RETROGRADING MAILBAG 03.02.04

Before we get to the mail I’m gonna say three things. The first is that the Countdown this week is going to be a bit unusual. I had a personal tragedy occur this weekend with the one thing I loved more than Pikachu and Poontang COMBINED passed on and so I’m a bit out of it. I think I may bring up my personal life maybe once a quarter on 411, but I did want to say thank you to over 100 people who wished me well in the 24 between when it happened and while I write this. It’s amazing how word passes when all I did was put a friends protected entry in my blog and that was the only mention of it by me to anyone.

Anyway, the second thing is that instead of nixing the countdown for a week, I’m lucky enough that two of the games covered are ones already talked about by me on 411, and so I’m going to take the cheap and easy way out and instead cut and paste those as my commentary for the countdown and also edit them a bit so they seem slightly new and original. But in truth there is no way I could top my previous commentary so it all works out. Plus there will be new content for one game on there. And it’s one everyone who has ever played it loves to DEATH.

Finally, I am holding off any mail from the countdown until I get half ways done (i.e. this weekend). I have so much of it that it’s going to take a lot of mailbags, possibly 2-3. So for this edition, we’re focusing on everything BUT the countdown.

But now for a very unusual mailbag.

As some of you already now, I lambasted Beyond Good and Evil by Ubi Soft and gave it a 4.5. Something a lot of you agreed with. The game was over-rated and over worshipped by reviewers only to see the game die a terrible but much deserved death on the shelves.

But little did I count on the hatred shot out towards me by BG&E fans who lacked the ability to accept some people had different opinions from their own. So I decided to kick off the mailbag today by sharing with you all the hate mail I got on the subject…

you have to be the dumbest whore on the face of the planet

-anon nogojoe@bellsouth.net

Behold as I tremble in the wake of CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM!


You’r entire review reads like it was written in Russian and then translated
through Bablefish. Trying to make fun of spelling and grammar, but could you
start a few more sentences with a conjunction for me? please?

-ush kun runthreed@hotmail.com

So is this guy the pot or the kettle? Honestly?

Terrible review. If you want to see some real reviews for it, go check out some REAL reviewers like www.ign.com and www.gamespy.com . You’re just a third rate reviewer with a biased opinion that nobody cares about, on a great game.

-Tim S. sidewinder3d@comcast.net

….. Wow. What can I say about this letter that Tim doesn’t already say himself. IGN and Gamespy? I’ll let all your laughter towards Tim do the talking for me. :-)

That was an absolutely horrid review.

The demigod thing was being controlled by the Domz. Can’t you tell (from
having played it twice…) that the evil Domz thing looks completely
different from the Lovecraftian god?

People like you drive me insane. This is a good game that should be selling
better than it has been, but awful reviews like yours lessen its sales.
What? Do you expect reality in a video game? Seriously, shut up.

~Shane Shaneiler@insightbb.com

And of course, this is the one that is closest to coherent. But then the guy misses the fact that the Domz were controlled by the Demigod as the Demigod EVEN SAYS IN HIS FUCKING SPEECH AT THE END OF THE GAME he was controlling everyone. And then proceeds to turn good after Jade beats him negating the whole point of the game. All this does is prove to me that BG&E fans are by far the most clueless sack of idiots ever to play video games. They don’t pay attention to the poorly written story they were given to begin with. Sigh. I guess growing up on games that focused heavily on plot is what made it so I could totally trash BG&E complete lack of one, Or one that made sense at the very least. I mean from Persona down to Fatal Frame, those are games with story while BG&E was…just ick.

But hey, what makes life interesting is that we all have our own opinions. Just note that my opinion is backed up with ten pages of virulent hate filled ranting that picks apart the game and theirs is well…lacking in substance. Just like the game they adore.

And seriously, that was the combined hate mail. Four letters compared to the two dozen of you who wrote in and agreed it sucked donkey balls. Widro and I also found the board that all three belong to that is nothing but BG&E worship. I’d show it to you, but these are people that think Ikaruga is a first person shooter. That alone should tell you the quality of their thought processes.

Interesting to note the only hate mail I ever got before this review was from Final Fantasy fans. And I DO deserve those…

Now for some saner letters…

Just thought you’d like to know, that the original idea behind Arx Fatalis was to create Ultima Underworld III. There were licensing issues in early stages of development, and the game evolved to become Arx.

I can’t find the web page where I read that information, but it was from the official Arx team.

By the way…great review. Totally fair.. and yes, it is a great game

-Chad Smith

I never knew that. I really didn’t. So Chad is of course super cool beyond belief for letting me know this. I’d personally love to find this web page too, so if any of you know it, give me a holler.

As long as we’re on reviews let’s look at a few letters from my Fallout: BoS review.

hey dude i red ur fallout reveiw and ur dead on dis game kicks ass!!!!1 if u need a reviewar for ur interwab site email me back i just got my xbox and lotsa games for it too k bye ^_^

-iohkus

Umm…yeah. Pankonin will be giving you a call shortly.

u r a num num. leave fallout fans alone, at least most of them know what they are talking
about.

-Arjuna

What is it about troll letters and the inability to give them real name? And this letter perplexed me for days…because I gave the game a 7.5! Someone thinks that is too low? Okay. Well at least this shows the other members of the Kliq that even though I get the most mail, I also get the most idiots.

I remember now what i wanted to tell you about Champions of Norrath. I think the thing that caught my eye is that its going to have more playable characters than BGDA2 and the dungeons are suposed to be randomly sprawling so they’re never the same. Which is something i absoloutly LOVE. Keeps the game fresh and new. Shit i still play Castle in the Winds parts 1 and 2 which are the simplest games ive ever seen and freeware. (i guess i cant be much of a graphics whore if i still even play those damn games! lol)
So i think thats why im looking forward to that one more than BGDA2. From the ads it sounds like they have more skills and feats that BDGA2 but we know how ads usually run better than the actual games. Time will tell.

Good review btw. I have to find this game. I still havent seen it locally yet.

John, Derry nh.

Ah Blatherbeard, one of my most consistent letter writers, and a cool guy to talk to on the 411Fan Forums.

So far, I’ve actually heard from people Champions of Norrath bites in comparison to the Dark Alliance games. But as I haven’t played it I can’t confirm that. It is nice to see that a lot of our forum goers have picked up and enjoyed Fallout: BoS for what it is: A good hack N slash game and not something to be compared to the incredible PC Fallout games.

Hey, Your review of BOS is very generous. I was writing to tell you about why fans are pissed. It’s because Interplay has repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. I don’t think this is good reason to be so upset, but “They” turned one of the most non-linear, fun, original, deep RPGs I have ever played into a hack’n’slash free for all. I just think that interplay could have done a better job of managing what little time and money they have left developing a game that would save their butts in the long run. But they decided they would go for the let’s make a game based on a popular franchise, but totally different from the franchise so we alienate anyone who has ever supported this particular series so that we can make a quick buck. All in all, I’m just sad to see that fallout has Devolved into a game nothing like it’s namesake, and something only the immature would enjoy. Fallout was not: Big Guns, Scantily Clad women, and swearing. It was a world unto itself fleshed out in every possible way from the descriptions of items to the way it made reference to other scifi games, movies and books. I hope interplay is through tormenting their fans, and I hope that their end comes as slowly and as painfully for them as watching the development of this coasterware was for us fans.

-Thelobug

See, Thelobug manages to have the typical jaded hardcore gamer attitude. It’s not bad. It’s just a downer and pessimistic. I knew this wasn’t going to be anything like the other Fallout games, save for story and setting. I knew it was going to be a Hack N Slash and viewed it as such. Nothing more, nothing less. And as a Hack N Slash game, BoS kicks butt. I do think it’s unfair to compare two wildly different games that happen to share some story details to each other. It’s like trying to compare Crystal Chronicles to FF6 for example. Okay…they both have the name of Final Fantasy and umm…that’s really it. One should not be compared to the other. Same with Temple of Elemental Evil, which is based on the Arcanum engine, with Dungeon Hack which is well…DUNGEON HACK. Makes no sense to me. In the end, all you do is let yourself down because you wanted a game in pone style and can’t appreciate what you do have.

Now for what surprised me in the fact that I had five people guess the tagline of my “Curse: The Eye of Isis” review. I thought I had a tricky one this time…

Hey,

Just a quick message to say I really like your work. You have a nice style that seems to flow easily. I’ve only recently discovered your reviews and you seem to have a similar taste to my own as far as games go. Oh while reading your Curse review, I noticed the quote was from a cartoon called Mummies Alive!. Keep up the good work.

Ralph Harless

Congrats Ralph on being the first person who reads 411mania to get it right! And thanks for the compliments. I do appreciate them.

I’m almost afraid to admit I know this… Didn’t you paraphrase the opening theme to that goofy cartoon Mummies Alive in your tagline?

-Jason Schindler

Another correct answer!

The show that you are quoting is an American Anime show called Mummies Alive. I watched it once. And that was 30 minutes of my life I will never get back again. Granted, the premise was pretty neat, but why oh why did they have to put the anime action-cut shots in that? I mean really people.

I want my Samurai Jack game, and I want it now, dangit.

-George

Mummies make everything better George. Even a crappy horrible cartoon like Mummies Alive.

Mummies Alive, duh. Who doesnt know that one?

I personally think that Armon was the best. Sincerely.

-cog (thats what you can credit me as, my real name is undercover, cause I’m a big nerd.)

Cog said it. Not me. And I just really like the theme song.

Mummies Alive. Proves how sad my life is, huh?

-DigiRanma

Digi, you’re talking to the guy that ripped a Celebi Green GBA out of a kids hands in Osaka so he could have the last one. Okay, I didn’t do that, but it makes you feel better, right? Or DID I?

Two quick XIII letters that I liked.

have the same problem with cel shaded games as you had with this one. I got Wild Arms 3 for christmas (because i wouldnt buy it) and feel the same way about that. Nice backrounds but the characters look like your playing with colorforms. At least the Wild Arms games have decent stories to make up for most of the cel shading madness. Are there any games that actually look Good cel shaded? If there are i havent seen any.

john Derry nh

ps. just picked up BGDA2 and Fallout BoS for ps2. Rocking games but i cant stand the fact you have to look at the characters in BoS THROUGH the text. I love that you can shut off all text in BGDA2. Cant wait for EQ:Champions of Norrath.
You going to do a review for it?

keep up the good work.

I think John writes me for every article I write on 411Games. :-P

Good Cell Shaded games huh? I’d say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Wacky Racers on the DC are the closest. Well, and Jet Set Radio if you like that game.

You can rest assured that this is the first video game that Adam West was in. It is the only game listed under his profile on IMDB.

-Olsonn

I never even thought of using IMDB. But it’s good to know my hunch was indeed correct.

Hey man, I read your review and decided to pick up Baldurs Gate 2. Five hours later my wife is making me go to bed. This is the most fun I have had playing a game since I played Skies of Arcadia on Gamecube. Just out of curiousity, have you ever played Diablo? The play style is very similar to Baldurs Gate, and I wasted many a night with Diablo online. So, are there any other games that I should try? And, F.Y.I., I feel that the 411 reviews are the most fair, and balanced out there. Keep up the good work.

Greg Still

P.S. – And although I know you are not a Square fan, I just thought you should know that Final Fantasy X-II was a huge disapointment. I put in about three hours on that game, untill I had to stop before I hurt someone. I did enjoy FFX, but this latest installment is horrible. And what makes it worse is that FFX-II received a 9.0 in some reviews, and Baldurs Gate 2 received 5-7. WTF?

Greg, it gets good ratings because most reviewers quite honestly just want some T&A and pretty graphics. So far though, the only real bad review of DA2 was in…EGM and Gamespy. Which isn’t much of a surprise there. And EVERYONE who has played Dark Alliance 2 that I have recommended it to has fallen in love with the game completely. Bottom line is DA2 is your RPG of the year unless the inherent coolness of PokeCol wins you over.

Here’s Greg’s follow up letter BTW…

I’m currently playing as a Necromancer, because that was my Diablo character. This is one of the more addictive games that I have played. I don’t know if you have played Prince of Persia yet, but that is a really cool game also. One quick question since you seem to be very knowledgeable about the “behind the scenes” part of games, reviews, etc…What is the big deal about Halo? When I first got my X-Box(when Knights of the Old Republic was first released) everyone told me to get Halo. Well I did, and I never saw what the big deal was. Now, in all honesty, I hate all FPS. They all seem to be about the same, with maybe one or two cool weapons (although I loved the multiplayer of Goldeneye). Halo was, in my opinion, just another FPS. So what is all the fuss about?

Greg

I don’t know. I really don’t. I don’t get Halo love at all. I really don’t.

Oh yes. I got this a fortnight ago…

Re: 411 Exclusive Interview: Adam Ryland (PC)

Where do you get the game?

-Jason

www.adamryland.co.uk is the creator’s website or you could go to Mr. Botter’s interview with Adam and read more about it.

Hey Alex,

Haven’t written in for awhile mostly because I don’t usually write in about reviews and I haven’t seen anything wrong with any of your reviews.

I noticed a few things though, first off I’m glad there is someone out there who still calls it the PSX. I do it but whenever I say it nobody understands. I don’t remeber the exact story as to why it was called that all I remeber is that it stuck with me and now everyone calls it the PSOne.

I would also like to point out from that letter the guy wrote about people not liking Final Fantasy because it is popular. When i was reading it I was expecting your responce to be “Lucard hated Final Fantasy before it was cool to hate Final Fantasy.” Cause I knew you had hated it since VI.

I can’t wait for your RPG list it’ll be epic.

Finally you guys over in the Kliq have gotten me to finally play more Sega, all my life since I was 3 i was a nintendo guy and the only Sega system i ever owned was a Gamegear and even for that I owned only Generic platformers. I’m buying a Dreamcast soon and I’m picking up the GBA ports for Shining Soul.

Teff

Hope you are enjoying the countdown then Teff.

And I will NEVER call the PSX the PS1. EVER.

And I hope you enjoyed Shining Soul as well as the Dreamcast.

Now for a letter from one of the Kliq.

I’m not a HUGE RPG buff, but they’re pretty cool. Although I haven’t played one and got really into it since I played Secret of Mana in like 1999. Would I like Morrowind? I’ve been itching to play a new RPG recently and it seems like a good choice. You’ve played it; what do you think?

And if I would enjoy it, would you recommend the Greatest Hits edition ($20) or the Game of the Year edition ($30)? This is a potential Valentine’s Day gift (along with the Ric Flair DVD set) so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-Bryan Berg

I told him he probably would if he could stand real time RPG’s. I did try to get him to buy Dark Alliance 2 though instead or the GOTY edition instead of the Greatest Hits version of Morrowind.

What was a TurboGrafx 16 and why does it tickle the edges of my memory? Ya know, you were probably referring to something else anyway, but either way, please help. Thanks.

Aaron

The TG-16 was NEC’s console during the 16 bit wars, marking the first time we had a 3 system console war. And the TG-16 was an incredible system featuring games like BONK’S Adventure (one of Widro’s favs), Slaughterhouse, It Came From the Desert, and VASTEEL.

Although Pankonin has no idea what a TG-16 is (Bebito tried telling him it was the connector in the old Sega CD system that let you attach the Genesis, but Chris also believed us when we told him Bushido was considered one of the best Genesis games ever, so teasing the bossman isn’t as much fun as it should be. ;-)

I realize this has little to do with the article (sorry), but I was wondering if you know or can even estimate when we’re getting the first tidbits on SD! 6… last year we got the title officially announced around August… do you think it’ll be the same this time around?

-Syxfactor

Look, just because I’m supposedly Shawn Michaels writing under an alias doesn’t mean I know everything about wrestling! Oh…this was a serious letter. Oops.

In all seriousness Syx, I have no idea. I assume E3 will be the best time to get that info. Although if you check our newsboard, Alex Williams put some new info about a new WWE game coming out.

Now I’m going to bring up the fact I’ve been doing some stuff for 411Music as of late. Nothing big. A guest stint in the Saturday Night Juke Box with Jeff Fernandez(although ignore Widro’s comments in there about me being Shawn Michaels. Because I’m not. And because Hayate would shit himself after thinking he knew Trish and Tams only to eventually learn Pankonin, Bebito, Widro and Ken Anderson are in on the biggest joke on the IWC since Vince Russo came back as the mystery guy in TNA, and he was left out. But then I’m now Shawn so what Chris’ be okay, right?) and a review of Henry Rollins Spoken Word concert from here in Minneapolis on 2.23.04.

The Juke Box Appearance

The Rollins Spoken Word Gig

Although I got next to no feedback from readers, I got a lot on the Rollins bit from 411staff members who all liked it. And I’ll be reviewing 4 discs of Rollins that are only available at his shows or are not out until April for the Music crew throughout March, so look for those.

Anyway, I thought I’d put a letter from each of my music stints in, if only because I was happy to get even ONE. I know…Mr “15 page mailbags every time he does one not including the letters he leaves ou”‘ is sad because he got a single letter to both his music cameo. What can I say RG readers? You spoiled me! And I love you for it!

hey man, just wanted to say I appreciated the Henry Rollins Spoken Word
review. I’ve been a fan of his music for years, and an even bigger fan of
his spoken word commentary for almost as long. I saw him at the Newport here
in Columbus, Ohio last year, a venue he told us he had been visiting for
over 20 years, which really puts his career into perspective. Seeing as how
this was last year, he did a looooong bit about Winona Ryder and sending her
to Iraq to strip-tease for the troops as punishment for stealing clothes.
There was a really good bit about him driving the streets of L.A. alone
around Christmas time because all his secretaries and employees were women
and went home to be with their families, a concept he didnt possibly fathom.
As usual, a lot of political rhetoric, he said humans will eventually
devolve to the point that the only words we know are: “yes”, “no”, “boobs”,
“kill”, and “weapons of mass destruction”. Great, just awesome stuff, the
guy really just grabs your attention and keeps it. A master storyteller, as
iconic as the man is, he really deserves to be a lot more. There was a show
on VH1 a few years ago, cant remember the guy who hosted it….Zack
something….anyways he had Rollins on once and did the absolute most
brilliant thing in the world, he would just say a band’s name…nothing
else, just a band’s name, and ask Rollins what he thought about them. You
can only imagine Rollin’s going off for 5, 10 minutes at a time on obvious
picks like U2 and Creed. Anyways, just glad to see there’s another fan out
there. I dont know if you’ve heard of him or not, but if you like Rollins’
social/comedic commentary, you might also get into David Cross’ stuff, he’s
kind of the same way. Anyways, good review man. Thanks again.

-Ian Brooks

Thanks for such a long reply Ian. I really appreciated it as I’d never done any reviews of a concert before so I had no idea if what I did was good or not.


Rock on, I believe that you and I are actually the only fans of goth/industrial/synth on
this entire site. Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, Bauhaus and Rosetta in one mix… well
played. I’ve been a new wave/goth/darkwave DJ for a few years now, and my number one
watering hole is Chicago’s oldest nightclub which happens to be, Neo, a big BDSM/goth/industrial/EBM hangout. If you ever happen to be down in Illinois, check it out. Many thanks again.

Cheers
-Jf2k4!

Wow. Two goth fans on 411. I feel so happy. Plus I have a few Chicago friends that will be glad to go to Neo just to say hi to you now. And next time I am in town, I will for sure go clubbing there.

Now for the best way to end a mailbag ever.

See, a little while ago the Heartbreak Kid had a date with a very fine young women who has been trying for some time to chain him down. And of course, when you are the Heartbreak Kid, you understand that if you settle for just one lady, no matter how foxy, you’re doing a disservice to all of womankind. And besides, last time HBK settled down, it turned out Whisper was a psychotic British shrew.

ANYWAY, after giving the young lady a taste of some sweet chin music (although take out the word chin and put in another bit of anatomy and you’re on the right track…) she foolishly asked, “So HBK, do you like me better than Pikachu now?”

Now fair Retrograding readers, you know me. My answer should not surprise you.

“Baby. You’re just disposable sex. I LOVE Pikachu.”

Of course the story in full, along with many others of this nature (Like Alex nearly dates the ANGER girl) are in my blog. Although I’ll never mention it by url here, a fair number of you have found it and added it to your friends list if you have a blog of your own from that site, and even more of you crazed stalkers just read the entries that aren’t listed as “Friend Protected’ in hopes the good stuff is available to the public eye. But if you do want the URL that is my funky life, you can either ask or you can just try and find it on your own. Either way works for me.

But now, three readers loved the story so much, they were inspired to write songs about it without any prompting from me. And so to close the MAILBAG today, here are Lucard readers singing about well…ME.

Entry #1: Sung to the tune of Fiona Apple’s “Ugly Girl” written by fantom7

When I saw you at the gaming shop
It really gave me quite a shock
And I couldn’t turn and run away
I didn’t know what to say.
You introduced us right there and then
and I managed to force a grin
but I couldn’t tell if it was a her or him
can’t you see?
You’re leaving me
For a Pokemon

I’d never heard this song before this was written. Catchy tune though now that I have heard it via MP3’s.

Entry #2: Sung to the tune of “Sexy Boy” written by Don

I think I’m cute
I know I’m sexy
I got the tail
That holds thousands of volts
And now you come
Jockin’ on Alex
I tell you babe
That approach blows goats

Cause I’m the Pikachu
(Pika-chu-u)
He likes me, not you
(Not you-u)
Yeah I’m the Pikachu
(Pika-chu-u)
Hey elfy, screw you
(Screw you)

Ignorant Slut
I am his favorite
Yeah I’m the one
Who has won Lucard’s heart
Oh yeah, it’s true
You been abused
You’ll get worse if, you try to tear us apart

repeat chorus

How can you beat someone that sings about HBK’s favorite Pokemon to the tune of his own Theme Music?

And finally, an entry from 411Figures’ newest staff member!

Entry #3: sung to the tune of “GI JOE”

But hey, now you know….
…and knowing is half the battle!

Everybody sing!

He writes on websites,
about FISH! For Life
and then he cuts his hair!

He’s Lucaaaaaard
A. Lucard is there.

When Widro and Ashish
need 5000 words a-piece
A. Lucard is there

Retrograaaaade
reviewing the old games he plays

Al-lex Lucaaaaaaard!

I’ve decided anyone who decides to write a song about me gets auto entry into the mailbag. It’ll be like American Idol. And you all can skewer the singers!

And that’s it for another mailbag. I’ll see you this weekend with the next part of the countdown and next week with some reviews of Ninja Gaiden, Dead Man’s Hand, and probably another mailbag. (I’m that backed up!)