Cutting Down on Koei

Koei released a bunch of turn based strategy games back in the 16-bit days.Most of them were pretty good, but a lot of them were pretty similar, too.They’re kind of like sports games – they get minor improvements every year, but the fundamental gameplay remains more or less the same, resulting in a slow, steady evolution over the years.The Romance of the Three Kingdoms series (now on its 11th installment), would be like the Madden of strategy games, whereas Koei’s other games based off of that design, such as Liberty or Death, would be like EA’s versions of NCAA football or the Arena League – different historical scenarios, but the gameplay is still more or less the same.To take this sports analogy further, Koei’s other strategy games that weren’t based off of the Rot3K design, such as P.T.O. , would be kind of the equivalent of basketball or hockey games – still sports games, but they play quite a bit differently.

Of course, if you remember, one of the first things we did in this competition was consolidate all the Madden games into one single entry on the list.The rationale for doing this was that they were all so similar that simply giving “Madden Football” one entry on the list, instead of debating minutiae over which single year was the best, was a fair representation.We can’t do that for these games, so we decided to eliminate all but one of Koei’s strategy games. Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Grey Wolf, Liberty or Death, Romance of the Three Kingdoms III: Dragon of Destiny, Nobunaga’s Ambition and Gemfire are all good games.But we just don’t need all five.We need one.So today we’re getting rid of four of them.

After some debate, we decided that Gemfire would be the game that makes it to the next round.If you were to look at these 5 games as a series, it’s actually one of the earlier entries, and some of titles that came after it were more refined, but what really but Gemfire into the top spot in our minds was its playability – we figured out Gemfire a hell of a lot quicker than the other games.Strangely enough, despite being pretty similar, all these games were just different enough that when we finally figured one out, we’d go on to the next one and once again have no idea what to do.I know that sounds kind of contradictory, but think back to the last time you upgraded to a new version of Windows -you’re still doing all the same stuff as before, but for some reason, the bastards make you have to learn how to do it all over again.

Some of the other games were brutally hard, too.In my first try at Nobunaga’s Ambition, my little fiefdom got invaded and conquered by an overwhelming enemy force before I even had my first turn.This was on the easiest difficulty.It was like “Oh, you picked those guys?You lose.”

And we’re not exactly noobs at the whole turn-based strategy thing, either.We both played Iron Storm and Dragon Force back in the Saturn’s day.I’m a huge Warlords aficionado, and Stryker loves a good game of Advance Wars.But these games?Man, did it take us a while to get the hang of them.

Anyway, the bottom line is that we’re eliminating the following games today:

Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Grey Wolf

Liberty or Death

Romance of the Three Kingdoms III: Dragon of Destiny

Nobunaga’s Ambition

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