Robotrek is better than FF7
  In the SNES
  Chrono Trigger
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Allan Milligan

BWOOP! BWOOP! BWOOP! Quick mid-day update: Aaron Littleton, you sent me a link to a site where people can learn Japanese yesterday. I lost it. Please resend it, so I can post it up properly this time. Coo? Ahem. You heard me. Robotrek is better than FF7. At least, that's what everyone seems to tell me. I did a check of all the mail I've received since I started this column (78 in response to yesterday's column alone), and came up the with following statistics:

- 6 respondents liked 7th Saga. 23 hated it.

- 71 letters involved criticisms of FF7. 14 lauded it as a good game.

- 19 people wrote in to tell me that they, too, liked Robotrek. Three mentioned that they liked it despite the music, which is known to reduce inner ears of listeneers to waxy Jell-o.

On a more serious note, I made a boo-boo yesterday. Most of you might not have noticed or cared, but really, *I* should have. What I'm referring to are the unmarked FF8 spoilers I gave in response to one letter. Granted, they're not exactly earth-shattering (I doubt anyone's enjoyment of the game will be ruined by knowing how a character's name is spelled), but the principle stands and is sound. My bad. So, in future, I will be tagging FF8 (and other upcoming RPG) spoilers somehow, so those who want to know can, and those who don't, won't. Sound okay? Hope so. And now, back to the wars...

Q: Hey Serb. Just thought I'd let ya know that ya left out one of the worst parts of 7th Saga in your commentary on it: the translation. I mean, it was some of the worst dialogue I've ever seen in a game. Example: "I am Pison. I have gone to the dark world and now I am RED Pison."

Ludicrous. Simply ludicrous.

Xeria, da Samurai Chipmunk

Allan: <snicker snort> And in the other cornah...

Q: Hey,

I've defended 7th Saga on here a couple of times before but there's no reason for me not to write in again. I don't know why people complain about's called _raising levels_ guys! If you take the time out to raise a couple of extra levels, you'll stay strong enough to breeze through battles easily for a long time.

As for defeating Lux (and other characters, and bosses), all you need to do is use the B Protect and B Power (I hope I got that right), to raise your own power and defense, then block and attack. You'll do good damage and can beat most enemies with little struggle.

Concerning Valsu taking over the throne, the CPU picks a character at random to do that, don't blame it on the plot. Ah, yes, the plot itself! As one person said, the plot twist alone makes the game worth buying, it's very cool and extremely well done. Yes, the characters do have the combined appeal and depth as a Ford Pinto, but the game concentrates more on events that take place in the world instead, and it's done well.

And the game's music rocks, aside from the battle themes. :)

The other game worth defending is Phantasy Star III. I don't like going through the same dungeons repeatedly either, but the plot and it's execution are very neat, as are the characters. The whole "generations" thing has never been done in any other RPG, making this one a real treat. Plus, the four endings and multiple worlds/paths/characters gives it replay value up the wazoo.

Oh, yeah, and Brain Lord, it'll really strain your brain and it's good good music, graphics, and the Jade idea is pretty cool. It's more like a puzzle RPG, but it's really fun (the plot is not that great, but it's interesting).

Allan: I think it's time to put the 7th Saga discussion to rest, everyone. Everyone that wrote in to support it, I admire your dedication, but we're gonna have to agree to disagree. Everyone that wrote in to agree with me, thanks the for the reassurance that I'm not totally crazy.

I haven't played PS3 enough to debate its merits, but it should be noted that Dragon Quest V also boasted a generational system. Neither went over all that well (never seen that feature since), but there you are. And as for Brain Lord... hm. That's a tough one. I think that Brain Lord is indicative of much of Enix's output during the mid-90s. Namely, it had one really well-done aspect (in this case, the puzzles were appropriately clever), but the rest was sort of blah. Enix didn't really get back on the RPG ball, IMO, until Enix of America shut down, at which point they released gems like Terranigma and Star Ocean, both of which were superb. But I'll concede that Brainlord is the second-best SNES RPG for puzzle lovers, beaten only by the surprisingly (to me) good Lufia 2. Of course, anyone that hates puzzles in RPGs should stay the hell away. Like, duh.

Q: Like, you know, hi! I'm, like, you know, The Mysterious Moe's assistant because, like, you know, Moe is out today. He won't be in until 7:30, like, you know? So to warm his seat, like, you know, I'm sending in a message to RPGuru, like, you know. I'm the Mysterious Mia, like, you know, glad to meet you, like, you know. Don't tell Moe about this, like, you know, or he'll fire me because he didn't want me on his computer, like, you know.

The 7th Saga sucked, like, you know? The graphics were bad, like, you know? No main character died and Square didn't make it, so it sucked, like, you know? Square makes the only good RPGs, like, you know?

Don't you hate it how some people, like, get some catch phrase stuck in their heads, like, you know? And they unconsiously repeat the phrase over and over, like, you know? Doesn't that, like, just piss you off, like, you know? They repeat the phrase after every sentence, like, you know? Well, gotta go now, like, you know? Bye, great talking to you, like, you know?

Allan: I did not make this up. I swear I did not make this up.

Q: Seeing as you have obviously done something few have, maybe you could actually help me? I've been trying to play Robotrek. Yes, I like it, so you are not alone, but I'm just a teensy bit stuck... Akihabara has his mind back, and I've drained the water from the places where there were water, and now I have no idea what to do...

Help me, please?

Allan: I haven't played Robotrek in eons, so I'm going public with this one: anyone else remember this part of Robotrek? Send help to me, which I'll get to Tonya right quick. Be patient, lass. The RPGuru may have Alzheimer's right now, but he's not licked yet.

He's also speaking of himself in the third person. This doesn't speak well of my grasp on reality, does it?

Q: Just a question off the current flamewar bewteen pro- and anti- Square letters...

Everyone makes a big deal about Nubuo Umaetsu and whether or not he's doing FF8. And while I love him to death, being one of my favorite composers, what about Hiroki Kikuta, the composer of Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3 (I don't know if he did FFA)? He has wonderful music that are much more well-layerd than Umaetsu's, and many beautiful and moving pices. Admittedly they're different composers, and comparing them is difficult, but nobody thinks about him. What other games has he done music for? Oh and SoM+ is one of my favorite CDs, period.

- WrexSoul

Allan: Ah, game music composers. Kikuta's quite good, I agree. To date, he's done Seiken Densetsu 2 (aka Secret of Mana), SD3, and more recently, Soukaigi. I've heard samples of the latter, and they sound quite excellent (redbook audio?). He didn't do FFA, however: that was Kenji Ito. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to Actraiser: Symphonic Suite...

Q: I hope I am thinking of the right King Arthur game ^_^. Anyways, I thought that it was pretty good and challenging. I admit that it wasnt the best game ever but it still provided a good time. you had to choose the best knight to accompany Arthur to find whatnot and stuff. Like when you found a Lancelot's sheild in the beginging, you could either choose him or the others to fight the dragon. Thats about all I can think of right now, been forever since I last played it. All else I can say is I liked it, it provided me enjoyment.


Allan: Chris earns my utmost admiration for giving a shot at explaining why he liked a game so awful, even the game designers have disowned it. You're a man of strange tastes, Chris, but I can admire that.

Some defenses of the defenseless...

Faxanadu. This rpg was one of my favorite, although it was a 2-d game, it a great story line. It was not super hard, and the armor and weapons were unique enough. I would love to see this game ported to the N64 or PSX, prefering the N64 for the graphics. I would buy this game in a second. Of course this game was from the days of NES, so it was shorter than todays games. But the did a good job. Thanx.

- Andrew


I've taken a bashing for this before, but here goes:

I've got a game which I think gets absolutely NO attention. It was a great game by Square for the SNES, and one of the few *fun* and *difficult* action-RPGs. I'm talking, of course, about Square USA's own Secret of Evermore (no booing, please) Very few RPGs of recent years have that "spend hours in this frickin' dungeon" edge that SoE had. I mean, I actually had to draw maps for some of the longer dungeons. They were intricately thought out mazes. Screw the plot, though SoE did have an excellent and humorous tone, which completely reflected US culture (B Science fiction movies...Lumberjacks from Mars...). The bosses were always hard (something FFVII needed work on...except ruby weapon), and the music was very atmospheric, with ambient sounds to complete the scene. The graphics were top-notch for SNES, and this, coupled with the humorous plot and hours of "throw the controller down in frustration" challenge, made SoE worth spending my free time on. Chrono Trigger took all the potlight that year, and SoE has been lost in pawn shops ever since *sob*. Please tell me someone out there shares my sentiments

- Harwing


Now, since I can't help myself, I must add one RPG which everyone seems to think is incredibly stupid. The name of this object of blasphemy is *drum roll* Super Hydlide for the Genesis. Alright, go ahead, flame away. But, I think it was good is for the fact that it added a small sense of reality to it...sure, you could carry a few million potions and wear the greatest armor in the game, but then your little person would be so incredibly slow due to the weight of all that. That, and the day and night system, and another thing. You had to EAT, dammit! :) Anyway, I think I'm done rambling. What other obscure game could I defend...hmm....

- Raider

One of the most underrated and undeestimated games of all time HAS to be Illusion of Gaia. It had GREAT plot and character development, and the gameplay was EXCELLANT as well. This is one of the ONLY RPG's(and believe me, I'be played em all, i speak Japanese) that got me so attached to the characters. Even when Hamlet the pig died, it was as if part of me died too. *sob* *sniff* Well anyways, another thing about Illusion of Gaia is that the ending made SENSE and actually made me glad that I played it. Most RPG's(even the best, like FF7) have HORRID endings that don't tie up all the remaining loose ends of the story and leave the player feeling deprived afterwards, but not Illusion of Gaia. I enjoyed every minute i played it, from beginning to end. Now I'm not saying this game is as good overall as FF4-7, Chrono Trigger, or the Seiken Densetsu series, but this game is well worth ANYONE's time. Quintet did a good job with this game and no one seems to realize it....

- MrMoogle(aka Richard Rosenblatt)


Okay, here are some great RPGs that everyone else I've met that's played them hates.

(1) Ever heard of The Magic of Schaherazade by Culture Brain, on the NES? Ring a bell? Mabye not, for all I know, it sold 20 copies, 19 of which fell into the hands of people I know that hated it. Okay, It's graphics weren't up there with Leonardo, but it's music was great. So was it's battle system, the items, the party, virtually anything else you can put into an RPG of any kind was excellent. I'm surprised that no one liked it.

(2) Lagoon for the SNES. It's Link-Like battle was there, with better magic. It's graphics rival some PSX RPGs, and it's music was unbelievable. It also had a plot as good as any other RPG, and enemies/bosses better then most. Of course, everyone hates it because of the short weapons that make it hard to kill stuff, but let's face it. How many of you would carry around a sword bigger then your entire body if YOU were an RPG hero?

Sincerely, Kebabu

Allan: Impressive effort, everyone. I'd sooner lock myself in a small, paisley-decorated jail cell with spikes on the walls and hydrochloric acid on every open surface, along with Stone Cold Steve Austin on six ounces of cocaine and a fierce case of rabies, a seven foot long ferret and Ruby, the bearded Nazi dwarf with leprosy, than play some of these games ever again, but hey, more power to you all.

Q: 1. So how come Bill Gates isn't trying to sell the Mako energy he's hiding?

2. I've been thinking about getting a tatoo. Do you thing chicks would dig a moogle tatoo on my left ankle?

3. What's your favorite Chrono Trigger character?

4. Some ragtag rabble caling themselves the LIGHT WARRIORS stole my SHIP. Do you know any way I can get it back?


Allan: 1) Because he hasn't figured out any way to put bugs into Mako. Yet.

2) They'd dig you a grave, or dig out your heart and stomp on it, or dig out a can of mace from their purse and give you a spray, if that's what you mean.

3) Ayla. Ayla strong. Ayla wear few clothes. Allan like much. Please no tell girl-friend.

4) The LIGHT WARRIORS, hm? Buncha Communist hippy punks, the lot of 'em. Especially that effeminate White Wizard - what's with those feathered sleeves? Hasn't he heard of tee-shirts? How about pants, for chrissakes? But to get the SHIP back, the solution is dead simple: erase their save games. Instant, localized Wall Street Crash with a And Then I Woke Up twist. Good fun.

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Mikediscool wants to know why Mog can speak English while other moogles just say Kupo (Mog's Hooked On Phonics), Strype gave me the old Unladen Swallow routine (my favourite colour is blue), SammyBlade asked if the Air Elemental in Vay was really tough (it thrased my monkey butt, at the very least), several people corrected me that Lunar: EB for PSX has only been hinted at by WD (with all the subtlety of a hydrogen bomb, but true), Master Elrond wants to know why Red and Blue from SaGa Frontier look so much like the characters of the same name in Treasure Hunter G (different design teams, same publisher, and stunning lack of originality - for a lark, do a comparison of the casts of Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest VI), Peter Venne wants to know if the original Star Ocean will ever be released in the US (very unlikely, 'm afraid), and DSNICKEL wants to know if I played Dark Wizard for Sega CD (never did find a copy of it). Busy day.

Whew! One column done, and I've already got a letter for tomorrow's entry. No rest for the weary, I guess. Keep 'em flying!

- Allan Milligan, putting on some pants

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