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Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Wow. Two days later, and I'm still bright red in some spots. It still hurts, but once it turns into a tan, I'll be very happy. And then I'll go out and tan again. I need to make those Vancouverites jealous, you know... I think I took those painkillers at 7 PM, and it's 11 and my headache is only now starting to disappear. Such is life. Until I go and attempt to work and pay off debts, I won't have any serious headaches...

I only played Link's Awakening for a few hours - long enough to finish the Catfish's Maw and to get the boomerang. Then I shut the game off to be here. Lucky you guys. I also turned on Valkyrie Profile last night, for the first time in a year and a half, and wow, was I ever stuck. Half an hour later, I could see why I'd stopped playing. Though I'd figured out some things I hadn't before, none of it helped me make any true progress. It's going to be impossible to find a guide for this game. Oh well. Even though I keep promising myself I'd sit down and finally watch the rest of the Kenshin DVDs, I still haven't, even though I've been wanting to do so, especially for the last week.

However, I've FINALLY gotten quite a lot of letters that actually respond to my posted topic - I'm impressed. And as always, some more oddities for you.

Oh, and the title? I think I've been browsing Planet GameCube too much lately...

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I almost threw out FFX when trying to win the Sun Sigil.

To reply to your query as to whether we think RPGs are getting easier. I would say the answer is both yes and no. I think most companies these days are trying to keep it in the middle for everyone to play.

Granted I was first introduced to RPGs when FFVII came out and although I thought it a fairly easy game. But, for some reason though I always had a problem beating Jenova Birth, Lost Number, and Evil Wall. Granted, I stuck through the game and was able to overcome these obstacles. Then one of my friends introduced me to FFIV (FFII here stateside) about three years ago and it has become my all time fave FF game. However it is one of those games that does not screw around. You need to fight enemies smartly or else you will get whupped faster than Edge on a Rydia fix. Ever since my introduction to IV, I've been playing as many RPGs as I could get my hands on. Granted I don't think I could consider myself as much a gamer as many of your readers are, but I would say I have a damned good education on old school RPG'ing.

Well, since I'm talking Final Fantasy, I'll rant on about some of the more recent games, too. I've also played FFVIII. Despite several music scores and stunning CG sequences, I thought FFVIII was a poorly made game. It was just too damned easy (and yes, I DESPISE Eyes on Me with a passion! And didn't anybody else think it was too convenient that all the characters came from the same orphanage???). With the junctioning system and the fact that you could be at any level to fight most enemies, the game represented little challenge at all. I was disappointed with it frankly..... and was anybody else annoyed with the 10-15 minutes spent in every battle drawing spells from enemies just to power your characters up only to get 2-5 spells per draw?? It's ridiculous!!! Pure garbage. And FFX? Another game that was - for the most part - too damned easy and too damned boring. I thought only a select few battles were fairly tough, the first Seymour battle..... that was the only battle with him that was hard....... and those damned Fayth Caverns......... my God!!!! If I have to deal with another glyph sphere or destruction sphere, that game is going in the damned garbage can!!! Period!!!

Now, I thought Breath of Fire IV had a damned good challenge. Especially fighting Fou-Lu at the end. Took me almost two hours to beat him. Sweet jesus!!! But after that long fought battle, relaxing with a cold brew at 1100am watching the credits roll was a decent victory drink for me, heh heh heh. However, bosses before him, were a minimal challenge - a non-factor. I played BOF on SNES shortly afterwards and thought BOF was a better game than IV. And I thought BOF provided a little more of a challenge.

And now, here's the part where I'm liable to get booed. Despite it's small popularity, I thought The Legend of Dragoon was a damned good game...... so good in fact it raised my opinion on recent RPGs. Sure it somewhat lacked in graphics, but for you people that think an RPG is all about graphics, why don't you pull out LOD again, and just pay attention to it's plot. Because for me, a game's graphics are just eye candy, nothing more. A plot is what makes a game (and despite what any of you readers out there may think, I'm standing by that comment!) not graphics. I mean, LOD had a better theme song then FFVIII, I loved the way your characters could morph into Dragoons, and the boss battles actually provided a challenge (anyone else think Lenus provided a good enough challenge, or how about the Divine Dragon? Those were some tough fights, IMHO).

Xenogears, I am still having problems with Shakahn. Man, that game doesn't screw around either. And Ramsus and Miang, another fight that's a pain in the ass...... also the Knights that preceed the Battles with Elhaym. And no time to heal or anything. Xenogears is one of the newer RPGs I think that is really good, but damned hard....... so far, really the only RPG that has provided me with a damned good challenge lately. Many nights have I stayed awake trying to beat Shakahn with no luck (in the words of one of my favorite Autobot Transformers, Grimlock "ME GRIMLOCK NEED FIND NEW STRATEGY!!!!" Maybe that's what I need to do, I dunno).

Finally, Wild ARMS 2. I haven't played it's predecessor yet, but WA2 was a damned good game......... until the final boss..... A FREAKIN' GALAXY!!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??!!

Well, that's my opinion on recent games compared to old school. In short, I have more respect for the old-school games than I do newer ones, but that's not to say there is just crap out there now. There are some good ones..... we just gotta find 'em.

Gary

...Evil Wall? You do mean the Secret of Mana one I hope, because I don't recall one in FFVII... and isn't Lost Number from FFVI? My memory escapes me... Ah well, FFIV is definitely a good not-so-easy RPG to start off with, especially the hardtype version. Not that I started off with that myself, though, I think it was either Chrono Trigger, FFVI or Super Mario RPG... or maybe all at the same time! Eh...

Except for Legend of Dragoon, which I still haven't touched, I'll agree with your choices for easy and hard RPGs. While Final Fantasy X was super-easy, I still liked it a lot, story, character, gameplay, all that wonderful stuff. VII, on the other hand, turned me off immensely, with its draw system, and headache-inducing Junctioning. Trust me, if you're too lazy to do any of those like I was, at least often, you'll really suck at the game, easy as it may be. I liked X's puzzles though, at least the Chambers where slightly challenging - unlike the rest of the game, save for the monster arena.

Granted, how easy a game is sometimes depends on how obsessively, or not you like to level up. Despite that some games prevent you from doing ANY sort of massive leveling up, or at all, a la Chrono Cross, it still doesn't make other games a whole lot easier anyway, like Xenogears. I can't think of any boss battle that was overly easy at all. Even the final boss (not the final FINAL one that you fight with only Fei, but the one before that) took quite a lot of strategy, especially if you fought the four spheres before the main thing. Though I think that boss was rather strategically created, among some others - that is one example of a challenging game.

Great, I hadn't played WA2... no offense, but knowing the final boss before playing it kinda sucks. Thanks... :P

..you like Grimlock? I think Optimus Prime is Mike's favorite... I've only seen the movie myself, so I can't make much of a judgment myself.

 
Two opposite viewpoints on LoD. Only here, folks.

Hi Schala,

First time writer. I just wanted to comment that The Dezo is right. Today's games are easier than older ones. In my case, I began playing RPG's with FFVII, like many other readers. In the last three years I've played(and beat) around 25-30 RPG's, so I have a pretty good idea about game difficulty in this genre. So far, the games that have given me the biggest problems have been FFIV, Lunar:EB and Saga Frontier I and II. Something that these games have in common is that they're old school games. Even Saga Frontier could be considered old school because its emphases is gameplay and not story or character development. In contrast, games like FFVII-X ,Grandia II, Suikoden and many more are easier because they are trying to tell a story so my guess is that sometimes developers try to set a level of difficulty that does not get in the way of story-flow.

But not all is lost. There are many games in the recent past that have provided a nice challenge. Star Ocean 2 was a bit challenging in the first walhtrough. The real fun of the game is when you open the galaxy and universe levels by getting voices. If players want a real challenge, they should try beating Indalecio Celesta in Universe. You'll feel great afterwards.

Then there are games that piss the hell out of you because of their inbalance. Anyone who has played FFTactics know what I mean. I don't want to spoil anything, but after you get a character with a certain sword, the games become incredibly easy and takes the fun of the game. Also worth mentioning is Legend Of Dragoon. I'm not going to bash the game any more because of its cliche characters and story, bad writing or bad polygon models. Everyone has already done this. What REALLY gets on me is that you have to fight around 50 battles to go up a level. To make matters worse, each fight takes around 5 minutes and you almost never get to flee the battle. It's ridiculous. In the begining of the game regular battles give you 15 EXP points and in the really end, 40 hours later, regular battles give you 400 EXP points and you need like 25000 to go up a level. So what do you do? Fight the hard boss and go up a level after 20 minutes of guardind because, oh yeah, you can only carry 32 items. And I don't mean 32 types of items. If you have to, you carry 32 potions and that's it. No remedies, no magic, just potion. If you think about it, it's like Chrono Cross whare you only get to level up in boss battles. Last but not least, Saga Frontier II. All I'm going to say is that once you enter the final dungeon, you can't go back to get supplies like potions or other important items. And for those who have played the game, yes, I also hated South Moundtop >:(

Also... O.K. I'll shut up now. So I have a love hate relationship with some RPG's but in the end I enjoyed them all one way or another.

Thaks for listening.

Hugo Perez

P.S. Am I the only one that thinks that Majora's Mask was better that Ocarina of Time.

While older games also tried to tell a story, they couldn't put more effort into it back then than they could now, so developers pretty much had more effort to put in the gameplay. Now with better visuals, music and voice acting, there's a ton of more effort than can be put into the storytelling these days. Though it's made a few games rather unbalanced, or too easy in other cases (FFX), I'm kind of a story-whore anyway, so I for one am not minding this too much - as long as the gameplay isn't boring or horrible. While the Sphere Grid in FFX is a great idea, it helped in making the game too easy, and experience points between sphere levels should have been just a bit more, and perhaps the required points should have increased between sphere levels faster. There's also the flipside though, the rather tough sidequests and optional monsters in the Arena, which helped balance things out a bit, but for the most part not until you got the airship.

I'm not one to flee battles very much at all, but even if you're already overlevelled, if that 50 battles thing in Legend of Dragoon is true, even that sounds like a bit much to me. Of course, I don't exactly keep track of how many battles gets me a level up, but as much as I prefer a game to be more difficult, still, that seems a bit much. And I thought I had it bad near the end of FFIV, levelling-up wise as well as maximum items-wise. 32 is ridiculously small... though I guess I shouldn't complain after playing Super Mario RPG recently.

Dungeons that don't let you leave actually seem pretty common to me... well, not so much anymore. In a weird way I do like it, for that whole challenging thing. Though some of those dungeons also have someone show up near the very end to sell you items...

 
History of Metroid 101

Dear Liz,

I made it? I joined the website? I'm joined? REALLY? YAHOO! OH, my! Garsh darnit! I forgot the screen name I asked him for!! Nooo, the humilitation! The Torture! WHY? WHY MUST I, ENDURE SO MUCH PAIN!? :::falls to the floor crying:::*sniff* A-all, I wanted to d-do, was...*sniff* join--and, and it's not even in my sent mail!? Fiddle-sticks. Anyways...*recovers* Uhm, I have a question for you about Metroid.......as much as I played it when it was on Gameboy...if that was the game, I'm trying to remember here...was the robot-person-thing, a GIRL? I remember "it" being a girl! I also remember dying, and dying, and...*sniff* Do you remember Mario RPG, that came out for the Super Nintendo? I remember, some stick figure guy, but, man...that was the game. Also, I guess I can rank myself as one of your most weird fans---? ::bows, thank you, thank you.::: So like, Mr. Parn, thank you...for all you have done...and..and...Liz...::sniff:: Thank you for being there...if...you...were...or...were..not, JUST THANKS!

-Julia......why does everyone look at me so strangely?

The reason you didn't get any confirmation that you had been registered is because Parn says that your e-mail account doesn't allow incoming mail... soo, you might want to change that if you ever want to get e-mail.

Metroid's main character? A girl? You bet. Underneath all that armor is a lovely yet tough chick who goes by Samus Aran... you may have heard of her. And seen her, for that matter... if you look at my current picture, that would be Samus as she'll appear in Metroid Prime. And when you die in Super Metroid, you notice just how... feminine Samus is after the armor melts away. Yes yes, she looks like a robot or a cyborg. As any character, Samus has a bit of history. Those statues which you get all Samus' items (you know, Spring Ball, Ice Beam, Screw Attack) from are called Chozo statues. You had to know that much. No? Okay. Anyway, Samus lost her family in some... sort of incident, and well, being young, she was raised by these Chozo creatures instead. So this is pretty much where she learned to fight, use all her moves... and where she gets those colorful metal suits called armor from. I like that purple Gravity Suit...

Stick figure guy? I remember many characters from Super Mario RPG... but a stick figure?

 
Er... uh... yeah.

Hey my name is #########################.

I visit your site very often and I love the Art Work!!!

And Midi's!! I sit back on my computer and losten to them!!

My favourite RPG Game is "Grandia" the first one for PS1 This is the best game I ever played !!!! So I listend to every Grandia music and artwork!! actually Iooked at everything about Grandia!!

I was wondering if u are ###### working on this website or teenagers? Cause im really curious!! The thing is the first Grandia game is so fun, and makes me feel as if I am in the game!!

But something that im sorta down on is that the 2nd Grandia Cd and the third "Grandia Extreme" Don't star Justin And Feena u know all those cool charaters!! But are the new CD'S Still good? and do they still have good music from the first one?

Well thanx for reading this and sometime i'll send u FAN ART!

Well please answer my questions at Jortasf@hotmail.com THANX! ;)

Er, ah, CD's? Oh... you mean the games. See, when you say 'CDs' I think of... well, CDs as in music CDs. As far as Grandia II and Grandia Xtreme go, II's a great game... better if you play it on the Dreamcast. Grandia Xtreme isn't out here yet, though it should be this fall, and I played the E3 demo for all of five minutes. If you play Grandia II, Xtreme is very similar gameplay and battle wise, though it's more of a dungeon crawler than anything else. I'm not sure how good the game is overall, but my guess is you'll be less disappointed if you buy Grandia II.
 
All... what Chrono games?

I am 21 years old and I'm truly a hard-core Final Fantasy and Chrono series fan (I have the whole series for both, except for Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, Chrono Cross, Tactics and Final Fantasy 9 and 10). I fell in love with RPGs since the first time I played 'Zelda: A Link to the Past' back in 1997, leaving behind platform games forever. Now my biggest desire is to become a character modeler and animator for japanese RPGs.

Since finishing high-school last year I've been looking for a job position in chara modeling and animation either in Kyoto or Tokyo, cause unfortunately none of these high-tech employments exist in my country. I usually speak and write English perfectly (98%) and a little of japanese. Besides RPG characters and graphics, I also felt motivated by the battle system (FF 8) and the music (I love all Nobuo Uematsu tracks, especially the main theme of FF 7!).

I found that the Art Institute of Los Angeles is offering programs based on Media Arts, including Game Art & Design, but I was planning to study in Tokyo instead near Square H.Q.(my all-time favorite RPG developer). I personally prefer locations with a temperate, fresh and snowy climate away form VERY humid (I don't like the rain very much) and sunny spots like Hawaii and southwest California, respectively. Maybe you guys of the staff can point me some other cities in central Japan that may offer such programs in either english or spanish. In that case, let me know as soon as possible is any regarding info or recommendation from a staff member comes up.

Later then.

Faithfully, John

My suggestion is that you gather up a lot of cash and patience and take Japanese classes until you're at least a bit fluent in the language. Why? For one, I've never heard of any English-specific schools in Japan offering that sort of thing, and another, I think all of one staffer has even been to Japan, and even then, we still don't have such info. Though with what little I know of Japan, I doubt it's as snowy as say... some parts of Canada. But are you actually prepared to live in Japan? Might I also suggest you study a bit of their way of life, so you might know if you'd want to have that way of life or not? Heck, if you're a rich one, fly out there and see for yourself just what it's like. Not to shoot anything down, but moving halfway across the world is a big thing and should really be given much thought, other than the fact that your favorite game developers are based there. if you plan to be there for any lengthy amount of time, you'll NEED to know more than just 'a little' of Japanese.
 
Lovaga!

hi liz,

i have a few questions for you,but enough talk have at them! i recently replayed FF7 and FF8 and this made me think of something. why did the names of the spells change from numbers to using A and AGA?(example cure2= cura)i have never heard a reason for it? have you? and on the topic,i feel that games have gotten a little easier, but i also feel that playing games for many years we gamers have gotten better also.

well that my 2 cents.

~Qpac

I don't think there was any major reasoning behind it, other than Square was probably wanted to be more original than 'Fire 1', 'Fire 2', 'Fire 3'... though they kept 'Flare', and rightfully so. I personally think they can get even MORE original than that, but that's just me.
 
La la la, more quickies.

Hi,

Fire Emblem the Sealed Sword is OK, it is totally not worth importing if you don't know Japanese. I personally found it relatively boring...especially combat. It is certainly not a Shining Force, in my opinion. AIDS are funny.

Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja

Thanks for the info - though I'm sure it's not as boring when you know Japanese. Guess I'll hold my tongue on that last comment...
I'm not stalking Sumi

Really.

I'm serious.

YES I'M SERIOUS.

- reno

You lie. :P
im not whining, im just concerned about my mental health. and i got 2 letters printed, last time, i just forgot to sign me name on the sandwich 1

Matt D

I know, I just wanted to add both for the hell of it. I just like to give you a hard time is all.
DO YOU WANT TO CYBER?
Cyber? What is this cyber? Does anyone know?
 
Closing Thoughts

I hope that last bit didn't scare you. I'm amazed at how early I've gotten this whole update done, so I can actually schedule things better now. Oh, and as a warning, falling asleep while reading EVA manga can give you odd dreams. ...Trust me on this. If you haven't commented yet on the topic, or written lately, do so! I'll make my updates longer and longer to satisfy you. My time is nearing...

~ Liz, soon available in chocolate brown! (letters@rpgfan.com)



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