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Many have forgotten, but I will always hold vigil. Over Shogun: Total War. One of the most awesome strategy games ever.

I remember getting one of those PC Gamer demo cds. It contained the demo of the above mentioned game. I spent hours upon hours replaying the same ol’ battle over and over again. It was simply put awesome. I hadn’t been very interested in samurai before that, but, Shogun probably laid the foundation for all of my Japan fanboyism. Samurai, ninja, seppuku, all that cool stuff became an interest because of this ol’ timer. Who knows, I might never have been interested in anime if not for Shogun.

What was Shogun: Total War then? It was change. It was strategy. It was flanking. It was deployment. It was awesome. At a time when all other strategy games’ strategy was basically turtle up, or amass the biggest army. It had a campaign map kind of like Heroes of Might & Magic 2, it had you building, upgrading troops, and sending them off to fight. It didn’t just put you in command of a battle, it put you in command of a war. And as the daimyo, you led your loyal men to victory, or death.

All of these elements were still rather basic in Shogun. But it didn’t draw from it being grand. First came Mongol Invasion, then came Medieval(which was also awesome), and then probably Medieval’s expansion, but THEN came Rome: Total War. Rome: Total War is one of the best strategy games ever(Though not in any way contending with Homeworld). Rome: Total War is a game I still play today at times. It has aged like fine wine, still being every bit as sweet as it was when it was released.

Medieval II was great. Empire I thought I’d hate. Because the 1800’s seemed to have a more lame kind of war than the good old sword meets bone kind of war. But I was proven wrong. It was also awesome.

Now I have Napoleon: Total War. It’s kind of like Medieval II’s Kingdoms. Kingdoms boiled the Total War formula down to a more focused campaign. Smaller scale on the map, but somehow grittier and more personal. This time around you get to be Napoleon. And I must say, I am pleased to be in his, presumably, small boots.

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