October 21, 2011

[Game 006] Nobunaga's Ambition (NES - 1988) (SNES Remake)

The ailing daimyo lay on his elegant reed mattress trying desperately to suppress his wheezing and gasping.  The servants on hand looked fondly at their failing leader; a faint moistness glimmered at the edge of their eyes.  The doctor (best in the prefecture, they say!) stood solemnly at the bed side, his head tilted towards the floor.  The royal family surrounded the rest of the bed, muffled sobs occasionally escaping into the room.  The daimyo knew he had done well during his reign.  The people had plenty of rice available and the might of the military was known throughout Nippon.  He had seen his people through many hardships, both natural and man made.  The plagues and typhoons that had struck so many of his fiefs had never managed to kill the will of the great daimyo.  He had acquired a hefty amount of land during his ruling years; almost a third of the entire nation.  Now, as he took his last few breaths, the same thought looped around and around in his mind: "Not enough time... just not enough time."

As stated in the outline, some of the titles included are far more strategy-based than role playing.  This is the first one that fits that bill.  There are a few faint whispers of role play in Nobunaga's Ambition but I'm clearly grasping at straws here.  The main objective is the gold standard of strategy games conquer all territories in sight.  In this case, it means unifying Japan during the Warring States period (mid-16th century).  As was evident in actual history, this is much more difficult than one might first think.

The first attempt was not for all of Japan (which has 50 prefectures) but for a smaller area in the middle (17 prefectures).  Before I even had a chance to act in the first turn, I was attacked by a rival from the south.  Defeating him gave me his territory which was promptly attacked by the fief next to it and it was lost.  So when I finally had a chance to act, I was down about half my starting troops.  As per the manual, I went in to change the tax from 20% to 45%.  Apparently just setting the tax rate takes three months (the length of a single turn) because after it was set, the next season started and I was attacked and crushed.  Dayum.

That's what I get for the 25% tax hike.

This game is hard.  Wizardry hard, even.  Oh!  I know what happened!  During the Wizardry playthrough, when it was twisting and warping the fabric of reality around me, some of the difficulty must of leaked out and quantum jumped ahead into the next game.  It's the only rational explanation.  

Anywho, after about ten attempts or so, I finally managed to get beyond Year 1562.  It seems the beginning fief chosen has a significant impact on the early game.  Some places will always start off with a low amount of troops and be attacked right away.  The ones with higher amounts of troops do not get attacked and actually get a chance to build some infrastructure.  I appreciate that this is trying to be historically correct but then those loser nations should not be playable.  Taking a hint from history, Shen Nung took the throne of Oda Nobunaga himself.  Knowing which nations were weak, Daimyo Nung attempted an early attack in hopes of securing a second fief right off the bat.  The defending soldiers fell beneath the crushing weight of the will of Shen as his army battled with the fire of a million Canis Majoris'.

But the superior mustache was
actually the deciding factor.

The early victories were overshadowed by a series of defeats starting in 1570.  Soon Nung's sorta vast empire was crumbling about him and he was forced to commit harakiri.  There are still a few beginning fiefs that have not been tried yet so perhaps one of those will enable Nung to achieve his domination.