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Cheese Monkey
Friday, April 26, 2002

Final Fantasy IV's final dungeon sucks. It's long as hell, the enemies are a pain, there's like....12 or more floors to it, and there are so many treasure chests you run out of space for Items and always have to trade something off. Oh, and I died fighting for Kain's last weapon too. Not to mention there being about half a dozen tough bosses, not including the final one. Oh well, I'm sure I'll beat the game tomorrow. In other news, the games I intend to trade for credit at Gamestop are STILL not here yet. In yet other news, I've more than exceeded my required Oreo intake for the next year or so. I guess it comes from playing difficult games like FFIV. :P (Maybe that'd explain the disappearance of plenty of Pringles as well... am I turning into a junk food junkie o what?)

Anyway, tonight's is a fairly long update... again. This is what happens when the Inbox overflows.

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Anyone got Japan on speed-dial?

how you guys doin? i really enjoyed the info on star ocean blue sphere...

BUT ONE THING, CAN YOU ASK JAPAN OR SOME THAT IS ONE OF THE PRODUCERS OF !!StarOcean!! AND PERSWADE THEM TO CONCIDER MAKING IT FOR ********PLAYSTATION or PLAYSTATION 2******** CAUSE I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LOVE THIS GAME AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A WAIST IF IT IS JUST ON ((GAMEBOY))........

- Adler "bboyforever"

P.S.PLEASE EMAIL ME ME BACK ON THIS IT WOULD REALLY MEAN ALOT THANKS!!!!

Chronologist:
Yeah, I'll ask them now... what's the number for Japan?

Anyway, um... why would you want a Game Boy COLOR game ported to the PS2? Look at SO: BS here, and SO3 here. There's a bit of a difference, at least graphically. :P Why you'd want to see the former on the latter system, I can't say. Unless you want a total remake of the game, but that's kinda silly. And as for it being a 'waste' (or waist) on the Game Boy, consider the GB and all its incarnations have sold... well, a LOT. What do you want them to do, NOT make RPGs for portable systems? What's wrong with you? I'm done now.

 
OOOoooOOOoo... pretty flashing lights.

This letter is in response to Kevin Greaves and his concern for the flash and strobe effects in Skies of Arcadia.

I, myself, am not epileptic, but I do remember my head hurting during some of those heavy strobe induced spells that played out during the demo. The flashing light effects and strobe effects are in a higher resolution than something like FF7 or FF8, so it can affect people. Plus in Skies, the flashing lights are rapid, like in a disco and that made my eyes go funny. In contrast, Grandia 2's spell effects are much easier on the eyes.

It didn't help either that the erratic camera during battles made me seasick.

Oddly enough, when I rented it recently, the flashy stuff didn't bother me. (Still don't like the game, though, but that's another story and one I venture not to tell in public.)

What's great in the US version is that if you press the 'start' button right when a special attack begins, you can skip it. So at least there is that option if you really want to play it.

Dezo

Chronologist:
You can skip the animation? God, I wish Grandia II had that option. Fighting the last boss, I got really tired of watching a drawn-out 30 second long FMV poison spell. Poison! That's way too much for a simple spell... Good game though, Grandia II is.

Schala:
Eh... flashing lights can get pretty annoying, epilepsy or not... they just give me headaches if I see too much of them. Then again, so do games with so much 3D movement (PSO, Grandia II), after a long time. But then, that's motion sickness as far as the movement is concerned, which probably also made you 'seasick' during Grandia II's camera movement. I hate having it since it keeps me from playing some really cool games, not to mention not being able to play GB games in a car. Maybe someone up there doesn't like me playing games or something. :P

 
Me, biased towards Mitsuda? Never!

Chronoschalogist,
I've decided to ask some deep probing questions today, but keep in mind that I like RPGFan, and this is not meant as an expression of my disapproval of what you guys are doing over there. I just thought that as a loyal reader, I'd try to get a few answers. Since the numbered question format seems to be popular with the mailbag, here we go...

1. Now that RPGFan is using affiliate programs to make money from purchases of soundtracks, do you feel that your reviews will stay objective? For instance, if I wrote a review that said, "I think the Xenosaga OST is a complete piece of garbage and is best used as an overpriced coaster or perhaps a frisbee," would I be as likely to get printed as the standard "Yasunori Mitsuda is a genius and he doesn't disappoint...blah blah blah" review? Basically, do you consider how it will affect how many people will buy it with the "Buy this soundtrack from..." link when deciding if a review should be posted?

2. Sometimes people like to debate about what makes a game an RPG and which games qualify. This question can be debated for a long time, so my question is not about how to define an RPG, but rather how RPGFan defines an RPG in determining their coverage. I've noticed a few games in RPGFan's coverage that I would not consider RPGs. Here are a couple examples to show you what I mean: (a) Ico. After playing through this title, I would call its genre Adventure. It feels like a MGS style game dealing with castles and drawbridges rather than high tech buildings and guns. So do castles convert an action/adventure game into an RPG? (b) Another Mind. I don't know much about this game, but from what I've read, it is a pure graphical adventure game. Does the word Squaresoft on a game's packaging convert anything close to an RPG into an RPG? There are also many examples of non-RPGs (strategy, action, etc.) with RPG elements (or depending on your perspective, RPGs with non-RPG elements) that RPGFan covers. I don't know if it is right to try to divide everything into black and white, but a site with limited coverage of something (in this case, videogames) needs to have a good solid line (the line between general games and RPGs, though I suppose more realistically, RPGs are a subset of the set of videogames). So where does RPGFan draw that line (or create that subset)?

I had a couple more questions, but this mailbag letter has become a bit longer than I had planned to make it. I suppose the rest of my questions will have to come next time.

Once again, though I may appear somewhat critical of the site, I am a fan of RPGFan.

--SrBehemoth

Chronologist:
Well...

1) Nah, things won't change. rest assured if someone doesn't like a soundtrack, you'll hear about it. Same goes for reader reviews; you can say whatever you want. Of course, if you actually did write in saying you thought Xenosaga's OST sucked, I WOULD question your state of mind. :P

2) Ico, frankly, we messed up on. A few of us, myself included, felt after playing the demo it would be RPG enough to warrant covering. Then we found out it was more a 3D puzzle-type adventure thing game. Another Mind, I didn't even notice we covered, as I know its a graphic adventure game. Just be thankful we don't actually subscribe to the 'all things Squaresoft' theory you mentioned, otherwise we'd have coverage of all their sports titles. :P

Schala:
1) I think that, knowing Chudah, who runs the soundtrack section, bad reviews will get posted as long as they're somewhat well written. Even though we have affiliates now, it's not going to change our soundtrack reviews - they're still only there for the purpose of being an objective review.

2) It's hard to have a solid line between RPGs and non-RPGs, of course, but I think it's safe to say that games with enough RPG elements, or are actually classified as an RPG by its developer, fall under our realm of coverage. Square's games though, usually have either almost all RPG elements or none at all, so it's easy to tell with their games.

 
The force isn't with me so far...

Favorite Scences:

Illusion of Gaia: The ending

Chrono Trigger: When Crono was brought back to life and the conversation afterwards with Marle & Lucca.

Earthbound: Last Battle with Gigyas.

FF6: The opera Scene, Beginning Scence, Shadows dreams, The Whole Damn Game should be remembered and not one or two scences.

I loved Secrets of Mana, but was disappointed by the ease I had in defeating the last boss. I was maxed out in Magic & weapons.

Ff4, Last Boss was cake but getting to him, oh F**K!!, may the force be wid you on that long a$$ journey.

What other music(other than Game music) do you listen too? DO you have any favorite bands?

I would love, I repeat love, to see or hear and open discussion amongst the rpgfan staff on Rpgs(both Past & Present).

I am not a geek,nerd or a wierdo. I play rpgs because they are appealing to me, but I never let a game get in the way of my social life.

So you like male bashing? Well good for you! Just...B you must realise that women get raped more than men by men, get rejected from jobs more often than men by men and get pay less than men for the same job by men. Also looked upon as being only good for doing housework and being used as sexual objects by men. So if some women needs to express themselves by dishing out a small percentage of what we have given them, by all means be my guess. And if any man has a problem with being used as a sex object once in awhile, better check his sexuality.

But Just...B you know what they say, If the cap fit let them wear it or as Crono said a few weeks ago If it walks like a duck.

- Kevin Greaves

Chronologist:
I dunno, I wouldn't mind being used as a sexual object every now and then... but that's all I'll say about that.

You'd love to see us discuss RPGs? Well, for the low low price of $59.99 a year, you can subscribe to RPGFanInsider and get that, and all sorts of other members-only treats. Er, but seriously, if you want to hear us discuss RPGs, head over to the boards, or even better, the chatroom (info on the general board), where a bunch of us frequent.

As for music, I listen to plenty of game music... and other stuff most people don't know, like Heather Nova and Remy Zero (ahh, Remy Zero), Dido (though not as much anymore), some J-pop like Two-Mix (roxX0r) and Ayumi Hamasaki. And other stuff, but those are my favorite non-game ones.

Schala:
Believe me, it's not hard to get sick of Dido when she only has ONE ALBUM. I like a couple of the artists Chrono mentioned, plus L'arc~En~Ciel, Luna Sea (but all tthe songs I have are a bit depressing), No Doubt (they're just so....different each album), and well, I've always liked Janet Jackson but I haven't listened to her lately. Must be the J-music whore in me that's keeping me away. :P

I don't like male bashing all that much but a little bit never hurts every once in a while. Don't listen to Chrono when he says we talk about RPGs in the chatroom... we talk about other random and bizarre subjects more often. Beleive me, I'm the co-founder... I have to make sure of this. :P

 
Doth thou desire the power?

i agree with Roy Thomson. i didnt write in my list of rpgs to appear boastful, but i genuinely wanted to know if anyone had a bigger collection. to be honest, i enjoy collecting rpgs as much as i enjoy playing them - ive been collecting since 1994 since i got hooked on Phantasy Star. and theres still loaaaaaaads more to get - the only console i have every rpg for is the Master System, and only cos theres about 10 altogether! and whats with being envious of Terranigma? was it not released in America? if not, youre really missing out. this is by far the best rpg on the SNES, much better than Chronotrigger (hard to believe but true..) expensive tho. i got it when it came out for 50! And Schala, dont be ashamed of your rpg collection. i only have loads cos i love collecting them. as long as you love rpgs thats all that matters. but you really should play Suikoden 1 and 2.

anyway, to refer to my brother-in-arms Jimbob Antwain the Ninja again, he is spot on about Final Fantasy Tactics - no character development, boring too-hard battles, too much talking, bad translation, this game sucks. dont get me wrong, i love strategy rpgs, but Vandal Hearts and Vanguard Bandits are so much better!!! yet another way over rated Final Fantasy game....oh, and my faith is restored, i thought i was the only person in the world who still likes ninjas!! and talking about ninjas, why are they always portrayed in rpgs as mouthy teenage girls with huge shurikens or inept idiots who DONT EVEN WEAR MASKS!!!! the only decent portayal of a ninja in an rpg was in Suikoden ( Kage - a silent masked mercenary, the way a ninja should be..)

anyway, heres some questions....
1)anyone there played Arc the Lad Collection? reccomended??
2)is Valkyrie Profile a proper walk-around-towns rpg?
3) ever played the Saturn rpg Mystaria? its got the worst translation of any game, period.
4)what was that rpg (for the Genesis) where every time you heal it says "give me the mighty power!" and if you heal fast it goes " give me the m.. give me the m.. give me the m..etc"? its buggin' me, this one.
5) what are better - rpgs or ninjas? this is the One Question that rules my life.......
6) which rpg character do you most look like? ( i bags Richmond from Suikoden 2)

thats it. byyeeee!!!!

- NinjaSmudge

Chronologist:
1) Not me. And for $70, I won't be playing it in the forseeable future either. Too bad, if it was cheaper and didn't have the extra junk with it, I'd consider it.
2) Not really, I don't think...Schala can elaborate.
3) No... but have you ever played the old Phantasy Stars or the first two Breath of Fire games? Scary stuff.
4) ....... O_o (in other words, no idea)
5) RPGs, you fool!
6) None that I can think of...

Schala:
I just wanted to make sure no one wrote in with their entire RPG list again, that's all. I've seen games with worse translations than FFT, myself... have you ever played the first two Breath of Fire games? Or Dragon Warrior VII? In answer to Terranigma no, North America never saw it, hence our envy. Then again, Europe misses out on a lot of good RPGs too, so I guess we're even... almost. In answer to the other questions...
1) Not me either - especially for the $70-75.
2) Well, you could walk around town a bit... or at least, in the beginning you could. It's not the same as the usual walking around towns and talking to people though, usually passing through a street to go to the next story sequence or part of the game. From what I recall you couldn't buy items either. :P VP is rather linear.
3) Nope. I'm tired of bad translations - and talking about them, for that matter. (Ever since we got BoFII...)
4) Nope. No idea here either. Sorry.
5) Hm... ninjas are pretty cool, but I'd have to say RPGs anyday. There were no ninjas in Xenogears, after all.
6) Probably Yuna from FF10...but my highlights are more red than blonde. Now if only I could do a cool water dance like her, I'd be 1337.

 
Aeris dies? OMG I HATH BEEN SPOILED!!11

Hey hey hey fat chrono...
Waaaaassssaaa Schala!

The most memorable moment in an RPG is definetly in FF9 the whole ending sequence..just great. I won't say anything so that anyone can read without anything being spoiled *cough* he lives *cough*, but also in a close second place is in FF7 when Aeris gets killed! Has anything filled you with rage towards the bad guy like that? Forget Osama, he isn't the bad guy.. it's people like Sephiroth that you should watch out for! Whenever or if ever you go to a temple..look out cause Sephiroth is running about...Now you know you are in trouble when you are alone in a seemly empty alley way in Chicago and someone like Chrono comes up behind ya. Yikes..you won't even get away with your pants because he will say something like, "This isn't for me..it's for my website! We are going to need money later so GIVE IT UP!"

Oh ya I just want to add my favorite song from an RPG which turned out to be my favorite song ever..Forevermore from The Bouncer.. HOLY CRAP that is a good song..can't..stop..listening.to.....it!

Ok well cya Chrono or Schala or ...bah!
Dragon-Ball-Dan
Master of RPGFan and owner of its fate!

PS. Schala...your fired! ;)

Schala:
I'm fired? Awww... but I just got back to doing work on the site again! So much for that senior ed status... Ahem, anyway, Chrono is WAY too soft to be threatening your lives for money, trust me. (He's not fat either!) That scene didn't affect me very much (Aeris) since I was basically spoiled for that part and pretty much expected it. Sucks, I know. Then again, I was dating some moron back then who spoiled a couple of other games and erased a couple of different saves too. But anyway, that's enough of that. I feel much better now.
 
This way for Whale Cakes! --->

hey there people....im in the mood to ramble and do other such annoying things :D...heh, anyways...i was wondering if you had a clue as to why capcom has such bad grammar. I mean in the new EGM they stated that the new BoF2's worst feature was head-ache giving bad grammar, they also said that it was hard and sometimes impossible to play the game with out the help of a guide or walkthrough of some sort. Plus....why does their producer let them put games with such crappy grammar out on the market. One last thing....what is it with them and sequals?...I mean one game with bad grammar is bad enough...but most of the Mega Man games...Breath of Fire 2,3,4...and many more....I'm not saying their games are bad....but could they at least brush up on their engrish? *snicker*

P.S. why was i named Ryan H. in the last e-mail....my names Rudy...not Ryan...and i don't put my names on these e-mail...or at least not until now XD

The Annoying Hair Kid

Chronologist:
Maybe you should put your name on it then, to save us from making a mistake. :P

I was just talking about Breath of Fire II, and Capcom's grammar in general, earlier today. It truly is horribly and awfully bad. Luckily, the BoF games have always been fun, and what you can make of the story is pretty interesting as well. I can forgive them for doing it in the past, since production values have more or less gone up... and with games less of a niche market, you'd think people would try harder... yet the BoF remakes have the same translation as before. Gah.

Oh, and Capcom and endless sequels are really nothing new... luckily the games are more often than not, fun, so it's not a bad thing playing a similar thing again.

 
Noo... not Oprah's Book Club!

Dear Chroschalano,

Since Oprah's book club is about to close down, I have been forced to read RPGFan... ah who am I kidding, I always read RPGFan! But upon reading lately, I notice that your mailbag section is now being hosted (I like to use fancy tv words because I like tv and it is fun to watch Becker every monday night at 9:30pm on CBS, The proud network of such great shows as "Baby bob" and the milked out "Survivor series") by Schala AND Chrono. Now let me tell you, I am scared. This is like an electronic shishkabob, and it's taste is frightening.

Not only do I have to twist the name around, I was thinking what I should call you for about 30 minutes, and then I stopped to think about what I was doing, and I realized I have probably gone insane. Ladies are alsways first so I thought Schachrolano, but that name made me think about Indian food. So Chroschalano was my only choice left, while the name fore some reason reminded me of the time I was playing in the front lawn and a giant grasshopper jumped on my back while I freaked out frantically running around the yard while noone was there to help me, I decided to stick with the name.

But now that two people are answering questions, I have to direct my questions to both of you. So I travled the vast lands of china in search of ancient manuscripts, I stumbled upon and umbrella. This umbrella gave me shade... and that shade really cleared my mind. I was hungry, so I ate a couple mushrooms on the ground (Who would drop such great vegatables... mushrooms are vegatables right? How does fungus get to be a food anyway? It's not like we eat what's in between our toes right?) I thought of the most perfect question. However, once I got ran over by a guy riding a bicycle I completely forgot the question. I have however returned to America with a question in mind.

Schala: Are the gear battles in Xenosaga real time or just like the first game? It might be mentioned in the previews section but I don't read any previews because it in many ways ruins my whole excitement for the game. Like I didn't read about any new features for Final Fantasy X until the game was only 3 days away from coming out.

Chrono: You remember that part in Chrono cross when Solt and Peppor were fighting with each other? ...yeah, that was pretty cool.

The end
-Joey Mikler

Schala:
You're the one who's scared? That's supposed to be me! Why waste 30 minutes wondering what to call us when you could have just said 'Chrono & Schala'? Lots of people have put our names together enough... we're still two people, you know. :P I heard that baby Bob sho sucked btw. And I never watched Survivor. THANK GOD. Life is so much more peaceful without loads of TV shows.

In answer to your question, the AGWS (mech) battles were turn based, not real-time. For that matter, they weren't real-time in Xenogears either - they were turn based as well. Though I will say this - the mechs play a MUCH MUCH MUCH (etc...) less important role in Xenosaga - they're more of a backup than anything, the design is very plain, and they're nowhere near as unique, wither it be in attacking or anything. No deathblows or attack levels. There's almost no enemy or boss that the mechs are actually required to use against, for that matter.

Chronologist:
Yeah it was. derr, huh huh.

 
d00d u r l33t

I really like that seraphimsephiroth20439x guy. He asks the questions that need to be answered, and I love him for it. Let's make cupcakes.

- Mysterious Random Person

Chronologist:
Why make cupcakes? It's easier to just go to the store and buy them. Or even better, buy Twinkies. Twinkies with their rich creamy filling and moist sweet... cake-like substance... can... like... satisfy your craving for... something or another. This is why I didn't get into advertising.
 
Closing Thoughts

Well... it's finally Friday and I have plans today to blow my money on Japanese music and books... if I find what I'm looking for, that is. Wheee. Expect another long update on Monday, as well as a new topic sooner than that. So write in and entertain me, for I'm almost finished FFIV and I'm almost out of Oreos. Hurry!

~ Chronologist & Schala (letters@rpgfan.com)



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