Tenchi o Karau 2: Sekiheki no Tatakai
(Warriors of Fate II)
I enjoy a good beat 'em up (or hack 'n slash) as much as the next guy. There isn't a shortage of these types of games, but finding the truly good ones can take some work. In some cases, some of the better games of these sub-genres didn't even make out of Japan. Tenchi o Kurau 2, better known outside of Japan as Warriors of Fate II is one of those games.
Prior to Capcom releasing this game on home consoles (Playstation & Saturn in 1996), the game began it's life in the arcades circa 1992. I hand very fond memories of playing this game in the arcade the summer before my senior year in high school. I was working at a theme park, Paramount's Carowinds and situated right across from the burger stand I was stationed at was the park's largest arcade. On my breaks or after my shift was over, I would head on over to the arcade and drop a few dollars into various games. Warriors of Fate II was one of my favorites hands down.
So what made this game so much fun? Well for starters the arcade version was 3 player co-op (the home ports were just 2 player co-op) and there were 5 characters to choose from. While most of them play somewhat the same, each character does have their own differences in combat. For my most recent play through, I chose Chou-Un. He's the guy in the middle with the blue armor. Each character as a Street Fighter type move that you can pull off. Chou-Un will slash forward, ending in a upper cut using his sword. Reminds me of one of Ken's moves from Street Fighter.
The game isn't your standard fare beat 'em up however. Some of the characters you can select are unarmed and play more like Hagger from Final Fight, while others have a slightly more ranged attack thanks to their weapon. Like most games of this type, there are other weapons that you can pick up from fallen enemies or from breakable containters.
Unlike other games (outside of Knights of the Round, another great Capcom beat 'em up) you can ride on the back of a horse. When mounted, you have a longer range weapon to attack with. Pressing back then forward will make your horse rear back and then you lunge forward with a more powerful attack. Pressing the jump button will let you change directions of the horse. You can also attack from behind you with a backhanded attack, but it's a much slower attack.
The enemies you fight are pretty standard fare at the beginning of the game. You have grunts, soldiers and bowmen. However as you advance through the 9 levels of the game you are introduced to more formidable enemies. These Chun-Li looking girls are little quicker than most of the male characters and if you aren't careful, they'll unleash a flurry of knives at you. You never encounter one of these females alone either, they are always paired in threes it seems.
That's the other thing that makes this game stand out to me. The number of enemies on the screen at the same time. I swear there were times were I'd count 10 or more enemies all on the screen at the same time. Thankfully the Saturn hardware is more than capable of keeping the game running with zero slowdown. Perhaps for this reason alone Capcom never tried to port this game to the Super Famicom or Super Nintendo?
The boss battles weren't anything special, but they were always fun. Most of the time the bosses you'd fight would have a good bit of health, as you can see in the above image. Kyo-Cho had two and 1/2 bars of health...not to mention a fairly large mallet he attacks with.
The level design and backgrounds are pretty impressive. Being that the game takes place in China the scenery from level to level doesn't change that much, but Capcom did a good job overall. From the forest at the beginning, to fighting in rivers, barren battle grounds to storming the enemies stronghold. The area in which you fight Kyo-Cho, there is a torch in the background that the game prompts you to pick up. Once you've picked up the torch, the entire area is engulfed in flames. Very nice touch Capcom.
Did you notice the enemy (from the above flame screenshot) lying on the ground in half? There are several times in the game where you can cut an enemy in half, decaptitate them or just cause them to explode from a blunt hit! Each attack does cause a bit a red blood to spirt from the enemy as well. 90's gaming was oh so good when you didn't have to worry about game ratings, helicopter parents and such.
As with games like Final Fight, inbetween select levels you would be treated with a mini game of sorts. The first game put you against another playable character (I think) in who can clean off their plate the fastest. It's a button mashing fury in order to make your character gnaw away at the meet and meat buns on the plate. I can never win at these type of events unless I'm mashing away on an actual arcade cabinet.
Warriors of Fate II is an awesome beat 'em up game. It has that Capcom feel, very polished and very much fun. With the 5 different characters to chose from and 9 pretty long levels, the game offers a good bit of replayability.
The Saturn version of the game seems to go for around $65-$85 on the secondary market, depending on how complete the game is. The Playstation version can be had for just over $50 complete in most cases. I don't know if it's as arcade perfect as the Saturn version is, but I'd love to know.
If you're a fan of 90's arcade style Capcom games, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this game. I really don't think you'll regret it at all.
2,932,259, not a bad highscore after completing the game