PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Sega (according to Moby Games, TOSE developed Sangokushi Retsuden, but I couldn’t find evidence of that anywhere else)
RELEASE DATE: 04/27/91 – (JP)
If I’m really going to complete The Sega Does Journey, I’ll have to learn Japanese. Or, alternately, find a writer who knows Japanese and is willing to review Japanese games for the site. I always forget this fact until a Japanese game with no English translation comes along and reawakens my ignorance. Sure, games like Mahjong Cop Ryuu: Shiro Ookami no Yabou and Zan Yasha Enbokyoku are few and far between now. The bulk of the Mega Drive, Game Gear, Master System, and Sega CD output are easy enough to understand, thankfully. Once I hit the Saturn, however, my Japanese comprehension skills need to be stronger, or I’ll have to leave behind the console’s dozens, if not hundreds of visual novels. The latter is not an option.
This brings us to today’s game! Sangokushi Retsuden: Ransei no Eiyuutachi is a Sega-published and developed strategy title that, unfortunately, I can’t play because the kanji runneth over. For those wondering, yes, I did click around on options, hoping I would get somewhere. Strategy games in other languages are notoriously difficult to navigate, though, and my efforts proved unsuccessful.
In lieu of my own insights, I’ve compiled information about the game from other sources, like Giant Bomb, Sega Retro, and Moby Games. Thanks in advance to these sites for their research.
FROM SEGA RETRO: “Sangokushi Retsuden: Ransei no Eiyuutachi (三国志列伝 乱世の英雄たち) is a 1991 simulation game by Sega released in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where it was called San Guo Zhi Lie Zhuan: Luan Shi Qun Ying (三國志列傳 亂世群英). Whether or not the game has any connections to Koei, who makes the most popular games based around China’s Three Kingdoms time periods, is unknown.”
FROM GIANT BOMB: “Sangokushi Retsuden: Ransei no Eiyuutachi (“Romance of the Three Kingdoms Biographies: Heroes of a Troubled Time”) is a menu-driven strategy simulation game modeled after Koei’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms series and set during the same conflict. It was developed and published by Sega themselves exclusively for the Japanese Sega Mega Drive. The goal of the game is to unite China under the player’s rule through warfare and diplomacy with neighboring kingdoms. It was never localized into English.”
FROM MOBY GAMES: “Sangokushi Retsuden is a turn-based strategy game set in Three Kingdoms-era China. The game takes place on one large map representing the whole of China, which features numerous strongholds held by different factions and many strategic and geographic features.
The player must give orders to each of their generals, such as to move, attack, or retreat, as well as allocate resources such as money and food as necessary. Individual generals will level up as their experience increases. Battles between generals are presented as side-view action sequences.
The game features three scenarios, beginning in 189, 200, and 215CE, multiple difficulty settings, and multiple commanders to choose from for each scenario. Up to three players can play simultaneously, each controlling a different faction.”
Finally, the following clip might be the only video on Youtube to feature gameplay from Sangokushi Retsuden… Cheers to Retro Gamer Enthusiast for posting this clip.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my plan is to revisit games like Sangokushi Retsuden once I can understand them. In the meantime, today we learned that Sega once tried to take a piece of Koei’s lucrative strategy-sim pie. Sangokushi Retsuden might be a poorly developed ripoff (or “homage”) for all I know, but the box art is beautifully illustrated and the soundtrack slaps. Good enough for now.