Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Inchoatia Guide to RPGs

Because I'm in a punchy mood. No prisoners shall be taken!

Great Greed (GB)--Election! Law-Making Machine! Beauty Contest! And in the end, you can TOTALLY get gay married. I am so not making this up. Someone alert James Dobson! How this failed to become a hit is unfathomable to me.

Xenogears (PSX)--Less half-baked religious symbolism, more crucified chu-chu, please.

Lufia (SNES)--Silly but cheerful and fun and there's that weird, inimitable Lufia dialogue thing. Also: unexpected, impressive plot twist!

Lufia II--Come ON, people--you SAW them die at the beginning of the last game! How can you claim to have been surprised? A bit less goofy; a bit less fun. Still not bad!

Lufia GBC (GBC)--How could making every dungeon random prove anything less than delightful for the player? Aside from that crippling flaw...well, it's pointless to even talk about. It does have that Lufia spirit, though. Approximately seventy percent of the dialogue consists of the other character marveling about how unbelievably stupid the protagonist is. And the EXACT SAME plot twist as the first Lufia. Not quite so clever the second time, guys.

Lufia GBA (GBA)--Oh god. If this isn't the worst game ever, I don't know what is. I must note this completely bizarre/hilarious gamefaqs review. I don't even refer to my favorite games in such breathless terms. In the employ of Natsume? Deeply, deeply in denial? Or just fucking with us for reasons known only to himself? It is a mystery!

Golden Sun I&II (GBA)--'Cause it's basically the same game. The environment-manipulation-based puzzles are pretty nifty, but holy GOD is the story soporific. If you like watching ten minute conversations that consist entirely of characters making emoticons at each other, this is the game for you!

Dragon View (SNES)--Such a good game. Why is it not spoken of still in the realms of men?

Robotrek (SNES)--Oh god...when I was eighteen, I got into a deeply embarrassing flame war with some guy who made an offhanded comment about not liking this game. My lameness was truly breathtaking. However, my central point--Robotrek r00lz, dood!--remains valid.

Might & Magic (Mac)--The ONLY GOAL is to get a priest to level eighteen so s/he can cast the astral spell. Everything else is window dressing. Frightfully hard, even with strategy guide in hand. Probably fairly bad, but I was addicted.

Might & Magic II (Mac)--The same, only way better. And color graphics! Gasp!

Might & Magic III-V (Mac)--All basically the same, but horrifyingly addictive.

Might & Magic VI-VII (PC)--Fucking ridiculously massive hordes of monsters. Still addictive.

Might & Magic VIII (PC)--Meh. Here's where the series and I parted ways.

Kartia (PSX)--Bachstail! Bachstail! YAAARRGH!

Megaman Battle Network 1-6 (GBA) In order: good, better, almost as good, terrible, slightly better, slightly better

Arcana (SNES)--One of the more obscure RPGs I've played through, for sure. A big ol' dungeon-crawl. Card-themed. I think it would have gotten very tedious without frameskippin,' but I liked it okay.

The 7th Saga (SNES)--Let's say there's some guy you hate. His name's Frederick, say, just for the example. So you kill him, and you're like, phew, glad THAT'S over with. But then you see him again, and you're like, dude, what the hell. And he goes, ha ha, I have returned as Red Frederick and you're like, seriously, double-you tee eff, but you kill him again, and you're like, okay, this time it was for REAL, right? Right. But then you see him AGAIN! Goddamit! And this time he's like, I have come back from the underworld as METAL FREDERICK! So you have to kill him a THIRD time! Goddamn that's aggravating! SHEESH. What was I saying? Oh yeah. 7th Saga. What the hell; I kind of like it. Has its own aesthetic.

Paladin Quest (SNES)--But no game has an aesthetic as jarring as Paladin Quest. Argh! Pastel overdose! Who the hell designed this thing? Well, it's unique, and, though somewhat horrifying, the color scheme is also a big part of what I like about the game.

Pokemon Roy G Biv (GB/C/A)--Seriously, people, there is something WRONG with you. Judged purely as a game and not a phenomenon, Pokemon is so fucking tedious. And I say this as someone who generally enjoys level-grinding.

Dragon Quest Monsters (GBC)--I actually liked this knock-off more, although I did sorta get frustrated after a while and gave up on it.

Vagrant Story (PSX)--You have GOT to be kidding. You have to play if for a while; give it a chance, they said. Fine, I said. Is TWELVE HOURS of torment enough to demonstrate that I really seriously hate it? If not, tough.

Rolan's Curse 2 (GB)--I never played the original. But ugh. Slooow. Slooow. Bosses that you basically beat by accruing a bunch of healing items and then standing there and pushing attack over and over and over. Sure, you can play as a zombie, but it just ain't worth it.

Sword of Hope (GB)--This would probably be too hardcore for me nowadays, but I seriously dug this, sixteen-character passwords and all. This was pre-internet, so I actually had to figure shit out on my own. Good sense of isolation, and hard hard hard. But I won! Suck it!

Sword of Hope 2 (GB)--Much-expanded, to, no surprise, diminished effect. Best part is when you're at an in and it says "would you like to this line should read 'stay the night.'" Or words to that effect.

Live A Live (SNES)--There are no words for the supreme awesomeness of Live A Live. The caveman section in particular is pure genius.

Granstream Saga--I HAVE NO FACE AND I MUST SCREAM. Almost impossible to believe that this came from the formerly-great Quintet.

Defenders of Oasis (GG)--Let's defending! Evocative, though the balance is a little weird. You may not know it, but a lot of the mythology is based on Zoroastrian stuff.

Beyond Oasis (GEN)--Nothing to do with Defenders, unfortunately. Incredibly good-looking, but really shallow.

Crusaders of Centy (GEN)--The plot, never much to speak of, devolves into complete gibberish towards the end. Still somehow charming, though.

Sword of Vermilion (GEN)--It seems sort of okay at first, but the plot, such as it is, is nonsense, and there are few games more repetitive.

Bahamut Lagoon (SNES)--I really love this game, and in spite of occasionally being played for laughs, Sendak is one of the most (only?) sympathetic gay characters in gamedom. Huh...you know, it just occurred to me that Maurice Sendak is also gay--but certainly not a gay icon, so it seems kind of bizarre that the connection would be intentional.

Madou Monogatari (SNES)--An RPG for small girls that agtp translated a while back. Needless to say, I beat the sucker. Not bad, though generally repetitive.

Magic Knights Rayearth (SNES)--My interest in this sort of anime is hovering around zero, and the game is strictly by-the-numbers.

Threads of Fate (PSX)--Man, what a neato game. Mint is one of the most appealing characters ever, but they're both good.

Shiren the Wanderer (SNES)--Another agtp production! All hail! Hugely enjoyable roguelike.

Chocobo's Dungeon 2 (PSX)--As long as we're on the subject. Not as good as Shiren, but still a lot of fun.

Lunar/Lunar 2 (PSX)--Really good/even better.

Lunar Dragon Song (DS)--A complete debacle. I don't know if a series has ever gone from such heights to such depths so precipitously.

Alundra (PSX)--I think this is my favorite WD production. Almost everyone dies!

Secret of Evermore (SNES)--There's a patch for a two-player mode. It's buggy, but it makes things a lot more fun. I don't agree with the haters in any case, though. It's no Mana, but it ain't terrible.

Breath of Fire I-II (SNES)--Once again: really good/even better.

Breath of Fire III-IV (PSX--Unfairly maligned/somewhat less unfairly maligned.

Grandia (PSX)--ACK! Justin/Feena spawn!

Grandia II (DC)--Not much worse, but not much better, either.

Elemental Gimmick Gear--Seriously, bad translation aside, this is pretty cool. It has a very Crystalis-type atmosphere.

Crystalis (NES)--Quickest last boss fight in gaming history. Pretty groovy, though, especially for the time.

Final Fantasy I-XII, including X-2 (NES, SNES, PSX, PS2)--A good start, one step forward two steps back, unexpectedly awesome, pure magic, neato job system; story not so much, mind-boggling, confused, fucking awful, clumsy nostalgia, soporific, you have to be fucking kidding me, online? WTF?, BARF.

Soulblazer (SNES)--Of COURSE doors and cabinets have souls. Geez. Short but very sweet.

Illusion of Gaia/Time (SNES)--Mysterious and spooky and just plain GREAT. How come everyone doesn't love this?

Terranigma (SNES)--Don't you hate it when suspects pretend to be penguins? Maybe not quite IoG-level, but seriously great. Deserves a better translation.

Radia (NES)--Fan translation by somebody. I named my character Geo, as I do when I'm limited to four letters, and then later on in the game, there was an actual NPC named Geo. And...it was slightly confusing at first. Boy, what a fascinating anecdote THIS turned out to be. Not a bad game, though.

Rainbow Silkroad (NES)--Educational! In the loosest sense of the word. Hey, it's a neato premise: trade along the silk road. Plus, you can get elephants.

Glory of Heracles II (NES)--You would have no reason to expect much from a generally by-the-numbers Dragon Quest II or III clone, but it turns out to be surprisingly neat. The relative lack of mythological color is baffling, however.

Swords & Serpents (NES)--I actually got really far in this primitive dungeon-crawler, until it just got too confusing for me. Your automap of any given floor is deleted after you go so many floors up or down. Which, let me tell you, puts a SERIOUS crimp in things.

Chrono Trigger (SNES)--FFVI is better in some ways, but I dunno--I know it's not very rebellious or non-conformist of me to say this about such a popular game, but pound for pound, this may well be the greatest RPG ever.

Chrono Cross (PSX)--Yes, let's elevate a tiny plot hole from the first game into the sequel's MAIN FOCUS. And let's INVALIDATE everything that happened in that one. What a fantastic idea. Shame about that, because CC does have a lot to recommend it otherwise.

Radical Dreamers (SNES)--Or, you could just play the "interactive novel" of a pseudo-sequel. It's better than you'd think, and some of the later scenarios are seriously whacked out.

Big Sky Troopers (SNES)--Looks like it was designed for four-year-olds, but they'd have to be some seriously masochistic four-year-olds. Another that I was enjoying until I got utterly, hopelessly stuck.

Beyond the Beyond (PSX)--Hey, at the time, it was the only PSX RPG in town, so I didn't hate it, though I probably should have. I got hopelessly stuck in SO MANY PLACES in this fucking game...


Post a Comment

<< Home