When I was but a whee lad, I would play my Nintendo 64 whenever I got a chance, after school and on weekends. One day as I went to Funcoland, now Gamestop, I came across a game that sparked my interest, and till this day I still wish to have a N64 so I may play that beloved game again. Ogre Battle 64, one of the first and best RPG titles for the N64, was in my hands and waiting for me to unleash its aura on my undeveloped mind.
Many of the older gamers, who had a Playstation , Sega Saturn, Super NES, or even Super Famicom had a chance to play the Ogre Battle series. Three games were created, two games only Americans knew. The older systems had Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen and then Orge Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber for the N64.
The Ogre Battle franchise had a game play that was unique to its kind. At this time, Final Fantasy already made its mark on the gaming world, with it’s turn based fighting system. The developers of Ogre Battle, Quest, had a different approach. You had units, in which you could place up to 5 characters in each unit, pending on the size of your character, whether they be a soldier or a beast. There are two modes of game play, the world map, where you can edit your units, equip characters, and change character’s classes. The other mode is the tactical map, where strategy is key.
In the tactical map mode, units are deployed on a large scaled world map. You look like a fly on a screen. On the map are towns and villages, sometimes castles. Each one you could liberate or take over, depending on the morale of that given place. You can deploy up to several units at a time. You manage their movements, as you can control their destinations. If you want them to go far, most likely they will take the easy route and walk right on the roads that are laid in front of them. You can force them to walk up mountains, in forests and in swamps. Even though this may be an easier way to your target, the unit can get tired quicker. If the unit is tired, even a little bit, their attack strength will be diminished. The units have an ability to rest, either in towns or in tents if they can not get to a town. Towns will heal your men while tents revitalize them. Of course the game will not be fun without enemy units.
Each stage their is an enemy leader to defeat. Your job, if you choose, is to strategically find your way to the leader while avoiding as much confrontation as possible, or just wiping the floor to every enemy unit you see. At least that is good for leveling up. When enemies want to fight you, they will travel towards you. You could either try to run away or travel to them. Once you are both close enough on the map, a battle begins. Battle strength consists of where you place your unit on a 9 block, 3 tier section (a 3 X 3). Some characters are stronger in the front, like soldiers, and some are stronger in the back, like wizards. Depending on where you put them affects the amount of attacks they have, the strength of their attack, and the combos they can give to each other, preferably spell casters. The difference between this fighting style and Final Fantasy is that you can control who you want to attack and with what move in Final Fantasy. Here, you have four options, attack the strongest, weakest, the best, and the leader. Whatever you choose that’s who they will attack. If an enemy unit’s leader is defeated, the unit, if not defeated in one battle will run away crying, not knowing what to do without a leader. You could run after them and finish them off for more experience, or you could leave them alone, but where is the fun in that? Once you defeat the enemy leader of the map, the stage is complete and you are the victor.
Alignment was something new to this game. Alignment depicts how good or evil your character is. If your character is good, they can fight better in the day, but are weak against dark attacks. If your character is evil, they can fight better at night but are weak against light attacks. This is important to think about when fighting certain types of enemy units and the time of day.
Probably the best part of the game was the class mode, how I can change any of the characters I control into someone stronger. There are units you can make, like knights, wizards, witches, ninjas, angels, even vampires and werewolves, pending on the game you are playing. You can only change your character to a certain class if you have the items for that class and if they have the right stats and alignment. By liberating towns and defeat stronger enemies, your alignment goes up. By besieging towns and picking on weaker enemies, your alignment goes down. This was important if you wanted to create a stronger wizard or witch, or even a stronger knight.
Overall this game was by far one of the best games I have ever played. Sadly, whenever I ask people if they have played this game, or even heard of it, they say no or “what the hell is that”. Many people, I have a feeling, played Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, but no one besides this one kid I know, played Ogre Battle 64. The reason behind that is Atlus, one of the more interesting publishers, decided not to make that many in the U.S. Not sure of the reasons, but they screwed over a lot of people from experiencing a great RPG and RTS put together. Quest, I beg you, bring these games back! I believe you could put it on the Nintendo DSI, being that it is advanced far beyond the N64. PlayStation 3 would be nice as well.
Come on people! Who here has heard of these games, let alone played them? Tell me what you think. Should Quest bring them back?