Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dynasty Warriors (Playstation, 1997)

Today I'm looking at the genesis of one of the more popular beat-em-up series' of the past decade and a half or so. The very first Dynasty Warriors is a cult 2.5D Playstation fighter, and bears little resemblance to the badass 3D games that make up the rest of the series and are far more well-known. For this reason, it's worth taking a look at.

Koei is known for making games about the Three Kingdoms Era and... uh...

PSX-era FMV intro! It's your standard fighting game fare. Here's Zhang Fei. The characters bear a pretty strong resemblance to the way they look in the later games.

Character select! The Three Kingdoms of ancient China are all represented here. From Shu: Zhao Yun, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei. From Wei: Xiahou Dun, Dian Wei, Xu Zhu. From Wu: Zhou Yu, Lu Xun, Taishi Ci. The tenth character is the only neutral one, Diao Chan.

I doubt there are any other unlockable characters in this game, so it's pretty basic and limited. While Zhao Yun is the one that the series always pushes as the hero archetype, I never really play as him in any of these games.

Let's see what Diao Chan has to offer. In the later games, she's quite the scrumptious human lollipop. Take, for instance, Dynasty Warriors 8.



This game? Err... not so much. Huh.

I think I'll choose Guan Yu for this game. I was hoping to play as another of Shu's Five Tigers, but he's an unfortunate omission? I'm talking about...

...Ma Chao. Or as I like to call him, THE MA CHAO MANE!


This is a very basic fighter. Not much to it. It's clearly inspired by Tekken, with badass music and loud announcer voices. Not really sure I'm down with it.

Guan Yu wields a spear, and reach seems to be everything in this game. I can easily keep foes at bay with it. The actual combat is fairly slow-paced compared to Tekken, perhaps due to the involvement of weapons. It just feels ponderous.

The game has you battle through the fighters from the other two kingdoms. Since I went with a Shu guy, I go through Wu's fighters, then Wei's. Wonder what happens if you pick Diao Chan. Does she go through all nine of the others?

Speaking of which, here she is wailing on Guan Yu's man-parts with fierce strikes.

Get up, Guan Yu!

Here's Xu Zhu of Wei, who barely changes throughout the series.

"LET'S SEE YOU DANCE, SUCKA, YOU GOT NOTHIN ON ME" says Guan Yu before stroking his luxurious beard.

Dian Wei is a true badass, and this game is no exception. Despite being a massive axe wielder, he has the graceful stance of a pugilist.


Xiahou Dun, team captain for the Wei trio, bears little resemblance to his later incarnations.

He's also the most difficult fight in the game, and the only one to take me several tries. Not sure why.

I eke out a win and move on. With the battles set to last one round, the game flies right by. I got through all of it in about ten or fifteen minutes.

After beating all of the standard characters, you fight the head honcho of the rival kingdom. Not sure if this guy is possible to select. I'm guessing Cao Cao is the second-to-final boss for pretty much everybody, unless you choose a Wei character.

Guan Yu wins again with his superior reach. Easier fight than Xiahou Dun.

But wait! After all of that, the true final boss is the man without a country. Do not pursue Lu Bu.

The fiercest warrior in ancient China is no pushover. I wonder what these guys would have thought had they known they'd eventually be characters in video games two millenia later.

Upon winning, we get a fairly generic ending that might be the same for every character. Guan Yu looks out over the land, which I'm assuming he is now the ruler of.

Guan Yu then goes through an odd metamorphosis, becoming...

...Emperor Guan Yu, I guess.

He then went on to be God-King of Asia and have several heirs, including DW8's...

...Guan Yinping and her legs.

"Do the creep! AHHH!"

I stand corrected, I didn't finish the game in 10-15 minutes... I finished the game in six and a half minutes.

Well, that was quite underwhelming. Good thing they completely overhauled the way the series works for Dynasty Warriors 2, or I imagine this series wouldn't have lasted very long.

Other Koei posts~!

I lose Samurai Warriors 2
I win Samurai Warriors 2
 Warriors Orochi


  1. The character profiles are so PS1 Fighter it's scary.
    The jump between this and 2 is even bigger than the one between MM1 and 2. Great adaptation. This wouldn't have lasted as a lesser Tekken.

  2. Koei's actually done a ton of strategy games based around non-Three Kingdoms stuff too.

    There is Cao Cao and Lu Bu, but I don't think Liu Bei and Sun Quan are in this even as bosses.

    Guan Yinping > Dynasty Warriors 1