Capcom is responsible for Destiny of an Emperor, a unique and entertaining blend of traditional RPG with strategic elements. While the game is an 8-bit RPG at its core, what with random battles, squatty sprites and the like, the role-playing in motion is like nothing else on the NES.
Your party initially consists of three Chinese generals, but as the game progresses, you recruit other generals. All in all, there are 200 generals to collect, although you can only have 75 of them in your party altogether, and only six in your battling party.
In the first two towns you find three generals, so the “collecting” begins early. Certain generals are better at fighting, while others are better at Tactics; one general should always be your Tactician. As you level up, your Tactician learns new tactics for other generals to implement when you battle.
One person fights at a time, as per normal in classic RPG. An option called “All-Out,” however, turns each battle into a free-for-all. Unlike other RPGs which have useless “Auto Fight” features, “All-Out” is useful and can be a quick way to gain experience. Another nice touch: each general’s Hit Points is the size of their army. Let’s say General Lui Bei takes 14 damage. In actuality, 14 of Lui Bei’s men have been killed.
Destiny of an Emperor is occasionally obtuse. It’s hard to know whether a general you’ve recruited is a solid fighter or not until you’ve taken him out in some battles. Luckily, you can “fire” generals, so if one guy’s not pulling his weight, he’s left to fend for himself. Sometimes they’ll even come back to fight you, which is awesome! It’s also hard to know what items to buy for which general. You especially don’t want to buy items for a sucky general if you’re just going to kick them out later.
Destiny of an Emperor’s story is loosely based on Hiroshi Motomiya’s manga, “Tenchi wo Kurau.” The latter was based on “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” one of the most popular and epic Chinese novels of all time. The story is intense, but it’s the tactics, general collecting, and aggressive battles that will keep you ensconced in ancient China. Destiny of an Emperor is a revolution.
PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Capcom GENRE: RPG/Strategy
RELEASE DATE: 05/19/89 – (JP), 09/1990 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: GB