Bokosuka Wars (ボコスカウォーズ) is a 1983 action-strategy role-playing video game developed by Kōji Sumii (住井浩司) and released by ASCII for the Sharp X1 computer, followed by ports to the MSX, FM-7, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801 and NEC PC-9801 computer platforms, as well as an altered version released for the Nintendo Famicom console and later the Virtual Console service. It revolves around a leader who must lead an army in phalanx formation across a battlefield in real-time against overwhelming enemy forces while freeing and recruiting soldiers along the way, with each unit able to gain experience and level up through battle. The player must make sure that the leader stays alive, until the army reaches the enemy castle to defeat the leader of the opposing forces.
The game was responsible for laying the foundations for the tactical role-playing game genre, or the "simulation RPG" genre as it is known in Japan, with its blend of role-playing and strategy game elements. The game has also variously been described as an early example of an action role-playing game, an early prototype real-time strategy game, and a unique reverse tower defense game. In its time, the game was considered a major success in Japan.
Release[edit | edit source]
Originally developed in 1983 for the Sharp X1 computer, it won ASCII Entertainment's first "Software Contest" and was sold boxed by them that year. One of the judges at that contest was musician Haruomi Hosono, member of pioneering electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra. 
LOGiN Magazine's November 1984 issue featured a sequel for the X1 entitled New Bokosuka Wars with the source code included. With all-new enemy characters and redesigned items and traps, the level of difficulty became more balanced. It was also included in Tape Login Magazine's November 1984 issue, but never sold in any other form.
Plot[edit | edit source]
In the later Nintendo Famicom (NES) console version (and in turn the Virtual Console version), King Suren's forces have been captured and turned into trees and rocks by King Ogereth. King Suren has to release his warriors from trees and rocks, and defeat King Ogereth's forces. The allies coming from trees and rocks only appear in the NES console version.
In the earlier X1, MSX and PC computer versions, however, the player starts with a complete army and may gain some extra knights by freeing them from prison cells, not from trees or rocks. There are no soldiers turned into objects in the original computer versions.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
The player can control three chess-like units: the King, Knight, and Pawn. Pressing the D-Pad will move King Suren and his army in the desired direction. Captive soldiers are freed using a knight to break the gates in front of them. In the NES version, the player starts the game with only King Suren at 597m, and acquires more allies by bumping against trees, cacti, rocks, and walls using King Suren, which will restore them to their normal form.
Throughout the world of Bokosuka there are obstacles only certain characters can pass. The gates in which Soldiers are locked can only be broken by Knights. Death tiles will kill all characters except Soldiers who will remove them when they step on them. The walls at 500m, 400m, 300m, and 200m can only be broken by King Suren.
When one unit collides with another, a battle takes place. The tile will change to an icon of crossed swords and a then a B (for battle). The victory is automatically calculated by the computer based on the difference between the offensive strengths of the units.
If King Suren dies, the game ends, announcing "WOW! YOU LOSE!". When King Suren succeeds in defeating King Ogreth, the game ends with "BRAVO! YOU WIN!"
The Japanese instruction manual contains the lyrics "Onward, Bokosuka" (すすめボコスカ) to the peculiar game music, written by the programmer himself.
References[edit | edit source]
- Bokosuka Wars (translation), Nintendo
- Dru Hill: The Chronicle of Druaga, 1UP
- Gems In The Rough: Yesterday's Concepts Mined For Today, Gamasutra
- Bokosuka Wars at Allgame via the Wayback Machine
- Jeremy Parish (Aug 01, 2008). Famicom 25th, Part 17: Live from The Nippon edition. 1UP.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-01
- Bokosuka Wars, GameSpot