Hanagumi Wars Columns (花組対戦コラムス Hanagumi Taisen KORAMUSU) is a falling-blocks puzzle video game developed by Sega in 1997, as a spin-off from The Sakura Taisen Series and Columns series. The game was released in Japan for Sega Saturn and ST-V arcade board.
The game plays like the classic Columns game series, except you get the privilege of playing as members of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division. Each member has their own strengths and weaknesses as pertains to playing.
As an added bonus, while playing you can perform attacks against your opponent similar to the special attacks in the Sakura Wars series. You can also eliminate some of the lower gems in your area. These can both be performed after creating enough gem chains to fill up your super meter. You can also store your attacks to make them even more powerful the next time you fill the meter. At the third storage, you must either attack, erase some of your gems, or you can store it up to get three butterfly-like blocks that the bottom block will eliminate all of one color, whichever color block it touches.
The game ends when either you or your opponent's gem area is filled to the top, leaving no room for more gems.
The following characters are available to play as:
- Sakura Shinguji
- Sumire Kanzaki
- Maria Tachibana
- Iris Chateaubriand
- Kohran Li
- Kanna Kirishima
- Yuri,Kasumi,Tsubaki (As a team, "Wind Division") (Unlockable)
- Ayame Fujieda (Unlockable)
- Ikki Yoneda (Unlockable)
In the game, you can play as any of the members of the Imperial Floral Assault troupe that were featured in the original Sakura Wars game. In the arcade mode (aka "Cinderella Mode"), you face off against every other member in a match of columns. The story behind the arcade mode is that every member is fighting over who gets the lead role in the upcoming play of "Cinderella" to play opposite of Ichiro Ogami (who will play the prince). The losers of the games get bit parts, such as a tree or the wicked stepsisters, to name a few.
With every character you complete the arcade mode with you will receive a full-screen image portraying your character as Cinderella alongside Ichiro. These can be viewed in the options menu.
There is also a separate story mode in which you as Ichiro go around the Imperial Theatre (similar to the FREE mode in the Sakura Wars games) along with your chosen partner playing random games of Columns against the other members of the Troupe. Just like the arcade mode, when completing the story mode, you are given a special full-screen image of the character you completed the story with, which can be viewed in the options menu.
There is also a one-player classic mode of Columns where you simply play as long as you can without filling up the screen with gems. Also in one-player mode is a Challenge mode, in which you are given certain challenges to fulfill in a certain time limit.
The game also features a two-player versus mode.
The game features mostly recycled music from the first Sakura Wars game composed by Kohei Tanaka. Whenever you play a game of Columns, the music played is usually the instrumental theme song of the character you are facing.
The opening theme song is the first part (before the lyrics start) of the opening theme from Sakura Wars (1), "Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan". The game's ending theme is a shortened version of the ending theme of Sakura Wars (1), "Hanasaku Otome".
- The ending theme, "Hanasaku Otome" can be listened to if the Sega Saturn game disc is placed in a CD player.
The game has a sequel on the Dreamcast (JP) system. Just as this game is based on the first Sakura Wars game, Sakura Wars Columns 2 is based on the second game in the series and features new characters such as Kaede Fujieda, Orihime Soletta and Reni Milchstraße.
Sakura Wars Columns 2 features similar gameplay options as its predecessor such as arcade mode, story mode, versus mode as well as a challenge mode.
Hanagumi Columns, Paris Hanagumi Columns, and New York Hanagumi Columns were released on i-mode phones and Yahoo! Keitai through the service "Sakura Wars Keitai Club".