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Video Game / Kessen II

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Kessen II (決戦 II, Kessen Tsu) is a 2001 strategy game produced by Koei (of Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors' fame). It is the sequel to Kessen In Name Only, as both Kessen and the later sequel Kessen III are based on events in Japan, while this installment is a story loosely-based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

In addition to the fantasized theme, Kessen II departs from its realistic predecessor as it introduces elements of magic, especially with the portrayal of notable strategists such as Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi as sorcerers. In battle, these characters are able to cause earthquakes, summon lightning storms and hurl fireballs.

The gameplay involves playing out major battles as the storyline progresses, with cutscenes between each battle to provide development to the events and major characters. Before battle, players can choose which strategy to take, although they can manually control all units in the battlefield. All units are controlled by the AI unless the player directly intervenes, and battles between forces are carried out in real time. While in control of a unit, players are able to use special skills or magic spells to turn the tables as well as enemy characters.

This game provides examples of:

  • A God Is You: Played Straight, The Tutorial level begins with "Liu Bei, the General is you"
  • Action Girl: Mei Sanniang and Sun Li.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Meng Huo, in contrast to his usual fearsomeness in Dynasty Warriors, is depicted as a groveling Henpecked Husband and so poor a general that Liu Bei's first encounter with him is an easy victory that occurs off screen and not a playable stage.
  • The Alcoholic: Zhang Fei alludes to drinking in several of his sound bytes, and is seen either completely drunk or hungover in a few cut scenes.
  • Always Save the Girl: The plot is centered around this.
  • A Taste of Power: Zhao Yun in Liu Bei's Scenario has high stats and some of the best skills in the game, however he leaves early on after he finds out Liu Bei's true goal. In Cao Cao's scenario, Xiahou Yuan starts of very powerful, with five useful battle commands. He dies a way into the story.
    • The former character comes back in Big Damn Heroes manner. The latter remains dead.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Zhao Yun saves Liu Bei by defeating Xiahou Yuan, Cao Cao's strongest officer. and later once again when he rejoins the party.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Himiko
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Himiko's confession of love for Cao Cao is interupted, she rewinds the scene with a remote control.
  • But Thou Must!: In the final stage, depending on the scenario, Zhuge Liang or Cao Cao must deal with Himiko's magic. Changing their orders will result in the death of Liu Bei or Cao Cao respectively.
  • Butt-Monkey: Yu Jin
  • Cain and Abel: Cao Cao and Liu Bei
  • Camp Gay: Yu Jin
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Himiko and Xun Yu, who abuses the captive Diao Chan.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: As with Dynasty Warriors, the Shu forces mostly dress in Green. Unlike the aformentioned game however, the Wei army wears red and the Wu army wear blue.
  • Crutch Character: Zhao Yun and Xiahou Yuan both start powerful and have high stats, however Zhao Yun leaves the party for a while and Xiahou Yuan dies.
    • In a rare main character example, Cao Cao is made to be very powerful, however in the final stage of the game he doesn't even get to fight as he has to deal with a major problem. You can still force him to go on the front lines, but doing so nets you a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At one point during Shu's version of the Battle of Chibi, Liu Bei fights away a horde of weird ghost monsters trying to attack Zhuge Liang, spontaneously flies into outer space, and throws his sword at God, stabbing him in the face. Yes, really.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sima Yi gets one when, as he appears before Cao Cao, an enraged Himiko launches a fireball towards him, which he deflects by blowing ice on it.
  • Freak Out: Liu Bei has one after hearing that Zhuge Liang and Mei Sanniang have abandoned him, right after Zhao Yun had left after learning his true motivation. Causing him to believe that Guan Yu and Zhang Fei would do the same.
  • Friendly Enemy: Guan Yu and Zhang Liao
  • Gender Flip: Xun Yu has been changed into a female in the game, as has Hu Zui.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Guan Yu decks Liu Bei during the above Freak Out.
  • Heroic BSoD: Liu Bei when he finds out that he is the cause of the land's disasters. Luckily Zhao Yun snaps him out of it.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Mei Sanniang, Sun Shang Xiang Sun Li
  • Hyper Competent Side Kick: Yu Jin's unit has both Xi Xuangfeng and Dong Xuanfeng. Both have high stats and some of the best abilities in the game, and thanks to their all-female unit, their units have high attack and as a bonus, the more females that are in the unit, the faster your abilities restore.
  • Idiot Hero: Zhang Fei. Observe.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Dynasty Warriors may give these characters embellished outfits, but in Kessen II, they're simply outlandish.
  • Jack of All Stats: Liu Bei and Male Footsoldiers are this. Incidentally, Liu Bei's unit consists of mainly Male Footsoldiers.
  • Karma Houdini: Sun Quan, who, after betraying Liu Bei, continues to lead Wu while their lands are under Shu rule. To be fair, his men advised against it. Also Xun Yu for abusing the captive Diao Chan, when Cao Cao slapped Himiko for doing the same.
  • Lightning Bruiser: On the Shu side there's Zhao Yun, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Ma Chao, whilst on the Wei side there's Xiahou Yuan, Xiahou Ba, Hu Zhi, Cao Cao himself and surprisingly, Yu Jin.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Himiko
  • Magic Knight: Xun Yu, among others.
  • Motive Decay: Averted, as Liu Bei's main goal was always to rescue Diao Chan. It's Zhao Yun who believes it was to restore the Han.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. Completing the initial campaign with Liu Bei unlocks a second full campaign where you control Cao Cao's army instead.
  • Redemption Equals Death: "Tell him to make a world where a person like me cannot be born." Spoiler 
  • Red Mage: Xun Yu and Jiang Wei are the most shining examples, both are balanced in both War and Magic stats, but they don't excel in either one.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Xun Yu in Cao Cao's ending.
  • Snow Means Death: Cao Cao in Liu Bei's ending.
  • Start of Darkness: The death of Cao Cao's mother drove him to become a cruel tyrant bent on world conquest.
  • Ugly Guy's Hot Daughters: Zhang Fei's daughters Mei Mei, Li Li, and Luo Luo
  • Verbal Tic: Yue Ying, "Yeah." It's given a lampshade:
    Zhuge Liang: Yue Ying, will you stop with the "yeah?"
  • Villainous BSoD: Cao Cao after learning that Liu Bei is his brother.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Guan Yu has a life long fear of frogs