ROWYCO – Wild Arms: Alter Code F

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Consider this a cop-out if you will, but this edition of Rock Out With Your Cart Out is focusing on one game: Wild Arms Alter Code F. Second part of the series and I’m already using a shortcut you say? Hit a few of the songs below and you’ll see why I felt this game, which is mostly responsible for this feature existing to begin with, deserves its own segment. It really does serve as the perfect definition of this feature, so I’ll dive into a little more than I did the previous titles.

Those of us that were playing RPG’s on the Playstation just before Final Fantasy VII came out might remember the original version, simply Wild Arms, rather fondly. It filled the too long wait until Squaresoft’s title would come and take the nation by storm. My brother, always with a slightly better guessing rate for better titles, would pick Wild Arms up at Software Etc, while I ended up with Beyond the Beyond, a shame I live with to this day.

Wild Arms didn’t break much ground, but it did fill that void for console gamers looking to scratch that RPG itch until Final Fantasy VII came our way. While it was nothing special, it didn’t do anything particularly poorly. It was a game that seemed to embrace its own mediocrity with both arms wide open. Really, the only thing that did stand out was the then (for my fifteen year old mind who had only recently discovered anime) “super cool” opening. Take yourself back fifteen years (I think I just gave away my age) in both body and technology and tell me this opening doesn’t get you PUMPED to play this RPG!

“Pumped” (particularly in all caps) might be a bit of an exaggeration, but having that spinning in our Playstation for the first time really had both my brother and I excited to play it. Then the reality of it set in and we realized it wasn’t nearly as awesome as the opening made it seem to be. This would also be the case with Final Fantasy VII for me, but that’s another story (and a now removed episode of our podcast where I coined the term “wheelchair coma”).

Skip ahead eight years in the U.S. (time travel!) and the remake finds its way onto shelves. There were plenty of great games from the Playstation that were deserving of a sprucing up and yet, somehow a mediocre RPG that really felt like more of a money grab directed at people waiting for Final Fantasy VII than the start of something grand got the Playstation 2 treatment.

Oh, and what a treatment it got! Three new characters to not give even that many shits about and drag the mostly forgettable plot out! A new intro sequence that does little but puts the original three characters (and the little mouse thing) into what was the current trend of anime art style! But the graphical update! This might have been an impressive launch title for the Playstation 2, but with something like Dragon Quest VIII out a month before it, something that barely gave Orphen: Scion of Sorcery a run for its money was tough to stomach. At least the gameplay wasn’t any worse. It didn’t do anything to really make it stand out from its predecessor either.

Flubbing just about every reason one would want to see a remake of a game from the previous generation, Alter Code F really shouldn’t have any reason to exist in anyone’s mind beyond the oddity it was. But damned if that soundtrack wasn’t better than it deserved. I’ve listened to the thing a few times while writing and I’ve never hit a track that I felt needing skipping. Unlike the game itself, which does deserve to be skipped altogether. I wish I remember how I came upon the soundtrack originally, but the whole thing is on YouTube. I’ve picked a few choice songs for you to listen to and linked them below. If my suffering through this game for even a few hours to find this gem of soundtrack brings you even a couple minutes of something enjoyable, I feel like I’ve taken the proper bullet for you. Please, just trust me and listen to the soundtrack and don’t buy this game. We all make mistakes and have regrets in our lives, don’t make this one.

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