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Mailbag!
June 19th, 2002

Letís just get straight to the questions, shall we? If you have a question just drop me a line at jmichaelneal@comcast.net and Iíll do my best to help you out.

Q: Does anyone see the point in having it [current time] saved on the ps2? The only use Iíve seen for it is to see when you last saved a game, but even thatís not important. So... what uses can you think up for games to utilize the date/time feature?

A: Time stamping aside the clock will eventually play a major role in your interaction with your PS2. One of the first PS2 titles, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2, used it to unlock hidden holiday-themed Easter eggs on special dates like New Years and Halloween. In the future games will eventually use it to maintain real-time environment alterations. A game could theoretically change the season to match what time of year it is where you live, altering the very setting of the game. Imagine a game where a secret cave waited on the other side of an immense lake, and the only way to reach such a cave would be to wait until the winter season came, freezing the lake and allowing you to cross on foot. Or imagine a game where certain resources, like fruit, fish, or herbs, were only available during certain times of the year. A game could also shift from night to day according to what time it actually is while youíre playing it, like Segaís Shenmue for example. Shenmue used that ability to create time-based missions and objectives, which meant you had to be somewhere at a specific time in order for it to complete an objective or you actually had a set number of days to activate something important.

____________________________________

Q: How do I use Lulu's overdrive? I've even tried pushing all buttons, but nothing seems to work. What's the trick?

A: I know what you mean. The first dozen times Luluís overdrive was active I was at a lost as to what to do as well. What you need to do is rotate the right analog stick in a clockwise motion as many times as possible before the time runs out. Every time you rotate 360o you will get a point and at the end of the timer you will cast the spell that many times. While this can be useful the first few hours of gameplay, her overdrive becomes practically worthless after attaining skills like Demi, Ultima, or the level 3 elementals (Firaga, Thundaga, Blizzaga, and Wataga) in conjunction with Magical Boost and Doublecast. You can do so much more damage with your regular magic attacks it makes using her overdrive a waste of a perfectly good turn.

____________________________________

Q: What with the price break, I just picked up a PS2, and I'm looking to rent a couple of games. So what are some good ones that I can finish in less than 20 hours? I hate renting a game and not solving it. Then I either have to rent it again or buy it. Done both. And also, what are the best games to buy? Which have the best replay value and take forever to finish?

A: Games you could finish in on rental (yet are still worth playing) include Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid 2, ICO, Rez, Baldurís Gate: Dark Alliance, Spy Hunter, Frequency, and Max Payne. Games that you can play until the end of the world include SSX Tricky, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, Grand Theft Auto 3, Virtua Fighter 4, Final Fantasy X, UFC: Throwdown, and Medal of Honor Frontline.

We usually list gameplay times in most of our reviews, so don't forget to browse our review section too.


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