Ask Google
Must face Mecha
In the PSX:
Front Mission 3
Wrapping things up.
In the Genesis:
Shining Force
and many more books.
In the Gameboy:
My cousin's copy of Pokemon
In the SNES:
Gathering dust.
In the SMS:
Phantasy Star
In the NES:
Poor little thing.
In the Saturn:
No games yet
In the N64:
Where'd that heart go?
In the Dreamcast:
Soul Calibur
This victory strengthens the soul of... Yun!
Googleshng - March 28 '00- 1:30 Eastern Standard Time

This column looks to be just chock full of FM3 questions, yipee! I hope I get this finished tonight because I have to go somewhere tmorrow morning. Anyway, that about covers everything, so let's get on with it. Oh crud, it's 2. Oh well, I'll have to do it in the morning.

(10 hours later) OK, now let's get going!

Playing FM3?

Ask Googleshng
That's what I thought.

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What an odd fellow.
Hey Google,

There's something that's been bothering me for a long time. In traditional console RPGs the big payoff comes from wandering around, exploring every nook an cranny, talking to everyone a dozen times, and levelling up to the highest attainable level. Examples that come to mind are the master materia (and weapons) in Final Fantasy VII, certain guardian forces in Final Fantasy VIII, the shamans in Breath of Fire II, battle arenas in nearly every game, and so on.

Personally, I get my kicks from the plot, and as a result I blow through the game as fast as I can. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that much of the time plot points are hidden away with the powerful items and spells as incentive for folks like me. Call me crazy, but I feel there should be a reward for beating a game in record time. As is stands players such as myself are punished with harder bosses a harder time overall. I suppose the challenge and anxiety associated with this can be construed as some sort of plus, but really it's not.

So I ask you, are there any RPGs in which the player benefits from rushing and/or beating the game without any special items or spells? Chrono Trigger comes to mind, but then there's the whole new game+ thing, so that doesn't really count.

Any ideas?


Hmm... everyone I've ever talked to on the matter complained about games which don't have any optional side quests. It's strange to find someone who actually dislikes them. Anyway, there are no RPGs that reward you for rushing through. Actually I guess maybe you could make a case for Vandal Hearts because if you do all the stuff to get a Vandalier, the last couple fights are just disgustingly pathetic. As for CT, if you're going through the Black Omen to get to Lavos, you're not rushing. You can go fight Lavos pretty much whenever just by going to 1999. Now then, if you want games with good plots but no optional side stuff, you're going to like Game Arts. Go find Lunar and Grandia. 8) Heck, actually if you're just after good plots, there's a number of anime series and books I could recommend. For starters, Escaflowne, Slayers, the Chronicles of Amber and Ender's Game. 8)

Sub vs. Dub continued
Yesterday, a reader named Sano wrote in about subtitled RPGs. Now, the last thing I want to do to you is start another sub vs. dub debate, but there are a few points I want to make.

First, Sano calls the Lunar dub "tolerable" and rips Thousand Arms and Star Ocean 2. Personally, when I play a game or watch Anime, I prefer dubs over subs. Why? Because I like to be entertained in my native language. I loved the dubs for Lunar and Thousand Arms. The Lunar songs are very catchy (I'm even listening to Winds Nocturne as I write this) and the cutscenes from Thousand Arms are hilarious (especially the one with the dress girl arguing with Ratchet over who looks better). I didn't even mind the SO2 battle dialogue, and thought it was interesting when Claude and Rena would call out for each other in a fight. In short, I really don't think he gave these games enough credit. Now Grandia, there was a bad dub...

Secondly, he asks why game manufacturers don't make subtitled RPGs. I'm no expert on the matter, but my guess is cost. Effectively, they would have to produce two copies of the same exact game, effectively doubling production costs. Now, let me ask Sano if he/she has ever refused to by an RPG because it was dubbed. I doubt it. Would he/she buy two copies of an RPG, one dubbed and one subbed, if they were available? Maybe, but I doubt many people would -- even if they might do the same thing for an Anime video. My point is that unless a company can justify making a product like a subtitled RPG, they won't make it. Assuming their production costs would double, their sales would also have to double to keep pace with profits. And I very much doubt that the sales of an RPG would double just because its offered in subtitled form.

Lastly, isn't it funny that there's even a debate like this going on? A few years ago, there were so few RPGs available that most RPGamers were happy to play just about anything they could get their hands on. Now, with the flood of them coming stateside, we can become picky enough to complain about little things like this. Shouldn't we just be happy with what we've got, people?

Thanks for your time.

OK, first you seem to have a few misconceptions on the issue. The reason you couldn't have an argument a few years ago over games being subtitled is that they didn't have digitized speech in any practical sense, not because there were so few RPGs. Plus nobody is really complaining, just wanting a little more choice (well, the deaf person when this first came up was complaining). Also, it wouldn't cost the game companies any money at all to make dubbed and subbed versions of games if they chose to. They'd make the exact same number of games, just that a certain percentage would be subtitled. Actually, subtitling would be cheaper than dubbing, because all you need is the script and a way to display text on the screen, and if you can show me an RPG that can't do THAT I'll be impressed. With dubbing you have to hire english speaking voice actors... which I suppose you'd still have to do if you released both versions, but still, no extra cost from subbing. Finally, there WOULD be a noticable profit from this, because, while the average person would never buy two copies of the same game, there are some people out there who would.

Step away from the Wanzer sir.
WHello Google,
I just started playing Front Mission 3, and since you have played it I have a question. Is there any way to get enemy wanzers intentionally? So far I was able to get one, but only because the pilot ejected and I killed him and didn't hurt the wanzer. I didn't do anything special. The pilot ejecting was just randomly generated by the game. I need to sell those enemy wanzers for some money! Any help is greatly appreciated.


First of all, I don't see why you need that much money, there's always the simulator. Anyway, here's everything you ever wanted to know about comandeering wanzers. There's 3 ways to do it. 1) Get a Forced Ejection by pure luck. 2) Kill the pilot through Pilot Damage skills. 3) Make the pilot surrender. Killing the pilot doesn't need any additional instruction I hope. As for how to make them surrender, it's a simple matter of making them scared. The number of things that factor into this actually reminds me a bit of Pokémon. Some fights have weird little tricks that make everything surrender (killing the cliff mounted rocket launchers in one level comes to mind). Mainly though, the trick is to reduce the HP of their main body enough that 1 hit would finish the job. Blowing limbs off also helps. This by the way means that the shotgun is the weapon of choice for forcing surrenders. Once it says "surrender" and a flashing white flag appears, that wanzer will make moral checks every turn which may result in it fully surrendering, recovering, or, most likely, staying in moral checking mode. If you don't like waiting, any attack targeting the white flagged wanzer that doesn't kill it will make it surrender all the way immediately. For this I recommend either getting out of your wanzer and shooting it for almost no damage, or using a grenade launcher because you'll probably miss. One final note, which is most handy with the forced ejection method, you can have a pilot eject dirrectly from one wanzer/vehicle into another in a single turn.

2 plotlines
You Goog, How are ya? Well, enough pleasantries, on to the nitty gritty. In Front Mission Three there is the whole Emma or Alisa scenario difference. What I want to know is when you get to choose which one you want, I assumed it would be at the very beginning or at least towards the start, but here I am, 10 hours into it with the only choice being that very first about whether to go with Ryogo or not, don't tell me that was it. I'm about to enter that one city I think it Taie or something, I just fought at the dam. If I'm not to the point of decision yet, don't tell me when it is cause I don't want any spoilers. Well that's, it see ya later.

WING "Missiles Rule" XERO

Yes missles rule, but not so much once you start finding flame redardant armor on everything you fight. Anyway, I won't tell you that saying ye to Ryogo at the very beginning is what puts you on the Emma scenerio, but can I tell everyone else? I think they deserve to know. Actually, I have yet to talk to anyone who didn't wind up on the Emma scenerio, but don't complain, it's a good scenerio! 8) Oh and for the record, you've had 2 other choices. Whether to take the path or the main route into that base, and where to go right after the dam fight. 8)

Walk around town

Since you have gotten a hold of Front Mission 3, I have two important questions to ask. Can you walk around in towns? I hated that about Final Fantasy Tactics. The fact that I couldn't walk around towns was annoying as hell. I like being able to talk to people and all that other stuff that you do in town.
The second thing, how is the translation? Is it the mediocrity that Square is known for or is it a gem? Thank ee for your help.


Well, the only TRPGs I can think of that really have towns of the variety you can walk around in are the Shining Force games. Front Mission 3 does have plenty of times, epecially later in the game, where you have a map of the city you're in (this is set in the real world after all) on which you can select various places, bars shops, important people's houses, go in, and have various random people you can talk to and get weird little hints and atmosphere from. You don't actually do the walking bit, but that's all you don't get to do. Good enough for you? Besides, there's also the network.

Vandal Hearts mistake
Vandal Hearts Spoilers... kinda

How goes?

Well, I have just purchesed Vandal Hearts at the local EB ( which, for the record, is bout 45 min. drive away ) for about 12 bucks, and I am really enjoying the game so far. My problem is, however, that in chapter 6, the battle against Kane where Xeno transforms him into an evil creature. Kane always does the attack ( i forget it's exact name, sorry ) that attacks everyone on my team, and i don't have enough time to get to him and kill him, nore healers to save my troops. His magic attack takes up over half his mp, but he still cast it every turn. It's really cheeseing my goat. Do you have any advice?


Wait, no healers? How is that possible? Even if you make them both ninjas (or are they called something else?) you get a LITTLE healing. Anyway, there's always items you know. Healing is definately the way to beat that fight. It takes half his MP, so he can only cast it twice... unless his MP regenerates, which it might, been a while, even so, he can't cast it every round, so just heal up whenever he does while rushing forward. 8)


1.) Is there any way to target a specific enemy body part?
2.) Why do flamethrowers suck? They should rock!

Edmond"Flying FAt" Honda

Sorry I cut your letter to pieces, but I answered the rest already. I haven't seen anything that targets a specific part. These are big clunky mecha, be glad they can hit anything. 8) As for flame throwers, well, I can see SOME reasons to use them, but I guess they suck because honestly shooting fire at something made of metal really doesn't do much to it. Oh, and I could be wrong but I think I've seen flame throwers damage pilots without the Pilot Damage skill.

Oh, Quasi-Blasphemous Google, whose Beauty is so Radiant, 8)
Where is Paws? I already checked my pockets... 8(
--Toby,...the real one.

Uh, Paws is sitting in front of her computer. I'm talking to her right now.

Wanzer = Panzer + Walking?

I quote: "short for Wanderung Panzer". I don't know German... yet, but I BELIEVE wanderung means walking, yes. Panzer of course means armor or tank. So, it's a pretty good term for a mech.

Dear Goggleshwing,

I know who you are! Since it's so hard to figure out your gender, you must be either Ramza, the girliest guy ever, or Adel, the manliest lady ever. I'm right, aren't I?

Peter "This here's United States, not California" Williams

You think Ramza is girly? Oh, that picture doesn't help my point. Anyway, Dilandu is the true king of the bishonen. Also, Adel doesn't hold a candle to Molly from Project A-Ko. 8)

I'm broke.Totally broke.If only I wasn't so broke right now.I need cash...What's that FM3 doing there than?

Bad grammar! Anyway, I am broke, completely. However, since I'm reviewing FM3, da boss sent me this copy. After I win I'll have to either pass it along or pay for it, OK?

I take it Front Mission 3 is worth every penny you paid for it?


You can pay for stuff with pennies?!? I have a huge pile of change in that coffee cup! Thanks!

I played that mp3 from your colum yesterday...and I had a nightmare featuring that little clip. thanks a whole lot, from the bottom of my heart.
PS: Shiva is like a pile of poopies compared to Quetzacotl. I love birds. =D

Thanks, but Silken deserves the credit, she's the one who said it, and she really did break into my column and stick it in after I went to sleep. 8)

The Last Laugh:

Well, here's the standard CC pic.

Now I'm off to a job interview, with luck I'll actually start having money now, wouldn't THAT be something! Hmm... maybe I should go make myself presentable, the scraggly haired unclean pale skinned nerd look really only works when you're hunched over a computer. 8)

Googleshng "Mecha Rule"
Ack! Time to go!

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