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Six Months October 2, 2006

Josh - 7:44 EST

Wow. I just realized today that as of tomorrow, I will have been doing Q&A for 6 months. That's a lot of time, I think. The funny thing is, tomorrow is the 1 year mark for Matt...I've been doing this now for exactly half of what he's done! So, because of the lateness of my realization, I'll have to do something next time for you guys...we'll just have to see what it is, then! ^^




L E T T E R S
I just said that!


Have you played VP: Silmeria yet? What do you think? I'm really enjoying it, much more so that I did the first title. It maintains some of the challenge and strategy but is less frustrating than the first title (i.e. I don't die regulary when trying to level). Doing away with the time constraints makes Silmeria much more fun and relaxed to explore than VP. Sure the einjerhar lend nothing to the story, but were they really that big a part of the story in the first game? I generally like the characters more in Silmeria too. I think the game loses some of the style that the first game had (gotta love those anime Street Fighter style finishing moves from the first game), and the battle system (while more interesting than that of most RPGs) has some easily exploted bugs (my favorite being trapping enemies, particularly bosses because they're so damn big, and running against a wall for max ap). I am a lazy, lazy gamer, so I'm surprised to find myself actually doing the requisite extra footwork and hunting necessary to survive while progressing through the story. Making good progress so far but gotta beat it in a month cuz you-know-what is on the horizon.

Hmm...I think there was a question buried somewhere in that rant.

Vicissitude

Josh

Well, I haven't managed to pick it up in the 24 hours since my last column, so :P

However, I'm about halfway through Lenneth, and I haven't really found it frustrating at all (other than that distinct feeling that I think I'm missing optional good stuff left and right, and that I'm not doing the rating system properly), especially in the levelling/fighting department.

And, I agree on that rushing feeling. I'm loving Okami right now, but I'm trying to do as much as possible, in the least amount of time possible, so I can get ready for the next wave of games! I can't wait!



Kegerhergerk.


Hi there Ouro

In regards to the hiding your gamerness?? I don't make any effort to hide the fact I love playing games but I don't purposely go arround telling people that, if they ask what I do in my spare time I tell em the truth, I play games and watch anime, some people have problems with this, namely dudes my own age who insist my life sucks because I don't set arround drunk in a garage with tons of people partying, but I think they just don't have the skills time or patience for my kind of fun ^^;; so uh yeah thought I'd chime in with that, though I think the next dude I work with that asks me what I like to do is getting a punch in the face so I don't get drug through the hang out with me and my friends man it'll be way more fun than sitting arround playing games all day bs that usually follows -.-;;

Josh

Hehehe. No worries. I know plenty of people on both ends of the spectrum, so I understand where you're coming from. There is that problem when the two extremes meet...I mean, it's good to try it once in awhile, but ultimately, it may happen that you don't like doing what they do, and vice-versa, which is perfectly fine. It happens. ^^

I find myself smack dab in the middle of the spectrum, though. I do go out and do stupid stuff with my friends, but then on the other hand, I like to sit in some nights and just have myself a good RPG run. I do live with a couple of people that prefer to go out practically all the time, and the only other video game they play is Halo 2 (which I enjoy, but I need RPGs!), so at least there's a little bit of a reprieve!

Anyway now that I've ranted what happened over one of my days off to you I'll ask you a completely unrelated question

Question: Have you ever bought a game purely because gameplay footage looked so cool and original etc only to find it sucks hardcore when you actually play it?

That happened to me over my day off as well -.-;;

Arros Raikou
*is completely ok with not having a very active social life*

Josh

Uh...hm. Let's see...I've been pretty good with my purchases, but lemme think for a sec here...

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I was looking forward to it, saw the game, it looked good, but when I actually got my hands on it, I was so incredibly disappointed, that I still haven't played it to the point where there was actually any actual plot development.

Magna Carta was pretty, but man, was the gameplay terrible. I think that might be...it...Have a good one, Arros!



Of Slime Fantasies?


I picked up a copy of FFX for stupidly cheap the other day, and despite the long running horror I've had with that series (dislike of ATB type systems/needlessly messy power up systems, that kind of thing), I thought I'd give it a chance....well, however many millions of people that like that type of thing can't be wrong, and I wanted some of this amazing storyline stuff I'd been hearing so much about:)...to cut a long story short, I've played for about five hours, watched an awful lot of movies, slain hardly anything, and given up. The one thing I did like was the battle system, but if I wanted to watch a movie I'd go buy advent children:) I've since tried out every game in the series (courtesy of obsessive fanboy friends), and come to the conclusion that there's just something about the series that I don't like, which I'm quite sad about....I'm wondering what exactly it is that I'm missing? I did however quite like FF7, and the aforementioned fanboy mate bought me a copy, with the words 'it's worth keeping up with it just for the story'.

So I've decided I am going to finish this damn famous game even if it kills me, and if it still doesn't get me, I'm giving up and going back to fruitlessly yearning for more earthbound games:)

Josh

I really didn't think that FFX had such long movies. Ok, maybe one or two here and there, but compared to several other games, it's -nothing-. It is a pretty good game, on the whole. And in fact, a good many RPGs in the coming months and years are going to be leaning heavily on cutscenes to advance the story, especially since developers just love to flaunt their technical prowess in that area. But, to each his (or her) own. I couldn't honestly tell you what it is that you think that you're missing! If you're not especially a graphics whore (which I'm sure you aren't, due to the Sword of Hope 2 thingy ^^), then I'd suggest FFVI as the best one in the series. Anything before that is lacking in the plot department, but are still fairly decent games in their own right. Let me know how it goes, though!

In other news....in a kind of apology for not being able to get along with DQ8 (too much like hard workL) I picked up Rocket Slime, and promptly became so horribly addicted that I played it from start to finish without stopping.(22 hours in one day 0_o) Just thought I'd put that out there:P

Twilight
(of the broken start button)

Josh

Wow. That's...impressive. I think the most I've played a game recently was 13 hours of Xenosaga III. But, 22? Good lord. ^^ I'm impressed!



A Xeno-fan! Woo!


Hi Josh.

All of my friends know that I play videogames. I only have one friend who actually plays them, though. Still, one is enough to split this RPG season 50-50 (I'm getting Valkyrie Profile and Rogue Galaxy, he's getting Okami and FFXII, I'm also getting XGIII since he doesn't like it). It helps to share the burden.

As to flaunting it in public... Well, next week we'll have Geekfest 2006, which isn't really called Geekfest. It's a convention called Icon every year in Israel regarding sci fi, fantasy and all that stuff (lots of table top gaming and so on). I usually spend a day there. More this year, since Neil Gaiman is coming. I'm so happy. :-) I don't go dressed as a Klingon though, if that's what you're asking.

Josh

Neil Gaiman!!!!! I LOVE that guy. I've read all of his books, and several of the Sandman graphic novels. I model my writing after a combination of he and Douglas Adams...Well, not really model, but it seems that my writing has much in common with their styles! Any chance I could trouble you for an autograph from him?! ^^ PLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?!?

*completely and utterly shameless, I know*

I'm really enjoying XGIII right now. I love the story, they're doing somereally cool things which I hope will be solved logically by the end. How long is the second disc? I heard there are 10 episodes and I'm at 7, it's still on the first disc. Maybe I heard wrong.

Josh

No, you're right. Chapters 8 and 9 are pretty long, though. Chapter 10 is just "the ending," rather than any actual gameplay.

If there's one thing I'll change in the entire series is how tedious it is. For example in XGI and II, travelling between places took a long time. Many times you have a menu asking you "enter shop?" and then "which shop to enter?" etc. Why not just do one menu with "Shop 1, shop 2, cancel"? But it's not such a big problem. I think the game isn't as deep, strategically, as the second one. Probably because I save boosts for special attacks and almost never use them, and because there's no point in chain-attacks.

Zohar Gilboa

Josh

XSII really didn't have much strategy, though...once you figured out how to exploit chains, it was cake. XSIII is a bit lacking in the generalized strategy category though...I mean, really, you just need to boost until you can do special attacks or Anima attacks, and you're gold. But overall, it is a sterling game. As for the story, you need not fear, for it becomes an absolute blast at the end, and I guarantee you feel satisfied. Good luck!



Brilliant!


Rock 'n' roll Martian, rock 'n' roll Martian...

For some odd reason, your response last week makes me think you just don't LIKE Sakura Wars. Where could I have gotten this impression? I don't know... maybe some enlightenment from you is in order?

As for myself: I'll admit to not having gotten very far in Sakura Wars, but it's oddly engrossing. Whenever I do start it up again I'll doubtless play for several hours on it.

Josh

Uh...I don't -hate- it, I just don't know a damn thing about it, so I can't really go either way! I just used humor to dodge your question deftly! Huzzah!

(This guy's got Renaissance Festival written all over him. Huzzah!)

This week, I took down Light Crusader. RPGamer doesn't list it yet, complicating my intentions of writing a review. A quick take is this; pretty short, not exactly the greatest Action-RPG ever, and not a match for Treasure's greatest output, yet quite diverting. The 3/4 overhead view is damn annoying though, as it makes for some hard-to-judge jumps, and many pushable objects are overly sensitive (you damn stupid rock! I BARELY TOUCHED YOU yet have to leave the room? Argh!). I understand LandStalker is prone to complaints from the perspective also - I'll learn soon enough. And right now I'm unexpectedly engrossed in Sword of Vermillion. Ever heard of it? A 1990 Genesis RPG - so we've got some expected advancements in technology that are not incorporated into its framework. Hell, I'm gonna give it a little dissertation right now (I've invested 8 or so hours, plenty to give it a preliminary rundown).

Josh

I've heard the same thing about Landstalker, as a 3/4 perspective can be rather annoying in some cases. But hey, it's not like 3D is perfect in camera angles! ^^;

An amazingly irritating thing is that while towns feature the standard form of movement (press in a direction, move in that direction, although very slowly), the world at large and dungeons do something different. Up moves the character forward, down moves him back, left or right turn him around. It's a setup that frequently makes me forget for a moment what I'm doing, causing a few wasted steps - and in a game with a quite high enemy encounter rate, no more is needed to bring up an encounter.

Also, there is the odd decision to make maps mandatory. Sure, I COULD move through the entire world right now - but in any world area for which I don't have a map, movement looks remarkably like that second-to-the-last portion of Dark World in Super Mario Bros. 3 - I can see a very small area around my character, and not where he's been or where he's going. This serves quite effectively to reign in my tendency to explore as best I am able, since getting lost is a very real risk. Maps, by the way, are obtained from people in towns - exactly which people is seemingly ungoverned by any rules, necessitating talking to everyone until a map is garnered.

Then we have battles, which are an odd beast unto themselves. They look kinda like battles in 2D Zeldas, only the control sucks and there is no way to pause. My character has a sword and swings it up and down (looking more like a wind-up toy than a warrior when he does this) and has to be very close to enemies to hit. There are as many as eight enemies onscreen simultaneously, although they are always one type. Most enemies are pathetically easy to kill actually, as they have no ranged attacks and provided I keep swinging the sword in their general direction will eventually walk into it, then back off and come back for another helping. Enemies that do have ranged attacks are incredibly painful to fight against unless I'm overleveled (which is what I am now, thanks to fighting 99% of what comes into my path). I do have magic, bought in towns, but it's usually faster to beat enemies down with a few sword strokes than to use my fireball-circling-me attack. The lightning magic that shoots across the screen is useful though.

Oh, and bosses are really weird. It shifts to a side-scrolling view, where all I can do is swing my sword and move around (no jumping, no magic). The boss is one big thing that either advances and swings at me or just spits a magic attack of some sort a certain distance from itself. So far this means I have to get in and whack at it while hoping it's between attacks, then back off.

With all of this said - I'm for some reason compelled to keep playing. I doubt I'll ever pick this game up again once I'm done, but it's striking some chord in me that must be played.

This is not to indicate that the music in the game is compelling, because it isn't. I have played many Genesis games with memorable music, this is not one of them. So I boot up iTunes and give a listen on random select. Speaking of memorable Genesis music... heard this one before? http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/776/16 You can probably track down its origins easily enough - but play a guessing game with me!

Josh

Relative movement in an RPG just sounds...weird. At least in a game that old.

That...doesn't really sound like any amount of fun, honestly, JuMeSyn. I mean, based on your description, exploration is a pain in the ass, battles are entirely too easy and dull, and bosses are predictable and boring. I can't imagine what's making you continue, except for the fact that because of all the crappy movies we've both seen, you see fit to play through crappy games, too! ^^

I can see it now...MRPGT3k! We can have someone play through a terrible game while we comment on it. Brilliant!

Also, Streets of Rage 2. Sweetness. So many newer games fail to have memorable music. Thank god for nostalgia.

This is mostly a note to Arros Raikou and whoever else has played Tales of Phantasia: track down the 4 part OVA, probably via Bittorrent. It makes a BIG difference seeing the characters full size as opposed to their little squashed sprites in the game. And Claus has the voice of Kakashi (in Japanese) which I find really cool.

The game itself I haven't made much progress on so far, I'm in the middle of making pacts with Spirits before I can go deeper into the Morlia mine. My problem appears to be getting sucked into my console games, and that leaves me precious little time to play ToP. I did get in a few hours last weekend until I got stuck for a bit and stopped....

Now then: FFV comes out in about 5 weeks or so. I began playing it in ROM form and in Japanese on my Super Nintendo, then stopped both. What awaits me when it's released on GBA?

Josh

There's a new translation, and there are also 4 new classes! Cannoneer, Gladiator, Prophet, and Necromancer. Also, there's an optional 30-floor dungeon, much like the other entries into the GBA arena!

Another title for the venerable GBA that NO ONE seems to be talking about is Yggdra Union. Why is this?

Josh

No idea. No one really talked much about Riviera when it came out, either (except for Matt), but it did relatively well. I think that for the most part, the GBA has fallen by the wayside, with most people concentrating on the DS. Sure, you can play 'em, but it's just that people are always on newest material out there. Go figure. ^^;

I have for you, Ouro-Sensei, a quest. Information I desire and you can quite probably unearth via your undisclosed sources. I seek the best method of making my Dreamcast play imports without having to put a mod chip into it. I have heard of both the Gameshark and the DC-X Adapter being tools to enable this. Now seek for me, if you would be so kind!

Josh

Well, I probably shouldn't be doing this, but...here ya go!

Actually while you're about this: can you find anything on Langrisser Millennium on Dreamcast (clearly never brought to English speakers...)? I have heard in passing that it sucks compared to the 'real' Langrisser titles of earlier years but have yet to lay eyes upon a proper review.

Josh

Got ya covered.

Speaking of Langrisser; it seems Der Langrisser features the same hidden battle I mentioned, with our fey friends from Choaniki. And they apparently pop up in later Langrissers too. Your procurement of screenshots (tame ones by the standards of that series, believe it or not!) is to be... noted. Yes, I definitely noticed those pictures. I need mental preparation time before playing another Langrisser title....

Josh

I just want to let you know that the mental anguish I suffered while finding those screenshots was quite large, and you should be ashamed of yourself for putting a poor Q&A host through such a task, you heartless being, you!

I'm gonna put up another Genesis music link because it's also quite good: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/3002/29392 If you have in fact played this game, kudos to you. But can you beat it?

Aaaaand - about that permanent death attribute I mentioned, I am in fact aware of how very sad it would make people. Or how prone to resetting it would make players. Which is why I suggested it. Definitely it would prompt some changed playstyles, eh?

Get out of here, you disgusting worm!
JuMeSyn

Josh

Sorry, haven't played Revenge of the Shinobi! I haven't really played a Ninja game since Ninja Gaiden for NES...wow...that's actually depressing.

And certainly, yes! I'd hate to lose my characters (though I play that way in FFT...NO ONE DIES), so I'd still play very conservatively. ^^





S E G U E

Unfortunately, no gaming went on since I last did the column. I was too busy coming up with stuff for THONG!

So, here we go. Several new items have shown up in the Potch Shop - Anima, Plague, Switcheroo, and Land Mines.

And, another rune has shown up...the Spark Rune finally makes its appearance!

I've also clarified the rules a bit, and added those changes I've made over the past few weeks. Please take note of the addition of the Traps explanation.

And, don't forget the questions archive! I posted it next to the rules!



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Blight charges up.

Arpijy casts a spell!

Forgot:Slimey moves to Tile 17.
Bainick moves to Tile 12.
Slimey moves to Tile 19.
Draconn moves to Tile 22.
Slashlen moves to Tile 28.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 9.
PureLunatic moves to Tile 24.
William.T moves to Tile 23.
Arpijy moves to Tile 20.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 15.
JDX moves to Tile 18.
Aurelius moves to Tile 24.
Tabor moves to Tile 23.
Sundoulos moves to Tile 8.


Previous THONG Rounds!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

Suikoden 2 Characters

Click here for the rules and lists of items and prizes!

Click here to see previous trivia!

Luca Blight

You're all in for it now...feel my power!

Answer to #L14: A. Honshu
The Grand Shrine of Ise is in Ise, Japan, on the island of Honshu, dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami!

#L14. I hope "Lady Luck be kind" to this guy.

A. Setzer
B. Ronfar
C. Cait Sith
D. Bart Fatima
E. Taloon
F. Tingle

THONG Question

Answer to #14: B. Indiana.
Much like the Vault Dweller's Blue and Yellow Jumpsuit, the flag of Indiana is made up of only Blue and Yellow.

#15.Difficulty: Hard
A certain boss in Terranigma is so far away from Ark that he is unable to hit him. However, in order to defeat him, you must attack which of his aquatic friends?

A. Sharks
B. Octopi
C. Starfish
D. Jellyfish
E. Turtles

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Be good to Slimey, as it's his anniversary at Q&A! Woo! Also, be prepared for some changes from him...I think you'll like them. Have a good week, loyal readers!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh will probably have to one-up Matt.


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RPGs I'm currently playing:

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THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2
550p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 7
900p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 8
2250p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
600p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 6
925p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 2
1650p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 3
1700p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 8
575p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 7
1000p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 2
750p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 2
725p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 15
2300p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 2
500p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 14
1875p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 13
1675p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 12
700p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 2
1050p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 6
1900p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 9
2150p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
875p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 14
2075p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
1225p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 7
1250p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 13
2350p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 3
1375p

Anyone else?

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