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RPG Classics Mailbag #2

Well, to say that this second edition of the mailbag is late would be an understatement, but with the recent troubles we've had I thought it would be best to wait until everything was back to normal. So now that things have settled down, here are the responses I got in reaction to the question: "Which RPG do you think is the most underrated, and why does it deserve a second chance?" More than twice the amount of response that I got for the last question... but hey, you had more than twice the amount of time to respond as well. I've promised myself not to do post more than five responses each mailbag, so I've had to make a bit of a selection this time. My selection criteria? Well, since I didn't get any bribes (this week) I guess there weren't any... I just tossed everything in a big hat and picked some out at random. And this was the first, from someone named Jason Flythe:

"The most underrated RPG of all time has got to be Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Yes, it is very simplistic, but you have to keep in mind that it was designed for kids and first time RPG players. It is still a fun game to play, even if it is targeted at a younger audience. The graphics are good, and the music rocks (especially the last boss'  music)."

All you pitiful fools that didn't buy the Mystic Quest cart... do you even realised what you missed? An epic tale of heroism and magic, culminating in a showdown with the Dark King himself! Where else can you accomplish such a feat? Sure sure, you can get the ROM now, but it will never capture the true essence of the game... the cart is THE essential part of the magic of this game. Plus, it makes for a great frisbee.
Okay, that's enough of that... seriously, though, if you don't mind extreme easiness (or you suck at RPGs and need an ego boost) you might want to give FFMQ a shot. Then just take SPCs from it so you can listen to the cool music and never play the game again. Alright, on to the next one... this is from... Rast? Oh no, I know just what he's gonna say...

"I think the most underrated RPG ever would have to be good ol' Secret of Evermore. I really don't understand why people don't like this game. The story (a boy and his dog trying to get home after getting stranded on Evermore) seems a lot more down to earth than saving the world from some evil empire and its entire army with a mere handful of people (even though you do that in the process.. but anyway..), and personally I thought the kid was pretty cool."

Down to earth, yes, but is that really a good thing? If I wanted something down to earth, I'd go out in the real world and become a successful accountant or something. If I wanted down to earth, I wouldn't play RPGs so much, I wouldn't have taken this job and I definately would have never met you.

"As for the whole alchemy thing that everyone seems to hate, I thought it was a nice break from traditional MP systems, and its a pity that alternate magic systems never seemed to catch on."

Don't get me started on the alchemy system! I HATE having to use the dog to sniff out those alchemy ingredients whereever I go. This is supposed to be an action-RPG, not a spend-half-your-time-standing-around-letting-the-dog-sniff-out-stuff RPG.

"I also liked how you could level your weapons to get more powerful attacks. I'd usually pick a favorite and just use it for a long time, even after I got more powerful weapons, simply because of the better attacks you'd get, which made it all even in the end."

In the end? I suppose. But you don't have to worry about that if you get sick of the game way before getting even near the end.

"Another thing I liked about this game was its emphasis on exploration and problem solving, rather than simple ass-kicking (although that was a big part). Many of the areas in this game are HUGE, and very hard to navigate through, making being able to find your way through mazes a very important skill in this game... I was lost in the castle in the medieval area for a week (where you have to take the dog all by himself and find your way back to the banquet), but I still had fun. Another great thing: You could have long (20 characters or so) names for your characters! I loved that.. I had lots of fun with names for a while (although I eventually settled on Rast and Super Mutt). The only thing I really didn't like about this game is that it seemed a little small. Many of the dungeons were big, but the world connecting them seemed a bit small for me (you could walk through 3 screens and go between the 2 castles in the medieval area), also, what's up with that volcano on the world map?"

"Remember Macc, I'm your boss, and you can't disagree with me, otherwise I'll.. I'll.. well, I don't know what I'll do, but I'll be sure to tell you when I decide."

Zzzzzzzzz... huh? What? Oh yes, yes, very good points indeed. Maybe we should give the game another chance, so... hey, wait a minute... you're not in charge anymore, are you? Well, in that case... BURN SECRET OF EVERMORE! DESTROY IT NOW, IT IS EVIL! EVIL I SAY! ...ahem. Better take out another letter, this is a delicate subject. So, let's see, what else have we got... hey, it's some mail from Geo, one of those webboard guys.

"Ah, yes. Underrated RPGs. Where to begin? Kartia! That's where! Nobody believes me when I tell them it has the best characters of any RPG I've ever played. Most people haven't even heard of it. But it is brilliant. Oh yes. In case you didn't know (you crazy fool!) it's a PSX strategy-RPG from Atlus with character designs by the ever-brilliant Yoshitaka Amano. Play it, foo'.

From a friend I've heard that it's way too easy, and you'll probably never want to play it ever again after finishing it once. Well, never stopped me before, so bring it on!, got a PSX I could use? By the way, isn't it called Legend of Kartia? If you think it's so great, the least you could do is call it by its full name. And there's also a two-player mode, isn't there? There aren't too many of those kinds of RPGs out there, so that really should have been one of your arguments as to why it would be worthwhile. ...listen to me, now I'm giving people advise on how to defend their views on a game I've never even seen, let alone played.

"And, of course, no discussion of underrated RPGs could be complete without mentioning a little game called Robotrek. Most people who've seriously played it recognize its greatness, but too often people dismiss it as being too much of a "kiddie" game and condemn it without ever really playing it. I once got into a flame war with a guy from a videogame site who insulted it. He suggested I should play Parasite Eve instead. Parasite Eve over Robotrek? Ha! It is to laugh! It's a hardcore goodass game, and you must play it. And Kartia. But I already said that. Thank you."

Well, can't argue with the facts. ;) Anyway, I have something to say about this as well, so listen up. In Robotrek, the robots you use come from these capsule which looks suspiciously like the Pokéballs from Pokémon. Ever notice that? The way you build up your robots is not all too different from the way you build up Pokémon, either. So if Enix would have just made it so that you would capture robots in the wild, gave them more unique distinctions, and brought it out on the Game Boy, we would probably all be playing Robotrek right now, and the creators of Pokémon would be sued for stealing the concept! Possibly, Pokémon would never have been created if it weren't for Robotrek. Something to think about...
Okay, that's enough thinking, time for another letter... this one's from Brad Carsten.

"I think that the most underrated RPG is Secret of Evermore. I say that because not only is it a lot of fun to play, it has TONS of secrets. I've played through at least four times, and each time I discovered something new. BTW, if anyone thinks they know more about SoE than I do, feel free to mail me at" comment, I've been through this. Well, Rast? Think you know more about the game than this guy does? Take the challenge! I'm sure nobody else will! Oh, oops, must remain objective... wait a minute, this is my section, I don't have to do anything. In that case... BURN SECRET OF EVERMORE! DESTROY IT NOW, IT IS EVIL! EVIL I SAY! Yes, I know I've already said that. But since it's my section, what's to stop me from saying it again? Bwahahahaha...
...okay, next letter. Who's this? Dais? I should've known HE'd have something to say, he always does...

"Hmm...underrated rpgs....dang, where the hell to start? :) Anyways...on to the list! O great and mighty list!"

That's what I was afraid of...*sigh*... This will probably take a while.

"Illusion of Gaia - Oh, whoops......this one is hard to say. Sometimes it's underrated (usually hitting it for being a Zelda clone and such), sometimes it's overrated (The graphics were cool, the gameplay was excellent, but I refuse to acknowledge the existance of a feasible plot). And then of course there's the guy who thinks it's by Square..."

"Secret of the Stars - Don't hit me! the game isn't that great....the plot is horrible, for one, and the graphics only emphasize the fact that this is a rip-off of FF4. But the tunes are catchy if you bother to listen to them, and I have yet to see a party system as interesting as the one in SotS to come along..."

"Zelda II - This was the most 'rpg' like of the why do people hate it? The graphics were decent, although the music wasn't the most ear-catching...but the gameplay rocked. I'll state it now and forever: Every Zelda game is a classic, and it's an amazing series. Which leads into..."

"Zelda 64 - Hmm...had the most interesting plot of the games (still minimal, though), had amazing graphics, had great gameplay, cool locations, and the sound was great.....the downside: It was too short and easy. But then again, so are most action rpgs. So everyone can just shut up now."

But I haven't even said anything yet! That's because you mentioned Secret of the Stars. It surprised me because I know I've played it, but I can't remember what it was like. There's usually a very good reason for such a loss of memory...... but since I don't do drugs that can't be it.

"Secret of Evermore - Hmm....if you ignore the crappy plot, somewhat old-looking graphics, and the fact that we got this instead of SD3...this is a good game. Although the plot is very not there, the alchemy system was suitably more interesting than SoM's magic system...."


"Robotrek - I'm sure you'll agree with me on this, Mr. Maverick."

You're missing the point completely, Mr. Dais (when did you become so formal anyway?). You're not trying to convince me (or anyone else for that matter) here... the mailbag is to make your opinion known on a certain subject, not having to care whether people like it or not, since this is not a debating ground, like the webboard is. So on that note, I'd like to say that if you have any comments about the mailbag, or if you disagree with anything said in this section, send me an e-mail and I will be more than happy to completely ignore it.

"FF7 - mmm...and FF8.....haha....and Mystic Quest...wish people would quit saying "IT'S NOT FF YOU FOOL" and go back to playing their battered FF2 carts..."


Well, you can rest easily now, Dais, you've had your say, and best of all noone's here to disagree with you for once. So bye bye, and don't let the webboard hit you on the way out.