Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
The four legendary heroes of the Three Kingdoms swore to fight and die together as brothers as they threw themselves into some of the most epic military skirmishes in history.
● Title: 天地を喰らう ● Genre: Action ● Release Date: 1994.06.17 ● Developer: NEC AVENUE ● Publisher: NEC ● Media: Super CD-ROM² ● System Specific: PC-ENGINE
This is a very late and straightforward conversion of the CAPCOM arcade hit 「TENCHI WO KURAU」from 1989.
The game whose title translates as 「DEVOUR THE HEAVEN AND EARTH」is based on the eponymous 4 volume manga series by HIROSHI MOTOMIYA. The manga itself is an adaptation of the Chinese epic novel 「ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS」.
■THE STORY OF TENCHI WO KURAU
『When power centralizes for too long, it always splits. However, disrupted power is doomed to be reunited.』
It has been 400 years since LIU BANG, the founder of the HAN Dynasty, established the country. However, the HAN Dynasty was about to face their biggest challenge... 「The Yellow Turban Rebellion」.
Under the leadership of the sorcerer ZHANG JIAO. The rebellious taoist sect known as 「The Yellow Turbans」have unleashed「The Way of Heaven」military campaign against the HAN Empire.
Instigating the general population to revolt against the HAN Dynasty - the rebels have captured or set ablaze most of the provinces in northern China.
「We swear we will die together as brothers even though we were born separately.」
It was during this time of turmoil that the warrior LIU BEI, descendant of Emperor JING of the HAN Dynasty, called to raise a volunteer army that would crush the rebellion.
Obtaining the financial backing for his army from two wealthy horse merchants, LIU BEI was able to gain the loyal support of the legendary Chinese generals ZHANG FEI and GUAN YU, as well as that of the promising young warrior ZHAO YUN.
Swearing to be brothers until the yellow turbans lie completely defeated. The legendary heroes riding on horseback from the Three Kingdoms are about to make history.
■PLAYER CHARACTER INFORMATION
劉備 (LIU BEI)
An admirable warlord and the leader of the Three Brothers. He has very high HP and very low AP. His weapon is the broad sword.
関羽 (GUAN YU)
Despite his big size and intimidating appearance, this great general is as educated as he is well-mannered. He has both high AP and HP. His weapon is the guan dao.
張飛 (ZHANG FEI)
A fearless warrior who desires nothing more than to be in the battlefield slaying enemies with his snake halberd. He has the highest AP but also the lowest HP.
趙雲 (ZHAO YUN)
An exceptional young warrior who has sworn loyalty to LIU BEI. He has moderate AP and high HP. His weapon of choice is the spear.
諸葛亮 (ZHUGE LIANG)
A master strategist and personal military advisor of LIU BEI. He will be notifying you whenever your character is ready to level-up.
One of the best aspects of TENCHI WO KURAU is the awesome artwork style courtesy of its source material. The character portraits in particular are nicely animated with the facial expressions changing accordingly to your performance in-game.
▲The standard 「COOL」character expression →「GRRRーーー！！」Holding down the attack button gradually increases the power gauge → 「KYAHー!」Release the attack button to unleash the powerful 「VACUUM STRIKE」attack.
TENCHI WO KURAU was a big hit for CAPCOM back in 1989. The game managed to distinguish itself from other games in the genre thanks to its horseback fighting mechanics -- which work a bit similar to the company's previous shooting game 「SIDE ARMS」-- as well as for the large amount of enemies the player had to face on screen at once.
Together, these two features gave the game a more genuine 「warfare」feeling in accordance with its historical setting.
This PCE edition offers two modes of play : 「PC-ENGINE」 and 「ARCADE」. Although, honestly, I don't know why the programmers even bothered to provide us with such an option when both modes are practically the same.
The only -- ridiculously lame -- difference between these two modes; is that the PCE mode lets you restart up to 2 times on the same spot where you died, while the ARCADE mode will have restarting from the beginning of the round. That's it.
In the same manner, the game has both a PC-ENGINE and ARCADE 「VOICE MODE」with the default PCE mode featuring new and improved voice overs.
As it was to be expected NEC AVENUE had to make some relevant quality concessions in order to accommodate an arcade CPS-1 game on the more technically limited PCE.
Unlike its parent arcade version which features 2-player simultaneous action, the PCE edition is strictly a single player affair.
The graphical detail was also toned down considerably, and the amount of enemy units that can be present on screen at once has been reduced by about 10% (probably to avoid slowdown issues).
But probably the biggest sacrifice of this conversion is the loss of the cool situational special attacks called「Tactics」that are present in the arcade version.
Disappointingly, NEC AVENUE has replaced these with the CAPCOM trademark 「MEGA CRASH」screen bomb attack, which in the arcade version was only the bonus screen bomb attack that you'd get when continuing.
The PCE edition also has a noticeably easier difficulty level than the arcade version. The enemy bosses in particular are nowhere near as fierce as they were in the arcade.
And because of that, the lack of a selectable difficulty setting definitely comes as very disappointing.
■THE END... OR IS IT?
The traitor DONG ZHUO has been slain, and alongside him, his short-lived reign of terror has come to an end. However...
The collapse of the HAN dynasty and the death of DONG ZHUO have left a serious power vacuum in the country.
With the government in disarray, and chaos reigning the provinces -- A mysterious character is about to stage his raise to power. It seems yet another war for supremacy is about to begin...
By the way, back in 1989 players became ecstatic when the ending screen made the big announcement that TENCHI WO KURAU IIwas 「COMING OUT SOON」. However, 3 long years would have to pass before the sequel was finally released on the game centers, plus another 3 years for the 32-bit home conversion.
So good thing that CAPCOM specified that it was 「coming out soon」, don't you think? Otherwise we would probably still be waiting for it.
Overall, I think NEC AVENUE could have done a much better job with this conversion. Still, very much like their other awful convesion of 「STRIDER HIRYU」, I think the biggest problem with this game is when it was released.
If the game had come out around 1990 or so, then probably its flaws would've been easier to overlook, but by 1994 it was just too late for that.
Releasing such a sub-standard conversion of an 80's arcade game at that point in time when people were already getting ready for the next-generation made no sense at all.