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A game by Quest for the Super Famicom, it was released in English for the PSX not too long ago. However, I have only had experience with the SNES ROM version, and, since this version is in Japanese, this writeup will be sketchy.

Tactics Ogre is a strategy RPG much like Final Fantasy Tactics. However, TO came long before FFT was even a twinkle in some Japanese dude's eye, and, infact, FFT was created by Quest at the request of Square so that they could weave the Final Fantasy legacy and the Tactics Ogre game style together.

Tactics Ogre is the sequel to Ogre Battle, both are part of the Ogre Battle Saga and both are strategy RPGs, but the implementations are quite different. TO battles take place on a large grid. Each square on that grid has varying elevation, terrain and religious characteristics. Each character in a battle takes a turn making a move and, if they wish, preforming an action. Turns, as in most RPGs, are not distributed equally but instead are given out based on agility and the weight of what the character in question is carrying. Unlike most RPGs, this makes speed an enormously critical factor since a fast character not only gets to hit more, but also can run for cover more easily.

Furthermore each character (sparing monster-characters) can be of one of 20 classes. These range from the simple such as Knights and Archers to the esoteric such as Liches and Dragon Slayers. (see: Tactics Ogre: Classes for more info) Dragons can assume one of 10 classes as well.

This system of combat was very well thought out by the developers at Quest. Besides elevation and basic physics, weather also plays a role, as does the religion of a character. Characters who follow the water god, for example, fare better when wading in a swamp than followers of the fire god. Likewise, water magic is more effective in a storm than on sunny day. Each square on the board also has its own innate religious alignment.

Another important facet of Tactics Ogre is the finality of death. In most RPGs a character's death can usually be reversed, in Tactics Ogre this is not so, atleast, not until very late in the game. Once one of your soldiers dies, that's it. He or she is gone forever.

For an SNES game, Tactics Ogre has incredible graphics, and the music is not too intrusive while still fitting the overall theme of each scene.

I have heard from fans that the plot of TO is intricate, realistic and engaging. Perhaps, if a translation of the SNES ROM ever comes out I'll be able to comment, until then, I'll be happy wandering around killing things.

Tactics Ogre was developed by Quest (originally for the Super Famicom) and published May 1, 1998 in the US by Atlus for the PlayStation. (Cult developer Artdink helped to port the game from the Super Famicom to the PlayStation. The game is quite rare and fetches $40-50 in used game stores, and that's at the low end. Due to the lacking state of PSX emulation when this writeup was written, disk images are practically nonexistant. ROMs of the Super Famicom version are readily available, for those who read Japanese, but there's a lot of very important text in the game, both in story and gameplay. Translated versions of the Japanese Super Famicom ROM and disk images of the US PSX version are both readily available.

Final Fantasy Tactics was developed in-house by Square, not by Quest, as the above node states. The reason for the similarities (and the lack of a follow-up until years later), was the fact that, in 1997, Yasumi Matsuda, the game designer, Akihiko Yoshida, the lead artist, and Hiroshi Minagawa, the graphics director, left Quest to defect to Squaresoft. The game's similarities are due to the fact that he set out to make much the same game that brought him fame before. A shame, that.

Tactics Ogre's story is the most flexible of any of the games in the Ogre Battle series. While the other games either fork at a key point (Tactics Ogre Gaiden and Ogre Battle 64) or have a fairly linear story with endings determined by a large list of triggers (Ogre Battle and Ogre Battle Gaiden), Tactics Ogre has two key points where the story splits. A major plot point early on (this is a story spoiler, so skip the next paragraph if you don't want to see it) is thus:

Denim Mown, the protagonist of the story, finds himself on the side of a revolution against an oppresive and violent regime. After joining the revolutionaries, he and his followers go to convince the townsfolk of a conquered city to join in the revolution. Sick of war, they refuse. Hearing of this, the ruthless leaders of the revolution order the slaughter of these pacifists, in order to frame the oppressive government. While this sounds like RPG convention (and it is), you actually have a choice which side to choose. You can choose to slaughter the townsfolk in the name of the revolution, and, yes, it will aid the cause immensely.

Based on your choices, you can become a true hero of the people, or you can depose the oppressive government only to replace it with your own oppressive government. Choices that can lead to results like this are what really set Tactics Ogre apart, in the face of successors with more robust combat systems and saner levels of difficulty.

This game is not to be confused with Tactics Ogre: the Knight of Lodis, a GBA side-story in the same series.

Ogre Battle || Ogre Battle Gaiden || Ogre Battle 64 || Tactics Ogre Gaiden: The Knight of Lodis || Tactics Ogre

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