Battles were an automated turn-based affair with a bit of input from the player, but the main attraction – navigating and conquering… sorry, ‘liberating’ a world map took place in pretty standard RTS fashion. Deploying units, upgrading and strengthening them, planning their routes, telling your wizard-and-dog group to go hide in the mountains, forgetting about that one unit right at the top of the map then remembering as they get assaulted six times in a row – that kind of thing, you know? Ogre Battle was a unique title on the SNES, and it still stands in a lonely part of the… genre… field… I don’t know what I’m saying.
Ogre Battle 64 went back to the RTS style, and there was a Neo Geo Pocket Colour spin-off in the genre, too. But what else is there on console that really makes you think ‘this is like that game what is called Ogre Battle’? Not much, or anything, and please do feel free to correct me in the comments as I’m sure you’re already itching to. I’m happy thinking of this as an actual unique RTS on SNES. So there. It seems like an obvious one when you think about it: a relatively hands-off method of controlling a strategy game, some nice green landscapes, and giant mechs. That’s just the kind of thing you expect on SNES, and it’s exactly what was provided with Metal Marines. It almost functions in a turn-based fashion, but believe me it doesn’t feel that way when you’re playing under constant fear of another missile attack coming in from the enemy. No, this is base-building, tech upgrading, defence-and-attack minded real-time strategy of the most fun kind, just without direct control of your attacking units.
Metal Marines was an odd one in that it was made for both SNES and PC at the same time – not typically something you’d see for any game in the early 90s, never mind a unique spin on the then-still-forming RTS. As far as I’m aware the differences weren’t all that pronounced between console and computer, either – though that did change when the PC got a specced-up version a couple of years later. Regardless, it’s safe to say Metal Marines was and is a solid, imaginative and creative RTS that’s worth a pop today, and is the kind of thing I recommend to you, my beloved viewer, even if I did have to turn cheats on at one point just so I could record some footage uninterrupted by enemy attacks. Initially I put both of these – they’re pretty much the same game – in THE ONES THAT AREN’T section, but on actually playing them, and thinking about it, and playing them a bit more, then thinking, then having a lie down because thinking hurts, chowing down on a classic sandwich, then thinking one last time thus risking a braineurysm, I decided I think they actually are RTSes, with a definite whiff of tower defence about them.