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Despite Your Destination April 15, 2006

Josh - 20:38 EST

Well, I'm actually doing this column at a reasonable hour. A small victory for me!

There's an Amish store about 30 miles from where I live that specializes in selling grocery surplus, and boy...it's a wonderful thing. I can take $30 there, and buy enough food to last me a month. They sell cans of soup for about $.49, and everything else I purchase is between that and $1.75 (except for cheese, which can be as much as $4.00 for 2 lbs.). So, I managed to spend $21.10 today, and I bought 12 cheese blintzes (2 boxes - 6 each), 2 lbs. of cheese, 5 cans of soup, a box of cereal, 2 boxes of pasta, hot dogs, cherry pie, tomato sauce, cookies, and lots of little things to snack on. I always go there thinking I'm going to buy stuff to make meals with, and end up buying junk, though. Ah well, such is life.

It's good to be back, so let's see what you managed to write for me today!




L E T T E R S
When RPGs attack!


Odd childhood memories? Sign me up!

This isnít RPG related, but one of my most entertaining group Nintendo sessions was playing Bubble Bobble at my first Boskone (Boston-area science fiction convention) when it was held at the Marriott and Sheraton in Springfield, MA. Every time that the invincible evil white thing with red eyes came on the screen, the ten of us watching would all scream. I believe I was 8 years old or so.

Then thereís the more unpleasant one that does happen to be RPG related: When I was playing through my very own copy of FF3 for the first time, I was at the Magitek Factory when I was hit with a nasty case of food poisoning. Not pleasant at all.

Bucket

Josh

Ouch, I'm sorry to hear that! >_<

Childhood memories...I remember when I got Mega Man II for Gameboy, and I started fiddling with the 4x4 password grid. I somehow figured out the password to the last set of 4 bosses, and started playing from there. I also have a penchant for Super Dodgeball, since my friend Jon and I used to play it all the time when I as 7, over at his place.

Possibly the most prominent one I can think of was when Wild ARMs came out. I was in 7th grade, and lived in Colorado on an Army post. They had the game on display at the PX (think department store), and I started playing it there. I loved it. In fact, I came back the next day when the store OPENED, and proceeded to play the game for upwards of 3 hours. For those of you who've played it, I managed to fight Belselk in Adelhyde before quitting. Almost made it to Milama. Heheheh!



I usually watch out for women wielding sharp things. Especially once a month.


Yo Matt,

I loved your difficulty list in the last Q&A. Although, I'd like to add SaGa Frontier to the Hard to Figure out category. I mean, wow, that game had me thrown for a loop so many of the times. I remember one of the first quests I did, Blue's, I ended up finding out what to do on accident (I learned the gift for two types of magic and voila!). I actually printed out a whole 200+ page FAQ for that. That's probably the most FAQ-intensive RPG I play, but I still enjoy it (even though I haven't played it in quite awhile).

Anyway, as the topic of female RPG heroes seems to be popping up... I don't really recall playing any with a female lead O_o It's kind of annoying, really. I will note, however, that there are two games with VERY kickass female characters (with swords!).

1. Final Fantasy Tactics
Agrias - My favorite RPG heroine of all time. Strong, determined, and one of the few that was actually able to see through all the lies and understand that Ramza was really the only one interesting in doing the right thing. She was just a female knight trying to do her duty, and I think she was one of the best characters in the game (pffft, Meliadoul doesn't even compare). I always use her, even after getting Orlandu. Although... no matter what I do, she always does HALF the damage he does! Pisses me off. It's not fair -_-

2. Final Fantasy V
Faris - Another badass. She was arguably my best melee fighter (and I think she was a black mage as well) in FF5. Although Reina or Krile could have easily played that role instead (what I loved about FF5). But I just felt that Faris needed to be a melee character. Also loved how she pretended to be a guy most of her life (did her pirate subordinates know? never got that). She was a strong leader and not afraid to kick someone's butt if it was needed. I mean, she had to fend for her own a lot. Toughest character in FF5, IMO. Although... it's weird that FF5 is pretty much the only FF where you end up with more females than males on your team, ne? Although I doubt Butz minded...

Anyway, that's my thoughts. Another kickass female would be Marina Liteyears from Mischief Makers (and she is the main character), but that's not an RPG :p You have any other examples? I've played a lot of RPGs, but my scope is rather limited (I'm a Square Enix whore). I think it's especially rare to find female characters that use swords (as effectively as their male counterparts).

~Kasumi Blue Eyes

Josh

SaGa *anything* is difficult to figure out. I love SaGa Frontier II, but man, is it tough to figure out the intricacies of all of the different systems involved. I really hope that I beat that game (and Minstrel Song) at some point...that will be the greatest RPG achievement I will have ever undertaken. Seriously, it's like beating a monkey (a decidedly OLD monkey) at a wall, in an attempt to knock the wall down.

Agrias was awesome, I wholeheartedly agree (oh, and if you just give Agrias Orlandu's weapon, she'll be pretty frickin' powerful). She was strong-willed, respected, and able to stop any enemy in their tracks with the poorly translated Stasis Sword!

Doesn't she say "Steady Sword," or something? O_o

Faris was mildly developed, but what she had was pretty tough. I mean, you don't get to be the leader of the Pirates by being prancing around in a skirt, singing Journey songs all day, right? As for her being tough in battle...I always had her as my Monk/Ninja, so she dealt most of the fast damage for my team. Butz was my knight, Galuf was my attack mage, and Lenna was my support mage (and dancer! ^^).

Miranda from Grandia III and Leena from Grandia are both kickass females in my eyes. Miranda tried to protect Yuki from the evils of the world, and while she wasn't so prominent later in the game, she still managed to convey the fact that she was a mother to be reckoned with. Leena, on the other hand, was just your average treasure hunter (with a whip!) who didn't take crap from anyone. Sure, she liked Justin, but she knew how to hold her own on the battlefield.

Kidd from Chrono Cross, Jessica from DQVIII, Aya Brea from Parasite Eve, and John Romero are just a few examples of other kickass females.



I think some people read into things too much.


Hey, Matt(hmetician)

Your list of RPG difficulty is quite impressive, and I'm probably going to get in trouble for bringing this up, as many literature majors and fanboys will track me down. But I'm against those storylines where, for half the game, you're like,"What?!" A lot of this is due to poor translation, but some of it is developers trying to create too complex a story. I personally think DQ8 is great because the story, while simple, is so well told. However, FF 7 (*aiming lasers all over back of head*) had a very convoluted plot, one that almost took two playthroughs to understand. I don't think that's necessary.

So, uhh, yeah, I hope E3 gives us some good news on Mother 3, like it coming to the US or some crazy notion. I won't ask how you feel about it, seeing as it has become apparent. But I'm right there with you!

Undeniably,
Ganon0

Josh

Final Fantasy VII had a convoluted plot? Huh? Let me...see here...

Inner Monologue

He definitely said '7,' 'convoluted,' 'plot,' and 'that' in the same sentence. I'm pretty sure the game was pretty straightforward. It had to be! It...it just couldn't be confusing, could it? Did I...was it...black, white...clouds, birds... >_<

*POP*

...Ow. Some stories do get too confusing to the point where the game ceases to become enjoyable. While I can't think of any RPGs (I loved Xenogears, so don't get me started), but Metal Gear Solid 2 did that. All of the moronic political agendas going on in the background just became so intolerable that I just longed to get the bloody thing over with.

I'm actually really looking forward to Mother 3, because I need an excuse to play Earthbound. I've never touched the game, as it is the only game EVER that I could be considered a graphics whore about. The graphics just didn't appeal to me at all, so much to the point that I have had nothing to do with it. It's sad, since I know I've played worse looking games...but...I don't know. I'm sure I'll get around to it, though. Here's hoping that you guys get your wish!



Achoo!


Dear Matt

Is there any RPG that you think should be turned into a full-fledged cartoon series? Games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pokemon, Disgaea, Mega Man Battle Network, Tales of Eternia, Star Ocean 2, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Xenosaga, and Haruka (to name a few) have all received that treatment, and others like Tales of Phantasia and Final Fantasy VII have gotten OVAs. Is there any other RPG that you think is so good and tells such a great story that it can transition beautifully into a TV series?

As for RPG-associated memories, I have a few to share. When I first reached the Sunken Ship stage of Super Mario RPG, I fed my turtle directly afterwards. Since then, whenever I feed my turtle, I always remember things like jumping on Greapers, looking for Safety Rings, giving up on a frustrating 3D maze, and being deathly afraid of Dry Bones (I didn't know how to kill them at first), as well as something to do with pirate mice and juice trivia (there is even a sunken ship ornament in my turtle tank, which may have something to do with it).

There was a time when my brother and I were experimenting for hours at the Colloseum in FFVI, betting every item in our inventory and seeing what we can get, and then we had a barbeque that night. So now whenever I attend a barbeque, I always remember Chupon and his damn Sneeze attack.

Finally, while playing Star Wars KOTOR, I watched the Star Wars Episode III movie, so now one always reminds me of the other. Well, okay, that last wasn't very interesting, but it's something, isn't it?

And as for an unannounced game that I'm pining for, nothing can extinguish my desire for a Mega Man Legends 3. Those close to me keep telling me to give up hope on it already, but I refuse to. The first two games were revived for the PSP, and Mega Man Volnut was playable in Capcom x Namco, so I KNOW there's at least a 0.002% chance of a Mega Man Legends 3 being made. That's still a chance!

Alan

Josh

RPG cartoon? First off, I was unaware of many of those being turned into cartoons, but after some fancy internet-searching, I can see that you are indeed correct. My choice? I'm going to be obvious and go with Xenogears...Mechs + Martial Arts just screams Anime. There's also enough plot there to keep any person happy. I think Brave Fencer Musashi could also be pretty entertaining ^^...while maybe not having the best story (have you SEEN some of the cartoons out there, though?), it does have enough goofiness and charm to keep some people coming back.

For some reason...I don't have any FFVI memories. At least, nothing that is out of the ordinary. I did spend a ton of time trying to get that Sketch glitch to work, and then basked in the glory of equipping all of my characters with Genji Gloves, Offerings, and Illuminae. I then unleashed my own personal Light of Judgment upon Kefka's wickedly evil FACE.

Mega Man Legends? Wow, it's been ages since I've beaten those games. They were certainly fun, but I think that there's a slim to none chance of anything extraordinary happening on that front any time soon, sorry. While I'll be right with you hoping for one, I just don't think it's happening.

Also, why did you torture yourself with watching Star Wars III while playing KOTOR?! You totally ruined KOTOR. You sad, sorry man. I swear, if I ever get my hands on Hayden Christensen, I'll first make him sit through every movie he's ever had a speaking part in (including Life as a House), and then I will subject him to my personal favorite form of torture: being lowered slowly, upside down, into a vat of flaming turtles, while blaring Fleetwood Mac songs in the background. If you hear any bloodcurdling screams in the near future, just pretend you didn't read this. :)



I've determined that I can find ANYTHING using Google.


Hey Matt,

Read your thing about difficulty; very intriguing. I thought of some stuff for you to consider.

"Puzzle" hard: Games like the Zelda series (the older the Zelda, the more this difficulty applies), Lufia 2 and that DAMN color cube puzzle, Wild Arms (though not as much). This is where you are constantly having to get stuck on difficult puzzle after difficult puzzle, making gameplay ultimately less fun. This especially happens to the younger RPGamers, who are used to the puzzle "difficulty" found in games like "Pokemon," which I would posit as a reason for why many of them don't play the oldies but goodies.

Josh

ALUNDRA!! See, this isn't bad for me. I love games where they challenge the farthest reaches of my thinking capabilities, no matter how masochistic. Why? Because the satisfaction I get from solving them is enormous. Anyone who has played Hard Puzzle Mode in Silent Hill 3 knows the kind of puzzles I'm talking about, and I solved every last one of those. They were insane, they took countless hours of time, and they pushed my sanity to the very brink...but dammit, I got them.

"crap shoot" hard: Most random dungeon games, Azure Dreams and Dark Cloud 1 to be specific, others with "random" features inherent to storyline, Dragon Quest Monsters. I would argue that this difficulty is why people fear and hate random dungeon games so much. Games like these, where you start off with very little and constantly have to chip away at it to survive in some random dungeon scraping by unless you get "lucky." The fact that you could easily squander everything and thus have to restart the whole game is very troublesome.

Josh

Agreed. Randomness can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it adds to variety and replayability. On the other hand, when you start using a system based on randomness that could manipulate the difficulty over a BROAD range, then you have issues. Unlimited Saga was like this, and it completely deterred me from continuing. Randomness can be done well, but it has to take into account the extremes of what the system can touch - Can it make the game TOO easy, or TOO hard?

"other people being douchebags" hard: MMORPGs, Secret of Mana, Four Swords adventures, other multiplayer RPGs. I would consider it difficult having to deal with the lying, stealing, and overall horrible gameplaying of others as a particular reason for why a game itself is labeled as difficult. I have heard other people argue that FFXI is a difficult game, not because of any inherent programmed malfeasance, but because the people that play on the servers are mean and not helpful or are obnoxious and obsene. Imagine playing FF7 and right after you make friends with yuffie, you find out the hard way that she's a haxor that steals all your money items, and materia, only this time you never get them back. ever.

Josh

So far, the most community-friendly MMORPG I've ever played is Guild Wars, and I love it. Sure, horrible gameplay can be an issue with anything, but as far as people being decent human beings, it's wonderful. But yes, other people can have a large effect on your playing experience, both good and bad.

As for games crashing, my copy of Kingdom hearts 1 crashed right in the middle of the credits, right before the final special sequence at the end of the credits. Do you know where i can find it online? I've looked everywhere, even google!

-ATG

Josh

Um...it's been awhile since I've played...but...

You SOOO owe me.

This took me awhile to find, after filtering through all of the videos that don't have the stuff after the credits.



QUICKIES


Matt,

Don't listen to kupomogli; Twilight of the Spirits doesn't suck. End of Darkness, yes. Twilight, no. Reviews will agree with me.

HeeHo

Yeah, gonna have to agree there. End of Darkness was a waste of my time...what little time there was. Of course, I wasn't much of an Arc fan to begin with.

Hi there, I just have one quick question: Why has there been no information recently on the North American release of Final Fantasy 12? I haven't seen an article covering FFXII on RPGamer for ages. I don't think it even has a confirmed release date yet for NA. Any info you have to share would be welcome. Thanks!

Yeah, there hasn't been too much information on the American front. Here's what I know:

  • Slated for a release around Thanksgiving
  • Kari Wahlgren is behind Ashe's voice
  • Famitsu gave FFXII a 40/40...only 6 games have done so

Hope that helps!



C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

That went pretty well. You guys seriously need to learn who writes when. :P Hehehe.

Matt writes from Tuesday-Friday. I write Saturday-Monday (although that might change when Tiptail gets back). Not that I don't mind stealing Matt's mail, though. But if you have specific questions for a specific host, then it's better to send it to his or her email, rather than the standard qna@rpgamer.com address. Don't worry, I'm not going to mercilessly destroy all of you (yet!), just trying to appease those people who get irritated when I provide better answers than Matt does!

*Josh runs*

Hehe...anyway, what shall we talk about? I'm interested in hearing...eh...actually, I still want to hear about E3. Are you guys excited for what you know about, and what do you hope for? I hope to see lots of answers this weekend! Have a good one ^^!

ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh has 9 lbs. of cheese in his fridge.


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24 Season 1 doesn't have a 'Play All' feature?!? ::grumble::

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