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Allan Milligan

Today's been a strange day. I mean, in and of itself, October 6th doesn't exactly seem like an exceptionally interesting day. There's no stigma attached to it, like a Friday the 13th or an April the 1st. And yet today, two things became clear: everyone I know has their birthday either today or in March, and secondly, everyone's in a really bad mood today.

The former inspires me to wish a happy birthday to Lannie, who should be reading this, and my own mother, who thankfully will not.

The latter made reading today's stock of mail rather annoying. Angry letters about SaGa Frontier, Pokémon, how the RPG industry is going to Hell in a handbasket, the FF Tactics ending, spoilers in this column, and one angry rant about, of all things, Dragon Warrior's overworld music. So, the faint of heart ought to take a Valium, as we're delving into hot territory today...

More FF Tactics ending arguments

Q: Simple as the subject. He didn't have to kill Ovelia, and Ovelia alludes to Ramza's death being his fault too. And he wasn't that powerful. Ramza could take him in a heartbeat - bet you couldn't beat Riovanes castle using Delita. Let's be realistic here, people, Delita loses his sister and cracks up; Ramza loses his whole family and manages to stay sane. Let's not blame grief here, let's attack the issue. Down with Delita! ....sorry, I got a little carried away. After all, FF Tactics is just a video game, right? deep breath......count to ten.........ok, better now. I get a little upset over this subject. Don't get me started on Algus either.

-Jesse

 

Konnichi Wa, Allan-san.

First of all I'd like to see what you think of my interpretation of the Delita affair. I personally felt compassionate for him and his situation throughout the entire game. I empathized towards his feelings after his sister was killed... I mean who can blame him for being a little over ambitious and disregardful of others. He was emotionally tramatized. And he was socially oppressed for his common status. Anyway, I felt that Ovelia, being driven to the point of breakdown, was suffering from emotional paranoia. She was obsessed with the idea that Delita was going to try to kill her, even though in reality he truly did love her. As he came bearing flowers for her birthday, she just could not accept the sincerity of his feelings, and ran at him intendingly. She grabbed his dagger, out of his belt holster, and stabbed herself. He then grabs hold of the dagger and pulls it out of her, hence when they come apart from "the opaque lunge" he is holding the dagger. This is not so unrealistic when you take into account how surprised he was when she died, and how sad he was while walking away. Delita I feel was the tragic hero of FFT, and very misunderstood. So, what do you think of that? =)

Donnie.

Allan: I received a whole slew of letters explaining Delita's actions, some saying that he was a murderous bastard, some that he was a tragic hero, some that he was simply acting on instinct, and one letter-writer who suggested that Ovelia was a leper. What that has to do with anything, I have no idea.

In the end, as they probably intended to do, Square pulled off a pretty ambiguous ending for Delita. We could argue this for days, I imagine, but I'd suggest that anyone who really has a strong opinion about what happened, and what it means, to write it up and send it to Editorials, since it's threatening to take over this column. Thanks for all the input, though.

And the RPGuru spoileth...

Q: I love the new (and consistently appearing!) RPGuru, but the spoilers are starting to worry me a bit. After alluding to having FFT spoiled, the column proceeds to do so for everyone else... I'm glad my best friend pestered me into finishing the game awhile back, before I could have that awesome moment of shock and disbelief spoiled. Please use some sort of note about spoilers so that I won't have to avoid RPGuru completely until done with each new release, especially with Zelda and Xenogears (which conflict with a lady visit over the holiday).

We appreciate your great work with the column, especially myself as a former game site writer and someone who thinks Delita killed out of instinct and Kefka is miles beyond Sephiroth. So please try to help us avoid story-ruining spoilers and enjoy the column to the fullest in the future.

Sincerely, Ed McGlothlin

Allan: I got a few letters about this, and thought about it, and came to the following resolution: all RPGs receive a six-month grace period in which any significant information about it will be marked by spoiler warnings, in big red text at the start and finish. If you don't want to read spoilers, and the red text says there's going to be some, move on down to where the next band of red appears. After six months, anyone who's still uptight about spoilers for a game is kinda screwed, frankly, and my use of formal spoiler space will end. FF Tactics, now seven months old in the US, is fair game, ending and all. This may seem a bit annoying, but I need *some* sort of policy, or else I'll be putting spoiler warnings for everything from FF8 to Brainlord, you know?

However, just to make things easier to read through, I'll be writing topic headings for letters, so if you're not interested or don't want to something spoiled for you, you can skip over it. Sound reasonable to everyone?

Sephiroth and Kefka vs. Ghaleon?

Q: I'd like to respond to your issue between who was a better villain, Kefka or Sephiroth. I admit I liked FF6 a whole lot better than FF7 but the fact is that Kefka made me laugh and didn't scare me one bit. He was more comical than evil. True he was amoral and killed for no real reason but to gain power, but the fact is Kefka did nothing to me but make me laugh.

Sephiroth on the other hand scared me a bit, no where near to the point that Resident Evil 2 scared me but he scared me none the less. What I really like about Sephiroth was that he had the awesomest(if that's a word) music I've ever heard on an RPG. Whenever I heard that music start playing it gave me chills. When I heard the final boss music of his I was totally in awe, especially when I heard it singing the name Sephiroth. It inspired me to find the soundtrack and purchase it.

Thanks for listening.

Allan: It should be reiterated here that I did not, and never have, stated that Sephiroth is a bad villain. I actually think he's very cool and appropriately intimidating. However, I still think Kefka was a good villain himself, and was also a more difficult one to pull off well: as the above letter proves, it didn't work for everyone, but it was a very different take on a villain, and very entertaining, so I give him his props. So, I say again: both Kefka and Sephiroth were great villains. Just in different ways.

Of course, nobody's even brought up good old Ghaleon, who's arguably cooler than both of them...

Excusing Kefka's behaviour

Q: There's one thing that people don't really know about Kefka- it's not *his* fault that he's all messed up (sorta). A lot of people haven't found this out, but it sorta clears things up. If you go to the Cafe in Vector, I think when it's burning, talk to one of the guys there. Kefka was the first guy to get infused with Magitek, but the procedure wasn't right and Kefka got messed up. Then he started his killing rampage.

-Beast

Allan: This is true. Kefka does have some motivation/explanation for his actions, though it's sort of beside the point in a way: he's clearly not a sympathetic character. But they did flesh out his background a bit, explaining (partially) his insanity, which was a nice touch. Thanks, Beast.

"Oh my stars and garters!"

Are RPGs too depressing?

Q: Dr. Milligan,

Since the ending to FFT has been splashed all over the RPGuru, I figured this would be an apt time to weigh in. I'm wondering what you and other readers think about these extremely depressing story lines. It's bad enough that I had to wade through a convoluted and dreary story to play an otherwise rich and deep game, but then I'm rewarded with the disappearance and apparent death (that's how I interpreted the ending, regardless of the funeral drive-by) of the main character. Further, I sit through the credits and guess what Delita stabs Ovelia and vice versa.

I invested countless hours in the game, and although I enjoyed the ride, I was left extremely disappointed. The story left the game player with no hope or happiness. I'm all for realism in games, but enough is enough.

In fact, one of the things that's missing from recent Square games is a feeling of joy. Everything is soooo heavy. Hey, lighten up! These story writers should realize that a brooding teenage or post-teen character with a chip on his shoulder is just not that interesting to someone who has already gone through that period and looks forward to enjoying life.

So what games did I enjoy? I loved Vandal Hearts and Suikoden, for example. Even a game like Abe's Oddysee (not an RPG, I know, but a great game) was imbued with a sense of wonder and awe, despite it's dark back story. And I'm enjoying Tales of Destiny so far.

All right, Guru (and others) what say you?

- PuffyGary

Allan: I think there's room for happy and sad RPGs. One of FF Tactics' main themes was the ambiguity of morality, so the ending was, to me, a very appropriate epilogue to the whole affair. On the other hand, there's always room for a little light, and annoyingly, most of Square's more recent, up-beat games have, and will not see the light of day in the US (Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, for example). I don't think Parasite Eve could have been done any way but darkly, but another successful game, Pokémon, is anything but dark and dreary. I think there's light and dark games out there, and neither is intrinsically better than the other.

Square games on Dreamcast?

Q: hello o rpguru,

I'm a devoted square fan, and am thinking a bit about the future. right now the Dreamcast seems to be the uncrowned king of the coming years of console gaming. now, according to Square's homepage, they will not develop games for the DC but i was wondering when their contract with Sony will run out. Now that even Namco (the creators of Tekken) have signed on as developers for the DC and Sega (their arch-rivals) and that the new Biohazard (read: Resident Evil) game will be on the DC, which was supposed to be on the PSX at first. This makes one doubt the words of almost every gaming company that says it won't develop games for the DC. so, basically what i'm concerned about is, will FF9 be on the DC and not the PSX 2? perchance you could give me some info on this,

-Gunblade

Allan: Dreamcast, to my mind, is still a far cry from being an uncrowned king of anything. Sure, the hardware's impressive, and the games look great, but hey, so did the Turbografx-16 at the time, and look what happened to it. Still, DC seems to be building up a good developer base, unlike most failed systems of the past, so it probably has a chance of making it big. Anyway, as for Square, they seem pretty happy with Sony at the moment. Sony's treating them like kings, and if there's a PSX2 developer's kit to be found, I bet they gave it to Square right quick. For now, at least, I wouldn't lay odds on Square switching horses in mid-stream.

Action RPGs, Old School RPGs, and Stupid Letters

Q: Hello O' great Guru

How can anyone say that Kefka or Sephiroth are the best Square villians. Think back to 1992 (U.S.) to a little game called Final Fantasy II (or IV). Zeromus! Totally the best SquareSoft villian there was. The hatred of Zemus, the evil moon thingy, purified and galvanized into the unspeakable evil of Zeromus (and he had cooler music, too)

Anyhoo:

Q1) Do you think we are ever going to see any more of those old style overhead and parallax view RPG's with the 2D graphics now that the NextGen systems are out? Sure, FFVII was cool, the graphics brought some depth into the game but I can't help but wonder if it detracted from other parts...

Q2) Why do I seem to like action RPG's like Zelda and Soulblazer over Final Fantasy?

Q3) Do you have a preference between the Working Designs, Enix, or SquareSoft RPGs? If Square, old style (NES/SNES) or the newer stuff (PSX/PC)?

and finally:

Q4) Why not have a "Stupidest letters I've ever recieved" day on your 1 month anniversary of doing RPGuru at RPGamer?

Oh, and I think the best non-square RPG villain and the best evil guy overall was either Zophar from Lunar: Eternal Blue or Deathevn in Breath of Fire 2

- See you in the next dimension, TR


Allan: Zeromus? The no-personality, no-development deus ex machina with admittedly nice music, pulled out at the end of the game for the Big Final Boss Battle? Zeromus wasn't even a character, much less a villain. Villains need motivations, and histories of doing something evil, or something. All Zeromus does is say "the hatred" a lot. Bleah. He's like a lazy version of Zophar. Dull dull dull, and the worst part of FFIV.

1) Tales of Destiny is a distinctly old-school RPG. So's Lunar: Complete. We'll probably see more and more 3D-styled games as technology improves, of course, but I doubt the old style will completely disappear.

2) I have no idea.

3) Proportionately, I probably prefer Square's RPGs, though I'm as longtime a Working Designs fan as you can find.

4) I've been considering it... people ought to see the "nipple Pokémon" letter, I think... hm...

Lunar: Complete's intro responses

Q: The American intro for Lunar: Silver Star Story is pretty bad. I mean real bad. The words are just lame. I am totally disappointed in Working Designs. They should have left it in Japanese so we couldn't understand it. Also, I am not trying to put down the singer, but the way it was sang was wierd. The words were all harsh and dug deeper into my cranium with every phrase. Working Designs is good at animating, not song writing.

Allan: Er... Working Designs doesn't animate. In any case, I actually quite liked the English version of the intro to Lunar: SSS. I even liked it better than the Japanese version. The lyrics didn't make much sense, but I liked the singer's voice, and the animation was superb of course. I should add, though, that no one should let a dislike of the intro music discourage them from playing the game when it comes out.

Monkeys

Q: I've got to make this quick, there are rabid monkeys clawing at my door trying to get in so I can proofread their script for Hamlet!

1) Do you ever go in IRC? If so, what is thy nick?

2) There's a girl named Chandra whom I want to date. If I give you $50, will you claim you never heard me say that?

3) Which is a better typo: "bepeokep=people" or "alcutlya=actually"?

4) Does anyone else think Ramza's last name should be pronounced "bay-ooh-loove"?

5) Can anyone direct me to a site with a translation of Pure Again (BOF3's ending theme)'s lyrics?

6) Do you personally want to know a lot of FF8 information before it comes out?

7) Am I asking too many questions?

Oh my god! The rabid monkeys have broken through the door! They're coming towards me! Someone help me, tell Chandra I love hhsduzcjn

- A.E.Isthill

P.S. We are the monkeys. We would like to apologize if this is in your inbox twice, for there was a screwup mailing the first time. A.E.Isthill was tasty and found some typos.

Allan: Get your hands off him, you damn dirty monkeys!

(The preceding bad joke is brought to you by the Friends of the NRA.)

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Michael Young wonders if anyone noticed that FFT's plot was similar to Janny Wurts' series "Wars of Light and Shadow" (I'd never heard of 'em, so not me personally), Clyde Hudman asks me to plug his U.S. Unofficial Final Fantasy VIII Home Page (hey, what about the Canadian version? :), Stone Cold Hanpan says I bashed Mighty Mouse (untrue, I just acknowledged that it had a cartoony art style, which it did; Mighty Mouse rocks, dammit), Matt asks if I can explain the ending of Parasite Eve (haven't seen it, so not - ask again in a week or so), and Squall asks when we'll be posting information about Super Mario RPG 2 (pretty soon, I think).

This took longer than expected. Ah well. No biggie. Seeya tomorrow, then, where I'm sure people will bitch at me for insulting Zeromus...

- Allan Milligan, sighing

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