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Dynasty Warriors

is a series of tactical action video games created by Koei. The award-winning series is a spin-off of Koei's turn-based strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, based loosely around the Chinese epic of the same name. The first game titled Dynasty Warriors, Sangokumusō in Japan, is a fighting game and not a true part of the series. All English titles are a number ahead of their Japanese counterparts due to the English localization of naming Shin Sangokumusō, a spin-off of the previously mentioned Sangokumusō game, as Dynasty Warriors 2.

Since November 18 1997, the Dynasty Warriors series has sold more than 9 million units worldwide.


Original game

Series proper


Game characteristics

The first Dynasty Warriors was a traditional one on one fighting game, released in 1997 on the PlayStation. Its play style was reminiscent of Tekken with the addition of weapons and some more exotic moves.

The next game was released in Japan as 'Shin (True) Sangokumusou'. This game was released in other countries as Dynasty Warriors 2, leading to the discrepancy in title numbers. From this game onward, the player chooses a playable character general, and plays through a number of levels representing particular conflicts in the time of the three kingdoms, eventually defeating both of the other kingdoms and becoming the ruler of a unified China. In this game mode, known as Musou Mode, the generals are usually chosen from one of the three kingdoms (Wu, Shu or Wei; however, from Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends onwards, independent generals were given full stories as well). Dynasty Warriors 3 had two secret characters, Nu Wa and Fu Xi, that were not playable in Musou Mode.

Both Dynasty Warriors 3 and Dynasty Warriors 5 have individual Musou Modes for each character. Dynasty Warriors 4 has a single, but much longer, Musou Mode for an entire Kingdom. For example, all characters aligned with Wu play through Wu's Musou Mode. This allows the player to switch characters with another general from the same kingdom as they play through the story if they wish.

The stages are presented in a third-person view, with the camera set behind the player as they engage the enemy forces. Each scenario can have different win/loss conditions, although the player's own death invariably leads to the game over screen. Less common loss scenarios usually involve the death of the player's superior officer, the loss of a critical ally or fortification, or the escape of an enemy leader. The generals in Dynasty Warriors have relatively superhuman abilities and can send enemy soldiers flying through the air with a blow, if not killing them instantly. Certain generals can fire magical projectiles or pound the ground to create massive shockwaves. It is possible for a single general to kill hundreds or even thousands of enemy soldiers and defeat their commander without the aid of any AI controlled allies. In fact the game will declare the player as unrivaled (either through the character or the character's superior officer) at every 1000 kills.

The order of events in a full Musou game follows the general order set by the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, with allowances made for non-canon results (e.g. the player's army winning a battle they historically lost).

  1. Put down the Yellow Turban Rebellion.
  2. End Dong Zhuo's reign of terror.
  3. Defeat various 'other' warlords of the time period (i.e., not Shu, Wei, or Wu; however, this varies depending on the Kingdom—may include Yuan Shao, Gongsun Zan, Liu Biao, or others).
  4. Defeat one of the other two rival kingdoms.
  5. Defeat the last remaining rival kingdom.

Missions on smaller maps are interspersed between the major levels, and each of the main three kingdoms has additional levels that deal mainly with internal problems, or with small skirmish-like battles between kingdoms. Since Lü Bu, Yuan Shao, Dong Zhuo, Meng Huo, Zhang Jiao and Zhu Rong are all defeated in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Diao Chan leaves the arena of war and politics shortly after Dong Zhuo's downfall, and Zuo Ci never participated in battle, their Musou Modes are pure fiction.

Dynasty Warriors 5 introduced a relatively more realistic Musou mode. Instead of fighting in the entire set of their kingdom's events, the generals participate in battles they would have been alive for. The generals therefore start out at different points in time, and some generals will never encounter one another. In between stages are dramatic scenes in which the general will discuss the battles and their feelings on what is happening. This gives the game more of a personal view as well as keeping the player up to date with what has happened in the story. Dynasty Warriors 5 also deviates from the goal of unifying China. Not all characters are interested in conquest, and a general's Musou mode may end just after their kingdom is established instead of after the last rival kingdom is defeated. However, Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Jian's Musou modes still vary from history. Although these characters die in history, story, and other generals' Musou modes, if you choose them as the playable character, the gameplay deviates from the original story and they continue to participate in events taking place after their deaths.

Due to the space restraints of the Game Boy Advance cartridge, Dynasty Warriors Advance only has 13 playable characters. The battle system has been reduced to basic moves and a power-up system added. The weapon system has also been overhauled with over 200 weapons. Each character can equip three different kinds of weapons adding for a unique experience. For instance, Zhen Ji can equip flutes, fans and swords while Sun Shang Xiang can equip a chakram, claws and maces. The maps are a tactical type system with characters moving between spots on the map in a turn-based manner while fighting real time battles on a small battle field. The plot is essentially the same; however due to the limited number of maps and characters, several events have changed. For example, Sun Ce can show up at the battle of Yi Ling despite the fact he was dead before the battle was fought. Cao Cao is also present at the battle of Wu Zhang plains when should have been long dead. Those characters who are not playable in Dynasty Warriors Advance but are in other Dynasty Warriors games are present as generic generals with their respective profile image. However, there are some generals such as Sun Quan, Yuan Shao and Dong Zhuo who have unique sprites leading some fans to believe that there are more than 13 playable characters. Koei has not confirmed this.

The Dynasty Warriors series is known for both portraying some of the characters with personalities that are far-fetched and eccentric, such as the flamboyant Zhang He and the bestial Wei Yan, while portraying others with characteristics that are quite consistent with the novel, such as Cao Cao and Dong Zhuo. Some generals wield weapons that are rather anachronistic, such as Ling Tong's nunchaku, Zhou Tai's katana, and Sun Ce's tonfas. Additionally, characters that were non-combatants in the stories or in history are included in the battles, as demonstrated by the inclusion of the female characters (in the original novel, Lady Zhurong was the only female who fought, using throwing knives). Finally, the issue of mysticism is touched upon with the characters Zhuge Liang (light beams), Sima Yi (light beams), Pang Tong (tornados), Cao Pi (ice orbs) and Zuo Ci (mystical paper talismans)and others who possess magical attacks.


There are, as of Dynasty Warriors 5, a total of 48 playable characters in the Dynasty Warriors series. 4 characters found in earlier installments have since been removed. With the release of Dynasty Warriors 6 {Shin Sangoku Musou 5} it's been found that 7 additional characters had been removed. Each character is armed with a weapon, which may be a conventional historical weapon, an exotic martial weapon, or a magical weapon enhancing their mystical powers and their stats.


  • Liu Bei (劉備) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Taijijian (King of Shu) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Twin Swords (Strength and Virtue) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Guan Yu (關羽) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Guan Dao (Divine Dragon) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Guan Dao (Blue Dragon) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhang Fei (張飛) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Snake Spear (Venom) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Double Snake Spear (Serpent Blade) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::War Fan (Divine Feather) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::War Fan (Brilliance) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhao Yun (趙雲) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Qiang (Raging Dragon) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Qiang (Dragon Spike) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Ma Chao (馬超) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Mao (Last Stallion) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Glaive (Ironhorse Glaive) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Huang Zhong (黄忠) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dao (Venerable Master) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Giant Scimitar (Immortal Blade) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • Guan Ping (關平) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Zhanmadao (Young Dragon) (Dynasty Warriors 5)
  • ::Ji (Blue Dragon Ji) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Wei Yan (魏延) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Double Voulge (Meteor Strike) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Giant Mace (The Awakener) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Pang Tong (龐統) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Staff (Great Phoenix) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Staff (Firestorm Staff) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Yue Ying (月英) Available in Dynasty Warriors 4-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Scythe (Nether Realm) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Bow (Emerald Dew) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Jiang Wei (姜維) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Trident (Prodigal) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • Xing Cai (星彩) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::War Fork (Ambition) (Dynasty Warriors 5)


  • Cao Cao (曹操) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Broad Sword (King of Wei) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Broad Sword (Sword of Heaven) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Xiahou Dun (夏侯惇) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Scimitar (Kirin Blaze) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Mace (Rock Crusher) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhang Liao (張遼) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Guan Dao (Celestial Wyvern) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Twin Axes (Twin Vipers) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Dian Wei (典韋) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon: Hand Axe (Bull Rampage) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Wrecking Ball (Violent Soul Flail) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Sima Yi (司馬懿) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Strategist Fan (Abyssal Feather) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Whip-Claws (Eradication Claws) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Xiahou Yuan (夏侯淵) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Scimitar (Mystic Fang) (Dynasty Warriors 2-3)
  • ::Iron Rod (Ogre Rod) (Dynasty Warriors 4-5)
  • ::Giant Scimitar (Heavens Destroyer) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Xu Huang (徐晃) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Poleaxe (Annihilator) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Poleaxe (Destroyer) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Cao Pi (曹丕) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Sword (Chaos) (Dynasty Warriors 5)
  • ::Short Sword (Havoc) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Xu Zhu (許褚) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Mace (Earth Shaker) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Mace (Bone Crusher) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Cao Ren (曹仁) Available in Dynasty Warriors 4-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Buckler Blade (Kai) (Dynasty Warriors 4-5)
  • ::Trident (Phoenix Wing) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhang He (張郃) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Tiger Claws (Infernal Talon) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Dual-Pronged Spear (Splendor) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhen Ji (甄姫) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Flute (Twilight Flute) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Whip (Allure) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Pang De (龐徳) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Halberds (Heavenly Halberd) (Dynasty Warriors 5)


  • Sun Jian (孫堅) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Taijijian (King of Wu) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Dao (Elder Sword) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Gan Ning (甘寧) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dao (Leviathan) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Twin Knives (Crescent Moon) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Sun Shang Xiang (孫尚香) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Wind and fire wheels (Astral Chakram) Note: Her weapons are mislabeled as Chakram (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Bow (Madder Rose) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhou Yu (周瑜) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Sword (Scion Sword) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Bo-Staff (Red Dusk) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Lu Xun (陸遜) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Sabers (Raptor) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Sword (Silver Swallow) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Sun Ce (孫策) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Tonfa (Hierophant) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Spear (Tyrant Strike) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Huang Gai (黃蓋) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Iron Rod (Shade) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Mace (River Slicer) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Sun Quan (孫權) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon: Taijijian (Legacy) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Waves Blade (Dragon's Might) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhou Tai (周泰) Available in Dynasty Warriors 4-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Tachi (Setsuna) Note: His weapon is mislabeled as Katana (Dynasty Warriors 4-5)
  • ::Scimitar (Flashstrike) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Lu Meng (呂蒙) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Ge (Mystic Hunter) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Halberd (Valor) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Taishi Ci (太史慈) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Hard Whips (Demon Slayer) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Trident (Rage Trident) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Ling Tong (凌統) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Nunchuku (Dragon Fury) (Dynasty Warriors 5)
  • ::Halberd (Flying Nimbus) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Xiao Qiao (小喬) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Folding Fan (Fatal Grace) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • ::Folding Fan (True Grace) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Da Qiao (大喬) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Folding Fan (Mortal Beauty) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)


  • Lu Bu (呂布) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Ji (Sky Piercer) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Twin Double Voulges (Maelstrom) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Diao Chan (貂蝉) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Dual Chúi (Muse) (Dynasty Warriors 1-5)
  • ::Whip (Moonflower) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Yuan Shao (袁紹) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Taijijian (Majesty) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Short Sword (Sword of Kings) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Dong Zhuo (董卓) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Jagged edged Sword (Pandemonium) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Club (Wizard Club) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zhang Jiao (張角) Available in Dynasty Warriors 2-6
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Staff (Staff of Peace) (Dynasty Warriors 2-5)
  • ::Staff (Blaze Staff) (Dynasty Warriors 6)
  • Zuo Ci (左慈) Available in Dynasty Warriors 5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Card Deck (Trump Deck) (Dynasty Warriors 5)
  • Meng Huo (孟獲) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Gauntlets (King of Nanman) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • Zhu Rong (祝融) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3-5
  • :Weapon:
  • ::Boomerang (Fire Goddess) (Dynasty Warriors 3-5)
  • Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1
  • :Weapon: Yari Spear
  • Toukichi (豊臣 秀吉) Available in Dynasty Warriors 1
  • :Weapon: Sword
  • Fu Xi (伏羲) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3
  • :Weapon: Referred to as a Longsword, but is actually closer to a Zweihänder (Fengshen Sword)
  • Nu Wa (女媧) Available in Dynasty Warriors 3
  • :Weapon: Rapier and Buckler (Fengshen Rapier)


Many of the stages are recreations of notable battles present historically or from the Romance of Three Kingdoms novel, while original creations became more common with the newer installments. Here is a list of stages from Dynasty Warriors 2 to Dynasty Warriors 6 that appear quite often throughout the series.


The Dynasty Warriors series uses traditional Chinese instrumentals with hard rock. Most stages have specific music tracks played exclusively, and the music changes depending on the situation of the battle.

Starting from Dynasty Warriors 3, Lu Bu is given his own theme song, and has been in every subsequent game since.


Due to the enormous popularity of Dynasty Warriors, Koei released numerous additional games to the series.


Following the success of Dynasty Warriors, Koei released Dynasty Tactics in 2002 and its sequel in the following year, focusing on strategy and tactics in the same Three Kingdoms setting.

Probably the third most recognized franchise of Koei, the Samurai Warriors (Sengoku Musou in Japan) series, was introduced in 2004, instead using Japan's Sengoku Period while still retaining similar gameplay like its predecessor.

2006 saw the release of Dynasty Warriors Mahjong (Jan Sangoku Musou in Japan), which is completely different from the rest of the series, as it has the same characters play the game Mahjong, rather than having the gameplay of the original games.

In 2007, Koei released their first game for the new generation consoles Xbox 360 and Playstation 3; Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Gundam Musou in Japan), combining the popular Gundam series with their gameplay, and earlier that same year, Warriors Orochi (Musou Orochi in Japan) was released, combining the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series into a fictional crossover. A sequel to that game, Warriors Orochi 2, was released in Japan April 2008 and will be released in North America in September 2008.

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War,based on The Hundred Years' War between the Kingdoms of England and France in the 14th and 15th century, was also released in 2007, using gameplay similar to Koei's earlier Kessen series.

Xtreme Legends and Empires

In 2002, an "Xtreme Legends" (Moushouden in Japan) was released as a supplement to Dynasty Warriors 3, featuring story modes for the characters in the Other category. Since then, Xtreme Legends expansions have been released for every main Dynasty Warriors title for the Playstation 2 to date, adding new gameplay modes and more powerful weapons. It is currently unknown if an Xtreme Legends will be released for Dynasty Warriors 6.

In 2004, another expansion was released beginning with Dynasty Warriors 4. The "Empires" supplement uses the action gameplay of the regular series while combining strategical and tactical elements from Koei's earlier series Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Dynasty Warriors 5 also received an Empires expansion in 2006.

The Samurai Warriors series follows its predecessor by having Xtreme Legends and Empires expansions too, with the first Xtreme Legends for the first Samurai Warriors released in 2004 and the first Empires expansion released for Samurai Warriors 2 in 2007.

Ports on other systems

Dynasty Warriors 3 was ported to the Xbox system in 2002, and since then subsequent titles have been released for the same system, sans the Xtreme Legends and Empires expansions.

In 2004, Koei created the first Dynasty Warriors title for portable game handhelds, Dynasty Warriors, on the Playstation Portable, and the following year, Dynasty Warriors Advance for the Game Boy Advance.

Dynasty Warriors 4 Hyper in 2005 is marked as the first game for personal computers. In 2006, Dynasty Warriors BB (Renamed Dynasty Warriors Online in 2007) was released. It is unique as it is an online game, with players around the world interacting with each other.

Criticism of English voice-work

The English voice-overs of Dynasty Warriors series wrongfully uses straightforward English pronunciations for the romanticized Pinyin names of characters and locations. The results are rather humorous to Chinese speakers and misleading to its Western audience. Some unfortunate examples are the mispronunciations of Cao Cao (pronounced cow cow instead of tsao tsao, if using Wade-Giles) and Cao Pi (pronounced cow pee instead of tsao pee).

As of Dynasty Warriors 6 this is no longer the case, as the pronunciation of Cao was corrected. However, other mispronunciations still remain, and have yet to be amended.

See also


External links



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