Virtual Console Wrap=up for March 2, 2009

Last week, Nintendo decided to break out their Commodore 64 collection, and gave us three games that, unlike the rest of their VC collection, likely hadn’t been played by many people before then. This week, Nintendo keeps things light with only one game, but gives us another of it’s rarer titles, bringing us the famous Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, the first title in a series that is elite in the eyes of most RPG fans.

Does this game rate as highly with our staff members as it does with most other RPG fans? Let’s ask…

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
Developer: Quest
Publisher: Enix
System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Original Release Year: 1995
Price: 800 Wii Points ($8)

Alexander Lucard: Already downloaded baby!

It’s games like Ogre Battle that remind me exactly why I fell in love with the Virtual Console when the idea was first announced by Nintendo. Ogre Battle is one of the most unique and beloved of Enix’s (pre merger with Square-soft) franchises. I’ve played the series on my SNES, my PSX, my Saturn, my N64, my Neo*Geo Pocket Colour and on my Game Boy Advance, with Ogre Tactics: Knight of Lodis being not only my favorite game in the series, but one of my favorite games of all time.

I always loved the bit taken from Ultima IV where your Q&A session as the beginning determines your main character. I found the 3/4th viewpoint to be a drastic change from any other RPG I’d ever played before, and the actual gameplay elements? Well, I’ll admit they can be a tad confusing, but man, was it a fresh new way to combine an RTS with role-playing elements. It’s a fantasy RPG meets Nobunga’s Ambition/Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and although this first game is the worst in the series, it’s a great move to start putting the Ogre series onto the Virtual Console.

I also need to point out how much I fucking miss Quest as a development team. They made games for the thinking man or woman and having Ogre Battle back, and at a fraction of the overpriced costs it garners on the secondary market to boot, is a massive win for gamers, the Virtual Console, and for people who can’t afford the SNES or PSX versions of the game.

Chuck Platt: This will be the third time I buy Ogre Battle and I am not only happy to see it on the Virtual Console, I am stoked about getting to play the best RTS/ RPG ever. Ogre Battle was the reason I fell in love with the SNES; it saved me from being a platformer and sports gamer and turned me into a lover of all things RPG and Strategy. The randomness of item drops and the intelligent plot make this game a no brainer. It holds up very well and makes me regret buying Disgaea 3 last week, if only because I know which game I am more likely to play.

Guy Desmarais: I was a big fan of Ogre Battle 64 who never had the chance to play the SNES edition of the series. I can say that I am very happy to see it make its way to the Virtual Console, as there is no way I am going to pass on this one.

Nathan Birch: Much like Guy I never actually played the original, but the Ogre games were some of my favorite experiences on the N64 and GBA respectively. In the greater SRPG scheme I consider the series somewhere above Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, and just below Shining Force. Plus, this one’s got not one, but two Queen refrences in the title alone. Bravo Quest, bravo.

Definitely worth the eight bucks I would think (well unless you want to pay over one-hundred times more on Ebay).

Aileen Coe: I played the SNES version of this, and it was a nice cross between RTS gameplay and RPG-esque character stats and classes (with alignments for each unit and the whole army to boot). The questions at the beginning that determined your starting stats and troops were a nice touch. While I slightly prefer the Tactics Ogre games, this was the seminal game for the series. Considering how much it usually goes for these days, this is a STEAL, and if you like strategy games at all you’d be insane not to jump on this.

Christopher Bowen: Here’s where I lose any redeeming factor with some of our more hardcore types.

I like Ogre Battle, in that it’s an RPG with some interesting ideas. With that said… maybe I don’t *get* it, but I never understood why this is one of the Greatest RPGs Of All Time™. The gameplay mechanics are solid until it comes time to getting a decent ending; what does it take to get a good ending? Why am I being punished for doing well? What the fuck does this game want me to do? It’s almost like it’s weighed down by trying to confuse the player, and to me, it takes a good RPG with great battle elements, and turns it overly pretentious for my liking.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s worth an $8 download, and if they start releasing other versions of this game, they should be jumped on (and if they re-release Knight of Lodis, it should be jumped on with fury; that’s one thing Alex and I can agree on). But I’m not going to crown this game as one of the Greatest RPGs Of All Time™, because in my eyes, it’s a bit overrated.

Universal praise this week; I was the only one to view this game even somewhat negatively, and even then, I recommended the game, so this should be an easy download for anyone even remotely interested in strategy games.

On the WiiWare, there’s Family & Friends Party, which appears to be an abominably bad Mario Party wannabe that even costs $2 more than Ogre Battle. Trust me, the choice is easy this week.

Until next this, this is Christopher Bowen, who suddenly has an urge to break out Ultima IV again…



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