Bandit Kings of Ancient China

Koei - Water Margin -Bandit Kings Of Ancient China

Koei - Water Margin - Bandit Kings Of Ancient China - Screenshot

I spent my entire last Saturday recalling the olden days’ enjoyments.

My neighbour was one of the earliest IT pioneers who started since the Dos command lines days. It was before the release of Windows NT, the Dos game “Bandit Kings of Ancient China” was released. You could easily store the entire game inside a floppy disk of 1.44 megabytes storage, and at that time it was already a huge size, for the secondary storage device, harddisk, could not even hold more than one gigabytes of file.

The game started me off with the liking over strategy games. Having to build up own nation and go for war required more effect than any other type of games, and thus, more satisfying. The availability of saving the game to resume in future meant that the achievements could be kept.

“Bandit Kings of Ancient China” was based on the Chinese Novel “Water Margin” (水浒传 in Chinese). It was one of my favourite stories in the past and I had even bought a series of its books (five books). The story began with the uprising of an evil minister called “Gao Qiu” (direct translated as “tall ball”). In the corruption of the dynasty, many capable men were forced to become bandits, and a hundred and eight heroes eventually gathered at Liangshan Po. Their leader, Song Jiang, caused all their deaths by his determination to receive amnesty from the emperor. Similar to “Romance of the three Kingdoms”, the story of “Water Margin” ended with sorrow.

The game play as taken from Wikipedia: Players start out in a remote prefecture and must expand his base by acquiring additional prefectures, recruit troops and heroes to lead them. The goal is to defeat Gao Qiu by attacking Gao Qiu’s base which cannot take place until emperor’s edict is received. Each turn player has several options. Some of which are Hunt, recruit troops or a hero to lead them, improve the land, and rest. Heroes have loyalty which can be increased by giving them gold. If the loyalty of a hero that you have recruited becomes too low, the hero may betray you. To prevent this, player may swear brotherhood with heroes provided their loyalty is high enough, 95 or higher. Depending on the game level, the number of sworn brothers is limited to 9 (easiest level) or less. Once a hero becomes a brother, loyalty becomes irrelevant and he will never betray you. Brothers/sisters are also extensions of you. Each turn, you may perform one action and likewise, you brothers/sisters can do the same essentially providing you with additional actions per turn. Battles can be resolved automatically or in tactic mode where terrain, a unit’s power, supply, and weather needs to be considered. Tactical battle is very similar to Dynasty Tactics game without the tactics element. There is also a turn limit in the game. It ends if the player is unable to obtain an imperial edict and remove Gao Qiu before 1127 A.D.

Graphics were not their forte for in the past, technology was never as good. However, the designers and programmers were brilliant to come out with this wonderful game.

I had been trying to find this game since as long as before Windows XP was out. I did manage to dig out the game using Nintendo emulator but the graphic totally sucked and navigation was kind of disastrous. Finally, I decided to try using Dos emulator and it worked.

Anyway, I could see the difference between an adult and a small kid’s ways of playing, it was the current me versus the “primary school” me. I started off with building up economics and cultivation for long term plan, whereas during my kiddy days, I spent so many turns hunting for food. The logic was to plan for long term and not just satisfying the current need.

Some people may simply think, “If you don’t have ample time to do your work, why do you still play game?”

I suppose weekends are supposed to be spent enjoying.

I need to relax more.

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