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Allan Milligan

Well, on the suggestion of several letter writers, I've disconnected my PSX for a little while (I can't afford Parasite Eve anyway...), and am trying some older games out with the good old SNES. Soulblazer, Chrono Trigger, Seiken Densetsu 3, and the one I tried today, 7th Saga. What the hell, I figured. What's the harm?

The harm came in the form of 7th Saga. Playing that game is about as fun as sticking a six-inch long bamboo splint under my left eyelid, shoving it in so only the bottom tip sticks out, then twisting it about as fast as I can, until my eye explodes from the friction, and then collapsing in a pool of my own blood.

Okay, so I'm being pretty facetious (there's no way my eye would explode from *that*), but it illustrates a point: if you hated something the first time you did it, nostalgia for the Good Ole Days will not make it a pleasant experience, years later. This lesson, I have learned well, and you can look be straight in my glass eye any time to see the truth of it. I hate that game, and I always will. Gack.

Okay, so it's not exactly insightful. Let's get on with the letters before I get started on LUX and his bloody stupid all-caps speed pattern...

Q: I have some cash to spare and wondering what RPG I should get. My choices are Wild ARMs and Suikoden. Which one should I get, oh wise RPGuru? No pressure.

Jonathan

Allan: Well, IMO, you can't really go wrong either way. Suikoden has lots of neat characters, great music, it's easy to play, and is just plain fun. On the downside, it's pretty damn short and easy, and 90% of the 108 characters have the personality of an overcooked waffle. Wild Arms is long, plays well, has plenty of puzzles, has pretty nice polygonal battles (not as nice as FF7's, but that's kinda a given), and reminded me a lot of Lufia, for whatever reason. On the downside, a lot of the puzzles seem tossed in just for the hell of it, the characters didn't do much for me.

I guess it all gets down to price. If you want a long, detailed RPG to make every dollar count, go for Wild Arms. If you don't mind having a shorter game, I say Suikoden all the way.

Q: People have been saying that they don't like Square and other RPG makers making "less traditional RPGs". Do these people release that "less traditional" RPGs have been in Japan for a while. Square is the head honcho for making stranger than normal RPGs (ala Tom Sawyer). Japanese game makers finally have decided that we're (as in the North American audience) mature enough to take off-the-beaten-path RPGs. But, now, people are saying that since these aren't "normal" RPGs, they shouldn't br made anymore. I for one like "different" RPGs (Parasite Eve, Earthbound, Front Mission). Penny for your thoughts?

Allan: I love less traditional RPGs. I'm the only guy in the world that actually liked Robotrek. I own Front Mission. Earthbound's grown on me. Harvest Moon was lots of fun, when I played it. And I've already muttered bitterly that I can't afford PE. So yes, I agree that one of the greatest things about the growing RPG market in North America is the possibility of getting some truly weird ones out. We're nowhere close to Japanese levels of daring, but I think any steps we take in this direction are good. Traditional RPGs have their place, of course (FF6 isn't my favourite game for nothing), but if game companies never experimented, we'd still have one-person parties in RPGs, wouldn't we?

Q: Hello.

You know, if Nintendo didn't play on the stereotype that video games were for children for its NES and SNES releases we would have seen great games like the Fire Emblem series back when the game(s) came out in Japan. I suppose it also has to do with the fact that simulation/strategy RPGs weren't as popular as they are now (well, they're STILL not AS popular as the traditional role-playing games such as the renown Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest series) but I figure that with the release of Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics and a few others now, SPRGs are finally making their break in North America.

Now that "cosmetics" are such a big thing with games, I doubt that many new fans coming into the video gaming scene will bother purchasing old systems mainly because the graphics of their games aren't as awe-inspiring as the ones found in PS games. For us, the generation that has been around since the debut of Atari, NES, etc., it's not surprising that we still play those old games and I don't think it's for nostalgia's sake either.

Anyway, what all this is getting at is that I *WANT* Nintendo to release the Fire Emblem series here. The series was wildly popular in Japan but unfortunately, if it DOES come out here now it'll be released by Nintendo of America and the series will be considered dated as Fire Emblem Gaiden was released in early 1990 and the remake of FE1 was later released in 1993 on the SNES under the name Fire Emblem: Monshou no nazo (Mystery of the Emblem). (I can just hear the obnoxious gamers now!: "These graphics SUCK!") Both these systems aren't as highly regarded as they were back in their prime so I just feel that FE lost its chance here in NA. And even if a new chapter or a remake were to be created for this series, it'll be on the N64 and Fire Emblem deserves more attention than that. =P

Do you think they'd be a way to force Nintendo to sell of the rights of the Fire Emblem series to someone else, say ... Sony? Or maybe even Sega? =P

I'd go on with the Ys series too and how unfortunate is it that its most popular game, The Dawn of Ys, is on the PC Engine/Turbo Duo but that'll be for another time. =P

Have a cheery day!

@_@ Egads! @_@

Allan: I couldn't resist posting this letter if I tried. Fire Emblem, Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys - you, sir, are a gamer of immaculate tastes. I think you underestimate your fellow gamers a bit. Most of us aren't so totally hung up on graphics that we can't appreciate a great game with less-than-brilliant graphics. At least, I hope so.

Sadly, the odds of seeing a Fire Emblem game stateside are slim. Nintendo's got one in the works for the N64 (possibly 64DD), but when I emailed Nintendo of America to ask about it, they said "we have no plans at present to translate Fire Emblem." I hope they reconsider. As for Ys, well, Falcom hasn't announced any remakes of Ys IV for newer systems. Or, for that matter, a new game in the Ys series at all (Ys Eternal was another remake of the first two games). If they ever do make an Ys VI, and if it's good, I know that Working Designs are fans of the series, so they might port it. Of course, that won't make everyone happy...

Q: Hi, I want to know whats up with WD. They are making a PSX port for Grandia (we all know it by now c'mon) or at least there is a VERY good chance that they are anyway. But still wouldn't it be easier for them just to translate the Saturn version? I know they have had a falling out with Sega but what did they do that was SOOOOOO bad?!, let's see, they put WD in a small booth at E3, and............um, and, uh, oh yeah, thats it!!, c'mon thats not too bad. I think WD needs to stop reveiring themselves as gods and that they should have ONLY the biggest and best of EVERYTHING, gawdamn! they should step off their high-horse and come down here with us real people for a little while, it's not as bad as they think it is!

Allan: Okay, I'm not Working Designs, but this bears responding to. First of all, there's a damned good reason for them to not bring out Grandia for Saturn in the US: because it would bomb. Horribly. Hate to rain on your parade, but the Saturn is deader than a pot-bellied pig that's been shoved through a tree shredder. Games released for the bargain-basement-priced Saturn are done so at a loss to the company. WD's release of Magic Knights Rayearth is likely to cost them a lot, and undertaking another project with an unquestionable result of profit loss is financial suicide.

In any case, WD is a company with a long history of doing what they do first and foremost as gamers. Their tastes may not agree with everyone (Shining Wisdom - why, god, why?), but any company that does a "last hurrah" game for three dead systems isn't in this industry just for the money. Their decision to release Lunar, and potentially Grandia as well, for the PSX in North America allows them to get good RPGs out to as wide an audience as they can. I don't see anything wrong with that. If that's a high horse, I'll ride it.

Q: People have been complaining a lot about Parasite Eve being easy. I've played it and am royal stuck in the Chrysler Building in EX mode. That building is hard. Have you played it yet? I'm getting worried that I won't even get to see the second ending.

Allan: For all those clamouring for tougher Square games, based on this and several other letters like it, I'd say that Parasite Eve might be worth a try. Not that I'd know, myself. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Q: I love Squaresoft RPG's. Not for their stories, gameplay, or graphics. There are many RPG's out there with these characteristic taht are made from different publishers. No, the reason why I think squaresoft is the best is because of the music. No other company has so far produced tunes that stuck in my head like Squaresoft has. All of us know the Final Fantasy prelude tune and other great songs like Terra's and Aerith's theme. Am it right?

Vather

Allan: After the past few days, where "fixing" Square was the focus of discussion, I thought it'd be nice to be reminded that yes, lots of people do love Square still.

Q: 1) I am awaiting Brave Fencer Musashi(not for the demo) cause I love dem action Rpgs, can Nick expect to see more in the near future?

2) My pants kept fallin down so I went to the store to get a belt, but when I picked up the belt, he started screamin and ordered his metaphysical donkey to shatter my metaphysical kneecaps! Any ideas on how to get back at him.

3) Is there anybody who wnats to give me $600,000...please...

-Nick?(I hope)

Allan: 1) Other upcoming action-RPGs of interest include Magic Knights Rayearth, Zelda 64, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and... that's all that springs to mind. All are due before the end of the year.

2) My suggestion is simple: dial 1-800-COLLECT over and over again, until they send Al Bundy to give you a prize for using their service so often. Once he arrives, stun him with a taser, brainwash him with soapy water, Listerine and a pair of rubber reading glasses, and send him to attack the offender. As we all know, any former star of Married With Children is, by definition, totally blocked off from the metaphysical realm, thus keeping your living weapon safe from the metaphysical donkey, and free to kick the hell out of "him." Then, just collect your belt, and there you are.

3) Hey, that sounds like a good idea. Hey, is there anybody who wants to give me a copy of Parasite Eve... please... ?

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Kagato wants to know if I'm a Pokemon fanatic yet (not yet, but I'll give it a try), David Liu wants to know what our translated screenshot of FF5's opening scene is from (I think it's from the ROM translation), JVN wants to know if Malak from FFTactics is of any use (no, he pretty much sucks), Brud wants to know if RPGamer will be covering Vay (I may do it myself, in fact), and Emily Skylar wrote a very nice letter which asked what upcoming RPG I'd recommend to her. Well, it's a tough field, but I'm wimping out saying either Xenogears or Lunar. The first sounds great, and I know the latter is too, moreso for those new to the Lunar series. You can't go wrong either way.

And before I go, a quote to mull over: "Good... bad... I'm the guy with the gun!" God bless Bruce Campbell. God bless anyone that refers to themself as a Grand Poobah.

- Allan Milligan, polishing his eye

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