**This is the part of the show where we spotlight a game from the 80s or 90s and tell you why it’s worth a replay on your Raspberry Pi, NES Classic, retro console, or whatever emulator you may use**
What It Is: A real-time strategy Role Playing Game
Who Made It & When: Quest, which dissolved and became part of Square Enix, 2000
Where You Could (Originally) Play It: Nintendo 64
What’s It About:
In the mythical land of Palatinus, the young Magnus Gallant has just graduated from Ischka Military Academy. He joins up with the army in the southern region just as a rebel faction reaches its boiling point…eventually becoming a full-blown civil war.
Eventually, Magnus changes sides and joins the rebellion, fighting against the people he once swore to protect as he realizes the government is corrupt. I seem to remember there being a religious element, as well. The high priest of the Orthodox church not being quite right in the head. There’s a lot of political intrigue, a lot of the stuff that people like in shows like Game of Thrones.
It’s been almost two decades since I’ve played the game, and admittedly, I did not have time to play through the entire plot in preparation for this article. That’s good for you, though, because what fun would the story be if I ruined the whole thing for you here.
Full disclosure, the game has a pretty slow start. I must’ve played for a half hour before I got to the first battle.
Why It’s Awesome:
I’ve said before that I like games for giving you diversity in characters. This game gets a big 5 stars for that. Not only do you have the standard class warriors — archers, soldiers, priests, knights, valkyries, beast tamers, puppet masters, angels, etc — of which you can level up, change their classes, rename, and really make them what you want, the game also comes with a mess of crazy creatures that can be plucked from the wilds. Like what, you ask? How about a cerberus. Does that do anything for you? What about fairies or giant golems? Dragons!!! You can upgrade the dragons and they dominate your opponents. You can even call one of your characters Khaleesi, if you’d like. You can even get werewolves and birdmen.
So you’re sitting there, going, “Okay, that’s cool, but I’ve seen it all before. We know you like tactical RPGs, and that’s all cool, but…” Not so fast, Chachi! While this game may feel a little like a tactical RPG (and the creators did go on to create Final Fantasy Tactics), it is not one.
For starters, you don’t move your individual characters. What you do is build little platoons. Each is represented on the big map as one character, but inside, it can be anywhere from 1-9 soldiers, depending on their size and strength. You have complete freedom to develop these how you want. If you want to just have a dragon named Pinocchio roaming around, you can do that. If you want to throw three archers in a group and call them Todd, John and Stewart…they probably won’t be very strong, but you can do that, too.
Another thing that sets this game apart is the movement. Battles take place across large area maps, with towns and strongholds scattered throughout. Characters and enemies move in real-time across these giant maps. As they move, they get tired. Sometimes, they need to stop and make camp to rest, which can be really bad for you if the enemies aren’t similarly exhausted. If your camp is invaded, you enter battle with all your units asleep. That sucks.
But, if you land on a town, some of them have shops where you can purchase armor and supplies. Sometimes, a town will have a soldier that’s so fed up with all the war going on around them that they offer to join up with you.
And occasionally, as you’ll wander the wilds of the battle maps, you’ll run into wild animals, which sometimes they will kill you, but sometimes you can tame and recruit them.
It may be a different kind of game than they make nowadays, and it may be a little slow at times, but if you put the time in, you really have the capacity for deep role play in this game unlike a lot that may fall into a similar category.
Where to Play It Now: Well, surprise, surprise…the game was just released today (and Nintendo is not paying me to market it) on the Wii U’s virtual console ($9.99). If that doesn’t work for you, Gamestop has it, but they’re asking top dollar for it.
Max Out the Nostalgia While You Play… Drink a surge!!!