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Soylent Night December 20, 2005

Matt Demers - 03:09 EST

YOU KNOW SOMETHING CRAZY? As of today, I haven't played Dragon Quest VIII in ten days. Ten! That's a week and a half, for heaven's sakes. I've been dying to play it, but something always gets in the way. Yesterday, our family spent time at the movies after going out for a gigabuffet for brunch. The day before that, I don't really remember. The biggest thing, though, is that both my younger brother and my younger sister have started playing that darn game, so much so that I haven't even had a chance to do anything but watch them lately. Sure, watching can be fun; indeed, it's very exciting to watch a sibling sweat in the face of adversity. Ohhhh well...I guess that since I've got little else to say for now, this shall conclude the introductory paragraph.




L E T T E R S
Dragon Quest VIII-2


Hello, Matt,

A quick note. I'm coming down with a nasty head cold. My poor nose is red (if it stays this way for a little more than a week, you can stick some antlers on me & call me Rudolphina!).

Just read about Dragon Quest Yangus. I'm sooo happy! I hope DQVIII did well enough over here that they bring this one over. What do you think our chances are?

Matt

I'd really like to know myself. I've wondered and wondered exactly how well Dragon Quest VIII has done in this darn hemisphere, but I haven't seen any news about sales figures here or elsewhere. Because of the nature of the game, it would only be worth their while to localize the game for us if there were a LOT of us; almost certainly, fewer people will buy the direct sequel (prequel) than bought the original game. Thus, if the original only sold a couple hundred thousand copies, I'd say it would be unlikely. If, though, Dragon Quest VIII sold close to a million copies, I would guess that Square Enix might try to milk it a little bit more.

To this point, only the very preliminariest of details have been publicized, though, so I don't even know whether or not to get excited about this yet. Dragon Quest spinoffs aren't a new thing; Dragon Quest IV had the "Torneko" series (some games of which WERE released in North America, I believe) and you could argue that with Teri as the main character, Dragon Quest Monsters games are sort of spinoffs of Dragon Quest VI. These games have been fairly successful in Japan, but of course, Dragon Quest on the whole is far more successful there in the first place. Anyway, I'm going on for too long, but my message to you: Just wait and see: The mists aren't really clearing in my crystal ball.



Save Data Corrupted


Hello once again WonderMatt! (Or Andrew, depending on who's up-I lost track...)

To start things off, I give you, free of charge, one whole paragraph to talk about DQVIII. Go!

Matt

Oh jeez... can I say "refer to above"? As I said in the intro paragraph, I'm really pained by the fact I haven't played it in forever. At the same time, I'm reeling in delight from watching my sister Diane, a former disliker of Dragon Quest, playing through the game and loving it. Of course, it's a little bit horrifying that she has to explore every single nook and cranny of every place she can find, but I'm glad she's having fun.

As for myself, I've got about seventy hours on the clock, and the game is currently very exciting. It's also quite difficult; so much so that I think that perhaps I'm quite underleveled for where I'm at. What's so great about this game is the difficulty... it's not SO hard that you ever want to just give up entirely, but it's challenging enough that you sometimes have to put some concerted effort forth to accomplish big things. It's been a long time (since Dragon Warrior VII) that I've felt this way.

Anyway, that's two paragraphs, and this one I just started makes a third, technically. Wahahaha... the things I get away with! I'm so cunning <3

Okay, now that I've done that, time for a tale of woe and a tale of great glory and triumph over adversity, but woe first.

One seemingly normal weekend recently, I felt nostalgic. Not just normal nostalgic, but so nostalgic that I actually pulled out my old GBC and placed Poke`mon silver in, only to be greeted by a horrifying sight-my game data had been erased, with no trace of it in sight!!!!! To make matters worse, not only was I unable to save a new game at all, but I realised my mew was on there! My MEW...Needless to say, I would have profaned very loudly, if not for the fact my sister's Godmother was visiting today. So, anything like that ever happened to you?

Matt

Nooo... that's terrible! I haven't had spontaneous game erasure, no, but what I HAVE had is spontaneous savefile corruption, a happening that was most unfortunate indeed. Either my copy of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was imperfect (a conclusion I came to awhile back) or my PS2 was imperfect (which wouldn't be surprising), but whatever it was, it caused my game to save incorrectly, resulting in file-slot-corruption. Since I always save over my previous saves, my data was suddenly erased entirely, and I scrambled to find a spare memory card before our power spontaneously went out or something... remember, fate is always acting against me. Thankfully, I found one and saved the day, and the game, but yeah... that was quite a shock.

However, all was not lost! A few days later, I had to help drag my mum home from the neighbourhood Christmas party. Since I was stuck there for a while, I felt once again like nostalgia, but I couldn't pick what to play.

For some reason, I felt drawn to my FFVII game. Now, my data had been lost from that game (due to my own stupidity) and there was a large scratch in the first disk, disallowing me from getting past the second half of Cloud's flashback in Kalm. Yep, that one. Well, I threw it in and went through all the movements involved and then, just as I got up to the point where it blacks out to show you sephiroth walking away in the flames-the one point where it was supposed to die and once again crush my spirit...it worked! Needless to say, I would have jumped around like a collossal tool, if not for the fact my mum was resting and I feared waking her up. I'm now on disk two and falling in love with the game all over again. Once again, ever had something like that happen to you?

Matt

Yeah, kinda, but not from a disc-scratch! See, for those of you that remember, I was unfortunately lacking the original Playstation console in my youth, and so when Final Fantasy VII was announced for the PC, I LEAPT in delight for the opportunity. Unfortunately, one of my biggest PC-gaming gripes quickly became apparent: The game would not run "optimally" because our graphics card wasn't ultrabrandnew. This wasn't a terrible problem for most of the game, but during the movie where you FIRST see a Weapon (Diamond Weapon?) the game would inevitably freeze up. There was no way to skip the FMV sequence at all, and from Eidos' website, the problem was fairly commonplace. It was absolutely CRUSHING, I tell you...

By the way, do you know what their "solution" was? They provided a save file from just after that sequence. A save file someone ELSE had gotten to; a save file with other items, other achievements... ugh! What a horrible way to deal with a problem! I ended up finishing the game, but it was like having someone else's kid come over for dinner and then calling them your own. Or... um... well, I can't think of another analogy because my creative juices are running thin. Think of your own. What a stressful memory though...

And now that that's out of the way, I'll have to say something about this here FFXII demo. Granted, it hasn't come out here in Australia (well, not anywhere near me, anywho) but I think I should say something: good things usually take time. For example, my mum's baked potatoes. They take like, a jillion years to bake, but once they're done, they're the most mouth-watering, tongue-burning, straight-to-your-thighs-but-you-don't-care taters that you have ever had! Yeah, I wanted to write a potato analogy-what of it?

Matt

There's an analogy. Tasty. Given the amount of time Final Fantasy XII has had to bake, we should be in for a friggin' feast.

On another note, I'll probably end up getting FFIV and FFVI when they come out here for the GBA. Why? Because I finished FFV on the PS1, I never got a good chance to play FFVI (I know of it from my days as a ROMmer) and the Cid in IV? He is Cid! The beard, the little goggles, the hammer, the bad ass attitude-that is what I look for in a Cid.

Well, I think I've provided enough fodder for your column there, so now I shall bid you adieu!

Regards and best wishes,

Peter 'Thou!' Brennan.

Matt

Mmhmm. Cid from Final Fantasy IV is the definitive "Cid" for me, and certainly one of the most likable ones of the series. We're about due for another playable Cid though, aren't we? It's been awhile...

Anyway, thanks for the stories and the thoughts. They've been both entertaining and useful!



The latest in handhelds


Since my last e-mail, I've picked up FFIV Advance. So far, I really like to new translation. I know that some will probably complain about the translation, but if I wanted it to be exactly like the SNES version, I would play the SNES version.

Matt

That's true... and to me, a remake is really "cheap" if it doesn't do anything beyond the original. The key to a successful remake/re-release is to preserve the original feel of the game while adding new and interesting things. Hopefully, that's what this has done.

One thing that I am concerned about is the speed of the battle system. The first few battles that I fought with Cecil and Kain I was not even attacked before I defeated all six Goblins. The Mist Dragon got one hit on me. I recall the original being more challenging. Maybe things will change as I get deeper in.

Matt

Hmmm... goblins always were really slow, so they rarely got attacks in. The Mist Dragon, though? That's a bit troublesome. I hope it gets more difficult too, then, because I'll be damned if the original game wasn't easy enough without further easification.

I love my GBA, but other than the three FF remakes, I don't see it lasting much past those titles. I'm glad that the DS is finally picking up. I am extremely excited about FFIII. I wonder how deep they will make the characters. I know they said they were going to give them personality, but what does that mean? Will they just name the characters? Will they add in back stories? What? I can't wait to see.

Matt

Fair enough judgment; I don't think that the Game Boy Advance has a huge amount of life left in its poor old bones, but you're right: The DS is showing a lot of promise.

I'm pretty sure that if they're going to provide back stories and character development, the playable characters will come with names. I wonder whose job it will be to come up with them after all these years...?

While we are on the subject of portables, what are your thoughts on the DS? Ok, I want to know if those that are developing for the PSP are just trying to make me not want one?

Suikoden 1 & 2 - Japan Only
Breath of Fire 3 - Japan Only
Tales of Eternia - Japan Only

What is up with that?

Matt

Yeah... three RPGs that "aren't for everyone" in the first place not being announced for North America anyway? Not good news. Thankfully though, North American releases are often announced well after they are for Japan, and sometimes, not even until after the game sees its actual Japanese release! I'm not going to say "rush out and grab a PSP", but I'm sure that one of these days, SOME RPG titles will make it here. Until then, DS it is!



Title? Anyone got a good title? I'm going blank here...


I'm getting DQVIII in a few weeks (during the holidays) and besides that I'm really also excited to play the FFXII demo. There is so much discussion going on about it and I want to experience it first hand. Mainly because I really want to like the game, but what I have seen and heard up to now doesn't give me high hopes. Although they are trying some new things it may seem like Square-Enix has gone in the wrong direction while trying to broaden the audience fpr their games. *sigh*

Matt

Maybe... or maybe not. I'll bet you lots of people will like it, though. I'll bet you that many will buy it, too. There have been a lot of negative sentiments flowing in, but remember that there have also been a lot of positive opinions, too. Final Fantasy VIII was similarly divisive, but it didn't stop the game from selling a ridiculous number of copies... and that's what business is all about, isn't it? There's no point in being pessimistic if you haven't even played it (OR its demo, either)!

I just read the impressions of the new Shadow Hearts game. So, did you ever play Koudelka or a Shadow Hearts game? Did you like them? And what are you thinking of the new one thus far?

Thanks, and see you out there Belthasar2

Matt

Shadow Hearts is a series that has slowly gathered a following over years past, and while I don't know a huge amount about the new one as of yet, I have seen a few screenshots, and they look interesting, to say the least.

I did play the original Shadow Hearts, but heaven and earth worked against me to ensure that I wouldn't enjoy it. I began playing it off and on in the midst of one of my heaviest semesters two years ago, and eventually, I played it less and less often as schoolwork encroached. Not long after that semester, though, I was without my Playstation 2 for three or four months straight, and that was enough to keep me from getting back into the game altogether. I've been meaning to pick it up again ever since.

My opinion? The first part of the original is all I have to go on, and I thought it was kinda slow. I also wasn't a huge fan of the circle-thingy, but it's difficult for me to now pass any sort of fair judgment at all. I'd be quite happy if someone went out and bought me its sequel, if that's any indication. I think it's a creative series that has a lot of potential; hopefully it hasn't reached its prime already.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

That's all for tonight! I hate to keep it short, but I have to save some letters for the rest of the week. With holidays and everything, there isn't as much mail as there usually is, I'm afraid.

As I type here, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the window in my dad's office is completely unsealed or something. The outside temperature right now is 6.3 degrees Farenheit, according to the thermometer here, and there is an incredible "aura" of freezing cold in a three foot radius from that window. In my pyjama pants, I'm dyin' here... my poor puppy has to sleep outside in it. :(

Enough about my thermal state though; let's talk about tomorrow: What terrible save-file-loss stories or nightmares do you have? Have you ever played a game for tens of hours just to tragically lose everything all at once? Also, an interesting thing I thought of up above... what is YOUR "definitive Cid" from the Final Fantasy series? There are a lot to choose from, so choose wisely, and write in! I'm off to cover myself in six layers of blankets, so bye bye until next time!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt's new favourite food is his mom's garlic roast pork.


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It makes... incredible gravy... for mashed potatoes. MMMMMMMMM...

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