Title: Samurai no Densetsu: Ronin! (サムライの伝説 浪人)
Developer: Chuo Team
Publisher: Zukaya Co., Ltd
System: Musjido PlayCom
Release Date:
JP: December 30, 1988

Samurai no Densetsu: Ronin! was one of many role-playing games released in the RPG craze of the late 1980s for the Musjido PlayCom. A samurai game set during the Sengoku Jidai period, it featured an overhead map and random encounters standard to many RPGs on the system, but with a few added mechanics. One was “duel mode,” which would require a player to out-draw an opponent with a katana; it was compatible with the Zukaya Joytana accessory. Another innovation was a strict stamina system, which consumed one point of stamina from each character for every attack, requiring stamina to be refreshed with items.

In story terms, the game follows a ronin, Kei, who learns that the daughter of his slain lord is still alive and being held prisoner in the fortress of the evil Lord Otani. Kei recruits three traveling companions in his quest to defeat Otani and rescue his captive: deserter Suzuki, geisha Aki, and gunpowder-mad Bumu. The player must complete numerous manhunts to earn money to buy plot-essential items, and the end sequence is notable for stripping party members from the player and forcing them to sacrifice themselves in impossible “duel modes,” resulting in a downbeat and melancholy ending.

The game was a modest success in the Japanese market, enough to be repackaged as part of the Musjido Gold line with a specially branded Joytana in 1990, but not enough to merit a sequel or remake. A later game, 2004’s Samurai no Densetsu: Sengoku Jidai was advertised as a sequel, but it did not share any team members or plot details with the earlier game.

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