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september 04, 2014

Jyutei Senki, Super Famicom


During the weekend I suddenly suffered a tooth inflammation that made it hard to eat, drink, swallow and gave me a lot of pain. Unable to do anyting, I sat down with a strategy game I had, Jyutei Senki.


It has a beautiful box, but I only have the cart at the moment.

I enjoy strategy games. Back when I was a teenager I spent many hours on the PC with games such as Command & Conquer: Red Alert and Heroes of Might and Magic IV. There is an appeal to me in being able to build something good that outsmarts the opponent, without ever feeling like I have to do work myself. The action does itself, and I am the military leader who builds smart strategies. A nice feeling when you plan a battle so that you know in the end your own guys will be able to just barely beat out the enemy and win the scenario.

Also, the computer can never cheat in strategy games. You can see what he has and you both have the same resources at your disposal. He has to follow the same rules as you. And, you can save and load at any time. So you can't blame your loss on a mistake or bad luck. 

Game Description

Jyutei Senki was only released in Japan. It was developed by Tam-Tam and produced by Enix and I would call it a light weight strategy game. I was happily surprised that it required no Japanese knowledge at all. Most Japanese strategy games I've tested so far seem to want to add complexity such as byuing and selling, reparing, and an abundance of options.

I'll show you someone elses video, because it goes faster than my gameplay. Here is a gameplay I enjoyed with someone playing the fan-translated version , and you see the intro and such. Normally I don't like to link to other's videos because I found that people often remove them!

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Jyutei Senki is simplistic. Take turn to move your units, and if they are close to an enemy unit, they can attack, and the enemy can retiliate. Each unit has a strength and attack range, and all that other stuff we expect from strategy games.

One little extra in this game are the repair spots. Put a unit on it, and the next move it will be fully healed. This is a tremendous advantage if used smart. You can restore your strongest unit from almost dead to completely restored in just one move. You can even place a unit on the repair spot and wait for enemies to attack (and give them retaliate damage), only to have yourself healed the next round.

Another thing that one might not be used to is that from each scenario, your units will get taken to the next scenario. But the ones that died won't come back. With each kill, a unit gets upgraded up to a max of 10 when it becomes "ace" and will get an extra power upgrade. You don't want them dead at that stage! So save often to avoid it... And try to keep your units alive.

The computer isn't particularly smart and often attacks you on repair spots. It also fondly attacks your most useless units first instead of finishing off your strongest units, puts its weakest units in front of its stronger units so they can't pass, and so on. Computer stupidity is one of your main advantages.

My story

Well, as it so happens, I started from a save game on level 7 without knowing. It took me a little while to understand how to play, and unfortunately I didn't understand this "don't die" thing too well at first. Your leader, a big bird called Ark, is stupidly weak until he gets 10 kills, but then he becomes the best unit of the game! So upgrade him quickly, and don't have him killed. He will, unlike other units, return in each new scenario, but at any level below 10 he is a useless crap that just dies as soon as battle starts. If he dies he will restart at level 0 again.

I played through the first couple of stages at about 40-60 minutes each. How many are there?? After each scenario it just says "to be continued". At around stage 12 it started getting more difficult, and I realized I should have upgraded other units earlier.

The gamefaqs FAQ (http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/570965-jyutei-senki/faqs/39388) goes up to 17 scenaries, but the FAQ is incomplete. The game has 20 scenarios! The last 5 scenarios took me around 2,5 - 3 hours each, except the very last that took less than an hour.

The reason why the later scenarios took much long were:
  • The computer moves take so long. He moves each unit one at the time, and when he has many it will take around two minutes per move. ("beer time")
  • I had to restart a couple of times because I realized my strategy was bad. For example, I had to keep my flying birds alive, and kill off his flying birds quicker.
  • Many Save and Load. Make a bad move and see your strong unit get killed off three moves later, you might have to reload from an earlier point. If it still can't be avoided that this or some other important unit dies, you might have to reload from an even earlier point. You can use a max of three save game slots, so use them wisely.
  • I hadn't upgraded properly and was almost much worse than the opponent and had to find tricks to beat him, at the same time keeping my best troops alive.
Well, like a mad military commander I kept playing a couple of hours each night. Finally, Wednesday night, I beat the final scenario and the game. The ending was satisfactory. After the scenario mode there are expert scenarios you can play, if you want even more challenge.

I don't think this game has anything that can't be found in some app game but I am happy to have beaten this classic 1993 game, in case I ever make a list of games beaten. Starting from level 7 without knowing, it took a total of 25-30 hours, I think. It could have gone in at least half the time if I had known how to play from the beginning.

Here are some other reviews:
  • http://www.videogameden.com/sfc.htm?jse (Jyutei Senki is a fun and unusual War Game. Its overall design is extremely well worked out and unique. Graphics are correct and perfectly fit the game's theme, especially the large animated scenes displayed during battles. However, the difficulty level is quite high. Most of the time any defeated units is lost, and this makes the outcome of any battle greatly influence the rest of the game, especially in later stages. All in all, an excellent game I would recommend to any fan of the genre brave enough to stick out its tough difficulty level. )
  • http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/570965-jyutei-senki/reviews/review-56263 (This game is not for the faint of heart. It's very good, but the high difficulty level really turns a lot of people off of this game. Maybe if someone makes a PAR faq, it'll become more popular. But if you want a real thinking strategy, then you have found it.)

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