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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 PC-98 This guy looks sly... what is he planning?..
Bandit Kings of Ancient China PC-98 No, we aren't playing chess, moron. It's called "diplomacy". It's what you do when you are too weak to kick the other guy's ass
Bandit Kings of Ancient China SEGA Saturn Intro
Bandit Kings of Ancient China DOS Recruit heros (EGA)

Promo Images

Bandit Kings of Ancient China Magazine Advertisement
Bandit Kings of Ancient China Screenshot
Bandit Kings of Ancient China Magazine Advertisement
Bandit Kings of Ancient China Screenshot

Alternate Titles

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

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

What do you mean 27 years? There's a time limit? Aaaaaahhhhh.... DOS Indra was here (20892)
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
PC-Spiele '92 DOS 1991 8 out of 10 80
Power Play DOS Aug, 1991 79 out of 100 79
Game Freaks 365 NES 2005 7.8 out of 10 78
Amiga Joker Amiga Jul, 1991 70 out of 100 70
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
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft DOS 1993 55 out of 100 55


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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 (11036), Firebird (5), Charly2.0 (251179), PCGamer77 (3234), Infernos (29980), Kabushi (252781), Martin Smith (72263), Robert Morgan (1059), koffiepad (10513) and Unicorn Lynx (181495)