Legend of Ogre Battle Gaiden: The Prince of Zenobia

   The Neo Geo Pocket Color may still be suffering from a lack of third-party support, but SNK is compensating by picking up as many licenses as possible for first-party development. Its latest acquisition is Quest's Ogre Battle franchise, which will soon see a brand new entry in the form of Legend of Ogre Battle Gaiden: The Prince of Zenobia.
Pick a card, any card

   As befitting its name, Ogre Battle Gaiden is a sidestory to the first Ogre Battle game (Chapter 5 in the Ogre Battle timeline). Taking place during the final stages of the rebellion against the Holy Zeteginean Empire, OB Gaiden casts you as Prince Tristam, the rightful heir to the Zenobian throne. Tristam was actually a playable character in Ogre Battle, but played second fiddle to the game's nameless hero. The new adventure gives Tristam his own missions to complete during the same timeframe -- consequently, the game will have a brand new set of levels.

   Aside from the new scenarios, however, Ogre Battle Gaiden looks almost identical to the original Ogre Battle. You arrange your troops into several units, then move them across a 2-D map of the countryside, liberating towns from enemy control. Battles are not controlled directly by the player; instead, you sit back and watch as your troops and the enemy's fire off a set number of attacks. (You can, however, tweak the AI settings to change whom your troops target, and also use magical Tarot cards.) Once all the units have expended their attacks, the battle ends; skirmishes do not have to result in the eradication of either party.


   Other, smaller touches are lifted from Ogre Battle as well. The icon-based menu looks just like the 16-bit version's, as does the ominous reputation meter (fight with low-level characters, or get the bad ending). The game even begins with Warren asking you a series of Tarot-based questions that determine Tristam's initial statistics. One new feature, also seen in the NGPC port of Evolution, is present: A link cable mode to pit your saved troops against a friend's (or enemy's). Unfortunately, you can't play a full scenarios; your only option is a single-unit skirmish.

   SNK has not yet announced a North American release of Ogre Battle Gaiden, but the series has long enjoyed cult popularity, and it's likely that the series' first venture into portable territory will appear in English by the end of the year.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Legend of Ogre Battle Gaiden: The Prince of Zenobia
Developer SNK
Publisher SNK
Genre Strategy
Medium Cartridge (4 mb)
Platform Neo Geo Pocket Color
Release Date  04.27.00
Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince delayed
3 TGS images