Game of the Month August, 2004:
Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

System: N64 Developer: Quest
Although I wasn't a huge fan of the original Ogre Battle for the Super NES, Ogre Battle 64 became one of my top favorite N64 games. I discovered that the best way of playing SNES Ogre Battle was to place all your troops on one town and then wait for the enemies to come to you. This was because if the enemies were often much faster and more powerful than you, so they'd easily recapture towns if I tried anything else. But you and the enemies are more evenly matched in Ogre Battle 64, making it easier to plan and use strategies for the different world maps.

Hands off my multi-headed armadillo-hydra-thing!

A walk in the countryside In Ogre Battle 64, you command an army of troops and move them about a world map, trying to liberate towns while defeating your enemies. Your parties of troops can have up to five characters with different classes, such as fighters, healers, magicians, and monsters. By fighting enemies with the same power level and lower alignment than your current party, and by liberating towns with the same alignment as yours, you will increase your reputation (called "Chaos Frame" in this game). The level of your Chaos Frame will determine what ending you get, adding to the replay value. You can also recruit a wide variety of characters for your army, and you can sometimes change their classes when their levels are high enough and/or if you have the proper items/equipment. There are even some special characters you can recruit if you take the right steps during the battles and make the right decisions in the storyline. There are also multiple paths that can be taken through the game, and even a secret world you can enter only by becoming completely evil.

Ogre Battle 64 also eschews the tarot card system of SNES Ogre Battle (a system I wasn't too fond of because of how randomly it could lower your alignment) in favor of powerful Elem Pedra spells. Elem Pedras are secret spells you can learn that hit the entire enemy party at once, but can only be used once per battle. As you may already know, you don't directly control your characters in battle; they fight automatically depending on their class, equipped weapons, and position in the party (front or back). Ogre Battle 64 also has lots and lots of maps to conquer and explore, and could possibly take over 100 hours to complete, depending on how many battles you choose fight and how much you choose to explore the maps after conquering them, in hopes of finding hidden items and recruiting new party members. Ogre Battle 64's storyline is somewhat like a mythical retelling of the American Revolutionary War. The translation, done by Atlus, is very good (as Atlus translations usually are), but I did find the heavy use of swearing a little out-of-place.

But at least they didn't kill Kenny.

Ogre Battle 64 is, unfortunately, a difficult game to find now. It is, however, one of the best N64 games and definitely worth playing if you love RPGs or stategy games.



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