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Andrew - January '19- 1:00 Central Standard Time

When I got a GameCube for Christmas, I had no idea that Super Smash Bros. Melee had gone out of production. Finally, today I found the game, for $50 bucks, no less, at a local Wal-Mart. Last copy too. Now! To unlock Doctor Mario!

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What's Andrew watching this week?
Nuku Nuku!
What's Andrew playing this week?
*Drooling over the new Castlevania game.

Come on men! Let’s all watch Pretty Woman!

For such a bitter/tough guy, you sure do like the touchy-feely games. I bet you wept when Lucia abandoned Hiro.

I'd have thought you'd be the type to love FF8; after all, if Squall were a little more talkative, I'm sure he'd sound exactly like you.

With all this talk about fighting/RPG games, how come no one has mentioned the Tobal games by Squaresoft? Also, Bushido Blade is somewhat RPGish.

I may be the only one who thinks this, but I have always thought that RPGs WERE the mixing of genres themselves. Where most games before RPGs were fairly one-dimensional (racing game, fighting game, shooting game, platform game), RPGs were a sort of "multi-dimensional" game that combined many different genres into a game experience that allowed the player to enter entirely into a virtual world rather than simply one part of it (fighting, racing, etc). Of course, early RPGs were limited, but, as they evolved, they began to adopt elements from other games.

I suppose I should ask a question. Am I the only one who thinks that there has been a recent decline in Mitsuda's work? Chrono Trigger, The Brink of Time, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, Creid--these soundtracks are some of the best in my collection. But Xenosaga, Tsugunai, Sailing to the World...his most recent albums all suck!

Finally, I am having trouble wooing various women. Can you offer any tips/tricks of the trade? I just know you're the studly type and could help me out.

With love,
Akakios

Andrew:
1. You bet I did. I ain’t chasing no woman to another planet!

Hey, who wants to bet that Hiro and Lucia starved to death shortly after the end of Lunar 2?

2. No. Squall is a whiner, and I throw bricks at people.

3. Neither Tobal or Bushido Blade are RPGs. Swords do not equal RPGs, and yes, I know about the little Tobal adventure mode. I should think that would hardly count.

4. Unfortunately, my money is tied up in books, Chinese food, and 48 packs of water. If I ever had large amounts of money to spend on easily downloadable video game songs, I’m sure I’d back you up. Reader’s opinions on this?

5. Okay, if you’re trying to “woo various women” there’s your problem right there. Ladies don’t take kindly to a man who is blowing them off on dates so they can put their moves on another woman. I could delve deeper into this subject, but frankly, if you can’t pick a single woman to seduce, you’ve got more problems then I could ever fix. Have a fulfilling sex life in with your right hand!

 
Unexplained changes.

Hello...

First, last week you said Soul Blazer was the coolest RPG ever. What about its sequel, Illusion of Gaia? Any thoughts on that?

Second, in terms of a favorite mix of RPG elements with other games, I would like to see Kingdom Hearts battle system in action games like GTA:VC and Sonic Adventure 2. The system would be reworked so the characters would battle more realistically. For example, magic users would automatically defend while casting a spell and attackers would be in a defensive or counterattacking or evasive (dodging attacks sent at the attacker) position after making an RPG-style turn like casting a magic spell or using a healing potion on another character. Now, before you get sarcastic on me about this, the RPG elements would be placed only on the battlefield wherever it may be.

Everything else in the game would be the usual action seen in action games. OK, maybe not EVERYTHING ELSE...characters would have to upgrade their weapons and armor through buying them in shops or upgrading them through blacksmiths like in Suikoden. Otherwise, the games would be like action games with free exploration and use of skills unrelated to RPGs as seen in Ratchet & Clank, GTA, and Resident Evil.

If you don't understand what I mean, think Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past with an improved Kingdom Hearts real-time battle system in a modern setting like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City with all the free exploration and possible adventures available in the game with all the vehicle racing and random shooting contained within the game.THIS is what I would like to see in a game. What do you think? Anyway, one more question...

Name the 5 worst features you ever saw in any RPG you have ever played or seen. You can name more than five if you want, but that's up to you.

That's all.
Huge Dreamer

Andrew:
1. That was a joke, Soul Blazer was a great game for it’s time, but it wasn’t that good. I liked Illusion of Gaia, though I certainly wouldn’t call it Soul Blazer’s sequel. More spiritual sequel then anything else.

2. I think your idea is poorly thought out, would be nearly impossible to execute, and you don’t state why this would be an improvement over the battle systems in the games you mentioned.

3.
1. Legend of Lagaia’s battle system.
2. The accents in Chrono Cross.
3. Cloud being a total sissy in Kingdom Hearts.
4. Wild Arms 2's lock out on modded playstations.
5. The first hour of dialogue in Star Ocean 2.

 
A good idea can be taken too far.

Andrew,

Thank you for replying to my letters, so here is another one for you.

I like the idea of video game companies rereleasing games on the newer consoles. It gives gamers the ability to get games that were probably unavailable to them. Older gamers have the ability to buy the games that the were not able to buy or find, and newer gamers have the ability to play some of the great games of the past. I know that all the games that are rereleased are not the best, but some of them are real gems. Anyway since companies are probably going to keep this trend, I think they should rerelease a majority of the SNES RPGs, some of the Sega and probably some NES RPGs, and the rest of the games that Working Designs published for the Sega CD. I would definitely like to see the Lufia series, Shining Force series, Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma(which I rather have it called The Creation of Heaven and Earth, its original title), and Secret of Mana rereleased.

What games would you want to be rereleased and do you think that there should be more rereleased or new games?

Thanks,
Yi Lang

Andrew:
I like the idea of playing my old favorites on Game Boy Advance. However, I hate the idea of a direct import, especially when companies could use the extra room for new quests, improved graphics, better translations, etc. I think we all learned an important lesson from Capcom with the Breath of Fire rereleases. The games in their day were good, but today, they simply don’t hold up. This is one of the reasons I respect Working Designs so much, because they haven’t sunk so low as to just pump out already released crap and expect people to buy it. Instead, they take the extra step and improve already great games.

 
Bullet Time. Like that time you spend with your relatives every holiday, only less painful.

Yo, Bastard!

Personally, I think that the best thing to mix RPGs with is not a genre, but an effect. The "bullet-time" effect. Right now, bullet-time (the extreme slowdown of a scene to the point where you can see the bullets whiz by) is only used as a bonus, something you have to unlock a cheat or fill up this meter for. However, I believe that bullet-time could revolutionize real-time RPGs.

The plan is simple: Whenever the player wants to do an action, he presses a button. As the menu pops up, bullet-time simultaneously activates. The entire battle slows down as the player decides what to do. Once he decides, it snaps back into normal time as his command is performed.

Of course, with most RPGs, the battle moves slow enough that real-time commands can be given without having to resort to bullet-time. However, if someone wanted to make an RPG with frantic battles while giving the player time to make strategic decisions, it would be invaluable. Sure, they could just have it pause whenever the player issued a command (like Baldur's Gate), but the flow of the battle would be ruined by having it come to a screeching halt that often.

As for disappointing RPG moments, I would have to say it was when I bought Robotech for the SNES. The thing that had me psyched up about it was the combo system, where you could combine three attacks in a certain order to make a cool mega-attack! Imagine how dismayed I was when I learned that almost all of the combos consisted merely of doing those three attacks in the order you put them in as. A cool idea that didn't live up to my expectations. Sure, it doesn't quite have the horror of losing an 80-hour save or dropping your FF3 copy into a vat of acid, but it still sucked.

And speaking of combos, those combos for Phantasy Star 4 sucked as well. I can't believe how frickin' hard it is to pull them off! All of your characters have to have the proper speeds to pull off the moves in order, and you have to nicely ask the enemies not to attack while you're pulling them off. Grrr...

-Mike Lemmer
"Unhappy? Get your brain stapled."

Andrew:
I like the idea of bullet-time, though I can’t think of any RPGs that could benefit from it.

1. Hey, Robotrek was pretty darn cool. You could turn into a mouse, had gadgets galore, and there was even a hidden planet. Too bad the whole inventor aspect of the game was null if you lost the chart the game came with, which I, of course, did. -_-;;

2. I always thought combo attacks in RPGs were stupid to begin with. I mean, if a band of heroes rushed a bad guy, he’s going down, combos or not. The only RPG’s that have ever pulled them off in a kick ass fashion is Chrono Trigger, and, Suikoden 1 & 2.

 
The Island of Dr. Carbuncle.

To the alleged spawn of Cid and Max:

I agree that not all games should have some "save the world" premice, and that FMVs should be used sparingly and not as a replacement for gameplay.

On that note, my game would be a platform RPG. It would involve character/s/ trying to beat each other senseless on a large island for some big cash prize. At the start, you'd choose from a selection of characters. The story would, of course, be different for each character.

As you use each move, they become stronger, and you learn new moves. In addition, each character had "specialty moves", like magic, that can be used sparingly and have a cool "mini-FMV" effect, like a FF summon.

What's cool about this type of game is that it could even have multi-player applications. I mean, if it went on the GBA, wouldn't it be cool to get into a slug-fest and get experience for it? And because it has multiple characters, it has some replay value.

So, what do you think about this RPG idea? I've actually taken a computer game production class at college, so I'm debating trying to make one. Be brutally honest.

By the way, I'm addicted to Blitzball.

"There is no emoticon for what I'm feeling!"

NeoCarbuncle

Andrew:
I think it’s a pretty good idea, to be “brutally” honest. Kind of like 7th Saga, only with more interactive elements. Players could join up with rivals for mutual goals, back stab, and of course, have kick ass show downs. You’ve got my thumbs up for this project.

 
Retail monkey. This just screams “action figure”.

Andrew-

Hi, I'm a retail monkey at GameStop, and a person who liked Xenogears far too much so when I saw a few letters where people were talking about the preorder goodies for Xenosaga, and I thought I'd try to help clear things up. If you reserve the game at GameStop, you get a lithograph at the time you put down your deposit. When the game comes in, you're supposed to get a T-shirt as well. No one's getting ripped off of their T-shirts... yet. I'd guess that EB is doing it the same way, giving the lithograph when you reserve, and the artbook when you get the game. I can't speak for the advantages of one over the other, since I don't go to EB and we haven't gotten the T-shirts yet. The lithographs are pretty spiffy though.

Oh yeah, I have an actual question. Have you caught wind of the splitting Megaman Battle Network 3 into 2 separate versions for pokemonish trading between the two versions? is this something being instituted strictly for the American version, or was it in the Japanese version as well? Or is the whole thing a random rumor that I can't remember where I read it?

-FuYu=-
Joshua C Varrone
Magus Studios Co-founder

Andrew:
Last summer, I would have KILLED to be a retail monkey at my local GameStop. Thanks to my torturing of the would be manager however, this position will always be denied to me.

Andrew- Hey, can I have that cut-out of Link?
Manager- “No.”
Andrew- I’ll you 5 bucks.
Manger- “...NO.”
Andrew- God, you’re ugly.

Anyway, cool beans on all the free gear for Xenosaga. Though I’m surprised their bothering, considering most people’s rabid love/hate relationship with the game series.

I haven’t heard anything about Battle Network and trading, and now that I have, I wished hadn’t. >_<



Quickies

You know, for me, it was in Final Fantasy X when Seymour mentioned Auron having the "scent of the Farplane"...and Tidus bending over and sniffing Auron himself, only to be abruptly shoved away seconds later.

Tidus. Ah, thank the gods for him.

Joe

Though amusing, I’ve never gotten over how Square decided to abandon heroic protagonists for more human ones with serious vices. Final Fantasy 6 was really their last game where the majority of the heroes were, ya'know, heroic.

In Japan? In America? I must know...

Actually, I’m living on a floating island, along with my fellow Sinistrals and the old man who maintains the warp portals.

actually the movie released in 2002 named solaris was somewhat of a remake of a 70's movie with the same name. the creators of xenogears thought the 70's movie was too freaking cool to ignore, so they named some crap after it. THE END.

Hooray?

Is the big countdown clock deforming the section column on the front page a paid advertisement, or did you guys just put up this unprecedented blitz of excitement for kicks? Just curious, 'cause I've never seen RPGamer do this before. (The RPGamers, on the other hand, always do this.)

-Raincrystal "I think I might end up buying Xenosaga eventually"

Seeing as it has been removed, I suppose the majority of readers disliked it enough to get it taken down. You guys are going to hate our dancing oglop promotion for Final Fantasy 11.

I veto the pop-up ad and java timer for the so-called 'Xenosaga Campaign'. Hardcore.

So...you don’t like the changes, but you think they’re hardcore. Huh?

perhaps xenogears borrowed Solaris, rather than the other way around. after all the original film predates the game by just a little.

Perhaps. Or perhaps the Oompa-Loopma’s have gotten to you too!

The Final Grumble:

You know, when you unlock the Princess Peach trophy, if you try to look under her skirt, you find she’s wearing a sort of long pair of poofy pants that looks like a dress. Not that I would know from experience of course.

Andrew "TIME WARP!" Duff

Now, I can look up Marth’s skirt just fine...*barf*

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