Forgotten Gems: The Legendary Ogre Wrestle

Forgotten Gems is a protracted-established column about important games that indulge in moved out of the general public stare and would perhaps well well no longer be effortlessly accessible anymore. To see all the diversified games I’ve lined thus far, make certain to check out the 11 earlier considerations of Forgotten Gems in our Columns half.

I will’t see on the box art for Ogre Wrestle: The March of the Unlit Queen with out “hearing” Ogre Wrestle: The March of the Unlit Queen. From its iconic predominant theme to the cheers and jeers sounds when freeing towns, and the muffled “fight it out” and “thank you!” dispute samples – it all comes accurate support. I haven’t performed this – now sadly obscure – SNES technique RPG in three a protracted time, however booting up the dusty Jap cartridge on my Gargantuan Nt at as soon as rings a bell in my memory why I skipped pesky, non-important things love sleep when I first introduced it dwelling.

Love so many things, my treasure affair with the Ogre Wrestle collection started in 1993 at some stage in my college years in Japan. I had devoured Final Legend IV and V, and with the next installment in my favorite RPG collection nonetheless a 365 days off, I was buying for the leisure to fill the void. Ogre Wrestle’s hide art at as soon as known as to me. No surprise, basically – it’s the early work of a future master of personality invent: Akihiko Yoshida. It is probably going you’ll well well presumably no longer know his title, however you per chance know Vaan and Ashe from Final Legend XII and abolish no longer indulge in any doubt viewed Yoshida’s art vogue in all the pieces from Vagrant Legend and Bravely Default, to Nier Automata.

Here's a fresh scan of my Japanese copy of Densetsu no Ogre Battle (which translates to
Here is a fresh scan of my Jap reproduction of Densetsu no Ogre Wrestle (which translates to “The Legendary Ogre Wrestle”). Even the Jap long-established aspects the English subtitle “The March of the Unlit Queen”, in accordance with a lesser-identified Queen song.

Developed and published by Tokyo-based entirely Quest, with toughen from Nintendo, Ogre Wrestle: The March of the Unlit Queen confronted some annoying odds: namely, a shiny and crowded RPG scene dominated by Sq. and Enix (nonetheless two separate firms on the time). Yet in a technique, this almost unknown studio landed a severe and financial hit that at as soon as grew to change into heads – and at final ended in Enix itself bringing the game to the US.

If I had written this column a pair of months ago, as planned, I’d’ve urged you that Ogre Wrestle used to be each and each the originate and the tip of a sub-genre department on the evolutionary tree of roleplaying games. Players don’t preserve a watch on a personality or a celebration on an overworld draw, they place a watch on more than one groups in staunch time. There aren’t any random battles. As a replacement, enemies scramble at some stage in the area in horrible look, upright love the participant’s devices. And when two groups encounter each and each diversified, the veil switches to an isometric repeat with the actual particular person devices duking it out in turn-based entirely fight. However you’re no longer basically in exclaim preserve a watch on – battles are largely automatic, with the placement and classes of the characters figuring out their attacks and defensive strikes. As a replacement, you grab the role of an omnipotent strategist, intervening with programs changes and by playing magical tarot cards that you just fetch at some stage in the exploration half.

It’s a plucky departure from Nintendo’s slower-paced, turn-based entirely gameplay in Fire Emblem and Sq.’s influential active-time fight machine that used to be affecting the invent of every and each diversified RPG in pattern. Though you may well well presumably stop the lunge at some stage in each and each overworld exploration and fight shows, Ogre Wrestle feels fast and relentless by comparability, riding you to construct choices and alter your technique on the soar love in a recent staunch-time technique recreation.

On high of the fight and exploration substances, there is an economic factor – freed towns indulge in you money that it is major to finance extra unit deployments – moreover the suave, however usually laborious-to-perceive interconnected reputation and alignment programs. It is probably going you’ll well well presumably additionally be more upright and broaden a personality’s alignment by attacking enemies of increased stage or of lower alignment, or tumble against chaos by picking on those of lower stage or more upright than you. Elevate too grand time at some stage in your conquests and your reputation – identified in the Jap model of Ogre Wrestle by the awesomely flowery title “Chaos Body” (later adopted by the localized sequels, too) – will drop by the day. In the meantime, freeing or taking pictures towns with characters of high or low alignment will equally have an effect on your reputation in the area of Ogre Wrestle, which in the extinguish impacts what characters you may well well presumably recruit and what ending you’ll salvage.

Irrespective of the indisputable truth that you just never straight away preserve a watch on a singular personality, each and each warrior has a detailed voice of stats, including RPG staples love Strength, Agility, Intelligence, Charisma, Good fortune, and hitpoints, moreover the aforementioned alignment. Plus, there are many a big selection of personality classes – including worthy monsters that motive a big selection of distress however can’t lead a celebration. It’s an extremely deep machine, provided that its predominant gameplay loop unfolds in staunch time. Neatly, accelerated staunch-time with diversified gallop settings – and there’s even a day/night cycle that affects certain devices. Get hold of a vampire to your group? All over the daylight hours, you don’t! You upright indulge in someone snoozing in a coffin who can’t assault. If that sounds daunting, know that it does buy a minute of time to salvage into and comprehend it all, with even educated avid gamers attempting to puzzle out all the nuances over more than one playthroughs on master the reputation machine and salvage basically the most straightforward ending.

Sounds love the starting set of a brand original, lasting collection that would completely be around eternally, accurate? That is Forgotten Gems, endure in thoughts?

Ogre Wrestle: The March of the Unlit Queen sold more than half of 1,000,000 copies – a fifth of that by intention of a PlayStation restricted model re-originate some three years after its Gargantuan NES debut in 1993. However creator Yasumi Matsuno had tall plans for his original roleplaying saga, even earlier to it emerged as a surprise hit. March of the Unlit Queen is subtitled Episode V and used to be supposed to be the predominant story in a seven story saga, with chapters I-IV performing as prequels.

As a newly-minted fan, I didn’t know all that and searched in ineffective for the earlier games – there used to be no cyber web in the early ‘90s to expose me “5 basically means first”. However I also didn’t want to abet lengthy for a sequel to Ogre Wrestle to be announced. However as an different of an prompt sequel and a sixth or a prequel episode, the next Ogre Wrestle recreation would be Tactics Ogre: Episode VII.

Will indulge in to you’ve performed Tactics Ogre, you comprehend it’s an infinite departure from the long-established Ogre Wrestle in all the pieces from the story tackle politics over high fantasy to its slower-paced, chess-love gameplay. That would perhaps well well expose to a personality trait of Matsuno’s that he himself has highlighted in interviews with the Jap press over the years: he tends to salvage bored alongside with his creations, although avid gamers don’t.

Any person will construct one thing better, so I will construct one thing diversified.” — Yasumi Matsuno

Impressed by games love Solstice and Landstalker whereas winding up pattern of Ogre Wrestle, Matsuno fell in treasure with the premise of constructing an isometric lunge recreation. That recreation thought morphed staunch into a fleshy-fledged pitch for an Ogre Wrestle Saga recreation known as Lancelot: Any person to Be pleased, which would at final develop into Tactics Ogre: The Bequest of King Dorghalla, earlier to settling on the final, all over again Queen-impressed, subtitle: Let us Hold Collectively.

“Any person will construct one thing better, so I will construct one thing diversified”, Matsuno said in a 2018 interview with DenFamiNicoGamer when requested about the trade from Wrestle to Tactics. “It would perhaps well well very nicely be a queer analogy, however the predominant Alien, which used to be made by Ridley Scott, and the second movie, which used to be made by James Cameron, indulge in fully diversified ‘tastes’, accurate? It modified from being a sci-fi scare movie voice in dwelling to an lunge and conflict movie. I basically love that transition.”

“When making a sequel to Ogre Wrestle, I intentionally aimed to attain an extraordinarily diversified kind of recreation as a replacement of a ‘2’. I did now not indulge in any specific proof, however I was convinced that hardcore followers would potentially be more gay with that.”

Unfortunately, no person basically stepped as much as construct a “better Ogre Wrestle”. I was before all the pieces disappointed in the original route the Ogre Wrestle collection took by abandoning its staunch-time roots, however grew to esteem it and the a quantity of games find it irresistible that indulge in adopted over the years (Final Legend Tactics, Octopath Traveler, and Triangle System, to title upright a pair of). Matsuno left Quest after Tactics Ogre shipped and joined the firm he used to be before all the pieces competing with: Sq.. At Sq., he would scramble on to construct Final Legend Tactics and Vagrant Legend, earlier to provocative on again to, erm, redder pastures, reminiscent of working on reduce-fest MadWorld from PlatinumGames.

However despite its creator’s departure, the core Ogre collection wasn’t over but. Quest programmer Tatsuya Azeyagi modified Matsuno in the director’s chair and led a gaggle with Megami Tensei Gaiden vogue designer Koji Takino to fill the hole between Ogre Wrestle and Tactics Ogre. The recreation: Ogre Wrestle 64: Individual of Lordly Caliber, the sixth chapter in the saga. Printed by Atlus and Nintendo, the comely and dauntless sequel featured polygonal maps and 3D-modeled, pre-rendered personality sprites a la Donkey Kong Nation and clocked in on the second-biggest N64 cartridge with 40MB/320 megabits, second easiest to Resident Inferior 2’s 64MB cart.

Ogre Battle 64's Japanese box art easily trounces the US release's purple dragon.
Ogre Wrestle 64’s Jap box art effortlessly trounces the US originate’s purple dragon.

Will indulge in to you’re up-to-date on Nintendo 64 historical past, the larger the cartridge size, the larger the probability for the publisher attributable to cartridges wanted to be manufactured – and paid for – arrangement upfront. That requires attain money and would perhaps well well mean making a wager the studio’s future on a single recreation’s success. The result used to be that Ogre Wrestle 64 used to be no longer likely to secure upon originate. It sold a more modest 200,000 devices, however given the certain opinions and be aware of mouth, its destiny used to be no question precipitated much less by gamers no longer being provocative and more by it no longer being that would perhaps well well be bought. I vividly endure in thoughts the a quantity of pissed off letters we got at IGN64 at some stage in those days.

Quest wanted money. It sublicensed Ogre Wrestle to SNK, who indulge in been buying for warm properties to adapt for the original NeoGeo Pocket Coloration handheld machine, a succesful and underappreciated competitor to the Recreation Boy Advance. The result used to be that Ogre Wrestle with out warning noticed a minute of a renaissance. Two “side story” (Gaiden) games from two diversified developers adopted Ogre 64 in fast succession: SNK’s Ogre Wrestle Gaiden: Prince of Zenobia for NGPC and Quest’s have Tactics: Ogre: The Knight of Lodis for Recreation Boy Advance. Each games’ tales gallop parallel to the events in the very first recreation, Episode V, with the GBA title bridging the events between Episode V and VI.

The NGPC title – more of an imitation of the long-established than a recreation that would perhaps well well re-ignite the flame – used to be a mere blip on the radar, whereas the GBA Tactics Ogre noticed legit sales, completely for a arrangement title, with more than 380k devices sold through. Sure, it outperformed its 64-bit brother despite the GBA’s prosperous RPG and technique library and a total lack of them on Nintendo 64. Became I basically the most straightforward one who most in vogue the conventional Ogre Battles to the isometric programs diversity?

Prince of Zenobia is a pretty good take on Ogre Battle coming from a different team, SNK. Imagine an 8-bit take on the SNES original: a bit ambitionless, simpler, but featuring familiar sounds and sights.
Prince of Zenobia is a comely staunch model buy on Ogre Wrestle coming from a queer group, SNK. Imagine an 8-bit buy on the SNES long-established: a minute ambitionless, less complicated, however that comprises acquainted sounds and sights.

However what looked love a rebirth basically proved to be the tip of the line. In 2002, Sq. bought Quest – and despite our wildest needs of a reunited group working together to at final give us the predominant four chapters of the story, we easiest got a Tactics Ogre remake for PSP – and later, with very minute fanfare, a brand original buy on the identical recreation again by intention of a 2022 remaster known as Tactics Ogre Reborn.

However earlier to I leave you on one other downer of an ending attributable to no person is working on one other handsome Ogre Wrestle recreation (on the least, that every person knows of) and in a technique, neither the SNES long-established nor its N64 sequel are effortlessly accessible, indulge in you heard of Vanillaware? Neatly, the saints gradual Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown appear to indulge in a relaxed arrangement for Ogre Wrestle as nicely. Unicorn Overlord arrived as an absolute highlight for SRPG followers in early 2024. Will indulge in to you missed it, give it a shot! When it used to be first published in Nintendo’s September 2023 Narrate, I needed to enact a double buy attributable to I in fact thought it used to be a brand original Ogre Wrestle recreation.

So perhaps Matsuno used to be accurate all alongside – it upright took a pair of years to salvage there. Any person did construct “one thing better” and a promising original RPG sub-genre continues below the banner of a brand original queen.

However support to the conventional Ogre Wrestle RTSRPG titles. In the occasion you misplaced depend, the 16-bit Tactics Ogre – which used to be never localized on Gargantuan NES – got a Saturn model in Japan, then a translated huge originate on PlayStation, then it used to be remade for PSP, and at final remade again in 2022 on all the pieces however Xbox. Sadly, the long-established Ogre Wrestle used to be final viewed in the west on the Wii Digital Console in 2009, despite the indisputable truth that Wii U and 3DS noticed Digital Console editions in Japan in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Ogre Wrestle 64 hit the Digital Console on Wii in 2010 and noticed a unimaginative originate on Wii U in the US in 2017, as nicely. Neither title has viewed multi-platform or compilation releases nor an announcement for Nintendo Switch Online. On condition that Sq. titles indulge in been entirely absent from Nintendo’s subscription service, it’s no longer going we’ll watch them added anytime shortly.

Ogre Wrestle: The Total Playlist

It all started on SNES in 1993. Listed below are all “Ogre” collection games thus far.

Which leaves the probability of a future compilation – or, the frail-long-established arrangement to legally play them on the platforms they indulge in been launched on. Rank records, of us. The original Ogre Wrestle: The March of the Unlit Queen cartridge commands a trace of nearly $200 (loose) on eBay. Ogre Wrestle: Individual of Lordly Caliber is a buy, by comparability, costing $100 for upright the cartridge (no box or book).

A reproduction of Ogre Wrestle Gaiden for NeoGeo Pocket Coloration will most certainly be yours for upright $30, on the diversified hand – and due to the original NGPC core and converter you may well well presumably play it on the Analog Pocket’s handsome veil, too, you potentially have this impossible retro handheld. In basic, Jap versions of all three Ogre games are arrangement more cost-effective since more carts indulge in been manufactured, however know that you just may well well presumably’t switch the in-recreation text to English.

With the shutdown of both the Wii and Wii U eshops, for now,
With the shutdown of every and each the Wii and Wii U eshops, for now, “physical” is basically the most straightforward arrangement to play most Ogre Wrestle games.

What about you? Are you drawn to replaying both one of the necessary three Ogre Wrestle games on a recent tool? Or are you exclaim with the torch passing to Unicorn Overlord as Sq.’s high medieval-based entirely technique RPG collection?

Undercover agent Schneider heads up IGN’s Guides, Instruments, and Draw Genie groups and hopes to one day watch Sq. bring support Matsuno to present us Ogre Wrestle: Episode I – The Level to Need to Lunge On.

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