Amuse Me; Amaze Me; Adulate Me
Wah. My mail server didn't work yesterday, so I couldn't
update Sunday. Wah. I made a big mistake in Saturday's
Ehrgeiz post. Wah. It's Monday. Wah. Wah. It's my column and
I'll cry if I want to. Wah.
Some of you may have noticed my brazen error in
Saturday's column. Squall is NOT a playable character in
Dream Factory's new fighting blockbuster, Ehrgeiz. I misread
my source--terribly sorry. :( If the rest of you don't know
what I'm talking about, it's because I purged that glaring
taint to the nether world as soon as I realized what I had
done. You can find more accurate information about this game
via the proceeding letters. Read on--enjoy!
WARNING--RAMBLING FACTOR AT A 6.5 IN THIS COLUMN. READER
MAY EXPERIENCE EYE-SORE DUE TO SOME LENGTHY LETTERS AND
Brave Musashi Fences at
Well, ironically when you were talking about "Night" in
RPGs, you missed one game that is one of the most
anticipated by your readers. Brave Fencer Musashi is
supposed to feature day and night as a prominent feature,
and it is supposed to happen in real time, just like Zelda.
Every 10 or so minutes (a good guess) the time of day
changes from day to night, or vice versa. I just thought I
should volunteer this tiny little bit of info to your
-Alex Moen (BocoDragon)
Joshua: This is BFM week! Yippee!
Other RPGs with Night Factor (contributed by
readers)--Drakken, Dragon Quests, Seiken Densetsu 3, Quest
64, Castlevania 2, etc., etc. The list goes on.
OK, I swear I'm not making this up. I had this dream,
where I went to the grocery store, and all the Campbell's
Soup cans had the RPGamer logo on them. (The green one with
the two swords on the ToC) So, I finished up what I was
doing there, and the first thing I saw when I turned on the
TV at home was a Campbell's Soup commercial. It said
"Campbell's Soup - Mmm, mmm good. Sponsored by RPGamer."
- SoM Lord
Joshua: Don't think of it as a dream, think of
your experience as a glimpse into the future--a prophecy.
Either that, or you hang out here waaaay too much.
Y'all been talkin' 'bout cookin' chocobos an' eatin'
im... just what's the gol' durn idea? I mean, how ya gonna
eat that feller if ya can't KILL 'im? Jus' ya try 'n kill a
chocobo, ya find that doesn' matter how much ya damage 'im,
that crittur he ain't gonna give up an' die! When's the last
time ya even HEARDUVA dead chocobo? Those feathery
varmints're well nigh im-mawrtal! So how the heck ya gonna
eat 'em? Jes' curious.
- Choco Billy
Joshua: My God, I had no idea Choco Billy lived in
Okay, I have a serious problem. I don't know if others
have this, but I really would like to know if I am just
mentally ill, or have really good taste in games.
FFVII spoiled me for RPGs.
Yes, I don't like to admit it, but it has. I can't seem
to like another RPG because I loved FFVII so much. I feel I
am not appreciating games like FFT, Xenogears, BoFIII, WILD
Arms, and Parasite Eve as much as I should be. Don't get me
wrong, I think these are good games, yet I just don't get
the excitement out of them like I did with FFVII (in other
words, hours in front of the TV). My friends (all 3 of them
that know what an RPG is, most think Resident Evil is an
RPG, but that is another story) all love these games. Is
FFVII too good or am I just mentally ill?
Joshua: Neither. I would say FFVII just looked too
good. I experienced a similar let-down when I finished
FFVII, but that feeling faded after awhile. FFVII is a very
visceral experience--it engages your eyes and ears and
imagination like no other RPG, and when you get off this
sensorial joyride, you desperately want something to rival
or duplicate that experience. I also felt that FFVII had
spoiled me for all proceeding RPGs.
You know what helped me get over this prejudice? Time. I
beat FFVII a year ago, and now I can be more critical of its
faults. I've grudgingly admitted that I can't find a graphic
equivalent of FFVII right now, but I have played many games
with better stories/gameplay. Tales of Destiny has
reawakened an appreciation for great dialogue, and Xenogears
has rekindled a sense of awe and entrancement I haven't felt
Maybe you won't find another FFVII. Have you ever watched
another Star Wars? Try to take every game face value, and
instead of comparing, just try enjoying.
Resident Evil is an RPG huh? Maybe your friends are the
insane ones. :)
What I Write
Do you get paid for what you do or is it simply a labor
of love? I was just curious because if you are making money
can I borrow some?
Joshua: Okay, I'm going to play another
word-realtionship game with this one.
I get paid "something," but I think that's only so I'm
considered an employee instead of a slave. The only real
reward I receive from this site is your fantastic letters,
which are worth more than gold or silver. I am going to fail
school, lose what little renmants of a social life I had,
and basically be miserable for you! For you, readers! I love
you all! Keep reading! Keep writing! Give my life
If my little brother opted to buy Metal Gear Solid,
rather than Xenogears, am I obligated to kill him when I
return home from college? If so, what method do you suggest?
I was thinking of about four agonizing days of Chinese water
torture, and maybe boiling him live in oil. Then again, I
could just smack him.
-Jacob--Harwing to some
Joshua: The staff at RPGamer does not advocate any
form of torture, unless of course your foolish sibling is
also a Crabbit sympathizer, for which you must uphold your
family's honor and cleanse this taint from your virtuous
lineage. I suggest strapping him to a chair with a copy of
Beyond the Beyond, informing him that he must beat the game,
from the beginning, to earn every meal hitherto. I can think
of nothing more agonizing than that.
I Smell A
My question is: If a game like Zelda 64 is covered
because it's considered an "action RPG" how come the
game/games like Metal Gear aren't covered? Is it just
because of the time period they take place?
Metal Gear has at least as much interaction with other
characters as the past Zelda games, and from the looks of
Zelda 64 it has about as much as that. There's definite
character development, MANY plot twists (if you've played
through you know what I mean), and multiple endings
depending on how you interacted with different characters
throughout the game. The only difference between this and
Zelda is that this takes place in the future, not in the
past. So how come this doesn't fall under an "action RPG"
Joshua: Okay, I'm going to make some brief points
concerning this, hoping against hope that I don't spark
another "What's an RPG?" debate. I don't want any deaths on
The differences between Zelda 64 and Metal Gear Solid
that (I believe) make them part ways on the RPG/Action
1. Precedence-Zelda II is indisputably and RPG, and so
are the other four, one could argue. So even if the next
Final Fantasy is just Cid running around with Crono hair
waving swords at bad guys, it will still be grouped with its
more RPGcentral cousins.
2. Orientation-Zelda 64 is more freedom-orientated, while
MGS is more goal-orientated. In Zelda you are given the
illusion of freedom, the ability to "play" a role, while in
MGS you are planted in a base with clear-cut objectives.
3. Action- What element is emphasized more in MGS?
Action, or ROLE PLAYING? The RPG facets you point out for
MGS (character development, plot twists, multiple endings)
can occur in any game--heck, even Resident Evil 2 had
multiple endings. The bottom line is this--is MGS more
Action-centric or more Roleplaying-centric? I'm sure you
would say Action. MGS is a very pithy action game, but an
action game nonetheless. The pace and plot both center
around action. Now, this same distinction may disqualify
some Zeldas, maybe even the most recent one, but that's
another story entirely.
Now, I'm going to do a very stupid thing. I'm going to
try to define a RolePlaying Game, as I see it. The central
facet of RolePlaying, as the name indicates, is playing a
role. The character's attitudes and actions are not set--we
choose who to talk to, what to buy, who to run from, what to
kill, where to go when. This is our world--we set the pace.
Roleplaying games must be primarily
character-centric--characters must be dynamic, they must
change [superficially (hearts, levels)] as well as
deeply (Cecil learns to love Rosa and forgive Golbez).
Character, and our level of involvement with the characters,
is the central part of Roleplaying and it doesn't matter if
the game takes place in the distant past, the distant
future, in your backyard (Earthbound), or if you gain levels
via experience or heart vials. I know this treatise is very
skimpy, and can apply to many games that aren't considered
part of the RPG canon, but I think this emphasis on
character is one of the only elements that can really apply
to all RPGs, and set the frameword for all potential RPGs,
without being picky and absurd.
I'm sure most of you disagree with my statements or have
more to add, but I implore you to save your arguments for
the Editorial Section of this site. That venue is a
wonderful medium through which you may vent opinions.
I and my fellow Crabbits are outraged at your extreme
bashing of Crabbits. We are really not that bad, only
misunderstood. We have utilized Crabbit Law 10075, Crabbit
Rights Law. If you do not shut down your illegal crabbit
bashing organization, We will be forced to send a horde of
Crabbit warriors to your HQ and annoy you to death.
Thank you for your time.
-Crabbbitttooo, An outraged Crabbit
Joshua:I did not know I still retained a faithful
Crabbit readership. Maybe I have not made myself clear. I
hate you. I hate you with a venom as potent as a hundred
cobra fangs, with a rage as explosive as a thousand
Krakatoas, with the boiling depth of a million seas. If my
column accomplishes one thing, and one thing only, I wish it
to be this--that I can expose you foul creatures to the
ignorant world, that everyone will know what vile, loathsome
malevolence lies stinking and brooding under that pink,
fluffy disguise! If I can rid this world of your blighting
existence, if with my last breath I slay your fetid leader
and the last of your noxious seed, I will have lived a most
noble and satisfying existence! From Hell's Heart I stab at
thee! Die! Die! Die!
1. Why is it that I seem to be the only one who doesn't
see the effeminate side of Gremio? I mean, when I first saw
Gremio, I thought, okay, he's a man. Now, Milich, that's a
different story altogether . . .
2. Just what are the religious references in Xenogears
like? Are they really such a big deal? I want to buy the
game, but I'm a little sensitive to that sort of thing, so I
need to know beforehand.
3. Who's your favorite RPG villain?
4. Who's your favorite RPG character ( Male and
5. Have questions 4 and 5 been already asked? ( I'm sorry
if they have)
Joshua:1. Milich scares me, period.
2. Xenogears Spoilers-If you don't mind direct
quotations from the Bible, an entity calling everyone gods,
and a negative portrayal of church practices then you are
3. Sephiroth, Kefka, and the giant freak-crature at the
end of Lufia IIs super dungeon, because my brother spent
seven hours getting to it, and it proceeded to be impossible
to beat and, to add insult to injury, crashed his game.
4. Male-Cecil, Frog, Cyan, and Stahn (because he's so
much like a goofy farm kid in one of my attempts at a
novel). Female-Rosa, Lufia, Rutee, and Tifa.
5. Yes they have. Just now. By you.
I read the Final Fantasy Football and was thinking, "What
about baseball?" (And "What about Marlene?"), so I decided
to invent a Baseball team using Anime AND video game
Pitcher: Mr. Fujisawa when he's not drunk. (FUJISAWA
First Base: Jubei Kibagami (Just because he's cool)
Second Base: Motoko Kusanagi (Very very cool)
Third Base: Cid Highwind (Trust me on this one)
Catcher: An FF Tactics Thief with the "Catch" skill
(Makes sense, right?)
Shortstop: Geist, as in MD Geist (NOTHING can get past
Left Field: Belldandy (Goddesses are ALWAYS a help)
Center Field: Sephiroth as One Winged Angel (He can
Right Field: Aya Brea (Parasite Powers can help)
And the coach is . . . ME!!!
These are my two cents.
Joshua: Here is my suggestion: Umaro pitches Relm,
Chu-Chu, Sasami-San (Tenchi), and every other annoying RPG
and Anime character at the player, who gets to knock them
into the stratosphere. Homeruns occur when you can deftly
knock these worthless creatures onto very large, very sharp,
very lethal spikes that protrude right before the
I would also like to make a gratuitous statement: Jubei
is the Man. Period. That is a fact.
Ehrgeiz, as you noted, was a joint venture project
(Dreamworks, which is a Namco/Squaresoft joint venture)
fighting game which--as you noted--has a number of
innovations (not only the track bit and *really* three-D
fighting, but in some levels there were things you could
pick up to increase power or restore health, etc.). Kind of
a shame that it never was all that common in the States
(Louisville, KY *DID* get a copy, though--I guess between
all the Tekken/Soul Edge fanboys and the Squaresoft fanboys
they figured us a market . . . heh heh heh)
On the Final Fantasy VII characters (which--besides maybe
one or two things to note below--are probably going to be
the main bits of interest to rpgamer.com readers): Cloud and
Tifa were "secret" characters that were unlocked as you beat
the game with other characters (those of you who have played
Tekken 3 and unlocked Mokujin, Gon et al--it's the exact
same thing ;). Needless to say, Cloud and Tifa were usually
unlocked in short time, and many of the folks would play
with those two. ;)
Oddly enough, there also seems to be as many Tekken and
Soul Edge references as Squaresoft ones. ;) Among other
things, "Mishima corporation" is involved at points, and
Godhand is supposed to be associated with Mishima--those of
you who have played the Tekken series know Mishima is the
company Heihachi owns. The game also involves folks fighting
for a sacred relic of fighting (shades of Soul Edge/Soul
Calibur, in which the fight was for the cursed Soul
In the home version, we get Cloud and Tifa as characters,
but also Yuffie, Vincent and Sephiroth (Sephy... :). These
characters, too, you'll end up unlocking by beating the game
with certain characters or as alternate "skins" for
characters (a la Eddy Gordo/Tiger Jackson or Kuma/Panda in
Tekken 3); from screen shots of the PSX version that have
been floating about the net and psmonline.com, I can say
with some certainty that unlocking Sephiroth WILL involve
beating the game with Godhand somehow (makes sense, if you
also follow "Tekken history").
There will also be two new characters added. This isn't a
big shock to me, to be honest; Squaresoft is not stupid and
they know a major selling point will be the ability to fight
as Cloud [or as Sephiroth beating hell out of Cloud ;).
Namco also has a *long* history of enhancing the PSX
versions of arcade games it puts out--even stuff like Time
Crisis and Tekken 3 (of which doubts were put out whether
those two games would even be portable to the PSX) so one
should expect stuff to be enhanced a bit].
For some reason, Jo (a wolf-woman who can shapeshift to a
wolf as one of her special moves) looks really suspiciously
like Nanaki to me in wolf form. I don't know whether this is
how Squaresoft does ALL wolfy-looking critters, or if this
is a wee bit of an in-joke. :)
Supposedly, the PSX version of Ehrgeiz is supposed to
include an "RPG mode" of play. I expect this would be like
the ones supposedly in the Tobal games [never saw 'em so
I can't say yea or nay on that] or in Soul Blade
[PSX version of Soul Edge--it included a "story mode" in
which you had to fight different characters as part of a
storyline]. This is also probably where Namco and
Squaresoft have gotten together to enhance things a bit.
There is still some question as to whether it WILL make
it Stateside. Firstly, there was some question at first as
to who exactly had the rights to distribute the PSX version
[seeing as demos are being put out with Brave Fencer
Musashi in Japan, I'd bet Squaresoft got the rights
Secondly, Squaresoft is somewhat leery of putting out
fighting games in the US seeing as how Tobal No. 1 did not
do terribly well (we missed out on Tobal No. 2 . . . no
chocobo mode for us :P). Thirdly, I am not entirely sure how
many of the machines made it here Stateside but if not too
many made it here then the main hope we'd have of getting it
is Squaresoft figuring folks will buy it so they can play as
Cloud/Tifa/Sephy/Vince/Yuffie. This does NOT mean I'm not
holding out hope, though (quite the reverse ;).
I know a lot of people can't even image how you pronounce
Ehrgeiz. Well in the Demo Disc in Brave Fencer Musashiden
(Japan) there's a demo of it and they actually say the word.
It's pronounced Air-Gez (that's air as in the air we breathe
and it's gez, not geez.)
Joshua: Just in case you skimmed: Don't forget
that Ehrgeiz made it here in arcade form. Keep an eye out
for it in your local funhouse, and buy Bushido Blade II so
Square knows we have a supportive Square fighting game
According to my sources, wtf is right about the Tobal 1,
Tobal 2-style RPG mode. For those of you who thought Tobal
No. 1's attempt at a quest mode was pretty lousy, Tobal 2's
revision was a thousand-fold better. I'm looking forward to
this Ehrgeiz, even if it's hard to spell correctly.
Scattered Thoughts: Stay tuned for tomorrow--I'm
going to interview Cecil from FFIV!
Wish me luck! I have an interview with Software, Etc.
Xenogears is a masterpiece. My pick of the fall, so don't
stall. Buy or die. J/k. I just try to rhyme all the time.
Just the same, it sounds lame. Don't have a cow, I'll stop
Any information on a "Dragon Valor" would be appreciated.
The only recent Dragon game I know about is "Dragon Seeds,"
the new Dragon Rancher.
Archives will be updated. Soon. I pinky promise.
-Joshua Reid, wondering where his day went.
"Who will save your soul?" -Jewel, Pieces of You, whose
new CD is almost out! Rock!