The Oracle
Brain Slag
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - March 25 '00

Ooops. I don't know how, but last night, I totally forgot about writing this. So here I am, doing it later in the day.. and probably messing up my chance of doing a decent one later on. Doh. I hate that.

Anyhow, not a lot going on.. just busy weekend.. but I got my tax return. Yay. And Front Mission 3, (though I haven't played it yet.. ) .. anyhow.. I'd better get going with it.. here we go!

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Help on FF8 for PC.. answers!

This is for Jason, the guy that wrote in yesterday about FF8 PC.

The FMV's will work perfectly as long as your system can play videos simply because they are pre-rendered and saved into a video format. Your video card doesn't have to do anything but send them to the monitor, no rendering on its own or anything.

As for the rest of the game, all that stuff is rendered on the fly, so his problem is either with the video card or his software. He should do the following:

1) Goto and get the latest version of DirectX. (Which is 7.0a)

2) Goto his video card manufacturer's website and grab the most recent drivers if he doesn't have them already.

3) Set his desktop color depth to 16-bit instead of 32-bit. I've noticed that some software is dependent upon the desktop color depth goes apeshit when you set it to 32-bit. For example, Quake 2 won't run in OpenGL mode if your desktop is set higher than 16-bit. (Besides, who's going to need more than 16 million colors anyways? -wink-)

3) Lastly, and this is the option that involves actually spending money, get a new video card. The Voodoo3 2000 and NVIDIA Riva TNT2 chipset cards are at or below $100 now with 16MB of RAM on the board, those are more than adequate for FF8.

Hope that helps some.


Well, there it is, for anyone with that problem..

Me, glutton for punishment? Probably.
Dear Oracle,

I seem to remember guys whining some time ago about lack of girls who like RPGs. You know what? I think the very idea that girls don't do RPGs is pure bull. I was brought into the rpgaming world by girls and I've even managed to recruit a few others over to The Dark Side. My college roommate buys RPGs by the dozen. If anything, I had a lot of trouble finding GUYS who like RPGS until maybe the release of FF7. *eyes roll* (explain to me, o wise one, the thrill guys find in being CLOUD, of all people) I think that a lot of chicks out there secretly appreciate a good scifi/fantasy story as well as a nice long rpg. Of course, its "unfeminine" for the shallower, ditzy bunch to play that much nintendo but look carefully- I think a lot of smarter girls (hint: ones who read a lot) probably appreciate rpgaming and if guys would just poke beneath the surface they'd find someone who shares their interests.


Well, guys start really getting into these games around the ages of .. hrm.. I'd say 13 or so. At that point in life, girls aren't even really that much fun to be around. They aren't quite into the whole dating/liking thing yet, and well, young teenage girls are very annoying. It's just a fact of life. Not that teenage guys aren't annoying, but when all your friends are other teenage guys, you're already at your limit as to how much annoyance you can take.

That having been said, these guys form groups, and really only talk about that kind of stuff to other guys who are the same way. RPGirls don't strike me as the fervently outgoing type, and RPGuys really aren't very outgoing either, so these two seperate groups really have very little chance of interacting, except on chance occasions.

Now in college, guys who play lots of video games are considered more 'childish'. Therefore, it becomes more of a secret hobby, something you don't just tell every girl you meet. As for girls, it's 'unfeminine' and so they don't really talk about it. Hell, one of my best friends, Kevin, loved FF2a, and so did I, but we never really knew that we enjoyed the same games until we'd known eachother for at least a couple months.

My mind is really in bad shape, so this may seem disjointed. (seem?) .. anyhow, but ditzy girls suck. I don't care how good a girl looks, if she doesn't have the brains to maintain a decent conversation, all she's good for is decoration. And I don't spend my time with wallpaper. Guys who only look for girls with looks are just asking for the bottom of the intellectual barrel. Not that all good looking girls are unintelligent, but lots of the ones who are good looking tend to rely on that more than their heads to get them through life, and well, even the sharpest intelligence dulls over time without use...

SO2 questions abound..!

I just started playing SO2 a couple of weeks ago, and it's a really cool game, but people are talking about how you can get emotional points between characters, etc. My questions:

  1. Since there are obviously males and females involved, and points are supposedly accumulated between all characters in the game, how can you control the male/female pairings at the end of the game?? I mean, what happens if Claude has a higher point rating towards Ashton than anyone else?? (or maybe I don't even want to know....)

    Actually, what happens is that each person is tested against who they match up the most with, and well, after a certain amount of jerry-rigging, and finding out which pair likes eachother best, an ending is determined. I'm not exactly sure if you can have a male/male ending.. though I think I remember it being possiblle. Different endings are also attainable if Rena likes Claude more than Claude likes Rena, or the other way around.

  2. Is there any way to SEE the point standings? I would like to know how much people "like" each other, since I am trying to fix up Claude and Celine, but have little clue as to how much more encouragement they need.....

    No, there isn't, at least, at the time i was playign the game, nobody knew how. With the books, you can set someone's level to a specific point, so you could just make each person equal, then do something to make Celine like Claude more than anyone else.. but other than that, I'm not sure.

  3. Talents. I know you have to practice a WHOLE lot to become talented at something. Do certain talents come easier to characters than others?? To this day, I haven't been able to get anyone to learn "Love of Animals", "Sixth Sense", or "Originality".

    It's not as much as having to practice, as there's just a percentage chance that they'll learn each talent by using a skill requiring that talent. Love of animals only comes from using the skill that calls animals to bring you items (oh boy, it's been a while since I played SO2...) .. and Originality comes from using The "Customtize' skill.

Be nice and answer my questions or I'll sic my English teacher on you....

-heart of ice

Hammer Time!
*** Xenogears Spoilers ***

Hello Brad. Did you know that if you try really hard you can actually defeat Hammer on Xenogears and if you do you get A really good item. He has 48,000 hp. That's almost as much as the last bosses hp. It took me many tries to until I realized A exactly how it worked. At first I thought you where timed, but you're not. It's how often you hit him. I found the best party to use was Fei, Citan, and Maria. They do more damage than anyone. Here is the most effective way to do it. as soon as the battle starts put everyone in boost mode. Don't worry you wont run out of fuel.Have Fei enter Id mode. Don't let anyone except Fei attack for the like 2 to 3 rounds,but slowly have the others attack to build up to level 3 to get infinty mode.When Hammer has finished enhancing himself That's when the boost really matters. When he turns red you'll be able to get 2 or 3 attacks on him before he explodes. Pray that you other guys enter into infinity mode. If they do you should have no problem winning. I hope that was of help to you man.

Aoshi 19

When you nail him, Hammer drops an item (it's some card.. ) anyway, when you have it, (you may have to equip it) .. you get more rare items at the end of battles. A -very- cool item.

More FF8PC advice
Hey Brad,

There are several issues I've discovered with the PC port of Final Fantasy VIII. First, and most obvious, the menus look like snot on wet cement. According to EA's "support" page, this is due to the fact that the menus are drawn using 8-bit paletted textures, a feature that is only supported, to my knowledge, by 3dfx graphics cards, meaning we nVidia users get crappy looking menus.

Next is the fonts. They look bad. Really bad. You can, however, improve them slightly by running the FF8Config applet (Start > Programs > Squaresoft > Final Fantasy VIII > FF8Config) and selecting "High Resolution Fonts" (or something to that effect) near the bottom of the dialog.

And while you're there, I'd recommend disabling every eyecandy feature listed for the World Map. The reason being, on my Celeron 400/nVidia Riva TNT2 the World Map CRAWLS with those options enabled. It runs moderately well if you run it in ghetto mode.

Lastly, the game locks up about avery 15 minutes. From my experience, this only happens to Aureal Vortex II users (Diamond Monster Sound 3D II MX300) and is due to the fact that the reference drivers blow. Switching to the Diamond drivers on the CD helped a lot for me.

One last tip: On the world map you may want to press B8 to switch to the bird's-eye view. It runs a lot quicker (but isn't available while in the Ragnorak, unfortunately).

Hope this helps,


Definitely helpful.. I've heard from many people about the nastiness of the overworld map especially. Thanks Naz.

Magic in TO
Heyla, Oracle of Lohr.

I'm playing through my own copy of Tactics Ogre, but I'm having some problems. It's a Super Famicom version of the game, and I can't make out all of the Japanese, so I can't use the Tutorial, so I figured I'd ask you.

My question is, how do you put magic on people in this game? I've got a fire spell and a wizard to use it, but I can't put it on him.

Thanx in advance

Weekend Risk-Taker

Don't know if it's exactly the same as in the PSX version (what I have), but it should be the menu choice to the right of 'Item Equip' in the 'Edit your party members choices bar'.

A little Front Mission Propaganda praise...
*** Possible Front Mission Spoilers ***

Dear Brad,

You rock. I always enjoy reading your column every week. With the release of FM3rd, I thought it appropriate to inform the masses of Squaresofts greatest Tactics series.

American gamers where fortunate enough to be graced with the release of the 5th game in the series, Front Mission Third (yes.. it's Third, not 3, the original Japanese title includes the words "Front Mission Third" below the main title). The Front Mission (FM) series is my favorite game series of all time. The story rocks (if you can read Japanese), the gameplay rocks, those big-ass mechs rock too. In fact, the game play from the beloved Final Fantasy Tactics was lifted strait from the SNES Front Mission game.

The games in the series are Front Mission, Front Mission: Gun Hazard, Front Mission Second, Front Mission Alternative, and of course Front Mission Third. What is awesome about this series is that the games are truly in a series... as in each game after the first IS a true sequel (or prequels). Unfortunately, only a few people have the luxury of playing all 5 games, and understanding them. Several times in Front Mission 3rd references are made to Huffman Island (FM1), or the Peoples Republic of Alordesh (FM2nd). Also made mention are the JDF's attempt at assault, or attacking. Such as the OCU Orbital Lift Project references from Front Mission: Gun Hazard, and the A.O.C. Terrorist Attacks from Front Mission Alternative. Here is a timeline of events in the series. Sure, the Characters change from game to game, since when does Square keep a set of Characters... but the setting and the world remain the same, and the overall SCOPE of the series is one long continuous story.

It is too bad that most gamers will not be able to experience the FULL Front Mission story. However, you can read about it on several web sites. Nate Stout has a great Front Mission resource site at for those interested in the history of the previous games, check this site out.

Anyway, I thought I would give this information to anyone who is interested in the best Square game SERIES.


Heh.. I actually haven't started playing FM3 yet.. (been busy).. but I've seen pieces of it, and it looks good.


I know about 6,144 people will tell you this, so I might as well join the throng: the answer to Red Baron the pizza man's 8th question in the column for March 24, 2000 is from Pokemon (Game Boy, any version) in Silph Co. from a Rocket whom you defeat.

--NiceDoggy the increasingly helpful :)

Well, the first one so far.. :)

Heyo Brad,

This is in regards to the Red Baron, the pizza man's quotes you were answering and you got the last one wrong 10) I'd can't wait to meet a great guy I can scream at and exchange blows with!

It's in fact from Final Fantasy 8- Said by a woman in Timber. I know you'll probably get hundreds of responses about this but, oh well, I'm bored.

~ Jedi Knight

Now this one I did receive a lot on .. :P to you all

Aaah you suck! Number seven was from Xenogears in the Thames' beer hall! You not knowledgeful of Xenogears person!!

- sorbie

.. I do not suck! .. .. :(

I'm very surprised with the current poll's results. Why don't more people want to become a user of white magic? Although black magic users and summoners get to ravage the world with sadistic glee, white mages have one big advantage. Life. And even better, auto-resurrection. And who says a white mage can't have a little bit of fun; they still have holy. Anyways Brad, what kind of magic user would you like to be?

Gotta admit the black is fun.. but space and time would be even more fun! Yeah. Brad the Time Mage.. evil destructive glee!

Hey Lohracle,

Should I trust a monkey to do my calculus homework?


(Evil conflict of Monkey love and Brak quotes.. ERGGHGNN) .. "Haven't I told you? NEVER TRUST A MONKEY!"
.. doh. Brak wins.

Words from the Wise One:

.. er, sorry this sounds a bit rushed. It is, I guess. But it's here, and it works. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow!

Brad "Daddy.. I found a monkeyyyy.. can I keep him?" Lohr

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