animefringe may 2003 / web showcase
Animefringe's Web Showcase:

Welcome once again to the new version of Animefringe's Web Showcase written by myself, Danielle. This month we'll be taking an in-depth look at the popular RPG series Suikoden by visiting the informative website that is Suikosource.

First impression...
Many people may know about the series Suikoden, and many may have played the first, second or third installment of the series, but do they know about the biggest Suikoden source on the Internet? The layout of the page gets down to business as it sets us up for a simple text-based website with well-organized content and few, if any, layout images. The item that leaves the biggest impression on the main page is definitely the Amazon payment link that just goes to show that even the smaller informative websites needs support from the fans. The colors used on this layout are softer and easier on the eyes, which makes the text easier to read off the page. Beyond the aesthetic value, the navigation is simple enough on the main page, with links to the primary sections; Games, Characters, History, and the supplementary sections; the casual forums, the hardcore forums and a chat room. But when you reach beyond the primary sections you are pulled into the giant world that is Suikoden fandom. A problem with the basic layout and navigation of this website is that the font size and type changes several times for no real reason -- and it looks awkward, since the text is the focal point when no graphics are around.

Let's get down to business...
If you are already confused, let's quickly get a little taste for exactly what this 'Suikoden' nonsense is all about. The game is loosely based upon a classic Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhan or Outlaws of the Water Margin in English. A small explanation of the series would be that Suikoden is an RPG with war and strategy elements, which revolves around one leader who works to recruit 108 characters into an army/rebel force to ultimately beat the bad guys. Still confused?
Suikosource has three main sections on the surface, but after a few clicks you are thrown into this huge world of translations, game history, hints, unreleased information and so much more. The point of Suikosource seems to be to reveal as much translated official Japanese information from the games as possible, including history, character backgrounds and proper script translation from the games. They even go to explain in great detail, the other unreleased (outside of Japan) games relating to Suikoden which haven't been slated for release in North America. If that doesn't seem generous enough, don't let me forget to mention that this "great detail" includes over 400 screenshots directly from the game. Yeah, this site is definitely for the fans. The in-depth character section includes history about the 'stars' that each of the 108 characters in the games take up, and information on just about EVERY character ever involved or mentioned in a Suikoden game. While just a click away, the history section delves into every possible thing you could wonder about in the Suikoden universe, including maps, timelines and legacies. The games section however, includes the most things that directly apply to your gameplay such as guides to magic, items and the ever-popular walkthroughs.

In the end...
Suikosource definitely offers you the best place on the Internet to go to if you would like any information on Suikoden whatsoever. Whether you would like to know how to beat the final boss or what flower Milich Oppenheimer created to protect his castle, Suikosource has got it. What they don't have at the moment is be working images for character bios. The thumbnails all seem to work but the images are all linked improperly and disappoints one who would like to see a fuller view of scenes or characters. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. But the main purpose of Suikosource is information, not eye-candy, and it suits its purpose well. I won't forget to mention that if you have any questions left unanswered, they have an active forum for any Suikoden question you may ever have -- and trust me, and somebody will answer. That's just the Suikosource way.