Sunday, December 14, 2008

Annual Summary: 2008

Another year has come and gone, folks. I'm particularly sad about this one leaving, because 8 is totally my favorite number. But that's life. The RPGs I played this year, in alphabetical rather than chronological order, are:

Baroque (PS2)
Fallout 3 (PC)
Golden Sun 1 (GBA)
Golden Sun 2 (GBA)
Mass Effect (PC)
Phantasy Star Universe (PS2)
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GBA)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Shining Force EXA (PS2)
Suikoden 4 (PS2)
Suikoden Tactics (PS2)
Tales of Legendia (PS2)
Wild Arms 5 (PS2)

You may notice that there are significantly fewer games on that list than there were last year. There are several reasons for this. First of all, I started to work 2 full time jobs back around March, 1 related to the career I want to get into (Teaching) and the other related to the fact that I want to actually be able to pay my bills until someone hires me on as a regular teacher instead of a Substitute one. So that equals a lot of time lost. Another reason is Super Smash Brothers Brawl--those of you who know it and have it don't need an explanation on how that interrupts one's focus on other things. Third reason would be spending a lot of time with my sister, showing her awesome stuff like Wild Arms 3, Tales of Legendia (as a replay), and Futurama, along with her getting me into House M.D., 30 Rock, and, oddly enough, Ouran High School Host Club (so sue me, I can't help but love parodies of stupid fangirls and stupider anime trends). So that's a lot of time gone.

I also re-watched and re-contemplated every episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the movie. This is an RPG-only blog, so I don't often say much at length on animes save the (often annoying) correlations they have with RPGs, but I gotta just make a note here: Man, if anything proves that anime can be an art form, it's RGU; I could make a blog that updates once a week just talking about that show and movie and manage to keep it going for at least 5 years. It's like one of the best classic novels ever written in visual form. So that's more time there, anyways.

And lastly, me compulsively searching every corner, bookshelf, and suspicious pile of rubble in Fallout 3. Damn that game's immense map and explorable nature. Thank heavens I'm not doing a second run of Fallout 3, or I probably wouldn't get a new RPG played until next Spring.

So yeah. Sadly not as much time this year for RPGs.

Still, it was a pretty good year. It didn't start especially auspiciously, with the first game I finished being the coma-inducing Suikoden 4, but things got better when I was happily surprised to find that Phantasy Star Universe didn't suck contrary to what Meteor9 had told me, Shining Force EXA was actually really nice despite being nearly totally unknown and looking like it would be as bland as could be, and Wild Arms 5 not sucking nearly as much as I thought it would. Also, a good friend who goes on Gaia by the name of Cross Knight Byuu recommended Tales of Legendia to me, and much to my (very reluctant) surprise, it turned out to be pretty awesome.* And of course, playing Mass Effect and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES right in the middle made the year shine very favorably for me, RPG-wise (heck, just finding out that they ended up making Mass Effect for the PC instead of keeping it exclusive to the X-Box 360 was like an early Christmas; I nearly bought that stupid system just for that one game). Ending it with Fallout 3, which is pretty darned good, also makes the year feel pretty satisfying.

One unfortunate trend of 2008 for me, though, was the Endings aspect. While Suikoden 4 having a pointless and boring ending was no surprise, given the game, Wild Arms 5's final scenes and ending are so stupid that they would actually make Wild Arms 4 look worse, let alone a WA game that isn't totally horrible. Fallout 3's ending seems to be reversely proportional in detail and length (unless we count the insanely long credits) as the game itself is. And Golden Sun 2's ending doesn't seem to know what the hell it wants to do--it introduces 3 separate problems that sound important during its course, and then almost immediately after makes each one meaningless. Here's how they break down:

1. "Oh no! Alex is unsurprisingly a bad guy! And he could do evil things with the power that we have unwittingly made available to him!"
Alex: I AM ALL POWERFUL!!!! Wait hang on, no I'm not. Well dang.

2. "Oh no! The people near the elemental towers will all be killed by them exploding and such!"
"Oh good, everyone knows to get away from them, so they will probably be okay."

3. "Oh no! My family is not within eyesight, so they must be dead! I'm finally receiving character development because of this! NOOOOOOOOOO WHYYYYYY NOOOO SOB SOB"
"Oh wait, you guys are fine! I just needed to turn my head a little to the right to notice. Silly me!"

I didn't dive into as many unknown game series this year as last time, more just sticking to ones I knew already. Golden Sun was the only totally new one for me--although maybe not in spirit, since GS tends to be pretty standard RPG fare. Still, Phantasy Star Universe, and Shining Force EXA are pretty drastic reinventions of their series, and Fallout 3's fairly different from the previous 2 Fallouts, as well, so it wasn't all just more of the same.

But if I didn't do much venturing out in terms of series, the games I did play this year were often very different themselves. Mass Effect and Fallout 3 both created a new kind of Action RPG, a mix of RPG elements with a First Person Shooter game rather than the roving beat-em-up close-combat kind of game that most Action RPGs, with their swords and other melee weapons, focus on. While Breath of Fire 5's use of player death predates Baroque's by several years, Baroque's way of telling its story is almost as unique as the story itself is. And Tales of Legendia is really odd--it has 2 major stories in it, and the first, which is what the game considers the "Main Quest," leaves many loose ends to be tied up later, isn't half as epic as the second half, isn't as interesting (I didn't even really like the game until the second half began), and almost feels more like a long prologue intended to establish the great characters (which are not the main guy and gal; game's got major Love Hina Syndrome).

Okay, that's it for the real ranting, so as with last year, let's go bulletin-style for the end.

RPG Moments of Interest in 2008:

1. After years of eager waiting by we cult-like Fallout fans, Fallout 3 has finally come out. I've seen largely mixed reception from fans, and fans on both sides of the Good or Bad issue generally seem to have completely ridiculous and illogical biases that they form their opinions from, but hey, the important thing is, Fallout 3 exists. That would be a memorable event even if the game did suck, which it doesn't.
2. Me having to officially say the following: Tales of series, I am sorry. I have often accused you of being uncreative, pointless, dumb, and so full of anime cliches that it makes me physically ill. I said this based on the fact that it is true for Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia, and dismissed Tales of the Abyss's high quality as a fluke. But now, with Tales of Legendia, half of the Tales of series that I've played has been as interesting and neat as the other half has been crappy and boring. So until I play the next Tales of game and find it to be dull, I have no ground to criticize the series as a whole. I currently apologize for my previous statements.
3. Seeing that the Shin Megami Tensei series can be almost as thorough, inventive, and fascinating in treating other beliefs and mystical cultures as it was with Christianity (see previous rant for details) with SMT Persona 3's working its plot, characters, playing style, and general flow and progression around the Tarot deck. Pretty neat.
4. Fallout 3's Liberty Prime is totally the best robot since Knights of the Old Republic's HK-47.
5. Saving Wild Arms 4's Raquel in Wild Arms 5 (WA5 has all sorts of cameos of previous games' characters) from her debilitating illness. I mean, it's nice that I can finally do it, cuz I seriously love Raquel, but...why the hell couldn't we have seen Raquel cured in the game she was actually a character for? Why the fuck did she have to, in spite of the game practically promising us otherwise, die in her very own game?

Oh, and the process of saving her in WA5 confirms my suspicions that Arnaud, AKA Captain Moron, just didn't try hard enough to do it in WA4. Because, see, the process apparently is Captain Moron sending out a random group of well-meaning, less-than-bright teens to find a magical item to do the job while he sits on his goddamn lazy ass in a restaurant doing nothing. 'She needs him there' my ASS, she needs him OUT THERE finding a CURE for the DISEASE that is GOING TO KILL HER faster than not having him around to administer chicken soup every hour! I tell you, WA4 is so bad it's revolutionary at being crap--you actually can find NEW ways to hate it retroactively by playing OTHER games!

Best Sequel/Prequel of 2008:
Winner: Golden Sun 2
I didn't really think much of Golden Sun 2 (or GS1, for that matter). However, of the real Sequels/Prequels I've played this year, it ties itself to the previous title the best--not only does the story more or less just pick up right where GS1 ended, it also allows the player to transfer his or her data from GS1 to GS2 via link cable or password, allowing the player's game of GS2 to be influenced by some of the sidequests done and decisions made in the first game, along with getting to keep all the cool stuff and hard-earned levels of GS1. That's certainly a strong connection between original and sequel, one which I appreciate.
Runners-Up: Fallout 3, Suikoden Tactics
Fallout 3 and Suikoden Tactics are both fine fare as far as sequels go, each one having direct plot ties to a game/games before them (Fallout 1 and 2, and Suikoden 4, respectively). Still, while fine continuations of their origins' universes, each is just telling a new story with pre-established concepts. There's not a great amount of further exploration of those concepts; they're mostly just launch pads for new stuff. That's fine, but it's not noteworthy.

Biggest Disappointment of 2008:
Loser: Golden Sun 1
Let's be clear: I don't hate GS1 and 2. And I wasn't horribly disappointed by either. They just happen to have had the bad luck to be played during a year where most games I played with low expectations turned out to be good, and the bad games I played I went into with the expectation that they'd suck. Granted, Suikoden 4 sucked way worse than I'd dreamed, but that was simply because of my lack of imagination on how boring a game could be. Golden Sun is the only series of games that I went into thinking they'd be great and came out of without having my expectations met. So...yeah. Sorry, GS1.
Almost As Bad: Golden Sun 2, Suikoden 4
See above explanation.

Worst RPG of 2008:
Loser: Suikoden 4
Yeah, okay, just...see my rant on it. And on Sailing.
Almost As Bad: Wild Arms 5
Whether by luck or simply by how few RPGs I played this year, only 2 of them I count as actually being bad. And really, WA5 isn't really that terrible. Sure, most of the characters are empty and pointless, the plot is kind of dumb most of the time, the main character only becomes tolerable after about 20 hours of gameplay, there are a lot of painfully contrived events, most of the finale is one of the stupidest I've ever seen, and the Monowheel exists, know, on second thought, I was right the first time. This game blows.

Most Improved of its Series of 2008:
Winner: Suikoden Tactics
Being that Suikoden Tactics is a sequel to Suikoden 4 that does NOT rival tranquilizer darts as a means of sedation, it is almost immeasurably improved on its series's previous installment.
Runners-Up: Tales of Legendia, Wild Arms 5
Yes, yes, I know that I said Wild Arms 5 sucks, but just by sucking in a normal way it is a HUGE improvement on Wild Arms 4. And it does have some moments that are kinda nice and good, I guess. Who knows, maybe WA6 will actually be average...or, unlikely though it might seem, good. As for ToL, well, I've mentioned my feelings on it as a part of the Tales of series already. It manages to make anime cliches into really neat characters and themes explored in new ways, while Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Phantasia make anime cliches into...cliches that have been overdone one more time.

Most Creative of 2008:
Winner: Mass Effect
Mass Effect is an incredible sci-fi RPG. It imagines its setting with great and careful detail, going to huge lengths to develop a universe that, in my opinion, has greater potential for science fiction adventures than Star Trek or even Star Wars--if only because they're already doing so much to develop it from the get-go.
Runners-Up: Baroque, Fallout 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES
Doubtless several people, one of them tomato-related, are going to contest that Baroque is more creative than Mass Effect. I don't blame them. It was extremely hard to choose one over the other--Baroque just slaps you right in the face with individuality and crazily original ideas. The only real reason I chose Mass Effect over Baroque for sheer creativity is that Mass Effect really, really works for every bit of the stuff it comes up with, making ideas and then detailing them fairly extensively, while Baroque, while awesome, just flings original ideas and themes at you without getting into that extreme level of detail about them, making a lot of the plot's neat ideas somewhat vague. I know that's often what the game intends, but I still better respect the author who creates and then works to detail his ideas rather than the one who creates, tosses the audience the idea, and then immediately wanders off to make another. Oh, and yes, Fallout 3 is very creative in many ways, and SMTP3FES even more so.

Stupidest Weapon of 2008:
Loser: Dean's Ridiculous Sword-Pistol Things (Wild Arms 5)
I don't know if I'll ever have this category again, but really, these things are too stupid not to say something. Aside from looking ridiculous and being totally impractical as weapons (at least with Final Fantasy 8's Squall's stupid Gunblade, the weapon could be held sort of like a real sword--the blades of Dean's pistols come out of the handle going downward. Hell, all you'd have to do is push Dean's arms down a little and his damn blades would get stuck in the ground), they're rarely even used as guns to begin with. Dean will fire at things outside of battle with them, but when an enemy actually attacks, it seems he forgets how to pull a trigger unless it's a Critical Attack. You can't even imagine that he uses the impractical blades because they do more damage like some people theorize about Squall, because his critical hits show his guns going sub-machine gun-style and do huge damage. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Almost As Bad: Grune's Vase (Tales of Legendia), Norma's Bubble Straw (Tales of Legendia), Shirley's Writing Utensils (Tales of Legendia...Again)
No goddamn wonder mages can't attack for shit. Did anyone ever consider giving a magic-user a sword or spear or SOMETHING?

Best Voice Acting of 2008:
Winner: Tales of Legendia
Fantastic voice acting nearly all around; everyone's voice is well-suited for their character, and many of the characters wouldn't be as convincing and endearing without the actors' skill. Moses, Norma, and Grune are especially well-played, and of course, having Cam Clarke in the cast is icing on the cake. ToL isn't perfect--Shirley's voice acting is about half of why she's unbelievably annoying, the other half being everything else there is about her--but it's darned great all the same.
Runners-Up: Mass Effect; Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES; Shining Force EXA
SMTP3FES provides major competition to ToL, frankly, and putting one above the other in terms of voice acting talent might necessarily rely more on personal preference than objective comparison of skill. Mass Effect is done very well, as seems to be the norm for RPGs created on this continent (Fallout 3's also pretty good, and the KotOR series's voice talent is excellent). SFEXA actually surprised me--not only is it actually a pretty good game, but I really, really liked a lot of the voice actors' work in it. Everyone seems very well-chosen for the role, and in many cases, the acting is exceptional. Cyrille, 1 of the 2 protagonists, was particularly surprising in how appealing her voice acting was--she has, more or less, a somewhat average-sounding teen girl voice and speaking manner (I hear multiple girls chatting in class that sound very similar quite often when I sub), yet the dialog and her distinct inflections and delivery really sell the character to me and make her voice memorable.

Best Villain of 2008:
Winner: Sovereign (Mass Effect)
Sovereign's pretty cool--a massive, living machine that serves as a harbinger of doom for the Milky Way galaxy, using an ultimately irresistible mind control over sentient beings to bring about their own downfall in a calculated, ever-repeating cycle of galactic civilizations' destruction. Older possibly than the universe itself, on a level of consciousness unlike that of mortals or even the gods they worship, Sovereign's kind is beyond understanding, beyond reasoning with, and almost beyond resistance. They are simply the end.
Runners-Up: Death (Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES), Schwartz (Tales of Legendia)
As usual, not many villains this year that I'd consider all that good--I've mentioned before that RPGs just don't seem to get all that many good villains. Death was done really well in SMTP3FES, though, I gotta say. And Schwartz's role of world-ender isn't new or different, but she pulls it off with a convincing level of style and seriousness, so kudos to her.

Best Character of 2008:
Winner: Aigis (Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES)
Y'know, Aigis's character type is not especially new--she is more or less another Unemotional Girl Who Doesn't Know Anything About Humanity--But Learns To Understand And Value It.** But Aigis is the second robot lady I've ever seen to pull it off believably, and more than just that, get me emotionally involved in her struggles, really feeling the empathy for her that I'm meant to (Tio from Grandia 2 is the first, and still the best, but darn if Aigis ain't close). Aigis's transformation is lovely to watch, as is her relationship with the main character, which I believe is by far the most touching love story in the game (even though Mitsuru's was nice). Aigis is so great that I'd say she accounts for almost half of what makes the game so damn good.
Runners-Up: Chloe (Tales of Legendia), Will (Tales of Legendia), Wrex (Mass Effect)
Although none of them compete with Aigis for character excellence, each of these three are really great characters with (often quite surprisingly) a lot of depth.

Best Game of 2008:
Winner: Mass Effect
Make some room, Knights of the Old Republic: there's a new Science Fiction RPG franchise in town from the West to shame stuff like Xenosaga and Star Ocean with superior plot, characters, and creativity. Seriously, folks: play this game. Whatever hardware upgrades you make to your computer or price you pay for a 360 are worth it.
Runners-Up: Baroque, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES, Tales of Legendia
While the actual playing experience is repetitive as anything, Baroque's pretty darned cool. And even if the first half is kinda average, Tales of Legendia ends up being a game you love with characters you're guaranteed to remember fondly. As for SMT3FES, well, it seems to have become the Final Fantasy 7 of the SMT series--it has a crapload of hype, it seems like everyone's either played it or has 5 friends who have, and you can't hear its name 3 times without someone describing it as the best RPG ever. So like FF7, I think it's overrated. But also like FF7, I don't think it's overrated by very much. If you haven't already, go get it.

And that's it for this year! On with the RPGs of 2009. Looks to have a promising start; I've got Mother 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, and Paper Mario to start with, and I've heard promising things about them all. See all'y'all next year, folks.

* I was reluctant to be pleasantly surprised in this case, because it means that I can no longer count Tales of the Abyss being a fluke in the series for being good. I've said several uncomplimentary things about the Tales of series based mostly on Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia, but now that half of the Tales of games I've played turned out to be really good, I can't dismiss Namco's little RPG series as unimaginative least, not until I play another of their games and it turns out to be bad. Curse you, CK Byuu!

** I hear there's a fine that Japanese writers have to pay if they write a female robot who DOESN'T fit this archetype.***

*** I wonder what Phantasy Star 4's creators had to pay for Demi.****

**** Because she was so vapid and meaningless a character that even the laziest minimum of Wanting To Be Human characterization would have quadrupled her near-nonexistent personality, Hand Maid May's writers got off the hook with mandated Community Service.*****

***** Which was 3 dozen panty shots per episode.******

****** This will be the last time I abuse these page-bottom note thingies this rant. Promise.*******

******* I lied.

Monday, December 8, 2008

General RPG Lists: Most Over-Powered Characters

Every now and then, you come across an RPG party member who is so ridiculously impossible to beat/ridiculously powerful, he/she/it seems to just plain be a living cheat code. Today, we look at the ones I think are the most over-powered of all.

5. Georg (Suikoden 5)

You could make an argument that Suikoden 5's truly broken character is Zerase, but honestly, she doesn't have the staying power that Georg does, and her magic doesn't deal out the kind of monstrous damage that his sword does (heck, you can more or less equal or surpass her with Viki in her own field of expertise). Georg can and usually does deal out immense damage with his attack, and he can often do a critical attack that either instantly kills a regular enemy (like being hit for over 1000 damage from him normally wouldn't anyway), or deal 4 times his regular attack to a boss. And along with having great defense and HP, making him already hard to take down with magic and nearly impossible to take down with physical attacks, he often--heck, not often, USUALLY--blocks enemies' attacks and counters them. Georg is a one-man team; you practically have to TRY to have him killed for him to be taken down in battle.

4. Chisato (Star Ocean 2)

Chisato is awesome in battle. I can't see why the Star Ocean 2 community as a whole hasn't quite caught on to this yet. Her regular attack does damage twice each time, which is nice since her attack stat is very high, and doesn't take so long to perform and have such a limited range that enemies often manage to move/attack before it can actually hit, like the attacks of the unfathomably more popular Dias. Her running speed around the battlefield is practically twice that of other characters, which means that she has a better chance of retreating for a moment to heal without the enemy effectively pursuing her. Her best attack, Tear Gas, is nearly inescapable, hits at least 10 times for good damage each hit, and has a chance, I believe, of poisoning its target. It's also easy to link with another of her more effective skills, Flamethrower, adding several more hits to the mix. Finally, Chisato is one of only 2 characters in SO2 (and, since the other character is the brainless, exasperating Final Fantasy 10 Rikku prototype, Precis, Chisato is the only 1 of the 2 that you would actually WANT to have around) that can equip the all-mighty Algol Shield. This shield basically can randomly Petrify any enemy that attacks its wearer--and with SO2, Petrify is synonymous with Instant Kill with enemies. The best part of this is, though, that almost no enemy in the game is immune to Petrify--this includes bosses, insanely powerful secret bosses, and even a boss that you are scripted to lose against. Frankly, if it weren't for SO2 having such a poorly-executed battle system that works with a high difficulty level to frustrate the player, Chisato would be number 2 on this list, easy. However, since the game is difficult both by design and by design incompetence, Chisato is not as crazily over-powered for her game as the others below, so she remains in 4th position on this list.

3. Juan (Suikoden 3)

The Suikoden series has more than its fair share of over-powered characters--if I did a longer list, I would not only have Georg and Juan, but would also most likely include Zerase and Suikoden 3's Nei, too. I'd probably consider Lazlo in Suikoden Tactics, too.

Juan is a beast. He SEEMS useless at first, because he's a lazy oaf who starts off every battle asleep. But all you need to do is equip him with Sleep-blocking accessory or armor to remedy that. And once he's awake, he's just devastating. His innate combat skills allow you to make his attacks extremely powerful, AND they have him hit multiple times each round of combat--it's been a little while since I played, but I think he was getting 5 - 7 attacks each round. Think about that. In your average RPG, just giving your weak HEALING MAGE character 5 attacks a round would put them in the same physical damage class as your top attackers--and Juan's the latter. The icing on the cake is that another of his skills allows him to retarget new opponents once the one he's attacking is dead, so if he kills an enemy on, say, his 3rd punch in a turn, you won't lose the rest of the strikes he would have delivered to them normally--he'll just find the next baddie and pummel them with the extra. He doesn't have the tank-like staying power that Georg did, but he obliterates everything so fast that it doesn't make a difference in regular battles, and he doesn't require any more healing aid in prolonged boss battles than anyone else normally would.

2. Orlandu (Final Fantasy Tactics)

Ah, Orlandu. Patron saint of the Over-Powered Characters. His attack stats are crazily high, he can normally equip most of the best armor and weapons in the game, he has decent movement, and his skills are a combination of the most immediately powerful decently-ranged Job Class in the game (Holy Knight, with its powerful semi-magical physical attacks that not only have range and easy-to-work-with area affect, but also can cause status effects on enemies that they don't just instantly destroy), one of the more tactically useful Job Classes in the game (Divine Knight, which, while lacking very slightly the Holy Knight's power and range, can destroy enemies' equipment with each strong attack), and one of the most self-sustaining Job Classes in the game (Dark Knight, which has a ranged attack that not only deals strong damage, but heals the user at the same time). Not only that, but he automatically comes with an extremely powerful sword that automatically casts Haste on him, giving him the speed to rain destruction down on his enemies one turn after another before they can even react. Using Orlandu can make you feel dirty, he's that over-powered.

1. Sailor Pluto (Sailor Moon: Another Story)

Sailor Pluto has lousy staying power. Her defense is bad, her HP ain't great, she more or less can be pretty easily put down for the count by one relatively powerful boss-level attack. Her attack power is even worse. Unless you specifically devote the best attack items to her, her regular attacks and special abilities will quite often be dealing 1 damage to enemies--and even with the attack items, she's mediocre at best.

So why is she the most over-powered RPG character ever? Because she can stop time. Or, more specifically, freeze your opponent in time for 3 turns. Your opponent will sit there, doing nothing, for multiple turns while you dish out damage, heal allies, and point and laugh. And this isn't just some typically lame RPG status ailment that works against all the weak enemies you don't need it for but not on the strong ones. Pluto does this for EVERY bad guy in the game, up to and including the final boss. And unlike a few similar abilities in other RPGs, there are no strings attached to this one--you don't have to recharge it over a period of time like with that group ability in Tales of Legendia, it doesn't so much battling to learn that it's probably useless when you get it like Feena's Time Gate in Grandia 1 (and on the note of Time Gate, Feena's the only one still active when she uses that move; Sailor Pluto's whole team can do as they like when she uses Time Stop). All you need to do is make sure that Sailor Pluto's MP is restored during one of the turns that your enemy's frozen, and she's ready to cast it again immediately. This means that, so long as the enemy doesn't manage to kill her between spell casts, Sailor Pluto basically makes it impossible to lose.

Honorable Mention: Mewtwo (Pokemon Blue/Red/Yellow)

Back in the good old days of Pokemon, Psychic was where it was at. Their only weaknesses were Ghost Pokemon, which was no weakness at all because there weren't any real Ghost Type attacks and all the Ghost Pokemon were part Poison, which made them weak to Psychic anyway, and Bug Pokemon which was also not a weakness since Bug Type attacks all sucked and the Bug Pokemon were all also part Poison like the Ghost ones were. And at the top of the Psychic ranks was Mewtwo. He had the best stats, learned or could learn most of the best moves, and was more or less invulnerable to everything. He was about as over-powered as it got; Orlandu looks like a sissy by comparison.

Sadly, the creations of proper Ghost Type attacks, Ghost Pokemon who weren't naturally weak to Psychic ones, lame other super powerful Pokemon like Deoxys and that idiotic flying chicken Ho-oh, and the disgracefully stupid, unnecessary, and random Dark Type, have all evened the playing field, and Mewtwo is no longer the unequaled master of power that he was always meant to be. Still great, of course, just not distinctively so. But if not a place on the actual list, he certainly deserves mention for what he was.