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Andrew - February '23- 12:00 Central Standard Time

Still canít decide on what game to get. Maybe I should just hold out until Star Ocean 3 comes out, and make up a bunch of smart-ass answers when questions start coming in for the other games.

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A simple game of pong?
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Stick RPG

TITLE

You wanted some crazy sites, so here ya go! Btw, these are the best of the best from my favorites list. Enjoy! Music Videos

A Frightened Boy: http://www.rathergood.com/vid/ Chocobo Robo Voice: http://www.ffcompendium.com/misc/boco.swf Coin Bird - Angry for Coins!: http://coinbird.cjb.net/ Hi-HO: http://newtown.hi-ho.ne.jp/raibo/raidersei/image/agency/cm/mail.swf Hyakugojyuuichi!!: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=18702 Kung Fu Phil: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=33461 Lobster Magnet: http://www.512productions.com/lobstermagnet/ Mario Twins: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=20935 Yatta: http://www.verylowsodium.com/fanimutation/exuberance.php

Random Movies and Other Weird Things...

Automatic Complaint Generator: http://hugin.sigusr1.org/~pakin/complaint DBZ in a Nutshell: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=31681 Killer Japanese Seizure Robots: http://www.seizurerobots.com/ Pikachizer: http://pikachize.eye-of-newt.com/ Tifa Lockheart Comics (excellent site!): http://beatrush.com/tifa.htm Zany Videogame Quotes: http://zanyvg.overclocked.org/ Zombo: http://www.zombo.com/

~mana_sword, Xeno-enthusiast

Andrew:
Haha! After this letter, no one will see the rest of the column, which is utter crap!

 
Itís a review! Hooray?

Hola,

With everybody suggesting .hack, Xenosaga, and BoFV, I thought I'd take a different route.

Legend of Legaia 2.

Hear me out.

I know you said you didn't like the first game, but I don't think you said why. I picked up the first game used, and I thought it was okay (nothing special, though quite a few bad points).

However, Legaia 2 is a much-improved beast. The graphics are beautiful, near FFX quality in their smoothness. The music is also much better, as it's being done by three guys who's names escape me at the moment. But I think a few of them worked on some Square games.

There is voice acting in a few places, battles mainly, and a couple of cut scenes. It ain't too bad, though it could be better. Suffers occaisonally from FFX's habit of lips not matching the voice, but there isn't much voice acting, so it's ignorable.

The Arts system for battles is back, and better than ever. For those who don't know, you push up, down, right, and left in different sequences to get character-specialized moves that do extra damage. It's easier to chain different moves together, as opposed to the first game, and it breaks away from the standard "Just push X" problem of other games, by forcing you to look at different ways of chaining arts together for maximum damage. Or, in one girl's case, her up, down, right, and left commands are replaced by Wind, Fire, Earth, and Water, and chaining them together nets you different elemental spells. It's not a case of what is stronger (though there are a few different levels of spells), but what is the current enemy weak against?

The other interesting system is equipment. Everyone is limited by weight, as far as what they can equip. You can equip multiple accessories, that contain varied abilities, but each one weighs a slight different amount. So, do you equip that heavier piece of armor? Or go for another accessory instead? The strongest item is not always the best, as a sword could be more powerful, but another one comes with 3 abilities and raises your defense against special attacks. You can also combine items to create new equipment and accessories (getting the abilities you like onto the same accessory is possible, but difficult), so you can combine for what you want, as opposed to buying it. Reminds me somewhat of the FF8 combining system.

The main map is sorta like Chrono Trigger, in which you don't meet enemies, and instead walk to select locations (once someone tells you about them). You interact with the dungeons using each characters special ability to solve puzzles.

The save points double as camping locations, where you can have conversations between your part members ala Grandia. As you learn recipies, you can also cook different meals in camp, which has the effect of raising different stats for several battles. This also helps to reveal more about the characters, as far as what they make and what others say during the meal. The characters split up in town ala Star Ocean 2, where you can talk to them and learn more about them. Lots of character interaction and development. To a certain extent, they are cookie cutter characters from standard RPG fare, but they've got decent enough developed personalities.

Bad points? Plot is standard fare for RPGs (main hero has destiny to save to save the world). Plot twists are usualy predictable. The music, while decent, is nothing real memorable. The mini-games are all over the place, and most are annoying, but can be avoided if they don't interest you. Dungeons sometimes feel long, and the random encounter rate seems pretty high (though you can change this with accessories). Bosses, with the right powering up(via cooking and spells) and Art choices, can usually be defeated in 2-3 turns (Variable Arts, in which two characters combine their moves).

Still, I like this game.... mainly because because I spent money on it, so of course I have to say it's good. Although, I did pick it up used for $25, so on that alone, it was worth it.

At the very least, you can dig the pirate chick who's dressed like a female genie (bikini top and those poofy Arabian pants). Friend of mine said that was best part, given how good the character models look.

So, even if you didn't like the first game much, I suggest you at least rent the second. Probably can even pick it up used.

Lastly, I did download that OHRRPGE awhile back, on your recommendation, and it rocks. Been tinkering around with it and determined I can make a good game with it, so check back with me in a year or two...

Kai
No clever or witty ending quote. Sorry.

Andrew:
You really should get into review writing, Kai. Anyway, my gripe with Legaia is simple; I HATE DRAWN-OUT RANDOM BATTLES. You didnít really address this problem, so Iíll assume you enjoyed them.

Itís cool that youíve gotten into OHR. Good luck with your game creation!

 
Iím not listening! Lalalala!

Hi Andrew.

In a column this week, Google said that there was one epsiode of Trigun to avoid. Well, have you seen the Escaflowne series? If so, do you agree with this statement:

If one can only ever see 1 episode of Escaflowne, then one should see Episode 14.

Finally, did you finish Xenogears? I only got about 10 hours in or so, and I didn't get any further with it. I guess I'll play Xenosaga anyway, but I have a feeling that even though it is prequel, it will still have been better to have played Xenogears completely first.

-Mike "Rahlious" White

Andrew:
Iím actually watching Escaflowne for the first time in anime club, and we havenít reached episode 14 yet, so all I can say is that Iím enjoying the series thus far.

I was 60+ hours into Xenogears, on the 2nd disc, and I...just got bored. The plot had slowed to a snailís crawl, and I wasnít enjoying myself. *shrug*

 
Interesting idea. If you're insane!

Ok, this is just random and not connected with any thread you've been running. But I'm thinking that I want and RPG that's beatable in ten minutes. I know Chrono Trigger was, but that was kind of a hidden easter egg. I mean an RPG in the anti-Final Fantasian sense where everything you need to know is right there in front of you, bam, instead of having the bad guy change every 3 or 4 hours into 'the REAL power behind the bad guy'. Say, in Dragon Warrior I, you find the princess has been kidnapped, everyone knows where the baddie is, and so you can just go and waste him.

Of course, everyone will say 'Hey, what's the point?'. The point being that while you're playing for ten minutes, the game would give you hints and clues about the fact that there are other things to do, other wrongs to right, and whatnot. So, maybe if you were observant, you'd find out that the baddie has some telepathic rabbit somewhere, and so you go and find this telepathic rabbit (Which takes an hour, but has nothing to do with beating the game), and it develops the character some.

I guess it'd be sort of like hitting the World of Ruin in FF3 at the very beginning of a game. There's lots of character development to do, but it's not strictly part of the game. Just a thought, but since it's 6:10 in the morning, it's not real well coagulated.

Andrew:
Well, you could either go play Saga Frontier, or make it yourself.

 
Free RPGs! Well, for those of you who can read Japanese.

Send in a game, eh? Chances are a lot of people have already seen it, but I find stick rpg pretty entertaining.

http://www.xgenstudios.com/srpg/default.htm

www.insertcredit.com

links to games sometimes, but you might need to know Japanese or Korean to play them. If you check the news history I'm pretty sure there were some free foreign mmorpgs that maybe someone can play.

Not me, sadly.
Tim, lover of Blaster Master

Andrew:
Thanks for the links, Tim! I beat the crap out of Stick RPG, and Insert Credit is a pretty neat site for Japanese game news.

 
Donít drop the soap!

Hello. I hadn't been reading anyone's columns lately, or going to any of the normal games sites I read at all, ("midterms" are god's punishment for me being a jerk) but I see you're looking for crazy links and such? I must recommend Kaiju.com. Most people in the northeast have probably seen Dr Cube stickers everywhere, but since Kaiju seems to be catching on in more and more places, I thought it would be interesting to show it to the RPGamer community.

Also, on the topic of amateur games, it would be cool if you could link to Walthros, whether on my site (members.aol.com/blueguinea) or on the Castle Paradox list. I know it wasn't your favorite game, and I know it's got some pretty gross flaws, but some people seem to like it. My next project will definitely be closer to what people call "fun"... I promise.

Oh, and an RPG question... Um, how about the bath house scenes in Suikoden 3 where certain combinations of character say strange, mostly gay things? Any opinion on those delightful conversations?

-PCH

Andrew:
Midterms are Godís punishment for thinking I could get through class while playing Game Boy.

While I canít justify giving Walthros the big link next to the columnís opening, I will let people see the link in your letter. Look PHC, Walthros has its good points, but you could have done the whole thing in book format. Its got game play problems up the wazoo. If you eventually come out with a really cool game, Iíll be sure to link to it.

I like the old bath houses in 1 & 2 better. I mean, maybe you couldnít see anything, but they were still such a bizarre feature. I can just see the poor pixelerís face when his boss tells him to make a 108 naked sprites for a bath scene.

 
Stupid popular media. Give me back my children!

Sir Andrew,

I know most people are telling you to get Xenosaga over the others but seriously now if you didn't like Xenogears all that much, why torment yourself. You know Xenosaga will have an even more confusing story than its sequel (well, prequel). The best thing with Xenosaga is that you know what you'll be getting. Interactive movie...

As for my vote, i'm actually thinking that none of the games votable are of supremely goodness. But, if i had to i'd go with Dark Cloud 2. So, thats my vote I guess.

BoF5 is a dungeon crawler, straight up. Capcom drastically changed it, at least thats what i read (Game Informer, newest issue, review). You spend the entire ganme underground trying to get out to the surface by going up and up through tons of dungeon floors. Doesn't sound too fun to me.

Also, i have .hack...i'm 1 hour in and not impressed...but alas will continue in hopes that my drudging through will yield some fun somewhere. It feels like Phantasy Star Online with goofy characters and more linearity.

Dark cloud 2 is at least a sequel to a decent game getting decent reviews.

Well, there's my 2 cents...

Raza

Andrew:
Since youíve only played .hack, and the rest of your impression you got from a video game magazine, (and WRONG I may add. Dark Cloud 2 got a very positive review) Iím going to be taking your opinion for a wooden nickel.

 
Preachy giant rodents.

Seriously. None of those look like anything I would blow my only game funds on. I say you wait until next month when Star Ocean 3 out. And I would be remiss not to mention FF Origins the following month.

Of course, if you don't like the wait option, you should go with Xeno. It should prove to be a lot less preachy than the last one, since there was the whole public outcry (and the fact that I kept falling asleep while playing it). BoF let me down (probably my biggest letdown, now that I'm a month late on that subject) since it was by Square, came out after FF6, and didn't even come close to comparing. I realize now that development teams are involved, but I didn't then. I was expecting some great character development, a robust magic system, armor with elemental properties (well, a lot more), and generally less suckiness. I didn't get it. It was a good game, just not a good Square game. Much like FF8 was a good game, just not a good FF game.

That's longer than I expected. I'll stop now.

Captain Modifier.

Andrew:
Uh...Actually, Xenosaga has movies so long that they let you pause, and the whole thing is suppose to be a story with a game attached on.

As for your Breath of Fire comments, it was a pretty good game, just entirely different from Final Fantasy. That isnít a bad thing.

 
Best advice yet.

AD,

Since you're entertaining suggestions, I have one for you: wait a week.

Paws has Dark Cloud 2, a number of people already have .hack, BoF5 was just released, and I am of course getting Xenosaga. If you only have enough money to buy one game, it only makes sense to wait until all of the impressions for each game have been sent in. Although you seem to have already made up your mind about getting BoF5, I still say fight the urge for just a bit longer. Capcom isn't exactly known for their ground-breaking sequels, and Xenosaga could still end up being one of the better games ever made. Give it one more week, and I'll let you know how the latter turned out.

Speaking of better games, did you ever let us know what your favorites were? If you did, would you mind reminding us?

-Red Raven

Andrew:
After reading impressions on BoF5, I have to say, it sounds really lame, so x that game off the list.

As for favorites, I donít really have any. However, ďWhat Iím playing this weekĒ sidebar is a pretty good indicator of what I enjoy in terms of game design.



Quickies

This'll make a quickie-

www.runescape.com

- Fun and addictive, despite the *ahem* below standard graphics.

Eh, I played a bit. Not bad, but definitely another Ultima Online/EverQuest clone. Iím sure some readers will be interested.

Get Xenosaga, dewd ; )

Well, if the surfers are backing up Xenosaga, you can be sure Iíll pick it up! Right after I catch that killer wave!

It's the EASTER BUNNY!!!!!

I think you mentioned something about BoF V getting better reviews than Xenosaga. Because I haven't. Game Informer gave BoF an 8 and Xeno a 9.75 and PSM gave Xeno a 9.25 (not sure what they gave BoF)Though, out of all the action-rpg's (Dark Cloud 2, Kingdom Hearts, .Hack) BoF looks the best. So, if I can scrape the money up, I'll get both. I'll go with Xeno for my vote.

-NnyBoy

Well, see the thing is, I didnít say that. I said Dark Cloud 2 was getting really good reviews, while the other games were getting what was expected of them. Frankly, the scores are pretty good all around, and I donít agree that when a game gets .25 better then another game is actually a better game, thatís more of the reviewerís opinion.

Here's one for you. http://x-eevee.kicks-ass.net/showflash.php?strMovie=heroes.swf enjoy.

Woohoo! A fan movie based on a show that was yanked off the air before itís 6 episodes could air! Talk about counter culture!

...crap. Now Iíve got to watch all the episodes again.

Looks like there's several games you're interested in but you've only got the money for one. I have the solution: renting. Go and sign up for a Blockbuster card, that way you can spen about five or six bucks to own a game for a week, that way you can play all the games you've got your eye on without going broke.

Itís not just the money, friend. I simply donít have the time to devote myself and beat four RPGs. Weíre talking well over 100+ hours here of hard core gaming, I'd simply fry myself out.

Just wondering, do you know if games distributed in Japan are in Hiragana/Katakana, or in Kanji? I really want to import some games but only know Hiragana and Katakana. Thanks.

Scarecrow

Word on the street is all three. Why not ask the importers which ones the game has before shipping it over?

Hello, Andrew Bunny Duff;

Has anyone yet made a Playstation-style controller for the SNES? I really like many of my SNES games, but my big hands become cramped using the small controller, not to mention the fire-button and D-pad performance. If someone has done this, maybe there's one for the NES, too? I have a Playstation-style controller for my PC, but by SNES & NES emulators don't recognise it.

Thank you

-Wesley

All answers point to ďWTF?!Ē.

do u know of any online rpgs for the ps2 that will allow 56k players to play too, except everquest because i know that lets us 56k users to play it........thanks

Hey no problem. Iím always glad to help out clueless lazy people who havenít heard of capitalization. But guess what? Everquest is the only MMORPG thatís out right now for the PS2! Bwhahaha!

Kikkoman Flash..twisted, Japanese, and FUN!

http://yoga.tripod.co.jp/flash/kikkomaso_e.swf

The cult following for this super hero must be HUGE.

I saw this a while back and thought it was a hoot!

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/chipndale.html

Hope you like this =P

Steve

Finally, a MMORPG Iíd actually enjoy! Now, to live out my sick dreams of hitting on men pretending to be Gadget!

The Final Grumble:

You know what would rock? A DDR RPG. If only because you could pronounce it, ďDurpdĒ.

Next week's topic is funniest RPG moments, and someone had damn well better write in about the cow level in a certain PC game.

Andrew "Mr. Boomba" Duff

What this? No officer, it's just some basil!

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