Usagi Yojimbo's adventures, please do yourself a favor and pick up some of the collected editions as soon as possible. The cute animals should not dissuade you from what is truly an engrossing, and very much adult, take on medieval Japan, with both its politics, violence and mythology thrown in for good measure.
With such a vibrant world, it is no wonder that a game had to come about. The Australian company Melbourne House, originally a book publisher that was one of the first to specialise in books on home computers before moving into software publishing and later development was an ideal candidate for buying up the license. Their development subsidiary, Beam Software, which had already had success with literary adaptations of Tolkien classics such as The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Shadows of Mordor as well as other book-to-game conversions such as Sherlock, Asterix and the Magic Cauldron and Judge Dredd, as well as original games such as The Way of the Exploding Fist, Bazooka Bill and Bad Street Brawler were primed to take a crack at this indie comic hit.
Similar to Fist II, you move Usagi on a 2D plane, from left to right on his search for Lord Noriyuki. You have a small variety of attacks and parries when in combat and can jump over some obstacles, like rivers. All fairly simple stuff and at first glance, the game seems a bit simplistic.
The easiest thing to have done would have been a simple left to right scrolling beat-em up, but Beam decided to add some real depth to the game. The incorporation of a few simple details, such as sheathing and unsheathing your sword, bowing to passerbys, multiple paths on the road, the ability to give alms to the poor and to monks, the addition of a variety of mythological beasts and simple dialogue bits from NPCs made the game feel alive.
The original Commodore 64 version is probably the most playable version because of the bigger window and relatively small sprites. The Spectrum and Amstrad ports while nicely detailed give the player a bit less reaction time and can therefore be a bit more difficult to control. But no matter, all are essential playing for Usagi fans and for those retro fans looking for a somewhat different gaming experience, definitely boot this one up.