Without a doubt, KOEI's flagship Romance of The Three Kingdoms games are some of the best and most original historical strategy games ever made. Based on the classic Chinese epic of the same name, choose to play as one of the warlords vying to unite the far-flung Chinese empire in the 10th century.
The first entrant in the RTK series strikes a near-perfect balance between historical flavor and fun, as it features hundreds of real historical personalities, each with unique traits, and great diplomatic and espionage options. The tactical-level combat is not only fun, but truly rewards those who take Sun Tzu's "Ancient Art of War" to heart (among the most effective tactics are flanking your enemies from high ground, and luring them into an ambush).
A part of the game's winning formula is the introduction of intricate personnel management that adds a whole new dimension never before seen in a computer game. Recruiting and rewarding your most capable generals is as important to victory as slaying your opponent's most valued generals in combat (if you can't persuade him to your cause). You can also try to woo your opponents' generals to your side by bribery or personal visits, for which having a high charisma level is all-important. Romance of The Three Kingdoms also boasts numerous other gameplay options that wonderfully capture the culture and society of China at the time: for instance, your population size and morale level determines how big an army you can raise, and improved irrigation and donations to the public are prerequisites to high harvest yields and happy townsfolk. You must also contend with natural disasters such as flood, locusts, and plagues that can come without warning. Overall, an all-time strategy classic that belongs to every strategy gamer's collection. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs