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Late as it may seem, but here are The Contact's exploits in the recently concluded (recently, duh!) E3 Gaming Convetion. The lucky guy got an eyeful of barely clad ladies while dodging bunny girls offering "gentlemen exclusive shows". He said he refused, however, we here in the Sanctuary have our doubts. ~whistle~

In what is undoubtedly a Mecca to any serious gamer, E3 has proven to be one of the most interesting and engaging experiences of this gamer's life. Of key interest was the various companies launching RPGs. This, of course, meant that I spent a good deal of time at the various Square/Squaresoft/SquareEA booths. Booths, however, is a misnomer. What they really have at E3 are shrines. Often times, very colorful shrines with incredible lighting and decorations of both material and female forms. Suffice to say, it has been a blast.

Needless to say, Squaresoft had some great announcements. The first of these was Ehrgeiz, the arcade fighter featuring cameo appearances by Final Fantasy 7 characters. Nothing new here if you've been to an aracde last year (as now, the game is pretty much replaced by Power Gem, etc.). It will ship for the PSX in Spring 1999 (like... almost now :)

Also seen was Chocobo Racing- a Mario Kart look-alike staring some Final Fantasy creatures such as the chocobo and the moogle. The feel of the game is like a pop-up book, organized into chapters. You can also edit your character and save it to a memory card for use in other game modes later on. Expect it sometime in Fall 1999.

Parasite Eve 2's Aya Sporting a new hairdo We were lucky enough to get a brief glimpse at Parasite Eve 2. Interesting to say the least. Parasite Eve is to "Escape from New York" as Parasite Eve 2 is to "Escape from LA." Yes, it even takes place in LA. The viral fun has just begun! A short film teaser was shown featuring Aya who now sports a new seductive haircut, along with deadlier foes. The clip ended with a cliche that's as exciting as dishwater, "She's back!".
The other game sharing our loveable Final Fantasy work-horse is Chocobo's Dongeon 2, an adventure RPG. The game play is essentially like most of Square's RPGs in that it uses the traditional Active Time Battle. One of the more interesting features of this game is a Random Dongeon Generator (ala Diablo/Diablo II). This helps keep the game fresh each time you play. Of course, you'll have to be able to stand the nausiatingly cute SD hero, Chocobo (I mean they make this thing wayyyyyy too cute, it's hard to watch). We'll be seeing this released sometime in early 2000.
One of the few non-FMV marketed games I saw was SaGa Frontier II. Like it's predecessor, SaGa Fronteir II offers a multi-level free scenario system. Too bad they didn't have a demo (or not that I saw). But the game almost looks dated compared to all the computer generated models for the other games. Not that I disliked it, but the lack of memory in the PSX makes the hand-drwan sprites look very pixilated (like Xenogears). Some of the nicer things in the game were the watercolor 2D environments and the batle modes. The battle modes were either duel, team, or strategic. We should be seing this gem on store shelves come early 2000.
The big title I've been waiting to see was Final Fantasy Anthology. The little promo in the virtual expereince they had gave me goosebumps. As they said, I relived the journies, the victories and defeats, and the passion of the now classic Final Fantasy V and VI. I've only played half of Final Fantasy V on emulator, so I was excited to be able to finally play the game when it is released (or if they are so kinda as to send me my press demo copy :). Final Fantasy VI, of course, is an amazing piece of work, despite the fact they didn't show any gameplay in the promo (well, the in-game graphics are nothing compared to today's standard, but they were pretty nonetheless). Final Fantasy VI, being one of my all time favorite games, will have a new home in my Playstation this winter (as I know the battery in my FF3US copy at home will be dead any moment now). Perhaps the coolest thing about the game is the new FMV, with the characters being well translated from Amano's origianl character design into 3D. Brought goosebumps all over me!
What's bugging you, sonny? The one game that was hard to find at E3 was Final Fantasy VIII. And if you believe that, then you should also know that I look like Squall without the scar, and with a better complexion. Seriously, this game looks to be the greatest thing since interactive entertainment. One of the odd things was that the game seemed to be marketed as "a mix of action and adventure with an added touch of romance."
Let's get serious here folks. It's a love story with a backdrop of action and adventure. It's a fantastic game, and the Dual Shock controller made it all the better (analog controls are great :). The menus look really nice, but no longer the classic blue that we've learned to grow and love. It's now a textured grey gradient, which made it look very sleek. The battles are incredible! Despite my earlier skepticism about the draw ability, it really was well thought out and was very fun. The story (what little I saw of it) is beautiful. Character development is far more clear than it was in Final Fantasy VII (which is a really really really good thing). This also marks the first time that your apparent main evil boss is female. She's one scary sorceress! Yes, I saw the dance scene on a very large screen, as well as several other clips from the game's FMV. Wow. I'm a big story fan, so it was very exciting to see what seemed to be a very interesting story. The gameplay is also excellent. I don't want to give too much away, which is why I'm not going into details. But from what I saw/heard/played, you WILL enjoy this game. The PSX version comes out this fall, with the PC version (also very good, but the version I saw was in Japanese so I didn't understand it but the 3D was beautiful) coming out later in the winter.
In related news, the PSX2 demos they had featuring Square work was very nice. Basically the same thing as the movies, but it's really cool to see it done in real-time. The other neat thing was an entire scene recreated from Final Fantasy 8 at the Sony area. There was a large embossed 20 foot statue of Squall there. The one rule at E3: must be larger than life. Which is what it was. Ppppplayst-t-tation!!!
So, dear reader, if you ever have the opportunity to go to E3 next year, do so. It's a gamer's paradise.