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Alex Kimbel

   I'm going to blame the fact I didn't post a new column last night on the fact I was sick. I've just about gotten over the illness now, save for a sore throat and stuffed up head. I apologize, but illness prevents many things.

   Incoming letters have slowed down a litte, probably because I didn't update. But anyways, keep sending your letters. I appreciate anything you have to say (unless you want to tell me I suck ;), so letters are welcome. Also, I'll be continuing Josh's "Name the Quote" thing once we get a new quote..


Kefka's one crazy guy

Hey man,

Is it just me, or does that new CG Kefka look like a cross between Boy George and Marilyn Manson? Just making an observation.

Leigh "The Man Who'd Risk his Neck for the Brother-Man" Aucoin

Alex: Yeah, he is pretty weird. Ryan decided that he looks a lot like the guy from Prodigy, and I agree. Your comparison seems to apply well too.


That Brave Fencer isn't a historical figure

Hola RPGuru

From what I read of reviews and such about Brave Fencer Musashi, its uh... good-average game, with alot of interesting features, but WHY Musashi? Why him? Sure theres nothing really wrong with Musashi, but the story plot involved with Brave Fencer makes it look like Musashi was some sort of fictional Princess saving hero.

Well in reality Musashi didn't do any princess rescuing in reality he started off as a warrior in the Japanese Army (Feudal times) and he took years to become the Great fencer all of us Japanese know in our history books. I just don't like that they use Musashi for some silly princess saving game on PSX (Like a reviewer said "Playstation's Zelda"). They could of got anybody else but why MUSASHI! Hes an actual person save him for the best game on earth!

Thanks for letting me trash talk,
Mayo

Alex: You might have interpreted the plot incorrectly. The Musashi featured in the game isn't the real Musashi, but more or less a summoned reincarnation of him. The princess wanted to summon Musashi, but got this kid, who more or less represents him (in a weird way). Hey, then again, maybe I interpreted it wrong. ;)


Tips for aspiring importers

I have imported several games from Japan including the FFIV and FFV re-release for PSX. I highly recommend importing for serious gamers who have played the games before. For one thing, it's nice to have a version of those games on a current system, in case you don't have your SNES hooked up. Secondly, there are some cool extras in many Japanese games that don't reach our shores, for instance, most characters in FFIVj have in-battle abilities that were cut for the easy, American version. As for the weapon, armor, item, and spell names; you start to recognize them by their names or costs after a couple of uses. I believe that FFV is the best Final Fantasy of the series and there are translations available on the internet to guide you through it, so if you would like to try it, don't hesitate.

In case you are interested in playing Japanese FF games, I offer some tips to get you started:

1) Look for and learn to recognize names of characters. Most are very simple, comprised of a few Katakana characters which translate syllable for syllable into phoenetic English. They tend to look unique enough to recognize on sight. Recognizing their names in conversation can provide valuable clues to the plot.

2) Look for duplicate names in your weapon, armor, and spell list. Black magic has Fire, Fire2, and Fire3 (etc). White magic has Cure, Cure2, and Cure3. When you have a diamond helmet in your inventory, chances are you have a diamond shield there somewhere, too. Each of these groups will usually have similar spellings (perhaps the last character will differ). Through experimentation, most list items will become very obvious.

3) Pay attention to spell MP costs. Even if you can't remember a spell's name, experiment with your spells early and remember how much they cost. When scrolling through a black spell list, the one costing 99 is probably 'Meteo'.

4) Remember how much your equipped armor cost. When you find a town selling more expensive goods, its a good bet that they are worth buying (usually).

With all of this said, I don't recommend playing a game in Japanese that you haven't played before without a walkthrough and/or translation. If you do, you might get stuck on some story point because you can't understand where the townspeople are telling you to go. Even if you get through it, you will miss out on a great story.

JM


I have just one bit of advice I would like to forward to good ol' David Liu, from today's column (he had the letter about importing the PSX FFVI). I say, if it's the items and character names you're worried about, worry no more! Well, its a little tidbit of the Japanese RPGs that's pretty quaint (I don't know how Native Japanese Speakers can stand it, myself). Such things as item and spell names are written out in the phonetic "katakana" (foreign language) Japanese alphabet. That means, all you basically need is a comparison chart (i.e., "that little dealy there is a 'ka', and that one is a 'ru'")...I suppose you could print one from the 'Net quite easily. Then you just look up the characters of the word in question. I'm gonna say you were looking for the ultima spell. Well, then, you would need to find the set of characters that, when read, sound like "ultima." The alphabet is phonetic, and a bit limited. For instance, Ultima would spell out to be AL-CHI-MA (I think), which is about as close as you can get to sounding like Ultima (It's about like pronouncing spanish). Well, you get words like BO-RU-TO (bolt; remember, no "l's" in Japanese), BU-RII-ZA-DO (Blizzard, or Ice), FU-I-NI-KI-SU DA-O-N (Pheonix Down). This applies to most character/esper/town names. In closing, it really isn't that hard...just takes a little effort. I mean, with an understanding of the plot, you really don't have to KNOW japanese, just a means to phonetically translate the katakana.

(hey, this is how I survived FF5, already having a script)

(you could at least forward this to the guy who needed the help; much appreciated)

Jacob V.

Alex: If anyone wants to import, these are some great tips. They sure will help you get through the game in a much easier way.


Soundtrack help

Could I please have a list of those good pages for soundtracks. I am desperatly in need of a Chrono Trigger Original Soundtrack.

Thanks


OK, I was wondering if you could please tell me where I could get the soundtracks for Xenogears and Wild Arms. Does Square or Sony distribute them, or do I have to go through a specialty store? Please respond! Thanks!

Kira Chan

Alex: Good sites for ordering game soundtracks are Game Music Online and Soundtrack Central. You can also look around local thrift shops or import stores.


It just doesn't make sense

Hiya Alex! So how's it like being a temp guru? Oh, well anyways onto my rant.

Of all three re-released Final Fantasy games on the playstation I can't understand why so many people would want Final Fantasy 6 to be released in the US.

I can understand FF's 4 and 5. FF4 was undeniably butchered when it hit the states and FF5....well, never made it at all. But as far as I have read in old magazine issues and interviews with the translators FF6, when it was released in the US as Final Fantasy 3, was translated, word for word, uncut, from its original Japanese title. The only differences I could see is if people wanted to see the original title screen instead of the altered US one, or if the dialogue had some unmentioned "laguage" that Nintendo didn't agree upon.

And wouldn't it confuse some people (Mainly those who think Mortal Kombat is THE game) to think that "Final Fantasy's 3 and 6 have the exact same storyline! What's the difference?" I dunno, new FMV, perhaps? Wow, now I can hardly wait for my copy. I mean, true, there will be people confused about Final Fantasy 2 if FF4 came out, but so much was taken out of the US FF2 it would cause for a reason to rerelease the game as a "Special Edition" FF2. Hey, if Star Wars can do it....

In short, I think FF 6 wouldn't make sense being released here. Unless, of course, if all three games were to be translated and released here, we would finally have a full order of Final Fantasy games, 1 through 7, even if it is in a totally awkward order. What do you think?

TheFreak

Alex: Being temp RPGuru is a lot of fun, I love hearing what fellow RPGamers have to say.

Well, there are a few (albeit, odd, maybe) reasons people may want an American Playstation FFVI. The first being they don't have their SNESs anymore. Don't ask me why someone wouldn't have one anymore, but some people might have sold or damaged their SNES and just don't want to bother buying a new one. The other reason might be for the CG cutscenes. True, it would be neat to see our favorite FFVI characters in full CG form, but to pay $50 for it? It's all up to the gamer on this one. I myself would buy a copy, well, as long as their aren't any other games on my purchasing list. :)


That's it for tonight. Keep sending in those letters, I appreciate 'em.

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