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"Samara begs Mary Sue to tell her that her Eyeball of Evil is not evil. 'Aren't you the same as me? Miss [Mary Sue]?' 'Well, see, my manifestation of Valmar is a voluptuous vixen, whereas yours is a grotesque monster,' Mary Sue needs to explain. Instead, she hugs Samara, who pushes her away. I think it's safe to say that Mary Sue has no self preservation skills."
     -Jeanne, Grandia II Part 6

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12.05.02 :: Malboros Suck Ass

The opinions in this letters column aren't necessarily those of Jeanne Rubbo, owner of Even so, Jeanne owns *us* and has locked us in a dark closet with Tidus and Rinoa until we think of something funny. HELP! In the meantime, send in your comments, queries, whining, flames, spam, opinions, facts, opinions that you think are facts, and general idiocy to

It's Mailbag Time once again, faithful VGR readers! We hope everyone had a fun and festive (not in the way that Squall is festive--we mean getting drunk and eating pie) Thanksgiving. After a week's hiatus, we've got some lovely letters on the various random scourges of RPG Land. Can you guess the monster that everyone seems to hate? Well, you'll know by the end of the column, because we're gonna beat you over the head with it. Onward!

He likes trains
I loathe and despise the random crab mini-bosses in Suikoden III!!! You first encounter them at set points in the game and can get cool treasures if you A) Survive the Encounter and B) Kill the B*st*rd! Being as they have thousands of life points to your mere hundreds and can wipe out your party in one turn, they are a joy. But wait! There is more! Once you defeat these mini-bosses, you can get two bottle of orange clean for $19.95! (Sorry! Damned infomercials!) What I meant to say is after you defeat these mini-bosses they turn into random mini-bosses who appear at random when you least expect it - usually in the middle of some 3-hour mini-quest with no save points - and wipe your party out, because they are no easier to beat than the first time, and now they don't give you the neat mega-treasure chest if you whomp their arse! I hate them! I'd rather watch Tidus and Rinoa procreate....

(I just HAD to work that in! I love trains! Keyahahahahahaha!!!!)

Cat Slave, you really need to lay off the caffeine. I'm telling you this as a friend. Since I've yet to play Suikoden, I am going to leave the meat of your letter for the fantabulous LC to address. But one more letter like this one, and I'm arranging an intervention. And just for the record, Orange Clean? is a very good cleaning product, even if Billy Mays a hyperactive sod with no apprehension that screaming at the camera only makes him look worse. You don't want to be the next Billy Mays - do you?


First things first. You deserve a severe beating for AGAIN bringing up the idea of Tidus and Rinoa doing it (like we didn't get enough of that last week). But I'll let you off easy this time, since I'm not sure how much you'd consider a beating from me a punishment. You silly fanboys.

As for the Crabs in Suikoden III, I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. I know the mini-boss you speak of, but this "wiping out the entire party in one hit" thing is foreign to me. And by the time I confronted them in random battles, I was cool enough to survive it just fine. CS, methinks you need to level up some more. BTW, you'll find that most bosses in these crazy videogames known as "RPGs" have substantially more hit points than your party members.

?Suikoden III has mini-quests? This is news.

And I heartily share AG's sentiments about Billy Mays. I have nightmares about that guy and his goddamn cleaning products and hands-free cell phone adapters. *shudder*


Malboros Suck -- Part 1
*Okay, I have two entries, in case one is already taken. Put up both, if you wish.*

Piss-Me-Off Enemy #1: Great Marlboro from FFX

Confusion, Poison, Berserk. What kind of attack is that? Two horrible, horrible words: Bad Breath. The most wicked attack in the entire game, in my opinion. When I was going through the game, I was decimated by the power of this attack. And the monster always has the first move.

Piss-Me-Off Enemy #2: Red Core, Cactaur, or any monster that is super-fast and escapes from battle 99.9999% of the time before you can even take one swing at it, which won't matter because it has super-high evasiveness, and even that won't matter because if it stays in battle too long, then it will cast a oblivion spell that will wipe out the entire party and leave you sobbing. (From any RPG in known universe)

I have nothing to say on this one. XD


RPG, the Great Malboro in FFX doesn't always have the first move. Some weapons in FFX have this great thing called First Strike, which allows you to have the first move, and you can also use the weapons customizing feature to add it to any weapon you like once you have enough of the required refining item. I granted First Strike to my beloved Auron so he could make himself even more useful and deal hellacious damage to any given creature. A little Auto-Haste didn't hurt matters, either. I've found that many of the creatures you mention for your second "piss off" are also beatable, once you've progressed enough in the game to know their tricks and have improved your own attack to the point where you can take them out. I'm going back to FFX again as an example. In the Sanubia Desert, you'll often come across a Cactaur or two as you schlep around playing in the sand. Provided that you're past the fight with Yunalesca, your party should be heavily armed. This is one instance where Wakka really comes in handy. If you've taken Wakka out on Auron's grid, the big oaf (sorry, Susi!) should be a force to be reckoned with. And while a Cactaur will take off running once Auron or even Tidus has taken a swat at him, the little beastie won't see the blitzball coming and stand there to take the abuse. Before you know it, the spiky little bastard's gone to meet his maker, and you're 10,000 AP points richer, along with a nice cache of Gil to boot.


Well, I have to give RPG credit here: even with First Strike and Auto-Haste, I still had a hell of a time with those dastardly Great Marlboros. Not even close to the time I had with some other Marlboros (see below) but they are tough sons of bitches. As are those nasty fellows in the Omega Ruins that petrify (like I remember the name). Ooh, those suck.

As for those "run away before you can kill ?em" guys, those should always be reserved, if possible, until you're much cooler and, more importantly, much faster. Example: in Lunar 2, you can find little dog-creatures called Chiros in the White Dragon Cave. They're way too fast to kill when you first go through that dungeon, but if you go back later, and bust out ALL your offense to get them in one turn, you're essentially guaranteed a level-up for your entire party. Lather, rinse, repeat. After about 15 minutes, you're quite a bit stronger and ready to do all those fun optional epilogue dungeons.

I am SUCH a loser.


Blast from the past
Once again, I find myself writing on my computer machine to send letters to you fine young ladies!

In case my letter from the "RPG gameplay" week regarding challenge wasn't obvious enough, FFIV holds a special place in my heart as a great classic of RPGing. It threw its fair share of tough monsters at you, especially near the end of the game. Ones that stick out in memory are:

-Behemoth: Maybe you saw him in FF8; his FF4 version had him as being much more powerful, both with physical attacks and a Storm attack (everyone's HP reduced to a random single digit). Very frightening to encounter. And in the last area, you sometimes encountered TWO.

-EvilMask: This charming little fellow would cast Wall on himself, followed by barrages of Holy spells on himself (of course reflecting onto your own party). His high HP count didn't make killing him by swords very easy either.

-Breath: A gaseous being that was quite solid when hit, he had the annoying habit of using Charm on 3 party members at once. Rather annoying to have to keep curing them or hitting them to cure them.

-Tricker: Looks just like the staple Imp from the first area of the game, except floating. He's easy if you figure out his secret; he'll constantly cast Peep (Scan) on himself and show that he's weak against lightning. However, using any lightning spells against him will cause him to start a heavy attacking of Lightning 3 spells, and his magic stat is also extremely high, meaning even at around level 60, you'd be dead in about 5-6 attacks.

Well, there you have it. Tough cookies from what I consider to be a great game.

~Alex Magusaka

I am not what you would call even remotely hardcore; as such, I've never played FFIV. I plan to, but my infamous backlog has kept it out of my PSX. Don't flame me, fanboys. Nevertheless, those sound like some headache-incuding bastards. Here I am, bitching about Tonberries in FFVIII when I've never experienced a double-Behemoth battle. Shame on me.


Alex, you're bringing back memories for me, I'll say that. Strange, isn't it that the monsters really haven't gone through very many changes over the course of the Final Fantasy games? I mean, they may go through a cosmetic change here or there to match the style, or they may have a feature added or removed from their attacks, but in essence most of the monsters you meet are still the same old baddies you know and loathe to come across in a dark dungeon. Now some may call that a lack of imagination, or a reliance on the formula. But when you get right down to it, most RPG's have the same story at their heart; some are just better at telling it than others. I like to call it a veneration of tradition.


A sad story
First, a couple of monsters that I hate:

I @$#%ing hate malboros. Especially in FFX, especially when not equipped with First Strike, and especially after leveling up for a while without saving. Whatever genius thought it would be "cool" to create a monster that hits you with every bad status effect without giving you a choice of whether or not you want to escape first needs to be shot.

I've also grown to hate Bombs, particularly the ones that require ten minutes of animation. Yes, they grow when you hit them. We get it. When the total animation takes longer than the whole rest of the battle, that's too damn much.

Now, for horror stories. Back when I was stupid, I thought it would be cool to climb that one tower in FF6 (the one where you can only use magic) with non-magic users. I didn't do this on purpose -- I did it because I was, like I said, stupid. Well, my entire party got berserked. I had Setzer equipped with some weapon that could kill in one hit, but the monsters in the tower all regenerated when that happened. Every time someone got close to killing a monster, Setzer killed it in one hit and it came back. I was stuck in an endless loop in a stupid random battle. I had to do the entire tower over. This time I used the Moogle Charm.


Jeanne, I think we've all had those stupid moments. "I can take this fight! I don't need to stop off at the handy merchant stall and stock up on potions and healing items! Wha? Killed again?" For me, it has to be my pathetic junctioning and provisioning at the end of FFVIII. Serves me right for not buying a strat guide, I guess. As for your hatred of the Malboros, well, it's a hatred shared everywhere. It's only fitting for a creature ostensibly named after a product that kills you, and gives you bad breath while it's about it.


Ugh. Bombs. FFX's Bombs in particular had me in fits for that very reason. There I was, in the Omega Ruins, trying to do some leveling up, trying to find some needed items. Bombs just happened to carry said items. I had to sit through at least nine "Let's grow bigger and take all day about it" animations before they blew up all over my party and I realized I needed more firepower to kill them. Though it could be worse-- I could have set through all that only to have Auron or Kimahri kill them in one hit.

And AG is right--everyone hates Marlboros. Hell, that was the freaking inspiration for this week's topic.


Fear the elves
Hello there, mailbag mistresses, and congratulations on your new recapping careers!

Though there are many tough random monsters in RPGs, only a select few have caused me to raise my fist in impotent rage. These terrors, as far as I'm concerned, require little strategy other than "Hit 'em HARD and FAST!" Problem is, unless you've been leveling up a lot, _they_ hit harder and faster than you.

- The DoReMi elves from Suikoden II. Those little bastards and their fondness for group attacks have given me many a hard battle. The worst part is how their 6-elves group attack is _weaker_ than the 3-elves one. WTF?

- Malboro. Bad Breath is a pain in the arse, that's all I have to say.

- The dragons from Star Ocean 2. Strong tail attacks, high HP and a breath attack that either a) kills my mages at full health, or b) kills my fighters, who are already weakened from all those tail blows.

There are probably others, but alas, time is not at my side [insert rant on the ATB system].

~Quartz Falcon

QF, I'm sure we could rant for days on the failings of the ATB system, but that, alas, was a past mailbag. And I'll say it again. Everyone hates the Malboro. Those tentacled, toothy bastards can make leveling up a living nightmare. I can't tell you how many times while in the Calm Lands I was screaming, "Shit! Auron's confused! SHHHIIITTT!!!" since one good whack from the Red-Coated Sex Machine could pretty well do in any other person in the party. Oh, sure, Bad Breath does not affect them anymore, but they're dead. What good does that do you? And the FFVIII version of the Malboro was even worse, since a gradual petrification spell was also in the mixture. Oh, great. Look at the pretty statue of Squally. And look, here's the Game Over screen since my entire party was decimated. And look, here's the controller, hitting the wall! You get the idea.


THE DO-RE-MI ELVES!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!! *kills self*

Not only are they quite possibly the scariest random monster in RPG history--I mean, Jeebus, look at them--but they can easily take out even the coolest of parties. They always come in full parties of six, they ALWAYS use their best attacks, and THEIR SINGING IS FUCKING HORRIBLE!!! THE PAIN!!!

*huff huff*

Thanks for evoking painful memories, QF. I owe you one. *goes to sob in a corner*


Well, kids, that's it. Malboros suck. They suck ass. Square knows it, you know it, dogs know it. For this next mailbag we're going to take a little change of pace and talk about puzzle games. Do you play them at all? Do you go with the old stand-by games (Bust-A-Move) or does it take something a little shinier (like, say, Super Monkey Ball) to entertain you? Got any "I played for 25 hours straight and couldn't beat the last level" horror stories? We want to hear it all! Just make sure that you say your piece before Tuesday, December 10 at 8:00 p.m. EST, or the Mailbag Spirit of Doom will eat your soul. Going around soulless is no fun. All the people with souls will only laugh at you.

Until next week, roll those Monkey Balls!

- AG and Lita-chan

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