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In the 12th century, the Emperor Hui Zhong is faced with an internal rebellion led by Imperial Minister Gao Qiu. The Song Dynasty comes to an end, and Gao Qiu became the new ruler. You take the role of an exiled ruler, and you must build your stats up to be able to challenge- and destroy- Gao Qiu and restore Hui Zhong to the throne.

The game is a military strategy game, like most of Koei's games, but instead of conquering a country, the goal is to depose the despotic ruler of China. You start out lowly, and have to work your way up by conquering smaller prefectures, forming alliances, and fighting small battles. You have to earn the right to attack Gao Qiu's home prefecture, though- he is off limits until you are powerful.


Bandit Kings of Ancient China MSX Select an option
Bandit Kings of Ancient China SEGA Saturn Battle screen
Bandit Kings of Ancient China DOS Intro quote. (CGA)
Bandit Kings of Ancient China PC-98 Looking at the list of countries to invade, you remember that you still need to buy that "Ultra Hair Growth" (TM) lotion from the local grocery shop

Promo Images

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Alternate Titles

  • "水滸伝 天命の誓い" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Suikoden: Tenmei no Chikai" -- Japanese title

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User Reviews

What do you mean 27 years? There's a time limit? Aaaaaahhhhh.... DOS Indra is stressed (20754)
Top 5 all-time games DOS Adam Tarr (3)
Praise for Bandit Kings of Ancient China...The Game DOS Dhanawutt Hanwuttisut (3)

Critic Reviews

Amiga Action Amiga Apr, 1991 85 out of 100 85
Raze Amiga Jun, 1991 85 out of 100 85
Power Play Amiga Aug, 1991 79 out of 100 79
Power Play DOS Aug, 1991 79 out of 100 79
Game Freaks 365 NES 2005 7.8 out of 10 78
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) DOS Jun, 1991 7.8 out of 12 65
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft Amiga 1993 60 out of 100 60
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Oct, 1990 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library NES 2016 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Nov, 1989 Unscored Unscored


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The game is based on the book Shui Hu Zhuan, a novel based on actual 12th century Chinese political conflicts.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #12 Most Memorable Game Villain (Gao Qui)

Contributed to by Trypticon (11035), Firebird (5), PCGamer77 (3237), Infernos (15551), Kabushi (187303), Martin Smith (66801), Robert Morgan (1060), koffiepad (10542) and Unicorn Lynx (181357)