The Oracle  

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Brad Lohr, The Oracle - April 23 '00

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christma-- er, wait. It's Easter. I always get those two mixed up. It's probably because at my house, we just had this one stuffed toy thing that was a bunny dressed in a Santa suit, because well, that's just how things were.. okay, I'm rambling.

Fine. I won't talk about it.

My head's out there...

Anyhow, I took my little holiday yesterday, and am back now. I did the Q&A late that night anyhow, and am in much better shape to be doing it now (other than the 50 typos I made in that last sentence that have since been corrected and you will never see...)

So anyway, 80's + Letters = Column! Here we gooo!

We're talking like Lord-God-KING-Boofoo!


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Brad Now Playing:
Tactics Ogre


Asheron's Call

In Brad's Head:
So a toothless termite walks into the bar and asks...
"Is the bartender here?"
Question and Answer
Suikoden 2, and Tactics Ogre
*** Tactics Ogre & Suikoden2 Spoilers, sortof ***

Hey yo. One quick survey question: Does it taste great, or is it less filling?

You're a big Tactics Ogre fan, right? I thought it was great too, but I kind of lost my motivation after playing through twice and getting the same ending. I finished it once on the Chaos path with Kachua dead, and got a rather disappointing (as in, "What the #)(*$#)($ did I play this damn game for?") ending. I thought that was the worst ending, so I played it through again and saved at all the critical decision points at the end of each chapter, and finished it again on the Lawful path with Kachua dead and got the same ending. So, if there are 8 endings like RPGamer says, do you know how to get them? There are NO FAQs out there which say how to get each ending. I have save games in chapter 4 on Lawful, Neutral and Chaos, but I haven't played them in months because I just didn't want to keep going and get the same ending over and over. Besides, even if you do beat the game with/without Kachua on each of the three paths, doesn't that only count for six endings assuming I missed something?

I also finished Suikoden 1 on Monday after getting it last Friday, and immediately started Suikoden 2, but I've started over two times already because I can't seem to recruit Gilbert. The first time, he died and I didn't notice I should have kept him alive. Then I started over, and finished the battle with him having turned to my side, and not having lost any characters. He still didn't join me, and I didn't notice until I'd been to South/North Windows and defeated that huge spider-like guy after the Neclord runs. So I wasted about ten hours, because I'd much rather get the good ending if I'm going to get any ending at all. Bottom line-I kept him alive, and he still didn't join me. Is there a problem with my game, or should I just try again?

-Fruit Booty 3:16

Well, first off, I still haven't beaten TO, so I don't know much about the endings. What I do know is that the different people you have alive at the end of the game (special characters you got/kept alive) make different endings, as well as the path choices. Try one with Kachua alive, and possibly keeping other people alive, (I think Canopus is one of the key people).

As for Suikoden, try hitting Gilbert's little group with a flame spear thing, I think that's what gets him on your side. (Confirmed) Hit him once with a flame spear, and he'll join you.

Pay no attention to the looney behind the curtian
Hey! Nice column you run. Anyway, my question...I've recently been going back through FF7, and there's something weird that bugs me. In the Honeybee Inn, there's some weird sorcerer-type guy shooting lightning bolts in one of the rooms where you can peek through the keyhole. I think he mentions some stuff about the Promised Land. Who is he? And why is Cait Sith standing in the background? Thank you for your time.


That guy is supposed to be President Shinra, and that'd probably explain why Cait Sith (grumble, Cait Crocksmoking Smith) .. is there. It's supposed to be a 'funny' thing where you see him getting all like "WORSHIP ME!" and wacky.. which that whole Honeybee Inn thing was... it was just supposed to throw you a weird little bone, and make you go O_o .. which it did, in many cases.

Most number? A lot more than this...

a coupla things:

  1. The guy's problem with the Sabin/Vargas fight is not a mix up of controls (if he didn't know the "O" button was the accept button, he wouldn't have gotten past the first fight). I had a problem with the fight, too. The fight screen opens and your party gets blown away and Sabin pops in. You can select his Blitz every time his command screen comes up, but it doesn't register that you know any blitzes yet. All you have to do is fight Vargas (as in slect 'Attack'). After he loses a certain amount of HP a prompting screen wll appear giving you a tutorial on how to perform Blitzes. Only after this do you have the ability to do 'Pummel.' The person's mistake was 'jumping the gun,' so to speak. Just since he/she knew they had to do Pummel he/she tried it right at the beginning of the fight and didn't wait until the Blitz prompt screen.

    Actually, you don't have to wait until you're told how to do the Blitz before you can execute it. I always hit him with the pummel first round they're alone.. gets it over with more quickly.

  2. In Final Fantasy VII, is there any special racing conditions other than racing in the 'S' Class in order for the 'Final Attack' Materia to be one of the prizes? I've raced probably 40 or 50 times and haven't seen it.

    I've never gotten all the stuff out of there I wanted, it's such a random thing... just keep trying, someday you MIGHT get that one last prize you want. Generally Final Attack isn't too hard to get.. don't know what's wrong with you... er.. j/k

  3. And to the self-proclaimed geek who wrote in yesterday, Amano actually drew the characters first and the sprites in Final Fantasy VI were the producers take on Amano's artwork. So, who made the mistake?

    .. trust me, it'd look a lot worse if they tried to put his sprites into the game. Yucky, yucky, yucky.. (like 100 people wrote me to say this exact same thing today).

  4. Why is everyone
    So worked up about haikus that
    Are about haikus?
  5. I like the new HTML-ization, and the new section (it makes way for more letters, too, since you don't have to respond to them and can just throw them on the page), but although your attempt at quickies improvement was noble, the execution needs a bit of work (the quickies don't seem quicky-ish, more like letters with a lot of space around them....I dunno).

    Yeah, went back to the old style quickies.. well, both sections are see-thru, now, but they're all horizontal again.

  6. What is the most multi-part question you have ever had, and no I am not trying ot break the record?

    Can't really remember the longest.. but it was probably closer to 15.

MIKE, Josh Reid's #1 fan.
Linux a good job skill?
Salutations once again Mr. Lohracle:

Yet again I find myself writing in to you...and with a 2-parter this time!! How funny...

I know this isn't quite RPG related, but...so what?! I recently got my MCP degree, (that's Microsoft Certified Professional to those who don't know) and I keep getting asked if I know Linux. I ask you: is it worth learning Linux as well, seeing as how I'm trying to get into the job market?

This is only sorta RPG related...I saw a commercial recently for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod...or "WELS"...I'm not sure what you make of it, but it sounds pretty suspiscious to me.

By the way, nice Blinky Heather ^_^.


As for Linux, well, where I work, just about all of our machines are Linux (webservers, at least). It's a great job skill to know your way around a Linux environment, mostly because it helps you get quickly adapted to a Unix environ, which is a major one. Getting Unix experience is a big plus for network/systems admins, and other cool things. Not only that, but VI is the best editor out there. This column is written daily in VIM, with syntax highlighing, baby! Best IDE there is. :)

Fallout2.. whee!
Apologizes if you've already been asked this, but what did you think of Fallout 2? Personally, I've found it to be better then any other RPG... ever. It's extremely immersive and so well done that it's incredible. I'm honestly surprised that I've heard practically nothing about it in Q&A, because it's such a great game. Plus, have you heard about the upcoming RPG called Arcanum? I'm expecting big things from it.

(you can find it at www.sierrastudios.com/games/arcanum/)

-Squall the Surly SeeD

I own and very much enjoy Fallout2, and wholeheartedly suggest every PC RPG fan to go out and try it. It's an awesome game. Not many people have questions about it, but hey, there's your plug for it. As for the other game, well, I'm way out of the news loop, so I haven't heard anything about it, no. Heh!

Unanswered Questions and Comments
Yes, you WERE bored...

One day I was looking for something to do and I did an analysis of the song Particle Man myself. I discovered that it is an anti-violence song. Notice that each character has unique aspects, and are curious beings. I mean, when Particle Man is underwater...does he get wet?? We don't know, do we? However, Triangle Man has none of these unique characteristics. All Triangle Man seems concerned with is beating people up. Thus, while he deals in violence, his character is much less developed than the others. So, in essence, the song says, "if you make use of violence too much you will become an emotionless being with no diverse personality." I was really bored that day.

~Scott "Minimum Wage!"

Lunar Stuff, from Josh
*** Lunar:SSSC Spoilers ***

Braddy Braddy Brad Brad Raddy.

We know your Godly, you've just gotten one too many hits upside the head from heather messing with your memory. Anyway, first of all, in the middle left toppish part of the first level in the cave of trials there's a floor that if you walk across it four times will drop you down to the 10th level. If you buy the "Go Home Frog" then you don't have to walk up. You can buy that from the wandering Santa Salesman.

<LunarSpoilers>In the original (Sega CD) Lunar, Ghaleon and Quark had a descriptive dialogue:

<Quark> Alex, you've returned, and this time you've brought another friend with you! Wait, Ghaleon, is that you? I haven't seen you since we lost Dyne!

<Ghaleon> Yes dear Quark. And if not for you, he would still be alive. A part of me died that black day, and now dear friend, things are changing again. I'll soon rule the world. But first you have to die.

<Alex (Speaking for the only time in the original)> Ghaleon, what are you doing?! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.

So we can clearly see that Ghaleon was pissed about Dyne dying, saw the opportunity to rule the world to enact his revenge for Dyne's death, and went ballistic. Just think of him as a woman, and you've got his motivation . </LunarSpoilers>

- Joshua "Darien" Maciel

Amano Stuff
Okay, so I'll admit the guy has trouble with masculinity, Amano's work is stilly pretty darned good. I just find that the guy yesterday who said "I mean the guy could at least try to make his drawings somewhat look like the actually characters from the game" has his wires crossed.. the characters from the game were BASED off of Amano's work! So in reality, it's the in-game stuff that doesn't look as much like the characters! If you want some examples of the really good stuff he's done, look at his Final Fantasy 1 stuff (he has a near-gigeresque portrait of Chaos), or his incredibly cool looking paintings of Ramuh, Ifrit and Odin.. Bottom line is that what Amano does isn't just RPG character design, but actual art, and art has to be open to different interpretations and opinions.. Just ask Lorelai or any of the fan artists (and don't anyone complain about his work unless you can do better!)

Ham On Rye

Digimon -- The first?
Hola Oracamacle(always adding "amac" makes names funny)

I'd like to point out to Toni that Digimon appeared in Japan before Pokemon did. The only reason Pokemon showed up here first is because of it's popularity in Japan. And I'm pretty sure that Sony owns Digimon, although I could be wrong.

~RizziT, the super funk

Info about Cid in FF3j
*** FF3j Spoiler, do you really care? ***

Medievil[sic] Man,
For the record Cid is in FF3j, he appears in the beginning when you go to the ghost town and he hooks you up with his airship. Of course the airship is lost and cid is sent to work again.

Jelly Jell0 Boy

Metox clarification..
Hey Brad. Love the column, read it all the time. Anyway, I have a correction for you. On 4/21 someone sent you Email about Star Ocean 2, something about getting the herb Metox to give to the little girl in Herlie. You said it was at the top of the mountain West of Cross (Lagoss Mountain). Well, it IS found at Lagoss Mountain, but you don't climb the mountain to get it. You go around the side of it. Where you have the option of going up, go right instead. As you curve around, you'll find a wavy plant. That's the Metox.

Hope I helped out. Keep up the good work.

~The Blue Meteor
(Big Star Ocean 2 fan)

More Cid Stuff
there is a cid in every Final Fantasy since numero un. He was originall a dwarven blacksmith. In FF2j he owns either the ship or airship (forgot which); in FF3, he owns the airship but was turned into a ghost; FF4 the mechanic; FF5 the scholar/librarian; FF6 the engineer; FF7 playable character; and FF8 the headmaster.


[Editor's Note: Is there really a dwarf named Cid in the first Final Fantasy? Anyone have confirmation or screenshot or whatnot?]

More Amano Stuff
This is sort of a reply to The Geek's letter yesterday. He asked why Amano doesn't make his art look like the characters in the game. Well the real question should be why do the characters in the game look so little like Amano's art. Amano is the one who designs the characters that are then translated to the game. The difference between the art and the game is because of many reasons such as to alleviate confusion (such as in the Terra/Celes art), but it is mostly because Amano's art doesn't translate all that well into the Video game screen. This is particularly true of 3D videogames. Amano's art is very flat, you can see this especially if you read the Sandman: DreamChasers book he did with Neil Gaiman. Why do the characters look so drastically different from the art in FF9? Well I don't know. They look stylistically different in ways that don't seem very explainable.

Now on to the wacky part of my letter. Why do I think that the art of Terra and Celes look so alike. Because I think they were supposed to be the same character! Think about it, Terra has a huge gap in her life, she was taken as a baby and then the next time we see her is when she is killing a bunch of soldiers, we aren't told at all how she grew up. Terra has a huge amount of guilt about being an Empire solider when infact she wasn't one really. I mean is being mindcontrolled by an Empire because you killed a bunch of their soldiers really working for them? It would fit perfectly. This Terra/Celes character would be in every main part of the game. The beginning yep, opera scene yep, crazy esper flying yep, Cid suicide yep, fate of the world on her head yep. Wouldn't the moment when Celes is confronting Kefka and Gashtal on the floating island have been more meaningful if it had been Terra and she had history with them? If you look at the movies on the PSX version of FF6 you can't see the difference between Terra and Celes (well unless the scene is identifiable). I think that this was done on purpose. Why was this one character split into two? Well I don't know. Anyway, it's something to think about.

Evil is Good. Evil is the JOB!

[Editor's Note: I'm glad they don't make the characters look like Amano's art ingame. So NYAH.]


Dear Thundara Maker,
I just noticed (when I clicked the mailto link) that you and heather look sleepy drunk when the animation is on the right frame. BTW, ever been to NYC?

-EE "You owe me 40 cents!"

Brad: Well, Heather and I are both regular alcoholics... heh. No, actually, neither of us drink very much at all, though she does even less than I do. And no, I've never been to NYC, but I'd really like to go some time.

Heather blinks faster than you.


Brad: She's got a faster metabolism. She's skinnier than I am, and in the end, you just have to realize that even against popular propaganda.. girls are different than boys. Sorry.

Heather blinks faster than you. Does that have anything to do with girls having a faster heart rate than boys?


Brad: See above response :P

I'm not touching you!!!! .........................................I'm touching Paws. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr......................


Brad: You don't know where that Q&A host has been, ewww :o

The infinity ring on star ocean 2 makes you get 1 experience point for every 1 step you take if you have it equipped. It's very gay

Brad: I was not aware of it's latent homosexuality... beware!

I have to say that Blinkey Heather is sooooooo cute! I want one! She's not as cute as Blinkey Brad, but hey, cute nonetheless

Anyhow, if I'm going to fight Kefka in FF6, do you have any idea what level I should be at???


Brad: Well, I think that BlinkeyHeather is cuter than BlinkeyBrad, but well, it's my personal opinion. If you want one, you'll have to talk to Shade about it. She's opening a new site in like a month or so..? She's promised to let me plug her site once it has opened, though. As for Kefka, one of my friends did it around lv35 or so, I suggest 50's. 'Course it never hurts going in at lv99 ... heh!

What kind of car do you have?


Brad: Honda Civic, '94, dark blue.

I like the new format; it's generally easier to read. Blinky Heather blinks faster than blinky you.

Brad: What, do you guys ALL think that everyone blinks at the same rate?!

Now that I see Heather's Blinkey..Yours looks like you have hit the ripe old age of 4, and she can kick the snot out of you with her big shoes. Beware the shoes.


Brad: I fear the shoes!

Old Quickies own hard.
Vertical is for the birds
I hope this goes up.

Trevyn, Master of Ill intent

Brad: Yes, yes, I get it.. old quickies style.. sheesh.

Wrapping it up...

Well, there she is.. not TOO late.. but a wrapup of the weekend. It's been hairy, with all the family business, and other things going on. But that's okay.. it's here, and it's nice. I like the new layout, I hope you do too.. Google will be back tomorrow with his old layout.. make sure to razz him about it ;) .. Talk to you all later!

Brad "Ham at Heather's in 1.5 hours.. yum." Lohr