Video Game / Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Fight it Out!
The rule of the empire was a pure regime of terror. Merciless persecution was directed against survivors of the old kingdoms and those who would escape the tyranny. The heart of the people were troubled by secrets and betrayals and much blood was spilt over the land.
Imperial Year 24 - Here on the frontiers of Sharom the last survivors of the Knights of Zenobia were planning a final challenge...
The first game of the Ogre Battle
series, Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
, is subtitled as "Episode V". Eighty years ago, five great heroes brought peace to the continent. Fifty-five years later, one of the two surviving heroes, the mage Rashidi, teams up with Empress Endora of the Highlands to assassinate king Gran of Zenobia and his family. With this, Endora unites the continent of Zeteginea into The Empire
. Twenty-five years later, you play a young noble who rallies the remaining Zenobian knights to start a revolution against Endora, her son Gares, and Rashidi and his evil magic. But rumors rise that Rashidi seeks to release the Ogres from the underworld, and provoke a new Ogre Battle among humans, Ogres, demons and angels!
The game is a strange RTS. The player controls squads who travel the world map. When two squads meet, the battles are resolved automatically.
Followed by 1999's OgreBattle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
as episode VI, and 1995's Tactics Ogre
as episode VII. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
is a Gaiden Game
and not given an episode number.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen contains examples of:
- Abdicate the Throne: Tristan in some of the endings.
- Anti-Grinding: Done innovatively. There isn't a limit to how high you can grind a single unit, but there are consequences to doing so. First off, if a unit kills another unit that's weaker (or holier) than it is, it can lose ALI and CHA. A unit with low CHA is often prevented from advancing to a higher class (as such classes represent positions of leadership), and a unit with low ALI damages your army's reputation when it liberates a town. In addition, each level fields a limited number of enemy units (though Random Encounters with wild monsters are unlimited), so if you use one unit extensively, you can end up with a One Unit Army that you have to use because the rest of your army Can't Catch Up, which means that you may as well write it off as permanently zero-alignment and un-promotable.
- In addition, the faster you complete a stage, the more bonus Goth you will receive at the end. (Of course, in the early game it's much more lucrative to simply liberate every city and wait to collect your daily cash flow; see Warp Whistle.)
- As Long as There is Evil: Sage Rashidi, Galf, and Albeleo all tell you that killing them won't do anything permanently, as long as the threat of war is present.
- Bag of Sharing: You can heal any deployed character or unit from the items menu, but this also holds true of weapons and armor - you can give a fighter an elemental sword for one fight, then pause, unequip it, and give it to someone miles away for their own skirmish. This is cumbersome, but effective for maximizing your damage in the early game (when weapons are scarce).
- Bigger Bad: In a sense, the Holy Lodis Empire. Its seeming intent to invade the continent of Zeteginea eventually results in the formation of the Sacred Zeteginea Empire, and after the end, Destin and some allies go off to fight its expansions elsewhere.
- Black Knight: Prince Gares. His introductory chapter is called such. He is often refered as "The Dark Prince" or "The Black Knight".
- Black Magic: Wizardry. Yes, the traditional fantasy magic is evil: you need to have a low alignment to take the class in the first place (though don't go too far or you can't advance), it allows you to summon and make deals with demons, and can even lead you down the path to necromancy and eventual lichdom. Dark Is Not Evil and Bad Powers, Good People can apply, however; the most notable example of this is Saradin, who has a low alignment in-game, but not only doesn't act it, he explicitly calls out Albeleo as A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Shows up sometimes. Especially concerning the issue of the Japanese L and Rs. The kingdom of Holai is often called Horai. Fenril is sometimes called Fenrir. Lodis in future games is referred to in the original as "Rodisti." This can be quite confusing.
- Lans and Warren refer to the Zetegenean Empire as the Zenobian Empire in the first map. Repeatedly. Given that it's the Kingdom of Zenobia that you're looking to re-establish, this is a pretty glaring issue.
- Blood Knight: Fogel, according to his back story.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The Fireseal certainly sounds impressive in the item description; it was owned by the guy who had the Infinity +1 Sword; its power rivals that of the 12 Zodiac Stones. The name seems reminiscent of that other fantasy strategy series. It does nothing, however. (Later games in the series have it equippable.)
- Canon Name: The Opinion Leader is named Destin Faruda in the sequel.
- Catchphrase: For the series overall. "FIGHT IT OUT!"
- Chivalrous Pervert: Slust The Red.
- Crossover Cosmology: Within the same game. The goddess of justice "Felanna" appears while the Chariot card summons Thor. Angels and Demons are also common.
- Dark Horse Victory: The Hierophant ending of the original game. Rauny becomes queen as heir to Zeteginea, your hero marries her, and Tristan goes off to fight Lodis. This is the only ending in which Rauny rules in her own right.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Double Subverted. Empress Endora's Start of Darkness was when she tried to form a continental alliance to protect against Lodis, got her kingdom invaded for her trouble, and allied with dark forces to protect her kingdom and conquer the continent. When you reach Zeteginea, she tries to get you to join with her against the threat of Lodis, which would be an aversion... except that she's doing this solely as a con to maintain her own power.
- Deal with the Devil: You can opt to recruit the devil Galf by giving him the holy sword Brunhild, while having a low alignment and reputation. Doing this can get you a special bad ending where Galf possesses you and rules the world in your name. This ending only happens if your reputation bar is less than a quarter full, so you can still avert it by rebuilding your reputation.
- Death Seeker: Yushis' sister Mizal, and the shaman Norn. If your reputation is high enough, you can talk Norn out of it by telling her that her boyfriend isn't dead, as she believed. Mizal... not so much. Tristan is inferred to be doing this before you recruit him.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Under the right conditions, you can get some of the level bosses to join your cause if you send the right allied units to their castle. You can also get Deneb to join your side in the first game, but doing so delivers a Critical Hit to your Reputation meter, and it has to already be low just for her to agree to join.
- Disc-One Nuke: Buried treasure yields a single random item, ranging from useless (STR+3) to incredibly powerful (STR+20, INT+4, dark-element). If you're lucky enough to find good equipment, you can swap it around as needed; see Bag of Sharing above.
- Dual Boss: Castor and Pollux/Porkus/Polkes/Polydeuces are a pair of slow-witted but incredibly dangerous half-giant twins who rule Fort Allamoot. As the only two members of the Gemini class, they can morph together once per fight to reduce one random fighter to a smear.
- Elemental Powers: Plays a rather good chunk of role in the latter games. In the original, the Three Dragoons (Slust, Fenril, and Fogel) are based on this, as are the breeds of dragons - Good = Cold, Neutral = Fire, Evil = Dark. There were no thunder- or holy-elemental dragons.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There were six different types of offense in March of the Black Queen: fire, cold, thunder, holy, dark (or evil), and physical. They clashed about how you'd expect; however, not all characters were inherently set to a particular element. Rather, each class tended to be strong in some areas and weak in others.
- If you have a spellcasting character like a wizard, however, you needn't worry about choosing the right element yourself; they will automatically select a spell keyed to their target's lowest elemental defense. How convenient!
- Generally speaking, the element opposition is Fire - Cold, Light - Dark, Thunder - Physical. Generally, one is only strong in one element of each pair.
- The Empire
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Literally. Having a Princess as leader of a unit will give all characters in that unit an extra attack. All units are actually improved with a Princess! Princesses also wield the "Starlight" spell, one of the rare hit-all holy elemental spells capable of instantly killing undeads and doing a ton of damage to low alignment enemies (which is to say, most enemies). Oh, and a princess benefits from her own extra attack ability mentioned above. Meaning a princess leading a squad use Starlight twice.
- Evil Sorcerer: Rashidi, Albeleo, Endora, Kapella...
- Fake Ultimate Mook: The Golem units in most of the games. They have inherently high strength (and, in the front row, deliver three crushing punches) and can easily withstand most physical damage. However, they have pitiful HP, and are easily slain by one or two Fire-elemental spells.
- Four Is Death: The Four Devas (Debonair, Figaro, Previa, and Luvalon) play this straight.
- Fragile Speedster: Ninja units get three attacks per battle earlier than most other classes, and deal quite a bit of damage, but don't have the defenses of other units in the front line. They do have a fairly decent agility stat, though.
- Gender-Restricted Ability: In most Ogre Battle games, each gender has its own set of classes, with no overlap. In the Tactics Ogre games, there is some overlap.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Hellhounds don't have their name censored.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Empress Endora.
- Guide Dang It!: And how! Finding out where you're supposed to go first to get a particular event takes the wisdom of a thousand other players, and finding Chaos Gates or buried treasure without a guide is pure luck or systematic map-combing.
- Not to mention trying to get some of the endings. Oddly, the worst ending is probably the most difficult to get, and the biggest Guide Dang It of them all. It's also really really bad for the hero.
- Half-Human Hybrid: More like... half-demigod hybrid. Fogel is a dragon-like humanoid, who slays dragons. The bosses Castor and Pollux are also half-giants.
- Home Field Advantage: All character classes prefer some terrain over others. This affects their combat strength and overworld movement speed, which is partly why high flyers like Gryphons and Wyrms are so prized: they can carry their teammates at top speed anywhere. Some units even fight differently - an Octopus is slow and passive on land, but in marine battles gets 4 front-row attacks (more than any class in the game) and later a double all-hit whirlpool. Use a land unit to shove enemies into your sea unit's sixteen waiting arms.
- Les Yay: In Universe, Gender only affects the main character's sprites and endings with the very rare man/woman or pronoun, with the result of Deneb telling the main character that she is pretty good looking, and (if spared) townsfolk on the map saying you spared her only because she was a pretty girl. Another boss suggests that you are jealous that he gets all the women.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Time passes on the local map when not fighting. You'll receive tax revenue and pay your soldiers each day at noon, but will incur a reputation hit if you put off clearing the stage for more than three days. Some characters (namely Werewolves, Weretigers, and Vampyres) are only their true fearsome selves at night.
- Karma Houdini: Deneb thought nothing of killing people for her experiments. However, even if you kill her, she just comes back in a new body. Since she seems to think helping the good guys in sequels is fun and has held back on the killing innocent people people recently, she's tolerated and it's not even a hit on the Karma Meter to have her join in later games. There's not a whole lot anybody can do anyways.
- And it seems she doesn't consider it killing; she does get pretty cheesed off with you for smashing all her pumpkin people, so they were probably still alive in some way, just in that tortured "Aaaugh kiiiill meeeee" way.
- Karma Meter: Three kinds: a meter that sums up your army's overall reputation with the people, and the "alignment" and "charisma" stats for individual units. Alignment goes up (tending towards the just and holy) when a character defeats a lower-aligned enemy (tending towards the brutal and wicked), and vice versa. Charisma, meanwhile, goes up by killing higher-leveled foes - who doesn't love an underdog?
- This does make the high-CHA, low-ALI classes difficult to qualify for: most "evil" units will breeze through battles by slaughtering fairies and clerics, quickly outleveling the enemy armies and making themselves look like bullies in the process.
- The Kingdom: The Kingdoms of Zenobia, Holai, and Deneuve, as opposed to The Empire.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Lans Hamilton.
- Lady of War: Rauny Vinzalf, future queen and the first female Paladin on Zenobia. Also Fenril, one of the Three High Knights who fought in the original Ogre Battle. If she's female and a warrior-type, the Opinion Leader also qualifies.
- La Résistance: Which you control.
- Light 'em Up: Holy / Light is an element (and arguably, the rarest). As it can outright kill undead and deals extra damage to low alignment characters, AND most enemies are low alignment (as befits The Empire), it makes light elemental spells and weapons disproportionately good. The Princesses' "Starlight" and the Seraphim's "Jihad" in particular will devastate most bosses.
- Literary Allusion Title: Almost every installment's title has something to do with Queen, as does the overall series title.
- Magic Is Mental
- The Man Behind the Man: Rashidi to Endora.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on your reputation meter, in-game choices, and the secret characters you've managed to recruit.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: With Mutually Exclusive Powerups, if you recruit Fogel, he doesn't give you his sword "Zepyulos" which is one of the four weapons needed to get the Fireseal.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Many, many examples. From the original game, Hikash and Figaro come to mind.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Where Endora's fall from grace started. When it looks like the Holy Lodis Empire is poised to invade, she appeals to the other four Kings for an alliance to fight them off. Their response? To take this plea as a sign of weakness and invade her kingdom of Hyland. With a little help from Rashidi, Hyland not only fends them off and defeats them, but the rage from their acts brings her to path of evil.
- Offered the Crown: In Ogre Battle, this can happen if you're high alignment and meet certain conditions. In the best ending, you refuse it; in others, you can take it or marry the legitimate heir of the appropriate gender. Meanwhile, in the evil endings, you take the throne by force, to varying degrees of success.
- One-Man Party: In Ogre Battle, it is relatively simple to create a single unit that can effortlessly steamroll over the entire enemy army. See Game-Breaker above for some possibilities. The only problem is that this unit will end up with incredibly low alignment, so they can't liberate towns without screwing your Karma Meter... but hey, the rest of your army needs to do something with all this free time they have, right?
- They'll also be very expensive to deploy and keep on the field.
- Our Liches Are Different: The ultimate Wizard unit with three hit-all magic attacks in the back row...and three single-target holy attacks in the front.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Prince Tristan's actions in the Hanged Man ending are completely at odds with his portrayal in every other scene in the game.
- Palette Swap: To differentiate NPCs from other units of their class. Some advanced classes are also palette swaps of earlier ones.
- Player Mooks: In addition to your starting army, you can recruit new members from any liberated town. The type depends on the squad leader you send there: Knights can summon basic trainee fighters, Dragon Masters can summon most early dragon species, Mermaids can summon octopi and other merfolk, and so on. Sorcerers can raise undead warriors even outside of a town.
- Pride Before a Fall: Fogel's backstory.
- Rebellious Princess: Rauny, who actually does not follow her father's My Country, Right or Wrong stitch and oppose the Empire, and ran off from her proposed wedding to an evil baron.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified/Civilized: Is the rebellion good or evil? Well, you're the one running it, so it's whatever you want it to be. You can be a shining beacon of hope, worse than the empire ever was, or somewhere in between.
- Save Scumming: Not much in the game is determined randomly. Enemies have set objectives and paths, and damage calculations don't vary much. But treasure and tarot card draws are randomized. It's a smart tactic to leave all the buried treasure alone on the first go, then revisit the stage and collect it until you find a powerful elemental weapon.
- Say It with Hearts: Deneb.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Prince/King Tristan Fichs Zenobia.
- Shout-Out: Yasumi Matsuno loves the band Queen. Both "Ogre Battle" and "March of the Black Queen" are named after Queen songs, and the stage "The Rhyan Sea" is a reference to the Queen song "Seven Seas of Rhye". The subtitle of Tactics Ogre, "Let Us Cling Together", is from another Queen song.
- Squishy Wizard: Wizard units deal excessive amounts of damage, but tend to die easily. Not the case for liches.
- Stellar Name: Several boss characters, to the point of Theme Naming.
- Sirius is the Dog Star; Deneb is Alpha Cygni; Albeleo is remarkably close to Albireo, which is Beta Cygni; Castor is Alpha Geminorum and his twin Porkus should probably by written as Pollux, Beta Geminorum; and Prochon is likely the translation of Procyon, which is the brightest star in Canis Minoris.
- Stone Wall: Most monster units aren't as damaging as smaller units, but can tank more damage. Undead units completely shrug off all damage that isn't holy (which kills them in one hit) or giant pumpkins (for some reason).
- Taken for Granite: Saradin.
- Tarot Motifs: Cards based on the 22 Major Arcana have a heavy influence on gameplay. Warren uses them in the intro to gauge your personality and construct your starting army; you'll pick up a random tarot card from each town you liberate, granting a stat bonus/penalty (or other effect, ssuch as instantly turning night into day) to match; and as the Opinion Leader, you can intervene in any battle to cast powerful Summon Magic by consuming one of your collection. You can strike foes with lightning, put them to sleep, protect your squad from magic, damage everyone with the power of sunlight, or simply force the bad guys to run away for now.
- For army management reasons, this can't be abused too much - any enemies directly slain by tarot damage are credited to the Opinion Leader. So his/her level will grow and grow, while the frontline troops get nothing.
- Theme Naming: Several stage bosses are named after stars. Also, The Four Devas in Ogre Battle are all named after cars — the Mitsubishi Debonair, the Nissan Figaro, the Toyota Previa, and the Chrysler LeBaron.
- ¡Three Amigos!: The Three Dragoons.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Tristan in the Hanged Man ending is really not a nice guy. You've conquered the continent for him, but that very fact means that you've become a danger to his throne, and he quietly murders you to ensure that you don't challenge his rule later. This is only for this ending, however; he's far more reasonable in the others.
- Use Your Head / Losing Your Head: In Deneb's Garden or with an item from Deneb, you can recruit Pumpkins (men with pumpkins for heads) into your army, who attack by tearing off their own heads, kicking them into the air, whereupon they grow to huge size and land on an enemy, halving their HP (or killing undead units outright) unless they miss. If you upgrade them to a Hallowe'en, they can do it twice a fight!
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Low-karma endings are bad endings. You can't hold the realm by force, at least not without being taken over by Rashidi or Galf.
- Warp Whistle: Three types, all consumable:
- The 7-League Boots are an expensive item that whisks one deployed unit to any friendly town. Useful for quickly garrisoning a city that is about to be overrun.
- The Dinner Bell moves one deployed unit directly back to home base. Defending your HQ is important, as taking it is an Instant-Win Condition for the bad guys.
- The Mass Summons moves all deployed units to the location of your Opinion Leader.
- We Can Rule Together: Sorta. Empress Endora at one point asks you to ally with her to protect against the Lodis invasion. Your Lord, however, cannot accept the offer, though you can have most of your other units surrender if you're Too Dumb to Live.
- Whip It Good: Beastmasters love to whip.
- White Mage: Cleric, Shaman, Monks, and Paladins (in the back row) all can heal your party or kill undead. Angels (and all upgraded versions), Sylphs (fully-upgraded Pixies), Princesses, and Liches get holy attacks, as does any physical attacker wielding a holy weapon.
- Winged Humanoid: Canopus, and every other hawkman in general. Angels and demons, too.