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Rob Hamilton - August 03 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Without much to say up here, I'll but to the chase and introduce (again) Falcon, in his last appearance in the chain-guest scheme Goog has started a number of times.

Falcon - Yesterday's column raised a bit of speculation as to the source of my nickname; it stems from my picking "Falcon" as a callsign when first playing Wing Commander more than actual interest in falconry. That's a hard hobby to undertake when you live on the outskirts of a city with multiple small dogs in the neighborhood. Anyway, on to the column.

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Halitosis

Hey Chimpanzee! =)

It's great that BoF 1 and 2 will be released on the GBA, in the coming future. Now, BoF 3 was a great game, with a dozen plot twists to keep you satified, BoF 4 (which I'm currently playing) is decent, but I don't think it matches it's crudentials to the other two, in comparism. My question is to you, why do you think the BoF series became so successful, knowing that Capcom developed this rpg series. Keep in mind, this is pretty much Capcom's pride and joy, when it comes to the rpg concept for their company.

Falcon:
Well, I can't speak as one who enjoys the BoF series, as I played halfway through the first and got incredibly bored. I also haven't known it to be all that popular over here. However, I can think of reasons it would be successful in Japan; it follows lots of little in-series traditions, has a (sort of) constant plotline, tries to improve upon a proven formula, etc.

Come to think of it, that last one pretty much sums up Capcom's philosophy in everything, given that they come out with a truly new game roughly once a decade. There's a reason they're not known for RPG's. ^_^;


Chimerasame:
Well, I haven't noticed it as incredibly successful, nor have I seen it as particularly boring, to disagree with two different points made... aside from that, though, I can give one reason for its limited success on North American shores. Who translated the first Breath of Fire game? :) Yes, Square, to which 80-90% of the west hemisphere's RPG-playing community is devoted. (Or, at least, was at the time.) Now, this isn't to say the series lacks merit--it's fairly good. But I've never found it outstanding. My favorite, Breath of Fire II, is full of flaws, mainly in translation.

 
This sentence has five words.

ok.

1. Where can I find the lyrics (in Latin) to "One Winged Angel"?
2. Why can't Square burn CDs right? I do it all the time ;)
3. I was looking forward to DW3 on GBC, even though I've never played that series before it looked kinda cool. But then I heard that it was one of those REALLY old-school games where you have to mindlessly level up for 10 hours before advancing to the next area? Is this true? (Don't mean to sound too new-school though, I love all the SNES RPGs)

Thank you for your time.

-Bill, the Mecha Master

Falcon:
1. GameFAQs.com. It's a wonderful thing. Click here ; it's in Sailor Bacon's FAQ.
2. You'd think that since they've been doing it for years, it wouldn't be that hard... I'm seriously rethinking getting games on release dates now because of recent problems in that area.
3. Yes, I believe it involves a fair amount of leveling (What game didn't back then?)


Chimerasame:
1. ...ehem. RPGamer also has it. :)
2. Coasters are so popular, they decided to charge game prices for them.
3. There's some levelling in it, but not nearly as much as, say, DW1.

 
Inversion reversion

This isn't a question, I know, but I remember reading in the column a while back that by flipping your PlayStation upside down, the discs in FFChronicles worked fine. I had a friend of mine test FFTactics (the rerelease) and apparantly that made it work... Needless to say, he was happy, so I thought I'd spread the word again. The process works just fine with both FFC discs, too.

ASV

Falcon:
Interesting. I was always a little wary of turning it on its side / turning it upside down when I briefly had a PSX. I wonder if there's some sort of trick to make the FFT rerelease work with a PS2 as well?


Chimerasame:
You have to pull the PS2 into the fourth dimension and turn it around, then put it back, creating a complete mirror image of a normal PS2. You know, if you do that with milk, it makes you unable to digest it! (Even if you could before!)

 
Disparate definitions

Hey Chime, (kinda gross but anyways...)

Just thought I'd let you know exactly what chime is... well, not EXACTLY what it is, but at least provide some explanation for my choice. Okay, here goes: chime is the liquid concoction of bile released from your gull bladder mixing with the already reduced substances from your stomach in the small intestine... in other words, liquid **** before the water is absorbed out of it. Mmmmmm, I'm hungry.

K, question time: Do the characters from Saiyuki strikingly resemble Dragonball characters or is it just me? I mean, Son Goku, Gohan??? Even their were-forms look like saiyans! So what are the translated names for Gohan and Goku then? One more: Is FFC worth it if I have the original cartridges in working condition? Later

Element

Falcon:
Um... thanks for the tidbit.

To answer your question, Saiyuki is based on the same legend that Dragonball / DBZ is loosely based on; that's why Goku from legend appears as a character. I'm assuming more names familiar to Dragonball fans will show up. What I'm wondering is, will Dragonball fanboys buy the game simply because the name Goku shows up?

And regarding FFC; I'd say no, simply because FFIV isn't worth $40. FFIV is a pretty marked improvement over the original US release; Chrono Trigger, however, would be immensely more fun on cart due to the nonexistent load times.


Chimerasame:
Actually, it's "a percussion instrument consisting of vertical metal tubes of different lengths that are struck with a hammer." While your definition might also work in highly specialized fields, I think you're reaching just a bit, there. :) The new translation of FF4, as well as the chance to play hardtype, is very cool -- if you liked the original game. If so, it's probably worth it if you haven't otherwise played hardtype. If you didn't especially like it, then don't bother.

 
This sentence is seven words long.

I found this info on Hoshigami on www.ign.com. I think this might clear up the questions about it's relation to FF Tactics. The exact link so you can read the whole article is right here :

http://adserver.ign.com/html-ng/size=unicast&network=ign&site=psx

"MaxFive's Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth has a bit of a checkered history (its release delays have taken on Working Designs-esque proportions), but if you like your role-playing of a strategic sort, it looks like an excellent entry in the genre -- its striking resemblance to Final Fantasy Tactics (despite the recent quashing of rumors that directly related the two games' development teams) can only be a good omen. At the very least, Atlus has seen some merit to the game, and will bring it to the US once it's finished - tentatively, we'll see it this fall."

I'm looking forward to this game, it should be cool.

Sam

Falcon:
I'm looking forward to Hoshigami as well. I've been waiting for a game, any game, to come close to FF Tactics in pure fun, difficulty and strategic thinking, but I've been sorely disappointed. This one at least looks promising. I just wish people would stop going on about what people are working on it; games are about the games themselves, not all about the companies/teams who make them.


Chimerasame:
Yep, yep, Hoshigami looks cool. I wonder if it'll generate the hours and hours of fun that Tactics did simply by having a poor translation... I have a mediocre feeling that it won't. Darn good translations!

 
Possible FFT spoilers

Hey Chimerasame,

Seeings as we are on a FFT wave, I just thought i would throw in my 2 cents about the actual gameplay itself. Just a short question, for you, and anyone who has finished the game out there. Was it just me, or was fighting the end boss of the game the most simple battle in all of RPG history? The Guy didnt even get one hit off. Just got to use that spell that poisions me ( I can't remember exactly what it does) but thats it. I just was wondering if you found it just as simple, and thus, un-challengeing.

Thanks alot.

Kainage.....

Falcon:
Um, no? If you had that easy of a time with Altima, you must have been a heck of a lot higher level than I was. And lucky, too; Grand Cross never settled for poison against me; it always went for confuse, berserk, stone, frog, fun stuff like that. Altima only had about 3,000 HP, so if you were doing 999 damage with people (say, using Holy, Holy Sword moves or Two Swords), the battle would have been short. Try taking her on at level 35-40 and see if there's a difference in difficulty. Or maybe try not using Gamebreaker Orlandu. Altima shouldn't be that much of a cakewalk.

And if you want the simplest battle in RPG history, go play Final Fantasy VIII. Fight any boss, up to and including the last. There you go. Or perhaps one-hit kill undead bosses in Final Fantasy (insert number here). The list goes on and on...


Chimerasame:
Or, try beating her with a straight class party. Before going to Igros castle, get everybody to a single class, say, for instance, Knight. You can only use the abilities available to Knights for all five characters, and they all have to remain the Knight class for the rest of the game. You can choose which class is the standard, though.

 
That sound, running about the ends of the world

Utena rules.
$$Vash$$ (Why won't Google answer any of my letters?)

Falcon:
Sorry, I prefer my anime to make at least some semblance of sense. Tried Escaflowne or Saber Marionette J?

As for your letters not getting answered, I probably wouldn't answer two word letters either, but I'm not in charge here.


Chimerasame:
Semblance of sense? Heh, you're missing some of the best shows! Furi Kuri, Excel Saga.. the list goes on.
I found it interesting, this letter proclaimed to have been sent by a Kay Wynn. Could that be any relation to Kai Winn, the religious leader of Bajor? Does Chim think too much about this sort of thing? Will T.R. find out that A.D. killed his brother Q.X. with the help of ..? All this and more, on the next "Admiral Hospital!"

 
Common large multiparter

Hey Chimera (or to whom this may concern),

I was wonder, what do you think of the bad luck that's been happening to Square? I dunno, I think that maybe this company may have to ditch Sony. I mean, look at all the changes that's been happening to them lately...

1. Their MOST talented staff (along with freelancer Yasunori Mitsuda) have broken off to become Monolithsoft. That leaves them with their current programmers, Nobuo Uemtasu for music, and Nomura Tetsuya for design (both in my opinion, are very inferior in their repectivre fields to Mitsuda and Yoshitaka Amano).

2. The Final Fantasy Movie bombs. And it will in Japan too. Look at this, every single Final Fantasy, even the FIRST one for the NES, has outsold Japanese sales in America. Therefor, the American success is going to be their biggest success, if you could cll it success. No faith in the movie at all.

3. Just about all their recent Playstation releases have been defective, getting a lot of bad rep, and being returned. Seemingly, they need a new meduim than PSX/PS2 discs.

4. With Nintendo making its biggest revolution in their history, it looks like they'll dethrone Sony of the video game empire... and quickly.

The way I figure... and I've been around to follow Square since King's Knight, Square should jump again on Nintendo's bandwagon, start hiring Amano for more designing... otherwise I feel the great giant is going to suffer a downward spiral. No two ways about it.

For a couple of years, Square has lived off of name alone than actual quality... that time is over... now they gotta do that moronic thing called "thinking" if they wanna please their fans with some quality products. What do you think?

- Elranzer

Falcon:
1. I really don't get the fanboy push for Mitsuda over Uematsu. Both of them are fair composers; however, by and large, Uematsu produces music that is less repetitive, better mood-fitting and is easier on the ears than Mitsuda. Go back through the Chrono Trigger and Cross and Xenogears soundtracks, then look through the Playstation FF's. Notice anything? As good as the music Mitsuda produces usually is, you're going to be hard pressed to find a track that doesn't repeat every 45 seconds to a minute. Uematsu tends more toward 1:10 - 1:45 as a repeat range. Uematsu's music is also more complex; take, for example, Final Fantasy VII's battle music against Xenogears' battle music. FFVII's frequently has three, four and five different lines playing at once, making it more fun to listen for new instruments each time. Xenogears's starts with two and never develops past a horribly repetitive trumpet line, a horribly repetitive bass line, and a horribly repetitive string line. The same applies for FFIX's boss battle music against Chrono Cross's boss battle music. This isn't just an isolated thing; it happens almost across the board. Another plus for Uematsu, in my book, is his more frequent use of major keys, which are easier to listen to. Mitsuda's all-too-often minor keys and dissonant tones just aren't very pleasant.

As for character design, I fail to see anything but pasty white anorexic sicklings in Amano's "designs". Someone else has to flesh those out. Nomura's at least stay true to his original vision. I also get the feeling people knock Nomura simply because of FFVIII; don't knock the designer who made their general look and feel, knock the people who failed to develop the characters. That's where the problem was.

2. The FF movie did bomb. Why? Most people saw the name, heard it was based on a game, then didn't go because "I wouldn't know what was going on." This is because the media failed to report that the movie was "based" on a game in name and style only, not in actual continuity. The Japanese, however, have more understanding of this since RPGs are more a part of their culture than they are here. I think the movie will do a lot better over there than it did here.

I also believe your claim of every FF outselling Japan here is incorrect. To my knowledge, the first one sold more in Japan than here.

3. Considering that they've all but ditched the PSX as of... what, eight months ago, "all their recent releases" translates to "Xenogears re-release, FFT re-release, and FF Chronicles". If you extend it to the last year, you add in Vagrant Story and FFIX, which had no problems. Now, I haven't heard of any problems regarding Xenogears, I believe FFC had a way of making things work as long as you had a PSX/PS2 instead of a PS1, and the FFT rerelease hasn't been out long enough yet to discover if there's a widespread quick fix like there was for FFC. Sounds like human error on the production line, in any case. And if you're suggesting they need a new medium... what do you want them to do, develop for the N64 or Dreamcast? All three of the other next-gen consoles use DVD, so there'd be no functional difference in burning the discs. Your point is moot.

4. GameCube is a revolution? *looks at the titles previewed at IGN* Wow. A bunch of sports games, lots and lots of mindless sequels, and two, maybe three true original games. Looks like a real revolution to me. Sounds about like every Nintendo system made since NES, really.

So, what you're really saying is you're a fan of the good old days of the SNES, when sequels were fresh, and you want to go back. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but that's a pipe dream. Things change; if you don't like it, tough. And don't think I'm some "new-school sux0r" gamer who's just saying that; that's a life lesson, not just a petty gaming squabble.

I have to agree that, in the past year, Square has been selling off name. You expected any less from them after earlier this year they announced that this will be the "Year of Final Fantasy", and *blatantly* stated that they would exploit the FF name? If you want them to do any original thinking, wait until the Year of FF ends, and maybe you'll get it. If their sales fall off. Money talks, after all.


Chimerasame:
There's not a lot more I can add here. Uematsu is good, Mitsuda is good. Uematsu has written a lot more stuff, at least that I've heard, but on average Mitsuda's music is generally better quality... backgrounds fleshed out with more complex beats, and whatnot. Quantity or quality? Uematsu doesn't lack quality tunes, I enjoy a lot of his stuff, but in my opinion, XG's sountrack was much better than FF7's, and a bit better than FF8's. Creid, furthermore, might be the single CD I own with the best overall music on it. That's simply my opinion, though.

 
Super Xenofighter II Hyper Turbo Alpha

I was actually quite shocked to find out you didn't like the battle system in Xenogears. I know it wasn't perfect, but it's one of my favorites in turn-based RPGs. (My favorite in any RPG would have to be Tales of Phantasia.) So I was wondering, what game's battle system do you like the best?

Iaach Captain

Falcon:
I liked the battle system in Xenogears more because it kept things fresh by swapping up every now and then than for any of its other qualities. As for favorite battle system? Even though I'm only about 7 hours into the game, Grandia II is far and away number one on that front. It's simply wonderful; for once a system that requires actual thinking and strategy to use! Lunar: SSSC's was sort of similar, but too limiting; Grandia II's enabling multiple actions to go off at the same time made things fun to pull off and tremendous fun to watch.


Chimerasame:
I didn't have extraordinary problems with the battle system itself--more the redundancy of the enemies you encounter. With the battle system itself, my minor problem lies not with the innovation but with the lack of effect of the innovation. I can make seven low-power attacks, or three mid-power and a low-power, or a seven-attack combo... in the long run, it doesn't make much difference. The combo does a little more damage than the others, but it's not too significant--and then you run into the fact that there's little difference between all the various combos. With practice on an enemy, I could control whether I did 140 or 150 damage per turn... against an enemy with 200 hit points.



Quickies

The Last Laugh:

Well, in all likelihood, that's it for me, since I've been promised a copy of Valkyrie Profile. If anything I've said has sparked an interest in conversation, drop me a line at falcon815@hotmail.com, and I'd be happy to discuss things with you. I like talking about games almost as much as I like playing them, which has made this a lot of fun. Thanks to RPGamer, Google, and Chimerasame for the opportunity and for being easy to work with.
Oh, and if you're interested in game fan fiction, there's a nice original Suikoden fic in progress here. So long, and thanks for tuning in. Falcon out.
    - Aaron "Falcon" Bolner


With a short introduction, I should probably make a long conclusion to balance it out somehow. I doubt I will, though, I need to wake up fairly early tomorrow... you're lucky! You don't have to read more of me! Scarmiglion, who you may remember from a while back in editorials, will be returning for a bit to host a column tomorrow, so send him good letters! He knows stuff about FF9.

(Utena really does rule, too.)     - Chimerasame

Chimerasame "Bye, everybody!" @rpgamer.com
Bye, Doctor Nick!

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