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FGC #415 Congo’s Caper

That little devilCongo’s Caper is the spiritual successor to Joe & Mac (and the literal sequel in Japan, where it is known as Caveman Ninja 2). Appropriately, the plot of this caper is pretty much the same as what we saw in SNES Joe & Mac. Previously, The Devil kidnapped a collection of cave babes, and Joe & Mac had to rescue their harem. Now, a slightly smaller The Devil decides to kidnap Congo’s girlfriend, and it’s up to Congo to venture forth and save his damsel. And he does! Then she gets kidnapped again, and apparently The Devil brought sidekicks for round 2. And then it turns out it was all the work of Tyrano Satan, whom Congo eventually banishes, and Congo’s girlfriend is rescued again. Hooray! All is well, and one would assume there is a lot of hot, 16-bit sex happening opposite the credits sequence.

Oh, but why did The Devil kidnap Girl? Repeatedly? Well, the answer to that is pretty obvious: because girls are made for kidnapping. Duh.

And that’s bad for everybody.

So everyone is familiar with the “damsel in distress” trope, right? Smarter people than I have elucidated why this particular story telling crutch is terrible, and how it is a good thing that we have gotten away from the tired old “knight saves princess” narrative that dominated our fiction landscape for so many years. We’ve moved well past Mario must rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, and now we have more complicated stories like… Mario must rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, but with a new hat. Huh. Seems like the kiddy stuff is still mired in medieval morality. But let’s look to adult entertainment! Something mature! That maybe made more money than there will ever be! Yes, let’s look to Avengers: Infinity War, a movie featuring a complicated villain with intense plans and a clear goal that goes far beyond… Oh, wait, he just kidnapped the charismatic guy’s girlfriend for some reason. And Weeeeenow the charming hero is all sad and angry, and is going to flip out at just the right time because his girl is missing. Sigh. So, yes, Congo’s Caper is employing an ancient, tired trope, but it’s also exactly what we’re seeing 25 years later. New coat of (purple) paint, same old “our Princess is in another castle”.

And this is a “tired” trope because it’s immediately obvious how the concept is harmful to women. The very notion treats women like objects, like a prize to be won, and, come on, it couldn’t be more obvious how that is a bad thing. Women are people! Women have opinions and rights and the ability to wriggle out of ropes to vaunt over lava pits and rescue their own damn selves. And that’s just considering the kidnapped women in question, never mind the women in the audience that only get to see representation as useless damsels. To pick on Avengers: Infinity War again, if you’re a boy, you can choose your hero, and be confident that, even if they don’t survive to see the final credits, they’re going to kick ass from start to finish. The women of the movie are a lot more… passive (hey, remember Pepper Potts was at the start of the film entirely to make Iron Man feel bad), and a woman who had previously been a complete bad ass in her other movies now spends most of the film as a captive (or worse). What does that tell all the little girls in the audience that previously just wanted to emulate a radical, dual-wielding heroine? Damsels are bad for a solid 50% of the population, no questions asked.

But what about the real minority in our world? What about the poor men?

Don't trust those dudesOkay, I felt dirty typing that. Yes, we absolutely live in a mancentric manocracy here on Man World, and there is never any question that men are in charge in every situation. If you’re convinced men are some put upon people because sometimes a judge will side with a woman in a divorce case because she just happens to not be addicted to heroin, that’s great and all, but I don’t want to hear about it. Men are in charge, period, and if you’re confused on that point, take a look at voting statistics to see why we’re currently in a political quagmire (which quagmire am I talking about? Does it matter?). Dudes rule the world, and women aren’t even allowed to wear pants that include viable pockets.

But there’s something important about the men that are ruling world. Christ, I thought we were going to get through one week without staring straight at the guy, but let’s look at our old pal Donald Trump. Here is a man who treats women like objects as a matter of course. He is the perfect embodiment of a person that believes women have no agency at all, and even on the rare occasions that it may be supposed that woman are actually humans, it’s clear that a man’s needs come first. They want it. They’ll give it up because you’re rich. In fact, women are to be collected and hunted like they are money. One more thing to be acquired. One more item to horde. Women are, like cash, real estate, and political power, just one more status symbol that says you’re a real man.

WeeeeeeAnd maybe that is fine for Donald Trump. We’re talking about a wiener that has been married three times, and has cheated on every single one of those women (oftentimes with the next wife on the list). We’re talking about a man who, by all accounts, ran for president for no other reason than to assuage his already bloated (and malignant) ego. Maybe he should be treating women like objects, because feeling love for objects is the only way he’s going to feel those emotions at all. Maybe that’s just him. But it’s hard to ignore that this is the man who is currently the President of the United States, and thus, for good or ill, an indelible role model for an entire generation of men. Want to be president one day, Little Timmy? Look to your great hero, President Trump.

Which brings us back to the original point of this little tirade: if enough men see women as objects, it doesn’t matter that there are “enlightened” or “woke” men, the societal norms of “women as property” is still going to bite everyone in the ass (and not in the fun way). How are men adversely impacted by this toxic masculinity? Well, how many men stay in terrible relationships because they’re afraid of “losing” the woman in their life? Want to see a guy never break up with a woman? I don’t care if she’s the worst, most toxic person in the world, if a girlfriend/fiancé/wife is desired by another, rival male, that man is going to stay in that relationship forever. She might be terrible (or at least terrible for him), but if there’s the threat that she will be lost to another man? Forget about it, he’ll ceaselessly fight tooth and nail for her.

Heck, he might even fight a devil, four caveman masters, and an angry tyrannosaurus.

Dino timesSo here’s the Goggle Bob Challenge ™ for the week: You might not be writing the latest videogame about a damsel in distress, but try to think about how decades of rescuing princesses has impacted your life. Women, you are not objects, you never were, and don’t drive yourselves insane trying to be the “perfect princess” for the Mario in your life. Men, do not treat women like objects, whether that means literally objectifying them, or incidentally thinking of them as possessions in your own decision making. If The Devil kidnaps “your” woman, maybe let it slide this time. She might be happier living in that posh T-Rex stomach.

After all, if you treat women like objects, you’re no better than a caveman.

FGC #415 Congo’s Caper

  • System: Super Nintendo, and that’s all, folks. No Genesis version. No Gameboy port. No modern console rerelease. How often does that happen?
  • Number of players: Congo must caper alone.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: Congo’s Caper is the straight platformer to Joe & Mac’s platformer/beat ‘em up mashup. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly generic platformer, and, coming on the same system as Super Mario World or Mega Man X, it doesn’t really have much to put it ahead of the pack. That said, it’s a very pretty and cartoony game, and, give or take a few stages that are absolutely boring (a bunch of slowly moving platforms over spikes? Really?) it’s a fun little adventure. Congo’s Caper is basically the old standard for a “rental” game, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  • DEVIL!That’s not how that works: Magical red gems will evolve Congo the Monkey into Congo the Human (but with a tail). Another three gems will cause Congo to go Super Saiyan, which pretty much just makes Congo’s jumps more sparkly. Take a few hits, and you’ll go back to monkey form, though. Evolution is a harsh mistress.
  • Tips from the Pros: The L & R buttons activate Congo’s run. You don’t ever need to do this before a level that features an Indiana Jones-esque giant rolling ball of death. If you forget the L & R buttons exist, you will die approximately 10,000 times.
  • Favorite Boss: The Devil’s minions are four Neanderthals that could double as robot masters. We’ve got Ninja Man, Pirate Man, Techno Man, and Dracula Man. Of the four, Techno Man is clearly the winner, as he produces a robot dinosaur, and then attacks from Dr. Wily’s saucer. Dude knows how to live.
  • Did you know? The “roll” ability in this game is fairly insane. It allows Congo to roll along in a ball, and he’s completely invincible the entire time. This roll can only be activated on an incline, but there are a few levels and one entire boss that will fall instantly before Congo’s mighty roll. Eat your heart out, hedgehog.
  • Would I play again: Probably not. It’s a fun game, but generally kind of mediocre. I’ve rescued you enough, Congo’s unnamed girlfriend.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Bioshock Infinite! I’ve been waiting for that one forever. Oh, and bad news, I’m probably going to indulge in a pretty similar amount of ranting, too. So, uh, please look forward to that!

Butt!

Wild Arms 2 Part 32: Inexplicable Halloween Special

Previously on Wild Arms:

So we’ve got our “airship” now, and that grants us access to the whole of the world. As a result, this update is going to be entirely optional content… though the first two items are arguably optional content that is more important than some of the mandatory stuff we’ll get to later.

So let’s explore this random castle in the middle of nowhere…

FGC #274 Arcana Heart

SKULLS?Gaming has grown up over the years, and the generational shift seems… oddly precise.

First we have the Atari (and whatever qualified as a videogame before that), which is the vaguely remembered toddler years. You’ve got a bunch of games that are kind of feeling out what can be done, and a lot more games that just have no idea what to do. For every Mario Bros. you’ve got about a dozen more like M*A*S*H . And, even more than that, you’ve got a million games that are “just exactly the same as that other game, but with a new set six pixels”. There are one or two luminaries in the Atari library, but, by and large, they’re all interchangeable, and only revered for being there right from the beginning.

Now the Nintendo is where we get into gaming’s real “childhood”. There is exploration here, but, by and large, this is where gaming learned to walk, and then ran with it. Super Mario Bros. led to a million imitators, but, looking at the game coupled with thirty years of gaming experience, you can see how even something today like Breath of the Wild or Overwatch can partially trace back to the adorable plumber. Much of what we consider “gaming” truly began here, and it’s as much about the gameplay as it is the franchises. However, speaking of those franchises, practically everything from this era is fairly… kiddy. Thanks to Nintendo’s iron grip and general fear of jocks, all of those classic games are cartoony, and contain about as much adult content (whether that be violence, sex, or even religion) as your average episode of Dora the Explorer. But that’s fine! This is gaming’s childhood, and it was meant for children, so it all worked out. Bubble Bobble Madcap Violence Edition would just have to wait for a few years.

Dang skullsThe 16-bit years are so tween they practically hurt to look at. Mega Man has gone from chubby blue bot to hardcore, shiny “Reploid” (“It’s like a regular robot but… you wouldn’t understand, mom.”) who worries about death and war and stuff. Link watches his uncle die (he got better), and Castlevania eventually released a game that featured blood dripping from every available hole. Mortal Kombat and Sonic the Hedgehog defined this era of gaming, as it was all about attitude and violence and…. not much else. The 16-bit era was an attempt at gaming being more “its own thing” and “edgy”, but almost all of it amounted to exactly nothing. Mortal Kombat was violent for the sake of being violent, it didn’t have anything relevant to say on the subject of ghost skeletons being decapitated by ice ninja. It was just like a tween adopting their older sibling’s clothing and claiming to be “with it”. … Do kids still say “with it”? Uh, did they ever?

The Playstation One era is clearly gaming puberty. And, let’s be clear here, it’s not the fun kind of puberty that appears in 80’s movies wherein some hapless nerd trips into the girls’ locker room and participates in his first sexual harassment; no, I’m talking about the real kind of puberty, where suddenly you’re interested in the opposite (or same, it’s tough all around) sex, and last week you were totally okay with playing with Transformers, and now the most important thing in your life is that there is a pool party at the end of the week, and OH GOD IT’S GOING TO BE HORRIBLE. This would be about when gaming as a whole decided that everything that came before was crap (and far too 2-D), and everything had to be reinvented for a new, much more mature audience that is totally into skateboards. Like the 16-bit era, this was yet another example of “maturity = Lara Croft has boobies”, but it was still a gigantic change in the gaming landscape. Contra couldn’t just be a fun game about aliens anymore, now there had to be hardcore plots and 3-D glasses and… ugh. At the time, it seemed like the be all, end all of everything, but, in retrospect, it was just more gaming growing pains. Sorry, Adventure Island you’re too immature for us now.

They're so fun!Following this line of thinking, you might surmise that I would identify the Playstation 2 era as the next logical step, the “adult phase” of gaming. And that’s… kind of true. But I wouldn’t say gaming matured until basically the Playstation 3 era, when we got two important things. One, gaming got comfortable again with revisiting “childish” franchises, likely thanks to the joy of downloadable titles, so we could benefit from “arcade experiences” and other games that only last an afternoon (as opposed to a 40 hour “experience”). And, two, we got the Vita, which is all panties, all the time. And, now that the Vita is dying, it looks like we’ll be getting that same (fan) service on the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch. So, hooray, horny games for everybody!

Now, to be clear, I don’t think underage anime tiddy games are adult. Far from it, in fact, and I’ve got a Wankery Week to prove it. However, I am downright proud of the fact that, after decades of acting like “sexy” is an accident that dribbles into otherwise wholesome games, the gaming industry is finally acknowledging that, for whatever reason, there are people that want to play videogames that are vaguely pornographic. We’re still not completely “there” (I could write an entire article about the sexual politics of Persona 5), but, in the same way that the XXX section of your local video store (no longer actually a thing) is separate from the “real” movies, we’ve got some actual XXX (more like XX) videogames, and no one is confusing them for E3’s game of the year.

It… wasn’t always that way.

FIGHT!Today’s game is Arcana Heart, a 2-D fighting game for the Playstation 2. Arcana Heart is a… passable fighting game. There isn’t anything too exciting going on here, just about what you’d expect from a 2-D fighter. The most interesting trait of this series is, basically, swappable special moves (which is unusual in a sprite-based fighter lacking any and all Mokujins), but it’s otherwise pretty forgettable. It’s not a bad game, mind you, simply one that doesn’t warrant much of a reason to exist. What separates this fighting game from every other Street Fighter 2 wannabe that came down the pike? Well, simple answer, it’s the women. Or “girls” might be more appropriate noun here.

Much like a certain other franchise, each of the characters in Arcana Heart seems to be tailor made to suit some manner of fetish. There’s the peppy school girl, the sad school girl, the “younger” character that is always in a child’s swimsuit (but is mentally mature, so it’s okay), the robot maid, shrine priestess, Rei Ayanami, furry, the “American” vampire, and, my personal (least) favorite, the unwilling participant that is dragged along by a decidedly male-identifying (and phallic) object. It’s a rape analogy! Hooray! Also, puke! In short, the “all female cast” of this game isn’t there to pass the Bechdel test, it’s there to titillate a male audience that is going to buy this game hoping to see some upskirt shots. Unfortunately for them, it’s going to be a long wait.

Arcana Heart is rated T for Teen, and even though the writing of its story mode relies heavily on all the tropes you’d expect to see in your average harem anime, there is no actual visual titillation to be found here. Now, I’m not the type to ask that every game out there include the exact right number of exposed panties, but, fun fact, in a game that seems built to deliver the fan service, a complete lack of it seems almost… insulting? This isn’t even “softcore”, the visuals for this game are completely chaste. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more erotic imagery in Wii Sports (my Mii has some amazing legs).

Really bitesBut this is basically where we were in the Playstation 2 era. We could have something like God of War that just incidentally included an off-screen sex scene, or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which dummied out a sex minigame at the last moment, but if a game was about sex/fanservice/a thirsty audience trying to get off, then it had to be cleaned up to the point of irrelevance. It was if you had to clear some kind of artificial “maturity bar” to include anything sexual in your game. Soulcalibur has tear-away clothing and a create-a-character mode that allows for all underwear fighters, all the time? Well, that’s just for the sake of the in-depth story of swords and souls, and I guess the tiniest bit of T&A snuck in as an afterthought. There can’t be games for perverts! That would mean gaming is for perverts!

I’m glad we got over it.

But, in retrospect, I suppose this does paint the Playstation 2 and its Arcana Heart-alike releases as the… awkward young adult phase. Yes, sex is okay, everybody does it, blah blah blah, but… can we not ever address it? I… don’t really want to make eye contact with the idea that people do want to see half-naked people… even though we’ve got half-naked people running around everywhere. Look, uh… yeah, I look at a Playboy once in a while, but I only read it for the articles. I’m not really… doing… that thing… Hey, lay off, man.

Arcana Heart is a time capsule of gaming’s awkward early adulthood generation.

FGC #274 Arcana Heart

  • System: Playstation 2 and arcade. Though not any arcades in family-friendly communities (like, ya know, America).
  • Number of players: Two anime girls enter, only one leaves. Until the next round.
  • OuchFavorite Character: Kira Daidohji, the previously mentioned “mature but obviously still like twelve” character wins almost in spite of herself. Her whole deal is that she controls this sentient blob of water, so naturally that means she has to be wearing a swimsuit at all times, which… really, guys? But! This means she fights with that previously mentioned blob morphing into all kinds of giant limbs and shapes, and she basically becomes MvC’s Juggernaut. And I’m always down for that.
  • Did you know? This game comes compliments of Arc System Works, the folks behind the likes of Guilty Gear and Blazblue. That usually means you’ll get an interesting fighting game… but this time… not so much.
  • Would I play again: Even if I wanted to play this wannabe anime tiddy game again, there’s now a sequel available, and we all know that fighting games only get better with improvements. Might have to see if that game upgraded the… graphics… with the console generation…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man X3 for the Super Nintendo! Alright! Let’s forget about random anime girls and move on to random robot targets! Please look forward to it!

Boo!
Are puppets a fetish?

FGC #015 Shadow Hearts From the New World

Hey, I know that place!There is a lot of hubbub regarding the remake of Final Fantasy 7. I acknowledge that you may be reading this article in the far future, when we’ve all already defeated HD Sephiroth by decree of our robot dog overlords, but as I write this, the internet is abuzz with conjecture and theorizing on what SE could have in mind for the “reimagining” of one of the most popular and beloved RPGs of all time. One popular theory/threat is that SE will drastically overhaul Final Fantasy 7’s generally goofy story/scenarios to create a much more dramatic, serious game. It’s a well-founded fear, as the recent Final Fantasy 13: Lightning Returns was a very grim, dramatic game wherein heroine Lightning dressed up as a neon raver and purchased illegal fireworks from a series of scantily clad birdwomen before joining a drama troupe to break into her brother in law’s cyclops-infested castle. She frowned almost the entire time!

I have concluded that it is impossible to divorce Final Fantasy 7 from its ridiculous roots. Yes, you could remove Cloud’s cross dressing adventures, and, yes, we will likely see a softening of the fact that AVALANCE is a gang of domestic terrorists led by an angry black man, but, well, have you even looked at the cast of Final Fantasy 7? It starts pretty straightforward: ex-military hero, his childhood friend, caring father forced into a violent life, teenage girl pursued by the government for being born different; it’s all pretty standard character archetypes. Then you are joined by a proud warrior trying to escape his heritage… who also happens to be a talking dog. A ninja girl sneaks her way into your party for the exclusive purpose of trying to rob you blind. In a gigantic casino, you are joined by a toyasaurus that is eventually revealed to be a double agent, but no one is at all concerned its biology or technology or the fact that the bottom half of the creature is maybe a slave to the top half? Just so many questions that Cloud and company don’t ask after their adventure infiltrating a Shinra base with the assistance of Flipper. And one of the final AVALANCE recruits is a vampire (shut-up, fanboys. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…) that can turn into the wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Jason Voorhees, and Satan. At any given moment in Final Fantasy 7, a full 66% of your party may be Pokémon (“Cait sith, caith sith?” “Nanaki!”). Let me see you grim-dark away that.

AAAAHHHHH!Yet, there is a significant contingent out there that sees Final Fantasy 7 as very serious business. Cloud is a hero fighting for his friends and fallen family against a man he used to admire. The planet is in jeopardy, an evil conglomerate is bleeding it dry, and only a few brave men and women have the power to save it. Square-Enix itself seems to believe this is the “real” Final Fantasy 7, as every sequel and prequel has leaned heavily on the somber tones of Vincent Valentine’s quest for a backstory or Cloud Strife’s journey toward being the kind of guy that isn’t embarrassed to say “mosey” again. Hell, even Cloud’s own Buster Sword has acquired the kind of bloody, miserable past that makes me feel kinda bad about stowing it in my inventory and forgetting it forever about a half hour into its debut game. I understand the almost pathological “need” for Final Fantasy 7 to be serious; after all, if Final Fantasy 7 is just a silly game about a fat moogle training arcanine and charizard’s illegitimate offspring to trounce Turks, then what was the point? I can’t have devoted eighty hours to a controller and untold days discussing the labyrinthine plot with my friends if all we were discussing was… was… some kind of game!

And then something comes along to remind us that, yes, it’s all silly and absurd and just a game, and you know what? It’s all okay.
While its creators may never admit such, Shadow Hearts: From the New World seems to be almost a direct parody of a combination of Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 10. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a blond teenage boy is torn from his modern life and thrown beyond the veil into a world of magic and monsters. He joins a woman who has trained all her life to channel these mystical entities, and, with her life-long, generally quiet guardian, they venture toward a goal where the heroine sacrifices her life for the greater good, but there may be a change of plans once the “mundane” blonde in the tale finds he has more familial ties to the fiends than he thought. The remainder of the party seems to be compliments of FF7: a skilled ninja trying to support ailing Ninja Hometown, a talking cat (!?!) that is a big, white fluffball with ties to a malicious organization, and a shapeshifting vampire. The only wholly original character on the roster is Ricardo Gomez, who seems to be an answer to the question of “can a bard be cool?” Yes, yes he can, as long as he plays flamenco and has a rocket launcher in his guitar. He’s also dating Al Capone’s sister.

Not George LucasOh yes, Shadow Hearts: FTNW does distinguish itself from its Fantasy contemporaries by placing itself in the “real world”, specifically in late 1920s Americas. And, by “real world”, I am referring to the fact that Native Americans have very real god-summoning powers, Area 51 is capturing vampires and Roger Bacon, and, oh yeah, there are bipedal cats in Hollywood with their own movie studio producing a film featuring Cat Morita and The Meowenator. The be clear, this is not a CW fantasy drama where there are eldritch horrors lurking deep below the surface if you know where to look, this is a world where Al Capone is super best friends with a bootlegging cat who commands a Brazilian, 40-something ninja.

This game does not take itself seriously. Not to say there are not staid moments, oh no, there certainly is enough angst to go around when everyone learns their own most terrible secret or daddy issues are revealed to be the source of Cthulhu’s awakening, but even in the grimmest dungeon (literally Purgatory, in this case, which, in a fun bit, takes the time to assign the seven deadly sins to your seven party members) you still have a vampire on the team that morphs not into a blood thirsty beast or infernal demon, but a cute lil’ pink bat or a chubby version of herself (or the chubby version of the vampire could be the base, and the skinny version is the morph… I just know I got more mileage out of the “curvy” version, as a white mage with actual attack power goes a long way). Shadow Hearts: FTNW takes the time to remind the player that, yes, it’s okay to laugh, enjoy yourself, this is a game, and it’s no more ridiculous that our ninja produces a super energy snowball and bowls it than it is that that other ninja has the ability to summon a dragon from the depths of space and shoot an energy beam across the solar system.

Bowling for LovecraftAnd we would all do well to remember the lessons of Shadow Hearts: FTNW. Yes, we live in a serious world where actions have consequences and it could turn out that someone who used to command your respect is now responsible for atrocities that must be avenged. Yes, sometimes it’s up to you to steel yourself and fight for what you believe in. But you know what? We also live in a world of wonders, and, by God, some of those wonders are absurd. The fact that these words I’m typing on my couch on a sunny afternoon will be beamed across the world to people I’ve never met could equally terrify and amaze me, but I choose simply to laugh at the possibility of it all. Even if a company chooses to drain the humor and whimsy from a story, we still have the shock and joy of what we once encountered, and nothing will ever take that from us.

And Mao the Cat and Red XIII should totally get their own team-up spin-off. It practically writes itself!

FGC #15 Shadow Hearts From the New World

  • System: Playstation 2… hey, versions of all the games reviewed this week are playable on the PS2. Neat!
  • Number of Players: One cherry-boy.
  • Right to the moonFavorite Character: Hilda, the previously mentioned vampire with an eating disorder and metabolic issues. Plot/Traits/Personality aside, I am a big fan of the concept of a combatant that can be a white mage one minute and a black mage the next, without being the lame inbetweener red mage class. It creates a nice little mini strategy to determine “which” Hilda would be most useful for your circumstance. Also, I bumped into Hilda before “goth lolita vampire” became a neverending thing in Japan.
  • Says the guy with a Rachel Alucard nendoroid: Hey, it came with the special edition! What was I going to do? Throw it out?
  • Wanna tie this into your obvious obsession with Kingdom Hearts? Fine. Hilda’s best weapon is basically and almost literally stated to be a Keyblade. And I will note that I’d rather Hilda be the hero of the next Kingdom Hearts game than Sora. Hell, it would double the number of decent female characters in that franchise.
  • So why haven’t we seen a sequel? Because this game was tragically released in the dark ages before the reign of cat memes. Had this game dropped after the internet came into full bloom, we’d be kickstarting Shadow Hearts 11 Gaiden: Frank’s Revenge right now.
  • Did you know? Al Capone did have two sisters, Rose and Mafalda, but “Edna Capone” was created from whole cloth for this game. Why the writers chose to use an actual, real-life character and pair him up with a fictional sibling when the guy already had eight real siblings is anyone’s guess.
  • Would I play again? I’ve been meaning to, and the brief time I spent with the game for this article reminded me that I really enjoy the nuts and bolts of actually playing this game. There is a New Game + feature just waiting for me… but… ugh… this is just never going to see a remake/rerelease, is it? Damn, PS2 games are just so ugly looking now…

What’s Next? Random ROB has chosen… Lunar Silver Star Harmony. That’s the PSP version, for those of you that are curious. ROB is really on a JRPG kick these days, and it looks like we’re hitting the J pretty hard on this one… Please look forward to it!