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Googleshng - March 7 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Today I cut out my middleman mail server, so now when you send me mail, it comes right to me, rather than bouncing through my non-RPGamer mail server. This is a good thing since said non-RPGamer service is notoriously problematic. Case in point, today I just recieved 3 e-mails forwarded to me from Brad last May when he was still here, and some other things, like preview info on Pokémon Gold and Silver. Weird.

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Blast from the Past #1!
Hey Brad,

I just finished Grandia last night, and thought I'd pick your brain about it, seing as you are the all knowing, all seeing RPOracle for the weekend and I haven't seen it discussed much. (If you haven't played it, maybe Goog has?) I can't decide whether I loved it or hated it. Some observations.

1) Is it just me, or was this one of the least challenging RPGs ever? The only sequence that really offered any difficulty was the optional dungeon in the Soldier's Graveyard, and even that wasn't too tough.

2) Didn't the whole storyline drag a bit? I mean, the game took me 75 hours to finish. Maybe I just don't have enough patience. The final ten hours were splendid, moving and beautifully paced, but the nigh-endless series of fetch quests before that was a bit trying. Then again, part of the reason that the end was so interesting is that it built on tidbits scattered throughout the entire game, so maybe I'm guilty of wanting resolution without exposition. Thoughts?

3) Do you know anyone who actualy spent the time to learn Feena's last spell? At 99 Water and 99 Wind? Gimme a break . . .

4) The music and orchestration is the game is glorious. Iwadare-San composed it, right? Did he do any other RPGs besides this and Lunar? Is there a soundtrack CD that's worth purchasing? Did I mention that I loved the music?

5) Did I miss an explanation for Puffy? I mean, a flying puffball with rabbit ears that understands English and doubles as a hair ribbon seems a bit odd, no? I know that Justin's father found him/it on his travels, but was this ever expounded upon?

6) I thought it was intersting that most of the emotional content in the game seemed vested in a few of the female characters. When I think of the most touching scenes (SPOILER ALERT), they all seem to have a female lead. Examples;

- Sue realizes that she's rushing through her childhood too quickly and bids the party farewell.
- Leen sacrifices life and love to buy an opportunity for history to take a new course.
- Feena and Justin express their feelings for each other at Ganbo, surrounded by a glowing swarm of Spirits. (Okay, that at least involves Justin)
- Feena discovers her abilities, and is dismayed by them.
- Lily writes her beautiful farewell note to Justin.
- Liete chooses to take her fate into her own hands rather than simply observing history.

In comparison, the male characters all seemed trite. Justin's memorable scenes mostly involve discovering some new ruin, relic or floating city (with unexplained guardian beasties). I suppose that his relationship with Feena was interesting, and the scene near the end where he's abandoned by everyone is also well done. Rapp shows a bit of emotion in the petrified village, but is otherwise just an adolescent caricature. Gadwin is overly rigid, and his one charged moment is spoiled by the fact that he can't fit through a hole in the wall, then stolen by Feena. Do you concur?

8) Did the ending make sense to you? If Feena and Justin's combined passion for life were to open a new path, why did defeating Gaia simply consist of the party blasting apart a big insect-tree, and Justin breaking apart the shiny stone while Feena watched appreciatively?

9) I liked the combat system a great deal. The three versions of leveling (experience, weapon/sphere of magic, and expertise with each spell or move) were sufficiently complex to hold my interest over he course of the game. I also appreciated the fact that the characters were not interchangable in their combat abilities. Are there any other RPGs with similar mechanics that you can think of?

10) Did Forest Magic have a point? Is is possible to get into a point where it actualy makes sense for Feena to cast Tree of Life? Enquiring ecologists want to know.

11) What sane person at Game Arts listened to the voice acting for Sue's "Rah-Rah Cheer" and thought "Yes! This rocks!"? Just thinking about it makes me shudder. Actually, a lot of the voice acting made me shudder, but that one was particularly vile.

Okay, this was really long. Feel free to edit it or excise chunks for the column. I'm interested to hear what others think about this one.

Sincerely,

-- Galeran

Googleshng:
OK, I agree with just about everything this person said. Grandia is LONG and EASY. Anyway though, there are about 3 non-rhetorical questions in here which I will answer. To my knowledge, the composer for Grandia has not ever worked on a non-Game Arts game. Puffy is, quite simply, yet another entry in the EXCESSIVELY long line of Cute Anime Mascots Who Can Only Make One Sound. More specifically, Puffy is a BLATANT rip-off of Mokona from Magic Knights Rayearth. Not only do they look pretty darn similar, they both just say Puuu! Finally, don't blame Game Arts for Grandia's creepy dub, blame Sony. Actually, while it took me a good hour to find it, I just happen to have what that sounds like in the Japanese version semi-handy! For the record, I actually consider both pretty darn cool.

 
Blast from the Past #2
Hey Brad,

I just bought SaGa Frontier 2 on Friday, so here's a list o' questions for you.

1) In SaGa Frontier 2, I was in the town of Gruegel. If you head Northeast from where you enter, there is a castle gate guarded by someone. When I talked to him once, he said "Bug off" or something to that effect. Later, I came back, and he said "Bug off", and added something like "Oh, you're bothering me. I'll give you this to go away." And a window came up asking me what slot my PocketStation was in. I talked to him again, and the same thing happened, so it's either random when you enter the town, or it's supposed to happen. What exactly does he give you (I don't have an imported PocketStation)?

2) Another SaGa 2 question: What does the + sign mean next to an attribute when you go to the R2 quick menu? The booklet says it's a "Character Property", but the other non-attributes are able to go up in levels.

3) Have you ever pressed select when you play a CD in the PlayStation? I never knew about it until Friday. I think it only works on newer models, though.

I don't remember if you have SaGa Frontier 2, but if anybody could help, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
-1220 "SeaMonkey"

Googleshng:
Various characters in SF2 give you the chance to play a little Pocket Station mini-game. Doing so yields special items. Chances are these help out a bit against the near-impossible last boss. Yet you can't get them without importing. Pluses next to traits just mean that that character is slightly better with those. By the way, that select thing on older playstations is the same as hitting stop rather than a funky light show.

 
Blast from the Past #3
I've only started visiting this site a few weeks ago, but your column is always where I shoot to go first. But, as a new reader, I've gotta ask about this gender thing. Frankly, I couldn't care less about your gender, I'm just curious why people ask about it so much. How did it get started? when did it get started? Why the hell does it matter? Why can't these inquisitive people find lives?
Li-jya

Googleshng:
Well, NOW that's more or less completely died down, but way back around when I first started the column, one day a couple different people sent in letters refering to me with female pronouns (why I was being refered to in the 3rd person to begin with is a good question in itself), so I made a comment on how odd it was for people to spontaniously start refering to me as a girl, which made people think I was a guy, which made people think I was a girl, and so on and so forth for months, then coming up with other weird things, causing the issue to snowball into this big insane debate which was just too funny to kill off myself with any sort of definitive answer. Again though, it eventually died out on it's own more or less... although it took about a year. Anyway though, that's it for the nostalgia trip, now on to the present!

 
Gung-Ho-Guns #4
Dear Google-"Buried alive"-shng,

What's your general feelings on the recent anti-FF6 editorials that have been popping up recently? It's been my favorite Final Fantasy, though I never played much of FF7 or 8, since I never had a Playstation. Now that I have a PS2, I'm trying to catch up on PS RPGs - very difficult, btw. The N64 was much easier to keep up with... # of good rpgs = Ogre Battle 64. (note: haven't played Paper Mario yet either)

I'm looking forward to the GBA, especially with games like Golden Sun and Tactics Ogre Gaiden (one of my favorite series). How bout you?

I don't have a Dreamcast, but I am curious on your opinion of the Record of Lodoss War RPG, which is supposedly being released soon.

I spent my day shoveling yesterday, too. So don't feel alone. The Northeast is with you!

Dink from central Pennsylvania
wcm113@psu.edu

Googleshng:
Hey, if you count the Zeldas as RPGs they're good! Anyway though, I personally don't read the editorials section, but bashing FF6 is never called for. It shows up in more lists of people's 5 favorite RPGs than any other game, and that has to count for something. Anyway though, I am also looking forward to the GBA. In addition to all the cool looking games it's getting, it would also let me finally play all the GBC games I've been wanting to, like Mythri when it finally comes out. Finally, licensed games have a tendancy to suck. I don't like games based on AD&D. The DC Lodoss game is an RPG, licensing something based on AD&D. Unless the two cancel eachother out, I'm a bit apprehensive.

 
Gung-Ho-Guns #5
Dude, I just had this question for you, I swear...

OH! that's right. It's about the 'fish in a cube', is Nintendo making any RPG's for it, I though I read some where that ther weren't, but I can't remember so that's why I'm asking you. Also, if they make an Eva game for it will they think about bring it over since Manga is finally going to release the movies?

"RPGamer, it really whips the llyma's ass!" (Ok, I made that one up, but I like it)

Googleshng:
Hey! Dolphins aren't fish. They're mammals, just like you and me! Ahem, was required to say that by law. Anyway, despite the HUGE overlap between anime fans and RPGamers, there is a major tendancy for companies not to bring over games of any kind based on anime. Anime inspired games? Yeah. Anime based on games? Yeah. Games based on anime? Almost never. Either that or it's just that Banpresto, the company that makes just about every anime based game out there (that isn't by Rumiksoft) has something against the US.

 
Quickies

Hey Goog, just a quick question for ya, is it really true that Super Metroid was based off of a movie? I've never heard of that!
-Chris

Compare the Alien series to the Metroid series. No direct correlation, but you can tell the Metroid games took some SERIOUS inspiration (and a name) from those movies.

"You're worse than the phone company"

Actually, this quote is mine. It's whatæI screamed (minus a few key words) into the phone when i was trying to get my cable modem hooked up.

~~TREIZE~~

Heh. Partial credit.

"I like pizza, Steve" Isn't that from Multiplicity? Also, do you know where I might be able to find the FFIX Plus Soundtrack? Can't find it anywhere.

JustWil

It sure is, and did you check Square's online store or the major soundtrack sites?

Google,
What is your take on the Santee school shooting yesterday?

Any crime where nobody involved is nationally recognized and the perpetrator is caught should never be mentioned in the national news.

The Last Laugh:


You know, I'm amazed how much relevence those ancient letters still held. By the way, the titles on those last two letters are the result of watching WAY too much Trigun in one sitting.


Googleshng "Raabu andu Piisu!" @rpgamer.com
I know what I'm getting Billy for Christmas!

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