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 See how many typoes you can count! The archives await.

I'm feeling very hateful right now. Don't touch me.

For one, it's a Monday; 'nuff said. But that's the least of my worries. It seems that the column for Thursday, the 21st has gone AWOL, leaving his buddy, Friday the 22nd, to cover for him. (I told you those Thursday Thorsday Madness columns could get a bit wild, though even I never imagined they'd try and escape.) So if any of you, for some strange reason decided to archive at012199.html, please e-mail 'er in. No questions asked. Not even about the rubber ducky glued to your forehead.

At least Link wasn't voiced by the girl who did Mega Man

Oh mighty god with big hammer;

You're settin' some poor RPGirl up for a world of disappointment, son.

I've been looking at different PSX and N64 games and noticed something strange: voice acting is far more present in PSX games, but the N64 has the same (if not more) hours of dialogue in their games such as StarFox. Why does Nintendo use voice acting for just noises and grunts (a la Zelda 64) when they can perfectly put in voice acting? What do you think?

-- RPGjugador

Nintendo 64 games are costly to produce, and every meg counts. Big developers like Nintendo and Acclaim can throw in some heavy voice now and then to impress you, but it's just not feasable for most third party developers. Besides, even your most spaztastic FMV filled PlayStation RPGs don't use a lot of voice. It's terribly difficult to translate, and you're just inviting people to complain about the dubbing/voice actors/etc. As far as I know, the only company which regularly offers a complete text/voice script is Sierra, with games like Gabriel Knight.

OK, I'll admit, this reply was rather dry. I lost my original when doing battle with this blasted redesign. Wanna see some ugly code? View Source, and check out those gnarley tables. Not a pretty sight.

"Are we there yet?"

Why does Lunar keep getting delayed?

'Cause Vic Ireland is a perfectionist, or so I've heard. This basicly means he obsesses over every minute detail of the script, sacrificing shipment dates until it's "right". This may sound strange, but it's quite common. Heck, I'm a perfectionist. I re-read each Ask Thor countless times, searching for mistakes. The beaut' is just because you're a perfectionist doesn't mean you produce a perfect product (naturally), you just keep at it until you're happy... and groan a week after things go public when you spot a typo.

So, um, life sucks. What was the question again?

They asked the same thing when Moonwalker was released

I'd just like to point out that, there are a bunch of group nod scenes in Chrono Trigger. Oh, and now for the question which all RPGuru/Letter guys must answer. Sprite from Secret of Mana; male or female?

-- TheGreyOne

Oh, delicious. I'm sure this was handled by a previous "RPGuru" (note the quotes to discourage people from calling me that accursed title), but I'll answer anyway: Male. It's never really specified, but it's generally agreed that the sprite was male. I mean, heck, he dated my sister for six months! The strange thing is, despite being a guy, he had a pretty high pitched voice and loved K.D. Lang...

This guy just won Suikoden II. Yeah, that's what I said.

What follows is a little mini-pre/review of Suikoden II. I don't normally print things like this, but I figured I'd make this one exception. If you'd rather not read it, just hit the page down key a few times and the bad man will go away.

Hello Mighty Thor! I finally beat the game! Just yesterday! What game do you ask? Why Genso Suikoden II of course! That's right. You heard me(read it) correctly. I have FINALLY beaten it. Since I'm the first person who has beaten it(or even claimed to have the game) who has written into RPGamer, I feel it's my duty to inform the rest of the Suikoden fans out there of what the game is like. Also, there was that person last week who complained about there not being enough Suikoden II info. Well, here it is. I don't really consider this a spoiler or anything so it should be safe.

The game keeps many aspects from it's predessor(ie.Some music, battle system, etc.) but is also different in many different ways. Okay, for instance, the magic. Everyone remembers the Runes right? Now, THREE different ruins may be equipped to charecters! So now, a charecter can have a fire, water, and lighting rune if desired. The number of times the spells can be used is the same for all of them though. So using a level 1 spell for the water rune, will also drain 1 use of the level 1 spells from the fire and lighting runes also. Also, Runes that are bought from stores can be attachted to weapons giving them new ablities. So, Runes are also the Rune fragments of this game to weapon sharpeners.

The graphics are very similar to the original Genso Suikoden so most players of the original will have no trouble settling into the game. The sprites though have been given MUCH more detail though, making the game look very nice. They have also been given a lot more animation, making the game flow better. The bosses are MASSIVE in this game and are very nicely done. Though critics might complain that the graphics aren't up to par with the newer 3D RPG's out there most of us won't care. The graphics for the magic though has been REALLY updated. CGI scenes are used for some of the spells!

Speaking of CGI, the game IS laced with it. There just isn't much of it. The scenes are rare and are mostly in the beginning and end of the game. But don't expect to see the main charecters in CGI cause' it doesn't happen.

One thing memorable about the original Suikoden was the music. Well, Konami does not dissapoint in the sequal. The music will remind you of the original game which is VERY good. In some locations from the first game, the music is just remixed to remind players of the original(Gregminster for instance).

The battle system is the same as the original game, having 6 charecters in a party at a time with front and back rows of 3. The combination attacks(magic and unites) are also in this game and are a nice addition to the battle system. One of the things is now, the enemies can ALSO do combination attacks on your party if they have the right guys. Some bosses can attack two or three times in one turn, making life harder for your party also.

It's also true that the army battle scenes is no longer rock-paper-scissors anymore. It's Super Robot Taisen for people who have played the game. You can now control individual groups of troops to move in and attack. You can also have your troops use items and so on and so forth. A lot like Chess actually. Not a graphic intensive part of the game but fun anyway.

Here's the biggie. The story. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything. The game IS set in the same place(as in world, so don't expect it to be like the Final Fantasy series), but after the first game ended. Oh yeah, expect to see re-occuring charecters galore. This game is a TRUE sequel. The story is GOOD but...it was in japanese. Two years of Japanese was only enough to understand stuff like, "Ikuso!(let's go!)" ,"Daijoubu(It's okay)" and "Doshite(why?)." I did get the main idea though, and it's everybit as good as the original's. One of the best RPG's I've played. Genso Suikoden II takes around 30 hours to beat. And I didn't even get all the charecters.

As for stuff like using the old save data from the first game for this one, I have no idea how to do it. It's probably because my old save is for the american version of the game and I played the japanese version of part II. Anyone else know anything?

One reader (Bubbawheat) wrote in saying you could get the hero from Suikoden I and Germio in the group, somehow. It sounds a little fishy (continuity, anyone?) but, well, ya asked. :D

Okay, that's enough information until the American version comes out. I'm afraid that if I say anymore, I'll get bombed or something(I'm sure that someone out there already hates me). I'm thinking about writing a walkthrough for it. What do you think? I like your column and think that RPGamer rules!

- Delita Hyral

I think it's a great idea. Since you made it through Suikoden II with minimal understanding of Japanese, you'd probably write a much more clear walkthrough than someone who assumes er'e one can understand what's going on. Ok then.

The Queen of Hardcore

Hey Thor,

With all the RPGamers out there complaining about how easy RPG's have become I decided to offer my advice. I'm assuming that most serious gamers (the ones who want truely hard RPG's) will own a copy of FF6. There is a way to make this game truely and insanely difficult, and I consider myself to be pretty good at RPG's (I finished Xenogears in 54 hours the first time, which from what I hear is fairly fast) so this should challenge even the most advanced players. After you reach the world of ruin everyone seems to assume that you need to collect all or most of the characters; wrong!

Actually, all you need is Celes (because you start with her), Edgar (so you can reach the continent where Setzer is), and of course Setzer for the Falcon. You only need three people to go into Kefka's tower, so you can actually beat the game this way! Not only do you have parties of 1 person each, you can't get most of the good magicite so you don't have most of the good spells. No Ultima is a given, but you also miss out on Cure 3 and Life 2! Anyone who can do this without experiencing at least minor difficulty deserves the title of RPGod, and should be promptly hired by Squaresoft to do all sorts of wonderful things for us all!

-- Casey, the RPGirl ^_~

Good lord, woman. You're insane. In a good way, though. You're so hardcore, you've broken the boundries of santiy. I bow to your mad skillz.

General, like, stuff, man.

I got questions and comments, for fun. First, comments. Your pissed about those 7th Guests pics that were in Nintendo Propaganda? Jeez, what about the supposed pics of the American FFIV that hold 3d polygon rendered pics of Locke, Terra, and Shadow fighting outside some big weird castle... I know i was pissed off about that one.

What really ticked me off was the cancellation of Ace Harding: Lost in Las Vegas. I'm still ticked about that one. Color Gameboy port on the way? Yeah. There'd better be.

Also, i found it odd that your copy of Saga freezes at Red's quest, cause the copy i rented did too, as did a friends owned copy. I of course never bought that evil game.

Woah. I think we're on to something. Die-hard SaGa Frontier fans of the world, ignore his poke at SaGa and get a replyin': Anyone else experience said problem?

Heres my question... Siegfried, Ultros, and Chupon... what the hell was going on in Square's head? They made no sense, had nothing to do with the plot, but they were funny as hell? Were they some sort of carry-over from FF 5? Or some inside joke I don't know about? Just wondering.

They were just for fun. Not everyone liked them, but... Final Fantasy 6's NPC antics VS. Final Fantasy 7's toilet jokes. NPC antics VS. toilet jokes... hrm... Real tough call, but I'm going to have to go with weird NPCs, heh heh.

Why would anyone want that?

Wouldn't it be *really* cool if every month or two weeks or so (because I know you're a lazy bastard), Ask Thor raided a chatroom and yacked it up for a while? It would be a spectacle to behold, and anyway, there are a few of the RPGirls out there who I want to meet . . . .

-- Cerebus "Post my letters dammit" Dicondia

Hey, I'm not lazy. I'm just a procrastonator. Get it right, bub.

Anyway, as you can see, I posted your letter--no need to cuss, that's my job. I'm rather fond of the idea, but I have serious doubts any self-respecting RPGirl would set foot in the same webchat/IRC channel as me. Any thoughts, my poppets?

Men are from Mist and women are from Wutai

Hi Thor!

Poor old you. Thinking it was Wednesday...but then, I was certain it was Friday until I finished reading Ask Thor yesterday. And Thursday is my favourite day of the week. I would give you a neck massage, but I'm kinda at school and on a full schedule. I hope I've sent this in time; I would have sen tit last night except I got a bit carried away with the TV.

<blink> Yeah. Um. Moving on.

First, I would like to establish that I am an RPGirl. I am not offending anyone with this letter, just trying to clarify some things a little.

One of the differences between boys and girls is that males have better spacial skills, and girls have better language skills. This is why you tend to find a lot more male video game players than female ones - you need good spacial skills to be able to play most kinds of video games well. There are a couple of medical conditions where either a male has much better language skills, or vice versa. But they aren't very common.

There skills are why females tend to socialize more, and, (in England at least) do better in most lessons at school - the way in which everyone is taught is better suited to girls. It's also why males do better in things like physics, and, of course, video game playing.

For RPGs, because spacial skills aren't as important as, say, in platformers,, the skills levels between girls and boys aren't as great - not you still don't find many RPGirls because not many girls actually start playing video games a lot anyway.

Then, of course, there are the weird ones (like myself) who have both skills. This is pretty uncommon, and not many people who are good with both skills actually realise it. However, I believe that you, Thor, have both skills - you play video games and you write a regular column. And you write it very well.

I'm flattered. I hate to ruin your theory, but: I suck at videogames. Oh well, at least I'm a good writer. (Yeah, yeah, send in the flames. I want them.)

Well, I hope that this helps to explain why there are so few RPGirls, and why some of them keep themselves hidden when not on the Internet - I've been frequently left out of groups because I play video games so much. Plus, I wouldn't want everyone to know that somewhere along the line, one of my genes got mixed up with a male's. No offense to anyone - we're all different, be proud of who you are.

Anyway, I personally think that the column looked better before the 'new look'. For some reason I find the bold font quite difficult to read after a long day at school. It might just be me who thinks that, though.

A few people have said this, but italics are harder on the average eye than bold, so I'm sticking with this look.

One last thing - Thor, you rule. You rule more every single day.

-- RPGirl Jedi Terra

I swear, I didn't print this for ego-value. (I get my surge just from reading letters like this, no need to make my sorry addiction public.)

Want the truth about the lack of female gamers? Combine one part Jedi Theory, one part "Girls don't play because soceity frowns on girl gamers" theory, and one part of my own theory: Guys enjoy being stupid, girls generally don't, and videogames give plenty of excuses to be stupid. For instance, when me and my friends were playing WCW/NWO Revenge this weekend, we had a ball acting like morons and threatening each other with Jackknife Powerbombs. And ya know what? In all my years, I've never seen a girl threaten another with a Jackknife Powerbomb.

Well, once. But Granny was drinking at the time.

No wonder Crono was so talkative

Haha... hehe... Thor, you're a riot a minute (in the immortal words of Toma). :) But I have an answer for the inquiring mind of M.C., and I hope you're interested.

"MC"? "Toma"? I think I know these guys. Weird.

You see, in Japan (and much of Asia for that matter), they hold a different attitude towards conversation. I know this from personal experience, and I was pleasantly surprised to even come across the example in my textbook for Interpersonal Communication. In general, the Japanese value silence much more than us noisy Americans. To the Japanese, chattering is a sign of "insincerity," but for us it shows "confidence."

In America, when we all agree as a group, we emit a barrage of words like "yeah", "fine by me," and "alright!" In Japan, they may simple nod in agreement, and make a soft grunt, like "mm." Just watched a little bit of the Magic Knights Rayearth TV series; they do it all the time. Personally, I wish we were more like that here in America. ;)

So, no, it's not a conspiracy of Final Fantasy that they nod their heads off. Just another little culture quirk of imports that doesn't translate seamlessly.

-- Radien

I welcome your edument. Going by the Japanese films I've seen, though, I much prefer America's style. I mean, every time Godzilla was spotted, did everyone have to say "Hooo!", "Mhhh!" and "Urrg!" at the same time? I'd much rather a good ol' "S---! That's a big f------ lizard!". God bless America.

Quotes 'n Complaints

I'm probably the millionth one to tell you, but...

"Destruction rains from the heavens" is from Chrono Trigger. When Lavos does that move thing where his needles come down on you (and take off a lot of your life), "Destruction Rains from the Heavens" is shown on the status bar. Man...I wish I had a sack of dead monkeys...I could freak my sister out...

-- Matt Elder, not really liking RPGamer's Lavos look

Actually, you're the first! Congratulations, Matt. (Is it just me, or do you get an unusually large ammount of your letters printed? Sheesh.) Anyhoo, enjoy the Sack of Dead Monkeys(tm).

Say, what was wrong with the RPGamer Lavos look? I loved it--despite the massive emotional scarring I received due to the attack. Thank goodness I had a can of Lavos-B-Dead ready. You know, for emergencies. Hey, I think I just saved the world. Cool.

Yawn.

Is it just me or is being an "RPGuru" get boring and tedious? I noticed by your new archive (great job), that AK did the column every day...then every few days...then left. I noticed many different RPGurus. It is like when you are first excited that you are going to be in high school. Then when you actually get there it is much worse than middle school and is not fun at all.

-- asdf

I wouldn't know--I've never been to a day of school in my life. You're right, though. The past "RPGurus" (note the quote marks to discourage people calling me that foul title) have pretty much all gotten sick and tired of the column, for one reason or another. Thanks to the fact that I love to write, my ego lusts for your delectable flattery, and the Circle of Sages, um, doing their best on the weekends, I plan on sticking around for a while.

...

Do you ever plan on creating fake letters for comedic value, in a pitiful attempt to cover for your own lackluster sense of humor?

-- Mirtna J. Roht.

No, never. Do you realy think I'd sink that low? Geez, the nerve of some people. Er... hey, how 'bout some Quickies?

Quickies that make ya go "Hmmm"

Zach said: "Yow. I dunno which is scarier; the CGs of Kefka, or your cat. Oh yeah, and aren't the chicks in the Circle of Sages incredibly cute?" Katerina VS Kefka? Interesting concept. As for the, um, chicks, well... I'd answer, but I can't. Stupid restraining order. Stupid stupid stupid. // A somewhat shady character named Chivalry said: "Square says they will try to make an anti-Mod chip protection in their coming release of FFVIII. Well if it's anything like the Medievil protection, it just won't work. For Midievil, all over the net it is possible to download a patch that nulls the copy protection." Thanks for the highly illegal information, Chivalry. I'm sure the FBI will be interested in your e-mail address. (Kidding, really.) // ^Barret^ (with cute little arrows) said: "What if Cloud and Aya got married, and had children? I've come to the conclusion that if they had a son, he would look just like Squall. Just look, The jacket belongs to Aya, the hair belongs to Cloud, and his Gunblade, just the best of both worlds." Actually, I'm what happens if Cloud and Aya got married. You should see our family reunions, it's quite a sight. // The Unforgiven Freak wondered if I doctored the picture of my cat. Sadly, that picture is unedited. She's actually that evil. // And finally, Old Dude (love that name) said: "I fully expected there to be nothing left of you but charred remains after last Monday's column. You were as tough on your contributors as any guy I've ever seen in this space. I found it tremendously entertaining but I DID expect the number of flames you received to go up exponentially." To the contrary, a few wrote in and said I "rooled" for being so mean. We are the downfall of civilation. Fear us.

Thor Stuff

Whew. Quite a weekend. One of the wierdest of my life, in fact. I can't elaborate, though. Stupid NDA.

Sadly, I didn't get much RPG'n done. I was too busy lusting over WCW/NWO Revenge. Forget WWF Attitude, forget Nitro 64, forget that pile of guano calling itself WCW Thunder... Revenge is the way to go, baby. We're talking gameplay up the wazoo--and then some. How they sucessfully combined "party game" and "wrestling sim", I'll never know.

I've been thinking. Newer RPGs are usually in 3D, right? Well, why hasn't anyone really taken advantage of that? I know Parasite Eve allowed moderate movement, but games like Xenogears, Wild Arms and Final Fantasy 7 might as well have been Final Fantasy 1--both sides of the battle wait paitently for their turn to jump across the screen and wave their arm, twice.

What I'd like to see is simulated war; played out in real time but planned while the battle is paused. The only game I've seen which really captures the frenzy and chaos of a skirmish was Suikoden, which had characters flying across the screen two or three at a time, sometimes even ganging up on some poor giant beetle or whatnot. Wouldn't it be keen-o-matic if we could issue a series of commands for our characters, then watch it play out in lil' 15 second segments? A Dexterity stat could decide which characters take action, with the slower characters appearing to start to attack long before the blow actually hits, and the speedier ones leaping into fray and back before you can blink.

There'd be tons of design flaws with this idea, but watching everyone converge and fight like that would rule. Just imagine...

A Healer casts cure on herself, just as a giant Ogre smashes towards her. The spell goes off in time--complete with a cute little green "22"--but he's about to attack, and his Stone Club of Really Bad will surely crush her. As he swings, a few feet away, a teal Dragon breaths fire on a lonely Moogle, burning it to a crisp. The Moogle, too slow to act until after the Dragon, dies a horrible, painful death. He is, in essence, kuput.

Meanwhile, just as the Ogre's club is about to hit the Healer, a Dragoon Knight who had jumped a few turns back falls with blinding speed, smashing into the Ogre's head. You see, the Ogre was even slower than the Moogle, but you saw him moving for the attack, even though he would never get a chance to bash the babe.

Score one for the good guys! And, goodnight.

- Thor "I'm a horrid game designer" Antrim
If there's one thing I hate It's people who don't finish their

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