Rare Items In JRPG’s Dilemma

We’ve all done it. 80 hours into a JRPG and we have 8 Max Potions and 5 Max Ethers. Too rare to spend on a run of the mill enemy or boss encounter. No no no no, these are only fit for end game conflicts. That’s when the real challenge begins. Oh wait, there’s the credits? Oh……OK.

Like greedy squirrels we hoard our saving graces for THOSE fights. Usually at the end of the game or a steep difficulty boss encounter that separates the boys from the men. But how do you know when it’s the end of the game? A lot of the time I find the final boss creeps up quicker than previously perceived. You go through 77 hours of gameplay and then the last 3 hours are the boss build up. But in that build up there will be only several real challenges. Not only that, but there’s always that doubt in the back of the mind. You know the one. ‘What if the alleged final boss, isn’t the final boss? What if there’s something else pulling the strings and there’s another 20 hours left?’. I’ve had that happen in Person 4, to get the true ending it adds another 10 or so hours to the game. That seed of doubt is planted and forever remains.

So how would you feel about a cheeky heads up? Maybe not mandatory. However, what if at the start of the game you get the option to enable a notification of item usage? Perhaps a notification equal to the elite recovery item of the game. In FFX for example, the big restorative item is the Megaelixir. This wonderful item fully restores all the parties HP and MP. It’s a very rare item. On my first playthrough I finished with 4 leftover. Which is a shame because I scraped by on a few fights and 1 of those would have given easy victory. The Witcher 3 has a moment where you get a pop up telling you that you are entering the final stretch of the game. Which is very handy but The Witcher 3 doesn’t have super rare one use items like the Megaelixir, as far as I can recall, so that’s why I’m using JRPG’s as the focus. If you could enable a prompt that would alert you to the upcoming final uses for THE restorative item, would you use it? Say it informed you based on double the amount of THAT one item. You have 3 Megaelixir’s so you get notified before the final 6 boss fights. Then you have ample opportunity to use it if you so wish.

max elixir
Finding one of these is like that moment when you put on an old jacket and find £5 in the pocket.

Obviously the pros are that you get a heads up so you can go hog wild on your best items. The downside is more immersion based. Not only does a prompt take you out of the game world, but also it informs you of how much of the game you have left. As I said earlier, sometimes there is a big bad behind the big bad. That is a nice surprise when it happens. However, if you’ve just used all your items on the fake big bad, it could be infuriating for some. Or when you beat a boss and after a cutscene it evolves into a harder opponent. There’re ups and downs to this idea but a choice is always welcome. The thrill of using that item you got dozens of hours ago to take down that final boss is a very satisfying feeling. But when a game suddenly end, those items are a lost opportunity. Yes, you beat the game without them but THAT item yield’s so much power and gravitas that it’s a waste when they’re not used.

Anyway, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments or regale me with super item woes. Thanks for reading.

Where’s My Team Buddies Reboot?!

Has anyone else played this Playstation game? That’s rhetorical, I know others have because there are Youtube videos of it but have you, the reader played it? If you have please message me and let me know because I have never spoken to anyone who has. Whenever I mentioned it to friends in the past and to this day, they haven’t a clue what I’m on about. I had so much fun playing this and its gameplay is perfect for an online team based game. I know there are a lot of games people want rebooted or a sequel, more well known ones than my choice. I loved Timesplitters 2 and Future Perfect but come on, Team Buddies needs some reboot love folks.

Team Buddies grid
Those arrows are confusing. Where can I put this box?

For those of you asking what the hell I’m on about, I’ll explain the premise. So Team Buddies is a game centred around the collection of boxes. Thrilling, I know! You play as these walking pill looking people of all colours of the rainbow. It’s a team based game where you and the enemy teams fight over crates that you then put on your team crafting pad to create weapons/teammates/vehicles. You then use all of what you made to destroy your enemies and to destroy their base to stop their future production. Different layouts of boxes yield different results. Not only that and I may be getting this detail mixed up, but I believe different levels make different types of characters and different types of weapons. So for instance, on one level you place a block down and you create a shotgun. On another level your characters are ninjas and one block yields shurikens whilst 4 blocks, lying flat in a square formation makes a rocket launcher. 8 blocks in cube formation will create a vehicle for your team, these include tanks and planes.

team_buddies_by_flash_gavo-d5ovxly
Look at this! Barely out of the 90’s but still full of attitude

 

What I loved about this game was the tactics you could utilise. You could hurry and make a shotgun and try to take down an enemy’s base straight away. You might succeed and eliminate a whole team but then you’ve just let the other 2 teams gather boxes and create an army. Or do you grab the boxes and launch them in your pads generally direction and hope nobody steals them while you’re away? It makes me laugh because there is an almost eerie calm before the storm in Team Buddies. The average map will have teams in opposite directions and a middle ground where the boxes continuously drop from the sky on to. Usually everyone starts with one person per team and then they have to make their own squad. 4 per team I believe. And so, the first minute of the match is usually a grab and chuck match as each colour pill is lobbing crates to their bases. Then the madness begins. Soon every team has 2 people and some with weapons. Now the fight for the crates turns lethal. Bullets hail across the map and boxes punted out of pill people’s hands. And sometimes, rare blue coloured boxes fall the sky. Manna from heaven! You can bet your bum that if you make a grab for those, you become target numero uno.

Team buddies cat
Silly cat, this is a battlefield! Home is that way!

The game features a variety of modes. Single player has scenario modes and levels and multiplayer has your now standard fare of mode. Deathmatch, Domination, Capture etc. The game featured up to 4 player multiplayer and each player could create 3 additional AI teammates. Not only that but you can swap control to another buddy with the touch of a button. Can you imagine the chaos? I wish I had friends and a multitap back then!  Also, the game featured different personalities for different buddie types. The standard buddies had a cockney accent and were boisterous, while the ninjas had bad ‘engrish’…..maybe leave that out of the reboot. Nevertheless, these quirky characteristics combined with the tongue in cheek humour and film references made me fall in love with the game. Plus,he mild cursing helped. Hey, as a teenager and formally a Nintendo kid at that, swearing was uncommon back then in gaming. My mind was blown the following year when Conker’s Bad Fur Day was released.

I do wish the game garnered more attention and a bigger fan base. From what I can gather the game had a limited release and it’s hard for an IP to make a mark. Especially with how unique and cartoony the game looked, I can imagine that didn’t help it when next to serious looking games like Tomb Raider and commercial successes like Crash Bandicoot. I love team based games and just the idea of this in an online way makes me very happy and sad that it didn’t happen. I know the idea of a reboot or spiritual successor is a pipe dream but I still want to live in that dream sometimes.  The game is pure chaotic fun and its cartoonish graphics have helped it stave off the ugliness of some early 3D games.  It’s not a perfect game but me and my sister used to have a great time playing this together.  If you can, if you have a way to play this game, if you have a copy somewhere or even through emulation, give the game a go. Better yet, give it a go with a friend or friends. I think you’ll enjoy it.