411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 12.31.02

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 12.31.02
bleh
Chris Pankonin (His response after I told him that we miss tons of news here at 411 Games. – 12.25.02)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 12-31-02: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)
Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and my boss, Chris Pankonin, will most likely fire me by the end of next year. No, really. I probably drive the guy crazy!
“Your welcome.” That goes to all of you who read me over the holiday break and thanked me for putting up something for you to read on Christmas Eve. Not a problem. And those of you who did read me last week and took the Down-Lo Console Compatibility Quiz can check out the bottom of this very column to find out what next-generation videogame system the Down-Lo says is best suited for you. Hope you enjoy.
Chris Hyatte. Ron Yip. Lionel Bohbot. Scott Keith. Jason Masters. The Scotsman. These are among the elite of my favorite writers here at 411. Whether it’s the ability to “rant”, tell a funny story, or to be exceptionally entertainingly informative, these gentlemen have earned the prestigious privilege of being read by me, Bebito Jackson *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing*, each and every time they post up something new. Now, in as short as three columns, another has joined this talented group of writers. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and started reading Alex Lucard’s great Retrograding columns, then you need to scroll down to the Columns Section here at 411 Games, click on any one of his links, and take in one of the most unique perspectives of a hardcore gamer that you’ll ever read (after you’ve read the Down-Lo, of course; don’t be stupid). I remember back when he used to email me after the Down-Lo went up so we could chat about my column and about our favorite rpgs from back in the day. Now he’s all grown up, writing his own stuff, and I’m emailing him about his columns now. *wipes tear away* I’m just so proud. Alex, we needed someone like you. Welcome to the family.
And in the spirit of his work, here are the 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo’s Bebito’s Top 10 Favorite RPGs of all time:
#10) Final Fantasy VII (Playstation) – Alex is gonna kill me. Why in the world is this game on my top 10 despite stealing ideas from the Phantasy Star series from long ago? Simple. It’s the first of its kind. What do I mean by that, you ask? For the first time a story was told through heavy use of high quality CG cinemas. Say what you want about the thing, but when we all first laid eyes on it and saw those “graphics,” we were all amazed and addicted. Half of us kept playing it just to see what the next cinema would look like. Even though you would never want to play it a second time, even though it became the template for dozens of crappy sequels, and even though the game led you by the hand all the way through, there’s no denying that it was all sorts of crazy fun while it lasted.
#9) Pokemon series (Game Boy systems) – I don’t even want to hear it. This game is fun, and addicting. Period. Go cry about it to someone else.
#8) Phantasy Star IV (Sega Genesis) – This is my second favorite RPG series next to Shining Force. Guess who’s buying a Game Boy Advance to play PSI-III? That’s right, Bebito is. Just wait until the rumored PSIV is announced, though. I’ll be marking out like a madman.
#7) Shining In The Darkness (Sega Genesis) – It’s a first-person dungeon crawler. It’s got great music. It’s addictive as anything. And it’s the first RPG that young Bebito ever played. Maybe I enjoy it for nostalgic reasons, but it may have a lot to do with it being just all out fun and challenging.
#6) Grandia II (Sega Dreamcast) – Ubisoft did an excellent US translation for this game. The voice acting was top notch. And why not? It was done by the team that voiced Metal Gear Solid for the US. This series is all about the fantastic battle system, which is so engrossing, you wouldn’t mind if you had to fight hundreds of randomly generated battles that normally become tiring in other RPGs. Thing is, you have the ability to avoid the enemies if you don’t want to fight anyway. Great, great, game.
#5) Skies of Arcadia (Sega Dreamcast) – If you have a Nintendo GameCube, like RPGs, and haven’t played this game on the Dreamcast, then you owe it to yourself to pick up Skies of Arcadia Legends. Massive airship battles, amazing gameplay freedom, and tons of exploration wait for you, if you do. More under-appreciated than Eddie Guerrero, mention this game to almost anyone who owned a Dreamcast, and they’ll smile at you with fond memories.
#4) Shining Force III (Sega Saturn) – We American gamers got the shaft with this. Originally split into three whole games, Sega of America only saw fit to release the first Scenario on the dying Sega Saturn. To this day though, it remains in my top three Saturn games list. The gameplay that you’d expect, along with fun tie-ins within the story to other games within the Shining universe, make it a favorite.
#3) Shining of the Holy Ark (Sega Saturn) – A spiritual sequel to Shining In The Darkness, once again I wonder if I love this game for nostalgic reasons. Nah. The music alone in this game was magnificent. Never had I been so compelled to track down the soundtrack to a videogame before. I can still hear the battle theme ringing in my head. Everything else I loved about Shining In The Darkness returned along with plenty of plot twists to put this high up on my countdown.
#2) Shining Force II (Sega Genesis) – This game stole away months of my life. I played it and beat it a combined total of six times. I can almost safely say that no one who has played this game has beaten it only once and not attempted to play it again. This is the crack of the RPG world ladies and gentlemen. This is the reason why people are still screaming for a sequel to this thing to this very day. I dare you not to love this game and call yourself a gamer, casual or otherwise. Brilliant.
#1) Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn) – The ambience this game gave off was incredible. You felt deeply entrenched in the game’s world and characters. The gameplay was revolutionary taking normal RPG conventions and throwing them out of the window, mixing traditional RPG practice and throwing in strategy elements through use of your dragon. The story is one that I’ve yet to forget to this day, and that I am constantly in wonderment about. So much so, that I own an Xbox almost exclusively for the sequel, Panzer Dragoon Orta, just to see what happens in the Panzer universe (and that game’s not even a rpg). If I don’t stop now, this will end up being a column on it’s own. I can sum it up with this: BEST. RPG. EVER.
Behold the “Millennium Countdown” edition of the Down-Lo. Are you following me here? The higher the DOWN-LO RATING the more likely that these will one day become news that the “News Reports Section” forgets to post (scale 1-10). As always these are just rumors (which is why you read me in the first place), so I pity the fool, that takes this too seriously. Enjoy. I do.



This is the Down-Lo.
METAL GEAR SOLID ONLINE: BEGIN TRANSMISSION??? We all love Metal Gear Solid. So here’s a rumor that I’m sure we’ll all enjoy:
GamesAreFun.com is reporting that Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise, recently announced in a television interview that the third incarnation of the Metal Gear Solid series would be on hand at this year’s E3 show.’
That news is exciting enough by itself, but the juicy part is that Kojima hinted at a Metal Gear online title in 2003 as well. Woo.
Which systems these games will eventually release on are unknown, but will presumably hinge on the sales of XBox’s Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.’ Odds are though, that at the very least Metal Gear Solid 3 will be released on Xbox first, as has been rumored heavily in the past.
Keep an eye out. All this came from the man himself.
DOWN-LO RATING: 9
UPDATE: SONIC THE HEDEGEHOG RUMOR
I don’t know about you guys, but I love Sonic The Hedgehog. Yes, I am his biggest fan. Whatever system he will appear on, I will own. Period. And whatever rumors there are about him, I will be on top of.
GamesAreFun is also reporting that The Japanese Nintendo-based publication, Nintendo Dream, revealed in its newest issue that Sega intends on announcing a new “Sonic related” game early in 2003. The publication states specifically that it has nothing to do with the already announced Sonic Adventure port which was discussed by Sega a few months ago.’
Let us all rejoice in the obvious…
DOWN-LO RATING: NONE FOR UPDATES
EGM RUMOR OF THE WEEK Here’s an EGM tidbit for you:
The Q-Man seems to think that a Shinobi sequel could be in the works. Overworks, the developers of the latest game, have been rumored as saying that they have plenty more ideas to put into a subsequent title in the series. So look for them to do so.
The current Shinobi needs to do well, however. If it tanks completely (and I haven’t seen it near the top of the game sales list recently) then we may as well forget the whole thing. Right now, it’s 50/50. Stay tuned.
DOWN-LO RATING: 4
JET READY, JET SET… GO!
Was it just I, or was Jet Set Radio Future for the Xbox not half the game that Jet Grind Radio was on the Sega Dreamcast. No? I didn’t think so. So this comes as good news to me as well:
A little over a week after the announcement that Jet Set Radio would be showing up on Gameboy Advance, reliable sources are hinting that a sequel to the Dreamcast original, based on the cancelled Jet Set Radio 2, will land on the GameCube. Unlike Jet Set Radio Future for Xbox, the GameCube Jet Set Radio will return to it’s Dreamcast roots, providing a much more challenging experience which many felt was lacking in it’s Xbox incarnation.’
The radar is a bit fuzzy on this one, though. Sega has tried the Jet Set experiment twice already, with not too great a degree of success. I can’t see Sega continuing on with this weak series. Then again, they’re still out there making Tomb Raiders so…
DOWN-LO RATING: 4
MORE SYPHON FILTER
IGN’s Off The Record reports that the next game in the Syphon Filter series will be hitting the PS2 by next fall. The game may not even be titled Syphon Filter 4 due to the rumor that the lead character, “Gabe”, will have his role lessened from the previous games in the series.
What kind of name is “Gabe” for an action hero anyway? Now Solid Snake, Lara Croft, and Joanna Dark are perfectly acceptable game hero names. “Gabe” sounds like the guy down the street who washes my car at the gas station. An honorable occupation tis’ true, but those types of names should be relegated for guys like that and left out of the action hero name pool. It’s about time Syphon Filter got with the program.
And here’s a tidbit that’s too small to have it’s own heading, but is from the same source. There will be add-on packs for SOCOM: US Navy Seals and that should be released by next fall 2003 as well.
Big freaking surprise for all of this. Just sit back and watch it happen.
DOWN-LO RATING: 8
And that’s the Down-Lo. Pretty weak, I know. It’s a slow rumor/news week. What can I say?


THE DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT
Let’s get started, because I’m sure all of you want to know, just as badly as I, what games my fellow writers like to play. Ok, no… not really. I can’t back that up. But let’s find out together anyway. Enjoy. I do.


(DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT IS ON ASHISH: OWNER OF 411MANIA)
It’s the guy who started it all. Let’s see if he’s a true gamer, eh? Check it out:
This is the Down-Lo Spotlight.
Bebito: Howdy boss! Ya feeling ok?
Ashish: Can’t complain.

Bebito: Sure I can’t get you a coffee or anything? Not even a Hot Pocket? No? Ok, let’s get started then. Where you from?
Ashish: Was born in Houston, then moved to a suburb outside of Houston called Sugar Land (yes, it IS sweet to live there).
Bebito: How old are you, Mr. Sugar Land?
Ashish: 21

Bebito: How did this whole 411 thing get started in the first place? And um, who has more power over the site… you or Widro? I always wondered about that…
Ashish: I started the site in 96 just because I was bored. I didn’t know any HTML or anything about sites so the original site was pretty crude to say the least. The site somehow took off without any advertising or anything (fate I guess) and as I learned more about web design, I tried to improve it. Eventually the site got so big that people wanted to write for it, thus the evolution of the staff. Widro came aboard at a time when the site was getting too big for me to run on my own, so he took over a lot of responsibilities and eventually became a partner.
I own the site, so I have the power to close it if I want. Me and Widro however are 50/50 partners so in terms of site related decisions, we are equal.

Bebito: So what things do you do here at 411, ya know, besides just being the boss?
Ashish: I write the Friday news report, post just about all the wrestling news, run the Movies Zone, post news to the Music and Games Zone, and do a lot of behind the scenes work in terms of updating the database, managing the servers, getting ads, etc. Really a million different things.
Bebito: You’re a busy man. Are you into videogames any?
Ashish: I love to play video games when I have the time. I tend to get in a Madden or NBA 2K3 game in every day or every other day…
Bebito: Typical casual gamer. *sigh* Well, I guess it’s Ok, seeing as you don’t have the time to be a truly hardcore gamer, but mostly sports games? You have disappointed me, Ashish. In any case, what systems do you own?
Ashish: PS2 and Gamecube…
Bebito: What’s your favorite?
Ashish: Probably PS2 because it has a lot of games and I am comfortable with the controller…
Bebito: What games have been spinning in your system lately?
Ashish: Madden 2003, NBA 2K3, Vice City, and Metroid Prime…
Bebito: What games are you looking forward to their release?
Ashish: Not too sure. I guess that wacky looking new Zelda game…
Bebito: Yeah, we’re all looking forward to that one. In your humble opinion Ashish, what is the greatest game ever made?
Ashish: Hmm, that’s a tough question. Me and my friends were obsessed with gaming when we were much younger, a game that stands out was the original Street Fighter 2. We played the hell out of that in the arcade, then when it came on for SNES, we played nonstop for months.
Bebito: One of my favorite games from back in the day was Toejam & Earl. Remember them? Tell me Ashish, do Toejam & Earl still got the funk?
Ashish: Sure, why not. Their latest Xbox game looks pretty cool…
Bebito: Solid, brother. Solid.
WORD ASSOCIATION TIME:
I’m going to say a word, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

(Videogames) – engrossing
(Nintendo) – mario
(Sega) – sonic
(Xbox) – ruthless
(PS2) – fun
(Grand Theft Auto) – mob
(Sonic The Hedgehog) – fast
(411) – the best
(Triple H) – black hole
(Chris Beniot) – underappreciated
(Widro) – hack
(Scott Keith) – smarks
(Chris Hyatte) – big mouth
(Widro) – hack
(Bebito Jackson) – guy interviewing me
(Ashish) – nothing

Bebito: Take a second and let everyone know what we can expect from 411mania in 2003…
Ashish: Lot of things. New design, more features, more everything.
Bebito: Thank you Ashish. I know you’re a very busy person; so taking the time to do this with me was cool of you. One more question and you can go. A running gag here at 411Games (at least I think it’s a gag) is that I supposedly suck. Honestly though Ashish, do I really suck?
Ashish: Yes.
Bebito: *look of surprise* Man. Wasn’t expecting that. At least Hyatte gave me a “probably”.
You can email Ashish at: Stone9Cold@aol.com
And the guy does almost everything when it comes to the site, so look for his work just about anywhere.
Be sure to check out the Down-Lo Spotlight next week, when I’ll have the anti-diva of 411music Claire Flynn Boyle joining me for some gaming discussion. She’ll have the honor of being the first ever female guest in the Down-Lo. (As if that means anything.)
(THE DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT IS OFF)



DOWN-LO CONSOLE QUIZ RESULTS
Last week, as is typical with weeks over the holiday break, was a slow Internet week. Not many people go online to read anything during this time of season because of their busy schedules/lives. That’s why you don’t see too many updates around here at 411Games. As a reward to those few of you who still came to read me last week, I came up with this Quiz to help you determine what system you’re most compatible with. I hope you guys have fun with the outcome. Feel free to email me back with your comments. Enjoy.
(DOWN-LO SUPER COMPUTER ONLINE: CONSOLE QUIZ RESULTS DISPLAYING)

(DAMON MURAIDA: NORTH FORT MYERS, FL -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 45%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Resident Evil: Code Veronica; Final Fantasy X; Star Ocean 3: Till The End Of Time, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 40%)
You have a subtle dislike of Nintendo, shown obviously in the quiz. Thing is, many of your gaming tastes fit the GameCube description (but what’s up with not liking Zelda?). You’re still a VERY strong PS2 gamer though, Damon.

(JIM MOORE: LAKE HIAWATHA, NJ -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 42%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Medal of Honor; SOCOM: US Navy Seals; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City; Resident Evil: Code Veronica)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 33%)
Looks like you could have almost any console and still be happy, Jim. In the end, the PS2 overpowers everything for ya.

(SAKPRICE: UNKNOWN -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 44%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Metriod Prime; Resident Evil Zero; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: GAMECUBE or XBOX – 28%)
Hmm. It’s interesting that your secondary consoles tied.

(BARRY PETCHESKY: NEW YORK, NY -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 55%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Metriod Prime; Super Mario Sunshine; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: MICROSOFT XBOX – 27%)
If you don’t already have a GameCube, Barry, then go out and buy it NOW.

(KEITH SALSE: EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 41%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Xenosaga; Final Fantasy X; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City; SOCOM: US Navy Seals)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 35%)
It came down to a pretty close race between the PS2 and GameCube for you, Keith. Since you’re way into RPGs like me, I’d suggest the PS2.

(JEREMIAH BAKER: ST. LOUIS, MO -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 44%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Metriod Prime; Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 33%)
You appear to be strong for the Nintendo GameCube, but you have strong PS2 gamer tendencies seen from some of your answers. I’d almost say, go for the PS2 over the Cube (despite the quiz results), but you’re interested in several titles exclusive to the Cube, so go for that.

(SCORPIONTED05: UNKNOWN -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 47%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Resident Evil Zero; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker; Super Mario Sunshine)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 37%)
The force is strong for Nintendo with this one. Follow your feelings to a GameCube.

(J KYLE: AIEA, HAWAII -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: MICROSOFT XBOX – 42%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Halo; Splinter Cell; Toejam & Earl III, Dead or Alive 3)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 36%)
I was beginning to wonder if anybody was compatible with the Xbox at all, J.

(JEFF PATTERSON: DAYTON, OH -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 34%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Super Mario Sunshine; Metriod Prime; Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicle)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: GAMECUBE or XBOX – 33%)
The Down-Lo Computer nearly overloaded when your quiz was run through, Jeff. You were almost a perfect match for all 3 consoles. The only thing that tipped the scales was that you trust Nintendo the most as a company. Otherwise, you could have gone either way. Woo.

(BRUCE SNEAD: OMAHA, NEBRASKA -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: MICROSOFT XBOX – 45%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Halo; Splinter Cell; Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance; Xbox DVD Remote)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 30%)
Finally, another one. There’s no question on this one. The Xbox is the system for you, Bruce. You’ll get the most bang for your buck with two free games at purchase. You’ll get your home theatre add-on with the DVD player. And you’ll get all the shooter/military games your heart desires.

(WEEZERGEEK1: POUND RIDGE, NY -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 43%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Resident Evil Zero; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker; Super Mario Sunshine)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 31%)
No problem “dude.” Glad I could help you out.

(GREEN SHAMPOO: UNKNOWN -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 35%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: Metal Gear Solid 2; SOCOM: US Navy Seals; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 33%)
It wasn’t easy coming up with a total. You didn’t have answers for some of the questions there, Green. The Down-Lo and I did our best, though. For the most part, you could walk away with a Cube or Station and be happy.

(MRS. BEBITO JACKSON: ???, NJ -)
(MOST COMPATIBLE CONSOLE: NINTENDO GAMECUBE – 46%)
(TITLES SUITABLE FOR SUBJECT: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker; Beach Spikers; Nintendo Wavebird Controller)
(SECONDARY CONSOLE: SONY PLAYSTATION2 – 33%)
Here’s what I’ve known all along. My wife is a Nintendo gamer. What surprised me was that she put down “Maybe” for question #15 (Do I suck?). When I confronted her about it, she said she wasn’t sure what kind of “suck” I was talking about. Apparently, it’s not always bad to suck *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing*.



And now for some sad news… Personal tragedy and numerous medical problems have prevented me from continuing to work here at 411 Games on a continuous basis. Life has just become so hard for me that I can’t keep pumping out these things without serious risk to my physical and possibly mental well-being. I really do enjoy writing here at 411, and all of you readers have been so kind to me. Hopefully you will all remember me and bear with me, as I take this much-needed time off until I get better. Believe me, this is harder for me, than it is for anybody. Goodbye readers. I won’t be back until at LEAST next year.
:p
Yes, I am fully aware that that was lame. Sue me. Peace. I’m out.
(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)