I’m not even going to pretend at some veneer of objectivity on this one. I think Ogre Battle is the greatest concept ever, and if you don’t, well, I hate you. Not really. Or do I?
For those who don’t know (and shame on you), Ogre Battle was a quasi-RTS/RPG hybrid on the Super Nintendo. Hybrid because the game played similarly to an RTS, what with the directing units around the map in order to secure victory in a large-scale battle, but with enemy encounters similar to traditional turn based RPG’s. Except they weren’t, really. It actually took me a while to realize how the battle system worked; the basics were you could only direct your entire party through a single order, which dictated your units’ actions.
By the way, all this was accomplished by using your controller. Somehow that just seems so… cool.
There has never been another game like Ogre Battle (except, I suppose, for the sequels), and I doubt there ever will be. But even if there were, it would probably be released on the PC so you could control the game with a mouse. Yawn. Regardless, truly unique concepts are extraordinarily rare, and even though unique doesn’t automatically mean excellent, in this case it just so does.
Ogre Battle also possessed an intriguing story, oodles of secrets, and thirteen separate endings (of which I’ve only accomplished three myself, so sad). Clearly, there’s a lot of depth in this game, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Let’s not forget the reputation bar, unit alignment, secret towns, revisiting areas… the list goes on. (Unit upgrades, tarot cards, music references…)
My only complaint with Ogre Battle is that the game is rather unforgiving in regards to uncovering its secrets. If you miss something, or go in the wrong order, too bad, no perfect ending for you. I would also guess that the game is somewhat inaccessible to many other gamers, but that’s their problem : )
Many thanks to Quest for developing Ogre Battle, and Enix for releasing it in the United States – no small feat, considering how many great games never found their way to American shores. These companies gifted us Ogre Battle, the great video game concept of all time.