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Fengshen Yanyi

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Fengshen Yanyi
Developer(s): Fu-Qi
Publisher(s): Koei
Release Date: Flag of Japan: September 10, 1998
Flag of Japan: April 1, 1999 (Aizouban version)
Genre: Tactical strategy RPG
Game Modes: Single Player
Ratings: CERO: CERO B Rating
Platform(s): PlayStation

Fengshen Yanyi (封神演義 Houshin Engi or 愛蔵版 封神演義, Aizouban Houshin Engi) is a game based on the Chinese novel of the same name. The story presents Taigong Wang as the main hero and he takes his first journey away from his home to defeat the evil that plagues the land. This particular title -and its sequel- was not widely distributed internationally. Its action spin-off and sequel to the second title, however, did reach Western shores as Mystic Heroes. This game plays in a similar manner as the Final Fantasy Tactics series.

The illustrations and character designs were done by Takeshi Okazaki, who is probably best known for his work Elementalors.


Thousands of years ago, there was a war between darkness and light. Demons fought with humanity in a long brutal war. During the conflict, mankind created powerful weapons called Paopei and won. Sealing the demons away into darkness, the history of man began. The people who could control Paopei were given a special place above the human world called the celestial realm. These ancients offer their teachings to any worthy soul who come to them.

Many years later Taigong Wang, a newly dubbed mystic, is asked by his mentor to observe the human world's recent calamities. As soon as he descends from the heavens, a fleeing resident gossips about the once good king turning into a tyrant. Hearing of more devastation, he learns that the king changed ever since he took in a peculiar woman. Monsters invade the city during nights and feast on the unfortunate townsfolk. After he saves a family from being apprehended by the city's serpent guards, he is captured by Hu Ximei. He is roughly brought before King Zhou and is introduced to the villainous Da Ji. Since the king is tired, they decide to lock their new prisoner away before deciding on his painful execution. Escaping with his new comrade, Huang Feihu, Taigong Wang decides to rid the kingdom of Da Ji. He is also given the task of performing a sealing ritual for the departed by calling out "Fengshen!" (封神, Houshin), spiriting their souls away to become gods.


Battles take place on 3D isometric maps; participants in battle are illustrated with 2D sprites that can be usually be seen from four different angles. Their range of movement varies with the character and they march to and fro the field in various square patterns. The order of their actions are determined by their speed rating and each character's order can be checked by the number listed by their portrait (the active member being listed as 1). Action is completely turn based and characters may only perform one action per turn. Should a character lose all of their health, they will die and cannot be revived though any means. Additionally, if Taigong Wang -or the commander for a secondary unit- falls in battle, the game will automatically end in defeat for the player.

Elements are assigned to each character. This attribute determines the strengths and weaknesses for the individual, as well as their proficiency with spells of a particular element. The five elements are Fire, Nature, Metal, Earth and Water. Taking advantage of an element's weakness can increase or decrease the damage a party member can deal in one turn. A colored icon and symbol appears next to each character's portrait to indicate their designated element. The following lists the element chain present in the game.

Earth defeats Water
Water defeats Fire
Fire defeats Metal
Metal defeats Nature
Nature defeats Earth

Aside from elements, a character's morale before a major battle can also affect their performance. Two characters in the main party -including the main hero- will randomly approach the player to report their will power. Willing characters acquire more experience and deal greater damage than those who request to take a break from the field. An up or down arrow next a character's portrait indicates which two characters are afflicted with these conditions.

One of the factors that separates Fengshen Yanyi from other titles in the genre is the stressed importance of the map's terrain. Hills and ditches, for example, are much harder to climb and progress through than flat land. Common earth moving magic may erect mountains or sink floors to morph the landscape. During most major confrontations, players may also gain access to seals which may manifest bodies of water, earthquakes, and other land alternating effects. Special character types may bypass these effects by flying over obstacles or by burrowing under ground level. Higher level attacks from weapons may also sink the spot where their target is standing. Ideally, manipulating the terrain simplifies travel, helps to avoid traps on the field, may be used to pin enemies, or may protect allies from being attacked. The downside to this battle element is that stone or tiled areas will not be affected by any these aforementioned techniques, making one-on-one battles slightly more difficult to win.

Weapons and sorcery have their own proficiency levels which vary between each character. The spells that a character can use is determined by the equipment they wear; rare treasures (or Paopei) may additionally grant its wearer with powerful and unique sorcery from a certain spell type. Each weapon and magic category has ten levels of proficiency (from 1 to Master, the star icon) and have their individual leveling system. Using weapons and magic more often unlocks more attacks or spells that can be performed. Players can use the divine peaches earned from winning story battles to increase a character's maximum proficiency for any weapon or magic. There are eight elements that characters may practice and learn.

Swords - excel at close encounters. In later levels, they can be used for powerful attacks against groups. Their ranged attacks are more free-form than other weapons.
Spears - mid ranged weapon. Possess powerful attacks that travel in a straight line. Also has a spinning close ranged attack on later levels to deal with multiple foes.
Clubs - mid ranged weapon with additional crippling properties. Best used for defensive strategies but are also capable fighters in later levels.
Bows - weapon with the longest range of attack. Good for weakening or disabling enemies while defending the user.
Earth - spells that shape the ground in some way. Symbolized by a lightning bolt.
Healing - restores health and removes status effects. Symbolized by a sun.
Illusions - applies a status effect on select enemies (i.e poison, sleep, blindness, etc.). Symbolized by an eye.
Chi - boosts allies stats (such as attack, defense, speed, etc.). Symbolized by a yin-yang icon.

Traveling on the overworld map is limited to story scenarios only and there are no random encounters. Instead, the players can train while their army is resting in various bases. These rest stops supply a shop and an open training area for the party. The monsters the player faces while they're training is an average of the army's levels; it will have a steeper curve if many characters have mismatched levels. They can choose to fight battles with easy, medium, or hard difficulty. Unlike normal battles, characters who are defeated during training only lose their chance to gain experience and may live to fight again.

Since it's possible to change the main hero's name, characters will avoid directly calling him by name in this game. The default name for him is Taigong Wang, which carries over into the following titles.


For players who may have the played game, the Japanese pronunciation and the Chinese/Japanese characters of their names will also be included.

Main PartyEdit

Shang DynastyEdit


Aizouban ChangesEdit

The re-release (Aizouban) offers the following additions different from the first release.

  • The game's difficulty can be adjusted to easy, normal, or hard.
  • Fixed bugs regarding the landscape and certain attacks. Battles are also slightly faster.
  • More Paopei can be collected.
  • Voices for characters as well as a selection of fully voiced cutscenes.
  • Different quotes said by ally characters in between and during battle.
  • Each time the player stops at a base, they are also given a chance to duel with one of the characters' mentors. Duels are solo matches and are generally much more difficult. While no experience is gained if the player wins, they are rewarded with rare and powerful treasures for their party. Losing these matches doesn't punish the player in any way, but they will need to wait for another base before they can issue a rematch.

Related MediaEdit

A drama CD series was produced along with a three volume light novel series. Both mediums are original stories set in this version of the Chinese classic, mixing story elements from the original with elements in the game. Each medium tells a different story than the one told in the game.


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