Review: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (SNES) – Nintendo Life

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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling TogetherSNES
1995
8.3
Game Rating
User Ratings: 37
Our Review: Scroll Down
​Never Cling Alone
Version Reviewed: Japanese
There are some video games that show up late in a console generation that push boundaries and defy preconceptions on what was considered possible. Resident Evil 4 immediately springs to mind, not only pushing the series to a point Capcom that hasn’t been able to match since but also serving as a template to every other game in the genre. These are games which were one generation ahead of their peers. Quest’s sequel to Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (the developers are big fans of the British band Queen, if you hadn’t noticed) is exactly that: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Togetheris a game whichpushed the Super Famicom’s graphic and audio capabilities beyond their perceived limits and laid down the template for pretty much every isometric strategy RPGs for decades afterward. Sadly, like far too many other examples on the Super Famicom, this release never made it to Western shores – on Nintendo hardware, at least.
Much like the first game, you’ll create your character by answering a series of questions – but this is where the similarities end with Ogre Battle. Like the name implies, Tactics Ogre is all about turn-based movement and combat rather than a “true” sequel to Quest’s previous effort. Think Front Mission minus the technology and instead set in a high fantasy medieval society (Fire Emblem with an isometric view, if you will) and you’re almost there. But do not be misled about the lack of originality, for it is abundant here. Yes, the gameplay mechanics are exactly what one would expect from a turn-based strategy RPG, but the execution here is simply flawless. With over two hundred individual battles spread thought the story’s main, nonlinear four chapters, this certainly offers excellent value for money.
Tactics Ogre takes place in the continent of Valeria, locked in a dreadful civil war. You start out with a party of three: the main character Denim (you can rename him to your liking), his sister Kachua and family friend Vice. They plan to assassinate the Dark Knight Lans who was responsible for the death of their family. Cliché yes, but everything beyond this opening act is anything but. The gameplay is made up of three distinct phases; the Regional Map is where you will spend quite some time, deciding where to move your army around Valeria, customizing your troops, assigning training, shopping for supplies or reading the ever-growing Warren Reports for latest news of the land. Secondly, the Attack Team Edit Screen that allows you to pick your party (comprised of up to 10 individuals) to deal with your current mission. As you might imagine, it is extremely important to make the right decisions at this stage before setting foot onto the third element: The Battlefield. Because there are dozens of different unit classes and random battles it is quite possible you will never replay the exact same game twice, but make sure you always keep saving before committing to anything because our old friend the Grim Reaper makes himself a permanent resident during your time with Tactics Ogre – this game is a perfectionist’s worst nightmare.
Death is an inescapable truth on the battlefield, so be prepared to be frustrated when your favourite unit buys the farm mid-battle and you won’t ever see them again (their equipment is returned to the army’s supplies, but this is often little consolation). It’s a harsh but realistic mechanic, and is in line with the game’s grim premise and also furthers the similarities with Fire Emblem’s own permadeath feature. It is possible to revive fallen comrades by deploying a Priest class unit with the Revivify spell, but it takes a while to unlock this which means early on it’s preferable to play safe with your army instead of taking heroic risks. Needless to say, getting your main character getting killed equals instant game over.
If you’re worried about losing vital units, then you can always rely on those who cannot be killed. Along your regular human companions, it’s possible to employ skeleton warriors and ghosts to do your bidding. Once depleted of HP, they will lay dormant in the battlefield until rising back up again with some HP returned. But before you start planning an unholy army of the undead to lead your way to victory, be warned that such units do not carry items or amour and are easily outclassed by enemies with decent gear.
With this in mind, you might want to invest in recruiting Beasts instead. Like the undead they are unable to use equipment and can get killed, but they are strong and some are even capable of flight, removing terrain obstacles as a limiting factor. Get a Beast Master to go along with them into battle and they will be even stronger, thanks to the fear of his whip. This is why you spend a lot of time in Tactics Ogre micromanaging your units; the number of ways you can tackle this quest is almost limitless and you won’t begrudge random encounter battles because you never know when the opportunity will arise to capture a powerful Earth Dragon beast. You might expect with so much going on, the player would get overwhelmed by all the complex micromanagement the game requires, but a great ten lesson tutorial and a “Online Help” feature means that explanation of what a command is always a mere “Select” button push away.
The game does not skip on graphic detail. The stages on which you fight are made of neat building blocks in pastel colors that often make the game look like a painting, but the real stars are the unit sprites made with CGI models, not unlike Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Varied, filled with detail and incredibly well animated, you won’t have problems distinguishing your regular Soldiers from a Ninja squad. The distinguished look of the game is thanks to Akihiko Yoshida, responsible for the Tarot Card designs in the previous game but also responsible for character and background designs here. The sound effects are a bit spartan but the beautiful soundtrack of about fifty compositions by Masaharu Iwata and Hitoshi Sakimoto more than makes up for that. Add Yasumi Matsuno in the director’s seat and it is quite clear that the staggering amount of talent at Quest in 1995 is directly responsible for the quality of the finished product.
We would love to discuss the game’s plot but doing so we would end up inadvertently spoiling the experience for first time players and as such we leave with just a single word that best describe the whole experience: epic. It is a long and solitary endeavor but one very much worth experiencing. There is also a small social aspect; Tactics Ogre is one of the few games that supported the ASCII Turbo File, a device that could be plugged onto the second joypad port to allow for save game storage outside of the game’s battery backup, allowing the player to keep a redundant backup of his game progress and quickly take their custom army to a friend’s house. Sony’s PlayStation would take the idea of removeable save data to the next level of course, but it’s fascinating to see that devices existed that offered very much the same function.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is an incredibly polished experience and will provide any tactical RPG enthusiast with incredible gameplay and replayability value thanks to its plot, several different endings and nearly endless customization possibilities for your personal army. It is amazing how much Quest has managed to squeeze out of a regular SNES 24mbit cartridge. This game set the template two years before Final Fantasy Tactics (which was made by many of the same staffers) turned Western gamers into fans of the genre. As such, it is a shame it was never officially released on the SNES in the west – although later ports to the PlayStation and PlayStation Portable did see a release outside of Japan, which softens the blow a little. Thanks to Aeon Genesis’ efforts, in 2010 a patch containing the PlayStation version English script was released making the Super Famicom game fully playable to English-speaking gamers via a RetroN 5 or Retro Freak system. Tactics Ogre remains a true classic and an essential undertaking for strategy RPG veterans everywhere, despite the passage of time and advancements in technology. While no game is truly faultless, this vintage masterpiece comes very, very close, and if you’ve recently been exposed to the genre sparked via the likes of Fire Emblem Fates, then you should seek this out at the earliest possible opportunity.

Outstanding 10/10
Scoring Policy
About Gonçalo Lopes
Gonçalo Lopes
Regular person by day, super video game player by night, Gonçalo lives in eager anticipation that the prophecy of a new F-Zero will soon be fulfilled. When not messing about making weird music he can be found with a Super Nintendo pad in hand, replaying a Japanese wrestling game no one has ever heard of.
Comments 52
ThanosReXXX
Wow, no comments yet… why not be the first?
Okay, I’ll bite…
Wow, no accompanying video clip yet, let me be the first:

But a 10 out of 10, I do believe that’s a first, @Shiryu. But well deserved, since this is a great game, that should be on the wishlist of any and every jRPG/RTS fan.
SLIGEACH_EIRE
Didn’t release in Europe. 0/10. I jest.
Wiki says it’s on the Wii Shop Channel but it’s not. Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen is though.
Was it removed as has happened to other games in the past?
I see it’s on the Japanese Wii U eShop.
MussakkuLaden
That cover artwork looks amazing.
GreatCrippler
Still one of my all time favorites.
Shiryu
@ThanosReXXX It was absolutely stunning when it was first released back in the day and it hasn’t aged a bit. That’s what you get when you have both talent and hardware limitations clashing together.
PS: I have now published the video at https://youtu.be/SkVIHKnQ7jk
edhe
This was the #1 game I wanted to see re-released in English, back from when I played it on an emulator. I played the GBA entry too (Knights of Lodis, IIRC), which was pretty good, although I suspect the game was a knockoff, because the battery died – I may have to pick it up again some time. The Ogre Battle games just don’t compare.
So I was ecstatic when it was eventually re-released in Europe on the PSP – I was actually lucky enough to get a hand me down PSP from my sister, and I bought it in a flash.
The PSP version has quite a few nice additions, like a unique dungeon, craftable items(?) and the ability for you to skip to any point in the story once you’ve witnessed it to see one of the many different routes.
I’d still support a Western VC release though…
hefferj
The PSP port is my favourite game of all time. Absolutely stunning in every way.
Shiryu
@hefferj It was meant to be just a simple port of the PS1 version of the game but the team insisted on redesigning everything to accommodate for the superior hardware.
Damo
@hefferj Picked up the PSP version at launch, didn’t play more than an hour. Really time to start that again.
Shiryu
@Damo Beware, hours become days and days become months obsessing over the tiniest equipment details.
Kirk
Well that’s impressive.
filterclay
What a nice surprise here with this retro gem review! A game that deserves a lot of attention, to this day either.
I played it a lot on the PS1 back in those days and, although I have never came to finish the game, I had spend tons of ours and almost lost with battling and customizing!
A well deserved score and review!
Thank you, Shiryu!!!
And since Square Enix is porting lots of games to PC, it got me hyped for a future release of the PSP version, along with a future port of FF Tactics War of the Lion!!
Gerbwmu
I’d like to see this, March of the Black Queen, and Ogre Battle 64 all make it to Wii U VC in NA…..will they pobably not
hefferj
@Shiryu I know that they changed everything apart from the battle engine but I’m still reluctant to call it a remake.
The localisation is the best I have ever seen. Si beautifully written that it makes me want to become a localiser myself.
GravyThief
I keep meaning to get the other SNES one from the Wii VC and the N64 one, as it doesn’t look like they will come to the Wii U VC and I fear they’ll close the Wii Shop in the near future.
In fact there’re loads of games I still need to get from Wii’s VC which will probably never come out on the Wii U now. Don’t want to miss out on them.
Reath
I finished the PSP version and it’s the best SRPG I’ve played. If the SNES version is about as good as the PSP one, it deserves that 10/10 score.
The storyline is surprisingly well written and mature for a game of that era. The gameplay’s great too, with a lot of depth and customization options. It’s impressive how much they managed to include in the game, considering it’s on an SNES cartridge.
It’s a shame this game isn’t anywhere near as popular as Final Fantasy Tactics, even though it’s very similar and just as good.
vincentgoodwin
I would honestly just recommend the PSP version, which is also downloadable on the Vita.
It’s got a lot more modern niceties, and it’s just much smoother while retaining all of the depth.
I also liked the GBA Tactics Ogre sequel a ton. But the PSP version is still better.
H_Hunter
I think clinging too much to old memories could affect your judgement..
Blastcorp64
Makes me want to play Ogre Battle 64. I bought it late in the N64 cycle for like 20 bucks (long after GC hit the market) and it was not what I expected. Ironically, I expected it to be turn-based like this version. I was a little disappointed at first, but eventually grew to enjoy it. However, I didn’t get far as I became distracted with the GameCube. Is Ogre Battle 64 still available on wii shop? I really enjoyed the sprite work of all the characters.
Shiryu
@Blastcorp64 Yes, it is available on the Wii Virtual Console and only there. Marcel gave it a 10/10 back in 2010.
https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2010/04/ogre_battle_64_person_of_lordly_caliber_virtual_console
Jayvir
Truly great in every way and it tops FF Tactics, which is sad because most people haven’t touched this.
acex26
RPG games from 90s are so well made, carefully crafted to make you enjoy the most of it. No cash-grab sequels, no microtransactions, no shallow mechanics, good story and good atmosphere. Even though nowadays we don’t have a whole lot of traditional RPG games, we can still cling to old memories and classic games like this one to truly enjoy a decent RPG game.
ALinkttPresent
Even in the ancient past, Atlus produced nothing but pure gold.
vincentgoodwin
Word. The Ogre games started me paying attention to anything Atlus does.
Socar
I’m fine with this….but i just don’t get one thing.
If you’re gonna say that an english patch has been released and can be played at retron 5 or whatever. Then why is revealing the rom hack an illegal thing? You’re literally doing the same thing by telling us that a third party system exists alongside a patch which is still a grey area.
Again, no issue here but just wondering why such a problem?
Smokingspoon
I’m trying the Romancing Sagas I was so curious about, but I’ll have to check this one out too! I somehow never bothered after hearing a couple of times how bad Ogre Battle sequels were. I remember listening a lot it’s soundtrack on a SPC music player though. Hitoshi sakimoto always had a particular style.
The visuals really look ahead of their gen, so pretty! Although, I think Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2) gets 1st place for sound quality– It really stood out from the usual soft/mushy snes sound.
Dezzy
Why is this being reviewed?
Shiryu
@Dezzy Knowledge preservation for future generations.
Shiryu
@Socar To raise awareness that you can legally own the game cartridge and be able to enjoy it translated in English using the new soft patching features of both the RetroN5 and Game Freak.
Socar
@Shiryu Its still a grey area nonetheless.
Shiryu
@Socar I find that the real crime nowadays is that people live out their time on Earth without knowing about this and many other simply fantastic games that remain locked away in Japan.
Serpenterror
I got a nice repro of this game. Really great game too.
WiiHawk
Always wanted to play this game, if only because none of the Queen references needed to be explained when I first learned of it. I’ll pick it up tonight…and listen to Queen II on the way home from work to get in the mood.
Peach64
This is a big reason why I love my Vita despite the disappointingly small library. This, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of The Lions, Disgaea and Disgaea 2, Valkirya Chronicles II. It’s an SRPG fan’s dream.
burninmylight
@Blastcorp64
I had the exact same experience the first time I played OB64; saw an extensive preview in Nintendo Power (R.I.P.), rented it and hated it the first couple of days, then it quickly grew on me, and it’s now one of my all-time favorite RPGs. I feel like it has the best and most mature story and script of any RPG I’ve ever played.
However, it is not without it’s flaws. Outside of a few missions, the game is extremely easy, and your units on the field map move awfully slow, which starts to wear on you as you get later in the game and maps get bigger and bigger.
The biggest offense though is the game’s Chaos Frame system, which determines a character’s alignment (lawful or chaotic) and effects your ability to promote or change a character’s class. It becomes extremely difficult an takes a ton of micromanagement to make chaotic, and even neutral classes and units, which can lock you out of about half of the possible classes in the game. Thankfully, there is an item-duping glitch in the game that you can exploit to fix this (along with the walking speed thing, if you so choose).
Despite those things, it is still a ton of fun. Well you know, you’ve played it. I own the original cart, but I should probably download it from the Wii shop just for the day my cart’s battery dies and if it ever gets taken off the VC.
burninmylight
@Shiryu
Keep up the great work, man. You’re like a curator in the museum of great-but-obscure games.
Shiryu
@burninmylight Will do. Who knew all those Super Play and Super Power magazines I religiously bought every month decades ago would lead me to this gig at Nintendo Life!?
Stezimov
lol, bought this just yesterday on my Vita after I had been wanting to play it for years but couldnt find it in Australia. Rather play it on my Wii U hand held tho. Nintendo sits on so much content while we wait with dollars in hand. Wtb Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and Ogre games on Wii U Nintendo! >.< kgo.
Utena-mobile
@Stezimov Nintendo could totally kill the competition when it comes to digitally releasing their past library….
but that’s another story for another time.
leo13
I’ve always wanted to try one of these Ogre games. Especially Ogre Battle 64 after hearing James Jones of Radio Free Nintendo gush about it. Too back I can’t buy it on Wii U.
mikegamer
Nintendo’s fault for not utilizing the VC, so really, they’re to blame for lack of these gems.
SetupDisk
Is it only on psp or can you get a version of it on psn for ps3? I downloaded a tactics orges game I think besides final fantasy tactics a couple of years ago during a flash sale. I have to check it out as I am back on my ps3 replaying RDR in waiting for it’s sequel announcement on ps4 at e3.
SetupDisk
Darn I only have Final Fantasy tactics but I will have to check the shop.
SetupDisk
It’s only on the psp or vita. dies a little
Shiryu
@mikegamer not quite. The virtual console is an excellent service but it will never live up to it’s full potential because unless its first party games that Nintendo owns all the publishing rights, it is an absolute nightmare to track down every person who owns the right to games made 20 or 30 years ago. Most of the publishers and producers don’t even exist any more, have been acquired by other third parties and so on.
SH007ME
..was stoked to find a used ps1 copy in 2001..then ps2, xbox, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance stole all my time (a good year) ..so never played it, but this review really makes me want to play it now..thanks..
Serpenterror
@Blastcorp64 Remember that Ogre Battle 64 is the sequel to the prequel, Ogre Battle for Super NES. This Super NES Tactics Ogre is the sequel to Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis which was only released for the GBA. All are part of the Ogre series but only the Tactic Ogre games are grid-based.
Jcdbengals
I will always prefer the large map, tactical battles of Ogre Battle and Ogre Battle 64. Those games were SO different than anything else. Still, cant say no to this either; I never played this one, though I played the Tactics Ogre on gba which I believe was very similar.
burninmylight
@leo13 It’s on the Wii VC, which you can get through Wii mode.
leo13
@burninmylight yes I know, but then I’d have to go buy a classic controller and I already have 4 wii remotes, 4 pro controllers, 4 GameCube controllers so I’m not anxious to buy another controller so that I can play a couple more game. Instead I’m holding out hoping I get lucky and they bring it to Wii U VC
Shiryu
@DiscoGentleman My pleasure. As I grew up, I have been more and more aware that technical limitations of hardware brought the very best of both artists and programmers on 8 and 16 bit systems. Their work deserves to be remembered and celebrated, I am very happy to help in this matter little by little every week in NL.
burninmylight
@leo13
I’d be more surprised that it comes to the Wii U or NX eShop than I would if it gets taken off the Wii VC. That’s why I’ve been contemplating buying it now for just in case, to be prepared for the day the battery in my N64 cart dies.
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Game Profile
Title:
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
System:
Super Nintendo
Also Available For:
PSP, PS1
Publisher:
Quest
Developer:
Quest
Genre:
RPG, Strategy
Players:
1
Release Date:
Super Nintendo
Series:
Tactics Ogre
Where to buy:

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