Fight! Half-boiled Hero!
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I think I've talked myself out in the last few intros here. Guess I'm not used to doing so many in such a short timespan anymore, or my life is just really, really boring. :P Well, other than the fact that I watched the entirety of BGC Tokyo 2040 in like... three sessions. And now I can't stop thinking about that messed up ending/the whole show in general, even though it's been three days. Dreaming about millions of pairs of glowing red eyes is not cool.

In other news, I now have in my possession the GC disc with Ocarina of Time and Master Quest on it. I'm a little wary of the latter, but as soon as this update is up, you can bet that I'll be in front of my TV, five and a half years late, playing OoT for the first time. Uh, after watching Smallville of course.

Time to get my head out of BGC land and back to the Zelda universe. Among other things...

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
Remember when you started playing RPGs?

Hi there,
In the 18 years that I've been playing video games, I've had next to no experience playing RPGs. I've always been more of an action gamer, but these last few years I've been having the urge to finally jump in and try one. In order to remedy this situation, I was hoping to create a topic on your message boards in order to get some old-school RPG recommendations, but I noticed that I won't be able to create new threads until I've replied to at least 10 other threads first. Well this is a slight problem since I really won't have much to say about games I haven't played. So instead, I was hoping you could give some recommendations to a newbie like me. I own the following systems:

NES / SNES / N64 / GC / GBA / PS1 & 2 / GEN / SegaCD / SATURN / DC

I basically know what the big series are: FF, DragonWarrior, Suikoden, etc... But, I don't know which of these games will be good for a first-timer. Therefore I'm looking for the following traits:

* RPGs that are newbie friendly. Ones that'll sort of "hold my hand" in the beginning, while still being a quality game experience. I surley don't want to be completely frustrated my first time out.

* Are of a moderate length. With work & school I just dont have time for 80-100 hour RPGs.

* Old school RPGs. I'm rather nostalgic and would like to start with the some of the classics. So any RPG from before the Dreamcast/PS2 generation. If possible, I'd prefer at least some 2D RPGs and not just 3D.

* Oh, and English Only, please.

* Lastly and most importantly: I'm a little worried about starting off with an RPG that is TOO good. One in which all future old school RPGs I play will not be able to match up to. I wouldn't want my 1st RPG to have the most brilliant & innovative battle system ever, in which case all other old school RPGs will pale in comparison. Its sort of like if someone wants to try to get into Jacky Chan movies, you wouldn't want to show them Drunken Master first, because its his best movie and none of his other films can match up. Operation Condor might be a better choice. Or with Anime, you wouldn't want to show someone Macross Plus or Cowboy Bebop first. They're just too good. You may want to start them off with something like Outlaw Star or Vampire Hunter D. I'd like to kind of work my way up, while still sticking to quality games.

I do have some limited RPG experience, though. I've played (and loved) all of the non-portable Zelda games. I also played about 5-10 hrs of Digimon World 3, but it was awful and clearly meant for kids. I even played the excellent Skies of Arcadia (DC) demo and won about a dozen battles in a row. Though I must say, that the random battle encounters were a little on the frequent side. I've also briefly played FF VII & Phantasy Star 2, but literally couldn't get past the first couple enemies.

I'm sorry to make you read so much and for being so picky, but I'm really eager & excited to take in the world or RPGs. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. And hopefully in a year or so from now, I'll be able to join and participate in your message boards.

Thank You Very Much,

So basically, you have every system except an Xbox. Which isn't a huge loss if you're trying to focus on RPGs, but that's besides the point here.

As for RPGs that are TOO good.. I'm afraid that's mostly up to opinion. :P So, I'll try my best to recommend some in the SNES-PSX era that aren't too difficult. Or too horrible, either. Let's see. Chrono Trigger for the SNES is fairly easy, and while I find the story really good, it's really easy to follow compared to a lot of RPGs and even anime these days. Although, the PSX remake - as part of FF Chronicles with FFIV - would be easier to find. Do note though, FFIV is not an easy game if you do find these remakes. I'd hold off on that until you have more patience for leveling up characters in RPGs, and play CT first. I'd also dare suggest Super Mario RPG for the SNES - also fairly easy and fun, not to mention it was one of the first RPGs in my time.

Your GBA comes in handy, as you might want to give Breath of Fire I and II a try, since the original SNES versions would be a lot harder to find. If you're going to try Breath of Fire titles, while you're at it, there's III and IV for the PSX. Suikoden I and II, which you seem very well aware of, shouldn't be overly difficult either, but they're great as far as story and character development go, so I wouldn't start off with those if I were you.

Secret of Mana is more action-RPGish, in which you fight enemies as you go along, as opposed to the previously mentioned games' turn based battle systems. Of course, it's also on the SNES, so good luck finding it. Speaking of Mana, look for Sword of Mana (for GBA) sometime later this year - it's pretty much a Final Fantasy Adventure remake. Long story. Just try it when the time comes.

Anyway, I can understand finding a Phantasy Star game hard... but FFVII? Well, since you're new to RPGs, I'll forgive you. Also, I'll note that a lot of RPGs have tutorials, usually inside some random house somewhere close to the beginning of the game. Depending on the game, the tutorials could range from telling you tips on everything to just tossing in a few battle tactics. Oh, and a lot of games will have a tutorial for their menus, if they're kinda complicated.

I wonder if anyone else out there could recommend something I missed. :P Well... good luck.

But Zelda games always have scavenger hunts...

On the topic of Wind Waker, and people's final opinions on it, I have to admit I'm both pleased, but a little dissapointed. It did feel a little too much like Link's Scavenger Hunt towards the end of the game, but it wasn't that bad. As for the Cel Shading, I was one of the people who when they first saw the game thought "Looks like he's going for Legend of Zelda 1." I was happy. Most of the neysayers happened to be people who's first Zelda game was OoT, and wanted something darker or more grown up (especially after the infamous Space World demo of grown Link in a swordfight w/ Ganon). As for the story, it was great. I especially like the way they handled Ganon in the ending (no spoilers) by trying to make him a three dimensional villain with motive and reasoning instead of just "I'm going to rule everything!"

So until I get my Link in a barrel avatar, enjoy the game.


PS: On the topic of X-2, I could care less. I grew tired of FFX, and am not interested in this in the least (first time I've not been interested in a FF game BTW). Give me Tactics Advance instead.

I'm not giving you any game. You can go buy it yourself. :P Though seriously, even if you really disliked X.. X-2 is rather different. Whether that's in a good or bad way, I guess we'll find out eventually.

I've gotten so used to scavenger hunts in games that they just don't bother me now, especially when it comes to Zelda. And now I'm hoping that OoT not being my first Zelda is a good thing. I admit I wouldn't have minded WW looking like the SpaceWorld demo, but I doubt it would have been better than how it is now, with the way they can pull off Link's facial expressions and such. So... I like it better cel-shaded. Muchly. If you want nice looking 3D Zelda characters, play SSBM. :P

Funny that you mention that about Ganon, since I've been doing a lot of wondering lately (well, for a few years, but moreso lately...) if there are villains with motives other than just to rule the world/universe/whatever, or for revenge. Hmm. I can't wait.

You KNOW you loved the last Mailbag.

I'm having trouble writing this letter. The tears of joy and happiness flooding my eyes are making it hard for me to see the screen. Having a Mailbag title dedicated to me is by far the greatest thing to happen to me this morning. Of course, I've only been awake for five minutes, but that's not the point. In fact, I am so pleased that I won't make fun of your height for at least three days.

Now then, to the reason I'm writing. For the past few years, I've been waiting in anticipation for more information about the greatest gaming news ever. It's been mentioned once or twice, but I haven't heard anything about it since then. I figured that if RPGFan's mail guruess (i maek up wordz olo!) can't answer it, then there IS no answer. So, here it is: when can we expect to see the PS2 remakes of FFVII, VIII, and IX? And, more importantly, will Sephiroth still use his big sword?

This question wasn't asked in retaliation for the deliberate misspelling of my nick. I promise.

While I'm here, I might as well comment about Final Fantasy Origins. It's pretty damn sad that the very first game in the series is the most difficult one. Even now, 15+ years later, this game is still hard. Hell, it's a struggle just to level up. FF1 has brought back my old fear of forests. If you go into a forest unprepared for harder enemies, then you're dead. Plain and simple. You don't see that sort of thing much anymore. The latest game I can think of with really killer enemies is Legend of Legaia. Dragon Warrior VII may have, also. I've tried my hardest to kill the brain cells that store my memories of that game.

God, I've been writing in to you way too much lately. This is the third time in a month. I suppose it works out for the both of us: I get to rant and make a public spectacle of myself, and you get letters that make sense. And that's all I have to say. BYE BYE!

The Dark(NOT A CAPITAL R)ider

Three whole days? You never make fun of my height.. that point is moot! Ha! ...Not to mention that the honor is better reserved for people who've actually met me.

Yes, Sephiroth is going to use his REALLY LONG FOUR-FOOT KATANA (only a few people will get that, but I don't care), stained with Aeris' blood. (What else would he use in a remake? A flail? I suppose we'll find out when the remakes come out in 2005 on the PS3, RIGHT? Sure!

Pff. Last time I dedicate a title to you!

FF1 is hard, huh? Doesn't surprise me. A lot of older games are still considered the toughest - try playing the NES cart of Metroid. I remember forests in earlier RPGs being a bit a bitch too - sometimes they were mazes too, like in FFVI. I can't recall the last game with really tough enemies - Xenosaga's were a bit of a pain, but the battles were more tedious than anything. FFX's only tough enemies were in the optional monster arena, and in the also optional Omega Dungeon. (They were only tough if you weren't prepared for 4765 status ailments at once, though...)

You know you want to write me more... once more before the month ends! Just as much as I want to forget Legend of Legaia.

I ran out of choice for letter expletives last edition.

Howdy Liz

I got a few choice four letter expletives regarding a few people, so feel free to censor at your discretion. First off, Final Fantasy Origins. Great game. Absolutely wonderful. Don't think I've had this much fun with an FF game since IV was re-released over here as part of the Chronicles package. Best 30 bucks I ever spent, lemme tell ya (and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, even good enough to put Xenosaga on hiatus to play). Now, if only those people at Square Enix would get off their asses and do something about FFIII, life would indeed be peachy. Unfortunately that looks about as likely to happen as Axl Rose pulling his head out of his ass, dropping his ego, and getting Guns N' Roses back together. The original GNR, mind you. Not that pathetic hackrag lineup that he was touring with last year.

Fortunately, as I'm just a guy from Alaska with a fair amount of time on my hands, I've been working on a solution. Very simple concept: get a bunch of FF fans (and I mean die hard old school fans...not these pathetic RPG newbies who think that FFVII-X were the best games ever made and won't even look at an RPG unless it's loaded to the gills with FMVs), park our asses in front of the Square Enix building, and start protesting. Keep protesting until they finally agree to do the game just so we'll shut the fuck up and leave them alone. I still can't figure out the logic behind skipping over that game. It launched most of the classic staples of the FF series, it's easily the best of the NES FFs, and it just gets passed over? It ain't right.

At any rate, enough of that. For the time being, I've got the rest of Xenosaga to get through, and then I'll probably hit Xenogears again while I wait for Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow to come out (or Golden Sun 2, whichever one I get to first). And hopefully keep myself entertained while I wait for some of the upcoming releases, namely the three Square titles on the front page today. Particularly Sword of Mana. Sounds like it could have some promise as long as it doesn't end up being as lame as Legend of Mana was. That would indeed suck.

Well, my rant's over, so I'll end this with a question: you wouldn't happen to know if there's any plans for a US release of Tales of Phantasia for GBA, by any chance? They already skipped over the SNES and PSX versions of the game. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake this time. Anyway. Back to Xenosaga. Ciao.

Blasphemy indeed... well, not really, since I find it understandable that people put Xenosaga on hiatus to play Wind Waker.

Oh please, as if that was a real concert tour. When your lead singer cancels concerts at the very last minute without informing the rest of the band (and causing riots out of the fans waiting in line to get into the arena), you have problems - enough problems to indicate that gee, maybe you weren't ready for the tour, too old, and/or your band will never be the same. We'll never get the original band back - kinda sucks because I liked them up until that Spaghetti album, but oh well. I've got my old tapes.

Ahem. Back to video games. I beg to differ, a FFIII remake/port/etc would be much more likely than us getting the original Guns N Roses. Doesn't mean it's gonna happen, but Square's on a roll with their remakes here, they should at least be considering it, and consider doing SOMETHING with the remake that was once planned for the WonderSwan Color. I don't understand it either...

You haven't finished Xenosaga yet? What -- oh right, FF Origins. You should sample the minigames at least a little bit before you go off and finish the game. Not the best or most original choices of minigames, and not the best structured, but... poker is addicting! And, well, since GS2 is out now, if you played the first, you should play that. I mean, do you remember how long Xenogears really is? Aria of Sorrow's out in a week... Not that Xenogears isn't a good game, but I personally like to play games for the first time before I go replay anything. Might have something to do with this huge backlog I have.

By the way, did you ever play FF Adventure? Since it was the first Seiken Densetsu, Sword of Mana is basically a remake/enhanced version. But I can't really comment on LoM or any lameness here...

ToP.. we can only dream. There's no news YET, but Namco could surprise us with an announcement at E3. And considering we got ToD AND ToE, it would only make sense that we got Tales of Phantasia and Japan's ToDII... right? *nudges Namco*

...Plus it'd give me more to ask Namco at E3. That is, if they don't go on about a game we don't care about again.

Even I'm not geeky enough to do that.

hey liz,

i write as a gamer, as a nintendo fan boy, and as a person who knows anything about rpgs. i just found out FFcrystal cronicales is going to be multipalyer. I paused. i walked otu side. I calmly yelled at the top of my lungs "ITS ABOUT FRICKEN TIME!" falf the problem with good rpg's is that there one player wich is boring for those waching. okay! what is the deal with your icon? long ahireed marth?

Jo Jo controler of alla after he says

That's why when you're alone, you play RPGs and when you're with other people, you play SSBM or Bomberman or something. Some other RPG do have multiplayer options, like Secret of Mana and Wind Waker. And how the heck does one yell calmly, anyways?

Okay for starters, Marth didn't have purple hair. Nor did he have feminine lips... okay, maybe he did, but that wouldn't be something I'd know. You should really play Xenogears sometime. :P

Paladin's... wha?


Now I see why Commodore Wheeler gave FF Orgins a 76%! The graphics aren't that great but they're good for SNES graphics. The Music was Okay, but wasn't as great as I had thought. You miss an attack WAY too often in both FF1 and 2. And here's a tip for FF2: If you wanna raise your HP, attack your party members a lot. AS Square and Enix, I really wonder if they're going to make sucky games that Enix made like Paladin's Quest, they'll go bankrupt!



Seeing as the games were NES games, you can't really expect the most beautifully orchestrated soundtrack, however there are some new/redone songs. Seeing as the remakes were originally done for the WonderSwan Color, of course the graphics are not the most up to date. Hell, for 2D, they look really good if you ask me.

And attacking party members, you say? That's really sad...

...I STILL have guinea pigs?!

Hello Liz,

This is your Nintendo-fanboy Malcolm, who is back again to give you yet another question that has been boggling my mind. I was just wanting to know if you guys had any more information on Ragnarok Online since it's 2nd closed beta ended about a month ago. The open beta will be up soon, so I was wondering if you guys had any more previews, screenshots, or news about it. The only thing I saw was about 10 screen shots and 1 preview, and looking at this from a RPG-freak such as myself, that isn't much at all. I just wanted to know if you guys could get some more information on the game, because I know RPGFan is my first place to look to find the best information on my favorite RPG games.

I have also been wondering when you guys were going to also update what Final Fantasy XI looks like, because it looks like that the last time you guys updated the archives of the preview was back in October, before the game could get a large running. Both of these games have been on my mind ever since they were first mentioned, which was like a year ago. I hope you can answer my question with the best of your knowledge, because I appreciated what you had to say last time I sent a question in.

Your renowned local guinea pig,
Malcolm Jacobs

Trust me, we have some RO fans around here, so if there was new information to be had, it'd be up there. If there hasn't been much, if any info since the last preview, there's really no new material to put into an updated preview. If there's any mor enews to be leaked, I'm sure they're holding off til E3, which is only two weeks away.

As for FFXI, the next preview on the game would cover the Vision of Ziraat expansion. What the game looks like isn't going to change though, not to mention there hasn't actually been any new media, and we have tons of current media anyway. Again, anything new is probably being withheld only to be spilled at E3, when you're much more likely to hear more updates and info and see new media. So... sit tight until then.

No one's grumpy yet!

I hate to break it to ya Liz, but expect some grumpy citizens and coworkers of canada in about a week and a half. The Canucks now have to play (and have no chance against I might add) the Minnesota Wild.

PS Big Ups to Arthur the once and future king from last mailbag. Tell em like it is.

Don't ask about the name-it's a long story.

No chance? Yeah I know, Minnesota won the last game, but Vancouver doesn't seem to be doing too badly, so don't underestimate them yet. As long as they actually act as if they want to win the Stanley Cup, let's keep the playoff series more exciting and give me more headaches as people keep hollering in the streets. Yay!

I really hope Vancouver doesn't end up going to the finals and end up losing, because I don't think I could stand any more riots here. :P

Closing Thoughts

Well, I think it's time for me to finish watching that Vancouver game... haha, yeah right. Not that I don't care, I'll be happy to see them get far in the playoffs, but OoT is calling my name. Oh, and I finally got around to changing the topic, so go take a gander and write me after. Ciao.

~ Liz, in shock that it's been sunny for three days. (letters@rpgfan.com)


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