Rise of The Phoenix
Developer(s): Koei
Publisher(s): Koei
Release Date: Flag of Japan: 1993 (PC-9801)
April 6, 1994 (SFC)
March 26, 1998 (PS)
October 24, 2004 (25th anniversary pack)
July 15, 2005 (Number series)
Flag of the United States.svg: February 1, 1995 (SNES)
Genre: Historical simulation,
Role-playing game
Game Modes: Single Player, Multiplayer
Ratings: CERO: CERO A Rating
ESRB: Rating US-Everyone
Platform(s): NEC PC-9801, FM Towns, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, Windows ('98~XP)

Rise of The Phoenix (項劉記, Kōryūki, literally: "The Chronicles of Xiang-Liu") is one of Koei's many historical simulation titles. The setting for this game is the Chu–Han Contention, the four year conflict which happened after Shi Huangdi's death and led to the birth of the Han Dynasty.

The game's producer is Kou Shibusawa and the music composer is Tomoki Hasegawa. Noriyoshi Ourai illustrated the game's cover image.


The players can either watch an AI demo of the game, pit their strengths against the computer, or fight against another player. The player can only choose Xiang Yu or Liu Bang as their preferred lord. Each lord has their own traits:

  • Xiang Yu (Chu) - strong in war with low numbers; often has high morale and trustworthy generals; hard to keep alliances and peace within cities.
  • Liu Bang (Han) - intellectual leader who relies on a variety of generals for war; prevails by focusing on domestic affairs; easier to keep his allies happy.

Other warlords appear during the game, but they cannot be controlled by players. Instead, the player controlled parties can send an envoy to forge alliances with them or conquer their ruling cities to increase resources. Allies who rebel against the player's character may either join another warlord or lead their squadron in mutiny. Ideally, ally generals should band together with several divisions to divide and conquer.

Armies will automatically be assembled on the field; they can be directed to defend or move towards another city. Forces can either be the player's forces (white), allies (light blue), enemies (red), enemies' allies (pink), or mutual (dark blue). These same colors are used to label the cities commanded by players on the map.

Combat and planning phases for each force are commenced in two week sessions, each with their individual turns. Battle is the first turn, allowing players to march forward to conquer an enemy force or city or to hide their forces in ambush. Like other Koei simulation titles, an army's strength is measured by their Spirit (attack/defense), Supplies (rate for sustaining Spirit), and Troop numbers. A general's Stamina rating bolsters their endurance in the field.

Once battle takes place between military divisions, the action changes to a unique screen centering on the fighting. Movement and attacking takes a fixed amount of action points to use, therefore limiting the commands of each unit. Since combat is turn-based, the armies attack each other one turn at a time. The player is given 14 days to decide a victor to the battle. One day equates to three sets of turns between the forces. If armies are close to one another, valiant generals may issue duels with one another to instantly lower the loser's Spirit.

When two opposing armies face each other at a city, the defender may retreat within the castle's walls. This commences a castle siege with a slight change in commands. The attacking army may commence a water attack or may order an ambush unit to attack the defenders. They can achieve victory either by breaking down the castle's defenses or by whittling the defender's numbers. At night, either party can initiate a night raid in an attempt to devastate the enemy. Alternatively, an envoy can be sent to ask for peace with the castle lord.

If the player does not encounter hostile forces on the overworld map within the first turn, they will activate the secondary planning phase. A variety of strategical measures can be made such as choosing to hunt for hidden enemy troops, enlisting troops at their castle, or asking support from an ally unit. Random natural disasters (such as sandstorms, heavy snowfall, or a plague) may occur to impede ally or enemy forces within its effects. Harvests may also occur to increase supplies for affected cities.

Three important components for victory are conquering territory, keeping tabs on ally territory and forces, and gaining the people's respect. Players can achieve this by balancing military and domestic affairs. Generals who aren't fed properly or rewarded with monetary gain are more likely to rebel. Their concerns can be addressed by conquering other cities and pillaging the townsfolk. If the townsfolk are disgruntled with the player's character, they will riot and cause a dent in ally resources. The players can gain their respect by endorsing their crops, throwing a banquet, or by giving them gold. A maximum respect rating with the people or completely conquering the land by force is needed to complete a scenario.


Before the start of any game, the player can choose to play one of the following scenarios:

  1. Xiang Yu's Glory - 206 BC: Xiang Yu's rise to power after Shi Huangdi's death
  2. Liu Bang Declares War - 205 BC: Liu Bang gains Han Xin; Xiang Yu kills emperor
  3. The Battle at Guang Wu - 204 BC: Battle of Pengcheng and Battle of Jingsuo
  4. The Rise of the Phoenix - 203 BC: beginning and end of the Battle of Gaixia

Cinema for historical events may occur based on the player's progress and their faction. The first two scenarios favor Xiang Yu's troops, but Liu Bang has an overwhelming advantage during the second half. It's exceptionally difficult to win the fourth scenario while playing as Xiang Yu, as his troops are heavily surrounded at the start of the map.

The time spent in each scenario is limitless, only ending once the player has either lost or claimed victory. At any time, the player may choose to leave their side's actions to the game's AI.

Differences between portsEdit

  • The PC and PS versions features detailed portraits and improved sound quality over the SNES ports.
  • Visuals for the battle scenes look significantly different. The SNES version features large sprites from a bird's eye view. The PC versions feature a squished screen in the center as they command their divisions. Troops are featured as miniature sprites and can be positioned in various ways on the small map. A split screen, which appears on the left or right, features detailed visual appears for battle commands. The player can also see each faction's stats without needing to shuffle through various menus.
  • Larger visuals for the cinema are available for the PC versions.
  • Ending sequences look slightly different between ports.

Related MediaEdit

Koei released a fifteen-track soundtrack CD of the game's music in 1993.



External LinksEdit