Tag Archives: final fantasy 7

Chrono Cross 05: How Pretty

So prettyChrono Cross does one thing wonderfully… and the remake mucked it all up.

As has been mentioned on the stream repeatedly, I am talking about graphics. Chrono Cross had some amazing art for its time. In fact, the word “art” seems to be the only way to describe it, as this night’s stream opens with a gorgeous environment that recalls the works of Van Gogh. And that can’t be a coincidence in a videogame where you recruit a painter named Van! Beyond the obvious exquisite dimension, we also have scenic tropical towns, imposing manors, and at least one “dragon castle” that is a stunning mixture of nature and architecture. Looking at any given screenshot from Chrono Cross shows the viewer something that might be expected at The Louvre.

(And if you think I am being hyperbolic, please keep in mind that I was at The Louvre a couple of months back. They have a lot of space to fill, and there are some real dogshit paintings in there. A scene from El Nido would beat the toga off the 7,000th painting of Jesus looking concerned.)

But immaculate thumbnails aside, Chrono Cross has some issues when you adapt its world for modern displays. This was a game originally designed to look great on a television that weighed 50 lbs. and had a display area roughly as large as a Mr. Potato Head. Once you blow that up to the contemporary display that takes up an entire exterior wall, you start to have problems. Chrono Cross is great in its micro-macro, but once its micro bits start showing, you notice things like incomprehensible banners and sub-clip art guitars. The battle arena seen in this stream features a banner that proudly displays “Welcom [sic] Iron Man”, which is not only misspelled, but makes exactly zero sense in a monster fighting tournament conquered by a bunny girl. But who can blame any of the old art directors for Chrono Cross? That banner would have been the size of a chiclet back in the Playstation 1’s day…

Lovin the alienAnd while we’re deep in the angry well, the “shiny” effects that have been added to Chrono Cross HD seem to exist only to repel fans. Absolutely no one played Chrono Cross back at the turn of the century and said, “Well this Starky alien is neat and all, but he should be so much shinier!” Chrome doesn’t work on grays, and making an obviously biological entity appear to be robotic is unmistakably an unfortunate choice.

But since these blurbs are supposed to be outlining the good of Chrono Cross, I will say it again: Chrono Cross can be gorgeous. Just pull your old CRT TV out of the basement, hook up your Playstation with an R/F adapter, and gaze in wonder at the game the way it is meant to be played.

… Or just use that old ass television to play Super Smash Bros. See if I care.

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 5

Original Stream Night: May 10, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Sprigg
  • Harle
  • Radius
  • Van
  • Zappa
  • Funguy
  • Norris
  • Starky
  • Irenes
  • Janice
  • Sneff

Random Notes on the Stream

  • We are starting with an exemplary look at graphics. See everything you just read for more information.
  • 2-D Monsters means a discussion on PaRappa beta stuff. It looks like the current best way to see what we were talking about is here.
  • Sorry, girlfriendRacism makes zero sense in this lazy plot. I mean… racism never makes sense, but this specific racism is never fully explored.
  • There is a discussion of Spider-Man and/or Bruce Campbell quipping across videogames. Either one is fine.
  • Welcome to Termina. It’s fucked!
  • Van, across two dimensions, is unhappy. Like Notch.
  • 🎵 Believe it or not, Funguy is now at home. I never thought it could be so great. 🎵
  • Winnie the Pooh is clipping out of bounds at COVID Disney World. Well, technically COVID Epcot.
  • Lavos is responsible for humans being humans… So Ayla isn’t a human?
  • Talkin’ ‘bout a strategy guide talkin’ ‘bout Final Fantasy 7’s Test 0 monster
  • Welcome to the casino pirate ship where we become cats. Not cat boys or cat men, but cats.
  • I was happy to play Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at Game Terminal near Nashville, Tennessee recently. I got the high score!
  • Street Fighter x Tekken: all exclusive characters are terrible.
  • I want Guile to be Sneff separated by dimensions. It’s not happening, but it would be cool.
  • There are a surprisingly high number of optional things to do while in cat mode
  • Fanboymaster literally cannot remember the Chief of Marbule boss battle at all… and no one can blame him.
  • MeowWe enter the monster fight arena to earn Janice. Enjoy that taking forever…
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Sometimes a sword is hot. It is the most anime game BEAT has ever played, and that is saying something.
  • We close with the “Evil Masamune” guarding/wiggling the path forward.

Next time on Chrono Cross: A special guest star for a special future.

Wild Arms 3 Part 13 Interlude: The Last JRPG

What are they thinking?As of Chapter 1 finishing, let us enjoy a brief interlude on the nature of Wild Arms 3. And we shall do this on July 25, Scarecrow Day. In Elw architecture, scarecrows are commonly placed on rooftops in place of weathercocks. But it was rumored to bring bad luck among non-Elws and slowly went out of style. A scarecrow slowly rotting away into dust is a sad sight.

Controversial statement: they do not make JRPGs anymore.

So here is how I’ve always seen the evolution of the JRPG. You start with Dragon Warrior/Quest. You move over to Final Fantasy. Over the span of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Final Fantasy evolves out of sight of Americans from simple nonsense with six characters (who must only be four characters) to a sprawling story of flying continents and children working multiple vocations just to make (airship) ends meet. Over in Dragon land, we actually saw the evolution from Hero venturing out alone into the wilderness, to gaining a party of companions, to gaining more “job” options than you could shake a Falcon Blade at, and finally reaching Dragon Warrior/Quest 4. That final title seems relevant, as in addition to utilizing all the advantages that had been granted to its forebearers, Dragon Warrior 4 told an epic, chapter-based story that included memorable, distinct characters all living their best lives in defiance of a hellish (but maybe misunderstood!) villain. While there are inevitably other examples, let us use 1990’s Dragon Quest 4 as the benchmark for how JRPG went from “inhabit these heroes and guide them on their quest” to something more akin to “sure, saving the world is great, but wouldn’t you like to know what happens next for your good buddy Torneko Taloon?”


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And then, a year later, we had Final Fantasy 4. Far beyond Dragon Quest 4, FF4 was the ceiling for videogame storytelling. The world is in danger! But so is your hero’s girlfriend! Brother is betraying brother! People are dying! And, even more important than said story was that all of this action was presented with… action. The twins make their noble sacrifice while the walls are actively closing in on you (and later battles remind you how difficult it is to fight a wall). Yang is blasted into amnesia while frantically trying to stop a cannon manned by goblins. And Cid does not simply lay a few charges to close the entrance to the underground, he actively jumps out of an airship and detonates his bearded ass. In short, whereas JRPGs and videogames in general had had dramatic moments before, Final Fantasy 4 went out of its way to present a story that was, more often than not, actively including as many explosions as possible.


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And then, in 1997, we got to Final Fantasy 7. After a console generation of JRPG luminaries (in multiple ways), Final Fantasy 7 could be presented as the pinnacle of the genre. Ignore the remake (as good as it may be), and go back and play OG FF7. Marvel at how much and how often something happens. You cannot so much as traipse through a forgotten mountain pass without having a brief discussion on chocobo hair. And while Tifa is talking to Cloud about grooming tips, there is movement. There are great graphics (for the era, natch). There are gorgeous environments. Combine these elements, and you are continually presented with an engaging story that incidentally has an amazing presentation. Final Fantasy 7 was primarily remembered for its FMVs, but it is the minute-to-minute performance that keeps a player engaged across three discs.


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But by the time the Playstation 2 rolled into living rooms, the great divergence occurred. On one hand, you had Final Fantasy 10…


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Final Fantasy 10 was, for all intents and purposes, a playable movie. There was voice acting. There was motion capture. And the end result is something that is just as engaging as a movie… because it basically is a movie. And, starting in 2001, if your company was making a JRPG, you had the choice to make that playable movie. You could chase the JRPG zeitgeist, and, whether you were continuing the Xeno-franchise or recruiting Studio Ghibli into your production, you could make a Hollywood blockbuster out of your JRPG. The only downside to this was that it cost more than a couple of bucks to make such a thing presentable. If you didn’t feel like doing that…


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The above was a possibility. Or this


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Hell, you could even see it happen in real time as the Xenosaga franchise gradually lost its budget…


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Now, is either way right or wrong? I am not going to make that determination. Personally, I have issues with getting bored by the “talking heads” of recent Persona titles, and, when they make the jump to action games (like the fighting, rhythm, and “strikers” spin offs), I find the text crawl downright insulting. I am playing a videogame! Please limit your visual novels to 30 seconds between levels! It worked for Ninja Gaiden! You can have these idiots talk a little less if they are going to be effectively motionless while I am supposed to…

Er-hem.

I said I am not going to judge which is better. Persona or similar titles may have presentation issues when they are just throwing static text at a player, but these games are also 80-hour experiences that would not be able to exist if they required full-on mocap for every conversation about how we’ll never discover the true identity of the killer who is probably not standing right over there oh wait he is that is super convenient. Videogames are amazing pieces of art that are also beholden to investors, budgets and deadlines. I would rather have Bravely Default in my life than a “coming soon” JPEG and a thousand twitter followers conjecting how the real Bravely Default will become Final Fantasy 22 and Nomura will never tell us why.

But as far as the “movie” JRPGs? They’re great! They are fun, interactive stories that often include other ways to wring amazing gameplay out of a giant budget. Final Fantasy 15 may have created a “Cindy” that exists exclusively in the world of swimsuit model motion capture, but each of the boys were very controllable when cruising around Insomnia’s outer rim. I have absolutely no qualms stating that JRPGs can be good if they are using “movie” presentation or “static text” presentations.

But JRPGs seem to have completely forsaken the middle ground of their ancestors. They don’t make ‘em like Wild Arms 3 anymore.

Wild Arms 3 is a very text-based game. This is not simply a matter of noting that no one is voice acting this dialogue, what is significant is that, as the game progresses, we will experience any number of info dumps that feature discussions on imaginary biology, planetary conquest, and (everyone’s favorite PS2 plot MacGuffin) nanomachines. In other words, Wild Arms 3 is filled to the brim with the kind of nonsense that causes people to disparage Kingdom Hearts or the Xeno franchise. But something important happens here! There is direction!


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There is movement!


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There is stuff happening!

And there are a lot of little things that not only would be impossible on older videogame systems, but also unlikely to appear in later, “better” productions. As an obvious example, Jet Enduro is an aloof jerk of a character, and barely says a word through much of Chapter 1. But you know everything you need to know by seeing this…


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He is the exact kind of jackass that would put his shoes on the table. What is Jet’s mood right now? The simple act of sticking his boots over his head tells you everything you need to know. And you know that when the shoes hit the ground…


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Something has hit the fan, and it ain’t pretty.

And it feels like we don’t get this kind of direction anywhere nowadays. Wild Arms 3 is the perfect middle ground between “we have more options than simple sprites that turn their heads” and “full on cinematic masterpiece”, and there are very few games that have ever occupied that space. Ultimately, you could describe several “classic” JRPGs as something almost like puppet shows: a middle ground between full-on acting and static talking heads. And looking back from the present when puppets have been forsaken for literally any other kind of presentation, Wild Arms 3 is one of the best puppet shows out there.

Wild Arms 3 is a beautiful unicorn in a field full of donkeys and horses, so keep an eye out for that horn as things progress into the next chapters…


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Next time on Wild Arms 3: Back to the Let’s Play proper as we head to the wrong side of the tracks.

FGC #627.2 Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

This article contains spoilers for not only Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, but also potentially the entire Final Fantasy franchise. It won’t get too nuts, but if you don’t want to know a certain location exists in a certain game, and if that location has any plot relevance, I wouldn’t keep reading. You have been warned!

This is not a placeStranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has one very important thing going for it: it is an enormous love letter to the Final Fantasy franchise. With the exception of a few “plot” stages, every level in SoP:FFO is based on a different locale from a different Final Fantasy game. And that is amazing! You’re looking at 35 years of videogame locations! From castles to caves to whateverthehell was happening in Final Fantasy 15! It’s neat!

But, as a tremendous nerd and 35-year-old critic of the Final Fantasy franchise (uh, to be clear, I am not 35, but I have been a critic of Final Fantasy as long as it has existed) I, naturally, have opinions about the various locations chosen to represent various Final Fantasy titles. Were these good picks to be representative of their attendant games? Are these good choices independent of nostalgia? Does anything in this game make a lick of sense? Let’s answer these questions on a game by game, level by level basis.

Note that this list will be going in order of Final Fantasy game featured. Actual level order is an entirely other thing. Please be as confused as possible.

Stage 1: Illusion at Journey’s End
Location: Chaos Shrine
Origin: Final Fantasy (1)

It is chaos out thereConcept: Stranger of Paradise is a kinda sorta remake of Final Fantasy, so it is only natural the game starts with Final Fantasy’s first ever dungeon: the Temple of Fiends. Oh! And the final boss of the area is Garland (after a fashion)! That is as Final Fantasy as it gets!

Does it work for SoP? This is absolutely a ruined temple (of Fiends!) filled with monsters, which is all you really need from a Strangers of Paradise stage. There are enough decomposing balconies and collapsing turrets to justify something more complex than a straight line, but the layout is still recognizable enough that you won’t easily get lost. And there is at least one cactuar running around, so there’s everything a stranger could want.

Does it represent its parent game? Going to give this one a “yes”, too. The defining characteristic of Final Fantasy’s Temple of Fiends is that it was clearly the crappiest temple in the world (but looked pretty alright a solid 2,000 years back), and we’ve got a similar architectural flare going on here. The Temple of Fiends is meant to be the trojan horse of adventure for the Final Fantasy franchise, and it serves the exact same “more to it than it seems” function in 2022. Good job, Level One! Now let’s move on to Final Fantasy 2…

Year in Review: 2021

Disappointment of the Year: Axiom Verge 2

Feel the vergeSay it with me now: this does not mean the game is bad. Axiom Verge 2 was simply disappointing to me and specifically me. Axiom Verge 2, as near as I can tell, is an objectively great metroidvania, and absolutely a worthy successor to Axiom Verge (1). However, it is very different from Axiom Verge, which makes my subjective opinion on the matter very skewed, as I love everything about Axiom Verge. Logically, if you change the formula of what I consider to be a perfectly bespoke game, you are no longer going to have a perfect game. That’s just math! Axiom Verge 2 puts more of an emphasis on not combating mooks and bosses, and that is simultaneously revolutionary and exactly what I do not want. Yes, Virginia, it was not any other game that inspired my Metroid “I wanna be a powerful bimbo” review, it was the experience of ineffectually swinging around an axe in Axiom Verge 2. AV2 is a great game, it is simply not the experience I want out of a metroidvania.

Oh, and Metroid Dread did put an emphasis on combat, and I didn’t want that either. I am very hard to please!

Compilation of the Year: Blizzard Arcade Collection

ChillingAnd speaking of disappointments, let it be said that “compilation of the year” does not in any way count as an endorsement or reason you should actually purchase the compilation of the year. The Blizzard Arcade Collection earns this spot because it features two games that will forever hold my interest (Rock ‘n Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings), one game that I saw advertised in GamePro all the dang time, and not a single actual arcade title. However, it also needs to be said that Blizzard, the eponymous company that has been peddling this and a host of other titles, is apparently a morally bankrupt business that is literally responsible for suffering on a level up to and including death. So… yeah. Kind of had to say you should toss a twenty in their direction just because there are some games that were the bees’ knees back in the 90s.

And, to be clear, I genuinely feel bad about purchasing this game. Couple that with 2021 not exactly being a great year for any reason, and, thus, compilation of 2021. Castlevania Advance Collection can’t generate this many feelings, but apparently Blackthorne can.

Title of the Year: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition

Taste the rainbowIt is amazing that I now own an honest-to-God physical version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a game I seriously thought we would never see again. And it is complete! It includes all the DLC that was gradually doled out back when the game was young. Except… uh… you can’t play as Knives, because you have to go through some online newsletter signup bullshit to unlock her. Sure, it’s “free DLC”, but that is DLC all the same, and the physical, “complete” edition will not be complete going forward, thus negating the attempt to wholly preserve this previously unpreservable game.

So congrats to 2021’s title of the year for lying as part of the title!

Remake of the Year: NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139…

Feel the painOh! Oh! Something I can recommend! NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139… is the best dang Square Enix rerelease to come out this past Spring (sorry, SaGa). It takes a game that was previously extremely of its time, and transports it to a glorious future where the franchise is now popular enough to pop up in to other franchises. And they added a giant squid! Hooray! If you ever so much as considered getting on the NieR bandwagon, this is a great place to start, and if you are an old fan, this is practically required reading for one of the most inadvertently mature licenses to come out of the 21st Century. Get your NieR on, everybody!

Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

You eediotNickelodeon All-Star Brawl was never going to be the Smash Bros-killer that some expected to see. Yes, it appears that the designers of the game put genuine care and thought into their product, and the appeal of a Ninja Turtle fighting Ren and/or Stimpy is undeniable. But this was a “cheapie” licensed product, and the lack of things like voice acting, color swaps, or even items of any kind really does make Reptar and his friends feel like less of a Smash competitor and more of another waylaid imitator. But then you release the game opposite the announcement of the most requested DLC character in Smash Bros history (literally! There was a vote!), and it’s all over. No one is talking about NASB anymore. Everybody is talking about that floaty kid with the big shoes. Two Avatars in the game, but the poor thing never stood a chance.

DLC of the Year: New Pokémon Snap

FLEXIf I had to nominate the nicest game of the year, I would probably go with New Pokémon Snap. We didn’t really need a new Pokémon Snap title, and we certainly have enough Pokémon merchandise to go around, but seeing a new game where you can just chill and take snaps of your favorite monster buddies? It’s nice. It is exceedingly pleasant. And we got some free, just turn on the game DLC, too? Very nice. More to play in New Pokémon Snap is all we could ask for, and the additional bonus of playing with perspective and “giant” Pokémon was a remarkably unexpected surprise. The whole package is very… nice.

System of the Year: Playstation 5

NOW LOADINGI played my Nintendo Switch more than any other system this year. But I paid the most attention to the Playstation 5. Are there any “must-haves” for the system yet? No, it seems like we are still in that nebulous period where the best you can hope for is a Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intermission. But more importantly, can you actually buy a Playstation 5 to play any of those games? Also no! Sorry, everybody, it looks like the supply shortages of 2021 are going to continue, and the Playstation 5 is quietly the most unobtainable videogame system in history. It’s been over a year now! And you still have to game and/or watch Wario to even stand a chance! I feel like nothing sums up 2021 better than the fact that everyone is losing in the proposition: Sony literally cannot satisfy demand, and is thus missing sales. People are not getting Playstation 5s in homes, so there is no reason to create/sell software for a system no one actually has. And even scalpers are having a hard time maintaining all the silly retailer-specific memberships necessary to score those online sales. It sucks all around! Welcome to 2021!

Game of the Year: Psychonauts 2

2-BitsBut, like every year, 2021 wasn’t all bad. There are always bright spots among the clouds, and, like seeing the sun on the darkest of days, there is always going to be hope. And this year’s hope is a kickstarted sequel to a game that was released to a resounding six sales approximately a billion years ago. Not exactly what my ancestors would have understood as an example of shining hope, but I’ll take it.

If I had to pin down one reason this game wins the coveted Gogglebob.com Game of the Year Award, it would be the not-at-all concise explanation of “it walks the line”. This is a “collectathon”, but grinding baubles never grates the plot to a halt. This is a 3-D platformer, but it never ramps up to an unwinnable meat circus. This is a children’s story of a kid at his first summer job, but it deals with tremendously mature topics like generational trauma. Couple this all with its kickstarted origins, and it feels like this game should in no way exist. It is too good, too pure for this fallen world, and taking Raz from wannabe intern to a savior of his friends and family is just the kind of game that 2021 needed.

… Or maybe I just like bouncing around on that springy little neon ball. Whatever! I like Psychonauts 2!

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Resident Evil VIIIage, Shin Megami Tensei 5

Hey, there weren’t that many games released this year that I find interesting. This is a good thing! I think…

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2021

Feel the despairNot really much to report this year! Tuesday night streams continue unabated, and they seem to be winding up on the site in all sorts of ways. The Xenogears Let’s Play clearly does not exist. And, other than that, it’s been a pretty chill year. #600: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was really the bulk of my dedication to the site, and, given no one seemed to care about that, I’m giving up forever. Or not. I feel like I’m winding down on here, trying to cover the games I feel I need to cover, and then I’ll be packing up shop and moving on to my next project (that I’m already mapping out, because of course I am).

Anywho, here are some of my favorite articles from 2021:

I miss any of your picks? Let me know in the comments. They can be in the form of Animal Crossing pictures. I don’t mind.

And that’s that for 2021. Let’s move on to a year that hopefully has like 60% less plagues.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Astyanax! I… am moderately certain I spelled that correctly. Guess I should figure that out sometime over the week. Will I? Well, please look forward to finding out!