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Video Game / Shogun: Total War

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Shogun: Total War is the first game in the Creative Assembly'sTotal War strategy franchise. The player takes control of a Japanese clan during the Sengoku Period attempting to conquer the nation and claim the position of shogun.

An Expansion Pack called Mongol Invasion was released in 2001 which allowed players to control either side of the Mongol invasions of Japan.

Shogun: Total War provides examples of:

  • Alternate History The whole premise of Mongol Invasion is that the storm that destroyed the real-life invasion fleet never happened.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The AI will never create Geisha houses outside of glitches and bugs. Note the word "House".
  • Artistic License – History: Multiple. Fixed in Shogun 2.
    • Clans often recruit notable generals they have in history with increased rank, such as Honda Tadakatsu, note  who appears for the Imagawa/Tokugawa. They sometime recruit notable generals they never recruited in history, such as Asakura Yoshikagenote  for the Oda.
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    • Oda, Imagawa, and Uesugi clans having Toyotomi, Tokugawa, and Date in their heir list. Technically their clan was supposed to replace their names, but the trigger sometimes may or may not run.
    • Some clans having heirs who isn't related to them in the first place!note 
  • Artistic License – Religion: In one geisha assassination cutscene, a Catholic priest seems to be wearing a rosary as a necklace. Even today, most Catholics consider that a very inappropriate use for one, as doing so would give the impression that it is a mere beauty-piece.
  • Battle Thralls: The Mongols' basic, cheap infantry units from the Mongol Invasion expansion are Korean captives/vassals pressed into service.
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  • Cannon Fodder: Ashigaru are fairly capable as cannon fodder goes. While weaker than the samurai and best used in overwhelming numbers, they are still definitely worth recruiting, especially since samurai units tend to be much more expensive and harder to recruit. Good tactics can also allow them to beat samurai units with relatively few casualties.
  • Church Militant: The militant Buddhist, and later Christian, samurai, who would rise up if upset at your daimyo's religious policy, be it conversion to Christianity or refusal to give up Shintoism if said daimyo conquers a territory that has been converted to Christianity.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: There is one such near-future Japan in the game's victory cinematic.
  • Demonic Spiders: Warrior Monks, if the A.I. Roulette hates your guts. Nodachi Samurai can qualify this, but only if you don't field any cavalry or any Nodachi Samurai yourself. Any ranged units becomes this if you're fielding Kensais.
  • Distant Finale:
    • After your clan achieves victory, the final cutscene jumps forward into the far future. It show your daimyo's statue being displayed in a public square in high-tec, Cyberpunk style Tokyo, with the narrator saying how legends of your courage and cunning still lives on to this very day.]
    • In the Mongol Invasion expansion pack, if you fail to defeat the Mongolian invasion of Japan, the ending skips forward to the future. It shows the same cutscene as mentioned above with the modern day Tokyo in the future, seemingly suggesting that history goes on same as before... except then narrator reveals that you are looking at the province of Japan, which is now part of Mongolia, with its cultural heritage and legends of the samurai being long since forgotten by history. The final shot of the ending is a giant statue of Kubla Khan standing proudly in a public park at the city center.
  • Dummied Out: The game had text and sound files that remained unused, including:
    • Material related to the Chosokabe clan, which was used later in Shogun 2.
    • Sound files mentioning the birth of a daughter, a concept which was later used in Medieval.
    • Unused text lines stating Christian Excommunication, which was later used in Medieval.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Or close to it, anyway. When a major clan is destroyed (and thus the daimyo dies), he recites a historical "death poem", written by samurai before they either committed seppuku or went off to a Last Stand.
  • Faction-Specific Endings: The ending cutscene changes slightly depending on what clan you played as.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Until it was patched, The Mongol Invasion expansion caused the original campaign to treat the "Rebels and Ronin" garrisons that control the majority of the map at the beginning to act like a full hostile faction. The resulting tsunami of rebel armies would quickly overwhelm all the playable sides in the first few turns. Amusingly enough it did not count as a faction for victory conditions, meaning the last side standing wins by default.
  • Goddamn Bats: Calvary Archers. The only unit besides themselves who can catch up to them is Yari Cavalry.Combine it with unlimited ammo and no Yari Cavalry and... (See Below)
  • Guide Dang It!: Unit losses can only be recovered through a manual process which requires the damaged unit to be sent to a province that is capable of training units, has the correct recruitment building (example: Yari Samurai requires a Yari Dojo), and then put directly into the training queue to be retrained to full strength. Needless to say, this user-unfriendly detail at least played a part in introducing automatic replenishment in the later games.
  • Instrument of Murder: There is a brief cutscene that shows a ninja assassinating his target with a poison dart blown out of a flute. The Geishas also have several fairly brutal instrumental kills. Special mention goes to the assassination scene where a Geisha kills a room full of enemies, armed only with a violin-type instrument.
  • Magikarp Power: Trying to use Ninjas early on with no rank seems like a waste of Koku as they can die more often than not. And it's only when you've upgraded their recruitment building to the maximum level that they can start to live long enough to enjoy a successful career full of numerous assassinations.
  • Mutual Kill: What happens when two enemy geisha meet. The geisha have a tea ceremony. Then one geisha uses her hair stick to kill the other geisha, who retaliates with a fatal kodachi strike. The strikes are offscreen, but the player sees the really bloody aftermath.
  • One-Man Army: The Kensai unit, a master swordsman capable of tearing through entire units or holding a choke point all by his lonesome.
  • Shoot the Messenger: If the rival faction you're sending an emissary to really hates your guts, your emissary may come back to you missing everything from the neck down.
  • Stock Footage: Kind of, in that the opening cinematic of the Warlord Edition is an actual scene from Ran.
  • Tutorial Failure:
    • The optional tutorial has one scenario where you get a unit of archers perched on a hillside and are tasked with taking out a unit of spearmen marching up the hill. Supposedly, this was to demonstrate the importance of high ground... except the spearmen take piss-all damage for some reason and WILL reach your archers with minimal casualties. What you are actually supposed to do is to retreat to the nearby hilltop, shoot from there until the spearmen get close, then assume wedge formation and counter-charge them. Even so, it's a Luck-Based Mission due to the two sides being evenly matched until one side's general is killed.
    • Later, the tutorial makes you the attackers and tasks you with driving arquebusiers off a hill. Thing is, the enemy is completely unable to shoot due to the rain, making the whole thing a zero-risk endeavor.
  • Unwinnable by Design: You can make units have unlimited ammo in the options. Combine this with an AI who uses Cavalry Archers and you have no Yari Cavalry and...note 
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: You can wait out for the last turn without completing your objectives, or have your daimyo with no heir fight a battle with no chance to escape.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Cathedrals. They provide the owner income from all churches, not just yours- but the AI will never make churches enough to make a sizable profit. While it provides the creation of Musketeers, a Gun Factory is much more efficient, but... (See below)
    • To a lesser extent, Christianity. While they provide gunpowder units earlier than the dutch, the AI who doesn't like anyone who is a Christian, even if the Daimyo in question is a Christian himself. You also have to deal with Buddhist rebellions, which may spawn Warrior Monks.
    • Gunpowder units. Where do we begin?
      • Arquebusiers. Unless you happen to have a Citadel and an Armory note or a Cathedral, you're going to be stuck using them most of the game.
      • Musketeers. By the time you can make one, you already almost beaten the game. While its more feasable in the 1580 scenario, your time is SEVERELY limited with the almost lack of heirs.
      • A clever player can just Zerg Rush them and immediately cause them to rout. The AI is aware of this, making battles such as Nagashino impossible.


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