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Me, Myself, And Victor

 

In the PSX

 

Xenogears--still!

 

I'm here for you.

 

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Joshua Reid

Lots of letters again today! So many, in fact, I brought some help. You remember my Id, Victor don't you? Say "hi" Victor.

Victor: Blood makes the grass grow, kill kill kill.

Joshua: This ought to be fun.

Ha ha ha

Ah, yes, NAMCOM. You're referring to the company formed by the merger of Namco and Capcom, right?. They're the creator of such classic RPG hits (despite the fact that they have so many puzzles) like Breath of Destiny and Tales of Fire. And how we can forget NAMCOM's many fighting games, including SoulFighter Alpha and Tekkenstalkers?

- Stone Cold Hanpan

Joshua: Creative expounding on minor RPGuru errors is always encouraged. Just beware of the consequences. Hanpan, your bomb is in the mail.

More Zelda

I read your site a lot and I think it is great. But I think that there should be less FF and more Zelda. I mean, who doesn't like Zelda? When you post up the pictures too by the way (this is what a lot of my friends think and I do to), I think that it should be just one sheet because it gets annoying when you have to look at one one by one. Keep up the good stories and stuff.

-Adlez

Victor: Stupid pansy Link. Communist hippy elf.

Alundra Kicks [bleep]

O.k., now I've heard a slew of every game made by Square either rules or sucks, but one game that I played recently caught my eye as one of the best games I've played in a long time. Alundra is probably my favorite 2d adventure/strategy RPG I've played. It has wonderful graphics for 2d, and excellent play control. It had the best 2d engine I've ever seen, especially when dealing with height as an issue. It's pretty inventive too, although everyone likens it to Zelda (Link to the Past style). And great music at times too. But mostly, it's actually quite a challenge too. Some of the puzzles had stumped me for quite some time, and a lot of them are just plain frustrating. But we gripe and complain to no end about how easy games are, this one actually kept me going all the way to the end. And it had a neat cel animation intro too. And for you people who just die for religious controversy such as FFT and Xenogears, it too has some controversial religious plot elements too. Also, with everyone complaining all to hell about how every ending sucks (from FFIV to FFVII), I must say that Alundra left me with the balance of closure (it had a nice 10 minute anime-style movie); it showed what happened after the game, but didn't drag it to death. And it left a bit of question as to what went on afterwards.

All in all, I can't think of anything I particularly hated about the game, besides the at times tedious puzzles. But it's a puzzle game, so the tediousness just means it's a hard puzzle. ;) Unfortunately, it seems that other people's liking for the game must have been somewhat less, as I've not seen much of it in the ways of homepages and FAQs and such. Oh well, it's a great game, and a gem among puzzle games. Oy! Working Designs needs to keep up the good work, you know what I am saying?

- WrexSoul

Joshua: Well there you have it. You aren't such a bad fellow WrexSoul. I'm sorry I X-zoned you.

I really like Working Designs--their translators work hard, their scripts are funny, and best of all, they make fun of other games. "What lies Beyond the Beyond. . .?" hehehehe. What a cool company.

RPGlife

I once had a life. But it ran away. I'd go outside and play but I got to play my games. Help me Joshua. I need him back! I need out.

-MinazC

Joshua: An RPGlife is the only life, Minaz. Don't let those jocks, cheerleaders, parents, or other harbingers of conformity tell you otherwise. They just can't comprehend all the fun you are having, they can't see the fantastic worlds you traverse; they only know their moronic ball and bats, the millstones of reality, while you fly free, buffeted by the updrafts of the imagination.

Questions

Dear RPGuru,

1 What is a Crabbit?

2 Why do people hate Secret of Evermore so much?

3 What is the square root of 3,698,432?

4 How come so many people are crazy about perfect graphics in a game? I mean, do people actually care about the story anymore?

5 What do you think about the Final Fantasy movie?

6 Why hasn't the poll of the week changed in over a week?

7 What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Thank you for reading this. If it gets posted I will have a heart attack and die from surprise.

-Nomi

Victor: 1. The Living-Soon-To-Be-Dead

2. Because it must die.

3. Die.

4. Stories are life. Life must die. Stories must die.

5. It should die.

6. Because we're dead.

7. Maggot Mint.

It's posted. Die.

FFVIII Demo Reactions/Spoilers

I have noticed that numerous people on message boards have voiced their complaints about the poorly-written dialogue in the FFVIII demo. Perhaps people should tell Squaresoft this. If enough people complain about it, then maybe they will do something to fix it before the actual game is released.

-Monkey

I just got done playing the Final Fantasy VIII demo and I realized right away that there were no experience points or level ups. Along with this there is no menu screen. Is this just because it is a demo version or have these things been done away with just like magic points?

-Brian Haldenwang

You all are overlooking a very serious thing about the demo: How realistic is the premise that the actual version of Final Fantasy VIII will use the exact same version of the 'draw' system? We have only one precedent in the matter of Square keeping things the same in demos as in the full game: the Final Fantasy VII demo. That time around, nothing changed as far as magic casting ... BUT (*gasp!*) what happened in the full game? MATERIA!! The demo had you collecting something called 'restore' materia, but the whole concept wasn't even brushed on -- you had no idea of it. To say that every battle in Final Fantasy VIII will incorporate the 'draw' system as we know it in the demo is completely absurd. We have already heard that magic in the FFVIII world is something not very commonplace, and only a few people can use it (supposedly the Garden graduates) Remember Final Fantasy VI, anyone? Terra and Celes at the beginning of the game? The Espers at the end? Starting to catch my drift? While I'm not saying the draw system will not be in FFVIII (heck, everything up to this point may be a red herring, you never know), don't criticize it when you don't even know the full extent of it yet. I bet there will be MANY modifications to the system by the release so that it is a working, functional battle system worthy of the Final Fantasy name ... Square will NOT blow off a game from their flagship series.

-lwarshaw

Joshua: Something to remember when you are playing the demo--Square was FAR from finished product when they created this demo. You may have noticed the absence of music or sound effects at certain scenes. Does that mean there won't be any music? No. This demonstration is not primarily meant for an accurate excerpt of the final product, rather to whet your palate, get you rabid mad for the real thing, and give you a slight excerpt of where Square is heading with their most anticipated project.

Brian, I don't think you need to fear about the levels--I doubt Square has done away with that.

I disagree with -1warshaw that everything in the demo may be a "red herring." He asks for us to use the FFVII demo as an example. The FFVII demonstration followed the actual beginning very faithfully. A few text snippets where cut/added, Aeris wasn't there (and I have a feeling Rinoa won't be in that particular section of FFVIII either. She wasn't given any speaking lines, just like Aeris, and she looked like she was there to fulfill the Square demo role of Leviathan-casting female) and the end boss changed, but otherwise the level layout, beginning FMV conversation, and battle elements remained the same. Materia wasn't explained fully in the real game until after the Avalanche raid either. Thus, with FFVII as a precedent, we can expect this Seed fight scene to remain fairly faithful to the actual game.

But, since much could happen to FFVIII, from demo's construction to the grand finale, I'll criticize the demo as a separate unit.

Plusses: I like the new style of characters designs--more realistic 3-D sprites--the FMV scenes were awe-inspiring (the potpourri of FMV in the Xenogears demo makes sense now) and the way the FMV cut to gameplay was absolutely astounding--no noticeable load time whatsoever. Biggs and Wedge were a nice addition, the summoning and spell effects are improved, and the battle close-ups show off the work character artists put into their pixilated personas.

Minuses: The dialogue, like Monkey alluded too, was awful. I hope this is a rush-job translation, or a sketch of the final script, because the exchanges between characters are dry and never gave me the feeling that what I was seeing was real--the script reeked of B-movie triteness. I despise the drawing system to no end--I found Square's streamlining efforts left me disenchanted and bewildered. In traditional RPGs, each character had their mana level that each spell drained from. In this game you're stealing magic to cast or save for later--why? Its too simple and doesn't make much sense--I think Square just wants to drive FAQ writers loony trying to list all the monsters with their draw options.

Obviously mimicking the "15 minutes to get the heck out of there" motif in FFVII, FFVIIIs attempt loss some of the flavor. Trying to get back to your boats in time is not as dramatic as sprinting out of a Mako reactor about to blow up. In an attempt to heighten the climax, a spider-mech thingee jumps out of nowhere (kind of like the demon boss) and chases you down. Every screen it attacks you, no matter how fast you run, and it's frustrating--not exciting--to watch it waste your time in the same fight sequence (HINT: Don't cast Leviathan unless at the beginning of the battle. It devours too much time).

Manufacturing drama is not the only element FFVIII copies from VII. Seifer, with his monomania for fighting and command echoes both Barret's temper and single-minded intensity as well as Sephiroth's solo aura and connection with the hero. Squall exhibited Cloud's cool detatchment and confidence. These characters didn't seem very unique, but it's probably too early to tell if they are shaped from the same mold as FFVII characters (Rinoa looks like Tifa, minus the bosom).

These similarities in plot and character are ominous. Stagnancy is not something I wish to see in an FF game.

Overall Impressions: This is going to be a great-looking game, there's no doubt about that, but it's far from perfect thus far. I think I'm being unnecessarily harsh and picky toward the demo, but I expected a lot more than I received. It's Square's own fault--we constantly assume better and bigger out of this company, and soon they won't be able to deliver. There's only so many times the same creative team can outdo itself.

Horse Breeding, Crabbit Killing, And Other Nonsensicals

Well, while playing FFT I noticed it said that Delita's parents were horse breeders, though I have yet to see a horse In FFT. Did Square mess up?

Speaking of Crabbits, I saw one In my backyard. I take it he ate my neighbors, but anyway. I reached for my shotgun, and hit him in the chest, he didn't die, so if you see a Crabbit with a bullet wound, End him quickly, for me.

-Mad Number, fellow Crabbit hater

Joshua:

Square--mess up? Naw. Not Square. "Where did those monks run off too?" -misquoted line from SaGa Frontier, but you get the point. Yeah, and Gee, gotta love those "Couars" in Xenogears. But hey, can I talk? NAMCOM and FFVI's Edward is all I have to say.

Actually, horses are an endangered species in the FF series, having been supplanted by the obviously more versatile and utilitarian Chocobos. How many equestrians do you know that can peck a grown man to death and cast meteors? The inclusion of this breeding fact shows that Delita's family line is one that needlessly clings to tradition, foreshadowing future events in the game. Ha. I'm [bleep]ing with you. (Everyone seen "There's Something About Mary?" That movie is a laugh-riot.)

You don't have to tell me to kill them. I mutilate any Crabbit I see, no questions asked. Once upon a time, I saw a Crabbit helping an old lady across the road as I was driving and, well. . . I'm very sorry for old Betsy, but her sacrifice was for a greater cause--the downfall of the Crabbit empire.

RPGamer The Place To Be

You would not believe how glad I am to find a place like RPGamer, and more specifically, this section of the site! Us real RPing enthusiasts have really so few places to go! I find newsgroups quite immature and most unsatisfactory as a place to meet fellow gamers, really.

As most of you know, console RPGaming is a very solitary thing! I mean, sure, you can discuss an RPG endlessly with a couple of good friends, but by and large, how many times do we play RPGs in front of a whole group of people? Sports games, sure, but RPGs? I don't know about you but I get bored watching some other person play FFanything (not to mention the spoilers if that person is way ahead of you in the game).

So I got to thinking. Hikers can find their like on the trail, bikers meet up on the road, musicians have their band, but where do RPGamers go to together? Well, now that I've found RPGamer and this little column here, I've just answered that question. Reading your letters here make me feel like I've got brothers and sisters I don't know about all over the world! I love you all, man, really, I do.

And you're king, Joshua, the king...

-Steve

Joshua: Thank you, thank you very much.

Now isn't this site wonderful? We can meet at this forum and discuss our passion without fear of discrimination and ridicule. I'm quite touched by your display of honest warmth, Steve. What do you think Victor?

Victor: Stupid Hippie.

Joshua: Shame on you Victor! Don't listen to him, Steve. I think Victor's just Lovephobic.

Victor: Death courts you, receive his kiss and submit.

Joshua: Er--yeah--whatever.

Victor Explains All

You're an English major, maybe you can help out here. Why do we say, "many will 'never see the light of day' here"? I mean if some things don't see the light of day, is it possible for those same subjects to see the dark of night? But if it's impossible to see dark, can they NOT see the dark of night? But if they don't see the dark of night here, then can they actually be here? Because if nothing sees the dark of night (or conversely, does not not see the dark of night) then all those things can still see the light of day. And if all those things don't ever see the dark of night nor not not see the light of day, then they don't exist, or do they? All I know is my games are in my Playstation and they never see the light of day, but they're still here. Hmmmm.

-Ryan Schwind

Victor: Light is an illusion. Darkness is all, consumes all, destroys all. Light is a pansy hippie sun smoking away, but Night always has its day. Close your eyes and witness what lies beyond--the darkness awaits, and Its coming to get you.

Japanese Jamming

Are there any books of guitar tablature for RPG music available in Japan? If so, Are there any companies that import them? Oh, and in regard to naming Tellah 'Dinner', whenever I play Earthbound (stop laughing, would you rather I play mystic quest?) I enter my favorite food as 'toddlers' so whenever I go back to my house in Onett, my mom says "Eat some toddlers and scoot up to bed, Ness". This letter is worth printing merely because of that last bit of frightening information.

-Lourde Terranigma, King of the Daemons, and unneaceassaery voaweals

Joshua: Gracious, I don't know. Who do you think I am, a RPGuitarist? :) J/k. Does anyone know some information to help this David Gilmore wannabe out?

What? What's that Victor?

Victor: Hehehe. Toddler soup. Yumee. Tastes like chicken.

Joshua: Yikes.

Now That's Poetry

Evil Evil Being!

I SAW your gratuitous defamation of SaGa Frontier 2! Haven't you seen the hand drawn graphics? Haven't you heard that Square is repairing the little irritations found in the original game? No more undeveloped characters, cross-hatched plots, completely ridiculous missions upon which you have no knowledge of what to do, where to go, or who to seek! Finally, a SaGa Frontier that will live up to the name SquareSoft, and you BASH it! How DARE you!?

In revenge for your hatred of SaGa Frontier II, I dedicate the following poem to you, Joshua Reid.

"An epistle to Joshua, who has gone astray."

By the Right Honorable Lord Shawners of Crabbiton

(Copywrong 1998, All Rights Vacant, Void Where Inhabited)

 

I rose and blew the horn of yore,

Five times eight, and then twice more.

From hell the Crabbits came so quick,

Their heads are hard- their hair is thick.

 

I shudder now. Oh!, horn of doom!

Crabbits dancing 'round my room!

They sing, they laugh, they grow so tall-

I hope to see their leader fall!

 

But Crabbits are so far better

To see than a degrading letter.

Especially one which flames a game

Which, like SaGa, has renowned fame!

 

So, Joshua Reid, "Crabbits Upon You!!!"

May their 'chu-chu' forever haunt you!

May their form oft pass your door!

Crabbits here forevermore!

~Paid for by The Association Of Crabbit Haters Who Like Using The Vile Beasties To Carry Out Revenge Upon Poor Video Game Letter Column Hosts, or TAOCHWLUTVBTCORUPVGLCH.~

~Sponsored by Shawners, that damned annoying guy down the street who hangs around those rabbit things that dance far too much and make really irritating noises, or "That Insufferable English [illegitimate child]".~

~And, garnering support from forty-two separate viewers like YOU.

Joshua: What do we think about this well-composed rhyme, my dear Id?

Victor: Rot in Hell and die.

Joshua: That about sums it up.

Hehehe. I'm very impressed, fellow wordsmith. You readers have vivid imaginations. Don't use them for evil purposes.

Scattered Thoughts:

This has been a bad weekend for me. My Hokies lost, my hockey team lost, I didn't update Saturday, I feel very blah today, and tomorrow is Monday. Ah well, such is life.

-Joshua Reid

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