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Transform And Roll Out
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Well well, aren't you readers lucky. Our lovely regular Liz has been at Magic Mountain today and is pretty much drained from the experience. Of course, I had the pleasure of hauling cabinets weighing in excess of 200 pounds up and down flights of stairs. I wonder who had more fun? Ah, the mysteries of the universe.

Anyway, early this afternoon I got a phone message from the aforementioned lovely hostess, requesting me to handle the Mailbag duties for tonight (You know, Tuesday night. Wednesday's update is written on Tuesday... but I'm sure you knew that). Of course, she came home early and I'm now starting this with her here anyway, but hey, I enjoy these things, so I'm still doing it.

So yeah, I'm Mike. You might remember me from such Mailbag editions as Jack In!!, Eternal Recurrence and my personal favorite, Pffffft.. As you may or may not know, I was handling Mailbag duties for about 3-4 months around here, starting back in late 2001. Liz was able to get back into the groove of things (not working 50+ hours a week helped), and I was out. Gone. Like an old fish. You know, the kind that makes the entire house smell like... well, old fish. But now I'm back. Back like... like... Well, I'm not sure. Let's get to the letters, which will no doubt prompt many an overly sarcastic response from me. Lucky you!

~ Mike Salbato

Oh, right... if you don't know what the title is from, please send your mailing address. I have a nasty letter to write you. And your dog.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
The longest letter...EVAR.

Hello,
First I would like to say, OMG DBZ!!!11!1!, and then I would like to tell you about my history with RPG's...I played Final Fantasy XII (Yes, 12), and that's it . Now I like fighting games, buddy. The end. Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja (Emo King)
Silly silly Emo King. (What's an emo anyway? Is it like an emu? That bird that's sorta un-birdlike?) You couldn't have played FFXII because it's not out yet.

I bet you were expecting more than that as a reply weren't ya?

 
What an awesome thought.

Hi, I'm Mark fromMalaysia. I'm a regular visitor on your RPGfan website. There are some SNES and Megadrive game soundtracks that are not reviewed yet. http://www.zophar.net has archives for SNES and Megadrive game soundtracks and the utilities to play them too.

- Mak Kien Leong

Wow. So you're saying we can go and illegally download the soundtracks for review purposes? Why didn't we think of that? I'll inform the staff right away. While I'm at it, I'll make sure as many staffers as possible expand upon this concept and start downloading games illegally too. Sure, it deprives the game developers (and composers) the money they deserve (usually) for making the game and the music, but that's okay right? I mean really, why be honest and PAY for something you want to be entertained when you can steal it?

My life feels richer already. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to knock over a game store.

 
Long one here...

Hello there. My, you're looking lovely. Too bad I don't know what you look like.
You do now. I'm the goofy-looking guy there. And Liz, who you were obviously referring to here, is staring at something on the floor.
So I was driving down the highway. Listening to the radio and thinking about that Sonic Mega Collection thingy announced recently (So It's not RPG-related. Does EVERYTHING have to be?), and as I was thinking of how small a collection it was...Sonic 1, 2, 3, Knuckles, Spinball, Mean Bean Machine (WTF?), 3D blast....When I realized these are all MEGA DRIVE titles. There's nothing "Mega" about the Mega Collection, other than it deals with games from a system everyone else EXCEPT the US calls the "Mega Drive".

...It was then I discovered I couldn't drive, and rammed into a tree. I'm alright, but now I'll have to explain to my parents how I wrecked their tree.

That poor tree.

I didn't pick up on the 'Mega' thing. It really is a shame, because the inclusion of a few other games would have made for one heck of a compilation. What other games? How about Sonic CD for one, which is arguably the fan favorite of the classic Sonic games, and to some, the entire series. Another one I'd have liked to see on there was Sonic: The Fighters. I have no idea if it was a decent fighting game compared to others in the genre, but I don't care. It was a fighting game with Sonic characters. It also never saw a release outside of the arcade, so that would have been awesome to see at long last.

So let's dig a bit into other announced titles here...Phantasy Star Collection, I think it's called for the GBA. Not exactly a 'complete' collection, since it doesn't have PS4 or the two Japan-exclusive PS GameGear titles. What's this world coming to when anything deemed a 'collection' doesn't have to be complete? When Episode 3 is complete and Lucas considers making an "Ultimate Collection", I'll ask that he remove "The Empire Strikes Back" for oxymoronic purposes.
Maybe that's why they don't call is the PS Complete Collection or something. :P However, as we reported back in May, PS4 is not there due to size limitations. There just wasn't room for all 4 games to fit on one cartridge. PS4 may see a separate release though, for all anyone knows.
So what else...Unlimited Saga. Looks like Legend of Mana. Let's hope it plays better. Not that Legend of Mana was bad, but it could've been so much more.
Tell me about it. I long for a new game in the series with graphics on par with LoM or U:SaGa, with the gameplay of Secret of Mana. Pure bliss, that would be.
Final Fantasy 1-2 for PSX...So Square/EA now has a reason to release FF2 here. That would leave FF3 the only game without a way to be released here...*Eyes GBA*.
I still miss the point of that. They updated the games for a color handheld system. Now they're bringing it to the PSOne? While systems tend to be supported in some form or another in Japan long after being 'dead', the same isn't true in the US. With the PS2 being around for two years this October, it seems highly unlikely to me that Square will bring these games out here.

Considering the updated FFI & II were on the Wonderswan, you'd think the Game Boy Advance would be getting them instead... Unless of course, they plan some huge graphic overhaul for the games. Though if that was the plan, why would they do it on PSOne?

Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance...Think Symphony of the Night, with a less impressive soundtrack. No, this ISN'T Circle of the Moon. It's leaps and bounds better than that. Soon, my children, soon....

Golden Sun: The Lost Age... Will it have more Yes/No choices? That was the only low point of the first game.

Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 & 2... I'm thinking of going back online with the Dreamcast PSO, via ver.1, but without anyone reliable, I'm afraid of running into the ever-apparent NOLer and finding my own ĐRear End- handed to me. So I'm wondering if anyone's interested in one last Dreamcast fling. This may or may not also include Chu Chu Rocket online play. It's totally up to anyone that has the game(s) available. Follow Annie's hint.

And that's my letter. May the aliens not assimilate you on the way out.

-TheFreak

The Ranting Swede of Videogames.

Who cares about the Dreamcast PSO now? :P The GameCube version seems to get new additions and upgrades daily. Pioneer 2 is the latest example of just how much is new in this version. The constant addition of new levels and areas is another. After all I've seen and read (and played, a bit) of PSO Episode I & II, I could never go back to the DC one now.
 
Counterattack!

I cant let Steven "The Old-School" Gamer's letter pass without comment. I mentioned earlier how I had enjoyed Breath of Fire 3 and thought BoF4 was..... less than fun. I played it to the very end and kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did. Steve says BoF4's characters were more interesting than 3's, but, dude, in 4, Nina was an idiot. And I cared more for 3's character's than I have in for those in most other RPG's (excluding Xenogears) Rei and Teepo, c'mon, man. And, Steve, you were displeased with BoF3's desert scene (and rightfully so), but if I'm not mistaken (and I'm not), 4 had a strikingly similar scene in the Great Plains (and I spent a few hours on it). Granted, 4 had the upper hand in one area it shared with 3, you could switch masters at camp. But Cray was an asshole. I mean, you're entitled to your own opinion, but these are facts, dude.

-SageMasamune

You know, times like these I really wish I'd played Breath of Fire IV. I've had the game since like... Christmas 2000. It's just one of those things I never got around to. Maybe BoF3's lack of a real ending subconsciously influenced me more than I thought. Or the lack of any form of transportation, causing you to walk everywhere. Granted, with no forced battles on the map, and a decent walking speed, it wasn't so bad, but I missed the Great Bird from the past games. I CAN at least say that besides those little things, I did like BoF3 a lot. Overall, my favorite in the series is still 2. Plus the artist Capcom had for part 2 is easily the best in the series. If only they had fixed the little problem known as the WORST RPG TRANSLATION EVER in the GBA re-release. Oy.
 
FFX was easy? I didn't notice. :P

Liz,

Sure has been awhile since I last wrote in. Regardless of which, it is good to once again be writing in.

Videogames have gotten easier over the years, but I think that the reason for this is the fact that game companies do not just want difficulty to be affected by the strength and abilities of the player against those of the computer/AI. Instead, companies would prefer to have the difficulty judged in more of an overall approach.

When considering the difficulty of a game, I always think about the battle system and maybe some of the limitations placed on it, in order to keep the game from getting to easy. A good example of this would be the Sphere Grid in FFX. Some of the most powerful spells and skills are locked away until you can find spheres to unlock them, giving you access to some of the higher up spells and skills. (Of course, even with things like this, the game was still easy.)

Many companies nowadays are starting to focus on many other things instead of how strong enemies are in order to raise difficulty, or maybe even make it accessible to a newer generation of gamers. Things like the use of strategy, and non-linearity, which are just a few examples....

Here is to hoping this makes sense to someone...anyone other than myself.

RpgFan Fan

Just about time to Dance Dance the Revolution.

I suppose one of your last points might be a good reason for the relative simplicity of some recent games, especially FFX: New gamers. While gaming still isn't entirely mainstream like movies and TV, it sure has been getting bigger over the years, so there's a lot of people playing that never have touched a game before. Of course, on the other hand, FFX was still made in Japan, where games ARE a mainstream thing, so I'm not sure if that's the case there.

Not all recent games are easy though. Anyone who's played Megaman X5 or X6 can attest to that. The problem with those games (namely X6) is the difficulty is more due to cheap AI, as opposed to real challenge. I'm all for a challenging game, but at least make it fair.

 
And you thought only Nintendo pulled controversial material.

I am incredibly pissed off that the North American version of Azure Dreams doesn't allow you to date Gosh. I know this game is ancient and outdated, as well as a bit annoying, but I have loved this game for years, and cannot get over how closed minded people can be. And things haven't changed in these past years, either. I know of DOZENS of excelent RPG's that haven't been brought over due to "Content that could give bad ideas to impressionable youths." The hell is wrong with being gay?? Lot's of people are gay! IM GAY!!

But back to the blond. This is how I became enraged.
Before knowing about this removal of "Questionable sexuality", I was quite entranced by the arrogant blond bastard.
While on my way to give flowers to that blue haired bimbo, whatever her name is, I had a thought. What would happen if I gave the flowers to Gosh? So I hunted about. After locating him in the weapons shop, I attempted to give him the flowers. Nothing happened. I became annoyed, but let it go.

Some time later, I happened upon Gosh at the pool in all his thonged glory. Straight men do not wear such things and give such looks to other men. I comlpimented him. He dismissed me. I left. Same deal as before, I let it go. It was not long after, however, that I went to the fortune teller and asked for romantic advice. I was trying for the bimbo witch, but was given an odd choice. "Would you rather not think about women at all? would you prefer men?" I chose yes, out of curiosity. Lo and behold, I was given my romantic fortune, and ended up with a blond massocist as my perfect match. Thus led me to visit the local library, and use their internet. I did some looking. I found that the ability to date Gosh was removed when it was translated to English.

Which is why I'm writing this. I WANT TO DATE GOSH!! Damnit, that bastard is hot, and I want to play my game to the FULLEST! My only problem with translated games is how the editors see it is within their power to remove harmless things such as same sex relationships! If I can have a harem of women fight over me on a daily basis, kicking the shit out of eachother just to make googly eyes at me, why can't I settle down with my blond rival and live happily ever after??

- Koril Dragonic

While dating a guy as arrogant as that (or a guy period) isn't anything I'm personally interested in, it would have added more diversity to the game I'd think. Considering you can 'date' Barret in Final Fantasy VII, despite it not being easy, you wonder why they don't allow such a thing in Azure Dreams. Especially in America, where, depending on where you go and who you know, anything is possible (ick), you wonder why something as harmless as this is cut out. But then, I suppose you could always import the Japanese version, though it might be hard to get through the dating process when you can't understand your date. I've been there. Sorta.
 
He also needs to change barbers.

Probably some spoilers in here, but we'll see.

I completed FFX just a few weeks ago (it's not that I played through it slow, I actually beat it in 3 days, would have been less if not for my obsession with leveling, I just got backtracked in buying/borrowing the game) and I noticed a comment earlier on what you thought of Seymour, saying you weren't sure of him. Well, I personally didn't like him much at all. At first he was cool, you knew there was something about him not to like and slowly but surely he made his way to being a psycho with, um, supposedly fine intentions, but a totally wacked method as to pulling it off. But then for some reason, after you defeated him around the second or third time, he just sorta became one of those dumb bosses that keeps coming back for more throughout the game with new, flashier spells, but still dying just as easily. After a while, and most likely because the gap between meetings with him was spread alot more from my large leveling streak when I got the air ship, he just became a pointless adversary to me... Is it just me, or is this weird trend of popping new grand enemies at the very end of the game and getting rid of who you were built up on killing becoming kinda irritating? FF8, FF9, and now this! I do actually see a point to what they did in FFX, as when you read in to it you start to understand the last boss, but it's somewhat disappointing... Square gets a little credit for the story behind Anima giving Seymour a bit more life, but he still turned out a dull, pointless enemy by the end to me. What do you think?

-Poojipoo

I never liked Seymour either. He always annoyed me from the outset. I suppose initially his interest in Yuna was unsettling (seeing as she needed to be with Tidus... well, she was later), and later he just turned out to be a creep. You have a good point about him coming back over and over. He needed to just go away and stop bothering everyone before he did. The surprise boss wasn't really in place this ....oh wait, the final final boss. Right. Yeah, that was lame. Though, I consider the important final battles to be the first and second. The absolute last one is a complete joke. When I finished the game, he managed to actually kill himself with one his attacks. If that's no pathetic, I don't know what it.

Oh right, Seymour. So yeah, I didn't like him. It's a real pity Yuna wasn't able to just send him after the first battle.

 
Closing Thoughts

Hm. That was a lot less sarcastic than I was expecting it to be. Only one letter really invoked a heated response from me, where the rest were pretty intelligent. I guess that's a good thing though, huh? Anyway, Liz will be back next time (as far as I know), so keep on writing to her. As for me, I'm off to get my 5.5 hours of sleep before tomorrow's Macworld keynote. Yeah yeah, I'm a Mac fanboy. Deal with it. :P

~ Mike, near broke and not liking it. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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