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The Oracle
 
Mysterious Whisper
 
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - March 17 '00

What's up? .. that's cool. Yeah, me too. Oh? Really? You shouldn't do that, you'll go blind.

Er, hey. What's up. That's coo--

THIRD TIME IS CHARM, YES

Heh, it's been a slightly hectic week.. not too bad though. Having fun.. trying to stay alive in school, (working out fairly well, other than my damned physics class.. just need to .. do .. homework... erggghhh..) .. and work's doing alright as well.. learning Lingo. Anyway... tomorrow I'll be headed up to the Bay Area.. that ought to be interesting.. but yeah, I'll be back on Sunday morning in time to do a column then.. though it may not be that big.. nor may tomorrow's, for that matter.. just due to the fact I need some sleep before I do a good 6 hours of driving. We'll see.

Regardless of all that, we have a good lineup for today.. so .. well, here it is!


Got Questions? Problems?

Ask The Oracle
Come on. And wreck my car.

Recent Q&A's


3-16-00
3-15-00
3-14-00
3-13-00
3-12-00

 
The Old stuff
The Archives
 
Brad Now Playing:
Tactics Ogre
Hasn't been much time to play AC.. rather be seein' 'er than playin' games with 'er, eh..
 
In Brad's Head
 
Man.. there's a Mt.Dew in the fridge..
 
I didn't think the Double Decker taco at Taco Bell could get much better.. but now I can get 3 of them for $2.. that's pretty good.
 
"I'm hungry" <- duh
 
3ngL|s# 4 dUmMi3Z
*** Slight Tactics Ogre Spoiler ***

Hello Brad !

i beat tactics ogre once , but im gonna play again for the other endings.. I get that time the chaotic ending ( where you don't endorse the baramus massacre )and save kachua...

So, my question is.. what is the better end for you ? what did you do ?

thanks.. and sorry for my english..

Andres

Brad:
All I have to say is, that in all my experience, which is quite a bit, honestly, from doing this column, and from other things, (such as email-tech support and stuff), anyone who says, "Sorry for my english" speaks BETTER english than about 50% of the native English speakers I know. So don't worry, Andres.. and tell your English instructor that you get an "A" this term. Cuz Brad sez so. Yo. As for TO, I'm currently undergoing the Chaotic-Chaotic path, which is what I took last time, (It's the best path!) but I never have actually BEATEN Tactics Ogre.. so I need to do that this time. If for some reason my TO urges have not all been taken care of by the time I am done with the game this time through, then I will go forth through some of the other paths.. we'll see. By the way, Kachua becomes my ultimate Cleric.. I'd never kill her for the Lord class. That's so... uncool!

 
Formerly? Shut up, Steve. Get back on the bus.
Hi... or something...?
Uh, this is my second time writing in, (it makes me feel cool), so like.. um... and stuff.

Anyway, what happens when somebody dies in Tactics Ogre? I heard that when somebody dies or something, and you can't get that person back. It's a dumb question for people who own TO, but I don't. I am asking you this because I usually get every game you play (sad isn't it?). I trust your infinite knowledge of what game is cool and what game is utter crap. If TO is rare (eg: FFTactics), I'll probably end up finding a copy either way (watch me try!).

Also, I think I know how to get 999 HP in Final Fantasy Tactics. You go to the Deep Dungeon, and continually keep getting caught in a trap that reduces your level. When your level goes down, your HP stays where it is. So when you level up again, your level AND HP will go up normally. I haven't tested this out yet, but I am pretty sure I saw it mentioned in some sort of FAQ or something.

Grandia. Have you played it? If you have, maybe you can answer my question. How the hell is the title significant to the story or the game itself? If you think about it, every RPG out there has a title that relates to the game in some way. Yet, I cannot come up with a relation between the name Grandia and the game.

-The Guy Formally Known as Steve-

Brad:
Cool tip for FFT players.. kinda cheating, but well.. it's all good ;D .. as for Tactics Ogre.. it's 'almost' true. If someone dies, they're gone. Unless you have one of the fairly rare life spells. It's not only hard to get such a spell, but to get a class of character who can use it. I'm pretty sure that I only had one copy of it.

Now, there are some sorta-life spells.. one of the Dragon Magic spells (Yay, Radlum!) will sacrifice the caster and bring EVERYONE who has died back to life.. talk about a life-saver! .. especially when your normal life-spell person dies.

There's also the zombification spell... takes a dead person, brings them back as a zombie. I guess this might not be TOO bad, 'cept they're like, undead. There's a spell, "Retissue" which un-undeads them (would that make them dead, or alive?) and makes them back into regular people again, but I'm pretty sure it removes all their levels or something, and puts them at a lv1 Soldier or Amazon. If I had my save from last time I went through the game, I'd check that out for you.

As for Grandia, I haven't actually gotten that far in the game.. but there are lots of titles that really are meaningless to the actual contents of the game. Check this one out. "Final Fantasy". hee hee. I mean, that's got a bit of relevance, but it's mostly that the title sounds cool. Anyhow, don't lose any sleep over it.. but if someone has any insight into this specifically, let me know.

 
Star Ocean 2 haiku? Shooore!
Guten Tag.

First, I shall proceed to bounce off the walls over the announce of Star Ocean: The Blue Sphere. *bounces, passes out, and gets back to the podium*

Now, to disclose to the faithful Q&Aers the funnient thing I've seen in a while...

So see this, beat the survival battle. (I know it's tough, I suggest doing this after you beat the Cave of Trials, I had Ashton at L187 w/the Levantine Sword, Angel Armband, Atlas Ring, Seraphic Garb, and Valiant Boots and it was a PUSHOVER) Then, after getting the Fortune armband, beat it again.

What you will see is freaky, it involves the giving of a "Good Luck Kiss" to the winner, by none other than... PUFFY! (She refuses though, I'm not sure about everyone else... I'll have to try Claude or... ehh, I dunno about Precis.)

Also, on the topic of Maxing out skills, One you get to about L150 you will have enough SP to bring every skill to L10. After that, you just gain SP that you can't use, so you just build up until you reach the limit of 999SP, at which point you simply cease to gain SP.

And a personal question: Favorite villain? I'd have to say either Sephiroth, MegaMan Juno, or Tron Bonne (Tiesel's just TOO freaky) I know the choice of MML characters seems a bit weird, but I'd call it an Action game with severe RPG elemets. Call it Capcom's answer to Zelda 64 if you wish.

Anyway, I'm coming to a close, so a haiku about my fave ending to SO2...

13 years, so what?
Leon's 12, Opera: 2-5
Still he hits on her

Ciao!

- Tj Condon

Brad:
MmMMmm.. new Star Ocean.. mMmmmmm... btw, Marek, one of the guys I know from this whole tofproject thing.. was one of the people who really pushed me to get Star Ocean 2.. man has exquisite taste in games. Likes Ogre Battle, Star Ocean 2, Tactics Ogre.. of course, he likes SaGa Frontier.. not that I don't like it... just not my favorite game ever.. I like it to a degree.. more than a lot of folk. :) Anyway, moving on. My favorite Villian would probably have to be Zed from Wild ARMs. If you can find a more hilarious bad guy out there, LET ME KNOW. I nearly died laughing every time that guy came on the screen. And his music rocks my nuts. Kefka also ranks up there. Psycho, funny, just plain nuts, without all the frickin' complexes .. not only that.. you had a whole game to get to know his punk ass before you went out there to kick it. That makes him more fun, really.

 
Rabite POWER!
Dear Oracle-type Person,

First of all I'd like to start by saying that I enjoy reading your columns and *BLAH BLAH BLAH* introduction mumbo-jumbo. Now I have a few RPG questions for you...

  1. In Final Fantasy Tactics, did you ever try your hand at making characters or teams based on characters from other RPGs? It's a rather fun thing to do that can keep your interest in the game long after the ending credits.

    I've never really tried doing this... I have way too many games I haven't gotten to to do this, but man.. If I had the free time.. I'd try to make myself a Percy. From Beyond the Beyond. ... ... heee heee hee.

  2. This is a bit of an unusual question, but I figured that you or one of this column's readers might know the answer. If you tinker around with the combat commands for characters in the US FF3 by using the Game Genie, you can give a character an ability called Summon which summons a random Esper. (Like the Magicite item) My question is, where did this command come from? Was it in the Japanese version of the game? Or is there the possibility that there IS a 3rd hidden character? This has bugged me for a while now...

    Yeah, I've actually played around quite a bit with these things. The 'rumor' I heard about that command was that it was originally Terra's special command that she had, before they gave her the ability to morph.. and that they thought Morph was a better one, than randomly calling funky espers, which you may or may not have already seen. On this note, I want to say that one of the funniest FF6 stories I've ever heard comes from my friend, James Pluhar (Hey James!), when he was playing FF6, just had gotten the Espers.. he got pieces of Magicite.. thought, "Hey.. this is neat!" .. played for a while, but hadn't gotten too far, before he got in a tight spot. Decided to use the Magicite. "BOOM WHAAAM! CRASH.. WHOOSH!" across went this Esper he'd never seen before.... then all the sudden every enemy on the screen was gone. Of course, all his party members dropped flat too. He'd gotten Crusader. (He STILL uses that stuff regularly too, as far as I know..) .. anyway

Well that's about all I have on my mind right now. Thanks for any help you can provide and for listening to me ramble. And always remember, though RPG villans may come and go, the rabite's power will live forever!!! MUAHAHA!
 
I say, good man.. be that a game come yond--
(haha, u got cutoff)
(Don't mind me.. I'm just having fun -- Brad)

Hey Lohracle

I've read the column for a while now (back when you where the head honcho of Q&A and Veronica was your sidekick) but never submitted a question. Well...here goes...

  1. What do YOU think of the X-Box (you probably already answered this but what the hell)?

    I'm not that big a fan of Microsoft, and I really don't see myself getting an XBox.. the development looks like it'll be very similar as it would be for a PC.. so I'll just hope that the games that come out for it that are really cool also come out for PC as well. Here's to hoping! (btw, just as a note, I was already only going to get one nextgen system, and if it won't be a PS2, it'd probably be a Dreamcast, so it isn't completely just biased stuff. I like the stuff Sony has done, and they have some great 3rd party developers that work with them... and it's all about the 3rd party developers. If they lose them ALL to the Xbox exclusively, I'll probably get one. I still don't like Microsoft much.)

  2. What games are you looking forward to seeing/getting? I gotta get Tales of Eternia, Valkyrie Profile, and Crazy Taxi (but Arc Collection and Bangaio look sweet too).

    Chrono Chross Chrono Chross Chrono Chross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross Chrono Cross...

  3. Any idea if Langrisser Millenium is coming to the states? I've only seen a preview and a few screens but that game sounds SWEET!!!!!!

    Hey.. we can all hope. Keep checking the news here at RPGamer.. trust me.. there's some anticipation on our end too.

All right, I'm done.

Wannabe "How come Japanese people keep their mouths moving after they finish talking?"

 
And now.. for something completely different
Mr. A. Nonymous wanted to know why his Intel Celeron 366 with 128 megs of RAM and a Voodoo3 2000 video card was being outperformed by his Playstation, running at 33 mHz with 1 meg video RAM.

I would just like to add that, not only is whoever wrote that last letter using a Celeron (read: bad attempt at an inexpensive processor), but he is also complaining about emulated software being slower than the real thing.

Yes, I said emulated. I'm not sure about FF8, but I'm almost positive that FF7 is emulated on the PC; the game discs are identical, except they're not PSX-playable (they don't have the black stuff on them), and the extra disc is a custom-designed emulator to run them.

Now, I have some experience with emulators (legal ones) in the C-64 15 pack. They took a bunch of really old games that were classics on the Commodore 64, and emulated them on the PC, and sold it for like 20 bucks.

Having played many of these games (like Beamrider and Toy Bizarre) on the original C64, I noticed something interesting: My old C64 was outperforming what was (at the time) a 66 mHz 486 PC with megabytes of RAM (I don't remember exactly how many...it was awhile ago, and the computer's been upgraded in the meantime).

Now, the C64 had 64 KILObytes of RAM (for the comutationally disinclined, 1024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte, so 64 kilobytes is .0625 MB), and the disk drive had several hundred BYTES per second data throughput...I don't even know what the clock speed was, but I'd *swear* it was no more than a twentieth the 486's. And it was outperforming my (then-pretty-good) PC.

Conclusion: Emulated software runs REALLY slowly. (If you know anything at all about what goes on underneath the hood of the machine, it isn't at all surprising, considering all the stuff an emulator has to do.)

--Dayton

Brad:
Okay, first off.. it's not emulated. There are some pretty large differences, (ever One Winged Angel in MIDI? .. blech!) .. and they redid certain textures, etc. It was a port over. The reason that your computer hardware plays a game slower, with better equipment is this:

Playstations have games to worry about.

Computers have a whole lot more to worry about than just your game.

Let's take for example, what's going on while you're playing FF7. Windows is going. Piece of crap OS that it is, it's leaking memory like the Titanic did ice-water, it's running ScanDisk in the middle of your game, and ICQ is running in the background.

And that's just applications.

Think about the DirectX layer, every sound and video call goes through DirectX, then it has to figure out how to make that sound or video effect come out right on your video card, (and with DirectX 7, they actually seem to be doing a good job, in all honesty..) .. which takes resources. On the PSX, there is only one video adapter installed, and one sound adapter.

On your PC, the RAM is split amongst the various applications. On the PSX, it's all devoted to the task on hand... which brings up another point, tasking. The PSX knows how to do things PSX-way, 'load things now, store this in memory quick!', whereas with the changing hardware components of a computer, you can't always be sure.. and you want it to run on a lower-end system, so you sell more copies.

Conclusion: Computers have more going on. The hardware is being used by more than one thing. Programming with a narrow set of hardware makes for better running programs, less things to check. The PSX is made to play games, the computer is made to do everything. Specialization makes for better preformance.

I still want 8 more megs of RAM for my PSX, though.

 
Suikoden Stuff
Hi mighty O,

I do have two small questions for thee:

1-About Suikoden1;do I need to finish the game or finish some special requirements to use the data in my new Suikoden2 game?

2-Is the hidden storylines in Suikoden2 really worth renting the first Suikoden?I'd buy it,but the cover is too ugly...

Thank you very much because you WILL answer...I hope.

Brad:
To get savegame data to work in Suikoden2, you must have a saved game at the last save point in Suikoden1, and having all 108 characters may be required .. (I'm pretty sure it is if you want McDohl in your party in S2).. if you do this, then you have the McDohl party member option opened up to you, and certain characters start with different equipment/bonuses/runes, etc. As for if it's worth it, I'd say it really isn't unless you're a complete purist. Suikoden2 can really be enjoyed without ever having played Suikoden1.. but S1 is still an awesome game.

 
Just a good point..
Hey Brad,

Someone yesterday said that soon graphics will be unable to "get any better" and therefore companies will have to sell games based on story. This is a really stupid way of thinking about things. And here's why.

Sure, the technical ability of systems to render graphics will, at some point, cease to improve. But uh... so what? "Good graphics" doesn't only mean "realistic graphics" - would you say that the only great form of art is realistic art? It is my honest opinion, for example, that many of the watercolor backgrounds in SaGa Frontier 2 are "better" than the graphics in Final Fantasy 8. Why? Because they're just more visually appealing. They're neat. If I want to look at "realistic backgrounds", I'll look out the window.

Brad:
Maybe this was more of an editorial (albiet a short one).. but I like to snake Darien's gig.. so I printed it here. 'sides, it was address to me.

 
Heh.. Horses VS Chocobos.. FIGHT!
Dear Thundara Maker,

Since Blockbuster is out of Front Mission 3 copies, I've decided to do a comparison of horses to Chocobo on a larger scale.

 HorseChocobo
All-terrainness X
Healing Ability X
Attacking Power X
SpeechX 
Storing Ability X
Lunar Willingness X
CuttingsXX
Thing of Legend XX
Sellout X
Easier EatingX 

Chocobo win in most categories but have "sold out" to the masses, mainly with Chocobo Racing and Chocobo's Dungeon 2.

-EE

Brad:
Heh.. as always, if I find it interesting, it gets posted otherwise.. if not, well, you guys'll never see it. ;)

 
 
Hahahaha Quickies

Bwhahahah! I beat SO2 without the Limiter! ^_^

K.P.

P.S. You have to be Level 180 to beat the final boss without Limiter. (if you're lucky)

Heh.. I think my guys in that game are at level 130 or so.. I've beaten it once... I love that game, though.

Quick defense of celeron processers - - they're cheap, every celeron made after the 300A DOES have 256KB cache vs. a PII's 512KB, and the cache runs at full speed, instead of half the speed of the processer, so PIIs and Celerons aren't that far off. Celerons are really inexpensive, $91 for a 466, now THAT ain't bad. -Cowclops

I'm assuming that Google made a disparaging comment about Celerons in her column.. I'm actually considering getting one for my 'game' machine.. they're pretty cheap, and they preform quite well. I just want my 3d stuff to work without crashing for Asheron's Call. :(

Hey Brad what's up? I noticed recently you have been ranting about Tactics Ogre. Well, I was wondering whether you play the Japanese Super Famicom version or the PS one? I just picked up the import SFC copy for a clean 25 bucks. Not to bad considering it was on ebay and I was the only bidder. Oh well off to start the game. Keep up your awesome work at RPGamer.com.

-DowntownPB

Is that PB for ... PEANUT BUTTER? .. mmmm .. anyway, I have the PSX version.

Here are my 11 words of wisdom for the week:

I'm goin' down highway 40 in my big ol' pickup truck...

-MagusAkaAlex

Now like Tom Brokaw!

Does Steve wish to be promoted to the a fighting class?
*The Oracle nods*
Steve can be promoted from STKT (Steve Knight) to STPN (Steve Paladin) using the Steve Book.
Yes/No?

-Beedrill51

Hahaha.. YES.. Steve!

Alright, here's a VH2 question.How does one open those battlefield treasure chests?

The Raving Alcholic

They explain this in the manual, but lots of people (obviously) don't read it. It's a technique on one of the very beginning knives (as is "Find stuff on the spot you're standing") .. I think it's the "Bowie Knife"

Words from the Wise One:


yo YO yo.. there she is. I don't know too much about what'll go on tomorrow, just that I'll be tired at the end of a long day (Friday for me, write Saturday on Friday night) .. and I'll be getting up early Saturday morning. So .. well, I'll try. I promise. But I don't promise this huge beautiful 'best of' fodder type of column. It is official that I've been doing Q&A for 6 months (with a 1.5mo break between Early Nov and Mid-December), and so .. well, we's gonna have us a party or something. I think I'll just ask Mike to buy me some new toys .. hah! Also.. RPGamer itself had its 2 year birthday this month.. which was pretty cool. We're going to party at E3 this year, I'm tellin' ya. .. anyhow, later. See ya'll tomorrow.


Brad "Try to walk away and I stumble..." Lohr

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