In the world of videogames, nothing can be considered as
much of a vital tool in getting the most out of a videogame
than a Strategy Guide, whether official or not. While some
gamers find that using guides takes some of the joy and challenge
out of a game, most have to admit that from time to time,
it has been helpful in answering questions and getting through
some of their favorite games. Videogame completists often
refer to them to see if they've completed all that has a game
to offer. While the argument can be made that people buy guides
to walk them through the game, we believe that guides should
be used to get through tough parts in the game, not hold a
Below are a list of guides that we have found either to be
helpful and have enriched our own gaming lives, or to have
been useless wastes of cash and time. In determining what
was good or not, we considered spoilers, depth of and correctness
of information and overall design (whether the guide was easy
to flip through and use). If something wasn't included here,
it was only because we didn't have a chance to use it.
We consider these to have been the most helpful, useful and
informative. They even make good reading material in the bathroom
or on a plane trip.
Final Fantasy 7 (Versus Books) - Having seen and used
both this unofficial guide and the official (see below), the
Versus Books Guide was much more helpful in getting as much
out of Final Fantasy 7. While the art produced for this book
may have not been great, the layout and numerous screen shots
were well done. Also, just about every aspect of the game
had a section and there were even material combo suggestions.
The mention of the Type 0, the hidden creature removed for
the US version, was a nice bit of trivia found in this guide.
Resident Evil 2 Perfect Guide (Versus Books) - This
comprehensive guide was packed full of screen-shots, maps
and the locations of just about everything. It also gave details
on how to unlock just about everything in the game and added
a lot of good side-commentary.
Resident Evil: Director's Cut (Brady Games) - This
little book (4.25 x 7.5) was released as an unauthorized guide
to the re-released version of this classic. Those who mastered
the original game and thought the new version would be a cakewalk
found themselves hunting down something to let them know where
everything had been moved to. This book was essential for
helping players get through the game in shorter times to unlock
the better weapons.
Fantasy Tactics (Prima Games) - Square's huge strategy
game deserved a guide like this. Every battle has a page or
two and there were sections for everything from monster guides
with poaching items to a list of Propositions. Also, the guide
makes wonderful use of original artwork. Even though a few
screenshots were wrongly labeled, the guide is still extremely
helpful in getting through this game.
Metal Gear Solid (Millennium Books) - Stocked with
character art, bios, tons of screen shots and maps, this book
is probably one of the best official guides for any game.
This book gave a lot of info, interviews with the game developers
and a sealed section for those who didn't want the game ruined
for them with spoilers.
This part of the list includes books that were a severe waste
of money or just ruined the game for us.
Final Fantasy 7 (Brady Games) - Of the two guides,
this was the weaker. Information was hard to find quickly
without a series of bookmarks. A lot of things seemed to be
Fantasy 9 (Brady Games) - "For more info, visit PlayOnline..."
We could write a term paper on what was wrong with this guide.
In fact, we wrote an article
about it. This guide has a bunch of character and screen shots
and it well-designed, but like the Tin Man of OZ, it has no
heart. There is nothing in this guide that will be of use
to anyone. Consider it a soulless walkthrough.
Tomb Raider 2 (Dimension Publishing) - Okay, this
guide isn't totally useless, but some of the directions were
lackluster. Also, there were times where the description under
the screenshot really didn't help. For the most part, the
guide just held the player's hand and didn't do a decent job
Tomb Raider 3 (Prima Publishing) - Pretty much the
same as Tomb Raider 2. The descriptions were even more vague
and useless than the previous guide.
Somewhere In Between
Okay, this is the category where we're not sure if these are
good or bad. They often gave us good info, but on the other
hand, often left major items out that could have helped.
Vagrant Story (Brady Games) - Basics of the game and
a fairly good walkthrough are the strong points here. What
wasn't all that great is that there was very little effort
to let gamers know what weapons and equipment could be forged
from what. A little info, please?
Chrono Cross (Brady Games) - This guide was hard to
place. It was informative and told you how to do everything.
It looked good, but... It seemed to make a game that should
have been fairly nonlinear into a Point A to Point B to Point