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• Author: Dave Lebling (adapted by)
• Released: 1989
• Genre: Adventure
• Difficulty: Expert

In Shogun, you play the role of resourceful English seaman John Blackthorne, Pilot-Major of the Dutch trader-warship Erasmus, which is on a secret mission of trade and plunder to the Spanish-dominated Pacific Ocean.

The year is 1600, and the powerful Catholic empire of Spain and Portugal is locked in a death struggle with the upstart Protestant nations of England and Holland. The catholic nations have spread their political and religious influence across the world, reaching as far as China and the almost mythical land of Japan, extracting great wealth in spices and precious metals. Their extensive knowledge of the Asian seaways is highly secret information coveted by English and Dutch traders. But while the European battle each other, a longer and even more vicious struggle is raging among the feudal lords of Japan.

After hundreds of years of anarchy, Japan was unified by the great warrior Nakamura, who became Taiko, or military ruler. But the Taiko has died, leaving as heir a seven-year-old boy, and a five-man Council of Regents to rule in his name. The dominant figures of the Council are Lord Taranaga and Lord Ishido. Each is a daimyo: powerful warrior-rulers who follow the ancient samurai traditions. Each harbors the ambition to be Shogun: supreme ruler under the divine but nearly powerless emperor.

Toranaga and Ishido are backed by lesser daimyos and hordes of Samurai. They jockey for position, nearly evenly matched, looking for any way of bolstering their chances. Perhaps the Jesuits will swing their support behind one candidate, or hostages will neutralize a powerful supporter. The balance is delicate, and the appearance of the Erasmus creates excitement and new possibilities.

It is into the center of this momentous conflict that you, John Blackthorne, have been thrown, and soon you discover that the perils of the sea are almost trifling compared to the danger and intrigue among the samurai lords of Japan.

Life in Japan can be a hazardous affair. If you choose the wrong friends or confidants, you may find your head detached from your body. But strict adherence to the rules of etiquette, some judicious questions, and careful listening will enhance your pleasure, prestige, and prospects for survival.

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