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ASK ANDREW
Sexy Sexy January 21st, 2006

Andrew Long - 23:48 EST

I REALLY MUST GET OUT OF THE HABIT of pissing away my Friday column if I ever want to get people to address mail to me. How could I help it, though, when my goal for lo these two years, the completion of the second of two Zelda: Oracles titles was nearly within my grasp? It could not be brooked, it would not be brooked, and it could not be brooked!

So now, I'm just a Minish Cap short of the lot again, and once I finish that I suspect I'll be waiting as feverishly as everyone else for Twilight Princess. I'm also really hoping that my exam schedule doesn't knacker me out of going to E3 this year, because I'm pretty sure whatever Nintendo has there for Twilight Princess will be enough to make me deliriously happy, perhaps even happy enough to ignore the 100-degree temperatures and rotting sewage smell from under the overpass.

Either way, it is clear that Zelda titles continue to have that captivating hold they've maintained on me since I was a wee lad of eight, and will likely do so until I am old, querelous, and... well, I'm already pretty cranky, so I guess I've got that in the bag already. Go me!




L E T T E R S
Randomblings


Hey Matt, (I hope)
ANDREW


Oh, just for that I am so answering this. Damnable adjective-nouns... Just allllways gotta play favourites, don't you...

Hope theyíre right. OK, on to the questions.

Iíve been a UK RPG gamer for a long time, and Iíve noticed an almost complete lack of rpgs being released over here lately. Do you know of any good Rpgs that I could get, as I finally caught up with the backlog and am now stuck playing Warioware infinite times. (!) I own a DS, Gamecube and PS2.
ANDREW


Dragon Quest VIII has been announced for your territory, so if you can stomach another few months of debooging Wario's nose, you should find yourself with that to break up the tedium. Suikoden Tactics and Drakengard are also on their way to your doorstep, all before the end of March, so if you save up a hundred pounds or doubloons or florins or whatever crazy currency you've got going over there, you should be able to game your way to glory all the way to the summer. If, on the other hand, new games aren't your bag, then may I suggest Musashi Samurai Legend, released back in September, and my perennial recommendation, Breath of Fire V, my favorite PS2 RPG by an arm and a leg? Sorry, you didn't really say how old a game you were looking for, so I'm left with the assumption that you either own every PS2 title that has been released in the UK, or else that this phantom backlog contains an indeterminate bunch of games, leaving me quite in the dark as to my suggestions.

Nevertheless, moving on to the Nintendo front, you could grab the GBA Pokémon Emerald, but otherwise, your only DS option of note is Castlevania. The GameCube, meanwhile, is a scorched RPG wasteland. Nothing good grows there, and I regret to inform you that WarioWare is all you will be playing for the nonce.

About the GBA. I owned a gameboy since the day it came out, having scrounged money playing a banjo with my nose in town, and I havenít regretted it since. Thereís loads of great games for it, especially the NES and SNES re-releases. I reckon the GBA still has loads more years left, and if the DS hadnít come out could probably have done quite well against the PSP. J
ANDREW


Mmm... I doubt that very much. Even though the PSP is somewhat fractured in its purpose (the movies, the internet, the mp3s, the other garbage) it is still quite superior to the GBA's technical specs. While the GBA can manage crude rendering of 3D, it really isn't much to write home about, and in another year or two, I would imagine you will see developers really taking advantage of the PSP's capabilities, at which point the GBA is going to look like chopped liver. I'm not suggesting that graphics make the game, of course, but let's face it; graphics do make the sales, and so I don't think the GBA would have had much further use beyond its current status; a dumping ground for niche titles, much the way the PSX became in its final year or so of marginally fruitful existence.

Of course, none of this takes into account either Nintendo's marketing mumbo jumbo or its DS. Nintendo seems convinced that even with the current robust performance of the DS, the GBA will continue to be a hot seller, which, while definitely the case among families that don't have thousands to shell out on video games, is unlikely to hold true over the market on the whole. The GBA Micro was cool and all, but I really don't see it boosting sales enough to prevent the inevitable decline of the handheld. That said, handheld generations seem to be rather longer than those of consoles, so it will take some time yet for the GBA to die off entirely, especially with Nintendo resolutely kicking the horse for every last penny.

Also, can you please stop discussing DQVIII and the FFXII demo! Youíre driving me insane with longing for either of those gloriously luscious, shiny new gamesÖaaaaargh! Iíve considered importing, but thatíll mean getting a new NTSC ps2 or getting my one chipped (Which I donít approve of cos Iím a good boy, like you ^_^)

Thanks, (from the UK!!!)

SophamaticalDeath
(donít bother trying to find out what it means)


ANDREW


As I have to this point discussed neither, I hereby resolve to comply with your wishes. Let it not be said that weekend Q&A holds nothing for you! In any event, as always I will leave this for Matt to answer (or not) as you have requested that so kindly. Who knows - he might even fire some different recommendations at you, or believe in the poor little GBA!


An ideas man! Olivia Chow would swoon


For those looking for a game to play, they should check out RPGamer's list of games that do not have a sequel and of course, those that have sequels. There's bound to be something worth playing that you haven't played yet and have the hardware for.
ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Flamethrower. Your PSA skillz are madder than madd.

On that note, why does the list of games that have sequels include Azure Dreams, Magical Vacation, and Magna Carta: Tears of Blood? All of these do not have sequels. Who is the right person to contact about these mistakes? I am mistaken? There are others on the list like Baten Kaitos which have announced sequels, but their sequels have not yet been released. I can understand those being on the "Series" games list as a place holder.

Flamethrower


ANDREW

You are mistaken in the cases of both Azure Dreams and Magical Vacation, which were indeed recently saddled with announced DS sequels. Magna Carta, meanwhile, will be serialized in Xbox 360 form, completing your leap-before-you-look trifecta (there was also a prequel if you're keeping score at home). upcoming.html. She is your friend. Love her. Use her. She likes it.



Ah yes, but without the weird questions where would we be? In a world without weird questions, that's where!


hey there Castomel,

Watching that clip you linked to from some school play got me to wondering somethings, so here's my question to you

Has there been any RPG or scene from an RPG that you'd like to see a school play rendition of?

Arros Raikou
*Has no idea where the weird questions come from*


ANDREW

Well, of course the opera from FFVI would be sort of fun to see, though its chances of making it through a school play unscathed seem relatively scanty at best. Even so, it seems the best suited to that sort of thing, since it's meant to be performed on a stage and all. Other scenes that would be kinda fun though? I dunno. Not too many games are very conducive to school plays. I guess you could doctor some of the scenes in FFVIII, or any number of regrettable love sims, but beyond maybe trying to do Disgaea cutscenes, I can't think of much.



Lalala 3845... the thievery number


Ok, trying not to stray too far from our realm, what are your current favorite non-RPGs? I've been on a huge Metal Gear Solid kick recently. I've hardly touched my growing RPG collection, but I need to get back to them.

Also, what non-RPG game do you think could transition over to the RPG genre or which would you like to see try?

Forever yours,
Macstorm
--
Life is the future, not the past.


ANDREW

Ah, MGS, my most hated game of always. My recent gaming has largely been limited to online poker, at which I am mediocre at best. I always tend to take crafty betting personally, which leads to unfortunate decisions and many lost hands. It's a good job I don't actually play for money, or I'd likely be in hock up to my eyeballs right now. Oh, wait; I'm in hock up to my eyeballs anyway. Thank you, forever degree!

And then there's the RPG crossover gambit. Personally I am most wary of such attempts, simply because they generally get it either very basic or very wrong, neither of which being something I care to spend much time with. Nevertheless, I shall answer your question, and verily. So, on that note, let's say... oh, I dunno, Metroid. I like Metroid!



...Ann? Man, remind me why I hired you...


Dear Ann,

What is the significance of the dancing shopkeepers in Secret of Mana and Seiken Denetsu 3? And may I use them to pick my teeth in public?
Yours with thanks,
Head-Spinning in Ottawa


ANDREW

I assume they dance because it looks cool. That and it gives them a vaguely Arabic appearance, which I can only imagine is what the game designers were aiming for. You have to remember, the character design in Seiken Densetsu seems heavily flavoured by psychotropic drugs, with an unfortunate side of eastery cuteness to boot. The only game that managed to achieve a saturation level of pink that didn't make me want to go cut the heads off some Barbie dolls was Secret of Mana, coincidentally the only one in the series I've ever truly enjoyed.

Seriously, pink is a great colour and all, but too much gives me nightmares, honest.



And speaking of Secret of Mana, here's some king-sized spoilers


Dear Matt

Could the quote, "I am matter... I am antimatter... I can see your past... I can see your future... I consume time... And I will consume you!" even fit on your title bar? That must be the longest quote you guys ever put up there on the title bar for the RPGamer homepage. Although I couldn't see all of it, I instantly recognized it as Culex's opening line from Super Mario RPG, as he's one of my all time favorite RPG bosses ever. His crystals were tough, he himself looked awesome, there was a limit on the number of turns you had to beat them, the battle and victory music made me nostalgic for FFIV, and it was one of the few battles in the game that could legitimately be considered really hard.
ANDREW

You are correct, sirrah. Please enjoy your tilde: ~

MMM... CRISP SECRET OF MANA SPOILERS

Um, you kill Flammie at the end of Secret of Mana? It's been a long time since I've last played the game, and I was really young when we beat it. But from what I recall, towards the end, you learn that the kind of dragon that Flammie is, has actually evolved from the Mana Beast of ancient times, hence the Mana Beast's resemblence to Flammie and his kin. *spoiler* I think it was something about the Mana Fortress that awakened the Mana Beast from wherever it was for all these past centuries. It, being the last Mana Beast in existence, was summoned to the Mana Fortress in order to restore mana to the world, since that is the nature and purpose of Mana Beasts, except doing so would cause it to grow so powerful that it would destroy the world, hence the reason you fight it. I don't think the Mana Beast that you fight is the same Flammie that carried you around the world, but as I said, it's been long time since I last beat the game, so maybe I'm wrong afterall.

Alan


ANDREW

My impression of that mana beast was that all the mana beasts merged together to form a giant mana beast, so that when the hero killed it, that effectively killed off magic in the world. Thus, even if Flammie somehow escaped this giant Katamari of destruction, the anti-magic gambit would have done for him. Alas, poor Flammie... Your ridiculous theme music was a beacon unto us all. Duhnuhnuhnuhnuhnuh - BLAH! indeed.



Unfit for Print


Dear Strong Bad,

I am an idiot. Can you explain the Grandia III battle system to me slowere (with diagrams if possible) It sounds turn based-which is good. It sounds like FFX's battle system-which is nice. I am a vampire and


ANDREW

Did you really expect this to end up anywhere else? Now cmon, give me some evidence you can function at the level of a rudimentary blob of slime and perhaps I'll answer you. Until such a time, go away.





q u i c k i e s


Dear

I've been glancing over this e-store all day and I am sure it's a haven for shopping!
Love always,
yeina

ANDREW:Okay, I admit, too much spam in the quickies can be a bad thing. But geez - Yeina and Broderick(there was a whole other bit that I cut off addressed to this guy)? At least choose names that sound like... names.
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well then. It rather looks like it's time to go, so for tomorrow, I expect plenty of letters. Alas, I can think of nothing to inspire any particular discussion, so we will be forced to stick with the trusty old fallback - BEARS!

Wait, that's not my trusty old fallback at all. Well, let's go with this one. I liked FFVII a whole lot, but I thought FFVI was a big ball of poo. Discuss.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is observing the snowfall outside with some distaste, as earlier today it was t-shirt weather.

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7 degrees...Now that's warm!

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