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Well, on the suggestion of several letter writers, I've disconnected
my PSX for a little while (I can't afford Parasite Eve anyway...), and am
trying some older games out with the good old SNES. Soulblazer, Chrono Trigger,
Seiken Densetsu 3, and the one I tried today, 7th Saga. What the hell, I
figured. What's the harm?
The harm came in the form of 7th Saga. Playing that game is about as
fun as sticking a six-inch long bamboo splint under my left eyelid, shoving
it in so only the bottom tip sticks out, then twisting it about as fast
as I can, until my eye explodes from the friction, and then collapsing in
a pool of my own blood.
Okay, so I'm being pretty facetious (there's no way my eye would explode
from *that*), but it illustrates a point: if you hated something the first
time you did it, nostalgia for the Good Ole Days will not make it a pleasant
experience, years later. This lesson, I have learned well, and you can look
be straight in my glass eye any time to see the truth of it. I hate that
game, and I always will. Gack.
Okay, so it's not exactly insightful. Let's get on with the letters before
I get started on LUX and his bloody stupid all-caps speed pattern...
Q: I have some cash to spare and wondering what RPG I should get.
My choices are Wild ARMs and Suikoden. Which one should I get, oh wise
RPGuru? No pressure.
Allan: Well, IMO, you can't really go wrong either way. Suikoden
has lots of neat characters, great music, it's easy to play, and is just
plain fun. On the downside, it's pretty damn short and easy, and 90% of
the 108 characters have the personality of an overcooked waffle. Wild Arms
is long, plays well, has plenty of puzzles, has pretty nice polygonal battles
(not as nice as FF7's, but that's kinda a given), and reminded me a lot
of Lufia, for whatever reason. On the downside, a lot of the puzzles seem
tossed in just for the hell of it, the characters didn't do much for me.
I guess it all gets down to price. If you want a long, detailed RPG to
make every dollar count, go for Wild Arms. If you don't mind having a shorter
game, I say Suikoden all the way.
Q: People have been saying that they don't like Square and other
RPG makers making "less traditional RPGs". Do these people release
that "less traditional" RPGs have been in Japan for a while.
Square is the head honcho for making stranger than normal RPGs (ala Tom
Sawyer). Japanese game makers finally have decided that we're (as in the
North American audience) mature enough to take off-the-beaten-path RPGs.
But, now, people are saying that since these aren't "normal"
RPGs, they shouldn't br made anymore. I for one like "different"
RPGs (Parasite Eve, Earthbound, Front Mission). Penny for your thoughts?
Allan: I love less traditional RPGs. I'm the only guy in the world
that actually liked Robotrek. I own Front Mission. Earthbound's grown on
me. Harvest Moon was lots of fun, when I played it. And I've already muttered
bitterly that I can't afford PE. So yes, I agree that one of the greatest
things about the growing RPG market in North America is the possibility
of getting some truly weird ones out. We're nowhere close to Japanese levels
of daring, but I think any steps we take in this direction are good. Traditional
RPGs have their place, of course (FF6 isn't my favourite game for nothing),
but if game companies never experimented, we'd still have one-person parties
in RPGs, wouldn't we?
You know, if Nintendo didn't play on the stereotype that video games
were for children for its NES and SNES releases we would have seen great
games like the Fire Emblem series back when the game(s) came out in Japan.
I suppose it also has to do with the fact that simulation/strategy RPGs
weren't as popular as they are now (well, they're STILL not AS popular as
the traditional role-playing games such as the renown Final Fantasy or Dragon
Quest series) but I figure that with the release of Tactics Ogre, Final
Fantasy Tactics and a few others now, SPRGs are finally making their break
in North America.
Now that "cosmetics" are such a big thing with games, I doubt
that many new fans coming into the video gaming scene will bother purchasing
old systems mainly because the graphics of their games aren't as awe-inspiring
as the ones found in PS games. For us, the generation that has been around
since the debut of Atari, NES, etc., it's not surprising that we still play
those old games and I don't think it's for nostalgia's sake either.
Anyway, what all this is getting at is that I *WANT* Nintendo to release
the Fire Emblem series here. The series was wildly popular in Japan but
unfortunately, if it DOES come out here now it'll be released by Nintendo
of America and the series will be considered dated as Fire Emblem Gaiden
was released in early 1990 and the remake of FE1 was later released in 1993
on the SNES under the name Fire Emblem: Monshou no nazo (Mystery of the
Emblem). (I can just hear the obnoxious gamers now!: "These graphics
SUCK!") Both these systems aren't as highly regarded as they were
back in their prime so I just feel that FE lost its chance here in NA.
And even if a new chapter or a remake were to be created for this series,
it'll be on the N64 and Fire Emblem deserves more attention than that. =P
Do you think they'd be a way to force Nintendo to sell of the rights
of the Fire Emblem series to someone else, say ... Sony? Or maybe even
I'd go on with the Ys series too and how unfortunate is it that its most
popular game, The Dawn of Ys, is on the PC Engine/Turbo Duo but that'll
be for another time. =P
Have a cheery day!
@_@ Egads! @_@
Allan: I couldn't resist posting this letter if I tried. Fire
Emblem, Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys - you, sir, are a gamer of immaculate tastes.
I think you underestimate your fellow gamers a bit. Most of us aren't so
totally hung up on graphics that we can't appreciate a great game with less-than-brilliant
graphics. At least, I hope so.
Sadly, the odds of seeing a Fire Emblem game stateside are slim. Nintendo's
got one in the works for the N64 (possibly 64DD), but when I emailed Nintendo
of America to ask about it, they said "we have no plans at present
to translate Fire Emblem." I hope they reconsider. As for Ys, well,
Falcom hasn't announced any remakes of Ys IV for newer systems. Or, for
that matter, a new game in the Ys series at all (Ys Eternal was another
remake of the first two games). If they ever do make an Ys VI, and if it's
good, I know that Working Designs are fans of the series, so they might
port it. Of course, that won't make everyone happy...
Q: Hi, I want to know whats up with WD. They are making a PSX
port for Grandia (we all know it by now c'mon) or at least there is a VERY
good chance that they are anyway. But still wouldn't it be easier for them
just to translate the Saturn version? I know they have had a falling out
with Sega but what did they do that was SOOOOOO bad?!, let's see, they put
WD in a small booth at E3, and............um, and, uh, oh yeah, thats it!!,
c'mon thats not too bad. I think WD needs to stop reveiring themselves
as gods and that they should have ONLY the biggest and best of EVERYTHING,
gawdamn! they should step off their high-horse and come down here with us
real people for a little while, it's not as bad as they think it is!
Allan: Okay, I'm not Working Designs, but this bears responding
to. First of all, there's a damned good reason for them to not bring out
Grandia for Saturn in the US: because it would bomb. Horribly. Hate to rain
on your parade, but the Saturn is deader than a pot-bellied pig that's been
shoved through a tree shredder. Games released for the bargain-basement-priced
Saturn are done so at a loss to the company. WD's release of Magic Knights
Rayearth is likely to cost them a lot, and undertaking another project with
an unquestionable result of profit loss is financial suicide.
In any case, WD is a company with a long history of doing what they do
first and foremost as gamers. Their tastes may not agree with everyone (Shining
Wisdom - why, god, why?), but any company that does a "last hurrah"
game for three dead systems isn't in this industry just for the money. Their
decision to release Lunar, and potentially Grandia as well, for the PSX
in North America allows them to get good RPGs out to as wide an audience
as they can. I don't see anything wrong with that. If that's a high horse,
I'll ride it.
Q: People have been complaining a lot about Parasite Eve being
easy. I've played it and am royal stuck in the Chrysler Building in EX
mode. That building is hard. Have you played it yet? I'm getting worried
that I won't even get to see the second ending.
Allan: For all those clamouring for tougher Square games, based
on this and several other letters like it, I'd say that Parasite Eve might
be worth a try. Not that I'd know, myself. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Q: I love Squaresoft RPG's. Not for their stories, gameplay,
or graphics. There are many RPG's out there with these characteristic taht
are made from different publishers. No, the reason why I think squaresoft
is the best is because of the music. No other company has so far produced
tunes that stuck in my head like Squaresoft has. All of us know the Final
Fantasy prelude tune and other great songs like Terra's and Aerith's theme.
Am it right?
Allan: After the past few days, where "fixing" Square
was the focus of discussion, I thought it'd be nice to be reminded that
yes, lots of people do love Square still.
Q: 1) I am awaiting Brave Fencer Musashi(not for the demo) cause
I love dem action Rpgs, can Nick expect to see more in the near future?
2) My pants kept fallin down so I went to the store to get a belt, but
when I picked up the belt, he started screamin and ordered his metaphysical
donkey to shatter my metaphysical kneecaps! Any ideas on how to get back
3) Is there anybody who wnats to give me $600,000...please...
Allan: 1) Other upcoming action-RPGs of interest include Magic
Knights Rayearth, Zelda 64, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and... that's all
that springs to mind. All are due before the end of the year.
2) My suggestion is simple: dial 1-800-COLLECT over and over again, until
they send Al Bundy to give you a prize for using their service so often.
Once he arrives, stun him with a taser, brainwash him with soapy water,
Listerine and a pair of rubber reading glasses, and send him to attack the
offender. As we all know, any former star of Married With Children is, by
definition, totally blocked off from the metaphysical realm, thus keeping
your living weapon safe from the metaphysical donkey, and free to kick the
hell out of "him." Then, just collect your belt, and there you
3) Hey, that sounds like a good idea. Hey, is there anybody who wants
to give me a copy of Parasite Eve... please... ?
Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Kagato wants to know if I'm a Pokemon
fanatic yet (not yet, but I'll give it a try), David Liu wants to know what
our translated screenshot of FF5's opening scene is from (I think it's from
the ROM translation), JVN wants to know if Malak from FFTactics is of any
use (no, he pretty much sucks), Brud wants to know if RPGamer will be covering
Vay (I may do it myself, in fact), and Emily Skylar wrote a very nice letter
which asked what upcoming RPG I'd recommend to her. Well, it's a tough field,
but I'm wimping out saying either Xenogears or Lunar. The first sounds great,
and I know the latter is too, moreso for those new to the Lunar series.
You can't go wrong either way.
And before I go, a quote to mull over: "Good... bad... I'm the guy
with the gun!" God bless Bruce Campbell. God bless anyone that refers
to themself as a Grand Poobah.
- Allan Milligan, polishing his eye