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Allan Milligan

Note: As I update this, RPGamer's web server is down, so I haven't the slightest idea when any of you will be seeing this. But I promised daily updates, so server or no server, I'm updating like the fool I am.

In a brighter bit of business, a friend of mine lent me Parasite Eve, so as I find the time, I'll be working my way through it, bit by bit.

Today's most popular topic of discussion is the ending of FF Tactics, which was spoiled for me by a few letter-writers a week or two ago (not that I'm bitter), and what it indicates about Delita's character. But first, something totally different...

Q: As of late I have heard a lot of people say that Chrono Trigger 2 would be the best game in the world and that Square is insane not to release it. Don't get me wrong CT was the best game ever made, period, but you know what, I don't think another Chrono Trigger would be a wise idea for three reasons.

1. If another CT was made it, the game would have to be set in an entirely different world. Think about it, the party didn't just save the world, they saved time itself. Most sequels (FF excluded) exist in the same world as the first in the series. Sequels build off of what happened in the first game, movie, book, whatever. The one thing that allows sequels is the passage of time and how, over time, another conflict has arose. Well with CT that couldn't happen because the team travels throughout all of time and repairs the world in each and every time period.

2. The first entry in any series has a certain quality to them that most sequels just can't build off, that's why FF is not an ongoing story. For CT to be as good as the first it would have to "stand alone." It would have to be like FF for the story to be as original and interesting as the first.

3. An addition to the CT world would just complicate things and in many cases might actually have you perform tasks that you already did in the first. The story was the greatest thing I had ever experienced, I still play it and am awed by how the story is so epic and every loose end is tied up. An addition to CT would just untie all those loose ends.

I loved CT and I do actually wish that there was a second but after thinking it out I came to the realization that CT2 could never be as good as the first and may actually affect my love for the first game. Nuff' said!

PonchoVia

Allan: Your points are well-taken, though I suspect you meet some resistance on the "all loose ends are tied up" statement (Schala, anyone?). Myself, I'm torn about making a sequel to Chrono Trigger. On one hand, I thought it was a very stylish and fun game (the set-up for the original Magus fight was priceless), and I'd certainly like to see another game in that vein. On the other, I sometimes wonder if Treasure has the right idea, developing each new game from the whole cloth, never making sequels. Chrono Trigger was really fun, but taking what Square learned from making it and applying it to a new project might be even more fun. Or it might suck. Such are the risks.

Q: Oh mighty Guru of vast RPG knowledge:

I surfed onto a page one day and was scanning around when the question was brought up, "Who stabbed who?" Confused, I startd to scroll down, and saw it was talk of the ending in Final Fantasy Tactics. In the sequence where Delita kills Ovelia, the owner of the page put forth the suggestion that Ovelia stabbed Delita first. Intrigued, I fought through the game again and watched the ending very closely. Ovelia lunged at Delita and a definite thunk could be heard. Delita also seems to cringe. He seems to reverse a knife that was in his chest, and stabbs Ovelia with it. As she crumples to the ground, he limps away and mutters one line before the screen fades out.

Now, here's my question. Who really stabbed who? What do you think? I figured that you could comb the vast recesses of your RPG knowledge and give me a straight answer. Thank you for you time.

Richard -Master of Final Fantasy- Clough

Allan: I've heard dissent on this point, and wasn't clear about it yesterday, so here's my take; Ovelia rushed at Delita and stabbed him. He grabbed the knife, reverses it, and stabs her, killing her outright. However, I still consider Delita to have murdered Ovelia. While he could certainly win a court case over it using a self-defense plea, I'm not a court, and as I see it, killing her was a conscious and avoidable decision.

Delita, as he see countless times during the game, is an immensely powerful fighter, not to mention ruthless. Ovelia, even catching him by surprise, posed little or no threat to him, especially since he was wearing armor at the time of the attack. Moreover, he's a highly trained fighter, making it entirely within his power to subdue, knock out, or otherwise stop Ovelia without having to gut her like a fish. He didn't need to kill her, but did, which makes him a murderer in my book.

Of course, the circumstances of all this are muddled. Delita may have seen killing Ovelia as a merciful action on his part, saving her from the pressures and deceit of being a false queen. Or perhaps he simply wanted her out of the way. Below is one opinion on the subject.

Q: Not really a question but I kinda liked Delita. In my opinion he was a great guy but he was lacking something. He believed (as did Machiovelli) that the end result is the desire and one must do whatever it takes to achieve it. Delita wanted peace. Unlike Ramza, he thought he could achieve peace through assassination. His anger about the death of his sister blinded him and thus he now thought it was OK to kill as the enemy had done it. At the end, he felt miserably. He had gotten his goal achieved but nobody was there to thank him when it was over and done because he had trampled over them to achieve it. His killing of Ovelia was an act of pity; he had used her and he felt sorry for her. He also loved her which is expressed many times throughout the game in lines like "I wouldn't kill her but I don't know why."

Allan: On one hand, I agree that he was someone who believed that the ends always justified the means, and that he felt terrible about it afterwards. On the other hand, I am firmly opposed to this viewpoint, and scarcely consider Delita to be more heroic than Gafgarion or Wiegraf. The Ovelia killing is open to debate, but for my part, I interpret the scene as Delita realizing that he can't function as a king if his queen is prepared to kill him, and since it's the only solution to problems he's ever really known, he kills her right there and then. He feels terrible, since he loved her, but he sacrifices her potentially troublesome life to the altar of his ideal, like everyone else.

Q: Heya Allan,

After the praise that Parasite Eve has recieved I figured I should write in and generally do the opposite as I have played through the game in normal and EX Mode. For starters I'm not saying anyone who likes the game is wrong, I'm just saying that there are some people who don't so I'd suggest renting it first. First off the story has quite a bit of problems, especially the ending which contradicts itself a bit much. Then you spend all of the effort going through the EX mode and what do you get? A short little real-time cinema sequence and a little better credits sequence. I also have yet to enjoy a random battle. I love the battle engine to death when it comes to bosses, I think it is great, but the random battles are annoying at best, at times it is impossible to avoid being hit, and they hit while you are shooting. I would like to see the random battles done Resident Evil style, and the boss battles Parasite Eve style with a little more effort put into the story line. And maybe not have Aya pull her gun out at every frickin' thing. Oh look, something about as large as an office building, I think I'll pull my pistol on it. This just bothered me quite a bit. All in all I think you should rent it first, it just got old after a while.

-Hawkeye (Head of the Avengers West Coast)

Allan: I've only played about half an hour of the game so far, but really quite like the battle system thus far. I'm totally inept at dodging attacks, which is Bad of course, but I like having some degree of risk in a random battle. I do think it's utterly moronic that you have to stop to reload your pistol, while dodging fireballs in high heels and a dress is easy as pie, but most games have some sort of logic gap like this: Bionic Commando's inability to climb even the lowest of obstacles without using his bionic arm, and so on. I'll leave the rest of your comments until I play more of the game, though.

Oh, and how's Mockingbird? :)

Q: Ok, yeah, I'm kinda impressed at the way that the gameplay for Zelda 64 is coming out, but looking at the preview stuff, I'm reminded of Mighty Mouse. Nin64 has been such a dissapointment to me! Why is it that every game that they put out that has a decent potential (i.e. the gameplay for Zelda) have the cheesiest graphics? I mean, wasn't the primary reason for upping to 64 bit the great graphics that you can acheive? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe most people think that the graphics for the 64 are better than the PSX 32 bit system, and maybe the only reason I'm writting this is my dislike of all things Nintendo (i.e. the cartridge fettish), but I'm an adult (well. . .) and I don't want my games looking like the same cartoons I watched when I was 8 (by the way, I liked the Zelda TV cartoon. . .)

I_Am

Allan: I see angry letters in my future... anyhow, while I'm not sure I'd compare it to Mighty Mouse, Zelda 64 certainly does retain the cutesy atmosphere of the previous games in the series. For all its processing power, the N64 is just a game system, and more power does not automatically equate aesthetically nice graphics. Case in point, your annoyance at how cartoony Z64 looks. I'm not surprised, and think it looks very nice for what it is, but I ended up preferring slightly darker, more stylized action/RPGs like Ys and especially the godly Landstalker to Zelda, myself. In the end, it's personal taste, but you can at least a) admire the skill at which Nintendo pulls off the graphics, even if the design isn't to your tastes, and b) enjoy the gameplay, which should be superb. For an all-around experience of that type with a slightly less "cheesy" look and feel, I'd look into Legacy of Kain 2 and (I hope) Climax Landers.

Q: Greetings mortal...

1. Why don't square or enix make a compilation of older games(FF or DQ) on one disk and jack up the price a bit...(70$)

2. I've noticed that several games have a dragon named bleu..(Shining Force, one of the BoF)

3. If Enix wants to release Star Ocean II here, then why wouldn't they want their masterpiece DQVII released here...with the right advertising it would sell...

Thanks RPG guy....

Allan: 1) Because it wouldn't be nearly as profitable as rereleasing them, slightly enhanced, one at a time for normal prices, and watching people lap them up.

2) Yes there are.

3) Star Ocean 2 is out in Japan. DQVII is not. Ergo, translating a game that isn't complete, by another company since Enix of America no longer exists, isn't really their first priority. Furthermore, Dragon Quest VII will sell gangbusters in Japan simply because it's a Dragon Quest game, whereas it'd be fighting an uphill battle in the US market. So Enix has to ask themselves: is it really worth the time and effort?

Q: Dear RPGuru,

I have been lurking for a while, but at last I can no longer contain myself from the merriment and must send in a letter of my own. So here I go:

1. I thought I might ask this question since a topic of late has been about leveling-up as a device in RPG. I cannot help myself but go insane on level-raising when I play RPG just so that I when I get to the end boss(es) I can beat the crap out of them, which I usually do (DQ3 was my first RPG--go figure). However, I now find the process of leveling up too tedious. But why was it so enjoyable in Dragon Quests and all those other old school RPG? Anyway, the upshot is that RPG no longer hold the attraction they once did, especially with all the FMVs taking away room for imagination. So what should I do to rekindle my love for RPG (when there is no way for me to break my leveling-up habit)?

2. Is it normal for me to find it increasingly difficult to finish a RPG because I get more enjoyment from the FMV than the play mechanics and thus end up grabbing the FMV from the disc(s), watch them, and ditch the game (and then I feel that I should have just watched a movie and saved $40)?

3. The RPG I have played in the past had fuzzy plot and characterization and explicit ending (such as DQ3, but the case may have been helped by the stories from DQ1 and 2). Why is it the other way around now (FF7 comes to mind)? Granted some argue that it leaves more room to the imagination, but what use is that when the game itself leaves nothing to the imagination with all its FMV? Besides, it leaves me desiring a more substantial closure. I yearn for more substantial endings!!

4. Taking the above items into account, I am getting ready to start on BF3, Persona, or Parasite Eve (I have all three, but I haven't touched any one of them). Which one should I start with (to rekindle my flame for RPG)?

Yours,

RPG Psycho

Allan: Tough questions, all. I'll start at the bottom, and work up. I'd suggest, for you, avoiding Persona and BF3 like the plague, as level-building and constant combat are staples of both, which really won't help you out any. Parasite Eve sounds a bit better, but I'd suggest giving Xenogears a try when it comes out in November. I think giving an RPG that is pleasant to look at, has a good plot, and most importantly for you right now, has fairly innovative gameplay would be a good idea, and Xenogears seems to qualify, with its three levels of attacks and combos combat system, Gears and so on. An alternate might be a good strategy RPG like FF Tactics or Dragon Force, which have a great focus on gameplay and are difficult, but in a intellectual way, as opposed to a test of tedium. I've met people who finished FFT without stopping to level-up or build JP levels even once, and this may be an approach for you to try.

As for substantial endings, just avoid current Square games and you'll be fine. Square endings these days are were loose, artistic affairs that probably won't suit you, but every other RPG ending should sit fine.

Overall, I think the key to rekindling your interest in RPGs is to find a plot and game that you really like, mixed with solid, innovative gameplay. Find something that will surprise you every time you play it, and you'll find yourself getting interested again.

Q: Heh, please don't ask about the subject. Anyway, I'm responding to a short lil scribble in your last edition of RPGuru. (Like the new title. hehe) In which one person whined about FFVI being lower quality than FFVII. I dont want to get into a big ol' war here, whats better and what's not... But when you said, "He was such a Caligula sort of character, totally insane and genocidal, but laughable and absurd," That was it, right there. Sephiroth was really a boring character, looking at it one way.. Guy has cells, guy wants power, guy gets evil and guy gets spanked by GOOD guys. FFVI: Guy is evil. Really evil. Kills without consious. Beats up heros. Completely refaces the world with the power of three chunks of stone. Gets angrier. Uses a beam of light to kill off towns. And I quote, from Kefka, near endgame..

"I will destroy everything and everyone. I will create a monument to nonexistance!!!"

To sum it up, there really isn't anything more evil than not having a true reason to kill, except for the sheer JOY one gets from it.

Typhus

P.S.: And Sephiroth didn't have that wicked laugh. =)

Allan: Nay, he did not. I got a few other letters, supporting my man Kefka, but this seemed to cover it all pretty well, except for one word that summed him up perfectly: amoral. Totally, unstoppably, gleefully amoral. That's what made him, at his best, so frightening: there was no doubt or compassion or human scale to his thoughts. He just was.

Q: I tried for the ninth time to get my SHIP back by deleting the Light Warriors' save games, as you reccomended. The last time, some huge hands picked up the two-tone grey world and smashed it into another one, but grey with two purple things on it. Now I'm stuck in a strange place, it's like a metal town. There's no SHIPs, much less ocean around here, but they do have these odd walking machines that you can ride around in. What's worse, people refuse to call me by my name, and keep calling me Kafker or something like that. I think all this is driving me insane. Sometimes when I point at stuff now, it suddenly bursts into flames. I asked for a psychiatrist to help, but this guy in a yellow jacket looked at all the burned stuff and sdaid I'm doing well. Can you help me get outta here?

- Bikke the Pirate (I THINK that's who I am...)

Allan: I believe they have you mistaken for Franz Kafka. My suggestions are as follows:

1) Laugh as often as possible, and suggest changing the national flag to a design involving a crossed hammer and sickle.

2) Challenge the guy in the yellow jacket to a game of pool, say "Eightball in the corner pocket - the hard way!" as often as possible, and ask him why he's wearing a big yellow body condom.

3) Elect your SHIP to the Senate, and see if anyone objects. If not, mobilize the entire armed forces in an attempt to destroy the Light Warriors once and for all.

If anyone makes heads or tails of all this, I will be truly amazed.

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Materia Semi-Master asks if the Black Materia is shaped like a temple, or is round (it's initially the temple, but when it shrinks down to portable size, it turns into a round shape), James Willis asks for RPG recommendations since he's finished the FF series (try the Lunar games if you can find them, but of more recent games, Tales of Destiny looks very good, so give that a try), Persmerga notes that the serialized RPG is indeed from Capcom and will cost $30 a pop (my wallet is hurting), and also points out my improper grammar (I'm aware of when I break grammar rules, but I'm trying to be conversational in this column, which often means bending of breaking the formal rules), Keenan asks why we're not covering Dreamcast RPGs yet (lack of time, mostly, though I'm getting info on Climax Landers myself...), Brando asks if WD will translate Dragon Force 2 (unlikely due to their hatred of Sega of America, the game won't be ported to PSX since it was developed by Sega of Japan, and apparently it's disappointing, so Vic passed on it).

That does it for one more night. See y'all tomorrow, server or no server. ;)

- Allan Milligan, back from the dead and ready to party

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