Sangokushi Taisen DS
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|Sangokushi Taisen DS|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
Sangokushi Taisen DS (三国志大戦DS) is a video game for the Nintendo DS from developer Sega. The game utilizes a collectable card game mechanic for gameplay. The game supports Nintendo Wi-fi connectivity.
The game itself is based on the same collectible card arcade game in Japan, Sangokushi Taisen. The game itself is based on version 2 of the arcade version. Unlike most DS games, this game is held sideways, like Hotel Dusk: Room 215. This is due to the shape of the battlefield itself.
In addition, there are 5 special (EX) cards that are for Sangokushi Taisen DS only. Additionally, the game comes with a real special (EX) card of Ling Tong which can be played on the arcade version of Sangokushi Taisen 2.
The game is noted to have artworks from manga artist or game illustrators such as Clamp, Hiro Mashima, Masatoshi Kawahara, Megumu Okada, among others. Also, there are some LE (legend) cards in this game, based on different manga portraying the Romance of the Three Kingdoms era. These include Sangokushi by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, Tenchi wo Kurau by Hiroshi Motomiya, and Ryurouden Yoshito Yamahara.
The title for the game, literally translated from Japanese, is "Romance of the Three Kingdoms Wars DS". The characters and events depicted are based on the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The game should not be confused with the similarly titled series Sangokushi and Sangoku Musou/Shin Sangoku Musou. They are based on the same novel, but are released by Japanese publisher Koei.
The game itself uses the Nintendo DS touch screen. Movement in-game is done by moving the cards on the touch screen, and card behavior on the battlefield depends heavily on the card type. To turn a card sideways (usually for spell effects), you can press the directional pad left or right while highlighting the card.
This game is played one-on-one.
There are 5 modes:
- Story mode - Goes through the story of the Kingdoms of Wei, Shu, Wu and Others (Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao including the Southern Tribes known as Nanman)
- Challenge mode - Pits yourself against the computer for consecutive matches, has 4 difficulties
- Communication mode - Allows for local wifi matches, Nintendo Wi-fi Connection matches, unit type matches (a best of 5 game similar to rock-papers-scissors) and card exchanges
- Options - Change your deck, inspect the cards and weapons you have and other settings
- Tutorial - A tutorial teaching you on how to play the game
After each battle in Story, Challenge or Communication mode, you will receive a card in the game, which is randomly chosen. It is possible to have repeat cards. Also, the harder the difficulty in Challenge, the higher the chance of getting a rare card from the game.
Cards have 4 different levels of rarity: Common (cards with white edges), Uncommon (cards with black edges), Rare (cards with silver edges) and Super Rare (cards with gold edges). Liu Bei, Sun Quan and Cao Cao also have their own 'starter' cards that has a different design from the rest. Furthermore, the LE cards have their own designs and are extremely rare, even in the game.
In Sangokushi Taisen DS, the main objective of the game is to lay siege upon the enemy's castle with various generals deployed at the start of gameplay, along the way eliminating the enemy's generals. When one player's castle HP drops to zero, the opposing player wins the game. An alternative way to win would be to hold the game up to the end of 99 rounds (one round lasting between three to four seconds) with a higher castle HP value than the opponent. Interestingly, unlike most other RTS games, the game is not won merely by complete elimination of the opponent's generals, as generals can revive from time to time.
A "Slash" is basically a situation where a player's generals causes one of the enemy general's forces to reach zero through conflicts. A "Retreat" is the opposite of a "Slash", whereby a player's general retreats due to his or her forces reaching zero.
A retreated general takes a basic 35 real-time seconds to return to the battlefield (this amount of time is lessened by 1/3 if the general possesses the Revival ability), and another 10 seconds to return to the battlefield by emerging from his or her own castle. When a general is about to emerge from a castle, the enemy will be notified by noticing smoke clouds emerging from the player's castle.
8 orb limit
Each general in Sangokushi Taisen is assigned an orb rating of a minimum of one orb, to a maximum of three orbs, with most of the cards falling in anywhere in between. Additionally, particularly famous generals such as Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Guan Yu have multiple cards (and thereby different orb rating of cards) of the same name, thereby adding to gameplay variety. The orb number of each general is based on two factors: The general's strength and intelligence ratings, which determines the strength of his unit during offensives, and his unit's susceptibility to skill offensives respectively. The orb limit thereby allows for a minimum of three generals (in a 3-3-2 or 3 - 2.5 - 2.5 combination) and a maximum of eight (all one-orb generals) when maxed out, thereby bringing with such a feature, extreme varieties to gameplay styles.
Skills and morale bar
During a game, generals on the field can cast spells or execute special skills through use of a morale bar (the equivalent of mana energy when compared to other games). The morale bar (otherwise known as mana orbs) rises slowly, and has a cap on its accumulation depending on the number of factions/countries the player has selected his generals from.
For example, if the player uses an all-Shu combination of forces, he would possess, and is able to utilise, a maximum of 12 mana orbs. In contrast, a player using a mixture of forces from Shu and Wei can only utilise 9 mana orbs, and a player using a mix of forces from three or more factions/countries can only utilise 6 mana orbs.
Skills require anywhere between 3 to 7 mana orbs to use, and the strength and effects of these skills vary widely. The more commonplace skills such as "Strengthen", "High Speed" and "Long Range" strengths the generals for a short duration, and sometimes act as aids to the generals in their field of specialties. Less orthodox skills, the bulk of which comes from Swordsmen Generals, include "Flood", "Burning", and "Lovely Dance", and are usually offensive spells (and therefore damage calculated through comparing the skill-caster's intelligence rating and the affected enemy generals') or an effect that would last as long as the general remains on the battlefield.
A Single Combat
During the game, a scenario can occur in which two generals move towards the same spot simultaneously. The two generals that clash would be engaged in "A Single Combat", which basically means duelling.
In Single Combat, small bars either in the form of a small strip of blue or a thick block of yellow would form across the screen, and this is usually relative to the general's strength rating, and additionally, units with the "Chivalry" ability are more likely to possess thick yellow blocks. The players' task is to hit the bars as close to the tail end as possible without completely missing the strip (for small strips of blue) or just atop it (with thick yellow blocks). Depending on how the bars are struck, the result could be "Failed (失敗)", "Weak (弱)", "Strong (強)", "Very Strong (激)" or "Musou (無双)(unrivalled)". When the five strikes from both generals are matched against each other, a circle (denoting a stronger strike than the opponent's), a cross (a weaker strike) or a triangle (denoting a tie) could form. When one general has won more strikes than the opposing general, the opposing general is eliminated completely regardless of the amount of health he or she had prior to the duel. This system generally emulates how an actual duel between two generals of varying strength would result.
Special abilities are special characteristics pertaining to generals which give them added advantages or abilities, and which are not affected by enemy spells or statuses. A general can have up to a maximum of three Special Abilities, or have none at all.
Some of the Special Abilities are listed below:
- Revival (活): Revives in 2/3 of the time (i.e. 24 real-time seconds) after a retreat.
- Charisma (魅): Give the player 0.5 point of mana orb in the morale bar when the game start. For example when two cards with Charisma is presence, 1 mana orb is given to the player.
- Recruitment (募): The unit with recruitment can recover lost troops outside his castle when the unit is not in combat/moving/attacking. Very useful for spearman. Only available in ver 2.0 and onwards.
- Ambush (伏): Gives the general the ability to stay in a "hidden" mode at the start of the game, denoted by grey dots on the player's screen. The enemy will not be able to spot such a hidden troop until after one of his or her generals come into direct contact with an ambush or when the ambushing general arrives at an enemy fence or enemy castle.
- Chivalry (勇): Gain a thick yellow bar during "A Single Combat", and thereby an almost-guaranteed "musou".
- Fence (栅): Gain a wooden fence for placing during the start of the game. Can only be broken down by physically clashing with the fence.
- Link (連): Certain skills can be linked with characters who carry this ability. If the spell is cast, the distance between the caster and the linked character becomes part of the area of effect. Only available in ver 2.0 and onwards.
There are a total of 6 unit types in this game, namely:
- Cavalry - High movement speed and possesses the 'Rush' ability, which forms a wave after a certain amount of time spend galloping in the battlefield, and "rush strike" when a successful strike hits an enemy general. Wei has a lot of cavalry generals, and thereby a strong base of generals with high-speed skills that speeds up and strengthens the general for a short period of time. Strong against Bowmen.
- Spearmen - Medium-low movement speed with the 'spearhead' ability and the 'spear strike' attack. Is able to counter Cavalry 'rush' with its spearheads, and generally strong against Cavalry units. Shu generals are usually spear adepts, and most have an invincible all direction spear skill that forms a circular extension of the effective radius of their spear attacks.
- Bowmen - Medium movement speed, can shoot arrows at faraway enemies. Certain generals (especially Wu Generals) are adept at archery-based skills that can either paralyse the enemy generals' movements, add distance to its offensive range, or even shorten his/her own offensive range to gain a larger attack bonus. Effective against Spearmen.
- Swordsmen - Balanced basic unit type that does not have any advantages or disadvantages against other unit types, and usually possessing a more myriad variety of skills compared to the former three types.
- Siege Engine - Extremely slow movement speed but with high attacking power during siege. Like Swordsmen generals, Siege Engine generals possess little to no type-specific skills, but if any, such skills add speed to the Siege Engine's strength and movement speed.
- Elephant - Medium movement speed with the ability to push other unit types aside when charging. (only available from version 2.0 onwards) Nanman tribe generals are the only Elephant generals in the game. However, the more units an elephant pushes, the more damage it takes as a result.
There are 6 factions/countries in the game. The former three are the focus of the stories of the Three Kingdoms, while the latter three are minor forces featuring generals of either breakaway factions that were no longer central to the power struggle of the Three Kingdoms (such as Yellow Turbans, who were eliminated as a cohesive force at the beginning of the story), or characters who are not of great impact to the main Three Kingdoms storyline (such as the Ten Eunuchs, Hua Xiong, and Hua Tuo).
The factions are:
- Yuan (Combined forces of Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu)
- Liang (Combined forces of Ma Teng and Dong Zhuo)
- Others (Combined forces of Yellow Turban, the Nanman tribe (e.g. Meng Huo) and others)