This game was a long awaited sequel of the game that started it all: Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The most obvious improvement was the graphics as the first Romance of the Three Kingdoms was using CGA colors (Although I played it mostly in a Yellow Monochrome monitor). This Second installation of these strategy games series uses EGA 16 color palette, so it looked much better.
The improvements in the game play are also quite significant and much more complex, like having more commands with Diplomacy, Spy and Delegate to name a few.
Under those menu commands, there are a lot of strategies that you can use to weaken the enemy and gain powerful allies.
For example the Rival Tigers let you provoke 2 other rulers to increase their hostility against each other, so they might go to war against each other. This is especially useful when their forces are much more significant then your forces. You can use this to your advantage and attack them when their forces are depleted, or to buy time for strengthening your own forces. Tiger and Wolf, is another tactic which happens all the time between a general and his ruler at that era (If you read the novel, this is quite common and can be very effective tactic in battle)
events can also turn the tide as it is more emphasized on this game than in the first series, events such as Locusts which reduces food supply, Flood which reduces number of population, Popular Revolt which reduces gold and food, Yellow Turban Rebels which attacks rulers in exile and Governorís Rebellion, where an appointed governor of a province will claim independence (This can be provoked using the Tiger and Wolf ruse I mentioned above). Also there are non playable characters such as the legendary doctor Hua Tuo, where he can heal wounded generals when he is in the area.
I needed some adjustment in the battle tactics as it differs greatly from the first game. Main example is, charging an army is not ďa fight to the deathĒ as in the first game, where only one general will come victorious (which is quite useful when I played the first game, when I am outnumbered but strong enough to kill the opposition rice holder, thus forcing them to retreat). The terrain is also used more, with units in a fort will fare better then in open field.
Overall it is an excellent game; I loved it because it gives a fresh new angle on the series at that time (which for your info is now up to Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI). It was also fun to play with friends as it is a turned base game, so everyone can play in one computer (entertaining and effective with the average PC owned at that time is just 1 per family). So enjoy this classic!