Dynasty Wars

Critic Score User Score
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
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Originating in the arcades, Dynasty Wars is a beat-em-up set during the Three Kingdoms Era of the Chinese history, and is, more specifically, based on the Tenchi o Kurau manga adaptation of the story. The player adopts the identity of an ancient Chinese warrior, and riding on horseback has to eliminate all his opponents, mostly infantry and archers.

Four historical characters from the time period can be controlled: Zhang Fei (fights with a halberd), Liu Bei (broadsword), Guan Yu (a Chinese pole weapon known as guan dao), and Zhao Yun (pike); some of the character names are misspelled in translated versions. The characters are distinguished by their health and strength parameters.

The game uses a lateral scroll and the player can move in all four directions. A novelty is the attack system: when pressing fire the energy of the attack will load up as the warrior moves his weapon up and backwards, in order to gain momentum. The more the player can keep fire pressed, the more powerful the attack will be. In addition, so-called "tactics" can be used at specific moments; these are powerful area attacks that deplete the protagonist's HP in process and range from summoning an ambush partner and causing rocks slide down slopes.

Stages typically culminate in boss battles. Along the way, various power-ups can be collected. Besides treasure that increases the player's score, and food packs that heal the protagonist, there are also yellow and blue orbs, which represent the game's light RPG elements: yellow orbs count as experience points and increase the character's vitality after a stage is over, and blue orbs increase the power of his weapon.


Dynasty Wars TurboGrafx CD Character selection
Dynasty Wars Atari ST Game over
Dynasty Wars Arcade Boss fight
Dynasty Wars ZX Spectrum Start of the game

Alternate Titles

  • "天地を喰らう" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Tenchi o Kurau" -- Japanese title

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Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amstrad CPC Jul, 1990 79 out of 100 79
The Games Machine (UK) Amiga Jul, 1990 76 out of 100 76
The One Atari ST Jun, 1990 70 out of 100 70
ST Format Atari ST Jul, 1990 68 out of 100 68
Zzap! Commodore 64 Jul, 1990 62 out of 100 62
Zzap! Amiga Jul, 1990 57 out of 100 57
CU Amiga Amiga Jul, 1990 56 out of 100 56
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Jul, 1990 50 out of 100 50
Power Play Amiga Sep, 1990 52 out of 100 48
The Games Machine (UK) Commodore 64 Jul, 1990 45 out of 100 45


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Contributed to by Pseudo_Intellectual (45147), Cor 13 (174226) and Neville (2054)