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A Recommendation of Lordly Caliber

by Andy Goergen - November 4, 2010, 8:07 pm
Total comments: 12

Two much loved games hit the Virtual Console, alongside something else entirely.

In this installment of the Virtual Console recommendations, we take a look at three games of varying stature. First up, Nathan Mustafa will be tackling Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber, a much loved N64 cult classic that hit the Virtual Console service in March of this year. Secondly, Neal Ronaghan look at The Tower of Druaga, a Virtual Console arcade game that doesn't have quite the pedigree of most of the other games available on the service. Lastly, Zach Miller spreads out a nice layer of Mega Man love for Mega Man IV.


Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo 64

Cost1000 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Classic,GameCube
ESRB RatingTeen
ReleasedOct 07, 2000

When the Final Fantasy franchise migrated to Sony's consoles, Nintendo 64 gamers were left hurting for a decent role playing experience. Ogre Battle 64 did its best to fill this void by offering a deep and original Strategy RPG. Like many games of its era, Ogre Battle 64 is a decidedly expensive investment, and its recent release on Virtual Console means that it is now available to a brand new audience.

For an 11 year old game, I was very surprised at how modern Ogre Battle felt. The detailed spritework, dense musical accompaniment, and thought provoking gameplay all had a hand in pulling me into this game. As with many RPGs, the mechanics are where Ogre Battle 64 truly shines. Unlike grid-based strategy games, Ogre Battle allows players to direct groups of units across the battlefield however they may choose. As the player's armies march along their ordered paths, they will encounter enemy units, pursue objectives, and capture enemy strongholds. Battles play out automatically, so it is up to the player to do sufficient prep work and carefully pick which units will end up in battle, and that said units are properly equipped to fight. The role playing mechanics of Ogre Battle will hold your attention once mastered. There is simply something about creating a finely tuned killing machine that is extremely gratifying.

Ogre Battle 64 narrative shines, and unlike many games of this era, it doesn't make me wish I could skip story sequences, and even the opening scene had me intrigued. The quality story telling adds a feeling of relevance to the battles, and is often a welcome interlude between skirmishes. Some character sprites can be goofy, and this does detract from the game's cut scenes.

Ogre Battle 64 is a massive Virtual Console game, potentially containing hundreds hours of entertaining playtime. If you aren't interested in customizing a large army, or directing them in battle, this probably isn't the game for you. Then again, who doesn't want to do that?

Recommended for Everyone

- Nathan Mustafa



The Tower of Druaga

SystemVirtual Console Arcade

Cost500 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Classic,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1984

The Tower of Druaga is a top-down, fantasy-themed maze game. Players take on the role of the warrior Gilgamesh, and must conquer each floor of the tower in order to reach the top and rescue the fair maiden from Druaga. This is done by collecting a randomly-located key and then using it to unlock a randomly-located door. To protect himself, Gilgamesh is equipped with a sword and a shield. When walking around without pressing any buttons, his shield will always be in the ready position, at which he is protected from magical attacks. If the main action button is held down while moving, his shield is moved to the side and his sword is held out. While in this position, any enemy that he runs into will be damaged and/or killed. This is the game's core mechanic, meaning that while searching for the key you must take care to alternate between attack and defense based on what is needed at the time.

Druaga is an incredibly repetitive and bland game. The graphical style of each floor is identical and very boring. The only real way to tell you are progressing is that more difficult enemies begin to appear over time. Each floor does have a hidden special treasure, but the time limit (an obvious legacy of its quarter-hungry arcade roots) makes finding these treasures nearly impossible. There isn't really a good reason to buy The Tower of Druaga, even for hardcore arcade fanatics.

Not Recommended

- Mike Gamin



Mega Man 4

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Classic,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedJan 1992

Mega Man 4 is fundamentally similar to Mega Man 2 and 3, but with one giant, some might say game-breaking, addition: the Mega Buster. An iconic staple of every Mega Man game since (including the X games), the Mega Buster allows players to charge up their standard pea shooter to deal more damage to enemies and bosses. Mega Man 4 also retains the slide move introduced in Mega Man 3. The level design is interesting and engaging, and the bosses are imaginative. Among the old NES Mega Man games, this one is the most graphically appealing, and the music is as addictive and energetic as usual.

Mega Man 4 tosses in some secret items, and is the first Mega Man game to feature two distinct castles - one for the "evil" Dr. Cossack and another for usual troublemaker, Dr. Wily. In terms of difficulty, Mega Man 4 is a definite step down from its predecessors, and not just because of the Mega Buster. If you're scared off by the much-hyped difficulty of Mega Man 1 to 3, this may be a good starting point. It's platforming fun at its best, so you really can't go wrong.

Recommended for Everyone

- Zachary Miller


Talkback

Mop it upNovember 04, 2010

Once again, I have to disagree with one of NWR's "For Everyone" ratings. Ogre Battle 64 is a very tedious game that takes a lot of investment and determination, it is only for fans of strategy/RPG games.

Quote:

The level design is interesting and engaging, and the bosses are imaginative (gotta love Napalm Man).

Napalm Man is from Mega Man 5.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusNovember 04, 2010

In a general sense, you are right Mop. I didn't really find the game to be tedious, although I do see what you mean by how invested you must be.

When I wrote, "Recommended for Everyone," I wrote it with the knowledge that there has to be a basic interest in the game before that recommendation has any meaning. Would I recommend this game for my family members? Certainly not, but I would recommend it to anyone that has an interest in trying out a strategy RPG, because it is a good enough place to start with that genre. Moreover, if you don't have an interest in that sort of game you probably wouldn't read the whole recommendation or even consider a download.

To further clarify: I am trying to get across that no game is going to be loved by everyone. I know that I have friends that don't enjoy Super Mario Bros. 3, but I would certainly qualify that as a "Recommended for Everyone" title.

MM5. Crap. Uber-fail.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)November 05, 2010

Quote from: Halbred

MM5. Crap. Uber-fail.

Disagree completely. I like it way better than the outdated Mega Man 2.

That aside, I tend to agree with Mop it up. 'Recommended For Everyone' suggests to me that most people, regardless of their usual tastes, would enjoy this game, and there's no way Ogre Battle 64 fits into that category. It is my understanding that the entire Ogre Battle series has a reputation for being prohibitively complex and inaccessible. Also, Mega Man 4, its predecessors and successors are hard as iron - that definitely does not appeal to everyone. Both OB64 and MM4 seem more like 'Recommend For Fans'.

Mop it upNovember 05, 2010

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

Also, Mega Man 4, its predecessors and successors are hard as iron - that definitely does not appeal to everyone.

I think I might disagree on this. Although I do think Mega Man games are difficult, I don't think they're anywhere near games like Contra in terms of hardness. Mega Man 1 is the only one I'd say is hard as iron, I can't remember if I beat that one. Plus, they're pretty simple games that are easy to understand and to control, and they hold up better than most other NES games. They may be difficult, but I think they're still accessible enough that everyone should try them out.

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

Quote from: Halbred

MM5. Crap. Uber-fail.

Disagree completely. I like it way better than the outdated Mega Man 2.

I think there's a little misunderstanding here. I believe Halbred was responding to my comment that Napalm Man was from Mega Man 5, not 4.

Mega Man 4 is really the first game in the series where the Robot Master powers don't mean as much because the charged-up Mega Buster is that powerful. Whether or not that's a good thing is a question best left to the philosophers.

Art_de_CatNovember 05, 2010

Mega Man 4 was one of my top 3 Mega Man games for the NES.  Mega Man 2 will always be tops to me.  Im not sure if I would call the Mega Buster broken, but it would have been nice to power up your other attacks as well.  I also do not see it being that hard for newer players.  Mega Man 1 and 9 were the hardest to me.

broodwarsNovember 05, 2010

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

That aside, I tend to agree with Mop it up. 'Recommended For Everyone' suggests to me that most people, regardless of their usual tastes, would enjoy this game, and there's no way Ogre Battle 64 fits into that category. It is my understanding that the entire Ogre Battle series has a reputation for being prohibitively complex and inaccessible. Also, Mega Man 4, its predecessors and successors are hard as iron - that definitely does not appeal to everyone. Both OB64 and MM4 seem more like 'Recommend For Fans'.


In all fairness, Ogre Battle 64 is spectacularly easy and simplified compared to Tactics Ogre and the original Ogre Battle.  It's easily the most accessible in the series, especially since the story is relatively standalone and not particularly hard to follow.  Just put your squads together with some amount of intelligence and tell them to aim for the leader, and it's pretty difficult to lose.  That said, even though the game is one of my favorites of all time and I'll swear by that game's greatness, I wouldn't recommend it to "Everyone".  The game still requires a fair amount of micromanagement and a lot of patience, especially since (even at the maximum speed setting) the characters move across the battlefield very slowly and boss battles can quickly turn into wars of attrition.  Besides, if we're taking genre into account now when issuing "Recommended for Everyone"s, what's the point of the "Recommended for Fans" designation?

Retro DeckadesNovember 06, 2010

I think that both MM4 and OB64 probably have the potential to make fans out of those who are completely new to the series, and in that case it may not be a such a stretch to recommend them for everyone. broodwars implies that OB64 is one of, if not the easiest, game in the series to get in to, and that may be the same with Mega Man 4 (but of course with the Mega Man games, all present a decent challenge and are similar in many ways).

I haven't yet played OB64 -- I was hoping it would win the N64 Retroactive poll so I could justify taking the time to download and play it -- but I will certainly pick it up and give it a try some time.

ThePermNovember 07, 2010

idk, when I rented Ogre Batytle 64, i remember it being pretty fun. That being said I dislike RPGs unless they happen to be strategy RPGs or contain Mario. That being said OB64 falls into the strategy category.

TJ SpykeNovember 08, 2010

Nice to VC recommendations back, I think it has been a few years (I remember my question why was answered on RFN with the explanation being given you guys have to buy the games out of your own pocket and that reviews were out on other sites for them).

ToruresuNovember 08, 2010

This article reminded me to buy Ogre Battle 64, awesome game.

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