Ishin no Arashi Bakumatsu Shishiden
Developer(s): Koei
Publisher(s): Koei
Release Date: Flag of Japan: May 1, 1998
February 4, 1999 (PS)
May 22, 2003 (PS Best)
May 24, 2010 (Mobile)
Genre: Role-playing, Historical simulation
Game Modes: Single Player
Ratings: CERO: CERO A Rating
Platform(s): Windows (95 ~ 98), PlayStation, Mobile devices

Ishin no Arashi Bakumatsu Shishiden (維新の嵐 幕末志士伝, Literally: "Storm of Reformation: Legend of Patriots in the Revolution") is the second entry in the Ishin no Arashi series. Unlike its predecessor, historical figures are now characterized with personalities and the script carries a contemporary tone.

This game was first released at the same time as the Taiga drama, Tokugawa Yoshinobu. Both mediums take place during the Bakumatsu and extend into the Meiji period. It is also the first Koei title to include this shogun as a character.

The game's general producer is Eiji Fukuzawa. The character designer and illustrator for the game's main cover was Ayami Kojima. MASA was the sound director. Music was composed by Kousuke Yamashita, Maiko Kikawa, and Tetsuhiro Sabata.


Bakumatsu Shishiden removes the scenario selection screen from the last title in favor of presenting three main protagonists: Ryōma Sakamoto, Toshizō Hijikata, or a free character of the player's creation. The player is required to select one story path at the start of each game.

While each protagonist has different motivations, each character has the same overall goal: to strictly follow a group of ideologies and band together with like-minded individuals to unite the land. Multiple scenarios and endings can be unlocked based on the beliefs the player chooses to stress for their character. This game categorizes them into three main groups:

Group Thought Political Ideologies Brief Descriptions
Traditional Japanese Constitution Pro-Shogunate
Cling to ancient Chinese and Japanese customs prior to public awareness of the Western boats. Supporters of the shogunate want to protect the samurai caste and the Edo shogunate. Revolutionaries wish to oppose the shogunate's corruptive traits and protect Japan's isolation for unified government reformation.
Acceptance of the West Open Country
Encourages attentive and earnest relations with European foreigners. Open Country desires the removal of Japan's isolation and the active acceptance of foreign knowledge to better protect itself. Exclusion refers to the centuries old practice of welcoming foreign trade but not Western thought.
The Two Extremes Advocate War
Political ideologies original to the game. Partisans who strongly advocate war will mobilize a massive militia like their forefathers to change the public opinion; they are declared enemies of the state and oppose every faction. Moderation, in this instance, means apathy for the other beliefs; the protagonist treats the first two groups equally.

Completing or ignoring key historical events is the other means of changing the story. The player is informed of their occurrences during their playthrough and are given a due date meet their requirements. Should the player wish to see them, they will need to balance their character's daily schedule with the in-game time and calendar.

If the player has invested too much into Moderation and/or has neglected to complete too many events, the game will prematurely end. Reaching the game's final time limit without fulfilling the character's objectives also causes a bad ending to occur.


While the first game used an omnipresent view for its maps, Bakumatsu Shishiden uses a point-and-click map system similar to the later Taiko Risshiden titles. Residential areas are viewed in first person. If the player wishes to move to another district of a large city, they momentarily switch to a bird's eye view for a district selection screen. Choosing to leave a town takes the player to an overworld screen. It features an enlarged sprite of the protagonist walking to whatever destination the player selects for them. Saving can be done any time through the game's main menu screen.

When in town, the protagonist's story path automatically designates their starting point. Starting points provide free rest. The player creates multiple starting points as they shape their character's main ideology.

The protagonist also has a stamina bar to determine their healthiness for each day. It drains with their activities, be it a chore or simply moving to another district. If it drops completely, the protagonist is benched with mandatory bed rest until they recover. They may even succumb to illness, in which they will need to pay a doctor to nurse them back to health. The player can keep track of their character's endurance by watching the expressions of a miniature sprite located at the top of the screen. Stamina can be regained by sleeping at regular intervals.

Like the first title, towns provide options of boosting the protagonist's personal stats. Choosing to study with a scholar increases their intelligence and training at dojo empowers their strength. When these options are selected, the protagonist will automatically train an allotted amount of days until they have nothing more to learn. The only interruptions to the process are story events. The protagonist can also work at part-time jobs for travel funds, but it lowers their stamina significantly.

Another function for towns is to gather information. The protagonist must keep up with current events to be successful in building relationships and prevailing in discussions. Gossip can be gained by dining at local restaurants, building friendships with locals, or purchasing or selling items at shops. Information is imperative for meeting particular individuals across the country.

As the protagonist wanders the land, they might randomly pay homage to a famous landmark. The event rewards the main character with two stat boosts.


Protagonists must at one point initiate a debate with a person to trigger the game's separate persuasion screen. The goal of this phase is to lower the opponent's resistance to zero and be rewarded with trust points, which can then contribute to the game's overall goal of building relations for unification.

Persuasions now follow a card-like system. Cards are categorized by the game's ideologies, and they can only be used in discussions that match the ideology marked on them. Therefore it's encouraged for the player to find additional cards to be prepared for any topic. Once the protagonist favors a particular political thought, they can gain stronger affiliated cards but cannot use cards from other groups.

There are two main types of cards which are used: the topical and the presentation cards. Topical cards selects the leading subject of the debate and is the strongest card the player can use to attack their opponent's arguments. However, their effectiveness weakens over time. Presentation cards boost the effectiveness of topical cards. Each card has a numerical strength listed on them to indicate their effectiveness per round.

A third type of card the player can play are cut-in cards. They carry special effects such as nulling the opponent's argument, boosting the power of the played cards, or immediately ending the match in victory for the one using it. Several cut-in cards can only be used under the specific requirements listed on each card.

In order to successfully initiate them, however, both participants must engage in a button-mashing mini game with two drum players. The first person to accumulate five lanterns with their button mashing wins. If they played the cut-in card, its effects are immediately activated. The challenger who didn't use the card negates its effects and can lead the next turn. Debates last until a victor is declared or if there are no more cards to play.

An alternative to building trust is to purchase souvenirs and present them to the person they are visiting. Every person has the option to reject gifts, however, so it may be wise to reserve this for friendly acquaintances.


During pivotal moments of the game's storylines, the protagonist fights in decisive battles. These sequences are strategy simulations which take place on a circular grid, not unlike entries in the Eiketsuden series. The player directs each character's movements in turn-based battles and orders them to attack whoever they are facing. Characters then automatically clash with one another; the one with the higher stats prevails. Escaping can be performed by moving onto the labeled red circles in the area. If the protagonist dies in these battles, it's an automatic game over.

Select figures of the time period can use their signature techniques during battle, giving them a significant advantage over their opponents. The protagonist can use their moves by studying at specific dojos throughout the land. A majority of these dojos can be found in Edo.

Sword sparring sessions take place within a dojo and have boundaries for the match. There are no repercussions for losing these sessions. Each participant aims to break through their opponent's defenses to land the first blow. If the player moves their character too far to the left, they will receive a Fault. A maximum of two Faults can be received per round; a third Fault forces the character to concede defeat. Random headhunters are also fought in this manner; losing these matches automatically benches the protagonist until they recover.

Movements are limited to pressing left or right buttons on the directional pad. There are two button commands: attack and battle cry. Battle cries are needed to raise the character's will power gauge located at the bottom of the screen, and will power is needed to perform attacks. Characters with higher swordsmanship ratings regain will power at a quicker rate.

If the player chooses to do so, their protagonist can become a heartless murderer. As opposed to sparing foes from battles, there is an option to kill those who remain. Should the player accept this option too many times, it may cause their protagonist to slay whoever they personally visit. At the same time, this type of reputation lowers the chances the protagonist has of meeting the influential figures. Notoriety can be lowered by paying for prayers at shrines and/or temples.


New GameEdit

Historical events are primarily told from the perspective of the player's main character rather than presenting an omnipresent summary like other historical simulation titles. Each of the scenarios has their own traits:

  1. Ryōma Sakamoto - historically begins with his view of the American "black ships" and ends with his assassination. The players can have him wed Sanako Chiba or Oryou. Focuses on the importance of studying.
  2. Toshizō Hijikata - historically starts with his sword training days in Edo and ends with his death in the Boshin War. Requires frequent sword training.
  3. Free character - roughly mimics the free roaming qualities of the first game. Players can create a male or female protagonist for their adventure. Focuses on the importance of studying.

Four unique endings can be earned in each scenario. Both of the historical figures have an ending dedicated to their historical end and three original "what if?" scenarios. The free characters' endings are determined by the ideologies the player chose to follow during the character creation screen.


Load from a previous save file.


Change the sound settings.


A mode which grants access to four different mini-games. They are:

  1. Persuasions - chooses an opponent to debate with based on the current save data. Alternatively, the player can choose to debate with Yataro Iwasaki, Naosuke Ii, and Ryojun Matsumoto.
  2. Hanafuda - play against a woman opponent. Includes koikoi rule.
  3. Sparring - the only two player friendly option. Players can fight as their preferred historical figure using the dojo rules.
  4. Battle - a single player can control Ryōma or Toshizō to fight in the grid battlefield. The player can change the landscape before they initiate the battles.

Differences between portsEdit

  • The mobile version of the game is based on the PlayStation port.
  • The PC versions stresses that the player needs to gather information from the important historical figures of the era to proceed; this is no longer a driving concern in the PlayStation port.
  • Backgrounds changed during the time of day in the PC version (dawn, afternoon, and so on). Depending on the time, the likelihood of attacking wanderers would increase. This is cut form the PlayStation version.
  • Data for festivals and landmarks are not present in the PlayStation version.
  • Persuasions in the PC port relied on arguing an opponent's flaws to progress in the discussion. The PlayStation version simplifies the system to a clash of numbers.
  • Companions who occasionally travel with the protagonist can provide assistance during persuasions and can train with the protagonist in the PC port. This is cut in the PlayStation version.
  • The free character's scenario has been expanded significantly in the PlayStation port.
  • Oryou's portrait for the later parts of the game has been revised in the home console version.



External LinksEdit

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