In a world of mindless first-person shooters, death-defying platformers, and rubber-burnin' racers, it's comforting to know that at least somewhere out there, knowledge is still praised as a boon rather than a burden. Games such as Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and Family Feud thrive on wisdom over whizzing on your opponents, and their digital counterparts seem to have an audience. But we can't forget the little people as well, the minorities that also support our love of what we know, and this includes Capcom no Quiz: Tonosama no Yabou for the Sega CD (originally an arcade game). Well, okay, I'll bet you either a) forgot about this game, or b) didn't even know it existed.
Let's first dissect the name of this game, Capcom no Quiz: Tonosama no Yabou. Capcom is a developer both beloved and deplored by the gaming masses. We love 'em for Mega Man, for Street Fighter, for Resident Evil... but we also hate 'em for putting out buggy releases, for locking DLC on discs and forcing customers to pay, and for often releasing fecal waste on their IPs. This game was released in 1992, however, so Capcom was still considered the crème of the crop at this point. The next part should be obvious: no Quiz means there's a quiz. Well, actually, it says "no Quiz", but "no" is a possessive article, so we essentially have "Capcom's Quiz". Great. What about the rest? "Tonosama" means feudal lord, and "yabou" can mean many things, including ambition and treachery. Being a handsome optimist, let's say this game's full name now means "Capcom's Quiz: The Feudal Lord's Ambition".
This title rings true, as the game is essentially half quiz, half feudalist undertaking. You play as, essentially, an up-and-coming lord who's looking to expand his overall land claims from fellow lords. Although in Japan these lords normally would have earned this land through heredity, that certainly doesn't mean that you can't try and get them anyway! But the land parcels throughout what I am assuming is Hokkaido, Japan's second largest island, based on the rather crude map in the game with its many 90° angle coastlines, won't be given up easily. The lords and military commanders — or "daimyo" and "shogun" respectively — will definitely put up a fight. With arms? With swords?
Nah, just quiz me on a bunch of random contemporary topics.
In order to rule Japan, I must first know who played the dad on Family Ties. (Answer: Michael Gross.)
Two possible scenarios will occur. Either you'll try to take over a territory, or someone on spritely horseback will gallop into your region and try to overtake it. No matter what happens, the only way to secure or retain your lordship over the land is by answering a series of questions. And these questions could be about anything. History, science, or even somewhat modern television are all fair game, which is contradictory because none of these things would be viably known in the time period in which this scenario is set. I highly doubt the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo would have a clue which one was Laverne and which one was Shirley.
Your ultimate goal is to claim the entire region by winning these quiz battles, so doing your best is mandatory, as there are limited continues. Thank goodness it's all multiple choice, so you always have a one-in-four chance of success. The only major setback to this game is that all the questions are in Japanese, so unless you're fluent, you're more than likely to fail Capcom's Quiz. You might also fail, however, due to lack of interest because this is a bit of a banal experience after a while, and having to start smack-dab from the beginning again may not jive with your senses.
Capcom no Quiz was first released in arcades, but then ported to the Mega CD (the Japanese version of the Sega CD), the PC Engine CD, and the PC-98 (basically a PC in Japan). So this version is on a CD, so you'd think they'd make great use of the freedom of the medium. But really, it's just a Genesis game with a few extra frills. It sure doesn't LOOK special; in fact, the game's a tad primitive and ugly for 1992. The land map is rather blocky in nature, and the quiz screens won't bring any brightness to your life. And, sadly, there are no enhancements to the music; they sound like they're just being pumped through a really archaic sound chip. Most Genesis games have more depth than this. The only way they really put the Mega CD to use is by having every single question be voiced (by some random girl who's far more chipper than anyone else in the area), as well as all the daimyo and shogun you encounter.
So, should I recommend this game? Well, if you're well-rounded in all areas of popular and academic knowledge and you speak/read fluent Japanese, then this could be right up your alley. Heck, even if you just like the themes felt in games such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Dynasty Warriors and are curious for something in a similar scenario, then by all means, hunt this down and give it a whirl. For the rest of us, let's pass. It's not worth your time.