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   Dedication  
Googleshng - November 16 '00- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

FF9 is sitting in my PSX. Eternal Skies of Arcadia is sitting in my Dreamcast. 4 tapes of Slayers I have never seen are sitting on the floor. I only had two hours each with these two games before coming over to do this column. Just enough time to get a taste of the mechanics so I can answer your questions. Now, if anyone ever accuses me of making up excuses when columns are late or suck again, I think we can all agree I'm more than justified in unleashing a horde of rabid wombats upon them.

Now then, FF9 is great. Great great great great great. It's like an actual new FF game, as opposed to 7 and 8. Plus it has more freaks in the world than CC. Really the whole game looks way too much like Labrynth and the Dark Crystal for it to be coincidental. A good thing. You know what though? I'd be perfectly happy to leave it untouched until I finish SoA. It's that good.

Finally, tomorrow, the new weekend guy will be guest hosting, giving a nice transition for his taking over. Despite mentioning that he exists all week, people are still begging me for the job.

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Skies of Arcadia
BUY IT NOW!
Musical redundancy
Something for your column, perhaps...

Playing through FFIX, I noticed that one of Uematsu's march themes from FFVIII is reused in this game. Personally I think this is a little odd, but if it isn't broke, don't fix it, I guess... Reusing old tunes like that isn't terribly new, and if you've ever played Legend of Legaia (God forbid... consider that a warning from someone who actually bought it), you might have noticed that the main theme for one of the characters is the funeral theme from Alundra. Copied verbatim, every note. I cracked up when I heard it.
If you're actually up right now, go to bed.

-Nij

Googleshng:
I noticed that as well. I suppose it's only fair. In the two hours I played for I noticed new renditions of the classic bridge crossing theme, traditional sounding battle music, it's only fair that the new ones get included too. You mean 7 not 8 though I believe.

 
Abilities
Hey Goog,

Sorry ya not feelin' well. seems to be going around! =/

Anyways, as everyone else probly, I have an FF9 question. Don't worry though, it won't have any spoilers.

I just want to know if, when you assign magic crystals to something, and get enough AP to "learn it", do you have to keep magic crystals on it in order to use it. Because, on items, once it's "learned" you have it for life, but is that the same on magic crystal abilities (support abilities I think theyre called)

I even got suckered into buying the strategy guide (...it came with a free mem card -_- ) and it doesn't say.

Thanks-
Styder

Googleshng:
FF9 has blissfully simple mechanics. It also has instructions which say on page 1 that you don't need them, and a little pamplet saying you don't need a strategy guide, but if you feel you do, they have one on playonline for free. Hitting select is a handy thing. Anyway though, it's simple. Every piece of equipment has an ability a certain character can use. If they have that equipped, they can use it. Plus, if they were it for a while, you can toss the equipment and still be able to use the ability. Reminds me of FF5's mechanics. Anyway though, to answer your question, whether you've learned a support ability or not, you still have to allocate crystals to it.

 
Weirdness
Sir Googlyooglyooglylot,

Yo Budman! I gots ya some questions about FF9 and RPGMakerrrrr!
  1. In FF9, can you get the little coca-cola circle? If so, wouldn't that be amazingly cool? I wonder what kind of damage it'd do. Probably a lot.
  2. Which is your favorite character in FF9, eh? EH? How about in Skies of Arcadia (sucky name... shoulda stuck with Eternal Arcadia... means almost the same thing in Japanese anyhoo)
  3. Will you marry me, if you're a woman, and be my best bud, if you're a man?
  4. Oh yeah... What numbers do you reccomend to start characters off with in stats in RPGMaker... I had mine set to mid 50's and my characters kept killing off the monsters in no time flat?

~The Big K
The hoopiest frood RPGamer has ever seen!

Oh... the answer to the third is no, and the fourth is between one and five, with three average. Only go above that if you want a really ultra powerful character like whatsisface in FFT.
Silky

Googleshng:
I know some odd people. Obviously the answer to the first question is no, and the second, you answered the fourth yourself. As for a favorite character, obviously Vivi. You can't beat a black mage. In SoA... so far I suppose the main character. That's such a spiffy way to wear a monicle.

 
Arcadia
So, you have Skies of Arcadia huh? I really don't know very much about it, so can you give me a general overview?
- Information Station updater Andrew P. Bilyk, aka "Aegis"

Googleshng:
The setting of SoA is very interesting for starters. It's like the elemental plane of air from AD&D. Nothing but air with some stuff floating in it. No ground below. People build towns on floating chunks of rock. Towns therefore are quite small on average relative to most modern games. Bigger towns have bridges or ropes slung over to other big rocks. Natural features of the world include constantly present storms, reefs made from countless small floating boulders, and so on. So naturally, airships are the primary form of transportation, and, in keeping with the 1800s level of technology, pirates abound... as do creatures that would be right at home in Larry Niven's Integral Trees. As far as the game mechanics go, there are two kinds of fights. The normal variety work like most RPGs but with a few noteworthy differences. All spells cost just 1 MP. They cost varying amounts of SP however, which comes from a pool shared by all your characters that regenerates a little each round. Characters also have special moves costing no MP, but lots of SP, and it's possible to spend a turn charging the SP meter. Furthermore, each round, you can change the elements of your weapons, which effects monsters based on elemental strengths and weaknesses, and effects what kind of spells you will learn. The other kind of combat is ship to ship, where each character gets an action per round, in whatever order you want, doing things like casting spells on the ship itself, taking evasive manuvers, or firing any of the many many weapons. A few other factors figure in, like making instant choices (for example, manuvering behind the enemy ship), and having rounds start with you in a superior position to attack. Highly strategic. On top of all that, it has some really interesting dungeons. So, in short, BUY IT NOW.

 
FF9
Say, since FFIX isn't coming out here for a long time coming, and it's been mostly smothered by Square's lockdown on news, what's the deal, considering you Americans got it already? What can I actually expect out of it? A little overview I could use. :)

Mistress Nightshadow

Googleshng:
OK, the stuff everyone knows first: it looks like Jim Henson did the graphics. It has a fantasy setting. 4 characters in your party at a time. The crystals are back. Now for some lesser known features. If you're standing next to, say, a bed with 300 Gil under it, the little hand pointing at your character will turn into an eclaimation point. This makes it much easier to find little objects to obsess over, and I believe can be turned off. The mechanics are an awful lot like FF5's to me. Each character has a different class. Each piece of equipment, aside from normal features, contains some sort of ability. For example, casting fire, counter attacking, etc. Only one character can use each of these abilities. More importantly, while they are equipped, you gain AP. With enough AP, you learn the abilities from your equipment, and then get to keep them after taking it off. Abilities basically fall into two categories. Actions, like spells, and support abilities, like countering. Only a certain number of support abiities can be equipped at a time, by allocating points to them. However, these points go up as you gain levels, so eventually you can get all kinds of snazzy powers, while keeping fixed unique classes. Oh, and it has so much nostalgia crammed in everywhere. The beginning is like the Opera House.

 
More on VP
Hey Goog,
About Seal Rating, here is how it goes. Sending a a character up gets you plus 12. That is, I believe, the only way to increase it. Now to decrease, there are many. Not wearing ring during Sacred Phase is minus 2, going to the small meadow is -10, talking to Brahms in his castle is -10, recruiting Lucian is -18, recruiting Mystina is -14. Oh yes, and seeing the little event in Gerabellum where Clair throws a rock at Valkyrie nets you another minus 10. Note that to get the best ending, you must have sent Lucian up by the end of chapter five, AND have less than 37 seal rating at the end of chapter 6. Hopes this helps.
Thomas

Googleshng:
I think that's just about everything there is to be said on the subject of the seal rating. 8)

 

The Last Laugh:


Don't really have any quickies. I thought I was kidding when I said nobody would be reading yesterdays column, but I had to go shake people up for letters today. Anyway, tomorrow I'll be here with a new special friend to answer any questions you might send.


Googleshng "´´´´´ODDQUOTE´´´´´" @rpgamer.com
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