The following may or may not be an actual conversation between me and a college roommate.

My Roommate: Yo Will! Check out this book I read for history class!

Me: You actually read? I thought you just played football and lifted weights all day!

My Romomate: Heck yeah! It’s called Romance of the Three Kingdoms! I thought it was some sappy romance novel, but it’s got sorcerers, babes, dudes getting their heads chopped off, dudes chopping their wives up and eating them and all kinds of crazy $#!t!

Me: Awesome. They made some video games about it you know. You select a Chinese general, kill hundreds of enemies, and you even get to ride on horseback!

Roomie: I already know about that. Koei made them and they’re called Dynasty Warriors. So that’s what those games are based on…

Me: Nope, Capcom made them, and it was a pair of arcade titles called Dynasty Wars and Warriors of Fate. They’re arcade games, so they’re a bit hard to find.

Roomie: Awesome! I’m gonna find them right now!

Dynasty Wars (not to be confused with Dynasty Warriors, which is also based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms) is a historical beat-em-up from Capcom. Long before Koei made the Chinese novel into it’s version of Madden, Capcom bought it into a Final-Fight style beat em up setting. The first game dealt with the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the rise of the evil tyrant Dong Zhuo. You select one of four generals and make your way through waves on enemies while on horseback. You can collect experience points and special items to improve your weapons and stats RPG style.

Warriors of Fate was the game’s sequel. Unlike its predecessor, you now fought on foot (although horses frequently show up for players to ride on). In this game, you select one of 5 generals as you stop emperor Cao Cao and the Wei kingdom. If you’re playing the world version of the game, then the characters have been renamed and there is a slightly different storyline. Like other beat-em-up of the period, players could pick up dropped weapons and used them. The game was surprisingly gory for its time, as attacks decapitate and disembowel opponents.

Although the games weren’t very different from other beat-em-ups, they were enjoyable all the same. The fact that they are semi-educational is a small bonus as well. It’s a wonder why Capcom didn’t include then on their classics collection compilations