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Xenogears 06: Ricardo Banderas

Let's fightLet us consider the story of Ricardo Banderas.

At the age of 30, a man named Sigmund had become the Kaiser of Kislev. Sigmund had had a hard life, being one of the last survivors of the nation of Elru. As a result of his heritage, Sigmund was a demi-human, complete with elven ears. However, he could pass as a “normal” human, as pointy ears are easily hidden by a bright orange hat, and you barely even notice that hat when a guy owns a pipe organ the size of a giant robot. Kaiser Sigmund was very successful as a soldier and politician, and much of that can be attributed to his apparent normalcy.

Sigmund’s son… not so much.

When Sigmund’s wife Anne was pregnant, malevolent doctors in the employ of Solaris administered some nasty drugs. This caused the beastly traits of Sigmund’s genetics to present themselves harder, and, when Rico was born, he had a skin color only a Blanka could love. Anne and Rico were banished (Sigmund was unaware, of course). Anne was left to raise Rico alone in the slums, and, a mere decade after losing her position as empress, Anne had wasted away into death. Rico was now all alone in the world.

Even when Anne was alive, Rico did not have a good childhood. Racism against demi-humans was always on the rise, and being an orange haired freak did not help Rico’s reputation. After his mother passed, Rico was forced to steal to survive as a poor orphan, and the local law enforcement did not turn a blind eye to this undesirable’s undesirable actions. Rico, son of a kaiser, had a mere ten years as a free child, and was then sent to prison for the next twenty.

But despite being a detainee of a discriminatory system, Rico was able to succeed. Rico grew into his beastly strength, and was able to learn how to fight with all the intensity of a man that is 90% muscle. By the time Rico was 20, he had been accepted into the Battler tournament, and was granted his own Gear. A year later, he was the victor, and reigned as the undefeated champion of all prisoners in Kislev D-Block. His Stier Gear was S-tier, without peer.

CHOMPRico may have reigned forever had it not been for the arrival of Fei Fong Wong. No one can say if it was the power of the Slayer of God, his inclination toward not fighting brute strength with brute strength, or the fact that Rico had been injured previously while skulking through the sewers that caused Rico to lose. But Rico did lose, and, after so long as the undisputed champion, Rico was robbed of his identity. Shortly thereafter, a despondent Rico attempted to assassinate the Kaiser by crashing his Gear into Sigmund’s skybox during a fight. When that attempt failed, Rico attempted to raid the Kaiser’s home, but was unsuccessful and imprisoned once again. This time, Rico was to be executed via being dropped into a terrarium with a dinosaur. That is enough for most people…

But Rico survived! Rico was rescued by his rival, Fei. But Fei was only there because of the other prisoners that Rico had led in his time in D Block. Rico may have been a downtrodden prisoner, but he was still a good man who inspired others, and ultimately his soul was saved because those others decided to repay the favor. And, from there, Rico realized how his hometown was important to him, and decided to pilot Stier in an effort to save everyone. Rico was instrumental in protecting the nation that had treated him poorly for nearly his entire life.

Rico, despite everything, triumphed over his own adversity, and became a leader and liberator on par with his father.

And then he is never mentioned in the scripture ever again. Let’s assume he had a good time.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 6

Original Stream Night: February 16, 2021
Night of the Breath of Fire (4)

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Starting by talking about potential Nintendo Direct announcements (the one that would premiere 2/17/21). Rumors of Zelda games are forever!
  • My Link is always Chaotic Lazy.
  • We have it on official recording that none of us ever believed Sora would be in Smash Bros. Ever. I predicted Xenoblade 2 characters. Pyra and Mythra were announced the next day. I am a genius.
  • “His name is S-Tier?”
  • Fei wins the tournament, Dominia is introduced, and we talk about the Smash Bros that canonically f$&@.
  • Looks niceAs Rico has a flashback to his childhood, let us talk about Namco Webcomics involving Chis Hastings.
  • Time to hate on Donkey Kong 64. Platforming can never be fun (according to Rare).
  • Big Joe is skulking around the alleys while we discuss Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the impossibility of it having a sequel. Oh, and Caliscrub arrives.
  • We have to rescue Rico while Caliscrub begs to know when Hammer will announce his mad skillz. Gonna be a while!
  • “Please, videogame. I just want to play videogame.”
  • Finally! Gameplay! With trains! And discussing Street Fighter launches!
  • Sodom should appear in more Street Fighter games. And, hey, we have a dungeon here.
  • The “just had an article about this” mentioned refers to Rockin’ Kats.
  • We almost have the Weltall back! And Balrog and Ed are dicks.
  • We rescued Rico! And we haven’t talked about Xenogears actually on the stream at all. All fighting games! All the time!
  • Here come Elly and her boys.
  • “Clowns are not a race.” Kinda!
  • “Wait. They’re star-crossed lovers and they both have a robot?”
  • Guards!  Guards!Yes, Fei and Elly take a moment to hop out of their Gears to survey their own destruction.
  • Please do not get me started on the Xeno-timeline. We are trying to fight a giant robot boss here!
  • Fanboymaster claims he would be inordinately surprised if Fatal Frame 5 ever left the WiiU. Guess what was released across all consoles the following October!
  • Elly is saved by Grahf while we discuss Punch-Out and Ashita no Joe yet again.
  • “Hit ‘em with the Blanka ball!”
  • “There’s a lot I like about this game, but I’m glad I’m not playing it” is the final significant thought before we call it a night.

Next time on Xenogears: Back to committing war crimes.

HA HA
Chrono Trigger always made this less ominous

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.

Xenosaga Episode III Special 4: Beyond Xenosaga

Previously on Xenosaga: Xenosaga is over, folks! There are no more games left, I’ve said everything about the franchise I want to say, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing Xenosaga HD in time for the Christmas season. It’s done, folks!

But just because a franchise ends, doesn’t mean it’s completely forgotten. Xenosaga has sent its tendrils far past its own release, so we’ll be spending this, the final update for this LP, looking at the games that Xenosaga, in some way, touched.

If you see a game’s title in bold text, fair warning, there are likely to be spoilers.

Now let’s start with the most obvious entry, the immediate sequel to Xenosaga…

Final Fantasy 13 (12/17/09 Japan, 03/09/10 USA) Playstation 3/Xbox 360

Wait… no. That’s… that’s not right…

Xenosaga Episode III Special 1: The Xenosaga FAQ

Why isn’t Shion a gnosis?

The question that became so irrelevant, even the LP forgot about it.

In Episode 1, it was established that everyone who is touched by a gnosis becomes a gnosis. Also, we got to see Cherenkov, ya know, become a gnosis. Logically, it must only be a matter of time before Shion herself becomes a gnosis, as she was nearly saltified back on the Woglinde before KOS-MOS’s rescue.

And then… it’s never mentioned again.

… Or is it?