Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Xuanyuan Jian series

Group Description

Xuanyuan Jian (traditional Chinese 軒轅劍, simplified Chinese 轩辕剑, "The Sword of Xuanyuan") is the largest and longest-running series of Chinese (Taiwanese)-made role-playing games, traditionally set in different historical time periods and referring to various Chinese legends and historical events. Created by DOMO, the development team of Softstar Entertainment, the series began its existence with Xuanyuan Jian (1990), one of the first Chinese-made role-playing games.

Background and Setting

The title refers to the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di), the legendary founder of the Chinese civilization, whose real name is said to be Gongsun Xuanyuan (公孙轩辕). According to Chinese legends and historiography, he lived in the 27th century BC, and wielded a powerful sword, which he used to defeat the warlord Chi You, thus heralding the birth of the Chinese nation. The series' lore further develops this concept, stating that the Sword of Xuanyuan was passed through generations of heroes, but also frequently captured by evil warlords and used by them to further their goals. The sword itself appears in every installment of the series, wielded either by a player-controlled character (as the game's ultimate weapon), or by one of the adversaries.

Xuanyuan Jian games are set in various time periods of the Chinese history, e.g. Qin Dynasty, Three Kingdoms era, Tang Dynasty, and others. In some of the games the setting is pre-historic and/or mythological. Supernatural elements abound in all the games, often used as plot devices to give fictional insights into real events of Chinese history.

Gameplay

Like most Chinese-made RPGs, Xuanyuan Jian games utilize a Japanese role-playing template, characterized by predominantly linear plot advancement, turn-based combat mechanics, and simple leveling-up systems. A recurrent story- and gameplay-related element is the so-called "Wooden Armor" (木甲) technique, which traces its origins to the famous real-life Chinese philosopher and scientist, Mozi (墨子, 470 BC – 391 BC), who also appears as a character in some of the games. Mozi was known for creating elaborate mechanical constructions; in the series, he and his pupils possess the ability to animate wooden creatures. These often appear in Xuanyuan Jian games, often as enemies, sometimes as playable characters, having their own gameplay abilities and affinities.

Another recurrent gameplay element is the Spirit Fusion Pot (炼妖壶, "Lian Yao Hu"), created by the goddess Nüwa. The player uses this pot to combine items and fuse monsters, which can be captured by certain characters who possess a corresponding battle technique. These monsters can be then summoned during combat, aiding the player-controlled party. In some Xuanyuan Jian games, this element has evolved into the Heavenly Book (天书) feature: the player has access to facilities that produce items, weapons, and armor, and require the presence of captured monsters and collection of raw materials.

Selected Covers

Selected Screenshots

Title screen
Screenshot from Xuanyuan Jian 2