The Oracle
Monkey on a String
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - February 27, 2000- 13:00 PST

Check it out.. I didn't lie to you. I'm here and on time, today. Still not in XWindows yet.. if anyone has an idea about getting an X server for an ATI AIW 128 (not pro, Rage 128 3d chipset), drop me a line, I'll love you long time.

This could very well be a huge column. Since I'm using pine, I haven't really scrolled all the way down my inbox listing to see how many mail messages I've gotten, but if it isn't enough, I'll pop over to the Windows half and grab the 70 some-odd that I didn't get to yesterday.. still can't get to those that were sent to me a bit back, because those are stuck in Netscape mail under X.. I swear, I'm going to get a REAL email program, one of these days.

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Brad Now Playing:
Asherons Call
Final Fantasy Tactics
And oddly enough, sometimes both of them at the same time.. I beat Velius last night, yay!
In Brad's Head
Not much has been in my head recently...
Well, nothing I could print in a public forum, that is...
I've got three dollars on the long lost brother, do I hear four?
Hey Brad,

Whats up, I have a few questions to ask you...

  1. Ive heard that FF Tactics is almost extremly scarce at this point, and I was planning to buy it, is this true??
  2. Do you know of any Square demo (like legend of mana or crono cross) that might be coming with any other square game anytime soon?
  3. Whats your 2 cents on Star Ocean 2: Second story? (been planning on buying it but not sure if its worth it)
  4. By the way that long lost brother thing is for real, its true why wont anyone believe anything I say.
leonitha-"long lost brother for sale"

I actually don't have any long lost brothers.. I have a couple of weird people who email me and try to pretend to be so, though.. heh heh. As for FFT being scarce, that's what I hear. That's a sad thing, but you can always pick stuff up in the used bins at different places.. I'm pretty sure you can find it if you really want to.. try looking on eBay, if all else fails. I don't know specifically of any demos that are coming out on recent games... heck, those games are coming out soon enough that they're pretty much in the next lineup, you'd think we have demos by now. As for Star Ocean2, well.. go get it. It's an awesome game, and if you like games with good replay value, this is a must for you. I dug that game, blew a good 2 months of my life playing it, and loved every minute of it. Sometime I'm going to go back to it, I swear! .. right after Brigandine... really!

There's an insane chocobo on your head!
Okay... how's the Oracle doing today, good? Good. Anyway, my question is thus... You know how mean the enemies are in FF Tactics, and I was wondering: What is the best party of adventurers to use in the Dorter Slums? I know this is pretty early in the game, but I just want your opinion.

And I really do have a chocobo on my head... It says "Oracle must die". Hmmm, I won't listen to it... much.

Jon Gibson

The Oracle is almost back in full shape.. once we get everything working again, The Orcale will be in good shape. As for Dorter Slums, bring along a chemist, or two, if you're the paranoia type. Make Delita and Algus both into Archers, if you can buy bows for them at this point (can't remember if it is or not), otherwise, make 'em knights, and let 'em smack around anything they can. Then you want to move everyone initially up that little pile of stuff that's right next to your starting location, let one or two people go all the way to the top and cream that archer up there.. then HOLD GROUND. This is one of the key elements to all of FFT. If you go charging into the enemy, you get your butt kicked. Holding ground, letting the enemy come to you, is one of the big keys to doing well in the game. Battles vs. enemy engineers, with those damned guns withstanding, of course. So you're on the hill, and holding ground. Hopefully your archers can nail those damned wizards before they become too much of a nuisance, but have your fighters concentrate on creaming the knight, as he's a pain in the butt, and then if they're bored, have your fighters slam the wizards a bit around. I like to kill the wizards first if I know I'm going to win, because I like to let them drop crystals/treasures, becuase I generally don't have wizards nor their equipment by that time in the game, (though you easily could.. I tend to let the squires learn a lot (At least JP up, Move+1, Counter Tackle, Throw Rock, and more than likely Accumulate) before I move them into the higher jobs.. but then, in this game, I really have been sticking to the basic jobs, I just made Ramza a ninja on the advice of one of my readers from last time. Two Ninja Edges, Bracer, Twist Headband, and Power Sleeve... THWOCK! 360 damage to Weigraf, and he was down in one shot.. did the same kinda damage to Velius too. :)

Help! My FFT has fallen, and it can't load up!
O' Brad on the hill,

My FFT cd has been damaged to where it freezes when I try to either continue or start a new game and it's pissin' me off! I tried standard CD cleansing shtuff, shaving cream, and even asking the cd to please work. There hardly appears to be any scratches on the CD... any suggestions as to how to fix my beloved piece of plastic?

- Jesse the Messy IV

I'm not much of a specialist on cleaning CDs, though several people have thought that they were, and written into columns of the past.. you can go search through them, if you like.. but I don't know. I actually did try the X-potion trick, and Ramza didn't use an Xpotion when Weigraf stuck it to him the first time.. so I decided to just take him out real quick, and I got REALLY lucky beating Veluis. Happy happy.

Perfect Works, explained!

I'm writting to answer your plea for a dedicated nut to explain Digicube's perfect works series. I also recently acquired XG: The Perfect Works, and this has caused me to do some research into the rest of the Digicube line of books. As for 'Perfect Works' books in particular, there are only a few--3 to be precise. Xenogears: The Perfect Works was the first, being released on 10/8/98 for 3,500 yen (about $30... a LOT less than I paid, unfortunately...). Then came Saga Frontier 2: The Perfect Works, released on 7/15/99 and the most recent was Front Mission 3: The Perfect Works which was released 11/19/99. These are the only Digicube books to bear the Perfect Works name, but there are many more similar books. For example, Final Fantasy: The Complete Works (a great series, BTW, if you can ever find them and if you speak Japanese...) and several others. All of the books with similar content as this for their respective games bare a seires of Kanjis that go as follows (you need Japanese decoding software to see these; if you don't have any, check out

[Insert Japanese Text here] (Sorry, my mail program botched on this -- Brad)

For those who do not speak Japanese, that is pronounced: Settei-Shiryou-Shuu. This translates roughly to "Established Data Collection". It sounds a lot cooler in Japanese I guess...

Anyway, in addition to Digicube's Settei-Shiryou-Shuu books and their line of guidebooks, they also have a series called the "Memorial Album" series,of which I do not currently own any, but have had FF7: Memorial Album back-ordered for about a month and a half now... :(. Anyway, the Memorial Album books are essentially a more-or-less complete script of the in-game text along with CG shots of what was happening at the time.

Finally, they also have a series of weirder books such as the "Chocobo Racing Post Card Collection" (no joke... how could I make something like that up?) and the "Final Fantasy Paper Craft Book". Of course, these are next to impossible to find in America, but such is life.

I'm sure that was more info than anyone but me could have possibly been interested in. ;)

-Eric Reichel, who has just as much fun reading Japanese books about Square games as playing them.

Don't have much to say about that.. there you go, whomever was interested.

An 8-bit love song..
Dear "Thundara Maker" Lohr,
'Back in the day' of gameplay first,
When balloons and aliens there were to burst,
Where Link and Samus got a start,
And every 'game nerd' lost their heart,
To a system at its best,
Behold the gloried NES.

Its graphics are lines of blocks,
Easily made shapes, such as dots,
Its sound is like nothing heard before,
Something like wind through a door,
Its casing is small and sleek,
The first type, the second is weak,
Loading games is like a dream,
Insert, push down, pound and scream,
The feeling of my first win,
Put in my mind a small grin,
Shootin' down those angry ducks,
Falling earthbound with muffled 'uhuk's,
Beating robots of the land,
With 'Blue Bomber' Megaman,
Dodging barrels of the Kong,
In rhythm to its 8-bit song,
Bowsers of the land await,
For Mario in castles 1-8,
'Twould be wrong without the slime,
In DQ it'd be a crime,
Another game is Crystalis,
This ARPG is wrong to miss,
From Leaf to the tower in the sky,
Here's a game you've gotsta try,
Dare we mention famed Metroid,
That without there'd be a void?,
Samus, that nimble girl,
Cool enough to save a world,
Link, Zelda, Gannon, Fairy,
Hero, girl, villain, hairy,
Princess T and little Toad,
Need more games to cross the road,
That underplayed Shadowgate,
Trying to open that next grate,
Another great, Faxanadu,
You mayn't even have a clue,
About the game which I speak,
Check around, it's worth a peek,
"I'd like to buy some gum",
Said Alex of River City Ransom,
An ARPG of the modern kind,
A 'better this game you find'.

There are many hundreds more,
For you people to explore,
Buy a deck and a few games,
Trust me, you won't be ashamed,
For you'll find hours of fun,
For a system that's had to run,
You may think me just a lamer,
"Screw you" then, from an 8-bit gamer.

A work of mine.

-EE "Love: If I'm blind, who's cheating me out of disability benefits?!?"

That's just.. neat :)

FFT Fun things to do!
Here's a letter, just like you asked. I'm not a regular contributor, but I really like your site. I guess I'll open with a few fun FFT things .. I'm really obsessed with the game too and I really wish Square would make a sequel. Fun things to do in FFT:

Give battle skill to archers and people with guns. Do long range speed breaks. By the time the enemy reaches you, you should be able to get in three or four turns before they can get even one. It helps to do something like giving a monks the equip gun ability because strength is tied into break success rate.

In battles against gafgarion, continously try stealing his sword. Eventually it will work and he'll be rendered helpless (he can only punch for like 10 pts of damage)

Make a party of all females, except the necessary males like Ramza. Make them all dancers. Give them all sunken state as a reaction ability. Now, have everyone start "wiznaibus". Use Ramza to do weak attacks against all of them until they turn invisible. Then get ramza invisible by taking a hit and surviving. Now you can just sit there and win using only the 'wait' command. It's a pretty corny way to beat enemies. Another trick along these lines is to hit an enemy with 'poison','haste', and then make the party invisible.

My ultimate death squad: Wizards with math skill as a secondary ability, one mediator (mustadio, so you can snipe), and one knight with two swords ability, excalibur, and a chaos blade (Beowulf with battle skill as a secondary). Have the mediator hit everyone with brave up stuff. The knight should do something useful (like beowulf hitting a wizard with pray faith). The wizards should focus on CT4PrayFaith to get all enemies and allies faithed. From there you can pretty much wipe out everyone in one turn. Having trouble landing a good summon spell like zodiac? get one party member invisible (or equip them with setiemson) and cast the summon spell on them. Then have them wander into the midst of the enemy, who ignores them.

Use two swords weapon breaks for a doubly high success rate in break techniques. This also makes magic break useful, as each hit takes away 50% of their mp. Even speed break and power break become geniunely useful this way. It's a good way to break everyone down so that you can poach them or steal money or whatever.

In the battle against Ramza's brother, you can actually get him to metamorphose into (Forget the name) and completely break his speed before he gets one attack off. Then you can get his power and mind ratings broken too so that he gets one turn for every fifty or so you do.

Try stealing every piece of genji equipment plus masamune off of (samurai boss). They way I did it is using knights with two swords technique and dancers doing the slow dance constantly. The success rate for stealing his weapon is like 10%, it takes an absurdly long time to get everything.

To build up just ONE character's experience REALLY quickly, get into a random battle in a relatively flat level. Let's say you want to bring Cloud up to speed. Make everyone wizards with math skill, make sure cloud and beowulf are in the party. Kill all but one enemy. Break that enemy's speed (and strength if you want) using two-sword break techniques from beowulf. Now have the magicians hit everything on the screen with pray faith. Do this by luring the enemy and placing everyone but Cloud on a flat plain. Then use height (whatever) pray faith. It doesn't matter if cloud gets it. Use the same command with sleep. This should put everyone to sleep including party members. Cloud can then come down from his hill, and he should get ten turns in a row by himself before anyone can do anything. Use ramza's guts technique or a bard's cheer song to speed Cloud up. Keep putting the enemy and everyone on the plain to sleep, and cloud can spend his ten turns using 'gil taking' on the enemy. This will not only make you gain experience fast, you'll get rich enough to afford a zillion samurai swords (or whatever).

To build a party's experience fast, give them all the secondary ability 'basic skill', then use knights to kill every enemy but one. Then break that enemy's speed down to one. Everyone can sit there and use accumulate over and over until you get bored or max out the JP you need. Another variation on this is to have everyone be a bard who uses cheer song. You'll just see turn after turn of cheer song with exp and jp being earned each turn, and the enemy will get a turn once every few hundred party turns.

Try beating the game with nothing but summoners. It's fun. Semi tough.

Ever notice that a lancer can't jump with something over his head? Nice touch.

I have a lot more like this, but I probably sound like a psycho already. I'll wrap this up. Thanks for keeping rpgamer interesting.


Dude.. that's some really neat stuff. I knew a couple of those, but the rest are just awesome... the dual-break technique is going in my party next battle, I swear.. whee!

8-bit NES, revisited
Dear (Almighty Oracle) Brad,

Does anybody still own a regular nintendo(or 8-bit, as some call it)? Or the original Final Fantasy? I still own mine, and they still work pretty good, along with many other games. I still play them occasionally, and still have fun. What about you?


I actually just bought an 8-bit NES, and the original Final Fantasy within this last month, but Kevin, one of my friends, still has (and plays) his original copy.


Don't believe him! It's a lie, all of it! It wasn't my fault, Windows accepted me for who I was, but you really hated me, Brad! How could you? I just wanted to run PSX games for you!
-video card

I'M SORRY SANDWICH! .. er.. Video Card.. er.. why am I talking to you? Go do 3d stuff or something, damnit!

If The H Key Doesn't Work, How Did You Type The H? EH EH? Genius.

Well, it had started working by then, dummy :P

You ever wonder what a penguin in a tuxedo would look like? I'd have to say that it'd look the same, 'cept it'd have clothes on.
-Jeff "Different in this normal world"

Depends on if it's an Armani, or not... if you ask me.

Today's my birthday. Will you sing me happy birthday?

Nope. I don't sing for Nameles faces.. oooooh, that was bad.. groan.

Wait.. Saga Frontier II is out?! Gah.. I wonder where I was when this happened...

I don't know what was going on, but Sheryl Crow is pissed at what you've done to her bathroom, dude..

Your lawn is kinda big Mister Oracle sir. I had to use the new mower, the other one broke. But I washed it and put gas in it when I was done. Will you help me now?

Your wish has been granted.. but you look pretty damn silly in that dress, dude..

You don't get paid enough for this.

Come to mention it, I don't get paid for this at all. :)

Auto erotic
Open can, insert member
Wham, bam, thank you Spam!

The Pez

Oh dear.. that is.. a very perverse haiku.. I like it :)

Words from the Wise One:

Well, that be all, kids.. that's the weekend rap.. and well, I've got a speech to write before tomorrow, and some math to do.. and some FFT.. er.. how'd that sneak in there? Bad FFT! :( .. wah.

Brad " /dev/condom not cleanly unmounted, std check forced." Lohr

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