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Takeda Review

publisher: Xicat Interactive
developer: Magitech Corporation
genre: Strategy

P200, 128MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 8MB video card
ESRB rating: T

release date: Nov 15, 01
» All About Takeda on ActionTrip

November 23, 2001
Branislav "Bane" Babovic

Takeda, coming from the relatively unknown Magitech, is an interesting tactical strategy, which brings us the fascinating history of medieval Japan through a series of complex strategic battles.

The game mostly resembles Shogun: Total War in a sense that its goal is practically identical: you have to become the Emperor of the medieval Japan and conquer the territories of the enemy clans. The game engine is, on the other hand, a bit different - in stead of the 3D engine, you will have a classical 2D engine capable of displaying hundreds of units on screen in full color. I was particularly surprised by the fact that the engine did not slow down, even when there were 600-700 units engaged in battle. The game engine really seems remarkable.

The story takes us to the XI century, the age of Sengoku (Age of Strife) which gave birth to a great leader from the clan Takeda Shingen. The player assumes the role of the Takeda clan Daimyo, and sets off to conquer Japan. The campaign is unfortunately quite linear, and comes down to the same thing regardless of the choices you are offered to make during the game (for instance, if you want to kill a thief who looks like you, or save him and then sacrifice him in public to make your enemies think you have been slain).

The map of Japan is crammed with flags representing armies and castles. Clan symbols (Mon icons) are displayed with their military, political and economic meaning. The higher these numbers are (especially the military stats) the bigger the chances are that clan would rule Japan. The main map has only three options for you to use. The first one will take you directly to the next battle, the second one will let your forces rest for a year and fill its ranks, but don't forget that the enemy will use this time to get reinforcements or attack you. The third option will take you to the main menu. The more territories you own the more soldiers you will have, and the bigger your influence will be.

Before the battle, you have to prepare your army, choose your generals, and select the formations for your units. You can also select to have detachment forces, which come during the battle as reinforcements. The generals play an important role in your army. There are several types of units available, and the Takeda clan was especially notorious for its excellent cavalry. Apart from that, there are samurai, spearmen, archers and riflemen. Next to the picture of each general, you can see the type of units he can lead, in a certain color. White would mean that he is a rookie in commanding that particular unit type, and gold means that he is an expert, and likely to perform exceedingly well with that unit type. Each general has (usually) three officers, which follow him in battle. Generals and their officers will advance through the game as they gain experience and bravery points if they manage to survive the skirmishes. Formations are an important tactical element that did not get enough attention in Shogun.

You can choose the arrow, wave, tiger, fish and other exotic formations. Choosing the right formation may mean the difference between victory and defeat in the oncoming battle.

The heart of this game are the battles. Controlling units consisting out of hundreds of soldiers is an impressive feeling. You will issue commands to the unit, and each soldier within the unit will act on his own accord.

The predefined orders, all officers got at the start of the scenario and their formations, can be changed using the pop-up menu next to each general's picture.

You can order your units to attack, or all attack, stand ground or retreat, defend themselves or regroup. One of your main goals in each battle is to capture enemy flags and destroy his Headquarters which destroys enemy morale. When the flags on the headquarters fall, that means the general is dead, and his troops will start frantically retreating, giving you a chance to kill them off without much ado.

The units are small, but are still clear and full of details. Castle sieges are particularly interesting. The soldiers have to find a way to tear the gates down, while the archers shoot at them from the castle. Each dead soldier remains on the ground, making battlefields look really spectacular after a fight. The atmosphere of medieval Japan has not only been achieved through excellent unit design, but also by using characteristic architecture. The engine supports weather conditions, clouds and fog, as well as the night and day cycle, and all these things influence the battle and its potential outcome.

Besides the campaign, the game also includes 16 historical battles for you to play, and it supports network head to head play. You can save the movies of your multiplayer skirmishes, and review them later using the demonstration battle option.

Takeda is not a revolutionary game, but it offers an array of interesting options in this already old and worn-out genre. It can also be considered to be a good 2D rendition of Shogun.


7.9   Good

Interesting graphic design, tactical challenge;

Too linear campaign, lack of unit production.



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