(which i just started playing again)
Especially when the conversation goes something along the lines of:
Skull Head Guy: "General! The King and the other generals are jealous of your military prowess and have ordered your arrest!"
General: "Those bastards! And after everything I did for them!"
Skull Head Guy: "But don't worry! I've already prepared a coup in your name, just say the word!"
General: "That sounds great! Er, wait, wouldn't that cause war and destruction on a continent-wide scale? Are you sure I should do it?"
Skull Head Guy: "Oh don't worry about that! And anyways, you can probably just conquer the rest of the continent too while you're at it."
Brigandine is a cool little turn based strategy type game. Like Nobunaga's Ambition or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but there's absolutly no region maintenance or anything like that, and instead of recruiting troops you recruit monsters who level up and upgrade to cooler monsters.
On the normal difficulty setting it's pretty easy to abuse the computer players, but it's fun abusing them, especially with large dragons and hyrdas and wyverns and big magic spells :)
"The Mageborn Traitor":
(which i just finished reading)
The second book in Melanie Rawn's Exile's series, which is pretty stupid of me to have started reading again, since this was published in 1997, and there's still no word on when she expects the next one to be done =P
I like the female domianted world (but is that really any suprise) but the second book is vaguely annoying. Both the books have problems with descriptions of action scenes. Things will be moving along and then all of the sudden things will start happening without clear descriptions of who is causing the actions or why. I frequently had to go back and read the sections two or three times to get stratight who was doing what, and sometimes just gave up.
However the second books is specifically annoying beacuse what seems like an artificial maintaining of suspence. One might guess from the title that there's a traitor who features prominently. However the identify of the traitor is of course in doubt, she'll drop obvious hints that it's one person, and then obvious hints that it's another. Then she'll use completly artifical means to keep you from knowing for sure while still taunting you. Like giving all the suspects first names that start with the same letter, so he can send a letter to his contacts and they can say "look, he's being cagey by only using his first initial, 'x.'"
Sometimes it also seems like thre hasn't been as much progress as there should have been in the (mostly) 20 years since the last book, probably so there could be a suficiently Empire Strikes Back type plot line to set up the drama for the next book.
Oh, and one other thing. For the entire two books there's been one character whose very early origins have been a big mystery, even to themself. Then, towards the end of the second book at a point of high stress and intense action, they have a revelatory flashback which is very vaguely described, and they think something to the effect of "oh, _that's_ what the big mystery was!" follwed quickly by a cut to the other characters and continuing on with the end of the book, never coming back to that character or what in particular "that" was =P
All in all i still enjoyed it however. And did i mention that the girls are in charge of everything and ask the guys out? :)
Now i just need to wait for whichever decade the third book is going to come out in =P
Skies of Arcadia:
(which i just finished playing)
For those who aren't already aware of it, this was an RPG that came out for the Dreamcast and then got ported to the Gamecube after the former console's untimely demise.
It's got pretty good graphics and pretty good music, and it's about pirates, which i'm sure makes some people happy :) Specifically it's about Air Pirates on a somewhat Miyazaki like world with lots of floating continents and islands and no solid land.
A long time ago thre were advanced civilizations who used powerful magic crystals to wage war and brought about cataclysmic destruction, now hundreds or thousands of years later civilization is flourishing again, but an evil empire wants to find the crystal so they can yadda yadda. Definitely a cliched plot, but it's fairly well done, and like i said, it's pretty :)
The combat engine isn't that great unfortunatly. It's a little slow and is highly abuseable once you figure out the right tricks. The ship combat is actually pretty cool though. Not that hard if you make sure to keep your ship upgraded with the latest canons and equipment, but still fun. There's a certain amount of destructive glee when you manage to arrange it so that two torpedoes, the machine guns, and the main cannon all hit the enemy in the same round :)
The magic system is a little weird. Each character has magic points, but there's also "SP, which i'm not quite sure what it stands for. Each character generates a certain amount of SP per turn, which goes into a comunal pool. Anything other than basic actions requires SP. Spells cost one MP and some amount of SP based on how powerful it is, and special abilities just cost some amount of SP. You can cast healing spells outside of combat for just the 1 MP cost, and there are items that duplicate most spell effects but use no SP, which means that items, especially healing items, remain incredibly usefull throughout the game.
Of course as you gain levels your characters generate more SP every turn, but the cost of the spells and abilities remain the same. And since you're constantly generating it every turn, the easiest thing to do is just use your most powerfull abilities as soon as you can in every battle. Unfortunatly the monsters don't get much more resistant to abilities throught the course of the game, so by the end i could use stuff that would wipe out most of the enemies in most battles in the first round.
So, good graphics, good music, interesting characters, interesting setting, somewhat cliched plot, sorta dinky personal combat, cool ship combat, you get to fly around in cool ships, ajnd you get to build a cool town.
Oh, and if you want to unlock everything in the game you should probably use a FAQ. The last couple things require a 100% treasure finding ratio, which can be problematic since a few of the trasure chests are only present for a brief period of time.