The game was originally released in 1995 on the Super Famicom in Japan and then re-released on the Sega Saturn in 1996 and the PlayStation in 1997. The first game in the series, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, also appeared on these consoles, but featured dramatically different gameplay.
The subtitle of Tactics Ogre, Let Us Cling Together, is a reference to the Queen song Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) from their album A Day at the Races. This is one of many references to Queen songs in the series, including Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, which references "Ogre Battle" and "The March of the Black Queen".
A remake of the game by the original development team was announced in the July 22, 2010 issue of Weekly Famitsu for the PSP with the new title Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fortune. The game was also confirmed for North American and PAL region releases, under its original title Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
Setting and plot
The Game Boy Advance game is set before the events of chapter 5 - Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and chapter 6 - Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber. Chapter 7 - Let Us Cling Together is set after all of the above games. In the PlayStation/Super Famicom version the player must lead the "Liberation Army" to bring freedom to the oppressed nation of Valeria.
The game was innovative in its branching plotline. Crucial decisions made in the game determine the path of the story, the members of your army and the ending sequence. There are multiple endings with radically different outcomes.
For eighty years, Valeria has been in constant strife, and its three leading ethnic groups all claim leadership. The three factions are:
- Gargastan: While these people make up 70% of Valeria's total population, they suffer constant inner struggle between moderate and radical theorists on how government should best be handled. This weakens what would be a dominant majority.
- Walstanian: An oppressed minority of Southern Valeria, making up only 10% of the population. Their suffering is the catalyst to the plot in Tactics Ogre.
- Bacrumese: These are generally the more "elite" of Valerian society, making up a solid 20% of its people.
King Roderick, aided by the forbidden powers of the "Hell Gate," is able to dominate the people of Valeria until Dolgare of Bacrum successfully leads his army to defeat Roderick. Dolgare then claimed the throne as his own, and was able to end the struggle between the ethnic groups. Under King Dolgare, the rights of the people were preserved, and all internal struggles in Valeria came to a temporary halt.
All is right until the entire royal family is lost due to a string of accidents. Because the late King Dolgare had no living heirs, the ethnic groups once again struggled for leadership: Bishop Branta of the royal court, Cardinal Barbatos of the Gargastan people, and Duke Ronway of the Walstanians all fought for control, but in the end, Barbatos and Branta stalemated. In order to preserve their power, the two men took separate measures: Cardinal Barbatos sought an "ethnic cleansing" policy and slaughtered thousands of innocent Walstanians and Gargastans, while Branta received aid from the Roslolians, the greatest order in all of Lodis.
The separation of the three races thus sets the stage for the beginning of the game. The player is greeted by a collage of scenes depicting the Roslolian Order's mysterious actions in Griate, hometown of Denim Powell, Kachua Powell, and Vice Bozeg, the main characters.
- Denim Powell: The main character in Tactics Ogre. He was born in the city of Griate, a small Walstanian port town. He is the son of Father Plancy, and after Plancy was taken away by the Dark Knights and Griate was massacred, Denim, his sister Kachua, and his friend Vice plan a vendetta against the Dark Knights. His real name is actually Denim Mown and is he is Bacrumese. Also, if Denim is made king, he will be killed by an enraged terrorist in the bad ending, while the good ending shows Denim, who promises to Plancy in the grave, says that he will protect him as long as he remembers about his memories.
- Kachua Powell: Denim's sister and daughter of Father Plancy. She follows Denim in his quest for revenge. When Plancy vanishes, Kachua provides a motherly role for her younger brother. Despite this, she is strong willed and highly opinionated. It is discovered that she is the last living child of the late King Dolgare, making her the heir to the throne. Depending on Denim's responses, she either joins Denim or stabs herself and dies during all Chapter 4 versions.
- Vice Bozeg: A childhood friend of Denim who accompanies him in the quest. His parents were both murdered by the Dark Knights, and his hatred towards the Roslolian order is unequaled. His character vastly differs depending on the choices Denim makes in the game from being the person to see the truth or a sadistic enemy seeking revenge. He joins Denim in Chapter 3 Lawful, but if the player takes the other versions, he is either executed (Chaotic), or killed (Neutral), in battle after fighting Denim several times.
- Warren Moons: An unplayable class known as Lord Mancer. Formerly acting under Zenobia's King Tristan, Warren was exiled for reasons unknown at the start of the story. The "Warren Report" is his account of all events that transpire throughout the game. Sometimes, it unlocks secrets. Their true mission is to find the holy sword Brunhild which was stolen from the king.
- Lans (Lancelot) Hamilton: An unplayable class known as Paladin. A holy knight from the Kingdom of Zenobia. His identity is not well known and he is said to have been exiled from his own country. He brings his companions - Warren, Canopus, Sir Guildus and Sir Mildain - with him to Valeria, who are exiled as well, and he eventually meets Denim. Lans and his company act as tutors at the beginning of the game. Lancelot, Warren and Canopus were characters in Ogre Battle.
- Lans Tartare: Leader of the Roslolian Order who has come to Valeria in Bacrum's aid. Lost his right eye in a duel with Lans Hamilton. His origins are detailed in Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis.
- Duke Judah Ronway: Leader of the oppressed Walstanians of Valeria. Shortly after the beginning of the game, Denim makes a name for himself by liberating Ronway from prison. Depending on the choices Denim makes, he and his army can follow a variety of fates.
- Cardinal Rayunder Barbatos: Political figurehead of the radical Gargastans in charge of Southern Valeria's government. He is an extremely brutal man, willing to slaughter the minorities under his rule (Walstanians) in order to keep them in check.
- Bishop Branta Mown: Supreme ruler of Bacrum-Valeria. Has done more than any other faction in Valeria to cater to Lodis' demands.
- Canopus Wolff: Former Zenobian Beast Army Chief, was sent to Valeria with Lans Hamilton to retrieve the holy sword Brunhild. Joins with Denim early in the game and is considered the most useful character in the game.
- Mildain Walhorn: One of the two White Knights that was sent to Valeria with Lans Hamilton to retrieve the holy sword Brunhild. Joins with Denim at Chapter 3, regardless of whichever route the player takes.
- Guildus W Burn: One of the two White Knights that was sent to Valeria with Lans Hamilton to retrieve the holy sword Brunhild. Joins with Denim only at Chapter 3 Chaotic and Lawful Route. He becomes a Death Knight by Nybbas after he was killed by Martym during the Rime Massacre.
- Deneb Rhobe: The beautiful Zenobian sorceress who came to Valeria to research pumpkins. She owns a shop that is accessible only at Chapter 4 during specific dates. She can be recruited to the army if the player manages to purchase a lot of items from her shop.
The Foriner Family
- Moruba Foriner: The high priest of Filaha order and chief advisor of King Dolgare during his reign. He lost his faith after his wife died and soon abandoned his post as High Priest. He joins with Denim during Chapter 4 as a non-playable character to assist him with uniting Valeria and as being the chief adviser for Denim.
- Selye Foriner: The eldest daughter of High Priest Moruba. She is the leader of the Valeria Liberation Front who saves Plancy from the Dark Knights, however her army was wiped out by Oz and Ozma. She joins with Denim during Chapter 3 Chaotic and Neutral route as a Valkyrie. Saving her in the Neutral route is considered the most difficult challenge in the game.
- Shelley Foriner: The 2nd daughter of High Priest Moruba. She is the right hand man of Branta. She holds a grudge against her father for believing that he abandoned her mother while she was ill. Joins with Denim during Chapter 4 as a Siren if the player can actually find her under some circumstances.
- Sisteena Foriner: The 3rd daughter of High Priest Moruba. She is the second in command of the Valeria Liberation front together with Selye. She does not agree with her sister's plan of eliminating Bacrum or Gargastan leaders, as this will more instigate the war. She joins with Denim during Chapter 2 Chaotic route as an Amazon.
- Olivia Foriner: The youngest daughter of High Priest Moruba. She assumes command and leadership of the Filaha Order after her father abandoned the post. She is the one who took care of Plancy before he died. She joins Chapter 4 as a Priest.
- Aloser Danya: The special character for the Archer class. Regarded as the best shooter in all Valeria. She will join the army permanently if the player chooses the Chaotic Route but will leave the army if the player chooses the Neutral Route. She is a formidable foe during Chapter 2 Lawful Route.
- Zapan Illydus: The special character for the Berzerker class. A very durable and powerful character, he is a bounty hunter who sides with Denim at Lawful Route but a powerful foe at Chaotic Route.
- Forcas Lida Rhende: The special character for the Knight class. A member of the Valeria Liberation Front and former first class knight from Bacrum Knight Academy, he joins with Denim during Chapter 2 Chaotic Route after saving Sisteena and Byan from the pirates.
- Byan Ohnes: The special character for the Wizard class, he is also a member of the Valeria Liberation Front together with Sisteena and Forcas and former Bacrum Magician, he joins with Denim during Chapter 2 Chaotic Route.
- Ganb Backstein: The special character for the Beast Tamer class. A soldier from Gargastan, he doesn't get along with people due to his vulgar and uncouth ways, however he cares deeply for the gryphons he takes care of and is very fond with. He joins with Denim in a battle during Chapter 4 if the player chooses not kill him.
- Donald Presence: The special character for the Exorcist class. He runs an orphanage in Walsta where it got burned down during the war by the Gargastans, he joins with Denim during Chapter 1.
- Jenounes Apatizer: The special character for the Dragoon class. He used to be a member of the Gargastan Dragoon Unit until they were betrayed and wiped out by the Gargastan army. Joins with Denim during Chapter 3 Lawful route.
- Oxyones Lavin: The special character for the Dragon Tamer class. She holds a grudge against Jenounes for destroying her village. She joins with Denim during Chapter 4 only if Jenounes is included in the Brigantes Castle battle to converse with Guacharo, the one who actually gave the order to destroy the village.
- Debordes Obderhode: The special character for the Terror Knight class. He is the son of Gargastan Necromancer, Nybbas. He used to be with the anti-Barbatos movement and because of this, he was executed. He was resurrected by his father using necromancy but fails to recall his soul. He joins with Denim during Chapter 3 Neutral route if the player is able to save him or his sister, Orias.
- Orias Obderhode: The special character for the Priest class. She is the daughter of Gargastan Necromance, Nybbas. She is the one who takes care of Debordes and vows revenge on his father for disrespecting the deceased ones and life itself. Joins with Denim during Chapter 3 Neutral route if the player is able to save her and Debordes.
- Radlum: The special character for the Warlock class. No one knows his background, except that he comes from an ancient kingdom. He joins with Denim during Chapter 4.
- Haborym Van Rams: The special character for the Swordmaster class. Haborym's past is initially unknown, except for a grudge against the dark knights for rendering him blind. Later in the game, he tells Denim that he is actually Balzepho's brother and vows revenge on him for betraying his family. Joins with Denim in Chapter 3 if the player can manage to save or rescue him from the enemy.
- Balzepho Van Rams: The second in command of the Roslolian Dark Knights. He leads the Dark Knights while Lans Tartare is away for diplomatic missions. He is actually the older brother of Haborym.
- Barbas Dud Goose: One of the seven commanders of the Roslolians. The most blood-loving and cold-blooded commander of the Roslolian Dark Knights. He is the one who invaded and massacred most of the town people of Rime. He and Martym serves as the main antagonist of the game.
- Martym Nowmas: One of the seven commanders of the Roslolians. Unlike Barbas, he tends to sit back and relax while his men do the dirty work and takes credit for it. He and Barbas serves as the main antagonists of the game.
- Andoras Gafrun: One of the seven commanders of the Roslolians. He is the young prince of the Nirdum Royal Family which were wiped out by Lodis. He became a Dark Knight in order to save his country.
- Volac Winzalf: One of the seven commanders of the Roslolians. All information with regards to his history is unknown. He is the most trusted Dark Knight by Lans aside from Balzepho.
- Oz Mow Gracious: One of the seven commanders of the Roslolians. He and his sister wiped out the Valeria Liberation Front under orders from Lans.
- Leonard Leci Limon: The right hand man of Duke Ronway. He leads the Walsta Liberation Army to defeat the Gargastans together with Denim. He is an enemy character in Chaotic and Lawful Route. He is an ally in Neutral Route however becomes a Death Knight by Nybbas, forcing Denim to kill him in order to release his soul.
- Zaebos Rozenbach: The right hand man of Cardinal Barbatos. He is the one who instigates and implements the 'ethnic-cleansing' movement of the Cardinal to eliminate all Walstanians and the Anti-Barbatos movement. He is an enemy character in the game and becomes a Death Knight by Nybbas.
The game has a similar style to most tactical RPG's: the player builds up a team of several characters with changeable classes and fights on an isometric playing field. The order of movement is determined by the speed of individual characters, in contrast to games in which each side moves its entire team at once.
The gameplay is intermixed with expositional cutscenes revealing the plot, shown in the same isometric view as the battles. Movement and team management between battles are done through a map interface.
Most human characters begin as either amazons or soldiers. By leveling up correctly, they can later progress to the other male or female classes, although most advanced classes are limited to certain alignments - lawful, neutral, or chaotic.
This was the second game directed by Yasumi Matsuno, following its prequel, Ogre Battle, which featured a considerably different game style.
After Matsuno quit Quest and headhunted by Squaresoft (now Square Enix), his next title, Final Fantasy Tactics shares similar gameplay and story aspects with Tactics Ogre. Ogre Battle 64 and Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis were created by Quest without Matsuno's presence to continue the Ogre series. Gameplay-wise, Knight of Lodis succeeds the battle aspect of Let Us Cling Together. Although several key developers joined Matsuno at that time, Square later bought Quest outright, along with the rights to Ogre Battle. Despite officially resigned from Square-Enix before the completion of Final Fantasy XII, Matsuno returned for the re-development of Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fortune.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together received positive critical reaction. GameSpot deemed it "a blast from the past for just about everyone." Comparing it to Final Fantasy Tactics, GameSpot says "Aesthetics aside, however, Tactics Ogre is purer and more playable than its hi-tech descendant and definitely worth a look from strategy/RPG enthusiasts." RPGamer echoed that sentiment, stating "the core of this game's epic story and groundbreaking gameplay are timeless, emblematic reminders that the game is and forever will be a masterpiece. The original is always the best."
Fans were grateful that Quest ported the game to the PlayStation. RPGFan noted "Overall, Tactics Ogre is a great Strategy/RPG and with its depth and replayability this is one game fans of the Ogre Battle Saga should not miss. Atlus deserves credit for bringing another great Ogre Battle game over to the PlayStation and making many people happy!"
Due to the limited release of this game and the reluctance of its owners to sell it, the game tends to be hard to find. Used copies of the PlayStation version routinely sell for more than $80—a testament to its enduring fan base and rarity.
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