The Oracle  

  Morning After Blues  


Brad Lohr, The Oracle - July 1 '00


How's it going?

I'm doin' okay.. anyhow.. here we are on Saturday morning.. though it's weird doing the first one of the week on Saturday... but that's okay... column is now going up.

I guess we'll be having Heather guest host tomorrow... so make sure to send in questions that even she can answer.. er.. heh. She's not a big RPG fan, but she's a geek girl, and well, she plays Asheron's Call. That, and she knows me better than anyone in the world. GET YOUR ORACLE DIRT HERE. ..or something.

Inappropriate questions are not gonna get far, so don't be a jerk, or a dork.

Was it good for you?

No.. tell me!
I'll still respect you in the morning...

Recent Q&A's


The Old stuff
The Archives
Brad Now Playing:
Asheron's Call
Though I really ought to finish Suikoden 2, seeing as I'm like about 4 or 5 hours at the very most from the end. Maybe I'll do that this weekend.
In Brad's Head:
Congrats to Heather on getting her Shadow Armor!
Now we're starting on mine... 1 tiny shard so far!
Only 15 to go :(
Question and Answer
Birthdays? .. I stopped looking forward to mine not too long ago :P
Greetings Lord Brad. I have A question worthy of your oracle-like powers. What is the relevance of birthdates on strategy games like TO and FFT. I've never noticed anything special about them.


Well, it does increase the age that's displayed on the information section that's specific to them, if you've ever noticed. I've never seen anything different really come of the age, or special powers bestowed upon characters on their birthday, or in the month of their sign, or anything... hrm. I'd say for the most part, that it's just a bit more 'personalization' given to the game, to make it a bit more fun.

Neclord sux!
I'm having a big problem beating Neclord in Suikoden 1. How did you beat him? What level were you on?

The levels in Suikoden are pretty ... well, if you smack around the enemies in the castle for enough time, (mostly just the time to get through the castle), you'll earn enough experience to be at a decent level to take out Neclord at the top. I highly suggest bringing Kai along for the enemy whomping, as his combo with McDohl makes short work of just about every screen of enemies.. make sure your weapons are as sharp as you can make them, (there's a new Blacksmith for your castle in the Warrior's Village, bring the other 3 to meet him, and he'll join you..) .. then when actually AT Neclord, make sure that you hit him with Viktor, with a plain attack, as one of the first things you do... that'll make him vulnerable to regular attacks by anyone. After that, it's just a lot of healing (make sure someone with decent magic (who hasn't used all of it on the way up there) has a Water Rune equipped) and whacking him. I like using Flik, Viktor, Valeria, Cleo(healer), the Hero, and Kai as my main party at that point in time... Valeria's Falcon Rune is a good solid hit every round, Viktor (with a Killer Rune) does massive damage, and Flik can really inflict some pain with the high level Lightning Spells, and then after they're gone, he's a good hand with a sword, too.

Help! My black wizard has fallen, and he can't get up!
Hey Brad, maybe you can lend me a hand here...

I bought FFT a while back... and I don't know if it's just me (okay, it is me), but I cannot seem to get the hang of the system. If ya wanna be honest, I've never been to good at Strategy games (like X-Com or C&C, though not rpgs), but is there something I'm missing? I simply can't get through that Deiling Trade City battle.

Any tips? Strategy Game Primers? Bacon?

Thanks in advance.

For a really nicely done walkthrough, with graphics, and all kinds of neat tips and stuff, head to the one done by the Big Ryan-man of RPGamer himself, at this link Final Fantasy Tactics Battle Guide. Hope that helps ya out.

Ogre Battle 64
Hey, Brad.

I really liked both FFT and TO, so I'm really looking forward to OB64. The thing is though, judging from the movies/screens, it doesn't seem like one will be able to move around on the battlefield. PLEASE tell me I'm wrong! If I'm right, it's just normal FF-like battles! With nothing but normal FF-like battles, you're just standing there pressing Attack the entire game through! That would suck!

So, ya know anything?


Well.... from what I gather from the demo over the booth at E3, Ogre Battle 64 is going to be a lot like the Ogre Battle for the PSX... I suggest you try renting that game (unless you don't have a PSX) first and trying it out. It's a different style of gameplay, one that some people like, and some people don't.

Unanswered Questions and Comments
You asked for it!
On yesterday's Q&A, Kenneth Whitten RPGamer Sage (aspiring) asked "does the person who sent in the cool fakes of Gau piloting the airship and the CT race with SMB characters have a website-gallery of such pics?" As matter-o-fact I do, Actually the Gau and CT ones are the only ones I've done so far, but just yesterday I did something a bit different with a screenshot. Anyway I just thought I'd let you know and maybe (if you're really nice) you could let him know too ^_^

adios, Phoenix ^_^

I don't know what to say... heh.
I have a bit of a problem I'd like to get off my chest. You see, I'm a chronic cheater. I've been so since I got a Game Genie for my SNES so many years ago. Since then I've cheated at damn near every game I've played. I cheated in FF6, FF4, CT, EarthBound and all the rest of the great SNES RPGs. And when I got a GameShark for my PS... well, you know. I try not to cheat until I beat the game at least once cleanly. I managed to do so with FF7, FFT, FF4, CT, EB and a few others. But now I always seem to do it! God help me, I haven't even beaten Deus in XG without cheating! I don't even limit myself to the cheat devices. I use in-game cheats like the bastard I am. Just recently I rented Medievil 2 and the second I entered the game I was punching in that cheat menu code as fast as I could. I'm not asking for forgiveness, I'm asking for help. There are still so many games out there I can still enjoy: FM3, VS, Lunar:EB (if it ever comes out) and FF9. I don't want to ruin them like I've ruined so many others (FF6 and XG being my biggest regrets). What should I do? Should I smash my cheat devices with a hammer? Should I rig my computer to crash every time I try to log onto GameSages? For the love of all things sacred and holy, HELP ME!!!


Let's hear it for Mini-Editorials...
I remember hearing a long time ago that while watching TV, your brain emmits Alpha waves. While reading a book, it emmits Betas. Now, there are people that will vehemently argue that it is the other way around, but that doesn't matter. The point is, since TV is a simpler task, your brain functions in a much more... passive way. While reading a book, it is very active imagining scenarios and people.

Well, what would it be while playing an RPG? An average RPG is a combination of dialog, pictures, fighting and puzzles. While playing, you are:

  • Reading
  • Thinking non-linear
  • Discerning the plot
  • Watching the graphics
  • Determining intricate strategies
  • Pressing buttons
That's a lot of stuff. My question is, what level of brain activity would that be considered? It is obviously more thoughtful than watching a movie, but you also aren't picturing as much as with a (non-illustrated) book. Then, in a book you don't have to discover a key at one end of a map and bring it to the other all on your own. In a book you are riding along the backs of the protagonist, and in an RPG you ARE the protagonist. You are combining the thought processes used by scholars, the military, detectives, artists, voyeurs, and during all that still need to remember to press the "A" button to make it all work.

When you think of it that way, RPgamers (yes, including pen and paper) are far superior to all those *other* genres... oh boy that might get me in trouble :) but seriously, what do you think about in a First Person Shooter? Probably the combination of a track star and an escaped mass-murderer. Outright puzzle games (tetris, etc)? No comment. Strategy (both real and turn based)? A little more complex, maybe strategists and probability mathemeticians.

There you have it. RPGs are the deepest of all genres imo. Perhaps that is why they are my favorite. It kinda makes all my procrastination on chores and homework seem justified :). What do you think?


Well, I have yet to even play BOF3... so..
Hey Brad well this is a new concept to me -- I'm actually asking a question! *gasp*

Anywho I'm going through BOF3 again and I'm currently at Momo's tower with Ryu and Nina. This is right after I fell down that mountain. Well the problem is, in every battle Nina dies in one hit and Ryu usually always has to change to dragon to win a battle. I bought all the armor from the fish dude that sells it at the base of the tower, so do you have any advice for me? Thanks


Yes, I am a big fan of the sideways PSX fix.
Hey Brad,

In yesterday's column, Goog told Ham on Rye (hehehehe... doesn't that just sound weird?) to turn his Playstation upside down to help it out. I've tried this, and it didn't work to well for me. While it improved it a little, I found that turning it on it's side actually works better. I just proped it up (I'm using my old SNES to do it, along w/ a game still inside) and now I get abousletly no skipping. Before when it was sitting normaly or upside down, it wouldn't load a lot of my games and/or it would skip majorly. Hope this helps!


*** Chrono Chross Mini-Review, Spoilers Inside ***

I just started playing Chrono Cross (Japanese version) and it is very impressive. Everything from the battle system to the music.

To start, the graphical look of the game is gorgeous. The mix of the backgrounds and the characters give CC a very unique and incredible feel, very different from Chrono Trigger. One that really stands out at me is the beach scene very early in the game where your first "jump" happens, very beautiful. Honestly, I did not like most of the character art done by Nobuteru Yuuki for the game. It really didn't appeal to me looking at the characters portraits in the menu screen. On the other hand, I love how Serge and Kid look in the FMV. Though the graphics are nice it doesn't feel like a sequel to Chrono Trigger.

The music is excellent, I personally love the music in this game much more than that of Nobuo Uematsu's music in FF8. (Though it's not as good as Yoko Kanno's, Ya know what I mean)

The battle system is very similar to Xenogears but is tweaked some. You have 7 stamina and 3 different attacks. Each attack raises your "magic bar" up according to it's strength and how much you spend. Magic can only be used once per slot per battle. The action is surprisingly fast. There aren't any level either. Leveling is done via the Romancing series style by uping stats as you go. Weapons are made from parts and bought similar to FF8 but much easier because materials are abundant depending on the area.

The story is a little foggy at first but soon starts going. The connection to CT seems odd to me but on the other hand can probably explained. From what I've seen Serge is "jumping" parallel dimensions. He meets alot of people as well, I believe there are 40 characters and one returning chars that I know of which is Glenn. I don't know if anymore are returning though.

I just wanted to put some info out about the game though, I hope you guys don't flame me for doing this especially Google-san.

Shouta Shura

It's been a while since I posted an anti-FF8 rant.. :)
i just want to respond to some of the letters that google has been receiving lately about FF (that is, of course, if its ok with you)

Sure, I was dissapointed in FF8. It wasn't because of the slightly futuristic setting of the game, either. It was because the story and the gameplay details were less complex than the previous games. The biggest problem that I had with the storyline was that the characters did not fight because they had a true driving reason for them to, they fought because it was their job. They seemed more to be carrying out orders rather than taking action on their own, up until late in the game. FF8 was not nearly as deep as FF7 and the battle system/junctioning was not nearly as fun as the materia was. With the materia, you had a plethora of different ways you could use it in combos and such, with drawing and junctioning magic, there wasn't quite as much to do with it. You find which stat it works best with and you put it there, I don't know about anyone else, but I never used any magic other than when I just wanted to see it (except possibly aura and haste, late in the game I didn't use haste because everyone's speed would be well over 100). It was things such as these that made FF8 an inferior game to the previous, especially FF7.


JD is my super-hero!
Brad is very good
Although I'm horribly bad
This took ten minutes

You're right.. that is pretty bad. Especially for ten minutes. :) Practice, practice, practice.

Brad, I have a story to share with you. I heard so much about Vagrant Story, I bugged my parents night and day to buy it for me. They only agreed to rent it, but I thought, hey, good enough. I went to Blockbuster that night in hopes of playing Vagrant Story in about 10 minutes. Horror or horrors, though! They did not have one single copy of Vagrant Story left. Not VS, not LoM, not even LoD! What could I possibly do? I searched the shelfs for something. I thought I might as well rent an RPG, so I saw SaGa Frontier II. I heard it was pretty good, so I picked it up.

I went home and played the game. The music was ok, the characters kind of sucked. So I played a few more hours in. The music to the game was amazing, I felt as close to the characters as I did with Locke, Cloud, or Cecil. Now, I am so close to finishing the game, I want to urge everyone to try this game out. It is one of those titles you'll fall in love with, just not at first.

Oh, and on to my question. ^_^ Who composed the music for SaGa Frontier II? It is almost as good as Final Fantasy music and perhaps might be better. It draws you in to the scene perfectly. Anyway, thanks Brad!

-- Shawn K.

JD tells me that the music composer for SF2 is... Masashi Hamauzu.

That's a good question.. one I don't know the answer to.
Hey Brad,

I've been wondering about something in Chrono Cross. I think CC has about 60 playable characters. Is it possible to get all 60 characters in one play of Chrono Cross? Or does it depend on what path you choose which characters you'll get? Because if you could get all of them in one game with a three people party, it would be hard to choose which characters to use. Thanks!

-Dr. A. Slump


Dude, I had a dream last night that my girlfriend and I got married.

....I'm only 18, man!!!! I'm gonna be a freshman in college next year!

I'm scared. Not that she doesn't rock or anything, but... just kinda creepy, you know? Am I going insane, or do dreams really have some kind of meaning?

I know this isn't RPG-related, but, well... I wanted to share.


Brad: That's okay, I had a dream I got married to your g/f too... and well, you're right... that IS scary!


Why dont you have any contests for guest host any more?


Brad: Mostly because it can be a real hassle getting together all the timing/setting up, that kinda stuff. And it's supposed to be a SPECIAL thing. :)

On a Asheron's call discussion board, CoD, I saw the blinking pic of the Oracle? Is this the Oracle himself, or some person who stole his pic? Sorry I'm asking you, I'm not sure how to get mail to the Oracle.


Brad: This was sent to Google, and he forwarded it to me, but anyway, no, accept no impostors, I actually do visit CoD myself, and post there semi-regularly. As for how to get mail directly to me, my email address here at RPGamer is:

Do you have to have all 108 stars in Suikoden in order to have an effect on Suikoden II?

Brad: As far as I know, yes. You must have a save file with all 108 stars from Suikoden 1, saved at the last save point (inside the Imperial Palace at Gregminister) in order to load the data. Actually, now that I think of it, you might only need save data from that point.. as there are mechanisms in Suikoden2 that'll take effect if Gremio isn't around. Hrm.

How long do you think they're gonna delay Lunar 2? Will it be like the first??


Brad: if (game.Developer == WD) {game.ReleaseDate += 30;}

I wish everyone would learn that a haiku poem is like this

I do that
That is what i do
It be true

get it! 3 sylables(sp?), 5 sylables, 3 sylables.... You guys all seem to think that it's 5, 7, 5, which is techniacally a tanka poem, NOT A HAIKU!

Ignorances doesn't usually surprise me but with a group of RPGamers it does (us being an enlightened crowd).


Brad: Dear Mr. Webster sez: w0ned. Also see the definition of a tanka poem, and find out who is more literate.

Wrapping it up...

Alright, there it is... don't forget to email Heather and myself some questions today, so that we have lots of fun stuff to make fun of you talk to you about tonight/tomorrow. I've gotta go help her buy clothes or something today... (oddly enough, she does NOT go clothes shopping regularly.)

Brad "Dear Mr. Webster sez: Kick rocks, Scrub!" Lohr