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It's Better for You October 8, 2006

Josh - 11:36 EST

Josh's Theorem on Column Updating: If number of letters < number of letters needed to post column, then the column will not get posted.

Proof: Prove by example. Not enough letters yesterday, therefore the column did not get posted. QED.

Underwear Corollary: If no column goes up, THONG players do not advance.

Lemma: Not having a column is like giving Molly Shannon a speaking role in cinema. Nobody has a reason to laugh.

^^. Anyway, the stuff below is from yesterday.

Having a noon football game is a good thing for me, as far as this column is concerned, since I can knock this out before going out to have an interesting evening. Woo! But that doesn't mean I don't love you guys, it just gives me more time to concentrate on this rather than rushing through it. Hooray!

So I spent a little time with a friend up here who I hadn't really seen in 2 or 3 years, and she worked at Disney World for a bit over the last summer. Now...it's sad how obsessed she is with Disney. I'm sorry, obsessed wasn't the proper word. It just doesn't carry the emphasis needed to explain her prediliction. This was at 1 in the morning, mind you, and we both were awake for some god-awful reason, so I went over to her place to watch a movie. She had just bought The Little Mermaid and was getting ready to watch it anyway. So I, in my infinite stupidity, decided to watch it as well, seeing as the alternative was moving. The movie starts, and she sings along to every song (which isn't too bad, because I...uh...knew most of the words too ;_;), but then also praises Disney and their ingenuity after about, oh, every 5 seconds or so. Needless to say, I was quite irritated by the time I left, and really, really, needed a stiff drink. I was entirely too tired to do so upon my return home (at around 3:30), so I just went to bed, with my mind constantly suffering through the aural blasphemy that was the teeny-bopper version "Kiss the Girl," included on the DVD. Sigh.

My friends are weird.




L E T T E R S
Man, I get asked this ALL THE TIME


I apologize profusely for asking you a question last week you'd just answered, my liege! My spot-reading of QnA has been brought to light! That brings me to my question of the day (hopefully repeating what someone has recently asked you): what question are you asked the most as a QnA host? Maybe the always-fresh queries regarding your current backlog? Perhaps the enlightened inquiries about "How do get key to boss dungeon cave chest?"

Vicissitude

Josh

Hehe. Yeah, the backlog question is probably the biggest one asked of me, even though it's sitting right there on the sidebar. ^^

Then, people have been asking me about the most obscure games lately, mostly about the Saturn...but who would do that? *glances around*

I actually haven't gotten one of those strange, poorly-written emails in quite some time. Maybe I scared them away? I hope not, 'cause I think I'm one of the few hosts that will actually help out from time to time ^^;



Again!


Tom Stewart killed me! Tom Stewart killed me!! Tom Stewart killed me!!!

Remember in my last letter the desire I had to finish up Sword of Vermilion? Well, I finally ran into a boss for which the CRAP boss controls got me killed multiple times and my resolve is fading. True, upon death I just lose half my money. But given that gaining a bunch of levels isn't practicable when the flaw is in the controls just makes me mad. Follow my anger logic here: the boss throws fireballs high and low. That's all it does. Getting close is a PAIN IN THE ASS however, given that every fireball knocks me back and seems to hit me twice for about 80 damage - when I have maybe 540 HP. Also, swinging the sword is supposed to cancel out the fireballs, but getting the timing right is horrifically hard and when I do so another fireball just comes out immediately afterward to nail me. Oh, did I mention that for some reason I get hit with these damn high fireballs EVEN WHEN I DUCK? And that I cannot jump at all, and have no ranged attack? I should have. Ugh.

Josh

I have no idea why you are still playing. Seriously. Save yourself! Think of the children!!

Before starting up the frustrating Sword of Vermilion, and after finishing Light Crusader, I spent most of a day remembering exactly why I adore the Genesis so much with some classic action games. Vectorman and Vectorman 2 are sadly forgotten now, and their graphics are astounding for the Genesis. Very playable action. I took Streets of Rage on Hard mode with but one continue this time, and that one continue pissed me off SO MUCH because I could have gotten it without any continues if only Mr. X hadn't gotten lucky and connected a gun barrel butting attack! Then I played Streets of Rage 3 and conquered it without using any continues - awesome! I played the Hyperstone Heist again, and even though it's just a rehash of TMNT IV I enjoy it quite a bit. (Yes I have both, but thanks to the chore of unplugging my Genesis/Sega CD combo I won't plug the SNES in for a bit). Plus Shinobi 3 worked like a dream this time around and reminded me of just how great that game is, although Revenge of Shinobi I have to play again soon also.

Josh

I played a little bit of the original Vectorman, and it was actually a good amount of fun, despite the fact that I never get to play ANY Genesis/Saturn game for any extended period of time.

Congrats on the Streets of Rage 3 accolade! I never have the patience to do those "no continue" runs. The closest I ever did was beating Resident Evil 3 with only one save. I tried it with no saves, and that jerk Nemesis got a lucky shot in with about 30 min. left in the game. ;_; Sigh...ah well...maybe some other time.

Also... <3 TMNT IV. ^^

Actually I have a Shinobi 3 question for you. Somewhere I saw some people debating the merits of the final boss music versus another boss track, so I'm gonna have you compare the two and tell me which is most suited for a final boss battle. http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/884/21

This is played during one boss fight - against one ugly mutated thing that is a pain to fight because of the ground sinking under your feet.

http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/884/25

And this is the final boss music (it should be noted that the final boss is no pushover, he's got a good half-dozen moves and one of them is impossible to avoid). So what say you?

Josh

I like the first one better. The second one is more fast-paced, but the actual tune is somewhat lacking. The first one has a good techno beat to it, and is a bit darker (and it reminds me a lot of Metroid, for some reason). The tune is much better too, IMO.

While I'm talking about older games (which are something of a specialty for me as people may have noticed), I'll just reminesce a bit about Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!. Sadly I have not played Super Punch-Out! thanks to eBay bidders constantly jumping in at the last second, but this will change. The original was a lot of fun though, even if I couldn't take Super Macho Man, let alone Mike Tyson himself (back before he was an ear-nibbler). Haven't played it in a good 12 years or so, maybe I could drop him now.

Josh

Super Punch-Out is awesome! I used to rent that game a ton, and I finally made it to the last circuit, only to get destroyed by the next to last guy. Man, he was absolutely incredible. You needed entirely too much manual dexterity to even have a chance of beating that guy.

And now I ask for every experience with Sega systems you have under your belt, Ouro-dono. This will help me better tailor Sega-centered questions to you in future, as well as just being interesting to read. In the interest of quid pro quo, I'll give a little something after your reflections.

Josh

Ugh. *Prepares to be humbled*

Allrighty...here we go.

Game Gear - Not much, pretty much just the Sonic games, because that's all my friends owned for that brick.

Genesis/CD - Sonic, Streets of Rage, Shining Force 1 and 2, Vectorman, NHL '95, and...Eternal Champions, I think.

Saturn - Nights, Panzer Dragoon/Zwei, Virtua Fighter 2. I really didn't get much playtime on this thing. ^^;

Dreamcast - Sonic, Virtua Fighter 3...and that's about it, too. Oh, I think I played Phantasy Star Online once.

Sorry about that...Sega was just never really my favorite!

Since I outlined my paltry Sony experiences to Matt recently, I'm not gonna reiterate. Instead I'll mention my Gamecube experience, which is all centered on a really cool guy on my dorm floor who had a Gamecube and would let me come in to bum time on Skies of Arcadia Legends. Enough time that I actually finished it, woo! Having played the original on Dreamcast extensively I came to enjoy it immensely. He also had Mario Kart, which was a lot of fun to play. Hm, I can't think of any other GC experience... I might've played Soul Calibur 2 on it, or maybe that was a Best Buy display. Truly, nothing else is coming to mind.

Lunar: Magical School. What can you tell me about it?

Josh

I remember when it was announced I was excited, because...hey, new Lunar game. However, it received lukewarm reviews, so Working Designs didn't even bother porting it. The only reason Dragon Song actually made its way over here was because Ubisoft failed to sacrifice the necessary amount of virgins needed to prevent crappy games from getting ported.

Poking around on GameFAQs I see that today's character contest is between Sora and Tingle. Comments? And doesn't Tingle have his very own DS game out in Japan now?

Josh

I've noticed that GameFAQs is good for just that. GAME FAQS. Intelligent gamer discourse...nonexistent. Sora should win, because Tingle is creepy. And yes, Tingle does have his own game now, and...I just have no idea what the hell to say about it! It's just such a strange thing...

Y'know, since the GBA is likely to remain my sole current console for the near future (and that's a tenuous definition of 'current') I'll likely want to expand its library. Which can be done quite cheaply. With that in mind, I'll appreciate information you can probably grant upon such titles as: Sword of Mana. After I heard middling things I put it on the back burner. Lufia GBA. Matt comes out very strongly against it - what do YOU have to say?

Josh

Sword of Mana was decent. I played it for awhile before I had to leave my cart at home with my brother ;_; Definitely worth picking up. I mean, it's nothing spectacular, but if you've liked the other Mana games, this is more of the same goodness.

Lufia GBA. Run away. The first two Lunar games were awesome, but nothing since then has has any merit whatsoever.

DemiKids, after a bit more research from me, turns out to be a cross between Shin Megami Tensei (which it was released under in Japan) and Pokemon. What does it look like to you?

Josh

Well, it IS a Megami Tensei title. But yeah, that's exactly what it looks like. I mean, you're collecting 300 monsters across two versions of a game. How much more similar can we get here? ^^

That Diablo-like Return of the King game. I got bored within a few hours of playing The Two Towers on GBA, do you have any expertise here?

Josh

Nien, my friend. However, I can't imagine playing a Diablo-type game on anything other than a PC and enjoying it, so...

Um - a Hamtaro game counts as an RPG? Hell, I don't know!

Josh

Wait, wha? I mean...if it's an R...PG...

*explodes violently*

Metabots/Robopon/Dokapon/ any other game in this genre I'm forgetting. How many of these bloody monster-collecting titles do we need?

Josh

None. They need to stop now. Unless they make an Ouropon. Then it's ok.

Collect all 1!

Sigma Star Saga. I kinda liked the concept of a side-scrolling shooter meshed with an RPG but apparently the execution left something to be desired. Corroboration, please.

Josh

It's a hybrid RPG. Woo. The day I finally see a really really good one that isn't an FPS is the day that...eh. I dunno, I bathe. >_>;

I generally stay away from things like that on principle, but the bad reviews I read about it only reinforced my decision.

I know nothing about these Summon Night titles. Please inform.

Josh

Well, I really only know a bit about Swordcraft Story, as it was the only NA localized one. It looks like an interesting title, and it got some pretty good reviews. It's a fairly short game (15 hours-ish), but the game as a whole is pretty well done. Good music, battles similar to that of the Tales games, and a fair amount of dungeon crawling round this one up. If I still played my GBA regularly (I probably SHOULD, seeing as I spend so much time on campus, away from my PC and PS2), I'd take a closer look at this.

In a gear shift, I'm going to give you a Panzer Dragoon Saga piece of music to listen to. Enjoy! http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/570/30 This piece is played during several boss fights against recently awakened weapons with the purpose of protecting a certain location.

As you have presumably played Lunar 2, I'm just going to hope you agree with me that the trend of having your characters fight solo against Althena's Four Heroes stopped after Jean and Lunn. Imagine having Lemina go at it solo against Borgan - ouch.

Josh

Yes. That would have been entirely too much of a pain. ^^; Thank you, WD, for being merciful!

And because I know we all need another sample of truly terrible voice acting, the aforementioned Castle Shikigami 2 gets another shot at infamy: http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/castleshikigami2/clip2a.mp3 Beautiful, isn't it?

Josh

Quite! Thank you, very much!

Shine shine, shine your love! Shine shine shine shine shine your love, shine your love on me! You gotta shine shine shine shine shine your love, shine your love on me!
JuMeSyn

Josh

And, we end another one of JuMeSyn's letters! As always, a pleasure, but I need to sl...zzzzzzzzzzz...



Xenofuture?


Dear Ouro, Having just finished Xenosaga III, what are your thoughts about it ties to Xenogears? Would you liked to have seen more? How about a Xenogears remake? - Macstorm

Josh

I thought that while the ties to Xenogears were interesting, unless they come up with some extravagant way to connect the two parts of the series, then I think that they will only stay as neat little distractions in-game. Sure, they were cool, but some of them were just there for the sake of putting them in there, rather than creating some meaningful relationship between III and V. Here's hoping I'm completely wrong, though. Not sure if I needed more, but the ones they had were pretty interesting, and at least made my jaw drop from time to time.

A Xenogears remake? YES. I would love it, provided they did the following:

  • Kept the battle system the same.
  • Upgraded the graphics...a lot.
  • Increased the text speed, or at least provided an option for it.
  • Made the "2nd Disc" portion of the game more interactive.

I consider Xenogears to be one of the finest games in existence, so I hope that they don't change it too much...just the stuff that really needs to be fixed/improved.



Take my advice! ^^


Dear Ouro, what is the origin of your name?

Josh

Die.

How do you type with boxing gloves on?

Josh

Die. Again.

How do you get friendship stuck in your eye when you're wearing glasses?

Josh

I don't get the reference. Die.

Or you could always answer my phantasy star trilogy question which nobody has ever answered.

Josh

As some guy once mentioned - "There is no Phantasy Star Trilogy. The fourth game got cancelled in Japan and the company that was going to release the games in the US went bankrupt."

He mentioned something about how his words are copyrighted, but I never read those things anyway. Psh. Legal mumbo-jumbo...has no place here in Q&A. ^^



Quite qualified to answer this!


Minor Xenosaga III spoilers ahead!!!

------------------------------------

Having just finished Xenosaga, I was pleased with the way the plot came together within the trilogy. Nearly all mysteries introduced in the previous installments were satisfactorally explained, and some long overlooked characters were finally given much-needed development.

That being said, there is one thing that bothers me. I was disappointed with the general lack of tie-in to the Xenogears story. I had several running theories about who would turn out to be what in the end, and the writers just kind of left us hanging. I thought for sure that there would be some connection between Jin and Citan, who share a last name as well as a startling resemblance... possibly even that Jin would somehow become immortal and turn out to BE Citan thousands of years in the future. Is Nephilim supposed to be Elly? Is Abel Fei? Other than the Zohar and the Anima relics, there is no real plot connection, only what could be at best called homage.

My point is that I feel a bit used. I feel that Namco named the series Xenosaga and initially promised a six-part series, leaking rumors about part five being a Xenogears remake, in order to mislead us into buying what we thought would be a prequel. They did this to separate their game from the host of other RPGs on the shelves. "Xeno"whatever would sell better than a more generic title. I have to speculate that there never was any intention of making episodes 4-6, tying the plot to Xenogears, or anything else in the way of fanservice. It was all a ploy.

Do you suppose they would be so diabolical, or am I just overreacting?

-Tommy Moo

Josh

Well, like I mentioned in Mac's letter, I feel your pain.

More minor spoilers!

Is Nephilim Elly? No, as far as I can tell. Is Abel Fei? No, as far as I can tell. I know Abel was one of Fei's incarnations according to Xenogears, but just based on the events that transpired in Xenosaga, there's absolutely no way to tell. If you noticed, there really weren't TOO many references to Xenogears in the first two episodes, and it seems like they crunched them all together in the third episode. My theory is that because of the crap that happened in the midst of the first two releases (which subsequently caused them to only release three episodes rather than six), they had to do something to satisfy the fans - include more Xenogears references. Now, if they never make any more games in the series, no harm, no foul. If they DO, however, they had better come up with some fascinating ways to connect the two parts, because from what was in XSIII, nothing really makes any sense.

They even had those 4 Gnosis bosses that looked like Andvari, Renmazuo, Steir, and Fenrir. The boss in the mine was like fighting Maria and Seibzhen, and I seem to recall a Crescens-shaped mech at some point in the series. So yeah, I'm disappointed as well, but I honestly think they were just thrown in there to make our jaws drop, even though, in the end, it's frustrating.

End minor spoilers.

But, again...Dear god I hope I'm wrong. Really.

Thanks for writing in!



All right. Here's the deal.


I have been playing wizardry v heart of malestrom for some time now and for some reason the orb of llygalm(or something like that) was taken away from me and the 3rd level any ideas how to get it back or do i need to restart but i would hate to do that please someone help me

Josh

Ok. Here's the deal:

Side Contest!

The idea here is sorta like one of those "Beat the Caption" contests. Here we have one of our infamous letters where I would usually say something sarcastic and witty, but I feel like giving you guys the chance! Just a little fun something I think we can do on the side!

  • You are playing for One (1) Co-Host spot.
  • This is open to everyone! Absolutely anybody can enter, regardless of if you play THONG, send in letters regularly, etc.
  • Entries must be in response to the above letter.
  • Entries must be well-written (I can fix basic typos and such, but...at least make it so I can decipher it!), and must not contain any profanity or otherwise harmful language. It's alright to poke fun, but don't be a jerk about it ^^.
  • Don't give me a frickin' essay. Pleeeeeeeeeeease!!! :)
  • You have one (1) week to write this. Entries will be accepted until Noon, Sunday, Oct. 15, Eastern Standard Time.
  • The top three (3) answers will be posted, and the one I like the most will get to cohost a column with me on a date that we will figure out later.
  • Most of all, have fun!! ^^





S E G U E

Nothing really to report.

Go have fun with the side contest, while you're dealing with THONG!

Also, all 6 questions for the weekend will be posted tomorrow. I have my reasons! Sorry!



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Blight takes a moment to heal.
Bainick moves to Tile 13.
Leaper moves to Tile 19.
BLG moves to Tile 13.
Slimey moves to Tile 21.
Bucket moves to Tile 18.
Draconn moves to Tile 24.
Alan Tse moves to Tile 7.
Slashlen falls to Tile 27.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 10.
PureLunatic moves to Tile 27.
Arpijy moves to Tile 22.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 18.
Aurelius moves to Tile 25.
Aylee moves to Tile 14.
Tabor moves to Tile 24.
Sundoulos moves to Tile 10.


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!

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Sorry about the THONG thing, but I just decided to post this column at the last minute (and I luckily got another letter to make my quota), and I didn't even think of any trivia. I'll just do all 6 tomorrow, then. ^^;

I'll see all of you tomorrow, and bring me something good to discuss! I'm going to need it after my exam...

ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh probably should have studied more.


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RPGs I'm currently playing:

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THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2
550p

2. Bainick
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1450p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 9
2800p

4. Macstorm
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6. BLG
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7. Arros Raikou
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8. Xlash
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9. Donovan
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10. Slimey
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11. Bucket
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1125p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 8
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13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 2
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14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 3
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15. TheBluick
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16. Gouden Draak
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17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 16
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18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 6
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19. PureLunatic
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21. William.T
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22. Arpijy
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23. Spiffyness
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24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
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25. Carabbit
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26. Vicissitude
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27. JDX
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28. Kupomogli
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29. Aurelius
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30. Omm
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31. Aylee
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32. Tabor
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33. TvsAdam
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34. Sundoulos
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Anyone else?

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