Dynasty Warriors (video game)

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Dynasty Warriors
Dynastry Warriors cover.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s)Omega Force
SeriesDynasty Warriors
  • JP: February 28, 1997
  • NA: June 30, 1997
  • PAL: December 1997
Mode(s)Single player, two player

Dynasty Warriors[1] is a weapon-based fighting video game developed by Omega Force[2] and published by Koei. It was released in 1997 for the PlayStation for all territories. Unlike the later installments in the series which are hack and slash, Dynasty Warriors is a "one-on-one" fighting game.

Contemporary gaming journalists noted Dynasty Warriors for being a startling departure from the strategy games that Koei was known for.[3][4][5] Upon release, it was greeted as a success in this regard by most critics.


All combat is weapon-based, similar to the Soulcalibur series.[6] Rather than having a single all-purpose block button, as in most fighting games, the player must parry the enemy's strikes by executing their own attack at the same height with the correct timing, leaving the enemy vulnerable to attack.[6] The stages are in morning, noon, and dusk.

Name and series[edit]

In Japan, the game was released as Sangokumusou. With the next installment in the series a departure in genre and style from the original Dynasty Warriors, it was entitled Shin Sangokumusou in Japan. Nevertheless, in Europe and North America, the game was released as Dynasty Warriors 2, leading to a discrepancy in title numbers that has continued ever since.


The game features 16 characters, six of whom are hidden by default. These characters are mainly historical figures from the Three Kingdoms era of China,[5] though two characters, Nobunaga and Toukichi, are figures from the Warring States period of Japan; two of them only appear in the first game and Koei's Samurai Warriors. The characters are not grouped into factions, as each have individual slots similar to most fighting games; for convenience, characters are listed according to the factions they are accorded to in later games.

Shu Wei Wu Other
Guan Yu Cao Cao Lu Xun Diao Chan
Zhang Fei Dian Wei Sun Shang Xiang Lu Bu
Zhao Yun Xiahou Dun Taishi Ci Nobunaga
Zhuge Liang Xu Zhu Zhou Yu Toukichi

Bold denotes default characters.


Dynasty Warriors was first unveiled at the November 1996 PlayStation Expo, shocking attendees familiar with Koei's track record of historical simulation video games.[2] The character's animations were all created using motion capture.[5]


Aggregate score
Review scores
AllGame3.5/5 stars[8]
Game Informer9/10[11]
Game RevolutionB+[12]
Next Generation4/5 stars[4]

Dynasty Warriors was met with positive reception upon release. GameRankings gave it a score of 78% based on 7 reviews.[7] It was called "a fluid, masterful fighter... a breath of fresh air in a world of repetitive, eye-candied wannabes" by Game Informer[11] and "an intriguing mix of Tekken-like polygonal fighters, a difficult but ultimately rewarding defense system, and a deep and complex backstory based on actual, historic figures" by Next Generation.[4] Most critics said it was roughly on par with its nearest competitor, Soul Blade,[10][11][13][4] though GamePro held that Soul Blade was clearly superior, elaborating that "the glaring lack of kick attacks cuts the fun in half."[15]

Critics widely remarked that the translation of the historical setting into a fighting game was surprisingly successful, offering players an experience that is painstakingly authentic and even educational.[10][11][13][4] Most also found the defensive system difficult to master but highly rewarding.[10][11][13][4] Crispin Boyer remarked in Electronic Gaming Monthly that "Dynasty Warriors lets those who like and those who dislike block buttons beat each other up in peace and harmony."[10]

The visual were also well-regarded, particularly the detail in the characters[10][13][15] and the smoothness of the animation.[10][11][15] However, many criticized the static, two-dimensional backgrounds,[10][13][4] though Next Generation appended that they were most likely a necessary trade-off for the smoothness of the frame rate.[4]


  1. ^ Dynasty Warriors (三國無双, Sangokumusō, The Three Kingdoms Musō)
  2. ^ a b "PlayStation Expo: Sony Shows Off in Japan". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. pp. 14–6.
  3. ^ "All Format Previews: Winback". Gamers' Republic. No. 5. October 1998. p. 58.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Breaking Away". Next Generation. No. 32. Imagine Media. August 1997. p. 115.
  5. ^ a b c "Dynasty Warriors: Block Buttons Abound in Koei's First Fighter". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 94. Ziff Davis. May 1997. p. 104.
  6. ^ a b "NG Alphas: Sangoku Musou". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. pp. 89–90.
  7. ^ a b "Dynasty Warriors for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  8. ^ Ziegler, Adam. "Dynasty Warriors (PS) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  9. ^ Edge staff (April 1997). "Dynasty Warriors". Edge (43).
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Review Crew: Dynasty Warriors". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 96. Ziff Davis. July 1997. p. 52.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Dynasty Warriors". Game Informer (49). May 1997. Archived from the original on October 21, 1997. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  12. ^ Cooke, Mark (April 1997). "Dynasty Warriors Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Fielder, Joe (April 1, 1997). "Dynasty Warriors Review (PS)". GameSpot. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  14. ^ IGN staff (June 27, 1997). "Dynasty Warriors (PS)". IGN. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Dr. Zombie (July 1997). "PlayStation ProReview: Dynasty Warriors". GamePro. No. 106. IDG. p. 86. Archived from the original on February 15, 2005. Retrieved July 15, 2014. Full review appears only in printed version.

External links[edit]