Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Destiny of an Emperor", NES, 1989

Could this truly take the cake for the wordiest video game ad ever? Even ads for Infocom games (not that I've found any in comic books) dwelled less on the prose, and those games were entirely composed of it!
Conquering this game will take you centuries.
Over 18,000 years ago many of the men in China dedicated their life to the study of philosophy. And then applied it to a war to end all wars.
The country was plagued by a bandit hoarde known as the Yellow Scarves. Who amassed a power no one had yet to conquer. Fact is, no one could assemble a force strong enough to destroy them.
In Destiny of an Emperor, your challenge is to change the course of history forever. For the good of China. And the world.
This full scale, role playing adventure game for the Nintendo System will put you deep in the throes of that war.
The action is as real as it gets thanks to the discovery of authentic documents detailing the era. Characteristics of 180 warlords have been simulated based on the renowned text of Sanquozhi Yanyi.
Even 20th century strategists are destined to spend hours, even days on each game. And when you take a break to philosophize on your next action (if you can pull yourself away) you can actually save up to three histories exactly where you've left off.
You can put yourself in the place of Liu Bei, dedicated to raising an army for the restoration of the dynasty. Or Guan Yu, an exceptionally skilled warrior, match for a thousand soldiers and worshipped as a god.
But no matter who you are, it will be hard to win the war against Zhang Jao, the deadly leader of the Yellow Scarve revels and founder of the Tai Ping sect. Not to mention the most feared Chinese warlord of all time, Lu Bu, destined to be a traitor because of his great strength and courage.
You'll use every strategic cell in your brain to fulfill your constant requirements for weapons, food and manpower. You'll give important commands that could mean your life, and the life of your armies. And in true Chinese tradition, you'll engage in battle again and again to defend your honor. An honor certified by an oath signed in blood.
When all is said and done, there will be room for only one Emperor. Whether or not that will be you is your destiny alone.
Aside from the order of magnitude error in the first paragraph (should be 1800 years, not 18 thousand), that's pretty historical stuff. The puissance of the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history for video gamers is heartening -- throw together enough (pseudo-)historical personages and you can approximate a soap opera... and add enough bloodletting to the soap opera and you have a free, public domain source from which to derive endless games, manga, TV shows and films. The only question is why this extremely slow-paced game was being advertised in a comic book. If memory serves correct, I have a friend (one of those "Art of War"-readers for a business context) who, as an adult, spent a week playing a single campaign of this game. Not exactly one for juvenile delinquents with low attention spans.