The Oracle  

Brad Lohr, The Oracle - April 15 '00

Another day, another Q&A column.. here I am! So.. how are you guys? .. What's up? ... what's wrong? .. why are you looking at me like that? .. wait.. .. no..

You're not talking to me.

Is everything okay?

... :(

Stop ignoring me, damn you.

Fine then.

Where do you want to go, toady?
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Stupid things Politicians say, Part Two
Hi Brad-

First, I have seen some of those Al Gore quotes (e.g. "I stand by my misstatements") attributed to Quayle before Gore was VP. Also, in the interests of fairness, this page has some George W. Bush quotes. http://politics.slate.msn.com/Features/bushisms/bushisms.asp

I have Opera, both in my Star Ocean 2 party and on my computer, and (comparing with Netscape 4) the backgrounds for the menu bar and features list don't show up, making some of the text hard to read. Also the banner ads sometimes show up at the bottom of the page.


Like I said yesterday, I'm not very political.. I believe in the basic concept that anyone who'll do the things they do for the power they're given, is pretty much someone I don't want to have that power. But that's .. well, too deep for my tastes. I'm fairly happy that it takes the gov't 10 years to do anything, because well, I'd rather they just stayed out of things as it was. Anyhow, I sent your bugreport regarding Opera to the guys who do design, so we'll see if they do anything about it.

Let's hear it for Tactics Ogre!
Hey Oracle! What's Happening?

Not a lot.. doin' a Q&A column.. you?

Just have a couple of questions about your favorite game, Tactics Ogre!

Dude. I love Tactics Ogre. Mmmm.. should play some more of that today.

1) I just beat Hell Gate (ugh, finally) and am trying to complete the 4 sisters subquest. However, I do not have Shelley. I didn't kill her so I know she is still around. I think I'm supposed to make it rain in Baramus and then leave and she joins, but I can't make it happen. I heard something about how you can't do it after you either kill Katchua or have her join your party. Any ideas?

I've only been about halfway down Hell Gate, (that's where my last save was when I lost it.. doh).. but I had already done all the Shaman stuff. I got Shelley as soon as I could, seeing as she's my favorite of the four... and then did the whole shield / super spell thing.. yeah. I dig Shelley. But don't kill her! Because if you kill her, she is dead, and that sucks. (That's my absolute favorite line out of any FAQ for any game.. wish I had the FAQ here so I could give proper credit to who wrote it.. but that line just strikes me as WAY too funny.)...

2) I'm trying to get an Angel Knight. I have a character with all of the required stats and is Lawful, however everytime they die, they just die. Does it have to be an enemy that kills her, and is there some kind of random factor?

Well, it won't work in training, if that's what you're trying. I have actually gotten one on my own, but I don't remember the specific circumstances. I may have had to let her get killed several times. Try looking at a few different FAQs to make sure you actually DO have the right stats to make an Angel Knight, I've seen some discrepancy between them at times.

3) Just curious, but what is your ideal party? Mine is 1 Lord, 2 White Knights, 3 Archers, 1 Cleric, I Priestess, Canopus and either a Priest, a Siren or Deneb depending on the situation.

Right now (middle of Chapter 3, I think?) I use Denim (Bezerker), Haborym, a cleric, a priest, Canopus, a valkyrie, Aloser, another archer, Shaker (a warlock with quick/slow spells), and Byan with his Earth magic.

Thanks a bunch! And incidentally, I haven't beaten it either. It took me half a year to beat that infernal Hell Gate.

Yeah, I know how that can be.. I went down there a long ways.. and then for some stupid reason, decided to go out, and then could never bring myself to try going all the way down again. Wah.


Ever Anime Comment, etc
Salutations once again Mr. Lohracle:

In yesterday's column, Maxrat mentioned that he/she heard complaints about the CD company Ever Anime. I personally bought the Grandia Original Soundtrack from a booth out at Ontario Mills called Manga House for $23 and it was by Ever Anime. I think it follows the game music almost flawlessly, and I think it was a good purchase. In my opinion, if you enjoy the CD, it doesn't matter who made it.

On another note, I've noticed on Star Ocean 2 that when I sold my books to the publisher on Expel that I could buy new copies of them for 5,000 FOL, but on Energy Nede, I can't buy copies!! Did I do something wrong? I can still get the royalties for them but I can't buy from the publisher.


P.S.: Memorable moment from SO2 for me: when Rena, Celine, and Precis imagine Claude in a dress...i couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes!!! ^_^

I don't think I ever tried buying from the publisher on Energy Nede, but that wouldn't make much sense to do, other than using the emotional levels you can with the books. I had everyone's writing skill pumped up .. mostly so I could have each of them learn "Writing Ability" (what can I say, I wanted the 100 skill points for learning new talents...!) .. but thanks for helping to clear up the Ever Anime issue.

Ever Anime -- Again
Hey Bradman, I've written to the column a few times before. Keep the great work. ^_^ Anyway, I have a response to "Maxrat" 's letter about his Final Fantasy VIII OST. There is absolutely no difference in quality between the real thing and the bootleg (SM, Ever Anime, etc.) OST - however, there is one other disturbing difference that you failed to mention. Obviously, if you buy a game OST, you like the composer of that game's work. When you buy a bootleg OST, not only are you getting crappier packaging, but you're basically kicking Mr. Uematsu in the face because the money for the bootleg doesn't go to him (as it does with the real thing) - it goes to the bootleg company. Just thought you should know that so the people on this column can too.

Like I said, keep up the great work!

Oh yeah, and I imported Chrono Cross not too far back, as I've been officially looking forward to it for five years. One word - near perfection, much better than any other RPG out there. In my opinion. And I've played a l ot of 'em. Yep, better than the almighty Xeno, FFVIII, FFVI, CT, FFT, etc... heh. Seriously, it's awesome. You lookin' forward to it as much as me, Brad? ;)

- Ranma, the *Official* Chrono Cross Geek (only 110 days 'till it arrives! Yep!)

That's a good call about the royalties, that I didn't think to bring up.. of course, if you don't CARE about such things, go for it.. but if you want the money to go to who made the music, looks like you'll have to buy from the source. The only thing I wonder about still on this issue isi: are there still copies of older stuff being made by the original manufacturers themselves, or is the only way to get stuff like Celtic Moon, from many years ago, by going through bootleggers? As for Chrono Chross, it is -definitely- the #1 game on this year's wish list for me. I'm glad to hear it rocks.. and I can't wait for it to come out in the U.S.

Erase your games with Game Genie codes!
Hey Brad, me again.. I probably should have looked before I sent that e-mail... I found 2 codes that erase the memory files... whether or not they erase the Game+ remains to be seen:


Erase saves when you go into a battle. Use this in the intro if save data is corrupt. <By: lukas@westworld.com>


Game never starts up, erases saved data. <By: lukas@westowrld.com>

I found these codes in the Game Genie info on your site.


Again, I caution great warning on the usage of stuff found in these comments. You can blow stuff up real good when you're playing with the memory and batteries and stuff in these games.

And remember kids. Dangling pointers. Bad. Memory Leaks. Bad. And don't cross the streams. That would be bad, Ray.

How many of THESE do I answer per week?

I desperately need help. I never bought a Saturn, mainly because I thought it was a piece of junk, but now I really want to get one. So..here are the prices of everything I'm gonna get. Panzer Dragoon Saga: $50 used, $80-$100 new, Shining Force III: $40-$50 used, Dragon Force: $30-$40 used, Saturn System: $25-$30. Basically, if I get all 3 games and the system it'll cost me close to $200. That's the problem. There is also a huge amount of good RPGs coming to the PlayStation and Dreamcast this summer, like PSO and Chrono Cross. In other words, I need your advice, all-seeing, all-knowing Oracle; should I grab the old Saturn stuff, or forget about it and just hope they get remade or make sequels for the Dreamcast? I would appreciate it if you could post this or at least respond with your opinion.


I'd look to the future, knowing you'll have more money, and try to figure out what'll be around then, at what price.

I.E. the rare saturn stuff, (PDS especially) is going to increase in price as it gets more rare. The system and most other games are going to get cheaper. But then, so will the DC. If the games you want for the Saturn are going to be harder to find, by all means, get them now. If you don't care about playing RPGs a few months, (years?) after release, go with the Saturn. I'm all for collecting games, personally, so my honest suggestion would be to get your Saturn and games, play the death out of them while saving money for the DC, and then get the DC stuff when it's less expensive.


Opera Analysis
I'm switching between Opera 3.62 and Opera 4 beta 3, and the design looks pretty good in either one... Unfortunately, in the letters section, the reply text to posts is completely unreadable unless you disable page features and make it all black-and-white. Also, unlike IE and Netscape, highlighting text in Opera does not reverse the background and keep text the same color, thus making it readable -- rather, it reverses both colors, thus making the previous grey-text/grey-background into black-text/black-background. I e-mailed Googleshng about it just a day or two after the change, but apparently he didn't care. :-p

Also, in Opera 3.62, title bars at the top of pages (such as "The Oracle" and "Phun with Phacia") look simply like straight grey lines with text, but version 4 puts the little decorations on the sides. Of course, that won't be of much use to current Opera users, since it's been stated that when the full version of 4 comes out, 3.x's registration codes won't work with it, so current users will need to buy the upgrade. :-p

Other than that, for the most part it looks pretty good.. Of course, I could be wrong, as I haven't combed over the site in another browser to compare it.

-- P. J. "Speed" Reed

Thanks for the detailed breakdown of stuff. I am, of course, not in charge of web design around here, (not enough time.. not enough desire.. for web design :o) .. anyhow, but the guys who are had better pay attention to me, else I'm gonna put applesauce in their shoes.

AC question? .. no I haven't play Ever-- Oh.. it's different. Hooray!
Hey Brad,

Monkeys, Steve, Weird Al,
TMBG, Orange Soda,
Perl. Brad likes these things.

Mmmm.. haiku is gooood.... you may enter.....

Okay, now that I've gotten your attention with the obligatory haiku and things you like, on to the actual questions.

(sated smile) [sated means satisfied, perverts :P]

1) Well, I haven't played any of the Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs, but since you've been playing Asheron's Call for a while, I wanted your opinion. With games like Phantasy Star Online and Final Fantasy XI on the horizon, how do you think they'll compare to the PC MMO's? I realize there isn't much information on PSO & FFXI yet, but I get the feeling the interactivity experience might be less so than on PCs. Without a keyboard peripheral, talking between characters will be a major pain. Also, how is the "lameness/jerks/obscenity" factor on Asheron's Call and do you think this factor will be an smaller/equal/larger issue for the console games?

I've kinda been wondering how the systems will work myself.. but I figure they'll have something worked out. I think that the PC will remain the king of the MMO genre at least for a little while, it's just tried, tested, and an easier interface.. more natural. Now with the hardware specs of the new consoles, put purely to games, without worrying about other stuff, you may start to see more involved environs and other really neat stuff on some of the console ones, but we've yet to see. It's all just speculation at this point. The "lame" factor in AC isn't that bad.. you can get some bad people, but the nice thing about the game is that there really isn't so many people that you can't just run off and find your own place to be.. the worst real social problem would have to be stealing (not in the sense that others can take stuff out of your inventories) during trading. Basically, it's the age-old dishonesty thing.. and those people just suck. You set up a trade, you give them the thing they want, they take off. It sucks. If you are careful, it really shouldn't happen often, but it -can-. Other than that, there are random problems people run into, but like I said, it's all local. You don't like some jerk because he's kill-hoggin' or something, you just take off and find your own place. Easy as that.

2) I recently heard part of the soundtrack to Vagrant Story, and some of the tracks remind me a lot of Final Fantasy Tactics. Was it made by one of the FFT composers? I had thought that the two composers for FFT were part of the roving group that had made the one game for Square and left.

The crowd says... Yes! At least, my information is such. Same composer for both those game.

That's it, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Nah.. blow 'em up as much as you want.
Hey Oh Brad!

I'll be quick. Is there any side-effects from having your mech destroyed in combat? I haven't noticed any, and it says nothing in the manual. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so I haven't read many FAQs. Is it like Vandal Hearts, where the machine and pilot come back in perfect health for the next fight, or is there some kind of penalty?


There is no real penalty for gettin' blown up in FM3. In VH, you lose money you'd've gotten.. and really, that's all. I did however, beat Vandal Hearts once going ALL the way through the game without having a single person die in any of the battles. And none of that cheater-leveling either. Not only that, but during that romp through, I beat all 5 of the generals that chase you out of that one town.. the battle you're supposed to run from. That was a cool moment for me :)

Oh, a Battery's Life for me!

I always wondered how those back up batteries for games worked... Do they get recharged every time you play your game, or do they loose their juice after 10 years or so and you can never same again until you replace them? Also, are those same batteries used in Memory cards?

Thanks for any info!


Once the batteries on a cart die, (and as far as I know, they aren't "charged" while you play or anything, they're just long-lasting), you lose it all. They said the batteries would only last like 10 years, for the original Zelda, and my friend Kevin's batteries still work today.. sooo.. who knows. Maybe the laws of physics don't apply to Zelda carts. :)


beating indalicio without his limiter on universe isn't crazy in the same way beating FF6 with only Celes, Edgar, and Setzer is - it's crazy like using a game genie so your final characters are Vicks, Wedge, and the random ghost character from the phantom train. at their starting levels.


That only brings one question to my mind... would Calmness (isn't that the name of the technique that wastes one of your party members, with 100% chance, at the end of the 2nd or 3rd tier?) .. work on the ghost? :D


May I grab you please? Do you mind?

Oh im sorry! I though RPG meant Really Polite Gropers!!!


.... ..... ......

Closing Comments:

Another late update.. I'm sorry guys.. I'm fairly sure that I'll put something up tomorrow, but if it gets hectic again, we may not see eachother until next Friday... but hopefully I'll have enough content, and enough time to put one up. Later guys!

Brad "Donkee-Kong.. rar!" Lohr