The Oracle  



Brad Lohr, The Oracle - June 24 '00

Well, due to the fact that I'm a lop about updating at night, or something, Google and I have decided to "swap" around our days... in effect, I'll have Saturday-Sunday-Monday, and he'll do Tuesday-Friday. But in the transition, someone has to do an "extra" column or something.. and so instead of keeping my promise of a longer column today, I'm doing a short one right now.

I'll have another one up tomorrow, and then a 4th for the week up on Monday.

Wow, more Oracle than Googleshng this week. If you like it, great, if you don't, too bad... if you don't care.. then keep reading. :)


Then again, I might get ambitious and do the full thing because, well, once you get into the ART of it all, it's hard to put it down.

Or I could go play video games. Hrmmmmmm.....

Also, I'm adding a semi-stupid Idea new feature to increase reader participation in the weekend Q&A.

Mini-Poll: Do you want Heather to Guest Host next weekend?

Tell me yes, or no. Put it in Haiku and your vote counts twice.

Quickie Column

But if you've got questions...
Hit me.... that's blackjack, you violent kids. :P

Recent Q&A's


The Old stuff
The Archives
Brad Now Playing:
Asheron's Call
Just a shout-out "Hey" to Katherine, who actually DID spend some time talking to me while I was waiting around for Heather and Kwai to get their Major Shivering Stones.
In Brad's Head:
Word to YOUR mother.
"I'm not a dork, you jerkhead!"
It's a very Brak day for me.
Question and Answer
Canopus? Easier to get in TO :)
I'm assuming since you covered it in news, maybe you can shed some light on this situation? (Or post it so one of the rabid fans out there can answer).

I'm Ogre Battle : March of the Black Queen for the Snes, how in gods name do you get Canopus in the 3rd map? I've checked dozens of sites, and oddly you all use the exact same FAQ as them, and the way he explains it in that simply doesn't work. It says to Liberate Chan'Ga then Bah'wal, listen to Canopus, then Liberate the hidden Roshfallen Temple, and Yulia will give you the wings of victory if your rep is high enough. Then take the wings back to Canopus and poof he joins! How ever, no matter how many times I do it, and no matter what senquence, Yulia just spouts of something about people not wanting peace and won't give me the blasted wings. I'm assuming that my rep is high enough, I got like 80% of the bar, which for the 3rd map is insanly high. I remember like way back when it came out I did get Canopus, but I have never been able to do it again! I really want to beat this game with the best possible ending, so if your not sure yourself, maybe someone else knows something I don't? Or could remember. Hey I know it's old, but it's a classic = ) Someones gotta remember! Thanks all you RPG like people.


Brad's Step by Step guide to getting Canopus in Ogre Battle:

  1. You've gotta liberate Chang'ga, and THEN Bah'Wahl. Chang'ga, is a hidden Temple that is west of the final town.
  2. Liberate ALL the towns besides the final one.
  3. Go back to Chang'Ga. You will recieve the Wings of Victory.
  4. Back to Bah'Wahl, and Canopus will join you there.

Chrono Chross... I wouldn't count on July.
WASSAAABBBIIII!!!!! Whazzap Brady Man....

Anyhoo, long time reader, first time writer. I wrote because I'm worried about Chrono Cross. I recently read that it's going to be released July 18, but somewhere else it sez it being released August. So that has me sorta worried. Because I have a fondness towards Chrono Trigger (It taught me how to speak english when I came to the US about 3-4 years ago), so I really want to play Chrono Cross, but I can't wait another whole month!!!!! So if it IS coming August, do you think I should get Vagrant Story to keep me busy?

Thanx for your help.....


Well, as I hear it, expect CC to be out sometime in August. That's just what the little mill of word shuffling around is, though it might be a formally released ship date. Don't hold me to it, though.. I don't pay much attention to news... hehe.. :)

... who are we at war with? EVERYONE!
Brad, you're so Bradical

I got my Xenogearz for $19! + tax (see you in hell, Uncle Sam!!!!)

P.S.: Who are you at war with?

P.S.S: My spell checker actually thinks 'Bradical' is a word. Wiseman

We're at war with everyone who gets in my way. Which includes those "other" spellchecker making companies which deny the existance of Bradical as a word.


Unanswered Questions and Comments
Oh dude.. Kevin's gonna be pissed.
Hey Brad,

After Goog didn't print my email telling how to make the Magnus cave easy. All you do is remove all the equipment(except Yang's gloves) and during battles go to Item, press up, and equip your weapons again. You can use them and not be paralized!


[ I bet Kev still does it his way, just because he hates those stupid VampGirls, bats, and other dumb enemies in that cave. ]

Gonna eat us a dolphin, Steve!
Whoa, I remember reading the first column where you brought 'Steve' into existance, and I thought about writing in "We're gonna eat us a dolphin, Steve!", but I had some sort of disorder then where'd I'd get extremely nervous writing e-mails and then spasm constantly... Er, anyway, I've had a particularly good week, so I felt like doing another top ten list. Yeah, I know I'm only supposed to do these whenever you or Google achieve some task relating to numbers, but this is about me, damnit!


10. The main character has mental problems. Not where he's fighting off evil thoughts about things that have happened to him in the past, but where he just stands in the corner and hums.

9. The plot is about trying to determine the existance of God, and is furthered along with the aid of sock puppets.

8. "Mind blowing FMV graphics!" is a feature listed on the back of the box, when in truth it is actually just footage one guy created with the use of his iMac and Sony Handycam.

7. The translation is so awful, that even primitive mankind would have been tilting their heads in confusion at the in-game dialogue.

6. Somewhere in the title, the words 'Beyond' and 'the' are used in conjunction...

5. It's not so much an RPG as it is a musical with dancing moogles and chocobos.

4. The standard RPG currency 'GP' has been replaced with 'Skin-So-Soft'.

3. The chronology is so messed up, that if you were to create a timeline that depicted the events of the game in order, the result would look more like the figure of a Christmas tree than that of a flat horizontal line.

2. Being that the PS2 is going to be quite difficult to program for, many software devlopers have decided to port games solely using the ZZT programming kit.

And the number one sign that you're playing a bad RPG...

1. Why, oh WHY did they have to choose William Shatner to do the voice acting?!

Heh, there ya' go. And since everybody else brags in this column, I found both Dragon Warrior III and my second copy of Chrono Trigger at garage sales for both fifty cents each. Unfortunately I'm blessed with the ability to find deals like that, but no time to play them... . Oh, and uh, sorry for calling you a hypocrite some three weeks back... I haven't been able to get any sleep as of late because of that.

~The Sack~

They Call me Dr. Worm
uh, if you DONT resist the torture in Metal Gear Solid you're gonna end up settling for a pretty crappy ending. but then again, if you're having trouble resisting it you're pretty crappy at hitting buttons anyway.


do they call you dr worm?

More Magnus Cave tips

It's me that annoying kid again....

Anyway i've got some good advice for taht poor kid stuck in "Magneto Cave". First of all if it doesnt sound like metal dont take it off...(of course) then secondly leave yang's claws on and Cid most likely will have a hammer that can be equipped in there....and as for tellah he said it him self....Hell do it with his magic! And Cecil he is blessed with the great ability to use bow and arrow as well as sword... so equip lots of those for the journey....As for armor havent you noticed? Go back to the town next to the castle.(The one that is supposed to have the earth crystal) That town doesnt have metal armor only specializes in other stuff witch is well worth eqipping. If you run from this cave youre missing oout on a LOT of level gaining and that's just one reason you might not be able to beat the boss....anyway GL!

Wow.. big huge'ol Goog-correction.. (don't worry, my turn below :[ )

In yesterday's column Google wrote that the CT/Xenogears/CC developement team left Square for Monolithsoft. This is an error that I've seen mentioned in this column several times before but never thought to write in about it before. Anyway, only a small number of people from the XG team actually left Square, none of whom played any part in either CT or CC. While Xenogears was made by many of the same people as CT, there were also a lot of people on the XG staff that had nothing to do with Chrono Trigger. Furthermore, none of the XG people who left Square had anyting to do with Chrono Cross, since Chrono Cross was still in developement long after Monolithsoft was formed. Heres how it goes: there were only a couple people from Xenogears who left. The most important member of the team who left was Tetsuya Takahashi (a VERY cool guy who will be sorely missed at Square, I'm sure). Tetsuya Takahashi was the director of Xenogears, and in fact Xenogears was his idea to begin with. He came up with the basic premise for the game and directed it. I believe he also worked as a graphics director for FFVI. I also believe one of the character designers for XG is working for Monolith now, but character designers are rarely employed by the companies for whom they design characters; they are usually contracted out on a per-project basis (like Yoshitaka Amano and Akira Toriyama... niether work at Square, but both have worked WITH Square on several projects). To clear up any future confusion on the subject, here is a list of the primary members of the CT/XG/CC teams:

  • Chrono Trigger:

    Producer - Hironobu "The Man" Sakaguchi Mr. Final Fantasy; has been with Square for decades--don't expect him to run off to another company anytime soon. The overall outline of Chrono Trigger was the combination of his ideas and those of Mr. Yuuji Horii. He is currently working on Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy: The Movie. He is also the Vice President of Square Co. Ltd. and President of Square's Honolulu branch.

    Director - Yuuji Horii The second member of the Chrono Trigger "Dream Team", as it was called in Japan. He is actually an employee of Enix who has worked on most of the Dragon Quest games and still works there today (I don't know if anyone really knows why he helped make a game for Square, though). Again, Chrono Trigger was mostly the brain-child of him and Mr. Sakaguchi.

    Chararacter Designer - Akira Toriyama I think for most anime/manga fans this man needs no introduction. But just in case, he was the man behind Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Slump, and countless other anime/manga series. In Japan, he is a household name. He has also worked on many of the Dragon Quest games, and has also helped out at Square on a number of different titles (such as Tobal).

    Story Writer - Masato Kato Wow... name a Square game from the last couple years with an amazing story and chances are, this is the guy who wrote it. What can I say but that this man is a genius. Working with the premises provided to him by the directors/producers of the games he wrote, he has helped forge some of Squares most memorable stories including those of Chrono Trigger, Radical Dreamers, Xenogears, and Chrono Cross. He even wrote the script for Final Fantasy VII (the idea for the story was mostly Hironobu Sakaguchi's, but Masato Kato was the one to turn Mr. Sakaguchi's story into a game--complete with scenarios etc.--and to polish up the fine details that made it such a great game). Anyway, Mr. Kato is still happily employed at Square.

    Music Composer - Yasunori Mitsuda Now let's be honest: who doesn't love Yasunori Mitsuda? Seriously, he has done some of Square's best soundtracks including Chrono Trigger, Front Mission Gunhazard, Radical Dreamers, Xenogears and Chrono Cross. He does not work for Square anymore, but that didn't stop him from doing Chrono Cross's music; even though he isn't actually employed there anymore, he still works as an independent contractor.

  • Xenogears:

    Producer - Hiromichi Tanaka Mr. Tanaka has been with Square literally from the beginning, so again, I don't ever expect to see him leave. He is famous for directing such games as Final Fantasy I, II, and III, Seiken Densetsu II and III and of course, Xenogears. His most recent project has been Chrono Cross. Anyway, I think this guy's resume' speaks for itself--he's been in the business a LONG time and definetly knows what he's doing.

    Director - Tetsuya Takahashi Now this is where it gets a little sad... It was Tetsuya Takahashi's idea to make Xenogears in the first place. The basic premise for the story was his idea, and he also served as the visual director. He and Masato Kato were the two biggest influences on Xenogears' epic, unforgettable plot. He is the one who has left for Monolith soft. He will be sorely missed at Square, but Xenogears will forever be his ultimate legacy.

    Story/Scenario Writter - Masato Kato See above for the full description. Basically, using Tetsuya Takahashi's basic idea for the plot line, Masato Kato turned Xenogears in to the wonderful epic we all enjoyed.

    Music Composer - Yasunori Mitsuda See Above.

  • Chrono Cross:

    Producer - Hiromichi Tanaka See above.

    Director/Story Writer - Masato Kato Mr. Kato's directorial debut. And IMHO, he did an excellent job with it. Chrono Cross is his game--period. He designed it, wrote it, directed it, the whole deal. Personally, I think it was one of Square's finest... but i'll digress for fear of spreading any spoilers.

    Character Designer - Nobuteru Yuki Another big name in Anime; he is responsible for such titles as Lodoss War and Escaflowne. He has also worked with Square before in Seiken Densetsu III. The characters of Chrono Cross are extremely memorable... if just a little off the beaten trail... (Lucky Dan, I rest my case).

    Music Composer - Yasunori Mitsuda See Above.

Wow, that took a lot longer than I expected... Anyway, that is definately not a complete list of the people who played a part in creating these games; there are dozens of programmers and technical people who all deserve a lot of credit as well. If you're at all interested in the people behind the games (and you are Japanese litterate), check out Square's webpage--they have a lot of good info (that's where I learned most of this information myself, actually). Well, I'm just glad I could clear up this little unpleasant misconception. Thanks for your time.

-Eric Reichel

gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)
Oh almightly Oracle of the Eternal Light,

[ You know, when YOU do that, I can hear the sarcasm, even through the typing.. you dork. ]

Regarding the Soul Eater eternal life thing, McDohl is indeed going to have the super-extended lifespan that Ted had, along with the no aging, which is one of the reasons why he took off to be by his lonesome (along with his... pal... Gremio) at the end of Suikoden. If you have Kasumi (and probably some other old friends of his) in the party when you go to do the McDohl subquest, she mentions the fact that he doesn't look a day older than he used to. Poor guy's *never* going to get any...


Steve-Dave is a Mallrats reference

[ By the way, Heather and I are going to be in the Bay Area in September, for a lil' bit.. gotta fly out of SanJo Airport to Denver for a friend's wedding... might have a few hours to kick it that night before turning in.. gotta wake up and hit a morning flight, though.

Correcting Brad Quickies

Steve-Dave is from the movie Mallrats. He's the asshole who runs "Comic Toast", the comic shop which Brodie, one of the main characters, frequents whenever he's at his beloved mall, which is nearly everyday. I highly recommend seeing it. Funny stuff, that.


Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

A Dragoon is any heavily armed, mounted unit, like a cavalry soldier. How video game companies turned that into a dragon slayer or someone who jumps at the enemy is beyond me.

Brad: (starts writing "I will not be wrong about Dragoons" on the board 100 times...)

that whole steve-dave thing is from Mallrats. That movie rules!

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

There once was a man called Brad Lohr,
Who did Q and A after Thor.
I like him the best,
Much more than the rest,
'Cause he doesn't think math is a boor.


Brad: Gotta say.. I love the limericks too. :) Votes in Limerick form get 2 counts as well.

Mallrats! it's from Mallrats!

Dylan "I'm faster than Walt Flanagan's dog"

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

Is it just me, my entire family, and everyone I know, or is SO2 the best game ever for replay value? It should win an award of somekind.


Brad: I totally agree.. I love replay value in my games.. and SO2 is the Lord-God-KING replay video game.

Brad Dude, Damn you, that reference in the last quickie yesterday was from Mallrats! When Jason Lee can't get into the comic shop, Steve-Dave gets into a fight with him, and this dude yells "Tell 'em, Steve-Dave!". Sheesh. You didn't see Mallrats?! ;)

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

Dearest Brad,

The column in which Heather guest-hosted was on October 7th, 1999.


Brad: And a link to it (now that I didn't have to look up the date, hee hee) is here.

Don't ever ever EVER play Gaurdian's Crusade. This game is the worst excuse for an RPG I have ever played. Sinful! Bad! Beware, Brad!

Sabin XIII

Brad: Honestly, didn't plan on it.

I knew it! I mean the "Steve" thing from Multiplicity. Funny movie!


p.s. --I like pizza!

Brad: .... _ She touched my pepe, Steve.

Ha! I rented SoM from this local game rental place (for $1). The day I was supposed to return it, the place closed (went out of buisness) so I got to keep the game. I also got FF2 (4j) by borrowing it from a friend, then "forgetting" to give it back. Then, my friend sold his snes, and I didnt need return it. Beat that!

Son of Sabin

Brad: This column does not endorse the underhanded and sneaky things you did to acquire the games you own. :(

Dear Brad,

A dragoon is a heavily armed cavalryman who rides on a horse but fights on foot, not an armored knight who specializes in killing dragons.

Dragoons were so-called because they carried short muskets, which "breath fire" when used, thus giving the gun the nickname of "dragon", and the soldiers the name of "dragoon".


Brad: (starts writing "I will not be wrong about Dragoons" on the board 100 times...)

My Idol,

Ummm... In Metal Gear Solid you can use a turbo controller. My friend did it. Revolver just says that to scare you.


Brad: You mean he LIED?! .. naughty!

Can you misspell "Guyana"? I can. Can you?

You Humble Servant,
Insanerest of AOL

Brad: "Tomato". How's that? :)

Dear Dear Dear Brad,

Aren't I smart! That guy said his name was steve dave because in the best movie ever MALLRATS the character Steve Dave yells at Brodie and T.S. because they didnt know that Stan Lee the Marvel comics master was going to be making an appearance at the mall. But they never really mention that his name IS steve dave so that guy must be a big Kevin Smith fan like me!

Dave the Dude

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

Blue wizard shot the food!

-Raistlin X

Brad: Red Wizard is about to go black! Oh no.. what will Caramon think!?!?!

My friend plays RPGs so much, he's developing manboobs. How can he decrease his breastly size without ungluing his face from a TV screen? Poor Dave...


Brad: I am not knowledgeable about manboobs. You'd hafta talk to Wilykat about that. :)

Do you or anybody you know have Xenogears? I've been looking for it everywhere, but can't seem to find it! I'm willing to trade games such as Vagrant Story, Legend of Mana, Breath of Fire 3, or even Tales of Destiny for it!

- StarLancer -

Brad: I've got it, but I'm not trading. If someone else wants to email you, I provided the link.

who's the black private dick who's a sex machine for all the chicks?

-isaac hayes

Brad: No, Isaac Hayes is some dorky guy who writ--- er... SHAFT!!!

Hi, Steve. Did you bring me a chainsaw?


Brad: "Spend 8 skill credits to train "Chansaw"? [(Y)es/(N)o]

wark wark wark wark wark wark wark wark wark wark wark wark

Brad: My my my.. isn't that Chocobo Billy behind you? And what a perverse smile on his face he has....

I just thought I would mention that the Steve-Dave referance comes from MallRats. A superbly hillarious movie.

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

A dragoon is actually a heavily armored cavalry man, which would make it reeeeaaly hard to jump like Kain. But who cares? Its fantasy.

Ryonin "Incoherant goodness"

Brad: (starts writing "I will not be wrong about Dragoons" on the board 100 times...)

Steve-Dave is from Mallrats and other Kevin Smith films..... Dingleberry!

-Silent Bob's mute cousin Rob

Brad: gAck! I've seen Mallrats. Great series, the whole thing.. Dogma was absolutely awesome. :)

A Dragoon is a type of footsoldier.


Brad: Footsoldier or Cavalryman? I think you're WRONG!

Wrapping it up...

Okay, that got out of hand.. maybe I'll put a tiny column up tonight... or just hold off on Sunday/Monday's till later tomorrow... we'll see what the mail situation looks like tomorrow, okay? Don't forget to vote in the mini-poll!

Brad "He's got the whooooole world, in his haaaaaaands!" Lohr