The game Gemfire was developed by the Japanese company, Koei. It was released on the Nintendo (Famicom), Super Nintendo (Super Famicom) and Sega Master System. Gemfire is part of Koei's lesser known Imagination Series of games and thus does not represent a historical period.

By watching the intoduction, you find that the game revolves around the continent of Ishmeria, which is ruled by the corrupt High King Eselred through the powers of the crown Gemfire. The crown has six wizards and a dragon inprisoned within it each of it's seven jewels. The power of these wizards was freed though and the wizards made their escape.

Note: The sound the jewels make as they move has been proven to cause insanity in viewers of the introduction.

  1. Pluvius went to Lyle's Prince Ander.
  2. Zendor went to Blanche's Prince Erin.
  3. Skulryk went to Molbrew's Prince Leander.
  4. Empyron, the gay (I mean really. Get the game. He's gay I tell you, just look at him!), went to Coryll's Prince Lars.
  5. Scylla went to the Flax's Prince Erik.
  6. Chylla went to Chrysalis' Prince Garth.
  7. As you already guessed long long ago, the evil dragon goes to High King Eselred.

With the power of the crown split, the Princes now have a chance to overthrow Eselred.

This is not a game for hard core strategy fans, who will generally become bored by the simplistic nature of it, but rather fits into the "Beer and Pretzels" area of strategy gaming. It consists of four scenerios, each detailing the progression of the war, and introducing different characters as time and troops march on.

Gemfire is simple in execution. Unlike most Koei games, personnel management barely exists. Each province's economy is made up of only three things.

  1. Popular Support - Improved by giving food.
  2. Crop development - The name speaks for itself.
  3. Safety - Reduces the damage taken from disasters and to a small extent, raises income.

Commands consist of four buttons on the buttom of each povince screen, which detail the areas of, military, economic policy, diplomacy and personnel management. There are four more buttons within each of these menus; only 16 commands in all, making the game pretty easy to figure out even without a manual. Only one command can be given a month for each province, except for a few exceptions like buying or selling food. Some commands ARE disabled except for when done from the home province.

Like I said before, Koei, while almost cutting out personnel management and reducing economic goals, does keep some or its normal facets. Different characters have different skills and can improve on these. You can appoint and remove governors of your provinces. On the economic side by improving support, crop development and safety you can increase income AND increase the likehood of getting good events, including the assistance of the mighty Pastha, a monster second in strength only to the wizards and dragon.

Military areas is where the game shines. Taking into account the game's kind of childish feeling; the ability to hire monsters to fight with your armies as a fifth unit, to use the wizards every so often in battle (The wizards and the dragon must rest after a battle.), all blend together in the battlefield to make for a fun experience.

The battlefield screen itself is almost a throwback to the old days of board top gaming. It fits completely in the screen, showing your troops and special units in miniture form. Whenever you meet the enemy forces in battle, the screen switches to an action sequence, which actually never does seem to get old as you watch your troops damage your enemies, or your wizard unleash his magic.

Gemfire, despite my laughing at it throughout this w/u, is a charming game that will probably have you playing it many times to come. If you like light strategy, give it a try and mabye you can reunite Gemfire.

It is Strongly recommended you buy this game in cart form instead of downloading it from an Emulation or Abandonware site. The Rom Image form of this game (at least for the SNES) has severe problems in the battlefield screen and the animation within battles.

I have not located the NES or Sega, Rom ,versions, so I cannot tell you how those two work.

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