Retrograding MAILBAG 05.01.04

Sorry gang. It’s been one hectic week for me, probably the most hectic in this year since I’ve returned to the States. Everything from moving from Marketing Analyst in my company to being the main force behind our College programs and becoming *THE* consultant for every University in North America that uses FISH! Oh, and I got a Pokemon VW Beetle GLX. Come on people, we ALL knew that was coming. Everyone’s favorite non angst-ridden monochromatically clad Pikachu hugger had to get one of those eventually. There were some other things too, but guess what? This columns not about my personal life (that’s what my LJ is for), it’s about video games.

I figure since I couldn’t get to the countdown this week, I should finally finish cleaning out my inbox and do a mailbag for you. I’m also going to be doing the top 6 games singularly. Six different columns if you will. Just for the fun of it.

But instead of just countdown emails, I thought I’d show off some other stuff. Mainly emails that are a little less flattering than you often see here. I’ve been saving up what little hate mail I get to do such a mailbag and I figure this is as good a time as any to do it. Of course it is only in regards to two game reviews I have done…nothing more.

More Beyond Good and Evil Hate Mail

It’s well known I think this game is highly over-rated with horrible camera angles and that in the end it tried to do too many different things, and they all came out half assed. The plot especially as even before I reviewed it, I’d be on AIM calling the plot to my fellow Kliq members because it was that transparent and shallow. I really truly can’t understand how people felt a game that played like it was written by Vince Russo was deep or amazing. But a lot of you did. Of course those that did write me hate mail, basically lacked the ability to write at higher than a third grade level. That’s not saying ALL Beyond Good and Evil fans are that mentally impaired. Just the ones that had been writing me. In a previous mailbag, I showed off all those sad emails and people laughed their butts off. However, from that email I received a few intelligent well thought out emails from fans of the game and I’d like to share those with you now.

Well, in addition to those four stellar examples of the decay of American Education, you almost got another piece of hate-ish mail over that review.

But I decided instead to completely dismiss the entire 411games staff as a source of any sort of useful review (useful to me, at any rate). This had been building for a while now (SC2, FFTA, etc.), and your collective picking of Pokemon Channel as Best GameCube Game nearly did it (guys, _NINTENDO_ doesn’t like the game *that* much, and Wind Waker technically received the same amount of votes that PokeChan did), but it was your BG&E review that finally made me realize that you guys are incapable of the kind of thinking that relates to my gameplay habits.

I still enjoy the columns and news updates (and am skimming through your RPG list with the appropriate amount of salt-graining), but your reviews now mean as much to me as some Maddenite’s review of the latest Pokemon game.

No hard feelings and keep up the otherwise good work.

-Chris

Chris is right. We’ve got some very unique tastes here at 411. SC2? Panned across the board. FF Tactics Advance: Hell, Lee hated it more than I did! And he’s a FF fan! BG&E? It’s the boogeyman here at 411. Yeager and I consider BG&E playing akin to girls that either cut themselves or binge and purge. It’s a form of self-induced abuse.

Chris and I have talked on occasion. Sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. He’s a gameplay over story guy, and most of the Kliq are story over gameplay. And he’s right. Knowing his preferences are the opposite of our own, 411 probably isn’t the best places to get reviews from. We’re harder on games than any other site I’ve seen so far. I also mentioned PokeChannel got chosen on the basis over originality more than anything else. I mean, what other game is like it and that only costs 25$ out the gate? Plus we’re all Pokemon addicts here at 411. Finally, Chris did agree with me about my three huge dislikes about the game: The horrible hovercraft controls, the camera angles, and that the game was every cliche in the book wrapped into one package. But he managed to find enjoyment in the game over those things where I couldn’t get past them. It’s a difference in taste. Nothing more. And that’s important. Most gaming sites and mags have writers that bash the shit out of fans that write in and disagree with their opinions. I try not to do that and instead show the writer respect and thanks for taking the time to actually sit down and draft a letter to me. Often times they don’t expect that. And write back in a much saner style. Chris and I have always been able to have respectful adult conversations around disagreements in taste, something most gamers lack the ability and maturity to do. Just check almost any gaming forum for proof of that.

Next up is Courtney.

You said in your review of R-Type Final that the series began on “Nintendo’s 8 bit juggernaut,” but didn’t the Sega Master System port of the original arcade game come out first?

A few comments on Beyond Good and Evil:

-I own the game on the Playstation 2, and I didn’t have problems with the game’s controls or instances where Jade would stand against walls when I needed her to run. I think someone else mailed you stating this a while back as well. The camera wasn’t much of an issue either except when needing to judge distances on the hovercraft (jumping electric fences is poorly done in this game).

-Personally, I loved the characterizations of the supporting cast, but I can see why people could find Peyj and especially Double H annoying. Jade is an excellent main character though, and I’ve rarely seen any voiced game character feel as “real” as her. The scene with her nearly crying through her voice while calling for the orphans at the demolished lighthouse and her detached conversation with the dog afterwards carried a level of emotion rarely seen in games. It was a relief to finally be able to play something with a female lead that actually put forth an effort to give her a soul.

-You explain an event late in the game where Jade has to fight a number of Alpha Section members at the lighthouse. You used this event to illustrate the difficulty of using her charge attack. Actually, you don’t need Jade’s charge attack at all for that fight (unless there’s another difference in control between the PS2 and X-box versions). At least in the Playstation 2 version, if Jade is even remotely facing in the direction of the flying Alpha Section members, the camera will center on them when switching to her Gyrodisk Glove. It’s a simple battle with the disks.

You wouldn’t happen to know about any English sites dedicated to the Persona series, would you? I’ve only played the first Playstation release, and while the game is often slow, tedious, and has an over abundance of plain looking and arbitrarily complex dungeons (gotta stretch that game time!), it was certainly unique, an it’s interesting enough that I want to know more about the overall story (and characters) of the series. I’m having no luck finding anything though.

And finally a nitpicking comment about your favorite RPG list:

“There is no reason it shouldn’t be in everyone’s top 5 RPG’s of all time.”

That’s from your review of Phantasy Star 2 off the PS collection for GBA. “Top 5”
to 24 is a bit of a drop in 6 months, don’t you think :-) Or were you just in a
salesman mode that day where everything you love shall be touted as the best when given its own moment in the sun?

Courtney

Snipey but intelligent. This was my response to her letter:

1. You’re right. A few systems had R-Type before the NES. Besides the master system, the Old C64 had it too. I actually think it was released there before the SMS, but I’m not too sure.

2. You know, it’s interesting. Everyone who has agreed with me about the controls of BG&E are in fact Xbox or GCN owners. Those that have disagreed are either PS2 or GCN owners. It seems Game Cube people are split, but the straight consensus is that the game just has a big problem on the Xbox and on the PS2 it plays rather well. It’s a tempting enough theory to make me want to go rent a PS2 version of the game to see if it’s something about the game, or an interesting cross reference of system owners and their preferences.

As for the camera angle, I do have to disagree with you there. Most people did write in and say they had a problem with the camera at very important parts of the game. But then to be honest, bitching about a 3D game’s camera angles is like making fun or George Bush’s intelligence. Everyone does it and it’s as easy as punching out a 9 year old. Even Ninja Gaiden, which is getting insane scores across the board is also getting the ‘%$^%%*&* Camera Angles!’ comment.

I think in the end it comes down to the fact I’m a 2-D gamer at heart and very much NOT a platformer fan. I play shooters, fighters, and RPGs. And those are my preferences.

I agree that Jade was incredible, until the end when she’s part of the evil demigod behind eveyrthing. That totally ruined the game for me. Jade was why I kept playing even after I was like, “Wow. This game is horrible.” And that little revelation plus her power to bring Peyj back to life and so on at the very end of the game, really, REALLY annoyed the crap out of me. I’m so sick of characters not just being human and letting their will and heart alone be what carries them through the day. No, they have to have some sort of mystical fantasy background. Yuck.

If you’re looking for some games with great female leads, I’d also suggest Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Great game with complex and powerful female characters.

With the flying alpha’s whenever I used the gyrodisks, they just bounced off them. Even when I had a perfect bullseye on the pack. But then maybe my aim just totally sucked. ;p

3. By English sites dedicated to Persona, do you mean the story or do you mean a walkthrough? By in large more sites focus on the characters and stories and changed between the US and Japanese games.

Just to warn you, to get the best ending in the first Persona game, you’re going to be playing it longer than DW7, which takes about 100 hours to complete? And to perfect Persona, bu getting all the demons, and characters up to level 100…good night! The Megaten series has always know for being complex as hell though.

The best pages to get info probably include Sumaracity over at livejournal, if only because it’s a community of totally obsessed MegaTen fans. Also Atlus’s official webpage has forums dedicated just to SHin Megami Tensei and Persona.

A decent site for you:
http://www.sweet-umi.net/persona/

The big problem is, there is so much to the story of Persona that a lot of Americans/English only speakers won’t get it. And a lot of the fans sites are as erroneous as f*ck. A good example is when I mentioned authors that Atlus of Japan used to craft the second game’s plot and feeling. I mentioned Hideyuki Kikuchi and a bunch of would be know it alls write in saying, ‘He only did
Vampire Hunter D!’ And it’s true he did that, but Kikuchi also wrote a lot of Japanese style Cthulhu Mythos, which appears in the game as well. But because said readers only knew the anime based on his work, they assumed that was all there is. Sad really.

The best in English mainly focuses only on Persona 2 IS and EP. But it’s quite good, even it’s a bit erroneous on the Lovecraftian version of Cthulhu.

http://www.chthonian.net/persona/tsumi/characters/nyarlyphilly.html

4. As for Phantasy Star 2.

Originally that review came out in a column of min in december 2003. But the bosses decided to put it up in the actual review section many months later. Go figure. ;-)

But you’re right. That’s a massive drop. And you’ll see that with a lot of games on the list. My favorite VG series of all time is Sakura Taisen, yet only two make the list. I’m probably one of the biggest MegaTen fanboys on the planet, and yet only two games from that series will appear on the list.

The top 30 RPG thing is something readers have asked me to do for a year. And I finally agreed to do it. The Preamble to the entire thing explains it pretty well, but I don’t mind talking about it again.

Basically I laid out every rpg from every system I owned and systematically asked myself which I loved most. And I realized…wow. I love PS2. BUT…there’s about two dozen games I love more. If you read the PS2 review and then my commentary on it in the countdown the passion and love is still at the same frighteningly high level but being forced to anally analyze my favorite games brought a little more clarity to where it was on the list.

In all, if I could go back and edit the review, I’d change it to ‘One of the five must play RPGS of all time.’ because it is. This list is one of my favorites. And for me story > everything else in an RPG. So as the list goes on, you will notice a massive amount of emphasis on that. But I do feel PS2
is a game every RPG gamer needs to play through, if only to see how influential it is even today, and to let them know how hard games used to be. ;-)

Hope that doesn’t sound like I’m backpedalling. It really is just, when I write, I put all my passion into my work and down the road when I can temper emotion with clarity, well…things change.

I’m sure if my list was done a year later, there would be some big changes in there as well. Tis the problem with anything based on taste. Tastes change.

Crap, that’s a long letter. But still, I hope it helped.

And Courtney’s response:

And thank you for the long reply :)
I guess I should be happy I got the Playstation 2 version of BGAE for Christmas then (I also own a Gamecube and plan to get an X-Box the next time the price drops). I wouldn’t call it classic, but I definitely had fun playing it. I’d agree that Jade’s sudden destiny was a bit silly (guess they wanted to create a setup for a sequel), but it didn’t hurt my feeling of the game, and Jade was still a strong enough person for me that I could go along with it. Plus, game stories rarely make or break a game for me. If they don’t highten a game I already like or lower a game I hate, they don’t have much effect. Oh well, to each his own, though if you’re ever just curious to see a mythical background plot get really over the top, take a look at the Legacy of Kain series sometime. I’ve liked those games, but dear God…
I hated 3-D games early on, but over the years I’ve grown accustomed to them and have played several that provided a lot of entertainment. For me, I can deal with most cameras as long as I have a decent level of control over them (because they do largely suck by default). The last 3-D game I went through was Wind Waker, and 95% of that game was played with the camera in Free Mode.
With Persona, I’m looking more for story related material (want to know more about the characters too). I honestly don’t remember if I got the perfect ending in Persona because it’s been a few years since I played it. I beat the game somewhere in the 60-65 hour range so probably not. I do remember seeing two different endings to the game though (one where the game ends much earlier than the other one). I was recently poking through some of the FAQS on the game at Gamefaqs to refresh my memory (I do rememebr enjoying the story despite not being able to rememeber a lot of details now), but there’s not a lot of discussion of the series anywhere. I’ve been thinking about trying out Eternal Punishment (my sister still owns a copy, so access is easy), but I currently have a large number of games I own still waiting to be played (including the not so short Icewind Dale 2 and Neverwinter Nights), so it will be a while. I am going through the links you gave; thank you for those.
When you discussed Phantasy Star 2 in the countdown, you made a reference to the forth game being too long. That comment struck me as odd; I thought the game was actually a bit on the short side. It didn’t take me as long to complete as Phantasy Star 2 did (unless you were talking about the number of events in the game or the number of places you visit rather than the actual playing time).

You mentioned a fav 50 list in your prologue, and you’ve also mentioned it a couple of times in the 411 forums. Have you considered posting that full list at the end of your countdown to see which games got the “honorable mention” distinction?
I’m looking forward to the top 10 Side Scrolling Beat Em Up’s. River City Ransom is a classic and Guardian Heroes (though a bit cheap at times) is a blast to play. Of course, I don’t know that they’re on the list, but you’ve praised them enough that I’m assuming they are.
Courtney

NO to the top 50. I’m so burned out from the whole countdown it will be a long time before I do any list like that again. As for the Beat Em Up’s….The list is done. It is just waiting for write ups.
And Phantasy Star IV took FOREVER with all those side quests. I just didn’t have the patience for them all.
And see, another person that disagrees with me on some things that can actually write a well thought out letter that doesn’t degenerate into a flame. Yay!

Hello. I am just commenting on your review of Beyond Good & Evil. First off, I won’t go swearing at you and stuff. I’ll just sort of be polite about it. Second, I totally disagree. Third, you are right about camera angles, but just don’t be that critical in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the camera angles are much worse. Fourth, the boss fighting is alright. The music is excellent. The plot was great. Jade–her character and personality–are amazing. Pey’J is obnoxious. Double H and his “Carlson and Peeters” adds a military touch to the game. Shooting the calvary in space is fun, I will agree but you don’t have to beat so hard upon a good game, alright? I’m trying just to tell you that I disagree. If you have problems, tell me and I will do whatever I can to make you happy.
-Melissa

Whatever it takes to make me happy, huh? I’ll let the perverts among you twist that however you want. ;-)

Widro and I found on the official BG&E forums a massive hate thread dedicated to me and it was hilarious. But I’ve already touched on that. However, the biggest complaint was that I didn’t just say “I didn’t like this game” but that I wrote a massive diatribe against the thing being as malicious as I possibly could. Melissa is obviously one of those that was shocked by my out and out malice towards the game (Oddly there was no hate campaign against my CIMA and SC5 GBA reviews…)

People that find BG&E’s plot excellent have to be Final Fantasy fans. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Ninja Gaiden

Heh. Although I praised the game constantly, and said I loved it…I got hate mail. Because my score was only a 7.5 Which is a very good rating here at 411. Why the hate mail? Because it didn’t get a 9 or 10 like other sites. Now, it always surprises me how many gamers are still out there that haven’t caught on to the fact nearly every other pro game site out there pads their ratings in exchange for money and/or freebies. Pankonin can tell you about a massive conversation he had with Activision about them trying to get a certain review score raised. We’ve had other companies pissed that we don’t buckle under like other mags and sites that will go nameless because you SHOULD know who they are by now. For us here at 411, a 9.0 is a game that will be known forever as a classic. A 10 is perfect. Ninja Gaiden is FAR from perfect with some big flaws. Deal with that reality people. It’s not quite a great game, but it’s a very good one. Some people agreed. Some people wrote very odd letters. Let’s look.
Alex,
Just curious if Boulders Gate 2 is really better then Ninja Gaiden?
The first one was fun but seems like pure trash compared to Champions of Norrath.

thanks,
David

Funny. I’ve only heard bad things about Norrath and only glowing commentary on Baldur’s (not Boulders) Gate 2. And I still would stick by BG2 being a much better game. Customization, a nice storyline that meshes perfectly with the original (again, something NG couldn’t do) and it was a great hack N slash. I still feel BG2 or PokeCol will be the RPG of the year for 2004.

His response back to me:

Alex,
I appreciate your reply. Maybe I need to take a longer look at BG2. I just found for a somewhat RPG fan that the leveling up in Norrath was a lot better then BG.

Not that it matters one bit but as far as balance and control goes I find that NG wins for a couple reasons. One on a top down hack and slash all you can really do is hit the button to make them swing. At least in NG I get to
choose to do combos and things like that. I find that the difficulty also ramps up well as opposed to say F-Zero for GC where 10 minutes later I just put it down and had no desire to play. As for the camera you are right but then again it’s top down vs someone really moving around in a true 3d adventure at a really fast pace.

At the end of the day I respect your opinion. Sometimes it’s just kinda weird to see people talk up something then kinda blast it at the end.

See, I found NG to be an even bigger hack N slash game what with only needing to use two different moves in the game. In BG2, you have options from necromancy to just beating something with a magic sword. I like that.

But what struck me here was his last sentence. I don’t ever remember blasting NG except for the camera angles. And so I asked him what he meant and he replied that it was the fact we gave it “ONLY” a 7.5. I explained how our rating system work compared to everyone else’s and this is the response I got.

must agree with you the whole problem with scoring is sites started off on the wrong foot. They give somewhat average games 8.7. Ones that really are average and should be 6. Since they inflatted in the begining there is a bigger difference between 9.4 to 9.5 then there is between 7-8. Oh well it’s almost as useless as a 5 point scale as far as I am concerned. These days it’s about the impression they give you more then the score.
Well I prefer your rankings when knowing where you are coming from. If only everyone conformed. Guess freebies are worth higher rankings. SO out of curiosity what is your favorite game of all time?

I will check out BG2 my wife and I are big BG fans and are loving Noratth last night.

And BINGO! It seems most gamers when confronted with the truth admit other sites and their ratings padding is annoying and that the inflated scores are obvious. Hence why people come here, right?

As for my favorite game of all time? It depends on the genre. You’ll soon learn my favorite RPG. For shooters, it is Ikaruga. For fighting games…it’s Street Fighter 2 Turbo Championship Edition. For Beat ‘Em Ups? Guardian Heroes and River City Ransom. For Platformers? I really like Haunted Mansion and Bonk’s Adventure? Survival Horror? Clock Tower, Suffering, and Eternal Darkness.

But now back to NJ comments.

you suck at reviewing games. Newb gamers should not review games.
-sdump

Is there anything I can say about this one that won’t come off mean?

Wow, that paragraph about the wicked awesome ninjas and the wail out
sessions may have been the first time I laughed out loud at a 411 Game
Review. They’re pretty dry for the most part.

On the other hand, shame on you for piquing my interest in Ninja Gaiden, I’m
considering selling my soul for an X-Box now. Keep up the good work

-Hulk Hogan

I shit you not. That is what it had for the name. Of course it’s not really Terry. But then again, it’s known that half a dozen WWE guys read my column, so why not Hollywood?

And man, if you laughed at my REAL ULTIMATE POWER homage, you really, REALLY need to read my I-Ninja review.

Oddly enough, I considered for a long time doing Ninja Gaiden in that same style and to review ALL ninja games like that. But thought better of it after asking the Kliq. Imagine the response to it if I had…

you crazy its the best action game out and you only give it a 7.5

-Mafiaplayaa

Sigh. See what I mean? I asked him what he meant and he wrote back with the following:

the only small problem with the game is the camera i cant see any hardcore
gamer given it less then a 9

Arrrgh. And this guy right here is a PERFECT example of how companies reviewing for the sake of greed and handout and asskissing have really ruined the integrity of gaming journalism. They don’t review for the sake of helping the reader spend his money wisely. They review how the companies tell them to. And that’s f*cking sad. And because it, games like this guy get suckered in and assume a 7.5 is a BAD rating. That only 9’s and 10’s will do. Ugh.

Here are some more letters he sent me…

you said good score but the game is great so it should have a great score n your score is the second lowest score next to that bullshit GA review

And 8.0 is a GREAT score. It got a 7.5. That’s pretty close. Notice though, he doesn’t say MY review is shit, just that he wants a higher rating for the game.

And then after asking him specifically other than the score if he had a problem or disagreed with any comment I made in the review, this is what I got:

n i already read the review its seems you took down 3 points for the camera which is no better or worst then other games the other stuff i agree on

Wow. Just wow. Look at what day and age we live in. People are only reading the score. Not the review. JUST the score. And that’s all they are focusing on. WTF people? Does this mean you’ve learned sites like Gamespy and IGN are full of dogshit and so you don’t bother reading their poorly written drivel? That you’ve given up on any of us that write reviews being honest and just gauging the score, assuming the reviews are just asskissing those that paid for it and bashing those that did not? If so, that’s all the more reason to come here. Because quite honestly, I’ll quit before that happens here. Not that any discussion of catering to the lowest denominator hasn’t come up here at 411. But we’re unanimously said “Fuck that shit.”

So let me get this straight. You actually belive that Pokemon channel is a better game than Ninja Gaiden? That tells me you like your games simple and easy. It’s OK not everyone is good at Video games. But those people shouldn’t be reviewing them.

-Ed Danke

Another person only looking at the score and not the actual written words. God that’s so sad. And me? Like simple and easy games? I have a feeling every long time reader has crapped themselves laughing at this guy.

Although I am trying to only focus on negative letters this mailbag, I thought I’d show this:

awesome job dude, and i read the whole thing! i played it a bit, it was fun, but the 9.5 and 10s i see are just insanity! i think 7.5 is right on…
-Widro

Just wanted to put the boss’ comment in because an overwhelming majority of letters said this to me. “Thank you for being honest with your rating.” Accept it other sites: People want honesty and critical analysis of a game. Nothing but. Stop being condescending and give it to them!

And finally, one last conversation with a person who went from “Why are you ratings so low?” to “You guys rock.”

I think your ratings system needs fixing. To say this is one of the best games the action genre has to offer(which I concur with) and then your final score reflects a mediocre game really does a disservice to your readers, IMO. I don’t know how much value you place an “originality”, whatever you mean by that, or “addictiveness”, but it’s obvious you scoring system needs some tweaking. (could those two scoring parameters be any more subjective? : |)

Also, I found that the camera system was VERY well done for the most part. Sure the camera wasn’t perfect, but, and this but, during the ENTIRE game it never was out of place more than 5-10% of the time. Show me someone who claims they know of ANY action game in this or the last generation that can boast a better percentage than that and I’ll show you a liar. To dock this game’s “control” value so much for having, though not perfect, one of, if not the best camera system for this genre seemed like you were overstating the flaw and was very short sighted in my eyes.

-Amat878

I was like? “NO! NO NO NO!” A 7.5 is not mediocre. This is not Grade School where a 75% is a D! It means 3/4th of the game is something that can be considered enjoyable! God damn the American grading system!”

I merely wrote him back and explained the reality of our grading system and like everyone else asked if there was anything about the actual REVIEW he had a problem with, other than the score? The response?

First I’d like to say thanks for responding to my emails. It’s not often a site takes the time to respond personally to complaints and inquiries. It is appreciated. You’ve expained yourself thuroughly and your opinions are now respected by this reader no matter how off base I think they are. Your mention of this Ninja Gaiden as a prequel deffinatly was a first read for me at your site and makes me appreciate this game even more than I already do. However, I STRONGLY believe that history will prove me and the multitude of other gamers who feel the same way I do about this game right and you completely and dead wrong as to not putting the Xbox incaration of this game up there with the originals as classics. It’s just that good of a, once in a generation game. But as they say, only time will tell. :)

THIS is the difference about 411. The rating is an afterthought here. Numbers are meaningless. It’s the meat of the reviews that we find important, and everyone here from Laflin to Berg f*cking excel at this area. The numbers are an add up of the ten separate points. And they will, by the nature of our system be far lower than other sites. Because we look at EVERY aspect. Not just sound, graphics and gameplay.

I’ll end this Ninja Gaiden section with one last email. One I just got last week which I found amusing.

Alex,

While I agree with your review for the most part, I found out that there is some incorrect information in your review.

You can unlock NG 1-3 with a lot more ease than you say in your review. After you get NG 1 from Murasama, you go to the area above the multi-colored door to Pleasure Street (why are there no hookers on this street? Even if the rest of the game lacks NPCs, that should have been somewhere), and shoot the face of the clock on the clock tower, and a treasure chest appears on the tower with NG 2. Once you get NG 2, you can claim NG 3 simply by returning to the Peristyle Passage in the Aquaduct and wall jumping to the location of the scarab in that room.

Also, once you get the original NG trilogy, you can play them on the main screen by simply beating the game. Granted, I played them at the arcade machine in Han’s Bar to be safe, but the games showed up on the main menu as “Classic Ninja Gaiden”.

I’m sure millions of people have already told you this, but JIC. And not that this would drastically affect your review (what, a 7.6-8 instead of a 7.5?), but it might make you a little less pissed off.

Also, this doesn’t make it terribly easier to get the trilogy. I needed help finding all 50, like those stupid stones in Genma Onimusha. But, considering how impossible some levels are to get Master Ninja (any of the short ones, or ones that don’t have infinite recycled enemies like the Ghost Fish in Chapter 14-15), it does make it a little more accessible.

Otherwise, I think your review was spot-on. I personally would’ve liked upgradeable armor, but very little in video games can be perfect.

Anxiously awaiting whoever is going to take apart Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow piece by piece.

-Dave

The comedy is my review was written about a week before these tricks were revealed by Tecmo, and thus I was unaware of them. And had they been told from the start, I’d have probably upped my rating to an 8 or an 8.5. Too hard to say. Notice that he liked the score and the review too. ;-) People are catching on…

The comedy was a few days before I got this I was in chat with the rest of the Kliq and I was like “HOLY SHIT! I found an easier way to get the classic NG games!” Yeager was like “That’s been known for a few weeks.” And of course me, who does not use GameFAQS or cheats of any kind was like. “It was? Damn.” But the rest of the Kliq seems to think I’m the only person that found this trick without help from the company. Ah well… Still a cute story to end the column with.

I think 13 pages of emails are enough for now. I’ve still got 70 in my inbox (not counting LJ responses to the countdown…) to go through for the RPG list. Hopefully all this is a decent temporary filler until I get some free time.