Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Game +

    Okay, so now that I’ve beaten Chrono Trigger for the DS, I figure it’s time for a Review. Did I like it? Of course, it’s Chrono Trigger. Main Game wise, nothing’s been changed. That was never a concern. Did I like the Extra Content? Not so much. By the by, this is a review for people who have played the original game to completion. There are points that won’t make as much sense to you, and a few spoilers if you haven’t. You have been warned. (I also “Ruin” the extra content, but there’s not much there to “Ruin”. Again, just warning you.)

    First the DS interface. The bottom screen provides a world map when you’re on the field, and an area map that fills itself in as you explore the different zones. On top of this they provide the ability to move using the Touch Screen. You move by touching a point on the bottom screen away from the Center. Close to the center and you walk, further and you run. Also, the “Action Button” (Talking to people, searching, opening a chest, etc.) is activated by tapping the screen, and whenever there are dialog choices they appear as buttons on the Bottom Screen. I don’t like this method of movement and have yet to meet anyone who does. Unless a game has been designed around this movement system, I don’t think it should be shoehorned in (It’s not “Bad”, just not something I like. It works fine.) . I will admit that I did find myself using it while “Grinding” a few times, as I could play the game one handed while doing something else (Using the Mouse/remote/etc.) with the other. There’s an entire post that could discuss grinding in games, but Chrono Trigger’s not that bad about it, so we’ll skip it for now. ;P

    On both sides of the Map are customizable menu buttons. Direct access to your Item/Equip/Swap/Tech/Etc. screens, and even the Menu Screen itself are available via these buttons and they give you the ability to arrange them however you like. Like the movement I initially didn’t like them, though the fact that you can go directly to these screens without having to go through the Menu Screen, and the ease with which you can reach them (As they are along the sides of the Screen) kind of grew on me. With one tap access to screen that would normally be Menu –> Screen, it wasn’t a bad thing, and I found myself using them on and off as I remembered them.

    Your actual “Menu Screen” has also been reworked. When you hit the Menu Button, your Character’s Base Stats (Name, Level, HP/MP), Time Played, and Gold are displayed on the Top Screen. On the bottom you have the Sub-Menus as larger buttons filling the screen. You can still navigate the Menu via the control pad, but everything has been reworked into Buttons/Tiles to make navigating via the touch screen easy. I found myself using the touch screen over the control pad occasionally as they really did a good job with it.

    Finally, you also have the option of the Battle Menus and Character Status (Remaining Health/MP) appearing as they did before (On the Game Screen) or showing up on the bottom screen to keep the top screen uncluttered. I must say I enjoyed that, as it was just as easy to use as if it’d been up top, and it gave the whole top screen to the actual combat. Of course them Menus were redone in the Button/Tile Fashion of the Game Menu, in case you wanted to use the Touch Screen to navigate them. I just used the Controls for the most part though.


    Now onto the Extra Content. The first one I’ll mention is the Arena Mode. As that’s the first one you can access. If you wait to use the Arena of the Ages until it’s “Reachable” in the Game Proper, you won’t have access to them until you reach the End of Time. There’s another little light column that shows up in the corner up the Hub room with the Lamppost that leads to it. They have however given you the option of going into the Arena directly from the Title Screen. You just choose which file you’re entering it from, and make sure to save before you exit it. It has no effect on your current position in the game, save that you suddenly have whatever items you’ve won in the Arena. (There is a point in the game where you’re stripped of your equipment and during that point the Arena is “Down for Maintenance”. ;P I thought that was a nice touch.)

    The arena is pretty much what I’d feared it would be. You choose a character from four identical monsters with different elemental attributes, and you let them bash away at whatever other monster shows up in the Arena. You do not directly control the monster, so it’s very dry. There is the option to “Assist” it by handing it an item that Heals/Boosts/Makes it Cast a Spell, but it’s generally unnecessary. You can also train it (Which you need to do to raise it’s Stats so it can bash away at stronger monsters) by “Sending it out” into an Era that you’ve visited. Each of which upgrades different stats. You can even hand it the same limited items you can use on it during it’s battles to assist it in increasing it’s stats while it’s out. Sometimes, after in game criteria have been met, you’re monster will come back as a “Bigger Better” Monster.

    That said, the reason you’d even waste your time there is because through this little Arena you can win items that you’d generally not have at that point in the game. The higher the tier you choose to fight in (The tiers unlock as your monster gets more powerful, and you advance enough in the game), the higher the entry fee, and the better the items you can win. There’s also the ability to get multiples of items that are limited in the Game, and even a few things that do not exist outside of the Arena. Though truth be told the “Arena Only” Items are rather lame. Accessories that are Character Specific which allow your characters to counter attacks of elements not their own 25% of the time. Seriously. And an item that “Might” reduce the enemies HP to 1 when you hit it… Maybe. I did spend enough time there to get enough of the End Game Equipment to fully equip my entire party. Something you can’t do in one play through of the Original Game. I guess you can also send your monster off to fight someone else’s… but I cannot imagine this adds too much to the interest as you do not directly control them.

    I would have liked it a bit more if it either had more depth, or at least let you interact with your monster through items you could find in game. That way it felt like it was a part of something more than just it’s own little corner of the world. Maybe let you give it your old equipment/accessories when it went out to train or something. (Which would have in turn allowed you to recycle a lot of the things you were winning in the Arena, but not needing. Win/Win. :P )


    The next extra comes in the form of a set of portals that open up in both the Prehistoric Era and the Middle Ages once the Black Omen rises. You need to enter the one in Prehistory first, and it leads to a village of Reptites from an Alternate Time Line or something in both times. (It’s very poorly explained.) In this new zone, known as the Lost Sanctum, you do a series of self contained quests that net you very powerful new equipment not available in the original game, and some of which is not even winnable in the Arena. It’s kind of neat at first, to get this extra content… but when you realize that it’s COMPLETELY self contained, and has not only no impact on the game proper, but also isn’t an offshoot of something that occurs in the game… it really comes off as “Tacked On”. It would have been neat had they worked it if not “In” to the story, at least “Around” it. That way it felt like it belonged. (Say that they descended from Azala’s people, and were scraping by in this new world they found after Lavos squished their home or something.) Also, the “Story” being told through this area was poorly written. It was hard to see anything more than “I have a Fetch/Kill Quest that I need you to do for me. Please do it and come back for your present.” So even in it’s own little world, it wasn’t well put together.

    After that, there are these “Dimensional Vortex’s” that appear in Antiquity, Present, and Future once you’ve beaten Lavos at least once. Again little portals that this time lead to a series of randomly generated dungeons pulled from a stock of areas from the game with a new area or two mixed in that climaxes in a new “Dungeon” with a Doppelganger of Marle/Crono/Lucca respectively to fight at it’s end. These dungeons also have new equipment not attainable in the original game nor winnable through the Arena, and once you beat a Character’s Doppleganger, that Character gets a little Stats Boost. There is absolutely no story to them whatsoever… outside of a Completely pulled from the air fight with Dalton which not only makes no sense story wise, but is quite literally just dropped in there at the end of the Future Dungeon. (There is a little bit of dialog there… but it’s so out of place that I didn’t care.)

    Finally, after you’ve beaten all three Vorti, the Bucket at the End of Time “Acts up” and you are suddenly able to access a new boss. It’s the Final Boss from Chrono Cross (I’ve already made clear how I feel about “that” gem). You get a little bit of Dialog from a Magus from this “Alternate Time Stream” explaining it, and then you bash away at it until Schala sends you home since you “Can’t defeat it at this point”. After that battle you get another Exceptionally short animation, a mini Magus Ending, and Crono’s Ultimate, no “Really this time” Ultimate Weapon. There’s no other reason to do it, and the ending isn’t all that hot. It, like the Vorti, feels tacked on. (Though it’s obvious from the content that both Dalton, and this ending are supposed to help “Set the Stage” for Chrono Cross…. ;? )


    In Summary, I liked having the Extra Content. Even as bad as it was, as it gave me something I didn’t have before. I would have just liked it more, had they put a little more work into it. Overalll, I preferred the Arena, and the Dimensional Vortex’s over the the “Lost Sanctum” and Dream Devourer Boss, as they didn’t even try to pretend to be more than “Here you go, Extra Shat. Have fun”. It would have been completely the opposite had more work gone into making them a part of the game proper. Heck, I’d have liked the Reptite Village better had it just been better written. Seriously, a few scenes, and some better dialog to tie it all together, even with it being self contained, and I would have liked it better. As it stands, I would have preferred the “Lost Sanctum” had just been a long dungeon with possibly interesting connections across time, and the Dream Devourer to have just been another “Uber Boss” no questions asked or answered over what was delivered.

    Do I still feel the game is worth picking up? Heck yeah, it’s Chrono Trigger. And while the Extras may not add considerable incentive, they certainly don’t detract from what was unquestionably an amazing game. Just don’t expect much from the Extra Content.


    Oh, I almost forgot to mention. There’s also an “Extras” option on the Main Menu. This let’s you choose a File and then presents an “Encyclopedia Chrono” for you of all the Songs/Artwork/Techs/Items/Movies/Beasties/Endings/Treasures you’ve obtained for that Save categorized into smart little submenus… as if the OCD “Completionists” didn’t have it bad enough. ;P (As and OCD Completionist, I happen to like this feature, though I wish it was accessible through the In Game Menu. The Bestiary is, but not the rest of it.)

    It would have been nice had they fleshed this out a little more as well. Let you watch the Characters execute the Techs. (Possibly on the Arena only Smidges for the Lols. ;P ) Watch the Endings. (Since you’d have to beat the Game again at that particular point to watch it again) And see the Beasties execute their attack animations. Nothing crucial, it’s fine the way it is, but those little touches would have been nice.


Not Related: While browsing for images/videos to link in  my review, I realized that I really just need to find a way to capture image/video directly from my DS myself, as it’s hard to find “Just” what I’m looking for. ;P On the positive side of searching though, I found this, which is rather awesome. ^.^

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My D&D Character

  Okay, so I went quite a while without ever playing D&D. Not that I didn’t “Role Play”. I’d actually tried D&D out when I was younger, and just didn’t like the system. By then, I’d already been playing a game of my own device, one that I’d already created “Some” Documentation for, and I couldn’t see a good reason to change over. So while I have Run RP Campaigns for 15+ Years (Started as a child, and never really stopped. ;P ) I’ve never “Really” played D&D. Until about a year ago. So now, I’m a complete package geek, D&D and all. I can even almost make D&D related jokes. Almost.

  Anywho, one of the New Enforcers made a post asking people to describe their most recent character, and I figured I’d share my little monster here as well. ;P (He’s huggable.)

"Bekker" Trollkin from the Backwoods, 3rd Level Berserker (3.5, Iron Kingdoms) Chaotic Neutral

  An Ugly, Sexist, and Sadistic Sociopath who's only redeeming value is that he's "likely" to get himself killed before the rest of the party... "Likely". Grew up hating his family and tribe for being larger than him, and was banished from his kriel after being caught torturing one of the younger trollkins. (They would have killed him if not for the intervention of his older brother) Originally started "Adventuring" to avoid being followed by those in his tribe that may have followed him to kill him. Prefers Blunt Weaponry, as things tend to live longer, and thus suffer more if they're not cut open.

“Specialties”: Causing Pain to others, and Killing things. Has fed Baby Bats to Alligators, and attacked the entombed body of a Past Ruler. (The last of which blinded him long enough for him to learn a new word. Chasm.)

Has a short attention span, and impatience that only tends to get himself and those around him into trouble. Can focus on something if it catches his fancy (As was proven when he and the party thief went to work breaking open the glass between his party and a view of unknown stars, to see where it led while exploring a Seerist Temple, almost losing the entire party to the vacuum of some kind of subspace.)

"Accomplishments": Once crushed a man's skull for looking at him (He may have said something insulting as well. It didn't matter, he was in a bad mood) and almost got himself and the party thief hung as a result.

Considered using a little girl found during a zombie invasion as a distraction/bait for zombies. This idea was shot down by the rest of the party.

Greatest "Achievement": Has survived this far into his life (As Trollkin heal rather rapidly, his logic follows that if he’s okay when he wakes up. It must not have been that bad.)

Most "Tragic" Moment: Lost his original WarHammer after attacking the "WitchFire" in an attempt to destroy it. Went through a period of mourning, in which he finally understood the concept of loss. Until he replaced it with a better hammer. ;P

Found in his Inventory: A Chattering Skull found in an abandoned castle full of undead things, and a necklace made from the teeth and foot of an Alligator he “rode” in the Marshes

Random Character Notes: Had never come near to death in his miserable little life. Since he’s been with this party, he’s been truly faced with his mortality, and has begun to rethink some of his life choices… slowly…

Friday, April 3, 2009

E-Mail Storylett

  Okay, so I warned that occasionally I may decide to syphon some of my terrible writing through here, so you cannot claim you’ve not had fair chance to evacuate. ;P

  One of my Co-Workers was fixing to leave for a Week’s vacation, and I generally send him some Oddball quip in my Nightly Numbers E-Mail to him, for amusements sake. Well, I warned him that when he left, I’d have time to flood his Inbox with an “Epic” that he’d then have to wade through upon his return. He thought that was funny… until I made good on my threat.

  This isn’t meant to be a “Complete” writing, nor was it well Proofread/Edited/Etc. I literally rattled each Chapter out at the end of the night right before I went home. So that’s the level of Quality present here. I’d originally meant it to be longer, but I missed a couple of days of work while he was out, and thus I shortened, and “Abruptly” ended it. Here it is, in all it’s “Glory”. ;P



Peering into the darkness, he was once again accosted with his fears.

What am I doing here? he thought to himself.

For three days he’d been tracking her, and why? Because she’d stolen from his home? He knew it was more than that. But what. It’s almost like he knew her… though that was impossible. Wasn’t it? Moving forward, he lit a torch and decided that the why wasn’t important. He’d come too far to start having second thoughts about this. There was nothing for it but to continue.

Looking at the walls of the decrepit cathedral he was reminded how poor things were outside the Sanitization zones. People out here didn’t have access to the luxury’s he was accustomed to, and thus things were generally left in a worn state. It’s like their buildings reflected the state of their minds. What kind of person opted to live in an uncontrolled environment? Animals mostly. And the Mentally ill… though occasionally someone would willingly choose to leave the Safety of the City… That’s why he was here. To find out why. She was just an excuse. He knew that, but to have really made the choice, to actually be here… there was no turning back, and that’s what really scared him.

Coming to the back of the Cathedral, he heard noises. Sounds of people talking, yelling even, though it was muffled, like it was coming through a padded wall. As he reached the wall he started looking for a door of some kind.


He’d stepped on something, a loose board or something, and the sound of it was loud in the empty building. The noises stopped. He slowly turned to leave, and noticed figures moving near the doorway. He’d been caught.


Climbing through the Broken Window, she couldn’t believe he’d tailed her this far. First he surprises her by leaving the Sanitation Zone. Something she’d never seen a Zonie do before. And then he managed to keep up with her through the wastes. It just didn’t make sense. But now she was pretty sure she’d lost him. Sure he was in town, but it’s not like he’d find her amongst all the ruins.

“You’re late.” her sender stated as a way of greeting, from his seat at the only table in the room.

“Thanks for you’re concern.” she replied, letting the sarcasm drip from her words, “I’m fine really. Don’t worry about it. I was just taking my time, you know, to see the sights.” she finished, throwing the carrier bag at him.

Peering inside, he asked, “Did you manage to get out unnoticed?”

She paused. She didn’t have to tell him she’d slipped up. It’s not like you expect to run into someone home during the work shift at a Zonie House. Though then she’d actually have to explain her tardiness…

“There was someone home.” she answered finally.

“So?” he stated, “What does that have to do with anything? You should have killed them and moved on.” he ended, narrowing his eyes at her. “Why didn’t you?”

How was she to explain to him how she’d felt when she saw his face. She knew she’d seen that face before. She had a knack for remembering people, but it didn’t make any sense. Sure she’d made a few runs into the Zones. But never Zone B. So why would he look familiar to her? She’d not bothered to worry about it at the time, needing to hurry and get out with her target, but still…

“I asked you a question!” he shouted, standing now, the bag laying on the table.

“Listen!” she shouted back, “I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to make my escape any more difficult than it already was. You know how they respond to death in the Sanitation Zones. I figured I could…”

“Excuses!” he cut her off, “You always have an excuse for not killing people, and I’m tired of listening to them. If you think that..”


They both moved for the entrance to the front of the Cathedral. She had a sick feeling that it was him…


This job sucked. He’d been “Pre Selected” at Eight to be a Protectorate. This was supposed to be some kind of honor or something. He must have missed the good part while he was sleeping through his four year training regime, and following 4 years of Public Service.

Sure they trumpeted it up. Making a big deal around the Zone for the populace, so that the people came to know, and even envy his position… but what they didn’t see was the grueling 16 hour days and seemingly endless amount of physical training they had to endure. From the moment he’d graduated ,not at the bottom of his class but not too high either, at 12, he’d not had a real nights sleep. At least that’s what it felt like. Getting to bed when he could hardly move, and up before his muscles had really loosened up. It was craziness… but he was supposed to honored by being there.

It sickened him to see the other Protectorates in Training (PiT’s he liked to call them) trying to outdo each other for some meager praise from the Teachers. He was just as content to let them ignore him, and though he never quite managed to stay completely off the radar, he certainly did a good job of keeping low. So it was a surprise when they graduated him early, and sent him right out into the De-Zones. The looks of jealousy his classmates gave him when the High Protectorate himself came and pulled him from classes a full month before he should have been finished was priceless.

They didn’t really give him a reason though. Which kinda bothered him. Just suited him up, issued him a roamer, and told him to patrol the outskirts of B-Zone. When he asked why he’d been pulled, they only told him that he was done, and they saw no reason in delaying him further. There were rumors that the last Protectorate had disappeared, roamer and all… so he was suspicious of their intent. Mayhaps they felt that he was expendable.

Coming into the ruins of old B, he was startled from his thoughts when his Life form Sensor started to blip. Pulling up the scan information, he could see that there were 4 humans in what looked like the ruins of a church, and two of them were armed with energy weaponry. Well, this was great. Now he was going to be shot at. Having trained for an encounter with rouge’s he wasn’t too concerned, but this would be the first time he’d actually run into anyone. Parking the roamer a block away, he activated his phasing gear, and pulled his stun rifle out. Locking the vehicle, he slowly made his way towards the door…


He was tired of waiting for her. Tired of her excuses, and tired of trying to shape into the weapon that her father had been. Sure she was quick. That’s the only reason she was still alive. He’d tried to kill her the night he’d wiped her father, but she’d managed to get away. It had taken him several hours to finally catch her, and he was impressed enough that he took her on instead of finishing her off. Of course he’d had to wipe her as well. This was to be her final test. His way of making sure that she was ready to take the next step… and she was late.

Sitting at the Table, he thought about it… He’d known it was risky sending her to her father’s house, but that was the only way he could be sure. If she killed him, he knew she’d be ready. If not… well, no one would miss her now. He heard her before  he saw her crawl in through the window.

“You’re late” he informed her. Not because she needed the reminder, but because he was curious as to how she’d respond.

“Thanks for you’re concern.” she replied, in such a way that he knew she was stalling, “I’m fine really. Don’t worry about it. I was just taking my time, you know, to see the sights.” she finished, throwing the carrier bag at him.

He caught it, and peered in. It was there. Not that he cared, that hadn’t been the reason he’d sent her, “Did you manage to get out unnoticed?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

She didn’t answer right away. He knew she’d run into her father. He’d planned this run during a time he was sure to be home, workday or not. What bothered him was her reluctance to admit it right out.

“There was someone home.” She finally answered him. At least she wasn’t going to try and hide it but…

“So?” he stated, “What does that have to do with anything? You should have killed them and moved on.” he ended, narrowing his eyes at her. “Why didn’t you?”

This was a problem. Did he evade her, stop her, talk to her… Why was she taking so long to answer, was she considering lying to him!? He stood, discarding the bag onto the table, and yelled at her, “I asked you a question!”

“Listen!” she shouted back, “I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to make my escape any more difficult than it already was. You know how they respond to death in the Sanitation Zones. I figured I could…”

“Excuses!” he cut her off, he knew there was more to it than that, “You always have an excuse for not killing people, and I’m tired of listening to them. If you think that..”


Someone had entered the building. They both moved with practiced ease toward the passages that would let them out near the front doors. First they’d take care of this intruder, and then he’d take care of her. He wasn’t going to take any chances.


It awoke with a start. It had never been given a formal name. It didn’t really need one. Most people avoided it from a distance, and anyone close enough was too busy screaming to call it anything. It had been comfortable though, and being woken up made it grumpy.

Looking down from the beams of the building it’d been sleeping in, it noticed a manthing standing in the back of the building. He was looking across at the manthing and womanthing standing in front of the doorway. They were yelling at the manthing, but it was hiding behind some benches. That was silly of him. They couldn’t seem him there. It didn’t understand why the womanthing looked nervous, didn’t know why the manthing hiding looked scared. What it did know was that they were being noisy, and it knew how to take care of noisy things.

It dropped from the ceiling, and everything was thrown into chaos. It was used to that.


  The Cathedral hadn't been lived in for several years. Once there'd been a small family residing in the back. The Husband was the Pastor, and the Mother and children helped keep up the building. This was before the world moved on. Since then, maybe it was the spirit of kindness that had inhabited the building, but for whatever reason, it had been left more or less alone for quite some time.

  Then the Unliving Thing moved in. The result of experimentation, it was a fusion of an Embryo, and a Mechanical Monster. To call it alive was too much, but it wasn't quite dead either. They grew... though not in the way of normal things, and they consumed everything around them. After which they would rest... indefinitely if left alone. So it seemed that once again this building would be at peace, even though it now housed a monster.

  Some time passed, and a couple of Humans, Man and Woman moved into the back. Sure they ventured to the front, but they were always quiet, this was their quiet place, and thus they never woke the thing. Again, it seemed the building would continue at peace.

  More time passed... and now, too many people were here at once. Too many sounds, too many problems, and too much activity. It awoke.

  Given the situation, it's a miracle that any of them lived. The two who had moved in turned on each other at the sight of an intruder. They were so intent on each other, that the man didn't see the thing as it came down on him. That's not fair. He saw it, but he was so convinced that "She" was behind it, that he went to take her out. That's why he died.

  The young officer didn't see this happen. What he did see was the man's head come rolling out of the door. He'd never expected things to elevate before he'd gotten there. He ran in to stop the commotion. His sensor told him that there were two humans right in the door. A young one, and an older one. The young one wasn't a threat. His sensors couldn't tell what "It" really was. So he came in ready to deal with the older one. That's why he died.

  The intruder wasn't sure what was going on. He didn't know what this thing was, and he didn't know what they'd been talking about. But he did know something. He didn't know why he knew, but he knew that her life was more valuable to him than his own. When the officer came running into the room, and pointed a weapon at her, he tried to get to them, before something happened to her. That's why he died.

  She was paralyzed. She'd just watched this, thing Kill four people... and none of them had stood a chance. Not even the officer. The officer however had been equipped with phasing armor. This particular suit was an experimental model. It was meant to take someone else along when it moved the officer. "It" was still holding the officer's body when the suit went off. That's why "It" died.

  She sat there... too shocked to move. Too scared to breathe almost. When they came, to collect her, where they knew they'd find her. They didn't ask questions. Their computer had never been wrong. It told them where to go. It let them know what to expect. And when they were told to come here by drop, and that they'd have a young woman sitting alone in a blood splattered ruin, with a charged rover sitting nearby, they hadn't even considered the oddity of the situation. Sometimes, it wasn't worth it to ask questions.

  After they left, the building was once again empty. And it was once again left alone... until the next time it would be needed.



Okay, so that’s it. Please forgive me. ;P

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PAX Brief.


*Looks around*

*Cleans up some Cobwebs*

   Yeah… I’ve not done a good job of updating this. Let’s end the thought from my last entry. I went to PAX, loved it all over again, worked even harder than before, and was sad when it ended. This is to be expected. I think everyone amongst the Enforcers experiences much the same thing. ;P

   I’ve waited long enough to write here that things are already in motion for PAX this year. I’m not part of the initial planning phases (Someday maybe. ;P ) but I have gained more responsibility this year, and I’ll admit that I’m ready to tackle it running (Even though it is early still, so I’m not getting carried away… yet. >.> ).

   That’s really it. Due to things in my life, I’ve not been “Quite” as involved in a lot of the Enforcer Activities, but such is the way of things. (Once my schedule figures itself out, I'll have more time.) I’m looking forward to this year, and if you’re reading this and you aren’t an Enforcer, and aren’t yet registered for PAX, what are you waiting for? ;P