Retrograding MAILBAG 01.23.04

Holy crap. So many emails to go through. This is what happens when I don’t do one of these for a month. But now, it’s time for the best of your letters.

RG top 25 RPG countdown is postponed ANOTHER week due to me doing 4 reviews this week (Arx, Fallout, Curse, Dark Alliance 2) and so that I could get this done finally. Been a while since I’ve done a mailbag as I have a month of mail to go through.

Snubbing Root Beer Tapper? NO WAY!

Okay, so before Shockwave sucked, I remember up
staying late nights with my friend playing Joust and
Root Beer Tapper. I even picked up a catridge for the
64 because of Joust and Tapper, and started playing
Spyhunter like a nut too.

Now, Joust is my favorite game of all time. But Root
Beer Tapper is up there too simply because it’s
insane! And you give it no love! No what is up with

On a much less serious note, why does everyone seem to
hate FPS? I’m down with them in a serious way, but
game columnists don’t say too much nice things about
them. Could you maybe explain that? It’d be super.

Nick Dukes

Well I did give a sentence or two to RBT. But I agree my focus was on other games I really loved, like Gauntlet or Joust. That’s the problem with a massive anthology. So many games, so little room.

And I don’t hate ALL FPS. I love FPS Rail Shooters like House of the Dead. I’m not a fan of games like Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Halo, or the like simply because it’s just not my bag. It’s just run run run, kill, kill, kill to me. I never found Doom fun in the slightest either. I can’t answer for other writers, but for me, there just isn’t any real fun in the gameplay for me.

I just had a super quick question- I was looking through various sites and couldnt find anything but- is there anyword on a new Goemon Game? and what is the offical Release date for the New Harvest Moon GC game? I’ve seen 2

Harvest Moon hits US Cubes on March 16th, although Natsume is infamous for pushing things back.

No idea on the new Goemon game.

In your review you mentioned the new Harvest Moon Game, and I personally am Extremely Happy with it. Its essentially The Playstation one without the load times.. Works to me!

why were you dissapointed with it

Well, I’m pissed that Back to Nature is the same as HM 64 is the same as FoMT. Same basic game. Same characters. Just a few changes in each. I’ve paid over 100$ for the same damn game now. Natsume needs to get off its collective lazy behind and start making a brand new Harvest Moon, which this one coming out for the Game Cube in March HAD BETTER BE. This is as bad as Street Fighter 2, version 27 or yet another Army Men game.

Damn, I have never seen a guy try so hard to be “hardcore” by damning a gaming franchise that the masses like to seem more all-knowing and important. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to your opinion, but saying that Final Fantasy is overrated is a little… cliche. I mean, these days, anything that gets a following – be it a band, a single song, a game, a movie – gets damned right after it becomes popular for a bunch of reasons that pop out of thin air. People just hate to be thought of as a fan of anything popular, because we live in a society where we’re trained to believe that popular = bad. I think it’s silly, and it’s part of the reason that feeling sorry for yourself and seeking out pity have become popular; if people’d spend less time appreciating things based on their own merits and not on how nicht a product is, they’d have a lot more fun. Yeah, I know I got off topic, but it’s something that’s been bothering me for a while.


I don’t know WHERE to begin with this nutjob except that this letter made a shitload of us laugh.

I’ve always said MY hate for FF began with FF6 and climaxed with 8, subdued with 9, and increased to homicidal rage with 10. 1-5 are good (some are even GREAT) games. But Squaresoft hasn’t done jack shit in terms of innovation in a long time. Pretty graphics, rehashed plots, and 2nd rate gameplay.

And his rant on popular things not being popular is amusing as hell because America is the land of decrying what is popular and has nothing at all to do with homogenization of the masses or comformity with in social gatherings, is it? It’s called Political Science or Sociology classes in high school and college Chase. What you’ve just described is a gathering of Goths or other social malformites getting together and moaning about things simply because something is cool and popular and they in fact are not. Humanity jumps on the bandwagon by nature.

I think this is the problem with a lot of net smarks that are out there. Because the Net fans of a particular topic are generally negative and pessimistic by nature, one can get the sense that people are in general against anything and everything.
But the people coming to that conclusion obviously spend WAY too much time online and not enough interacting with people face to face or improving their social skills.

All I can say Chase is take a look at any High School in America and your theory gets flushed down the toilet big time.

And finally, learn to actually use proper argumentative grammar. If it’s cliche to bash something that is popular, that means bashing said thing has in fact become the norm and now the thing in question is no longer popular, except in the aspect of bashing it.

I’m a fan of Pokemon and Street Fighter. Two VERY popular franchises. And I’m proud to admit my unwavering obsession with both. ;-)

I think the Fire Fire Fire thing is from an episode of Kids In The Hall. I
remember it was Bruce that said the line, but I’ve forgotten the skit and
the context. I’m a huge KITH fan, and I’m guessing you are too :)

Oh and a confession before I let you go. I’m a huge 411 fan, I visit the
wrestling site every day, in fact and I browse the music and moive pages as
well, but I’ve never really visited the video game section before, and it’s
odd because I’m a huge gamer, but I really only play sports games (I think
I’m supporting someone at EA’s retirement) and of course I play GTA. Anyway,
Just thought I would let you know the truth lol. I clicked on the link
because I saw the Kith quote, you rock :)

Andre in Orlando

Andre is correct. My “Fire Fire Fire! Fire on my Brain” line is from Kids in the Hall. Andre was also the only one that got it right, meaning the rest of you suck.


Love your work, but I noticed a bit of an error in your column: namely, that
Secret of Mana 2 was never released stateside (or in Europe, AFAIK, although I
generally don’t follow European game releases), and backs me up on
this. As I understand it, Square felt that SD3 would be lost on American
audiences, and instead had Square USA develop a Mana sequel that would appeal to
us. The result was the warmed-over rehash known as Secret of Evermore (well,
SoE is not exactly a terrible game, but it’s not even as good as Secret of Mana,
let alone Seiken Denesetsu 3).

The english SD3 rom floating around the net is a hack, a fan translation of the

I’m not sure if you intended to imply that SoM2 was released for the SNES, but
it certainly seemed that way from your phrasing. I’m sure some of the less
diehard gamers are out there scratching their heads, saying, “What? Secret of
Mana 2?”

Keep up the good work Shawn.

Moongoose McQueen

Sometimes I forget that people think of Secret of Evermore as SD2. So I’ll do a quick run through for people unaware of the history of the entire series

SD1 = Sword of Mana/Final Fantasy Adventure

SD2 = Secret of Mana

SD 3 = Not in English

SoM2 = Secret of Evermore

SDLoM = Legend of Mana

SoM2 when I used the name is also Secret of Evermore aka SD3. The truth was, this was a brainfart and I meant to say SoE but said SoM2 for some reason. I noticed GameFAQS does the same thing, so maybe I was looking while compiling a list of Mana game?

But thanks for catching it Mr. Irvine.

And what the hell is it with people outing me lately as Shawn Michaels? First Jericho, then Alexa, then Ben Morse, and a few other people. If I AM Shawn, than this is slowly becoming the worst kept secret in the IWC…


About your BG&E Review. I have the PS2 version and I didn’t have any of the problems you claim to have had. One thumbstick was used to move to camera in situations where it needed to be moved, also Jade only wall snuck if you stand near a wall then walk, not walk, then get near a wall.

About the plot you wrote

“Now let’s look at this. IF the alien/deity is telling the truth, evil or not and Jade was stolen from him and recrafted and brainwashed into being a human, then he’s actually the good guy and the Hillyans are actually bad. And there is reason to believe this is so as Peyj tells Jade not to listen to him. And so even knowing all of this, Jade fights this Lovecraftian esque thing at the end, not the real bad guy.”

That’s the whole point of the title. Who is good and who is evil, it’s the basic double swerve for the character, first the gov’t is good, then they’re bad and now they MIGHT be good again. Also there’s still sequel room due to the ending which adds on another element to the story, that Pey’j was a DomZ spy who’s sole purpose was to bring Jade, fully grown to the DomZ leader. While the plot and story aren’t the most unique it’s still entertaining, getting to fight an evil government and evil aliens. I found it much better than Final Fantasy X-2, which I put down after a few hours cause it was just so blah. BG&E is seemingly fresh, compared to what else is really out on the market. While the game isn’t a perfect game, the PS2 version atleast is much better as the control problems you had, I didn’t have.

-Bryan S

Ugh. See. I can’t agree. One second you’re good, then you’re bad and your friends are good. Then they’re bad again, but you might still be bad but yet also good? Seriously, BG&E is the worst written game I’ve played in such a long time. Give me Squall over Jade. Seriously. That bad. It’s one stupid swerve after another. Vince Russo’s legacy compacted into one DVD game. If you want a game with an evil government or Aliens, you can get Dues Ex. Or Shadowrun, or a zillion other games that don’t decide to throw a dozen plot twists in the game in the last hour of it.

And to be honest for every “BG&E rules!’ letter I got, I received a lot of the following:

I am so glad you hate this game. I just look at the ads and get disgusted. It never even looked appealing to me, and a plot where you take pictures is just lame=o for me.

glad i didnt buy it.


And Widro hated it too. And agreed the game was lame. How can you fault Widro’s taste. Wait. Don’t answer that!

Thanks a lot for the heads up on those free
subscriptions and You’ve made a
lifelong fan of me from this moment forward.


You know, I got a lot of these…

Major props for this, man.

No doubt it’s highly appreciated. Thanks again. :


But that’s enough. Over 100 of you took advantage of this offer, and it was posted after me on Gamespot, IGN, and the like. Glad you took advantage of free mags. And as much as I appreciate all the fan letters I got for this, the real award of coolness goes to Cheapy D over at

You ran down your big games for 2004. Being pretty much the “RPG guy”
of 411, I was surprised to see that you didn’t mention Fable for XBox.
Just out of curiousity, why not?

Mike Ray

Wow. I got this question a lot too. The truth is, Fable has been pushed back so many times that I stopped caring. Coupling that with the stuff taken out compared to what was originally promised, I don’t see this game living up to the hype. So instead I chose a game that still intrigues me, and is still made by the same guy: I’d rather make movies than have yet another attempt at Morrowind. But as we are talking about Molyneaux…


Just wanted to let you know that, as far as I know, The Movies is in fact
coming out for consoles. Granted, this IS Molyneaux, and we are talking
about something that will probably be delayed again anyways, but as far as I
know it is hitting all 3 major consoles.

Been hyped about the game since its reveal at E3 in 2002 (Hard to believe
that was two years ago, almost), simply because the concept sounds so damn
amazing. Of course, who knows what options it will actually ship with,
because “this is Molyneaux”, and if Fable has taught us anything its that
Hyperbole is his friend.

Myles McNutt

I hope Myles is right. I haven’t seen any site taking preorders for this game save on the PC.

Holy Cow, Alex! Your nostalgia trip has brought all those old memories of the power team back to me. You’re right they did suck. Didn’t they popped up as part of that other show with that schmuk who reviewed, previewed, and gave tips on video games? You remember the one I’m talking about don’t you? One instance that stands out in my mind is the time he reviewed Streetfighter 2010 for the NES. He was dressed like a soccer hooligan, complete with british accent and everything. Aw the good old days. I also agree with you that the Simon Belmont on the Captain N saturday morning cartoon was too fruity. But that episode they did with Link and Zelda kicked ass! Keep up the good work.


I remember that show. I just can’t remember the name. But the host appeared as a cartoon character in the Power Team. I hated him too!

I don’t want you to take this the wrong way coming from another man but it has to be said. I LOVE YOU. ;)

Its nice to find another LOBO fan. I think i have every comic that they put him in until they f*cked him up by “neutering” him in the Legion comic, although it was a bit after that he was truly boring. I hold the same opinon on him as you BEST CHARACTER EVER. INFANTACIDE RULES!!!!!! (as a true lobo fan you should know that one)

Anywho, a few questions.

1) Did you play BGDA or just BGDA2? (ive heard that 2 is just one a bit rehashed. not that i have a problem with same old with new story. in fact most companies dont do it enough.)

2) Shining Soul 2, what platform? (i own a ps2 so im SOL if its not that)

3) Champions of Norrath, did you know its coming out in feb? (i say this cause you have no mention of it in column and since its been said that its a BGDA game with no dnd liscense but takes place in EQ land but is supposed to be a better game and you seemed to love the BGDA game(s))

4) I thought Tales of Symphonia was already out? (unless its another version of same game or something different)

5)Its on the pc but have you ever played Clive Barkers Undying? (i ask since you like the supernatural vein of fps that one is great. If you want me to send you my copy that i dont play let me know. I got a bit bored with it but you may love it)

Ok this is probably the longest email you ve ever gotten from me but you’ve finally got me with a great column for my tastes and my interests.(not that your columns arent always great… didnt want to make you feel inferior ;) lol)

One more thing, i have to give you a hand ::clap clap clap:: for saying what ive always thought about the star ocean games. I absoloutly hate the series. I dont like the way they did the stories or anything. I think its even WORSE than the ff’s. (of course i am not a ff basher like some peeps :))
Oh and congrats to you for mentioning the Fallout game. I cant wait to play it, it looks great.

I should have BGDA2, Champions of Norrath, and the fallout game as soon as they come out. Let me know if you guys need a review of them or something as i will probably blow through at least one of them in a week.

Hope you had a great christmas and have an AWESOME NEW YEAR.


1) I’m playing Dark Alliance 2 right now to finish off the review of it and the game kicks holy ass. I love it. I don’t see how anyone can not enjoy it! It feels completely new thanks to the totally different characters.

2) GBA

3) I loathe Everquest. But Champions of Norrath DOES intrigue me. So it’s a toss up there. I loved Fallout: BoS though!

4) There are 3 Tales games out in English, most recently Tales of Destiny 2 for the PSX. Lee covered ToS (and did a great job BTW) in our Game Cube feature a few months back. That might be the confusion.

5) You know, I’ve never played it. PC game + FPS = not much of a chance of Alex playing it. Thanks for the offer though. That was really nice. Also thanks to WhiptCracker from the 411 forums who sent me the Legend of Zelda Comp disc Nintendo did as a promotional. 8 bit Link on my Cube rules!

And Lobo is the Main Man. I liked the beginning of him in LEGION when Vril Dox accidentally killed Lobo’s Dolphin. That was funny shit.

i have 2 games to comment/question on. first, pokemon colesseum. i havent played a pokemon game since gold. i skipped a couple versions and all of a sudden there was like 200 more pokemon so i retired. which was a shame cuz i was good, real good. what i wanted to ask about this game is do you know if some of the really old pokemon are in this? such as, from red/blue. i know thats really really old but you said classic. the other game i had some comments on was four horsemen of the apocolypse. tim curry as satan. i havent heard of something that awesome in a video game since 3D graphics. and the storyline sounds really cool. my only comment is that they shoulda went with the evil side of it, or given you a choice of good or evil. i just love games with a religious reference and evil characters. which is why in RPG maker 2 im making a game where you are a demon and must go to earth to corrupt the earth and eventually kill god to prevent good from spreading again. PATENT PENDING!!!!!!!!

Darth Charizard

This letter is to show you just how out there my mail can be.
Damn near every Pokemon EVER is in PokeCol. That does not mean you get to fight them all however…

And Satanic RPG’s? I suggest Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. You play as a Demon there.

You know DC is the reason they made a Chick Tract called Dark Dungeon, right?

Lucard, just three words.

Best. Review. Ever.

I love with all of my body, including my pee-pee! To see the holy site invoked by my fave game reviewer (nay, one of my fave columnists on the ‘net, PERIOD) almost made my head explode. And it would have, if the huge boner I got from reading it hadn’t transferred the internal fluids elsewhere just in time. Although, I do have one point of contention: where are the GUITARS, my friend? You know as well as I that ninjas always rock out hard after killing everything they see! Then they go get their mad humps on with only the hottest of chicks…

Heh, brilliant review, bro. I was enthralled from start to finish, with an irrepressible smile on my face the entire time. Kudos for going out on a limb, and making some crazy insider references that not everybody will get lest ninjas lose their awesome campiness. I salute you, sir (though not with the pee-pee).


That has to be the funniest review ive seen from you yet. The game doenst intrest me in the least, but if i needed a reminder why i read your columns, i just got it.


That game looks cool; and by cool, I mean super awesome. I’m only a few paragraphs in and I’ve already crapped my pants 8 times

El Mystery

I could do an entire mailbag on the emails I got from this review. A passed over average game generated so much email is shocked me. But then it was a comedy style review and that’s probably why. People didn’t care about the game, just the humour of the review.

Ha! You damn right you should have chosen the Snorks. Serves you right, YOU DON’T DISS THE SNORKS, BITCH!!! [/faketoughguymode]

And how about this: Snorks vs Smurfs. That’s a money making franchise that begs to be tapped!

Of course, for you it would need to be a SNK vs Capcom type of game, but for the masses it would end up being a Grand Theft Auto clone. You play as Grouchy Smurf, living in the slums of Smurf Village and always recovering from a hangover. Yeah, the village isn’t the merry place it used to be ever since the Snorks started infesting the streets (they immigrated illegally to flee from their sub-marine haven which has become unsuitable for living due to pollution). An incident ending up in a Snork stealing your bottle of sarsaparilla rhum puts you on a path for retribution, as you vow to “kill all the Snorks” (lawsuit pending). But first things first: you take out Brainy Smurf. That pain in the smurf long needed to be disposed of. Then your missions vary from sending peices of Snorks flying and shaking it with the local whore, Smurfette. One night as you lay next to her, she inconspicuously gets up and leaves the house, to later come back with a gang of Snorks who take you for a ride. The bitch turned heel! Out at the industrial park, the Snorks are ready to take you out, when you go Jackie Chan on them… with the difference that you make a point to rip their limbs apart. The last mission of the game sees you getting payback on the no-boobed tramp, as you bust open the door of her house, catch her getting jiggy with the green freak Snork with two tubes and blow her head off. With her dead you now realize… that she was the only female of your species and you just doomed your kind to extinction. Way to go, moron! Game Over.

Phew… one thing came perfectly clear after re-reading this: I’ll leave writing to the professionals!

Like always, good content coming out from you on the site recently. I-Ninja: Side splitting. Beyond Good & Evil: Thanks for warning us. Sword Of Mana: Hmmm, sure it looks good but on the other had it seems to have an aspect that killed my enjoyment of Legend Of Mana, being laughably easy. Beating LOM just by mashing the attack button (with the occasional technique) while never wearing any armor, EVER, just dampered the experience. And it’s a shame too, the graphics were outstanding, the music was great (BTW, did you buy the soundtrack just because of the opening song, the one that has a singing part?), and the best feature of all, YOU CAN BUST OUT A TIGER DRIVER ’91, FUCKING A!

Looking forward to the top 10 RPGs feature. This shall be very… revealing! I would take guesses but I’m not sure if you’ll inclure parts of franshises in this thing (like how Shining Force 2 would rank at number 2). Still, let’s see what you’ll say about Valkyrie Profile and Dark Wizard that you did not say already! Like I told you once before you exhale such passion when talking about certain games that I at least take note on checking them out (if I have the needed system, that is), so there’s bound to be good material in there.


I always used the Knuckle in Legend of Mana. Because I too shared the joy of doing a Tiger Driver ’91 in an RPG. Misawa!

Nice feature, but there is one thing wrong with it, getting a Sega CD to ACTUAL work!!! I know with mine, and other who write on the Sega board at that this machine stops working the minute you put it away. It not the dust, because both my Genesis and it got a dust cover over it. The problem with the Sega CD is the hard drive connectors to the Genesis. I got to play with the thing dozens of time removing and attaching the two machines before the little LED red light comes to life. Unfortunely by that time it is 3 in the morning and I am too darm tired to care!

As for the best Sega CD game, no shooter was more funnier than Keio Flying Squadron. You got your pre-Kelly Bundy dressed as a Playboy Bunny in a tripped anime shooter at weird huge bosses. It sick and cute at the same time. Like Popful Mail, it gave me a “warm and fuzzy” feeling as I played…

I never had this problem. I put my Sega CD away for all of college. And four years later it still worked fine.

But old systems do have to die sometime. Of course, I never have disconnected the CD from the Genesis on either of my Sega CD/Gen collaborations.

And I’ve got time/room for one more before I have to finish up Curse: Eye of Isis

your a f*cking faggot. u screwed bret and u and hhh keep holding down wrestlers like benoit and jericho because u f*ck steph up the ass all night. why dont u retire so you can get hit by a car. u may love jesus but he hates u.

Drunk 24:7

And people wonder why I have such an annoyance for the stereotypical member of the IWC?

1. Paul f*cks Steph. Not me. I prefer girls that whisper. And yes, they do engage in anal intercourse sometimes. But he did Chyna the same way and if that’s how they get off, more power two them.

2. How can I be a faggot and f*ck Stephanie. The screwing Bret would make me gay, but you know what they say: “Bret Screwed Bret.”

3. And for any of this to ring true, I’d have to be a certain Mr. Hickenbottom, wouldn’t I?

What can I say people? Your own personal HBK gets some strange strange emails.

See you next week…or sooner if you read my reviews.