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Water Margin: A Tale of Clouds and Wind
  opened by paleface at 00:57:40 03/18/23  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=MD; cat=Beat_em_up; reg=NA]

Playing "Water Margin: The Tale of Clouds and Winds" from Steam, in my own installation of emulator Mednafen (see entry 1537): I copied the "game" file from the "res" folder where Steam installed it, renamed it to an .md file, since it's a Mega Drive game ROM : ), zipped it, and ran it with Mednafen.
The Mednafen command-line parameters I used were "-video.driver softfb -md.stretch aspect -md.videoip 0."
The game started off as a Mega Drive bootleg/unlicensed game in 1996, made by a group in Taiwan calling themselves Never Ending Soft Team; the game was entirely in Chinese, with the title "Shui Hu Feng Yun Zhuan" ( ); according to Wikipedia, this literally translates as "Water and Wind" ( ); it is also translated as "Outlaws of the Marsh," which is what Google translates it as: (you can hear a pronunciation of the Chinese there, it's neat!).
Even though the game supposedly uses enemy sprites modified from other games, including Capcom's Knights of the Round (see entry 1487), and Sega's Golden Axe (see entry 1459) and Streets of Rage (see entry 866), Piko Interactive were somehow able to publish an English translation in 2015, even getting it on Steam in 2019. It's also on GOG and current consoles.
The game is based on "Water Margin," a Chinese novel written "perhaps mid-14th century," and in that regard reminds me a lot of Capcom's beat em up Warriors of Fate / Tenchi wo Kurau II (see entry 1487), which is based on a manga that was based on the 14th century Chinese historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."
I played on the lowest difficulty, Grunt, and that ends abruptly after Chapter 5, maybe a bit over halfway through the full game (which has 7 chapters, but those last couple look like doozies!). You can give yourself up to 4 lives per credit, and you get 9 continues; I wasn't using the Golden Axe-style magic spells, which can wipe out whole screens of enemies, because I didn't like the very flashy visual effects some of them have; maybe it was partially that, and probably mainly because I'm bad at the game, but I was getting beat on pretty good toward the middle of the run, and I'm not sure I'll be able to make it through on the next difficulty level!
Well, actually I had only just plunked in my third (of nine) extra credits just before the end of "Grunt," so maybe? Early on, I was getting a lot of extra lives from every 250K pts; later, not so many points. ; )
But it's actually really fun to play, so maybe I won't mind not quite getting through as a noob; the story was hard to follow, so I didn't care that much about seeing all of it or not, and was just enjoying the challenging encounters. The AI have varied attacks that work extremely well in combination, and you really have to stay on your toes at all times. I think I'll stick with the female character for now, Hu Sanniang, because she's faster than the two guys, and moving seems pretty important given how many AIs are swarming around and trying to getcha.
One thing I think I'll be able to do better on next time is just getting up without getting chopped back down--the AIs really know how to lurk there and attack just as you're getting to your feet, and you can't seem to beat them to the punch, so it's much better to try moving away as soon as you stand, rather than trying to mash your attack button.
I really like these modern budget classic game releases that are selling us legal copies of the game ROMs. : D They always come with crummy built-in emulation set-ups, but that's because you're supposed to save the ROM they give you so you can run it in whatever you want! ^ _^
Thanks to Lunatic Obscurity who brought the game up recently, and who reviewed it as the original bootleg back in 2009: . : )
  paleface 01:36:45 03/18/23 [title updated]
Oh okay title trouble:
It's "Wind" singular, not plural as I gave it.
Steam has it as "THE Tale of..." but the title screen says "A Tale of..."
  paleface 01:39:39 03/18/23
Oh, it's YouTube (and Google?) who puts it as "of Clouds and Winds."
  paleface 01:43:29 03/18/23
Oh man YouTube has it all messed up actually: "THE TALES of Clouds and WINDS."
  paleface 03:48:28 04/01/23
The Suikoden series (see entry 270) is also based the classical Chinese "Water Margin" novel, according to Wikipedia.
· Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle (PS4)
· Golden Axe (PS3)
· Mednafen (PC)
· Sonic Gems Collection (GC)
· Suikoden III (PS2)

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