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ASK MATT
Time To Rev It Up January 18, 2006

Matt Demers - 18:01 EST

I SHOULD CLEAN. It's not like the place is "dirty"; it's just messy, and I've been too lazy to do anything about the encroaching mass of gradually accumulating junk. My life is kind of like a messy room in that respect... homework builds up for my classes until it reaches critical mass and I'm forced to do something about it, and stacks of unplayed games remain untouched until they're in danger of falling over like that Pisa tower thing. Heck, I don't even shower until my cat refuses to come anywhere nea-and now I'm exaggerating. Or am I? Well, I must confess; I don't have a cat.

I guess I'll leave that lovely enigmatic thought to you; scaring everyone away is the first step in my new secret plan to one day rule the earth. My plan does not remove me from the responsibility of producing more Q&A columns, though, so I'm afraid you're stuck with me for now.

(In all truth, I'm really don't possess that wrathful of an odour, but that doesn't mean that my dreadful dreadfulness won't be felt by all one day. ONE day.)




L E T T E R S
Does anyone remember the puzzles in that one Lufia 2 tower?? I remember getting so frustrated trying to solve them... maybe I was just too dumb


What's up Matt,


Matt

Yo yo dawg. What's happenin'? Sorry, the premiere of American Idol was on tonight, so I've got a small amount of Randy flowing through me... I apologize.

Well, recently, I decided to break down and finally purchase Wild Arms Alter Code F from Amazon.com (along with Shadow of Colosus and Big O II series!). I figured that I must really be missing out on a great game series seeing that the said series is already at its Vth (hehe, just had to do it) installment. I did played the original Wild Arms a looong time ago, but I think I got stuck at a dungeon puzzle or something. Actually, I was convince that the game was messed up, preventing me from solving the puzzle or something, but that may be my pride talking because I hate admitting when I cannot solve things

Matt

Oh, come on-- you're not an experienced RPGamer until you've been stuck at least five times at some point, so you have a long ways to go. Try playing Lufia II; last time I did, I ended up totally stuck at some of the puzzles later on in the game, and damn, I'm not ashamed to admit it! Chrono Cross also had me really mystified for awhile, mostly because I could never figure out where in the worlds to go.

Anywhoo, this has caused me to maybe reconsider other games that are part of a popular series that I should play. You know, I think I may try my hands at Shikoden II (I proably spelled it wrong, if so sorry). I played the first one and wasn't impressed with the 108 different type of characters or what not, but I hear the second one was so much better. What is your take on the game (if you ever played it)?

Matt

Suikoden. With a "u". I pronounce it "SWEE-ko-den", myself, but I don't really know if that's the prim and proper way of doing it. My ex-roommates used to say "suh-KOY-din", but I'm pretty sure that's very wrong.

And no, I haven't played it, but a lot of people out there would heartily coddle your idea there; Suikoden II was a pretty popular game, and it still is, from the sounds of it. It's really a shame that PSP remake appears to be staying far away from North America.

Also, are there game series that you haven't played yet or paid much attention to that seems popular to other people? If so, are you tempted to try said series?

Matt

This is the story of an RPGamer's life, my friend! Firstly, I'd say that Suikoden is a big one, if you haven't picked up on that already. Besides that though, I asked for and received Wild Arms: Alter Code F for Christmas, because I hadn't tried the series out before, so I've already been tempted (with success). Another series that I have little experience with is the Tales of etc. series; I've only dabbled a bit in Tales of Symphonia awhile back, and I'd really like to get to know that series a bit better.

Oh here is one more Q's for you. What is your favorite rpg party in a game? My personally is a tied between Chronotrigger and DQ8. Xenogears is a close second. Honorable mentions goes to the Grandia, Lunar, and FFVII.

Matt

Bah, Final Fantasy IV, hands DOWN! There is absolutely no contest. Everyone has their place in that game, no matter who is in your party at the time (even Edward can be helpful with his bad-status-inflicting arsenal of harmonious weaponry). It's so wonderful, and I'm sure a lot of you would back me on that one!

If I had to choose a second-place-winner, I might go a bit off the beaten path and choose the party from Star Ocean 2. In my single trip through, I found that no matter which characters I chose to control, I'd quickly adapt to and become one with their roster of abilities/methods of killing. That is, of course, in direct opposition to Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, where selecting the wrong allies means you should be prepared to hit the Reset button. After all, if you don't see a Game Over screen within a few minutes, you'd probably have the game freeze up anyway.

Well then, until Wolverine uses his claws for toothpicks, make mine Marvel!

....Wait, wrong place for that, um, catch you later Matt

Yours Truly,
The Last Paladin


Matt

Thanks, Paladin. Your armour is especially shiny today!



Give flowers to grandma


Heya Matt. I was reading you column(as I've taken to doing lately), and I noticed that you have a love for the old Sierra games! Roberta and Ken Williams' old games were the best, I was obsessed with them back in the day. King's Quest, Colonel's Bequest, stuff like that. I couldn't get enough of it! So I thought I'd point you to something that will help you play those old games again when you have the yearning.

Matt

Uh oh... time to do some screening. Okay, you're in the clear! I hope.

It's called DosBox. It emulates a DOS environment so you can play all those old games you remember and love! In fact, I just got done the other day playing through King's Quest 4 again for the first time in years. Ah, the clunky old game play. Trying to climb a flight of stairs and falling to your death, trying to run away from an ogre that's 3 times faster than you, trying to remember where the bridle is so you can ride the unicorn(which, of course, is hidden in the most IMPOSSIBLE of places- trying to find it is the one time I've ever had to look up a walkthrough- but I digress) ... so many fond memories. It's cool to see someone remembers that series besides me. I hope my link helps you out- the games are still awesome to this day.

Matt

I tried a couple of years ago to get something like this to work, and things just got too complex for simple little me... I never found any success, and eventually went to King's Quest fansites to download fan-developed games that were based on the originals, none of which were particularly interesting. For me, it's too late anyway, because I don't even know where my old games of yesterdecade are. Oh, how I regret...

Anyway, since this is supposed to be an "Ask Matt" column, I should ask a question. Do you think the popularity of Dragon Quest 8 might pave the way for a translation of that spiffy-looking port of Dragon Quest 5 for PS2? I wrote you a letter about this before, but it kinda turned into a rant. Dragon Quest 5 is my favorite in the series, and I'd love to see an official release here. Maybe you could answer me this time since I'm a fellow Sierra fan ^_^ Thanks in advance, maybe if you feature this letter in your column it'll get people talking about it.

Thanks,
Joel


Matt

In all honesty, Joel, I'd have to say that I doubt it. Dragon Quest VIII may have done all right in North America, and perhaps better than most of the games in the series, but I really don't think it sold well enough to warrant a sequel that is risky in a couple of ways. Firstly, sadly, the visual style of the Dragon Quest V remake takes the series back a few years. While the graphics are quite beyond what they were for Dragon Warrior VII, they're nowhere near what they are in DQVIII. There's an overworld in the old sense of the term; there are sprites. You don't see your characters in the heat of battle.

No, the only way DQV would market really well here right now would be if it were completely remade again to extend the steps forward that DQVIII made in November. Man, I sure would like to know how well the eighth sold in North America, anyway. That's a question which has plagued me since, gosh, last year. Anyway, I'm sorry to disappoint you! I guess there's always a tiny bit of hope, but I don't want to lead you on, so to speak.



Supply and Demand


It looks like I qualify for the Mattie Mom's cookie recipes. Can I have them? Can I have the soundtrack too?

Matt

Yup. A couple of disclaimers to you, and anyone else who might be interested in the SOCK black market shop; the soundtrack is a collection of sped-up hummed versions of Final Fantasy I tracks, made by psycho-me, when I was having a weird day and felt like using the Sound Recorder feature. You might find them funny, strange, or downright disturbing, but if you want 'em, I'll send a zipped folder your way. The cookies aren't quite so random and odd; my mom is a wonderful chef and gifted baker, certainly. Yeah, I know the prizes aren't exactly new Ford Mustangs, fabulous amounts of cash, or stylish luggage sets, but I'm doing the best with what I've got!

It's time to get a PS2. The roommates I lived with before had a PS2 and let me use it. I'm glad they didn't heed your advice about not letting other people use your systems. No memory card horror stories, more like "Where the ?!$# is my memory card!!??" The guy took his memory cards out of the system when he wasn't using them and put the community cards back in. A good practice when sharing a system, wouldn't you say?

Matt

That's so... organized... I'm having difficulty comprehending it, myself. I just graduated to "putting games back inside the cases they belong in" a little while ago. Community memory cards? That's a long ways off. ^^

Thanks to them, I have played FF 10, Kingdom Hearts, and Dark Cloud through to the end. Any recommendations for games? I am looking to get about 4 with the system. Obviously DQ8, but how about some others?

Matt

Surely. If you're up for a challenge, try Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. The game is really unique- loved by some and hated by many- but it possesses an interesting blend of turn-based and tactical battles that, for me, grew really addictive really quickly. Add to that a simple-but-interesting story and a superb soundtrack, and you have a pretty great game on your hands. Another good game to try out would be Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, which is a light-hearted, dark-themed, terribly addictive strategy RPG. Also, it might be worth your while to give Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga a try. I don't have a lot of direct experience with it, but I've heard a lot of good about it, and many people write in with good things to say. There's also Xenosaga, if you're willing to invest a great deal of effort into understanding the storyline. If none of those interest you, there are lots of others to try out- my verdict is still out on Wild Arms and Radiata Stories, but they have a decent following. Give some games a rental and get back to me!

Do you know which model playstation 2 is the most reliable? I heard some of them have problems. How is yours holding up?

Matt

Pffft. All I know is that the systems in the original crop weren't very effective at being totally operational. Mine was of the first crop... you do the math. Really and truthfully, my "ultimate entertainment console" stopped playing DVDs less than a YEAR after I received it, I regret to report. I generally don't have very nice things to say about the workmanship of Sony's really expensive pieces of junk.

Do you think they make games too long these days? How long do you think it should take to see most of a game's content (i.e. play it through to the end)?

Matt

I like a game to be long enough that I can enjoy it thoroughly in as many ways as possible. That might sound like an over-safe answer, but too many games cut things short somehow: They fail to develop the battle system enough (Xenosaga II!!!), or they short-change you on the story in some way (Star Ocean: Till the End of Time). Games shouldn't be made long just for the sake of being long, mind you- being bored in the middle of a 100 hour game isn't a desirable thing. However, if a 100-hour game can manage to keep you really entertained for the duration, then please, I'll take one. At any rate, I'll take a game that's "too long" over a game that's "too short". Frankly, I don't want to invest $60 of my money into a game that I'll blow through in ten hours.

Xenogears Rant (no spoilers):
Some people think Xenogears is long, but I got it done in 40 hours. A long game by any standard, but not ridiculous. A lot of people complained about the disc 2 story being bad or rushed, but I didn't notice. Disc 2 is only the teeny-tiny last portion of the game, I imagine the developers needed the extra space to fit all the ending movies on there. Now if the story only made sense... Xenogears is infamous for having an impossible-to-understand story. I think it was a good game overall. PS2 owners: The game is backwards compatible, so check it out!

Flamethrower


Matt

Xenogears, like Xenosaga, is one of those divisive games that people seem to either love or loathe. I've never been able to get through the first few hours of gameplay, but some people swear that it's one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Thanks for the play-by-play, Flamethrower! I know there are always copies floating around eBay (that's where I got mine, long ago).



Induced ADHD Syndrome?


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


Matt

Two words: Job satisfaction. Obviously, they get paid very well, or at the very least, they have some wicked benefits. If I were joyous enough to dance at work, I'd probably stay there behind the counter indefinitely as well wiggling my hands in the air and twirling about. Either that, or maybe it's just some strange cultural thing of their world.

NO, WAIT A SEC! There's a much better answer. I'll bet they're stealing some of the store's goods back there behind the counter. With items such as chocolate, honey, and candy to perk you up, they'd probably become quite sugared-up-enough to go into involuntary dancing fits; besides, I know that with my love for sweet things, I likely wouldn't be able to resist!



A simple enough question...or three


Matt,

FFIII DS, FFV Advance and FFVI Advance are some of my most anticipated RPGs for the coming year. So first off, what other games would you like to see redone and in what fashion? Such as are there any DQ games that you are just dying to see remade in a whole new light like FFIII DS is getting?

Also, what other RPGs are you looking forward to this year?

- Macstorm


Matt

You read me like a book, honourable Macstorm. If I had it my way, I'd love to see the Dragon Warrior series (any or all of the games) remade into Dragon Quest VIII's style and polished up for a re-release someday; that's my impossible dream. Dragon Quest V and VI, of course, are things that I'd love to see here, since they've never been released in North America to this day. On the other hand, Final Fantasy III is a game that I've waited for for so long, and is certainly one title that I've been hoping for a remake for for months. I'm really excited about it.

My most-desired RPGs of the year? Certainly, Final Fantasy III is one of them. Other ones that are especially tempting are Final Fantasy XII, as well as Children of Mana, and the sequel to Disgaea, if that's still in the works (and I assume it is). 2006 is setting up to be a great year for RPGamers! Let's hope it turns out that way in the end.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

I started out this semester with the intention of staying right on top of my homework and getting big things done well in advance. Both of those objectives are quickly floundering in the face of the current pair of assignments that are due for me late next week, just in time for my birthday. Happy 23, me. Hopefully I'll get some new socks. Or better yet...

Flashay!


A high-scoring day in the contest today! Good job to everyone who wrote in; your participation is heartening. The answers to yesterday's questions is the subject that we shall now discuss, so pay attention!

#87 asked about my old bio page, and which body part is mentioned with regards to my picture. The caption under my pic used to say something to the effect of "Beware the dreaded eyebrow arch!", so the answer is definitely e) Eyebrow, for 45 points. Unless you're crazy and saved my old page, I don't think you could have researched that one, so I'm surprised so many people got it correct. Ah well, I know you all, well, never mind...let's move on.

#88 was MagRowan's crazy question, which I had a bit of difficulty getting my head around myself. The answer was d) 5, and if you managed to decipher your way through that one, I awarded you 70 points, making that question the most precious one yet!

Before moving on, though, it's been a long time since I've been able to do this; but now, I bestow the latest of tildes upon Knighttrain, for moving past the 200 mark with yesterday's question, and into 15th position overall! Congratulations, Knighttrain, and may you continue to move up through the ranks! This is for you:

~


Now, for the new questions for today:

Question #89:
Consider the following image:

Hmmm...


This monster is from a well-known RPG. Which of the following locations can be found in the world of that RPG? (65 points)

a) Parcelyte
b) Beran
c) Izmit
d) Muor
e) Windia

Question #90:
Ask Bainick!--> In the comic "Asterix The Gladiator" (written 1964) What was the name of the roman commander at Compendium? (50 points)

a) Nefarius Purpus
b) Dubius Status
c) Caius Fatuous
d) Odius Asparagus
e) Gracchus Armisurplus

Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

200 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Zipfile Soundtrack (2 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (4 remaining!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)


One more to round out the week! I hope you guys are enjoying yourselves. Write in with whatever is on your mind, and I'll do my very best to respond expeditiously. Have a good day, everyone!

This is Matt, signing out.


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt thought we could get through January without any snow...


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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Dragon Quest VIII

2. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

3. Mario Kart DS

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Disgaea II

3. Children of Mana

SOCK standings:

1. Ourobolus
1,540 pts

2. Flamethrower
1,079 pts

3. Xlash
965 pts

4. MagRowan
789 pts

5. Bainick
784 pts

6. Rexy
716 pts

7. Arros Raikou
714 pts

8. Jbumi
703 pts

9. Kanato
634 pts

10. DDX
522 pts

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