Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Genre: Real Time Strategy RPG
Let’s face facts: if you were an RPG fan, the Super Nintendo was the place to be in the early nineties. Nearly every role-playing game that I can think of that I have fond memories of came from 1993 and the years surrounding it. While Squaresoft was pumping out games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI at the time, there were other companies staking land in other corners of the RPG marketplace, including their soon to be partners, Enix.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen is a game that falls into the ‘classic’ stable of games from the Super Nintendo era, as well. While the gameplay itself might make some people shake their heads, most gamers who grew up with the system know of Ogre Battle, even if by extension of some of the later entries in the series. I’ve found, though, that when asking people about this game, if they have played it, the opinions vary consistently.
With that said, here’s my take on the first entry to the series.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action Adventure
Over the years, certain properties of companies like Nintendo have fallen to the wayside. Some of them also have a cult following, fond memories of yesteryear making for occasionally fulfilled wishes of revisiting once promising stories and characters. One title in particular, Startropics, is a title that I remember from growing up but never really playing it, despite stories about how much fun it was. It fell off my radar growing up, though. Thanks to some manner of circumstance, Startropics came back into my periphery. I decided to seize that lost opportunity from years ago and take the game for a whirl.
Startropics has a couple of flags that pop up, so far as some of my research has come up with. Word has it that this is a Zelda clone. Given that the game came up mere years after the original Zelda, that wasn’t the most promising thing I could hear, but it’s certainly not a strike against the game from the outset. There has to be some reason that the game didn’t spawn more than one sequel, though, right? If it has so many people who have such fond memories of it, it has to have done things right.
Could it be that the game was just a victim of being forgotten? Maybe it’s just the haze of nostalgia that’s left a mark on gamers who played during a simpler time?
Genre: Point-and-Click Horror
It is with a heavy sigh that I start this review. I am a huge fan of (most of) the Clock Tower series, as I may have mentioned in past reviews. When I found Clock Tower 2 in an Electronics Boutique way back when, I scrounged to buy it. When Clock Tower 3 was announced, I hunted it down as soon as possible. When a project was announced with the name “Project Scissors” involving Hifumi Kono, the creator of the Clock Tower series, I was eagerly anticipating the outcome from the Kickstarter.
When NightCry, the result of that Kickstarter, was released, I immediately dug into the materials I could before buying it. The concept art was pretty, the screenshots looked intriguing- everything about this made me want to dive right in and check out the spiritual successor. The team seemed to be making this a labor of love, as well, with a strong desire to get back to the Clock Tower feel.
Did the game end up living up to my personal hype, though? Did it live up to the original games and their admittedly fluctuating quality?
Genre: Horror Action RPG
Some gaming companies are a bit better known for taking chances. This tends to take place before a company establishes itself and its niche. Square, if the stories are to be believed, took a huge chance with Final Fantasy to save the company. Clearly, this paid off more than some other deviations from the norm for other companies. This also may have given the company more motivation to take the occasional step outside of the comfortable.
Parasite Eve is an earlier role-playing game from my Playstation novice years. While this tends to be the case with a lot of my earlier role-playing experiences, I truly felt that as I played through this game again with some years under my belt, I appreciated this game much more than I had back in 1998. As the company’s first game to achieve a Mature rating from the ESRB, this is probably an obvious statement to make, since the game is almost 20 years old at this point, but this brings up the question as to how has the rest of the game has aged. Even more, how does it look against the rest of Squaresoft’s library at the time and since it became Square Enix?
Secret of Evermore
Genre: Action Role-Playing
Some games run into an issue that comes down to an association of success. Sometimes, this comes down to association by a company’s prior success. It can be chalked up to similar games coming out at the same time, as well. Even similarities in name can bring about comparisons that can help or hinder a game’s impressions.
Secret of Evermore pretty much succumbs to a triumvirate of these things.
Coming out in Squaresoft’s prime years, Secret of Evermore had a lot to live up to. With game’s surrounding its release like Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana, the game already had a reputation to upkeep for the flourishing developer. Given its proximity to Mana‘s release, as well, many players believed this game to be a sequel or somehow related. Since the Super Nintendo had some great action RPGs coming out already, the competition was even more fierce. Thankfully, it seems that the game received some stellar reviews in most areas at the time- but how has that held up alongside the other games that have become classics over time?