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Koeinalia - A Compendium of Koei Knowledge Part 1: NES

Aug 2, 2018 at 7:37:33 PM
Daniel_Doyce (0)
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< Meka Chicken >
Posts: 643 - Joined: 04/22/2016
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The NES Era
 
This is the first of a two-part series documenting and ranking the US licensed Koei games for the NES and SNES. I played through all 28 games (any%) this year, so, while they’re still fresh in my mind, I’ll try to give anyone who may be interested a look into these often unfairly neglected games.
 
The NES offerings are all turn-based strategy except for Uncharted Waters. It seems like people either love or hate these games with little in between. I hope this ranking will perhaps pique your curiosity enough to give a few a try. Unifying Japan, China, or Europe can be quite fun!
 
I’ll leave it to you to check Wikipedia for the history of Koei, but the company really hit it big with Nobunaga’s Ambition in 1983. The NES offerings are mostly of the same ilk, but there is a distinct jump in graphics quality between the first Nobunaga’s Ambition, first Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Genghis Khan, and the other games. Presumably Koei had learned to get more out of the NES in the meantime or hired more experienced programmers; they also moved from the MMC1 to the MMC5 mapper for Bandit Kings, Gemfire, L’Empereur, Nobunaga’s Ambition 2, RotTK2, and Uncharted Waters, and the upgrade is noticeable.
 
Some intrepid individual on nesdev figured out that Koei games are running through some sort of bytecode interpreter game engine. It’s a bit beyond my abilities to fully comprehend, but it helps explain how the games could be ported to multiple platforms with relative ease.
 
The Ranking
 
1. Romance of the Three Kingdoms II

https://i.imgur.com/y3YEbC6.png https://i.imgur.com/jeGBv1X.png

 
As the Han dynasty comes to an end in the beginning part of the 3rd century AD, there are a protracted series of struggles among great generals from three states, ended in actual history only by the consolidation of the Chin dynasty nearly 60 years later. The RotTK series allows you to choose certain notable scenarios from this time period and fight your rivals to unify China.
 
Allow me to take a slight tangent into the general flow of these turn-based strategy games. There are typically three phases of these games: 1) survival and accumulation; 2) middle-game consolidation; 3) late-game domination. In other words, you have to fend off your enemies for the first years while building up troops and infrastructure, then claw your way to a critical mass of territories that can start supporting the generation of troops and supplies for the territories on the front. As you continue to take over more of the map, you’ll end up with such a surfeit of highly trained troops that you can steamroll over the last few territories. You’ll have to fight almost all these battles manually, by the way, since the computer AI treats your troops as cannon fodder and will hemorrhage your troops faster than Publius Varus at Teutoburg Forest, similarly leaving your ruler begging for his legions back.
 
While you’re trying to take over the world, you need to balance the needs of your populace, generals, soldiers, infrastructure, all without going broke or defeated in the process. Put all your efforts toward the military and your land won’t be developed and your peasants will revolt. Lavish attention on your territories and your generals may abandon you and the soldiers will be ill-trained and fight half-heartedly in battle. Each game has seasonal events that are sometimes favorable (rich harvest) but usually not (epidemic, typhoon).
 
As can be expected, the second game in the series is similar to the first in theme, just with a different map and set of options. The pull-down tab system in the main screen accommodates the increased action choices in a convenient way that is easy to maneuver. Speaking of increased actions, you now have new spying abilities and can recruit free generals. There are also war spoils to be had by conquering certain territories (especially territory 10, the capital)) that will add significant points to a chosen general's abilities or assist you in some other manner.
 
Graphics: The battle map looks really good. Koei decided to decrease the size of each square in the hex map of its second-generation games, and it’s a decided improvement.
 
Music: The battle music is fantastic in this game. The main loop has a Chinese sound to it and is decent enough to listen to.
 
Gameplay and strategy: The game supports up to 12 players. I can’t believe anyone has ever actually tried that. Maybe a gaggle of 3 or 4 nerds have tried the multiplayer on occasion. Typical games involve friendless people like me playing against the computer. If you really don’t value your free time, you can watch the computer play itself. Most of the other games are multiplayer, so I won’t bother discussing it again.
 
As mentioned before, the main menu interface is intuitive, and the hex battle options in war are easy to figure out.
 
The computer is very good at bribing generals in war, so keep the loyalty of generals high.  The computer is also a pyromaniac, so learn how to cope with fire attacks. Overall, however, the battle sequences are just plain fun.
 
Spying in general doesn’t seem to be very effective in later scenarios where there are fewer rulers to contend with.
 
Rice arbitrage is critical in early years – buy low, sell high. Keep some horses to recruit free generals (whom you should be keeping a lookout for periodically). I don’t bother with flood control unless I have money to spare and nothing else to do.
 
Diplomacy is more important in earlier scenarios, where you may need to appease a few neighbors while preparing to take over others so that you aren’t overwhelmed with enemies.
 
Easy win: Liu Bei in scenario 6 has fewer territories than Sun Quan and Cao Rui, but kick-ass generals that more than make up for the geographical disadvantage.
 
Want a challenge?: Play as Meng Huo in scenario 6 at difficulty 3, or a weak general with low abilities in an early scenario that is poorly placed.
 
 
2. L’Empereur

https://i.imgur.com/5PYFp6o.png https://i.imgur.com/Otb9yok.png

 
Join Napoleon on his rise from an obscure military commander in the years after the French Revolution to his rise to Consul and then Emperor. This time, however, he will vanquish his foes and conquer Europe.
 
The game follows history only in broad strokes – the setup of political entities and state of alliances in each scenario mirror actual history, but Napoleon obviously doesn’t go into exile or make an expedition into Egypt (although the Rosetta stone may make an appearance in rare cases). The generals of each nation are real historical figures and reflect their actual political and military strengths. As Napoleon learned in 1812, invading Russia in winter is a massive blunder, and taking on England by sea while Admiral Nelson is alive will be a grave error. It’s clear Koei spent a lot of time researching to try to make it as accurate as possible.
 
Political savvy really plays a key part of this game. Napoleon must ally himself strategically and keep tabs on alliances and friendships among other powers. Sea power is also important; England is the Queen of the Seas and you must keep building ships or always be at Her mercy.
 
In all, this an excellent game that likely suffers in popularity from its somewhat obtuse title. I can’t recommend it enough, however. Give it a try!
 
Graphics: The Europe map screen looks good enough, and the battle map is every bit as good as RotTK II. There are some nice touches, like the screen shaking when the cannon is fired. The animations, beginning and ending credits are all top-notch.
 
Music: Superb. Every region has its own theme during the strategy phase, and the war music is awesome. It’s hard not to feel a little of the esprit de guerre as the theme turns exuberantly Francophilic when you achieve a certain numerical advantage over your enemy on the battlefield. The MMC5 mapper includes two extra pulse wave channels (and a PCM that this game doesn’t use), and you can really hear the difference.
 
Gameplay and strategy: Unlike most Koei games, there are no difficulty levels and you can only play as one commander (Napoleon, obviously).
 
Every quarter, these is a National phase where you can make two executive decisions, like making alliances, building cannon and ships, and deploying reserve officers or putting officers into reserve. Don’t squander these two decisions.
 
Talleyrand is a bit of an asshole and is quite hard to keep from defecting. F that guy. I just let him go instead of wasting resources to keep him.
 
Cannon are the best weapon of war. Build them and give them to your best artillery commanders (including Napoleon). Train them to 100. Use them to pound the enemy and put its troops into disarray.
 
Look at each commander’s skills and make sure they are most efficiently used. Murat should be in charge of cavalry and Soult infantry. A total turd like Dandolo (D in every attribute) is best used as a civil commander in an uncontested city or as a numerical redoubt of cannon fodder on a border solely to fend off attacks.
 
You may have to let your larger cities suffer from hunger (qu'ils mangent de la brioche) and want in early years to support building enough troops on the front to fend off stronger countries. France’s geographical position means enemies loom on all sides.
 
In scenario 4, I make alliances with Spain and Turkey if I can, take advantage of the preexisting alliance with Austria, move troops to the border with England, build up for a year or two, then move to take out Prussia and the Nordic powers, then Austria, then Russia and Turkey, renewing alliances as strategically necessary. With the Ostfront locked up, I then go full bore on Spain and Portugal while England starves. When all else is conquered, England is quite easy to mop up. Vive L’Empereur!
 
Easy win: Scenario 4 is the easiest since you have the most territory.
 
Want a challenge?: Scenario 1, for the opposite reason.
 
 
3. Bandit Kings of Ancient China

https://i.imgur.com/OUw2c35.png https://i.imgur.com/NZhhhQt.png

 
This game take place in the Song dynasty, especially regarding the events fictionalized in the classic novel The Water Margin (aka Outlaws of the Marsh). It’s early in the 12th century AD in China, and Song Emperor Hui Zhong has a problem. The Imperial Minister Evil Gao Qiu is, well, evil, and being kind of a dick. He’s usurped the Emperor’s power and is running roughshod over the empire, exiling good men who are branded as outlaws or thieves. Meanwhile, the Mongols are menacing the northern front, and Hui Zhong needs help to take care of Gao Qiu. It’s a race against time to defeat him before the Mongols invade in 1127 AD.
 
You are a Good Fellow and must recruit bandits (generals) to your cause, making some Sworn Brothers with full loyalty. It’s not as easy as going up to Evil Gao Qiu and taking him out, however; you must gain popularity above 250 to receive the Imperial Edict to allow you to fight EGQ. You win popularity points by gaining territory, fighting beasts, and a special 100 points bonus for holding territories 10 and 20 and bringing them to high loyalty. This means that you don’t need to conquer all the territories to win, which is a little unusual.
 
Every Good Fellow has preset levels of Integrity, Mercy, and Courage that indicate how compatible with other bandits and affect recruitment and the effect of various actions like alliances, the Give and Feast command, and other such decisions. I admit I don’t worry about this much, but it probably is more important at higher game difficulties.
 
In addition to the standard land development options, you can hunt for food to eat or fur to sell, or hunt beasts to improve popularity. A trip to the market is useful to sell fur or food for money, buy weapons and ships, and recruit new followers.
 
I think this is the most difficult of the NES Koei games. Gao Qiu is no pushover, and you also have other rivals looking to invade your territories. It seems to me to be more difficult to get to that critical mass of territories from which you can aggressively build out and eventually attack EGQ.
 
Graphics: Pretty much the same quality as Romance of the Three Kingdoms II, like they’re using the same graphics engine.
 
Music: Another game taking advantage of the MMC5 mapper. Great music overall; the only issue, like with the other Koei games, it you’ll be hearing it for a long time.
 
Gameplay and strategy:
 
This is a tough one to summarize since there’s so much going on. I wouldn’t recommend this to be your first turn-based Koei game.
 
As mentioned above, you don’t need to conquer all territories, so focus on finding a protected corner of the map and then building out until you get to 250 popularity. The most important thing is, if possible, to not get next to EGQ’s territories until you’re ready to fight. If you’re next to him, he will build up and train quickly.
 
There is a strategy to send a single hero into a province for battle. The enemy will only bring a single hero with a small force to fight. You can then lure the enemy away from the castle, take the castle and then wear the opponent down. I used Black Whirlwind for this with good results to take over some early territories.
 
The magic attack is powerful in battle, but well-trained and armed troops and paramount. Take the time to get your troops prepared before battle.
 
When you’re ready to fight EGQ, you need to chase him down as he’s slippery and will keep moving territories if the battle goes badly for him. I usually end up following him through at least 2 territories. Try to eventually encircle his home province all at once to prevent escape.
 
Easy win: Scenario 4 with Welcome Rain on difficulty 1. He controls territories 10 and 20, which result in a 100 point popularity bonus that cannot be lost once the loyalty levels in both territories is high enough.
 
Want a challenge?: There really aren’t any “bad” Good Fellows, like there are objectively bad daimyos in Nobunaga’s Ambition. Heavenly King in Scenario 3 starts out in a tough spot, completely surrounded and also bordering an EGQ territory. Highest difficulty, of course.
 
 
4. Nobunaga’s Ambition II
 
https://i.imgur.com/UCO26l9.png https://i.imgur.com/ZkWxr0y.png

In the Warring States period during 16th century Japan, rival daimyos are battling for control of all the fiefs of Japan. In real life, Oda Nobunaga was betrayed by his subordinate, Akechi Mitsuhide in 1582. In this game, you have the chance to avenge Nobunaga’s early demise by a traitor by unifying Japan in his name.
 
There are two historical scenarios to choose from: Warlord Rivalry (1560) and Nobunaga’s Ambition (1582). The first is a struggle for domination with many daimyos; the second picks up in the year Nobunaga died historically and when he controls a large number of fiefs in the middle of Japan. Some fiefs are connected by sea routes, but ships are not needed.
 
This is the first game in the list that incorporates the concept of Body Points. Each action costs a general a certain number of BP, a certain percentage of which renews each turn in proportion to the general’s political score. Each fief can take as many turns as you like as long as at least one general has sufficient BP left. This is an improvement from the one fief, one turn system of the first Nobunaga’s Ambition.
 
The flow of the game is similar to the rest of the turn-based games: build the economy of your fiefs, train your soldiers, then go out and conquer. This game is well-balanced overall and is a good choice for beginners.
 
The battle system has two phases: field and castle siege. A defender will retreat to the castle when outnumbered. An attacker will have to break down gates and avoid defender rifle fire to penetrate the inner keep and win the battle.
 
Graphics: Pretty much the same quality as Romance of the Three Kingdoms II, like they’re using the same graphics engine.
 
Music: Decent but forgettable.
 
Gameplay and strategy:
 
You win this game by cavalry charge. Fully trained cavalry troops will destroy rifle and infantry units when charging on both the field and castle. Rifle units are useful for picking off troops in the field and late-stage battles in the castle, but must be protected from enemy fire in the castle.
 
Keep general loyalty high or you may find one of your top generals suddenly switching sides in battle and making you reach for the reset button.
 
Everything else is secondary to building up the troops – just keep the fiefs happy and developed enough to provide money to buy troops and arms. Rice arbitrage is useful in this game too. Alliances are useful in the Warlord Rivalry scenario, but mostly pointless in the second scenario.
 
Easy win: Nobunaga’s Ambition, playing as Nobunaga on difficulty 1. You have a ton of territories and can first conquer the east, then move all troops to the western front.
 
Want a challenge?: Warlord Rivalry scenario, difficulty 5, in a poorly placed fief like 19 or 22, or a daimyo with weak attributes.
 
5. Gemfire

https://i.imgur.com/aeRFA9n.png https://i.imgur.com/OFPA2EZ.png

 
Need your Koei fix and are tired of conquering Japan and China? This is the game for you. It’s also the gateway game to most people’s heavier Koei addictions, in extreme cases eventually ending in feverishly memorizing the stats of Axis artillery units in scenario 3 of Operation Europe.
 
It’s not necessary to know the background story, but it involves a gem-encrusted crown being misused by the evil king of Ishmeria. His daughter breaks up the gems and squirrels them away in various parts of the country. You need to conquer lands and get all the gems in order to save the princess and restore the crown, presumably to be again misused by another evil king in the future.
 
To win, you need to develop your lands and use their resources to build and army and conquer all 30 territories.
 
One interesting feature of this game is the concept of 5th units in battle. These are either gem guardians with special powers (if you have one available), specialty units like lancers and shooters, or hired fantastical creatures like Bugbears, Olog-Hai, or skeletons. Gem guardians need to rest for two months after a battle and their powers irreversibly decay after each fight.
 
In addition to the usual quarterly mishaps like fires and floods, there are lucky creatures that randomly bestow good fortune, others that cause damage to you or your lands. There are also special items that raise character stats, so search enemy territories for them.
 
Graphics: Maybe it’s just me, but the color scheme on the main screen looks really pink, like it’s been overexposed. The battle screen is pretty ugly, quite frankly. Not Koei’s best effort.
 
Music: The music has a medieval tinge to it, but there’s a very clangy aspect to the music and the sound effects that’s grating after a while. The battle music is just “noisy” in a way that’s hard to describe.
 
Gameplay and strategy:  The user interface is much more friendly than most Koei games, with fewer choices and the ability to select “some,” “half,” “most,” and “all” of a resource instead of entering a number manually (although manual input is still an option).
 
Plunder is surprisingly effective and can be used repeatedly. Alliances are useful when you start out weak or in a bad spot.
 
The 5th units are essential to winning battles, and the gem guardians are the best to employ if you have one available.
 
Other than that, it’s the same grind of building up your lands and troops and using the army to take over Ishmeria.
 
Easy win: Erin in Scenario 4 has lots of well-placed territories. It’s too easy to have any replay value unless you just want a quick win, say for an NintendoAge contest.
 
Want a challenge?: Loryn (Divas family) in Scenario 4 has a poor starting location and no gems. Gweyn (Tordin family) in Scenario 3 is in a similar situation and has bad stats.
 
6. Romance of the Three Kingdoms

https://i.imgur.com/9aTHnJj.png https://i.imgur.com/QhIDPsT.png

 
This is the first of the first-generation NES Koei games on the list, and it’s apparent from the downgrade in graphics and sound. They can charitably be called “quaint.” If you start with this one, it will look more like a homework assignment than a video game, with a baffling list of statistics and one-word commands.
 
You’ve already heard the story above. The main difference between this one and its sequel is there is a whopping 58 territories to conquer to unify China in Scenario 5. You can conquer fewer territories to beat the earlier scenarios, but the ultimate goal is to rule over all China.
 
There is less complexity in this game than the sequel, but has the same broad concepts. I also beat the third and fourth installments for the SNES, and I see that the most recent version, RotTK XIII, came out in 2016. How many times are they going to make the same game? I was sick of it after the third one.
 
Graphics: Minimal, likely due to the limitations of the MMC1 and the ROM space. The hex battle map looks huge and clunky in comparison to the sequel.
 
Music: I hope you like the 15 second menu loop, since you’ll be hearing it over and over. The battle music is uninspired.
 
Gameplay and strategy:  
 
The left button does not autofill numbers to maximum amount like it does in later Koei games, so be prepared for a lot of time entering in numbers digit by digit.
 
Some states have metal ore available. You can only buy arms from the merchant in states with metal.
 
Other than that, there isn’t any new strategies not laid out already above and there are fewer choices available.
 
Easy win: Cao Cao in 215 already has about half the territories and is a strong leader.
 
Want a challenge?: In 201, Liu Bei only has one province. He’s strong, however. Yuan Shao in 189 is in very poor health.
 
7. Genghis Khan

https://i.imgur.com/MEAUwI1.png https://i.imgur.com/kglB7h5.jpg

 
Another first-generation Koei game.  In the first scenario, it is 1174 AD and you are simply Temujin, one of the Mongol leaders. You have to conquer the 14 tribes of the Mongol plains to unify Mongolia and fulfill your destiny as Genghis Khan.
 
You will either then move into the World Conquest scenario as Genghis Khan, or you can select it directly and choose one of three other contemporaneous leaders. Either way, the end goal is to conquer the 27 states of the known world.
 
One neat feature is the role of artisans in your state, who each produce a subset of products that can be sold to merchants. You can make tons of gold by selling the right product to the right merchant for the right price. You can also buy six different types of weapons to arm your troops with.
 
Family relations are a key part of this game. You need to promote your sons to princes and marry your daughters to non-family princes to ensure a supply of fully loyal princes. Be careful to keep a son of age in reserve, however, or you’ll be left with no successor if you die.
 
The main reason I ranked this game so low is the system of Ability Points. It’s much like Body Points in Romance of the Three Kingdoms II, but more annoying since there are different types of points. It ends up being a bottleneck to keep training constantly to get enough points to do what you need to do, especially in later stages of the game.
 
Graphics: It’s an MMC1 game, but has better graphics than Nobunaga’s Ambition or Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The title screen is pretty badass (see above right picture).
 
Music: Again, the best of the first generation games. The tweety music when you have a new kid is pretty cool.
 
Gameplay and strategy:  
 
Alliances are critical, especially early on. Making friends will allow you to build up and train early without being harassed from all sides. That is why England is such a good place to start – you have only two neighbors with whom to make a 5-year alliance.
 
Exploit the rice market to make money each year, especially early when you need the money most.
 
Reassign your troops to be one unit of mostly cavalry and one other of archers. The archers will soften up the enemy and the cavalry will take care of the rest.
 
Easy win: The Mongol Conquest scenario is pretty easy. Richard I is the easiest in World Conquest due to his geographical location. Difficulty 1 of course.
 
Want a challenge?: Genghis Khan is located in a bad spot to start the World Conquest scenario. Alexious is no cakewalk either. Difficulty 10.
 
8. Uncharted Waters

https://i.imgur.com/yNsPC3F.png https://i.imgur.com/EFZgXgW.png
 
I really want to like this game more than I do, but I’ve been through it twice and can’t imagine playing it again. It has two fatal flaws that just make it a slog.
 
You are Leon Franco, a Portuguese lad from a family that has seen better days. You start out with just one crappy boat and must trade goods, make money, buy a real fleet, fight pirates, and perform missions on behalf of the King of Portugal. As your fame increases, you will earn titles of nobility from the King and perhaps one day win his daughter Christiana’s hand… Or you may die in a fight with pirates or simply starve to death on an ill-prepared sea voyage. Life can be tough.
 
Ok, on to the flaws. The first is the sailing itself. It gets really, really, slow and boring very quickly. Plus, even with the best figureheads and amulets, you can still lose control in a storm at sea and be left adrift. That is secondary to the utter tediousness of sailing around like a goofball on repeated multi-port maritime fetch quests.
 
The second occurs later in the game, when you have to start hunting down specific pirates. This can take a looooooong time. You get a tip from a waitress or a sailor, but it’s almost always useless or outdated. So you have to sail around like the Portuguese Coast Guard (usually in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea) and randomly hope you run into the right ship. Maybe there’s a way to make this quicker? If so, please let me know.
 
Other than that, it’s a nice change of pace from Koei and paved the way for its much-improved sequel on the SNES. I give it a positive recommendation with the caveats above.
 
Graphics: They’re better than the SNES version, actually, but that’s not saying much. Still, it’s quite colorful and not too bad.
 
Music: Pretty good and match the overall feel of the game well. The sailing music in the Arctic climes is some of the best for the NES, period.
 
Gameplay and strategy:  
 
I’m not even going to try to detail of all the strategy to beat the game. You start out early by trading and building up ships, then eventually move on to fetch quests for the King and other townspeople at different ports. Eventually you’ll be asked to save the Princess from pirates and you’ll win the game.
 
One helpful tip: If you are given a treasure map and don’t recognize the location, debark onto land (not a port) and keep questioning your mates about it. Eventually they’ll determine latitude and longitude for you, which is a huge timesaver.
 
Easy win: There’s really no easy way to win. The online walkthrough gives you all you need to know to beat the game, but it’ll take some time.
 
Want a challenge?: Don’t rely on a premade map and try to figure out where ports are on your own. You can also go full-out pirate instead of being a good guy, bur I’ve never tried it myself.
 
9. Nobunaga’s Ambition

https://i.imgur.com/adgbHHo.png https://i.imgur.com/y6FIzKO.png

 
The game that started it all. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it’s not very user-friendly, suffering from the same graphics and UI limitations that RotTK 1 does.
 
The story is the same as its sequel, although you have the choice of either 17 or 50 fiefs to conquer. Either way, you only start out with one fief.
 
Graphics: Rudimentary, the same as RotTK 1. The final winning screen (and I do mean screen) is one of the bigger disappointments in the NES library.
 
Music: You will learn to like it after a few hundred loops.
 
Gameplay and strategy:  
 
Like RotTK 1, you have to enter every number digit-by-digit, and there is not a graphical mouse display like in the second game.
 
Reassign the troops in a daimyo before going to battle. The 20-20-20-20-20 configuration is suboptimal. I maximize riflemen and split the rest between units 1 and 2. Training is important and arms are quite useful. Use your interior territories as a “factory” to buy and train troops, and push them out to the battlefront when they are needed.
 
Bribing enemy officers can be useful, especially at higher difficulties where the computer will build armies and train almost as fast as you. Men get most expensive as the game goes on, so buying troops early if possible is a good strategy.
 
Increase building and farming, but don’t worry about flood control (I never bother with this in any of the Koei games). It’s not a good use of money or time.
 
Ninja assassins are a good way to pick off some neighbors early on and amass a critical mass of territories. See below for further details.
 
Easy win: The only NES Koei game I know of with a TAS (17 fief mode). If you select high luck and charm attributes from the get-go and continue to give your people 1 gold to raise your charm high, you can use ninjas to assassinate all the other daimyos and bid for their territories.
 
To play for real, you can’t go wrong with Nobunaga himself. Uesugi and Tokugawa are quite strong too in the 17-fief scenario, difficulty 1.
 
Want a challenge?: Saito in fief 23 (Mino) gets attacked immediately. If you survive that first onslaught, you'll still have a pretty crappy daimyo to work with. 50 fiefs, skill level 5.
 
 
 
 
 

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Koeinalia: A Compendium of Koei Knowledge - NES and SNES


Edited: 08/02/2018 at 07:50 PM by Daniel_Doyce

Aug 2, 2018 at 7:38:36 PM
Brock Landers (55)
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< Wiz's Mom >
Posts: 11343 - Joined: 05/04/2014
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I love this

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Writing about every SNES game - Volume VII
SNES Set - 715/723 (Tecmo Super Bowl II)
Switch: SW-6880-6470-3131

Aug 2, 2018 at 7:47:57 PM
WhyNotZoidberg (4)
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(Julien ) < Eggplant Wizard >
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OH MY HELL

If there was a donate button I'd spam it. RoTK2 is my absolute favorite and I'm very fond of Koei's historical simulation series in general. This is God's work you're doing, my friend.

I prefer RoTK2-3 in 16bit, but the NES version is surprisingly close to the SNES, which is probably under-utilized on #2.

Aug 2, 2018 at 8:05:23 PM
NESMASTER14 (26)
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(color dreams) < King Solomon >
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Thanks for this. I've been meaning to dive into a Koei game at some point in time. This looks very helpful! Cheers

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Aug 2, 2018 at 8:16:50 PM
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MrWunderful (288)
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(Corey ) < Wiz's Mom >
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Really well written, I read the whole thing! Just enough humor too, kudos.

Do another one  

Aug 2, 2018 at 8:21:09 PM
Ausden (11)
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(Jonathan ) < Meka Chicken >
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This is awesome. Good Job!

Aug 2, 2018 at 8:23:10 PM
scaryice (115)
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(scary ice) < King Solomon >
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Cool analysis! I know very little about the games so it's fun to read about the differences between them. I'll point out that there are an additional five games that Koei released in Japan only (two were released here on SNES):

Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika: Genchou Hishi (sequel to Genghis Khan, also on SNES)
Famicom Top Management
Ishin no Arashi
Mahjong Taikai
Nobunaga no Yabou: Bushou Fuuunroku (also on SNES)

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WTB/WTTF - Famicom carts (69 needed):

http://nintendoage.com/forum/mess...

Aug 2, 2018 at 8:31:44 PM
Abelardo (76)
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(Abelardo González) < El Ripper >
Posts: 1463 - Joined: 10/26/2011
Mexico
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Nice post! I've played a few, RoTK2 was my favorite as well, I tried to play RoTK1 after playing 2 and I just could not get into it, other one I've played and enjoyed is Uncharted Waters, I don't think I finished it but it was fun, the fetch quests were fun for me so I liked it, other than that I've tried L'Empereur but could not figure it out the stats as they were icons and I didn't bother to read the manual (probably mandatory for this one).

I remember in RoTK2 amassing a ridiculous amount of money via rice arbitrage I used all or almost all my provinces each turn, very time consuming but I finished the game by the 2nd or 3rd year.

Aug 2, 2018 at 8:57:11 PM
SoleGooseProductions (127)
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(Beau ) < King Solomon >
Posts: 3414 - Joined: 04/22/2013
Michigan
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Awesome! Can't wait to give it a genuine read soon.

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"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long..." ~ Blade Runner

SoleGooseProductions.com


Aug 2, 2018 at 9:37:40 PM
Daniel_Doyce (0)
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< Meka Chicken >
Posts: 643 - Joined: 04/22/2016
North Carolina
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Originally posted by: scaryice

Cool analysis! I know very little about the games so it's fun to read about the differences between them. I'll point out that there are an additional five games that Koei released in Japan only (two were released here on SNES):

Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika: Genchou Hishi (sequel to Genghis Khan, also on SNES)
Famicom Top Management
Ishin no Arashi
Mahjong Taikai
Nobunaga no Yabou: Bushou Fuuunroku (also on SNES)
I appreciate that since i wrote this up due to your original request a few months ago. The SNES edition will come out soon in support of Brock's ongoing project. There are 19 SNES Koei games and they all deserve some detailed analysis, so it will take some time.

From what I understand, Top Management is some sort of executive businessman simulation. I played it a bit just to check it out and it looks pretty boring and has terrible graphics. Mahjong speaks for itself. Ishin no Arashi is a second-generation Koei game focusing on the Meiji restoration. It looks intriguing, but there's no English language patch. I'll get to the other two in the SNES writeup.

 

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Koeinalia: A Compendium of Koei Knowledge - NES and SNES

Aug 2, 2018 at 10:31:02 PM
austin532 (83)
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(Mike ) < El Ripper >
Posts: 1146 - Joined: 02/13/2014
Arizona
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I hate these games. They are boring and I couldn't remember one of the character's names if you paid me a million bucks. I do like to collect Koei games. They often come with a nice colorful map and detailed manual explaining everything. I also tried to like Uncharted Waters as it's the only non strategy game but couldn't get into it.

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My Ultimate 100% CIB NES Collector's Guide
http://nintendoage.com/forum/mess...

Aug 2, 2018 at 10:33:40 PM
bronzeshield (44)
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(P. ) < Lolo Lord >
Posts: 1871 - Joined: 04/12/2009
New York
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Awesome stuff, thanks for doing this!

It's sort of embarrassing to realize how few of these I've played in any substantive way, considering how much I like the genre. That said, I've poured well over 100 hours into ROTK, so I guess I've made up for it...

Aug 3, 2018 at 6:02:33 AM
Svankmajer (0)
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< Meka Chicken >
Posts: 630 - Joined: 09/05/2016
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Great write-up from the KOEI king!
I still want to try to see if I can figure out one of these games sometime.

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?What are the weirdest games on NES? - What are the weirdest games on SNES
Game Boy Run: 19/41 - Nintendo NES Run: 48/48
Latest game beaten: Turtles


Aug 3, 2018 at 8:34:33 AM
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the tall guy (130)
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(Randy the Astonishing) < Bowser >
Posts: 5601 - Joined: 05/13/2008
Tennessee
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Awesome!

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Aug 3, 2018 at 9:45:53 AM
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B.A. (266)
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(Brian P.) < Master Higgins >
Posts: 7659 - Joined: 03/04/2010
Minnesota
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Wow, this is really impressive. Looking forward to the SNES edition. I have wanted to give some of these games a try but haven't as I've always heard they have a steep learning curve.

Aug 3, 2018 at 3:49:39 PM
AsmikAce (95)
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< Meka Chicken >
Posts: 682 - Joined: 10/18/2013
Indiana
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Nice to see the Koei games get recognition they deserve. The earliest Koei game I can play is Gemfire and ROTK IV as the rest are too intimating to start. Trying to learn to play Liberty or Death on the Genesis now.

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Aug 3, 2018 at 6:42:05 PM
Krunch (145)
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(My name's Krunch) < King Solomon >
Posts: 3883 - Joined: 11/08/2010
Alberta
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I like playing Uncharted Waters just to play poker, it's 5 card stud but it's well executed. You can find a game in every town but they won't necessarily always play (especially if you've already won a bunch of money there). It's neat how it's one of the first things you can do and increase your starting money right off the hop. Didn't get too far in the actual game, reading about it's fatal flaws made me sad tho

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Aug 4, 2018 at 8:45:36 PM
Bighab (78)

(James Morgan) < Eggplant Wizard >
Posts: 260 - Joined: 08/02/2011
Ontario
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Awesome article! I'm a huge Koei fan. I'd rank Genghis Khan at #1 but only because I played it first back on my friend's dads IBM 386 in the late 80's. Later on many memories playing the world map with 3 friends. I loved the limited time given in Bandit Kings. I've played many a games where I was close to the Evil Gao Qui only to have the game end abruptly with the Mongols taking over. I look forward to your Snes rankings/reviews. I wish they had ported to consoles Celtic Tales: Balor of the Evil eye

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 http://gametz.com/user/Bighab.htm...


Edited: 08/05/2018 at 12:31 AM by Bighab

Aug 6, 2018 at 2:48:20 PM
neodolphino (177)
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(Justin ) < Kraid Killer >
Posts: 2497 - Joined: 09/25/2013
Pennsylvania
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Fantastic read!

I can't wait to read the rest when you post it  

I just need Gemfire and RotTKII sealed to finish my sealed NES KOEI collection. I have a decent number of the Famicom titles sealed too!

Aug 7, 2018 at 4:09:16 PM
John198X (0)
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(John -) < Eggplant Wizard >
Posts: 289 - Joined: 11/15/2016
Texas
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Thanks so much for this! I was really discouraged last year when I gave these games a shot. I "beat" Gemfire (specifically the very easy starting scenario you mentioned), and tried to move on the others right afterward. I was... not prepared. I really WANT to get into them, and your write-ups are motivating me to give it another go.

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1,000 game challenge 10/22/16 - 03/23/19
532 Games Beaten * 
nes-308 * sms-42
tgx-17 gen-29 snes-43 * ps-22
ps2-4 * gb-55 * gbc-12


Edited: 08/07/2018 at 04:09 PM by John198X

Aug 22, 2018 at 1:34:47 AM
Bighab (78)

(James Morgan) < Eggplant Wizard >
Posts: 260 - Joined: 08/02/2011
Ontario
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Looking forward to your Snes Koei reviews  

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 http://gametz.com/user/Bighab.htm...