Friday, January 6, 2012

Sword of the Samurai

This is my first post so bear with me.

    One of my all time favorite games, a game I still play to this day called Sword of the Samurai by Microprose made in 1989.

This is how Japan really looks like from space
      Sword of the Samurai takes place in 16th Century Feudal Japan, Your goal in Sword of the Samurai is to become a Shogun which if you didn't know what a Shogun is, it basically means you are a political leader and military general of Japan. You are just below the emperor in status. You start out in Sword of the Samurai as a Lowly Samurai vassel to any of the 48 provinces. Each their own clan with it's own unique warlord. Each Province has a set group of Four "Stats"  at varying levels such as Honor Three or Land Six it goes up to 7 being the maximum. 

You can choose one stat at your character creation to focus on and then pick which province best influences that stat or improves the ones you didn't pick from when you create your character these include Honor, Land, Samurai, Generalship, and Swordsmanship. Samurai being the only stat that technically isn't a stat considering it varies throughout the game depending on how often you subjugate your peasant population or have peasants up rise and try to take their land back.
Stats Shown here under assests

       Now in your journey to become the shogun, there are several things you can do to increase your 4 stats, there is a duality to this: honorable or dishonorable either way you can reach your goal. You choose which is the most fun, I think we can all agree dishonorable is the path we all want to walk in a game like this. There are several ways to be dishonorable such as going into your rivals manor stealing his family sword or even kidnapping his heir and holding him for ransom and in likely cases leaving a fresh present on his pillow as you skulk away undetected laughing to yourself at your enemies dismay as you join him for tea in the morning. This combination can get you far. however there is a more simple solution, go into the lords manor and assassinate him easy peasy. This can also be done if you are in the highest favor for the next position in Sword of the Samurai. 

 I have your son and you are none the wiser muhahaha

      There are several honorable things to do as well which you can usually find in your daimyo's court such as killing bandits, or taking over border fortresses defended by warrior monks or courting a bride to name a few. You can continue your legacy forever literally which yes means you can have children and heirs to your dynasty. You also have the ability to retire if and when you get too old, leaving your land to your heir. as I said before this can go on forever. As far as I have seen I have a save game that is in it's Third lord.



           There are several different play modes which you usually run into on the main map
Surprise here is the main map
There are bandit maps which are like a top down action game. You can also do these quests for honor at the court. you get castle maps with several floors when attacking a lords manor where you run around shooting arrows and using your sword to vanquish your foes till you reach your goal of killing all enemies or stealing something or killing said lord. Also you yourself can be attacked by angry lords who wish to gain higher favor with the Daimyo they will send ninjas and try their hardest to kill or kidnap. It's pretty fun

These are the top down action maps at least two of them, there are more

Also there are duels with which you and one other fight to the death which can sometimes be a random samurai or even the lord if you run into him while sneaking around his house. The same can be said for a lord that                                                        is sneaking around your house.

Also there is generalship which I have to say is pretty simplified run your army into the other army is basically how you get that done but it's still a nice facet to the game that awards you more land if successful unless of course it's a peasant uprising and we know how those go this mode does become the main form near the end when you are trying to become the hamamoto as you have to destroy each clan or at least have them surrender to your clans dominance, having that much power is a wonderful feeling which you don't get from many games even today.

      If you have read this far then you are a saint but honestly here is my opinion on the game.
I absolutely love it and have for many years it's replay value is endless,The great many options you get to choose from like storming into a lords estate and kidnapping his children never gets old, or running around subjugating your peasants for more rice and thus more samurai, or even the simpler things in life such as getting married or marrying off your daughter to your daimyo for more favor oh the joys of parenthood. having children adds a lot of flavor and the fact that the game allows you the tools to create your own destiny is far ahead of it's time. However this game doesn't come without flaws. The strategy could have been a little more in-depth in unit allocation although for the time it was still good, On the main map there are several things they could have done better including making the icons mean something instead of just being there for show. As in if I want to walk to a village i should be able to do something there instead of always having to go to the daimyo for missions. but all in all this game is a wonderful addition to any ones library and should be played It's "infinate" replayability and numerous epic situations and moments make up for it's dated appearance and it's lack of depth in some areas I give it a 9.0 out of 10 for being a bad ass game still to this day that gives you an experience of feudal japan that is unforgettable.


  1. i hope i can get this on my psp! i love this post.

  2. looks really cool! mix of various styles, huh

  3. indeed I think that's why I love microprose so much they tended to make games more dynamic for the time then most