Mosh Pit. Chinese Style.

Ever feel like committing wonton destruction? Walking through wave after wave of opponents, cutting them down? Watching the enemy run at you, knowing he's going to call you "Daddy" in a few moments?

Okay. Maybe you don't. But I do. There is a definite satisfaction to simply cause a bit of mayhem every now and then. My favorite game for this is Dynasty Warriors. I first picked up DW 3 for the PS2 a few years ago, and then got DW4 for the Xbox last September. I would consider Dynasty Warriors to be a modern day Robotron. It just makes me think of that old Star Trek episode where they run into Jack the Ripper's spirit, and he's yelling out, "Die! Die! Die! ... you'll all die!"

Well, Robotron is like that. But Dynasty Warriors has got even more going for it. Your warrior gains in experience, opening new slots for weapons and other items. Your character's attack and defense strength grows. Your primary weapon also gains experience, powering up to become a true badness bringer of death. Throw in items to collect, which have various power levels, increasing mission difficulty, and huge numbers of unlockables. You can play this game over and over and over.

So the characters have stories of their progression towards hero status, back in feudal China. I've played entirely through the story for about five or six characters. Unlocking more powerful items. Powering up each of the characters. Opening new maps.

And battling hordes of enemies. But it still isn't just that simple. You start on a map, with various officers and groups of enemies under those officers' control. Your job is to cut down a specific general (or one of a few other goals). Yet you have to plan your way to get through the masses of enemies and get to that general. And maintain morale. And keep your own general alive (generally by killing their hordes before they kill your horders).

The game can be a bit repetitive, but it is deep. For that late night, when your brain is pretty well mushy... this game rocks. The graphics aren't exactly something you'd write home about, but it certainly has a gameplay that you would.

Samurai Warriors is going to be released in about two weeks. It is also from Koei and has pretty much the same game play. Some early reviews (of the PS2 version) note a more limited set of unlockables. This one is set in Japan rather than the Nth Chinese setting. I'm on the fence about it, and will wait for the Xbox reviews to come in.

Until then... I've got DW4...

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