Saturday, 31 January 2015

GROW: Tenchi O Kurau II / Warriors of Fate

Review by Clint 'Thorn' Thornton

Platform(s)Sega Saturn
Release date(s)September 6, 1996
Genre(s)Beat 'em up
Mode(s)2 Player Co-op

So I was playing Battlefield 4 the other day and even though I am quite good at it when it comes to the online multiplayer universe I was getting very frustrated from making simple mistakes.  I would find myself trying to place a few M2 Slams but instead pressed the wrong button and would turn my laser sight off.  So I took a moment and looked down at the controller on my PS3 and realised that every single button had a use.  That's 12 buttons and that means 12 different functions.  No wonder I was getting frustrated, this wasn't a game I was playing, this was more of a memory test. 

Good news is that you don't need 12 buttons and to play online to have fun with your friends.  Now I am not saying I am against it as I do enjoy my multiplayer Battlefield but for me nothing can compete with a good old fashion  Beat 'em Up that only requires 2 buttons with a buddy sitting next to you whilst drinking a couple of beers.  And I reckon Tenchi O Kurau II / Warriors of Fate might just be a perfect example....

Normally I would tell you the background to the game but this is a little tricky as it is based around the very indepth historical novel 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' but here goes the abridged version.  An evil warlord Cao Cao has attempted to seize his neighboring lands but Liu Bei and his warriors do not want to let that happen so five warriors set out to conquer the evil tyrant and bring peace back to the lands.

Tenchi O Kurau II / Warriors of Fate is the sequel the 1989 game Dynasty Wars.

It's a Capcom Beat 'em Up, what more do I have to say:)  But I will as this is a damn fine game and it is definitely worthy of an appraisal.  You have to battle your way through nine levels whilst constantly taking on hordes of enemies who will attack you with swords, spears, arrows and even bombs.  You will also encounter a boss at the end of each stage and even a sub boss in some levels.  Warriors of Fate feels a lot like Final Fight in almost every way but still differs enough so you don't feel like you are playing a Final Fight clone.  It's just good clean (yet still violent) 2D brawling fun.

You have the choice of five different characters to choose from:
Please note that character profiles have been taken from the arcade English version but remain the same for the Sega Saturn.

Name: Guan Yu / Porter
Weapon: Bare Hand
Horse Mounted Weapon: Guan Dao
Special Ability: Flying Elbow
Dash Attack: Head Butt
Throw: Jumping Backbreaker

Name:  Zhang Fei / Kassar
Weapon:  Bare Hand
Horse Mounted Weapon:  Viper Halberd
Special Ability:  Crushing Punch
Dash Attack:  Sliding Shoulder Strike
Throw:  Jumping Vertical Suplex & Pile Driver

Name:  Zhao Yun / Subutai
Weapon:  Sword
Horse Mounted Weapon:  Spear
Special Ability:  Uppercuting Slash
Dash Attack:  Rushing Shoulder Strike
Throw:  N/A

Name:  Huang Zhong / Kadan
Weapon:  Bow & Dagger
Horse Mounted Weapon:  Bow & Halberd
Special Ability:  Triple shot & Uppercuting slash
Dash Attack:  Somersault
Throw:  Over the shoulder Powerbomb

Name:  Wei Yan / Abaka
Weapon:  Katana
Horse Mounted Weapon:  Katana
Special Ability:  Flash kick
Dash Attack:  Sliding elbow
Throw:  Rotating power slam

It may not be quite the graphical achievement of Dungeons & Dragons but it still looks fantastic and  is better than most games that were built from the CPS1 as it was built off the CPS Dash which was an updated CPS1 board.

Although there might not be any giant bosses to awe at, all the sprites are well drawn and fluently animated.  Most of the stage environments are static but there are a couple with some really nice fire and water effects going on around you to help liven things up.  Overall the color pallet of the environments tends to stick to the brown, green and blue shades but the backgrounds are still well detailed and there is plenty to look at as you progress through the stages.

THE CPS Dash board did have updated audio compared to the original CPS1 and you can most certainly appreciate the audio in this game.  The music itself is very cinematic and has more of a 'movie score' sound then your typical video game music.  It almost has a John Williams orchestral sound to it and is something you would expect to hear in Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  The only thing I can fault it on is the stereo separation, it has a fairly strong mono sound but I can't be too negative on it as that is the way the CPS Dash sound was designed using the Q Sound technology.

The sound effects are all there, everything from the sound of you beating the crap out of your enemy to the grunts they make as they fade away in to death.

Ahhh....  The simplicity of arcade controls, Attack and Jump.  It's all you need for when you embark on this great adventure.  Like other Beat 'em Ups you can use a combination of these controls like the 'attack and jump' button at the same time to deal out large amounts of damage, but be warned this is the type of attack that drains your life at the same time if you make contact, so use it wisely.  The Saturn version does utilize the 'C' button as a single button to replace the Attack and Jump simultaneously but it's nice to know Capcom left in the original arcade controls too.

As I said in the beginning of this review, this is  the type of game you want to play with a buddy over a few beers.  The game itself will take an hour to an hour and a half to finish and for me that is spot on.  Tenchi O Kurau II / Warriors of Fate might not be as popular as some of the other Capcom Beat 'em Ups but in my opinion is right up there with Final Fight and very close to arcade perfect and deserves to be played through.

Until next time...  Stay Retro


  1. this game looks great... there are so many Saturn games I don't even know about that look so good.

  2. This is definitely one of the best Beat 'em Ups for the Saturn. Give it a go if you can!

  3. I really enjoyed the original, so time to check it out.