Sengoku Compare: Honda Tadakatsu

Hello everybody and welcome to another session of the Sengoku Compare. And today, we are going to make a comparison of one of the biggest badasses amongst the Sengoku Period itself, the general known as Honda Tadakatsu. The guy who has entered around 50 battles and never getting hurt while staying active on the frontlines. As such, he’s always portrayed as a premiere badass, and both Koei and Capcom had their ways on it. But… how do they compare? Let’s find out.

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Brief History Bio

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Honda Heihachiro Tadakatsu has been one of the earliest generals under the service of Matsudaira Takechiyo (later Matsudaira Motoyasu and eventually Tokugawa Ieyasu, same person just changing name), and not only one of the most loyal, but is also the most powerful. Over 50 battles and not a single heavy wound while being in the fray of actions, and if it wasn’t for his actions, perhaps the Tokugawa wouldn’t survive to become the winner of the Sengoku Period. There are some things that distinguish him: He’s always wearing an antler helmet on his head, giant beads on his body and his spear is renowned as the Tonbogiri, a spear so sharp that a dragonfly that just attempts to land on it got cut in two without him moving it. Participating in many of Tokugawa’s battles from the crushing defeat in Mikatagahara, stalemate in Komaki and victory in Sekigahara, these all cemented his status as one of the era’s mightiest warriors.

The Tokugawa also has four great generals, called the Shi-Tennou/4 Death Gods. It is of no wonder that Tadakatsu is amongst them, and quite possibly the leader.

Musou Presentation

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When Samurai Warriors first rolled out… they missed the mark, kind of. Tadakatsu was a mere NPC, not even having unique models like Hideyoshi or his lord Ieyasu. They fixed it in the game’s first Xtreme Legends… and what a fix it was, because he’s basically this mighty great general that’s near-invincible in battle, always accompanied with his own theme song blaring every time you get near him. Sounds a lot like Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors, not even the old ‘token Lu Bu clone’, Maeda Keiji, got that privilege before Tadakatsu came. Except that unlike Lu Bu who tends to betray people a lot of times and came off selfish and uncaring, Tadakatsu is his inversion, he’s loyal to a fault, he’s still concerned about his own marital prowess while tempering it with morality, sure, he likes to challenge anyone that dares to face his Lord (which is a lot), but he always respects his opponents, not belittling them. He’s actually like a morally straight Lu Bu, when you think of it.

In addition, he’s also a family man. Debuting alongside him was his daughter, Komatsu/Inahime, and he kept a watchful eye on her, watching how she progressed as a lady and a warrior, but he was never a controlling father. Honestly, I think he can be one of those fathers you can be proud of, not just about his combat prowess. And if anyone gets into his family, he gives them utmost respect and protection, including the Sanada brothers (Nobuyuki married Ina, and Yukimura technically became his in-law). And while the English voice can be rather inconsistent, if there’s one thing to enhance his badassery in the Japanese voice, let’s just say this: Tadakatsu got BALLS DEEP voice like Japanese Solid Snake… agh, who am I kidding, they’re voiced by the same person!

As a senior general, Tadakatsu also gets along well with the other officers under Ieyasu, he respects Hattori Hanzo and appreciates his ninja work, no matter how dirty it became, and he’s keeping watch on his junior in the Shi-Tennou, Ii Naomasa, guiding him to shine in the battlefield on his own. Perhaps colorful personality isn’t where Tadakatsu shines, but he always gets the job done with a stern face.

Basara Presentation

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All right, so… If you were screaming “WTF” on this one design… Yeah, I don’t blame you. Tadakatsu in Sengoku Basara is probably the most outlandish and outrageous design the game has ever done. How do you portray his invincibility? Make him a frickin’ robot. A big one too! Considering how much this game has a boner in having the characters voiced by alumnus from the Gundam series, Tadakatsu IS the Gundam itself. To facilitate this, his Tonbogiri is instead a humongous drill-spear and he comes complete with shoulder cannons or powerful electric generator. Who cares if this is old Sengoku period where technologies for such mecha shouldn’t exist yet, THIS. IS. BASARA! That said, once you get the hang of how ridiculous the setting is, you’ll actually get used to him and appreciate this Hondam. Yes I’m calling him that.

On the other hand, however, Tadakatsu is unable to talk, letting his actions do all the talking. Not that he cannot emote, he still occasionally gets the urge to face worthy opponents. Early series, it shows how much Tadakatsu was pretty much the only thing keeping the Tokugawa clan around, since Ieyasu was still a rather incompetent kid. If you think that you can disable the clan by kidnapping its weak leader…  well you’ll find a raging silent Gundam trying to bash you to excrement for good until you let him go. And even as Ieyasu grew up and became competent and awesome on his own, Tadakatsu was never far off continuing to assist him.

While his theme song was much more subdued, it still goes without warning that unless you’re uber-leveled, you should avoid fighting Tadakatsu as he usually chases you off the battlefield. Especially potent, a few attacks from him will kill you with sheer power, and you can imagine how bad it is when he was Iron OX in Devil Kings… when enemy attack power is strengthened so greatly that he might need just a few hits. Overall, just don’t doubt his prowess and go straight to Ieyasu when facing him, regardless of his competence level. It’ll make your life easier.

Final Verdict

Unfortunately for the guys who likes things to be ridiculously awesome… as much as I actually am impressed with how ballsy Capcom goes with making Basara-Tadakatsu a Gundam, they sacrificed a lot of other aspects. First, due to his inability to talk, it hampers a lot on his personality. I know he likes to disobey Ieyasu if there’s a worthy opponent in sight, but it wouldn’t hurt if he could talk! Musou-Tadakatsu might not have the most colorful personality, but you can already know he’s a respectful warrior and interacts with a lot more than just his Lord Ieyasu, especially with him being a senior warrior that taught next generation, and being a family man. That alone shows more layers of personality, and if you’re the type to think that action speak louder than words… then yes, Musou-Tadakatsu does that as well, even when he can still talk.

I know that in a flat out battle, Basara-Tadakatsu will emerge victorious, I mean, he’s a Gundam, a frickin’ badass one no matter how you spin it. But unfortunately, in my eyes, badassery isn’t everything.

Gameplay factor is usually not put in factor, and it’s base-breaking in the first place. But I just gotta say, while Basara-Tadakatsu has variety and power, I just felt that aside of combining his moves, it just didn’t have staying power. I don’t mean he’s weak, and all, but in Basara, the more you rack up combos, you get a lot better scores, and to amp up the fun, throw in special moves. Usually, this is where Basara-Tadakatsu lacks, his special moves are less direct offensive and makes him depend more on normal attacks. Which worked wonder against normal enemies, but against bosses… well you might find yourself in trouble or just stuck with the same thing that can be projected and predicted by the enemy. So it’s like the term of ‘slow but powerful’ may be backfiring on him, at least on how I play Basara. On the other hand, even if this is just personal opinion, I just feel that Musou-Tadakatsu at least put efforts to make his moves connect to each other and makes him more viable in either fighting waves of soldiers or the final super officer. So at least there’s balance.

Of course, my old stuff strikes again. The Tokugawa clan in Musou is represented by Blue, Musou-Tadakatsu sometimes wears Blue, in Basara, the Tokugawa is represented by Yellow, and Basara-Tadakatsu is always brown colored. Guess who gets the leverage.

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So as obvious it is, Musou-Tadakatsu gets the winning point since he just feels more human and relatable in addition of being a badass on his own right. I’m… very sorry about this, Hondam. Even if I’m not a fan of your gameplay, your ridiculously awesome design is something to behold, but the point still goes to Musou.


Samurai Warriors – 1 + 1 -> 2

Sengoku Basara – 1


Tune in next time for the next person, whoever it is!

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