Dynasty Warriors is a fighting game released by Koei for the PlayStation in 1997. Set against the backdrop of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it features a number of popular characters from the story such as Zhao Yun, Zhou Yu, and Xiahou Dun.
Dynasty Warriors is unusual, as the franchise that spawned from it quickly transitioned away from its fighting game structure and mechanics. Dynasty Warriors 2, a hack-and-slash beat'em up that pits the player against hordes of enemies on expansive maps, set the tone for the franchise going forward. In this brawler format, the franchise has been spun off in numerous directions, including a samurai-themed incarnation in the Samurai Warriors series as well as several sub-franchises based on licensed properties.
The gameplay in Dynasty Warriors is similar to Soul Calibur or Soul Blade. Two warriors square off with their weapons in a 3D arena, performing special moves and combos. Each fighter has a super meter called the Musou gauge, which allows for more powerful attacks.
The following characters are playable fighters in Dynasty Warriors:
(*) Denotes a character that must be unlocked by completing the game with other characters first.
(**) Denotes hidden characters playable only after a code is entered.
Sequel Numbering Disparity
There exists a disparity in the numbering scheme of the western releases of the Dynasty Warriors franchise and their Japanese counterparts. For example, the western Dynasty Warriors 3 is the Japanese Dynasty Warriors 2. This is due to the fact that in Japan, the original game is entitled Sangoku Musou, and the first brawler (what the west calls Dynasty Warriors 2) is entitled Shin Sangoku Musou. Subsequent Shin Sangoku Musou sequels were thus numbered "one behind" western releases.