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Brad Lohr, The Oracle - June 18 '00

I'm awake, no, really, I am. Ergh. I thought I'd go to bed a bit early so I wouldn't be sleeping in so late, but I guess it just didn't work. Oh well. I'm up, here's the column, we're having fun, all that jazz.

The week looms ahead. Bleh. We had this big company meeting where they decorated the meeting room in camo nets and with maps and stuff, and was going off about how we were "at war". I suppose it was supposed to be an exercise in 'motivation' or something. :) Marketing people are funny.

I suppose I got a nice little army-style camo T-shirt out of it. It looks horrible on me, but since when did THAT stop me from wearing anything? :)

GI Brad!


[ As a side note, Googleshng asked me to mention that he did NOT get LoM in the mail this weekend, and so he'll be unable to answer detailed questions about the game. ]

Kill yourself. It works.

Ask Googleshng
No, really, a guy yesterday said it did!

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Asheron's Call
In Brad's Head:
Not much goin' on now..
Just kinda tired... heh.
Sleeping in is good. :)
Question and Answer
Star Ocean 2, another of my favorite games.. :)
Hey mighty lohracle,

I know you'll get a lot of these letters but i'll try to keep mine spoiler free. Heck everything I've figured out, i did on my own which means it is probably wrong. If you can find a copy of the demo in quicktime format(square used to have one on its website) and you page frame for frame through it you see a couple of single screens which will answer a couple of question and ask a whole bunch of new ones.

Now for my question, how do you get out of virtual Expel in Star Ocean: The Second Story? I've been stuck in there for hours.


To get out of Virtual Expel, there's a little bitty Penguinish guy in Arlia (the first town.. I may have the name wrong), talk to him, and he'll boot you out. He's on the north end, in an animal pen. He might be named Pen-Pen.

Heh... because that's just how it IS.
Hey Brad,

I'm responding to that guy who wanted a little enlightenment on that CC demo. Yes that is Serge (the boy) stabbing Kidd (the girl), but I won't say why because that would be a MASSIVE spoiler. You'll have to wait until CC comes out first.

I have a question, too. Why does blinky Heather blink so slowly? What keeps you two from blinking at the same speed?

Chainsaw Repairman

Okay, so theren't no spoilers in there, just the hint that there IS! a massive spoiler. Heh. Anyhow, to answer the question about Blinkey-Heather. If everyone blinked at the same speed, what fun would that be? Besides, the animated gifs were created at different times, and the Heather one has undergone a few revisions. So it's all just up to who decided how fast they should blink. Sorry :) I kinda like the different speeds.

Brad Dude,

This isn't even a Q&A question, I was just curious about this game. I really love mech games and all things giant-robot-ish, and I love the original AC and it's expansions. I've seen some sweet screens, too...but you've seen the game in action, and since you're the only person I know (Well, I don't KNOW you...) that's seen it in action, can you hook me up with some info?

  1. Missile effects: Can I fire 20 or so at the same time so I can reinact Robotech ep 27?
  2. Are the mechs more agile? eg, move like a Transformers figure?
  3. Will I still have to put up with using shoulder buttons to align my sights?
  4. Can I shoot missiles with missiles/gunfire?
That's about it. In case you didn't delete this already, thanks for taking time out to answer me.

Since I only got to play a small demo, most of the stuff is things I wouldn't know about. They really didn't change a lot of things, as far as I can tell, from AC1 to AC2. The 20 missiles thing could be possible, as they've added over 100 new weapon/items to the game. The mechs seem to control a bit better, they move a bit quicker, and the action seems a bit faster as well. As for the shoulder buttons, the controls are exactly like AC1, I sat down and was able to play AC2, with no learning curve. As for the last one, I don't think that's in there, but we'll have to wait for a full release of the game before finding out.

Fallout Tactics... who/what/when/where/why/ohmymonkey!
Please excuse me, but I've just crawled out from under a rock where I have been for the last three years. In my exploration of this strange, new world, I have heard word of an upcoming game called Fallout Tactics. What the hell is it? Is it another addition to the fantastic Fallout series? Or is it just some crap-game that ripped off the title?

Now it you'll excuse me, I must inspect this "dream cast" I've been hearing so much about. Extremely odd name, if you ask me...


Well, as for the "cheap ripoff", you'll be happy to hear that Black Isle (with Interplay, of course) is producing Fallout Tactics. It looks like it's the same old Fallout fun, just in a new and different type of setting. I'd say that the battle system really isn't changing all that much, (for some reason, turn-based goes fairly well into the TacRPG scene), and I really expect to see a quality game made of it. As for the Dreamcast.. it's this thing you use to warm up a room. :) j/k ;)

Freak of the week, and he's in my .. mailbox.
Oh mighty oracle of the orange soda, monkeys, and wooden spoons...
Powerful oracle with all-seeing eyes of wisdom
Oracle of....RPGs!

Anyhow...I'm wondering...what's weirder in the pic that shows you killed Inigo's father...Your extra finger, or Heather's blurring spoon-bending psycho (not psychic) powers? Erm...anyhow...In FFT, when you have the Two Hands ability equipped, are the percentages given for the individual hand, or both hands? Are they saying there's an 89 percent chance you'll hit with BOTH hands, or is it an 89 percent chance for each hand separately? I know technically the percentages would be the same...but they're not I tell ya! They're not!! you know of anywhere past the fights in Murond where you can find Ultima Demons? Cuz I sorta don't have Ultima and I've already beaten them. Also, a little side note...I started calling everyone at my school Steve...even my kinda creeped them out, then people started calling me Steve back...but I told them calmly...I am not Steve....I am.....The ANTI-STEVE! *muahahahaha*


Yes, the bending spoon action is due to Heather's elite Matrix-styled self. She's faster than light, and she's a good kisser, too. As for FFT, the percentages are actually ran each time. You have an 89% chance of hitting with the first one, then another 89% chance check is made. You'll notice that you CAN miss with one of your shots. (I had a Ninja with lousy accuracy.. wah!) .. my favorite is when you critcal, kill them in the first shot.. and still take a second swing. :) .... "Execute?"

Unanswered Questions and Comments
Legend o' Mana, me laddie!
The guy yesterday who beat Legend of Mana forgot to mention the most butt-kicking feature: Difficult and No Future modes. Yes, you can play through again with your old stuff but at a higher difficulty level! I'm still working on the game (it goes slower when you're trying to recover from surgery, writing an FAQ, AND trying to beat a game at the same time), but I hear No Future mode is where rabites can kill you in 3 hits. Try THAT for a challenge!

Your Humble Servant,
Insanerest of AOL

Try Sears.. heh!
Oh Bodacious One,

If people are spending 15 bucks on a new copy of Suikoden, they're getting ripped off. I went to the West Towne Mall's Sears store in Madison, WI and got a new copy for 9.99! Even the clerk was surprised to have anything for that cheap. TRY Sears, mainly because most people NEVER think to go there for PSX games.


Now lookit, you guys have got my friends reading/submitting regularly...
I was the Dread Pirate Roberts once. But I got tired of travelling all the time, so I handed the position on and settled down. In the silicon valley, of all places. :P

Must wash the Civic of Power...

--Ben "Vote August/Lohr in 2020!!" August

[ I just realized I'll be 42 in 2020... yikes. ]

Cheaters NEVER prosper.
its true that if you kill yourself against the ancient slime you get the victory speech, and the key to unlock the room with the treasure at the entrance......

BUT the ancient slime is the last iris treasure and you don't get to keep him if you havent killed him first........

so being cheap won't get you ANYWHERE.

From someone who's played all 3...
Hello there

Long time reader, first time writer.. poster whatever Reading all these posts about Ac and stuff, especially about useing one cd to install on more than one computers, I just thought I'd send this in. I'm sure you got several dozen though = ) Anyway, it works like this, you need to cd to install the files, and you can do that on a couple thousand computers if you want, but I am pretty sure you need that coupon to start your zone account, which saves your credit card info and all that. So you can reinstall it as many times as you want, without care, because your zone account is what matters not the cd. Now you may or may not be able to create multiple accounts off one cd, by putting in more credit card info. I bought my cd too, so about that I am unsure. And AC just like EQ and UO can be ran without the cd. None of them need it. Which is nice because you can pop in your own audio cd.

Assuming that AC is like them, they probably all need unique cd jewel case numbers. The cd you install from is not important, it's your log in and account info that is.

Anyway, here's my rundown of the games (Simple opinions). AC, great game! But due to lack of meaningful quests, and mundaneness, it tends to get old after about 2 months. EQ, really crappy! Sure it's beautiful (Ac is compairable, thanks to it's number of equpiment skins that others see, unlike EQ which has 3 whole differnt ones). But, there are no meaningful quests here, and it's way to small. It's fun to log into the game, spend 5 minutes loading a zone just to find that a zone designed for 20 people has 90 people all 10+ levels than you. UO you ask? Still the best in concept, but the worst in applications. It's got a wonderful system, but it was ruined by mindless slaughter of people, and endless villany. For my money I'd play AC, but after 4 months of that I'm pretty sick of it = ). When UO2 comes out, if it holds up to say, 40% of what it promises, it will blow all the others out of the water. If they can do half of what they are saying it will still rule! And well there's Diablo2. It takes on a more long term RPG, especially with the whole hardcore mode and sockatble weapons. It's still hack and slash, but it has more replay value and it is a little deeper story line this time around.

Also a quick question, what are you looking forward to, Dreamcast or Ps2 rpgs? I've seen quiet a few Ps2, but I don't think I've seen one actually good one on the Dreamcast.

Eh well, this letter is only 4 times longer than I expected it to be, so I'll shut up now Get back to me or not, doesn't matter = ) Just some info for you really.


Hey hey! Free magic Attack answers!

Actually, there's already an RPG out there in which the main character uses a free magic attack: SaGa Frontier! When a human character is equipped with enough spells (6 or more, I believe), the JP cost is decreased by one, so spells with a casting cost of 1 become free, so Blue's Energy Chain can easily become a non-elemental free spell attack!

Also, in Final Fantasy 8, Edea's 'Attack' command is a magical energy attack, though I'm not sure this really counts, seeing as junctioning to strength rather than magic increases its power (at least, I believe that's the case).

Hope you didn't get twenty million of that second part!

Sean "SSS" Daugherty

[ Ahh, I knew about both of these.. but didn't remember. Good job. ]


If Janet Reno has 666 hp, how many hp does Alan Greenspan have?


Brad: 5.

Hey Brad-

You know, you should have Heather guest host some time.. that would be interesting.


Brad: I did have her guest host once, before we started dating.. she's not big on the games that you guys play, so well, she just ends up being cynical and making fun of all the letters. :) If that's what you guys want, just let me know, I'll be happy to let her have a hand in another Q&A.

I thought "Sic" meant "yes?"

Brad: No, se–or! (Ctrl-K in VI, baby.. a lovely thing.)

I saw Brigandine for $30, Tactics Ogre for $30, Ogre Battle for $30, Suikoden 1 for $10, Vandal Hearts for $12 and a new NeoGeo Pocket Color for $79.99, ALL at EB or Software etc.

In yo face!

To bad i have only $6 :(

Brad: You need a government grant!

I have never in my entire life heard 'nerf' used as a verb o.O

--Ham On Rye--

Brad: Heh... in MMORPGs, they use the verb "nerf" to mean that the game developers introduce a patch which changes things, and your character ends up weaker due to it. Say they changed the damage range on ALL swords to be 5-10, from 12-20. Then you'd say that Swordsmen were "nerfed". Also used when an enemy casts a weaking spell on you, say, "Feeblemind" (focus down), your character is "nerfed". Nerfing is the opposite of 'buffing'. :)

You've got big ass fingers in that picture. You know! the one from yesterday. Your fingers are like 5 inches long.

Brad: The better to fi-- ooooooohh.. nevermind. Gonna get myself in some bad trouble with that one.

Hey Brad! Guess what! There was a question on my final about haiku! Yup, it asked for the name of the poem with 3 lines, with 5, 7, and 5 syllables. And of course I knew it! Aren't you proud of me?

Brad: Who says I'm not educational!?!?! :D

Hey I found out the quote it's LoM. Tilde please.


Brad: What do I look like to you, a vending machine? Does it look like my mouth takes quarters!? (PS -- Hey Roz! Lovin' you, baby!)

Wrapping it up...

Well, that wraps up the weekend for me... time for me to get outta here, maybe see the sun, toda-- oh, nevermind.. I think I'll just play games all day instead. Hee heee hee... er.. that was very Krin-like. :o

Brad "mumble... lots of treasure, hee hee" Lohr