Tag Archives: chrono cross

SBC #01: Sephiroth & Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Let's try something newWelcome to a new chapter for Gogglebob.com! Welcome to the marginally different Smash Bros Challenge!

So here’s what happened.

I started the Fustian Gaming Challenge in June of 2015 (Jesus Christ). My stated and personal goal was to play some of the many videogames I had collected over the years, and “get something out of them”. I have collected videogames going way back to my childhood (my copy of Mega Man 2 is still one that I first played when I was… six?), but, give or take a few luminaries (like the previously mentioned Mega Man 2), I am unlikely to play the vast majority of those videogames ever again. Ecco the Dolphin? Might give it a whirl out of curiosity. But Super Nintendo platformer Dino City (featuring Tim)? Never again. There are only so many hours in the day, and have you seen my backlog of new, good games? I haven’t even gotten to the latest Sonic game yet! I am not going to replay Battle Monsters in this tumultuous era!

But, as time went on, I realized… time went on. It happens! There were always articles or “theme weeks” I wanted to try when the FGC project started, and, over a lot of articles, I eventually got through a number of them. For instance, Wankery Week was something that was always planned, but I didn’t get there until 2017. And that was intended as a “one off” week! It came back nearly every year! But, as the years stretched on, I got it in my head to “complete” the project, and make sure every game I ever wanted to talk about was addressed…

And you can guess what happened there. I failed.

I reviewed Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for the NES at some point, but I never got around to…


  • A Robot Named Fight
  • Alice Madness Returns
  • Beavis & Butthead
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure
  • Braid
  • Bucky O’Hare
  • Card Fighters Clash
  • Dimahoo
  • DragonBall Fusions
  • Fantastic Dizzy
  • Fat Princess
  • Gunhouse
  • Jak & Daxter (any of them)
  • Legend of Mana
  • Lost Odyssey
  • Okami
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Silent Hill 2
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Crossroads of Time
  • Super Exploding Zoo
  • The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince
  • Time and Eternity
  • Toejam and Earl 3
  • Tokyo Jungle
  • Untitled Goose Game
  • Yono the Celestial Elephant

And why can I list these so easily? Because I have a friggen’ Excel spreadsheet list of “do these games”. And there are more! There are so many more!

RibbitBut, at a certain point in any project, you must acknowledge what you can and cannot do. When I first started the FGC, my plan was to make it up to #255, claim that Random ROB could tolerate no further bytes, and that was that. When I did hit that milestone, I felt like I was just getting started (particularly bolstered in this case by the complete Kid Icarus rundown), so I didn’t even acknowledge my initial goal other than by including a few number-themed entries. Then after the #400 Nierstravaganza, I told myself I was going to stop at #555, and clearly that would be more than enough entries to cover anything I could ever say about videogames. Yet, here we are, looking at #656 in the rearview, and, inevitably, there could be another hundred articles…

So we’re going to do another hundred articles about something else that is exactly the same.

I am going to claim that my issue is “scope”. That list of games that were all potential articles? A number of them got pushed off because a new game was released. It happens! When I made my little gaming to-do list, the likes of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin or Pocky & Rocky Reshrined did not even exist. And while those may have been completely unforeseen, just factoring in new games is ignoring how many amazing rerelease/upgrades we see in a year. Chrono Cross! Radical Dreamers! Been waiting for those for decades! How could I write about some divine pachyderm when Lynx could be on the menu? And there are only so many hours in the day! It is all well and good to say I can write about any of the thousands of games out there, but without any sort of focus, I am going to get burned. It happens! It has happened to this “site” a couple of times! I need to focus on something more concrete…

So welcome to the Smash Brothers Challenge.

Like these guysSuper Smash Brothers Ultimate, by its ultimate version, featured 89 (mostly) unique characters. These individuals were meant to represent the history of gaming through the lens of Nintendo, and we will likely never again see such a complete look at the various epochs of digital entertainment. Smash Bros is an amazing game that somehow doubles as an encyclopedia of the last thirty years of my favorite hobby. And that makes it a pretty great stepping stone for looking at some “focused” games.

So here’s the deal: once a week, we are going to look at a game featuring a particular Smash Brother (or Sister). The only rules involved are that we cannot look at a game already covered by the FGC, and the “featured character” must be recognizably involved in some way (and already by next week’s article, we are going to push the limits of “in some way”). And that should lead to a good 89 or so articles about these random dudes and ladies.

And a significant inspiration for this direction? Today’s game, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line.

Here is another grand confession: like many of my generation, I started writing about videogames on the internet with a “Final Fantasy Retrospective” covering all ten of the Final Fantasy games released at the time. As a way of revisiting my “old” writings, I had always planned on covering all of the non-MMORPG Final Fantasy games over the course of the FGC. And, to save you a check on the index page, I never got around to Final Fantasy 2 (j), Final Fantasy 10-2, Final Fantasy 13: Most of the Trilogy, Final Fantasy 15, and Final Fantasy 16 (which really shouldn’t count). And in all of those cases, it was not for a lack of desire to play the games, simply a lack of time. I love these games! If I am going to replay them, I want to give them their due. But I can’t give them my all when my efforts are dedicated to other, stupid tasks like keeping my family fed or making sure the house is not on fire. Can’t I just spend some time alone, locked in a room with Lightning (in a platonic way) like when I was 25?

Luckily, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is deep enough to scratch that itch, but shallow enough that I can make some progress while waiting for my next Batwheels episode to load.

Because ChuponWhen initially playing this Theatrhythm, I definitely went “grandma mode”. Everyone was talking about ideal builds and best characters and stat raising strats… and I just wanted to sit in my rocking chair and listen to my favorite little ditties. You dearies have fun, I’m going to be listening to Flight of the Red Wings for the 10,000th time. And, while grandma mode persisted through my most favorite Final Fantasy titles’ tunes (no, I will not be naming them. I am trying not to start a war here), when I had already played many of the songs, a certain… shift… occurred…

It is difficult to say if this happened because I had now amassed a virtual army of Funko Fantasy characters, or because I was stuck wading through the unfamiliar Final Fantasy 11 soundtrack, but I finally decided to start paying attention to the various completion challenges. And these various challenges seemed to be focused on some pretty basic goals. Use a lightning spell. Magic damage is minimized, so use as many physical attacks as possible. Physical damage is minimized, so use as many magic attacks as possible. Summon Ifrit like he’s delivering a piping hot pizza. And the best way to accomplish these goals? Know your Final Fantasy characters. If you want to do some magic damage, put half-esper Terra on the frontlines. Looking for a physical powerhouse? Cloud has his buster sword at the ready. And if summons are your bag, Yuna is here to get her dance on. All of this information is available on the handy dandy stat screen for these characters, but since these expies roughly correspond to their “real” game roles, a Final Fantasy expert is already going to know those stats and abilities by heart. You watched Golbez use that meteor spell a thousand times against Zermous. You know he is going to have it here.

And this comes back to the point of this whole damn website: I am experiencing games I love in a whole new way.

Get 'emDespite the lovely cinematic moments being reproduced in Theatrhythm, jamming to this rhythm game is in no way a substitute for playing any of the games featured. The remarkable character designs have all been flattened out to nondescript mishmashes of hairstyles and armor pieces, the “battles” are little more than hammering two buttons and four directions, and even some of the featured songs are shadows of their former selves (give me my 17 minute Dancing Mad, monsters!). This is replaying a Final Fantasy game in the same way that scarfing down a Big Mac is eating a sirloin. But sometimes you feel like having a Big Mac. Sometimes you acknowledge that you don’t have the 100 hours you need to reexperience the Final Fantasy 13 trilogy (and… uh… the backwards compatible Xbox, too, because this one keeps dodging rereleases), and maybe listening to a collection of tunes and whacking a space pope is good enough. Sometimes you just want to be reminded of greatness in a new and exciting way.

Sometimes you don’t want to fight through days’ worth of monsters and environments to banish Sephiroth. Sometimes you want him right there, right now, and wrap it all up in the length of a song.

So welcome to the Smash Bros. Challenge, ladies and gentlemen. 90 or so articles all about the cast of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the games that feature them.

Please enjoy these cheeseburgers that remind us all of steaks.

SBC #01: Sephiroth & Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Sephiroth in Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Looking cool

  • He any Good? So since this whole “new” project is based on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we’re going to look at our “featured fighter” with every game article. Today we have Sephiroth, the second Final Fantasy representative that proved Final Fantasy 7 is the only game in the franchise that matters. It is appreciated that Sephiroth is a “non-standard” sword guy, and, while the ol’ Masamune is featured, you can do some major damage with some of those spells. But he is also a glass-cannon, which is… a choice? I have many thoughts on Sephiroth as a character, but “easily tossed around” was never one of them, so it seems odd that he is practically princess-weight in Smash Bros. Though the idea of Sephiroth as a princess is a noble one…
  • That final smash work? When the defining feature of an attack is that it is inordinately long, maybe you don’t want to include it in your zippy fighter. Getting smacked with a meteor is a memorable, iconic ability, but Sephiroth going full zantetsuken would have been a bit more… usable.
  • The background work? We already had a Final Fantasy 7 background from the previous game’s DLC, so we now flipped from the initial area of Midgar to the final area of Northern Cave. And it is accompanied by a five minute FMV! Just like how Final Fantasy 7 was all about watching movies! Or some people thought that! Anywho, I have no idea if this is an insult from Sakurai, or a compliment.
  • Classic Mode: Sephiroth fights “The Chosen Ones”, and it is straight up just a boss rush. That is appropriate for a playable final boss. Hey, remember how Sephiroth was released as an “unlockable” DLC boss that had his own mode for about a week? Good times.
  • Smash Trivia: We still have a limited number of Final Fantasy songs in Smash Bros (particularly compared to the 10,000 SNK songs we received), but the two original Final Fantasy 7 remixes that appeared with Sephiroth are now part of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. So they might ultimately wind up better preserved than some of the other DLC tunes.
  • Lookin' good

  • Amiibo Corner: They managed to preserve Sephiroth’s unimaginably long sword and his beautiful girl hair without increasing the amiibo’s footprint by too much. That’s impressive! He is also the most leather-clad amiibo, so don’t leave him on your desk if you want to avoid answering uncomfortable questions.
  • Does Smash Bros Remember Today’s Game? Aside from this game coming out after Smash Bros? Despite being the most recognizable villain in the Final Fantasy franchise[citation needed], Sephiroth has not appeared in that many games. This is likely the result of Final Fantasy being vaguely guarded with its cameos, even if Cloud took more than a few field trips to other worlds after his premiere. Regardless, Sephiroth is well represented in his attendant musical games, but Smash Bros doesn’t “reference back” to (earlier) Theatrhythm in any overt ways. I guess we didn’t need another rhythm-based final smash.

Sephiroth in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

  • Go go SephirothSystem: Currently available for the Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. This one should be easier to port than the 3DS titles.
  • Number of players: There is 2-player co-op! And 4-player versus! Rhythm games have a tendency to be 2 player, but we have more options than usual this time.
  • Favorite Song (that I don’t already have playing in my head at all times): Good King Moggle Mog XII is one of the many songs I do not recognize thanks to my aversion to MMORPGs. And, though I hear the chorus of Final Fantasy 14 aficionados lamenting the lack of the “good FF14 songs”, I am very happy with Good King Moggle Mog XIII. Mind you, this is likely just because it sounds like Square Enix got Pumpkin Town as the result of some king of Kingdom Hearts divorce. I have never seen Good King Moggle Mog XIII, but I believe he would be good friends with Jack Skellington.
  • Favorite Character (for being useful): I maintain the fact that triggers are exclusively influenced by strength stats is racism against wizards. So I eventually had to pump up someone’s strength stat to 999, and Final Fantasy 15’s Noctis Lucis Caelum was my obvious choice. He has first strike and a boss bomb that works on every boss that ever appears. It doesn’t get more handy than that! My prime mage is Terra of Final Fantasy 6, who I can say I like more “all around”, but she is about as helpful as a pig in a beauty salon if there isn’t one big enemy to trounce.
  • Downloadable Content: I ordered the super deluxe version of this game, because I understood the NieR soundtrack would be included at some point. I will pay a whole lot of money for NieR music, and I know it. That said, while I did disparage the idea last time, I would be interested in adding a few more characters to the roster. Why don’t we get a playable Ardyn? Or that space pope? Cid Raines is not an appropriate Final Fantasy 13 delegate.
  • Get 'em, CloudSo, did you beat it? Despite my initial grandma mode, I did conquer all of the challenges available across Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. Well… not all the challenges, as I still have about 20% of the achievements left to grind out. I completed all the quest-quests, but killing something like ten billion demons is going to take a while.
  • Did you know? Sazh and Fang are the only Final Fantasy 13 characters that were playable in their original game, but not playable in this game. This continues the long tradition of Sazh being snubbed by later Final Fantasy 13 materials despite being one of the most interesting characters in the franchise. But the lack of Fang? She’s part of the Final Fantasy 13 logo! And Vanille is lonely! Let her in!
  • Would I play again? Yes. I mean, duh. This is videogames as art, as every bit of the music is art, and pressing buttons along to that art must make it, like, double art. So, if only for the preservation of art, I will play this again. … Okay, fine, I just like pressing buttons.

What’s next? Our next smash bros will be… Sheik! And that means we are talking about another recent release… Please look forward to it!

I'm confused
Something is deeply wrong here

Xenogears 19: Everybody

This is so goodIf you were enjoying that faux-gospel take on Xenogears, sorry to break kayfabe, but that’s over now. We’re going to take an article to look at Xenogears in a more objective manner: did anything in Xenogears matter?

This Xenogears Let’s Play was recorded predominantly from January to May of 2021. Due to significant executive dysfunctions, it was not posted on this site/”written about” until the fall/winter of 2022 (with a bit bleeding into 2023, as you can see). By complete coincidence, this period also wound up being when I played through Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and revisited my own Xenosaga Let’s Play for general Let’s Play inspiration. So, in a short period of a few months, I crammed a lot of Xeno-nonsense into my noggin.

And you know what I realized? It’s all the same!

Yes, that is a terribly reductive way to look at a few decades’ worth of incredibly distinctive videogame stories… but still! Every single Xeno title dips into the well of well-worn tropes and some not-at-all-disguised references to gnostic beliefs (and you may think outright naming your “monsters” [heavy emphasis on quotes there] “the gnosis” would be the pinnacle, but you’d be wrong!). This creates the unfortunate situation where heroes like Fei, Shulk, Rex, and Noah are all technically distinctive characters with their own motivations, beliefs, and hairstyles… but they’re all the same guy. They’re all going to slay a god because they love an important woman in their lives, and they all discover a heavy predestination/reincarnation history that seems to indicate they maybe never had a choice in the first place. And while Shion of Xenosaga is the odd woman out here, she still winds up being the reincarnated religious figure that loves another reincarnated religious figure that then work together to punch (a) god in the kisser. And, hey, at least there was a little sexual variance there! The Xenoblade Chronicles series has been so militantly heterosexual, Square Enix had to produce Final Fantasy 14 to balance out the universe.

But even though Fei and Elly may as well be Noah and Mio, they do have distinct supporting players. Or, put another way, Bart may be the Proto-Zeke, but it is hard to say if Billy’s whole deal is ever truly seen again within the franchise(s). And, with that in mind (and the admission that Xenogears: Disc 2 was the Fei an’ Elly Show [with special guest that other guy with the hair]), let’s see how the finale of Xenogears worked out for everybody else that grabbed an Omnigear.

Bartholomew Fatima

SUPER REDWho was he? Fei and Elly are the undisputed stars of Xenogears, but Bart is our #3 protagonist. He even appeared in the demo (see, we can tie this article to the actual stream)! He is brash, headstrong, and generally myopic. And he’s got whips! That probably says something…

What did he do? Turns out the pirate king was an actual prince, and he fought to reclaim his country throughout Xenogears. When he finally regained the throne, he called for a democratic nation… but then immediately got voted back in as ruler. Baby steps, Bart.

But did it matter? Nope! Bart’s entire nation and most of its subjects are super duper dead or zombified about 60% of the way through Xenogears. Bart is certainly welcome to become a leader of the last remnants of humanity, but that whole “world wide war” thing that kicks off the plot is a nonfactor at this point.

Was Bart ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Like Fei & Elly, it is easy to identify Bart as another recurring archetype. Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s errant Prince Zeke is the obvious (and already mentioned) descendant here, but we also have Junior almost immediately in Xenosaga. The concept of “immature royalty that wants to be seen as a hero” is pervasive, and it doesn’t matter if that “royalty” is a literal prince or a CEO: it’s all about learning to be a better man. You know, because this archetype is universally male…

Billy Lee Black

I can't get enough of thisWho was he? A dedicated man of the cloth who not only eliminated zombies creeping around the continent, but also managed a delightful little orphanage. Billy had a rough time with his immediate family, but he was such a pious man that he was likely to be the next Holy Father… should such a position exist for someone with marksman proficiencies.

What did he do? The good news is that Billy reconciled with his father, and it looks like his little sister is going to be in a better mental place as a result. The bad news is that Billy discovered his entire religion was a lie, and he may have been killing innocent people for the Red Skull.

But did it matter? One could argue that Billy is in the best place to be important in the Post-Gear world of the finale of Xenogears. He is still good and saintly as of the finale, and he is 100% aware of the “true” history of his world and its religion (what with the fact that he was present for and actively shot and murdered god. Twice). Also, as near as anyone can tell, his entire family survived, so their reunion does actually mean something. So, basically, if Elly wanted to retire as Holy Mother after having a rough couple of weeks, Billy is right there and ready to lead Neo Ethos.

Was Billy ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Either every single time or not at all. Billy is unique as an acknowledged man of the cloth who has some family issues that pair nicely with a loss of faith… Or I just described damn near every character in the Xeno franchise that ever had a modicum of faith. Organized religion always turns out to be evil! Every time! And whether this is revisited with the bad guys (Xenosaga’s Margulis) or the good guys (practically the entire cast of Xenoblade Chronicles 3), Billy’s general beats as a person are revisited often in the god-killing franchise. He may have had the most unique gun-fu, though…


This is so goodWho was she? Once mistaken for a stuffed animal, Chu-Chu is a bounding ball of pink fluff that earnestly believes she is helping. She can heal Gears, at least, so she certainly has her uses.

What did she do? She mostly tagged along with Margie, but she had her moment to shine when all the Gears were disabled, and she was able to grow to gargantuan size and defend a city of her fellow chu-chupolin. Unfortunately, that was about it for her moment, and she didn’t even get the catharsis of delivering the final blow to that man-monster. But at least she eventually got crucified!

But did it matter? Nothing about Chu-Chu mattered. She may be in a position to lead her remaining chupanions into the new age, but the majority of them may have taken a dirt nap right around the time that Shevat hit the ground. She at least survives all that wizbiz.

Was Chu-Chu ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Infinitely. Chu-Chu is the proto-Nopon, and some of her more idiosyncratic behaviors are echoed in her descendants. Remember how XB2’s Tora was a brilliant scientist but horny all the dang time? Well, please recall that Chu-Chu was introduced with a bizarre crush on Fei, and advocated for him to go get his mack on when Elly was upset (which aggravated BEAT to no end). Every annoying creature with a squeaky voice in this franchise had its origin here.

Maria Balthasar

That has to hurtWho was she? The granddaughter of one of the great sages, Maria narrowly escaped Solaris and became Shevat’s number one defender with her distinctive Gear, Seibzehn. She fought the party initially, but joined the common cause when she was promised an opportunity to become the wings of death. She… may have issues.

What did she do? But she is allowed to have issues, because she was forced into an epic battle where her choices were let her friends and makeshift family die, or kill her father. She ultimately chose fratricide, and… that was that. Aside from her Solaris breaking and entering, Maria is all but ignored for the remainder of Xenogears.

But did it matter? She was the greatest defender of Shevat… before Shevat mostly became a crater. And she really loved her giant robot… before all robots on the planet lost the ability to function. With her father/grandfather’s research, if there is anyone on this dirtball that could get a Gear going again, it’s Maria… but in the meanwhile, she has zero accomplishments or hopes for the future.

Was Maria ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Aside from the time that she pretty much outright transported herself into Xenosaga? Maria is a “girl and her horse” archetype with a dash of daddy issues, so she may or may not also be every Xeno character ever. You want to hear some hard truths? It is a short trip from Maria and Seibzehn to Shion and KOS-MOS, and “Mai Magus” appearing in Episode 3 there may be an acknowledgment that Shion is more of a repeat character than anyone wants to admit. MOMO is Maria with all the parental trauma and responsibilities, but none of the rage. And then we move forward to Melia…

Emeralda Kasim

That cannot feel goodWho was she? The daughter of Fei and Elly from another age, Emeralda is a nanotech colony that has taken the form of a green-haired girl. Her potential as a lifeform is unlimited, and she can turn into an angel or a buzzsaw. There are probably appropriate uses for both forms.

What did she do? At her introduction, she was little more than a macguffin to be pursued by both teams. Once Solaris/Krelian learned all they needed about her biology/technology, she was released to the good guys on a probatory basis. Shortly before the finale, she was allowed to explore the ruins of her old city, and she spontaneously matured into a teenager to better rescue the woman that was mostly her mom.

But did it matter? Emeralda’s tech was integral in the “evolution”/destruction of the human race, so she gets bonus points for inadvertently aiding the apocalypse. Beyond that, she did wind up being on the rescue team for Elly, so she did set a goal and accomplish it without any pyrrhic modifiers. And, assuming there is anyone left that knows what they are doing, Emmy’s nanotech might be the key to reviving this dead ass planet. Gray goo for a better you!

Was Emeralda ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? The precocious child that is a living weapon seems to be a common Xeno theme (say hi again, MOMO), but once you get into “nanotech” and “artificial lifeform that learns how to be human”, you could be describing some of the most important characters across the franchise. Ignoring your usual compliment of KOS-MOS or the entire concept of the Blades of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, let us simply focus on Pyra and Mythra. What was their final form’s hair color?

Ricardo Banderas

Get 'em!Who was he? He… um… oh… This is embarrassing. Was he the weasel guy?

What did he do? Oh yeah! He was the wrestler dude that helped you fight your way out of prison. And he had a whole arc there about being abandoned by his prestigious father, and fighting his way up through the slums, and learning to trust his new/true friends, and… Then he didn’t really do much. Granted, Billy was in much the same situation (have one dedicated arc, never be relevant again), but at least that guy’s whole family stuck around for support. By the time Hammer is betraying everybody, “the champ” is barely even mentioned.

But did it matter? No. Very firm no here. Rico turned to the light to save a town that eventually got obliterated anyway. Hammer exploded. Fei probably could have escaped prison on his own entirely thanks to the help of Citan. And it’s not like Rico’s brilliant mind was ever utilized across the breadth of this team’s journey. If there is some kind of line of succession over in Kislev, Rico might be in line to be the emperor of exactly one (1) battle arena.

Was Rico ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? It is hard to say if any particular character is a reference to Rico in later games, as there really isn’t much to Rico to emulate. We’ve certainly seen the “strong guy” archetype more than a few times, and we had “king of the prison, let’s all escape” appear again as recently as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 with Ghondor. Hell, Ghondor even gets her own “Hammer”, too, so maybe she is a little Rico.

Citan Uzuki

TEA TIME!Who was he? The only member of the party that doesn’t have daddy issues because he is a daddy, Citan seemed to exist as the wise mentor figure for the party (and particularly Fei). He knows every “old man” on the entire planet, is directly responsible for more than a few Gears running around, and has a wife and daughter to come home to (assuming Fei didn’t obliterate his home in the opening act). He also has a rad sword and an even more rad helicopter robot.

What did he do? What didn’t he do? Hyuga Ricdeau was born a slave in Solaris, was blamed for a local plague (accused, never convicted), worked his way up to the elite Elements squad, became a direct subordinate of Solaris’s Emperor Cain, met his wife attempting to sabotage a rival country, got a new(ish) job spying on Fei, kept Fei out of trouble for a solid couple of years/adventures, helps his friends infiltrate his former (current?) home, facilitates some cannibalism, plays psychologist for 66% of Fei’s personalities, performs minor surgery on the entire party, and… Well, he didn’t do much in Disc 2. But he was the only member of the party that wasn’t an immortal reincarnation that narrated things, so that counts for something.

But did it matter? Or maybe it didn’t count for anything. Despite being integral to Fei’s awakening as the XenoChrist, Citan doesn’t get much in the way of development in his own story. Or, put another way, everything interesting happened in Citan’s life before the game started, and now he is just coasting on mentorship clout. It is telling that one of the greatest debates in the Xenogears fandom at release was whether or not Citan’s wife was even alive anymore, and that somehow did not impact the plot/character one iota.

Was Citan ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Aside from the obvious answer of Jin Uzuki (and, arguably, Shion, too), Citan’s position as adult aid for the party has been revisited a number of times, just most recently without the character being a permanent member of the party. And that’s fine! That’s a very well-worn archetype, and whether we are referencing Obi Wan or Dunban, there is always room for the smart old (29-year-old) man in a videogame. And if you want someone of the opposite sex, Special Inquisitor Mòrag Ladair of XB2 sure does feel like the chaperone for the kids of that party.


Get in the vanWho was he? He was a military commander at the Aveh-Kislev border. He had a purple cross tattooed onto his face, and loved giant cannons.

What did he do? Vanderkaum was replaced by Ramsus as the Aveh commander, but he still fought Fei and friends when Bart attempted to liberate his home country. After losing his beloved cannons, he pilots a gear, loses, and is then granted -the power- by Grahf. Powered Vanderkaum kills a bunch of people, which pisses off Fei, so Fei-Id sends Vanderkaum to an early grave.

But did it matter? Vanderkaum was an object lesson in why you do not want to see Fei angry, but he otherwise barely impacted the world at large.

Was Vanderkaum ever revisited in the Xeno franchise? Yes. He reappeared in one form or another in every other Xeno-world. If anything, the Xeno franchise is a constant retelling of the story of Fei, Elly, and this bald dork. There has never been a reasonable explanation for this, and I am not thinking about Xeno games any more out of protest.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 18 Part 2

Original Stream Night: May 4, 2021
Night of Xenogears

Random Stream Notes

  • We’re doing the demo! The Square 1998 Collector’s CD Volume 1, a pack-in for Parasite Eve, contains a demo for Xenogears, a game that would be released like a month after PE. So fanboymaster, BEAT, Jeanie, and Kishi are ready for the beginning at the end.
  • Enjoy flashy words! Elaborately Planned World!
  • This was recorded on the same night as the ending of Xenogears, so we are discussing that a little bit during the retread of the intro.
  • Ample Vigour stops by for the start of the playable demo.
  • “Ye shall be as butts.”
  • Look at him goOh, this is where fanboymaster talks about the terrible intro to Final Fantasy Zero for the first time. That will come up again for other games.
  • Let’s discuss the incredible racism of the PSP advertising campaigns as we get to actual gameplay.
  • “I’m not okay with leaving Baby Herman around my wife.”
  • Elly and Bart join the party a tweak early. Oh well, it worked for Chrono Cross’s demo.
  • Ample Vigour asks how long we have been playing Xenogears. The answer is, apparently, from January 5 – May 4. There were a few breaks here and there, though, so this wasn’t… how ever many weeks that would be.
  • Keanu Reeves is allowed to be a middle-aged man.
  • What happened to Citan’s wife, Yui, over the course of Xenogears? Who cares.
  • Kishi once believed that Dan’s face would make sense when they were older. Such a sweet summer child…
  • And the demo officially ends at the destruction of Lahan with a lovely “next time on Xenogears”.
  • After the Xenogears sizzle real, we check the Final Fantasy 8 preview video for the hell of it.
  • Thanks for waching Xenogears! If you need Even Worse Streams continuity, we started the Mega Man Legends trilogy after this. Those segments were posted on the site quite a while back.
  • And we close with Kishi’s appeal to the watcher to play Xenogears divorced from all of our nonsense. I am only moderately offended.

Next time on Xenogears: You dig giant robots? I dig giant robots.

I agree!

Year in Review: 2022

Disappointment of the Year: Pocky and Rocky Reshrined

Take a dipIt wasn’t bad! And it was even a pretty good Pocky and Rocky game! But, after decades without a Pocky or Rocky, it really felt like there could have been more done with the franchise. Or maybe the issue was simply that it was released right around the same time as Cuphead’s Delicious Last Course DLC, so Pocky and/or Rocky had to try to shine in the shadow of an amazing take on the shoot cute giant creatures genre. Whatever the case, this game felt like the sequel to a game from the 90’s that completely ignored the fact that there has been a whole heck of a lot of great games released since said 90’s. And that doesn’t make a bad game, just a disappointing one…

Compilation of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

Do you recognize him?This was an amazing year for compilations and/or remakes. We got Capcom Arcade and Neo Geo Pocket compilations! A whole pile of Capcom fighting games! Klonoa! Artisanal Atari! Death Smiles for some unknown reason (also, that technically was released in 2021, but it was December, so I’m going to count it)! But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take the cake, because their compilation runs through such an unusual gamut of choices. You have beat ‘em ups! Fighting games! Action games! A Gameboy Metroidvania! All on one cartridge/disc/download, and all united by including games that feature Renaissance artists with Japanese weapons. And all the games included are at least passable! Except Genesis Tournament Fighters! Whatever! I can’t stop shouting! Cowabunga!

Remake of the Year: Radical Dreamers

PointyI have spoken of this at length already, but the fact that we now have a playable, English Radical Dreamers is amazing to me. This slot was going to go to Live-a-Live, which seemed like an equally unlikely SNES English rerelease that by all accounts has the objectively better graphical upgrade… but screw it. I gotta go with my gut on this one. I had been waiting for Radical Dreamers since before I ever saw a Nintendo 64, so finally playing it on my Nintendo Switch was a surprisingly significant experience. And it included an unexpectedly friendly goblin, too. Can Live-a-Live say that?

Title of the Year: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Burst Forth!! Choro-gon Breath

This award is traditionally granted to a game that is playing it straight and just incidentally thinking it was a good idea to include the word (?) “UnderBirth” in its title. However, this year we have a comedy game based on a comedy series featuring comedic characters, so it is entirely likely this title is intentionally funny, too. That said “choro-gon breath” is complete nonsense, and there is no universe where that joke lands in any way. I did a google search! The only result for “choro-gon” is this game! What does it all mean!? Can someone help me with this shouting problem!?!

Game Most Recklessly Encouraging Obesity: Kirby’s Dream Buffet

Go Kirby!In a weird way, it is a shame that Kirby’s Dream Buffet is just a silly little racing game. I love it! But it is bite-sized, and even my Kirby-loving heart was only able to wring a few hours out of the experience of gradually earning Kirby more and more hats through gluttony. Regardless, it is likely my favorite surprise experience of the year, one of two remarkable Kirby games, and is worthy of Master Hand and Crazy Hand clapping for the Kirb blobs.

Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Such friendly friendsDon’t get me wrong, I am happy to see any “retro” game released on modern consoles, particularly a fighting game that is reliant on online matchmaking. Ain’t nobody suplexing robots back on the Playstation 3 anymore. That said, March 2022 was a weird ass time to see this game resurface. There were rumblings (now coming to fruition) of “back” Persona titles being released on the Nintendo Switch, which is practically the best system in history to host a Persona game (chat with buddies on the big screen, go to portable mode when you must stalk through 50 floors of a dungeon). We had just seen at least two releases of Persona 5 on other systems, and we even had that dancing game or the beat ‘em up to keep us company as vaguely new content. And then we have the Persona 4 fighting game. Not Persona 5, currently featured in Smash Bros, but Persona 4. And the majority of this playable cast was already available in Cross Tag Battle, a game currently continually on sale for two bucks. And… what was the point of all this again?

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, you were always a great fighting game, but your release date in 2022 was a rainy day.

DLC of the Year: Guilty Gear -Strive-

Did you see that?I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but mankind knew they could not change society, so instead of reflecting on themselves, they blamed the beasts. And, sometimes, that beast is DLC. The current state of gaming is one where DLC is often promoted longer and harder than its parent game. Every announcement has to be an event, and every new stage, character, or mode has to be the greatest thing to happen to the genre since the last time someone asked you to get excited about the same guy you’ve been seeing since 1994. That said, the DLC for Guilty Gear -Strive- has done something no other fighting game has done with its DLC: it made Bridget a girl. And good for her! Sora in Smash Bros. is important or whatever, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time DLC has made a person come out. Testament being nonbinary is also a nice bonus. They like potatoes. They just think they’re neat.

System of the Year: Xbox X|S

Hack away!Xbox quietly took this title for 2022. I now have all the current generation systems (thank you Stranger of Paradise for inspiring that Playstation 5), and, while the only unique game for the Xbox X|S that has struck my fancy has been a pretty standard flight simulator, it is also the only system that currently goes back four generations with its game library. So I can play some crazy ray-tracing adventure with a fox that looks like Link, or I can go back into the archives and easily play the likes of Final Fantasy 13, Jade Empire, or even just Xbox Midway Arcade Classics. The other systems play some oldies, but, as someone who has been accumulating a terrible collection of games that go back to the Atari, the ability to instantly boot up titles I purchased opposite the Playstation 2 or Gamecube is amazing. I now actually regret buying many games on something other than the Microsoft console du jour, as (miraculously) it seems like it is only the Xbox that genuinely cares about backwards compatibility, and not just reselling the same game over again. And it can play all sorts of Toejams & Earls. Worth the price of admission right there.

Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Let's JamI have a lot to say about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and you will read that meandering essay on this site eventually. But in the meanwhile, just be aware that this game managed to soak up approximately 90 hours of my life, engage my imagination, and be a fun-to-play game all the while. My general enjoyment of Xeno-titles has been extensively documented on this site, but I need to make one thing abundantly clear: this is the first Xeno-game I can recommend without hesitation. After decades, they finally got it right! And the characters, plotting, and general tone are only, like, 5% embarrassing. Max. I cannot even say that about Elden Ring and its silly little horse man! Oh, and this is also a game I never expected to be anything better than general “good, but not amazing” Xeno quality, so that probably gave it a rank up, too. Look, it’s just a good game that came out of nowhere (“nowhere” being “literally years of experience and anticipation”), so it wins. It just plain wins.

Oh, and best soundtrack of the year, too.

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Gotham Knights, God of War Ragnarok, Bayonetta 3, Sonic Frontiers, Stray

Look, it seems like a lot of games came out in the October-November window. I know that happens a lot, but it still hit like a ton of bricks this year. I know I will at least get to the Sonic game. God of War is a firm maybe… After I play the last one… that came out four years ago…

Also, I looked back at previous years’ “games I will play eventually” lists, and I just got to a 2017 game this year…

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2022

AgreedThis was a weird year for a lot of reasons, but the “arc” of the site was particularly surprising. I tried to dial it back a little and exclusively focus on the Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play for the Summer, but then I wrote FGC articles while I was on the break, started publishing them in the Fall, and had enough of a “backlog” that I could produce new content easily for the rest of the year. And then I started writing about the Even Worse Streams videos (thanks to having a lot to say about Chrono Cross), which has become a consistently weekly thing in an effort to finally post those Xenogears videos from 2021. So now the site is consistently updating three times a week for the first time since Spring of 2018, and it is during a time I was trying to “cut back”. Guess time makes fools of us all… or… something…

Regardless! Here are some favorite FGC articles of the year:

FGC #618 Body Harvest
FGC #625 Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
FGC #628 Popeye
FGC #630 Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
FGC #634 Martial Champion

And that’s ignoring everything from this year I already linked.

Here’s to 2023! The year I end the FGC!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… E.V.O.: Search for Eden! Speaking of games featured on Even Worse Streams, it is time to look at the tale of a fish becoming a human despite the fact that monkeys still exist. Please look forward to it!

Xenogears 04: Two Strong Women

We have previously focused exclusively on Fei Fong Wong, but today, let us consider two very different women spoken of in the Xenogears scripture.

Marguerite “Margie” Fatima would one day be the Holy Mother of Nisan. But long before that, she was a mere child. And when she was a child, Shakhan and the Gebler forces led a coup of the Aveh government in pursuit of the great treasure of the Fatima family. They did not find what they were seeking, but they did cut a bloody swath through the royal family in pursuit of this goal. The king committed suicide. The previously Holy Mother committed suicide. Margie’s father died thanks to extreme torture. And, despite being children, Prince Bartholomew and Marguerite were both tortured as well. Margie and Bart eventually escaped, and they both ascended to leadership positions at extremely young ages. Holy Mother Marguerite took her title at the age of ten.

But did Margie give up after her horrible childhood? No! She steeled her own resolve, and took solace in her cousin who had protected her during their imprisonment. She missed her parents, and had reservations about potentially marrying into royalty, but she still fought hard, and was an exemplary Holy Mother. Her tours of the cathedral were legendary! And her unwavering belief that we all needed to work together, because we were “single winged angels”, is an important lesson we should all adopt even today (even if it has no actual basis in the principles of flight).

Margeurite may have been tortured and kidnapped repeatedly (at least once because she was weighed down by a pink, sentient doll), but she was still a strong, dedicated woman. During times of political strife, she was still the people’s choice for religious leader.

Elhaym “Elly” Van Houten could have been the Holy Mother of Nisan in another life. But, in this time, she was born in Solaris, the floating city that would be responsible for the misfortune of Marguerite. While Elly was raised in the lap of luxury, she was ostracized, as her red hair made many believe she was the result of an affair with a lower class “lamb”. But Elly persevered, and eventually joined the Jugend Military Academy. As part of a fairly routine procedure, Elly was given an experimental drug, Drive. Then things got… unpleasant.

Look at her goElly took poorly to Drive, flipped out, killed two other students, injured three more, and literally painted the walls red with blood.

And then she spent years in a rolling state of denial, before deciding to use Drive again. And then the only reason she survived that is some dork that once saved her from a dinosaur beat the crap out of her and demanded she not “let go of [her] true self.” She survived the encounter with her position intact, but it seemed obvious that it was only a matter of time before she would be washed out of the Solarian forces.

So which woman do you think should be leading the people of the world? The one that was tortured for her entire childhood but rose to become a pillar of her community, or the pampered brat that always finds times to go on murderous trips? The choice of better role model is obvious.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 4

Original Stream Night: January 26, 2021
Night of the Beast Wars

Random Stream Notes

  • Kishi joins us for a bit at the start of this stream to discuss the disastrous Wizards and Warriors 3 stream.
  • The consequences of cheating are obvious as everyone is available on the equip screen. Remember this later when I have to reboot…
  • I also talk about my original, stupid plan for this Let’s Play. It’s… an original mashup.
  • Chu-Chu is Chu-Chu.
  • Welcome to Nissan! Let’s talk about the Popemobile, and, eventually, nuns that %&*@.
  • There is discussion about the different “episodes” of Xenogears and how they could have all been different genres. The world was never prepared for Xenogears Episode 3: Snatcher.
  • I firmly believe this is a world where they invented the Gear but not the vacuum.
  • Fun fact: we all forgot Maria existed despite being in Xenosaga.
  • Talking about Versus Guides versus Brady Guides and how they would sometimes be horny for cowgirls in Ocarina of Time.
  • An hour in, and all we’re doing is talking about Ramsus, Elements, and (select portions of) Citan’s past.
  • NOHaving a table is the lynchpin of Bart’s complicated plan to recapture his home.
  • I am familiar with the tale of Zog and Rapheal, which leads to more discussion of Ninja Turtles.
  • And the game freezes when trying to load my poor, cheated save file. And, yes, you can find the “origin” save file I used on Gamefaqs.
  • BEAT momentarily attempts to figure out how chu-language works. This way lies madness.
  • Xenogears has all sorts of weird nudity for -the power-.
  • Finally! A dungeon! With fights! 1:36 in!
  • And we wind up with a complete history of how the Dreamcast and GD-ROMs work
  • Equipping the Gear leads to another soft reset… But we’re making progress!
  • As Fei fights Elly, we successfully predict the Sega CD Mini/Sega Genesis Mini 2! Kinda! We got some of the games right…
  • Everything needs more Make My Video.
  • Plots where parallel adventures progress are common. And remember Final Fantasy 6? That was better at it.
  • This is surprisingly stressfulBart is supposed to be rescued from death in a scene that is extremely “funny”.
  • Vanderkaum! That guy from Xenosaga! Kinda! Fanboymaster forgot about him…
  • And then a discussion of the Pheonix Wright games/Phoenix Wright Hair.
  • “Goku is absolutely stupid as shit.”
  • Vanderkaum gains -the power- as the solitary genders of the DBZ universe are discussed before getting to Clarence Beeftank and, eventually, Butterbean.
  • Caliscrub shows up towards the end as Id tears Ramsus a new one.
  • Oh, hey, this was when that whole Gamestop stock thing happened. Good times.
  • And we close opposite a hundred cutscenes about the state of the world while we discuss the evils of TurboTax.

Next time on Xenogears: Welcome to prison!

Handy attack right there