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Lift with Your Knees August 14, 2006

Josh - 10:24 EST

?Ideas are good, I swear.

Hey Ouro,

Long time reader,
not-so-first-time-but-only-like-maybe-twice-that-I-can-remember writer.

Have you ever wondered about the whole "fight monsters, gain EXP" thing in RPGs? I was thinking one day, maybe a year or so ago, and I got this crazy idea: what if your party members could spar each other? Now I'm sure I'm not the first to think this, but wouldn't it be cool? If the game has 4 characters to a party, you could split 'em up, 2-on-2, and just pick a side and beat the crap out of each other! And if you lose... you don't! It'd be a perfectly safe alternative to monster fighting. Of course, there'd have to be some drawbacks to balance it out. For example, maybe you wouldn't get as much experience as you would by fighting monsters. Or maybe only the side you're controlling gets experience, or something like that, that way fighting for real would be more beneficial.

I think it'd be a pretty neat idea in "normal" RPGs where you usually just have experience and maybe some kind of Skill Points, but in the games where abilities level up the more you use them I think it'd be a REALLY good idea. Because while it'd be hard to determine how much experience you would get from fighting your own party, it would be much easier if you just get better at your swording abilities every time you sword someone. Either way, though, I think it could be a pretty nifty idea, if implemented carefully.

See ya soon,


I think there are some games that follow your idea to a small degree. I know I've seen the spar-with-someone idea before, but I can't remember any time where they're actually a party member offhand. KH is the closest I can think of at the moment. That said, there are a lot of RPGs where you can gain exp for beating up your own party members, though they tend to be TRPGs like La Pucelle and FF Tactics. Anyway, I like your idea and think it would be pretty cool if some games would take the next step.

I always find myself passing this on...

Greetings, Designated Q & A Host! Please turn on the “Spoiler Warning” sign.

I’m currently playing LostMagic, which is somewhat of a good game. By “somewhat” I mean that it’s rather clichéd storywise but gameplay wise it’s a breath of fresh air. For the uninformed, I’d describe LM as a strange combo of a tactical RPG, Pokemon and Gauntlet—you are able to move around and shoot spells at bad guys while the monsters you’ve captured do physical battle against them. It’s got a TON of strategy involved, especially considering that battles can be lost or won depending on what direction you approach the enemies in (the battle against the Lord of the Summer Haze is a good example.) Storywise, well…There’s an evil lady who wants to take over the world and the main character, Isaac, was left an important wand from his father who has apparently succumbed to evil. Isaac has two major allies, the tag-along girl Trista and the handsome mysterious stranger Leonard. The only thing that’s missing is a talking tree.

Anyways, I’m about to give up this game in frustration because I’m almost in an unwinnable battle…the father vs. son battle of Issac versus his dad, the Bishop of the White Night (who looks like a cross between Howl of Howl’s Moving Castle and Freddy from Scooby-Doo. By the way, someone from Studio Ghibli did the character designs for this game.) I’ve tried at least twenty times and only ONCE was I able to get the father into a stalemate before time ran out. I have not been able to find ANY info on any FAQ’s on what tactics/monsters to use and I’m getting frustrated. So, readers…if you could help Bucket out in defeating the evil “What If They Mated” spawn of Howl and Freddy, I’d really appreciate it €:)

One further question: Anyone know if Dirge of Cerberus is keeping Japanese dialogue? I know it’s sad but my decision to buy that game rests on it…

Bucket NezuMi


I just picked up Lost Magic so I need to skip the first parts of your question to avoid spoilers. As far as your second question goes...I can't think of any examples of SE keeping the JP voices, though I'd like it if they did.


Sorry, mien friend. The Japanese language will not be making an appearance in the English version!

I need to do more homework on this stuff. Oops.

Zdradst-ye Josh,
Okay, I'm going to officially bring to a close (for the forseeable future) the introduction of really obscure mostly non-English RPGs. Right after these last few. Mwa ha ha ha ha...

I happened to think about Hydlide for whatever reason recently. There was a Hydlide on Genesis, and a Virtual Hydlide on Saturn. I haven't played either and they have a pretty poor reputation. Does anyone have information to corroborate or refute this vague impression I have?

The Romancing Sagas on Super Famicom. Once again I cannot claim extensive play experience and must field the question out to the audience. Particularly 3, which I have heard mostly praise for.

Emerald Dragon. Another very obscure one on Super Famicom which I can't find much information on. Clues, helpful readers?

Shantae. I'm still trying to figure out if this very interesting GBC title is really an RPG, but no one ever seems to mention it. So I'm going to change that.

Cosmic Fantasy 2. As a super-early Working Designs title that apparently is even goofier than most of their later work, I'm naturally curious. But its placement on the Turbo CD and my unwillingness to sink massive amounts into eBay right now means I won't be playing it soon unless Turbo CD downloads are part of the Wii's Virtual Console.

Incidentally, what worthwhile RPG's can be found elsewhere on the Turbo systems?

I'll kill it here before I go any further and take up another topic. Meeting up with my great-grandmother today brought to mind a fascinating dilemma. She's going blind, and at 94 clearly isn't going to be playing much of anything. But how would a blind person play any game whatsoever? Suggestions here are welcomed.

Another sense I think about is that of smell. Might be thanks to the dumb cat just having used the box.... But while sight and sound are pretty well covered in RPGs and all genres now, smell would have to be engaged to truly get a 'you are there' feeling. Smell-O-Rama was a short-lived feature in late 50's cinema which featured pads that were supposed to be squeezed at certain points during the movie to generate smells akin to what was onscreen, and it failed. Otherwise I don't think anyone in the entertainment world has attempted to bring the sense of smell into play except in live performance - which is impossible in the RPG world. I'm gonna break my vow before it has time to set - sort of. I'll just bring up a few titles that are chronically maligned and ask whether they truly are the beastly pieces of crap reputation has them as.


The best smell TV thing I've seen (well, seen/smelled actually) was in the hanglider ride at Disneyland. That was pretty cool.

Secret of the Stars. I've heard it violates everything one would want in a quality RPG. True?


Yes. There's not much more to say.

Heroes of the Lance. EGM threw it in as one of the worst games ever made. Can it be deserved?

Bokosuka Wars. Even calling it an RPG seems an insult to the genre when the only text in the thing is the infamous 'Wow! You Lose!' screen. Anybody actually dared to play it?

Just how good/bad IS Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest?


Just how good/bad IS Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest?:
In my opinion, it's not that the game is especially awful or painful to play, it's more that:

  • It's a largely simple, mindless, and unremarkable game.
  • It used the Final Fantasy name to sell the above. I knew what I was getting into when I bought it, but many were caught off-guard and went in with high expectations.
  • Anyway, MQ can be alright if you're looking for something simple that doesn't require much effort, but otherwise it's pretty much just a below average SNES game. It has also managed to anger/annoy/disappoint a lot of people that bought it expecting the same level of complexity other FF games have, thus giving it a more negative opinion than it deserves.

Okay, that's over and done with. Now I'll move on to something I read in the Economist (I like news about the entire world, people, not just the US. So I need something written in the UK to get it - and I read 80% of every issue!). This was a year-old article regarding video gaming and its place in business and society. The most interesting part was the ending, wherein it was remarked upon that every new piece of technology has always been adopted grudgingly and half-heartedly by those whose views were already in place at the time of the technology's introduction. A paraphrasing of the closing paragraph is this: When the young are old, and the old are dead, video games will attract no further controversy because the controversies will have moved on to something else - holograms, perhaps.

30 years or so from now, just about everyone who was cognizant of entertainment venues at the time of video games' introduction will be dead. And we'll all be old enough to be regarded as codgers in the eyes of the as-yet unborn. So - comments, Josh? What will WE think is too different to bother with?

Having hopefully put everyone into a pensive mood, I'll just remark briefly upon an aspect of Tales of Phantasia that is irritating me massively. WHO MADE THE CAVERNS SO DARK???? Unless I get into the perfect light I can't see where I'm going, where the bumps in the road are, where a dead end is, etc. And the perfect light is DAMN HARD TO FIND!!!

I'll just close with a little anecdote about MST3K. A few years back I tried to get family members into it, but was unsuccessful. I did convince my father to try watching an entire episode. I chose Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. And what did he do? He liked the movie. Repeat; my father liked Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. I have never been able to trust his views of movies again.


I try not to trust my family's judgment when it comes to movies. I never trusted my brother's judgment with games (and with good reason), so why should I the rest of the people? Someday, they'll look up to me as a bastion of information on both video games and obscure movies, so I can only wait ^^.

Combat Log

Game over.
Arros Raikou

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Sorry about the lack of updates. I finally got home and had to move from one apartment to another. However, I've finally completed it! Yay! My back may be in pain, but dammit, I'm moved in! I'll do the column tomorrow as well, since Matt will be away, so please send some letters!
***Josh probably typed this before falling asleep.

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