(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf (SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Evan Chambers

Who knew that Genghis Khan was so cool, calculating, and complex?

Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf was originally developed by Koei and released for the PC-8801, PC9801, and the MSX in 1992. The following year, Genghis Khan II saw releases for MS-DOS, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, PC Engine CD, NES, and SNES. Five more years later, and the game would see another release on the Sony PlayStation. And you thought the EA Sports games saw ridiculous multiplatform releases? It now arrives in its SNES form on the Wii U Virtual Console.

The game is a part of Koei's Aoki Ōkami to Shiroki Mejika series (or the logically named Historical Simulation Series in North America). Being developed by Koei, it borrows heavily from the gameplay of its other historical tactical strategy game Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The "story" of Genghis Khan II is actually the same as the history of Genghis Khan (surprise!). As the player you have the option to play the game as Temujin (who conquers most of Asia and assumes the title of Genghis Khan), or many of his arch rivals at the time of his conquests. You are given a Risk-like map with sections of Asia separated and coloured to indicate "tiles" and borders. The goal of the first scenario has you attempting to claim Mongolia for yourself; so in true Genghis Khan fashion, you muster up a large army to wipe out your foes and unify a fractured land.

From the main menu screen you've got plenty of choose from (it's quite overwhelming at first). First off, you can decide whether you want to issue commands, or if you'd rather delegate it to your political advisor. Early in the game (at least during the first scenario of Mongolian Conquest) you will want to make orders yourself, as it is revealed that your advisor seems like he has a tough time just getting pants on in the morning, based on any decisions he may make at the beginning of the game. Don't fret though, because as you progress through the game you can appoint new generals to the advisor position, and they each come with ranks in the different political aspects of running a nation. The higher the ranks, the better orders that are issued during your turn.

Now, should you decide to decide to issue administrative policies yourself, you've got plenty to choose from. You can manage your nation's focus (wealth, food/livestock, town building, etc.), diplomatic relations (alliances, demands, tributes, etc.) and taxes. Each action costs a certain amount of points that detract for your total for the turn. Be wise with what you've got planned. Maybe that big cost should wait for the next turn so you can manage some of the smaller issues within your borders.

Are you thinking this sounds a little complex? Well, it is. On the surface it may seem like a casual strategy game for a console, but it truly isn't. Genghis Khan II is a tactical beast that requires your focus and a lot of preparation. Games are long and demanding, and require lots of micromanagement. It reminds us of the Europa Universalis series in that regard, which is something many of you may be more familiar with (mind you EU wasn't released until 8 years after this title).

An interesting aspect of Genghis Khan II is the multiple gameplay styles within. There is the overworld map, where you manage your nation. Then there's the invasion map, when you decide to attack an adjacent state (or you're the one being invaded). On this map you command units in a fashion similar to Fire Emblem. You're given a grid and you move your units and issue orders to attack, resupply, ambush, or even talk to units in an adjacent tile. Finally, when an attack order is issued, you're taken to the third style of gameplay in the game. On this view you're given multiple individual units to command, and you can have them move freely around the small area you've been provided. These battles take quite a while, as the units' health needs to be slowly whittled down to 0 (from high numbers, for example 200 for cavalry units). Although having all these different gameplay styles in the game is impressive and interesting, the pacing of them can slow the whole thing down.

Luckily, while you're spending all of your time stuck in battles, the music that accompanies it is upbeat and catchy. We even found ourselves humming it in the real world. All of the music is actually quite impressive, and sounds great for a SNES title (the master console for chip tunes).

One of the drawbacks to being on the SNES, however, was the limited amount of screen space that could be used to show information. With all of your different resources, a complete overview of the map and your enemy states, a dashing photo of the leader you chose to play as and his political advisor, there isn't much left to show you all of your political/diplomatic/warring options and what they do. Back in the good ol' days of the NES/SNES, the instruction manual was used extensively to convey information to the player that wasn't explained in the game. That's good and all, but when you're presented with 20+ different buttons with no text and small pixel art, having to flip back between the manual and the game on the Wii U's GamePad is frustrating. On the original SNES you could play with the game on the screen and the manual in your lap. On the Wii U, however, you have to pause the game, pull yourself away from it to view the manual, find what you're looking for and jump back to the game. On several occasions we were opening and closing the manual repeatedly to learn what each of the option buttons did.


Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf is a complex and rewarding tactical roleplaying grand strategy game that holds many different layers. Giving the player a ton of control over their nation, whether they're just conquering Mongolia or trying to conquer the world in later scenarios, can be both a blessing and a curse. The high difficulty hurdle may be tough for newcomers to the genre or series, but certainly awards veterans with engaging gameplay. The only hindrances are the extremely slow pacing of the three different play styles, and the technical limitations for the Wii U VC and consulting the manual regularly (necessary for learning the game). A solid game for those looking for a strategic challenge, but perhaps a little too complex for others.

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User Comments (19)



SquirrelNuts said:

This game is better than a 6, especially if you like strategy games. I would give it a solid "recommend" for strategy fans. Hard to go wrong here.



bezerker99 said:

My uncle would rent this game from the video store and play it all night long. No kidding. I would wake up in the morning and he'd still be playing it. My cousin and I still to this day give him grief over that.



DontPlayDumb said:

Why no SNES titles in 3ds eshop? Why Nintendo?
Why no ds titles in 3ds eshop? Why Nintendo?
Why so "few" titles in virtual console? (few, bad word. There are still plenty of fantastic games to be released).
Why no nintendo64 games in 3ds eshop?



Mrclaycoat said:

How I wish "Lords of the Rising Sun" for the Turbo Duo was available on the Wii Virtual Console. One of the true Gems from that system that didn't make it on the VC.




I enjoyed this game a lot on SNES but I haven't been playing it in a very long time. What I remember the most is that war elephants totally rock! I might have to pick this one up.



Captain_Gonru said:

Interesting. I've been meaning to pick up one of these.
The point about the manual is an interesting one. I do wonder why, with two screen on both 3DS and Wii U, they haven't offered at least an option to have the game up top, with the manual on the bottom. It would certainly justify the "upgrade" price.



BoilerBroJoe said:

Absolutely agree with Captain_Gonru. This seems like an obvious software update. An interface with the Miiverse community could be good as well. Come on Nintendo, you talk about people not appreciating the gamepad, and then don't use it for what it would clearly be good for.

Also, slight tangent, but the DS games should give you the option of mirroring a single screen, or even reversing the top/bottom screen orientation (for games with no real touch controls). It may seem counter intuitive, but there are several games that predominantly use the bottom screen. Why download a title for your television when you're staring at your controller for hours?



BulbasaurusRex said:

@DontPlayDumb @Monado_III Yes, while the 3DS can easily display N64 era graphics and even remastered versions of N64 games, they have to be recoded from scratch. Emulation is a whole different matter and requires getting the two different hardware architectures to work together properly. The emulation experts at M2 have barely managed to emulate high-end Genesis games in 3D on the 3DS, so N64 games (even without the 3D effect) would be out of the question except possibly for any rare sprite-based games.

As for DS games, the 3DS is already backwards compatible with them. Just buy the cartridges in a used game shop.

SNES games would likely be tricky to emulate, but they're at least a possibility down the road (as long as no special chips are involved). The bigger question is why we get the GBA games on the Wii U instead of the 3DS (other than the Ambassador offerings).



Cobra said:

Wow, takes me back. I remember sinking far too many hours into this on the Mega Drive.



DontPlayDumb said:

@BulbasaurusRex Emulating from scratch? For you or me or rest "developers" of emulators. But its their (Nintendo software and hardware) so its easier for Nintendo to do that. (but as you said its still complicated).
As for DS games, they are plenty of fakes... so its easier to buy them directly from Nintendo and dont get f*****.
And gameboy advance ... best games and Nintendo honestly don't want my money. And fake gameboy advance games. Their numbers are far more than ds fakes. But when you have finally found original game with manual and box... prices from space .



SunshineHunter said:

I loved the prequel to this, I played it and loved it. Also Nobunaga's Ambition!

I wish KOEI would release some modern Historical Simulation Series in the west!



BulbasaurusRex said:

@DontPlayDumb What country do you live in? At least here in the U.S., fakes aren't a problem as long as you go to an actual store rather than buying from some random guy on e-Bay, and most DS games aren't that rare that you'd need to resort to something like e-Bay.



DontPlayDumb said:

I am from Poland. We have got finally distributor from May (?) 2014 who do something. Nintendo have been never so popular in Poland. But it doesn't mean there is no fans of Nintendo. From about 4 years there is something you can call nintedo games in shops but their (Nintendo games and consoles) still so few in comparison to Sony or Xbox. So ebay is only option.
Polish equivalent of ebay stinks. I have reported them many fakes of gameboy advance games and those resellers are still there. Also prices are in most cases higher [even when you buy something on ebay in Euro/Usd after conversion from polish złoty (our currency) its still cheaper than buy this from resellers on Allegro in most cases, even after adding cost of delivery]. And of course there is not so many things to choose from stock (but yeah, comparing international shop/auction site stock to polish, kinda dumb i know). There is no problem to buy 3ds and wii u games but try to buy older (ds, gameboy advance) .

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