Hump Day Otaku News Report 10.01.03

Sometimes in your life, you have to make a decision. You reach a point where you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going, and you simply want to sit down and give up. You know at that point in your life that it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing and correct the situation. I mention this because I’m at this point in my life. I hate my job and feel that my time at my job is very limited. We’ll see what happens though, but I need to figure out something. Fear not though, I am here to stay. I don’t get paid a dime for this gig, but I LOVE it. I love playing games and I love writing about them. I’m not like the wrestling guys who bitch about wrestling and say that it all sucks, because when I don’t enjoy games at all, I’ll hang up my controllers. So I’m here, regardless of where my job prospects go.

I’d like to submit a formal apology for my disrespect towards a certain Master Higgins from Adventure Island fame. I said that he wore a diaper, which is clearly not the case. Master Higgins in fact wears a grass skirt and is very manly. And I admit that his skirt goes very well with his baseball cap. So I’m sorry, Master Higgins. And yes, Chuck, I do suck.

And now on to the stuffs. This is the all RPG, all the time edition of the Hump Day. You’ve probably read all this news before, but it’s all within my realm, so that’s what I post. If you don’t like it, tough. And I hope Square won’t hire a hitman after this.


Gaming News

I Fucking Told You So!
Square Enix has officially announced that they are working on an online version of Front Mission, titles simply Front Mission Online. Who broke this news about 4 or 5 months back? ME. That’s right, ME. Though using the terms “broke” and “news” is kind of a misnomer since I didn’t know that they were making the game, but I just KNEW they would. I’m good like that.

They also announced that they would be making Front Mission History, which is a combination of the first three Front Mission titles, including the remade Front Mission 1. So Square is OBVIOUSLY turning Front Mission in to one of their marquee titles. The winners? Us, the gamers, because personally, I truly enjoyed Front Mission 3 (except for the shitty main characters), and am happy that we’ll see more goodness.

Suikoden IV Officially Announced
Konami has let the lid off their newest title in the popular Suikoden series. In this one, you are yet again playing as a character trying to assemble the 108 stars. This time, though, it is 150 years before the first in the series. Though the graphics are said to be improved over the previous version, it hasn’t been said whether the game itself is an improvement. I hope so, because I really DID NOT like Suikoden III.

Square Enix Tidbits
I posted this last week, but wanted to give my personal opinions on it. First of all, Kingdom Hearts 2. While I’m not surprised the Disney connection is still there, I AM surprised that it’s only 1 year after, especially considering the bonus ending for KH1. Who knows. I guess we’ll learn more as time goes on.

Regarding Kingdom Hearts for the GBA, again, not much is known, but I imagine it is just a redone version of the original, like most GBA ports. And personally, I don’t see how people can play these redone things. I’ve tried Tony Hawk on the GBA and just can’t do it, especially after getting used to it working a certain way on home consoles. Note: I LOVE my GBA, but I don’t feel that some games work well. KH is an action RPG though, so it will probably work fine.

Lastly, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. I was as surprised as everyone else. And I really don’t know what to say. Ok, yea, I do. Square, what the FUCK were you thinking?? Did you forget a little disaster a few years back? You know, The Spirits Within? Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t hate the movie like others did. The animation is some of the best computer animation I’ve seen in a movie, but the story was weak, and even some of that animation was flawed as well. But the public’s conscious opinion of the movie is that it sucked. Why? Well, when nobody goes to see a movie, and it bombs, it’s a flop. Therefore, it sucks. It’s kind of like with games. If you printed 500,000 copies of a Final Fantasy game, and it only sold 10, that title would be a failure (which is why you’re putting FFXI on the Sony HDD rather than as a separate release, so that way you can claim the title has some success, whereas the vast majority of the people will get the HDD for the HDD, and not some shitty half assed MMORPG). But if you printed 1,000 copies of a game, and sold 500, or more likely, 1,000, then it’d be a success, and probably a niche title. I find it very hard to find anything from Atlus on the shelves because they always sell out pretty quick, but I find no difficulty finding titles by Squaresoft. In fact, just a few months ago, I saw some places selling The Bouncer and Driving Emotion Type S brand new! I guess they’ve since been buried in New Mexico by ET.

My point is, this is a direct sequel to a game and it’s not going to be another game, it’s going to be a MOVIE. And by the looks of things, it will not feature the other characters. So I’ll do this, Square. I’ll shut up about it, and give you the benefit of the doubt. I’ll wait, and hope and pray that you have something up your sleeve (like the movie comes packaged with the FFVII-2 game or something), and wait and see. The faith I have is still waning though. Remember: Final Fantasy XII is your deadline. If it sucks, then I will not pay a dime again for anything that has the Final Fantasy title.

RPG Roundup
And to round things off, I’ll give some little tidbits of information on your favorite types of games and mine.
-Speaking of FFXII, we’ll actually have some info on it on November 19th. Helming the title is Yasumi Matsuno, who has also worked on greats like Vagrant Story, Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics. Hmmm, imagine Final Fantasy XII turning into a strategy RPG (and FF Fanboys collectively shit their pants).
-Bioware is working on another Xbox RPG, this one titled Jade Empire. Not much is known except that it is based in ancient China. Previously, Bioware has had success because of their licenses, but I have faith in them and think that this title will be a success.
-Square Enix has already announced another MMORPG project! Even though FFOnline hasn’t failed in America yet (since it hasn’t been released yet, duh!), they’re throwing us one that has a much better chance of succeeding. Why? Well, FFOnline is competing with Everquest as a more in depth MMORPG, whereas this title, Ambrosia Odyssey, will probably be competing more with Phantasy Star online, and it also has a cool title that doesn’t have Final Fantasy in the name. I won’t be playing it though, because I don’t feel that console RPGs should be played online, so neener neener!

Review Changes
I can’t think of a better place to put this, so I’ll put it here. From now on, my reviews I do for the site will be a little different. Not too drastic, mind you. Previously, I’ve been rating games very high. I’ve been rating games with a starting point of a 7.0 average, which is based on a school grade system, where a C is average. Now, to mesh more with many of the other reviewers for the site, my average will be a 5.0, which gives much more room to breathe at the top. I may go back and re-rate some of the games I’ve played previously, but maybe not.


New Game Releases
* Ship Date — 9/30/03-10/01/03
Auto Modellista (GC), Group S Challenge (Xbox), Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (PS2), Freedom Fighters (PS2, Xbox, GC)

Damn EBGames.com getting their dates all mixed up and stuff. Really, it’s a pretty poor week compared to past ones. We’ve got a couple of racing games (Auto Modellista is probably the only winner this week), a Robin Hood title, and Freedom Fighters, which was supposed to be released LAST week. Oh, and I was informed that it’s a squad based shooter type game, so now I have a good reason to completely ignore it.


Survey Time
I know I slacked off on this a few weeks ago, but I do want to continue it. I’ll get more on the ball this time around.

My topic for this week is timeless classics. Everybody knows what I mean here. There are some games that you play and win, and you put on the shelf, and a few years down the line, when you play it again, you have just as much fun as you did the first time. My example of this isn’t a console game (unless you count the 3DO port, and I don’t, since the 3DO sucked), but rather a PC title. The name of the game is Star Control 2. Sandwiched between 2 subpar bookend titles that sold decently well, this game is like a space combat RPG type title. The story is PHENOMENAL for a space game, and the writing is incredibly witty. You fly your ship to planets, send a lander down, and collect minerals, then use that as a currency of sorts to upgrade your ship. You also meet alien races that will either befriend you or attack you. The depth of the game is incredible and even after so long, the game is a classic. It’s unfortunate that this game was such an improvement over its predecessor, and yet the sequel of this title is lacking is so much of the charm that this game has.

Why do I mention this? Because YOU can play this game RIGHT NOW on your PC. FOR FREE. How? Well, simply go to sc2.sourceforge.net and download it. How is it legal you ask? Simple. The makers of the original game made all the content free game, and some guys got together and made an open source version of the game called The Ur-Quan Masters (which is the subtitle of the game to begin with). But they’ve improved it by adding voices! Sure, the voice acting is bad, but it’s silly bad, not shitty bad. And they even remixed some of the music that was sooooo incredibly awesome and made it better. If you played Star Control 2, you have to play this version. It rules.

Now, my question to you is: what games have you played many years ago that you will occasionally pick up and play again because it’s just that much fun? It can be console, PC, whatever. I’d prefer the games to be over 5-10 years old, just to get an accurate reading. So click on that link down there and send me some feedback!


Links to the Past

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report – Bryan Berg
This week, Bryan discusses Nintendo’s homebrew strategy (Big N has always been pretty good about stuff like this, just look at Digipen), Nokia’s game contest (yea, I’m thinking it’s a scheme for people to make games and Nokia to screw them), arcade games (soon, only DDR will be present, until they realize the bloodshed THAT game causes!), and Gamecube dropping price (you da man, Berg!).

The Angry Gamer – Liquidcross
Liquid wants Nintendo to improve as much as everybody, and he shows it in typically Angry Gamer style. By KICKING THEIR ASSES!

Retrograding – Alex Lucard
Lucard gets pissed when people piss on us, and for the same reasons that I do. He’s just more fervent about it. I wrote a commentary about the situation, and Alex can get a whole f*cking column out of it. He’s better, so read him.

Gamer’s Hangover News Report – Cory Laflin
What a way to start the week, eh? Cory and I talk about some of the same stuff, but we both put different spins on it. Besides, nobody reads us for the news, right? They read us to see what we say about the news and what we do to bitch about OTHER stuff.

The Gamer’s Conscience – Frederick Badlissi
Fred wraps up the last several of his columns with a nifty mailbag that shows what a lot of readers thought. My favorite is still the question: “How is it that RPG players have a life?” And the answers he got were good too, even if there was too much Xenosaga bashing going on.

411MAX: News News Revolution – Alex Williams
From now on, Alex Williams is the Dancing King. Sorry, my mom loves that song. Anyway, Alex covers some stuff that I do as well (again, it’s my spin, and hey, I’m supposed to be the EX-Square Enix fanboy here. He also bitches out the ignorant DDR fans. I’m pretty ignorant, but I’m the blissfully ignorant. I don’t know the names of most of these songs he rattles off. I’m like “hey, it’s a song and I’m trying to hit the arrows”. Alex, when I get the game and the pad and lose like 50 lbs on it, you and me will have a competition, since I’m the only other one that seems to care about Bemani around here. FUCK YOU KONAMI!! BRING ME FUCKING GUITAR FREAKS!!! DRUMMANIA!!! FUCK YOU!!! I’m ok now.

A Thumb to the Eye – Chuck Platt
Speaking of which, Chuck Platt hates me too, because he said he’s going to play Drummania AND I CAN’T!!! DAMN YOU CHUCK!!!! The songs he lists are cool, but I want to sing Nine Inch Nails. Nobody can emulate Trent Reznor’s vast (ahem) vocal range like I can. Ok, so he’s not the best singer, but by God, he’s the best overall musician out there! I think so anyway. So yea, I’ll have to get Karaoke Revolution too, only because it’s the first Konami rhythm game that doesn’t have Dance in the title. I can always hope for Guitar Freaks, can’t I? NOW YOU KNOW WHY I GOT BUSTED!! IF YOU COULDN’T PLAY GUITAR FREAKS, WOULDN’T YOU DRINK VAST QUANITITES OF ALCOHOL, EVEN IF IT MEANT JAIL!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Review: Simpsons Hit and Run (PS2) – Chris McCarver
You know, after reading this review, I thought, “You know, that McCarver guy ain’t so bad..”

Review: Starsky and Hutch (PS2) – Chris McCarver
..and then I changed my mind. You’re lucky you’re getting the link at all!

Review: DDRMAX2: Dance Dance Revolution (PS2) – Alex Williams
Who better to review this title than the DDR God himself? And damn you, damn you Alex, now I need to find a way to get the cash to buy this. Thankfully my birthday is coming up soon!

Review: Raw 2 (Xbox) – Cory Laflin
Yea, a wrestling game. Ho hum. Sorry, not really in to the CAW thing yet, and when I play wrestling, I wanna do finisher after finisher right at the beginning dammit. Goldberg does it, why can’t I?


New Anime Releases
* Release Date — 9/30/03
Blue Gender Box Set (FUNimation), His and Her Circumstances (The Right Stuf), Najica Blitz Tactics (ADV), Ninja Scroll 10th Anniversary Special Edition (Manga Entertainment), Sakura Wars TV Vol. 4 (ADV), Zaion Vol. 1 w/ Box (ADV)

Not that big of a week here, so I’ll skip comments on most of these. One I want to mention is His and Her Circumstances. This is the last release of the series, so it means I need to get discs 4 and 5 and then I can finally watch it!


Well, we survived another week. I did anyway. Come back again next week for more of the same shit: me doing whatever I want within my own certain constraints. If you like or don’t like, tell me. I love hearing from you guys.

Lee Baxley is THE Bad Guy. When not downing a bottle of some alcoholic beverage, he can be found taunting people by either throwing his toothpick in their face or feigning fright, or sometimes even both. Despite these pastimes, he still enjoys playing RPGs and watching anime. You can read about his further exploits on his blog.