The first level pits the Emperor of China and all Three Kingdoms against a rebel force called the Yellow Turbans.
The second level again has you allied with the other two kingdoms, facing against the traitor and rebel Dong Zhou at Hu Lao Gate.
The third, fourth, and fifth levels depend on which kingdom has been chosen. Each kingdom plays a unique level and two levels that are shared between kingdoms. So if you choose Wei as your kingdom, you will fight Guan Du, Chi Bi, and Wu Zhang. Guan Du is Wei's unique level, Chi Bi faces the Wei kingdom against the Wu kingdom, and Wu Zhang faces the Wei kingdom against the Shu kingdom.
One of the main challenges of the game, other than beating it with all three kingdoms, is getting 1,000 personal kills on the Hu Lao Gate level, to unlock Lu Bu as a playable character. This is a little hard because if you just fight regularly through the level, the game won't even have 1,000 enemy soldiers left for you to kill, because your allies will be fighting alongside you (There are reinforcement lines that get sealed off over the course of battle). Standard tricks to beat this are to play on Hard, find a place where your bodyguards try to defend you against a mob but you're not getting hurt so they die off, not fight for a few minutes to let the enemies get a head start, fight in a nonvital position, run in between two reinforcement lines without cutting off the leaders of either...
I loved this game. It was my main purpose for getting a PlaystationTwo?. Most people have the same reaction: You'd really think that only having five or so different combinations of moves and killing hundreds of soldiers would get boring, but it doesn't. Strategy really becomes an important part of the game, especially on the Hard mode. You have to decide what flank of attack needs your support more, whether you can risk living your general alone to strike against theirs, etc, etc. It's really well done in that regard- your actions completely determine how the battle plays out. The music fits oddly well (it's fairly heavy metal-ish, so fitting in with an ancient Chinese war is pretty interesting). -- EvilSouthie
It's strangely addictive. Of course, I'm a sucker for games with lots of random stuff to unlock, and I play AngBand (so I've got some tolerance for killing lots of things in repetitive fashion), but even so, the gameplay is definitely there. I'm not wild about the fact that you can only have one distinct save per memory card, though...
The game's difficulty levels are well constructed, too. Easy requires little thought on the part of the player--it suffices to kill most everything you run across, and (barring massive plot events) your army won't lose within the time limit. Normal approaches this as your character powers up and becomes increasingly able to stomp random heroes with nothing save a mean clance. Hard is where the depth of the game becomes apparent, as it's very possible to have a maxed-out character, capable of tearing through enemy units, and still lose the battle. Fortunately, the game is sufficiently fun in the "run around and kill things" mode that you may play long enough to appreciate this...
Erm... vice/versa? How many of the charecters from the game were put into the book? Hmm.... I GUESS I could just let that one slide... .... .... Nah... :->
How many of the characters from the game were put into the book? Quite a lot of them ...just not because they were in the game. :-)
Suffice to say that the game is based (more or less) on the book; all of the game's playable characters appear in the book (not to mention most of the random suckos with names over their heads, such as Zhang He).