilla question and inserted another answer.

"Would you be more willing to raise taxes to fill the budget shortfall, or increase regulations to protect the citizens from environmental degradation? I am in favor of economic growth above all else!" Fine then, answer this one on your own time; Josef Stalin or Mao Zedong? You may NOT insert Fidel Castro, I. Vladimir Lenin, Kim Il Sung, or any other Communist leader! Oh, and would you, after that copious research, classify Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars as something RPGamer should list? Just curious.


DMJewelle: Maybe I shouldn't have given you that letter in the first place. Ah well. Anyway, given that I don't really know anything about Zone of the Enders, but the few sites that I just visited to learn things all have a consensus that it is indeed an action title. I dunno.

Now then; moving on! Matt, aside from Yggdra Union, FFV and probably FFVI, is the venerable GBA dead to new titles in the future? Excepting of course the copious amounts of crap based on Disney Channel shows - but it should be implied that I mean QUALITY new titles.


I think it is, sadly. Not that it should be, either; I'm sure that if more high-quality games were to be produced for it, that they would sell well. I think, though, that developers are turning away from it (or, "have turned", more accurately) in order to focus on Nintendo's DS or the PSP, both of which are obviously far superior from a technical standpoint.

Here we go with another fabulous Albert Odyssey musical installment! You can most likely guess what sort of mood prevails when this piece is played. If you can't, I'll tell you, but I'll be mildly disappointed.


Dread? Terror? EVIL?

Actually, I like "Dread" the best out of the three. Dread, final answer.

Now then; Josh has probably replied to my interest in Tengai Makyou IV by now. I do believe I sent you a link on the game; what's your take? I know that since it will more than likely never be translated into English, and no one has yet made a good Saturn emulator, you will never play it. But I will! As soon as a bit of spare cash trickles into my bank account, I shall acquire this game!


It looks like a unique old game, that's for sure. Those guys from Japan sure did (do?) have a kooky sense of humour.

Mmm, I learn stuff poking around Gamespot's news briefings. Such as Sony guaranteeing legal action against any company with the temerity to try shipping PS3's to Europe before the launch there next March. This being AFTER Sony carried through with legal action to prevent companies shipping PSP's to Europe before the continent saw the thing being released, and Sony being granted court victories over the PSP issue. Sony says it's to ... what the hell, I'll just send the link. Analyze the text, then tell me what it looks like to you.


Oh, yes! I totally forgot about that piece of news! You bet. Sony now thinks that they can control the entire world. Unfortunately, they're going to nosedive if they keep this kind of behaviour up, because people are really, really starting to lose their respect for the company. Obviously, that is not what they need if they're thinking about making it big with their super-kewl Blu-Ray technology. I also heard a rumour that Japanese shipments of PS3s are falling to a mere 80,000 this year instead of the 100,000 promised in September. Ugh.

Poor Matt didn't like the music I sent from Revenge of Shinobi? Let's see if a couple of tracks from Shinobi III sound better to you! That is one boss track, there are a number in the game. This: is heard while Shinobi is riding a horse in one level, and in another where he meets up with a bunch of mortar-using bad guys with the entire background on fire. And that one is heard between the two stages on a surfboard, in a stage that seems to be mostly a series of oil rigs.


Huh. The first one of that set of three is somewhat hard on the ears, though I have to admit, I was listening to something relatively soothing before that, so it could just be the shocking transition to hard notes that's responsible. Ack, no, never mind. That high-pitched melody just doesn't do it for me.

Number two isn't nearly as offensive. These are pretty different from almost any other game I've ever heard. Is the composer unique to the series?

Number three, not so much. Too weirdly swanky, in a way that only 1990s video games can sound, you know? Maybe the music would be more endearing if I had encountered it in-game first.

Also according to Gamespot, Xbox 360 has sold 100,000 consoles in Australia. That's a pretty good number for the country, apparently, although I'm sure Bainick can tell us more about the Australian game market than I. If I do in fact know more... wowsers.


Yes, Bainick! What consoles do you think are most popular down under? What systems do most gamers have the most hunger for down there?? Please, share with us!

Time for another Panzer Dragoon Saga piece! What you're hearing takes place in the Tower, which is inactive at the time when it is accompanied with this piece. Not later though....


I see. Purdy.

And I should clear the record for you now, Matt. My hypothetical Dragon Quest idea last time was NOT meant to deal with Square Enix gypping any gamers in any way. What happened with Shining Force III, should you have missed my editorial on this: Camelot created three discs, 4-5 months between each release. Each Scenario CAN be played on its own, although why you would want to when the game is one entity is a mystery of the universe. Each Scenario is also a minimum of 30 hours long, although I never complete them that fast. So a minimum of 90 hours in total is what Shining Force III takes to play through. Imagine a Dragon Quest, with an overarching story. Three protagonists, each of whom sees one part of the story play out, each with his (or her!) own part of the story as a different disc. The entire thing can only be comprehended by playing the whole game. And Square Enix only brings the first disc to English audiences. Describe your reaction in detail, please. I imagine it does not entail a calm acceptance.


To be perfectly honest with you, I'd feel more despair and sadness than frustration and anger. I'm just too used to not getting Dragon Quest titles over here. I'd be really happy to have even received one third of the game, truly, though I would obviously be simultaneously disappointed at the loss. I couldn't blame them, though; they would probably take such a course of action if and only if that first third didn't sell well. Why on earth would you go to the pains of developing a translation if there was little or no (or negative) money to be made? It's sad, but a reality.

To prevent such an occurence, my friends, from happening, I suggest that we all go and purchase every available Dragon Quest title. Yes? <3

More Genesis music for you! Act 1 of the Ice Cap Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Act 2. Does one sound better than the other? You CAN say they both aren't very good, but know that these tracks have seeped into my mind forever. Y'know, I like having you compare Sonic music. These are the tracks for Act 1 of Sandopolis and Act 2 I certainly don't dislike Act 2, but Act 1 has always struck some inner pang for me. What say you?


Enh, while it isn't really that bad, it isn't anything special for me. And the only real "pang" I'm feeling right now is the one to go back and keep playing Final Fantasy XII. Or Xenosaga: Episode III. Damn.

What I learned today from Sakura Wars 2: coup d'etat is really hard to recognize when rendered in Japanese. It reads in Katakana as: ku de ta. Japanese has no unpronounced letters in its speech, so rendering French words into it is hard on everyone. I do hope I'm not the only one who encounters difficulties spelling French or pronouncing it from the page. Lately I've been intrigued somewhat by Shin Megami Tensei. Clearly I'm not gonna be getting a newer title in the series (has NO ONE reading RPGamer played what was labeled DemiKids in English? Seriously, I want a recommendation!), so don't bother telling me about recent stuff. Super Famicom and/or Saturn is where I'll be investing my time and eBay dollars. I await your detailed instructional speech, Slimey Sensei!


Well, I most certainly haven't! After all, it's a game you're interested in, isn't it? I just haven't had the chance to get into the far reaches of the RPGaming world, I'm afraid, so I don't have a whole lot to say. That said, I have heard of Demikids. Somewhere. Sometime. Maybe in another dimension. But I didn't realize that it was related to SMT; I'll say that much.

I'm having fun reliving my Genesis games, so I'm gonna pass more music on to you! What you're hearing now is the music to the opening stage of Streets of Rage, my favorite beat-em-up series. And the following is from the last stage. To me, they're both great.

Now for Streets of Rage 2! Opening stage, part 1 is what you're hearing now. The final stage has a remixed version of the first game's final stage music, so I'll give you Shiva, the second-to-last boss's music: Different, yes? Now then, Streets of Rage 3 no longer has as much Yuzo Koshiro involvement. This prompts a lot of people to diss its music. I'll give you a couple of tracks and see what you think (there was a point to this after all!) Here's one from stage 5, which appears to be the work of Yuzo Koshiro: And here's one from the bad version of stage 7 (several endings in this game, there are two versions of stage 7 depending upon whether the police chief who has been kidnapped lives or dies): That track is the work of Motohiro Kawashima. I like it quite a bit as a final stage theme, but the music of SoR3 I cannot deny is slightly lacking from the earlier games. What say you?


Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, I have no room left on my computer...

The first Streets of Rage ones are actually oddly familiar, leading me to believe that I've heard the theme somewhere else at one point in the past, since I 100% guarantee you that I've never played the game. You know those conversations we've had in recent times about video game music being ripped off? That's what I'm thinking, though I can't think of where I might have heard it...

The fourth link there is interesting. Hearing this music reminds me of playing Extreme-G for the N64, for some reason, and I haven't even thought of that game in ages. Anybody remember that one?

Despite what others might say, the last two sound pretty neat, in my opinion. I guess they're heavier, though, and aren't as "sharp" as the first few links, which clipped along rapidly and gracefully. Weirdly techy works for me, though, most of the time. Of course, I'm definitely an outsider looking in, here.

Matt, have you ever investigated Langrisser any further? Just because most of the games are forever in Japanese does not mean that it is impossible to play them in English. Langrisser 1, despite being superseded by its sequels, is still eminently playable and might be enjoyable to you - and it received an English localization! Admittedly the game only exists in English on the Genesis, but there are ways around that. Langrisser 2 has a 99.5% complete translation online. I read the whole thing after playing the game on GameFAQs, but it is meant to be attached in patch form to a ROM. By this point in time it should be quite clear that Langrisser 2 will never be officially released in English anyway; it's 12 years old. Or maybe a Sega commercial scared you as a child and you don't want to go that route, but trying out Der Langrisser is perfectly possible! I intend to shortly, right after this Sakura Wars obsession is sated for the time being.


Unfortunately, no, I haven't. I can barely stay on top of all of the games coming out NOW without having to worry about the ones that came out twelve years ago and in other countries!! Maybe I'll get a better chance to take a better look once my Master's Degree is behind me. Maybe.

Hmmm, what music should I let you test now? Why - Skies of Arcadia! This is Galcian's theme, and as you can guess he is not a fun-loving individual. No, the composers did not try an elaborate joke, making the music onscreen completely at odds with the action.


Heh heh, I see. It doesn't exactly sound chipper and merry, does it?

Now where's an RPG in which the superego must be obeyed at all times? I don't mean the honor system, I mean actual legal infractions that carry severe penalties! What would happen if I walked into people's homes and started rummaging through their possessions right now? Well, it's a toss-up between me being beaten into the pavement or being arrested; maybe both.


Hey! In Dragon Quest IV, you get arrested for going through one guy's drawer at one point. It's fun, because the storyline doesn't progress until you get caught, so it feels like you're completely at a loss for what to do until you do something illegal. Of course, it's all a set-up: The owner actually tricks you into it by telling you that "something nice is in that drawer over there", if I recall correctly. So there! There is an example!

How about if I actually went up and tried to engage everyone in conversation? I very much doubt pertinent information would cross a person's lips, let alone private familial details! Again, I would run the risk of being beaten into the pavement. How would one conduct an RPG while respecting the law? I could concoct my own scenario (and probably will) but let's hear Super Slimey's take!

Now I'm going to give you music fro


Really? I'm surprised that you don't, given how lengthy this letter has become. I'm hereby chopping it off, on account of I have better things to do than sit for ANOTHER two hours to get through the rest. Perhaps I'll finish it off tomorrow. Stay tuned...


Ack! Arros just had to butt in today to do some advertising...on the very day of my 200th column as an official RPGamer Staff member! Yay!! Happy me! Throw balloons and confetti; not tomatoes, and especially not mutant ones.

So, I HAVE put the first two hours of Final Fantasy XII behind me, and yes, it is harder than the demos led me to believe, which is undeniably a good thing. Also, the designers were definitely not lazy when it came to making areas; the very first town is bigger than all of the towns in FFX put together, I swear. Wow! Tonight will be a Xenosaga night, though, if I even get the chance to play, which seems questionable. Oh, oh, oh, how I hate everything right now...


For complete contest rules, click here!

Answers to October 31st's Questions

#358. a) $49.99 ($4-..9) - 1,500 points
It's true. The question read "How much does a non-Collector's copy of Final Fantasy XII retail for in Canadian stores?" Believe it or not, it's the same price here as it is in the states, and I have the EB Games receipts to prove it. And Best Buy, while listing it as having a "regular price" of $59.99, is currently selling the Collector's Edition for that price instead, with the plain vanilla version going for $49.99. Less than you'd expect for a Final Fantasy game, that's for sure! (Less than I expected, anyway. I was prepared to shell out $69.99...)

#359. c) Arias (Srias) - 1,500 points
This one read: "A character you meet in one of the following towns has the same voice actress as the one who plays Shion in two episodes of Xenosaga. Which town is it?" Well, the actress who plays Shion is one of my very favourites, I think, and her name is Lia Sargent, who also supplied the voice of Clair from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time; you meet her for the first time in the town of Arias.

Today's New Questions

In a certain Super Nintendo RPG created by Square, you must fight an evil version of everyone's favourite Christmas elf. In what year was that game released in North America? (1,500 points)

a) 1992
b) 1993
c) 1994
d) 1995
e) There was no such game released in North America!!

>Popularity Contest<
Which of the following options will be chosen most often? (Your responses will determine which is right!)
(1,500 points)

a) Zeromus
b) NeoExdeath
c) Ultimecia
d) Necron
e) Yu Yevon

SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

3,500 points:
A.P.G. (1 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Regen Spell (1 left)

5,000 points:
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (1 left), Rare Candy (3 left), or Rename Card (1 left)

7,000 points:
Slowga Spell (2 left), Float Spell (1 left), or Blind Spell (2 left)

10,000 points:
Sneak Glove (1 left), Any Gem (1 left), or Biora Spell (1 left)

14,000 points:
Ultra Sneak Glove (2 left), Nightmare Staff (1 left), or Scan Spell (2 left)

19,000 points:
Mythril Armor (2 left), Warp Stone (1 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)

25,000 points:
Vanish Spell (2 left), Item Bomb (4 left), or Flare Spell (2 left)

32,000 points:
Mythril Shield (1 left), Staff of Aid (2 left), or A.P.G. (2 left)

40,000 points:
Toxic Waste (1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Super Sneak Glove (2 left)

50,000 points:
Regega Spell (3 left), Rebirth Stone (1 left), or Item Destroyer (2 left)

61,000 points:
Flare Spell (1 left), Rare Candy (3 left), or Item Destroyer (2 left)

73,000 points:
Rare Candy (1 left), Cloak of Evasion (2 left), or Regera Spell (3 left)

86,000 points:
Meteor Spell (2 left), Item Bomb (1 left), or Rare Candy(2 left)

100,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Diamond Armor (2 left), or Meteor Spell (1 left)

(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)

  • Prismatic

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Hi Matt

I can’t think of any good questions for you but I do have an observation for you. I was one of the legion who picked up FF12 last night and it rocks. More importantly you can get your ass handed to you if you happen on the wrong monster. It is really refreshing to have a hard rpg again.

Ps I am looking forward to the discussion of how anyone managed to go from 27,000 to 300,000 points.

Angus Creighton

I agree! I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far, with the exception of the awkward sudden changes of camera angle that seem to occur whenever you're manoeuvering through tighter spaces, like the interiors of shops. I was a bit taken aback by the fighting, too! The simplest enemies take a good quarter of your HP to get through, and after two and a half hours of playtime, I'm still sitting in Level 2. What? Is this really Final Fantasy? Of course, it's a bit early to make a judgment call on the whole game!

Make sure you give us a full report of the extra stuff in the collector's edition whenever you get a chance. I'm still trying to decide on which one to get and I think I'm gonna hold off for a few days. Games aside, I'm feeling absolutely swamped with everything else that needs to get done. Sigh.

I'll be analyzing data while you're playing, so you better be having fun, dammit! =^)

Unfortunately, I didn't get the collector's edition, so I regret that I won't be able to make that report. Don't despair too much, though, or you'll start to sound like me. (That isn't good.)

Hey there, Matt!

Well, NaNoWriMo is off to a good start. I feel comfortable enough in my early word count that I can take time out for video games. ^^

If you could give yourself a reward for writing a Q&A column, what would you do for yourself each day?

Oh CW. I'd extend the day by three hours, and no less, to actually play the video games that I love rambling on and on about. Unfortunately, my general need for at least six and a half hours of sleep every day gets in the way of that quite peskily. It's a sad world.


And then, there was nothing. So give me more! I want more to answer tomorrow than just the second half of JuMeSyn's letter, so let me know how you feel about the latest news regarding Sony. Are they digging themselves their own grave, or will things work out in the end no matter how many retailers they put out of business? Zing!

Have a great day, everybody!

Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Improving... slowly.
Matt smells of garlic

(I made guacamole tonight. Unfortunately, the avocados weren't as ripe as I would have liked them to be, so getting them mashed without making a giant mess was not an easy task.

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What I Want to Play:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

What I'm Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Xenosaga: Episode III

3. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

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