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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Console RPGs I Completed Throughout The Past Decade (1994-2005). (Part 2)

I was rewarded with a Sony Playstation in 1996 (I was 12 then) due my flawless results for the UPSR (a government exam you have to take in Malaysia during the end of primary/elementary school), and thus my long love affair with it began.

One of the main reasons why I wanted a Sony Playstation then despite being an avid Nintendo fan was because Square (makers of Final Fantasy, to the uninitiated) left for Sony, and I guess this is one of the best choices I've ever made. Nintendo 64 games, being cartridges, were way too freaking expensive (just like SNES games then, I ended up merely with 20 games total in my library, which is usually the number of PS games I bought PER MONTH...), unlike PS games, which cost only 5 bucks each. Haha.

The number of Playstation RPGs I've completed throughout the years is pretty huge (I started maturing as a RPGamer, thus my productivity is higher), so I can't list them all in today's article, just the eleven of them that I completed from 1997 to 1999. Here we go:

7) Suikoden 1
Completed: 1997

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The very first Playstation RPG I've got and completed. I was stricken by chicken pox the first time I played it, and finished the game in a pretty short time. THEN, I realize that I've merely recruited half of the 108 characters I'm supposed to recruit, so I ended up playing the game numerous times to get the perfect ending. Thankfully, it's a pretty short and simple game, but it's a great introduction to one of my favourite RPG series ever. After all, you get to build your own castle, and have a bunch of mindless faithful followers aiding you in your pain-filled crusade against an evil empire which has your own DAD as one of the generals. Whoa.

Besides, I think McDohl's the coolest mute hero since Crono, with his badass Soul Eater rune and all (it's not everyday you get such evil-sounding powers for a RPG hero back in those days). However, the 'perfect' ending was pretty disappointing though. But it does set the stage for the sequel.

8) Vandal Hearts
completed: 1997

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This is a tactical RPG by Konami (guys who did Suikoden). A bad-looking hero (actually, the character art's pretty bad in this one), but a nice storyline. It's level-based, so you move from one level to the other after you use your great tactical strategies to wipe out the baddies. It has another one of those open-ended endings where the hero's either dead or not depending on your interpretation. I was rather tired of open-ended endings after getting the very same thing with Suikoden, and this isn't helped by the fact that Vandal Hearts' ending doesn't really set the stage for its sequel (since it takes place in a completely different continent or something).

9) Wild Arms
completed: 1998

A RPG that has western elements (get to see tons of cowboys around), Wild Arms is also a fantastic game with a great storyline, a colourful bunch of characters, and goddamn, a satisfying ending (FINALLY). The puzzles in the dungeons may be annoying, but as I've said, the plot, the story, the character's backstory were the ones that drove me forward. My god, I was so totally devastated by the whole Jack/Lady Harken/Garrett/Elmina storyline.

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**begin Wild Arms spoiler**

You see a prologue of a knight and his lady love defending a castle. In the end, the knight had to escape, the lady love supposedly perish.

Then, near the end of the game, you realize that one of the three main characters happens to be the knight in the prologue, and an annoying villainess you've been fighting turns out to be the brainwashed lady love.

Riveting stuff, especially for a then-13 year old Swifty.

**end Wild Arms spoiler**

10) Final Fantasy 7
Completed: 1998

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What is there to say about this game that has never been said by any others before? This is the very game that pushed console RPGs to mainstream, revolutionized everything by being 3D. Without this, I doubt there wouldn't even be a tenth of the amount of RPGs that came out later.

So there is not much for me to say. But this might be the game where I began to train my characters until fighting the last boss becomes an easy task (I didn't max out their levels, but I made sure most of them could do 9999 damage).

11) Final Fantasy Tactics
Completed: 1998

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Birthday present from a buddy (I was 14). The greatest tactical console RPG ever for the Playstation. Fighting against a church, being branded a heretic, getting betrayed by your best buddy, then seeing innocents die in political struggles, this has one of the most complex storylines with a huge cast of hundreds... so complex it was that I didn't even bother following most of it and just started hacking everyone around. I even managed to get secret character Cloud too!

Very shitty ending though.

12) Breath of Fire 3
Completed: 1998

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This happens to be the ONLY Breath of Fire game I've played so far. It's good stuff, albeit a bit too slow-paced for my liking. It's another one of those games where your childhood best pal becomes your enemy and you get to kill him to make you realize how angsty your entire quest is. (love the whole thing about starting the game when the hero was a kid, and then halfway during the game, you jumpforward to many years later when he has grown up)

However, this game has seriously one of the worst endings I've ever seen in a RPG. Seriously.

13) Kartia
Completed: 1998

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To tell you the truth, I've only seen one of the two endings in the game (you get to play a guy or a gal in it, both having different storylines, I played the guy). It's a simple and nice (albeit forgettable, if weren't for Amano's character artwork) tactical RPG. But I'm serious about the forgettable part, I can't remember what happened in the game except for the ending, where the guy gets to live happily ever after with that elf chick or something. Oops, spoiler.

14) Xenogears
Completed: 1999

Another much-talked about RPG. So I doubt I'll have to say more about its insanely complex and deep plot that everyone had created websites dedicated to it. Back then, it was one of the longer RPGs I've played, and the only one I remember that has implied sex scenes in it. Whoa. Its last boss is one of the hardest I've ever faced, even though I've leveled up my characters a lot, almost drove me nuts. Took me hours to defeat it, I can remember that the day I did that, I ordered pizza, so I was eating pizza, and creating a minor gaming miracle with one hand. I could never beat the last boss since then. The ending's horribly-dubbed (screw you and your girly voice, Krelian!), and underwhelming (probably because the build-up throughout the game's too freaking insane).

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