Name: Dragon King of Three Kingdoms (100.00% in 1 votes)
Release date: 1997
Reviewed by: Darklord
Most Japanese "historical" strategy games are set in either the Three Kingdom period in ancient China, or the Warring Kingdom period in 15th century Japan. Koei, the well-known Japanese strategy game company, practically made its name on two games set in the above periods: Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Nobunaga's Ambition. (Both of which were followed by numerous sequels). The game I have the misfortune to review today is arguably a clone of Romance of Three Kingdoms, except its no where close in entertainment value.
The Three Kingdom period (approx. 184 A.D. - 230 A.D.) took place after the fall of the Han Dyansty. The Han Dynasty was the first dynasty to really unify China for a considerable amount of time (200+ years), and when it fell, chaos ensured for the next 30+ years. During that period, numerous warlords rose and fell, until the Middle Kingdom was split three ways between Liu Bei, Cao Chao, and Sun Yuen. This little piece of ancient history was popularized by a popular Chinese novel written in the 16th or 17th century, and a romantisized version of this story has followed us ever since.
In the Dragon King of Three Kingdoms, you are asked to take your spot as one of the warlords during this time and reunify China under your banner. Very original, isn't it?
However, what keeps these strategy games fun is not the originality of their stories, but rather, their ability to immerse the player in the world and make it an entertaining experience. Afterall, there's nothing more fun then building an empire and crush all opposition under your armored fist, no?
Unfortunately, this is where Dragon King fell far short of expectation. In this game, you control your kingdom by staffing various government minis tries with your subordinates. In fact, there is even a very detailed organizational chart for each of the ministries. While historical realism is to be encouraged, I don't think anyone wants to play a strategy game just to feel like a Chinese bureaucrat.
Moreover, the battles are an even greater disappointment. Because the AI is quite stupid, a siege will literally take months to complete while wiping out your whole army. And even if you personally take control of the battle, it is still very frustrating because you have to give orders instead of just having complete control over the units. All in all, this game is a perfect example where "realism" took all the joy out of a game.
If your life long ambition is to become a Chinese bureaucrat and get to know all the government ministries and official titles, this is the game for you. If you want to built an empire, go get one of the Koei games.
If we all go back to EGA, this game 's graphic will still look pretty much the same. While strategy games does not necessarily need eye candies, a game should at least catch up to the time. The graphic of this game almost reminded be of the ORIGINAL Romance of Three Kingdoms, and that was produced almost over 10 years ago!!!
Only die-hard strategy gamer who got nothing left to play and ancient Chinese bureaucrat wannabes should approach this game. Everyone else should avoid it like the plague.
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