For those unaware the precursor to Final Fantasy Tactics was a fantastic game called Tactics Ogre. It was released in Japan for the Super Nintendo and ported over to the PSX a few years later. Much of the core team who worked on it would use their hard work as a frame work for Final Fantasy Tactics. I always considered Tactics Ogre the superior game for many reasons. One of which was a better story with more rounded characters.
I may write a specific article of why you should play Tactics Ogre and what makes it superior to the more popular Final Fantasy Tactics in the future. It was rereleased for the PSP but I honestly prefer the original version I played back on the PSX. The new version has a lot of pros but I do think we should have more access to both versions. Luckily I still have my original copy that is over two decades old at this point and a working PS2 to play it on.
I digress however; my main point was to talk about my favorite character from Tactics Ogre. This character left such an impression on that to this day I still name characters after him in modern games I play like Dark Souls and Skyrim. We all have characters that left that impression on us throughout our gaming lives; I just thought I’d share one of mine. Feel free to let me know one of yours as well.
Jenounes is special character you can recruit on the Lawful path at Brigantes Castle. For those unaware the Lawful path in the game is surprisingly dark path. Well to be honest the whole story is filled with choices and deep consequences for your actions but getting to this path in particular starts with a choice many would consider “evil” or at least “deplorable” in any other series. I suspect the reason you can only get him on this path is that Jenounes himself has a dark past.
Jenounes is a Dragoon. Now in the remake this class isn’t really anything special. It’s kind of sad. It is basically a shadow of its former self. In the original release this class was awesome. They were basically the new version of the Sky Generals from the first game. Sure they weren’t as powerful as the Sky Generals but they could still just slaughter all sorts of Lizardmen and beasts. If you are unaware the game is filled with them.
Jenounes got heavily nerfed like many characters in the remake. Specifically he and Haborym got the shaft. In the original version he was basically a one man army. He had godly strength and because he was a dragoon he could fight dragons by himself and still win. I typically game him a two handed sword and just let him wail on enemies. If there was ever a dragon around I knew he would be there to destroy it.
He actually had the highest unaltered strength stat of any character in my party at level 50. I checked and I still remember all these years later that just leveling him up normally he got an insane 504 strength at max level. It was far higher than anyone else. So that meant he could also slaughter pretty much any human enemies he faced even the dreaded Terror Knights. Terror Knights were nerfed in the new version so if you’ve only played it on PSP you may not know but they used to be unkillable tanks.
This part will contain spoilers for game that’s over two decades old. So honestly I won’t hold back, you’ve had over two decades.
Jenounes is Gargastani. He is part of the majority population of Valeria, the island Tactics Ogre takes place in. After the death of their last king the island broke apart in warring factions once more. Jenounes was part of the largest and most dominant faction in the South.
He is an enforcer for a Hierophant who rules over Gargastan as regent. We never see the actual lord, but being regent allows him to basically impose his rule on the region. He pretty gets rid of any who oppose him using all sorts of brutal tactics. He has a particular hatred of Walstanians. They are the ethnic minorities in Valeria and live in the southeastern region.
Jenounes was his right hand man. We don’t see it, but we can tell he had too many increasingly unspeakable acts for the Hierophant over the years. They call it the Blood War but it was basically genocide. Eventually he joins the resistance against his former master and is imprisoned in Brigantes when you meet him.
When we meet him on the Lawful path if you choose the right words he decides to join you. He pretty vows to spend the rest of his days making up for his former crimes. He even runs into a survivor of his brutality and is confronted with what he has done. He stays with you to the end and is an extremely loyal character.
When I first played through his story I was blown away. I was playing in the golden age of JRPGs at the time. The king of which was Final Fantasy. The biggest difference I noted was the more complex and adult story Tactics Ogre told. Jenounes was not sweet and innocent like a Final Fantasy character. He was a grown man of 30 by the time you meet him. He had killed and done all manner of bad things but he wished to atone. He thinks that you are the best way to do that.
Combine that with his godlike abilities on the battlefield and you can see why it left an impression. To this day I still name lots of my big burly sword wielding types Jenounes in his memory. It was sad to see him nerfed in the remake. I think that was a casualty of the new skill system that was not in place in the original more than anything. Still he doesn’t feel the same as the one man army he was once was. He cut a path through your enemies in his red armor and fiery hair.