– Ogre Battle – March of The Black Queen
– By Samson Lancaster – MyrddinCROW
Cue the most Epic Overture in game history! Ogre Battle had it all including a plethora of all the coolest ‘fantasy’ classes & beasties to choose from to build your army. It was one of the most complex RPG / RTS games. I thought it was so cool that not only did you get a commander type unit that could gain xp and level, but all of your troops could too. In addition to all of your troops gaining xp to level, you could work them towards class changes to advance your army. And you could recruit special NPC (hero) units into your ranks to lead your groups. And if this wasn’t enough you could also find or purchase treasures such as powerful equipable items. Each item could be equipped to any one of your soldiers whether they were a leader of a group or not. Of all RPG’s I probably replayed this one the most. I wanted to get all of the endings. The ending was based on so many different factors.
I must have played this game through in its entirety several times, and each play through was at least 100 hours. I tried many different approaches to my style of play and strategies. One of my favorite strategies was making one unstoppable overpowered group that could smash anything! This group consisted of 3 Liches (one of which was Warren a powerful NPC from the very first map) and one Tiamat. This group had a total of 9 extremely powerful magic attacks that hit everyone on the opposing side of the battle. And the Tiamat was excellent for soaking up damage tanking for the Undead, Unholy trifecta. The Lich was probably my absolute favorite unit of OB. Liches required a few class changes and an undead ring to make the final change to Lich. Though this was a fun strategy it didn’t come without a downside. Crushing your enemies relentlessly with extremely powerful evil units didn’t help your reputation very much, but it was damned good fun! The Unholy Trifecta could pretty much only be stopped by a Boss with a powerful Holy attack.
I felt one of the most epic things about Ogre Battle was the music. In fact, as kid I loved the music so much that I taught myself how to play “Revolt” (the first maps music) on my Alto Sax. NERD POWER! Each level would potentially last hours and I still would never get tired of hearing the music for that map. The music really made you feel the spirit of the game at its purest.
The game play in Ogre Battle was interesting. Overall Ogre Battle was a strategy game, somewhat real time. However you could pause the game and give commands to your groups. Battles occurred when a group met an opposing group. The battles were sort of on autopilot with the ability to change the group’s tactics on the fly. In addition to changing tactics you could use powerful Tarot cards as desperation spells. The basic goal of each map was to liberate and hold as many cities as you could (ideally all) before assaulting the capital and liberating it. Certain units worked better on certain terrain and some better during the night versus the day. Some of the more fun units such as, werewolves and vampires would only be truly useful at night. During the day werewolves were just a basic fighter and Vampires had to sleep in their coffins, Small details such as these really gave the game some character.
You meet many NPC’s along the way that you can recruit, generally whoever best suited to your ideal army or cause. Some of my favorite characters were in the Sky Islands, a series of hidden maps that required epic items and quests to unlock. These Sky Island rulers were Neutral Dragoons that required some convincing and certain circumstance to recruit.
Recently I have discovered that Ogre Battle March of the Black Queen (originally SNES, and later on PS) has been made available for download on the Wii. Of course I went back and started playing once again. There is one feature in the downloaded Wii version that I love. That new feature is “in map save”. In the older versions of OB you could not save while playing in a map. Since levels lasted hours at times, with no “in level” save ability you could imagine how frustrating screwing up or even wanting to take a break could be.
Overall Ogre Battle was one of my all time favorites for Music, Game play and dynamics for a role playing strategy game. I don’t know how many hundreds of hours I spent playing this game, but I’d do it all again given the chance.