Throne of Darkness: Fours and Fives

tod-hiI’ve explored all four slopes of the mountain now. Sure enough, the last one contained the Single Quest I had been missing. This was the Wizard’s quest, so it’s a good thing I went to the trouble of levelling him up.

This quest involved defeating a sequence of seven boss monsters, each alone in a separate chamber of a dungeon. Each chamber had a large kanji inscribed on the floor, possibly a hint about what sort of spells you’d need: 土 (chi/tsuchi, soil), 火 (ka/hi, fire), 電 (den, electricity), 血 (keshi/chi, blood), 気 (ki, spirit), 空 (kuu/sora, void or sky), 水 (sui/mizu, water). (The order may be randomized.) It’s a peculiar assortment. Fire, water, earth, and electricity are the four elements of the game’s magic system. Fire, water, earth, and void are four of the five classical Japanese elements, but air/wind is pointedly absent. Why blood and spirit are included is anyone’s guess, but I’ll note that both 土 and 血 can both be pronounced “chi” in Japanese (depending on context), and 気 is pronounced “chi” in Chinese.

I’m definitely overanalyzing this, but thinking about the element systems, it strikes me that the overall architecture of the game, like the classical elements, is in fours and fives. You’ve got four clans, each with its own castle, in a ring around the castle of the demon-possessed overlord Tsunayoshi. It’s tempting to declare that the four clans correspond to the game’s four elements, and that the central castle, on the mountaintop above the others, corresponds to kuu in the sense of “sky”. Well, okay, there’s one castle that’s surrounded by marsh, and which thus naturally corresponds to water, but that’s about as far as I can take this.

Reading the descriptions of the four clans in the manual, however, I think there may be a different base-four architecture at work. I hadn’t mentioned this before, but you can play any of the four clans, and presumably your choice affects the quests you get: the more noble and altruistic leaders will get quests to save surviving villagers, the more ruthless ones will seek out powerful foes solely to seize the sources of their power. From the manual:

Mori Motonari, the youngest Daimyo, is by far the most capable ruler of the four daimyos… He is currently under the impression that if Kira Tsunayoshi can be saved, they have every obligation to save him…

Seething with ambition, Oda Nobunaga leads a group of men who will stop at nothing to ensure he takes the throne. This attack has become a prime opportunity for Oda Nobunaga to destroy any obstacles, while having a legitimate reason to commit regicide… Oda’s ruthless tactics and heavy-handed rule are nevertheless brilliant…

A realist, Tokugawa Ieyasu has not only planned the entire offensive against the Dark Warlord, but has also created plans for his eventual attainment of Shogun himself… Although he will gladly join forces with any of the other Daimyo to increase his personal power, Ieyasu will be quick to exploit any weaknesses shown by the other clans…

Hideyoshi is a boisterous leader, and well liked by the normal troops because of his farming roots… Hideyoshi became known as “Hanuman.” … [H]e is called this for both his cunning and whimsical nature (like the monkey god’s namesake)…

In short, the four daimyo are respectively:

  • Loyal and honorable
  • Cruel and destructive
  • Scheming and machiavellian
  • Good-natured and whimsical

Which is to say, they are Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil, Lawful Evil, and Chaotic Good.

1 Comment so far

  1. Game Freak on 12 Apr 2007

    Where do u find oda in the castle?
    In which room?

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