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Old 08-29-2010, 04:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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+2 (+2/-0)     
Samurai Shodown

Lucky for you, you can play this one online here, so don't just take my word for it, try it out yourself.
Retro Uprising - Arcade - Samurai Shodown
Note: The link above is for the arcade version, this is the version my review is based off of.

Samurai Shodown, one of the first weapon based fighters, and the game that brought attention to SNK.

The translation is horrendous, but it is also somewhat endearing. What other game has a title that is spelled wrong, and not on purpose? What other game displays the word "Victoly" upon you winning a fight?

Translation aside, the gameplay and atmosphere are good, and were unique amongst fighting games of the time.

Where as most fighting games tried to replicate the success of Street Fighter II, by having a similar, then contemporary atmosphere, with similar characters and similar fighting engines, this one deviated from that path.

Set sometime in the 1700s, in Japan, featuring Samurai and swordplay, this is not a Street Fighter clone.
Most likely for aesthetic reasons, a referee stands in the background, raising a flag upon a successful hit. Some of the fighters are loosely based upon Japanese historical figures, and the backgrounds include a Kabuki theater and a bamboo forest. The bamboo forest has two shoots of bamboo which can be cut down for extra points, several stages have similar features. The music itself is more traditional Japanese music than that which you would find in other games of the time period, and the fights play out in such a way it looks like an old samurai movie.
This being a weapons based fighter, there is blood and slicing people in half. But the gore doesn't seem at all gimmicky like in Mortal Kombat, no eighteen rib cages, seven skulls, and nine femurs from the corpse of one man. Though there are some finishing moves which allow you to slice the enemy in half.

Story: N/A
Some number of Samurai go off to solve the mystery of random plagues and meaningless war. Oh, and it is all caused by some evil undead guy. Yup, that's about it, and I don't care.
The story doesn't matter anyway, seeing as this is an arcade fighting game.

Gameplay: 5
Okay, if you don't get it, try to think of a 2D Soulcalibur. Though not entirely an accurate description, this will at least set the basis for your understanding.
Fighters have weapons. There are four buttons. Weak weapon strike, medium weapon strike, weak kick, medium kick. Pressing the weak and medium variant of strike or kick will pull the strong version of the strike or kick.

This game does not tolerate recklessness, if you fail to make a strike connect, chances are you will be countered and destroyed.
Sometimes, you will initiate a sequence where you and the enemy have your blades locked. Rapidly tapping buttons is what you need to do to deal with this. In this situation, the person who is overpowered may have his weapon knocked out of his hands. You are still able to fight, but not nearly as well. You can pick your weapon back up.

The pacing is also difficult to explain, but let me try. Fights move quickly, but slowly at the same time. Attacks do quite a bit more damage than in other fighters, and thus you can take down the enemy's health much faster. But, there is a lot of blocking, and a type of blocking that allows you to knock the enemy off balance for a second, leaving them open to a good strike, similar to the guard impacts that Soulcalibur supposedly invented.
Because of these two details, fights take a bit longer than you'd expect, and there are often standoffs. Standoffs are much more frequent when you are playing against a friend, than they are when playing against the CPU.

On the lower part of the screen, each player has a POW meter, which fills up as you take a beating, and when it is full you can to some better special moves, and you can inflict some serious damage.

Samurai Shodown is also not a combo based fighter, and it doesn't focus on using projectile attacks either, it is more focused on taking the enemy down with a few good hits.

There is also a delivery man who occasionally runs by in the background, who throws stuff into the ring. Sometimes they are food items that heal you, or bombs that hurt you and sometimes just things that give you some points.

This keeps the fighting from ever getting monotonous, because the delivery man can turn the fight around, because the opponent can also pick up whatever he throws in, so they can heal or get injured as well.

Now, I doubt my description can fully do justice to the game, so you can always play it yourself.

Graphics: 5
The graphics look nice, the sprites are detailed, the camera is dynamic, zooming as needed for dramatic effect or to follow the movements of the fighters. Under normal circumstances, the camera is focused on the fighters.



( Click to show/hide )


Backgrounds feature a lot of detail and movement, and the referee lifts flags indicating who scored a hit.
( Click to show/hide )


( Click to show/hide )

Some backgrounds even have small amounts of movement in the foreground, that is in front of the fighter, but it never distracts you from the fight at hand.
( Click to show/hide )

The three plants in this one are in the foreground.
Sound: 4
Traditional Japanese music, not J-pop, J-rock, random techno or generic video game music track #8543.

The voice acting is all in Japanese, the announcer doesn't attempt to use English phrases like "You lose" or "Fight"
All in Japanese.
Example: "Ippon" is what is said at the end of a match, this literally means "One {full} point" and is used in Japanese martial arts competition to indicate a decisive move.

If you want to hear it, find a video yourself, or play the game. I'm tired of going to youtube, having my browser crash then having to restart the review. This happened last night, I was trying to find a video to demonstrate the sound, but my browser crashed, but instead of retrying, I just got mad.

Replay Value: 4
It's worth playing over and over again, but mostly with a friend. Just by yourself it starts to get old after a while, maybe this is because it is eating up your quarters, real or virtual.

Challenge: 4
The AI is solid.

But overall it can be a pain in the ass. There is little to no explanation of any of the mechanics. Upon inserting the coin, you are shown a demonstration of basics, you know: This button does this attack, that button does that attack, up is jump.
This game does not tolerate recklessness, as I said before, recklessness will get you killed nine times out of ten.

There is no move list to view, so you just have to hope you pull of a good move.
This isn't always a bad thing though, it allows you to put your focus on normal attacks.
And when your POW meter is full, the input for a special move is displayed.

Overall: 4.4/5 -- 88%

Worth checking out if you enjoy 2D fighters, or stuff about samurai.


SCORING NOTE: FOR ALL OF MY REVIEWS, TILT = GAMEPLAY + STORY / 2.

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Last edited by Demon-Mask; 08-29-2010 at 06:11 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

How to you get 2.4 outta 5 when you've givin it 4's and 5's across the board?

---------- Post added at 10:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:59 PM ----------

Okay I just noticed your 88%, I think you made a typo on the 2.4 part.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

Yeah, it was a typo. What happened is I originally had the replay value at 3, so it averaged out to 4.2, and when I changed it, I mad it 2.4, instead of 4.4.

Thanks for pointing that out though.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

Epic review on of my favorite games of all time DM! +1

The only thing I would add, is the story (what little there is) is somewhat based on historical events or legends as well. The main boss Amakusa was partly inspired by the historical character Amakusa Shiro. Amakusa Shir? - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Many things were changed for the game, but some of the things Amakusa says make more sense when viewed through the prism of Amakusa Shiro's historical deeds.

Once again, great review!
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

I love Samurai Showdown....great review!
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

It was a good fighting game on Neo Ge, but didn't compare to King Of Fighters, really...
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnebagel View Post
Epic review on of my favorite games of all time DM! +1
Thanks
And I'm going to take your high score.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Samurai Shodown

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon-Mask View Post
Thanks
And I'm going to take your high score.
Cool. En Garde then I guess.
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