Ok, perhaps I missed this game when it came out in 2004, but even if I had heard of it my PC probably wouldn’t have played it then. Someone probably mentioned it in passing but at the time hearing about Ragnarok-anything would have set my sensors to ignore. Nonetheless, I found out about Ragnarok Battle Offline and can’t help myself from playing it.
No, the game isn’t anything like the online game unless you consider the settings and enemies and jobs (i.e. the mechanics are completely different). And no, the game isn’t boring or remotely RPG-ish (at least in the negative sense of the connotation). RBO started it’s life as a bit of a joke when a java game popped up under a similar name developed by doujin game creator French-Bread. Apparently they were flooded with requests and after a bumpy start when dealing with Ragnarok Online creator Gravity, French-Bread finally released RBO for the PC (with the “off” not-so cleverly pasted over the “on”). Since then they’ve released three expansion packs and have no intention of continuing with the game. That’s ok though, I promise you’ll find more than enough with what’s currently available if you’re really interested.
See, RBO is probably one of the best 2D brawlers ever released. It has a very in-depth combo system and also includes cancels, juggles, launchers, and damage scaling. It has 6 classes that all have completely different play styles, each with unique male and female characters (while still retaining the same moves the combos and attacks vary based on your choice of sex). Total there are 15 “normal” stages including the expansions, and over 50 arena stages (though those don’t appear until the expansions). Oh, yeah, did I mention that there’s up to three person multi-player simultaneously? (No, there’s no versus mode even though some videos have pallet swapped monsters for characters for effect.) If it has one downfall it’s the lack of interesting level layout: everything’s pretty much just on a level surface.
Don’t belive me? Ok well, here’s a combo video displaying all the character types. Here’s a more impressive combo video with some two player combos. And here’s a pretty sick combo video that has some monster pallet swaps. Hopefully that’s convinced you.
I must include one caveat though: you really need a controller to play this game and enjoy it. I mean, it’s fairly balanced and entertaining–even though it’s not quite as deep as a vs fighter–and with a leveling system it slowly unlocks moves, but they’re not easy to perform with a keyboard. So, just be warned.
I know you’re sitting there frothing for more, so head on over to http://www.ragnarokbattle.com/ and poke around for more info on where to get the game. It’s good stuff that I really can’t keep to myself.