The Oracle  

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Brad Lohr, The Oracle - May 28 '00

Hi. How's it goin'? Pretty good for you? Pretty good for me. Here we are, Sunday, and tomorrow's a holiday... so everyone's happy. 'cept for Goog. Anyway, my plan for messin' with the slimeythang is for all of you guys to call her Gramblebang. I don't know why, that just sounds funny. :) Let's him know who's in charge, eh? And we can't let it forget. Anyhow, I'm not in a very talkative (intro-wise) mood today, so let's move on to the stuff.

Oh, Heather's silly internet test of the week is: Who you'd hook up best with, for guys, and this one for chicks.

I'm not telling you guys what I got this time, because I don't need all the COPYCATS. Be sure to email me, Brad your results, because I doubt Gramblebang cares much. :)

Call him Gramblebang!

Ask Gramblebang
You know I love you when you mess with Goog. :)

Recent Q&A's


The Old stuff
The Archives
Brad Now Playing:
Asheron's Call
Got the major fire stone last night, thanks Archi et al.
In Brad's Head:
I'm a cucumber.
No, really, I am.
Question and Answer
Storyline? Complexity...
A while back I wrote in about if I got stright A's on my report card my Anti-video game father would have to play a game start to finish. He's been off the hook for about 2 months and I am still in need of a game. The 2 games I'm undesided on are Lunar:TSSSC and Suikoden 2. The game I'm looking for has to have a great story, music, and proper grammer (his mom was an english teacher). Feel free to suggest a game thats not there, but of those two what would you pick? Thank you!


Suikoden 2 isn't a shining example of literary genius, but I'd say go with Xenogears.. the plot is really complex, but well done.. it's an awesome story, probably the best one out there.

Help! My mages suck!
Hi Brad. I need some Final Fantasy Tactics help.

OK, here's my problem. I'm 40 hours into the game, and most of my characters are about Level 40. For most of the game I never really used any magic-user-type characters. So now I've got a bunch of Level 40 Lancers, Ninjas, and Samurai, but I only have one black mage at Level 16!

For the first part of the game, this worked fine. I could basically slaughter any opponent by using my brute force. But now I'm getting into harder battles where the baddies have lots of magical attacks. Since my magical ability is very limited, I'm pretty much screwed, cause they have such an advantage over me.

So what should I do? It would take a LONG time to get my black mage to level 40 by doing random battles, and besides, then my other characters would go up by the same amount, and the bad guy wizards would still be 20 levels higher than my black mage. On the other hand, I could start over at the very beginning, building my characters up evenly (BLAH!).

So what do you think I should do, oh mighty Orcale?

Thanks for the advice.


Well, first off, your mage will level faster on higher level enemites, because, well, you get more experience for killing higher level dudes. (or is that just TO sneaking through my head?) .. not only that, but you can use the ninja/knight/lancers to just hold a front line, and have the mage kill everything. If he kills everything, he'll get a lot more JP, and also more experience. On another note, you can waste mages by getting to them quickly in that game.. just run up and slaughter them mercilessly, you've got a great number of characters that can all pretty much one or two-shot a mage. Think about that.. especially the lancer.. their jump technique is deadly to mages who are stuck on a square chanting. :)

Unanswered Questions and Comments
Uh oh!
Why do I keep getting the feeling that the people doing RPGamer's coverage of Dragon Quest VII have never played a previous Dragon Quest game in their lives? Let's look at some of the "new features" hawked in your May 27 article.

> Another addition to the battle menu is the option to have characters act
> on their own. Similar to the AI ability of Lunar: Silver Star Story
> Complete, control of what each character does in battle can be set
> before hand, be it attack, defend, heal, magic attack,
> or manual control.

The DQ series has had an AI system since Dragon Quest IV (a game which _came out in North America_, so there's no excuse for your DQVII reviewers not to know about it) It's true that selecting individual AI tactics for each party member wasn't featured in DQIV, but it was featured in Dragon Quest Monsters, another game which came out in North America--and only a few months ago, at that.

> As you explore the overworld, you'll come across different towns and
> cities. However, during the course of your adventure, the populations
> of these places will migrate around the world as you do. A small town
> could become a small city, and later a large
> city on your subsequent visits.

DQ towns and worlds have been "dynamic" since Dragon Quest III. In DQIII, one of your allies left your party to build a new town from scratch; this town grew and changed as the game progressed. In DQIV, all sorts of towns changed (some were even destroyed) during and between the "chapters" of the game.

> And finally in Dragon Quest VII, there will be three levels of magic
> spells. For example, Level 1 Fire is a small fireball, Level 2 Fire is a
> large fireball, and Level 3 Fire is a fireball storm.

Once again, this so-called "new feature" has been a series staple since Dragon Quest III. All healing and damage spells in the DQ series are based on a three-tier system: for example, Firebal, Firebane and Firevolt; Bang, Boom and Explodet; and Heal, Healmore and Healall.

All in all, your DQVII previewers seem to be falling over themselves in astonishment that DQVII _isn't_ a game where you walk around a four-color landscape with five towns in it and fight Slimes until you reach level 20. I knew that The GIA's editors held the DQ series in contempt, but I had hoped that RPGamer's staff would be a little better informed. So much for my hopes.


Now I've gotta say that I'm a big fan of the Dragon Warrior series, even though I haven't played them into the ground. I really love 4's system, and well, I wish I had time to just play these games :) I don't know how many of them Mike has played, but he's the one who wrote the news story, and his email address is posted on it, so you might want to drop him a line. I can gaurantee you guys that there's no specific bias against certain series, at least not a stated one, maybe a personal one on some staffer's behalves, (though I'm not saying that there is, just that I don't notice one), but Enix is a lot more friendly to us than Square is, and I'll tell ya that I personally like DW quite a bit. So whatever the problem, it doesn't come to Q&A :)

Someone help this guy out!
I doubt you have ever played Terranigma, but if you have could you tell me how I find the dog in Louran. I am sure it is something simple and I am just missing it. Thanx


No, I haven't played that, but no reason why you shouldn't get an answer.. check back tomorrow for Gramblebang to have the answer. :)

What's with oobscure game questions today? :P
Oh *Somewhat-Better-Than-Average* One Brad,

[Brad: Hahaha... I like it]

Wow. I, on a whim, decided to watch the Grail this mornning....then this happened....(Brad, are you part of the conspiracy? Did they get you too? Don't let 'em.) Anyway, I have a quick question......about FINAL FANTASY 2!

Well, I can't use the real game..(can't read Japanese, wah....), and I probably couldn't find it anyway, so I'm ......using the rom. (Somewhere, off in the distance, I heard a slime scream.....hmmm...) Anyway, where is that darn Samite cave? I can't find where I'm supposed to be going without getting slaughtered by chimeras and the like. Thanks a million.

Kupop *Big nasty, pointy teeth!* D. Moogle

Skill level? I like that idea.
Hey Dude. I completely agree with you! RPGs in general and FF in particular is getting too easy, but you have to look at the reason. FF7 pushed RPGs in the mainstream, so instead of being a niche market, Square can now target all game players instead of just RPGamers. Notice the sudden exuberance of FMVs? Same reason. But in order for casual gamers to play/enjoy RPGs, it has to be "dumbed-down". Remember what George Carlin said? "Think about how stupid the average person is...then realize that 50% are stupider than that."

Personally, I see a solution....release two versions of the game, or even have a menu option for skill level. Then perhaps some of the boss battles will actually become challenging.......

Forever yours, but only till I die (or you find somebody better...)


Actually, I -did- make it up.. but that's besides the point
To Whitey, c/o the Oracle,

You can save .str files w/ PSmplay. Just open the movie you want to save, go to File and then Save File. Make sure to save it as a .str file. BUT (there's always a but), for some reason, these .str files only work w/ PSmplay. I did this w/ acouple of different FMV off of FF8, and all work fine under PSmplay, but won't work w/ PSX Play or PSX Video (just gotta love these original names). So, if your planning to watch the movies off of your gameshark or something, you might have problems, and your best bet would be to go w/ Brad's advice (which is always a good idea. they don't call him the Oracle cuz he made it up!!!) and get yourself a TV card and hook it up to your TV.


Xeno Spoilers.
Spoilers within! Fwa!

If you'll remember Krelian's lab, part of the text in that scene stated that he referred to the gene in females that enabled them to be Miang as the Urubolos gene. I've always assumed that the creature referred to as Urubolos at the end was simply a last-ditch attack by Miang to stop Deus from being destroyed, or whatever.

Of course, given the nature of a plot like Xenogears', I could be wrong. ;-)

-- P. J. "Speed" Reed

Brain studies reveal women are good at KICKING YOUR ASS
Hello Bradicus,

I read that you said Heather has a really bad sense of direction. Well actually thats not all to uncommon in women. Alot of girls I know have that problem. My mom is always lost. Anyway, I don't mean to put women down or anything, I mean love women, but men have better sense of direction, judement of the 3d, and sense of time than women. Now before you get all "you bigotted fiend" on me just hear me out. On average men have a larger portion of the brain called the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). This is the center for mathematical function and reasoning in the brain, and also controls sense of direction, judgement of speed, time, and distance, the ability to comprehend the 3D, and also solving of any high math equations. This makes men dominant in feilds of chemistry, physics, engineering, programming, sports, biology, and many other fields. Women have better understanding of language, giving them the ability to express themselves better, and take in different aspects of body language. This also helps them raise children because they can communicate with them more effectively, and the body language is why they can always tell what mood your in. I hate when they do that. Besides women can read mens minds. Anyway if anyone has trouble finding their way though games and stuff its because they have a small IPL. I know that has absolutely nothing to do with RPG's but I thought you might find it interesting.


Just want to make the note that I am the one always getting lost IRL, she just gets lost inside of dungeons in games. :)

Rar! The gauntlet is thrown!
My Good Fellow,

I am writing in response to the foppish chap who says that items such as the Stone of Agony detract from the overall difficulty of a game. Sure, if you insist on finding every last thing, items like that would cut down significantly on the playing time. But without them, how the hell is any normal person supposed to find everything? Bomb every last section of floor in the entire game? It should be noted that I refer here only to games with Zelda-like hidden most RPGs just hitting a button will instantly search whatever you are facing and tell you if you get anything.

This also brings me to a slightly different point. The original Zelda was hailed by many as the Greatest Game Ever Made, and loved by everybody else. I contend that the gameplay is crap. How the hell is it good gameplay to have to go around the entire overworld bombing every single section of wall and burning every last bush? And that's just to progress through the game, not to find Super Duper Secrets! Does somebody want to explain it to me? Thank you.


PS Please note that I have completed both quests of the original Zelda (although with a walkthrough because of the ridiculousness of the gameplay).

That's easy. REAL gamers like hard games. Things that are hard to find, well, make a game HARDER. It's not impossible to figure any of the specific parts of Zelda out. It's just difficult. And that's what makes it fun.

He doesn't want it, that means he'll sell it cheap!
Hello Brad,

I read yesterdays column and noticed someone whining about how they had to give up a lot of games to get Ogre Battle, and I couldn't help wonder if other people were looking for it too. Well I have the game, and I hate it. I bought it new and it's been in my PSX maybe three times. So if anyone wants to purchase a copy, I'm the man to talk to. Thanks.




Does Heather ever describe you as "weird"? If so, I might still have a chance.... albeit a rather small one, but still...

~The Sack~

Brad: Well, she's pretty weird herself... but lemmie ask her how she describes me.

(half hour goes by)

She's playin' AC, and isn't paying attention to me asking her, so I guess this'll hafta wait till next weekend. Ask me again then.

I've found... You could often find humor, just by turning something upside down. Like a small child.

Brad: Sick, and I love it .. as usual. :)

Wrapping it up...

Well, that's it.. weekend's over. :) I'm starving, so I'm gettin' outta here asap. Remember. ASK GRAMBLEBANG!

"Brad "Hehe, I'm gonna get smacked :)" Lohr