Playstation (U.S.) Games

See my Main Page for information on button representations.
NOTE: I here give due credit to PSM Online where I first found portions of the following.


Armored Core: Project Phantasma

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- Hold [squ] and [select] while hitting X to go to the AC name entry screen and you can change your pilot name instead.
- AC suggestions: Here are a few ACs I've worked with and found to be particularly good (note: you may need to change a few parts to meet financial limitations earlier in the game)

-Shade (lightweight, relatively cheap, and thus good for starting out; also has exceptional flight ability), grade FINE
HD-ONE
XCL-01
AN-K1
LN-501 (opt. LN-2KZ-SP)
WG-RFM118
LS-3303
WC-01QL
B-T2
GBG-10000
FBMB-18X
Equip just about all option parts (I'd only leave out the missile display and auto-launch add-ons), the recoil reduction and energy/solid damage shields are the most crucial for survival, and the anti-missile-lock device is very helpful.
Later in the game, keep WM-S60/6 (missiles), M118-TD (ammo pack), WC-CN35 (chain gun, earn it) and perhaps a rocket launcher around for flexibility.
-TARGET (mid-heavyweight, higher AP, with quite significant firepower, my thanks to Andrew for this design); grade FINE
HD-D-9066
XXA_SO
AN-3001
LNKS-1B46J
WG-XFPPk
LS-3303
WC-IR24
no eq
B-P351
GBX-XL
QX-21
Equip option parts as you see fit, but the energy output and consumption-reduction parts are highly recommended.

-Titan (Heavyweight. This is a tank. You will be surpassed in speed by stationary objects, but very few objects, stationary or mobile, will be able to get in your way. Offensive point in excess of 8000, and a pricetag that will require you to play a while before construction), grade GREAT
HD-ONE
XCH-01
AW-XC65
LC-UKI60
no eq
no eq
WC-IR24
WC-IR24
no eq
GBX-XL
QX-9009
Energy management parts are CRUCIAL for this AC. Be sure you do anything you can to reduce strain on the generator, unless you want to be a sitting duck while you wait for your energy arsenal to recharge. Aside from that, equip what you want (the recoil part, however, is rarely of much use in heavyweights).

Azure Dreams

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- With due respect and credit, I have taken up a revision of PSXMTL's Azure Dreams Tactical FAQ containing tips, tricks, and now close to complete item and monster lists. While not as complete as I'd like it to be, it is as of this posting more thorough than the version on all major game FAQ sites. I post it with the intent to bring it even closer to completion once I have access to my copy of the game again.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

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- Use the cancel (O) button to click the team buttons in the following orders (if you make a mistake, just click a button with the ['select'] button, usually X):

- [squ] [squ] O X [tri] O for more money
- O X O [tri] [squ] [tri] and select the "nuke" icon that will appear in the "special" button in the toolbar. Place the targeter over the area you want to get rid of and hit ['select'] (usually X)
- X [squ] [squ] O [tri] O to win any level
- X [squ] [squ] O [tri] O in a multi-player game for an effect I haven't been able to test (I've heard it called "Soylent Green"). If you have info, please e-mail me.

Final Fantasy Tactics

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Part Chess, part D&D, part Final Fantasy, and perhaps a dash of Risk rolled into one. The original FFT was an excellent game for its time, and in certain aspects of enjoyability, even if not replayability, outshines the GBA sequel.

The core element of FFT is its job system. Properly advancing characters and knowing what jobs to use in what situations is key to winning battles and advancing the plot. Below are all available jobs, their requisites (knowing these makes the game MUCH more playable, without detracting from the enjoyable sorts of difficulty), and my own analyses of their value:
- Squire
- Requisites: none
- Usually Equips: light armor, daggers, swords
- Learns: various and sundry Basic Skills
- Recommended: for all characters until they learn Gained JP Up and perhaps Counter Tackle
- Chemist
- Requisites: none
- Usually Equips: light armor, daggers
- Learns: to deliver Items
- Recommended: for all characters until they learn Potion and Phoenix Down, then as a secondary Action ability until you build up some serious magical healing. Not a bad stand-alone support unit to have one of, either, since it can throw items quite far. Just be sure to beef up movement to maximize its value.
- Knight
- Requisites: Squire (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: heavy armor, swords, shields
- Learns: to Break things
- Recommended: mainly as a stepping stone to Monk and beyond, but can be valuable strategically against human enemies if all equipment breaks are learned. Seems physically underpowered for a job designed purely to break stuff.
- Archer
- Requisites: Squire (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, bows
- Learns: Charge attacks
- Recommended: fair stand-alone if given mobility, but more useful as a stepping-stone to Lancer and Ninja. Be aware that Charge attacks take time, and your target may move unexpectedly.
- Wizard
- Requisites: Chemist (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, rods
- Learns: local offensive Black magic
- Recommended: equally valuable as a stand-alone far into the game or as a stepping stone to Time Mage and Summoner.
- Priest
- Requisites: Chemist (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, staves
- Learns: restorative White magic
- Recommended: mostly as a stand-alone job, but required for Calculator and Mediator.
- Monk
- Requisites: Knight (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: light torso armor only
- Learns: to kick ass
- Recommended. Some good jobs are only accessible through Monk, but it is VERY useful to build up a dedicated Monk unit. Monks need little equipment, can deal close and ranged damage, restore HP/MP/status freely, counterattack, and if you're really dedicated, learn the powerful pre-emptive counter Hamadeo. Other units will benefit from a little Monk training- fighters should learn Counter, and magic users may find Chakara helpful, not to mention Move-HP Up. One note- don't be fooled by Repeating Fist's success quotes. The attack is basically a roulette wheel averaging the quoted value but not in any reliable manner.
- Thief
- Requisites: Archer (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, daggers
- Learns: to Steal stuff
- Recommended: if high mobility is needed, but mainly as a stepping stone to Lancer and Ninja. The need for items is rarely high enough to get much out of Stealing.
- Time Mage
- Requisites: Wizard (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, staves
- Learns: Time Magic
- Recommended: I've never used them much. Mainly play a supporting role, but required for Summoner and Calculator.
- Oracle
- Requisites: Priest (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, staves, rods, canes, dictionaries
- Learns: arcane magicks
- Recommended: Also not a job I've explored heavily. Uses all classic FF spells not technically offensive, restorative or time-related. Needed for Calculator, and if you wish, Mediator.
- Geomancer
- Requisites: Monk (Lv3)
- Usually Equips: light armor, swords, shields, axes (2-handed)
- Learns: Elemental 'magic'
- Recommended: as a progression from Knight. Beefy enough to stand up in combat, with a far more generally applicable ability. Elemental magic does require some explanation, however: What you 'learn' as a Geomancer ultimately boils down to terrain types you can 'cast' from. If a Geomancer is standing on a terrain s/he knows a 'spell' for, s/he can target a radius 2 region up to a whopping 5 tiles away, with no vertical limit, which automatically avoids friendly units, free of charge. If not, s/he can't use Elemental.
- Lancer
- Requisites: Thief (Lv3)
- Usually Equips: heavy armor, shields, lances
- Learns: to Jump
- Recommended: as a terminal job to put a fair bit of time into. Painfully slow to advance in, but ultimately yields usably fast 1.5x physical attacks to pretty much anywhere on the battlefield. Also has a default attack range of 2.
- Summoner
- Requisites: Time Mage (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, rods, staves
- Learns: powerful Summons
- Recommended: as a natural extension of Wizard. More powerful magic over wider regions with automatic friend/foe differentiation. Be sure to learn your timing before attempting, however.
- Mediator
- Requisites: Oracle (Lv2)
- Usually Equips: clothes, daggers, guns
- Learns: psychobabble
- Recommended: if you're that type of player. Mediator is the only generic class to get guns, and can be used to recruit monsters to your party. Kind of a niche job, but opens up Bard.
- Samurai
- Requisites: Lancer (Lv2), Knight (Lv3), Monk (Lv4)
- Usually Equips: heavy armor, samurai swords
- Learns: swords
- Recommended: swords. Lots of swords. My past experience has been that Samurai suffers the same underpoweredness as Knight, but sword sacrificing at least grants Samurai some powerful ranged magic.
- Ninja
- Requisites: Geomancer (Lv2), Archer (Lv3), Thief (Lv4)
- Usually Equips: light armor, daggers, ninja swords (2x)
- Learns: to Throw stuff
- Recommended: as a fair terminal job. Equip 2 swords for powerful point offense and use small throwing weapons for ranged damage. Counter or Weapon Guard as a react on a Ninja will maximize combat effectiveness. Has some useful non-Action abilities too.
- Calculator
- Requisites: Time Mage (Lv3), Oracle (Lv3), Wizard (Lv4), Priest (Lv4)
- Usually Equips: clothes, canes
- Learns: math
- Recommended: if you can handle one. Calculator has a more obscure magic system than even Geomancer. The active skills you learn are conditions and numbers. A Calculator's actual abilities come from his/her prior magic-user background. The Calculator's job is to turn your basic magics into the likes of Level 4 Death and Level ? Pearl seen in other FF games. You select a spell from your existing list, a characteristic (level, height, etc.) and a factor. Any units meeting your selected criteria are affected by the spell, iirc with no miss chance, free of charge. In the right hands a Calculator can turn all enemy units into frogs in one fell swoop, but if you're not so hot at math and strategy, you'll just be giving yourself a headache while shooting yourself in the foot.
- Dancer
- Requisites: Geomancer (Lv4), Lancer (Lv4), female
- Usually Equips: ??
- Learns: Dances
- Recommended: if you ever get one. I used one once, a long time ago. The basic premise is you start a Dance which has some continual far-reaching effect. You can move anywhere on subsequent turns, but can't act without breaking the dance.
- Bard
- Requisites: Summoner (Lv4), Mediator (Lv4), male
- Usually Equips: ??
- Learns: Songs
- Recommended: if you ever get one. I really should.
- Mime
- Requisites: Squire/Chemist (Lv8), Geomancer/Lancer/Summoner/Mediator (Lv4)
- Usually Equips: ??
- Learns: ??
- Recommended: if you ever get one. I can only hazard they let you mimic any other job action in the game free of charge.

Building levels in jobs takes work. For any sort of directed progression, the Squire's Gained JP Up support ability is priceless. You'll be raking in nearly double the JP on all actions and be able to afford new jobs as quickly as you see them used against you without excessive time spent increasing character levels. Units will gain JP in 2 ways- directly by taking actions during battle (amount is roughly proportional to the level/difficulty of the action and unrelated to the job in which the action was learned), and indirectly by participating in battles in which other characters take actions (amount is perhaps 10 percent of what the acting character earns, but in the acting character's class regardless of the observer's class). Also, don't assume you NEED one unit of every job to do well. One strategy is, yes, to keep a dedicated unit on each job, but keeping your entire army up to snuff with the maximum number of allowable units is both painfully tedious and painfully expensive. Alternatively, you could keep a tight squad of 5 units and train them all deeply in multiple jobs each. This will yield a few awesome high-level units with no tough decisions as to who to take into each battle, but can be equally slow if you stick around each job long enough to get the best abilites, and if you're ever forced to lose a unit in battle, you're back to square 1. Intermediate strategies have their risks and benefits, too. Personally, I find training about 8 units (Ramza included) into my favorite jobs works fairly well, provided I know where I'm headed and neither hang around intermediate jobs too long nor pass up too many abilities along the way.

Timing and strategy are the other half of the battle equation. The [Select] button is your best friend. The entire game is fairly well documented in-game, and frequently calling up the docs will help you make critical decisions in combat and advancement. Do not overlook the passive and reactive abilites you can earn- it's all too easy to focus only on learning to do new things, but you aren't even approaching best use of resources without tapping into the passive enhancements in the Reaction, Support and Move categories. During battle, check AT regularly- [Cancel] out of the unit command menu system and press [Tri] for helpful options, including a list of all known pending actions and unit time-ordering. With spellcasters, simply pressing > with the cursor on a spell name will bring up a list showing when the spell will actually be cast if commanded at the current time, which will save you toasting your own characters, healing enemies, or throwing gobs of MP at empty tiles.


Final Fantasy VII

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- During chocobo races, hold down R1 & R2 to rebuild your stamina.

- For duplicate items, once you have the W-item materia, equip it on someone and use W-item in a battle. Select and use an item, then select the item you want to duplicate. Instead of using it hit ['Cancel']. You will now have one more of that item. repeat until you have up to 99.

- To get Yuffie fight battles in any forest. Eventually you'll run into her. Once you defeat her, talk to her and answer her questions as follows:
No rematch
You're petrified
Don't leave
Yes, join us
Let's go

- Every once in a while a guy will be back between the shack and the tree in the save point corner of the Gold Saucer's ropeway station. He sells 100 gil for every 1 GP you trade him. (or the other way around, I'm still not sure on this point)

Grandia

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While I'm personally favoring the second in the series, the original Grandia is an innovative and engaging RPG that shows off the extent of the Playstation's 2D and 3D capabilities.
- Throughout the game, make sure you explore thoroughly every area you encounter. This does a number of things for you. First, it saves and eventually makes you money. Items you find scattered around can greatly decrease the amount you need to spend at shops and allow you to focus immediately on the best equipment rather than simply what you can afford. More importantly, it gains you experience as you clear out all the enemy groups on each screen (see below). Most critically, exploring every nook and cranny allows you to find the rare mana eggs that allow you to learn your first magic. Most areas you only get to go through once, and if you miss mana eggs, you'll be hurting later in the game.
- This is probably obvious, but if you're in an area with both enemies and a save point, use it to your advantage. Grandia is one of the few RPGs where standard save points are also recovery points and fighting more always gives you more. If you have time, spend a while just killing enemies with your most powerful magic and techniques to level them, returning to the save point after each battle. You'll be surprised at the results you start to see even half way through disc 1.
- Hit as many enemies as possible with each special move/magic you use. It doesn't cost more or do less damage (as spreading magic does in, for instance, Final Fantasy), and you gain skill/magic experience based on the number of hits you accumulate in battle and the level of your targets. Even a weak group magic used on a bunch of high-level enemies can increase your skill/magic level significantly. Keep in mind, however, that you have to actually damage/affect the targets to get any experience from them.
- While skill/magic levels are increased based on number of targets hit, individual move levels (number of stars) increase based on times used and, it would seem, the preordained proficiencies of the character casting them.
- Use the 'trade' option at shops to automatically sell your old equipment. Selling all your old equipment as you update can cut upgrade costs by a good 25%. However, if you have spare cash, consider holding on to a few items with special enhancements beyond the expected (shoes with big defense/move, warping items, weapons with added status effects, etc.) in case you ever need to really specialize a character.
- Use the Stashing Place. Try to carry into an area perhaps one spare weapon and a few healing items. This will allow you to pick up anything you find. Missing a Healthweed may not be much, but when you encounter enemies who routinely drop equipment, you can stand to make a good bundle. - (SPOILER) Consider limiting the magic you give Sue. You'll be able to do fine giving her only 3 mana eggs, maybe even only 2, and once you pick up your next major companions, Rapp and Milda, you'll want the chance to start bringing their magic up to par, especially if you've spent the first half of the game forcibly leveling Justin and Feena's skills.

Jet Moto

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- To unlock all tracks and enable codes go into the options menu, set trophy presenter to Male, set difficulty to Ameture, get out of the options menu, push ^ > v < ^ > v <, enter the options menu, set difficulty to Professional, set trophy presenter to riders choice, exit back to the title screen, press ^ < v > ^ < v > and wait for the ka-ching.

Jet Moto 2

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-To unlock all tracks:

- Go to the Options screen
- Set difficulty to Master, set number of laps to 5
- Go to the one-player rider select screen
- Select Lil' Dave and hit X
- Go back to the title screen and, in under 4 seconds, hit ^, v, <, >, R1, R2, L2, L1
- Go to the Options screen
- Set number of laps to 3
- Go to the one-player rider select screen
- Select Wild Ride and hit X
- Go back to the title screen and, in under 4 seconds, hit ^, <, v, >, [squ], R2, O, L2
- Go to the Options screen
- Set difficulty to ameture, turn turbos off
- Go to the one-player rider select screen
- Select Bomber and hit X
- Go back to the title screen and, in under 4 seconds, hit ^, v, <, >, ^, v, <, >
- Go to the Options screen
- Set difficulty to professional, turn turbos on
- Go to the title screen (LAST TIME!!!)
- In under 4 seconds (as usual) hit R2, R1, L1, L2, R2, R1, L1, L2

-To race as Enigma:
- Go to the Options screen
- Set difficulty to master, number of laps to 6
- Go to the title screen
- In under 4 seconds, hit <, [squ], v, [tri], >, O, L1, R1

Lunar: Silver Star Story COMPLETE

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Well before MegaMan X7, Capcom had already introduced an alter-ego of its popular blue mascot to the world of full 3D. MegaMan Legends is an action RPG vaguely akin to Landstalker and Zelda, only with robots. Your goal is to use your constantly expanding arsenal of special weapons and maneuvers to explore underground ruins and ultimately bring down the great computerized force trying to destroy humanity for the sake of machines everywhere. Sure it sounds familiar, but this time around you get to do it all with an enigmatic talking robot monkey! (No, the robot monkey is not a ninja pirate. For the ninja pirate you'll need Legends 2.)
- A full mission/boss walkthrough is available right here. - To access the hidden game, Lords of Lunar, run the Making of Lunar CD, and during the video, press ^, v, <, >, [tri], [start] in that order. You can then set up the game options, or switch to either game CD and exit to view any FMV scenes from the game. Once in the Lords of Lunar game, use ^, v, <, and > to move your "paddle" and try to fend off balls. Once a ball reaches the innermost area of your block "castle", you're out.
- While playing Lords of Lunar, hold any L or R button (L1, R1, L2, or R2) to speed up the movement of your paddle. This can be quite helpful when you're playing 7 orther computer players. (I found this trick myself, not from any other code page or book. I didn't even see it in the Game Sages code directory when I checked. This is probably because I'm the only person who actually plays Lords of Lunar enough to notice it!)
- As far as the actual game goes, a few hints to make your life easier without blowing any plot:
- Buy the smegging soap. I see you now: b-but... it's 1000 silver! And shit! It only re-sells for 10! I know. Just trust me here. Buy at least one piece, two if you can afford it. If you don't heed my advice but realize the error of your ways later on, I hear there is one more piece hidden in a red chest in Vane, plus the one from the thief in Reza. And tangentially, the Black Dragon is your friend.
- Even when they're terribly outdated as weapons, I find it useful to let Nash and Mia hold onto the most recent attack-effect staves (Fire Cane, Etherial Cane) in their items. There will be many battles where you don't want your offensive mages blowing their energy on spells, but when they don't have the mobility to make physical attacks. 35 damage isn't much, but it beats 0. Also, giving Alex a Fire Cane for the crystal tower is a VERY wise move.
- The random generator would appear to be such that for a given enemy group, trying the same attack pattern will either yield almost exactly the same outcome every time or yield one of perhaps two different patterns differentiated by knock-backs. If you find a strategy that works on certain enemies, feel free to keep using it.
- Save as soon as possible after you beat the final boss. Just another thing you'll be kickin yourself if you screw up.

Mega Man Legends

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- In the Apple Market, kick the aluminum can you may have already noticed (if not, it's to your left as you enter from the South) over the counter and into the Jetlag Bakery (position it about 2 steps from the counter and kick). You get 1000 Zenny and a recycling reminder. Repeat as often as you want. This trick may have undesired consequences in Easy/Hard mode.

Megaman X4

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E-mail me if you don't learn what you want from this walkthrough, courtesy of Max "Metool".

Megaman X6

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-They said it couldn't be done! But I have done it! And now I shall take over the world!! MWAHAHAHAHAAAaaerm... Anyway, it is possible to get through the second stage of fortress 2 with Shadow X, specifically by equipping hyper dash and speedster (if you need more soul, access Dynamo (by beating High Max in the special boss room of any level) and beat him a few times with Shadow Armor. It's easy, and if you hit him in the head with a carged slash, he'll drop a large soul orb (the size you get from regular bosses) up to three times each battle).
With both items equipped, there's only one bit that's at all difficult- getting under the block with I believe the second rainmaker target under it. To do so, first grab the left side of the block, hang, and let yourself drop bit by bit until you can turn and quickly full-charge-saber right to destroy the target, grabbing the wall again immediately afterwards (I suppose you could also zap it from the block just to the left, but I had auto-charge on so saber was easier). Now jump and hang on the right side of the block to the left of the problem jump, dropping down bit by bit until Xs hand is entirely (just) below the horizontal line near the bottom of the block. Dash jump right and just make the bottom corner of the block on the other side of the gap. Voila. Shadow X, I'd imagine, is a much nicer character against Gate than others if only because he just sticks to all those nice little platforms so you are almost guarunteed not to fall off the screen, even accidentally. The sabre is also nice for shattering the spheres in one hit (although sometimes so powerfully that all the small orbs are destroyed before they go anywhere).
- It is also possible to get across the big pit in the Recycling Center using the blocks provided by the Museum nightmare effect and without any mobility-enhancing parts, flying armor, or weapons beyond Zero's earth-shaker (^+[tri]) or X's equivalent. I'm not going to spoil the fun of finding it out all at once, because I know there are other avid puzzle solvers out there. Instead, I have a few hints.
- Hint 1: There is no single static 'solution configuration' of the blocks
- Hint 2: The biggest clues left by the designers are the brown column to the left of the black column, and the fact that the blue block only stops when it hits something or encounters more than one block of empty space underneath it.
- Hint 3: If you can achieve this, you should be able to solve it.
Give up? If you really feel like cheating, this gif will show you how it's done. Hit the blocks as the red arrow points, go to the general vicinity of the 'x' mark when 'scroll' is shown (blocks will reappear as indicated in green when you return) and save killing the nightmares until last (you'll be able to go back through where they were only once before any that were dead reappear).
- As previously stated, Dynamo is a good source for 300-600 soul per battle, as he drops green orbs if you hit him hard enough. As X, you can cash in most easily, in my experience, with shadow armor and full charge saber. As Zero, just use the v+[tri] spin special (from Turtloid). Keep hitting Dynamo for up to 3 green orbs per encounter (sorry, dying and re-starting the battle won't get you more, you've got to keep playing through levels).
- Zero's Z-buster does damage inversely to range. At point blank, it's more powerful than any saber stroke, able to destroy most enemies with one hit. It takes two shots to destroy a floating nightmare at 1-2 body widths, and quite a bit more to do damage at any range beyond that.
- Helpful hints:
- The big robot that is Infinity Mijinion's stage will frizz if hit with Turtloid's weapon. It's still easier, in my opinion, to take the walls out with Shadow sabre as X, but as Zero it's a breeze to get through with the v+[tri] spin attack.
- If you kill the big painful mantises in Amazon Area wiht Yammar Option, they stay dead! Not much use the first time through, but nice if you're going back for items or soul or anything.
- The alternate boss path of the Amazon Area is, to my knowledge, impossible to clear, at least without Blade X, if it's raining (in much the same way that second sigma fortress is 'impossible' with Shadow X, but even I still haven't managed this one). If it's raining, exit and go to the Weapon Center to trigger the arguably more annoying but less physically hindering spotlights.
- Using Giga-Attacks in the middle of other enemies' attacks (especially things like Dynamo's lightning/lasers) can help reduce or nullify damage.
- mmhp.net. Period. (although most stuff I have here is not there, at least since I last checked it)

Star Ocean

the Second Story

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Star Ocean is decidedly one of the more advanced RPGs of the Playstation era, boasting 2 points of view, 12 characters, 80+ endings, and more items and abilities than you can shake a +3 Rod of Shaking at. I wouldn't reccommend it to the casual player, but if you want a game for the long haul with nearly limitless ways to shape your party, many of which have at least minor effect on plot, Star Ocean is a solid piece of work.

- The starting point for shaping any party in Star Ocean 2 is getting the right mix of characters. What this mix entails is different for different people and playing goals, but to make the job easier here's a quick table of character availability info and a brief overview of how to obtain each playable character. 'Game' indicates which game characters are available as permanent members in (Claude or Rena start), 'Excludes' indicates what character(s) will not be available if you get this character. 'Fi' indicates a fighter character (Killer Move specialty), 'ha' indicates a heraldic artist (Spells specialty). Characters are listed in chronological order by the first step required to recruit them.
NameGameExcludes
Claude (fi)bothnone
Rena (ha)bothnone
Celene (ha)bothnone
Opera (fi)bothAshton, **
Ashton (fi)bothOpera, Ernest
Precis (fi)bothBowman
Bowman (fi)bothPrecis
Leon (ha)Claude*none
Ernest (fi)bothAshton, **
Dias (fi)Renanone
Noel (ha)bothnone
Chisato (fi)bothnone
* Leon joins Rena's party too, but will disappear by Disc 2 unless invited to join in Claude's game.
** Ernest requires Opera. If you get Opera but reject Ernest, Opera leaves too.

Claude Kenni (fi)- Start with him or he joins automatically in the Shingo Forest.
Rena Lanford (ha)- Start with her or she joins automatically in the Shingo Forest.
Celene Jules (ha)- Approaches you in Cross (you can't say 'no' to her quest). She can be recruited at the end of her Cross Cave quest.
Opera Vectra (fi)- Second most difficult character to get. Do a P.A. in Cross before heading to Clik. While in the P.A., go towards the castle to see Ernest (3-eyed man) leaving. A few hours later, after the Lacour tournament, return to Hilton and check the bar to find Opera. Report that you've seen a 3-eyed man and she'll run off to Cross. Follow her to Cross and ask the king about the 3-eyed woman. He'll let you go to the Mountain Temple after her. Once in the Temple, take a course generally North-East and down to find Opera and complete her side quest (the other general direction leads to Ashton's side quest). When you fail to find Ernest, you can ask her to tag along with your party.
Ashton Anchors (fi)- When you first enter Herlie, walk over to the two men talking near the enterance to hear about a dragon in the Salva Drift. Return to the Salva Drift and proceed West-ish past the 'beware of dragon' sign. Track down Ashton fighting the dragon at the end of one tunnel (loop around West-South-East). Choose to take responsibility when he's posessed and, after a multi-stage subquest, he'll stay with you.
Precis "the headache" Neumann (fi)- If you enter Linga outside a P.A., you'll run into Precis automatically. Re-enter in a P.A. and wander North to Bowman's pharmacy as Claude or around South to the house with the big garage (Precis' house) as Rena. Talking to either Precis or her father triggers a scene in which both Claude and Rena end up at Precis' house in compromising circumstances, and as you leave from that, Precis will find you and ask to be recruited.
Bowman Jean (fi)- Will join you after the (mandatory/automatic) Linga Sanctuary subquest if you don't already have Precis.
Leon "hurt me" Geeste (ha)- Leon will come along with you to the Hoffman ruins mission as part of the standard game plot. In either game he'll continue to be around until you wash up on El. At that point, in Rena's game he won't be found. Claude, on the other hand, will wash up near him and be allowed to recruit him after some brief talk at the Eluria colony.
Ernest Raviede (fi)- Most difficult character to recruit. Take Opera to Arlia and enter a P.A. if you wish. Talk to her (on the roof of the Mayor's house) to hear about her ship. Entering Arlia normally, go to the back of the Shingo forest for a scene involving Opera's ship, and (at least if you have Precis) a big weapon upgrade. Later on when you exit the Hoffman Ruins, you'll encounter a posessed Ernest. Fight off the intervening ghost and ask Opera to stay with you. Ernest will come along. After the Arlia scene, you'll be able to get both Opera and Ernest or neither one. If you skip the Arlia scene, you can just keep Opera.
Dias Flac (fi)- You first meet Dias in Mars Village. In Rena's game you get to run off with him temporarily as part of the main plot. When he shows up at the Arms Tournament in Lacour, Rena gets more automatic plot time with him. The actual recruitment point comes at the Lacour Front Line when Rena runs off to talk to Dias as his 'little sister.' This apparently fails in Claude's game, but as Rena you can encourage him to join you.
Noel "hippie" Chandler (ha)- Accompanies the party to Synard Nest/Cave of Red Crystal automatically. At the end of the cave you can either recruit him or tell him to stay and protect his animals.
Chisato Madison (fi)- You first see Chisato following the party around on Nede. She'll drop her ID as she runs after you in the Cave of Red Crystal (you may have to investigate the chest around south of the main path in the room before you first see the synard), and if you pick it up and return it to her at the Central City Chronicle office you can recruit her.

I don't have the time ehre to specialize in one game, especially a game as big as SO2, but last I checked, RPGClassics had a pretty comprehensive page right here.

Suikoden II

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The reviews section has my full opinion of this title, but in brief Suikoden II is proof that Konami can learn from its mistakes. The superiority over Suikoden in plot, graphics, sound and gameplay are amazing and easily make up for the few real slips in translation/scripting. Again, since Suiko2 is such a large game and this is not a dedicated walkthrough site, what is below is simply a collection of hints and data I find most useful as a reference.
- Right at the start of the game, before you flee to Muse, you will encounter Cut Rabbits on the map and in North Sparrow Pass. After this initial stage of the game, your next chance to fight Cut Rabbits will be after you defeat the Beast Rune (final boss). Thus, I highly reccommend you take the time at the start of the game to fight as many Cut Rabbits as possible since, as well as giving you experience and levels enough to make the next chunk of game notably easier, you have a low chance of being rewarded with the Double Beat and Technique runes. This is the only way to acquire these runes apart from the two characters who come equipped with them much later in the game, and perhaps from your Guardian Diety. Double Beat grants its user a second standard attack with every attack action, in addition to whatever critical damage happens. Technique, however, is the real gem, quite literally, to have from the start of the game. It gives its user a 40% chance of stealing gold from an enemy on each attack, regardless of damage. Put Technique and Double Beat on the same fast character (I ususally use Nanami) and the math becomes truly broken. Presuming every battle has the maximum 6 enemies, 1 enemy's worth of gold is about 16% your total battle income. Presuming an average of 3 enemies makes each one worth 33% your total battle income. Each hit has a 40% chance of stealing 1 enemy's worth of extra gold. For two hits, each one has a 40% chance. Multiply it out, and there's a .4*.4=.16 chance of getting 2 steals, 2*.6*.4=.48 chance of getting one steal, and .6*.6=.36 chance of getting nothing extra. In the 6-enemy model, (2*.16)*.16+.16*.48=.128, or a 13% increase in net battle profit (which, let's face it, is your primary source of finance in the game). In the 3-enemy model, you get a 25-26% increase in net battle profit for the whole game. If the equipped character attacks in more than one round, the profit increases further. That's quite a bundle, and worth every potch if you want to maintain more than a handful of characters at peak equipment. The only disadvantage to obtaining these two runes is that they're quite rare (we're talking <10% drop chance each, combined with the Cut Rabbit's inherent scarcity) , so the time input will put a serious dent in your capacity to finish Clive's subquest. If you have a mind to pick up both runes, fight either in North Sparrow Pass, or I have found what I think to be an unusually high Cut Rabbit probability in a crescent-shaped 4/5 enclosed hollow in the mountains just northwest of North Sparrow Pass (south entrance).
- A note on squirrels: one webrant I have seen on Suiko2 implies the only place to get one of the Stars of Destiny is by checking an out-of-the-way tree 3 times at the very start of the game. If you've read any formal Suiko2 guides, you'll know this isn't the case- all 5 squirrels can be obtained, one each, from the 4 major roads branching from Greenhill City and in the fields near Forest Village, but as I've wasted many hours discovering, there appears to be a minimum time interval that must pass between squirrels. Inevitably, regardless of when in the game I start searching, I can find one squirrel usually within about 5 battles, but if I then try to go straight to another, I see nothing for over an hour. If I leave, advance the plot a little, and return, voila. Squirrel. Now this is not to say there is not also a plot-point dependency as to which squirrels are available at a given time, only that brute-forcing them all in succession doesn't seem to work.
- There are 108 stars of destiny, and you'll need all of them by your climactic offensive pep-talk if you want the best ending. However, many characters are automatically obtained, and most can be acquired right up to the last minute. The following is a list of characters I know of who can conceivably be permanently missed:
- Gilbert: When he is pointed out in one strategic battle, his unit must take damage for him to come around to recruitment, but if he dies there, I'm guessing he's gone.
- Clive: You must encounter him in the easternmost vertical alley in Muse (first time you're there, I believe) to get his scene at teh Muse gate, and you need to see that for him to show up in South Window.
- Tuta: Never missed him (oh how I'm tempted to say her) yet, but I don't know of any plot device to funnel you into chatting with Tuta and Huan in Muse while you still can.
- Emilia: Again, I've been naieve enough in-character not to miss her, but I don't believe you can recruit her if you don't tell her who you really are during the Greenhill mission.
- Futch, Humphrey: I'm told you need to recruit these two in their subquest before recruiting Milkotov and Camus at Rockaxe.
Now apart from these, you should have a good bit of leeway. You get two large monster recruits from your two listening crystals, but there are 4 to choose from, 2 of which are always available if you pass up the event-based ones. Of course you probably should agree to recruit any normal characters who give you the option. Turning one down may very well make you miss him/her permanently. However, any character(s) you lose to distinct plot events (not just generic death in strategic battle) before the critical plot point can be replaced.
- There are only a few Magic Drain runes available in the game. Bright Shield is already a broken rune, but if Riou (accepted official name for your hero) can restore his Great Blessing alotment mid-dungeon, your life will be that much easier.
- Pesmerga. With Fury. With weapon Rage. If you're truly sick, Pesmerga with Double-Beat and apply the berserk manually.