Review by TDandSen

Reviewed: 09/03/02 | Updated: 09/03/02

A bit jerky, but one of the more complex stratagy/managment games for the SuperNES

This is almost insulting to me. I never thought to look in the review section of RotTK:4 because I thought that there would be reviews posted out the door and three times around the block. When I write this review, this will be number five. The Romance Series has always had a bit of a cult following, and that is a sad fact because it deserves more mainstream recognition.
Koei has always had solid games, much like Working Designs. They are the pinnacle of whatever genre they are, and Koei has the added point of being a true historical scenario. There are 50+ City States in China, and all the leaders are vying for supremacy. You take the role of one of those leaders and manage your state to the top economic, militaristic and contented place in all of China! It's harder than it sounds, really.
The game is very rough in it's menus, which kind of stinks cause the game is menu based. Don't get me wrong, they look okay, especially for SNES, but they're a bit slow in loading and are a little hard to navigate in, even more so when you consider the old system they had on the NES.
The menus themselves are a bit awkward, I thought. Who would look in the ''Army'' section for international espionage (spy)? I thought that it would be under ''foreign''. Or Maybe even ''info''. At least the confusions are few, and once you find the commands, you'll remember where they are. Also you don't have to worry about doing things fast, so you can take your time to avoid mistakes.
Another small thing that annoyed me is that the fact that when you get deep into a campaign set-up, and it offers you a summary of what you've done (which I like), then asks you if this is what you want to do, and if you say no, you have to start all over again. This happens all over the place. If you cancel anything, you have to start from scratch. Couldn't they have just made it so that the Cancel button made you go back a screen at a time or something?
However, all of this aside, the gameplay is very good, considering what it is. I would have preferred it to go a bit faster, but that's a pipe-dream. Think about it. You have a 16 bit system having to keep up with about 1 billion pieces of information that change every month (turn) and interject possibilities and random ''fog of war'' type events. I'm willing to grant a little slowness in the processing. And as for slowness of how fast you go through the game, consider what it is that you're doing. You're managing a nation. You're not just randomly going and playing Hack and slash... I hope.
The battles are all on a hexagonal-celled field, where you maneuver your troops over the field. I personally loved the near absolute freedom you have with what you can do... Insult the other General (which has actually worked in my favor a few times) roll boulders, light fires, control the weather in rare cases, It's very complex and wonderful because of how un-predictable it is.
The music is good, but you can get annoyed at it because of how few tracks there are. They're nice and long, and the repeat is almost seamless. The battle tracks are very good to keep the pace up.
The visuals are kind of bare, but functional. Really, again not to make excuses for Koei, but they were working on very limited resources with what they were trying to do on the SNES, and they spent so much data on the stats and such that they almost ran out of room for music and visuals. (Note, they proved that they can do good graphics with the Dynasty Warriors games.)
Replay value is through the roof. There are so many random events and different characters that you can play this game thirteen times and never play the same game.
I would buy this game in a heartbeat if the SNES were still a viable system.
So, here's how I rate the game on individual components:
Gameplay: 9/10 Slight flaws that are annoying, but they're really only an afterthought.
Sound: 6/10 The music was almost an afterthought, but it was a really good set of afterthoughts.
Visuals: 7/10 Functional, if a bit plain.
Replay: 10/10
Buy/rent? Buy.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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