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With the Roger Rabbit film (and game) successful, and the Jive Bunny phenomenon shaking up charts worldwide, perhaps it was time to redress the balance away from wimpy rabbits. Stan Sakai's comic character set in the 17th century did this, being capable of a range of martial arts moves. In this licensed game he'll need them to save Japan from being taken over by evil.

The game is side-scrolling and has large beat 'em up elements, but also incorporates Karma. Negative actions such as needless violence will be punished with a loss of Karma, while positives ones (such as bribing those who give Karma) are rewarded. When in combat, energy gauges display the condition of both yourself and your rival. Money collected can be spent on food for energy boosts.


Samurai Warrior: The Battles of.... Usagi Yojimbo Amstrad CPC Don't turn your back on the enemy.
Samurai Warrior: The Battles of.... Usagi Yojimbo Commodore 64 Jumping over a river
Samurai Warrior: The Battles of.... Usagi Yojimbo ZX Spectrum Can't bribe him
Samurai Warrior: The Battles of.... Usagi Yojimbo ZX Spectrum Showing off the jump move

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Critic Reviews

Zzap! Commodore 64 May, 1988 91 out of 100 91
Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum Nov, 1988 9 out of 10 90
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 May, 1988 9 out of 10 90
GamesCollection Commodore 64 Nov 02, 2007 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) Commodore 64 May, 1988 84 out of 100 84
The Games Machine (UK) Amstrad CPC Nov, 1988 81 out of 100 81
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Commodore 64 May, 1988 9.6 out of 12 80
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Nov, 1988 79 out of 100 79
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Commodore 64 Oct, 1988 737 out of 1000 74
Power Play Commodore 64 May, 1988 5 out of 10 50


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According to Doug Palmer in the "Making of..." article in Retro Gamer 29, the development of the game was largely a team effort centered around the storyline and the gameplay. The game's code was built from pre-existing components which were assembled all together. These components were a product of cooperation between Doug and Fred Milgrom.

Due to memory limitations many elements of the game had to be stripped out. As such they were mole ninja that came out of the ground, numerous additional peaceful activities like eg. rescuing a rider being dragged by a horse.


Many of the priests speeches are taken from the book 'Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’, a collection of Zen stories and koans from Japan. Many players thought that these words had a second meaning and were useful tips to be looked in the game. As such they had no gameplay purpose.

Title explanation

In Japanese, "Usagi" means "rabbit" and "Yojimbo" means "bodyguard".


The story follows the exploit of Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai who serves no master and is therefore known as a "ronin" (a masterless samurai). It is set in 1600 AD and follows Usagi as he makes his living as a Yojimbo wandering Honshu, Japan's main island.


  • ACE
    • October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)
  • Commodore Format
    • June 1991 (Issue 9) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)

Contributed to by Martin Smith (70303) and Terok Nor (29310)