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Old 02-11-2005, 06:15 AM   #1111
Joe Redifer
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I dunno. I may have to hold out on buying the Phantasy Star Trilogy (and any other game) so I can save up for Stubbs the Zombie!
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Old 02-11-2005, 06:42 AM   #1112
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Yeah, because it's yet another Bungie FPS game and everybody in the world must own it. It will be everywhere in the game publications and websites. The hype is gonna be heavy on this killer title!

Conspiracy can post whatever they want. The proof is in the pudding: Sega of Japan has NOT released the PSII remake and haven't even shown IV. How are they going to release it without all three titles?
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Old 02-19-2005, 08:41 AM   #1113
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I'm gonna recycle you!

Mega Man X4 - Saturn/(PlayStation) - Rating 7
I've never cared for the X series of Mega Man games. At first I thought that Mega Man X was pretty cool but then the boredom eventually sank in and I realized that Capcom had made a terrible mistake. X2 and 3 didn't do anything to alleviate my disdain, and for Capcom to protract such a lackluster series is pretty sad. That said, there is but one X title which sets itself apart from the others, one which takes it to a level of quality similar to past Mean Man games, and that game is Mega Man X4. Also available on the PlayStation, X4 is a return to old form for Capcom. It is blessed with remarkably good stage designs outfitted with excellent enemy placement, old-school action which will leave your fingertips hot to the touch, areas which require excellent timing and reflexes.... all adding up to another thrilling action game. And of course you can expect to face-off against some of the more harrowing and intelligent bosses to be devised in a Mega Man game.

I'll cut right to the chase: Mega Man X4 is a great game but the storyline is pretty terrible. The game begins with your typical FMV animated opening. From there, you set your options and you're on your way. You can select from either X or Zero (think of a robotic version of Strider Hiryu that shares some of his abilities combined with the visual finesse of Ken Masters). From there, a cinema starts things off and you're on your way. One point worth mentioning is that both X and Zero have unique cinemas throughout the entire game, sharing only one or two. The cinema quality in the Saturn version is rather poor quality but it is full screen. The PS version has slightly better FMV quality but that's to be expected. The animation itself is pretty decent but the voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it's so awful at times that I had to bury my head in disgust and cover my ears to shield myself from its brutal impact. Fans of Mega Man 8 oughta recognize the voice actor for the Colonel because he provided the voice for Sword Man. At any rate, there's a cinema much further on in Zero's quest where it's supposed to be dramatic and emotional but just winds up becoming a combination of hideous and laughable due to the terrible Z-grade voice acting. Ugh!

Save for that one unique boss fight which each character has, both X and Zero transverse the same territory as each other. The game mechanics really shine through the stage creations because they're so varied that it's impossible to become bored. One minute you're sliding up and down ice and the next you're fighting an overgrown Ice Claw which can transform. In Cyber Peacock's stage, you're timed on how fast you can complete each portion of the first half of his stage. If you get an S Grade, you'll be rewarded with extra power-ups and/or 1ups. Features such as this add replayability to the stages, and as you acquire new power-ups you'll be able to figure out how to gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas and destroy certain objects.

The storyline is the typical clich? dribble, with X trying to resolve differences between the humans and the Repliforce which are deceived into believing that they've been labeled as Mavericks (renegade robots who are rejected from normal society, if humans and robots living in perfect harmony is what you'd consider to be normal), and Zero's coming to terms with who he is and who created him, all the while trying to sort out the same problems as X while balancing his sense of justice with love; the Colonel, who is opposed to Zero, is the brother of Iris, a girl whom Zero loves but who's trying to resolve differences between the two rivals. (Boy, does the story reek.) And, here's the shocker -- take a wild guess as to who's behind all the recent troubles....

Can't we all just get along? C'mon, why can't these stupid dopes resolve their differences over a spot of tea?

....Because then you wouldn't be playing an X game, would you? And what's the world without a healthy dose of action to resolve differences? You know the drill: you're presented with eight Mavericks and you select which one you'd like to tackle first. Each stage has its own unique perils. Take for example Jet Stingray's stage. You've gotta ride on a Land Chaser, which acts as a motorbike/waterbike combo, throughout both halves of the stage. There's some tricky jumping and movement involved, all the while blowing enemies into kingdom come. Then there's Magma Dragoon's stage which is filled with -- what else? -- magma and more sinister robotic creations. It seems as though somebody forgot to tell Capcom that this isn't a Final Fantasy game because somebody obviously cast Meteo as there are molten rocks raining down from everywhere. Even the boss can perform Meteo! There's a section of the stage in which you have the option of riding in Robot Ride Armor which actually made its first appearance in the very first X game. Some of the other stages reminded me of Ghouls 'N Ghosts (Split Mushroom's stage, the Bio Laboratory, being a good example), and that's definitely a good thing.

The controls are spot-on and precise, as expected. However, I was a tad disappointed with the stiff controls whenever riding in an Armor. When playing as X or Zero, though, the controls are just fine. Both characters can perform jumps, wall-jumps, and dashes. As you power them up, they can perform extra feats such as air dashing, hovering (X only), double jumps (Zero only), and weapon power-ups. Each character learns his own special new moves/attacks by defeating bosses. It's great because it adds variety and saves it from becoming a chore, especially when playing as Zero. X can still perform his trusty charged shot and, if you find the proper weapon upgrades, can perform different types of charged shots. Zero, on the other hand, cannot find those hidden weapons/armor upgrades but makes up for it because his sword attacks and combos are extremely effective and cannot be wasted, save for one particular attack. If you can find the proper power-up, X can use his special weapons infinitely, except for the charged versions. There's a great deal of variety and what makes it feel so great is that it takes no time at all to master using any of the techniques -- it's a seamless process.

The challenge is good but not extreme or anything, except for when you first face the final boss which has several forms. You'll be dying a lot trying to figure out what to do to it, but once you do it becomes pretty easy. The bosses are very well designed and can be a real nuisance. If you are having a long battle and the boss has lost most of its life, it will begin to use stronger attacks and perhaps even change its pattern. This makes boss battles far more exhilarating than ever before, a lot more strategic, as opposed to mindlessly shooting at the bosses while occasionally moving or hopping out of the way. The Magma Dragoon fights almost exactly like Ryu, right down to his attack screams such as "Shoryuken," I kid you not. I was a tad disappointed in Frost Walrus' design because he's too similar to Mega Man 8's Frost Man, but other than that the game fails to disappoint. Asthetically, it's top-notch, with great artwork on everything, excellent coloring, effective special effects, great animation (especially on the two protagonists), some parallax scrolls, and so on. Some of the bosses are huge, easily filling half of the screen up. However, the animation on larger things is obviously not as good as on the smaller stuff.

Even though the soundtrack isn't, say, Mega Man 2 calibur, it's still far better than other X titles. Some of the better music belongs to Frost Walrus and Web Spider's stages, the former actually having two versions of the song for the different halves of his stage. The sound quality is very good, with clean sound effects and whatnot, but some of the in-game voice samples sounded too soft. Unlike MM8, the bosses don't have entrance quotes; instead, onscreen text appears before the fight. This is somewhat of a letdown. However, considering the poor quality of the voice acting during cinemas, perhaps it's just for the best.

Mega Man X4 is a wonderful Mega Man title and a welcome addition to your Saturn/PlayStation library. Certainly, you've played better 2D action games before but there's no denying the fun that can be had with this game. It's almost as good as Mega Man 8. Seeing as Capcom is compiling all the X titles for release, you may be better off sticking with that. However, I'm not certain that it will be perfect ports. After all, they couldn't manage to get the NES ports of Mega Man games right on these new, far more powerful consoles.

Three for the road ~
http://www.mmhp.net/
http://www.planet-megaman.com/
http://www.capcom.com/megaman/

Believe it or not: Capcom USA actually did a good job with the cover art.

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Old 02-19-2005, 08:25 PM   #1114
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I wish they used sprites for this game. The Playstation had to use 2 triangular polygons and merge them into a rectangle or square "sprite" and texturemap it to get it to run. Unfortunately they just ported it to the Saturn using the same method. They did the same exact thing on Castlevania Symphony of da Night. That's why the Saturn runs the game much worse and lacks transparency (Saturn cannot do transparent polygons, but it can do transparent sprites and BGs). Castlevania could have even been better than the PS version had they just used traditional sprites. People like to blame the Saturn's supposed "lack of power" when in reality it was just poor programming.
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:38 AM   #1115
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The Saturn did have crappy 3d hardware though and I do agree, it was a developing issue, renderware, I think that's what is used for most direct ports, sux. But the DC, PS2, GCN and even Xbox had to use flat poly's to display sprites and look at the 2d games on those.
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:05 AM   #1116
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While the Saturn's 3D capabilities weren't exceptional by any means, when used right it did look very good for its time (Virtua Fighter 2, Sega Rally Championship, etc.). The problem was that developing on two 32-bit SH-2 (28.6MHz) RISC processors was a hassle for many developers. I know that around NiGHTS' time, Sega released a new dev kit which was easier to develop for (can't remember what it was called off the top of my head). But Saturn was the king as far as 2D games were concerned, without question.

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Old 02-20-2005, 07:37 AM   #1117
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I've been readin up A LOT on Sega and the Saturn these last couple of days, and supposedly the Saturn's 3D capabilities could match or exceed that of the Playstation's. But like Icarus pointed out, it was much more difficult to develop for the Saturn. In order to get results out of it, you had to program in raw assembly. Over on the PlaySation side of the fence, they had a brilliantly designed SDK (software deveolpment kit) that let even crappy programmers like Naughty Dog make decent looking games using only "C". Sega eventually released a much better SDK with the Graphics Library 2.0 and it made it so 3rd parties didn't have to program in assembly unless they really wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty. The Graphics Library 2.0 became available to 3rd parties right before Nights came out like Icarus said, but Sega themselves began using it with Sega Rally and Virtua Fighter 2. The PS was great at poly's (3 sided shapes) and the Saturn was best at quads (4 sided shapes). Both systems could do either/or when it came to polys and quads, but they had their own strengths. Sony had the advantage at what was happening to the final shapes AFTER they were rendered, such as lighting, transparency, etc.
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Old 02-27-2005, 08:39 AM   #1118
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I'll have a review up for Ys VI ~ The Ark of Napishtim soon. Then, I'll do Zelda ~ The Minish Cap and Tekken 5.
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Old 02-27-2005, 04:00 PM   #1119
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I'm going to state, like the rest have, that this is a wonderful review thread. I've been reading it since is started, but never cared to speak up.

Nice job. :cool guy:
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Old 02-28-2005, 08:17 AM   #1120
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Why thank you kindly. Did you register just to make that comment or are you now going to become a full-fledged member? If so, welcome aboard.

P.S. Ys VI goes up tommorrow. I'm beating it on Nightmare difficulty.
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Old 02-28-2005, 12:11 PM   #1121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578
Why thank you kindly. Did you register just to make that comment or are you now going to become a full-fledged member? If so, welcome aboard.

P.S. Ys VI goes up tommorrow. I'm beating it on Nightmare difficulty.
I imagine I'll become a full-fledged member. The wait has been overdue on my part.
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:24 AM   #1122
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Where have all the pikkards gone?

Ys VI ~ The Ark of Napishtim - PS2 - Rating 9
I'm spent. Over the course of these last several days I've virtually lived and breathed in the land of Ys. What did I know? Yeah, I've been through Ys Book I & II on several occasions and have completed Ys III on both the Turbo CD and SNES. Sadly, and rather ashamedly, I've yet to try Ys IV or V, but from what I've heard part V wasn't really all that good. That being said, you know a game is special when it sucks you in and doesn't let you go, no matter how hard you try. When you think of nothing but that particular game, even when you're not playing it. This may be the only time this generation besides the upcoming Phantasy Star Trilogy that I get completely absorbed in an adventure title. The RPGs of this generation just haven't cut it. Needless to say, Ys VI comes as a sigh of relief and a ray of hope for the future. Falcom is to be commended on a solid performance, and Konami deserves credit as well for not only bringing it out here but doing a damn good job in translating it as well.

Ys VI (pronounced "ease") originated on the PC and is now available for purchase on your PS2. Consider it your obligation to purchase this game within the next few days or so if you haven't already and thus support Konami/Falcom financially so that more companies will wake up and say, "Hey, look at that -- people really dig quality adventure games!" Yes, they do. And whaddya know? Maybe you'll see Ys VII sooner than you think.... But tragedy always finds a way of playing a part when it comes to fine products such as this. Not to go on a tirade but the lack of coverage for Ys VI in the media is an utter tragedy and all persons responsible ought to feel ashamed of what they've done.

...However, because you're reading my ?ber-quality review that must mean you have some gaming sense and therefore will make the purchase soon if you haven't already. And those of you who have already delved knee-deep into this mighty quest know just what kind of quality Ys VI represents -- it is a throwback to when quality gaming was the norm of the day, when people would discriminate against titles that looked great but had little-to-nill substance and were being educated by other smart minds in the gaming industry. Consider Ys Book I & II, a classic in its own right. It was every RPG/adventure gamers' dream: a sterling adventure chock full of great characters, foes, bosses, excellent graphics and design, a mind-blowing soundtrack (thanks, Yuzo).... all adding up to an extremely playable and enjoyable product. It even broke new ground with the addition of voice acting. Of course, voice acting has become commonplace today, and you can thank Falcom/Hudson Soft for that.

Ys VI doesn't really break any new grounds. Instead, you get the tried and true method of joy which has typified the series since its inception on the NEC PC88 series. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Good. Instead, Falcom has tweaked the gameplay by adding in actual sword swipes and combos. Although that was the case with Ys V on the Super Famicom, I think it's safe to assume that V has nothing on VI, so let's close the books on that one. Also, instead of equipping various magical rings, each Emelas sword, of which there are three, has its own special magical property which can be unleashed once the meter has filled. Almost everything else is the Ys you've grown to know and love. Although the animated cut scenes have been replaced with CG FMV, when you talk to people they are always represented with great artwork, some of which fills up half or even the entire screen during special instances. And everybody speaks to you audibly, and I mean everybody, no matter what is said (and a lot is said). In fact, you can speak to people at least a couple of times and they'll have something new to say. Furthermore, since there are only two towns, you'll become familiar with all of the characters. This allows the writers to cultivate the personalities and relationships much better than in your typical RPG wherein there's around 500-1,000 people and they all walk around like lifeless statues.

As if it needs to be said, the game is fantastic. It's all in 3D--glorious, resplendent 3D, mind you--and Falcom takes full advantage of this with meticulous dungeon designs, some of which share similarities with former Ys locations. Controlling Adol Christin is as effortless as ever. You can choose to use either the standard D-pad or the left analog stick, with the analog allowing full 360 degree rotation and movement. However, it's somewhat disappointing that you cannot make Adol walk unless you hold L2, even with the analog. Oh well. Most of your time is going to be spent running anyway so it's a non-issue. Adol can jump, dash-attack, dash jump, hack and slash (each sword has its own combos via the square button [default controls]), perform a leaping spin attack or downward thrust from midair, utilize each sword's magical properties to perform damaging attacks, use items, and more. You don't even need to enter the menu screen to equip different swords: simply use L1 & R1.

You wanna talk about challenging enemies? Ys VI's got 'em. I actually felt threatened on numerous occasions and died many times throughout the game, especially at bosses, and that was just the Normal difficulty setting. Immediately following my first playthrough, I played through it on Nightmare difficulty which opens up after you beat the game once, along with Time Attack mode. Yup, I skipped Hard difficulty and went straight for the hardest setting. The level of challenge on Nightmare is reminiscent of Legend of Oasis (Saturn), only without the insane difficulty of the puzzles; Ys is more of an action game than anything else. The boss fights require precision and exact timing, but if you're at a staggeringly high level then I don't think you'll have too much to worry about. Thankfully, if you die at a boss you can restart the fight as many times as is necessary, except in Alma's Trials. Note that you cannot enter the equip/status menu while fighting bosses, which is, again, just like former Ys titles.

Adol Christin and longtime buddy Dogi "The Wall Crusher" make their return. This time, they escape the clutches of the Romun Empire by way of pirate ship, along with an old acquaintance named Terra. They head towards the Great Vortex of Canaan, hoping to discover the hidden treasure which supposedly lies in its core. Well, Dogi is anything but elated when he learns of this. (Would you be happy if you knew that you were sailing towards a vortex!?) Anyway, they get attacked by the Romun Fleet while out at sea. Adol rescues Terra from falling into the ocean but winds up falling off the side of the ship himself and sinking into the depths of the ocean....
Adol winds up washing ashore a beach on Canaan Island. Fortunately, fate lends a hand as two girls with ivory skin, long pointy ears and fluffy tails happen upon his motionless body and help to bring him to their room. Those two girls being Olha, the older of the two and priestess of Rehdan Village, and her sister Isha, another priestess who has strange powers. Of course, Adol can't help but find himself surrounded by the ladies because he's a babe magnet?, but he's not the 'settling down' type, hence why he keeps going from place to place, kicking ass and then heading out to kick even more ass! Because of Olha's gentle, kind disposition and loving personality, she's immediately fond of Adol, the short-haired Eresian (what the local villagers call 'short-eared,' tailless humans), and as the quest progresses develops more heartfelt feelings for him. However, at the outset of the game there's a certain air of animosity towards "Adol the Red" because he is considered an outsider to the Rehdans -- they want him to leave as soon as possible. At first, there's nothing overly dramatic going on, until one of the Wandering Calamity makes its appearance....

The story starts off slow but develops into a full-blown spectacle filled with suspense and hidden personal motives. The conflict between the Eresians and Rehdans is played out very well, and you cannot help but feel somewhat sorry for Adol for always putting his life on the line to help others, even those who are ungrateful and mean to him. But.... that's just the way it is. I loved the character interaction. However, some of the voice acting wasn't to my liking, especially Terra. :annoyed: I cannot stand her. In fact, I loathe her appearances. I just want to watch the relationship between Adol and Olha grow, but then this stupid bimbo has to interject herself into everything. Just once, I wished for Adol to backhand her in the face and tell her to shut up and go away. She adds nothing at all to the game.

Speaking of the title, "The Ark of Napishtim," this is at the core of the game's story but you'll just have to play it to learn more about it.

The graphics are awesome throughout the game's entirety. There's a certain 2D feel to the visuals, even though they're 3D. The animation is good and the enemies are very well designed, although with a somewhat more organic feel than in previous Ys titles. There's an abundance of plant and wildlife creatures roaming about, albeit mutated versions, and then there's the standard stuff like various colors of slimes and cockroaches which spew weird tentacles or something from their heads. Expect to transverse lots of tropical areas, caverns, mountains, and the inner sanctums of an ancient underground area. There's plenty of exploration with a small dose of backtracking. To Falcom, the smaller details are just as important as the larger ones. You'll catch the shadows of clouds passing over Adol while transversing green pastures, breathe in the fog and moisture within the dark confines of a cavern leading towards the bottom of a precipice behind the island, and survey massive statues while navigating down a deep stairway. Although you have no control over the camera, it matters not as everything is done from an overhead perspective so that you can see everything without getting lost, with a few instances where the camera is placed at a distance from behind Adol for dramatic effect.

Ys VI's soundtrack is probably the best I've heard yet this generation. There are more symphonic songs in certain areas, but then there's the typical hyper-synth Ys motifs that I've grown to know and love, accenting the experience just enough without becoming an unwanted distraction. There are two--count 'em, TWO--seperate overworld themes for the different sections of Canaan Island, and both are vintage joy through and through. I cannot begin to express the sheer aural brilliance which occurs upon descent into the final area: a techno-like movement evocative of the 32-bit era stuff, or the triumphant entrance music into any one of Alma's Trials -- just let the game sit idle, absorb it and allow it to unfold on you. The voice acting is well done, aside from Terra and a few other characters, but you can skip over anything you want or simply turn off voices altogether if you should so desire to. The sound effects are great, as expected. Just one small sidenote: sometimes, when I would enter an area and a song would start up it would play for about three seconds and then restart. I'm not sure if this is the game's fault or my PS2. Either way, I don't care that much.

Had Ys VI ~ The Ark of Napishtim been released here last year, I would've given it game of the year over Astro Boy (GBA), hands down. There's plenty more to discuss about this game -- the hidden cheats, Time Trial, etc. -- but I'll leave it all for you to discover for yourself. There's more than enough secrets, hidden items, action and adventure to keep you busy for hours on end. Having this much fun reminded me of gaming's glory days and is a proud return to form for Falcom which had once fallen from grace after the devastation of Ys V. Yes folks, Falcom's BACK!

Here's the official Falcom site for YS VI ~ http://www.falcom.co.jp/ys6/
And be sure to check out RPGamer's coverage ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/ys/ys6/ys6.html

Cheat codes~
Go into the Cheat room and perform the following codes to open up hidden, extra features. Each color is represented with a letter: Red = R, Blue = B and Yellow = Y. You hit each orb a set amount of time as shown by the corresponding numbers and then perform a downward thrust into the center platform in the room to activate the code. Depending on the code, when you leave the room the difficulty select should be highlighted in red. These codes will only work if you start up a new game.

Default code (imput this in order to make the others work): R1, B1, Y1, R1, B1, Y1
PS2 Mode with Japanese voices/English text: Y1, R4, B1
PC Mode with English voices/Anime cinemas: Y2, R2, B1
PC Mode with Japanese voices/Anime cinemas: Y2, R4, B1
Activate all special features: R4, B4, Y4, B2, Y2, R2
Olha bikini (Japanese): R5, B3, Y1, R1, B2, Y3
Ohla bikini (English): B5, Y3, R, B, Y2, R3
--Tip: When speaking to Olha, press Triangle to close the message window and you'll just see her illustration.
Start new game at highest level (Lv60): R2, B2, Y2, R2, B2, Y2
Watch the Opening CG in Japanese audio/English subtitles. B4, Y1, R1

"Wanna get your walls crushed?" ~ Dogi

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Old 03-01-2005, 07:49 PM   #1123
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Dogi is in this game?

T's music never had anything to do with Y's. Y's 1, 2, 3, and 4 were all arranged by Ryo Yomenitsu for the PC Engine CD-ROM.
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Old 03-02-2005, 01:34 AM   #1124
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yes, dogi is back.

great review, icarus. a 9/10... i NEW it!
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:54 AM   #1125
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Joe, I know that Falcom Sound Team did the music, but the thought had occured to me for some reason because I heard that from somewhere, though I didn't recall seeing their name (T's Music) during the credits. I was just making sure. Off-topic: I noticed that there were a lot of Korean developers. Did Falcom open a new studio outside of Japan?

gearhound, it deserves a Rating 9. However, I know a game which definitely doesn't deserve that high rating by the name of Tekken 5. I've beaten it with over half of the characters and will review it tomorrow after I'm through with it. My brother found a ton of codes for Ys VI and I've gotta ask him where he found them.
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