The Oracle
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The Oracle, Brad Lohr - January '00- 11:30 PST

Very pain! .. er, late. I'm sorry about the late update, but anyhow, here she is.. (that's right, you don't know Google's gender, but the column is definitely a 'she'.) .. I got some good questions last night, contrary to usual circumstance.

Anyhow, I'm not going to talk a lot, like normal. (That can be taken two ways :P) .. because I need to get this sucker done. :)

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Tell me your wildest dreams, your sickest fan-- no, I changed my mind. Just send me cool questions.

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Asheron's Call
Yes, more and more, and more.. this game is actually lots of fun. Heather's playing it too, now. :)
Stop shooting missiles at my Metroid hat!
Has anyone every actually beaten Metroid?

This question appals me! No, but seriously, yes, many people have beaten metroid. This guy at work that sits right next to me has beaten Super Metroid in under 3 hours, with 100% of the items. Well, I have too. The first game I owned for the NES besides the SMB1/Duck Hunt collection was Metroid, actually, and I can still find my way through that game, even though I don't own a NES any longer. Wah. I really liked how they did Super Metroid, however.. they made great improvements, without forgetting the strengths that made the game how great it was. Wish Konami would have learned to leave the good parts in with Vandal Hearts 2.. oh well. Anyhow, if you've got a SNES, and you're bored some time, go out and grab Super Metroid. It really rules.

Speaking of Vandal Hearts 2...
*** Possible Vandal Hearts 2 Spoilers ***

I've played a lot of Vandal Hearts 2 since last week...and I've come to the conclusion you are blows! It has no cool victory conditions, no cool characters, no cool music. Its plot is just like FFT (religous figure is EVIL EVIL EVIL)! Oh ya, I had to kill the same enemy 4 times before he finally died. *Sigh* Anyway thats just my 2 cents.


Well, now, I never said it blew. Nor did I say anything really equivalent. Just that it didn't quite live up to what it really could have been. The first had some neat stuff in it, we expected that neat stuff to come back, and well, they just didn't live up to our expectations. I don't get why every TacRPG is obsessed with religion, but well, they just seem to be. I'd love to see some of them that did some other types of plots.. but well, we're just not seeing that. I guess VH1 really didn't have much to do with the whole religion thing.. but a lot of other ones sure did. Anyhow, hopefully we'll see some more good stuff come in the TacRPG realm pretty quickly.. they are becoming more popular, and are probably my personal favorite type of game.

To ROM, or not to ROM...
Brad, I just brought Final Fantasy Anthology and I was wondering rather I should exchange it for Grandia. I only had 2 days left to decide. Please help me. FFVI was really disapointing, but fun. I am just wondering is the FFV translation really that bad? Should I find the ROM? (I am not interested in playing a ROM version)

Hrm. This is a really tough call. I can understand not really liking the whole ROM business, from just the standpoint that the games aren't the same. When I heard (for SURE!) that FF5 would never see a translated version hit shores, I downloaded the ROM, bought a Gravis GamePad Pro, (Which is pretty nice, and works, and comes fully recommended, and no I'm not being paid by Gravis to say this)... and then I played and beat FF5. It was actually a lot of fun. The GamePad made all the difference, really. The music was a little off, so it wasn't the 100% experience.. but I digress. Anyhow, then we learn that FFA is coming 'cross shore. And true to what I'd always said, "I'll buy it if it comes across", I bought the game. I haven't played it on the PSX yet, though I've seen someone else playing it for a bit.. and while the translation is a little... er.. whacked? .. it's not that bad. And the music is great. And the game in general is great.

But so is Grandia.

Which is where the problem lies. I'd say hold on to FFA, for nothing other than a nice PSX version of FF5 to mess around with. Save up, and when you get some extra cash, buy Grandia. They're both really good, and I couldn't really recommend one over the other.

Playstation Proper Care.. the essay
OK after reading the do's and don'ts of the playstation, I had to say a few words. Because I usually end up fixing them.

The Console;

First, NEVER EVER PUT IT ON THE CARPET. This causes the power supply to overheat and eventually cause the connections to go bad.

[I had mine on top of my TV for a couple months.. it didn't like that much either.. heat rises out of the TV, into the PSX.. not a good thing]

While we are on that note, never open the playstation. Everything is unshelled to help the heat to dissipate. And I darn all those who open it while its still plugged in.

The CD motor like most motor ware out over time. And will go slower. But that would take a very long time. CD player motors are much more powerful then they need to be. Now the speed needs to change for the location on the CD it is scanning. The inner track will move slower then the outer track. Just for the amount of information there is less compared to the outer track. If your playstation gets like that where it moves to slow, (You can tell because loading time takes to long) flipping it over will help. BUT don't do it if the playstation is fine. IT will move to fast, and you will have the same problem.

And always use an external mod chip. Internal ones are too easy to screw up unless you are good at it, like me. "I dint say that it was my evil twin :)"

The CD's;

If you follow these easy steps (like me) you won't need to read any farther. 1.- Remove the CD from the case from its edges. 2.- Place the CD in the playstation by sitting it on the peg then pressing down gently in the middle. 3.- When you are done, remove the CD carefully and placing it carefully back in the case.

I know everyone knows that, BUT who out there actually does it.

[Well I keep all my CDs in jewel cases.. I'm even fairly good about keeping the data surface away from harmful things.. haven't lost a game yet]

Cleaning CD's-There are two ways to do it.

If there is just dust or debris on the CD use a cotton or silk cloth and lightly dust it. DON'T use any chemicals on it.

If there are fingerprints do the same thing as above, but use hand soap with no detergent on it. Or special CD cleaner (The cleaner is usually ionized water).

If there is scratches nothing will get them out except two things.

Doing the glazing step over with a CD-Cutter, They make the sliver CD's. I have access to one but most don't.

And using a HIGH Speed buffer. There are other CD buffers out there that they sell. But most are hard to work, and will damage the CD. The buffers you want are the ones used for polishing off clear plastics after they are forged. But most still don't have access to them. There are a few hand CD buffers out there that do work, but most don't.

[I'm still saying the shaving cream trick will work. Trish told me so, and Trish never lies to me.]

OK some people say certain things will get the scratches out, most of them make the CD worse.

Never Use anything from a spray can. They will break down lacquer coating on the CD. Don't believe me, use bug spray on an AOL CD. And remember its a lot slower with something else.

[Dude, now THAT'S a good idea.. we got 2 new AOL CDs in the mail just the other day.. burning/microwaving/running over/smashing was just getting old...

Shaving Cream will work, until it dries in the scratch. Then nothing will be able to read it until you wash it off.

[Uh oh :)]

Polishes have two effects, Make the CD shiny, Break down the lacquer. So don't use em.


First you never microwave metal. Including the aluminum in a CD. First it causes the light waves to reflect wrong. And the metal will heat up real fast.

[Well I wasn't suggesting it as a technique for FIXING the CD.. :)]

And burnt lacquer is TOXIC, like Poison TOXIC. So don't heat them. Like some types of plastics. After its first set, It wont melt but burn when its exposed to heat.

So if your CD is scratched, There is not much you can do.

I hope this settles some things.

Kefka Sir

Crack smoking Q&A? Nahhhh
The pictures of C:SOTN currently on the RPGamer review are NOT from the playstation game. In fact, they are from the Sega Saturn version of the game that was released a while after the playstation version in Japan, though I'm positive it was released here...there's a site dedicated to Castlevania (find it by going to hosted sites and then game worship) and I would have provided a link but I couldn't access it for some reason :(

Anyway, extra things were added, such as allowing Alucard the ability to dash (not that silly slow-run he always does) and allowing Richter and Maria to be played as characters without codes. I wasn't sure when I saw the tree, but when I saw Maria on the screen, it was a dead giveaway since she can't be played in the PSX version.

Robert Stokes - Pre-Raphaelite Shaolin Jereau Freleng - Cybernetic Tiger (my names..they aren't so good, I think)

Ahh.. this all makes sense. I loved C:SotN.. it was a great game... too bad they didn't offer the cool version for PSX.. I'd really have liked to play it. I did the whole Richter thing, but it wasn't very cool, he didn't seem to get much stronger as time went on, and well, he didn't have very many hit points to start out with.

My bad.. the Wu-Tang comes back at Brad!
In your recent column, you half-described Wu-Tang as: "They're like a rap group or's like gangster stuff. So get out your gang signs..."

Let me clear this up for you, folks-- The Wu-Tang clan is a current hip hop recording group, yes, but are they gangsters? No! The Wu-Tang clan is a group of deadly and highly trained martial artists trained in such stylz as Shaolin Shadowboxin' and Tiger-Style Kung-Fu. As the song goes, "Wu-Tang Killa Beez ain't nuthin' to @#% with", so best remember that, all you out there. They're not gangsta-rappers, they're just representin' what life's like in the slums of the Shaolin temples. It's some dope and ill beats for your earhole, as well, so check them out sometime.

Oh, and one other thing-- While Wu-Names are inspired by the Wu-Tang, remember that they're not officially licensed, nor do they claim to be related in any major way, so don't get that mixed up. My friend, who's Wu-Name is 100-Watt Warlock, has been given a Wu-Name worthy of Wu-Tang, whereas the popular Lesbian Pimp is not true to the game.

The following are the REAL members of Wu-Tang, and this the only REAL Wu-Names: Gza, the Genius; Rza, the Abbot; Ghost Face Killah; Inspecta Deck; 'Ol Dirty Bastard; Masta Killah; Method Man; Raekwon; and U-God.

Thank you, please print this so the people know what's what, and your mis-information can be corrected.

- The Ninja of Wind

Oooh, I get it. They're from the slums of Shaolin Temples.. down in the hood with the monks.. it's all .. so .. clear. Riggght. Anyhow, I've never heard their music, so I can't really comment on the quality or lack thereof, but I'm known to be easily entertained, so you never know.. anyhow, I'll be sure to be very wary of their 'stylz' :)

"Yeah, I beat the game with only fire and heal.. did I do something wrong?"
Oh Wise and Mighty Oracle...

Since I'm not up to looking through the manual (suffice it to say that either I can't read, or I'm just very, very lazy ^_^) my question is as follows... What am I supposed to do with all the Crest Graphs I keep getting? Does it involve getting more spells?...I really think I should have more than Heal and Fire by now...

Oh yeah, and Space Ghost rules! I force my friends to watch it at their houses because I don't get Cartoon Network...muhahaaaa!

Heh.. you take the crest graphs into special people, and you're allowed to inscribe spells upon them. Or take the spells off, if you so desire. This is the only way to get new spells. Of course, the cheating thing I did, was erase all my low-level spells off of crest graphs when I found the high-magic shop, and inscribe all the high spells on all those crest graphs, then picked up the low-level spells as I went along. Very cheating. :)

Chrono Trigger goodies
*** Chrono Trigger Spoiler thingies ***

Oh mighty Oracle,
once again I call on your infinite wisdom to guide me to the path of enlightenment. Recently I have been playing Chrono Trigger to get all the ending but while playing two things have really been bugging me.

1: I've reached the fated hour, there's a house in 600 ad opposite the Dorino Inn which has a set of draws in it, one of them twinkle's, when you examine it it says it's locked, Where's the Key? And what the hecks in there? Grrr I remember this infuriating me the first time I finished CT 3 years ago!

2: I thing I've got all the different triple tech Rocks but I'm not quite sure. I have the black blue and white rocks plus the silver rock. Is that all of them and if not where can I find the others?

Please help me out!


Alright, if I'm remembering which house that really is, you have to have the Nagaette Bromide in order to get the key to the drawer, and there's a tab inside. I'm not sure if it's a magic/speed/power tab, Spencer would know. And well, I'd call his cellphone, but he might be in class right now, and that would totally suck. You can get the Nagaette Bromide inside of the church you first meet Frog in, by the way. As for #2, well, it has been quite a while, but here's all the rocks, and how to get them (in case someone else was wondering on where to get the blue/black/white/silver):

  • Gold Rock - Go into the Denadaro Mountains far enough to the point where there's that guy who is throwing rocks at you. Yup.. you got it. One of those is the Gold Rock. Just have Frog in the lead of the party, and he'll catch one. Use this for "Grand Dream". You can't do this until after you've got the Final Masamune. (For the record, I've never had Grand Dream amount to too much damage. I think it relies on a couple of things like how much damage Frog has taken or something like that.. I just never used it much.
  • White Rock - This rock is in the Black Omen, in a chest. It gives you the power of Pyozo Dance, used by Marle/Lucca/Ayla, and this is a frickin' hilarious little routine. It's definitely worth getting just to see it... especially if you dig those little pyozos. :)
  • Blue Rock - This rock is found in the "Giant's Claw" dungeon, where you face the 2nd incarnation of that nasty T-Rex guy, just before you find the Rainbow Shell. The chest might be a big obscured, so look carefully. This rock enables you to preform Omega Flare, one of my two top favorite techs. It uses Magus + Lucca + Robo, and well, it's like massively cool.. and it hits hard.
  • Black Rock - In the city of Enhasa, in 12000BC, you can open a door by opening the books inside the town in the correct order. (Water, Wind, Fire).. inside the room you can get into, you'll find the Black Rock, which, when put on Marle, Lucca, or Magus, invokes "Dark Eternal" .. probably the coolest looking Triple Tech in the game. I love this one, and Spencer, master of all things Chrono Trigger, swears by it.
  • Silver Rock - After getting the Epoch's flying capability, go to the Laruba Ruins (the other village in 65,000,000 B.C.), there's a Nu there that will give you the Silver Rock. He can also change your name, if you like.

As an aside, one of my friends renamed the Epoch 'Penis'.. and it was just frickin' hilarious when it got the flying capability, to hear Ayla say, "Look! Penis have wings!" .. right, anyhow

Don't know if Google posted this or not earlier this week, but...
*** Chrono Cross Spoiler is Imminent! I'm serious! Don't read if you're picky about not knowing anything about Chrono Cross! ***

You're probably going to be inundated with responses to this from other wise-asses who like to boast about their import gaming prowess to a bored and unimpressed audience - just like I do! But I figured this was an adequate reason to assert my import game alpha male-ness. The fact of the matter is that Lucca does indeed have a last name, and that last name is revealed at some point in Chrono Cross. Now that I've given anal-retentive people cause to scream "Spoiler!" despite not having said where you learn this information, why it's revealed or in what context, I will leave her actual name a big surprise for the less intrepid people who are waiting to play Chrono Cross until they get a version they can read and comprehend. Also, I'm not quite sure how to translate it from the Japanese (case in point).

Cheers, J. Parish

There y'all go, who wanted to know. Not that it's totally information, but it's a promise of information. I can't wait for Chrono Cross, personally. :)

Sickie Quickies

I just wanted to point out that "Brad Lohr, The Oracle" is an anagram for, "Ah, err, chat bordello." Is THAT what you're using your PERL skills for?! You dog! Or is it true what the anagram says about you being a "Hot Larder Bachelor?" Hrm?
-Hoenir Aesir

... heh.
That's .. interesting... .. but what I want is a link to the machine that outputs those anagrams.

Me'n Shadow Zero danced once to Moonlight Densetsu. It was beautiful. He's left me. Please make Shadow Zero dance once more!

...sorry, I can only make Bean Child and/or Joel Golem dance. :o

Why are there 24 time zones if there are only 23 hours?

Don't know what kind of school you went to ... but in my day, there are 24 hours. If you're talking about Military time, that's because they start at 0 hours, and go to 23. If you count starting 0, end on 23, you'll find that you've counted 24 numbers. Voila.

I'd just like to say I enjoyed Sharkey's...ahem, subliminal message in his sig. ;D

Surprised he was being subliminal in there.. he wasn't very subtle about it through the column. :)

Words from the Wise One:

Yo. That was cool. I totally forgot about doing this last night, was just doing stuff this morning, and went.. "OH CRAP"! .. so it may seem a bit rushed on this end at least... anyhow, we'll see ya'll tomorrow!

It's looking bad for one of our mutant buddies this time!

Brad "That's what I love about standards...there's just so many to choose from! (in a discussion about HTML, IE, and Netscape)" Lohr

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