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Monday, August 26, 2002

Have you ever had the feeling where you completely wasted a day in which you could have gotten at least a few hours of something done? Yep. That was my day before I got around to the Mailbag. I could have hooked up my four game systems, played DDR which I really should, fixed up a layout for my online journal, or played Fire Emblem. But noooo, all I did was sit around. And for naught. Oh well, maybe during the week...

So I guess the Tokyo Game Show 2002 games list has circulated quite a bit. I was really hoping Xenosaga Episode II would be on the list, but oh well. What IS on it, however, are FFXII and the FFX sequels. I can't wait to see anything on those. And... what's this? An online music game from my beloved Konami? Oh, the possibilities. *cackle* Kingdom Hearts Final Mix? I hug my Japanese PS2 with glee. And... Glass Rose by Capcom? I like the name, but I know nothing beyond that. And more stuff from Square. Not that I'm so much a Square whore anymore, but I do wonder if any of those nameless titles would be Chrono Break... I wish I could go to TGS. Woe is me.

Oh yeah right, I was here to answer some letters, wasn't I?

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The Chrono debate continues.

Yo Liz,

This is my first time writing in, although I have been faithfully visiting the site for quite some time...Anyways, here's what's been on my mind. I have been dreaming of pursuing a career in the games business for the longest time, but the thing about this is I got no idea how to begin my quest if you will... I want to be a director - you know like Hideo Kojima in Metal Gear Solid or Tetsuya Takahashi in Xenogears. Now I dunno if I should take film directing classes or whatnot so could you help me out here and give me a few ideas?

And finally... why do you, among many other RPG fans consider Chrono Cross a disapointment? I for one think that CC is as good, if not better, than CT. Let's dissect the two for a second... First, the graphics for both games are outstanding if you consider the time of their respective release. Second, both games have great storylines although I give the edge to CC... Third, the music in CC is way better than that of Trigger's (in CT the only memorable tracks were Robo's theme and Lucca's theme while Chrono Cross's whole OST was probably the best ever with the exception of Xenogears). Now length wise, Chrono Trigger was waaay too short - I beat the whole game, including all side quests, etc. in a measly 19 hours. Chrono Cross lasted over 45 and I didnt even complete any side quests. The replay value of Chrono Cross is amazing with over 40 characters to get, countless mini quests, etc. etc. Now a lot of people say that the incredible amount of playable characters detracts from the game but I say how? If you don't want to get all of them you don't have to, right? The battle systems in both games were good. And finally the script in Cross was light years ahead of CT although I can understand that since trigger is a much older game... The only thing that Chrono Trigger has on CC is that the main ending in Cross was horrible....once you beat the main boss you see frickin credits and a stupidass song... The main ending in Trigger was really good IMO, so I didnt even try to get the other ones... So in conclusion... all you Chrono cross haters can just kiss my....ahem...I'm getting off topic here. So what do you think about this whole CC vs. CT matter?

Sincerely,

V-DAWG

Film directing might help with what you want to do, though since the medium's well... a video game and not a movie, I'm sure that there's other things you need to look into. Just dont ask me what they are, seeing as I'm not exactly a successful video game producer, nor am I good friends with any of them. I still struggle to understand why I, a lowly Q&A columnist and lottery ticket seller, get letters on how to become successful in the VG business. If I knew, I'd be a whole lot richer, don't you think?

Ooh, one of my favorite debates of all time. Chrono Trigger and Cross. Let's see, keep in mind that Chrono Trigger's music was limited technology wise at the time, and that for what it is, it's pretty damn good. I personally find about 3/4 of the album memorable, but that's just me. Also, at the time, there wasn't exactly an overabundance of 50+ hour RPGs. Yes, CT was short even in its time, but not -that- much shorter than other RPGs. Still, with its replay value, I never minded its length at all, because I'd just play it over. And over. And over. As for the characters in CC... I'll agree that leveling up all the characters would give the game good replay value, yes. However, in one playthrough, there were just too many, and I could never keep track of them all. Again, the script should also be considered as to what time the games came out. CT's was fairly simple, yes, but how many millions of lines of text are you going to fit onto a cartridge? Only shortly after did RPG scripts become deeper and more involving, perhaps for bigger budgets, and general changes in the genre overall.

As for myself, I like CT more overall. CC was a great game, though as I said, I did have a few problems with it. The many many playable characters. Now, it's obvious that not all of them are going to have depth. However, I only found about... 5 or 6 to have any real personality. I also found there to be way too many filler characters - how many animals, plants and other bizarre things do you need in your party? Finally, the story itself was extremely hard to follow, especially near the end, and to this day, is still hard to piece together. Now, I don't mean in the Xenogears way, where it was just complex, and it CAN eventually be pieced together. I guess this means CC has plotholes... let's hope Square plans Chrono Break a bit more carefully.

 
And a comparison I got.

You asked for a comparison between White Night and Circle... Well, I guess I can come up with something really quick.

First note that I played the japanese version of Circle of the Moon as well, so my opinion won't be biased based on me playing the english version of one and japanese only on the other, though really it doesn't matter much with these kinds of games. I enjoyed Circle of the Moon rather alot, there was little for me to be disappointed over as it looked from the start as a very different game from SotN but with a few things to relate it to the other, so I didn't feel iffy when playing it. Though if I were to compare it to Symphony of the Night, well, I shouldn't, so I'll leave it at that. :P Though in comparison with White Night... Graphically, White Night slaughters Circle of the Moon. You can see better, the enemies animate better (though not necessarily the hero), there's alot more cool special effects like glows and spinning objects and such, and the backgrounds are much more detailed. Musically, Circle of the Moon slaughters White Night, although you don't want to turn down the sound on White Night either because of the cool sound effects thrown in, like the moans and groans of some monsters, the slap of your whip, and the screams of some of the more human-like monsters. People who played Circle of the Moon and had trouble with the map layout will rejoice knowing that White Night is SLIGHTLY more linear, making it easier to figure out where to go, and by the time you get to a point where you're lost you'll probably have an easy time with a good number of the enemies until you get where you're going again. Control wise..... I dunno. Both felt a little clunky, but I had funner manuevering in Circle of the Moon, and the card system helped out with that as well. A big problem I had with White Night was that there were far too few areas that didn't have a roof right above your head, so that double jump and high jump and whatnot will all be practically useless except in certain designated areas. I liked how in Circle of the Moon I could use all of these special features as ways to better fight off enemies, especially taller ones, such as bosses. Although I wasn't very impressed with the bosses in Circle of the Moon, so White Night wins out there other than it's slight repetativeness in that area at times. Item collection is near pointless in Circle of the Moon, and it's alot easier in White Night anyways what with the encyclepedia and all, so any treasure hunters out there will be happy, although most of the items you'll find have nothing special to offer. A big thing that put me off of White Night is that you're always stuck with the same old whip doing nothing but... uh, whipping around. You do get the "dingling" (hold attack, whip it around with control pad), but other than that, no cool throwing weapons, no nifty super-fast slashing weapons, no floating swords, no fighting-game style special attacks, nothin' like that. With the card system in CotM, atleast things similar to these made appearances. In White Night, the spellbooks were cool, really flashy, had some nice things to offer, but most of them were just "this one hits here, this one hits over there, and this one homes in" and such. I would have liked to have seen a healing spell, some protection spells, something that powers you up for a short while, stuff like that, but I didn't run in to any... Oh well.

Ahem, this is getting long. Just to sum it up, I think I liked White Night better, but not really by all that much. So if you liked CotM, you should feel relieved that White Night will do you just fine, but if not.... Well, might wanna give it a try at the store first. :P This is all just my opinion though so who knows, some of you may like White Night better than everything else there is, so I won't be held responsible if any of you pass up a good thing. :p

While I know a lot about each game, I haven't even played CotM much... though from reading here, it sounds like nothing will ever beat Symphony of the Night. As I suspected, you seem to like WNC better... while CotM is supposed to be really good, there's still lots of little complaints I heard about. White Night Concerto, as well as plenty of future GBA games will use brighter color palettes for a reason... Nintendo's actually requested developers to do so, and I really don't think I need to explain why. I take this to mean that WNC won't fulfill the cravings of the big SotN fans? Still though, I can't see a Castlevania game being downright horrible... God bless Konami.
 
*drool*

Hi-ho, Liz!

You mentioned your urge to continue studying Japanese, which made me think of my own interest in Japan. I've been studying Japanese on and off for the past several years (like one tutor got too busy to teach, but more recently it's just getting caught up in too many other things)... not nearly as fluent as I'd like, but it's still a huge interest of mine (and is number one of my list of foreign languages to learn, and will probably stay there). It started with videogames, of course... I've wanted to make videogames since I was a kid, and I thought, hey, they make games in Japan, so I should learn Japanese! I've always had a connection with Japan, you could say, ever since my parents fed me some sushi when I was a few months old, but that's what really called my attention to it. Anyway, over time, this kind of one-sided interest in Japanese and sushi grew into more as I found out more about the country, and nowadays I'm even more interested in learning Japanese to experience Japanese culture than to understand the games and anime we end up getting anyway. Sure, the Japanese are strange, strange: people, but that's what makes them so cool. It would be nice if those fanboys (and fangirls) looked up from their anime and saw that there's more to Japan than Dragon Ball Z and stuff, and more to the language than "Kawaii!" and "Sugoi!". Oh, and Bubble Tea sounds like Orbitz without all the sugar. Bleeh.

--Lakupo

Ah, Japan, a subject I have been dwelling on a lot as of late. Now, as many people know, I'm Asian so I can pretty much appreciate Asian culture. What they don't know is that I have a bit of Japanese blood. Not that it affects me much, as I didn't exactly grow up in any sort of Japanese household, culture or speak the language. It was pretty much mostly Indonesian, though the language portion was rather limited. It's... kind of weird how I got interested in Japan, really. I'd been eating Japanese food for a long time already, but I didn't get really interested in Japan until I had a few Japanese friends in high school... it wasn't til then that I was actually introduced to more Japanese snack foods and anime, whereas I was already playing RPGs and whatnot. I didn't seriously become interested in Japan until I learned more, from studying Japanese language and from reading about some famous Japanese people, usually singers or some involved in the gaming or anime industry, and about Japanese lifestyle in general. And well, I doubt it's really intentional, but so many things I've seen, heard, ate, whatever that's Japanese... I often end up liking it. I end up blaming the Asian in me. I haven't studied Japanese in so long, and I've been looking around a lot to find a class... no luck so far. Heck, though, even my mom has been talking about how I should go to Japan some day. I'd so kill to go to an Ayumi concert.

Oh, and bubble tea is in fact sweet. Usually depends on the flavor, so it's normally not overly sugary sweet.

 
'Cause I'm real...

Hey hey!

Just something I wanted to say concerning a comment made by that Setzer21 guy last mailbag. I’m a console RPG fan too (or at least I was until GTA3 came along and made the linearity seem stifling) but face the facts, man. If anything, NeverWinter Nights is much more of a “real RPG” than any of the games you mentioned (Xenosaga, etc.).

1. The races, classes, combat systems, bestiary, and setting for most RPG’s in the last 25-30 years have been derived from Dungeons and Dragons.

2. D&D encourages true ‘role-playing’, in the sense that YOU have to play a ROLE *gasp*, not control some predetermined, angst ridden 17 year-old hero/heroine.

3. And guess what? NeverWinter Nights is the most faithful incarnation of Dungeons and Dragons on a PC or console in years.

In fact, I would argue that almost any American RPG fills the “Role Playing Game” definition better than Japanese console RPGs. In my opinion, JcRPGs are more aptly described as cinematic, story-driven action/adventure games with RPG-ish combat. Not saying I like NeverWinter Nights more than FFX or anything, just gotta set the record straight.

-JC, who wants, nay, needs the FFX Yuna and Rikku games

Ah well, I guess the guy just meant RPGs closer to his taste. I know the PC RPGs contain a LOT more traditional, D&D style roleplaying elements, than my beloved console RPGs, but in all my years, I've lacked a PC that can withstand a good game. Plus, I'm so far into the console world of gaming, I've never been all that interested. Though come to think of it, I wonder if my iMac would be able to handle the Mac version of NWN, whenever it becomes available. I was interested in D&D once upon a time, but it never went anywhere.

Yuna and Rikku, you say? Perhaps you'll be as happy as I was, when you find out that those two very games will be shown at next month's Tokyo Game Show. Gods, now I'm anxious for TGS...

 
Some oddities.

Yo yo yo my G-dawgs,

Anyways, what's the deal with people sending in letters asking how to get in the "rpg business" and saying they want to be 133t with the home cookin of da top sellin games?? You should just take my advice and tell them their dreams will most likely not come true. Not only that, but shouldn't they be asking these questions to successful people?

PS September 14th is my birthday so could you buy me a present!???

THE END
please insert disc 2 for more good reading.

It'd be kind of mean for me to say that their dream probably won't come true. I don't want to be the source of anyone's depression. :P Though I agree that they should be asking someone more knowledgeable, ie not me. Sorry, no present for you. Kingdom Hearts takes priority...
Liz,

You have a great voice and stage presence, but I'd recommend mixing up your sound a bit more. I-IV-V progressions are popular and self-affirming, but it's the off-kilter turn-overs that stick in people's heads and leave them wanting more.

-Drew

Well, I've now had at least three people from other major sites write me. If only they could forgive me, as I haven't practiced actual singing for a while, and I'm aware that randomly singing a few lines here and there doesn't count. Hikaru Utada anyone?
Liz,

Buddy, you know you loved those song lyrics very much. I think I'll go listen to my EMO now...Mmmmm, emo *drools*.

Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja

Uh... you do that. As Metallica comes up on my own playlist...
 
Closing Thoughts

Wow, another late night. Oh well, at least I can sleep 9 hours instead of 3 and a half this time. As my hard drive space dwindles... so write me. Tell me how much you love and/or hate me. Or FFX. Or sake. Or whatever. Just be decent.

~ Liz, who can really waste a good day easily. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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