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Written by  :  Indra was here (20911)
Written on  :  Jun 24, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Odd but strangely addictive little beauty

The Good

This game is based on James Clavell's famous novel: Shogun (which I was a big fan of the mini-series). Arigato Bakero-San.

This is a funny old little game as it's probably the only one of its kind, this refers to the game perspective and overall gameplay. The game obviously defies any law of gravity, as there doesn't seem to be any. If the game had a "top-down" perspective, it wouldn't look odd, but the fact that the little characters are running about from a "sideway perspective" looks like their virtually flying around.

The game objective is quite clear from the title: Shogun, although the thing is not about being a Shogun, but becoming a Shogun. Anyone in the game can become a Shogun: there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled, among others you have to have a certain number of followers, and obtain certain sacred and ceremonial items, among other a Buddha Statute.

The game consists of all characters in the novel, from Captain Blackthorn to Lord Torananaga and Lord Ishido, totalling more than 20 characters of which you can choose any one as your hero!

Each character in the game though acts in accordance to the novel...well at least in the beginning. The samurai are usually one of the strongest character types in the game in comparison to peasants. In accordance to the novel, some characters like Lord Ishido and Toranaga already start with followers, thus to a certain extent makes it a lot easier to become a Shogun, in comparison if you play as a "peasant class" character.

Gameplay consists of either socializing or item collection. Socializing usually revolves around gaining followers which do in fact follow you around. There are a lot of social actions you can carry out such as befriending, attacking, giving items, or giving order to followers.

Item collection, well clearly is self-explanatory. Some items are more useful than others. Items worth holding on to (except items needed to become a Shogun) are shields, helmets, swords or practically anything that has to do with battle. Other items are practically useless unless for gaining followers such as diamonds. Other random items are food such as sake and fish. Food randomly generates in secluded areas (such as dungeons or tunnels) is invaluable especially if you've just had a fight with another character.

Speaking of fighting, battles are quite simple and have an odd effect. Fighting is simple just "bumping" into the other character in combat mode until someone either runs away or dies. Those who die turn into an ugly pink skull like graphic. The funny thing is that no one really "dies" in the game. After awhile they get "reborn"...but there's a catch. They turn into "new characters". They still have the same name, but more than often a new character class. Peasant who die may be reborn into a samurai, vice versa. The game practically doesn't end unless you want it to end by either being a Shogun or die in the process.

The game also comes up with a non-stop information board, similar to the stock market which gives information on everything that's happening in the game. If someone dies, you'll know about it. If someone is attacked, you'll know about it. Quite odd considering this is medieval Japan and mobile phones weren't created yet. Doh.

The graphics were an interesting touch to the game. It resembles many artistic Japanese drawings during that era which really helped big time in creating the medieval Japan atmosphere.

The Bad

Plot. None actually, although regardless, it was strangely addictive. But it only get's addictive for only so many tries. The lack of plot and storyline makes the game practically a never ending arcade game rather than an adventure game.

The game needed some upgrades in character socializing. In many cases, it's easy to gain a follower. But it's also as easy for them to lose loyalty in you and serve someone else, something uncommon in a nation that "used" to believe in the honor code. You never really can keep track of your followers. Sometimes you don't even know if the next guy is a follower unless he or she is "befriending" you. Other times, I end up killing followers since they keep picking up my "stash".

The Bottom Line

Nice little gem. If you loved the novel, you'll love the game.