Game: Dynasty Warriors
Except as noted, all information is based on the North American release of the game.
|Title:||三國無双 (Sangoku Musou) [JP]
Dynasty Warriors [NA & EU]
|Platform:||Playstation||Disc Type:||Compact DISC|
|Release:||1997 [JP, NA, EU]||Players:||1-2|
|Controls:||Digital||Memory Card:||1 block (shows Zhao Yun)|
|ESRB Rating:||Teen 13+ (animated violence)|
Review of Dynasty Warriors
Not like the other Dynasty Warriors games, and not the best fighting game on the Playstation, but has some enjoyable details, like a Japanese dub track and funny endings.
This has to be said up-front: this game is almost nothing like the other games in the Dynasty Warriors series. It's a 2.5D fighting game (it's not exactly 2D like Street Fighter, but it's not fully 3D like Soul Calibur either), with one-on-one weapons battles. Don't dig this game out of the bargain bin expecting more Dynasty Warriors as you know it. This game is much more like Soul Blade and Tekken than the later Dynasty Warriors games.
That said, as 2.5D fighting games go, this isn't the best on the Playstation. It's very much like Soul Blade (ancestor to Soul Calibur, FYI), but the combo system in this game seems clunky and slow to me. And I never got the hang of the Chi Meter, which is the Musou Meter by another name. The lack of free-movement annoys me, and it made this game frustratingly difficult for me. A person more skilled at fighting games would find the game less challenging and perhaps more enjoyable. There are five difficulty levels — Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard.
This is mid-generation Playstation we're talking about, so things are chunky, sharp-edged, and brightly colored. The battle backgrounds are pixellated blurs. The CG sequences, as in the opening and ending sequences, are decent enough, though.
Music's not bad, cheerful but bland. One of the game's saving graces is the voice acting: the dub track is Japanese. Bless you, Koei, for being too cheap to ruin this game with bad English voice acting. It's difficult to tell if the voice actors are the same voice actors who've worked on the rest of the series, but it's possible. (No credits, sadly.) There're no subtitles, so you'll have no idea what the characters are saying.
Another of the game's saving graces is the ending sequences. Except for the unlockable characters (Zhuge Liang, Cao Cao, Sun Shang Xiang, Lu Bu, Nobunaga, and Toukichi), every character has a unique CG ending, and they're all pretty cool. Winner has to be Xiahou Dun's, because it shows Dun yanking an arrow and his eye right out of his head. It's delightfully graphic and gross. Doesn't show him eating it, unfortunately.
On to the characters. At first glance they don't seem to bear much resemblance to the characters you know and love from DW2 onward, but I definately see that the characters in the later games were based upon these. Lu Xun has the same weapons and basically the same hat, Zhou Yu is almost the same, only with a white outfit instead of his usual red, Zhuge Liang has the same basic outfit and his fan., etc. All the characters, except for Nobunaga, Sun Shang Xiang, and Toukichi, have their own unique fighting styles, and if you pay attention, you'll that these moves have stayed in the DW series, and can still be seen in DW4, though modified. As in most other Koei games, a Character Database is included under "Options" that tells you a bit about each character, and gives you a sampling of the character's fighting style and voice.
I should probably explain Nobunaga Oda and Toukichi, because I know someone will ask. Nobunaga Oda is a real-life warlord from Japanese history. He's in Nobunaga's Ambition and Samurai Warriors (both games from Koei). Toukichi is a giant super-deformed novelty samurai. I don't know his story. I do not think he's in any other video game; he's probably just a weird idea from the lads at Omega Force. They get lots of those. Weird ideas, I mean.
Something odd to note: in the other games, each kingdom is associated with a certain color — Shu=green, Wu=red, Wei=blue, Others=yellow, purple, or grey. However, in this game, the colors are different — Shu=yellow, Wu=red, Wei=green, Others=blue. If I recall correctly, in the novel, Shu is associated with red (same as the Han), and Wei is associated with yellow. It's something odd that I felt like pointing out.
The only other thing worth mentioning is the instruction manual, which is a lot more useful than instruction manuals usually are. It contains information on the period's history, some biographical information on the characters, movesets for some (but not all) characters, and even a map of China, showing the locations of the stages. On the last page, Moss Roberts's translation of Three Kingdoms is cited. A strategy guide by Prima is advertised on the back of the manual. I've never had a chance to see it, so I have no idea if it's worth anything.
Last updated: 17 April 2008.