Bandit Kings of Ancient China

aka: Suikoden: Tenmei no Chikai
Moby ID: 2137
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Description official descriptions

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.


  • 水滸伝 天命の誓い - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)




Average score: 75% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 3 reviews)

What do you mean 27 years? There's a time limit? Aaaaaahhhhh....

The Good
This is an interesting little gem from KOEI. Probably the only other Chinese historical game from KOEI that isn't about Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The gameplay is standard KOEI style. A different feature probably worth mentioning is an option where you gain 100% loyalty from one of your 'generals'. This is done by a brotherhood ritual or vow (forgot what it was called). This is also the FIRST game by KOEI to have female characters in it. Though it's still called a brotherhood even if you conduct it with a female general.

The Bad
Repeat title: What do you mean 27 years? There's a time limit? Aaaaaahhhhh....

It's amazing after all these years I still can remember the time length of this game. In this game you only have 27 years to unite China, or most of it anyway. This is because at that time, the Mongols will attack and overrun China without much opposition from the disorganized warring clans.

This is one of two KOEI games I actually DESPISE due to the time limit (the other being L'Empereur. Yes, I hate time limits. Both in games and especially in real-life. In this case, I didn't know there was a time limit, eventually I was so upset, I never played this game again.

And with this to all game developers who might happen to read this review (of which I seriously doubt). PLEASE KEEP GAMEPLAY ENJOYABLE AND KEEP THOSE TIME LIMITS OUTTA GAMES!!! GAME DIFFICULTY SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED BY TIME LIMITS. Hope somebody from Warcraft III reads this. Bah!

Hmmm...strange review.

The Bottom Line
Wish there was a hack to get rid of that 27 year limit.

DOS · by Indra was here (20756) · 2003

Top 5 all-time games

The Good
Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay. That's what I look for in games, and this game is unquestionably one of my five favorite computer games (for reference, others would include: Civ series, Star Control 2, Europa Universalis 2... not sure what the 5th would be).

The main computer opponent starts out much more powerful than you, and you have a limited number of game turns to catch up to him. This combination makes the game a challenge even for an experienced player.

The game can be played multiplayer, and I have had some incredibly satisfying experiences playing this in multiplayer (including games where I lost).

The bottom line is that this game has a great dynamic, and I still love to play it more than 20 years after its release.

The Bad
This game takes a long time to play - a good session (even one-player) takes a bare minimum of a couple hours. This swells to a good half-day for any decent multiplayer experience

The learning curve is not quick - the manual is not the best translation ever and it takes a while to learn the nuances and tricks of playing effectively.

Graphics are typical mid-80s blah. If you need pretty graphics, this game is not for you.

The Bottom Line
A classic turn-based strategy, with classical heroic Chinese folk history backing it. Interesting and unique choices in both developing your provinces, and in the battle sequences.

DOS · by Adam Tarr (2) · 2006

Praise for Bandit Kings of Ancient China...The Game

The Good
Its charmingness !! ..and its intelligence which result more exciting within it. The way to present this game ..I mean ..its strory and playing way are dramatically historical simulized..But the one significant that make Bandits unique from others is ..the role players ' s"nickname" are being included belonging to each of their charactors in the real ancient history... such as " Hairly Priest.., Hidden Dragon.. (and Crouching Tiger..?)..else!!!

The Bad
Rarely to find !!! just the things I'd like it to be better.. * Using Level of the game ...generally I do not prefer any game to have it, 1is too easy but more than 3 is impossible.. ** Time limited.., You can't use very longtime strategies 'cause it will be all over when the..North Yellow thieves (not sure the name) armies come into China..

The Bottom Line**
For all collectors who love historical battle simulation series ..This one is an alltime classic DOS game.. and it might not let you down..

DOS · by Dhanawutt Hanwuttisut (2) · 2001



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)


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  • MobyGames ID: 2137
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Robert Morgan.

PC-88, SEGA Saturn, PlayStation added by Trypticon. Amiga added by Firebird. Windows added by Charly2.0. NES added by PCGamer77. FM-7, FM Towns, Sharp X1 added by Infernos. Sharp X68000 added by Kabushi. Macintosh added by Martin Smith. MSX added by koffiepad. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, lugnut, Patrick Bregger.

Game added August 13, 2000. Last modified February 15, 2024.