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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2003
I got this because I read that (the latest version of) the game engine is what's behind the BBC2 TV series "Time Commanders", and I wanted to play with something similar. What a pleasant surprise! because despite being a few years old now, this looks and plays very well and can absorb me for hours.
There are two main components. Firstly, at a strategic level (played on a map of Japan) you attack and defend territories, build improvements, and train units. This is quite interesting in itself, though I'd have liked some more high-level overview information -- once you have many territories, it can be hard to keep track of your various assets. The turn timing is such that you can learn of a new building being completed, and then be dropped straight into a battle. It's not an insurmountable problem as long as you're a careful and patient player, but it's a small niggle that I hope is fixed in future Total War games.
For me, the strategic level is mainly of interest because it's what's needed to do to obtain the troops to fight the actual battles (though you can set up custom or hisorical battles if you like). Others will probably relish the game for its strategic side, and allow the computer to resolve combat automatically, but I think it's on the battlefield that this game really shines.
Weather and visibility, terrain, cavalry, infantry, ranged weapons, morale, leadership, cover and concealment -- all are modeled, meaning that this game is a flexible, intricate toolkit for staging virtual battles. The AI is reasonably good -- it has some quirks that you can exploit, but generally gives a decent account of itself.
Overall, if you're into strategy/war games, I can't see how you can go wrong with this, particularly at the current price. As for me, this has been good enough to convince me to shell out for Rome: Total War as soon as it comes out :-)
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on 20 September 2004
SHOGUN TOTAL WAR is a brilliant game. for a fiver its amazing and the graphics are just superb for what you pay for. the game is set around JAPAN in 1542 (which increases through your campaign) and is divided by different warlords (DAIMYOS). each one is setting a goal to become SHOGUN of japan and rule all the lands of which other warlords once ruled. you start from the rags and work your way up with higher technoligy from sword to musket and skills as you select your certain type of clan which specialise in different warriors. e.g ninja , no-dachi. As you wage through your campaign you start to command thousands of troops at an epic scale and skill.
And you get other little games like HISTORICAL BATTLES and other campaigns , plus you can set time back when a great MONGOL ruler called kublai khan attacks the shores of japan and wants to rule over the samurai in the 1200 hundreds.
system requirements :
pentium 2
windows 95 , 98 , ME , XP (home edition)
4 x cd - rom drive
4mb direct x 8.0 compatible 3D graphics card
direct x 8.0 compatible sound card
mouse & keyboard : multiplayer (2-7players)
-56kbps modem and TCP/IP
16mb ram
18.5 mb free hardisk space.
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on 12 November 2003
By now you may have seen Time Commanders, or played Medieval: Total War, the sequel to this game. Well, Shogun is the game that started it all, and now it is available at the pocket-money price of a fiver. So, what can we say about this game?
The good stuff first. It's probably the first real-time, fully-rendered strategy game to allow you the full run of the battlefield since the likes of epic classics "Shadow of the Horned Rat" and "Dark Omen". You are the leader of a Japanese clan during a turbulent period of civil war. Your aim is simple: to achieve domination of the Japanese mainland by any means necessary, and establish your people as the single dominant force for the next age of history. As such, the game is broken into two parts; strategic and tactical levels.
When I talk about Strategic play, you are being given control over the running of your provinces, season by season, on a large map of the island. You will need to establish levels of taxation, build facilities where necessary and see to the recruitment and training of your armies. This in itself can be challenging, as you will need to establish a sound strategy to maintain control over your own lands while defending or attacking other lands, ripe for the conquest. In addition to this, you can use many strategic agents, such as ninja assassins or emissaries to scout out the local area, kill your opponents' generals and heirs and generally aid your cause, at the cost of just a few men...
But it's the tactical game that can seal your victory or doom you to annihilation. As the army's general, you will need to bring your forces to the field to check the advance of your enemies, or to take and pillage enemy-held provinces. All the skills you have learnt leading troops into combat will be required here, and a little luck. The combat system is well-realised, allowing you take take advantage of high ground, difficult terrain, trees, concealed troops, bridges and rivers. Your use of the right troops against the right opposing force will be critical to your success, as will the maintenance of your increasingly experienced units (and these veteran soldiers will often make the difference between victory or crushing defeat).
Now for the bad side, although it's not all such bad news. This game is getting old. Since the introduction of Medieval, the sequel, you have been given greater control of your camera across the field, and of the options available for controlling your troops. And it makes a difference when you go back to the original game, Shogun, because you will keep trying to do things that the game just doesn't support. This actually makes the game a little harder to play, in my opinion, but to a new player this isn't much of a bother anyway. And, this being a purely cultural thing, it's a lot harder for a westerner to relate to the kind of tactics and troops used by samurai than it is to understand the relatively simple, cold-blooded and downright murderous tactics of a medieval european army, and the types of troops available to them. As such you might feel that you don't always have the options you'd really like, because what you have to work with is what limits the tactics you can use. There's precious little heavy cavalry, there's not much heavy infantry, and archers are very underused in this particular game. It's just not the Japanese way, but you might find yourself occasionally wishing you had a few hundred longbows hidden behind that hedge, or a large number of mounted knights handy just in case... no so such luck here, you're stuck with light troops for the most part. This is just the style of the game, and it's a very good game, but it's just... hard to relate to sometimes.
In any case, for a fiver, and if you haven't played Medieval:Total War yet, look down the side of the sofa for some loose change and get hold of a copy, and see what it's all about. It's a bit old and eccentric, but it's a very good game with plenty of life in yet. Easily worth Four Stars. Now keep your eyes open for Rome: Total War next year. It just can't come quickly enough...
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on 31 May 2004
Shogun total war is very different from any game that I have ever played. It hosts many features that can both involve the player into world of 15th century Japan and into the bloody battle field of the Mongol invasion. If you have played its successor, medieval total war, you will know that these two games are very similar in comparison to each other. Shogun total war has a 3D engine like no other, and after playing it I was quite astounded at the immense detail of a game that is actually considered old now.
The game took a while to install on my system but that might be because it was on two discs, the game, taking a hefty space of over 1.5 GB was well worth waiting for on the end. Even after playing its successor, the game in my mind is still considered a brilliant buy all round, well worth paying the money for it. I must say that I didn't actually buy the original but the the one that I brought was still the same; maybe even better though as the version I brought came with all of the adequate updates and install notes, very useful when in a tight spot.
The registration system was very annoying, as each time I wanted to reinstall it, problems yes I know I will come to those later on. I had chosen the full installation during setup as I knew that I would get the most out of the game, but took up a very large amount of space, but this installation option installed all of the videos and decent quality sound that most gamers want. After installing the game I double clicked on the icon as per usual and the game, to no surprise, started up. I wasn't really expecting good quality videos from a game, or videos that looked surprisingly real.
The opening video is of a Japanese caste being seiged and attacked, very realistic indeed. The menus looked stunning, compare to games around at the moment that seem to rely on an image in the back ground and a fancy font to complete the menu system. There was the same campaign style game, like its successor, but I can actually say that I preferred this campaign map because it looked a whole lot better. Many of the graphics in this game were much better; a few were 2D so they looked better.
There were around six factions to play as, depending on what era you wanted to play in. There aren't that many units in this game but each unit has its own very special abilities and disabilities, depending on what faction you play as each also influences how its certain unit types perform and behave in battle. That leads on to The battle system that this game handles exceptionally well compared to many other 3d battle games, you would think it hard imagining yourself controlling over eight-hundred units in a game, but no worries, you'll soon be up a on top of a hill laughing as each and every one of you troops marches with honour towards home knowing that you have killed each and every one of the enemies units.
The quick battle system in this game is good, maybe a little rushed, better improved in medieval total war I must say. The custom battle system was good, I still think that this games menu system is a little hard to use at times and crucial options are sometimes missed.
The historical battles and campaigns are a good way to get stuck into this already very addictive strategy game.
Multiplayer, I don't think, was really not very well thought out connection to other computers can sometimes be tricky and connection to their game servers is a laugh at times. Another reason is as I don't really play multiplayer, as its not how I like to play games, I really don't think multiplayer in shogun total was simple to use.
Some of the options are good in this game as it lets you change fair amount to change how you play the game. I would really recommend this game to those who are new to the battle field, or playing war games in general, or who want another challenge and want to return to the field of battle.
requirements -
200 MHz Pentium
Microsoft Windows 95 or 98
500 MB hard disk space
4x CD-ROM drive
3-D accelerator card (optional)
a few relevant web sites -
[...] total war home page
[...] community site
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on 2 February 2009
I really rate this game. It is very detailed with hours of gameplay and scenarios. It set the high standard for the other Total War games to follow.

The downside is it tends to crash alot. The best way to avoid this i have found is to save it frequently, which seems to delay and crashing, plus when it does crash then you can load a recent save! Also when you turn up the graphics to a reasonable level the game goes flickery! Having searched the net, there are no patches to fix this.

Despite this, it is still a great game. I was however very disappointed as i was expecting the Warlord Edition as shown by the picture, but what you get is the Gold Edition - hence the 3 stars - sort it out!
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on 16 August 2004
I used to have Shogun and play under Windows95 and later Windows98. The mixture of strategic and real time gameplay is superb, the animations give flavor to the game (although they end up being repetitive) and the range of units is excellent. The only bad thing about the game is that battles are just too big to be fun at the end, when most of the enemies are dealt with. It's a minor flaw, though.
I bought this game after playing Medieval TW just to get a look at the Mongol Invasion... and found it very buggy under Windows XP... flashy screens, crashes to desktop... tried everything at the Total War forums but I finished uninstalling the game.
So, as a conclusion, I fondly recomend this game to anyone still using Win9x, but be careful if you're going to play it under Windows XP.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 December 2007
DISCLAIMER: I am a Japan-buff and games based on the Sengoku period of the Shogunate Wars have to be really bad for me not to enjoy them.
Now imagine how much I enjoyed one of the BEST strategy games ever!!!

SHOGUN: TOTAL WAR is admittedly such a great game in every aspect it has become a RTS game benchmark. Not to mention it has fathered the TOTAL WAR series!

Alternating between a tactical map (in which units get moved and improvements built) and the battlefield map (in which real-time unit movements and battles are fought) SHOGUN:TW has struck the perfect harmony between Turn-Based and Real-Time Strategy gaming.

The graphics are by now only a bit dated - and, on the other hand, they can truly shine even on mid-range systems today. The units are easily distinguished during battle, controlling them is done via a user-friendly interface and the issued orders are followed fast and effectively (something not true for much latter games, such as SUPREME COMMANDER).

The sounds manage to be both majestic and realistic (even after so many years, I am using them as my main WinXP Sound-Theme). Both Japanese and English is available.

Birth of an heir, earthquakes and assassination attempts by ninjas all add to the unpredictability of the gameplay. The particulars of the terrain and the weather, the troops deployment and the placement (and survival) of the general, all make the real-time battles such a unique experience!
Alliances are made and broken; rebels conquered and their shock troops assimilated; Christian traders allowed or shunted. Every decision has consequences.

This is the Gold edition which includes the WARLORDS Expansion. Do not miss it!

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on 10 September 2003
THE best game i have ever played, a much better version of Shogun, if you like shogun you will love total warlord edition.
Basically build your own army of samurai, kensai, heavy cavalry, ninjas, geishas and much much more, and annihilate all the other clans in japan to become the shogun,as well as that you also have to keep the peace in each of your provinces and make food and money from each province.
Or you can play the invasion of the Mongol Hordes being the defending Shogun or the invading Mongols.
Or you can play individual historical battles,this game is great!! the graphics are really detailed and the atmospherics are fantastic.
If you like huge bloody battles there's plenty of that in the battles which you command, or you can also let the computer resolve for you if that's not your thing, if you like strategy this game it!
I love it and i'm a girl, (not many war games girls like ) my brother loves it and my niece loves it who's 15, so it appeals to
a very wide range of ages.
definately a must have!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 September 2012
Lost my original copy years ago and have been meaning to buy a new one for years. Finally got round to it.
Just as I remembered, superb game.
Far more detailed and intricate than any console game.
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on 18 February 2004
I used to own the original Shogun, but after getting XP, it didn't work anymore! So - i bought Warlords. And i'm very glad i did!
Upgraded interface, graphics and more units - it makes thee game so much better. things have been tweaked too, archers are better and the building times of certain units and building have been changed, making the whole experience much better. Certain building are cheaper as well, so there is less time and koku spent building structures and more time building armies!
The extra units add more variety to the game, which, quite honestly, the large amount of similar (mostly spear units!) troops made things a bit repetative. The Ai also seems to be better, though i'm unsure whether its because i'm out of practice! One thing i'm sure of though is that battles are much more fun. The AI does seem to be better, really. As i purposely stood my army at the bottom of a hill, and watch the enemy just seize the oppertunity and charge mob-like down to engage me. unfortunatly, i had set a trap and then sandwiched his out-of-formation army inbetween two cavalry charges. Though the fact that he saw the chance and took it impressed me.
I won't go on any longer - as i want to get back to playing it! if you liked shogun, get Warlords! You won't regret it. Everything (well, there wasn't much, but they were there) that slightly annoyed you has been tweaked or fixed - the perfect shogun!
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