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Hey, guys.

Not much mail today, mostly 'cause I'm coasting on the Friday's leftovers and the (predominantly strange) e-mail ya'll were kind enough to send me directly. Today is more or less unmemorable, except for one glorious oddity: A long and thought provoking letter which isn't about a Square or Working Designs game. Hot mama!

Desperatly seeking Sephiroth

Do you know where I can pick up a Final Fantasy Seven, Sephoroth, action Figure? (I perfer a store and not a web sight, but it's ok if you give me a sight.)

Your best bet is Electronic Boutique. If you don't have an EB around, or they're out of 'em, try local anime/videogame shops.

Eh! Spot o' the ol' RPG? (That was so offensive. Heh heh.)

Hey Thor,

I noticed several RPGamers complain about Square etc. not doing English conversions of Japanese RPGs and having to buy imports. Well, how do you think I feel? I live in England and RPGs are even less popular here than they are in America. Sure, some RPGs are sold here (FFVII obviously, and others are just starting to trickle through like Breath of Fire III) but if I want any new(ish) ones I have to import them from America. (I imported Xenogears).

Eww. I guess we do get things kind of easy in America. Then again, you guys don't have Richard Simmons -- so we're even.

One last question (there is one! and one you've probably never been asked or expected to have asked of you): How much are games in America? I hear they're cheaper than in England (they're about 45 here, sorry I don't know it in dollars) and imports cost even more (about 50-60) and are not found in most shops, especially not RPGs.

-- Graham (yes, a real name!)

Graham? Like the kid in The Young Poisoner's Handbook? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Anyway, PlayStation games here go for about $45-55 dollars, which comes to 27-33. (Hey, what the frag is a Euro? I really have to keep up with current events.)

Next time you think of writing in and complaining about an RPG, just remember poor Graham here has to spend a good $73 per game. Ouch.

And over here we have a shot of Bigfoot!

I was looking at Squaresoft's job listings page (I'm an optimist!) when I came across a most promising tidbit of information. Here's what the page says:
SQUARE is one of the most successful games developers in the world. Our "Final Fantasy" series of role playing games has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and our role play game "Chrono Trigger" has rapidly reached sales of 2 million copies.
The Chrono Trigger series? Could this mean Squaresoft is really planning a sequel? The page is located at http://www.squareusa.com/jobs.html , for those who want to see for themselves. Oh, and other shocking news extracted from the page: The old guy in the FF Movie is probably called Charles. Isn't it exchchitinnng? Does this earn me a sack of dead monkeys?

-- Martin Bergesen

This has been bouncing around forever. (I first heard about it back in August of '98, I believe.) I was hopeful then, but now I've come to realize it doesn't really prove anything. Not that there's no chance of Chrono Trigger 2, in fact I'm still pretty confident Square doesn't totally ignore the anguished cries of its fans... but Square is a large company, and large companies are often really, really fond of buzz words. It wouldn't have sounded half as seductive if they said "this here game called Chrono Trigger". Not quite the same impact, eh?

I'm still hopeful for Chrono Trigger 2, but I'm afraid that really doesn't prove a whole lot. If you need any more convincing that buzz words can... well, lets say smudge the truth some, Chrono Trigger was released four years ago. "Recent"? Yeah. Whatever, Square. :D

Level me up, scotty. (and many more in "Retarded Titles: Volume 5")

Hey Thor,

What's the deal with starting levels? Take for example, Cloud Strife, trained warrior in SOLDIER. He starts at Level 5 or so. Go on a ways into the game, and you reach Cid, who is at the moment rotting in a rusted out tin can he calls a rocket and owning the controlling share of Shin-Ra Tabacco. He starts of at Level 30 or so. What gives? What's so special about Cid (other than being the coolest character in the game) that he's like so high in levels that if Cloud met him straight off, he'd get his little white butt walloped?

And to make things interesting, they throw in Citan (who is also very, very cool). He starts at like level 5. As you aren't finished with the game yet, lets just say he ain't small potatoes in Solaris. WHY'S HE ONLY LEVEL 5?!?!?!

Wonderingly yours,

-- Princess Artemis

I won't argue any logical reasons why Citan started at level 5 and Cid started at level 30, because if there are any, they'll be torn appart at once by bloodthirsty fans who care way too much about plots. I can, however, offer this bit of help: RPGs are games. Sadly, they still have some interactive parts. Hopefully, in the future, Square and other companies will be able to weed out the annoying gameplay and just concentrate on the FMV and slow, slow dialog. Until then, we'll be forced to actually play RPGs. A nasty side-effect of gameplay is that your characters are weak at the beginning of the game, and very strong at the ending, to simpulate a feeling of advancement. Ick!

Hope this didn't come off as too bitter. It's not you -- it's me. Monday's, and all. They're so... painful. Hold me.

Thor 64

I'd say by now I'm pretty familiar with this Verge RPG creation program. I even almost made a game before school rolled in. Anyway, I just had a cool idea for a Thor RPG. First, the classic cheesy plot. Thor gets sucked into an RPG (I dunno Xenogears or something), and he meets up with a character from the game (I dunno Citan or someone) who joins him in his quest to get back to real life. Eventually you move through some ridiculous mode of transportation (Say, an Epoch-esque vessel of some sort) to another RPG world. By the end of the game you are joined by a colorful cast of your favorite RPG characters. (If it was me, I'd be trailed by Citan, Sheik, Poo, Frog, Taloon, Mog, Rei, and some female RPG character who is not taken by a male RPG character). Well, you don't have to post this (just like every other letter of mine you don't post), just write back and tell me what you think.

-- M

Never fear, friend Moo. If ever you feel like your letters aren't being printed, just write one about me and I'll print it lickity split!

Kidding, of course, but cute idea. Hey, I'd play it. And not just for the obvious reasons, I dig VERGE games. Well, that and the obvious reasons. (Say, why not use Maria from FF2j as the female. Just a suggestion. <dreamy sigh>)

Shut yer trap!

You'll just get weirded out if I call you Sexypants, so I'll just say 'hello Thor,' instead.

Trust me, I'm used to it. Far, far too used to it. Ever have a joke be taken way too seriously? Then you know my hell, dude.

I know that there's no way for me to turn them into Magicite, but it would really be nice if I could pound some sort of sense into all of the less clever people who asked Mike about why the cast of FF V was rendered incorrectly. I know not everyone follows the art scene, and not everyone could be in New York for Think Like Amano, but I would imagine that most faithful readers of RPGamer had at least glanced at the Amano art for the Final Fantasy series..... But it would seem that I was wrong.

I, for one, am really glad Square is rendering Amano art for its re-released Final Fantasies. I played FF V PSX from beginning to end with the help of the translations available here (though it's nice to know enough Japanese to not have to constantly be running into the other room to check the computer), and I actually found it more painful that Lena appeared with pink hair than vice-versa.

If you print this letter, or mention it at all, I'd like to officially ask everyone who's interested in Final Fantasy games to do themselves the favor of looking at all the character designs available here--there's no better way to see how the creators intended things back when technology wouldn't allow their visions to translate to the screen. Even if you decide you don't like Amano or the way he does things, at least you won't get confused when you see things rendered. Once FF VI PSX hits in March, I'd really rather not always hear about how Kefka looks effeminate or like a clown (he's a fop--and a damn cool one!), or wondering why Terra suddenly has blonde hair.

That makes two of us...

And on the FF VI side of things, do you predict that there might be full translations that will pop up, (or do you know of any right now?), or will I just have to sit there content with the knowledge that Ted sort of told me what was going on.....?

Regards,

-- Schwa, The Unknowable Letter

Less chance than Clinton has of getting o--what the hell? Acquitted? Gosh darn current events. Anyway, no, there's really no hope right now. At most, you can pray for some rom hacking team to re-translate FFVI. Then again, if you made use of the rom/patch combo you'd be arrested by the Square Global Police and sentenced to "death by Yuffie". (Those SGP guys are really strict.)

A what?

Hey Thor, I just finished Brave Fencer Musashi and I was going to play through the game again, when I noticed something wierd in the intro of the game. Musashi asks for a "Palanquin" just after he is summoned. What the heck is a palanquin? Is it some really odd translation error, or just something I've never heard of?

Thanks, Felix

Shockingly enough, it's not a translation error! A Planaquin is one of those deals you see in movies where a bunch of beefy dudes carry a princess in a cabin supported by poles resting on their well-oiled, muscular shoulders. (Had enough, guys? This is how girls feel during Tifa boob conversations. I rest my case. Heh, heh.)

E-mail addressed to me during the weekend: Know it; fear it.

Hey, Blargdude,

What's with all of these people messin' with Anime-Thor (TM Bad mutha Sexypants, 1999)? Hell, we've seen people put holes in your head, give you one eye, turn you into a vampire, and Odin knows what else... why can't they be like normal Ask Thor readers and put it on their desktop to either admire, envy, or lust after? Are you, like, the anti-patron saint of CG Artists across America or something?

P.S.- You're hella buff, man. Check out Anime-Thor's insane, sculpted jawline. That's a man of action right there.

-- Shot2Hell

Yeap, that's me. Thor Antrim: Man of action. I just happen to have time to spend three to five hours a day and always upload the column before 9:00am. In between all that action, of course. Yeah, man. If anyone's gettin' action around here, it's me. Er...

<ahem> anyway, people edit my drawing because it's fun. I've yet to dislike a hack (except for Ultimate Madness, gaaaah!), and still like gettin' them in the mail. (My favorite so far has got to be the somewhat cheesy but wonderful Sting Thor. See Quickies for the link.)

fnord
(Lufia II spoiler)

Heyo Thor!

I just finished Lufia 2 recently, Which aided me in getting the quote. Its from Lufia 2, after you rejoin Dekar Guy, and Dekar complains about his love life, Guy make a witty remark, and Dekar counters with "My love is my sword!" Anyway, there were a bunch of plot points I just couldn't quite understand, and was hoping that somebody out there knows. One, What exactly is " Arek The Absolute" in comparison to the Sinistrals? Dad? Omnipotent creator/ ruler? Buddy? Third cousin?

I've never had the pleasure/displeasure of playing Lufia II, so I asked my close buddy Snarggsorligoph the Itchy for a little help. (All that praise to Cthulhu really pays off -- these Old Ones know their stuff.)

As far as we know, Arek is a complete mystery. He makes an appearance during the game's introduction (where we are led to believe he is a fellow Sinistral), but he is only mentioned throughout the course of the game. He's a definite loose end, so, who knows, we might see more of him in Lufia III...or we might not. We never learn much about him in Lufia II, so your guess as to his origin is as good as mine.

The other Question concernss the final ending sequence. At the very end, the two balls of light representing Selan & Maxim float off into the sky. So? did they actually survive? Or was that they're spirits or somesuch floating off into the sunset? I would have considered them dead, except everyone in the ending (Guy, Artea, Jeros' Aunt) all seem to think they'll be back. Well, I you don't know or haven't played it, maybe you can post it and someone else might come up with the answer. Thanks a ton.

-- The Fnorder

By the end of the game, Selan is definitely dead, and Maxim dies soon afterwards (making a valiant sacrifice which saves untold lives, the sap.) The ghostly Selan we see later and the two floating orbs of light represent Maxim and Selan's souls, perhaps saying one last goodbye to the world they worked so hard to save before passing on to the afterlife. (You'll see this a lot in stories. Dead characters making little appearances in clouds, dreams, whatever. Even Stephen King's The Stand was guilty of this small pleasure.)

The mentions that their fellow heroes make of them that might lead us to believe are still alive can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. The first way is, of course, that they're hoping against that, against all odds, their friends are still alive. The other way to look at it (and the more logical way) is that Maxim and Selan's physical bodies may have died, but their proud and noble spirits remain...there is a place a because their presence is still palpable. They saved the world, and they are, in a way, the reason for the celebration. In this way, Maxim and Selan's allies are honoring their sacrifice.

...man, for a Hulking Mound of Insanity, Snarggsorligoph is quite eloquent. Whadda fem, heh he -- oww! My arm! Give it back!

Quickies for the whole family

Fnorder also pointed out that in the PC RPG Fallout, you could modify battle difficulty and puzzle/plot challenges. Rock! You know, I think I'm going to pick up Fallout. Sounds a bit like Shadowrun for Genesis... // Zach pointed out that there's a song called the Abyss of Thor in Tales of Phantasia. Cool! // Some dude asked: "Hey Thor, I don't know if you guys have talked about this before, but here goes; How do you pronounce "RPGamer"? Is it 'RP Gamer'? Or 'RPG Gamer'?" RPG Gamer. That's not the way you're supposed to pronounce it, but you asked how I pronounce it, now didn't ya? :D // A crapload of geeks wrote in to defend themselve. What geeks! // IMP wrote: "ENOUGH ABOUT TERI HATCHER!! BLARG!!!" Yeah, sure thing, IMP. Tell you what: You stop eating, and I'll stop talking about Teri Hatcher. Ahh... Teri... // Clouded decided to scare everyone with this Anime Thor Hack, and The Bad Guy appealed to the wrestling fan in all of us with this one. // And finally, David Schneider wondered: "Where the hell did "Sexypants" come from?!" The haunted depths of my own, twisted little mind. Care for a look?

Thor stuff

The Sunday CoS was created but not updated by Mike. Human error or massive cyborg plot? Either way, you'll find it in the archives. Yum.

Watch for flying pigs this week, 'cause RPGamer is finally going to add Castlevania: Symphony of the Night coverage. So... there. Enjoy.

Ugh. It's Monday; I don't feel like saying anything besides boring RPGamer news. I'll be back tomorrow with... something new. Stay tuned, cats and dogs.

- Thor "The only thing that gets me through Monday is Sunday..." Antrim
The bad news: No RPGirls sent me valentines. The good news: Neither did the RPGuys.

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