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Cracked Up
Wednesday, May 7, 2003

So your lonely local Mailbag guru spent the weekend - okay, day, it was meant to be a weekend though - playing Ocarina of Time. How far did she get? Not very (Dodongo... place), but it was a big enough dose of OoT leaving her want to play more. Too bad she's too busy to play endlessly. Because she really would, it's so addictive...

Oh yeah, and then there's the never-ending A Link To The Past - never ending because I don't get much play time in. I'm still at the pathetic count of one out of seven crystals. If only those levers would cooperate like they're SUPPOSED to, we'd all be happy. Maybe. Speaking of which, I dug out my SNES cart of same yesterday... talk about a major difference. Needless to say I died quick since I'm not used to the SNES controller's controls in that game.

And after last night's big Vancouver Canucks loss and with several people inside my home very upset, maybe I should stay far away from anything hockey until these playoffs are over. Le sigh. OoT > hockey anyway. Heee.

Um, oh yeah, here are some letters. Don't like crack? Too bad.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Mm.. Mailbag crack.

Greetings Liz,

I was wondering, what kind of magic computer crack you have developed and sprinkled all over the mailbag section? I get excited everytime I see there is an update to it and click on the link to read. The main news headline for the day could be "Microsoft buys moon and crashes it into Sony's main headquarters" and I would probably still be like "hey a new mailbag!" On to why I wrote: E3!

First off, I forgot all about the booth babes until you reminded me to forget them and now I can't not forget them. Get out of my head shapely beauties, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!! *ahem* The game I am most looking forward to at this years E3 is unfortunately it is not a RPG like I was hoping, I cannot wait to see more on Doom 3, I'd like to say more about it but there really isn't anything to say, I had to change my pants three times after seeing the videos from it last year, and hopefully this year they will give out on specifics about the game.

I am also interested at what Nintendo is going to be showing at E3 that they are not telling everyone, they did put out a list of the games to be shown but there are some big ones on there and I believe they (the game companies) like to surprise us poor unsuspecting folk at these video game things, so who knows what crazy stuff will be there. And also on the Nintendo front, you got me excited with that whole "Namco could surprise us at E3" (slightly paraphrased), in you last mailbag about ToP, sure you said "could" but still...

On the field of things probably not going to happen, do you think there is any chance of Enix releasing a GBA version of Star Ocean (the SNES one) ever? Probably not, but I would like to see that happen, especially since it is supposed to be a very good game.

Writing letters is fun,

-GeoAbraxas, Mighty King of the World

I think Doom 3 must have been one of last E3's biggest disappointments last year. As in, people expected to see (and play) a lot more of it than they got to. Unless I'm thinking of some other game, because at the same time, I also recall a whole lot of people orgasming over Doom III like they should have over Metroid Prime. I presume it'll be a contender for game of the show next week. Not that I care myself.

Well, Nintendo's announced quite a few things that they'll be showing off, but I'm for some reason expecting more. Maybe it's because I practically camped out in Nintendo's booth last year. I'm thinking that maybe they're waiting til E3 to announce US versions of the Mother I and II ports for the GBA, and maybe show off a bit of that OTHER Zelda GBA game that's supposed to be coming. Other than that, we know about F-Zero (*DROOL*), Mario Kart, Advance Wars 2 and..um... a title or two I don't care about. I'm hoping they've got a few surprises for us in store like they did last year and the year before.

Namco also - well, every company, really, likes to surprise us at E3. Namco surprised us two years ago with Tales of Eternia (our ToDII), so history cooould repeat itself. Can't remember what they had last year, but I only cared about Xenosaga anyway.

Now that Enix has merged with Square, and Square's been going port-happy, we may or may not see a Star Ocean port. Course, they seem to be saving the ports for bigger titles, so I guess that makes it all the more unlikely...

 
Mmm... dialup hell crack.

Hey Liz,

One of my friends told me about the FFXI beta test about a week ago. I signed up for it and it said that you don't need broadband for FFXI, is that true? I don't have broadband and if they are lying I'll be pretty pissed off.

From what I've seen FFXI has some damn good graphics, how could it run good on 56k? Also, thats the first time I've signed up for a beta test, do you know how long they last?

On a different note, about how long do you think it will be before Xenosaga Ep.2 comes out? I figured that it would be at least a year, but that's just an uneducated guess. I hope they improve the battle system cuz it was boring. I also wish they had more areas and sidequests. Oh well, I'm rambling on so cya.

sephiroth4326

Is it true? Well, I have't gone to read the details of the beta test myself, since it's not exactly in my scope of interest. Looking at the graphics though, it wouldn't surprise me if it was broadband-only, but either way, that should have been something Square made clear on the form. Beta tests usually only last a couple of months or so otherwise...

Seeing as Ep II hasn't even been announced or mentioned in Japan, I feel like it's going to be a while. Waits like this, after Ep I gave us such an open ending, are really grating, and the lack of mention of Ep II worries me... since I had seemed to do well. I wanted more sidequests too, since what few we had were all too short for my tastes. Heck, I don't think I even finished them all...

 
Mmm... crappy TV crack.

Hey Liz

I never e-mailed before but I wanted to say some things and the best place to do that was (at least in my opinion) here. I've never seen a post about this subject, probably because all of you RPGfans are American... So, yes, I live in Europe, in a little forgotten place called Belgium, where french fries were created (not in France, by the way!) and RPGs are scarce. But RPGs aren't just rare here in Belgium, no no! We have to go all across the country just to hear that the import shop is currently closed... And it makes me mad! Oh so damn mad!!!

To start, and to strengthen my point of view, I will list some of the RPG-masterpieces (and I do mean MASTERPIECES) we have missed in the past couple of years: Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Warrior 7 (although I heard that turned out to be not THAT good), Valkyrie Profile, Legend of Mana, about all of the Tales of... games, and most recently Suikoden 3. All we get is FF. I want to play something else for a change! I managed to get an import-copy of CC, but that took months of careful planning and much more trouble than I expected...

So I can import them, you say? Yes, I can. But to actually play an imported game I need the game itself (which is extra expensive due to the shipment costs, and which can get even more expensive if many people are importing it and the game is rare in America) and an imported console or a modchipped console (which is pretty expensive too, as you might expect). So count importing out then...

And why are publishers not eager to release their RPGs here? Well, there are actually several reasons. First of all, the translation costs are high. I can understand that, of course, because when they truly want to sell their game in the whole of Europe, they need to translate it into French, German, Spanish, etc. All because those bastards in Spain, France, etc. don't understand the English language (one of the easiest languages, in my opinion)! And we here in Belgium and the Netherlands, who DO speak English, are stuck with only FFs. By the way, Square released the latest FFs (Anthology, VI and Chronicles, yes those WERE the last ones in Europe) here in Europe exclusively in English and they sold great! That pisses me off (sorry for the harsh langage, by the way)!

The second reason why publishers won't release RPGs here in Europe are the high costs needed to convert a game into PAL. PAL is the European TV-standard, by the way, all American games are NTSC. Looking at the crappy FF conversions into PAL (big black borders around the screen), and considering the fact that every European gamer plays those games without complaints, I don't see why not to do it. The expenses can't be that high looking at the quality, right?

The next reason is one I only recently noticed. Konami, who didn't release Suikoden 3 here, says the competition is too high. THE COMPETITION IS TOO HIGH!!! Can you believe that?! Like I mentioned earlier, the only RPG-series we get here is FF. And in a place like Japan, where RPGs are one of the most popular genres, they DO release it! What the hell?!

I've e-mailed many publishers of RPGs and started and signed many petitions, with no success whatsoever. There's nothing we can do about it, and it's probably never going to change either... The only thing we can do is complain with e-mails like this one and start petitions that go nowhere... Frustrating, isn't it?

A frustrated dude from Belgium

You'd be surprised at how much mail I get from people in Europe and Australia. Not so surprisingly, it tends to be about the lack of a selection of RPGs you guys get over there. I think the most e-mail I got at once from Europe was after Konami decided not to release Suikoden III out there. Man, were things ever not pretty.

Yup, you're definitely missing out on a ton of good titles, but it seems like you're getting more than you did 5-10 years ago. I know lots of Europeans who import, but they're also pretty loaded with cash, so it isn't a huge issue to them. But you could limit yourself to importing titles you REALLY want, which is what I tend to do when importing from Japan. My Japanese PS2 cost a mint, which is why I'm trying to get a lot of use out of it.

And yeah, I'm aware of why so many companies don't like to bring RPGs out over there, but they should be looking at those FF titles you mentioned as an example of how they can sell even though it's only in English. Like you said, English isn't hard, and I'm sure some people will buy it anyway even if their English is poor. A lot of us here who import in Japan don't exactly have the best Japanese skill either, but hey, if you're trying to learn, the game could be a bit of a learning tool. Or maybe that's stretching it just a bit.

Anyway, I'm going to warn you now that companies never pay attention to petitions, especially if they're online. Same goes for e-mails. I think what would be more impressive are actual mail (yes, snail mail) to the company. Why? I imagine with the Internet and all, they probably never ever get these. It takes more to do that than send an e-mail or sign an online petition, and I think it kind of shows less laziness and more of a desire to want these games... and if a whole lot of RPG fans got off their asses and did it, who knows?

I thought Konami didn't want to release Suikoden III there because of having to translate it and everything. So it makes me wonder that if what you say is true... what's the competition? FF? Wow. Suiko can hold its own against that, you Europeans seem tired of getting FF and little else anyway.

 
Mmmm... random question crack.

Ahoy.

Me again. And now I bring something new, I have a few QUESTIONS.

Final Fantasy Origins, is it going to be released in Europe? and if it is, do you happen to know when? I need to know if I should spend my 100$.

Heard about this game, UNLIMITED Saga? is that going to be released in Europe?

Mmmm.. you don't wanna talk about FFXI? Alright, let's talk about FFXI. When is it going to be released? ^_- I mean, I've heard lots of things about it but suddenly I just forgot about this game.

FFX-2... I've heard the soundtrack for this game. I must say, this soundtrack is not good, possibly the worst Final Fantasy soundtrack. It's all techno.. disco stuff. I really disliked it, it's really not like Uematsu's music, that's why it's not good. But fear not, this game will probably one of the best, even though it's a sequel to a sequel. It's already been released in Japan, eh? is it going to be released in the end of this year, along with FFXI? I'm just not really sure about all this.

Anyway.. once again, I have money to spend on Role-Playing games. Can you recommend some? PSX or PS2, but I live in Europe, so it should be something.. common.

Hey, Secret of Mana 2 was never released outside Japan, was it? I really don't understand that. It's such a fine game. They should release if for the PSX, don't you think?

Have you played FFO? if you have, what do you think? should I buy it? I really, really liked FFII when I was playing it on Wonderswan Color console, and the CG movies and improved graphics would just add to it.

My friend told me about Diablo II, the Expansion Pack. He said it's very addictive at first, but then you get just plain sick of it. Should I even ask my friend to give me this game, so I could play it, or just ignore?

En Ee We Ee, have a nice day.

-Danel Eder/Zeephos

$100? Would it be that much to import a US copy of FF Origins? Please say no.. it's only $30 US to begin with. As far as a European release is concerned, I see nothing in release dates and haven't heard any news of the like. But seeing as you've gotten every FF game of late, I'm sure this one would come your way too. I haven't played FFO yet, but it's supposed to be pretty awesome, especially FFI.

Unlimited SaGa... yeah, from just about everyone I've talked to who's played it, it's pure crap. Makes me wonder if fans of the previous Saga games will like it at all. Anyway, you guys will be seeing a hands-on impressions of the game go up on the site soon, so you'll get an idea of what the game is like. Oh yeah, and a UK release date is also nowhere to be found it seems.

Yup, I agree on the FFX-2 OST. I do like a few select tracks, but most of it just doesn't sit well with me. Oh yeah, I actually reviewed it... it would be on the site somewhere. You can definitely tell Uematsu didn't write any of the score, that's for sure. And I myself like techno disco, but this was just... bad. And what's the 'sequel to a sequel'? FFX-2 is just a sequel to an FF, so you lost me there. :P As far is the game is concerned, it's been out for two months in Japan and people are really split on it - it didn't get the most glowing review here either. I heard the ending is good at least, but I figure that'd be obvious. I'd estimate that Europe would get FFX-2 in early 2004, since it's November here, and you guys are supposed to get FFXI too, which has a big fat 'TBA' on the date. So has our FFXI for a while, come to think of it...

I honestly have no idea what came out in Europe that's not an FF. If you have a GBA, I think we have more common RPGs there since you don't have to deal with PAL/NTSC crap on portable systems. I heard conflicting reports on whether you guys got the first two Suikoden games, but that's not exactly recent. I know you guys got Kingdom Hearts, which is a whole lot of fun if you don't have motion sickness. Other than that, I'm a tad dry for suggestions there. Oh, and if you guys get Dark Cloud 2 soon, if ever, (you did get DC, did you not?), I'd go get that one if I were you.

I'm probably one of the last people you should be asking about Diablo II, however, I've heard similar to what your friend said. Although, I do see it this way: if you've got the time to kill, and it isn't going to cost you anything, and you're curious why not give it a shot? You don't have to play it forever. :P Have fun.

 
Mmm... endless RPG crack.

hello again,

well another showcase, hmm what would i like to see, A Shinning Force Master Set, with all the games either ported to gamecube or ps2, but that is as likely to happen as new shinning game not released strictly to europe or japan. i almost convinced my cousin to pick everything up for me when he was over there, but he didn't have the room....so tragic.

other than that, i want rpg's i can play for 80 plus hours. along the lines of brigandine, fftactics, vagrant story, vanguard bandits, with elements of lunar 1 and 2, skies of arcadia's overall fun. I can't wait for a new dragon warrior game, which you said may be a possibility in the distant future. so i await the arrival of star ocean 3, and i hope that it is better than the second one which i finally collected enough voice samples to unlock the hardest setting.

thats all i want......

We can only dream about ever seeing any more Shining Force again, old or new unless you feel like playing it on your cellphone. I recall there being rumors of a Tokyo Game Show Fall 2002 announcement but that never transpired. I'd really like to give that series a shot one day, after all seven Fire Emblem games rape me. =P Damn, why didn't I ever start with an easier strategy RPG?

Long RPGs? Most RPGs these days have rather involved sidequests and sometimes minigames, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Actually, what I've noticed is that quite a few ROGs don't take very long to complete, but if you max out everybody, magic, do all sidequests and so on and so forth, THEN it gets really long. In most cases it's fun, but mean, that Xenosaga needs to take a major lesson in sidequests and fun.

 
Mmmm... EverCrack.

Hi Liz,

In regards to this week's (or month's) topic, I decided to divulge what I want to hear most about this coming E3. Mainly, I want to hear a lot more about Castlevania. The PS2 Castlevania idea has reeled me into it..and that guy with the overcoat in the screenshot just looks too cool. Disregarding the Castlevanias for the '64, I've always been a big fan of Castlevania..especially Symphony of the Night. SotN has got to be my favorite Castlevania game so far. A look into the future Castlevania has on GBA would be nice too.

Well, that's all I've got for now..back to Everquest for me.

-Niro

Well, yeah! I mean, who wasn't a fan of SotN? That's got to be the best CV period, not to mention one of the best games of all time. I'm really interested in seeing more than just one or two screens of the PS2 installment, and well.. I think it's best that we... just all ignore 64. If you're getting Aria of Sorrow, which should be in stores by the time you read this, you won't have to worry about GBA CV for a little while.
 
I HAVE ANOTHER GUINEA PIG?!?!

...This letter writing thing is really getting out of hand. It's become part of my routine now. I am now officially a Mailbag whore. It's all your fault, Liz. You keep drawing me back in. I mean, what self-respecting gamer wouldn't want to talk about E3? It's the Mecca of the gaming world. You should get 34897342 letters about E3, because if you don't have something to say about E3, then you suck.

First, I noticed something over at Gamespot yesterday. They had a list of the games Capcom is planning to show. There were two names there that I haven't heard anything about:

Mega Man Battle Network Blue
Mega Man Battle Network White

What the hell? Blue and White? Has Capcom succumbed to the lure of the Pokemon? I request that you find out as much information as you can about this. No, I DEMAND IT.

Here's a few other games I'm interested in:

PS2 Castlevania: I shouldn't even have to list this, but I will. I wish they'd hurry and give this damn game a title. I'm tired of seeing PS2 stuck in front of the Holy Name.

Mega Man X7: I want to see if this game still looks like a complete pile of garbage.

Metal Gear: There's no way in hell that an E3 will go by without some sort of info on a new Metal Gear game. An E3 without Metal Gear is like Christianity without Jesus.

Metroid Prime sequel: Assuming the rumors are true, they're supposed to so some footage of this. I know of a certain Metroid fangirl that works at RPGFan who'll probably find out all the information that there is to know about this game.

FFX-2: I'm still not interested in the game, but I'm curious to know if they got the same voice actors for the returning characters.

That's all the games I can think of. It doesn't make much sense to write into the RPGFan Mailbag with a list of action games. Then again, I've never pretended to have sense. Maybe I'll put some in the next letter, since I seem to be on a roll. And that's all I have to say. HAVE FUN AT E3, LIZZIE!

Your Loyal Guinea Pig (WTF?),

The Darkrider

Let's just put it this way: Anyone who doesn't care about E3 and has nothing to say about it... isn't really a gamer at all. Anyway, on to your picks:

MMBN - I honestly don't know what's going on with this either, but I knew there was going to be a 'Blue' and 'White'. Not to mention, there was recently released in Japan a 'Rockman EXE Black' (Rockman EXE being the Japanese name for Megaman Battle Network, for all you clueless fools), so I don't know if that's a THIRD one that'll eventually come out here, or what. But you'll hear the details, I'm sure. We've got a huge Megaman whore on staff, and it ain't me.

Funny thing about the PS2 Castlevania, actually. One of the main staff was quoted as saying that they were trying to decide on the title, but they were 'running out of musical references'. Needless to say, that spawned a lot of joke titles from fans around the Internet, sadly I can't remember the funnier ones. Konami should run a contest or something. My vote is still for Minuet of Dawn, which was once said to be AoS' Japanese title, but since the Japanese title is going to remain AoS (as it was ANNOUNCED as such and all), then well... why not?

MMX7: I've seen recent screens, and trust me, it looks the same. Rather disappointing, isn't it?

Metal Gear: Good call, except we get not one, but TWO MGS games at E3. Yep. Konami confirmed they'll be showing off the never seen before MGS3, as well as the *drool* MGS remake for the GameCube. Me? Excited? Damn straight.

Prime Sequel: Nintendo's supposedly showing this baby off in video form at their press conference (THAT I'M GOING TO MISS WAAAH), and no doubt on screens around their giant booth. Speaking of Metroid, there's all sorts of rumors that they're going to unveil a new GBA Metroid. God help me.

I really can't picture Yuna's original voice actress and the way she looks in FFX-2, but it'd be the easiest route if they had all the same actors. Plus, familiarity for the fans, etc would be a factor.

 
Mmm - okay, I'm done.

Hi Liz,

All this talk lately about the sequels for Xenosaga: Episode One has got me thinking: just how many copies of a game have to sell before it's considered a success and the publisher/producer will consider doing a sequel? They seem pretty arbitrary and inconsistent and local for each company. For instance, if a small company like Silicon Knights sells 100, 000 copies of a game, they would be as pleased as Priscilla; however, if a large company like Square-Enix (Or, as I like to call them, Squeex. Sometimes the cheapest jokes are the funniest.) sold only 100, 000 copies of a game, they'd be crying in their Akashi Drys. Is it all just a matter of sales, or is there something else involved in determining sequels?

I asked you previously about a good Perfect Works site, and you mentioned that you knew of one but that it was down at the time, however, you didn't mention what it was called. Could I please get the address off of you?

Do you know of any good FAQ's for Front Mission 3? Specifically ones that deal with accessing the virtual websites and passwords for said sites. The ones on gamefqs.com leave a lot to be desired.

Has there been any news on whether the official sequel to Tales of Destiny is coming to North American shores any time this year?

How come you never have guest hosts? No, not people who cover for you, but people who host alongside you.

You ever notice how most of the women in Xenosaga suffer from CCS(Chubby Cheek Syndrome)? =^)

** ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH! When I found out Star Ocean 3 (a game I've been looking forward to since Star Ocean 2) had been delayed till next year, I said many bad words. And then I cried. DEATH TO THE SQUARE PORTION OF SQUARE-ENIX! You shameless, shameless camera whores!

Jeez, you don't have a PS2? Tell you what, you can borrow mine and all its games if/when I head overseas to teach English. That deal includes Dark Cloud 2, which I haven't really played much of (I've been oddly apathetic when it comes to playing RPG's lately and I don't know why) What do I want in exchange? Just your immortal soul! Mwahahahahahha...ah, to hell with it.

Cha,

Matt

"Multis utile bellum"

P.S. Oh, and I meant Clone High, not Cone High (Stupid typo). Do you ever watch Clone High? Fall-off-your-couch-clutching-your-sides-while-braying-like-a-donkey funny.

Clone High? Nope, not seen. I don't seem to be big on TV lately anyway. And if it's a movie, well... I dunno what to tell you. :P

For the sequel questions, I think it depends on the type of game and what the publisher and developer realistically want in terms in sales, because it can really vary. I mean, the biggest crap games ever have earned sequels, and some of the best ever... haven't. It's inconsistent because there's no set rules for sequels, and it always depends on a zillion factors, like the ones listed above and developers' preferences.

...Squeex? I still like the sound of Squenix, myself...

Oh yeah, that Perfect Works site. Their current address should be www.zenosaga.com, but you might have to register to get to the PW stuff, if it's even online at the moment. They seem really finicky, as in some days you can register and others registering is closed, and sections of the site are sometimes put offline. I think they need to straighten out some bandwidth issues here.

FAQs for FM3? Wrong area. Try asking on the boards, either here or the GameFAQs FM3 board if there are no FAQs out there for what you need. it does help sometimes as I've found.

Again, Namco may surprise us at E3 and announce ToDII, something that wouldn't be all that... er, surprising. But until then, no date. I'm kinda more interested in Tales of Phantasia anyway... or maybe both. Gah, I don't know.

I hope that 'hell' thing wasn't meant to be a bad pun, and last time I checked I was mortal. But if you insist, then I'm immortal! ...Heh heh, cool.

Now, if only I had a PS2.

 
Closing Thoughts

Well, that's more than enough for this belated update. And through it all, I've been watching some pretty messed up TV. Ah yes, it must be a sign that I should play more LttP or something. So I know you've got your own curiosities about E3, so let's hear it. Before you run out of time. :P

~ Liz, counting the days til E3. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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