Feeling the heat, baby
  In the SNES
  Chrono Trigger
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Allan Milligan

Whew. In reading the responses to last night's RPGuru column, two things became apparent. First of all, other people seemingly do like Robotrek! I knew I wasn't totally insane! I plan on replaying it once I take a trip down memory lane with Chrono Trigger. The second thing that was made clear to me is that, as always, opinions on any subject can and do differ. Case in point: much to my amazement, I received several letters that had positive things to say about 7th Saga. Granted, some of them were backhand compliments ("Well, at least it's not King Arthur and his Knights of Justice," one reader remarked).

So, challenge of the day: write to me about why you love an RPG that most of the free world hates with a passion. Defend it. Laud it. You don't need to argue that it's better than <insert name of your nominee for The Best RPG Ever Made>, just that it's a good, fun game. C'mon, all you Beyond the Beyond fanatics! You too, Virtual Hylide supporters! Anyone that comes up with a good defense for the aforementioned King Arthur &HKOJ will win a prize. I can't promise that it'll be a good prize, mind you, but it'll be a prize.

Oh, and I've even got some letters to answer today, too. Nifty, isn't it?

Q: Well, first of all, I'd like to say that other than it being insanely hard, I thought The 7th Saga was pretty good.. (and although I haven't played it, a friend of mine has told me that Vay is harder, so who knows..)

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Ys V pretty much announced itself as the last of the series, didn't it? In the ending.. (spoiler encryption removed) It's been a while since I've seen it, but I believe that it says Adol Christin ventured to the only place left he hadn't been to -- the north pole. And he was never heard from again. Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's the way it went...

Ok, one last thing. Why is it that I'm not seeing very much enthusiasm for Tales of Destiny? I, for one, think the graphics I've seen so far look *great*. I've also already heard the introduction music (not the one in the movie intro, the one to the game), and can say that it sounds good, too. And the fact that it's the sequel to Tales of Phantasia says plenty by itself, if you've ever played that game. How do you feel about it?


Allan: I'll get to 7th Saga at the end of the column. Anyhow, I've never finished Ys V, as I can't speak Japanese. But the info update you gave me is appreciated, if sort of depressing. Ys wasn't a perfect series of games, but damn, it had great music. Sigh.

As for Tales of Destiny, well, to me it looks to be a sleeper hit. With the emphasis of the game emphatically off graphical razzle-dazzle, and firmly on plot and gameplay, it's hard for previews of the game to effectively display its virtues. It may very well end up being the next Lufia, in a way. I doubt Tales of Destiny will be outselling Xenogears or FF8, but it looks to have the stuff to be a cult favourite, like Lunar and Lufia have in times past. But time will tell.

Q: I was just wondering, and since you seem to get all the knowledege, a few FF8 questions... Some of these have been bothering me since the first bit of knowledge.

1) Why did they even bother mentioning Laguna Loire? The only popularity with our good journalist is the fact that he was accused of being a woman (yet, it is revealed that he is a transvestite). Laguna is apparently the co-main character alongside Squall, well where the heck is he? We see pictures and the slightest bit of information, but nothing compared to Squall and even the other characters. All I want to know is, and if you can relay this to Square... "Where the Hell is Laguna?"

2) For some reason, I can't seem to get the name of the villain. Sometimes, she's posted as "Idea". Sometimes, "Majo Idea". Then, "Idia". And THEN, yet again, "Majo Idia". I even saw Majou Idea once. I really wanna know what's the deal with this. Can I get a confirmed name here? I'm confused.

3) I'm hearing rumors that Cid might not be a character in this. All I have to say to this is... Why!? Without Cid, there's no Final Fantasy. It's almost like freaking tradition for Cid to be in every FF game, and I think it'd be wrong if they didn't put him in.

4) My last question... I'm hearing another rumor. I'll give you a name... RED XIII. This better not be true...

Well, Mr. Milligan, thank you for your time, and I look forward to seeing your responses there. Maybe if some Square guy reads this, he'll start to wake up a little bit.



Allan: Giving FF8 information is always tough, since we know so little, but I'll try to clarify things to the best of my knowledge...

1) Well, we've only seen the first little snippit of the game so far. I'm guessing that Laguna probably comes into the plot shortly after the opening sequence we saw in the demo. Major characters entering games in mid-stream isn't anything new - Celes in FF6, for example.

2) The kana for the second word translates literally as Idea (pronounced "ee-deh-ah"), making the name Majo Idea, according to Japanese-reading Brian M. Me, I call her Majorly Cool Idea, but I'm weird like that.

3) Cid's going to be in FF8. Have no fear. Square isn't THAT stupid, y'know. :)

4) Red XIII will not be in FF8. Have no fear.

Q: "...the only guy in the world that actually liked Robotrek," my eye! I'll have you know that while it was silly and not a great challenge, I had an awfully good time with it. I liked being able to build my robots up and mix and match parts. It's been a while, and I don't really remember most of it, but it was a good game, maybe not much replay value, but that's just my opinion.

You have to love solidly-done RPGs that stray from the beaten path. Shadowrun was a great game, and it was certainly different from "traditional rpgs." What I want is a good quality post-apocalyptic rpg, or maybe one set in the romanticized "Wild West." Maybe someday... just maybe... <sniff>


Allan: Shadowrun was great. Much better than the really lousy Genesis version (blech). For post-apocalyptic RPGs, I keep on being told that Fallout, for PC, is really fantastic, though it did nothing for me. And as for the Wild West, the only one that springs to mind is Live a Live, the ultimate import game for people that want off the beaten track RPGs. Check it, or at least the coverage of it here at RPGamer (nudge nudge wink wink) out.

Q: Allan, this is my first time emailing RPGamer. A few questions for you.

1. What made you want to play old SNES games? (i'm not saying that SNES is a bad thing.)

2. Why can't you afford PE? Does RPGamer pay you? You can always rent it too, i've heard it's a short game.. or must you have that demo.

3. I've been playing BOF3, and i really like it! What did you think of it? or did you not play it?

4. I'm dying for Lunar:SSS. I bought a SegaCD (please dont make fun of me..) and this was the ONLY GOOD GAME. and i can't wait to see the souped up PSX version. How do i pass the days until November 2nd?

5. Have a nice day. =)


Allan: Answers: 1) Because I utterly suck at FF Tactics, and because several people asked why I only seem to play PSX games. So I decided to have a change of pace for a while.

2) RPGamer will pay me. But I've been doing this column for, what, five days now? I'm a long ways off from a paycheck. Also note that RPGamer isn't exactly a NYSE-sponsored operation. Our income is almost entirely based on how often people click through the banners to our sponsors, so everyone, if you want to support all of us at RPGamer, click the banners. I know they're annoying, but it's the way things work.

3) Breath of Fire 3 was sort of fun for a while, but I had some unpleasant personal problems during my rental of it, shortly after I got Momo and Peco back. I plan to finish it sometime, I just don't know when.

4) Hey, Lunar: The Silver Star wasn't the only good Sega CD game. There was Snatcher, and Popful Mail (kawaii!), Vay, the highly underrated Eternal Champions CD (laugh at your leisure), and of course Lunar: Eternal Blue. If you've missed any of the above, I'd say they'd make a decent-to-excellent way to pass the days. Especially Lunar: EB.

5) I'll try.

Q: Hey, I will give this a go. I asked myself, "Why not try to get a couple of questions on RPGamer?" Well here it goes, here are some of those burning questions that have left scars on me....mainly on my thumbs.

1) Has anyone played Paladin's Quest or Inindo for the SNES? I thought they were cool classic RPGs, but never hear them mentioned here.

2) After Crystalis, which I have (hugs it), why did SNK never make a similar game or sequel? Or did I miss the similar games.... Was it that the game did not sell too well? Wouldn't a modern sequel be a good thing?

3) Do you think that Squaresoft will ever go back to a genre like that of the earlier Final Fantasies? I am referring to the FF4 area. Hey, make a cool game with good eye candy, keep the typical FF4-FF7 format, but keep out he guns and technology. Do you think this will ever happen again? I know that Squaresoft might be still looking for something 'different' but will they ever go back to the time frame where they started?

4) What is your favorite non Squaresoft RPG?

Well, that is all I have to say...besides a little bragging that I actually held two of the swords used in the army of darkness. (grins evilly) God, that movie is cool.

Signing off, Cyram

Allan: First of all, damn you for having held those swords. I may be forced to kill you, to release my pent-up jealousy. I hope you understand. But first, some answers:

1) Paladin's Quest did quite well in Japan, under the name Lennus, even spawning a sequel. Inindo tends to be lost in the mire of Koei games - and it's not really one of their best games, to be honest. Neither one really struck a nerve with the public, it seems, dooming them to the land of RPG Obscurity. Bummer.

2) Ah... Crystalis, the classic cult RPG favourite. Apparently it didn't sell very well, and SNK found that they made more money doing action games instead, first for the NES, and then for the Neo-Geo. A modern sequel would be very cool, but probably won't get made.

3) It appears that Square is advancing the tech levels of the FF series as it goes along. Whether this will peak or reverse itself remains to be seen. But they're still making more "traditional" games: FFTactics and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, et al. are both (mostly) low-tech, for example. For now, though, all we can do is wait and see what's coming up next.

4) Tough question, but I'm going with Lunar: Eternal Blue, for Sega CD. I was up to the wee hours of the night playing my first rental of it. Simply enchanting.

Q: I want to ask you about your answer to the guy who asked about Grandia, first off the Saturn wouldn't BE dead if Sega hadn't given up on it, and were still making games for it, and then some companies would still be on the band wagon so a US Saturn port of Grandia wouldn't have bombed so badly. And further more you said that if they make a PSX port then the American audience can enjoy it too. Well thats great for people like you with money, but people like me don't have money to burn, and I can't just go out and buy a PSX on a whim. Even still I do want to see Grandia on the PSX, but I too want a Saturn port as well, and if they did make it I don't think it would bomb as bad as you think, it is a very good game no matter what system it's on.

Allan: Um... what? Yes, the Saturn wouldn't be dead if Sega hadn't killed it. But they did, so where's the argument here? The whole rationale that Grandia for PSX is a good idea is based on the FACT (note the emphasis) that the Saturn is a dead system, and that games for dead systems don't sell, regardless of quality. C'est la vie, mon ami.

Q: Oh, come on! 7th Saga, I admit, was an insanely hard and unfair RPG, but unlike some other RPGs it certainly isn't impossible to finish, and I don't think it was so bad it made me want to shove bamboo splints into my eyes.

Really, what got on your nerves about it? The fight graphics are very nice, the music's okay and there's nothing majorly wrong with the play control (from my experience with the game). It's tough... but for an RPG, is that such a sin? I got through it, by doing what you must do for a lot of RPGs: Exploring, gaining experience, and learning the enemies' weaknesses. (By the way I used Lux and had Esuna join him for the whole game.) There's also a major plot twist about 3/4 of the way through the game. I can't say the game IS as fun as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 5, but I enjoyed what it had to offer. I personally feel 7th Saga has no major flaws other than its difficultly. It's a serious RPG for serious players.

I'm done blabbering.


Allan: What's wrong with 7th Saga? I disliked having a cast of characters with the combined personality of a Ford Pinto. I disliked hearing battle music that my mother once mistook for the sound of a cat exploding. I disliked that defeating Lux virtually required an act of God. I disliked the logic gaps in the plot - why, exactly, did Valsu the priest take over and oppress a town? I really disliked coming out of a fight, only to have my crystal ball radar tell me that I was already surrounded on all sides by enemies. I didn't even like the menu system. And I won't even get into how bad the ending is.

7th Saga is a seriously flawed game. Difficult, tedious, plotless, lifeless, and totally unsatisfying to anyone who's after something besides mindless level-building and boss-killing. If I want a game like that, I'll plug in good old Dragon Warrior. At least it had good overworld music.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Fritz Fraundorf points out that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has been delayed until '99 (oops) and is turning into a Tomb Raider ripoff (augh!), Nym says that WD has confirmed Lunar: EB is coming for PSX (WOOHOO!), Yasha wants to know where to get a brand new copy of FF6 (I don't think that's possible, I'm afraid. Check Funcoland, just in case, but new copies of five year old games are kinda scarce...), CS wants suggestions on how to learn Japanese (ask at a local community centre or college for information on Japanese for beginners courses, perhaps?), Desmond Gaban tells us that Fire Emblem V is very likely going to come to America (coolness), and Paladin is wondering if we can beef up our import coverage (we're doing our best).

Kind of a serious column tonight, isn't it? I expect I'll be hearing from people about my 7th commentary. Remember, it's just my opinion, which was asked for by fully 25% of letter-writers, by the by. Keep cool, smile bright for the cameras, and... yeah, that's about it.

- Allan Milligan, ducking into the bomb shelter

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