Retrograding MAILBAG 07.02.04

I told you I had a backlog of mail! But noooo, you didn’t believe me.

Let’s start with an email written in regards to a column written way back in Feb. 2.21.04 to be precise.

hi alex, this is my second e-mail to you. I’ve just read your review of Phantasy Star 2, and i couldn’t agree more, PS2 is an outstanding game, kudos to you for the smart remarks.
I also notice that you have some respect for the original Phantasy Star and thats way i still don’t understand why doesn’t it deserves a place in your top 30. I know you don’t have to justify to me, but i would like to know why such a revolutionary RPG in it’s time doesn’t make the cut.
Best regards, pedro.

There was one thing I expected when I did the countdown, and that was that people would assume that if the game wasn’t on the countdown, it meant the game sucked. Not at all. It just means it wasn’t one of my favorites. Make no mistake, PS1 is an incredible game, but there are some things about it that bog the game down for me. Some nigh impossible dungeons, the fact the game pretty much makes you have to run around for hours fighting random battles just to have enough cash to buy weapons and armour good enough to let you take on the bosses. Things like that. I still love the game and played the hell out of it when it was re-released on my GBA, but I still feel 2 and 4 are the superior PS games. However, I can’t wait for the Sega Ages version in English!

Next up…Shadowrun!

HATE YOU. You always ruin my opinions with facts. HOW DARE YOU!!!!

ahem well anywho, i never owned the Sega Genesis cause my buddy had one and i was still relying on the parents for cash so i was stuck with the Nes version of shadowrun. If i could compare the two i may agree with you but since i never played the sega version ill have to just say this: Your just lucky you didn’t dis the nes version all together you bum or id have to come through the Cable lines and strangle you.

You know you love me.

john, derry nh.

ps. I have played the tabletop and it does rule almost as much as DnD.

Don’t misunderstand me. The SNES version of Shadowrun was a great game, but the Genesis version was that much better. It followed the game perfectly, while the SNES version took a lot of liberties with the license.

I saw the spoiler in the #9 to #7 Retrograde, and was just waiting to see where it would fall. Since I don’t know what the Top 5 will be, I’ll agree with the slightly low placement of it for now. I have Shadowrun myself on my home PC, my work PC, and my dad’s laptop. Used to play it on the old Sega Channel until it went out of business around 1995… that, PS4 (why PS2 NEVER showed up on SC, while PS3 came out every other month, is still beyond me), Pirates Gold (very addictive), and PGA Tour 1,2,3,and Euro. A

After that, I didn’t play it again until I got into emulators around 2000-01 (early college days). Like most of my RPG’s, I’ve never actually beaten it yet, because I have a very bad habit of starting a game, stopping midway (either because of other games, or no time to play), forgetting what was next to do (or just wanting to start over), and starting over. Oh well.

As far as Shadowrun goes, unless you really “screwed the pooch” anywhere in the Top 5, it’s in the perfect spot. First Sword of Vermillion, now this 16-bit diamond. Keep it up man.

Kerry B.

Well Kerry, I hope you’re happy with the five games that were ranked higher than Shadowrun by me. It does amaze me how many people really love this game. Especially non tabletop gamers!

1. I loved the game, it’s in my top 10 ever.

2. I never played Shadowrun on paper, and think it was many times better than the Nintendo version.

3. I found the scale on my own, but I do remember wandering those caves an awful long f’ing time …

Daedalus Rising

Heh. That Dragon cave was horrible. Simply horrible. But when you finally got it, man were you ecstatic. Few games give you that feeling of triumph nowadays.

1. ‘Runner from way back (Im talking 1st edition rules, of which I still have many source books).
2. I didnt mind the SNES game at all.
3. I didnt know there was a Genesis version, let alone a different (far superior) version. Now I must hunt and emulate.

-cerulgalactus

Again, I strongly suggest playing both versions. But yeah, Genesis does what NintenDon’t.

I’ve still got all my Shadowrun stuff, myself, and I’m always looking for more. A shame all the 3rd Edition stuff FASA had on tap didn’t get published, though.

That said, though, I enjoyed the hell out of both games and got a kick out of how they both wound up as part of official canon for the Shadowrun universe. Granted, I liked them for different reasons, but they were both damn fun, regardless.

Oh, and would you be willing to join me in a rousing chorus of “Fuck you” to Harmony Gold and Carl Macek in particular for driving FASA bankrupt?

It’s also a damn shame that Shadowrun: Assassins got canceled a while back, too. That’s an MMORPG I’d have actually wanted to pay money for. :(

-Pantherwill

3rd edition is out and published. I included a link to it in my review!

Agreed both games are fun. But Genesis is far far FAR superior, if only for sticking to Canon in terms of rules and previous characters appearing in the game.

And I agree with the FUCK YOU statement.

And of course, the game I think people were expecting to get #1, POKEMON G/S/C

Dammit man. I never knew about all those differences in Crystal. Now you have me wanting to track down a copy.

Damn yous! Damn yous all to Hell! /Jay mode

Seriously, good stuff and also one of my favorite game franchises. Keep it up. :-)

-Chad Dupree

Everyone should own a copy of Crystal. Best portable RPG ever made. Plus it is filled with Pikachu and Cubones!

Hey, what can I say? I will always be a Pokemon addict. PIKA PIKA PIKACHU!

I have to say i got hooked on this one when i stole my daughters game boy and played it at work between burner cleanings. Great game.

-Blatherbeard

Oh man, are the forums gonna have a field day with this admission! ;-)

But seriously, it’s proof everyone, even people you wouldn’t suspect are Pokemon fiends.

If you really wanted to stretch for a #10 reason, you could have
mentioned that Crystal was the first version to allow female players the
option to actually (gasp!) play a girl.

And as far as R/S seeming like half-games when compared to G/S/C, I
think that’s because they needed to squirrel away information to allow
communication with Colosseum and FR/LG.

I know once I get my hands on either Fire or Leaf (probably Leaf, since
I had Red originally) that my first priority will be to catch a
gods-damned Ditto and ship it to Sapphire for whoring out at the
breeders. :P

-Chris Ingersoll

That’s true. I plumb forgot to mention the addition of a female gender to the game.

And everyone across the world is thanking their respective god for FR and LG and the Dittos they contain.

Shining Force 2 (I know, no emails at all for Sakura Taisen! DAMN AMERICANS!)

I’m glad I’m not the only person out there that loved the shining force series…great choice for #3…just started reading your column…keep up the good work…

Lord Darias

Thanks for the kind words!

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

omg i love you… that is the greatest thing i have ever read X3

-Mana Malice

Aww….thanks!

Hey,

Thanks for answering my question about Final Fantasy I, II, and IX a while back..it was much appreciated. I plan to give IX another chance when I get around to it…I’m currently working on Persona right now, and by the tiem I finish that, I should have my hands on the Shining Force remake, so who knows when I’ll get around to FF9 again…

Anyways, my question this time concerns Persona. What are your personal preferences as to the fifth character and favorite Personas? I’m playing the game for the first time and I ended up going with Ellen, if only because Brad annoys the hell out of me and the other choices I weren’t aware of until after getting Ellen…not that I actually have anything against Ellen, she just happened to be what I got stuck with. As for the Personas I’m using, I’m not quite sure which ones I’ll end up taking against Pandora…I’d be interested in hearing your own thoughts.

thanks,
Will

That’s a very good question. IF we are talking the Japanese version, it’s totally Yuki. Otherwise my team is the main guy, Brad, Nate, Mark and Mary, if only because that is my preference to go through the game with. Chris is not worth it considering the length of time you go without a fifth character, and Ellen is just too much of a bimbo. The thing about Persona is, you usually make your choice without even realize you just made one! Especially in regards to what ending you get.

you sir, are becoming a horrible influence on my wallet >.>
-Gygaxis

I guess that’s something to be proud of?

One thing I noticed is my Persona reviews tended to scare the crap out of the usual gaming fanbase. Not as in, “Wow obsessed writer over here,” but in terms of the fact they actually had to think and digest what was written…not sit glassy eyed drooling on their keyboard. It’s a shame the average gamer doesn’t want to actually think deeper about the meeting of a video game and would rather masturbate over Cloud Strife/Vincent Slash…

And speaking of that…

What you are about to see is but a TASTE of what I got from angry Squaresoft fans. But man, was it ever worth it. Because for every angry letter I got, I got 1 applauding the cruelty to by far the most over-rated game in the history of the industry. But hey, let’s look more at the REALLY angry ones. Because they are fun!

Wow. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten any real news of value from
411Games, but this is the first time I’ve found any of the efforts of any of
its columnists so absolutely pathetic.

Your idea of a “brilliant parody” is to do a mock column about Final Fantasy
VII? A game that came out seven years ago? Mmmm…timely!

Look, mate, the game came out an eon ago, sold like hotcakes, and made
Square bucketloads of cash. Now, I’m no Square junkie–in fact, the only
Square games I’ve even played in the past seven years are Final Fantasy VII,
Final Fantasy X, and Parasite Eve. VII and Eve were….eh….but I quite
enjoyed X. But that’s not the point.

When any of you guys comes up with the “Great RPG” idea that will sell to
millions of gamers as Square has, then I suppose you’ll have the right to
complain like petty, insignificant children.

Such an elitist attitude…and yet so “Goth”, I suppose….you remind me a
great deal of the South Park episode with the little Goth children who were
saying, “I’m non-conformist.” “I’m non-conformist, too.” “I’m the most
non-conformist of them all.” So while you pat yourself on the back playing
obscure little RPGs–which, in some bizarre twisted world, makes you so much
cooler than the rest of us unwashed masses–I suppose the rest of the dregs
of humanity will have to make do with whatever SquareEnix has to offer.

And you wonder why people consider all the little sub-sites of 411 to be
amateurish extensions of the real reason most of us come here? Or perhaps
you live under the delusion that people would’ve found you without the 411
brand name….

Ken

Thanks for writing Ken!

He’s right though. We all come to 411 to read BLACK first and foremost. Damn you BLACK! When will you stop overshadowing us all????

The fun about being a critic in any industry is of course speaking your mind. You have a larger than normal public forum to bellow whatever springs from your cranium. In my case, it has to do with calling a spade a spade. And in this case: FFVII is the proof that gamers prefer style over substance and don’t want works or art anymore; just things that look like one.

Dude FFVII is the greatest game of all time, what the hell is wrong with you? The story is the best story ever with twists and turns. And it has the best bad guy ever. And barret is not a Mr T rip off. And the replayability will keep you coming back more and more until you finish of the Ruby and Emerald weapons. If you ask any gamer what they think the best game ever is, 3/4 of them would say FFVII. And if you say yes thats the newbie gamers, I beg to differ. I have been playing video games for the past 14 years. I know alot about video games. I’ve seen the highs.. (FFVII, Tekken 3, Pro Evo 3, Goldeneye, Various incarnations fo Zelda wit Ocarina of Time being my favourite, Mario Brothers 3. GT and GTA incarnations, Street Fighter 2) and the lows… ( Any Pokemon game, FFIX), And believe me out of every single game I have ever played, the only game which I keep on comming back to is FFVII and ocasionaly a Tekken 4 practise mode when I need to hone my skills. I know the Majority vs a Minority argument is stupid as both will insist on there own views, BUT you could atleast take a look at why its considered Squares masterpeace. The story… Undeniably FFVII has gota have the greatest story, with love triangles, murder, saving the world and the greatest villain of all time Sepheroth. The graphics, at the time they set a milestone. The gameplay. Who cares its realistic. each character can develop and do what ever the hell they want to just like real life people, and they do have there strength through their different and far different stats EG (Aeris is a magic user and her phusical attacks suck and barret is the total opposite, he is a weak mage but one of the strongest physical attackers on your team) Then the summon animations (with the exception of Knights of the Round) they do not take that long at all, and fair enough super nova takes ages but he is a final boss he deserves having that kind of attack, and in terms of same ones over and over again, maybe but there are 100s of them, no1 is forcing you to use the same attack over and over again, and the game is brilliant you do use strategy against bosses and the like.
Thanks for your time Anton

I think this letter speaks for itself…Just remember to breath in between massive gasps of laughter.

Hey there.

I’d just like to say that aside from the wrestling
section of 411, the gaming section is my most read
part of the site. I usually enjoy what I read there,
and it’s nice to see reviews on games that don’t get
the massive commercial time of your average Tom Clancy
game.

But man, I gotta say this: That Final Fantasy 7
bash-fest REALLY made the lot of you come across like
your typical group of elitist web nerds. Talking about
the masses being idiots, and that that anyone who
enjoyed the game was a retard… It was the most
condescending thing I’ve seen on 411 in a long time.

Dude, none of that was cool.

– William George

But my mommy says I’m cool! And so does Paul Levesque. And that’s why we’ll main event whenever we damn well please!

I have to admit though, we purposely went OTT in an attempt to get some heel heat from Square fan boys. The whole thing was us not only mocking FF7 for being a pile of good looking crap, but also just being as zany as we could with the cruelty in an attempt to make people laugh. And guess what? It worked!

Hi,

Simple question: Could FF7 be the Triple H of the RPG world?

I love the series even though I’ve played better games, but I’d never have picked them up if I hadn’t played FF7 first. Everything has a purpose.

Cya.

Jaime

Yes, but FF7’s purpose was to bring about the Dark Age of gaming. He is right though about one thing. The fact the majority of casual gamer’s introduction to an RPG game was in fact one of the worst, means they can only go up from there.

I didn’t buy it for a second you bum. Just because i liked ff7 doesnt mean i’m a loser or anything. lol

Although i do like the tag line about you being vince russo. Made me bust a gut laughing ,

john derry

Well I think “smart” readers have figured out by now I’m not Vince Russo but well…yeah. ;-) Not Vince Russo.

And what can I say, even video games need a little Crash TV sometimes.

Wow, a person that actually hates FF7…while I can agree with some of the comments about the overplayed cinematics, FF7 was a great game, not the best RPG game of all time… but not as bad as you guys write it to be. Frankly, FF7 was one of the Square RPGs on PS not to disappoint me. I reflect upon games like Chrono Cross that could have been so much more, and good God what was Legend of Mana compared to Secret of Mana or Secret of Mana 3?? (Mana 3 you have to get as an import, not as good as 1 but way better than Evermore) I find nothing wrong with the FF7 plot, in fact the story was the reason I liked the game; the graphics in 7 are rather substandard compared to 8 or 9, but good for its day I suppose. PS2’s 10 or X and the SNES’ FF2 probably still holds the best storyline and perhaps FFX is the last great Square game now that they’ve merged with Enix. (Sorry, not feeling the non-classic Unlimited Saga or Charlie’s Angels RPG..oops I meant FFX2.) I’m just saying FF7 doesn’t bust any records for anything that’s the best in my record books, but it’s not a bad game, certainly better than some of the crap that’s being pumped out today. I don’t think it deserved to be bashed that badly, I mean this retro review or parody or whatever ranks right up there with the hostility of a Nitro review during WCW 2000-01. Hope the real number One is worth waiting for, I missed what made 3-10; Persona(s) as number 2 was at least worthy and I’m surprised anyone remembers them. My vote for 1 would be for either Dragon Force (Working Designs) on Sega Saturn, which some consider a strat game with RPG elements, Link to the Past on SNES cause it’s a sentimental fav, Chrono Trigger for its team spells and good story or Secret of Mana which was long, fun, challenging for back in the day and 2 players which was unheard of during 1994 for the RPG genre….wish I could rate Panzer Saga RPG on Saturn, which I hear is good… however I only own a new copy of it to which I will never open. Later 411, until I find a Scott Keith rant to wreck havoc on.

-Josh Hildreth

What is it with the massive paragraphs???

And this is interesting in that he says “I’m surprised anyone remembers them” about Persona 2. After all in Japan, Megaten sells neck and neck with the Final Fantasy Series. Imagine what gaming would be like in Enix and Atlus put the marketing into their respective ultra popular chain in Japan over here. Would Megaten and Dragon Warrior be able to have instilled the importance of plot and gameplay in video gaming over here? It’s a curious thought.

wow….. you. f*cking .suck.donkey.balls.

MadJackal619

Thanks for writing guy with a really weird online handle!

Okay. Enough showing that there are people that think I am a jerk and that FF7 rules. After all, what makes life great is the different opinions we can all have. But now let’s looks at the letters that basically said “About F’N Time!”

I really enjoyed reading your article, but there was
far too little Sephiroth bashing for my tastes. The
one and true reason to hate not only that game, but
the brainwashed otaku who cream themselves when they
see him. He is, by far, the only character that I
know of that got so many fans for doing so little.
Killing defenseless people and lackeys, stabbing a
weak and unaware flower girl in the back when he could
have given her the chance to to put up a fight,
manipulations that even the most two dimensional
villain would shake their head at in embarrassment.
Just in general being flat, stale, and so one
dimensional that everyone in comparison became complex
and deep.

Stabbing a flower girl in the back and walking through
flame does not a villain make.
-Cory Peterson

I will never, EVER understand how people think Sephiroth has any depth of personality. He does nothing. Nothing at all to even remotely earn the reputation he has. He’s seriously the Honkey Tonk Man of video gaming!

ah, but there is a handy use for ff7. you get to destroy a huge corporation and so you can pretend the huge corporation is any company you don’t like! the next time you get pissed off with Square/Microsoft/Climax/the Student Loan Company/the bloke down the road who sold you the faulty hard drive, you can pretend they are Shinra and slowly destroy them! its quite fun. i got a chart of the Shinra heirarchy on the wall and ticked off the employees one by one as i killed them. i like the background music for the mako reactors too, and background music cometh before all. of course it might be easier to have the midi playing and go around company websites pointing your finger at the employees and shouting ‘bang bang’, but then the site might go down.

and whats wrong with having being introverted and having no social life anyway? gives you more time to email people and annoy them.

-TehExile

Woah. Someone’s been playing Ribbit King without actually playing Ribbit King, if you know what I mean…

Damn, I have to give you and crew credit. That was some inspired
bile-spewing there. Maybe you’ll get hate mail (although the Squareheads
should know what to expect), but good job. It seems like an odd time to do
it, but it will at least coincide with FFVII surely finishing on of the top
five in GameFAQs contest finals.

Is anyone going to be reviewing the Metal Slug 3 X-Box game? Just got it,
I’m up to mission 4 (on Easy. Yes, I kinda suck, but oh well.), getting my
ass kicked, and loving it. I hope the GBA game is an original title.

Is the Van Helsing review you mentioned canned? Since 3 reviews for it are
up on the site and it’s not up yet, I was wondering.

-Andrew S

As you can see, I have done both the Metal Slug review AND the Van Helsing review.

And that was a neat coincidence, wasn’t it?

First, my one word reaction: HA!!!

Now, then, I have to say that I whole-heartedly agree that FFVII is complete ass. I have a friend who calls it his favorite RPG of all time and when I ask him why he says it’s because it was the first great RPG for the PSX… and it had great graphics… and OMG AERIS DIES~! …and OMG SEPHIROTH IS BADASS~! After the dull gleam leaves my eyes (which was born of hearing that exact same reason over and over and over), I calmly and rationally explain to him why Aeris dying isn’t revolutionary, Sephiroth was merely okay, and that graphics do not a good game make, I am summarily dimissed as being a “Square hater,” which isn’t true.

Oh well. At least I know I’m not alone in not giving a rat’s ass about FFVII. :-)

-Chad Dupree

Again, if anyone out there can actually give me a list of what makes people think Sephiroth actually does that is either evil or that he shows signs of a non 2-D personality, please let me know.

And now for some actual commentary on the REAL #1 best RPG IMO…Valkyrie Profile

Huh. I figured there was a good reason for picking that up.

-Frankie23

You chose wisely my friend.

Man, you reminded me of the evil that is Blood Bane. He sucked. He was even a royal pain in the ass on easy mode.

As for the Seraphic Gate, did you know about the trick where you could get an item from one of the first enemies that made you intangible and you didn’t have to fight any of the regular enemies there? Saved a lot of headache for me.

-Lee Baxley

BloodBane is the f*cking devil. Hardest video game boss EVER.

Of the games on your countdown, I don’t own six: The Pokemon games, Legend of Mana, BG – DA2, Slayers Royal, Sword of Vermillion (though I’ve beaten it), and Sakura Wars 3.

I think it’s hilarious how similiar our tastes run in gaming and that I bought most of these games then you started telling me about them. Hell, Valkyrie Profile was an impulse by because I thought the cover looked pretty nice.

Then again you hate the Suikoden games by Konami, which I adore (save three which I found shitty thanks to the camera view and change in gameplay).

Either way, where the hell is the greatest game of all time? I’m talking about JINGLE CATS!

-Dave

It is eerie how closely Dave and I are in Video Game tastes. And Jingle Cats is not an RPG, but it is a wonderful import game.

And does ANYONE like Suikoden 3?

Valkyrie Profile isn’t THIS good is it?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004WMQB/qid=1086464263/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl63/104-9671315-1077518?v=glance&s=videogames&n=507846

Is there another place you would recommend to search for out of print games?

Derrill

If Radiant Silvergun is worth Two Hundred dollars, VP is certainly worth near a C note. Cheaper and a better overall game.

And we’ll end this with a lengthy discussion I had with a fellow VP fanatic.

Nice arcticle on Valkyrie Profile. A few minor things:

– After reading extensively on the Norse myth behind the game, many more
things were changed than just the Vanir vs. the Aesir. The purpose and
holder of the Nibelung Ring is one prominent example. Moreover, you might
think such changes were synthesis or for aethestics. No way people this
knowledgable would make major changes on accident. Maybe the changes worked
out better for the game format or the story.

– You do not need to ever play on Normal to get anything. The full
experience of the main game can be completely encapsulated by playing
through once on Easy and once on Hard. This eliminates almost every bit of
dungeon repetition but it also limits your choices. The only real reason
you can’t simply play on Normal once and Hard once (and get everything) is
because of the one or two modified dungeons early on, on Easy. But you
really don’t have to play on Easy instead either if you don’t want to.

– In my manifold recommendations of this game I have found few successes.
The main problem is the game is intimidating, has a steep learning curve,
and is very unforgiving at first. My brother and I developed a beginner’s
guide for just such a purpose (if we can’t lead them through the first two
dungeons in person). I would at least recommend the strategy guide, though
this is harder to find.

– The alternate ending is not so hard to get. It is extremely demanding of
the player, but I was knocking on the doorstep the first two times I played.
I was perhaps 2-6 points on my Seal Rating away from getting the A ending,
though it would have been sort of on accident. With a few minor hints, some
players could discover it on their own. It’s a marvelous self-referential
puzzle and the Enix folk almost did it perfectly. Instead they made it just
out of reach. Merely an admonition about your orders and a highlighting of
the Seal Rating might suffice. I tried to lead my brother into getting the
A ending and almost succeeded there as well.

– The Japanese official site has more background on the characters not
available on the English website, the game, or in the manga. Just a heads
up if you haven’t seen it.

– You didn’t mention the C ending, but that’s no big deal. Also, I saw a
gameplay video of some Japanese guy beating the Iseria Queen in one combo.
Ouch! Too bad the Japanese version of the game is buggy and is missing
several key features added for us!

This game is still years ahead of its time but the very limited release,
outrageously complex gameplay, archaic themes, and it being for a mostly
dead console will ensure its obscurity. Not sure why you like Lawfer and
Mystina either. Mystina’s character is great but there are much better
magicians that you can get. Lawfer has a painfully bad PWS and his story is
good but not as good as other warriors in the game.

Nonetheless, good job. I’ll make sure to link this last game in the
countdown in my journal. Happy trails on your video game hiatus.

-David Younskevicius

was talking about characters, personality and themes mainly. I do feel it
was very important for Lenneth gto have the ring, especially because of the A
ending. Part of me feels it was just a mistranslation by some Japanese writers
whose mistakes were continued over to the US version, but at the same time I
know Atlus has over 100 volumes of myths and religions they use for their
Megaten games and they purposely change things for the games if needed while
leaving the majority of the content alone. it’s quite possible Tri-Ace did
this as well.

I prefer Mystina because of the joke. Rachael Lillis does her voice, and she
also plays Misty on Pokemon. For me I personal enjoy weird little coincidences
like that. Plus I like her voice collection better than the other mages.
Although I enjoy Numei too.

Lawfer in VP is a lot like Iron Man in Marvel vs Capcom 2. Very few people use
him thinking he’s weak, but in the hands on an expert is one of if not the
most unbalanced and powerful guys in the game. Lawfer is even better than some
of the hidden guys in the seraphic gate…if you know the trick. ;p

With a multi hitting spear, he can combo up your meter ALL BY HIMSELF. Makes
up for the crappy PWS because you use your other three characters to build up
the meter, do their specials…then just use lawfer. ESPECIALLY because his
finisher is even more powerful than Brahms, and outside of the Seraphic gate
characters is THE most powerful in the game. Screw the shitty energy gain,
Lawfer used right is one of those guys that helps you take down the Iseria
queen in almost no time flat. And then watch what happens when you give him a
combo jewel. ;-)

Or a power bangle. Wah. Lawfer did 120,000 damage. Poor monsters!

Or the combo of Charge + Reverie. Lawfer does 25,000 damage with just normal
attacks.

Lawfer will suck ass until about chapter 4. Then give him the Crimson Edge and
he’s awesome. In chapter 8, give him the dino spear and watch him tear up
every character in the game.

In fact the only thing that makes lawfer not god himself is that you can’t
chain anything after his finisher. But who the heck need to if you play him
right???

As for the attempts to get the A rating. I happened upon it the third time I
played the game, and then went and bought the guide to figure out what I did
exactly. But I’m anal and good at puzzle games. Most gamers I still don’t
think have the spider sense to find the ending. Especially thanks to the glut
of people brought into RPG’s by the lowest common denominator that is Final
Fantasy. Long time RPG’ers? Most can come close or will find it. The average
gamer? I don’t think if they play by themselves will even get a whiff of what
they need to do.

And you’re right that a lot of gamers might find it hard. I’m the type of
gamer who found a cheese combo for the new Ninja Gaiden however and breezed
through that, so thanks for pointing out that some people may find it pretty
hard.

I think VP is one of the few games where the US version is superior to the
Japanese.

And as for the C ending, I guess I consider that a Game Over type thing and
not a “You beat the game” thing. I feel the C ending is one of those things to
slap gamers on the wrist for being stupid.

Oddly enough, after my article went out, someone wrote to me and pointed out
Amazon.com jacked up the price for VP to 90$, twice what it was the day
before. I say this happen with Shining Force CD when the 411 team voted it
the best game on the Sega CD. A month later the cost for the game doubled.

If you can link me to the 1 combo Iseria Queen kill, do so. I need to witness
that footage. I’m guess the team is Brahms, Lawfer, Valkyrie, and Freya.

I’ll see if I can find it. My brother should still have it on his hard
drive. Should be about two days before I can find out where he got it and
if he can link it. If my memory serves me right, it’s all the Seraphic gate
characters and Valkyrie. So, Freya, Lezard Valeth, Brahms, and Valkyrie.

Anyways, I never played around much with Lawfer because other characters
tickled my fancy. Your comments about him are interesting, however, and
I’ll have to keep them in mind. Sadly, I’ll probably cheat through the
Seraphic Gate in the end, since I never got around to it and it would take
so long to play it now.

I like Mystina’s voice actor, and I immediately picked her out from the
Pokemon cartoon. (I watched over 150 episodes, why oh why?) Still, I
prefer Gandar and Lyseria, both of whom are more complex casters with a
certain flair about them. Also, for some reason Mystina looked much better
as a sprite to me than in profile and that put me off a bit.

And for a bit of hardcore debate, I have never checked this, but I suspect
Freya with her main weapon *unequipped* is the most overpowered and powerful
character in the game. There’s some weird bug (you may know) where
unequipping it causes her to do much more damage. The only problem? When
you do her PWS, the game freezes. Ah well.

And can we agree that Grey’s voice actor is the worst in the game? I found
a couple of dudes online that say he’s their favorite, but both his dialogue
and intonation I find atrocious. A smudge on an otherwise all star VA cast.

Since you mentioned Rachael Lillis, here’s a fun tidbit you may not have
heard. She said she would *never* do the voice of Misty (or Jessy) for the
episode Electric Soldier Porygon, the infamous episode that gave all those
kids seizures. While the problem is easily fixed and likely wouldn’t happen
again (American kids don’t sit six inches from the screen), she said she’ll
never do it. Thus, Porygon’s only appearance in the cartoon (as far as I
know) will never be shown anywhere ever again. Unless you download it like
I did. It’s a weird cyberpunkish episode, a unique occurance for the show.
Not bad though. That’s not the only Pokemon episode they “banned” here, but
that’s a story for another time (and one you may already know).

Lastly, let me say that I feel at least some rewrites to the mythos for the
game must have been on purpose. The character of Freya seems intentionally
rewritten to reflect her new status in Valhalla and it’s hard to imagine the
game working without her character in that capacity. The fact that Fenrir
does not kill Odin and all of Ragnarok is rewritten regardless of the ending
received is obviously another key change. The game would lose all focus
without that key rewrite and in some sense the most important point VP has
to offer is encapsulated by the myriad retoolings of the events in Ragnarok
(a point about choice, rebirth, and redemption). The changing of the 3
goddesses of fate is another. However, poor and odd romanizations of names
and the like are almost certainly due to oversights and bad choices. That’s
my 2 cents. I’ll let you know about the video when I can get ahold of my
brother.

Like Megaten games, Valkyrie Profile is a game you can talk about for hours on so many different levels. Truly a wonderful game that I can’t imagine a gamer not falling in love with right off the bat. Enix did something I don’t think any other RPG will ever live up to.

And let’s end this with a series of letters that I should address because I get one a week of these.

Hey, I just read your review of the Shining Force GBA remake, so I checked
out your Shining Force History. However, when I clicked on the link to Part
Two, the link was dead. Any way I could still read this?

-Cuban Dan

Or I get…

The link for part 2 is dead. Just so ya know.

Aaron

Yep. They’re right. For some reason the link to part 2 is messed up html wise and has never been fixed. If you look, the html link lists the URL as http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/article.php’columns_id=1521

In fact it is, http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/article.php?columns_id=1521. I’ve asked for that link to be fixed for months, but nope. It hasn’t been.
And that’s it. It took me three weeks, but I have my inbox paired down to just a few odds and ends. The countdown emails are done! And it gave you something to read while I was only doing reviews.

On the plus side, I won’t have to do any of these for a long time, because I bet you’re all sick of reading people’s mail to me and are instead screaming, “WRITE A NEW COLUMN.”
And to that I say….no. Nyah nyah nyah.