"Ogre Battle 64 is one of the few reasons to buy a Nintendo 64. It's that good. If the system had more games like this, it might not have died a premature death against the Playstation. "
Ogre Battle 64 is one of the few reasons to buy a Nintendo 64. It's that good. If the system had more games like this, it might not have died a premature death against the Playstation. But alas, Ogre Battle 64 is one of a kind on the Nintendo 64, and is matched only by Final Fantasy Tactics for wargames that even casual gamers can play.
In Ogre Battle 64, you play the role of a hero who has revolted against a tyranical empire. You're out to save the world, blah blah blah, your father blah blah blah... In summary, the story isn't anything great, or anything that you haven't heard before. The ultimate goal of Ogre Battle 64 is to liberate each map, and thereby liberate the entire land. However, the main appeal of Ogre Battle 64 lies in the gameplay, not the story. The proof is in the pudding.
You control a vast army made up of small and large units. You attempt to organize and order these units to perform your biddings, by the way of a handy in-battle control menu. You do not directly control any unit. It takes a while to get used to this. From the in-battle menu, you can order your units to attack either the leader, strongest unit, weakest unit, or whatever attack will do the most damage to a specific unit.
Combat is initiated when two groups meet on the map. Elements such as terrain and battle fatigue play a large factor in combat. Each group consists of a grid of squares, three by three. You allowed either five ''small'' characters, or a combination of ''large'' and ''small'' characters.
Small characters are human based lifeforms for the most part. Knights, soldiers, archers, clerics, wizards, ect. Large characters are, for the most part, monsters. Dragons, hellhounds, giants, golems, and other beasts make up large units. However, like past installments, there really isn't a whole lot of reason to use large characters. Five smaller characters may be weaker individually, but they're much more felexible and cause much more damage in a unit.
Each single unit has the traditional role playing elements to fiddle around with too. Levels and experience points are gained, and character have specific attacks depending on what position they are in the combat grid. There's also a wide variety of character classes, and after gaining a few levels, character upgrades. Gold is earned after each stage, which can then be used to buy better equipment or curative items. And if you haven't gained enough experience in a stage, you can even go to a training hall and pay to get experience.
In addition to formation, each unit must also have a leader. Leaders influence how well your unit fights together; a harmonious character such as a cleric or knight will lead a unit better than a dark character such as a wizard. The type of characters and leaders you choose will play a huge role in the story aspects of the game.
Ogre Battle 64 has a lot of political aspects to it. The people are ruled over by tyrants, however, they don't want to be liberated by tyrants either. If you conquer a stage with high level or evil characters, the people look down at you for your usage of force. Use good characters, and your popularity will go up. The more popular you are, the better chance you have for the good ending, and the better chance for items and other goodies from townsfolk. Secret characters will also join your ranks, depending on whether you're going down the path of good, or evil.
If there is one aspect of Ogre Battle 64 that will disappoint past players of the series, it's that the complexity and difficulty has been toned down a bit to accomodate a wider arrange of players. While it may make hardcore strategy and role playing fans angry, it's a godsend. You no longer have to worry about every single little action ruining your chances at the best ending.
Speaking of the endings... Multiple endings enhance the replay value of Ogre Battle 64. The ending you get depends on your popularity (also known as Chaos Frame) and the characters you have recruited. There's two hard endings to get - the saintly ending, and the evil as Lucifer ending.
Graphically, Ogre Battle 64 is one of the best 2-D games you'll ever see. Beautiful effects and sharp, crisp character models are the norm. Some of the animations for spells and attacks are simply stunning. However, even if this isn't your cup of tea, or if you're in a rush, there's the option to turn all the animation off.
Ogre Battle 64 is also pleasing on an aurial level. A deep musical score is present throughout the game, heightened by strong sound effects on all the animations. You can really hear each ''clang'' from the sound of a knight slashing with a stronger paladin. Just like with the animations, you can elect to turn the music and sound effects completely off.
Ogre Battle 64 also managed to turn in some nice miscellanous options. The programmers noted the long nature of the stages, and included an EXTREMELY valuable option to save in the middle of a stage. It's a terminating save (meaning it's erased once you continue) to prevent cheating, but it's useful if you're interrupted in the middle of a gaming session. You can also back up your saved game files from the in-game battery pack to a controller pack for only 23 data pages. Most games the size of Ogre Battle 64 require the entire pack.
If you're any sort of war or role playing game fan, then you really owe it to yourself to play this game. Even if you don't have a Nintendo 64, this game is worth the price of admission. It's not a cheap game, and sometimes fetches over sixty bucks, but it's outstanding. It's worth every penny.
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)
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