The March of the Black... Menu?

Ogre Battle, or “Menu Battle”, as I have taken to calling it, was originally a SNES release. It featured huge tactical battles, in which you designed, equipped, and deployed units (consisting of between 3 and 5 characters), then moved them around to engage enemy units for the purpose of eventually pushing them back enough to fight and kill the boss, usually in a castle.

What it has going for it:
Do you love fiddling with a ton of details? Do you love attempting to maximize the effect of way too many variables at once? Likewise, the recurring tarot card theme gave the game a nice flavor. I don't know much about the history, but it was also the first game I ever played where you had an alignment, which significantly affected how people responded to your army, and eventually the ending of the game.

What it doesn't:
Oh, was my sarcasm regarding “way too many variables at once” lost on you? It's called “Menu Battle” for a reason. It's not until the game reaches the last handful of battle that there become so many enemies that the balance of “time you spend setting up your army” to “time you spend fighting with your army” even barely approaches one to one.

Defining Moment:
Every character in your army has a class and a list of statistics. Once you reach a certain level, if you have the requisite stats, you can promote to a new class. Fighters can promote to wizards, knights, beasttamers, etc, and some of your classes, if you're lucky enough to find the required item, can promote to special classes. One time, I was lucky enough to find the item to promote a wizard into a lich, giving him access to better spells, and then, immediately, discovered the item to promote a lich into a greater lich. I was ecstatic, and when I completed the battle, and went to my menu to promote Warren, my mage, only to discover I couldn't do it. I couldn't figure out why. He was a wizard, he was high enough level, his intelligence was high enough, his alignment was... wait a second. In order to become a lich, you need an alignment of between 20 and 60, 100 being the highest possible alignment. Warren has an alignment of 0?

Wait, stop. My incredibly high level sorcerer was too evil to become a lich of incalculable power? In the words of XKCD: “Fuck. That. Shit.”

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