|Friday the Baconteenth
|April 13th, 2012
04/13- 12:00PM EST
Welcome to another episode of Q&A! This will be a short column, and
then I will be away next week. Be sure to send some questions to
Michael "Gaijin" Baker, who will be doing Q&A next week. You can
e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now then, on to the questions!
Wheels, what the hell is a dungeon crawl? Which games personify it
best? And why should I care? Oh, which ones are need to plays?
I would define a
dungeon crawl as an RPG focusing on digging through one large dungeon,
or several large dungeons, rather than an expansive world. Gameplay can
vary greatly between them, but that's the major thing that really
unites them all. I'd say as far as classic games go, the ones
that personify it best would be Etrian
Odyssey, Diablo, and Eye of the Beholder. You should
care because these games are often challenging and deep, with fun
mechanics to experiment with. They don't tend to focus on story, and
thus they avoid many of the pitfalls of many modern RPGs that do. As
far as what games to try, I would start with Etrian Odyssey. It is quite
challenging, but it avoids the many interface and game system issues
I've seen with Wizardry
clones. You will have trouble advancing in the game, but it won't be
because you get lost or had no idea what stats to set to gain access to
certain classes. Next up, I'd give Eye
of the Beholder a go. It uses real-time combat, which can be
tough, but it has a solid implementation of the Second Edition Dungeons and Dragons ruleset. The
dungeon is lengthy and full of secrets to find. Finally, give Dungeon Siege 3 a try. It changes
up various action RPG conventions that we've been stuck with,
making the combat fresh and engaging. You could also play some
roguelikes, but those are certainly not for everyone!
Arch-Duke of Content (Part 2 of Part 2)
Haven't given a Shining Force III
story in awhile... hm. A nifty fight in Scenario 3 comes when a golem
appears. There are two bridges leading to it, and on each turn
the golem will move to one of them and toss a boulder down, which is
naturally rather painful to anyone in transit. Since you've only
got at max two flying characters, though, you're gonna need to suck up
the pain and charge that sucker.
That sounds like a pretty tough battle. It sort of reminds me of that
battle from Screnario 1 where
you have to make your way across a narrow bridge with some kinds of
cannons firing at you. Or am I thinking of something from Shining Force 1 or Shining Force 2? Regardless, the
series is known for coming up with these interesting scenarios. I
really need to get on playing through Scenario
2 and Scenario 3.
Not long after that is a battle which threw me the first time I played
the game. There's a bridge that has been raised, and you've gotta
enter a sub-battlefield in order to lower the thing. That might
be enough for some games, but in this one there's a lighthouse that
alternately lights your force or obscures it in shadow, so you can try
to sneak along and take the enemy on only when you feel like it.
That sounds insanely difficult. I guess, with this being the
final Shining Force game from Camelot, the company went all out. I'm
certainly looking forward to playing that battle. It's a shame this
game will likely never be resurrected on another platform.
Huh. There's this thing called Shining Force Neo. Somehow I
found out that things like this and definitely this without even coming close to forgetting this can
be found within. Please, tell me how accurately these represent the
game itself, won't you?
Very accurately. I'm not sure if you've actually played it or not, but
the voice acting is incredibly awful. The worst part is, during combat,
the characters constantly shout out in their terrible voices. Not that
it really matters, since the game itself is quite terrible. It's sad,
especially considering it came from a reputable developer (of Lufia
fame). I still can't believe they actually made a sequel of it in the
Actually, this voice acting thing is fun. Grandia Xtreme comes
to mind. Leaving the game itself aside (though it was definitely the
least of the series by a long shot for me), something like this speech by the final boss illustrates how
wrong the process went. Does that sound like a being you feel
threatened by? Or this important declaration about the destiny of the
protagonist - boy, you can feel the weight of those words, can't
Oh my, what the heck happened to the voice acting in that game? I just
picked that up not that long ago as well (for cheap). That has to be
the weakest sounding final boss I've ever heard. Please tell me there's
some way to turn off the voices! That makes Arc Rise Fantasia sound amazing...
What do you know about the two Dark
Cloud games? I gather the second in particular is pretty
popular, but is there a reason I might want to play them soon?
I only know about the first Dark
Cloud game, which I didn't care too much for. It features bland
dungeons which you have to slug through to find the citizens of the
corresponding town. The big feature is that you can then place the
citizens and their houses around the town as you wish, but I found this
quite boring. It seemed to have its fans, so maybe its just me. I've
heard the sequel is much better, but I could never play it.
Y'know, after asking that War in the
North question last time, I thought back and could remember only
one LotR game I've played: The Two Towers on GBA. I
played it for a little while and got bored of its extremely bland
action RPG self, then never played it again. I understand the Fellowship of the Ring GBA title
even had a bug that made it literally unfinishable. That
leaves... The Third Age as
the best LotR RPG?
Isn't that kind of sad?
It's not that sad. Think of the other properties that have had nothing
but awful to mediocre games, such as Harry
Potter. The Third Age
isn't that terrible. Lord of the
Rings deserves a much better game, but it could be a lot worse!
How's the Valkyrie Profile
play going? Getting into the enjoyably morbid fascination of
seeing what these people did to become dead yet?
It's going slowly, but moving along. I haven't quite gotten that morbid
fascination just yet, but I do find it to be a pretty unique way of
getting party members. I know this is a relatively lengthy game, and I
plan on taking it pretty slowly. Any hints or tips you can offer?
Remember Magical Vacation
being hinted for localization back when the GBA was new, then nothing
coming of it? By the time you get this column up I'll have posted
the review that makes clear how I think, so I'm curious if the game
ever appeared on your radar.
I remember it being on my radar, but I'm not certain when. I think I
got curious about it after finding out that Brownie Brown consisted of
former Square Enix employees. The graphic style seems to take from the Mana series, so I was always
curious about it. After Magical
Starsign didn't do much for me, I lost interest. Based on your
review, it wasn't a huge loss to not get to play it.
I ended up having to give you Cary Grant pointers. Don't let my
new task of putting Bette Davis into an RPG turn out the same way!
Well that one is easy. Its an RPG set in the 1960s or so, where our
hero hears the song "Bette Davis Eyes" and then goes on a quest to find
out who she is. Along the way he teams up with Cary Grant.
Oh yeah, fusing the space shooter with an RPG. I'll cover this
Dreamcast was originally going to be a multiplayer title with a heavy
online component. It got gutted. The single player portion
I played involves flying into space, zooming through a huge astonomic
cloud with aliens shooting at you, and carrying out a variety of
missions that are all pretty boring. The easy ones involve
delivering things to space stations, the nasty ones require you to
fight a lot in order to get stronger so your stupid ship doesn't get
blown apart before killing the boss. The controls have some
momentum that builds up, which is pretty odd out in space. Three
lives, and once you lose all of them you're zapped back to the starting
planet to get another go, so it never ends unless you foolishly try
saving - which somehow requires you to have a VMU instead of any other
save method. I use one of those 4-slot memory cards for the much
improved space, and it literally wouldn't save for me, just
That does not sound very fun. This game sounds pretty awful,
considering there's so many fun things you could do with space
exploration in an RPG like that. Have you ever played any of the Escape Velocity games from Ambrosia Software?
I think you would find these much more to your liking. Also, I think
this is the only Dreamcast game I've heard of that couldn't use other
kinds of memory cards. Glad I never played it!
Sigma Star Saga
on GBA is a better bet, but still not great. The shooter sections
feel like a real 2D space shooter, it's true. The action RPG
overhead exploration segments are okay too, but nothing
revelatory. The problem comes from the random battles that zap
you into a ship to shoot a set number of enemies before being zapped
back where you were. These things get distracting real fast,
since the enemy shooting portions are really repetitive.
Yeah, I was curious about this game not too long ago, and the way its
mechanics worked just sounded really poorly thought out. Also, going
from exploration to randomly being in a ship and shooting down enemies
looked quite strange. Sounds like a case of good idea, awful execution.
Hopefully, someone can take this basic idea and make something better.
Then there's Revengers of Vengeance
back on Sega CD, which is actually an attempt to make a fighting game
RPG but has three shooter segments too. Yes, that's exactly
three, and because they're the best means of getting cash and
experience you'll be using them a lot. As for the main game -
well, what do you think happens when you make a fighting game with
sluggish control where the final bosses are only challenging because
they're hard to hit due to blocking when you're so strong that their
attacks do almost nothing? Still, it's unique.
Wow, a mix of RPG, fighting game, and shooter? Can't say I've heard of
anything quite like that. Sounds like a boring and repetitive
experience and no reason to dust off a Sega CD. I'm still trying to
puzzle out how they got a shooter in there...
Now talk about Shadowrun.
have to know something about it, I'm betting.
Could this be enough content? We shall see!
I have actually had more experience with the Shadowrun table top RPG than the
video games. It has been quite some time though. The most I can say is
that I really enjoyed the mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It's a shame more
games don't do this. Anyone, I'm looking forward to the new game
started by the kickstarter!
As usual, thank you very much for the great questions.
That's it for this week.
See you all in two weeks!
Make sure to send Gaijin some questions...
March 23rd: Wheels
March 30th: Wheels
April 1st: The Rock
April 6th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Ys Origin
2. Dragon's Crown
3. Ys IV Vita
4. Grand Knights History
5. Gravity Rush
On my Playlist:
1. Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack
2. Tales of Graces F Soundtrack
3. Rayman Origins soundtrack
1. With Tales Studio no longer a separate entity,
what will this mean for the series?
2. Why do you think Mega Man Legends was never a big commercial hit?
3. What 3rd party developer would you like to see make a Final Fantasy
4. What RPGs do you NOT want to see get an HD update?
5. Will Western developers ever return to expand beyond typical fantasy
and sci-fi settings?