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Sakura Taisen

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Page 1:
Intro
Development
Structure

Page 2:
Sakura Taisen
Atsuki Chishio Ni


Page 3:
Sakura Taisen 2
Sakura Taisen 3


Page 4:
Sakura Taisen 4
Sakura Taisen V

Page 5:
Hanagumi Tsūshin
Hanagumi Taisen Columns
Steam Radio Show
Teigeki Graph

Page 6:
Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2
Ōgami Ichirō Funtōki
Sakura Taisen GB
Kinematron Hanagumi Mail
Sakura Taisen GB 2
Sakura Taisen Online
Sakura Taisen Monogatari

Page 7:
Sakura Taisen V Episode 0
Dramatic Dungeon
Legacy
Influence
Resources

Discuss on the Forums!

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Sakura Taisen Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 (サクラ大戦花組対戦コラムス2) - Dreamcast (2000)

Cover

Released in January 2000, this was the first Sakura Taisen title for Dreamcast. It's basically more of what we saw in Hanagumi Taisen Columns, with a few key differences. First, of course, is that it takes advantage of the new Dreamcast hardware for higher-fidelity graphics and fancier animation. Second, it includes the new characters from Sakura Taisen 2. Third, it offers online play using the Dreamcast modem (though the servers have long been turned off, of course). Fourth, and most importantly, it seems to be the first game to use character art by someone other than Kousuke Fujishima and Hidenori Matsubara. Because of the consistency in presenting these characters in every other context, it really shows. There's something wrong about seeing the characters you've spent so many dozens (or hundreds) of hours with, drawn by someone kinda, but not quite, like the usual artists.

Otherwise, this is quite similar to the first Hanagumi Taisen Columns. There is a main story mode, a mode in which the heroines compete for a lead role, and ordinary one- and two-player modes.

The many modes of Hanagumi Taisen 2.

Versus character select.

Cut-scene attack.

Kōran wins, Sumire plays the role of a mailbox.


Ōgami Ichirō Funtōki (大神一郎奮闘記) - Dreamcast (2000)

Cover

This game is surprisingly awesome, if only because of how bizarrely meta it is. It was released in February of 2000, and by that time the Sakura Taisen stage shows had become pretty elaborate affairs. The voice cast had transmogrified themselves into a stage cast, performing ever more self-intertwined stories in which they appeared on stage as their characters preparing to put on a play, and then portrayed their characters portraying characters in the play. This, then, is a video game about the putting on of a stage performance with characters who are portrayed by characters who are from a video game about actors who put on stage performances. It is as awesomely self-referential and surreal as it sounds.

It may make more sense to take it chronologically. Sakura Taisen is a series of video games about robot pilots who also perform stage plays. In real life, the voice actors began putting on stage plays in which they portray the robot pilots preparing and putting on stage plays. One of these stage plays was then made into a video game, combining video clips from the real-life performance with regular video game segments as if they are all part of one continuity.

Most of the game is an ordinary Sakura Taisen adventure-part scenario, interspersed with video clips from a real-life performance by the Sakura Taisen voice cast of the original play Benitokage (紅蜥蜴), "Crimson Lizard". After each clip, you get to deal with the behind-the-scenes view of what is going on around the theater, which leads into the next clip. This is a fun thing to get wrapped up in; the clips are actually surprisingly entertaining and well-integrated into the storyline.

The big opening dance number.

Hijinks in Sumire's room.

Orihime in an adventure part...

...And just moments later in a live-action part.


Sakura Taisen GB: Geki! Hanagumi Nyūtai! (サクラ大戦GB 檄・花組入隊!) - Game Boy Color (2000)

Cover

Released for Game Boy Color in July of 2000, this game came in a huge variety of different packs. The series was still riding high on the success of ST2, and on the anticipation of ST3. The convenience store Lawson carried a different pack for each of the six original heroines, including a pin and a cell phone strap of that character. The Premium Pack included a T-shirt. The Pocket Sakura pack included a self-contained Tamagotchiesque mini-game, which included a pedometer, and could upload walking progress back to ST GB. And the Game Boy Color pack included a transparent pink Game Boy Color, with a Sakura Taisen motif.

The idea of the game itself is that you are recruited to lead the Flower Troupe for one month, participating in combat practice and doing night watch duty. This means playing a menu-based combat system and primitive LIPS events with the cast. This is one of few ST games where you don't play as Ohgami; instead you are yourself, and you actually interact with Ohgami during your month of training. The driving goal, in dating-sim fashion, is to manage how you spend your time in order to keep up your various stats: strength, intelligence, spirit, courage, speed, and dexterity. For a Game Boy Color title, the production values are stunningly good. The graphics and music are excellent.

Doing karate to improve stats.

Roaming the theater for events.

Meeting Kanna in the gym.


Sakura Taisen Kinematron Hanagumi Mail (サクラ大戦キネマトロン 花組メール) - Game Boy Color (2000)

Cover

Released for Dreamcast in December of 2000, when anything Internet-related was thought to be extremely desirable. As such, it is one of the many bits of online-specific game console software that is useless nowadays. It was also included with the special-edition pink Sakura Taisen Dreamcast hardware. The purpose of this disc was to compose emails with themed stamps and stationery, as is popular for geeky Japanese folks, especially around the new year. These could then be sent to other people... who owned the same disc. Messages sent to people using normal email accounts would show up as ordinary text. Combine that specificity of audience with the intentionally-obtuse Kinematron interface, and you have a pretty dumb product.

Screenshots were taken from the Sesega blog.

Combat scene in mid-attack.

Leveling up after battle.


Sakura Taisen GB 2: Thunderbold Sakusen (サクラ大戦GB2 サンダーボルト作戦) - Game Boy Color (2001)

Cover

Released in December of 2001, this was another Game Boy Color game in which you portray a temporary guest member of the Flower Troupe. It's basically a dungeon-crawling RPG in the vein of early Final Fantasy titles, with some Sakura Taisen touches such as, of course, LIPS events. Each chapter has you wandering a map in a Kōbu with one of the Sakura Taisen 2 heroines, looking for items and getting in random turn-based battles. The variety of actions you have to choose from in combat is pretty impressive for a game of this sort; each unit has melee, ranged, special, and deathblow attacks. The graphics are once again amazing for the Game Boy Color, especially in the adventure parts. The music is an impressive effort to capture the Sakura Taisen themes and atmosphere in chiptune form.

Wandering a dungeon map.

Combat scene in mid-attack.

Leveling up after battle.

STGB2's remarkable pixel art.


Sakura Taisen Online (サクラ大戦オンライン) - Dreamcast (2001)

Tokyo Version LE

Continuing with the Internet-enabled trend, this Dreamcast game was released in two editions in December of 2001. It comprises a series of tabletop games and minigames that can be played online against others, or offline against Sakura Taisen characters. This all takes place in Sakura Town, a somewhat absurd amalgamation of Tokyo and Paris; the edition you buy determines on which side you can set up your personal room. Each player gets a customizable avatar and a room to decorate, using items bought with in-game currency. The tabletop games include hanafuda, daifugou, poker, and mahjong. The limited edition of the game came with a full Dreamcast keyboard, in Sakura Taisen pink, of course.


Sakura Taisen Monogatari: Mysterious Paris (サクラ大戦物語 ~ミステリアス巴里~) - PS2 (2004)

Cover

Anime sequence.

Rapid button pressing challenge.

Now here is an odd game. Originally announced as part of the Sakura Taisen World Project in 2002, along with the rest of the products that were supposed to carry the franchise to great global success, it was finally released in March of 2004. Sakura Taisen Monogatari was meant to be a gaiden (side-story) series, using the settings and characters of the main series, but with different protagonists. Initially, a Tokyo counterpart was meant to be developed alongside this Paris installment, but that game never materialized.

Mysterious Paris takes place after the events of Sakura Taisen 4, and follows the adventures of detective Kojirou Akechi and his sister, Chattes Noires performer Miki Akechi - both are playable characters. The story focuses on a series of mysterious disappearances of Chattes Noires performers, and much of the game plays out in LIPS-based adventure scenarios. The game does introduce a few innovations, such as a life bar (enough bad choices can eventually deplete it and get you a Game Over screen), first-person dungeon crawling, and rudimentary shooting events. It's surprisingly well put-together, considering its peripheral status, with full-on anime sequences and good production values. But it is a bit odd to be running around locations from Sakura Taisen 3, and interacting with its cast of heroines and NPCs, with Ohgami and the Kōbu nowhere to be found.

Eyecatch.

The map offers lots of locations around Paris.


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Development
Structure

Page 2:
Sakura Taisen
Atsuki Chishio Ni


Page 3:
Sakura Taisen 2
Sakura Taisen 3


Page 4:
Sakura Taisen 4
Sakura Taisen V

Page 5:
Hanagumi Tsūshin
Hanagumi Taisen Columns
Steam Radio Show
Teigeki Graph

Page 6:
Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2
Ōgami Ichirō Funtōki
Sakura Taisen GB
Kinematron Hanagumi Mail
Sakura Taisen GB 2
Sakura Taisen Online
Sakura Taisen Monogatari

Page 7:
Sakura Taisen V Episode 0
Dramatic Dungeon
Legacy
Influence
Resources

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index