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Thor Antrim - July 28 '00 - Somewhere Beyond Time

Hey there, I'm Thor. I gave a full introduction in my first column. Here's all you need to know: I'm a lean, mean, Q&A machine.

Naughty little rebels. Even though I asked for "regular" mail, 99% was focused on me. Those sort of letters are fine, but too many makes for a boring, egotistical column. I decided to split Ask Thor into three sections. First, a couple of questions I scrounged up. Then a few random "classic" letters from my old columns. Finally, ULTIMATE THOR STUFF, with a lil' explanation of where I've been. This way you get the full-fledged Ask Thor experience. 100% live, raw and in your face.

Thundercats, ho!

If you forgave him for April 1st,
Ask Brad!
(Sorry babe, this'll only be a one night stand.)
Recent Q&A's

07-27-00
07-25-00
07-24-00

Old Crap
Mock vintage Thor in The Archives. (Hint: I joined January '99.)
Bored? Check out:
Thor Hacks
(I insisted people make stupid pictures of me before insisting people make stupid pictures of you was cool)
How do you pronounce Cthulhu?
It is widely debated. I say Kuh-thu-loo
To Vi, or not to vi
Sexypants, Which do you think is cooler- the Chrono Cross clock, or the stuffed VIVI? By the way, welcome back.

- Megane, firmly confident in his masculinity

Thor:
I'd go with Vivi. What could possibly be cool about a clock? Besides, women find those chubby black mages irresistible. If you buy the clock you'll never be late for school. But Vivi will help you score.

Good? Bad? It sure ain't ugly.
Glad to see you back in the saddle, however briefly. Maybe we should tie you back down in the basement with all your anime girls, just so's we can keep better track of you in the future. But, seriously for a moment, what's the deal with Legend of Dragoon? I haven't played it myself, but reviews for it have said "Terrible!", "Fantastic!", and damned near everything in between. Usually, most major reviews for a game bear at least a passing resemblance to each other, but not even close on this one. Thoughts?

- Bill J.

Thor:
If you read enough reviews, you'll always stumble across the extremes. Most sites I checked (including RPGamer) gave Legend of Dragoon slightly above average scores. However, Daily Radar and GIA gave it hilariously opposing reviews. Daily Radar called LoD "one of the best console RPGs ever" and said "the Addition system is what makes each and every combat fun". GIA said LoD was "derivative, shallow swill" and that the Addition system was "the FFVIII/Mario RPG/Vagrant Story system gone horribly wrong." They couldn't even agree on the graphics. Were they "some of the most gorgeous graphics seen in a PSX RPG" or "at first glance, fairly impressive"?

Don't ask me, I haven't played it either. The general consensus: Most liked the FMV, disliked the translation, and no matter who you ask, all will admit it desperately wants to be Final Fantasy VII when Final Fantasy IX is just around the corner. And have I mentioned how cool FFIX looks? My God, I want that game. (Hopefully all this text will make up for the total lack of an intelligent answer.)

Google:
Well you see, that's the odd thing about LoD. The graphics are absolutely beautiful in some aspects, like the way water is rendered... it even reflects moving patterns of light up onto the bottom of bridges and stuff, and I'm not even talking about FMV here. Then in other aspects, the graphics suck, like the freaky low poly count zoomed out character models. As for the game itself, it's as utterly generic as RPGs get for the most part, with enough innovations to the fights to keep me interested, and the plot gets a little interesting somewhere in disk 3. In other words, it's a mixed bag.

The question on the tip of everyone's tongue: What has that Thor guy been playing lately?
Well, since we've been warned by the Almighty Goog (Though not as almighty as the Almighty Thor), not ask you certain questions, I'll skip them.

54. Since you've been gone, what games have you been playing? Any moments you thought were really special?

55. What's your shoesize? (Or does that violate the "Measurements of various body parts" no-no?)

Well, Sexypants I end with: "I'm just an RPGirl, standing in front of a RPGuy, asking him to love her."

- Terra

Thor:
My shoe size is 14. And yes, what they say is true. Anyway, I enjoyed Kyle and Jessica's chemistry in Lunar: SSSC. Most female characters are blandly sweet, but Jess's jealous outbursts set her apart. Kyle reminds me of Ash from Evil Dead: he's a screwup, but a loveable screwup. And he can smash heads real good.

Lately I've been into Vagrant Story and Diablo II - Hack & Slash Heaven. DII, the whole game is memorable. Nothing stands out except maybe Wirt's leg. I haven't enjoyed gaining levels this much since Final Fantasy 3's "dino forest". Vagrant Story's opening clash between Ashley and Sydney was like watching real-time anime, the direction was stunning. And I love running out of HP only to save myself with a well-timed button press. That just rules.

Most memorable and least favorite was the moment I realized Ashley's butt is showing. Ashley is a hardcase and Sydney is a charismatic prophet - so why are they dressed like denizens of a leather bar? The laws of fashion in the world of VS seem to be, "if your nipples or ass doesn't show, wear a skirt". Blarg.

A question. A real live question.
I've played EverQuest and Ultima Online, and though they're online worlds, they're really not RPGs. Most people aren't playing roles, they're just wandering around killing monsters and finding weapons and rare items. There are few people actually making an effort to make a believable character in the virtual worlds Origin and 989 Studios have created. Now online 'RPGs' are moving to consoles. So, I have to ask: How do you think this is going to affect how we play RPGs, and will this make the traditional one-player RPG extinct? If a role-playing game just has you hacking and slashing monsters and wandering around, is it still a role-playing game, or is it an action game instead?

This is something that really concerns me, because though Phantasy Star Online, which is going to be for only four players, seems to be sticking with a more 'traditional' model, other games (specifically the Final Fantasy series) are moving to the huge multiplayer Everquest-type type of game. What do you think this means for the future of RPGs? Thank you for your answer in advance, O Great One!

- Ichthatnorglorhp

Thor:
Since I won't be around tomorrow, I can start "what makes an RPG?" debate. Sweet.

The Phantasy Star (and Final Fantasy) games consist of little more than reading a fixed story and killing monsters. I love them to death, but it's true. They're a lot like a chose-your-own-adventure book with a battle system. Does this mean they shouldn't be called "RPGs"? Maybe, but it's a little late to do anything about it. Besides, ActionAdventureGamer.com sounds stupid.

Most who play Ultima Online, EverQuest and especially Final Fantasy are more interested in playing a videogame than role-playing. It's not surprising since those games are more "Dragon Warrior" than "AD&D". "Massively Multiplayer RPGs" are just like any other RPG, only with real-time chat. You're limited to speaking Olde English and dungeon crawling or making socks to sell. If you're looking for a traditional "AD&D Tabletop" feel - where it seems anything can change on the fly - check out Neverwinter Nights, from the guys who brought you Baldur's Gate. It allows you to write and "dungeon master" quest for your friends. Finally, no more overcrowded servers filled with out of character player killers who spam links to porn sites after looting your corpse.

Classic Ask Thor #1: When Games get Mean
You're going to have to tap your memory banks for this one. But remember that little town in Final Fantasy VII called Kalm? Remember in one of the houses with the old guy who's dog is locked in the closet (wait, that's another good question, why was that guy's dog locked in a closet)? Remember on the second floor there was a treasure chest and if you tried to open it Cloud would just say "It's locked." Well how do you unlock it? It's driving me insane! There are a million other chests that if you go up to Cloud doesn't say "It's locked." What's soooo special about the chest! Help!

- Temjirim

Thor:
That was the first test run of Square's new "Insanity System", the newest in Virtual Reality. I.S. was designed to inflict the same mental disorders the hero (in this case, Cloud) suffers from on the player. Other tests included: the game's ending, the disturbing Honeybee Inn sequence, and Yuffie. If you look closely, the chest doesn't even appear to be a polygon, it looks like a bit of pre-rendered background, meaning there is most likely no way to unlock it. This inevitably leads us to the question, "Why does Square hate us so?".

Classic #2: When mothers attack
my mommy took my playstation away and told me to go get some sun. I told her my snowy white complexion was genetic, but she didn't buy it.

- Al

Thor:
Maybe that's because your parents are black.

Classic #3: Kissing Cousins
You should have been playin Xenogears long enough to see how many times it is implied that Margie and Bart would make a good couple. Especially when one of the nun's say she should take the throne with Bart one day. Aren't they cousins though? Does anyone else find that well...Icckk!

Thor:
Yes, they're cousins. I share your horror. Though it was common in medieval times, I really don't think anyone would classify Xenogears' setting as "medieval". (I mean, I don't remember hearing "stone age, iron age, super hyper mega zord power mech age" anywhere, heh heh.)

Classic #4: Ask Dr. Love
Just to get a few things straight, Thor. I'm 16. I've never had a girlfriend. I'm addicted to video games, Anime, and Taco Bell. My favorite game is Xenogears. Brigandine pulls a close second. I've been playing video games since I was 6. Girls hate me. Is there something wrong with me? (Please, no smart-ass answers. I figured I'd ask you 'cuz you're damn smart and you're a fellow gamer).

- Jeff

Thor:
I don't know you, but I can make a few guesses. Though they sound sarcastic, I'm being totally serious here. Well, except for item three. And five. Oh, just read it.

  • You're unattractive. Women, while not as obsessed over looks (aside from theirs) as us guys, but they still care if you make Ultros look hot.
  • You don't try hard enough. Dating takes a good chunk out of your free time (not to mention your wallet). You have to work on the art of wooing a girl. Maybe you come off as too shy, maybe you're hitting on girls out of your league, or maybe you should try to get out more and meet new types of people.
  • Your school is filled with nothing but lesbians. Flee at once!
  • You're looking at women only as prospective mates rather than friends. I really can't stand having a girlfriend. I prefer a close friend who doesn't mind a little romance thrown in. Or a lot of sex. Whichever.
  • You're Hitler. Nobody likes Hitler.
I hope this helps. If for some reason you can't score a significant other, don't worry about it. You'll find Mrs. Right someday. Heck, I'll probably get a few letters from "RPGirls" who're dying to get your e-mail address. Well, as soon as you stop being Hitler.

Classic #5: Unfit for Reprint
Will you PLEASE stop calling the edited pictures of you, anime-style, "hacks"? It really pisses people in the hacker community(or anyone who really knows what a hacker is, which apparently you don't) when the term "hack" or "hacker" is used inappropriately. Thank you.

- dguy

Thor:
Hey man, calm down. When the hacking culture was founded, do you think lumberjacks went around complaining that computer people were abusing what was pretty much the essence of their job? Words grab new meanings all the time. Just look how much "gay" has changed through the years: It went from meaning "merry", to "homosexual" and now is interchangeable with "lame". And don't get me started on lame -- how did "cripple" ever begin to apply to anything else but disabilities? Unless you scream in rage every time a bad writer is called a "hack", I'd just try to let it slide. I seriously don't think as many hackers are enraged at the "Anime Thor Hack Archive" as you might think. And for the record, I do know the definition of "hacker". I just have no idea what the hell a "lumberjack" is.

Quickies

When is Google coming back?

I got around a dozen of these. They were all phrased exactly the same. I've seen enough "When is Thor coming back?" letters to know they consist of more that sterile phrase, so it's probably a joke, but... weird.

You wouldn't have played Ultima IX by any chance, would you have? I need to know why it's so damn slow, even on a 433 mhz, with 96 MB of RAM, and a Voodoo3... Stupid Origin...
- Troovis

No. I have something against paying to beta test software.

You probably don't remember me, but I'm the one who asked awhile ago about why you liked "Brainscan" when the box scared the hell out of me at the videostore I worked at. You gave me this really long awesome explanation of the movie, and you were right, it was pretty damn good!
- Mattgamerr

I think you're the only one who's ever said anything nice about that review. It took me years to recover and write reviews of crappy videogame movies on my website.

I don't know you at all,but I still want to be your slave.
- Xeros89

Wow, that's... something. How can you talk with that rubber ball wedged in your mouth like that?

do you have any walkthroughs for the video game robotrek for snes if you do mail it 2 me thankz

No, thank you. I was really nostalgic about Ask Thor until you reminded me of the dark side.

Finally, Thor has come BACK to RPGamer!

What's it like knowing that your millions AND MILLIONS of fans out in RPG-land are chanting your name?

THOR! THOR! THOR!

You rock dude..

Hehe, thanks man. Hey, quit looking at me like that - I had to print one hyper letter from a fan. Now what to do with the rest of the pile...

Thor Stuff:


I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and other cliche filler like that. Man, I've missed you guys. You no doubt wonder where I've been, so I guess it's time to say: it doesn't matter. The situation hasn't changed (though my sick family member is better, thanks for asking). Due to a lack of stable net access and a hectic life barely under my control, I can't think about writing regularly. Besides, Google has a death-grip on this job.

Maybe I'll be back, or maybe you never liked me to begin with. Either way, cheer up!

Don't fret, my poppets. You can still catch me at Thor's Homepage of Recalcitrancy, the only personal homepage that doesn't suck (tm). Remember, it's not a plug, it's a way to keep in touch with me. (It just happens to be a way for me to generate an insane amount of traffic, too.)

Before I go, I want all of you to promise to buy Final Fantasy IX. Square did their part, now you do yours.


Thor "Sexypants" Antrim
Goog took the Thor Hacks, the "funny nickname" bit and my hidden text? Is nothing sacred?

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