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.