|Game Modes:||Single-player, Multiplayer|
|Platform(s):||NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, MSX2, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Windows (98~XP)|
Gemfire (ロイヤルブラッド, Royal Blood) is a fantasy strategy with rough European and Celtic inspirations. It was distributed during a time when Koei was known primarily for basing its creations on historical events or famous fictional works. Gemfire is the pioneer title for the Imagination Game (Imagination Series in English) branding, or simulations with an original setting devised by developers.
Long ago, in a world of seven seas, there once existed the small island continent Ishmeria (Ishmelia). A nefarious sorcerer conjured an evil Fire Dragon to plunge Ishmeria into an era darkness. The Guardian Dragon, Pastha, and six sorcerers unified their strengths to defeat and seal them. The six sorcerers agreed to seal themselves into gems to protect the seal over the Fire Dragon, encasing themselves atop a golden crown called Gemfire (Royal Blood in Japanese). Whoever wields Gemfire gains formidable power and the rite to rule the land.
The Lankshire family possesses Gemfire and have peacefully ruled Ishmeria for generations. King Eselred honored his family's traditions until his biological son and first chosen heir died an unjust death (or consumed by greed according to the in-game script). He exploits Gemfire for his own gain. His daughter, Princess Robyn (Queen Avail), could no longer tolerate her father's cruelty and removes the gems atop Gemfire. Eselred punishes her defiance by imprisoning her within a tower.
Pastha is entrusted to scatter the gems. The six sorcerers break free from their prisons to serve one of the noble families vying to become ruler. The player chooses a ruler to act as their avatar with sixteen different perspectives available. The overall goal for either ruler is to completely pacify their rivals and claim ownership of Gemfire.
Players picks one scenario and one faction; the Lankshire family are never playable but remain a viable threat to players' progress. Each faction owns their particular gem to command, and the scenario fluctuates each faction's strengths.
Ishmeria's world map is presented through numbered provinces and turns progress on a monthly basis. Domestic affairs are simplified compared to other Koei simulations. The player has four primary functions for each of their provinces:
- Military: assemble an army to attack neighboring province. Draft soldiers, unique units, or transport troops once per turn. Armies require gold, food, and troops in order to march. Domestic affairs helps maintain these conditions for each province.
- Domestic: cultivate or protect territory to gain morale or officer attributes. Give food to peasantry to increase troop morale or move troops to another province once per turn. Trade by buying or selling crops at high or low prices.
- Diplomacy: request alliance, surrender, or defection from a member from another faction. Damage a neighboring province by sabotaging or plundering it. Alliances are nonaggression pacts which cannot be forged with the Lankshire family. Each action costs one turn to complete.
- Information: review character stats, province information, and delegate another lord or master of a province. Does not deplete turns to complete. The player can choose to search another province to determine their fifth unit yet this consumes the province's current turn to use.
Weather conditions and plagues may universally alter the provinces and players' strategies.
Only provinces adjacent to the selected ally province can be attacked. One army can be composed at a time. Each army formation requires standard four units to take the field. If the player has employed unique troops, a gem sorcerer, or a dragon, they can act as an army's fifth unit. Fifth units are considered special units and may require specific conditions to employ. They often deal greater damage or effects unavailable to normal troops. The length of their battle capacity is determined by their troop numbers and food supplies.
Battles are capture the flag sequences arranged in a screen segregated by a flat square grid. Players can choose to manually command their units or leave army commands to the AI. Certain units can build fences on the field in an attempt to impede the opposing side. Units simply move their numbered squares and challenge any foe within their attack range. Victory can be obtained by obtaining the opposing flag and/or obliterating the competition before the food supply for either side runs dry. Failing to complete either condition has both sides withdraw in a stalemate. The player may choose to forfeit if their side is losing, yet the commander risks being captured as they flee.
Prisoners can be released or ransomed after battle. If the player chooses to banish them, the officer will be permanently removed from the game. Rulers who are captured and surrender to the victor abolishes their rule; their properties and officers will be rewarded to the victor.
- Erin & Ander - start of the nobility's rebellion. The Lankshire family are still powerful and may develop impregnable defenses if left alone.
- Flax's Shame - Five years after the first scenario. The Coryll family have fallen and its ruler is reduced to being a wandering vassal. The powerful Tate family aspire to conquer the center for themselves.
- Terian's War - Ten years after the first scenario. The Tate family have failed and are reduced to a small corner in Ishmeria. Molbrew and Chrysalis have been reduced to ruin, as the nobility begins to polarize.
- Gemfire - Fifteen years after the first scenario. The Blanche family have gained the upper hand in the north and the Lankshire family's influence has declined.
Differences between portsEdit
- Visuals, sound effects, and text for events, openings, and endings are different between every port.
- Animations are different between every port.
- Slight music alterations are present in the home console versions.
- The Japanese Super Famicon port is called Super Royal Blood (SUPERロイヤルブラッド) like other SFC ports.
Players could learn the majority of the characters' relationships in two separately sold handbooks. These books included a detailed encyclopedia regarding other lore and monsters, game hints, and clues for triggering character events. The prologue is retold in these books as a fully-colored comic.
An arranged soundtrack was recorded with composer credits. Masumi Itoh provided keyboard performance and vocal accompaniment. Select songs were compiled into THE BEST OF KOEI VOL.3 and KOEI BATTLE SPECIAL VOL. 1.