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Amuse Me; Amaze Me; Adulate Me
Joshua Reid

Did you know that today is my week anniversary here as RPGuru? *Self-congratulatory pat on the back* I hope you are having as much fun reading as I am writing.

Extra! Extra! Extra! RPGuru Answers Questions!

I have an actual question! I don't know if you actually ANSWER questions any more, but here goes . . .

1. Where are the Front Mission games?

2. What do you think about the upcoming games of Suikoden 2, Thousand Arms, and Shadow Madness?

3. How come you guys don't cover Terranigma?

4. Why is Square changing SaGa's signature interweaving stories in the SaGa Frontier games?

-Neyug

Joshua: Of course I still answer questions, silly rabbit.

1. In Japan. Or, more specifically, in the greedy little hands of the luckiest scoundrels on the face of the planet. Front Mission (Super Famicom), Front Mission 2, and Front Mission Alternative will go down into the annals of video game history as "shoulda woulda coulda made a U.S. release but didn't." It's too late for them (the PSX versions were 1997 releases), just like it's too late for a Tobal No. 2 re-release, and other great Japanese games that won't make it over here.

Just so you know what you are missing, Front Mission is a series of Mech strategy games, on par with FFT. The menus (for Mission 2 and Alternative) are in English, so they make a good import. Locate your favorite import gaming site and pick up a copy of at least Front Mission 2--I guarantee enjoyment.

On a positive note, now that Electronic Arts is on board, I doubt we'll miss any more quality Square games.

2. Awesome, Radical, and Ambivalent. If I had to put them in order of delectability, I'd have to rate Suikoden 2 first, because I loved the first one, Thousand Arms next, because the screen shots look so cool, and Shadow Arms last, because you never know with Ted Woosley at helm.

Has everyone heard a little bit about these games? Suikoden 2 is Konami's next installment in the 108-character romporama that debuted early in the Playstation's RPG career, Thousand Arms is a game in development by Atlus--the Kartia, Bomberman, Ogre Battle, Persona people--and LOOKS great (rendered backgrounds, hand-drawn sprite characters), but no official news of U.S. release is confirmed (grrrrr). Shadow Madness (A "deadly contagion" wreaks havoc--seems like a "The Stand" rip-off to me) is being developed by a team of former Square USA employees. Personally, I think the correct name for Thousand Arms should be "Adolescent Anime Arms." What's with 16-year old heroes? 15-year old love interests? I guess it won't bother Tenchi Muyo fans.

But Neyug, you didn't mention Lufia III: Ruin Chasers! Don't disrespect the Lufia series! It's one of the only RPG episodics to actually retain some kind of a meaningful storyline cohesion.

3. Great question.

4. Because it confused people, and it was hard to write, and it created threadbare, shallow plots that have become a signature Squaresoft is eager to revise. Actually, Squaresoft's decision could be some or none of these (and how do you know anyway? The games not out yet. Anything can happen). I do know that Square took many of our complaints to heart, and they earnestly desire to create the game SaGa should have been.

Squaresoft Bias?

You never write anything about non-Square games. What is up with this? All of you complain about character development out there. I think you all should pull out your old Genesis and check out a little gem called Phantasy Star IV (Oh my god, its not Square). This game has a great storyline and all the characters stories intertwine nicely. Why do you scorn anything that isn't Square?

-stryper

Joshua: I sold my Genesis.

And I don't scorn anything that isn't Square. If you've been reading my columns regularly, you will see that I have mentioned Tales of Destiny, Dragon Warrior, Lufia, and King's Field, to name a few "non-Square" games. I've been predominately dealing with Square, because that's what I believe most people are playing right now, with the recent flurry of Squaresoft games hitting the states. I'm sure discussion/questions will turn to Zelda, when it's released, Lunar, when it gets here, Suikoden II, if we ever see it. I love those classics you mention, Stryper, but they aren't as prominent in people's minds now.

But yes, Stryper, Phantasy Star is a stupendous series. I enjoyed the technology/fantasy blend, the generations of characters (that for some reason Squaresoft and Enix think are a new innovation), multiple characters, and just all-around good playing. But they are sooo old. It's hard to think back that far. :)

A Load of CRAPP

Dear Sir;

I, Vincent Valentine, the chairman of the newly formed "Cabbit Relocation And Protection Program" or CRAPP, am here to request that you IMMEDIATELY cease any and all distribution of cabbit hate-literature, and to also cease and desist from encouraging others to discriminate or harm any cabbits that may be in their respective areas. If you do not cease and desist immediately, you will be visited by a 6'4" 350lb Moogle named "Kububba."

Thank you.

Vincent Valentine (aka Aaron Gover)

Joshua: Bring it on. I ain't afraid of no Moogles.

More Questions!

1-Is Zelda going to be multi-player?

2-When do the contests begin?

3-If a friend won't let you borrow Xenogears (Jel!), is he really your friend?

4-How do you manage to study for school and do daily columns? (Assuming you do study?)

5-Would you rather have questions or comments sent to you?

6-If a girl asked you out the same day FF8 comes out, which will you choose? (Choose wisely!)

Prince- (hoping someday to be King)

Joshua: 1. Nopie dopie. Nada. Nein. Although that would be kind of cool, wouldn't it? I'm still hoping for a multi-player Resident Evil. The closest multi-player RPG in recent history is Tales of Destiny.

2. Aha! A curious soul! You are the only one who has asked about them! Does no one care about my contests? Are contests too inane, too moronic for the rest of you? What if I told you that a practically brand new copy of "Saga Frontier" will be the spoils! Oh, you're interested now, aren't you? I'm not telling when I'm holding the challenge, however. It's going to sneak up on you, and it's going to be difficult, and it's going to be fun (this is incentive to keep reading my column)!

3. If you ask to borrow Xenogears, are you really his friend?

4. How do I manage this Herculean juggling act? This incongruous juxtaposition of school and work? The answer is: I can't! Here I am reading Moby Dick one minute, and the next I'm trying to answer questions about Dragon Warrior IV! It's driving me insane! I feel like buying a hatchet at the local Wal-Mart and hacking into random passerbys! Only I can't, because I have to save every penny--ramen is my manna--so I can afford the FFVIII demo, and Lunar, and the Dreamcast, and I can't take it anymore!

Besides all that, the whole situation has been just dandy. Thanks for asking.

5. I'd rather have love letters (RPGirls), and praise-packed letters (RPGuys). Actually, I don't prefer questions or comments. This is a "letters" section, after all--not a "Q & A" or a "Discussion" section. If my column has seemed lopsided one way, I'm very sorry. I find your probing, very specific questions difficult at times, because it has been a long while since I've played some of these games. Comments are easier to respond to because I can B.S. my way through them. That's what an English degree at a university is essentially--a B.A. in B.S.

But, brevity is the soul of wit, and I will be brief: Comments and questions are both welcomed with equal alacrity. I want to try and have a healthy balance of both in each column. For those who think I don't like to answer questions, please forgive me for deceiving you. :)

6. That's not fair. Not fair at all. I suppose I'd ask her over to my place to watch me play FFVIII. (Chips and Salsa, a RPGaffluent woman, and FFVIII with surround sound and dual-shock controllers--could it get any better?) Shouldn't be too bad for her--she can always drool over Squall.

Blasphemy!

Some gamers complain that FF Tactics and Xenogears have too many religious overtones and is offensive to Christianity, but the whole Ultima series was the original blasphemous parody. The Avatar is clearly the Messiah, and the cover of Ultima 4 even depicts the Avatar in Messiah type cloths (Shepherd's robe and staff) standing Moses-like against breaking waves. The Avatar's enemy, the Guardian, is big, red, and quite obviously the rather nasty fellow down under. The Eight Virtues are similar to the Ten Commandments, and the Oppression of Ultima 5 is nothing less than the Spanish Inquisition forcing people to live in virtue whether they want to or not. The war between Britanians and Gargoyles represents the Christian-Islam conflict, and the whole of Ultima 6 is trying to say that just because someone's beliefs are totally incomprehensible to you doesn't mean you should hack them up. Finally, the seemingly benevolent but actually sinister Fellowship in Ultima 7 was a warning against New Age cults.

-Howell

Joshua: And everyone knows what Avatar means, right? "A godly incarnation in human form."

Are you reading this Mr. Anal Squaresoft Representative? Stop toning down your translations, stop balking at sending us controversial games! This is America, land of the wicked, the irreverent, the home of "Showgirls," the Spice Channel, and the Jerry Springer Show! We thrive on "questionable content!"

Scattered Thoughts: Tomm Hulet, co-head of an RPG development company called "Team XKalibur" wants to hire "a programmer (or two . . . three . . . four) to get going on what will be the greatest portable game ever created." This work-in-progress will appear on the Gameboy Color. Interested and C++ knowledgeable candidates should contact Mr. Hulett at "TeamXK@aol.com."

Lyri, I will answer your question next column--I left the information at home. Sorry. :(

Lufia II character spoiler. SpoonyBard wants to know if Berty and Bart appear after Dankirk. Unfortunately, I don't think they do, because you are almost at the end of the game. The final dungeon awaits!

Step aside Star Wars! Square and Columbia pictures are teaming up for a Final Fantasy movie! The movie will hit screens in 2001--no waiting for translations this time. It may not sink Titanic, but this sure is great news for us RPG lovers. The prequels, and then this. Wow.

Speaking of good news, here's something that should put a smile on Nobuo Uematsu's face: Game music may enter the Grammy scene as early as 2000. Check out the story on Soundtrack Central. While you're at it, read the reviews of "Final Fantasy Pray." Final Fantasy Pray is a collection of Final Fantasy music interwoven with vocals. There is a MP3 sample of the "Prelude" on Soundtrack Central, and you must hear it to believe it. Overwhelming.

Last column, the word "goddess" was used in correlation with a certain female character appearing in Xenogears. That snippit was not a spoiler. The writer was only professing his extreme admiration of her--er--physical attributes.

People are very interested in a kind of "RPG Developers Resource Page." Thank you for your offers of assistance, and the site links. They will come in handy.

Thanks to this site, and their mutual adoration, Steven and Sheri are now engaged! We wish them the best of luck: May Xenogears hitherto be a symbol of the sacrament of love you both share. And readers, you saw it all happen here, at RPGuru. This is the place to be.

Dan Castillo dared to threaten me with Crabbits. I am outraged.

Kiss a daisy; winter is nigh.

- Joshua Reid

"Welcome my son . . . welcome to the machine." -Pink Floyd. "Wish You Were Here."

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