Codex Gamicus

Destiny of an Emperor is a traditional console role-playing game by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was originally released in Japan in 1989, with an English language localization released for the North American market in 1990.

Destiny of an Emperor is based on Hiroshi Motomiya's manga, Tenchi o Kurau, which follows the story of popular Chinese historical figure Liu Bei and his sworn brothers, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. This story is loosely based upon the events of Luo Guanzhong's dramatic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, itself based on historical events and battles which occurred during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China. A sequel to Destiny of an Emperor, Tenchi wo Kurau II, was released exclusively for the Japanese Family Computer.


Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu form a small militia to defend their village from Yellow Turban rebels, followers of the sorcerer Zhang Jiao. Liu Bei gathers peasants and farmers from nearby villages and camps, eventually defeating Zhang Jiao and his people. Tao Qian, the governor of the region, falls ill and requests that Liu Bei assume his position. Liu Bei hesitantly agrees, thus beginning the events depicted in the novel, albeit with significant alterations. Upon successfully completing the game, the player successfully unites China under the Shu Han banner.

Although the game loosely follows the events portrayed in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in many cases, the outcome is altered in Liu Bei's favour against the various other warlords of the period. Most of the deviations occur later in the game, particularly involving the invasions of the other ruling powers, the Kingdom of Sun Wu and the Kingdom of Cao Wei. The branching storyline allows the player the option of choosing alternate paths, which generally do not affect the plot in any significant manner.


The game utilizes a number of features that made it stand above and beyond other traditional RPGs of its time. The party consisted of up to 7 members, 5 of which actively participated in combat, 1 who served as back-up to replace any dead generals following combat, and 1 to both serve as back-up as well as party tactician. The tactician provided spell-like effects that anyone in the party could utilize. Additionally, the player could capture or recruit somewhere around 120 different generals to add to his party over the course of the game.

At one point, the storyline splits, and the player is free to choose which path to pursue. Both paths rejoin shortly, but at the time it presented a unique experience that other RPGs of the time did not offer.


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