Dynasty Wars, known as Tenchi wo Kurau (天地を喰らう) in Japan, is an arcade beat 'em up game released by Capcom in 1989. The licensed game is based on Hiroshi Motomiya's manga series Tenchi wo Kurau ("Heaven And Earth Destroyed" in English), which follows the story of popular Chinese historical figure Liu Bei and his sworn brothers. The story itself is loosely based on the events of Luo Guanzhong's dramatic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms which in turn is based on the real-life historical events and battles which occurred during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China.
The player rides around on horseback throughout the entire game. There are three buttons. Two of them are attack buttons, one being for attacking left and one attacking right (similar to Section Z and Side Arms Hyper Dyne. There are four characters the player can play as. There are eight stages total, and there is also an RPG element to the game where the player can level up.
This was the first Capcom game that let players choose from different characters to play as, and while it remains completely unknown, it's an important part of the company's history being the first game to use such a feature.
At certain parts of the game, depending on the situation and the battlefield's location, there will be a corresponding desperation attack, called Tactics. Using these tactics deplete some of the player's health, but are best used to clear an area of enemies at once. They also improve in power and range as the player advances in levels.
- Ambush - The player's ambush partner (with a longer range weapon) appears, mimicking the player's actions. The partner fights for around 10 seconds before leaving.
- Rockslide - Only usable along slopes and mountainsides, a barrage of boulders and logs crushes down enemies and also useful against barriers, jars and rocks.
- Explosion - Waves of explosions rush across the battlefield, damaging or killing any enemy or boss near the explosions.
- Flame - Four archers move in from the leftmost screen and each one fires an arrow, bombarding the battlefield with rows of blue flames.
"When power centralizes for too long, it always splits. However, disrupted power is doomed to be reunited. It has been 400 years since Liu Ho, the founder of the Han Dynasty, established the country. The Han Dynasty was about to face a troubled time. We swear, we will die together. Even though we were born separately".
There are four selectable characters, each with their own varying amounts of attack power and initial vitality. Aside from unique weaponry, each character also has a unique partner character during a certain special attack. For every three blue orbs collected, the player's weapon improves, depending on his current level range.
- Liu Bei aka Kuan-Ti - Normal type: weakest attack but highest HP. His weapon is a broad sword. He is a descendant of Emperor Kei of the Han Dynasty. He swears to be brothers with Kuan Yu and Shong Fei to defeat Huang Ching.
- Level 1-2: Double-Edged Sword
- Level 3-4: Tempestuous Sword
- Level 5-6: Seven Star Sword
- Level 7-8: Dragon Sword
- Ambush Partner: Chou Zhao, a whip adept
- Kuan Yu (Guan Yu) aka Portor - Stable type: Moderate attack and HP. His weapon is the Green Dragon Crescent Blade. He is not only a great warrior who defeated many famous people, but also educated and well-mannered.
- Level 1-2: Blue Dragon Sword
- Level 3-4: Blue Dragon Halberd
- Level 5-6: Sword of Justice
- Level 7-8: Big Moon Sword
- Ambush Partner: Huo Fu, a bomb thrower
- Shang Fei (Zhang Fei) aka Kassar - Normal type: strongest attack but lowest HP. His weapon is a viper halberd. He stands in the middle of a bridge and brandishes his snake halberd to put thousands of his enemies to rout. He is as strong and powerful as Kuan Yu.
- Level 1-2: Snake Halberd
- Level 3-4: Brave Man's Halberd
- Level 5-6: Fire Halberd
- Level 7-8: Dragon King's Halberd
- Ambush Partner: Sung Jen, a swordsman
- Shao Yun (Zhao Yun) aka Subutai - Stable type: Moderate attack and HP. His weapon is a pike. He is a true warrior who sweeps through millions of enemies with ease.
- Level 1-2: Dragon Spear
- Level 3-4: Deities Spear
- Level 5-6: Hoten Geki
- Level 7-8: Hidora Spear
- Ambush Partner: Suing Yong, an archer
There are a total of eight stages (called rounds), corresponding a province in reference to the historic battles in the novel.
- Round 1: Da Xing Shan (Xingyang)
- Round 2: Tie Men Sha (Tianshui)
- Round 3: Tong Men Gu (Tong Pass)
- BOSSES: The three brothers: Tong Liang, Tong Tok, and Tong Pao (Zhang Bao)
- Round 4: Fan Shui Guan (Sishui Pass)
- BOSS: Wie Siong (Hua Xiong)
- Round 5: Hu Shou Guan (Hulao Pass)
- Round 6: Luo Yang (Luoyang)
- Round 7: Nong Gang Chang (Western Chang'an)
- Round 8: Tsu Hong Chang (Eastern Chang'an)
Capcom made four more Tenchi wo Kurau games. Two for the Famicom, another arcade game, and one for the Super Famicom. The first Famicom game was ported to the Famicom's English counterpart, the NES, under the name Destiny of an Emperor which is an RPG and the game was later ported to the Game Boy. The second Famicom game, Tenchi wo Kurau II, was released only in Japan. The second arcade game was released in English as Warriors of Fate and it is a beat 'em up much in the vein of Final Fight and Captain Commando, it was later ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation and eventually modern consoles as part of the Capcom Beat ’Em Up Bundle. The Super Famicom game, Tenchi wo Kurau: Sangokushi Gunyuuden, was the final Tenchi wo Kurau game developed by Capcom.
- The music for Dynasty Wars is done by Manami Matsumae, composer of Mega Man and co-composer of Mega Man II. In the end credits of the game, which the player can only see by beating the game without continuing, Matsumae is credited as M. Goto. Gotoh is her maiden name.
- The English and Japanese versions have different voice acting and speech samples (vocal sounds for character actions). The English version, of course, has them in English, and the Japanese one in Japanese.
- In the Japanese version of the game, the announcer at the player select screen is a woman, whereas in the English version, the announcer on the character select screen is a man.
- Also in the Japanese version, there is no voice acting during the cut scene, whereas one of the enemy generals says, "You're going to get my head? You make me laugh! Come to see me at Ton Men Gu!" in the English version.
Produce: K Okamoto
Game Design: Poo, S Sato, K Kataoka
Program: Y Mutsunobu, M Kobayashi, Y Tsunasaki
Obj Design: Kurichan, Y Tamago, M Tanabe, M Matsuura, S Sakashita
Scr Design: Fukumoyan, M Konishi, M Miyao, K Koizumi
Sound Music: M Goto
Illustration: S Shintani
Special Thanks: M Shinohara, N Ogawa, Bamboo, Nin
Presented by: Capcom