Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Game 17: Destiny of an Emperor (NES) - What Is It Good For?

No, ironic would be if this time period were known as the "age of peace"
While the focus is still on getting to the next castle and defeating the next warlord, there were just enough side events for me to appreciate and stay interested. I've haven't gotten bored yet. Though, I'm still waiting for the game to get challenging.
Uh, who?
My next conquest was Yuan Shu. On the way I learned his castle's west gate was under construction (I'm not sure this matters, but I entered the castle from the west), Zhao Yun is one of the tigers (he was the guy at the bar that already had an employer), and someone named Shui Jing told me to seek out two expert strategists (but their names were changed to protect the innocent).

Yuan Shu wasn't too difficult. I learned afterwards that I already missed my chance to recruit Lu Bu by this point, but he would have defected at this battle anyway. Yuan Shu was about to run away from Guan Yu exacting justice, but Zhang Fei blocked his escape. He begged to let him go, but I couldn't overlook his atrocities. Unfy, source of all outside knowledge for the game, warned me that letting him go would abruptly end the game leaving me to repeat the combat.
Peace reigns until the next warlord
Heading north over the bridge I ran into Yuan Shao, Shu's more powerful brother. The battle disuaded me away from trying to head north; I figured I would run into him again. I found that wasn't the case after I retraced my steps from the beginning of the game and found no other route.
Who wouldn't be deterred after a defeat like this?
Retracing my steps gave me a bit of insight into Zhao Yun. His sister was kidnapped by Yuan Shao, and he was forced into servitude. I didn't make this connection while playing the game though. I haven't been doing well with recognizing the names; most of them all kind of blended together. Somewhere I bought a silver key for 4,000 gold. I wasn't really using it for anything else.
Oh, and I also found this trident thing...
Everyone not wielding the trident is doing about forty damage
Due to my fear of Yuan Shao I headed south to free the land of Jing Zhou. Liu Bei offered the choice of freeing that province or facing off with Shao. I figured the game was telling me to hold off. I'm not sure I would have made it without the trident and a bow I found soon after, but I managed to hold my own. In the second castle I saw a general's name I recognized from the intro, Huang Zhong. After he and his fellow general, Wei Yan, joined my ranks my power level increased by a fair margin.
All generals say, "we will serve you"
I received a warning in this castle to not trust governor Zho Fan of Gui Yang, which would have been very helpful if I knew the name of the castle or the man I spoke with. Luckily I'm naturally distrust full of a town full of brainwashed zombies that all repeat the same thing.
Yeah, right... why aren't you moving?
The constant battling was really starting to wear down on me. Was there really nothing else to do in the game? I started to feel bad for the virtual characters constantly at war.
That's a good question
At about this point my party reached the 1000 soldier mark, and had bows and swords, which were insanely powerful. I quickly tore through the remaining forces in Jing Zhou and brought peace to the region.
Until the next invasion
I guess everything will return back to normal now. It's hard to see what good I'm doing exactly since I don't know how the towns were before. Sure, I'm coming in to supposedly save an oppressed and grateful people, but only after completely slaughtering the opposition.
So why does it keep happening?
Who exactly is paying for the war I'm conducting?
Free? No, you have to pay me now
Still fearing the righteous hand of Yuan Shao, I headed further south. It turns out I jumped ahead of the intended story line. Shu, the next area, was still currently enjoying a time of peace. I also ran into a very power Lu Bu.
Can I interest you in a Gemsword?
With some luck I managed to get through the fight without any losses. Instead of getting an expected message that Lu Bu wanted to join I instead got a rather sad lament.
I'll bet he really didn't say this as he was dying
Feeling wiped out I headed back, but ran into a Pang Tong. This was a tough battle, and the first time one of my generals died without a full party wipe.
Hold on while I pick up my jaw
This was a shock, but I clearly had the upper hand. I could easily take him out next turn. I really hope I don't have to face this guy again.
Wan Fu? What's that do? Oh, full health... uhh
Yeah, this battle was getting scarier by the turn. I definitely am in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Some how I worked Pang Tong down again without another general falling.
Peace was already restored! Didn't you get the memo?
So, Pang Tong became the best strategist I've had for a long while. With Shu at peace I headed north to take care of Yuan Shao. The battles were a cake walk; however, I got stuck at another point where it would have been helpful to actually see the name of the person I was speaking to.

Uh, who are you? Let's just fight because I want to get past you
Well it turns out this was Zhao Yun. I had already saved his sister who gave me a letter to deliver to him, but not knowing this was he I didn't try to use the letter for about 10 minutes. Even then I didn't expect it to work.
Nah, I don't even know who you are
After defeating the soldiers in the castle beyond, and the in-town battle with some spies of Yuan Shao, I faced off against the man himself. He really didn't stand a chance. I had a party healing spell in addition to overpowered forces... like the game wasn't easy enough. Lu Bu made a surprise reappearance in this battle confirming my suspicion that I had advanced past the planned plot.
Enjoy this picture of the great wall as it's more interesting than the battle
With Shao out of the way, and Jing Zhou and Shu at peace, I returned to Liu Bei. He congratulated me. At the same time, one of the generals I was forced to travel with, Xu Zhe was told his mother was ill. He was headed to her side, while I was instructed to seek out Zhu Ge Liang, a doctor. I still don't understand the connection since I don't recall getting his help for the sick mother.
Who knew Cui Zhou Ping would actually come up in the plot again? Anyone remember who he was?
The random person who wasn't home at the beginning of the game was the key to finding this man. And so begins the wild goose chase from Zhu Ge Liang's house to the first town, back to this house, over to Nan Yang Castle, summon Liu Bei, and back to Zhu Ge Liang where he's taking an afternoon nap. The only way to recruit him is to not wake him up... and wait. Choosing 'no' causes the game dialogue to pause for about five seconds, not a normal occurrence.
Honestly, I kind of spaced out and thought the game might have froze
I got lucky; this apparently caused at least a few gamers to curse the developers. Even then Liang didn't join until I found my way back to Liu Bei. Visiting him revealed the land of Shu was now at war. Liu Zheng, relative to Liu Bei, was being attacked by the Han Zhong army.
Okay... Liu Bei, Yan Yan is a terrible warlord
The random battles in this area were often harder than the static ones; I made my way slowly because of that. I found a sword smith nearby that wanted ore from a mountain somewhere in Shu. It was located in a passage between the castle of the fifth tiger general, Ma Chao, and the next few castles that needed liberation before Shu would know peace once more.
What? But, I banged my head against a dungeon door to save him!
Like the other warlords, Liu Zheng fell quickly. I learned a tactic called Ji Mian, which nullifies all physical attacks. Wow is that thing overpowered. I hope the enemy never learns it... (ominous foreshadowing). With Shu at peace I returned to the sword smith only to find the Yellow Scarves had and stolen them.
And you even named them: Bo Ye, Nu Long, Qing Long, Qing Guang, and Wan Sheng sound so cool
I'm not really sure where I'm supposed to find the Yellow Scarves, so I headed back to consult Liu Bei. We found out that peace is really boring. So boring that Sun Ce and Cao Cao, leaders of the neighboring provinces Wu and Wei respectively, die of boredom. This happens after Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are sent away from the party to govern over different parts of Jing Zhou.
Yeah, sounds like boredom
Same; the assassin was bored, hence killed by boredom
Well, peace was fun while it lasted all of two minutes. I'm sure the timeline is rushed for the game, but they could have drawn this out a bit longer. It's time to unite the generals once again, but before we get there I have two slots to fill. Luckily I've been recruiting generals at the drop of a hat. I decide on Yan Yan (yes the general I previously dissed), and some other guy who doesn't matter since he'll be replaced next.
Peace reigns... no, sorry; more war!
Sessions Time: 7h07m (Total Time: 13h12m)


  1. While I am totally lost on the story here. I must commend you for some of the better captions for the screenshots I've seen here in a while. This has been my favorite post about this game yet. I don't think I can attempt to understand what the hell is going on here with all the characters but can definetly enjoy your humorous take on the events.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Even I have a hard time following all the characters and names of places as I'm playing. I think these posts have also taken the longest of all games as I try to wrap my brain around all the names and decide who's important. I've left out more than half of the names of random generals and castles/towns I've run across.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. Just imagine the book; it has nearly 1,000 unique characters and many locations, and they decided to cram all that into an NES game. The game also gives little back story behind all but the main cast. I think what I find most confusing is how people and places have (at least for me) very similar sounding names. I could be wrong, but places like Shu and Jing Zhou seem like they could be people's names. Like at the very beginning I was confused if I was going to Xu Zhou to meet Tao Qian or I was going to Tao Qian to meet Xu Zhou.