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RPG Classics Mailbag

Er. Yo. I'm just filling in until Cid comes round, since he's lying under a pile of e-mails THIS thick.

How thick are e-mails?

Real thick. Shut up. Anyhoo, he got more than THIRTY replies to this week's topic. I think he took the "vague topic" thing a bit too far, in my not-so-humble opinion. Anyhoo, he's decided to divide the answers into two different weeks, because some of them kinda missed the point, like usual. For this week, we delve into which feature should be included in every single RPG. Next week, we talk about what the best feature would be for an unnamed upcoming RPG. You can still write in for that one; see below.

You sound like a textbook.

Why, thank you.

It wasn't a compliment.

Yes, it was.

No, I gave it, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't.

Well, I stole it, and now it is!

Er... my head hurts.


Oh, so he wakes up at last.

Thanks for covering for me. Ahem. I just finished weeding out the replies for next, are you people psychic? How'd you know what next week's topic would be?! Anyhoo, I just wanted to reiterate that you shouldn't be depressed if your answer doesn't appear in this mailbag, since you'll still get a shot at next week's. Let's get the ball rolling with BSSB, who creatively titled her e-mail "Das Featuroia!".

Mwhahaha! Did you miss me!?..Yes!But I am back,and I bring you freshy McFresh toilets and cheesedoodle! *lebombkaboom!* Mmm,first off,LuneyLuneLune,will you buy me a pink corvette?I will shower you with small rose ninjas in you do!Gwork!

The feature,you ask?Well,it'd hafta to be the one that lets you talk to people in yer partee like in Dragon Quest/Warrior 7...I mean,it's just kewl and groovy,and you never get lonely..and anyway,socks are fun to put inside of hamburgers!.

Now,I leave,but no before *cast FishBlimp Suprise on Ozzaduu!* UWHAHA! *poof*

I want some of what she's smoking.

Here, look, I found some white powder.

That's anthrax, isn't it?

Of course not! See, it's all sugary just like last time!

Ooh, goody! Sugar sugar sugar!

Yes, be a good boy and eat your sugar. (Lucca, be sure to cart away the body when he finishes with it.)

*looks up* Er, sure... I'll design a robot to do it for me...

Sheesh, kids these days. On to NekoOfDarkness, a brand-new-newbie!!!!!!!!!!

*Blasts a hole through the wall, and comes running through* BURN!! BURN!! DESTROY EVERYTHING!!!! Oh... one feature i'd like to see in every RPG? lesse.... I wouldnt mind seeing a battle system similar to the Star Ocean 2 battle system in every game... that system was awesome!

Agreed. Would I like to see it in every RPG? Not agreed. Sometimes I like cuddling up with a nice menu-based game for when I'm kinda tired... -_- But that's just my opinion. Then again, this whole mailbag is my opinion, mwahahahah... you don't like it, get your own mailbag!

That's uncommonly rude.

You don't like it, get your own mailbag!

All right, I WILL!

Oops, wait, that doesn't apply to you. See contract... er, paragraph 13, subsection 4, clause B.

What?! Grr... *ruffles through huge 90-page document* Ah. "The undersigned shall not at any time attempt to make a mailbag unless given express permission by the first party..." Sheesh. I'm thinking you're adding to this while I'm sleeping.

Who... ME?!?!

No, your evil twin brother!

Who... ME?!?!

Sigh... get on with the mailbag...

Don't mind if I do! Here's DarkAni!

There are lots of features I wish were in every RPG, but here's the one I'll discuss: What I'd like to see most in every RPG is a formidable, yet interesting villain. We need villains with consistancy or one-liners like Kefka(who had the best lines, but he was pathetic in the ending battle!), and with the sheer balls to back them up like ExDeath(he was powerful, but he was basically your "I'm gonna destroy the place for no reason except for the fact that I'm evil" type). If the villain is cool and interesting, the player won't want to stop till the villain is beaten (I would't stop playing Chrono Trigger till I beat Lavos, for example)

BTW, If Ozzie can fly, how come he can't stop himself from falling into pits?

See contract, paragraph 1, section 1. "The undersigned shall always fall into all plot holes or be hit by any damaging substances as per the whims and fancies of the first party." So I can do THIS: *hits button at random* *ten-ton-weight falls on Ozzie* and he can't do anything about it. Ahhh, I love the legal system.

With addenda by Macc Maverick, of course.

Yep, the Macc Additions revolutionized the system forever! Hah!


Anyhoo... you thought Lavos was a cool and interesting villain? Me, I thought he was just a big spiky ball with an eye in the middle... Magus was way cooler, but he wasn't really a villain per se... I'll stop there. There's a whole mailbag about this. Here's a reply by our resident Mad Dwarf, I Abibde.

I saw two glaring grammar goofs in my previous entry, so I shall take my time on this one. Before I get to the question at hand, however, I would like to address a couple of (minor) issues raised in the last mailbag.

First, I apologize to the School of Sa Ga for neglecting to mention its important role in the ranks of CBVRPG fandom. I am personally very fond of what I have seen of Sa Ga, particularly Sa Ga Frontier, so I am deeply sorry for overlooking what is most definitely an underrated CBVRPG.

Yeah. That's cause I underrated it. I hated it, sorry Lunaris. 8p


Second, I realize that the Final Fantasy franchise (it can no longer rightly be called a "series") has a long-standing tradition of not exploiting the content of each of its spawn (anime, games, the movie, and so on) by drawing up entirely new characters and worlds every time it gives rise to something new, which I suppose is well and good for their purposes ... but I am sure that I am not the only one who is bothered by said tradition. In every case, there is so much more that could have been said...! Ah, well. More power to fanfic writers for doing what the franchise creators would not do.

(I should also insert my defense of Final Fantasy IV here, but I can see why those who did not essentially grow up with the game might have grievances against it. It is, with Final Fantasy 2J, my favorite game in the series, but it was also my constant companion when I was a boy in 1992. Those who are just now playing it cannot quite realize, I suppose, the appeal that it had for the SNES generation. Those young folk have my sympathy.)

Now, on to the actual topic. What every CBVRPG should have is good characterization for EVERY character, not just the main character(s). Almost every game (Star Ocean: The Second Story being the usual exception, though I might also mention Final Fantasy VI, which is one of the better games in that franchise for the very reason of its well-developed cast of characters) heaps neglect upon the supporting cast in favor of shedding more light on the main character(s), particularly when giving meatier stories to the supporting characters would improve the game in question by leaps and bounds.

Let me throw out a few examples. First, I love Legend of Dragoon ... but I would love it a lot more if the game would get into the heads of characters apart from Dart and Rose, as cool as Rose is. And everyone has gripes about Final Fantasy VII (Cloud is as likable as a stone) and Final Fantasy VIII (Squall's worse than Cloud), I think, particularly the latter, as poor Quistis really deserved better than what the writers gave her, which, honestly, was not much. Final Fantasy IX is also an offender -- Zidane got a little story, but all of the other characters got less than that, particularly Amarant and Quina, both of whom seemed to have no back story at all.

Think for a moment. Some of the best CBVRPGs out there diversify in the manner that I have described. Even the Suikoden games, with their huge casts, made an effort at broadened characterization. And I believe that I've run out of gas, so I'll stop for now.

Lucca, go get I Abibde some more gas.

*looks up* Er... I'll design a robot to do that, too.

How long does it usually take you to design a robot?

A few years.

Ah. Um... good thing you're patient, then. O_o Next up is Xelopheris/Oracle.

Hey cid.

One feature I'd like to see in every RPG today is... no tempting guides that EB gives you a 15% discount on when you buy the game

Face it, the only thing that really makes you board with an RPG fast enough before the next one comes along is that you bought the guide, read thru it, knew exactly where everything was, did everything one hundred percent, killed the final boss OVER AND OVER.

Now an actual feature IN the rpg i'd like to see is movement on a battlescreen. Hell, all the controllers for the new systems have 2 analog sticks and a DPad, use one of them for moving around the field, back attacking the enemy, etc
Think of this too, to group attack 2 people on both sides of you, theyd have to go over themselves, and killing them in the process would give you lots to laugh about as well.
I dont know why anyone has never made moving Heros on the battleground, but thats what is needed

They have done it. View the wonderful Star Ocean series. Viva la Star Ocean! Ahem. Here's our second female insane RPG maniac. I think there's some kind of Celes mold out there.

::appirates into the mailbag ,but gets stuck under the carpet:: dammpphh wandppphh!! holdpph onmpphh!!dontmphh nomphh onemphhh gomphh steppingmmpphh onmppphhh meeeff!! ::cuts a hole in the carpet with a sccisors and crawls out and stands up:: woops,sorry bout that one ciddy O.o 'lo to lunacris,ozzie-mun::growsl at him for evading her "tutu tactics"::, and lucca ((if she didnt blow herself up already))well,its simple really,the ONE FEATURE id want in EVERY rpg is a GOOD PLOT/STORYLINE! i mean,look at Secret of Mana,.....yeesh.I think the Final Fantasies storylines are good,but go WAY OVER the melodramatic limit(( blah balh blah,life,love,death,blah blah blah)) ok,ive said my bit,and Cid ofr the :"other" record,no ,plot holes arnt origanl enough for me ::smiles evilly:: by i gotta good ming to put YOU in a tutu! bwaahahaha!!::zaps Ciddy with her wand and he! s in a lil blue tutu and has donkey ears:: woops,now where did those ears come from, o well ^_^ bu-bye!!::dissapirates and dissapears in a puff of white mist:: :P

Some tactics are just outlawed by the ESRB. Tutu tactics are one of them. And actually the reason I didn't put Ozzie in a tutu was because I have no tutu sprites on me at the moment. This is not the same reason I didn't put myself in a tutu; that's because I have no wish to put myself in a tutu. 8p Now for something completely different... another insane letter! Yes! This one by Eden.

Hiya Cid! Tis me, Eden! (Thats right fear and run away from the person that smiles far to much ^.~) Now, befor I begin I must say that I am very happy to see that the mailbag is going to be more insane ^.^ This is splended! I was feeling so alone ^.~ (After reading some replies from last weeks I wondered two things 1)I thought I didn't write in! and 2) Gosh, this make me look sane!) Anyways, one thing I would like to see in all RPGs is..... Good Voice acting! Yes thats right. Well, I guess no voice acting is okay I meen I don't mind reading text and it makes me imagen more..... but voice acting is something that everyone should think about ^.~ Also, I would love to see more Multi-player RPGs, like Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana was great fun, I loved that I could play it with my friend/brothers (Who ever was there at the time ^.~) and at the same time be playing a RPG. I guess that is it hun, short. Very short. Ah well, Cid, Lun, Lucca, Ozzie, I bid you adu! Oh ya, Cid bin reading Agatha Christie have we? (In case this makes no sence, I am talking about "Use ze leetle grey cells!". If it still makes no sence umm... ^.^') Anyways, I hope this make more sence (Funny no? With everyone else making less sence I seem to be making more. At this rate, more people then umm Maz and Ackbar will be able to understand me!) (Wait, on second thought, is that a good thing ^.~) then some on my others... I know how you like order and what what! So untill next time,
Ta Ta

Sure, Poirot's my idol! OK, not really, but he's funny. 8p As for sanity, I do need SOME sane letters, you know... hmmm... nope, not this one, it's by MegamanX2K...

You call him SANE?

Well, compared to the last one?

Mini-Rant: Evacuate All Women and Childeren and bunker down, but stay calm.

*uses Ozzie as target practice for his Ragnarok Buster to warm up*

Anyway...I know this is kinda general, but...A Battle System that isn't aggravating. If the battle system pisses you off, then what's the point? EarthBound/several of the DWs/FF1-3 gave me this problem, because they put little thought into their "Chooseeverythingfirstthenhopeitworksoutintheend" battle system. You'd think that Enix could have come up with something a little less...archaic. For Krishna's sake, even Square got the idea! >.<

Oh, and don't get me started on fights in SD3. |-P

Hmmm. So, tell me what you think of the fights in SD3?

He ain't here, you know.

Heehee, I know. I love it when they can't answer back. I would have some choice words to say to Rayman201 if he were here, though, because this is what he has to say:

I would like to see, in every RPG, chronic use of the word "bitch"!

Sure, that'll really enhance the quality. O_o We now have yet another newbie!!!!!!!!!! Say hi to Zippy.


Go to hell, Zippy!

Thank you.

Another newbie... Yay!
Anywhoo... I'm a definite fan of the ATB. I makes the increases the reply value on newer RPG's (FF5 an on, FF4 didn't count) so IMO should be on every New RPG. I would also like to see more of a non-linear plot (SaGa!) cuz let's face it, while the FF series is still my fave they have become pretty formulaic (go here, beat him, go there, get item x, etc.) And YES 'formulaic' is a word!

Non-linearity is good... up to a point. I do like to have *some* idea of where to go next. O_o Hey, lookie here, back to back newbies. Here's Krugie2!!!!!!!!!!!!

The one thing I'd like to see in ever rpg is kick ass fight scenes. Rather, bitchin' graphics. >shrugs< But I'm weird, so take my opinion for what it's worth.

*does some calculations* 42G. Or about $3.25-and-a-half.

...No, I won't ask. Oh, man, another newbie!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! *pant* He can introduce himself.

The stars in the sky shimmer...
Beams of light radiate the earth...
A strange knight appears...
It's DOAHunterX!


I would say that there are at least three things every RPG should have. The first would be a Chrono Trigger-style New Game+. 'Nuff said. The second would have to be the ability to play back any of the cutscenes or FMVs in the game (i.e. some sort of cinema option), as well as the ability to skip them. What if a long cutscene plays and you realize that you had to leave immediately? Or wonder what that guy is doing in the background (it might lead to something good!). And the third would be at least one bonus dungeon, available after beating the game at least once. As we speak, Enix might be making Dragon Quest 8 with three bonus dungeons! (But at least two.)

And one final message: This world is nothing but a big computer! And here is an 4x20 package... of exclamation marks! Enjoy!


Awww... this is the best Christmas present I've ever gotten! *sniff*

But you don't celebrate Christmas.

Doesn't that make this the *only* Christmas present you've ever gotten?

Er... technically. Hey, don't spoil the moment! Now comes a quite odd letter by Rabid Tauntaun. I shall use my 1337 copy/paste skillz to give him his exclamation marks. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn, there goes a quarter of my Christmas present.

To the excellent and cool Cidolfas: salutations, etc. I have been reading thy most splendid mailbags for some time, but have only now managed to get around to writing in for one. I hope that in the future I shall again be able to contribute the mailbag out of my wit and wisdom (or lack thereof). I would like to extend to thee my sincerest gratitude for the ludicrously absurdly silly hilarious mailbags that ye post.

So kind of thee!

Oh, yes, of course. Although I am sure that someone as well-informed as the Cid knows who I am, for the benefit of all the lesser beings who read this, I am the Rabid Tauntaun. If you are so incredibly ignorant that you don't know what a tauntaun is, I suggest that either you watch The Empire Strikes Back, or go to I have a boon to ask of thee, oh Cidolfas. I would really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to give me one of your, "You messed up," stickers. So that I will be worthy of the honor, I shall now mispell the word misspell.

Ooh, how could I resist someone who asks so nicely?

Hmm? What? I have to write something about the topic? Ah. Very well. One thing that I think every RPG should is my theme music, "Tams, Man Of The Sea," from the soundtrack of Xenogears. I could have sent it to you, Cid, but I have heard that you fear attachements like the plague, so I spared ye the misery. I do believe that I have been adequately eccentric for one mailbag, so I shall desist from further writing.
Ta ta,
Rabid Tauntaun

Good on yer. I send Lunaris after people who send me attachments. Heh, don't you love people who write with fake British accents?

How do you know it's fake?

C'mon, real British people don't say "ta ta". O_o Anyhoo, I think there might be some kind of copyright infringement with using a Xenogears theme song in every RPG, eh? Er, plus it'd get kinda boring. And nobody with more than two brain cells would even think of doing it. But hey, it's your opinion, eh? For what it's worth.

Ooh, I can figure that out!

Don't bother. Here's someone we haven't heard from in a while... Arcanus Dominus!

Cidolfas, aka Cid, aka Mailbag Man,

What's the one feature I'd like to see in every RPG? Aside from good translation, the feature I'd MOST like to see in EVERY RPG is... a challenging final boss.

Come on, how many times have we spent 40 hours on game, working our way through an intricate and involving story which reaches its climax with the final confrontation with the main villain / ultimate evil / whatever, only to crush the loser is in about 5 seconds flat. Kefka, Sephiroth, Smithy, Altima, Necrosaro, Danika, Diablo... many an otherwise excellent game is marred by having a final boss a trained chimp could vanquish single-handedly.

Part of the problem, of course, is all the super-cheap spells / summons / Limits available to heroes (That means you, Squaresoft), but that is no excuse for a pathetic final enemy. It shouldn't be some insane bonus boss like Ozma or Omega Weapon that takes genuine strategy to defeat. Now, don't get me wrong - many RPGs do have difficult final bosses. Malroth in Dragon Warrior 2 took me YEARS to slay (the fact that I was ridiculously under-leveled is beside the point). I simply think ALL RPGs should have final bosses that require planning and strategy to defeat, rather than simply using the same super-spell over and over again.

But that's just my two cents.

Thanks for your time, Cidolfas.

No problem. The bill's in the mail. Our resident lamer Crystalys (who has apologized for sending me a huge annoying attachment) is up next.

Ok, I loved how you could change your class in games like FF5 FFT OgreBattles and such. And I think this should be in every RPG. It makes the game more exiting because even after you beat it you probably haven't mastered every class, so you can go back and do that. It also lets you use more strategy in your character choosing.
So that's what I think... Not like what I think makes any difference, Cya.

Oh, don't say that... of course it makes a difference!

Yeah? What?

I'll think of something, gimme a few months... here's our requisite "I missed last week's mailbag so here's two in a row" reply by Future Trunks.

Hey Cid. What's up? Oh yeah ... the Mailbag. Right. Sorry about not responding last week. (Not that you want me to respond, more than likely) I was gone camping (Icky) so I'll just respond to last week's this week:

Most Overrated Game: Betrayal at Krondor. It's slow-paced, plotless, ugly to look at (even for coming out in 1995) and hailed by many veteran gamers. I swear, even Jeff Green, Editor-in-Chief of Computer Gaming World talks about the greatness of this game, it's like his favorite game ever (next to EverQuest, which he's claimed to love more then his wife). I mean, the dude just got the Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 expansions, which he plays on 2.0 GHz, 512MB RAM, 64 MB 3D Graphics Card dream systems, and he's all like "Even after all this time BaK rules," Well, Mr. Green, I happen to own that game, and deleted it in disgust. I'm sorry. The game sucks. End of story. (Damn, that was one long rant!)

Most Underrated Game: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Sure, it was simple, but that was half of the fun! My favorite RPG memory is still Monstro Town, and sure, the battle music was irrelevant, but that doesn't mean the whole music score is bad! I still get nostalgia from the "Sadness" theme (Mallow ... you're... NOT A TADPOLE!) And all in all, it may not be the best RPG I've ever played, but, then again, it may be.

And now for ths weeks topic. One thing that I love and wish was in all RPGs is nonrandom battles (A.K.A. you can see and avoid the enemies). This makes it so that the developer of the game can make it so that you get just the experience you need to get challenging but not overly difficult boss battles. It also means that you don't feel stupid when you're Light Warriors walk out of the Earth Cave victorious against the Earth Guardian, just to get defeated by some random Forest Imps cause you couldn't get to an inn yet. Or dying from some Arachnids and Asps after seeing "Couldn't Run" pop up forty-two times. On that note, I'd like to see "Couldn't run" just obliterated from all RPGs. It's just an annoyance to me.

Yeah! If I'm chicken enough to run from a battle, that's my job! Chrono Cross, by the way, has both of your ideas; you can even run from boss battles! Great feature, IMO. Our last reply for this week is by our sellout of a mailbag-sidekick-alterego, the Vault Dweller.

*The camera pop out of no where in a rather large room. And in the saide room, there is a saide large saide boxing ring. And around the saide ring, there is a huge crowd around it screaming and encouraging the fighters in the arena.

Okay, I wont say 'saide' again, happy?

Indubitably. -_-

Anyway, in the ring, there is everyone's favorite Mentats addict wielding some rather suceptiously suceptious boxing gloves and, his opponment, a pixelised guy with green gloves. Straight form 8-bit era! Even though this Nintendo champion is strong, Vault knockout him in one blow! And from on now, Vault shall rememorise it like this.. "...And I delt Mike a HARD BLOW!"

...Oh whatever. After this crushing victory, Vault cheers to the crowd and the camera zooms in*

"...YEAH! I WON! I'M DA MASTA! I'M THE CHEIF! I'M...I'm on TV? Cool! Well, I guess time to answer the mailbag, dossit?...Mm, so the topic is what...Features I would like to see in every RPGs I have played, huh? Not bad at all, Berret-foo.

Okay, well, I've got at least in minumum TWO things I would love seeing in all RPGS.

1) Main character customisation: While it near-to impossible to do something like that in linear games with a lot of character interaction, I'm sure someday that there will be HUGE development with others char depending on what you made your char first of all. I'm dreaming in colors, I know, but a man still can dream about it, dossit?

2) Mutli-Pathed Plots: Still again with the Non-linearity, you say huh? Well, whatcha want? I LIKE to be able to control where the HELL I'm going! Of course, that mean it will be hard for a LOT of peoples, but I dont give a damn, thiere fault if they cant handel themself if the game dosent spoon-feed them the plot and locations to go.

*sits down and cries*

3) Class-less leveling system: Yeah, I lied, I saide two, but deal with it!

You said "saide!"

*voice of Nelson from the Simpsons* HA-ha!


Class-less leveling systems have a plus and a minus. The good thing with is that you can change in middle way in the game your carrer, not too much, but you can. The BAD thing about is that it imensly complex for a lot of peoples by what I saw. But, like I saide again, just too bad for 'em.

4) Extra Features: I'm a lying bastard, I'm I? By 'Extra Features', I mean events that have NOTHING to do with the normal game, but is in it. Like FF8'S triple triad game, minigames, hell, the boxing and kung-fu battles like I was demonstrating with my m4d l33t skills above here! I showed that Punch-out guy who was boss, did I!?

...Er, ahem, talking of that, I should go. All my adoring fans are going to give me tributes, TRIBUTES! Can you belive it! MENTATS! MENTATS! PLENTY OF IT! HURRAY! I'M DA WINNER!"

*And the camera zooms out...and eveantualy, a 70' music plays and, this time, the words "This mailbag response was bought you by Mr. Saturn Industries INC. ; We have the b@iNg and the Z@@M, but we also have piggy jelly and Mr. Saturn Pens!" shows up.*

Ooh! Mr. Saturn pens! I'm gonna get that for Ozzie for the holidays! Of course I can make a few... adjustments to it...

If you think I'd really open any gift from you, you've got another thing coming.

We'll see... >-) Well, that's all for tonight, folks! As saide *d'oh!* said before, next week's topic will be "What one feature would be the best/most innovative for an unnamed new RPG?" As usual, write in to and if you sent one this week that wasn't printed, you don't have to send another one. ^^; But if you didn't send one at all for this week, you can still send it in! But if you thought you were gonna send it in but then changed your mind, then you should send it in if it's after 8 PM, but keep it if it's before 4 PM, unless it's a Wednesday, then -

*take a step back and SMASH a Giant Hammer on Cid's head*

...That is, you can do whatever the hell you want.